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Headscratchers / Night in the Woods

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  • Forgive me if this was explained and I just missed it, but the scene where our heroes first see the cult is kind of confusing. What exactly were they doing? Yeah, they were somehow killing/torturing one of their members who had failed them, but why? If they were sacrificing him to the Black Goat, why didn't they just throw him into the hole where the Black Goat supposedly lives? Do they do this for everyone they sacrifice?
    • When the gang is in the mines, one of the cultists explains that they weren't sacrificing that guy, they were killing him because he broke the rules and left a severed arm out in public where anyone could see it.
      • Why did he have a severed arm out in public?
      • He left it there carelessly while it was dark and vision was limited, probably.
    • They weren't torturing him, they were hauling him off to murder him. He got his leg somehow wedged in something so they decided, eff it, we're killing him anyway, we don't have to be gentle about getting him unstuck.
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    • So they weren't sacrificing him to Black Goat at all? They just killed him as punishment?
      • Essentially: the guy was going to get sacrificed so he would be "making up for his mistake" but his leg got stuck, and thus the leg torture had to happen outside of the mine. My guess is that if his leg wasn't stuck, the cult would have just stuck a knife in him and dragged him to the hole.
  • I might have just missed this, forgive me, but why WAS there a severed arm on the sidewalk at the beginning of the game? I get that plot-wise it was there for foreshadowing and because the cultist guy was stupid enough to leave it there, but if the cult kills people by throwing them down the hole, shouldn't the arm have been attached to the body still? Like why cut it off? And nowhere near the mine, to boot. It was just laying out on the sidewalk. Did that cultist just feel like some good old fashioned amputations out by the Snack Falcon?
    • Maybe the cultist was trying to kidnap someone, but accidentally killed them during the struggle. A dead body is a lot harder to carry a long ways than a potentially coerce-able person, so the cultist might have cut the body to pieces and tried to take it away a piece at a time, accidentally leaving the arm behind. That or that particular cultist was the kind of person who wanted to chop someone up for their own entertainment, and that's another reason the cultists were angry with him.
  • Why does the robot that Gregg and Mae leave in the woods suddenly start moving on its own? It's creepy, and I don't get it.
    • The car battery started working.
  • How are Halloween and Longest Night (Winter Solstice?) only a few days apart?
    • It's possibly meant to be early-bird preparations for the latter.
  • How many days pass in game? What's the actual timeline of events? This isn't the worst of headscratchers, but it's still confusing because of how much the days can blur into each other when playing.
    • Probably a little longer than is actually shown: Harfest is, according to the flyer, a multi-day event running from October 21 to 24 but only the Halloween night is shown in-game, so I'm going to assume that Halloween is celebrated on October 24 instead of on October 31 in the setting. Also it's hinted that some time passed from when Mae fell into the ravine while being chased by the cultists and crawling her way to Gregg and Angus' apartment, since it's suggested that Mae spent some time in the hospital in a coma, recovered, and was discharged: That's not going to be an overnight thing, even if Mae's later comments claim that only a day passed since then. Including the first night, there's 14 significant days, so using Harfest (Act 2, Day 4, October 24th) as a reference point the first night is, at the latest, October 17. Interestingly, all of Act 2 would take place on the Harfest nights if the game's dates are concurrent; at the third hangout date would have to be the day before Harfest as Bea mentions it. I don't know what's the reasonable amount time it would take for Mae to recover and be discharged from the hospital, but I'd say the whole game takes place over at least 16~17 days or four weeks at the most.
  • Years before, Mae beat a fellow teenager with a baseball bat so severely that he wound up in the hospital. Why wasn't Mae arrested and charged with assault?? A teenager who committed such a brutal crime should have ended up in a juvenile detention facility.
    • It wasn't a malicious attack, but rather a mental breakdown and Mae had to go to therapy. She also was taken out of school for a while because of it.
    • Chances are she would have been found Not Guilty by Reason Of Insanity - and thus she would have been ordered to go into therapy instead of a juvenile detention facility. That said, a bit of Nightmare Fuel: I've seen plenty of kids get away with worse yet they got a slap on the wrist.
    • Still, even if Mae wasn't formally arrested, it's not like anyone in Possum Springs has forgotten about that. One of Mae's neighbors even reminds her that everyone remembers what she did and that "small-town polite" is the only reason many of them are even tolerating her. Also, when Mae's Mom breaks the fact to Mae that they are in debt and are in danger of losing the house, she mentions that a large part of that debt was to cover for "the incident back in middle school". The Borowskis probably ended up having to give up a hefty amount of hush money to settle things with everyone in town without it being taken to court.
  • Did the college Mae go to lack resources on mental health? A counseling center? A hotline? A nearby hospital? Or was her breakdown so great and quiet that it never occurred to her to find help, and her roommate didn't see the warning signs? It's highly probably given Harvard and Yale have forced students to withdraw following hospitalization, but it feels sobering to think that Mae started suffering and the institution she attended did nothing to help her at least get a bachelor's.
    • A few things with this:
      • 1) Symptoms of mental breakdowns or depression can be very subtle. It's not unheard of for friends and family of suicide victims to say it "Came out of nowhere" because they thought they were just naturally glum and sullen and didn't know those were warning signs. If you meet someone who is naturally kind of sullen you tend to think they are always that way and that's their norm.
      • 2) Mae is from a small town - a lot of people from small towns view psychology as worthless voodoo. Yes, she did go into therapy following her meltdown during adolescence but chances are, she and her family did so because they were court-ordered.
      • Note also that Dr. Hank's "therapy" was probably worse than useless. All he did was tell Mae to keep a journal—something of a cure-all to him, apparently—and to repress her anger. Never mind that's horrible advice to begin with even for people with anger disorders, but Mae didn't and doesn't have an anger disorder: she's disassociative. She was treated, poorly, for the condition she didn't have.
      • 3) The mental institutes aren't psychic and usually only get people who were relayed or go in themselves. And it's not always easy to do either.
      • 4) Them having very underfunded or nonexistent mental health resources is, sadly, Truth in Television. It's never specified where Mae went to college, but it sure as hell was not Harvard or Yale.
      • 5) Adults Are Useless.
    • Having some experience with this: university administrations seem to hate mental health services. Even, say, going to an emergency room for a panic attack usually ends up with the student signing a letter saying they're basically not going to have another breakdown on threat of expulsion, and on that basis campus therapy services will be offered. Of course, the therapists and mental health staff hate that right back, since all it does is stress out their patients. Hopefully it's not like that everywhere, but... yeah.
    • There's also the fact that Mae herself may not have wanted to take advantage of any mental health resources her college. Many mentally ill people often refuse treatment because they are either in denial that something is wrong with them or they fear revealing their illness because of the social stigma attached to it.
  • Why does Black Goat require human sacrifice? Assuming that Black Goat exists and is not just a figment of the cultists' imaginations, what would it gain from human sacrifice? If it relishes death and destruction, it has the power to kill plenty of people itself, as evidenced from its ability to trigger floods and snowstorms.
    • It's so they don't get Floods and snowstorms. Didn't they explain that in-game?
      • We know why the cultists are performing human sacrifices. The question is why Black Goat would want or need human sacrifice. How would a powerful eldritch abomination benefit from it?
      • Same reason gods request prayer and sacrifices? I don't know - you can ask that about a lot of other gods and stuff, not just this one.
      • Another possible thought: Since Bea asks the cultists just how many of them are actually poor or suffering in town, only for their leader to dodge the question, it's possible that they don't care whether they actually need to sacrifice people or not. The Black Goat, if it exists, would probably eat anything that falls down its hole. Using actual food could be an option... but sacrificing people allows the cult to "cleanse" Possum Springs of undesirables while believing that they're just in doing so.
  • Why would Black Goat lead its cultists to believe that it resides in a hole? As an eldritch cosmic force, Black Goat isn't limited by space and time.
    • Gods aren't necessarily the most logical beings in any lore. They mainly get around this by claiming they are above human comprehension, as God told Job in the Bible, or Aslan asking the Pevensies to believe in him blindly. The Oracle at Delphi had a temple built over a place that leaked hallucinogenic gases, so there was some safety inspection missed.
    • It might also be that it isn't stuck in the hole as it might just be the hole, or the hole leads to it and that it's not really "stuck" as much as this is the one place it can communicate through. The Black Goat is often referred to as a "Hole" in the universe, so holes in themselves seems to be a different aspects of it.
  • Why has it been so long since Mae's seen her friends? If it's autumn of her sophomore year of college, logically she should have just seen them a month or two ago in the summer, unless she didn't come home. Could so much have really happened in a few months?
    • It could be that Mae started college by registering for the spring semester first; that is pretty normal. Or she might have been taking classes in the summer when her breakdown happened; everyone in Possum Springs that cares about Mae implies that they'd have preferred for her to go and make something of herself, rather than come back for family's sake. She might have also been taking a few classes at a community college and rooming up to save money.
    • Mae hasn't been in Possum Springs in two years. Her character description in the game's kickstarter says that she did three semesters before dropping out, and Mae says so herself in-game, when you're at the top of the old park at the beginning of the game.
  • Couldn't the gang tell the police about the cult trapped in the mine? They're not sure about what to do but as Mae points out, their collapsing the elevator on the cultist that attacked her was self defense. Plus, murdering cultists trapped in a mine. It's morally grey but a few days may be enough to save the survivors and charge them with murder. Can we assume that's what happens after Mae tells her parents everything over breakfast for dinner?
    • The gang think they're deserved to be dead because they killed peoples and their friend, Casey. Also, it would be messy to report this to the police since they'll have to make reports, provide evidence etc. to something they don't want to care about anymore. Plus, rescuing them is giving them a chance to do all those stuffs again.
  • Given that the cultists were all just masked residents of Possum Springs, wouldn't around a dozen or more people all going missing at the same time sooner or later attract a large police investigation? Even in a small, isolated town, the state or even federal authorities wouldn't just brush over that large of a number. The town would practically be under lockdown for several months, even if Mae and her friends keep quiet about it.
    • It probably will. We just never see it since the game ends before anyone has had the time to even notice that the cultists are missing.
  • If you go to the party with Bea, Mae screws it up by letting it slip that Bea isn't a college student. Bea and especially Jackie blame Mae for this, Jackie even calling her an asshole. And Mae appears to agree. Except... Bea never told Mae she was pretending to be a college student. How is that Mae's fault?
    • The way the secret came out was because Mae was being obnoxious and insensitive by antagonising a couple of guys Bea clearly wanted to have a friendly conservation with. Given that Mae's behaviour a) was in itself bad, and b) had bad consequences, none of the three care overmuch about the distinction that b) wasn't strictly speaking a direct result of a).

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