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Let’s Play Planescape: Torment, Episode 5

By William Hohmeister

Last time on Planescape: Torment!

Escape! Errands! Swearing! And Nameless heads for the local watering hole…

The Gathering Dust bar. Nameless has never found a more hideous den of putrefied flesh and watered-down drinks. He’s here to see Emoric, who just might know where Pharod, the man with the answers, is hiding. But before he can talk to Emoric it’s time for… sidequesting! We don’t do it for the money, we do it for the fame.

Ep5_Image1Mortai Gravesend has an over-dramatic name and acts like a used car salesman. He sells Dead Contracts for the Dusties. By signing a contract, the signer gets fifty coppers and a foreboding sense of doom; he’s just signed his future corpse to the Dustmen, to do with as they please.

Nameless: “What do the Dustmen do with the body?”

Mortai: “Nothing, nothing. We bury it! Respectfully. And sometimes raise it as a hideous undead.”

I’m wary of signing Nameless’ corpse over to the Dustmen. While he’s technically immortal, it seems to take a while for the resurrection to kick in. I’m worried about what might happen if they try to raise him while he’s busy coming back from the dead on his own.

Nameless: “Huh. No thanks. Can you tell me about Emoric?”

Mortai: “A respected initiate of the Fourth Circle. A very wise man. What is your business with him, may I ask? Perhaps I can help you instead.”

Nameless: (Lie) “Well, I was thinking about signing a contract with Emoric.”

Mortai: “No, no, good sir! He will not offer half the price I will for such a contract, it would be a… a… mere pittance compared to what I could give you! Consider this before you make a hasty decision!”

Okay, it’s time to walk away. Maybe Nameless will wait a week, see what the real trade-in value of his shell is when Mortai can’t meet his quota this month. Nameless heads over to Norochj, who stares broodily into a beer with a zombie’s finger floating in the foam.

Norochj: “Norochj. Initiate. Dustman. Guard.”

Nameless: (Points to himself) “Jim.” (Makes a heart shape in the air and pats Norochj on the chest) “Friend.”

Norochj: “What?”

Nameless: “I said you look troubled… Nacho Libre?”

Norochj: “Troubled, yes.”

Nameless: “Tell me about it… Norris?”

Norochj: “Many troubles have I. Help can you. A mausoleum awakes, the dead walk, the dead disturbed, the Dustmen disturbed. Find out what disturbs the undead, and copper coins will I pay.”

Nameless: “Look who can speak in complete sentences now, when he wants something.”

Norochj: “What?”

Nameless: “I said I’ll do it, North Dakota. Where’s the mausoleum?”

Norochj: “North and west of here. Make a circle over your heart to open the entrance portal.”

It’s portals all day in this town. Nameless finds the portal, thanks mainly to a woman nearby who screams about “Portals! Portals everywhere!” He steps inside, and meets a g-g-ghost!

Guardian Spirit: “Defilers! Leave this place at once!”

Nameless: “Hi.”

G Spirit: “Leave now! This place is a sanctuary for the dead. I will not allow their slumber to be disturbed by another mortal.”

Nameless: “I could help, for a price. You could let me do the driving out for you!”

G Spirit: “Okay, but I have no money. I don’t even have pockets.”

Nameless: “Eh, I’m here, I’ll do it anyway.”

Nameless and Spirit pound it out. Morte looks on sadly.

The mausoleum has a lot of skeletons, all of them hostile. Nameless heads straight for the Necromancer, bypassing the dead where he can. Where he has to fight he sends in Morte, who grinds their bones to make his bread. Right up to the Giant Skeleton, who whales on Nameless despite Morte’s toothy attentions.

Nameless: “Morte – gah! – go to plan B!”

Morte stops chasing the giant, as Nameless takes cover just behind Morte. The giant, unable to reach Nameless, circles around as Morte bites it, and Nameless runs in the opposite direction. Finally, the giant falls. Morte and Nameless headbutt each other and get pumped as hell.

In the Necromancer’s lair there are… way too many skeletons. And the Necromancer.

Ep5_Image2Strahan Runeshadow: “Impressssive. I never thought you would make it thisss far.”

Nameless: “Is ‘Strahan Runeshadow’ your real name? There’s no way. It’s like your LARP name or something, isn’t it?”

Strahan: “Who I am is of no consequenssss to you. What I want is the question that should concern you mosssst.” (Strahan totally checks out Nameless’ bod).

Nameless: (Walks over to Strahan’s desk and examines a mint, in-box Han Solo figure) “You gotta lot of nice stuff, nerd. Shame if something-“ (Nameless drops the box) “-happened to it.”

Negotiations broke down.

The skeletons swarm, but Morte and Nameless discussed strategy before they entered. They use the oldest, most effective Dungeons and Dragons tactic known. It’s called, “The Roleplayer’s Motto.”

Nameless: “Run away!”

Morte moves to attack Strahan, but the skeletons go after Nameless as he flails stupidly to escape. Once he’s got them sucked in, Nameless hides behind Strahan’s desk, jumps over it to evade a sword, and leads the skeletons on a mad chase.

Ep5_Image3Until Morte finally eats Strahan. With their master dead, all of the undead fall to dust.

Morte: “Looks like the only monster here… is tooth decay.”

Ep5_Image4MortNameless loots the room and finds…

Strahan’s diary! (Let’s see what the nerd was really up to!

April 30

Jenny the Ectomancer looked at me today! I knew the entrails tie was a winner!

May 3

Jenny just laughed when I asked her to the Ghouls and Guys Dance. I’ll show her. I’ll make myself into the best lich she’s ever seen!

May 25

Immortal blood? Who even has that? No one understands me, not even my stupid spellbook! My dumb crystal ball says there’s an immortal in this crypt, but hellooo? I need a live immortal, obviously. Gods!

OG Spirit is so grateful, he doesn’t even care that Nameless is still intruding in the mausoleum. Nameless freely loots the rest of the place before heading back to cash in the quest to Norton

Next time on Planescape: Torment!

Portals! Religious confusion! Maybe the actual main plot! (I swear, I’m getting to it. But there’s so much to do!)

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Let’s Play Planescape: Torment! Episode 4

by William Hohmeister

Last time on Planescape: Torment!

Breaking stuff leads to a level-up, and an encounter with a ghost leads to a vague prophecy!

In case you missed it, Nameless helpfully wrote down Deionarra’s prophecy:

I encountered the ghost of a woman named Deionarra, who prophesied that I would meet three enemies, but ‘none more dangerous that myself in my full glory’. They are shades of evil, of good, and of neutrality given life and twisted by the laws of the planes.

Ep4_Image1She said that I would come to a prison built of “regrets and sorrow,” where “the shadows themselves have gone mad.” Here, I will be asked to make a terrible sacrifice… for the matter to be laid to rest, I must “destroy that which keeps me alive, and be immortal no longer.”

Deionarra disappears, and Nameless discovers Morte can’t see her. So he’s a crazy amnesiac scar monster. Although maybe a skull isn’t the best barometer for reading Nameless’ mental weather. Hey, no one else has talked to him yet, maybe even Morte isn’t real…

MORTE PLEASE BE REAL.

Continue reading

Let’s Play Planescape: Torment, Episode 3

by William Hohmeister

Last time on Planescape: Torment:

The living dead walk! Floating skulls talk!

Ep3_Image1Dhall, you’ve been a big help, but you smell. Goodbye.

On my way I try talking to every zombie and person I see. This has a few rewards:

Zombie Worker: The corpse is wobbling unsteadily back and forth, trying to keep its balance.

Nameless: Give the corpse a push.

Morte: “Uh… Chief… you might not w-“

Zombie Worker: There is a *crack* from the corpse’s left leg, and the body falls like a dead tree… the left arm seems intact.

Nameless: “Hmmm, I wonder if I could make use of that arm…”

Good news: I can use it as a weapon!

Ep3_Image2When not vandalizing zombies, Nameless helps a deaf and semi-blind Dustman named Ei-Vene. She wants needle and thread and embalming fluid. All three also act as health potions and buffs* to Nameless. He agrees – sort of. Ei-Vene thinks Nameless is a zombie because of his scars. To carry this off he has to stand there silent like… a zombie. It’s the role he was born to play.

On the way to find the goods, Nameless finds an Anarchist spy disguised as a zombie. The Anarchists are another faction in Sigil – the city we still haven’t seen. No idea why he’s spying, but he offers to tell Nameless how to escape for – surprise – embalming fluid and needle and thread. I find some on this floor, but for the rest I have to head up to the Crematorium.

Ep3_Image3And the Crematorium is filled with curious Dustmen, like that guy in the lower left yelling at Nameless. Fortunately, the Dustmen don’t mind Morte, so I send him off to find the supplies, then head back downstairs.

I get two things from Ei-Vene: an extra permanent hit point and a memory. The hit point comes when she stitches Nameless up, still mistaking him for a zombie. And by watching how she stiches, Nameless remembers leaving a stash inside of a zombie. So that’ll be fun to look for.

True to his word, the Anarchist tells me how to escape: a portal in the northeast memorial hall, opened with a crooked finger bone “key.” Portals are all over the place, apparently, and almost anything can open them.

The Anarchist also disguises Nameless as a zombie, allowing me to reimagine Thriller. Oh, and to sneak past all the Dustmen. Back in the Crematorium, Nameless finds his stash-zombie – now decayed to a skeleton – and recovers a knife, money, and two Clot Charms, a type of healing and buff. All this is in an extra-dimensional space in the corpse’s rib cage. I head to the ground floor

I love these zombies: right beside the stairs a zombie is loitering with the awesomely named Tome of Blood and Ash. It contains runes and spells and the kinds of stuff to make Cthulhu squee. I take it, of course. I’m kind of a jerk to these corpses. When I find actual people, I swear, I’ll be nice.

I find a use for the Tome right away; in the middle hall are four giant skeletons – literally the reanimated skeletons of giants. By using the Tome, Nameless reverses the enchantments on their armor. This destroys the skeleton and leaves behind a magic rune item. I can’t use it yet, but soon. Just gotta become a wizard.

Finally, Nameless finds the memorial hall. He inspects the area but finds nothing. Just as he’s about to leave, the ghost of a woman named Deionarra appears. She knows Nameless, and may have been a lover at some point, though she’s now bitter over a past he can’t remember. She knows he’s immortal, but describes it as a curse because of the memory loss resurrection causes. She fears Nameless will one day even forget that he can’t die.

So thanks for making me think of that, Deionarra.

She points Nameless to the portal exit, but as he leaves she offers a prophecy. I love prophecies, so of course I ask to hear it. Then she hits me with this:

Deionarra: “First I require a promise. Promise that you will return. That you will find some means to save me or join me.”

Which leads me to several choices:

Ep3_Image4I can try to talk my way out of it; I can refuse; I can lie; or I can promise. I’ve researched the game a bit, and these choices supposedly matter. If I lie it makes me more evil or chaotic. If I promise I become good, but if I don’t keep the promise… well, I’m not sure. But there are supposed to be repercussions.

I choose to promise I will save or join her. I’m supposed to be channeling the Doctor, after all, and while he may lie, cheat, and screw people over, I don’t believe the Doctor would willingly abandon someone. I’ll do my best to help her.

Deionarra speaks her prophecy:

Next time on Planescape: Torment…

Portals! Tombs! Manual labor! And… Sigil!

The still images are all screen captures from Will’s game.

Let’s Play Planescape: Torment! Episode 2

by William Hohmeister

A shambling zombie escorts The Nameless One – “Nameless” from now on – into the Mortuary on a slab. Nameless remembers faces and events but he has no context to process them. After a while his back starts to hurt, so Nameless gets up from his slab with a groan.

A skull floats over to talk.

Will_Planescape_Ep2_Image1At the risk of being cliché, I am either too drunk or not drunk enough to be talking to you.”

It’s Morte Rictusgrin, the… floating skull. I really can’t emphasize that enough. I imagine Nameless spends some time checking for wires and pinching himself before finally responding:

Nameless: “Who are you?”

Morte: “Me?” The skull seems indignant. “How about *you* start, scabbie? Who are you?”

The body language at play must be incredibly subtle, since Morte has no body.

Nameless: “I asked you first, skull.”

We’re getting off to a bad start, but mom always told Nameless not to talk to strangers. Morte and Nameless eventually get through the introductions – or they would, if Nameless wasn’t… y’know. Name-less. Morte rolls with this, however, and offers to read the scars on Nameless’ back. Nameless has so many scars they can actually double as post-it notes.

Morte: “Say, you got a whole tattoo gallery on your back, berk. Spells out something…” “Looks like directions.” (Morte clears his throat)

HOW?

I know you feel like you’ve been drinking a few kegs of Styx wash, but you need to CENTER yourself. Among your posessions is a JOURNAL that’ll shed some light on the dark of the matter. PHAROD can fill you in on the rest of the chant, if he’s not in the dead-book already.

Don’t lose the journal or we’ll be up the Styx again. And whatever you do, DO NOT tell anyone WHO you are or WHAT happens to you, or they’ll put you on a quick pilgrimage to the crematorium. Do what I tell you: READ the journal, then FIND Pharod.”

Which seems like good advice, except Nameless doesn’t have a journal. He barely has a loincloth. Nameless and Morte agree to try to escape together, as both have qualities the other lacks: Morte knows the Mortuary and isn’t a walking scab with amnesia, and Nameless has hands so he can open doors. It’s a match made in a terrifying necropolis. And Morte is by far the superior fighter. He’s only got 20 HP, but his AC is 2. Compared to Nameless, Morte floats like the butterfly.

They quickly run into an obstacle: the door leading out is locked. Morte instructs Nameless to take a key from a nearby zombie by force. Despite his superior fighting ability, Morte is relunctant to join the fight.

Morte: “All right, you found the scalpel! Now, go get those corpses… and don’t worry, I’ll stay back and provide sound tactical advice.”

Nameless: “Maybe you could *help* me, Morte.”

Morte: “I will be helping you. Good advice is hard to come by.”

Morte: “Human resources can mean a lot of things. I need to know you’re loyal to this company.”

Nameless: “When I attack this corpse, you better be right there with me or you’ll be the next thing that I plunge this scalpel in.”

See? I’m already putting those Charisma points to work with some diplomacy.

The pair leap into action!

Will_Planescape_Ep2_Image2Uh, I know I asked for this, but… could you chew with your mouth closed, Morte?”

Fun fact! Morte’s weapon slot is his “bite.”

Nameless takes the key from the ex-corpse, and the pair makes their way slowly through the Mortuary. Morte reveals he really has a taste for zombies:

Morte: “Pssst… Some advice, chief: I’d keep it quiet from here on – no need to put any more corpses in the dead book than necessary… especially the femmes. Plus, killing them might draw the caretakers here.”

Nameless: “Why do you care about the female corpses?”

Morte: “Wh – are you *serious*? Look, chief, these dead chits are the last chance for a couple of hardy bashers like us. We need to be *chilvarous*…”

Nameless: “Last chance? What are you *talking* about?”

Morte: “Chief, THEY’RE dead, WE’RE dead… see where I’m going? Eh? Eh?”

HOW WOULD THAT EVEN WORK FOR YOU, SKULL?!

Nameless has no interest in zombies, ladies or fellas, but he likes messing with Morte:

Morte: “Psssst. You see the way she was looking at me? Huh? You see that? The way she was following the curve of my occipital bone?”

Nameless: “You mean that blank-eyed beyond-the-grave stare?”

Morte: “Wha – are you BLIND?! She was scouting me out! It was shameless the way she WANTED me.”

Nameless: “Wanted you to go *away*, maybe. She was obviously too distracted by ME to pay attention to some stupid bobbing head with a big mouth.”

Eventually they find Dhall, an ancient, diseased Dustman penning names into a gargantuan book from his floating recliner.

Will_Planescape_Ep2_Image3Dhall tells Nameless more about the world. The Mortuary is located in Sigil, and is run by the Dustmen, the faction Dhall works for. Morte and Dhall both have different feelings about the Dustmen – Morte calls them addled death-worshippers – but both agree that, if the Dustmen knew about Nameless, they’d try to stop his regeneration. Probably by fire.

Dhall knows Nameless much better than Nameless himself. Nameless has treated the Mortuary almost as a second home, and many former companions now rest within. The most recent is a woman in the northwest memorial hall. Nameless decides to find her, and at least pay respects – and to see if her name triggers any memories.

Dhall permits Nameless to go, but warns him to be careful. Even if Nameless weren’t a walking blasphemy against Dustmen beliefs, he’s guilty of the most bizarre breaking and entering ever.

Next on PLANESCAPE: Bad medicine! Anarchy! Undead nightmares! And… Escape!

(-ed. – We haven’t decided when Episode 3 will run, nor on what day of the week we will settle into, but this series is greenlit. It will be back once we get a little further ahead with it. There will be an announcement. Our dear friend and not-so-silent partner Jeremy of the seven-month Batman run  returns next Wednesday. With a Batman post. Who woulda’ thought? Keep Blogging!)