Part 27: Bonus Feature B1: Hope SoloBonus Feature B1: Hope Solo
And when they say another, they are being very specific in using the singular, for this is the story of a girl...
A girl named Hope, who was just an ordinary human girl living in the poor land of Base Town.
Hope was just a poor girl of the streets, with her only possessions being a battered old saber and a set of bronze gauntlets. She was not very strong and had no head for magic, but she was quick and agile and that was how she made her living:
Day in and day out, Hope hunted the wild lands. She was so poor that she lived on a diet of lizard, and whatever else you can say about Hope she was a hungry girl.
When Hope heard of Paradise she did not know what it meant, but she could only believe that it would have to be an improvement over Base Town in fact, just about anywhere would be.
People spoke of climbing the tower to Paradise, and one day a mysterious man told Hope that someone named Gen-Bu had hidden the key in a statue somewhere in the world.
Since there was no one in Base Town named Genbu, Hope left in search of another city. Sadly the people of Base Town were not entirely sorry to see her go, for Hope was odd. Perhaps it was all the time she spent alone, but there was something uncanny about the girl.
When Hope reached the town after traveling through the dangerous wilderness she found nothing of Gen-Bu, but the stories of three kings made her wonder if one of their names might in fact be Gen-Bu.
This did not appear to be the case, but Hope considered that Shield, Armor, and Sword might be the names of their kingdoms and not their personal names, and so she continued her search.
Her first priority was to improve her speed, as her saber was fast wearing down, and her second was to improve her armor to better survive the vicious attacks of her wait, don't eat that Hope!
Er as I was saying, Hope's stomach soon grew tough as iron and she decided it was time to go and visit these kings.
The first castle Hope visited was the castle of Armor, where the people were friendly and kind, even after they saw what had made others so easy, for Hope...
Hope was haunted by ghosts and spirits, that swirled in the air around her and at times spoke to the living in spectral voices, offering commentary and asking questions.
The king, understandably disturbed, offered Hope any reward she should care for if she would just take the voices away with her and, if she were to return, do so bringing a certain girl with her who lived in a village to the south.
Hope straightaway set off for the distant village, where she found the girl and let her haunts do the talking. The girl, not seeing this as terribly strange, explained that the problem was with a certain bandit...
A bandit who lived nearby, and who happened to resemble a large lizard. This last detail was all that Hope needed to make her decision to go and help out.
For a time Hope dwelled in the forests and rivers around the village, until at last she felt that she was ready to go after the bandit. Well stocked with potions and weapons, she went on her way.
Naturally, of course, she stopped for a snack or two along the way. She was a growing girl, you see.
At the bottom of the cave she found the bandit, who did his very best but was not much of a match for someone as swift and determined as Hope.
Hope didn't feel very good after the fight was over, but she had other things on her mind...
Unfortunately the bandit leader's skin was slimy and he tasted of bitter almonds more than he tasted of chicken.
The bandit cried for his life before Hope finished him off, but her ghosts and spirits would hear none of his pleading.
To add insult to ingestion, Hope raided the bandit's treasury for supplies and weapons and then took the village girl off to see the king.
Her spirits remembered the King's promise and held him to it, and the King would not have dared refuse even if he had wished to.
Instead, he gave her his mighty armor and decided to settle down to live a peaceful life with his new bride.
The next place Hope visited was the castle of Sword, where the reception was not nearly so warm.
The guards there welcomed her with fists and feet which, considering her armor, brought them considerable pain even before she introduced them to her rapier.
The King was similarly taciturn, but Hope did not hold out much hope that he could be convinced to listen to reason.
The King fought mightily, but against the mighty King's Armor his sword was of little use. Hope was grateful, on further thought, that it had not transpired that the king of Sword was friendly and the King of Armor fought tooth and nail for his treasure.
Hope searched diligently, but found no key. Instead she took the King's Sword, although it was too clumsy and large for her to use it well. Instead, she headed straight for the final King's castle.
The ghosts were just as shocked as Hope was to find the person she was visiting dead, and his steward cackling maniacally over his body.
Hope had by now decided that none of the kings was Gen-Bu, but this outrage was one that she could not accept and so she burst right through the wall after the treacherous steward.
Two things he offered her, but three things she desired, and so she took them: his money, his shield, and his life.
The ghosts were just as disgusted with his behavior as Hope was, and heartily approved of her actions although they felt that perhaps they should not profit from the death of a man who had been better than some and no worse than many.
And so Hope decided to return the treasures of the Kings to the statue they had once adorned, making very sure to buy replacement armor so that she would not be uncovered in the town square.
As you may already know, as soon as she placed the items on the statue who should appear but Gen-Bu, who the townspeople had not bothered to tell her had killed many others who had tried to restore the statue.
Despite having lost the King's Armor, Hope found that the only threat Gen-Bu posed was his odiferous gas, and that his shell, while thick, had numerous open ins that could certainly admit the needle-like point of her blade.
In a trice Hope had punctured the beast neatly, and she began to wonder what turtle might taste like...
But Gen-Bu had some life in him yet, and he threatened her before fading away and dying. Hope, however, did not think it was over for she knew that it was only just now beginning.
To the tower Hope returned, and her spirits took the black orb and shattered the seal that held shut the door.
And thus did Hope begin to climb the tower in search of Paradise.
Alright, now that we've got started I guess I can explain a few things about what I'm doing here. Some comments in the thread got me thinking about a Single Character Challenge, so I decided to give it a shot. Your realistic options for this are mutant and human, and I decided to go with a human in order to more thoroughly break the game and not depend on the RNG for HP and stats.
Going with a human our best bet is a female, since they get a unique weapon that we can't otherwise acquire until the second world. Human males get a longsword, which isn't anything special. The saber lasts long enough to pick up some armor and an agility potion, which helps cushion the blow when it breaks and we have to switch to cheaper weapons. Armor is crucial, as there's no way to avoid taking some damage in this game.
After that, our main concern is basic economics we need to take in more money than we spend on weapons and healing, and still be able to gradually build our stats. For a single character agility is more important than strength, since more agility will also cause enemies to miss when attacking. We'll build strength later, but right now this is plenty of agility to take us further up the tower. Although I didn't show it, Hope is sitting at just over 200 HP right now, meaning that the total cost of boosting her stats thus far has been about 4600 gold.