Part 8: Through the Sand FortressMusic: Beyond the Wilderness
Exiting from the south of Lazvil Hills takes us to Judgement Cliff. We could return to Alistel now and stay in the inn to heal up, but I completely forgot about this, which I'll be regretting later.
Judgement Cliff is a moderately large area, but we'll only be exploring a tiny part of it for now. Before we continue deeper, we talk to the nearby man.
"Oww... You should be on your guard if you're headed past here."
What are you talking about?
"There's this worm-like creature underground. I tried to blast it back to get some distance and flee, like I normally would. But that bastard's underground, so I couldn't move it at all."
So there are enemies that can't be moved around.
"Yup. Enemies that are underground, and some others, too. I'm completely spent because I can't use my standard tactics. If you're going to go through, you should start thinking about how you'll handle it."
(Immovable enemies... That's going to be tough. I'd better devise a strategy.)
Immovable enemies can be a big problem if you tend to move your enemies around a lot. The enemies in Judgement Cliff don't bother me though, because I don't tend to worry about moving generic enemies around. Battles go faster if you move the enemies around, but I like to conserve my MP.
The enemies here seem like they're doing a lot of damage to me. I think the game might expect you to continue down the Alternate History path at this point, because it feels like I'm underleveled here.
We're headed for the Sand Fortress, but first let's head west and see what this "danger" business is all about.
Oh damn, rocks! These falling rocks are strangely malicious, and always drop where you're standing. The enemies around here are also too tough for us to fight right now, so let's not go west, and head for the Sand Fortress instead.
There are some crystals growing out of the ground in here, but we can't do anything with them. If we hit them with our sword we get a message that says: "You couldn't break off a piece." For now, we continue north.
The next room has a couple of dinosaurs. We take care of them and continue north to...
Whoa, we're already out of Judgement Cliff?
Well, let's push through the Sand Fortress, then. This is a really good time to go stay in Alistel's inn, but of course I forget to.
Music: To the Battlefield
So this is the Sand Fortress that borders Granorg. That means Gran Plain up ahead is Granorg territory, yeah? Hmm. Maybe the army will come along soon and take it back...
We can't wait for that.
Yeah, prob'ly not. Heiss' agent said that Dias' knights are guarding the place. We fought them before at Lazvil Hills, right?
Do you think this will work, Stocke?
If we're going to make our move, now's the time to do it, while Palomides is away. Our objective is to move quickly from the first floor to the third and head to Gran Plain. Let's move out.
The area around the Sand Fortress is totally empty. There are no enemies around, but that doesn't mean the area's completely safe. There are hidden bear traps all over which deal 30HP of damage to the entire party. I purposefully seeked these out and took 60 damage in the process, and still I managed to miss the screenshot both times, so you'll have to take my word for it.
There's a merchant right outside the fortress. This man is notable because he stocks Anti-Sleeps, which we need for that sidequest back in Alistel. I buy a couple and continue into the fortress.
There are treasures to be had here, but there are a lot of strong enemies as well, so I'm not going to worry about them for now. I'll be able to get the treasure later with a lot less hassle, so I just head straight forward and up the stairs.
The stairs to the third floor are immediately next to the stairs from the first floor, so we don't spend long on the second floor.
When we arrive on the third floor, we're met with a fork, and head right. To the left is a dead end, which doesn't even contain treasure.
Those bear traps really did a number on me, and these enemies pack a serious punch. I've been blaming this on doing the Standard History first, but I've also been skipping every second or third encounter, so maybe that's why I'm underleveled.
These goddamn bear traps are ruining my day. Luckily, the Sand Fortress' northern exit is right up these stairs, and then we're home free.
Music: Impending Crisis
When we reach the top of the stairs, we're greeted to a view of our party making their daring escape.
Suddenly, an ambush!
We just have to get past here, and we're out! Just a little farther! Let's keep it up, guys!
Boss: Granorg Defender and Friends
Music: The Edge of Green
These guys gave me a lot of trouble. I entered the battle injured, and they were doing tons of damage, as well. As soon as the battle began, the Granorg Defender (in blue) dropped back a space, building a formation with the front two soldiers. I wasn't interested in seeing just how badly this formation would tear me up though, so I quickly moved them around and broke their formation.
Here we see Raynie's Poison Break skill in action. Unlike most JRPGs, poison is deadly in this game, and Raynie's ability to poison enemies makes her extremely useful for bosses. My basic strategy for this boss was to move multiple enemies onto a single space, and then use Raynie to poison them all at once.
I'm not sure exactly how poison's damage is calculated, but it was doing about 30 damage during this battle, hitting every time the poisoned character had a turn. Poison's biggest drawback is that it can't kill, so you'll have to manually kill enemies once they hit 1HP.
My poison strategy helped a ton, but that didn't make this an easy fight. Everyone's max HP is around 150, and the Granorg Defender can deal a third of that in a single hit, so if everyone chose to focus on one character it could be a serious problem. Ultimately, I ended up using two Holy Waters during this battle.
Music: To the Battlefield
Hahaha! We really pulled it off! I'm just fine. Thanks, Stocke. Whew!
From here on, we'll be going through Gran Plain... And past that, Granorg!
Yeah. We'll really have to watch ourselves from here on out.
I agree. Come on, let's not waste any time.
There's a small grassy area to the north of the Sand Fortress which connects to Gran Plain. There are no soldiers in the area, only bees, so we don't have to worry about dying here. There aren't even any of those damn bear traps.
Music: Beyond the Wilderness
At this point I finally remembered to go heal up at Alistel. I also bought restocked on Holy Waters before continuing into Gran Plain.
Gran Plain is a pretty peaceful area. It shares enemies with Judgement Cliff, and it also has some goblins, who are pretty much just weaker soldiers.
I would share more screenshots of this place, but it's really just a bunch of green. I honestly get lost sometimes in this place, because it all looks the same. Once we travel far enough to the northwest, we get a cutscene.
The soliders are talking to each other, but the soldier on the right notices something to the east and returns to his post.
The larger soldier walks forward to the ordinary soldiers, and then the screen pans to our party, observing from the southeast.
There's guards everywhere! Marc, isn't there any other way?
Hmm... All the cliffs around here limit our options. I don't think we have a choice but to get past them...
Whaaat? And here I hoped you had a miracle for me. Well, we could always try brute force. But stirring up trouble here might not be a good idea. What do you think, Stocke?
????: Whaaaaaah! Heeelp!
Huh? Was that a girl's voice? Why would a little girl be hanging around here?
......! Let's go, everyone!
We run north, to the source of the screams.
The girl nervously eyes the tigers, and then jumps into the bush.
Hey! There's a girl over here!
She's in danger! S-Stocke!
Let's go save her now.
Despite what you might think, waiting won't give us a game over. We end up fighting the tigers either way, so I choose to help the girl.
I'm with you there, Stocke! Hang in there, kid! We'll save you!
I guess these guys could be considered a boss, but they're actually just an ordinary enemy that's a level or two above the ones in the area, so I didn't worry about recording a video.
They're really not difficult, the big problem is that their attacks hit twice, for a total of about 50 damage. I just pushed them together and killed them at the same time.
Music: Unending Clear Blue Sky
The girl peeks out of the bushes and then comes out to greet us.
You're real quiet. But thanks for helping everyone! My name's Aht.
An adult woman of the same race as Aht steps into frame.
A man of the same race steps in at this point.
(Raynie! That girl's a Satyros!)
(Wow, yeah... This is my first time seeing one too.)
I seem to recall some NPCs in Alistel mentioning the Satyros. I think they called them "monsters" and "savages".
What's your name?
Stocke, huh? Heeheehee.
(I notice she's not asking us.)
(Hahaha... Seems that Stocke is popular even with the little ones.)
We're given control again now. I'm going to go ahead and post Aht's full character art, because it reveals a hard to notice detail about the Satyros.
The Satyros have goat legs. It's hard to tell from the sprites, so I didn't actually know about this until I beat the game.
Anyway, we can talk to Aht, Liese, and Vanoss, so I do.
You're so strong, Stocke! We're traveling entertainers. What do you do, Stocke?
Hey, Stocke, what do you do for your job? How can I get strong like you?
I'm Liese, beautiful dancer for the Vanoss entertainment troupe! Hehe! Thanks for saving us!
A swordsman who apepars quickly to come to a girl's aid... Wow. Nice going. I think Aht's quite taken with you. Of course, if you'd done the same for me, I'd have a crush on you, too.
Thank you for saving us. My name is Vanoss. I lead this troupe.
My, you're stong! It truly surprised me. I wish we were that strong. We'd travel in more safety...
They just keep repeating this dialogue, so I leave.
Where are you going, Stocke? Can you say?
Don't bother the man, Aht.
I just wanna thank him for helping us.
No, Aht's request is reasonable. Excuse me, Sir. We owe you our lives. If you leave before we have repaid the debt... We'd be the shame of the Satyros tribe. Is there nothing we can do to assist you?
...... Hey, Stocke. Why don't we try asking them?
Hmm... We need to get past the border up ahead, but in truth, we don't have any passes.
Ahh. I'm sure you have your reasons. It just so happens that we are headed to Granorg ourselves. Why not travel with us as part of our performing troupe?
That ought to forestall any fuss, I think.
Yeah. I don't really see any other way. All right, we'll leave it to you.
Your attire is quite conspicuous, so you should wear these robes.
Very well, we will. But what about Stocke? Shouldn't he have one too?
Mr. Stocke's attire is uncommon enough that I believe we could pass it off as a costume.
Are my clothes that odd?
You'll be fine! Just follow us, Stocke!
Well then, shall we be off?
You joined Vanoss and the others.
Aht has joined your party.
Music: Beyond the Wilderness
Aht is the best character. She can put out serious damage, and she learns powerful healing skills as well. Her skill Polaris temporarily raises our party's resistance to status ailments, and her Electric Trap is a powerful skill, which I'll be going into more detail on now.
Electric Trap electrifies a square on the battle grid. If an enemy unwittingly attempts to stand on it, or if we push an enemy onto it, it will do severe lightning damage to them. It's also handy because if we push an enemy into it, they'll immediately stop moving, rather than continuing until they hit the edge of the grid or another enemy.
Look at all that damage. The 44 is from Stocke's Push Assault, and the 187 is from the Electric Trap detonating. Aht is the only character who leans Trap skills, and she's extremely useful because of them.
Aht's basic attack, although weak, hits twice, so it's good for building combos. She also has a high speed, and will learn very good healing magic. She's pretty much the best character.
Will this suffice?
"Travelling performers, huh? ...... All right, move along."
Most gracious of you. Come, everyone. Let us be going.
Vanoss' troupe passes the border, but our party is stopped.
"...Hold it right there."
Hm? Is something amiss?
"Are you performers too?"
...... Ah, yes, they're--
"I didn't ask you! Answer my question, or none of you pass!"
...... Indeed, sir, we're new members. A thousand pardons for not introducing ourselves.
(S-Stocke?! I had no idea he could be so obsequious...)
"You the only humans in the act?"
Yes, sir, you are correct.
(Hang in there, Stocke!)
A-As I was just about to explain, they have only recently joined our troupe...
"I said, I didn't ask you! Recently, huh? Are you really a performer?"
"All right, prove it to me. Show us your act, and we'll let you pass."
My act? One moment, sirs...
(What's he gonna do...?)
(I didn't expect them to be this cautious. Or did they never plan to let anyone through? There's no time to lose. Should I draw my sword? I have to think about this one carefully...)
Force your way through
(Well, it can't be helped.)
"Well? We're waiting... Aren't you going to obji--"
"Wh-What're you doing!?"
Stocke swiftly dispatches the guards.
Stocke! We got a rabbit!
Ugh! Either we need to chase him down or get away fast!
Stocke... What are you doing...?
I'm sorry for dragging you all into this. But this is the work we do.
You should get far away from here, quickly. I won't do anything to you. But... It's best you forget you met us.
Stocke, Raynie and Marco run into Granorg, and Aht takes a few steps as if she's considering chasing us.
Stocke and the others broke through the Granorg checkpoint. However, one soldier escaped, and alerted Granorg to their presence. As a result, infiltrating the kingdom took far longer than they had anticipated. By the time they gained entry to Granorg, their contact had already fled the city... The war between Alistel and Granorg grows ever more intense...
"A Sealed Path"
Music: The Melody Connecting the World
Those Beastkind entertainers you met... It seems your destinies intertwine in the future. Especially that little girl.
Try to resolve the situation without using force so your ties are not severed.
If you learn some sort of feat or performer's trick, I'm sure you can fool those guards.
(No... I can't... If we get into a fight, we'll drag the troupe into our mess.)
"What's wrong? A traveling performer ought to have a trick or two up his sleeve."
"Don't tell me you can't do any tricks! I say you're no performer and you don't pass. We can't allow in performers who don't know how to put on a show. Get outta here."
But--! Er, if you could just give us a moment...
"No! That's final! And you're seeming pretty sketchy yourself! None of you get to pass!"
...... Ah, well. We should withdraw for now.
Music: Beyond the Wilderness
At least I got a kick out of seeing Stocke act like that.
Hohoho! Ah, but in any case... I doubt you'll be able to pass that checkpoint without showing off some sort of trick. Stocke must do something to impress the guard, or none of us will be able to pass.
If only you could use that blade of yours to perform a sword dance... Hmm.
Sword dancing, eh? It's true... A well-executed sword dance is fascinating to watch.
Well, you have to show them something... Oh! I know! I've heard that a soldier in Lt. General Raul's brigade is skilled at sword dancing. Why not have him teach you?
Hey! You want us to go all the way back to Alistel after we came this far!? We're on a clock here!
There's a flash of white, and a node appears.
Music: The Melody Connecting the World
Hey, what's Aht doing here?
It's faint, but I sense black energy here as well...
...... Do I just need to eliminate these soldiers?
That isn't the solution to everything, Stocke.
Then you'd have me doing tricks? Anything but that.
Oh, don't be that way... Why not give it a try?
Why not consult the skilled sword dancer your companion mentioned?
I suppose it wouldn't waste any time if I went through Historia. All right... I'll look into it.
I'm glad to hear it. Remember, you must find someone skilled at sword dancing.
If you ask around in Rosch's brigade, you may be able to find someone who fits the bill. Well then, we must go back.
There's a flash, and they vanish.
Wh... What was that...?
Well, it looks like we'll be going back to the Alternate History to ask Kiel about sword dancing.
This is pretty much how Radiant Historia works. You continue down a timeline until you hit an impassible block, and then you unblock your path by going to the other timeline. My plan for the LP is to continue down a timeline until I'm forced to switch, and then keep going on the other timeline until I hit another block. This plan has the smallest amount of time travel, and I think it would work better for an LP format than constant jumping around.
Next time we'll go back to Alma Mine in the Alternate History, and see what we can do about the Granorg soldiers there.