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Thread: Trip Report: Thief 2 Total Knockout

  1. #1
    Registered: Aug 2021

    Trip Report: Thief 2 Total Knockout

    A good while back I went through Thief Gold using a playstyle I refer to as 'Total Knockout' (or sometimes, TKO). It involves knocking out every enemy, with no bodies moved and no bodies discovered, and as little change to the environment as possible. My more detailed rules will be posted below.

    You can read through that thread if you want to see how it went. I note which

    Although I started with this style on The Thieves' Guild, I've actually gone all the way through Thief 2 before using it. I'm going to go through it again, making notes of how I did and seeing if I can improve on my earlier run-through. This is also using TFix, which I have not used for all levels of T2 before. Of course there are two missions that do not allow knockouts at all, so I'll be playing them only to get loot for the mission that follows. I'm also fairly sure Sabotage at Soulforge will only be a minimal update, as it's barely a challenge for this style, and also a guaranteed bust due to the high number of metal beasts.

    The next post will detail my rules, and then I'll start in with the missions.
    Last edited by Kangra; 6th Dec 2022 at 10:39.

  2. #2
    Registered: Aug 2021
    General Rules for Total Knock-out

    * 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.

    More specifically:

    1) All entities that could reliably report the incident, even if they would not travel in the area where the theft occurred, must be incapacitated at the time the mission ends.

    i. Reliable reporters include human guards and civilians, mechanical creatures, as well as animal creatures that appear to have some level of language skill.

    ii. Undead enemies (including those capable of speech, such as haunts) are not considered reliable reporters and do not need to be knocked out, but also should not be disturbed or clearly alerted to the thief's presence. In particular, they must not alert anyone else to the thief's presence.

    iii. Any inert/inactive creature that is not a reliable reporter (such as a sleeping zombie) must not become active due to the thief's actions.

    iv. Any entity that disappears after an event, or is not accessible within the level (prisoners, for example) can be ignored for these purposes.

    v. Entities that are 'allied/friendly' to the thief do not need to be knocked out. In general, this is meant to apply to anyone who is either expecting to encounter the thief or would not report an encounter.

    2) No bodies can be discovered by enemies. Bodies are not allowed to be moved.

    i. Bodies may be dragged or moved to complete an objective.

    ii. Bodies may be 'repositioned' to obtain loot on their person or in the event that the body blocks access to necessary loot/passages.

    iii. In the event that a knockout inadvertently causes a body to fall into water, fire, or a similar immediately life-threatening environment, the body may be removed from danger. The location where the body is left must match the place as close as possible to where the knockout occurred, or where the target normally patrols or is positioned.

    3) No top-level alerts of sentient entities caused by the thief may occur (Level 3 or initiation of direct action towards the thief).

    i. If an enemy becomes alerted just as it is knocked out, this is acceptable. It's preferable if the awareness is not deemed a necessary part of the knock-out (i.e. running up quickly to someone and smacking them without trying to be stealthy is discouraged).

    ii. Level 2 alerts (active searching without a definite target) are discouraged, and should only be used to obtain a knock-out as a last resort. Targets may not be blackjacked while actively engaged in searching (gas is okay). Knocking out a target when it is returning to its normal position/patrol is acceptable but discouraged as much as the alert itself.

    iii. Non-sentient creatures (e.g. spiders, burricks) are allowed to detect the thief as long as they do not alert other enemies, and do not cause harm to themselves or others as a result of the detection. ('Harm to others' includes the thief, so no damage may be taken after a detection). These enemies may be knocked out even while alerted.

    iv. Alarms not related to a specific entity (e.g. triggered by Watchers) are to be avoided. They are acceptable only if nobody could possibly be aware of them going off, and must not be active when the mission ends.

    4) At the end of the mission, minimal evidence remains of the thief's presence. Doors should remain in their original state, items that can be returned to their original location must be returned, etc.

    i. A lock should not be picked if there exists a feasible way to access the locked area without picking the lock. It may be picked freely if it can be locked later. Picking locks to obtain loot or necessary equipment is okay.

    ii. Use of moss arrows is disallowed (leaves evidence). Other arrows (e.g. noisemaker) can be used only if they are recovered before any enemy discovers them, and they should not be used in a situation where their firing could be considered obviously observed. Fire arrows may be used as a distraction as a last resort, although their path to the target must not be 'observable' since the flame crystal itself is highly visible.

    iii. Rope (or equivalent) arrows are allowed as long as they are retrieved, and used in locations that are not noticeable.

    iv. Using water arrows to douse lights is allowed but discouraged; if any burning fire is doused (outside of disabling mechanical enemies), it should be re-lit. The acceptable number of fires left out varies by level size but must be reasonable (1-3 normally, if well spread out).

    v. Use of flash bombs is at the player's discretion. As a fairly likely indication of some presence human or otherwise, they should at minimum be discouraged. Use on non-sentient creatures is allowed.

    vi. Potions do not leave evidence; usage of them is discouraged but allowed.

    5) No entity may be killed or seriously injured by direct or indirect action of the thief.

    i. 'Indirect action' includes, but is not limited to: explosive mines, allowing an incapacitated enemy to fall into danger of death, leading enemies to fight each other, or causing an enemy to self-destruct.

    ii. Deaths or injury that occur as a result of events triggered by the player are acceptable, but should be avoided if possible.

    iii. Damage incurred during knockouts (as long as it is non-lethal) does not count against this rule.

    6) All objectives must be accomplished to finish the mission. If one of the objectives prohibits knockouts generally, the run is voided. Outside of this one case, completion of an objective does not violate any of the rules.

    i. The thief should obtain all loot that it is possible to get in the level.

    ii. No restrictions are made on equipment obtained prior to or during the mission.

  3. #3
    Registered: Aug 2021
    1.Running Interference
    TKO:- Difficulty: *
    KO: 15 (includes Jenivere)
    Loot: 1285
    Secrets: 3/3
    Pickpockets: 4/9
    Time taken: 41:00

    Well, it was not difficult to meet at least one of the mission's objectives here. Despite that, this one was not a clean mission -- it has some unavoidable alerts. It's short and the enemies are spread out enough to be kind of boring for knockout situations, so the one mission where you are supposed to knock people out ends up being one of the least rewarding for a TKO thief.

    The first part of the mission was just clearing out guards more or less as I encountered them. I headed up to the ground level after getting inside. There I did make sure to KO the two patrolling guards well away from the main hallway that leads to the large central chamber, as I wanted that empty for later. Next I worked my to the other side of the house and down to the lower level, and back into the kitchen. Again for later reasons, I ensured that I got the kitchen servant in the storeroom inside of the kitchen itself. Finally I went up the dumbwaiter and nabbed the yellow key off the guard. It's this guard that presents the most trouble, as you can't knock him out from inside the dumbwaiter, and the room is far too well-lit to enter safely. I had to come back for him to get the KO.

    With the yellow key, I went back around to the basement guard station (after clearing out the front wing that's only accessible with that key). The two guards inside go down easily as long as you're fast enough, which I was. Then I took out the lone guard watching the kitchen.

    That left the last three troublesome spots of the level. There's one guard stationed in an alcove outside the kitchen, that guard still in the upstairs 'dining room', and the guards outside the front door. I dealt with the one in the alcove first. He needs to be drawn out with an alert; there's not really any other way* to do it. I was able to knock him out just as he went back into the alcove, so he was roughly in the correct spot.

    The dining room guard also needs to be lured out. About the only way I could find for that one was to make noise in the dumbwaiter; it's hard to tell what triggers him to run, but eventually he will come out and into the central chamber and maybe downstairs to the kitchen. That's a L3 alert and a clear bust, though it's also why I made sure that no other bodies would be visible to him on this route. I trailed him back to the room when he gave up and made sure to drop the key back on his body later.

    As for the outside guards: The two nearest the door can be taken out with swift action. Using one door as cover, I hit one guard, then ran over and hit the other. Of course, this needs to be done just as the patrolling guard passes, and now I had to take care of him before he comes around again. The stone in the courtyard is quite noisy, so you can't quite sneak up on him directly. As he nears the front gate, though, it's a bit darker, and he only alerted to L1 as I approached and then jumped behind him. I hit him fast enough to not register a higher alert.

    My last knockout was kind of a joke. As I ran out with Basso and Jenivere, the last objective ticked off. I was standing just behind them and wondered what would happen if I hit them at that point. I bonked Jenivere, she cried out, and the skull screen flashed up just for an instant, and then I won the mission. I didn't bother trying to hit them both on a second attempt, but it might well be possible (again, allies are not considered necessary knockouts for my runs).

    *Conceivably, stacking crates to block him in and then nudging or crawling around to somehow get a knockout may work, but that's getting kind of silly, since it might not technically violate rules if you put the crates back, but it seems like a spiritual break.

  4. #4
    Registered: Mar 2018
    I decided to try to do this challenge for Running Interference too. I ghosted this mission without KOs and ghosted missions based on it, so I was confident that successful TKO is possible. For me courtyard wasn't any problem. Just enter via outside gate, hide in shadow on the left, KO archer from the front (he only 1st alerted), go along wall, mantle on white stairs and KO both front entrance guards.

    Dining room was a bit harder. I waited in doorway and then I needed to blindly enter when patroller was turning. You have barely enough time to run to him and dodge him from left when he's turning. Then just blackjack him and it's done.

    Guard in alcove is also not that hard. I decided to do quick frontal attack. There are 3 ways guard will react to that: immediate attack, surprise or he will not react. So I blackjacked him and he didn't react. He probably was busy daydreaming about some cute maid at the moment. No idea what you tried to do with crates. Enemies can easily see through them.

    Lastly I needed to find loot, which took me couple minutes as I never made notes what is where. No luring was needed, no bodies has been moved. Every key was returned and I just needed to lock basement door behind Basso who unlocked it and forgot to lock it. I didn't KO Basso and Jeneviere, because they are Garrett's allies.


    Time: 0:26:33; Loot: 1015/1285
    Pockets Picked: 7/9
    Back Stabs: 0; Knock Outs: 14
    Damage Dealt: 14; Damage Taken: 0; Healing Taken: 0
    Innocents killed: 0; Others killed: 0
    Secrets: 3/3 + bonus objective

    Last edited by Galaer; 20th Nov 2022 at 18:14.

  5. #5
    Registered: Aug 2021
    That's an excellent run! I'm always forgetting that swift action can often work better than trying to creep slowly.

    As for the crates, the idea is to hold the guard in position so if they hunt they won't find you. Also for hopping onto to get over or around. Sometimes they can be used to push without getting too close if they're the sort of guard that can be shifted. I have walled that guard in before just to see what can be done (not when trying to do a TKO), and I did get around him. However, I realize that I did it without TFix, and the way hunting/L2 alerts work in TFix, it might not be successful to get behind the guard without just rushing him regardless of crates.

  6. #6
    Registered: Aug 2021
    2. Shipping... and Receiving
    TKO:+ Difficulty: *
    KO: 34
    Loot: 1665
    Secrets: 14/14
    Pickpockets: 18/18
    Locks Picked: 3
    Time taken: 1:49:14

    A nice, long, mission, but there's very little that's tough about it for TKO. Some guards have long patrol routes that can intersect others, so I had to choose when and where to do the knock outs wisely. Most will also not start patrolling until you trigger them, so you have to know if you're in a spot that can start one moving. My prior experience with this level helped here. I more or less went from north to south and outside-in to do all the knockouts first, and then looted the place afterward.

    The initial crates are on the northwest edge of the dockyard; I started by taking out the exterior patrols along the north side, as they pass by each other. Also present are Uriel & Kilgor (the two making a weapons deal for the Hammerites), and if you don't knock them out they will disappear about ten seconds after they enter Kilgor's unit. I had to wait nearby while they talked. Once Kilgor turned to open the door, I had to rush up to bonk Uriel and then get Kilgor inside. It was hard to predict if Kilgor would keep going or stop and turn around. Since these knockouts are technically not required by my rules since they disappear, I allowed myself to use an invisibility potion to ensure that there'd be no trouble getting them both.

    I proceeded to clear out all of Building A (up to Area 131). I tried to get as many of the guards inside the building as possible, for the sake of 'visibility' of my actions (even if the guards below will never actually spot the bodies in-game). There are some 'narrow' hallways near the Main Office in which the guards do spot you 100% of the time if they pass you, so I had to be a little cautious around there. I also made sure to trigger the conversation with the guard from Dayport and the civilian about Mechanist pollution, and got both of them shortly after doing so, before they could head into other parts of the map.

    Area 131 has the most overlapping routes, and I handled it next. I started out near Brambich's office and moved from west to east, going only so far as the corner of Gilver's unit, as I did not want to trigger the conversation between the two civilians about spice imports.

    With those guards down, I hopped over the crates and went around to the backside of Building B. Once again there are overlapping routes with the patrols on the outside and the pirate 'thieves' (Davidson and his crew). Two thieves head in and out of Building B, and I knocked them out in dark areas inside. The rest of the guards were easily isolated and knocked out. The last pirate, the one standing on the deck, had to be approached from the gangplank, as getting on the boat in other ways risked setting off the spiders, and that might have led to a fight between the enemies.

    Indeed, spiders (here and elsewhere) gave almost the only difficulty in the level. Even though I don't care if they are alerted, I can't take damage or risk that they get out and attack any other enemies. The two in the storage container on the ship are very easily alerted, but there's a spice bag stored inside it that's necessary loot. I tried opening the door from the side and leaning to get the loot, but they caught me every time due to whatever position they started in. I eventually used the technique of 'opening' the door while blocking it, and grabbing the loot essentially through the door itself (or the tiny crack at the side if you want to be generous). There are enough invisibility potions around that another one would probably have been acceptable here as well.

    Once the ship and its secrets had been taken care of, I moved into Building B and finished off the few remaining guards upstairs (along with the one who patrols the stairwell). I also triggered the conversation in front of the building, and knocked those two out quickly once they parted ways. The last guard was the one who stood near the Building B main door. That completed all the knock outs for the level, and all that remained was to clear out the loot.

    The only place I had to be cautious was in Mynell's Steaks, with the small spiders running free. Here I was fine with alerting them; I just couldn't let them hit me. Occasionally I had to hop up on the crates to lure them to a position so that I could run for the elevators. To get the silver nugget in the large spider's cell, I used another invisibility potion to get inside, and then ran out. I know that it's possible to do this area without chemical assistance, but it's one of the most tedious rooms to ghost in the game.

    Following minimal evidence rules, I avoided the alternate orange door exits and exited from the main ('loading') door of each bay. They close automatically when you open a new one, so the only one I had to close on its own was Mynell's (to avoid letting the spiders out) and the last one I entered (Lord Porter's). I also avoided firing any broadheads in Porter's by using a scouting orb on the painting, and a rope arrow to ascend to the broken lift. Getting all the spice bags in the warehouse without breaking the glass is easily done by using a rope arrow (rope arrows are available within the level).

    All in all, a decent level. Not much of a TKO romp, but it's kind of fun to run around the place when you know everyone is out cold.

  7. #7
    Registered: Mar 2018
    I see you got all secrets, but in order to get 2 chests on ship you need to cut them with sword and isn't that against minimal evidence rule? I mean sleeping gas wave wouldn't destroy banners.

  8. #8
    Registered: Aug 2021
    Quote Originally Posted by Galaer View Post
    I see you got all secrets, but in order to get 2 chests on ship you need to cut them with sword and isn't that against minimal evidence rule? I mean sleeping gas wave wouldn't destroy banners.
    I usually go for max loot just so I can play around with equipment loadout if necessary (though in truth it is almost never is an issue; I don't think it has come up yet but may in a later T2 mission).

    The 'minimal evidence' rule is one that is kind of slippery for me. It's not a hard and fast rule for me, but I do try to keep it at a level I'm comfortable with, as with the number of unlit torches (to be fair, one or two torches going out is a lot less evidence than a banner ripping on its own) . Banner ripping I sort of consider along the lines of un-relockable doors or chests. Perhaps it would be better to skip loot (and/or secrets) if it requires property destruction, or 'too much' property destruction. In this case, taking out two banners close by each other might be deemed too much destruction, so skipping one would be better, and both if holding to a certain standard. Certainly a case could be made for 'Perfect' or 'Supreme' along the lines of Ghosting tiers.

    In the future, maybe I'll point out loot or secrets that should be skipped to get a more perfect TKO. I already avoid getting equipment in locked places if it's not something that would help to complete the mission.

  9. #9
    Registered: Jun 2004
    I think i've just discovered my playstyle for the Thief trilogy.I must dip my toe back into Garrets world again...

  10. #10
    Registered: May 2008
    Location: Southern,California
    kinda sad big spiders cant be knocked out i know i have been quick enough to reach them in there blind spot and get a solid hit with blackjack on them, they should fix that

  11. #11
    Registered: Aug 2021
    3. Framed

    TKO: X
    Loot: 1378
    Secrets: 8/9
    Pickpockets: 2/3
    Locks Picked: 5
    Time taken: 1:03:34

    Nothing to say here... it's a non-mission since no KO is allowed. I still completed it to ensure that I would have the right loot total for the next mission. This is one where I tend to forget to pick up loot, so I had to sneak back into some places to get it all (in particular the purse on the corpse in the morgue). I think the secret I missed was the return from Records Storage, or maybe one of the other secret passages that I came in from the 'wrong' way (I believe you only get credit when opening them from a certain direction).

  12. #12
    Registered: Aug 2021
    Quote Originally Posted by ladderman View Post
    I think i've just discovered my playstyle for the Thief trilogy.I must dip my toe back into Garrets world again...
    What I really like about this is that it presents some new challenges even if you've done other styles before. There are a number of rooms or situations that are intended to be simply avoided in almost any normal or even ghost runs, since they have a bunch of guards and no loot on them. Those end up now being some of the toughest parts to complete!

    I'd love to hear about other people's experiences with this, and anyone can post their reports/attempts/struggles in this thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by downwinder View Post
    kinda sad big spiders cant be knocked out i know i have been quick enough to reach them in there blind spot and get a solid hit with blackjack on them, they should fix that
    Spiders and other 'minor' enemies are so frustrating when trying to clear out some levels. It's why I ended up allowing myself the use of flash bombs if necessary on only those types.

    A few additional thoughts on property destruction and leaving evidence:

    Unlike a style like Ghosting, where the ideal aim might be that nobody ever even detects the theft, with TKO there is a definite incident. Although the desired effect here is that it doesn't seem as if one normal human did it all on their own.

    There are kind of two parts to what happens. One, everyone gets knocked out, and two, a whole bunch of stuff is gone afterward. It's the first part that ideally has zero evidence and is a complete mystery. The second part should probably be done as cleanly as possible as well, to maintain the most mystery, but in some way it is very mundane -- if everyone was knocked out, it's unsurprising that something could be stolen.

    Still, there are aspects of that part that could still well seem mysterious -- lockpicking can seem just as much a black art as magic does. Ripping down a banner, not so much. Personally, as much as I enjoy writing out the full guidelines to the style, I don't know that they should be hard and fast, since everyone can adjust as they like.

    I think part of the reason I want to ensure that all loot is taken is to ensure that the full challenge is being met. The level is being played as TKO while also accomplishing every thing else. For instance, I wouldn't want to skip on getting the spice bag in the spider shed since it's not 'required' loot. On the other hand, I don't have requirements on secrets, pickpockets, or the like, so loot maybe can fall under that. It does seem like the situation where destroying something solely to get the loot is a step too far. I'd say that property damage falls under a 'not allowed if merely optional'. If it opens a route that is unfeasible to get to by other means, or provides access to some equipment that's considered important for finishing the mission, then it is fine. If it only adds to the loot total or reveals a secret, then it should be skipped.

  13. #13
    Registered: Aug 2021
    4. Ambushed!
    TKO: - Difficulty: ***
    KO: 51
    Loot: 1970 (includes from Mission 3)
    Secrets: 0/0
    Pickpockets: 8/8
    Locks Picked: 1
    Time taken: 0:56:03

    We go from having nothing to do right into having a lot of enemies to deal with. Of course, they don't expect Garrett to be knocking out half the city in order to get home. To make it harder, well impossible to properly TKO even, there are no less than four guards with blackjack-proof helmets, and some of them are set up right next to softer-headed guards. It seems impossible, but I managed to get everyone but those four guards out, only one torch unlit, and only one L2 alert (of two guards at once) needed. Never did a bust feel so close to a success.

    Since I had already done Thief 2 in this playstyle before, I had a pretty good idea of what to expect in the mission. The key to getting it all cleanly is finding the right order of actions. Patrols often overlap, triggered conversations can put characters onto new routes, and the openness of the map itself make it a bit hard to sort out the best time or place to knock out someone. There were some slight changes to the way I completed it this time that were likely a result of TFix, which I will note as I go.

    The starting area around the pub is an especially thorny puzzle, since two of the four non-KO guards are posted there. It does have the advantage of being isolated, for the most part. While most of the city is connected by streets, this region of the map can only be accessed by guards either through a locked door (in the tower), or through the gate in the southeast (openable but only if the player does so). That affects the possible search pattern of guards if they need to be triggered, but as always it's best not to attract more attention. The area by that southeast gate has a troublesome concentration of enemies, with two guards facing west and in view of an archer outside the 'front' entrance to the pub. Standing on the other side of the gate is a non-KO guard (a Benny), and he's looking right at the first two; all of them save Benny are well-lit by both torches and streetlights.

    To even start to work on them, I had to clear the possible patrols first. I started off the mission by hopping up and around to the dark northeast side of the building, to trigger the conversation of the two civilian women there. I let them finish and then hit them before they got nearer to anyone else, since I didn't want to have to deal with them moving along with the other guards. In TFix it's a bit harder to get close to them during their talk without alarming them, but all that means is I had to act a little faster to get the one that was farther from me when they parted. With those two out, I next took down the two guards that patrol near the stairs at the starting position; I waited for the right phase of their patrols since they are slightly different.

    I mentioned that there were two non-KO guards here; besides the Benny at the gate, there is a non-KO east of the pub. He's in front of a see-through but not openable grate and standing next to another guard. It's actually possible to sneak in behind and knock out the un-helmeted one (on the left by their facing), as he's positioned just a bit behind. Fortunately his body always slips just out of view of the other, and is not spotted either by the guards that patrol the street behind him.

    That took care of most of the pub area. To get the pair of guards down on the southeast corner, I had to come from the other side. I hopped up to the wall and dropped off the eastern side, and then entered the tower so I'd be behind them. Obviously I couldn't knock those guards out where they stand -- even if the torches were doused, Benny'd still see the bodies by the streetlight. The only feasible solution was to draw them off and knock them out elsewhere. Here I had to pick the lock (although this tower can in theory be accessed without picking the lock, it's effectively impossible since those guards stand right in front of the only other entrance). I could draw at least two of them into the tower, but it took some work to figure out the right way to go about it. Despite the nice dark patch at the bottom of the stairs, and one in the adjoining passage (next to the door that had been locked), if the guards are drawn there while you're hiding, they will search forever in TFix. There isn't enough space for them to not keep alerting each other. I started the alert by jumping on the floor at the bottom, and then making noise higher up in the stairwell (on the first landing or above), before sneaking away quietly through the doorway. From there I could observe them when they stopped searching. I thought it might be a requirement to douse this torch and re-light it later (which risks triggering a search from the non-KO Benny), but I was able to get the timing just right to not need it. There's randomness involved, though, since they need to both give up hunting at almost the same time, and I had to move very quick to hit them both without being seen or generating more sound.

    In vanilla T2 making noise in the tower would very frequently draw in the third guard, the archer on the pub side, but it rarely happened in TFix. I think she may be positioned farther away, which actually makes this part easier, as her body isn't visible to ol' Benny at the gate. In vanilla T2 I think it often was, or at least I was worried that it was, so I would draw her around the corner first (that risked setting off the other non-KO guard back up the dark alley, however). I did have to wait until much later to score the knockout on her, though, since the only safe way back into the pub area after hopping over the wall is by stacking crates to climb back through the rooftop garden, and the closest crates are halfway across the map.

    I knocked out a few more guards in pairs on the east side, and then started to head back to the old apartment. There are two men a short distance northwest of the pub who have a talk about Mechanists and war, and then split up. One of them headed south in the direction of a few knocked-out guards so I made sure to get him before he turned the corner. The other I let go; he eventually starts patrolling on nearly the same route as another guard (by the giant 'W'), and I took them both out later without too much difficulty. There's another helmeted non-KO guard down the street who often makes a comment as you pass by, but there's never a reason to get any closer to him.

    Next I headed around to the north-south street east of the marketplace, in order to get to the back side of the guard on the bridge and the woman offering to keep him 'company'. To the north of the marketplace there is another tricky spot. There are two guards standing close by each other, and another gate where a patrolling guard on the other side passes in sight of them. That patrolling guard also passes in view of another set of patrollers at the far end of his route, over at the marked guard house on the map. I waited for the patrolling guard to leave, then I hopped in and got both standing guards when they faced away. I quickly rushed back and over the laddered wall to get to that street before the patrolling guard came back, and hit him just after he turned the corner and headed toward the gate.

    Most of the rest of the guards are in spots where they are standing all alone, or move in pairs where they can be taken out quickly. I found it much better to hit moving guards as they are going up slopes, since the rearward body falls behind instead of forward. That makes it less likely for the second one to notice. There's a spot near Helena Way with a standing guard on a bridge who has two patrols pass by her from different sides; I took out the patrols on one side, then hit her, and then the last guard on patrol in smooth succession. There are also three guards on Whipple Street standing under torchlight. In vanilla T2, I was unable to come out via the door to get to them without a full alert, but in TFix coming out the door was possible, and it's an easier route than sneaking up the street on them. Either way, I still needed to take out at least one torch before knocking them out in succession, but it's a torch that can easily be re-lit later as no one else is nearby.

    There is one final non-KO guard in the north, and a potentially tricky situation there as well. He stays in one spot, rotating around from time to time, and so does his partner standing a little ways away. It's not too much trouble to rush in and knock out the one while the non-KO is turned away. When I did this I checked for over a minute to see if he ever saw the body, and he did not while I was there. In vanilla T2 I could later hear him shouting about it, so it might be required to douse the torch and leave it doused (or it's something that only happened after loading a save; I'm not sure). I did something a little sneaky, in that I saved this knockout for last, and ran away to the end of the level as quickly as possible. The mission ended without him discovering it. So that might be pushing it, but technically it seems you can get away with leaving the torch lit on this one.

    Outside the old apartment is the last really hard spot, and it gave me no end of trouble. There are three guards at the front of the house. There's moderate darkness at least on the west side, though one torch is burning by the door to give more light. It can easily be put out, and there shouldn't be anyone around to notice when it gets re-lit. Without TFix, opening the door from behind would always seem to trigger an alert; in TFix this almost never happens. If you do not come out via the door, it seems almost impossible to get the middle guard with the spacing and the slight turn inward that each guard has, but when doing this the first time, I was able to work from the eastmost guard and made a quick sequence of moves, and they all went down cleanly. With the torch out, and coming from behind (in TFix), I could even wait a little while after knocking out the middle guard. Coming this way I did find it easier to hit the one on the western side first instead of going the other way. So what was the difficulty? When finishing off this part of the map, I kept encountering a "body discovery" shortly after knocking out these guards. And then sometimes it didn't seem to happen, and other times it seemed to happen well after I had knocked them out.

    Of course, part of the difficulty is even knowing that a body discovery had happened. The only way that I know of to detect 'quiet' body discoveries (the sort that can happen when someone is knocked out as they discover it, or those that occur in another part of the map) is to have a game over and check the stats. Indeed, I first found out about this when I though I'd nearly completed the mission, only to have the body discovery show up. Initially I restarted entirely to make sure I had not missed anything (and also to see if I could do it a bit more cleanly, as I'd doused more torches than I wanted to). At one point I thought that maybe entering your room and getting the new objective was causing it, since new objectives sometimes spawn new enemies, and the body discovery appeared to happen even before I knocked any of the front door guards out. Even though I was pretty sure no new guards get added, I thought a level design bug might have replaced an enemy with a model that disappears, or some other odd occurence that was triggering the discovery. I tried hiding every body I had already knocked out, and found no difference. I also tried doing the level by coming to the house right after getting out of the pub area. Nothing seemed to change, and I still noted inconsistent results.

    I also considered that the way I was getting game overs might have affected it. I would either have to head straight into a fight with a guard, jump in water and wait to drown, or shoot fire arrows at my feet (or jump repeatedly from a high place, effective but tedious on this map). I considered that maybe the noise from the fire arrows was triggering some other event, or being killed by a guard somehow caused them to 'discover' my body, or spot some faraway unconscious guard. It didn't seem to make much difference how I ended things, but the fact that sometimes it maybe did bothered me.

    By the time I'd tried many alternatives, I finally remembered that I'd forgotten about one more knockout. The woman sleeping in the bed across from Garrett's building. She's so tucked away that I often forget that she is there in this mission. Perhaps, I thought, she had been waking up and spotting the bodies of the guards in front of the house? It seemed unlikely since she is on the second floor, behind a window, on the far side of a room with a closed door, and sound asleep. Nevertheless I made sure to get her first. Yet that, too, seemed to make no difference. It turned out there actually was one more enemy that I had failed to notice. Or truthfully, I had noticed them, but had discarded the possibility of it being a problem.

    It was the rat. Near the front of Garrett's house, on the western side, a tiny rat sits, initially just sniffing the air. If you get to close to it, it will stay still for a bit, and then dash off toward the front of the house, before (usually) skittering southward. It's a neat bit of a visual metaphor if you trigger it, suggesting the way in which Garrett himself has to run off from his own home. Seemingly it just adds a bit of color to the city. But it nearly wrecked this mission for me. Rats are an almost invisible entity in the game; they don't really react to you other than to run away, and don't seem to alert any other entities. They also cannot be hit with melee weapons, and thus can only be knocked out with gas. Moreover, it's not clear if they even react in any visible way to body discoveries, since as far as I could tell the rat just moves past (and even through) the bodies without changing course. Only by repeated tests was I able to finally figure out that this rat was in fact the one finding the bodies of the knocked-out guards at the door.

    There are a few possible ways of dealing with this rat. Killing it with fire is one choice, certainly, and I was all too happy to do that to confirm my suspicions when testing, but it's not an option for TKO. I tried blocking it from running (they can be blocked with crates or other objects) but this one literally paths through the wall when you first scare it away, so blocking it properly would be tough. If it's triggered to run just as you reach the house, the movement of the guards while conversing should also make it run, but that just sends it off into other places and makes a later body discovery possible (indeed one of the reasons I was getting body discoveries without knocking out the guards at the house was because the rat had run off to another place and found a body already). More object placement might have controlled its path, but it still seemed risky to me. In the end, I just did what I could to avoid it entirely. It had not triggered when I first went past it toward the house, and if I moved away slowly after knocking out the guards at the front door, it did not seem to start its run. This was also the reason I left one torch out -- I was too afraid that re-lighting it might set off the rat again.

    The 'exit' section near Shalebridge was the final place where I needed to be careful. The sequence of knockouts can be important, since patrols pass by the stationary guards. I first took out the three who move together, then I worked back from the Shalebridge gate, since the guards are generally facing away from that direction and were easier to move through rapidly. None of the doors here need to be picked, since there's no needed loot inside. Finally I went and took out that one last guard near the non-KO on the north side, rushed back and opened the gate, leaving most of the city watch out cold behind me.

  14. #14
    Registered: Aug 2021
    5. Eavesdropping
    TKO: + Difficulty: *
    KO: 13 (1 AB)
    IB Disabled: 2
    Loot: 2119
    Secrets: 1/1
    Pickpockets: 1/1
    Locks Picked: 2
    Time taken: 0:57:04

    This is an easy mission to relax with after the stress of the last one. Guards are sparsely scattered, and while there are some places where their paths intersect, they can be fairly easily isolated and taken down quietly.

    I started off by heading around to the back and down into the crypt. Here I could grab a good some of the loot and also get a key off the dead Mechanist, to make it easy to access anywhere I wanted. I then ran around to a few spots and triggered conversations along the way. It's better to have the guards moving around than to have to get them when they are still near each other. I only knocked out one guard (in the sleeping quarters) before listening at the door and getting the new objective, so that I would be able to know which key to take. Karras, Truart, and their victims are not necessary knockouts, as they 'disappear' when they are done and are in an inaccessible room (of course, they don't even have models, since it's just a sound file that plays).

    From there, it was a more-or-less straight walk from guard to guard, knocking them out along the way. I began by waiting for the patrolling guard who heads toward the workshop to go downstairs, and got him near the bottom. Then I hopped up to the roof and knocked down the guards that patrol out there. Moving inward, I headed around the second floor of the sanctuary. The two guards in the front tower require bold action to rush in behind them once they turn outward, but it's nothing too taxing. The only slightly tricky guard inside is the one right at the front door of the sanctuary. It turns out you can actually get in behind him into the dark space with only a minor alert, and from there he's easily hit.

    After that, I waited for the right time to get the guard and the iron beast that patrol just behind the pulpit. (This was also where the key was, so I grabbed it.) I got the human guards inside, and then took out the Combat Bot once it went outside. There was just one more guard on the perimeter, which I took out at the rear of the building; this was my airborne one since I jumped over the metal path to get to her. The last takedowns were the Servant in the shed and the small Worker Bot down in the workshop. This is the start of the 'IB (iron beasts) disabled' stat which will be included for future missions, separate from KOs but considered on par with them as a TKO requirement.

    The finish took a little longer than expected as I had to go back for some loot. I always seem to forget about Karras's bedchambers up the dark ladder, and I had also missed a golden hammer in the above-ground tombstones. But with nobody but the Hammer Haunts up and about, it was an easy task to grab what remained, return the key to the pulpit, and head out to the main gate.

  15. #15
    Registered: May 2008
    Location: Southern,California
    my fav weapon in thief is the blackjack, glad to see it respect it deserves

    also i cant wait to see what you say about golden child in 2 of the missions he is in, life of the party and soul forge

    here is a tip in life of the party once you get book and golden child appears, get the door key ready and run to door and lock him inside

    now as for last mission omg from my memory he runs from you so not sure if you could lure him in to a room you can lock???, otherwise karras will take care of him once he activate the beacon :P

  16. #16
    Registered: Aug 2021
    Yeah, it's definitely a gray area there. On the one hand, the Golden Child appears to be just as sentient as a Servant or Iron Beast, so they should be taken out, but on the other hand they can't actually alert any enemies. I guess the best solution is keep them contained and unable to even theoretically warn anyone else.

    As for Soulforge, it's a mission where this style doesn't really fit. It's also rather too easy to score knockouts in most locations. I'll probably bend the rules to make something of it, but it won't be a proper run as that'd be boring.

  17. #17
    Registered: May 2008
    Location: Southern,California
    the room to the right of golden child in soul forge after that long hallway, he can run in there and alert the combo bots, i don't think there is any human guard in there

    i await the results of those missions

  18. #18
    Registered: Mar 2018
    Both missions have some very tricky knockouts, but I don't think their runs will be successful.

    Life of the Party has mentioned golden child, but other than that has Mechanists spawning on rooftops after you launch alarm and these must be KO-ed too. If everyone are KO-ed and bots disabled, then the only problem is alerting golden child with alarm. There is secret lever for it, but I don't know if it's turning off already launched alarm. If yes, then you need to KO everyone first, launch alarm, use secret lever to disable it and then at the very end go for Builder Scripture to spawn golden child. But I think the biggest challenge are cops on street. Descending on street fails mission and I don't think there is that many gas arrows to deal with them.

    Soulforge has also golden child. Other than that watcher from starting point is hard to avoid. You need to very quickly drink invisibility potion. There is huge amount of bots to disable and there is barely any equipment to deal with them. Enemies are more sensitive - there is pack of 4 Mechanists in area with big fire and KO-ing one of them will alert other three. There is pack of 3 big bots in factory and you can't disable one of them without alerting others. Lastly some bots are hidden behind iron walls and only get out when watcher will go into red alert. And since you avoid alerts this option isn't viable for you.

  19. #19
    Registered: May 2008
    Location: Southern,California
    i once got by golden child with out alert, by hugging i think the right side???/could have been left side and hid behind each piller on side to be blocked by his view repeated till i got to where i can go right and ran into room in dark waited a pinch and peeked back at him and he was still in same spot, leaving same thing, he might have made a sound or two but never got in patrol mode

    but on life of party no way to have him not see you only saving grace is you got key to door to lock him in there so no problems there

    i still think the golden child would make a great final revel for final boss for a thief 4 game

  20. #20
    Registered: Aug 2021
    Yeah, I'm just starting to work out what to do with Life of the Party and this discussion made me realize I need to consider the spawned-in guards if you let the alarm go off. Officially I think setting off the alarm should be avoided, but then again if you do it after everyone's knocked out, it could pass, plus it adds more potential knock-outs. It's also one of the worst missions for avoiding body discoveries since patrols are set off and reset on other floors but cross between floors. There's a complex sequence to it.

    Thief 2 has the two missions with no KO to balance it out, but these later missions give you a whole lot to do if you go for knockouts, which I do like. Kidnap! is another sprawling one that I've never fully worked out.

  21. #21
    Registered: Aug 2021
    6. First City Bank & Trust
    TKO: - Difficulty: **
    KO: 29 (1 AB)
    IB Disabled: 13
    Loot: 2284
    Secrets: 2/2
    Pickpockets: 17/18
    Locks Picked: 11
    Time taken: 2:22:27

    The bank is a massive level, and no matter which way you complete it, it takes a while to get through. Even with the active patrollers knocked out, there are still the numerous Watchers (cameras). The noisy marble and tile floors make the job of sneaking up on enemies even harder, and the long patrols of some of the mechanical creations only add to the complexity of planning knockouts. Since there are more bots to knock out than water arrows available, this is an inevitable bust. I added a bit more bust on top of that by needing to use a moss arrow at one point. It was an otherwise clean run with all loot taken, and no L2 alerts triggered.

    The guards that patrol the outer perimeter tend to bunch up and they were pretty easy to clear. There are three standing guards on outside doors: two next to each other, and one on his own in the northeast corner. The lone guard is easy to get close to, and his door was my chosen entrance, since it's unlocked. The other two stationary guards required a bit more caution, as they seem to be on a hair-trigger for searching. What I did is rush in to the dark corner to the side of them. This spot is safe even if they start hunting (they did not, though). From there, I ran in and got them both from the rear. That was the exterior done, and no locks needed to be picked to enter the bank.

    The guards inside simply require careful observation of their routes, so I could get them in an isolated spot. Since so many of them only start patrolling when you get in their area, I found the best policy was to knock them out as soon as I could. The wandering Worker Bots have much longer routes, so I also had to be mindful that they wouldn't cross paths with a downed body. Even if there are too many bots in the level, all those that patrol near humans can be taken out without issue.

    Enemy positions can be a bit strange in this level. Several of the guards ended up standing on ledges, and the Worker Bot in the 'fountain room' got stuck inside the fountain somehow. I can't be sure if this happens more often in TFix or if I just got an unlucky randomization. It did not really change the difficulty in one direction or another. Most of the time rope arrows can be used to gain access to a spot behind an awkwardly-positioned guard, and they would likely have been necessary even if the guard had been in a more normal spot.

    I cleared the east side first, working bottom to top, and then the west side, roughly top to bottom, essentially converging on the vault. It's not actually the vault that's any great difficulty. There are no guards inside it, and once it's unlocked, it's a simple matter of avoiding the cameras. The real problem is the nearby Guard Room. While easily bypassed on any other run, every enemy within it needs to be taken down. There are two stationary guards, a Combat Bot, and a patrolling archer. A good half of the lower area is monitored by a Watcher that can't be disabled, and to top it off the whole floor is noisy marble.

    The guard on the second floor I saved for later, as he barely seems to notice anything below him. On the contrary, it seemed more important to hold off on hitting him, as it was likely that the patrolling archer on the ground spotted his body if it happened to fall near the edge of the platform. I went to take out the archer and Combat Bot first. The problem with these two is that any attempt to get close to one is likely to make enough noise to disturb the other one, or one of the other guards. A possible approach is to make a disturbance on the second level, which will clear everyone out of the room, but as likely as not this will lead them into other guards (or bodies, if anyone's been knocked out) and that would be even messier. I also tried to get down to the area of the room where the archer is most isolated, and though it seems dark enough to move around there, the Combat Bot always spotted me. I think even if I could get down there it would spot the archer's body after a knockout, so I imagine it's a no-go.

    I went with a solution that's reasonably smooth, but does require breaking the evidence rule by using a moss arrow. From the vault-side second level, I used a rope arrow to descend quietly to the lower level, and set up right behind the pillar where the Combat Bot stands. The archer will come and stand to the right of the bot, and then turn to either head across the room or back toward the other guard. I had to put down a moss arrow near the pillar to move freely behind him. Once the archer was about to turn around, I hit the Combat Bot's boiler to temporarily disrupt it. Then I rushed forward and knocked out the archer as he moved away. Then I quickly moved back to hit the Combat Bot a second time to disable it. This move has a chance to alert the standing guard (near the Watcher), but he made no notice when I did it. I hopped back up the rope to take out the second floor guard. To knock out the last guard on the first floor, I got into the hall behind him, rushed in when he turned outward, and then got back out before the Watcher set off an alarm*. Luckily the Watchers won't notice bodies, so the room was clear. In theory it may be possible to get the archer and Combat Bot without using the moss arrow, but I just don't think it's likely.

    I tried to pick only as many locks as were needed to get maximum loot, and made sure to re-lock all doors since the keys are available to do so. The time lock puzzle can be returned to its original state but it doesn't put the lock back in place. I did pick just one additional lock, which was for the safe containing two water arrows. I had hoped I could use them on a few more bots, but they turn out to be unnecessary as I had no useful target for them.

    There simply aren't enough water arrows for purchase or in the level to hit the boilers of every patrolling iron beast. There are enough for all of those that patrol or are stationed in places where the guards are. I left the 'maintenance area' bots on their own, as it's the one area that really doesn't have any outside units coming into it, and doesn't need to be interfered with. I did disable the 'patrolling' Combat Bot in the room near the vault lock.

    The two Worker Bots that are locked in 'conversation' I chose to leave unmolested as well. Using the extra two water arrows from the safe, those two could in theory be knocked out. I doubt it's really possible to do it without being caught by the Watchers*, though, or without having one bot notice the other one's body. I tried it a few times and failed. Alerting them both to get them in another position is maybe an option, but would most likely be a bust when they encountered a body, or if they were able to alert another enemy after leaving the room. Since there are still many more bots in the basement, it's not as if it would make the difference. Perhaps using a speed potion would have worked here, but I still doubt it.

    Aside from the somewhat intriguing puzzle that is the Guard Room, I found this to be one of the least fun TKO levels there is. It's mostly a matter of moving around the big spaces and catching patrols as they happen, which doesn't need too much skill. It also lacks any of the enjoyment of breezing through the level with everyone knocked out, due to the numerous Watchers and maze-like routes that connect the various parts of it.

    *Technically if these are the last knockouts then setting off the Watcher might be allowable (though it seems unlikely in the case of the two bots).

  22. #22
    Registered: Aug 2021
    7. Blackmail
    TKO: + Difficulty: ***
    KO: 49 (1 AB)
    IB Disabled: 1
    Loot: 2100
    Secrets: 6/6
    Pickpockets: 20/23
    Locks Picked: 2
    Time taken: 1:56:25

    How do you avoid a body discovery when the discovery of a body is the central aspect of the mission? Well, it's tough, but it is in fact doable. Every enemy went down and no alerts or tricks were needed, although potions were used. Now, technically Truart's body is not 'discovered' at any point in the sense that it shows up in the stats, but it was quite enjoyable to complete this mission with everyone knocked out before the news gets out of his demise.

    It is one mission I was expecting to be tough, and it definitely is. It's easily the hardest one to this point, and the first to really require some chemical assistance. Outside of the potions needed, it was a pretty clean run. The secrets and loot were obtained with no property damage, and minimal lockpicking.

    The outlying buildings are very easy to clear. I didn't need to switch the lights off here, as the guards can be knocked out far away from each other. While it's slightly easier to get at the main gate by coming from the estate side, I took it from the front to handle this whole area at the start (although I ended up coming back later for a forgotten bit of loot). I snuck in on the right side, then moved while timing the Watchers to get behind the guard, and I swiftly took them out before the Watchers could catch me.

    Despite that, I still entered the estate via the rear entrance, using the hole in the wall. I wanted to work back-to-front on the outer grounds. Just to add a bit of extra spice to this part, I did it using only rope arrows (no switching to open the gates), and I tried to take the guards out as fast as possible. That led to a couple of rushed sequences. The east side was especially taxing, as it meant knocking out the stationary guard, rushing to the wall and firing a rope arrow, climbing the rope, getting up behind the patrolling guard on the wall, pickpocketing his arrow and then knocking him out all before he reached the limit of his route.

    The passed-out party guest on the lawn can be surprisingly alert, so I had to be a little cautious when approaching him. The two guards at the front door can be cleared by coming from the west side and avoiding noisy movements. There is one helmeted guard that patrols on the northwest; I did not have any gas yet so I saved him for later.

    With all but that lone guard down on the outside, I then ducked into the chapel and downstairs to grab the loot and invisibility potion from the crypt. A Scouting Orb can hit the 'arrow' hole to unlock the passage down without leaving evidence, since the other way in (breaking the boards) wouldn't be right. Next, I went through the main 'basement' from the hole in the wall under the porch. After knocking out the guards there, I snuck up the stairs and for once, did not start knocking people out. I just made my way over to the fireplace that leads down to the torture chamber. Activating the passage does put out one fire permanently, but I think it's acceptable as it's the only fire I left out on the level.

    In the torture chamber, I was able to unlock the grating in the passage by using a flare to hit it, and grabbed the bit of loot there without any property damage. I consider flares as not leaving evidence as long as I pick them up in time (arguably they disappear entirely no matter what; it probably depends on whether you consider them magical or chemical in nature). After getting the loot, I hit the button to open the passage to the basement, and then I hit it again and scrambled up the ladder before it closed up. At that point all parts of the lowest level of the map were done. I was not planning to do the whole house from the bottom up, however; I wanted to take care of the sheriff first.

    While there is the complicated gear system required to access the upper floors from the interior, the balcony is almost wide open in comparison, and it is not that hard to climb up. The second level can be reached by jumping from the outer walls. To get to the third level requires mantling to get onto the open balcony door, and then another jump and mantle on the roof and over the railing. While the door on the second floor was open, though, I first went inside to grab a second invisibility potion. I knew I'd be needing both of them shortly.

    When Garrett first enters the Sheriff's room this way, he actually asks what happened, since no one has yet reported the death. Truart's body can be moved outside (this is acceptable, since there is an objective for 'burying' him), and now there's no body to be found! However, it seems from conversations that the guards upstairs are aware of what happened, so they have to be knocked out before they tell anyone else.

    The two enemies that patrol into the room can be knocked out inside it. It just takes a little waiting until their routes are in phase. That leaves three sets of enemies on the third floor -- two guards and a woman by the fire, two guards right outside the door to Truart's chambers, and the the three guards posted at the head of the stairs. They can be taken out in that order. However, they areas they stand in are in brightly-lit and partly noisy, and it's here that potions have to be used.

    The two guards near the fireplace have a lengthy conversation that reveals their knowledge of the sheriff's murder. Apparently they just don't care about him enough to report it yet. The lady standing near them (Truart's wife?) is pretty jumpy, and I couldn't find any way to get close, or to reduce light levels in the room, that let me get all three of them at once. Drinking the first invisibility potion allows clearing all three.

    The second invisibility potion has to be reserved for the three near the stairs, as they are too spread out and in too much light to be taken down any other way. That means the two guarding the door need to be hit with a gas mine. When I first worked out this level, I had to rely on a bit of luck. I'd drop the mine at the door, open it up and hope they both turned to enter the room just right. This time, I found a method that seems a little more reliable. There are two gaslights right by the door, and with those doused, it's still quite bright there, but safe to open the door. I opened just one side of the door, and then moved back into the room. That allowed me to toss the gas mine just through the door, and when it armed and the guards got suspicious at the noise, it got them both at once. The gas lights can be re-lit, so there was no extra evidence remaining.

    This finally gave me access to the three guards at the top of the stairs, who are the only ones who might report the murder if you let them (it can be triggered by coming up the stairs, and sometimes if you come from the other hall on the third floor). There was a tense moment here, since there's a noisy patch of floor that needs to be crossed. After drinking the potion, I had to move out very slowly and carefully until I got to the carpet and could bash all the guards. Invisibility potions don't always trivialize the situation! I was a bit worried about running out of time, so these were two of the missed pickpockets. However, with them all knocked out, the sheriff's murder goes unreported while his body goes missing.

    That was one of the harder parts of the level, and nothing really is as difficult. There are still a few trouble spots elsewhere. I had not knocked anyone on the first or second floor out prior to coming up to the murder scene for a reason. Many of the enemies go on fairly long patrol routes that intersect, making the order of knockouts slightly important. There are also the two guards at the top of the second-level stairs, and they can't be knocked down while still facing each other. They have a conversation if you approach from below, after which they split up and start patrolling. However, they head in different directions and on different floors. I actually had taken down most of the guards before setting this duo off, so I had to get them kind of quickly. I first waited at the bottom of the stairs and took down the guard heading toward the kitchen. Then I went up the stairs, dashed by the guard post, and knocked out the second guard in the hall.

    Drunk Benny and the bartender seems tough, with another two people facing right at each other. However, he actually won't notice her body fall since he's too drunk. He can still react to you, and even the bartender seems to be set off if you sneak behind her incautiously. I did clean up his mead spill to reveal the loot; whether that is properly considered permanent evidence is a matter of opinion. I don't find it a problem but the secret can be skipped without issue.

    The last hard area is the Great Hall. What I did the first time I completed this was start from the chapel side, knock out the first guard as he ascends the first landing, and then mantle on to the stairs and get behind the second guard as he descends. If it's done right, the archer posted below doesn't notice. That's probably the cleanest way to do it, but this time I wanted to see if I could manage it from the other direction (the 'ballroom' side). I first knocked out the guard that was descending the stairs. Then I ran up the stairs, and started to circle the room to get behind the second patroller. By staying low and hugging the outside wall, I was able to do so with only minor comments from the archer.

    I decided to skip the pickpocket on the archer, although it's not hard to sneak up behind her once the other guards are out. Instead I went for the more stylish aerial leap from the stairs. The last guard outside was taken out with the second gas mine, located in the secret panel in the Weapons Room. I made sure to drop the sheriff's body in his pre-dug grave and exited the estate to finish the level.

    This was one of my favorite levels to TKO. It's a good-sized level with a continuous set of challenges. Simply figuring out how to avoid the body discovery, a seemingly impossible task, was a lot of fun. Not only that, it's one that I feel I might be able to continually refine, even if it is successful at this point.

  23. #23
    Registered: Aug 2021
    8. Tracing the Courier
    TKO: + Difficulty: * (*** for challenge)
    KO: 24
    IB Disabled: 0
    Loot: 830
    Secrets: 1/1
    Pickpockets: 14/14
    Locks Picked: 0
    Time taken: 28:11

    Quite an easy level, as almost all the guards are isolated from each other. Once the pagan goes into the cemetery, the rest of the level can be cleared without any time pressure. Even the occasional guards that have an intersecting path can be knocked down in dark spots, with little chance of any body discovery.

    The added challenge, then, is to get all the knockouts while also staying on the trail of the letter. You do need to go very quick at the start to do this, especially to get the guard stationed near the pub. It's something of an issue that Mosley and the pagan both have some randomness as to when they pause and turn around, and that can affect the timing of the run. I'd consider making some noise to get them cautious is acceptable here as long as they don't start hunting immediately (there are pre-set spots where they may stop to look around, which is fine). I didn't really have to do it on my run, as far as I'm aware, although it can be a bit hard to tell if they have actually noticed anything. There is also the handful of guards that they both pass by, adding to the difficulty. Personally, I think the challenge should be to get the guards when they are first encountered and not leave them standing for the pagan's route. That means either hitting the enemies far enough away from the pagan's route, or in darker areas that won't trigger a body discovery.

    The only guard I missed during the trace was the one stationed on the bridge above the Whipple Gate (the gate where the drunk guard is). I'm not sure if it's possible to get there either while following the pagan on his last turn, or while Mosley is wandering through the marketplace, which would seem to be the only opportunities. There is also a civilian that cannot be reached at all during the 'tracing' portion, so the challenge is not perfectly possible. That exception is the woman back near Garrett's old house. She is sleeping in the bed across the way from his place. I have to imagine her presence here was an oversight on the part of the developers, since there's no real reason to have an extra person in a place the player would never go. This playthrough was actually the first time I discovered that she was even present in this level. It surprises me that I'm still finding new things in this game.

    There is some slight weirdness to a couple of guards in this, namely the two who start out sort-of blocking the route to Garrett's old place. They 'teleport' to the street across from the lamppost where Mosley drops the letter and have a conversation about boots, but it seems as if the game counts them as two different sets of people. I found it impossible to KO them cleanly before the drop without the mission failing, though. Since the initial two 'disappear' I'd say they don't count, but it'd be a neat bonus if someone was able to get all of these. I should note that even getting two of them while also keeping up with the trace is no easy matter. It required me to run all the way around before their conversation finishes, and do a risky move of hitting one as he walked toward me after the discussion was done. It's otherwise quite hard to get behind them while keeping in range of the letter (not only that, but the exact position they go 'back' to seems to vary).

    Mosley might also be a special enemy. I did once hear the pagan comment on seeing her body, but it wasn't scored as a discovery (he does discover downed guards for sure). I made sure my run did not include him noticing her in any way.

    I started by heading more or less right near Mosley so I could hit one guard and then circle back towards her place to get a second one. Then I waited as she passed southward down the street, as a guard came up it. I had to wait here to let him pass by the building with a light on, as an archer guard patrols near it. I hit him quickly and then hopped up onto the wooden platform where the archer was. Luckily Mosley paused so I had a bit of time here. From there Mosley passes by the tower and gate near the pub. I found that sneaking past her into the dark corner gave me the best chance of getting to the pub, as long as I didn't set her off. One person passes her who I had to knock out, and then I booked it as fast as I could over to the pub, conked the guard and picked his pocket, and then ran back before Mosley had moved on toward the marketplace.

    In the marketplace, I waited until the patrolling guard was in a dark enough spot, since I didn't want the pagan finding his body. Mosley spends a fair amount of time going through here and usually pauses at the turn on Whipple St., so there's a decent amount of time to work. As she crossed Helena Way I needed to leap across and hit a few of the guards on the opposite side. They went down in some bright spots, and I could only hope the pagan didn't spot them on his return trip. As Mosley went up and around Helena Way, I ducked over to Whipple and got the drunken guard at the gate. Then I returned in time to observe the drop, and knocked her out in the dark alley leading away.

    After I rushed around to get the two guards talking about boots, the pagan finally showed up and I could start moving again. As he turned past the bridge near Helena Way, he did make a comment, either because I was too close or the body in the streetlight made him nervous. But he continued onward peacefully toward the south end of the map. One new guard shows up here, and it was hard to get her while following him if she didn't start moving right away. I was able to let him circle the building without losing the trace, so I hit her on the north side of it and waited for him to pass by above me. The noisy metal stairs meant I had to wait a little longer to follow him.

    He passed through the marketplace without spotting anything unusual, and I was able to get ahead of him before he arrived at the cemetery, as I wanted to see what I could do there. While it is possible to interfere somewhat with the Mechanist ambush, I let it play out on its own (the violence is in no way connected to Garrett's actions, so it is not a bust). I then knocked the Mechanists out and finished off the knock-outs with the sleeping woman back near the old apartment. Of course, I also allowed the sleeping (un)dead to stay as they were. I did not pick up all the loot in the course of the tracing, and had to go back and get the remainder of it. I think it may be possible to accomplish that and could be considered one more extra challenge.

    Adding the challenge makes this a fairly fun mission. It isn't that exciting otherwise. There's a bit of frustration in dealing with the randomness of the route while scoring knockouts, but the mission being really short makes even that relatively painless. I did enjoy being able to find out new things about the level and experiment with how much you can get away with while still completing the objectives.
    Last edited by Kangra; 13th Jan 2023 at 23:24.

  24. #24
    Registered: Aug 2021
    9. Trail of Blood
    TKO achievability: + Difficulty: *
    KO: 24
    IB Disabled: 0
    Loot: 2330 (includes previous)
    Secrets: 0/0
    Pickpockets: 3/3
    Locks Picked: 0
    Time taken: 59:08

    An easy, short level with a few minor challenges. The Mechanists at the start stay reasonably separated from each other, except at the Gathering Place. There is one helmeted guard there who can't be blackjacked, and his route covers most of the area where a guard who can be knocked out goes. The first time I did this I didn't realize you could go back through the Maw portal, and I thought I had to leave him upright after knocking the second guard out. There is a dark spot where you can knock her out and the helmeted guard won't notice the body. Of course, since you can return, it's easy enough to leave both of them alone until after obtaining the gas arrow inside. I did knock her out first, and came back to get the helmeted guard afterward, since I only discovered in this mission that it was possible to return from the Maw.

    I also used a speed potion to help in obtaining the one piece of loot down in the cave with the toxic pools. I did not use a slowfall potion to get down; instead I landed either in the water or directly into a mantle -- not sure which, but I took no damage. I know it's probably possible to get out of there without using a potion since the toxic clouds have some randomness, but I didn't want to bother with the attempt. A chemical-free run would skip the loot and gear down there.

    Inside the Maw, all the apebeasts need to be knocked out. The other enemies -- the rats, treebeasts, eyeflowers, and hidden frogbeasts, along with the 'will-o-the-wisp' or whatever it is that floats around near the entry bridge -- can be ignored. The patrolling apebeasts seem to have pretty good vision, so I had to be cautious while moving above them initially. Knockouts were still generally easy anywhere, as they won't spot bodies from far off.

    There are a few places where two of the apebeasts stand together that are a little bit tricky. One is at the outer entrance to the village, near the top of the cave area. The way to get behind these two is to come in quickly from the side, where there are some helpful bones that can block lines of sight. Once I was able to get back there, it wasn't too hard to rush in from behind and knock them both down.

    Another hard place is in the Fall village, where two apebeasts stand facing each other at a campfire. Originally this was where I used the gas arrow, since shooting it at the fire takes them both out cleanly. Since that arrow must be used on the helmeted guard, however, I had to find a way to blackjack these two. It was necessary to douse the campfire and both of the torches near them, so that I could hit one without the other noticing me right away. The campfire can't be re-lit, but it does provide a fire arrow, and that let me re-light both torches, since I still had one from Tracing the Courier (There are also extra fire arrows in the toxic pits).

    Of course using invisibility potions (also available from the previous level) makes both those situations trivial. Using a potion does avoid putting out the fire, but since it's the only fire left doused I think it's acceptable and I prefer to forego the potions. There are no lockpicks needed, and the only other evidence would be some broken ice. Breaking the ice is necessary to advance so I don't consider it a bust. It hardly seems like property damage anyway, because it can likely be controlled to come and go as needed to block the entrance.

    All in all, an easy experience that is still kind of fun as a TKO. I do feel like the level design here is a bit empty. It makes sense though; it's trying to convey the quiet and even somber mood of what has happened to the Pagans and allow you to reflect on what has led up to this point before the climax leading to the last act of the game. A decent way to set the scene, but not one that makes for exciting thievery.

  25. #25
    Registered: May 2008
    Location: Southern,California
    did you take dewdrop for good luck???

    also on trace the currier mission ,once you follow him where he goes into warp, and the next objective sounds, "do not go into warp", you then can go back to city and completely gut the city dry

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