The Let's Play Archive

Rondo of Swords

by Einander

Part 47: Emperor's Shield

The Route A vote is over! Misfit beat Continue From 18 by about a 3:2 margin, and of those Misfit votes, well over half of them are votes for NG+ Misfit.

So this is when I declare that this is a monarchy, not a democracy, and we're not doing NG+ Misfit. I just don't find NG+ very interesting to play or watch once you get past the "AHAHAHA I HAVE ALL OF THE POWER!", and I got that out of my system ages ago.

I am, however, in the process of doing a vanilla Misfit run where I use Retry to get characters up to speed and cheats to get the proper Proofs to promote them. I hope that's an acceptable compromise.

The team is:
Route A Exclusive

Izuna will sub in until the new recruit joins, and if Owl doesn't make a good showing of himself then Izuna will replace him. I'd really like to use Galahad, but... I have Marie, and if you hack in Galahad's Seal so he promotes earlier, then you use him a version of Igraine that trades Sedna Prison for a lot of Light spells. That's good, but it's not very different. With only six character slots, some sacrifices are inevitable.

I've gotten up to chapter 11 already, thanks to a burst of productivity. Route B ends Saturday. I'll be taking a break Monday, and on Wednesday you'll be getting a Misfit recap update. There may be more than one! It depends on the length of the rest of it. Either way, Route A will start no later than Sunday next week!

Chapter 39: Emperor's Shield

It was the two of us who started this war, and it's the two of us who'll finish it, eh Gauss? So what's on your mind? The Empire? Or maybe... Well, whatever. I am your shield... and I'll do my duty until the end.

No... that one doesn't appear to be a corpse.
It's Matthias, the leader of the Second Division. He's widely known as the Empire's shield.
He's still fighting? Even now?
They say he's been at Gauss's side since he was a boy. A bond like that... Well, suffice to say he has a reason to never give up.
A reason, eh...? Well, we have our reasons, too!

Alhambra has finally reached her third promotion.

And, apparently, found a pair of pants.

The greatest utility of her promotion is Invoke Life. Invoke Life 4 takes her from 478 to 630 HP, which is a pretty major jump in survivability -- just 80 HP short of Margus and 3 HP short of Serdic. With the Goddess Medal, she's getting back 50 HP a turn. The rest of the slots go to Amulets, because unlike Alberich, she's perfectly capable of taking some hits.

Aside from that, she also buys Abyss Guard 2. There's not much else she could do with the 3 points I had left.

Igraine is just able to buy Seven Menace 5, taking her up to 8 range with it. Just one less than Abyss Gate 4!

The last stage was last call for Errands. This is the last stage before the final battle.

...Gauss, what did you do to your castle?

The layout of this stage is pretty simple. It's a rectangle, roughly as wide as it is tall. We start in the bottom-left corner with Gauss in the top-right.

The group to the right isn't very threatening.

The High Priest has Cure Drop, the upper War Mage has Megido Nova, the lower War Mage has Spark Edge.

The group immediately above the party is largely invalidated by Alhambra and Alberich, but they do have the potential to be scary.

The second group of Swordsmen, at the very top, have slightly higher attack power but no Stigma skill. Both High Priests have Oratoriorae, the left War Mage has Megido Nova, the right War Mage has Spark Edge, the War Mage at the very top has Magna Volt.

There's another group of two Swordsmen and a War Mage behind the first one. They're basically the same. (The Swordsmen have different weapons.)

Both hallways meet up in the final vertical hall, where Matthias waits for the party. There are six Snipers in total.

The bottom Armors are awful. Blocked healing item usage is not a very good status, and that's if it lands.

The Snipers could be problematic. Ideally, I'll take out one side with Ragnarok Dusk, but that still means someone has to wade in and deal with concentrated arrow fire while they get ready to deal with the others one.

The Armors at the top are stronger.

The Guardians at the top each have different skill sets. The one with 800 HP is the one on the left.

Finally, Matthias himself is the same as ever: An utter wall of a man. He out-Marguses Margus.

This isn't a difficult stage. Just keep your head on and proceed at a reasonable pace.

Three conversations this time.

Igraine and Rukia

What are you doing?
Eep! Umm, well, you see...
Are you looting?
Yes! I mean no!
I think you'd better not take anything from here.
Huh? Why not?

It might affect anything you bring out of here.
I get it... On the other hand, that might just make it more valuable! Who cares what happens, so long as I make money off of it?
I'm touched by the sacrifices you're willing to make.

On one hand, that conversation explains why the hell Gauss's castle is so freaky now. On the other hand, it also meant one more Rukia conversation, and I'm not sure that trade was worth it.

Yumiluna and Aegil

I don't have the words to describe it. Is it filthy? Or is it pure, in its own way? It's hard to say...
Being in a place like this reminds me of that time long ago... When you and I went and tested our courage together, Pope Aegil.

If you don't anime (we verb nouns now), "test of courage" is the typical way of translating "kimodameshi," which is a specific term Japanese audiences would probably be familiar with. Think "pair trip through dark or abandoned areas" and you've got the gist of it; it encompasses both haunted house type formal events and "let's go through this creepy abandoned manor at the edge of town."
D-Did we do something like that?
I remember well how you cried, and how your pants were stained...

Jury is still out on whether Yumiluna is screwing with everyone or whether she really is this oblivious.

Selmer and Elmer

It's like everything's been painted black. Hard to believe...
I wonder if their goal is to cover the world in this...
Eh, that bastard Mephreyu, maybe. But I don't think that's the Emperor's goal. I guess we won't know until we ask... though I don't see any point in that.
No. It doesn't matter what his goal is... We cannot allow this obscenity to exist.

Not being able to hear the spirits as clearly has no effect on combat performance. Of course, if it only affected Elmer or Selmer, then no one would notice anyway.

Unfortunately, the deployment rectangle is aligned the wrong way today; Naji can't cover anyone if you bring a full team, no matter what you do.

Alhambra will be fine, though. She has an absurd amount of HP anyway.

This is an auspicious start...

Thankfully, Alhambra is able to do most of the job anyway.

Igraine is placed at the very edge of the only attacker with Null ZOC, while Aegil is set to kill the upper War Mage.

Huh. Level 4 ZOC is still enough to cancel this enemy Null ZOC, even this late in the game. I guess they didn't want to make the higher levels of the skill useless for you.

I did say she'd be fine. She does need that HP regen, though, with how far she's going to wander from Aegil.

Oddly enough, the top mage here moved forward, further into Aegil's Oratoriorae range. I'm not sure why.

I'm a little leery of leaving Igraine in range, but... Between Serdic and Aegil, she should be safe. Hopefully.

Alberich was inflicted with Leak last turn due to the Swordsman attacking him. Thankfully, Boost cures that once Alberich kills the Swordsman; he has quite a high base MC.

Okay, good -- Naji can kill the War Mage if he does this much to the High Priest. That's good information.


Oh, sure, it's too late for the levels to really matter, but why not?

I deliberately attacked the War Mage from the front instead of the side -- that ensures it lives so that Alberich can get the kill. It's a good time to get OB on him.

The first one dodges, unfortunately.

Serdic's group continues advancing at the bottom.

This is the start of the next turn.

Alberich is staying out of arrow range. Alhambra moves down to heal him with an item; I want to Ragnarok Dusk the left Archer column.

Unfortunately, Matthias's forces put a bit of a damper on that plan. I'll go with Plan B, then.

Serdic, meanwhile, is going to kill the Snipers. More because I can then because I have to, really.

Unfortunately, Oratoriorae hurts a lot more than I expected.

Normally, you'd expect Alberich to die here. He's still in arrow range, after all, and he has 99 MC. But...

Low MC AI strikes again!

Serdic can't quite finish the first Sniper, but... More importantly, this places him just inside the range of the top two Snipers on the right side.

Every Sniper who can hit Alberich can also hit Serdic. If Serdic has a lower MC, then...

And, foolishly, I failed to realize that Serdic reached 99 MC. If he wasn't, it probably would have worked.


Oh well; Alberich isn't very useful on the last stage anyway.

Alhambra can't quite finish the lower Armor, more's the pity. She's ZOCed downward.

Igraine moves to kill the bottom-right Armor, Aegil moves to kill the lowest Sniper. They do so!

This is within the range of the Guardians but not Matthias. I want to fight them separately, if possible.

New visual high-water mark for Seven Sins! And for damage period, for that matter.

A level 2 Hero doesn't kill the other, but it does tear a nice chunk out.

Alhambra can do most of the rest.

Not even Matthias's Null ZOC is high enough to beat Null ZOC 4. That may just be the highest level you need.

(Matthias has, as far as I can tell, the exact same VA as a similarly-named character in another DS Atlus SRPG I've played. It's kind of distracting. FEED THE DEMON BLADE)

As far as I can tell, the Archers can't shoot through the pillars, even though you clearly can. Either that or the right side's AI is broken, because they're completely nonresponsive.


By the way: Remember Mephreyu, and how his Seven Menace 5 tore an unholy chunk out of our characters?

Igraine's got Seven Menace 5 now too.

It's just as good in our hands, if not better.

It's not hard for Serdic to finish the job.

Matthias has a standard set of lines when killed.

Gauss... What's going through your mind now...?

You know, all of the stuff with Marie is depressing, but... Somehow, this feels like the saddest thing in the route to me. It leaves the impression of someone who has watched everything slowly, slowly fall apart. He's not angry or upset, just tired.

His only "before attack" conversation is with Alberich. And, oddly enough, it activates *after* an attack, not before. To my knowledge, it's the only one that works that way.

I'm here to find out the Emperor's true intentions, Sir Matthias.
Gauss's true intentions, eh? I'd let you go and ask him, but I vowed to be his shield. As the Gold Lion, I cannot let you pass!
Fine by me. As the Black Lion, I will defeat you and reach Emperor Gauss!

He also has a special set of lines if Alberich is the one to kill him.

Sir Matthias...
Don't look that way. Alberich... Please take care of Gauss.
...Yes, Sir.

Unfortunately, I think it has a lot less impact than the normal conversation.

The Yellow Ring gives +10% base HP. The Hard Medal prevents Green.

...wait, what the hell is "Green"? This is an honest question, because I have no idea. The description just says it prevents the Green status, and I don't think there IS a Green status. It's not Glass, that's Ian's Medal. I guess we're protected against environmentalism now? Whatever.

It senses the Sword of Darkness nearby.

Then... what's the Sword of Darkness?
Can't you guess? It exists to counter the Light, when it's gone too far.
The elements must be balanced. That's how the world works. If the balance is upset, then some form of countermeasure will appear.
So you're saying that any power that goes unchecked will always be punished.
Even though all anyone wants is to be happy... Holy Blade, I beg you to obey me for a little longer.

Total resets so far: 16 (+0)

Next time:
Dream's End