Part 20: Sidetracked (III) - Runes and Ruins, Reprise
All our new people come with their weapons sharpened to level 3, which is nice. We won't be upgrading them to level 4 because reasons and also money, but this should suffice for the time being.
Also, Wendel's weapons still have the best names.
Weapons aside, there's still a lot of SP to go through to get an entirely new party up to scratch, and what better way to farm some than in the bonus dungeon?
Remember this place? I do. I wish I didn't, but I do.
The first time we attempt to enter, we're stopped by an Obel soldier who explains how the place works.
I believe there's some treasure further in. It's yours if you can find it. However, there are also reports of monsters. It could be very dangerous, so please prepare well before entering.
If you should all be defeated, we'll bring you back to the surface. There won't be any rematches. What's more, equipped items and fallen allies won't return with you. You'll need the courage to know when to quit.
Would you like to explore the ruins?
"Uh... not sure I follow all of that, but he said something about treasure, right?"
We'll be careful! And by that I mean I'm going to throw my underlevelled, underequipped and undereducated new people at those skeletons until they die or learn to stop sucking.
So, the Ruins of Obel. As far as I'm concerned, this basically the best kind of optional content you can get in this kind of game. You can access it pretty much any time you like, and it's entirely up to you if you want to save it for endgame or try to make your way through the entire thing as soon as you have all your favourite characters. You're never required to enter, though several quests will take you here.
As you might have been able to guess from the name of the map, there are several levels to the ruins, and your goal is to get as far down as possible. Killing all enemies is probably going to make this easier, but it's not going to end the map; you have to step on the highlighted "exit" tiles to do that.
First up, though, tutorial time.
Suikoden Tactics posted:
Selecting Switch during a battle lets a unit change places with another unit that is not currently fighting. Units can Switch anytime and anywhere, but a unit that Switches out of a battle cannot return to the same battle.
This can be very handy! But I tend to ignore it most of the time. I primarily use it for Rene stuff, and it is quite nice not to have to bring her along through the whole map when you want to dig. Here, though, she's still level 5 so I'm still going to bring her along as I want her to get some more numbers.
Well, I did say I'd think of something. Kyril is not required for these maps, so I'll take all the characters who tied for fifth and sixth place instead. I want to get them up to level 10 so they get their fourth skill slot (and a little more HP and stuff won't hurt either), which shouldn't be too hard since the enemies here scale to your level. Right now, most of the characters I brought are one or two levels below them. Kika is the only one whose level is already in the double digits, and she's basically just here to provide emergency backup if something goes terribly wrong.
Since Millay got the most votes out of the people who can use it, she gets the kangacorn (and associated rune). It gives her a completely ridiculous 10 MOV, not to mention probably the highest speed in the group. Have fun with that!
The enemy is still a ways off, though. We have enough time for a chat.
(And, by the way, music.)
Hi, Millay. What's going on?
You remember how we left our work behind in the Kingdom of Obel... Do you think things are going okay?
I have a feeling this wasn't supposed to trigger in the Kingdom of Obel, but eh. vv
Huh? Yeah, I'm sure they are.
The king wouldn't have sent us on this mission if he didn't think it would be okay.
Confirmation that our new people are more "unofficial" help. None of them come with a cardboard box, though.
Yeah... I guess you're right. I'll try to stay concentrated on our new mission!
Sounds like a plan!
Good Will has increased.
This is the first time we officially encounter red skeletons (since the last time didn't happen). They are still dangerous, but Jeremy manages to off this one in one shot. Dead skeletons can't counter!
There's a lot of them on this map, but this bunch won't move until we get closer.
There are still a few closer to our position that will come at us from the beginning. This blue one and the archer on top both got shots in on Jeremy, but it's no big problem. Gretchen pokes the closest one a little, but can't kill it.
Oh, and did I forget the giant enemy crab? This is probably the most problematic thing on the map, as crabs are incredibly tanky and can hit hard.
Millay gets a kill.
Wendel gets one, too.
Ameria doesn't quite manage it.
Axel pays for it. The skull over his head means he's poisoned. This works much the same way it always does, and isn't a big threat.
The crab headbutts Ameria. This attack actually pushes the victim back a square - and of course it also hurts like a motherfucker.
Our own attacks, on the other hand...
...yeah, I forgot to give Gretchen a Berserker Belt.
Rene becomes very slightly less squishy.
I briefly switch my rendering mode so you can actually see what the first level tech from the greatsword specific Titan Rune does. Giant's Hand deals 1x normal damage to one target. This isn't really as terrible as it looks - even if it doesn't deal more damage than normal, it's a guaranteed hit and shuts down counters. 2H sword users don't tend to have great hit rates to begin with, so it's still pretty nice for those times you can't backstab people.
...however, it also deals backlash damage to the user. And then Axel takes poison damage on top of that.
Millay does better.
And Wendel finishes it off. She gets a Giant Crab's Shell...
...and more numbers. +2 speed
We've dealt with the enemies by the starting position, so it's time to bait the remaining ones over.
Oh yeah, and there was a fire elemental here. It's gone now.
Jeremy gets a level and steals Wendel's level up quote. Her level was better anyway.
Then this happens.
Millay hits level 10. I guess she was level 9 after all, not 8 as I first thought. No matter.
The broken heart symbol here indicates "bad mood" status. It means you can't use unites or talk to people. Silly skeletons, Wendel doesn't have any supports!
What she does have is a berserker belt, so attacking from the front isn't a guaranteed hit. However, we can use the first level tech from the Lion Rune (which is unique to claw users)...
It's called Piercing Claw and does, in fact, "pierce" the enemy, landing the user on the other side unless there's an obstacle there.
It's pretty much in the bag now. Millay is level 10 and doesn't need more EXP, so she goes for the chest instead. It contains a Sunbeam Orb, which is kind of meh. I guess a 1H sword user could use it, since their weapon rune isn't too good. Rita might be a good fit, too. Generally though, an elemental sword rune is probably better since you'll regenerate HP standing on native terrain, too.
We're still lacking levels on Ameria, Gretchen, Wendel, and Axel, so they'll be taking on the rest of the skeletons.
I'm looking, I'm looking! Mostly at the numbers, though. Aside from SPD, Wendel also has great EVA...
...and puts it to good use.
No level from that.
Ameria doesn't give up, though! And it pays off - +2 strength and speed is nothing to complain about.
And Gretchen isn't far behind.
Now if Axel could learn from their good example...
That's what I'm talking about when I say you fucking suck, Mr. I Have No Speed Growth.
That was the last skeleton. Rene finds the treasure soon after. It's a piece of Platinum. It's required for a quest far, far down the line... or I'm pretty sure it can be sold for a decent amount.
And that's all.
After all that waiting around, hanging around on neutral terrain and all those hits the party took, I finally get that C rank. The S-ranks from the ruins are useless, so I don't care.
We get a Bronze Medal from this. It goes on Rene for now, but I'll have another use for it later as well.
Hmmm... What should I do...?
We're given the option of proceeding deeper or returning to the surface. For now, we'll go with the latter.
And then we'll come right back in because some people think they're too good to gain levels or something.
This time, we're up against bats. Fuck bats.
There are some skeletons as well, and this time they will charge right at us even from across the map.
Good for you, Rene.
And you too. Speed!
This time, the chest contains a Tome of Black Arts. It's basically a Strength Sash for magic.
Ameria manages to hit level 10 and holy fuck does this party like getting speed.
This treasure is a Prime Gold Ore. It goes in the pile.
Ameria tries the first level tech from the Viper Rune, Poison Slash.
...and somehow manages to poison a skeleton. All right then!
Wendel doesn't have any Good Will, but that doesn't mean she can't toss some meds occasionally.
Axel fucking finally manages to get some speed. All right, that's everyone to level 10; we're done here.
Clearing the enemies causes a few more to spawn in, but no one really cares.
Jeremy takes the exit.
Now, let's go for a nice stroll around town and... wait, this guy looks familiar.
Oh, it's you guys... I trust the Kooluk investigation is going well?
Uh, we kind of put it on hold to go grind in your endlessly monster-spawning ruins. It will go well once I get back to it, though!
Hey, before I forget... There's someone who works for me that you might find useful. Probably over on the Deserted Island right now, fishing or something.
It's Setsu, isn't it? I haven't seen him around. I mean, sure, he's not exactly young, but it's just been like a year or so since we blew up El-Eal, so he shouldn't have managed to croak since then.
If you see him, tell him I said, "Help 'em out." I'm sure he'll be happy to lend a hand.
I can't wait.
First though, more voting. I know what I'm doing next, and I'm sticking with this party for it because, well, I just trained them and it would be a bit of a waste otherwise. After that, though, there's a couple of different things we could do. First, we could always go further the plot. But, now that we have a decent size party, we could also see how far we can get in the Obel ruins. There's at least one quest we can accept right now that requires going there, and if we're lucky we may even make it further and pick up some phat lewt. Vote for one of these options!
Second, we need a party. Either way we go, I want six characters from the list, excluding Kyril and Rene.
(Insert standard line about "you should bold your votes and may leave any votes that you don't use to me" here.)