Part 24: Duelhorn, Part 2Update 24: Duelhorn, Part 2
In This Update:
- Snakeheart is more "snake" than "heart".
- Also more "snake" than "brain".
- The beginning of the end for Duelhorn!
Last time, we confronted the criminal organization Duelhorn. We aren't the only ones; a "mysterious organization" has been attacking them, too.
Now it seems like Duelhorn is going after merchant caravans.
Ah, there's Alys the Ensorceled herself. See? Duelhorn!
(This is a really odd spawn setup. There's four pairs of spots we can start in, instead of the usual single block.)
Turns out Alys actually protected the caravan from the bandits.
She's a Blood Price Summoner, with this schtick of inflicting debuffs on herself.
It's neat flavor, but she doesn't seem to get any gameplay benefits for it.
Since she actually protected that caravan, we decide to help her against the bandits.
There's a couple Thieves, a Viking, a White Mage and an Alchemist.
Henri, Talf and Hurdy are to the right, further back from the enemy.
Jalia, Lian and Zoe start up here. They're going to charge in and distract the enemy, but our main damage dealer will be Talf with his Illusions.
Alys starts this mission Blind, which is weird because she's wearing a Ribbon.
We don't really need to worry about Alys. We're going to charge in and steal all their attention, and the AI isn't too concerned with fighting her anyway.
I mentioned Sneak Attack last update. Here you can see we're getting an additional 2x damage by attacking from behind.
We spend a couple turns buffing Talf. Fast, cheap Illusions make spread-out battles a lot easier.
The damage isn't exemplary, but spreading it across the entire enemy team makes it more than worthwhile. If it hits, anyway.
That's annoying. Damage can vary by usually about +/-10%, but sometimes it's way lower. Summons are the biggest offenders, they readily vary by +/-20%.
The moogle Thief goes after Hurdy, but he'll be fine.
The Thief pulls off of Alys to attack Zoe. Steal Items misses, and she punishes both enemies with Shining Flare.
That's one down.
Talf switches to single-target attacks to keep this Thief under control. Maybe sticking with Illusions would have helped more, but it's not a huge difference.
Alys was basically bluffing about her powers. She spends the whole mission running away and trying to buff everyone.
Oh well. Not much of interest happens.
We turn a guy to stone, that's always cool.
The only enemy that can actually hit hard is the Alchemist -- well, and the Thieves, if they decide to actually attack.
It's not long before the last two fall.
"More or less"? What, are you also a charitable organization for war orphans or something?
Guess exactly how long this lasts. Hint: Not long.
For an allegedly competent criminal organization that's attempting to expand into a whole new country, Duelhorn is really bad at using their resources.
Seriously, Samuel would probably tell them anything they wanted, especially if they posed the question in the form of a bill at the pub.
You're lucky client-clan confidentiality is apparently a thing, Alys!
Back at the pub, there's another notice about Duelhorn.
Duelhorn on the Prowl posted:
--Notice to all Clan Members!--
We have received reports that Duelhorn is stepping up its recruitment activities. While its aim appears to remain the gathering of more clans under their central command, their means have gone from strong-arm to outright violent.
However, other reports suggest that this surge in activity is not official Duelhorn policy, but rather the result of actions taken by a group of extremists within the Duelhorn organization.
Whoever's authority they are working on, they have already been successful large number of clans into Duelhorn, and we can only expect the syndicate's power to grow even more in coming months.
We advise continued caution when dealing with anyone you suspect to be an agent of Duelhorn.
"they have already been successful large number of clans into Duelhorn." That's a hell of a mess of a sentence there.
So Duelhorn has moved from recruiting clans to subjugating them. But, perhaps more importantly, Duelhorn is not as united as we originally thought.
Reading that notice unlocks a event, "With a Smile," which appears randomly somewhere on the map.
Great, so, you're going to just let us pass then, yeah?
No melee attacks. Well, that's easy enough -- I try to make sure every character has at least one ranged option.
We start in this central square.
We're surrounded on three sides by pairs of nu mou consisting of a Black Mage paired with another magickal unit.
Each Black Mage specializes in a particular element, like this guy who knows the three Blizzard spells and can absorb Ice attacks.
Since they're all nu mou, we're basically guaranteed to be faster than them. The team will split up and deal with each pair at the same time.
I keep forgetting Magick Frenzy is a thing, but at least we landed the Silence!
That's two enemies rendered useless.
Notably, targeting yourself is perfectly fine. Just no one exactly 1 square away from you.
The Black Mages will attempt to heal themselves when attacking you.
But that's not a great idea when Lenolia avoids all magick (thanks to her Evade Magick R-Ability) and Leed will counter attack.
My plan was to use conditions to weaken the enemies, allowing us to easily clean them up. But that doesn't always work out.
Maybe I shouldn't have sent the Ninja and the Red Mage/Summoner to the same place, since they're both so powerful!
That's another down.
Leed gets the Silence and a crit, almost completely destroying the Time Mage in one turn.
Henri finishes the job.
And then the White Mage's Disable fades and he revives the Black Mage. I knew I should have focused on the White Mage a bit more!
Oh well, at least he can't make more trouble for a few turns.
Leed cleans up the other Black Mage with a Blizzara Magick Frenzy.
The last two fall pretty quickly after that.
Back at the pub, there's another quest waiting for us. Getting called out by name has always gone well, I'm sure this time won't be an exception!
Seriously, it's getting a little old.
Tons of nu mou! An arcanist with his back to us! This certainly isn't a setup!
No viera for us, so no Assassin or Summoner shenanigans.
I'm reading Adelle's lines as overly cheerful to the point of sarcasm.
: So, where's this mark?
The trap would have worked just as well if you had posted "clan sawyer come fight me -- duke snakeheart"
Snakeheart monologues for a bit about how stupid everyone else is, how much he just wants to fight, and so on.
I'll say this: I like Duke Snakeheart's brand of evil much more than Illua's. You can tell he's loving this, he's grinning through every line and chewing the scenery.
And of course we've got some good lines of our own.
Now, the "mark" is Duke Snakeheart. Which means we're just going to charge in and end him.
Or not. Hmm. Good thing Adelle has that Ribbon equipped still.
Those are some well-placed traps. Those are calculated positions that you'll run into if you just charge forward.
Adelle is punished for my little tactical indiscretion, but it's nothing she can't handle.
Dammit Snakeheart, that's twice now!
Anyway, Adelle starts the beatdown on Snakeheart.
That didn't take too long.
Yeah that's definitely going to end well.
Back at the pub, there's a letter waiting for us.
Sender Unknown posted:
Cid, long time no talk.
It sounds like you and yours have been dealing with Duelhorn recently. It seems Khamja has their eyes on your clan's connection to Duelhorn, no less.
Speaking of Duelhorn, a certain Dewk Snakeheart made a real mess of things at a Khamja betting stand just the other day. You can be sure neither Duelhorn nor Khamja will let this go without getting more deeply...involved, shall we say.
Knowing you, you'd never entertain the notion of joining forces with Duelhorn, but not everyone shares my faith.
Khamja too has grown, and there are many in its ranks that have never even heard the name "Cid."
I only wanted to warn you that Khamja will move on this, and soon. Be careful.
Don't give me more cause to worry about you, hmm?
Well well... sounds like Cid does have quite the history with Khamja, doesn't he!
There's also a new quest waiting for us.
Wait... Pie-Thon Caravan? And last time was Clan Serpentia. What are you up to now, Snakeheart?
The Master Monk and Seer are nameless mooks, but that's Maquis and the Night Dancer facing off against Duke Snakeheart.
Oof, this law. There's a handful of elementally-themed weapons, and obviously mages will be fine. But for some reason healing counts as non-elemental damage, unless you heal via absorbing damage like Lenolia does.
Hurdy is a Black Mage (he's fully mastered Time Mage now), Jalia has an elemental katana equipped, and Lian can use the Bishop's Aero and Water spells.
Snakeheart is in trouble, Maquis is pissed over his stunt with Khamja.
That's the first we've heard that, I think. Sure, we know Khamja is a force to be reckoned with, but not on the scale of a shadow force through all of history.
Well, we did sign up for the quest, so we don't really have a choice.
Seriously? You have bigger things to worry about than your reputation.
Alright, that's a little more serious.
"Nah." -- Clan Sawyer.
Wanna see the AI do something stupid?
Maquis attempts to Magick Frenzy against Lenolia. But:
1. She evades all magick attacks.
2. She's immune to conditions thanks to the Ribbon she's wearing.
3. She absorbs the holy damage from his melee attack.
Well done, Maquis!
Besides the law, the most annoying part of this mission is how agile Maguis is. A 68% chance to hit from behind is a little terrifying.
On the plus side, he's the only one attacking us. The Master Monk is almost dead already, the Night Dancer can't do anything besides basic attacks from there, and the Seer is so slow he can barely take any turns.
That doesn't mean the enemies aren't dangerous, of course!
Eventually we'll hit him.
After wearing him down over several turns, Hurdy nails Maquis with a Fire. Maquis has the Ensanguined Shield equipped, making him immune to Dark at the cost of being weak to Fire. It also gives him +15 evasion, which is partly why he's so slippery.
As before, knocking out Maquis ends the battle.
Looks like Khamja got the drop on Duelhorn again. Snakeheart really messed things up, didn't he.
Maquis ends this battle and runs to help his agents.
Shut up, you smug little snake.
Once more, we find an interesting notice waiting for us at the pub.
Duelhorn Suffers Setbacks posted:
Duelhorn, in the midst of a massive expansion, has suffered setbacks from attacks in Western Jylland.
The identity of the attackers is unknown. They have left no scrap of information that might shed light on their methods or motives. It is not even entirely clear that the attacks have been the work of a single group. The Jylland Defenders of Peace have been mobilized, but for the time being, are well behind the perpetrators in their investigations.
Should these attacks continue at this level of calculated ferocity, it is only a matter of time before Duelhorn falters and fails.
Rumors persist that the wave of attacks was prompted by an incident in Graszton several days before, in which Duelhorn members set off on a rampage which resulted in the destruction of several town buildings.
Perhaps they incurred someone, or something's wrath? Only time will and continued investigation can hope to tell.
We know Khamja is behind the attacks. This is the clearest description of the incident Snakeheart caused -- Duke, what exactly were you trying to do?!
Just like the earlier letter promised, someone has taken an interest in us and our connection to Duelhorn.
We're split up again. Up top are our high-mobility melee attackers, who will push in and take out the enemy supports. Down below are our ranged damage dealers, most notably Leed and Talf, who both have Illusions.
And, of course, Alys is here too.
Yeah, we keep kicking their asses.
And, uh, they keep hiring us.
Alys is here because she knows Khamja is interested in Clan Sawyer, and she wants to make sure we survive their attention. We might be a helpful resource in the inevitable showdown between Duelhorn and Khamja.
No one tell him there's another 8 members of Clan Sawyer who aren't here.
Alys starts off with Oil and Blind, and the Oil immediately fades. She will spend the entire battle healing us.
The enemy consists of a White Mage, Soldier, Black Mage, Master Monk and Tinker.
Yeah, this is going to be annoying. But we'll manage. (Wish I had Samuel's Roar right now though!)
So this is a moment that many people in the thread have been waiting for.
You see, Leed finally has Magick Frenzy and a handful of Illusions he can use.
Which means he can target every enemy on the battlefield with the Illusion, then teleport around and punch them all in the face.
The Shell + Protect somewhat lessens the damage, but that's still two hits against every enemy. It would be even better if he was Dual Wielding, but he needs to be Seer for a bit so he can master Recharge.
Thanks to Haste, Recharge and Half MP, he can do this every turn for quite a while.
Of course, the rest of Clan Sawyer is doing quite well too.
Talf has Illusions of his own that have quite a kick to them.
Seriously, two turns of that and Leed already has a full Smash Gauge.
Ultima's not as cool as Condemnation, unfortunately.
And while it doesn't pack much of a punch, it also heals every friendly unit for 100% of their HP! It's a great emergency heal.
Alys is mostly useless, but these Ethers guarantee Leed will Magick Frenzy everything to death.
Annoying, but everyone who was hit already has Regen thanks to Alys. Those two cancel each other out.
Leed gets a double kill, taking out the Black Mage and Master Monk in one frenzy.
The rest are soon to follow.
The Tinker takes an obnoxiously long time to die. Then again, that job does have great HP, Defense and Resistance growths, plus Shell and Protect.
Too bad he couldn't do anything to actually stop us from killing him.
Right, we knew that already.
Khamja does everything off-screen. The only way we know they're actually effective is comments like this.
Seriously, what the hell? Razed earth policies seem like a terrible idea here!
It's not their decision to make, no matter how principled Maquis is. And Alys just feels helpless.
Yeah, I'd say Leed was the MVP here.
Duelhorn is struggling, beset by Khamja and bleeding resources. But that's all we'll see of them this update.
Instead, let's close things out with another Heritor quest.
: Never say never.
The ground shakes and a dragon emerges from the pool.
More monsters appear.
: I bet that big one is your Beast of Aisenfield right there!
: That...creature was once a man? It's hard to believe.
: A power no man has ever known... Could it be?
Those dragons are absolute bags of HP, staying below 20 dama-- wait.
That's not what the law says! I guess we won't use any Ninja Veils, though.
Can you see how I've messed up this positioning?
: I...I hear its voice inside my head. Then it really was a hume...once.
: You were a Gifted One too, weren't you. I'll do as you ask. I will end this.
No reason not to charge in and end this quickly.
Except our movement is stymied by the high cliffs of this map. It's one of my least favorite maps, thankfully we've only seen it once or twice before. We can't easily pressure the enemy because we're all blocking each other.
But that's why we have ranged damage!
Nesiaam flees across the map, but Adelle catches up and finishes him.
: Your strength does not die with you.
The Nagrarok is the second-strongest knightsword at 68 attack, beaten only by the Fallen Angel. Nesiaam is a useful ability: Addle is basically a lesser Disable, blocking all abilities but not basic attacks.
Thanks for reading. Next update: The Fall of Duelhorn!