Part 18: UPDATE 13: Idealism and RealismOkay, for anyone who was wondering (no one): Les Miserables, West Side Story, Pirates of Penzance.
ANYWAY. Know what I forgot to do? I forgot to pass out elemental books.
Tallgeese gets his own element book; it fails to immediately make him stronger, but it will help him reach the INT necessary to find the next tier of damage more quickly. I gave Bluemage the Water book because multi-element combo magic is just plain better. And to match his name.
Similarly, I switched Jager and Sexwale's elements around because I've shown off Plasma Ball enough already, and there is a VERY RARE AND SPECIFIC instance where casting that particular spell will screw you over, so just to be on the safe side I'm switching them over to Air/Water.
Fire/Fire is as boring as magic can possibly get, so I'm switching Rose and Lime over to Earth/Fire.
Finally, our two solo mages are fine how they are; I just gave them their own elements to pump them up a little bit. In Panic's case, it boosted her attack AND her MDef. Not bad.
Anyway I believe we were supposed to be traveling over to Mylesia to do something about that Western Division. Let me just mosey on over
this is not mylesia
Update 13: Idealism and Realism
okay fine i guess we're having a mission HERE whatever
We fade in on the Hugo Room and are immediately treated to some suspense music!!!
: "What's wrong? We don't have time to spare..."
: "Our scout was ambushed..."
: "By whom? Is it the Western Division!? ...They're already this close to us?"
: "Actually, it doesn't seem like it's them... But they are hostile toward us for sure."
Oh hey, you had time to dig up the Crenel Canyon Map, at least.
...and throw me a party in the background? urgh not this plugin too god
: "The town of Baldera will be our headquarters for this operation. Our destination is Fort Tuatha, a day northwest of Baldera. We must capture the fort."
I call bullshit on this slide, Hugo. You just told me our scout got ambushed. Even if he WAS able to get back here to report, in order to ambush somebody you KIND of have to know they're there.
WHAT ARE YOU HIDING HUGO
: "To cross the river, we must use one of two bridges, or send over air units."
Don't change the subject, Hugo, we've done this map before, it hasn't changed at all, and I KNOW how to use a BRIDGE, you're just stalling now.
: "We're sure to be attacked once on the other side. They're not coming to us, so we have to go to them."
suuuuuure, just like they'd LIKE me to do, right?
This isn't over, Hugo. This surprise briefing party you've apparently thrown me isn't buying you any favors. Once I clear out whoever the fuck this is, YOU'RE NEXT.
IS THAT A THREAT
Fine, I guess let's go out and kill these mystery troops who are apparently in a quantum state of knowing and not knowing we're here. Hope walking up and stabbing them doesn't tip them off!
Hugo definitely wasn't lying about THIS much: nobody is currently coming to knock on our HQ door. We're free to launch our attack at our leisure.
As before, Kiefer is Chaotic; since Dio went and got all goody-two-shoes on me, Asnabel is now my low-morale Stronghold guy. Movae is more neutral; I'm sending Ivory up thataway.
They are guarded, respectively, by Eckhardt the Annoying and Joan the Squishy.
The Earth/Fire combo magic is Lava Shot, which causes a giant hole to open up in the ground and a big firey rock to fly out and hit your target. As you can see from the last time I used one, it causes Paralysis on occasion.
Uh. That would've been a 40. Trust me. Not the first time the numbers coming up all wonky has ruined a screenshot, and probably not the last.
At this point I stop Asnabel's forward progress for fear of him turning Lawful after beating up Eckhardt's wizards and gremlins. After Dio knocks him off, he'll come in from behind and take the stronghold.
Meanwhile this happens and the right flank is mine.
I just now noticed that considering what she wears on her head, Ivory is actually a pretty fitting name for her. Good thing we never changed it.
oh great, we've got a talker
Fine, fine, tell me all about how the forces of lawlessness and anarchy will fall beneath the might of your fearsome gremlins, blah blah blah, go Lodis, can we move this along?
uh wait what?
that's me, i strive for revolution all the time
I am, as we speak, striving for revolution.
Matter of fact I'm pretty sure the revolution is mostly going on back the way you came; think you could do me a huge favor and strive over that way for a little?
: "This revolution will fail if we do it your way. ...You get it? You're not wanted! Your presence is a burden. If you're so concerned about the revolution, you know what to do, right? ...Die for us, right here!"
Well look at THIS motherfucker acting all like he was the one at the big important war council last update. Ambushing me on my way to fight that entire division of the army currently besieging our borders and telling me I'M a burden? What an asshole!
As a reward for kicking exceptional amounts of ass, Dio receives a Sword Emblem. This is a single-use item that permanently raises a character's Strength by a small amount. Useful for (a) pushing someone noodly-armed choirboy into a physical class they don't quite qualify for or (b) duping all to hell and back if you feel like cheating A LOT.
Now then, let's check out some of these units hanging out across the river who apparently still don't realize I'm here somehow.
I KNOW YOU CAN SEE ME, YOU FUCKS.
This guy's actually kind of interesting. He's a Black Knight (remember them? Yumil's friends?) and he's set up a unit such that everyone in it gets two melee attacks. Not bad for an AI. Let's talk about Black Knights.
The advanced Berserker class. I'm still not exactly sure how that follows, but whatev. These guys are pretty much the best Chaotic frontliner unit give or take. Pros: GIANT Strength growth, on par with a Beast unit. Cons: Only get two attacks in the front row; most other (male) advanced melee classes get three. Also the number of them you can make is limited because one of their required items, the Valiant Mantle, is not available in any store. Two attacks in the front and middle, two magics in the back if you're into that.
Over on the left side, the enemy units follow the same pattern of two boring ones and one interesting one.
I mean look. Aside from actually USING their meatshields for once, these units are Snoresville USA.
This guy, on the other hand, put his unit together okay for all-Lawful (could've put the Knights in the front but otherwise good), plus he himself is a Paladin. We haven't even seen one of these guys outside of a cutscene before.
Yeah I'm pretty sure these guys are my favorite non-special class in the game. They're the gold standard frontliner class. The advanced Knight, pure Lawful, these guys come standard with a Blessed Sword and Baldr Armor, get pretty damn good stat growth, and attack three times from the front row. (Two in the middle, two magics in the back.) If you have a Lawful unit that doesn't have at least one of these guys in the front, it's probably because you have tons of them in other units and are sick of them.
Okay, let's see if peeking my head across the river will tip these oblivious morons off that I'm here.
Yup, it worked. Might not be immediately obvious from the shot, but they're definitely coming toward me now.
And... they had hidden units on my side waiting for the ambush? Did I just get PLAYED?
DAMMIT HUGO HOW MUCH DID THEY PAY YOU
The ambushers themselves at least are nothing particularly special other than having THE MOST AWESOME NAME EVER and a really unfortunate name respectively.
Leia put Newt out of her misery in fight one. Name like that, no wonder she grew up to join a revolutionary splinter group.
In actual combat, Guy redeemed himself by winning the SHIT out of this war of attrition. This kind of damage ratio kept happening pretty much the whole time--Zep himself took around 12 damage per hit due to being a Phalanx, but these Ninjas didn't stand a chance.
See THIS is how I like my battles to go: stacks of my guys sitting comfortably on Strongholds, where I can send any of them out in any order to fight off waves of rigidly sequenced enemies who are tiring themselves out marching up to me. The ambush has already failed; let's see how the main force does.
YOU BETTER TELL THESE PUSSIES THEY AIN'T FUCKING WITH NO ROOKIE
Jared the Paladin is tough, but Asnabel is fucking badass. 28 damage with this shot; the critical hit he dealt on his first attack actually did twice that but I was too slow to get a screenshot of it.
Really, Asnabel? You gained Alignment from killing that guy?
.... That's it, I quit. LP over.
My problem with this game, I'm pretty sure, is that I play it like I play everything else: I just can't bring myself to overlevel any one unit. I always like to spread the love out as much as possible. Which does lead to a slight increase in difficulty (see: the Debonair battle, for example) but ALSO causes me to lead an army of incurable goody-two-shoes namby-pamby poindexters unless I take matters into my own hands. (Aaaaaany mission now. I am crossing my fingers, toes, and just about every other extremity I have.)
Jared the Paladin was way more lawful than anyone I've got on my side, but he was also 2 or 3 levels higher than anyone I've got on my side. This means that killing this paragon of order and high society would make pretty much anyone more Lawful unless I went out of my way to grind them up way higher than I actually need to. This is not rewarding the proper behavior in my opinion. Which is why I REFUSE to play Alignment by the rules.
Aaaaah Black Knight critical attack on my one non-expendable character aaaaaah
How do YOU like it <>
Charle here has a penchant for putting my healer to sleep. This would be a decent strategy if the rest of her unit were reliably doing very much damage to me at all. But then she managed to keep surviving despite the fact that I killed her meatshield, so what do I know I guess.
Those magic sparklies around her on the map mean she just used a healing item on herself. Lovely. This might take a while.
While I was focusing on the sparkly witch this guy I didn't get a formation shot of snuck up on my eastern units.
Yeah he wasn't really worth my notice anyway. Pretty sure I ended that fight with more HP than I had when it started. Also pretty sure I saw this unit design during the Prologue at some point, just sayin
Thanks to a full HP bar (), a knack for dodging attacks (), and a consistent strategy of putting my healer to sleep () Charle lives to fight another day. I'll go get her eventually.
This guy came back for more for some reason, though. You can see how well that worked out.
Just wanted to get a shot of Lava Shot on impact. Its splash damage is caused by the rock splitting into little rocklets that shoot off in all directions; you can see them still clustered up a little here.
This axe is better than the standard Berserker gear but not as good as the Flame Flail. We'd have a use for it if we had any other Berserkers, but we don't, so vv
Meanwhile, Charle has figured out the trick of first putting my healer to sleep, THEN putting my Sorceress to sleep. It keeps her alive and deepens my hate.
FINALLY. WAY more satisfying than it probably should have been.
Hm. The Baldr Claw is an advanced Ninja weapon and required equipment for a class we'll meet soon. Not a bad find, Leia.
Carnot, as you may recall, was guarded by Yugo the boring Fencer. I dunno what his deal was exactly, but as my invading column approached Carnot, he kind of... went for a stroll in the other direction. The standard fleeing animation didn't come up, he just took a walk. When I took the city he was suitably shocked and didn't know WHAT the fuck. He kind of spazzed out.
While prancing around like a moron he managed to get in a fight with Guy while facing sideways. Uncanny.
Yeah not much left to do after that performance but just slink on home.
At right about the point where I was getting around to marching on the enemy HQ, he sacked up and came out to fight me again. This proved unwise.
Just wanted to show how far I had to chase that dumb fucker.
Anyway, right, the boss. Let's take a look.
Not too bad, actually. His unit's set up so that attacking from any direction won't give you an advantage, no matter whether you had to just send someone back behind him after a rogue Fencer or anything. He's also the third advanced class this map has shown us.
The other major Chaotic advanced frontliner besides Black Knight. Balanced in both the front and the back -- their Ninja Art attack from the back row will hit with some area magic spell that seems to be unrelated to the innate Element of the character. Not quite sure how it's determined. Their STR growth isn't great, but they'll do in a pinch if you run out of Black Knights, especially since they get 3 attacks in the front row.
Let's see what Nagate the Ninja has to say for himself.
: "Too bad. Your strength is too valuable to be wasted, but you're really nothing but a hindrance to us. I really don't want to, if I didn't have to... but it's all for the revolution. Farewell."
: "Why must we fight!? Shouldn't we concentrate our energy on the Western Division!?"
: "I'm pissed off at his beating around the bush. Everyone living in peace...? It's nothing but a dream. A damn dream!! We do things by force. That's what we believe in. We'll change the world ourselves, for ourselves! Anybody who stands against us... will fall!"
Yeah I don't really understand these guys. Their theory is that Frederick is too wishy-washy and intellectual to carry out their glorious revolution, which I guess makes sense, but rather than exploiting that weakness the smart way and just bullying him in private like Xevec they've decided to start an intra-Revolutionary civil war (which is pretty damn meta) and face people who are much better at their jobs (like me) in an arena where losing necessarily means painful death.
Speaking of which. I think they were trying to make this guy sort of a Malcolm X to Frederick's Martin Luther King (evidenced earlier by all that "dream" talk) but the problem here is that Dr. King in this universe is a good deal less Gandhian and employs some hardass blue-haired motherfuckers who won't stand for that shit, so the plotline is over before it starts.
Have any of you guys played Tales of Vesperia? I'm going to spoil part of its storyline here--not really an important part, don't worry. I'm not going to tag it because this is an OB64 thread, so if you haven't played that game and you want to keep yourself pure you might wanna skip the next two paragraphs.
Basically there's a King/X style plotline in that game that gets developed more than this and then gets completely abandoned just before it gets interesting at all. The two guys on the game's cover are a couple of ex-street-urchins who grew up poor, decided it sucked, and resolved to change their corrupt totalitarian regime for the better. One of them (named Flynn) became a knight and climbed the ranks to change the system from within; the other one (the main character, incomprehensibly named Yuri Lowell) decided that was lame and boring and became sort of a Robin Hood figure operating outside the system.
Around the middle of the game, BOTH of these two characters were starting to get corrupted by their choice. Flynn became more and more of a fascist, getting pulled in several directions at once and resorting to using his power like a sledgehammer to preserve peace and order at the cost of freedom, because in his world that seemed to be all that worked. Yuri became more and more of a terrorist, identifying some key assholes he held accountable for the problems in the kingdom and systematically murdering them without trial. And I don't mean, like, regular JRPG-style dying-after-a-boss-battle murder, I mean REAL murder where he sneaks out of the inn while everyone else is sleeping, finds the guy cackling somewhere about the genius of his plan, and stabs him off a bridge into a ravine or pushes him into quicksand entirely in Cutscene Mode with no retaliation. Yuri and Flynn start to posture against each other more and more, the tension builds, and you just know some kind of big climactic showdown is in the works... and then they unite against the common external threat of JRPG Villain With Oddly-Colored Hair #57 and no one ever mentions it again. It's a huge waste of potential.
Similarly, Nagate the Ninja turns into kind of a throwaway plotline just because killing him turns out to be so easy. Luckily Xevec was nowhere to be found and his method appears to be much more effective than these idiots' was, and it remains to be seen how committed Yumil actually is to making anything better himself (especially since he's now assigned to fight us). We'll just have to see where that goes!
Anyway, I think Nagate has some dying words to deliver.
: "...Don't think it's the same as before. It learned the sweetness of victory... the joy of winning battles... You... think you can keep it under control...? Can you stop... the momentum? We... aren't a bunch of cowards. You better watch... your back... Don't trust... any...b...ody..."
I dunno man, looks like I stopped the momentum pretty well.
The Hannya Mask is required to make Ninja Masters; we have all the equipment we need to make them now but of course no one is anywhere NEAR chaotic enough.
Oh GOOD, RHADE's back. I was WONDERING where he'd gotten off to.
: "Congratulations on your long-awaited appointment to general, my lord. How does it feel?"
: "...State your business."
: "My prince seems to be in a bad mood... I came to talk with you about the upcoming battle with the Revolutionary Army. I believe that the Western Division is more than adequate to deal with them, especially since Sir Ankiseth is here... But you never know what's going to happen on the battlefield. That's why I brought some able reinforcements."
The gentlemen in question bow slightly here.
: "They do not look native... Are they from Lodis...?"
Well. In a manner of speaking.
: "You are very astute, Sir Ankiseth!! These men were sent to us by the Holy Lodis Empire."
: "Nonsense! Are you suggesting that we be indebted to Lodis!? This is our problem; we must take care of it ourselves!"
: "How the hell can you still think that!? Where in this kingdom is there strength!? Our own problem? Who do you think exercises control over Palatinus!? ...We're nothing but vassals of the Lodis Empire who live in one of their territories. You know all too well that if we can't stop the revolution... this kingdom will perish, don't you?"
Oh hey, he's a jerk to his superiors, too. Surprise.
What Rhade's getting at there is that if the Revolution succeeds, he's not betting on their ability to win a war with Lodis, and if Lodis conquers the kingdom from revolutionaries, it won't leave a king around to be in charge this time.
: "Oh, that's right. Your beloved son is a turncoat, isn't he? You want to avoid fighting your son? You want to treat him with kindness, as a father...? I guess that's to be expected, even for Ankiseth the Steadfast himself."
I'm not seeing the connection between "I want to fight them without Lodis's help" and "I want to hold hands with everyone and make flower wreaths to wear in my hair," but whatev.
: "Ankiseth, is that true!? Freddie is in the Revolutionary Army?"
you didn't know
: "Even Ankiseth the Murderer is ashamed that his son has joined the rebels? You shouldn't hide such an important matter from our prince. My lord... Your friend Freddie was, until recently, assigned to the Southern Division, but... He is now with Revolutionary Army. He was spotted during the battle against the Southern Division."
: "No! You're lying!!"
Considering the alternative to this would be that Freddie is dead or a prisoner, I'm not sure what Yumil is hoping for here exactly.
: "I am not lying, my lord. Unfortunately... he turned against us, in front of my very own eyes. What I'm telling you is the truth."
: "Sir Rhade!! ...I understand the Central Division's intent, but we have pride as the Western Division. If we accept assistance, it may affect our morale. I'm very sorry, but we must decline. Please deliver our response to the king."
Well look who's acting like he wasn't assigned here two weeks ago!
: "...If you say so, then there's nothing else for me to say. Since I'm assigned to deal with the Revolutionary Army, I cannot return to the Central Division empty-handed. From now on, we will act on our own... if you don't mind, of course. If you excuse me, Prince Yumil... I must be going."
Oh hey, Rhade's gonna break off from both of the two remaining divisions and try to fight me himself! Yeah totally looking forward to this.
: "Sir Ankiseth, you retain your title solely by the mercy of His Majesty. Keep that in mind... Move it!!"
Naturally that last order was directed at his two... Lodisian friends.
I dunno, I've seen at least one Lodisian before and they don't look much like Baldwin.
: "Why...? Freddie... What... What happened? ...Why did you turn on us? Ankiseth, tell me. Is it my fault? Because I lack strength...? Because I don't have enough power to change Palatinus?"
You DID offer to help him change things and he turned you down because you lacked strength, so normally I'd call this idiotic angsty wankery but honestly you might be on to something here.
Right so yeah anyway. Mylesia. Western Division. That's still a thing. That never stopped being a thing we needed to do. Next time!