Part 37: Chapter 3, Part 12: Forest Temple
Remember, that guy back in Grove Town said a pack of gargoyles flew off with his daughter and took her here. We're going to get her out of there. Assuming she hasn't been eaten yet.
I thought we were here to loot the temple for treasure and magic statues?
Well, sure, but we might as well look good while doing it.
Robin, Gray, you two stay here and guard the entrance. Wouldn't want Rigel's troops bottling us up in here.
Got it boss!
Good thing you left the young ones behind. They'd get torn to pieces here.
That was the idea.
We're up against 10 gargoyles, all Level 5 with good all-around stats and high Movement. For the first time, we aren't allowed to bring our whole army - the last two on the unit list get left behind. I made an executive decision to drop Robin and Gray since they won't be of much use here (and I didn't want to delay any further asking for a vote with a foregone conclusion...). Alm's army has fewer levels and worse stats than Celica's so this battle is going to be a bit more challenging. At least I don't have to micro-manage the Angel Ring....
General strategy is to turtle up. We only have a few units that can damage the gargoyles reliably, and while Silk and Claire are pretty vulnerable most of our army has enough Defense to mitigate most of the damage from the gargoyles. Ryuto also has the Leather Shield for an extra boost.
Almost everyone took an attack, though the end-line units had to suffer two. The only real excitement was Cleive countering with a crit for some substantial damage.
The gargoyles can cross almost the whole map in one turn so they tend to spread out along whatever line we form.
Fun fact: Gargoyles count as flying enemies, so Python's Steel Bow is three times stronger against them. He's still 1 HP short of finishing off Cleive's opponent, but that's by design.
Silk can only do 2 damage, but that's enough for a kill and 34 XP here. I really want her to get a level in this battle for reasons that will become obvious later.
Ryuto can manage 10 damage with Excalibur, and Alm can dish out 12 damage with the Regal Sword. Combined with Alm's counterattack the previous turn, that's just enough damage to fell another gargoyle.
Cliff's again pretty valuable, able to attack from range and deal some damage against the gargoyle's slightly lower Magic Defense stat. He's the last of the five units we have that can reliably hurt the gargoyles without taking too much punishment in return.
A closed loop is formed around Silk to protect her, with the higher-Defense units at the corners to take multiple hits, if necessary.
Alm's attacked twice for a total of 12 damage, but he gives twice as good as he gets.
Luka and Force are two of the weaker parts of the line. They take 3 damage per attack (so 6 per turn) and only deal 2 damage in return. The battle shouldn't last long enough for them to get in any real trouble as long as they're only attacked by one enemy each turn.
Matilda's in a similar situation, taking 3 damage per attack and managing just 3 damage herself. However she actually has one more Speed than the gargoyles so is the only member of our army to be able to double-attack them. The higher Speed is the main reason I left her on the corner to get attacked twice this turn.
Claire doesn't really have enough Defense to hold the line. I left her out there knowing she'd survive one enemy and she rewarded me by missing her counterattack.
We're surrounded! That means they can't escape! Attack!
Python finishes off one gargoyle right away, which had been weakened by attacking Alm twice already.
Ryuto and Alm repeat their dual attack on another gargoyle.
A brief timeout to heal up Claire, though it was somewhat of a waste. Claire's now at 10 HP and that's still not enough to survive two hits from a gargoyle.
Matilda and Force have moved in and tightened the defensive box a bit. Cliff and Cleive team up on another gargoyle and bring it down to 2 HP, which doesn't work out great on the enemy phase. Any idea why?
First, Alm suffers a crit that I didn't even notice while actually playing. He ends up down at 7 HP by the end of the turn. Still worth the strong counterattack.
Python also takes a couple of hits, and misses his counterattack.
Luka takes three damage from the 2 HP gargoyle, then kills it with his counterattack.
The space in front of Luka is now open for another attacker. He gets a bit lucky and dodges one of the attacks.
The first level of the battle is not very auspicious.
Halfway though the battle now. Most of the gargoyles have been weakened, but so have a few of our front-line defenders.
A little setup for later, as Python brings this gargoyle down to 2 HP. Trying to set up another kill for Silk.
Alm gets another kill, close to a level himself.
And another gargoyle falls to the magicks of Ryuto and Cliff.
A very useful level for Cliff. His Power is actually up to 12 without the Bolt Sword now. If we could actually find a different sword for him, he'd be able to use it now. And once he promotes his Speed will jump as well.
I swap out Force for Luka on the east side, since Luka has the extra Defense to help him. And now that I am pretty sure I can get away without any healing this turn, I send Silk up to try and get another kill.
A bit of luck goes a long way - she gets two hits in her two attacks despite a pretty low hit rate.
That's enough XP for a level for Silk. The extra Speed is nice but the real gain here is the new spell on the lower right. Warp will send any adjacent unit to any tile on the map - infinite range. It's expensive at 8 HP, but the strategic leverage is immense.
Just two gargoyles left. One trades ineffectual blows with Luka, while the other slices into Python but takes an arrow in return.
Another kill for Alm, and this one is enough for a level.
At least Speed is a useful stat.
Python misses, but Cliff gets in some damage.
Cleive and Ryuto bring the last gargoyle down to 3 HP, just low enough for Matilda to end the battle.
Hey look, there's still someone alive back here.
Shouldn't we, like, escort her back or something?
Eh, we already took care of all the enemies between here and there, I'm sure she'll be fine.
Yes! More magic statues!
Promotions are available again. Only two units are currently able to promote - Cliff and Cleive, levels 9 and 8, respectively. I'm going to hold off on promoting either one for now.
As before, the shrines have three combined uses. The one on the left offers HP, not very useful.
That's ok, because the other shrine is fantastic, giving XP. And not just some piddly amount of XP. It sets the unit's current XP to 99, essentially a free level. Alm, Cliff, and Silk all just gained levels so they have the lowest current XP (except for Gray who isn't worth it). So they each get a use of the shrine and will now get another level right away in the next battle.
Time to head back to Grove Town to claim our reward.
They're not very talkative, but who cares they left the door to the treasure open.
A great item for either Claire or Cleive. The Holy Lance is a bit weaker than the Steel Lance at 3 Might, but has a 90% Hit Rate and a 10% Crit Rate. More importantly, like the Holy Sword, it is effective against monsters and restores 5 HP to the wielder at the start of each turn.
Nothing else new in Grove Town so Alm heads back through the woods. Next up for him is a group of paladins standing between him and the waterway control.
But next time it's Celica's turn to go dungeon-crawling.