The Let's Play Archive

Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift

by Solumin

Part 45: Prima Donna and the Case of the Chocobo's Talon

Update 45: Prima Donna and the Case of the Chocobo's Talon

In This Update:
- Geology!
- Adventure!
- Prima Donna!


Welcome back!

Way back in update 15, we helped the Jylland Geological Survey Committee survey points of interest in the Galerria Deep.

Today, we're going to help the committee with a few more surveys. First stop: Nazan Mines.

And, of course, there are zombies.

We don't actually have to kill them, just investigate the glowing points on the ground.

But they're weak enough that we might as well. Otherwise, they'll just be really annoying and get in our way.

The clan is still a bit unbalanced from the tournament arc, so today we'll be seeing a bunch of our weaker units. I like everyone to be within one level of each other. It's not absolutely necessary, but it makes it easier to field whatever team I want.

: Well they seem excited... It can't be helped, I suppose. On with the survey.

Well this is off to a good start.

Fortunately, Tsing can take care of it. This isn't the last time we'll be seeing traps today.

As usual, the survey requires us to walk up to a point and "investigate" it.

The locals don't seem to like that, but they can't exactly stop us.

I keep forgetting Hunter is actually pretty useful, if a bit boring.

Away wi' ye!

Illusions are cheating a little, maybe. I mean, they're not as bad as Mirror X-Potion. But it's still 600+ damage in one turn.

Hurdy actually gets a kill! This is pretty much the whole battle: Talf nuking everything while the rest of the team does cleanup.

But then things get interesting.

Who is it? Who will be the victim today?


And we still get the loot reward for killing the monster. Thanks, buddy.

Sidewinder is a great, thematic Hunter ability that deals double damage to monsters. It's the staple of their skill set, alongside Sonic Boom.

Remember, when fighting undead, it's important to clear their tombstones! Especially in this battle, when the battle isn't over until all the survey is complete. Al-Cid can do it with a Phoenix Down.

Hurdy has a great ability for this: Requiem, a Bard ability that does a melee-range AoE sanctify. It deals heavy damage to undead and removes their tombstones!

Wait, what? That's the Counter R-Ability animation.

Hurdy just got Counter'd by the Zombie he just banished.

As far as I know, this is the only real bug in FFTA2. It only happens when Hurdy uses Requiem to banish an undead creature that has Counter. No other sanctification ability triggers it.

Well. That little oddness aside, Al-Cid can banish the last Zombie with a Phoenix Down while everyone else stares at rocks.

: You know... I reckon this place smells even fouler than the Galerria Deep. A fact not improved by the monsters' strange excitement. Hrmm... I wonder if the two are connected.

Looks like we won't have too much trouble with these surveys.


The next survey is in the Neslowe Passage, specifically in the secret place we unlocked a few updates ago. And look, we get hazard pay!

Not monsters this time. Hmm.

Not monsters, but still below us in level. So I'm not worried.

Al-Cid is actually our weakest member right now at level 43, so get used to seeing him for a bit. Here he is in his best possible scenario: the only man on the team.

: Drove the last ones off...? Who are you?

: And there I was thinking this would be easy with no monsters in our way... Let's deal with this latest hindrance and get on with the surveying, shall we?

So they have 3 bangaa, a Seer, a Ninja and a Parivir. Maybe I should respect that.

Especially since they'll have skills and equipment that make them more dangerous than monsters.

Let's have a look at Al-Cid. Here's his normal attack -- extremely unimpressive, though that Master Monk does have great defense.

Instead, we could use Flourish. This attack deals more damage for every female unit on your team. With a team of 5 women and Al-Cid, he'll deal 3x the damage of a normal attack!

Or he can walk into a trap instead.

Ninja vs Ninja! NPC Ninjas without Dual Wield don't really seem threatening.

This Master Monk has been worrying me a little. This lucky Stop really puts things in our favor.

Oh come on!

OK, that does make me feel better, even if he only had his MP drained.

Normally we would have to rely on Tsing to warn us about traps. But Al-Cid can also help! Interrogate requires you to target a singular enemy, so it's limited by range, but it won't run afoul of the "targeting all units" laws.

Besides revealing all traps, Interrogate shows everything the target is holding. As you can see, there's multiple options! Each enemy has four possible inventories, though I've only shown two here. The game randomly chooses one of these loot tables when deciding which loot to drop or when a Thief steals from the unit.

Adelle inflicts Addle on the Cannoneer. He wasn't a huge threat, though his high range meant he could lead us on a merry chase across the battlefield. Now we only have to deal with his basic attacks.

Magick Frenzy is scary, but not as scary as when Leed does it. Seers can't dual wield, so their damage is a bit less impressive.

This was a funny little moment. Both Frimelda and the Parivir absorb holy damage.

Al-Cid claims the first kill. We should be able to build some momentum off this kill and wrap this battle up.

I'm actually feeling like we're the weaker party here. Lenolia has spent most of her turns healing our team, because we're taking so much damage from the Parivir and Seer.

Our damage is OK, but we're relying heavily on facings to get anything done.

Shutting down their offenses is a workable solution. We'd be in a lot more trouble if that Master Monk was still alive.

OK, that's two down. The Master Monk is still stopped, the Seer and Cannoneer are addled for a few more turns, leaving just the Trickster.

Good time to use a Scion then.

Cúchulainn the Impure (from FFXII) posted:

Scion created to rid the world of its impurities by swallowing them within himself, in opposition to Nabriales the Majestic, scion of light. The world, however, was more filled with impurity and corruption than even the gods dared imagine, and having swallowed it all, the once beautiful Cúchulainn was transformed into a hideous thing, a deity of filth, and so did he turn against his creators. Wherever his feet should fall, there all life withers to dust.

Yeah this is easily the creepiest Scion. We're never using this one again. Those are some nasty tentacles.

Can't complain about the effects though, with solid damage and poison on every enemy.

The tide of battle is solidly in our favor now.

Three left!

We have another new Scion to show off: Meteor.

Wait, what?

Holy shit.

Exodus (from FFXII) posted:

Most ancient of the scions, created in opposition to Halmarut, the Arbiter, and scion of light. Tasked with keeping watch over the world, with the authority to judge the value of all things. As he watched, unseen, unknown, his attachment to the world dwindled and faded until it was as nothing. Fitting that he would desire to make the world, too, as nothing. Yet he fell in the war against the gods, and was thwarted, imprisoned in punishment for his heresy.

It's a little hard to see in the images. Exodus has two meteors in those egg cups he's holding, and he sends them flying into the air to summon a giant meteor to crush your enemies.

You can just barely see the KO text. I think this is my favorite scion.

Hey look I finally show Lenolia doing something! She really has been busy healing us all battle.

Jalia summons Ultima to finish off the last enemy. The KO text is barely visible.

And with that, it's time to complete the survey.

There's two little treasure chests. They aren't really worth opening.


: Survey finished. I am curious about the stones they collected. Could they have something to do with the strange smell down here?

It is a mystery.


One last survey. This time in... Zellea, the Forbidden Land?!

That means a visit to Lezaford, in case you forgot how to reach Zellea.

This is the location where we had to activate the Mage Cannon to defeat the Neukhia, many updates ago.

It makes me wonder what kind of alien geology there is here. Do the rocks float?

When I was doing this mission, I basically spent the entire time cursing and freaking out. These are some scary enemies.

Everyone on this mission must be dressed to the nines. Bring as much status effect-blocking equipment as you can -- I would have gone with a full-Ribbon team if I could.

A full-out assault cannot succeed here. Our best chance is to charge for those points and complete the survey as fast as possible.

: Hrmm, the survey site is crowded -- this lot looks to be the worst yet!

He's not kidding.

: Something is amiss with these monsters... Let's avoid them as best we can.

That's right, the mage cannon is still active! It's not really helpful!

We know from experience there's traps here -- there has to be, every other survey had them. But we can't use Awareness due to the law!

And that immediately bites me. I kind of forgot Interrogate exists, but it also runs afoul of the law unless Al-Cid is next to the target, which means he would be in near-mortal danger. At least Tsing isn't hurt by this trap.

Thanks game, that does make me feel better.

Remember Tonberries? They Stalk one of your units, then use Karma to kill them immediately. Fun!

Here's my advanced strategy: Hide. There's one point right where we spawned, three near the mage cannon chargers, and the last one at the far end of the island. Hurdy's job is to get that last one.

Remember these? They're called Zahaks, I think the base monster is a Drake?

They can afflict Sleep and Doom.

I believe my thoughts at this point were, "Oh god, no, please, I need him."

This is a perfectly justified use of Mirror Item. I usually save it for extreme circumstances, and this is one of them.

Henri is heading for the point by the southern charge station.

Vaan's goal is the point by this charger. I promise you I am good at this game and that very angry dragon won't shred him.

"I don't need a White Mage," I scoff as I prepare my team. Well, I'm sure glad Al-Cid has Items. Cid is still Doomed though.

Remember the Nagaraja? They can inflict Addle. This won't stop Tsing from interacting with survey points or the charging stations, thankfully.

I actually almost gave up at this point. Half our team debilitated in one round. It's disheartening!

Plus we're barely scratching these monsters.

And, even worse, they have reinforcements. This really hammers home that you are not supposed to try to win here.

Hurdy's inching ever closer. Kind of wish I had come here when we were level 60+ and could just hammer these enemies. It would be cathartic and enriching.

Funnily enough, this is the attack that would have truly broken my resolve if it had landed. Rend Armor doesn't just lower defense, it has a chance to destroy the target's equipment. Thankfully, it has really low accuracy.

OK. One point down. We can do this.


Al-Cid, combat medic.

Cid spends his last turn alive to investigate the second point.

Hurdy's almost there, unseen.

Tsing is being stalked by the Tonberry again. We just have two points left. We just need to keep it together for a little longer.

Al-Cid is cornered by two of the enemies. Cid is about to die. Vaan is very weak. Tsing is being stalked. It's really just up to Henri and Hurdy now.

On reflection, I really wish I had remembered Interrogate was available.

Look, this is the perfect opportunity to use it! Instead, Al-Cid heals himself.

Cid succumbs.

I was so worried this was a Charm attack. Though I guess the Orb of Minwu would have blocked it.

You have to be kidding me! At least he's still invisible and not Charmed.

Great, this might help!

It was OK.

There's no way we're going to activate it again, but we're almost done.

The three monsters in the south spend their turns attacking Al-Cid. This is a good thing, because they aren't attacking Vaan instead.

I'm so glad this big green dummy didn't attack Vaan. One more point!

Henri ran to help Hurdy, leaving Tsing exposed.

We're almost done, Tsing. Rest for now.

The very next turn, Henri finally touches the point.

: That should do it for the survey. Let's make our report. ...Only wish we had discovered the source of that smell.

I can't really put into words how relieved I am that I finished this on the first try.


Besides the frankly great rewards from the survey quests themselves -- 15,250 Gil from the last one alone! -- we also get to see the survey report.

Geological Survey Complete posted:

The Jylland Geological Survey Committee has released the findings of their most recent surveys.

According to the committee's report, new evidence has been found supporting a theory behind the increasing numbers of unusually aggressive monsters.

The aggression has been linked to trace amounts of a poisonous substance found in several of the areas surveyed.

The substance is said to smell something like chocobo talons, a scent that becomes stronger at higher concentrations.

Monsters exposed to the scent exhibit signs of mental instability, suffering delusions and periods of rampant, uncontrolled activity.

Worryingly, the survey also found that quarried rocks bearing amounts of this substance have been used for stonework which, beautiful though it is, has the unfortunate disadvantage of being mildly poisonous to people.

The survey committee has begun a campaign to inform mines and stonecrafting workshops in the areas where this substance is found, as well as calling for increased caution when working potentially tainted materials.

So it was... magickal lead? Or asbestos? Except the smell alone was poisonous and driving monsters mad? And what exactly do chocobo talons smell like, anyway?


Our second set of quests today is a bit more lighthearted.

Remember Prima Donna? For once, we'll actually be helping them.

Why (and how, for that matter) do you have a storage shed in a section of the fens that had been magickally sealed?

Actually I could totally believe that the Witch is a fan and let her have some swampy real estate.

: The shed is here! I know there's someone inside! Could you take a look?

Oh. It's these guys.

: It's Mayhew's storage shed! She actually uses this! This is -so- exciting! And... kind of messy.

: Well, they seem to know you, and they seem concerned about the neatness of your shed... I suspect they may not be burglars.

: Oh? What's that? Let's see...

: Ahhhhh! I know them! They're our devotees!

: And what do you mean "messy"!? How rude!

: I-I'm sorry... Let's beat it!

: Mayhap we should teach them a lesson, while they're here and all.

Meet Team "Get Off My Lawn". They're perfectly equipped to get these darn kids off your lawn.

Or out of your storage shed, as the case may be.

I used Ice Shot here because I wasn't sure if Imino was going to clip the side of the shed with his shot. Special attacks don't care about line of sight.

Team Get Off My Lawn is so efficient that no one else had a chance to do anything besides move around. Then again, this was a rank 6 mission.

No, that was all us, Al-Cid.

: Aren't you worried they'll stop following Prima Donna...?

: Worried? Me? Not at all! Why, they broke into Aluette's place just the other day. She gave them a sound thrashing, she did.

: ...And then next day at the concert, there they were in the front row!

: Your devotees must have great fortitude...

: Quite! It's fun seeing them at the shows, though!

Wasn't that a fun palette cleanser after the last survey?


- Prima Donna

Kind of a weird request, but ok, we can play bodyguard for them.

That's Henri as a Defender in the middle there. Also, one of those Raptors is Zoe. We only get 3 units for this mission, our last one being Talf as a Black Mage. Not that we really need more, since the members of Prima Donna are competent enough.

I feel like this mission does more to actually give the girls character. Every other interaction has had them freaking out about something and/or threatening us.

: This should be interesting.

: Time's a-wasting! And don't forget -- we're on your side. Our quartet has no desire to become a trio, dueo or solo artiste.

: We'll try to keep that in mind.

See? Just a bit of sarcasm and I already like them a bit more than I ever did before.

Anyway, this is a pretty standard beat-'em-up mission. Nighthawk is a Fencer ability we've never really seen before, since I don't use Fencers. It looks cool.

Target this Lamia first. It'll try to shut down your team with Hand Slap (delays target's turn) and Night (puts all units to sleep).

This corner should be the focus of your fight after the Lamia, since three enemies are here.

Lili, the Hunter, pretty much never attacks and just gives Advice to people. It boosts crit chance, which isn't awful.

Annoying, but not terrible. Henri will go down and help her -- after all, a Defender is the perfect person to keep Valentyne safe, right?

Up top, the Lamia is half dead already.

Mayhew disables the Headless. We can basically ignore them now, I'm sure she can handle that fight.

I love Unscarred, it adds so much to your damage. That's the P-Ability that boosts your stats as long as you're at full HP.

We get first blood, proving we're better at this combat thing than Prima Donna.

I will admit Doom is a good move though.

This Malboro is just kind of here?

High risk, high reward. Though missing isn't much of a risk, honestly.

Magick can't crit, Lili. Go talk to Mayhew instead.

Things are developing down south. The Nidhogg has backed way, though the Malboro is still at full HP.

Valentyne's no longer immobilized and finishes off the Deathscythe. We don't have a way to banish it, so we need to finish this quickly.

Defenders have pretty bad movement, so we couldn't get to the other side of the Malboro. At least the counter attack misses, preserving Henri's Unscarred bonus.

Valentyne traded blows with the Malboro, and Talf's spell brought them down even further. We're almost done here.

Mayhew's still working on this guy.

Oh, is it that time again?

Let me help you with that.

As you can see, Meteor has only a 50% chance to hit. Sleep, Stop, etc. make it much more powerful.

Valentyne and Henri clean up the last two. Good timing, the Deathscythe only had a turn or two left.

: That's all of them. Well done.

: Ha. I'd say it all came back to us. Thanks for the assistance!

: Glad to be of service. I hope it helps.

: Oh, it will, it will! You should come to our next concert! Until then!

I was honestly hoping for another chance to beat them up, but it was nice to see Prima Donna as actual characters for once.


Thanks for reading! I'm still wondering what chocobo talons smell like.

It's time to vote for the next update! These are longer quest lines, so only vote for 1 of the following:

- We keep finding all these "Lost Pet" posters. Maybe we should check those out?
- The Culinary Crusade clan is looking for help put together meals.
- Or we could go bounty hunting!