(This is a continuing series detailing my playthrough of Planescape Torment. You can check out the whole run on the Nostalgia Lane page.)
I’m hot on the trail of my much-desired mortality, and have landed myself in the Outlands as a result. The place is another desert-like affair, and immediately on zoning in I’m attacked by about 15 froggy creatures. My team’s pretty solid at this point, however, and we emerge relatively unscathed. Plus, they’re frogs. There’s a reason why frogs aren’t the dominant lifeform on the planet, and that’s because they go squish now.
Outlands isn’t that big of a place, fortunately. A big skeleton serves as the home of Fjuwhatever the fiend’s home. He severely freaks out (in a hilarious way) when I bring Fall-From-Grace in, but he’s not hostile. Trias apparently tricked the fiend into signing a contract to make him do charity work, which gives me a little bit of leverage. I’m charity work defined, buddy!
Between bouts of moaning and complaining, the fiend says that my mortality is being held somewhere called the Fortress of Regrets. I’m guessing that’s where Superman goes after a bad date. So how do I get to this fortress?
Fhjull says that there’s a pillar of skulls (which sounds quite familiar — it’s where I found Morte, after all) in Baator that could help me get to the Fortress. To thank him for his service, I rob Fhjull blind by asking him for everything in his home. Charity!
With that, I pop through another portal and end up in Baator. It’s another desert area, just… redder. Not much to do here than fight a bit and find the pillar. When I do find it, it’s a suitably disturbing monument of slightly moving faces and heads. It’s even worse when you realize that it’s predicting that something bad is coming *right now*, that it requires a price for any knowledge imparted, the babbling voices on the audio track, that it dearly wants Morte back, and that Pharod is one of the heads.
Yay nightmare fuel!
I ask the pillar how to get to the Fortress of Regrets. It says that I used to know and still have the key — just to write the word “regrets” on my flesh — but the location of the portal is only known by one I’ve met and who’s lied to me.
Trias. Also known as Trias the Betrayer. Soon to be known as Trais Who Dared Cross Syp and Now Wears His Bottom For a Hat.
Every question you ask the pillar demands something to be taken from you. The first question can be paid by the knowledge of where Fjull is (I lied). But I needed to ask a second question: How to get off of this plane? And then I’m given a choice: to give up Morte, to give up Fall-from-Grace, to give up Annah, or to let it have a taste of my blood. It sucks, but I have to go with the latter — there’s no way I’m giving up a party member. As a result, I lose 15 HP for good.
And this is where I got into trouble. Like bad trouble.
What happened is that I backed myself into a corner and didn’t realize it until it was too late. The way that I always play RPGs is that I save in three files (temp 1, temp 2, temp 3) along with auto-save, and that’s usually enough. What I should do — and have done in the past — is create an additional save for major game milestones. But this is not the case in Baator.
So when I left the pillar of skulls and headed for the exit portal, I realized that my party was seriously beat up. It’s amazing how quickly that can happen in this game. I had only three characters, including my main one, with any degree of health left. And standing between me and the exit portal is EVERY DEMON IN THE ZONE. Well, at least 20 or 25 of them, more than enough to chew me up.
And I realize that I have no health spells, no health potions left… and all of my saves are now in Baator, so it’s not like I can back up and buy a bunch of potions in an earlier zone. I’m seriously screwed. I spent a half-hour trying out different tactics: I tried juking a character around the mobs to activate the portal (no dice). I sent just my main character alone to try to tackle mobs one at a time, but he got killed too fast. I kited and attempted to move the rest of my group in. Nothing.
I’m starting to panic. Apart from activating a god mode on one of the installed mods I have, I can’t see a way to get past this point. And I’m so very close to the end of the game that it would kill me not to finish it.
Ever been in a similar situation in an RPG? It sucks, it really really does.
Fortunately, after a lot of trial and error (and reloads), I’m able to do the kite-and-blitz thing, get to the portal, and zone back to Outlands. Where I am, of course, set upon by seven mobs who kill half of my party. But at least I’m back, I can rez, and I can rest in the fiend’s home. Progress!
Feeling a second wind at my back, I get the location of the portal back to Curst (right next to the butt of the skeleton, the fiend is delighted to tell me) and head back there. Only something… something is wrong.
Curst is gone.