Part 24: Part 4-3
Whether by choice or by fate, the power of the Dragon Gem enables Aelia to transform into a dragon. However, she doesn't realize that such shape shifting, a form of Necromancy, robs her of her own identity.
Aelia is our second and last Lancer/Spear(wo)man. As a fighter, Aelia is generally solid - she has Lawfer's adequate DME and STR, decent enough multipliers, and a strong PWS. Like Jun, her attacks can have slightly awkward hitboxes, but on the whole she's pretty decent. Her real flaw is being compared to Lawfer, who is on paper outright better, though your mileage may vary - I tend to prefer Aelia's attacks. Still, if you've sent him up or simply not like to use him, Aelia's a good enough replacement.
Class: Shrine Maiden/Sorceress
After both her parents died, she was adopted by a Shinto priest and chosen to inherit the shrine duties. Her upbringing has left her honest and self-sacrificing, but also fatalistic and resigned to the vicissitudes of fate.
Nanami is our third Sorceress, and so there isn't that much to say about her. She joins at level 4, so she has a bit of catching up to do. Realistically she's identical to Jelanda/Yumei, except that she has Holy tolerance instead of Ice. I like her well enough, anyway.
We have a few new spells. Stone Torch transmutes into Poison Blow, and Lightning Bolt into Prismatic Missile. I teach Nanami both, as well as load her up with other spells. She starts with Fire Storm/Lightning Bolt/Normalize, which is an okay enough starting set.
Shops are updated again, and I invest in a Heart Piercer for Aelia. With two Lancers we might as well have a decent spear to go around. Lenneth already has this chapter's new bow from the Sacred Phase, and I also pick up an Ignite Sword for Arngrim - like the Elemental Edge it boosts PWS damage by 30% and is about on par with the Grand Sting, though it only has one attack.
It's also best to experiment with Aelia to find an attack configuration that works best for your combos. Which is one problem I have with VP's system - unlike CotP, you can't rearrange your attack order at your disposal.
We don't have a lot to do in Chapter 4, but we have a few dungeons to run.
The Black Dream Tower can be confusing to navigate. Without a walkthrough you might need to refer to the map a few times.
Enemies are also notably stronger. Lesser Demons appear, and possess a piledrive attack that hits the entire party for ~800 damage. Much to Nanami's chagrin til she gets a couple levels.
Grave Mists enjoy blocking, and hit hard. Their regular attack can end up dealing upwards of 3500 damage, and they also know Frigid Damsel. They should be taken out early if possible while they sit in the back row.
Harpies have a lot of health (6000) and can take a good amount of punishment. They also know Reflect Sorcery to mess with your mages.
The worst of the lot are Monstrous Glowflies. Like the Will-o'-the-Wisps, they explode when low on health, dealing lots of damage. Ether Scepter magic will take them out in a hurry, or a good PWS chain. They're weak to Dark, fortunately, and give up a good amount of experience.
Prismatic Missile is fairly strong, good hitboxes, and can deal random status ailments. It's unfortunate then that it's also the most expensive attack spell in the game, at a disgusting 10 CP. There are stronger, cheaper spells out there.
Poison Blow is a great spell - it ties for the second strongest spell, and as a menu spell it hits all enemies. Poison is a great status to inflict as well on opponents who can survive it. Its only real flaw is that it does only one hit.
Aelia has an oddball string of attacks, though they do look nice. Her spear throw (Sonic Edge) can hit enemies that have been pushed back.
And now for a few PWS.
Nanami and Aelia PWS
Petro Disruption (Poison Blow) and Gravity Blessing (Primsatic Missile) have the same power here, and are the same strength as Carnage Anthem. There are better choices for Great Magic.
Aelia's PWS is powerful, tying with Belenus in terms of strength. It's got a sweet animation, though after the first few times it actually starts to wear on.
How unskilled these beasts are...
Nanami gains levels pretty quickly in here.
Early on is a copy of Auto Item (we also got a copy from the Sacred Phase). Auto Item is a great passive skill where you can have characters automatically use an item when they can be used. As one might expect, Union Plumes are a great priority for that, and with Guts in play it can be very hard to get completely decimated.
I actually switch to Shadow Servant - Poison Blow is stronger, but Nanami is one-shotting everything but Harpies anyway, and the extra hits occasionally net a crystal or treasure chest.
I have drawn daikichi; excellent fortune!
There are many very similar hallways in the Tower. That said, the only treasure you really have to go out of your way for is Auto Item if you don't have it.
There are quite a few flying enemies and platforms. There's a tricky bit where you enter a door and immediately start falling, possibly right into a Harpy.
Reflect Sorcery is annoying, but fortunately it doesn't seem to throw an Ether Scepter-boosted hit right back at your mage.
(Also, Nanami's familar is a dove rather than a cockatiel.)
I have drawn chukichi; good fortune.
This door here (though it doesn't look different than any other door), drops you right into a screen where you have to hang left to avoid falling to the bottom (possibly into an enemy). You can still get up from the bottom (and you'll have to get down there to pick up skills anyway), but it can be a surprising thing the first go around.
If you're successful, you'll land right by a booby trapped chest with a Quartz Gem.
On the bottom is a chest with Hit (useless mostly).
From there, jump up two platforms and build a crystal stack to jump to the next one.
After that, jump onto a rope, jump off it to another platform, then climb up and leap across platforms to get out of this screen.
We picked up two new skills for Sorcerers. Adept Illusion increases their dodging chance. Dancing Sword activates when they dodge and hits the enemy that missed for light damage. However, it uses up their following turn and there are easily better skills out there (Guts, First Aid, Cure Condition, Auto Item).
Eventually, save point and boss time.
You have come for me? I who have sworn loyalty to Lord Odin?
Do not seek to make a fool of me, defiler of souls.
I do not defile souls! I killed people and buried them in the walls because it was the will of Lord Odin! Well, send me to Asgard!
Foolish mortal... You believe the Lord of the Gods would desire such a thing!
But...! this messenger of the gods...!
Demon, you say? What do you mean-?!
B, but I...
Hmph. He was a useful tool... What a sad waste... Oh well. I shall have to find another as soon as I defeat you, Battle-Maiden.
Here's our first legitimately possibly tough boss battle. We're up against a Dragon-Tooth Warrior and a Wise (?) Sorcerer in the back, who's apparently thrown up his hands and gone 'welp, guess I'm doomed either way, throwing my lot in with the demon'.
killing the beast or we may do something irrevocable...
This battle introduces a new mechanic - possession. If we kill the Warrior before the Sorcerer, he'll 'possess' the Sorcerer, healing it to full life and doubling its stats, making it very dangerous to fight. Obviously, we want to take out the Sorcerer first.
The Warrior has a physical attack and a weaker version of the Ram Guardian's Advanced Sword X, both dealing about 3000 damage.
The Sorcerer, as expected, comes with a bevy of offensive spells, though his favourite is Dark Savior, hitting for about 4500.
His worst attack is Fiendish Shape, which hits the entire party hard. This is one reason you don't want to silence Sorcerer enemies with Noise Arrow, as they will then use this every turn.
My first attempt (with 3 Mages) didn't go so well, since I'd underestimated how squishy they are. Take two, with Nanami, Yumei, and Arngrim.
First things first, Heal up from the initial barrage of attacks.
The girls plink at the Sorcerer while Arngrim tosses Union Plumes and occasionally smacks the Warrior.
Guts is a beautiful, beautiful thing.
When the Sorcerer is finally dead, things are much easier. The Warrior is still tough, but he can only kill one unit at a time, and most characters outside of Sorcerers can take a couple of his hits.
Which is good because we're not exactly in a great shape right now.
Luckily, like the Ram Guardian, he can be Frozen.
Oh dear... I have drawn dai-kyo; terrible fortune.
I just find Nanami's win quotes entertaining.
We also get a couple treasure drops. Breastplate's a nice armour upgrade. Holy Relics might come in useful eventually, for now they'll just sit in the inventory.
The Bewitching Statue can be transmuted into a Gem of Activity, an accessory which increases gems dropped. The Fairy Bottle can be transmuted into a Gem of Creation, which increases crystals dropped.
One of three dungeons done for this chapter!
Here's Freya's request:
Hero Value 80, Negotiator, Trick, Demon Int, Hear Noise
None of the skills needed are unique this time - anyone, with the obvious exception of Arngrim, can meet the requirement, so we have quite a few choices:
Quite a selection, so vote away!