The Let's Play Archive

Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift

by Solumin

Part 27: Have at Thee, Ham-planks!

Update 27: Have At Thee, Ham-planks!

In This Update:
- Pirates!
- Dancers!
- Suave, Vaguely Spanish Nobility!


In Update 21, we saw a cutscene where Adelle and Hurdy went shopping for a cape for Cid. This was right after we had rescued her from Khamja, and it was her way of apologizing to Cid.

That was only half the cutscene.

: Sounds like the work of those folks from the east... The dread sky pirates Vaan and Penelo!

: Aye, the very same. They laid low after the botched assassination... Guess that didn't last long! They're stealing everything what's not nailed down!

: Fafnir's Tear, the Glimmering Wyrmstone, and now the Crest... Gems, all of them. Guess they fancy that sort of thing?

: Makes you wonder what they'll go for next.

: You don't know? It's the Black Cat, for sure. That thing's covered in jewels! They even did the owner - one Lord Eden - the service of warning him!

: Which leads to that bill in the pub requesting the capture of them sky pirates!

: So that means, if I were to take that quest... I'd be going up against them.

: And if I know you, you can't wait for the chance! You're so transparent.

: Hey, so I want to see who're the better fighters? Is that so wrong?

: If you ask me, they're more trouble than they're worth.

The rest of the scene focuses on Khamja and Adelle's interactions with Illua. This lead to Adelle meeting with Lezaford again and unlocking her Heritor powers.

We've already done all that! It's time for pirates.

Signed, Fohgginus Eden

"Fohgginus"? Hell of a name. Well, off we go to Camoa!

And here they are, right on time!


: Alas! I fear 'tis true! The questers have become the questees!


: Ooh, Vaan! Dost thou think that mayhaps, we art marked!?

: Um... Why are you both talking like that?

: Shew me an olde skye pirate that dost not talk so, and I'll shew you...

: Wait-! We're not actually olde, mindeth you. That was just a figure of speech.

: Less pontifaction and more action, say I! Out of our ways!

: Yay, mine nose doth wrinkle at their land-lubbing stench, o Vaan. Let us do for them and be done with them at once, posthaste!

: All right. Who are you guys?

The rest of the pirates' crew walks in.

: Only artless swine such as thine... er, thee... wouldn'st know Vaan and Penelo! Haven'st thou not seen our names writ large on... large pieces of paper?

: Vaan and Penelo? You're kidding me.

There's a single bangaa Cannoneer here, so watch out for him, I guess.

Disclosure: I did this mission before the last Frimelda mission that you saw last update. Frimelda is here to get some much-needed levels before taking on Ghi.

: Nay, 'tis I, Vaan! Swiftest sky pirate in all Ivalice! 'Twere this a play, I'd be leading man!

: If this is a play, the acting's terrible.

Let's take a look at our sesquipedalian opponents, shall we?

These characters really are named "Vaan?" and "Penelo?". They have the correct classes though -- more or less.

They have some pretty good gear and some neat abilities. Here's Penelo?'s Dance abilities, for example. She never uses any of them besides Mincing Minuet though!

Meanwhile, Vaan? spends his time buffing himself.

It's a headhunt, and while we could use the loot from the other enemies, I'd rather just get this over with.

After all, we're still ~8 levels lower than the enemies. It hurts.

And yeah, we do good damage -- great damage, even! Geomancy is a huge boon to Parivir's elemental blade attacks.

But we're still fragile. Holy shit, that's a lot of damage!

Also there's traps.

Fortunately, we have a Summoner, which is like a White Mage but better! (Except for cleansing conditions.) Let's get this battle over with before anyone else dies.

Leed has it under control. Magick Frenzy continues to be really good! I'd have used the Seer/Illusionist combo, but that would have hit the Cannoneer.

Penelo? has her own line if you defeat her first:

: Forsooth! I am forsaken! Naaaaaay!

I misunderstood the law and thought we had to take down both of them, but the target really was just Vaan?.


: What!? You're just giving up on the jewels?

: You want to go to the brig so sorely, be my guest.

: Prison? You must have me mistaken for someone with her own interests at heart.

They make a run for it.

They don't get very far.

: Ah, "wait". As if that's ever stopped a fleeing pirate. Hmm?

: Hey!

: Hmph. I have to admit, I like the way they're dressed. Wouldn't you agree, Vaan?

: Oh, lovely. It's the last people I wanted to see: us.

: The feeling's mutual.


After dealing with the fake sky pirates, Samuel reconvenes with Vaan and Penelo.

: The jewel thieves I can live with. It's the ones that steal from old ladies... *sigh*

: It's all on account of that business with Baron Beltorey.

: And what's all this about the "swiftest sky pirate"? ...Swiftest sky pirate, I wish.

: You mean, you're not?

: Not yet. Oh, I'll get there soon enough, mind you.

: I try not to worry too much about what others choose to do. But impersonation has its risk. We're not entirely without enemies, after all.

Penelo is really the heart of this operation. She's worried that people who are after Vaan and her will accidentally attack impersonators instead.

: True, true. You can probably add one more to that list, too.

: Huh?

: Vaan!

: Wait... what do you mean?

: Er, it's nothing. Just sky pirate talk. Still, I'm glad these imposters turned out to be small fry. And you being here helped, to be sure.

: Actually, I came here because I thought I'd be going up against you.

: Well, we'll just have to take a rain check on that one. Busy schedule and all. Pirating is a lot of work you know.

: I trust you'll turn those impostors in for us.

: Ah... Almost forgot. Since we've come all this way, we'll be taking the Black Cat with us.

: The Black Cat... The treasure!? Wait!

And he's gone.

: I'm sure our paths will cross again. Soon.

And that's the last we ever saw of Vaan and Penelo!


Haha, no, of course it isn't.

Scene: Adelle and Samuel walking through the Flugoris aerodrome.

When suddenly a handsome man wearing sunglasses indoors abruptly stops them.

: You must forgive me. It is not my custom to extend a hand to one so... unfeminine, but -

: Hey, -you- ran into me!

: A member of Clan Sawyer, are you not?

: And you are?

: Ah, forgive me once again. So bound was I by the enchantment your beauty weaves, I neglected my introductions.

: The flower that blooms rich and full is stunning indeed. More enticing still is the fragrant bud... and the sweet promise of unsavored delights. Ah...ambrosia!

: ...Margrace?

: Huh? You know him?

: No... never mind. It seems you already know who we are, but I'll introduce us all the same. I'm Adelle. And the one who ran into you and fell on his behind is Samuel.

: Just my name would have been enough.

: So, you were looking for someone from our clan? Why?

: To tell the truth...

Al-Cid's manservant hands him a letter.

: I hoped you might be willing to deliver this letter to a particular person.

: A "particular" person? That's pretty vague.

: Nay, in fact it is a most simple task. This person... is someone you know.

: Someone we know?

OK, this is my favorite detail: the Geomancer in the back, who just walked through the door and came to a sudden stop behind AL-Cid.

Al-Cid's manservant interrupts with a whispered message.

: Ah, I was not aware the hour was... so late. Well? My proposal - do you accept? You will be compensated for your time, of course.

: This whole thing stinks of a set-up...

: Of course we'll do it!

: We... huh? Adelle!?

: Then the fair maiden has my undying gratitude.

He hands the letter to Adelle.

: Yes, it seems there is more to this bloom than mere beauty.

: So... who are we supposed to give this to?

: A pirate of the skies... One who, I fear, is most unpunctual. His companion, however, is an enchanting lady beyond compare... Present company excluded, of course.

: The letter, see that it reaches him. My leave I take.

: Man! Talk about an attitude! I can't stand guys like that.

: So it seems.

: I can't believe you agreed to- Wait. He's not your type, is he?

: Oh, he certainly piqued my interest, if that's what you mean. House Margrace... Now that's a family I'd not mind having in my debt.

: Huh?

: Anyway, what's this about an unpunctual sky pirate?

: I thought he might mean Vaan. It's not like we know any other sky pirates.

Speak of the devil!

: Hey, it's the headhunter! You haven't seen Vaan around here, have you?

: He's not with you? Actually, we were sort of looking for him, too.

: For Vaan? Why?

: Some funky guy gave us this letter... I think it's for Vaan.

: A letter...? Do you mind if I take a look?

: This seal... The one who gave you this... he wasn't tall, with sunglasses... and a little bit of an attitude, was he?

: You're right about the glasses, but this guy's attitude was anything but "little". What'd he say his name was? Al-Cid Margrace, or something?

: So it -was- Al-Cid... And he's left already.

She hands the letter back to Adelle.

: Vaan must have completely forgotten about their meeting. I wonder where he went... the keep ruins, maybe?

: The ruins? You mean the ones to the north of the aerodrome? Want us to help look?

: What?

: We did promise to deliver this letter. You'll help, right, Adelle?

: And I thought you were the one who didn't want to do this... Fine, we're in. I've a feeling our patron's the type to skimp our reward if he heard we didn't deliver in person.

: Then, thank you.

: Well, what are we waiting for? Let's go find him!

And just like that, we recruit Penelo!

She starts with some alright equipment and a good selection of abilities. Mincing Minuet is a ranged attack, while Blade Dance deals two melee-range hits but requires a bladed weapon to be equipped.

Penelo isn't a terrible unit. Her stats aren't too bad, and she's technically a viera. Thing is, we don't really need another one, and Dancer doesn't really make her better than the average viera.


We head north to the ruins, where Penelo thinks Vaan may be in trouble.

: Of all the times to get caught.

: This runt? He won't give us no trouble! Just need me a minute or two alone with him to... come to an understandin'.

: A pity. I thought the terms of our agreement with your clan most favorable, but now...

: W-Wait! Hear me out!

: I've no intention of listening to your excuses. Farewell.

He teleports away.

: Grah!

: I sure hope I didn't spoil your little get-together.

: Y-You!

: Not exactly light on your feet. I'd go easy on the fodder if I were you.

: Fodder is what you'll be, boy...

: Just the chance I was waiting for!

: My... my leg...

: Vaan!

: Wake up, lazy mongrels! Got a new toy for you to chew on!

: Have a go at his friends while you're at it!

: Hold on, Vaan!

What's with all these anti-bangaa laws?

Just means we won't be bringing any lizards with us.

No headhunt here, so we're actually going to take everyone out for once.

That should be easy enough. The enemies are actually lower level than we are this time!

Compare this to the damage we were taking in the Pirate Problems fight.

: And you've even brought Red Cap with you.

: I was looking for you. When you weren't where we were supposed to meet, I got worried.

: I heard some choice morsels about that group we've been following. I couldn't just sit back and let a chance like that slip by.

: You never learn, do you?

: I know, I know. Save the scolding for later, okay?

Blade Dance is Penelo's best damage-dealing ability by far. She can equip knives, rods, staves and poles, giving her access to some really strong weapons. (Tiptaptwo and Whale Whisker, for example.) Of course, only knives can be used with Blade Dance.

Don't worry about Vaan. The Immobilize fades at the start of his turn.

Not much to say about this battle, really. Samuel's really hitting his potential as Parivir now.

Jalia is a Sniper right now, because she's mastered Assassin and needs more abilities.

Penelo is solid, but not outstanding.

Who do you think would win in a fight: Vaan or Samuel?

I underestimated how much Penelo would do in this fight.

This poor wolf was Stopped in the first round and never got to take a turn.

: At least everybody's all right. It was touch and go for a minute there.

It really wasn't.

: It's a good thing you showed up when you did. Thanks.


: The least you could do is tell me where you're going or leave a note or... or something!

: Penelo, when are you going to stop treating me like a kid?

: When you stop acting like one! You're being reckless, and if you keep it up you're going to get hurt.

: The way I see it, you gotta be a little reckless if you wanna get the job done. Who ever heard of a cautious pirate?

: There's a difference between cautious and... suicidal!


: I guess I did come out pretty lucky... Look, I'm sorry, okay?

: Are you two finished?

: Oh, right. You had something for Vaan.

: For me? What?

: A letter.

: Al-Cid? What would he- I completely forgot! I was supposed to meet up with him.

: *sigh* Vaan... That letter probably has the answer we've been waiting for. I'd rather have heard it from him, but this's better than nothing.

: Looks like things are going to get reckless again.

: "If you wish to learn more about Khamja... you would do well to seek out Clan Sawyer". Vaan, do you know what this means!?

: It means the Fates are at it again. Remember Baron Beltorey?

: What's he got to do with this?

: We kept an ear to the ground for any word about the assassination attempt. Well, it wasn't long after he recovered that they caught the assassin. But something didn't seem quite right.

: So we did a little poking around to find out more about this assassin. The more we looked, the less things made sense.

: We knew there was something going on behind the scenes. And guess who we found waiting in the wings?

: You've heard of them?

: ...

: They keep to the shadows. We went to someone used to looking into these things without raising suspicion.

: If we weren't on their blacklist before, I think it's safe to say we are now.

: So they're your "one more" enemy for the list.

: Exactly.

: It's all starting to make sense. Let me guess what your silver-tongued, bespectacled informant had to say. He told you that no one knew Khamja better than Clan Sawyer.

: Huh? Us?

: Not a bad guess.

: It's all pretty obvious, when you think about it.

: Then you shouldn't have any trouble figuring out what we're going to ask you next.

: Huh!?

Samuel, you've already recruited one of them. What were you expecting?

: Don't worry, you'll hardly notice we're there. None of us is exactly on Khamja's good side, so we might as well stick together.

: What's the matter, Samuel?

: It's just a lot to take in all at once. Well, let's see what Cid has to say. Something tells me he'll be happy to have you with us!

: I hope you're right! Y'know what, I don't think we've actually been properly introduced. My name's Penelo.

: And I'm Vaan. Nice to meecha!

: I'm Adelle.

: I'm Samuel. Good to finally put names to the faces!


So now we get our fifth plot-required character: Vaan.

His stats are pretty good, and the Piracy abilities are at least interesting. Steal takes a random item or piece of loot from the target. Salvage destroys traps and gives you loot -- too bad we already did those trap missions, huh? Shadow Stalk bypasses R-Abilities and Razor's Edge boosts your crit rate.

Vigilance is a very cool P-Ability. It would work pretty well with my reckless playstyle.


Back in the Fluorgis pub, Vaan and Penelo get a drink.

I sure hope you're ready for a conversation that's 90% FFXII references!

: The kids let you go, did they? Looks like they kept you busy.

: Where do they get so much energy? They must be sipping potions when I'm not looking. I think I've had enough of tag with that lot for a while.

: Hmph. You make out like it's a big hardship... but you've always had a soft spot for the little ones, Vaan.

The camera pans to Hurdy's performance.

: That music... it's not bad. Kind of mellow. It reminds me of the old days in Rabanastre. Running around with the old gang all the time... We had fun.

: I was thinking the same thing.

He finishes to wild applause.

: You... You weren't listening to my performance, were you, kupo?

: Hurdy!

: So that was you playing up there. It was pretty good, Hurdy!

: Kupo... Thanks! That means a lot to me. My reception wasn't always so warm, you know. People used to throw tomatoes! And then you'd have to -fight- the tomatoes...

: I guess my journey in search of musical inspiration has paid off, kupo!

: Yeah, we'd heard about that, actually. I was pretty surprised to hear you'd joined up with Clan Sawyer. Looks like they're treating you fine, at least.

: Well, I'm just glad to see you two looking well, kupo. I'd hear about your adventures now and then through the grapevine. Even before I joined up with Samuel and the others, kupo. In a few more years, you two will be some of the top pirates in Ivalice, kupo!

: We have skills, it's true.

: That reminds me! Are you two in touch with Nono at all, kupo? I got a letter from him the other day. He really misses you two, kupo!

: Now that you mention it, we haven't seen Nono in a long time, huh.

: It's been a while since we parted ways in Lemures. Is he still chief machinist on the Strahl?

: No, kupo! He saved up the gil he made doing that and built an airship of his own! He said she was ready for her maiden voyage, kupo!

: Whoa! He -built- his own ship!? How fast is it? Faster than the Strahl? No way!

: Well, I don't know all the details, kupo. You should really go and see for yourselves, kupo!

: Right. Maybe we'll fly by there, sooner rather than later.

: You're such a little boy when it comes to airships, Vaan.

: Don't knock it. Flying airships is my job now, remember? And who doesn't dream of building their own ship!?

: You know, Penelo, we should hire our own machinist one of these days. I mean, we're sky pirates. We have our reputation to think of, after all.

: Reputation... that's right! We need a full time machinist! He could teach me stuff...

: Have you forgotten how hard it was just buying our ship? Now you want to hire help!? If we had that much gil lying around, I can think of a few things I'd want before that.

: Well... if you can't afford a machinist, how about a bard, kupo? Act now and I'll give you a special friend price!

: First a dancer, now a bard...?

: Oh, you know you wouldn't have it any other way.

: *sigh* Guess there's nothing to do but put our noses to the grindstone and make some gil.

: No substitute for hard work, I say, kupo!

: Hear that, Vaan? Hard work!

: Who do you think you're talking to!?


I think I'll cut the update there. All that dialogue takes up a lot more space than I expected.

So now we've recruited two more characters: Vaan and Penelo. We are literally right before the last story mission (not that we'll be doing it any time soon) and the game is still foisting characters on us.

As for the characters themselves... well, they have potential. Vaan is a hume and Penelo counts as a viera, so they both have plenty of powerful jobs to choose from. We'll get into their unique jobs in a future Job Roundup, but let's say they're pretty whelming. If you're hurting for good characters, here's a couple fresh units that could fill out an ailing roster. The game forces you to recruit Adelle, Cid, Hurdy and these two. Since you can't force any of them out of the clan, you're guaranteed to be able to field a full squad of six.

Vaan and Penelo don't exactly have a strong impact on the story, either. Penelo is especially bad: she exists to run after Vaan and tell him not to be an idiot. At least Vaan has the whole rivalry/schoolboy crush thing going on with Samuel, which gives the writers a convenient reason to keep throwing them at each other. It could be that the writers expected players to be familiar with the sky pirates from having played FFXII, so they skimped on establishing motivations or any kind of arcs. I've never played that game, and they're basically blank slates to me.