Friday, 31 January 2014

Starbound Diaries Part 2 - Involuntary Birdpersonslaughter

When we last left our hero Cornelius, he had ceased to exist. This put a dampener on several of his long-term plans.

Undeterred, I recreated Cornelius more or less as he was. Apparently the last patch to Starbound fixed the need to ever wipe characters again, so this should be the last time I have to painstaking craft a slightly balding simian. I gathered up my matter manipulator and beamed down to my newly generated world. On arrival, a few things are notably different. It's another forest biome, but with a much more muted colour palette, soft oranges and greens in place of busy pinks and blues. Cornelius' surroundings are now somewhat reminiscent of a leafy autumnal forest right here on earth. That's one difference. The other is the bird-woman standing directly in front of me.

This NPC bird-lady is an Avian, one of the races I eschewed to play as a big ape. She also seems to be friendly, which is handy as the only thing I have in my inventory to defend myself with is a broken sword, which does so little damage that I'd be better off arming myself with a CD-ROM of Broken Sword the point-and-click adventure game. I arm myself with it nevertheless.

"Hi, let's be friends!" she says, smiling and doing a small jump. I am instantly pleased. Think of the adventures we could have! A monkey-man and a bird-girl, tooling around and chopping down trees and such. It could be like Moonlighting in space. This pleased feeling lasts all of one second, coming to an end when two hooded, dagger-brandishing figures come darting onto the screen, their speech bubbles screeching "DEATH TO THE HERETIC".

Everybody panics. Bird-lady panics and falls into a dark hole. I panic because I don't know if these death monks are just hostile to me, or to bird-lady, or to both of us. This uncertainty is dispersed when one of them stabs me in the face. This makes me double-panic, and I start slashing my broken sword around at anything that comes near me. This makes the death monks panic and start jumping around, and I panic and start jumping around, and we all end up stabbing at each other at the bottom of the dark hole. It's a panic jamboree.

In the inevitable clusterfuck that follows, I manage to murder both the death monks. However, the bird-lady, in the grand tradition of bloody NPCS, is caught in the maelstrom of wild sword blows and perishes. This is not how this was supposed to go. We should have been friends, damn it. We should have been friends. Cornelius sheds a small tear, steals all the money from the dead bird-lady's purse, and walks on.

 I chop down a few trees and build a campfire and crafting table next to the scene of the triple-homicide I committed. Then I wander aimlessly to my right for a short while, still annoyed at having had the good fortune to find a friendly person on my new homeworld and then almost instantly accidentally merking them. I find a couple of treasure chests with some gold bars and some other crap that i don't even look at, I just hoover it all into my inventory. Then night falls and I begin to worry. Granted, I have a campfire now, so won't freeze to death, but I should probably build some form of shelter - some of the planets in Starbound have acid rain, and I don't want to find out this one does by having my face slough off during a light drizzle.

At my campfire, I start to work out where I can dig a hole. I dig a tiny, modest hole to give me some rudimentary protection from the elements and indigenous beasties, of which I am yet to encounter any but am certain are just waiting to violently make my acquaintance. Then, for the first time, I go to the left.

Not ten feet away from where I have dug a desperate little hobbit hole is a brick shack. Presumably it belonged to the bird-lady. It has a bed, and an armchair, and a bookcase, and a torch, and a roof. Compared to the hole I have dug it is the fucking Taj Mahal. Literally metres away.

I'm not cut out for this survivalist malarkey.

Stay tuned for our next instalment, where Cornelius squats in (and renovates) a dead woman's house and teaches fire crickets what pain is.

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