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A6 Ending Options/Text -- HUGE SPOILERS


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Pliant Giant Pliant Giant

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Posted 19 September 2015 - 07:20 AM #1 A6 Ending Options/Text -- HUGE SPOILERS

LINK: Summary of primary ending branches and Avernum's possible fates

PART ONE: NO CHANGES

The force of the portal increases, defeating all of your efforts to resist it. After working so hard to recreate the portal, you are, unwillingly, the first through it.


You fly through with great force and, after a horrible, tearing, vertiginous sensation, find yourself in another cavern. A group of startled Avernite soldiers are staring at you.

No. Not soldiers of Avernum. Soldiers of Upper Avernum. One steps forward, helps you to rise to your feet, and says, _Welcome to the Portal Keep. You're near the surface now._

Dazed and bruised, you and the Avernite warriors sucked through with you are taken to the city of New Cotra. Upper Avernum is another huge series of caverns, this time not far below the world's surface.

You are quickly debriefed by a series of commanders and generals, all desperate to know if the Great Portal is functioning. Once they believe that it is restored, they immediately leap to action.

Before the day is out, caravans of relief supplies are headed to the Portal Keep and barracks are readied for the next wave of refugees. The disaster all feared has been averted.

You immediately request permission to use the portal and return to Avernum. After all, much remains to do down there. Your homeland is still on the edge of chaos.

And yet, you soon receive a harsh reminder that you are still enlisted in the army. Permission is denied.

Perhaps your mistake was telling them all you had accomplished in Avernum. When you beg to return to the underworld, a general claps you on the shoulder. _I admire your loyalty to the old homeland._

_But you are valuable now. Not just as a warrior, but as a symbol. Those caves are the past. We need to look to the future. We need to build a new land for ourselves._

And thus, once you have barely enough time to rest and recover from your wounds, you find yourself at a huge stone gateway. Staring out into the sun.

You spent your whole life in Avernum, only imagining the sun. You had no idea how terrifying being outside on the surface could be. The burning sphere in the sky. The open space. The immensity of it all.

It takes weeks to adjust to it. It even takes several days just to be able to stay outside more than a few minutes at a time. But then you begin to adjust.

You grow used to warmth, and cool breezes, and rain, and even food that is not entirely fungus-based. It turns out that the surface world has many good points to it.

And then you are rushed to the frontier. Upper Avernum has land on the surface, in the wildest regions of the continent of Valorim.

This is the land given to Avernum by the Empire. It is harsh and wild, but, compared to the underworld, it is as threatening as a light wind. You set to work, building forts and settlements.

And the refugees keep coming. They flow through the portal, reducing the population of the Underworld until few enough remain below to survive on the food available.

It is hard work, calming the new arrivals, settling them, and keeping them safe. All insist on strong defenses, remembering well the cruelty of the Empire in the past.

But the leaders of the Empire know well that free Avernum still exists far below. They remember the assassination of cruel Emperor Hawthorne and the consequences of underestimating the underworld.

The Empire could try to crush New Avernum. They might even succeed. But the future emperors know the possible consequences of angering the cave folk, and they enjoy having a country the rebellious can move to. Upper Avernum survives.

And thus, promoted to commander, you carry out the rest of your military career. Not enduring war, but building a proper and lasting peace. It is a good life, busy and rewarding. There is but one regret.

At times, you miss the caves. The enclosure, the harsh beauty, even the food. As your responsibilities grow heavier, Avernum grows wilder and more remote. The portal becomes older and weaker, and fewer are allowed to use it as time passes.

The surface becomes your true home. For you are never able to set foot in Avernum again.

And what happens to Avernum? What was the final fate of your homeland, the site of so many wars, so many adventures, so much joy and sorrow?

The Blight was never cured. The lack of food in Avernum meant that it was destined to have a small population. Only the bravest and strongest lived there, sustained by a meager diet of fish, lizard meat, and cavewood fruit.

Most Avernites flee to the surface, settling in Upper Avernum and leaving a small population behind that can survive on the available food. But what happened to them?


PART TWO: MELANCION / GLADWELL


(1) Melanchion dead

Once, Avernum seemed destined to fall under the control of the dragon Melanchion, the creature who cunningly plotted and gained power and emerged to take control.

But then you slew the great wyrm. In his absence, the smaller species were able to compete freely. The dragon's death meant that the peace it was going to enforce never came to be.

Avernum continues to be a place of constant warfare. The remnants of the Slith Horde, the Fang Clan, the Avernites, the drakes, the giants, all competing for pieces of land to call their own.

Sometimes, groups of militant vahnatai come to claim what they feel was stolen from them. And then there are rebels from the Empire lands above, both friendly and hostile to the dwellers below. And the occasional demon.

Avernum is a wild place, where the strong and cunning survive. As it was in the beginning.

But of course, Avernum is not just a place but a nation. The humans, nephilim, and slithzerikai who gather under its crown banner stick together. Their numbers much reduced, they retreat to the Great Cave and the Tower Colony.

Understanding that survival requires unity, they band together, fortify the forts and tunnels, and protect themselves from the constant, swirling chaos outside.

The Great Portal remains the lifeline to the surface, and control of it keeps the nation of Avernum the dominant power in the underworld.

(1-A) Gladwell not empowered
Avernum, while smaller, remains relatively unchanged. King Starrus maintains his rule, and his wisdom guides his nation through a painful period of contraction and adaptation.

At one point, the wizard Gladwell attempts to unseat him and take charge, but the eccentric mage's efforts come to naught. He is banished to the Abyss, and little more is heard from him after.

(Though who knows what would have happened if the wizard Gladwell had survived to claim his considerable power?)

The Castle and the Tower Colony (once rebuilt) are the centers of learning, and Almaria and Dharmon are the primary cities. Mertis, now on the border, becomes a major trading hub. Blosk and Silvar are abandoned.

(1- B) Gladwell empowered

Avernum struggles to adapt through a painful period of contraction and adaptation. The terror of the dark days of Blight and war are not easily forgotten. Fortunately, a mighty wizard emerges to provide guidance.

Gladwell comes to the Great Cave and displays the awesome power he has gained. The Avernites eagerly flock to him, and he easily displaces King Starrus. His rule is beneficial. (If often cold and arbitrary.) And it lasts a very long time.

The Castle and the Tower Colony (once rebuilt) are the centers of learning, and Almaria and Dharmon are the primary cities. Mertis, now on the border, becomes a major trading hub. Blosk and Silvar are abandoned.


(2) Melanchion survives

At first, the underworld seems to be on the verge of chaos and ceaseless warfare. But there is a new power, to the north.

The dragon Melanchion was quiet as it settled in, found followers, built defenses, and gained influence. As most of the residents of the underworld fled toward the light, Melanchion remained silent no longer.

The mighty drake began to contact those who remained, offering them protection, in return for tribute. It was not an offer that could be safely refused.

(2-A) Enough of Melanchion's rivals remain

Some accept the offer, allying themselves with the drake. Some fight back. Melanchion had not been able to eliminate enough of his rivals before the Great Portal was restored to grab absolute power.

Avernum continues to be a place of constant warfare. The remnants of the Slith Horde, the Fang Clan, the humans, the drakes, the giants, all competing for pieces of land to call their own.

Sometimes, groups of militant vahnatai come to claim what they feel was stolen from them. And then there are rebels from the Empire lands above, both friendly and hostile to the dwellers below. And the occasional demon.

But thanks to the strength of Melanchion's alliance, the warfare is far less than it would have been. And what of the nation of Avernum? Those who gather under its crown banner stick together.

Their numbers much reduced, they retreat to the Great Cave and the Tower Colony. Understanding that survival requires unity, they band together, fortify the forts and tunnels, and maintain an uneasy peace with the dragon.

The Great Portal remains the lifeline to the surface, invaluable for trade. Control of it keeps the nation of Avernum on equal footing with the dragon.

(2- B) Enough of Melanchion's rivals defeated

Some accept the offer, allying themselves with the drake. Some fight back. They soon find Melanchion was able to eliminate most of his rivals before the Great Portal was restored. Nobody remaining has the strength to oppose his ascension.

Avernum finally achieves peace, of a sort. The remnants of the Slith Horde, the Fang Clan, and the giants all compete for pieces of land to call their own. Sometimes, groups of militant vahnatai come to claim what they feel was stolen from them.

The dragon allows this, as long as the violence doesn't get too intense. Nothing is allowed to disrupt his flow of tribute. The dragon usually keeps to himself, but all live in terror of attracting his gaze.

But of course, Avernum is not just a place but a nation. The humans, nephilim, and slithzerikai who gather under its crown banner stick together. Their numbers much reduced, they retreat to the Great Cave and the Tower Colony.

Understanding that survival requires unity, they band together and fortify the forts and tunnels. However, none can stand with them to oppose the dragon. Avernum soon joins those who pay the creature tribute.

The Great Portal remains the lifeline to the surface, and control of it gives the nation of Avernum some influence in the underworld. As long, of course, as Melanchion gets all he wants.

(2-B-I) Gladwell not empowered

Avernum is small and must submit to the dragon, but its proud spirit remains relatively unchanged. King Starrus maintains his rule, and his wisdom guides his nation through a painful period of contraction and adaptation.

At one point, the wizard Gladwell attempts to unseat him and take charge, but the eccentric mage's efforts come to naught. He is banished to the Abyss, irritates the dragon with his ambition, and disappears soon after.

(Though who knows what would have happened if the wizard Gladwell had survived to claim his considerable power?)

The Castle and the Tower Colony (once rebuilt) are the centers of learning, and Almaria and Dharmon are the primary cities. Mertis, now on the border, becomes a major trading hub. Blosk and Silvar are abandoned.

(2-B-II) Gladwell empowered

But Avernum will be free. It chafes at the demands of the dragon. The people demand that they crown fights back, and old King Starrus is not up to the task. Fortunately, a mighty wizard emerges to provide guidance.

Gladwell comes south and displays the awesome power he has gained. The Avernites eagerly flock to him, and he easily displaces King Starrus. At last, Melanchion faces a power equal to its own. Slowly, Gladwell restores Avernum's influence and power.

The Castle and the Tower Colony (once rebuilt) are the centers of learning, and Almaria and Dharmon are the primary cities. Mertis, now on the border, becomes a major trading hub. Blosk and Silvar are abandoned.


PART THREE: ABYSS

And what of the rest of Avernum?

(A-1) Spire/Bargha truce

The Abyss maintains its independence. Spire and Bargha, facing a wild and uncertain world, set aside their differences at last. While always in Avernum's shadow, it remains a place of rogues, criminality, and raucous freedom.

(A-2) Bargha defeated

The Abyss fails to maintain its independence. The destruction of Bargha's power left little behind the rogues there could use to defend themselves. After a long, gruesome war, the giants finally achieve their long-sought goal of destroying the Abyss.

(A-3) Abyss controlled by Melanchion

The Abyss fails to maintain its independence. Melanchion smoothly moves in and takes control. The Abyss gains the safety it has long craved, at the cost of the freedom it valued above all.


PART FOUR: NO CHANGES AFAIK

The vahnatai, meanwhile, have learned the harsh lesson of what happens when they don't zealously guard their homelands. They never again entirely go to sleep. Unwelcome intruders in their lands meet quick and gruesome ends.

However, the vahnatai are still a peaceful and thoughtful people at heart. They maintain cordial (if distant) relations with the races with whom they must share the underworld.

The Anama continue to exist. Always giving their counsel, about the wisdom of self-restraint and the danger of power. And always being ignored.

Upper Avernum lives as long as the Empire does. Everybody is surprised to find that the leaders of the Empire, remembering the danger of angering the underworld, allow it to survive. They keep their end of the great bargain.

It is a small, cramped land, filled with immigrants too bright and unpredictable to remain in the Empire. And it is this quirky and independent population that helps Upper Avernum to survive and flourish.

The Slith Horde survives as well. Much of the northern land they seized from Avernum remains in their control. The reduced population of Avernum doesn't need it and couldn't defend it if they had it.

Now that the savage slithzerikai have regained most of the land they lost when humans arrived in the underworld, their honor is restored. They maintain an uneasy peace with Avernum.

Of course, if their vicious leaders had not been destroyed, this would not have been possible. Thus, you deserve the credit for much of the new peace.

And the Empire survives. The strife and the madness of its leaders are left behind. It enters a quiet middle age, full of peace, firm and calm control, and a long and gentle stagnation.

Of course, as all such nations must, the Empire eventually crumbles and splits apart in acrimony and violence. But this is a tale of the far future.

Though some Darkside Loyalists still live, they are, in the end, too weak a force to make a real difference. Emperor Redmark, as he promised, hunts them all down.

And Avernum remains, for many centuries, as it is now. A wild place, of freedom, adventure, and danger. A dark land of magic and wealth, for those strong enough to claim them.

Dragons, demons, wizards, assassins, all come and go. None are ever able to completely master those many miles of tunnels.

Avernum returns, in a way, to its original purpose. Those misfits who can never fit in on the surface are always drawn there, though now they go willingly. And sometimes they return, richer or wiser. Or in urns.

It is always there, always in people's minds, in their dreams, a wild place, untamed and untamable, that, whether they like it or not, truly exists. Under their feet.

The free, dark, deadly, welcoming, undying shadow image of the world. Waiting for whomever would challenge it.

The End.
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Xander77 Xander77

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Posted 19 September 2015 - 08:14 AM #2 A6 Ending Options/Text -- HUGE SPOILERS

Thanks again. Very few changes, all things considered.

Pliant Giant Pliant Giant

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Posted 19 September 2015 - 08:25 AM #3 A6 Ending Options/Text -- HUGE SPOILERS

Yeah.  I was surprised there weren't more, given A6's reputation as having many different endings.  Really it's just one ending, with some nuances about the balance of power.
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Lilith Lilith

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Posted 19 September 2015 - 05:45 PM #4 A6 Ending Options/Text -- HUGE SPOILERS

The biggest oversight in the endings is that I'm pretty sure there's nothing actually stopping you from finishing the game without defeating the Slith Scourge, and the game doesn't acknowledge this in any way.

BTW, I think the second and third lines you've put under the "Gladwell not empowered" heading are mutually exclusive; the second one looks like it should play if Gladwell is alive but his quest line isn't completed, and the third one should play if he's dead.

Pliant Giant Pliant Giant

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Posted 19 September 2015 - 06:23 PM #5 A6 Ending Options/Text -- HUGE SPOILERS

I was wondering about those lines.  (Actually, I originally had them separated, then edited it out.)  They look like they ought to be exclusive, but I'd believe they are used together anyway.  Does anyone else remember one way or another?
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Posted 19 September 2015 - 06:48 PM #6 A6 Ending Options/Text -- HUGE SPOILERS

View PostSlartibus, on 19 September 2015 - 06:23 PM, said:

I was wondering about those lines.  (Actually, I originally had them separated, then edited it out.)  They look like they ought to be exclusive, but I'd believe they are used together anyway.  Does anyone else remember one way or another?

My memory is telling me it works the way I described, although I wouldn't literally bet my life on it.

Pliant Giant Pliant Giant

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Posted 19 September 2015 - 07:26 PM #7 A6 Ending Options/Text -- HUGE SPOILERS

Here's a new summary of the primary ending branches.
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Triumph Triumph

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Posted 19 September 2015 - 07:39 PM #8 A6 Ending Options/Text -- HUGE SPOILERS

And to be clear, the status of Melanchion's "rivals" is based on how many of the dragon's quests you complete, correct?

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Lilith Lilith

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Posted 19 September 2015 - 08:40 PM #9 A6 Ending Options/Text -- HUGE SPOILERS

View PostTriumph, on 19 September 2015 - 07:39 PM, said:

And to be clear, the status of Melanchion's "rivals" is based on how many of the dragon's quests you complete, correct?

Yep. Doing all 4 quests gives Melanchion the ability to expand his influence and doing the bare minimum of 2 keeps him in check; I dunno which way it splits if you do 3.

Pliant Giant Pliant Giant

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Posted 20 September 2015 - 05:18 AM #10 A6 Ending Options/Text -- HUGE SPOILERS

I don't think I realized before just how melancholy even the best ending for Avernum is.  Sheesh.
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Xander77 Xander77

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Posted 20 September 2015 - 11:23 AM #11 A6 Ending Options/Text -- HUGE SPOILERS

View PostSlartibus, on 20 September 2015 - 05:18 AM, said:

I don't think I realized before just how melancholy even the best ending for Avernum is.  Sheesh.
See my point about "this reads like 'the bad ending'" in the thread that prompted this.

I got 3 out of 4 for the dragon (didn't kill the Vanhantai) and got the "powerful" ending.

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Posted 20 September 2015 - 11:56 AM #12 A6 Ending Options/Text -- HUGE SPOILERS

The ending was just enough of "the final chapter" to make a permanent end to the Avernum universe with just enough material left over that he could change his mind and produce a sequel in the decades to come.
Basically, "lets not burn all the bridges to the past"
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Posted 13 October 2015 - 01:59 AM #13 A6 Ending Options/Text -- HUGE SPOILERS

I agree, Darth Ernie. And also I feel like it's a rather fitting to have such an ending to Avernum. This way the underworld remains as a wild place, rather than becoming a place ruled by a single entity. It's like returning to the beginning from whence the underworld was once shaped, completing a circle, in a very bittersweet way.




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