Part 71: Episode 6: Part 13: Shadows.Episode 6: Part 13: Shadows.
So last time we got this lead on a sidequest. We'll be doing it know. I head to the red splotch.
Right -behind- this house to our right.
I actually accidentally wandered in here right at the start of Episode 6, and ran back out because I knew what it was. Didn't test to see if you can finish the sidequest right away. Not that it'd be very easy back then...
... Strata? He whirls his sword like him.
So these are the Shadow Plunges. There's four of them and three of them are complete gimmick plunges and the fourth is just brutally hard.
SHADOW PLUNGER 1 (S) Max HP: 600 Plunge: 5 DT: 85 Crit%: 3 CritStr: 20 Blade Arts: 5 Critical Eye, New High, Slammer, Fenshu Cross Link: 70% Critical Eye Lunge Link: 71% Critical Eye Drop Link: 100% Critical Eye
Take a look at those stats. Not only does he illegally have Critical Eye in five slots, he also ilegally has it linked to all three attacks, with high chances to succeed. His Plunge is abysmal, his HP is sky high, his DT is way too high and his criticals will do a -lot- of damage.
For reference, Exmus' stats look like this:
EXMUS (S) Max HP: 230 Plunge: 20 DT: 40 Crit%: 10 CritStr: 10
So, this guy uses Critical Eye to boost his critical hit % until he's doing brutal critical blows on Rhue.
The best way to beat him is to use Lanner to fuck his Plunge entirely, to reduce his chip damage, maybe even kill him from it, while hoping you can get Dust Spray off often enough to keep his Crit % down, all to buy you time to chip -his- HP down if Lanner doesn't come up often enough.
So naturally this happens instead of tactics.
I panicked and thought I somehow broke the game, but what happened is the Ender Blade Art we got from Exmus went off and it insta-kills opponents who are 'much weaker'. That means their plunge score.
Well! That's nice. Let's get going to the purple splotch.
On the way, I make a short stop. This is the house of the boy that wanted to pee outside and then later where Cetsa lectured Rhue about the importance of... looking at mirrors so you can find Heart Stones?
BOY: Mom, why do we have to sleep on the floor?
MOM: Because we're wretched, honey.
BOY: Aww... Do we have to be?
"We're talking brand new home furnishings!"
"That is, if you shop at Fwacho's!"
Fwacho was a occassional poster on The Way forums. Probably because he's listed in the credits for helping Lun with the story design... because Fwacho is short for Frank Wacholtz. IIRC he's Lun's older brother, and has self-published some fantasy books last I heard.
Skit ends, and we move on.
You can see the market strip where we plunged Ansgar and Rosmar to the right.
Into the building on the left here...
Down the stairs...
... Scatha? This Shaodw Plunger is forever batting a lock of hair out of her eyes.
So... This Scatha wannabe has all 8 Blade Art slots dedicated to Downpour, which heals based on a Crit Str roll. She has higher Crit Str than the last guy (23) but 0% crit chance. Her Plunge is simularly awful and her DT is even higher at 95!!!
She'll generally heal most, if not all of the HP Rhue deals to her on a good hit, let alone the bad ones. She also has 600 hp.
The goal here is to save up FP for finishers which at this level (The finisher effects change based on your classification) reduces DT by 20% among other things. That penalty stacks. So you see our goal. To last long enough to Step 4 her.
very, very long Plunge ensues, and by the time a 50 damage hit counts as a Step 2 injury, she's at orange HP, and Rhue's on red. It's not looking good.
Oh. Saved from redoign a 5 minute Plunge by Ender.
Ravage is also a damage booster, and gives less damage than Crestfallen. Also, we've got all the Step 4 Blade Arts and are now earning Step 5's, and we're missing two Step 3's.
Next we head for the market strip.
A headhunter? Or... Red Zero?
The Crestfallen Blade Art is ki blasts raining from the sky.
Anyway, this guys not as rough as the other two. He has only 12 Plunge and 450 HP but he steals your FP every turn so he does Finishers a lot which can really fuck you, and since you can't get your own off so you might as well spam risk attacks to keep him from stealng more than one at a time.
Relatively conventional Plunge otherwise, albeit an annoying drawn out one.
Time to head for the last Shadow Plunger.
If you go down one tile and walk right into the wall, you're there.
That's obviously Cetsa in Dancing Violet Mode (hair tied up).
This is by far the most normal of the Shadow Plunges but... uh... It's very nasty.
SHADOW PLUNGER 4 (S) Max HP: 340 Plunge: 21 DT: 80 Crit%: 9 CritStr: 15 Blade Arts: Snapper, Ender, Destroyer, Pin Point, Crippler, Ray of Light, New High, Double Plug Cross Link: 70% Destroyer Lunge Link: 71% Ender Drop Link: 100% Snapper
Completely insane. She's brutal. What you want to do for this plunge is pray. The one saving grace is she only seems to do Cross Sweeps and Drop Slashes, so you can bank on Lunges winning risk attacks. Or rather, you -should- be able to. If she Cross Sweeps, the bonus often destroys you. For example, here's what happened when I kept trying Lunge Risk Attacks.
After this I stopped using Risk attacks and thats the time I won, by HP damage, since her DT is so high.
That's all the Step 5 Blade Arts. Just missing 2 Step 3's now. Let's go and report to the hooded woman.
So yeah. I think this is all you need to do to unlock the first alternate ending and my favourite of the three endings. I think. The Jester sidequest to get Slade might be required too. All the rest of the sidequests from here on are for the last ending and lore.
We also can't get that ending until right at the end of the game, where, within reach of the tower that is our goal, we will turn away from it to go and confront a great shadow in the Pits that should never, ever see the light of day.
It's not for nothing that this ending is referred to by fans as 'The Reaches Ending.'