Part 73: The Berserker
Here, a sacred weapon lies waiting, the seal guarding it broken. However, to retrieve the weapon, one must pass a trial. Armads: a sacred axe filled with the destructive force of thunder. To wield it, one must prove their worth. Hector faces a test unlike any he's ever experienced.
A trial totally unlike the one Eliwood had to go through. No sir, totally different thing. It's the same fucking thing.
So, brand new bullshit?
Hector and I have very differing ideas concerning what constitutes pitch black.
: Hey, Graybeard Athos, you sure this is the right place?
: Yes. Armads, the legendary weapon of Durban the berserker, who took its name as his own. Armads is here.
: If I've got that, I can help out Eliwood, can't I?
: This battle axe is so tremendous that normal men cannot even lift it. However, it's possible that you might be strong enough.
: C'mon, let's go. I want to get my hands on it!
: Slow down, you fool! The spirits of the soldiers who once fought at our side against the dragons now guard the legendary weapon even in death.
: ...And if I can get through them, I can take the axe, right?
: There are more of them than I'd imagined. You can't do this alone. You must have help.
Old man must have forgot this was hard mode, Hector Hard Mode even.
: Fine with me, but how many people can come with me?
: Too many will simply serve to excite the guardians. Call as few allies as possible.
: Bah... I don't get it, but I'll do as you say.
: ...Be on guard, Hector. Every act of strength you perform has consequences...
: Don't worry, I'll get that axe! Now if we're calling allies, let's call them and get moving!
: Hmph... You are a bold one. That is your strength, but also your weakness. Your recklessness may one day be your undoing...
Yeah, yeah, shut up old man. So you all voted to use Nino and Guy. That's all fine and dandy...on Hector Normal mode.
As you can see, we're restricted to a single auxiliary unit for Hector. A magic user of some sort is the obvious choice, but even that has some drawbacks, as we'll see at the end of the chapter. There are a few thieves running around with Chest Keys, but really, the only chest worth getting is the northeast one, which has a Wolf Beil. Unless you absolutely have to have an Elixir and Pure Water, feel free to let the chests go. You could also make the case for a thief coming along since the mage by the Wolf Beil has a Speedwing, and the fighter by the boss has a Goddess Icon, but our Hector doesn't give us that kind of freedom. No big loss. The knights are pretty evenly split between Axereavers and Steel Lances, so bring a sword with Hector and he can take care of just about anything that comes his way.
I take it that this is the Level your Lord up after he promoted map? How many brilliant new +1s are we going to see out of Hector? My vote is on not enough even if hed had quality stats when he did promote. Also, hooray for a map that is a complete brick wall if you ended up with a lousy Lord. Please tell me you used a few stat up items on him for your sake.
I did wonder exactly why we were all voting for two units. Anyway, unless Artix is planning something completely batshit for the last few chapters, the best plan would be to simply have Hector survive the chapter, and if a miracle happens and he gets a ton of great levels () then thats great, but... well, nothing good is going to come of banking on Hector turning out well. Not any more.
Not featured on a map called "The Berserker": a berserker. Kaim isn't nearly as dangerous as Georg was. He's not nearly as strong, can't take hits quite as well, but he's a little faster and with a little more HP. 4 HP, 2 Str, 2 Skl, 1 Spd, 1 Def are his bonuses.
Hector: Still terrible, and not going to get a whole lot better.
That bodes well!
As it happens, I can categorically deny any involvement in luck-stealing shenanigans this time. We have established that I wasnt recording concurrently, and if my napkin calculations are correct, I wasnt even in my house at the time. I have an alibi, damnit!
You said Saturday, if I remember correctly, yes? Because that's when this was recorded. You have yet to see the horror that is my Sacred Stones update.
This bastard nearly gives me a heart attack until I realize that I can now just wipe him off the face of Elibe and get it back anyway.
Anyway, this chapter's gimmick. You might have noticed the holes in the wall on the map, and this is what they do. Any unit ending their turn within three spaces of one will take a minor amount of damage and be poisoned. Just as before, the AI will make absolutely no effort to avoid these, which is actually hugely to your advantage. The ones facing down are really obvious, but the ones in the side of the wall, and especially the ones facing up are really easy to miss. Obviously, getting poisoned isn't the end of the world, but if you didn't bring a staff user to throw out a heal occasionally, that poison damage adds up really quick.
Of course, unlike the AI, the player can actually remember/notice where the damned things are and take advantage of it. That being said, having them on the TOP of the walls in a view like this is a dick move.
Nino smites the little fucker and retrieves the rune. I toss the chest key, which proves to be a poor decision.
This is a stroke of luck. Had the thief plundered the chest, I'd be stuck with Pure Water, but I can claim the Wolf Beil with his unused chest key.
Here, I am blatantly ignoring the poison spouts. Yeah, Hector will get poisoned for it, but it knocks out this mage in a single blow, and the knight has an axereaver.
Or the player can just tank the spouts. Hector is supposed to be the tankiest of the Lords in this game...when he gets good rolls. Good thing you brought Nino and her staff with you.
As mentioned, the AI has absolutely no regard for the poison. They are also a little less hardy, and will likely have their shit wrecked by the time they waddle over to where you are.
I never really understood why the AI ignores traps like this (its like this in all Fire Emblem and Advance Wars titles, before and since). I mean, we know the AI checks all possible attacking locations when its deciding who to attack (primarily used for staying out of counterattack range), so how hard can it be to also check if a given square is a trap or not? I mean, theres no sense in making the AI terrified to ever stand on traps, but youd think itd at least try to attack from safe squares where possible, right?
A quick fix-up for Hector and he starts heading west again. Nino took his chest key, and she's going to the northeast chest to grab our Wolf Beil.
It's not much, but it'll put Hector back to "mildly useful" for a little bit.
If youre stuck using a character, there are worse categories than mildly useful. He could be actively detrimental.
It would not be difficult to make a case for "actively detrimental," just saying.
Hector is busy playing cat-and-mouse with these guys. The fighter has a swordreaver, so Hector is hanging just outside of his and the mage's range. The Iron Blade is absurdly useful here, because you really want Hector to have Swords-C by the end of the chapter if you can.
At least he gets his sword rank off the merc immediately afterwards.
+1 skill! Hooray for no strength!
At least hes... more accurate...?
And this is why. Ideally, you'd want something like a Killing Edge to deal with the boss easily, but this Steel Blade is a pretty good substitute. Admittedly, this is much more a problem for our Hector rather than Hector in general, but going in with a Steel Sword or Iron Blade will make things take longer, and as we all know, the longer things go in HHM, the more chances something can go wrong.
With that, we're already at the boss. Nino moves in first to clean up his flunkies, and then we go to deal with Kaim. Now, I'm sure you've all been waiting for the other shoe to drop. After all, having only one other unit is annoying, but the chapter is still piss-easy, even with the terrible Hector we've been *ahem* blessed with.
The jets full of face-melting gas the locals seem to have no problem with blundering into probably helped the difficulty so far.
Here's your bullshit. Now, I don't know if this is a flag on Kaim himself that says "only take damage from Hector," if it's the tile he's on (Serenes says nothing about it, though), or it's simply that he has a ludicrous resistance and if I had brought Guy, I would have finished this in a single round of combat. Regardless of the reason, we have to whittle down his 64 HP with Hector. Yes, that Hector.
Theres no real reason Nino shouldnt be able to muster up the Atk to get past 22 Res, so... there arent really very many alternate conclusions we can draw. So, yeah, if your Hector sucks... sucks for you.
She has 20 Mag plus the Mt of whatever tome she's using. Given that Thunder has 8 Mt and Elfire 10, and neither of them do anything to Kaim? Yeah, there's bullshit at work here.
These are our numbers with the Steel Blade. The Iron Blade would be doing 7 damage at a 94% hit rate, and we're not even going to joke about using an axe and giving up our weapon triangle advantage.
Could be worse. You could be blessed with a Hector that couldnt even do damage. At least youre not that lucky, if thats even possible
It is, but it would require Hector to get absolutely no Str from the time he joins until promotion and be using either an Iron or Steel Sword, or Iron or Hand Axe. Even the Iron Sword would only allow for for 3 Str growth before you came around to doing damage again.
You who search for power... You...must prove your worth to me...
It takes a while, and Hector gains quite a bit of experience from trading blows. He gets this level when Kaim has 19 HP left, which would have been a lot more useful before we started this whole thing.
...I need a drink. Thank god he at least got speed. We loot his Tomahawk and be gone.
: Athos Graybeard! I made it!
: What was...
: Wha-What are you supposed to be?
: My name is... Durban... I am called Armads...
: What is going on here?
: I am power. Power without peer. I am the dragonhunter. I am the fleshbiter, the bonecrusher, the skullbreaker, the doombringer.
Better make sure youre stocked up on rawhide bones for this guy to gnaw on, or else hes going to start chewing on the furniture in no time at all, isnt he?
No, see, he's the boneCRUSHER and the fleshBITER.
: I require no seals. I have no need of this idleness called peace. Power unused is power wasted. Better to lie spent in the grave than to sit in wait. I care not who... I would fight someone...
: This is one dangerous-looking fellow... Hey, Durban... I mean, Armads... Whatever. Doesn't matter. Hey, you, lend me your strength!
: You desire strength? Then prepare yourself. Once you have gained such power... Your life will not end in a comfortable bed. You will die on the battlefield. In the savage garden of war's bloody delights.
: ...I don't care. I will help my friend. That's why I've come this far. Armads! Your power! Lend it to me.
: ...It is yours.
: What have you been doing? I'm glad to see that you're well...
: Hey, I told you not to worry. Here, look at this. It's the thunder hammer.
: So, you have acquired Armads, have you, Hector?
: Yep. OK, Eliwood. Now it's your turn.
: Mm, let's go!
From there, we jump to the big long cutscene after Valorous Roland. Nergal comes back, Ninian dies, and we're off to Ostia.
Resets this chapter: 0
I was promised Bullshit. I think the only bullshit on this map was HHMs previous screwing over Hectors stats.
Yeah, the bullshit is really "Oh surprise, no one but Hector can hurt Kaim, and you can only bring one other unit in the first place." Still easy as shit.
Total resets: 38