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Thread: Trip Report: Total Knockout

  1. #1
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2021

    Trip Report: Total Knockout

    In a recent thread about knocking out every enemy, I brought up the rules that I've played by to make the game interesting while trying to knock out all enemies. This thread will be a chronicle of playing missions in that style, which I call 'TKO'.

    The rules I've used are detailed in the linked thread, but the general principles are this:

    * Every creature that could reliably report the presence of a thief is incapacitated ("knocked out") at the time the mission is done, and any discovery of this happening occurs well after the thief is gone.

    * Aside from missing loot, there should be no clear evidence of the thief's presence, or anyone recalling actually seeing a thief. Preferably nobody recalls anything unusual occurring at all prior to becoming unconscious.

    * No deaths or serious injuries have been caused directly or indirectly by the thief's presence.

    The desired effect is that it is as if a wave of sleeping gas (or a spell) came over the whole area, allowing someone to swoop in and pick the place clean, with no one the wiser until the next morning.

    The particular mechanical requirements are no bodies found, no bodies may be moved, and no alerts above L2 (and those only if necessary). While all enemies should be knocked out (even those that patrol in far-off areas), undead and non-sapient enemies like burricks do not count.

    The stats will indicate what are reported from the game. Additionally, I will indicate how successful the run for the TKO rules (+ or -) , as well as how difficult it is to complete, using a one to three-star rating (- for zero stars if TKO doesn't really apply).

    For now, I'm playing Thief Gold with TFix Lite 1.27

    For completeness' sake, here's the tutorial mission:

    0. Keepers' Training
    TKO: - Difficulty: -
    KO: 0

    There's no way to succeed here, as you have no means of knocking anyone out. The Keepers that judge your first few tests do not disappear, so they are valid targets. The 'guard' you spar with is also valid (and can't be knocked down). Unfortunately since there is no objective telling you not to knock anyone out, it has to be considered a busted run rather than a voided one.

  2. #2
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2021
    1. Lord Bafford's Manor
    TKO: -? Difficulty: **
    KO: 24
    Loot: 1429
    Pickpockets: 4/4
    Time taken: 1:02:32

    The majority of this mission is indeed a simple job. Guards are sparsely separated and I could practically knock them out as I met them. It is probably feasible without triggering any 2nd-level alerts. However, the front gate area is much tougher than anything else, which is why the difficulty is bumped up. There's also one room that is potentially a bust, depending on how much evidence can be tolerated.

    In the servants' quarters (lower level, at the back of the house), there are two servants who stand facing each other in a moderately well-lit room. There can even be another person in the room, as this is where the servant who enters through the front gate ends up (although it's safe to knock him out pretty much anywhere on the street at the start of the mission; in my run he was not present). Either way, knockouts cannot be done without some messing around. The occupants of the room are in enough light that you cannot get to them without dousing both of the torches and plunging the room into full darkness. Personally, while I think one torch in a room is acceptably low evidence, two in the same room is asking too much. Since I couldn't do it without taking out both torches, and we don't have access to fire arrows yet, I have to consider it a bust. It may be possible to take out one torch, hit one and then rush to the other before they go to full alert, but I didn't try it. If the torches are out, there's no problem with bonking them in any order, as they won't notice a thing.

    The front gate area has two, or really three, trouble spots. On the upper level, overlooking the entrance, there is a crossbow guard on either side. These face outward but also somewhat in view of each other. In each room a patrolling guard walks behind them, and this guard steps very briefly into the adjoining room (which seems to be the guards' bunks/resting area). The set-up is nearly symmetrical, and on either side there is a dark area where I hid to hit the patrolling guard just as he passes into the outer room. That keeps the standing guard from making any comment. While the standing guard seems like an easy target, the first one you knock out may be visible to the other side. I couldn't get anywhere near the window, and if the body falls too far forward, there will be some notice and probably a second-level alert. Leaning in from as far out as possible, I accomplished the knockout without a grumble from the other side. The second one is of course easy, as no other guards will spot them, although I still had to get the patrolling guard at the right spot.

    Finally, there's the three guards at the front gate. They all face outward, so the knockouts from behind are not an issue. They won't notice the gate rising up behind them (the switch is right next to the entrance), and there's even a nice dark patch on the border of the doorway to act from. What's the problem, then? Well, the two guards nearest the entrance are right at the top of stairs. Once they are knocked out, their bodies are likely to slide downward, causing the bottom-most guard (the bear pit fan) to become alerted. Even if he doesn't turn around right away, in that state he can't be knocked out and will probably see the body in a moment. Getting to him is the hardest, as making a quick move down can also make too much noise. Not only that, either one of the two at the top may react as soon as you hit one of them and the body slumps forward. I went first right, then left, and then made a deft slide forward and to the right that put me in range to knock out the last one, and oddly enough the front-most guard had commented but then settled just before I hit him.

    With all the guards knocked out, the key to the well room could be returned without having to block the door. I held off on the scepter so I could go outside safely. It's worth pointing out that you probably won't be able to knock out all the guards at the front gate if you complete the objectives first. The gate itself also has an external control switch (on the right as you face it), allowing it to be closed after exiting. However, it was easy enough to dash out after hitting the switch on the inside, to keep the levers in their original position.

  3. #3
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2018
    Quote Originally Posted by Kangra View Post
    While all enemies should be knocked out (even those that patrol in far-off areas), undead and non-sapient enemies like burricks do not count.
    Why do you exclude burricks? They also can be knockouted. Though it's loud. The same goes for craymen, apes, bugbeasts and frogbeasts. The last 3 can be taken quietly.

  4. #4
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2021
    I think of the requirements more along the lines of who is capable of reporting or aware of the crime, as opposed to who can be actually knocked out. I consider burricks to be too far down on the sapience level to know that Garrett is a thief as distinguished from a simple threat when seen. They would not be aware of what he did once he's gone. So, they're optional by my standards.

    Of course, it's a sliding scale. I tend to put the more humanoid creatures on the 'need to be KO' list since they seem to have more means of communication and memory. Bugbeasts are kind of on the edge but I'd probably count them in. The Flame Guardian becomes kind of a problem since they are most likely intelligent and capable of reporting the thief, but just don't seem to interact with anyone else. Same with the Golden Child, who probably should be KO'd by my logic, and only sort of gets a pass since they are ignored.

    I have considered trying a run with all knockoutable enemies included, especially since in TG there are several levels with no real enemies for this challenge.

  5. #5
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2018
    Quote Originally Posted by Kangra View Post
    The Flame Guardian becomes kind of a problem since they are most likely intelligent and capable of reporting the thief, but just don't seem to interact with anyone else. Same with the Golden Child, who probably should be KO'd by my logic, and only sort of gets a pass since they are ignored.
    Fire shadow counts as undead just like zombies and haunts. Golden child is made out of metal, so it's most likely the robot. Because of that both enemies are immune to knockouts.

  6. #6
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2021
    2. Cragscleft Prison
    TKO:+? Difficulty: **
    KO: 25
    Loot: 1688/1688
    Pickpockets: 11/11
    Time Taken: 2:35:07 (including wait exploit, see below)

    The lower levels in the mine are full of zombies, so the first part of this is just a ghost run. It's okay to have them grumble, but we can't allow any to become active that aren't already. The trickiest point is in the room with the 'generator' (coil device); to pass this bit, I hopped on the mine cart and then jumped over to the hole in the wall. The zombie made noise, but didn't get up. Higher up in the mine, the zombie patrols just need to be avoided. I had to avoid setting off the skeleton trap as well, but it was easy enough to get into the factory via the stairs. The guard standing near them is in enough darkness to be hit from the front; you can also sneak by and drop him from behind as well.

    The factory isn't too tough, as the targets mostly stay separated. Noisy patches need to be crept around on carefully, at least until everyone's asleep. Each of the 'workers' can be hit when they are either leaving or coming back to a metal grate area. I also had to remember to go down the freight elevator from the inside in order to get the other guard that patrols partly into the mines.

    At the initial entry point to the prison, there is a guard station that's a bit too well-lit to knock out the guard while he's still standing inside it. I waited for the conversation to finish, and then knocked out the guard who goes off to patrol. I made some noise on the stairwell, and that brought the one in the station out to search. I hit him as he was almost back to his spot. I tried to time it so he'd be fully inside the station, but I didn't quite make it; he ended up right outside the door.

    The two guard stations with 'cameras' are easy enough to pass, since the guards can be hit from the side, or you can sneak in behind them. The camera is the only thing to look out for, as it gives no delay if it spots you.

    The cell blocks require some stealth, since all the patrols will cross the same spaces. Firstly, I had to observe the pattern of the patrolling guards, so that I didn't end up dropping one in a spot where it could be quickly discovered. I also went around and took out the guards in the cell control stations, to make it a bit easier to move freely below them. I had to avoid alerting anyone in the cells; Cell Block 3 is the hardest for this, since there's an easily-alarmed person in the cell right by the guard station. I had him poking around his cell at one point, but he eventually was quiet. After that, I took out the patrols. In Cell Block 1 and 2 I got one just outside the central 'yard', and then one in the long ramp between levels. Next I slipped into the 'yard' and hit one more on his route between Cell Blocks 3 and 4. I had a slight moment of panic when I couldn't find the fourth, until I remembered that he was the guard I hit right after the conversation when first entering the cell blocks.

    As for the prisoners, I considered it unnecessary to actually knock them out, as long as they stayed in the their cells. Technically I do have the means to open and shut their cells, so they aren't inaccessible, but none of the guards seem to listen to them about a thief, so I think it's okay to let them be. Also, they only have one health, so it's impossible to knock them out without killing them. But I was curious to see what happens if you let them go. I was wondering if they'd run to the mines and get into a fracas with the zombies. But it appears that if they run, and no one stops them, they go through the factory, then down the stairs right near the mines, and then run behind those stairs. I did not determine if they are able to 'discover' bodies (their behavior seems to be set to just run, since they don't react to anything along the way).

    The rest of the level is quite easy, except for the Hammerite priest and the novice in the 'chapel' room near the barracks. I could only get them using a waiting exploit (which isn't excluded, but doesn't feel great). Over time, the novice will drift forward, towards the corner of the altar. It took about 25 minutes for me. I had first made the rush up the stairs into the one dark spot, and then I just let the game sit for a bit. Once the novice moved close enough, I could blackjack him from the front by leaning over. The priest never noticed, and the altar hid the fallen body from his view. Then it was easy to slip behind the priest and knock him out.

    I had previously tried to do this by making noise to draw them out. It seems in NewDark paired enemies are more likely to get into a mutually-reinforcing alert trigger pattern, causing them to shift around unpredictably and take several minutes before calming down. Luckily you can crouch down in full darkness here and they won't detect you, but actually scoring a knockout is unlikely. Making any movement is probably too much noise, so you have to just sit there and hope that they pass by you when they return to their station. It is possible to score a knockout during their searching, but that is a clear bust, since they can't be actively searching during the knockout. So it's either exploit the engine to some extent or get a lucky break after causing an alert. Maybe not technically a bust, but as I said, it doesn't sit well with me.

    I exited with Basso through the waterfall, and then got on to the elevator in the mines. The zombie patrols still had to be avoided, but it was not too tough. I never had to go down into the lowest level (where the spider is), since there's no loot or useful gear there.

  7. #7
    Member
    Registered: May 2008
    Location: Southern,California
    did you also knock out any inmates in cells? to add to ko total?

  8. #8
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2021
    No, I didn't knock out the inmates because they only have one health and it kills them. It would only be possible to do it on Normal difficulty.

  9. #9
    Member
    Registered: May 2008
    Location: Southern,California
    great report then i look forward to the other reports,as i am a knockout type myself

  10. #10
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2021
    3. Down in the Bonehoard
    TKO: - Difficulty: -(** for burricks)
    KO: 16 (burricks)
    Loot: 2450
    Pickpockets: 0
    Time Taken: 1:40:12

    With no targets that really need to be knocked out, there isn't much to be done for this mission. Following the rules amounts to more or less a ghost-ish run, with a little leeway when it comes to the enemies. To make it a bit more interesting, I decided to see if I could knock out all the burricks. It turned out to be a more trouble than expected.

    Strict adherence means that getting the Mystic Soul is probably a bust unless you do stacking tricks to reach the 'exit' ladder; there are too many enemies fully alerted otherwise. I did light the torches from above (using a rope arrow to climb up on the ring overhead) and dove straight into the water as soon as the floor opened. Each time, the Flame Guardian would start to come back. I don't know for sure if any zombies saw me, but with the fire arrows going off they come out somewhat alerted anyway. After I got the Mystic Soul, I saw that a couple of the zombies had wandered over to the exit area, and there wasn't any way to drop down without notice. What I did was shoot a fire arrow at the ground. This brought everyone over to check it out. Meanwhile, I swam back under and then hopped back overhead to douse the torches. The Flame Guardian happened to be standing near the sliding tiles when they closed, and he got stuck in the floor. Also, for some reason the zombies all crowded to one side of the antechamber, so it ended up being easy.

    Returning the golden bones leaves more evidence of someone's presence, so I skipped it. The reward is just equipment, and therefore unnecessary. The loot that's near inert zombies can be picked up by running/jumping fast enough, and they made noise but didn't get up. There are a couple of boulder traps which I also think show enough evidence to be a bust. Ultimately it makes little difference since the spirit of the challenge is mostly lacking in this mission.

    Knocking out the burricks (with no bodies discovered and no direct detection) added some variety at least. Several of them are on their own and easily hit. They make enough noise to almost always trigger hunting if any burrick is close by, but it doesn't quite travel as far as it might appear. It's typically a matter of finding knockout locations where the body won't be spotted. In the 'upper' caverns that have a large water pool at the bottom, the ones in the tunnels were far enough apart (or in dark enough patches) that knocking one out did not fully alert the others.

    The first hard area with multiple burricks is early on, before entering the Halls of Echoing Repose. The burricks patrol on fairly random routes, but tend to stay near one another. There is one large and rather dark corner where I got one while it was separated enough from the others that they did not see me hit it. I then had to shoot off a fire arrow to draw them away to a far cavern. Once they returned to normal patrolling, I got another one as it entered that same dark cave, and the last was easily stalked. To get the lone burrick that guards the 'wrong' statue room, I had to ghost by it to the rope, and then I dropped down from behind to approach it safely.

    The other big burrick spot is the Horn of Quintus entrance, which is simply stuffed with the foul-mouthed creatures. Most of them are actually pretty easy to deal with, since you can find the 'intended' route to the horn and get behind them without notice. The stationary ones are either away from the others or in enough darkness that no bodies will be found if the others hunt. There are a few next to each other that I first distracted from the post, so I could get the lone one farther away (it did not react to my noise). Then I hit the two quickly from behind. The real trouble is the large chamber with four of them all relatively near each other.

    Knocking out at least one of the other burricks had already agitated this group a bit, so I had to be careful when going near them. Inside that chamber the far side is actually very dark, much darker than it appears. I wanted to see if the one that stands behind the others could be taken down without causing high alert. In order to get back there, I needed them all to move out of the room first. I shot off a fire arrow in the passage near the north end of the room, and lured them farther north into the empty chambers there, since they would be in no danger of discovering any bodies in that direction. Once I was in the room and they all returned to their posts, I took down the rearmost burrick, and found that indeed it's not discoverable -- the other three all investigated the area but did not react when they walked across their unconscious pal.

    That left me with three burricks: two facing an easterly direction and one which is more or less guarding the northern passage. By then they were riled up enough that I could only exit by dashing past the third one; even most attempts to draw them all to the far side of the room by shooting a fire arrow failed when they turned in my direction instead as soon as I moved to the exit. Running past the third burrick set off another round of hunting. I was able to get them hunting again into the northern chambers, but instead of hiding in darkness, I ran off farther away, hoping that some would return and one would be left.

    The trouble is that there's no real way to tell which one is the straggler of the group, or even if there will be one far enough behind. It took a few attempts to get the burricks to come in without also spotting me. From my tests, if the straggler is the one at the northern passage, that's ideal, since the other two can be hit from behind without them getting to full alert if you're fast enough (a speed potion would help but I did not use it). If it's one of the others in the room, then the first burrick drawn off must be knocked down in a dark area or very far from their post, since getting the last two in that case requires drawing them off yet again in that direction. In the run I saved stats for, I had actually drawn the third one quite a ways off by a stroke of luck, so that it almost surprised me when it was heading back and passed right by me.

    While I was pleased to discover that this room could indeed be cleared, it wasn't all that enjoyable. Burrick behavior is much more random than guard searches, so the direction they hunt is hard to predict, and the aural feedback is often very tough to pick out when there's more than one. There's also the off chance of them just getting stuck on geometry. It makes dealing with groups of them involve a lot of hoping for the right moment. Simply clearing the last three took 20 minutes of the mission time, and most of that had to be replayed several times to tell if it would even work.

  11. #11
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2021
    4. Assassins
    TKO: - Difficulty: ***
    KO: 53
    Loot: 2705
    Pickpockets: 8/9
    Locks Picked: 5
    Time Taken: 1:19:43

    This has some complications that made it a bust. Nevertheless, it has some of the most thrilling knockout sequences possible. Although it starts with two characters you can't knock out (yet), the opportunities for knockouts build up quickly. While trailing them back I made sure to send everyone I could see on the streets to dreamland. That was three servants/civilians and two city guards. As long as you know the route of the thieves you can veer away from them fairly easily without failing the mission, so there's plenty of time to knock down the other city-dwellers.

    Of course, once you get to the mansion, everyone is fair game. I wasn't able to get to the two thieves, as I was too far behind them when the mission shifted. I don't know if it's possible to get close enough to get them before they get inside. I was worried about what might happen to the bodies of those I'd left in the city, but it turns out they get magicked away as soon as the objective changes. I'm guessing that also happens to anyone still walking around, as I didn't encounter anyone on the street when I went back and checked.

    Back at the mansion, I wanted to work from the outside in, and bottom to top. There are five guards that patrol around the perimeter, and two more posted on the wall (facing inward). As you get near the front door there's a conversation between two of the patrollers about Cragscleft being shut down, and then they split up.

    What follows is perhaps the best experience I've had doing TKO so far. I didn't really plan this (outside of knowing I needed to get all five before any noticed and do it in locations that won't be seen by the later guards who pop in), it just happened to work perfectly. I'll recount it as it happened:

    I follow one of the guards that leaves from the front gate and head off to the right, making sure to sneak slowly through the noisy gravel. At the exit from the gravel I dash across into the dark area directly ahead. The guard overhead wonders a moment if there's something behind him, but then brushes it off as nothing. From there I make haste to hop between shadows as I follow the path of the patrolling guard; I pass even closer to the watchful eye of the archer above, but the shadows are dark enough that he still doesn't spot me. I manage to get behind the patroller just as he's about to turn back around, and score knockout number one.

    At this point I can still be a bit leisurely. There's a body down, but no one's going to patrol here for some time. I saunter along the waterway (making sure not to fall in early, as that current is strong) and head to the back of the house. A quick dip in the water is required to get to the northeast corner. I head around the corner and in the distance I can see another patrolling guard. The shadows here aren't great, and the space is too narrow, so I need to somehow get behind him. He makes a turn into the courtyard and I hop to the side he just came from. When he exits the courtyard I let him go a little ways into the shadow, and hit him.

    Now I have to hurry. Hopefully I didn't let him walk too far ahead. I need to rush to get around the northwest corner of the house, past the grassy corner and into the narrow space along the western wall. There's a guard walking up and I dart into the far shadow near a storage tower. The guard passes peacefully. I let him continue his patrol.

    At this point I'm really on the clock. The guard I just let pass is going to turn the corner and head toward the courtyard. If he gets too far he'll find the body back there. The reason I let him go, though, is that there's another guard fairly close on his heels. I don't want to run the risk of the second one spotting the one in front's body, and there's no good hiding spaces outside of this spot by the tower. So, safe for now in a deep shadow, I hurry up and wait. Once the second guard passes, I hit him and take off like a shot around the corner. How close is the guard to the courtyard? He hasn't reached it yet. Thanking the heavens for the relatively quiet grass, I rush up and knock him down. That's one...two...three...four. I need one more. One more guard that is getting ever closer to the first body I dropped, and here I am on the complete opposite side of the house!

    Running pell-mell down the western wall, I realize that there's no time to dodge into the shadows or creep through the gravel at the front gate. Instead I swing open the southwest tower door (it's helpfully not locked), and take the stairs up. I'm on the wall. The archer on this side is in sight; his back is to me and he's only focused on who or what might come in from the front gate. I run about as far along the wall as I dare, and get into the shadow of the mansion. Slowing my pace just a bit, I get behind this guard and knock him out with one sharp blow.

    With no time to lose, I continue into the empty guardhouse over the main gate. I come out the other side. There's the other archer ahead of me, and his back is to me as well. I can see the last patrolling guard down on the ground. If I don't act now he's going to turn the corner and spot the body of my first target. Not bothering to tell the guard that there really is someone behind him this time, I bash him good and he goes flat. Without a second to spare, I hop to the ground. The last guard is walking along the front tower. He's nearly around the corner, almost in sight of the first body, when I swing my trusty blackjack and hit him square in the head. He's out cold. Five patrols, two archers, all clean knockouts and the outside grounds are clear.
    The most fun part of that, of course, is also doing it all while hoping that the bodies aren't in spots that the later spawned-in guards might see. In hindsight, that sequence can be done more methodically from one side to the other, since none of the routes form a full circle, but it was a whole lot more exciting to do it on the clock.

    I didn't want to pick any locks if I could help it, so I entered the house via the rear courtyard (the central door is unlocked). Somehow in my running around I had triggered the conversation of the two guards that were out here, which is unfortunate as it caused trouble later. Once the guard at the front door turned around, I snuck into the hallway. I didn't have any keys yet, so I stayed on the west side of the house.

    Initially, there are just two guards patrolling the halls. I knocked out one in the stairwell and the other in a somewhat dangerous location, right in the middle of the hall connecting the east and west sides. With those down, I had less to worry about with the guard room/quarters, which I knew would be trouble. This is where the two guards from the courtyard ended up. It's also where the two thieves that I trailed stop. I think one more guard comes over here if you don't stop them, and it'd be a real party in the room. Not to mention the two nervous servants in the adjacent chamber. Luckily, it's almost completely in darkness.

    Entering from the hall, I could knock out the first guard near that door without much of a complaint from anyone else. The two thieves and the other guard, though, are where I ran into trouble. Opposite them is a guard just waiting to push the alarm button, and he's in fairly good electric light. I definitely can't get behind him without the others seeing. Even knocking out all three on the other side is a tough sell. I did manage that, but the guard near the alarm got set off. Then, just as he turned to press the button, he froze up for a moment, as if he wasn't quite in full alert mode. I was able to knock him out in that moment. To me it's a bust, although as I found out later it may have been a somewhat fortuitous one.

    The very next room (with the servants) is similarly tricky, made so because servants have a tendency to run rather than search. These two in particular are close enough to each other that they always notice the other falling (even if you KO the other just after, you get an unconscious person creepily shouting that they've seen a murder, so that's a body discovery). I had to split them up safely. To start with, I needed less light in the room, so I doused the torch. Then I waited for the servant in the kitchen to be called downstairs to Ramirez. With him gone, I started tapdancing in the kitchen. Fortunately this only drew one of the servants to investigate, making the knockout process a relative breeze, since I could hit him before he got too close to his partner.

    With that handled, I headed downstairs to get the servant in the basement so he'd be out of the way (I allowed him to make his delivery first). With his Basement Key in hand, I snuck into Ramirez's private money chamber and knocked the lord of the manor out cold. Taking the loot was not as important as getting the key on his shelf, since it's a skeleton key for nearly every room, with the upstairs bedrooms as notable exceptions.

    There's a 'Trophy Room' adjoining the courtyard which I knew would also be a thorny one. It's one of the most brightly-lit rooms in any mission, and the two guards in it are right in view of each other. There's no way to get to them without being seen, and no way to darken their surroundings. I decided to bring them into the hallway. First I needed to douse the two torches in the hall. I opened the northern door to the room and made a bit of noise. With the torches out, I could hide practically anywhere. One of the guards started searching all the way to the stairwell, and after the other went back in the room, I was able to get him out in the hall. I still had to go all the way around and be cautious approaching the one who'd gone back into position; the room's so brightly lit that he can still spot a lot of movement, especially after being alerted.

    With Ramirez's key, I could get into the 'Storage Room' section on the other side of the first floor. Two guards have a conversation, and then start a patrol that would take them toward the first two patrollers in the halls I'd already taken down. So I got one before he opened the door, and took the other in the hall while he was heading the other direction. The timing needed some precision, but it was nothing too difficult.

    Since I had already pickpocketed Ramirez, there was an extra 'thief' guard posted at the front door, right next to the original door guard. I waited for this to get both there because I couldn't let him pop in on top of a body. Happily they switch facing at the same time. It's still a bit nerve-wracking to have to cross the stone section of a well-lit room and just hope they don't suddenly turn on you. I also could not get them both to go down without a bit of a yelp from the second one as he saw the first fall, but it was not a body discovery, just the start of an alert. I think this was also the pickpocket I missed, since I rushed it trying to see if I could do it with neither being aware. It's easy enough to pick the door guard earlier on, and probably possible just before the knockouts as well.

    That covers the ground floor. On the upstairs, there's only the servants near the library to take care of. This again takes some slight amount of quick action; I had to let them separate, but get both before they ran into any bodies downstairs. I don't think it would have been advisable to let them loose before knocking the rest of the house out.

    The last guards were the new thieves around the outside: One on the northeast corner, who is easy to get, and two in the front (opposite the archers, whose bodies they thankfully did not notice). The ones in the front I approached from the outer part of the grounds, as they have good vision on the well-lit front area. Neither presented a problem, as there's a lot of darkness around them.

    Thanks to the fire arrows at Farkus's place, I could re-light the torches I put out. There are only two doors with locks that must be picked the two smaller bedrooms. The master bedroom can be reached from outside, by jumping from the tower (the tower can be unlocked with the Courtyard key).

    Once I put everything back as neatly as possible, I headed outside, and found that I had to satisfy the 'get to home turf' objective. I'm not sure what triggered it, but it might have been the guard that had been alerted who I managed to still knock out. Or it was just all the knockouts I did. It could also have been that I intentionally agitated the burricks for fun when I returned Ramirez's key. I was hoping to get this objective anyway, just to see how many more knockout targets there would be.

    It turns out there are quite a lot. The challenge for TKO here is that they just keep coming, so you need to drop them before they find any unconscious bodies that will litter the streets once you start. They often come two or three at a time, but bunched up, so it's not too hard to slip behind and get the groups in quick succession. At a few moments I did get worried that a body would surely be discovered somewhere else on the map, but that never happened. It's actually not that hard if you know the map and clear all routes as you go. I took out no less than 16 along the way, and I don't know if there are any more. I was truly happy to be back at home turf at the end, finally ready to hop in bed and just pass out.

  12. #12
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2021
    5. The Thieves' Guild
    TKO: - Difficulty: ***
    KO: 69
    Loot: 2716
    Pickpockets: 9/18
    Locks Picked: 14
    Time Taken: 2:36:59
    Bodies Discovered: 1

    This is actually the first level I ever attempted in this style. It's a sprawling level with a lot of targets. My previous run took over three hours, and I had a blast, even if I did not get all the knockouts that time. This time I improved and took everyone down. Unfortunately, as the stats show, the run was busted by a body discovery.

    Everyone is mostly spread out, making each section easy enough to handle, but there are enough spots where routes cross for a bit or are in sight of others that picking the sequence and location for a takedown requires some care.

    At the start, it is possible to hit at least one of the people who head through the front door, but I just let them pass and went for the back door (making sure to nail the patrolling city guard first). The restaurant presented no challenge, and I proceeded to slide down a rope arrow into the casino. The casino, on the other hand, presents a really huge challenge. It was here that I failed in my initial run. I was hoping to do better, but still could not get through it cleanly.

    The early part of the casino is no trouble. The lone guard looking out on an empty room provided a key for opening up the door later, and the patrolling one circling the center was dropped in the section he was watching. The real trouble starts in the rooms where the people are busy gambling, and I was faced with guards and gamblers in close proximity.

    On the north side I took out both of the torches in the central divider as a start, since even the far one sheds too much light on the gambling table. The first standing gambler (nearest the restaurant) can be taken down with barely any reaction from the others. Then, using a crate to assist, I crawled into the window next to the guard on the restaurant side. Knocking him out caused a bit of a reaction from the other guard and the remaining gambler, but they settled down fine. Then I snuck all the way around to get to the other guard. Doing that required me to douse a third torch, the one near the secret door. While it's possible to sneak in behind this guard when there have been no alerts, he was a lot more jumpy with his partner down. The earlier alert also made it harder to knock him out, but I was able to pop through the window and hit him in one quick motion. The other gambler was easy enough after that. (Previously I did this by taking down the gamblers first, but that caused a second-level alert and made it even tougher to get both the guards.)

    The other side of the casino presents one of the toughest conundrums for the would-be knockout master. There are four people here, all in pretty good sight of each other, and facing enough different directions that taking them all down cleanly is a problem I have not yet solved. I did however improve on the first time I tried this, when I simply gave up on the two guards since I couldn't knock them both out. This bust still happens, because it seems they always spot one of the bodies (NewDark seems to have made this more likely as well).

    One of the gamblers will always fall right into a fairly bright patch. It's actually quite hard to get both of them fast enough that the other doesn't react, but I think I managed that (there was no mention of seeing a body, which usually happens even if they've already been knocked out). The guards inside got upset when it happened, and searched a bit but settled down very quickly as I remained in darkness. I don't know for sure if they possibly spotted the body at some point when I was in the basement. When I experimented by ending the mission without having knocked them out, I still had one body found, so either they had seen it before or the other gambler actually had, which is probably more likely. I did determine that it was this body by deliberately letting them find it in another experiment -- the stats screen still showed just one found.

    Because the gamblers being knocked out caused the Level 2 alert earlier, it is tough to sneak in from behind the casino guards when you get into the basement. The room they are in is too well-lit. I also tried sneaking in without knocking out the gamblers, and while I could get behind one guard, they're too far from each other to get them both fast enough. As soon as one starts to fall, the other will whip around toward you. Not to mention that the gamblers go nuts and run.

    So it's not possible to get them while they are standing there, and it's better to knock out the gamblers first. I saved those two guards for the very last. When I got to the back entrance (after clearing the rest of the level), I found that merely opening the gate was enough to trigger an alert. Whenever that happened, they didn't typically enter into the passageway behind, and in fact more often than not would head out into the casino. This is also a point where they might spot the body, even while staying in their initial room. There's no safe dark spot inside the guard room, so even letting them wander in there didn't buy me any opportunities to knock them out on a return trip.

    I did eventually come up with a solution, but it is itself another bust, since it uses a noisemaker that is not recovered. Once they started hunting as the gate opened, I shot off a noisemaker in the dark passage behind the door. That eventually brought at least one guard out to look. However, you can't hide in the passage as it is too narrow, and neither can you be just outside it, as the room is lit with a light that can't be turned off. I was able to head into the nearby carpeted room, which has fully dark areas that allow observation of the opening to the passage. The guard came out, poked around a bit, and then headed back in. As soon as that happened, I ran as fast as possible, and I managed to hit him just before he got back to the gate. The second guard was easy enough after that. It's an improvement on just leaving them, but with one body discovery that's almost certain, a noisemaker used conspicuously, and enough hunting that they'd be awfully suspicious, it's not a very satisfactory solution.

    The south basement itself, which I'd finished earlier, has some long and overlapping patrol routes. I went down first to the lower 'blue' stone room (from which the back route to Donal's house begins) and knocked out the patrolling guard. Then I went up and triggered the conversation between the guard and servant, so I could get the servant who also heads through the blue room. Next, I took down the guard the servant had spoken with, making sure to have him in a place that the casino guards wouldn't spot later. That made the last few knockouts in the basement easy.

    In the north basement, the only trouble spot was the stone chambers with the carved windows, near the entrance to the upper sewer. There's a guard who has a very short patrol route, and it requires a quick dash to knock him out. Additionally, if his body is too close to the door, it'll be detected by the servant in the adjoining room as soon as the door opens (not a body discovery, but it triggers a second-level alert, and makes getting into that room much harder). So I had to time it just right and knock him out as he stepped briefly behind the pillar and then turned toward it.

    Almost everything else was no trouble. There are just a lot of guards to hit. Minimal evidence rules required me to return the safe key and lock several doors. During the course of this I discovered that the courtyard in Ruben's house actually counts for 'city streets' and ends the level if you step into it, so I had to make sure to avoid it on the way back to the restaurant.

    All in all, still a very fun level. When it was my initial attempt at this style it was a good starting mission, as it delivers so many opportunities for clean knockouts, ranging from the simple to the toughest I've seen.

  13. #13
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2013
    Did you know that you can influence the direction a KOed body falls? If you want them to fall backwards rather than forwards, you hit them lower down the body, almost as if you are aiming for their ass.

    I've used this on the male gambler in the Casino before now, as him falling forwards always seemed to alert someone before I could scoop him up and away. I also found timing things with the intermittent strobing light nearby made a difference.

    Also used this technique in Rebellion Of The Builder 2, when a Hammer falling forwards would see them fall into the plain sight of other Hammers.

    One other thing, and I have not confirmed this personally, but I've heard that you can knock people out by throwing sandbags at them.

    Well just thought I'd mention these in case you didn't already know, and they might help somewhere.

  14. #14
    Member
    Registered: May 2008
    Location: Southern,California
    i am glad on 4. Assassins you knocked them all out , farkus would be proud

  15. #15
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2021
    Quote Originally Posted by Cigam View Post
    Did you know that you can influence the direction a KOed body falls? If you want them to fall backwards rather than forwards, you hit them lower down the body, almost as if you are aiming for their ass.

    I've used this on the male gambler in the Casino before now, as him falling forwards always seemed to alert someone before I could scoop him up and away. I also found timing things with the intermittent strobing light nearby made a difference.

    Also used this technique in Rebellion Of The Builder 2, when a Hammer falling forwards would see them fall into the plain sight of other Hammers.

    One other thing, and I have not confirmed this personally, but I've heard that you can knock people out by throwing sandbags at them.

    Well just thought I'd mention these in case you didn't already know, and they might help somewhere.
    I think I kind of knew you could influence it, but didn't know exactly where. That might help on some of these levels! Especially since it is probably the other civvie that's busting the body detection. I have encountered other situations where it seems like enemies that are 'slow' to react won't play any body discovery message but it still trips, and you see it at the mission end.


    Quote Originally Posted by downwinder View Post
    i am glad on 4. Assassins you knocked them all out , farkus would be proud
    I hope I did, not sure how many there really are, but it should have been enough to let him rest in peace.

  16. #16
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2021
    6. The Sword
    TKO: + Difficulty: **
    KO: 25 (1 AB)
    Loot: 2656
    Pickpockets: 7/10
    Locks Picked: 4
    Time Taken: 1:52:21
    Bodies Discovered: 0

    Maybe the first proper TKO. And nearly as clean as can be, with only a few L2 alerts. I probably should have gotten all the pickpockets, but I don't consider them a priority.

    There is no part of the main house that presents any difficulty, just patience with the noisy floors at times. The patrols near the 'tower' that houses the sword do provide some challenge, though, so I'll focus on that section.

    Two of the guards (on the 'outside' area) have overlapping paths, and due to the marble floors it isn't really possible to get from one end to the other after hitting one. I took out a torch at one end of their route, which let me easily get one from behind. The other one I had to get from the front, because once they even got close to the doused torch and the other body they started to grow suspicious. With the torch out, though, it was possible to hide in full shadow right at the corner of the hall, and I could hit the approaching guard without being spotted.

    On the bottom of the sword tower, there are two guards standing next to each other. I doused the torch on the left, then went around and snuck in behind them. Even with the one torch out, there's still a lot of light, but by hugging the wall I avoided notice. I knocked out one and was able to creep over and get the other before he noticed anything was amiss. There's also a patroller that goes through the passage behind and below them, and it's hard to get to him easily. It would probably be easy to just make the whole passage dark (or mostly, as one end is lit from glowing sources overhead). I did it with just two torches out in the hall. Even when I was in as much darkness as I could manage, just before the guard was about to bump into me he noticed something was wrong, but didn't pull his sword. I got him from the front. There's a nearby patrolling guard which requires an airborne knockout if you don't want to douse torches -- I hid in the grassy tunnel above him and leapt down as he passed by. Nobody else was near enough to hear the clatter.

    That left the three guards in the upper part of the tower, at the place closest to the sword. Two of them don't move until you get close enough to trigger their conversation, so I made sure not to come near them without handling the other one first. A rope arrow at the right spot gets you up to this level without setting their conversation off. I then went around to a place that has a long, somewhat darkened tunnel, away from where the sword is. The third guard (who has a health potion on his belt) patrols in a pattern that eventually leads through that tunnel. While the space is somewhat wide, the darkest patches are in his path, so you can't hide well without dousing torches. I did it without using any water arrows by hiding at the far end of the tunnel and coming out just as the guard turned. I think the noise did cause a L2 alert, but he went down before really knowing what hit him. I then went around behind the other two and knocked them just after they finished their conversation (they needed to be slightly farther apart to avoid an immediate alert).

    Once all the guards were knocked out, I was able to re-light the torches I'd put out earlier, and then grab the sword and slip out of the house with no trouble at all.

  17. #17
    Member
    Registered: May 2008
    Location: Southern,California
    must have felt good to k.o. the rat men in sword,i cant stand them

  18. #18
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2021
    7. The Haunted Cathedral
    TKO: + Difficulty: *
    KO: 3
    Loot: 2635
    Locks Picked: 7
    Time Taken: 1:22:32
    Bodies Discovered: 0

    Another one that is barely a challenge beyond a ghost-ish run, although with the craymen there are technically knockouts available. I also knocked out one burrick since it's so easily done, even if it provided no real benefit. Ultimately, though, it ended up being a relatively normal run, not much of a TKO at all.

    This level does have the problem of having burricks stuck in deadlocks or on lampposts. Even with my tolerance for alerts, it was harder than expected to pass by without them attracting any additional enemies (which I don't allow). In one case, I had to draw off one and then draw it off farther away so it wouldn't go back to being stuck on the same route. Then I had to go back and rush by another one stuck on a lamppost. Although the second one saw me clearly and roared, it was alone so no other enemies were alerted. Knocking them out wasn't really an option as they tend to be too close and would draw in others by alerts. I might someday do a run trying to KO all the burricks safely, but don't hold your breath for that one.

    This is the first time I've done this mission while trying to pick as few locks as possible. I was happy to discover that one of the rooms behind a locked door can actually be reached via the second-story window (it's the one near the eastern side of DePerrin Street; you can leap from the lamppost and also use the same lamp it to break your fall when exiting). It was also kind of interesting to get to the various points on the Market Street side without picking any locks; I ended up doing a fair amount of swimming back and forth.

    An easy run after the last few which were moderately tough, but perhaps a bit too light on knockouts. This is the lowest number in a mission that has enemies that I would actually count for the challenge.

  19. #19
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2021
    Quote Originally Posted by downwinder View Post
    must have felt good to k.o. the rat men in sword,i cant stand them
    That's an interesting thought, are they actually ratmen at that point? I figure they get transformed only after Constantine shows his true colors, but maybe they were always hidden rat- (or ape-)men.

  20. #20
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2013
    On a whim I decided to give the sandbagging I mentioned above a try, to confirm what I had heard, and yes it works. Throwing a sandbag at someone gives the same results as if you were throwing the blackjack at them.

    I found some in the theatre area of Song Of The Caverns, and not sure if there are any in Thieves Guild, but it's a possible option for when you have two NPCs a distance apart, and who will react to eachother's KO. Throw a sandbag at one then quick as a flash blackjack the other.

    Still though, it's amazing to me that I can still keep discovering new things in Thief, even after all this time.

    Next thing on the list to confirm, as I forgot when I last played, is something I heard about every doorway having a line of perfect shadow at some point as you cross the threshold.
    Last edited by Cigam; 13th May 2022 at 12:36.

  21. #21
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2013
    I think they are meant to be ape-men. I suspect TTLG changed their skin for Thief II because they realised that people were mistaking them for rat-men, and so re-skinned them to make them more blatantly ape-like.

    I would also suspect that they were ape-men in human form in The Sword. Or maybe these were humans, and ape-beasts later took over guard duty after the original human guards left. Just my opinion as there is no evidence I am aware of of Constantine converting humans to maw-creatures.

  22. #22
    Member
    Registered: May 2008
    Location: Southern,California
    i always though they were creatures first and they used magic to look like people? but usually the further in a level you got ,they i guess would feel safe to be there true form?

    i am going to reload sword to see if i was wrong about ratmen

  23. #23
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2021
    8. The Mages' Tower
    TKO: + Difficulty: *
    KO: 69
    Loot: 2812
    Pickpockets: 20/22
    Locks Picked: 5
    Time Taken: 1:56:39
    Bodies Discovered: 0

    This is probably the most straightforward, and easiest TKO to achieve of any mission. It's just a bit sprawling and takes a while to complete. There are no tricky takedowns, since almost all enemies are moving around and there is a lot of darkness. About the only difficulty is in dealing with so many guards and intersecting patrol paths. Some minor planning is occasionally needed to figure out where (and when) to drop the enemies.

    The outside grounds were easy to work on, as they are mostly in full darkness. Each quadrant has two mages on patrol, and there are several guards that move in and out of the side stairways and around the grounds. Since many of the normal guards do not spawn (or start patrolling) until you get close or enter the stairwells, I had to figure out their paths before knocking anyone out. I also found that they can de-spawn when you cross to the other side of the map; I activated one patrol and then waited a long time on the far end of its patrol before realizing I needed to go back to get it going again. There are just two stationary guards that patrols pass by, near the back connecting passage, and those I handled safely after everyone else outside was down.

    The central tower interior presented only a minor challenge. Triggering conversations cleared all situations where two enemies faced each other. The spacious front entrance and the rooms behind it were the hardest to deal with due to the overlapping enemy paths. I tried to catch as many enemies as possible on the dark, wide ramps in the main entrance hall, since bodies there are not spotted by anyone passing by. The library was no great trouble, as it also has many patches of darkness. The third level of the tower has a trio of guards on patrol which I took out one by one in separate rooms.

    In the mage towers themselves, the enemies are generally well-separated and presented little difficulty. The air tower has two guards on very noisy floors, but I found a dark spot and just waited for them to pass by. In the fire tower, the floors are also noisy, and additionally the dark corners were kind of tricky to find. The single gas arrow (available from the air tower) makes getting through a bit easier, but it's entirely possible to complete the fire tower without it.

    The two guards that patrol outside of each tower on the upper level were generally no problem. There isn't a whole lot of darkness in this area but there are good hiding spots. In the final treasure room, the floor is noisy, but both of the patrols passed by close enough to the carpet strip that I knocked out them from a silent and reasonably dark position.

    I realized only at the end that I could have done this with one fewer lockpick, since it's only necessary to enter the upper part of the central stairs from one side, and exit out through the towers to get back to ground level. All other doors can be opened and re-locked with keys or switches. The 'elemental' keys can't be returned, but I don't see that as a bust. No additional equipment is required and no evidence needs to be left behind, making for a very clean TKO.

  24. #24
    Member
    Registered: May 2008
    Location: Southern,California
    lets be honest the mage tower level was a disappointment in my view,it could have been so much better very empty like the other 3 extra levels

  25. #25
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2013
    Just a small point, but I think the AI freezes rather than de-spawns, if you move too far away. If you could see through the intervening walls, they would still be there, but frozen like stattues.

    I actually think Mages Towers is a great mission, and the mages themselves are great. Not so much the towers themselves though - which come across as if they are just a skeleton first draft of a layout for the towers, that they intended to flesh out into fully-formed areas later (but they never got around to) - but everything else is very good IMO.

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