Part 28: Arcadia (feat. Alkydere)Chapter 14: Arcadia (feat. Alkydere)
...Sophia's lead. According to her, the village of Arcadia was located in an oasis hidden in the desert.
However, Arcadia was already under attack by Bern. Roy suspected their aim to be the Dragons that were said to inhabit the village. Although the Lycia Alliance Army moved as quickly as they could towards Arcadia, a vicious sandstorm stood in their way...
There's a place to hide if you follow this path. Can you make it there?
But Fa's tired!
Don't be stubborn. Now go, or else Bern's soldiers might find us.
What about Sophia?
I don't know... Maybe she was caught by Bern's troops.
If we get caught by Bern, then can we see the outside world?
Fa, no. The elders said that we mustn't communicate with the outside.
No. ...But I wonder how Bern found out about our village... Perhaps it has something to do with the ominous energy that Sophia detected from the soldiers...
...! I shouldn't be thinking about such matters now. Fa! Over here, hurry!
...Fa wants to see the outside world, too.
Fedule gets really weirded out by characters referring to themselves in the third person.
Fedule also apparently doesnt wait until the secondary co-commentators comment before doing his own thing. Youre supposed to be snarking at my commentary, not the other way around.
A band of mercenaries and some Dragons have arrived as reinforcements, but General Narshen's group hasn't arrived yet.
What is he thinking? He must know that it's impossible to conquer the village with a small army like this...
Anyway, we must inform the king about the Dragons living here. Zeiss, I want you to go to Aquleia and report to King Zephiel.
What shall I say?
Dragons do indeed inhabit this village. According to a captive, there are also signs of 'Divine Dragons,' the most powerful even among Dragons. ...Tell him that.
Make it quick.
Yes... This sandstorm...has always protected our village from intruders...
It's going to be a pain trying to look for a village in this mess. I can't see three meters ahead... So in which direction should we be moving?
Yes... Head to the northeast... But...
There may be things hidden in the sand...blown around by the sandstorm... Please be careful where you step...
Oh baby, here we go. This is peak IntSys - every bit of bullshit they could possibly muster thrown into one chapter. First and foremost, it's a desert map. Not only do we have to take into account the movement penalties for mounted and non-magic on foot units, there's all sorts of awesome treasure buried all over the map, so Chad and Astol will be quite busy. As you can also see, it's a fog of war map. There are at least two or three groups of wyverns hiding in the darkness (each group being led by a Silver Lance Wyvern Lord for maximum fun), plenty of mages to ignore the movement penalties, a few mercs and heroes, and a few Manaketes scattered around for good measure. You do not want to run into a Manakete by accident.
God damn. God damn. And fog of war, too, for that nice extra personal fuck you from IntSys to players.
Of all the possible maps to do so on, Cecilia has invited herself to this one. Her stats are still shit, and she's on a horse to boot.
Seriously? That is just perfect timing there. This must be where they got the idea for Fiona from.
Lady, get off your ass and walk. You have legs, use them, and stop torturing that poor beast.
This... this is a joke, right?
Hey, heres a level one Shaman in case the really awesome one we just gave you wasnt working out. Have fun leveling her on this map.
And then we have this. Just...this. Not only do we have to drag her across the entire map to get a specific treasure that only she can get, if you want the gaiden chapter (And you do, if you want to actually finish the game, remember), you have to keep her alive and clear the chapter within 25 turns. Really, the former is harder than the latter.
She... Shaman... 3 Con... what... thats... not...
So we have the following:
- Arbitrary movement restrictions seen pretty much nowhere else in the game.
- Two weak characters that must be escorted around the map.
- One of the two characters is hit by the arbitrary movement restriction.
- The other is just weak and must be shepherded about to find an unmarked item on the map.
- Items hidden at arbitrary locations on the map that you need a guide for.
- Oh, and Fog of War.
So, our general strategy. Roy, Lilina, Miledy, and Astol are going to sweep southeast and cut up north at the end. Gonzales and Chad will be covering the west side of the map, and Fir and Cecilia are more or less going to stay where they are and hang out near the start. Finally, Tate, Ray, Lugh, Saul, and Sophia are going to go north and cut to the boss as quickly as possible.
Lilina starts by showing up a silly mage.
Tate moves up to attack the mercs. The hero has a Killing Edge (and is capable of killing her with a crit), but otherwise she's not in much danger.
Lugh helps her out with one of the mercs.
Ray misses the mage, so Astol guts him and picks up the Boots.
Really? The boots are the first treasure? Hard to believe that, even with all this asshole-ry, IntSys are still learning at this point.
On the plus side, hooray, boots!
Tate gets flashy with a redundant crit.
Did you think we were done with the bullshit? Recover staves fully heal the target, so Tate's luck in not getting critted was wasted.
Of course theres healers, youre on a time limit so theyre here to make sure you take as long as possible to cut through the fodder.
And a Sleep asshole. That time limit gets pretty tight when Roy decides to waste five turns taking a nap.
This just keeps getting better
Fuck off, buddy.
You know you're in a good chapter when getting a Speedwing is on the low end of the excitement scale.
Let's go dragon hunting.
So glad I rooted for Gonzales.
On a more serious note, this does showcase the big problem with Manaketes. Even my strongest unit, using the strongest weapon type, was doing less than double-digit damage to a manakete. This is why you use magic to kill them.
Aaaannnnndddd...fuck. Guess that treasure will have to wait a bit.
By the way, why does Intsys insist on putting the sandstorm layer on top of everything else? Its really not that annoying when playing, but when trying to take screen shots its annoying as fuck and theyre still doing it to this day!
The nearby priest has a Silence staff, just in case you thought going all-out with magic would get you home free this chapter. Fortunately, he's only in range of Lilina and Cecilia; one he can't silence, the other doesn't matter.
Miledy opts to deal with this wyvern rider instead.
The gods are pleased by her carnage and grant us a Silence Staff as a reward.
A Talisman isn't particularly exciting, but I won't complain when most of our units are short on resistance.
Ray offs the hero and gets shit upon by the RNG.
At least hes not level 1.
Miledy gets a similar experience from killing a mage.
A second batch of mercs appears as we approach the gate.
Tate makes it three for three from a merc.
Healbot levels, best levels.
Two skulls, and maybe three working synapses between them.
Oh, cmon. Again?
Yes, Rose, you are most correct.
Then, Maggie, it must be true that there is a hidden village around here.
Bless my soul, Rose, I believe you are correct.
But, my dear Maggie, we don't want to get lost in the sandstorm, do we?
Of course not, Rose. Then we wouldn't be able to find our way home.
Well then, Maggie, do you think that we should pass up the hidden village?
My dear Rose, you forget that there are rumors of vast treasures hidden in that village.
Well, we certainly don't want to miss that, do we, Maggie?
Of course not, Rose. We can make a lot more money through that than by mugging travelers.
But we don't want to get lost, either, do we, Maggie?
My dear Rose, I have an idea. We may follow the people whom we saw heading into the desert earlier.
That's a wonderful idea, Maggie. And once we reach the village, we can thank them by smashing their heads in.
Of course, my dear Rose.
Well then, Maggie, shall we be off?
Why certainly, my dear Rose.
Yes, that is the fourth time we've seen that sprite used now. At any rate, because all of the above bullshit wasn't enough, the game has just dumped about 10 bandits and 2 berserkers back where we started. Hope you didn't leave anyone behind because they were dead weight!
God it is a pain just to read the things that they are saying. They couldve done something interesting or funny with these two! But nooo. Well, I guess its fitting, since they look identical to several other bandit leaders too.
But they did do something funny! They named the big, burly, manly bandits Maggie and Rose! Instant comedy!
Saul can only stare jealously as the enemy bishop turns his eye to him.
Rose and Maggie are no pushovers; this chapter essentially has three bosses.
Hello there, 1/5 chance of suiciding.
Yay sandstorm layer. Chad picks up the Silver Card, so we basically never have to worry about money again.
Seriously...I am so glad Im past the sandstorm part of AW:DS. Even in 2005 that shit is annoying.
No such luck on the comedy kill option, so Tate does the honors.
Manakete number two, hiding in the southeast corner.
Lilina doesn't give a fuck, though.
Maggie is just as tough as Rose, and has the added bonus of not potentially killing himself simply by attacking.
Every kill makes him a little more deadly.
Anyway, two load-states later, Fir stops shitting the bed and I can actually advance to the next turn.
Gonzales misses a brigand and is denied his kill. This only serves to make him even angrier and more dangerous.
God I love berserkers.
While he could use some skill, that stopping power is beautiful.
Progress! All we had to do all along was throw Fir against something capable of murdering her in a single hit.
Fun fact: Fir is apparently blessed with a strange sort of magnetism that only attracts axes.
A Warp staff hides in the southeast corner of the map.
And this is why running into manaketes in the darkness is bad. Lilina will survive the attack with 1 HP, though she'll drop him to 4 in the process.
The actual boss:
Not particularly impressive, but the Light Brand does let him attack from afar. Not that Lugh gives a damn.
Im pretty sure Maggie and Rose, and the level itself, are the true bosses here. Randys just the guy they hired to stand in front of the gate.
By the blade...or by its light?
Your sword is im- no, thats not how this works Its not even indestructible, I mean...
Someone somewhere is now claiming that no foe can stand before his unstoppable shield.
Meanwhile, Tate starts the fight from up close.
A beautiful ring...
Yes, if you drag Sophia (and only Sophia) all the way to Arcadia, you get a Guiding Ring. Considering how stingy IntSys is with the Guiding Rings in this game, this is positively cruel.
What the fuck is even the point of that? I mean, why did it have to be Sophia? Why cant anyone else find it?
Gotta get grinding those Light ranks, son! At least he starts with a D instead of an E.
Thats awfully (and uncharacteristically) considerate.
Miledy doesn't take any shit from Dragons.
Shes been taming and riding wyverns for years. Whats a dragon but a bigger, meaner wyvern?
Meanwhile, we murder the other boss.
...meet one as strong as you...before my death.
Dammit game, I need more Guiding Rings!
And that's it for the treasure.
Holy shit, she actually did it. Now, we'll skip ahead about 5 turns while Fir murders her way through the rest of those bandits.
We never gave up on you, Fir! Well, some of us didnt, anyway.
Some of us had an inside line to Artixs bitching and didnt feel like making him suffer more than he had to.
But first, shopping! Of note is that the stores stock Aircalibur and Nosferatu tomes, so we grab a couple of each.
Fir ends up going a long way towards redeeming herself. Cecilia makes a much less convincing case for herself.
Shes just got that nasty case of axe-magnetism to deal with.
Sophia, where are the inhabitants of the village? ...What's wrong?
...The entrance to the temple...
This door... It looks like it was forced open. What lies inside this temple?
A spell book... We call it...the Divine Weapon...
Divine Weapon!? There was one here, too? ...Then that must be what Bern was after! In that case, we might be too late...!
...The Divine Weapon is still here...
Really? How can you tell?
It is there... I can feel it...
All right. Let's go! We may still be able to stop Bern!
Next time: A gaiden almost as awful as the chapter preceeding it!
Level 1 Valkyrie
Anima - A, Staves - C, Affinity - Anima
HP: 30 (60%)
Magic: 11 (35%)
Skill: 7 (45%)
Speed: 10 (25%)
Luck: 10 (25%)
Defense: 7 (20%)
Resistance: 13 (25%)
Cecilia has the honor of being a shitty prepromote that forcibly comes on a desert map where you can't even make use of her one good stat (movement). Her bases suck, her growths are terrible as is (though she might be passable if you swapped her skill and speed growth), and most damning of all, she comes at a point where you could feasibly have 5 mages ready for promotion, including a potential valkyrie. Barring everyone crashing and burning, there's really no reason to use Cecilia.
On the plus side, you dont have to keep her alive to get something this mission. Though I wouldnt be surprised if shes got a recruitment conversation or two down the line just to punish you for feeding her to Maggie and Rose out of spite.
Level 1 Shaman
Dark - C, Affinity - Dark
HP: 15 (60%)
Strength: 6 (55%)
Skill: 2 (40%)
Speed: 4 (30%)
Luck: 3 (20%)
Defense: 1 (20%)
Resistance: 8 (55%)
"Your word is: liability." "S-O-P-H-I-A." Remember everything we just said about why Cecilia is terrible? 90% of those reason apply to Sophia, albeit in slightly different ways. She's set up as an Est-like character, but she doesn't have the sheer growths to make it work (in particular, 30% speed, and she only starts with 4. And uses Dark magic. With 3 Con. ), and she shows up halfway through the game with bases so low, she could feasibly be doubled and killed by a run-of-the-mill mage, let alone anything actually dangerous. If you are willing to put in a lot of time and babying, she'll basically end up as a second Lilina, but that's a lot less feasible at this point in the game.
Bonus: Treasure Map