68 – Planescape Torment

–This is like my 6th attempt at Planescape: Torment. I’ve only been able to get out of the mortuary once before; I’ve just gotten past the part I stopped at during that play through.

There’s no particular reason for this: Im not the hugest fan of the Infinity Engine or this incarnation of DND mechanics–is this second or third?–but it’s largely been a case of, not the right game for this time in my life.

I’m not the kind of person who gets hung up on these kinds of things. I used to. If a canonical work didn’t grab me, well I would blame myself, or act snobbish, or pretend I had played/read it. I’m over that, largely because I’ve gotten to that age where I’ve discovered and fallen in love with some stuff I previously dismissed–Might and Magic being the most obvious example.

I think it’s the right time for Planescape: Torment now.

–One of the first things everyone will tell you that the great thing about Torment is there’s no combat, or combat is optional, or whatever. That’s not entirely true. In the sewers, rats and monsters will jump out at you. You’ll pull aggro from bandits as you stroll through town. While I suppose it’s possible to run from everything, it’s not particularly fun or rewarding to do so. Let’s face it: Puzzles and exploration and narrative are awesome, and they’re the reason I love RPGs, but dammit, I want to bop a Kobold in the face from time to time.

So there is combat in Planescape, yes, but it’s not the focus. You really don’t have Kill the Foozle quests. It’s possible–and encouraging, and rewarding–to talk your way out of confrontations, and the majority of encounters are going to end that way.

What combat does is pace the game pretty well. Most of the XP you get in the game is from quests–monster XP is a drop in the bucket–and if you’re not doing many quests, if you’re not talking to people, if you’re not hunting for stuff to do, you’re gonna get slaughtered by the enemies the game does throw at you. Combat is never difficult–I’ve gotten through nearly all of it by throwing all my dudes at the monsters, tossing off the occasional spell, and praying.

There’s literally no penalty for death–for plot reasons, your character wakes up none the worse for wear after death, it’s the whole crux of the plot after all, and you’ve got a more or less free spell that can resurrect dead characters with no loss that I can tell. The game is comfortable with you taking down a swarm of enemies by killing them one at a time, resting and recovering after each death, and trying again. It’s not the most strategic or fascinating method, but who cares? The plot stuff is much better.

–There’s a remarkable amount of stuff hidden in the game. The early stages, at least, take place in a neighborhood of a city, and then you spend some time in the catacombs underneath–that’s the area I’m in now. There is enough to discover in each area that I’ve found new things in the third, fourth, fifth time I’ve crossed it. And it’s not simple loot–it’s quests, it’s characters. Planescape really does have a vibrant world, and the characters are all–oh, “interesting” seems a lame word but there it is.

See, it’s difficult to get me invested in Tolkein-esque fantasy. I can *enjoy* it, or at least find it transparent and background if the game itself is fine enough. But generally I really can’t give a shit about the conflict between elves and dwarves, I don’t always want to spend my time traipsing through the same forest, and I just want to go through a fantasy land that doesn’t feel beholden to the same old tropes.

Planescape is definitely this: It’s an extremely syncretic world. The name comes from the conception of the world as a multiverse with gates to infinite planes of existence. There’s a ton of weird shit in Planescape because the environment not only supports but encourages it, and there’s enough talk about even weirder shit out there that it really does feel like a game where everything’s possible. Skyrim–my favorite whipping boy!–feels so staid and dull by comparison.

–A problem: The game silently lets you sell certain quest items; now that I’ve realized this, I’ve stopped selling as much, but that doesn’t stop certain quests from being uncompletable. They’re largely side quests, but I would like the XP and I don’t like unfinished shit if I can help it. More importantly, the main quest I need now requires a crowbar. (I’m fixing the alley where my body was found, for those familiar with the game.) A crowbar was the first weapon I got, and I sold it a long time ago and I goddamn can’t find another one–and a shop list I found suggests that none of the shops I have access to sell it. I found a save game editor which lets me add certain items–but apparently not a crowbar.

So basically, if anyone can recommend some help–a save editor, an alternate route–I would appreciate it!! I don’t want to give up again–this game is too goddamn good.


One thought on “68 – Planescape Torment

  1. Huh, I’m not sure why anyone would tell you there’s no/optional combat in Torment. That’s not remotely true. There’s going to be a lot of combat, especially in the second half.

    I guess you got rid of the crowbar from the Mortuary? I think there’s another one in the Tenement of Thugs.

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