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Thoughts and questions from my current A2:CS playthrough...


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Was hoping to do this after I completed the game, but I have unfortunately come to an impasse. Again, as with my other forum topic, I'd rather not look things up since I encountered a huge spoiler the last time I did that. So, please, bear with me... spoilers may follow, if that is necessary.

 

Thoughts thus far:

- I felt like the aesthetic cohesion of the world in A2:CS as opposed to A:EFTP is greatly improved.

- Does light from candles, lanterns, etc. have any real usefulness/purpose ? I've been collecting things that produce light since A:EFTP and I have no idea why.

- No stealing while townsfolk are watching?!

- Seeing poor Jen in Formello made me sad after playing A:EFTP

- It was fun to see an abacus added.

- No attacking anything anywhere at random?! WHAT!? MUH FREEDUMS!!!

- Had a weird "elephant in the room" moment when I went to see King Micah after I straight murdered that guy in the first game.

- Is there an actual language to the pylon and vahnatai writing or is it simply creative gibberish?

- Nice touch with getting rejected from quests or areas based on your reputation and/or rank.

- Motivation to craft things other than Energy Elixirs went way up.

- What amount of time passed between A:EFTP and A2:CS?

- Holy s***... Kyass...

- My impasse: It's pretty much impossible for me to progress without reducing my difficulty below torment now (which I, for some reason, cannot physically bring myself to do because I'm stupid). All 4 characters are level 30+, and my build did NOT work. Not sure exactly how many hours I put into this game thus far, but I have to now make a new game very late into it (If I want to finish any of the 3 main quests).

- All time taken to answer my questions are greatly appreciated :). Wish I'd found these gems when they were called "exile".

 

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17 minutes ago, theloathable said:

- What amount of time passed between A:EFTP and A2:CS?

 

Approximately six years, based on the handful of chronological references in the games.

 

It was very disappointing to see Kyass gone.  His entire settlement was not in Exile:EFTP or Avernum 1, it was new content in A:EFTP.  A2:CS doesn't really have that kind of new content, unfortunately.

 

I can't quite tell if you're asking for build advice or not.  If you are, I wrote a fairly compact primer here, and you can find more info in A2:CS Strategy Central.

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Lighting works in most games, you can tell if the item in your backpack has the same icon as with potions and wands to use, to increase the area you can easily see in dark areas. It doesn't work in some special areas where monsters are meant to sneak up on you and you can only see a few squares around you like the Mertis Spiral.

 

You can steal while townsfolk watch, but there are different levels of how much you can take before they get hand and attack. Some places let you take everything and others attack after one item,.

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12 hours ago, Sealing Librarian said:

It was very disappointing to see Kyass gone.  His entire settlement was not in Exile:EFTP or Avernum 1, it was new content in A:EFTP.  A2:CS doesn't really have that kind of new content, unfortunately.

 

I've long thought that a better ending for him would be a note found in the wreckage that he & a few followers were headed north.  If A5 is ever redone Jeff could add a new area with their survivors/wreckage of a new town (maybe somewhere near the Drake Pillars - as they would have been one of the first human explorers down the river (probably wreckage as otherwise there would have to be a lot of rewriting history). 

 

****

 

Anyway,

 

theloathable, you say that you're at around L30 but don't say 'where' you are in the game/where or why you're stuck.  Are your guys/gals glass cannons, able to deal out a lot of damage but get crushed when any damage is dealt to them?  All your money spent on training in 'all' spells rather than the ones that you use the most?  Etc.   I know that you don't want spoilers, but with no information on what/how you're doing it's hard to give any advice ("well, if you're at 'x' place, why don't you go do the easier 'y' quest rather than the 'z' one that you're leaning towards").

 

I don't generally play on torment, but of the three game ending quests, I always found the alternate exit one the easiest of the three fwiw.

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20 hours ago, theloathable said:

- Does light from candles, lanterns, etc. have any real usefulness/purpose ? I've been collecting things that produce light since A:EFTP and I have no idea why.

They're mostly just grandfathered in from the prior iterations of the games. In Exile/Avernum (not the Avernum re-remakes at hand), some areas are pitch-black to the extent that you cannot see more than a few tiles in any direction without lighting. In the re-remakes, lighting objects are just kind of an unnecessary novelty. You can still see pretty well without them, and having a light source doesn't eg let you see interactable objects you wouldn't otherwise. (The older games also had a "light" spell that rendered light sources mostly irrelevant, too.)

 

20 hours ago, theloathable said:

- Is there an actual language to the pylon and vahnatai writing or is it simply creative gibberish?

The pylon syllables are, I believe, ostensibly mystical coordinates describing the location of the pylons. We don't get any substantial samples of Vahnatai text, mostly just names and honorifics and a smattering of random words. There's no underlying constructed language to either, though Vahnatai honorifics (-Bok, -Ihrno, etc) are an internally-consistent indicator of an individual Vahnatai's social status.

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@Sealing Librarian That most certainly does make Kyass' departure from the trilogy that much more sorrowful. Though he was kind of a dick, it would have been interesting to see how an adolescent nation progressed with the invasion of the empire. I wasn't necessarily looking for a guide for character building, but I read through your post and it just seems like I need to get rid of my tank. (Party = Tank, Priest, Mage, Mage/Priest). Thanks for the link.

 

@Randomizer I understand that light CAN be used, I just never figured out anything BENEFICIAL from their use. If I understand your post correctly, you're saying that it can allow me to see upcoming enemies around corners a little better, etc. If that is the case than light would be (sort of) essential for a torment play-through, but I have not experienced that. Also, I have never been able to attack any peaceful NPC or steal anything while an NPC is in view. This trait for me was specific to A2:CS, and not applicable to A:EFTP.

 

@TriRodent My party consists(ed) of an adrenaline rush pole-arm tank, 2 mages, and a mage/priest hybrid. Cash is of no consequence. I haven't sold a single crystal I've found and I still am having a difficult time keeping my gold from maxing at 30000 (I am a patient thief). From what I read of Sealing Librarian's guide topic, I need to drop the tank and just get another mage/priest. As for my location, I am trying to get into Pyrog's Lair. I can barely get enough buffs casts to keep my party alive long enough to do any damage. Eventually, my priest dies and I'm f***ed after that. I went to the tower of elderan (i think that's what it's called) a little earlier than I probably should have and found out about the crystal at Ornotha Ziggurat. If I go to Haledon and try to get the crystal back I die. I tried about a million different tactics, but unfortunately the Vahnatai and I die and I assume Avernum also dies with our passing. I blame King Micah.

 

@googoogjoob Copy that on the pylons. I sort of understood the general social/class hierarchy of the Vahnatai, but there is alien writing all over the map. If I remember correct it even had a legend with Vahantai writing next to it. I'll have to go back and see if I match up some things... I am intrigued. 

 

Thanks a lot for the responses :D.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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On 11/19/2020 at 10:12 PM, theloathable said:

I sort of understood the general social/class hierarchy of the Vahnatai, but there is alien writing all over the map. If I remember correct it even had a legend with Vahantai writing next to it.

 

The Vahnatai writing on the the Vahnatai map in Avernum 2 was cracked some time ago. It’s actually just a simple substitution cypher into English, with each Vahnatai glyph corresponding to an English letter. In other words, all the text on the map is essentially in English!

 

I don’t think the cypher itself has been posted before, so I had a bit of fun this evening putting together a reference sheet for it. Now, should anyone wish to write in the Vahnatai language in their own fan-created works, or in the Blades engines, they can do so using a set of symbols endorsed by one of Spiderweb’s own games!

 

So, without further ado, here are symbols we know for Spiderweb’s Vahnatai script:

 

WDhFY4f.png

 

Note that the resolution on the map means that not all of the letters resolve very well. I’ve done my best to pick up the shapes, but it’s possible that some of the glyphs are not exactly identical to the original artwork.

 

Thankfully, most of the English words on the map are fairly easy to guess, particularly with the legend provided, so cracking the cypher isn’t too tricky. There is one curiosity, though: in the legend, the words ‘water’ and ‘lava’ are swapped over. It’s not clear why this should be, although it could be an oddity with the Vahnatai language itself (or with the language-comprehension magic placed on the party in this game) – after all, given their location underground, the Vahnatai may actually be more likely to come across lava than water.

 

You’ll also see the ‘E’ glyph written several times around the northeast corner of the map. The implication is that this is a warning of some kind, an indication that these areas are dangerous for travellers. This could be an abbreviation for something (say ‘Evil’), but it could also be something symbolic – much as ‘X’ is symbolic on maps we’re familiar with to represent a goal or location.

 

Interestingly, the words written on the map mean we actually have substitutions for the majority of the letters in the English language, including all the vowels. Although, rather unhelpfully for the Vahnatai language, we’re missing an H!

 

Incidentally, if you’re interested in the Vahnatai language as a whole, you might like to know about an old community effort to compile a Vahnatai language from examples shown in the games. This wasn’t done in a particularly scholarly way, I believe, but the final result is rather appealing. That result is ‘Novah’, the community’s own Vahnatai language!

 

Take a look here for information from Encyclopaedia Ermariana:

 

https://encyclopedia.ermarian.net/wiki/Novah

 

You might also want to take a look at one of the original sources, which is laid out rather nicely:

 

https://web.archive.org/web/20140202140642/http://www.sitemouse.com/users/drakefyre/vahnatai.html

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@Ess-Eschas This is fantastic. I greatly appreciate you taking the time to post this. Thanks for the links :).

 

37 minutes ago, Ess-Eschas said:

There is one curiosity, though: in the legend, the words ‘water’ and ‘lava’ are swapped over. It’s not clear why this should be, although it could be an oddity with the Vahnatai language itself (or with the language-comprehension magic placed on the party in this game) – after all, given their location underground, the Vahnatai may actually be more likely to come across lava than water.

 

^ That is a splendid. I could understand how an overlap like that could translate to "flowing liquid" in some such way.

 

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