Part 53: Chapter 23 - Mission
Stefan is equipped in a manner befitting a Swordmaster with Astra.
Knight-Ring-Reyson is turning out pretty well so far, so let's reward him with the additional duty of carrying around spare staves. Mist and Soren have pretty full inventories, what with having to cart spells/swords and staves around, so it's handy to have extra staves you may need kicking around somewhere.
What's that, you say? Not beautiful enough?
Oh, alright. I guess we're only going to need so many of these.
This lance is rumoured to bestow upon its wielder the strength of ten men, and also to be "pretty amazing".
Of course, we don't need to bust it out just yet, so it will sit in the Convoy for a while.
Oh, look, it's Astrid's old friend, the Knight Ward! With it equipped, she is as resilient as Tauroneo.
Before we get into the struggle that is this chapter, let's meet our newest buddy.
Hi there, Ranulf! Ranulf is, somewhat mystifyingly, slower, stronger and tougher than Muarim (they have the same untransformed speed, but Muarim gets more when transformed). Take that, laguz stereotypes! Ranulf is actually able to hold lines even when untransformed, thanks to his defence and small bucket of HP. He lacks Lethe's ability to transform instantly, instead transforming on turn 3, but that's not exactly bad.
Alright, let's get this hateful mission dealt with.
Haar and his buddies clearly differ in their interpretation of "work". Well, fine by me I guess.
We start a comfortable distance away from the enemy (and their ballistae), so the first task before us is getting in formation and pushing ahead. Most of our units can shrug off ballista hits, but Reyson is not most of our units.
Then, several enemies try to pick on Nephenee.
Some do so from melee range and get reduced to 1HP.
Still others are critted.
Some enemies move forward unthreateningly. Some remain stationary. Back to our turn.
Stefan is quite able to throw down and deal damage; the problem is that he has an unfortunate tendency to eat through your weapons, which makes having him use anything other than stock quality weapons a bit of a liability, and in the meantime, he lacks the damage edge that the better weapons can grant.
No matter. He's still a pretty good swordmaster, and he certainly doesn't have the speed or dodging issues that other prepromotes are sometimes prone to. And hey, what we're seeing here is Stefan as he originally joined us back in Chapter 15, and he's only somewhat troubled by the enemies here.
So anyway. Cleaning up, moving ahead.
While Mia, Rolf and Volke all get crits where none are needed, Jill flies ahead to see if the enemy ballistician is dumb enough to fire at a flyer wearing a Full Guard.
Alright, asshole, prepare to be Astrid'd-
Welcome to The Great Bridge, ladies and gentlemen.
Scattered all over this fucking bridge are a bunch of covered up pitfalls. What they're doing here is anyone's guess. They are never acknowledged in any way in-game by either side. No one knows if this fucking bridge is just terribly maintained, or if it's an ingenious Daein trap (that only works on stone bridges), or what. All we know is that there are a few squares with traps on them, and when you try to walk over one your turn gets canceled. Also, the enemy will never walk on them (which sometimes can clue you in to where they are).
They are often positioned in the most asshole possible locations.
The only consolation is that, although you get "stunned" when you fall in a hole, you get cured at the start of the Enemy Phase following your turn, so you don't end up being a sitting duck that can't counterattack or anything. But christ they are annoying as hell.
Thanks to the Knight Ring, Reyson can dip in and out of the Ballista Zone when necessary.
Nephenee terrorizes this guy with a Short Spear.
Well, that's another turn down.
This is how threatening ballistae are.
Ok, seriously now, stop making me waste this Short Spear, go attack Astrid or something.
A Feral Cat reaches Mia. Mia is wearing a Laguzguard. You should take Feral Ones seriously.
Oh seriously now.
At least the occasional crit saves a use of the damn thing.
It's turn three, so there goes Ranulf.
If you're very perceptive, then you may have been wondering about this mage. Yes, the tile right in front of him is a pitfall, so we're using Soren to take him out from range.
Ranulf, transformed, has 20 speed, which is quite manageable, but not great for this point in the game.
Fortunately, he can hit quite hard and dodge with acceptable frequency.
Stefan finishes the job. Damn, that guy moves fast.
Jill, and flyers generally (if you bought them), are nice to have here, since they can ignore both the pitfalls and the sandbags, and fly ahead to kill priority targets.
Astrid gladly murders the ballistician.
Hooray, A-Rank Staves for Mist.
Another turn down.
Once again, that Full Guard is paying off in spades. This could've been ugly.
Oh buggering fuck I forgot to unequip the Short Spear, didn't I? Oh well. There goes another few uses.
These Cats are pretty tough. Astrid is barely managing to chip off a quarter of their health per hit.
Fortunately, Astrid knows a way to speed that up.
Yes she does.
The first course of Asshole Reinforcements is upon us! There are three rounds in all.
Before we get to that, though, here's me managing to tactically use Reyson's Blessing to heal. Also, Muarim transforms.
Now, those guys who just showed up are a swordmaster with a Silver Blade and two myrmidons with a Laguzslayer and Longsword respectively. We'll have to have someone hang back to deal with them.
Now, this guy right here, he gets a special mention in the Chronicle of Assholes. Why? Because the square that Jill is presently hovering over is, of course, a pitfall, so if you send someone to attack over the sandbags, they'll be fucked. Being forewarned, we use Jill here to avoid this fate.
Sweet! A siege tome that Soren can actually use! (and when I get his Thunder rank we've got two pristine Bolting tomes, too)
Cleanup, forward, blah blah blah. Note Muarim and Stefan in the back. They're on Asshole Duty.
Among the enemy are two sages packing the reasonably powerful* Tornado spell.
*remember that power is relative
Oh fucking fuck I forgot to check the ballista range...
...phew. Well, that was almost a reset right there. Thank god Reyson actually has Avoid.
It turns out the Silver Blade swordmaster isn't really very good at his job; he misses Muarim and then gets doubled and killed.
The other two move up, and three more Assholes join the party.
It's Reyson's turn to trasnform, but I'm still wary of having him anywhere near the ballistae.
Man. What a waste.
I'll say this for Astra, though; that's a pretty nifty animation. Shame about it always hitting five times (even when that's unnecessary), though. That's almost ruined a Steel Sword. Can you imagine this thing eating through Killing Edges or the Vague Katti?
There's one nice thing about this here sage...
He's carrying a mint Physic staff.
This other sage over here also just so happens to be standing opposite a pitfall. He, too, has a Physic in reserve, so we'll want to nab that as well. We'll be set for Physics for the rest of the game.
Fuck this map.
At the very least, let's have Soren murder Tornado-guy. He manages to Adept, thus sealing the deal.
Jill flies over to help Muarim and Stefan.
The ballistician here decided that he'd rather try to attack Soren with the ballista than employ the Killer Bow he's carrying. Fine by me.
Funfact: Stefan is better at swords than this guy.
We're right in the middle of doubling this guy, when...
Goddamnit, Stefan. Alright, bring out the spare.
What, you think Muarim can't eat a Laguzslayer hit? And double and murder the guy who did it in response? Because he totally can.
Hey, have you guys been hovering underneath the bridge this whole time?
And Haar joins the fray at last. Gee, I wonder what we can do about this?
That's what I was going to say to you! You survived! I'm very pleased.
General Shiharam left me in charge. I'm supposed to get our survivors and their families to Begnion. I can't die until that's done.
Oh, I see... But then... Captain, why are you still in Daein?
I... Believe it or not, I'm a vindictive man. Revenge for the general is something I couldn't let go.
The ones responsible for General Shiharam's death, are the Daeins. I pretended to return to the fold so I could get close to General Petrine... I'm just waiting for my chance. But I think they may be on to me. My unit's a bunch of tough guys who serve as Petrine's watchdogs. Plus, I've been ordered to charge the Crimeans head-on. It's Daein's way of killing two birds with one stone.
Don't do it! Come fight by our sides! If you're looking to kill Daeins, then we share the same goal!
Jill... I, um... I don't trust Crimea anymore than I do Daein. I'm sick to death of serving countries.
Still... I can't abandon the daughter of the man to whom I owe so much... Guess I'm changing sides again. Jill
Really? Oh, thank you, Captain!
No, you've got that backwards.
I'm a new recruit... So I'm under you. Thanks in advance, Captain.
It's that easy!
Sadly, Haar's buddies do not share his worldview and need to be killed.
Haar lacks Jill's speed, but boy can he take hits and dish them back out. He's a somewhat high level, but who cares? He also comes with a Brave Axe as a bonus.
As is standard for prepromotes, he's quite well trained in both axes and lances. Somewhat less as standard but still welcome is his Guard skill, which gives him a chance to cancel enemy counterattacks when attacking. That's pretty handy!
Since Brave weapons hit twice wherever a regular weapon would hit once, if you're fast enough to double someone, a Brave weapon can quad them. That's pretty amazing.
In addition to all this, Haar may or may not be Batman.
While Stefan and Muarim clean up, Volke helps us dispose of another ballistician.
As it turns out, Volke shares my concern about conserving Stiletto uses and does his part to help with that. We also get a free Killer Bow for our trouble.
Nephenee, murders dude, gets level.
This guy isn't standing in front of a pitfall, this is just as far as I could get Soren.
Good work, Soren.
Since we're talking about pitfalls, however, note that there's a line of three of them extending south from the square to the right of the bottommost sandbag in the line in the middle of the screen (christ there were too many relative references in that sentence). Because of this, Nephenee is actually forming a wall behind which Volke is hiding.
Good work there, sage guy.
Everyone's doing well!
It's a masterful display!
Not only did you not damage Astrid, you made her more powerful!
So, yes, to clarify, there's a line of pitfalls extending from the indicated square down to where Astrid is now. It's quite handy if you know it's there!
Hey, wait. It's the enemy phase. Why are they targeting an empty-
Oh. This here contraption is called an Onager.
It is a catapult, and has the unique ability to launch an attack with a (very small) radius of effect.
It is fixed at 20 Mt, and can hurt not only anyone on the space it targets, but also anyone standing next to that space (though the damage is lessened). As you can imagine...
It's usually not much of a problem. Also, since it's not really a bow (despite technically being classed as one), it doesn't deal mega-damage to flyers.
Also, funfact: The two ballistae nearest the west end of the bridge are not just any ballistae, but killer ballistae, which have a whole +10 to crit. Not that scary, but keep it in mind, because it might just fuck you over.
Unless, of course, y'know, you have any defence.
A few more conventional attacks come our way.
After the enemy phase...
Who are these people?
Green hair... orange dress... and eyes bewitching fair...
Elincia comes! Let us to her aid ride!
The princess has returned! Count Bastian, return to the castle and inform Geoffrey at once. I will move ahead and inform the princess that her retainers are here to meet her.
Lady Lucia, keep your wits about you.
That we are excited is fair to say...
But show the enemy no weaknesses,
lest he does cut us down like autumn's wheat.
Good advice. And you watch that you aren't waylaid on the way back to the castle.
Even if Daein unleashes on myself the full force of their army's wrath...
They are no match for clever Bastian!
I'll meet you at the castle gate anon.
The one who seems to constantly be slipping in and out of iambic pentameter runs away, and the others...
Just... hang around... outside the map. K.
Well then. More incentive to get over there. We relieve the second Tornado-guy of his spare Physic.
Volke knows what he needs, and doesn't care about any of that other shit.
It's time to Get Serious about pushing ahead, so Ike is deployed in earnest.
If anyone had any delusions about this Poleax guy being a threat to Astrid, let them hereby be dispelled.
This time, Great Fireballs aren't even necessary; a double Elthunder will suffice.
As will this.
We no longer have any use for Tornado-guy II, so Mia does away with him.
We even break out Mist. BTW, she's able to wield Steel Blades now.
Rolf even brings out his Forge. We haven't had to do that for a while.
Strictly speaking, we didn't need to do it just then, either, but hey.
There's two remaining guys from Haar's band. Stefan finishes off one, and the other can get himself counterkilled by Haar as we retreat.
This is... OK, I guess.
Almost there now.
Several enemies waste time.
Soren eats another ballista bolt.
Now, under what possible interpretation of reality was this not a terrible idea?
The Onager operator seems to have some sort of irrational fear of targeting units directly, instead opting to deal two splash damage to Ike.
Astrid produces another superbly timed crit against a Feral Tiger.
Haar activates Guard redundantly. I have a feeling that this might be the start of something beautiful.
My fellow Crimeans! Now is the time we stand and fight for the life of our homeland!
The Crimeans decide to actually maybe help out a little.
At least, some of them do. They join the battle as Other units.
Their number includes archers. Nature takes its course.
(note that their archers can't ORKO a Wyvern Rider even when doubling)
They also helpfully decide to murder the Onagerer.
The remaining two fail to kill the second Wyvern Rider between them.
Time to take advantage of the chaos!
That means another round of murder.
We murder in a westerly direction.
Now, some creative manoeuvring around the pitfalls, and...
Hmm. The odds are tempting, but I really don't want this left to chance. That ballistician needs to die this turn or we risk losing Reyson. So...
Brave Sword? Brave Sword.
Is it still assassination if we use conventional warfare to eliminate everyone surrounding the target first?
Shitfuck. It takes one moment of forgetfulness and there's a small advance wasted.
Speaking of pitfalls, I know there's one in front of this bishop so let's send As-
Oh. Right. There's one there too. Fuck this mission.
Well, this thing ain't gettin' any newer.
The enemy is down to Petrine and one Wyvern Rider. Good luck with that.
The Wyvern Rider proceeds to poke a Bow Knight and then sort of run away.
Good for him.
Three more appear, though. That's fine. We'll let the Crimeans play with them while we win the mission.
While healing, more strength for Mist! Why not?
(Funfact: five Physics = a free level up, regardless of your current level)
Now, Petrine here is something of a piece of work. As Soren told us waaaaaay back when Greil was still alive, she's got herself a Flame Lance, which is basically the same as the Sonic Sword, except it's fire instead of wind. That means it works off of magic and resistance, and Petrine is certainly not lacking in magic.
As an added... thing... she's using the Daunt skill, which gives a slight Hit and Crit penalty to any enemies within three spaces of her. Not really anything to worry about.
While we get people in position to assault Petrine, Volke has business with her.
Let me know, and I'll cook you up just as ordered! Wha ha ha ha ha!
Yeah, ow. Volke is not specced for this shit.
The extras sit there missing eachother.
Right, let's get Volke the hell outta here.
Before we see this mission off, here's a demonstration of an unusual quirk unique to this mission (ie, thank fuck because this is the only time we'll ever see pitfalls).
Note Reyson floating above a space that, as I previously mentioned, holds a pitfall. Being a flyer, he does not, of course, trigger it.
Now, let's move someone across...
Success! Pitfalls won't trigger when a flyer is above one, even as footsoldiers walk over them, because stopping the footsoldier in that space would require two units to occupy one square, which would, I don't know, divide by zero or some shit. Anyway, hax, sploitz, etc.
Petrine is annoyingly resilient, so Astrid opens.
Damn that smarts.
So does this, in a way.
Ike follows up. Note the lack of doubling.
I would have reduced you to ashes when I had the chance... Guess it's not too late, though! Die!
Here's Soren in a demonstration of the proper application of fire.
Hmph! You may be able to fool others with that, but not me. It's because we're the same, see?
...The same? Don't be ridiculous. I'm nothing like you. You kill for sport, and hide your fear behind a wall of bravado. Now let me show you true fear!
...are we missing something here? Anyway...
Get fucked, Petrine.
Sympathy, none, etc.
Yoink! Not really sure what we're gonna do with this - we don't have anyone as destined for this as Mist was for the Sonic Sword - but I'm sure we'll think of something.
A quick song, and...
We are outta here.
Incidentally, Petrine has a few other uninteresting dialogues, and also a less uninteresting one with Haar:
Just as I expected. I thought to give you a chance to clear the stain from your name... Yet you and Shiharam are treachery in the flesh. Useless migrants!
To think we endured this for eighteen long years. It seems General Shiharam and I were not to be blessed with any masters worthy of serving. All we found were paltry pretenders...
You insult His Majesty? You know not your place, you louse-ridden oaf! Your failings are yours, and yours alone! It's time for you to burn! Don't worry, I'll let the dogs snack on what's left!
Lucia? Lucia! Is it really you?
I am no spirit. See? Flesh and bone, through and through.
Ah, Lucia! You have no idea how I've longed to see you.
And I you, Princess Elincia. When my brother Geoffrey told me you had been lost, my world went dark.
Then Geoffrey is safe as well? Happy day! Are there others? How many Crimean retainers have survived?
Well, there's Count Bastian. That silver-tongued rascal is as loquacious as ever. Also, General Tagio, Marquis Katol's orphan, Silok, and Marquis Mitnala are all with us. The soldiers we have contacted so far do not even number one hundred. But if they know you've returned, retainers hiding throughout the land will surely come pouring in.
Yet, my existence... It is not known to the general populace...
Come to think of it, isn't this what Nasir was getting at? "All you have to do is keep winning..."
In every village, in every town, the people are talking. "Our fair king had a hidden child," they say. "The secret princess of Crimea is fighting to save us all!" In addition, Daein soldiers have been frantically searching for a mysterious and elusive "Princess Crimea." All they've succeeded in doing is convincing the people that you truly are their princess. All of Crimea has been anxiously awaiting your return.
Oh, Lucia, do you speak truly? They have... acknowledged my existence?... I never... expected this day...
You know, the thought that Nasir is a traitor just doesn't feel right to me. I can't believe it.
You think I don't see that? Look at what we know about the medallion. We discovered it thanks to his hints. He's helped us throughout our entire journey. In that, at least, he was not false. Yet, if he will not speak, there is nothing I can do to save him.
Let's go see him. One way or another, I will loosen his tongue.
What is it?
Why, yes, twelve turns is a generous limit!
Lv 9 Beast Tribe (Cat)
HP: 46 (130%) Spd: 17 (55%)
Str: 19 (50%) Lck: 13 (35%)
Mag: 4 (0%) Def: 17 (35%)
Skl: 17 (55%) Res: 6 (20%)
Move: 7 Con: 9 Wt: 24
Initial TP: 10
Transformation Bonus: Str +6, Skl +4, Spd +3, Def +5, Res +3, Move +2, Wt +15
Equip: Claw (8 Mt, 90 Hit)
No one seems to have explained the concept of conformity to Ranulf. Despite everything we were supposed to infer from Lethe and Mordecai, Ranulf skews much more towards strength and toughness than he does towards speed. His strength when transformed is comparable to our longtime frontline attackers (although he loses out on "weapon" Mt compared to them). Even untransformed, his defence is respectable, and transformed, he's on par with our walliest units. All this is awesome, but despite being a Cat, Ranulf is let down somewhat by his speed, which is merely "sufficient to not be doubled by everything", and that's when transformed. His defences will stop his slowness from being a liability when untransformed, but you might be disappointed by the number of doubles Ranulf can produce. Nevertheless, Ranulf is pretty damn capable, and his speed growth is great - he can catch up yet.
With 10 initial TP, Ranulf will transform on the third turn of any given battle. Since the first turn of most missions often passes very quickly, you can usually be sure that Ranulf won't be too far behind when the time comes for him to kick ass.
Lv 11 Wyvern Lord
HP: 47 (65%) Spd: 17 (35%)
Str: 21 (60%) Lck: 12 (15%)
Mag: 8 (5%) Def: 20 (45%)
Skl: 19 (60%) Res: 10 (20%)
Move: 9 Con: 13 Wt: 42
Equip: Axes (B), Lances (B)
Haar is very definitely a counterpart to Jill. He's powerful and tough but not particularly fast. He's great if you've been neglecting Jill up to this point, although his apparent usefulness can fade somewhat when compared to a properly leveled Jill, who won't be as tough but will invalidate most hits by dodging them anyway.
That's not to say that Haar is useless, of course. Put him in your team and he will wreck shit. He can use great weapons right off the bat, he can deal high damage even if only once per round, and he's got that Guard skill for a bit of added trouble-reduction on his part. He can fly right into the middle of the enemy for distraction and still be safe due to his defence. And come on. He brings you a Brave Axe.
Next Time: Soooo many units...