The Let's Play Archive

Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis

by Feinne

Part 2: The Basics

As if having to make that Nicro Cloth for the Vice Principal wasn’t bad enough, we’ve also got Assignments to complete.

Yeah, what should we do? We still have to make that Nicro Cloth, too.
Umm, let’s get this Assignment over with first.
With you, me, and Nikki, we’ll finish it in no time.

We had to head down to Student Affairs to register for our class today.

Um, yes. I wanted to enroll in a class…
Alright, I can help you select your course.
Would you like an explanation on Courses?

Professor Feinne’s Alchemy 101: Courses
Every term, we have to take Courses. These Courses in turn will require us to do an Assignment. There are two types of Courses, Required and Optional. We’ll see mostly Required Courses at the start, but later on we’ll get to choose from a larger list of Optionals. Our objective each term is to get six credits. We get four for completing an Assignment with an A, three for a B, and only two for a C. If we don’t manage to do so, we’ll have to take Detention assignments in place of Free Time, meaning we’ll miss out on some character scenes and be sad. You don’t want to be sad, so don’t screw up and get Detention!

She also had something for us.

System Message: You have received [Wings of Icarus].
What is this? A necklace?
It is a useful item that instantly teleports you back to campus.
You can use it as many times as you’d like while you’re out there.
Wow! Thank you very much!
You’re very welcome.
Well, please come talk to me again when you’re ready to select a course.

Our first course was on the basics of Synthesis.

For the first part of the class we had to go gather off campus.

Video- “Synthesis I Basics”

Watch the Class

Students: Yay!
Synthesis is where you combine two or more items to create a new item.
It may sound simple, but it’s a very important technique for alchemists.
So listen closely now.
Students: Okay.
Ingredients for alchemy may be plain as water or a rare and valuable item.
It can be bought at a store, or you can gather it yourself.
Of course, the more precious it is, the more expensive, and dangerous.
That’s why there’s a class on battle training at this school as well.
Today, I want you to do the gathering process.
Sounds kinda hard.
Yeah… Will we be okay?
No need to worry. I’m not telling you to go anywhere that dangerous yet.
Either way, the school limits you to specific areas for safety reasons.
So you Freshmen can’t go to dangerous places yet.
Jordan: Aww.
Elsa: I was all worried, too.
So now, let’s see…
I would like you to bring me a Clearwater, a Blue Petal, and a Spinacherb.
Clearwater can be obtained at the faucet in your workshops…
You might have to go cut some grass in the Living Forest for the other two.
Come to me when you find your ingredients. I will be at the Faculty Room.
Oh, and you can cooperate in groups if you’d like. Well, get started!

I hadn’t expected we’d have something like this so soon.

Yeah, I hope I do okay…
Don’t worry! It’ll be over in a flash with us three.
Well, let’s head out to the Living Forest then.

We went back to the Workshop to make sure we had the water before we headed out.

They’re plant type things, so I think we’ll find them if we cut away some grass.
Sounds about right. Vayne, you can do that!
Um, okay. Like this?
Ooh ooh! Look!
Yay! So, so? What’s inside?
Wait just a sec.
System Message: You obtain a Blue Petal.
Isn’t this one of the items for the Assignment?
Yep! We’re so lucky we got one on our first try.
This sounds like a cinch. Let’s pick up the other ingredient and go.

Professor Feinne’s Alchemy 101: Searches
When we enter an off-campus zone, we begin a Search. There are a few ways to get items out of Searches. The safest way is to just pick things up off the ground, whether they’re there by default or came out of a grassy area you slashed. You very well might need to fight monsters, though, to get what you want. There are three types of monsters you can see in an area. The weak Blue monsters will die instantly when slashed, giving you items with no combat. The normal Red monsters must be fought, and the large Red monsters are powerful enemies indeed who should be avoided most of the time. Early on in the game, I’d suggest avoiding most fights as they’re a drain on your resources. Remember that you can jump over monsters as well as walk around them. While you’re searching, keep the time in mind. As day turns to night, the enemies will get faster and stronger. You’ll either want to wait the time out or return to campus with the Wings of Icarus at that point.

Jess almost got into some trouble out there, I guess she’s never seen a monster before.

Aww, how cute!
Jess, watch out! That’s a monster!
What?! R-really?
Wh-what am I supposed to do with monsters?
Well, duh, we’re gonna have to beat them up!
Vayne, Jess, can you guys fight?
Uh, I can, I guess… I brought some bombs and stuff, so…
I can, too… Sulpher is with me.
Alright. Then let’s do this!

I’m just glad I’ve got Sulpher with me.

Sure. Be careful.

Whoa! Sulpher transformed!
Ohhhh! That’s so cool!
You think so…?
This isn’t the time for flattery. Don’t let your guard down!
S-sorry… Okay, let’s go!

Professor Feinne’s Alchemy 101: Combat Basics
Combat’s pretty simple right now. Let’s start with a helpful graphic.

Starting at the top, we have the Card Gauge. This determines our turn order. It works a lot like the Time Gauge from Iris 2, but the time positions are discrete. Time Effects generate cards on the Gauge, as we’ll see later on. Cards for units start their normal color but turn red as they’re hit, when they go completely red the target is Broken and will be delayed for a while. Attacks are just attacks now, and just do damage. We can of course Defend, and we can use Items from our bags. Skills require us to expend SP, which we cannot easily recover right now. Down at the bottom of the screen you can see the Burst Gauge, the filling of which will put us into Burst Mode. We’ll talk about that more later on when we actually can realistically trigger it.

With all of us together we managed to defeat the monsters.

You two are good!
Vayne, that was amazing.
So like, I want to try on Sulpher, too!
Oh, me too! Me too!
Uhh, Sulpher? What should I say?
…Impossible. I have no intention of cooperating with any other human.
He said it’s impossible.
Aww. How boring.
Man. You’re so stingy!
But… Um, more importantly, let’s finish up the Assignment.
Oh, yeah, that’s right. We should hurry, before the sun sets.
Don’t worry. With us three, it’ll be a cinch!

It took awhile to find the spinacherb, but it wasn’t so bad.

Yep. Lets go back to the classroom and turn it in.
Oh oh! I know it’s close, but let’s use the Wings of Icarus to go back!

We were instantly returned to campus, and headed to Mr. Zeppel’s office. It turned out there was a second step to the assignment.

Oh, let’s see… Yes, it’s all there.
Then I’ll go ahead and move you on to the next step. Here you go.
System Message: You receive the recipe for Healing Medicine.
Item: Healing Pot can now be made.
What’s this…?
It’s a recipe for alchemy. Well, maybe more like a design blueprint.
The steps and necessary ingredients are listed in the recipe.
If you don’t know the recipe you can’t even make the simplest thing.
I see… It’s a really important piece of paper.
That’s right. You put the items into the cauldron according to the recipe…
This part might be easier to learn hands-on.
Try it with this cauldron here.

Professor Feinne’s Alchemy 101: Synthesis
Synthesis is a bit more involved than what you might be used to from the earlier games. First, we select the item we want to create. Then, we select the ingredients we want to use. Most items allow a lot of substitution, which can even allow us to create totally new items. Once we’ve chosen our ingredients, we actually carry out the synthesis. We can do this either alone or with the assistance of a party member. For each ingredient, we’ll get a spinning alchemy wheel. If we manage to time things such that it lands on the item’s corresponding color and element, the Ether Level will improve. If we land on an opposing element, though, it’ll drop. Ether Level controls what special properties appear on an item, and sometimes we actually DO want it to be lower. Party member assistance has a variety of effects that range from automatically choosing the anti-elements, changing the whole wheel to one color, or applying a modifier to the Ether Level. Synthesis is pretty fun and playing with it can result in lots of cool things, as we’ll see later.

I managed to get it right the first time, I was pretty happy.

Congrats, Vayne!
It’s your first time synthesizing, right? Congratulations!
Let’s see… Hm. Pretty good for your first try.
Th-thank you very much…
Normally, you will use the cauldron in your own workshop.
Um, you guys were with…
We’re in Flaya’s workshop!
Oh, that’s right. Flay, huh? Hmm…
Well, I guess it’s okay. He probably doesn’t use the cauldron much, anyway.
Anyways, that’s it for today’s class.
I’ll stamp your Handbooks as proof for completing the class.
Good job. And good luck with your next class.
Thank you very much.

It seems like everyone knows Flay.

Yups. Well, infamous is more like it…
W-well, let’s just go to our next class.

Anyway, we’ve got another class tomorrow. I hope we can handle it…

Elsewhere on campus…

???: ……
Are you, like… mad?
???: ……
I’ll go prepare for our next move! Excuse me!
Pressure of silence, ooh scary…
???: ……

Busy day again today. I suspect they’ll all be like that for a while. While I was on the way to Student Affairs I heard Flay doing something strange on the grounds.

That voice… Flay?

It turned out he was fighting some Mana.

So persistent… Give it up already.
Only a fool would give up when told to do so!
What is he… Hey! Flay, you’re hurt!
Hmph. It’s merely a scratch.
Oh, so you’ve got an underling now, huh?
Which means we’ve been at this for a year.
Come on, be my Mana already!
You never learn… The result is so obvious.
…I think I should stay out of this.
I guess Flay’s trying hard behind the scene, too.

We had a course in combat today.

Mister Lorr was a Beastman like Nikki, it turns out.

But that makes training you guys worth it.
He seems like a scary teacher…
This is Combat Basics… It’s nothing complicated. You learn how to fight.
And I will make sure to train you all for it.
Does anyone here know why we teach you how to fight at an Alchemy school?
Shawn: Is it because we gather items in dangerous places?
That’s one reason. But there is another.
That is, so that we can prevent misuse and abuse.
You see, alchemy can be used in different ways.
You never know. A bad guy might try and force you to do something.
So, in order to prevent that, you yourself must become stronger.
I’m sure Flay doesn’t have to worry about that.
But in Flaya’s case, I think he’d do something stupid himself.
Anyway, enough of this long explanation. Let us begin.
Today’s Assignment is… Defeat a monster without our help!
Students: Whaaaaaat!?
Don’t whine! I made sure to pick one that you can at least barely beat.
But, do NOT go alone. I expect a “barely” with about 2 or 3 of you.
The monster is a Platinum Puni located in the Wind’s Corridor.
As proof of victory over the Platium Puni, bring me back a Shiny Puniball.
Submit it to Student Affairs, and I will give you the stamp. Understood?

They gave us some healing items to help us out, but we weren’t totally confident about this.

But it’s dangerous…
He said “barely” with 2 or 3 people, so we’ll be fine, right? I hope…
I know!
Wh-what now? That kinda scared me…
We should power-up before we go!
Yeah. We take our current weapons and armor and remake them even stronger.
Ooh, I like that idea.
Remake our weapons… At our workshop?
No, we can only synthesize weapons and armor in the Athanor Room.
The Athanor Room is the room next to our workshop. Let’s go.

The Athanor is a huge forge, I can see why we can’t do this in our own workshop now.

Yeah. Oh, look! The Athanor!
What!? That’s humongo!
Hey, no ruckuses allowed in my workplace.
Oh, excuse us…
Whoa! Scary face alert!
N-Nikki!? We’re sorry, sir!
…You’re Freshmen, huh? Here to use the Athanor?
Um yes, we were going to make equipment for our next Assignment…
Well then, what the hell. I’ll teach you how to use the Athanor.
I’m only going to say this once, so remember.

Professor Feinne’s Alchemy 101: The Athanor
Making equipment is a whole lot easier than making normal items. We just need ingredients and a recipe, no involved stuff required. The big difference is that the Ether Effects from the ingredients can be carried along into the equipment. There are two types of Ether Effects, Skills and Passives. We are allowed to bring one Skill and two Passive effects per item. Any character can use any Skill we can get onto their equipment, it’s just a matter of doing it. Generic skills tend to be less powerful than a character’s skill would be, but they’re still very useful.

It didn’t seem that hard, but we didn’t have a recipe for anything.

Yes, kind of…
I don’t really get it…
Me too… Well, let’s actually try it out! I’m sure that’d be the best!
Yeah! Let’s try it out with Vayne’s weapon!
What? W-wait a minute…
Don’t worry! Trust me!
B-but, I don’t have any recipes or ingredients…
Argh, I can’t watch this anymore. Here, take this recipe and ingredients.
Hurry up. Make it and go home.
System Message: You receive the recipe for Old Collar.
You receive ingredients: Woodchip, Legien Steel, and Dirt.
Wow, thank you so much!
Ooh! So generous, pal!
Um… Are you sure?
It’s irritating watching you all shilly-shally. Hurry up and do it!
Y-yes sir!

It wasn’t so bad, once we had the stuff.

That was a cinch! Now at least you’re a little bit stronger.
Yeah… Just a little bit.
Haha. You can’t suddenly get that much stronger with just a weapon.
Well, it can make quite a difference, actually. Look at your Grow Book.
Grow… Buck?
Umm, I think we got one of those at Orientation.
Did we? Uhh, I don’t remember.
You don’t even know about your Grow Book…?
Gee, throw me off why don’t you. Fine then, I’ll explain it to you.
S-sorry we’re making you do everything…

Professor Feinne’s Alchemy 101: Grow Book
Now we’re introduced to our method of advancement in the game, the Grow Book. Whenever we Synthesize new items, we unlock new skills in the Grow Book. These range from relatively boring but vital statistical increases to character specific passives and combat skills. We pay for these with AP we’ve gained from winning battles, and generally we’ll always have enough without having to specifically go out and grind for them. This all means our power is largely limited based on where we are in the story, because we simply won’t have the recipes we need to advance.

And I think Mr. Moritz wasn’t as angry as he let on.

Y-yes, sir. Well then… Thank you for everything.
Well, you know, uh… Come whenever you need to use the Athanor.
A little rowdiness might make it less boring for me anyway.
Okay. We’ll be back soon!
He was a lot nicer than I thought. Even though his face is scary.
Yeah. A really kind fella. Even though his face is scary.
You know, he can hear us!
Don’t worry. You’re such a scaredy cat.
…Is my face that scary? Is it…?

We headed to the Wind’s Corridor to find the Platinum Puni, but we quickly got lost. Luckily, Jess thought to bring a map.

Video- “Combat I Basics”

Watch the Class

Umm… To the east! So says my instincts!
Oh, okay? Then we’ll go east…
Wait, wait. I have a map. Let me look it up.
Ooh, you carry around a map? You’re so diligent, Jess.
Well, actually, it’s just that without a map, I tend to get lost real easily.
I see… But that does help.
So? So? Which way should we go?
Um, hold on a sec.
Umm… Looks like we’re supposed to head south.
Darn, my instincts just failed me. Oh well. Come on, let’s go!
Hey, wait up Nikki.

There was a particularly large and impressive disturbance, we knew at once it must be the monster we were after.

It looks stronger than the monsters around it…
I wonder if anyone else came yet?
We’re first! Alright, let’s do this!
Wait, Nikki!
It’s dangerous. We have to prepare ourselves first.
Urgh, how annoying. Hurry up already!

It turned out there were quite a lot of monsters, and we had to fight through them to reach the Platinum Puni.

I guess we’ll just have to slaughter ‘em till he shows up! Let’s do it!
…Is that right?

Eventually he did show up, and we were able to defeat him just as Mr. Lorr had suggested.

Phew… We did it.
Haha! It was pretty easy.
Oh, but…
What’s wrong?
Since we defeated it, what is everyone else in the class going to do?
Now that you mention it…

Turned out that wouldn't be a problem.

Looks like we won’t have to worry about that.
I hope it’s not mad that we beat up on his friend.
L-let’s hurry back now!

We returned to Student Affairs with the Shiny Puniball.

Here’s the item we’re supposed to submit.
System Message: You hand over the Shiny Puniball.
Let me take a look. Hmm. Yes, this looks right.
I acknowledge the receipt. Now, please show me your Handbooks.

Our courses are complete for now, but that just makes me even more nervous. We’ve not got much time left for this Nicro Cloth, and we haven’t made any progress yet…