Kill or be Guild, CH4: Robbed the Wrong Way
I’m making fantastic progress as a criminal mastermind. To wit: I’ve discovered several things which are illegal. A couple even make a profit! And between my ill-gotten and just not-very-well-gotten gains, I’ve enough rustic pox-bubbled cheddar to add a new Tramp to my workforce.
And now that I’ve got what technically constitutes a “team” of the best unskilled layabouts a very small amount of money can buy, it’s time for the Big One. I’ve been planning this caper since about thirty seconds ago, when I found the correct button prompts, and think it’s my ticket to the Marginally Bigger Time. And indeed, a scant few clicks later, my own little Ocean’s Two gives me just the report I was hoping for:
We’ve successfully plundered the vagabond camp vagabond meeting place building.
Pass the open the champagne wine bottle drink!
I may need to explain.
See, the laws that govern illegality prevent me from sacking nine-tenths of the barely more than ten buildings in town. When I hover my cursor over, say, The Money Store or Fat Scores Depot, I get a grey and inert blob. My cursor only flashes an impassioned red and gold when I hover over the plague house, the bafflingly unsackable inn, and the few squat shacks flying green colors. It turns out these belong to a rival criminal faction.
So I guess I’m in a guild war now. It’s a living.
All considered, my daytime raid on the vagabond camp vagabond meeting place building is not as dramatic as it’ll appear in countless daytime TV movies. My boys trundle up a sunny country road that only leads to the bandit-zoned cul-de-sac in the middle of the woods, passing a single commendably chill guard. On my order, they stab her to death. On my second order, they grab a few apparently random sacks and bustle back home, watched with faint curiosity by the vagabonds returning to their base of operations. “I guess those gore-spattered foot soldiers for the other faction came over to borrow some sacks? Weird. Well, back to our library to look up some more crimes!”
And so ends the first battle of what will doubtlessly be an epic and cruel campaign. In fact, forget television: I’m thinking Netflix Original Series, baby. One of the ones where older male character actors do nonchalant monologues before brutalizing weepy, restrained extras. I just hope they have a big enough CGI budget for my mustache.
Night falls. Once again, I send out my boys to scrounge for crimes. I dispatch Tramp to a green worthless shack in the middle of town and tell him to burgle it.
He thinks about it, sets out, hesitates, stops on the street, resumes when re-ordered. At length he trods up the moonlit walk, stills himself just outside the door; then thrusts his hand into the air and hollers: “YyyYYAAGH!”
Then he drops his hands to his sides and stands there patiently.
I instruct him once again to burgle the place.
“YYYAAGGGH!”, he obliges. A moment later I receive a tip instructing me there’s nothing to burgle inside. Well! Glad we straightened that out. Go home, Tramp.
As I pan to my next agent, I see a prompt appear; something like “action: pick pocket.” Well, that’s nice. Seems like Tramp’s doing a little extracurricular, uh…
My money just went down.
Tramp. This may be a paranoid question, but do you happen to know that gang-colored hooded man standing at ear-nibbling distance behind you?
What th–it’s that guy from the vagabond camp vagabond meeting place building! Fucking, get him, Tramp! Jesus!
Tramp hacks at the pocket-picking prowler as I scramble the full fury of my criminal operation. Both of them are en-route, but I see more green fellows racing up the lane as well, teeth and steel bared. A constable hoots appreciatively and pumps his fists.
Things are turning sour for Tramp. He’s fighting a good fight, but just as he gets a few good whacks in another green henchman blindsides him. Red two-digit numbers start flickering over his head at an alarming rate.
Well, that can’t be good.
And it isn’t. Tramp bloodily pirouettes to the road just as reinforcements arrive.
Well. The green reinforcements arrive. My other henchman’s still on the other side of town. At least my faction leader made it!
My unarmed, currently un-escorted faction leader.
It’s a sad-clown farce with a grindhouse finale. The moment Rhodisland’s pathfinding gets confused—and boy does that not take long—the emerald conga line of assassins smashes into him like a derailed freight train. He barely has time to simper and flail before he’s turned into a gas-station road pizza and left for dead.
I’m caught somewhere between disbelief and pretty well-founded belief. Rhodisland’s body chills in the night air for a long, contemplative moment. Then I receive a gameplay tip:
That they do, The Guild. That they do.
NEXT WEEK: THE REVENGE OF RHODISLAND LACROIX