Saturday, 11 July 2015

Timequest - Quetzlcoatl (Mexico)

Written by Reiko

Temporal Corps Private Journal #6: “More creepy and useless messages. I have to wonder if there’s going to be a secret code hidden in them or something. I make my second foray into religion as I get to disguise myself as a god but still nearly get killed (again!). At least I get something useful out of the experience that lets me save someone else’s life. Someone who wouldn’t have died anyway without Vettenmyer’s meddling, I hope."

I've already been to Peking in 800 AD, so I'll start working my way through the other locations. There are two more missions in this time period, one in Rome, and one in Baghdad, but I'm going to continue with Dover first.

History of Dover in 800 AD - Vikings!

In Dover, people are running around, very agitated, in the vicinity of the tavern. I step out of the shed and get a point for finding a message painted on the wall of the tavern: "Old man Drexler looks like he ate a lemon." Apparently the locals think that Vettenmyer was a Dane and got all frightened because of the Viking incursions in this time period. I can't imagine Vettenmyer will be able to get away with these messages in the more modern time periods where English is known... Anyway, I can go into the tavern, but nearly the same sailors and innkeeper as past time periods are there, and no other exits are available this time, not even down the cliff.

In Cairo, the tomb looks the same, but in this time, the government reports to the Arabic government based in Baghdad, where I'll be going later. On the Avenue of the Dead, there's a deaf man sitting with a slate who wants to tell me something. So I give him the piece of chalk from Dover. Apparently Vettenmyer coached him, because he writes (in English, somehow), "Sandtraps surround the eighteenth hole - deathtraps surround my lair." Fair warning, I suppose. I look around a little more, but find nothing else in this time period, so I move on.

In Mexico in 800 AD, the Toltecs have taken over, but the temple still looks the same, including the exit into the maze. This maze is dark, though, with a breeze, since it's fully built. I can't see a thing, but I can follow the same path as in 452 AD to reach the closet at the heart of the pyramid. In this time, there's a Quetzlcoatl costume! Maybe this would let me get the Olmec's attention in 1361 BC or the Toltec's attention in 44 BC.

I don’t think solar eclipses are normally quite this abrupt,
even total eclipses, as the moon has to gradually pass in front of the sun to block its light.

I jump back to 1361 BC and the Olmec knocks me over since he was in mid-charge when I disappeared the first time, so I still end up in the pot, regardless of whether I'm wearing the costume or not. However, this time I notice that I wake up only a few minutes before 1:00, when the eclipse is supposed to start, so knocking me out served to delay long enough. While he's sharpening his knife, I tell him about the eclipse, and he immediately looks worried, and then when the eclipse starts, he cowers in fear and forgets to guard me. I jump out of the pot, but immediately he remembers what he was doing, and I only have one turn before he throws a spear at me, and one turn while it's in the air. All I can do is grab everything, including the flint knife he was sharpening, and then jump back into the interkron.

Somehow I pick up all of these things at once and dash into the interkron.

Moving forward to 44 BC, I first put on the costume again. When I appear, I notice that the mural now shows the story of my escape from the pot, "the sun-god disguised as a man." The picture is the same, but before it was just "a succession of men boiled in cannibal pots." Now the Toltec recognizes me as Quetzlcoatl and asks me to place the "symbol of our downfall" on a cushion. I put the knife on the cushion, and he takes it away. I return to Mexico in 452 AD, and now the mural shows both the escape from the pot and Indian warriors falling before an army led by a man with a flint knife.

The first mural changes as a result of my escape.

I also jumped forward to 1519 AD without reappearing to the Toltec as Quetzlcoatl with the knife, just to see the failure ending. It only takes five minutes before Montezuma says, essentially, "Quetzlecoatl never reappeared, so let's crush those white men!" The failed future looks like a really bizarre science fiction dystopia, but it's supposed to represent a future where the Aztecs defeated all European invaders and took over all of North and South America.

Aztecs take over and somehow build a technological future without the European Renaissance??

At this point, I might as well try to finish off Mexico, since the more modern time periods don't allow Mexico to be reached. I jump forward to 1215 AD to see if there's another message or useful item or anything. In this time, the Aztecs have gained dominance, but the temple still looks very similar, with the same murals and the same dark maze. There's nothing in the closet in this time, though. I wonder if I need to return with a light to find a message in one of the dark rooms.

However, I remembered that there was something unusual about one of the rooms when I was exploring the lit version under construction in 452 AD. In that time, the walls were reinforced to bear more weight. In this time, that room is as dark as the others, but the breeze is coming from directly over me, so I try going up, and apparently there is a ladder carved into one wall, so I'm successful. I find myself on top of the pyramid behind a screen near a sacrificial altar. (Oddly enough, this exit isn't available in 800 AD.)

This is oddly less grotesque than it could have been.

I was wondering why I appeared at 5 pm in this time instead of the usual time of noon, and this is why - the sacrifice is planned for sunset. I appear in costume, and the priest is properly awed. However, I can't free the warrior without something to cut his bonds, so I suspect I need to do this first before relinquishing the flint knife in 44 BC. If I hang around too long, the priest sees through the disguise and kills me with his obsidian knife. I restore to before I gave up the knife.

Oddly enough, sunset isn't until 6:30, or at least, that's when the priest kills the warrior if I don't intervene at all. I can show up as early as 5:07 if I go straight to the ladder room, which means that the priest would have been just standing around for over an hour before killing the warrior. This time I save the warrior by cutting through his bonds with the flint knife, which gives me ten points. He pushes the priest off the pyramid and disappears down the ladder, after which I get another point by finding another creepy message on the altar: "Actually, I've been wanting to do this since I was seventeen."

The priest isn’t even facing the sacrifice here. Ritual prayers, maybe?

I don't know what Vettenmyer means by "this." Sacrificing someone on an altar? Killing a priest that practices human sacrifice? I'm not sure how you'd find the message without saving the warrior. I actually tried, but no matter where in the temple I went, the priest found me ten minutes after sunset and killed me.

Now back to 44 BC, and then forward to 1519 AD. If you've played the game and remember this puzzle, you've probably been laughing at me. I assumed the flint knife was the right thing to give the 44 BC priest since I got it from Mexico in the first place, but no. Cortez doesn't have a flint knife, so it isn't the right thing to give as the "symbol of our downfall". What does Cortez have? I can't leave the temple to go find out, and I don't have any other weapons anyway.

The second mural changes as a result of my giving the Toltec an item in 44 BC.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t the right item

Whatever I select, I have to be reasonably sure I don't need anymore, since I probably won't get it back. I will have to return to this puzzle later. I suspect I will need to pick up a contemporary weapon from another location in 1519 AD, but I'm trying to be reasonably systematic about covering all the time-space combinations. So next time I'll resume with checking out the two missions in 800 AD to find out what I'll need and at least get the failure screens.

Note that I'm still not asking for any help yet. At this point, I have 219 points out of 1000, with one of the missions completed, so I've still got a long way to go. I suspect that things will start falling into place at some point when I find the right chain of puzzle dependencies, though.

Status and score so far.

Session Time: 2 hours 0 minutes
Total Time: 8 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 think the part I like the most is the changing mural, which gives you an insight into what the consequences of your actions have been and also hints what you should do next.

  2. I do like the way your actions are fully represented ingame, even if they're incorrect. That definitely deserves some bonus points - they could very easily have forgotten to add in the wrong puzzle combinations.

    I think that the notion of the Aztecs dominating all of the Americas and being supremely technologically advanced by 2090 isn't as farfetched as most of the other junk. They simply had a different war - they repelled the European fleets when they landed (who all would have had access to gunpowder etc, meaning that they must have created something similar without being essentially decimated and left to inhabit small parts of Central America), stopping all of the colonies along the seafronts from taking control. And 2090? Well, 2090 isn't exactly tomorrow. It makes sense that they'd stick with the pyramid feel if that's where they were going anyway due to religious beliefs.

    I'm not saying it's -likely-. Just that it's feasible, unlike the majority of the other 'and now the Roman empire never fell!' schemes that the game has thrown out. My only question would be how they managed to defeat the European colonists in the first place - just 'having no portent from the gods' doesn't seem motivation enough to me.

    1. My thoughts exactly Aperama. I'd just add that they really didn't need to invent gunpowder themselves, but they could have learned it from some friendly European nation (say, some enemy of Spanish, like Portuguese, French or Dutch).

      As to how they could have won Cortez, I think the sheer numbers would have been to their advantage. Flintlocks weren't that much more effective than bows and arrows, as loading them is really slow. And horses aren't a big bonus in jungles or mountain areas. Heck, just don't let the ragtag fleet of robbers near your emperor, I'd say!

    2. True, they could have either stolen the technology, stolen the physical weapons or simply thrown all of their people forwards and realised that no matter how many boats came, there were another thousand or so of them to launch an attack. Cannons would have definitely been to the advantage of the colonial fleets. Still, if Civilization has taught me anything, it's that musketeers win wars in the early centuries. (Clearly, my history-learned-from-a-game must be correct.)

    3. Actually, their decline came a lot earlier before the arrival of the Europeans. There were many records of highly infectious fatal diseases, drying up of fresh water/food sources and exodus from large American cities like Chichen Itza, Moray, Ciudad Perdida, Caral, Mesa Verde, Palenque, Tiwanaku and many more.

      It was found in many historical writings, left by the conquistadors and pilgrims of the New World, that the pale shadow of the great civilizations here were able to withstand a lot of their Renaissance-era technological punishment. You must bear in mind that the native Americans are on home-ground, with intimate knowledge on the use of various toxins, extremely experienced in combat due to constant wars against other lesser tribes and are very athletic.

      The actual downfall was due to the spread of smallpox to a people who had never had the chance to get accustomed to this malady (War Of the Worlds was inspired by this idea), ingenious & devious use of Machiavellian diplomacy, siege tactics and conversion to Christianity.

    4. Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus by Orson Scott Card is about some people who go back in time to immunize the people of Central America against smallpox and other diseases before Columbus arrives. It's...interesting.

    5. Yes and it has a great twist almost at the beginning - our history is already contaminated by time travelers wanting to prevent a brutal Aztec empire by getting Columbus go West (originally, he would have started a crusade against Ottoman Empire).

    6. I read Pastwatch. I remember it being a great premise, but it petered out at the end. (Also relevant because in the first timeline, the Central American empire invades and conquers Europe, which is why time travelers went back to make Columbus "discover" the Americas.)