Part 4: Chapter 1, Part 3: Thief Shrine
The woods are clear, but before we keep moving forward let's check out this building.
Music: Underground Pathway
We're left to wander this underground pathway, but there's nothing to find here so let's just move up.
A battle starts as soon as we exit the screen. We're facing another five thieves. They aren't any better than any other thief we've encountered thus far. And there are no trees for them to hide in this time. This battle will be the easiest of the game.
Alm leads the charge.
And with a flourish and a leap, he gets the game's first critical against the first thief to attack.
He also gets the best level we've seen thus far.
Two other theives go after Robin and Gray for some scratch damage.
Luka starts off by finishing off the thief that had attacked Gray.
Alm follows up by killing the one that had attacked Robin.
The remaining two thieves are still at full health, so Gray weakens one while Cliff and Robin team up to soften up the other. With both thieves damaged, and no recovery tile present, the enemy ends its turn without taking any action.
Alm wastes no time getting rid of this thief.
And Luka ends the battle with an overkill critical.
Plus his first level. Two stats is well above-average for him, I just would rather they be in more useful areas. Someday, someone will gain some Speed.
With the battle over, we find ourselves in a new area of the cave. Moving forward again....
Music: Forest of Resurrection
I don't know why this track plays here - this is not the Forest of Resurrection, obviously. There's supposed to be a separate track for shrines that we'll come across later.
Anyway, we have reached the shrine itself. It looks like someone's here waiting for us, too....
Sweet, a cleric, the healer class of the game. Now that we have the ability to recover HP more easily, the battles can ramp up in difficulty.
Silk has pretty low stats with an at least passable Speed. Most notable is the high Magic Defense and the two spells she already knows - Nosferatu and Recover.
Now, the magic system in Gaiden is fairly unique for the series, and more akin to a traditional RPG. Units will learn a fixed set of spells as they gain levels, rather than needing to acquire particular limited-use items to cast each spell. Also, instead of a mana or magic-point system for spell cost, each spell requires a portion of the caster's HP to cast instead.
Recover is a simple white magic spell that heals an adjacent unit for an amount of HP equal to the caster's Power, for a cost of 1 HP. Nosferatu is a black magic spell that has a 0 HP cost, a 50% hit rate, and if successful will drain an enemy unit 1-2 tiles away for an amount of HP equal to the caster's Power. It also has a Weight of 2 for attack speed calculations, which is just enough to prevent Silk from double-attacking thieves right now.
Silk basically comes with an attack spell because it's the only way for her to gain XP - healing still doesn't give any. At least she doesn't have to sit around getting hit in the face to level up (as was the case in FE1...). It also serves as the only current method for Silk to recover HP herself, since healing spells can't be self-targeted.
Let's explore the rest of the shrine.
The main attraction in the center will promote Villagers at Level 3 or higher into a random starter class. There are five possibilities, two of which we've already seen - Soldier and Archer - and three new ones: Mercenary, Cavalier, and Mage.
Also, while the choice is random, we can also choose to 'reject' the promotion and then just keep trying for whichever one we want.
Promotion has a couple of immediate effects. First, the unit's level is reset to Level 1. That means it can be advantageous to have a unit gain as many levels as possible in their original class before promoting, in order to maximize the opportunities for stat gains. However the other effect tends to balance that out - promoting into a class will raise the unit's stats to the base values for that class. For instance, a Mercenary has a base Speed of 10, so any of our current Villagers who promoted to a Mercenary would get a Speed boost to 10. I'll post each choice's base stats at the end of the update, but it's generally not worth waiting to promote a Villager.
The other factor is that by going back to the world map and re-entering the shrine, the thieves will re-populate the cave and we can fight them over and over again, grinding for XP to get the Villagers more levels. However that's boring so I won't be doing that.
The lion-head statues on either end offer a limited number of permanent stat boosts to any given unit. The one on the left offers Speed, the one on the right offers HP. Between the two of them, we can get a total of three uses out of the statues. Speed is obviously much more important than HP, but the choice for recipient(s) is open for debate. This mechanic replaces the single-use stat-boosting items found scattered throughout other games in the series.
Anyway I'll end the update here, and start off next time by finishing up the shrine and then moving on to the next battle.
Silk is our first healer, coming with both a recovery spell and an attack spell, immediately making her more useful than any of the clerics in FE1. She won't hold up to physical attacks, but can actually defend herself from magic attacks pretty well.
Base stats for starter classes:
Stat Base L1 Growth HP 18 20 M. Powr 8 30 Skill 3 30 Speed 4 30 Luck 4 30 Defense 1 10 M. Def 11 0 Moves 4 0 Quality 20 130
We already have a Soldier in Luka; no need for two. We'll probably want a Mage and a Mercenary, but there's not really any bad choices here. Gray already has high base stats and lower growth rates, so could be a good choice for Mage, which have low class bases and less of a reliance on stats. Cliff will want the boost to his stats, particularly Speed, that he can get by becoming a Cavalier or especially a Mercenary. Robin's pretty well-rounded so could fit well into any class. I'll leave the final choices up for discussion/voting.
Class HP Power Skill Speed Luck Defense M. Def Moves Quality Archer 24 9 1 2 0 3 0 4 15 Cavlier 24 9 3 5 0 5 2 7 22 Mage 28 8 3 4 0 5 8 4 20 Merc 24 8 8 10 0 4 1 4 30 Soldier 26 10 1 3 0 5 0 4 19
Yet more thieves encountered as we enter Ram Valley.