Part 3: The Scout's PledgeMusic: Island
Last time, Euchre made it around the entirety of Infant Isle, leaving only the mountain unexplored. This time, he won't be exploring the mountain immediately.
The reason for this is because I want to scout another Slime for monster synthesis fodder.
It's going to be called Slash after the starter Slime in Dragon Warrior Monsters.
Since Euchre can't fit more than three monsters in his active team, Slash is going into his substitutes. You can have up to three substitute monsters, and can switch them around with your active party. You can only do this outside of battles, though - there's no getting out your fresh monsters in the middle of a boss fight!
In any case, if Euchre heads up the mountain via the slope near the tent he'll find a cave.
Music: Seeking Treasure
This cave is the only way up the mountain, and has slightly more difficult encounters than outside. The first thing Euchre does is turn left...
Music: Monster Battle
...right into a fight with two Drackies. Drackies don't have any special skills to their names, but they do have the trait Artful Dodger which improves their chance to dodge attacks slightly. It's nothing special, but it can be a little annoying if one dodges one of your stronger attacks.
After beating this encounter, Rocket does something that will be very helpful in the future.
He reaches level 5. This is important because...
...that's the first level monsters get skill points at. Skill points are how you unlock abilities for your monsters to use in battle. I've mentioned that monsters have skills like Slimer, Naturalist and Guerrilla, among others, but these are actually sets of abilities. At set levels, monsters get set amounts of skill points. These can be invested into their skills, with abilities unlocked at set point values. The maximum number of points that can be put into a given skill is 100, although some require less.
Music: Seeking Treasure
As you can see, Rocket requires 2 skill points to learn Frizz, the tier 1 fire spell. It's not very good, but it's nice to have some form of magic for now. All 5 points from this level are spent of Slimer, since it's a good idea to prioritise abilities over stat increases early on.
On the way back to heal Euchre runs into this big guy. This is a Gigantes, and it can only spawn around the burnt-out campfire near the beach. It's on Infant Isle, so it must be easy, right?
Music: Monster Battle
Wrong. Gigantes will mess you up and there's really nothing you can do to it at this point - remember, your monsters probably have less than 30 HP at maximum right now. Gigantes is actually a Rank A monster, while everything available so far is Rank F. There's quite a difference in power here.
And don't even think about trying to scout it. The team can't get the chance above 0% with their current power.
With that diversion over with, back to the cave!
Shadows also appear here. They actually have something interesting, though - Crack, the tier 1 ice spell, is in their moveset. It does slightly better damage than Frizz, although that's not saying much.
Speaking of Frizz, this is what casting spells looks like in this game. Regardless of what spell it is, the monster is surrounded by these circles of runes.
After that, the individual spell's animation goes off. In this case it's just a small fire hitting the target.
After defeating the Shadow in this fight, Euchre attempts to scout the Dracky and succeeds! The team's really coming together now.
Music: Seeking Treasure
The Dracky is named Count. I'm sure Euchre will be able to count on it for some time, since he's replacing Rocket with it. Slimes get outclassed really fast, sadly.
Ducktor Cid manages to hit level 5 after some more battling, putting all his skill points into Naturalist and learning Heart Breaker in the process. Heart Breaker attacks a single enemy with a chance to make it miss its next turn. It's not particularly useful if you're fighting teams of enemies, but in boss fights with only one opponent it really shines. Of course, the turn-skipping effect doesn't come up all the time, so sometimes you just waste 2 MP to do a normal attack.
Music: Monster Battle
I manage to catch a Shadow using Crack while trying to scout it. An ice crystal forms on the ground beneath a monster and shatters, doing damage.
With the power of all three starter monsters on Euchre's side, he easily scouts the Shadow, though.
Of course, anything involving Shadow will have lots of Edge. It's going straight to Euchre's substitutes.
The final monster that can be found in this cave is Lips. They have the standard monster actions, but they also have the ability Tongue Lashing. This is an incredibly annoying ability, since whoever is targeted loses their next turn and has their defence dropped to 1. Mercifully it doesn't deal damage and there's a chance for the move to fail.
Something else that should be noted is that the Lips started the fight with the Confused ailment. This causes the monster afflicted to attack random targets, even in their own team, and sometimes skip their turn entirely. In other games in the series it can even randomly replace itself with Paralysis, which makes the monster afflicted unable to do anything, but I've never seen it happen here. Confusion can wear off either naturally or when the monster is hit, but the latter doesn't always remove it. It's worth noting that not all monsters can enter battle with status ailments, though. Only specific monsters do that, and even then they're restricted to one and most of the time they start the fight without the ailment.
Since the Lips was confused, it basically did nothing for the whole fight and allowed Euchre to set up and scout it easily.
Music: Seeking Treasure
It's named Smooch and put in storage immediately.
During the following grinding session, Count gets to level 5 and learns Zam from the Dark Knight skill. Zam is the tier 1 darkness spell, and it does surprisingly good damage at this point. It's a shame that Count only has the MP to cast it once before running out.
Moley also gets his 5th level. He also gets Heart Breaker.
Heading straight on at the first fork in the cave gets Euchre to this treasure chest, which contains a Cypress Staff. Remember that task he got to obtain a monster who could equip this? This is probably how you're supposed to find the answer to that.
Incidentally, literally every monster in the game can equip the Cypress Staff. That was the worst question ever.
Music: Monster Battle
Going along the other path at the fork leads to the exit, but before leaving, here's what Tongue Lashing looks like.
The exit of the cave leads to the temple at the top of Infant Isle's mountain. As it turns out, the cave was actually underneath a well, which Euchre just climbed out of.
Euchre runs around the temple to get to the Scout's Stone, but...
...somebody's in his way!
Music: Boss Battle
You are a fool. I bow to no one. Cease this futility.
I'LL decide when to cease this fut- Grrrr! This is SO not futile! I'll show you! Try THIS on for size!
The screen zooms in as if a battle was starting, but...
...it's interrupted by Euchre.
This monster's mine, kiddo! Bug off and go play with your friends, okay!?
The monster suddenly jumps at the scout!
Can it be that the scouts' accursed contest is about to begin?
The monster jumps past Euchre and off the cliff, disappearing from sight.
Hey, come back here, you mangy poodle!
You made it run away, you spiky-headed numbskull!
Wow, people are incredibly rude to Euchre even outside of Domus Isle! The problem is spreading!
I'd never seen one of those before. And I was JUST about to scout it too!
I'm surrounded by idiots... Hey, I've got an idea!
Hey, all of Euchre's monsters are far too valuable to do that! Except maybe Smooch. That thing's just weird.
...So, you're the stupid, silent type, eh? But I was just joking, you know! Er, can you PLEASE stop looking at me like that. Didn't your mother tell you that it was rude to frown at people?
Maybe that's why everyone's rude to Euchre - he just rubs them up the wrong way by constantly staring in disapproval.
So...I guess we're going to be rivals.
No, you're going to follow Euchre around while never actually fighting him. That's not a very good rivalry.
...Oh, didn't I introduce myself yet?
Euchre tels Solitaire his name.
Wait. She's heard of Euchre? Could that mean that she's heard of CELL? Abort mission!
Now where would I have heard that name before...?
Or she could have conveniently forgotten where she's heard the name. That works too.
Ah, whatever. I'm sure it's not important.
And with that, Solitaire leaves. There's only one thing left to do here: make the Scout's Pledge.
Of course! It would be silly to leave without doing that, right?
Euchre pledges to do his best in the Monster Scout Challenge.
And that's it for the Scout's Pledge. Simple enough. But what's this on the stone?
When Euchre examines the stone, he can just make out some writing carved upon it.
'To honour he that did protect these islands seven, upon the Mount we set this Stone.
The writing is almost all worn away. It's hard to make much sense of it.
An ancient stone tablet with worn lettering? That's sure to never come up again.
Some of you scouts still haven't taken the pledge.
But what is this mysterious voice?
It's just one of the Monster Scout Organisation officials. That was a let-down.
You're planning on entering the Monster Scout Challenge, aren't you? Well, we've just heard that preparations for the opening ceremony are complete.
The ceremony will begin soon. You should hurry to Domus Isle. I'm going to stay here and look for more stragglers.
What great timing! There's nothing else for Euchre to do here on Infant Isle for the time being, so he might as well go back to Domus Isle. He could go back through the cave, or...
...he could take the handy shortcut that leads down the mountain. It leads to the top of the ladder near the burnt-out campfire. This is only one-way, though, so any time Euchre wants to come back up he'll have to go through the cave again.
Before Euchre goes back, though, why not stop off at the scoutpost? They might have some new information.
It's due to take place on Domus Isle, in the main square in front of HQ.
That's nothing new, though. Maybe someone else will have something interesting to say.
Speaking of which, did you hear what the prize is going to be this year? Something called the Scout's Mark. Very old and valuable, apparently.
That's definitely more useful than anything else that's been said! Now Euchre knows what he's entering the tournament for, at the very least.
That's really all there is to do on Infant Isle, though. Now would be an opportune time to check out monster storage, though, so let's do that before heading off.
This is a counter that's at the back of every scoutpost, and it allows you to take monsters in and out of storage.
Here's the menu you're greeted with when you go to monster storage. Switch Monsters allows you to swap your active team with stored monsters, whereas Substitute allows you to swap your substitutes with stored monsters. View allows you to look at all your monsters, in storage or otherwise. Release allows you to delete a monster you own from your list.
Help gives some useful information. Of note is the fact that experience points filter through from your active party to all your other monsters. Substitutes gain less than your active party but more than your stored monsters, so if you're trying to level something up put it in your substitutes or active party. That's pretty much everything that hasn't been gone over already.
Now that that's done with, it's time for Euchre to head back to Domus Isle in order to attend the Monster Scout Challenge opening ceremony.
We'll be doing that next time, so see you then!
Extra: The Monster Library
Welcome back to the Monster Library! Today, we've got three new monsters to showcase.
First off, we have the Shadow. These guys get the skills Reaper and Defence Boost when scouted, and just Reaper when fused. They have the trait Zammeister, which increases the power of Zam (darkness) spells and lowers their MP cost. They have some elemental and status resistances to go with that, being vulnerable to Zap (light) spells, absorbing Zam spells, and being immune to Whack (instant death) spells.
Their skill, Reaper, is pretty good. It starts off with Helm Splitter, which has a chance to lower the target's defence while doing damage. It also costs 0 MP. Suffice to say that having Helm Splitter this early is incredibly good and you should probably invest in or pass on the skill just for that. As well as this, Reaper gives tier 1 and 2 Zam spells, tier 1 and 2 Whack spells, and tier 1 and 2 ice breath, as well as a couple of status effect moves. Really, Helm Splitter at 3 Skill Points is the main event here, but the rest isn't bad either, especially the Whack spells.
Drackies are one of the three starters, and are by far the fastest. I've already gone over their skills, trait and resistances in the first update, so I'll skip straight to Dark Knight.
Dark Knight focuses clearly on Zam abilities and not much else. It gives the tier 1 and 2 Zam spells, the two Zam-elemental physical attacks, a couple of support abilities (Tap Dance, which drains MP, and War Cry, which attempts to deprive the enemy party of their next turn), Weakening Wallop (which does damage and lowers attack) and Zam Guard (which lowers damage from Zam-elemental attacks). Tap Dance is pretty awful, and War Cry doesn't really fit with the rest of the set, but the rest of the abilities are pretty solid.
Lips get the skills Hypnotist and Wisdom Boost when scouted, and just Hypnotist when fused. They don't have any trait, and they are immune to Drain Magic.
Hypnotist gives access to Snooze (sleep), Dazzle and Fuddle (confuse) skills and not much else. It does give Tongue Lashing, which we've already seen, and it also gives Confusion Guard and Sleep Guard. These lower the chance of being inflicted with the corresponding ailment, as their names suggest. It's a good skill if you want to lock down an enemy, but the effects won't always hit and some of the nastier enemies may be immune to the effects anyway. Tongue Lashing is always good, though - lowering defence to 1 is incredible.