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Who is causing/sending all those monsters to the Surface? (Spoilers!)


SolarCobalt
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Even if you haven't done all the plague quests, the answer is... on the obvious side, IMO.  Of the three suspects, it would be incredibly out of character for two of them.

 

And it's revealed in the game... which has been out for 25 years now.  So probably most people here who've played the game know and can't really make a guess 🙂

 

 

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If you get up to the end of the Alien Beast section, you can't help but find out, whether or not you've guessed beforehand.

 

Spoiler

It is the Vahnatai, or at least a faction of them, evidence being crystal magic tech used in the Giant/Troglo section and the Golem bit.  Would have been easy to copy Erika's Rune, but then no reason for her to put her signature in the Slime Cave, though I don't know where they got dragon scales to put in the Filth Factory, where there's also a wave blade.  Though, there's a wave blade hidden in Hawke's Manse and I don't know if that means anything.

 

I'm also unsure who that ghost is that sometimes gives you hints, if it's the same ghost in the secret room in the animal enclosure in the town destroyed by slimes and if that ghost was the person who liked to hide treasure in animal enclosures.

 

I'm not sure how obvious it would be, I didn't guess beforehand and it doesn't seem too weird for any of the others.

 

There's also (kinda) various other plagues of monsters that are unrelated, or at most taking advantage of the empire not having the resources to deal with them at the moment.

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Ok, this is 25 years old, I'm giving up on spoilers.

 

The Vahnatai's desire for revenge is clearly documented in the previous game.  Of Rentar-Ihrno: "She is pleased at the revenge on Garzahd, but has not stopped devising ways to avenge us further on the Empire. We expect great things from her."  Of the Council: "The Council greets you happily. Already, minor spells and mischief are being worked against the Empire. Soon, they will start wreaking serious revenge."  And in the ending text when you win E2: "The Vahnatai are strange and alien, and they still have not taken their revenge on the Empire for the theft of the Crystal Souls. No, all is not settled with them. Yet."

 

In contrast, Erika's had 50 years to stew in Exile and the only revenge she's "devised" during that time has been a targeted assassination of Hawthorne.  In E1, as justification for this, she says that he "accelerated the pace at which people were exiled. He poured people down here like water! He is a tyrant, and tyrants must die."  She's clearly opposed to people being exiled, and she furnishes vital assistance to adventurers trying to find the surface and leave Exile for good.  She talks a lot about freedom.  So I do think it would be out of character for her to make the surface uninhabitable for her fellow exiles.

 

The dragons are a little more complicated, because there are three of them.  You could definitely see Sulfras wanting to take revenge, but perhaps not being patient enough to follow through.  I can't see Khoth (who was perfectly willing to deal with Empire humans prior to E1) keeping up the sustained focus on creating rampaging monsters either; it's just not their interest, and I don't know why they would go after podunk provincial territorities at all.  Athron, of course, is right out; they are the most reclusive and self-protective being in the series, and would never risk making themself a target of attention.  (Additionally, Athron and Sulfras also both assisted adventurers looking to leave Exile and return to the surface, so it would be an about-face for them, too, to want it uninhabitable.)

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On 10/1/2022 at 2:28 AM, handle with air said:

The dragons are a little more complicated, because there are three of them.  You could definitely see Sulfras wanting to take revenge, but perhaps not being patient enough to follow through.  I can't see Khoth (who was perfectly willing to deal with Empire humans prior to E1) keeping up the sustained focus on creating rampaging monsters either; it's just not their interest, and I don't know why they would go after podunk provincial territorities at all.  Athron, of course, is right out; they are the most reclusive and self-protective being in the series, and would never risk making themself a target of attention.  (Additionally, Athron and Sulfras also both assisted adventurers looking to leave Exile and return to the surface, so it would be an about-face for them, too, to want it uninhabitable.)

 

Actually, why did they choose Valorim to hit with the plagues anyway?  For that matter, why did the Exiles tunnel to there and why did the dragons decide to live there, is that all a coincidence?

 

Personally, Exile 3 was the first Spiderweb game I've ever come across, which I imagine is true of a lot of people, so I could see E1 and E2 not being that helpful to the story.

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Exile didn't tunnel to the surface, though, nor did they "choose" Valorim.  They teleported to another set of caves that already existed.  They didn't get to pick a continent -- they didn't even realize just how fortuitously unsettled Fort Emergence's surroundings were until they finally sent explorers to the surface.

 

It does seem plausible that all or most of Exile was (very deeply) below Valorim, specifically, given that that's also where the dragons ended up -- though the dragons do settle on the opposite end of the continent from Upper Exile.  I'm not sure if this is ever explicitly confirmed.  The fact that the Vahnatai also ended up there (and started the plagues there) might say less, given that they quite openly followed the exiles to Upper Exile and for some time Rentar-Ihrno resided there.

 

5 hours ago, Thaluikhain said:

Personally, Exile 3 was the first Spiderweb game I've ever come across, which I imagine is true of a lot of people, so I could see E1 and E2 not being that helpful to the story.

 

Hehehe.  Yes, if you haven't played them I suppose they can't really be helpful, can they!

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8 hours ago, handle with air said:

Exile didn't tunnel to the surface, though, nor did they "choose" Valorim.  They teleported to another set of caves that already existed.  They didn't get to pick a continent -- they didn't even realize just how fortuitously unsettled Fort Emergence's surroundings were until they finally sent explorers to the surface.

 

Ah, ok, I thought they chose Upper Exile on purpose because it was under Valorim.  But then they'd have to know what Valorim was like and would know about the plagues if they did, I guess.

 

Oh, that's a point, you run into various other Exiles on the surface, how come none of them mentioned the plagues or anything before you?  Or did they leave after you but went straight to wherever you find them while you were wandering around?  Also, didn't the Exiles scry and teleport samples down and stuff, why didn't they know about the plagues then?

 

8 hours ago, handle with air said:

It does seem plausible that all or most of Exile was (very deeply) below Valorim, specifically, given that that's also where the dragons ended up -- though the dragons do settle on the opposite end of the continent from Upper Exile.  I'm not sure if this is ever explicitly confirmed.  The fact that the Vahnatai also ended up there (and started the plagues there) might say less, given that they quite openly followed the exiles to Upper Exile and for some time Rentar-Ihrno resided there.

 

Dunno about the Vahnatai, didn't they teleport in their slime pools and filth factory stuff before Fort Emergence got built?  Unless their teleporters only work to a maximum depth and they had to be close up there.

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These are good questions.  We mostly don't have exact answers, because the game just isn't very specific about the timeline prior to your arrival.

 

Presumably Exile did know Valorim was the least-settled continent, already, since most exiles had previously lived on the surface.  New exiles had stopped arriving 16 years prior to E3, so they probably at least knew that Kriszan province existed, but possibly not many specifics about it.

 

In E3, it's very clear that you are the first to be officially allowed to emerge: among other things, Anaximander says "Don't forget ... The sooner you go out onto the surface and see what's going on, the better. All Exile waits to see whether it is safe to emerge or not."  In A3 this is retconned, and there is a previous party of failed surface explorers.  However, even in E3, as Gypsy says: "Volunteered to help build Fort Emergence. Slipped out onto the surface soon as I got the chance and never looked back. And I'm not the only one!"

 

As far as scrying: long-distance scrying was really, really hard in Exile.  The only folks who seem to be capable of it are (1) Erika, (2) the dragons, specifically Athron, and (3) a handful of specialist mage-sages like Aimee, Patrick, Thompson, etc. -- and even for them it seems challenging.  In E3 you get handed a crude map that's the result of Exile's best scrying operation: it basically amounts to "we think there's some mountains, a river, and a city in the southeast."

 

5 hours ago, Thaluikhain said:

Dunno about the Vahnatai, didn't they teleport in their slime pools and filth factory stuff before Fort Emergence got built?  Unless their teleporters only work to a maximum depth and they had to be close up there.

 

Teleporation was also really, really hard in Exile.  Long-distance teleportation (especially through solid rock) is consistently shown to require (1) a portal or beacon at one or both ends, (2) seriously involved augmenters, like crystals, and (3) laborious research to set up.  There was also a serious danger that ambitious teleportation projects could injure the fabric of space (as in E2) or allow demons in (as in all the games, especially E3).  It's very plausible that the Vahnatai had more skill here, particularly given the relevance of crystals.  But teleporting huge quantities of equipment from their own extra-deep caves, to all corners of Valorim, seems like a stretch.

 

E3 states that the earliest of the plagues appeared a little over a year before the game, while the Tower of Magi was first able to boost their teleporter's power enough to come near the surface about 2 years prior.  We don't really know the timeline for Fort Emergence, though.  If I had to guess, I'd say they developed the plagues in Egli or other magical laboraties; used Ghikra as a base for scouting other near-surface caves; and then recreated the plagues there.

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  • 3 months later...

Ok, bit of a necro-bump, but I'm playing E3 again for the first time in aaaages, and just done the roaches and slimes (weird doing them in that order, always did the slimes first before).  And in the tower owned by Jordan (the "archmage" who copied the slime making thingy) there's a Vahnatai cloak?  How would he get one of those?  Well, he did infiltrate the Slime Pit, so it makes sense.

 

(Also, the spirit in the destroyed town says something about you being "up here", so it seems that it's from Exile.  And there's an unnamed force that told the wizard tat gives you the Phoenix Egg to deal with the roaches to do so, but I still don't know who that is)

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Oh, just finished the Tower of Shifting Floors (I have 199 golem gems to sell now.  Also, argh!!!!!!), and the book there you get Mindduel from has Erika's name on it.  Also, there's razordisks and a hraithe there (not sure what's with the hraithe).

 

And then the evidence from this one unequivocally tells you who it is behind everything, making the above less important.

 

(Did the Vahnatai come to Ghikra via the Portal Fortress like everyone else in Upper Exile (barring monsters) did?)

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On the last question, almost certainly not.  It's never made explicit, but of the ToM/Olgai portal, we do get:

 

"This portal was Exile's connection to the lands of the Vahnatai. It still exists, but just barely. It flickers in and out of existance, and is clearly far too weak to use. The room is filled with dust. Nobody has been here in a while."

 

It also seems unlikely that they would have been willing to send all those Crystal Souls through the portal to Upper Exile.  And we know they had other ways up, since obviously none of the magic behind the Plagues went through the ToM.

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"You reach the end of the passage, and find it has been sealed. Thousands of tons of shattered rock close the tunnel off. You look at the ceiling and see the signs of a massive magical blow, used to cause the rockfall... It is clear that the Vahnatai have left your lands, and left for good. Two chilling questions hang in the thick, dusty air: Where did they go, and can they be stopped?"

 

This is how they leave Ghikra.  It's not entirely clear if it's the way they came, though it's a definite possibility.  You can't actually find it until they're gone.

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Oh, and in Ghikra there's a ghost messenger not unlike the other ones around, so yeah, that was probably one of the friendly Vahnatai being cryptic and not putting on a Vahnatai way of speaking.  And that it appearing in the secret room in the animal shed to give you hidden items is unrelated to the dead person who would secretly hide items in animal sheds.

 

Oddly, after the Vahnatai had departed, I still run into Vahnatai patrols looking for bandits, who I guess were left behind and nobody told them what was going on.

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