Part 15: Armic's Adventure - Part 2Unlimited Saga, Part 15: The Caves of the Undead
So let's address the big shopping list.
Even though it's sort of implied only Armic has it, because he had to go find Yun and have the stone translated, every other Chapa is also searching for these items. This actually has some gameplay implications later on, though nothing harmful.
You'll notice it's split into two columns. The ones on the left are common items, which will appear in stores more or less all the time. Getting these is simply a matter of buying them whenever you see them, and then never using them for repairs or whatever. Forging them into stuff is fine, though; a Copper Spear still counts as having copper. Some are a little rarer than others -- snake skin seems annoyingly uncommon in shops, for example, -- but basically, as long as you buy stuff regularly and trade with the Chapas, the left side will pose no problems. For example, I bought a few copper things from the shop in Loch Vaan, and thus:
Plus, everyone starts with cotton armor and bandanas, which you can remove as needed; once unequipped, they count too! So, while perhaps tedious, this part of the quest is simple enough. It's the right side is where things get tricky. These are all high-end, rare items, and it's possible to play through an entire game without seeing a few of them. I know this, because in all of Mythe's scenario I never did see a dragon scale for sale anywhere. Again, however, there are systems in place to make this easier. First of all, some of these things can be found in specific quests. You may remember the Abandoned Castle, which had some Obsidian Boots in the basement; those are always there, for every character, and so all we have to do for the obsidian on this list is go grab the boots and we're done! Similarly, Ash, Dragon Scale, and Meteorite can all be found in set, scripted locations.
Damascus and Faerie Silver (which means Platinum) can be crafted, as has been seen. Meteoric Iron is crafted from Meteorites, but those are actually not hard to find; they show up in shops fairly frequently after a while. Usually you wouldn't bother buying them, though, since they're expensive and neither they nor the iron you make from them is particularly amazing, but they will pose no real issues.
So, the real difficult items here are Glossed Silk, Hydra Skin, and Diamond. Those, you have no choice but to buy or trade for, and you have to get lucky enough, and boost the Market Rank enough, for that to even be an option in the first place!
That's why we wanted as much money as possible from the herb picking: we need to constantly be buying stuff so that the shops will increase in rank, and they'll start selling the things we need. Early on, it's not a bad idea to just buy everything possible and then sell back or forge what you don't need.
Since we're without any real direction, and only have two locations (Chapa and Loch Vaan) unlocked, let's visit the Inn for information.
That's amazing! I can't remember a thing.
For example, the Spirit Bow is said to be at the Caves of the Undead nearby.
You think I'm bluffing? Then why don't we go there?
With this, we have our third party member and our first lead. The Spirit Bow is made of Ash, which is one of the things we need for the rainmaking ritual!
Before we can head out to get it, though, we get a message from Yun:
Whenever you fulfill the requirements for the next dungeon, Yun says Eureka and you have to go visit him to see what's up. This time, however, it's not to give us a quest but rather to explain what the broader scope of Armic's adventure will be.
I've begun to understand its inscriptions. But oddly, the mystery keeps deepening...
The inscription says that four special items are needed, but in my opinion, there should be five.
So there are four special items. Ooooh, I wonder if I can gather them all.
What are these four... no, five special items? And where are they? I have yet to decipher that part.
As we gather materials, Yun will work on translating the tablet to find out where the super special magic items are, and then send us to fetch them. We get to pick which elemental dungeon Armic will be sent to first, and I went with Metal because I looked up what the reward for that is. I am a filthy cheater!
Very well, I shall start on it.
Thank you very much for your help.
When we get some amount of items -- I don't know exactly, but it's pretty small -- we'll be able to do the Metal dungeon, then pick another element. If you pick Water, he will say that it's much more complicated than the other elements. Then, after a while, he will give up and send you on a quest for a random element from those you've yet to do. Wonder what that's about.
There's two adventures in Loch Vaan which go to the Caves. We're going to do this one:
The Dancer can't wait to dance for his spirit, now that her dream of becoming a dancer finally came true. You should find the "Sparkling Waterfall" where the sparkling sand is pouring.
A tragic tale, but one we can't do anything about right now. This is because, even though this is the first place you're sent and these are quests the game tells you to do, we cannot possibly defeat the boss of this quest -- or, indeed, of any available quests right now. We are simply too weak.
Fortunately, the regular enemies don't pose much of a threat. Armic's silver sword is pretty strong for this stage of the game, and he can kill everything with ease. Norff has Thunderbringer and could do the same, but it's cheaper to repair the sword than Norff's armlet. Nuage is a physical attacker, too, and has quite good strength, so he can hold his own as well. He's got a spear, because he came with one and I spent all my money on rocks.
When you take Nuage into combat for the first time, he says
I followed the way of the Carrier, and now follow the way of the sword.
in a magnificently bad Scottish accent. He will never say anything in any cutscene; his relevance to the story is finished. He's just going to stab things, and I hope that's OK.
Here's something of note: Armic has a punch panel, thanks to Herb Adventure, and that combined with his low weight means his Punch is replaced with this:
That's how you know he has light martial arts, at least for punching. Having a panel makes your martial arts lighter, even if your character remains the same weight; thus, if you want someone to do heavy martial arts you should, paradoxically, never give them any martial arts panels.
Each level has different techniques to spark, so there's a reason you might prefer one over the other.
In the upper part of the cave, we find the Spirit Bow. It's made of Ash, and I think may have special abilities not normally available on an Ash bow (that's usually the case for these special items) but it will basically just be a way to have Ash in our inventory and nothing more. I can make better bows.
Note that we got this without fighting the quest's boss. That's important because if you finish the quest and leave without the bow, you... won't have the bow. If you finish all the quests in these caves without it, well, then I guess you need to find Ash somewhere else.
What is the boss of Sparkling Dancer? Well...
It's seven enemies, four of which have multiple LP and attacks that can KO a party member with status effects. It's bad news. A better idea is to just grab the bow and leave the quest entirely. We can come back and do it later.
We also run into Qalesin, which introduces another Armic-specific mechanic: trading.
Every so often, we will run into the other three Chapas, and if they have extra items we can trade ours for them. This even applies to the rare items on the second column! I think how much they have depends on how much you have, which is why right now Qalesin has nothing extra to trade to us. Later, we'll make use of this, but for now it's not very helpful.
Armic, you hang in there too♪♪♪
Qalesin is popular even among people outside the Chapa tribe. I'm jealous.
At this point I had actually purchased everything in the shop, and it can't refill until we do a quest successfully. I decided to try this one:
This well used to be famous for its water. But a merchant set his eye on it, and pumped up all the water in the well. Now this well is dry and deserted. One wizard came here to research the water, but he never returned. Search for the clue in the well to figure out where he went...
This sounded perfect for Armic, since I remembered that the Bottom of the Well has treasure you can only reach by swimming, and Armic has a Level 3 Swimming panel by default.
However, while I found a magic tablet, the actual objective was behind a locked door I couldn't open. And Scared Knight, the other quest in Loch Vaan, requires a very heavy character to complete, which we don't have. Chapa has a quest, but it requires killing a boss I can't defeat. So in the end I decided the only hope was to somehow get past the undead in the Sparkling Dancer quest, and hope the fight was doable.
It very nearly wasn't. But we did it!
Light fills the area, and sparkling sand starts to pour from the ceiling. Later, you find that a young couple lost their lives in this cave years ago. Only one body was found, but the other had vanished.
Panels weren't very interesting, though I got a water tablet for Norff (probably should have given it to Armic, but oh well). The important thing, though, is that the shops refilled. By selling all the items I had that weren't on the list, buying a bunch of copper, and stripping everyone of their cotton clothes, I was able to meet the quota for Yun's translation. Hooray!
I deciphered the item for Metal! It's Venus's Mirror, and it's somewhere in the mines.
Oh, in the mines...
We tell Yun to work on Earth next, and then it's off to the mines.
Where we meet a very important character:
Rude. Rude as hell.
Where are the monsters?
Oh, a Chapa. What are you doing in a monster lair?
I, uh, came here to look for something important.
I'm Edel, the Outland Knight. Let me help you search. You wouldn't last long without a guard.
Thank you very much.
This is Edel, and he's great. How great? This great:
Edel's physical stat growth is the highest possible. He is the best physical attacker in the game. It is not possible for people to be better ones. He also has a shield panel, which is nice. Edel is very very good and apart from just inexplicably trying to make him be a wizard, he cannot be screwed up. It's very nice. Here's what Armic looks like when he gets hit by something:
Sadly, the presence of two really good characters makes Armic's acceptable physical output less impressive. Oh well.
This quest is set in the mines, as you perhaps already have guessed. We have to find bomber ore in order to blow the exit out and escape. There's several ways you can find it; the easiest is to head downstairs and find this giant monster's feet:
It'll kick you in retaliation, but the damage is minimal.
The other way to get ore is to find the head of another mining creature.
If you dig while it's asleep, and stop when it's waking up, then after a while dig too much so it wakes up, then bomber ore will fall down somehow and you'll get it. This is explained in a note you can find lying around, I think, but I remembered the solution from coming here as a sidequest so I didn't look for it. And that's basically it. Once you have the ore, you head east until Edel says there's an exit:
You use the bomb, follow the corridor, and when you get to the mine's storage a boss appears.
Nuage kills it with his laser spear and the mission is over. Good work!
And that's that. We have the Mirror of Venus, and Armic is well on his way to saving his people. So that's nice!
Next time, we go hunting for more items, and perhaps visit the Festival. Will something exciting occur? Perhaps. Perhaps not. Stay tuned!