Part 1Update 1
Our story begins in the tiny village of Galia, where our hero Rooks has spent the past decade living in obscurity.
"What? Who's there? And uh.. thanks? Wait, is that Ariel?"
"Yeah, when you put it like that it's kind of amazing that either of us could recognize the other."
"What happened? Have you been avoiding me? Didn't our fathers fight together as Knights of Lexford?"
"Yeah, kind of been living as a poor war orphan since then. I didn't have much room to go around looking up old acquaintances."
"I have a different opinion from my father."
"On second thought, let's not talk about how your dad's best buddy was responsible for my parents dying. Who's this girl with you?"
"Wait, you get to have apprentices? This is bullshit!"
"It's not helping you move, is it? I haven't ever done that, but I've heard stories."
"It's not just a coincidence that we met today. Are you aware that dark spirits have arisen in Lexford?"
"There is chaos at the temple in Balnia. It would seem that they are being summoned there."
"Then we've got to close that passageway. Wait, I said we, but "
"I'll see what I can do."
"I wish I could join you, but my destiny leads me elsewhere."
"Isn't that convenient."
"Please take Teefa with you."
"Okay, my previous complaint is withdrawn."
"You're not selling yourself here. If I walk out that gate and look north I can see the damn place. I just hope you're useful. Can you heal? Use magic? Fight?"
"Fine. Whatever, at least maybe something'll be too busy chewing on your leg to attack me."
"I'll leave it up to you, Rooks uh Card Master "
"You owe me for this one, just so you know. I'll let you know how much after I finish."
And with that, we're able to actually start playing. Rooks is accompanied by the summoned spirit Sylph, who acts as an auxiliary party member. Contrary to what I had to say about her, Teefa actually starts out with slightly higher stats than Rooks. This won't be the case for long. She also needs a bit more EXP to get her first level.
"Okay, first stop is the tavern. After that I need a drink."
"Or not. 5GP? That's highway robbery!"
"Er it seems pretty cheap to me?"
"We don't have any highways here, sir."
"I stand by my statement."
"You look fit. Are you in battle training?"
" leaving now."
"Okay, we don't NEED a drink, but we need armor and weapons. So "
"Argh! Why is everything so expensive!"
"Wait, how broke are you? What kind of bum did Ariel stick me with?"
"Fine, a short sword and some soft leather for me and a whip for the girl."
"I don't even get armor?"
"What can I say? Money's tight."
" I hate you."
"Why are we standing out front of a fortune teller's tent?"
"More supplies. Trust me, Card Master business."
"If I had armor I'd trust you more."
"Hey, don't blame me. Blame Ariel. You're his apprentice but he didn't bother to get you any armor."
"I can use these to perform elemental magic attacks without the trouble of actually learning spells."
"Because actually learning something would be too complicated?"
"Okay princess, remember who's tagging along with who."
"I am NOT a princess!"
"Could have fooled me."
"Next up, the humble village inn."
"Are you kidding me? I can practically see the roaches crawling out of the walls."
"Don't worry about it. It's 30 GP for a room, and we don't have that now. But when we need it, you'll be grateful all the same."
"In your dreams."
"Let's just go to that temple so you can start distracting some monsters for me."
Movement in Arcana is utterly linear. From a town you can go to one and only one destination. This time, it's the Temple of Balnia.
"Nice decor. Can see that they really splurged on building materials."
"Do the priests here come in your house and make fun of where you live?"
"Aww, that's so sweet that you assume I have a house. War orphan, remember?"
One of the neatest features of Arcana is that you actually have an auto-map. It's not that detailed, but it'll at least tell you where you've been. You also can't scroll it, but for the time I'll take what I can get.
"A stray dog and some kind of animate sludge? Are we talking about evil spirits or just poor housekeeping?"
"You're acting like the two things are unrelated. Obviously one caused the other I'm just not sure which."
"Well, I'm practically lost. Would it kill them to put up some signs?"
"Considering the reason we're here yes."
" are dogs supposed to be that shade of green?"
"I'd ask the nice thug with them, but he's come down with a case of dead. Also, probably not."
Twenty minutes or so into the game, we've got our first palette swap. This bodes well.
Shortly after we get our first level. Levels are fixed in the game, so there's no variation in stat gains. It's just a matter of stacking more HP and stats on top of what we already have.
"Dibs? It's a sleeping bag! It should go to whoever needs it most! And well it looks like you could fit two people in there "
"As long as you're not Ariel's girlfriend or little sister actually, wait, he dumped this job on me and didn't bother to buy you equipment. I don't care if you are his girlfriend or his little sister."
"Not if you were the last man on earth and I was freezing to death."
"We'll see about that!"
"Rooks! Rooks! I can heal now! I'm useful!"
"How many times?"
"Um once? Maybe twice?"
"Better than nothing. Okay, if I see something chewing on your leg now I'll actually pry it off."
"I'm overwhelmed by your regard."
As a note, Sylph and other elemental cards don't gain levels as such. Instead, their stats grow as Rooks gains levels.
Coming around a corner we find our first boss type enemy, a mini boss guarding the area that houses the stairs out of this area.
"Good news! I don't think that this guy has any teeth."
"That's not making me feel any better."
"Hey Teefa, I think I figured out that healing magic you used and I can do it better than you."
" can we just finish this, so I never have to see you again?"
"Oh, look! Stairs! The source of the problem has to be upstairs!"
"Shhh! There's still looting to be done down here. Nobody's paying me for this, so I have to pay myself."
"Don't you mean WE have to pay OURselves?"
"You're not the only one who had that idea."
"Don't worry, by the time we're done I will be."
"Much better. That's about 100 drinks, right there."
"Or some armor for me."
"We could do that too, I guess. What if I bought you some of those drinks instead?"
" I'll take the armor, thanks."
It's entirely possible to get ambushed while wandering around in dungeons. The yikes is particularly amusing. This means that they get a free round of attacks on us, but nothing more than that.
"Goblins wait, do they count as evil spirits?"
"Nah, just opportunists showing up for free goodies."
"Like these herbs and this flask. This is my kind of temple."
"Wait, I think that's incense and holy wine."
"And buzzkills like you are the reason I'm drinking and smoking them."
For the curious, Herbs restore HP and a Silver Flask restores MP.
"Okay, one trip back to town and then we'll actually seal that portal."
"After we stay the night at the inn."
" please no."
Naturally, this is accompanied by an equipment upgrade. You can actually trade in your old goods as part of the payment for new equipment, which is a bit of a time saver.
And no, Teefa doesn't get that new armor.
And with that, our stats before tackling the second floor. Next time, the end of Chapter 1!