The Let's Play Archive

Rondo of Swords

by Einander

Part 52: The Fated Hour

Chapter 20: The Fated Hour

First, before the text, let's take a look at our party.

Spanta: +38 Attack, +5% Accuracy, 0% critical. Pierces Darkness-related defenses.
Accessories: +23 defense, 5% HP regeneration.

Stand Fast 3: Adds defense equal to 18% of base defense.
Frontal Blow 3: Deals 118% damage when attacking from the front.
Arrow Guard 2: 92% damage from enemy archer attacks.
Duelist 3: Deals 130% damage when attacking only one target.

Brave Ray: (3*Attack-Defense) damage to all in range. 5 Range linear.

I've been making a conscious effort not to use ??? for the last ten levels or so, so he's entering Route A a little lower-level than before. Unlike Serdic, he doesn't have Fearless or ZOC waiting for him, so there's no great pressure to get him to certain levels. Even so, he's the closest I've got to a tank; getting his level caught up pronto is just good policy.

Energeia: Cannot attack.
Accessories: +16 Magic, adds MP equal to 4% of base MP.

Invoke Mind 2: Adds magic equal to 8% of base magic, multiplies spell power by 108%.
Ice Shard 2: Deals 108% damage with Ice-elemental spells.
Arcane Ice 2: -12% MP costs for Ice-elemental spells.

Ice Spear 1: 7 MP, 4 range linear, 25 power. Affects all in range. Ice-elemental.
White Dust 4: 32 MP, 7 range, 65 power. Single-target. Ice-elemental.
Sedna Prison 4: 25 MP, 7x7 box, 95 power. Affects all enemies in range. Ice-elemental.
Storm Rave 1: 15 MP, 4 range x-shaped, 30 power. Affects all in range. Lightning-elemental.

Eidos Curse: Multiplies enemy spell damage by (4-OB/5)%, where OB = OB level. 3-shape diamond, affects all in range, lasts one turn.

Right now, Selmer exists to cast Sedna Prison and maybe a White Dust occasionally. He's pretty good at that! Soon he'll promote, at which point he'll still be "Igraine, but worse."

Mist Edge: +32 Attack, +40% Accuracy, 10% critical.
Accessories: +22 defense, +1 Move.

Sharpshot 2: +?? Accuracy.
Null ZOC 3: Ignores all ZOC skills of a lower level.
Daredevil 2: Adds to attack by 10% of base attack, reduces defense by 8% of base defense.
Arrow Guard 3: 88% damage from enemy arrows.
Duelist 4: Deals 140% damage when attacking only one target.

Tiger Fangs: (3*Attack) damage over two hits. 6 range diamond, single-target.

Sasha is probably the best combat unit I have. While her HP is and will always be a problem, she deals good damage, is surprisingly durable against ranged attacks, and is quite mobile. Tiger Fangs fills a niche no one else here can.

Rikka: Cannot attack. 10% MP regeneration at the start of player phase.
Accessories: +3 MC, +4 Magic, 96% damage from fire or lightning-elemental spells.

Invoke Mana 3: Adds MP equal to 45% of max MP.
White Light 1: Increases chance of healing from status ailments.
Arcane Light 2: -12% MP costs for Light-elemental spells.

Cure Drop 3: 30 MP, 6 range. Heals 50% HP of single target. Light-elemental.
Holy Favor 4: 100 MP, 8 range. Moves allied target to a space adjacent to caster (uses ZOC order).

Martyr 3: Activation ability. 2 range diamond. Gives HP and MP to ally; cannot reduce Marie below 1 HP or 1 MP.

I'm making a conscious effort to not use Holy Favor this time around; Marie's sticking around for the long haul, so I may as well get her levels. It'd be nice if she actually got to use Oratoriorae for a few stages.

Mumeigiken: +26 Attack, +15% Accuracy, 20% Critical Rate.
Card Abilities: Multiplies critical rating by 200% (3x)
Accessories: +2 Attack, +10% Accuracy, +2% Critical Rate.

Sprint 4: +2 Move.
Sharpshot 2: +?? Accuracy.
Vital Strike 3: +?? Critical.
Lateral Blow 4: 128% damage when attacking from the side.
Lateral Stab 2: +?? Critical when attacking from the side.
Back Stab 2: +?? Critical when attacking from the back.

Owl still isn't very good. His mobility is nice, and he's pretty good at taking spells, but his damage isn't very good unless he criticals and he's not doing that often enough. He's not reliable, and that's a problem.

Musou Blade: +47 attack, +0% accuracy, 0% critical rate.
Accessories: +14 defense, +15% accuracy.

Invoke Might 3: Adds attack equal to 15% of base attack.
Invoke Life 3: Adds HP equal to 24% of base HP.

Correction to an earlier statement: I remembered Izuna starting with Adamancy. She doesn't! It'll take nine levels until she's ready to start Operation Ninja Zombie. Even so, she still hits very hard and has a lot of HP. Best of all, she joins right as you start getting an absurd amount of Amulets. Gear her up and she's fairly durable, and that's more I can say for any non-Serdic member of this team! It's a shame she doesn't learn Fearlessness until level 36; if Owl turns out competent, we may not see it at all.

Ryunoagito: +41 Attack, +5% accuracy, 0% Critical rate. 0 range.

Invoke Life 4: Adds to HP equal to 40% of base HP.
Sharpshot 4: +?? accuracy.
Charisma 3: Raises chances of success for Quests.

Now that Izuna's here, Ansom will join Arios and Cotton as a questbot. He's had a good run; even without his Cards or a promotion, Ansom is incredibly useful.

From here on out, I'll be copying the first half of the update wholesale; everything before the stat screen is the same, obviously. We haven't made any choices yet! But I'd encourage you to reread regardless.

It's regarding Spanta, the Holy Blade. You see, Master Arios has already discerned the means of removing the Holy Blade's taint.

Oh, it is a simple matter.

Draw holy blood...?
Altrius's holy blood runs through the veins of every member of the Bretwalde royal family.

If you return home this way, the feudal lords will almost certainly oppose you.

The situation is the same as it was. Bretwalde is losing. Bretwalde's only guaranteed ally just finished a civil war. ??? cannot become king, the Holy Blade is cursed, and there's only way to solve both of those problems. Refusing to do so will very likely lose him the war, which will kill a lot of people.

He's made two promises: "Save Bretwalde" and "protect Marie." They're not mutually exclusive; one is a subset of the other. If he fails to save Bretwalde, then he cannot protect Marie.

On the other hand, those are uncertain victims. If ??? chooses to kill Marie, then she will certainly die. How do you balance a very high probability of a very bad outcome against preventing a certain probability of a lesser bad? Do you believe in the concept of "greater good," with all of the balancing of "lesser goods" the phrase implies? Are you a value ethicist or a utilitarian?

If he chooses not to kill Marie, then he leaves open the possibility of saving Bretwalde and saving Marie. It's possible that there's some single shining path that will let him fulfill both of his promises. Maybe. Probably not, but maybe.

Once you choose "end turn" three times, you've made your choice, and you're on Route A.

You should listen to this. As before, the scene has full voice-acting; unlike last time, it's considerably longer.

Why would I!? Don't talk such nonsense! What do you mean, you'd sacrifice your own life!?

I will not allow you to sacrifice yourself!
But while I live, the Holy Blade cannot be revived... How else do you plan to restore Bretwalde!?
I... don't know.

Is that your true desire, elder brother?

I understand.
If that is the case, I will never again make such a request.
I am glad you understand, Marie...

Choosing to spare Marie always gives you a Victory, in contrast to the Complete Victory from killing her. Make what you will of that!

While ??? was unable to purify the Holy Blade, he promotes regardless.

Taken in by Bretwalde's Crown Prince when wounded and served as his double. Wields the Holy Blade to restore the kingdom and keep his promise.

Prince-class Serdic (not Prince Serdic) and ??? both use the Arch Paladin sprite for their dialogue portraits -- the Prince sprite doesn't have the metal shoulder pads. Despite the sprite only differing by four small pieces of armor and a slightly brighter lining on the skirt war kilt, the spread of it makes Arch Paladin look much shinier than Prince.

You'll notice that of all three faces of the body double "Serdic," only ???'s Bio acknowledges that he's a fake. The Prince Bio is the face he's presenting, the Cold Emperor Bio is who he becomes when he adopts the mask of King Serdic as his own, and ???'s Bio is who he really is.

As a class, Arch Paladin is only okay. First off: Spanta is still impure. No stat boosts, no bonus ability, OB is still Brave Ray. Second, the skills are worse. A lot worse. Arch Paladin's three best skills are Vital Power, Null ZOC, and Lion Strike. Vital Power and Null ZOC are nice, but Cold Monarch is just as good at regeneration, because Arch Paladin never gets Invoke Life. Null ZOC is nice, but it's a very big skill point hog. And while OB gain rate is great, Brave Ray is situational. It's great when you can use it! But it's still situational. And Cold Monarch is also better at that, because he does more damage and has a higher base MC.

Aside from those three, there's not much else to buy. +counter/+counter damage, maybe? I guess. Rook! ...which decreases counter rate, making the previous skills less useful. The fact they gave him Cyclone (+crit -def) is particularly baffling, because his base critical rate is 0%. Both promotions get Invoke Might, so it's not like Cold Monarch having Vital Strike is an obstacle.

Let's compare the stat growth to Prince and Cold Monarch. (As ever, all numbers are in tenths of a point.)

Class		Attack	Defense	Magic	HP	MP	MC
Prince		5   	5   	5  	45   	6   	5
Arch Paladin	7   	8   	8  	60   	7   	6
Cold Monarch	9   	6   	6  	70   	6   	7
Looking at it, Arch Paladin looks better, doesn't it? Better stat growth all around, especially in the defenses. ??? is generally pretty tanky, and now he's better at it!

If you think this, then you're wrong. Remember: Serdic and ??? promote right as you start buying Amulets. Attack and HP are much harder to raise, while Defense and Magic are both covered by all of the amulets you'll be wearing anyway, rendering the defense difference largely insignificant. And since Cold Monarch has Melee Guard, ZOC, more HP, and gets regeneration sooner, he's still a better tank.

None of this is to say ??? is bad. He's still sturdy and still does pretty good damage. He just doesn't stand out at all, and he never will. Not a tank, not a damage-dealer, not a boss killer, because he doesn't have the skill support for any of those. Remember Kay? Same problem.

At least he's better than Owl. I'd say "better than Sasha," but, well, she gets Lateral Blow soon. That, plus Tiger Fangs, plus the Route A character... No, not really.

Next time: Order of Darkness