Part 71: Cog of Destiny
Hector rushes to the sealed shrine. The secret road they follow is known only to the royal family... They pass Bern's soldiers unnoticed and unhindered. They approach the castle...
: And now, at last, the time to bring you down is here. The Fangs let none escape.
: So they're finally here... Our opponents are strong. If anyone here is afraid to die, leave now.
: For the Reed brothers' Fang must not fear dying.
: We are all with you. Lord Lloyd! Do us the honor of leading us 'til the end!
: I shall. In the name of the Fang, we will stop them though it cost our very lives. Go!
: This is strange. We've made it so far without seeing a single soul.
: I'm afraid that's no longer the case.
: They're out for blood! Who could they be?
: ...And if I am?
: We are the Fang, and we serve the White Wolf, Lloyd. You will atone for your sins with blood!
: They're alive!
: What? What is it?
: Their battle lust... It's not normal. Get too close, and they'll tear you apart!
: Why? Why do we have to fight? If we talk to them, they'll see.
: We are no longer Fangs. No... We served Nergal. We were never Fangs. To them, we were never companions. Never.
: No... No... That's not true! That man mentioned Lloyd! Lloyd must be here! I need to talk to him! Lloyd will understand! I won't give up so easily!
Poor girl. And now we have to deal with the reasonable Reed brother. Surely he'll listen to his step-sister and see the voice of reason, right? Ha ha ha you fucking wish.
I half expected there to be a Talk between Nino and Lloyd thats maybe four lines long and also automatically cuts to a battle. Its not like itd make this chapter that much more unfair than it already is...
Well, talking to Lloyd with Nino sort of does that. I don't show it off (though I will show the conversation in a bonus update after this), but if you have Nino talk to Lloyd (or Linus), he won't attack her, but he'll get off the throne and start actively attacking all your other units. It's better to just let him sit there and whittle him down at your leisure.
I apologize about the blurriness on some of the enemies, I'm still trying to work out all the kinks with the software. Anyway, as you can see, this chapter has undergone a little renovation since the last time we saw it. Gone are the knights, cavaliers, and mercenaries that would have made training Nino incredibly easy, and in their place are assholes. Lots. And lots. Of assholes. The rules for the stage itself haven't changed: Cross each bridge to summon reinforcements, and cross the border roughly formed by the fortresses near the Shrine to cause Vaida to show up. The mages will make training Nino slightly harder, but it's still quite managable. Now, the bullshit.
Every single enemy that can use staves has at least one. If you're lucky, it's just a Physic or Recover staff.
You are not lucky very often. In particular, those druids are the ones near Lloyd and they have 29 and 26 Mag respectively, which gives them an effective range of 20 spaces, and you will get hit.
My, thats some dickery. In a game that has such rare status effects, having them suddenly this common is kind of bullshit. I imagine the reaction is Nah, Ill never run into enough status staph users to be more than a minor nuisance...OH WHAT THE FUCK!. Or alternatively, start swearing at the deployment limit because you want to use all your healers that you can to cancel out the incoming statuses and still have time to heal.
I think 20 squares is enough range for a Berserk staff to target the player. I mean, all theyd have to do is aim up...
Lloyd isn't as strong as his brother, but he's a lot more of a pain in the ass. He's got a hell of a lot more avoid than Linus, and while he's not quite as tanky, you're still going to have to whittle down all 55 of that HP because of his Iron Rune. For whatever reason, he's slow as shit for a Swordmaster. Even after his bonuses, he has less speed than Karel did when he joined, and Guy can straight up double him (said bonuses are 3 HP, 2 Str, 1 Skl, 1 Spd, 1 Res).
And Guy it may well have to be, since 80 Avoid is a bit of a tall order.
You will probably notice that Guy does not have any attack range squares. That is fine, he has a very special purpose on this map.
And that would be this. He and Raven are standing there in range of their full supports, and they are going to stand there and do nothing. For a very, very long time. Given the AI's love for avoiding counterattacks, they'll gladly charge right into the wall of Raven and Guy, setting up a whole bunch of really easy targets for Nino to pick off at her leisure. While that's going on, Fiora and Farina will be heading over to get the Warp staff, and when necessary make a run over to the shops. Kent and Bartre will hold off the few mages who come down the right side, and then stand around doing nothing until we're ready to spawn Vaida.
Shame you cant have Nino do the defending as attacking in this game is relatively slow. So much better just to let the enemy come to you.
Before we can get to the meat and potatoes of her training, we have to endure these assholes. I never bothered running the numbers to see if she would be one-shot, but considering there's the Purge asshole, plus a Bolting asshole, and an Eclipse asshole even makes his way over later on, that's sort of a moot point.
Another interesting point is that the game refuses to allow more than 50 units on the map at once. There should be another set of three monks/bishops spawning in, but the game simply skips over them. A shame, because this mission is one that can easily go over 50 enemies (hell, it should have before my third turn started).
Thats because youre trying to feed all the kills you can into Nino, youre not killing them fast enough. Isnt youre wasting potential experience! some form of traditional FE player curse?
Its a tradeoff. Besides, Ninos a lower level than the rest of the units, so the actual number of EXP lost will be offset by the difference between what she gains from her kills and what any other unit would gain. It all balances out.
An excellent start.
It's alright, I guess. She could really use a little skill and defense, but it could be worse for a 3-stat level. She also gets Swords-D, so that's something, I guess.
All right, now all they have to do is kill their way back to the group.
Just for reference, this is roughly what the screen looks like at any given time at this point. And it gets worse. Oh, does it get worse.
Oh my, that is magnificent! I hope youve got Ninos entire inventory filled with backup tomes. This would explain why youre using this level for training her.
Another good Nino level.
Ninos beginning to recover from her early string of bad levels. Magic has just pulled ahead of the average, and Res is ahead by 4. We might just be in business.
Farina takes up position on the southern bridge. Occasionally the enemies stray too far to the side and the pegs end up in their range, so we might as well get some mileage out of them too.
Like I said. It gets worse.
Scratch that, do you have an entire library of tomes on our merchant friends cart? I must say this is the first time a choke point in a strategy game has made me think of clogged sink.
Its a shame its so hard to get the AI to attack Nino over (literally) Guy and Raven, since shed at least be able to do some counterattack damage and speed things up, and shes got about enough Res to take a few (magical) hits. Ah well.
Raven picks up a level from dodging and caps speed. Can't really complain about that given what he has to do here.
I definitely like where this is going. But this is going to take a very long time to work through, so let's do a little time skip. First, I should note that the northern fortresses have Valkyries, which is why I didn't trigger them until reinforcements stopped coming from the first two sets. Anyway, get ready for a huge level dump.
I was not kidding when I said this would take a long time. Guy is getting 1 exp every time he dodges an attack, and he levels up twice. In doing so, he caps Str, and is one point off of capping Spd. You are the god unit, Guy. You've done it.
I never stopped believing!
No, no you did not, Fedule. It only took him two entire playthroughs to turn out, but you did keep the faith.
Fiora caps both Str and Skl in a single level.
Farina does not cap Str.
Hey, someone has to take the bum levels so you can keep giving the good ones to Nino.
Monks manage to stay out of the line of fire long enough to completely use up their tomes.
Canas gets a really shitty level.
As I said, someone has to act as a buffer and collect the shitty levels.
And now, a shitton of Nino levels. Brace for impact, because there's a lot of them.
Whew! Promotion time.
At this point, Nino is pretty much dead on in HP and Magic, 2 ahead in Skill, capped in Speed (she capped this ahead of time, though), 1 ahead in Luck, right on in Defence, and still 4 up on Res. Thats pretty OK!
And that brings us to the end of our training session.
You werent kidding when you said this mission was all level up screens. You really should have placed a turn marker on them though to show off how long this took.
Nah, you can just go by the gradually dwindling enemy hordes. In any case, this puts Nino at (HP ±0, Mag +3, Skl +3, Spd ±0, Lck +2, Def ±0, Res +5). That is pretty great!
Not exactly by choice, though. With our training done, it's time to unload some of our old shit from Merlinus, upgrade weaponry, and restock with good weapons.
Of course, there's a slight snag with that plan. Farina takes a nap, which isn't that surprising given the stage.
Here's your demonstration of what a 20-square range looks like. Go ahead, go back and check the map, I'll wait. Did I metion that since she's moved south, even more of our units are in range, so she's going to keep moving south? Because she totally is.
Her friend has a Silence staff with just as much range, and she comes right on down too, but she's much less successful at silencing Canas.
We emerge from our shopping trip substantially better armed.
I would hope so, considering all your units either started out unarmed or, in Ninos case, have run through enough tomes to be a one-girl book burning party.
Priscilla gains a level from constantly dodging Eclipses while we shop.
1 exp. 1 exp. 1 exp. 1 exp. Ding! 1 exp. 1 exp. 1 exp...
Before approaching Lloyd and spawning Vaida, I want to lure out as many of the Valkyries as possible, on top of killing these druids.
A task Farina is glad to undertake, and she maxes Str while she's at it.
Guy gets berserked, but he's quickly healed, and that's the last of the berserk staff users. Now we can safely cross the border.
That'll do it. Here we go.
Valkyries come to die against Canas.
Vaida spawns, and is recruited.
It turns out I forgot about the Valkyrie in the northeast, but she misses Farina anyway. Needless to say, she doesn't last very long past this.
Looks like the bad-level buffer wasnt entirely successful. I think Nino can afford a flubbed level.
Sorry, what was that? I wasnt paying attention because I was busy r-... with something else. Never mind.
Something like...running Dolphin? Maybe? Because I have a suspicion you might have been running Dolphin.
Anyway, lots of wyverns die and I'm done waiting around. Time to put a few holes in Lloyd.
Reading this update is a lot like reading Lord of the Rings. And then a great battle ensued
Mostly dead now.
What a beautiful screen. A swordmaster getting doubled. And not even by another swordmaster.
Raven finally caps Str, and is one off of the skill cap.
Now, we go through all the motions with Athos, Brammimond, and all that good shit.
Such a disappointment. We're off to claim Armads, but first, another Oswin conversation.
Eh, well now youve got another 19 levels to pray he starts to suck less. Besides, if youre forced to use him ANY stat-ups are good.
That sound just now was the voices of a thousand HHM veterans reading the above line and alternately bursting into hysterics or breaking down in tears. Because they know whats coming.
: Please convey to Lord Uther that consent has been given.
: Yes, sir!
: Lord Uther, your judgment... It's too...
: Oswin! Where are you?
: Oswin! There you are. You just received a message from Ostia, didn't you? What word from my brother?
: Nothing of any import... A simple...relaying of recent events is all.
: Oswin? What is it? What's happened? I've never seen you look like this before.
: Is that so? I must be more tired than I thought.
: If that's all... Get some rest, will you?
: Yes. I thank you for your concern. ...By the way, did you finish speaking with Lord Athos?
: There are legendary items buried throughout the world. But we don't have time to gather each one. We've settled on collecting a sword and an axe. The sword is for Eliwood or Lyn. I think the axe is to be mine.
: The legendary axe... The berserker Durban's thunder axe, Armads?
So, new legendary axe instead of a legendary sword? Does that mean a brand new map with brand new bullshit?
Oh, is there ever. This next one is a very special brand of bullshit, even though it's still about as hard as Eliwood's chapter was (that is to say, not very).
: Impressive, Oswin. You're so knowledgeable. To get this Armads, I'm going west with old Graybeard Athos.
: Just the two of you?
: Yeah, at first. Then I have to pass some sort of trial. Bramimond had to break the seal protecting the weapon, but now, if I'm to gain it, I have to pass a "negotiation of strength," or something.
: ...I see. The weapon's an axe, so you have to prove your strength.
: ...I will get it. That's the only way we can defeat Nergal.
: I believe in you. I pray for your swift return.
: Look me in the eye when you answer. My brother... There's nothing you need to tell me, is there?
: ...Nothing. The message... It said that there was nothing new with the marquess.
: I understand. I will believe that. The vow you swore to me in Laus... That's still in effect, right?
: Yes, the service I vowed still holds true.
: ...Forgive me. When it comes to my brother, I...
: That is only natural.
: ...Oswin, this is for your ears alone. If something happens in Ostia, no matter what, I will return to my brother's side. I've been irresponsible and foolish in the past, but... As the marquess's brother, I will do anything required of me. ...So, while I'm away in the west, and anytime thereafter, if you have any worries concerning my brother... No matter how trivial they might seem, I want you to tell me. ...Please.
: I understand... I'll do as you ask.
: Then I'd better get going. Take care of things.
Resets this chapter: 1
Total resets: 38