Part 35: Out to Get the Outlaws (II)Although the battle this chapter is mostly filler on the way to things that actually matter, it should not be underestimated. It is, in fact, the toughest challenge we've encountered so far!
As such, I've taken the liberty of giving our party for the upcoming section a bit of an experience boost. But since everyone has gained multiple levels here, you'll have to excuse me if I omit the usual level-up screens. Instead, enjoy these before-and-after shots, which should give a pretty good idea of how things went. Any stat highlighted in blue is affected by a boost of some sort - here I'm pretty sure Kika is wearing the Razril Knight Token (+5 STR). I could have unequipped everyone to show their actual stats, but .
Mizuki in particular was looking really pathetic with her single digit levels and wouldn't have survived in that condition. And remember: every full 10 levels get you an extra skill slot. I've also given her a Berserker Belt here, so she should be able to do things in the upcoming battle, unlike the last time we brought her along.
We're coming up on the part of the game where we can expect people to start hitting level 20, and keeping characters in the pre-teen levels is just suicidal.
I could have done another session of grinding and got them up to that point before taking on the next fight, which I suspect would have been rather helpful, but...
...well, I didn't. Lazlo remains our only 20th level character for now, and likely to no one's great surprise, he gets Godspeed. Finally!
But enough of that. As usual, trying to pass a red dot gets us waylaid by enemies and forces us to defend ourselves.
Even if it's not enemies, it's going to be some kind of jackassery.
Like these hard working mercenaries just out to make a buck. I can respect that. We do it too, after all. The difference is, we all have names and proper portraits, we're better at it, and these guys are going to find out just how big the difference is.
Bounty Hunter: What the hell you yappin' about, wench?
This guy looks like the scumbag merchant in part 17 in a less silly hat, but I assure you they're different people.
Because I wanted to kill that merchant, too.
Anyway, you're the ones, right? The gang who nabbed that girl from the noble family?
Oh you mean this girl right here?
Huh? What are you talking about?! We only--
No, you're looking for a completely different gang.
Aw, shut yer trap. That little girl right there is all the proof I need.
...it was worth a try.
Truth is, I couldn't care less what you idiots are up to. But I do care about that reward posted on yer heads! Sorry, but yer goin' down!
Oh no, not swords! Guys, I think they're serious!
Ah, Terana Plain. This intro is unusually pretty, and the map itself looks pretty nice as well.
It's repeatable, too. Which is good for a number of reasons, first of which being that I can waste as much time as I like treasure hunting and come back for the S-rank award whenever. (Even if I couldn't come back for it, I might pick the dig spot over it because the treasure is very nice and the S-rank is not terribly exciting.)
Okay, real talk here. We're up against the bounty hunter we were talking to earlier, as well as the full foursome of colour-coded mercenaries. They're all level 20+ and quite powerful. Roget was a pain, but this is several steps up.
They're also accompanied by a number of grunts, hovering around level 20. We're actually somewhat underlevelled for this map, despite the little grind session.
Lazlo gets hit for two points by the axe bandit down there. Kyril performs considerably better. It's nice to go up against enemies he can actually kill... although he, like the rest of our crew, is several levels below these guys and can't one-shot them.
He's getting better, though!
It's nothing to feel ashamed of, either - even Kika can't one-shot these enemies with Falcon Slash. They're pretty tough!
And they're clever, too! First they toss down earth terrain, then they make use of it! Holy crap. And that hurt. From a mook, mind you! The mercs are worse.
Rita is like NOPE. Look at all those bubbles.
Beautiful, beautiful numbers. That 6 is Rita regenerating from the Star Earrings. They aren't very powerful, but it stacks with the terrain regen.
As Gary's Backup Skill Level rises, the effective range of his Backup will grow.
I've had several requests for Gary. I just want you to know that I hate you all.
I haven't given Gary any SP, and I probably won't. So, now he can just support adjacent characters. Here's Kyril and Mizuki getting a buff.
Since I'm showing off Gary, I might as well bring more useless people along. Ema's sole purpose in this battle...
...is to trigger her support conversation with Gary.
I'm sorry for pulling you into this mess.
You should be.
Oh, don't worry about me. I'm happy to help.
Thank you, darling.
And they get Good Will. I'm sure they're a very cute old couple and all, but I'm about to seriously regret doing this.
Mizuki is eager to show the results of her training. Remember: Berserker Belt. She also has Bull's Eye and pretty decent skill, so she can reach 100% hit rates from the side on these guys.
Lazlo one-shots a guy with Eternal Ordeal. Because he can.
So here's the problem.
Gary is still level 10, and I don't care enough to do something about it.
If he died here, I wasn't sure I'd care enough to try using him again after resetting... and I considered resetting anyway, but in the end, what you see is what you get.
(It's worth noting the berserk on Ema, though. Because A, she can't use it, and B, it illustrates another benefit of Good Will: you can get buffs even when bad things happen to other people!)
Kyril takes revenge, and this time he actually gets to kill something!
The bandits keep dropping earth beads, but they still can't hit Mizuki.
Rita keeps undoing all their hard work.
Since the last time we saw her, Corselia has picked up a fire rune and the skill to go with it, as well as a Rage Robe (affinity becomes , fire magic +1). This makes her considerably more useful than the lone water rune she was sporting before, and allows her to one-shot this loser.
Speaking of losers, Kika gets rid of another one over here. Note that Ema's turn is coming up. She was never intended to get a second one, so...
I'll be on my way, then.
...she gets the boot...
Look out, here I come!
...for someone we can actually use.
Pictured: more useful things than Gary and Ema can accomplish.
And she profits.
I'm not sure how much of a boost Gary's Backup provides, but Mizuki probably didn't need it to kill this guy.
That SPD stat
Now, I was planning to boot Gary for Snowe, but since he refused to dodge/get supported and got his useless ass kicked...
Okay, I'll give it my best shot.
...I'll just have to come up with an alternative.
He gets off to a good start by atomizing this idiot.
I'm presented with a tough choice: show the interesting shot where this guy is doing something, or show the boring one that shows the full damage. Since I picked the former, I'll just have to inform you that he hits twice for 20 damage.
Rita is still lagging behind a bit and can't quite kill him in one go, but she can profit from the attempt.
Kyril and Corselia advance on the mercs. We need to be careful with them - just rushing in without a plan isn't going to do us any good.
Kika tries to bait some of them out, but only succeeds in making her numbers higher. I'm okay with this development.
Somewhere around this point, Mizuki kills off the unfortunate archer Rita couldn't finish, but doesn't get anything interesting out of it.
Fine, if you won't go for Kika, maybe this will get your sorry behinds moving.
Predictably, the archer can't resist the sight of a helpless little girl with a spell charging. Since I can't swap out Corselia's concentration for Godspeed (and I totally would have), she actually doesn't lose the spell!
Kyril throws her a medicine and gets a level out of it.
The mercenary leader also takes the bait! This time Corselia does lose the spell, but that's pretty much all she loses. That's the full damage on display there! Nice to get some use out of that MDF. And of course, the Rage Robe isn't hurting things either.
Kyril... isn't quite so lucky. We need to do something about this guy before he can pull off another of those hits!
Corselia's EVA in action.
I somehow missed the fact that Mizuki had learned a second level spell, so she doesn't one-shot the merc leader, but Seneca helps her out, and that's the end of her.
This causes four new generics to spawn in. And here everything looked to be going so well!
Corselia blows one of them away and hits level 20. Now I can give her Godspeed, too!
Then she saves Kyril's butt.
Rita gets started on that "dealing with the red merc before he kills us all" thing.
Mizuki thinks maybe she should have started with the bounty hunter instead.
Since he's no longer on native terrain, we can now take him out with Ice Crush. Kyril gets 818 EXP and Corselia gets 675, but neither of them levels up.
Kika throws some medicine on Mizuki...
...just in time to save her from the blue merc. She retreats to the water terrain to lick her wounds.
Seneca can't kill the merc, so she neuters him instead. Now he can't move, and all we have to do is not stand right up in his face so he can hit us.
The enemies' turns roll around. Rita, Corselia, Kika and Seneca all take some damage, but the fight is more or less in the bag.
Snowe inconveniences the guy who inconvenienced Kika.
Corselia can't quite one-shot the yellow merc, but Kyril will fix that problem in a couple of turns.
Rita is a lot hardier than Mizuki...
...even if she doesn't hit quite as hard (no Berserker Belt.)
I know someone who does, though! This is Falcon Thrust, Kika's unique second level tech, and it hits for double damage with no drawbacks.
Ah, forget 'em! Let's get outta here!!
Sadly, even that isn't enough to actually kill this guy.
Kika still profits.
As does Kyril...
...and Mizuki, as they kill off the yellow merc and a random generic, respectively. I wasn't kidding when I said we were underlevelled for this map!
Seneca Strong Arms one of the remaining generics to death...
...and gains yet another level!
The last generic tries shooting Mizuki from behind and misses. Snowe takes him out with minimal fuss.
The battle basically won (because blue merc can't do shit), Corselia starts talking again.
Umm... I haven't said this properly yet...
Thank you for saving me when my life was in danger!
Oh, that? That's just Kyril for you. It's second nature to him.
But I wanted to thank everyone properly...
Then allow me to thank you, too.
Thanks for sticking with us, Corselia.
All right, time to go.
These support conversations may not be as interesting as the ones in Fire Emblem, but Good Will is Good Will
Meanwhile, Rita hammers the helpless merc for another level.
And Mizuki gets ready to take revenge for that poke earlier.
This skill is the reason Mizuki is generally worse than Wendel. Sure, it looks nice and all, and it may stun the enemy, but it's not as good as the Lion Rune's second level tech. Stunning is great, but it's not very helpful on a tech that's going to be used mostly to kill things.
Either way, she picks up a Unicorn Orb and a level, and that's the last enemy down. Now we just have to deal with the elemental, but first...
...we have treasure to hunt.
She doesn't find any, but at least she gets more numbers.
Meanwhile, Rita decides to pester Corselia.
Um, what is it?
You look totally stressed out! Your cheeks are so... drawn!
Well... What did you expect? We're fighting.
She's rather composed for an eleven year old girl who's been shot full of arrows.
Come on, time to go!
And then Corselia had another goodwill partner.
Oh, and here's Lazlo's "already fought" line.
Several rounds of faffing about later...
Oh, but that's not all. There's another treasure hidden alllll the way over on the other side of the map! Wanna guess what it is?
...oh wow, it's that thing that's been buyable for the past several chapters. What a find.
This is the best thing about it.
And there goes the elemental.
Worst thing here is I'd probably have got an S-rank if Gary had managed to dodge one of those hits. We'll be back, though.
All that remains is the post-battle conversation.
I'm sorry... It's all my fault. Maybe I should just leave... They couldn't call you kidnappers then.
I've spent SP on you. You're not going anywhere.
Don't let it bother you. After all, you haven't been kidnapped, right?
...because that really seemed to matter to that bounty hunter.
So is it okay if I stay with you guys?
I don't see why not. We're only outlaws because of what Iskas did.
Or maybe he was honestly trying to give us some good advice when he told us to hand her over.
Wait! Now that I think of it, weren't we suspected of kidnapping before we even reached Caleron!
That's right! But it's quite understandable if you don't remember that at this point; it's been a good while since then.
And then we went straight there...
Oh, tell me we're not walking right into his hands...
Looks like it.
Well, he can't fool us anymore. Right, Andarc?
Andarc seems a bit distracted.
We've got company again.
Man: That voice... Andarc?
Hey! It's me, Coop!
We cut to the campfire.
Heinz and a tomato were out walking one day when the tomato got run over by a kangacorn and squished into a red paste. Heinz looked back over his shoulder and shouted, "ketchup".
You worked with my father?
That's right. I heard that Walter was killed in battle...
It was the only commentary I could think of for this section
Yeah... But that was a long time ago.
It's not as if any of this is particularly dumb or entertaining or anything.
Ah, what a shame...
So mocking it or getting sarcastic wouldn't work.
I'm Coop. I work under Heinz. Andarc and I were at the National Academy together.
You know, this game has spoiled me for other, harder SRPGs. I picked up Fire Emblem 8 the other day, and the protagonist ate like a million axes in the first chapter and died. Twice. (Well okay, it was only four axes but that was enough because two of them kills her.)
Sure is a small world. What are you doing--
'course that was partly my fault because I sent the overpowered crutch paladin to sit in a corner so she could get some EXP.
We're after Rune Cannons. Just like Walter was.
Then they gave me a pegasus knight.
And on the first map I could use her on, there were nothing but axe users.
Yeah, but I don't plan on getting killed so far from home.
(When are NPCs going to learn not to say things like that? WHEN?)
See in Fire Emblem, axes are strong against spears, which are in turn strong against swords, which complete the circle by being strong against axes. This is called the Weapon Triangle. It's a major FE mechanic.
Ah, look at that... Walter's pet. Didn't think she'd still be alive...
Pegasus knights can only use spears.
Don't talk about Yohn that way. She saved my life.
("I'd totally be okay with it otherwise, though.")
So there I was with this character who was at a disadvantage against every enemy on the map and didn't have enough HP to take two hits.
Anyway, have you guys heard the latest rumours about the Kooluk?
(If it's that they're all dicks, then yes.)
I thought I was due a break after all those axes in the first chapter, but apparently I wasn't, because she ate axes too.
Seems they're up to something again. Apparently, there's some recent activity near the Scarlet Moon border. We're here to put an end to whatever they're planning. But as you can see, there are only two of us. Would you mind if we accompanied you?
I swear I don't usually suck that badly.
Oh, and Fire Emblem has permadeath. For everyone. All the time. So any time that happens, it's a reset.
It's fine by me. All we're doing is finding out as much as we can about Rune Cannons. We're heading to Haruna now. There's a sorcerer there named Simeon, who might be able to help us. If that' okay with you, then we...
The point here is that Suikoden Tactics is really nice to the player, even when it's being a dick.
Definitely. Count us in.
Never turn down free Stars of Destiny! Even if they aren't called that in this game.
Coop and Heinz both join us at this point, but it's nothing to get excited about. Heinz isn't even playable, and Coop is another two-handed sword user, which basically means he's terrible and shouldn't be used. As usual, he's strong but unimpressive when it comes to everything else, and he's probably the slowest character in the game, even worse than Axel.
And with that, the curtain draws to a close on chapter 14.
Coop and Heinz artwork.
Next up we have another side mission to accomplish. I need five characters for this. Kyril is not required, but you can vote for him if you'd still like him to come along.
And since it's been a while, I'll repeat the rules here: vote for people under the Active Characters heading in the second post. Those under Other Units are listed only for the sake of completion, and will be used at my discretion. You may vote for as many characters as you like within the limit (so five this time), but only once for each character, and any votes you don't use can be left to me (although I tend not to use them).