Part 37: Mountain CrossingThis chapter has nothing going for it and the combat of the next update isn't much better, so you're getting another update tomorrow.
Chapter 30: Mountain Crossing
(Or, "Very Definitely Not Tutorial 10")
Something wrong, Owl?
Rarely is it acknowledged inside of fiction that "it's nothing" always means "something is wrong."
Given my druthers, I'd stay far away from that place. But, well, if you've made up your mind to attack Romadia...
Really...? I'll think about it.
The battle after next is optional; sending Owl to any form of Errands during the next stage will trigger a conversation at the end of the map, give you an accessory, and skip to chapter 33.
It's a little odd that they'd tell you the stage before. To my knowledge, sending Owl to Errands now doesn't do anything.
Selmer has failed to sell properly more often than he's suceeded. At least this is roughly revenue-neutral, since Rukia sold for 2x this time.
There's that Hunter Proof.
Finally, Margus. He's promoted to his final class, Royal Aegis.
Margus is an odd case. Remember how I said most characters have their portraits based on their third tiers?
The coloration of his portrait isn't quite the dark blue of the second class, but it's closer than the blue-green-gray of the third class. That said, it's pretty clearly intended to be his third's armor design. Just look at the smaller plates where his metallic shoulder pads meet his central breastplate in the portrait. He has those in his third class, but not his second.
In terms of important skills, Margus immediately gains access to Melee Guard and Abyss Ward (-4% damage per level from Melee attacks/Dark magic, respectively), and he learns Vital Power (4% HP regen per level) at level 36. You've seen Serdic's 10% HP regen in action, so you already know that Vital Power must be amazing, and Melee Guard really helps. He and Simon are also the only ones to learn High Barrier, which increases defense by up to 50% of base for up to 3 turns in an AOE around the user. It'd be much more useful if it multiplied total defense; Aegil, for example, has about 80% of her current defense in Amulets, so High Barrier doesn't help much. The others aren't quite so lopsided, but it's still a problem. It's much less useful than Naji's Divine Seal.
Margus is approaching 12 skill slots now. A fair number of characters do at endgame, provided they have a good skill selection; the fact it's better to spread out means you end the game with a lot of level 3 or 4 skills. Ideally, a 12-skill loadout would remove Rally and add Null ZOC, Abyss Ward, Vital Power, and Retaliation (+counter rate).
I've bought Melee Guard 4 and I'm saving up for Vital Power 4 once he unlocks it at level 36. That might be a few stages; Margus's low MC and low offense power means that he levels slowly at late game. Thankfully, underleveled or no, it's pretty hard not to be useful when you have 600 HP and impressive defenses.
Igraine gains two levels of Wisdom Lock (up to 15% to Magic and spell power and -12% defense and dodge chance, which means she loses 1 defense because the stat is awful), and gets one level of Abyss Shard and Seven Menace, since she has two points left over.
Aegil actually has an interesting choice right now. She has six points and can buy:
1) Vital Power 4, bringing her regeneration from 12% to 16% (ten more HP regen per turn right now -- not bad, and it'll get better)
2) Invoke Mana 4 (from +45% MP to +60%, a gain of about 53 MP)
3) Wisdom Lock 2 (+10% Magic/Spell Power, -8% defense -- again, losing about a point from base) and either a) Holy Favor 2 (6 range, 50 MP) or b) Magic Guard 2 (-8% damage from magic).
Wisdom Lock is a pretty incredible ability, and while Magic Guard is less useful, Aegil has a pretty massive boost to her magic survivability from all of her Amulets and her high Magic. Notably, unlike the South Medal, non-equipment defense has no impact on received magic damage, so Wisdom Lock has a fairly minor effect on her durability. Holy Favor wouldn't be used much -- playing conventional support is a waste of Aegil's peculiar combination of talents -- but it's a nice panic button.
In the end, I go with 3b. I'll probably bring Wisdom Lock and Magic Guard up to rank 3, then Vital Power 4, then Invoke Mind 4, then Wisdom Lock 4, and then Aegil's going to be level 53 and her skills won't matter as much.
I'd like to take a moment to show you the description for this Quest.
It's Arios's Seal, if you couldn't tell. "Throw big words and hope no one understands" Sci-Fi at its best.
As will be standard from here on out, Selmer sells random crap, Rukia buys Topaz Amulets.
Margus only gets +36 of Amulets because he needs the Black Ring, but that still brings him to 112 defense because he's goddamn Margus. Alhambra loses 5 defense switching out a Topaz Amulet for the Life Amulet obtained last stage, but that's all that really changes.
I could promote Ansom now, but like I said, I want to use Naji for a while. If I feel like it, I may even just promote him instead. The only difference between promoted and unpromoted Ansom is that promoted Ansom can get 9 range instead of 5 (+1 for promotion, +3 for True Arrows) and is even better at instant-killing literally everything.
As you've doubtlessly surmised by now, all of the Tutorials reuse maps that exist elsewhere. In this case, this is tutorial 10. Interestingly enough, all of the 3-Move Wasteland has been turned into 2-Move Wasteland; presumably it was 3-Move in the tutorial to make Igraine more powerful.
There's a reason Cotton is out this map. Here, you either want 1) high durability or 2) high range.
The closest Sniper and both Archers lack True Arrows, but the other two do. The Sniper to the right also has Stigma, which inflicts Leak. The War Mage has Meteor Gate, the High Priest has Cure Drop, and most of the Swordsmen have Null ZOC. The terrain is poor, and between True Arrows and their base 7 range, the Snipers can't really be attacked at range -- no one with range is durable enough, save perhaps an Amuleted-up Aegil. That means you'll spend most of your map wading through mud and trash enemies while the Snipers attempt to shoot Serdic to death. All Snipers can critical -- that means that no matter high your defense, you've got to calculate in a little wiggle room.
That's probably the theory, anyway. Nothing here is very threatening, and treating the map with even a little caution makes you incredibly unlikely to lose. Serdic could probably solo this stage, especially if I was willing to burn a Gem for a little extra OB or level up Arc Charge (activation ability, builds OB). It's kind of sad.
Three conversations, and all of them are basically filler.
Sasha and Alhambra
What are you doing?
My fur got caught up on some thorns...
That outfit isn't really suited for mountain travel, is it?
The outfit's not the problem! Why does everyone think I look like this by choice...?
...This is strangely fascinating.
Sasha! Don't just stand there staring! Give a girl some help! Ow ow ow ow ow ow!
This conversation is baffling. What fur? Alhambra has ears and a tail, but that's it; her map and combat sprites could have fur, but her portrait very clearly shows that she's just very tan. Did they make it after the conversations without consulting the writers?
Serdic and Izuna
You did that? No wonder you seemed to be having such an easy time of it...
It's all thanks to my training! You guys are weaksauce compared to me!
We're all wearing armor... There isn't much comparison.
What, you think I'm not wearing armor under my uniform? Check it out!
Y-You don't have to show me!
Elmer and Igraine
You seem pretty used to walking along mountain paths, Elmer.
Hell, anything's better than plodding through the desert.
But... deserts and mountains are completely different!
Nah, they're the same thing. Now c'mon, get a move on.
Urghhh... So frustrating, losing to Elmer...
Serdic is exactly seven tiles away from the Meteor Gate War Mage, but he's also out of range of everything but one Sniper and one Infantry. Between Melee Guard and his defenses, I'm really not worried.
Igraine takes position just out of Sniper range. She'll probably Abyss Gate him next turn, but Naji shoots him anyway -- I might decide otherwise, and there's no other really good targets in range.
Final position of the turn.
Aegil takes a crit from the Sniper; she should heal it back before anything important happens. The War Mage has Meteor Gate 4 at the most, then.
Change of plans! Igraine kills both of them. Naji can kill the Sniper next turn.
Margus gets the kill. I'd like him to get to Vital Power as soon as possible.
Aegil hits the knight but can't quite kill him -- he has about 500 HP.
Serdic runs forward. He should trigger most of the enemy to advance. He'll take some hits, but he should be fine.
They do and he is.
Naji and Aegil kill the enemies they weakened, Serdic retreats. The enemy should run right up into my group now, and as in the tutorial, use of the Wasteland lets me keep them from actually attacking most of my units.
Aegil's OB gain almost feels like a mistake sometimes. She had about half meter before this, but now she's at 3.
Naji is strongest on maps with a lot of mages... Of which we've had zero so far. Not many down the tube either.
Igraine kills both of them. She still has 160 MP left after Sedna Prison; 16% MP regen is 43 MP per turn right now, and her spells only cost about twice that. If she alternates moving and casting, then she's very nearly at parity, and it's only going to get better.
This keeps everyone in range of Great Blessing, just in case.
No one's really very hurt, but I use Great Blessing anyway. It still gives her about 160 experience.
My theory is that AOE healing OBs, like Great Blessing, take the highest experience gain from healing any one member and multiply that by the number of people in range. So a small 32 experience gain for healing a barely-wounded character multiplied by five equals 160.
Then I move into enemy range, let them attack me, and then blow them up next turn. Killing the Guardian ends the map.
Like I said: This map is not difficult.
Total resets so far: 14 (+0)
Next time: Fortress City