Sunday, 19 July 2015

Timequest - Missions in 800 and 1215 AD

Written by Reiko

Temporal Corps Private Journal #7: I have traveled so many places, but really haven’t accomplished very much yet. This time I’m finally able to complete a second mission, in which I ride a horse, get shot at, but not with lethal intent at least, and help forge official communication to get the Magna Carta signed like it should be.

On to Rome in 800 AD! It's the Dark Ages, and Rome seems more subdued. The circus is still closed, by order of Pope Leo III this time. I head to the Vatican to find Charlemagne awaiting his coronation. I've appeared at 10:00 in the morning, and the coronation is scheduled for noon. Adjacent to the main sanctuary is a chapel, where the crown is being kept, sort of guarded by one priest absorbed in his prayers.

We’ve got a full dozen priests to witness the coronation.

I can't take the crown anywhere, or the priest notices and throws me out temporarily. But in theory I could do something to the crown, as Charlemagne now expects some sign from God that he should be crowned. I don't have any idea yet what I'm supposed to do to the crown, though. So I just wait to see what happens if I fail. At noon, the pope enters with the crown, which hasn't changed, so Charlemagne refuses it. And that's all there is to it. When I return to the interkron and try to travel, the new future is one where civilization never advances out of the Dark Ages.

Are those horses falling off a bridge?

Well, so much for that at this point. Let's see about Baghdad in 800 AD instead. The cave, the caravan, and the ruins of Babylon all look the same. Baghdad is starting to look like quite the city, though, being the capital of the Islamic empire of that time. The city is bounded by a beautiful gate, and the sultan's palace can be reached from the bazaar.

In the bazaar, there's a beggar who's begging for food, so I give him the focaccia from Rome. And, of course, just like in one of the Arabian Nights tales, he then reveals himself to be the sultan himself, having gone among his people to learn about them, and he found that no one before me would give him any food. It's awfully coincidental, but it's a good sign that the sultan now trusts me to help him already, because I've come to help him avoid the treachery of his vizier, Yahya.

Just like in stories, the beggar is the sultan in disguise.

The sultan takes me into the palace, where the vizier sits waiting. I get ten points for making it this far. It's going to be a rather tricky situation, though, because the sultan wants me to find out which of his wives is being unfaithful to him. He wants me to get the unfaithful one to sleep with me, but here's the thing: failure will result in death, but success will also result in death. I can only hope that succeeding in my primary mission will solve this one too: perhaps the unfaithful wife is being unfaithful with the vizier.

Death if I fail, death if I succeed.

In the harem, there's a bowl of figs on the table, which I can take, for five points. There are six bedrooms connected to the main lounging area, plus a locked bathing area to the north. Each wife has a bedroom and clothing in a different color. All the wives go bathe at 6:30, leaving their veils in their rooms. I have just enough time to go around and collect all the veils and do something with them if I want, but it's not immediately clear what I have to do. If I'm found holding or wearing any veils, I'm slapped as a pervert when the wives return from bathing (which seems pretty reasonable to me). I mean, I'm female, but the character is male, and a strange man hanging around and wearing a lady's veil would be pretty creepy. But clearly I need to do something with the veils.

If I lie down right away on the divan in the main area, the wives all come out and give a massage, each one focusing on a different body part. It only lasts for a few minutes, until the gong sounds for them to go bathe, and they won't do it afterward. If I hang around for two hours, the sultan comes back and declares I've failed, and banishes me from the the city. This fails the mission too, of course, since I can't get back in to do anything about Yahya, the Vizier. The failed future is one where Yahya takes over and expands the Islamic empire over the rest of the world.

Another failed future, where modern Palestinians get their wish for Israel never to have existed.

I'll have to return to this time when I figure out what to do with it, but for now I'll check out the other mission in 1215 AD. I already examined Mexico in 1215 AD and determined that I have to give the Toltec the right item in 44 BC in order for Montezuma to recognize Cortez as the prophesied leader. The other mission is in Dover, to make sure that King John signs the Magna Carta to appease his vassals when he needs more money from them. Vettenmyer seems to have arranged for an alternate source of funding, which I need to disrupt again.

The shed and the tavern look the same as in earlier times, complete with sailors and innkeeper. This time, though, there's a horse out front and a courier having a drink in the tavern. He says his news is of utmost urgency, but he orders another drink and offers a toast. He's got a pouch containing his news, but he won't give it to me or tell me what the news is. Given the scenario, and what he says about his lord being Prince Otto of Brunswick, I suspect Otto's the one who's been persuaded to give King John the funding he needed. There's also talk of outlaws.

The inside of the tavern looks almost identical in every time period. The courier isn’t even visible. His horse isn’t visible out front, either.

There's a seemingly endless forest to the west, and quite a lot more going on than is initially apparent. If I just strike out through the forest, the courier rides by on his horse after a few minutes, but if I keep going, he has apparently been overcome by ill fortune, the aforementioned outlaws, presumably, and thinks it's my fault, so when I come across him again, he kills me.

If I ride the horse, I immediately arrive at a bend in the road with a distinctive tree, where someone, the aforementioned outlaws, presumably, shoot an arrow at me, which misses, fortunately. They weren't aiming at me though; they were sending a message asking me to leave. If they're outlaws intending to waylay the courier, well, why shouldn't I leave them to it, I guess? Unless the courier actually carries the Magna Carta itself and I need to protect him.

Hiding behind the tree is ineffective against the outlaws.

If I hang around, the courier rides up on another horse (where he got it I'm not sure), but again he takes me for an outlaw, but this time just rides off. I follow him, but not before discovering that I could have hidden behind the tree instead of being seen by the courier. Somehow I still arrive at Runnymede before the courier, where King John is waiting with the Magna Carta and his knights. The courier appears unharmed this time. King John is wearing another time transponder bracelet, of course. And that SAME bush is here again!

King John's cleric reads the courier's letter from Otto, which isn't quoted, but which makes King John very happy and causes him to tear up the Magna Carta. The barons start drifting off, rather surprised. Of course, this fails the mission. The failed future shows a world where the feudal system was never broken and apparently everyone spends their time jousting.

Feudal society continues on instead of shifting toward rule of law and individual liberty.

So it's clear I need to stop the courier. I restore, take the horse and head into the forest, but this time I hide behind the tree before the courier arrives. The outlaws appear and knock the courier unconscious, but they know I'm there and ask me why I didn't leave like they wanted. They don't have much to say if I try to talk to them, though. I can take the pouch from the courier, but he quickly shows up at Runnymede to tell King John verbally that Otto pledges his support. Even without the letter, King John believes him and still tears up the Magna Carta. Instead of leaving him, if I stay with the courier until he wakes up to try to talk to him, he again thinks I'm the outlaw and kills me.

Friar Tuck cleverly adjusts the contents of the pouch.

I fiddle with the timing for a bit and find that if I take the pouch immediately and give the letter to the leader, who is clearly supposed to be Robin Hood, I get five points. He passes it to Friar Tuck, who changes it and replaces it in the pouch. Can it be that easy? I hurry on to Runnymede before the courier wakes up, and wait until he appears again. King John has the letter read, just as before, but this time it infuriates him, and he signs the charter, flings his bracelet to the ground, and stalks off, giving me thirty points. In the midst of the barons' celebration, nobody but me seems to notice that the bracelet disappears.

At the field of Runnymede, with the second mission completed.

So this mission is finished. I didn't make a lot of progress this session, but I acquired a little message scroll with an interesting message that might prove useful elsewhere, and I have 269 points (including the 15 points so far in the Baghdad mission) with two of the missions completed. Come to think of it, I didn't get any points for picking up the message scroll, so maybe it isn't useful except as part of the plot here. I'll hold onto it just in case.

Mission status and score so far.

Session Time: 2 hours 0 minutes
Total Time: 10 hours 0 minutes

Note Regarding Spoilers and Companion Assist Points: There’s a set of rules regarding spoilers and companion assist points. Please read it here before making any comments that could be considered a spoiler in any way. The short of it is that no points will be given for hints or spoilers given in advance of me requiring one. Please...try not to spoil any part of the game for me...unless I really obviously need the help...or I specifically request assistance. In this instance, I've not made any requests for assistance. Thanks!


  1. I feel like they could have expanded upon why Muslim rule over the world would be a bad thing, rather than just being different. I'm sure the native peoples of the places my country (UK) colonised or occupied probably would have felt the same way about any invasive culture no matter the religion. Although a simpler explanation could be that this game was released after we had seen the Iran-Iraq War and Gulf War, so that perhaps influenced the perception of the region.

    1. Precisely, a collective singular new world order sounds cool. At least, you won't have a world war anymore. A rebellion, maybe, but a peaceful regime change might even be possible.

    2. If we can find a way to keep the motorcycle jousting from the other one, we might have a winner!

    3. As an avid motorcyclist (who is presently recuping from a minor injury caused by an accident)? I'm in!

    4. Speaking of motorcycling, my husband just tried a motorcycle safety/license course, but decided it wasn't for him due to the combination of difficulty, danger, and a young child at home. I'm pretty glad it turned out that way.

    5. Motorcycling, for an experienced rider in full protective gear, is not that dangerous. The horrible injuries typically involve other road users, and an experienced rider just gives additional space. (Mine was caused by a recently resurfaced road that had not been asphalted correctly - it came undone as I rode over it en route to making a turn). I owned only a motorcycle and motorcycle license for 7 years and have never broken so much as a bone - while perhaps there may have been some luck in my personal statistic, take of that what you will.

    6. Going back to the original topic of this thread: historians seem to agree that Muslim rule of Spain was quite peaceful and tolerant. There's no reason a Muslim empire (or anybody's empire for that matter) has to be cruel and tyrannical.

    7. And my personal opinion is that any government based on a set of laws that won't change when people come up with a better idea (i.e. most religious laws) is a form of government that's bad for its people - maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon, and for the rest of their lives.

    8. Plus they were much more accepting of science and had hyigene and medicine far beyond that of Europe. Plus that might have given them the strength to resit the Mongols a few centuries later.

  2. The part I am most interested of these is the Arabian tale, since knowledge of early Islam is really poor. Wikipedia suggests that the producers are once again exaggerating - Harun al-Rashid's empire was already beset by rebellions and would have probably been disintegrated into different kingdoms, no matter who was in charge, and vizir Yahya was not a fanatical Muslim, but encouraged dialogue with Buddhists (Yahya actually came from a family of Buddhists who had converted to Islam).

    BTW, Reiko, shouldn't your table include one more mission (in 1588 Dover, about Francis Drake and Queen Elizabeth)?

    1. Precisely. And a half naked Jedi clothed only in speedos, cape, sandals, bike helmet & gloves looks pretty badass. I'd support the vizier for such a future!

    2. Good catch, Ilmari! You'll find out why it's missing from the table in a future post. :)