Matt Chat 23 on Planescape:Torment

Matt Barton's picture

Hi, folks, it's time for another Matt Chat!

This week, I look at one of the lesser known but still excellent CRPGs of the "Platinum Age," the term I used in my book for the late 90s era of CRPGs. Planescape: Torment is one of Black Isle's best, based on the Infinity Engine. Black Isle had achieved fame before for their fabulous Fallout series, and their roots go back even deeper (as Interplay, which created Bard's Tale among others). Of course, they'd go on to create the party-based Icewind Dale series.

Enjoy the video! This one went smoothly. The only challenging part was getting the Fallout footage. For some reason, that program really hates FRAPS, and I'm not sure how else to record it. I had to run it in Dosbox, and that obviously led to its own set of problems. I guess that will preclude me from covering Fallout anytime soon.


Matt Barton
Matt Barton's picture
Joined: 01/16/2006
Ahhhh.................. That


That is the sound of Matt *finally* beating Planescape: Torment, and what a fantastic ending it was, too!

I had a moment of panic when the game started crashing towards the end; I couldn't re-enter the mortuary. I tried and tried again, crash crash crash. I had this dread that I was again screwed, and would just have to settle for not beating it despite all my effort.

Fortunately, I browsed online and found somebody else with the same problem--the solution was to let Pox "make me a deader," essentially killing me so I woke up inside the mortuary. Cheap trick, I guess, but it let me bypass the bug and finish this kick-ass game.

I already recognized this game as superb, but finally being able to complete it has raised the bar even more. Definitely one of the best CRPGs out there, particularly in terms of character and story. It really felt like a true RPG, with lots of difficult choices and many roads I could have taken. I decided to kill the Deva, the Practical Incarnation, and the Paranoid Incarnation...Just didn't like the idea of letting them live. :) I also chose to fall in love with Annah and resurrect her at the end. Maybe selfish, I know, but hey--she was hawt. :P

Alexander M (not verified)
You can either kill them or

You can either kill them or absorb them (the incarnations), but they cannot live. Its imperative that you absorb them because then you get to open the golden orb of Pharod. Did you absorb them?

Matt Barton
Matt Barton's picture
Joined: 01/16/2006
I only absorbed the good

I only absorbed the good one. I still won. Is the orb really that critical?

Alexander M (not verified)
Yes it is. :) A few tips. If

Yes it is. :)

A few tips. If your INT isn't around 25 then you will be hard pressed to absorb the practical incarnation. Stock up on fried cranium rats, they give a short lasting INT boost from the vendor that has a stall I believe at the smoldering corpse bar. Chew on those rats, like its the last meal of your life. I bought about 15 I think but i was playing a dumb fighter.
The paranoid one can be talked into letting you absorb him if you choose the dialogue option in which you speak the secret language of the linguist that he killed.
Then the globe will react.

If its all too difficult for you I'll explain what happens, and paste the appropriate dialog tree.

Anonymous (not verified)

I just purchased Fallout from GOG, and I'm running it in Vista x64 with no problems.

Matt Barton
Matt Barton's picture
Joined: 01/16/2006
Sadly, I can't get my

Sadly, I can't get my intelligence high enough to check out the sphere. I managed to merge with the other two, but according to walkthroughs I need an int of 21, and the highest I can get is 19 without having to do a big portion over again. I'll just have to watch what happens on a YouTube video. ;)

If I had known before, I could have easily brought a bunch of rats with me. Guess that's what I get for not using a walkthrough.

* Edit - been searching, but can't find a YouTube that shows what happens when you use the sphere correctly. Anyone?

Alexander M (not verified)
Well the results of opening

Well the results of opening the sphere are as follows:
1. gameplay - you get 3000000 xp + the tattoo of torment comes off Nameless one's arm and becomes an ultra powerful spell
2. story wise: here's the dialog:


"I had absorbed the ‘good’ incarnation, but he had been but an echo of my first incarnation, and doubtless not all of that incarnation’s memories had survived. But I had a record from the first incarnation, the sensory stone journal I had found for Pharod. It was time to make use of it.
As I held the sphere up this time and examined it, I felt the memories of the first of my incarnations stirring within me, but it was not an insistent or driving force — it was calm, like the thoughts of a man walking across a great distance to speak to a friend he hadn’t seen in ages. As I felt his presence in my mind, I saw the sphere in a different light — not as ugly, or hideous, but as something precious, like a newborn child — the sphere was the repository of my last moments, before I met Ravel on the Gray Waste and asked the impossible of her.
I knew why I asked her. And I knew that all I needed to do was touch the surface of the sphere with both hands and feel regret, and the stone would open itself to me.
The sphere wrinkled in my hands, the skin of the sphere peeling away into tears and turning into a rain of bronze that encircled me. Each droplet, each fragment that entered me, I felt a new memory stirring, a lost love, a forgotten pain, an ache of loss — and with it, came the great pressure of regret, regret of careless actions, the regret of suffering, regret of war, regret of death, and I felt my mind begin buckling from the pressure — so MUCH, all at once, so much damage done to others… so much so an entire FORTRESS might be built from such pain.
And suddenly, through the torrent of regrets, I felt the first incarnation again. His hand, invisible and weightless, was upon my shoulder, steadying me. He didn’t speak, but with his touch, I suddenly remembered my name.
…and it was such a simple thing, not at all what I thought it might be, and I felt myself suddenly comforted. In knowing my name, my true name, I knew that I had gained back perhaps the most important part of myself. In knowing my name, I knew myself, and I knew, now, there was very little I could not do. The first incarnation’s hand was gone from my shoulder, and he was watching me with a slight smile.
“That was my name all along? But if I was—”
The first incarnation held his finger to his lips, silencing me. He nodded at the symbol on my arm, as if indicating I should make use of it.
The symbol — the symbol of Torment — seemed brittle somehow, as if it was only barely holding itself to my skin. Unconsciously, I reached out and peeled it from my arm. It gave way with a slight resistance, like pulling off a scab. As I held the symbol, I knew I could harness its power. Holding it and invoking its power would summon all the pain and suffering from my past incarnations upon my foes. It no longer ruled me."

Overall this is the end of Nameless one's quest - he comes to know himself at last - a complete person. Also by knowing your true name, you can force his mortality to join with him. The massive XP bonus is the result of regaining all lost memories, and this as close as the game gets to a perfect ending. Its not required but it makes sense of the orb which you spent half the game carrying around and chasing.


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