Part 20: "Anyone can be strong if they pick up a weapon, but you can't become mentally strong just by obtaining a thing."Chapter 19: "Anyone can be strong if they pick up a weapon, but you can't become mentally strong just by obtaining a thing."
(Cave Chronicle 2)
(As previously mentioned, for the full experience, play the above song for about an hour after you finish reading the update. It's too repetitive to be used for such a long area.)
It's time for one of the more unpleasant parts of Cave Chronicle. Do you remember The Disease?
Both enemy types here are Glandelians. According to a Google Translate pass of Swedish Wikipedia (and that's one sentence I never thought I'd write), "glandels" are small, rounded glands on plants, which secrete or contain oils, resins, etc. They're found in all tissues and are especially common in the leaves and the epidermis. So I guess we're fighting denizens of a plant's outshoots?
Considering that Camil is here at all because Ares gave her mother one of Harold's flowers, that's actually kind of poetic.
Anyway, let's call them Spears and Anchors. Spears are the flying demons, Anchors are the gray humanoids. Spears wander and Anchors have an erratic aggressive movement pattern, interspersing movement towards you with random wandering.
Spears are the Flies of the area. They spam Cure. Multiple Spears can heal far, far more than you can do in one turn.
Like Flies, they seek you out aggressively once you enter an engagement. Like Flies, they give pathetic experience. Like Flies, they need to die as soon as possible, preferrably hunted down before you do anything else.
Unlike Flies, a Spear can still fuck you up pretty good even without allies. Combined with the healing, coming here too early or coming here with a bad set-up can result in them grinding you down while you struggle futilely to break through their healing.
Their drop is the Blue Weapon, which gives +20 HP, +24 SP, and +3 Agility. Nothing special.
Anchors, meanwhile, are pretty unimpressive. They're there, I guess.
I hunt down all the Spears.
Axes are yellow humanoids. They're slow but aggressive on the map.
Axes are dicks. Not incredibly threatening dicks--they can go down in about two rounds of dedicated Light Axe usage--but you have no Resurrection Magic and only so many Energy Restores, and Cutthroat is unfortunately accurate. (Despite the fact they're slow. I suspect they have high Agility and Slow Attack.) And remember, you have no shortcut here. Getting here means coming down from the hole at The Nest.
The save point may cost money, but it's worth it.
Their drop is the White Weapon, which gives +30 Attack, +15 HP and +20 Defense.
Anyway, Anchors are the healing weenie of the area. With Sporadic Guard, they only do about 40 damage a hit, and they go down in three rounds even without SP usage. Healing Magic turns that into winning math, and I fight one or two for regen after any real fight here.
Of course, stuff like this still happens sometimes. Unfortunately.
I switch Randolf to the Splendid Leviathan at this point. The Dirty Clothes just aren't very defensive.
That's the way onward, but despite having an ax for that tree, you need to take the long way around.
I head back. I've got 15 Glass Fragments at this point.
After the fall, that's 8 Stamina Restores, 25 Energy Restores. Not awful, but I wish I had more.
The Three-Legged Frog is very simple: +65 Defense, +18 SP or +26 Defense, +18 SP and +2 Critical. The loss of a little Agility from the Black Dress is unfortunate, but when levelled, the Three-Legged Frog will be give +27 SP--one and a half casts of Healing Magic.
Then I head to do some fundraising.
Conflicts (head to the third area of The Imagination, then backtrack one screen) are easy to kill, cluster up naturally and give good experience, and while their item may only sell for 600, I don't need a massive amount of money--first, 12000, to pick up Aeritz's final weapon, and then 10000 more, for Dragon Slayer. Which means 19 more Conflict drops.
I haven't bought the Chimney yet, of course, but ehh; the recipe honestly isn't that good, nor is the item behind the 12 recipes door. I'll survive.
I get a bit careless on the way to the weapon. Oops. That's four Catharsis, all stacked on top of each other.
In my defense, Camil went basically an entire fight without criticals, and I forgot to put the Aegis back on. Still, a death is a death.
Okay, so equipping the Aegis and then getting right back into another battle with four of them, one where they were a lot less densely packed, was probably not the best idea. But fuck you, game! I don't take that sort of thing lying down.
(The item drop is proof the game has a sense of humor about it.)
The Baby's Breath is really, really damn good. It's the only way to get Recover SP when Defending on a weapon and it gives +90 Attack and 48 Range (both very high for a weapon--more attack than the Holy Sword that Cuts the Dark AND the Praying Mantis Ax, and more range than both). Its All-Purpose stats, +45 Attack and +2 Defense and Recover SP when Defending, are less impressive, because the game is slapping you aside the head for being dumb. There are a lot of good All-Purpose items and very few better weapons. Why would you equip it as All-Purpose?
Here's a fun fact: for some reason, Extra Attack+ seems to activate on Recover SP when Defending and with the same mechanics. It recovers 10% SP every time, but if you have Extra Attack +2 or two Extra Attack + 1, then you have a Agility% of 20% SP and a (Agility/2)% of 30% SP.
Aeritz equips the Baby's Breath, and he won't ever take it off again. Between his increased attack when he does hit (maxed, it'll put his raw attack score above Camil's) and the 10% or 20% SP he'll be regaining whenever he doesn't need to heal, my team's endurance now goes much, much further. And just think--with the Final Battle as Planned active, Aeritz gains +80 SP, enough to regain 14 or 28 every time he defends. With Slap on the back's status applied, that's 28 or 56 SP. That is beautiful--if you're having a hard time against the Demon King, picking up the Baby's Breath and a good Extra Attack+1 item really isn't a bad idea.
By the way, continuing the flower theme: localized, this weapon is the Baby's Breath flowering herb, while the original Japanese seems to be Spiraea, a genus of shrubs in the Rosaceae.
Thanks to Catharsis drops, I only need 11 more Conflicts to get Dragon Slayer. I'll get 17, though--3500, enough to save and have 2000 left over.
It's notable that once Aeritz levels up a while, he starts levelling more-or-less like Camil: most levels result in +4 HP/+1 SP/+3 Attack, or something pretty close to it. Presumably that's the result of creating a sort of time-frozen ghost of someone you don't know all that well.
Aeritz masters the Parts, bringing him over 70 Agility again, the Footfalls of Hope, bringing him past 50 Skill, and also gets enough SP from a level to bring him up to 60, so +6 SP every time he defends. One third a Healing Magic, 60% of a Star Fall Magic. Not bad.
I get lucky with the Conflict drops the last time, so I exit with 19 instead. I sell an extra Stained Wing to hit 15500.
This was thanks to Camil with Yell up, naturally.
Back in we go.
The extra levels have been good to Camil, particularly the +Attack. (I used the only Critical Up I've found while I was grinding, if you actually noticed the 41 Critical instead of 40.)
Randolf's the same as ever, though Dragon Slayer makes him better at it. I'll be swapping his armor soon.
Aeritz has definitely gained the most since the last time I came down here.
Compared to Light Ax, Dragon Slayer has the same tiny attack radius, costs 2 more HP, requires an HP threshold (75%), has over 50% more base power, 10% more power added from attack, and ignores 20% more defense (for a total of 50%). The HP threshold is easy to trigger in any actually-dangerous area and the cost difference is tiny, so it's essentially a straight upgrade... Especially since Randolf now hits the final SP regen cap, 15, if he has time to heal up after battle.
(The 360 hit here shown is actually on the low end--Randolf later did 460 to the same type of enemy. Spells have a lot of random variance, it seems.)
Randolf can perform perfectly well without it, though, so I generally leave it for next-to-last. I'll probably pick up Heaven's Blessing after I've finished most of Cave Chronicle; between the randomness of a 30% dodge chance, Destiny's Defeat and Camil's transition into Asskicker in Chief, it's not the easiest move to make use of.
Some items seem to round when levelling, some don't; if it rounded down, this would be +24 SP, not +25. I'm not going to complain about extra SP on Aeritz, especially since it means he's likely to hit 70 SP fairly soon.
I basically sleepwalk through the first area. Ancient Nightmares are easy to avoid, That Memories are weak. I even one-round one once, thanks to a couple of lucky crits. I head into the next area, equip the Lucky Rabbit against the first red Knight I find...
...and it pays off. The Helm gives +4 Attack, +10 Skill, +8 HP, +30 Defense, +3 Critical, +1 Agility, -5 to magic damage taken, and +2% flat evasion. Levelled up, that's roughly +7 attack, +16 Skill, +11 Hp, +48 Defense, +6 Critical, +4 Agility, -8 to magic damage taken, and +5% flat chance of evasion.
The Helm ties solidly for the second-best Sporadic Guard item in the game, and if you don't need Recover SP when Defending, then it's arguably better outright than the Delusion Cocoon, the other contender for number two... But Randolf is set up defensively enough (two other Armors in his All-Purpose) that he doesn't really need the extra survivability, so I opt to keep the Cocoon. Aeritz, however, definitely wants the Helm, not least because he doesn't have any other Evasion on.
This is probably Aeritz's final set up. There's an item that's better than the Footfalls in raw stats, but the interaction of Extra Attack+ and Recover SP when Defending means that he's better of with the Footfalls of Hope.
I am very definitely saving the moment I get to that moneydesk.
At this point, I can basically curbstomp regular grey Knights, especially with Aeritz's SP regen, so I heal up after.
The Cordelia is, naturally, a type of flower. A rose, specifically, of roughly the same pink shade as very nearly every flower whose name comes up during this game... Including the flower she's named after. (Except the Baby's Breath but counting the Spiraea.) More signs of Camil's almighty power as the narrator? Perhaps!
As an Armor, it gives +85 Defense and +15 HP. As an All-Purpose, it gives +5 Attack, +5 Skill, +15 HP and +50 Defense. It's nothing astounding, merely incredibly solid armor, and Randolf will wear it for the rest of the game.
One more sword to find and then Randolf will have his final set of equips.
I accidentally wander into a red knight on the way down, so I kill a bunch of greys to heal up.
Camil-like levels aside, the best thing about Aeritz's later levels is that he gets Agility surprisingly often. Critical boosts are nice too, if largely not important; Camil's still got more than him.
No healing items used, and I'm in pretty good shape. Onwards and upwards.
This alley is pretty important--on the first screen, it lets you run after the first Spear, which attracts all of the others. This area's a lot less painful with them all dead.
I fight an Axe that doesn't use Cutthroat first turn and that then goes down on the second turn to lucky criticals. I have no idea how that happened, but I'm not complaining.
I basically reenter and exit until the Spear to the right cooperates. Like The Disease, I'm working off a strict extermination policy here.
This is so, so much easier now that Aeritz can fight. He's one Baby's Breath level away from passing Camil in Attack and his Agility and Critical are decently high, too.
In this area, the Axes move at about 2/3 your speed and the reds are 1/3 your speed; both are aggressive. The reds are special, though: if you're not in their sight range, then they have predetermined spots that they return to. Most of these spots involve them walking into walls.
Cutthroat failed. Huh. This run's pretty lucky so far.
Three treasure chests here.
This one's in the upper right area.
This one involves either a very convincing illusion or Camil jumping fifteen feet. Sadly, you can't exit to the left for easier access to the other chest.
Evaded that red knight by the skin of my teeth.
Same song, new verse. This area has even more Spears than the previous ones, but they're easy enough to hunt down.
I engage a red--best to know what they can do now.
Dammit, red, you are messing with my naming scheme! You're Javelin.
Reds aren't that scary; they do about 30 to Randolf with Sporadic Guard, and he's tanky but he's not THAT tanky. They do, however, have one nasty trick:
They know Shout. Thankfully, they go down in three rounds, so I kill this one before it can use it. 92 Agility makes Camil really, really damn fast relative to just about everything, even if they get 150% speed.
I have ten of these by now. Don't know who'll get them, though. Probably Randolf? Maybe half and half between him and Camil; Aeritz's HP threshold skill isn't too vital.
I kill three more Axes without getting hit by an instant kill. Admittedly, Camil dodged one of those (Zara Sword + Aegis), but I'm starting to wonder if their freakishly high accuracy before was just bad luck. Hmm.
Compared to outside, the Anchors here are sedate. They're not aggressive, they move at half your speed, and they don't ever enter the tunnels between rooms. That makes them easy to dodge--I go through this entire house without ever fighting one. Who knows, maybe the floor is lava and you die if you do.
Other one is a Stamina Up. Seriously, this area needs more item variation.
A warning to anyone who plays this after: by changing areas, you make the Spears respawn. Getting in any fight before you change areas here is a very, very bad idea.
So naturally I don't get into any. By this point, you should be an old hand at dodging encounters.
This is a really weird-looking church, not least because the side buildings are more ornate but there aren't any doors on them. I guess that's common enough for side buildings in this game, but...
The music stops once you enter.
I go ahead and save.
Man, this is ominous, isn't it? It's the complete silence that does it.
Trying to open the chest does nothing. Waiting, however, makes this door appear and creates these black specks. They don't move... yet.
Then they do and all hell breaks loose.
Thankfully, even you're fighting a million at once...
...they're really not that scary.
Well, except that the one with the staff in the upper-left can do this. And the mage on the right can use God's Rage to do about 50 magic to everyone, and they can all heal themselves for 1000, and...
Okay, Versus Team Girl Power, round two. This time, I'll try to engage fewer of them.
It goes fairly well. Camil uses Shout fairly early on in both fights (round one, the second time) and I focus down Hettie, the healer, before any of them can do anything too scary.
The Dagger should be fantastic, and yet...
The Dagger gives +70 Attack, 64 Range, and Extra Attack +2. As an All-Purpose, it instead gives +35 Attack and Extra Attack +2. Extra Attack +2 is really good! But if I'm replacing the Praying Mantis Ax as a Weapon, I lose 19 Agility, and it'll only be 1 Attack stronger once it's leveled. If I'm replacing the Zara Sword as an All-Purpose, I lose 7 Critical, 16 Agility and 8% flat dodge rate. Sporadic Guard is essential, and the Holy Sword that Cuts the Dark is necessary for a physical character to do their real damage.
What can I replace to use the Dagger on my primary physical user? Unfortunately, the answer is "nothing". That said, I hand it off to Randolf. The Speckcinder isn't very good, and while the attack loss will hurt his spells, Extra Attack +2 works well with the Delusion Cocoon and it should improve his physicals too.
This isn't a bad place to be after that fight.
I don't actually save or leave off here; I'm saving that 2000 gold for the trip out. Still, I'm 93 screenshots in. I'll cut this update here.
Next time, glorious new (old) music! In that update, I'll finish Cave Chronicle proper.
(Since I can't actually get out instantly, I'll leave the updated files for then, too... But there was one more reset, putting the counter at 31.)