Let's play Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne

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François
Posts: 1021
Joined: Tue Jan 21, 2014 8:00 am

Re: Let's play Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne

Postby François » Fri Nov 20, 2015 11:33 am

Classic wrote:I'm going to pretend my current lack of avatar is in solidarity with you.


Ha, much appreciated. :D

The goons are caught up today. I'm putting the finishing touches on the next update, and we should be returning to our regularly scheduled programming prooooobably tomorrow. Sorry again for putting you guys on ice for nigh on two weeks! And special props to Mothra and Classic for pushing me towards audience expansion! I would gladly have kept going just for my Brontobros, but man, I'm not gonna lie, this feels like a million bucks. Now it's just a question of living up to the standards I've set. No pressure!

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François
Posts: 1021
Joined: Tue Jan 21, 2014 8:00 am

Re: Let's play Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne

Postby François » Sat Nov 21, 2015 5:21 pm

Image: Intermission, hee-ho!
Image: Wait. What.
*: You heard the man.
Image: But... But!
*: You went directly to jail, didn't pass go, and didn't collect 200 Macca. It's intermission time now. Deal with it.
Image: This delay is the worst thing that's happened to me since my hometown was wadded into a ball and nearly everyone I've ever known, loved or hated was disintegrated. So, uh, well. Not so bad, in the grand scheme of things.
*: Anyway, I'm taking over for today, and I'm dropping the italics momentarily because that'll get obnoxious right quick.

1. Music

The bulk of the tracks in Nocturne were composed by Shoji Meguro, with a few by Kenichi Tsukiya and Toshiko Tasaki. Meguro's been composing for Atlus since 1996's Revelations: Persona, and is still working on the greater series' music today, with his name in the credits of Persona and Devil Summoner games, as well as Trauma Center and Catherine. Nocturne was his fifth soundtrack, following Maken X on the Dreamcast and its PS2 remake. Additionally, a number of themes and melodies are reprised from Tsukasa Masuko's equally spectacular work earlier in the series.

This is easily one of my favorite soundtracks of all time, all mediums. I... Hmm. Everything I was gonna type in this paragraph boils down to "I'M A HUGE GOD-DAMNED FANBOY", so I'll just start putting up links to the tracks we've heard so far and let the music speak for itself if I can't think of anything specific to say. Oh, and there will be stuff I haven't linked to yet, including most battle themes which I've been pretty terrible at mentioning.

Apocalypse
This is the song that plays during the very first cutscene, the train dream featuring Ms. TakaoThe delicate, hopeful melody really helps set up Yuko as a kind, well-intentioned character, giving us a bit of a mood whiplash when we later realize she's conspiring with cultists to destroy the world.

Large Map ~ Real Universe
Well, the Vortex World is real too, in the context of the game. But here "real universe" refers to the segment of the game world that is similar to the world we live in. All in all, it's not a track we get to hear for very long!

Shinjuku Hygienic Hospital
Tense, but still delicate and low-key somehow, a perfect fit for the eerily deserted hospital.

Hikawa
Hikawa himself doesn't look threatening at first glance, but this slow-paced piece immediately gives you the impression that this is a man both powerful and dangerous.

Tokyo Conception
Beautiful in piano, then majestic in organ, then impossibly effing badass on guitar. This piece is a triumph. In-game the first portion can loop on its own, since you control the pace of the "conversation" with Ms. Takao.

Normal battle
This is the most common battle theme, used for fights in dungeon-type areas (like the Shinjuku Hospital or the Great Underpass) that don't have another track associated with them. Amazingly, the vocal parts are actually in English. Or... in Engrish, at any rate. There are no definitive lyrics anywhere I can find, but the version I prefer for this one is...

Your faith is a haunting curse
Please, I'm just a human being
Whatever doesn't impress it unto me
Please make this a pure world


Mystery
This is the track that plays when we're conversing with Dr.Dark in our first involuntary venture in the Labyrinth of Amala. It pops up again here and there, but it's not associated with anyone in particular.

Fierce Battle
This is one for non-boss fixed encounters; for example, the Nekomata fight in the club, the Troll fight behind Nyx's Lounge, or the Succubus guarding the Cube in the backyard of the Nihilo base. A few lines of the lyrics still seem open to interpretation, but it seems more sensical than the other voiced tracks. In fact, the last verse is quoting the biblical book of Revelations!

I am the bug inside you
I have you forever to hold
Survive the fall from grace
Drink of the wine of the wrath of God

One more god rejected!
I am the bug inside you
One more god rejected!
I have you forever to hold
One more god rejected!
Survive the fall from grace
One more god rejected!
Oppose the wrath of God!

Fear!
Fear God and give glory to Him
For the hour of his judgement has come to you
Now!
When the thousand years have expired
Satan will be released
Judgement has come to you


Large Map
Suprisingly laid back, given the game's tone. I still can't help but hum along to the piano every time I hear it, even after all these years.

Shibuya

Recovery Spring

Heretic Mansion

Chiaki
Hey.

Normal Battle ~ Town
This one's for battles in town-type areas, like Shibuya and Ginza. It starts out so dang jazzy! Lyrics seem a bit iffier on this one.

Power in the Reasons that we are all fighting for
You've given up your body and soul and heart
Yes, some of us hasten on like lambs to the slaughter
Get the power to reach the next stage


Ginza
For a long time I didn't realize Nocturne wasn't composed by the same guy who did SMT1 and 2, and this is probably a reason why.

Normal Battle ~ Amala Network
This one is for battles in the Amala Network, natch. It has practically the same bassline as the SMT1 battle theme so for a while I thought it was a bit of a remake of it, but it's also real similar to the Shin Megami Tensei If battle theme.

Jewelry RAG

Ikebukuro

Playing the Fool
Uuuuurgh... So... jaunty!

Boss Battle
More debatable, cryptic lyrics!

We'll sacrifice the son of heaven
Man's greatest glimpse of fire red
Oh how they're lost in their prayers for our greatest god
Let me sleep, please!
I am a man, half human
I am tired, as heart and person weaken

On the name of God!
I will not crack
Can you hear them?
God!
I will not crack
Can you hear them?


Normal Battle ~ Large Map
And another battle theme, this time for all overworld fights. This one's probably my favorite of the lot, but by the tiniest margin.

Maybe you have ought to suffer
You have doomed creation and fate
You lead them all to death
You little demon are caught in our web


Junk Shop

Heretic Mansion ~ Shining Heaven
One of the many Cathedral themes, for full Kagutsuchi.

Manekata
We've heard it only briefly during our arrival in the Manikin hideout.

Boss Appearance
This version of the final section of the Tokyo Conception track plays before pretty much every major boss battle, usually during their pre-fight trash talk session. It is Perfect.

Game Over
To me, every SMT game over screen is equal parts beautiful and terrifying. Shit no I don't want to go there yet, just send me back to all the demons and stuff, I got work to do!

Amala Labyrinth

Battle ~ Amala Labyrinth
And of course, there's a battle theme for the Amala Labyrinth because this game has to have so many battle themes. All the battle themes.

SHOWTIME!!! ~ Dante's Theme
And this is the first of Dante's two themes, which we heard briefly in his one appearance so far (in fact that was a different version of this track, which we'll hear later; thanks to Montegoraon for pointing it out). Yes, Dante gets two themes. Because Dante.

Lord of the Netherworld
Lucifer's theme song, of course. I can't possibly say enough good things about this piece. Melancholic and majestic, sinister and hopeful. Nocturne's OST is one of my favorite soundtracks of all time, and Lord of the Underworld is one of my favorite individual tracks ever. Okay I'm fanboying again; next, quickly.

Oh wait, that's it for now. Whew!

2. Elements and Mitama

Elements and Mitama are two special races that have unique effects when fused with other demons.

Elements are obtained by fusing two demons of the same race together, or by trading them for gems. They're typically not much use in combat, but in the Cathedral of Shadows, they "rank up" or "rank down" whatever demon they are fused with. A rank up fusion turns the demon in the next most powerful demon of the same race; for example, it would turn Fairy Pixie into Fairy High Pixie, or Haunt Preta into Haunt Choronzon. Ranking up the highest level demon of a given race wraps around, resulting in the weakest demon of that race. And I'm sure you can figure out what rank down fusion does. Different races rank up or down with different Elements.

If the protagonist is suffering from a Curse ailment inflicted by his magatama, an Element that would normally rank up a given race will rank it down instead, and vice versa.

Mitama are obtained by fusing two Elements together, or by trading them for combinations of gems, one of which is always a Jade. When fused with a demon, the demon essentially remains the same, except that one of its stats is permanently increased (which stat depends on the specific Mitama), and the Mitama grants a number of its skills as per standard fusion rules. Being able to increase a demon's stats through Mitama fusion is among the reasons you don't want to spend Incense on your allies.

3. Geography

I may never have been to Tokyo, but I've still always found the fact that the overworld map in SMT1 matches up fairly well with real world geography is all kinds of amazing. I can only imagine how that sort of thing would make me feel if I actually lived there and walked these streets every day.

Of course, the Tokyo Conception messed up the landscape something fierce, but I still thought it'd be neat to see how the path we've taken matches up to the real Tokyo, and perhaps give us an idea of the exact size of the Vortex World.

Our trip starts in Yoyogi Park Station, which is almost definitely Yoyogikoen Station, plopped right in the southwestern side of Yoyogi Park proper.

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From there, we go northeast, around the locked-up park, to an area roughly east of Shinjuku Station. There are multiple medical facilities in Shinjuku, none of them matching the twin u-shapes we know and love, but it's not like I expected that den of eschatological cultists to be based on a real place. So we can only estimate a general area for this step.

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And from then, of course, the world crumpled up like a failed exam paper. We made our way west, then south with a pit stop in Yoyogi Park, and back east towards Shibuya and its iconic Hachiko intersection.

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Our next step took us through the plumbing of the universe, vanishing from Shibuya, then reappearing in Ginza. We did take a small detour through Hell, but I can't seem to find that one on Google Maps for some reason, unless we're talking about Hell, Michigan.

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We briefly visited Shiodome, the site of the Assembly of Nihilo...

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...then we were redirected east. At first we followed the highway, then we crossed the Rainbow Bridge towards Tokyo Tower, and went north to Yurakucho Station, where we were forced to turn back and retrace our steps towards the Harumi Warehouse.

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From the Warehouse, we took the Great Underpass towards Ikebukuro, where our hero awaits his trial and judgement at the hands of the Mantra demons.

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So, to summarize...

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Good Lord I hope that made a lick of sense. Eyeballing it quickly, the places we've visited so far seem entirely comprised within a roughly 12km x 12km square. Here's a link to the general area on Google Maps, if you feel like looking around for yourselves; Street View's available pretty much everywhere!

4. Miscellaneous observations

***: Remember the lighting in the scene with Chiaki?

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It's so warm and inviting, perfect for a reunion with a dear friend; a beautiful late afternoon sun... shining through a... through a window... Um.

There are no windows in the Shibuya underground, the sun never sets, and it always shines a sterile, bluish-white light. Our encounter with Chiaki had to happen in a club, because where else would you find yellow spotlights?

***: When I first played the game, I wasn't sure if there was meant to be a difference between magnetite and magatsuhi. Well, it turns out there is! They're in fact pretty much completely different.

In SMT 1 and 2, magnetite was a resource that you spent every step in order to keep your summons, well, summoned. If you ran out of magnetite, your current allies would gradually lose HP and die, and the stronger they were, the more magnetite they needed to consume. You could obtain more magnetite the same way you could obtain money: by killing demons, by finding it in chests, or by extorting it during conversation. In story terms, magnetite is a sort of universal demon nutrient that allows supernatural creatures to exist in the human world. It looks like green goop, and it's extracted from any being that has a physical body, including humans. When demons eat humans, it's not so much because they need protein and glucose and minerals and other mundane nutrients as much as it is because they need magnetite.

That said, there's no such thing as magnetite in Nocturne.
Image: Which is a load of crap, by the way.
Image: What do you care? You never ran out! You had so much freaking magnetite you didn't know what to do with it!
Image: Look, I know magnetite shortage is a touchy subject for you, but we're on the same side, here. Namely, the side that thinks today's kids have it a little too easy.
Image: Yeah, yeah, whatever, you're still a filthy bourgeois douchefuck.
Image: Why does everyone call me that?
Image: So, anyway, what's the skinny here?
*: Kagutsuchi's light is all the nourishment demons need in the Vortex World.
Image: That's it? That's really it? Everyone's solar-powered?
*: Yeah, pretty much.
Image: Bah. Fie! Bah!
Image: What about magatsuhi, then?

Magatsuhi is spiritual energy, generated, as we learned, by strong emotions. It can be seen floating through the air as little globs or pellets, and it can gather into pools as a concentrated red liquid, but unlike magnetite it's not a strictly physical substance, and though it grants power, it's not an essential nutrient that demons would need to consume in order to continue existing. The name "magatsuhi" itself means "spirit of calamity"; it's an integral aspect of the workings of the Vortex World, and in time we'll find out the exact reason it's so sought-after.

***: The number 3 has some importance to the game's plot, as we'll learn before too long. This is represented in a subtle way in the designs for the Cathedral of Shadows and the Terminals.

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If you look closely, you can see that the structures in question cast three shadows (though the Cathedral's third shadow would fall on the camera).

***: The fact that Lucifer's "office" is clearly a theater set has some delightful symbolism to it.

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He's the Prince of Lies. He's hiding something. We know he's hiding something. He knows we know he's hiding something. He's not going to tell us the whole truth, but he's not going to insult our intelligence by pretending he's telling us the whole truth either.

If there's anything genuine in that spectacle, I think it's when Lucifer and the Lady in Black smile their confident, serene, and hopeful smiles.

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The plan is in motion. The time is near.

5. High-resolution pictures

I've taken a bunch of high-resolution screenshots at various points of the game so far. Rather than link them individually, I've uploaded them as an album on imgur for easier navigation. If you have any appreciation for the art style, I highly recommend checking it out! Fair warning: these are the original 1440x1080 PNGs for maximum quality, and they're practically a whole meg each.

6. Magic terminology

The spell names are a bit of a quirk in these series. Or to put it bluntly, at first glance they seem like random syllables glued together. If you're already familiar with spells, remember my first exposé for the SMT1 LP, or just don't care that much, you can safely skip this section. Otherwise, you may be glad to learn that there's a method to the madness. Most of the time, that is.

At the core of each spell name is the name of the element of the spell, describing its basic effect. Nocturne has four main damage elements:
-Agi (fire)
-Bufu (ice)
-Zan (wind or force)
-Zio (lightning)

Additionally, there is the healing effect, named Dia, and you have the exorcism/expel spells and death spells, repectively Hama and Mudo.

When these basic names come with a suffix, they are a stronger version of the spell. This gives us Agilao, Bufula, Zanma, Zionga, Hamaon, and Mudoon. Dia is a special case and comes with Diarama and Diarahan, which can be interpreted as mid-heal and full-heal.

New to Nocturne is another suffix, which is -dyne. It's only used for elemental damage spells, and indicates the very strongest version of that spell. So we have Agidyne, Bufudyne, Zandyne, and Ziodyne.

When the basic names come with a prefix (Ma- or Me-), they are a group-targeting version of the spell. We get Mahama, Mamudo, Maragi, Mabufu, Media, and so on. Spells with these prefixes always attempt to hit every opponent (or ally) once, unlike other abilities that randomly distribute a number of hits among the enemy party (like Tornado or Ice Breath).

A spell with both a suffix and prefix is a stronger, multi-hitting version of the spell. Therefore: Mazanma, Mamudoon, Mediarahan, Mabufudyne, and so on.

There is also another fairly uncommon element: almighty. It's essentially non-elemental. With very few exceptions, nothing resists, absorbs, nullifies, reflects, or is weak to almighty damage. I'm pretty sure it won't even exploit a weakness to magic, but don't quote me on that. All spells inflicting almighty damage hit the entire enemy party once; in order of strength, they're called Megido, Megidola, and Megidolaon. There are a few non-spell skills available that inflict almighty damage as well, but we'll note them as they become relevant.

The buffs and debuffs are little simpler. First you have four attributes:
-Taru (physical attack)
-Raku (phys/magic defense)
-Suku (accuracy/evasion)
-Maka (magic attack)

And then you have a suffix, -nda for debuffs, and -kaja for the buffs. Therefore: Tarunda, Rakukaja, and so on. Interestingly, there are only three debuffs: Tarunda debuffs both physical and magical attack power.

In addition, there are two spells to remove buffs and debuffs. Dekaja removes all -kaja effects from the enemy party, and Dekunda removes all -nda effects from the allied party. This functions even if the buffs and debuffs were not originally caused by -kaja or -nda spells, in the case of Fog Breath, War Cry, Taunt and the like.

One stack of any buff increases the relevant stat by 25%, and one stack of any debuff reduces the relevant stat by 12.5%. All of them stack up to four times, to a maximum of a 100% increase, or 50% decrease.

Well, that should be about all the spells with simple rules. The rest are mostly miscellaneous utility magic and I can stand describing those as we go.

---

*: Aaaaaand that's everything for now.
Image: About time!

User avatar
François
Posts: 1021
Joined: Tue Jan 21, 2014 8:00 am

Re: Let's play Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne

Postby François » Tue Nov 24, 2015 5:38 pm

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Image: ...the hell? Wha... Where...

Isamu!

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I assume protesting will do me about as much good as it did him. At least if there's some sort of court, I might have a chance to talk with someone in charge.

Unless that would be Thor.

I have to believe Isamu's still alive. There's no way even these blockheads would outright kill a prime source of Magatsuhi, right?

Image: A court, huh? What kind of trial do you guys usually hold?
Image: A trial decided by power...
Image: Power?
Image: If you claim to be innocent, then pound your enemy into the ground! When he is just a quivering mass of flesh, you'll be set free.
Image: Huh, it's not what I was expecting, but I can deal with that.
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I can't imagine this kind of court system is so overloaded that they'll let us stew in here for long. Maybe it's just the principle of the thing.

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And there's complimentary treasure in here. It's like a mint on a pillow.

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*: There's precious little to do in here, but we can examine both side walls.

> You can hear a voice from the other side...
Voice: Oh, a newcomer? You were probably thrown in here for a crime that you didn't commit, right?
Image: I might have been technically trespassing.
Voice: But, reason won't work with those Mantra guys! You probably figured that out already. If you want to get out of here, you'll have to impress them with brute strength.

*: And on the other side...

> You can hear a voice from the other side...
Voice: Let me out of here!
Image: Would that I could, brother.
Voice: The Mantra are crazy! I can't fight. Someone, save me!

This isn't even really trial by combat. There's no justice here; clearly the Mantra just want to see people getting stomped into paste.

*: As if on cue...

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*: The gate opens, but the Pyro Jack doesn't even escort us out. The encounter indicator is blue, so at least we're not likely to get jumped before the trial begins.


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Image: I'm innocent! Let me out of here!

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*: There's clearly a chest in that cell, but there's no way to open the gate.

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Image: They've probably never seen a demon like me, so they jumped me to the top of the queue.
Demon prisoner: I don't wanna be locked up in here... I wanna fight! I want the blood of a young man! Blood! I want BLOOD!
Image: I suppose it's a relief at least one person here wants to go through this nonsense.

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Image: Yo, big guy.
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Image: That my way in?
Image: Your entrance is on the other side.
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Image: I'm not saying that it's not what I'm doing. You know anything worth paying for?
Image: WHAT!? I can't believe you!! What the hell are you thinking!? You need to pay up before I spill the beans! C'mon, before anyone comes! Gimme 200 Macca...
Image: Ha, fine. But it better be worth it.
Image
Image: The way we handle disputes is with three battles. If you lose even once, you're dead. You better make sure that you're prepared.
Image: Oh come on, I could have figured that out by myself. Is that really all you got? What kind of two-bit mook are you?
Image: ...What? You want me to tell you more?
Image: Knowledge is power. Even in here I gotta get me some.
Image: Then gimme another 200 Macca.
Image: I recommend you don't push your luck much further than that. Here.
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Image: Now that's better.
Image: First off...
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Image
Image: Nothing!
Image: You're not up to shenanigans, are you?
Image: N-No, I'm not! This guy... That's it! This guy got lost, so I was tellin' him off!
Image: Hmmm... Is that so... Well, alright then...
Image: ............
Image
Image: Nice save, I'm impressed.
Image: I didn't hear him sneak up, since he doesn't have feet.
Image: Don't waste any more time, just give me the goods before he gets back.
Image: ...Alright, let's continue. It was about your opponent, right?
Image: That's right.
Image: Your first opponent is a demon that uses fire. You know what fire's weak against, right?
Image: Yeah I got this.
Image: The next is a lady that attacks with Force. And you know what? She's hot!!
Image: I didn't need to know that, but okay.
Image: Maybe there'll be some electricity between you two!
Image: Ha, gotcha. What about the third opponent?
Image: And lastly... The Mantra's number two.
Image: So, Thor then. Damn, if everyone has to fight him, I don't see a lot of prisoners getting out of here in one piece.
Image: His lightning packs quite a punch! So, look out! Bad news about that guy is that he has no weaknesses.
Image: Yeah, we'll see about that once I'm done with him.
Image: ............ ...That's all the info I have.
Image: If you've been telling the truth, it was money well spent.
Image: Hurry up and get ready. The door's over there. ...Hope he doesn't suspect me.

Image

*: The correct way out is indeed at the other end of the corridor. Before we go, I ingest Shiranui to protect against fire, and reform my party. Chatterskull absorbs fire, so that's a no-brainer. I want Momunofu to stay in the party and gain experience, so he's in for this one as well. I also bring Forneus along for his Dia.

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Image: I call upon the defendant, ZedPower. Please come to the arena.

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Image: On top of that, demons saw you in the Great Underpass. You may be a Nihilo spy...

Gah, I should have known that would look bad. Can't believe I didn't think of it.

Image: I further charge you with being a little sneak. Ikebukuro is the territory of the Mantra! Even if you are a newcomer, it is crime enough that you've shown us such flagrant disrespect!
Image: Oh, shut up, you windbag. I know I'm here to kick ass, so get on with it!

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Image: CAPITAL PUNISHMENT! THERE IS NO OTHER CHOICE. THINK OF HOW YOU WANT TO DIE. I'LL GIVE YOU TIME.
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Image: I don't know how many assholes you have, but you'll have one more when I'm done with you.

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*: Analyze fails right off the bat, so paying that Oni was worth it. On the first round, Chatterskull's Stun Gaze gets Voided, so it's probably immune to Nerve. Fortunately, Orthrus uses Fire Breath to little effect. This is gonna be a cake walk. I don't even bother using any more skills, we just keep going with basic attacks.

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Image: Bring it!

*: It nails Forneus with Agilao for near half its HP, but I'm not too worried. Forneus can heal single targets without problems and all my dudes that can take any fire damage will survive one Agilao at least.

One turn later, Orthrus uses Maragion instead, which is beginning to be marginally more worrying, so I get Momunofu to use Focus and Lunge just so I don't put him and Forneus at risk more than I have to.

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*: And he's dead.

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Image: Your sentence is death... Ahh... I want to cut you up right now! But, I'll give you some time. Make it fun for me.
Image: Much obliged, miss. I promise it'll be a fight you'll remember for the rest of your life.

*: We're again asked if we're ready, so I take this opportunity to reform the party. Other than Zed being equipped with Hifumi, we don't really interact with force damage in terms of weaknesses or resistances. However, Unicorn and Gui Xian both know Zio, so they're in. I'd like to keep Momunofu again, but he's weak to ailments and I expect Yaksini will know Sexy Gaze or Marin Karin or something, so it's probably not the best idea; I replace him with Bicorn for his ailment resistance. We should be good to go.

Image: Is it okay, now?
Image: Absolutely. Let's dance.

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*: Zed opens with Focus, and Unicorn's Zio shocks Yaksini on the first try. Yeah, this is looking good already. Everyone uses up their free crits for the rest of the turn; Zed's Focus-enhanced basic attack does 256 damage. Then Yaksini uses Mazan, which isn't threatening. Next turn's pretty much a repeat, except Gui Xian's Zio does the Shocking this time, and Zed's Focus attack crits for 280.

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Image: Is this the power of the Mantra? Is this the strength you boast of? How DISAPPOINTING!

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*: The floor is shaking pretty hardcore. There can't be a third battle very often, I don't know how much of this the building can take.

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Image: I am ZedPower.
Image: I commend your ability to fight.
Image: I commend your ability to club unarmed teenagers in the back.
Image: But... Will your power work against me?
Image: Worked against everything else so far.
Image: My hammer shall be the judge. I will give you time to prepare.

*: Once more we're asked if we're ready, so I take the time out. I expect Thor will use some sort of lightning attack; unfortunately that's when I realize that Unicorn, Gui Xian, Bicorn and Forneus are all weak to electricity. This leaves us with Momunofu, Blob, and Chatterskull. I do also expect that Thor will pack some physical damage as well, which Zed (thanks to Kamudo), Momunofu and Blob all resist, so this shouldn't go too badly. It doesn't leave us with a lot of healing power beyond Zed's Dia, but I can still use items, and worse comes to worse I can probably risk getting Unicorn in to use Media.



*: Thor packs a punch, but like his SMT1 incarnation, he has high Strength and low Magic, so as long as you're not outright weak to electricity, his Zio spells aren't too scary on their own. He does get a few crits on Shocked allies but that doesn't get a chance to turn the tide before we can debuff him into irrelevance. He can Dekunda himself, but the one time he bothers to do it is too little too late.

Still, going in this battle without as much physical resistance as we had could get pretty disastrous pretty early.


Image: Had enough already? I thought this was a fight to the death!
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Image: You have done well.
Image: You mean I kicked your ass into next week.
Image: It seems you have something other demons do not. ...This is for keeping me interested.
> You obtained the Magatama Narukami.
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Image: Our leader, Gozu-Tennoh, aims to build a utopia where only the strong may live. Gozu-Tennoh is at the top of this building. Your power may change the world. Remember that.
Image: I will.
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Image: Huh!? Innocent? ...O-Okay!!
Image: Not used to prisoners getting out of here in one piece, are you?
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Image: By the order of Thor... No, out of respect for your power, ZedPower... I hereby declare you innocent!
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*: This marks a turning point in our journey. Until now, we had been an unusual nobody, barely a curiosity. But today, we've defeated the second in command of the Mantra demons, and everybody knows it.

Kishin Thor
Thor is, of course, the famous Norse god of thunder, but as a major figure in the Germanic pantheon he is also associated with, among other things, martial power, storms, oak trees, protection and fertility. He's fun-loving and quick to anger, but the worlds of gods and men rely on his strength and his enchanted hammer Mjölnir him to defend them, and by and large he's a brave and steadfast warrior and defender.

Image: When he isn't a nuke-happy son of a bitch, that is.
Right. In SMT1, he... kinda dropped atomic bombs on Tokyo on God's orders and ushered in the nuclear apocalypse. Curiously he was of the Majin/Deity race back then, and has been demoted to Kishin since.

Kishin are mighty war gods. In Nocturne most of them are from Asian mythologies, with Thor being the one exception.


Music: Playing the fool

Image
Image: You lucked out, fool. I can't believe Thor approved your release...
Image: You... didn't actually watch the bouts, did you?
Image: Now, get lost!
Image
Image
Image: Thor says that you've proved your strength. You're free to enter our headquarters anytime.
Image: Of course I can. Who the hell would stop me?
Image: That really pisses me off!
Image

I immediately sit on the floor.

Image: Holy shit guys. Holy shit. We're alive. That was the god of thunder. Holy shit.
Image: We kick ass!!
Image: NYEH HEH HEH HEH HEH HEH!
Image: That was a hell of a battle. If I had known you were gonna pick a fight with Thor, I woulda joined up for free!
Image: I never really had a shot that day back then, did I?
Image: Wait. Are you telling me you're okay with what just happened?
Image: Son, when you get to be my age, any fight you can walk away from is the best kind of fight.
Image: Talk for yerself, old timer! I live for the thrill of...
Image: The thrill of getting your head bashed in by a magic hammer? Why I oughta...
Image: nO aRGuinG! yoU TEaR fAMilY ApaRt!
Image: Everyone's well now. It's all that matters.
Image: Now get your butt off the floor before anyone notices. Your street cred is my street cred now, you dig?
Image: Right. Right! I just... I just had a moment. Well fought, everyone. Let's go!

Image

*: Narukami is an electric-aligned Magatama with purely offensive stats, which would teach us Shock, a multi-hitting electric skill. I do re-equip Kamudo for now, though. If the Thor fight taught us anything, it's that Zed's Dia is a waste of time with his low Magic stat, so I'll be replacing it before long. He's pretty much better off using Medicine instead.

Our first stop is the Fountain, of course. It costs us about a thousand total, but no one died so it's still less expensive than the Matador fight was. We did use up a couple Beads, but again, that's not as bad as the bunch of Chakra Drops we had to spend back then.

In any case, we have nowhere to go but back to the Mantra HQ. However, when we get back to the central hall...


Image

Image

Huh, another one then. That's worth investigating.

Image
Image: Huh?
Image: It was a foreigner.

A foreigner carrying a weapon? It couldn't be...

Image: A man in red was looking around here for someone.
Image: Dante!Image
Image: He was looking for a demon named ZedPower.
Image: Wow, I don't know what to think of that.
Image: ...Do you know anything?
Image: Not a clue, my good man.

Well, there's no foreigner in red here that I can see. I got more pressing business anyway.

But... the candelabrum...

Eh, it's probably nothing.



*: The battle with Dante has two phases. At first, he's getting you used to dealing with Rebellion and Ebony & Ivory; the former hits one target, is undodgeable, and has very high critical chance, while the latter hits one target four times but has otherwise nothing very remarkable about it. His damage output is fairly high, but manageable even if you don't have any allies with physical resistance. Unlike Thor, he's not shy about using Holy Star to remove debuffs if he has any on him at the start of his turn, and you can actually use this to your advantage. He has two icons to play with, but if he's spending one to remove a debuff, then he's not using it to attack you. Considering Rebellion's crit rate, manipulating him into using Holy Star usually means you take two attacks instead of four.

It's worth noting that a viable strategy, should we have been in control of Dante, would have been to only use Holy Star if we had a half-icon in the queue from critting with Rebellion first.

Once Dante takes enough damage, he switches to his second phase, where he starts using Bullet Time and Provoke. Bullet Time hits all opponents with undodgeable physical damage and a chance to inflict Panic. Provoke is essentially Taunt, but it also recovers a butt-load of Dante's MP. At this point, not having physical resistance is a nightmare, and even a tanky demon like Gui Xian is in very real danger of being one- or two-shotted by Rebellion. Fortunately, our two main damage dealers, Momunofu and Zed, were both resistant to physical damage. We really saw Focus shine in this fight. Interestingly, a Counter attack will use up the Focus buff, which is why we saw that one counter deal like 420 damage (which also resulted from Provoke's offense buff).

In any case, that was a close one. Zed got Panicked towards the end there, making him essentially unable to replace fallen minions or cure himself, so if Momunofu hadn't put an end to the battle when he did, we would really have been up the creek. To be honest, this is certainly one fight I didn't expect to win on the first try.


Image

Image
Image: I may take the coffin someday, but you can keep the dumpster for yourself.
Image: Not bad.
Image: That was a fun one. You almost made me break a sweat!
Image: You look like a demon... but you don't seem like one.
Image: It's a long story.
Image
Image: I'm a demon slayer.
Image: A colleague, then.
Image: This old guy asked me to hunt down guys like you, but...
Image: ...what.
Image
Image: I need to find out what that guy really has in mind. Depending on how things turn out, maybe we'll meet again. Until then, try and keep yourself alive. ...Who knows? Maybe I'll have another chance to kill you.
Image: Ha, you're welcome to try. I'm looking forward to it!
Image
Image

As soon as he's out of sight, I fall to my knees.

Image: Holy crap.
Image: No, no, no, none of this again. We won. Get up.
Image: I guess we did.
Image: We beat him. He yielded.
Image: That was a hell of a price to pay.
Image: This is battle. There's no such thing as a perfect commander who never loses a man.
Image: We've all been at this for a long time. We've all fallen more times than we can remember, not always to worthy opponents, and rarely for leaders who would pay dearly to see us returned to them.
Image: You're right. I understand. I... I won't let this happen again.
Image: You will lose others.
Image: But I'll stay on my feet.

Fiend Dante
Dante's a half-human, half-demon swordsgunsman, and is first among the holy trinity of patron deities of stylish combo-based slash'em-ups, along with St. Cereza, who presides over quad-wielding, and Our Metal Father Raiden, lord of cutting everything into tiny bits.


*: So that's another trip to the fountain. It costs us 1200 just to bring back the dead, and another 1000 to recover fully.

Alright then, Mantra HQ, third attempt. We'll get in there sooner or later!

Image
Image: Living and dying must be hard, too...
Image: Nobody's having an easy time of it, buddy. It just sucks more for some than for others.

Image
Image: Huh, am I? I hadn't noticed.
Image: Oh please, we've all seen the lightsaber, we know you think you're hot stuff.
Image: Do I detect a hint of jealousy?
Image: Of course not! Cutting suckers apart with a blade of raw energy is so 1977.
Image: Jealous, and a hipster too. Nice!

Image

Image

At last, no one is trying to stop us this time.

Image

*: It's still Mantra central though, so random encounters are turned back on.

Image
Image: Still going to see your boss. We could all have avoided a lot of hassle if you had let me in in the first place.

Of course I'm also looking for info about Isamu, but they don't need to know that.

Image

Image

Image: You seem to know your way around a fight. And you've seen what I can do. Wanna come along?
Image: You want me to join you? ............
> Taraka is still wary of you.
*: She requests about 700 Macca.
Image
> Taraka is hesitant.
Image: This is not enough. Give me 1 Life Stone, okay?
Image: Don't spend it all in one place.
Image: Sorry... but I don't feel comfortable putting my life in your hands. This should be enough to make do with.
> You recovered HP.
Image: If I wanted healing, I'd go to the Fountain. You're just wasting my time.
Image: Then, I guess I'll be going.
> Taraka left.

Lv20 Femme Taraka
In Hindu mythology, Taraka was a member of a race of demonic cannibal ogres, living in a forest between the Ganges and Sarayu rivers. She was a brigand and pillager, ravaging the countryside and assaulting travelers. One day the heroes Ramachandra and Lakshmana cut off her arms, nose and ears because they didn't want to kill a woman, but she used sorcery to throw rocks at them, so Ramachandra shot her dead with an arrow, and that was the end of that. Shibaboo has a high chance of afflicting a single target with Bind, a Nerve-type ailment that prevents all action.


*: We also start running into pairs of Oni as random encounters. As special one-shot fights they weren't too threatening, but as normal battles they start taking a hell of a toll over time.

Image
Image: Me no care about weaklings. Orthrus and Yaksini lost. They weak. Me no care for them!
Image: Pfft, I bet I could take you, now that you don't have your buddies backing you up.

*: A cube in that rooms contains a Mamudo Rock. After a fight with a couple Nekomata, Zed levels up and learns Mind's Eye from Kamudo, a skill that reduces the rate of back attacks. They're fairly uncommon to begin with so far, and I don't see myself keeping it for long, but it'll serve us better than Dia right now.

Image

Hmm, another exit.

Image
Image: You're not getting past this Great Gate.
Image: We'll see about that, once I talk to your boss.
Image: The Mantra's most important facility is beyond this gate.
Image: Yeah. We can't let you get to Kabukicho.

Image

*: They have a small terminal here, linked to the large Ikebukuro terminal.

Image
Image: It's not a habit of his, I presume. Yeah, it's me.
Image: ...Then, go see Gozu-Tennoh. He's probably waiting for you on the top floor.

Image
Image: Are you guys telling stories about me already? I can't say I ever dreamed about being a champion gladiator, but it does feel pretty cool.
Image: You used physical attacks, huh?
Image: That's a fancy way to say I punched a buncha dudes.
Image: I mean, you can deal major damage if you get a critical hit. Well... if your attack hits, that is.
Image: I beat Thor. I know about critical hits.

*: We finally recruit a Taraka, for about a thousand Macca, a Revival Bead, and a Life Stone.

Image

Image

Image
Image: Is there?
Image: Humans are a great source of Magatsuhi, but it's hard not to kill such a weakling. ...Check him out sometime.

As much as I want to see this Gozu-Tennoh, Isamu comes first for now. To the basement it is.

Image

Uh. Hmm. How does this even...? First button on the left, I guess.

Image

Image

Image
Image: Don't do anything funny! Gots that? Don't do anything funny!
Image: Oh please. You know what I think of your jail by now.

Image

Image

Lv19 Fairy Pyro Jack
The details vary, but by and large, it is said that Jack was a clever chap who somehow tricked the Devil, and either as reward or punishment (depending on the story) is never to be allowed into Hell. He was also lazy and greedy, and was therefore denied entry into Heaven. So he wanders the Earth, forever undying, holding his own soul in a lantern, or possibly a carved pumpkin, or a turnip, or maybe even his own hollowed-out head depending on whether the Devil took it to hell or not. Let's just say there's lots of variation to the tale. Game-wise he's Jack Frost, but with fire!


*: These Pyro Jacks are enough of a pain in the butt that I ingest Shiranui in order to void fire damage. They come in in groups of up to five, so that's a lot of Agi and Maragi to facetank. I'd hire one just to get them out of my hair, but we're fresh out of slots.

Image

Image
Image: I was caught again...
Image: Well, if you escaped once, you can do it again.

Image
Image: Not really, no.
Image: Really?
Image: Yeah, really.

Image
Image: Isamu! Cripes I'm glad to see you alive. What were you thinking?
Image
Image: Francois! So you're here... ugh...!
Image: You're in terrible shape. Don't try to move.
Image: ...Damn those demons. How long do they plan to keep me locked up?
Image: Dude, if they give you a chance to pass a trial, don't take it. Even if you weren't hurt, I don't think you have a shot. I'll... I'll figure something out.
Image: I heard the news. You won the trial by combat, huh?
Image: Surprised the hell out of me too.
Image: I've managed to stay alive, too... Well, sorta. I don't think they'll kill me just yet.
Image: Yeah, you're still valuable to them. These Mantra guys are assholes, but some of them aren't idiots.
Image: I'm gonna find a way out, but I need some more time. My back's still store, so...
Image: You hit that brasier pretty hard. Hell, I thought you were a goner. You're tougher than I ever gave you credit for. What were you trying to say, back then? Something about Ms. Takao?
Image
Image: Good man! What was it?
Image: You know Nihilo has that Maiden, right? That's Ms. Takao.
Image: Good... um... good detective work there, buddy. That's important info for sure. I'll have to find some way to break in there.
Image: There's no time to lose! The Mantra are about to launch a full-scale attack on Nihilo! If she's caught... She'll be killed!
Image: She sounded pretty valuable herself, but... Yeah, those Oni don't mess around.
Image: Francois! You gotta save her!
Image: Working on it. I really am.
Image: You can do it with your powers, right?!
Image: Yeah. You can count on that.
Image: I can't do anything... Please, Francois!
Image: Don't worry about it. Just take care of yourself for now. I'll do all I can, and as soon as I find a way to get you out of here as well, I'll be back for you. Leave it to me. I promise I won't let you down.

Well, at least he's safe for now. In fact he's probably safer in here than out there. I hope he can keep his head down until I can get him out.

Image
Image: I'll tell ya somethin' good! The Mantra keeps something real valuable behind the door in the back.

Image

Hmm, this must be the door in question.

Image
> You are not strong enough to open it.

*: I'm pretty sure that door straight up has a Strength requirement. Well, that's where we're investing, so we'll get it open sooner or later.

Image
Image: They drain the Magatsuhi out of you at the prison. It's bad. It's torture.
Image: Oh hell, I hope they don't send Isamu there.

Image
Image: The Mantra can't appreciate true beauty!

Image
Image: I-I'll shoot!
Image: Eh what?

He's bluffing. I'm more surprised he has any idea what a gun is. Maybe Dante dropped by while he was here.

Image
Image: A demon just won his case, and was set free. I hear he was young, but I'm sure he's a freak.
Image: Well, he's freaky-looking, in any case.

Image

*: A stairway back to the ground floor. That's odd, I didn't find a way down from there.

Image

Oh, it wasn't hidden or anything, it was just a passage in the elevator room I had overlooked. The designs on the walls of this place must have tricked my eye. We've taken a bit of a beating, so I use the small terminal to go heal at the fountain and register my squad at the Cathedral. In fact, seeing my options, I decide to pop Riberama and waste some time waiting for full K.

...and then my plans are dashed when I see that Blob is 3000 experience away from learning Mana Drain. And I really want Mana Drain. Hmm, let's see if I have other options to free up a slot in the meantime.

Alright, I do. So.

Wilder Bicorn + Fallen Forneus =

Image

Image

Lv25 Night Incubus
In Christian folklore, an Incubus is a male demon who seduces women and has sex with them to steal their souls. Most notably, according to some traditions, Merlin's father (of Arthurian fame) was an Incubus.


*: At this point I want Blob, Taraka and Unicorn to gain a level, so I reluctantly bench Momunofu for now. Returning to the elevator in the HQ, we go to the second floor this time. Zed gains a level and learns Shock, so I replace Mind's Eye with it. Unfortunately, Narukami inflicts him with Stun, so I use a Dis-Stun to get rid of it.

Image

*: There's some sort of arena here, but this isn't the floor where we were imprisoned and tried.

Image
Image: Me want... Me want eat... More losers...

Image
Image: And, I clean up after them...

Man, Manikins are lower on the totem pole than Pretas.

Image
Image: This is what it must feel like to be a celebrity.
Image: I've become your fan.
Image: Oh. Err... good. Thank... thank you. I'm.... your fan too.
Image: ...smooth.
Image: I'm not trying to do what you think I'm trying to do.
Image: Dibs on the groupies, then!
Image: It's open season on the ones trying to kill me, at least.
Image: I hear ya, boss! I'm goin' in hard!
Image: Just... do me a favor and, like, don't ever, like, talk, alright?
Image: Eh, I'm not the "promises" type.
Image: Starting now.

*: There's a staircase down to the ground floor which I had also missed the first time around, and more stairs up to the third floor, which I take instead of the elevator. Man I hope I'm not missing other rooms.

We run into one loose Orthrus, but he refuses to join us because he won't associate with "weaklings". I have to assume Zed's level isn't high enough.


Image

*: Ah, so this was the site of our victory. Oni are becoming even more common, but they're weak to Taraka's Shibabu so they're considerably easier to fight.

Image
Image: Gozu-Tennoh is on the top floor. You can use the elevator just past the fighting arena to meet him.

Image

*: This room is right above the other "arena" below, which... isn't an arena after all, it's just where they throw the losers' bodies down. We go investigate our old cellmates before we leave.

Image
Image: ...Even if I win, I'll be sent to Kabukicho...

Image
Image: Oh crap! They caught you, huh?
Image: They found out about me leaking info to you, and tossed me in here.
Image: I'd be feeling more sorry about that if you hadn't charged me.
Image: Hey, can you tell me who's my opponent?
Image: Got any cash on you?
Image: ...
Image: Yeah, didn't think so.

Image
Image: Yeah, it was pretty easy. You have nothing to worry about.
Demon prisoner: It's good being young. I want the blood of a young man! Blood! I want BLOOD!

Image

Ah, this must be the one.

Image

*: We gotta stand there while the floors slowly tick up. The Mantra aren't much for elevator music.

Image

Our first battle up here is against a pair of Badb Catha, and the second one joins up in exchange for its life.


Image

> It's really high...
Image: What a view, though.
> Will you jump off?
Image: How about no? Dante's a nutcase.

Image

*: 3000 Macca in that cube, not bad.

Image

If this is not where the big cheese lives, I'm gonna have to sprout wings and fly. Well, I didn't know I could sprout a lightsaber, so who's to say?



*: So, a question has come to us at last, and therefore to you. What is our answer? Do we accept the great Gozu-Tennoh's generous offer? Do we reject him and everything he stands for? Or do we try his patience and request more time?

If you've played the game before, or otherwise know the future, I can't tell you what to do, but I would suggest something. Don't think about endings, alignment points, Reason flags, or any other game mechanic. Be in that room as you are, having seen what you have seen, having heard what you have heard, believing what you believe, and speak what is in your mind.

Kagutsuchi is watching.

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Classic
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Re: Let's play Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne

Postby Classic » Wed Nov 25, 2015 6:07 pm

SERVICE DISAGREES WITH OUR QUEST FOR ULTIMATE STRENGTH

Also who does this would-be king of heaven think they are? Such a paltry gift. An old guy in a wheelchair could do that for a mere mortal with way less pomp and circumstance.

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Healy
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Re: Let's play Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne

Postby Healy » Wed Nov 25, 2015 10:50 pm

Gonna go with the non-committal option here.
Image

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François
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Re: Let's play Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne

Postby François » Thu Nov 26, 2015 9:25 am

Aight, the question is settled; putting both voting pools together, it's basically a landslide, heh. I'll be firing up the game momentarily!

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François
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Re: Let's play Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne

Postby François » Sat Nov 28, 2015 9:52 am

I'm not gonna lie. I'm tempted. Someone to point me in a direction, any direction, and let me plow straight ahead without having to think too hard about it. Someone to reward me for doing what I've been doing all along.

Chiaki, I feel sick to my stomach too. I hope you're safe, wherever you are.

Image: I accept your gift, as reparations for wasting my time and risking my allies' lives in your sham of a tribunal. But I will not answer to the likes of you.
Image

He's taking it better than I expected.

Image: Not enough Magatsuhi to sate your thirst? You are quite a greedy one.
Image: I don't think there's enough Magatsuhi in the world for me to...
Image: Insatiable greed is a demon's virtue, however. I am sure you will grow stronger without my guidance.
Image: That's a given.
Image: ...But, do not dare to oppose me. If you do... You can imagine the consequences.
Image: I... I'll consider myself warned.
Image
Image: They are threatening us with their plot to bring the world to a halt. We can no longer overlook their madness. I have made the decision. We, the Mantra, will wage war on Nihilo, and obliterate them! I have already ordered my soldiers to attack their headquarters in Ginza. If you call yourself a demon, make haste and go to Ginza. Crush those who pose a threat to the world!
Image: Our goals align for now, at least.

Well, not exactly, but if I can just sneak into the Assembly during the confusion...

Image: I am Gozu-Tennoh, the one who will rule the kingdom of chaos...

Image

I wish I could have asked him about Isamu, but seeing how gracious he was with me refusing his offer, it was probably best not to push my luck. I'll find some other way.

*: It's tricky to find clear information on Gozu-Tennoh ("Ox-Headed King of Heaven"), but from what I figure, he used to be a minor, local Hindu deity, and eventually found his way to Shinto as a sort of god of disease, first as spreader of pestilence, and later on is said to protect people from illness, as long as the appropriate offerings are given. For a time he was associated with Susano-o, the god of storms, but apparently there was some pressure from mainstream Shinto traditions to separate major Japanese deities from foreign gods, and Gozu-Tennoh worship fell to the wayside.

In any case, we're going back to Ginza. I'd use the Terminal, but if the Mantra have to go on foot, it means they have to go through the Underpass. I'm worried about the Manikins...

Anyway, first things first, let's get out of here.

*: Oh, while I think of it, I forgot a couple things last time.

Beast Orthrus
Orthrus is Kerberos' underachieving two-headed brother, most notable for getting punked by Hercules, who was attempting to rustle his master Geryon's red cattle in order to accomplish his tenth labor.


Femme Yaksini
Yaksini are the beautiful female attendants of Kubera, the Hindu god of wealth. They are specifically described as shapely and busty, probably to make them appear as treasures themselves. They're generally considered to be peaceful and kind, but according to some traditions they're actually dangerous seducers who kill men and drink their blood.


Image

*: We can actually jump down from here and survive, if we want a shortcut to the front of the building. However, it would reduce every member of our active party to 1 HP. You can unsummon all your allies and only have to heal up the main character, so it's not as bad as it seems. That said, for now we're going back down the sane way, even if only to get more combat experience.

Image
Image: You're going, right? Everyone already left.
Image: Yeah, I'm on my way. This'd go a lot quicker if your elevator went all the way to the ground floor, you know.

Image
Image: There won't be any trials for a while.

Image
Image: Me... hungry...

*: Zed levels up and learns Taunt. As we've seen, it's a double-edge sword. Some people swear by it, but it's quite a bit too risky for my tastes. However, we have both Ice Breath and Shock on our list right now, and that's one magic-based skill too many, so I take Taunt for now and replace Ice Breath. (Why do I keep Shock instead of Ice Breath? Well, they're both equivalent in power, and where Ice Breath can freeze, Shock can, well, shock. In the end I keep Shock because I think it looks cooler.)

In the same battle, Blob learns Mana Drain at last, which steal MP from an enemy. Unicorn also levels up, learning Life Refill, which gradually regenerates HP as we walk.


Image
Image: I choose to take that as a compliment.
Image: Magnificent. Simply magnificent.
Image: Oh! Well, thank you.
Image: I present this to you as a sign of my fealty.
> ...You received Dis-Stun!
Image: Gee, look at the big spender.

Image
Image: It's the Mantra rapture!

*: As we leave the Mantra HQ, I notice a new spirit in the main hall.

Image
Image: Is he preparing a late service for all the Manikins?

*: I go heal up and save, but we'll investigate this monk before we leave.

Image
Image: First that conceited jerk, and now an eerie Fiend! What's going on!? Something's up!
Image: A Fiend, eh? Well, Dante was probably the conceited jerk, so it must be someone else.
Image: How can you talk about Dante this way?
Image: He stabbed all my friends, remember?
Image: ...oh.

Image
Image: But, there's still a strong demon in the east wing. Was there a demon this strong in our army...? If you have some time, check and see who it is.

Image

*: As we cross to the other side of the storage area in the east hall...

Image
> The flames of the Candelabrum of Sovereignty are flickering wildly...



*: Huh, that coulda gone a lot worse. Daisoujou can be a wimp or an unrepentant asshole of a brick wall; you can stack the odds in your favor somewhat, but there's a lot of potential RNG fuckery going on.

That said, Meditation, Daisoujou's most common attack, introduces an interesting wrinkle in the battle: he's going to steal your MP, so you better spend it before he does. Fortunately, the HP drain portion of the attack is nothing to write home about, and practically any offensive action any of your teammates take will more than compensate for the healing he gets from it.

Daisoujou doesn't know Dekaja or Dekunda, so it's not a bad idea to unload debuffs on him in the first part of the fight, so they're still on him when he gets serious. Because when he does get serious, you want to kill him as fast as possible, a task that is made rather difficult considering he resists both physical and magical damage, voids Nerve ailments, absorbs Curse and Mind ailments, and reflects Expel and Death effects. I'm actually glad I happened to have Taunt available for this fight, because the Rakunda effect is a big help, and Daisoujou's numerical damage output isn't that scary, even with the big offense buff.

The skills he adds to his arsenal in the second phase of the fight are Mahamaon, Mamudoon, Preach, and Startle. Mahamaon and Mamudoon are the biggest potential problems: resisting one usually makes you vulnerable to the other, and one moment's bad luck is all it takes to end you. Even if you get lucky, Preach can randomly charm, panic or sleep all your dudes, which is only marginally less bad than outright death.

Additionally, this is the first appearance of a very nasty type of special move that a number of bosses have. Startle turns a full turn icon into three half-icons, no questions asked. Not only is it a colossal pain in the butt, but you can never have any of that type of skill on any of your allies.

Now it's possible to have Tetraja Stones at this point. I think you can even trade for them at Rag's. A Tetraja Stone is a one-shot item that makes every member of your team immune to Death or Expel once. You could use some to even the odds in this fight, but considering Daisoujou isn't too far from a save point and Tetraja Stones are fairly hard to come by, it might not be the most efficient use of resources.


Fiend Daisoujou
Daisoujou (meaning "high priest") is based on a type of Buddhist mummy. A monk would fast for three years, almost to the point of starvation, and he'd then be buried alive in a tiny tomb with just barely enough ventilation to breathe. He'd be given a small bell, which he'd ring every day until he died, at which point the tomb would be sealed up. Today we might think of this as a very slow form of suicide, but it was actually seen as a way to abandon earthly desires and die in a state of spiritual purity (according to Buddhist precepts of course).


*: Do note that he calls us "Demi-Fiend" before the battle starts; we've heard those words before, but it's the first time they're specifically referring to us.

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Image: I'm still wondering who the hell he was.

*: We should have gained enough experience to go through with the fusion I was thinking of last time.

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Image: This really isn't getting any easier to watch.
Image: I don't know, there's a sort of beauty to-
Image: You're a freak, you know that?

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Image: Enchanted!
Image: She's hot!!
Image: DUDE!
Image: What? She is!
Image: I shan't complain about the whole unicorn business, but it certainly is good to be a woman again.
Image: I'm with ya on that one, toots.
Image: Why was Blob the one I sacrificed, again?

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Lady Kikuri-Hime
Kikuri-Hime (meaning "Chrysanthemum Princess") is a Shinto goddess of life, harvest, negotiation and mediation. After the primordial husband-and-wife brother-and-sister (yyyyyeah) deities Izanami and Izanagi had a bit of a falling out after the former died in childbirth and the latter failed to get her back from the underworld, it was Kikuri-Hime who arranged for them to have a civilized debate about their respective situations. The outcome of the debate seems lost to the mists of folklore, but still, considering the participants' fiery, vengeful temperament, arranging that discussion must have taken some chutzpah.

The Lady race is composed of fairly major goddesses, typically presiding over the earth, motherhood, or fertility. But considering Kali (the bloodthirsty, warlike Hindu goddess of death) is a Lady in Nocturne where she was a Kijo/Femme in previous games, I'm not entirely certain of the finer details.


*: So, yeah. She has high magic, comes with a great healing spell, and then after like fifteen minutes of rerolling I managed to give her Mana Drain, Zio and Mabufu. Paraladi is alright, and I would have rather passed down Media than Taunt, but this is still well good enough. She's definitely the kind of spellcaster you want to bring along in the Labyrinth of Amala.

I was going to perform another fusion just to free up slots, but with the 2 we've gained from Gozu-Tennoh, we have four places available right now. Seeing as we're about to raid the Assembly of Nihilo, we're probably going to meet a bunch of new recruitable demons, so we'll put them to good use.

Alright, we're good to go. We could use the Amala Link to go directly to Ginza, but we're going to follow the Mantra army through the Underpass instead.


Image
Image: ...The Assembly of Nihilo's gonna get their asses handed to them!

On the other hand, Ikebukuro is now practically undefended. Refusing to join the Mantra was probably the sound tactical move.

*: At first, the Great Underpass is much as we left it, except that we run into a Fomor down there for the first time. However, once we reach the Manikin gate...

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Aw crap. I can't say I'm surprised, but, damn.

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It feels... too quiet.

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Huh, maybe the Manikins just locked themselves in, and the Mantra were in too much of a hurry to investigate.

Whuh-oh, there's one open door here...

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Image: Holy crap, look at the gonads on you!
Image: To go, or not to go... That is the question! I'd hate to get killed...
Image: Dude, stay safe, alright?

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Image: You could have been! Lock your door!

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Image: They used this underpass to get there, so we all locked ourselves inside of our rooms.

*: The shopkeeper is still at his post. I buy two Float Balls and a Sacred Water for another ticket.

Well, everyone seems to be doing alright. I suppose the Vortex World can still manage to pleasantly surprise me. Now, on to Ginza, and let's hope the locals had as much sense as the Manikins.

*: As we fight our way back out the other side of the Underpass, I notice something I never really noticed before. When a fight ends, the battle music slowly fades out for several seconds, and can still be heard while you're back to walking around. If you get into another fight while the music still plays, the track fades back in all the way and keeps going instead of starting from the beginning.

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Things don't look too bad from here. Maybe the Mantra went straight to Nihilo.

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The red knights who were patrolling the place are nowhere to be seen. I guess they were recalled to defend the home base.

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Image: Hmm?
Image: I hear that the Assembly of Nihilo has a secret weapon. Guess it's not a secret anymore...

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Image: Aw crap, so they did pass through.
Image: I was just getting used to not having demons fight each other over here...

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Image: The Assembly of Nihilo's got brains, unlike that other band of ruffians. Besides, their commander probably has everything already calculated out!

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Image: If that's the case, then creation looks a lot like destruction. Though... I guess maybe that's the point.
Image: Will it be a bright future...? Or will it remain chaotic...? Time will tell...

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Image: Huh! Shows their true colors right there.
Image: What happened? What are they up to?

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*: Welp, three Oni in Ginza, things have definitely changed.

Image: Hey, I'm joining the assault on Nihilo in a bit. Wanna tag along?
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Image: Look, come or don't, I just thought I'd do you a solid.
Image: I see...
*: He takes a bunch of money and Life Stones.
Image: Hey... You're trying to change the world, right? ...You think you can do it?
Image: Way I see it, I don't have a worse shot at it than anybody else.
Image: Are you crazy!?
Image: We are never gonna survive, unless, we get a little...
Image: I won't help you.
Image: Seal is a MASTER, you PHILISTINE. NOW YOU DIE.

Image
Image: The Assembly of Nihilo has an ace up its sleeve. The Commander is such a bright man!

Alright, that's enough time wasted. Let's get a move on.

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Image: Is this the end of Nihilo?

If they try to keep me from Ms. Takao again, it just might be.

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Huh. Sure looks a lot more messed up than it used to be.

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*: The encounter gauge is blue. The fighting is already over. There's no music, only a weird distorted drone, sounding like some sort of broken down alien machinery. Do make note of the visual design here: the Mantra HQ was all squares and right angles, while the Nihilo base is practically all circles.

The Mantra were strong, but did the Nihilo really lose this easily?

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Image: The Assembly of Nihilo is in shambles! Hahahahahahaha!

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Image: It's all over for Nihilo. The Mantra has won!

*: There's a tiny empty room on one side of the entrance, and an elevator on the other side. The bulk of the facility must be underground; in fact we can reach two basements from here. Let's work our way down.

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Whew, that's a relief.
Image: Oh well... We got all their treasure, anyway.

*: He's not joking; there's a Cube in this room but it's empty.

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Image: Seemed like the place to be. What else is a strong guy like me going to do?
Image: ...Well, you're too late. We already finished our attack. Hahahahahahaha!

*: There's another tiny room with an empty cube.

I have a bad feeling about this. It's too easy.

It has to be a trap.

Hopefully it's a trap for the Mantra and not a trap for me. Still, I better make sure I can't find Ms. Takao on that second basement, then clear on out of here quickly.

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What the...?

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Image
Image: ...Or at least it was. The whole thing happened pretty fast.
Image: Too fast.
Image: So, was the report about needing four Kilas to unlock the core a hoax?
Image: Huh? Hell, don't ask me, I just came in to do the punching.
Image: ...Well, Nihilo probably got scared of the Mantra and ran away.
Image: So they didn't even fight? Yeah, no, this is definitely a trap.

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*: Another empty room.

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Image: I can hear something coming from that door. ...Hell, we won. What's there to worry about?

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What kind of Zelda dungeon nonsense is this? There better be some other way in there!

*: Well, there's one door left, straight to the interior of the core itself.

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> You can hear sounds coming from inside the room.
> Will you enter?

I can't not check everywhere. In we go.

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Image: Hijiri!?
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Image: I thought I was ambushed. Don't scare me like that!
Image: You're the last person I would have expected to see in here.
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Image
Image: You don't look worse for wear either.
Image: I'm sorry about what happened last time. Yeah, I screwed up...
Image: Eh, I got where I was going anyway.
Image: But, it worked out for the best. I had no idea they had a base this big... If I had used that thing correctly, you would have been here all by yourself.
Image: Wait, you were planning to send me here, in Nihilo country? Cripes, it would have been good to know.
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Image: The Mantra launched their assault at just the right time. Thanks to them, my arrival went unnoticed.
Image: I don't think the place was as well-guarded as it first appears.
Image: ...... Hey, this might sound crazy, but...
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Image: What, are you kidding? Of course not! Bunch of lunatic meatheads.
Image: Oh, so it's just a rumor.
Image: Huh. I bet Gozu-Tennoh didn't exactly make a big announcement about how I refused to join up.
Image: You seem so much stronger, I thought it might be true. ...Oh well.
Image: Man, don't act so disappointed.
Image
Image
Image: We're at the center of that big hole you see from outside.
Image
Image
Image: But, this place was filled with tons of Magatsuhi just a moment ago.
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Image
Image: I don't blame them... Anybody would assume that this is the core of Nihilo.
Image: So it really is a decoy then.
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Image
Image
Image: The flow of Magatsuhi seems a little strange. It's cleverly disguised, but this is just bait. The real core must be located somewhere else inside the base. ...And that's where Hiwaka will be.
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*: There's a sudden flash of light.
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Image
Image: It'll be even more dangerous now. I wanted to meet Hikawa in person, but... I'm not gonna fool myself. I know I won't survive that long.
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Image: Yeah, it's right opposite this door.
Image: I deactivated it, so you should be able to go through it now. That's about all the help I can offer.
Image: Considering your position, it would be rude to ask for more. Thanks.
Image: ...It's up to you to decide how to deal with Hikawa. You've come this far... If you turn back now, you'll regret it, right?
Image: Definitely.
Image: Alright then... See ya.
Image: Later.

Image
Image: I can't hear anything coming from that door anymore. ...Hell, we won. What's there to worry about?

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Ah, this is more like it.

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> Will you enter?
No turning back.

Image
Image: They're probably getting cocky, thinking that they destroyed the core unit.
Image: Power-schmower. Power's nothing without brains!
Image
Image: Hmmm...
Image: Who're you?
Image: Just dis guy, ya know?
Image: Hmmm... I don't know who you're with, but it looks like you have some brains. You just wanna make a name for yourself by taking Commander Hikawa's head, huh?
Image: Believe it or not, I'm not actually here to kill anyone.
Image: Just our luck... We were getting bored of the Mantra's stupidity. We need to welcome our guests and show them off to their afterlife comfortably.
Image: My goal may not be to kill anyone, but you step to me, I bring the pain, white boy.
ImageImage: Dieeeeeeeeee!

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*: It's more a one-sided brawl than a fight; they fall to a couple Focus-enhanced basic attacks. Momunofu levels up, changes Life Bonus to Life Gain (20% HP instead of 10%), and gives us a Light Ball.

Yoma Koppa
Like the Karasu, the Koppa are another subspecies of Tengu. When other creatures turn into Tengu for whatever reason, if they have a cruel or ignorant nature, they turn into Koppa, especially weak and small specimens who usually end up as servants and messengers to greater Tengu.


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Huh, so this must be what the Oni was talking about. I wouldn't have guessed Mantra intel would come in handy.

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Yup, four colored pedestals. Let's see if the yellow one does anything.

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> Will you use the Yellow Kila?

*: We do, and the light goes away.

Three more to go, then. And is that a terminal on the west side?

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Alright then, that means we're close to a Fountain. Excellent!

Ms. Takao, I'm coming for you. I don't really know what to expect at this point, but if you have answers, then I got questions.

User avatar
François
Posts: 1021
Joined: Tue Jan 21, 2014 8:00 am

Re: Let's play Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne

Postby François » Tue Dec 01, 2015 5:51 pm

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That's the only other way from here.

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Image
Image: Compared to the Mantra, it doesn't take much.
Image
Image: Yeah. But I just want to talk, for now.
Image: Commander Hikawa is on Floor B15 of the core. But, you need the four Kilas, stakes that control the Magatsuhi in this structure, to get to him. You saw those four pedestals on the way here, right? Use the Kilas there...
Image: That's pretty much what I figured.
Image: Occasionally, there are visitors like you, but they all disappear up ahead. They all fall prey to the traps made by the great Commander Hikawa.
Image: If you think he's so great, why are you feeding me info?
Image: So, why tell you all this? I figure you have the right to know before you die...
Image: How kind of you.

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What the...?

Image

Image
Image: This is the storehouse for Magatsuhi. It's separated into three floors, and each leads to a storeroom where a Kila is kept. You see that switch? It's set up so that it changes the flow of Magatsuhi. *chuckle* In other words, if you don't use the switches properly, you'll never make it to the storerooms.

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*: As the spirit explained, this is essentially a multilayered maze with pathways controlled by those round switches. You can spend a minimum of time in here and go straight for the Kila rooms, but there are Cubes here and there, and I want to get them all. In fact, before we even touch the switch, we can reach...

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And when we do activate the switch...

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There's another switch in the northwest corner.

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This one allows us to access a ladder in the southeastern corner, as well as a door in the north. But before we can reach either, we get in a fight with Nihilo patrols.

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Seeing as we're now running into Forneus as random encounters, I'm extra glad I gave Zio to Kikuri-Hime.


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Image: Even if someone were to make it that far, they'd be killed anyway. So, that's why we don't have to panic.
Image: Yeah, we'll see about that. Get your panic pants ready.

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White Treasure Room, eh?

*: We get the usual warning about strong power behind the door.

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Image
Image: I am Eligor, one of the fallen angels. I guard this Kila under the order of our commander.
Image
Image: I like those with intelligence.
Image: Are you hitting on me?
Image: To show you my respect, I will kill you painlessly.
Image: Ah, right, that'll make more sense.
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Image: The decision is out of your hands, my friend.
Image: Die!!
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*: Eligor starts the battle alone, and he's not a full boss so he only gets one turn icon. However, he gets a suprise round, and opens up with Beast Eye. Beast Eye is a weaker version of Daisoujou's Startle, turning a full icon into two half icons. He uses one of these icons to cast Gathering to summon one Dis, and the Dis uses the other icon to cast Makajam on Badb Catha. It lands, but Badb Catha doesn't have any spells yet so it's no biggie. However, on the second enemy turn, he summons a second Dis, who uses Stone Gaze (and misses), so we don't want to mess around for too long.

Eligor turns out to be weak to electricity, so Kikuri-Hime's Zio comes in handy. A couple Focus shock-crits later and we only have the Disir to finish off, which is simple enough with Heat Wave.


Fallen Eligor
Eligor is another member of the infernal nobility, namely a Great Duke of Hell, commanding 60 legions of demons and appearing as a mounted knight. If he is summoned, he can find lost objects, talk about wars past, present and future, and attract attention and favor from soldiers, knights, kings, and other leaders and notables.


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So there's number two. We could now take the ladder down to the next layer, but Zed used up a bunch of MP on Fog Breath, so I decide to return to the terminal and heal up before we attempt the second Kila guardian fight. We could probably win either way, but I don't feel like taking chances.

As long as we're in Shibuya, I drop by the Cathedral to register my party, and visit the Junk shop to pick up a Revival Bead and three Dis-Mute items. Heeho used to run this store, but he's gone on his trip, and he's been replaced by another "alternative lifestyle" Manikin who also gives out Lucky Tickets.

Alright then, back to Nihilo.


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*: The enemies we run into down here so far are Forneus, Koppa and Fomor. Large amounts of Koppa can buff one another's offense and get pretty scary if you let them live long enough, but they're individually fragile and fall quickly. Momunofu learned Brutal Slash, a strong single-target attack that eats up a decent chunk of HP, but seeing as Kikuri-Hime knows Diarama and can replenish her MP with Mana Drain, we can still make liberal use of it.

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As long as you leave the switches in their default positions on the second layer (B11), you can access a small terminal; however you need to cut off access to it in order to proceed.

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Now I'm not going to detail all the switch stuff, but I'm showing you this picture here because you can clearly see the 5x5 maze on the floor below, taunting us with promises of future pain in the butt.

On the way, Zed levels up and learns Might from Kamudo, which is the last skill this particular Magatama has to offer. I replace Taunt with it.

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This is the confirmation that Kamudo has nothing more to teach us. Mastering Magatama like this actually has a fairly small hidden effect, but it won't be visible in any way until we master a couple more.


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Image: That's my line!

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*: Eligor uses Beast Eye again, and summons a Yaka this time, which wastes a turn on Diarama. I foresee no great difficulty this time either. In fact, Badb Catha and Kikuri-Hima can take one Yaka every round together, so Eligor's further summons are for nothing, and Momunofu and Zed have free reign to use Focus and basic attacks. The fight is over quickly and at little expense.

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We don't get the next Kila right away, though. There are multiple short paths branching off the main corridor.

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A small empty room...

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And another dead end with a Cube.


Image
Image: ...a world where we throw away our individuality and become a part of the grand universe. There is no pain or struggling due to individuality.
Image: That sounds pretty good, but on the other hand, no individuality.
Image: ...Commander Hikawa is wonderful. All shall be bliss...

Man that Hikawa sure likes his cultists.

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*: There's another small terminal here, so once we're done exploring we'll be able to heal up easily enough.

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Image: She will be the foundation for our new world.
Image: That's a lot of weight on the shoulders of a high school teacher.
Image: So, no matter how much demons like you cause trouble, we won't be disturbed. ...The world we desire has no need for emotions in the first place...

*: Sparing a random Incubus earns us 350 Macca and a very clear voice-acted "thank you!". I hadn't decided for myself if Incubi sounded like Barry White or Mickey Mouse, but their high-pitched, nasally voice clears up all doubt.

After some more exploring interconnecting corridors for a while...


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Image: Is this guy getting on anyone else's nerves yet, or is it just me?
Image: Nah, I'm with you.
Image: Even I would like to shove that spear up his nethers by now.

*: More Beast Eye, and another Dis. Judicious use of Shock and Zio sees us through quickly this time. However, the guy was guarding a dead end. I can only assume he's going to ambush us again as we look around the area.

A bit later we find a Mystical Chest, at half waning Kagutsuchi. I don't want to be back later, so I pass the time in the same room. Boy am I glad I have an ally with effectively infinite MP. In fact, Kikuri-Hime levels up, and learns Me Patra (replacing Taunt) and Maiden's Plea, a special passive conversation skill that sometimes pacifies demons trying to end talks out of anger.

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Incense! Score!

But as we leave the room...


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Image: I found you.
Image: God dammit.
Image: Alright, that's enough!
Image: It sure is.

*: He summons Incubi this time, but it's not much more difficult. In fact, I focus on taking out his summons first, and use Kikuri-Hime's Zio on Eligor himself, allowing us to come out on top every round. He does start using Mudo though, which is slightly worrying.

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We should be almost done with this layer now.


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Red Treasure Room, at last.

*: We get a warning about strong power, but there's no one inside. We grab the Red Kila, turn back, and...

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Image: Halt...
Image: Well at least it's not that other asshole. Remember me?
Image: I am Berith, the great duke of hell.
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Image: You're not turning me away so easily this time.
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Image: ... Then, prepare yourself... for my spear shall pierce through your insolent skull!

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*: This is already a more threatening fight. The Succubi in particular are giving me the willies. In fact, I'll outright try using a Mahama Rock.

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Aaaaand they have boss immunities going on. Okay then, time to put my game face on. Kikuri-Hime's Mabufu uncovers Berith's weakness to cold and freezes a Succubus, so we're still off to a good start. The Succubi try to use Lullaby, which is the prelude to Eternal Rest; Momunofu is weak to ailments, but Kikuri-Hime voids sleep so it's a wash overall.

Aw hell, Berith uses Maragi, hitting Kikuri-Hime's weakness as well as Zed's (since I gave him Hifumi after mastering Kamudo). Badb Catha gets charmed, hits Zed, leaving him with 16 HP, and Zed counters, also leaving BC with 16 HP. Daaaaaaang. It's a good thing Kikuri could use Diarama before the end of our turn, beause the next round's two Maragi casts kill her off along with BC. I summon Chatterskull to start absorbing fire damage and cut down on extra turns. I knew I kept that dude around for a reason.

Momunofu bites it on the following turn, but the Succubi are gone and I can summon more replacements. I think it's in the bag now, though it's a more expensive bag than I'd have liked.

After a few rounds Berith starts using Hellfire, a stronger fire attack than Maragi, but we hold on thanks to a couple of Incubus War Cries, and eventually prevail.


Fallen Berith
Berith is another Great Duke of Hell, commanding 26 legions of demons. He knows much about the past, present, and future, and can turn any metal into gold. He's also enamored of the sound of his own voice; reportedly, he once possessed a nun and proceeded to recite the name of all the demons possessing her with him, and when he was done he was so disappointed that he had nothing else he wanted to say that he started naming the saints who would be most helpful in banishing each and every one of them.


To put the poop cherry on the turd sundae, Zed levels up, and Hifumi stuns him. Oh boy.

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Yeah, we'll be using that terminal now. Fortunately that was the last room of this area, so we never have to see these corridors again. One more Kila to go.

The trip to Shibuya and back is accomplished without difficulty, and we reach the 5x5 cube maze easily.

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It does seem pretty simple, though. The way north is already unlocked.


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What the...

Image: There will be hell to pay if you touch that switch!
Image: I won't let you get past here. How's this?

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Image: Son of a bitch!

*: Not so simple, then. We got a teleporting douchebag operating switches now.

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In addition, this cube has an open side pointing straight down, giving us an opportunity to drop to the smaller layer below. I do so right away, just to see if there's anything of importance down there.


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Image: I don't know why you're surprised.
Image: ............ Well... you can get to the storeroom on the floor above by turning the three switches blue.
Image: Huh, alright then. Thank you.
Image: ............ An intruder got this far...? I hope Commander Hikawa isn't slipping!
Image: Seeing how many of you guys are giving me clues, maybe it's not his fault.

*: Hmm, there are two ladders up from down here. This'll be every bit the pain in the ass I remembered.

During a Koppa fight...


Image: Alright, I can't keep slaughtering you knuckleheads like this, my fists are getting sore. How about joining the winning side?
Image: What the hell? You want me to join you?! I see...
> Koppa is thinking.
*: He asks for money, Life Stones and a Chakra Drop, then asks us if we think we can change the world, just like that Oni did back in Ginza.
Image: Every time I punch something, the world gets a little different. One of these days I'll punch something really really big, and you'll want to be there to see it happen.
Image: ...You might actually be able to.
Image
Image: I'm Koppa the Yoma. I'm itchin' for a good fight!
Image: Welcome aboard.

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*: He's only level 19, but on his next level, he'll learn Watchful, which allows a reserve party member to gain full experience from battles it doesn't participate in. This is what that NPC meant a while back when they were talking about Nihilo having a demon that earns experience without fighting.

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Image: I saw one of you fight by Eligor's side, and man, you're so much more impressive than he is. How about joining up?
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Image: Oh-ho-ho-ho!
*: She takes money and a Bead.
Image: Very well, then. I am Dis of the Yoma lineage. I will serve you gracefully.
Image: Eh, we're not that formal in here. You can let your hair down, it's no biggie.
Image: Um.
Image: Still so incredibly smooth.
Image: Are you trying to out foot-in-mouth me?
Image: Eh...?
Image: ...
Image: Aw hell. I didn't even... Aw hell! Aw crap!
Image: Look, we got off on the wrong foot. I really dig the purple lipstick deal you've got going!
Image: Did you recruit me to fight, or because you wanted to comment on my appearance?
Image: Please accept my apologies, I don't know what I was thinking. I suspect with horror that Incubus' creepy may be rubbing off on me.
Image: As long as it's the only thing he's rubbing off on you, amirite?
Image: Heyo!
Image: ...
Image: Uzume would think that was funny.
Image: If you'll notice, Chatterskull isn't laughing either. And Chatterskull is always laughing.
Image: Yeah, not feelin' it. I'd shrug, but, you know. Shoulders.

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*: Now that we've befriended the most common denizens of this obnoxious pit, it's mostly just a matter of getting to the red switches and turning them blue, some of them more than once on account of the teleporting dirtbag. He gets tired of the game before we do, though.

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It would have been too much to ask for the Green Kila to be right behind that door, huh?

*: Four doors on either side, and one at the end. But the side ones are all locked. Hmm. At least the far one opens for us.

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It looks like another set of branching corridors, and this one has another small terminal right at the start. On further exploration, it turns out there are only a bunch of dead ends instead of the little empty rooms of the red section. One of the passages turns into a T intersection with two doors. Taking the left one...

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And the right one...


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Green Treasure Room. So close!

*: No strong power warning this time.

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Aw man what.

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Image: Why don't you take a wild guess, you floating sack of puss?
Image: Had a hard time figuring out those switches at the storehouse?
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Image: You'll be blue and red paste when I'm done with you.
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Image: Hahahaha!!
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Image: Get back here! Dammit!

The big hallway with the locked doors comes back to mind. Is this going to turn into a Scooby-Doo climax?

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Yeah, that's where he's fleeing to. Great.

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Hmm, lessee. All these doors look the same, so I might as well try the first one on the left.

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Man I'm going to kill that asshole so dead.

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Image: I am Kaiwan, but I'm not the one with the Kila. Can't you tell the difference, fool!?

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So I might get to kill him multiple times. That's... almost an enjoyable prospect. Almost.

*: He uses Evil Gaze, which is Death-type effect that reduces a target's health to 1. Ouch. I immediately dismiss any ally hit, but we still manage to beat him before he can actually kill someone. Did I mention I'm glad I have a healer that can't run out of MP?

In any case, we return to the main corridor. There must be a trick to this, but I'll be damned if I can remember it. Hmm. I observe the glowing, pulsating circular symbols on the walls and doors, but they all seem to shine in unison. I examine every door closely, but if there's a different one, I'm not seeing the difference. I even try to go back to the cube maze in case Kaiwan escaped there without my notice, but there's nothing there either. I return to the empty treasure room in case the only way to win is not to play, but it's still empty. I must be missing something.

I guess I might as well keep opening doors.

Hmm, the southwestern one is empty. Second northern one...


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Image: Well, I guess it suits you... Hahahahahaha!

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*: So, a single Kelpie. It only gets one turn, which it spends healing itself, but it's not enough to survive us.

Fairy Kelpie
A water spirit from Celtic folklore, taking the form of a strong black or green horse, perpetually wet and with kelp tangled in its mane. It's said to entice people (usually children) to ride it, whereupon it captures them thanks to its sticky skin, then runs underwater to drown them.


Maybe the trick is that there is no trick and I'm just wasting time. Next door!

Image
Image: Sounds good to me, but I'll believe it when you're dead.
Image
Image: ...Playtime's over.



*: Huh, I figured there'd be some dastardly trick to deal with so I made sure to record the fight, but they pretty much went down like chumps. Well, it's just more evidence that Momunofu is made of awesome and win.

Night Kaiwan
Kaiwan is a god in Assyrian mythology, associated with Jupiter. It's also apparently another name for Hastur, some sort of eldritch entity from the Cthulhu mythos.


Image

Finally, we can get out of this madhouse. Or, well, we can get deeper in the madhouse, as the case may be.

*: We make another round trip to Shibuya, then we return to the pillar room, and use the remaining Kilas.

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So, deeper it is, then.

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*: And that's an Eligor in a random encounter. Guy musta got a battlefield demotion.

Image: Look, you're pretty strong. But maybe you need someone to do the thinking for you, you know what I mean?
Image: You wish me to join your ranks?
Image: I'm offering you an opportunity here.
*: He takes a bunch of money, but only ends up healing Zed.
Image: Cheerio.
> Eligor left.

Image

Man, you can say what you want about the Mantra, but at least their elevators were slightly more convenient than this.

*: We run into Incubi on a Full Moon, and as I see them use Evil Eye and Life Drain on our party...

Image: I'm really going to have to make sure you get some training, huh?
Image: We'll get to spend so much time together, boss!
Image: Oh boy.

Image
Image

Great, more of this.

*: Hikawa is on B15, and we're only on B14. We've got a bit further to go.

Image
Image: Nihilo aren't making the best use of your talents, huh? In any case, no, I don't think so.
Image: I suppose I can be happy with that.
> Eligor is content.
Image: ...Very well, then. I'm Eligor of the Fallen lineage. Take me with you.
Image: I'm impressed to see you deal so kindly with your former enemies.
Image: If I'm going to change the world, like every other critter I meet seems to believe, I probably ought not to behave like everyone else does.

Image

*: Oooh, Dark Might. It's like Bright Might, but works for new K instead of full. In any case, I'm really glad I managed to recruit this guy, even if only because visually it's one of my favorites. Call me boring if you like, I know it's "dude in red armor on black horse", I 'on't care.

There are a couple Cubes around, with Sacred Water and a Revival Bead inside. A bit further, there's another Mystical Chest.


Image
> Let it continue?
Image: Don't let me stop you, broseph. You've more than earned your freedom to turn into whatever you like.
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Image
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Lv30 Vile Arahabaki
Another pre-Shinto Japanese god, apparently a protector deity watching over travelers. Its worship was outlawed as Shinto took root, but its distinctive appearance at least is still part of Japanese culture, and you can see it pop up in the most unlikely places. Its Vitality and HP are pretty high for this point in the game, but with that extremely unusual set of resistances and weaknesses, it kinda needs to be durable. Depending on what you're up against, the guy's either indestructible or a huge liability.

The Vile are evil gods, usually presiding over disease, famine and other such disasters. They used to be called Jashin.


*: Unfortunately, Arahabaki can't keep Brutal Slash, because it doesn't have a weapon anymore. In the same fight, Koppa learns Watchful, and starts to show signs of change. Dis can also evolve later, so that's still two locked in my party, heh.

The Chest contains a Balm of Rising, which revives a party member with full HP.

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And that's the whole floor, with only an elevator left in the middle northern part.

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There's another small terminal on the side. This has got to be the end.

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We could probably go straight to the core, but there are rooms on the sides that I want to check out first. The encounter gauge is back to blue, so it's not dangerous yet.

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Oh wait, you can't actually go around, those doors are only accessible through the core itself. Welp, that simplifies things. Strong power, will you enter, etc. etc.


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Image: Hikawa.
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Image: You should keep closer watch on your staff, they're practically all on my side by now.
Image
Image: I'm still a free agent, no matter what Gozu-Tennoh's people have been telling anyone.
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Image
Image: Yeah, I'm pretty amazing in general.
Image: And judging by your appearance... you've gained considerable power.
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Image: For many reasons, only one of which is any of your business.
Image
Image: Nobody else in this damn world seems to have any idea what's really going on, and an associate of mine thinks you're the one with all the answers. I'm skeptical myself, but here's your chance to prove me wrong.
Image: ...I see. Even though I nearly killed you, you've tracked me down to obtain the answers you seek.
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Image
Image: I commend you for reaching this place on your own. If it is truth that you seek, then I will reveal everything... all there is to know of this world.



*: Not a lot to say about this fight, really. Makarakarn reflects all spells until the start of the user's party's next round, but in this case it was just a question of having everyone punch him for a bit. Ose can also use Tetrakarn, which reflects all physical damage in the same way, but we had plenty of magic damage so it would have been even less of a problem. The biggest threat is Focus + Heat Wave, and he can max out Sukukuja stacks if you let him, but Matador and Dante forced us to deal with a lot worse than that.

Fallen Ose
A Great President of Hell, ruling over three legions of demons. He appears in the form of a leopard, presides over the liberal sciences, and answers truthfully to all questions, yada yada yada. More uniquely, he can make people insane. Specifically, he is said to make people believe they are the Pope. He must be a hoot at parties!


Dammit, did Hikawa get away?

Image
Image: How's it feel to be thrown away just to delay me, hmm?
Image: But, you will never be able to find our commander, or the Maiden. The Nightmare System has been activated. This base will soon be closed down, and the way to the Maiden will be lost forever...
Image: To hell with that! I'm finding Ms. Takao no matter what Cheetahmen rejects like you think they have to say about it!
Image: Begone, demon! It is we, the Assembly of Nihilo, who will create the new world!!

*: A flash of light surges from Ose's body.

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Dammit! They won't be rid of me that easily!

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> The door is tightly shut.

Gah!

Image: Hey. Um, I'm sorry to interrupt, but...
Image: No you're not.
Image: Okay, I'm not. But are we really going to let this slide?
*: I'm... I'm sure I don't know what you're talking about.
Image: It sure looks like the Mantra are going to die from lack of Magatsuhi.
*: That... would appear to be the case.
Image: It's strange, I seem to recall someone talking about how Magatsuhi is specifically not required for demons to live, that's it's not an essential nutrient or some other such highfalutin verbiage.
Image: Now that you mention it, I do remember that too.
*: Ah, well. There's a perfectly valid explanation for that.
Image: This ought to be good. Let's hear it then.
*: I fucked up.
Image: Oh! Is that what it was?
*: Yes, quite. I done fucked up, son. I apologize. Are you happy?
Image: A little bit, not gonna lie.
*: Well, since we're talking about remembering times from the past when mistakes were made, I do seem to recall a reckless young man killing the Four Heavenly Kings who were protecting Tokyo from God's wrath, just because they were there, therefore allowing a great flood to take place and causing the death of thousands and...
Image: ...ah. Yes. Well. That doesn't really have anything to do with...
*: Oh I'm just putting things in perspective.
Image: That's a little petty, man.
Image: ...
Image: In fact that's more than a little petty. You feel bad about temporary misleading the Internet, so you bring up accidental near-genocide? You know what the fellow's been through, that's out of line.
*: Aw, cripes, you're right. Sorry mang.
Image: It's... It's fine. I'm over it by now. Things got... things got better, didn't they?
*: You're made of strong stuff.
Image: Now kiss!
Image: What the hell?
*: Yikes. No.
Image: Nobody needs to see that.

*: Aaaaanyway.

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Anathema is a spellcaster-oriented Magatama; one might think of it as the opposite of Ankh. The first skill it would teach us is Mana Drain, which is fairly tempting, if not exactly something we'd keep until the end.


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Image: Apparently not.
Image: I heard that a bunch of Magatsuhi was sucked up from Ikebukuro!!

I'm not going to pretend I care about about Gozu-Tennoh and his jocks, but Isamu's still in there! I gotta go back.

But... Ms. Takao...

Hell. One problem at a time.

*: We return to Ginza. A quick look around seems to indicate that no one has anything new to say, so we go to the Terminal and teleport directly to Ikebukuro.

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We can't get back to the Nihilo terminal through here either.


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Image: ...We didn't lose, did we?

*: As we enter the Mantra headquarters...

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Image
Image: Chiaki!
Image
Image: Holy crap, what are you doing here?
Image: I heard about the trial by combat, and I thought it might be you who was the winner.
Image: Well, I appreciate your confidence, but this is still a really dangerous place!
Image: Getting here was tough, to say the least, but I'm glad I made it.
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Image
Image
Image
Image: I'm listening, Chiaki.
Image: I decided to play by the rules of this world.
Image: I can hardly blame you for that. I... I've been playing by the world's rules ever since I woke up in the hospital.
Image: You know what the purpose of this new world is, right?
Image: Yeah. I do now.
Image
Image: ...
Image: ...You probably think I'm crazy.
Image: I don't think there's such a thing as crazy anymore.
Image
Image: ...that voice I heard when the world changed...
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Image: Yeah, I heard it. Kagutsuchi's voice.
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Music: Chiaki

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Image
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Image: Not just about what I have to do in this world, but why the world ended up like this. And then, I realized... that there were too many unnecessary things occupying the previous world.
Image: ...unnecessary?
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Image: But, nothing new was being made. Time passed, and nothing changed. What the world really needed... it was not getting.
Image
Image
Image: But, I survived the Conception. I was chosen... That's what I'm going to believe, and now, I have to look forward.
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Image: ...but if I can swallow it down... endless possibilities await... The power of creation... will be mine.
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Image: The world doesn't need any more worthless things... That's why I want to create my ideal society... a paradise ruled by the strong, the chosen... The world of Yosuga.
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*: And we come to another decision.

Maybe the world really was running out of juice, its potential lost or squandered. Maybe it needs the strong, the chosen, the fated, to remake it in a more... a more vigorous form. A more meaningful form.

Or maybe Chiaki's just putting a fresh coat of paint on the Mantra philosophy, such as it was.

Or maybe it's best not to get involved in that nonsense either way.

What say you?

Kagutsuchi is watching.

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Grath
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Re: Let's play Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne

Postby Grath » Tue Dec 01, 2015 6:55 pm

What's the option for getting into her pants? Or, well, skirt as it were.

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François
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Re: Let's play Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne

Postby François » Wed Dec 02, 2015 5:30 pm

Well, seeing her new philosophy, it's probably something along the lines of "agree with everything she says or she'll find someone who will".

Fun fact: I don't know how canon that is, but there's been a novelization and a Drama CD for the game (in Japanese only of course), and apparently the Drama CD implies (or outright states?) that the protagonist and Chiaki were extremely close and would probably have started dating had the world not ended. The game doesn't really indicate anything in that regard though, so I'm inclined to think it's something that was made up after the fact.

Angry Beaver
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Re: Let's play Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne

Postby Angry Beaver » Wed Dec 02, 2015 8:51 pm

I say tell her to stuff it. Who gets to choose what is and what isn't "useless"?

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Healy
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Re: Let's play Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne

Postby Healy » Wed Dec 02, 2015 9:43 pm

Tell Chiaki she can take her Ayn Rand bullshit back to whatever passes for Reddit in post-apocalyptic Tokyo.

Angry Beaver wrote:Who gets to choose what is and what isn't "useless"?

Exactly.
Image

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François
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Re: Let's play Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne

Postby François » Thu Dec 03, 2015 2:35 pm

Alright, the people have spoken. It's less of a landslide this time, but there's still a pretty clear winner. There's hope for the Internet yet! I mean, for the Vortex World. I mean, for the Internet.

Hmm!

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Mothra
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Re: Let's play Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne

Postby Mothra » Thu Dec 03, 2015 3:05 pm

François wrote:Skill inheritance has a number of random and obscure rules, but the biggest one to keep in mind is that many skills have special requirements that depend on the new demon's actual body. For example, a demon with no claws cannot inherit Feral Claw, a demon with no mouth cannot inherit Ice Breath, and so on and so forth. Other than that, skill inheritance re-rolls every time you quit out of the process and return to it, so you can try as much as you want, though it can get very time consuming if you're looking for a specific build. Low-tier skills also have a bigger chance to be passed down than higher-tier skills, so if an ingredient has both Dia and Diarahan, it might take a lot of re-rolling to get the latter.

Huh, that's actually really cool.

If there's a logic to fusing demons in the Persona series, it's not even remotely clear. You just fuse things together in the hopes you'll get something new, and sometimes, that new thing gains a random skill of one of the fused monsters.

I like the idea here where you could conceivably figure out what monsters could get what skills, based on type and appearance, and choose your fusing strategy that way.

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François
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Re: Let's play Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne

Postby François » Fri Dec 04, 2015 6:43 pm

Right, there's a lot of space to play around with for making these profoundly customized allies, especially considering how much freedom sacrifice fusion, rank up/down fusion and Mitama fusion give you when you're trying to find a way to put a given skill on practically any demon of your choice. The limiting factor is usually the time you're willing to sink into it, since re-rolling can be such a colossal pain in the dick. Re-rolling an unsatisfactory sacrifice fusion means hitting cancel three times, re-selecting your first demon, re-selecting the second demon, telling the Minister you're doing a sacrifice, re-selecting the third demon, looking if the skills you want show up, then probably starting over again a bunch. The random number generator is seeded when you select the first demon, so you can't just cancel/accept/cancel/accept on the final confirmation prompt.

Still, man, when the right skills pop up and you've just finally crafted a badass new friend... dang, the rush.

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François
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Re: Let's play Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne

Postby François » Sat Dec 05, 2015 4:05 pm

Image: Chiaki.

Deep breath.

Image: I thought I was the one who changed the most, but if you had been talking like that when we first met...
Image
Image: The strong, the chosen... What about everyone else? They don't count? They don't get a voice? Because they didn't have the good fortune to be born with muscles, or some... some special destiny? I can't get behind that. If I don't use my strength to fight for those who can't, then I'm the most unnecessary of all.
Image: ...That's too bad. I was hoping you'd understand.
Image: I understand very well. I just disagree.
Image: But, no matter what you say, I won't change my mind.
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Image: Honestly, I don't know where to begin... But, since Yosuga is the Reason of the strong, I'll see what I can do on my own first.
Image: At least you put your money where your mouth is.
Image: ...I'm glad we had the chance to talk today.
Image: ...yeah. Yeah, me too. It's not the first time we don't see eye-to-eye, but you know I've always enjoyed your company, even when there were more... when there were... I mean, even before all this. And for what it's worth, I'm glad you found your own path in the middle of this mess.
Image: We both survived the Conception... I'm sure we'll cross paths again.
Image: Take care, okay?
Image: See you later, Francois.
Image: See you, Chiaki.
Image
Image
Image: Are you going to be alright?
Image: Yeah... Yeah, I'm fine. Don't worry about me. But thanks.
Image: She's an interesting young lady.
Image: One cannot tell where foolishness ends and bravery begins.
Image: Somehow I'm not worried about her. If she made it this far...
Image: Son, we made it this far too. It doesn't mean we should let our guard down.
Image: Eh, you're right. But she's not one to let her guard down either. She's smart.
Image: And hot, too!
Image: Man, don't even. Don't you even even.

Alright then, now to check on Isamu. Prison security must be more lax than ever right now.

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Image: For some reason I can't feel entirely sorry for you.

Image
Image: ...Hey, the prisoners are escaping!

There's our chance! To the basement!

*: The Pyro Jacks down here are doing a number on Arahabaki. I want it to level up and learn Mabufula as soon as possible, but I tag in Badb Catha for now.

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Image

Image
Image: Hey, are you alright?
Image: Please save Futomimi!
Image: Who?
Image: I feel like I'm free, but our leader is still locked up. Futomimi, who leads us with prophecies, is still being help captive...
Image: Alright, I'll do what I can to find him.

I got a lot on my plate already, but if I want to find Ms. Takao, I'm sure it wouldn't hurt to have a prophet on my side. And, well, if it helps the Manikin at all...

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*: Oooh, the prison doors are open. There's a Mystical Chest down here (containing a Bead of Life, which restores all HP and MP for the entire party), but I remember there was also one in one of the cells on the upper floors. We get into a few fights waiting for full K, and I recruit a Nekomata, filling up our last ally slot. There's a reason for that, but we'll see.

Image
Image: Futomimi is being held captive at Kabukicho Prison!
Image: Yeah, I should have guessed.

*: Entering the section of the jail where we ran into Isamu...

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Image: Whoa dang, Isamu! Good to see you again. Man I'm glad you're alright.
Image: Ms. Takao isn't with you, is she...?
Image: ...no. There was... there was a temporary setback.
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Image: Yeah, I still can't punch through that massive door. And besides, that Hikawa guy told me Ms. Takao wasn't there after all. We're gonna need another lead.
Image: The Mantra's finished, Nihilo's gaining ground... and we still have no idea where our teacher is...
Image
Image: Doing our damn best, that's what we're doing. Pull yourself together, man.
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Image: That guy?
Image
Image: Right! Futomimi. I just heard about him.
Image: They say he can see the future... He actually predicted the fall of the Mantra. Maybe he can tell us about Ms. Takao... and what we should do from here.
Image: Great minds think alike, brother.
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Image
Image: There's no place where I can be safe... So, I'll take my chances.
Image: Yikes, are you sure about that? I'm going too, so...
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Image: Isamu?
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I'd feel better if he came with us, but... I have to trust his judgement.

*: We try our luck with the door in the back again, but even with Kamudo equipped we're still not strong enough. At this point I want to get the other Chest I was talking about, but we might as well check out the whole building again just in case something else of note happens.

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Image
Image: That woman... This is the doing of that human woman of Nihilo!!

Huh, they're blaming Ms. Takao for this. It doesn't feel right, but... for all I know, she's at least partly responsible.

*: Dis levels up, learns Diarama, and attempts to change a skill. I let her, and she turns Makajam into Void Mind, a passive skill that makes her immune to Mind ailments. Kind of a side-grade, I guess, but I think I'd have rather kept Makajam. Oh well! Both skills are highly situational, but when they're useful, they're really useful.

Image
Image: Where... Gozu-Tennoh...? ...Why... he no save... us...?
Image: That's really not his style.

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*: We make it to the Mystical Chest just in time, and it contains a Strength Incense! The other cells are already deserted. While we're here though, we might as well go up top and see what ol' G to the T has got going on.

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Huh. Well, that's that, then. Heaven and earth shrug when the almighty's head falls from his shoulders; god's death makes no sound across the land...

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Image
Image
Image: Yeah, he's gone. I guess you're in charge now.
Image: No... The Mantra has been utterly destroyed by Nihilo's attack.
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Image: We, on the other hand, did nothing more than enforce a reign of terror. ...That is the reason we lost.
Image: It's a little late for self-awareness, but at least you're still around to do better next time.
Image: And all those that we called comrades have deserted us.
Image
Image: Yeah. What about him?
Image: Both of you are free to do whatever you want...
Image: We didn't need you to tell us that.
Image: I have no business here anymore. There is no point in guarding an abandoned city. ...Farewell. I will go on a quest to realize my dream of a world where the strong thrive. If you are truly strong, then we shall meet again...
Image
Image

Slow learner, isn't he? Bah.

I wonder if Chiaki is into the muscly 10 foot tall type. She might tell him to cut his hair.

*: The Mantra HQ isn't as dangerous as it used to be, but we still expend a bunch of MP, so I go back to the shops area, buy four Maragi Rocks for a ticket (and for reasons), heal up, and look around a bit.

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Image
Image: The prophet Futomimi is there.

Image
Image: Then, our oppression will end. ...I think.

So, Futomimi, and Kabukicho Prison. That's a good enough goal for now. But... hmm.

*: Gui Xian levels up and learns Estoma, which reduces the rate of random encounters until the next new K. On a whim I check our inventory, and notice that we have 9 Lucky Tickets. I wait until full K, and go buy a Float Ball / Light Ball combo.

Image
Image: Ain't I just your favorite customer, eh?
Image
Image: Aight, gimme... the white box.
Image: Ah, you got a Ag Incense. Good job!
Image: Hot damn!

*: The Lucky Ticket prize essentially makes you pick from three Mystical Chests, and the best stuff shows up on full K as well. You can get some high-quality items like Bead Chains and the like, but Incense is pretty much the best you can do.

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We haven't used any Incense so far. It's five levels' worth of stats, but... what if I need the healing somewhere down the line?

Image: Yeah, and then you beat the final boss with thirty-seven bits of incense in your inventory, just sitting there.
*: Don't judge me!

Hmm. Alright, you know what? Isamu's got things well in hand for now, Chiaki's figuring out her issues on her own, and Ms. Takao's not going anywhere. I feel like punching stuff that wouldn't ever let me get away with not punching it, my crew could use a bit of training, and I've got a Candelabrum burning a hole in my pocket.

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Image
Image: Good news, Mr. and Mrs. Fancypants! I'm back!
Image
Image
Image: My master is resting right now.
Image: Ah, I've come at a bad time then. Is alright, I see how it is. I'll just let myself in the back and mess around for a bit, no need to bother him.
Image: ...I want you to know that I'm always thinking about you. The Fiends possess strength beyond compare... But, I have confidence in you.
Image: Yeah, that's why you guys hired Dante to kick my ass. Really feeling the confidence here.
Image: Francois, I know that you'll return all the candelabra to the Labyrinth of Amala.
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*: As Blankd reminded me, you can actually punch the obstacles down here with the circle button. The small red ones in particular are worth destroying, because they earn you 100 Macca apiece. If your timing's off you lose health and money though, so it's a bit tricky.

Image: Alright, chuckleheads, listen up. Daddy's back, he's here to kick ass and chew bubble gum, and the world is all outta of gum. Let's dance with the devil in the blue moonlight!

Music: Battle ~ Amala Labyrinth

*: I'm glad the battle music is so damn rad, because I'm hearing a lot of it.

Image

Hello, what's this?

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*: The music cuts out and is replaced by an impossibly creepy wind sound.

Image
Image: It's inscribed as the demons are killed by you-know-who...

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*: The texture on the tombstone is just high-res enough that I could probably make any sense of it if it was in a language I could understand. It's clearly the Latin alphabet, but other than that... not a sausage.

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We can still examine it the old-fashioned way.


> It is inscribed, "Here lies Forneus."

*: The other says "Here lies Troll." We can't do anything with those yet, but, well, here are monuments to our dead enemies. Reassuring!

Image
Image: You could say that, yeah.
Image: I'll sell you something special. Uh... Wait a minute, your party's full. If you want a new companion, make some room first and then come back.
Image: I'm fine with my current squad, but I'll keep you in mind when a spot opens up.

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Image
Image: I'm good for now, but maybe I'll be back later.
Image: Good. One lives, one dies... That's the way it should be. I pray that you find rest soon.

*: Dr. Dark can heal our party, but not for free anymore; it's a flat 2000 Makka fee. If we really really mess up, this can end up being cheaper than the Fountain of Healing, but the location is fairly inconvenient. For now, with Kikuri-Hime around, hopefully we won't have need of his services.

Image
Image: It remains unchanging, like the still of the night. We demons await the master's words, his proclamation of a new beginning..." That's what a demon I met earlier told me, but I have no idea what it means.

*: Aight, this entire endeavor is already enough work without having to write a detailed walkthrough, and besides, there's plenty of that around already. So I'm mostly just going to post pictures of any new visual elements as they come up.

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*: Oh, those cheeky mofos. You can usually only obtain Arahabaki by evolving a Momunofu, but this is the Labyrinth, you can't recruit anyone, so they're free to show up and bring suffering to your undercarriage.

Zed levels up and learns Mana Drain. I let it replace Mana Bonus, because 10% of our maximum mana is absolutely not better than being able to top off whenever we like.


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Music: Playing the Fool
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Image: What a deal!
Image: Yyyyyyeah, how about no.
Image: How dare you?!
Image: I got a bad feeling about this.
Image: Oh... Well, please come again!

*: These girls are cheats. They will actually heal you, but you lose consciousness and wake up at the entrance of the Labyrinth with a hell of a lot more than 500 Macca missing. Still, if you're really desperate, they're a quick way out.

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*: This red stuff is a damage floor. Fortunetely, Badb Catha came with the Liftoma spell, which is equivalent to a Float Ball in that it protects us from that kind of trap.

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Image: It was pretty rough the first time I came here, but today, I manage.
Image: Really...? Lucky you... *sigh*

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Lv25 Wilder Raiju
In Japanese folklore, the Raiju is an animal whose body is entirely made of lightning, usually in the form of a cat, wolf, fox or weasel. It's essentially a pet and companion to Raijin, the Shinto god of lightning. It enjoys sleeping in people's bellybuttons for some reason, so especially superstitious folk try to sleep on their stomach during thunderstorms so they don't get a nasty jolt when they wake up.


*: Oh hell, the Arahabaki here know Dragon's Eye, which turns a full icon into FOUR half icons. That's rough chuckles. It turns both Dis and Zed to stone with Stone Gaze, and seeing as my other party members are Nekomata and Eligor, who lack any non-physical damage, I'm forced to run away.

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*: Ooooh, I remember this. Look at the ceiling here; some of the tiles up there are white, and some are black. Stepping on a square with a black ceiling triggers a pit trap that would drop us down to the damage floor below. It's actually a sort of vortex that sucks us down, so Liftoma is no help here. If you're very precise and careful you can cross a diagonal between black ceilings, but it's tricky and I don't think the game ever requires it.

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*: Not sure what it does, but it probably won't hurt to throw it.

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Ah, this looks like an important gate near the entrance. Excellent. I've still got a lot to explore but I'll be glad I came here first.

The Chest in the same room contains a Luck Incense, and the Cube gets us our first Deathstone. The in-game description for the Deathstone says "A stone that brings death to its possessor", but it's a lot more useful than you might guess: Deathstones allow us to fuse any Fiend whose Candelabrum we've taken. It needs to be the right combination of races, on the right Kagutsuchi phase, and the Deathstone is used up in the process, but that's still pretty good news.


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Music: Manekata

Huh. That's what it comes down to, I suppose.

Image: I'm a human.
Image: I hate humans. They're so cruel... Don't come near me!

*: We can try again.

Image: I... I was just kidding. Have you taken a good look at me? I'm totally a demon.
Image: I'm Kamala. I like demons. They're my friends. Come see me anytime. I'll tell you all about the Fiends.

*: If we talk to her again...

Image: Hey, you're back! I have something important to tell you. Wanna hear it?
Image: I can always use good intel. Whatchagot?
Image: Um, I sense the presence of a Fiend on... a highway near a tall building. So, I think you should stay away from there. I hope that helps!

*: Kamala will basically tell us a clue about a Fiend that we could reach, if there is one. The tall building in question here must be the Mantra HQ.

A bit later, a battle against Disir and Yakas turns sour, as a Dis turns Nekomata to stone and a Yaka shatters her brittle form with a basic attack. Yeah, that's a thing that happens. Not a good scene. I'd revive Nekomata because I want her to level up, but considering how many other party members are competing for valuable experience, I don't feel like spending a Revival Bead just yet.


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Hmm, strange door.

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Image: I dunno about the vault on the other side, though.

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*: We can see the interior of the vault through a barrier like this. Three cubes and a spirit; I'll keep it in mind.

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*: Ah, this is the important gate we opened earlier.


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Lv31 Wilder Nue
The Nue is an ancient Japanese mythological creature, with the head of a monkey, the body of a tanuki, the legs of a tiger and a snake for a tail; it is rumored to fly around in the shape of a black cloud. Legend has it that an emperor once was afflicted by recurring nightmares. One of his retainers noticed a black cloud over his castle, and fired an arrow into it, whereupon a nue fell dead from it. I'm not sure what Dark Howl does yet; maybe it summons help.


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*: Hmm, I think that's almost it for the First Kalpa.

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Uh... what?



...fuck.

Billions.

Billions!

Just...

Fuck.

What...

What is... how... how am I supposed to...

Fuck!

Okay, no. Okay. Focus.

There's only one world that has me and all my problems in it.

I gotta keep moving.

User avatar
François
Posts: 1021
Joined: Tue Jan 21, 2014 8:00 am

Re: Let's play Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne

Postby François » Tue Dec 08, 2015 7:55 am

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I certainly don't mind an opportunity to jump down a dark hole and just break stuff for a bit.



*: So. I'm pretty bad at this. Not gonna sugarcoat it. As Montegoraon mentioned, you can combo red obstacles for increasing amount of Macca; the reason I forgot is that I'm shit-awful at it and I treat the tunnel minigame as little else than a danger to my HP as I travel from point A to point B. :3

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Music: Law

*: As you may or may not remember, this is the Law alignment theme from SMT1. Hearing it here is a bit unexpected, considering how gleeful Nocturne is about throwing our ideas about the law/chaos axis under the bus at every opportunity. It does make sense in the context of the Amala Labyrinth subquest though, as we may see later.

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Image: ...Do you know what cause you serve? Do you realize which path your actions are leading you down...?
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Image: You have been seduced by darkness, and now you are about to defy god's will. ZedPower, the one with a demon's body and a human heart, heed my warning!
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Image: What I'm learning here makes me feel like my head is going to explode, but if it's the truth, then I'll be damned if I stop now. Besides, where was this god when... when all this bullshit started?
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Image: In this land where demons of chaos dwell, the last of your humanity will eventually be lost. I pray that you return to your world and rid yourself of darkness, before it is too late... before god's vengeance strikes this cursed land...
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*: The question here seems very important, but it's essentially for flavor, as it has no real mechanical effect; even if you agree to turn back you can still keep going, and if you say you'll keep going you're still far from being locked into anything.

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> Will you light the Candelabrum of Eternity?
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Huh, I seem to be short one Candelabrum.

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Looks like I'm turning back anyway.

*: Technically we do have the Candelabrum of Sovereignty in our possession, but seeing as having it is what allows us to find the other Fiends in the first place, leaving it down here would not be a smart move. In any case, the shortcut back to the five-door room above the First Kalpa in on the other side of this barrier, so we outright have to retrace our steps. Fortunately, now that the switch is pulled, it's not a very long way to go. And it's two more opportunities to suck at the tunnel minigame! Huzzah.

We return to Ikebukuro, and I do the usual post-dungeon upkeep. All in all, after the healing costs, we made about 8000 Macca. As I enter the Cathedral of Shadows to register our crew...


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Image: Under certain circumstances, death will appear and warp the laws of fusion. When this occurs, a Fiend -- a bearer of death -- will manifest itself. Though they are not good, they cannot be classified as evil, either. In the end, it is you who will decide their nature.

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*: This is our fusion chart for the 7/8 Kagutsuchi phase. All of the fusions marked with a skull would result in Daisoujou... but Daisoujou is level 37, and we're four levels short. I have a few more fusions in mind, but either Zed's level is also too low, or I want the ingredients to get a bit stronger still.

We drop by the local junk shop as well. I pick up five Makajam Rocks (200 each, that's a ticket), and enough Poison/Stun/Charm/Stone/Mute cures to have at least ten of each, which earns us two more tickets.

So, what's next? We don't know where Kabukicho is exactly, but I'm sure those guards on the second exit to the Mantra HQ are in no position to stop us anymore, so that might be the way to go. And there should also be a Fiend nearby as well.


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Image: My partner's already left... I let that human kid go to Kabukicho Prison... I just don't care anymore.

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So, a tall building, and a highway. It's just like Kamala said. The next sucker can't be too far from here.

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Image: I don't see why not.
Image: You should quit while you can! Something terrible's been seen around there lately... A ghost riding a motorcycle!! I don't think he's even licensed!!
Image: Well then, I should see about arresting him.

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Lv18 Divine Archangel
The eight order of angels, the Archangels are footsoldiers (well, wingsoldiers) and messengers, primarily charged with fighting fallen angels and communicating God's will to mortals.


*: Dis knows Stone Gaze by now, so hitting their Death weakness goes a long way.



Image: Mmm-hmm.
Image: Bwah...! Wh... huh?
Image: Maybe you're asked twice about it for a reason.
Image: Aw man.

*: Welp, good thing Nicolas here is optional, because he's a bit of an asshole. He doesn't have the cruel tricks other Fiends have had so far, but he hits hard, he's equipped to shrug off the debuffs we've used to neuter the others, and his buff-removal skill does a bunch of damage. That last missed Stun Needle prevented me from healing Zed so there was a clear point of failure, but I feel that I don't really have a party all that suited to dealing with him either. We'll get back to him later. And besides, it's not like I really want to attempt the Second Kalpa right away.

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So let's pretend none of this happened, shall we?


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> The entrance is closed tight.

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*: ...wait. Dead ends, everywhere. Haha, oh wow, Hell Biker isn't optional. Life is hilarious!

Welp, I didn't expect to beat him on the first try, so maybe I didn't give it my 100%. But now I gotta put my battle pants on for real. Let's do this.




*: Well hey, this took a few more tries, but here we are. The difference was that he kept wasting his icons on Hell Exhaust; by the time he managed to kill Koppa, he had already lost.

...Oh wow, I can't believe I didn't think of waiting until New Kagutsuchi to make use of Eligor's Dark Might. Whoops! Lesson learned, hopefully. :3


Fiend Hell Biker
Officially he was an ordinary motorcyclist whose hatred of the world and of himself was so strong that it turned him into a demon... but we all know where Atlus took their inspiration from. He's actually called "Hell's Angel" in the original Japanese. The dude absorbs force, and voids fire, death, expel and all ailments. Unlike Daisoujou, his fusable version actually retains all of those immunities.


*: Upon later verification and testing, it would seem you apparently can slip by Hell Biker if you decide not to fight him when asked if you're ready, though as far as I can tell it he has a chance to pull you into combat anyway (maybe the Kagutsushi phase has something to do with it). Either way he is in fact optional, to some degree.

In any case, he's out of our way now. Time to go back to Ikebukuro and get healed up.


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Image: I wonder if he got into an accident... Maybe he just got a flat tire.

*: We reach the Fountain without incident. Before heading back, I take a quick detour through the Labyrinth of Amala. I won't venture into the Second Kalpa yet, but I want to hear what Kamala has to say, and I might as well unlock the shortcut while I'm down there.

Image: I don't think there are any Fiends around right now. So, it's safe to walk around!

Glorious.

*: Eligor learns Mudo on the way, which will make dealing with those Archangels on the surface even easier. They're only level 18, but all it takes is a lucky Hama to ruin our day.

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Hmmm... Maybe just a peek.

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Yikes, the place is taking a turn for the Silent Hill.

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Yeah, maybe later.

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*: We take the tunnel shortcut, which is pretty much the same as the tunnel between the first and second Kalpas, and end up back in the main shortcut room, now with one more door open. In any case, we return to Ikebukuro, and I save at the small terminal in the ground floor of the Mantra HQ, since it's closer to the path towards Kabukicho. Aaaand we're back on the road.

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Image: It's a huge torture chamber!

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*: Lots of red damage goop here, but Badb Catha's Liftoma protects us completely.

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Ah, so that's how you get here.


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Image: I should've bought a couple of Float Balls...

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*: We run into several groups of Zhen down here, which isn't quite what I expected. They're dispatched easily enough, but if one gets a Toxic Sting off, it's a little annoying. Zed levels up, and Anathema would teach him Anti-Death, which grants resistance (not immunity) to Death effects. If we're at major risk of getting hit by one of those, we might as well just equip Anathema itself.

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Image: Man that does not bode well for Isamu, especially if everyone's starved for Magatsuhi.

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Image: It just looks like some sort of run-down building to me, but the ambiance is spot-on.
Image: ...Huh? This is just a run-down building? You got that wrong. This is a prison!! Even though the Mantra fell, there's still loads of Manikins being held here.

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*: Hmm, I did not remember there being a large terminal here. Welp, ain't gonna complain.

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Lv28 Snake Naga
The Naga are a race of divine or semi-divine snake people from Hindu and Buddhist mythology. Some of the more ancient traditions hold them to be unrepentant assholes, gleeful persecutors of all that live; however, they are sometimes seen as relatively kind nature spirits, presiding over springs, rivers and rain. Buddhists in particular see them as especially benevolent entities, and one of them is even counted among the Buddha's personal guardians.


*: These guys are fairly common encounters here, and we're not exactly swimming in sources of fire damage. Dis' Agilao is amazing for single targets, but when there are just too many of them, I use one of the Maragi Rocks I bought specifically for this purpose.

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*: ...huh.

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*: The doors in this hallway seem empty, but...

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Voice: Save us... We're trapped in the mirage...

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Voice: Mizuchi is holding us captive in his mirage... Someone save us!

A mirage, huh? This might be tricker than I expected.

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Image: Gozu-Tennoh is gone. This prison now belongs to Mizuchi. ...I feel like torturing those Manikins in the mirage! I think I'll go do that right now. Heheheh...
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This guy should grow a mustache just so he can twirl it.

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> You need something to activate it.

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Huh, can't get through there. That's strange. I don't think there was any other way in. I'll have to take another look around, this can't be all there is.

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Image: C'mon, c'mon, c'mon! You better keep it up, or you'll be dead! You want me to stop? You REALLY want me to stop? ...Well, too bad!! Hyahahahahahahahahaha!!
Voice: Gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhh!! Ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow!!
Image: Hyahahahahahahahahaha!! Phew!! I think I'll let you off with that for today. I have this, so I can come and go into the mirage as I please. ...I'll be back!
Image: I like to think I'm not the kind of guy who looks forward to violence, in general. But...
Image: Every so often, correction is amply merited.
Image: Ha, I like the way you put it.
Image: Don't pretend you don't enjoy administering a well-deserved kick in the ass, though.
Image: Guilty as charged. Now let's get our correctin' on!

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Image: Oh you're gonna get it now.
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Image: I'm the local Amnesty International enforcer. We've had recent reports about multiple violations of Manikin rights. You wouldn't know anything about that, would you?
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Image: You're damn right it's me!
Image: ...I-I don't care! This is paradise for us ex-Mantra!
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*: Dude's alone, so the battle ends predictably.

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Alright, how does this... whoa!

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How did I not guess this place would get even creepier?

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*: It's not immediately obvious, but... we're standing on the ceiling. The layout of the mirage is identical to the real building's, except it's completely upside down.

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Fucking hell.

*: It looks like the Manikins are shackled to the floor and forced to stand up, but because of the mirage's bizarre gravity, they're actually hanging upside down.

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Image: Are we Manikins made just to feel pain!?

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Image: I don't wanna be sucked dry of Magatsuhi! I don't wanna die!!

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Someone's paying for this.

*: All the cells in here correspond to a generic empty room in the real world.

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Image: The ex-Mantra demons have now turned this...
Image: Yo, I know already.
Image: ............?
Image: Hello?
Image: I thought someone was talking to me...

So they can kinda hear me, but not see me.

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Lv34 Snake Mizuchi
The Mizuchi are Japanese dragon or serpent deities, dwelling in rivers and controlling rain. They're generally seen as adversarial in nature, and it's best to restrict one's interactions with them to offering sacrifices to appease their enmity towards humans.


*: There are many minor Mizuchi in here, but we don't seem to run into the unique one in charge of the place.

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Ha, that's one way of bypassing this barricade.

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*: We're going down, but we actually reach the second floor. Because... upside down, right.

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Image: ...... ......... ...Leave me alone.

*: A Raiju kills Nekomata with Shock, so I replace her with Incubus. Eligor also gets damn near murdered on account of his weakness, so I tag Chatterskull in. Incubus' Wing Buffet and high Magic stat come in especially handy, as the large groups of Raiju are weak to force damage. The Mana Aid skill he inherited from Bicorn is still delivering in spades as well.

Image: You know, we don't get along very well, but I gotta admit, you're more than pulling your weight today. Great work!
Image: I'm strong enough for a man, but made for a woman!
Image: What... exactly are you trying to say here?
Image: I... uh... don't... know?
Image: CUBUS GOT A BOYFRIEND!
ImageImage: Image
Image: It's beautiful to behold, no matter how many times you see it. Love always finds a way!
Image: Not with that guy, it doesn't.
Image: I absolutely do NOT swing th-
Image: Aren't you still holding on to that paper heart?
Image: That's not... It isn't...!
Image: Don't tease the kids. Their affection will bloom in time.
Image: Hey guys, how about we go save some Manikins, huh?
Image: Excellent idea.

*: There are more empty and occupied cells around here, but the Manikins generally repeat the lamentations of their brethren.

We reach an intersection with another mirage wall on one side and a ladder on the other, and a hole in the floor/ceiling on the side.

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Hmm! I choose the hole first.

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It takes us to the third floor, in front of a closed shutter. There's an open corridor behind us though; one path leads to the ladder we could have taken, and the other...


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W...what?

Image: Hey, little dude. What are you even doing here?
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Image: But, hee hee ho ho! This place is scary!

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Lv28 Haunt Pisaca
The Pisaca are Hindu demons, haunting cities and eating the flesh of the living. They are also associated with possession and delayed-death curses à la Ringu.


*: There are more corridors blocked off by shutters on this floor, and a ladder going to the fourth floor.

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> A Manikin is doing something. Will you talk to him?
Image: Hey, buddy! What are you doing?
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Image: Nah, I'm not with those assholes. In fact I'm here to help.
Image: ............? Noooooooooooo! My spoon broke!
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Image: Really now?
Image: It's your fault! I needed that spoon... Take responsibility! ...I know. How about you getting me another spoon?
Image: That's a tall order.
Image: The Collector Manikin should be around here somewhere. He has just about anything.
Image: Aw hell, he went and got himself caught after all.
Image: Find him and grab a spoon. You got that? You're responsible!
Image: Look, I'll go get your spoon, but it's because I want to help, not because I had anything to do with this.

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Image: I saw him as I was being dragged here. ...He must be below.

So, from my current perspective, above.

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*: The only two paths from here are this mirage wall here on the fourth floor, and the other back on the second. I'll start here.

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*: Man that Dragon Eye is nasty here. It's fortunate Zed can still use Shock at will. She's not resistant to physical damage, but Retaliate is basically an extra-strong Counter, so it's best to use magic if she's not somehow disabled by an ailment. Tentarafoo does Mind-type damage to all foes, and has a chance to cause Panic.

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*: Back to reality. There are a couple doors in here, but they lead to empty rooms; they must be Manikin cells in the mirage. We can take a ladder back to the third floor, but there's also a hole here that would take us to an area that was blocked off in the mirage.

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Hello, what's this?

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*: There's still a barricade here, but when we get back to the ceiling, it won't be a problem. From here, we can only take a ladder down.

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*: We end up on the correct side of a shutter on the second floor. I'm sure this'll be important later.

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Image: ...Bill...... ......1000... ............
> You couldn't hear the rest.

At least he's still alive.

*: We get to the mirage wall on this floor, and use it for the first time. This will allow us to take the ladder back to the new area of the third floor and go over that barricade.

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...no, wait, that's the first hole we went through, so we can't get back there like this. Hmm! Maybe from the third floor itself, then.

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Ah yes, there we are. Let's see if this gets us anywhere.

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Hmm. I think I missed activating that box on our first time in here. I return to the fourth floor, leave the mirage, and drop down again.

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Yup, I did miss it. After a bit more fiddling, it allows us to reach a ladder in the mirage that takes us to a new part of the second floor. This is about the time where Kikuri-Hime's healing juice runs low, so I tag her in to let her Mana Drain her reserves back up.


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Image: Hey! Collector dude! It's me!
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Image: ............? ...I know you! You're the demon I met in the Great Underpass...
Image: Couldn't resist the call of loot, eh? Say, did you happen to find a spoon on your trip? I know it's a strange question, but...
Image: ...Huh? A spoon? ............
Image: Another Manikin is trying to dig himself free, but he broke his old spoon and could use another.
Image: ...I see. ...Alright then. You did help me... with the Bill... *cough* I'll give you my spoon...
> You obtained the spoon.
Image: Thanks man.
Image: ...While you're at it, could you rescue me...?
Image: Aight, no sweat, I'm not here for sightseeing. I'll find a way to get you out.

I almost say "hang in there". Yikes.

*: Oooh, I get it. We'll get that spoon to the Manikin, he'll make a hole in the mirage, and we'll be able to use that hole from a real world empty room on the fourth floor to drop down to a northern section of the third floor that we haven't been able to access at all yet.

This whole place is really complex, but if you understand the relation between the mirage and the real world, it's not too hard to figure out. It almost straddles the line between cool challenge and pain in the ass, but there's no Kaiwan taunting you at every step, so it remains comfortably in the domain of the interesting mental exercise.

There's a neat distinction between the mirage and the real world too, in that there are more enemy groups composed of harder enemies in the mirage. In fact the Pretas never seem to show up in the mirage.


Image: Yo! Spoon delivery service!
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Image: I'd be a right shitty spoon delivery service if I didn't have a spoon to deliver. Here!
Image: Whoa! This is one powerful spoon!
> The Manikin began digging.
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Image: ...This is incredible. I dug the hole in a flash. Alright, I'm outta here. See ya!
> The Manikin jumped into the hole.

*: We leave the mirage again.

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*: Yup, this is new.

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Image: ...Dammit!! I was able to escape from my cell... But I need to defeat Mizuchi to escape from the mirage...

*: A Yaksini fight earns Zed, Incubus and Koppa a level. We'd learn Mamudo, but, eh, nah. Incubus learns Stun Claw, and Koppa gets Makatora (spend 10 MP to replenish an ally's MP by 10) and gives us an Attack Mirror, which is a one-shot item that casts Tetrakarn.

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Voice: Mizuchi... is on the floor above... But......... in the mirage... ............

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*: We open up a path to the rest of the fourth floor, giving us easy access to a mirage wall should we need it, and keep exploring.

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So this takes us to the fifth floor for the first time. I could go to the mirage right away but I want to recon the place beforehand.


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...aw hell, we haven't seen Isamu yet. Dammit!

*: We have a small terminal here, so I take the opportunity to drop a save.

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*: More empty rooms here. Which means, cells.

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Image: ...!
> It's quiet now.

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Voice: YOU CANNOT SEE ME! ...NOR CAN YOU LAY A FINGER ON ME FROM THERE! FOOL! TAKE THIS!
> You were knocked out of the room.

Alright then, nothing else stands in our way. Isamu, I'm coming.

*: We return to the mirage through the fourth floor, then make our way to the fifth floor again.

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Image: Above... He's on the 5th floor...

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They're all unconscious in there. Small blessings...

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Image: Yeah, that's what I figured. This is ending soon, one way or another.
Image: Defeat him and save Futomimi, please!!

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*: I remember Mizuchi having a nasty trick up its sleeve, but man I don't remember what it is. Welp, never mind then. I give Dis a Chakra Drop just in case, and step inside.



*: Whuh-oh. Okay, so, nasty multi-hit ice attack. I can deal with that. I make my way back to the boss room, ingest Wadatsumi to void ice damage, and summon Gui Xian and Arahabaki to absorb and repel the same. Let's try again.



*: Well hey, no nasty trick then, just a shrinking gimmick. Interestingly, it's not just a neat visual effect; as the Mizuchi shrinks from taking damage, the ice spells it can use grow progressively weaker, from Mabufudyne at the beginning down to Bufu when near death. It's mostly a question of surviving the first few rounds long enough to knock the wind out of him. I was only worried when Zed got panicked, but that Sacred Water came in real handy. (Speaking of panic, Dis picking up Void Mind by random luck sure helped eat up icons.) And I'm glad to see Arahabaki inherited Momunofu's boss-annihilating power despite his lower strength. Shame about how ridiculous his attack animation looks, but he's got no joints, whatchagonnado.

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*: Miasma is an upgraded ice Magatama, still spellcaster-oriented. However, unlike Wadatsumi, it's weak to fire, not electricity. It would teach us Wild Dance next, which has a chance to confuse an entire enemy group.

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There are four chests in this room, but full K is not for a while yet and we have pressing business besides.

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Music: Manekata
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Image: Heyo.
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Image: ......You're...... ...a human...? No, a demon...?
Image: It's complicated.
Image: ...I see. You are the "Demi-fiend" I prophesied about. Very interesting.
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*: Note that this is the only Manikin we've met who looks us directly in the eyes. He also does not twitch.
Image: It was my pleasure. Your people are having a rough time out there, I had to do something.
Image: My name is Futomimi. You may know it already, but I can see into the near future.
Image: Yeah... I must admit that's also why I came here.
Image: I've been waiting for you to come and save us, you who are both human and demon...
Image
Image: Oh definitely.
Image: It seems he came to see me, but he was also caught.
Image
Image
Image: I had hoped we'd bust in here together, but he left on his own and I was... side-tracked. But you probably already know that.
Image: You should see him, then. I sense a strange energy in him. I am worried about the other Manikins, so I must be going. Thank you again for saving us. ...Now, if you'll excuse me.
Image



Huh.

Well then.

Fine.

He's just lucky someone left a terminal drum in there.

User avatar
François
Posts: 1021
Joined: Tue Jan 21, 2014 8:00 am

Re: Let's play Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne

Postby François » Fri Dec 11, 2015 7:17 am

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*: Checking back on the room Isamu was in, it appears the terminal no longer works. Did he burn it out somehow? Maybe he wanted to make sure we wouldn't go after him.

Image

The room were Futomimi was held captive is also empty. It's hard to tell what this building used to be before the Conception. The rooms mostly contain upturned tables and chairs, and this one has what appear to be milk cartons, bottles, a glass tumbler and... maybe an ashtray or a coaster?

Well, it hardly matters by now.

So! Four Mystical Chests then. We're on waning 2/8 K, so it'll be a few moments.

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Image

Judging from the decor, this could have been a lounge or club of some description. On the fifth floor.

Aaanyway! We get in a few fights with regular Mizuchi, so I use Estoma once New K rolls around. It's best not to take any chances for now. Zed, Kikuri-Hime and Incubus may have nigh-bottomless MP, but if everyone else runs out of juice it'll still be bad times.

Dis gains a level, and learns Me Patra, the last skill on her list. She attempts to change a skill, and...

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Now that's what you want to see happen when a skill changes. Dis also gives us an Attack Mirror, and...


Image
Image
Image: It shall be engraved upon your soul!
Image: Divine assault!
ImageImage: NIBELUNG VALESTI!
Image: Oh I am such a fan. How's Lenneth doing these days?
Image: Um, she's made-up.
Image: Dante's running around in here, real enough to put a bullet in my spleen, but Lenneth Valkyrie's still fictional?
Image: Afraid so.
Image: This world is just going to keep shitting directly on my head, isn't it?
Image: Such is your fate!

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Lv33 Wargod Valkyrie
The valkyries are near-divine female figures from Norse mythology, whose task it is to collect the souls of warriors who die a worthy death in battle and bring them to Valhalla for an afterlife of continuous combat and revelry. And... also... to serve mead. Because patriarchy, I guess.

Wargods are... well, I won't insult your intelligence. I wish I could tell you what differentiates them mythologically from the Kishin, but I am deprived of the faintest.


*: When Full K pops up, we get a Pearl, a Jade, a Sapphire and a Vitality Incense. Great haul!

Alright, time to go... Hmm. I forgot to ask Futomimi where he was going. I hope he didn't take a powder on us. But he didn't seem the type, and besides, maybe I could ask the Underpass Manikins for directions.

Image
Image
Image: Oh hey, I was just about to go look for you.
Image
Image: Well, once more, my pleasure. But do you guys have a safe place to go to now?
Image: ...We Manikins plan to leave the area. Together, we will find a way to live without suffering.
Image: For what it's worth, I'm rooting for you. Hope it works out.
Image
Image: By all means!
Image
Image
Image: ...It seems that there is a man waiting for you at Ginza. Go and see him.

I bet it's Hijiri. Maybe he found something out through the Amala Network.

Image: Alright, that's actually quite helpful. Thanks.
Image: ...We must get going now. Again, thank you so much.
Image: Happy to be service, and best of luck to you and yours.
Image: ...Now, if you'll excuse us.
Image

*: I drop a save at the small terminal, but we go back to the ground floor on foot, just to see if there's anyone left. I'm also kinda curious about Heeho's next step.

Hmm, in the end, there's no one left. All rooms are empty, and the mirage walls no longer work. I do find a portion of the third floor we didn't even see the first time around, and it has a few empty room and another small terminal.


Image
Image: ...Well, it's not a prison anymore, with Mizuchi being defeated and all.

*: We hit the large terminal, and go directly to Ginza.

Image
Image: Fancy meeting you here!
Image
Image: Been better, been worse.
Image: How did you know I was here?
Image: A good reporter never discloses his sources, you know that better than I do. Any news on your side?
Image
Image: Well, he wiped out mankind almost completely, so...
Image: Man, that Nightmare System... It's more powerful than I ever imagined.
Image
Image: Maybe we can figure out where the Nightmare System is located, or more about the Maiden...
Image
Image: I can't do much digging without raising a red flag. We need to find a terminal that Nihilo doesn't know about...
Image: I bet that's even trickier than it sounds.
Image: Remember those Manikins that were enslaved by the Mantra?
Image: I've heard of them, here and there.
Image: I heard they're rebuilding the town of Asakusa. Maybe there's a terminal over there that Nihilo's unaware of.
Image: Worth a shot.
Image
Image: I wasn't even going to suggest it.
Image: I'll see what I can do with this terminal...
Image: Do you know if there's an overland route? Or another tunnel somewhere? As far as I know, I've exhausted my travel options.
Image: ...Wait a minute. I completely forgot about you.
Image: ...that's quite a feat.
Image: Hey, do you feel like going to Asakusa?
Image: I'd be going even if you didn't ask me to. But you'll still owe me one.
Image: If you can get there and contact me through the Amala Network, it'll make my job much easier.
Image
Image: Yeah, no sweat.
Image: Thanks, I appreciate it. I'll tell you everything I find out there, so let's stay in touch, alright?
Image: Ha, I bet I couldn't get away from you even if I wanted to.
Image: I'll be waiting, then. You should check out the tunnel in East Ikebukuro. If the rumor is true, it'll take you to Asakusa.
Image: Huh! It was locked up when I saw it last, but maybe the Manikins had the key all along.
Image: I'll be working on this terminal, but you'll probably have more luck than me. I'm counting on ya.
Image: Aight, see you later then.

*: We don't leave immediately though, since we're long overdue for a Fountain visit. Before we spend any cash there, we have... 66677 Macca. Ominous!

And after we do, we have 65201 left. Affordable!

While we're here, I also check out the lounge and the jeweler.


Image
Image: I don't know what they're up to, but it'll get ugly if there's too much drama between demons.

Image
Image: I hear that the Maiden has something to do with it. She's messing up everything.

Image
Image: So if that goes down, so does the Mantra's headquarters.

Image
Image: With Futomimi as their leader, the city's slowly coming back to life. But, it's time like these when the unexpected occurs.

I'd ask if she knows something she's not telling me, but who am I kidding, there's no way she doesn't.

*: Loki's completely gone. Maybe he ran too high a tab.

There are a couple things I'd like to get at Rag's, but they'd be borderline luxury and we don't have enough of any one gem to let me be comfortable with spending them without immediate need for now.

We drop by the Cathedral for registration. Zed's maybe 1500 exp from being high enough level to perform one of the fusions I've had in mind. Hmmmm... To hell with it, we're going back to Kabukicho and picking a couple fights.

Things go so swimmingly that I decide to stick around and gain another 3000 exp to make sure my ingredients both get one last level. Notably, along the way, I allow Incubus to turn Hama into Mahama. That Angel's skill has come a long way.

Aaaaaand we're done. We warp straight to Ikebukuro, and use the facilities there.

Badb Catha + Eligor =


Image: Ah, I always enjoy putting those two together.
Image: Yeah, I bet you do.
Image
Image
Image
Image: Wait, what's this alarm sound? Is the Deathstone causing some sort of interference?
Image: No... It... shouldn't. The phase isn't... Oh. Oh dear.
Image: Oh dear!? What do you mean, "oh dear"?
Image
Image
Image
Image: WHAT THE HELL!?
Image
Image: NOOOOOOOOOoooOOOooOOOooooo~!
Image
Image: Unexpected? Unexpected?
Image: Indeed.
Image: There's unexpected, and then there's fusing the EXACT OPPOSITE OF A SUCCUBUS.
Image: I don't know what to tell you. This almost never happens.
Image: Which is what you would end up saying if you had fused a Succubus.
Image: Heyo!
Image: So, how do you pull them back apart?
Image
Image: No no no, you, you stay quiet for a moment. Tell me, Mister Minister, how we are going to reverse this.
Image: We are not.
Image: Okay. Okay! Okay. I've lived through the end of the world. I can live through this.
Image: Um... Um... Sorry...?
Image: Oh, poor dear. This is not your fault.
Image: Yeah, sorry mang, is just, I expected something else. Anyway, let's see what you got.

Image

*: So, fusion accidents. It had to happen sooner or later. This Troll is one level higher than Zed is, so it's not entirely a wash I suppose. Still, I'd have preferred my original pick. I really liked the inheritance roll I settled on, too...

...He's got an Agility of 4. Oy.


Image: Aight, next one. Is it gonna work this time?
Image: Probably!

Koppa + Chatterskull =

Image

Image

Lv35 Jirae Sarutahiko
Sarutahiko is a Shinto deity, watching over travelers and presiding over strength and guidance. He once was the leader of the earthly pantheon, until the gods of the heavenly pantheon, led by Amaterasu, descended and took over. Sarutahiko wasn't going to give up his domain without a fight at first, but Ame-no-Uzume "persuaded" him to capitulate peacefully, and the two later got married, sealing the union between the divine factions.


Image: Well, that's better.
Image: I'm happy to serve.
Image: Alright, you know what? Pull out the Compendium. I came here for a reason.
Image: Ah! But of course. I trust you have the coin?
Image: What good is money if you don't spend it? Just don't mess up this time.

*: About 23000 Macca later...

Eligor + Badb Catha =


Image
Image: Well... That was... Wow. Suddenly I don't mind living on Pays-for-Pixies Island anymore. Yikes.
Image: Like I'm gonna let this fake idiot sun mess up MY fusions! Take that, dumb world! I do what I want!

Image

*: Succubi don't get to do much numerical damage until they pick up Tentarafoo as their last skill, but giving this one Wing Buffet, Needle Rush and Dark Might will let her deliver some real pain even when setting up a Dormina -> Eternal Rest combo would prove impractical.

And we're done with fusion for now. That was unexpectedly eventful! I do have one last thing to do before we leave, however. We warp to Kabukicho again. As we get into a couple fights, Kikuri-Hime leans her final skill, Recarm (resurrects an ally with a small amount of HP).


Image: Yo.
Image
Image: It's a chance to redeem your kind. Take it or don't.
Image: GRR... GRR... GRR...
> Mizuchi is chuckling.
*: It asks for money and a Bead.
Image: THE WORLD IS NOTHING BUT A PAINTING YOUR SENSES DRAW.
Image
Image: Of course I do. For all I know, I'm a painting their senses are drawing.
Image: SO THAT IS YOUR LEVEL...
> Mizuchi made a wry face.
Image: GRRRR... LOSER.
Image: W... what?
Image: ............ I AM NOW SATISFIED.
Image: Huh.
Image: GRRRR... VERY WELL. I AM Mizuchi THE Snake. I WILL TRAVEL WITH YOU.

Image

*: Welp, that's a full roster again, which isn't ideal, but we'll manage. Nekomata's the closest we have to dead weight, but Marin Karin and Stun Needle can always come in handy, and she should be evolving in two levels anyway.

We return to Ikebukuro, save in the Mantra HQ again, and head out a little ways east then south, to the station we saw in between Hell Biker's victory and defeat.


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Image

Image



Image

You've been in one station, you've been in all of them... right?

Image
Image: It's called the Ikebukuro Tunnel.

Image

No Sacred Water in this one. I wonder what was up with that.

Image
Image: I'm sleeping. Don't bother me!

Image

Getting in for free... Why does this still feel wrong?

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If only the Collector knew!

Image
Image: ...My guess is, they're gonna try and revive the city of Asakusa.

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Image

Image

For a moment, if I closed my eyes, I could almost forget...

No. I couldn't.

Image: You look distressed. Are you well?
Image: Oh, I'm fine, is just... I've been here before.
Image: It must be difficult to realize how much it's changed.
Image: That's the thing. It didn't change. It didn't change at all. It's the same.
Image: Why are you so glum, then?
Image: ...
Image: It reminds him of how much everything else did change.
Image: ...yeah.
Image: Is this going to be a problem?
Image: No, it's not. This is nothing. It may have been a train station once, but today it's a hole in the ground. Let's go. We have somewhere to be.

Image

*: Both eastern tunnels have collapsed. Westward it is, then.

Image

I know it's not their fault, but they remind me of Kaiwan and I just want to... punch.

Image
Image: They're all important, as they connect different areas together... But actually, no one really uses them...

Image
Image: I dunno, you tell me.

Image

If it's like this all the way through, this'll be simpler than I thought.

Image
Image: Yup. That seems to be the only way from here, anyway.
Image: Then, you'll need something that'll light up the way. They sell it somewhere...
Image: Thanks for the heads-up, but I'm good.

*: We have a bunch of Light Balls that I picked up for tickets, and Sarutahiko knows Lightoma besides.

Image

This is a train station, so there are two tunnels for each direction; for now we take the northern one.

Image

Mmm-hmm. I guess this is one benefit of glowing in the dark, but it's not much help.


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Image

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*: If you look carefully, you can see the blue light we emit reflecting off the walls, therefore avoiding the old videogame cliché of characters having an unexplained glow illuminating their immediate area. But... this place is pitch black, and our tattoos are really no good for navigation, it's just a neat touch.

Sarutahiko casts Lightoma, and suddenly it's... well... a little better.


Image

Image

*: The tunnel is collpsed maybe 40 meters in, but something dug a hole in the northern wall here.

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*: Well that's extra creepy for just one little chest. We're on 4/8 waxing, and the only enemies so far are Slimes, Blobs, Kelpies and Sudama, so it's not too much trouble to wait, though it does expend our light. Aaaand it's a Chakra Pot; even if Sarutahiko runs out of juice, this'll have been a net gain, heh.

In any case, that's all this northern tunnel has to offer, so we go back to the platform and take the southern tunnel instead.


Image

Oh hell.

Image
Image: Pika?
Image: There's oni inside!
Image: You don't say.
Image: Well, I'm an oni, too, but I ran into a strong oni inside! Plus, I hear there's a total of four oni...

These must be the four troublemakers that Thor kicked out of the Mantra. I hope Futomimi's foresight was keen enough to avoid them.

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*: Ooooh, a large terminal. Saves us the trip from Ikebukuro if we want to heal up, nice.

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The main tunnel line is collapsed here too, but this rough-hewn cave seems to be the way further in.

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Or... further down. Le sigh. Train tracks would have been too straightforward, I suppose.

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Even the ladders have unique designs from dungeon to dungeon.

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Gah, look at this. Just look at it. So little detail, but still so striking. This is just a random door in a train tunnel dungeon, and look at it. Man I love this game.


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Lv43 Wilder Mothman
The Mothman would be a giant humanoid bird creature with shining red eyes that was allegedly sighted several times in West Virginia in the mid 60s. The Silver Bridge over the Ohio River collapsed in 1967, and there were no Mothman sightings shortly before and after the incident, so the story has it that the creature is somehow responsible for the 46 deaths it caused. Odds are it was a sandhill crane off its migratory path, which is a pretty damn large bird, true, but is probably not to blame for the chronic lack of upkeep and maintenance that likely caused the Silver Bridge to fall apart.


*: Zed levels up, and we refuse Anathema's Evil Gaze. I'm a little worried about Mothman's Panic Voice, so I ingest Iyomante next.

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Image

Lv28 Foul Black Ooze
Another blob o' goop! This one's pretty much lifted from D&D, even.


*: Wow, Nekomata levels up, and gives us Magic Incense! I knew I was keeping her around for a reason. She's got another level to go before she evolves, but I want to register her at the Cathedral before she does, so I'll take her out of the party when she's one fight away from it until we get back to town.

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Image

Image

We start exploring this third floor, but halfway through an innocuous corridor, a hidden pitfall just like the ones in the Labyrinth of Amala drops us to another corridor on B4. This place'll be a pleasure, I can tell. The northern door from where we fell takes us to a ladder back up, but the only way from that ladder is straight back to the same pitfall. So we head south instead... which leads us to another ladder returning to a place on B3 we had already visited. Oh well! At least we know there's nothing of value there.

Image

Hmm, I said these caves were rough hewn, but... those are stalagtites. This is natural. Or... well, whatever passes for natural here.

After visiting a long dead end, we find a ladder taking us to a more legit part of B4, with a small terminal nearby.

Image

A nearby tunnel is clearly covered in damaging mist; neither Succubus nor Troll inherited Liftoma, so I use one of our Float Balls. The corridor has a branch leading to a ladder down (yay), but I want to explore the rest of B4 for now.

Image

Image

Ah, of course.


Image
Image: ...I didn't see an oni on this floor, though. Thank goodness...

Image
Image
Image: I don't know what god has to do with this, but I could always use some guidance.
Image: ............ ............ ............ ...Very well. Take this...
> You obtained Light Ball x 1.
Image: Thank you.
Image: This is nothing, considering it's for the sake of this world. Please be careful...

*: There's more to B5, but we climb back up to B4 to continue exploring, and find another ladder to B3.

Image
Image: Holy crap, are you okay?
Image
Image: There are four ex-Mantra oni here. They're scary.
Image: You should probably stay here until I get rid of them.
Image: The leader oni's gonna come out if you defeat the other three, and he's really scary! ...In other words, I'm scared.
Image: Yyyyeah, I got that.

Image
Image: You probably should, yeah.
> ...You received Magic Mirror!
Image: Huh, thanks.
Image: Don't let the others know, though. They'll get the wrong idea.
Image: Gotcha.
Image: Don't get the wrong idea either!
Image: I promise!

Good lord I hope I didn't somehow pick up the one tsundere Incubus.

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*: Another ladder up on B3. This place is so sprawling! There are at least three more avenues I want to explore. Welp, we're here for now, let's see where this goes.

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Oooh, another small terminal. Usually I'd obsess over the paths I'm not taking, but these convenient terminals would make it simple enough to just start over. Considering how the dungeons in earlier SMT games occasionally reached a level of rudeness that approached cruelty, this feels extraordinarily respectful of my time.

Ha, speaking of my time, this save tells me I just broke the 50 hour mark. Man, this typing!


Image

*: This door is labeled "Stone Cave", which... is surprisingly unhelpful.

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...but we're not even asked a question, we are simply turned back to the corridor. Maybe this is where the Oni boss would show up once we've taken out his crew? I can't quite remember. It would make sense, what with the small terminal nearby. We'll see.


Image

Oh dang, that was quick, I completely forgot about saving up her current form. Ah well, so be it!

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Lv27 Holy Senri
In Japanese folklore, Senri are extremely old mountain cats who somehow turn into succubus-like creatures who seduce men to steal their lifeforce.

Image: I don't know if it's the fashion sense on that one, but...
Yyyyyeahhhh...


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Image

*: Huh. Strange. There's a tunnel leading west on the opposite side. Let's check it out.

Image

I didn't expect this already. These tracks run north-south, but the north end has collapsed, so south it is.


Image

Image
Image: Yeah, I did.
Image: Were you attacked by an oni? Luckily, I wasn't...
Image: Me neither. Huh! I guess you guys made it through unscathed then.

*: This looks like it's going to be the exit to Asakusa, but I've left like at least half the tunnels behind, and we didn't run into a single Oni, except the regular one in the beginning. Can't help but feel I'm getting off easy here. There's no way this is it... is there?

Image
Image: That's in Asakusa alright. I absolutely know it, but I can't believe it.
Image: The end of the Ikebukuro Line--!

*: Zed levels up off a couple Black Oozes. Iyomante would teach him Life Aid, which regenerates a percentage of your maximum HP after every fight... but it doesn't have a combat effect and I don't feel like it's better than anything else occupying our slots right now.

Still, that was all Iyomante had to offer.


Image

*: So we're not a Fiend anymore. Well, we're still the Demi-Fiend, but our official demon race is now Votary.
Image: The hell's a votary?
*: Same root as "devout". A votary is a person who has taken solemn religious vows, such as a monk or nun, or it can refer more generally to any disciple of a particular faith or sect.
Image: I don't get it.
*: Every Magatama has an alignment on the light/dark axis, and mastering a Magatama earns us one point towards its alignment. Think of it as permanently absorbing a portion of the demonic creature's essence, and keeping that fragment within us even when the actual entity is no longer physically present inside our body. Once a certain total number of points is accumulated, the Demi-Fiend's race changes to one of three titles, depending on how many of each alignment he has. The first break point is at two points. Since we have mastered Kamudo (Neutral) and Iyomante (Light), we now have two points. In case of a tie between Light and Dark, the neutral title is chosen, and in case of a tie between neutral and non-neutral, the non-neutral title is chosen. Therefore, we have the first Light title, making Zed a Light-aligned demon.
Image: Whoa dang, what? Dude just shifted alignments, just like that?
*: Yup.
Image: That's huge!
*: Eh, not really. Except for one minor element very late in the game, our title and alignment don't matter. It'll continue changing as we master more Magatama, and it just doesn't make any sense to pay much attention to the alignment of the Magatama we ingest over their skills, stats and immunities.
Image: Huh, alright then, if you say so.

Image

Image

Am I just going to walk out of here? There's no way. Any moment now, I'm going to be ambushed by all four Oni, trying to make more of a name for themselves.

Any second now.

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Aaaaaand...

Image: Ha! Schwaaa... Haiya! Ninja pose!
Image: What the hell are you doing?
Image: I'm being vigilant, prepared, and intimidating. You'll thank me later.
Image: I'll thank you right now if you start acting in a more dignified manner.
Image: WHO SAYS "NINJA POSE"?
Image: Cool people. Shut up.
Image: Ninja pose!
Image: Ninja pose!
Image: ...ninja pose.
Image: But you can't...
Image: Exactly.
Image: Ha, never mind me then. Samurai pose!
Image: Boys! Can't live with, can't live without, eh girls?
Image: It's adorable.
Image: Kunoichi pose!
Image: ...
Image: I've never brought back a ninja before. But I suppose they tend not to die warriors' deaths.
Image: ...I KNEW YOU WERE LOSERS. YOU'RE ALL LOSERS!
Image: You know, I can tell from here that you're made out of saltwater.
Image: Did someone cast Agidyne? Because I just heard a sick burn!
Image: I don't mean to spoil your stealthy sneaky fun, but if the oni didn't know we were here before, they sure know now.
Image: Oh shi, good point. Let's get a move on. Ninja walk!

Image

Nope, this is it. Asakusa. No one's stopping us. We're out. We're there.

Huh.

User avatar
François
Posts: 1021
Joined: Tue Jan 21, 2014 8:00 am

Re: Let's play Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne

Postby François » Tue Dec 15, 2015 9:05 am

Image: Alright guys, wait a minute. Ninja stop.
Image: What's eatin' ya, boss?
Image: Why the hell do I want to go back in there?
Image: You are a warrior, and you are leaving worthy opponents unchallenged.
Image: ...am I a warrior, now?
Image: Don't kid yourself, we've all seen you punch more than your share of faces. If that doesn't make you a warrior...
Image: Eh, I guess you're right. But I still don't think that's what it is.
Image: Would you like some time to think it over?
Image: Nah, I'll figure it out on the way, there's no time to sit around.

Image

*: Crossing the bridge north shortly leads to a dead end, so we head southwest.

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Oooh, before I forget: we are now on the "right" side of the Vortex World. Shinjuku was on the back, so we've nearly come full circle.

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There are lots of visible locations in here, but the rivers and cliffs only make one of them immediately accessible to us.


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Heh, these guys aren't so scary anymore by now.

*: That said, in a battle against two Archangels just before we reach our destination, Incubus gets Hama'd. Can't let my guard down! Fortunately, Kikuri-Hime knows Recarm by now, and the 20 MP the spell costs will be a lot cheaper at the Fountain than a revival would be.

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*: This would be the approach to Senso-ji, an ancient Buddhist temple located in Asakusa. It's the oldest temple in Tokyo, having been originally founded in 645, though it was bombed during World War II and subsequently rebuilt. The structures here are Kaminarimon Gate, with its distinctive giant lantern, and the Nakamise-Douri commercial street, flanked with stores including tourist gift shops and food vendors.

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*: The encounter gauge is blue, so it would seem the Manikins are somehow keeping the demons away for now.

Image
Image: ...Ah, it has such a sweet ring to it.
Image: Happy to be here.

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*: The surrounding terrain hasn't escaped the devastation, but the main buildings themselves look surprisingly intact.

Image
Image: We're free! There's nothing that can hurt us now!
Image: Gozu-Tennoh is gone, but his army isn't completely...
Image: The Mantra? We don't give a damn!
Image: That's... that's the spirit!

Oh man.

*: We've got the typical array of services in here, so I gladly make use of them. The nice thing about Asakusa's facilities is that it's one of the few places (or the only place?) where you can't get attacked in between the Terminal, Cathedral, junk shop and Fountain, so it's ideal for quick healing round-trips.

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Image: I don't know why, but it interests me... Something about it's [sic] movement and...angle?

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*: Oh-ho! We can even afford both of them already. I still milk them for two tickets, of course. And now that we've bought him out of Magatama...

Image: It's so comfortable here. Asakusa has to be the best. There are stores everywhere, too. *wink*

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*: Nirvana is a bit of an upgrade to Ankh in terms of immunity, but it's got a huge Luck bonus to it and teaches Expel-type attacks instead of healing spells. The first skill it would teach us is Violet Flash, which is a single target attack that does high Expel-type damage. Unlike the instant death Hama spells, it works like any other type of elemental damage spell like Agi or Zio and doesn't have an intrinsic chance to just not work. Unfortunately, most bosses are at least immune to Expel, so its usefulness is somewhat limited.

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*: Gehenna is a fire Magatama, like Shiranui, but it's got balanced stats, absorbs fire damage instead of merely nullifying it, and is weak to ice instead of force. Its first skill, Hellfire, is a multi-hitting attack like Shock or Rampage, and pretty much a straight upgrade to Fire Breath.

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Image: So did you. I'm not even gonna ask.
Image: Sorry if I pressured you too much, but I managed to get here after all. It took a while, but I was finally able to pinpoint the route to this terminal.
Image: Good thing I was coming here anyway.
Image: Not bad for an ordinary human, eh?
Image: You're resourceful, I'll give you that.
Image: Oh yeah, I found out something interesting about Asakusa. This is where the Manikins are created. They're made from the black mud that's scooped up from a river around here.
Image: I... would not have guessed.
Image: No wonder they want to rebuild this town.
Image: Makes sense.
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Image: It's perfect for monitoring their activities and finding out about the Nightmare System.
Image: Ah, that's great news. Anything you can do, then?
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Image: Aight, I can understand that.
Image: It shouldn't take too long, though. Why don't you go look around for a while?
Image: Yeah, I was thinking about that. The place still looks pretty nice.

*: Using the talk command in the terminal menu...

Image: ...Hey, don't rush me. You don't want to miss something important, do ya?
Image: Oh, sure, sorry, no prob. Go right ahead.

So, I gotta kill some time. My mind is made up, then.

Image: Guys, we're heading back to the tunnels.
Image: Aw, but I was looking forward to sightseeing!
Image: There won't be much sightseeing to do for long if those four oni realize the Manikins set up shop right in their backyard. I know it's really none of our business, but...
Image: No, I get you. Protect the weak, that sort of thing. Bloody work, but someone's got to do it.
Image: Exactly. I'm not going pretend I don't look forward to measuring up to those tough sumbitches, but if I just leave the Manikins to their own devices, I'm not much better than the Mantra were. And besides, it'll be good practice. Let's go, people. Let's hunt some oni.

*: We head back to the Terminal and warp directly to the start of the tunnels.

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That's a nasty trick I forgot to mention last time: if you're in a dark place, your automap only displays your immediate area. In any case, we turn on the light, and head towards the first branch we did not explore, which is just past the small terminal on B4, a ladder past near the damage mist.


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*: A nondescript Cube in a nondescript hallway gets us in a fight with three Trolls. This could be a pretty costly battle, but Senri's Marin Karin and Incubus' Sexy Gaze exploit their Mind weakness, so we encounter no difficulty. I even use Incubus' Evil Gaze, and watch the Trolls finish each other off. It's good to be a gangsta. This is the battle that earns Incubus its last skill, Life Drain. A straight upgrade to Mana Drain, Life Drain steals both HP and MP. It's definitely one skill I'll want to pass down for a long time.

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*: That's all for this branch; the short dead-ends had Medicine, a Soma Droplet, and some other unremarkable treasure.

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*: Senri turns Stun Needle into Arid Needle, which causes physical damage and a petrification attempt.

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That's one of those rad doors when light has run out. Daaaang.

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We've explored everything except whatever branches west from this point, and still no trace of the oni.

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There was another room similar to this one earlier, but there was a ladder in that small island bit. Maybe...

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Ha, I knew it.

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It's 6/8 waxing, so it's not long before we can open this chest and get the Agility Incense within. Trying to reach the nearby door drops us into a pit, back to an area of B5 we just finished exploring. Tricksy tunnelses!

Making our way back and taking another branch...

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Another Stone Cave. Now we're talking.


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Image: Likewise.
Image: I'm Sui-Ki. I'm a cold demon.
Image: I'm ZedPower. I'm an angel of death.
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Image: Be careful...
Image: I'm not afraid of this clown. Here I am.
Image: Heh... You got some guts.

*: We're returned in front of him, as if nothing ever happened. Well, he's a cold demon, so it's a chance to reform our party. That said, I already ingested Wadatsumi, and we have Arahabaki, Mizuchi and Gui Xian out.

Image: You really want to have some fun with me, huh?
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Image: Again? Sure.
Image: Ew... Not with a guy, man.

*: Again, we're returned to the room without further trouble. You can only get a rise out of this guy by refusing to approach him.



Man, I kinda regret recording this fight, but here it is. Not very exciting! Dude's all physical and ice damage, which makes Arahabaki indestructible. It was just a question of Gui Xian keeping everyone else topped off. Sui-ki is clearly resistant to physical damage himself so it took a silly amount of time, but there was essentially no real danger.

So, one down, three to go.

*: The only way out of here is down the pit that screwed us earlier. We used up a bunch of MP, so I warp from the small terminal near the exit, go heal up, and make my way back. I'm sure the other oni won't be as simple, and I don't want to take chances.

I decide to walk back to where we were instead of teleporting, because the next branch to explore is closer to the exit than to the entrance. However, on my way there, I notice that we haven't explored the western train tunnel from the platform area.

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Yep, that's another segment of the map I didn't even see the first time around. We still have a portion of the eastern side to explore, but let's check this place out while we're here.

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Oooh, a Stone Cave almost right away.

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I think I remember what this guy's about. I ingest Hifumi, and summon Sarutahiko, Valkyrie and Senri.


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Image: Holy hell, that must whistle like crazy when you're facing the wind.
Image: I'm Fuu-ki. You must have some time on your hands, making it all the way down here.
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Image: Let's dispense with the formalities here. The only currency I'm distributing today is Knuckle Dollars.
Image: I'm sorry! Please! Don't hurt me! C'mon, I beg of you!
Image: Nice try.
Image: Ha... Yeah, right! Take this, loser!



*: A force dude, just like I thought. We took a few more lumps here because only Zed and Senri resisted force damage, but Valkyrie's Mediarama carried the day. Still, I'm sure you can imagine what Tornado backed by four Makakaja stacks can do to an unprepared party.

I'd get back to Asakusa right away, but there's another branch to this portion of the tunnels and I want to check it out first.

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Ah, alright then. Asakusa it is.

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Hifumi would teach us Void Force (it doesn't), and that's all she wrote. Mastering it earns us a neutral alignment point, shifting our aligment to neutral and changing our title to Adept.

Heal, register, walk back.

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Huh, we've been here before. In fact, I can't seem to find anywhere we haven't been to. One of the souls last time told us that an oni was attacking people who fell in a certain hole, so maybe there's a hole in a dead end somewhere, that I haven't bothered exploring all the way to the end. Welp, time to fine tooth comb this sucker.


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Lv32 Femme Shikome
Yomotsu-Shikome, meaning "ugly woman of the underworld", was a demonic hag in Shinto lore who, like Kikuri-Hime, was involved in Izanagi and Izanami's dispute. Izanami sent this hag (or eight of them, depending on who you ask) to catch and kill her husband after he looked upon her decayed body, and she (they?) chased him relentlessly until Izanagi climbed a mountain near the entrance of the underworld and threw peaches at her (them?) from above. Yup, peaches. Because Japan.


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*: Oooh, I totally missed this.

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At last.

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We ingest Shiranui, because it's the highest Magic stat boost we can get from a Magatama that has something to teach us on next level up. And we summon Arahabaki, Mizuchi and Gui Xian.


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Image: ...WHAT DO YOU WANT?
Image: You're next on my list.
Image: I AM KIN-KI. YOU FILTHY DOG...
Image: Never heard of you.
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Image: I'M ZEDPOWER. ARE YOU DEAF? IS THAT WHY YOU'RE SCREAMING LIKE AN IDIOT?
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Image: ...WHAT, YOU'RE THAT...!? DAMN DEMON-HUMAN FREAK!! SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST!!
Image: BRING IT!
Image: I WILL HUNT YOU DOWN!!



*: Kin-Ki's a bit of a special case, as he's more resistant to physical damage than is the norm for a physical-resistant demon, and he's weak to all elements in a way that doesn't trigger extra turns. Gui Xian learned Ice Boost a while back so he did the heavy lifting here, with Mizuchi's Makakaja skyrocketing his damage output. The guy can be a bit scarier than he was this time, but he mostly wasted a bunch of turns trying to hit Arahabaki.

I'm a bit bummed about losing Mizuchi's Bufula, but Life Refill is a really good skill in general, as it replenishes the demon's HP while walking around.

We return to the nearby terminal, but this time, we warp to Ikebukuro.


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Image: That's what the Manikins told me before leaving.
Image: Holy crap, I'm surprised they stopped long enough to talk to you.
Image: ...Well, I'll do what I want.

*: We return to the Mantra HQ, and take the elevator down, the the prison level.

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Image: Booyah!
Image: Oh my! What muscles! I'm feeling all tingly!
Image: Don't pour it on too thick, sweetheart. I quite like my soul where it is, thank you very much.
Image: You're no fun. But I like a challenge!

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One cube. This better not be a practical joke.

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Aw yeah.

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*: It takes a Strength stat of 24 to be able to open this door. Gaea comes with the same physical resistance as Kamudo, but its set of weaknesses is arguably worse; being weak to force is bad enough, but a weakness to expel and death on top of that is extraordinarily risky. It would teach us Deathbound, which a multi-target physical attack like Berserk, and which scales off HP like Heat Wave. However, you can only learn it starting at level 61, if I remember correctly. Why would I bother getting it now? Because +10 Strength and +10 Vitality is a pretty big deal. No Magatama boosts any stat higher than 10.

Now we don't want to have it ingested all the time, because again these weaknesses are rough chuckles, and we want to learn from other Magatama as well. But if we're not immediately in real danger of being instakilled, it's going to help us give some suckers the business, pushing Zed's Strength to 34, his Vitality to 17, and his HP to a ludicrous 354. Considering stats have a hard cap of 40, this is huge.

This pleasant interlude aside, we do still have one sucker in immediate need of being given the business. We warp to Ikebukuro, heal up, and go back to the tunnels one last time, to the first Stone Cave we stumbled onto.

However, as knowledge is power, and foreknowledge doubly so, I make sure to wait until Full Kagutsuchi before we enter the room. In the meantime, Valkyrie learns Guillotine, a single target physical attack that scales off HP and has a chance to Stun. When we're ready, we ingest Gaea, and summon Arahabaki, Valkyrie, and Sarutahiko.




*: To celebrate our victory, Arahabaki gives us a Vitality Incense!

Ongyo-Ki is a gimmick fight, through and through. Replicate creates three clones, and hitting those clones with single target attacks causes them to Void all damage and also eat up all your turn icons. As for multiple target attacks, they appear to miss instead, even if they hit the real Ongyo-Ki. Since you're losing your icons, he's free to buff himself with impunity and proceed to murder you. He knows Mudoon and Evil Gaze, and if that wasn't bad enough, he also has Dark Sword, which has a high crit rate and can inflict Mute, and Stasis Blade, which also has a high crit rate and can Bind instead. If you don't know the trick or aren't ludicrously overleveled, it's practically an impossible fight.

However, if you fight him during Full K, the real Ongyo-ki has a small circular shadow underneath him, whereas the clones do not. That's pretty much the whole fight right there. He still has all his other dangerous skills, and he still uses Dragon Eye every turn, and he'll max out his stats if you let him, but without the benefit of Replicate, he doesn't really have a chance.


Brutes Sui-ki, Fuu-ki, Kin-ki, and Ongyo-ki
Japanese legend has it that during the Heian period, a sorcerer named Fujiwara no Chikata summoned four mighty Oni to overthrow the Emperor and conquer the nation. Sui-ki could freeze anyone or anything, Fuu-ki could control the wind and blow away the sorcerer's enemies, Kin-ki's skin was so hard that no weapon could pierce it, and Ongyo-ki was a master of stealth and could confuse, surprise and ambush any foe. In fact, according to the myth, Ongyo-ki was the first ninja. Rather than face the Oni in combat directly, a sage in the Emperor's service merely undid the summoning spell by reciting a poem, and that was the end of that.


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*: At last, we can see what's behind this door.

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Exactly two Cubes!

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Boooo.

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Yaaaay!

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*: As far as physical resistance Magatama go, Murakumo has what might be the least crippling accompanying weaknesses we've seen yet... though it can still be pretty bad. Skill-wise it does pretty much what it says on the tin; the first one it would teach us is Void Mind.

And that's the entire recompense for this set of optional bosses. Unless you count removing a threat from the Manikins' doorstep, which you should, really.


Image: Alright, we're done here. Ninja blow this joint!

*: We head back to Asakusa, heal up, and visit the Cathedral.

Image: Yo, Cubus. Over here.
Image: What's up, boss?
Image: Good news, you don't have to be you anymore.
Image: ...
Image: I know we haven't always seen eye to eye, but you'll dig this, I promise.
Image: Don't fuck me on this.
Image: I'm definitely not going to fuck you on anything.
Image: So, who's the lucky lady? Miss Kikuri? Or the kitten? She's hot!
Image: Allow me to temper your expectations. Sir, if you would...
Image: I am here.
Image: What.
Image: I know this doesn't look super good, but... um, no offense.
Image: I take no offense. I am aware this physical form is impractical.
Image: No seriously, what.
Image: Look, trust me, this'll-
Image: Yeah, I'll trust you like Hua Po and Blob trusted you, huh?
Image: ...!
Image: That's a low blow. You know we all do what we have to do. And you would've done the same, or worse.
Image: Easy for you to say! You're not next in line for a knife enema!
Image: Kagutsuchi is not at its brightest, and there are only two of you. It's clear Zed's intentions are honorable.
Image: I... uh. Right.
Image: STOP WASTING TIME, NUMBNUTS. GET IN THE MACHINE.
Image: Dude, you may not be the promise type, but I am. You know that.
Image: Yeah... Yeah. Alright. But you'll owe me one.
Image: I already owe you more than I can repay. And the new power you'll get today is just a fraction of my gratitude.
Image: ...okay.
Image: We cool?
Image: We cool.
Image: Lord Arahabaki, your assistance has been invaluable as well. It was an honor to fight by your side.
Image: It was good to know a portion of the old glory once more. Thou may call on me again anytime.
Image: Alright then. Minister?
Image: The pylons are ready. Is everything settled?
Image: Yup, that should-
Image: I LOVE YOOOOOOOOUUUUUU~
Image: PRESS THE BUTTON!
Image: Right-o!

Vile Arahabaki + Night Incubus =

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Image: So... how do you feel about... yourself?
Image: Very good. Everything is in its place! Why do you ask?
Image: Uh, no reason. Welcome back.

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Lv41 Lady Kushinada
In Shinto mythology, Kushinada-Hime was the eight and last surviving daughter of two earthly deities, all her sisters having been sacrificed over the years to the monstrous serpent Yamato-no-Orochi to quell its destructive rage. She was going to be offered as well, but the storm god Susano, having been kicked out of heaven, happened to be passing by, and he promised to slay Orochi in exchange for the beautiful maiden's hand in marriage. Legend has it that, in order to keep her safe while he fought, Susano turned Kushinada into a comb, and hid her in his hair.


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Image: Heyo. Any progress?
Image: Lay off me, man. These things take time.
Image: Dude, I've just hunted down four legendary oni, and came back to town between each. What are you doing in here that's taking forever? Are you streaming 4k video over the fabric of the universe? Or are you playing Solitaire? Tell me you're not playing Solitaire.
Image: It's a long story, and telling it would keep me from my information gathering. Seriously though, why don't you go see the sights?
Image: Yay, sightseeing!

Bah! Fine. Sightseeing it is, then.

*: Non-canon warning! The following events don't actually happen! Or, well, they do happen, but then they un-happen.

Now that we've got a free slot, there's something I want to show. We go the the Cathedral, summon Uzume from the Compendium for a cool 11000 Macca, and go back to the tunnels. We then get into enough fights for our new friend to gain one more level and learn Seduce. And finally, we kick Sarutahiko out of the gang.


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Image: I found an interesting group, so I'm playing with them.
Image: Uzume... Let me say something.
Image: What is it? Is something wrong? Don't tell me not to have a good time with other men, because I'm not listening!
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Image: Why don't you take it all off and dance like that one time. Give me something to boast about and show them how gorgeous you are!
Image: Oh, I'm in love all over again, darling! You always know the right thing to say!
Image: Take this with you! Once you're rested up, strut your stuff.
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Image: BEST. GODDESS. EVER.

*: I didn't make any of that up. A few pairs of demons have unique conversations when you have one use a talk skill on the other. Each conversation can only happen once, and it will not trigger if the target demon is also on your payroll (because the "hey you got one of my pals with you" dialog takes priority). Interestingly, the emerald is traditionally held to be a symbol of unconditional love and marital happiness, so it's an appropriate gift here.

Welp, that's done, time to load state.

Image: Wait, wait wait wait. Can't we keep this? We got experience and a Kelpie dropped a Jade and everything!
*: Sorry mang, that's not worth 11000 Macca and a Sarutahiko with Dekaja.
Image: Yeah, I guess so. But it feels kinda weird to be... to go through... whatever it is I'm about to go through. Like something I've done having never actually happened.
Image: Retcon's a bad mother, kid. I should know. You have it real easy today, so count yourself lucky.
Image: Hmm? What happened?
Image: I prevented God-crazy nutholes from taking over the world, then I didn't.
Image: Oh. Oh wow. Okay then! No further complaints!

User avatar
François
Posts: 1021
Joined: Tue Jan 21, 2014 8:00 am

Re: Let's play Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne

Postby François » Sat Dec 19, 2015 6:36 am

*: Before we start, I restock on Float Balls, and it occurs to me we're running low on Sacred Water. The Asakusa junk shop doesn't sell any, so I warp to other stores and... no one seems to be selling any. I coulda sworn... Oh well.

No, wait, I forgot the merchant at the Great Underpass, he does sell some for 200 Macca each. Whew! I buy five of them twice, earning us two tickets and another mystery box. Picking the white one again...


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Image: Awright!
Image: Another item you won't use, great.
Image: I... I'm working on it.

*: This guy also sells Chakra Drops. We have only four left, and I want to be able to give some away if I gotta, so I pick up two more.

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Image: That's probably wise.
Image: This place has become desolate now.
Image: I'm not sure it ever wasn't.

*: Back to Asakusa, I'm thinking of picking up a fusion partner for Kikuri-Hime. She's not exactly obsolete, but she's only level 28 and I'll want to fuse her sooner or later. There's a sort of averaging going on in the fusion mechanics, and if there's a wide discrepancy between ingredients, the descendant is likely to be weaker than one of the parents. And of course I don't want to turn her into any old critter either, since she's so special to us. Fortunately, the local demons have an ideal candidate among them. In order to stack the odds in our favor, I summon Sarutahiko (for Haggle, occasionally reducing cash demands), Succubus (for Nag, occasionally persuading an indecisive demon), and Kikuri-Hime herself (for Maiden Plea, occasionally calming offended demons).

Image: Hey, I was rather impressed when I met some of your people the other day. Care to join us?
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Image: Haha.
> Principality is smiling.
Image: Could you endow me with 540 Macca?
Image: Um, sure.
Image: No, this simply won't do. I would like 1 Bead.
Image: Aight.
Image: I can't say that this is enough. I would like 400 Macca.
Image: Yo, Sarutahiko, sir, would you be so kind...?
Image: Eh, not feelin' it.
Image: ...
Image: *whistle*
Image: Fine, here's your money.
Image: I can't make up my mind...
> Principality is unable to decide.
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Image: Are these chicken wings you've got on? Don't take our money and waste our time!
Image: My boy, only the beautiful have the right to be selfish.
Image: Err...
Image: Well then, you may call me mistress!
Image: *chuckle* I yield to you!
> That seemed to work well.
*: The "that seemed to work well" message is a telltale sign that a demon with Succubus' personality using Nag on a demon with Principality's personality is practically guaranteed to have a positive outcome for this step of the conversation. It doesn't guarantee success for the recruitment attempt, but it guarantees that the indecision doesn't result in the demon leaving immediately.
Image: Hmmm... Then, lastly, let me hear your opinion. Is helping others merely a self-fulfilling act?
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Image: Absolutely not.
Image: ...It seems there is a discrepancy in our opinions.
> Principality made a wry face.
Image: I can't do that.
Image: What?!
Image: Cheerio.
> Principality left.
Image: Aw man.
Image: You really should tell them what they want to hear.
Image: Well, if that's what he thinks, maybe I don't want him around eith... Err. Are you ever just telling me what I want to hear?
Image: I would never do that to you!
Image: Ah. Good.

*: Well, that didn't pan out, but I keep trying to find another Principality that's maybe a little more philosophically flexible. The next encounter goes pretty much exactly the same, but the question is different.

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Image: Nah. I've been a fool before, and I'm glad no one destroyed me.
Image: *facepalm*
Image: ...It seems there is a discrepancy in our opinions. ...Our conversation is growing rather dull. ............ Excuse me, then.

*: Take three.

Image: Is effort the last hope of all beings?
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Image: You gotta hold on to it and fight until your last breath. That's what matters.
Image: Oh for...
Image: I suppose I can be happy with that.
Image: ...huh?
> Principality is content.
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Image: I'm Principality of the Divine lineage. Take me with you.
Image: Glad to see a sensible one. Welcome aboard.

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*: Oooh, Bright Might. I'll be training this guy up so as many of Kikuri-Hime's skills are passed down, but he'll probably make for a decent back-up healer in the meantime. Gonnection is a passive conversation skill that makes it easier to negotiate with demons of the same race (e.g. it would improve our odds of success with other Divines).

Image: Aight, we gotta get the rookie up to speed, and I know just the place.
Image: Is it maybe looking around Asakusa and kicking butt while we take in the sights?
Image: Nnnnope!
Image: Aw come on!

*: We head the for Terminal, drop a save, and travel to the Labyrinth once more.

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Image: It was a bit of a last minute decision.
Image: My master is resting right now.
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Image: There certainly is a lot I feel like I should know.
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Image: I'll try to help you as much as I can.
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*: Asking her about the Vortex World repeats the cutscene was saw at the end of first Kalpa. I think she's pretty much an event viewer kinda deal.
Image: Err, well, thanks, I guess. I'll be on my way now.
Image: ...Then, you should get going. I look forward to seeing you again...

*: I take the shortcut down again, and get well knocked about on my way. Wheeee!

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Aaaand we're back here. The place has certainly not been improved by our absence.


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*: This assumes that we came here straight after the first Kalpa, and have just received the noble voice's warning.
Image: It was like the voice of the universe... You weren't harmed, were you?
Image: Nah, I'm fine. But... I appreciate your concern.

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*: This is a tiny room with one hole in the floor. So much for getting out the way we came in.

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I'm trying to imagine what this place smells like, and nothing pleasant comes to mind. Thick dust, moldy paper, a whiff of rotten meat, that sort of thing.


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Image: Everyone around here keeps arguing about Gaea and Messiah, whatever those are...
Image: ...!
Image: Well, if you walk around, you'll see.

*: We know "Gaea" as being the name of Hikawa's cult, but this Messiah stuff is, well, some flavor of new.

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*: Oooh, that's the mook version of the douchebag who kept blocking our path in the Amala Network. No it is not, that was a Specter, not a Phantom, I got my ghosts mixed up, never mind! Thanks to Petiso for pointing it out.

[i]
Lv42 Foul Phantom
"Fantôme" is French for ghost. Not a lot more to say about this guy, you all know what a ghost is!
[i]

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Another strange door, and it's locked like the other one was.


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Image
Image: Everyone, listen! The world has lost its power under the reign of god. Because of that, we are on the verge of destruction. But, there is no need to fear. The Gaea cult will ensure our survival! Together, we will resurrect the strength of the ancient world!
> The soul is still preaching...

That doesn't sound like Hikawa's message. Hmm.

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Image: But, the Order of Messiah, brainwashed by a jealous god, won't allow us to do so. ...I'm telling you, they're the ones who should be oppressed, not us!

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Image
Image: If you pray, god will protect you no matter what happens. And, you shall eventually join him in the afterlife... Now, let us pray...

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*: This is already even more of a maze. There are so many doors and branches that I'm not taking, not to mention ladders and holes. Dang. We're also mostly encountering various blob o' goop monsters so far, as well as Will o' Wisps, Mou-Ryo and Phantoms. Most are chumps by now, but the latter's electric spells are no joke. Force damage is effective against them, but at this rate, I wonder if Principality and Senri are going to run out of juice before they even level up once.

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Ah, this is the other side of that locked door. So this one's a shortcut then. Or, will be someday.

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Dang, it's 7/8 waning. I don't want to have to come back here though, so I have Gui Xian pop Estoma and we run out the clock. Normally this would be an opportunity to get into fights, but seeing as I don't know how to leave this place yet, I have to ration my resources.

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Okay, not too shabby.

We leap down to B2, and there's another locked door behind us right away. I need to remember those.


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*: These are the same girls as on the first Kalpa, so, I guess I do know one way out now. Though it's one I'd rather not resort to if I can help it.

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*: He's also much the same, but charges 5000 Macca now. Still, if I can come back here pretty easily in the future, I won't have to leave before I'm done.

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*: Oh boy, I've been so looking forward to that. Yaaaaaaay.
Image: If you're heading down below, you better be prepared. Once you're down there, it won't be easy coming back up.

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*: Haven't seen these dudes in a while. The Shikigami can use Tarukaja, so it's best not to take the fight lightly.

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Ah, that's the way back up to a location maybe halfway through the first maze level. I'm going to continue exploring it and attempt to clear it out before trying my luck with the third basement. Knowing Dr. Dark is around is making me feel a lot more confident about being thorough.


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Image: Everything is his will... Everything changes at his will... You must leave this dreaded place and fulfill the part which you were originally intended for.

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*: There's a ladder down here. I'm not done exploring B1, but I'm curious.

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Image: It's cursed, y'know.

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*: Yikes, it sure does look cursed.

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HOLY CRAP.

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RUN RUN RUN.

Image: Sorry I mistrusted you, kid.

*: Yeah, so, that corridor, huh? Maybe later. Much later.

Lv69 Tyrant Abaddon
In the biblical book of Revelations, Abaddon is the archangel whose duty it is to control access to the pits of Hell, and who releases Satan during the Apocalypse in order to allow him to wreak havok upon what's left of mankind at the time. Biblically, he's completely obedient to God, but in some occult traditions, he's actually a terrible demon himself; his name does mean "place of destruction". His Hades Blast skill attacks all targets for high physical damage, with a high crit rate.

Tyrants are ultimate evil gods or demon lords, often the main antagonists of their respective pantheons, or closely associated with them.


Lv70 Night Nyx
Nyx is the Greek goddess of the night. She may be an elusive goddess, dwelling in shadows and rarely interacting with humans, but her power is almost without equal, and she is of primordial importance, having been present at the beginning of the world, and being the mother of Hypnos, the god of sleep, and Thanatos, the god of death. Her Debilitate skill applies one stack each of all three -nda spells.


Lv68 Fallen Flauros
A Great Duke of Hell, commanding over thirty-six legions of demons, appearing as a terrifying leopard. Like other Fallen are wont to do, he answers truthfully to all questions, but only if appropriate magical precautions are taken, or else he lies and misleads and cheats. If you need some people set on fire, he can do that for you as well; he'll even torch other demons if asked nicely. Iron Claw is an extraordinarily powerful single target physical attack, but its accuracy is very low.


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*: Hmm, the pits on B1 seem to lead to corresponding rooms on B2. I didn't see entrances for those when we were down there, so they must have one-way doors. I guess I'll have to climb back up several times.

A couple fights against four Mou-Ryo provides an excellent opportunity for Kikuri-Hime to recover her healing juice. Still, after a using Heat Wave several times, Zed uses a Luck Incense instead of relying on magic.

Image: Gasp!

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Image: But, the Order of Messiah wouldn't accept that, and a conflict erupted. What we didn't realize was that our worst enemy was already among us.

*: I think that's about as much of B1 as we can access right now. Judging from the symmetry, I may have missed a door in the eastern corners, but I'll be checking out the four pits next and there'll be ample opportunity to make sure. I'm intrigued by the two gaps in the northern sections, but there's precious little I can do about those from here.

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Image: I'll sell you something special.
Image: Oh dang, I got bad news for you dude.
Image: Uh... Wait a minute, your party's full. If you want a new companion, make some room first and then come back.

*: We'll have the opportunity to make use of this fellow sooner or later I'm sure.

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Oooh, that was down the northwestern pit. We came in at 7/8 waxing, so it was no trouble at all.


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Lv44 Brute Ikusa
The Ikusa are the foot soldiers of the Shinto netherworld. When Izanami sent the Shikome chasing after Izanagi, an army of Ikusa followed her (them?) along.


*: Ah, we've seen these guys a lot in Ikebukuro, but this is our first actual battle against them. They're tough customers, but any fight that doesn't have a Phantom in it is a good fight.

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Oooh, I knew I overlooked something.


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Image: We chased after the Gaea cult in order to prevent that. But, we were done in by that devil summoner... Hikawa is a dangerous man.

*: Ah, so these are the souls of the rival cultists that clashed in Yoyogi Park before the Conception, both Hikawa's people and his opponents.

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Now that's all of the accessible B1. Time to drop down the southwestern pit, and then take a good look at those invisible walls.


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Image: What he had to say was very interesting.
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Image: I'm always up for interesting stuff.
Image: The man used black magic to summon me. This is what he said: "Kill the man I hate!" I asked, "Is that what humans do, kill those they hate?" He replied, "If you hate, you kill. That's the way we are." I admired those words. It's so demon-like... the true nature of humans.
Image: I... I don't know about that. #notallhumans

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*: This is all of B2 we can reach as well. There's asymmetry here too, but I can't find a way to remedy to it from here. So, two holes to jump into. Let's start with the western one.

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Oh wow. Oh wow oh dang.

Oh balls.

The automap's absolutely no help here. I think I'm straight up going to have to do this old-school. Which in some circumstances would mean "graph paper", but MSPaint is still pretty old-school, right? Man. At least the floor has a tile pattern.

A Chest near where we dropped has a Soma in it, which restores an ally's HP and MP to maximum.

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*: Somewhere along the way we master Wadatsumi. We're still neutral, but we've accumulated enough points to bring us to the next tier of titles, so we're an Expert now.

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It's slow going, but we make it to a door in the middle of the southern wall. However, all the walls we've encountered so far have been entirely visible.

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Unfortunately, this is a dead end, with only a glimpse of some other section through the wall. There's a ladder down in there, dang. Back to mapping we go.

Fortunately, the path to the western door is straighforward enough.

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*: Another Burial Chamber, this time dedicated to Kaiwan and Ose. There's also a ladder up!


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Hello, what's this?

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*: Ah, another type of one-way door then. Well, we weren't done checking out B3 from the western hole, so back down we go.

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Huh, so that's it, there was nothing more than a couple dead-ends, and still no trace of a wall I could not see. I'm beginning to wonder if I've been sold a bill of goods. The rest of this floor must be only accessible through the eastern pit on B2, so that's where we go.

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And here's the northern door.

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There are two locked doors behind, one of which is marked "Burial Chamber", and a ladder up.

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So that's a one-way door again. Back down the eastern pit we go, there's one more door down there, and it's gotta be the right one.

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We finally reach the eastern door and complete our map. Total invisible walls: zero. Welp!


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Image: Hmm?
Image: Oh, come on now. That wall right there. Open your eyes and look!
Image: Eh? I don't...

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*: Oh wow, that lighter part of the wall is shimmering. I absolutely didn't notice it at first, but now that I know it's there, it's hard to miss. Man I wonder if I missed one of those in another section...

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And there's our way to B4.

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This looks a lot like the very first room, before we jumped in the hole.

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Ah-ha! That's how you open those grey doors. I remember one on the first Kalpa, and it'll open the shortcut on B1 here, but for now I'd rather just find a way out, so I make my way back to the northern door on B3.

Unlocking the Burial Chamber reveals Mizuchi's tombstone, as well as a monument with no inscription. No graves for the living!

The other door on this level has a Cube with another Deathstone. That's... nice. But I expected some manner of exit. Hmmmmm. I must have missed a shimmering wall somewhere. Time to pull out the fine tooth comb again.

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Oh wait, I remember there was a door in that southeastern room. Whew!

Valkyrie levels up and leans Soul Hunt, a unique recruitment skill that works best when Valkyrie herself is using it on a male target.


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Image: Cripes, another pit.
Image: It would have been nice to be taking Manikin hospitality for a spin right about now.
Image: ...yeah. It feels like what we're doing here is important, somehow, but at this point I sure wish I was...
Image: ...home?
Image: ...that's a pointless thought, never mind. Let's find what we came here for and go back for a rest. I've had enough of this rotting place.

*: The pit drops us to the area beyond the B3 southern door that we could see but not access. There's a ladder down, but also a shimmering wall to the west.

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Image: What, you again? No means no!

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*: The invisible wall takes us to a small empty room, and what I assume is a one-way door towards the way back up to the maze. I return through the wall instead and take the ladder down.

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I think this might be it.


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*: And that's the Second Kalpa done, unless you count the cursed corridor, which we'll return to later. Now let's see what revelations might be imparted unto us.



So, that's how it happened. Hikawa didn't just fight the Messiah people, he also turned on his own former allies. That's what he meant by "the purge" back then. It... doesn't really help me here and now, but I suppose it's good to know.

*: In SMT1, the Mesians and the Gaians were rival factions, associated with Law and Chaos, respectively. The Mesians were a fundamentalist militant Christian organization, working to summon God into the world to cleanse the world of demons and infidels and usher in the Thousand Year Kingdom told of in the book of Revelations. The Gaians were advocating living side by side with the demon invaders and accepting all gods and other fantastical beings without prejudice, though in practice, well, let's just say Gozu-Tennoh would have approved of their philosophy.

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Image: Hmm?
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Image: I'm glad to be done with this Kalpa, if that's what you mean.
Image: There needeth not be reason to hide it... About that... I understand thy joy! I cannot suppress mine own. As another friend to drink mead with, I shall tell thee something interesting.
Image: I'm listening.
Image: If thou takest purple Macca in succession, thine earning shall be even more. Try and strikest anything you can. I have become rich that way! Hahahaha!
Image: Well, at least you've been doing well since we parted.

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*: I'm going to spare you a few moments of me being shit-awful this time. I make it out with 24 Macca, and...

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Yeah.

Let's move on, shall we?


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Aw heck I am not ready for this.

> You feel a terrifying presence in the air...

Music: TALK

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Image: Uh. Hello.
Image: The moment you stepped into this Labyrinth, the wheel of fate began to spin...
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Image: But, we serve the fallen angel in order to rise above that fate. You wish for the same thing, do you now?
Image: I... don't know.
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Image: We, the four knights of death, have what thou seekest. Thine they shall be, if thou canst triumph over us.
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Image: You have conquered a number of deaths to reach here.
Image: And how!
Image: Whether it be you, or one of us... it is our master's will that one Fiend survives this battle over the candelabra. And when his wish comes true... he shall make the decision to lead his army to the final battle. Do you have the resolve to face us in battle?
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Image: I don't think my humanity is so easily taken from me. If you would challenge me, then I would crush you. That is all there is to it.
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Image: ...Then show us the strength that our master stakes our fate on. We, the four knights of death, shall await you in the Vortex World.
> The four horsemen disappeared.
Image: Well. That was bold.
Image: Holy hell what am I even doing. Holy crap.

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*: The way further in is blocked, as expected. We take the tunnel back up to the second Kalpa, then, uh. Hmm. I still don't know how to return to the terminal. Man. At least we can use the Moon Key to unlock that shortcut on B1 and maybe see if anything changed.

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Oh I'm a dunce, this ladder was here all along, it's practically the first thing I saw when we got here at the start. Good Lord if this was a video LP, I'd have so many angry youtube commenters by now. FISRT!! YUO FRGOT TEH LADDAR ALSO UR VOICE IS DUMB!!1 ASLO PRBLY DUMB FAEC. UPLAOD FASTAR!!1

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Yup, this is the first room. It's smooth sailing from here.

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Glorious! Back to Asakusa, then. That's a pleasant enough end to this part of our journey, isn't it?


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Image: Lemme guess. Not done yet.
Image: Nope.
Image: I think I'm too tired to be mad. See ya.

Fresh air! Fresh dang air! Fresh... um... breeze?

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Image: OH COME ON!

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Image: AT LEAST LET ME GET TO THE FOUNTAIN, YOU SON OF A FUCK.



*: The White Rider has two gimmicks, and both are easily defeated once you've got them identified. The first one is God's Bow, a single target Expel-type instant death effect, with the unique quirk of working 100% of the time on any creature that isn't entirely immune to Expel effects. The Rider will only use it on targets it will work on, so if you bring a party such as ours back there, he will never use it. (Of course, Zed had ingested Nirvana.) If you can't fill out your party with Expel-immune allies, you can still use Tetraja to protect yourself.

The other gimmick is his summoning of two Virtues. The Virtues know Mahama, Mediarama, Makarakarn, Rakunda, and Thunderclap (a group-hitting Expel-type attack that has a chance to halve all targets' current HP), so they're dangerous even on their own. And if you kill one or both, the Rider will use Dragon Eye and summon more. The trick is to neutralize them without killing them, and since all Divines are weak to Death effects, Stone Gaze is absolutely your best friend. Arid Needle will also do in a pinch.

The remaining threat is the Rider's Prominence skill, which is an extremely strong multi-hit fire attack, but that's not a gimmick, you just gotta be able to survive it a bunch of times. Valkyrie is the perfect ally in this battle, seeing as she absorbs fire, is immune to expel, and in all likelihood still has the Stone Gaze she inherited from Dis.


Fiend White Rider
"And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see. And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer." -Revelations 6:1-2
The White Rider is the first Horseman of the Apocalypse, sent by God to ravage the last of humanity.


Divine Virtue
Forming the fifth order of angels, Virtues are tasked with watching over and maintaining the movement of stars and planets, and therefore making sure that the cosmos is working according to God's will.


Image: THAT'S WHAT YOU GET! IDIOT! SHIT-MONGLING MORON TURD-HOLE! GAAAAAAH!
Image: Dude, um. Your humanity?
Image: Oh he's being as human as human can be right now, don't worry.
Image: I need a shower.

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Image: I've literally been to hell and back. I just cracked the skull of one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse with my bare hands. I am taking a dip and you can't stop me.
Image: I'm coming too!
Image: Kiss me.
Image: Ooooh!
Image: Ahem.
Image: Yup, that's pretty human right there.
Image: Should we not... stop him, perhaps?
Image: Probably. You do it.
Image: Will he be cross with me?
Image: I'd be. I can barely stand the sight of you, and you haven't even tried to keep me from nookie yet.
Image: Oh dear.

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