Part 7: Mythe's Adventure - Part 7Unlimited Saga, Part 7: Crossing the Vale
Mythe found Silver Girl and she didn't care about him. So we're going to look for Iskandar, and by that I mean more blacksmithing!
Tiffon gets the Black Bow, because she got a bow panel. Except I forgot I was going to do that and overwrote her bow panel, so actually she doesn't have one, which I didn't notice for like three hours after this. But it doesn't matter because Tiffon is awesome and Random Arrowshoot is great regardless. If I don't care about durability and need to kill a group of enemies, Tiffon and Sapphire can build a combo that hits everything for thousands of damage and 5-10 LP. Everything dies. Laura's got an axe, because I want her to learn to use axes better. She doesn't have an axe panel yet, but using them will probably get her one eventually. If you really want a weapon panel then I recommend doing a short adventure and just have them do that without any other actions, essentially guaranteeing you'll get at least a low level one. Once you do, you're set.
A nice thing about strength-based characters is that they can also deal fair damage with martial arts, which doesn't cost any durability at all. This is best with light or heavy characters, though, and we don't have any of those. Laura could probably swing it but it is a huge pain and I don't care enough to make that happen.
So, there is no indication I have seen that you need to do this, but the next place to go is Mythe Works back in Longshank. I guess they assumed you would probably go back there since it's Mythe's smithy and you'll repair stuff there, but since I ditched his smithing panels he can't actually work on anything there at all. So... that's bad.
No clues to Iskandar, eh. What to do...
So Mythe is also completely stuck, much like the plot is at this point. Fortunately, a strange woman suddenly runs into the shop:
We are closed now. Could you come back?
No, don't tell me that! I've been searching for you for three years! Well, one, really, but time's not the issue here. I heard about your reputation, and I've been searching for you. How can you tell me to go home? I could just die.
Alright, alright. If you went through all that trouble, the least I can do is listen.
I want you to remove this gauntlet. Because of its curse, I'm suddenly thrown into battles. And I'm the only one who knows it. Nobody believes me. I've been miserable for three years, not knowing what to do, living in hiding.
Let me look into it.
This is Michelle, and she has a cursed gauntlet just like Kurt. And, just like Kurt, it sits right in the middle of her skill grid, taking up space and ruining her stats. Unlike Kurt, she can't upgrade the gauntlet panel, nor can she abuse it to spark moves early, but fortunately she has incredible stats to make up for it. She also has six LP, making her the glassest of all glass cannons. She is the final character we're going to recruit, meaning our party is now finally complete! Michelle isn't exclusive to Mythe's story, but she never meets Kurt or learns that there's another gauntlet out there. And that thing she mentioned, about fighting monsters inside her mind? Thankfully we don't have to deal with that, but in Kurt's scenario you fight a miniboss inside his head every fifteen minutes, forever. You can spark lots of techs on them, but it's really annoying and Kurt's stats are terrible, meaning it's a pain to make him actually kill them... which you have to, in order to trigger his final dungeon. It is the most tedious thing ever and I hate it.
...So, you can help me, right?
I think it taps into your psyche, and that gives it strength. That synchronization, somehow, routes the images of battle into your head. This gauntlet has a mind of its own. It resembles a... Yes, a magic tablet. I don't know much about those, so I can't be of more help.
No! Does that mean I'll be like this for my entire life?
What is this gauntlet? Who would make something like this... and why? Whatever its purpose, it's clearly evil. Never, never before in my work did I make judgment of what's evil or good... Until now.
Then I can get help if I go to Sadovos!
Well, we might as well go.
Mythe really sums up this new plot pretty well there. Nothing else is happening, so we might as well go.
Even the game can't really explain why this is happening.
Why go there? I guess because... we ran out of other things and Mythe hasn't done the Vale of Swords yet so need some reason to send him to Sadovos.
Missions won't let you use your full team. Usually it's 7, max, though a few stories ask for 6 (usually because someone will join during the mission). Our team is thus:
Silver Girl could be great if you put in a lot of effort, because she has good stats for spellcasting and has an Ancient Tongue panel. These will never, ever drop; they are unique to specific characters. What they do is flip magic tablets upside down, so you learn the highest-level spells first. This is very nice if you have high-level tablets, but at this point if you're into the whole magic thing probably everyone you'll use for that has learned low-level spells already. She's fine if you want to use her, but it would have been easy to just also have her start with a tablet and make her a bit more useful.
So, to get to Sadovos, we have to cross this weird island area with fishmen.
Because it's narrow, we're only allowed 3 people out in battle at a time. Not a big deal in this case, though it should be noted that dead or incapacitated characters take up one of the spots. If three dead people are stuck on the field, you lose!
Not very likely. But there are some situations where only one participant is allowed. You can see how that would suddenly matter a great deal, in that case.
The second part of this quest is a cave. Ho hum. A rock fell on Marie, I guess?
The only interesting part of this small adventure is that Grace picked up a Lv4 Dagger panel. This is good. Hopefully she'll spark Bloody Mary with it, because that'll be excellent.
Michelle has a fashion panel when she joins. She is very fashionable, I guess? There's a guy called Armand who starts with three of them, and it's supposed to mean he's gay. So there's that.
But that was just a prelude to the Vale of Swords, which is a very difficult adventure even with our full party. As you read this, consider that Kurt has to cross it immediately. With only two people.
So, the Vale of Swords is a precarious series of bridges along the cliffs. Lots of "birds" and weird animals about. They are not dangerous as a group, but they all do piercing attacks, meaning they're likely to do chip damage to your LP. Having armor which blocks piercing damage is a good idea generally, but here particularly.
I didn't have any of that, because I forgot.
It's worth noting that tablets can teach spells of more than one element. For example, Marie's tablet is level 2, and while it isn't a water tablet it can still teach her Purify. That's nice, though she'll still need a Water Arts thing to cast it. More importantly, though, it can eventually teach her Recycle. This spell, when cast in battle, repairs your equipment.
As you explore, you'll find this bridge. It's good to explore the side you started on fully before you try to cross it; there's treasure about, and there's no turn limit on story adventures. Once you do, however, you get this message:
The moment you stepped onto the bridge, monsters attacked!
There is a fight against a bunch of mushrooms:
And then the bridge is destroyed.
On one side of the bridge, we've got Mythe, Sapphire, Tiffon, and Grace. On the other, Laura, Marie, and Michelle.
So, this is part of why the Vale of Swords is so difficult. Your party gets split up, and they both have to explore their respective sides in order to reunite. Plus, you're likely to end up with weaker people bunched together, since by default newer members are lower down in the party order. All three of the people left behind have minimal HP, and two of them have low LP as well. Laura, of all people, will be their tank.
In addition, the random encounters aren't any weaker to compensate for your suddenly tiny parties. This big monster, which can deal LP damage to Tiffon fairly easily, wouldn't be a big deal in normal circumstances, but without extra party members we can't cycle people in and out to heal them. It's a challenge.
When Kurt comes here it's with Ventus... and nobody else. Each side of the bridge ends up with a single person. It's doable, sure, but most people would recommend doing it as soon as possible to avoid making the encounters too strong.
Mythe's group can get to the end pretty easily, but we can't leave without reuniting the party. By heading south, we find the end of a rope that stretches across the cliff.
A long rope is thrown across the vale. But crossing it will be dangerous... You managed to tell your friends about the rope.
The perspective switches over to the other group, and we're given a simple task: cross that rope.
Traps aren't usually a major concern, since they can only deal 1LP, and even then only if you're unlucky. Now they're a big problem.
Good work, Michelle.
Anyway, the rope is right there and
The half-rotted rope broke, dropping the bridge.
So, we have to find somewhere to climb out of this hole. Michelle, thanks to traps, and being bitten by a dragon, has 2 LP right now.
This means it's a good time to talk about formations!
So, we know that characters who are given no orders don't take part in a battle. We could simply keep Michelle out of danger, and that'd be fine. However, we can also protect her by having her stand behind Laura, who has lots of LP to spare. The order in which you give commands to your party determines where they stand. Like so:
The first person stands in front, and is most likely to be targeted. In this case it's Michelle, because I am an idiot. #2 and #3 stand to the sides, and are less likely to be hit. #4 and #5 are in back, and are safest of all. Note that this merely affects targeting, not damage. Now, obviously you'll generally not put out five people at once, but if you do then try to get the mages in the back. And it can pay to send out your tank first, even if they're not going to do much, so they can draw heat from someone else.
Every so often, we switch back to Mythe's group.
All they have to do is find another rope lying about, which spawns somewhere in their vicinity. It's not very difficult.
Meanwhile, Laura and friends are being murdered by birds. Thankfully, Laura has Aura and this prevents some encounters. Here are some pictures of the glass cannon brigade climbing a series of cliffs.
It's difficult to actually get lost, but the linear path means it's also not possible to really dodge encounters. This is a stressful quest, but I think it's well-designed -- the map is structured in such a way that there's no question where you are or what your characters would be seeing, even with the limited detail. It's challenging, but not impossible, and if it does kill you then you'll know what's in store and prepare, and succeed.
Get to the end, and Mythe's crew is there to pull everybody up.
After that, all you have to do is head for the exit and you're done.
The final leg of the journey is the Jade Forest. We'll do that, and then see what's in store in Sadovos, next time. Stay tuned!