Part 59: Dragon's Gate
Oh boy, here we go. This chapter is a nightmare if you're trying to come out of it with Legault, the Member's Card, and everyone alive and well.
"If". "If", he says.
12 units, down from 13 in HNM, so no big loss here. The biggest changes are on the enemy side.
The first big obstacle is this whole conglomerate of cavaliers and nomads. They'll rush you immediately, but none of them are particularly dangerous aside from maybe Cameron. Their main purpose is clogging the way and slowing you down, and no matter how weak they are in combat, they're very good at doing that.
2 HP, 1 Str, 2 Skl, 2 Spd, 1 Def, 1 Res. Not the best set of bonuses in the world, but he's still better than Matthew at basically (if not literally) everything.
Not to mention with extra growing room.
3 HP, 1 Str, 1 Skl, 1 Def, 1 Res. Darin's defenses are augmented by the throne, but otherwise he's still not very dangerous.
4 HP, 1 Str, 1 Skl, 1 Spd, 1 Def. Cameron's pulled a Damian, but he traded up from his Halberd to the far more versatile Sword/Lance combo. Besides, I'd much rather have an Elixir in HHM than a Halberd.
Anyway, this chapter makes a couple changes that run it straight into bullshit territory. First and foremost, Legault now spawns at the start of the first turn, rather than the second. One turn doesn't seem like much, but that one turn makes a such a difference in how you have to approach the chapter. Doubly so because Legault (nor any of the other thieves that spawn in) does not have Lockpicks. So unlike Eliwood's story where he took the time to kindly open the door by Darin for you, he's going to just run for it. An Unlock staff or Door Key is absolutely necessary to finish this chapter with everything.
Now, let's get things started off.
Well about goddamned time.
Will wonders never cease?
For turn one, we play the baiting game. The archers to the north and west have longbows, and the one just offscreen to the east has a Killer Bow. Erk (assuming he isn't outright killed) will kill the Killer Bow guy in response, and Canas will draw the north longbowman toward him.
Well, it could be worse, I suppose. I am amused at having a Hector with more skill than strength though.
Nothing like having Canas turn out.
Thank you, good sir. Now if only I had someone who could actually use bows...
Of course, when you do bring out a bow user later, this will be money saved. HHM, etc.
A fighter spawns in the northwest corner for the first couple turns, and they quickly work on destroying these walls. Going up through that side passage is basically the only way to catch Legault and the Member's Card thief before they bolt.
It's a choice between that and barging through the horde of cavaliers outside. If enough of your units have been blessed such that you can afford to throw all your mages and hand axe users up there without them dying, you could conceivably counterkill lots of nomads in one go. Of course, that's suicide, but that's what it takes to come up with an alternative to just using the damn side passage like a sensible player.
Start of turn two, and the Member's Card spawns in right behind Legault. He actually gets out to the northwest before Legault does, because Legault is busy grabbing treasure.
Thank you, Canas. Again, it sure would be great if we had someone who could actually put this to use, but for now it can sit with Merlinus.
And then there's a third thief. Both he and the Member's Card thief have a chest key a piece, so should you not get there fast enough, they'll swipe the northwest chests before running.
Cameron's pretty resilient, but Raven and a Longsword pretty much eats him alive.
Well...resistance is okay, I guess...
Even if Guy's luck is waning, he's basically set for life at this point.
Lyn finishes Cameron for another very offense-focused level.
Oh, hey, it's the missing level-from-the-prologue! You found it!
...Which means nothing when she gets fried by a mage.
It's not an ideal formation, but Hector is at the door already, so we're making good time on that front.
Some archers spawn in room behind Merlinus, so Erk hangs around to pick them off and get amazing levels.
Leading to such exciting prospects as getting hit by a hand axe asshole.
Can you go back to the part where you were explaining why Erk is still on the team?
After this chapter? He's not, unless I really need another mage before Nino gets here.
We're barely four turns in, and the group of thieves is already starting to head our way.
Kent maxes out on a whimper.
Priscilla gets an underwhelming but useful level.
Priscilla has been blessed with speed and defence. That is so great.
The mages bust down the wall, but Canas isn't going to let them go anywhere.
Kent barely makes it there in time. The soldier and myrmidon will suicide against him, and Matthew can quite safely follow him in.
One objective down.
And now we have a problem. The knight has 14 HP, and Kent deals 6 damage twice. In hindsight, I should have just promoted him before the myrmidon/soldier attacked him, but alas.
Hindsight is 20/1.
But yeah, this is pretty much the game daring you to let one of your objectives go.
Two load-states later, Kent gets the critical we need. Hector and Legault have a chat.
: I must thank you for coming so far.
: You're Black Fang, aren't you?!
: Mmm... To be accurate, I'm Black Fang no mo-
: I thought as much! Take this!
: Whoa! A touch hasty, aren't you? Hear me out, will you? Black Fang no more! No more! I have only recently severed my ties with them. Now, I'm merely a thief. Satisfied?
: Huh... So you're just looking for an easy way out?
: Nothing better than being carefree, is there? I will admit that everyone has his own set of values, though. Well then, I'll take my leave of you.
: Hold it!
: Me? Help you?
: You're not with the Black Fang anymore, right?
: Are you seriously going to fight them?
: Let me tell you a little something, OK? Your enemy here isn't Brendan Reed. There's this creepy fellow named Nergal...
: I don't care! They're all responsible for attacking my homeland and my friends. I'm going to rip them apart with my bare hands!
: You sound tough, but are you anything more than a little lordling?
: What did you say?
: I've always been fond of simple, honest children. They're so sincere... Things are never boring when they're around. ...You know, I think I will help you. However, I know almost nothing about the current Black Fang. If that's OK...
: No problem. Any little thing you can tell me will help.
: I'm Legault. I'll help you as long as I feel safe.
Ah Hector, always jumping straight to the "violence" option. Of course, this bastard cost me two resets, and his buddy another one, so I'm not that hung up on it.
Raven continues to be awesome.
And there be peg knights coming from the southwest. Fortunately, if there's one thing Bartre is good at, it's smashing the shit out of fragile lance users.
Confirmed: RNG gods have sense of humour.
Well I guess I can't really complain about which stat he got, but...
Better late than never, I guess.
I'm liking this. Compared to his averages, -1.5 Str, +2.5 Skl, +1.5 Spd, +1 Luck, +3 Def, +1 Res. The strength might be a little questionable later, but for now he's doing very well and axes will cover the strength gap.
Why thank you, fellow shaman.
Well, it's not very good, but it's all he needs for what he's about to do.
Erk is useless against Darin. In fact, pretty much everyone is pretty short on damage. The Wolf Beil can do about 15, but it only has one use left, and Hector's iron axe does about 4 damage.
The final set of reinforcements are mages and knights from the northwest corner. Kent, Bartre, and Erk head over to deal with them.
And fuck those mages. Darin's right there! So close, and yet so far...
Hector gets a small opening blow on Darin.
Canas is strong enough to get a similar hit in with Flux, but Darin can double him with Nosferatu equipped, so that's out. So let's go with something a little more flashy. Ladies and gentlemen, I present "Snapping the difficulty curve in half."
I call it "Catharsis".
It gets better.
Welcome to the team, Canas. We missed you in Eliwood's Story.
For posterity: +2 HP, +4 Mag, +3 Skl, +1 Spd, ±0 Lck, +1 Def, +2 Res.
More strength for Legault is not something to complain about.
Fiora grabs the Brave Bow way back in the starting camp, and we're finally getting the hell out of here. Onward to New Resolve, where we'll be stuffing our pockets with gold and our units with experience.
Resets this chapter: 6, plus two load states making it 8 total.
Total resets: 26