Part 21: UPDATE 16: City of the PastI'm really sorry this update is so goddamn late, but I just worked two 11-hour days in a row. This won't turn into a thing, definitely. Probably not at my funniest right now after coming straight home from my second 11-hour-long hacking session in a row, but let's give it a shot!
Anyway, first off I've got some Organize Screen stuff to do.
Reynolds and Katreda, as my resident healers, get shiny new sticks to wave around for no reason. Note how much better at everything Reynolds is than Katreda -- Katreda is pretty baller herself as a unique character, but Reynolds' Freddie-unit mojo trumps all.
Next up, last time I got my hands on some sweet Blessed Swords. Karkat and Doreauxgard get their grimy mitts all over them. (Also I gave Karkat a fancy shield. He enjoys it very much.)
Lastly, for reasons of LP MAGIC I am ordering Troi's unit to carry around this Quit Gate with them. The Quit Gate, if you'll recall, allows a unit carrying it to retreat from anywhere on the map, as opposed to just if they're sitting on your HQ. But we'll get to that in a second.
As you can see, we have three possible destinations available to us right now, corresponding to the three possible ways we could deal with This Whole Bolmaukan Thing. We could (a) follow our orders and kill a bunch of slaves to make the rest of them fight for us in the name of eradicating slavery, which is both the Evil option (you can tell because it was Xevec's idea) and the most intensely irony-laden one; we could (b) ignore the fact that those slaves are there at all and just go attack the Western Division directly without getting them involved, which is both the Neutral option and the SNORESVILLE USA one; or we could (c) go to the Sable Lowlands and do some stuff there because I dunno. Obviously that one's the Good option. And OBVIOUSLY it's where I'm going now.
Update 16: City of the Past
: "...What should I do? Is battle with them really inevitable?"
: "I'm certain they aren't willing to fight us, either. But unfortunately... they are forced to fight. It would be very difficult to avoid this confrontation."
: "I hope the liberation of this area affects the situation positively... Let's get started..."
Ah, that's the reasoning behind coming here. We're trying to get the enslaved minority on our side, and what better way to do that than by CONQUERING THEIR HOMELAND? Man, being the good guys feels AWESOME.
I'm not entirely sure what area on the map corresponds to the exact borders of where Nirdam used to be back when it was a place that existed. We're certainly not in Lodis proper right now. I guess when Lodis conquered Nirdam they... gave it to Palatinus? That sure was nice of them. The Hugo Report claims that Nirdam is by the "Sea of Rai" (of which there are undoubtedly actually seven) but fuck if I know where that is. Maybe it's the body of water directly to the west of us, but maybe not.
: "The old castle of Crotal is a day's march west of Temil. Our objective is to capture the castle. Our scouts report that the enemy sent messengers requesting reinforcements. We've been unable to track the messengers. If we can catch them and intercept their message, we will gain a significant advantage."
Short briefing today. "We start at this square. We want to go to this square. More guys are coming. Damn I need a cigarette."
: "Nothing can be accomplished by just discussion. We must do our best. Right, Freddie?"
I guess so. Thank you, Hugo. Very... specific?
Right, time to leave Hugo with some pills and Matlock until he feels better and conquer us some territory.
First thing I'm doing on this map is sending Troi up here. You'll see why in a second.
Ah, there he is now. Taylor here is another special type of AI unit. If he gets to the northern border of the map (which he definitely will do unless you know he's there and send up a unit to kick his ass like I just did), he will disappear and summon several other "reinforcements" units. He's pretty well protected, but if you manage to get someone up here and kill him before he gets away, that's that many fewer units you'll have to fight here.
I could easily polish him off with Troi, but I'm not going to do that. I'd much rather fight the reinforcements.
While this is all happening, Vuarnette comes up from the south to act as a distraction. She's a nuisance and I send her packing home immediately.
And right on time, here are those reinforcements! If you didn't have the foresight to send a scout up here like I did, you'd hear a mysterious "unit retreat" noise right about now and shortly afterward get jumped by four dudes more or less all at once. As it is right now, with no healer, Troi doesn't stand much chance of fighting ALL of them himself.
Good thing he came prepared. After using the Quit Gate, Troi is not fully healed and he doesn't lose his Fatigue, but in all other respects he acts as though I'd never dispatched him at all. If I wanted, I could change his equipment or use non-carried Altars of Resurrection on him. I don't particularly want to, though, so I just dispatch him again, safe at home with everyone else.
I fight Vuarnette off again (this is going to become a recurring theme) just in time for the cavalry to start pouring over the mountains.
They're all pretty nondescript, though. They're all using meatshields properly (sort of, one of them's a Gremlin) so they might be kind of annoying at this point. I should probably bother to do some Training sometime soon. Meh.
Yeah, I couldn't kill any of their leaders and they all ran off to that northern stronghold. I sent Dio after them. Meantime, some more of them that couldn't be bothered to schlep all the way up those mountains are just now getting here.
Frye's unit design actually isn't half bad -- Muller's is terrible, of course, but that's kind of par for the course.
From his spot in the back row, Frye uses first-tier magic. With his Bane-element axe, that means he's using Word of Pain. It looks something like this. I still don't know exactly what that's supposed to be. An ant skull?
Meanwhile this is pretty much all Muller gets to do.
Even if you can't quite kill a leader and they go into heal-seeking mode, you may have an increased chance of killing them if you try to get them from behind by catching up (as Freddie did with Frye) or getting them while they're obliviously sitting on their strongholds (as Dio did with Christina). Fun fact.
After that happened, Freddie managed to have a Neutral Encounter while spinning around in place changing his facing on his HQ. It was only a Faerie, though. I told her to fuck off.
Dio has been doing kind of subpar in the North due to repeatedly getting his attacks guarded by unit leaders over and over, because this game is a fucking cheating sack of shit, so I sent Troi back up there to give him a hand. While this was going on, Vuarnette decided that he, rather than my HQ, would be the target of her latest fearless assault. So she followed him all the way over the mountains. Your guess is as good as mine.
Turns out Troi is a lot better at stuff than Dio. I am not surprised in the slightest.
Meanwhile, peeking at the central strongholds of Shichidarui and Prilgi and the southern one of Quills makes me realize I'm gonna have to do a lot of camping in the open on this map. Ugh. I've got a shot at Quills if I send Asnabel in there, but that's about it.
Oh hey, my HQ has a shop on it. Let's see what...
Holy SHIT. BEST STORE EVER.
In addition to some more Blessed Swords and Robes of the Wise, I got a chance to pick up some Baldr Shields (better than Kite Shields) and exactly one Baldr Helm (required equipment for Paladins). I may have bought more of all of this stuff than was strictly necessary. I regret nothing.
Meantime, I've defeated the reinforcements' assault and it's about time to start thinking about getting off of my HQ at some point. This mountain pass here is guarded by some okay units.
Could cover themselves up a little better, but otherwise pretty good. I would appreciate the name "Estevez" better on a Hawkman unit (being the closest this game has to ducks), but it works pretty well on a Ninja Master, too.
As dead as his acting career! Heyooooooooo~~~~
So hey, protip: if you crit a Paladin into the back row, he just might start healing himself and make your low-damage-output Golem unit take twice as long to kill him! Hahaha oh wacky fun. Seriously I critted this guy three battles in a row.
Luckily the third time this happened.
Right, so you know how this cape that Black Knights wear is impossible to buy in stores? There is exactly one place in the game to find one guaranteed. It is right here in the Sable Lowlands. You're also supposed to have a decent chance of winning them off of defeated units. Guess how many I found.
Meanwhile, Quills, in the south, is guarded by Rachel, a Diana who positioned herself well but her Grapplers terribly. Shall we discuss Dianas?
The best possible source of back-row physical damage, and one of only two units in the entire game that gets three attacks in the back row! (two in the middle one in the front blah blah blah) A back row full of these things is HELL on enemy mages, but as back-row units themselves they're on the squishy side. Myself I prefer to use magic for the most part, but these ladies are certainly quite worthwhile in themselves.
Asnabel, what happened to you? What happened to US?
Dio won one of these while killing a leaderless unit. It's the Black Knight's required weapon. This is the game taunting me by not giving me any Valiant Mantles. <>
Oh hey look, it's the WORST PLACE IN THE GAME for a flying unit to run. Soon I'm going to make my OWN flying unit (as soon as I find Sheen ) and then, God help any pigeon people who run out over the water on me. ONE DAY.
The middle stronghold, Shikichifichipichi or whatever the fuck it was called, is guarded by an Archmage who has elected to let his grad students take physical hits for him. Brilliant.
This guy's an upgraded Wizard. You can probably tell by the beard. In the back row, he gets to cast tier-2 magic, which either deals intermediate damage to an area or heavy damage to one unit with splash. In combos, they can cast spells on all enemies!
The tier-2 Fire spell looks about how you'd imagine.
After I knocked Nicholson off his stronghold, he retreated all the way to where Troi was camping and nearly ambushed him. Luckily I'm quick on the draw and even quicker on the Pause button, and I could wake him up in time.
In retrospect these probably weren't shots of the same battle, but meh. Troi killed Nicholson and then somebody (probably Freddie) found a Mirror of Soul on the ground. Mirrors of Soul are single-use items that permanently boost someone's MEN a bit. Dupe them if you really hate being dealt magical damage.
Hm. Dan doesn't seem to really get the whole "flying unit" thing. Fine by me, it means he can't go seafaring on me.
BAM. As the closest stronghold to the enemy HQ I have a prayer in hell of liberating, Cotoltus will be my advance base.
Meanwhile, Asnabel finds a Book of Bane on the ground. Bane works pretty well against most any enemy (other than demons and undead, I think) and the book itself gives more of an INT boost than the other books do, so I use these things a lot.
Ugh. Really. That's the unit you're using? Lady, you disgust me.
Worst use of a Platinum Dragon I've ever seen. Get the hell out of here.
One last guy! Killing Ken got me a Heal Seed. Note: it is not a Valiant Mantle. I was fucking DROWNING in Heal Seeds by the time this level was over.
Here's what we're facing here boss-wise. Liedel is quite a good deal blonder than the average Archer, and she's got a couple of Sirens with her.
The advanced female spellcaster, Sirens get tier-2 magic in the back row. Like an Archmage only much more exploitationy. Yeah I don't really know what kind of aesthetic they were going for here. She's like... a punk lounge singer?
Anyway, boss time!
Wow. Liedel Klein. My Jewdar is SO confused right now. Liedel's perhaps the least-Jewish-looking person to have a name like that since... Lenny Kravitz.
Wait, strike that. He actually really does look Jewish. Sorry, Lenny.
There are of course a significant number of blonde Jews in existence, and come to think of it the most JAPpy girl I've ever known is ginger enough of a firecrotch to send any Irish girl into a drunken Bailey's-soaked fit of jealousy, but still. A name like "Liedel Klein" does not make you imagine someone that... Aryan. I mean, blonde hair, fine, at LEAST give her a little bit of frizz.
Kinda wish they'd made her Indigan. Then a bunch of terrible jokes I've already made would be justified.
: "I'm the sole survivor of the Central Division, Order of the Red Branch... The others were killed in the south... Revenge will be mine!"
Hey, sweetie, if you can't stand the heat, stay out of the revolution.
D'awwww. I'm not even mad at him for being stupid, that was too cute.
: "You know what I'm talking about! ...Oh, I see. You won't admit publicly that you've been using Ogres."
Yeah her name's gotta be a coincidence, she's not being NEARLY passive-aggressive enough to be for-real Jewish.
: "You're talking about the battle against the Southern Division? No! That wasn't us!!"
: "Liar! Who'd suspect General Godeslas of such treachery? Even if the general did have something to do with it, why'd he attack his own troops? You think I'm stupid? ...That's enough!!"
Obviously, being from the Central Region, Liedel didn't know enough about the situation to realize what deep shit Godeslas was in, and she didn't know him well enough to know the depths he'd sink to to cover his own ass.
: "...Godeslas was controlled by the Infernal Aura. He was consumed by the darkness... Please believe me."
This of course is a much less believable story than "he was a chump and he died like a chump," especially when you're being as vague as Troi is here (and not bothering to define "Infernal Aura" even though that's just a name Destin made up), but if he were more eloquent we'd be missing out on a boss battle so vv
: "...I'll believe you. If you can beat me, that is!"
that doesn't even begin to make sense
This battle is really more noteworthy for your first glimpses of combo magic than for anything Liedel does. Displayed here for your viewing pleasure are Ice Field, the (predictable) tier-2 water spell, and Crag Press, which we've seen before as a Ninja Art.
Combo tier-1 magic beats solo tier-2 magic any day, though. Liedel goes down in two battles.
That STILL doesn't make a lick of goddamn sense, but at least she's sticking to her word about it.
: "I doubted the way things were anyway... Let me go with you, to find the truth!"
Yeah, you had to know Liedel was recruitable. Even without the unique sprite and portrait, she has both a first and a last name. QED.
Anyway I feel much less guilty about this one than I did about either Troi OR Katreda, so she's in.
: "We welcome you to our battalion, Liedel."
: "Thanks, Freddie. ...I'll give you my very best."
Predictably, I also win some cash (about as much as I spent here, heh heh) and Liedel's fancy bow. She'll get to keep using it.
Meanwhile Freddie meets with a Bolmaukan public figure in
whoa hey, who ever said I was gonna give you the land BACK
No seriously though you guys are cool. High fives all around.
: "We'll continue to fight against the Western Division. ...This is our problem. I don't want to involve the Bolmaukans in this war any further. Is there any way we can avoid the battle against the Nirdamese troops?"
: "We share the same feeling, but... There are still many of us that are held captive... including my friend... That's Lodis... The reason are kingdom was torn into east and west, why there was resentment between the princes... Lodis was pulling the strings behind it all."
: "...We prize our patriotism. There's not much we can do about the west, but if the slaves can be freed, perhaps..."
: "If we liberate the mining facility in Audvera... then there'd be no reason for the Nirdamese troops to be forced to fight. ...Is that correct?"
: "I can assure you nothing, but I don't think the situation will worsen. It's impossible to do this ourselves, but... We do know of a secret entrance to the mine, behind the guards. If you're willing, there's no reason for us not to help. ...I eagerly await your response."
At this point, we can get into Audvera the back way, freeing the hostages without having to slaughter any more Bolmaukans, letting us follow orders without having to worry about being huge assholes for it. Of course, we still have the option of saying fuck all this shit and just going ahead to Mount Ithaca to fight the Western Division regardless.
NEXT TIME ON OGRE BATTLE: I do one of those two things.