Part 3: Cat Ears: the Anime Avatars of IvaliceUpdate 3: Cat Ears: the Anime Avatars of Ivalice
In This Update:
- Tomato Soup: It'll put some meat on Ribs, probably.
- Extreme, lunch-related sass.
- Smug greedy thief is smug, greedy.
Samuel and Cid are exploring Camoa, looking for Cid's contact in the city. They're searching for information about a wizard, who will hopefully be able to tell them about Samuel's journal and help the boy return home.
: The shops... the people... I expected it to be different, but this is something else!
: Camoa is an old town. Her shops are full of relics and her streets full of adventurers. It's an easy place for us clanners to make a decent living.
: I bet.
: This way, Samuel. A streetear acquaintance of mine works up the hill.
They walk across a rooftop to reach a Seeq squatting under some shady.
I really like the design of Camoa. The city appeared in FFTA, and it (and many other locations) drew inspiration from Arabian and Middle-Eastern architecture. The rough brick houses that meld into the streets are one of my favorite features.
: Lo, Ribs.
: Aye, you'd be surprised. I'm almost respectable these days. Haven't had reason of late to visit my shady past.
: Hra hra! *snort* You're too kind. So, Cid, what morsel have you come fishing for today?
: Know any wizards, Ribs? I don't mean the street conjurors or their kind. I'm talking about upper-crust. Someone at the akademy, or even a Kiltias... a sorceror.
: An odd request coming from you, that... Aught t'do with the boy, perhaps? *snort*
: I'll take that as a "no" then. So long, Ribs.
: A very, very special someone, as it turns out. Hra hra hra! *snorts*
: How special? Name your price.
: Oh no, no, no. I wouldn't dream of asking for your gil. Though, there is one thing you could help me obtain.
: One thing...?
: A tomato stalk. Been a shortage lately, you know. Hard to come by.
: So you want us to hunt tomatoes and fetch you a stalk?
: Hunt tomatoes? ... Now that you mention it, I seem to recall seeing a bill at the pub...
: Well why didn't you say so in the first place? Fine, we'll get you your stalk. Let's go, Cid. We'll pick those tomatoes and be back in no time.
: You do realize we're not talking about garden-variety tomatoes, here?
: I don't care what garden they're from. Let's go get 'em.
Samuel immediately runs off, of course.
: *sigh* I don't know what you're up to, but I'll play along for now.
: Hra hra! *snort* Always a pleasure, Master Cid.
We're free to go pick up our next story quest.
But first, let's visit the shop.
First up is the Buster Sword. Yes, it's a Final Fantasy VII reference. Surprisingly, it counts as a regular sword.
Two offerings in Ornamented Blades. This category contains mostly foils, used by viera jobs like Fencer and Red Mage.
Fencing Foils will only contain foils, of course.
I the Buster Sword, the Stinger and some Leather Clothes. Might as well make sure we have enough armor!
A couple characters have run out of learnable skills, so we're going to change some jobs.
First, Talf goes back to White Mage. He can only learn Cure right now, but White Mage locks a couple really good nu mou jobs that I want to get to.
I just noticed Henri's not wearing any armor. White Monk wears light armor, and we don't have any spare Leather Clothes for him. Maybe there's some other stuff he can wear -- let's see if the "Optimize" option will help him. That will equip him with the best weapons and armor we have, though it doesn't touch accessories.
Wait, it unequipped everything! I guess I need to pick up some armor for him, but why were the Metal Knuckles unequipped?
Turns out the Metal Knuckles actually lower Henri's attack. White Monks have a +30 Unarmed Attack Bonus, and Metal Knuckles have +29 Attack. (Check 2 screenshots above this one.) Most jobs have a much lower bonus, so any weapon is better than going unarmed, so we won't see this too often.
But since we don't have any more knuckles for Henri, he's going back to Warrior to learn Rend Magic.
The Buster Sword has one other skill: Blood Price, learned by the as-yet-unseen viera job Spellblade.
I've mentioned that there are ways to get around the 10 MP per turn restriction. This is one of them, and perhaps the most popular, at least for viera. Spellblade's spells are pretty cheap, so doubling the cost puts them at around the same as advanced Black Mage spells. You'll just have to make sure you have a healer around, though maybe the Regen buff will be more than enough. Oh, Blood Price also give a +35 Magick boost, which is a pretty strong increase!
Finally, Imino becomes an Animist. We picked up a Glass Bell last update, and learning 100% Wool will unlock another couple good jobs.
We have 3 notices at the Pub. These are important to read because, as far as I know, they unlock quests. I've highlighted the important bits, if you just want to skim over them.
Crying Wolf posted:
Wolf-like creatures of a kind never seen before are running rampant in the hills around Camoa! A mark has been posted in hopes that there is someone who can deal with this menace before more lives are lost. Those who have faith in their sword arm, come to our aid!
-Camoa Bureau of Safety
Klesta Comes posted:
The crushatrice is known for its especially violent temperament, but one in particular makes all the rest look like docile hens.
Adventurers in the know call it Klesta, and its name evokes fear deep in the cockles of their hearts.
Klesta is mean, real mean. It attacks people, animals, anything that gets in its way.
Surely, someone would have dealt with this scourge a long time ago, were it not so nefariously resilient.
Many are the hunters who claim to have taken the beast to death's door only to have it escape at the last moment, only to return a day or two later fully restored to health!
And those hunters were the best of the best. The rest that tried to take on this fell beast, well... it's still alive, isn't it.
House Bowen posted:
What other elite group of headhunters would do anything - provided there's gil on the table - but House Bowen?
What other clan has brought in more than four hundred marks? That alone would qualify them as one of Ivalice's top-tier teams - and that's not even taking into account the high demand for their services as escorts for important personages, sellswords for padding out forces during regional conflicts, and gods-know-what goings-on taking place behind drawn curtains.
Thier leader, Bowen, is not only a fearsome combatant, but a cool-headed thinker as well, who takes on even the smallest request with the utmost care and caution.
Yet Bowen is also known as someone who would lay down his life to save a comrade. The fervent loyalty this inspires is one of the secrets to House Bowen's success.
With those out of the way, let's look at the available quests.
We're still a little low level, so I'd like to take care of some lower-rank quests first.
"Wanted: The Cyanwolf" is only rank 3, so let's take a look.
This is a "Headhunt" quest, which means we only have to take down the desired target. Usually there are other monsters getting in your way, of course.
"Prepared with Love" is the other rank 3. It's a Delivery quest.
That means we have to pick up an item at the first location and deliver it to the second. There usually isn't any combat involved.
We begin this quest in the pub at Targ Woods, where the petitioner is waiting for us.
: That's right! *sniff* Uh... what's that smell... if you don't mind me asking?
: That must be his lunch. The sauce is a recipe all my own!
My husband never eats breakfast before leaving the house, so I'm worried he's not eating enough. You should find him just outside Camoa. Do hurry!
Quest items are represented as pieces of loot. I think we could sell this off, but I'm not sure what would happen. Probably fail the quest and have to restart it, I'd guess.
Completing that part of the quest pops up the Task Reward window. There's no rewards for completing tasks, it just tells us part of the quest is done.
This is useful for dispatched quests, where we can easily see if any dispatch failed.
Back to Camoa for the second task: rescuing a redhead from a lake!
Wait, wrong series. Sorry.
: You've come all this way to bring me my lunch? You shouldn't have... Really.
: I thought you'd be happy to have your lunch.
Best line in the game, hands down.
: The only thing worse than the smell is the taste.
*sigh* If I don't eat it, I'll upset my wife. If I -do- eat it, I'll upset my stomach. She's the most wonderful wife a man could ask for, but she can't cook to save her life.
Well, it's here now. I'll think of something. I know you meant well, but don't do me any more favors.
We hand the Chocobo skin over.
And that's that! Delivery quests are usually pretty easy. They're great to do on the way to another quest. Some of them may have shorter time limits, however.
Since this is a Headhunt mission, our objective is to kill the Cyanwolf. We technically don't have to hit the other 4 wolves, but we really don't have a choice.
No ice, but that's no problem. This is another one that affects only Black Mages.
Our initial setup. We're in this corner, and the Cyanwolf is on the opposite corner. Blocking the two routes are 4 wolves.
The Cyanwolf is our first monster with actual magickal attacks.
All wolves have Fangs. It hits pretty hard!
That could be a lot of elemental damage. The side effects are the actually worrying part, though, especially Immobilize. Not being able to move really limits our characters' options, besides the mages and the archer.
: I'm guessing that's our mark: the Cyanwolf.
- Gwooorgh! Gwaaaawrgh! Arroooooooooo!
: ... He doesn't look happy, does he? Let's take this one nice and slow.
The Cyanwolf wolf is too far away to do anything, obviously, so it just moves to the right.
Imino just edges the other wolves out on Speed, so he moves forward a bit and drops a 100% Wool on himself. Generally, buffs like this are a good way to spend a turn.
The wolf on the far left moves forward. They have more than just melee attacks, of course. Most monsters do!.
Screech has a chance to cause Confusion. Thankfully, the condition doesn't stick.
The other two wolves move in and attack. 20 damage is nothing to scoff at, but 100% Wool is really helping Imino.
The last wolf retreats towards the Cyanwolf. That's kind of annoying, but it saves us having to fend off 4 wolves at once.
Time for us to strike back. Henri more than matches the damage of the wolves's Fangs.
I actually skipped Lenolia's first attack. She could have moved forward and hit one of the wolves, but I thought it prudent to let Henri get the attack instead. This way, we'll be able to cast Sleep before any of the wolves move.
Nyno gets in a good attack, then moves down to stand behind Samuel.
The wolf on the right is close enough for Samuel to loop around and get a back attack in. This is why facing matters so much! Over half the wolf's HP in one attack is great.
Talf drops a heal on Imino, but doesn't move.
Lenolia's turn rolls around again. We aren't really threatened by the wolves, but this buys us a little breathing room.
One wolf is slept. I'll take it.
The Cyanwolf moves back the way it came, and the other wolf continues to retreat.
Talf heals off the Screech damage Lenolia took.
Animist instruments do alright damage.
But black magic is much better!
Of course, Imino pays for it. But the wolf is in critical health -- hence the weird posture -- and Talf can easily heal that in a turn or two.
Nyno gets hit too. Unsurprisingly, the AI goes for weaker characters like Animists and Archers.
Of course, it's more than happy to keep its back exposed, so Henri finishes off the wolf.
Nyno follows that up by killing the other weakened wolf.
Samuel starts moving in on the Cyanwolf. I expect the wolf to keep retreating.
Lenolia, Imino, the wolf and the Cyanwolf spend their turns moving around. Imino will join Samuel on the right flank, while the other four will take care of the last wolf and flank left.
Talf heals Imino some before the moogle is too far away. In retrospect, it may have been better for Talf to accompany the right flank.
The last wolf near us finally wakes up. That sleep really bought us a good few turns. Sleep is a pretty good condition, I just wish it was more accurate!
He did NOT enjoy his nap.
Samuel moves forward.
A lot of battlefields in this game have missing areas like this. It's pretty neat and really makes you realize it's a fantasy world. Just... try not to think too hard about the pit in the middle, I guess.
In 3 turns, the wolf is already almost done for.
Meanwhile, the Cyanwolf and Imino move clockwise, and Imino refreshes 100% Wool.
Talf throws out another heal on Nyno and Lenolia. He's been really useful this battle! In the early game, it's easier to heal damage than prevent it, but eventually we'll be murdering things too quickly for healing to be useful. But, it's smart to have it as a secondary skill set just in case.
The Cyanwolf and the last wolf are huddling near the tree.
A few turns later, Henri finally finishes off the last wolf.
I, uh, don't quite think that's how pelts work?
The next few turns are spent moving everyone towards the tree, healing up the last of the damage, and so on.
Samuel and the wolf finally meet. Since Samuel and Imino are alone, landing some debuffs will make things a little easier.
A completely useless Opportunity attack. We're better off moving without using an action, since we can't get Fleet of Foot. That requires 2 adjacent allies, and that's impossible here.
Imino drops Fire on the two wolves. We're reaching the home stretch here.
Hooray for Attack Down!
But this damage is going to add up quickly if we don't finish this soon.
Imino is facing east for a reason: Samuel is protecting his side, so the enemy can only attack him from the front. That'll prevent a lot of damage.
The rest of the clan is still all the way over here.
Lenolia's facing is a misclick.
Another near misclick almost makes Samuel use First Aid. Look how useless this skill is. At least in FFTA it cured some conditions!
Instead he uses Rend Power on the Cyanwolf. That'll buy us enough time for the rest of the clan to reach the tree.
Imino could target either enemy, but I'd rather take out the lesser wolf.
That's a miscalculation! Fiery Blow hits a whole line, not just one target.
Fortunately, only Samuel is Silenced. Losing Imino's black magick could have made this end in disaster.
Nyno is finally close enough to attack, but the Cyanwolf still has most of its health left.
Imino refreshes 100% Wool again. The last attack brought him pretty low, though he's still above critical HP.
Samuel finishes off the last normal wolf, netting us an inexplicable tiger hide.
Henri move forward and tries to bait the Cyanwolf by showing his back. The AI prioritizes back attacks, so this might pay off.
This is not good. The Cyanwolf ignores Henri's armored back for the juicier and weaker target in front of it. Imino can still survive this -- and it's not like death has any particularly bad side effects -- but it's getting close.
Talf is too far away to Cure him, too.
Fortunately, the Chilling Blow didn't immobilize Imino, and he land a Thunder before scuttling towards the rest of the team.
And just like that, the tide turns and the battle is won.
OK, never mind, MVP is not based on bonus XP like I thought. It's influenced by the character's performance in battle, but that is incredibly vague.
FFTA2 is not nearly as popular as its predecessor, so there's a lot of game information that's never fully discovered.
The Samson Sword teaches Warriors Rend Power, but it deals Earth Elemental damage, so we have to make sure we don't bring it if we're facing wolves.
The Round Shield teaches Shieldbearer to a handful of jobs.
This mission was the same rank and was ostensibly harder than the delivery mission we just did, but it gives so few Clan Points. Shame, that.
Talf mastered Cure, so he's back to Black Mage with White Magick as a backup.
Why? He's going to be our magickal powerhouse, and Black Mage has disgustingly good M.POW growth.
Also, here's an interesting tidbit: Lenolia can equip Red Magick, despite never having been a Red Mage. Learning Cure as a White Mage unlocked the Red Magick version, too!
Time to visit the Bazaar again.
This staff is a little useless, we won't be seeing Summoner for a while. But it does boost Defense and Resistance, so it's pretty useful on its own.
Predator isn't going to help us much right now, so I don't buy one.
Wicked looking thing though, isn't it?
Time to pick up the next story quest. We shouldn't have any trouble with it now.
: Wow, you weren't kidding about these tomatoes...
It's a shame, really. I kind of like tomatoes. That is, I used to.
I don't think I'll ever be able to eat a tomato again.
: One of the many hazards of our occupation.
: Wait... Hey, Cid. Look at that one over there, with the funny head. That a tomato, too?
: Why, that's an alraune! Hrrah! Our luck is strong!
The drill off the alraune's head fetches a pretty price. Finally, some good news!
Introducing one of the most annoying characters...
: Who are you? Don't even think about poaching our kill. These tomatoes are ours!
: Poach? Me? Never! I'll just lend you a hand, for which I expect a reasonable cut, of course.
Money's tight these days! Why, I was just wondering where tonight's supper was going to come from.
Is there anything more piteous than a growing girl driven to the brink of starvation? Think of it as, I don't know, a good deed?
: Please? Pretty please? Pretty please with suga-
Samuel and Cid turn away from her to discuss this intrusion.
: Um, okay... What do we do about her, Cid?
: We don't trust her, for starters. Still if we can get that alraune, we could afford to make a small donation to her cause.
They turn back to Adelle.
: We'll split the reward four parts to one. No more.
: Four to one? Why, how generous! Let's teach these vegetables some table manners, shall we?
Straightforward enough. There's 4 Tomatoes on the right, plus the one alraune to the left.
Everyone but Nyno. I don't really have a plan for him, the ranged damage is nice but we won't see new bows for a while.
I could switch him over to a different physical job or even a magick job, but our clan is really doing well enough without him.
We'll worry about him later. For now, let's chop some vegetables!
All the enemies are faster than us. Here's the state of the battlefield after they all move.
Imino starts dropping those icicles.
I think this is the first playthrough where I've switched the starting moogle to Black Mage. It's so obvious in retrospect!
Wait, tomatoes aren't vegetables. They're fruits. Whatever.
: Wait a second! That's not what we said!
: Oh right, four to one was it? And I'll take the four, of course. Why, that's even more for me!
: Eh!? Four!? You're the one!
I'm not a fan of the smug, greedy rogue character type. Fortunately, Adelle does get better.
But first she gets worse. She's a Thief, and the AI loves to use abilities, even if they're kind of pointless. They also love to get in the enemy's face, though that actually works in our favor.
My plan for this quest is to let Cid and Adelle facetank the tomatoes on the right while Henri and Samuel handle the alraune.
This is, I think, our first exposure to R-Abilities. Counter is a mainstay, one of the best R-Abilities in the game, and we'll be picking it up soon enough.
Compared to the damage we were taking in the Cyanwolf quest, we might be a little over leveled here!
Cid moves up and debuffs one tomato, Samuel moves left and keeps pounding the alraune.
If only there was a better way. Sorry Adelle.
OK yeah this quest is a little too easy.
Samuel is also wearing the battle boots we got last update, which give a +7 defense boost. That's pretty good for this part of the game.
Tomato Tackle is the Tomato's signature ability. It's a normal attack that has a chance to inflict the Speed Down debuff.
It looks so gross.
Cid has Counter, so he gets a free attack in. His attack flashes green because he's wielding the Samson Sword, which inflicts earth-type damage.
Tomatoes are weak to Water and thankfully don't resist Earth.
The first two tomatoes retreated after their attacks, and the two who were waiting in the wings have moved up.
Oh, and they also know Silence, apparently. It hits Henri, but Henri knows no spells, so it's all moot.
State of the battlefield after these couple rounds. We're actually almost done.
The alraune falls shortly after.
Cid continues to commit horrendous overkill.
Already down to the last one.
The last tomato decides to take his life into his own hands.
This is a good example of the AI prioritising back attacks. No other target is particularly weak, and attacking Cid's exposed back will probably deal more damage than attacking anyone else's face.
Cid's counter kills the tomato in return.
It's both depressing and hilarious when the AI goes for attacks like that.
This is some good loot! Rising Sun is another set of knuckles, with an ability that will be useful throughout the game.
: Heh heh heh. Alraune... sweet alraune. I can practically taste the behemoth steak I'm going to buy with my cut.
: Cid, I got that stalk.
: And the alraune drill? You have it?
: Oh... Huh, funny. I didn't see one out there.
: Didn't see - !? Well look again! I'm not leaving without that drill!
: Ah, there you are. I wanted to thank you for the help. Many hands make light work!
: Look, we're busy here. Give us a moment?
: Take your time. I was just coming to say good-bye, anyway.
: Huh? What about your cut?
: Oh, don't worry about that.
: You'd be surprised how much these little things sell for! I'll have more than enough for dinner.
Not to mention those Brint Mea shoes I saw the other day... and maybe a Galmia Pepe bag - they're to die for!
Oh, I don't know how to thank you enough! So I'll just say "thanks"! Well, time for me to be off! So long!
Why don't we get to teleport away??
: Hey wai- Where'd she go!?
: Man, I bet she was after that drill from the start... What a fraud! We were had, Cid!
: Um, w-well, at least we got the stalk we needed, right? Let's go trade it for some information! That's worth more than some silly old drill, right?
: I... I'll kill her! You hear me!? Kill!!!
: Not very talkative today, are you? Ah, do I detect a foul - or perhaps I should I say "fouler" mood?
: I'm fine, Ribs. Fine. Just tell us what you know.
I think the writing does a good job of communicating Cid's barely concealed rage.
: Master Cid... your clan is adjudged, yes?
: What of it?
: *snort* Judges and laws. Manifestations of a powerful, unique sort of magick that appeared in our lands centuries ago. At the time, it was suggested that the lord of this territory, the Archduke Beaudonis, was responsible... That he had made his *snort* court magicker weave the first spells.
: Devised as a way to avoid profitless battles and preserve the peace, I know. I didn't fetch you that stalk to learn something any schoolchild could tell me!
: Ah, but would a schoolchild know that the very same court magicker is still alive?
: Faerie tales!
: Oh, I assure you that high mage Lezaford is no faerie tale. Though to hear the chroniclers tell it, he's dead - and they've the grave and bones to prove it. *snort* So why now, hundreds of years later, would there be whispers 'neath every eave of Lezaford's return?
: Hrrm? Tell me more.
: Yeah. Where do we go to meet this mage guy?
: Two whispers speak of a northern wood, others of a swamp, and ruins, and-
: Whoa, whoa, whoa! I was hoping for a lead... not a list!
: You know how much trouble we went through to get this stalk!?
: The thief! What's she doing here?
: Hey, you haven't heard anything about a freelance headhunter around - a girl? Wears this ribbon in her hair with little cat ears? Oh, and she's a total poacher. No sense of fair play at all.
: Ah, hra hra. *snort* You must mean Adelle. She gets around, that one. Got a finger in every pie. They call her the Cat...
: You know anything else? Like where she's going?
: Hrmm... I did hear of a rather large sum being offered for a particular beastie down at the pub... Perhaps she's gone off to take care of that?
: Change of plans, Cid. Let's hit the pub! I'm sure those rumors about the mage guy are just that: rumors. They can wait, can't they? But if we let her go now, we might never catch up to her!
Samuel runs off.
: Master Cid... Sorry about the mage, but you must admit, I came through with knowledge of Adelle!
: If any of what you said turns out to be true, maybe.
Our merry cast of cheeky characters expands! By exactly 1, anyway. We'll never see Ribs again.
Thanks for reading!
If you have any jobs or other interesting features you particularly want to see, let me know! I'll try to show off everything at least once.