The Let's Play Archive

Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga

by Dragonatrix

Part 27: Karma Society Tower (Part One)

Before we go look around Karma City, or what parts of it we can, one of the secret mantras has been unlocked now that Cielo mastered Fierce Spirit.

See, for the ones that teach new skills/passives, you don't need one person to surround it; just have every mantra that's adjacent mastered by someone. An unusual distinction, but one all the same.

And Esoteric 1 is very much worth not changing Cielo from Fierce Spirit when he joins. Mutual Karma is identical to its DDS1 incarnation (full Karma when benched) and is amazingly cheap to boot. Reminder: the exact same thing cost 75,000 before. So, uh, yeah, it's gotten quite the price cut! Grabbing this immediately.

...Alternatively, it costs the same amount but 25 macca is actually worth $1 so it seems nicer than it is. But that's silly. Don't be silly.

For obvious reasons, there aren't exactly any stores or the like in the Karma City we can put to good use so we have to head to the Lokapala base for a moment.

I can't give you any breaks, though; I still have a business to run.

We also actually have to straight up come here if we want to shop period; after beating Kumbhanda, Johnny leaves the Internment Facility. Speaking of which, that Blood Ruby he dropped is... okay, I guess. The Amaryllis we just found lying around is way better though.

Between selling the Narcissus now and a whole bunch of other miscellaneous crap we got a rank up!

...Unfortunately, next one requires another 49,800 macca to change hands to get to. Might take a while.

The new ring helps alleviate it a little though. Buying this immediately even though I'm just straight up never going to use it.

Spyglass is same as before (infinite, free Analyze) and has the same caveats too. Still worth buying though, because it's an easy 50 points to a new rank and all.

We can also buy Brave Rations, Chakra Drops and Muscle Drinks now too. Chakra Drops are actually worth buying because, again, each one is worth an easy 30 points to the next rank. Plus, uh, still don't really have any other easy MP restoring methods yet.

Might as well also talk to Fred's two friends while we're here.

Thanks... I'd rather know the truth than wondering about it forever. We couldn't hold out hope forever...

I borrowed his shoes awhile ago and I need to give them back...
Timmy is...gone.
He's...dead? Was he in pain...?
He was killed before being eaten.
Then, at least it wasn't painful. Thanks, this is my appreciation...

um holy shit where did a kid get this

I'll talk... to you later...

hello itemised mediarahan immediately after the third dungeon nice to meet you

Anyway! Before we go rescue Sera, we'll take a quick look around the two other parts of Karma City we can get to.

Urban Area

This is where the Corporate Office is located, as well as the shopping mall, and things like that.

...Hang on a minute, over by Cielo is that...

It is! That's kinda weird. What even is your deal, cat?!

Oh wait. Roland knows all about the Junkyard simulation thing. Maybe he knows.

You were given basic knowledge, so it wouldn't be difficult to function in reality... But why would they put something so unnecessary inside the actual simulation?

There's nothing else left outside except some dudes with nothing interesting to say. There's also only one building here we can go into. So, uh, we'll do that.

It's where Argilla and Gale are hanging out, so there's that I guess?

We'd be better off if they died... Resources are limited enough as it is.

Also, this guy is a giant goddamn dick jeez. All the more reason to just ignore most of them, I guess.

The soldier's alright though. Dude has a good eye for style.

...And there is absolutely nothing else here whatsoever.

So we'll leave and head on over to the park, I suppose.

The park is actually, uh, even smaller. There's also nothing here but people to talk to...

Carbon dioxide is starting to build up, since there isn't any greenery to convert it. Pretty soon, we won't be able to live outside anymore.

Humanity has overcome so many obstacles throughout history, we can't let the sun beat us.

This isn't the paradise I wanted to see with Jinana!

They are irredeemable.

We can sunbathe, take walks through the woods... This is definitely the ultimate paradise.

And... that's it. That's all there is to do here.

Everyone else has nothing interesting to say in any way. Bleh.

So the Administrative District it is. Sera's apparently being held here and... that is a bloody weird tower.

Before we go in, we might as well talk to everyone again.

The information we were given seems to be correct, but... I'm not sure that's a good thing.

We shouldn't assume that he died in the explosion. ...We can't.

That's all the Embryon (+Roland) done, but what about those obvious Karma Society goons standing around?

I wonder if she's really...a hermaphrodite...

She was a scientist who worked for the United Nations. She lobbied strongly for environmental protection.

No way the prisoners could escape on their own... I hope it's not a rebellion, or anything like that.

I guess he won't have a name for a few more days...

So, here's a choice that kind of matters but not really. We actually get a small reward for this based on which choice we pick. But, regardless, there's only one choice here.

Serph's a good name.

I really appreciate it. Here, take this!

Randomness aside, the Pink Sapphire is probably the best we could get from this anyway. The other names give us a +3 gem for that person's main stat. Heat nets us the Tiger's Eye (+3 Str) which would be nice I guess but eh Tiger's Eyes are super plentiful. Gale leads to the Pink Crystal (+3 Mag) which doesn't really fit the trend but Gale's hella balanced and Strength is already covered by Heat so it's the closest fit. Cielo gives us a Blood Ruby and we already have a Blood Ruby.

...More importantly, there's two things about the Pink Sapphire that make it better to grab than the other two. Aside from it being a point higher to any stat, because its a +4 gem there is a (slight) chance of it giving +5 instead. This is also the only Pink Sapphire available outside of random drops from a whole two later enemies.

Alright, that's enough of that. Let's head on in to the tower and finally rescue Sera!

Tower of Reunion

So, the Karma Society Tower... this is a long area. A very long one. Might wanna get comfy.

Thnking back to the Jailer's reaction, it seems that the head of the Karma Society wishes to speak with us. Either way, we must continue. Be careful, Serph.

For the moment, we don't actually have any random encounters to deal with and I'm getting all sorts of deja vu from this.

The elevator only takes up to the sixth floor. It's a start, I guess.

Just going to follow the path around the one way it goes for the time being. There's a Large Terminal nice and early which is bound to be convenient sometime later I am sure.

Aside from that, the sixth floor has nothing on it but an elevator leading to the tenth.

how do people work here this things structure is fucking arcane

And now we get to run around the tower proper. Right away we come to a crossroads. North seems like progress, so we'll take the door to the south.

I think we made the right decision here. There's nothing in this room worth a damn save for that chest though, so we'll grab that and move on.

A couple of Shock Bombs isn't all that impressive but that's attack items in general. I might remember to use these and not just pawn them for extra cash later but no promises.

The Asuras just passed my position, right on schedule. I'll continue observation... What? Capture them? But, my orders were to... Ah, I see. Understood. Bravo 2, over and out.

oh my i wonder where this is going

a mere room later...

Epic Battle ~ Prelude

Hmph... They don't look so tough.
They're just the dregs of a failed experiment...
Heh, that's true.

Hurry up, you freaks. You've got valuable programs in your brains, right?

Pfft. There's only one real choice here, let's be honest.

Heroic Battle

And picking it drops us straight into the fight. In a nice twist, in this case WE are the ones doing the ambushing!

If we picked the other option, it would still be a human v human ambush but with us on the receiving end. Don't ask how you can be ambushed by someone attacking you after threatening and mocking you for a little while but apparently you can.

But since in either event they don't start tuned or use their first turn to do it, they're kinda worthless and get their asses kicked in two rounds tops. Whatever.

Battle for Survival

More importantly, random encounters are a thing from this point onward.

Enemies here mainly consist of one particular type which is unusual. Since that means there's some degree of consistency to them rather than "just throw this demon here and call it a day." Which is a good thing.

Anyway, Powers. Don't live up to their name. Get killed by Death spells and Zan ruins them. Vile Blade sort of maybe hurts... if they get to use it. Which they don't.

Principality makes it pretty obvious that the first group is "angels." Like Power, she's not really a major threat despite having (Ma)Zionga and Hamaon. The fire weakness kinda puts a damper on that and all.

Ares is part of the miscellaneous dudes we can fight here. Cielo DOES start with Dream Haze which is nice for exploiting that weakness. It does leave the "damage" part left to do though.

Spamming Bufu/Zio until they get frozen/shocked also works so you could just do that.

Ares are nice to fight because they drop Narcissus flowers sometimes.

Tower of Reunion

Anyway! The room we were in had a chest hiding with 3 Dis-Mutes in it. It also had two doors with the top one (closest to where we came in) leading to a tiny room with nothing it. We can at least see a golden container but there's no way to reach it from here.

The other door leads onwards then and brings us to this corridor overlooking a giant drop. Judging from the map, going to the right is progress and the door to the left looks like it should lead to that golden container we saw earlier.

And wouldn't you know it, it does. A Daisy seems like an obvious flower to have but not one that should sell for anywhere near as much as it is going to.

Back on the main path we come to our first small terminal of the area and can carry onwards from here.

Another big room, but this time there's only the one one way out. Can see a chest further on in past that glass divider...

But there's also a pair of Dark Veils just lying around here. A small thing is that instant death items are not actually great to use. The Murder Rock in DDS1 was okay because it was Mamudoon and could be used infinitely. But it was still only worth using on things weak to it.

...Mamudo items are not worth using even on things weak to it, since they don't care about your stats. They will very rarely work even on weaknesses.

Moving on, we come to the other part of the balcony and tere's only one way to go from here.

Since this is the only time in the entire dungeon I get to go Rakshasa Mode Berserk, I figure we might as well briefly explain how it can happen outside of "random chance."

I mean it is random, don't get me wrong, but it's not just a complete crapshoot. It can only happen in either 7/8 Solar Noise or higher, So it's only a complete crapshoot in just 7/8 or Max. 7/8 has a decent-but-not-great chance of it happening whereas its significantly higher at Max. There is a way we can make it more consistent but that's not for a long, long, long time.

Next room immediately opens with a turn that lets us get to that box we saw a very short time ago.

It's not quite as worth it, to be honest. Just a regular ruby so it's straight up outclassed by something we already have and won't use.

Well, no matter. Since this place is so goddamn large it's nice to get a Life Terminal around now...

> Serph ws shot in the side!

Roger, leave these ass-hats to me.

Heroic Battle

See this Divine Ring? It was made from the Cell Data you gathered in the Junkyard. You devoured Metatron and exchanged his Cell at the Temple, huh?

"Invincible to Hama" sounds really clunky and weird. And it's also technically wrong. Sure, he can't be hurt with it here but he's not immune to it.

Anyway, two Eligors are not really a big threat. Sure they use Vile Blade a lot but that's not really as threatening as it seems.

please ignore that roland and argilla are almost dead

Hey, so, how does that Divine Ring help with your Elec weakness? Oh, it doesn't? Well then.

...No challenge left here then. Moving on!

Kicking these guys asses lets Serph master Demon Beast so not only does he now have Atma Bonus and Iron Stomach he got another new skill. Rend Asunder is the mid-tier single target Hunt skill. Despite being the same tier, it's not as good as Insatiable was in DDS1 mostly because it's ST and not MT. It does fit in the gap that was inexplicably there between Devour and Consume before though.

It's also hella cheap costing about 1% more than Devour which is kinda silly good.

Tower of Reunion

So, bonus ring #2 is now ours. Like Eligor said, the Divine Ring comes from beating the snot outta Metatron.

And it lets the wearer reflect Expel attacks instead of, y'know, nulling them. Needs something to be more useful than just going Human I guess?

Anyway, unlike the Hee-Ho Ring it's not actually that great for general use. It can just sit in the stock for now.

Speaking of ice, by the Life Terminal there's also a box with 2 Frost Bombs in it. Noticably less useful here than the Shock Bombs may be.

Also let's interrogate this man now that he's had the shit kicked out of him.

You may choose... Satisfy our minds, or satisfy our hunger.

Well, might as well go through all of 'em. Let's take this from the top.

The Cy-Cyber Shaman is... ...Yeargh!

oh goddammit

buncha bleedin' jerks now i gotta kill you guys too

Heroic Battle

seriously you're just two atavaka you couldve gotten off scot-free but noooo

you had to just pick a fight didnt you

couldnt even get rid of your weakness to being hit with rocks in-between games or anything

Tower of Reunion

Needless to say, the Atavakas do not get a turn and we just carry on from there.

I get a bad feeling about what's at the end of this corridor so we'll see what is in the room around the corner first.

Ah, it is a man and an item box. Said box just contains 2 Earth Walls.

...Hopefully this man will be willing to talk and not eat a bullet.

I-I'm just a government official who got left behind! I don't have anything to do with this! G-G-Go fight somewhere else!

Once again, we'll try taking this from the top.

Where is Sera?

That's all I know! I swear!
Why are you running?

I h-heard it's because the prisoners have r-risen to action... The soldiers moved to th-the upper floors... That's why the lower fl-floor were so empty... Okay?
Who were those soldiers?
Oh... th-them?

I th-think they're downstairs, b-but I have no idea why. They t-tend to do their own thing, so it's probably s-something like that.
That's enough from you.
Y-You're going to spare my life? Th-thanks...

oh my god this place just keeps on going

Battle for Survival

Now that we're on the eleventh floor, we can run into Eligors normally and abuse their Expel weakness this time too.

There's no reason to do so but we can.

Of course there's also Archangels chilling around now too. They're simultaenously less threatening than the others and moreso. Less threatening because their attacks aren't as good but more because they get to do more of them.

Which is to say a non-zero amount. Because getting (Ma)Mudo by now is not as easy as you would think. Or maybe I'm just inefficient with the Mantra grid. Maybe even both!

Tower of Reunion

So, the eleventh floor starts of with two breaks in the path and a third way dead ahead. We'll take these in order then.

...Hmm. The first one leads to a room with some Fire Bombs in it. There's also another door. Something about this just smells like forward progress. Come back here later then.

Doubling back and taking the other branch brings us to a small Karma Terminal. Nothing else in here though.

The door that originally looked like progress?


Karma Society Tower Field Hunt

Like before it's another Field Hunt and getting an S rank is actually kinda tricky.

And by "tricky" I mean "fuck if I know how." Getting 36 was still only an A and getting above that is bloody hard to do. I think it's at 40 but do not quote me on that.

other than to correct it i mean

The reason it's so hard to do is because it's three rooms long, and the second one is a fairly long corridor... which more often than not is completely empty. It's just there to shamelessly waste your time and it doesn't even hide it.

...running out of time right in front of an orb is the worst goddamn thing let me tell you what if i had a fraction of a second longer that 36 would be 38 but noooo

Mitamas this time around are Nigis. Same as before; more HP than Ara had, better defences, weak to Fire etc. etc.

Even when scared, Rend Asunder doesn't QUITE kill one from nearly full health. Maybe if I put more points into Strength...


Battle for Survival

Before making it back to carry on the main path, we run into Setanta who isn't that big of a problem. Being specifically weak to a whole 3 ailments is kinda putting a niche within a niche but whatever.

Also find it funny that he's resistant to Poison when Cu Chulainn, who is just the same dude but older and more experienced and awesome, was weak to it.

Oh and Setanta can cast Rage sometimes; mainly when left alone. Didn't see that on the skill list! He follows it up with a Taunt and Power Charge so make sure to kill him quick like when this happens!

Tower of Reunion

Following the main path again, and we get to a Medical Tool on the balcony-hallway. It's not as good as the gear but it heals 300 to everyone so we'll keep this in our back pocket til we forget its there and never use it.

The door right by the box lets us snag another ring.

The Demon Ring is bad and worthless. The damage boost sounds nice in theory but in practice it would only really help against bosses. And I feel the need to include a reminder that curse makes it so instant death attacks always hit... and you take the same amount of damage as you inflict.

So the Demon Ring basically exists solely to make you take more damage.


I need to wash the taste of terrible ideas out of my mouth, so let's head back around to the balcony and continue onwards running past the sordid remains of a terrible container.

And then come to yet another small terminal. It makes for a nice break spot I suppose.

Immediately afterwards, we come to a large room with a Large Terminal at the far end, which seems so counter-intuitive and I am not even going to bother, and an item box which we'll need to move around to get to. Fortunately, there is a door right next to that divider.

Back on the balcony-hallway and we can get to the door by what I would presume is that item box easily enough.

It's just another Yellow Crystal, which we could stick in the Magic Ring again.

But I uh kinda forgot to so that doesn't happen. Oh well.

...The only other door leads to what looks like a meeting room.

There's a box in the middle with a very nice Power Data inside.

wait hang on what where the fuck am i meant to go

did i miss something

i guess i'll just use the large terminal and check on gamefaqs since this way i can teleport there easi-

.......oh i see

The "large terminal" door leads to a group of four men. If you pay attention you can figure out really easily this is not, in fact, a large terminal door. First off, yes, it was immediately after a small terminal.

Secondly, if you look in the top right corner at any terminal, vendor or the like, the location descriptor changes from your current location to the terminal/other thing. That does not happen here.

Points for trying but the games own mechanics spoil this. Go figure.

Heroic Battle

This may be for the best though, because if you just ran in completely unprepared and not expecting anything you would get thoroughly destroyed by these guys. This is, by far, the hardest fight in the dungeon. Doubly so if you bring Roland because they loooove to Taunt and spam Avalanche/Power Wave.

Titans are not nice things and we gotta fight through four of 'em. Since this is a scripted fight, Analyzing doesn't do shit so I'll tell you straight up they are immune to earth, resist physicals, and are only weak to Charm and Panic. Which are very not easy to have by now.

So it's actually a pretty slow-going and methodical(ish) fight that involves using Cielo as a healbitch while Serph and Argilla blast away with spells to freeze these guys and then trash them.

Also this is where you might learn that you can only stack buffs or debuffs 3 times here instead of the normal four. This is kind of an easy thing to forget since its kinda weird.

It also means each one is 33% of the stat which makes it less useful in practice. Sure only by 1% but that bugs me on a mechanical level since that means it is not
quite as effective as the four way split.

Of course it also means that its easier to fully stack them and I'm lazy and stupid and so prefer the convenience anyway. Sometimes I like to complain just to complain if you couldn't tell by now!

also roland kinda doesnt have mutual karma yet but cielo does so switching once we're on the last titan so i dont forget

Tower of Reunion

It seems we walked right into their trap... An impressive effort on their part.

What happened? Did you get them? Answer me, Echo 5! ...Useless --

> The transmission was cut off.

Following on from there, we get to yet another staircase leading up and

jesus christ it just keeps going doesnt it

At least we can find Johnny at the top of this one.

"The woman is a shop, the man is the merchandise." Remember that. By the way, bring any rare plants you find... I'll pay good money for them.

My wife goes to the surface at night and plants them. You think they'll wither and die? It doesn't matter, all we gotta do is keep planting...

So anyway, that Daisy we picked up sells for a nice amount. $10,000 at base and it only goes up from there.

Holding onto this until later then. The Narcissus and Amaryllis can get sold though.

Though some careful wastes of almost All The Money, we finally hit a total of $80,000 and thus a new rank.

This lets us buy the Graven Shard which is identical to how it was before and ohgodthatsstillexpensive

There's also some new rings available which are our pure stat boosts only better. Gonna have to grab them too, but the Shard gets priority.

...Yes, we need to gain a total of 2300 points to reach the next rank.

Right next to Johnny is an elevator which lets us skip all the way up to the 20th floor at least.

seriously why does anyone work here

On the twentieth floor is a small terminal and a whole one door. Past that door...



It brings us to a helipad which leads to two other tower branches. My legs are already aching just from considering this insane trek.

Epic Battle ~ Prelude

This is Heaven. Her name will not be said by anyone at any point ever.

Crazy mime man is Air. Same as before.

And Earth (same as above) sounds an awful lot like Varin Omega/Colonel Beck...

because they are both voiced by Bob Papenbrook and he doesn't even begin to try to sound different

Who are you?
*generic evil laugh*

Something about these guys just says "recurring quirky miniboss squad."

Tribvuhana is kind of sort of not really related to the whole three worlds for karmic reincarnation in Hinduism. The actual word for it is Trailokya and probably what they meant given the whole naming theme with these guys and all; Kamaloka begins on Earth and is the world of desires. Arupaloka is the world of formlessness and is made up of four Heavens. Rupaloka is the world of form and is free of base of base desires which I guess is close enough to Air but not really and oh fuck it this analogue doesnt really work the more i think about it

Who are dey?
The Society's elite guard. They're known for their violent tendencies... and they look hungry.

You'll slide right down my throat.
We've been ordered to capture you.

"Him" who?

Think you can handle this?

Heaven is fast, but Serph is nimble as fuck and cutscene-faster so he dodges at the last second.

And she is quite impressed. FIGHT TIME!

Boss: Tribvhana

Epic Battle

How generous of them to let us transform while they just stand there in their human forms.

At this point, Air and Heaven can flail weakly with their rods.

They can also throw the first tier attack items at us. This is technically the most dangerous thing they can do since, y'know, they can hit weaknesses.

Earth, however, just tries to shoot us instead.

In this stage of the fight we can take the chance to buff and/or debuff as necessary. It's a bit more than we really need but the chance is there all the same.

So I Taunt and they lose 2/3rds of their defence in one moment.

After any of them loses a decent chunk of health they stop fucking around.

Hmph, I didn't expect you to last this long.
Don't forget that he's watching us. We mustn't waste time.

Needless to say, they finally decide to stop being dumbasses and tune at this point.

Air transforms into the Yaksa Cu Sith.

No, not Cait Sith. That's a cat. This is a dog. Totally different.

Heaven gets the Yaksa Ganga and we want to finish her off first.

Earth gets the Yaksa Ubelluris and... pffffft this dude is a chump.

Since this is their entire turn, we can take advantage of that to blast the shit out of them and abuse their weaknesses. Ganga is weak to Earth and only has a meagre 700HP.

Cu Sith is weak to Fire and has a slightly better 850HP.

He also focuses entirely on support. Voiding the weaknesses of either himself or one of the others, sometimes casting healing spells, removing our buffs or their debuffs etc. Dude does not attack whatsoever.

Ganga on the other hand is fuckin' lethal and can cast all -Dynes. Yes, even the Ma-Dynes. With her alive, the fight is kind of maybe sort of tricky in the "need to heal constantly" sense and you might just straight up get a full party wipe from full HP.

...Without her, it's a jokey snoozefest.

Ubelluris just tries to punch dudes really hard.

That's it. That's all he does. It's not even remotely threatening.

Since Ganga has such low HP, she should drop really quickly all things considered. Especially once Taunt gets involved as by then she's one-roundable if everyone has even basic Tera.

Roland still actually kinda doesn't; was hoping to get that or Terazi for Argilla by now but just fell shy of the latter.

Cu Sith is a mite late with remembering to remove the debuff though. Without Ganga there, we can easily afford to take our time so it's not an issue.

Oh and Ubelluris is weak to Force and has 1,000HP.

That makes a total of 2,550 which is a decent step up from Kumbhanda but it doesn't feel like it's that much given how much stronger we are now and that it's split between the three.

Each member of the Tribvhana does have their own little quip if they aren't the last one standing.

They don't really matter since the order you beat them has no effect on reward or anything.

Oh, uh, I guess technically saving Cu Sith for last does matter a bit. He's not completely helpless, on account of that making the fight boring, but he'll only attack with -Dynes if left alone.

His AI is still stupidly exploitable of course so throwing out buffs/debuffs still forces his priority thataway.

And he drops very quickly too. Oh and in a move that is very reminiscent of something, we get no AP from this fight.

The Tiger's Eye is the drop for all 3. Technically you get the drop from whichever is last standing but since they all give up the same item it doesn't matter in practice.


Fall back, now!

Air is a bit upset that we just trashed them, so Earth kinda sorta needs to drag him away.

Also they jump off the helipad. Twenty stories in the air.

...I guess Air will be fine since Cu Sith can sort of sometimes fly in these games.