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Stranger in a Strange Land Riven Journal

#1 User is offline   fellowmartian 

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Posted 01 February 2006 - 05:38 PM

Ok. It looks like I am going to have to keep a journal, if I'm ever going to get out of here. But it's not gonna be a stuffy old thing like the old man kept. As far as he's concerned, I'm trying to save a world here. To be honest, I'm just trying to get home. Yeah, this place is beautiful; more so even than Myst and the four 'Ages', and if I could come and go as I pleased I'm sure I'd love it. But everyone keeps running away from me, and there are people watching me all the time. And it looks like, not happy with his sons trying to trap me forever in the last little adventure I went on, I'm now trapped in some kind of battle between the old man's old man and his other half.

So anyway, this little journal is supposed to help me keep track of all the information that's currently threatening to leak out of my overloaded brain, but which just might save my skin. So, here are the main players:

Atrus: The old man. Sent me here to save the whole world ('Age', they call them), after I managed to save him from the scheming of his sons. Currently sat behind a desk writing away quicker than the love child of Stephen King and Mills & Boon, although it turns out that what he's doing is pretty important. More on that later. He gave me a 'Prison Book' with which to trap Gehn (see below), and a journal with some useful background. Like the fact he's basically holding this world together with his pen. Great. I'm supposed to signal him when I've saved his wife and the Age of Riven, but he doesn't know how...

Gehn: The old man's father. Get this - Atrus imprisoned him here, on Riven, for thirty-three years. I thought I treated my Dad badly. Shouldn't really have surprised him when his sons did it to him, but that's another story. Gehn is bad news. Wants revenge, obviously, and wants to restore the D'ni civilisation... again, all will be explained... I hope, but his previous attempts at doing so have caused untold damage. Having created Riven, and been imprisoned here for so long, he seems to be pretty much the boss. He seems to have built all kinds of devices and contraptions, mostly in an effort to escape. I'm also pretty sure he knows I'm here...

Catherine: Atrus' wife. I'm still not sure how long she's been here in Riven, but rescuing her is part of the mission. I'm not 100% sure how I'm supposed to be much help in rescuing her as she appears to be in command of a crack team of ninjas, but I'm sure I'll find out. I probably know least about her; I know she esccaped with Atrus when they imprisoned Gehn here, and it seems she's here now being a thorn in Gehn's side, but beyond that I know little.

So I've been here a few days, wandering about. It seemed pretty small at first, but various secret passages and places revealed themselves, and I have to admit, it is an awesome place. And for it to have been created, like by some kind of god... well, no wonder Gehn has a bit of a superiority complex. So much confuses me, though... every puzzle solved springs up a new one... the language around here is closer to Swahili than English, and just when I thought I had their numbers figured out, I got thrown a curve ball... there seems to be something about colours, too... the rainbow seems pretty important... and there are some nifty rollercoaster-type transports, and people dotted about, all of whom seem to run away from me... but I'm getting ahead of myself...
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#2 User is offline   fellowmartian 

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Posted 01 February 2006 - 05:59 PM

To start at the start (not that any kind of honest-to-god chronology will take hold here, I'm sure), I looked into the Riven 'Linking Book'... these books are amazing things... some kind of magic, basically, or incredibly advanced technology (and when you come down to it, what's the difference?). It looks like they take a lot of work, but once they're done, just open at the right page, and it sucks you into whatever world the book is all about. So this one was about Riven. According to the very brief briefing Atrus gave me, the world is falling apart, and everyone here may die, including his wife, Catherine. He gave me a journal with more info in it, and a book which is supposed to look like a Linking Book out of Riven. Actually, it's a linking book to a little oubliette somewhere, but the idea is that Gehn gets excited, uses it, and then I can get Catheriine and everyone else off Riven buy somehow signalling Atrus.

Fine. So, great start, I landed in a cage. Someone came along shortly, and I was hoping for some help, even if he was talking gibberish. But oh no, he just wanted to steal my fake linking book. Would've served him right if he'd ended up in the little prison designed for Gehn, but suddenly he slumped over, and his limp body was dragged off, together with the book, by some strange red ninja, who then let me out. But disappeared. 'What the hell is going on???' seemed like a fairly reasonable reaction...

A quick scout around revealed that I'm on some clifftops. I'd a suspicion that it was be an Island; it all seemed pretty remote. After awhile I found the dumped body of the thief, but still no sign of the ninja. I started to explore, and the sheer scope of the place soon became apparent. It is a series of islands, surrounded by calm blue waters and calmer blue skies - seriously, the skies are exactly like those described in that song, 'Little Fluffy Clouds'. A few inhabitants have popped up from time to time, mainly running in the opposite direction. there are also plenty of strange animals, the kind more likely to be found on Galapagos than the New Forest, if anywhere. Everything seems to be connected. Everything. It's kinda strange getting used to being somewhere that was created; designed.

It's going to be more useful to me, for the moment, to talk about it by location rather than as a typical story, so I'm going to do that, although I'll give a slight guilty nod to chronology by starting with the first place I found...
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#3 User is offline   fellowmartian 

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Posted 01 February 2006 - 06:13 PM

The Star Chamber

The first place I stumbled across, after climbing a stairway hewn into the cliff, was a wierd star-shaped chamber. It seemed to have two entrances, one of them closed off... it was filled with all kinds of stuff:

- Five pillars, each with a scarab beetle device containing a mural. The murals look religious, and there are links to items on the islands and events in the story which has unfolded

- Three walls of strange writing (the other two walls are doorways)

- A ceiling full of stars

- A star in the centre of the floor with a symbol in it

It turned out that the room rotated. As I explored, I found that the doorways rotated with the room, and could be moved around, and the room approached from different angles, so that quite a few places could be reached. i kept coming back to it and finding new ways to make it lead somewhere new, using all kinds of buttons and levers... It leads to:

- The Big Dome (two ways, or kind of three, actually)

- A small cave

- Another small cave with a steam vent in it (I'll talk about them later). This steam vent seemed to be connected in some way to a device near my starting cage.

This room has been really important in helping me get to new places on the island, especially the top of the Big Dome, and I get the feeling it's got more secrets to give up yet. What do the inscriptions mean, and the murals? Are the stars just decoration? What is the symbol on the floor? Hmmm...
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#4 User is offline   fellowmartian 

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Posted 02 February 2006 - 03:38 PM

The Big Dome

Connected in a number of ways to the Star Chamber is what I call the Big Dome. I'm sure it probably has a more pretentious name, but hey, it's big, and it's a dome. Colour me practical. It is pretty awesome, just in terms of sheer size. I also suspect that it's the centre of pretty much everything on the island. It has some of the wierd wriing which I guess is the language of the D'ni, the race which, as far as I can tell, Atrus and Gehn and probably Catherine are of. Atrus seems pretty human to me, but I digress.

It took me a while to get into the dome, but inside is a rail going all the way around, and a control room type thing hanging from the middle of the roof. I can't get up there, but I have gotten on to pof the dome, thanks to the star chamber and a walkway which turned into a stairway. I swear, sometimes I think Gehn makes gadgets for the sake of it, but they are pretty cool. On top of the dome is a puzzle which I think holds the key to a whole lot of stuff around here. Maybe it activates the control room?

The control room has five pipes leading out of it in all directions, into the sea. they seem to lead in the direction of the different islands, and one leads out of the dome to a smaller dome close by. I've found other similar domes in a couple of places, and it would seem logical that maybe the pipes lead to each of the domes. that would make five domes, but so far I've only found three; one in the forest, one just outside the big dome, and one near Gehn's laboratory.

there is a diagram inside the dome which I think is important. it seems to show the five pipes leading outwards, and for each one it shows a different shape made up of squares. One shape is made of a single square, another of four in a 'L' shape, another of four in a square, another of five squares, and a final collection of eleven squares. These shapes are repeated as part of the puzzle on top of the big dome, but the five shapes there are fitted into a larger square, five by five. Curiously, the puzzle has six coloured balls next to it, rather than five. I'm sure this all links together but I'm not sure how...
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#5 User is offline   fellowmartian 

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Posted 02 February 2006 - 03:46 PM

The Five Islands - Overview

So there are five islands:

- The Big Dome Island
- The Altar Chamber Island
- The Villager's Island (or the Lagoon Island)
- Gehn's Laboratory Island
- The Wierd Temple Island

The Big Dome island consists of The Big Dome (duh), The Star Chamber, The small dome next to the Big Dome, and the Cage where I started. Next to the cage is an interesting gadget - it looks like some kind of viewer, but it's pointed at a locked manhole cover. The cover has five buttons, but clicking them has no effect. The viewer can be moved up and/or down, closer or further to/from the manhole cover... presumably, whatever is down the manhole (rabbit hole?) is what is intended for viewing, but how to open it?
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#6 User is offline   fellowmartian 

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Posted 02 February 2006 - 04:02 PM

The Altar Chamber Island

This one's pretty small. It consists of a cave and two rooms, plus a docking area... the first room has a plush chair in the centre, surrounded by a huge cage. When I approach the chair, the cage opens and I can sit in the chair. on one arm is a button, on the other, a lever. the lever wouldn't operate at first... when I pushed the button, though, I got a shock - the cage close around me. Fortunately, it opens with another push.

Once it's closed, though, the lever works... nothing visible happens, but a grating sound, like stone on stone, is audible, until the lever is replaced. The room also has two windows, one of which looks out onto the second room, the other onto the docking area. A lever by the window which look out onto the second room opens a large door at one end of that room.

the second room is what I call the altar room. It has all kinds of things in it, and I will probably come back to describe it in more detail later, but it's main feature is another cage, like the one around the chair in the first room, but this time on a raised dais, with a symbol behind it similar to the one on the floor of the star chamber. The large door which was opened by the lever is at the opposite end. Nothing seems to actually happen in this room, except...

Once, and just once, when I arrived back here from the docking area to find the door closed, it opened and I saw an old man's face in the cage, just briefly, before it disappeared. I think the face may belong to Gehn - I've seen it in another smaller cage, on the Lagoon Island. But I don't know why it appeared then, and there...

The docking area is a bay - when I first got there, there was a big space where it seemed something was missing, and some tracks, like a cross between monorail and rollercoaster tracks, leading away over to distant islands. A big blue button was the only thing there, so, of course, I pressed it. Nothing, at first, but then, a distant noise, and something caught my eye. Then I realised something was coming along the tracks, at high speed. It got closer, and soon it arrived - a huge pod, which opened like a landing martian craft. I can't describe how impressed I was. Of course, I got in, and some lever pulling got it working.

Wow! My god! what an amazing ride! It sure as hell beats the bus. Better than anything at Alton Towers. the pod carried me along the tracks, suspended below them, at breakneck speed, in a curving path round and through islands, to what I had yet to discover was the Villager's Island... Of course, I went back and forth a couple more times for the thrill before stepping off to explore...
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#7 User is offline   fellowmartian 

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Posted 08 February 2006 - 04:42 PM

The Villagers' Island

This seems like the biggest island, and I keep uncovering new parts of it. Got a shock when I first arrived at meeting the first life I've seen since I arrived. First some strange flippered amphibian creatures, sunbathing on some rocks, then a watchtower which raised the alarm. It's not the last time it seemed I was being watched...

The island is basically a huge lagoon with an entrance out to sea. On a plateau above the lagoon is a wood, and around the lagoon are a series of walkways built from wood. Also, hewn into the rock are a whole bunch of wierd little stone huts. They're kinda like concrete igloos. It seems to be a village, but the only villager I've seen was a woman who slid open a panel on the door to one of the huts when i knocked, but, apparently not liking the look of me, slid it straight shut again. Pretty much every person I've met has been running or hiding from me... it's kinda demoralising. These villagers seem to live a fairly basic life, though... I guess I must seems strange to them. Maybe the alarm (kinda like one of those quarry klaxons) warned everyone that I could be dangerous...

The woods are eerie. The light is very strange, and there are strange blue glowing plants. In the depths of the wood is an altar to some jagged-toothed god, and there seems to be some kind of dome up in the trees, above where I can clearly see, rotating and making a grinding sound much like the one next to the great gold dome.

There's more evidence here of Gehn's gadgetry, particularly in the form of a strange mechanical submarine which I managed to get to work. I didn't trust it too much, but it seemed the only way to explore under the lagoon, and it did look interesting... There are unnatural 'holes' in the water - places where the laws of physics don't seem to apply, and the sub took me around these holes and let me explore. I found several intreresting places, including a strange ring suspended just above the water from ropes anchored way up the lagoon's side, and a strange hut...

The hut contained a number of slates which seem to be more of the strange language I found in the star chamber, as well as a game which, once I figured out, helped me to understand the number system that these people use.

There are also strange wooden eyes in a few places on this island, each with a number (in this place's number system) on the back, which swivel so you can see both sides...
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