Dishonored DLC – Brigmore Witches EP5: I’M A WHALE!

By Shamus Posted Thursday Mar 23, 2017

Filed under: Spoiler Warning 73 comments

Link (YouTube)

Rutskarn posed a few fun questions this time. I’m interested to hear how other people answer before listening to the show. Just from the gut, how do you imagine the following stuff works…

  1. What does it feel like to be out of “mana”?
  2. When you’re low on mana: Is it a simple binary thing as depicted in the game where your powers abruptly stop working, or is it more like a growing fatigue?
  3. What does a mana potion taste like? How does it feel? Milky? Watery? Oily?
  4. Do you get mana burps after chugging too many potions?
  5. What does it feel like to talk to the Outsider?
  6. Do you feel anything unusual or special when wearing charms? Are they warm or cold? Do they vibrate? Feel good? Make any sound?

We’re nearly done with this game. Tomorrow we’ll finish up Dishonored 1 forever.


From The Archives:

73 thoughts on “Dishonored DLC – Brigmore Witches EP5: I’M A WHALE!

  1. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Guys,I think Shamus is suffering from stockholm syndrome.He wants to inject the star child into every game.

    1. Grudgeal says:

      Now I’m considering whether or not the final scene of Mass Effect would actually get worse if we replace Star Child with the Outsider.

      It is… Not a pleasant thing to think about.

  2. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Have you ever been so sleep deprived that you are not tired anymore,but you start feeling weird?Like you are floating through the air,and like you are experiencing deja vu wherever you look.Thats how I think being low on mana would feel like.

    1. Sharnuo says:

      Fight Club definitely has it right when the narrator says that when you have insomnia everything feels like a dream of a dream.

  3. Tintenseher says:

    Shamus, your hobbit joke made me do the dumbest laugh. I loved it. Thank you.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Was it a belly laugh?

      1. lucky7 says:

        I hope he doesn’t continue them. You know these kind of jokes can be hobbit forming

        1. MrGuy says:

          What the elf are you talking about?

          1. Sleeping Dragon says:

            And, as usual, one innocent joke leads to numenorous puns.

            1. Daemian Lucifer says:

              It really has become hairy.

              1. lucky7 says:

                But we Ent gonna stop.

                1. Jean says:

                  We don’t do anything Halfling way.

                  1. Lachlan the Mad says:


                    1. Sleeping Dragon says:

                      I’ll reiterate the sentiment from above, what are you even Tolkien about?

  4. Matt Downie says:

    The reason we don’t have magic powers in real life is that we are all collectively out of mana. If we had mana, we would wake up every morning and immediately spring out of bed, fresh and ready to face the day. We don’t notice how it feels to be “out of mana” because we feel it all the time.

    1. Galad says:

      I came here to have fun and read/watch about vidja games, not to feel depressed >.<

    2. Tizzy says:

      And because we’ve never even tasted elixir, we go through life blindly trying to find a substitute for what we don’t even know we’re missing.

      In comes coffee…

    3. Echo Tango says:

      So mana potions do taste like heroine, jet fuel, and coffee…

      1. Daimbert says:

        I think you mean “heroin” instead of “heroine”. Completely different things.

        Or perhaps you really meant “hero in” …

        1. silver Harloe says:

          Or maybe he’s saying mana potions have some flavor of long pork (but only from heroic females, because apparently human meat tastes different based on gender and prowess?)

          1. Daemian Lucifer says:

            You dont have to resort to cannibalism to taste a heroine however.

            1. silver Harloe says:

              Which was the first thing I thought of, but I decided cannibalism would be easier to recognize as a joke and thus less potentially offensive.

              1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                As long as she willingly grabs you by your hair and pulls your head down there,no one will be offended.

    4. silver Harloe says:

      I agree with Matt Downie (here) and Chris (in video): you already know what it feels like to be out of mana, because you’re out right now. The real question should be “what would it feel like to *have* mana?” because *that* is what would be different than how you feel normally.

  5. tmtvl says:

    Well, the guys are cetainly having a whale of a time.

  6. Viktor says:

    1: You know that feeling when you work at a mental task for several hours and your brain begins to cry? Yeah, feels like that.
    2: You start getting sloppier, have to focus more to accomplish stuff. Note that even in-game it’s not binary, more complex spells become inaccessible first.
    3: You know how original Monster Energy drinks taste? They don’t taste like anything real, they’re just green? Mana potions taste like blue.
    4: What would you expect to happen when you OD on something that allows you to alter reality? Your powers start behaving oddly.
    5: In-game Outsider? A workplace training video. Lore Outsider? Words of fire forming in your mind, with your brain barely grasping a tenth of the concepts they intend to convey.
    6: My headcanon, charms are pressed to your skin and embed there, pulsing at their own rate on a level other than the physical and giving you a dim awareness of things beyond the mortal world(and never any USEFUL things). There is nothing in canon to support this, of course.

    1. Echo Tango says:

      I kind of like your idea for charms – Stuck to your skin, and giving awareness of things. Like a wrist-watch you never have to look at. A magical HUD, except non-visual; Intuition and gut-feeling type of stuff. For me though, instead of them all being mundane, they have a wide variety of uses and qualities, depending on the price and craftsmanship. No, the thing they all share, is they itch like motherfuckers in some portion of the population – like people who can’t wear certain types of metal jewelry, or who get rashes from wrist-watches.

  7. NonEuclideanCat says:

    In order:
    Like your entire circulatory system is suddenly empty.
    Imagine trying to spit with a progressively dryer mouth; it diminishes until you’re flat empty.
    I guess since it’s, essentially, drinking liquid energy, it’d be a mouthful of poprocks and coke, only moreso.
    Less burps, I think, and more that you just start cantriping in uncontrollable spurts.
    Have you ever been hugged by a psychic asshole megawhale from every possible direction, including internally? Thereabouts.
    They smell like rotting animal fat with the texture of the same. They’re entirely unpleasant to interact with in any capacity.

  8. Jarenth says:

    1. I imagine it’s similar to being out of stamina after working out for a while. Except blue instead of green (everyone knows stamina is green).
    2. Since in most systems as described you can’t commit to a spell at all unless you have the requisite mana, I’d say it has to be some form of hard cap. That doesn’t feel intuitive, and I’d love to see a system with diminishing returns for under-spent mana, but going on available ‘evidence’ I have to assume it’s all-or-nothing.
    3. Since mana is often associated with crystals, mana potions must taste like Crystal Pepsi. Crystal Pepsi and the colour blue (everyone knows mana is blue). But flat Crystal Pepsi, since you never see them fizz.
    4. Not if they’re flat. Suppose you could mix your potions with seltzer water, if it’s that important to you. What I do expect is that if you drink too much, your body can’t absorb all the mana from the liquid, so you’ll just end up peeing out the difference — probably wise to invest in a lead or crystal toilet.
    5. Fifty percent dull as dishwater, fifty percent like your brain is trying to parse something it’s not built to parse and frantically bullshitting in nonsense perceptions to cover the difference (brains are good at bullshitting).
    6. Bone charms don’t actually do anything, the true power was inside you all along. And by that I mean they’re placebo effects writ large.

    1. sarachim says:

      EDIT: Oops, meant to make this the main thread, not a reply

    2. Christopher says:

      1. Hunger. A feeling of emptiness.
      2. I go from feeling no at all issue to a sudden hunger or emptiness. It’s unpleasant by itself, but the suddenness makes it worse.
      3. Something like… cold milk and blueberries, but it fizzes like soda.
      4. Absolutely.
      5. I can still feel my body exactly as it is in the regular world and get a strange sense of vertigo from my sight and hearing being different from my actual surroundings.
      5. I’m thinking necklaces, so they feel somewhat chilly and annoyingly move around when I Blink.

  9. sarachim says:

    1. Like being depressed. You understand how the spell would work and why it’s a good idea, but just the thought of casting it feels overwhelming.
    2. As above, but gradually getting worse. When just the thought of saying the magic words or whatever makes you feel like crying, that’s how you know you’re out.
    3. Hot apple cider. It stays hot regardless of container or surrounding temperature.

    1. PoignardAzur says:

      I like these ideas.

  10. I always pictured Mana as being a spiritual or creative spark, so when you’re out of Mana, the world “feels” a little duller and greyer, and the hard natural laws seem a little harder, like a mild depression.

    I do picture the sensation of being out of mana as being binary. You don’t get that dreadful feeling until you run out, even though you’re conscious of having to strain a little harder to work a spell.

    A mana potion is the exact reverse of hot sauce – so fluid it feels halfway to gas, with a peculiar chemical property that feels like extreme cold in the same way that capsaicin feels like heat.

    No mana burps. Instead, you get an itching behind your eyes like a sneeze that refuses to happen.

    In theory, it should feel like talking to someone while you’re extremely sleep deprived. You only pick up on every few phrases, you find it impossible to focus on them, and you’re mostly occupied with paranoia if he knows how much of a disadvantage you’re at. The closest equivalent I can think of in visual media is Hugo Weaving’s post apocalyptic devil in “Cloud Atlas.” No matter what angle the camera cuts to, he’s in frame, and his voice has a peculiar melodic quality with audio effects that lead the listener to hear the sound, but not focus on the words.

    Nope, bone charms have no overt sensation to them. They’re like real good luck charms, where you’re always a little unsure whether they’re actually doing anything or not.

  11. Thomas says:

    1. A hunger in your other stomach

  12. MrGuy says:

    5. What does it feel like to talk to the Outsider?

  13. PeteTimesSix says:

    1. Like the feeling you get when you try to drink from a cup but the cup is empty.
    2. The equivalent of a car engine failing to start.
    3. Liquid electricity.
    4. Your teeth start to hurt and your eyes go all sparky.
    5. “Oh, *this* guy again.” (But actually, I think some of the lore books describe the Void as feeling cold, empty, and the flow of time is all wrong, so… hospital waiting room?)
    6. I’ve got nothing, actually. Most of the charms I used were the boring ones that made blink/far reach have basically infinite uses.

    …I like metaphors, alright? Now to actually watch the video for context…

  14. Benjamin Hilton says:

    At first I was surprised that they’re finishing this week because I remembered the game being much longer, but I canvased every corner of these two levels. Dishonored is a great game for speed runners because when you know what to do and cut out all the extemporaneous stuff you can just fly through them.

    1. Sleeping Dragon says:

      That last stage took me a while, and I’m pretty sure I got turned around at least once in the mansions.

  15. Syal says:

    So, having not seen the show or read the comments:

    1. Like dry mouth, but for your soul.
    2. It’s like an engine; it’ll stop all of a sudden, but you get all kinds of annoying mental alarms when it’s getting close to problematic.
    3. It tastes like blueberries, because fully three-quarters of every mana potion is just blueberry flavoring. You thought the blue color was from arcane power? Nope. Tasty fruit.
    4. Burps, but for your soul.
    5. Have you ever dreamed you were watching paint dry?
    6. It feels like wearing giant popcorn puffs all over your body.

  16. Lachlan the Mad says:

    As a severe caffeine addict, I deal with a de facto mana system in my everyday life.

    What does it feel like to be out of “mana”?

    A throbbing headache in the temples.

    When you're low on mana: Is it a simple binary thing as depicted in the game where your powers abruptly stop working, or is it more like a growing fatigue?

    It gets worse the longer your mana is low.

    What does a mana potion taste like? How does it feel? Milky? Watery? Oily?

    Like a cappuccino, full milk, one sugar.

    Do you get mana burps after chugging too many potions?

    Nah, you just have to go to the bathroom every half hour.

    What does it feel like to talk to the Outsider?

    Like you’re incredibly tired but physically incapable of sleep.

    Do you feel anything unusual or special when wearing charms? Are they warm or cold? Do they vibrate? Feel good? Make any sound?

    They vibrate in the direction of the nearest coffee shop (but they can be fooled by the presence of hipsters).

  17. Tizzy says:

    Given that Dishonored requires you to build your character specifically for either stealth or combat, I always thought that the Chaos system came first out of a need to balance the game for the two play styles.

    If you want to give the stealth players options to recover from being spotted, you can’t have them face the level of threat that a seasoned murderer requires for an action packed game. So having more enemies show up if you kill a lot automatically flags the omnicidal players.

    Unfortunately, it also makes the stealthy but lethal approach a lot less viable.

    But if my hypothesis is true that the concept was primarily motivated by balancing concerns, then the fact that it never quite makes sense and offers a bizarre take on morality is completely explained away.

    Not the non lethal target takedowns, though. The fact that those are usually way worse than mercy killing must be deliberate. The pattern is too consistent.

    1. Sleeping Dragon says:

      I’m actually pretty okay with chaos as balancing mechanics, what I don’t like is that, despite the devs insisting this is not a morality system, the game basically chastises you for playing high chaos and turning the world to shit. I suppose this could be, and possibly was meant to be, interpreted as roleplaying Corvo either more caring about justice and the wellbeing of both Emily and the people or vengeance obsessed but I’d say the game doesn’t really convey that very well and while the combat is very nice and dynamic the dialogues and cutscenes make you feel like you’re failing at the game.

      1. Tizzy says:

        It was so clear that Dishonored was designed gameplay first that I could never really care about the morality aspect of it. I think a lot of effort has gone into making the world interesting, but since they’d decided to hold off on giving Corvo a definite motive for his actions, I never felt like the game’s judgment of my actions had any bite to it.

        Also, Dishonored is set in such a crapsack world that bringing it down may be the kindest thing to do.

  18. silver Harloe says:

    re: Rutskarn’s question from the first minute: I think it’s someone whispering “enhanced eyes” (and note it only comes up with the vision power, the other powers don’t have a voice-like noise)

  19. Tizzy says:

    I so wish I’d known you could pull krusts. Fuck those guys, man!

  20. Ramsus says:

    Do you feel anything unusual or special when wearing charms? Are they warm or cold? Do they vibrate? Feel good? Make any sound?

    1) A kind of spiritual fatigue.
    2) Growing fatigue, but like actual fatigue there are points where you can keep going and then there’s a point where you just can’t and like real fatigue this point probably just jumps out at you more suddenly than you’d expect.
    3) Blue. (I know this is a fair answer because irl I’ve had a cake that I can best describe as having tasted “green”.)
    4) No, once you’re full up it just sorts of fizzles out of you immediately. You might briefly see brand new worrying colors though.
    5) Some kind of horrible combination of boring, deeply depressing, and terrifying.
    6) Well you probably feel something related to their effect or currently attuned effect or whatever. I imagine this more as an internal sensation like feeling strong such rather than an external physical sensation. Though I guess you also feel and hear whatever makes sense for what they’re actually made out of too.

  21. Fizban says:

    1/2: If you give it a mental/magical nudge you can feel about how many lifts you’ve got left when you’re low. If you try to cast when you’re out of juice, it’s like trying to lift something that turned out to be way heavier than you can actually lift. When you’re full up it’s just like any other activity, you go at it until you’re low enough on energy to start noticing and it’s up to yourself to pace it.

    Unless your mana is represented by an exact number in which case you start seeing math because your magic clearly comes with automatic spreadsheet capability.
    3: Designed to be watery so you can pound them down as needed.
    4: As much as you normally burp.
    5: Eh.
    6: Depends on the charm.

  22. Pinkhair says:

    There are a few in game documents that discuss the sensations related to bone charms, at least.

  23. RCN says:

    What does it feel like to be out of “mana”?

    Like a void, as if a body part was missing. You’ve abused whatever part of your being stores these mystical energies. Now you feel as though your feet would miss the ground, as if your eyes are out of their sockets, as if your stomach thirsted for steam.

    When you're low on mana: Is it a simple binary thing as depicted in the game where your powers abruptly stop working, or is it more like a growing fatigue?

    Depends. It is like trying to walk on a fresh stump. It is doable… but it takes a lot more effort and leaves a bloody mess. It is plain not good for you.

    What does a mana potion taste like? How does it feel? Milky? Watery? Oily?

    Steamy. Ethereal. As if it fell right through your gut, filling your body whole the same way the air takes up all empty space. You feel a jolt and suddenly is like if that missing part was never missing. That stump is a foot again. And you can walk.

    Do you get mana burps after chugging too many potions?

    The excess mana is expelled like any excess gas. Except it is an ether. So it is expelled by the pores as well. And the eyeballs. Glowing eyes are a sign of a mage with excess mana. Sloppy. Magic becomes unpredictable. Like trying to walk if you had several feet on each leg, it feel weird and you’re prone to step on toes and stub yours.

    What does it feel like to talk to the Outsider?

    Like your nose is playing a trick on you and making you hear.

    Do you feel anything unusual or special when wearing charms? Are they warm or cold? Do they vibrate? Feel good? Make any sound?

    They’re like a seashell, amplifying the ether around you in the rhythm of the waves, washing over your body with primordial feelings of belonging and coziness. With use this washes away into the background and you become unaware of it… until you lose it, then you feel the emptyness once again.

  24. Philadelphus says:

    It’s interesting how the concept of “mana” has gone from its original roots as a concept of Polynesian religion/worldview and entered pop culture (or maybe just nerd culture) at large as a handy shortcut for “resource spent on supernatural powers.”

    1. RCN says:

      I’m from the forgotten age where we just said “spell points”

      Though I always felt that “ether” is just as good a denomination.

  25. Ysen says:

    1. Like when you’ve been working on a mentally taxing task for a long time and just can’t focus on it anymore.

    2. I feel like it should be growing fatigue. If it’s the binary like in the game, I guess it would be like the spell is on the tip of your tongue but you can’t… quite… cast..

    3. Like pure water, but with the burning sensation of spirits.

    4. Not unless they’re carbonated.

    5. Like waking up with sleep paralysis. Strange and unreal and you don’t have control.

    6. There’s a field around them, like when you’re near something charged with static electricity.

  26. Starker says:

    1) Like you really need a cigarette.
    2) Binary: at some point you just start failing.
    3) Like carbonated birch juice.
    4) Yes, with hilarious results.
    5) It’s a bit like listening to Vogon poetry.
    6) Cold until your body warms them up. Other than that, you don’t feel anything. It makes sense, really, or the Overseers would have regarded them as something far more dangerous than just superstitious charms.

    1. Arakus says:

      The 42nd comment on the post, and it has a hitchhiker’s reference. Coincidence, or really good planning?

  27. Jarenth says:

    Having watched the episode now: The idea Ruts is describing, about having to juggle medicine for your own use with saving others, is I’m pretty sure one of the elements of Pathologic. You can get sick, and there’s medicine to counteract that sickness, but other people will also get sick, and you’re the only one with enough Player Character Vim to proactively gather medicine up…

  28. Grudgeal says:

    Being who I am, the first thing I did when you posed that question was to actually look up the word “mana” and its etymology. I thought it was some kind of word for “lifeforce” that came from animist shamanism in northern/eastern Europe. And it turns out I was completely wrong: The word is polynesian and means “power, prestige” or (in Hawai’i tradition, “potency”). I find this to be very applicable to the general fantasy term of “mana” as “magic power”.

    Mana, having mana, feels like having power or potency. It’s, literally, having a power trip, the feeling that you can and will affect the world around you by will alone. By contrast, being ‘out of mana’ feels comparatively like impotency. If you’ve never had mana, this would just be regular life, but for someone used to having mana, being out of it would feel like impotency, powerlessness and inability to affect the world around you in a meaningful way (people who have ever roleplayed a wizard in D&D may know exactly what I’m talking about…).

    Your level of mana determines just how big your power rush is; it lessens as your mana lessens. When you take a ‘mana potion’, I expect it’s, well, a bit like taking viagra for the soul, or an upper (a stimulant).

    1. Tizzy says:

      This is awesome. I think we’ve all had the feelings at both ends of that spectrum. Days were everything _magically_ falls into place, and days were you’re tripping over everything and at every action you take, you’re beset with a million tiny annoyances.

      I love it! I’m filing this away for future use.

      (Also, I can’t believe I never looked up the word “mana” before.)

    2. Philadelphus says:

      Fun random fact: no one knows where Kamehameha the Great (the guy who first united all the Hawaiian islands into a single kingdom around 1800) is buried, because he had two of his closest friends bury him in an unknown location (which they took to their graves) so that his enemies couldn’t find his bones and steal his mana posthumously.

  29. Warclam says:

    So I said last week that Void Gaze sounds like “that’s nice” to me. I guess to Rutskarn it’s “hot dice”?

    1. Chris says:

      I know on some level it’s basically supposed to be the abstract, unknowable whispers of whale gods beyond our comprehension. Or maybe a long-dead language of those who worshipped them and spoke in tongues to evoke their powers.

      But I can’t help but think it sounds like “stars’ eyes” or some equivalent given that it’s a vision based power. Or like it’s invoking a god by name: “Ah’rekz Eyes.”

      Then my logic brain reminds me that again, this is supposed to be whispered nonsense. Humans just can’t stop lookin’ for patterns.

      1. Warclam says:

        Now I’m wishing the sound was your whale voice saying “I’m a whale! Look over there!”

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          Thats it!The spell is saying “Whale eyes”

          1. MrGuy says:

            When the whale hits some guy like the stars in your eye that’s Outsider….

      2. silver Harloe says:

        I’m still going with ‘enhanced eyes’. I can’t unhear that anymore.

    2. Grudgeal says:

      I always thought it was “rats’ eyes”, what with rats being a recurring part of the game. And rats being very, errrr, good at seeing in the dark? And through walls? I guess I’m reaching.

    3. Daemian Lucifer says:

      The outsider is actually a fan of blind guardian,and the spell just starts singing bright eyes.

      1. Warclam says:

        Voooid Eeeeyes, blinded by weird colour-coded shapes!

    4. Philadelphus says:

      To me it sounds kinda like “ash dias” in a really strange accent.

      Edit: Or maybe “Han’s dias.”

  30. Christopher says:

    This area has really nice design. I love the part of the coast(lake, rather?) where the water is flooding the grass at certain points. Having lived near a lake for quite a bit of my life, that’s something that happens pretty often and that I never see in games.

  31. Abnaxis says:

    A question to your questions: if you’re a DM, what’s the line where asking and answering all the questions about mana potions in your setting counts as “oversimulation”?

    Alternatively, what’s the line between “how do mana potions work?” and “what do they eat?”

    1. sarachim says:

      Depends on your players, I’d say. Do they care about the answer? Then it’s good to have one, or at least be prepared to think of one on the spot. If they don’t, then it doesn’t matter.

  32. rayen says:

    1.What does it feel like to be out of “mana”?
    I imagine mana power to be another limb. Like if you do a work long leg work out and then are asked to jump you just can’t. Everything else still works but you just can’t summon that strength to lift off the ground. So you could still do the movements to make the spell but you barely come off the ground and it hurts more.
    When you're low on mana: Is it a simple binary thing as depicted in the game where your powers abruptly stop working, or is it more like a growing fatigue?

    What does a mana potion taste like? How does it feel? Milky? Watery? Oily?

    Do you get mana burps after chugging too many potions?

    What does it feel like to talk to the Outsider?
    Like talking to the really old relative who lived in a small town and did nothing interesting their whole life.

    Do you feel anything unusual or special when wearing charms? Are they warm or cold? Do they vibrate? Feel good? Make any sound?
    Put your hand on the side of your desktop computer tower. That what it feels like.

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