It's raining protagonists: Let's play Dragon Warrior IV!

User avatar
François
Posts: 1530
Joined: Tue Jan 21, 2014 8:00 am

Re: It's raining protagonists: Let's play Dragon Warrior IV!

Postby François » Mon Mar 04, 2019 8:37 am

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Image: We'd better hope that statue really can cross the river, or we'll be up the creek.
Image: Or down the creek.
Image: Just on whichever side of the creek we don't want to be on.
Image: What's a creek, again?
Image: A creek is the part of a stream that's close enough to the sea to be affected by tides.
Image: Oh. Hmm! Thanks.
Image: Don't tell Brey I remembered that, it'll go to his head.

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Image: So do we climb, or...?
Image: There could be an entrance.
Image: That'll be some story to tell my son right there. "And then we started looking for the statue's butt."
Image: Maybe consider skipping that part.
Image: I think I'll start with it.

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The crypt crew got a bunch of levels off Metal Babbles, so the others have serious catching up to do. Taloon, Alena, Nara and Brey are our lowest, at 25. I often go for hero/melee/healer/wizard, so I figured we could switch things up here and leave Brey behind for now.

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Ah, thank goodness for this 1024 kilobyte cartridge having enough space in its tilesets for the individual toes on a colossal statue.

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Image: Not the butt, then.
Image: Maybe that would have been better.

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Image: Do we want to go down, or up?
Image: I'm not sure we have a choice yet. Let's just explore this floor first.

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Karons have 110 HP, 83 attack, 75 defense, and 50 agility; they can cast Vivify, and they also happen to carry a good old Staff of Thunder! They can use it to cast Firebane at will, and you can't use StopSpell, FendSpell or Bounce effects to protect yourself from it. They're slightly resistant to most magic, except for an immunity to Beat and to Sap, and high resistance to Blaze, Surround, RobMagic and StopSpell.

Sleep and magic damage are usually good bets, but against just this one, physical attacks will do. Alena and Francois make short work of it before it can do anything.

Strangely enough, their item drop is a Wizard's Ring, not their Staff of Thunder. It would still be welcome, though.

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We've fought Jumbats before, in the Riverton forests. They're a lot less threatening to us now than they were back then, but we always have to watch out for their sleep effects and crits.

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Blizags have 85 HP, 50 attack, 40 defense, and 47 agility; they can emit freezing wind, as well as cast Beat and Defeat. Yyyyyeah, ouch. I suspect they're meant to reference the Blizzard monsters in DW2's Rhone. These ones might as well be made out of wet paper in comparison, though. They're immune to ice, highly resistant to Beat, Expel, Surround and StopSpell, slightly resistant to Bang, lightning and Sap, and vulnerable to Firebal, Blaze, wind and RobMagic.

Francois could try the Sphere of Silence here, but seeing as they're so feeble, it's best for him to just cut them to pieces. In fact, he one-shots the first, Alena tears up the second, and Taloon trip-crits the third. We only take one freezing wind, no biggie.

Taloon levels up from this, for 3 Str, 1 Agi, 3 Vit, 1 Int, 1 Luc, and 6 HP.

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Yup, more Riverton enemies, makes sense. It opens up with Upper, but Zap and Fire Claw blasts take it down quickly anyway.

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Aaaand Bebanbar make another appearance of course. They're still definitely a priority target. This one tries Firebane at the top of the round, but Taloon covers his mouth, and Alena swoops in for the kill. Feels good!

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Oh hey, a Keeleon-type critter already. Leaonars have 150 HP, 94 attack, 80 defense, and 45 agility; they always act twice per round, and they can build up power. That's a recipe for disaster right there. They're weak to ice, slightly resistant to Bang, lightning, wind, and Beat, immune to Expel, and highly resistant to everything else.

This is one of those situations where their resistances are generally high enough that it's better to buff ourselves than to try and disable them otherwise, but Cristo's death spells and Brey's ice magic are very much worth using if you happen to have them with you.

This time around, we get lucky: Alena crits one, and Taloon, Francois and Mara bring down the other before it gets to act.

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It was definitely worth having a look around this floor, but we really have no choice but to go down first.

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Oof; Minidemons are not too dangerous by now, but that's a few too many potential Blazemore casts for comfort. They're weak to lightning and wind, so we go on Offensive and get to castin'. DW3's version of Zap used to cost 8 MP, where it's only 4 now. Man, that makes it so much more usable.

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We've seen a down staircase in the eastern side of the northern section of the floor above, so let's explore to the west first. Alena levels up here, for 5 Str, 7 Agi, 5 Vit, 1 Int, 7 Luc, and 11 HP.

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We're obviously in the statue's right foot. Dang, that's so neat.

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That Magma Staff doesn't take prisoners.

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We get ambushed here and take a bunch of hits; fortunately Francois and Taloon get most of the damage, which their excellent armors reduce to almost nothing.

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A pair of Karons try to stop us here. One manages to Vivify the other once, dies, then fails to get revived by the other. They don't even get to hurt us.

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Another we're saving for Ragnar.

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Nara gets to level 26 here, for 2 Str, 2 Agi, 2 Vit, 2 Int, 3 Luc, 4 HP, 4 MP, and the Healall spell. She's the last among us to break the 100 HP barrier.

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There's probably a hidden passage to this central room here; we'll go around and check every tile.

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Whuh-oh, we know these guys from the Zenithian Armor cave. It's only a matter of time until the game starts throwing Dragon Riders at us gain. Francois takes a lungful of poison gas; only Cristo knows Antidote, and nobody in this party carries Antidote Herbs. We'll just have to tough it out.

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That's a dead end. Let's go around the south side. Francois levels up off Leaonars here, for 4 Str, 2 Agi, 4 Vit, 2 Int, 2 Luc, 8 HP, 8 MP, and... the Transform spell. It costs 5 MP this time around.

Just like in DW3, Transform turns you a copy of one of your allies, giving you their combat stats (including attack and defense power), and replacing your spell list with theirs (if they have one), though you keep your current HP, MP, and inventory. If you've managed to win a Mirror of Ra at the Casino, you can use it to revert to your original form anytime; otherwise I believe it lasts until the end of the fight.

This used to be a Wizard spell, but now it's exclusive to the Hero. That's notable for two reasons. Of course, it allows you to use your allies' spells without needing to rely on their AI. Nothing stops you from turning into Brey and casting Bikill and Sap at your heart's content, or turning into Mara, going Offensive, and dual-casting her best fire spells, or turning into Cristo and just stacking Increase until you're all immune to physical damage.

The second reason is that there's absolutely a flavor payload involved. The last time Francois saw Transform used... well, you know.

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That'll be the entrance. It's not so hidden after all. Taloon levels up off a Leaonar before we can enter, for 3 Str, 2 Agi, 1 Vit, 2 Int, 1 Luc, and 1 HP.

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Oh, there are multiple ways in then.

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I'm curious about what might be on the east side of the outer portion of this floor, but let's just start with this hallway.

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I see what's going on. We'll be making our way around the east side after all.

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Hmm. These stairs are a little too obvious compared to the ones in the north, but let's just have a look anyway.

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We might have to come from above to get that chest.

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Gah. Just one is no problem, but again, Dragon Riders can't be far.

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Image: Whoa.

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Image: Well isn't that a sight to see.
Image: Anatomically, it's not the most accurate, but...
Image: And this thing is supposed to move?
Image: That would almost be scary if it wasn't so exciting!

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That's the guaranteed location of the Demon Hammer, though you could also get one from a Rhinoband. It's cursed and comes with a very high chance to miss, but when it hits, it crits. It could conceivably be useful for hunting metal enemies, but I'm not too fond of it fot general use.

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That chest to the east is definitely the one we saw from that other staircase path.

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Podokesaurs have 114 HP, 98 attack, 40 defense, and 74 agility; they have a chance to take two actions, and may cast Healus, which heals the entire enemy party by an amount a bit smaller than Healmore. They're immune to Beat and Expel, highly resistant to Blaze, Surround, Sleep, RobMagic and StopSpell, slightly resistant to Firebal, wind, ice, and Sap, and weak to Bang and lightning.

A fight like this can take much longer than I'd like, but with Alena usually being able to take out one Blizzag per round, it should be manageable. Francois will definitely Zap the Podokesaur and hope someone will help him finish it off, though.

Aaaaand Taloon does. Excellent. Alena levels up here, for 6 Str, 9 Agi, 4 Vit, 5 Luc, and 9 HP.

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Image: ...wh-

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Image: Ha! Alright then, come and get it!

Mimics have 190 HP, 90 attack, 72 defense, and 70 agility; they always act twice, and can cast Defeat, Blazemore, and RobMagic. They're notably weak to lightning and RobMagic, with a slight resistance to Bang, wind, Surround and Sap, immunity to StopSpell, and high resistance to everything else.

I suspect one Zap cast and physical attacks from everyone else will take it out in a single round, but it's all a question of what it might have time to do before it goes down.

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Taloon gets Defeated, but Nara immediately brings him back; Alena ends the fight at the top of the second round. Whew!

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More armor cave enemies, but far from the most dangerous.

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Image: Is that... Are we in its head?
Image: Two eyes. Looks like it!
Image: There's nowhere else to go, though. Did we miss a path somewhere?
Image: "The great ones catch teardrops in their hands."
Image: Hmm?
Image: This is it. That's what it means. We have to jump out.
Image: Oh dear.
Image: Haha, this is the best! Which one?
Image: Does it matter?
Image: We already found the Demon Hammer in its left hand.
Image: Right eye, then?
Image: Right eye!

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Image: I'm so glad I quit my job you guys.

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Image: WOOOOOOO!
Image: WOOOOOOO!

Image: WOOOOOOO!
Image: WOOOOOOO!

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Dang, is this dungeon rad or what?

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Welp, there it is.

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Aaaaand both dragon and rider are put to sleep. Heheh. Ah, Taloon.

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Image: Hello, what's this?
Image: What strange contraptions.
Image: Ooooh! Can I? Can I can I can I?
Image: Be my guest, Your Highness.
Image: I knew I joined you for a reason.



(Never mind those red flashes, they happen because Francois is taking poison damage!)

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Image: Well. That was amazing.
Image: Hmm-mmm!
Image: So... how do we get out?
Image: Ear holes.
Image: Ear holes.
Image: Hmm-mmm.
Image: ...of course.

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Man, the Colossus is a dungeon and a half, isn't it? It's not the longest or the hardest to navigate, but it's cleverly made and thematically it's like nothing we've seen before.

Image: Oh. Um. Everyone else is on the other side.
Image: Eh, we can keep going without them a bit further.
Image: Uhhhh... Mara has the Staff.
Image: ...
Image: Oops.
Image: Oh no, we're going to have to kick down the front door of the monster castle. What a tragedy.
Image: ...maybe we can send them a signal or something.

If we enter the shrine on this side...

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The statue returned to its initial spot, and this Travel Door is accessible.

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It looks like it only leads to itself, since we're still south of the river when we come out. However...

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...we now have the wagon with us! The game has a mechanic where entering a Travel Door sends the wagon outside of the Door's destination, so you can use them to teleport without leaving your party behind. This occurs even when the Door just "teleports" us back to itself. We can finally get Cristo to cure Francois' poison!

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Image: Sooo how did that happen, again?
Image: I'm not... entirely certain.
Image: It was indescribably strange.
Image: Y-yes. Let's not talk about it.
Image: Welp, fair enough.

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Maskans again, dang. Ragnar levels up here, for 5 Str, 6 Vit, 1 Int, 1 Luc, and 13 HP. Another Maskan fights gets Mara another level, for 1 Str, 3 Agi, 4 Vit, 2 Int, 3 Luc, 6 HP, and 9 MP.

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Image: Hmm... Staff or not, we're in pretty bad shape to be raiding this place.
Image: You can't be thinking of turning back after all this way!
Image: We might not have to. Let's see...

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Image: We can Return here now.
Image: What, really?
Image: Absolutely.
Image: So... we're getting a warm bed tonight?
Image: Yup.
Image: Magic is wonderful.
Image: You've all done good work today. How about you take it easy in the wagon while the others help us explore the rest of the island for now?
Image: I can go for that.
Image: Nah, you're not putting me in the wagon yet.
Image: Ha, deal. Come on, this castle stands for just one more day.

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Riders in the daylight! This region is rough chuckles. Cristo levels up, for 2 Agi, 3 Vit, 2 Int, 2 Luc, 4 HP, and 4 MP. Taloon follows, for 3 Str, 2 Agi, 1 Vit, 2 Int, 2 Luc, and 1 HP.

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There's nothing else of note here. We Return to Endor, store the Demon Hammer, give Ragnar his Agility Seed (three points!) and rest up.

Next time: the raid on Dire Palace!

User avatar
Friday
Posts: 3967
Joined: Mon Jan 20, 2014 7:40 pm
Location: A user of Sosuns

Re: It's raining protagonists: Let's play Dragon Warrior IV!

Postby Friday » Tue Mar 05, 2019 3:56 pm

Giant Statue dungeon was super rad.
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User avatar
François
Posts: 1530
Joined: Tue Jan 21, 2014 8:00 am

Re: It's raining protagonists: Let's play Dragon Warrior IV!

Postby François » Thu Mar 07, 2019 9:34 am

Before we head for Dire Palace, we deliver the Small Medal we found in the Colossus (that's 8 in total), and we store Alena's Fire Claw in the Vault. I suspect her AI only takes her raw attack power in consideration when deciding whether it's worth using it instead of attacking with her Stiletto Earrings and possibly getting at least one critical hit, so she ends up doing less damage overall than she should at this point.

We have 21000 gold in the Vault as well, so we could get a suit of Metal Babble Armor for Cristo or Nara, but at this point I'm not super keen on depriving them of the Sacred Robes' spell damage resistance. Maybe this will change later, depending on how much physical damage they're taking, but for now, we're good.

In other preparations, since only Cristo can cure poison and only Nara can cure paralysis, we buy a few Full Moon Herbs and Antidote Herbs just in case.

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And just as easily as that, Mara Returns us to the Palace. It counts as a castle zone, like Keeleon and Santeem, so we can't bring the wagon crew inside, but we don't have to worry about depriving them of experience. They can also cast spells outside of combat, so let's try a healer-less team this time: Francois, Ragnar, Alena, and Mara.

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Image: Mara, the Staff, please.
Image: Four monstrous metamorphoses, coming right up!

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Image: That's not going to do it.

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Image: Are you sure horses aren't monsters?
Image: Better not chance it.

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Image: This should work.
Image: Do you think that tiger creature noticed us messing around?
Image: Only one way to find out!

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Image: We already know that, you idiot.

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Image: ...do we really want to antagonize them?
Image: They're monsters. It would be weird to be polite.

If we weren't transformed into a shape the locals find agreeable, any monster we would talk to would attack us. Also, I didn't remember this, but there are actually no random encounters here, regardless of whether we look like humans or not.

Image: It burns me up that we can't just make a scene, though.
Image: Once we've learned everything we need, I don't know why we couldn't just clean the place out.
Image: Now you're speaking my language!

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Image: Ugh, I hope we don't miss him today.

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Image: What are you doing here?
Image: You'll be late for the meeting. Hurry to the meeting room on the second floor.
Image: There's got to be important information there!
Image: If they're all at a meeting, though, we should have free run of the place for a while.
Image: Right, let's nose around a bit first.

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You'd think we'd be able to go around the right side of the entrance to talk to this guy, but we can't take one step out of the gate without leaving the area; we'll have to find an underground route there.

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There's definitely something going on in that back garden.

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Image: Yeah, we just raided a farm in Riverton. Delicious!

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The Staff's effect does wear off after a bit, so we have to reapply it regularly.

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Of course.

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Image: Aw crap.
Image: Anyone you recognize, Alena?
Image: ...no.
Image: Hmm.

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Image: Better not blow our cover yet.
Image: Don't worry, miss. Help will come soon.

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Image: Let's see...

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Image: Here we are.

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Image: We're not actually monsters, settle down.
Image: What? You used the Staff of Transform to assume the monsters' shapes?
Image: Wow, good guess.
Image: I'm relieved.

I presume this guy tells you about the Staff if you got here without speaking to the Slime in Rosaville. In fact, if we wait for it to wear off...

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Image: I heard the Staff of Transform is kept in a royal crypt in the Endor area.

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Image: So that's-
Image: Shh!
Image: Fearing his formidable power, the celestial master imprisoned him underground.

Image: Gah, Esturk, I knew it.
Image: What can you tell us about him?
Image: Basically nothing. His name is known among demon lords, but he's been sleeping for as long as any author I read could tell. If he really used the Secret of Evolution, he might not even be a fiend in the same sense as Zoma or Baramos were, but I guess that doesn't matter now.
Image: So he wouldn't be actually dead, then.
Image: Not yet.

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Image: Pfft, why do you even care about humans?
Image: But I hear they used to fly in things called balloons.
Image: Sure sounds like nonsense to me!

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Image: Waaaait a minute...
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Image: ...do skeletons need sleep?
Image: Manifestly.

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That imp in the west hallway is rushing off somewhere off-screen, presumably to this meeting we've heard about.

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Let's inspect this staircase before we follow, though.

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We might be able to reach these stairs by going around the west edge of the map...

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Indeed!

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Image: Care to do a little looting along our investigating?
Image: Yes please!

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...of course there would be Mimics living in the monster castle. It casts Blazemore on Mara, then fails to cast Defeat because it doesn't have enough MP left; if we can win before it casts RobMagic, we're good.

In fact, Mara finishes it with Firevolt. Nice.

For the other chests here, we do have access to Brey's spells, so we'll X-Ray them all.

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Red light in the southeast, that's a Mimic.

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Blue light in the northeast, should be safe.

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Ooh, cool find there. Aeolus' Shield is a +50 shield that Ragnar and the Hero can equip. When used in battle, it can blow enemies away with strong winds, which is essentially an Expel effect (though I'm not sure it actually checks Expel resistance). Francois' Zenithian Shield is much better of course, but Ragnar will appreciate the defense upgrade.

We've got another blue light in the northwest, so...

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Okay, cool. Back to the upper floor we go, then.

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Image: Necrosaro will be here any minute.
Image: Oh boy oh boy oh boy, can't wait to meet the boss!

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Image: Why?
Image: Who knows what that moron is thinking?
Image: He's from that dwarf town. I don't know why any of us trust him.

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Image: Say hello to everyone, then sit in your seat and be quiet.

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Image: No way. I was there, I ate part of his face. He's deader than you are, believe me.

Before we take our seat...

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There's an area in the southeast corner of the ground floor we haven't seen yet, and it looks like it might be accessible from the opening next to the meeting hall door. Let's have a look.

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Yup, that's what it is.

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Image: Hmm. I wonder who the monsters would have buried here. It can't be the Ruler of Evil for sure.
Image: Maybe it wasn't always a monster castle.

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Nara has the least HP, so we let her have them. She gains 6 points!

There's no way back up to the upper floor, so we leave the castle entirely and start from the entrance.

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Needless to say, this meeting won't start with humans in the room, so even if you can technically walk around the palace without the Staff, you can't progress until you've cleared the royal crypt.

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Image: Gah, it's him!
Image: Shhh.
Image: We already know something terrible happened at Aktemto. They can't be that far behind the news.
Image: Esturk, the Ruler of Evil, seems to have revived!
Image: Aw, hell.
Image: On his own?
Image: Wait, wasn't he trying to get Esturk revived all along? Why does he think that's terrible?
Image: Maybe they're afraid of him. It's too soon. They're not ready.
Image: It seems men dug too deep and reached the Evil World.
Image: Crap, the mine! Of course!
Image: We must go to Aktemto now! We'll bring Esturk the Great to our Castle!

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Necrosaro teleports away, and the other monsters file out of the hall.

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Image: Our time has come at last!

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Image: You know Aktemto is on the cape northwest of Keeleon Castle, don't you?
Image: We're Slimes, you jackass. How are we supposed to get there?

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Image: If Necrosaro perfects the Secret of Evolution... even the celestial master won't meddle with us! Ha, Ha, Ha!
Image: So it's not completed yet...
Image: That's why the time isn't right for them. If Esturk comes back before he can be made stronger, he'll just get sealed up again.
Image: This is our chance, then.

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Image: I don't think we have time to kill every last monster in here after all...
Image: Gah, right.
Image: Maybe... maybe we can let the prisoners out at least.
Image: Good point, let's go.

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Image: ...huh.

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Image: Change of plans!

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Heh, no sweat.

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Also no problem.

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Tougher, but not by much.

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Image: Well you can run right on out of here, come on!

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Image: Nobody's getting eaten! Get out while you can!

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Image: As long as I survive.
Image: Okay then, you can stay.

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Image: What's going on? We've heard some commotion-
Image: The miners in Aktemto broke into the Ruler of Evil's tomb, we gotta go.
Image: ...Aktemto? I should have known that was no poison gas!
Image: Is he... Has he revived yet?
Image: Only a matter of time, probably.
Image: Goodness! Are we truly prepared to fight such a creature? What about the Master Dragon?
Image: We don't even have the Zenithian Sword yet!
Image: We'll just have to do without. We can't let him get out of that hole in one piece, and we're out of time.
Image: No one's better prepared for this than we are, one way or another. It's do or die.
Image: So let's do, then.

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We definitely can't bring the wagon into the mines, and this is no time to be overly concerned with keeping levels equal among the party, so we're swapping out Ragnar for Cristo.

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If you thought things would stop getting worse for this town...

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Image: If we run, the whole world has to run with us.
Image: We're the first line. This nonsense ends now.

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Image: You've all been tricked! It was never gold you were after, you dumbass!
Image: But monsters raided the mine and... Cough... Cough...

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Image: ...

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Image: There was only one tunnel that still had active excavations. It's deep in, but I know the way.

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There aren't any new monsters here yet, so we stay on Use No MP for now.

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Image: This is it. That passage wasn't dug up last time we were here.
Image: They must have worked fast.
Image: You'd be surprised how fast you can work if you're possessed by an evil being that doesn't care if you live or die.

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Chaos Hoppers have 90 HP, 109 attack, 40 defense, and 59 agility; they always act twice, may waste a turn assessing the situation, and can cast Chaos, which is a single-target confusion ailment spell. It's a good thing they're so squishy! They're weak to Blaze and Surround, slightly resistant to lightning, Sleep, Expel and RobMagic, highly resistant to Firebal, wind, ice, Beat, StopSpell and Sap, and immune to Bang.

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Nothing on this side.

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Ryverns have 120 HP, 134 attack, 90 defense, and 82 agility; they can summon Podokesaurs for support, and inflict poison with their normal attacks. They're weak to wind, slightly resistant to Bang, ice and Surround, highly resistant to Firebal, Blaze, Sleep and Beat, and immune to lightning and Sap.

These are getting to be rather dangerous, hitting Francois for around 20 damage through all his armor. The Staff of Punishment comes in real handy for sure, seeing how resistant they are to Mara's spells.

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Image: Ugh, to hell with you.

The tiger beast is apparently too distressed to attack us.

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Image: Not if we find him first!

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Oh dang. At least we ambush those two, with Alena and Cristo taking one out together on the first round. Alena levels up, for 6 Str, 10 Agi, 5 Vit, 1 Int, 4 Luc, and 10 HP.

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We did miss a path in the northwest of this floor, but this is no time to backtrack.

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Alena gets confused for a moment here, but Mara bonks the offending Hopper over the head with her Staff of Antimagic before anything serious happens.

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Man, that's some hefty incoming damage. We'll have Francois spamming Expel on the Necrodains again. He does get rid of one, but not before Alena one-shots the other. I would have preferred to see her start chipping away at the Ryverns, but whatchagonnado.

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Image: That's it. There's the breach.

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Image: ...
Image: Even now, he has no idea.
Image: ...do we?
Image: Doesn't matter. We're going in.
Image: Right. Right!

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Image: ...okay, this is different.
Image: We've definitely left the mines behind.
Image: Ah... this atmosphere...
Image: There's nothing in here we can't break or burn! Come on!

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We can see this massive cavern extending further in the darkness. This sure doesn't look like anything else we've ever seen in the series!

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That's a very welcome Healing Stone right there! We weren't exactly in awful shape, but we can't have too much MP at this point.

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Eigerhorns have 250 HP, 123 attack, 98 defense, and 78 agility. On top of being naturally durable, they can parry and cast Snowstorm. They're highly resistant to almost all magic, except for an immunity to Firebal, and slight resistance to Bang, Sap, and RobMagic.

Seeing as none of our spells will be very effective unless Mara figures out Sap is a good idea, Francois opens with a Sword of Decimation blast so it won't take quite so long to reduce their massive HP pool. Cristo and Alena (with one crit) do kill one off in the first round.

On the second round...

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...the remaining Eigerhorn "looks scared", changes color, and starts parrying often, occasionally "trying a body attack", which I believe reduces one target's HP to critical levels. Parrying does cut magic damage in half, so it's best to go on Use No MP once they start turtling up.

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Francois levels up off a pair of Eigerhorns and a Ryvern, for 5 Str, 2 Agi, 3 Vit, 2 Int, 3 Luc, 5 HP, and 4 MP.

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Image: This is not a tomb. It's a mansion.
Image: No, it is a tomb, it just doesn't know it yet.

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Heh, we're running out of time to find the rest of those.

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Yeah, of course. Cristo gets Defeated, and it takes Francois three tries to bring him back.

Mara levels up off a trio of Ryverns afterward, for 1 Str, 2 Agi, 2 Vit, 1 Int, 5 Luc, 3 HP, 8 MP, and the BeDragon spell! For 18 MP, it turns the caster into a giant dragon that breathes a powerful fire breath every round until the end of the fight. This was an iffy proposition sometimes in DW3, because you needed your Wizards to cast Bikill and Increase, but Mara's spell list is practically all fire damage to begin with, so she basically only loses access to her inventory and to Sap.

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Whew, not bad.

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Those will go to Ragnar and Nara later.

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Alena is getting hit by Ryverns for 40 to 50 damage; her Cloak of Evasion sometimes saves her, but she's definitely not geared up to be a frontliner in here. I brought her along because I figured the best defense would be a good offense, but the monsters in here have so much HP that she can't be counted on to one-shot something at the start of every round. I'm starting to regret not getting Cristo his own Metal Babble Armor; he'd do well in second place right now.

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I'm intrigued by that hallway to the south, but let's have a look at those stairs for now.

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Ah, of course, this is the rooftop access.

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Man, this place looks so dang cool.

Cristo levels up here, for 1 Str, 3 Agi, 4 Vit, 1 Int, 3 Luc, 7 HP, and 3 MP.

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Oof, we take one instance of trap damage coming into this chamber. It's a good thing we have Mara with us!

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Image: What the...
Image: This has to be Esturk.

This new monster's sprite does not animate, so we know it's either asleep or dead.

Image: We're not too late!

Alena gains a level here, for 7 Str, 9 Agi, 6 Vit, 1 Int, 3 Luc, and 11 HP.

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Image: Ugh, this rooftop was a waste of time!

There's nothing for it, we have to head back to the hallway above the entrance. The Staff of Antimagic has been helping Mara keep her MP up, but Francois and Cristo have about 50 each; that's not great.

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Image: To the south, then?
Image: Gah, no. We're heading back.
Image: ...what?
Image: Not all the way back, just to the Healing Stone. We can't keep going on this little juice.
Image: R-right.
Image: I know we're on the clock here, but-
Image: No, no, it's alright. I trust your judgement. Let's go.

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We run into Maskans on the way back. They're not all that dangerous by now, but we have to take care of them before they fill the screen with their buddies, and that distracts us from the heavy hitters.

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Ah, that's better.

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King Healers. Of course. They have 150 HP, 90 attack, 25 defense, and 30 agility. They can waste their turn being flustered, and they can cast... Healusall. Which restores all enemies' HP to full. Welp! They're vulnerable to Surround, slightly resistant to StopSpell, Sap and almost all magic damage, highly resistant to Sleep, and immune to lightning, Beat, Expel, and RobMagic.

On the first round, Alena and Cristo take out the Necrodain, then Mara uses her Staff to seal up the Healer's spells. No sweat, this time.

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Both Alena and Cristo get Defeated this time. Francois brings Cristo back the first time, then fails twice to revive Alena, and it takes two tries for Cristo to bring her back instead. Dang, that's some expense.

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Image: He made us immortal.
Image: Is that even possible?
Image: Heh, we'll see.
Image: As long as he lives, so shall we!
Image: Better kiss your bony ass goodbye then. You don't have long.

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Image: Ha! There we are!
Image: Out of the way, fiends! The hero has come!

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Image: I don't take orders from demons. Step aside or be destroyed.
Image: Esturk the Great is reviving!
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Image: To hell with that!
Image: You won't be rid of us that easily.
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The Rhinoking has 220 HP, 200 attack, 160 defense, and 70 agility; he may get two actions per turn, and he knows Bounce. Compared to the hordes we've had to mow down on our way here, he's barely a speedbump. He's highly resistant to most magic, with lesser resistance to wind, ice, StopSpell and Sap, and immunity to Expel and Beat. Of course this only matters if you can block his spells before he can cast Bounce.

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Image: Is Esturk still...?
Image: He's definitely not moving.
Image: Anyone has any objections to cutting his head off while he's asleep?
Image: You're kidding, right?
Image: I'm usually the fair fight type, but in this case, we can make an exception.
Image: Yes, yes, no sense taking unnecessary risks.
Image: Glorious.
Image: Quick and quiet, let's go.

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You know a battle is serious business when the bottom third of your status window gets lopped off to make room for your opponent!



Okay, first off: holy crap, that music. Dragon Warrior music has been a lot of things so far, but it's never been quite this rockin'.

True to his reputation as an ancient herald of the apocalypse, Esturk comes with 900 HP, 220 attack, 100 defense, and 55 agility. He always gets two actions per round (unless he's asleep), he can emit a blizzard, take a deep breath (like a much improved version of building up power), and shoot "freezing waves", which is a dirty trick right out of Zoma's playbook that will strip your entire party of all buffs and cancel all transformation spells.

He does start the fight asleep, but seeing as he's a deity-tier eldritch abomination, even just getting close to his unconscious body is enormously dangerous. Until he wakes up, he passively emits eerie light that wallops your entire party for around 50 points of raw, irresistible damage once per round. Considering the people of Aktemto built their town on top of his house, it's no surprise they were all slowly dying off.

On top of that, he regenerates about 100 HP per round. Adding up all the damage we inflicted, it took 2235 points to bring him down in 14 rounds. Alena did 1008, Mara did 739, Francois did 318, and Cristo did 170. Also, seeing as Alena didn't roll even one critical hit, I suspect Esturk is just outright immune to crits.

He's immune to Beat, Expel, Surround, and wind, highly resistant to Bang, Firebal, Sleep and Sap, slightly resistant to Blaze and ice, and completely vulnerable to lightning. It is in fact possible to put him back to sleep, but of course he reverts to his eerie lights attack if you do so. In retrospect it would have been a pretty good idea to get Francois to cast Zap instead of attacking with his Ice Blade, but I wasn't sure how much more of his MP we'd need for healing.

Regarding Mara's behavior, she was in a curious place, where Firevolt does more damage than Blazemore, but it's also less likely to actually get through Esturk's resistances. She did seem more eager to try Firevolt on Offensive and Blazemore on Normal and Defensive, though she also bonked Esturk with her Staff exactly once, presumably just to be able to say she did. In many other circumstances BeDragon would have been an excellent choice, but she could tell it wasn't worth trying on account of the freezing waves.

Brey can do good work in this battle too because Bikill is always useful, but again, freezing waves: he'd have to be recasting it practically non-stop.

Cristo being Cristo, he blew half his MP on instant death spells at the start of the fight. That said, he was more on the ball with healing than I expected him to be, and in fact if I had trusted him with taking such good care of people, Francois could have gotten in maybe three more hits throughout the fight. And when he completely ran out of juice, he started helping out with his Metal Babble Sword.

Aaaanyway! I'm thrilled that we have everyone alive because that 15000 experience is no joke. Francois levels up, for 4 Str, 2 Agi, 6 Vit, 1 Int, 3 Luc, 11 HP, and 6 MP. Alena follows, for 7 Str, 9 Agi, 5 Vit, 1 Int, 4 Luc, and 8 HP. Cristo gains 4 Agi, 4 Vit, 2 Int, 3 Luc, 11 HP, 4 MP, and the Healus spell, which restores a fair amount of HP to our entire party for 18 MP; Nara doesn't get to learn that one. And Mara closes the march, with 1 Str, 2 Agi, 3 Vit, 1 Int, 5 Luc, 6 HP, and 7 MP.

Of course the wagon crew doesn't benefit from this but... it's not like it matters, right? The Ruler of Evil has been cast down. Certainly, the Chosen Ones' work is done!

User avatar
Friday
Posts: 3967
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Re: It's raining protagonists: Let's play Dragon Warrior IV!

Postby Friday » Thu Mar 07, 2019 4:13 pm

Man, it really reframes whats going on in early game Aktemto with the whole "obsessed with treasure despite poison gas killing everyone" miners. You think it's just simple human greed, but probably Esturk was preying on that to get them to unearth him.
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François
Posts: 1530
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Re: It's raining protagonists: Let's play Dragon Warrior IV!

Postby François » Thu Mar 07, 2019 8:08 pm

Right, exactly. The games have had these cosmic-horror-lite undertones ever since Hargon summoned Malroth, but Aktemto's whole deal is straight up "gold-addled miners bust a sleeping god out of jail and are rewarded with insanity and/or death" territory.

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François
Posts: 1530
Joined: Tue Jan 21, 2014 8:00 am

Re: It's raining protagonists: Let's play Dragon Warrior IV!

Postby François » Sun Mar 10, 2019 9:45 pm

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Image: We did it. It's done.
Image: Is he really dead?
Image: Oh yeah. Nobody gets up from this.
Image: With the kind of hurt we put on him, if he was still alive, he'd wish he wasn't.
Image: So we're stronger than the Master Dragon, then.
Image: As long as we're together, sure.
Image: Man, I wish I could see the look on Necrosaro's face when he figures out what happened.
Image: Ugh, right. I guess he got lost in the mines somehow. But he can't be far behind.
Image: Let's get back to the surface. He can't be stronger than Esturk was, but this battle took a lot out of us.
Image: We have to go on foot, though. There's supposed to be some kind of gas container buried here, isn't there?
Image: I don't know, we were rather thorough coming in...
Image: No, wait, there was that skeleton guarding a chest a couple rooms back!
Image: Yeah, that's gotta be it. Let's go!

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Image: Wh-
Image: YOU!

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Image: He wasn't all that great, let's be honest here.
Image: According to the prophecy, only the Hero, a descendant of Zenithians, is capable of defeating the Ruler!
Image: What, are you starting to put the pieces together now?
Image: Who do you think defeated Keeleon and Balzack?
Image: And YOU'RE NEXT!
Image: Are you... Are you the...!?
Image: You're damn right I am!
Image: Your crimes avail you of nothing, beast! Nothing at all!
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Image: Your Rosa, the elfin girl, has been abducted by humans!
Image: ...aw crap.
Image: What?
Image: Saro! She asked us to stop you!
Image: Curses! Everyone! We must return to our base!
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Image: We'll help you find her! Just stop this!
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Image: SARO!
Image: ...
Image: Ah... this does not bode well...
Image: We should find her before he does.
Image: It won't help if he starts thinking we had anything to do with it.
Image: Where would we even begin to look?
Image: Better head back to Rosaville once we're done here.

Francois spends a bit of his remaining MP patching Alena and Mara back up. Alena was carrying a Magic Potion, so Francois drinks it to recover 14 more MP. Mara has another, but we might not need it right now. We shuffle some gear around, too: Mara equips her Poison Needle, Cristo gets the Staff of Antimagic to maybe get some MP back, and Francois holds on to the Metal Babble Sword for a bit.

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Image: Heh, immortal, right.

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Image: This is it, then. We'll be flying soon.
Image: I wonder if we'll be able to go all the way to Zenithia then.
Image: I guess we'll find out.

Francois is out of MP at this point, and Mara's dangerously low. I'm not sure we can even make it back to the healing stone. We have to leave right away; Mara takes us Outside.

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Image: Whuh-oh.
Image: Gah, this is not good.
Image: It would have been too easy for Esturk to leave if this cavern wasn't warded against teleportation.
Image: On foot, then. Come on!

Francois chugs the second Magic Potion, for 15 points. That's three Healmore casts. If Cristo can't drain some juice with the Staff, it's all we got.

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A Ryvern poisons Francois here, adding insult to injury. Cristo literally has no MP left, he can't spare two points for another Antidote cast.

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Two Dragon Riders try to stop us here. Not today!

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A lone Chaos Hopper stands in our way, for but a moment.

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Haha, wow, holy crap. The forces of darkness had the ball for a bit, but they dropped it! We're sitting on 15808 gold right now, so those were some stakes right there. Everybody gets their usual gear back.

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We're probably able to warp out now that we're back in the mine, but we did miss a couple passages on our way in, so let's clear it out.

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That's one dead end...

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...and another. We're done here.

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Image: What news?
Image: Esturk's a goner!
Image: Haha, glorious!
Image: But Necrosaro's still around, and apparently Rosa's in trouble.
Image: Ah, that can't be good.
Image: I don't suppose you've found the strange gas that was-
Image: Actually, we have it, no problem there. But, really, let's head to Rosaville first and figure out what happened.

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Image: We're trying to help her out. Can you tell us anything?
Image: She was hiding from humans, but was found again.

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Image: Where could they have taken her? Where could such vile brigands even be from?
Image: Anywhere. Literally. Ugh.

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Image: I know it's a long shot, but did you hear anything about where she was taken?
Image: They took her towards Izmit.
Image: Gah, of course. The dream. They tracked her down because of the dream.

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Image: Any-
Image: Izmit. They took her to Izmit. Ragnar, are there kidnappers around there?
Image: There were, but they were monsters, and I got rid of them. I can't believe any humans in my kingdom would be so horrible as to-
Image: Better believe it. Let's go.

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Image: Nobody knows anything...
Image: No one here would hide criminals of this depravity.
Image: The dreams, though... Maybe she could get in touch that way, from wherever she is now.
Image: Right!
Image: I'll get everyone.

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There's a combat striking sound. They're obviously hitting her.

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Saro cuts down the kidnappers one after the other.

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The elegy breaks the silence.

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I think it's fair to say that the notion of a female character's death being used to motivate a male character has been overused and/or ill-used for a long time... but for the era and the medium here? Dang, that's a gut punch.

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Image: ...
Image: By the light.
Image: So much for helping him find her.
Image: Ugh. I'd have helped him get rid of those three assholes.
Image: ...
Image: Right before I bashed his dumb face in.
Image: What do we do now?
Image: Saro has to be put down. There's no going back for him now.
Image: Because you think there was going back for him before?
Image: Well... even less now than before.
Image: No, no, I could see it. With the Ruler of Evil dead, maybe she could have made him understand the futility of his scheme.
Image: But... Esturk is... He's ultimately replaceable, isn't he?
Image: Yes. We know he became what he became through the Secret of Evolution.
Image: Right. We need to go back to Dire Palace and find out what he's up to now. Whatever it is he's doing, we have to put an end to it before it gets any more out of hand.

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Image: What happened to him?
Image: He might be getting soft. I'm not saying we should overthrow him, but, food for thought, right?

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Image: His dream revealed that men would inadvertently aid Esturk's resurrection, and he tried to stop the excavation at Aktemto. That's probably why he was crushed by the evil force.
Image: Ah... my liege...!
Image: Shhh.
Image: Even we monsters didn't guess Esturk was imprisoned there.

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Image: Crushed by the evil force! Alas! Alas, my lord!
Image: T-that could mean anything!
Image: ...

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Image: Necrosaro will be furious if he hears this.

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Image: Esturk the Great was resurrected but was destroyed by the Hero. I don't believe it!
Image: You should believe it. It's true. Necrosaro failed us all.

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Image: Even the monsters don't know where Necrosaro is.
Image: If he's using the Secret of Evolution in a hidden lair, we could search for a hundred years and still not find him.
Image: But it's not like we can just give up!
Image: We may not be able to find him on our own, but if we had assistance...
Image: Master Dragon. Right.
Image: We succeeded where he failed. If that doesn't impress him, I don't know what will.
Image: We might still need the Zenithian Sword, though.
Image: Speaking of which, I've been thinking...
Image: Well that's new.
Image: ...about Howden's map. If it's supposed to show the way to a great treasure, maybe it's the sword. And now that we can get a flying vessel built...
Image: Are you sure you don't just want to get your hands on that sword?
Image: Hey, two birds with one stone.
Image: Either way, we don't have a better lead. Let's see that merchant in Riverton.

This is such an unusual story beat. The big bad we've been hearing about since Chapter 1 is dead, the closest thing he has to a second-in-command presumably lost his mind in grief and went off the grid, and his subordinates are in disarray and confusion. We've struck a major blow, clearly, but our next step is to pick up the Master Dragon quest line we unexpectedly had to put on the back-burner. That's so interesting to me! It introduces a bit of narrative uncertainty, a notion that this story is happening out of order, with its final battle taking place earlier than anyone involved thought it would, yet still designed that way on purpose. Even the monsters who were actively trying to find out where Esturk was buried were caught off-guard by how he (almost) busted himself free without them. As a result, both heroes and villains are in "huh, what do we do now?" mode, and it's finally a chance for us to gain the initiative.

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Image: That's why we brought it, my good man. What's the word?
Image: Wow! There's gas inside! This could be...
Image: We found it underground, alongside the Ruler of Evil. It definitely is what you think it is.
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Image: Use it in good health, friend.
Image: I appreciate it! Come back tomorrow, won't you? I think I'll be able to give you something wonderful!
Image: We can hardly wait. Thank you!

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This is not a repeat of Don Mahone asking us to wait a day for the Water Flying Cloth actually meaning we had to save our game and load from the title screen; we can just spend the night at the inn. In fact, seeing how the game seems well able to keep track of time, I bet just waiting for the next sunrise on the overworld would work too.

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Image: A balloon, eh? Fascinating.
Image: I'll give you the first one. It's outside!
Image: You might just be helping us save the world with this. Excellent work!
Image: The gas from the canister is essential for flying balloons. Now I can make many balloons!

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Image: ...wow.
Image: It's massive!
Image: Was there really enough in that canister to fill this entire balloon?
Image: Ah, the techniques needed to pressurize that amount of gas must be fantastical indeed.
Image: ...I could make so much money with this thing.
Image: Maybe when we're done. Come on everyone, let's figure out how to get Primrose on board.





The Balloon functions basically like Ramia in DW3; it teleports around with us when we cast Return, and it can land anywhere we could walk. Clocking in at 2 minutes 45 seconds, its theme is easily one of the longest tracks in the series so far, though there's hardly ever any cause to hear it in full.

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There's a neat graphical detail to it too: its shadow grows larger as the altitude of the terrain underneath increases. It's smallest on water, and largest on hills and mountains.

Before we head back to the Mintos/Soretta continent, we drop off our Small Medals (the King is now holding 12 for us), we sell Ragnar's old Dragon Shield, distribute the Seeds we found under Aktemto (3 Agility for Ragnar, 2 Strength for Nara), and leave the Flute of Uncovering and Gas Canister at the Vault (the Riverton dude didn't actually keep it for some reason).

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Image: Haha! We're so close, I can practically smell it!
Image: What does it smell like?
Image: Victory!
Image: Oh, I like that one.

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Image: ...does victory smell like a big tree?
Image: Maybe this one does, I don't know.

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As we get close, the tower dungeon music starts playing. In addition, we don't have access to the wagon crew's spells or items, as if we were in a dungeon with a narrow entrance.

Image: Huh. Elves.
Image: Ahh... If they have the Zenithian Sword, they won't part with it easily.

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Image: And they're just politely letting them in? Are those really elves?
Image: Maybe the elves back in our world were poorly led.
Image: ...maybe?
Image: Well, we know they were, but without their foolish queen, who knows, they might not have caused so much trouble for their neighbors.

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That's a cheaper inn than what we're used to, but since we're separated from the wagon, we're only paying for our active party.

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Image: Ah, this must be the World Tree! It is said that its leaves can bring back the recently deceased!
Image: ...boy I hope that wasn't Howden's treasure.

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Image: Gah. Of course.

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Image: You will find the leaves very useful.
Image: I guess it would be too late for Rosa.
Image: I have a feeling that if there was a way to bring her back, Saro would have found it.

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Image: Oh, my hearing must be failing me... I cannot hear anything of the sort.
Image: It's not you, Sir Brey. I can't hear anything either.
Image: Must be those elven ears.

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Image: Hmm! We won't have come for nothing, then.
Image: They're saying to come up in groups of three...
Image: In... groups of three?
Image: Well that's oddly specific.
Image: If monsters now reside in the tree, this could be a trap!
Image: Why wouldn't they say to come alone, then? Or in pairs?
Image: Hmm...
Image: What do you think, Francois?
Image: We just killed the Ruler of Evil. We can get three people together who can climb a tree.
Image: Do count me out!
Image: Heh, I'll consider it.

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Ooooh, familiar sights!

The Shield of Strength is a +40 shield that the Hero, Ragnar, Taloon and Cristo can use. Also, as is traditional by now, it can cast Healmore on its wielder in battle. It's not as strong as Aeolus' Shield or the Zenithian Shield, but it's an excellent option otherwise for Cristo and Taloon.

The Water Flying Clothes are +41 armor for Nara, Mara and Brey, three points stronger than a Sacred Robe, and one point stronger than a Pink Leotard. It also reduces incoming fire and ice breath damage by one third, though it doesn't seem to affect spell damage this time around.

It may look like we'll have to choose one or the other, but instead we take a quick trip back to Endor to retrieve the extra 21000 gold we had stashed for a rainy day. Taloon gets a Shield of Strength, while both Nara and Brey are outfitted with Water Flying Clothes. This causes Nara to lose resistance to spell damage, but spells are subject to FendSpell, Bounce and StopSpell effects (and Taloon's magic hands), so until someone learns Barrier, it's more easily defended against than breath damage.

Alright, now it's time to decide who makes the climb. It may be a little foolhardy to go with just Francois and two of our lowest-level people, but I want to try it anyway and see how it goes. Cristo and Mara are level 31, Alena is level 30, Taloon and Ragnar are level 28, Nara is level 26, and Brey is level 25. We're definitely not going up with just Nara and Brey, and I want to bring a healer along, so it'll be Nara and Taloon. Taloon's versatility is also likely to be very helpful in a smaller party, and his sword and shield make him self-sufficient for healing.

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Image: Now pay attention, Mara. If I fall, you'll have to catch me.
Image: ...!
Image: ...
Image: ...
Image: Haha, I'm just kidding.
Image: Ha... ha... whew. You... you got me.
Image: What's a broken neck or two? Just let me fall.
Image: ...please don't fall, Taloon.
Image: Not on purpose, I promise.

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Another new tileset! Are we spoiled or what? Back in DW3, Charlock used the same visuals as the basement of the Tower of Najima. Man.

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Better check out the whole floor before we go up.

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Okay, nothing completely terrifying yet.

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...gah, okay, that'll be tougher.

Red Cyclones have 80 HP, an enormous 152 attack, 55 defense, and 79 agility; they can cast Infermore and Infermost, the latter of which is of course the strongest wind damage spell. Yikes. They're weak to Sleep, slightly resistant to Bang, lightning, ice, Beat and StopSpell, and highly resistant to Firebal, Blaze, wind, Surround, RobMagic, and Sap. Sleep is definitely the way to go here, so Francois will be going for Sleepmore casts until Nara catches on to the idea.

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...Taloon spent a turn building up power, then dealt a trip-crit, one-shotting an unsuspecting Eigerhorn from full health. Good grief, Alena wouldn't do that much damage in a single turn even if she critted twice. Heck, I'm not entirely sure we'll ever see a bigger damage number than this for the rest of the game. Yay Taloon!

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Eh, alright, might as well take that one then.

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Image: Well this looks decidedly unsafe.
Image: We're in a giant magic tree that resurrects the dead. I'm going.

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Image: See, it's fine.
Image: Maybe it's only fine for Zenithians.
Image: Eh, too specific. I'm going too.

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Image: Yeah, no problem, it's safe.
Image: I suppose that if it holds you up...

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Image: I hope you guys don't have a fear of heights.
Image: Nah.
Image: ...let's hope I still don't have one tonight.
Image: Say, this is the world tree, right?
Image: Apparently.
Image: And... these are its leaves we're standing on, right?
Image: What are you getting at?
Image
Image: So it's safe to say those are leaves of the world tree?
Image: Hmm!
Image: Well I'm in no hurry to test them, but, good thinking!

In fact, it is possible to search any "leaves" tile in this entire dungeon and find a Leaf of the World Tree, as long as no one in your entire extended party has one already. That sure takes the sting off only bringing three people!

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Oh dang, the merchant army's attacks count as Taloon's attacks for Sword of Miracle purposes, and he gains HP back for every blow.

Nara levels up here, for 2 Str, 2 Agi, 2 Vit, 3 Int, 4 Luc, 3 HP, and 4 MP.

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...hooooly crap. We start the first round on Defensive, and Francois cast FendSpell on Mara immediately, with the intention to use his Shield to put up Bounce afterwards. Hopefully Taloon's Sword and Shield will be enough to keep him alive until we can fight back. Goodness.

Francois takes a bunch of physical damage; Nara casts Healall, it is reflected by Bounce, and nullified by the FendSpell she received. I suspect the AI isn't coded to pay attention to that, heh. In the end, none of the Cyclones cast any wind spells, we just tanked many regular hits. Whew.

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Whuh-oh.

Image: Ha! Now we're talking! No more of that Butterfly Dragon and Dragonit and Dragonpup nonsense!

Green Dragons come with 143 HP, 136 attack, 90 defense, and 55 agility; they can emit poison gas, and call on Podokesaurs for support. That's not quite as scary as a bunch of Red Cyclones, but still nothing to laugh at. They're weak to lightning, slightly resistant to Firebal, Blaze, wind, ice, Surround, Beat and Sap, highly resistant to Bang, and immune to Sleep.

We'd better take out the Chaos Hoppers first; the Dragon is dangerous, but if any of us get confused, we're right boned.

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In that exact same round, Taloon also prevents one Hopper from casting Chaos. Ah, Taloon!

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Holy crap. If we have to come back later, maybe bringing Ragnar and his Dragon Killer along will be a good idea.

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Or we can just go with Taloon again, that's an option.

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Yup, always an option.

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Image: I can tell that ladder's going to bug me.

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A Dragon poisons Francois and Nara; she's only carrying one Antidote Herb, so she uses it on herself. It doesn't last long though; another Dragon catches everyone in a single blast, and we're all poisoned for the foreseeable future.

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Taloon levels up off a Red Cyclone, a Dragon and a Podokesaur here, for 2 Str, 2 Agi, 3 Vit, 2 Int, 2 Luc, and 4 HP.

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Oof, there's another sight I didn't want to see again. FendSpell/Bounce it is. There's a neat aspect to FendSpell, in that someone it protects can still cast magic on themselves, so Nara still gets to heal herself if she needs to.

Francois levels up here, for 5 Str, 2 Agi, 4 Vit, 2 Int, 2 Luc, 8 HP, 6 MP, and, gloriously, the Healusall spell. Just like in DW3, it restores our entire party's HP to full, and it's still a Hero-only spell; unlike in DW3, it costs 36 MP instead of 62. That's a massive improvement! Not only does Francois here generally have more MP than Zofia did, but his Healusall isn't mostly an impractical curiosity that you only use twice in an entire playthrough, if that much.

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Image: ...I knew that ladder would bug me.

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Ogres have 210 HP, 143 attack, 40 defense, and 47 agility, with the ability to roll crits. I think Francois can survive that kind of crit if he has full HP, but I can't say the same for Taloon and Nara. They're weak to Bang, Blaze and wind, slightly resistant to other magic damage, to Sleep and to Sap, and highly resistant to Beat and Surround.

On the first round, Francois hits the Snowjive, which is then finished off by a Magma Staff blast, while Taloon starts chipping away at the Ogre. We're good. Francois and Taloon get hit for about 25 damage through their armor, it's not too bad.

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Nara definitely knows about the Cyclones' weakness by now; she'll put an entire group out of commission with a simple Sleep cast.

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Infurnus Sentinels have 250 HP, 130 attack, 116 defense and 61 agility; they can cast Blazemore and Fendspell. That's just rough chuckles all around. They're weak to Blaze and wind, slightly resistant to Firebal, Sleep, Expel, RobMagic and StopSpell, highly resistant to lightning, ice, Surround and Sap, and immune to Beat. I almost feel like having Francois spam the Sphere of Silence, but there's only one of him, we should just hit it a bunch.

...actually Nara puts it to sleep with Sleepmore, false alarm.

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Image: There! Is that a woman?
Image: Looks like it. Huh.
Image: That's a weird place to get stranded in.

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Image: Heya miss.
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Image: You're stuck in a big tree. How come?
Image: Please forgive our uncouth companion, my lady. We've come to assist you.
Image: I'm Francois. What's your name?
Image: I'm Lucia. I came here to collect the leaves of world trees... but was attacked by monsters.
Image: Yeah, they do that.
Image: They broke my wings.
Image: Your...?
Image: Your wings?
Image: So you didn't climb from below, you... flew here? From...
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Image: Y-yes! Yes! Of course!
Image: Oh, you will!
Image: If you can show us the way, that is.
Image: As it so happens, we were trying to find out how to get there!
Image: To enter Zenithian Tower, you must be equipped with all of the Zenithian weapons and armor.
Image: Right, we're kinda missing the sword. I don't suppose...
Image: I feel it. The Zenithian Sword is hidden somewhere in this tree.
Image: Ha! I knew it! That's Howden's treasure alright!
Image: Shall we leave?
Image: Absolutely, let's go!
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So this explains why we couldn't bring a full party up here: there had to be room for a new guest character!

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If you refuse to help her, she just thinks you're scared, and you can talk to her again from the top.

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Lucia isn't much of a fighter, but she comes with decent gear, a massive amount of MP, and the Healall, Defence and Surround spells.

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Image: ...!
Image: Ah, there it is.
Image: Hmm...
Image: Is it everything you thought it would be?
Image: I... Hmm... Well... N... No?
Image: Eh?
Image: I can't really... I don't know if... Eh, you're the expert, you tell me.
Image: What's going on?
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Image: I know, right?
Image: This doesn't... It's not... Huh.
Image: The balance is way off, isn't it?
Image: Yeah, that's it. It's agile alright, and sharp too, but it's... it's hilt-heavy, tip-light. Center of gravity's in your fist. Leaves a lot of cutting power on the table, which is weird on account of how long it is. Your arm does all the work all the way through.
Image: So, what? It's not good?
Image: No, no, it's still better than most swords you'll find on the market, it'll make nasty pokes if you know what you're doing, but there's definitely something badly wrong with it. It doesn't make sense. A smith who knew how to put together this beautiful a weapon should have known better than this. It's a total rookie mistake, but... on purpose? Straight, long, pointy, sharp, zero chop, here ya go. I don't get it.
Image: Maybe there's something special about Zenithian fighting styles.
Image: Hmph. Maybe. I hope so.
Image: Lucia, is this really the Zenithian Sword?
Image: None other than.
Image: Okay then. At least we have it. It should still open the way.
Image: I guess I put my expectations a little too high to begin with.
Image: Let's head back down, everyone.

The Zenithian Sword is a +65 weapon that only the Hero can equip. It's just five points stronger than a Sword of Lethargy, and the Ice Blade Francois is using is +75. Not great!

Image: Oof, that's a Sword of Gaia situation right there. My condolences.

We could jump off the edge pretty much anywhere, but...

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...we definitely missed two paths back there. We'll go the long way, but we've got Lucia casting for us this time, so it should be easier.

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Dang, this place doesn't mess around. It's tricky to prioritize in a fight like this. The Eigerhorn is too tanky to attack first, but both the Cyclones and Hoppers have a ton of damage potential in different ways. In this case we go for the Cyclones first, but we get lucky on the receiving end of three Chaos casts.

Nara levels up here, for 2 Str, 2 Agi, 2 Vit, 4 Int, 1 Luc, 4 HP, and 5 MP.

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Ah, there's a nice find. Just like in DW3, the Dew of the World Tree is a one-shot Healusall cast.

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We're back to that first ladder we passed on at the beginning.

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Heh, if I had only known...

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Ooh, neat. The Staff of Healing is technically a +5 weapon for Cristo, Nara and Brey. However, it does healing instead of damage, and nobody bothered to tell the AI. Anyone you allow to equip this will gleefully heal your foes with it. However, it also casts Healmore for free when used in battle, so it can be extremely valuable as long as it's only carried, not equipped. I think we'll let Brey hold on to it, it'll give him a bit more versatility.

Aaaaand that's it for the World Tree! We all leap off the canopy right there.

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I know I've been saying that a lot lately, but dang, what a neat dungeon. Goodness. It's got an entire menagerie of monsters that are dangerous for a variety of reasons too, and the game knows that you've been able to take Esturk down to get here, so it doesn't have to worry about you potentially being fresh off Konenber harbor.

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Cristo cures everyone's poison at last, and we rest up at the inn.

So, next time...

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We figure out where the heck that Zenithian Tower is supposed to be!

User avatar
François
Posts: 1530
Joined: Tue Jan 21, 2014 8:00 am

Re: It's raining protagonists: Let's play Dragon Warrior IV!

Postby François » Wed Mar 13, 2019 1:40 am

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Image: So, Lucia...
Image: Yes?
Image: You mentioned a Zenithian Tower.
Image: Yes, that is the path by which people from the surface world can ascend to Zenithia, as long as they carry the Zenithian arms.
Image: Well, we do have them now. I don't suppose you could tell us where it is, then.
Image: Ah... In fact, I... I cannot. I've never had cause to use it before. It's been a long time since anyone has!
Image: We've been almost all over the world by now, there can't be that many places it could be at.
Image: There was that island west of Konenber, with all the reefs.
Image: That's pretty much it, isn't it?
Image: Unless Howden's map is incomplete, then, yeah, it's all we got.
Image: Our course is set, then.
Image: No better leads. All aboard!

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Image: I hope Necrosaro isn't thinking of ambushing us here...
Image: Eh? I kinda hope he is. It would save us a lot of trouble.
Image: He saw us kill Esturk.
Image: Indeed. It would be suicidal for him to attack all nine of us in the open.
Image: And he's way too driven to be suicidal. Whatever it is he's doing now, he's doing it somewhere he thinks we can't get to.
Image: ...and we can't let him do it.
Image: Lady Lucia, do you believe Master Dragon will have insight for us?
Image: If anyone in the world can help you find this Necrosaro, Master Dragon can.
Image: Alright then, bringing us down again, hang on to your hats.

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Landing anywhere on this strange island sets us down in these isolated hills; if we enter our balloon, we get sent back to the regular overworld. Wherever we go here, we have to go on foot.

The game doesn't ever mention what's going on exactly, but the notion is that the bird's-eye-view "camera" we've seen the world through all this time is just set closer to the ground in this region, just as DW1's and DW3's views of Alefgard are zoomed in closer than DW2's. We don't get to travel a different amount of tiles in a day though, so the sunrise/sunset mechanic isn't seamlessly adapted to the different scale.

I'm going to say this in advance, though: this is not a DW3 Alefgard situation with a whole new overworld. We're just zoomed in to a fairly small landmass.

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Oof, there's already heavy opposition on the ground. Nothing we can't handle of course, but it takes some effort. Taloon levels up here, for 4 Str, 2 Agi, 2 Vit, 2 Int, 2 Luc, and 4 HP. Alena follows, for 6 Str, 9 Agi, 6 Vit, 4 Luc, and 12 HP. Brey also gains a level, for 1 Str, 3 Agi, 2 Vit, 2 Int, 4 Luc, 3 HP, and 5 MP.

Of course Brey is several levels behind everyone else, so he should catch up relatively quickly if we keep him nearby.

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Ferocials have 200 HP, 110 attack, 90 defense, and 57 agility; they always take two actions, and they can emit a stunning roar. They're not as beefy as Eigerhorns, but there's always the potential for getting stun-locked, so we want to end them quickly. They're immune to Beat and Expel, highly resistant to Blaze, wind, Surround and Sleep, but only slightly resistant to other magic damage. If you're up against more than one, it's not a bad idea to go Offensive with Mara or Brey. A Firevolt cast that lands gets you halfway to taking one of them down.

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More Ogres from the World Tree; their crits are no joke, so I try to swap in high HP party members when possible. Mara levels up here, for 6 Agi, 2 Vit, 1 Int, 6 Luc, 3 HP, and 8 MP.

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Image: Hmm... I'm not sure I want to cross that swamp first. Let's try the northern path instead.

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With that much potential FendSpell in play, our casters aren't much use. It's generally a good idea to keep Lucia in our active party while we have the wagon, since she's not taking experience away from anyone then, but for a fight like this, we swap her out for another melee combatant.

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Welp, it was bound to happen: we've got a new Metal Slime variety! Feel free to insert your own reference to your favorite metal band frontman here. Me, I'm going for Peter Steele, it seems appropriate.

King Metals have 7 HP, 140 attack, the uusal 1023 defense, and 165 agility; they have a chance to take two actions per turn (which mostly gives them two occasions to run away), and may also cast Firebane. As you would expect, they're completely immune to magic.

The usual metal-hunting strategies apply: critical hits, Poison Needles, BeDragon, Metal Babble Sword. Having your Hero turn into Mara and cast BeDragon is as foolproof as it gets, but it takes several turns that you may or may not be given. It's an especially good idea to have Taloon around as well, not only because of his amazing trip-crits, but also because he can steal Metal Babble Helms! That Helm is best-in-slot for five characters (it's strictly better than the Zenithian Helm and the Hero can wear it!), and we can only ever get one from collecting medals, so it's best not to pass up the chance to pick up more.

Anyway, we switch out Ragnar for Cristo and hope for the best.

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Welp, not today.

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That's one inaccessible-ass tunnel, since we can't just fly there; that might be a little bit contrived, mechanically. If we ever have to enter it, we'll have to find another way.

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Ooh, a path through the forest. That's gotta lead somewhere.

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Image: Hello my good man, would you by any chance know if-
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Image: ...ah. Well. Well then. Thank you.

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Image: That's... Hmm, that's a decent stock.
Image: Disappointed?
Image: So much for opening an exclusive trade route to an isolated island.

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Image
Image: But it's also close to the world of darkness.
Image: Wait, wasn't the world of darkness under Aktemto?
Image: No, that was called the Evil World.
Image: Evil world of darkness, it's all the same.
Image: I don't know about that. I think Esturk was in an isolated hole in the ground. This has to be something else.
Image: There's a formidably perilous cave on the west side of this island.
Image: You don't suppose Necrosaro would be hiding there...?
Image: How would he even reach that place at all?
Image: There's plenty of monsters with wings, it can't be that hard.

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An elf is running the inn; curious!

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Image: It's said only those who possess all of the Zenithian weapons and armor can enter...
Image: Not a problem!

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That's a good selection of some of the best gear in the world right there, but nothing we need.

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Image: Pretty weird to lock him up, then.

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Image: ...eh? Y-you know me?
Image: Go see Master Dragon now.
Image: We're on our way, don't worry about it.
Image: Or the world will be obliterated!
Image: No pressure!

Bit of a technical error here: this dialog has the string variable for Francois' shortened name in the status window instead of his full name. Oops!

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Image: Only hatred drives Necrosaro now.
Image: ...
Image: He... he has no one to protect.
Image: Like that excuses anything.
Image: Not an excuse, princess. An explanation.
Image: Unless stopped now, he'll evolve into the most horrible being.

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Image: With the Golden Bracelet, the Secret of Evolution will be even more devastating than before.
Image: So Esturk was small potatoes then.
Image: Oh boy.

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Image: Yeah, that's what we figured.
Image: Ugh, we should just go straight underground.
Image: Better find the Zenithian Shovel first, or it'll be a long dig.
Image: ...

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Image: They say the monster called Necrosaro has perfected the Secret of Evolution.

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Image: So, what's your deal? Are you going to tell us how scared you are too?
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Image: The prophesy that Esturk would come back to life and be destroyed by the Hero was true. But I know of no prophesy for the future thereafter.
Image: So, Francois, technically, you're done.
Image: Yeah, no.
Image: Heh. I knew you'd say that.
Image: How insightful.

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Image: So we're off the beaten path, then. No one knows how this is going to end.
Image: Nah, we know. It ends with my fist going in Necrosaro's stupid mouth and coming out the back of his neck.
Image: I'll hold you to that, Alena.

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Image: But the next Esturk is about to be born!
Image: And he'll wish he wasn't.

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There is no difference between day and night here in Gottside, so we set out again in the morning.

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Might as well continue our exploration towards the east where we left it off.

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Wilymages have 130 HP, 132 attack, 83 defense, and 58 agility; they can breathe scorching breath, use a Leaf of the World Tree, and... cast Firevolt. Ouch. They're immune to Expel, highly resistant to Firebal, Sleep, Beat, StopSpell and RobMagic, weak to lightning, and slightly resistant to everything else. Trying StopSpell effects is something of a waste of time against these guys, so it's best to exploit their relative fragility and bump them off before they cause too much harm.

Their drop is the Mysterious Bolero, a +37 piece of armor for Brey, Cristo, Mara and Nara. It offers no special resistances, but when its wearer is affected by a spell, it has a 1 in 6 chance of giving them half as much MP as the spell cost. The Metal Babble Armor, Sacred Robe and Water Flying Cloth are much better defensive options, but along with the Staff of Antimagic, it's one of the very few ways Nara and Cristo can regain MP in battle without using consumable items, so it might be worth equipping in certain circumstances.

Cristo levels up here, for 4 Agi, 4 Vit, 1 Int, 3 Luc, 6 HP, and 5 MP. Ragnar follows in the next fight, for 4 Str, 1 Agi, 7 Vit, 1 Int, 1 Luc, and 12 HP.

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Image: Hmm. What a strange building.
Image: There's no way that's the Zenithian Tower.
Image: The whole island seems pretty mysterious, though. Whatever's in here could be worth our time.

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Image: I think we can jump down here.
Image: I'm all for that, but... stairs first, maybe?
Image: Whatever you say, mister boringpants.
Image: I'll race you to the bottom, young lady-
Image: I'm sure you will, Taloon. We'll all race each other to the bottom, once we're done checking out the stairs.

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There are manifestly no monsters in here. Strange!

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Image: Huh, that's an elevator, just like in my father's lab. Maybe a bit smaller.
Image: Is that a hole in the ceiling?
Image: So we could drop into it from above...
Image: Not much point to that then, we made it down here just fine.
Image: No, wait... If... Hmm... This might not be the bottom floor. There could be something-
Image: -under the elevator.
Image: Right.
Image: Let's not send it up right away, though. There's a lot of space on the floor above we haven't seen, so we'll come in from above first.

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Image: Huh! Well spotted there.

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Image: Eh?
Image
Image: ...is there something jammed in there?
Image: That's a weird old thing to hide down here.
Image: If someone put it in this chest, it's got to be important.

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We ride the elevator all the way up to the top floor, then take the stairs back down.

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Image: Ha! I knew it!
Image: Was there something hidden like this in the lab?
Image: No, but... it follows, right?

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Image: Ooh.
Image: ...okay, not bad.

The Dress of Radiance is a +45 piece of armor for all women, including a female Hero. It comes with a 1 in 3 chance to reflect any given spell aimed at its wearer, as per a Bounce effect. Seeing as Alena is still wearing a Cloak of Evasion, that she has no access to equipment-based magic defense otherwise, and that she could use the extra defense power, I think I'll let her have it. I might change my mind after Healall or Bikill bounces off her a couple times, but maybe not! I believe the Staff of Healing's effect always goes through, just like all usable items, so Brey should still have a reliable way to heal her at least.

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Image: Wait, let me try that horn again...



Mara plays a few notes on the Horn. The screen fades to black, then back in. Nothing seems to have changed.

Image: Not a bad sound!
Image: But... what did it do?
Image: Did it do anything at all?
Image: It clearly did something... I felt... Hmm... I'm not sure...
Image: My talent has that effect, yes.
Image: It sure is making us waste our time here.
Image: Right, right, we can figure it out later, let's keep going.

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We're back to Gottside. Might as well rest up before we head south.

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Image: Ah, this has to be it.
Image: Does it look familiar, Lucia?
Image: ...my apologies. I have never seen it myself.
Image: Well, we're climbing it either way.

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Okay, so. Brey is level 26, Nara is 28, Ragnar is 29, Taloon is 30, Alena is 31, while Cristo and Mara are 32. Ragnar, Nara and Brey it is!

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Ooooh, another new tileset! Seeing as this tower is likely connected to Zenithia, it makes sense that it looks like no other place we've been to yet.

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Image: ...eh?

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We're literally forced back down the stairs and to the overworld.

Image: Oh, uh, I... should probably wield the Sword.
Image: It would help.
Image: My condolences.
Image: Welp.

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Aaaand we're in. Nothing stops us from equipping our Ice Blade again once we're actually inside, fortunately. This point is where all of the non-linear quest branches collapse back into one thread: you can't come here without the balloon, so you have to kill Esturk to get the Gas Canister, and though you can reach Gottside without owning a single piece of Zenithian gear, this is as far as you can go until have them all.

It's all coming to a head. Before long, a benevolent dragon deity will solve all of our problems, and the world will know peace once more.

Image: ...yeah, right, that'll be the day.

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Friday
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Re: It's raining protagonists: Let's play Dragon Warrior IV!

Postby Friday » Thu Mar 14, 2019 4:51 pm

And yet another new tileset. Radical!
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François
Posts: 1530
Joined: Tue Jan 21, 2014 8:00 am

Re: It's raining protagonists: Let's play Dragon Warrior IV!

Postby François » Sat Mar 16, 2019 1:47 am

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The Zenithian Tower tileset has a bit of a quirk to it: the pillars making up its walls are about one and a half tiles tall, occupying two tiles, with the southmost tile passable.

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DW2 introduced the idea of having all sprites offset by a couple pixels to the north in comparison to the background tile grid to create a subtle illusion of perspective, and it has maintained this practice through 3 and 4. But this peculiar way to display pillars here definitely takes the effect a step further.

That makes it tricky to map, too! For example, the two small "rooms" to the sides of the entrance here look like they're 2x3 at first glance, judging from the carpeted tiles, but since the bottom half of the pillars to the north is passable, they're actually 2x4.

This is not a game-changer by any means, but it shows that even this late in the game, in the series, and even in the console generation, the designers were experimenting with new ways to give the visuals a bit of flair within their technical limitations.

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It's hard to say where to go from here, but... let's say... east.

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Beastans have 178 HP, 125 attack, 73 defense, and 54 agility, with the ability to roll crits. They're weak to lightning and wind, highly resistant to Expel, Blaze and Surround, and only slightly resistant to anything else. At first glance they're less dangerous than the other creatures we've been fighting lately, but you do always need to watch out for crits landing on your weaker party members.

We go Offensive on the first round. Nara puts one of them to sleep, while Brey casts Snowstorm, and Francois and Ragnar work together to finish off another. Brey is way overdue for a new ice spell by now; Snowstorm is good for its cost, but if we're fighting critters with nearly 200 HP, it's getting long in the tooth.

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Ooh, we're back on the outside. The ground/sky transition here is a little awkward, especially since we so rarely get to see the horizon in any way, but it does help convey the notion that we're going upward, not just northward.

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Only Francois gets Healusall, so we're going to keep letting him have all of the Acorns. This time, he gets 5 MP!

Another fight against three Beastans gets Brey to level 27, for 2 Agi, 2 Vit, 2 Int, 5 Luc, 5 HP, 5 MP, and just in time, he learns IceSpears. For 8 MP, it deals a good amount of ice damage to all monsters regardless of grouping. It's the same cost as Boom, but actually a bit stronger! Now that's extremely welcome.

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Noctabats are fairly hefty, coming in at 220 HP, 143 attack, 127 defense, and 60 agility. They can breathe sleeping gas, and can cover the area in eerie mists, which is an unusual special move that prevents all spellcasting for the duration of the fight, from enemies and allies alike. They're immune to Expel, slightly resistant to Surround, Sleep, Beat and Sap, highly resistant to Blaze and lightning, and completely vulnerable to other magic damage. If you have casters with you, better let them off the leash early on, if at all.

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This one does emit its mists at the start of the first round, but Francois immediately one-shots it with a critical strike.

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Heh, it's like this whole dungeon is designed to make me wonder if I should have gone to the west half first.

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That's some otherworldly architecture right there; not only does it look like nothing we've seen, it's also bafflingly constructed. Quite fitting for a literal stairway to heaven, in any case.

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Ooh, more choices.

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...and more!

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And more monsters, even!

Pit Vipers have 200 HP, 147 attack, 80 defense, and 60 agility; they occasionally parry, and their normal attacks have a chance to inflict paralysis. I'm happy we have Nara with us then, but they also sometimes drop Full Moon Herbs. They're weak to wind, immune to lightning, highly resistant to Beat, Expel and Sap, and slightly resistant to everything else we have.

We go on Offensive. Brey casts IceSpears, and Nara follows up with a Magma Staff blast. As luck would have it, all enemies take both to the face, pretty much cutting their HP in half. Francois kills a Beastan and Ragnar kills a Viper, but not before the others kill off Nara. Francois brings her back after the fight, on the first try.

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Let's try the one down staircase here. We probably want to go up in general, but hey, I wouldn't say no to a dead end with a chest.

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Oof, that would one-shot Nara or Brey for sure. Nara comes in with a timely Healall immediately after this one.

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Ha, good man.

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I'm already unsure of how I'll arrange the map for this place. Oh well, that's future me's problem.

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Well, would you look at that! A dead end with a chest! Brey gives us the okay on this one.

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Excellent.

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Ragnar takes another Beastan crit, but we're under a Noctabat's mists, so Nara can't help him at all. We go Defensive for the next round though, and Brey comes in with his Staff for the save. Nice!

Francois levels up here, for 5 Str, 1 Agi, 3 Vit, 2 Int, 3 Luc, 7 HP, 3 MP, and the Lightning spell! Just like in DW3, it hits all enemies for a borderline ludicrous amount of lightning damage, somewhere around 200 points if I recall. However, where it cost Zofia an equally ludicrous 30 MP, it's only 15 for Francois. That certainly makes it a heck of a lot more practical.

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Leaping Maskans have 150 HP, 142 attack, 60 defense, and 75 agility. Their relative fragility is compensated by their ability to summon multiple reinforcements at once, and a strange suicidal explosion move with effects I'll be able to tell you about as soon as we see it happen. They're weak to Sap and to all types of magic damage, slightly resistant to Surround, and highly resistant to Sleep, Beat and Expel.

Needless to say, in a fight like this you want to avoid clearing out the Beastans to deny space for any new Leaping Maskans. Brey opens with IceSpears, and the battle is over in two rounds.

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Aaand we're back. Let's try those eastern stairs first.

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Oh, heh. I should have known this would happen just from seeing the outside of the room when we came in. Alright then, back to the stairs in the north.

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Now that's a little suspicious, isn't it?

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...huh. Just decoration after all, I suppose.

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Dang, we're getting high enough for the sky to start getting noticeably darker.

I mean...

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...we're not actually that high, in absolute terms, but this sure helps sell the idea that we're gaining altitude!

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Hmm. Let's have a peek downstairs.

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I was expecting this path to be a step backwards in the grand scheme of things, but now I'm not so sure...

Nara levels up off four Pit Vipers here, for 2 Str, 1 Agi, 1 Vit, 4 Int, 2 Luc, 2 HP, 3 MP, and the Barrier spell. Costing 6 MP, it protects everyone in the active party from breath-type damage. Unlike its DW3 version, it cuts damage in half instead of reducing it by one third! It sticks to individual characters though, so if you swap someone in, they won't be protected. Nara's the only one who gets it; in a way, it's her equivalent to the Cristo-only Healus, with it being preventive instead of reactive.

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Francois gets critted to death in the following battle, but Nara immediately brings him back. I can't believe how lucky we've been with in-combat Vivify casts so far.

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Let's have a peek outside here before we climb again.

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...huh. I suspect that chest underneath us would be accessible from the west branch of the first floor. Maybe taking the down staircase to the west would let us reach the eastern chest from underneath. Let's go for it.

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A Noctabat drops a Pink Leotard here. We don't really need those anymore, but they're worth a decent chunk of cash for sure. Maybe they'll help us get a Metal Babble Shield later!

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Bingo.

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Ah, that's where you're guaranteed to find one of those! Nara's spent a lot of MP in here and I'm tempted to let her wear it for a bit, but I also don't want her to start tanking Blazemore casts on purpose. Her Water Flying Clothes will serve her better.

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Aw yeah. Ragnar levels up here, for 4 Str, 1 Agi, 8 Vit, 1 Int, and 17 HP. Brey follows after the next fight, for 1 Str, 3 Agi, 3 Vit, 2 Int, 5 Luc, 4 HP, and 5 MP.

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Nothing here either!

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...except a Rhinoking, I suppose. Well, we took out the one they already had, we can't be surprised they crowned another. It starts the fight with Bounce, but Brey Bikills Ragnar, the king tastes of the Dragon Killer, and Francois finishes the job. The next-in-line must be quaking in his boots by now.

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Image: Is it just me, or is the air getting thinner? Goodness, I dare hope we don't have much further to go!
Image: The sky is pretty high, Sir Brey.
Image: Yes, it is, and being a Chosen One doesn't mean anything anymore, so there's no prophecy preventing me from keeling over on the spot!
Image: These words are unbecoming, sir.
Image: ...eh?
Image: Prophecy or not, we all belong at the Hero's side.
Image: Ah...
Image: Are you really going to make me tell Alena her beloved tutor was overcome by stairs?
Image: Beloved tutor? Pah! Now I know for sure you're blowing smoke up my nethers!
Image: I know I'm glad you're still with us.
Image: And Alena doesn't need to lose more family either way.
Image: I'm not... I...
Image: One more step, and then the next. Come on.
Image: ...right.

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Bharacks have 140 HP, 162 attack, 75 defense, and 70 agility; they can summon reinforcements, either more Bharacks or Curers. They're weak to lightning, slightly resistant to wind, Surround and Sleep, and highly resistant to everything else we have. They can drop Wizard's Rings too, so it's not a bad idea to bring Taloon here. (Not that it's ever a bad idea to bring him anywhere.)

That attack power is no joke, so Francois goes after this one first, despite the risk of paralysis from the Vipers. Ragnar chooses to go after the Vipers instead, while Nara and Brey go for their Magma Staff and IceSpears combo. A second Bharack does join in, but the rest of the battle is otherwise unremarkable.

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That central passage almost looks too important to be the actual way forward, but my track record for guessing that sort of thing isn't great, so let's check it out first.

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Dang, looks like we're missing a chest. This will definitely require a second trip.

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Demighouls have 134 HP, 155 attack, 35 defense, and 66 agility. They can paralyze us with their normal attacks, and they react like Blazeghosts when hit, with a high chance to avoid damage and split in two. Thaaaat's pretty nightmarish right there. They're weak to Blaze, lightning and Sap, only slightly resistant to other magic damage, Sleep and Expel, and highly resistant to everything else.

In a pinch, you can count on a Lightning cast to wipe the screen of them. If Pit Vipers weren't immune to lightning, I'd do so right away. Instead, we go on Offensive, Brey opens with IceSpears, Nara casts Infermore on the Vipers, and Ragnar and Francois take out one Viper each. A second IceSpears cast ends the Demighoul, and Francois crits the Bharack. Whew.

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Progress!

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Image: Ah...!
Image: This is it.
Image: It better be. We're not getting any higher on foot.
Image: One way or another, I'm close to heaven now.
Image: Are you nervous, Francois?
Image: Hmm? Why?
Image: You're returning home.
Image: That... that's not my home.
Image: But part of you belongs here.
Image: ...we'll see.

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(...thanks a lot, past me.)

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Image: So... what do we do now?
Image: H-hello?

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Image: Oh! Look!
Image: Ah! Some sort of... cloud chariot, perhaps?

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Image: Well... all aboard, I guess!



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Well hey, the title screen finally makes sense.

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Image: It's... It's a castle.
Image: Right. Zenithian Castle.
Image: I don't know what you expected.
Image: Hmm. Neither do I.
Image: Well, shall we?
Image: Y-yes.

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Image: Ah, wait, this isn't right...
Image: What's going on?
Image: Just a sec...

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Image: Oh! You made it!
Image: Surprised?
Image: No, no, just excited!

We put Lucia back in our party for now.

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Image: I'm glad we could help out, Lucia.
Image: I have to let everyone know I'm back.
Image: Don't let us keep you!
Image: See you later!

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And she's gone. She didn't exactly sign up for the whole meal deal!

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Image: We're actually here.
Image: It's almost hard to believe, isn't it?
Image: Zenithia is real. I'm half-Zenithian.
Image: Didn't you already know?
Image: I... I was just pretty sure. Before.

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Image: Augh!
Image: W-what is a monster like you doing here!?
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Image: Oh. Oh! You're...
Image: Huh.
Image: Well. It has to be somebody's job, I suppose.
Image: I'll give you the Dew of World Tree.
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Image: Oh! Thank you, little one.

If we talk to him again...

Image: Oh, you want the Dew of the World Tree?
Image: If that's not too much trouble...
Image: Don't be so greedy. When it's gone, I'll give you more.

This imp will always give you one dose of Dew the first time you meet him, even if you have the one from the full-grown World Tree below, but he won't give you another until no one in your extended party has any. He even knows if you have one in the Vault, so you can't fool him there.

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Image: Ominous clouds are covering the earth.
Image: The forces of darkness are anticipating the coming of the next Ruler of Evil.
Image: We'd better disappoint them.

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Image: ...is that...?
Image: ...
Image: They soon had a child. Not long after, the woodsman was struck by a bolt of lightning and died.
Image: So it was an unfortunate accident, then.
Image: The girl was taken back to Zenithia.
Image: Without her child?
Image: She's never forgotten the child she left behind on earth. If she saw Fran, she'd cry with joy. Sob... Sob...
Image: My lady, this-
Image: W-well... If... Next time you see her, let her know I'm doing alright, okay?
Image: ...!

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Image: Lord Hero! F-Francois! This is... This can only be...!
Image: ...
Image: Don't you think she would have said so, if she was?
Image: Everything in its time, Sir Brey.
Image: Oh, goodness.

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Hmm, let's keep inspecting the interior first.

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Image: Hello, what's this? Dragons?

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Image: Well, hi there little guy.

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Image: That's one way to put it.
Image: I called your wagon here with the Baron's Horn.
Image: Ah, so that's what it does. Interesting.

That's our clue to the true purpose of the Horn: if you're somehow on the overworld without your wagon, it teleports it to your side. It wouldn't have been much use so far, though.

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Image: Ah, so you're a dragon keeper, I see.
Image: I want to show my appreciation...
Image: Oh, we were coming here anyway, you don't owe us anything.
Image: Come here, Doran!

The nearby dragon comes over to the tile just north of where Lucia is standing... which happens to be the same one Francois is on. Whoops.

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Image: Really, this is unnecessary, but... Sure! We can use any help we can get!
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Image: Good luck to you all!

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Doran is our final guest character! He's a decent physical combatant, but he's most remarkable for his ability to emit sleeping gas, blizzards and violent blazes. Just like BeDragon breath, these do not count as magic, and they'll bypass FendSpell, Bounce, StopSpell, Noctabat mists and all resistances, including those of Metal Slimes and such.

It took four games, but we finally have a literal Dragon Warrior in our party.

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The healer here offers some House services, but not SAVE or INFORM for some reason.

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Image: To stop him, the barriers must be broken.
Image: His tricks won't save him.
Image: It sounds elaborate, though. He must have set this up in advance.
Image: Good luck, Fran!

Hmm, that's the second person here referring to us as "Fran", not counting the one in Gottside. Someone got their variables mixed up.

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Image: The evil undulation rose from the earth beneath us and then penetrated the clouds.
Image: This evil force reaches even to the skies... Surely this is the Golden Bracelet's effect.

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Image: Oh! Oh, heavens!
Image: Haha, interested?
Image: Quite, yes! Are you sure you can't leave me here?
Image: There's work to do, Sir Brey!
Image: Besides, it's Alena's permission you should ask for. Unless you expect her to stay here with you.
Image: ...ah... light forbid I would be permitted to dream for but an instant...
Image: Fealty is a harsh mistress!

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Image: There's no t-
Image: Yes!
Image: About the Secret of Evolution. Ehem... The Secret of Evolution is a method to distort the natural evolutionary processes. Through the use of this method, unnatural beings may be created.
Image: I wonder if that's how monsters were made.
Image: I doubt fiends need this Secret to do their foul work.
Image: The Secret of Evolution is the source of all evil things.
Image: That settles it, then.
Image: Eh...
Image: It must not be handed down to future generations. Bury it deep underground... says the book.
Image: Oh, father.
Image: But ages later, it was rediscovered. The rancor of those affected by it may have led to the rediscovery.

That's an interesting choice of words, "rancor". I suspect the Japanese text used "urami", which is typically translated to English as "grudge". There's a related element in the Shinto religion, where living creatures who die unclean deaths generate a sort of demented and wrathful spiritual pollution that itself intends to cause indiscriminate misery, even if (or especially if) the victims originally were of innocent or virtuous character. The resulting entities experience pure hatred and jealousy for all who live; they do harm because their very nature has been made malicious and corrosive by the torment they endured.

The implication here is that Edgar didn't rediscover the Secret of Evolution entirely by himself, and that he would have been guided by the twisted will of those who died at Esturk's hands the first time around, before Master Dragon sealed him away. The fiery ghosts haunting Aktemto at night and cursing any who approach them would have been another manifestation of that type of grudge, having also perished due to Esturk's unbearably evil presence.

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Image: Eh, might as well.
Image: The History of a Battle. Ehem...
Image: Ah, now this is more my domain!
Image: Long ago, Esturk, the Ruler of Evil, created a terrible thing, the Secret of Evolution.
Image: Wait, was he already the Ruler of Evil then?
Image: Esturk used it to evolve into a super being. Upon discovering this, the Zenithians, joined by Master Dragon, fought against Esturk.
Image: It must have been something to behold.
Image: After a long battle, Esturk was imprisoned deep underground. Do not wake him. Do not go near him.
Image: So much for that.
Image: ...says the book. Later it was found that Esturk's Secret of Evolution had been imperfect. It didn't incorporate the Golden Bracelet, an amplifier of the evil undulation.
Image: I should have thrown that fell thing in the ocean when I had the chance!
Image: There are monsters in the ocean too, Sir Brey.
Image: ...

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Image: Can't I?
Image: Ask those two to read for you.

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Image: Winged folk are barely legends to us. It must have been a very long time.

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Image: Right, we're about to sort that out. You're welcome.

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These three elves are dancing in formation here.

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Image: ...strangely familiar...

Lita is in fact one of the two elves who dropped the Birdsong Nectar back in Chapter 2!

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Image: Oh get over yourself, miss.
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Image: Bah.

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Image: Here we go, then.

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Well hey, he's got a bit of animation to him.

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Image: That's... that's a big dragon.
Image: Hmm-mmm.

Image: Eh, I've seen bigger.

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Image: It appears that Master Dragon has always cared about Fran.
Image: He... he's certainly had an interesting way to show it.

Okay, maybe it's just that nobody told the Zenithians humans have more than four letters in their names.

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Image: My name is Francois. My companions and I have traveled long to reach this place. The world below requires your counsel.
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Image: I oversee the world from this place. I already know what brought you here. Unfortunately even I cannot stop Necrosaro's ultimate evolution...
Image: Alas!
Image: I'm not as omnipotent as you might expect.
Image: I mean no disrespect, but Esturk was beyond your strength as well, and still he lies dead in the Evil World.
Image: By the way, humans are curious creatures. Inherently weak humans can do miraculous things at times.

Image: Kings who are also dragons are double dicks.
Image: Dragon queens are alright, though.

Image: I'll place my hope in you! Francois, the Hero, a Zenithian and human descendant! You might be able to defeat the ultimate evil form.
Image: We know he is. Just watch.
Image: I bestow upon you the power of my hope!

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Francois gets a few thousand experience points. This better not be all Master Dragon's hope is worth.

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Ah, that'll be better.

Image: Francois, go now!
Image: Well, could you at least tell us how to reach Necrosaro?
Image: Beneath this Castle is the entrance to the world of darkness.
Image: It has to be that hole in front of the castle!
Image: That Zenithian Sword will be a tremendous help to you.
Image: Right, thank you. Come on, let's get everyone.

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Image: So it's still up to us, then.
Image: Duty's call ends at the grave, Lord Hero.
Image: That's... Uh. Okay, you mean that in a comforting way. Sure. Let's go with that.
Image: At least we know the way now.

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Image: Hey, Taloon! Get a load of this!
Image: ...eh?
Image
Image: Pretty amazing, isn't it?
Image: Cripes, you can say that again. It's like a whole new weapon. What happened to it?
Image: Master Dragon put his hope inside.
Image: Well, I'm not gonna pretend I understand what that means, but dragon hope sure has a decent weight to it!
Image: Just out of curiosity, how much do you think you could get for it?
Image: Ah, well... I'm sure Neta could get you a nice chunk of change for it, but... There's no one in the world who could pay a tenth of what it's worth, so you can't let it go without taking a huge loss. You better hang on to it.
Image: Oh ho! So the great merchant has found a weapon so valuable that even he couldn't sell it?
Image: Heh. Could. Wouldn't.

Now that the Zenithian Sword is complete, it offers 110 attack power instead of just 65! In addition, it has gained a very special ability.

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Using the Sword in battle causes a "freezing beam" effect, stripping one enemy group of all stat buffs and other magic effects, such as Bounce and FendSpell. It's a bit situational, but it sure is a delight to finally get our hands on Zoma's old dirtbag move. We can also technically use it on our own party to remove stat debuffs.

Alright! Before we try going for Necrosaro, we should probably finish exploring the Zenithian Tower right quick.

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Jumping off the side of Zenithia's cloud island drops us on the outside of the mountain range surrounding this ominous cave. There was no inn in the castle, but we can Return to Gottside to rest up easily enough.

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The Tower crew's levels haven't completely caught up to everyone else's (though Ragnar is now equal to Taloon), so we get Taloon, Alena, Cristo and Mara to drive us back.

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First order of business: first floor, west side.

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Nara gets critted to death twice before we even reach the stairs, and it takes nine Vivify casts total to get her back. Goodness.

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Nothing outside on this floor, let's go up.

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Eh, alright. Francois casts Outside, and we start over from Gottside; we lost too much MP already. The next entrance I want to investigate is pretty high up...

Brey reaches level 29 on the way, for 1 Str, 2 Agi, 2 Vit, 2 Int, 6 Luc, 3 HP, and 5 MP. Francois follows, for 5 Str, 1 Agi, 5 Vit, 1 Int, 2 Luc, 9 HP, and 5 MP. Ragnar gets to 31, for 5 Str, 9 Vit, 1 Int, 1 Luc, and 18 HP.

A Beastan drops an Agility Seed as well, giving Ragnar one point.

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Okay, up here.

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Francois drops a 287 damage crit on a Pit Viper as we come in. That's already the Zenithian Sword doing good work!

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...okay, I should have seen that one coming. Back down then, it's just that one chest now.

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Whoa hey, new enemy. Master Necrodains have 146 HP, 127 attack, 95 defense, 65 agility, and they can cast Defeat as well as summon Rogue Whispers to the battle. Thaaaat's a lot of potential trouble right there. They're weak to Bang and Sap, slightly resistant to Firebal, lightning and StopSpell, highly resistant to Blaze, wind, Surround, Sleep, Beat Expel and RobMagic, and immune to ice.

Nara levels up here, for 1 Str, 1 Agi, 1 Vit, 2 Int, 3 Luc, 1 HP, and 2 MP.

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Alright, almost there...

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...eh, okay, sure. Casino fuel, I'll take it.

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Dang, that's a neat layout. The interiors don't quite completely match up with the exterior, even disregarding size differences, but it gets it pretty close.

That'll be enough for today. We deliver our Medals to the King, for a total of 15, and we buy Mara her own Water Flying Clothes, and Cristo his Metal Babble Armor. Next time we pick things up, we'll be just about ready to assail the last possible corner Necrosaro could have found to hole himself up in.

User avatar
François
Posts: 1530
Joined: Tue Jan 21, 2014 8:00 am

Re: It's raining protagonists: Let's play Dragon Warrior IV!

Postby François » Tue Mar 19, 2019 4:12 am

Before we jump feet first into our next hole, let's have a look at our crew for a bit.

Code: Select all

         | Lvl | Str | Agi | Vit | Int | Luc | Atk | Def | HP  | MP  |
---------+-----+-­-­---+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+
Francois |  35 | 134 |  59 | 144 |  51 |  73 | 244 | 184 | 298 | 174 |
Ragnar   |  31 | 127 |  38 | 161 |  18 |  20 | 217 | 189 | 321 |   0 |
Alena    |  31 | 150 | 151 | 125 |  22 | 121 | 155 | 132 | 270 |   0 |
Cristo   |  32 |  46 |  75 |  91 |  62 |  82 | 176 | 160 | 181 | 129 |
Brey     |  29 |  17 |  65 |  66 |  99 | 106 |  17 |  95 | 122 | 147 |
Taloon   |  30 |  80 |  58 |  89 |  42 |  29 | 180 | 180 | 166 |   0 |
Nara     |  30 |  62 |  51 |  54 |  61 |  83 | 125 |  90 | 119 | 119 |
Mara     |  32 |  25 |  72 |  82 |  96 | 132 |  75 |  89 | 151 | 200 |
Doran    |  ?? | 195 |  35 |  ?? |  ?? |  ?? | 195 | 160 | 258 |   0 |


The biggest surprise to me is that Cristo's actually our second fastest party member. Of course having a fast healer is excellent on its own, but it also helps make him more durable!

Code: Select all

         | Weapon             | Armor                | Shield    | Helmet           |
---------+--------------------+--------­--------------+-----------+------------------+
Francois | Zenithian Sword    | Zenithian Armor      | Zenithian | Zenithian Helm   |
Ragnar   | Dragon Killer      | Metal Babble Armor   | Aeolus'   | Iron Mask        |
Alena    | Stiletto Earrings  | Dress of Radiance    |           | Golden Barrette  |
Cristo   | Metal Babble Sword | Metal Babble Armor   | Iron      | Iron Helmet      |
Brey     | Poison Needle      | Water Flying Clothes | Scale     | Hat of Happiness |
Taloon   | Sword of Miracles  | Metal Babble Armor   | Strength  | Iron Helmet      |
Nara     | Magma Staff        | Water Flying Clothes | Iron      | Golden Barrette  |
Mara     | Staff of Antimagic | Water Flying Clothes |           | Golden Barrette  |


Nara's Strength is still not high enough to make good use of Stiletto Earrings, Cristo, Brey, Nara and Mara could all use a Metal Babble Shield, and the Iron Mask and Iron Helmets would be advantageously replaced by Metal Babble Helms, but otherwise, this is about good as our gear is likely to get, barring any unique equipment we might find in the deepest, darkest reaches of the world. From this moment on, all money we make will go towards buying casino coins and gambling for Metal Babble Shields, or probably Wizard's Rings and Meteorite Armbands if we can't put 50000 together. We'll have to return to the surface to turn in the last Small Medals at some point, so I'm sure we'll get the opportunity to waste spend our vast riches then.

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Image: Oof. This is it, then.
Image: Hmm-mmm.
Image: Heck of a thing.
Image: Having second thoughts?
Image: No way. I don't know how I could look my family in the eye again if I just turned back and let the lot of you deal with this nonsense.
Image: Yeah, I never pegged you for the coward type.
Image: Oh. Oh! Well, that's... thank you.
Image: There are no cowards here. Only heroes.
Image: Okay, sure, but, just between us, this is pretty scary, right?
Image: Yeah, it is.
Image: Those who know no fear are fools and madmen. We are neither.
Image: Ah, there must be so many monsters and demons down here... All of the world's most terrible fiends, trying to stop us...
Image: They're desperate.
Image: Right. As close as they are to victory, they know they are equally near to defeat.
Image: It's up to us to make the difference.
Image: And we will. Come on.

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Oof, what a welcoming party. It's a little too soon to resort to Lightning, but there's too much risk of Demighouls multiplying beyond control if we hit them in melee, so I bring in Mara to replace Ragnar momentarily.

...no, wait, Doran might be a better choice, since putting Mara in second place is not a great idea. We're just going to have to hope he sticks to breath attacks.

In fact, he puts all three Demighouls to sleep in the first round. Nice.

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Heh. After all of the unique dungeons we've been through lately, seeing a 6x6 room with two exits almost feels retro.

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We get ambushed by four Bharacks. Dang, they hit hard. This place is absolutely balanced with the wagon in mind. We replace Nara with Cristo, since he's better able to take physical damage. Brey lets loose with IceSpears, hitting the first two, which are then finished by sword strikes from Cristo and Francois while Doran breathes a blizzard on the others. We need some healing afterwards, but this could have gone worse.

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Heh, nothing like two passages and one door to make me spend way too much time wondering about which way will cause me to miss treasure. Let's just go north for now.

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Ooh, Cristo drops Surround on three Bharacks of his own accord, then Doran puts everything to sleep, and Brey casts Bikill on Cristo for good measure. It's heartening to see everyone being so smart.

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Ha, bingo.

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Oh, hmm, another Dress of Radiance. I think I'll let Mara and Nara keep their Water Flying Clothes for now.

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Bull Bashers have 250 HP, 178 attack, 132 defense, and 88 agility. As if these combat stats weren't serious enough business, they know Blizzard and Revive. They're slightly resistant to wind and Firebal, immune to Blaze, Beat, Chaos and RobMagic, and highly resistant to everything else.

Having Nara and Mara around to deliver magic damage is a pretty good idea, but Brey dropping a Bikill or two would also be enormously helpful. Also, the Bashers only have enough MP for two casts of either of their spells, so it's not an entirely ridiculous notion to have Francois open with Ironize.

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Yup, their blow all their juice before Ironize wears off. Considering it only cost Francois 2 MP, that was highly efficient! We replace Doran with Ragnar and Brey with Alena, and...

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...aw yeah.

Taloon levels up, for 1 Str, 2 Agi, 3 Vit, 2 Int, 1 Luc, and 5 HP. Brey follows, for 1 Str, 2 Agi, 3 Vit, 1 Int, 5 Luc, 4 HP, and 5 MP.

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That connects back to the exit. Let's head north.

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Welp, looks like someone tried to replicate the Balzack experiment. Ogrebashers have 930 HP, 21 attack, 43 defense, and 22 agility. That doesn't look very scary, but they also have a rather high chance to roll critical hits, and seeing how much HP they have, they get many shots at the dice. They're slightly resistant to most spells, with high resistance to wind and immunity to Sleep, Beat, Expel and Chaos.

I replace Cristo with Taloon. We want as much HP in our active party as we can, and it's too dangerous to keep our squishy casters around. Alena delivers two crits, and it still takes us three rounds to bring the sucker down.

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Fairy Dragons have 123 HP, 127 attack, 145 defense, and 110 agility; they can dance our MP away, breathe sleeping gas, and cast Chaos. Ouch. Considering they're accompanied by Bharacks, I'm beginning to see how one might be tempted to wear the Robe of Serenity here. They're weak to Bang, slightly resistant to lightning, Beat and Sap, immune to Expel and Chaos, and highly resistant to everything else.

Bharacks are weak to lightning, so yeah, I'm dropping that 15 MP.

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I understand why they were scared.

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Oh crap, these guys. Let's see...

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Impostors indeed.

Their default form has 153 HP, 104 attack, 122 defense, and 120 agility; they don't actually have a normal attack, and they will very rarely waste a turn assessing the situation, but of course they'll almost always cast Transform and assume the shape of one of your party members. It's even a unique version of the spell, since it can't normally be cast at an enemy.

I'm not 100% sure that the resulting Doubles are perfect copies, but if it works like the Hero's Transform spell, I'm inclined to believe that they keep the original monster's HP and MP (the latter of which starts at 105), but take on every other characteristic. Needless to say, that can get pretty rough!

I'll need to test to find out if the Zenithian Sword's effect will turn the Doubles back into Impostors (I'm pretty sure it will), but I know for a fact that using the Mirror of Ra will cancel the transformation. In case you haven't obtained one from the casino, the Impostors themselves have a chance to drop one.

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Image: ...!
Image: Wait, was that the...?
Image: It's okay, you got the right one.
Image: You mean you weren't sure!?
Image: Eh, sixty forty.

After a fight against what felt like a dozen Demighouls, Alena levels up, for 4 Str, 8 Agi, 6 Vit, 1 Int, 4 Luc, and 17 HP.

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Image: Huh. Didn't expect to find plants down here.

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This slide will only take us in a loop back to the entrance. Better try the southeastern one.

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Bellzables come with 250 HP, 8 attack, 0 defense, and 68 agility; they can waste a turn assessing the situation, being flustered, or being dazed, but they can also deliver a crit (still not too threatening), and cast Farewell. Farewell is a spell that sacrifices the caster to revive and fully heal all of its allies. Needless to say, two Bellzabbles can perpetually revive each other if you let them. They're immune to Sleep, Beat, Expel, RobMagic and StopSpell, highly resistant to Surround, and weak to Sap and all magic damage.

Attacking the Bharacks first is a waste of time here, and we have to take out the two Bellzabbles right quick. Fortunately, their defense stat of zero makes them extraordinarily weak to Alena's strikes.

Ragnar levels up here, for 5 Str, 1 Agi, 10 Vit, 2 Luc, and a ridiculous 29 HP.

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The graphics get a little weird on this one. Only Francois, Primrose, the wagon and Ragnar get to slide around, leaving Mara and Alena behind. But just as we arrive at our destination, Mara and Alena sort of float over to join us. The sprite formation code definitely wasn't built to handle this very elegantly.

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Spite Spirits have 250 HP, 135 attack, 170 defense, and 80 agility; their normal attacks can paralyze us, they can emit stunning roars, call for reinforcements, and cast Sleepmore and StopSpell. They also apparently have some sort of group move when more than one of them are together, but I'll have to get back to you on that. Man, what a grab bag of bad news. They're immune to Sleep, Beat, RobMagic, StopSpell and Chaos, highly resistant to Expel, slightly resistant to Blaze, and weak to everything else.

It's like maybe three quarters of all fights in here have at least two Bharacks in them, and these new support-type critters are there to make sure they get in as many hits as possible.

Mara levels up here, for 1 Str, 3 Agi, 3 Vit, 1 Int, 4 Luc, 6 HP, and 8 MP.

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Ooh, four more to go for the Helm.

We can't actually make further progress in this room, since the rest is on the other side of the river; we have to return to the long corridor to the east.

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Cristo levels up here, for 1 Str, 3 Agi, 4 Vit, 2 Int, 2 Luc, 7 HP, 4 MP, and the Revive spell. Revive is still a full HP guaranteed resurrection, costing 20 MP. Only Cristo gets that one, and it is in fact his final spell.

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Man, if that's not a relative of Zoma's... Master Malice has 1023 HP, 162 attack, 160 defense, and 220 agility; he can cast Blazemost, Explodet, Upper and FendSpell, as well as shoot freezing waves. He's weak to Sap and all elemental damage, and immune to everything else.

Oh, and, well, I say "him", but that's not a boss, it's a regular random encounter. This tunnel doesn't mess around. We replace Mara with Taloon; Francois opens by putting up Bounce with his Shield, and he'll be liberally applying FendSpell until the others win the fight.

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Yup, that's a good shield right there. Malice catches on to what we're doing and casts Upper on himself, but that's nothing the Zenithian Sword cannot dispel.

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Ah, Taloon.

Malice removes our Bounce and FendSpells with his own freezing wave, but Alena immediately finishes him off. Whew. Man, that was a cool fight. Nara levels up, for 1 Str, 2 Vit, 3 Int, 2 Luc, 4 HP, and 5 MP.

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Seeing as we descended a big staircase back in the west hallway, it looks like this massive corridor is going to be spiraling further downward. Maybe we'll be able to reach an area under the water cavern in the west and take those stairs we saw there.

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Dang, the merchant army deals three hits for about 80 damage each, that's no joke. Taloon levels up here, for 2 Str, 1 Agi, 3 Vit, 2 Int, 1 Luc, and 6 HP.

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Oof, that's a fight that'll last forever if we let it. Better bring in Mara and Brey and see if they can nuke those Bellzabbles at the same time.

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They actually don't, but we end the fight without even one Farewell cast. Not bad. Can't complain.

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Brey levels up here, for 3 Agi, 3 Vit, 2 Int, 5 Luc, 6 HP, 6 MP, and the Chaos spell. It's still a single-target confusion ailment spell, for only 5 MP. That's very cost-effective, once Brey figures out your enemies' resistances.

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Yup, it's as I thought: we keep going down, and there's a path to the west.

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Gah, that's not a good sight for anyone. We do not want to take a Lightning cast to the face.

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That I'll take, though. Coincidentally, Francois levels up as well, for 5 Str, 3 Agi, 4 Vit, 1 Int, 3 Luc, 10 HP, and 5 MP.

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Oooh, that's a casino prize. It's not much of a weapon by now, but it does have a temporary disabling effect. We let Brey carry it and he can use it if he wants.

We run into a couple fights against four Demighouls. Cristo has the good sense to cast Upper on Francois, since he takes most of the damage, but we drop a Lightning cast every time. We won't be able to keep that up forever, though.

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Those stairs we can barely see to the west there definitely lead to the water cavern above.

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Image: That's got to be important. Mara?
Image: Right.

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Image: Wait a minute...

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Image: I would advise against.
Image: Ugh, is this place the armpit of hell or what?
Image: Sure smells like it.

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Alena levels up here, for 8 Str, 6 Agi, 3 Vit, 4 Luc, and 5 HP.

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Ah, so there'll be another floor underneath, then.

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Whuh-oh, we haven't seen Red Dragons since DW1! They have 167 HP, 183 attack, 90 defense, and 78 agility; they can breathe scorching gas, as well as cast Infermost and Surround. This makes them a bit less durable than the tankier creatures in here, but that's a lot of damage potential right there. They're immune to Firebal, Beat, Expel, RobMagic and StopSpell, highly resistant to Blaze, wind and Sleep, and slightly resistant to Bang, lightning, ice, Chaos and Sap.

This is definitely a fight where Chaos can save you a lot of aggravation, so we replace Mara with Brey. Ragnar's Dragon Killer hits for about 140 damage, so that's extremely welcome.

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Brey didn't try Chaos after all, but he did put Bikill on Francois.

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Oh, hmm. Better watch our step here.

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That's the river we were on the east bank of earlier. Let's skip that slide for now, just in case.

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The characters to either side of the wagon don't interact with slide tiles in any way, but they will take damage if they step on swamp or trap tiles unprotected.

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Okay, that slide along the western wall should take us to the chest, and if my mapping is correct, the one that starts just south of the nearby pool will take us to the staircase in the middle of the room.

A fight against two Fairy Dragons and two Bharacks degenerates after the first turn, quickly turning into a fight against a Curer, two Dragons and three Bharacks; it would be too expensive to fight those legitimately, so that's another Lightning cast. We don't have too much more of those, so it's a good thing we have our two healers with us. Ragnar levels up here, for 6 Str, 8 Vit, 1 Luc, and 16 HP.

After the next fight, where Alena and Cristo worked together to bring down a Bull Basher at the top of the first round, Mara levels up, for 1 Str, 3 Agi, 4 Vit, 1 Int, 6 Luc, 6 HP, 8 MP, and her own Blazemost spell. At 10 MP, it's her strongest single-target fire spell.

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The Demon Armor is a +60 suit of armor for Ragnar and the Hero, and it even offers a 1/3rd reduction to all three flavors of fire spell damage. It's also cursed, reducing its wearer's agility to zero. A point could be made for letting Ragnar wear it since his agility is so bad to begin with, but seeing as he has such a massive amount of HP, he's not generally too worried about fire spells. He'll keep his Metal Babble Armor for the foreseeable future.

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Gah, again. I don't want to blow another Lightning cast, so we bring in Mara and Brey. Firevolt won't always one-shot a Demighoul, but it does so often enough to be worth the try. Taloon levels up here, for 2 Str, 2 Agi, 3 Vit, 2 Int, 2 Luc, and 7 HP.

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Yellow. Huh.

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Oh, yellow means gold now. I think the only yellow chests in DW3 were the ones in the Pyramid that triggered fights against Mummies.

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One point to Nara.

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One point to Ragnar.

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A much-needed six points to Nara.

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Still not getting even remotely close to Taloon's built-up trip-crit.

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Image: Oh! Hmm.
Image: What a strange cavern this is.

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Image: There's gotta be something interesting over there.
Image: I haven't often had cause to regret my predilection for heavy armor, but...

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Image: If that's a Mimic, I vote we take it out anyway.

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Image: It's good.
Image: Aw, I kinda wanted to kill something.
Image: I... I don't think we're done with the killing yet.
Image: Oh, Cristo, you always know how to cheer a girl up!
Image: ...do I?
Image: You sure do! Any woman would be lucky to have you by her side! Right, Alena?
Image: Haha, looks like you have an admirer, Cristo!
Image: Whuh...? I, um... N-
Image: Oh, I don't mean me, I mean, any other woman.
Image: I've heard that one before.
Image: Do you mean Nar-
Image: Nope.
Image: I don't want to stick my nose where it doesn't belong, but can this wait until we're out of this hole?
Image: Yes! Yes it can!
Image: Indeed I rather believe it should.

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Five points to Nara.

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Cristo levels up off five Bharacks, for 5 Agi, 4 Vit, 1 Int, 4 Luc, 8 HP, and 3 MP. He's getting surprisingly tanky! Brey follows, for 5 Agi, 3 Vit, 2 Int, 6 Luc, 5 HP, 6 MP, and his final spell: Blizzard. For 11 MP, it deals a massive amount of ice damage to one enemy group. IceSpears is often more useful when facing multiple groups, but Blizzard will hit single groups or single targets much harder.

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Alena delivered two of those in one round for the first time, finally surpassing Taloon's legendary crit by about four points.

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Taking two Infermost casts to the face leaves us in pretty sorry shape here. We go on Defensive and bring in Cristo in Alena's spot; Francois dies before he can come in, but he casts Healall on Ragnar and then Revive on Francois. This leaves him with 39 MP. We're definitely running low on juice.

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Image: We should probably go back for the boat, at this point.
Image: Eh, good call.

Nara levels up on our way back, for 2 Str, 1 Agi, 2 Vit, 2 Int, 3 Luc, 4 HP, 4 MP, and at last, her own Infermost. It's still group-targeting wind damage, and it packs a lot of power for its 8 MP cost.

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Image: Better just sail there.
Image: ...aw.
Image: If you want to splash into the poison swamp at the end of the slide, be my guest.
Image: Yeah, okay, pass.

Alena levels up here, for 8 Str, 10 Agi, 7 Vit, 5 Luc, and 17 HP. Man, these gains are officially off the chain.

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Oh, heh. It's almost too bad we already have as many as we need.

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Image: Oh, there's another exit.
Image: Hmm...
Image: The shape of this cavern...
Image: There's something to it, isn't there?
Image: If some hapless group of adventurers was somehow arriving from that tunnel, they'd-
Image: They'd have to walk all around the lake, and then hit those slides to the south-
Image: Just to get back to where they started. Right.
Image: So we came the right way first, then.
Image: Yeah, the boat makes the whole thing moot.
Image: I bet this is where that long spiral corridor ends up.
Image: Sounds about right. Let's check out that island in the middle, then.

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That's a subtle effect right there. The shaded side of the walls is two tiles high, so it feels like the ceiling is higher than we're used to.

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Another round with two crits in a row, this time for 375 total damage. Ah, Alena.

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Image: Good call on that tunnel, Sir Brey. This looks way too important to be a red herring.
Image: You don't think Necrosaro's right behind these doors, do you?
Image: No, no, we heard he put up four barriers. It won't be this easy.

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...whoa. Okay, we swap out Ragnar for Doran.

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Oh well.

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Image: Is that... Do you hear wind?
Image: Yyyyeah. Huh.

The outside of the corridor is definitely made out of night-time sky tiles.

Taloon levels up off a Red Dragon and a pair of Spite Spirits, for 1 Str, 2 Agi, 3 Vit, 2 Int, 2 Luc, and 6 HP.

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Image: Hmm...
Image: I do hope you're not thinking about jumping!
Image: Ehhhh... maybe not down here.
Image: Goodness, a spark of reason.

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Image: Okay, now I do want to jump.
Image: Sure. Let's just get that chest there, and climb back up.

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Four points for Nara.

Doran gets taken out by three Red Dragons as we get back to the floor above. I'd like to bring him back, but MP's tight, and he doesn't gain experience anyway, so... Better play it safe.

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Oooh, nice. The Mirror Shield is a +45 shield that the Hero, Ragnar and Cristo can equip it, which explains why we didn't get Cristo a Shield of Strength. In addition, it has a 25% chance to bounce back any spell targeted at its wielder (helpful or otherwise), and reduces the damage of whatever spells do get through by 1/3rd. It gets Cristo's defense power to 197, which is actually better than Ragnar's, Taloon's, and even Francois'.

We can only jump down from here, though.

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At this point it's getting pretty obvious we're going down some sort of tower.

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And this is the base.

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Image: ...ah...
Image: This... this is...
Image: Huh.

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Image: If this is Alefgard, I'm throwing a fit.
Image: I don't recall there being quite so much infernal fire.
Image: ...
Image: ...
ImageImage: ...Zed.
Image: I didn't do it. You didn't see me do it. You can't prove anything.
Image: Settle down, it's obviously not Alefgard.
Image: Right, of course. Obviously. Obviously!

Image: Welp.
Image: Merciful lights above!
Image: I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm sure feeling far away from home right about now.
Image: So, Brey, what did you say back then? We were supposed to gather information, not assault a demonic realm?
Image: Assault away, Your Highness.

User avatar
François
Posts: 1530
Joined: Tue Jan 21, 2014 8:00 am

Re: It's raining protagonists: Let's play Dragon Warrior IV!

Postby François » Wed Mar 27, 2019 7:36 pm

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It's not immediately obvious if you're paying more attention to where you're going than where you've been, but there is a second building just west of the tower we came out of.

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Image: Well this place is a mess.
Image: I really don't get how there can be trees here.

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Image: ...hello?

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The flame turns into a Zenithian woman as we approach.

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Image: It's no wonder this is a ruin. The locals can't be enamored of you being here.
Image: Necrosaro has barriers around his palace. His evolution is in progress. Unless you break the four barriers, some mysterious force will prevent your progress. Break the barriers first!
Image: Right, we're on it.
Image: Evil is on its back foot. One last push!
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The screen has a familiar white flash here. We get all of our HP and MP back. Our dead companions are not revived, but Cristo is here, it's not a problem.

Image: There was a shrine such as this in Rhone. I wonder...
Image: Light, even in the darkest places.
Image: Could they have been Zenithians back then as well?
Image: I don't know. No wings.
Image: Hmm.

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We're also allowed to save.

Image: Go now.

Before we explore any more of this realm, I do want to finish mapping out the tunnel that led us here. I don't think we missed much to be honest, but we better make sure.

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Fortunately the Last Refuge is a Return destination, so we can come back here anytime we like. This time though, we go to Zenithia, and jump down the hole in the clouds again.

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This trip should be pretty straightforward, since it's likely that all we need to do is go to the center of the large descending spiral corridor.

Ragnar levels up after a fight with a pack of Demighouls, for 5 Str, 8 Vit, 1 Int, 2 Luc, and 12 HP. Francois follows, for 4 Str, 3 Agi, 4 Vit, 1 Int, 2 Luc, 8 HP, and 2 MP. A battle against four Bharacks and a Curer gets Mara a level as well, for 1 Str, 5 Agi, 2 Vit, 1 Int, 6 Luc, 4 HP, and 7 MP. It also gets Brey 1 Str, 4 Agi, 3 Vit, 2 Int, 5 Luc, 7 HP, and 5 MP.

A few battles later, Cristo levels up, for 4 Agi, 3 Vit, 1 Int, 3 Luc, 6 HP, and 2 MP. The dude definitely isn't getting Strength anymore.

Brey has been using the Staff of Jubilation to decent effect, occasionally causing an enemy to waste their turn "smiling affectionately". That's especially odd when it happens to a Curer, but hey, can't complain.

A Bharack drops a Wizard's Ring at some point. It's the first one we've seen outside of the prize cabinet in the casino!

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...well that's a pointless battle if I've ever seen one. Free experience, I suppose. Alena does level up after we have to kill them nine times, for 8 Str, 6 Agi, 6 Vit, 5 Luc, and 12 HP. One of her two strikes every round is now stronger than one of Cristo's, and almost as strong as one of Taloon's.

A Master Malice kill gets Nara a level, for 2 Str, 2 Vit, 2 Int, 3 Luc, 5 HP, and 4 MP. Taloon follow, for 3 Str, 1 Agi, 3 Vit, 1 Int, 2 Luc, and 5 HP.

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Alright, the south hallway here is new ground at last.

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This almost certainly connects to the large underground lake.

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Yup, there it is.

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It turns out we picked the place clean the first time around! No need to stay any longer, then.

Thematically, this is such an interesting dungeon. The implication here seems to be that the inhabitants of this underground realm, whoever they may have been, built a tower to the ceiling of their world, and starting digging up.

We go back to the Last Refuge, and save again.

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There is indeed a shimmering barrier in front of this fortress; we hear the combat sound of damage being taken if we try to touch it, but we don't actually get hurt.

Image: Ugh, we're so close, I can almost smell him.
Image: That's some feat, over the rot and brimstone.
Image: So, east or west?
Image: East.
Image: Do you know something we don't?
Image: No, it just doesn't matter, and we're in a hurry.
Image: Right.

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We can't really avoid taking damage from the poison swamp even if we try to stick to the shrubland, so we get Mara to cast StepGuard here.

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...good grief. Alena's Double isn't wielding Stiletto Earrings, so at least we don't take two strikes from her every round, but Francois' Double does get in a Zap cast at Doran before going down. The leftmost Imposter wasted its first turn being flustered, so I suspect it couldn't transform into a copy of Doran.

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Before we enter this shrine, it occurs to me that we're carrying 39088 gold. We quickly go to Endor to get that cash to safety, then make our way back here.

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Oof, new enemy on the way. Swingers have 380 HP, 220 attack, 90 defense, 55 agility, and surprisingly enough, no special abilities. They're weak to Bang, Firebal and lightning, highly resistant to wind and Beat, immune to Expel, and slightly resistant to everything else.

We get Brey on the case here, hoping he'll fish for a Chaos hit... but he uses the Staff of Jubilation instead. Eh, almost as good. We end the fight without taking any damage.

We run into Leaping Maskans and Lethal Armors around here as well, for some reason.

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Alright, back. Picking from our lowest-leveled companions again, we form up with Ragnar, Nara and Brey.

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Image: Hmm... This place seems deserted.
Image: Maybe Necrosaro didn't have time to put goons in charge of defending his barriers.
Image: Ehhh. Somehow I doubt that.

There are in fact no monsters in here.

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With maybe one exception!

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Image: Then it's your duty to die!
Image: I won't let you break them. Come fight if you dare!

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Whew, there are many ways this fight can go, and few of them are quite this good.

Anderoug has 300 HP, 193 attack, 175 defense, and 60 agility. He can breathe scorching gas, but of course, there's three of him somehow, and he can also summon more of his... clones? Brothers? He's weak to lightning, wind, ice and Sap, slightly resistant to Blaze and Surround, immune to Bang and Expel, and highly resistant to everything else. Meaning that yes, you can put him to sleep, or confuse him, or even use instant death effects on him. Brey landing that Chaos was a huge help!

It's worth noting that while all three initial Anderougs are in their own individual groups, any new Anderougs that get summoned join the group of their summoner. If you're not sure which one to go after, go after any who are alone in their groups first, since if you can get three of them in the same group, they of course become more vulnerable to group-targeting effects.

Also, being a dragon, Anderoug did take extra damage from Ragnar's Dragon Killer. Speaking of which, he levels up, for 5 Str, 1 Agi, 9 Vit, 1 Int, 2 Luc, and 20 HP. Brey follows, for 1 Str, 6 Agi, 3 Vit, 2 Int, 5 Luc, 7 HP, and 4 MP.

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Image: Believe me, monster. I know how that feels.
Image: ...
Image: All mankind deserves to be exterminated... Glory to Necrosaro! Gasp!
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Image: Bah! Of all the causes to lay down one's life for...
Image: Loyal to the end. Hmm.
Image: Don't tell me you admire it.
Image: Not all virtue is righteous, I suppose.

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We Return to the Refuge to rest up. Three to go.

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Oh hey, upgraded Dragon Riders, joy. Guardians have 300 HP, 175 attack, 120 defense, and 75 agility. Of course they get two actions per round, and they emit blizzards and sleeping gas. Cripes, that's bad news. They're weak to Sap, slightly resistant to Firebal, wind and Surround, immune to Sleep and Expel, and highly resistant to everything else.

I suspect Mara and Brey will learn that Sap pays off in time, but until then, we'll keep Taloon and Doran in the party and hope their non-spell disabling abilities pull us out of trouble. Having Nara along to cast Barrier will also be helpful.

Taloon finishes the fight with 17 HP to his name and we didn't see a single disabler land, but we still came out on top.

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Swingers hit Ragnar for over 60 damage per strike; it's horrifying to think about how hard they'd hit anyone who's not wearing Metal Babble Armor or Zenithian Armor. Brey's smart enough to cast Bikill on Francois here. Mara levels up, for 6 Agi, 2 Vit, 2 Int, 3 Luc, 4 HP, and 9 MP.

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Wow. The real Francois opens with a Lightning cast, and it only takes out Brey's Double, which means that the Impostors keep their monster resistances. Francois' Double tries to support his crew with FendSpell and Healall, but Doran comes in with his sleeping breath and knocks everyone out. Doran's breath attacks hit all enemies regardless of grouping, which makes him especially well-suited to taking out Impostor parties.

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Another barrier shrine, most likely. We go with Alena, Nara and Brey.

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If you didn't get one from Demighouls and Necrodains, here's a guaranteed way to round out your cursed item collection.

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There are no random encounters here either.

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Image: Alright you idiot, we're on a tight schedule. What's your deal?
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Image: You know my name. So you know how this ends.
Image: But it's too late.
Image: What are you talking about?
Image: Soon Necrosaro shall awake as our ruler.
Image: We've slain Anderoug and his foul brethren. Your barriers can't stop us!
Image: Only hatred shall remain in his soul.
Image: Are you dense? It. Doesn't. Matter.
Image: I shall demolish you!
Image: Come at me!

The monster sheds his priestly human guise and turns into a fiend.

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Image: ...!
Image: Wh-
Image: You vile...!
Image: Okay, now you die EXTRA HARD!

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...ouch. It was painful to see Alena's AI fall apart at the end there; clearly it was expecting support that couldn't come. I went with the Try Out tactic in hopes that she would use the Leaf of the World Tree on Francois or Nara, but no such luck was to be had.

Radimvice has 820 HP, 100 attack, 115 defense, and 99 agility. He always gets two actions per round, and he knows Infermost, Blazemore, Blizzard, and Bounce. He's slightly resistant to lightning and Surround, highly resistant to Firebal, wind and Sap, and immune to everything else.

On top of that, it appears he is wearing something similar to a Dress of Radiance, since he reflected Francois' Lightning cast even though we didn't see him cast Bounce on himself first. That's almost certainly what won him the fight this time around.

My first instinct to correct our line-up is to bring Alena, Ragnar and Taloon, since we can't rightly expect our casters to get to do much, and we can still count on Francois for healing. This will make dealing with the three Demighouls very troublesome, though. We might have to endure their presence until Randimvice falls, then finish them off with Lightning.

That said... I think we'll go for Alena, Taloon and Mara instead. It would be pretty amazing if Mara got her BeDragon on, and she can easily deal with the Demighouls besides. In addition, she'll wear our second Dress of Radiance for this battle; we can't possibly get too many free Bounce effects.

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Cristo levels up on the way back, for 1 Str (!), 5 Agi, 5 Vit, 1 Int, 6 Luc, 11 HP, and 2 MP.

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Ryvernlords have 400 HP, 195 attack, 90 defense, and 67 agility, with the horrifying ability to summon Bharacks as reinforcements. Considering that means that you end up facing Curers as well if you let the fight go on too long, it's best not to be too stingy with your MP. They're weak to Bang, lightning and wind, slightly resistant to Firebal, Blaze, ice, Beat and Sap, highly resistant to Surround, Sleep and Chaos, and immune to Expel.

Having Cristo spam Beat and Defeat is extraordinarily effective, and in fact he brings down those two at the start of the round.

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Alright, round two.



Not my preferred outcome, but we'll take it. In-combat Vivify casts have finally started to fail on us in spectacular fashion!

Francois levels up, for 5 Str, 2 Agi, 3 Vit, 2 Int, 1 Luc, 5 HP, 6 MP, and the Thordain spell. Alena follows, for 6 Str, 5 Agi, 4 Vit, 1 Int, 4 Luc, and 8 HP.

Thordain is an all-new single-target lightning spell. As you might guess, it deals a very high amount of lightning damage. There's a bit of a trick to using it, though: it requires 15 MP from all four of your active party members to cast, and it uses up everyone's turn. If you have non-casters in your party, too bad, you can't use it at all. That makes it enormously situational. Realistically, you'd only ever use it with an all-caster party facing a foe with no lightning resistance but difficult to hit with other elements.

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Image: Get that word out of your mouth, you abominable-
Image: My curse on you...
Image: DIE!
Image: Gafff!
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Image

Image: It was... It was all on him, wasn't it?
Image: Saro made his own choices every step of the way.
Image: Yeah... but...
Image: I know.
Image: Yeah. Yeah. Ugh.

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Image: Do you think knowing about this would change his mind?
Image: Would it change yours?
Image: ...probably not.
Image: Wouldn't change mine. Humans did kill Rosa. It doesn't matter who they did it for.

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Image: Sure did feel good to take that bastard down, though.
Image: Heh. He had it coming.

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Image: Never change, Alena.
Image: No sense messing with perfection.

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So, Radimvice. Dragon Warrior IV wasn't quite done throwing plot curveballs, was it? Here we have the most profoundly evil and murderous character in the entire game, arguably the most responsible for how bad things have gotten for everyone, and he ends up being one of the four goons whose corpse we have to step over on the way to the final confrontation. Necrosaro's probably a rabid animal by now, and the true demonic mastermind behind the next Ruler of Evil's rage-fueled transformation just carked it like a chump.

We Return to the Last Refuge and rest up.

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Let's go for the west side this time.

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Cristo vaporizes another pair of Ryvernlords, and Taloon levels up, for 2 Str, 2 Agi, 2 Vit, 2 Int, 2 Luc, and 3 HP.

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Let's try four casters and see if we can make Thordain happen: Cristo, Nara and Mara. The sisters still have spells to learn, so I'd like them both to keep getting boss experience. Mara does put her Water Flying Clothes back on, though.

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That staircase is almost too obvious. Let's have a look around the side of the building.

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Image

Image: Why are there even graves here?
Image: And buildings. And trees.
Image: M-maybe this wasn't always a pit of darkness.
Image: I wonder if this is where Esturk was from, before he became what he became.
Image: So... this whole place could have been to him what Rosaville was to Saro?
Image: I could see it. There is beauty underneath the filth.
Image: Beauty and sorrow.
Image: I don't know what you're on about. This place is gross and it's full of demons.
Image: Right. Whatever it was, it's not that anymore. Let's not lose sight of the prize here. Come on.

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Image: ...huh.

Image

No choice but to head down here for now.

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Strange. Back up, then.

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Image

Image

Image: Wait a minute...

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Those strange statues move closer as we enter the room.

Image: What's going on here?
Image: Are they-
Image: They're reacting to our movements... Look.

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The statues move south as we move north, but follow us west and east.

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Image

Image: This is stupid, let's just blow them up.

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Image: No way, you-
Image
Image: -dumb... huh.
Image: There's no brute-forcing that one, I'm afraid.

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Our goal is clearly the entrance in the north wall. Let's see if we can figure this out.



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Aaaaand we can. It's just a question of trapping enough of them between the pillars in the center, and it doesn't require a lot of precision. Not too hard!

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Image

Image

Image: If you're not stronger than Esturk was, you'd better give up right now.
Image
Image: Politeness won't help you here, demon. Our purpose is greater than yours.
Image: If you don't have the means to shut down your master's barrier without giving up your life, then we'll just have to take it.
Image: I'll give you a reward. Check the floor behind you.

Image

We're given a chance to do so. But...

Image: Behind me? Really?
Image: Do you think we're going to fall for that?
Image: I had a teacher who'd hit me with his scabbard if I so much as dropped my guard while I was bringing my father his lunch. You're going to have to do a lot better than this.
Image
Image: We'll have peace alright, but we won't get it by giving up here.
Image: You fools!

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If you turn your back to him instead...

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...but he doesn't ambush you or anything. He just makes you feel like a dope.



Image: Gasp!

Image

Well hey, that worked out better than I thought it would.

Gigademon comes with 1023 HP, 230 attack, 40 defense, and 5 agility. He always gets two actions, and he can parry as well as cast Defence. He's weak to Sap and all elemental damage, and immune to all other magic.

The fact that he can use one of his actions to parry while still getting a full attack is a bit of a dirty trick, but it's not like we were in any danger of running out of MP or of ability to heal ourselves, so it wasn't too hard to outlast him. Seeing Mara cast that 200 damage Blazemost and Nara cast that 116 damage Infermost puts in sharp relief how Thordain's 350 damage doesn't really hold up most of the time, though of course it didn't hurt that Gigademon has no spell damage resistance at all.

Aaaanyway, that makes three. We Return to the Last Refuge.

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Necrosaro's barrier has visibly shrunk: only the bare minimum tiles required to bar our entrance remain.

Nara levels up on the way to the last shrine, for 1 Str, 2 Vit, 2 Int, 2 Luc, 4 HP, and 5 MP.

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Image

Image: You're the last one. I don't say it because I expect it to make you give up. I say it just so you know you've failed.
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Image: Yeah. You gonna do anything about it?
Image: I'll send you to oblivion!

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Compared to his three specialized colleagues, Infurnus Shadow is more of a jack-of-all trades. He has 950 HP, 190 attack, 180 defense, and 72 agility. He's got a chance to act twice in a round, he can emit a violent blaze, a blizzard, a stunning roar, and he'll also cast Explodet when he feels like it. He's weak to lightning and to wind, slightly resistant to ice and Sap, highly resistant to Bang, Firebal, Blaze and StopSpell, and immune to everything else. This is actually a case where Thordain is a pretty good idea, not that we could have gotten Taloon to help us cast it of course.

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I think that Sword of Miracles drop is guaranteed. This is great news for Ragnar!

Brey levels up here, for 1 Str, 8 Agi, 2 Vit, 2 Int, 6 Luc, 4 HP, and 5 MP.

Image
Image: You cannot possibly still believe you'll win.
Image: Enjoy your moment of glory. But remember the ever evolving Necrosaro will destroy you all. Wa, Ha, Ha! Gufff!
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Image: That barrier nonsense was never going to stop us.
Image: Yeah, Necrosaro's just stalling.
Image: Time is the enemy. Let's go.

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And now, just for the form...

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Huh, something I didn't know about just happened here. Francois' Double cast Ironize on himself, and both Ragnar and Cristo spent their turn "being flustered" instead of trying something. The AI knows it literally can't do anything that will work on an Ironized creature, so it found a way to make them skip their turn. Since Doran is running on guest character AI instead of Chosen One AI, he still tries his regular strikes and breaths, to no avail. I try using the Zenithian Sword to see if it'll dispel Ironize, aaaaand it won't. Neat.

Ragnar levels up here, for 6 Str, 8 Vit, 2 Luc, and 16 HP.

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Let's take a moment to appreciate how cool a demon name "Duke Malisto" is.

...

...

...

So cool.

Aaanyway. The Dukes each have 200 HP, 172 attack, 95 defense, and 70 agility; they can cast Blazemost, StopSpell, Beat, and Firevolt. They're slightly resistant to Surround and Sap, immune to Bang, Expel, Beat and RobMagic, and highly resistant to everything else. Seeing as their HP and defense aren't so great, better bring in Alena, Ragnar and Taloon to defeat them in melee combat before they have too many opportunities to cast.

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Only one place left to go down here. We Return to the Refuge.

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Image: Don't forget. If you use the Baron's Horn before the final battle, you can call the wagon.

That's tremendously important. We'll see the exact circumstances in due time, but when it comes down to it, if you don't have someone in your active party carrying the Baron's Horn, you get to fight your final opponent with only four people at most instead of your entire crew.

This entire underground world of darkness may not be quite as impressive and emotionally-affecting as DW3's Alefgard segment was, but it doesn't really try to be. In fact, it's more of a callback to DW2's Rhone, and a much, much better execution of that design. There's a wide variety of monsters that are all very dangerous in different ways, and you're encouraged to make multiple short trips, so even if you fail one of the objectives, you never have to go through an interminable death-march just to get back to where you screwed up.

It also brings to mind Hargon's demonic guardians, Atlas, Bazuzu and Harlox. Of course DW4 is always doing its best to give us flavorful story meat, so even though Radimvice obviously carries the biggest payload, Anderoug, Gigademon and Infurnus Shadow still have their own unique lairs and snippets of personality. Heck, apart from Gigademon looking like Esturk, they even have their own non-combat sprites.

In fact, looking at the entire game, it turns out that all bosses have spoken lines, except for Esturk (for the obvious reason that he's asleep before combat starts and dead after it ends) and the Endor tournament challengers. DW4 doesn't do space fleas from nowhere, it doesn't do mute giant beasts ambushing you because you gotta have boss fights just to have boss fights. Within its technical limitations, it does characters with goals that oppose yours, even when their gameplay purpose is to be one quarter of the key that unlocks the final dungeon.

Next time we'll be tying up a few loose ends, but hey, I know you can feel it too: the end is in sight. Almost there!

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Friday
Posts: 3967
Joined: Mon Jan 20, 2014 7:40 pm
Location: A user of Sosuns

Re: It's raining protagonists: Let's play Dragon Warrior IV!

Postby Friday » Thu Mar 28, 2019 3:56 pm

DW4 also has a villain whose motivation is more than just "I'm big and evil."

I mean, that ends up being his goal, but yeah.
ImageImageImage

User avatar
François
Posts: 1530
Joined: Tue Jan 21, 2014 8:00 am

Re: It's raining protagonists: Let's play Dragon Warrior IV!

Postby François » Thu Mar 28, 2019 6:50 pm

And it's a relatable motivation, too, which isn't always a given. If this was another kind of game, if this was another kind of story, we'd be cheering for Necrosaro.

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François
Posts: 1530
Joined: Tue Jan 21, 2014 8:00 am

Re: It's raining protagonists: Let's play Dragon Warrior IV!

Postby François » Sat Mar 30, 2019 6:14 pm

Alright, so. We've cracked the barrier on what is presumably Necrosaro's last fortress, but it just so happens we have a few things to do before we go on that final push.

First off, Small Medals. The Medal King is holding on 17 for us. We need 20 for the Metal Babble Helm, and 21 to be able to say we found them all. I know there's only one in the final dungeon, which means we've missed three elsewhere. I've relied on instinct and memory so far, but clearly those have failed me at this point! I'm going to use a guide and hope I can remember those we already have.

Let's see...

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That's the tile west of the well in Mintos. Yeah, I should have thought to check that one.

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This is the central island in Riverton. It's not a completely dickish spot, but I would not have guessed it. (In fact I did not guess it.)

The other should be... in Aktemto? Huh.

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Whew, okay, that's the easternmost tunnel of the bottom mine level, just before entering Esturk's cavern. Man, that one's super mean. Searching dead ends for Medals is the last thing on your mind the first time you're down here.

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That's all of them so far. Just enough for the Helm!

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Francois, Ragnar, Cristo, Taloon and Nara can wear it. Nara's defense power is the lowest in the party, though she's wearing Water Flying Clothes instead of a suit of Metal Babble Armor. She could wear the Armor of course, but seeing as she has so much less HP than everyone else (even less than Brey!), I don't want to take away her permanent breath protection. So, yeah, I'll let her have our shiny new Helm. It takes her defense from 91 to 129, which makes her not quite so likely to get two-shot by a Swinger, Guardian, or Ragnar's Double.

Interestingly, only Cristo and Nara can be decked out completely in Metal Babble gear (Metal Babble Gear!?), seeing as only our four specialized casters can wield the Shield, and neither Brey nor Mara can use any of the other pieces.

Not that we actually have a Metal Babble Shield right now anyway, though.

So... let's see if we can do something about that.

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Adding our entire Vault account to the money we earned in the underworld gets us 73258 gold total. In previous games, having so much money at the end was a little frustrating since you'd outright run out of things to buy.



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Here though, it earns us 3662 casino coins. Adding up the ones we had left over from Alena's and Taloon's chapters, this gets us to 4072 total. That's eight Wizard's Rings, just one Meteorite Armband, or... less than one twelfth of a Metal Babble Shield. (It's worth noting again that unlike how DW3's Meteorite Armband worked, the DW4 Armband's wearer's defense power does not benefit from a doubled Agility stat, only their combat turn order does.)

The wise, prudent part of me wants to pick up an Armband and call it a day. We could always benefit from Cristo or Nara being faster in combat.

...

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Heh.

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A Royal Flush on a 100 coins bet is worth an entire Shield. Man, wouldn't that be nice, eh?

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Welp, no cheating here, it's in the hands of chance now.

Second try, three Nines, 200 coins. Double-or-Nothing, we have to beat a Queen, and pick a Jack. Oh well.

Third try...

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Of course the Joker's a Minidemon. I go for a Slime Flush, but draw a Queen of Swords.

Four try, pair o' Tens, bupkis.

Fifth, pair of Sevens.

Sixth, pair of Jacks.

Seventh, pair of Sevens. Huh. That'd be lucky if it wasn't, you know, a loss.

Eighth...

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Three Queens right out of the gate! We draw Eight and Five of Slimes. DoN, we beat a Three with a Six. 2nd DoN...

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..we beat a Queen with a King! Can't stop now, right?

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Aw yeah! I kinda want to sit on it at that point but... next stop: 3200 coins!

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A Seven to an Eight. So, that's no coins. No coins at all. That... that'll have to do.

Ninth, pair of Tens.

Tenth, high Queen.

Eleventh, two Nines and a Joker. DoN, lose to a Queen of Crowns with a Eight of Swords.

Twelfth, pair of Aces.

Thirteenth, high Jack.

Fourteenth, almost a Crown Flush... but high Ace.

Fifteenth, high King.

Sixteenth, pair of Aces.

Seventeenth...

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Ooh, a Straight. DoN 1, beat a Three of Shields with a Four of Shields. DoN 2, beat a 6 of Swords with a Queen of Swords. Do I go for a third round? Hmm.

Hmmmmm.

Image: Bok bok bokok.

...hit me.

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Gee, thanks a lot Reb.

Image: Hey, I'm just rehearsing spells over here. I don't know what you thought you heard.

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Three of Swords, against a Ten.

Image: Gotta play it safe, man. Coulda had that 1600.
Image: Rebeca, don't be mean.

Oh... oh well.

Eighteenth, not quite a Swords Flush, but high Ace again.

Nineteenth, a Straight with a Joker!

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...we manage lose to a Three of Swords with a Two of Crowns.

Joy.

Twentieth, went for a Straight, ended up with Two Pairs. DoN 1, beat Queen of Slimes with Ace of Crowns. DoN 2, beat Four of Swords with Eight of Swords. DoN3, beat Ten of Shields with Ace of Shields. Hmmmmmm...

Hmmmm....

DoN 4, lost to a Six of Crowns with a Four of Swords. Welp.

Twenty-first, pair of Aces.

Twenty-second, high Queen.

Twenty-third, pair of Kings.

Twenty-fourth, high Queen.

Twenty-fifth, two Jacks and a Joker! DoN 1, beat a Two of Crowns with Queen of Crowns. DoN 2, beat a Seven of Slimes with a Jack of Swords. DoN 3, beat a Seven of Shields with a Nine of Shields. We're up to 1600 coins... and I keep it this time. We're back up to 3172 coins total.

Iiiii think I'm gonna start skipping any hand that doesn't make it to Double-or-Nothing unless something unusual happens.

Twenty-eighth, three Fives. Lose on DoN 2, Five to an Ace. Ouch.

Thirty-first, Two Pairs. Lose on DoN 2, Queen to an Ace. Man, these Aces.

Thirty-seventh, Swords Flush, 500 coins. DoN 2, lose to Three of Slimes with Two of Swords, 2000 coins down the drain.

Thirty-eighth, Two Pairs. DoN 1, lose to Queen of Swords with Four of Shields.

Thirty-ninth, Straight. DoN 1, lose to Eight of Slimes with Two of Swords.

Forty-fifth, Two Pairs. DoN 1, lose to Five of Shields with Three of Shields.

Forty-seventh...

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Full House, 800 coins!

...DoN 1, lose to Nine of Slimes with Four of Shields.

Forty-eighth, Straight. DoN 1, beat Two of Shields with Queen of Shields. I'm keeping the 800.

Fiftieth, three Aces. DoN 1, lose to Ace of Shields with Ten of Slimes.

Fifty-seventh, two Eights and a Joker. DoN 1, lose to Queen of Shields with Jack of Shields.

Fifty-eighth, three Jacks. DoN 1, lose to Five of Shields with Three of Slimes.

Sixty-second, two Pairs. DoN 1...

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...yet another Queen to beat.

Five of Swords.

We're down to 372 coins.

Sixty-fourth, pair of Fours. Down to 172.

I'm moving on to slot machines.

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We get a bunch of 2-3 cherry prizes and a bunch of nothing, then...

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Well hey, looks like that pair of Sevens on the seventh hand paid off after all! Let's go back to the poker table.

Seventy-first, Two Pairs. DoN 1, beat Six of Swords with Ace of Crowns. DoN 2, beat 6 of Crowns with Queen of Swords. DoN 3, beat Queen of Slimes with Ace of Swords. We're way too close to running out again, I gotta take the 800. Back up to 1237!

Seventy-sixth, Two Pairs. DoN 1, beat Four of Crowns with Six of Shields. DoN 2, beat Five of Shields with Eight of Crowns. DoN 3, beat Ten of Slimes with Ace of Shields. DoN 4, beat Ten of Shields with Queen of Shields. I'll take the 1600. Back up to 2337, whew!

Alright, I'm going to skip the small stuff from here on out, it's getting long.

Eightieth, Straight with a Joker. Lose DoN 2, Two of Swords to Five of Shields.

Eighty-eighth, another Straight. Lose DoN 1, Three of Crowns to Nine of Swords.

Ninetieth, pair of Fives with a Joker. Beat DoN 3 with Ace of Crowns against Seven of Slimes...

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...lose DoN 4 to a Joker. We don't even get to pick a card, it's just a loss.

Image: Aw, come on, what?

Ninety-seventh, three Kings. Beat DoN 3 with Eight of Shields to Six of Swords. I take the 1600, we're back to 1837. Still alive!

Hand one hundred, high Ace.

Hand one hundred eleven, two Aces and a Joker. Beat DoN 3, King of Swords to Seven of Crowns. I take the 1600, we're back to 2037.

Hand one hundred thirteen, two Threes and a Joker.

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Win DoN 4 with Ace of Swords to Queen of Shields. Hooooly crap.

...

I gotta. I gotta.

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Ho ho ho ho ho hooooo!

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Should I...?

Image: Do it!
Image: Do it!
Image: Do it!

Hit me!

Image: Aw yeah!
Image: Haha!
Image: Now you get it!

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...!

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...

Image: Y-
Image: LADY REBECA.
Image: I didn't even say anything!

I'm going for it.

Image: No you're not.
Image: Why would you even joke about something like that?
Image: Okay, I was on board before, but that's a lot.

I'M DOING IT!

Image: Oh dear.
Image: WOOOOO!

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Image: ...oof.
Image: Well then.

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Seven of Swords.

Image: It's not my fault this time.
Image: I thought it wasn't your fault the first time.
Image: Yeah okay it kinda was.

Easy come, easy go.

Ahhhhhhhhh...

...

One hundred sixteen, two Kings and a Joker. DoN 3, lose with a Four of Slimes to a Six of Swords.

One hundred seventeen, Two Pairs. DoN 6, beat a Jack of Swords with a King of Swords. I take the 3200 coins.

We're at 4637. We started with 4072. A smart man would get an Armband and count himself fortunate.

One hundred forty-four, two Kings and a Joker. DoN 3, lose to Ten of Shields with Seven of Crowns.

One hundred forty-eight, Full House, with a Joker. DoN 2, lose to Jack of Slimes with Three of Crowns.

Image: Shoulda taken that one.

One hundred fifty, Two Pairs. DoN 4, lose to King of Shields with Queen of Swords.

One hundred fifty-three, Two Pairs. DoN 3, beat Jack of Shields with Queen of Slimes. I'm keeping the 800, we're back up to 1637.

One hundred sixty-one, Two Pairs. DoN 2, lose to a Joker.

One hundred sixty-three...

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Three Threes and a Joker, best hand yet! We're low, I'm keeping the 2000. Back up to 2637!

One hundred eighty-eight, pair of Tens. We're down to 137 coins. Back to the slots we go.

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...welp. We got the star prize once, and a bunch of cherry prizes, but nothing to make it worth going back to the poker table. Weeeeeee're out. The 73000 gold is gone.

On one hand, oof.

On the other hand, we came this close to getting out of there with three Armbands, the only reason we didn't is because I got reckless and excited, and this still beats having nothing to spend money on at all.

Here's a neat detail I almost got the opportunity to show off: the casino has three victory jingles, depending on how much you just won.



I'm not sure what the thresholds are for each, but winning the 1000 coin slot machine jackpot plays the second one, and I suspect the third one is for above 20000 coins at once.

Aaaanyway. We sure could use a win at this point. Fortunately, I have just the thing in mind.

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We Return to Gottside, and Brey casts Day-Night. I'd like to buy and use a Scent Pouch too, but... no money. Heh.

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We head for the hills to the south. The Ferocials, Ryverns, Ogres, Infurnus Sentinels and Wilymages of Gottside are no great danger to us by now, but we're after rarer game.

While we track down what we're looking for, Mara gains a level, for 1 Str, 7 Agi, 3 Vit, 2 Int, 7 Luc, 5 HP, 6 MP, and the good old Explodet spell. It costs 15 MP, and still delivers a very high amount of explosive damage to all enemies regardless of grouping. Lightning costs the same and is a fair bit stronger, but having both Lightning and Explodet hit in the same round definitely puts Thordain to shame for half the expense. Only Mara gets this one of course, and it's her final spell.

Cristo follows suit, for 1 Str, 4 Agi, 4 Vit, 2 Int, 5 Luc, 10 HP, and 5 MP. Taloon gets to level 37, for 2 Str, 1 Agi, 4 Vit, 1 Int, 1 Luc, and 8 HP. Alena also gets to 37, for 5 Str, 8 Agi, 4 Vit, 1 Int, 2 Luc, and 10 HP. A bit later, Brey gets 1 Str, 6 Agi, 3 Vit, 1 Int, 6 Luc, 5 HP, 6 MP.

I don't mean to grind necessarily, but man, what we want is rare as heck.

...speaking of which!



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Yup, that's... that's how you do it. Ah, Alena.

Francois levels up, for 3 Str, 3 Agi, 7 Vit, 1 Int, 3 Luc, 14 HP, and 4 MP. Taloon gets 2 Str, 2 Agi, 5 Vit, 2 Int, 2 Luc, and 11 HP. Alena gets 8 Str, 10 Agi, 3 Vit, 1 Int, 2 Luc, and 5 HP. Mara gets 1 Str, 8 Agi, 3 Vit, 1 Int, 3 Luc, 5 HP, and 7 MP. Ragnar gets 6 Str, 1 Agi, 8 Vit, 1 Int, 2 Luc, and 17 HP. Nara gets 2 Str, 2 Vit, 3 Int, 2 Luc, 5 HP, and 3 MP.

Only Cristo and Brey didn't level, but they gotta be close.

And that's our Metal King kill, just to say we did. Sure was worth it, though!

Now I'd like to say we've run out of loose ends to tie up, but... we did make 5824 gold in Gottside. Let's try the casino again. I'll let you know if anything noteworthy happens.

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The very first hand gets us 1600 coins on the third Double-or-Nothing. Looks like we're back in the game, heheh.

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The second hand gets us another 1600 coins, beating the King of Slimes with a Joker. Goodness. We're back up to 3291. Maybe we'll have an Armband after all.

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A few hands later, we turn a Flush into 2000 coins.

Image: ...you should probably just keep that one.
Image: Hmm-mmm.

Yyyyeah. That's 4691 total.

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Cristo gets it. He has 96 Agility, compared to Nara's 52, so he'll get the biggest benefit among our healers. And we definitely want Healus and Revive casts to come fast.

I'll count myself happy with that turn of events. We Return to the Last Refuge, and head north.

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Going with our lowest-leveled members, it'll be Francois, Ragnar (37), Nara (35), and Brey (36). Cristo's level 37 as well, but I do believe Ragnar's ridiculous durability won't go amiss, and this probably won't be our last trip here besides.

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Alright then, this is it. Next time: Necrosaro's own final refuge!

User avatar
François
Posts: 1530
Joined: Tue Jan 21, 2014 8:00 am

Re: It's raining protagonists: Let's play Dragon Warrior IV!

Postby François » Wed Apr 03, 2019 7:34 pm

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Image

Image: Hmm...
Image: Seems a little too dangerous to just go in the front door, doesn't it?
Image: The monsters must be getting desperate. They may yet have tricks for us.
Image: We are in a hurry, though.
Image: And they'll be counting on that fact, mark my words. This is no time to be reckless.
Image: Right. Let's just have a look around the outside first.

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Image: Nothing on this side...

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Image: Front door it is, then.

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Image: This place... This isn't a castle.
Image: What do you mean?
Image: All those windows...
Image: You don't put windows on outer walls.
Image: Not unless you're sure you'll never have to withstand a siege.
Image: So... what is it then?
Image: Fortified mansion at best.
Image: And that matters because...?
Image: Hmm. Never mind.

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More Dukes on the inside. Things are going to be a fair bit more heated up now that we can't just fill our party at will with whoever's best equipped to take down any given group of monsters. That's a really clever way to ratchet up the difficulty there: I expect we'll run into much of the same creatures as we did outside, but we need to put together four people who can cover all our bases.

Here, Brey casts Bikill on Ragnar and Francois before one of the Dukes lands a StopSpell on him, so it's not too much trouble.

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...Cristo? Oh hey, the wagon crew gets experience from battles in here! That's amazing! Dude gets 1 Str, 2 Agi, 4 Vit, 2 Int, 5 Luc, 5 HP, and 5 MP.

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In fact we have access to everyone's spells and items outside of combat. This place must count as a standard castle map.

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Image: Ugh, these again. Let's see if we can-

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Clay Dolls have 400 HP, 142 attack, 140 defense, and 120 agility; they can cast Defeat and Sleepmore. They're highly resistant to most magic, except for an immunity to Chaos, and only slight resistance to Surround, Sleep, and Sap. Nara puts this one to sleep right away.

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Image: ...huh.

Those three statues move around in a seemingly random fashion, but unlike the ones in Gigademon's lair, these don't teleport us outside if we get close, they just fight us. It's best not to risk too many Defeat casts though. We get Mara to cast StepGuard from the wagon and just walk around the room.

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Gah. Cristo could clown Ryvernlords with his own Defeat, but here it's best to actually take out the Maskans first. Ragnar and Francois work at it while Nara and Brey keep the Lords locked up with Sleep and the Staff of Jubilation.

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You know, at this point it occurs to me we should really let Ragnar take the first rank. He has one more point of defense power than Francois, nearly a hundred more HP, and he's using Infurnus Shadow's Sword of Miracles on top of that so he hardly ever requires healing.

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I suspect Demighouls are there to discourage you from just going with Ragnar, Alena and Taloon. The Hero's spells can handle them, but it gets very expensive if you have more than one to fight at a time.

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Brey managed to confuse the Duke... but then our new friend started wailing on the Demighouls, causing them to split several times. We have to go on Offensive and end the fight with Blizzard and Infermore.

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Image: Lovely decor.
Image: So strange. Who came down here and died?
Image: There's no way this realm was always populated by monsters and demons. Maybe this is one of the original inhabitants.
Image: I suppose this is what awaits the surface, if we fail.
Image: We're not failing.
Image: Yeah.

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Oh hey, a skull finial. As if this lava pit wasn't metal enough already.

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The path has been quite straightforward so far, but it looks like we may be getting some choices here.

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Image: Pfft. You'll have to do better than that to stop us, evil spirit.

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I suspect the down staircase we passed in the room to the north connects with the bottom of this fissure. Let's jump down and make sure.

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Image: Ugh, of course.
Image: I wonder if there's something important here...
Image: Or maybe it's just a centuries-old latrine.
Image: Welp, hold your noses, we gotta find out.

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Aaaand it's the last Small Medal. We could trade it in for a second Staff of Punishment, but at this point, I don't think we have any party member I'd want to see casting Infermore instead of doing anything else.

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Oooh, another elevator.

Ragnar gets taken out by a Duke Malisto's Beat spell here, and Brey survives a Firevolt only by the grace of his Water Flying Clothes. The latter levels up at the end, for 1 Str, 5 Agi, 1 Vit, 2 Int, 6 Luc, 2 HP, and 5 MP. Cristo uses Revive and Healus from the wagon; both he and Nara are starting to run low on MP at this point.

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Image: There has be to some trick with this elevator.
Image: Another staircase under the floor, maybe?
Image: It might block another path if we move it from here, though. Let's have a look above those stairs at least.

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Image: Who wants to bet there's hidden passage somewhere between those statues?
Image: One problem at a time, Ragnar. Let's go back and see that elevator.

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Image: Ah, we've covered that fissure! Clever.
Image: But now we couldn't go back to the statue hallway above without taking it back up.
Image: Unless we can walk on the elevator's roof.
Image: I suppose we'll see.

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That room is definitely another elevator's arrival point.

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Yeah, that's the one.

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Huh. This is the same floor as the statue hallway we turned back on; I bet the door to those chests is back there. Nara's got 29 MP left so we'll have to return to the Refuge before long anyway. We might as well retrace our steps and try to find that treasure.

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Oof, that's our first Guardian encounter in here. At least they seem to be pretty rare! Nara casts Barrier, and Brey confuses one of them, so it could have gone a lot worse. Nara levels up here, for 2 Str, 1 Vit, 3 Int, 2 Luc, 2 HP, 4 MP, and her final spell, Farewell. Just as it did for Bellzabbles, it costs no MP, and sacrifices the caster to revive and heal her other party members to maximum. (Only in the active party, though.)

The only other "suicide" spell we've had in the series so far was Sacrifice, for the Prince of Cannock in DW2 and Pilgrims in DW3. Seeing as there are generally better choices for instant death, and how cumbersome it is to resurrect the caster afterwards, it was enormously impractical at best. Farewell's situational, sure, but it packs three Revives and a Healusall, and both the Hero and Cristo have the means to bring Nara back, so it will occasionally be a total game-changer. Of course it doesn't help that Nara's often our most fragile ally; if she's the first to fall, it's not much use.

Nara completely runs out of MP on the way back, so Brey hands her his Staff of Healing so she can still help out.

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Okay, let's inspect that north wall...

Image: Good old Garin-style wall of darkness right there.

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Ah-ha! That's the second passage from the left.

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I... expected a treasure room, not a staircase. Hmm.

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Oh! Right, okay, that makes sense. Now I kinda wish we had explored the statue hallway all the way to the east, but let's just keep going for now.

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Back outside. Oh, I think this leads to a chest!

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Yup.

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Image: ...!
Image: Ha! Nice!

Just like in DW3, the Sage's Stone casts Healus at will in combat. It's super clever to put it in a chest you can see from the entrance, since it'll encourage the player to find a way to reach it.

We let Nara carry it for now, and she gives the Staff of Healing back to Brey. It seems that a lot of people like giving it to Alena, since she's so dang fast... but a turn she spends using the Stone is not a turn she spends turning chumps into chump paste.

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Aw yeah.

Taloon levels up here, for 1 Str, 1 Agi, 2 Vit, 2 Int, 2 Luc, and 3 HP.

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That's gotta be that treasure room.

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Four HP for Nara.

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Image: Hmm! I suppose it had to be hidden somewhere.
Image: ...how come?
Image: ...
Image: ...
Image: I... don't... know.

The Staff of Thunder is a +29 weapon for Mara and Brey; it casts Firebane for free when used in battle. This would have been an amazing find much earlier in the game, but at this time, it's merely sort of neat. We let Brey carry it, just so he has non-ice magic damage at his disposal. The man is literally triple-wielding staves by now, heh.

I'm going to call the run at this point. We'd have a lot of backtracking to do, and I'm not too keen on having both our healers practically out of juice.

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I'm a really big fan of those dungeons where we go between distinctly indoor and outdoor areas. Seeing how many there have been in the game's final quarter, I can't be the only one.

Aaaanyway. Francois casts Return from the nearby parapet without issues.

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Since everyone's getting experience anyway, we might as well bring a durable party that doesn't quite need so much MP: Ragnar, Francois, Taloon and Cristo should do. Demighouls will be a problem, but Lightning will serve us well as a last resort, and Francois had plenty of juice left last run anyway.

Oh, and Nara hands the Sage's Stone to Taloon. He can already heal himself pretty well with the Sword of Miracles and his Shield of Strength, but out of this entire group, he's the one I have the least issue with spending a turn using the Stone. Here's to hoping he doesn't goof-off at a critical time, though.

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Oof, of course there are more Impostors in here. That's an interesting way to make encounters scale with the party.

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Image: ...well that was weird.

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Taloon's officially on fire.

Ragnar levels up here, for 5 Str, 1 Agi, 9 Vit, 2 Luc, and 15 HP.

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Daaaaang. None of those were trip-crits, just standard ones. Wow.

Francois reaches level 40 a couple fights later, for 7 Str (!), 3 Agi, 7 Vit, 2 Int, 4 Luc, 16 HP, 6 MP, and his final spell...

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...Chance!?

That's right! Just like Transform, Chance hopped right off the Wizard spell list and into the Hero's. Considering the AI mechanics here, it's probably just as well, since we get to decide when it's used. Plus, it costs 20 MP and possibly has harmful effects, so it's not something you want an ally to use on a whim.

Alright, so what can it do this time around?

- Everyone becomes confused. Everyone.
- Everyone becomes confused except the Hero.
- Noctabat-type mists engulf the area, blocking all spellcasting.
- Everyone is put to sleep.
- Everyone's MP is reduced to zero. (Gah!)
- All enemies' MP is reduced to zero.
- Everyone receives a HealAll effect.
- All allies receive a HealAll effect.
- All allies receive an Increase effect.
- All allies receive a SpeedUp effect.
- All allies are turned into dragons (as per the BeDragon spell).
- Everyone "builds up strength", increasing the damage of their next standard attack.
- All allies automatically deal critical hits for the rest of the fight.
- An earthquake occurs, dealing a moderate amount of damage (around 50 I believe) to everyone.
- An earthquake occurs, killing all enemies and leaving their spoils intact.
- All enemies are "attacked by a laughing giant", receiving around 100 damage.
- All enemies flee.
- All enemies are "carried away by a white dragon", which is an Expel effect.
- All enemies explode into pieces, another Expel effect.
- All enemies are turned into Metal Slimes.
- All enemies are inflicted with a Surround effect.
- A random enemy group loses its next turn.
- All allies lose their next turn.
- The Hero is struck by bright light, suffering massive damage. If he survives, he turns into a cold-breathing dragon.
- Time stops for everyone but the Hero, for three turns.
- Everyone goes back in time a few rounds (as per the Sandglass of Regression).
- All gold and experience spoils are doubled at the end of the fight.
- One slain ally is revived with full HP.
- A Return effect occurs, ending the battle and sending the party to a random destination.

It's still too expensive to throw out willy-nilly, but these are some genuinely major effects right there, so you can usually count on something spectacular happening, for good or for ill.

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Even with all of our free healing effects, Cristo blew nearly a quarter of his MP keeping us alive for this fight. Man, Guardians might just be the most dangerous non-boss critters in the game. Alena levels up here, for 6 Str, 5 Agi, 4 Vit, 1 Int, 5 Luc, and 9 HP.

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Well that just saved us a lot of grief right there.

Mara levels up, for 1 Str, 4 Agi, 3 Vit, 1 Int, 3 Luc, 4 HP, and 10 MP.

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Okay, that's new ground at last.

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This dungeon looks so funeral to me. It's as much a place of grief as it's a place of evil. It feels like it was something more grand once, with the elegant rugs inside and the windows being proof of inhabitation, but now it's bare stone walls and spikes all over. It reflects what went on with Saro in a way. Even with who and what he was, there was once love in his heart. And all that's left now is a means to an end; to single-mindedly pursue a purpose, any purpose, to dull the pain at any cost.

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Image: ...guys. I think we made it.
Image: It might be too early to say.
Image: Yeah, let's not jinx it, alright?
Image: We'll see.

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Oh dang, these interior rooms are so oddly-shaped because they actually fit the exterior map. Some of the connections are a bit fudged, like for example how the distance between doors B and C differs depending on whether you're looking at the inside or the outside, but it's close enough that you can have an instinctual sense for how it all connects.

Image: Well... that's it for the fortress, at least.
Image: Necrosaro has to be on top of there.
Image: More climbing. Such bliss.
Image: Heh, don't sweat it. Here.

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Sure is helpful of the game to make the wagon still very visible at the entrance of the fort.

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Image: Oh! You made it!
Image: Don't tell me you're surprised.
Image: Nah, it just... it was faster than I figured, that's all.
Image: It turns out we were almost through last time.
Image: Ah... typical.
Image: I do hope we're not too late...
Image: We're not.
Image: ...
Image: If he was done evolving, he wouldn't still be here.
Image: His rage would not let him stay in this place.
Image: Fair... fair enough.
Image: Come on, then. One last push.
Image: We're almost there.

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Okay, that's getting ominous.

Image: Lights above, I miss Neta.
Image: You know, no one would think less of you if you went home.
Image: ...
Image: I'm not even kidding.
Image: ...well maybe I'd think a little less of you.
Image: Nah. I can't go home. I can't... I can't choose to go home because you couldn't even make that choice yourself if you wanted to. So I'm here. And we're doing this.
Image: Thanks.
Image: Taloon, as far away as we are from your family right now, the time of your return has never been closer.
Image: Heh. Yeah, that's one way to look at it.

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Image: What about you, Ragnar? Going back to Burland once we're done?
Image: Well, my lord did send me on this journey. My mission's not finished until I've filed a full report.
Image: Wait. You're looking forward to going back home so you can do paperwork?
Image: Not as such, no... But it would be a great shame if we had no record of what transpired here.
Image: Ah, here's one man talking sense!
Image: I understand where you're coming from, but... I dare hope the world will never again be in such danger, that they would need to know how we handled it.
Image: The inhabitants of Dire Palace may get desperate at some point and try something. If knowing how close we came to catastrophe here motivates the kingdoms of the world to prepare appropriately and stay united, then we shall prevail if that day ever comes.
Image: Always getting ready for the next fight then, eh?
Image: Yes, well, better I do it than someone who wouldn't enjoy it quite as much as I do.
Image: Ha, now we're talking!

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Image: I wonder if we'll ever be free from the curse of the Secret of Evolution. Who's to say the next Saro isn't traveling the world as we speak?
Image: Ah...!
Image: Miss Nara, there's no reason to feel guilty about this. If your father had never found it, someone else would have.
Image: Yeah sis, this is much bigger than us by now.
Image: It's the kind of knowledge that doesn't want to stay buried.
Image: Right, right, I know. It's just... getting our revenge on Balzack was so important back then. Even now it's hard to think of this whole thing as...
Image: ...as more than just our family's mess to fix?
Image: It sounds ridiculous when you put it this way.
Image: That's because it is ridiculous.
Image: At least, if we destroy the Golden Bracelet today, it shouldn't ever get this bad again.
Image: Maybe then I can go back to predicting happy futures again.
Image: Heh, it'll be weird not having anything to set on fire anymore.
Image: Good thing you have another skill to fall back on.
Image: Speaking of which, I just realized I've never seen you dance, Mara.
Image: Ha! Remind me to get you on the VIP list at the theater.
Image: You know, I think this is the first time anyone's offered me a reward for doing all this.
Image: But you're doing it anyway.
Image: Sure am. But hey, VIP list.
Image: Pretty sweet!

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Image: You know, this place could really use a crowd.
Image: A... crowd?
Image: Well, I'm finally going to win the Endor tournament for real.
Image: A crowd in this hellpit? You can't be serious! Is that all this means to you?
Image: It's not, Brey. It's just... I'd rather have only that reason-
Image: Than the one you actually have.
Image: ...
Image: A-and when we're done here, we can get back to finding out where everybody went.
Image: Princess, I... we...
Image: Of course. Your father had visions of the future, there's no way he wouldn't have found some scheme to get his people to safety.
Image: R-right!
Image: You... you have my full support as always.
Image: I know I do.
Image: Alena, I...
Image: Hmm?
Image: Well, I just... thought I'd... I have to say that... um... I...
Image: ...!
Image: I really...
Image: Yes! Yes!
Image: ...r-really admire you.
Image: Wh-
Image: Oh! Well. It... It means a lot to hear it. You've grown a lot stronger since we've left, so, I really admire you too.
Image: Ah! T-thank you.
Image: Wait, no, that's... Come on! Don't give me that crap! There's never going to be a better time!
Image: ...time for what?
Image: He's clearly-
Image: You're gonna have to save whatever this is for later. We're here.

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Image: Wh... Is that...?
Image: ...Esturk?
Image: No, it's not.
Image: SARO!

User avatar
Friday
Posts: 3967
Joined: Mon Jan 20, 2014 7:40 pm
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Re: It's raining protagonists: Let's play Dragon Warrior IV!

Postby Friday » Fri Apr 05, 2019 12:58 am

What a fucking pimp throne
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Niku
Posts: 1184
Joined: Mon Jan 20, 2014 11:23 pm

Re: It's raining protagonists: Let's play Dragon Warrior IV!

Postby Niku » Fri Apr 05, 2019 7:41 am

yeah there's no way both sides ain't mini fridges
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Friday
Posts: 3967
Joined: Mon Jan 20, 2014 7:40 pm
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Re: It's raining protagonists: Let's play Dragon Warrior IV!

Postby Friday » Fri Apr 05, 2019 8:06 am

They're for his Mt Dew (Original) and Mt Dew Code Red
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François
Posts: 1530
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Re: It's raining protagonists: Let's play Dragon Warrior IV!

Postby François » Fri Apr 05, 2019 8:21 pm

Truly the official beverages of the apocalypse.

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Rico
Posts: 546
Joined: Tue Jan 21, 2014 2:29 am

Re: It's raining protagonists: Let's play Dragon Warrior IV!

Postby Rico » Sat Apr 06, 2019 2:36 pm

Secret of Evoldewtion, bro.

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