No Torment in Torment

For discussing Torment's story as it slowly gets unveiled, as well as discussing the game's setting. Ninth World discussions encouraged. Spoilers allowed.

Moderator: Memovira Goons

Post Reply
WHardyPL
Initiate
Posts: 1
Joined: November 11th, 2017, 11:18 am

No Torment in Torment

Post by WHardyPL » November 11th, 2017, 12:07 pm

Have to say, the game played beautifully, but up to a point. By the "point", I mean the moment where all interesting things that seemed to have some potential came to an abrupt end and were explained in a non-interesting way.

I do realise, that the plot was probably cut short and rewritten. But I still feel that it could have been done much better. Don't get me wrong: I'm glad I played it, I enjoyed it. There were lots of brilliant ideas that I'll remember and use for inspiration. But I can't shake the feeling that a few tweeks in the plot could make it much more Tormentish and interesing.

SPOILERS FOLLOW BELOW.

1) No Torment in Torment
I'll start with the main, major impression that I had. There was no "torment" in the game. You wanted this to follow the themes of Planescape: Torment. It somewhat did, but I believe it was more like the "Planescape" part and less like the "Torment" part.

The setting has the same very important quality that Planescape has, which is that you can actually put anything you want in it and than explain it away by something unexplainable. Which is cool and I always loved the Planescape weirdness and I love the Numenera weirdness. This allows to tell magnificent stories, because you have no actual bounds when creating them.

However, where was the Torment part? In PS:T you actually felt it. You felt responsible for all the past things you've done. You felt responsible for the misery of your companions. You felt that you're in some vicious circle that causes more and more people to suffer and you have to see it through till the end to stop it.

In T:ToN? It's quite clear you're not the same person as the Changing God and the game doesn't try to imply you are. There are tons of castoffs, each his/her own person. There's really nothing to feel guilty or tormented about. The torment seems to be more about the Changing God's neverending quest, but even that isn't delivered well enough for the player to empathise on some larger scale.

Also: companions. PS:T had very unique companions, and each of them had their fates intertwined with the fate of the hero. Which is why they all felt personal and related to the 'torment' theme. Nothing like that in T:ToN. Some companions are quite interesting, but come on. They are all human (except for Oom), and only sometimes somewhat related to the Changing God's work. There's no bond.

Why? Couldn't you make, for example, Genocide a companion character? It would fit with the torment theme. It would be linked to your character. It would be a nice mix of Vhailor (was that how he was spelled?) and Dakkon. Vhailor for his straightforward approach to life philosophy. Dak'kon because he'd have lots to say about history and a whole different culture. He'd be very distinct from other companions. And since the Last Castoff is "special" it would be easy to explain why the LC would be able to enlist Genocide as a companion, breaking the curse of the Changing God. Obviously, it would also give lots of opportunities to question GEnocide's philosophy, or advise him on trying to rebuild the Tabath, or whatever.

Well, see, I just invented this, and it seems like it would really be one of the more interesting companions. Especially considering how much you hear about the Tabath.

2) The Plot. Now there's some large plot changes I'd do, that I think would make this much more interesting and more Tormentish. And much of these could actually be done without changing the gameplay - just the dialogues! Quite curious what people will think about those, but I think they'd be an improvement.

Perhaps even some of those were planned originally but scrapped?
a) The Last Castoff is actually a new identity surfacing in the body still occupied by a dormant Changing God. CG's plan would have been thus: install a failsafe that makes his consciousness dormant for some time when touched by the Sorrow, causing Sorrow to think that it actually killed him. This would buy CG some additional time to prepare for the endgame by putting Sorrow off his trail. Things go wrong, however, because when he resurfaces after a time, he finds you in his head. He's consciousness could be getting back more in the forms of memories and less as 'the other guy in my head'.

However, the main point of this change is that you actually are the Changing God, but you sort of lost your memories and developed a new consciousness. Some implications follow: you're not a castoff and not like the other castoffs; the whole thing is actually about YOUR daughter; all the bad things the Changing God did? well it was you.

b) The Sorrow has a different origin. I found the in-game explanation actually quite offensive. Come on: "the weird, dark, tentacled monster in a hood, called the "Sorrow" is actually a guardian created by some old civilisation". Must have been some really weird people if they decided to make their guardian so twisted.

How about this: the CG's daughter was dying and he knew not how to stop it. He therefore resorted to 'blasphemy' by manipulating the tides to create life where there was none. He literally took the tides, twisted them and wrapped them into a new life (a process he later reused for the castoffs). This process, however, created a ripping wound in the tides. A void, which eventually took shape and manifested itself as the Sorrow. The Sorrow is then trying to refill itself with the stolen tides. At some point it gains a sort of consciousness and even ability to talk, which would allow for some verbal confrontation. Nevertheless, the Sorrow in principle is a wound, inflicted by brutalising the underlying structure of the world.

Think this explanation would be also somewhat related to the KOTORII plot, by the way.

c) Finally, I was getting ready for a very different twist regarding the First Castoff. She has been introduced as this mysterious person from the past, with the whole mask thing going on. I was quite convinced that I was going through the Bloom in search of her only to find out that she actually *IS* the Bloom. And this would require some more explanation but wouldn't that be cool and shocking? Maybe CG botched it up the first time he created a new vessel for himself? And when he tried to kill it during the the Endless Battle, it erupted into this festering abomination on the tides? A sort of knot of the tides, that is impossible to untie? This would also fit in more with this weird statement that is dropped in the game, that the Bloom is somehow the natural enemy of the Sorrow. That statement is never explained or further explored :( .

That said, thanks for the game, thank you for all the nice ideas, twists and inspiration. And if you actually read it - hope that you get something from this too.

kilobug
Adventurer
Posts: 896
Joined: September 21st, 2014, 1:07 am
Location: Paris, France

Re: No Torment in Torment

Post by kilobug » November 12th, 2017, 1:56 am

WHardyPL wrote:
November 11th, 2017, 12:07 pm
The torment seems to be more about the Changing God's neverending quest, but even that isn't delivered well enough for the player to empathise on some larger scale.
I agree the torment is a bit more indirect in TTON than in PS:T, more linked to the Changing God than to TLC, but while it's very subjective, the torment inflicted by the Changing God and the Cast Offs, including TLC, does feel greatly - from the women messed up with the Improbability Engine to the whole Endless Gate thing to how Castillege and Aligern relationship is broken by a Tidal Surge to ...
WHardyPL wrote:
November 11th, 2017, 12:07 pm
Also: companions. PS:T had very unique companions, and each of them had their fates intertwined with the fate of the hero.
Not that much - Dak'kon and Ignus yes, but the others were more remotely connected to TNO. In TTON it's Oom the most closely connected, but Aligern for example is also very deeply connected to the Changing God. I don't find any strong differences in that, apart from the fact that almost all are humans.
WHardyPL wrote:
November 11th, 2017, 12:07 pm
Why? Couldn't you make, for example, Genocide a companion character? It would fit with the torment theme. It would be linked to your character. It would be a nice mix of Vhailor (was that how he was spelled?) and Dakkon.
Not a bad idea (even if I never really get involved with Vhailor, by the point you meet him it's near the end of the game, and I already had a full party and never wanted to ditch one of my faithful companions to get Vhailor, so can't comment much on the Vhailor part). There are sure lots of something which could have been done, with more time and money, to improve TTON - but that's also true with PS:T and with about any game.
WHardyPL wrote:
November 11th, 2017, 12:07 pm
b) The Sorrow has a different origin. I found the in-game explanation actually quite offensive. Come on: "the weird, dark, tentacled monster in a hood, called the "Sorrow" is actually a guardian created by some old civilisation". Must have been some really weird people if they decided to make their guardian so twisted.
I don't mind that explanation - first we don't know much about the aesthetic and moral values of that ancient civilization, so something "dark and scary" for us might not have been to them, or it might on purpose they made their guardian all dark and spooky. Or something got wrong in how they created their guardian, or the guardian was altered after the creation, or ... when we reach the realm of what would a very powerful civilization (or "entity") do, we can't explain much like ants can't explain much of what humans do, and I think bout Numenéra and TTON do that part well.
WHardyPL wrote:
November 11th, 2017, 12:07 pm
Nevertheless, the Sorrow in principle is a wound, inflicted by brutalising the underlying structure of the world.
That would also work, but IMHO be less into the Numenéra theme of "wonders and monsters lefts by ancient civilization that long disappeared".

Anyway interesting post, I just pointed a few things on which I don't fully agree because that's how conversation can go on, but thanks for that post ! I wish we had more posts analyzing the themes and plot of TTON and discussions around them :)

User avatar
Firkraag
Adventurer
Posts: 664
Joined: October 28th, 2014, 8:49 am
Location: Ukraine, Kharkiv
Contact:

Re: No Torment in Torment

Post by Firkraag » November 23rd, 2017, 7:47 am

kilobug wrote:
November 12th, 2017, 1:56 am
including TLC, does feel greatly - from the women messed up with the Improbability Engine to the whole Endless Gate thing to how Castillege and Aligern relationship is broken by a Tidal Surge to ...
Blaming The Last Castoff for breaking Callistege's and Aligern's relationship is like blaming Tyrion Lannister for death his mother.

It's tragic, but has no one to blame, except for unlucky coincidence. But, then, half of the Numenera is to blame.
Not that much - Dak'kon and Ignus yes, but the others were more remotely connected to TNO.
Morte rings any bells?

Vhailor too.

Anna. Grace. Nordom. These three are more of recent addition. But each has their own reason to suffer torment.


I agree with OP in that the game might as well can be called Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Tides of Numenera!
"I am a warhead of weaponized Truth." The Last Castoff (non-canon).

"Colin's period as Jesus was an interesting time." © Brother_None

kilobug
Adventurer
Posts: 896
Joined: September 21st, 2014, 1:07 am
Location: Paris, France

Re: No Torment in Torment

Post by kilobug » November 24th, 2017, 12:30 am

Firkraag wrote:
November 23rd, 2017, 7:47 am
Blaming The Last Castoff for breaking Callistege's and Aligern's relationship is like blaming Tyrion Lannister for death his mother.
Well yes it's not a voluntary action, but it's still TLC creating "torment" for them, even if not willingly.
Firkraag wrote:
November 23rd, 2017, 7:47 am
Not that much - Dak'kon and Ignus yes, but the others were more remotely connected to TNO.
Morte rings any bells?
Now I'm ashamed. How could I forget Morte ? Bad bad kilobug ! :(
Firkraag wrote:
November 23rd, 2017, 7:47 am
Vhailor too.
As I said, when I encountered Vhailor it always had a full party to which I was attached, I never really had him as a companion so can't comment much about him.
Firkraag wrote:
November 23rd, 2017, 7:47 am
Anna. Grace. Nordom. These three are more of recent addition. But each has their own reason to suffer torment.
Well, sure, but all of NPCs of TTON also have their own reason to suffer torment, even if not directly related to TLC / Changing God. Overall in both games we have companions with a tormented existence, some due to a direct link to TLC-Changing God/TNO and some with a more indirect one, I didn't see any major breakage on that level.

User avatar
Firkraag
Adventurer
Posts: 664
Joined: October 28th, 2014, 8:49 am
Location: Ukraine, Kharkiv
Contact:

Re: No Torment in Torment

Post by Firkraag » November 24th, 2017, 5:08 am

Well yes it's not a voluntary action, but it's still TLC creating "torment" for them, even if not willingly.
Arguably not a torment, but rather an extreme irritiation. They don't talk with each other anymore. Like many of the fridge horrors this one is much more scary to the onlookers.

It would've much more interesting, if the first Tidal Surge hit them somewhere into the first chapter instead, so we could *know* the difference... Oh, the spoiled gifts of hindsight bias!.
"I am a warhead of weaponized Truth." The Last Castoff (non-canon).

"Colin's period as Jesus was an interesting time." © Brother_None

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest