Part 27: UPDATE 22: The Grim PathAlright, so we've got the Western Region about wrapped up. We're up to the capital now, meaning this next mission's a big one. In other words, we've got work to do.
With a little extra pushing, Boudica and Comet (who for the forgetful are in Katreda's unit) become a Freya and a Dragon Master respectively.
Hopefully this should keep them from dying so much and make this as badass a unit as I'd hoped.
Meanwhile in Dio's unit, Ferdinando finally follows MacLeod's example and becomes less alliterative, and (with a little Urn therapy) Liedel becomes our first Diana. She's gonna rain some DEATH, let me tell you!
Next, Tallgeese and Bluemage are finally ready to trade in their hoods for funny hats and become Archmages.
Sexwale could do it too, but in order for him to muster up the necessary insanity I had to have him stare into a pot full of swirling elemental disorder a couple dozen times until he kind of went bonkers. This is apparently necessary to become a truly great wizard.
In order to fulfill certain alignment-based requests, it was necessary for me to switch Wizards between these groups. The game thoughtfully includes a helpful interface to do that easily. I think this is the first time I've ever used it. At this point I WOULD restore Tallgeese and Bluemage's alignments to their former glory, but you'll notice I still haven't received any of the Alignment-GAINING item. No big deal.
I figured at this point that if any of my Sorceresses would meet the high standards for Sirens, Panic would, so I gave her the Crazy Treatment too, but even with a big old C next to her name the Siren class still wouldn't appear in the class list, suggesting I still didn't have anyone who qualified for it.
Same thing with Enchanters, apparently. I did make Guy and his Golems a Neutral unit, as is my custom, and supplied him with one of those Fools I still have lying around. Let it follow HIM around and stare at HIM and whisper into HIS dreams for a change.
Oh, speaking of equipment changes I have a bunch of other ones of those. Still haven't gotten around to giving Freddie Rhade's sword. It's actually a bit worse than the Sum Mannus, but this is still where it's going for reasons I went into when I got it.
The Sum Mannus itself goes to Karkat and Dio gets the Ice Blade, which is apparently Fighter-sized and looks basically like a long knife.
Almost done now, I swear! I have a couple of funny-named sticks to give to a couple of cute-named Sorceresses. Unfortunately there isn't enough room in the back row or I'd totally find a way to group them with Apple and Banana.
Finally, Saradin refuses to hold any stick that isn't HIS stick, but his personal hygiene sure is bad enough that he doesn't mind wearing a robe that is literally full of dried demon blood! While we're on the subject, how long has it been since he's shaved?
Okay, I think we're adequately prepared now. Let's storm a castle.
Update 22: The Grim Path
We open in the briefing room as usual, with a slightly expanded cast and TENSION MUSIC in place of Hugo's theme. Obviously shit is going down.
: "Freddie! You're not gonna do anything about it!?"
: "Don't tell me you're going to fight your own father and your best friend!!"
: "You two, calm down!"
I really need to try plotting the number of lines Dio has uttered in Hugo's presence against the number of times Hugo has reprimanded him. Bet it's very close to 1:1.
: "Before we leave for Castle Talpaea, there's something I have to tell you... We rejected the peace accord, and made the decision to fight the Western Division."
sounds like they know dude
: "As you all know, Prince Yumil is my friend, and General Ankiseth is my father. Honestly, I'd choose not to fight... As a soldier, and commander of this battalion, I understand the importance of this battle. I also understand that we must keep up our spirits... we must keep up morale at all costs."
Man, for all his usual non-emoness and professionalism, Freddie sure can still JRPG it up sometimes.
Oh. OH. He was just trailing off because he hadn't decided what the rest of that sentence was yet!
Yeah, no voting here. As much as the inflated post count would make me feel better about myself, we had a vote at thread start to play nice and nice is how we're gonna play it.
: "I know it defies orders. ...But I can't convince myself that it's right. We both want to avoid battle, so why fight? I'll take full responsibility. ...Will you help me?"
: "Freddie, you are our commander. There is nobody here who wouldn't help you. ...Am I correct?"
: "No need to ask."
: "I'm right here with ya."
Oh you guys Almost makes me wish either one of you still had any plot relevance!
On a street that looks SUSPICIOUSLY like the place Dio tried to fight Freddie to the death once, we meet with Ankiseth and those two generics from earlier that are his secretaries or something.
: "...Thank you for the opportunity to meet."
: "It is we who need to thank you for the hand you've extended. This meeting would never have happened, if not for you."
yeesh, Freddie needs to work on his diplomatic-speak. Awkward.
: "You're looking well, Ankiseth."
Don't forget the Law of Old People!
SO. Yeah. How about that peace settlement! And that unseasonable weather!
: "Let's not stand here all day. Follow me..."
: "We'll both be in tough spots, Ankiseth."
: "But it is worth it. Don't you agree?"
: "You are absolutely correct."
SUDDENLY ACTION MUSIC
: "Prince Yumil was arrested for treason!"
um, shit. Maybe he should have come to this meeting. Isn't he like your boss now or something?
: "What!? ...Who did it? Was it the Central Division?"
Let's think, who's got the authority to accuse a prince of treason?
: "No... It's Lodis. I heard a Knight Of Lodis came all the way down here."
(dude wrong thread)
: "...Damn it..."
: "There's more... They demand the appearance of the one who instigated it... They're saying that you, Ankiseth, are the mastermind!"
Yeah so apologies to anyone who thought that making peace meant we wouldn't have to fight anyone here. Didn't work out that way last time either.
: "......Alright... I will sacrifice myself for Prince Yumil... if that is what they want."
: "No, you can't go! It must be a trap! If something happens to you, who's going to protect Yumil!? Father, you're the only one Yumil trusts..."
: "I know... but what else can I do?"
: "The peace accord will not conclude without Prince Yumil. What should we do, Freddie?"
Same thing we did LAST time Yumil got into some distress, of course.
: "I'll protect you! And I promise... I'll save Yumil, no matter what!!"
: "Alright. Let's see what our status is. Let's get started..."
: "Salem, in the southwest, will be our headquarters for this campaign."
: "We must capture the castle, and liberate it from Lodis."
Yes, another escort mission. Luckily we're escorting Ankiseth, and he can handle himself a good deal better than Yumil could.
: "Our scouts have spotted a huge enemy force marching towards us. It's a huge attachment, but it seems very well organized. They must be well-seasoned."
Yeah sure. "Trouble." But yeah, this is the game trying to make you let Ankiseth do all the work by giving you something else to worry about. We'll just see how that goes.
: "I suggest that we eliminate the elite troops first."
YES, THANK YOU HUGO.
YES, LET'S DO THAT. THANK YOU FOR YOUR CONTRIBUTIONS, HUGO. I TRULY APPRECIATE ALL THE THINGS YOU DO FOR ME.
Alright, this is our starting position in Wentinus. As you can see, Ankiseth is off doing his own thing even though he was in our base talking to us literally five seconds ago. I guess the mission only really starts after he goes around those mountains without disturbing those enemy units in the south?
This is Ankiseth's unit. Not bad. Myself I wouldn't use the Cataphracts, and there's absolutely no reason to put Ankiseth himself in the middle row or not to put one of the Dianas behind him, but Ankiseth hits pretty hard and the Dianas will hit pretty often.
This Black Knight, Indy, will spend pretty much the entire mission stalking Ankiseth from a distance. I'm not sure exactly why.
The other unit on that Stronghold is Jodeau the Ninja Master. He'll stay put on his stronghold until/unless we knock him off.
Right now, the only unit visible on my half of the map is Brandle, whose unit I think we're fighting for like the fourth time by now. Boring.
If we point Sheen to the North (which of course we do immediately) we are greeted with a historic sight: the first Legion we've seen all game. It is generally agreed that Legions are dumb. Let me explain. (This will probably go in the Megadump when it's done. Remember that thing?)
-Legions are basically an organizational tool. I guess the designers of OB64 figured you might get tired of ordering five units to go to this town and the other five to go to that town again and again, so to save time you can organize them into a Legion which is basically a meta-Unit.
-Legions obey orders like one Unit and can march around in a number of different formations. The formations may be changed on the fly.
-Only certain characters are capable of leading Legions. Those can be either Centurions (a special class I'll get to later) or characters of certain unique classes we'll get access to after Chapter 2 ends.
-In addition, the Legion Leader's unit must include at least one group of Soldiers to act as messengers or whatever shit. Yes. Soldiers. In Chapter 2 and onward.
-Whenever a unit that is not the Legion Leader's unit gets in a fight, the Soldiers in the Legion Leader's unit get to make one bonus cameo attack on all enemies. This is not enough damage to matter in the slightest, MAYBE unless the leading unit has 4 groups of soldiers. This of course makes at least one terrible unit in your legion.
-That's a bad thing because if your legion leader dies, no more legion. It disbands and turns into a bunch of single Units. Or wait maybe that's a good thing. I dunno man fuck Legions. At any rate, this is why you want to attack the leader unit of enemy Legions last, because when they break up, all the other units will start doing their own thing, which probably means all bumrushing whatever unit just killed the leader, since it'll be closest. Much better to have the initiative yourself.
-There are pretty much two reasons to make a Legion: (1) Looking for items on the ground if you don't know where they are and want to cover a whole lot of ground at once, and (2) looking for Neutral Encounters without having to give orders to all your units and hear them all say they're camping or waking up or need MORE orders OVER AND OVER AND OVER GAH.
This three-unit Legion is led by Velner the Centurion. See how terrible this unit is? Oh wait, you probably don't know because I haven't talked about Centurions yet. Gimme a second.
The two best words to describe Centurions are the same two best words to describe Legions: "meh" and "not worth the effort." These things aren't BAD, but in order to qualify as a Centurion a unit leader (male OR female) must promote 7 soldiers. Remember how long it took me to get rid of my soldiers? Yeah, no single leader ever promoted more than three. I can only imagine how long it would have taken me to do seven. At any rate, this is the only generic class that can lead a Legion. If you really want a Legion, though, seriously just use a special character and save yourself the hassle.
I guess because they're in a Legion that makes Hugo think these guys qualify as "elite" or whatever. I mean they're not TERRIBLE, other than that their Leaders have huge targets on their backs (and fronts), but I'm not impressed.
Oops, look at that, while I was busy typing all those many many words Ankiseth got in a fight. Let's see how he does.
oh I wouldn't worry about that
: "What can someone with no loyalty to a kingdom possibly do to me!? Feel my wrath, if you dare stand in my way!"
Ankiseth is so the best character
Not too bright, though. Unfortunately you can't give allied units the order to switch to Attack Leader.
Not a whole lot happens here. As expected.
Meanwhile, Troi's unit is taking on the Legion. In the first skirmish we get to see some tier-2 Earth/Water combo magic!
It looks a little like this and kills people a little like this. Dumb ol' Sword Master had to go and block it. Totally killed the gravitas. Well, as you can see tier-2 combo magic right off the bat will hit the center spot for about 80 damage (on a clean hit ) and the corners for about 35 (if my screenshot timing were better )
At this point the leaderless unit will be expelled from the Legion and the rest of the units in the Legion will rearrange themselves to best approximate whatever formation they were using before. ...uh do you MIND ANKISETH I'm trying to be INFORMATIVE HERE
Tallgeese and Bluemage won't combo consistently every time they cast for a little while now. There's a hidden (of course) stat measuring how much Power of Friendship each unit has, and it governs how often the characters therein will Work Together For Stuff. When you shuffle a Unit's roster, it loses unity; when the unit wins battles, it gains unity. Give them some time. Meantime they're still killing people so I don't mind too much.
This is me mostly failing to get a screenshot of a Supportive Attack from the leader unit's Soldiers. Picture those little guys charging through Troi's unit and leaving a terrible swath of 2 damage in their wake. It looks more impressive when there are more of them. I'll get a better shot of it later.
Meanwhile in the Southeast I've sent Asnabel on another fool's errand to liberate a Chaotic stronghold that's a little out of my way. While fighting for it Saradin and Sexwale show off the tier 2 Bane/Wind combo.
It's basically Evil Dead for more damage.
The second one SHOULD have KILLED THIS GUY but he BLOCKED IT AAAAAARGH
Good thing I had the foresight to add exactly one character to this unit with a third attack. Whew. Right under the wire.
Meanwhile back in the North Troi turns the elite troops into a one-man legion, and also has a run-in with that Archmage dude who decided he'd join in on the attack. Yeah I think after this Troi is going on HQ-guarding duty. He's hogging all the glory. Call in the relievers.
Hot young closer Dio works a scoreless ninth and the opening game of the series is won in a shutout.
In the process of doing this Dio found this armor. It's required for Cataphracts and you might want to put it on other stuff too because it's good.
Oh yeah I guess this guy attacked me too or something. It's not important.
Whoa Ankiseth is burning through this mission. He's almost to the Castle! I better step on it!
"Step on it" is a phrase which here means "step on this unit which shows that if you take Ankiseth's unit and replace him with a Witch the result is something kind of lame."
Meanwhile that Black Knight from earlier fulfills a lifelong dream and catches up with Ankiseth. It ends in a less than dignified manner and he beats a hasty retreat, annoyingly all the way to the enemy HQ where he can't be easily shuffled off until he decides to leave. Eh, we'll figure it out when I get there.
I guess this probably means something in French???
Whenever I see an enemy unit led by a Freya, I get a little worried because for some unfathomable reason the game always puts its Cockatrices in Freya-led units. This one looks pretty harmless, though. Send someone down there, I guess. We've probably got a little time before Ankiseth charges the enemy HQ anyway, right?
Oh. Uh. That's... another Legion, huh? We'd... ah, we'd better get up there soonish.
This worked out the best way it possibly could have, really. Ankiseth didn't kill the Centurion (or all her Soldiers), but DID put her in heal-seeking mode, which led to the entire Legion being in heal-seeking mode and got him right off the hook. Another reason why Legions suck.
Asnabel finally gets far enough North to liberate this other Chaotic stronghold. Maybe I should investigate the possibility of having more than one Chaotic unit? Meh, I'll figure it out eventually.
Speaking of which, if you have bad luck with unit-defeat rewards, the first guaranteed Urn of Chaos in the game can be found on the ground right where Katreda is right now.
I don't know exactly what this Paladin finds so goddamn confusing but as long as he's walking in place in the middle of nowhere and building up his Fatigue for no reason I'm not gonna argue!
After killing something over here, Dio finds my first Love and Peace. One would think this would cause enemy troops to forsake war and go live a quiet life as a farmer somewhere, but even better than that, you can use this to flip enemy characters over to your side! Unfortunately they're not dupeable since you can't equip them to Units. Save them. You'll know when the time has come. ...Well maybe you won't. At any rate I will.
uh wait dad
where are you going
Oh, goddammit. Send some guys in to make sure he doesn't get himself killed.
Hey look, I finally Showered an enemy leader all the way to death! Not bad.
shit shit shit shit
Oh. OH. He was just going after this guy! Sure, dad, have fun. Just make sure that whatever you do, you do NOT turn around after this battle is over.
oh goddammit ankiseth
At this epic faceoff, we are greeted with Lodis's theme. I would call this Baldwin's theme, as he's the Lodisian we've seen the most often, but it also applies to other people.
: "Ankiseth, you don't care what happens to Yumil? So your errant son is more precious than your lord, huh? ...Talk about loyalty."
: "I do not fight for my son... I do not fight for the Revolutionary Army either, or for the prince! I fight for those who bear the future of this kingdom on their shoulders!"
...in other words, you fight for your son, the Revolutionary Army, and the Prince. Thanks for clearing that up!
: "I realized that it is my duty to support them, to help them overcome the hardships that they face. That is why I chose to enter this battle."
(yeah ignore Baldwin there, they just never made his speech bubble go away after he said that earlier)
: "Even if it may cost my life, I will not be daunted by you!"
why you gotta daunt
: "...I can't believe Ankiseth the Steadfast is blinded by emotions."
Baldwin's zigzaggy sword is awesome. Villains in this game always get cool swords.
Anyway Ankiseth is NOT going to win this battle, I'm just hoping he's not one of the ones to die.
This is a good opportunity for us to scope out Baldwin's unit. The Templars are as lackluster as they always are with their default equipment, but the Dianas will hit any unit that doesn't have Cataphracts in its back row pretty hard, and Baldwin himself is no slouch.
At this point, Ankiseth quite sensibly withdraws. Thank GOD.
Katreda, your father used to give me problems like this. Then I made him stare into a pot until he went crazy, and now he knows better. No reason to say that, just making conversation.
This Cataphract got in a fight with Ankiseth earlier; now he's back for more.
Leia is only too happy to oblige.
We've already seen the Centurion in charge of this legion; this is what the other units in it look like. At any rate I should probably have enough time now to rip them apart at a leisurely pace.
Oh, uh, nevermind, looks like I'm leaving now. Boss time!
: "I heard that you're doing quite well. Why did you come all the way here? ...For Yumil? Are you here to take Prince Yumil and exploit him? ...I advise strongly against that. You won't be able to control him. He would most likely kill you all."
Baldwin is of course aware that Yumil and I have met before, right?
: "What are you talking about? I came here to defeat you. I came here for Yumil... I'm here to save my precious friend!!"
uh yeah let's just calm down a little here freddie
That probably sounded less weird in Japanese. Benefit of the doubt.
NOT BLOODY LIKELY
Let's try not to think about exactly what Baldwin meant by that and focus on the fight instead. I critted Baldwin into the back row! This was exciting for me because I didn't actually know what he did back there!
Turns out it's tier 2 fire magic for decent damage. Not bad, not great.
This one was a little closer than I usually like due to a crit on Freddie, lots of back-row damage, and a disappointingly lackluster Pedra of Bane, but I still took him down in one.
Naturally Baldwin doesn't die yet. We have at LEAST two more battles with a villain of this magnitude.
And he... teleports away. Uh. Sure.
Our reward this time around is... a Goblet of Destiny. Eh whatever, the Western Region is prize enough.
NEXT TIME ON OGRE BATTLE: Your obligatory all-plot update. And boy do we have a lot of it.