: Oh, right, this must be about Burland's princess!
: I forbid it. You're the princess of this country. I won't allow you to venture into the outside world where monsters lurk!
: You can't keep me trapped in here forever, dad.
: Never go outside this castle! Is that clear? That's all!
: Wait, this isn't Burland. And this isn't Ragnar.
: I wonder what clued you in.
That's right, Chapter 2 introduces us to a new character in a new castle, at level 1. Meet Princess Alena!
Her class line says "Princess", but don't be fooled: Alena is the spitting image of DW3's Fighter archetype. She has great Strength and Agility growth, decent Vitality growth, and no magic ability. The "equipping weapons decreases your attack power" gimmick is gone now, but her gear selection is extremely limited to compensate for her high stats. She also inherits the Fighters' level-based critical hit chance growth.
: Well, it's good to see another kick-ass princess!
The Silk Robe she's wearing offers 10 defense power, which is better than Basic Clothes and Wayfarer's Clothes, but weaker than Leather Armor by two points; it can only be equipped by women.
: Oh, I understand perfectly. It's just that he's wrong.
: Pfft. Why isn't everyone?
: Your late mother was so refined. As your tutor I feel responsible for how you've turned out.
: You could have picked a more direct way to tell me how proud you are.
: But I worked really hard on that hole!
: Don't ever kick the wall again, please.
: I do what I want!
: Is that the wall she kicked through?
: Alvaro, are you able to kick through walls?
: Well, it... depends on the wall, I suppose. Impressive, nonetheless!
: Waiting is all I'm allowed to do, apparently.
Raiding her own drawers, Alena retrieves a +8 Feather Hat, which is actually 2 points better than the Wooden Hat Ragnar bought in Izmit; it can only be worn by women. She puts it on right away of course.
And the door to the royal bedroom is locked.
: I'd like to see her in person. Heh, heh...
: What a lucky day it'll be for her.
: If you keep making excuses for him, he's never going to change.
We'd probably have to go around the outside of the castle to speak to that old man, but that's a locked door, so we won't bother.
: Ugh, I'm not in the mood.
: And I regret telling him every moment.
: That's so reckless! I...
: I mean the King will be devastated.
: It's all the more reason for me to get so strong that no one can lay a finger on me. Come on, Cristo, logic!
: Oh dear. He's got it something bad, hasn't he?
: There's the look of a young man convinced he's dreaming beyond his station.
: I hope nothing terrible will happen to our Castle.
: Dun dun DUNNNNNNN!
: So, what? They're going to take me to a castle and keep me there and I won't be able to get out? Ooooh, that's a terrible fate!
: Why does everyone else have to be so obedient around here?
: I'll find a way!
: Never! Why are you so reckless?
: ...okay. Okay dad, you win. I'm staying.
: I'll just be reading about flowers every moment I'm not working on that crochet project. You know how I love crochet.
: Ah, good.
I'm not sure what exactly triggers the completion of the repairs, but it's guaranteed to happen once you've spoken to everyone.
: Wooden boards? It's almost insulting.
: Alright then, time for this little birdie to fly away! Hup!
: Don't tell anyone, okay?
: Huh. That was almost too easy.
Man, that's a fun tune. I've never really felt Ragnar's theme much, but Alena's song definitely fits her.
: Gah, what is it with these people leaving home on their own, though?
: It's not like she has much of a choice.
: Aw, come on!
: ...oh. Oh! Well. Alright then. But you better remember who's in charge!
: Ah, that's better.
Cristo's a "Chancellor", but in this case, it really means "Pilgrim". He hangs out at the House of Healing, which in the Japanese version is of course a church, so he's probably meant to be assistant to the royal chaplain or something like that. He's got some combat skill, a semi-decent gear selection, and access to a variety of healing and support magic; even at level 1, he starts with Heal. He also comes with Wayfarer's Clothes and a Club.
On the other hand, Brey's a Wizard both on and inside the tin: weak combat stats, strict equipment limits, and a good spread of offensive and utility spells. Unlike a DW3 Wizard however, he starts with IceBolt instead of Blaze, and it only costs 2 MP this time. In fact, if I remember correctly, Brey never learns direct damage spells of any element except for ice. He only starts with a Cypress Stick and Basic Clothes, which are effectively worst-in-class.
Even unarmed, Alena is already stronger than Cristo!
Interestingly, while Chapter 1 mirrored DW1 with its lone hero, Chapter 2 mirrors DW2 by furnishing you with a strong melee warrior, a caster with some combat skill, and a pure mage... only with the specialists' genders reversed.
If we return to the castle...
...the guards let us in...
...but not back out.
: You don't have to explain. I know you'll go out again even if I try to stop you.
: Hmm! I'm glad you finally get the picture.
: Remember one thing, though. Never venture into lands where I can't look out for you.
: I'm not making any promises!
Once we've spoken with the king again, we're finally allowed to go outside... where we immediately run into monsters.
Elerats have 11 HP, 11 attack, 6 defense, and 9 agility, with no special abilities, making them a bit tougher than Diverats were but unable to call for reinforcements. Prank Gophers have 10 HP, 10 attack, 6 defense and 5 agility, and lack the ability to build up power.
Alena and Cristo can take out the Elerat together in a couple rounds, and Brey's IceBolt will usually one-shot a Prank Gopher. Not a tough fight!
Before we can reach the nearby town though...
Kaskos Hoppers have 8 HP, with 8 attack, 5 defense, 8 agility, and no special abilities. Even level 1 Ragnar could have dealt with these easily, but here the game is clearly not too shy to throw us in battles with large enemy groups, so the early going for Alena and company is slightly more difficult than it was for the Soldier even though she has companions from the start.
Alena starts with 100 gold to her name. Everyone can wear Leather Armor and Leather Hats, and both Cristo and Brey can wield Leather Shields, but we need to be able to start one-shotting critters without spending MP, so we'll have a look at the weapon store before we think about defense.
: Yeah, what of it?
: I recommend you build your strength about this town first.
: Wise words!
: If I feel like it!
That's definitely the game suggesting you might want to grind some.
Ragnar got a lot of free money and cool equipment, but Alena's gonna need to earn her keep.
: Huh, news travel fast around here.
: That's extremely bad!
: Who could possibly have talked to strangers about this? I'll have them flogged!
: I guess it doesn't help that I just came into town wearing this fancy dress.
: Oh. Oh dear.
: That's as good an excuse as any to find some good traveling clothes.
: I'll lend you mine!
: And what are you going to wear then? My dress?
: Uh... My apologies, I've spoken out of turn.
: Anyway, pass. We'll just have to make some money.
The Thorn Whip can be used by Alena and Cristo, so we might want one sooner or later. What I think is the wisest way to go for now though is to upgrade Cristo to a Copper Sword with all of our starting money, and hand his Club down to Alena, since she can use the latter but not the former.
We can see a new interface element here, as choosing who will take a piece of gear you've decided to buy will show an "E" mark next to characters who are able to equip it.
Even with her inferior weapon, Alena still hits harder than Cristo. She's a Fighter alright.
Dang but the Houses of Healing have only gotten more elaborate since DW2!
: Oooh, a mountain village, how quaint!
: We haven't been much in contact with the mountain folk in some years. The road must be very dangerous.
: We're still going, though.
: Not before you replace that dress, we're not.
: Brey, I'm not taking fashion advice from you.
: How about advice on making sure I don't have to watch my lord's daughter trip on her skirt and break her neck?
: That doesn't sound like me. You'll be fine.
: Yes, I'm sure that's what the problem is here.
: Blue Sky, Wandering Clouds, La, La, La, La...
: Spare me, I get enough of that crap at court.
That's another type of locked door. Looks like that's all Surene has to offer in the daytime.
Which means we'll pick a bunch of fights until sundown! How convenient.
Oh hey, Red Slimes again. 10 HP, 9 attack, 5 defense, 3 agility. They're just not dangerous.
Alena levels up here, for 2 Str, 1 Agi, 1 Vit, 2 Luc, and 2 HP. It's not huge, but in the early game, the numbers are so low that you don't need a big increase to make a difference. Cristo follows suit, for 2 Str, 1 Vit, 1 Int, 1 Luc, 1 HP, and 5 MP. Aaaaand Brey gets to level 2 as well, for 2 Agi, 1 Int, 2 Luc, and 4 MP.
Troglodytes come with 13 HP, 13 attack, 8 defense, 5 agility, and the ability to call for reinforcements. They're not too tough, but this is a battle that can easily snowball in their favor, so IceBolt is a good idea.
: Everyone's worrying about you, princess.
: All the more reason for me to prove they shouldn't.
Heh, the hungry soldier we met is straight up sneaking to the kitchen, and he just stays there.
: I'm known to be tight-lipped. Heh, heh, heh!
: Well there's our answer to that question.
: Oh, and whose reckless acts are you talking about again?
: Oops, Princess!? Excuse me...
On our way back to Surene, Alena levels up, for 2 Str, 3 Agi, 2 Vit, 2 Luc, and 5 HP. Cristo follows for 2 Str, 2 Vit, 2 Int, 2 Luc, 4 HP, and 2 MP. And Brey again for 2 Agi, 1 Vit, 2 Int, 2 Luc, 1 HP, 3 MP, and the Sap spell.
Now this is interesting; Sap still costs 3 MP and attempts to reduce one target's defense power to zero, but in DW3 it was on the Pilgrim spell list, and Wizards got Upper instead as their equivalent (doubling one ally's defense). At least for now, this means Brey is a lot more on the offensive side of the scale than we know even typical Wizards to be.
: I can't believe I stayed up late for this.
We spend the night at the inn, and we have enough money left over to buy Brey a Leather Shield; he's the least likely to get hit, but he only has one more HP than he had at the start, and Troglodytes could conceivably kill him in three hits, so he needs it pretty bad.
We haven't actually learned much of anything here, but this sets the tone for the beginning of this chapter: we're not going after some great evil, we don't have any kind of mission to accomplish. We're just traveling to prove our strength. Sure, there are monsters around, but as far as we know, there's no looming crisis, or at least nothing specific.
For the first time in the entire series, we are just plain not out to save anyone. Nobody needs our help. There are no threats. Our only drive is that we're a cool fightin' princess looking for asses to kick.
Hopefully that mountain village we heard about will hold the excitement we crave.
Fights are already heating up here. Alena and Cristo work together on the first pair while Brey one-shots the other two with an IceBolt each; our defenses are still low enough that we can't afford to just chip away at them over several rounds. It puts in sharp relief how much of a fridge full of bricks Ragnar was by comparison.
Case in point, the game only starts throwing Giant Worms at us a fair bit away from Surene. Alena levels up here, for 2 Str, 2 Agi, 3 Vit, 1 Int, 2 Luc, and 7 HP.
Rabidhounds come with 23 HP, 19 attack, 18 defense, 7 agility, but no special abilities. They hit hard and take a while to bring down though, so here it's wise to ignore the Hoppers and just focus the one hound down before it bites Brey clean in half.
Cristo levels up, for 1 Str, 1 Vit, 2 Int, 1 Luc, 1 HP, 5 MP, and the Upper spell.
: Absolutely n-
: Of course we did!
Heh, so much for not having anyone to help.