29 October, 2009

Pathologic - Detour: The Juvenile Market


Whether it's because it's just the early days, and things aren't quite hectic yet, or I'm getting so familiar with the town as well as the gameplay - such that I know exactly where everything is and all the best shortcuts, where to find specific supplies I might need at any given time, what to trade with whom and to get what, what it takes to survive, which criminals to avoid and which to fight, how to avoid infection, etc., etc., etc. - or whether it's a combination of both and/or some other factors, I've been presented with an excessive amount of free time these first two days of the scenario. On Day 1, I finished up all my quests well before dinner, and in boredom, decided to sleep away the rest of the day. On Day 2, I woke up around midnight, and had all my quests (main as well as side) finished before dawn - no joke. I decided to put off the final decision on my main quest though, to give me some time to think it over before making the commitment.

But what to do with a whole free day? I decided to hunt for some children's Powder. You never know when you might need it. And at worst, you can save it for the last day to heal up some of the adherents who are bound to be infected by then (not yours, if you've been taking care of them, but the other healers'). And the one place non-quest-related that I know I can find Powder is in the hands of the little girls that roam the streets (though only during the day, and only in safe districts). Though not every little girl, just some of them - and it is rare. But with the infection not yet broken out beyond the first house, there were tons of kids in the streets, so I went hunting for one who might have a Powder.

There are four types of children you can trade with, two male, and two female, two young, and two really young. Each of them takes only specific items for trade, and generally has specific types of items to trade. And in some cases (I'm thinking medicine), it varies as the days advance. For example, Girls (the older of the two female children), and Little Boys (the younger of the two male children) most often have bullets of various types for trade. Teenagers (the older of the two male children) and Little Girls (I'll let you figure out which ones those are :p) often have medicine - rarely bandages (which the Drunkards carry), but usually pills and sometimes analgesics (painkillers). Early on, they tend to carry immunity boosters, and later they begin to stock antibiotics. The antibiotics are particularly useful, as they can be used either to gain temporary entrance to infected adherents' houses (without using up precious cures), or, barring that, they can be sold for a decent price at shops.

The best thing about the juvenile market (other than the rare presence of a Powder, which you'll never see in stores), is the fact that the kids have no interest in money, and take random trinkets that can be found fairly easily (often in the trash) instead - and give you valuable items in return. The various kids take different items, and it requires a little experience to become familiar with who likes what.

(Dumpster diving)

The female children obviously like flowers, but only the older of the two girls takes jewelry - rings, necklaces, bracelets, earrings. Both of the younger children, of either gender, participate in the "nuts" game, and therefore take various nuts you might find along the ground (hazelnuts, acorns, peanuts, etc.). The children all like sharp things - as they are forbidden to have them - but of varying degrees. Only the Teenagers (male) do not care for hooks and needles, as they are more interested in more serious fare, such as knives and razors (both straight razors and the finger blades the muggers carry). Little Boys will also take razors (the finger blades only - which can also be traded to guards, by the way), and Teenagers are also interested in pocket watches.

If I recall correctly, the only kids I've seen with Powder are the Little Girls (the younger of the two). Not sure if they're the only ones who carry it, but when I'm hoping to find a Powder, they're the ones I go to. Rather than having a price, trade items are given a number based on their value. Most items are worth 1 or 2 points, excepting the more valuable items. For example, lock picks (which the kids sometimes have in their possession, but never seem interested in acquiring) are worth 5 points. The antibiotics are worth considerably more than the immunity boosters. Children's Powder, when you have the luck to find some on the market, is worth ten points.

So you see, the problem I've always had is that when I'd stumble on a Little Girl with a Powder, I wouldn't have enough to trade for it. The valuable stuff - jewelry, watches, knives, razors, etc. - was worthless to them. They do take nuts, so you could try and stock up on the nuts you (rarely) find lying about, but here's a better idea I just came up with: instead of ignoring the clothing stores, thinking them useless (since you, of course, value your own seasoned instincts more than an extra layer of fabric when it comes to avoiding infection), hit up every clothing store you pass and buy up all of the hooks and needles they sell there (probably for sewing). They're real cheap, but the kids like 'em. Then, when you randomly come across a Little Girl with a Powder during the course of your day, you're bound to have enough to trade for it! Just as long as you have ten hooks and/or needles, you'll be set!

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