Part 3: Cecil Employs Both Children and the ElderlyChapter 3 - Cecil Employs Both Children and the Elderly
We lost our partner, our way back is blocked, and we have an unconscious little girl whose mother we just inadvertently murdered. It hasn't been a good day for Cecil.
The only way forward is through a massive desert teeming with enemies.
Imps are still lurking around, begging to be slaughtered due to realizing how miserable their existance is.
There's also Sand Men, who still go down in one hit to Cecil's blade.
And then there's the Sandpede.
Suffice to say, you might want to stay healed while wandering the desert. I hear these guys are scary in the DS version, though it's been so long since I played that I don't remember.
Luckily, there's a small town situated at this oasis.
Video: My Knight in Gloomy Armor
The girl awakens, though she isn't too thrilled to wake up to Cecil.
I haven't heard your name yet.
I know I have done an awful thing. I can't ask for your forgiveness.
Some time later...
A door opens in the background.
This isn't good.
I finally found you, Cecil!
His Majesty decided that the Callers of Mist are too dangerous to be left alive!
Hand her over!
Today's boss is some Baron grunts.
They're obviously of lower rank than Cecil, since the Dark Knight can slay them in one hit with the skill of his blade.
The gimmick with this fight is that the Officer will order his soldiers to attack. They don't hit hard, though it's hard enough that if you leave them alive for some reason those hits will add up.
If you slay all three Soldiers, the Officer will run away. Cecil's a fucking Dark Knight though, and he believes in the complete annihilation of his enemies. Plus, extra EXP!
Pretty simple fight.
Did I get you in trouble? I'm sorry.
It's for me to apologize. Well, I know you can't forgive me, but...
So now the badass Dark Knight will be assisted in battle by a little girl. Standard jRPG fare.
I always like some of the subtle touches in this game. For example, Rydia nonverbally waking up Cecil.
Rydia's a little girl with no reason to have any combat experience, so appropriately she starts at level one.
Rydia has access to all kinds of magic, though she only starts out with the Chocobo summon.
Here's a couple of posts from the thread that I want to show off in case people are only reading the updates.
Lone Rogue posted:
As we'll learn soon, Rydia can't summon Titan whenever she wants to. This was a special thing, especially with where she is at her level. This used to annoy me but now I've warmed up to it, since the idea of her summoning Titan was out of rage. Her mother was the master summoner of the village so she should know how to do it, but being completely beyond her level, Titan pretty much destroys everything. He causes mountains to crumble instead of just causing a fissure in between the ground of Kain and Cecil. The game has two other well known examples of characters doing something beyond their in-game power that has powerful storyline effects. At least there is precedent for it.
Rydia and her summons become more important later on in the story, but for now she only has access to Chocobo. Summoning is a whole different beast from regular magic. Rydia and other characters can learn White and Black magic just from leveling, accumulating experience in battle and thus learning to harness greater power. She can't use battle experience to learn new summons, however. She needs to mature and gain inner strength in order to handle summoned monsters, or else stuff like Titan destroying the mountain range end up happening. All the little girl can handle right now is a simple Chocobo, and it will require a lot more than grinding for Rydia to be able to effectively control some of the strong beasts we'll see later.
Smart Car posted:
It's actually kind of funny, in a lot of JRPGs Rydia would probably have been the protagonist instead. She pretty much gets the full load of clichés:
- Orphaned due to actions of evil kingdom.
- Home town burned down to start her adventure.
- Mysterious powers that come forth in a time of need.
And a number of others as well, but that's spoiler territory, so not going into that.
An interesting observation. Rydia's a pretty important figure in the story, but this story is definitely a character story about Cecil. Rather than focus on a character whose town is destroyed and whose mother is killed, the game focuses on the character responsible for destroying that town and orphaning that child. Nothing for me to really go into, but I just thought that was an interesting point worth sharing.
I've got one more post I'll share in a bit. But first, let's explore the town.
There's news of a girl named Anna running off with a bard. Her father, Tellah, isn't particularly happy about this and went off after her.
Also, some old geezer is being a dick and blocking the way through the Watery Pass. Through there is a couple of nations that might help us deal with Baron.
Video: Kaipo Dancer
Oh yeah? I saw somebody open a door for somebody else! Beat that!
Oh shit, that reminds me.
FF4's row system is different from the other games in the series. In this one, you have a set formation, with the choice of either two characters in front and three in the back, or three front/two back. Of course, back row reduces physical damage, both from enemies and from the character. Rydia's weak and not a fighter anyway, so having her in the back is a good idea.
Looks like we know what our next boss will be, then.
Rydia's armor is fine. The Shortbow is Rydia's strongest weapon right now, and she'll deal the same amount of damage from the back row, but she has much better options anyway. Trust me, stick with the Rod she starts with.
Huh. Between the bard Anna ran off with and the Prince of Damcyan, there sure are a lot of singers in the area.
...Wait a minute. A woman who keeps saying the word "Cecil" over and over?
Rosa followed us to Kaipo, except she somehow beat us to Kaipo (and was probably ahead of us to begin with since I doubt she'd have made it past the mountains at Mist) and ended up getting Desert Fever.
Our new mission is to go north through the Watery Cave, where an old man guards an entrance, defeat eight snakes, and then move north to Damcyan, where hopefully we can get assistance retrieving the SandRuby from the lair of the Antlion.
I guess it'd be a good idea to train Rydia a bit if she's going to be tagging along.
Rydia's sole spell, Chocobo, will summon a Chocobo to kick an enemy. I forget if this version has an alternate version involving a Big Chocobo hopping around and crushing all enemies.
Rydia can use her Rod as an item, which just does a magic effect for a small amount of damage. Still beats any physical attacks she can do, and it's free, so I recommend it.
Being level 1, Rydia will gain levels pretty quickly. At the same time, she'll also start learning magic quickly.
Ice-1 is Rydia's first attack spell. It attacks with ice.
At L4, Rydia learns Sight. Sight gives you a bird's-eye view of the surrounding area, though it's hard to tell where the cave entrance we need to go to is in this view.
I've played this game enough that I could navigate the world map blind (I'm not going to navigate the world map blind don't ask these things of me).
Pre-emptive strikes, surprise attacks, and back attacks are all still prevalent in this game.
Lit-1 attacks with lightning.
I'll take the opportunity to share one more post while we're grinding Rydia.
Lone Rogue posted:
I'd say it is for the better because Rydia begins at level 1 and even in FF2 or FFIV Easytype, it can be a pain to keep her alive those first levels. Even when you get her to a Level eight or so, she can get dropped pretty quickly. When Rydia does accept Cecil's protection, it's for good fucking reason. She wouldn't survive without him. And as a player, you get to experience your character actually protecting her and having to revive her and heal her while also trying to kill sand worms. It's what RPGs are supposed to do. Games today would make you see a montage and then you get Rydia with some super powerful spell that makes her without need of protection. All Rydia gets is Chocobo and you can barely use it without running out of MP at first. By the time you get to Tellah , you really have the feeling of protecting Rydia from harm until she's strong enough to take care of herself, or at least I did.
Rydia's pretty fragile, and she starts out with low enough HP that she can easily die in two hits, maybe even one if the enemy's lucky. She could solo Imps, but any idiot can solo Imps because Imps are the most pathetic monster in the history of this series.
Granted, in my session Rydia was rather self-sufficient, but on your first time through Rydia's usually going to die a lot, and it's up to Cecil to keep her alive and take care of enemies for her while she learns how to handle herself in battle. Cecil doesn't teach her how to harness magic or anything, but having an experienced soldier teach her the basics of battle is enough to make Rydia more durable and awaken the magical power within her. Or something like that.
Anyway, Rydia's strong enough that we can go visit the cave.
Welcome to the Watery Pass, one of the lengthier dungeons in the game. Or at least, it feels long.
First battle in, and Rydia learns Hold, which inflicts paralysis on an enemy.
Interesting note is that Rydia only learns three White Magic spells. Hold is the last one she learns, and from this point on all she learns are Black Magic spells.
The enemies you see here are enemies you'd expect from a water passage, including fish. Lightning eliminates them rather effectively.
Oh hey, there's that old man we heard about. Let's see if we can beat him up.
A wicked bard tricked my daughter into running away to Damcyan! And...I sense evil in that direction of Damcyan!
You must be the sage Tellah!
I am Tellah. I'm going to Damcyan to get my daughter who eloped. But a huge monster is blocking the way. My magic is not strong enough to defeat it.
We are also on our way to Damcyan.
Good! Let us work together to get to Damcyan. Let's hurry!
So now the big bad Dark Knight has a little girl and an old man backing him up. Quite the crew.
Tellah's quite the interesting character. His level shows he's pretty experienced, but his stats also show his age has definitely caught up with him. His stats are not much better than Rydia's. He also levels really slowly, and his stats are rather stagnant, actually having a chance of decreasing at times. Tellah is old, and the game wants to make sure you know how old he is.
He's so old he went into a cave wearing only leather armor and a staff.
The EvilShel's are simple, but WaterBugs counter non-physical attacks with Remedy, which regenerates their HP. They retreat after awhile, though.
Tellah's a pretty effective mage for this section. As for his magic selection, Cure2 and the elementals are his best spells. Blink, a spell I love, might be useful for the boss this game won't stop talking about, though we won't really need it. Charm's fun to play with, but the enemies here are too weak to justify spending MP on. Life's alright, and Heal would be nice if it weren't expensive and if we weren't playing a version of the game where the items were so cheap. Again, Stop's an awesome spell we don't need, and Psych may be useful in case Tellah blows through his magic.
Tellah's pretty handy to have at this point of the game, since his 90MP reserve is enough to fry all monsters you encounter.
In other versions, Tellah has access to a command called Recall, which allows him to cast a random spell he had forgotten over the years. You can see some powerful stuff, you can also see useless stuff. It's too random to really be useful, but it hints to just how powerful a sage he was in his youth. Still, I don't mind losing it.
You'll also encounter CaveToads, who are weak to Ice.
Rydia picks up Sleep, which can target all enemies and put them to sleep.
Tellah could use this.
Zombies are an interesting foe.
Being a foe of darkness, Cecil's blade does nothing to them. It's the first instance of Cecil being unable to take down a foe with his dark blade, though definitely not the last.
Cecil will have to rely on others to help out. In this case, Zombies are weak to Fire and Cure, so having Tellah or Rydia use Fire1 will take care of them.
...Wait a minute, Rydia doesn't have Fire1. I figured she'd have learned it by now. Weird. I know why, so don't tell me why.
Of course, I must share this secret location, which has some great loot, including an Elixir.
It took me an entire floor before I realized Tellah was in the front row. Oops.
Psych, better known as Osmose, absorbs MP from enemies. Useful for a long dungeon such as this one, though you get plenty of opportunities to heal anyway.
I figured I'd show off some spells before getting to such a point. It's not like I'm ever going to use Sleep or Hold ever again.
And here is our first save point, and indeed the first save point in the series. Those poor fuckers who played FF3's final dungeon without save states.
Oh wait, I've done that.
Let's take rest here!
Tellah walks up to the save point to set up camp.
A special field here will protect us from monsters.
Let's rest now and be prepared for the coming battle in my Tent!
I have no idea whether we're still in the cave area, which has magically expanded, or inside Tellah's tent, which is massive and has its own save point.
Fast asleep... She must have been very tired. You said she was...
A Caller of Mist.
She seems very gifted as a magic-user. With proper training, she will be able to wield the magic other than calling monsters.
She ran away to Damcyan with a Bard, because I did not consent to their marriage.
What do you want to go to Damcyan for?
My friend is suffering from a terrible fever in Kaipo.
So you need the SandRuby. So you, too, are in a hurry.
What is the monster of this cavern?
It's a horrifying monster with eight huge tentacles. We must defeat it first to save Anna and your friend.
Next time, we'll slay this beast and visit Damcyan, witnessing the unbridled wrath of a hate-filled father-in-law.