Part 16: Do Me A Favor
Welcome back. Last time on Last Scenario, we set off to the abandoned copper mine in order to rescue Joanna from the Kingdom's Omega Team. We were captured, but in the end we were able to escape, thanks in large part to Joanna herself. Following that, Thorve gave us an update on what's been happening in the Empire after Leopold's death. The country is on the brink of civil war, with part of the country supporting Helga, the rightful heir, and the other part supporting her younger brother, Wilhelm, claiming that Helga ordered Leopold's death. Since asking Helga for help would just leave a bad taste in our mouths, we've decided to head to the Empire and see what this Wilhelm fellow is all about. Let's get to it.
Following the events of the previous update, we find ourselves outside Hilbert's house in Whitelake. We've got a bit of a trek in store for us today, but before we do anything, there are a few things to check out in this area of the world.
First of all, as she promised, Saraswati has come to Whitelake. We can find her in the house of Eugene, the first Hex player of the game.
So far, I've only been exchanging strategies with this man. Yes, let me play you again. I want to study your attack patterns more. Will you take my challenge?
As is to be expected, Saraswati has added a few new tiles to her collection, but we also have a powerful new tile at the top of our hand in the Starshine that Helio dropped. Like the Undine before it, the Starshine is one of those rare tiles that has a reach of all six directions.
We grab her new tiles, but I don't see myself using either of them. The Eyestalker doesn't have a large enough reach, and while the Ice Doll's six-direction reach is great there's no real reason to use it over the stronger Undine and Starshine.
I think I've been looking in the wrong places. Maybe I'll find what I'm looking for in a place with more studious people.
Also, there's still something to grab in the abandoned copper mine, as Thuryl pointed out.
If we head back to the room where we fought Helio, we can head north to the place where Joanna came out of after dropping those rocks. At this point I think it should just be a general assumption that SCF has hidden treasure chests in every room that we don't have access to the first time we visit a location.
This treasure room is probably the most valuable one we've seen thus far. In addition to the last Key Tablet Is we will ever need, we also find our first Key Tablet II, which goes straight to Lorenza. The only downside to this room is that all future Key Tablet Is are now pointless, as there's no reason to keep them around once we have enough to unlock everyone's third spellcard slot, and they only sell for 1 gold. That's hardly a problem though.
Now then, it's time for us to get moving. As was mentioned last update, in order to get to the area of the Empire that Wilhelm controls, we'll need to head back to Lunei Village and go west from there on foot. So after another hilariously easy romp through the Redhill Pass, we get Luther to ferry us back to Lunei.
Once back in Lunei, we can also find a certain someone hanging around.
Hmm, you're going to the Empire? Well, that's okay. I don't mind leaving.
Man, Valentin is the chillest motherfucker on the planet. Anyway, heading west from Lunei means we have to first head through the Voldon Mountains again. But at our current level, this area is about as much of a threat as the Redhill Pass.
Once we've passed through, we find ourselves next to Fort Walstein again. It also seems as though the forest to the northwest has had a gate erected in front of it. This signals that we can now enter it, which means it's time for our newest dungeon.
Like the Nolan Hills, the Braunwald Forest is another "get from point A to point B" dungeon. This place is much more of a maze than the Nolan Hills were, though.
It takes about two steps before we run into a dude who should really get his skin looked at. This fellow is the Recluse, an upgrade on the Hermits we saw in Voldon Mountains. Like their little brothers, Recluses will spend their turns attacking for about 20 damage or casting Mystery Curse, which inflicts a random status. The statuses the Recluse can inflict seem to be more debilitating than the Hermit's, though: I saw berserk, chaos, petrification, and even...
... straight-up instant death. There's no damage number or anything, the character just falls to the ground.
Recluses are also prime stealing targets, as in addition to occasionally dropping Serpent Tongues, they carry Serpent Fangs for the pilfering. The steal chance on them is extremely low, however. I must've run into at least eight Recluses in this dungeon, and even with Hilbert casting Steal every turn I didn't get one.
Also close to the entrance we find the very valuable Flame Amulet. The Flame Amulet is an accessory that absorbs fire damage, meaning that any fire attack made against the wearer will heal them for the amount of HP they normally would have lost. It's incredibly useful in the right situations, but wearing it means the character has to forgo most status protection. I have Hilbert put it on for the time being anyway just to dick around.
A little further in we find some more healing items. Somehow after obtaining the Gold Dust I knew the other chest was going to contain a Green Herb. I think I'm getting too used to SCF's games.
Nearby we find some Flame Imps and a Wood Spider. Wood Spiders have a number of different bite attacks which all deal about 20 damage: a regular bite; Draining Bite, which inflicts enfeeble; and Venomous Bite, which inflicts poison. Fire Imps, on the other hand, have no regular attack, and instead spend all their turns using the technique Flame Finger to deal about 15 fire damage. Neither are really worth worrying about.
After a few more twisty pathways we hit some more enemies. The Hill Goblin on the left is the same as the ones we saw in the Nolan Hills, but the Orc on the right is new. Orcs enjoy using the technique Cleave to hit characters for about 35 damage. That's a fair bit, but they generally don't last longer than two turns, so they're not really a problem.
Like the Nolan Hills, the Braunwald Forest is pretty short, and at this point we're basically already done with the dungeon.
All that's left to find is a Mind Capsule, which Lorenza pops for 5 more max MP.
And after that, we find ourselves back on the world map.
There's a few places in this new area that we can visit before we head to our destination. The first is this small shrine-looking thing just to the west.
Unfortunately, we can't do anything here yet.
Likewise, the northwest part of the area contains a place with some rockin' music called the Geo-Science Station, but...
... we can't do anything here either. Aside from ramming ourselves into the door.
Our destination for this update is this town on the northern edge of the new area. Conveniently, it's located smack-dab in the middle of the only path that leads further north, so it looks like this is our only choice for the time being.
Prince Wilhelm has to be in this area, and that fort is the most likely place for him to be.
Have you been to this town before, Thorve?
Yes... I should probably tell you.
Really? This is where you used to live?
It was years ago. I don't think anyone will recognize me anymore.
And control is returned to us. Fardorf is a fairly big town, so let's see what we've got here.
The town inn is right next door to the entrance. It's the same as always, though one of the maids here appears to be threatening us.
To the west of the inn is the town's central square, where we can get a bit more info on Wilhelm. The fort Thorve mentioned is to the north of here, but we'll be saving that for later.
There's also an item shop nearby, but it doesn't have anything new. I swear new items will get added to these things eventually.
The weapon/armor/accessory shop is next door to the item one, but the only area that's seen an upgrade here is armor. I break down and buy a Heavy Vest for Hilbert. Sure, it won't help that much in terms of damage reduction, but we've got money to burn and the dude hasn't had his body armor upgraded since the game started. It just feels wrong to leave him that way.
To the south of the central square we find a Hex trading post and a house which could conceivably have been Thorve's old place, but we can't say for certain.
East of the house is a screen which appears to be entirely devoted to this single grave. We can't interact with it though.
Next up I check out the Hex trading post. This one appears to be fairly popular.
We've got a few new tiles in the Flame Imp, Ice Doll, Eyestalker and Starshine, so let's take a look at their trades. The Fire Ball and Ice Cube we can get for the first two are powerful attack items which cast Fireball and Iceblast, the higher-tier versions of Spark and Frostbite, respectively. That said, I don't really see much point in grinding up tiles for an item I'll only use once. The Treatment spellcard we can get for four Starshines, on the other hand, is a great card that heals a wide range of status effects, but unfortunately it'll be awhile before more Starshine tiles are available.
Despite all of the people in the trading post, only one of them isn't focused on a game or developing new strategies. Rupert here is the only person who will play with us.
He carries one of the more interesting tiles in Hex, the Wood Wall. As you can see, the Wood Wall tile exists to be just that, a wall. Despite its high HP, though, I find it to be more of a liability than anything. With the tiles available right now, the Wall's HP is in the range where it's very likely it'll get flipped exactly once, making it a sure point for your opponent.
It's trade is also pretty lame. I'll take status protection over 25 VIT, thanks.
To the west of the Hex building is this woman who, as you might expect, turns out to be a Hex player. She doesn't have any new tiles, though.
There's also a woman nearby who gives us a little more information about the Geo-Science Station we saw earlier.
And north of her is a spellcard shop with a wide selection but nothing new.
That's about all there is to see in Fardorf proper. Let's see what's going on in this fort.
Uhm, we're looking for the Prince. Is he in here?
Why do you want to know that? Who are you?
We're soldiers. We came here to join you in your fight against the Empress.
That's great. We need all the help we can get, and I can call an officer to talk to you. But the Prince? You think he'll just meet with any soldier that comes in?
It was foolish to think we could just walk in and speak to Wilhelm.
So, should we just go along with this? Or maybe they'll change their minds if we explain who we are.
Well of course not, that's what the seal is for. Why the sudden doubt? The Republic army believed us. Hell, so did you!
We don't have a choice. We'll have to ask someone for a favor.
You have an idea, Thorve?
Since the prince is a scholar, he has most likely met Randolph before. He's well-respected in scientific circles. If we explain our story to Randolph, he may be able to help us.
You know what's going on better than us. We'll follow your idea.
Well, that seems simple enough. Presumably the door will have magically unlocked itself by now.
As we leave the town, however, Thorve stays behind.
There's somewhere I want to go first. You go on ahead, I'll catch up with you.
Fade to black...
Fade to white...
The Empire is going to attack the Kingdom very soon.
Are you serious?
Goddamn, Felgorn must be using some anti-aging cream or something because he hasn't aged a fucking day since this flashback.
The time's right for it. The Kingdom's in disarray because of Pargon Island declaring their independence. Pretty interesting, huh? What do you think? We've got to do something.
You're right. This is our big chance! This is what we've been training for! What are we waiting around for? Let's head to the capital and show them what we've got!
Damn right. We'll rise to the top together. Everyone will know our names.
We'll be famous. Thorve, Wolfram and Felgorn, the three inseparable friends.
Fade to white...
Yes? Come in. Oh, it's you, Prime Minister.
Your flattery won't work on me, Augustus. How do you think I'm doing!? I'm the Empress! The Empire is supposed to be mine! I'm the rightful heir to the throne! How can I be happy when half of the country is rebelling? What do they think they know?
Rumors spread easily, your highness. You shouldn't worry about it too much. Once those rebels are crushed, no one will dare say that you killed your father.
Hmph. I didn't think my little brother would cause this much trouble. What's more, I don't have much faith in our new Chief General. He didn't even want that position in the first place.
It would be better if we had General Grauss on our side, but unfortunately he has chosen to side with Wilhelm. There's nothing we can do about that. He's not the kind of man we can easily convince. We have to make do with what we have. It's only temporary.
Back with Hilbert...
All right then, the Geo-Science Station is right next door, so let's head over there.
Welp, welcome to the Geo-Science Station.
The station is fairly large, but outside of Randolph himself there's not that much to do here, aside from seeing a couple of interesting NPCs.
Like this guy.
I've come to realize that the continents of the planets are drifting. Mountain ranges form when they collide. Doesn't that sound plausible to you? It's perfectly clear to me. What the others are skeptical about is that continents would be plowing their way through the oceans. Maybe there's a different explanation?
There's also this guy in one of the basements who totally is not Jord with a green wig. He's a Hex player, but doesn't have any new tiles.
In the northwest of the station is a bunch of strange rocks. This is completely unimportant right now, but just remember that it's here for later.
Now then, it's time to find this Randolph fellow. We head upstairs and through the door, and then to the east.
As we try to enter, however, Thorve suddenly hesitates again.
Uhh... aren't you coming with us, Thorve?
I... don't know.
What's this all of a sudden? You're the one who said we should meet him. You want to back out now? Get over here! We don't even know the guy!
Fade to black...
Let me see.
Oh, hold on for a moment.
Yes, that's me... but drop the "Mister". Randolph is fine. Hmm? I thought my eyes were deceiving me for a moment there, but it's really you, isn't it, Thorve?
Yes... it's me. I didn't think you would still recognize me.
I beg to differ.
Look at that. You ran off to another country and didn't come back for over a decade. And now that our countries are at war, you show up again? You have a quaint sense of timing, Thorve.
It's a long story... The important part is, we left the Republic behind, and now we have nowhere to go. We want to meet Prince Wilhelm to see if we should offer him our help, but they won't just let us see him.
Oh, I see. You want me to introduce you to him?
Please. We're pretty strong, I think we could make a real difference here.
Hmm... Well, I'd like to help you, but unfortunately, I've just been really busy lately. I have so much to do here, being the chief and all. Everyone's depending on me. And then there's those old ruins we just dug up. Many valuable artifacts that could be found there, yes. But it's infested with dangerous monsters, and the army is in no shape to help us at the moment.
Christ, try being a little less subtle, why don't you?
No problem, we can help! Just tell me what you need done!
Why, how nice of you to offer. You'll find the place south of Fardorf, surrounded by forest. My assistant should be there already. Just ask him for the details. Really, all you have to do is go inside and find me some old records.
Beats being a grunt in a civil war, I guess.
Next time: Well, if we need some information about how the demons of legend were defeated, I suppose an archeology dig wouldn't be a bad place to look...