Sometimes a main quest, as good as it might be, gets delayed, moved to the back burner by a side quest. And sometimes a side quest, intriguing as it is, gets sidelined by some personal goal or task. In my case, just about everything in Kingdom Come: Deliverance has been put on hold until I get my damn boots back.
This game stole my boots. Early in the story, I'm told to get some sleep by another character, who also tells me to remove my muddy boots before getting into bed. I happily comply. I don't know how deep the simulation is in KCD yet: for all I know, if I sleep in my boots the bed could legitimately become muddy, and this character might be annoyed with me for not following his instructions. I aim to please, so I take them off.
As it turns out, I'm the annoyed one, because in the morning I awaken to discover that my boots are gone. They're not in my inventory, they're not in small room where I took them off: they've simply vanished. This obedient, uneducated peasant I'm playing is now even more of of a humble nobody because I don't even own a pair of shoes. Events in the game lead me out of the castle before I can find another pair, and every time I look down at my bare feet as I travel, I grow a bit more annoyed. This game stole my boots, and I want them back.
It's not long until I encounter a bandit. I've been considering the idea of attempting to talk my way out of dangerous situations in Kingdom Come rather than fighting: it can be a fun way to play RPGs, and at times more rewarding than simply going for your sword. And while this bandit might be a good candidate to flex my verbal wits upon, I can't help but notice that he, unlike myself, is wearing boots.
Long story short: a moment later he's on the ground, dead, and my plan to talk my way through this game is gone in an instant. That's how my fragile my personal convictions and how my moral code can turn on a dime. He has boots, I want boots, so he dies.
Turns out, though, the bandit doesn't actually have boots but rather "footwraps and soles." Footwraps? That basically sounds like just winding a strip of cloth around your feet and pretending they're shoes. Can you imagine how unsatisfying that would feel to walk in? Constantly unraveling, all lumpy and uneven—and I'm even more annoyed now that I've killed a man for his boots only to find he's wearing dirty ribbons on his feet.
A bit later, after some non boot-related parts of the story unfold, I once again awaken with nothing on my feet. This time it turns out someone has considerately stored my footwraps in a chest for me, but it's yet another reminder that this game seems to have a penchant for making me barefoot against my wishes.
Luckily, a simple quest a little while later provides me with a choice opportunity: while sneaking through a house looking for something, I spot the resident sitting at a table, eating. On his feet: boots. Two boots, which is the precise number of boots I do not have and would like to have. I choke him unconscious, take his boots, leave him with my footwraps, and split. Finally! Now I can get on with Henry's actual story.
Except, no. Kingdom Come isn't done with me yet. The moment I return to town, I hear panicked screams and see villagers running everywhere, yelling that someone has been attacked. I rush over and discover a woman lying dead, face-down in a river. The guards haven't responded, no one is around, and I don't see her attacker. Naturally, a lifetime spent playing games has taught me that when you find a dead body, you take everything it's got. Just when I've hunched over to loot, however, a guard suddenly materializes in the space next to me and accusing me of stealing the dead woman's belongings.
I pay him off so I won't get arrested, but he insists on searching me and recovering any other stolen items I have. I have two: one of them is a boot, and the other is also a boot. Dammit, I'm bootless again. And I don't even have the footwraps, since I considerately left them in the possession of the man I brutally choked unconscious in his own home. No good deed goes unpunished, I guess.
Why not just buy some boots? Never! This game stole my boots, and I'm determined to steal them back. And for the next few hours, that's what I try to do. I sneak around the castle looking to steal someone's boots, but first the game won't let me render Sir Divish unconscious while he's alone praying (lame), and then I miss a ladder, fall through a trap door, and injure both feet. Technically, the game says I've injured both legs, but the icons shown on my screen are of two bare feet, so in addition to looking down at my actual bare feet I get to look at these other two bare feet. Plus I have to bandage them, which is basically like putting on footwraps again! I'm now quite honestly enraged.
Outside, while wandering around on aching feet, I see a baker yelling that he's been robbed, so I chase the thief, sensing an opportunity. It's a long, slow chase, since my sprint meter keeps emptying and I have to slow down to refill it. Luckily, the thief is having the same problem, so a couple of minutes later, deep in the woods, I'm finally able to tackle him. He's poor, poorer than me, and explains that he only stole some bread because he was starving. My dialogue options include telling him that he deserves to die, which seems harsh, so I simply take the stolen bread from him (which, frankly, also seems harsh, but less harsh than killing him). I take the bread, planning to choke him and take his boots (harsh too, but fair). Unfortunately, the moment our dialogue ends, the baker himself arrives, having followed the pursuit all this way. By the time I've returned the bread to the baker and finished talking to him, the thief has vanished.
Oh, well. I just choke the shit out of the baker instead, the moment his back is turned. He has boots, great! His boots, however, are in extremely poor condition, perhaps from the extended run through the woods we just undertook. I leave him unconscious in the middle of the woods (I take the bread back, too), wondering why bad things keep happening to me.
As I'm strolling back to town in my crappy, stolen, damaged boots, I see a guard walking down a path with no one else around. I know it's risky, but I guess I'm still annoyed at having my first pair of stolen boots stolen from me, and so I have little faith or trust in authority at this point. I choke the guard out and dump him behind a wagon in a secluded part of town, and take his boots. I feel whole again. For roughly one second. I swear, I swear there was no one else around but another guard is suddenly inches from me, in my face, accusing me of a crime.
After paying him off and handing over both my new guard boots and the rotten baker boots (and the stolen and re-stolen bread), I leave town entirely, wandering the roads and wilds barefoot in a dark mood, hoping to find some traveling boot salesman so I can choke him out and steal every last boot he's got. While on the road I discover the body of a murdered nun. It's an upsetting scene to come across because she's not wearing boots and finding a corpse with boots on would really help me out right now. Naturally, I still poke around in her belongings, which is the cue for someone to instantly arrive and ask what the hell I'm doing. Even worse, this guy accuses me of murdering her.
This is an interesting situation, being accused of murder by the person who, for all I know, might be the actual murderer. What do you do? Talk your way out of it? Try to solve the murder? Accuse him? Flee? Impatiently hammer through the dialogue options because you've already decided to kill this man for his boots? There are really no wrong answers. That's what makes RPGs so great.
So, yeah, he's dead now too. Was he the killer? Only one person knows for sure, and she's a dead nun. Am I a killer? Only one person knows for sure, and I just killed him. I'm not hanging around to see if anyone else shows up: these boots were made for walkin', and that's just what I'll do.