(This is part of my journey playing through Arcanum. You can follow the entire series on the Nostalgia Lanes page.)
Durnholm is already wearing out its welcome with me. It’s just a dreary place and stinks of its pro-magic agenda. A lady in the inn mentions that the big attraction in these here parts is the Pit — where criminals are sent to fight. Eh, might as well check it out.
Well we all know the CRPG version of Chekhov’s Gun — if a major place, person, or event is mentioned, chances are that you’re going to end up interacting with it. So I’m now counting down the minutes until I’m declared a criminal and sent down there to my doom. Awesome.
Lianna, a warrior-noble, spouts out some more exposition as to the sorry state of Durnholm. After a nasty battle with Tarant, in which Durnholm’s knights were slaughtered by guns, the old king died and it’s implied that a younger son somehow seized the throne (murder, perhaps?). Now everyone lives in fear and the kingdom is rotting. But at least they have a huge pit! That draws the tourists, no?
I take this opportunity to restock bullets at the local store, and I dump a bunch of junk that doesn’t seem to be selling anywhere. I also pick up the package for that alchemist back in Shrouded Hills because I CAN’T WAIT TO GO BACK THERE. Erm, my finger got stuck on the shift key, apologies.
Continuing my Barging Into Every House Tour ’13, I find a sobbing woman who’s all upset because a mean man has her ring. Well gee willikers, lady, I’d love to help you out but I’m on an important mission to find out something about another ring! Ring, ring, rings, rings and ghosts, that’s all this game is.
So I trot over to the docks, giving the Pit the stink eye as I do so, and talk with a rather crabby man who tells me to buzz off. Nearby, his son explains what’s really going on.
Yeah, so, these two folks had kids who were engaged but died in the plague, and now they play this weird game where she sends clueless adventurers like yours truly to get the ring back and the guy gets angry and yells them off. So time to break that cycle and get two old people to make kissy-face at each other, I guess. I go back to the guy and outright lie that the lady is attracted to him, and he gives me the ring to see if she’d go on a date. People, it’s 2013. The internet. Text messaging. Look it up. You do not need me for this.
But hey, quest complete, ding new level. And I just now realize that the UI has a row of quick use slots for items. Man I am so blind.
Virgil and I head over to the last building in the town, the castle. Like just about everything else in Durnholm, the castle is falling apart because I guess magic doesn’t have a good masonry union. I mean, egads folks, sweep up once in a while!
The inside ain’t much better. Really, you could take these environments and transplant them to the Fallout games, and there’d be little difference. The king does give me a quest to go get some money from a distant outpost, so… sure, I guess? I mean, I got nothing better to do.
I discover something interesting while traveling on the world map: You can uncover new locations by just passing near them. I know, this doesn’t sound major, but I thought that locations only appeared if someone in the game told you about them. I stumble across a wolf cave and decide to check it out.
The first room isn’t anything tough, just some sewer rats and pretty good loot, but the back rooms hold a ton of wolves and plague rats — and that spells one dead Syp. I’m going to leave the full plunder of this cave for a later date and time, preferably when I have a better fighter than Mr. I-Whack-Them-Slowly-With-My-Quarterstaff alongside me.