Part 4: Part 04Having escaped the castle with his new hat, Sue heads down to the tavern to blow off some steam.
But what's this?
Video: Meeting the party! (Watch this.)
So there you are, SUE! What's wrong? What are you staring at?
It's Pyra! Our first party member!
He's just shocked to find a witch in my joint! Right?
PYRA: Witch?! Me?! I'll have you know, I'm from a fine line of magic-users!
I like Pyra. In a world full of thongs, chainmail bikinis and pantsless pirates, it's nice to see a female character with actual clothes on... even if they are shockingly pink.
PYRA: SUE, Vik tells me you don't need my help. You do?! I knew it!
I also like that expression.
A little tune plays, and Pyra officially joins our party!
We don't get very far, however.
GILA: Whoa! Watch where you're goin', kid.
Gila, much like Dark Sol, has a ridiculously deep voice.
PYRA: You're the one who bumped into me! C'mon! Apologize!
GILA: That's not the way to speak to your elders, girl.
You're the one who bumped into me! You watch it!
Now, get out of here!
They're like a couple of kids. (Well, assuming Pyra's 15-16 like 98% of JRPG characters, I guess she does have an excuse.)
PYRA: You have your nerve!
That's the second time in two scenes. It sticks out because the rest of the dialogue is actually quite acceptable, especially for the time.
PYRA: Who the heck are you, anyway?! You don't look like a local.
GILA: Me? I'm Gila. I'm a mercenary hired to find the missing Princess.
I wuz lookin' for a good time, but I think I'll continue my search.
I'll see you kids around.
Gila walks off.
Pyra gives him an evil look.
Then this happens. (Gif somewhat slowed down to spare your eyes.)
Now, let's go find Milo.
I like Pyra, but I wouldn't want to get on her bad side. She's one sadistic bastard.
Slow is one of two spells Pyra knows when she joins, and I'm going to be spamming it on basically anything that looks even remotely threatening. The level 1 version hits a single target and drops the enemy's speed and defence by something like 50%. It's ridiculously useful.
The shrine acts as if nothing has changed, despite the guy in the robe standing next to the priest.
It's not until we try to leave again that this comes up.
PRIEST: Wait, Sir SUE!
Please listen to what Milo has to say.
MILO: SUE, I've been looking all over for you!
I MISSED YOU TOO, MILO.
MILO: Pyra and I have been worried sick!
If you're planning to go into the Labyrinth, I'm going with you!
PRIEST: Since Milo wishes to join you, I ask that his wish be granted.
Oh, it's granted! Granted hard, because it means we now have a full party!
I pray that his health does not fail him.
If only the Princess was here....
Since that's what we came to town to do, let's head up to the castle for that thing the minister was going to give us.
THEOS: The Trials begin beyond a door that only opens with the DWARF'S KEY.
There are four Trials: Strength, Wisdom, Courage and Truth.
"You shouldn't have a problem with Strength or Courage. We're taking bets on whether you'll give up at Wisdom or somehow bumble your way through it and get stuck at Truth instead."
THEOS: There is no record of any knight who has succeeded against the Trials.
If there was one, he is no longer among us.
So... no one has gone beyond the part of the labyrinth that Sue just cleared out in recorded history.
I wasn't kidding when I said the knights of the realm are a big joke.
you must pass through the Bronze Door in the Labyrinth.
Here. Take this DWARF'S KEY to unlock the door.
This only happens once you actually try to leave.
SUE receives an item: DWARF'S KEY
MINISTER: SUE, I wish you every success in the Trials.
Yeah, yeah. That's all very nice, but I have two new people to outfit. Shopping spree!
I have the strangest luck. First I get a ton of drops, and now I'm getting rare deals all but thrown at me.
This is the strongest weapon we're going to see for a long time, with a power of 35. It is also the most expensive.
I'd really like to get my hands on it, but I could pretty much fully outfit Sue in the best gear in town for the same money if I bought him a long sword instead (which has a power of 30).
Yeah, don't try the puppy eyes on me. I won't have that kind of cash in a long time.
Milo and Pyra are pretty squishy. Now that there's more than one of us, we have a good use for the "give" command...
...which more than doubles Pyra's ARM FACTOR.
But the dwarf hasn't had enough yet! Entering his store one more time causes him to offer us this Morningstar, a weapon for Sue or Milo. At 350 bucks, it's a steal. With 18 attack, it's just two points weaker than the 750 gp "sword", and three points stronger than the 330 gp "short axe".
I will! This goes on Milo posthaste. (Sue doesn't need it; he still one-shots anything we've encountered so far.)
SitD is oldschool. Your partners start at level 1 with the shittiest gear. Milo does have a Depoison, though, which is... nice? I guess?
I also buy a "woven hood" (8 def) for Milo and a "leather helm" (also 8 def) for Sue; not as good as the tiara, but they'll do.
Then, for the next order of business.
Beyond this door, the first trial awaits.
So do these new enemies.
The Scavenger here is an upgraded cave slug. They're the first enemy that can do anything other than just attack, though fortunately this attempt didn't succeed. Blaze hits a character for ~10 points of damage. For obvious reasons, this is A Bad Thing. Sue still one-shots them, but Milo and Pyra aren't going to be much help at this stage.
Mad Gnomes are the second new enemy beyond the door. They don't have magic, but they're stronger than the darkbats and whatnot. Sue one-shots them as well.
Milo and Pyra have the "defend" command where Sue has "run". If you've ever played a JRPG before, it should be familiar.
(Truth to be told, I use it so rarely for its intended purpose I'm not sure it even works. )
Lacking defend, Sue actually has to use an item if he wants to idle away his turn. This isn't a problem since you can "use" any item in your inventory, and picking, say, the short sword just gets you a "no effect" message on your turn. It's not the most elegant solution, though.
More importantly, with casters in the party, the "Spell" option actually does something!
Milo is a priest, and gets the traditional healing and buffing spells. Heal goes up to level 4, but he starts with only level 1 learned. The first three levels are single-target abilities of varying effectiveness. Level 1 heals some 25 points, level 2 heals around 80, level 3 fully heals the target, and level 4 heals the entire party for a fuckload of MP.
Stat-wise, Milo is the middle child. He's not as strong as Sue, but he can wear heavy-ish gear, and unlike your stereotypical D&D cleric, can use some (but not all) swords and axes in addition to blunt objects. He's faster than Sue, but slower than Pyra.
He also gets this, which is curious.
This is for opening the Bronze Door in the Labyrinth.
Casting Vision lets you select one item from your inventory, and Milo will give you a brief explanation of what it does. Yes, that's right - you have to pay MP for the in-game item descriptions. Shining in the Darkness does not fuck around.
But what happens if you cast it without anything in your inventory...?
This is not a manipulated shot.
"Nothing" has no special properties. Good to know!
(The downside to this is that dumping all her gear leaves Pyra stark naked and I'm sure no one wants to see that.)
Now, normally I'd spend some time here grinding to get Milo and Pyra up to scratch, but there are some advantages to modern technology...
...and since no one wants to see me running back and forth in a corridor for an hour, I'll just hex edit their XP to match Sue's.
The characters actually have their own experience tables - Sue will need 669 points to reach level 9, Milo needs 834 and Pyra 759 - but with this they all land at the same level.
Being casters, Milo and Pyra's level-ups are a little more interesting than Sue's "get a little more strength, hit things a little harder" ones. So, let's talk spells. Here's Milo's spell list at level 8.
"Attack" doesn't necessarily mean damaging spells; they're just the ones you can use in combat. Some, like Heal, appear in both the combat and non-combat menus, while others appear only in one of the lists.
Detox cures poison. Once it hits level 2, it will also cure paralysis.
Pyra's spell list is a little different. She also learns Heal, but it only goes up to level 2 for her. She also learns View...
16 steps East...
29 steps South.
You're heading East.
...which charges you MP to view the automap.
In case the name didn't tip you off, Blaze is a fire spell. It tends to be effective against undead and slimy critters.
Ice magic tends to be useful against anything that likes fire.
Sleep has a pretty good hit rate. It is actually a great spell, and probably the most useful thing Pyra will be doing at the moment. Yes, I know! It's shocking! Status spells are never good! But both the sleep and buff/debuff spells are good here, which is nice.
Stat-wise, Pyra is weak and somewhat fragile, but very fast. Being a witch (or whatever she wants to call it), she favours robes and hoods and can't use most shields. Her weapon selection is fairly limited as well, though she has some interesting options which we'll get more into when we get them.
I heard, you're facing the Trials of the Ancients.
Now that we've advanced the story a bit, the tavern has some new stuff for us.
Now that you have the key, all you need to do is open the Bronze Door.
We've already done that, but there's no way he could know that.
(I suppose we've also released a bunch of ~8th-level monsters into the early parts of the labyrinth. I sure hope no one sends in a bunch of newbie knights after us or something, because I don't think we can close that door even if we wanted to!)
Whatcha starin' at!
Mrs. VIK: Don't mind him. I've never heard a pleasant word pass his lips.
Some things never change, at least.
TACK: If Gnorn was smart, he'd talk less and think more.
...whoa there, buddy. Put down the axe.
Oh, he is so very fucked. Sorry, Dyan.
DYAN: I can only pray for Dai's safe return.
Yeah, you do that. I'll... I'll just be... just look at the time, bye!
The price has gone up, but it's still cheap. We'll make that kind of money pretty quickly inside the bronze door.
But that is for another day.
Short Sword (WF 10), Woven Robe (AF 8), Leathershield (AF 12), Leatherhelm (AF 8)
Morningstar (WF 18), Cotton Robe (AF 4), (nothing), Woven Hood (AF 8)
Bronze knife (WF 5), Cotton Robe (AF 4), (nothing), Royal Tiara (AF 16)
The Trial of Strength is just around the corner.
All right, since renaming the companions was brought up, I guess I'll give you another 24 hours to think about it before starting on the next update.