The Let's Play Archive

Rondo of Swords

by Einander

Part 10: Harbor and Pirates

Chapter 8: Harbor and Pirates
(Or, "And I Hated This Stage Before")

Apparently pirates just walk into towns and murder people here? No actual looting, just murder. "Pirates" and "psychopaths" both start with "p," but they aren't the same thing, guys.

Serdic has learned, and gets a point in, Arrow Guard. Kay gets a point in Eternal Rage, because it's one point and he's not exactly pressed for options. Margus, Sasha and Marie don't have the points to buy anything useful. Owl gets two points in Vital Strike, bringing him up to level four. We're bringing Serdic, Kay, Margus, Sasha, Marie, and Owl.

Serdic gets the Angel Medal this time. Margus is going to have healer support, but Serdic is not so lucky. He also puts on the Silver Ring again, which we've had sitting around for a while.

Ansom Card Quests: 3. Ansom will unlock his first ability, +25% OB gain, after this map. That isn't what we're looking for, though, so we press on.

Let's get this over with.

There's a large, empty area behind us that's largely irrelevant. The civilians will be running towards it at their earliest convenience. It's up the stairs, and it's about a screensize long at normal game zoom.

I'm complaining a lot, you may notice. That's because this is the first map where saving civilians is not optional -- it's not a visible lose condition, but there's an optional map only available if you save all of the civilians, and that optional map has an optional character. (Plus, one more map means Ansom gets his Card ability sooner.)

The problem is our positioning. Starting at the left, let's call them alleyways 1, 2, and 3. Notice how alley 1 is simultaneously the furthest away AND the largest cluster of civilians? Characters are arranged in terms of roster order, left to right, and that can't be rearranged. This means that Kay and Serdic are going to have to hold that alley. Margus has the middle, and Sasha and Owl are going to have to find some way to manage the right alley.

This map is not difficult, even if you're going for the extra stage. (Well, if you have ZOC. But not having ZOC by now is very definitely your own fault.) But if you're trying to save all of the civilians, then you're largely at the mercy of the sometimes-wonky targeting priority system, and this particular run is an excellent example of how things can go wrong.

A side note: The barrel at the very bottom-left has a Peach Nectar just above it. That's the 60% MP healing item. It's not really a priority -- maybe if Kay has a spare turn near the end, but otherwise we have bigger fish to fry.

We've got four conversations this map. Let's get to it.

Still complaining about that, bro?

It's not that I have any problems with you at the moment. But don't go around calling me "bro." You don't know me. And I don't trust you.

Sheesh, that's cold. The Princess trusts me -- are you going to doubt me after your boss has accepted me?

That's right. It's my duty to think about things my liege may have overlooked.

Well, hell, why not just do it right now? Go ahead.

Don't tempt him, Owl -- he's got about 150% of your, well, everything. About 400% times your defense too.

...Hmph. I'm not so cruel as to attack a man who's done nothing. But don't forget what I said.

Fine, okay. Can't we get along, bro?

Probably not.

...yes she does? She's the only healer we have.

No, I do... If I can help, I owe it to them. Besides, if I weren't at my elder brother's side, I would worry about him.

Prince Serdic is very important to you, isn't he?

N-No, that's not it!

Did I say something wrong? You're brother and sister... there's nothing unusual about caring for him, right?

You're acting rather strangely, Princess.

If you only see two layers to this conversation (where layer one is "gee, Marie sure seems confused, I wonder why," and layer two is "but that practice is strictly forbidden!"), then go back and read it again. Go on, I'll wait.

Rondo of Swords is a well-written game, and it is remarkably subtle about it sometimes.

We've had ill fortune lately, that's true.

No, I think our luck has been good, on the whole. After all, we'll be able to save these townspeople.

...You're right.

Even so, I'd like to take some time to relax. Think we could have a nap after we drive these pirates off?

Ansom has his priorities firmly in order.

What's the matter, Sir Margus?

Oh, Sasha.

Sir Margus... Is that all you ever think about?

Hey, this is how I get myself psyched up for battle.

Really... you're just like the Young Master.

Hmm? Emir Ansom is twice the ladies' man I am...

That's just like him, too. You both act like it's all a joke, but when the time comes, you take things very seriously. Although you're more consistent in your behavior than the Young Master...

...You've seen right through me.

You're more set in your ways than he is.

Paying close attention to me, are you? If you ever get tired of Emir Ansom, you know... Hahaha.

...I take back what I said before. You're only ever half-serious, aren't you...?

Well, everyone, we've cracked the code: Being a ladies' man apparently makes you a god of war. Take notes, team -- I expect a full squad of chivalrous perverts within the week. And then we shall be invincible.

...the disturbing thing is, there's actually other evidence to correlate this... The great utility of every character with the Charisma skill, for instance.

Enough stalling.

We split up as advertised, with Marie following after Margus.

Do you want to know why I dislike this map so much? It's things like this:

THE STUPID BASTARDS DO NOT MOVE. Remember, the pirates want to violently murder them, and the civilians die in one hit. AND THEY JUST STAND THERE. ALL OF THEM. They all pass turn to a man.

raaaargh hate
really should just pull a Sons of Fate on the stupid bastards and let the pirates murder them all


Right, better now.

On lanes 1 and 3, enemies move up to the civilians but can't attack. Several enemies on 2 move toward 1, clustering together. Margus is close enough to be attacked, but he counters his opponent for ten times the damage he took. The others wisely decide not to press their luck, moving up but not attacking.

Owl moves to attack, and --

-- gets countered by the second enemy. Now we can't kill these three no matter what. That's... not good.

Countered again! This is worse.

Well, someone's going to die now. Probably both of them. There's just not much that can be done to salvage their situation at this point.

Margus takes out the weakened one and nearly kills the other. I was fortunate with that counter -- it lets Margus move toward the other cluster instead of blocking off the two pirates.

On the left side, Kay kills two Scouts and ends up between the two lower civilians, while Serdic takes the other, lower place between the two of them, where the first Scout Kay killed was.

Marie moves towards Serdic and Kay -- Margus is fine, but Serdic will be hurting very soon.

The pirates all go after Serdic. The first Bandit criticals, slicing a large chunk off of his health. (This screenshot is after weathering all of the attacks.) That's fine, though -- one of his other path options had him going through a civilian. I'm not sure why he didn't, but I'm not complaining. For reference, that critical was 109 damage and another pirate of the same type did 28. Criticals hurt when you have high defense.

Sasha takes an attack as well -- around 54 damage, just shy of twice what Serdic was taking.

Serdic attacks. If any of these pirates countered, I would have reset -- that'd be unsalvageable. Thankfully they don't, so Marie is able to heal him.

Kay cleans up.

Margus moves in to kill the last two standing.

Sasha kills the last one and flees for the left. Owl stays in place. My hope is that I can get Marie over there in time to save Sasha.

The Swordsman attacks Margus.

Meanwhile, on the right, the corner enemies move up.

Oh dear.

We hit the Swordsman with a level 1 True Fangs. Owl moves down to finish him. Sasha is probably still dead, but Owl will survive if --


Counter attacks have a damage penalty. Compare the damage Margus took before.

Also, the game is mocking me.

(My screenshots at this point diverge to repeatedly spam the empty skill pages of the enemies, which I guess was my frustrated way of saying, "What the fuck, these enemies do not have Retaliate, their counter rates should not be this ridiculously high!" One of the more entertaining parts of making a screenshot LP is deciphering your own screenshot angrish.)

Kay and Serdic move toward the right.


(voice, no text)
Young... Master...


I'm torn.

On one hand, this means that Owl can kill the Swordsman, keeping him from running off into the northern part of the map and murdering goddamn everybody, and having another warm body for the next map is helpful.

On the other hand, this is his own goddamn fault, so cleaning it up himself is kind of the very least that can be expected of him.

My luck has been very peculiar this map, hasn't it?

Owl kills the Swordsman and runs for his life.

Margus kills the Swordsman near him and runs toward the rest of the battle.

You may be asking why he didn't head for the Peach Nectar. The two enemies on-screen are the only ones left alive, and it's not like he'll make a serious difference.

Oh, he won't, but Margus will have two OB after this. I figure I can use at least one charge before the battle ends, and Margus isn't level 15 yet.

If Kay was literally ANY other character with an offensive OB (save the one person with a range 1 OB), he'd be able to kill this enemy with it. But no, his is awful.

Marie moves up north to keep the closer pirate from murdering her. Having to restart due to losing her at this point would be painful in so, so many ways.

The two pirates roughly switch places, attacking Kay coming and going.

Kay kills the pirate. Margus moves up to fill its place. Waiting a turn to win the map won't hurt us, and we've got healing to do first.

Marie heals Kay, getting to level 7 in the process. Owl moves down alley 2 toward the rest of the group.

While he's down there, I briefly visit alternate universes to show off Owl's OB, Poison Cheat.

Owl has dark magical powers, and all he can use them for is summoning a low-power poison? That's an incredibly underwhelming superpower.

Poison Cheat is awful. It has friendly fire, and while the success rate is fairly high, it isn't guaranteed. Sure, Weak is a good status -- but if anyone on your team can exploit it, they're probably in range of its effects. And is Owl really the kind of person you want inside a large cluster of enemies?

Weak status description and friendly fire effect demonstration. Notice that Margus was in range but unaffected.

In the real universe, Margus uses his OB and jumps to 14.90 experience, Marie heals him, and then Serdic kills the last pirate.

Your Highness! The Pirates have kidnapped some of the villagers!


If you see this, then you're on track for the optional stage.

No new types of items in our rewards.

Resets so far: 4 (+0)

Next time
: Pirate Island