Part 4: Update IV: An Alchemist and her Favorite Food
I should have covered this last update, but this is the couch. Astrid is sometimes sleeping (even though she has her own room) or reading on it, but that doesn't concern us. By using it, Rorona can sleep up to 10 days at a time, but it's main use is to recover HP without using items. Usually a couple days sleep will allow you to synth for the next couple weeks or so. The game won't tell you how much HP you'll recover, but you do regain health while traveling to a location, or if you use a healing item. Two days should be sufficient for when you just want to do alchemy, however.
A few days after receiving the first assignment, whether outside town or not, you'll see this scene after sleeping or making something in the atelier. Video goes until the screenshot of Rorona complaining about baking being the only thing she does well.
Mmm, something smells good.
Ah, Rorona and pies. Rorona loves pies. No matter how much time may pass, no matter what might happen to her, anyone else, or the world itself, Rorolina Frixell will love pie. I think we can all relate.
Sure, let me try... Ooh, it's hot.
Please be careful! It's actually better to wait until it cools down...
Mm-mmm...no, this is good enough. You're really good at making pies.
Hehe, oh, it's nothing.
...I think...that's saying too much...
Thanks for the pie, but I don't like the fact that you have a talent.
I have an idea. You are hereby banned from baking pies from now on!
I just love the fact that the only thing that can make Astrid not lazy is tormenting Rorona somehow. Even though she'll soon explain why she doesn't want Rorona to bake pies, the fact that she only gets motivated when there's a chance to do that is great. Rorona getting so distraught during this scene is the cherry on top.
Huh? What!? Why!?
You're supposed to be training to be an alchemist. Using a kitchen to cook anything is wrong!
Th-that's ridiculous! So what about cooking our meals?
That's different. We need to eat to survive. However, no more baking pies!
But what about Meat Pie!? Meat Pie is a meal!
Hmmm...Meat Pie...I'll miss eating it, but no!
Astrid torments Rorona a few more times over the course of the game, but this is one of the very few times Astrid not only cares about what Rorona is doing, but also gives her an order. But then again, pie is a very serious matter. Now you know why there's an entire ending dedicated to pie, and it also happens to be the hardest one to get.
This is to help you become a first-class alchemist. I hope you understand that.
...No way. It's so obvious she's having fun with this... *sigh*
Continuing with the pie theme, the following scene takes place a few days after the last one.
The ingredients are...the same as if I was going to bake it! Yay, now I can make a pie! Alright, I'm gonna try it out later.
I love Rorona's dedication toward pies so much. She seems so amazed you can apparently make pies with alchemy. After this scene, you can make a Plain Pie. Although there's a few more pie-related scenes we'll be tackling this update, they'll come a bit later.
I'm not sure exactly when this next scene takes place, but it's sometime in February. Happens when you go to the Square. Video goes until Rorona says "Huh? Cory? She is mad...
Why don't you treat us?
You're from a rich family, right? Come on, don't be so stingy.
Get away from me or I'll tell my father... I mean...
Did you hear that!? There she goes again about her father.
I've mentioned it before, but I do like how the kids, in particular Cordelia, are written. Someone who has obviously been spoiled growing up, like Cordelia, I could definitely see her falling back on relying on her dad when it comes to telling people off.
I'm so jealous. I wish my dad was that rich!
Man, let's just go.
...Nothing. *sigh* This sucks. I shouldn't have brought up my father...
Cory, are you mad about something? Did something happen?
I said, it's nothing! ...I'm going home now!
*Cordelia stomps off*
I love the animation for Cordelia stomping away. It's appropriately childish.
Huh? Cory? She is mad...
Next scene happens the first time you go to the Sunrise Cafe after going to Nearby Forest at least once. Video goes until you can see Iksel's status screen.
So, I've heard you've been hanging out outside of town recently.
Hanging out...? I'm just going there to gather ingredients to synthesize.
But isn't it supposed to be super dangerous? I heard there are monsters out there, too.
Personally, I wouldn't call hostile blobs of jelly particuarly dangerous under any circumstances, but this is a game. The wolves are more dangerous, I guess, but we are the ones picking fights with them...
Yeah, but Cory helps me out.
Does she really make that much of a difference?
And you guys can really manage it, huh?
Are you sure?
Unlike other character events that require a combination of both friendship level and certain events, Iksel's character events all revolve around taking him to each major area in the game. When you enter the area, you'll get a short scene between Rorona and Iksel about Iksel finding a new ingredient. Once you see all of those scenes, you'll get an event at the Sunrise Cafe and Iksel's ending flag. Pretty easy stuff, since you don't have to level him up or even keep him around a lot if you like other characters more.
That said, Iksel's pretty useful in battle anyway, so it's really a matter of preference. There's really no character or combination of characters that makes the game particularly easy or hard. I'd advise sticking with one or two characters, though, as characters outside of battle don't gain experience, but luckily there's a really good grinding spot available in early year 3. This is very good for the Adventurer Ending, as Rorona and Cordelia both need to be level 50 (max level, just like with alchemy) by the end of the game to get that one.
Sure...okay. I'll let you know.
Great. I'm gonna start getting some new equipment ready!
Since I haven't shown it before, here's the character status screen. Shows you weapon, armor, and the accessory equipped. Only really notable thing is the Budget, which is how much it'll cost to take that character outside of town to help in battles. Cordelia's free, since she loves hanging around with Rorona anyway, but Iksel and everyone else costs money. Regardless of the fact I have almost a million Cole right now, unless you're that short on cash for some unfathomable reason, you'll always be able to take at least Iksel out.
Following scene takes place in the Square when your adventurer or alchemy level is 5.
Aww, that brings back memories...
Rorona? What are you doing here?
Hey, Cory. I was just looking at the Ortoga Ruins.
We used to go play there all the time when we were little. Until monsters started appearing there.
Yeah, remember that one time when it got so dark that we couldn't find our way home?
I-I was fine, but I had to stay with you 'cause you wouldn't stop crying.
Oh, I thought you started crying first...
N-no way! It was definitely you who was crying!
Hmm...oh well. Do you wanna try going there again sometime?
Uhh...we're not children anymore, you know? There are other places we can hang out at... But if you really want to, I guess I don't mind...
Cordelia's so cute when she's trying to act like she doesn't love hanging around with Rorona.
I didn't notice anything back then, but I think I might be able to find some interesting ingredients over there.
I wonder if I still have the rocks I used to collect from there? They might contain rare minerals and metals...
Case in point.
Why are you so mad all of the sudden? Cory!
Music: Let's Go
Now we can go vist the Ortoga Ruins if we so chose. Since we don't have much else on the agenda, it's a good idea. The enemies there are a bit more powerful than Nearby Forest enemies, so I wouldn't particularly advise going too far into them.
But while we have Iksel, we might as well tackle the first couple locations to get the items from there. The items we'll get with both be pretty valuable for early synthesizing.
I'll mention it now, but for every Assignment, all three shopkeeps will sell at least one new recipe book. Recommended that the first thing you do each Assignment is to buy them, if you have the money to spare. This one is particularly valuable right now because Healing Salves are good for early game alchemy level grinding. Level 9 or 10 by the end of the first Assignment is a good start.
In addition, they only take one day to make, so you're not losing much time even if you fail. If you do fail early on, though, you'll get this scene.
...Huh? It's acting weird...
flash to white
Now it's time to head out on a couple little adventures. Scene happens if you have Iksel and Cordelia in the party. It's the first of a number of scenes that only happen if you bring a certain combination of characters out. Video goes until Rorona says "Oh, hey, wait!".
I've never known a frying pan that could inflict a particularly large amount of pain, so I'm not sure about Iksel's thought process here. Sure, they'd hurt a little, but I'm not sure about killing anything with them. Then again, I could say the same thing about Cordelia just bashing things with her fists, but at least she has a couple of ornamental guns in her dress she has yet to use in a fight.
So...why did we bring him along?
He said he wanted to look for some food items...
You should've brought someone more useful.
Aww...but don't you feel safer with a boy in our party?
You consider him a boy?
What do you mean? He is a boy, right?
I'm liking Cordelia more and more. She can run circles around Rorona without her even knowing.
Huh? I don't get it.
Hey girls! Don't fall too far behind!
Slow down! You're just gonna get tired!
Oh, hey, wait!
Upon going to the Ortoga Ruins with Iksel for the first time, you get this scene. Video goes until Rorona says "...I think".
Triberries? Oh, whoa. There are three different colors.
They're really rare. You can find similar fruit in other places, but not ones with all three colors. Try it.
Okay... Mmm, it's so sweet.
Each color tastes different. Red is sour, purple is slightly bitter...
That's interesting... Why don't they grow in other places?
Well, this place is near the ruins.
What do the ruins have to do with the berries?
No one knows exactly. Not even the people who live close by. I heard some people say that some funky stuff is leaking from around there. And that's why the fruits grow in different colors.
The Arland universe, where pollution from ancient machines no one knows anything about results in tasty berries.
Gh! *cough* *cough* In that case, should I still eat them?
You're gonna be fine. I've never heard of anyone dying from eating them. We may as well gather them all while we're here.
...I'm starting to feel sick. ...I think.
Triberries are pretty good for the entire game, actually. They're good for creating Healing Salves right now, but the Ruins are 1 day from Arland, and there's a lot of gathering points in the first area of the Ruins. Take Iksel's advice and gather as much as you can while you're in the area.
Music: Shu Shu Waltz
For now, though, we're going to take a trip back to Nearby Forest. Video goes until Rorona says "So you're gonna give it to me..."
Alright. Let's go find something tasty!
We're here to gather synthesis ingredients...not food. Is there even anything to eat around here?
Hmm, I thought... Hey, look at the bottom of that tree! By the root!
I don't see anything... Whoa! What!? The ground...!
I knew it. Look at this. This is it.
...Mushroom? Did I just trip over it?
Clumsiness just seems to follow Rorona around. Girl needs to get a better center of balance.
You should've told me that in the first place...
That wouldn't have been as funny. Here, take it with you.
We really need to keep a running counter on characters who have trolled Rorona. Can't exactly blame them, though. Rorona just seems like that kind of person who never takes teasing very badly and is just so easy to play.
Are you sure? Don't you want it?
I don't really like mushrooms. They don't taste good.
So you're gonna give it to me...
We've got a few things to show off while we're in the area. First off, I got enough experience to get Rorona and Cordelia their second skill. Rorona's second skill is unremarkable, but Cordelia's is the first one you should start leveling up.
The game notes that this attack has pretty low accuracy, and it's true, but it's only one HP to use. She'll do about twice as much damage, with added damage against enemies weak to fire, which a few enemies in Nearby Forest are weak to.
This is an interesting item, since Mandragoras are pretty commonly found in fiction. Apparently since Mandragora roots sometimes look like human figures, they've long been a part of magical rituals. Mandragoras are evil little plants that will kill anyone who digs them up with a horrible screech (which is an attack Mandragoras in this game can do), and as far as Alchemy is concerned, alchemists wanted to try growing these things by injecting sperm from a death erection (which is enough of a thing Wikipedia has an entry on it) into the ground. Moving on.
Apologies if it's hard to see, but Cordelia is using that 0 Derringer ability shown off a couple screenshots ago. She's a pretty good gunslinger for someone her age.
An area later...
See this rock thing? It took me five or six playthroughts to realize this was actually something you could interact with. We can't get past this right now without some explosives, but remember where it is, since we'll be back here.
A little bit further down the path from that previous area. Again, we'll need something to get across it, but it's not something to worry about for now.
Returning to town because we have nothing more to do here.
I couldn't really tell you when this scene is supposed to happen. Sometimes it's a couple weeks after the first Ryan and Laura scene, other times it happens a bit later.
Are you working hard?
We just got back from our trip. We wanted to see you right away.
You guys should've just taken me with you in the first place...
Yeah, of course I want them.
Well, good. Here.
Yay, thank you! ...What are they?
They're alchemy ingredients, aren't they? I heard they're hard to find. I thought you'd be happy.
I am happy, but...
We hope they will be really useful for your work.
Something interesting to note is that I did a little experimenting, and if you don't see the previous scene with Ryan and Laura, this scene will never trigger. I don't know if the game pushes it back or if it's gone forever.
These aren't anything like what people normally get for their daughters...
This scene happens at the start of the final month of the first Assignment.
You don't sound too confident.
I'm sorry... I'm just a little worried.
Personally, I don't want this workshop to close down. I'm counting on you. And I'm sure Astrid is, too.
Sterk... Thank you. I'll do my best!
Great. Well, I'm gonna let you get back to work then.
...I feel a little better now. Alright, let's do this!
If you're out of town when this event normally happens, you'll get an alternate version of the scene with the pigeon. It's basically this scene + the first part of the scene with the pigeon that was covered in the previous update. If you miss this, too, then pigeons will never be mentioned.
This is a pretty cute little detail, where when you first forge certain items, in this case, a barrel, they'll show up in the atelier. At the end of the game when I've made every item, I'll take a screenshot of the atelier with all the optional items decorating the workshop.
Well, I've been working on it off-screen, but why not pay a visit to the castle to start turning in items? It's been a while since we were last there. This is another scene that'll eventually happen if you make frequent trips to the castle. Video goes until Rorona says "Cute...?".
Music: Talk to Me When You Need Help
Oh, I'm okay...I'm starting to wonder if this is really gonna help people trust me.
Hmm, yeah, it's hard to see the results of something if it doesn't have a physical form. Don't worry, though. Just keep at it, and you'll start seeing the results.
You're not gonna last long with that kind of attitude, Rorona.
Strangely enough, this is one of the few times Sterk addresses the main character in each of these three games by their name. I only really bring it up because there's a minor scene in Totori where Totori actually calls him out on this.
Sterk! Ugh...I'm sorry...
I know you're not doing it on purpose, Sterk, but that kind of comment only pushes people away from you.
This is your introduction to Friend Quests. Basically you can find your fellow party members, as well as Tiffani, Hagel, and a couple of shopkeepers we haven't met yet, and take requests from them. From the shopkeepers, bringing up their Friendship Level allows you to see extra scenes with them, as well as another benefit I'll address in a future update. For the player characters, it means you'll see more scenes with them, as well as bringing the cost of hiring them down.
Huh? Umm... Why me?
I'm a resident of this town, too, so I have the right to request items from you, right? Of course, you have the right to turn me down, as well. I'm not going to force you.
Similar to Trust Level, accepting a job and later abandoning it means the Friendship Level goes down, or letting it run past the deadline. An interesting quirk to this is that it doesn't seem Sterk's level goes down if you abandon a job from him. Sterk's request here has no deadline, but you won't be able to take more requests from him until you fulfill it.
No, okay, I'll do it! Please, give me a chance!
Okay, then I'm counting on you.
Is he...actually a nice person?
Mmhm. Most people can't see past his attitude, but once you get used to him, he's actually pretty cute.
This is the job's menu you get from Esty. "I know this one!" means Rorona either has encountered the item before, has it in her Container, or knows how to make the item. "Great!" means you can turn it in right now, as you have the items in your Basket. "Contemplate" means you get a message from Rorona telling you either you can make the item within the deadline, if you have the required items already in your Container, or if Rorona doesn't know about the item. If you're really diligent, you can actually get to 80% Trust Level in the first Assignment alone, but that's really tedious.
For now, we'll drop by Sterk and hand in the items I've made over the past few weeks in-game.
Those tiny brown starts don't mean anything really important. What you really have to focus on is the 10 stars at the bottom of the screen, as I mentioned in an earlier update.
And just for fun, I'll show the dialogue box for fulfilling each character's request.
Speaking of Hagel, he's selling this.
The Phlogiston is another outdated scientific concept, much like Alchemy. Basically, in 1667, a man by the name of Johann Joachim Becher advanced the Phlogiston theory, which stated that an element called Phlogiston existed within combustible bodies, and Phlogiston was given off in the burning and rusting of metals. It was eventually replaced by the theory of oxidation.
So, back to making pies. Forging a pie for the first time gets you this scene. Pie quality has to be under 80. The quality of synthesized items can go up to 120.
I wonder if it still tastes the same? I better try some... Hmmm.
...It's not bad, but baking it is so much better. Hmm, maybe I can be creative with the ingredients...
Making a Plain Pie better than 80 quality gets you this next scene. This isn't too hard at all. Iksel sells 70 quality Flour and Tiffani sells 80 quality Water and 60 quality Candied Branches. Get your level around 5 and you shouldn't break a sweat.
I hope it turned out better this time... I better try some... Hmmm.
I wonder if I can make other pies, too? I should try making all the pies I've baked before!
This is how you get the Pie Ending. You complete a set by making every pie in it at 80 quality or greater, and then you get the next set. Once you've completed the final set (which won't happen until the third year), you'll get a scene with Astrid and Rorona that signals you've tripped the ending flag for the Pie Ending.
But for now, pretend I'm in an alternate universe where I didn't clear the Assignment by the deadline. You'll get this interesting scene by doing so.
*scene opens with Rorona running back and forth across the atelier*
Music: Bad Feeling
Ugh...oh no! I'm not done with the assignment, and the deadline's today... Wahhh! What am I gonna do!? Master is gonna be so angry with me if the workshop gets closed down!
I won't be mad, but I will find some way of punishing you.
Agh! Wh-when did you...? I'm sorry! I'm so sorry! Please forgive me!
Okay, okay, stop yelling. You're giving me a headache. I knew you would fail once or twice.
Rorona seems to have forgotten Astrid never really cared in the first place. Even the letter she left was more addressed to Rorona than the workshop itself.
As I said, I knew this was gonna happen. I already prepared for this to happen.
So...did you...do the assignment for me?
Why would I do that?
Th-then...! Ahhh, it's all over!
Stop yelling. Here, take this with you.
A letter...? But it's all worn out and dirty.
It's from over a decade ago. Just hand it to Sterk, and everything will be fine.
Okay... What's the letter about?
Hmmm... Can I really trust her? I guess I don't have a choice.
I really do like Rorona and Astrid's chemistry in general. Even though Rorona is loyal to a fault, she knows how much of a troublemaker and schemer Astrid is, but wants to learn from her regardless.
*fade to the castle*
So, umm...is there anything you'd like to say?
You should know the answer to that.
It's very unfortunate, but I have to follow orders. Your workshop will be...
Umm, about that! Master told me to give this to you...
Yes. I don't know what it's about. She just told me you would know exactly what it is...
It's from Astrid, huh? I don't feel too good about this... Hmmm, this letter looks familiar...
(I'm trusting you, Master...)
I can't believe she kept this for so long... Is she trying to blackmail me!? Dammit!
Umm...so what was written on the letter?
Why would I tell you that!? I would only humiliate myself!
Aghh! I'm sorry!
I mean, I shouldn't yell at you for this. You see...when I was younger...Look, it doesn't matter! Anyway, let's discuss your next assignment.
The next assignment...? So...?
Yeah, Sterk's not bluffing. Still, I always like seeing these neat little scenes where it's not just a few lines were changed, but there's a totally alternate scene for doing something you likely wouldn't think to do
...Even if I have to reveal my embarrassing past to the public.
You get the next Assignment message after that line, but I'll save it for the actual Assignment ending dialogue.
I wonder what was in that letter, anyway...?
We'll never know. This whole scene is never referenced again in the series, so whatever Astrid had on him, the world will never know.
For every future Assignment, I'll use this screenshot to denote the end of the Assignment. I won't be including screenshots, but I will show all three variations on the ending. Sterk and Rorona's dialogue depends on how many stars you get. For our purposes, we'll be aiming to get eight every Assignment, so that we can get either less than or greater than 94 stars for the endings we'll need.
A little strange to put this here, but I just wanted to show it for completion. All of the completed assignment notices look like this. Big stars can be considered your rank, but the smaller stars are the ones important for the endings.
*sigh* I hope I did alright...I don't wanna fail the first one...Ughhh...
Sorry to keep you waiting.
Oh, no, don't worry! I wasn't waiting! Nope, not at all!
...Loosen up a bit. Although, I know where you're coming from. Just try to relax a little.
Okay, you're right... Deep breath time! *big inhale* Ahh...
...Do you feel better now?
Yes, thank you.
Okay, now for your evaluation.
Ahh! Wait! Could you please hold on for a second?
I don't mind, but waiting now isn't going to change the evaluation.
Ugh...you're right. I'm sorry.
Well, now...let me announce your evaluation for this assignment.
You did the least you could do...
If you keep this up, the next three years are going to be hell for you. You should consider working harder next time.
It wasn't bad. I think you did well, considering that it was your first assignment and all.
Do you really think so? I'm glad to hear it. I was so worried...
Looks like you'll do just fine from now on. Keep up the good work.
Yeah, it's nothing short of impressive. I guess Astrid did the right thing by letting you take care of this.
...Is this really happening? I mean, I don't think I'm all that good...
You shouldn't put yourself down like that.
This is a fair evaluation. You earned it. You should be more proud and confident.
...Anyway, I should give you the next assignment while we're here.
We need them for mining. It would be great to get as many as possible. Just be careful when you're handling the explosives.
Okay, I'll be fine.
Good. Well, I'm counting on you.
*sigh* I didn't think I would do that well... Be proud and confident! I'm gonna do my best on the next one, too!
Next update, we'll have a massive new area to explore and a new assignment.
Rorona and Pie
Shu Shu Waltz
Machines are referred to as "Lost Technology" in recent fantasy games. This is in reference to the destruction of the civilization because of their development, and the people reconstructing it afterwards, and shipping it out as a product... Huh?
Talk to Me When You Need Help
I didn't have any illustrations or models to refer to when I made this song. The only theme that the Director had in mind was "Front Desk Lady". I tribute this song to all the front desk ladies of the world.
People think all my music sounds clean, but I tried to make this one sound more rough and tough. What do you think!?
Just like the other Atelier series, each party member is unique and different. Writing the scenario is a lot of work, but I've got to also create songs simultaneously.
Just to explain, the Hair Root Cape [this is referring to the translation of a song name we haven't heard yet. It's not called that on the in-game OST, however] doesn't exist in real life. Not even in the game...but wouldn't you wanna visit it?
I was asked to make a song that reminds people of a quick cooking show. I would never be able to cook fast even if I wanted to...but I"m really quick at picking up a piece of food that I dropped on the ground. Five second rule!
One morning, I was visited by someone on the Planning Staff for this title to tell me about the Cabbage Festival. I thought he was talking about one in real life at first... Anyway, I had to make this one quickly, since the deadline was almost up.