Part 32: The Laboratory (I)Hey!
Look! We've fucking finally got our asses to Caleron!
(Also there's new music playing here.)
Anything over there?
Wouldn't it be hilarious if we didn't find anything at all here and the entire trip had been a waste?
I can hardly believe all that we've gone through. Where is everyone?
(The answer is no. No, it wouldn't be hilarious at all.)
That must be the lab. I wonder if the Kooluk are really gathering Rune Cannons there...
Only one way to find out: trespassing!
What the hell are you doing here?
Our heroes run up to meet the distressed damsel.
CORSELIA DOT PNG Oh, you're those people from Merseto...
No, no, how many times must I tell you? We're from the goat dimension.
Please, help me!
Help you with what? You're not one of those peace activists who break into arms manufacturers' factories and sabotage their stuff, are you? Because if so, I don't think our ideologies are compatible.
See, Kyril is the kind of peace activist who breaks into arms manufacturers' factories and sabotages the arms manufacturers. It's the only way to be sure.
It's slightly vexing to be forced to use Kyril on a map that's full of enemies he cannot kill. I like it in concept, but not so much when it is, indeed, beginning to look a lot like fishmen.
We aren't allowed to refuse, so, uh, knock yourself out, I guess.
Does anyone even remember how long it's been since we were told to investigate this place? I certainly didn't, so I looked it up. It was back in part 18.
The Caleron Laboratory is an interesting map. It's full of "naturally occurring" lightning terrain, so anyone who likes that is going to be quite happy here. It's a lot less fun for Corselia, though.
We have a tiny party for this chapter, but on the other hand there aren't that many enemies either.
The fishmen are mostly familiar, but there's a unique, boss-like one hanging back in the middle of the map. It's at a nice high level, which means it will be giving out nice, high experience points when we kill it.
Also, as his True Godspeed Skill Level rises, his own Movement rate increases.
This comes up the first time you use Cedric. I know all that already, which is why I'm using him to begin with.
See, at this point Cedric's MOV is 12, which is exactly as much as it needs to be in order to get from his starting position to this rather inhospitable spot...
Okay, send for me again!
...and swap out...
...right on top of the map's only buried treasure.
'course, Rene isn't going to be too happy when she realizes what else is in that area, but, oh well.
(She also levels up and gets a +1 in everything.)
GirlSelia is a Good Mage - supposedly about equal to Maxine in the MAG department, rather weak and squishy but with some of the highest EVA and MDF scores in the game. She comes with kind of shit equipment, Concentration and Water Magic at C rank, and we can't do anything about that because you can only learn and upgrade skills from the caravan. She's... sort of semi-useful here, since the area is fairly small, but the lack of Extra Move and Godspeed (and she has 4 MOV like all the other casters) makes her annoying to use and I'd replace her in a heartbeat if I had the opportunity. Alas, no.
Also pictured, I'm being a moron. More on that later.
The fishmen begin ganging up on Rene, as expected, and the mage is going to do something annoying. Kyril deals with the former problem by tossing her some meds, and wouldn't you know it, Katarina can just get a spell off before the fish does. This is going smooth-
well don't I feel silly having swapped her Concentration skill for Godspeed. Think that's the first spell I actually lose.
Fortunately though, Tal on the kangacorn has enough range to take out the fishzard before it does anything I'd regret. Casters are only fun when they're on my side.
The area is a lot bigger than it needs to be and those elementals can get really annoying if they keep out in the redundant parts. Still, not as bad as the pirates' nest where you couldn't even traverse that bit of the map.
So here's why I'm a moron. I was just assuming Corselia would get a turn, then the fish would get theirs, and then Corselia would get another one. Instead, she got one, and then the fish got two turns.
Which means she's pretty much about to die.
Can't do much about that, though. At least Katarina gets to land a spell that does something!
Wow, what an inspiring and totally surprising level.
She survives with 4 HP
Let's get to taking out those fishmen before something stupid happens. (Again.) Lazlo manages to spread that spell out pretty well and weakens all three fishmen, which is good.
Meanwhile, Tal rushes another fish...
...and gets this. More strength is good! Pity about the rest of it, though.
To tell the truth, I had calculated that damage precisely and this situation is exactly how I wanted it. Now that she's pissed off, Corselia can do enough damage to kill off the three fishmen on her left in one shot, so you see, it was all according to plan. Now if you'd like to take a look at this bridge I have for sale...
Breath of Ice has some charge time, though. While she's doing that...
Okay, let's do it!
...I swap out the now-useless Rene for our real sixth character for this map.
He gets off to a good start and kills a fish.
Keneth can still wear "women's" accessories like the fancy necklace and star earrings, so he is, naturally, wearing them. Now he regenerates health and resists magic, even without standing on native terrain!
CorsGirlia gets to the murder.
It's not terribly powerful (this is with a buff and home terrain), but Breath of Ice is still useful due to its wide AoE (3x3 tiles). I like the water rune in Tactics a whole lot more once you can supplement it with something else, though. The second level healing spell doesn't get quite as much use as the damaging ones from fire or lightning. Killing things before you need healing is preferable.
Anyway, she gets 826 EXP and doesn't level up.
More importantly, it causes more enemies to spawn in.
Having regenerated from the terrain and turned her back to a tile the fishmen can't attack her from, Corselia presents a less tempting target than before. The fish goes after Kyril instead. It's perfectly acceptable.
How nice of you to line up in formation like that. Now just hold still for a moment...
This one is one tile too far from the rest to get hit by Double-Edged Sword but Katarina still has that third level spell she didn't get to cast before, and this time none of the enemies are going before her.
Lazlo kills one of the fishmen, leaves another wounded and the third unhurt. That's more like what I'm used to seeing.
The previously uninjured fishman gets horribly overkilled, and Tal gets the spoils. That seems fair to me! And hey, he always did want to be a fisherman.
Keneth takes out the injured one...
...and Katarina nukes the fuck out of the last. That leaves three, including the boss and his flunky.
Corselia heals herself and still doesn't level up.
The third fishman is determined to make a nuisance out of itself.
Lazlo softens it up with Eternal Ordeal and Tal finishes it off.
...I should have known it wasn't going to be that easy, shouldn't I?
Just barely out of Katarina's reach, too. Oh well, she nukes the chest (it can only be reached with ranged attacks!) and gets some Ninja Braces instead.
Corselia lays down some terrain and...
Now that is the kind of stat gains I want to see from a caster!
Kyril takes out one of the elementals since it wandered into his line of fire. He's now close enough to get the boss moving, but it can't reach him from where it's standing, so he's perfectly safe.
It's more than I can say for the boss, though.
The RNG decides that the generic enemy must die and the boss should hang around for a little while longer.
Meanwhile, our fighters hurry towards the enemies.
Katarina doesn't have to. For killing the boss, she gets 667 EXP and doesn't gain a level.
It's around this point that I decide to run Kyril right up in the middle of the enemies and use his AoE second level tech... only to realize that the fucker still doesn't have it.
Now he does.
Lazlo is out of second level spells, so he smacks down some terrain instead. Kyril shows his gratitude.
With the boss gone (before it could even act), the rest of the map is just cleaning up. Tal kills off one of the remaining generics for a pretty okay level...
...and Katarina kills the second lightning elemental... with a lightning spell. Keneth kills a second generic and gets nothing for it, and Lazlo softens up the last one...
...and also gets a pretty good level for it.
Corselia finishes it.
Ain't nothin' to it
I have a feeling I'll forget to equip the rusty cog on the next map but I'm sure I'll get around to showing off what it does at some point.
Corselia. Pleased to meet you.
I'm not so pleased. Corselia is mechanically good, but I never cared much for her and don't tend to use her. Well, at least the game stops pretending we don't know her name.
And you are...?
Did you see that, Kyril?
One of those monsters had a handkerchief around its arm. It was the same as the handkerchief I gave to that boy in Merseto...
Kyril flashes back...
...to that completely unimportant event we witnessed a million years ago.
There may be an Evil Eye here somewhere.
That's what you were gonna say, right, Andarc?
But I have already made so many Metal Gear jokes.
An eye of evil power...
Kyril explain good!
Apparently it's a Rune Cannon component.
Rune Cannon...? You mean those large weapons they have onboard ships?
That's right. What's worse is that this "component" is probably alive.
I know some people aren't too keen on the fishmen and all, but seriously, this shit is right in the middle of Really Fucking Creepy territory.
Let's go on ahead, but carefully. Are you ready to go, Corselia?
You'll let me come too? Are you sure I won't be a burden to you?
"Have you seen your stats? Get in."
You'll be safer with us.
I'm not sure what he's doing but
that silence was heavy and awkward.
Great! Now let's move on ahead.
So they do.
For like ten meters.
Fucking hell, not more of them.
Corselia is officially our minion...
...and we're thrown right into the next battle... on the exact same map.
I'm prepared to forgive them for that, however, because...