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TerroirNoir's "Cable Channel of AE!" Reviews. Part 2.


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The final apocalypse plot will just have to wait...

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All That Gleams: Finale (1 Arc)

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23 hours ago, Zhym said:

Almost signature? 😉

Well, I do like to fit in the odd snippet of lore here and there.

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Darkest Before Dawn: Part Two (Arc id 30210) | Darkest Before Dawn: Part Three (Arc id 30560) |

 Bridge of Forever ( Arc id 36642) | The Cassini Division (Arc id 37104) X | The House of Gaunt Saints (Arc id 37489) X | The Spark of the Blind (Arc id 40403) | Damnatio Memoriae (Arc id 41140) X  The Eve of War (Arc id 41583) X

I Sing of Arms and the Man (Arc id 42617) | Three Sisters (Arc id 43013)

(Pre War Praetorian Loyalist.  Pre War Praetorian Resistance..  Pre ITF Cimerora.  Post ITF Cimerora. X = Dev Choice/Hall of Fame )

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On 1/10/2023 at 7:25 AM, TerroirNoir2 said:

Verdict. This entire arc is deceptively complex. Everything that @Darmian did in the Dark Deeds long form and the Loyalist trilogy seem reinforced and even more layered than before. I recommend playing it. Looking forward to the next one.


This really is an excellent arc, deep in lore. It’s always great to see Apex in action, and it may be the only time I’ve encountered Darrin Wade (as villain or hero) that he didn’t just annoy me.  
 

I could use an explainer of what was going on with Wade, though. 🙂

Edited by Zhym
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51 minutes ago, Zhym said:

I could use an explainer of what was going on with Wade, though. 🙂

Right. Deep breath.

 

We go back to Primal Earth and its Darrin Wade to start. We all know what happened in Who Will Die, and to me it seems implausible that Wade could have done it. Come up with the plan? Possibly. Actually doing it? No. And I don't even mean grasping the power to do it, that's fine. People seizing great power to do good or evil is a common theme in a super human milieu. No, it's that he has no reason to. Literally none. There's some hand waving post the event that it paves the way towards him wanting deity status but that does not work either.

 

But there is a reason for Statesman to die when he did. Dying then removed him from participation in the defense of Primal Earth against Praetorian invasion. Statesman is alive until the opening moments of the Underground Incarnate Trial. And then in WWD, which is happening concurrently with the start of the invasion, Statesman dies. I posited that removing Statesman was a Praetorian plot. In fact I think they surely had quite a few of those. This being but one of them.

 

Malaise and Mother Mayhem are aware of and have been seen in the Shadow Shard, so Rularuu is known about on Praetoria in some circles.

 

Malaise used this Wade to psychically influence the Primal version to murder Statesman. In fact there are cut scenes in WWD where if you look at it from this position Malaise is simply conversing with himself or rather his Primal self, while possessing Primal Wade. Of course he's not doing that directly, just... nudging and guiding. Dropping "memories" and knowledge in as needed. Until Statesman is taken off the board.

 

All this abuses Praetorian Wade and drives the poor guy rather mad. 

Edited by Darmian
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Darkest Before Dawn: Part Two (Arc id 30210) | Darkest Before Dawn: Part Three (Arc id 30560) |

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I Sing of Arms and the Man (Arc id 42617) | Three Sisters (Arc id 43013)

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34 minutes ago, Darmian said:

Right. Deep breath.

 

We go back to Primal Earth and its Darrin Wade to start. We all know what happened in Who Will Die, and to me it seems implausible that Wade could have done it. Come up with the plan? Possibly. Actually doing it? No. And I don't even mean grasping the power to do it, that's fine. People seizing great power to do good or evil is a common theme in a super human milieu. No, it's that he has no reason to. Literally none. There's some hand waving post the event that it paves the way towards him wanting deity status but that does not work either.

 

But there is a reason for Statesman to die when he did. Dying then removed him from participation in the defense of Primal Earth against Praetorian invasion. Statesman is alive until the opening moments of the Underground Incarnate Trial. And then in WWD, which is happening concurrently with the start of the invasion, Statesman dies. I posited that removing Statesman was a Praetorian plot. In fact I think they surely had quite a few of those. This being but one of them.

 

Malaise and Mother Mayhem are aware of and have been seen in the Shadow Shard, so Rularuu is known about on Praetoria in some circles.

 

Malaise used this Wade to psychically influence the Primal version to murder Statesman. In fact there are cut scenes in WWD where if you look at it from this position Malaise is simply conversing with himself or rather his Primal self, while possessing Primal Wade. Of course he's not doing that directly, just... nudging and guiding. Dropping "memories" and knowledge in as needed. Until Statesman is taken off the board.

 

All this abuses Praetorian Wade and drives the poor guy rather mad. 


Okay.  That’s friggin’ genius, that is.

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13 minutes ago, Zhym said:


Okay.  That’s friggin’ genius, that is.

I don't know about genius but I wanted a real reason for WWD to exist, otherwise it sort of sits to one side of things up until then and doesn't make any narrative sense beyond being a thing where two major heroes die.

 

 

AE SFMA Arcs: The Meteors (Arc id 42079) Dark Deeds in Galaxy City: Part One. (Arc id 26756) X | Dark Deeds in Galaxy City: Part Two. (Arc id 26952) | Dark Deeds in Galaxy City: Part Three. (Arc id 27233) Darker Deeds: Part One (Arc id 28374) | Darker Deeds: Part Two. (Arc id 28536) | Darker Deeds: Part Three. (Arc id 29252) | Darkest Before Dawn: Part One (Arc id 29891) |

Darkest Before Dawn: Part Two (Arc id 30210) | Darkest Before Dawn: Part Three (Arc id 30560) |

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17 minutes ago, Darmian said:

otherwise it sort of sits to one side of things up until then and doesn't make any narrative sense beyond being a thing where two major heroes die.


That’s kind of WWD in a nutshell, right there (I’m not a fan).  Coming up with something that would make that arc make any sense at all is kind of genius.

 

Now if you come up with an explanation for why Manticore couldn’t think of any non-lethal way of disabling Sister Psyche without killing her, you’ll be doing really well.

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7 hours ago, Zhym said:


That’s kind of WWD in a nutshell, right there (I’m not a fan).  Coming up with something that would make that arc make any sense at all is kind of genius.

 

Now if you come up with an explanation for why Manticore couldn’t think of any non-lethal way of disabling Sister Psyche without killing her, you’ll be doing really well.

Hmm, post hypnotic suggestion from Wade through Malaise/Mayhem to eliminate Mayhem's alternate if possible?  So even if he thought of a non lethal way he subconsciously didn't use it? I'll have to go through WWD again to check things, it not being on the wiki.

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AE SFMA Arcs: The Meteors (Arc id 42079) Dark Deeds in Galaxy City: Part One. (Arc id 26756) X | Dark Deeds in Galaxy City: Part Two. (Arc id 26952) | Dark Deeds in Galaxy City: Part Three. (Arc id 27233) Darker Deeds: Part One (Arc id 28374) | Darker Deeds: Part Two. (Arc id 28536) | Darker Deeds: Part Three. (Arc id 29252) | Darkest Before Dawn: Part One (Arc id 29891) |

Darkest Before Dawn: Part Two (Arc id 30210) | Darkest Before Dawn: Part Three (Arc id 30560) |

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I Sing of Arms and the Man (Arc id 42617) | Three Sisters (Arc id 43013)

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9 hours ago, Darmian said:

I don't know about genius but I wanted a real reason for WWD to exist, otherwise it sort of sits to one side of things up until then and doesn't make any narrative sense beyond being a thing where two major heroes die.

Which is pretty much what it was, right? Personality conflicts among devs, I've read, leading to f*** your characters. We'll just kill them. Lame. Just lame.

 

Your idea is logical and works as a solid explanation for what happened. But it's still Darrin F'in Wade (catspaw or not). And there isn't enough lipstick in the world to completely spruce up that pig.:-)

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1 hour ago, cranebump said:

But it's still Darrin F'in Wade (catspaw or not). And there isn't enough lipstick in the world to completely spruce up that pig.:-)

Except in this one, it's alt Wade, and he's not so bad ultimately.  Ok, driven insane by Malaise but not actually evil or anything.

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1 hour ago, TerroirNoir2 said:

Except in this one, it's alt Wade, and he's not so bad ultimately.  Ok, driven insane by Malaise but not actually evil or anything.

I understand. But there really isn’t any way to make statements actual death actually means something in the law as it is. You can provide a better explanation of how it happened, as Darmian does, But he’s still i unceremoniously dead and really it feels like for absolutely nothing. wasn’t even a fight. That is what my ire is directed at by the way. The way statesman died, and the lame ass adversary they chose to do it.

 

Sorry about the typos. I’m dictating this by voice in my car.

Edited by cranebump
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LONG FORM: Ordinary People [3 parts] Investigation of a series of thefts leads you deep into a vengeful plot that threatens all of Paragon City. Will you and Kings Row's "ordinary" heroes be able to stop it? Leviathan [5 parts] The  assassination of a local politician with national aspirations sets off a media frenzy among everyone's favorite reactionary network, NewsAnon. Among their targets? You. Mobius [5 Parts]:  Visions of past, present, and possibility collide, as you and the Autumn Wards unravel the mystery of the 7-year time gap. The Cage Series [3 parts]: The Iron Widow is back! Or...is she? Your vigilante philosophy is put to the test in this tale of shifting loyalties and outright deceit.  The Bleed [3 parts]: Your investigation of arcane fissures in IP leads you to uncover a 100-year old secret shrouded in magic, blood, and betrayal. One Shots:  Of Guns and Asa Ronan; The Tenuous State of Grace; Garden of the Will; Gravity; The Book of Bond's; The Lost Girls; Injustice Systems; Wednesday’s Wyverns; Of ‘Dine and Men; Dark Legacy; Shadow and Silver

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17 hours ago, TerroirNoir2 said:

@Ankylosaur, did you rename All That Glimmers 2.3? Or have I just confused myself.

 

Nope - All That Glimmers 2.3: Destruction in the Shadow Shard, arc ID 42073 is out there...

Now, I did misspeak above and call it the last of the Apocalypse Plots instead of Doomsday Plots (Death, Drowning, and now Destruction) - but it is live, and the Harbingers of Destruction await you...

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All That Glitters: Intro (3 Arcs) 

Glitters: Gold Brickers (9 Arcs)Glimmers: First Warders (9 Arcs) |  Glints: The Awakened (3 Arcs) | Glows: Nictus (3 Arcs)

All That Gleams: Finale (1 Arc)

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2 hours ago, cranebump said:

I understand. But there really isn’t any way to make Stateman's actual death actually means something in the lore as it is. You can provide a better explanation of how it happened, as Darmian does, But he’s still unceremoniously dead and really it feels like for absolutely nothing. wasn’t even a fight. That is what my ire is directed at by the way. The way Statesman died, and the lame ass adversary they chose to do it.

 

Sorry about the typos. I’m dictating this by voice in my car.

Oh I understand that perfectly and agree with you.  Statesman going down in the Praetorian War would have been great, like the end of The Empire Strikes Back sort of vibe, or Avengers: Infinity War, and then everyone has to come together to win at the end.  But I'm happy with @Darmian's reasoning behind things.  I don't know if it could be properly seen as a retcon, just "here's stuff you didn't know". Unfortunately @Darmian couldn't change WWD itself!

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2 hours ago, TerroirNoir2 said:

Unfortunately @Darmian couldn't change WWD itself!

Hey now, there's limits to what I can do with an AE!  Just ask @Ankylosaur or @cranebump!  The most I can do is state a sort of "meanwhile, elsewhere..." sort of thing.  

 

The following two have a bit of "meanwhile, elsewhere..." especially the final arc.

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@Darmian, I recall when you stumbled upon Mother Mayhem and Malaise in the Shadow Shard and it got your gears turning. I too think the way your solution brings the invasion and WWD together is genius. (And @cranebump I too feel like killing off Statesman was lame - when the Who Will Die stuff was happening - the answer was super obvious when it was even announced.)

 

Most of my early one-shots explore unexplained threads/hooks like that and I know I find it super satisfying whenever I manage to stitch things together in a way that integrates nicely. Kudos!

Edited by Ankylosaur
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  • Post-Praetoria Campaign:  Explores the effects on Prime Earth of The Fall of Praetoria. Intro 1-20, Others fork off it in the 20's-ish to 54

All That Glitters: Intro (3 Arcs) 

Glitters: Gold Brickers (9 Arcs)Glimmers: First Warders (9 Arcs) |  Glints: The Awakened (3 Arcs) | Glows: Nictus (3 Arcs)

All That Gleams: Finale (1 Arc)

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23 hours ago, cranebump said:

Which is pretty much what it was, right? Personality conflicts among devs, I've read, leading to f*** your characters. We'll just kill them. Lame. Just lame.

I can't find it right now, but somewhere (maybe in a Lore AMA?) Positron claimed that there were no hard feelings and they totally didn't kill off Sister Psyche and Statesman just because they were Jack Emmert's characters.  I think that's just making nice and refusing to air dirty laundry in public; the facts kind of speak for themselves IMO.

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3 minutes ago, Zhym said:

I can't find it right now, but somewhere (maybe in a Lore AMA?) Positron claimed that there were no hard feelings and they totally didn't kill off Sister Psyche and Statesman just because they were Jack Emmert's characters.  I think that's just making nice and refusing to air dirty laundry in public; the facts kind of speak for themselves IMO.

Well, even taking him at his word on that, it's still bollocks,  You shouldn't kill off two of your top team for no damn reason like that without it contributing to the forward narrative. Like @TerroirNoir2 said above, Statesman (and even Psyche) biting the dust in an Incarnate Trial in the War would have been far more satisfying.  It might have even been a copy of the Alpha/Omega team thing as reported from the Rikti War, with the players being one team and Statesman et al being on the other, 

 

One of my other bugbears here is the complete removal of Statesman from the game after his death.  Given the progression of time versus leveling in the game that makes no sense.  I'd love to see Statesman standing in IP still running his TF...UNTIL you play WWD and then he phases out for Ms Liberty. Kudos to the Homecoming Devs for returning the OG version of the Lord Recluse TF to the game where at least you can face him as a foe via Ouro.

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Darkest Before Dawn: Part Two (Arc id 30210) | Darkest Before Dawn: Part Three (Arc id 30560) |

 Bridge of Forever ( Arc id 36642) | The Cassini Division (Arc id 37104) X | The House of Gaunt Saints (Arc id 37489) X | The Spark of the Blind (Arc id 40403) | Damnatio Memoriae (Arc id 41140) X  The Eve of War (Arc id 41583) X

I Sing of Arms and the Man (Arc id 42617) | Three Sisters (Arc id 43013)

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2 hours ago, Darmian said:

One of my other bugbears here is the complete removal of Statesman from the game after his death.  Given the progression of time versus leveling in the game that makes no sense.  I'd love to see Statesman standing in IP still running his TF...UNTIL you play WWD and then he phases out for Ms Liberty. Kudos to the Homecoming Devs for returning the OG version of the Lord Recluse TF to the game where at least you can face him as a foe via Ouro.

The handling of personal narrative time versus game-world narrative time has always been pretty darn wibbly wobbly.  It made a little more sense when the game was in active development, characters leveled more slowly, and changes to the lore came more frequently.  Later issues did some cool things where personal actions appeared to change the game world—like Matthew Habashy's wife phasing in after Aaron Thiery's arc, or Fort Darwin before and after Lt. Harris's arc.  But mostly, events appear to progress personally, not globally: the whole Praetorian storyline, from Tina Macintyre through the Magesterium Trial, appears to have no outside effect on the rest of the world at all.  Same with the Dark Astoria arc.  Every now and then, you'd get exceptions, like the partial Faultline rebuild, but those are exceptions. So it's weird that the original devs decided to have certain bits of lore—like, "oh no, Statesman's dead now"—happen in game-world time, not personal time. 

 

And it makes no damned sense.  If you start a new character right now, that character starts in a world in which there used to be a hero named Statesman, but he's gone now.  There's a statue in Kallisti Wharf.  Statesman is only slightly more current than Atlas or Talos or any of the other heroes who came before.  But at some point in the new character's career, they can run missions in which Statesman is somehow still around?  And then gets killed?  Makes no damned sense at all.

 

Logically, WWD should only be available as a flashback mission. That mission could be structured so that there's no way to save Statesman (which would be lame),* but what would be cool is if there were a new Flashback arc that actually allowed players to change things. 

 

* Another of my many complaints with WWD is that your character is basically a bystander to the story.  Very little you do in the arc actually matters. 

Edited by Zhym
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26 minutes ago, TerroirNoir2 said:

Quoting myself here @Darmian but I can't find this woman in any Goldside arc. Is she original?  

She is not!

 

 

screenshot_230124-21-31-48.jpg

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AE SFMA Arcs: The Meteors (Arc id 42079) Dark Deeds in Galaxy City: Part One. (Arc id 26756) X | Dark Deeds in Galaxy City: Part Two. (Arc id 26952) | Dark Deeds in Galaxy City: Part Three. (Arc id 27233) Darker Deeds: Part One (Arc id 28374) | Darker Deeds: Part Two. (Arc id 28536) | Darker Deeds: Part Three. (Arc id 29252) | Darkest Before Dawn: Part One (Arc id 29891) |

Darkest Before Dawn: Part Two (Arc id 30210) | Darkest Before Dawn: Part Three (Arc id 30560) |

 Bridge of Forever ( Arc id 36642) | The Cassini Division (Arc id 37104) X | The House of Gaunt Saints (Arc id 37489) X | The Spark of the Blind (Arc id 40403) | Damnatio Memoriae (Arc id 41140) X  The Eve of War (Arc id 41583) X

I Sing of Arms and the Man (Arc id 42617) | Three Sisters (Arc id 43013)

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7 hours ago, Darmian said:

She is not!

 

 

screenshot_230124-21-31-48.jpg

Now that is the kind of deep dive into the lore I've come to expect from @Darmian's AE arcs!

 

Also: is it just me, or does Gwendolyn look a little like Paris Hilton?

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7 hours ago, Zhym said:

Now that is the kind of deep dive into the lore I've come to expect from @Darmian's AE arcs!

 

Also: is it just me, or does Gwendolyn look a little like Paris Hilton?

I suppose she does.  My build doesn't look exactly right, since the billboard image has parts not available in the costume creator but what can you do?  As for deep dive?  Well, I suppose so!  I simply like meandering around the game world and making notes on things that I see.  Who knows what you might find?  I recommend others do it too.  It can be fun!

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AE SFMA Arcs: The Meteors (Arc id 42079) Dark Deeds in Galaxy City: Part One. (Arc id 26756) X | Dark Deeds in Galaxy City: Part Two. (Arc id 26952) | Dark Deeds in Galaxy City: Part Three. (Arc id 27233) Darker Deeds: Part One (Arc id 28374) | Darker Deeds: Part Two. (Arc id 28536) | Darker Deeds: Part Three. (Arc id 29252) | Darkest Before Dawn: Part One (Arc id 29891) |

Darkest Before Dawn: Part Two (Arc id 30210) | Darkest Before Dawn: Part Three (Arc id 30560) |

 Bridge of Forever ( Arc id 36642) | The Cassini Division (Arc id 37104) X | The House of Gaunt Saints (Arc id 37489) X | The Spark of the Blind (Arc id 40403) | Damnatio Memoriae (Arc id 41140) X  The Eve of War (Arc id 41583) X

I Sing of Arms and the Man (Arc id 42617) | Three Sisters (Arc id 43013)

(Pre War Praetorian Loyalist.  Pre War Praetorian Resistance..  Pre ITF Cimerora.  Post ITF Cimerora. X = Dev Choice/Hall of Fame )

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Arc 15 from our first author on "TerroirNoir's Cable Channel of AE" Reviews is @Ankylosaur's All That Glimmers 2.3: Destruction in the Shadow Shard.

 

Mission 1: The Final Threat. Allianna is delighted to see Engineria again.  And I'm getting to like her too. Bringing us up to speed, two plots at destruction have been foiled but there's a third, one that Desdemona herself has gone to investigate. Except she's disappeared and anything that could harm her is obviously very dangerous. We've got some help from the Midnight Squad and they're helping with the Rularuu aspect of things as revealed by the existence of the Natterlings we found in the previous "Death" plot. Archivist Jaena from the Midnight Squad emailed Alliana with updates on this specific thing.

 

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So off Desdemona went in pursuit of knowledge. She was heading to Moth Cemetery, but the last contact was a message to Nadia, which was "TNNL CTN L8R".  So the TUNNEL system was used.  And Nadia can't find her using scrying. 

 

So I'm off to Toffett Terrace in Light Astoria to meet Alliana in person.

 

As soon as I get there I see explosions and lights and all sorts of issues.  Something is very much not right here.  Right.  Looks like the Midnight gang and Desdemona were on the right track! Rularuu's Might are here.

 

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I blast these invaders and get help from Forlorn commandos. The Forlorn have always been tough and I'll probably need their help with all this.

 

Oh dammit. A Raid Leader and I get instantly stunned.  Well that's going to be difficult.  (Wish I'd brought some purples!)

 

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Sonja and her minions really do not like me being here!  She's tough enough and I take some damage but I fall back on the old Rad Blast/Kinetics to get me out of trouble, mainly stealing health from them both to stay in the fight, and after a bit she's down.  Whew! A decimation I can't imagine?  What do you say to that?  You people are deluded.  

 

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Just up the street I find Alliana herself bound up in an energy field so I free her and we set about finding the remaining Raid Leaders.  We can't make progress on finding Desdemona with this going on in Light Astoria.  All a distraction to keep us away from searching I think.

 

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Moving through the tents in the central area we end up in a fight with cultists, and in the middle of the fight we get attacked by another of the Raid Leaders!  Well, at least we didn't have to go looking for him.

 

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He likes his storms and Alliana is thrown back across the green.  I resist that and steal some of his speed from him with Kinetics before bearing down on him and hammering him with Radiation.  And some grenades.  Definitely grenades.

 

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And then there were two to find.  It's a big area so I take my time (Plus I don't want to lose Alliana as I make my rounds, having her as back up is really useful!)

 

We find Samuel, wizard of Frost.  He has trouble with my Kinetics Repel in that it keeps bouncing him off the ground and he can't get a shot in, so Alliana and I just take him down fast.  I don't keep Repel on all the time because it can really eat into your endurance levels, but sometimes it is necessary!

 

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And finally Ian. Such a normal name for one who claims to be Rulurauu's Will.  Nasty man.  We blast the hell out of him, with the assistance of an Awakened Armor, which seems to be a very powerful piece of magical equipment.  Sort of a magic robot I think.

 

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Then we're done and Toffett Terrace is clear of invaders.  Alliana tells me we have to check out a pawn shop, before receiving a phone call from Nadia.

 

[Mission 1 = A simple clear the invaders mission, but as always driving the plot forward and filling in details of the schemes of the enemy.  Good stuff.]

 

Mission 2: A Threatened Pawn. Yep, that was a distraction! While Engineria and Alliana were dealing with the chaos the pawn shop we were going to check out, and which Desdemona had visited earlier, was broken into by the attackers.  So, time to investigate what the hell is going on over there and hopefully see what can be gleaned from whatever is left. I mean it's a pawn shop, how hard could that be?  I'm tempting fate now, aren't I?

 

The owner is a guy called Crazy Freddy.  I wouldn't be surprised if he has one of those wacky waving inflatable tube men outside his store with a name like Crazy Freddy.  Alliana gives me a special monocle thing to bring important things to light for searching.  Handy.  So...why didn't you give this to Desdemona? Or am I so magically inept that I need it and she didn't?  Meh. So slapping on my mp3 player I cue up "Rockin' Robin" and head over there.  Tweet! Tweet!

 

In the door (no tube men so boo to that) and I see that the Forlorn are here guarding the place.  Some of them know me!  Ah, fame.  Small f there.  Small f.

 

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Yep, there's Walt.  Hiya Walt!

 

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And I can hear Crazy Freddy in the back somewhere complaining.  I'll just drown that and skip forward to "Angel Baby" by Rosie & The Originals on the mp3 player.  Ah bliss. Nope.  I can still hear him, he's loud.  Idiot.  You might be happy to sell them stuff but they don't want to BUY it, they want to STEAL it.  I'm not defending thieves but Crazy Freddy is missing a major point of theft, not paying for things.

 

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Right, getting the magic monocle out I wave it around...or do I stick it in my eye?  Tape it to my goggles?  Whatever.  Ah, first thing I find is a receipt for a deactivated Rularularian hammer.  Whatever that is.  Apart from being a hammer of some kind obviously.  Desdemona also checked this out.  Not sure why Crazy Freddy would have this other than hoping for a sale.

 

And then I find the hammer, and it seems to be missing an eye.  Hammers have eyes?  Well ok then.  What's next?

 

I wander in to the back rooms and Crazy Freddy blindsides me!  What the hell is your problem?!  I don't want to have to take down the little business guy, but he's gotta stop trying to hit me.

 

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Right, that's it Freddy.  You're getting laid out like a cheap carpet.  And....oh, he's trying to keep me from his computer.  Right.  So what's on that?

 

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Ok then let's have a looksee at this.

 

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AHA!  Didn't we have mention of a visit to Moth Cemetery?  I think we did.

 

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Further searching reveals not so much things, as missing things, like a book about the Shadow Shard called The Traveler's Tome.  Finally I find a single use water bottle in the trash.  A bruised and sore Freddy tells me he never uses them, and do I know how much plastic is in the ocean?  Ok, one of the thieves then.  Yoink, that is coming with me.  CYA Freddy, and get that noggin of yours looked at. Time to report back to Alliana.

 

Alliana is curious about the hammer and its owners, she's never heard of them.  As for the rest?  Well it's time to cross refer to the Midnighters and Jaena.

 

[Mission 2 = Tidy little click and collect detection mission.  Each little bit of the puzzle creating more mystery.  Nice.] 

 

(@Ankylosaur some of the Liberated Brawlers at the end of the map were hostile, were they supposed to be?)

 

Mission 3: Destruction from Below. Alliana has good news.  Nadia has found the location of the thief.  And of course there's bad news.  He's somewhere in a mausoleum in Moth Cemetery.  So that's just dandy. If it's not Rularuu it's Mot the Devourer of all things nice, and I don't mean apple pie.  Hmm. apple pie. And Jaena from the Midnighters got back to us on the Rularularians.  And it's pretty interesting.  If a little screwed up!

 

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So, I'm going to get the aid of one of those Magical Robots, the Awakened Armors, and we're off to find a way in to the Shadow Shard. I think.  Anyway, off th a mausoleum in Moth Cemetery.

 

Right, I meet up with the Awakened Armor and then the two of us proceed onwards beneath the mausoleum.  It's pretty cavernous down here actually.

 

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Almost immediately we run into Corrina, the Mistress of Pain.  (Weird French juxtaposition in my head made her the Mistress of Bread!)

She's not a particularly happy person, then again none of these cultists seem happy about anything, apart from the chance to end the world.  I just don't get Death Cults.  I mean, what's in it for them? And I'M the puppet?  Delusional. However, we now know where Desdemona is!

 

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Dagnabit!  Stunned!  Corrina is a regular PITA.  

 

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But the Armor and I drop her and her minion before heading on, and lookee there!  It's...Unden. You all remember Unden?  No?  From that wild night in Paragon Dance Party a while back?  After the big reveal that Super Unknown had...no?  Well, it's definitely him.

And he's another miserable soul intent on ending everything. You can go when you want?  I wish you had then I wouldn't have to listen to your apocalyptic nonsense.

 

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Awakend Armor gives Unden a sword thrust that pretty much skewers him.  And down goes Unden.

 

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And we found the missing hammer.  

 

(Ok, @Ankylosaur, I'm a little confused.  Earlier I found a receipt for a hammer, then I found a hammer missing a central eye, so this hammer is a different hammer, yes?)

 

Plus the Traveler's Tome taken from Crazy Freddy's Pawn Emporium...or whatever he calls that place. There's a piece of paper tucked into the book with an address for a part of Astoria that the Ex-Praetorians haven't moved into yet.  So, someone is hiding nearby.  Good place to launch attacks from too I reckon.

 

And finally, this. Looks Like Des got set up.  I can see why someone would want her taken, she's powerful so would make a similarly powerful sacrifice, or however they try to justify their murders.

 

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Ok, Glowy Magic Robot Friend, back to chat to Alliana.

 

She puts the bits together rapidly.  TUNNEL, Hammer used to scry for the Rularularians, Desdemona to be Sacrificed, so time to get my Radiation/Kinetics self to the Shadow Shard and sort things out. 

Or not.  Ok, Noble Savage is handling that bit.  I'm to go check out the mysterious address I found in the book.  Ok, boss, I'm on it.

 

[Mission 3 = Good breadcrumb mission, following the clues to lead us to Desdemona/stop the Cultists.  And on we go!]

 

Mission 4: The Mysterious Address. Stepping into the location I can see cultists already, and over there it looks like they've managed to subdue my Magic Robot Friend, or one of them.  I'll go free him and we'll see what we can see.

 

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Yep, this is a different Awakened Armor than the last one.  I don't know how many of these Alliana and her friends have but they're seriously hard core, like having a two legged tank with you. And we are definitely in the right place because up ahead I can see Tatiana, Mistress of Sorrow.  Again with the misery!  These poor folks need a good party and some cake!  Someone to love them! Time to cue up the old mp3 player then.  On goes Be My Baby by the Ronettes, because that's a classic.

 

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Oh since the day I saw you, I have been waiting for you...unless it's Rularuu. 

Yeah, not gonna happen, Tatiana.  Love ya and all but you're getting stopped cold here.

 

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And she drops amd we move on. And the hits keep on coming, with Love Affair's Everlasting Love proving the lie to Millie the Mistress of Desire's statements.  Desire for what though?  It's not any sort of desire I recognize and frankly sounds like self loathing sprinkled liberally with "you're all going to die with me because I don't want to die alone!".  Mr. Awakened Armor, kindly bop Millie on the head because I'm currently immobilized.

 

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Well, my long and sad journey continues, no thanks to the now defeated Millie.  And now things get even more interesting as we come on, yep, Arachnos!

Well, for odd and mysterious magical cultism you should always look under the bed for Mu.  I mean, them and the CoT, but definitely Mu.

 

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But we wade in a make swift work of taking out Mu'Lathando.  Now that's a mouthful of a name or title.  Is there a book they choose these things out of?  

And no, I kinda did think you were using the Harbingers as pawns, because you know, that's your thing. Ok, time to check some Arachnos computers for data.

 

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Searching through the computers reveals a selection of emails mentioning Barracuda(!) and the red coral.  That's to an MD.  And there's another to a KS, apparently from Mu'Vorkan, where he's talking about his ascension to power.  Ok, so far so Mu'Vorkan there.  I mean from what I've heard he's always a bridesmaid and never the bride. Of course then we get interrupted by by Mu'Acthas and his friends.  He's the leader of the Death plot faction it seems.

 

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And we take him down rapidly.  Very rapidly.  That unfortunately leads to a little over confidence on the part of Engineria, as she then runs into Mu' Coqulta.  Now the running into Mu'Coqulta wasn't the issue.

 

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This was.

 

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To our right, concealed by some crates, is Mu'Vorkan himself and some allies.  Now it gets painful.  Awakend Armor gets turned off fast, just cooling metal on the floor.  And shortly after Engineria joins him.

 

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So yeah.

 

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I rez myself and carefully move out of sight and recover.  THEN I call Buddy.  Been a hot minute since Engineria and Buddy teamed up, but the guy is loyal and tough and now we're going to try to kick some spidery ass.

 

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Mu'Vorkan is first, and we lay into him, slowly pounding down his defences.  I fling some Envenomed Daggers in his chest and he staggers back.  Buddy just tears into him.  And we get him!  He's not a happy Mu today.

 

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Mu'Coqulta isn't as strong as Mu'Vorkan and we take him(her?) out fast.  Then we catch out breath. We're done here.  Time to gather the clues and head back to Alliana and report in.

 

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Alliana is surprised, then again she's Praetorian so she doesn't understand Arachnos and the whole seizing power thing they do. Of course they're behind it if you think about it long enough.  I mean, it didn't have to be them but now that it's laid out, you can see their hand in things.  She says this is beyond her, and she's going to talk to Nadia.

 

[Mission 4 = Oh, plenty of toughness in this one!  Don't go in here expecting a faceroll of a mission.  And further machinations revealed!  On we go to the deserved finale!]

 

(@Ankylosaur, there's a typo in the "Mu'Vorkan's Last Breath" clue.  Just a heads up.)

 

Mission 5: Stop The Destruction. So Engineria is talking to Alliana when Alliana gets a message on her phone and then rushes away to talk to Noble Savage.  She drops her phone and Engineria picks it up.  Oh boy, as Sam Beckett would say.

 

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And Engineria runs off to a portal!

 

Arriving in the Shadow Shard I see Midnighters fighting, well I suppose these are Rularulrians.  Although they seem pretty adamant that they are not aiding the Rulu-Shin.  Might be a mixed messages/crossed lines thing going on here.  Let's hope it's not too damaged to fix.

 

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Scooting up top I can see Noble Savage.  He's bound in an energy field so I'll see if I can get him out of that.

JEEZ LOUISE but these guys are dangerous!  That sword fang whatever nearly cut my head off!

 

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Yeah, yeah, yeah, gimme a second to pull myself together here, big guy.  I'm not dead but I got caught flatfooted and am redlining at the moment.  

 

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Ok, Noble Savage leads me to a cave entrance up beyond this platform base thing I found him on.  Looks very Nemesisy.  Nemesisssy?  You get where I going with that.  Anyway, we go inside and ...that looks rather bleakly ominous don'tcha think?  

 

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Man but these Rularularians are hella tough!  Against Engineria and Noble Save though (mainly him!) they go down and we free Desdemona from her energy cage thingy.

 

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Right now we have to find a guy called Nathaniel. Nathaniel the Scavenger.  Odd name but maybe in a place like this (such a weird place) being a scavenger is necessary.  It takes a little bit to find him, and we have to deal with several packs of Rularularians along the way, plenty of whom are already injured from taking out Midnighters.  And then we see him almost accidentally.  I just looked down after climbing to a high point on the platform!

 

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So jumping down Desdemona and Engineria tackle Nathaniel.  He's not a particularly happy man, and part way through our combat he confirms my suspicions!  His side have nothing to do with summoning Rularuu at all.  Looks like such a thing would be madness to them.

 

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It still doesn't stop him trying to kill me though!  So Desdemona (and all her little demons) and me drop him and catch our breath.  There's a stand off going on here now I think.  So it's time to talk to Alliana again.

 

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Getting back to Alliana she pretty much confirms all that.  The Midnighters jumped the gun on attacking the Rularularians in the Shadow Shard, completely screwed up on that and now won't come clean.  They're admitting nothing.  And it's our fault for giving them bad intel.  Or something.  And Jaena is not replying to emails.

 

That sounds damn petty to me.  Alliana says we're keeping an eye on the Arachnos thing because ...well, because Arachnos is obviously up to something.  Well, they're ALWAYS up to something except this time we have an inkling of what that might be.  But for now it's time for Engineria to go take a long bath and relax.  Is it me or does the Shadow Shard smell weirdly of cotton candy?

 

[Mission 5 = Tidy little mission where the revelation of Mission 4 pays off into the botched Midnighter attack. Really liked that resolution, good narrative there!]

 

Verdict. This arc builds on the earlier world building moments laid out in @Ankylosaur's Glitters/Glimmers AEs. A nice piece of wrongfooting and we witness the, I won't say naivety of the Praetorians, but their unfamiliarity with Primal Earth allows for plot that makes perfect sense for them, and also the Midnighters are arrogant as well in assuming the Praetorians are incapable of understanding.  Lot going on in this one!

 

Next up from @Ankylosaur is All That Glimmers 3.1: Shunting in Croatoa.

Next up on TerroirNoir's Cable Channel of AE Reviews is @cranebump's The Bleed 3: Wave, Landing.

Edited by TerroirNoir2
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