the game genie code you want is YYEXVTGE
Friday wrote:the tragedy is Alena doesn't turn out to be the main character
She can be the main character in our hearts!
TA wrote:the game genie code you want is YYEXVTGE
Yyyyeah, I'll be playing it As Designed for better and for worse, but indeed I can only recommend bypassing that particular decision by any means available.
Mara and Nara join the battle!
Code: Select all
| Lvl | Str | Agi | Vit | Int | Luc | Atk | Def | HP | MP |
Francois | 2 | 9 | 6 | 14 | 7 | 4 | 21 | 24 | 30 | 8 |
Nara | 11 | 22 | 19 | 23 | 25 | 35 | 55 | 54 | 56 | 48 |
Mara | 12 | 13 | 22 | 28 | 28 | 33 | 13 | 41 | 47 | 55 |
It's a good thing our hero has legendary potential, because for now, oof. He only hits harder than Mara because she's using a Poison Needle, and his defensive stats are very low!
We immediately put the ladies in front. Looks like Francois isn't yet done being protected by the women in his life.
Nara and Mara have their inventory mostly intact, with the curious exception of the Sphere of Silence. It's not actually the last we see of the artifact, so I think the justification here is that Keeleon would have confiscated it when he threw them in jail. They still had it when they boarded the ship to Endor though, so that's probably an oversight.
Since we don't know where Necrosaro is right now, what little direction we have at this point now would make finding Taloon our next goal. We don't know where he is either, but somewhere east of Branca seems likely. However, while we're in Endor, let's have a look at Bonmalmo and Lakanaba first, just to see what's been going down lately and maybe get some useful information. Of course, it won't hurt to make some money to gear Francois up for the trip while we're at it! Ideally we'd get Half-Plate in Endor and a Broad Sword in Bonmalmo, but cash won't come as easy for us at it did for Taloon, so we might have to compromise.
It's worth noting that if there are any chests in Taloon's two dungeons that you didn't open in Chapter 3, they'll still be available in Chapter 5. If I remember correctly, that means you can get a free Broad Sword and Half-Plate as soon as you can fight your way down the Silver Statuette cave. That does make it a bit slower to fulfill the king's order though, so I didn't leave them behind then.
That said, neither the Silver Statuette nor the Iron Safe chests contain anything in Chapter 5 even if Taloon didn't get them.
Whew, okay then. Let's finish getting caught up on local news in Endor for now.
: Oh, I don't like to hear you put it that way!
: Everyone has their own destiny.
: I want to say that's nonsense, but...
: I guess it's hard not to believe in destiny when everyone in the world expected you to be born and save their butts.
: Prophecies are helpful sometimes, to serve as guides or warnings, to give hope or caution. But if we did nothing, evil would not defeat itself.
: I know. It's just... this is a lot.
: Wouldn't you want to fight these assholes anyway, though?
: Yeah. Yeah, I think I would. Necrosaro has a lot to answer for.
: Necrosaro, huh.
: I'm not sure who he is, but I think he works for the Ruler of Evil.
: And we want the head of a servant of his. It's good that we're fighting together, no matter the reason.
: Oh hey, Neta sure pivoted the family business there.
: The profit margins aren't quite so high when you're no longer in position to resell monster loot and dungeon treasure!
So yes indeed, Taloon's shop has been converted to a Vault service! It functions just as it did in Luisa's Place in DW3: you can leave any items you like and retrieve them for a fee, and you can store money in 1000 gold increments at no charge. However, the fee in Luisa's Place was a tenth of the item's value, while here it's always 10 gold. Mara's still toting around the Gunpowder Jar and the Boarding Pass, so we leave them here.
: It's rumored that the monsters are chasing him. I hope he's traveling with someone strong.
: Hmm... I wish I could read his fortune. We are searching for other lights, after all.
: Well, if we ever meet him, we'll make sure to help him out.
: Presumably the other merchants in town caught on to his racket too, heh. Someone was bound to put up "not for resale" signs sooner or later.
: A wedding in a Coliseum?
: Sounds romantic!
: There are more seats than at the House of Healing, at least.
Heh, that's one way to reuse a scene, I suppose.
It's drawn-out affair; the wedding ceremony takes place every day for the rest of the game!
: Ah, wedding hecklers. How elegant.
: At least this marriage was a good thing.
: We'll see about that.
: Even ships are for sale at the port town south of the desert.
: Hmm, that could come in useful.
: Oh, you can afford a ship? That's wonderful!
: Um, no, sorry.
: It's nice she could marry him.
: Even if he did it for wealth, I still think he's brave.
: He had to fight his way through hordes of Giant Bantams on the way. His bravery is beyond reproach.
: You don't think...?
: Ah, I hope not.
: Fearing his overwhelming power, the good forces in this world imprisoned him.
That's all for daytime. Fortunately, Nara still has the Lamp of Darkness.
: Yeah, sure, mention the end of the world to a woman you're trying to make happy, that'll work.
: Come back tomorrow.
We still have to sneak in here!
: He must look at least a little like a human if he fooled everyone like this.
: Well... there are ways to change your appearance by magic.
: So we have no idea.
: I did hear his voice.
: Wait, what?
: Would you remember it if you heard it again?
: I... heard him speak right after he murdered everyone I've ever known and cared about.
: So I won't ever forget it.
: Yeah, I wouldn't forget Balzack's voice either.
: Not while he lives.
: Not while he lives.
Heh, it's the king's turn to pace around his treasury at night!
And that's it for Endor. We get a room at the inn, and leave in the morning.
Let's see if the way to Santeem is still closed.
Okay, so, there are two things of note in this fight. First off, Nara's in first place, so we get Chapter 4's battle theme instead of the standard one. That's neat.
And, well... there's something else that's not quite so neat. If you've noticed, we didn't get to choose Nara and Mara's actions in combat.
To put it plainly, for the entire duration of Chapter 5, which is the final chapter, we only get direct in-combat control over the Hero. Past a certain point, it's also possible to leave the Hero out of the active party, in which case we have no control over anyone.
On one hand, I understand what the devs were trying to do. When you have a four-member party, some of which are spellcasters, you gotta press the A button a whole lot. There is some merit to giving thought to occasionally automating the process. There are many excellent JRPGs out there with useful and welcome auto-battle mechanisms.
On the other hand, what a tragic, misguided-ass blunder of a design decision. Good effing grief. It's all in not being able to opt out of it. That's the genuinely awful part.
Fortunately, the game's remakes do allow you to opt out of it, and you can then control your entire party as you see fit. And there's a Game Genie code to restore normal control on the NES version as well (YYEXVTGE, thanks TA). I encourage everyone to make use of either option.
As for me, for now, well... I've been through Rhone raw. This is nothing. I'm playing it as designed, and I'm face-tanking it as it comes! For the Internet! Huzzah!
At the very least, the non-Hero returning party members aren't treated as guest characters were in previous chapters. They level up as normal, they have standard inventories and can obtain new gear, and we can have them cast any spells we like outside of battle. In addition, we see above that the TACTICS menu has a new entry, which can also be accessed at the start of every combat round.
We do have influence over our party, with a choice of six AI schemes. Most of them only govern the behavior of our spellcasters, however, as they change which spells they are most likely to use at any given time. "Save MP" makes them stay away from their more expensive options, while "Use No MP" prevents all magic use (except maybe RobMagic?). "Offensive" makes them prefer big-ticket direct damage, "Defensive" is for heals and buffs. "Normal" is a balanced default scheme. And "Try Out" is extremely random, but it's the only scheme under which they'll try to use certain items. For example, Nara will only ever use the Silver Tarot Cards under the Try Out tactic. (This can backfire sometimes, as they'll sometimes use rare consumables without your authorization, or repeatedly put on the Meteorite Armband over and over again since it's beneficial to wear it but they have no concept of it being on already.)
The AI is actually a fair bit deeper than it looks. Most noticeably, once a character has seen one of their spells fail against an enemy type enough times (three times or so, I believe), they'll stop casting it on that enemy type entirely. So there's a bit of a learning function to it, and characters do get smarter over time. I also hear that if they figure out an unusual strategy works well under Try Out, they're likely to use it again on Normal, but don't quote me on that.
In addition, your allies know how much HP enemies have, and won't cast high-level damage spells if a weaker spell would finish them off. For example, Mara won't cast Blazemost if Blazemore would kill her target.
Of course, none of these tactics are nearly as good as just having direct control over your dang party.
: A whole castle's worth of people has gone missing?!
: There is tragedy everywhere these days...
: You think Necrosaro did it?
: It does sound like his style.
: Our Princess Alena was saying someone called Necrosaro was suspicious...
: Oh, I heard about Alena! She won the tournament in Endor a while back.
: That's the one Necrosaro was competing in, right?
: He's much more than just suspicious by now. We have to stop him.
Four Babbles on the way to Bonmalmo... Yeah, I'm glad we're not alone anymore! They do get Francois to level 3, for 3 Str, 1 Agi, 2 Vit, 1 Int, 3 HP, 2 MP, and the Blaze spell. Nara did get poisoned, and she doesn't know Antidote, but the sisters still have a few Antidote Herbs they bought a while back.
Ducksbills again, already no match for us. I don't expect the trip to Lakanaba will be very dangerous.
: I can only approve.
: I'm not sure how effective ordinary weapons and armor will be against the evil monster.
: The Ruler of Evil was put away once. We can do it again.
: Still, that's one problem I'd rather not sweep under the rug for future generations to deal with, if it can be helped.
: Ugh, right, we wouldn't be in this mess if he had been killed to begin with.
: I'm not so sure about that. Necrosaro's clearly enough to cause problems on his own.
: At least he's our problem, not somebody else's that got handed down to us.
: I didn't stay long, but... yeah, it is.
: A celestial nymph from the sky fell in love with a young woodsman, and soon they were expecting a child.
: If it's true, what do you think has become of the child?
: That... that's some mystery alright.
: So there would be a half-celestial person somewhere in the world?
: ...I think that's me.
: Well, is your mom a celestial nymph or not?
: Three days ago, the human folk I thought were my parents told me I was adopted and then they got massacred by demons. Forgive me if I'm fuzzy on the details.
: ...right. Sorry.
: At any rate, if there's some kind of heavenly power inside of you, it makes sense that the monsters would want to hunt you down.
: Um. Okay, suddenly I don't feel quite so safe!
: Don't worry, they think I'm dead. A... a friend saw to that.
: Oh dear. I'm sorry.
: You didn't know. Just... let's move on, okay?
: From now on we can import as much armor as we want from Endor.
: I'm sure he'll become a great king...
: That's prison for ya.
The weak monsters around here don't give enough money for a meaningful upgrade, so we have to skip the shops.
Okay, that's already tougher! The sisters are stronger than both of these critters, but Francois doesn't want to take a couple IceBolts for sure.
...gah. In fact, I didn't realize this at first, but it looks like Magemonja share their AI with Kaskos Hoppers, in that they're very likely to target your backline!
Francois gets to level 4 after the following fight, for 4 Str, 2 Agi, 2 Vit, 1 Int, 3 HP, and 3 MP. That early Strength growth is extremely encouraging!
Ozwargs start appearing again. We definitely have to be cautious.
The illusionary village is still gone. The problems Taloon solves stay solved!
The Normal tactic has served us surprisingly well so far. Nara hasn't spent any of her juice on sub-optimal Infernos casts, and Mara stuck to Poison Needle stabs and the occasional Blaze spell that hit every time. It's not the best, but it could be worse.
We could upgrade to Chain Mail, but since Francois is in the back, I'd rather get him a better weapon first.
Oof, the selection has gone downhill since Taloon left. We pass on the Thorn Whip for now. That said, it's worth noting that the new sales clerk is Tom's son!
: Maybe later!
: If you want weapons, go to the shop upstairs.
Aaand Tom's son's dog is guarding Taloon's old house for some reason?
: Ah... well... we're working on it, sister.
There's nothing of note going on at night, but we can't find Tom's kid anywhere, so he's presumably living in Taloon's old house now!
In any case, we're done with this excursion, and we have... 412 gold. Oof. I don't want to grind if it can be helped, so it'll have to do.
DW3 kept track of what towns each character visited to determine where they could Return to, but here, Mara can send us to Branca despite having never been there herself, so it's no longer the case, it's all about where the Hero has been to. She couldn't even warp us to Haville or Kievs or Monbaraba!
We spend the night in the woodsman's shack to save on money, then head to the castle in the morning to buy a Boomerang. Selling Francois' Copper Sword and Leather Armor leaves us enough cash for Chain Mail and... a Wooden Hat...
Wait... that doesn't... add up..?
...huh. I... I think I didn't actually buy the Boomerang first. Or did I immediately resell it by accident?
Welp. It's been four games, I figure I'm long overdue for inattention-related inventory snafu. Here's to never using save tricks, we're rollin' with it. Selling Francois' old Leather Hat gets us to 116 gold, and we buy his Copper Sword back. Oh well! He's got Blaze, he'll be fine.
: The world... It's pretty big, isn't it?
: Uh. Yeah?
: You haven't traveled much, I presume.
: I've lived in one village my whole life. My folk were trying to keep me hidden. It... almost worked. Or it did work, until now.
: But it sure didn't prepare you for all of this, did it?
: It prepared me for the fighting well enough. But yeah. That's not... there's a lot more to it than that. Everything's so far away, and everything costs so much money.
: Oh I hear you.
: But hey, there's a wealthy merchant on the run from monsters, isn't there? That Taloon guy?
: He went to the east, though a desert...
: If he has money and could use bodyguards on his travels, that's a lot of our problems solved at once.
: It's settled then, we're heading east. Do watch out for chickens though, alright? They make them big in this country.
: Ha, we both know fire magic, so don't you worry about any kind of scary chicken, okay?
We reach the spot where we had to turn back last time without encountering anything more dangerous than a handful of Giant Worms.
That's probably the desert we heard about, so let's head south first.
Ooh, a wagon sprite, neat.
: Hmm... If we're going to cross this desert, it wouldn't hurt to bring some shade with us.
: Do people just give away wagons?
: No, they don't.
: Wouldn't hurt to ask, though.
: Fair enough.
: I can't exactly blame you for being wary of complete strangers, but...
: Come on, this is the hero we're talking about, and we're trying to help out the famous Taloon! You can't leave us hanging here!
: You just don't get it, do you?
: What's there to get?
: I used to travel like you. One day I heard of a cave where the world's most valuable treasure was hidden. I went to the cave with my best friend. I trusted him, but he betrayed me and... Darn...
: Oh, I'm sorry to hear that.
: I just can't trust anyone anymore! Go away!
: Ugh, fine, be that way.
Hmm, there might be another way to get to that chest...
: Oops!. This won't help his trust issues.
: Eh, you don't put a Lunch you want to eat behind bars.
: Yeah, we saw he's got something up his nethers alright.
: He once went to an eastern cave with his friend. Only my son returned, unconscious and injured, on his horse, Primrose... He changed after that. He doesn't trust anyone. What happened in that cave, I wonder...
: Hmm. I suppose it wouldn't hurt to check that cave out.
: The monsters who attacked my village mentioned they have a base. Maybe it has something to do with it.
: Right, it's worth a look.
He's not kidding. If we try to leave to the south...
We're immediately pushed back one tile north, with a "falling down a hole" sound effect, curiously enough. I have to assume it's too hot and windy to go on foot.
Ah, we haven't seen those in a while; they're late Chapter 1 foes with Speed Up. No problem. Francois gets to level 5 here, for 3 Str, 2 Agi, 2 Vit, 4 HP, 2 MP, and the Healmore spell. That's not a typo; the Hero skips the basic Heal spell and learns Healmore much faster than Cristo and Nara. The fact that he starts with Expel and gets good healing powers quickly really flavors up the notion that his mother came from a celestial place!
Again, this is nothing the Chapter 4 crew couldn't handle, but Francois isn't quite on Orin's level yet, so we can't let our guard down. The Normal AI gets Mara to open with Bang, and she switches to Blaze to finish off a Lilypa that received an Upper buff. If nothing else, that's entirely sensible.
Oh crap, that's the companion of Saro's Shadow as a regular enemy! Mara finishes it off with Blaze before it gets to go berserk though, so that's a relief.
Okay, those are new. Mad Clowns have 36 HP, 31 attack, 43 defense, and 26 agility, with the ability to cast Firebal. That's actually quite dangerous! I mean, Balzack was more dangerous, but we only had to beat him once. They're completely vulnerable to Bang, immune to Expel, and slightly resistant to anything else we have. Mara's own Firebal hits both of them here, and Nara finishes one off; we don't end up taking any magic damage this time.
Another new creature. It's impressive that after all those Chapter resets, the game still has early game monsters to surprise us with. Mandrakes have 30 HP, 44 attack, 30 defense, and 15 agility; they can roll critical hits, breathe sleeping gas, and do a party-stunning roar. They're vulnerable to Sap and all the magic damage we currently have, slightly resistant to Sleep, and immune to Expel. Opening with Bang serves us well again, putting the Mandrakes within Nara's one-shot range and taking out a Lilypa outright.
I'm beginning to wish Francois had better gear, heh. He does level up once more here, for 3 Str, 2 Agi, 1 Vit, 1 Int, 1 HP, and 3 MP.
The Giant Bantams put in a couple more appearances... and they get roasted every time. Whew.
Crossing forests at night always gets us into more random encounters than I think it will; we haven't traversed an enormous distance, but it felt like it took a while!
: This has to be the place.
: It reminds me of the Sphere of Silence's vault. There has to be something valuable down here.
: Um... You can... you can have it if we find it.
: Oh, that's nice of you! You really are the hero!
: Just... whatever happens, let's not betray each other, alright? I don't actually care about treasure.
: Of course. To be honest, we have more important things to do than treasure hunting.
: You know, if we did plan to betray each other, I'm pretty sure we'd all be saying we don't care about the treasure. Then once your guards are down: shank! Poison Needle to the back!
: ...not helping, sis.
: Hey, we were all thinking it.
: Wait, what are you saying, then? Are you going to-
: No, of course not, but that's also what I would say if I-
: Alright, that's enough, let's just go!
Actually, if Taloon never picked up the Iron Safe, it's still in the cave north of Lakanaba! You can go pick it up in Chapter 5!
But it doesn't work if you do. The remakes add a note about the hinges having rusted open.
But it doesn't work if you do. The remakes add a note about the hinges having rusted open.
Huh! I did a run just to test that out when I was a kid and could swear not finding the safe there... but that was like 25 years ago so I'll consider myself corrected. :3
Yeah, I did runs when I was a kid just to have it, so that I could keep my money when I inevitably died. But it didn't ever work, not because the item wasn't there, but because if you do somehow have it in chapter 5, it fails to function.
Spoilers, I guess, [spoilers]that when you do recruit Taloon, it's fallen out of his inventory, just like the Sphere of Silence[/spoilers].
Interestingly, the Sphere of Silence is also where you would have gotten it if you managed to beat Chapter 4 without ever getting it, and it does work as advertised. So you can actually just get two, if you would ... ever want to.
Spoilers, I guess, [spoilers]that when you do recruit Taloon, it's fallen out of his inventory, just like the Sphere of Silence[/spoilers].
Interestingly, the Sphere of Silence is also where you would have gotten it if you managed to beat Chapter 4 without ever getting it, and it does work as advertised. So you can actually just get two, if you would ... ever want to.
I'm actually a little nervous coming in here. The inn is far enough away that we won't be able to go back on foot if we're in trouble, so we need Mara to keep 16 MP on hand to bail out safely, and she's got 25 left right now. And I suspect the monsters in here will be at least as tough as the ones on the way.
Yeah, executive decision here: we have enough cash for a Boomerang already, so let's get back to Branca right away. If someone gets a level out of the trip back, all the better. We already know what happens when I take chances with Nara and Mara, heh.
Okay, I'm a lot more confident about this expedition now. We stay on the Save MP tactic until we get back to the cave, and nothing unexpected happens besides Francois taking a crit from an enraged Giant Eyeball.
...no, wait, a fight with a pair of Mad Clowns turns sour. We retrace our steps a bit and stay at the desert inn to recover. A fight against four Giant Bantams gets Francois to level 7, for 3 Str, 1 Agi, 3 Vit, 1 Int, 5 HP, 3 MP, and the Return spell. It's always good to have multiple characters who can teleport around!
At one point, Mara used one of her Medical Herbs to heal Francois after taking a Clown's Firebal. I'd usually prefer if Nara took care of the healing, but I suspect the Save MP tactic made her more likely to use an item. (Actually, never mind that theory: later experimentation shows that both sisters are keen to heal low HP allies when their turn comes up even on Normal. Its just that Mara is typically faster than Nara and she doesn't mind using Herbs if she has them. If you want her to focus on offense and let Nara heal, don't give her Herbs.)
There we go. Back to Normal, then.
: Alright, all together now.
Each tile of the stone door shatters into fragments as we walk through it. No sweat!
No monsters yet. Maybe I was too cautious.
: Whoa, what the-
A pit opens under Mara and Nara's feet, then closes as Francois automatically jumps forward to the other side. At the same time, a hidden stone door blocks the way back.
: Oh crap! That can't be good.
Try as we might, the trap won't open again. We're alone.
: Well that'll explain a thing or two about that guy and his friend. Better find a way down, I suppose.
: ...not that way, then.
It looks like we can rejoin the sisters, but...
They run to the west as soon as we get close.
: Hey, it's just me! Are you alright?
: I got startled too but that's no reason to run away like that!
: With how things have been going so far, I need you a lot more than you need me!
We know Liclicks from the Kievs/Keeleon area, if I remember correctly, fairly tough, able to cast Surround. That's a hard fight for a lone hero, especially since they're immune to Expel. We get Surrounded on the second round and take about 6-7 damage per hit, but we can exploit their weakness to Blaze and take a couple turns to use our Medical Herbs; before long there's only one left, and it's trivial past that point.
When the battle ends, a pitfall immediately opens under our feet, so quickly that I miss the screenshot.
: Gah, there better not be four of them this time.
Mara and Nara are being chased around the room by two creatures.
: Aw crap, the stairs are right there, but... Gotta be righteous and strong!
Talking to one of the devils doesn't actually start a fight. Hmm.
: Right, that's what I figured. Come on, let's take these idiots out.
: But the stairs...
: Oh come on!
Oh hey, one of the bats starts out confused, that's a relief.
Tricksy Urchins have 35 HP, 37 attack, 30 defense, and 3 agility; they can build up power for a turn, and emit a fireball. They're immune to Expel and vulnerable to everything else we have... but this really doesn't feel like a battle Francois can win on his own as he is.
The confused Vampire Bat "tried a body attack", but Francois dodged, and it just kept going, leaving the fight entirely. Huh. There's actually a lot more to the confusion ailment in this game than just attacking allies and helping enemies!
Ultimately though, it doesn't change the outcome of the battle.
: Wh... What happened back there?
: I... don't... knoooooooow...?
: Is it really you?
: I think so.
: No, seriously, you fell down a hole, and when I followed you, there were monsters that looked like you.
: You think we look like monsters?
: They must have been disguised. What did you see?
: I told you, I don't know.
: We fell down a hole and the next thing I know, we're here.
: ...huh. Well. Whatever's going on down there seems pretty messed up.
: Gah, you can say that again.
: Do you want to go back?
: We don't have a choice, if we want to follow Taloon. Just... just watch your step, alright?
We rest up, buy replacement Herbs, and set off again. Maybe we can avoid that fight next time.
: Okay, be-
: -careful. Welp.
: Are you ready for a repeat?
The fight goes a little worse this time around, leaving us with 2 MP. It prrrrrobably would be good to have slightly better gear!
: Yeah, no, you're not tricking me this time.
As soon as we get close to the stairs...
The false sisters run up and intercept us anyway. Welp, we can't skip this fight after all.
No confused bats here.
: ...wait, what?
: Did we fall again?
: What an evil cave!
: Okay, I'm weirded out. All in favor of not going back there again?
: Do you have a better idea?
: Huh. No, I don't.
: If we let these critters win, we have no chance against Necrosaro. We have to go back.
: I just wish I knew what was going on.
: I wish I could tell you.
: So you're the only one to remember anything that happened there, right?
: Okay, here's the plan. We get enough money to buy you a spear, and I'll lend you my armor for a bit.
: I don't want to put you in danger like that!
: Considering what we're up against...
: Oof, yeah, never mind. That does sound like a good idea.
: Alright then, let's go hunting.
Man, it's too bad that the Morning Star is only for Pilgrim types, otherwise Nara could let Francois take it too. We head back to the cave area, but we'll just pick fights for a while, enough to get an Iron Spear in Endor, which should be 880. See you on the other side!
Francois gets to level 8 after a bit, for 5 Str, 2 Agi, 3 Vit, 1 Int, 6 HP, and 4 MP. That'll help! Nara also gets to level 12, for 1 Str, 3 Agi, 2 Vit, 1 Int, 2 Luc, 4 HP, and 5 MP.
Hmm... Each battle earns us around 40 to 100 gold. We'll save up for an Iron Shield too while we're at it. The Bats and Urchins only do physical damage after all, so let's stack the odds in our favor a bit further.
Whoa, Sand Masters pop up near the cave after sundown, I didn't expect that.
Mara gets to level 13, for 2 Agi, 4 Vit, 5 Int, 5 Luc, 9 HP (!), and 5 MP. And just as we earn the last of the money we need for now, Francois gets to level 9, for 3 Str, 2 Agi, 3 Vit, 1 Int, 3 HP, 3 MP, and the Firebal spell.
Yyyyyyeah, I think that'll be high enough. We've got 1612 gold; Mara takes us to Endor.
...is what I would say if she hadn't blown all her MP setting chickens on fire. Francois takes us to Endor instead. We get him his Iron Shield, Nara gives him her Half-Plate, and he gives her his... Chain... Mail...
Ah, Nara can't use Chain Mail. So much for that plan, heh. The Iron Shield will have to be enough of a defensive upgrade for Francois then. We could buy him a suit of Bronze Armor, but we only have about a thousand gold left and I expect it'll be a bigger advantage to get him an Iron Spear instead. Dead monsters don't deal any damage!
Okay, Francois hits harder than Nara now, and he's tough enough to take second place in front of Mara. I think that'll do. We head back to Branca and go east once more.
: Okay, this is-
: Aw come on!
Yeah, you can't avoid being separated by rejiggering your formation, Nara and Mara fall through no matter what.
: You know the drill. Let's do this.
Francois didn't get Surrounded this time, and he can two-shot each Liclick. Yeah, that's better.
: You're all in for it now!
Francois takes out the Tricksy Urchins with a pair of Firebal casts, and one-shots each Bat in turn. No problem!
: How'd you like the taste of good Endor iron, you beasts?
Huh, I figured we'd be able to get back up, but these stairs will be taking us down again.
We can just barely see the "sisters" to the south as we arrive...
...but they run off immediately.
: Yeah, no, I'm not taking another chance here, better get rid of them right away.
: You saw what happened to your buddies on the other floor, didn't you?
: Looks like that's the whole song and dance!
: You won't fool us again. You're not Francois! We'll fight you this time!
: Wait, what?
: Wait sis! I think this is really Francois. I can tell.
Considering their names, that's a bit of a dick question.
: No, of course not.
: Hmm... you may be right.
: Nara is way too wise to blow all her money in a casino.
: Sorry we doubted you. We've been chased by your imposter for so long...
: Gah, I should have known you were going through the same nonsense I was.
: Let's go now!
Aaaaand we join the real sisters again. Whew! If we had answered wrong...
...Mara just asks again, as ill-advised as that is. We get but-thou-must'd to our advantage for once.
: Wait a minute. You don't think I'm wise?
: Oh dear.
: Ha, well, um...
: Why I never!
: Y-you're clever and beautiful!
: ...I'll take it.
: Nice save.
: Another of those doors...
: It's no surprise that innkeep's son couldn't make it in here.
: Oh crap, did he... did he kill his friend?
: I don't think so. He suffered from betrayal, not guilt. Most likely one of the disguised monsters wounded him, and his friend perished alone.
: Well, we sure put an end to that, at least.
We know this way already; we should be able to open the door on this side of the pitfalls on the uppermost level now.
There are still no random encouters here.
: Ugh, but that's some effort!
: Come on sis, put your back into it!
: Here we are, then.
: Aw, cripes. Who wants to bet the real treasure is "friendship"?
: Isn't it?
: ...just open the chest.
: Hmm. Okay, I wasn't right, but I wasn't wrong.
: It won't be much comfort to the man, but maybe if we explain the secret of this cave to him, he'll understand what happened back then.
: Better for him to know the truth than to go on living with hatred for his friend.
: Anyway, is that it?
: Yeah, I think we've got everything.
: Take us out, sis.
: This place is going to keep right on sucking until the last second, isn't it?
The Hero learns Outside at some point, so it wouldn't do to let them leave alone! We just walk out.
So that was some unusual dungeon, wasn't it? It's a long way full of dangerous monsters just to get there, and once you're inside there are hardly any battles except for a couple combat challenges that your party member who is likely to be the weakest has to take on alone. It's all an interesting set piece for sure.
Francois gets to level 10 on the way back, for 2 Str, 1 Agi, 4 Vit, 1 Int, 8 HP (nice!), and 2 MP.
Oh dang, I don't remember seeing those here; I bet the nearby desert monsters are bleeding into this encounter zone.
We reach the desert inn just before dawn, and we rest up before we do anything else.
: So, who wants to-
: I'll do it.
: It's called the Symbol of Faith. I'm sure you already know where we found it.
: Why? Looking at it seems to purify my mind... The Symbol of Faith...
: Do you really not have any doubts about what happened back then?
: I got it! The most valuable treasure has been none other than trusting each other!
: Well, there was the cool statuette too.
: I've been wrong. Let me join your party. Of course we can take the wagon.
: If you understand now, then I'm glad to have you on board.
So, yeah, not only does he let us use the wagon, but he outright joins us as well!
: Shall we go now?
: Hello Primrose!
: Let's go!
: ...is it really okay to let a monster pull a cart?
: Oof. Okay then, it's good that we have a vehicle now, because it'll give us time to get you some education!
We have a wagon now! It even changes the way we travel on the overworld, since the lead character walks in front of the horse, and everybody else takes position around the cart. Not only does it look neat, but it also ensures that we never get more than four sprites on the same horizontal line, which would cause graphical flickering due to the NES' limitations.
As one might deduce from his generic "Young Man" class, Hector is generally sturdy but unremarkable; Francois already hits harder and is just barely less hardy than he is. That said, Hector does occasionally spend his turn building up power as a Lethal Gopher would, which is nice to see happen. He's otherwise a typical guest character in every way, so he'll keep his current stats and gear for the foreseeable future.
As for the wagon itself, it gives us a few all-new mechanics!
It causes the CHANGE ORDER option of the TACTICS menu to turn into to CHANGE MEMBERS.
As long as we've put at least one character in our party, we can now select END.
The other characters enter the wagon, and only the characters we've selected act in battle at all.
Characters in the wagon can cast spells outside of battle at will! (You can tell who is in the active party by the number to the left of their name.) In addition, as long as we have the wagon close, at the start of any battle round we can tell any character in the active party to use their turn to swap places with someone in the wagon. We can even swap out dead characters in the same way. On top of that, if our entire active party gets wiped out, anyone left alive inside the wagon will jump out to continue the battle. It's basically a mobile Luisa's Place that we can use even during combat!
If that wasn't cool enough already, characters in the wagon gain the same amount of battle experience as active characters do.
However, we can't take the wagon everywhere. Some dungeon entrances are too small for it to enter.
Double-wide entrances can accommodate the wagon, but single-tile entrances force us to leave it behind, which deprives us of party swapping and experience sharing until we rejoin our crew. This is a clever design element, because some areas are balanced for a regular four-member party, while others are balanced with the entire back-up crew in mind.
Now we only have four party members so none of that is immediately relevant to us... but that'll change.
Aaaaand one last thing. If we put Hector in the lead without anyone else active...
If you remember, guest characters don't count as "alive" when checking to see if we've got a party wipe, so the game doesn't let us have an active party with only guests in it.
Alright, that'll do it for now. Next time, we cross the desert, and we keep tracking down a rich man!
: Wait, how did this Taloon guy cross the desert without a wagon?
: He didn't. I took him to the other side.
: So, what? You couldn't trust us, but you could trust him?
: Trust didn't come into it. I asked a completely unreasonable amount of money for the ride so he'd go away, and he outright gave it to me.
: Oh! So you must pretty rich now.
: Well, I wouldn't say I'm rich, but I'll be comfy for a while.
: You mean, we'll be comfy for a while, right?
: Hey, I said you could use my wagon, not that you could help yourselves to my life savings.
Crested Vipers make their return from mid-Chapter 2; Hector may be unremarkable, but having his massive HP pool sure helps soften the blows here. We run into lots more Armor Scorpions as well, but Francois and Mara dual-casting Firebal keep us out of harm's way.
Barrenth have 55 HP, 45 attack, 30 defense and 25 agility, with no special attacks, making them just barely less dangerous than the Rogue Knights they're accompanying here. They're immune to Bang, slightly resistant to Sleep, Firebal and Infernos, and vulnerable to Blaze, so they're not quite so easy to take out with multi-targeting magic, though. Here, Francois keeps exploiting the Knights' Firebal vulnerability to good effect.
Interestingly, the Knights keep summoning Healer after Healer, but Nara and Hector immediately one-shot them as they arrive. It's clear that their AI knows to go after them first. Hector ends up taking a 49 damage Knight crit, but that's nothing Healmore can't fix.
Arrops have 27 HP, 46 attack, 36 defense, and 21 agility; their attack may inflict sleep, and they can call for reinforcements. They're slightly resistant to Sleep and Blaze, but otherwise vulnerable to any other magic we have at the moment. They're less dangerous than the other monsters around here, but critters capable of summoning help are always easy to underestimate, and they have low HP, so we take them out first.
We can't bring the wagon inside towns, so we go back to the single-file formation.
: Not the time, sis.
: Sure, that's sweet of you!
: Somehow, we'll manage without.
: Seems like a shame to leave it here, then.
: Only if you can pay for it with all the money you made at the casino.
: At... an inn?
: Sure beats the wagon.
Aaaaand he gets behind the desk. Of course the innkeep would say that about his own establishment. In fact...
He charges 10 gold per person. But if you go to the next building to the south...
...there's another inn at 5 per person.
: Is this tour thing just a way to make us skip the cheaper inn?
: Heh, nice try buddy.
: We have work to do!
: But we just crossed a desert!
: Should I try to make my skin even more beautiful?
: That's impossible, miss.
The armor shop offers mostly Endor-grade stuff, plus the Fur Coat and Feather Hat in case you didn't buy them for the sisters back in their homeland. We have 2091 gold on hand, so this is the time to replace Francois' Chain Mail with Half Plate. We probably won't have enough for a meaningful weapon upgrade after that, so we also get Nara her own Iron Shield.
Mara's still tougher than everyone else, but Francois has overtaken Hector, so we swap the dudes around.
The weapon shop is also a mix of Endor and Haville stuff. Francois already has his Iron Spear, so if we could afford an upgrade, we'd have to go back to Bonmalmo for it. We should be fine for now, though.
Nothing unusual at the item shop, and we already have a Full Moon Herb just in case.
: Well, it looks cool.
: Oof, yeah, of course.
: After what we've seen in Aktemto, there's no way we wouldn't believe a ghost story.
I'll let Nara have that one; her Strength growth has been pretty slow lately and she hits things all the time. She gains two points!
: Many years ago, when monsters terrorized this town, he fought with them... and perished along with the last monster in the final battle.
: It doesn't have to be the fate of all heroes, you know.
That's a regular House of Healing on the second floor.
: What a kind son you have, sir.
: Ah, that's where Taloon was going.
: It's our next destination, then.
: I hope he's not already gone...
: Heh, if he was planning on getting a ship built, he's probably still there.
That's all for daytime Aneaux, but let's use the Lamp of Darkness and investigate that ghost rumor.
: He had lots of money and was talking about buying a ship. What an ambitious man!
: Let's just hope he understands the danger the world is in.
: If monsters have been after him for a while, he might know it better than anyone else.
: Well... maybe not anyone.
Yup, that's a specter alright.
: Oh, so there's a suit of armor to match the sword! That's getting interesting.
: Somebody stole it.
Having delivered his message, Ruvas' shade disappears.
: Hmm, so the armor on display here is a fake.
: It did look a little too nice to have been recovered from a dead warrior.
: That's not what I'm-
: Oookay lady, no need to fluster the boy.
: Look at those muscles! Did you inherit them from your father or your mother?
: ...I don't know.
: He inherited them from training and hard work!
And that's it. Aneaux is a bit of a rest stop on the way south, but we did learn that there is such a thing as a Zenithian Armor! We rest up at the cheaper inn, and continue our journey in the morning.
: So what you're saying is that horses aren't monsters.
: Right. They're animals, like dogs or chickens.
: But I've seen monster chickens. And there were monster dogs around Lakanaba! Who's to say there aren't monster horses?
: Primrose isn't a monster, buddy.
: How do you know?
: She's super nice, so she can't be a monster.
: Well, there was that one friendly Slime in the basement back home... It was definitely still a monster.
: So animals aren't monsters except when they are, and monsters aren't nice except when they are. Look, I'm sorry, but I feel like I know less now than I did two days ago. I thought monsters just... weren't people.
: No... Sometimes people are monsters too.
: Okay, okay, okay. So. It doesn't matter what Necrosaro is, because he's an asshole. And Primrose won't bite my head off while I sleep. Do I need to know anything else?
: Nah, you're good.
We get attacked by a couple groups of four Magemonjars here, but we're faster than they are and they're quite flimsy, no problem.
: Ah, that would come in handy. One world map, please.
: Funny, I thought I had some more. They're gone. Hmm...
No world map for us. Welp!
Somebody sure trashed the heck out of that room, dang.
: Ugh, of course the monsters would go after ships. They just don't want folk to travel.
: Yeah, I get you. We'd get performers touring in Monbaraba sometimes... Let's just say it's pretty bad when you need Blaze to clean up afterwards.
: Since then, it's been shining evil lights on the sea.
: Hmm. That's actually good to hear.
: What do you mean?
: If it was monsters at sea attacking ships, we couldn't do anything about it from here. But if it's a lighthouse, we can just go over there and clean it out.
Neat little dockside mall here!
Ah, the Broad Sword makes an appearance again. It might be our next purchase at this point.
Golden Barrettes! There was a monster a while back that could drop them, but this is the first time we see them for sale. They offer 12 defense (Wooden Hats are +6 and Feather Hats are +8), and they offer some protection from the confusion ailment. Only women can wear them, including a female Hero, if we had one. As much as I'd like to save up for a Broad Sword, Nara and Mara can definitely use the upgrade, especially since the former is still our point woman. We buy one for Nara right away... and it turns out that selling both sisters' old Feather Hats leaves us enough to get one for Mara too.
: I suppose I can't blame you.
: A port town without ships! What a joke!
: Since the monsters took over the lighthouse, it's been emanating an evil light that sinks ships.
: Oh hey, there's one left.
: I don't know if I'd let children run around on board a ship at a time like this!
: Before too long, if we have anything to say about it.
: I bet she was a beauty.
: Ah, it's good to know that she's safe.
: Heh, as if she'd let anything stop her.
: However, when a ship leaves the shore, the lighthouse shines eerily and makes the sea rage violently.
: If I were a lot stronger, I'd go wipe out the monsters in the eastern lighthouse...
Just in case we haven't figured out our next goal yet!
Oooh, our first Small Medal. It doesn't do anything for us right now, but we'll learn more about what it is much later on. Though if you've played later games in the series, you probably have a decent notion already!
: Ah, so it is Taloon's ship after all!
: A sailing expert who has a priceless map lives on a southern continent, in a town called Mintos.
Considering none of the previous games had any kind of in-game map, this is a pretty exciting goal to aim for!
Aaaand another Small Medal. This one takes up our last inventory slot, so we'll be making a trip to the Vault before long. It's worth noting that you can't reach this specific Medal (or the previous one) after a certain point, so it's one of the very few that can be permanently missed.
: We're building this ship for Taloon, but he's so rash.
: Wait, did he already-
: He went to the lighthouse to destroy the monsters who are making sailing impossible.
: Wow! Is he really a merchant?
: Oh he definitely knows his way around a fight. I wouldn't have made it through the desert without him.
: Huh. Do you think he'll need our help, then?
: Won't hurt to offer anyway.
: I hope the monsters at the lighthouse haven't got him.
: If they did, maybe we can recover his money.
: Hey, it'd still help!
: North of... Is that your...?
: It is.
: The people of Santeem, across the sea, vanished without a trace... Do these events have some connection to the rumor the Ruler of Evil will resurrect.
: Yeah, they do.
That's all for daytime Konenber, but we have money to earn and not that much longer until sundown, so let's get into a few fights instead of using the Lamp.
Oooh, there are Metal Slimes here! The odds of beating one are pretty low for this party, but maybe Mara will get in a good Poison Needle stab. (Aaaand she does not.)
Welp, classic formation right there.
Razor Winds again, returning from the Birdsong Tower in Chapter 2. I think we generally have more HP than Alena's party had at the time, so we don't have much to fear from Infernos chain casts. The Arrops are the more dangerous critters here. Nara levels up after this fight, for 1 Str, 1 Agi, 1 Vit, 3 Luc, 1 HP, 4 MP, and her own Healmore spell. Francois immediately follows suit, for 3 Str, 1 Agi, 5 Vit, 1 Int, 12 HP (wow!), and 3 MP. Nice!
: We are searching for someone, but as far as we know, he's on his own!
: It was a princess and her escorts. They said they were after a man called Necrosaro.
: Well now we're searching for them too!
: If that's the Princess of Santeem, we know they've gone south for sure.
: I didn't like my last one that much...
: Though it wasn't because of the sea.
: ...but I spend too much! Why?
: No one can possibly answer this question.
: No one!
: Oh! Um... Uh... I-
: Nice try.
: You're so naive. I was only kidding!
: Do people generally kid about marriage?
: You'd be surprised.
: He plans to travel the world in his own ship to search for legendary weapons.
: We're going to need some of that for sure.
: The pieces of the prophecy are falling in place.
: Okay, this is definitely not a case of rowdy bards tearing up a dressing room!
: Ehhh, I'm still on the fence.
: There must be something horrible in that chest.
: A pile of Gum Pods, maybe.
: But I'm sure your ship will be sent to the bottom of the sea...
: Which is why we're going to take out your boss on land. Idiot.
: Hey, what's this guy doing?
He runs off.
: I don't know, but it's suspicious! After him!
: I know times are tough for everyone, but that's no reason to start robbing each other!
: Well, no harm was done, I suppose. We have no reason to turn you in, right?
: You can exchange Small Medals for items.
: Hmm. They're more cumbersome than they look, but we'd better hang on to them, then.
If we had refused to forgive him, we'd have gotten but-thou-must'd, of course.
: I've heard that one a lot, but I don't think it is!
: Sure you were.
Yup, we can't save at night in Konenber because the local House attendant is trying to get a girlfriend. Welp!
: That's why he's growing bald!
: Is... is that how it works?
: It sure was true for our father!
: One could argue he wasn't thinking enough...
: Maybe that makes you bald too.
: ...I guess I have too much to worry about to start fearing for my hair.
: Worry definitely makes you bald.
: Why do you think I'm always wearing this bandana?
: You guys are messing with me, right?
: Eh, your mom's from heaven, there's no way you're going to start losing your hair before you're, like, twenty-five.
: Plenty of time to save the world before then.
Before we stay at the inn, we make a quick Return trip to the Vault in Endor.
Which is closed because it's night-time. I wanted to rest in Konenber so we'd have all our MP for the trip, but we get a room in Endor after all. So much for being optimal! In the morning we leave behind the two Small Medals, as well as the Symbol of Faith. Later versions of the game have Hector keep the trinket for himself, but for us it's dead weight from here on out.
We Return to Konenber, rest up again to recover the 8 MP, and set off for the lighthouse.
Gah, six Sand Masters. So much for trying to preserve our MP, heh. Mara gets to level 14 after this fight, for 2 Agi, 2 Vit, 4 Int, 5 Luc, 6 HP, 5 MP, and the Firebane spell! It's still an upgrade to Firebal, rolling against the same resistance stat and costing a very affordable 6 MP.
More Birdsong Tower critters; their StopSpell isn't too worrying for our current crew, since we have three people who can hit hard without magic.
Oooh, we haven't had a tower dungeon since Chapter 2!
The entrance isn't locked, fortunately; Alena still has the only key we know about. Well hey, we know for sure Taloon's in there. He can handle himself, but we should still find him before something else does!
I assume Alena would just kick the door down anyway
: Are lighthouses always this big?
: Not usually, no. It only has to be tall, so there's no point making a huge tower. This one must be very old. Or maybe it was used for something else for a time.
: It sure must be a pain in the ass to keep the flame lit. We're really far from town!
: It could be a magic flame. That would explain the evil lights we've heard about!
Rogue Whispers are the first to greet us a short ways in. They're easier to defeat than they used to be, but they still have a small chance to inflict serious damage.
There's no reason to be scared of lone Thevros anymore, but we still wouldn't want to run into six of them. The Metal Slime escapes us, of course.
: Oh, is that-
: Yup, that's him. Hey, Mister Taloon!
: Wow, rude.
: I want to extinguish the Evil Fire burning in this lighthouse.
: A noble goal!
: But powerful monsters have been preventing me from going any farther.
If we refuse...
...you guessed it.
: Yeah, sure. But we're going to have a talk about partnership opportunities later, alright?
: I thank you! The Fire of Serenity burned in this lighthouse until recently.
: Right, I knew magic had something to do with it.
: They say a remnant of it still burns somewhere in this lighthouse. It should be able to extinguish the Evil Fire.
: No, it's okay, we understand. Fire of Serenity destroys Evil Fire, got it.
: I'm counting on you. I'll be waiting for you in the port town.
: Alright then, leave it to us!
Aaaaand he leaves. Interestingly, he passes through the obscured tiles in the center of the floor on his way out, letting us know there's a hidden passage through there. Let's check it out before we try the obvious staircase.
Nara has 43 Luck, Mara has 40, and Francois has... 4. Yeah, that checks out. We let our Hero have it. Luck is especially important for him, because we don't want to have the one character we can control afflicted with disabling status ailments! He gains one extra point.
Oooh, this gets us to 1612 gold. Another chest like that and we can afford a Broad Sword!
Ah, more Vipers inside. Not too tough, but still no pushovers.
We've seen Grislysabers back in the Birdsong Tower too. They can crit and call for reinforcements, so ignoring them to fight the Babbles is exceptionally risky, and we set Francois to take them out first. Hector and Nara help him out, while Mara goes after the Slimes with her Poison Needle, which is acceptable.
Ha, nice going then! We don't gain any levels from this, but it's still a decent chunk of experience.
Okay, that's all of the first floor, let's head back to the stairs.
Goodness. That's a lot of potential experience, but also a lot of Blaze casts to face-tank. We manage to take exactly one out, because when Hector has spent a turn building up power, he does 2 damage to Metal Slimes! Wow!
Nara levels up here, for 2 Str, 1 Agi, 1 Vit, 2 Int, 3 Luc, 2 HP, and 5 MP. Francois follows, for 3 Str, 1 Agi, 4 Vit, 1 Int, 3 Luc, 10 HP, 2 MP, and the Repel spell, which as usual prevents overworld random encounters with weaker monsters for a time, though it costs 8 MP this time. Mara also levels up, for 2 Agi, 2 Vit, 4 Int, 6 Luc, 4 HP, and 3 MP. Nice!
Gah, Mad Clowns again. That incoming fire damage is starting to add up. This time, Mara opens with Bang, instantly destroying the Thevros and letting Hector finish up the Clown.
Whuh-oh. This started out as a battle against two Rogue Knights, a Mad Clown, and two Metal Slimes. Hector and Nara took out the Clown first, but then a Knight landed a 50 damage crit. That's the end of our run for sure. We could keep going for a bit, but Francois' Healmore will only last for so long now that we've lost Nara's Morning Star skills. We switch to Offensive tactics to end the fight quickly (Firebane makes short work of the Knights), and even manage to defeat the Slime... which is almost a shame given that Nara's missing out on that one. Francois gains another level, for 3 Str, 2 Agi, 4 Vit, 3 Luc, 9 HP, 3 MP, and the Outside spell.
Francois teleports us out, and Mara warps us back to Konenber.
Good to see the healer can stop chasing skirts long enough to charge us 200 gold to bring Nara back. This leaves us with 1971, so we sell Francois' Iron Spear and upgrade to a Broad Sword!
He now hits a lot harder than anyone else; if he can now one-shot Rogue Knights, it might save us a lot of grief. Nara can't use a Broad Sword, so we've got the best gear money can buy at this point.
If we go back to the captain of Taloon's ship, he has one more thing to say!
: We're on it, no worries.
: Yeah, we got into... difficulties.
: Do you think your ship will be ready by the time we're done?
: Yes, the ship will be completed soon. I'll wait for you to return with good news.
Alright, we're done here. Back east we go.
From here though, let's put tactics on Save MP and check out the region instead of heading for the lighthouse directly, just in case there's something else going on nearby.
Welp, that's it. We'd better make note of that river leading inland, at least. Francois can one-shot Sand Masters and Flythropes by now, but Rogue Knights still take two hits, presuming that they don't get healed in between. Oh well!
A fight against three Grislysabers and two Metal Slimes earns us another Slime kill, and Mara levels up again, for 1 Str, 2 Agi, 2 Vit, 2 Int, 6 Luc, 4 HP, and 4 MP. Man I wish that experience went to Taloon instead of being wasted on Hector, but what are you gonna do.
We ambush and defeat another Metal Slime, getting Nara to level 15, for 1 Str, 2 Agi, 2 Vit, 1 Int, 1 Luc, 4 HP, and 2 MP. Francois follows, for 3 Str, 2 Agi, 3 Vit, 2 Luc, 8 HP, and 2 MP. Man but his HP growth is remarkable.
Dang, it feels like we encounter Metal Slimes every other fight in here!
That one goes to Nara, for one point. The DW4 Pilgrim-types tend to be better late-game combatants than the DW3 Pilgrims were, but I'm still not too worried about Nara's late-game Strength stat. The surrounding roof tiles are impassable from here, so we retrace our steps.
Ah, we ran into Kordra near the Bazaar back in Chapter 2, and they can still roll crits. I'm beginning to see a theme with this lighthouse: there are Mad Clowns and Thevros and Metal Slimes to chip away at us with small amounts of magic damage, and Kordra, Rogue Knights and Grislysabers to finish us off with critical hits. We absolutely have to keep our HP up.
A Poison Needle stab on a Metal Slime earns Mara another level, for 3 Agi, 2 Vit, 4 Int, 3 Luc, 1 HP, 5 MP, and the RobMagic spell. RobMagic still costs nothing, and it attempts to steal some MP from one enemy, rolling against its own specific resistance. I'm feeling a lot better about letting Mara loose with her offensive spells now!
We know there's another up staircase on this floor, but let's try this one first.
More monsters we haven't seen since Chapter 2! Skeletons hit hard, but they're not going to surprise us with a crit out of the blue, so we should be fine.
Ah, that's a cool find. It's risky to let anyone but the Hero carry it, though. I don't think they'll use it before they run low on MP, but I'd still prefer to control the exact moment.
Ooh, we know Vileplants from Aktemto, StopSpell casters and all. This one is easily handled.
We retrace our steps back to the central area of the second floor.
Gah, okay, those are more of a handful. Mara does sneak in a Firebal at the start of the first round though, so everyone else can one-shot the Vileplants. Francois levels up here, for 3 Str, 2 Agi, 4 Vit, 1 Int, 3 Luc, 7 HP, 3 MP, and the Sleepmore spell, skipping the standard Sleep entirely! It costs the same as the basic version (3 MP), targets only one enemy, but indeed has a better chance to land despite technically rolling against the same resistance.
: That one's a monster, right?
: Nowhere you can reach, devil!
: I've been waiting to ambush him. I heard he was coming to this lighthouse... He must have gotten scared and headed back to town!
: Never mind Taloon! We're here to kick your ass!
: I'll go there and get him! Kiii... Kiii...
Predictably, the creature bumps its head on the ceiling.
: Can't cast Return inside a tower, you dumbass.
: Somehow I feel a lot more confident in the success of our mission, now.
: They're probably not all so incompetent.
: Eh, the dingus is hardly worth killing. Let's just get out of here.
Okay, these are more lower Aktemto monsters, it's beginning to be real dangerous. Mara's running low on MP, but I put our tactics on Normal, we can't mess around with the likes of Weretigers.
Gah. It's good to have another, but I'd prefer never having to use them.
Soon afterwards, Mara blows the last of her MP in a fight against a pair of Skeletons and four Vileplants. She better start robbing magic soon! At this point though, I expect we'll have to leave before long, and we'll take a less roundabout route next time.
We know there are chests to the west, so let's keep going for now.
Eh, it's worth money.
Aw hell. (It's "Chest", the battle swirl effect just hid the first letter!)
We'll be playing it safe on that one; I set our tactics to Defensive.
...whew, Francois' Sleepmore lands at the top of the round. I think we're good.
Yup, everybody has a go, and Nara finishes the thing off with a crit.
Man-Eater Chests have 100 HP, a ludicrous 140 attack power, 55 defense, and 62 agility. Fortunately they have no special abilities,just their potent basic attack. They're highly resistant to Sleep and Blaze, and only slightly resistant to Sap and other elemental damage.
: Huh. I figured they'd have hidden it better than this.
: Maybe they didn't expect anyone would have the guts to get this far.
: I am absolutely okay with the monsters consistently underestimating us.
: ...yeah, it gets ugly when they don't.
The Fire of Serenity has no special effect in or out of combat, unfortunately. We sure could use a free source of fire damage!
Another Aktemto monster, but it's no threat on its own.
Hmm... We saw two obvious staircases south of the chest, but this one in the northeast, we could have easily missed. Let's try it.
Oof, now we're up against the same creatures that were infesting the Endor region while Necrosaro was there, and they were giving Alena trouble. We'll have to turn back before long.
Mara attempts a RobMagic on a Pteranodon, and fails; in fact it turns out they're immune to it. Hopefully she figures it out soon.
Nara reaches level 16 here, for 2 Str, 2 Agi, 3 Vit, 2 Int, 2 Luc, 8 HP, 5 MP, and she gets her own Sleepmore spell.
Okay, this is clearly the top floor; we can see some kind of tiger demon and two imps dancing around madly in the center.
Heh, so much for those stairs to the south then.
Iiiiii kinda want to give the fight a shot... but we're sitting on over four thousand gold and Mara's running on empty. It'd just be reckless. Oh well! Let's finish our map at least, then head back to town.
Hello, what's this?
Heh, too bad we don't need it. We might meet someone who'll want it later though, so we'll leave it at the Vault when we have a moment.
Aaaand that's the whole thing. We only have a boss run to do now! We jump off the edge...
...Return to Endor to store our Barrette and extra gold at the Vault, and Return to Konenber to rest up. Victory is within reach!
By now, Francois' defense is only seven points behind Nara's, and he has 34 more HP, so he finally takes the lead.
We'll be staying on Save MP tactics from here on out, and we have a direct path to the top, so we ought to have enough juice left to put up a fight this time.
Rogue Whispers are potentially threatening enough that I don't want to take chances right now, but they're also vulnerable to Expel, so it's a good idea to go on Use No MP and just get our Hero to send them into the light. No fuss no muss.
A Metal Slime kill gets Mara to level 18, for 3 Agi, 2 Vit, 3 Int, 4 Luc, 4 HP, and 4 MP. Francois gets to 16 a few fights later, for 3 Str, 1 Agi, 6 Vit, 2 Int, 2 Luc, 10 HP, and 7 MP.
Alright, we're in good shape. Let's do it!
: The Evil Fire will sink all the ships. Kekiki!
: Ha! Who's there?
: The light-bringers have come, you degenerates!
Nara failed her sister pretty bad there, but all in all this could have gone a lot worse, and Mara has a lot more experience than the others so it's not too painful a loss.
The Lighthouse Bengal has 70 HP, 60 attack, 83 defense, and 15 agility; it's slow and not actually all that deadly. That said, it's got the hideous roar, and it can cast Heal, so it has "support monster" written all over it. It's vulnerable to all magic damage, and only slightly resistant to Sleep and Sap.
On the other hand, the two Flamers carry most of the offensive, with 75 HP, 70 attack, 75 defense, and 36 agility, and the ability to emit fireballs and straight-up cast Firebal. They're predictably immune to Blaze and Firebal themselves, but only highly resistant to Bang (it's more explosive than it is incendiary), slightly resistant to Sleep, and vulnerable to wind.
: Alright, the folk in Konenber have suffered long enough. Let's end this.
A moment after we throw the sacred flame into the pot of Evil Fire, the light goes out entirely, then comes back on gradually, replacing the purple shadows all over the place with the red and grey tower dungeon hues we're familiar with.
: It worked!
: Of course it did.
: That's one job well done, at least. Come on, let's get Mara to the House of Healing and see what Taloon has to say about this.
We made a ton of money even on this short expedition, so we can absorb a 330 gold revive, no problem.
: What'd I miss?
: The Fire of Serenity lights the waters once more.
: ...did it look cool?
: Yeah, I was pretty cool.
: Well, not that special.
: Don't be so modest. I can tell.
: Gah, keep it under your hat, okay? The monsters think I'm dead.
: ...no doubt.
: Don't ever give up hope...
: Thanks to you, ships can now leave.
: Did you expect it to fix itself?
That other ship has already set sail!
: Why hello there, mister merchant man!
: And the ship is finally finished!
: Well that's excellent timing.
: I've one favor to ask of you.
: You mean, another favor.
: Monsters are after me. I'd feel safer being with strong people like you.
Of course you can refuse...
...but not for long!
: You're a bold man, Taloon. I'd be glad to have you by my side.
: I appreciate it! Let's leave right away.
: Starboard the helm!
Taloon automatically takes us to the wharf.
And we sail out, just like that!
: I hear an old sea expert who has a valuable map lives in the Town of Mintos down south.
: Agreed, I'm sure that'll help.
: The Princess of Santeem is there, too. It couldn't hurt to track her down as well.
: Man, I'm almost glad Keeleon kicked our butts! This is a heck of a trip!
Until now, Dragon Warrior IV has been rather strictly linear, but as it often happens with ships in this series, the world opens right up and we can go nearly anywhere we please! Of course it's a good idea to follow Taloon's suggestion, since finding our allies is a priority, but we also want to track down Necrosaro and maybe even get a lead on the legendary Zenithian gear we've heard about, so we're guaranteed to find something interesting to do wheverever we go.
Taloon hasn't ended his Chapter unscathed. Most obviously, he no longer has the Iron Safe. We can assume he sent it back home so Neta could start her Vault business! However, he's also lost the two special features of his chapter: there won't be any more random merchant encounters, and our item drop rate is the same as it usually is.
He did gain a few tricks in exchange, though! I mean that literally. Taloon is usually a basic melee combatant as we knew him, but he's taken a few pages from the DW3 Goof-off and on every round he now has a chance to do a special trick instead of a regular attack. However, unlike the Goof-off's irritating time-wasting nonsense, Taloon's tricks are actually useful and effective!
-He can trip, causing a weapon to fly out of his pack and hit an enemy for critical damage.
-He can summon an army of merchants, hitting three times in one turn before they leave.
-He can sing a lullaby, which is a Sleep spell that bypasses the StopSpell status.
-He can steal an item from an enemy, which guarantees that this enemy's item will drop after the fight.
-He can perform a strange dance, draining one enemy's MP.
-He can take a blow instead of an ally, which happens during an enemy's attack and does not take up his action.
-He can throw POCKET SAND!! in the enemies' eyes, simulating a Surround effect.
-He can attempt to calm the enemies down, convincing them to leave peacefully, which is an Expel effect not subject to Expel resistance.
-He can tell a bad joke, with a chance to make enemies lose their next turn as they laugh.
-He can sweep his leg and attempt to make one enemy trip, wasting their next turn.
-He can confuse one enemy by waving his finger in a circle. (Yyyyyyup.)
-He can stand in a daze and do nothing. (Well, okay, they're not all useful.)
-He can shout, which is equivalent to the enemies' hideous roar ability.
-He can build up his strength like Hector.
-When an enemy attempts to cast a spell, he can run up to them and cover their mouth with his hands, preventing the cast entirely; this also doesn't use up his action for the round, and it doesn't check StopSpell resistance.
So yeah, Taloon's not the best fighter and he has no magic, but he can definitely still have unique impact in combat and one could make a strong case for taking him along.
Speaking of which... Sorry Hector, but you'll never be in the active party again unless something goes horribly wrong! We can use all wagon features while aboard the ship, so we put Taloon in the main squad right away.
Well hey, he's four levels behind Nara but still almost as strong as she is. It'll be great to have him on the team!
I love the idea of some terrible monster channeling some terrible murderous magic then the fat middle-aged man cuts it off by clamping his hands over its maw.
Neuga, ziena, zieber, zom...
Now the chosen time has come...
Exchange this wormmmpphhhhh!!!
Now the chosen time has come...
Exchange this wormmmpphhhhh!!!
Alena's the best, that's indisputable... but Taloon's the one with his own spin-off series for a reason. :3
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