Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Astronomica II: Usurp the primarch ending

I should preface this with a disclaimer, just 'cause, you know?

This could be seen as crossover fanfiction, and I don't really mind if you see it that way.  It involves the protagonist killing Guilliman, a subject I know the internet can get quite artistically wound up about; sorry if it rubs you the wrong way, I didn't mean to offend.

Disclaimer over.

Recently, there's been a fairly major discovery made in Astronomica II: Fading Light.  It's not massively interesting as a quest on its own, being mostly a fetchquest at its heart, but it is pivotal to reach one of the most shocking endings of the Wrath of the Primarch DLC.

Here's a basic overview of the questline, along with important dialogue.

Initiation of the quest begins within the Phalanx, fairly late-game surprisingly, although you do need to have previously attained Greyfax's book "Insights to the Northern Martian Dialects", either by killing her or by taking it from her chambers in the rare time she leaves them.  One way to do this is to lure enough pink horrors into the corresponding corridor so that Greyfax's priorities are overridden; another is to attack her, force her to leave her aggro range, then balance her on your character until you enter (get pushed into) the door, after which you have a few seconds to pick up the book from her desk.

Anyway, once you have the book, head into the arcanium below the bridge, making very sure nobody sees you enter (or every human on the bridge will aggro upon your return), go down to the third basement and search the shelves for a book called "My Concerns Regarding our Recent State of Affairs".  Where it is located can be random, so bring a lot of medpacs-- or alternatively, have the Bloodlust litany equipped to regain health from visceralling the daemons; both this and the location of the book are actually governed by the Luck stat, higher luck meaning the book may be closer to the far end of the arcanium, so begin your search there.
Usually when you try to read this book, the usual "you cannot comprehend the written text" message will appear, but if you have Greyfax's book, you will learn the "Betrayer's gait" emote.  Go and find Cawl and perform "Betrayer's gait" before him when he asks you to kneel.

"What is this?  Thou'rt privy then to my fears?  What madness betook thee, to find such hidden data!  Thy fate then is sealed, except I may kill thee, and so keep my knowledge alone?"

Choose "Accept fate" over "Accept death" and he will give you a Profane Gasket Shard.

"My fear is for our Lord Guilliman, so'st thou know.  He is a mighty lord of lords indeed-- but he is weak, even as only expectant of an undead Primarch.  I hath seen thy path.  I know of thy strength, thy resolve.  What wouldst thou give for the might of a lord of lords, hm?  Wouldst thou take upon thy soul guilt unfathomable, in exchange for power equally so, yet untainted by Chaos?  Oh, and please remember.  Tell naught of this to anyone.  I am alone in my concerns; there were others, many others who are all dead and now only I remain, but why though, I canst not know...  Trust only the fallen."

At this time, Cawl with grant you a second Profane Gasket Shard.  The item description reads, "Once the sons of god walked amongst men, choosing heirs to the light of Terra and conferring to them their most secret fear.  This sigil, formed of an unrecorded alloy most obscene in the eyes of the Cog, was distributed amongst those once many who shared in that fear."
Cawl's intention seem fairly clear at this point, but what will you do?  Will you ignore what seems to be a seed of heresy, or will you let it grow?

"Oh, 'tis thou.  What brings thee here?  I am in hardly the mood to train thee, get the gone."

Choose "Give gift" and select either Profane Gasket Shard.  You might need to select it several times, as Cypher may refuse it initially.

"But this... this is a profane gasket shard.  So Cawl hath his successor found.  In thee, no less.  Hm, I expected more of that old man-- but I forego myself.  Yea, I wert privy also to his fear.  Guilliman is dying, thou know'st.  So he hath been these last ten millenia.  How indeed, can even a Primarch, one with no great psychic presence such as the good lord, remain sound and hale, and yet undead?  Well, what thinkest thou?  Is it not clear to thee thy fate?"

If you choose yes, then Cypher will take the proffered Profane Gasket Shard, and you leave... But, of course, it's not going to be that easy.

"Off to slay a primarch then?  Assassin!  Thou wert a greater fool than I thought-- or more courageous than credit allowed, though I doubt thou'rt so.  As I am, my duty here is to the good lord first, and so to place myself before any threat to his title!"

The Cypher fight is enough for its own description, but that's for another time.  For now, I only stress that you must NOT perform any visceral finishers when he's down, in case you accidentally crit and kill him.  Of course, you can kill him if you wish, but that makes the rest of the quest near impossible to finish.  If you leave the chamber with him below 10% HP, you'll meet him on the stairwell before the barracks.  Talk to him and he will put "Cypher's call sign" into your auspex.

"Thou'rt set in thy way then, assassin?  I then have no choice, I suppose.  Here.  Shouldst thou need me... take my call sign.  I promised Cawl that none living should know of our plot save thou... and if thou fail, it means killing myself.  I must admit, I like not the prospect. Heh heh heh..."

You can now summon Cypher to fight alongside you, but only in +30 threat factor battles, but be careful with him as he can die, particularly to the Lord of Change that the Barren Husk summons in the docking bay, and you're really going to want him in the final boss fight of the DLC.

Now you need to somehow gain audience with Roubute Gulliman himself before day 15 of warp travel.  You could do this normally in the three-day process, or you could instead take a quicker (at least two hours) but infinitely more dangerous path: fight your way up to his command chamber.  Blocking the way are his honour guard and a stabby custodes, so bring as many medpacs and agility buffs as you can-- and be prepared to die a lot.  Honestly, if you thought the shooty custodes on the Cadian Fragment was tough, at least he kept his distance!
When he dies, make sure to pick up the Fragment of a Custodian's Integrity, it's important, I promise.  If he doesn't drop it, I hope you saved at the foot of the stairway...

So having reloaded and refought the stabby custodes for the second and last time, you'll now be in the command chamber.  To trigger the fight (and make it a little bit easier), throw a melta charge-- the only grenade with a chance of staggering at the primarch-- and while he's staggered, close the gap as quickly as possible and try to get a backstab in before he turns around.

"What is this madness?  Thou dare usurp the last hope of humanity for thy selfish gain?  Leave this place now, and I may yet spare thy life, wretched assassin."

If Cypher is still alive, the cutscene will then carry on with him summoning in beside you; if not, the cutscene ends there.

"Cypher... once fallen, forever fallen, so say'st thy father.  Thou'rt worse than his mentor, bearing such relics of foul portent against thy lord so."
"I would have no reason to affront my lord, were it not for a more pressing cause."
"... if it is so, then I accept such fate as befalls us.  Come then, and partake of thy god's wrath!"

Note that this cutscene and the ensuing fight will only begin if you have met the following criteria:
1: you possess a Profane Gasket Shard in your inventory
2: you have killed the Custodian outside
3: you've damaged the primarch in some way before he sees you

if you didn't kill the custodian, he will follow you in and alert the primarch to your presence, starting the fight prematurely and giving you no time to manually summon Cypher.  If you didn't manage to land a hit on Guilliman, you'll have to reload the area.

Roubute Guilliman, the last boss of the DLC, and what an intense fight he puts up!  Made all the worse as having  summoned help on your end almost doubles his health pool, though Cypher is pivotal to the fight and not worth leaving out.  While so little is known about his moveset, I can't offer much insight and only a few opportunities to safely attack him.

Firstly, when he skips forward and raises his sword for a downward strike; dodge towards and slightly to his right (carefully, or this attack might one-shot you), unlock, turn around and backstab.  If he retaliates with a spin attack with his gauntlet, dodge away, another melta charge, then back in for another backstab.  This should leave you with enough stamina-- if you're a decent enough level to even be facing him!-- to dash away and recharge, being careful in case he starts shooting.

Secondly, if he starts shooting, get as far away from him as possible.  If you have any working sidearms of your own, this is a good time to put a few shots in before his next move.  Be extremely careful, as Guilliman can dupe you into running one way before catching you with a second line of fire; being heavy bolter rounds they can stun lock you-- no shield or spell will deflect them, and if you get caught against a pillar you're done for.

After firing, he will either charge with sword or gauntlet, or leap with either one, sometimes both.  The leap is fairly easily dodged, allowing you to get a hit in if he led with his sword, or keeping away from the shockwave upon landing if he led with his gauntlet.  His tracking when dashing is super-precise, you need to dodge to his right at the last possible moment, being prepared to repeat if he turns around.  Unlock before you dodge, and keep away from his left side at all times, he has the most brutal grab attack of any boss so far.

Thirdly, try to hit him as often as possible.  I know this sounds mean, but Guilliman automatically regens, and if you leave him even a few seconds' reprise, he can regain twice as quickly!  This is why Cypher, being the only shooty follower capable of strafing, is the most useful summon in this case; while his pistols only scratch away at his health pool, they distract him from buffing his regen.

Also, remember what Cawl and Cypher referred to him as?  Yes, being undead, flame and melta works really well against him, so bear that in mind when choosing sidearms beforehand.

Now, it is possible to visceral him yourself, but the criteria for this haven't been found out yet: if you know of a fairly failsafe way to perform a visceral on him, let me know.

Once you kill him, take his items at your own leisure and either activate his command console or speak to Cypher, if he's still alive.

"Then 'tis done.  The Imperium hath for itself, a new saviour found.  I hope thou know'st what such a burden doth entail.  heh heh heh... Well, I must return to Cawl.  Seek me at any time, my good lord; if thou shouldst want my council, I wilt for certain oblige.  Go on then, take hold of what is now thine.  See for thyself the fate none but thyself wove for thee, and know the burden of a primarch."

So technically, that's the end of the DLC's content, but not the end of the game.  What transpires next is for another time, suffice to say you're geared up for the new "Usurp the primarch" ending...


Let's talk about what Guilliman drops upon death.  of course, he drops his set, the Armour of Fate, from which we learn that, "its inner workings are enhanced with life-sustaining technologies... protecting the wearer from even the most dolorous blows".  This armour has regen properties and allows you to parry pretty much flawlessly, so long as the weapon you block with doesn't break; though it renders your stamina pool almost half its worth, such is its bulk.

The primarch also drops the Emperor's sword, the Hand of dominion and the "Legion Salute" emote.  A neat little thing to note is, when you enter the chamber, Guilliman has a chance of not wearing his helmet for the fight-- but don't panic if he doesn't drop it, it'll be sitting on his command console for you to pick up.
The Emperor's sword is an ultra greatsword, and can only be made effective if two-handed, even in a strength build.  As to be expected, it is imbdued with flame and soulburns any foe it touches, making it extremely useful against psykers and undead.
The Hand of Dominion is impossible to two-hand, being a power fist, but its too heavy to one-hand.  Take it back to Cawl (or any tech-savant of your choice, but Cawl's the cheapest) and using the Fragments of a Custodian's Integrity and for the low price of 190,000 creds he will turn it into a shield/boltgun combo weapon.

So that's that!  Now you're fully decked out for the "Usurp the primarch" ending of Astronomica II, and by Throne are you going to need your new set!  The new final boss they added in the DLC is a shocker, if you have somehow kept away from the spoilers plastering the internet...

Bye bye for now.

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