Part 48: In Search of Truth
Only one very short conversation in HM here, this one pops up after Ephidel shanks Lord Helman for being a pussy and planning to tell Eliwood everything.
: Hm? Who's there? Show yourself!
: Pah! Can't believe I was spotted by a snot-nosed stripling...
: Who are you? No, never mind. Keep your name. Why should I care what a corpse is called?
: The cub thinks he's a wolf! Does your bite match your bark? Tell you what. If you make it to the castle alive, we'll find out, eh? Geh heh heh hehhh!
Not very many HHM changes on this map, mostly a few extra pegs and cavaliers. The village where Merlinus is hiding is usually unguarded, and the peg knights in either corner are new, but otherwise very few surprises here.
The calm before the storm.
Boeis is enjoying an extra 4 HP, 2 Str and Def, and 1 Spd, Skl, Res. He's semi-dangerous up close, but he's not anything that's really going to slow Hector down, and Bartre and Oswin can help out by attacking from range with no threat whatsoever.
However, the HHM bonus applies to all enemies, and this is where we can really reap the rewards. If you'll remember, Guy's original stats are 21/6/11/11/5/5/0, so he's seen some serious gains across the board, but most importantly in strength. He's a much more viable unit in HHM.
The "hard mode bonus" is actually somewhat random - sometimes it's +1 in something, sometimes it's +2, and of course certain stats are more likely to benefit than others - and what you're looking at here is a pretty damn good turnout. Most notably, +2 strength! That's about his entire strength gain from Eliwood Mode! Skill and speed won big, too, although those will still grow at insane rates until they cap anyway. I'd make some stupid joke about having faith in Guy here, but in HHM, it's pretty hard not to have faith in Guy.
Nothing's really changed strategy-wise here. A small group is going to head west to Merlinus's village (Eliwood, Oswin, Dorcas, Bartre) and the rest are heading south.
Lowen starts by trading blows with a brigand. Not too shabby.
Marcus grabs the mine, and Hector's crew finishes cleaning up their initial position.
Oh, for christ's sake Bartre, you are not doing yourself any favors here.
I want to run his numbers but the thought is too depressing. At least it's still early.
And Dorcas in the northwest.
Hey, I'll take it.
Matthew lacks in speed right now but that's not a problem because he's still faster than most units for now, and speed is the most likely stat for a thief to turn around later.
Time to play the strategy game again. In one turn, get Matthew to Guy, and have everyone make it through.
Sometimes you just have to push your luck.
Step 0: Have Rebecca perform a mostly ineffectual shot on a cavalier for 2 damage.
Hector and Lowen work together to kill the northernmost archer.
Matthew can now recruit Guy.
Guy kills the southern archer, letting Marcus out.
And Marcus bails out Matthew. So far so good.
Lots of whiffs on Serra, and Guy got poked once or twice, but everyone came through in one piece.
This is the uncomfortable bit. Serra on a forest tile has ~40 avoid, and enemies here have ~80 hit. AI stupidity helped here; the cavalier and one ranged unit could've attacked her from the north, leaving her open for up to five hits total, assuming one or both of those brigands have Hand Axes (which I recall they do). If more than one of those hits, you're hosed. That whole "true hit" thing works in your favour a bit, but... is it worth taking the chance?
Well, evidently in this case it was, but... yeah.
This is all true, but the alternative was Rebecca getting rushed, and Serra's demonstrated that she's far more competent at dodging things that should kill her.
Eliwood, not very helpful!
Oswin is dealing with the cavaliers quite handily, but the rest of the troop with him has some survivability issues. Thankfully, most of the enemies are on the west, and the east cavalier is already damaged. Dorcas and Oswin hold the left, while Bartre finishes the right cav.
I would like to see some more speed on Hector, but it's hard to complain about him getting even tankier.
And Guy gets a Guy level.
Hard mode bonuses alone will keep Guy ahead of his averages for quite a while.
Dorcas: Setting the bar for the entire crew to aim for.
Eliwood spends the last of our hard-earned gold restocking on Vulneraries. An extra 3 sets go a long way to keeping everyone alive.
Never underestimate the utility of vulneraries early on in HHM. Never.
Serra gets another useless level.
The fight with Boies goes exactly how you'd expect. Bartre and Oswin throw Hand Axes/Javelins to help, and Hector does most of the heavy lifting. Bartre criticals to finish him off, and finally gets some speed in an otherwise terrible level.
Despite the implication, this Bartre is pretty much totally average. Point behind in HP, but otherwise dead on.
I didn't say he was doing terrible overall (though it sure as hell feels like it at times). Just that it's perfectly possible to get more than two stats with any given level, and Bartre doesn't seem to have grasped that yet.
Hector seizes the gate, Marquess Santaruz dies, and we're off to Laus.
Resets this chapter: 0
Total resets: 1
Undecided on whether or not to call Moral Reset on this one.