Part 4: New Recruit
Welcome back. Last time on Last Scenario, we played Hex. But before that, Hilbert had decided to head north and join the army, in order to train and make a name for himself in time for the demon awakening that Zawu warned him about. We're done messing around with boardgames, so let's get on with the plot.
Hilbert mentioned offhand in the second update that the capital of the Republic was to the north, so we'll be heading through the mountain pass here.
The soldier here hasn't moved out of the way after our sojourn into the mines, so let's talk to him.
Unless you've got important business on the other side, I can't let you through.
But I do have important business. I'm going to the capital to join the army.
That's great and all, but I wouldn't call that important. I'm sure you can wait a few days.
Can't you make an exception? Even if it's dangerous out there, I can take care of myself.
I guess I don't have a choice.
Have a safe journey.
The game does, in fact, take 10 gold out of our inventory here. Then it's time to move on.
Almost immediately after entering the next screen, we run into two Brigands. Sadly, we're still at the point in the game where battles are fairly uninteresting. Brigands can slice us for about 2 damage a pop, but they go down in a couple of attacks.
There are a few chests north of our starting position. The one on the left contains a Tent, which work identically to those found in Final Fantasy. Tents restore our entire party's HP and MP to full, but can only be used while we're able to save, which usually means at save points or on the world map.
The other chest contains a goddamned grenade. Who the hell is leaving all these explosives lying around? Grenades are the single-target cousins of Molotov Cocktails, also dealing non-elemental damage.
On the next screen we find a soldier checking out some rocks, but before we can talk to him we get ambushed by some Killer Hornets. It turns out they have a really silly name, since all of their attacks do 0 damage.
If you want to go north, take the long way around across the bridge.
Looks like we'll be taking a detour.
After heading along the path (and killing another Brigand) we find this chest, containing our first MP restorative. Apparently in Last Scenario's world snakes are super-magical, because all of the MP-restoring items are snake bits. Serpent Tongues are the weakest of the bunch and restore 25 MP, which is about two and a half times Hilbert's entire total. Serpent items are quite valuable, since I don't believe they can be bought.
It looks like there's no path onward, but heading down this slope takes us to another screen. It also takes us to a rather threatening-looking Barbarian. At 4 damage their attacks are the most powerful of any enemy on the mountain, and they also take four or five shots before they go down. Still, they only ever show up alone, so they're not too much trouble.
A little further ahead, we run into a save point and a couple of soldiers.
They're preparing for war at the capital. I'd rather be here than get sent off to a battlefield. Just look at what happened with Farin Island. No thanks, I'm fine with cleaning up rubble.
Neither of them have anything important to say, but one of them makes reference to an incident at a Farin Island. This won't be the last time we hear about that place.
Hang on, what's that in the upper-right corner?
We can actually just walk straight through the tree here, which brings us to a semi-hidden cave.
The cave spits us out on an otherwise-inaccessible plateau, where we find a new bow for Hilbert. It's not a major upgrade, but every little bit helps.
As we head back around I try it out on a Killer Hornet. It's enough to kill one of them in a single strike.
Stop loitering around and get on with your business.
The soldier here marks the end of the Redhill Pass, but there's a couple of other NPCs to chat with.
We run into a couple of Blackhats before we can talk to them though. Uh, hey soldiers, wanna give me a hand here?
Nevermind, I can handle it.
The soldiers here make another reference to Farin Island. That's all there is left to do here.
Heading out to the north spits us out on the world map again. The capital of the Republic can be found on this side of the island, but there's also a couple of other destinations we can check out.
The town of Melende can be found immediately north of the pass. This place is pretty much just a rest stop, but there are still a few things we can do here.
The NPCs around Melende shed a bit more light on the history behind the Republic where Hilbert lives. It seems that the Republic gained independence at some point in the semi-recent past, but we don't have a firm timeframe yet.
The main attraction in Melende is this shop at the north end of town, which is the spellcard shop.
They have a pretty decent selection, though most of the spellcards are out of our price range for the moment. We've seen Gust Strike before, but here's a list of the rest.
Frostbite (4MP): Deals minor ice damage to one enemy.
Crisis: P-Frost (5MP): Deals minor ice damage to one enemy, ignoring enemy RES.
Stat changes: +2% INT, -1% SPD
Spark (4MP): Deals minor fire damage to one enemy.
Crisis: M-Spark (6MP): Deals minor fire damage to all enemies.
Stat changes: -1% max HP, +2% max MP
Lightning (4MP): Deals minor lightning damage to one enemy.
Crisis: X-Lightning (8MP): Deals somewhat stronger lightning damage to one enemy.
Stat changes: -1% STR, +2% SPD
Clearsight (1MP): Cures blindness for one ally.
Crisis: Flash (5MP): Deals minor light damage to all enemies.
Stat changes: +1% SKL
Neutralize (2MP): Cures poison for one ally.
Crisis: Tranquility (8MP): Cures berserk and chaos for the entire party.
Stat changes: +1% RES
Noise (2MP): Cures silence for one ally.
Crisis: Focus (2MP): Temporarily raises the caster's INT.
Stat changes: +1% INT
I'll be keeping track of the spellcards we see throughout the game and placing a list of them in the second post. There's quite a variety of spellcards, so I want there to be an easy reference available instead of me having to explain what a spellcard does every time it comes up.
Note: the spellcard list is available in an appendix at the end of the main update list - Ed
The only other point of interest in Melende is this girl here, who, as you might expect, turns out to be a Hex player.
Sadly, she doesn't appear to have any tiles we don't own.
I play a couple games with her and pick up another Air Elemental and Kobold.
Anyway, it's time to move on. To the east of Melende is this castle which is very clearly the capital, but there's also a small village-looking thing nearby.
Music: None (waves crashing)
It turns out to be the capital's port.
There's not much to see here at the moment, though there is this fortune teller in the northwest who can see our future for a small amount of gold. We don't need it, but Echo here will give you a hint on where you're supposed to go next in case you forgot.
Now then, let's head to...
... the Republic Capital squareStonewall. Huh. I wonder why that keeps happening. I never saw random squares popping up in the text on my first playthrough.
The soldier at the gate tells us where we should be going to advance the plot, but there's several things we can do in Stonewall before we run off to join the army.
To begin with, the central plaza of the city has a woman who functions as an item shop, with a little better selection than the one in Whitelake. In addition to now selling Silver Dusts and Tents, we can also pick up Soul Essences here, the game's main KO-revival item. Obviously, though, with only one character they're useless for the time being.
Several of the NPCs around here can also give us a small update on the state of the world. It looks like that Farin Island incident we've been hearing about might be leading the Republic to war.
There's also this fellow in a nearby house who happens to have a portrait.
I know she's in town right now, but I can't even see her. Things are busy, I suppose.
To the east of the central plaza is the city inn, which is fairly standard, but there's someone we can find in the back rooms.
Specifically, there's this woman who is a traveler from a third nation, the Rosehart Kingdom.
... with the recent tension between the Republic and the North Empire, I'm not sure if I should stay here.
She's also a Hex player, and carries the fantastic Undine tile. Undine is our first tile that can attack in all six directions, which means it'll be a regular part of our hand for a good long while.
Also to the east of the central plaza is a small fountain, with a couple more NPCs we can talk to to get an idea of what's going on in the world.
Soon we'll be celebrating that it was 14 years ago that we gained independence from the Kingdom... and now the Empire is at our doorstep. Stability is always temporary... borders keep shifting...
We can't let those Empire bastards win! What we need now is swift action!
Despite the imminent threat of war with the Empire, it is not the country that the Republic gained independence from--that is, in fact, the Rosehart Kingdom, as Lawrence just told us. I have to say, I do like how Last Scenario gives you the opportunity to find out the general state of the world on your own during the game's opening, unlike other RPGs where it's usually thrown in your face.
If we head back to the central plaza and go west, we can find another part of the city that contains a weapon and armor shop.
First, let's check out the armor salesman. There are three "classes" of armor in Last Scenario: heavy armor (usually metal), light armor (leather and the like), and mage armor (robes). As you might expect, heavy armor provides lots of VIT, mage armor provides lots of RES, and light armor is somewhere in between. Every character can wear light and mage armor, but only certain characters can wear heavy armor and Hilbert is not one of them. Since he's not a mage, I prefer to go with light armor for him.
For now, most of this armor is out of our price range, but the Feathered Hat grants +7 to Hilbert's VIT compared to his current equipment, so I pick one up. One of the things you'll notice very quickly if you play this game is that equipment is very expensive, and every time new equipment becomes available you will pretty much always have to forgo upgrades for at least a couple of your characters.
Also, the armor salesman sells a few accessories, each preventing a different status effect. The Blue Ring prevents Silence, the White Ring prevents Blindness, and the Green Ring prevents Poison. We won't be buying any of these for awhile though.
The weapon shop has a few weapons for characters that we don't have (including what appears to be a precious gem for some reason), but we already picked up a Greenwood Bow in the Redhill Pass, so there's nothing to buy here.
To the south of the equipment shop is this other building with a flower sign. What's in here?
It turns out to be a Hex trading post. As I mentioned earlier last update, there are special shops scattered throughout the world where we can trade our Hex tiles for items.
Every tile in the game has a different reward associated with it and a varying number of copies required to get the reward. The number on the left of each slash shows how many copies of the tile we need to do a trade, and the number on the right shows how many copies we own. The rewards for the lower-end tiles aren't that great, but there are a few gems in here. Of note is the reward for the Brigand tile, the blue spellcard Steal, which does about what you'd expect. The game will hand us one of these in a few hours, but if you really want to steal from some early bosses and get some good items, you can spend a bunch of time grinding out ten Brigands. I won't be bothering; the steals from early bosses are good but get outclassed pretty quickly.
There are also a few other trades worth considering: the Air Bow is a decent upgrade for Hilbert and makes all of his attacks become wind-aligned, but it's not so good that I feel the need to grind out eight Killer Hornets right this second. Undine's Charm, an accessory that halves all incoming fire damage, is also something we might want to come back for later in the game when elemental damage becomes more of a consideration, but right now it won't really help much and the one Undine we have is one of our best tiles.
We also find a few Hex players upstairs, but Nigel here is the only one who will play with us.
He's got a buttload of Shadows in his deck, which only have a two-direction reach but have the highest HP of any tile available right now.
So I relieve him of a few.
It's worth noting that although every Hex tile has a trade associated with it, you can only see trades in the list for tiles you own or have owned at some point. Frostbite's not a bad spellcard, but this is another one the game is going to hand us pretty soon.
Elsewhere, we can head north from the central plaza and find the city's castle, but we're not allowed in.
To the west of the castle is our destination, the army recruitment office.
There's this couple standing nearby. I'm sure nothing bad will be happening to Lessin, no sir.
Now then, we've wasted enough time. Let's get on with the plot.
I'm here to join the army. Do I need to talk to you for that?
You want to join up? Great! We can always use fine young men like you! Just give me your name and where you're staying for now. I'll be gathering all new recruits tomorrow at noon in front of the building, so make sure you're there.
Ah, all right.
There's no animation here, but we hear the sound of Hilbert pulling something out of his pocket.
Hmm? What's that?
I'll tell you what it is. It's a seal that belonged to the great hero Alexander. This is proof that I'm his direct descendant!
I'm not joking. This thing is real. I want to join the army and become a hero like my ancestor.
... You're serious about this? All right, but I'll warn you. If it turns out you're a fraud, you're in big trouble. You understand that?
Okay. I'll believe in this seal.
Fade to black...
Welling: Well? Is it real or not?
Selemon: Well, I can't say with absolute certainty, but...
Well, Hilbert might have been naive to believe the words of some random woman, but it's good to see the seal she gave us was actually the real thing. This would've been pretty embarrassing otherwise.
But you said you're not sure?
Lieutenant, this seal has been lost for three hundred years. There is no one alive who has seen it before. I can only go by written records, but as an expert in the field of archeological records, well... I would say that there's no one on the planet who could make a forgery this accurate.
So it's definitely real?
Yes, I would put my reputation on it.
Commander Tazar! It's not a lie. We investigated it, but he seems to be speaking the truth.
Is that so?
The seal he showed is real. Certainly it could've been stolen, but...
You're the one? Where did you get this seal?
I've heard that Alexander was actually born on this island, although it's not known exactly where. It's a shame that the place that marks his grave is now in Empire territory...
So, you want to be famous like your ancestor?
Yes! I want to become a great leader! I'm pretty good with a bow, but I'll work hard to get even better!
It'll be good for everyone's morale to have you on our side. I hope you can live up to your promise. Hmm... but it would be a waste to put you with the regular grunts. One of the special forces units would be better.
What about Captain Matilda's team? They're charged with the Farin Island cleanup. I think that would be a good training mission for him.
Matilda? Yes, a good suggestion. She's tough, but that may be for the better. Do you think you can handle this?
I'll do my best! I won't disappoint you!
Come with me. I'll take you to the Captain.
I didn't catch your name.
Hilbert! I'm Hilbert!
Fade to black...
We're briefly given control back here.
We can't go north, but if we head downstairs, we see Tazar walking away. Let's follow him.
Fade to black...
It was Jord's fault!
A quick note here. Characters occasionally get little ! bubbles above their heads to show surprise, but they're on screen for less than a half-second and are notoriously difficult to capture. In most cases, like here, I'll probably just MSPaint them in if I miss them.
I had to drop everything and go look for him! That's why we're so late!
And what if I was! It's because you vanished that I had to stop working in the first place!
Shut up, both of you! I can't stand to listen to this any longer! Are you monkeys, or are you elite soldiers in the Republic army special forces?
... We're soldiers.
One of the things you're going to notice about Matilda very quickly is that she does not abide incompetence of any kind. It's kind of refreshing, honestly.
Do you think you can slack off because we're not on a mission? You think this kind of job is not important? If you get used to this kind of behavior, how will you respond during wartime!? Take your tasks seriously. Do you understand me?
You say something too, Thorve. You're second in command here. It's your job to keep the rest in line too.
Matilda, you asked me a while ago to look out for potential new members for your team. Well, I have one for you. This is your new member.
Fade to black...
It's an honor to have a descendant of such a great man among us.
Thank you, ma'am.
Hmm... You look determined, but your heritage won't carry you all the way. You know you're going to have to get by on your own strength, right?
Of course. I'll do my best!
All right, let's introduce ourselves first.
I am the magical and medical expert of the team. I'm also second in rank here.
Oh, I see. You're a priest, right?
Not... quite. A priest is someone who worships a higher power. Me... I only put my faith in reason. If you want to call me anything, "healer" or "medic" will do.
Anyway... The two on your right are Selene and Jord. They make up the other half of our team.
Nice to meet you.
Welcome on our team, Hilbert. I'm glad to have you with us.
Thanks, all of you. I caught something about a mission from the Commander. Are you going to be leaving soon?
It's a low-risk mission so don't worry about anything, but it'll be your first test. Don't take it easy. Anyway, I have no more tasks for you until then, so you have today off in case you have something to do. You can sleep here tonight, so come back once you're ready.
Fade to black...
And with that, control is returned to us. Now that we've joined the team, we can go around and check out the rest of the army base.
During some battles between the Empire and the Kingdom, he allegedly killed a hundred men on his own. Who knows if it's true though. It's probably grossly exaggerated.
We find Tazar's office at the north end of the base, but he doesn't have much to say.
The northwest door leads to the mess hall. The only guy of note in here is Owen, who is a Hex player.
He doesn't have anything new, though, so I just take another Brigand off him.
We can also head back to the library where we inspected Alexander's seal if we want. The guy who looked at it doesn't have much to say, but the other guy here can give us the best history lesson we've seen yet about the three nations of the world.
Afterwards, it fell apart again, and countries began to wage war on each other like before. Eventually, only the North Empire and the Rosehart Kingdom remained. The Pargon Republic won its independence from the Kingdom 14 years ago.
Also, we should probably talk to our teammates before we get going.
He can get his act together when he really has to, but at times like this he's impossible.
Worst of all, the army's supplies are limited. If you want anything more, you have to buy them yourself. Don't worry about it much though. I have the healing and offensive side covered for this mission.
She might be my senior here, but that doesn't mean I'll let her tell me what to do. Listen to me, Hilbert. If she's being pushy, just say no.
We can talk to Matilda to advance the plot.
Fade to black...
Yes, then you will be a hero. Work hard for us... We need you.
Next time: It's time to see what the deal is with this Farin Island place.