(This is part of my journey playing through Arcanum. You can follow the entire series on the Nostalgia Lanes page.)
Leaving Shrouded Hills might be more difficult than initially thought. A group of thieves guard a gate out of here, and they have no compunction against kicking the crap out of me and Virgil. I mean, go ahead and kick Virgil, that’s what he’s there for. But me? Have mercy!
To give him credit, Lukan is pretty dang amusing, especially in that he considers himself quite educated and yet mispronounces words all over the place. Less amusing are the options before me: kill him, pay 1000 gold to pass, or destroy the materials that the townsfolk are using to make a second bridge. Obviously, killing appeals the most and not just because my trigger finger is itchy. But this is a really tough fight — I can take Lukan down, but the ogres have a lot of hit points and hit like steam trucks.
I just don’t like any of these options. Paying thieves is something I never do in RPGs and I’m not going to help him out, either. It occurs to me there’s another option, if only I had a point in persuasion… but I’m out of character points and I need 400 or so XP to the next level.
So back to town to complete a quest or two! I feel like Bill Murray in Quick Change, where he can’t get out of New Jersey no matter what he does. The one quest I think I can knock off quick is the one to destroy the steam engine in the temple. The problem here is that the simple-minded dwarf tending to it gets upset if I try, so I have to kill him. In order to talk thieves out of stealing from me. Man, my morality is all over the place.
Now, to carefully place a few sticks of dynamite…
The dynamite only does about 2/3rds of the damage required, so I unequip my weapons and start punching the control box over the corpse of the dwarf I just murdered. Man, if only my hero dad could see me now! This is kind of a hilarious process, because I hurt myself and fatigue myself with the punches, meaning that I keep having to take breaks to heal up. At one point, I force Virgil to keep healing me so much that he passes out fromthe fatigue. Bodies everywhere in this place. Punch punch punch, rest, punch punch punch.
The XP I get from turning in the quest to the alchemist easily puts me over the top for another level, and I dump those newfound character points into persuasion. The alchemist gives me a follow-up quest to go somewhere to get something, so sure, why not.
On my way back to the bridge, I have a chat with the local constable, who is a complete coward. He’s all distraught that the steam engine’s broken and wonders if I can help. All I need is a sprocket. Oh hey, like this one in my pocket?
Let’s recap. I can’t get out of town because of thieves. To get rid of the thieves, I needed persuasion. To get persuasion, I needed a level. To get the level, I murdered a dwarf and punched a steam engine to death. Then I got a level, gold from the alchemist, and was able to sell the constable a part to repair the engine I destroyed. Man, I do feel unclean.
This kind of makes it worthwhile, however. I’m able to fool this idiot into believing that I’m a thief from the Thieves Underground in Tarant, and that he’s encroaching on someone else’s territory. He pays me 200 gold, gives me the bridge key, and runs off. And then the constable pays me even more for solving his problem. That is so awesome.
OK, I’m leaving this place now — and I mean it this time!