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

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François
Posts: 1324
Joined: Tue Jan 21, 2014 8:00 am

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

Postby François » Thu Nov 01, 2018 6:37 pm

Heh, much obliged! I'm puttin' down a lot of words for these LPs; statistically some of them have to align in a pleasing manner every once in a while. :D

User avatar
François
Posts: 1324
Joined: Tue Jan 21, 2014 8:00 am

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

Postby François » Sat Nov 03, 2018 7:34 pm

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Image: So, a monster, then.
Image: There are monsters everywhere nowadays, this is no surprise.
Image: All the more reason to thin their ranks a little.

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Image: Whatever do you mean?
Image: If my daughter hadn't been born here, she'd still be alive.
Image: Brey, why is there a cursed village within a day's travel from home and why hasn't dad done anything about it?
Image: Hmm, ah, well... Maybe if they had sent word...
Image: I don't think much of this answer.
Image: At any rate, we're as close to a royal envoy as has been here in a long time. It can't hurt to find out what's happening.
Image: You're not helping, boy.
Image: Actually, he is. And so are we.

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Image: Eh? That's nonsense.
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Image: I-
Image: Princess, we really should find out what we're up against first.
Image: Brey, we're doing this.
Image: Give me one day. Please.
Image: Ugh. Fine.
Image: I understand...

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Image: One day, Brey.
Image: ...

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This merchant is aimlessly going around the well.

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Image: My son was going to marry her...

Image: So, an Orochi situation, then.
Image: This girl is strong but she wouldn't be a match for Orochi.
Image: Well, this small village doesn't compare to Jipang. Hopefully the creature will also be less threatening.

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Image: He threatens to destroy the village if we don't offer him young girls.
Image: That's despicable!
Image: Which is why we're doing something about it.
Image: ...
Image: Even you have to agree. This can't continue.
Image: Ah... you may have a point there. Still, to put you in such danger...
Image: What kind of princess am I if I can't even protect my people?
Image: That's your retainers' job.
Image: I don't see any of them around here, do you?
Image: We're with you.
Image: We'll suffice, then.

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Image: What a brave and dutiful young lady.
Image: Nah, her boyfriend has a point.

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The shopkeep is obviously too distraught by this monster situation to man his business right now.

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Huh, this House of Healing doesn't offer us to save. Aaanyway, let's get into a few tussles until sundown.

We get in a fight with a bunch of Kaskos Hoppers, and they seem to exclusively target Brey. I wonder if there's an AI routine that causes certain monsters to pick on our back row. Anyway, he levels up from it, for 2 Agi, 1 Int, 3 Luc, and 5 MP. The extra IceBolt casts are welcome, but it's distressing to see him fail to gain any HP.

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Tempe's pretty much the same at night. The next step is to pledge our assistance, but we have 191 gold in our purse at the moment, which is enough to buy Alena a Leather Armor in Surene. And I do believe we'll need it! Maybe we'll even pick up a level from the round trip as well.

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Yup, all Kaskos Hoppers definitely have it in for Brey. Good thing we got him that shield!

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Minons have up to 16 HP, 8 attack, an unusually high defense of 22, and 8 agility. They also come with the Lethal Gopher's build up ability, compensating for their low attack. You'd think they're here to teach us how effective magic damage is at dealing with high-defense monsters, but they resist two IceBolt casts, so I presume they're here to teach us to use Sap instead.

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We have 268 gold by the time we reach Surene again, so we actually get Alena a Thorn Whip first, taking her attack power from 25 to 32. Selling her Club and her Silk Robes will almost get us back to 180, so we pick a couple fights outside and earn enough for that Leather Armor as well.

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Cristo could really use a defense upgrade at this point, so he's next in line for a big purchase. Let's see if we can do without for now, though.

On our way back to Tempe, Alena levels up, for 2 Str, 2 Agi, 2 Vit, 1 Int, 1 Luc, and 6 HP. Cristo follows again, for 1 Str, 1 Agi, 2 Vit, 1 Int, 3 Luc, 4 HP, and 2 MP. And just before we reach town, Brey gets 2 Agi, 2 Vit, 1 Int, 2 Luc, 2 HP, and 3 MP.

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Image: We'll do it!
Image: Oh! You will? If that's true, please go see the shaman!

That's... the House of Healing attendant. Which is to say, the priest. Huzzah.

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Image: Alright then, are you the man to see about that monster?
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Image: Are you willing to be given as an offering?
Image: Are you quite MAD?
Image: Sir Brey, it would put us in prime position to make the first strike!
Image: Yeah, we're doing it. What's the procedure?
Image: You are? Please wait awhile. The offering litter will arrive soon.
Image: The... off...?

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Image: Get in the offering litter, please.
Image: Oh, what joy it is to have lived a long enough life to hear someone tell you to get into an offering litter.
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Image: Neither will my spine, I wager.
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Image: Words could hardly fall on deafer ears!
Image: Less complaining, more tucking yourself in. I need to come out first, so I'm getting in last. Come on!
Image: This... this wasn't built for three people! There isn't much... Ah! Oh dear.
Image: Oof!
Image: Alright, we're all set in here. Do your thing.

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If later games in the series have taught me anything, it's that it is in fact always time for puns.

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The Chameleon Humanoid (fit that in your text boxes, other JRPGS of the era; I'll wait) has 40 HP, 28 attack, 28 defense, and 50 agility. He has the same sleep-inducing attack as Bantam Roosters, and may also cast Heal if you let him live long enough to.

Getting rid of the two Rabidhounds is your first priority, which we accomplished easily by comboing Alena's whip strike with IceBolt while Cristo did his best to bolster his and Brey's defenses. Once the pups are out of the picture, it's all about landing a Sap then going nuts with IceBolt and standard attacks while healing as needed.

Shame about Cristo getting taken out, though; the Humanoid really had it in for him. Experience distribution is back to the way it was in DW2, which is to say you're not given a lump sum divided among living party members. Everyone gets the full amount instead, which means that the experience Cristo would have gotten is lost entirely instead of being shared among his surviving comrades. That's a bummer, but it's the price I gotta pay for not upgrading his armor.

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When the game says "And a new day began...", it does reset the time of day to morning.

Image: Well, we did it.
Image: You know this won't come cheap, princess. In fact, it already hasn't.
Image: Can't you be happy about what we've accomplished? A little bit? At all?
Image: Hmm. I'll... try.

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Image: Congratulations!

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Image: Thank you.
Image: I'm just glad we could help.

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Image: That's right! And I think this has been a great start!
Image: I suggest you enter the tournament at Endor in the east.
Image: ...!
Image: Oh no.
Image: A... a tournament?
Image: Ooooh no.
Image: You can go to Endor from the shrine southwest of here.
Image: That's... quite a ways from the castle, princess.
Image: Brey, look at me. Look at my face.
Image: Eh?
Image: This is the face I make when I don't care about your recriminations.
Image: So, same as always, then.
Image: You're a smart man.

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Anyone can equip a Boomerang so it'd make a decent purchase... but we need to revive Cristo and get him real armor before we can even think about it.

Oh, before I forget... The Chameleon Humanoid is guaranteed to drop Lifeforce Nuts, which increase one ally's max HP. It would be foolish not to give them to Brey.

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That's extremely welcome.

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Whew, that's not too bad.

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Image: ...is it dinner time already?
Image: Not for those monsters, that's for sure.

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Image: Oooh. Is that on the way to Endor?
Image: Yes, I believe so.
Image: Endor? What do we care about Endor?
Image: There's a tournament going on!
Image: Oh! How exciting!
Image: Please don't encourage her.
Image: Well, someone has to.
Image: ...

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Searching the middle of the offering dais reveals more Lifeforce Nuts! They go straight to Brey again, for 5 HP this time.

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Leaving the village through the north leads us to this mountain pass.

This whole Tempe episode shows a bit of playfulness with the game structure here: we had a tough boss fight, but we haven't even been through a single dungeon yet. We've basically been tested on whether we know how to use support magic and how to pick good equipment, but this party's endurance hasn't been put to trial yet.

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Oh cripes, these guys are total bastards. Blazeghosts have 12 HP, 11 attack, 12 defense, and 8 agility, with the ability to cast Blaze (of course), but that's not the whole story. Have a look at this.



From the beginning of the entire series, these are the very first monsters with any combat animation whatsoever. That's the cool part.

The not-so-cool part is that Blazeghosts have a very high evasion rate, and when they dodge an attack, they have a chance to split in two, essentially adding another Blazeghost to the fight at no action cost on their part. Blazeghost fights can go sour very quickly! Fortunately they're either completely vulnerable or only slightly resistant to ice damage, so Brey's magical prowess comes in handy here.

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Gah, Demon Toadstools are back. They have 19 HP, 19 attack, 15 defense and 10 agility, with a Babble-like poisonous attack. I didn't think to pick up Antidote Herbs when we had the chance, so we're gonna have to cross our fingers.

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Whew.

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Carnivore Plants have 17 HP, with a decent 21 attack, 16 defense, and 4 agility, and the ability to summon Healers to the battle. Here, Alena and Cristo hack away at the Plants while Brey eliminates the Blazeghosts.

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Brey only has 2 MP left, so that's a welcome sight.

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As soon as we reach town, we see a woman running off to the south, joining a few townsfolk gathered around the inn's front door.

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Image: Oh, I-
Image: Wait...
Image: Hmm.
Image: Eh?
Image: The Princess, you say?

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Image: I see... Thank you, young man.

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Image: What the heck?
Image: Could this be a visitor from another kingdom?
Image: The king of Endor has a daughter, but considering the monster population these days, I can't imagine he would let her out of his sight.
Image: Well, at this point I could imagine it a little.

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Image: I'm sorry little boy, I don't. But I'll let you know if I find him!

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Ooh, the item store here actually has a small selection of defensive gear! I know I said we were getting Cristo something, and we could get him a suit of Chain Mail, but it's the best armor Alena will be able to wear for a long time, and we can afford it, so we get her a set. Cristo does inherit her Leather Armor, and he can pass down his Wayfarer's Clothes to Brey, so everybody wins. Both Cristo and Alena can wear a Wooden Hat, but we'll only need one because Alena's Feather Hat is better.

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Image: What does that have to do with anything? It's not because you have royal blood that you have to be attractive.
Image: A-all the princesses I've ever met are very beautiful.
Image: Hmm? Did you say something, Cristo?
Image: Oh, uh, n... nothing. Don't mind me please!

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Image: I might offer her my small savings too.
Image: Sir, please don't. Trust me. If she really is a princess, she doesn't need your money.
Image: Huh. I didn't know what to think at first, but this is definitely beginning to stink.

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Image: It caused too much conflict among us and was finally hidden away in the southern cave.
Image: Hmm! A wise course of action.

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As we approach the House of Healing...

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...we can see the priest tending to his garden. Once we actually enter...

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...he runs inside to greet us. This is so neat. There's no reason to have the local healer look after his cabbages while business is slow, except for it being neat, and it is!

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It's a regular House of Healing in every other respect.

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Image: However, a princess is staying here, so I can't really welcome you...
Image: This is nonsense. You already pay taxes to your sovereign; you shouldn't be losing customers when they visit!
Image: I'd sure like to meet this "princess".
Image: Right! Let's go upstairs!

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Image: ...eh?
Image: Oh I don't like the looks of this!
Image: What's going on here? Who are you?

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Image: Let her go, you brigands!

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Image: To hell with you idiots!

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Image: Gah! After them!
Image: R-right!

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Image: We... we've lost them!
Image: Ugh! Can you guys track them?
Image: ...
Image: I... haven't been on a hunt in longer than I can remember.
Image: I can't believe this!
Image: Princess, if we-
Image: If we what, Brey?
Image: If we learn more about who that woman is, we may learn why these ruffians took her away.
Image: ...
Image: Her companions! Let's see if her entourage can clue us in.
Image: Yeah. Yeah, okay. Good call. Let's head back in.

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We need to step off the village tile before we can enter it again, and we run into a fight on that single step. We still haven't rested, so let's hope it goes well.

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False alarm, Alena can one-shot Trogs by now.

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Image: Indeed they would be, wouldn't they?
Image: We don't have time for a lecture!

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Well he's right back to business. Let's investigate some more for now though.

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Image: "May", hmm?

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Image: I couldn't not do it.
Image: That said, let's not hold our breath for this reward.

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Image: They're in over their heads, aren't they?
Image: Not a clue among the both of them.
Image: Good thing we showed up when we did, then.
Image: Princess, please don't put us in their situation.
Image: ...I won't.

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Image: Oh! It's nice to see someone in town has good news.

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Image: "To get the Princess back unharmed, bring the village treasure, the Golden Bracelet, to the graveyard tomorrow night."
Image: Hmm.
Image: What's this?
Image: You just let us worry about this letter, okay? And take good care of Kit!

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Image: The southern cave it is, then.
Image: It burns me up that we're just going to give them what they want... but it's not like this town really needs this bracelet, is it?
Image: In the grand scheme of things, it may be good to be rid of it entirely. Let's only hope it doesn't cause mischief elsewhere. They put it away for a reason.

And so we have our next immediate goal. Of course, what we really want is to go to Endor for the tournament, but what good is Alena's strength if she walks away from this town without a care in the world?

User avatar
François
Posts: 1324
Joined: Tue Jan 21, 2014 8:00 am

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

Postby François » Tue Nov 06, 2018 10:55 am

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I would be very surprised if we could retrieve the Golden Bracelet in one go without having to pick up some gear upgrades... but why grind before trying, right?

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Brahmirds come with 20 HP, 22 attack, 12 defense, and 10 agility, and they have a chance to start the battle... asleep. Yeah, you heard that right. There's a nasty trick about that, though, which we might see at some point.

In this fight, Alena and Cristo work together to bring the Brahmird down while Brey puts out the Blazeghosts. If many more of the latter keep showing up, the limiting factor for this trip might just be Brey's MP. Cristo finally reaches level 6 here, for 2 Str, 2 Agi, 2 Vit, 2 Int, 2 Luc, 3 HP, 3 MP, and the Surround spell (which costs 4 MP and attempts to significantly reduce the standard attack accuracy of one enemy group).

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The cave isn't very far away from Frenor, which is certainly a relief since we don't have the Return spell yet.

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Somnabeetles have 23 HP, 24 defense, 18 defense, and 10 agility, so they hit pretty hard and are fairly robust, but as one might guess from their name, they can cast Sleep and the all-new Sleepmore. Sleep still attempts to put an entire group to sleep, but Sleepmore only has one target, with a higher chance to land. I suspect that means all monsters have a separate resistance stat for both, as it was in DW3 for Expel and Limbo, but I can't say for sure.

Alena reaches level 7 after this fight, for 2 Atr, 2 Agi, 2 Vit, 3 Luc, and 4 HP.

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Oh, that's actually pretty nice at this point.

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Hmm. You'd think Surround would come in handy against these, but it looks like they're moderately resistant to it. Cristo is generally taking more damage than I'm comfortable with and he has to spend a bunch of MP healing himself. I think we'll have to turn back soon. Fortunately we're making decent money; that Toadstool group alone was worth 75 gold, so we'll be able to get him a hat and a shield.

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It's hard to overstate how neat this sort of pseudo-3D multi-level decorative feature is. A few dungeon rooms in DW3 sort of attempted it, but there just wasn't space in the tilesets for these angled brick surfaces.

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Vampire Bats have 25 HP, 25 attack, 22 defense and 14 agility, with no unusual abilities. It also looks like they have some resistance to cold damage, but Surround seems fairly effective. The Somnabeetles are weaker, but they're a lot more dangerous, so we take them out first.

Gah, Cristo gets put to Sleep. He did Surround one of the bats, so we might still have a chance to pull this off.

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Whew, we make it, and Brey gets his level 7 for the trouble, gaining 1 Agi, 1 Vit, 1 Int, 2 Luc, 2 HP, and 5 MP.

At this point though, it's clear we need better equipment to make it any further, so we just go for this one chest and turn back.

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Meh. We'll sell that one; there's no one in this party with such mediocre Agility growth that it's worth risking using this.

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Ah, there it is. Sleeping Brahmirds have a chance to roll over when they turn comes up, which is effectively a standard attack. Alena's defense is so high that it's not much of a problem for her, but it can take your squishies by surprise for sure.

Cristo gains a level on our way up, for 2 Str, 2 Agi, 2 Vit, 2 Int, 3 Luc, 4 HP, and 4 MP.

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Good grief, we barely make it to the exit; Alena's poisoned, and both Cristo and Brey are within one-shot range of anything in here. We'll be using that Wing right away.

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Whew, that could have gone a lot worse. We have 521 gold to our name too (well, 516 after the House of Healing's detox fee), which is enough to get Cristo a suit of Chain Mail, thereafter letting Brey have his Leather Armor. We also get him a Wooden Hat.

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Ah, that's better. I'd kind of like to go back to Surene or Tempe to pick up a Leather Shield for Cristo and a Leather Hat for Brey, but I think we'll be fine for now, and besides it'd probably help more to save up for a Boomerang.

We do buy a replacement Wing as well as couple Antidote Herbs and Medical Herbs before we leave for the cave again.

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A Blazeghost dropped Fairy Water on our last run, so maybe it'll let us avoid a few overworld battles. Every bit of MP counts!

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Welp, so much for that. Alena's level must not be high enough to keep monsters away in this region.

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Whuh-oh, we get a new enemy as soon as we step in the cave again. Thevros have 25 HP, 21 attack, 31 defense, and 15 agility, with the ability to "emit a fireball" as Saro's Shadow did. Alena is pretty much only vulnerable to elemental damage at this point, so this is rather awful. On the plus side, Thevros can drop Leather Shields, so if we're lucky we might be spared the purchase for Cristo.

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Oooh, sweet, there's that Boomerang money already.

Alena levels up after a fight with three Thevros and a Vampire Bat, for 4 Str, 3 Agi, 3 Vit, 1 Int, 4 Luc, and 6 HP. Now we're talking!

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Hmm... At this point we're sitting on 763 gold, fights are still a fair deal more dangerous than I'd like, and I don't know how far down this cave goes. I think it's time for a shopping trip; we leave again and go see what that cash can get us.

Brey gets to level 8 on the way out, for 1 Str, 1 Agi, 2 Vit, 1 Int, 3 Luc, 4 HP, 3 MP, and both Bounce and Outside spells. Bounce being on Brey's list so early is interesting, given that DW3 Wizards learn that spell around level 24, and it now costs 4 instead of 8. (It still puts up a shield around the caster that reflects all incoming magic.) We'll get more opportunities to play around with it this time around for sure. Outside still costs 8 MP though, and teleports us out of a dungeon as usual.

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Ooh, we make it to Tempe after sunset, and it's actually different this time!

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Image: N-
Image: Ah, you have a keen eye!
Image: Yes, well, I suppose it's difficult for my lady to conceal her regal bearing.
Image: ...if she had any to begin with, I suppose.
Image: I was right. You're the Princess' Party!
Image: Do keep it under your bonnet though, if you please.

If you say no...

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So he's clearly not buying it.

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Image: Was it at the Castle? I can't remember.
Image: It must have been when I was very young!

We stay at the inn, and buy both Alena and Cristo their Boomerangs. Brey can use one as well, but he has so much MP he can rely on IceBolt for damage for now. On top of that, we have enough left over to get Cristo a Leather Shield and Brey a Leather Hat in Surene. Now we're kitted out for an expedition and a half!

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Cristo levels up just as we return to the cave, for 2 Str, 1 Agi, 2 Vit, 2 Int, 2 Luc, 3 HP, 4 MP, and the Antidote spell, which only costs 2 MP. So much for all those Herbs then, heh.

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Oh hey, another new enemy! Crested Vipers have 31 HP, 31 attack, 28 defense, and 18 agility; they have a poisonous attack and may even cast Defence, attempting to reducing our entire party's defense by half. Needless to say these are extraordinarily dangerous, but I don't think we'll run into more than one at a time for now. Attacks from Alena and Cristo on top of an IceBolt will finish it in one round at this point.

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It's neat that this hallway has two sets of stairs, because we had to go down one level from the entrance to make it here, and we've seen that our goal on this floor is one level up from the entrance.

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Image: It's got to be that chest, right?
Image: It's ornate enough, I'll say!
Image: Hmm. Let's find a way around, we can't go through this rubble.

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Oh dang, there are Ozwargs in here too. They're not too hard to kill for this crew, but their ice damage is definitely a threat.

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We get in a fight with five Thevro here, and after the first round, it suddenly hits me that our party's single-target-picking routine will almost never spread attacks around when it knows an enemy could be focused down, like it gives very high priority to finishing off wounded enemies. It makes it feel like characters work together a lot better than they did in DW3.

Alena levels up from this fight, for 4 Str, 1 Agi, 3 Vit, 4 Luc, and 8 HP. These are starting to be very respectable Fighter-type gains!

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Image: Ah-ha! Come on guys, we're almost done here!

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Image: ...that's not a bracelet.
Image: How observant, your Highness.
Image: The villagers must have hid it better than this.

The Magic Potion is a one-shot Wizard's Ring, restoring a small to moderate amount of MP to its user. It's good to keep it around in case of emergency, but it's also less stressful to use than the Ring since you know it's guaranteed to go away after the one chug. We let Cristo carry it for now.

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Image: Huh. I kinda like this world's Orcs better than ours.

Orcs have 33 HP, 30 attack, 24 defense, and 21 agility, making them tough customers all around. They can also cast Surround, which can make Alena nigh-worthless for the rest of the fight. Brey puts up Bounce just in case though; maybe one of them will Surround himself.

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Awwwwwww crap. I don't know if it was random chance or if they have the same back-line targeting AI as Kaskos Hoppers do, but they all attacked Brey at once for around 8 damage each. Good grief! Alena and Cristo working together couldn't even bring one down in the meantime. This trip is definitely over, and I'm not going to take the chance of finishing this fight. We run.

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Image: Oh no, Brey!
Image: And he was our ticket out, too. We had better take him to the House right away.
Image: R-right...

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We get into several battles with entire crowds of Demon Toadstools, and another refinement of the targeting AI becomes apparent: if Cristo could two-shot a monster that Alena could one-shot, Alena will usually take on fresh monsters and let her chancellor work on his own critters, which is a lot more efficient than if she was always following up on his strikes. On top of that, I didn't think to mention it before, but enemies that are afflicted with status ailments are a lot less likely to be targeted than healthy foes, so monsters that are asleep, surrounded or confused are more often left alone. The finer details of the targeting AI are not known, but it's obvious that there's a lot more going on under the hood than first appears.

Cristo levels up off a trio of Brahmirds, for 1 Str, 2 Agi, 2 Vit, 2 Int, 2 Luc, 4 HP, and 3 MP. Aaaand we make it out.

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It's a pretty nasty trick of the dungeon here to show us this fancy chest before we can get to it, since it's actually a detour on a floor full of deadly Orcs. We'll know better next run I'm sure.

We have 1310 gold in our pocket after reviving Brey and getting a night's rest. We could go buy a third Boomerang, but I don't expect it would make a big difference here, and I'd rather save up for the next round of upgrades besides. So we'll just have to risk taking this stash along with us as is.

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Let's hope third time's the charm!

Brey follows his companions to level 9 about halfway through the first floor, for 1 Agi, 2 Vit, 4 Int, 3 Luc, 5 HP, 10 MP, and the Return spell, which still costs 8 MP. It's hard to complain about a level like that!

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No Orcs so far.

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Image: Oof, that's a lot of bones.
Image: By the heavens, this place is a mass grave!
Image: Did all these people really kill each other over a golden bauble?
Image: Ah... Worse crimes have been committed for less.

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The Bracelet is not an accessory we can wear or equip in any way.

Image: Well, there it is.
Image: Hmm... Unusual make... That's a very old object. Or a reproduction of some ancient piece, maybe.
Image: I don't think this massacre happened over a copy.
Image: Right... but, who knows, really?
Image: At any rate, I don't think we should hang on to it any longer than necessary.
Image: Ugh. I hope the kidnappers had the good sense to wait these few days, at least. Come on, let's get out of here.

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Brey teleports us out, but the letter mentioned we were expected at night, so we just walk back to Frenor and get in a few fights to burn daylight. This gets Alena to level 10, for 3 Str, 2 Agi, 4 Vit, 1 Int, 2 Luc, and 7 HP.

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Image: There they are.
Image: We should just kick their asses.
Image: If that was your plan, why did we bother with the Bracelet?
Image: ...
Image: We really shouldn't put their hostage in any more danger.
Image: Ehhhh... Yeah. Yeah.

The lead kidnapper runs to us as soon as he sees us turn the corner.

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Image: What if I don't?
Image: P-prin-
Image: CHANCELLOR!
Image: D-IIIII mean... A... Alena... Just... we should just give it to them!
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The dude is going all but-thou-must on us.

Image: Ugh. Here you go. Don't spend it all in one place.
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The criminals just disappear; maybe they had a pair of Wings.

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Image: Hmm. Have you, now?
Image: My name is May. I'm just an actress.
Image: Well, you seem to be rather skilled at it, for what it's worth.
Image: I got carried away because people treated me nicely when I pretended to be a princess...

The other members of May's party arrive on the scene.

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Image
Image: You just be careful, alright? There are much worse things than kidnappers out there.
Image: It's not much, but I'll give you this Thief's Key!
Image: ...!

Image

Image: Oh! Well, thank you. Safe travels!

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May leaves, and her companions follow her out.

Image: Wait, how did they know?
Image: You almost let it slip!
Image: You called me Chancellor!
Image: Oh... uh... Yes, I... I suppose I did.
Image: Maybe she was perceptive enough to see who I really am.
Image: Yes, of course, let us go with that.

Image

Image

Image

Image
Image: ...but she refused. They say she was a fake, but she wasn't a crook.
Image: Ah! All's well that ends well.

Image
Image: ...
Image: ...
Image: ...it's not that bad.

Image
Image: If you're heading south, you should visit it.
Image: If it's on the way to Endor, maybe we will!

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Now that the shopkeep here is no longer gawking at the inn, he's opened his weapon store for good. Only Cristo can use the Iron Spear, so we get him one and hand his Boomerang over to Brey. Alena's Fighter training is starting to show and she can only upgrade to a Chain Sickle... but it has 2 attack power over the Boomerang, and that's just not worth 550 gold.

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Cristo's better equipment selection is slowly allowing him to catch up to Alena's combat prowess.

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Image: From what we saw in that cave, you're probably better off without it.
Image: I hope nothing bad will happen.
Image: Criminals have profited from their crime. Something bad already happened.
Image: But it could have been worse. Enough blood has been shed over that trinket already.

Image

We spend the night at the inn, and we're ready to continue our journey. Before we head south though, we can already make use of our new Key! The Thief's Key won't open the grey and red locked doors in Surene or before the Santeem treasury, but there are still a couple doors we can open there, and we have Return now so it won't take long.

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Eh.

Anyway, as it so happens, we can now unlock the King's bedroom, so let's kill some time until sunset.

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Welp, we heard it ourselves, but there's hardly a thing we can do about it in the end. Back to Frenor, then south!

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Sand Masters have 30 HP, 30 attack, only 3 defense, and 24 agility. They're also the first enemies who can "dance a strange dance", reducing one target's MP. This sucks as much as it always has!

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Oof, three Vipers. We're much stronger than we were when we met our first one, but they're still quite dangerous and it's worth spending MP on IceBolt and Surround for sure.

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As soon as we step inside...

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...the guard walks over to block the path to this strange portal.

Image: Whoa, get a load of that Travel Door!

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Image: Hmm! It's much fancier than the one you have in Midenhall, that's for sure.

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Image: Good! That's where we're going. Never mind that Bazaar, then!
Image: The King told me not to let the Princess pass.
Image: ...
Image: Ah...
Image: Well then...
Image: Damn it, dad.

User avatar
François
Posts: 1324
Joined: Tue Jan 21, 2014 8:00 am

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

Postby François » Fri Nov 09, 2018 11:18 am

Image

Image: Ugh! I can't believe this.
Image: Your father did ask you not to go beyond his reach. Santeem has no authority beyond this Travel Door.
Image: But I'm going to miss the tournament!
Image: I-I suspect that may be the point. Endor is not a barbarian kingdom, but...
Image: All battle tournaments have their risks, especially when skilled fighters from all over the world compete.
Image: I don't think you realize how much more that makes me want to go.
Image: Princess, you've already solved serious problems in both Frenor and Tempe. If you report to your father, maybe-
Image: Cristo, home is the last place I want to be right now.
Image: Well you certainly can't be in Endor either.
Image: ...
Image: Maybe the bazaar, then?
Image: Fine. Fine! Might as well!

Image

Before we look for the bazaar, we head back to Frenor to check on something I may have forgotten. We run into an absolutely ludicrous amount of monsters on the way; Cristo levels up, for 2 Str, 2 Agi, 1 Vit, 2 Int, 3 Luc, 2 HP, and 4 MP. And Brey follows for 1 Str, 1 Agi, 2 Vit, 3 Int, 3 Luc, 3 HP, and 9 MP (!).

We arrive just before the crack of dawn.

Image
Image: I used to live in an eastern town of Endor. I often went to the tournament.
Image: ...

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The healer stays in the House at night, allowing us to get at his garden!

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But there are only cabbages. Welp. It's often worth investigating suspicious or out-of-the-way locations, but not this time!

That's all the difference night-time makes here now, but it couldn't hurt to make sure. We spend what little of the night remains in the inn, and set off again in the morning.

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This oasis comes into view just as the sun begins to set. If we enter the shrubland tile just to the north...

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No, wait, battle first. Kordra have 32 HP, 30 attack, 33 defense, and 25 agility, making them about on par with Crested Vipers. However, they're also the first non-boss monsters able to roll critical hits, so it's best to spare no expense to eliminate them quickly. It looks like they're either highly resistant or immune to Surround, so Cristo just hits them.

On the plus side, a Kordra can drop a Morning Star, a +33 weapon (5 points better than an Iron Spear) that Cristo could equip.

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So, as I said, entering the shrubland tile...

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...gets us to the Bazaar.

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Image

Image: Huh, that's weird. You'd think desert dwellers would take a page from Assaram's book and conduct their business past sundown.

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When we get close to this guard...

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...he runs to us and immediately starts speaking.

Image: You're... I know you. What's going on?
Image: If you're here to bring me home, don't waste your breath!
Image: Return to the castle immediately! The king is in trouble!
Image: Wh...
Image: Goodness! Sir Brey, quick, take us back!
Image: Right!
Image: That's... that's a trick, isn't it?
Image: Princess...?
Image: You really think you can fool me this easily? My father, in trouble? Don't make me laugh!
Image: I do think we should go back.
Image: Yes, I know very well you think we should go back.
Image: ...
Image: Princess, Sir Brey can teleport us back to the castle. It'll be but an instant.
Image: D-don't be ridiculous! We made it all the way here on our own! I don't want to go back and that's final.
Image: ...

Image

Image
Image: ...

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Eh... We'll sell it.

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Oh hey, a Gum Pod! Gum Pods are amazing; they do nothing when used, and you can sell them for 1 gold.

Okay, that's not so amazing. In fact, in the Japanese version, this is literally horse manure. Yyyyyyeah.

Image

Case in point.

Image

Image
Image: ...
Image: ...
Image: ...
Image: Damn it.
Image: ...!
Image: Damn it!
Image: Shall I...?
Image: Yeah... yeah. Do it.

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Image: Dad? Where's my father?!

This guard intercepts us as we enter.

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Image: ...eh?

Image

Image: What are you talking about? How did this happen?
Image: I... probably ought to examine him.
Image: This must be kept a secret, but if he remains like this...
Image: Well we have to do something!
Image: Yes, I know! Goz, the old man who lives in the backyard shed, may know a remedy.
Image: Ah... Right, I suppose he might.

Image
Image: R-right...
Image: We shall not. No need to worry.

Image
Image: Dad...? Daddy?
Image
Image: ...
Image: ...
Image: ...
Image: Nothing seems... outwardly wrong with him...
Image: Just... you just rest, okay, dad? We'll take care of this.

Image

Image: We will take care of this, right?
Image: Of course.
Image: We're taking care of it right now.
Image: Y-yeah.

Of course, if you haven't completed the scenario in Frenor, you don't have the Thief's Key and you can't enter Goz's shed.

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Image: Goz? Sir?
Image: Please forgive us this late hour, but we just learned the king cannot speak.
Image
Image: It shames me to admit this, but if anyone knows what's going on here, it's you.
Image: I know Marone, the poet, damaged his throat once.
Image: Oh, he performs in Surene these days, right?
Image: Now he has the loveliest voice in the country. He may know what to do.
Image: Alright, we'll talk to him. Thank you.

Image

Image
Image: Excuse me, but are you Marone, by any chance?
Image: We're looking for a remed-
Image: He means, we're looking a way to improve one's voice.
Image
Image: I think taking Birdsong Nectar, an elfin medicine, helped. I found it in a desert bazaar during a trip. La, La, La...
Image: Well... I still don't care for your lyrics, but it looks like it worked alright. Thank you.

Image: Ugh! Fat chance getting help from elves.
Image: It's a different world. Maybe their elves are kinder.
Image: ...
Image: ...
Image: Pfft.
Image: Hahahaha!
Image: Heh!
Image: Aaaah...
Image: You almost had me going for a second there, Fia.

Image: The Bazaar, then. Brey?
Image: Indeed. Let's go.

Image

Image

Image
Image: At ease, we're on it.
Image: T-thanks for coming all this way to let us know. I appreciate it.
Image: Hmm!

Image
Image: I'm sorry to bother you again, but have you heard of something called Birdsong Nectar?
Image
Image: Do you remember where you got it from?
Image: You might get some in the western tower where they say elves visit.
Image: Whew, okay. Thank you. Alright.
Image: Feeling better?
Image: Now that I can actually do something? Yeah. Much.
Image: We don't know what awaits us in that tower, though. It's been a long time since anyone saw an elf in Santeem.
Image: Well I'm not turning back!
Image: No, no, of course not. Just... let's rest up before we go.
Image: Oh! Right, right.

Image

We're sitting on 2588 gold and we're in a merchant outpost; might as well equip ourselves while we're here.

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We can buy Cristo a Morning Star here, but I want to look at the armor selection before dropping all that cash on five points of attack power. The Venomous Dagger is a decent buy for Brey, though. It's sort of a lesser version of DW3's Poison Needle: it has 24 attack power (6 more than the Boomerang) and deals normal damage, but it also has a chance to paralyze its target. Brey has the MP reserves to just use IceBolt every round for a long time, but that paralysis effect will very much come in handy every once in a while.

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Only Cristo can wear the +25 Bronze Armor; it's seven points stronger than Chain Mail, so we pick it up for him. On top of that, both Cristo and Brey can use the Scale Shield, and we upgrade them both. It's only 3 more defense than their Leather Shields offered, but it's cheap, no problem there.

This leaves us with 1526 gold once we've sold our old stuff, which is enough to get Cristo his Morning Star after all.

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After all this expense, Cristo very nearly hits as hard as Alena, and he's a bit more durable. Alena has pretty much stopped gaining access to new gear for now, and she's not that much hardier than her mage companion. Fighter-types are still relatively squishy!

Image
Image: Oh! I... almost forgot about that.
Image: I presume you have more pressing matters.
Image: ...you can say that.

Image
Image: Gah, no thanks, lady. I know what you keep in those.

Image
Image: Maybe later!

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Image
Image: I KNOW! COME ON!

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Whuh-oh, being able to buy Full Moon Herbs (paralysis cure) worries me. Let's pick one up just in case.

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To the west, then.

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Alena levels up off a group of six Sand Masters, for 4 Str, 4 Agi, 2 Vit, 5 Luc, and 5 HP.

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Armor Scorpions have 40 HP, 33 attack, a rather high 42 defense, and 9 agility, with the ability to roll critical hits. I couldn't manage to land Sap on that one, so maybe ice damage is a better idea.

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This jailbird is running around like a Giant Bantam with its head cut off.

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Even if you know to come here for the Nectar, you still can't get it without having earned the Thief's Key.

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Image

Image: ...huh.

Image: Is this an inn?
Image: Brey, didn't you say no one came near this tower in ages?
Image: No, I said we don't know of any elves coming to the kingdom in a long time.
Image: Hmm.

Image

Cristo lost a bit of MP to Sand Master dances on the way here, but it's not worth resting over yet.

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Razor Winds have 41 HP, 29 attack, 31 defense, and a very high 40 agility. Their claim to fame is the ability to cast Infernos, the basic group-targeting wind damage spell. Alena's crew doesn't do very well against elemental damage, so this will stay dangerous for a while. If three or more show up at once, I'll be tempted to use Bounce.

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Oof, more Vipers, of course. That Antidote spell might come in handy still.

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Okay, that's the way back. Let's try the west side.

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That door definitely leads up, but I want to see the whole ground floor first.

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Alright, that's all of it. Up it is, then.

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Spectets have 35 HP, 30 attack, 30 defense, and 21 agility, which seems pretty average for this place. However, they can drain our MP through the power of interpretive dance, as well as cast Bounce, Ironize (making the caster completely invulnerable to everything and unable to act for a few rounds). On top of that...

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... they can "give a hideous shrieking roar", which has a chance to stun each of our allies, making them lose their next turn. Groups of Spectets are enormously irritating to fight, but at this point they only hit Cristo and Alena for 3-5 damage, so it's tolerable.

Flythropes have 34 HP, 31 attack, 34 defense and 17 agility, and they can cast StopSpell, attempting to permanently prevent each of our allies from casting spells.

Both of those monsters are highly unpleasant to fight together, but the Flythrope can keep Cristo from being able to heal us, so it has to go first; Alena and Cristo take it down together while Brey fishes for paralysis effects on Spectets.

Cristo levels up here, for 1 Str, 1 Agi, 3 Vit, 2 Int, 3 Luc, 6 HP, and 4 MP.

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Ah, those are a lot less dangerous without support, as long as we don't start the fight low on HP.

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Oh hey, stairs already. Cristo only has 10 MP left, but Brey has plenty of juice to cast Outside with, so I'm not too worried about being stranded in here. We can explore the rest of this floor on our next run.

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Strange spot for a pitfall over there...

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Okay, this place is going to be a bit more complicated than I first thought. Excellent!

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Grislysabers have 29 HP, 35 attack, 30 defense, 17 agility, and may roll crits. If that wasn't enough, they can also spend their turn parrying to reduce incoming damage, which has a chance to summon another Grislysaber at the same time! They seem moderately resistant to ice damage, but Cristo's first Surround cast hits the both of them.

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Ow! Good grief, I do not want to see Alena get two-shot by these suckers. Cristo can't get his Healmore soon enough.

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Oh-ho! We can enter this room to the west through a hidden entrance from the south.

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Eh. Our inventory slots are almost all full, so we let Brey eat it, since we don't have to worry about messing up his Strength growth and I don't want to hoof it back to the bazaar to sell it. He gains one point. Woo.

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...ah-ha! Nice!

This is a bit of a dead end though, and Cristo has 3 MP left, so Brey casts Outside and we take our rest at the inn in the basement.

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Just as we step back inside the tower, we're greeted by this chubby boy. Poison Lizards have 34 HP, 35 attack, 32 defense and 12 agility, and predictably they can "emit poison gas" which has a chance to poison our entire party. As if Cristo needed to spend more MP!

Brey levels up in the morning, for 3 Agi, 3 Vit, 4 Int, 3 Luc, 4 HP, 6 MP, and finally, the Snowstorm spell. For 5 MP, Snowstorm deals a fairly high amount of ice damage to one group of enemies (around 40-50 maybe?). We have a way to hit multiple enemies at once for the first time since Ragnar got his mitts on the Sword of Malice! That should help us end fights here a lot faster, which will decrease our demands on Cristo's MP pool.

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We're back on the second floor; let's explore the eastern portion this time.

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Whoops, better turn back.

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Okay, we know the western path here leads to a staircase, and there's a chest to the north.

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It'll be useful if Brey falls in battle, but we'll try not to let that happen.

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Butterfly Dragons have 47 HP, 36 attack, 20 defense, and 25 agility; their low defense and high HP makes physical attacks quite attractive and our three champions can bring one down in a single round if they work together. They can predictably "emit a fireball", but they can also cast Heal.

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It's nice to see that Strength Seed being put to good use.

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Image: This floor is tiny! We must be close to the rooftop.
Image: I suppose we had better hope the elves have not left this place behind, despite all the monsters.
Image: Maybe... maybe they've left a message of some kind? They wouldn't cut themselves off from humans entirely, would they?
Image: ...
Image: Elves are elves. Who knows?

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Two elfin girls are dancing around each other here.

Image: Are these...?
Image: Yes, I believe so!
Image: Hey!

Image

Image: No, wait! We just need-
Image: Yes, sister.
Image Oops, I dropped the medicine!
Image: ...!
Image: Don't worry about it. Hurry!

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They flicker and vanish.

Image: ...huh.
Image: Hmm, let's see...

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Image: Do you think this is it?
Image: Hmm... That's a... It's a little abstract, but... Look here. These are old elven designs, representing birds. Either this will restore the king's voice, or give him the power of flight.
Image: Well, it ought to make him feel better either way. Take us home.
Image: Do remind me, child, what's the magic word again?
Image: I'm sorry, I meant to say, my father is suffering, so take us home IMMEDIATELY!
Image: Goodness!

User avatar
François
Posts: 1324
Joined: Tue Jan 21, 2014 8:00 am

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

Postby François » Sun Nov 11, 2018 10:46 am

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Image
Image: Dad, I know you ended up eating a lot of gross stuff back when Brey was trying to teach me to cook-
Image: Oh, Sir Brey, I didn't know you can cook!
Image: As it turned out, I cannot.
Image: ...ah.
Image: But this is good for you, I promise.

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Image

Image



I'll be the first to say this isn't a high-priority video, but the king's line here is displayed at a very specific rate and it's super neat. This wasn't put together haphazardly; someone came in and decided very precisely how long each syllable would take to appear to make it feel like you're looking at man who's just magically regained his voice.

Image: Ah, excellent!
Image: We did it!
Image: You did... I thank you.
Image: It was but our duty, Your Highness.
Image: But what happened to you?
Image: I had terrible dreams. A big monster came out of the Evil World and was destroying everything.
Image: The... Evil World?
Image: At first, I intended to keep them to myself, but I kept having the same dreams over and over again.

Image: Ah, that's why he was moaning in his sleep!
Image: ...yes. Right.

Image: I became worried, so I decided to tell the Counsel about them. Then I lost my voice.
Image: This cannot be a coincidence.
Image: Something terrible may be about to happen...
Image: Dad, I-
Image: I won't stop you anymore. Travel the world and see what's happening.
Image: Okay. Y-you can count on me.
Image: Brey and Cristo, I place Alena's safety in your hands!
Image: We shan't fail you, my liege.
Image: I'm not quite certain that task should fall to your only child, but it's not my place to question your decisions. Very well.

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Image

Image: So, Brey, how do we get to the Evil World?
Image: H-hold on!
Image: Young lady, I would not tell you even if I knew.
Image: You're not being very helpful.
Image: In fact, if I could stop you from planning a raid on whatever this Evil World may be, that would be extremely helpful.
Image: Didn't you hear what my father said?
Image: He asked us to travel the world and gather information, not to assault a demonic realm.
Image: Princess, I doubt whatever enemy we now have has cast a silence curse on your father from across dimensions. It must have agents acting on its behalf.
Image: And we can track those down. Alright, I get you. So where do we start?
Image: It may be against my better judgement to suggest this, but... Endor ought to have a great many visitors from far and wide right about now...
Image: Maybe someone there will know something!
Image: And we can join the tournament while we're there! This is perfect!
Image: Well then, so be it.

Image

We Return to the Bazaar and rest up before heading east for the Travel Door shrine. We have 4202 gold to our name, but nothing left to spend it on for now.

Alena reaches level 12 on the way, for 3 Str, 2 Agi, 2 Vit, 5 Luc, and 5 HP.

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Image

Image: Okay, now I know this is going to be hard to believe, but...
Image
Image: Ah! Alright then.

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Image: Ah, is this Endor?
Image: It's the kingdom of Endor, yes. But the castle town is a fair distance to the southeast.
Image: Have you ever been?
Image: Yes, long ago. But seeing as neither Santeem nor Endor have a male heir, there is only so much diplomacy one can conduct under the circumstances.
Image: But we're not at war with them or anything, right?
Image: No worries, we're all too busy with monsters to do anything quite so foolish.

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We only had to fight a few Brahmirds on the way, so we don't need to rest yet.

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Image: Just go out and keep going around to your right, you can hardly miss it!

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Pteranodons have 41 HP, 28 attack, 24 defense, and 19 agility, with the ability to cast Firebal. They take a bit of effort to bring down, but they're only dangerous in large groups at this point, in which case having Brey put up Bounce is an excellent idea.

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Oh hey, classic DW1 Skeletons! They're a lot tougher than they used to be, with 52 HP, 49 attack, 45 defense, and 27 agility. They can cast Defence, and have a chance to drop an Iron Claw, a +38 weapon that only Alena can equip (being a Fighter and all). Ice damage is ineffective, but Surround and Sap seem to work well enough.

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Image: ...wow.
Image: Haha, it's something else, isn't?
Image: I wouldn't move here from Santeem, but I'm still glad I get to see this place with my own eyes!

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Oooh, cool new stuff. Only Cristo can wear Half Plate, and it's only 5 points better than his Bronze Armor, but we have tons of money, we can spare some for this small upgrade. The Iron Apron is +32, which is two points better than Half Plate, but as it was in DW3, only Merchants can equip it.

Image: Hmm!
Image: There's Chekov's Iron Apron right there.
Image: Who's Chekov?
Image: Ahhhh, you wouldn't get it.

The Iron Shield is the first Shield that Brey can't equip, but we do get one for Cristo.

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Cristo is so much hardier than Alena by now that we actually put him in front. He has less HP so he's more vulnerable to elemental damage, but the elemental damage we're taking right now hits our entire party, so it doesn't matter where we put him in that regard.

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That's an inn right by the entrance, but we still don't need to rest yet.

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Image
Image: Hmm? What did you lose?
Image: Ah, my lady, you had better not concern yourself with this specific type of fool.
Image: ...huh.
Image: M-maybe we should move on, find information about-

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Image: What's down there? It's so noisy!
Image: Nothing important I'm sure! This is a city inn, how intersesting could it possibly be?
Image: Now I'm REALLY curious.

Image



Image: ...!
Image: ...!
Image: ...oh dear.

Image
Image: What's a casino?
Image: No place for royalty, that's for sure!

Image: Eh, you'd be surprised.

Image: Only coins can be used here. Please purchase coins from the Coin Seller in the back.

So, yeah, this the Endor casino! If you thought DW2's slot machines and DW3's bloodsport betting were the extent of the series' gambling ambitions, better think again!

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Image
Image: It's wise to gamble only with the money you won't need.
Image: Or not to gamble at all!

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That woman in purple keeps going from the Coin Seller counter to the slot machines. She's got it bad!

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Image
Image
Image: Ah, um...
Image: Exactly none, thank you ma'am.
Image: Give me a hundred!
Image: My lady, you could buy ten cows with that money!
Image: I could buy as many cows as I wanted back home.
Image: That's quite besides the point!
Image: How... how about fifty?
Image: Cristo! What ails you?
Image: You heard the man, fifty it is.

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Do note the amount of digits for that coin purchasing interface. Yikes, huh?

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I don't think it's even possible to carry 1000000 gold at once. Buying coins is an elegant solution to the endgame problem of having tons and tons of money but nothing to spend it on, though.

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Ah, here are the prizes.

Image: Whuh... That's the Mirror of Ra! What the heck?

The Mirror of Ra is optional in this game, but it does have a neat effect that I may or may not be able to show off at some point, if I can get it.

The Wizard's Ring is still a reusable Magic Potion, with a chance to break every time you use it. They used to be an extremely limited resource (unless you bought a ton in the short period where you could do so in DW3), but here, if you have the money or the luck, you can get as many as you like.

The Staff of Jubilation is a +33 weapon that all caster-types can equip. Using it in battle has a chance to cause all monsters in a group to waste their next turn smiling instead of doing whatever harmful thing they were going to do.

The Meteorite Armband makes a welcome return, if you can afford it. It still doubles its wearer's Agility without taking up a standard equipment slot, but if I remember correctly, this time around the bonus it grants does not contribute to your defense power. So it makes you a lot faster, but not any tougher.

As for the Metal Babble Shield, it is literally The Best Shield In The Game, and it can only be equipped by caster-types, including Cristo and Brey. It offers a ludicrous 60 defense power, and will cast Fendspell when used as an item, protecting its wielder from all spells (like Bounce, without the reflection effect).

Needless to say, if you're extremely lucky, or if you have the ability and willingness to cheat, the Metal Babble Shield is a nigh game-breaking advantage. I'm going to be playing the casino games a bit, and I'll to pick up some prizes if I can afford them, but I have no intention to cheat and I prrrrrobably won't be able to show off the Shield. Who knows, though, right?

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Image: Hmm. I'm starting to see what you mean, Brey.
Image: Ah, there is some sense left to you, then.

Image
Image: Oooh, maybe just once.
Image: ...

Image

That's a far cry from the slots in DW2, eh?



Image: Oh, wow! Brey! Cristo! I won 20 coins!
Image: That's... that's nice...
Image: So, are you satisfied now?
Image: It looks like there are more fun games here, we better have a look!
Image: My liege... forgive me...

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Of course the arena is back too.

Image: ...unfortunate.

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Image: Ha, you know it!
Image: Good. Let it ride. Got it? Let it ride!
Image: I don't know what that means, but I think I like it!

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Image: Pick the winning monster, and you'll rake in the coins!
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Image: Ah, that armored man seems tough, and Skeletons are not very dangerous.
Image: Not to us, maybe!
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Image: Haha, I sure can pick 'em!
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Image: Y-
Image: Mmmmaybe later, young man, thank you.

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Image: That was brilliant! I'm the best at casinos!
Image: ...
Image: ...

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Image: Oh I have to get some of whatever that is.

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That's right. Poker!

Image: Yes! Yes, absolutely! Give me whatever you got!

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It's basic five-card draw, like you'd play on a video poker machine: you bet up to 100 coins, you get five cards, you can keep or redraw any number of those, and your payout (if any) is a multiplier on your initial bet depending on the quality of the hand you end up with.

After any round in which you didn't lose your bet, you can choose to play Double-or-Nothing, where the dealer gets a card, and you have to pick a card higher than the dealer's. If you win, you guessed it, your initial gain is doubled, and again you can cash out or play another round of Double-or-Nothing. (If you don't win, you lose everything.) Doing well on a Double-or-Nothing streak is probably the best way to earn yourself Metal Babble Shields and Meteorite Armbands.

Image: But... how was I supposed to get a card higher than a King? None of them were-
Image: You're not.
Image: Well, sometimes, but not always.
Image: That's how the house makes its money.
Image: Gambling is stupid.

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Image: Ah, we're out. There's a relief.

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Image: You are so much more talented than the bards back home.

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Image: Eh.

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Image: Right, back to business!
Image: The tournament is not the business, my lady.
Image: For now, it is.

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Image: Oof. I think we know.

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Nothing new here for us. The Abacus of Virtue is a +35 weapon that casts Expel for free (attempting to eject a group of enemies from combat, forfeiting their spoils), but only Merchants can equip it.

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Image: I wasn't, but now I'm curious!
Image: I'm old and plan to retire after selling it... Is there someone who wants to start a business here?
Image: Pass!

Image: That's a golden opportunity, though! Ah, if only...
Image: Aren't you happy with our shop?
Image: It's... fine.
Image: Yikes.

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Ah, there's the House of Healing, good.

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Image: If it's not hard, it's not worth doing. Put some pep in that step, boy! You're not paid to slog along!

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Hmm, we didn't need that Full Moon Herb after all.

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Image: ...the King has a motive for attracting the strong in this way.
Image: I wonder if the King of Endor has strange dreams as well.
Image: If this crisis threatens the entire world, I would not be surprised if he did.

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Image: That's... towards Santeem.
Image: How ominous...
Image: This could be just an anomaly of the wind. We have to be careful in our search; if we see our foe everywhere, we may end up seeing him nowhere.
Image: ...right.

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That's another door we can't open.

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Image: Not quite, but we might as well!
Image: If so, proceed through this door.
Image: Isn't there something else going on in this castle, though?
Image: Then you came for the tournament, correct? Proceed through one of the two small doors on either side.
Image: We really had better go introduce ourselves first. After all is said and done, we're still royal envoys.
Image: Eh, fine.

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Image: Well that reminds me of someone I know.
Image: Pfft.
Image: At least you might get along...

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Image: Our King started the tournament to attract the strong...

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Image: He is immensely strong and utterly merciless.

Image: Necro... saro...?
Image: Sounds like a tough guy!
Image: That name's a little on the nose for a gladiator, isn't it?
Image: Whatever draws the crowds, I suppose.

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Image: Huh. Okay. That's... huh.
Image: If we were going to have two princesses marry, we would have had a betrothal a decade ago.
Image: I sympathize with her.
Image: If my father tried to marry me away to some man I've never met, I would-
Image: Run away from the castle? That would be a change of pace.
Image: Keep this up and you'll be court jester one day.
Image: By all means, if the job has fewer monsters and dusty roads!

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Image: That's... I... Thank you?

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This blew me away when I played this the first time. The woman in purple here goes to get water from the well, and as she returns to the kitchen, she closes the door behind her.

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Image: Nah, you don't have to worry about that.

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This prisoner gets up as walks to the bars as we approach.

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Image: Yeah, yeah, I get it.

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Back on the ground floor, this northern wall looks mighty suspicious...

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There is a hidden door, but it won't open with the Thief's Key.

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Image: Eh, I've been pulling people out of trouble for a couple weeks by now, there's no reason to stop.

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Image: If the winner is a woman, I won't be required to marry.
Image: Ah-ha! There's our loophole!
Image: Please enter and win the tournament.
Image: I was going to anyway, but now I'll do it extra hard!
Image: Princess Alena, I envy you for being so free.
Image: ...
Image: ...
Image: ...oh well. So much for keeping a low profile.
Image: Heroes become known, Brey, that's how it goes!

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Image: Oh! Here's our explanation, then. Our cover is still intact, my lady.
Image: Hurray.
Image: I admire that you're concerned over this doomed world and are embarking on a journey to prove your strength!
Image: Haha! I'm glad to meet someone who gets it, Your Majesty!
Image: I have a request. Win the tournament.
Image: Of course.
Image: Are you having second thoughts, my lord?
Image: To tell the truth, I'm regretting what I've promised.
Image: No worries then, we'll take care of it.

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Welp, we're not making it in there.

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Hmm...

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I usually wouldn't do this, but I'm giving these to Alena for reasons that will become clear in time. She gains 5 maximum HP.

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Image: Ooooh, I want to watch a bit first. Come on, let's go let's go let's go!

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Alena and her retainers climb the stairs to join the rest of the spectators in watching brutal combat in the sandy arena below. The music is pretty rad!

Image: Guys, I think I want to be the Queen of Endor.

User avatar
Friday
Posts: 2729
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 » Sun Nov 11, 2018 1:50 pm

I can remember watching this for the first time; back when my brother would rent and play games.

Ten year old Friday was absolutely in love with this whole chapter. I wanted to be an ass kicking gladiator princess. I begged and begged my brother to let me do the fights, and he (rightfully) told me I sucked and would lose.
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User avatar
François
Posts: 1324
Joined: Tue Jan 21, 2014 8:00 am

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

Postby François » Tue Nov 13, 2018 6:37 pm

As far as JRPGs go, I think Phantasy Star beat everyone to the "strong, aspirational female party leader" punch, but unlike Alis Landale who is trying to overthrow the tyrant who had her brother murdered, Alena has an entirely self-started quest, and she takes charge of finding her own adventure. Of course she gets swept up in the game's overall narrative eventually, but her origin story is a completely earnest "ugh, my life is boring, I'mma make it better AND get hellaciously swole". And that's... dang, even these days it's such a rare and fun flavor.

DW4's themes are so feckin' strong and well-realized... It's just a bit of a shame on the occasions when the mechanics don't quite back them up.

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François
Posts: 1324
Joined: Tue Jan 21, 2014 8:00 am

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

Postby François » Wed Nov 14, 2018 7:47 am

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This arena is a neat trick on a technical level. The NES can't display more than four sprites on the same horizontal level without flickering, and it definitely can't have that many sprites at once without slowdown. Consequently, the NES doesn't really do crowd scenes. However, we've already established that DW4 can have animated background tiles! In fact, the only sprites here are our party, and the fighters down the pit. Everybody else is a background tile. This also explains why we don't see these specific townspeople anywhere else, and why the grass here is a unique black-speckled tile instead of the usual two-tone grasslands tile, since each background tile is limited to four colors.

Aaaanyway!

Image: These guys look pretty tough, huh.
Image: With times being as they are, it would take a fair degree of skill to make it here in the first place.
Image: I'm surprised that they came alone, though.
Image: Presumably, they didn't. However, tournaments like these are one-on-one fights.
Image: I guess it makes sense.
Image: Ah... I wish we could assist you somehow...
Image: You'll just have to cheer me on!
Image: Yes, yes, of course, I'll cheer on my liege's daughter as she sheds blood in pointless gladiatorial combat.
Image: At the very least, we can help you get ready. There are tough monsters in this kingdom; if they give you trouble, it might be wise to hold off on signing up for these fights.
Image: I already told the princess and the king I'd help them out, so there's no way I'm backing down from this. But... I guess there's no harm in training a little more.
Image: Goodness, we got through. Will miracles never cease?

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Image: We'll see about that!

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Oh hey, there's a Slime in the audience, in the northern row! Neat. I never noticed it before.

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We could sign up right away, but I want to explore the area first, and check out the town at night too. Also, it probably won't hurt to get a level or two. We rest up at the inn, and leave in the morning.

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Rogue Knights have 54 HP, 45 attack, 43 defense, and 25 agility; they can roll crits and summon Healers as backup. Alena only hits them for about 15, so they're tough customers all around! They seem vulnerable to Sap, Surround and ice damage though, so magic is definitely the way to go. In fact, Snowstorm will put an entire group within one-shot range for both Alena and Cristo.

Cristo levels up here, for 2 Str, 3 Agi, 2 Vit, 2 Int, 2 Luc, 5 HP, 5 MP, and the StopSpell spell, which costs 3 MP and still attempts to block one group's spellcasting.

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Oof, more groups of high-defense monsters. If Alena was alone here, she'd be in huge trouble. Scorpions are only slightly resistant to ice damage though, so... Snowstorm.

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It's really starting to show that our party, while not entirely squishy, doesn't have a remarkably tanky member. The critters around here are no joke.

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...yikes. Cristo and Brey finish the fight, but we have to retreat for now. A tournament victory is definitely beyond our reach at this time. Brey does level up from this at least, for 1 Str, 3 Agi, 3 Vit, 5 Int, 2 Luc, 7 HP, and 4 MP.

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Bringing Alena back costs 150 gold, but that kind of money's not really a problem by now. We rest up, and leave again.

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Whoa hey, nice! Metal Slimes have 4 HP, 20 attack, 1023 defense, and 50 agility. They can attack and cast Blaze, but still have a high chance to run away. Their high defense means that any hit that lands on them will deal either none or zero damage, unless it's a defense-ignoring critical hit or a magical effect that ignores resistances (since I have every reason to believe they're otherwise immune to magic). I think the Venomous Dagger's paralysis effect will effectively hold them in place if it triggers.

Taking one down would award us 1350 experience, which is extremely high, considering Brey just leveled up and needs about 1900 to level up again. In addition, Metal Slimes can drop a Golden Barrette, a +12 piece of headgear that only women can equip. Not only is it 4 points better than a Feather Hat, it also increases its wearer's resistance to confusion effects.

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Not such luck today, though.

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Image: Who would vandalize a bridge?
Image: Monsters, presumably.
Image: Fat lot of good that sign will do, then.

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Image: Would monsters work together to isolate a kingdom like this? Some force must be controlling them.
Image: At least they couldn't destroy the Travel Door from Santeem. Getting in the king's good graces will reap benefits in time, I'm sure.

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Image: As far as we could, yeah. The bridge across the first river was destroyed.
Image: You reached a wrecked bridge? Who did such a terrible thing?

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Image: Maybe he's the one who destroyed the bridges.
Image: How could even a very strong fighter destroy a bridge?
Image: Same way he'd breach a castle wall, I suppose.
Image: Oh... Hmm. Right.

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Predictably, the casino doesn't close at night. I'll try a few hands of poker while we're here.

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Welp.

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This guy wanders around, falling down at random. Looks like he's had enough of whatever he's had!

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Image: These are times where one is tempted to look for omens, it seems. The answer may yet turn out to be in the heavens.
Image: It better not be. I bet it's a pain in the butt to get up there.

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Image: Oh hey, nice!
Image: I hope it's not a bad omen.
Image: Come on, don't ruin it. Everybody make a wish!
Image: Ah... I... wish that my charge returns home safely, in time.
Image: I wish the princess here gets to choose her own life.
Image: I wish... Um...
Image: Hmm?
Image: Haha, err... I wish... Well... Ahh... Um.
Image: Come on, Cristo, what's the hold up?
Image: I wish for... a... good night's sleep?

Image: ...ouch.

Image: ...really?
Image: Fair enough, I suppose.

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The castle isn't locked down at night, but...

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If the guard here spots us, we get kicked out.

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He's got a pretty decent cone of vision, too! He'll catch you from all the way across the room if you wander anywhere in front of him.

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It's pretty easy to sneak behind his back, though.

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Image: It's like an extermination.
Image: Goodness! Are these battles to the death?
Image: Not usually, no. But even friendly bouts can end in tragedy with a light blow to the wrong part of the body.
Image: And these are going to be anything but friendly.
Image: Still, to think this Necrosaro kills his opponents on purpose...!
Image: All the more reason to take him out.
Image: ...

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Image: Dang, I can relate.
Image: It hardly seems that silly, at this point.

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The king is sleeping soundly, but the princess is pacing around in the treasury. It's pretty clear who's under the most stress here.

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Alright, that's it for Endor nights. We'll get in a few more fights to get Alena one more level, and we'll try our luck at the tournament in the morning.

...and she gets to level 13, for 4 Str, 4 Agi, 7 Vit, 5 Luc, and 15 HP. Holy crap, that's extremely welcome.

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In fact, she has so much more HP than Cristo that I put her in front again despite her lower defense.

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Image: Ha, like luck will have anything to do with it!

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Image: Heya, I-
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Image: How dare you adress my lady this way?!
Image: I'm terribly sorry... I'm jittery before my fight.
Image: No harm done, I get you. I still look forward to kicking your ass, though.

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This small item shop only sells Medical Herbs and Iron Claws. We get Alena her own Claw (taking her attack power from 64 to 84), and cram her inventory full of Medical Herbs. I'm almost glad she can't use shields, since that's one more slot for Herbs.

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That's an inn and a House of Healing; I'm sure I don't need to explain why they're here.

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Image: It's looking more and more likely that he did destroy the bridges.
Image: Do you think he might have been the one who put the curse on my father?
Image: It takes more than brute strength to take someone's voice away without harming their body. Besides, someone would have seen him, I'm sure.
Image: And if he had wanted to silence the king, he could have just... assassinated him.
Image: Hmm... Right. Well, either way, he won't be able to hurt anyone soon.

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Image: Ah... Time to go.
Image: I don't suppose I can still talk you out of this.
Image: Brey, you never could.
Image: Well, then, against my better judgement, let me at least say this. If I did not believe you were strong enough to compete here, I would stop you.
Image: That... that means a lot. Thank you.
Image: I have no doubt you'll make us proud, princess.
Image: Cristo, can you promise me something?
Image: ...!
Image: Well...?
Image: Y-yes, of course!
Image: If I win this, and I will win, so when I win, call me Alena, okay?
Image: I-I don't know-
Image: Look, we're going to be traveling together for a while, right? And the fewer people around me call me princess, the better.
Image: Okay then! I... I'll try!
Image: Heh, good enough for now I guess. Alright, we're done here. Get ready to watch asses kicked like no asses have been kicked before!

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Image: Necrosaro is the only one who has defeated 5 opponents so far. Good luck!

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Hun has 70 HP, 45 attack, 68 defense, and 20 agility, with no special skills or magic. If Alena's made it to Endor, she can take out this chump, no problem.

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We're allowed to use as many Herbs as we like between matches, but we're limited to the contents of Alena's inventory. We'll use one now, even if only to avoid having to spend a combat turn on it later.

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Roric has 90 HP, 50 attack, 80 defense and 45 agility, with the ability to parry for some reason. I can't imagine a well-equipped Alena not being able to bring him down.

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He conveniently always drops a Medical Herb, which is nice.

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We use one Herb, bringing Alena's HP to 87 of 99.

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Vivian has 90 HP, 35 attack, 62 defense, and 68 agility. She's also the first caster we get to fight, knowing Firebal, Healmore and IceBolt. However, she only has 12 MP, and she'll run out of juice before long, at which point she's mostly harmless. Still, if you're underleveled, she's going to be a real threat.

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She also drops an Herb.

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We use it to return to 81 HP. I'm almost tempted to use another, but I don't want to waste any HP, let's just keep going.

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Sampson comes with 90 HP, 58 attack, 104 defense (!), and 15 agility. He can use Medical Herbs, but he has no other tricks up his sleeve. In the end he's something of a basic stat-check. There's only so much strategy that can happen while Alena's on her own, really. Just... picking the best time to use Herbs.

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He of course drops an Herb as well.

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We use two Herbs this time, bringing us to 95 HP.

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This guy's got a dirty trick up his sleeve...

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...ffffuckin' Linguar.

Linguar has 55 HP, 40 attack, 60 defense, and 75 agility, with the ability to build up power and emit a fireball. Normally this means he'd be a piece of cake, but... he isn't. Every round he creates three mirages and shuffles his own position, so you effectively can only hit him one out of four times, and there is no pattern to it whatsoever. It's pure chance. You can mitigate how quickly he whittles you down by parrying when he pumps himself up, but if the random number generator won't let you win, it only prolongs the inevitable.

I'll be the first to say this tournament is a missed opportunity. You hit the first opponents until they fall down, and then you only beat Linguar if the game feels like it. His defense and HP are low so two or three good hits should do the job, but getting those hits in at all is far from guaranteed.

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Fortunately we can try again as we please, and Cristo and Brey are assumed to be carrying our money, so we don't lose anything of great import. We rest at the inn, restock our Herbs, and try again, from the beginning. I'll meet you at the Linguar fight!



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...

Was that like three rounds?

Good grief. Pure chance indeed.

No Medical Herb drop this time, though.

Image: Haha, nice try! Now bring out that Necrosaro!
Image: Congratulations, Princess Alena! The final match is next. Call Necrosaro.

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Image: Someone's quaking in his boots right about now, huh?
Image: .........
Image: WHAT A LOSER, HUH?
Image: We can't wait for him forever. I declare Princess Alena the winner of this tournament!
Image: W-what? Wait! No!

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Image: Damn it! Not like this!

The screen fades to black, and we're returned to the throne room.

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Image: ...
Image: It was a grandiose spectacle, Your Highness.
Image: The privilege was all ours, wasn't it?
Image: ...you're welcome.
Image: I know your father, the King of Santeem, will be proud of you. Perhaps you should return home and let him know you're alive and well.
Image: Yeah... Yeah, I suppose.

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Image: Heh. I guess I'm pretty strong after all.

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Image: It's no problem. This didn't end the way I wanted, but I'm glad it worked out for you.
Image: If Princess Alena was a man...
Image: ...!
Image: ...!
Image: Hmm!
Image: What am I saying... Please forget what I've said.
Image: No promises!

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Image: So it WAS him!
Image: What a bold creature he is, to just walk in here and slaughter the world's strongest warriors!
Image: Ugh! If we had just come here sooner, maybe we could have put an end to him.
Image: But then we wouldn't have found the time to help the folk of Tempe, and Frenor, and your father, even.
Image: ...right.

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As we leave the castle...

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...a royal guard intercepts us and breathes his last!

Image: What is this...? What are these wounds?
Image: Ah... nothing good for sure.
Image: Brey, quick!
Image: R-right!
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Image: It's... It's not working! WHY ISN'T IT WORKING?
Image: Sir Brey?
Image: Gah! What's wrong with me? Curse these ancient hands!
Image: No, no, none of that. If we can't go by air, we go by foot. Come on!

We finish checking out the town for completion's sake, but there's clearly an emergency going on.

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Image: S-sorry, there's no time. Maybe some other day.

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The casino has not changed, but for Reasons, we blow our entire purse on 310 coins before we leave.

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The monsters are indeed gone, just as they were at the end of Ragnar's quest.

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Now this is a first. As we enter the castle, we are greeted by absolute silence. I can't recall this happening at any point in any of the previous games. It's indescribably eerie.

Image: The... the guards... Where are the guards?
Image: Hello? ANYONE?
Image: At least the castle seems intact, for what little it matters...

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Even old man Goz has disappeared.

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Image: Oh I have a horrible feeling about this...
Image: What happened in Moonbrooke was terrifying, but this is something else.

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Image: Oh... At least... you're...
Image: ...

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Image: DAD!

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Image: ...!
Image: Nothing... No one... Where...?
Image: This is madness! You'd think there would be something... some... trace!
Image: But there are no bodies.
Image: Hmm...
Image: Right. Maybe they were taken somewhere?
Image: Necrosaro. He saw me in Endor and knew my castle was defenceless!
Image: Princess, Santeem is hardly a wild flower ripe for anyone to pick, even without you!
Image: But the timing fits. It has to be him.
Image: Well then we're TRACKING THIS BASTARD DOWN TO THE ENDS OF THE WORLD!
Image: Right! You have my full support, princess.
Image: I'm with you, pr- I mean, A-Alena.
Image: Okay. Okay, let's go. This is what we do, now.

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And that's it for Chapter 2. Pretty brutal, eh? In a few moments, you go from your highest high to your lowest low, and it's over. Ragnar's quest ended on a note of optimism and resolve, but Alena gets her entire home swept from under her feet. And now she too has received from the mysterious forces of darkness a very big reason to travel the world. Unlike the Dragonlord, Hargon, Baramos and Zoma, whoever's in charge here is not the type to blow up one town and then quietly wait at home for their death; events are unfolding as we progress, not only before we start.

Where Ragnar had a single objective with a few parts to it, Alena had four unrelated objectives (ending the sacrifice custom, solving the hostage situation, restoring her father's voice, winning the tournament), making her play more the role of a wandering adventurer, which reinforces her theme and personality for sure. Mechanically you could swap Ragnar and Alena and it'd be fine, but thematically their chapters work best with their respective personalities. It's neat to see the game supporting the character-driven framework even in that aspect.

It's just a shame that the tournament falls on its face on the gameplay side. Everything about it makes it a cool set piece moment... but the actual 1-on-1 fighting doesn't have much to it, and the final opponent is a poor design decision writ large. For all the progress JRPGs have made since DW1, the genre is not done learning its lessons.

We're given the opportunity to save, and we take it. Next time: Chapter 3!

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

Postby Friday » Wed Nov 14, 2018 7:14 pm

Linguar is a terrible rng design that could be easily fixed by having some sort of subtle difference in the real sprite, but I have to say, him sticking out his tongue at you whenever you miss him is fucking great.

Now this is a first. As we enter the castle, we are greeted by absolute silence. I can't recall this happening at any point in any of the previous games. It's indescribably eerie.


Creatives everywhere constantly ruin good scenes by using music. This sequence could have easily been forgettable if they overlaid it with some generic sad theme, but luckily somebody on the design team had a brain.
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nosimpleway
Posts: 2462
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Re: It's raining protagonists: Let's play Dragon Warrior IV!

Postby nosimpleway » Wed Nov 14, 2018 7:52 pm

Friday wrote:him sticking out his tongue at you whenever you miss him is fucking great.

Presumably that's why he's called that.

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