Arcanum: Slumming in Black Root

(This is part of my journey playing through Arcanum.  You can follow the entire series on the Nostalgia Lanes page.)

anchorVirgil and I finally make it up to Black Root, which I gather is a nautical-themed town based on the two tall ships nearby and the pub named “Drop Yer Anchor.”  Well.  THAT’S not loaded with innuendo.

So something funny about the game so far is that you’re pretty much conditioned early on to keep mum about the zeppelin crash, partially because there’s this cult trying to kill you for the ring.  And yet you have the option to tell a lot of people your story about the crash, which I keep doing because I get all sorts of interesting responses — including cold, hard cash.  A gnome in the inn gives me 100 gold out of pity.

A nearby giant lady, Clarissa, proclaims to be the master of thrown weapons.  She’s a little bummed that she’s mastered all save one:

clarissaIs that a sly call-out to the glaive from the movie Krull?  Because I’m thinking it is.

Anyway, Clarissa would totally join my party except that she’s “under contract,” so that stinks.  Am I to be saddled with Virgil forever?

The inn gives me a couple of quests: to retrieve a strongbox from the blacksmith for the innkeeper, and to find a lost archery student named Dudley.  You know what?  I want to play an RPG where adventurers come up to me and ask me what they can do for me.  I want to be waited on, hand and foot, like I do for these fools.  Pft.

thiefHeh, I like it when NPCs react normally to a stranger barging into their homes and ransacking the place.  To answer your question, I require your still-beating heart in the palm of my hand and all the gold you’ve got socked away.  No?  Oh well, I’ll be off.

I amble over to the blacksmith and confront him about the strongbox that he’s refusing to return to the innkeeper.  He whines that he did all this extra — unasked for — work on it, so when I call him out on this, he grudgingly says he’ll turn it over if he gets the original 50 gold price for repairs.  The only problem is that I’m down to 37 gold (bullets ain’t free, you know).  And when I go to the innkeeper — who is seriously about 30 feet away — he can’t be bothered to front the money, move his butt, or be helpful in any way.  Hm.

Because the fate of this world-defining quest rests upon my short shoulders, I trudge over to the herbalist, sell some fatigue restorer, and take my paltry wealth to the blacksmith.  “Here you go,” I say, handing over the next seven meals that I was planning to eat.  “Here you go,” he says, dumping a 20-pound box of iron in my lap.  I take it on an epic journey of 30 feet to the innkeeper, who takes it with thanks but — oddly enough — does not pay me back.  Oh, I get a free room out of it.  That’ll be nice to hold my slowly withering remains as I starve to death.

roomWe wander around and come across the railroad, which has the train from Back to the Future Part III:

trainNeat look, but I don’t need to use a train right now.  The conductor tells me that they offer rides to a couple major cities, but I don’t need to go there right now, so I tuck that information away.

There’s a less-than-upscale bar at the docks where a former priest named Dante is drinking his sorrows away.  I guess he used to be the head priest of Durnholm but the mad king kicked him out.  He also lets out this little bombshell:

danteWell, that’s going to make for a fabulous meeting with the mayor in a bit, I’m guessing.

I think Dante’s another potential companion, but like the other potentials I met before him, he’s not coming for no good reason.  I keep pumping points into Charisma, but I guess I’m just not awesome enough yet.  Come along, Virgil-dog.  Let’s go see the mayor.  And stop at someone’s house on the way to rob them blind, because I do that now.

So yeah, the mayor pretty much confirms what Dante said.  He’s split off from Durnholm and allied himself with Tarant.  So no taxes for me, I guess.  But he does mention a certain thievery problem that Tarant hasn’t solved yet.  Some dagger was stolen…

elfSTOLEN BY AN ELF.  I *knew* it.  It’s time to go Elf-punching, finally.  About dang time this game got good.

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One thought on “Arcanum: Slumming in Black Root

  1. If you want an RPG where NPCs are dying to help you, play Pokemon. Sure, the stories are probably way too kiddie for your tastes, but on the plus side, it’s not only a great RPG (in my probably totally biased opinion), but any NPCs that don’t want to battle you are probably only there to give you free stuff. (Granted, sometimes “free stuff” is only some piece of information or a varyingly amusing comment, but there are plenty of times when you’ll get some new item, and on rare occasions, certain people might even offer you a Pokemon. If you get any game, get Pokemon X or Y, and if you’re still considering, you might want to ignore any reviews that were published before the game actually went public, since online player interaction is a pretty important bullet point on the back of the box. Sure, it’s not the non-existent Pokemon MMO my kind has been clamoring for, but it’s a step in the right direction. A word of advice: if you get it, turn the 3D off. It’s not worth the lag.)

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