Part 31: UPDATE 26: The Eastern Orthodox ChurchWell all I can say is I kind of wish I'd been able to start this back up again in time for April Fool's Day. I could have replaced every character in my army with soldiers, or actually used Legions, or something.
Or maybe used one of these useless reward swords I found last time. Poor Gandalf, getting his memory disrespected by such a crappy sword. Would have been cool if they'd made Glamdring equippable by Wizards or something, but alas, not in this game.
Even this interestingly-named Greatsword appears to be strictly worse than the Claymore. It does give a good DEX boost, so it's possible that if Ferdinando's STR and DEX were slightly higher he would actually benefit from this sword, or at least not lose any power, but such is not the case.
At this point Guy is capable of switching up to Enchanter from Doll Master. The problem is that for some dumb reason you can't change a character's class if they're currently a Unit Leader. I guess it's to make it so you can't have a unit leader change class to Fighter or Ninja or something, but there are totally better ways they could have done that.
In most cases it's sufficient to make someone else Unit Leader, change the old leader's class, and then make them the leader again, but since neither Equius nor MaskedHuzah is capable of leading the unit themselves, we have to disband the whole thing.
At this point we can just switch him on over and form the unit anew.
Before we consider ourselves to be done with Guy, apparently while the last mission was going on (or the one before it I dunno), Freddie turned 20 and everyone dropped what they were doing to throw him a party.
Oh hey, look, slightly more plot-important people this time. My dad even showed up.
Does Saradin even know where he is right now? Okay let's just leave him at home next time.
: "This is a present that we made between battles."
Oh, right! So while most birthday presents are merely rare (Urns of Chaos, Goblets of Destiny, etc), whenever Freddie hits a birthday ending in zero it's a big enough occasion that everyone pitches in and gets him an entirely unique item you can't get any other way! Let's see what we've got this time!
so you guys have been spending your time between battles putting together a creepy-looking miniature wooden statue of me
Yeah let's not waste any time at all regifting this thing straight on over to Guy. The Gallant Doll, as you can see, gives a bonus to all stats proportional to Freddie's real-life stats. It will get stronger as he does, and its innate element is the same as Freddie's. It's pretty cool. Unfortunately there's no way to have Freddie wield it himself (that would be TOO AWESOME and also really creepy as hell) so your number one dollmage should just take immediate permanent possession of it.
Couple more things. First off, Hypatia, who is one of the last first-tier melee fighters in our army, is finally ready to become a Dragon Master. Now all I have to do is finally upgrade all my Sorceresses. Oh. And Troi. I keep forgetting Troi.
Blah blah blah equipping armors blah
Right then, time to carve into the Eastern Region proper!
UPDATE 26: THE EASTERN ORTHODOX CHURCH
: "...Division is waiting for us."
well we have been fighting them up till now, yeah
this chapter has been one lodis mission and one central mission, it's not much of a surprise
: "The Eastern Orthodox Church has fallen to the Central Division... to Lodis?"
: "No, I didn't say that. The followers of Berthe would not fall to Lodis that easily. But since Eastern Orthodox isn't resisting, the Central Division has just waltzed into the Eastern Region. ...Well, I guess we are doing the same thing."
Fine by me, not like it's OUR homes and property on the line here!
: "Yeah, but I don't understand why the Eastern Orthodox isn't fighting back."
Have you considered perhaps that they don't actually WANT to have a revolution and are just waiting until this all blows over? Just tossing some theories around!
: "It is odd indeed... We have no choice but to move onward, though. Now... This is our plan. Let's get started..."
: "We must take the castle."
I think the last map we saw that was this vertical and linear was Audvera Heights. Saves me from having to split my army, though, so it's fine by me!
: "Our intelligence indicates their troops are heavily armed."
Yeah they probably have swords and stuff. I agree. Is there a point to this?
: "It will take us significant time to break through their defenses."
So, no then. Remind me what we're paying those intelligence guys for again? Y'know if they could maybe just give me a list of enemy units they'd be earning their salaries. That's not asking a whole lot!
: "The narrowness of this area will make avoiding them next to impossible. We must clear this area of all enemy troops to reach Castle Grann."
you mean like I do every goddamn mission? Cool, got it, thanks.
: "This gives them an advantage. We must be prudent, and devise a good plan."
MY PLAN FOR THIS MISSION:
(1) Find where enemy units are
(2) Send units there
(3) Do not face backward
(4) Everything dies
(5) I WIN.
A valid question. She IS pretty meaningless.
: "Why today...? ...!!"
This line is notable for being more than half composed of punctuation. Oh, JRPGs.
: "Why are you all excited? ...No, it's nothing like that."
I mean, she should really know better; at this point in the story she's pretty much a glorified generic, but still Hugo, that's cold.
: "We have a visitor, who says she knows you well. ......She should be here soon..."
It didn't show up in screenshot very well, but Leia visibly cringes when she hears that voice. It's awesome.
Oh good, another Siren! I am in DIRE NEED of Sirens!
: "Meredia!? ......Why are you...?"
: "I can't believe you really joined the Revolutionary Army. Your father is worried about you. ...Why don't you come home?"
: "You came all the way here to tell me that?"
: "Of course not! I was asked to deliver a message to the Revolutionary Army."
Meredia curtsies a little upon introducing herself to Freddie. That makes a total of two unique animations so far just for this fluffy little scene. Possibly three -- Meredia pointed at Leia earlier, but I'm not sure if that doesn't come up anywhere else.
: "I came from the north to deliver a message from Count Silvis, Lord of Argent. ...Though they are few in number, there are people in the Central Region who support the revolution. We cannot publicly act, but we are willing to support you as much as possible. I ought to have gone directly to Sir Frederick, but under these circumstances, this was the best we could do. ...I'm terribly sorry, but would you mind telling Sir Frederick about our intentions?"
: "That is not a problem at all. Rest assured that we will. But... Isn't that great news, Freddie?"
: "Count Silvis...? Wait a moment!"
For those keeping score: Yes, Silvis is Leia's last name. I'm a bit disappointed that the game appears to be depriving us of a prime drama situation here by making her dad like us. Ah well.
: "You noticed! Yes, Count Silvis is indeed Leia's father. ...He loves his daughter very much, but she ran away and joined the army. (Sigh) You know, it wouldn't hurt to say hi to him once in a while..."
Nope. Uh-uh. No way. I am NOT letting Leia run off for multiple months to say hi to Dad. This is a fantasy setting, Meredia! What's she gonna do, Ye Olde Skype him or what?
: "No! I'm not going back! You hear me? I'm not going home, period!"
oh yeah and also she might not want to, that's important too
: "Neither of us figured you'd listen to us."
: "......Then what..."
whoa whoa whoa watch it with that heart emote, sister, it is NOT like that
we're all perfectly businesslike and junk up in this bitch
Anyway, note the giggle animation. Counting Leia's emphatic head-shake when Meredia suggested she go home earlier (even harder to catch in a screenshot than the cringe) that's five animations for this scene alone. Not bad.
: "...And I want to ask for one more favor. May I join your battalion?"
Honey. You're a unique-sprited Siren. I'm practically falling over myself to make room for you.
: "Of course. Welcome, Meredia. ...Try to get along with Leia, okay?"
Oh, there's that giggle again. Pretty sure no one else in the game besides Meredia giggles, ever. How many other female characters do we even have? Leia scowls, Mari Yunas it up, that MYSTERY WITCH LADY from that one Mari cutscene really seemed like more of a cackler... and we're already out. Nope, just Meredia.
I'm not entirely sure whether Meredia is meant to be Indigan or whether her hair is just supposed to be a really dark black, but it would certainly add fuel to the "Indigans as Jews" comparison I've inadvertently started using, since I just can't help but imagine her as this incredibly huge JAP -- for those who don't know, JAP stands for Jewish-American Princess and is the general term for a spoiled rich only-child Jewish girl who straightens her hair to look less Jewish and always gets driven around in her parents' Mercedes even though they bought her a brand new Range Rover for her 16th birthday. Used to be seen in Ugg boots all the time when I was in high school but I dunno if that's even still a thing.
Anyway maybe it's not fair to presume since we don't know for a FACT that Meredia got those stylish clothes by threatening to throw a tantrum otherwise, and she seems to have no problem hiking all over the wilderness as a soldier all day, but that's still where my mind went. At any rate, feel free to apply your own Valley Girl accent.
The game continues a very convenient trend by putting the area Shop right on the HQ. I decided to just take a look around it right now instead of forgetting to later.
The theme of this shop is apparently Fire-flavored weaponry. Prox is a 2H Axe, better than the standard
Anyway let's get around to actually playing this game now. I've got a few units coming for me to start.
Huh. The all-mage unit has progressed a little bit since we've last seen it. Could still benefit from a meatshield or two.
Note that enemy mages still can't combo magic to save their lives. A shame. It'd make for a nice change of pace. Also note that Dianas kick magic-user ass all by themselves when allowed.
Next up is Dallas the Paladin. By now it should be about clear that where the ultimate fate of a unit leader alone in the center column will usually be to die on the first combat to pretty much anything, the ultimate fate of a unit leader in the exact center spot will be to die to a tier-2 combo magic attack no matter who else he has in that column with him.
Brat the Raven is either a big fan of sausages or got his parents to buy him a couple of pet Wyrms by stomping his foot and holding his breath. Not sure which.
Oh great. Now the doll has a taste for blood. It's never gonna stop killing now.
I somehow managed to not get any combat shots of Shelly the Freya, but she dropped this awesome buckler when she died. New present for Leia!
A bit late to the party is Matilda the Dragon Master, who has... yes, I do believe that's a Quetzalcoatl!
The Wind-flavored Venerable Dragon. In the back row, uses the Radiant Gale attack, which does the usual amount of damage and has a chance to inflict Paralyze. One of the better ones.
With all of his characters in corner slots, Guy is pretty well-equipped to take on an all-enemies-targeting AI. Let's see how it goes.
Not bad. I'm particularly impressed with the Golems since theoretically Wind is their least favorite element, but they're doing a pretty good job of not noticing this attack.
(also between those two screenshots this happened)
After something died I got a Glaive of Champion. I am ALMOST POSITIVE this greatsword is actually better than the Claymore. (crossing my fingers)
GALLANT DOLL, DRAGONSLAYER
Anyway time to finally go on the offensive. The stronghold of Boulli, first in our path, is guarded by this dude whose unit would be kind of decent had he bothered to upgrade anyone in it besides himself.
But hey, more stronghold for me!
At this point I make all of Leia's wildest dreams come true by sending her on a special assignment to liberate this out-of-the-way stronghold on the wrong side of a river. AND IT'S EVERYTHING SHE DREAMED IT WOULD BE.
On the other side, the side that MATTERS, we can see the mission's obligatory Legion. I am bracing myself for disappointment.
Oh dear Lord. Next.
Enchanter's in the wrong place. Next.
Griffins? REALLY? This is to say NOTHING of the fact that that Freya is going to die pretty much instantly.
Oh whatever. I don't even care anymore. Ankiseth, go massacre them.
Meanwhile, Leia's TOP SECRET MISSION was a complete success. She faced this unit which is notable for every character having the word "Knight" in its class name but not a lot else. Let's see what Ankiseth's up to.
Oh, wholesale slaughter. Right. Hugo, weren't these guys supposed to be "heavily armed" or something? They could have AT LEAST given one of those golems a greatsword or something.
Guys, this ring is awesome. I love this ring. More on that later when I can tell someone to wear it.
Less enthusiastic about this jacket. It's involved with a thing. I dunno maybe I'll get to it.
Next up is Swan, a Freya with... oh goddammit.
Seriously what even IS it with Freyas and Cockatrices in this goddamn game anyway?
Not that it ends up mattering for long anyway. Guy uses his newly-earned third front-row attack to finish her off in one.
While this was going on, this Cataphract was discreetly retreating to the HQ. It won't save him, but it DID give me an opportunity to sneak in and take his town without a fight. Let's talk about those two other units.
Kashim might be dangerous due to two out of three well-positioned Paladins; Chebon's strategy seems to be "survive long enough to give my Bahamut time to deal some damage."
Yeah I'm sorry but it's not really SO impressive by itself. A good two-mage combo could deal twice the damage and take up exactly the same number of character slots. They'd be a little easier to kill, yeah, that's the thing.
Mental note: Bahamuts do not appreciate being hit with Bane magic. No sir, not one bit.
see problem, apply pumpkins, repeat
WHOA HOLY CRAP. Mjollnir is a pretty awesome 2H hammer and I'm pretty sure Asnabel's gonna be using it exclusively for quite some time. Also I got a dupe of Liedel's favorite bow but it might be kind of obsolete by now since Ytival's Virtue element is more useful so vv
I was able to coax Leinus, that Cataphract from earlier, off the HQ. He might be a tough nut to crack, with defense and healing and stuff.
Imagine my consternation when, after two full rounds of attacks, he was still alive with one more round of healing still to come! I pulled out a Pedra (rapidly becoming possible to do in pretty much any battle), but it only targeted his back row. Curses!
BUT WAIT. With that back-center Paladin mildly injured from it, one of the two heals got diverted to him...
and my final two Paladin attacks were JUST BARELY enough to finish him off! Nicely done, loquacius. You may have one extra soft taco.
I got another Dowsing Rod, but that's about all that's interesting left in this stage. Let's take a gander at that boss.
Oh hey, it's Jeal! Remember, Rhade's lackey from forever ago that has done pretty much nothing relevant to the story? Let's go say hi!
Jeal, it's MEEEE
Remember!?!? That time you were a huge douche at that mine?!?
: "Are you trying to gain support from the Eastern Orthodox Church? Let me give you a piece of advice. ...Don't even bother. You won't walk away from here in one piece. Your lives end this day."
that's not very good advice
Seriously, "You shouldn't bother trying to do that thing you're doing, because YOU'LL BE DEAD?" That's really less advice and more of a horrible prediction.
On that note, now that I've established via this handy-dandy screenshot that I am fully capable of killing the fuck out of Jeal in one combat, let me just nip out for a second to see if he's a bit more personable on encounter #2. I mean, this guy's a recurring character! Ariosh turned out to be slightly story-relevant, why not Jeal? He had to outlive Rhade for a reason, right?
DUDE I WAS JUST HERE LIKE AN HOUR AGO
seriously though I'm totally stoked that this actually worked
: "You actually remember my name? I'm so honored... I'm surprised you're still alive, fighting us and Lodis and all... Your exploits are very foolhardy, but praiseworthy. Alas, it must end now. Fools, prepare to die!"
Well, that was worth watching! Jeal is actually a little starstruck at seeing Freddie again! I bet he's been telling all his army buddies he knew Freddie before he was big. Like some kind of war hipster or something.
"ohmigod you guys freddie gallant totally just stabbed me to death"
"yes, THE freddie gallant"
"best day EVERRRRRRR"
: "I guess you don't know yet. Both the Eastern Region and its Church... are already under our control... It was a big mistake for us to have left the Generic Army alone for this long... I should've taken care... of you... long ago......"
Oh, right. That whole "demonic possession" thing. How embarrassing.
AND HE'S DOWN
Of COURSE our reward is Jeal's awesome ice axe. How could it be anything other than Jeal's awesome ice axe? Naturally paired with that Mjollnir I found earlier, this makes those Proxes I bought totally worthless due to our total of two Black Knights. I am not complaining.
Mission over, let's see what's up next.
: "...archbishop of the Eastern Orthodox Church. As Jeal said, it looks like the Eastern Orthodox is controlled by the Central Division."
: "What!? Why, Hugo?"
: "It's been said that he let a Berthan Sentinel be possessed by the devil... that he had contact with the denizens of the netherworld."
: "That's impossible! How could Odiron..."
: "Odiron was replaced by Kerikov, formerly an officer of the Central Division. It is customary that an archbishop serves concurrently as a general, so that makes Kerikov the current general of the Eastern Division. But, Kerikov is a nobleman from the Central Region. These people, and the followers of Berthe, are against it."
Yeah from what we've seen of Kerikov he doesn't really pull off the whole "divine grace and noble bearing" thing very well. I'm trying to picture him in Odiron's robes and it does NOT work. He at least needs a beard.
: "There's a rumor that Odiron is dealing with the netherworld... It's highly unreliable. I presume it's just a plot to seize control of the Eastern Orthodox Church..."
: "...You think it's the Central Division?"
: "Most likely."
Everything about this conversation is redundant and kinda dumb, but I do like how casually Hugo is tossing everything off. "Yeah, I don't really think the head of the country's organized religious system is making deals with demons. Prob'ly just a plot by the secular government to seize direct control of this region. Could you open this beer for me?"
: "But, why now? They could've done it before, right?"
: "The reason must be to stop the expansion of the Revolutionary Army. Of course, it doesn't seem to be as simple as that..."
: "We must reach the Eastern Orthodox Church as quickly as possible!"
: "Hold on. There are 2 routes to the Eastern Orthodox Church. I think it's better for you if you know what to expect. ...Are you ready?"
: "The first route is through the Tremos Mountains, avoiding the Central and Eastern Divisions... There are no reports of enemy activity, but we have no idea what to expect in the area. ...You are not guaranteed a safe trip. The other is to head north through Capitrium. I'm sure that the enemy will be laying in wait for us. Besides, there is Castle Eundel to worry about..."
: "Also, this may distract us from our plans, but... It was reported that an outcast Berthan Sentinel is heading for the Vert Plateau. The Berthan Sentinels were established to honor the achievements of the Knights of Danika. They are known to be devout warriors. I can't believe they would consort with devils, but if it's true... They will be most formidable, indeed."
Three paths, three missions to choose from. Next time!