Part 13: UPDATE 8: A New Beginning
Strange Matter posted:
My Hellhound evolved. Now I've got a party consisting of a Beast Tamer, Cerebus, Knight and Cleric. It's almost unfair how destructive it is.
EDIT: Also my main character managed to singlehandedly repel an assault by pulling 9 guards in a row. It was the damndest thing.
What's awesome is when Freddie/Magnus manages to block arrows with his sword. He's just badass. (And, yeah, so are Cerberi but that unit is probably gonna run into some alignment dilemmas unless you're cheating like you should be!)
Anyway, update time!
First things first, I've got some Class Changes to do.
Panic becomes a Sorceress, completing Freddie's posse's transformation into an early-game killing machine. Now that I've shown them off, I'll limit my use of them for the time being. Don't worry, they'll be back. Also, Lemon takes the plunge, finishing Leia's unit.
Ferdinando and Karkat fulfill their respective destinies as an extremely alliterative fencer and the KNIGHT OF BLOOD ().
I turn Aurora (formerly a Valkyrie in Leia's unit) into a Dragon Tamer for three reasons: (a) their stat gains are better, (b) they look cooler, and (c) it gave me an easy way to fulfill this recent request.
Tallgeese gains the necessary intelligence and mentality to become a Wizard, and Bluemage -- oh goddammit, just make him a Ninja for now.
I'm actually using way more Ninjas in this playthrough than I usually do, but I'm also using them as my go-to anything's-better-than-Fighter intermediary class since they give slightly more of an INT boost than any other melee class besides Doll Master (which you'll notice these guy's don't qualify for either).
Now that we've switched sides the People screen looks pretty different.
The blue section of the chart now corresponds to the Revolutionary Army because they're the Good Guys (although if you ask me keeping it red would have been more interesting); as you can see Freddie apparently has more of a connection to the Zenobians than he does to his new boss. Troi doesn't have any friends. Let's check out some of these portraits.
Destin's not out of his twenties yet -- he's still (sort of) a JRPG protagonist, which USUALLY requires being under 20 but under 30 will do in a pinch. He's already on his second revolution. Not bad. I think even Che Guevara was 30 before even having number 1.
Huh. Leia's a noble. I thought she looked kind of blonde. ( this will come up later )
Up near the top we have the Palatinean government/army section, or the Everyone Is Blond Quadrant. Purple corresponds to Lodis, but that section is suspiciously empty except for the Pope who I guess is also the Emperor or something.
This fratboy-looking fellow is Yumil's older brother Amrius. Nice to know that not everybody in The Establishment (c) is completely committed to living under Lodis's heel. Well, his reign would certainly be good for Palatinus's burgeoning Natty Ice industry.
We might as well take a look at Frederick's profile, too. I'm not sure what such a Martin-Luther-King-Gandhi type is doing leading an armed insurrection -- that should probably say "not to eliminate the royal family or the nobles as long as they don't get in his way." At any rate this guy isn't leading any campaigns himself anytime soon. We'll take care of that.
Update 8: A New Beginning
In Which Annoying Special-Terrain Units Drive Me Into a Frothing Rage
Every mission gets a title card like this with some kind of cool water-reflection effect happening on it. Both video plugins I'd been using previously fail horribly at rendering it -- the background works alright, but the TEXT wouldn't show up. I dunno it's stupid. At any rate I can show them now!
Because the game has not yet bothered to tell us why we are currently in Gunther Piedmont, this mission begins with a flashback to that time Frederick told us why we should go to Gunther Piedmont.
: "I would like you and the Generic Army to act as a mobile force. Commanded by you, of course."
Commanded by Freddie as opposed to what? It'd be hilarious if Frederick promoted someone else over him. "Commanded by Marty, of course." The rest of the game would be entirely AI-controlled.
: "...Mobile force? Are we on our own?"
: "That's correct. I apologize for the inconvenience, but... I need you to go to the mine in Gunther. And once you liberate the area, head north to Dardunnelles. You will understand why... once you get there. I'll be counting on you, Freddie."
That was an awfully cryptic way to say "go liberate this area because it's one of like three in the region we don't have yet". It's cool, man, give it to me straight, I can take it.
(oh right, old guy in a JRPG)
Cut to the present day. Briefing time.
: "This will be our first campaign as the Revolutionary Army..."
: "What's the matter, Freddie?"
"you're a jrpg character who is both looking downward AND responding to random observations by saying the speaker's name breathily and trailing off afterward, you must be going through some serious shit right now"
"either that or you're asleep and having a dream i'd rather not know about"
: "Do you think they don't trust us?"
"Well you DID just kill their leader's fanatically devoted bodyguard, tie him up, and damn near cut him in half lengthwise..."
: "What are you talking about? You're thinking too much."
: "But, these are really guerrilla tactics, and we're alone in this... It doesn't matter if we succeed or fail... What does that tell you?"
This sounds like a continued existential crisis, but really he just means this area is not strategically important. He's not THAT tiresome of a protagonist.
: "Don't rush, Freddie. ...Besides, you cannot gain trust that easily, correct? ...Concentrate on the details for now."
SPEAKING OF DETAILS
: "Our headquarters will be in Takua, the LAND OF COMMERCE."
Tiny map this time. It's for the best because we're going to be sending several people all the hell over it annoyingly often.
: "Liberate the mine from the Southern Division. Now, regarding the route to take... Liberating the nearby strongholds won't be a problem. However, the rough terrain surrounding the Gunther Mines will be a challenge. Marching on that terrain will eat up a lot of time, and we should expect enemy troops to ambush us."
: "We should either form units specializing in mountainous terrain and march directly on the mines, or go around the long way, and approach the mines from the south."
Naturally, again we're going to go both ways, but (a) I don't have any mountain units, and (b) I don't currently plan on tearing my army apart to get a couple. Our mountain crew is just going to have to rough it. There will be any number of resulting pains in the ass, but let's not worry about that right yet.
: "Now, we have one more objective. To rescue a man... a man who could be of great help to the Revolutionary Army."
: "Who is he?"
: "Asnabel Birall... He was once known as the Iron Hammer of Palatinus. If he didn't rebel against Lodis, he would've been a high-ranking officer by now, but... He's quite a stubborn fellow."
: "Do you know him?"
Another JRPG rule: all old people know each other because they are all old army buddies. If an old person has never participated in any military action, he or she is comic relief.
: "I guess you can say so. ...Well, Freddie? Isn't this a good opportunity for us to gain their trust? If we complete this assignment, we'd certainly be part of grander operations as members of the Revolutionary Army."
: "Tell me honestly, Hugo. Who are you? Why do you know so much?"
: "It's mere coincidence, except... for you. I fought alongside Ankiseth, your father."
see i told you
: "My father!? Then you were in the Central Division..."
: "That's right... I know Ankiseth was assigned as Prince Yumil's bodyguard, that you and Prince Yumil were friends, and... I also know what actually took place during that incident."
: "...I wouldn't have imagined."
: "I didn't intend to hide it. It's just that I couldn't find the right moment to tell you. I understand why you wanted to keep some distance between you and your father. But it's now a thing of the past. For me... and for you and your father. ...Come on, we need to go."
As we begin the mission proper, we get a rare break from being immediately put under siege at our HQ, because all of the enemy units are either guarding strongholds or hiding in the mountains waiting to ambush us. Yeah, spoiler alert, they're going to ambush us. At least Hugo warned us this time.
At Burgunny in the southeast we have the Sallie quadruplets; the southwestern stronghold of Mosaka is guarded by Sir Naball the Incomprehensibly-Named.
Swift somehow manages to lose a battle to Sallie despite killing her pretty severely. Not that it matters in the slightest now that soldier EXP is a non-issue. Give me this outcome any day of the week. Even Wednesday.
As soon as he gets back over there and takes Burgunny, a couple of Beast Tamers decide I've advanced far enough into the mountains for them to launch their ambush. vv I'll get to them in a second; as you can see on the left Leia has knocked Naball off his town and is about to (a) take the town and (b) fight him again.
Okay anyway let's take a look at these marauding Mountain units. They'll be much more mobile than my units in the mountains and barrens thanks to their terrain typing, which should be pretty fucking annoying. I think Bean was more dangerous in Ender's Game, though. I'm unimpressed. Let's take a look at the other
WHOA WHOA WHOA TROUBLE RIGHT HERE
At least he suffers from the usual AI meatshield-disuse disorder; this makes him manageable for my as-yet fair-to-middling units.
Those hellhounds are VICIOUS. MacLeod was almost in trouble at the end there, but I was able to kill Shaneberg and get Dio the hell out of there before they could finish the job. Naturally Karkat, in the center slot with the best armor, was entirely ignored. It always works like that. Unless they ONLY target him and kill him fast. One or the other.
Luckily where Shaneberg got a B+ in Unit Formation, Bean got a D. He goes down pretty quickly. Orson Scott Card was DEFINITELY talking this guy up more than he should have.
Pictured: why Swift is having so much trouble killing these Golems. Earth magic, like the kind used by Tallgeese, is even more ineffective against them than scratching them with ninja claws like pretty much everyone else is doing.
But enough about that. The next tier of strongholds is much less intimidating than either of those ambush units. Troi and Leia find Jill in the southwest; Swift, Dio, and Ivory have to deal with Kenny, a Phalanx who has found himself chaperoning some sort of kindergarten class.
How did Bean get all the way down here? Anyway as soon as he enters Cayes Troi triggers a cutscene much like the one where we recruited him -- am I just getting old or are these optional recruits getting younger and younger?
: "Do you belong to the Revolutionary Army? Please... Please help Asnabel!"
: "Do you mean Asnabel, the leader of Gunther?"
He's just so wide-eyed and he looks so flabbergasted by everything!
: "A while ago, before you arrived... He was arrested for contacting the Revolutionary Army. I beg you, please save Asnabel..."
: "Don't worry, that's exactly why we're here."
Hmmmmm. Here I am given the option to take advantage of this young girl's concern for the safety of an imprisoned local figure to draft her -- Shanghai her, if you will -- into my illegal revolutionary militia, where she will know nothing but toil, hardship, and death all around her, until such time as I have torn down the political order of the entire continent.
Sure, why not?
: "If you'd like... but why are you so worried?"
: "My name is Katreda Birall. Asnabel is my father."
DUN DUN DUNNNNN
With that revelation, the cutscene abruptly ends and Leia slaughters the remains of Jill and Bean's units. We've entered a weird intermediary period now where we've unlocked pretty much all the basic classes and our unit-defeat rewards are completely lackluster until we move on to the next tier. Get used to it.
OH MY GOD YOU KILLED KENNY </14yearoldreference>
The campaign in the mountains, meanwhile, continues apace. Swift takes Kinseya; Ivory wipes out Sallie's unit, blah blah blah.
Hrmnm. Dio's rematch with those dogs worked out a lot better than Round 1 did, but they're both still alive and they got knocked all the way over there. Without the Mountain terrain type it'll take me forever to get there. Oh, also there's another ambush unit. Let's take a look.
Honestly Shaneberg stole your thunder. Maybe you should have jumped out of cover the same time he did. Maybe you should have hidden a little closer. Maybe you should have used something besides a Wyrm. Yeager's life story is an endless continuous sequence of mistakes.
WAIT i'm not done killing you yet
Unfortunately since Yeager, like the rest of the ambushers, has the Mountain terrain type, he's faster than me and I can't stop him before he gets all the way back to HQ. This is going to be a recurring problem.
Oh, and look, ANOTHER ambush. Yawn. Really you guys lost the element of surprise when you launched the first one like a day too early. Well, let's see what you've got.
...A front-row Hellhound and two Gremlins. TWO GREMLINS. You are my least favorite.
Here right at the end of the battle, with two sleeping characters ( GREMLINS) I was considering using my graduation present for the first time. Since Hogan himself is almost dead, a Pedra would push him over the edge and I wouldn't have to worry about him scampering off home to heal up. Unfortunately that Hellhound still has another attack left and I could JUST TELL he was going to kill MacLeod and really who needs that kind of headache? I just ran away. I'll deal with it later.
Yeah, there he goes. Sigh. In the south, you can see Troi and Leia closing in on Inekell, guarded by Tyler the Barbarian and his much-less-threatening back-row Faerie.
The way these guys kept wailing away at Troi and no one else you'd think the AI was actually smart enough to give them Attack Leader. Even with his high armor he's almost in trouble. His first time killing a man couldn't have come at a more opportune time.
While tracking down some leftovers or other Swift found a Golem. Mine now.
Troi is confusing sometimes. His words say but his face says .
Meanwhile, Yeager and Hogan decide it's time to get back on the move and head south to attack Troi and Leia. Lemon hits Yeager with some Hot Cinnamon and I'm short one problem.
I just wanted to show you how far Ivory had to chase Shaneberg's stupid mutts before she could finally fucking catch up to them. This is why I hate enemies with Mountain terrain type.
FUCKING GREMLINS put my healer to sleep. FUCK THIS.
PERISH IN MY CLEANSING CONFLAGRATION, MOTHERFUCKER.
An Elem Pedra, when used in battle, will empty your Interrupt Meter (which must necessarily be full) and attack with 4-7ish bonus strikes of whatever element your Pedra is, taking the form of some type of elemental like these fire lizard things. It won't win a battle by itself, but if (as in this case) a leader is not QUITE dead, they're very useful. Some time will have to pass before we're able to use this Pedra again, though-- that bar from a few shots ago will have to fill back up.
Roughly 8.5 billion years later I finally manage to track down and wipe out all those wandering Mountain units. It was IMPOSSIBLY annoying and time-consuming. Look how far Dio and Swift had to chase those fuckers. MAN am I in a boss-slaughterin' mood. Let's see what we've got.
Meet Makisi the berserker. His unit is set up in such a fashion that it'd normally be worth trying to sneak around behind him, but there's a bunch of really steep mountains back there and I don't wanna. Screw this, let's just walk up and stab him.
As an area boss, Makisi feels entitled to yell at me before we fight. Let's just humor him.
: "So you're the infamous Generic Army, eh? Traitors! You're all going to hell now!"
Oh GODDAMMIT Troi you were SUPPOSED to kill him all the way in the first battle so I could type "SEE YOU THERE" in all caps and it'd be witty as FUCK. A perfectly good quip, wasted! No, don't cry, it's okay, you're still young, you'll get better. Goddammit can someone get this kid some tissues? Leia, come in here and kill this boss. I am SO not in the mood for this shit.
THERE we go
: "How could they... kill..."
YOU ARE NOT A REAL CHARACTER, JUST DIE
YOU HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO REASON TO HAVE A DEATH SOLILOQUY
The Flame Flail is a fairly awesome Berserker weapon. WhatEVER will I do with it, though? I don't have any Berserkers! WHAT A DILEMMA.
Oh hey it's a Berserker.
: "Are you alright? We're safe now."
: "I can't thank you enough for saving my father."
Thread, meet Asnabel. Asnabel THE IRON HAMMER. This guy is as badass as his name suggests.
: "You're just like your father..."
: "You... You know my father?"
of COURSE he does, he's OLD
weren't you LISTENING
: "......It's an old story. It looks like my daughter's made up her mind to join you. No more problems should arise here... What would you say if I offered my services to your battalion?"
Hell if I took the gangly weakling and the 15-year-old girl wearing pink, I am sure as HELL gonna take this guy.
: "We gladly accept your offer, Asnabel."
: "Alright, then! I will fight for the people of Palatinus."
And so we find ourselves back on the world map, with our next destination available. NEXT TIME: Fucking around a lot and probably not going to Dardunnelles!