The Return of Talking Time

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  #211  
Old 03-08-2019, 01:02 PM
Kahran042 Kahran042 is offline
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Default Postgame update 7: Fun with ResEdit

Thanks to WallyHackenslacker, I've learned how to use ResEdit to access previously inaccessible areas. Unfortunately, there isn't much in most of them, including the food distribution center on Culn and the bakery in Elba. However, I have found a couple of pretty cool things.



This is the upper level of the Culn tunnels, specifically where Perpetual used to be. As you can see, I'm walking on thin air, as are those Gremlins.



This is the northernmost of the islands off the east coast of Elba. There's a small grave here, which you wouldn't be able to find without using this trick.

Now for the meat of this update. I've figured out how to edit inventory items in ResEdit through a lot of trial and error. It starts at column 2 of row 6, and is listed in the same order as in-game, starting with weapons and psionics. However, it's not a good idea to replace an item with one from a different category, so here's a list of hex codes for items:

Code:
Weapons:
0BB9	War Axe
0BBA	Sixth Staff
0BBB	Flesh Render
0BBC	Glaive
0BBD	Eviscerator
0BBE	War Hammer
0BBF	Wicked Mace
0BC0	Midnight Star
0BC1	Spleen Slicer
0BC2	Horrific Halberd
0BC3	Scimitar
0BC4	Longer Sword
0BC5	Buck and a Quarterstaff
0BC6	Bastitch Sword
0BC7	Long Sword
0BC8	Dagger
0BC9	Two Handed Sword
0BCA	Trident
0BCB	Scimitar of Smiting
0BCC	Javelin
0BCD	Spear
0BCE	Silken Spear
0BCF	Throwing Axe
0BD0	Boomerang
0BD1	Bola
0BD2	Trowing Dagger
0BD3	Feathered Javelin
0BD4	Niacian Life Ender
0BD5	Spiked Sword
0BD6	Kick Axe
0BD7	Dagger of Doom
0BD8	Ferocious Falchion
0BD9	Mace of Malice
0BDA	Trident of Tribble
0BDB	Axe of Obfuscation
0BDC	Operatic Sword
0BDD	Shovel
0BDE	Pick Axe
0BDF	Woodsman's Axe
0BE0	Sledge Hammer
0BE1	Iron Poker
0BE2	Bread Knife
0BE3	Meat Cleaver
0BE4	Walking Stick
0BE5	Ice Pick
0BE6	Rusty Ice Pick
0BE7	Formidable Meat Cleaver
0BE8	Deadly Spatula
0BE9	Blood Stained Ruler
0BEA	Edwards' Trident
0BEB	Bare Hands
0BEC	Rock
0BED	Rock
0BEE	Rock
0BEF	Rock
0BF0	Rock
0BF1	Rock
0BF2	Rock
0BF3	Rock
0BF4	Pipsqeek's Dagger
0BF5	Black Rock
0BF6	E Combat Art
0BF7	N Combat Art
0BF8	Maxamillian's Fighting Style
0BF9	Bow
0BFA	Long Bow
0BFB	Crossbow
0BFC	Composite Bow
0BFD	One Handed Crossbow
0BFE	Green Bow
0BFF	The Beast
0C00	Razor Boomerang
0C01	Jordan's Scimitar

Psionics:
07D0	Touch of Frost
07D1	Ice Blast
07D3	Black Sleet
07D4	Mini Icicle
07D5	Flaming Fist
07D6	Flame Javelin
07D7	Pyromania
07D8	Thermal Field
07D9	Electro Grasp
07DA	Lightning Crashes
07DB	Ride the Lightning
07DC	Electric Habergeon
07DD	Spontaneous Combustion
07DE	Dehydrate
07DF	Acid Rain
07E0	Vicious Circle
07E1	Glow
07E2	Chart Master
07E3	The Warning
07E4	Invisibility
07E5	Hard Air
07E6	Megadeath
07E7	Vicious Air
07E8	Gas Annulus
07E9	Asudem Effect
07EA	Kinetic Barrier
07EB	Push
07EC	Slow
07ED	Push Deluxe
07EE	F Wall
07EF	Terrify
07F0	Befriend
07F1	Confuse
07F2	Zenoheal
07F3	Luck
07F4	Zelig Power
07F5	Extinguish
07F6	Infinite Dreams
07F7	Incant
07F8	Dig
07F9	Highly Profesional Glow
07FA	Morph
07FB	D Morph
07FC	Death Morph
07FD	Trap Spotting
07FE	White Heat Red Hot
07FF	Angel of Death
0800	Characterize
0801	The Collective
0802	Profesional Glow

Keys:
03ED	Quartz Key
03EE	Obsidian Key
03EF	Metal Key
03F0	Shiny Metal Key
03F1	Copper Key
03F2	Eddible Key (opens doors in apartment building in Exin)
03F3	Granite Key
03F4	Small Key
03F5	Glass Key
03F6	Black Key (opens doors in Niacian military HQ)
03F7	Rhinestone Key
03F8	Glowing Map
03F9	Rusty Key
03FA	Charred Key
03FB	Smelly Key
03FE	Wrought Iron Key
03FF	Ruby Key
0400	Heavy Key
0408	Slick Key
0409	Smooth Key
0411	Red Key
0412	Blue Key
0413	Green Key
0414	No Agent Key
0415	Silver Key
0416	Glowing Key
0417	Brass Key

Usable objects:
03E9	Healing Herb
03EA	Herb of Immenant Health
03EB	Elban clothing
03EC	Niacian clothing
03FC	Rod of Firey Death
03FD	Industrial Strength Poison
0401	Red Clothing
0402	Blue Clothing
0403	Green Clothing
0404	Striped Clothing
0405	Red Dye
0406	Blue Dye
0407	Green Dye
040A	Scepter of Punishment
040B	Traveller's Journal
040C	Torch
040D	Lantern
040E	Sour Blue Potion
040F	Chameleon Staff
0410	Tuning Fork
0418	N Staff
0419	Staff
041A	Sweet Red Potion
041B	Moood Ring

General objects:
0001	Gilded Book
0002	Elban Medical Techniques
0003	Niac Military Tactics
0004	Very old, moldy book
0005	Diary
0006	Old Book
0007	Note (The Community)
0008	Manual
0009	Wooden Sphere
000A	Bone Sphere
000B	Glass Sphere
000C	Iron Sphere
000D	Marble Sphere
000E	Organic Sphere
000F	Diary Entry (Rian-322/Rian-323)
0010	Book: The Billsville Citizen (conformist)
0011	Small note
0012	Yellowed note
0013	Citizenship Certificate
0014	Hastily Written Note
0015	Book
0016	Diary Entry (Rian-263)
0017	Dusty Diary
0018	Book: The Billsville Citizen (non-conformist)
0019	Book: The Fredsville Citizen
001A	Book: The Joesville Citizen
001B	Glowing Rock
001C	Miniature Diary
001D	Diary Entry (Rian-409)
001E	Diary Entry (Rian-093)
001F	Large book
0020	Wooden Lizard
0021	Very Worn Note
0022	Handmade Book
0023	Red Notes
0024	Wet Note
0025	Vex the First Note
0026	Vex the Second Note
0027	Vex the Fourth Note
0028	Vex the Fifth Note
0029	Vex the Third Note
002A	Vex the Sixth Note
002B	Fable
002C	Fifth Sun Sphere
002D	First Sun Sphere
002E	Third Sun Sphere
002F	Fourth Sun Sphere
0030	Second Sun Sphere
0031	Nemesis Note
0032	Rian's Book
0033	Thick Notebook
0034	Bob Bushwacker's Weapon Guide
0035	The Armor Anthology
0036	Diary Entry (Rian-027)
0037	Note (Elba-Niac tunnel)
0038	Miffed: The Book of Greed
0039	Quest for a Clue
003A	Der Weg Zum Lesen
003B	Mensch and Supermensch
003C	Badge of Evil
003D	Tricks of the Odyssey Gurus
003E	Inside Granny Smith
003F	Congratulations Tome

Armor and shields:
0FA1	Leather Armor
0FA2	Padded Armor
0FA3	Studded Armor
0FA4	Ring Mail
0FA5	Scale Mail
0FA6	Chain Mail
0FA7	Bastitch Chain
0FA8	Stone Plate
0FA9	Beast Hide Armor
0FAA	Field Plate
0FAB	Moood Plate
0FAC	Tissue Paper Armor
0FAD	Pitor's Armor
1389	Buckler
138A	Wooden Shield
138B	Large Shield
138C	Moood Shield
138D	Moood Gauntlets
138E	Gauntlets
138F	Helm
1390	Glowing Helm
1391	Battle Boots
1392	IR Helm
1393	Moood Helm
1394	Work Gloves
1395	Boots
1396	Boots Made for Walking
1397	Warm Helm
1398	Warm Boots
1399	Warm Gloves
139A	Parchment Shield

Treasures:
1771	Gold
1772	Topaz
1773	Ruby
1774	Amethyst
1775	Diamond
1776	Opal
1777	Sapphire
1778	Jacinth
1779	Emerald
177A	Pearl
177B	Pitor's Jewels
For proof, here's the flavor text for the dummied items with unique descriptions, in the order that they would appear in the inventory if they existed.

















I've also managed to find a way into Mario Brothers Land!, but that will have to wait for next time. For now, have a picture of Katrielle wielding the Spiked Sword and wearing the Tissue Paper Armor.


Last edited by Kahran042; 03-24-2019 at 09:08 AM. Reason: Too many "As you can see"s.
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  #212  
Old 03-08-2019, 01:47 PM
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Yama Yama is offline
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That is a hilarious description.
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  #213  
Old 03-08-2019, 02:50 PM
WallyHackenslacker WallyHackenslacker is offline
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Default Dummy items and Mario Bros land!

Go team! Solving the mysteries. Before long this game will have nothing interesting left unseen at all. Maybe I'll even get bored of it for the first time ever!

Wow, that's almost sad!

Awesome update Kahran046!
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  #214  
Old 03-10-2019, 05:18 AM
WallyHackenslacker WallyHackenslacker is offline
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Default Inventory hacking

I assume you mean row 60. That's where i found the item codes. In case you decide to pull the stunt I did, I'll save you this experience. I tried turning my treasure into pitor's jewels early game to see it I could effectively hack infinite money. Turning even a single treasure into pitor's jewels crashes the game.

I assume taking them away from Pitor triggers events that aren't meant to be triggered yet, and the game cannot process it properly. I'll try again after I visit Mcteague.

You know, we could actually try paying off Himan now. I assume there's nothing built to accomodate the possibility but i do want to try.
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  #215  
Old 03-10-2019, 05:44 AM
WallyHackenslacker WallyHackenslacker is offline
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I hacked in every impossible key for a play through, and far as I've seen so far, the Eddible key opens literally every door other keys won't.

I'm having way too much fun with this. I think we've found this game's Ring of Gyges!
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  #216  
Old 03-10-2019, 06:19 AM
WallyHackenslacker WallyHackenslacker is offline
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You're correct about hacking items of different types being a bad idea. even different weapon disciplines makes it hard for the game to acknowledge an item. I learned that quickly. Also, I tried hacking a bow into a crossbow and the game crashed, even when I tried to sell or drop it.
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  #217  
Old 03-11-2019, 07:48 AM
Kahran042 Kahran042 is offline
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Default Postgame update 8: Mario Brothers Land!

Quote:
Originally Posted by WallyHackenslacker View Post
You know, we could actually try paying off Himan now. I assume there's nothing built to accomodate the possibility but i do want to try.
If it works, I'd love to see it.

As I stated in my previous update, I've found a way into Mario Brothers Land!*. It involves hacking the Map File directly, which is why I wasn't sure of it until now. It also requires knowledge of the hex codes for each map, which I was able to figure out in part due to WallyHackenslacker giving the hex code for MBL!, which I used to figure out the hex codes for the others.

Code:
0081		Un
0082		Old Man's Hut
0083		Elba
0084		Niac
0085		The Elba-Niac Tunnel (Elba)
0086		The Elba-Niac Tunnel (Niac)
0087		Tunnel to Culn
0088		Culn
0089		The Community
008A		Worker's Homes
008B		The Mines
008C		The Bottom Level
008D		The Abandoned Culn Tunnels
008E		Shoreland
008F		The Priest's Pathway
0090		Tunnel to Emas
0091		Emas
0092		BillsVille
0093		BillsVille 2
0094		BillsVille 3
0095		Breamtown
0096		The Cave (psionics laboratory on Emas)
0097		McTeague
0098		Pitor's Hut
0099		Fort Agrasse
009A		Skora
009B		Caves (Carl's home)
009C		Cave System (tunnel from Emas to McTeague)
009D		New Tunnel
009E		BillsVillet
009F		Fredsville
00A0		JoesVille
00A1		Isolated Hut
00A2		Octavius' Hut (intact)
00A3		Octavius' Hut (destroyed)
00A4		Forgotten Cave
00A5		Vex Chamber 1
00A6		Forgotten Cave (the Cave of Pleasure)
00A7		Morage
00A8		Wain
00A9		Strange Cave (psionics laboratory on Morage)
00AA		Monster's Cave
00AB		Thirsty Smush Wine Cellars
00AC		Secret Exit
00AD		Mario Brothers Land!
00AE		Agressat
00AF		Flog
00B0		Flog's Sewers
00B1		Exin
00B2		Tunnel to Agressat
00B3		North Refuge
00B4		South Refuge
00B5		Dug Out
00B6		Ronan's Tower Level 2
00B7		Ronan's Tower Level 3
00B8		Satch
00B9		Vex Chamber 2
00BA		Vex Chamber 4
00BB		Vex Chamber 5
00BC		Vex Chamber 3
00BD		Vex Chamber 6
00BE		Isle Rochelle
00BF		Castle Rochelle 2
00C0		Castle Rochelle 3
00C1		Tunnel to Morage
00C2		Castle Rochelle 4
00C3		Castle Rochelle 5
00C4		Rochelle Sub
00C5		Proving Grounds
00C6		Tunnel to The Proving Grounds
00C7		Shrine
00C8		Solitude
00C9		Small Cave (Max's home)


Start with an arbitrary map. I picked Exin, but I think any map will work.



Then look for the code for its exits. Exin's exits are North Refuge (00B3), South Refuge (00B4), and Dug Out (00B5), so I searched the hex code for 00B5...



...and changed it to 00AD, the code for Mario Brothers Land!.



After doing so, entering the dugout placed me here. Unfortunately, the way is blocked by invisible walls to the north and west, and there aren't any secret passages in the walls.



Fortunately, there's a point where the walls are narrow enough that walking up to one of them, then saving, quitting, and increasing the X-coordinates in the save file by 2 were able to get me into the central area. I also changed the code to Exin back to the way it was before, just to be safe.



And with that, we're in the hub of Mario Brothers Land!.



As you can see, there is a lot of stuff there. It's mostly just common equipment, but there's also some very rare and high-quality gear, including the otherwise-unavailable Warm Gloves, a Green Bow, an Axe of Obfuscation, some Deaths Head Bolts, and another copy of Pitor's Armor. There's also a third N Staff, if you need one for whatever reason.







Across the hall to the south are three rooms containing pairs of monsters - from left to right, they contain Double Noggins, Three Mile Beasties, and Insect Swarms.



As for why it's called Mario Brothers Land!? My guess is because it's actually a warp zone. In the automap, you may have noticed seven passages leading off the central room, two to the left and six to the right. The upper left one (shown) was presumably intended to be the main entrance and doesn't warp anywhere, but the other one on the left warps to Vex Chamber IV, and the ones on the right, from top to bottom, lead to the dock area of Castle Rochelle, the hallway leading to the mirror in Ronan's tower, the Emas entrance of the Culn-Emas tunnel, the McTeague entrance of the Emas-McTeague tunnel, the stairs to the Emas-Morage tunnel in the Thirsty Smush wine cellars, and the Agressat entrance of the Morage-Agressat tunnel.

That's everything in Mario Brothers Land!, so I'll end this update here. If you want to check it out yourself, the coordinates for the "entrance pipe" are:

line 0, column 2 - 0002
line 0, column 3 - 0006
line 8, column 2 - 00AD

I can't think of much else to cover, but there are still a few things I haven't covered yet. They'll probably be pretty anticlimactic after this, but I'll still show them off next time. Until then!

* - Yes, I do have to include the exclamation point every time, because that's how it's listed in the Map File.

Last edited by Kahran042; 03-12-2019 at 12:02 AM.
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  #218  
Old 03-11-2019, 11:34 AM
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Part of me was expecting a black void filled with Slime Mauls and Green Flesh Threshers.

Last edited by Yama; 03-11-2019 at 03:10 PM.
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  #219  
Old 03-15-2019, 04:11 AM
WallyHackenslacker WallyHackenslacker is offline
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Default Mario Bros Land!

Is there a reliable way to look at the exit codes in any map? I'm inclined to assume that Mario Bros Land! is not directly accessible, but if it is, I'd love to at least know where so I can properly search for it. I'm not going to hit enter on every space of every map afterall!
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  #220  
Old 03-15-2019, 05:50 AM
Kahran042 Kahran042 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WallyHackenslacker View Post
Is there a reliable way to look at the exit codes in any map? I'm inclined to assume that Mario Bros Land! is not directly accessible, but if it is, I'd love to at least know where so I can properly search for it. I'm not going to hit enter on every space of every map afterall!
If there is, I haven't found it. The closest I can think of is opening each ZONE file in ResEdit and searching it for 00AD. Based on its location on the list, I would probably check locations on Morage and Agressat first.
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  #221  
Old 03-15-2019, 09:56 AM
WallyHackenslacker WallyHackenslacker is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kahran042 View Post
If there is, I haven't found it. The closest I can think of is opening each ZONE file in ResEdit and searching it for 00AD. Based on its location on the list, I would probably check locations on Morage and Agressat first.
Porting in via player file hacking seems not to work, even by your exact coordinates. I assume I'll need to map hack like you did. I've not had much time over the last few days though. I'll give it a shot when I can take the time.

What's the music soundtrack for the warp zone? If it's same as another area, it's suggestive of connection to it. If it has no music at all, it's suggests design without intent for accessibility.
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  #222  
Old 03-15-2019, 10:47 AM
Kahran042 Kahran042 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WallyHackenslacker View Post
Porting in via player file hacking seems not to work, even by your exact coordinates. I assume I'll need to map hack like you did. I've not had much time over the last few days though. I'll give it a shot when I can take the time.

What's the music soundtrack for the warp zone? If it's same as another area, it's suggestive of connection to it. If it has no music at all, it's suggests design without intent for accessibility.
It uses the same music as Wain and the Gathering.

BTW, when can we expect to see the next analysis?
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  #223  
Old 03-16-2019, 02:41 PM
WallyHackenslacker WallyHackenslacker is offline
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Default Next analysis

Culn's analysis is in the works. I've got things to do, but during my off time I've been poking around Culn to make sure my facts are all straight.

Octavius's hut burns if you return the helm before both of Culn's missions by the way. Either the fire or the poisoning. I checked on it to be sure.

I also noted a few interesting facts I hadn't previously digested the implications of, so I'll need to include them, and what they might imply.

I'll at least produce the content before I go searching Morage for the warp zone!
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  #224  
Old 03-16-2019, 06:38 PM
Kahran042 Kahran042 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WallyHackenslacker View Post
Culn's analysis is in the works. I've got things to do, but during my off time I've been poking around Culn to make sure my facts are all straight.

Octavius's hut burns if you return the helm before both of Culn's missions by the way. Either the fire or the poisoning. I checked on it to be sure.

I also noted a few interesting facts I hadn't previously digested the implications of, so I'll need to include them, and what they might imply.

I'll at least produce the content before I go searching Morage for the warp zone!
I will be looking forward to it.
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  #225  
Old 03-23-2019, 06:42 AM
WallyHackenslacker WallyHackenslacker is offline
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Default Culn and religious tyranny

So Un was where we get our feet wet in this whole mess.. This peculiar archipelago, which is mostly dry and surrounded by water.. so maybe it’s where we get our feet dry.. or maybe we shouldn’t think too hard about this..

Anyway, After we’re done with Un, we move onto Culn. Culn is a mashing together of the words “cull” and “kiln” an apt name for the mess you’re about to get involved in. I’m inclined to assume it’s intentional wordplay. So it’s time to look at Culn!

What we have here is a small but socially powerful order of priests, who have practically speaking assumed complete ownership of their parish. While on Un, there are multiple perspectives to examine, Culn’s issue is a lot more straightforward. Most everyone willing to talk to you agrees the priesthood sucks. The workers aren’t going to stop their work to talk to you, because the priests didn’t tell them they should, and the priests certainly aren’t going to stop zapping you with psionic power long enough to tell you their side of the story if you get close enough to speak with them. Talking to the priests is an excellent thing not to do, if that isn’t painfully obvious enough already.

So since we agree the priests suck, let’s talk about the how and why!

First, they house their parish underground while they enjoy well build and clean rooms of their own.

Second, they keep them working in the mines all day, mining gold.

Third, they use that gold to build statues of themselves, which only they get to see, because it’s in their private garden.

Fourth, perhaps worst of all, they sacrifice one of their own parishioners daily to sustain the perpetual fire.


Let’s look at some specific observations.

Wichelstein:
He is a peculiar man in a priest’s robe, hiding from the priests and workers in the worker home cave. A poor way to blend in, but to his due credit, it’s a great way to keep the workers from getting into his business. Furthermore, his hidey-hole is behind a sign which orders the beyond area unsafe and condemned.
Wichelstein lives on stealing and scrounging and takes some pride in the fact that he has worked very hard to accomplish nothing. If the only work to be had is for the priests he so loathes, it makes sense.
He is unhappy with the way the workers are treated. “Screwed, blued and tattooed” as he puts it. He tells us that they live in constant terror. The are forced to mine gold for the priests’ golden statues.
He briefly tells us about that “damned fire, or damning fire” which he strongly loathes and has lost many a friend to.
Wichelstein offers only a small set of information about a small set of topics. He does give us a handy key at least, which to his equally due credit, opens an area in the tunnel has a high concentration of good treasure: the underground chapel. I’ll discuss this further later.

Alonzo:
Alonzo is a slick young man who has been able to avoid unwanted attention from everyone in the community but yourself in spite of spending all his time there, workers, priests, and jailor all.
Alonzo is quick to discuss his mother, Barbara, who lives in Shoreland.
He tells us that the community is where the people are, and that he’s careful to dodge even the workers. This is sensible since they’d be likely to tell the priests about him if asked.
He informs us that the priests all have bad eyesight, which is very useful if you actually run into them.
Alonzo has supposedly seen the bottom of the perpetual
(I found out just this run!) Alonzo will discuss Octavius if asked. He reports to bring him food on a regular basis because he likes helping out. What a sweet kid! And Octavius believes it is his benevolent creator providing him with food each day.. he’s probably happier not knowing. But we’ll talk about Octavius in more detail soon.
If asked about his mom, and told that you are trustworthy, he will give you the first key to his mother’s well locked house. He’s a really well meaning kid, but he has a thing or two about to learn about how trust is earned.. and certain reasons why a grownup might be interested in meeting his Mom. He asks us to say “hi” to her for him. We politely decline to make any mom jokes at his expense at least.
Alonzo has seen a lot, but knows little. He does offer us a lead by inviting us to talk to his mother though.

Community:
Wichelstein’s area is ordered unsafe and condemned. Locked by rhinestone key door. It’s most conveniently close to the underground church
The way to UN is also condemned

Octavius:
Octavius tells us that he was once one of the priests that lead the community.
Octavius is a very genuine man who reports still to be a priest in his heart, but saw fit to leave the clerical order because of the ugly changes that happened. He considers it his job to lead his flock and educate them, or would if he still had a flock. He will remain dedicates as long as his God continues to provide for him. (Of course his God’s name is Alonzo, but let’s not tell him that. He’s lost enough already.)
If asked about “provide” he will tell us that his god shows him he’s made the right decision by continuing to provide good. Every couple of days a modest amount of food is left for him just inside his door. Since his vision is gone, he’d hardly be able to tell that it was Alonzo delivering it. He derives great joy from knowing his “God” is caring for him.
If you return his lost helmet to him after having robbed him of his glow spell and red potion, he offers you only his thanks, comfortably oblivious to the fact that you were the one who took them, and will not improve them for you.
Octavius informs us that the monsters came first, and that the priests gained their power very shortly afterward, and with that power, came the bizarre changes in the order’s methods, including the exploitation of the parishioners and the creation of the Perpetual fire. The sacrifices to the fire were the last straw, which led him to leave without intent to return. Octavius remembers the other priests as noble people, and suspects they still are, and that it is the power itself that corrupted them.
Octavius has a notable objection to the Perpetual on pure principle, sacrifices all aside: Proof and faith are not the same thing. The head priest wished to build it as a testament to their God, to bolster his peoples’ faith. Since the head priest followed through with the plan regardless, Octavius used his powers to build himself his hut, and before long his powers faded to nothingness.
If you give Octavius the IR helm, he uses what’s left of his power to enhance some items for you. He reminds you of who to be thankful for for the world’s bounty. Nemesis *ahem* God.
Octavius has quite a bit of useful information. He’s the only one so far who could even tell us the name of this Island too. And Octavius’s information relates to it, I’ll skip ahead and discuss the Dusty Diary from the perpetual tunnels.
As an additional note, Octavius is a latin name that means “Born eighth.” There are seven patrolling priests in the community and he is simply the eighth.
As an additional additional note, Octavius shares a name with one of the Niacian hero statues. Interestly two of those statues discuss issues with plants. (I recently found out Arachnis is a flora genus, not a spider, which I mistakenly assumed in the Un commentary) Between the Arachnis Carnivorous, and horticultural assault specialty, I do wonder if Niac has seen some of Culn’s Botanical Horrors. I do wonder if there’s a connection..

Dusty Diary:
We find this diary in the underground chapel, at the higher level of the Perpetual tunnels, which the head priest so painstakingly built to his God’s bizarre but exact specifications.
The diary, from the point of view of one of the miscellaneous priests, and clearly not His Holiness, or Octavius, briefly describes the head priest brining up the Perpetual as a plan to restore the flock’s faith. Octavius is not the only priest to object, but the objections were not heeded. The priests proceed to work together on the tunnels, with His Holiest doing most of the key work.
The diary proceeds to discuss His Holiest receiving additional power from his God, who assumedly is our pal Nemesis, in order to dig the cave deeper. The winding tunnels are supposedly necessary so that the fire doesn’t kill everyone. (I suppose if there were an explosion, winding tunnels to contain the blast is preferable to It all going upward, but why make tunnels when you can just give it a lot of space? A bit of key support structure in a few areas would hold up the top floor well enough.)
The diary finally talks about the writing priest questions the head priest’s power, and whether it is in fact coming from a divine source. (hint: it isn’t!) this is all written before the perpetual sacrifices are made the norm. Whatever doubts or objections this writing priest may have had at one point, he certainly seems to have gotten wholly behind the program since.

Barbara:
Barbara tells us that her mother told her that there was a better time before the fascist priests and the sacrifices, and that the monsters came around the time the priests went insane.
Shoreland was a fishing town that was abandoned when the priests demanded the workers all work in the mines instead of fishing
She affirms that the parishioners work in the mines to mine gold for statues, and that the priests sacrifice people to the fire regularly.
She says that the parishioners are hypnotized or brainwashed by the priests. The priests once cared about people before all the changes.
If you agree to put out the Perpetual, she’ll give you items that her resourceful son Alonzo found, including the extinguish psionic, and a Glass Key to the locked doors of the community, which leads to the priest homes.
Barbara is pretty pleased if you succeed in her plan to extinquish the Perpetual, but still fatigued with all her work, and picking up the broken pieces leftover from the damage it's done to her community.

Shoreland:
The not too old stuff storehouse in shoreland contains the key to the community jails. Sloggo’s Fisherie (abandoned) contains a glow spell, and the second key to Barbara’s locked sleeping quarters. Why would these things be in these places? I think Alonzo just has sticky fingers and likes dropping things by for his mother. He’s probably stolen quite a bit from the community. It would explain why he could get food to share with Octavius too. What a slick kid!!

George:
He’s imprisoned in the community jails because he wouldn’t jump into the fire when his time came. He used to be a worker in the mines. He’s quite interested in killing the priests, and if you agree to help him. He’ll hook you up with the location of some poison, and another glass key which can let you enter the priest quarters.
If you follow through on his plan, he won't live to see experience any satisfaction from it.

Guido:
Found much later in Rochelle prison. He’s a worker. He’s used to working hard, but remaining steadfast and loyal to the priests, supporting their cause gladly. He has difficulty thinking of anything outside of the context of the will and wishes of the priests. He’d very much like to go back to the community and work under the priests again.

The labyrinth:
There is an underground chapel on the first floor which is stocked with goods, equipment, and even money. And of course an illuminating Diary.
The lowest level of the dungeon, as you approach the fire area, contains a warning: if you do not have the POWER of the FAITH do not continue.
Putting out the perpetual yields a Rod of Fiery Death. And a charred key, which can be used to escape the labyrinth via the locked doors. The key is surely made of something strong if it could exist within such a hot and long lived flame. The Rod of Fiery death was likely used as a basis for the perpetual as a psionic base, similar to how the original staff which Nemesis covets so much is used as a basis for his general operations.

The “solutions”

Poisoning the priests:
If you choose to go with George’s suggestion and poison the priests, it’s interesting to note that this ends up helping literally nobody. The priests kill all the workers and all the prisoners, assumedly including George, who put you up to it in the first place, and Wichelstein. Alonzo is left sad and lonely, somehow escaping the mass purge. This leaves Barbara and Alonzo alone in the island together. Octavius too if you didn’t give him the IR helm yet, but he burns if you did.
This ending is probably the game’s first nudge for you to really think about your choices. There are no wrong answers on Un except perhaps for letting a critical NPC die on the way to Elba. Nothing done on UN will actually make things worse between the towns. Here on Culn, we’re offered our first bad choice. This is a gentle bad choice in some regards. Even though it effectively leads to a mass genocide on the island, it’s interesting to note that the hero suffers no ill consequences at all on a personal basis. No missed opportunities, no rewards rendered inaccessible, just a lot of dead workers, an unhappy young man, and nothing awarded to make the poisoning worthwhile in itself.

Extinguishing the Perpetual:
This is the more rewarding decision. Not only do you get to plunder the labyrinth, and get the rod of fiery death which the Perpetual was sitting on, but you manage to save many of the workers. Many being a key word. Alonzo reports that everyone, including the priests ran in terror but Barbara reports (assumedly after having heard from the workers) that the priests killed themselves trying to restore the flame. The workers panicked and fled to the community. Panic implies a lack of organization and forethought. Wichelstein, George, and the other prisoners are notably absent as are a number of the generic workers. The monsters supposedly killed many people on the way to Shoreland. This could have been much worse, but it is not a perfect solution socially speaking.

Doing nothing:
There is no reward for this whatsoever, but it’s worth thinking about. What If we do nothing at all and just move on? The priests kill one new person every day. If we extinguish the fire, a lore more people die quickly, including the priests. If we keep our eyes on the staff and solve the archipelago’s problems at the source, the priests would assumedly live, the monsters would vanish, and both the clergy’s madness and the parish’s brainwashing would fade away. It certainly leave everyone in shock, but it would mean the most survivors if it could be done with due haste even if the hero can’t stay to witness it.


General thoughts and observations

First came the monsters, then came the social problems, just like on Un.

There no apparent method or logic to the labyrinth’s formation and structure. It is a work of madness at a glance, but the dusty diary suggests a specific purpose. Furthermore, he was careful enough not to dig the second floor into their pillar of fire at least. His Holiest, the head priest, was likely taking orders directly from N while building those tunnels, naturally assuming that N’s input was from the god he serves. Why all the oddly placed doors though?

The priests presumably dug these tunnels themselves. The others were likely dug by red or N

The priests have another set of church facilities underground, likely for convenience sake as they dug the tunnels

N for the most part has given Red and the tale’s hero exclusive access to psionics, but it’s worth noting that the priests have been given plenty, but only as part of the island’s experiment. It’s assumable that most if not all of the psionics we find on Culn belonged to the clergy, including the extinguish spell which Alonzo stole. The clergy most likely kept the spell in case they needed to remove the perpetual, not expecting it might be removed for them, since as far as they’re concerned, the priesthood are the only ones who can use the power of “faith”

The tyrannical priesthood of Culn bears some loose parallels to some of the struggles of central America, after colonialism. The Spanish colonizers brought in Catholicism, the priests who represented their faith in central America did so on behalf of the commonwealth of Spain, and not so much the benefit of native peoples. Catholic influence generally failed to address their practical and spiritual needs both, and Spain good richer for having more goods and slaves. Culn’s malignant clerical order is very much about slavery and exploitation. Barbara and Alonzo are both Spanish names, and the characters both have central American complexions.

It’s quite likely that N set up a psionic laboratory on culn in order to influence the head priest directly through psionicly presented commands. The Perpetual’s direct purpose is likely to feed the priesthood’s power. It would explain perfectly why people must be fed to it regularly. Each burned body is more psionic sustenance for the priesthood. It seems quite possible that it is required to sustain their very lives too.

Guido attests to the depth to which the workers are brainwashed into serving. Guido isn’t simply loyal. He is wholly incapable of thinking outside the context of the priesthood’s will. Just trying to focus on anything besides service seems painful and challenging to him. It can be assumed that the entire workforce is afflicted by similar control. It might certainly explain why they are so focused on work and won’t give you the time of day.

George, Wichelstien, and the other prisoners seems to have managed not to be affected by the clergy’s brainwashing. Just like in Un, where some people manage not to fall into irrational loathing for the other town, there are exceptions to the general rule on Culn.

The overall perspective on religion, faith, and spirituality this game presents to the player seems a fairly bleak one on the whole, but no part of the game expresses it quite as much as the Culn debacle. The priests, perhaps including Octavious, are offered no redemption or respite. They are perhaps the greatest victims of N's meddling overall given that they don't survive either "solution" and instead all meet painful ends. No religious individuals on the archipelago ever live to see any remarkable reward or gratification for their religious devotion specifically, and this is far truer if we consider the "killing Nemesis" ending to be our canonical one. Furthermore if we prefer the "Getting the staff" ending, it's still a bleak ending from a spiritual perspective, if a deeply noble one nonetheless.

In conclusion:
Religion, like most social constructs, represents a form of implied contract. The members of the religion, in exchange for structure, protection, and guidance, surrender their right to think or believe outside the doctrine, and behave outside the rules. For whatever it may take away, religion always tends to offer a stable social structure. Sometimes stability isn’t nearly enough though. Culn’s clerical order once had a mutually beneficial social contract. The priesthood guided the parishioners to live contently and offered them social and moral guidelines to keep their society safe and stable. The parishioners give the priesthood their trust and service so they too could live modestly and contently. All parties gave and benefitted.

After Nemesis’ interference, the clergy became parasitic. They began to give so little and take so much that it could be fairly said that the workers would be better off without the clergy. Real world religious structure too can fall into this unfair social dynamic if unexamined and allowed to deteriorate. The same can of course be said for other social structures. Corporate and political power can fall into decadence and become parasitic too. When people grow too dependent on structure, those who control the structure, control he people. The antidotes to these scenarios are remaining socially cohesive on the most basic levels of society, and remembering how to think critically. If you and your neighbors could count on each other not to commit crimes, you wouldn’t need law enforcement. If you could handle civic affairs with honor and civility, you wouldn’t need elected officials. If you could handle your economic affairs without serious risk of failure, you wouldn’t need to join a corporation, and If you could handle your moral and spiritual matters with no troubles as a community, you wouldn’t need to join any religious organizations. Organization and structure exist to let people do what they can’t by themselves, but there’s always a price to pay for being a part of it. When people give their power away carelessly, that price inevitably becomes larger.

When structure takes more than it gives, after a certain point the only way out is to dismantle it. Dismantling structure always means problems. Forming a new structure from nothing is always painful and damaging. Bad law is better than no law, but no law means the power vacuum can be filled by something new, and bad law will remain exactly what it is until it’s changed. Even righteous rebellion is best conducted thoughtfully. No social system is quite perfect. If you want to remove the status quo, it helps to be sure you can truly offer something better. Sometimes righteous rebellion gives way to something much worse than the status quo, especially if conducted without civic wisdom and social understanding.

Spirituality in all forms around the world, when practiced with any integrity, generally involves resisting the baser urges and thinking in terms of higher minded objectives. People of spiritual authority are supposed to be the caretakers of their societies social norms and intimately understand their purposes, so that they make judgment calls and navigate moral grey areas. This is why people who walk spiritual paths often deliberately practice self-denial to extents that might seem nonsensical to an outside observer. The more one can overcome their own fears and desires, and think wholly in terms of social, moral, and spiritual righteousness (even if it's purely in terms of how they see it) the better decision makers they become, and the more clear their faith and devotion is to all. When religious authoriries live self-indulgent lives, it's a sure sign that their integrity has vanished, regardless of the society or context.



Next time, the Emas mess!!

Last edited by WallyHackenslacker; 03-23-2019 at 12:12 PM.
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Old 03-23-2019, 01:05 PM
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Culn is a mashing together of the words “cull” and “kiln” an apt name for the mess you’re about to get involved in. I’m inclined to assume it’s intentional wordplay. So it’s time to look at Culn!
I think of "cult" rather than "cull."

It's also noteworthy that even once the priests die and the sacrifices cease, Perpetual lives on.
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Old 03-23-2019, 03:45 PM
Kahran042 Kahran042 is offline
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I had not thought of "kiln" as part of the name of the name of Culn! I also did not know that arachnis was a plant until you posted this, so thanks for teaching me something new.

My personal theory is the shape of the winding tunnels has some kind of geomantic significance related to the psionics used to create Perpetual.
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Old 03-24-2019, 05:00 AM
WallyHackenslacker WallyHackenslacker is offline
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I had not thought of "kiln" as part of the name of the name of Culn! I also did not know that arachnis was a plant until you posted this, so thanks for teaching me something new.

My personal theory is the shape of the winding tunnels has some kind of geomantic significance related to the psionics used to create Perpetual.
I've always believed it too. Psionics are presented as more of a science than an art. Everything needs to be just so, and somtimes they only uperate within very specific frameworks. I assume that the tunnels at the very least were designed for a psionic purpose, to accomodate the operation as it was planned. Goemanticly significant, or something similar at the very least.
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Old 03-24-2019, 05:05 AM
WallyHackenslacker WallyHackenslacker is offline
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I think of "cult" rather than "cull."

It's also noteworthy that even once the priests die and the sacrifices cease, Perpetual lives on.
"Cult" makes sense too. I think that works just as well as "Cull". It suppose it could easily be either.

I always assumed it was the sacrifices more than the fire powering the priests. Octavius lost his abilities after leaving, assumedly because he was no longer exposed to the perpetual.

If the priests draw upon it regularly, it would need to be sustained. If they died and couldn't draw upon it, it might remain exactly what it is. Nothing given, nothing taken.

The head priest, taking orders directly from N, wouldn't need to understand the purpose of the fire. He might justify it any number of ways, either by himself or over lies told to him by Nemesis himself. He was presumably ordered to make it to N's exact specifications regardless.
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Old 03-24-2019, 07:10 AM
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I'd guess that Nemesis gave them Perpetual and the psionic powers and told them they was sustained by sacrifices in order to see what they'd do.
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Old 03-24-2019, 09:04 AM
Kahran042 Kahran042 is offline
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Default Postgame update 9: Miscellaneous miscellany II

I love all these theories! Really looking forward to the next few!

Anyway, some more random stuff.



So, I decided to hack a Glowing Rock into my inventory for my limited-psionics run, figuring that having access to two-handed weapons and shields would make the Culn-Emas tunnel and its Double Noggins survivable. I was almost right - stronger weapons mean that I can kill them quicker, reducing the risk of their high crit rate. However, there's just too many of them, so I might just have to swallow my pride and hack my HP and PP levels. However, there are still some more interesting facts to show off



If you equip the Ice Pick or Rusty Ice Pick, there's a little arrow indicating it for some reason.



Attempting to drop any Hand to Hand weapon will lead to this amusing little message.



Finally, something that I never showed off in the main LP, but figured that I might as well put here. Like Nemesis, Ronan is a load-bearing boss. If you kill him, his tower goes up in flames.



It seems that the way back is blocked by flames. However, unlike the flames blocking the way back in Castle Rochelle, these ones can be extinguished...



...but the way back into the door maze is closed off, meaning that there really is nothing to do but move onward to Rochelle. I'm guessing they did this because they didn't want to come up with new dialogue for the people of Flog with Ronan dead.

That's all I can think of for now. I do have a thought on the Emas plot, and a theory about Himan, but I'll wait until WallyHackenslacker covers those islands, to see if he's had the same thoughts.
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Old 03-24-2019, 09:46 AM
WallyHackenslacker WallyHackenslacker is offline
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Default poking around the warp zone

So I paid Mario Bros land a visit. I'm strongly suspecting that it's not meant to be part of the player accessible game given that Pitor's Armor is there. That's supposed to be a story item, and putting it there without Pitor isn't a graceful move for a cohesive game.

I'm also strongly suspecting that it is still a canonical part of the game on some level. Here's something neat: If you 'enter' the end of the entry tunnel, you end up in the old Elban man's bed. Naturally you can't get back in, and the bed is quite on fire. You're probably not getting out of there without some more hacking..

I can't help but wonder now if the way in is in that very hut now.. or if the Old man has been accessing this area privately by another means.
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Old 03-31-2019, 05:40 PM
WallyHackenslacker WallyHackenslacker is offline
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Default Emas and oppressive conformity expectations

Every Bill in the Billsvilles liked conforming a lot.
But the deviants who lived in the Billsville cages did not!
These prisoners loathed Billsville. The whole Billsville triumvirate.
Can we heal their unease, or at least kind of comfort it?

We arrive onto the island of Emas. This is around where things start to get dangerous. The double noggins are tough enemies even if you’ve taken the time to prepare, and they’re practically everywhere.
Emas is “same” backwards. You clearly needed me to point that out for you. What could be less obvious?
Speaking of “less obvious” I think the book “The billsville citizen” is an excellent place to start It’s actually a very useful book, because it walks you through all the guidelines you must follow in Billsville to avoid trouble. It’s actually pretty simple. Wear the clothing everyone else does on any given day. If you fail to do so for long enough, the guards will come looking for you, because you’re like an obnoxious nail that needs to be pounded down. Billsville is very OCD and it’s only polite not do anything out place.
The book represents the general opinion of Billsville. It’s intelligently written, thoughtful, proper, and thorough. It’s illustrates the strict limits they have placed upon their own capacity to think rationally about their own cultural norms. What could be less obvious indeed? I assume the writer meant to say more obvious, but somehow quietly gave away how impractical and silly their perspective was.

The book says it all. When in Billsville, you do as the Billsvillagers do. It’s the best way to keep your person healthy there. It can get pretty tedious I suppose. I tried getting a few of them together once to form a band called “The Billsvillage people”. We had catchy music, a community to relate to us, it was perfect. All we needed was a visual gimmick. I realized some flavorful attire to make each member of the band stand out and be interesting would make it just perfect, but they started to get uppity with me the more I suggested different getups. They also said they wanted to back out and swap jobs with the other villagers because they were concerned that they might get too good at singing and dancing. I just gave up. These people are exhausting.

Besides the prisoners and Synthia, the bookish hermit, all billsville people of all three towns have the same conversational material:
Each citizen will take note of your attire. They’ll inform you that they don’t bother with names, switch jobs constantly, and don’t like people who stand out. If you don’t dress like they do, they’ll point out to you what a problem this is. A full conversation will include remaking that you might end up in a cage if you don’t get with the program, and a mention of the clothing machine in the center of town, which can offer you proper clothes. If asked about book, they will direct you to the book depository to read “The Billsville citizen”
Most supposedly don’t remember what the origin of the machine is, but it is there to offer everyone a similar set of clothing each day.
Actually wearing proper clothing while talking to a citizen will be slightly less informative, because the fact that you’re already wearing it suggests that you already have the information.
All three Billsvilles are supposedely alike, but they do have some physical differences. They’re slightly challenging to spot if you’re not looking, but they include:
Different layouts in the dorms
Different table layouts in the mess halls and libraries.
Signs present/absent in front of the farm area
Spamalopes present/absent in the farm area
Difference in prison keys and prison key placement.
Different shop inventories and price multiplier variables.
Different prisoners in the cages. (That’s perhaps hard to help)

So the Billsvilles aren’t quite all the same, but they’re at least trying to be. Good for them? If it makes them happy..
First let’s look at the written information on the goings on of Emas, because it will put the following conversations with the other Emasian people into far better context.

The manual:
Found in the culn/emas tunnel, as in a mysterious glass sphere. Both discovered in different rooms
Gives clear instructions on “the placement of the globes”, and while written in very dry and technical terms, implies terrible possibilities for “the three towns”. We don’t understand the context of this immediately, but it comes into the picture soon..
The possibilities include destruction, entropy, static (freezing them in time), and the clearing of “undesired concomitant”
Was written by Abby Fishington

Rian’s Diary entry 322:
Found local to emas in the three-exit tunnel from Emas to Mcteague and Morage.
Describes a mysterious cave on Emas which supposedly contains facilities to tap into the immense power affecting the minds of the people of the Billsvilles.
Presents a researched conclusion that Castor and Pollux, who we will meet and speak to, are the direct result of a mutation. One that split one of the Double Noggins, into two sentient beings, each with their own awareness and personality.
Written by Rian, who suggests herself by her documented capabilities to be a very intelligent and resourceful individual, if a bit careless with her diary.
Yellowed note:
Written by a nameless person near death in the ruined fishing village of Breamtown.
Reports the village being overrun by monsters, helpless to defend itself.
Reports Bryat, Innoc, and Llyglelen are unwilling to offer support, having gone mad with the desire to all be the same.
The fact that it’s yellowed implied that it has had a lot of time to lose moisture. It’s most likely years old.

So based on the written evidence, we can clearly see something fishy is happening on this island. First came the monsters, just like on Un and Culn, and shortly afterward came the bizarre changes to people’s behavior and belief. The three towns supposedly used to be named Bryat, Innoc, and Llygleleln, or at the least, these names would refer to the leaders. I think it’s far more likely that these are the towns.
So we can be sure something bizarre happened to the three towns in the center of the island, but why would Breamtown be overrun by monsters instead of subjected to the experiment like the rest? Are we to assume that the Breamtownians were exempt? Nothing in the note reports the changes affecting the fishing village as the monsters take over.
And let’s not forget this mysterious cave. If we pay is a visit, we see four spheres waiting to be worked with in the laboratory, and if we picked up the glass sphere on the way to Emas, we have five of the needed six. On the wall is inscribed “RTFM” What does this mean? It means “read the farking manual.” Look it up on google if you want to see for yourself. It’s an obscure but undeniable nudge to know that this is the place to use the spheres.

Now it’s time to have a look at Emas’s oddballs, deviants, rebels, and outcasts who don’t want to be just another brick in the wall.

Synthia:
Synthia is an ex-billsville resident. She keeps on her wall in case of emergency monster attacks, a few sets of clothes from the old days, and an opal: the one gem to be found on the archipelago which is multicolored as opposed to the same on each side.
Synthia doesn’t remember which billsville she came from and doesn’t care. She fled to the southwest corner of the island and built herself a hut. The “two headed ghouls” have been unable to figure out how to open the door luckily.
Synthia once discovered an abandoned building in the particular Billsville she lived in which had books that weren’t all the same. Books that spoke of a time before the bizarre changes that made the citizens want to act similarly. The citizens, burned them, so all we have is her word on the matter unfortunately.
She tells us that the Billsvillains, for however warped their way of life is, are actually happy, and that changing their minds is utterly hopeless.
She tells us that this island is called Emas.
She confides that she sometimes contemplates suicide because she loathes being alone, but that such is still preferable to the company of the Billsvillians.
Synthia gives us her chameleon staff, which she used to avoid monsters before she found “better methods” (such as doors? They seem to help a lot!) if we give her a unique book to read, which is basically anything besides what billsville initially offers. (the staff would explain how she would be able to build a hut without being splattered and strangled)
Giving her more books makes her very happy, but she has no futher rewards to offer after the staff.
Synthia, if we’re fortunate enough to find her first, offers us some preparation for what we’re about to deal with. She knows a reasonable amount of useful information, but has been so uninvolved that she can’t really help us decide what do to about the situation. She’s given up anyway. The chameleon staff is perhaps remarkably handy on Emas in particular, because the monsters are both more formidable and numerous than ever at this point in the game.

Castor:
He lives in a cage in Billsville 1, the westernmost Billsville closest to the tunnels from the island.
Refused to conform, considered killing them for hating him, but decided not to interfere, because they were free to live as they liked. He could not bear the idea of living by himself, so he stayed. After a certain point, he was thrown into a cage. He is fed rotten food, stoned, and mocked relentlessly.
He tried to live in all three Billsvilles at least once. None of them accepted him.
If approached while wearing comformiing clothing, he will express some initial dismay, but still engage normally.
If asked about the monsters, he will say that they’re so bad outside that travel is too dangerous, but if he could, he’d go to Breamtown, which sadly and unbeknownst to Castor, has been destroyed.
Castor speculates that Breamtown is in fact swarming with monsters by now if asked about it, which it in fact is.
If asked about clothing, castor theorizes that if the machine didn’t provide the townspeople with similar clothing every day, their repressed individuality may emerge
Castor has little to say about Pollux, except that they don’t exactly to see eye to eye and that he won’t have any part of his brothers’ choices.
Castor sometimes wishes he were dead, but does not see death as any kind of solution.
If you free Castor, he will assumedly be interested in going to Breamtown with you, but he’s unlikely to survive the guards. If he does, he simply disappears and is never seen again upon leaving town. (At least as far as I know. It can probably be assumed that the monsters will kill him if the guards don’t. Maybe if he had waited for you..)

“Rose”
Also in a cage in Billsville 1.
I dub her rose because if asked for a name, she responds with “By any other…” which is basically a way to say her name is not important, but it’s also a reference to William Shakespear’s Romeo and Juliete. “That which we call a rose, by any other name, would smell as sweet.” Juliet says, lamenting the fact that Romeo’s family name is why she cannot marry him, due to their respective families’ ongoing feud.
Asking her job: “Then the prince of stories walked the bounds of the dreaming, beginning with the shores of night, and from there to the borders of the shifting places. He took ship in the Archipelago, and inspected the skerries, tallying each one, no matter how insignificant." She adds on afterward “And so is my advice to you mendicant.” The initial quote is from Neil Gaiman’s novel “sandman” which I admittedly have not read, so I don’t understand it.
She seems to care little about being imprisoned, but she is determined and confident in her stand to retain her individuality.
If asked about her individuality or soul, she will reply “You’ve got one too riber-reeby one. But you better watch the world circling about your little head, better make sure all is in its proper place, or you may loose yours too.
“Rose” chooses her words oddly, not so unlike Wichelstein from Culn. Her grasp on reality is questionable, but her words are ominous. She might know a lot more than she’s willing to say..

Ranting elderly gentleman
He lives in Billsville 2, the central Billsville.
He desperately wants you to open his cage to free him, and if you do, he just as desperately wants you to close it so the guards won’t close in. Both valid concerns, but there’s nothing we can do for him since he won’t work with us. Probably purely comic relief

Pollux:
If you approach him wearing conformist clothing, he has nothing to offer you in conversation but malice.
He loathes the people of Billsville for their conformist attitude and culture.
He feels that being born into Billsville society, he’s entitled to the acceptance he’s denied as a nonconformist. (He doesn’t seem to feel he owes any tolerance for Billsville as part of the society though)
He would kill everyone in Billsville if he only could, and fully intends to if freed. He wants badly to be freed.
If asked about clothing, pollux theorizes that the clothes preserve the Billsville way of life, and that if one could somehow destroy the machine, it would be better.. not perfect, but maybe just a bit better.
If asked about the machine he says that he’d be happy to destroy the machine as well as the people.
Pollux has plenty to say about Castor. He respects that Castor refuses to conform, but cannot abide his peaceful approach of trying to live with the people of Billsville. He remarks that letting Billsvillian’s live as they do is akin to agreeing with them, that peaceful coexistence is impossible, and that Castor will see that he’s correct once he carries out his revenge.
He visited the strange cave and took the wooden orb with him. He’d be happy for you to take it back to the cave and use it to kill everyone.
He wants badly to be let out.
If let out, he will open his room in Billsville which will avail the wooden orb, A powerful shortblade, Jordan’s Scimitar, and a note. He will then most likely be destroyed by guards, but if you can get him to the edge of town safely, he will again never be seen again. (as far as I know)

Small note:
Written by Pollux, and made available after freeing him.
Aggressively Asks that the finder of the wooden sphere take it to the cave to destroy billsville, stating that by taking it you, agree to use it such. Not a very well enforced contract, is it? Hints of a manual, specific placement of the spheres, and a requirement to use Incant to activate the cave’s power. Everything you need to use the cave if you have the proper items.

Breamtown:
A visit to Breamtown is necessary to take any particular action regarding the Billsville dilemma, since it contains needed items for either approach: Both multicolored dyes, and the Incant spell, which is waiting behind a heavy door. It is utterly ruined and crawling with monsters.

Billsville “solutions”
Rage against the machine:
If you choose to use the dyes to sabotage the clothing machines, all people the Billsville you do so in will be traumatized and miserable. They will also swiftly kill the prisoners (death ‘whump’s in the background) because they blame them for the sabotage. It’s not as though you told them what you were up to afterall. They will lament and mourn their orderly homogenized way of life from then on. It does nothing to help the people of Billsville. It only makes what’s been done to them unbearable as opposed to tolerable. If it’s of any consolation, it will leave the shop’s inventory available for business AND assure no more accosting by town guards for wearing outlandish clothing. Resting in Billsville is safer, but if you were hoping to talk to the prisoners again you’ve lost your shot.

Nuke it from orbit:
Destroying any or all of the Billsvilles will remove all inhabitants, prisoners and all.
The manual does say “destroy all living inhabitants” and that implies no exceptions. You’re welcome to hang out in Billsville by yourself if it pleases you. Pollux would be proud of you in any case!

Doing nothing:
The people in the Billsvilles, for as bizarre and dyfunctional as they might be in their way of life, are content as they are. Maybe Castor is right, and we have no real right to interfere. Is there anything we can really do to make it better anyway? Come in when you want, wear the right clothing, leave as you please. At least nobody needs to suffer or die. Well, besides the rebellious prisoners that is..

Static (still in development):
Will freeze all inhabitants of any given Billsville in time, prisoners and all. They will never move again. You can do as you like in town. You can even kill the guards for free exp. They won’t fight back. For all practical purposes however, you may as well have killed the people. They are stuck in place forever. (at least as far as I know)

Clear undesired concomitant (still in development):
Serves no remarkable or clearly defined purpose, for dilemma of Billsville, but I will discuss the implications of this option further shortly.

Entropy (still in development)
At a glance, Entropy might seem to simply make the people of billsville want to be different instead of similar. Two of the towns will promptly change their name to Fredville and Joesville. The books which once extolled the virtues of conformity, now praise dedicated individuality. The disdainful and cruel attitude of billsville toward what’s different has been redirected toward what is similar to any particular individual. The cages have all been removed, and nobody is a prisoner anymore. The establishment titles and signs have changed. There’s more to see though..
Nobody remembers ever being the same. Entropy does not simply change the attitudes and culture of Billsville. It alters their entire reality. Their shop inventories disappear, and only randomly striped clothing is left. How could they possible sell you any standard equipment if anything ‘standard’ is fundamentally unacceptable? I interestingly on my fact checking journey found one individual in post entropy Fredsville (central town) who will psionically attack the hero for standing adjacent to him. It’s a weak attack, and he doesn’t pursue or engage.. it’s bizarre. Is this a bug or has this citizen learned psionics just to be different?? It’s also interesting to note that conformists aren’t ever imprisoned. They are slaughtered, according to both the books and townspeople.

Thoughts and observations: (grab a life-preserver)
Emas is where trying to be a plucky and optimistic hero type will start to really hurt you. There is nothing simple about the problems on this Island, and nothing you do can really make it much better, if at all. Synthia, in all her pessimism about the Billsvilles, isn’t far off the mark in her expectations. Furthermore, there is no take-away reward for anything specific you do to change things either. It’s purely a matter of preference. You get a nice scimitar for freeing Pollux, but what you do afterward could be anything.
Castor and Pollux, seem to have no recollection of ever being a singular entity. At least none they're willing to speak of.
Pollux, in all fairness, likely does in fact belong in Jail. He's keen to kill anyone who he finds too loathsome of infuriating enough. He'd probably be a dangerous man in any society.
The manual was written by Abby fishington, and it’s found far from the action in Emas, deep in the culn/emas tunnel. It’s as though somebody took it and the similarly hidden glass sphere with intent not for them not to be found.
Perhaps “Rose” is in fact Abby Fishington
Perhaps Abby fishington was a direct agent of Nemesis on the island of Emas and given instructions. It seems likely that the old man on Un and the head priest on Culn were themselves such agents. It’s possible that N had at least one such agent on each island at some point prior.
Abby’s Manual uses two words worth noting. The first is “conscribed”. This is different form inscribed, in the context of taking note of. Conscribed implied deliberate involvement, such is conscription. This manual suggests Abby Fishington, whoever she may have been, developed these settings in the laboratory deliberately. She may have been a very hateful person keen to see the Island of Emas fall into madness and destruction.
The second word the manual uses worth noting is “concomitant”. Singular, not plural. It could be suggested that the concomitant was Breamtown. From a scientist’s point of view, it’s an unnecessary unknown variable in the Billsville experiment, and concomitant would be a fitting term for it. It seems quite possible that the undesired concomitant was already cleared some time ago..
If we are to assume that Abby is “conscribing” the sphere powers, it’s possible that somebody else took notes for her, and that the author of the manual is somebody else.
The manual’s writer, for whatever their feelings or opinions might have been, certainly took a cold and heartless approach to her work. Her writing belies no malice, but surely no empathy either. It takes a very technical approach, not unlike that of any scientist.
The default sphere placements of those not stolen from the cave once you enter is left not far from the entropy setting, but two are in opposite places. Perhaps somebody Abby Fishington or an associate was considering it?
Whatever happened in Breamtown, we can be sure there was shenanigans. The incant spell, directly designed for and related to, the psionic laboratory is hidden inside a heavy door within. It seems likely that somebody from Breamtown, perhaps Abby Fishington herself, rolled open the red carpet for Nemesis’ takeover and Breamtown’s ruin.
All three Billsvilles, for whatever their issues may be, are not particularly friendly towns. They are harsh on their own, brutal to those who displease them, absorbed in their own ways and norms, and unconcerned with any higher good. It is perhaps arguable that they don’t deserve a hero. At the very least they don’t seem to want one. Castor’s cultural relativism regarding Billsville might be worth examining in some regards. The vast majority of things you can try only make things worse, anything you try creates a new problem of some kind at a minimum.
Is it really our place to choose how others live at all? If we decide that it is, and the means presents itself to us in such a diabolical form as deadly psionic laboratory, what does it suggest if this doesn’t give us pause and we choose to follow through without regard for the circumstances?
The monsters spawn at a very fast rate on Emas. Perhaps faster than any other Island save Rochelle. Maybe this is because a large amount of psionic power is being used? The Billsville experiment is surely not a small one.
If you choose to destroy or freeze Billsville, and then apply entropy after the fact, the machine changes the clothes into striped attire. If there’s nobody in town to do manipulate the clothing color, the machine must do it by itself. It likely that the psionic laboratory either effects both the machine and the citizens, or that the laboratory affects the machine, and the machine affects the citizens.
Why are the guards so beefy in Billsville if nobody in town is dedicated enough to keep at it? Why do they go shirtless and shorts when colored clothes are mandatory? Why do they not change at all from day to day, and do the exact same thing under entropy? *edit in response to Kahran046's observation* The guards have given up their perfect happiness, and thus function apart from other citizens, according to "The Billsville Citizen"
Entropy seems to do far more than change the machine and the people’s ideas. It changes their memory, their sense of history, and the cages aren’t simply opened. They’re entirely gone. What if the the entropic Billsvilles are from an entirely different dimension? If psionics can do things like this it might do a lot to explain the monsters. What if they’re aliens from other dimensions, driven violently insane by the unfathomable horrors of cross-dimensional psionic warp travel?
The psionic laboratory on Emas bears some resemblance to a celtic ritual pentagram. Notable differences might include 6 points of focus instead of the traditional 5 sided pentagram. Notable similarities include a spellbook/manual and an incantation. I assume both the similarities and differences are intentional, as psionics in Odyessey are presented as resembling magic, but scientific in nature.
According to OoR&S, Simen could freeze time temporarily as a young man, which was something unheard of by his order. It’s likely that he got more powerful since, and he’s surely directing a lot of power toward Emas. Maybe it’s the same thing, but it doesn’t wear off anymore.

The billsville’s preoccupation with conformity bears some parallels to fascist government in general. The essence of fascism is a fierce preoccupation with order and structure, to the point of intolerance toward anything out of place. Fascist regimes frequently come into existence because of a demand for order, or a fear what lies beyond control. Fascism means control. It means everyone is either part of the control network, or a problem to be removed. Whether the fascist regime’s creed is rooted in an ideal, a goal, or a simple desire for power, it’s invariably harsh, corrupt, and problematic in Its own manner, and inevitably produces people who would love to just overthrow it and be free of oppressive control.

The Emas prisoner on Rochelle died in his bed smiling. He most likely killed himself. Everyone else was gone, so being gone too would be the only way to conform.

It seems possible that the manual and glass sphere were stolen to disable the laboratory. Perhaps Abby fishington' s scribe who wrote the manual stole both, and may have even died in the culn/emas tunnel.

Conclusion:
The ethical theory of cultural relativism dictates that it’s up to any given culture to decide what is right for itself. One good thing about cultural relativism is that it promotes cross cultural respect and tolerance, as well as stability from within the culture. Nobody from within or without may challenge a culture’s right to adhere to its ways. One bad thing about cultural relativism is that it offers nobody any right to hold a given culture to any universal ethical standard. It may literally do anything it wishes to its own people, or the land it sits on, and nobody may interfere. Castor could be considered a cultural relativist, at least in part. If we consider that the people of Billsville, are rather content despite the mental manipulation that afflicts them, it’s perhaps unfair to impose change upon them. Who are we to make such a decision? Who are we to make such a decision for any of these island at all? Emas poses serious challenges to the mind of any ethical hero.
The people of Billsville are hardly sympathetic characters, and the towns of Billsville hardly represent any kind of endearing culture. If we’re simply fine with destroying what we find repugnant like Pollux, and interestingly enough, the people of Billsville in general, who would have a right to judge us? Anyone in Billsville would just as quickly pull the plug on a normal town just for being outside their norm afterall. It might be awful, but no more awful then Billsville was to begin with. But then maybe as heroes it’s our job to be better than this and rise above. Maybe true heroism is about doing the right thing, not glory or reward. Maybe just trying has moral value in itself. Maybe having goofy looking clothes will get them out of their conformist funk after they get tired of their own suffering.. or maybe we don’t care either way.
It’s probably arrogant to assume all problems can be solved, no matter how much of a hero we think we are. Social issues are not simple, and neither is life. Just because we can kill a lot of monsters and brave scary places doesn’t mean we’ve got all the answers. This might be an important reminder to stay humble and grounded in our quest to dismantle the evils of the archipelago.

Mcteague is next. It's likely to be short, but don't worry that it won't be thorough. There's things to say!!

Last edited by WallyHackenslacker; 04-04-2019 at 03:54 PM.
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  #234  
Old 04-01-2019, 04:25 AM
Kahran042 Kahran042 is offline
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I like the theory that "Rose" is Abbie Fishington.

From what I've gathered, Clear Undesired Concomitant eliminates all monsters on the surface of Emas, but doesn't prevent them from spawning. I do like the idea of Breamtown's destruction being the result of an undocumented orb combination, though.

As I stated earlier in the thread, I think that the guards are the only Billsvillians who don't change jobs daily, based on the book stating that they've "given up their own perfect happiness".

Finally, my thoughts on Emas: Probably the best path is to get Jordan's Scimitar, sabotage the clothing machines, then leave. It sacrifices the prisoners, but it does leave the people of Emas with neither their main source of enforced conformity nor being brainwashed into mindless nonconformity, and it keeps their shop inventory active - especially good since the western and central towns have the lowest prices in the game for most items.



All in all, great analysis, as always.

Last edited by Kahran042; 04-01-2019 at 06:10 AM.
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  #235  
Old 04-01-2019, 09:38 AM
WallyHackenslacker WallyHackenslacker is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kahran042 View Post
I like the theory that "Rose" is Abbie Fishington.

From what I've gathered, Clear Undesired Concomitant eliminates all monsters on the surface of Emas, but doesn't prevent them from spawning. I do like the idea of Breamtown's destruction being the result of an undocumented orb combination, though.

As I stated earlier in the thread, I think that the guards are the only Billsvillians who don't change jobs daily, based on the book stating that they've "given up their own perfect happiness".

Finally, my thoughts on Emas: Probably the best path is to get Jordan's Scimitar, sabotage the clothing machines, then leave. It sacrifices the prisoners, but it does leave the people of Emas with neither their main source of enforced conformity nor being brainwashed into mindless nonconformity, and it keeps their shop inventory active - especially good since the western and central towns have the lowest prices in the game for most items.



All in all, great analysis, as always.
I think I intended to examine the guard's choice to live a different life, but forgot about it as I got involved. Thank you. Adding something to observations I forgot to mention in addition.

I did some experimenting. Clearing undesired concomittant certainly does clear monsters. You were correct. I deliberately let them build up a lot to try it, and cast it multiple times consecutivele. The field was cleared.

This is probably our first real hint that the monsters aren't an intentional creation.

Last edited by WallyHackenslacker; 04-01-2019 at 10:38 AM.
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  #236  
Old 04-03-2019, 07:33 AM
WallyHackenslacker WallyHackenslacker is offline
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Added a remark on the Emas prisoner on Rochelle
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  #237  
Old 04-13-2019, 04:35 PM
WallyHackenslacker WallyHackenslacker is offline
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You have not been forgotten folks. Mcteague's analysis is almost finished. I chose to do a lot more location work than I assumed I would to fill in the gaps left be the overwhelming lack of people to talk to. I want to honor the quality and integrity of my work, so it'll be done when it is. Shouldn't be very long at this rate though.
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  #238  
Old 04-14-2019, 05:55 PM
Kahran042 Kahran042 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WallyHackenslacker View Post
You have not been forgotten folks. Mcteague's analysis is almost finished. I chose to do a lot more location work than I assumed I would to fill in the gaps left be the overwhelming lack of people to talk to. I want to honor the quality and integrity of my work, so it'll be done when it is. Shouldn't be very long at this rate though.
If I were given a choice between quality or timeliness, I'd pick the former every time. I'll be looking forward to it.
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