Tacticular Cancer: We'll have your balls

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Review RPG Codex Review: Tyranny - Kyros Demands Better

Discussion in 'RPG Codex News & Content Comments' started by Infinitron, Nov 30, 2016.

  1. Togukawa Literate

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    Kyros clearly does anticipate it, since she cleverly keeps people away from them by forbidding all acces to the paths leading to the spires and suppresses any connection between her and the spires. There's a story in the game of a very faithful follower who mentiones that he saw Kyros near the oldwall/spire and who is promptly executed for it.
    Contrast that with the fact that Kyros tells you to go to a spire, and to generate a huge magic event there. Kyros knew perfectly well what was going to happen. In fact, in the Myothis letter, the game says as much: "Kyros edict of execution was setup for SOMEONE to claim Ascension Hall... to think that Kyros did not know what would happen would be a massive underestimation of the Overlords long view."

    So you know that Kyros is linked to the spires, wants to keep that connection secret, and wants to keep everyone that is not you away from the spires, without alerting anyone they are important. It's therefore highly likely that Kyros' edict powers come from the spires, especially since you learn that large amounts of different people have used the spires before you, so Kyros is not unique at all. It's extremely unlikely that Kyros would send you to a spire and not anticipate what would happen. It's at least very heavily hinted that Edicts are very strongly linked to the spires. I use edict in the sense of uberpowerful spell, not in the sense of their legalistic aspect. You can try to formulate a written Edict too, but you fail, which leads to the remark that clearly Kyros is more advanced in using Edicts than you.
     
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  2. Tigranes Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

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    Yes, there's one dialogue that talks about that, but if the Spires always give the power to summon Edicts, and your Edicts are already powerful enough to be a threat to Kyros (the ending slides make this clear), then it isn't particularly smart to basically encourage you to take them all.

    Now, Kyros clearly wanted the Peace to end and for the Archons to fight it out, since it was clear to everyone the two armies could not continue working together for long. And at least after you took the Hall, or maybe before, Kyros counted you among them, such that even if you buttfuck the other two archons Kyros is pretty OK with this. The question is whether Kyros also expected and blessed your ability to learn to cast Edicts - which can't really be parsed out because it's never really explained in a logically coherent way. Can anybody claim the Spires and earn powers as you have? The game sometimes hints that no, you must be SPESHUL SNOWFLAKE, but doesn't even bother to explain it and nobody really asks the question. What is an Edict, and why would the ability to cast Edicts be linked to the Spires? Who knows? Why do you learn Edicts by cancelling them? Who knows? Once you try and fail to write an Edict, there is speculation that Kyros might also have acquired Edict powers through Spires and that over time you learn enough to dissociate your voice, but then is it your casting two Kyros edicts that gives you the power to subsequently learn Edicts? The game talks about how most people die within a few years of casting/cancelling Edicts, so is it simply that there's SO MUCH MAGIC and everyone dies but you are special STRONK and you can handle it?

    (Actually, this is probably close to the mark, since there's a lot of talk about how there are people born with the power to grow into Archon-level greatness. The really interesting bit in this part of the lore is how renown and legend become self-fulfilling prophecies, turning those spoken about into ever more powerful and monstrous beings - it's a pity this aspect wasn't played up more often, and instead you just gather macguffins like it's NWN1 and all you ever experience is the power fantasy of GROW STRONK.)

    As long as you have Kyros' Edicts as the only special macguffin in the game, you have a very nice, compact, interesting political situation set up where the motivation of all parties makes sense. Once the Spires come into it and all the "cuz ur special" stuff through the back door, I think there's a lot of muddying going on.
     
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  3. Prime Junta Arcane

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    Yeah, muddying. Buuut...

    Ever since I heard the premise -- Overlord, Archons, Exarchs, Fatebinder -- it was p obvious that, shock and horror, you would start developing Archon-y powers during the game. That's just the way vidya works. I thought it was pretty cool that your Archon powers weren't like the other Archons', but were tied to a particular feature in the landscape, namely the Spires.

    Now I don't know how much Kyros knew or planned. Maybe she wasn't able to unlock the Spires herself and needed someone to awaken them, and set you up for the job. Maybe she wasn't sure what their powers were. I did get the impression that your ability to fire her Edicts right back at her was something of a surprise. Maybe her plan was to have Bleden Mark off you as soon as you had done your job (but in vidya fashion, you survived that).

    She is extremely powerful but not omnipotent or omniscient. It is possible that things got out of hand. /speculation
     
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  4. hell bovine Magister

    hell bovine
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    I'm not quite convinced that the spires give the power to cast edicts. If you do inks with Lantry after resolving an edict, you'll get 'visions' on how the edict's magic is within you. The spires are said to be magical amplifiers, so maybe they simply allow your character to cast those edicts. (I'm currently on the anarchist path, apparently the pet assassin knows something about your archon power, but haven't found the dialogue option yet)

    Btw, the legend & power thing seems to be true for the edicts too. Looks like the entire magic system might be fueled by belief.

    That's why I find the setting more interesting than PoE's, it's all those unanswered questions, but of course the game gives you zero opportunities to do some detective work. I don't care about gathering a peasant army, I want to research magical theories. :argh:

    (also fatebinder Myothis is a funny name, considering Myotis is the latin name for a family of bats)
     
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  5. Togukawa Literate

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    It's even worse on the anarchy path, where the mission you get given is literally that: gather the artifacts to GROW STRONK because of reasons.
    Since you're the speciulz and Kyros knows it, I suspect that's the reason why you specifically were sent to ascension hall to go and break the edict, instead of any of the other fatebinders in Kyros' empire. Because you, as opposed to everyone else, can survive breaking multiple edicts because you're special. Sure it's a huge trope that the player turns out to be the chosen one, but it's also somewhat averted in that the evil overlord is perfectly aware that you are special from the start and actively chooses you, instead of things happening by chance. The villain handpicks you for the evil genius mastermind plan because you are special (although you yourself don't know it yet), which is somewhat different from most games where the villain is just unlucky to have tangled with the chosen one completely unexpectedly.

    The sad part is that you never find out what that genius plan was, we just have to take the word of the game for it, that the overlord is brilliant and foresaw everything and planned it all. The issue is that everything can also be explained by Kyros being an absolutely incompetent buffoon that screws up royally at every point. Because yeah, unless the goal of Kyros is to make you into a genuine threat for whatever reason, it's not particularly smart to encourage you to take them all. We don't know, because we don't know what the plan is, nor the motivations or the goals for that matter. And as you say, that's not the only thing the game doesn't bother showing or telling. Although, even without the spires, the motivations of Kyros remain unclear. Because if it was eternal war or the creation of a new enemy that was the goal, why then kill the Archon of stone with an edict and not you?

    But honestly, the complete lack of choice in the entirety of act 2 bothered me a hell of a lot more than the unsatisfying main story.
     
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  6. Tigranes Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

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    I finished the Anarchy run, and I'm going to get to Act 2 on either Chorus or Rebel to see how it is.

    I don't mind having unanswered questions at all - e.g. the hints at the ancient history of Spires/Oldwalls and having them be exploited or feared with nobody really understanding them is just fine. I also really like the Edicts and the belief/power aspect. The final dialogues with the Archons were very memorable in this regard. What I would have expected is for Tunon and the courts to actually be very connected with the legalistic aspect of the Edicts, for example.

    What I do have a problem is how all this nice setup is just put into a crude "OMG U SO SPESHUL" fap session that doesn't even pretend to make a lot of sense, and thereafter the gameplay too devolves into "GET SPESHUL ITEMS, BECOME STRONK" when the setting had obvious leads for much more interesting, or at the very least less transparently macguffiny, progression. It was just really disappointing, on the Anarchy path, to discover that after a pretty good Act 1 the rest of the game is just "go here, kill people, find MAGIC HELM/SWORD".

    If this were a movie, I'd feel sorry for Bleden Mark; he starts off with the honour of having the most retarded name in the setting, and then 90% of his dialogue is

    bleedin' mark twirls his daggers menacingly as he STEPS OUT OF THE SHADOWS!!! so dark and kool he listens to limp bizkit
    "Ah, I see you have MAGIC ITEM! Yes, I can feel something is DIFFERENT about you, you are somehow MORE STRONK! Hey can I touch it?"
    [Glare Silently]
    *You have gained wrath with bleedin' mark*
    "OK, fine, fine, now you just need to get ANOTHER SHRUBBERY MAGIC ITEM! Then you will be EVEN MORE STRONK!"
    bleedin' mark disappears INTO THE SHADOWS!!!!!!1111 did i mention he so dark and mysterius
     
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  7. Togukawa Literate

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    Some unanswered questions are fine, but at least some have to be answered. I really couldn't say what Tyranny was about. You're a special snowflake that grows stronk, and also there's some evil overlord that maybe orchestrated it or maybe didn't, and maybe likes it or maybe doesn't.

    Rebel is not too bad, you travel around the world and you're forced to recruit half of the people you meet, and you're arbitrarily locked out of recruiting the others. Didn't play chorus, but on disfavored it was travel the world and be forced to kill everyone you meet (like dialogues with just one option: I don't know who you are, but I'm going to water the soil with your blood! [attack], not even kidding). I hope Chorus path is better, but three times doing the tyranny railroad was my limit. The game does indeed improve again massively in act 3, the graven ashe dialog at the end when you kill him or when he joins you are both pretty well done. I'll check whether there's some video of the Chorus ending later, because I really, really can't be arsed to suffer through act 2 ever again.
    Mark gets shafted even more on the non-anarchy paths. His ending is the same, regardless of your wrath/favor score. The only time where he gets to shine somewhat is if you gather enough evidence to sic him on one of the Archons, then he finally gets to actually do something, instead of standing around being described as cool.

    Tyranny really does have some great aspects too, which is why I bothered to talk about it at all. It's just sad how much potential is wasted.
     
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  8. veevoir Klytus, I'm bored Patron

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    But what is that discussion all about? I mean, in context of the game it is clear what Kyros is doing:

    1. getting rid of all the "war-time", powerfuk archons that would be bored and seek other targets (like Overlord) during end of conquest;
    2. replacing them with single target, just so the rest of continent that knew only war for ages has an enemy to fight. Tiers are destined to be the enemy for years to come, we were always at war with Eurasia. there's nothing more important to legitimizing a dictatorship than The Enemy.

    For me the only fulfillment in this game, be it DLC or Tyranny 2 is dying at hands of Kyros. This would make the whole plot sufficiently evil and complete.
     
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  9. Killzig Cipher Patron

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    Oh that underestimated part was my own navel-gazing RE any further games in this storyline and where they could possibly go. I was just laying out an arc where your tyrant is propped in in the tiers as the foil to Kyros and over the very long term Kyros' power and empire wane while the Tiers grow stronger and the cycle begins again. That was all.
     
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  10. Togukawa Literate

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    Yeah maybe, but that still doesn't explain why Kyros sends you to a spire to break an edict, the same spires that everyone else are kept away from. Either Kyros is an incomptent buffoon, or as the game says, he planned for everything to happen. Maybe Kyros did underestimate you and things escalated out of control, but since we don't know what the original goal or motivation was, who knows.

    Replacing everyone with a single target can be done with much less effort: send a fatebinder to rescind the peace, whichever of the Archons that wins the huge slaughterfest that follows becomes the new enemy. You know, exactly what Kyros does at the end of act 2, only don't bother with creating someone that is capable of casting Edicts too. Why Kyros bothers with creating someone that could potentially be a true threat (if you are actually that, since your edicts are a lot weaker) is not explained at all. It could be something like Flemeth in da: o, grooming someone to take over the body to live forever, but the reasons are not even hinted at.
    Of course not everything needs to be explained in a good story, but I prefer to have some vague idea of what is actually going on, otherwise it's all just random pointless shit.
     
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  11. Killzig Cipher Patron

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    Honestly, this game felt like a one and done to me and I am not eager to revisit the setting or the game mechanics. I don't think there's anything theoretical about Kyros setting up the infighting between the archons and propping up the tiers as a foil. This was all laid out in the correspondence with that retired fatebinder. That your character is able to use the spires could probably be played off as either a calculated risk on Kyros' part or underestimated given the edict you drop on the northlands in the last slides.
     
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  12. hell bovine Magister

    hell bovine
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    You could play it off as a calculated risk (and who the hell knows what direction any potential dlcs will take), but it does look look like it was planned. If what it takes to awaken the mountain spire is for one person to proclaim and resolve an edict near the spire, then the overlord must have been waiting for the 'special snowflake' that's your character to use. Kyros creates those edicts, but doesn't proclaim them.

    Another question left open is the origin of beastmen. KiS tells you that their ancestors (who apparently weren't beastly) predate the oldwalls.

    What annoys me about those questions is not that you don't find answers, but that you aren't even given an option to explore them. There is nothing to oldwalls except for killing bane (which are basically just copy&paste encounters) and collecting keys and sigils.
     
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  13. MrMarbles Savant

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    If the DLC takes a cue from the main release, here's a teaser on what we can expect:

    - Delve into new dungeons! (Here are some square rooms. Here's a locked door. Oh yeah the key is just in front of it on the ground. Right over there. Don't trip over the Bane.)
    - Face new difficult choices! (Will you choose to 1. [Attack], 2. [Attack while delivering some half-assed and forced evul one-liner] 3. [Go play AoD]?)
    - Explore new intrigues! (After we've zeroed out your past choices to cram your progress into the new narrative.)
    - Meet new factions! (And lose your remaining will to live toying around with meaningless increments on favor/wrath bars.)
    - Journey across new lands! (Remember those generic noble rebel factions full of humans in identical gear? Yeah.)

    I'll pass.
     
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  14. Togukawa Literate

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    It already has replayability and lasting appeal that few games can manage, can adding DLC to this cult classic even be done? Would the game still be playable at all, if more choices are added to the already dizzying variety? I am very excited to see to what new unprecedented heights obsidian will lift us next.
     
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  15. l3loodAngel Proud INTJ Patron

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    You just dont get it do you? Kyros is a lonely MILF and she is into you.
     
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  16. MrMarbles Savant

    MrMarbles
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    The fact that there is pages of debate here about the setting speaks to how well made it is.

    Part of the reason some were so disappointed may be that the game sets the stage so well, but then pretty much fails to deliver on all other fronts.
     
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  17. Fenix Arbiter

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    Lolwhat? THis only shows that there are many people with bad taste.
     
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