|Interesting descriptor of telekinesis.|
With our oxygen needs now seen to, at least for the foreseeable future, we wound our way through the canyons to what we surmised was the designated meeting place in the Chasma. And sure enough, we found Cooter himself, hidden behind a narrow passageway blocked off by a large trunk. He was quite relieved to be rescued, saying that he'd been captured by Rasputin and his "varmints" at Argyre, over his knowledge of the oxium stores on the planet. He mentioned one in particular, a motherlode of the stuff beneath the station at McLaughlin - the only problem was that it was behind an electric-powered door, which would not open unless power could be restored. Mr. McGee suggested that Edison, one of the expedition members holed up in Olympus, would probably be able to figure out what needed to happen there, and in the meantime, told use where he'd buried his map to the motherlode, just outside the entrance to the Chasma. It was an easy effort to find said map (and I was rather amused that I needed room to 'move' the dirt I was digging up in order to do so, a nice touch), and from the looks of it, the motherlode was east of the Xanthe Terra, nestled in a corner by some canals just to the northeast. I made a note to look into it when I passed by the area, but for now, it seemed clear Olympus was my next destination.
|So. Many. Cacti!|
Unfortunately, we would not find it at Olympus. Nathaniel Peters, the gatekeeper, expressed a good deal of skepticism, saying nobody could be let in unless they held proof of their soundness of mind. After an incident at Elysium that drove the denizens there mad, the occupants of Olympus were taking what they saw as all necessary precautions. It was just as Dibbs had suspected, and sure enough, he too had been away for long enough that his assurances were worth little to Mr. Peters. He informed us we'd need to seek out three men known to be of sound mind at Syrtis Major, giving us an affidavit for them to sign. If they could vouch for our character and our sanity, then we would be allowed in to Olympus.
|It's interesting to see snippets of Martian history.|
Eventually I made my way back out and finally found a bridge to cross the canals, just behind Olympus itself. D'oh! Oh well, the exploration would surely come in handy in getting my bearings. After a long trek and a night's rest, we finally made it to Syrtis Major, where we found David Yellin, one of the three men Nathaniel had told us to find, in a panic. He and his two companions had been searching for more iron to use for Carnegie's cannon to return to Earth, and the others had been trapped within the mine they had found by a cave-in! He directed us to a repair drill, but it needed to be put together and placed on a cart to be used properly and dig Sherman and Duprey out. Mr. Yellin lacked the tools in order to do so.
|Gee, I wonder why!|
In my wrap-up for Savage Empire, I said that I never had a good sense of character progression, most of the choices for party members already being near max level already and any actual improvement coming sporadically and only for specific characters. I find that I'm having what's basically the opposite problem here in Martian Dreams. I'm absolutely drowning in experience, and that was even before the Shootout at the Cactus Canal! Every time I rested, I had at least three party members ready to level up. The Avatar's already hit level seven, and Nellie, who started at level one at the game's beginning, is ready to hit level six the next time I rest. The levels are coming very fast and furious, which means I expect it to taper off considerably, and probably in the not so distant future. Still, I think this feels like the better situation - I definitely feel like my characters are getting better this way! Even if I hit the level cap for these guys somewhat early on, at least I can say I've had some input as to how they develop, which is, I think, a preferable situation in what's at least ostensibly an RPG. I've even managed to avoid the die-hard need for strength I encountered in Savage Empire, and while most of the levels my group's achieved thus far have been spent improving strength, I've felt I have enough room to give Spector a bit of a boost to dexterity as well. All in all, I like how Martian Dreams is handling the experience a lot better than its predecessor.
Of course, all those levels need to be used on something - hopefully the denizens of Olympus will give me plenty of leads to do exactly that!
|Found this outside Olympus... iiiinteresting.|