Part 6: Chapter V: In Which We Break 100 Damage Before Level 10Chapter V: In Which We Break 100 Damage Before Level 10
Challenge: Fish used in place of healing and attack magic
Welcome back! Last time, we fought a giant chicken and broke into a big fuck-off mansion with music that's objectively good, but annoys me before too long
Teepo is gonna be on point for this dungeon. Absolutely no regrets with this.
Inside the manor, there are a couple unique monsters. The guards are special in that they each have a Healing Herb they can use. Makes sense. Like I said, it's the little things that make this game so great. They also have a 1/128 chance of dropping Iron Helms, but we're already equipped with those anyway.
Yeah, the good equipment drops in this game are infamous for how rarely they drop. Item drops have either a 1/1, 1/2, 1/4, 1/16, 1/32, 1/64. 1/128, or a 1/256 chance of dropping. There's a Skill taught by a Master later on that ups that chance to the next fraction. The ultimate dropped equipment is almost all incredibly overpowered, and if you're gonna grind for it all, you will most likely end up overpowered enough to the point where you won't even need it.
This place has a very creepy vibe to it. A lot of doors are nailed shut too, turning the place into a maze.
There's a lot of treasure here, but fortunately none of it is life or death if you miss it, since this is a one time only dungeon. We can't come back once we finish here.
Volts are another new monster. They're special in that they'll ALWAYS use Charge. Charge is a skill that does more damage based on the users Defense stat, but it has low accuracy. Not really worth using, there's always a better option available. Also, if you hit them with an electric attack, they gain the ability to hit you with one Jolt spell and drop more experience. Also for some reason they're weak to Holy, one of the rarer elements in the game. Fortunately, the Silver Knives are Holy and it results in pretty pretty numbers.
Magic Shards permanently up a characters AP by 1. It's probably the best stat booster because eventually everyone is gonna have some pretty costly abilities Only half the party gains anything resembling decent AP on their own, and the Masters that boost AP gain thend to lower their physical stats.
Up those stairs we find a Taser. It casts the mid-level electric spell on all enemies. Handy, but we'll hold onto it for now.
Here we can sleep. In keeping with the spirit of the challenge, I avoid it. But it's great to use if you need to grind some.
Back in the foyer, this happens when we try to go up the stairs. I like how Ken is just kinda going along with it and Teepo is kicking and screaming.
: Are we supposed to be afraid of you? Ha! We killed the Nue! We're not afraid of you!
Torast: Ha! Fools! You think we McNeils are the same as some animal like that? You can ponder the error of your ways in the grave!
And now it's time to fight a ghost in a tutu. There's 4 fights like this, and they all have some bitchin' music that plays during the fights. All 4 have a gimmick.
Torast's gimmick is that he casts Sleep. A lot. As you can probably guess, it puts people to sleep. It works the same as most other RPGs but it wears off on it's own (if whoever is inflicted doesn't get woken up by a physical attack or a Remedy spell).
And now's as good a time as any to talk about Status Defense.
Status Defense is a hidden stat every character has between 0 and 7. There's no effective difference between 0, 1, and 2 and between 6 and 7. 2 (the default level for everyone) or lower means that any status affect that targets you and connects WILL cause the status. Teepo's status resistance seems to be higher than everyone else's, so he doesn't get hit by it sometimes, but Ken will always get hit by it.
A status defense of 3 means you have 25% resistance. 4 is 50%, 5 is 75%, 6 is 100%, and 7 is 200%. Since you can't absorb statuses as HP, 6 and 7 are effectively the same thing. 1 is -100% resistance, and 0 is -200% resistance.
Resistance can be upped by equipment, Masters (while you're apprenticed to them), and a mechanic we'll see later on. It is entirely possible, and easy, to make your entire party completely immune to statuses towards the end.
Elemental Resistance works the same way, 2 still being the default level. Some characters have a slight resistance or weakness to various elements. 7 means the character absorbs the element as HP. 1 means they take double damage from an element, 0 means they take triple (only can be achieved through a Skill with incredibly low accuracy, but watch out for it anyway), 3 means the character takes 75% damage, 4 is 50%, 5 is 25%, and 6 is 0%. There's a set-up later on you can use that can help Ken and a couple other characters absorb the 3 major elements of the game.
Oh right. Torast. Remember how I said those Silver Knives are Holy elemental?
He has 115 HP. It took you longer to read that spiel than it took me to finish the fight.
After defeating them, they turn into small flames and run away.
On top of the stairs, we find the other unique enemy for this dungeon, the Roach. I have no idea why McNeil lives in a house with roaches bigger than most people and electric monsters running around.
Roaches tend to appear in groups of 3 or 4 and can easily overwhelm the party. They're not weak to Holy, but the Silver Knives are still stronger than anything else we can get right now, so they don't survive long.
To the right, we come across here. Examining the shelves reveals that although McNeil taxes the shit out of everyone, he's flat broke.
Oh look, McNeil! Looks like we need to find some way out to the balcony.
Gems sell for 200 Zenny each. That's their only purpose. There's a lot of items like that in the game.
Also, that NPC talks about how he can never sleep because he hears voices at night. Maybe Torast should come by and help him out one night.
Stepping out on the balcony triggers a scene.
: There's somebody out here...
McNeil: Welcome, my little friends... I'm McNeil--the owner of this mansion.
: Really? Well, that makes things simple, then! You're the villain we've been looking for!
McNeil: Ho ho ho ho! Villain? Me? Why am I a villain? Because I collect taxes from my people? What's wrong with that?
Ken swipes his sword
: What's wrong, Ken? What! He's an impostor!?
McNeil: Ho ho ho ho! Imposter? Me? No...I am McNeil... Kassen McNeil, the spirit of the third McNeil!
Kassen: Did you think you'd be able to just take that which we have handed down through the generations?
And the next fight begins. Kassen's gimmick could actually be threatening, if it was coded better. He has incredibly high defense, and drains your HP and AP.
This is Leech Power. It drains AP. It can be used via an item later on (and one character learns it), but really, it's not too strong and it's not really worth it to absorb of AP over time. The character who learns it has sky high AP and her most expensive spell costs 12 AP, and the characters who could need it can fall back on physical attacks and still be pretty damn effective.
This is Drain. It Drains HP. In addition to a horrible accuracy, it will never EVER do more than 10 or so damage.
A round and a half later, and Kassen is gone. Seriously, Silver Knives, worth every aggravating moment of fishing.
Kassen: Ohhhhh!! Impossible! You defeated me!! But I'm not the last-- You haven't seen the last of the McNeils!
: Nobody told us this place was haunted! Hey, Ryu, how come you're such a crybaby but you're not afraid of ghosts?
Goddammit Teepo. Shut up.
Once we head back inside, another ghost appears.
Galtel: That's as far as you go!! You deserve praise for getting this far...But!
: All the ghosts here sure talk a lot, huh?
Galtel: You will go no further I, Galtel, the 12th McNeil, will see to that! Your thieving days are over!
: You know... I always thought ghosts were really creepy, you know?
And the fight begins. Galtel's gimmick is that he lowers stats. And...that's all he did before Teepo did him in. I didn't even have time to get a picture.
This time, the flame jumps over the party's head and down the stairs. Good thing it didn't hit Ken's hair. I can't imagine the amount of product it takes to hold that 'do.
Anyway, we head back down and come across another bedroom which has one of three worthwhile treasures here.
That's a lot for this point. Make sure you get it, because the next town has a lot of stuff we're gonna wanna get.
And we come across the last ghost. And it's here that I remember the challenge means this fight will actually take more than two rounds.
Doksen: Stop right there! Don't think you'll leave alive! I, the 8th...
: We know, we know! You're a McNeil, right? C'mon, let's get it over with!
Doksen's gimmick is hard to determine on a normal playthrough. He counters any and all elemental damage with the basic spell of that class. If you attack with the Silver Knives, he'll start healing you. And since I can't be healed outside of throwing fish at my party members, I switch Teepo to Rei's old Ballock Knife and let him go to town, while Ken throws some exploding Puffer. Doksen counters with Flare, which means I actually have to heal too. Just imagine Ken turning into a fish tornado.
This actually turns out easier than a normal playthrough. Typically, you'll be Simoon'ing your way through here, and since it's both fire and wind elemental, Doksen will be countering with Flare and Cyclone. Cyclone is a good deal stronger than Flare, so it can be a little tricky if you've gotten cocky.
Fish used: 5 Puffer, 2 Trout, 4 Piranha
After Doksen is defeated, he runs off and the ghosts regroup.
Galtel: You were beaten too, great-grandfather?
Doksen: Humph. They got me before I said my name
Torast: We have to do something...soon
Kassen: Our only hope is the living McNeil-the 13th
Kanzei: Mmm...but I don't think he's up to it
Examining that button takes us up a floor.
Which takes us here. We can rest and save here, but again I don't do it.
And the ladder takes us to the roof.
: We made it to the roof... I wonder if Rei got away OK? Look! Over there, on the other roof!
: There's smoke coming out of the chimney! That must be where McNeil is! How're we supposed to get over there? The doors are all locked... Let's look around-- there's got to be a way.
On the roof, we encounter more Volts and Bat's from the Nue's cave. Nothing of note. Eventually, we stumble onto this:
A grappling hook. All we need now is the King of Red Lions and we can go treasure hunting. Also, for those playing along, stepping on the green moss will cause you to fall to the bottom of the roof, so watch out.
: You know we can't get over there by ourselves...What's a grappling hook doing up here?
: Teepo! Ken!
: Looks like everything went according to plan. How was it inside? Any trouble? Well...I would have gone in to help you but I had to find something first...
: It was pretty scary-- there were a lot of ghosts and stuff... But it went pretty OK...for one of your plans, I guess.
: Thanks...I think... So now we need to get over there But before we do, I need you to help me find something.
: You mean this?
: Hey! That's my rope!
: That's what I figured... Kind of a funny thing to be left on a roof like that...
: Don't you worry... With this, we'll be over there in no time!
This is a perfect example of the care they put into this game. That first sprite where Rei slips isn't on screen for even a second and is never seen again. Neither is that running, jumping, or catching his balance sprite. They are used for exactly this one scene. And di I mention they're hand drawn? A lot of love went into this game.
: That was close... I'll just act like I did it on purpose... Yeah, that's it...
Great line. Rei's grown up a bit since we met him, but he's still a kid at heart worried about his rep.
Ladies and gentlemen, Ken and Teepo, world famous tightrope walkers. Able to sprint across any rope!
: That was real swift, Rei... And here I thought you were letting us do all the hard work... Fighting ghosts and everything by ourselves... While you were just taking it easy on the roof, and having a good time by yourself...
: Hey, when the going gets tough... I'm there, yeah?
: And then, jumping across the roof like that! Be careful you don't hurt yourself working too hard now, Rei!
: OK, OK, I'm sorry, Teepo... I didn't know you'd have to fight ghosts all by yourself. There-- I said I'm sorry, so will you cheer up a little?
Here's our stats going into the next boss fight. Rei is rapidly losing his powerhouse status, but he still goes on point. Ken will be on fish tornado duty again.
If you didn't get the Silver Knives, make sure you get this on the south end of this roof. It's a Broad Sword, and it's stronger than anything you can buy in the village.
Down that ladder, we come across this giant bath. I hate baths. I'm all about hot tubs though. God bless the hot tub.
Back on the roof, there's a Swallow Eye. It raises Agility by 1 point. Since Agility will rarely break 100 on anyone, these are actually pretty useful. So naturally, they're the rarest.
This looks like the place we're looking for.
Music: Plenty of Money
Do people use 'vixen' anymore?
Anyway, the party decides to intervene
McNeil: W..w..Who are you!
: Who cares who we are? We're here to take back all the money you've stolen!
Woman: Eeeeek! I don't have anything to do with this! Leave me out of it!
She runs off.
McNeil: T- take back!? W-w- what do you mean? I just... I just...
: Oh come on now, Mr. McNeil You've been cheating the people of the village out of their money so you can have your... fun, haven't you!
...Oh shit. They're back.
: That's them, Rei! These are the ghosts I killed...The ghosts of the old McNeils!
Ghosts: Hmph! You may have surprised us before... But that was then.. Now you must face us, not this excuse for a McNeil!
And then they fuse into a pretty damn cool looking giant ghost.
I feel like I should mention that Amalgam has 520 HP. Normally, you'd be hard pressed to hit 40 damage at this point. Those Silver Knives are fucking GREAT.
Amalgam can hit pretty hard, so we start by casting Protect, to up Rei's defense, since he'll be getting hit the most.
The Amalgam has access to Sleep, Frost, and Flare. Nothing we haven't seen so far.
Fuck Sleep though. Fuck it so hard.
Astral Warp is what you wanna watch out for. Once it gets to about half HP, it starts to use this ability. It warps out, in, and delivers a critical hit to one character. Definitely keep your HP up, even if you're using the Knives.
Yes, Rei just did 20% of Amalgam's HP in ONE ATTACK.
And with a critical from Teepo, the McNeils are down.
McNeil: Waaaaaaaaaaah W-w-w-what's going on!? I-I-I-I-I was ...just I never did... yikes
: Take it easy, old man... Those were your ancestors... We're just here to take your money, OK?
: You're pretty dumb, aren't you? Hurry up and show us where the money is!
McNeil: T-the m-money's over t-there... P-p-p-please don't k-k-kill me... Oh, p-p-p-please...
The party heads back to where the woman ran off to, and she comes back.
Woman: You wimp! What a jerk. Those robbers are a lot more manly than you are!
McNeil: ......Ha ha ha ha ha...waaaaaah! Just you wait... We'll see who has the last laugh... ...you little brats. I'll show you who's the real power here...
The real trouble wouldn't begin until the next day...
Getting some deja vu over here.
: That was a lot of fun, wasn't it, Rei? That McNeil looked so silly! There's no one who can beat us! We're the best!!
Famous last words.
: I don't know if I would go that far... But I'd say things went pretty well last night, eh?
: I can't wait to see the looks on their faces when they see what we've done!
: Yep...Even the people in the village'll start treating us with respect now...
: You bet they will! We haven't stolen anything lately... We got rid of that Nue...C'mon! Let's go down to the village! I want to hear everyone tell us how grateful they are!
Remember how I said Teepo was that annoying little brother? Can you really argue with that?
That bird is called a Ripper. You can learn Blind from them. Also, if you leave the Eye Goo alone for 10 turns, it'll use an easily learned Skill called Rest, which restores a tiny bit of HP and a little more AP. The AP is the important thing. I make Ken learn it.
According to this guy, people aren't too thrilled about what happened. They seem to know something we don't about the whole situation. Let's find Loki and talk to him about it.
But on the way there, Rei learns Jolt, the basic electric attack spell that targets all enemies.
Loki's on the farm, acting suspicious.
Loki: H-hello, Rei. N-nice weather, eh?
: Hey, Loki! We did just like you said--we gave McNeil's money to everyone...
Loki: SHHHHHH! Don't say that so loudly! People'll hear you... If McNeil finds out he'll kill me...
: What are you so afraid of, anyway? You said McNeil was the bad guy...
Loki: SHHHHHHH! All right, all right... Just don't talk about that here! We can talk about it in the hut. You go on ahead, OK?
Nope. Not fishy at all.
: ...Rei... Something's wrong...
: We'll get that Loki fellow to explain what's going on...
The whole party is uneasy and is surprised by the next person to enter.
: B-B -Bunyan!?
Bunyan: I was hired to take care of the cows... So whatever I say is going to be to the cows...
: What's going on!? We're waiting for Loki...
Bunyan: Hey, cow... Did you hear that that fellow Loki thought he could have an easy life if he got ahold of McNeil's money, but he didn't know that McNeil was working for a big gang of crooks that doesn't like being stolen from... Sounds pretty dangerous, doesn't it, cow?
: What does he mean, Rei?
: It means... We shouldn't be hanging around here too long... I think we should be getting back home--quick!
The party runs comes home so hard that Teepo and Rei trip, fall, and all their equipment falls off.
But, when they get home..
The music really captures this scene. Give it a listen
Sunder: Hmmm...I was wondering what our thieves might look like... They's just a bunch o' kids, ain't they, bro?
Balio: No worries, eh Sunder? Time for school... A lesson in the school of life, eh?
: You mean... you...
Balio: That's right... You're a little too big for your britches, my boy... Now it's time for your spanking, so get on over here!
Ken draws his sword.
Sunder: Hey, check it out, bro... They're gonna try and fight!
Balio: Kids... They just don't wanna do what they're told, do they...?
I'm gonna say this now, for anyone whose played the game and whose probably had an argument about it. THERE IS NO WAY TO WIN THIS BATTLE NO MATTER WHAT. YOU WILL LOSE. IF YOU HAVE THE PRIMA GUIDE THIS IS THE BIGGEST (of many, MANY) MISTAKES IT MADE. YOU CANNOT WIN.
This is Lightning, the mid elemental electric spell. It'll wreck your shit. Balio (left) uses it and Sunder (right) uses a physical attack. They kick the party's ass in two rounds.
Ken wakes up in a familiar location.
Music: Missing (track title, it's there
Bunyan: ... ...All I found... was you...Alone and wounded in the woods... I always told you you'd get in trouble one day... But I never thought something like this would happen...! I'm afraid that Teepo and Rei are... Where do you think you're going? Looking for them? Wyndia!? Did you say you were going to Wyndia? ... ...I see... You watch yourself, hear me? Just follow the road east...
But let's take care of some unfinished business before we go. Mygas.
And with Typhoon, a wind elemental spell that targets all enemies, we've learned everything he has to teach us.
Bunyan is now available as a Master. Here are his stat changes:
Do I leave Ken under Mygas, or switch him over to Bunyan?
What's my new gameplay change?