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Bailcnoss-Merduibh Questline Planning
Posted: Sat Apr 18, 2020 5:17 am
Main plot points:
- The Taliesinn originally lived united in Merduibh.
- The Hagraven and Boar Demon had a falling out, and the Boar Demon took a number of Taliesinn to found Bailcnoss by acting through an influential figure who eventually became their first Matriarch. This happened a long time ago.
- The Matriarch of Merduibh communicates with the Hagraven in Vars Tharnil. The Matriarch of Bailcnoss communicates with the Boar Demon in Taliesinntara. No ones knows of these entities except for the Matriarchs.
- Boar Demon wishes to get rid of the Hagraven once and for all.
- Bailcnoss villagers are occasionally infected and turned into wereboar. They're kept in Alrasaide, a cave right next to Bailcnoss.
- A Bailcnoss villager-turned-wereboar killed the apprentice of the Matriarch of Merduibh.
1) MURDER IN MERDUIBH
Talking to NPCs in Merduibh has a chance of triggering a unique Greeting 5 that informs the player about a unusual death in the settlement (filtered for journal == 0 and the initial stages of the quest). There's a higher chance of hearing about it by asking about "latest rumors". In either case, the player gets a new dialogue topic: "apprentice's murder". Asking about it reveals that the Merduibh matriarch's apprentice was recently found dead behind some ruins on the edge of the settlement.
When the player speaks to the Matriarch, the latter says that roving bandits are to blame for the murder, but she has an uneasy feeling about the events and wants closure. Nobody in Merduibh is to know about her investigation since she doesn't want to alert them; she also can't trust anyone in the settlement. She asks the player, an outsider, to begin to figure out what happened by looking for clues and asking around.
- Someone near the site heard snorting and a scream in middle of night;
- Boar's tusk (misc. item) near site; and
- Shaman at funeral pyre believes the apprentice was stuck with a sharp object like a spear or a tusk.
The player returns to the Matriarch with the three discoveries. She thanks the player and tells them to come back in two days after she has contemplated the information.
- The Matriarch was certain that it was a murder prior to enlisting the player.
- The Matriarch's initial language should set up the initial twist of the questline by suggesting--since the bandit story is clearly false--that the player will actually find a murderer in Merduibh.
- After finding the clues, both the player and Matriarch should be confused.
Re: Bailcnoss-Merduibh Questline Planning
Posted: Mon May 18, 2020 12:51 pm
My proposal for the rest of the questline.
2) JUST ASKING QUESTIONS
After two days, the Merduibh Matriarch wishes to speak to the player again. Without explaining her suspicions, she wishes the player to travel to Bailcnoss and get a sense of whether they may have been involved. Dialogue with the Bailcnoss villagers will reveal, piecemeal, snippets of the history between Bailcnoss and Merduibh. Speaking to higher-ranked members of the tribe will reveal juicier information, although the Matriarch herself will be tight-lipped.
The player will learn from asking around that:
- The Bailcnoss Taliesinn feel a hostility to the people of Merduibh
- Years ago, they split off and followed their first Matriarch to Bailcnoss
- Bailcnoss villagers sometimes go missing as well (this is framed to the player as equivalent to the murder in Merduibh, as though they’re both being preyed on)
- They are confident that they are blessed, though what has blessed them is unclear
- Merduibh villagers often appear sickly and anaemic after religious festivals
The player will learn from one or two ranking members (disp. check) that:
- A Bailcnoss villager went missing around the time of the murder
Failing a disp. check will have them angrily tell the player to stay out of their business
Once the player has learned that Bailcnoss are probably involved (villager disappearing around the time of the murder) the player can return to the Merduibh Matriarch and report their findings.
NOTE: The player can find the Hagraven and Boar Demon in their respective sanctuaries from the start. Initially, they will simply ignore the player, and the player will lack the frame of reference to incorporate their existence into the investigation. As the questline goes on, they will become more interactable.
3) A PROMISE KEPT
The Matriarch requires another day to consider the information you’ve brought her. While she thinks, she asks you to gather ingredients for a ritual. The player should gather vicar herb, bonemeal, and an emerald.
Once a day has passed and the player has brought the ingredients back to her, she asks whether the player is willing to do what is necessary to protect her tribe. If the player agrees, she will require them to swear a geas (suggested Reachspeak name: “faolabrann” - “red oath”) that they will not reveal the secrets of Merduibh or the Bailcnoss Taliesinn to outsiders. The ingredients the player brought to her are the components of the geas ritual, requiring only the addition of the player’s blood (a Damage Health effect. The player should be warned in order to heal if necessary).
If the player agrees and swears the geas, then she tells the player of Merduibh’s history, the blood rites of the Hagraven and the hostility of the Boar Demon’s followers. If the player breaks the geas (dialogue option with a witch-hunter or crusader in the area) they suffer a Damage Health effect that should be strong enough to kill weak-to-middling players.
4) CHTHONIC SECRETS
Now that the player is aware of Merduibh/Bailcnoss history and the religious nature of the conflict, the Matriarch wishes the player to investigate the rituals of the Bailcnoss Taliesinn. In particular, she wants the player to investigate Alrasaide cavern, which has some unknown significance to the tribe. If the player brings her ingredients for another ritual, she is willing to channel the Hagraven to give the player further advice (which member of the tribe has the key to Taliesinntara).
Once the player is inside Alrasaide, they will encounter the wereboars’ human guardians. They will not reveal much information to the player except that they are the wardens of the Boar Demon’s chosen, and that the player must not disturb their charges. The player either needs to pick the locks in the cave or kill the guardians and take their key. In the room filled with bones, the player finds an old wereboar that is non-hostile, who tells them to speak with the Boar Demon is Taliesinntara.
In Taliesinntara, which is otherwise empty, the player finds the Boar Demon: an ancient wereboar trapped within a rock, with just its snout protruding. The player is able to speak to it and learn the history behind the conflict (see below for history).
The Boar Demon asks the player to relay a message to the Matriarch of Merduibh: forsake the Hagraven and accept its rule, or die. If the player asks about the murder in Merduibh, they are directed to speak to the Bailcnoss Matriarch. She reveals that it was the latest convert to lycanthropy, who in his altered state broke free of his comrades and rampaged across Merduibh. The death was an honest accident and the Bailcnoss Taliesinn do not wish to spill their cousins’ blood unduly. The player can now return to the Merduibh matriarch and solve the mystery, although the questline isn’t over yet.
5) OF HAGS AND BOARS
Regardless of whether the player passes on the Boar Demon’s warning, upon reporting the murderer’s identity to the Merduibh Matriarch she will receive a vision that the Hagraven is calling for your presence. She instructs you to enter Vars Tharnil and learn what the Hagraven wants from you. If the player does pass on the warning, the Matriarch is unmoved and reaffirms her loyalty to the Hagraven.
In Vars Tharnil, the player will find the Hagraven in its lair. They can talk about the history of the tribe, as well as the creepy bloodletting rituals the people of Merduibh undertake to sustain it and the boons it provides them in return (real Crones of Crookback Bog vibe). Regardless, it asks the player to destroy the Boar Demon once and for all, to end its influence over the Taliesinn and reunite the peoples of Merduibh and Bailcnoss under the Hagraven’s wise rule. It gives you a charm that will free the Boar Demon from its stone prison (a Cast On Use amulet or similar), allowing it to attack you but making it vulnerable to your weapons. She promises you great boons, possible only through the Old Magic, if you do so.
If the player drags their heels, after two days the Boar Demon will enact its plan and unleash its wereboars on Merduibh. They will attack anyone outside the huts and keep the others trapped within. If the player speaks to the Merduibh Matriarch during this time, she will beg the player to kill the wereboars and either meet the Hagraven or kill the Boar Demon (depending on how far the player has progressed).
Once the player returns to the Boar Demon, it will be angry that its warnings have not been heeded. It will ask the player to kill the Hagraven and promises great boons to the player if they do (presumably wereboarism and some other nice buffs). The player can either use the Hagraven’s amulet, freeing the Boar Demon and forcing them to fight, or do as it says and kill the Hagraven. Or the player can kill both, but will receive no reward for doing so.
The Matriarch of whichever tribe lost its deity will speak of feeling a great loss, but that a new voice is speaking to them and offering to guide their tribe into the future.
Re: Bailcnoss-Merduibh Questline Planning
Posted: Tue May 19, 2020 4:13 pm
Revised history of the Boar Demon:
The Boar Demon was once a revered witch-warrior of the Taliesinn who contracted lycanthropy from a dying wereboar he and his warriors slew. He had been a devoted follower of the Taliesinn sun cult, but sensing his own newfound power he inducted the other witch-warriors of the tribe into a rival moon cult, spreading his disease to them and conducting his own vile rites. The conflict between the sun and moon cults of the Taliesinn came to a head when the Boar Demon publicly devoured the matriarch's newborn in a ritual to extend his life, and in the ensuing conflict the moon cult were forced from the village. They continued to visit decades of horror on the tribe until a young warrior fought back, overcoming the Boar Demon and forcing him underground. The sorcerously-empowered Demon was too strong to kill, but the warrior was able to use the magic of the sun cult to trap him within a rock, deep underground, and the Taliesinn believed their tormentor had been destroyed.
However, although trapped, the Boar Demon was still very powerful. Able to speak to his daughter in her dreams, he convinced her to spread the word of the moon cult and lead members of the tribe away to found Bailcnoss around the site of his imprisonment. Since then, the Boar Demon has been passing its lycanthropy on to warriors of the moon cult, through unearthly warrior rituals, and slowly building an army to destroy the moon cult's influence over Merduibh.