Part 32: The Worst of HousesLast time, our intrepid heroes entered the pyramid and defeated the evil sandstorm, Machin Shin.
Now we're off to Aleksandria, which was isolated by the sentient storm.
The citizens seem quite happy to see us.
You know that the first thing we're gonna do is jump in that water.
Partly because there is always a hidden chest...
...and partly because there's usually something else of interest.
I'll admit that I'd forgotten about Shelby. I'll need to hunt him down for the next update.
Apart from the item shop (I feel like I should stop showing those; they're always the same), Aleksandria is full of new and interesting things to buy. The phaseblade, flameblade, iceblade, and windforce (a bow) are elemental weapons, which I generally try to avoid for fear of running into enemies that resist them. The wizardwand is excellent, though, and we get two (for Hexia and Lina).
On the armor side, the magic armor grants 50% resistance to debuffs, while the magefist and magic coronet both increase the wearer's Int. We forgo buying any of it since I don't want to get too extravagant, but we may come back later.
Finally, we have a full set of ninja tools for sale, including two new ones. The Shadow Skean has a chance to inflict instant death, while the Empowerer steals enemy HP and MP. We grab them both since 2000 GP isn't a huge expenditure at this point.
Surprise! Aleksandria actually has a ton of shops, including a basic scroll shop and a tarot card store. There's nothing really worth our time here, though Heal scrolls might come in handy later in the game for teams with less natural healing magic, like Akira's.
An old man in town tells us about his adventures in an airship, which crashed in Ozland. We've heard about this elsewhere too.
Well I pray to the father and the holy ghost/Kneeling at the altar of my nightly post...
Spice is apparently a potent local pharmaceutical, but beyond that no one actually tells us what it is. I guess we should be grateful there aren't any sandworms here.
This isn't significant or anything, but I appreciate this guy's energy.
All right, let's go see the queen.
That is absolutely why we're here.
Hell yeah, that was easy.
I'm not actually sure what triggered this. We didn't even know about Spice until about ten minutes ago. But we're also not gonna turn it down.
There's nothing obvious we can do with it, but it's a key item in an RPG, so we'll find a use eventually.
Before we go, we need to toss the queen's bedroom.
Now this is suspicious. We have no idea what it means, but given where we found it, we can probably assume it's addressed to the queen herself. We'll need to keep an eye out for the Frozen Throne.
We also find a valuable amulet in the queen's closet, which we commandeer for the cause. It doubles the wearer's Int, so we give it to Hexia in order to really boost her spells.
Finally, we check the city temple and find a teleportal in the basement. You can probably guess where it leads.
Yep, back to Paranor. This is the portal that was blocked by a mysterious whirlwind earlier in the game. With Machin Shin gone, so is the wind.
Conveniently, this makes it quite east to go see Pablo.
I'll be honest: I looked for Wip after this conversation and could not find him anywhere. We'll just have to make do.
Anyway, now that we have the Queen's Letter, we can head back to Port Kells to get ourselves a ship!
Should have known.
Well, we don't really have a choice, do we?
So, we're 30,000 GP poorer, but at least we finally have our ship! We can now head to Ikea or Kremsland, or to Okasa to deal with the siege. But we're not going to do any of that. I have another destination.
Random encounters do happen at sea, but they're rare and mostly consist of the same enemies that Akira fought on the water. However, this is a good chance to show off what our Joker can do.
In this case, she has told a joke so good that it makes five lumps of coral turn on each other.
She then makes a silly face that confuses one of them.
Notice the empty turn timers here. Goof Off is bugged; no one else can take actions until the Joker does something else. This can, in theory, be exploited, but it would make fights take forever, especially since the class has no reliable offense.
On the other hand, Jokers aren't entirely awful. Sure, Goof Off is terrible and Toss is basically useless, but they do get Harlequins' songs and can steal from foes. They also have a chance to find gold or chests after battle, same as bandits. I still wouldn't ever recommend them without the special bonus they get at level 20.
Appropriately, that solitary fight gave Harley a level. It's the only level up in this whole update.
But anyway, here w e are at our destination: the last Funhouse in the game. May as well get it over and done with.
Oh. Oh god.
There are four mazes here. This is going to suck.
Oh, and we'll probably have to run each one a second time to find a floor switch. Fuuuuuck.
Look, in all seriousness: Yes, I'm exaggerating for comedic effect, but I do dislike the Funhouses. The mazes are boring and tedious and feel more like an obligation than a diversion. There's not even any threat of losing tickets, since it's so easy to save scum until you get them right. Luckily, this is the last one we have to deal with.
This particular Funhouse has an expanded shop upstairs, with vendors selling guidebooks for Rangers. For now we're not going to bite since I expect to be able to find these guides in the wild, but it's worth keeping in mind.
Anyway, let's go do the mazes.
The southeast maze is air-themed and easily the worst of the lot. The connected vertical hallways all look the same and it's really easy to get lost.
Our reward for completing each maze is a hat of happiness, which restores HP while walking but has awful defense. It's pretty much trash.
Oh, as we also hit the button on a second trip. One down, three to go.
To the northeast is the fire-themed maze.
We find the button on the first trip this time.
This maze isn't as bad as the previous one simply because the intended path has very few branches. It's twisty and time-consuming, but not hard to navigate.
Also, it has a chest with a monster-in-a-box, but it's just a phantom.
To the southwest is the water maze. Walking through this monstrosity actually hurt my eyes.
Fortunately, this one was actually the easiest for me - it only took a few tries, and I was able to get both the switch and the exit in one run.
Finally, the maze to the northwest is earth-themed. Button, exit, done.
We're finished! We don't have any more Funhouse mazes for the rest of the game!
We do have this, though. What fresh hell awaits us now?
Actually, it's... perfectly fine, if a bit tedious. We spend our tickets to roll dice and move around a square board, dealing with the effects of whatever space we land on. It's basic, but impressive to see in an RPG Maker game.
Oh, and doubles get us a free roll, which is nice.
Tree spaces can be searched, which usually does nothing.
Sometimes you have to fight a bear, though. If there's anything else to be gained from these spaces I never saw it.
Arrow tiles move us forward or back a certain number of spaces.
The two teleportal tiles transport us between them.
The treasure chest spaces contain unique items. This particular one is a powerful piece of body armor for the four protagonists. Sadly, it's the only one I was able to claim.
The inn space works like a regular inn and is a complete waste of cash.
Magic circles force you into a fight, usually with a zombie, but sometimes the game throws a leafer at you instead as a joke.
Incidentally, Hexia can do well over 1000 damage with a basic Bless spell, even with her low level. She's already kind of a wrecking ball.
The water tile in the corner restores HP and MP, making the inn an even bigger waste of money.
Landing on a book (I promise you that's what it is) gives us a ticket.
Landing on a bush gives us a low-tier consumable.
Landing on a pot gives us some money.
And finally, landing on the weapon shop icon takes us to an actual shop.
The stuff here is insanely good. Extra ladykillers and maneaters would be nice, but they're way too pricey. The sword of miracles is a little weak for this point in the game, but the stat boosts are still worth it; we grab one for Moe, whose club is looking a bit weak. The shields cast spells, and while Icebolt and Firebal are both a bit weak at this point, the ability for anyone to cast Speedself is incredible and well worth the cost. We grab one for general use. And finally, the ring of the zodiac is probably the best non-unique stat-boosting ring in the game, so we buy one for Holdana.
After a few more unexciting rolls, we're out of tickets. Monoplo is worth playing, though, so we may come back.
And that's it for today! If you have a preference for where the parties head next, feel free to say so. Otherwise, we'll probably head to Jumongu to break the siege at Okasa.