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5-Headed Snake God
Jun 12, 2008

Do you see how he's a cat?




Hero's Realm is an obscure little game released in 2009. It's made using RPG Maker 2003, and features a considerable amount of modification (including a Final Fantasy-style active time battle system), so it's pretty janky. Most of its sprites are shamelessly taken from other games (mostly Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest), and many of its gameplay and plot elements come from those series as well. It's pretty clearly a mishmash of things from games the author likes, and it shows. And the plot is about as generic as these things get.

Don't take this to mean that the game is bad, however: it's actually quite good. Battles, though a little slow, are fun and exciting. The many character classes are each distinct and unique. The dungeons and overworld map are both well-designed and feel great to explore. And the humor, while a bit hit-or-miss, is charming and has some really, magnificently stupid puns. It's a love letter to 16-bit RPGs, and a very well-composed one.

LP Format
This is going to be a screenshot LP designed primarily to be informative. If you followed my previous LP, you can expect much the same style here, though I'll be doing more to show off the plot and writing since this isn't a romhack. It will also probably update less often, since there's generally much less to show off for any given amount of playtime. The game gives the player a chance to customize four different adventuring parties, and I'll be letting you, the readers, decide those parties' makeups (with some limits).

Table of Contents
Won't Somebody Please Think of the Children?
Hero Profile: Holdana
Class Overview
Saving the Economy
Joining the Club
Balthalas the Undead Mage
There is Something Fishy Going On...
Hero Profile: Zefiryn
What the Fruit?
The Adventures of Bessie the Wondercow
A Transformative Experience
Land of the Rising Son
Hero Profile: Akria
Frogs are Assholes
Ready to Take on the World
The Power of Friendship
True Calling, Part 1: The Story of Laura-Lee
True Calling, Part 2: Skatmandu
Hero Profile: Raj Ahtan
Key to the Kingdom
A Whole New World (of Pain)
The Mirror of Truth
The War on Terror
Quest for the Magic Key
The Four Towers
Leaving San Vegas
On the Trail of the Fellowship
The Restoration of Arborlon
The Colossus and the Inverted Tower
Interlude: Elite Class Change
The End of Machin Shin
The Worst of Houses
The Siege of Okasa
The Adventures of Theodore Ruxpin
Hunt for the Elfstones
Interlude: Master Class Change
The Ghost Ship
The Lost City of Tritonis
Anticlimax
Haunted by the Past
Not of this World
:science:
The Unsettling Ruins of Catan
Fire and Ice
The Siege of Paranor
Assault on Death's Gate
The Final Battle
The End

5-Headed Snake God fucked around with this message at 15:53 on Jul 31, 2023

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5-Headed Snake God
Jun 12, 2008

Do you see how he's a cat?




Yes, that's really the title. The game's writing is generally pretty tongue-in-cheek.



Our story opens as a soldier enters a small hut, wherein stands a blue-haired woman.




Times must be getting tough if the king is turning to a solitary huntress for aid.




I'll be using default names for the four heroes.



Just in case you forgot between the intro and the naming of the hero.



Every mirror in the game can be examined. They all give flavorful little messages like this, but they're ultimately inconsequential.




Other objects are another matter, however. Most of them are empty, but...






Quite a few of them contain treasures. Medicinal herbs are a basic healing item - one of the least treasures one can find, but still helpful at the outset.



That's all there is to find in Holdana's cabin. Let's head outside.




Once we're on the world map, our next order of business is to change this setting. "Wait" causes the game to pause during battle when a character's turn comes up. The game is a bit janky, especially in combat, so this is helpful for keeping things manageable.



And of course, there's the old adage: Save early, save often.



With that done, we can head north to the city.




The capital is actually quite big, but we're ushered immediately to the castle to see the king.






At least the chapter title is fitting. We've got a goal and even a reason for our hero being specifically chosen for the task. We don't have a lot to go on, but we at least have a general goal: the town of Helminsk, to the north. But there's some other business to take care of first.



Talking to the king again gives a save prompt. Not really necessary when you can leave the city to save, but still not a bad thing to have.






Off to the left are four treasures. The Warp Wing lets us return to any previously visited city or similar area, which is mostly for convenience. The Life Acorn raises a character's max HP by 5. We'll be using it soon, but not quite yet.



For now, we're doing as the king suggested and heading to the barracks.



Holdana won't be able to complete this quest alone, but luckily, she doesn't have to. Each hero can recruit three companions to join them on their journeys, and I'm going to let you, fellow goons, determine who they are. You're welcome to vote for up to three classes (one from each category) that you'd like to see in our first party. You're also welcome to suggest genders and names (11 characters maximum), if you like. The class with the most votes in each category will be the ones who join Holdana, while the rest will show up later, alongside the other heroes.

For more information on the various classes, see this post.

5-Headed Snake God
Jun 12, 2008

Do you see how he's a cat?


Hero Profile: Holdana


Holdana is the first of the four heroes, each of whom has a unique class. Holdana's is Hunter, which is primarily focused on physical combat, though it does have a decent selection of spells to compensate for any holes left by her three allies. Hunter is a powerful class, able to wield most weapons, including bows, which are quite strong. It also has the Flurry command, which causes all of her attacks for the rest of the fight to hit twice - an extremely powerful tool in long fights. The game's creator has also stated that it has an inherent 50% resistance to elemental damage, making it even stronger. Holdana makes for a good introductory character.

5-Headed Snake God
Jun 12, 2008

Do you see how he's a cat?


The twelve recruitable characters are divided into three categories: mages, warriors, and rogues. Our four parties will contain one class from each of these groups, and no class will appear in more than one party, so we'll be using every class once.

Mages
Druid


Further Comments: A Druid's offensive power drops off pretty sharply as the game goes on. Poison and earth spells have limited usefulness and power in the long run, though they're still useful in the right circumstances. It is, however, easily the best healer in the game, and a good choice for a party whose other members are somewhat fragile.
Karla is traveling with Holdana.

Wizard


Further Comments: A Wizard is a pretty useful party member for the whole game. It gets all the best offensive magic, and both the Intelligence and MP to make use of it. As its stat array indicates, though, it's very fragile, and not great when you just need a physical attacker.
Lina is traveling with Raj Ahtan.

Mesmer


Further Comments: A Mesmer, by itself, is not a very strong class. Its physical stats are low and its offensive magic is limited to Poison spells, which aren't the most useful. A Mesmer makes an excellent partner, however, as its buffs and debuffs can make the rest of the party much more effective. It also gets early access to some very convenient utility spells.
Curly is traveling with Akira.

Warlock/Witch


Further Comments: The Warlock (male) or Witch (female) has a fascinating array of spells. It gets a little direct damage, but it also gains the ability to summon undead allies in battle, and can spend MP to craft consumable items by finding or buying the proper recipes. This gives it a little bit of everything, though the price of some recipes can be a setback.
Hexia is traveling with Zefiryn.

Warriors
Black Knight


Further Comments: A Black Knight is about the best tank available, with a ton of Defense and HP. Its magic is mostly useful against enemies that resist physical attacks, since its Intelligence is low and it doesn't really get the MP to cast a lot. It does have decent attack power, though which lets the class hold its own in battle.
Moe is traveling with Akira.

Paladin


Further Comments: The description above somewhat overstates the Paladin's fighting power. It starts to flag as the game goes on, and while a pretty good healer, it gains access to healing spells slowly. Its anti-undead spells are really good, though, and it's durable enough to tank for most parties.
Kali is traveling with Zefiryn.

Shapeshifter


Further Comments: Despite the lack of control that comes from its wolf forms, the Shapeshifter is actually a very good class. Its high Agility and Strength let it attack often, and while its armor options are lacking, it has enough HP to stay alive in most situations. And when it does transform, the power boost it gets is worth the loss of control in most situations.
Larry is traveling with Holdana.

Ronin


Further Comments: The Ronin is essentially a more combat-focused version of the Mesmer. Its attack power isn't great, but dual-wielding definitely helps it keep up with classes like the Shapeshifter. Toss is pretty anemic, and gold is a precious enough commodity that it's not really worth using, but the rest of the class's skill set is still solid.
Yajirobe is traveling with Raj Ahtan.

Rogues
Bandit


Further Comments: The Bandit is a remarkably versatile class. Steal is a little weak, but its various Traps give it a good array of offensive and debuffing options. Being able to find money and chests after combat isn't game-breaking, but it is a nice bonus.
Alibaba is traveling with Raj Ahtan.

Harlequin


Further Comments: A Harlequin's Card effects are very feast or famine: they can turn around a losing battle, but they can also wipe out the whole party in one unlucky shot. They're a nice tool to have in desperate situations, but that's about it. Its Songs are more reliable, though they do cost MP and tend to be a bit weak.
Harley is traveling with Zefiryn.

Engineer


Further Comments: The Engineer is a surprisingly good tank for a Rogue class. Its high Defense and unique selection of armors give it solid protection. Unfortunately, while its Tools start off very useful, they tend to lose effectiveness rather quickly around halfway through the game.
Shemp is traveling with Akira.

Ranger


Further Comments: What the Engineer is to defense, so is the Ranger to offense. It uses bows, which are powerful and never miss, making it a strong physical fighter. Its Nature skills can also produce a wide variety of effects, though the class lacks the MP to use them too often.
Wolff is traveling with Holdana.

There are a few more classes as well, but they're not available to us now. We'll get to those another time.

5-Headed Snake God fucked around with this message at 12:56 on Sep 19, 2022

MagusofStars
Mar 31, 2012



Ooh this looks interesting. Liked your previous LP so looking forward to this one too. The class sprites being directly ripped from FF4 and FF5 is noticeable but sure, why change a winning look?

For classes:
Matthias the Male Warlock because it sounds like an interesting class.
Rosary the Female Black Knight because ditto.
Cid the Male Engineer because címon, if weíre going to steal the sprites from FF we might as well keep the tradition.

Cloacamazing!
Apr 18, 2018

Too cute to be evil
Since our main heroine is a Huntress, Druid, Shapeshifter and Ranger sound like they would fit in well with her.

BraveLittleToaster
May 5, 2019
Druid, Shapeshifter, Ranger. All in on the forest nerd squad.

wedgekree
Feb 20, 2013
Black Mage[/] but should act like Black Mage from 8-Bit Theatre (if you plan on doing custom dialogue).
Bandit but should act like Thief from 8-Bit theatre (if you plan on doing custom dialogue)
[b]Ronin
but should act like Fighter from 8-bit theatre (if you plan on doing custom dialogue)

Yes, these are all characters from a comic but they make for a reasonably balanced party (well out of universe, in universe they're likely to kill onea nother for the lulz).

Thief steals everythin and goes for backstab, Fighter stabs everything, and Black Mage nukes them. The weak bit is the lack of a dedicated healer for the group. They also lack the versatility that other parties together might have. They have an attack mage, an attack melee, and an agile type. It means the gruop is sort of squishy and the setup is not as flexible.

Again, this is also more of a roleplay group/for the lulz and requires mostly custom writing for them (rahter htan using the game as is) and probably makes for more annoying (particularly if no one has actually read the comic).

https://www.nuklearpower.com/2001/03/02/episode-001-were-going-where/

No matter what though do consider reading hte comic! It's hilarious and fun.

Kinu Nishimura
Apr 23, 2008

SICK LOOT!
Larry the Shapeshift, Curly the Harlequin, and Moe the Witch (pronounced MOE~). You can have the functional classes later, show me the jank right now.

habituallyred
Feb 6, 2015
Lets get the early risers out of the way:

Druid
Paladin
Engineer

Junpei
Oct 4, 2015
Probation
Can't post for 11 days!
Aleks the Male Wizard, Lia the Female Paladin, and Wolff the Male Ranger.

5-Headed Snake God
Jun 12, 2008

Do you see how he's a cat?


I figure I'll leave the vote up for another day or so. I might extend it if there's a sudden surge in interest, but I'm eager to get going and there's quite a bit to document here in the early game.

habituallyred posted:

Lets get the early risers out of the way:

Druid
Paladin
Engineer


Oof, cramming the two best healers into one party? You must want me to suffer. (Seriously, though, vote how you want to. I can deal with basically any party combination.)

Mildly Interesting
Nov 24, 2012
Female Wizard, Female Black Knight, Male Ronin.

I just think the sprites look neat.

5-Headed Snake God
Jun 12, 2008

Do you see how he's a cat?


Mildly Interesting posted:

Female Wizard, Female Black Knight, Male Ronin.

I just think the sprites look neat.

That's two warriors and no rogues though.

Mildly Interesting
Nov 24, 2012

5-Headed Snake God posted:

That's two warriors and no rogues though.

Whoops. Okay, Ronin, get out. We'll get to you later.

Female Wizard, Female Black Knight, Male Harlequin.

Get in there, Edward.

Junpei
Oct 4, 2015
Probation
Can't post for 11 days!
I think Harlequin is supposed to be like Lucia from Shadow Hearts 2, if "Tarot-based skills that can screw you over and are thus not worth using, plus more reliable non-tarot buffs" is any indication. Just without the perfume theming for the latter.

Cloacamazing!
Apr 18, 2018

Too cute to be evil

Junpei posted:

I think Harlequin is supposed to be like Lucia from Shadow Hearts 2, if "Tarot-based skills that can screw you over and are thus not worth using, plus more reliable non-tarot buffs" is any indication. Just without the perfume theming for the latter.

I'm still sticking with the forest team for my vote, but when we get a Harlequin, please name her Lucia if that's the case, in honor of her numerous full party wipes.

5-Headed Snake God
Jun 12, 2008

Do you see how he's a cat?


Tarot skills are worth using... sometimes. In a situation where you stand a good chance of losing anyway, a powerful tarot card can completely save the day. Bad results are rare, but it's still risky to use them too often because it only takes one unlucky roll to screw you.

5-Headed Snake God
Jun 12, 2008

Do you see how he's a cat?


All right, voting seems to have wound down, so I'm ready to call it.

For our mage, we have a tie: Druid and Wizard at three votes each. I'm therefore using my prerogative to pick from the two of them, and I'm taking Druid. The rest of our party is so focused on offense that a Wizard would feel redundant.

For our warrior, Shapeshifter wins cleanly, also at three votes.

And for our rogue, once again with three votes, we're bringing a Ranger.

Thanks for voting, everyone! I'll get to work prepping for the next update.

silversatyr
Jul 29, 2014

Go on an adventure ordained by fate?
-->Okay! I'll grab my stuff!

-->Eh.
Glad to see someone else picking up and LPing this game. (started one in 2014, got sidetracked by life). Keep up the good work!

Randalor
Sep 4, 2011



Awww I missed out in voting. Ah well, I got the Druid and Shapeshifter parts of what I would have voted for.

5-Headed Snake God
Jun 12, 2008

Do you see how he's a cat?




Holdana has a full crew and is ready to go adventuring. I took our Shapeshifter and Ranger's names from suggestions in the thread, but no one suggested a name for the Druid. It turns out that the game doesn't actually have a set of random names, so I made one up myself.

With that done, our first order of business is to loot every bit of treasure we can from this city. In general, I don't plan to show off everything I take from towns, but I want to do it here just to show off how much stuff there is to find.



For example, this random set of shelves in the barracks contains a Tarot Card, which is used to allow a Harlequin to learn to Tarot powers.



I'm sure this is just one guy being a creep and not a hint about anything we might encounter later.







The basement of the barracks is a treasure trove, especially the Firebal scroll. Scrolls are single-use items that mimic the effects of a spell, and Firebal is quite powerful at this stage of the game. Dragon Quest fans can probably already guess what the Tiny Medal is for, but for the rest of you, the answer's coming up.






The upper floor of the barracks likewise has some good stuff. A club is a decent starter weapon and the wayfarer's clothes are the same for body armor. A leather cap doesn't offer much protection, but every little bit helps, I suppose.




Back in the city, there's a tutorial on pushable rocks. We won't run into these for a while, but having them introduced early is still a good idea.






Nearby a merchant tells us of troubles with his shipment. This isn't exactly a priority over saving missing children, but money is money. Also, it's a side quest, and those are worth taking wherever they show up.



Odd. Let's take a look.







Inside the well is a small house, and living within is this man. We don't yet have enough medals to claim any of his prizes.




Believe it or not, this is actually light foreshadowing, and not in the way you might expect.




More loot.




These two people are in the inn. They're not plot-relevant at all, but I do feel bad for the old guy.



The cabinet behind this guy is searchable, but he's blocking our access to it.



These are some of the people who've been begging the king for help. This bit of dialogue also contains some foreshadowing.



To the north is a mysterious door. We lack the key to open it.

In the north part of the castle is a courtyard, which has some NPCs who offer helpful information.








No, you do not need to memorize all this.



This, on the other hand, if extremely important both for finding treasure and for some quests.




This isn't much, but gold is always welcome.





This is one of the game's weirder gimmicks: being able to acquire entire chests from monsters and searches.



Look, not every treasure is fantastic.



Information to save for later.





This guy is clearly a Bandit, but I guess he just has to rot in jail. Not sure about the guy in the other cell, though...



More potentially relevant information.



Blaze is the weakest attack spell in the game, but there are times when you need magic, so this isn't entirely useless.




Back in the throne room, there's an additional chest hidden in the water. A knife is stronger than a club, so this is a good find.



:3:




Always remember to search underfoot in suspicious spots.



Another Tiny Medal.



Sorry, ma'am, but you misquoted the chapter title. No credit for you.



With the city mostly looted, I head to the shops to buy gear for our party. Larry's the only one lacking a weapon, and the only thing here that he can use is brass knuckles, which have a measly 1 attack power.



Yes, you certainly have it much worse than all the parents whose children have gone missing.




I appreciate an NPC who can tell when he's being hosed with, even if he doesn't have good grammar.




The woman's cellar has a switch on the wall, which opens a secret passage.





There's also a fair amount of stuff to find here, including some kind of ticket.



Why does this make me immediately suspicious?




Anyway, the secret passage leads to this tunnel network. There are a couple treasures here, including this leather cap.




There are also monsters. Mice are pretty basic enemies with no real tricks, and this one was extra screwed since we surrounded it. Final Fantasy VI players should recognize this surprise attack mechanic.




Of course, our next encounter surprises us. Rats are slightly more durable than mice and have Plague Bite, which can poison a character. Luckily, no one was afflicted this time.



Here's the other treasure chest down here and SON OF A BITCH.



:stare: This is a really dangerous encounter with the potential to wipe out our group.



By the time I got any actions, two people were poisoned.




It's kind of overkill, but the Firebal scroll may have saved our lives, so it was worth it.




Our reward is a Ring of Might, an accessory which raises a character's Strength by 10. This is a fantastic early-game find and goes right to Larry.




Lacking antidote herbs, I limp my way south, which leads to a staircase that comes up outside the city walls. There's a guard here who's probably shirking his duties, but he tells us about one of the prisoners.

After hitting up the church to get my poison cured and sleeping a night at the inn, I decide to head back to Holdana's cabin.




Holdana's mom is here, which is a nice deviation from the usual trope of heroes with no visible parents. She offers some friendly advice too.





Like most wells, Holdana's can be entered. There's absolutely nothing here except lovely monsters that give barely any XP and money.

After this, I head out of town to fight some monsters. Grinding generally isn't required in Hero's Realm, but level 1 characters are pretty fragile, and it's worth taking some time to do it.





Bruins don't have any nasty attacks, but they're pretty durable and can take 2-3 hits to kill. Greywolves deal a bit more damage but also die more easily. And leafers are just basic fodder that barely do anything before dying.



This is Larry, by the way. I wanted to show off that, while is weapon sucks, he still has pretty considerable power.




I also figured I should show off Wolff's current tricks. Lagomorph, rather than being a slot machine consolation prize, is a terrain spell and only works on the world map, and Called Shot is currently useless since he doesn't have a bow.



Eventually, night falls. Let's head into town and see if we can find anything new.



This guy at the inn has gone to sleep, so we can finally loot his wardrobe. Another Tiny Medal is always good.



Shops are closed.



Turns out that that guard wasn't lying. A crime boss is actually a pretty impressive prisoner to have grabbed.








That's all there is to see in the city, so I head back outside to continue the grind. Level 2 comes in pretty short order, with Holdana learning her first spell, Blaze, and Karla learning her third (she already had Heal and Poison). Puff is an earth attack that targets all enemies. It doesn't work on flying foes, but a group attack is still quite handy this early on.



Back in town, I stay at the inn, then decide to sell off my Tarot card so I can afford a short bow for Wolff. This raises his power considerably and lets him use his Called Shot power for even more damage.



It also lets me put him in the back row, where he'll take less damage. Being in the back row lowers a character's accuracy, but since bows never miss, that's not a problem here.




Now that we're level 2, let's head to Merchant's Pass to save the economy. On the way, we run into a monster that drops one of the beast tokens Holdana's mom mentioned. These will be useful later.



Outside the pass itself is a guard station.



Search everywhere!




C'mon guys. You suck.



This dungeon serves as a tutorial of sorts. Using ladders to cross gaps is a central theme of quite a few dungeons.



Inside the pass, we find this guard, who mentions that the blockage is probably the doing of some demons. Didn't see that coming.





Heading left, we get a simple introduction to using ladders. They're visually distinct, as are the places they can go, so there's no confusion here.



:3: The writing in this game is great. This one dialogue box tells you everything you need to know about these imps.




The horn imps take a couple of rounds to dispatch, and have both decent attack power (shown here) and a few nasty tricks (not shown here). This first one went down pretty easily.



Also, showing off that Wolff has a different power available in caves. No healing here.




The imp dies, but not before making it clear that he's not the only one of his kind.





Heading east, we find another imp guarding a ladder. This one hits us with Plague Bite, poisoning Larry before I can kill it.



Luckily, they drop antidote herbs.



There's also an antidote to be found among the treasures here.



We eventually find a pit with two possible ladder spots. I opt for the right.




This leads to a dead end, but it's not in vain: we get a replacement ladder, as well as a leather shield from a poorly-hidden chest. This is a nice find so early in the game, since leather shields provide solid defense and almost every class can use them.



Merchant's pass contains a few new foes. Oursons are basically stronger bruins; they have a lot of HP and decent power. Ravens have Double Attack, which (obviously) hits twice, but are pretty fragile.



There's a warp wing near the end of the dungeon, which is handy if you're in bad shape by the time you leave.



And here's the last imp. He has an extra ladder nearby in case you missed something before getting here.




He immediately breaks out the imps' nastiest attack: Plague Claw. This damages the entire party and inflicts poison, which is real obnoxious.



His second attack is a Plague Bite on Karla, which does nothing since she's already poisoned. He dies shortly after.




This gives Larry and Wolff enough XP to level. I had to use all my remaining antidotes to recover from poison, but at least I got everyone out alive.




The imp leaves no doubt that the job is done, and the screen shakes violently. When it settles, we get a message about a distant crumbling sound.




Back at the entrance, we find that the rock is gone. Due to strategic placement of grateful NPCs, we still can't get through ourselves.



On the way back to the city, we run into Lizarders, which are more basic enemies without special tricks.





The fight was enough to get Holdana and Karla to level 3, giving our hero the Poison spell.







Talking to the merchant to gave us the quest earns us an excellent reward, both in gold and EXP. After upgrading Holdana and Karla's weapons to copper swords, I head outside and save.

Next time: We get on with the main quest.

5-Headed Snake God fucked around with this message at 12:07 on Sep 11, 2022

Regallion
Nov 11, 2012

I'm sorry, is the status effect that makes you invincible really :ironicat:?

Also i KNEW being on discord wasn't good for anyone involved.

NewMars
Mar 10, 2013
I think it's supposed to be iron-ize, as in, a metal cap style thing. :v:

But anyway yeah this game is really neat! And free! RPGmaker's a good thing to exist.

MagusofStars
Mar 31, 2012



Regallion posted:

I'm sorry, is the status effect that makes you invincible really :ironicat:?
Ironize because your entire party turns into invulnerable iron for a turn but can't attack. IIRC, some games even give it a "priority" so it'll guaranteed go early in the turn / before enemies attack. It's existed in the Dragon Quest series from very early on, like DQ3 I think? If you're played Pokemon, it's basically equivalent to Protect/Detect.

It's a very niche use skill, usually used either for (1) running mage-type enemies out of MP or (2) when you know a powerful attack is coming.

habituallyred
Feb 6, 2015
Searching every sock drawer wasn't enough, now you have to search the ground too!!!
Taking everything that isn't nailed down is being taken too far.

5-Headed Snake God
Jun 12, 2008

Do you see how he's a cat?


habituallyred posted:

Searching every sock drawer wasn't enough, now you have to search the ground too!!!
Taking everything that isn't nailed down is being taken too far.

It seems intimidating, but in practice, most search spots are telegraphed by some detail, like the grassy spot or the dirt patch in this update. There are a few places where the creator got kinda lovely with the mechanic, though, and don't doubt that I am going to point them out when we get there.

5-Headed Snake God
Jun 12, 2008

Do you see how he's a cat?




With Merchant's Pass cleared, we can leave Stromholm and head north to Helminsk. (I think I left the name of the capital out of the previous updates. Whoops!) The path is fairly linear, so all we have to worry about are the monsters.



Wolves are functionally the same as greywolves. They have slightly higher HP and attack power, but at our current level aren't significantly more dangerous.



There's a cave northeast of us, but we can't get there yet. Something to keep in mind for later.



Larry, who has the lowest EXP requirements, hits level 4 on the way.



There's a minor split in the path here. That doesn't look like a town, but let's go check it out anyway.




It's a shrine which, like many shrines in the game, houses a teleportal. Unfortunately, the device is down, so we're stuck here for now.



There's another teleportal in the building as well, but it's locked behind another strange door.



The priestess's room is downstairs, and has one item for us to claim. Moon herbs cure Numb, which is basically paralysis.



It's still night as we approach Helminsk, so let's take a look at the city after dark.



Taking all the treasure I can find. Because I'm a hero.



That must be the cave we saw earlier. And if the name is any indicator, there's something there that should solve another of our problems.




The people here drop a lot of information about the caves, so it's pretty easy to guess where you're supposed to go.



Another ticket. But what are they for?




More distraught parents. The woman in Stromholm's castle also mentioned that her son was 12.




This isn't really important, I just found it amusing. During the day, the two are in separate locations, but the old man says exactly the same thing.



Pretty sure this is an almost word-for-word piece of dialogue from Dragon Quest 3. But more importantly: do you see something suspicious?




Yeah, keeping an eye out for suspicious spot on the ground pays off. Wizard potions restore MP, making them quite valuable - especially since they can't be purchased.



Not sure why you'd think that's a mistake. The old man in the castle told us there was a tower north of here.



The weapon and armor shop is unlocked despite not being open for business.



This weird guy is just hanging out, selling random stuff to anyone who breaks into the shopkeepers' home after dark.



Most of the stuff he sells is useless to us. A cypress stick is the weakest weapon in the game, lucky dice are only usable by harlequins, and a poison needle is weaker than what anyone in our party can use (but it does have a small chance to score instant kills, so it's a good choice for most mages). The iron claw, though, is a must-buy for our party. A 49-point increase in Larry's attack power is huge. Luckily, I have a knife lying around that I forgot to sell off earlier, which gives me enough to buy it.



The shopkeepers have a tiny medal. I found a few more during this update as well, but I completely forgot to trade them in. I'll do it next time.




I don't know how this child came by this information, but he confirms something that the player may have pieced together already: all of the missing children are 12 years old. The real question is why. Who would abduct 12-year-olds en masse?



In the corner of the town is a mysterious stairway. Inside is another locked door (but different in appearance from the two we found previously), as well as a man.




Hell yes I want to join the Cobra Club! :woop:



Why would I want a refund? I'm in the Cobra Club!

That's all there is to find at night. Let's head outside and wait for day.



Yes, you're the second person to mention that. The only reason it seems at all noteworthy is that people keep mentioning it.



Without any clues to its location, this may take us a bit.



Something to remember for later. Much later, in fact, as we won't be visiting a town called Eastgate during this chapter.



The town's accessory shop sells stat-boosting rings like the one Larry's wearing. These are potentially useful, but I tend to prefer saving my money for weapons and armor.



I really hope she's right.




We're going to have to do this soon, I guess.



Dude, my shapeshifter has killed bears wearing nothing but lovely brass knuckles. This wouldn't an impressive feat even if it had actually happened.



The town's weapon shop has a few new items, but most of them are of little interest to us. Iron spears are strong, but they require two hands, meaning no shield. Scimitars are only usable by Wolff, who prefers bows. Long swords are definitely something I want though. The armor shop has some good stuff too, but I didn't visit it at this point. I'll show it off in a bit.



This guy never sleeps? That can't be healthy. Live your dream, but don't kill yourself for it.



Finally, let's check out Helminsk's well.



Inside we find a treasure chest by a ladder crossing. Regrettably, we have no ladder, so we'll leave to go west and take the long way around.



There are monsters down here too; this place is a proper dungeon. Eyeballers cast spells, randomly choosing between Blaze and Heal.




With his new claws, Larry is an absolute beast (hah) in combat.







This fight got the rest of the team to level 4, which is a significant milestone. Holdana having Heal means that I now have two healers, and Karla getting Antidote make antidote herbs much less important.




More new foes. Beaktrots have mild attacks but occasionally cast Sap, which halves a character's defense. Spakles [sic] have Shocker, which deals a small amount of lightning damage to one character. Neither is especially dangerous.



How on earth does someone live down here?





I'm just gonna post the entirety of what he has to say here, so get ready for a lore dump.














Phew! I hope you all found this interesting.



Oh, and the old guy's got another wizard potion. Always nice.



Oh hey, our first instance of monsters dropping a treasure chest.




Inside is a life herb, which restores a dead character to life. These are super valuable and, like wizard potions, are not currently available for purchase, so this is a fantastic find.



That's a lot of lizarders. They're not especially dangerous, but with large groups there's always the risk of them focusing on one character and bringing them down.




This is a perfect chance to use Wolff's new Nature ability, a multitarget attack. It only kills two, but the rest are softened up. Holdana and Larry each take out one...




And Karla finishes off the last three.



We also get a dragon token for our troubles. It serves a similar function to the beast tokens we got earlier.




Finally, we loop back around to the entrance. Turns out the woman's missing brooch was right here in the well. I can see how that might have happened, but who put it in a treasure chest?




South of the chest is a ladder, which we can use to quickly get out.









Nothing better than a job well done, especially when it gives us another level.




Now that we have a little money, let's buy some armor. The leather dress - a female-only piece with decent defense - is tempting, but Larry is still wearing a cloth robe, so the wolf pelt will be a nice upgrade for him.



We've put this off long enough. The Amazing Funhouse is up to the northeast.



Let's go take a look.




It's pretty swanky, actually. It definitely has the feel of a casino, though the "gambling" is quite a bit different.



There's a free ticket here in case you somehow got here without finding any - or sold them.




This is the token market that Holdana's mother mentioned. There are quite a few items on offer; depending on what tokens you have, you can get a hide herb (makes a character invisible), a warp wing, a wizard potion, a blaze scroll, a firebal scroll, a heal scroll, a random seed, or a pack of medicinal herbs. Several of those would be nice for us right now, but we can't get any of the really good ones, so we'll pass. Let's go check out the main attraction.



This guy really oversells how fun this is, but I can't fault his showmanship.





Yeah, it's a timed maze. Each attempt requires a ticket, and if you run out, you're out of luck.



Fortunately, there's a save point right here, so if you fail you can just reset and save yourself a ticket.



I can see some people finding this fun, but I'll be honest: I'm not a fan of mazes and this feels more like work to me than it does play.




Still, credit where credit is due: the maze is an effort to give the gameplay some variety, and the creator did throw a few extra goodies into its nooks and crannies. There are a few treasure chests, but their contents aren't really worth it. There's also this shop, which does actually have some good stuff. Unfortunately, we already have some iron claws, no one in the party can use the golbin club or bullwhip, and we don't have the money for the chainmail. For now, it's more of a curiosity than anything else.



With some persistence, you can figure out the correct route to reach the exit.




Here's our reward: a jester's mask and a strength seed. The mask has decent defense, but replaces a character's Attack command with Goof Off, which has a random effect - sometimes good, but just as often useless or detrimental. No way am I using it. At least the seed is nice.

Well, that's enough time wasted. Let's head south to meet the Cobra Club.



A few new enemies roam the lands around Helminsk, including vamplants. They're not too tough, but that can inflict Poison and drain your health, so they can be a nuisance.



We've arrived. This is, in fact, the same cave we saw on the way to Helminsk.



Confirmed that the guy in jail is King Cobra.



That's fine, check out my sweet membership card. :smug:



I... What? :negative:



poo poo. Okay, new plan. Let's head back to Stromholm and talk to King Cobra.




Turns out he's a surprisingly decent guy. For, you know, a criminal mastermind.



Okay, this is better.



And in we go.



I'd be more glad if I could actually take that loot for myself. I've got kids to save, man!




Well, that's ominous.






In the next room over we meet King Cobra's second, who tasks us with going down into the mine and recovering the pickaxe we just heard about. The one that was lost to "something terrible".

Sure, why not?



Oh, I'm sure it'll be fine. Probably just a bunch of imps.



Among the treasures hidden in the room is a warp whistle, not to be confused with a warp wing. It teleports us out of a dungeon, which can be a life saver in an emergency.




We now have confirmation that we need to use the teleportal to proceed, meaning we have to go into the mines anyway. Not that it wasn't already pretty obvious, but again: it's nice to have it confirmed.



Look at all those corpses. I'm expecting a monster in a box.



Nope, just gold.



Cave mammoths are new here. They hit fairly hard and have lots of HP, but that's it.






More levels for our crew.



Scorpions, as you might expect, inflict poison. They're also surprisingly durable. Morkuses, meanwhile, are big bags of HP. I assume they can hit hard too, but I never found out; they're very slow and spend half their turns using Observe Battle, which has no effect.



As we descend into the mines, we come across an underground lake. It's a nice change of scenery and will be relevant later.



We also come across this another chest surrounded by corpses. Is it an ambush or another fake-out?




The former. It's four morkuses, and none of them actually attacked before they all died.



We're rewarded with a Ring of Warding, which increases Defense by 10. I give it to Karla since she's by far the most fragile member of this team.



Popliums (poplia?) are similar to spakles, but more durable; they have good evasion and high defense, though they're weak to fire. They share the spakles' Shocker attack, though the poplium version does considerably more damage.



We've circled around to the south side of the lake. The save point is a godsend considering what's coming up. You might also notice a boat. We can board it to cross the lake, either going back north to exit the mines more easily, or going west to find a chest containing a wizard potion. For now, however, we're going to that peninsula, which has a staircase leading down.



I've got a bad feeling about this.



A really bad feeling.



Bring it! :black101:



Meet Darmon the Great and his four servants, the Shadeye, Stoneye, Fireye, and Healeye. This battle is kind of nuts, and I can absolutely believe that these creatures killed a whole bunch of people. Darmon himself hits fairly hard and uses Fire Breath to damage the party, but the four eyes are the real threat. The Shadeye is immune to physical damage and inflicts Surround (blindness) on the party. The Stoneye absorbs earth (including Karla's Puff spell) and poisons the party. The Flameye uses Fire Breath, but it deals negligible damage, making it the least dangerous of the four. The Healeye heals Darmon's entire team for several hundred HP a pop. The eyes only act about 30-50% of the time (they use Observe Battle otherwise), but their combined assault is a real problem.

My first targets are the Shadeye, which is pretty vulnerable to magic, and the Stoneye, to avert poison as much as possible. Once they're down, things get more manageable, and the Healeye is our next target, followed by the Fireye. Once all four are down, Darmon is much less dangerous, though he still deals enough damage to be a threat.

Make no mistake: this is a very rough fight, especially if you come in unprepared. It took me four tries to win.



Eventually, Darmon transforms into this ghostly shape. In this mode, he's immune to physical attacks and absorbs all elements, but thankfully, he also doesn't attack.



Eventually, he reverts to his regular form, and we're able to take him out fairly quickly. Larry scores a critical hit, and with that, our first real boss fight is done.








Darmon gives considerable XP, and everyone leveled again, with a couple new spells learned. Return has the same effect as a Warp Wing, though the MP cost is a bit exorbitant at 16. Bless deals damage to a single undead foe and is especially useful against ghosts.



As expected, the chest behind Darmon contains the golden pickaxe.



Heading the opposite direction leads us to this lovely room, which contains the dilithium crystal we need to continue our trek.







After returning to the surface, we hand over the pickaxe, and Prince Cobra gives us a ring, as well as a nice EXP reward.



The Ring of the Stars raises all stats by 8, so I give it to Holdana, our most well-rounded character.



On the way back to Helminsk we run into another new enemy, a vulture. I don't know what it does since I killed it before it could do anything. :v:








After resting up in Helminsk, we fork over the crystal to the priestess. Besides activating the teleportal, this counts as a completed quest, and the EXP reward is enough to give the team another level.



The portal leads to a similar building.



We've gone far enough north that it's getting snowy. Hopefully we won't have to go too much further to find the kids.

5-Headed Snake God fucked around with this message at 15:29 on Jun 8, 2022

Randalor
Sep 4, 2011



Wait... did you just rob a grave for a potion?

Black Robe
Sep 12, 2017

Generic Magic User


Randalor posted:

Wait... did you just rob a grave for a potion?

that's what heroes do

5-Headed Snake God
Jun 12, 2008

Do you see how he's a cat?


Black Robe posted:

that's what heroes do

This guy gets it.

MagusofStars
Mar 31, 2012



Randalor posted:

Wait... did you just rob a grave for a potion?
Itís not like the dead guy needs it any longer.

Randalor
Sep 4, 2011



Black Robe posted:

that's what heroes do

5-Headed Snake God posted:

This guy gets it.

Oh, okay, just confirming that's what it looked like.

MagusofStars posted:

It’s not like the dead guy needs it any longer.

Hey now, their neighbor two graves over didn't seem to let a little thing like death stop him. Maybe the inhabitant of that grave was planning on having a tasty drink when they woke up from their nap.

NewMars
Mar 10, 2013
As you can guess this game draws quite obviously on dragon quest IV in places. Mind, it's most close with this chapter, I think. It becomes more it's own-ish thing later.

5-Headed Snake God
Jun 12, 2008

Do you see how he's a cat?




So here we are in the northern part of the world, a land of ice and snow. That forest clearing is a pretty obvious destination...



...but then there's this additional shrine. Let's check that out first.



Oh. Okay, then, back to the clearing.





But of course, there are monsters to deal with. Icebergs cast Heal and Stopspell (silence), making them a pain, but they die pretty quickly. Northwolves supplement their bites with Icebreath, which its the entire party for a small amount of damage. Icemammoths are durable and hit pretty hard, but don't have any special tricks.



Someone in Helminsk mentioned a Rover, and this is their home. Given how old the game is, it's a little surprising to see such an inoffensive analogue for the Roma people.



Wish I could learn that skill.



A girl in the corner of the camp gives us an obvious clue, but she's right - the dog won't budge at all.



So we return at night to check out the spot. Our reward is a love potion recipe, which is for Warlocks and Witches. We can't make use of this, but we'll hold onto it for now.



We may have actually found someone who knows what's going on.











Finally, we have an answer to what's happening and why. The demon scholar's notes, the specific targeting of 12-year-olds, and the repeated mention of a tower to the north: this speech ties all of it together, and likewise reveals the game's main threat. We'll surely have to deal with Mephistocles eventually, but for now, we can at least take out one of his generals.

Of course, that's after we finish a few more side activities. The kids should be fine, right?







This sounds quite intimidating but is actually a pretty short side quest. We'll tackle it soon.



This is, in fact, a clue.



If we head back to the headman's tent and check one of the sleeping bags, we get a tiny medal for our troubles. Heroes, you see, don't just rob graves, but children too.




The shops in the camp contain the best weapons and armor one can buy in chapter 1. The goggles and viper amulet are accessories that prevent Surround and Poison, respectively. Everything else is just a weapon or armor upgrade, though we can't use all of them. Only harlequins can use the silver harp, for example. Still, there's a lot of good stuff here. The battleaxe, long bow, chain mail, bronze shield, and wooden helm are all upgrades for us. Technically, the silk robe is too, but it's female-only and only offers 1 Defense more than the chainmail; it's okay for female mages but too expensive to justify buying it for anyone on this team.



Outside the camp, there's a small spot of light blue to the northwest. It's sort of hard to see in this shot, but in-game it's animated, making it stand out a bit.



This is the Contraption, bane of the Rovers. It has a couple of attacks, but nothing too dangerous: Program 18 deals damage, while Program 5 inflicts Surround on the party.



Oh, hey, it looks like Wolff got a new Nature power for the outdoors. Not useful here, but good to have.




After a couple of rounds, the Contraption gets some kind of error and runs away.



The Contraption always seems to respawn in a forest on the island, but it moves so it can leave them. In this case it went south.




Fortunately, taking out the Contraption isn't as frustrating as you might expect. At the start of each fight after the first, it takes damage equal to whatever it had when it last ran away, so it can be worn down with a little persistence.



After the second fight, it runs away up here.




The damage continues to pile up over the next two fights, until finally, it uses Program 99.




This "heals" it for -1001 damage, causing it to self-destruct. We get the Contraption parts for our efforts, to prove we've defeated it.








Back at the camp, we turn in the quest, earning ourselves a nice reward and giving everyone a level up.



Next up is this lonely house to the east of the camp.



It's actually a pretty nice place. And do you see something interesting?



No, you don't, because there's nothing here. Look, I'm not going to let a little thing like "respect for the dead" keep me from looting every suspicious grave I see.



The cottage interior is pretty ritzy, considering. How did the owner even get a piano out here?










Inside is an old man, clearly starved for company. After jawing at us for literally a whole day, he gives us a princely gift as thanks.



The silver key opens some of the locked doors we've seen. This is a great prize!



Listening to the ramblings of an old man is apparently worth some EXP as well.



He really seems like a genuinely nice guy. :)



Oh, and he keeps a tiny medal in his well. This gives us 10, so let's head back to Stromholm and turn them in.




Our first prize is the boomerang. It hits all enemies, but by this point its power is so lacking that we can't really make good use of it.




Our second prize, however, is the bladerang, which is a stronger version of the same thing. This is better than anything we have right now save for Larry's battleaxe, and will serve us well. I give it to Holdana, who's best equipped to make use of it.




Now that we have the silver key, let's put it to use. There's a locked door by the guy who sold us the fake Cobra Club member card, and behind it are three chests, containing 102 gold, a wizard potion, and a voicebox. A voicebox is an accessory that prevents Stopspell, but Karla is generally better off with the ring of warding. It's still worth holding on to, just in case.



Next up, let's go check out that shrine, since we can open the door.




We're spat out on an island entirely covered by ice and snow. At its north tip is a cave, which we must obviously check out.



Inside, we're introduced to ice. Stepping on ice propels the party in whatever direction it was walking, unable to stop. Running into a patch of solid ground lets us stop, hitting a wall causes us to bounce off and reverse direction, and hitting an ice crystal does the same but also damages us.



Naturally, this is used to create a maze, but it's much less difficult than it might look.



There are some monsters in here, and Larry levels from them.




At the end of the cave are a few chests, with this fur coat being the best of them. I strongly consider giving it to Karla, our most fragile party member, but it's such a big increase for Larry that I can't really justify not letting him take it.



Wolff levels on our way back to town.



Okay, no more dithering. Let's go take the fight to Balthalas.



The exterior of the tower introduces us to swamp terrain, which will get more and more common as the game goes on. Swamp tiles deal 3 damage to the party when stepped on - not a huge amount, but enough to make crossing large stretches of it dangerous.



The entrance to the tower is a locked door. Getting the silver key is mandatory for entry.



And so we enter the chapter's final dungeon. Apart from the statues decorating the entrance, it doesn't look too special, but looks can be deceiving.



Entering the first passage leads to a dead end, but the fact that we can see a ladder from here is a potentially important clue.



Ghosts and spectres both haunt the tower. If you'll recall from the previous update, Balthalas is an undead mage, so this fits his theme. Both these enemies are pretty similar: immune to physical damage, but lacking anything that'll seriously screw you. I usually run from enemies like this, since fighting them is both boring and a drain on MP, but I fought this one out.




Wolff has a couple of new Nature powers available here, though neither is especially useful in this fight.




On the other hand, this is an excellent time to make use of Karla's Bless spell. Its damage isn't super amazing, but it's more than our fighters typically do with a standard attack.




This fight earns us a couple of levels.



Karkasses are undead monsters that like to use Firebreath to damage the party. It's not terribly dangerous, but the monster itself is kind of a pain to fight due to its high Defense.





If we move around the floor's center, we can find three rooms: two with chests, and one containing two sets of stairs.





The left stairwell leads to a dead soldier holding a note, which confirms that we'll need the ladder we saw, and tells us that finding it may be tricky.




Taking the other staircase brings us to the rest of floor 2. Note the hole unblocked by walls: it is possible to step off of that, dropping down to the floor below. Falling is the dungeon's primary environmental hazard.



After circling around the center of the floor, we can get on this glassy walkway. This is where falling becomes a real problem for a careless player.






Several new enemies show up on this floor. Guardians are durable and strong, but have no special attacks. Krypocalypses can hit the entire party with Slasher, which deals moderate physical damage. Mere-wyverns are easily the most dangerous monster here; they're not too durable, but their version of Firebreath does a considerable amount of damage. And rhinotaurs... exist. (Seriously, this is the only one I encountered, and with the surprise attack I killed it before it did anything.)



Eventually, we loop around the outside of the tower to the stairs.



Ths next floor has three rooms and a button pushing puzzle. Stepping on a raised button lowers it but also toggles one or more other buttons.



Having all for buttons lowered creates a stairwell.



The stairwell leads us down to the tower's basement. Here we can take one of two routes: a longer one with more random battles or a shorter one with a damaging floor.



Eventually, this route leads us to the ladder.





Back on floor 3, we check out the three rooms. The western room has stairs leading up. The southern room contains a chest holding a scale shield, which is not available for purchase in the chapter. Karla, ever lacking in Defense, is chosen to carry it. And the eastern room holds a red ball which, when taken, restores the party's HP. Not sure why Balthalas is keeping that here, but we'll happily take advantage.



Floor 4 is a simple straight route, but floor 5 is a winding, narrow path that's very easy to fall off.



This looks like a dead end, but it's not.




It leads us to an island with a blue ball, which restores the party's MP. It still requires us to climb back up two floors, but it's worth it.



After climbing back up and saving at the nearby save point (off-screen to the left), we set the ladder. Let's go end this.



Balthalas' throne room is littered with corpses, which should surprise exactly no one.







I genuinely can't tell whether this guy is clever or just dumb, but he laughs like the imps so I'm guessing probably the latter.



Here we go: last fight of the chapter. Balthalas himself isn't terribly dangerous; he mostly uses Evil Flame, which hits the party for small amounts of damage. His vanguards are more dangerous, since their attacks do a solid amount of damage.



Karla's action bar isn't actually filling here. A weird bug in the engine is that using Holdana's Pummel command prevents any other combatant from taking action until she herself does something. Characters who are set to attack still get to fill their bars, but anyone set to cast a spell just has to wait. Once she does, every other queued up action goes off at pretty much the same time, which can lead to one person taking a ton of damage if you're unlucky.



And we were. Karla took hits from all three vanguards, and Balthalas' Evil Flame finished her off. I decided to use a precious life herb to get her back on her feet.



At a point where Wolff is dealing less than 200 damage without buffs, Larry whips out an absolutely devastating crit, which pushes the fight into its next phase.



After taking enough damage, Balthalas switches into his second form, UberBalthalas. Luckily, he's not too dangerous, mostly attacking with Firebreath for moderate damage.



I suspect his HP carries over from his first form, because this one went down very quickly. And with that, we've defeated one of the demon lord's four generals and nearly wrapped up the first chapter!






Appropriately, this also earns a level for everyone except Holdana (whose EXP requirements are actually fairly high), and earns Karla the Bang spell. Bang is a stronger version of Puff, and will certainly be useful for whatever future challenges this party may face.




Balthalas gives on final exclamation before exploding in a wave of black energy, and we head down the nearby stairs.



Yeah, I'm definitely going with the conclusion that Balthalas is a dumbass, since he didn't even kill the kids he abducted.






Mission accomplished!







We get a little montage of returning the children to their parents. It's rather heartwarming and a satisfying conclusion to this story.






As a reward, Holdana gets her own holiday, and finally hits level 11 - but Larry is hot on her heels and hits level 12. But Holdana's work isn't done yet.











With this, Holdana and her allies are set on the path to the main story. The woman who saved all those children would naturally be drawn to an even more important mission.



The Eastgate is east of Stromholm, as you would expect. It can be visited any time, but there's very little reason to do so apart from a seed hidden in its guard house. (EDIT: Yes, this is the same Eastgate mentioned by the boy previously. I completely missed it because I am a dumbass.)



And so Holdana leaves behind her homeland, heading out to help save the world.

5-Headed Snake God fucked around with this message at 00:45 on Aug 19, 2022

NewMars
Mar 10, 2013
Ah, truth be told I always found the tower dungeon to be outsizedly frustrating for it's place in the game and I was never quite sure why.

5-Headed Snake God
Jun 12, 2008

Do you see how he's a cat?


NewMars posted:

Ah, truth be told I always found the tower dungeon to be outsizedly frustrating for it's place in the game and I was never quite sure why.

It does have a few dangerous monsters, and falling off can definitely be a frustrating experience, especially if you plummet from the top to the bottom in one go.

5-Headed Snake God
Jun 12, 2008

Do you see how he's a cat?


Today's update is going to be a short one, since we have a new character and there's not a lot I can do without a full party.



What an odd title.




These rulers are not giving themselves a flattering introduction.




Our hero for this chapter is Zefiryn, a powerful spellcasting fighter. Her capabilities are detailed in the next post.








We're given a pretty straightforward introductory mission to cleanse the local mines. This is fairly similar to Holdana's sidequest to clear Merchant's Pass, but slightly more difficult since we're dealing with ghosts.



I'm sure that's it. Certainly the chapter title doesn't make this extra foreboding or anything.



A Magus appears to be some sort of diplomatic title, perhaps a guild representative stationed in a city.




Zefiryn's home is significantly fancier than Holdana's. Perhaps Felix is her little brother or something?



Even better. :3: You know Zefiryn is a good person because she has a cat.




The baron kind of undersold what a problem the mine haunting is. The mine is shut down and the workers are out of a job.



I believe it's "crunk", sir.



Google tells me that Electric Lettuce is the name of a weed dispensary. I assume this man is planning to get very, very high.



I, too, would be interested in acquiring this key.




In case the player hasn't already gotten the hint, ghosts are immune to physical attacks. Don't feel obligated to give me any particular mage class, though; this is the first quest of the chapter and Zefiryn's casting is perfectly good. Plus, the town has enough scrolls for an emergency.



More gossip that is clearly going to be relevant at some point.




We nobly find the man's missing money, and, invoking the law of Finders Keepers, we take it.



In the local outpost, a mage tells us this bit of gossip. Recruitment centers like this can already change characters' classes, but this implies that the one in Cadana has extra functionality.



I'm mostly skipping over all the looting in town, but I want to point out that Zefiryn is continuing the heroic tradition that Holdana began, and that it has turned up a Warlock/Witch recipe that our last hero didn't find until near the end of her chapter. This could end up being quite a find.



Here's everything I collected from the town. Not a bad haul.



I am indeed.

It's time once again to vote for our party composition. The rules are the same as before: You can vote for up to three classes (one from each group), and you may optionally provide a name and/or gender for each. Since we're taking one of every class across the four parties, Druid, Shapeshifter, and Ranger are off the table, but everything else is free. Get those votes in!

5-Headed Snake God fucked around with this message at 12:33 on Sep 11, 2022

5-Headed Snake God
Jun 12, 2008

Do you see how he's a cat?


Hero Profile: Zefiryn


Zefiryn's class is Magus. As the name suggests, it's a magically-oriented class with lots of offensive spells. It also has the Magicombo command, which, similar to Holdana's Pummel, causes Zefiryn to double-cast all her spells for the rest of the fight - assuming she has the MP for the second shot. It's slightly less powerful than Pummel, but not much. But our Magus is also a skilled fighter, able to wield a variety of weapons and armor, and even gaining the ability to use Shapeshifter transformations.

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Death Dealer
Jul 25, 2006

Well, since the game is so helpfully feeding you recipes you can't use let's fix that! Though I'm sure the previous recipes don't carry over to this chapter.

Classes: Witch, F-Paladin and M-Engineer.

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