The Emperor’s New Cheese

Quest. The rat king has accumulated some stolen cheese to feed to his rats. Sylla, looking for ways of food acquisition other than hunting, accidentally found this stache and took an especially big wheel of cheese with her. The rat king is now looking for the thief, while Thonk and Sylla still struggle to decide whether to eat the cheese or bring it back.

The quest overview can be found after the click; the interactive dialogue can be played here.

Important NPCs. These characters are the three main protagonists of this quest.

  • Thonk the Troll. Unwilling to take over his family’s Troll Toll business, Thonk left his home as a very young troll. On his travels, he experienced various ups and downs, which inspired him to become a bard and poet. Most recently, he’s been travelling with a young dwarven woman named Sylla. He likes to keep to himself and study life around him from afar, but Sylla’s (almost) unbreakable optimism makes the guilt he feels about leaving his family somewhat more bearable.
  • Sylla Lähaddr. Sylla, a young dwarf, spent the first couple of decades of her life tending to her parent’s farm. After the farm burnt down, she decided to explore the world in search of adventure, and also a life goal to pursue. Soon, she met a troll named Thonk, whose story sounded quite similar to hers, so they decided to travel together. She is full of energy and sees the best in everyone and everything, until proven otherwise; still, should she find out you hurt any kind of animal, she’ll show you the true meaning of “being beaten to a pulp”.
  • The Ruler of Rodents. Also called the rat king, the ruler of rodents is known as a mysterious being in search of new ways to feed his subjects, a horde of rats. Recently, a lot of cheese has gone missing from inns in the area; many have suspected the rat king to be behind this. However, since no one knows where he/she resides or what he/she looks like, no one can find any proof. He turns out to be a slightly out-of-his-mind human thinking he’s a rat.

Starting the quest. This quest can be encountered in multiple ways; either by talking to various NPCs who will tell the player about cheese vanishing, stumbling upon Thonk and Sylla on their travels, or discovering the Ruler of Rodents in his hole home. If PetPal is available, the player might also meet a rat looking for cheese.

The solution. The player can decide who to side with in this conflict. They can choose to return the cheese to one of the inns, leave it with Thonk and Sylla, take it to the rat king or keep it for themselves. They can also choose to negotiate between the rat king and the two adventurers, lie to one of the parties to give the cheese to another, or tell the whole story (including the location of the rat king’s cave) to one of the people who have had their cheese stolen. Successful negotiation leads to Thonk and Sylla giving back half the cheese to the rat king, or one of the parties working for an inn as pest control in return for food. Highly persuasive players might negotiate a treaty between all three, where the adventurers get to keep the cheese, and the rat kingdom helps out at the inn for food.  Killing the adventures will let the player loot the cheese, while killing the rat king and talking to the adventurers afterwards will make them offer the player half the cheese in return for not doing the same to them, which he can refuse if he or she wishes. The people at the inn will not reward the player with cheese in any way.

This quest was designed as part of an application process to Larian Studios. The task was to develop a quest with an underlying theme of “survival”, including at least three NPCs, and writing a dialogue for this quest. It is set in the world of Rivellon, where the Divinity games take place, and written in the narrative style of Divinity: Original Sin II. 

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