When Souji first moved to Inaba, he dreamt of a foggy future ahead of him, and of a very particular man reading him his future via tarot, and promised aid in the hardships that'd follow. When Souji set out to Inaba, he would take on a responsibility for the case at hand and for the safety of his newfound friends both in the real world as on the Other Side of the TV. Indeed, the limousine that houses Igor and his assistent is a place only accesible to those contracted, in a sense, by the fates. Its inhabitants, Igor and Margaret, will assist our hero in whatever ways they can as Souji and the Inaba Investigation Team face danger and deceit in their search for the truth behind the murders and the kidnappings that have started to plague the small town. My friends...
Enjoy the music.
The Velvet Room has undergone quite a few changes between the various Persona games. Were it first a mere parlor (Megami Ibunroku Persona); it became a swank jazz club (Persona 2 - Innocent Sin and Eternal Punishment) with its own host of residents besides our long-nosed friend; it appeared later as an ever travelling elevator to the top and end of Minato's long journey (Persona 3), and now stands as a luxurious limousine protecting Igor and Margaret on their travels.
Whichever way it appears to us, however, the Velvet Room always has served one primary purpose in the Persona series: to call forth the facets of the self from within the sea of one's soul. The exact methods, too, have changed over the games, and stayed the same for Persona 4 after Persona 3 - the protagonist with the ability of the Wild Card may grasp opportunities, Persona cards, as he braves the Shadows, and may fuse them together within the Velvet Room itself.
While Feinne has touched on the Velvet Room and the fusing mechanics most briefly, I will gladly go a little more in-depth on what goes on as one explores the fusion mechanics of the game. There's a little over 200 Persona's, and many more ways to create, craft and tinker with your creations as you go about through the game.
Lesson the First, The Basics of Fusion
When you first start out the game, you will only have access to two means of fusing Persona's: Normal Spread and Triangle Spread, using two Persona's or three respectively. As you play on, more spreads will be made available after a particular plot point. I'm sure Feinne will touch on that when the time is right.
For now, though, let's explain the basics of fusion. Igor is our go-to man for that, as always, binding the cards together into one new whole. Persona's are classified according to the suites or Major Arcana of the Tarot deck. In order, they are:
0. The Fool, I. The Magician, II. The Priestess, III. The Empress, IV. The Emperor, V. The Hierophant,
VI. The Lovers, VII. The Chariot, VIII. Justice, IX. The Hermit, X. Fortune,
XI. Strength, XII. The Hanged Man, XIII. Death, XIV. Temperance, XV. The Devil,
XVI. The Tower, XVII. The Star, XVIII. The Moon, XIX. The Sun, and XX. Judgement.
The Arcana not only determine a Persona's general abilities and affinities, but are used to determine which fused Arcana produce another. This system is a tad different from Persona 3, mind, but only in so far in which particular combinations provide an end result.
Persona's also have, besides their Arcana, a base level. This is the level at which a Persona is first found through Shuffle Time events or when it's first fused in the Velvet Room. After fusion, Persona tend to receive experience from the protagonist's Social Links, which may increase the Persona's current level.
Normal Spread table, click to enlarge
For a Normal Spread, the game looks at each Persona's Arcana and base level. It first determines the resultant Arcana after referencing the above table, which can also be found in the game's manual. Then, it takes the average of the two used Persona's base levels, and adds one to its level for the resultant's base level. Then, a nearest match is found on the Arcana's list of Persona. For example, fusing a Chariot Slime (base level 2) with a Strength Sandman (base level 5) creates a Magician Persona with base level of (7 / 2) + 1 = 4.5. The Persona closest to that is Magician Orobas (base level 8).
You may have already noticed the light-blue Arcana in the table. When you fuse two Persona of the same Arcana together, you always fuse down the list of available Persona's within the Arcana. This can be useful to craft lower-level Persona's with particular more desirable skills before you use them as fusion ingredients. The formula is a simple matter of deciding the average again, and substracting one. For example, fusing Fool Obariyon (base level 13) with Fool Yomotsu-Shikome (base level 7) will always result in a brand new Fool Izanagi (base level 1), the lowest of the Fool Arcana.
Additionally, certain Arcana simply cannot be fused together via Normal Spread, as is indicated in the table above, nor can particular Arcana be accessed via Normal Spread. The most obvious of these are Fortune and Tower. Thanks, Grozz Nuy!
Normal spreads will be your bread and butter throughout the game to quickly gain access to various newer, higher tiers of Arcana and Persona's, but you may already have noticed that only particular higher Arcana's tend to create even higher Arcana's. The system is a little arbitrary like that. No, to create more powerful Persona's, one will need to resort to the Triangle Spread.
Normal and Triangle Spread table, click to enlarge
The Triangle Spread, as the name implies, allows the user to fuse three Persona's together to form a more powerful Persona than a Normal Spread could make. This allows all kinds of interesting options, ranging from new skills from very differing parent Persona's, as well as the possibility of getting access to new Arcana's and higher level Persona's, but the fusion of three Persona's is a tricky one. After all, how does the game decide what to use first?
The game first decides which Persona is the third to be used in the fusion. This is decided by either which Persona has the highest CURRENT level, NOT base level. If there is a tie, the game chooses which Persona ranks LOWEST among the order of the Arcana, with XX. Judgement being the highest, and 0. The Fool being the lowest.
The remaining two Persona's are fused normally as if per the Normal Spread. This results in a so-called 'intermediate' Persona which the game then crosses with the third Persona according to the gray area of the table above to determine its final Arcana. However, the determination of base level is a tad different: take the average of the three Persona's base levels (NOT current levels), and add five levels to get the resulting base level by which the game will create a new Persona. For example, fusing a Chariot Ara Mitama (base and current level 18), Empress Yaksini (base and current level 18) and Death Mokoi (base level 14), there is a tie in current and base levels, so the lowest Arcana Empress is chosen for the third Persona. Death and Chariot are first normally fused to result into the intermediate Hermit, which is then fused with Empress according to the gray portion of the table to result into a Fool. The average level (17.67) +5 is 22.67, closest match is Fool Legion (base level 21).
As a quick note, it is the third Persona which is the most important in determining the final step in a Triangle Fusion. You can create any intermediate Persona, as long as the third Persona remains the same and remains the third by virtue of having a higher current level or lowest Arcana.
Next time, I will explain Persona's Inheritances, Skills and Igor fowling up.