Entry #16: In & Out (Thief, 2018) by FrenchDecay, JarlFrank, and marbleman

This writeup contains spoilers if you haven’t finished In & Out.

Designed by FrenchDecay, JarlFrank, and marbleman, this is one fan mission that will knock your socks off. And send them flying, forever, off into the night sky. You’ll never see them again.

It helps to know the context to this mission: the Thief: The Dark Project 20th Anniversary Contest. That is, this one was downloaded and played by Thief fans when they were in the mood for some of that Dark Project vibe. And, wow, does In & Out deliver.

It starts out with the perfect premise: you’re going to rob a Hammerite temple. Think Burglarly in Blackbrook. No sooner had I stepped out into the plaza just in front of the temple then I saw that oh-so-delicious sight: an open window with a wooden beam above it. I was now called, and any other entryway may as well have had an iron gate surrounding it.

In and Out screenshot
Nothing is as inviting as seeing an open window with a wooden beam above it.

Once inside the temple, familiar yet eternally welcome Thief ambiance greeted my ears. These cozy sounds nestled in every corner of the complex, changing at just the right moments. The simple objective of nabbing the Hammer of St. Martello is all you have, but curiosity will drive you to explore every inch of this church.

There are plenty of nice touches. An irate Hammerite spars mercilessly with a training dummy. Tarius, the Schiminov-using idiot, actually runs the place. Another member of the Order snoozes atop a commode. This makes for a great Hammer mission, and I thought, “How nice and quaint!” Then, it changes on you.

So the Hammer of St. Martello has been snatched. Some snooping around reveals that the thieves who grabbed it took off to the sewers. There I went, expecting a brief little foray into a sewer section that would add some extra flair to the heavily Hammer FM. But as I soon as I opened the doorway into the sewers, the mood shifted, and quite literally. Thieves’ Guild ambiance greeted my ears. The flavor became unquestionably Gold, and suddenly I was in a world of metal grating, large levers, and electrical machinery. I was in the Guild!

Well, a facsimilie thereof. The church above ground had captured the essence of a Hammerite mission, and now this area beneath ground captured the essence of Guild. (If you want to phrase it like that.) Here were thief NPCs and one of the best readables to be read (the best one is coming a bit later). There was even a slight dash of Cragscleft in a cavern area outside the thieves’ hideout, home to some spideys.

In and Out screenshot
This is a great readable for three reasons. Can you spot them? Note that its greatness is tied primarily to what it references.

But In & Out isn’t finished yet. No, it’s becoming quite clear that this is no simple in and out job at all, and you delve deeper yet. Within the thieves’ hideout is a hole – the hole – that leads into an ancient crypt. You go from Guild to Bonehoard, and it’s now clear the kind of mission this is going to be. FrenchDecay and co. have made a roller coaster ride of Thief environs.

The Bonehoard section is the best of them. There are several delightful sights and details: one of my favorites was a skeleton buried in a pile of rubble, who had dropped a goblet. One area, tight and mazelike, has a couple booby traps, one that is really not fair at all (I mean, there was a tingly noise, but still). The whole crypt could be its own mission: meticulously designed and seemingly endless (I need to go back in and explore more), you think this is In & Out’s grand finale. The cherry on top must be the readable at the bottom of the gigantic center atrium. Short and sweet, it’s one of the best I’ve ever read (and it goes along with the one I mentioned earlier). But the trio of taffers are not finished. Oh no, there are surprises still.

In and Out screenshot - tight maze area
There’s a great new scene everywhere you look. One of my favorite areas from the crypt section is this tight maze-like area.

I couldn’t believe it when I first saw the entry to a Lost City styled section. I believe the words that escaped my mouth were “Those dirty taffers!” I said it a few times. I now had no idea where this mission could go. The design wasn’t as detailed here as in the prior sections, but it didn’t need to be. The effect was in the existence of such an area itself – that the authors were now taking you on an even crazier train ride through the world of Thief. I ditched ghosting as I trotted through several large rooms, grabbig loot quick as I fled a herd of burricks on my tail. Oddly, these burricks didn’t belch, but bit, and I was going to have none of it. A brief cavern full of crays served as a nod to the first part of Song of the Caverns, then it was into the last bit of madness these crazed taffers had served up. I almost half-expected it, though I thought, surely not! But here it was: the Maw. Garrett was as incredulous as I.

In and Out screenshot
Was…was I really in a Hammer temple a few moments ago?

This large area was filled with woodsie wonder: all the sights and sounds you could want from a post-Eye Thief, and as many beasts. Weaving my way between them all, I frobbed the three rocks to open the portal back to the Hammer church. Of all places, it deposits you back in the lavatory, and I woke up the snoozing occupant. (It was here I decided this FM had won the contest for me.) For one last Dark Project sendoff, the Pagan creatures are now attacking the Hammerites (they had used the portal as well), and you must escape the place while a clear Strange Bedfellows vibe hangs over it. It will also be very convenient for you to return to past areas for more loot, if you need it. Otherwise, at this point, you would have finally satisfied the “Out” portion of the title. What an “In” it was.

And now I, socks clearly knocked off for quite a while and ways now, retired to a little slumber after this crazy ride of a FM.

Thank you for reading!

Read about and download this fan mission here: https://www.ttlg.com/forums/showthread.php?t=149374

Meet me on Twitter; my handle is @benny_the_guard.

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