Part 9: UPDATE 5: True IntentionsFirst things first, I've got some renaming to do.
Yeah, this Amazon was pretty obviously going to be a cleric eventually. Dr Reynolds as an undergraduate.
Some of the other names were literate, intellectual references to mythology and history
and some, uh, weren't. Although I admit I probably would have played Water Wyrm Jim.
Opposite Jager and Meister, we have Lemon and Lime for the PG crowd. What makes a Melonball Bounce? The ice tart taste of Sprite!
Most of the time whenever I name a dog in a game, the name ends up being as close to "Professor Barklesby" as I can fit in the character limit. In this case that would just be "Professor B" so Fuzzums will do just fine.
Anyway now that that's out of the way, we've got a revolution to crush beneath our heels!
Update 5: True Intentions
In which stuff goes kind of wrong for the first time!
So, let's see... our choices are hanging out with this guy:
or seeing what these guys are up to:
Yeah definitely gonna have to go with option 2 here. To the Zenobian Border!
Straight to brass tacks on this one. No banter with minor characters, no small talk with Hugo, just a mission and a plan.
: "Here is the plan. Listen carefully... Let's get started..."
: "Our destination is Fort Crenel, located a day's march south."
And about a week's march south of Crenel Canyon, so the whole local nomenclature scheme totally makes no sense. Maybe Thaddeus Crenel was some local land baron who donated enough money to the government to get a fort AND a canyon named after him or something. Anyway, what will we be doing there? Dance party?
: "Our purpose is to siege the fort, and recover it from the rebels."
oh i guess that makes sense
: "There are two routes. One route is to travel due south..."
: "Making a beeline will be quicker, but the route lacks strongholds, so the men will have to camp in the open. The other one takes longer, but the march will be aided by the strongholds on the way."
(Naturally I'm going to be going both ways, to maximize the potential for sweet, EXP-granting, soldier-promoting carnage.)
: "According to our reconnaissance, their troops do not look ready to march. We must choose carefully, and decide whether an all-out attack is best, or if we should advance slowly."
: "...the Revolutionary Army is acting strangely."
: "Strangely? What do you mean?"
: "I have no idea why, but they're marching south. They're leading a group of peasants, and trying not to attract attention."
: "They're just heading south? What could be their motive?"
: "I don't think they need to be prepared for invasion by forces outside Palatinus... In any case, we should take precautions."
callin it now -- the revolutionary army is invading zenobia
So when you start the mission, you dispatch your troops to find them in a staring match with Ken the Fencer and his ninja friends. Ken is not advancing, he's just there. Watching you.
If you can manage to get one of your units to tear their eyes away from Ken's rugged good looks, you will find that Mallon the Valkyrie and her pet Blue Dragon are similarly guarding the other bridge. In order to get anyone to look at her long enough to actually select her, I had to tell Doreauxgard to walk over that way. Also, I sent my own Fencer against Ken, because it's about TIME he promoted a goddamn SOLDIER already.
Lucky for me, the very next battle my patience was rewarded when some dude became a Fighter.
After one battle with no casualties, Ken decided he'd had enough of war; he just kind of turned around and left. I decided not to send Swift after him, since that would mean taking on all three of those units alone. Advancing toward my position is Yugo here, walking around with what I can only assume is some sort of giant bug.
Sort of a Neutral equivalent to the Beast Tamer. Well-rounded in terms of stat growth, but its points in INT would probably be better spent in STR or VIT since it is after all a melee attacker. Notable for three things: (1) two attacks in the middle row (also one in the back and two in the front); (2) as Unit Leader, gives a bonus to any Golems in its unit; (3) its weapon is a goddamn marionette that it makes come to life. Yeah.
The Gremlin's Lawful, more useless cousin. In the front two rows, the Faerie gets a similar Throw Kiss, but rather than being a hostile debuff, it's a friendly buff that heals a couple of HP and grants a Power UP status. The thing is, the fairy's AI treats this like a regular heal and targets whichever ally is shortest on HP, be that ally a Witch, a Cleric, or a Soldier who's already done attacking. In the back row, it gets Magic Missile, which deals Holy-element damage. This would be useful if it wasn't pretty much the weakest attack in the game.
Meanwhile, Ivory beats up Mallon, who responds by capturing a neutral stronghold and hiding there. Letting neutral strongholds get captured lowers your Chaos Frame. Capturing them yourself lowers your Chaos Frame. They cannot be liberated. Even if the enemy takes them first. Yeah, I'm not pleased.
As you can see, Yugo's Faerie friend has bestowed this Power Up buff to this soldier, who would not be able to make any more attacks. In response, I killed Yugo. Yeah, Faeries are the worst character type in the game. As people have mentioned, even Gremlins and Witches can be used to good effect. Faeries, not so much.
Meanwhile, advancing on me from the west is Crowdia, a Cleric with a pet Wyrm and not much talent for picking optimal formations. In a flashback to Sparks, she gets kind of close to my HQ before remembering she has to sleep at some point and turning around.
This actually ends up turning out pretty well for her -- she gets all the way to the formerly-neutral stronghold before having to camp, so when Doreauxgard catches her she's still awake and in a much wiser backward formation which keeps her alive with extra healing opportunities. This is a unit which was designed to run away.
While this was going on, I'd forgotten that I'd sent Leia after Yugo's unit, and she walked all the way south to this unit I forgot to get a screenshot of before battle. Eh, it's just a Berserker and a blue dragon. Look, dead already. No big deal.
Still, I tried to stop Leia's forward advancement before she got into a second consecutive battle with Ken. It didn't work.
Leia still won with no casualties, but it looks like this place is way too Chaotic for her to even think about liberating it. Time to call down Dio.
Aaaaand it looks like Ken is marching in the opposite direction. Again. Yes, as Hugo alluded earlier, the enemies on this map are acting strangely! If they are defeated but the leader is not killed, they will retreat! If you can hurt them badly enough to get them in the usual "seek healing" state, though, that will take precedence over getting the hell out of Dodge.
Yes, that Faerie is using its one action to buff its own attack. Faeries, ladies and gentlemen.
Doreauxgard finishes off Crowdia's unit and is rewarded with a copy of his own shield. Note that if I didn't already have a Knight this would make me leap for joy.
Guess that's what I get for trusting in Dio's good manners.
Oh hey, a creepy doll. Excellent. Thank you, Swift. I'm so glad you picked this up off the corpse of a dead faerie and brought it to me. Base equipment for Doll Masters.
I sent Ivory to beat up Mallon, who for some reason is still alive, but instead she got in a fight with this Wizard whose formation and name I forgot to screencap first. At any rate, his unit looked something like this.
Both Mallon and Mystery Wizard are now in heal-seeking mode. I had given Ivory orders to take this Stronghold, which is more or less Neutral, but if I let her do that now, both enemy units would immediately turn south and I'd never catch up to them. So instead I'm calling her off and sending in Doreauxgard to knock off their leaders while the AI is still under the naive impression that it can just come straight back.
It works, but for some reason seeing a lady wearing a dragon skull as a hat does not inspire a friendly attitude in the Laguat village elders. This is not the best mission for my Chaos Frame.
Meanwhile I've got my eastern troops headed South. Swift finds another piece of Knight equipment, then gets in a fight with this other unit made up of a dragon tamer and two
Both she and Ken run straight home to the enemy HQ, which I'm not ready to attack just yet, but at least I managed to liberate a stronghold for the first time on this map.
This is the animation of the Dragon Tamer unit retreating off of the field map. Ken is still in Heal mode, but as soon as he finishes healing up the whole way he's as good as gone too. This is not an optimal outcome because ideally I'd like to kill them and harvest sweet, succulent EXP from their corpses. Oh hey, that boss guy looks familiar.
Meet Debonair, a MotBQ character, an all-around BAMF, and our area boss.
okay game, i get it, you want me to make knights, give it a rest already
Here one may observe the final non-boss enemy unit, and what he does when I take his stronghold. Man, I can't wait until I promote all my Soldiers and then promote all my fighters and amazons and my units are actually strong enough to reliably kill enemy characters on the first try, it's gonna be sweet.
WELP, time to fight Debonair I guess. I didn't cap it, but of course I sent everyone else in the area in after Doreauxgard. This is one fight where it's kind of necessary.
Upon meeting the man himself we get hero music for some reason; way to send mixed signals, game!
: "...So you belong to the Generic Army. I've heard much about you recently. I don't want to fight you, but... I can't let you through either. I'll just keep you occupied for a while, if you don't mind."
Yes, he will. He ain't kidding.
This is one of my characters dealing damage to Debonair...
and this is him dealing damage to me. Nothing crippling--I'm not really in any actual danger-- but the dude just plain will not go down. Maybe I should have tried sending someone besides Freddie to training at some point before now. OH WELL
PIG-PILE ON DEBONAIR
Swift can't kill him either, but finally Ivory, the THIRD unit I sent in, manages to whittle him down.
My reward is a Champion Statuette, an item which will give one character one free level-up. basically it's a Rare Candy
Anyway, here's the part where Freddie stands over the enemy commander, cast into irons, and interrogates him, right? Let's see if we can get him to tell us what shampoo he uses! Look at those flowing locks!
: "You are indeed strong... I am definitely no match for you, if I'm alone."
This charitable statement is even better when one takes into account the fact that as of right now, Freddie has not fought one single battle himself this entire game. But it sure is sweet of Debonair to say so!
Anyway, enter some douchebag.
: "Well, our job is done... If you'll excuse us, we must depart."
I think part of the point of military defeat followed by surrender is that you can't really just leave afterward, but okay! Freddie is understandably opposed to the idea, and strikes a Hero Pose.
: "...Settle, you say? That means nothing! Even though people want change in this kingdom, not all of 'em are capable of fighting. Fortunately, my kingdom is willing to accept refugees. ...Do you understand? Our goal was to delay you and move the refugees to Zenobia. We succeeded, so now there's no reason to fight. ...Well, see you later."
Emphasis mine. Yeah, nothing I could possibly write here would make that line any better than it already is. Gilbert's awesome.
: "What!? ... I won't let you escape!!"
Way to take people prisoner, Freddie!
I don't think this scene is supposed to be taking place on the same background as the last one--an emulator glitch. At least it's not a featureless black void.
Enter the other half of the SNES cast.
: "What are your intentions? What are you planning to do to this kingdom?"
I guess in continuity they're famous enough that Freddie can recognize their faces, so they get no introduction. We already know Saradin's name; meet Destin and Aisha.
: "Is that what you, who defended the rebels and defied your superior, believe?"
oh you saw that
: "Tell me your intentions! Will you forsake those who are discriminated and branded as lower class!?"
: "We couldn't bear to see you... the people of this kingdom... suffer."
: "For the past few months, we have been watching your kingdom... Everyone is fighting with everyone, and Lodis is pulling the strings."
LODIS, THE GREAT SATAN
For those keeping score, Lodis is the sort of half-Rome, half-America empire that took over Palatinus years earlier and runs it now as a client state.
: "...!? Is that why!?"
someday I'm gonna figure out how to make a "...!?" noise
: "You're instigating war against Lodis, aren't you!? Now I see your motives!!"
"..." in this case means "yeah, I guess, but that's not the point"
: "You're a threat to this kingdom. This world is on the verge of insanity! Your strength... your charisma draws people toward you. They all look to you for help... This kingdom still has hope. But... even that fades away... in front of you."
yeah he kind of lost focus somewhere around the middle of that
: "Revolution, huh...? What's to become of the army, once the revolution succeeds? You're going to send the soldiers against Lodis, isn't that right!? ...I won't let you!!"
: "Enough!! What did you see at the Volmus Mine!? Did you think that it was right for people to be slaughtered like animals!? Damn it, calm yourself!"
: "......I know... something has to be done. But, the way you spread war for the lower class throughout Palatinus... is wrong!"
: "Life is precious by nature, regardless of race or social class. But this kingdom weighs people's lives too lightly. ...Do you not think it is wrong? Our goal is to right this wrong. We have no intention of making this kingdom just for the lower class."
I guess that's about as good a time as any to leave? Wait, Saradin's not quite done.
: "Although they all share the desire for change, some tend to act excessively and we have difficulty keeping things under control. I see that you are also troubled... Is it your lack of ability to deal with the situation? Or is it the disparity between reality and your ideals? ...I know it is difficult, but you must find your own way. Do not be swayed by what is around you. There is no wrong path that you can take. You must believe in yourself and move onward..."
Y'know I don't think that many Old Wise Men confuse people on purpose like that.
Hugo says stuff that's kind of obvious but at least he's specific.
Now that we have received our daily dose of moral ambiguity, this path is over! Next up: an ESCORT MISSION.