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Recordkeeping: The Hero of Kendrickstone COMPLETE - The Forbidden Codex of The Pink Beyond - A Sqrl's Journal

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June 27th, 2017

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06:58 am - Recordkeeping: The Hero of Kendrickstone COMPLETE
At the end of your time in The Hero of Kendrickstone, the game generates you a bardic ballad to tell of your exploits. Which is honestly legit pretty cool, I wish more games did that! So let's pick through that, and I'll spell out the tale behind the tune...

Let me sing you a tale,
of Xyzzy the brave,
a young hero true,
who came to our aid.

From the west she came,
from Forester's Hollow,
alone in the world,
adventure she followed.

The game begins with you setting your name, gender, moral stance and chosen approach to problems in a dream about a dragon (which you unfortunately must slay, no shacking up with him. I mean, that's MY chosen approach to dragons but nooooo...). It's a good way to push through a tutorial. I made Xyzzy, a stealthy thief/assassin whose parents are deaaaaad and who craved freedom and status above all else. This started me out with pretty crap stats in everything but Subterfuge, which became my primary crutch throughout the game. That's my main problem with Hero of Kendrickstone. I tend to prefer when I can split my stats between two lines and have a fallback plan, but SO FAR that hasn't really worked out in this game.

Attacked on the road,
by ebon-clad knaves,
she held them with stealth,
and a passing knight's aid.

So there was a lot of run-and-hide, sneak-around in my winning playthrough. I found trying to do physical stuff very difficult and, well, the magic option was flat grayed out because I had like two willpower and didn't know a single spell.

She came to the city,
of red Kendrickstone,
serving a merchant,
she made a new home.

A 'merchant'. What they mean is that after turning down an offer to become a knight's apprentice I went into the service of a Legitimate Businessman who sold protection rackets on the legal. Not in a malicious sort of way, and he was pretty law-abiding for basically a Mafia Don, but the city had an underboss and he was it. That's the dude I threw in with, because A: Free protection writs meant I got to do what I want without thug life hasslement in the city, and B: I was following the money.

The months did pass,
our hero made a name,
by killing a great beast,
and thus grew her fame.

Every round of Hero of Kendrickstone has you run three challenges, one from each of the major figures in the city. The Knight challenge is "A razorbeast is attacking some farmers plz kill it" and it turns out that if you're well-fed, wearing good armor and able to afford a decent blade, and willing to stay behind the main charge and wait for an opening to attack from stealth you can indeed become a heroic monster slayer.

I got some nice armored gloves as a reward and turned them over to my boss in exchange for a piece of the business. Xyzzy was now a sub-boss of the underboss, making sure taverns and storehouses were protected in her area. There was a little bit of "Oh do you look the other way when unauthorized crime?" and like, no? I have ONE JOB in this city I'm gonna do it.

Over long and cold winter,
did come a terrible siege,
an army of brigands,
which a wizard did lead.

The plot thread that runs through all the missions is the slow, steady rise of an army of bandits out to take over Kendrickstone. No, not the ones I worked for. My dude William answers to the Duke and is loyal to the city. These dudes were straight-up marauders. Running recon on them was a major part of Xyzzy's job for a bit.

In spring she followed,
a true hero's code,
when she saved a family
and a knight on the road.

In the middle of that recon I took some time out to rescue a family of merchants trying to leave the city. Not out of the goodness of my heart exactly, but because they were a valuable source of profit and without them the economy would fall to pieces. It was a calculated money-making manuever, strictly business.

Well... maybe I did go out of the way to save the knight too. A little bit.

It was then the old Duke,
finally gave his word,
with our hero he planned,
to end the outlaw scourge.

In the midst of night,
our hero did hide,
into the evil mage's throat,
her blade did slide.

You're offered multiple plans to deal with the brigand threat. Instead of challenging him to single combat or some mystical way or negotiation, I chose to slink in under cover of darkness and gank their leader in his sleep. Suddenly without leadership, the army was no match for the Duke's men and they were rounded up and captured. The Duke turned to Xyzzy for advice: What to DO with all these people? Exile? Mass hangings? ... No, I had them put to work to rebuild the city they'd been plundering. This pissed off the townies a bit. They wanted blood. I wanted financial stability. After all, there's a district to run, no?

Cunning and free-spirited,
let our hero be known,
as the best of our city,
The Hero of Kendrickstone!

... No.

No, after all that, the Duke considered Xyzzy's moral character and conduct and appointed her to a DIFFERENT position, no longer serving Mob Boss William of Hallowford and his guild of Legit Businessmen.

As the Hero of Kendrickstone, ender of the bandit war and slayer of monsters, she would be promoted to Captain Xyzzy of the City Watch.

*arms behind head, lean back, feet on desk* First you play The Man. Then you say "Fuck The Man". Then you become The Man. Then you win.

Now, this wasn't the first run of the game I did. The first Xyzzy was an aspiring mage who wasn't actually very good at magic but was very loyal to her master. She was a screw-up who blew every skill check she tried until a magic book toasted her brain while she was in a duel with the head sorcerer of the brigand army.

I gotta experiment a lot more, I think, to see just how flexible the game structure is but it FEELS LIKE it's hard to get away from the role you assign yourself at the start. That said, I've now got a save waiting on my drive I suppose, and if there's another 'book' in this particular series Choice of Games will email me so I can import in.

It was a fun couple hours!

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