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Monday, July 23, 2012

Final Fantasy 19: BOSS: The Enchanted Cookies

Enchanted Cookie x3
Level: 1, HP: 300, MP: 0
Rewards: Flour x3 (Always)
Special: None
Vulnerable to: Mini
Attacks: Speech Attack
Sketch: !Chocolate Chip Missile, Explode
Blue Magic: Explode (Sketch)
Draw Spell: Curaja

BGM: My Favorite Trick (Breath of Fire III)

The Enchanted Cookies are the easiest bosses in this entire game. There is no competition: it is literally impossible to lose this fight unless you target your own characters. The Cookies will never, under any circumstances, deal even a single point of damage.

They certainly are chatty, however. Every one of their turns, they have a chance of saying one of the following phrases:

   "You're losing serious brownie points, buster!"
   "Butter me up enough and I might let you pass!"
   "It looks like you've been caught with your hand in the cookie jar!"
   "You ugly beasts! Looking at you makes me want to toss my cookies!"

When attacked physically, they will scoff, "So, you think you're a tough cookie, eh?" When attacked magically, they will sniff, "So, you think you're a smart cookie, don't ya?" When defeated, they will cry out, "That's the way the cookie crumbles!"

If you hit them with fire magic (such as Phoenix's Fire spell,) they will yelp, "OUCH! I think you turned the oven up a little high!" If you miniaturize them with Badger's Compression spell, they will exclaim, "Bite-sized!"

Talkative little buggers, aren't they?

The most interesting things you can get out of these bosses-in-nothing-but-name are their Sketch attacks. Most of the time, you will get the !Chocolate Chip Missile, which is unique to the Cookies and features an animation never seen anywhere else (although the power is actually less than a regular physical attack). There is a 25% chance of getting the Explode spell, however, which is a Blue Magic that can be learned by Ferret. Granted, it is a USELESS Blue Magic that can be learned by Ferret, as you will almost always get more use out of a live Ferret that can Shriek and dispense items instead of a kamikaze Exploding Ferret (amusing though the image is,) but this IS the first chance you have to learn it, so it's interesting for the novelty if nothing else.

When it comes to the actual disposal of the cookies, you will find that the greatest danger in this fight is that you, the player, will die of over-exposure to bad jokes. Burn Owl Aye's "trap" to a crisp with Phoenix's Fire, which they are weak to, and move on.

Final Fantasy 19: Owl Tower

Location: The World of Darkness, Owl Tower
Party members: Badger, Ferret, Phoenix
Opponents: None
Items: Star Chart x13, Potion x2, Hi-Potion x2, Phoenix Down x3, Phoenix Pinion
       x1, 333 G, 444 G, 555 G, 666 G, 777 G
BGM: Welcome to Bukki Tower (Super Mario RPG)

The lair of the terrible villain Owl Aye! Traps lurk in the floor panels. Monsters lie in wait behind every corner. Utter terror enters your very soul from the chilling background music. Owl Aye is bringing Princess Peahen snacks.

Wait, what?

Preparation: You'll want to be fully decked out in World of Darkness equipment before venturing in here. Whether "World of Darkness equipment" means a store-bought Flashy Robe or the Scholars' Library's Librarian's Robe is your own prerogative, but Cotton Robes just ain't gonna cut it anymore.

Despite being the lair of an evil enchanter, Owl Tower seems suspiciously homey from the outside, with a neat little welcome mat and some pretty flowers on a windowsill. Phoenix fears that the welcome mat may have teeth and try to eat you, but Ferret smacks some sense into her and the animals breach the entrance only to come out again at the entrance to the tower's glade. A space/time distortion!

Ferret attempts the front door again, with no more success than before. Phoenix curses Owl Aye with the power of Crimper/Cheese. Badger ponders. If Ultimecia gave him a portion of her Sorceress Power over time and space, perhaps he can use it to unbend this spatial loop and gain entrance to the Tower!

Unfortunately, Badger has no idea how to access those powers.

Fortunately, Ferret discovers a door labeled "For Guests" that goes right inside.

Several stories up, a small grey kitten that has been watching the invaders intently now runs off to warn her master...

In the cozy parlor at the top of the castle, the Great and Terrible Owl Aye is threatening the beauteous Princess Peahen with...incredibly insignificant threats of bodily harm, such as tickle-torture and rib-poking. Princess Peahen, who is as dumb as she is beautiful and as brave as she is dumb, valiantly refuses to remain his prisoner, despite the "danger" to her person. The charade would probably continue indefinitely if the kitten did not appear, raging at Owl Aye that intruders have entered the castle! Owl Aye does not understand; how did they surmount his repeating space loop? "By taking the LABELED side door, you imbecile!"

Owl Aye is confident that Peahen's rescuers, no matter how powerful they may be, will never surmount his next defense. Kitty demands to know if this is the one in the kitchen and, when told that it is, informs him that she will be taking over Castle Defense duty herself.

The inside of Owl Tower is filled with books, tchotchkies, and a surprising number of chinchillas, who appear neither rabid, violent, nor even in the least bad-tempered. Above the nearest doorway is a plaque reading, "Lord Chaos, bless this humble home." It has birds on it. Ferret is not impressed.

Wandering through the rooms on the first level of Owl Tower, you will find a carefully labeled "Care Package" containing a Potion, a Phoenix Down, 333 gold, and a note wishing you to have a nice day. Ferret's respect for the place is dwindling into the negatives by now. Things only get worse when you enter the kitchen and find Owl Aye's "next defense"...

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

In Humanity Lies Hope: Introduction

It's high time I introduced some new ideas on this blog, so let's begin with an idea I've been turning over in my head for over a year and a half now. Despite the large amount of time I've had this idea in mind, it's honestly not very well-formed, so this isn't a concept I'll have huge, in-depth posts on like I do for Rambling or Spectrum.

Some of you are probably quite relieved by this!

Anyway, "In Humanity Lies Hope" is imagined to be an RPG that looks like a Tales game and plays like Dissidia: Final Fantasy. It takes place in a world of demihumans, and it is a game plot that runs on curiosity and the desire for freedom rather than a world-threatening danger. Like Star Ocean: The Second Story (and other games,) the game has two main characters, both dog demihumans: Haruki, a shiba-inu-inspired archer who is quiet and sheltered, and Tess, a collie-inspired street-thief with a noble spirit.

Combat takes place in large, interactive, three-dimensional battlefields, as in Dissidia. The maximum party size is four characters, but you only control one, although you can switch who you are controlling at any time. The remaining characters in the party are either controlled by the A.I., directed by a Tales-inspired set of directives you can set in the Options menu and change during battle, or by up to three other people. I'm a big fan of multiplayer RPGs, and it's my personal opinion we really need more of them!

In a way, I intend the plot of "In Humanity Lies Hope" to be a mystery story. Mysteries drive the characters to leave their homes and embark on this journey. Mysteries drive the religions of the world, and mysteries inspire the ones who turn against these religions as well. Mysteries will, I hope, pull the player into the story. Who is right about the nature of the world? What is the real plan being woven within the shadows? Why do the worshiped gods have such familiar forms? And most important of we all turn pink or blue in the afterlife?

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Yuunaru! Characters: Taro

Nicknames: None
Age: 17, Taurus
Grade: High School Senior
Hair: Black
Eyes: Black
Build: Large, but beautiful
Profession: Sumo-wrestler-in-training
Family: Orphaned
Personality: Kind, caring, dedicated
Dream: To open a restaurant
Likes: Feeling needed, rice
Dislikes: Cracks about his body
Weapon: Gloves
Transformed Costume: Fundoshi
Element: Earth Sun

 Magnitude 10
 Encourage (heals both of Taro's allies)
 Cure (full-heal for one)

 Taro, Hiro: NOT AGAIN
 Taro, Motoki: Bakery Attack
 Taro, Konosuke: Powerful Song
 Taro, Kiyoshi: Blitzkrieg
 Taro, Yukio: Elegant Song
 Taro, Shimei/ Fuma/ Jin/ Yukio: First Aid
 Taro, Makoto/ Ai Len/ Kisho/ Kohei/ Atsushi/ Zen: Martial Attack

 Taro + Two (Mizumaki, Konosuke, Kiyoshi, Tsuruya, Zen): Exhibitionist Attack
 Taro + Two (Shimei, Fuma, Jin, Yukio): Medical Emergency
 Taro + Two (Junichi, Konosuke, Hikaru, Yukio, Hanako): Concert Attack

The youngest and newest member of the school's unpopular sumo wrestling team, Taro is a sweet, gentle, soft-spoken, food-loving student with a strong work ethic and a humble dream of someday opening a cozy little restaurant somewhere in town. Shy and often found studying with extensive supplies of food at his side, he has been teased throughout his school career but has somehow held onto his kind and innocent nature. He can be gently teasing sometimes, but is much more often the shoulder others run to cry on, as he radiates calm, acceptance, and comfort like a space heater.

Although Hiro's wish grants him, among many others, magical powers, Taro doesn't realize this for quite a while (although his encouraging words to others have been having surprisingly dramatic effects recently). It's not until Arata and Hayato crash a festival and Taro shatters the earth to defend others that he realizes something's different. Once the situation is explained to him by the others, he cheerfully agrees to help Fight Evil (disappointing Ryuu temporarily by ruining his sentai team, until he learns that Taro can cook).

There are two different ways to hang out with Taro: you can train with him and follow him to sumo, which will get you lots of easy extra EXP but not too many relationship points; or you can cook with him and help him look into owning a restaurant. You can try switching back and forth, but both event trees are riddled with crucial events that you can easily miss, which will screw you up. Basically, if you want a relationship with Taro, encourage his foodie side, not his fighting side.

Yuunaru! Characters: Hayato

Nicknames: None
Age: 210, appears 18, Scorpio
Grade: N/A
Hair: Brown (Yellow when transformed)
Eyes: Brown (Red when transformed)
Build: Strong
Profession: Tengu
Family: N/A
Personality: Calm, vain, competitive
Dream: To be idolized
Likes: Tea, early mornings, bitter gourd crepes
Dislikes: Pepper, strong scents that disturb his sensitive nose
Weapon: Hauchiwa (mystic feather fan)
Transformed Costume: Elegant ceremonial robes
Element: Wind Star

 Tailwind (speed up, all)
 Galewind (speed down, all)

 Hayato, Arata: Demon Attack

 Hiro, Arata, Hayato: Summoning Attack
 Hayato + Two (Shimei, Ai Len, Kisho, Yukio): Bishounen Attack

NOTE: Scarred during the course of the first game

Like Arata, Hayato the tengu is summoned by Hideki to be Hotaru's secret weapon against Hiro. Hotaru holds back on utilizing Hayato until Ai Len defects, at which point he sends Hayato to keep an eye on Arata's hijinks. Hayato is a calm, logical individual - an excellent counterpoint to Arata's energy - but unlike Ai Len, whom Arata grated upon, Hayato also appreciates Arata's sense of fun and humor and is easily roped into going to amusement parks or festivals instead of attending to his work. Hayato is also fantastically vain and can easily be manipulated by appealing to or pricking his vanity; he often gets involved in beauty/ swimsuit/ talent competitions and is not above resorting to underhanded methods to win. He tries to portray himself as a tranquil, traditional, nature-loving individual, but his quick temper often ruins the image before he's even done creating it.

Hayato joins Arata in attacking Hiro after Ai Len leaves Hotaru's side, and he considers Ai Len - whom he replaced and whom often foils his carefully laid plans - his eternal rival, frequently challenging him to compete in the afore-mentioned beauty/ swimsuit/ talent competitions (although Ai Len inevitably wins). Eventually, however, the demonic duo's lack of results enrages Hideki and by extension Hotaru, who puts Raye in charge of them both. Hayato handles Raye's strict micromanagement better than Arata, but becomes dissatisfied enough that he joins Arata in hiding from him at mission time and accidentally stumbles across the Destroyer Laboratory with him. Hideki, furious at their intrusion, thrashes them both with extremely powerful magic, and only Hayato's wind powers get them out of the fight alive. Arata, the slightly less injured, tows Hayato to safety and gets them both to Hiro, who takes them in. Hayato, whose face is now scarred (albeit handsomely so,) is willing to do anything to get revenge on Hideki - even assist Ai Len.

Being as vain as he is, Hayato responds well to flattery. However, since he spends so much of the game getting beaten by Ai Len, the important part to winning his affections is comforting him afterwards, and words won't do the job there. Show him how well you know him by taking him out to do things he enjoys
after his crushing defeats - such as crepes, tea, hikes, or KILLING THINGS - and your relationship will blossom.

Yuunaru! Characters: Arata

Nicknames: Little Devil
Age: 199, appears somewhere between 13 and 16, Leo
Grade: N/A
Hair: Long, crazy, and silver
Eyes: Red
Build: Short but strong
Profession: Oni
Family: N/A
Dream: To find something to care about again
Personality: Mischievous, seductive, single-minded
Likes: Playing pranks and causing chaos
Dislikes: Words of optimism and cheer
Weapon: Gloves
Transformed Costume: Horns, samurai-esque garb, tiger-skin-loincloth, massive rosary beads
Element: Fire Moon

 Super Nova
 Meltdown (defense down, one)
 Smelt (attack up, one)

 Arata, Hayato: Demon Attack
 Arata, Kiyoshi: Shota Attack
 Arata, Chinami: Volatile Attack
 Arata, Atsushi: Oni's Sake

 Hiro, Arata, Hayato: Summoning Attack
 Arata + Two (Ryuu, Isao, Hotaru, Jin, Tsuruya, Kiyoshi): Brawlers' Attack
 Arata + Two (Makoto, Kisho, Konosuke, Tsuruya): Bara Attack

Arata is an oni summoned by Hideki and given to Hotaru as a secret weapon against Hiro. A passionate, mischief-making trickster, Arata takes great joy in having fun in any way: eating good food, going to amusement parks, going shopping, getting drunk, going clubbing...if it's high-energy and engaging, you can bet Arata wants to do it. He's been locked out of the world for almost a century thanks to a long-dead exorcist and is very excited to walk it again. Despite his youthful appearance, Arata has the benefit of many years of experience and is more intelligent than he lets on; in fact, although he enjoys being treated like a child for the happy-fun-times of it, he has a strong mature side underneath all the fun and games.

Hotaru releases Arata from his magic-induced slumber and orders him to help Ai Len after Ai Len's concentration is shattered when Shimei fires him. Arata's excessive energy clashes horribly with Ai Len's methodical planning, which eventually results in Ai Len defecting to Hiro's side and Hotaru releasing the tengu Hayato to help Arata defeat them both. With Hayato to help him plan his moves and control himself, Arata causes chaos with gusto until his lack of any genuine results provokes Hideki to put pressure on Hotaru and Hotaru to put pressure on Arata. When Raye returns from America, Hotaru puts the cowboy in charge of Arata and Hayato, and Raye's tight management causes Arata's free spirit to chafe. Upset and sullen, Arata accidentally discovers the Destroyer Lab hidden within Hotaru's headquarters and is, along with Hayato, severely injured by Hideki for trespassing. Supporting each other, the two barely escape with their lives and struggle to find Hiro and warn him about Ifrit, whom they barely caught a glimpse of before Hideki found them. Arata may be a demon, but his demonic nature makes him fond of the material world, and he doesn't want to see it destroyed. After Hotaru and Ifrit have been defeated, Arata - pleased at the excitement he's had with Hiro's group - begins to bother them on a permanent basis.

Although Arata often acts like a child to the point that you want to smack him, he really longs for someone who will put up with his rapid persona changes, both enjoying and valuing all the different roles he likes to take on without judgment. Arata takes a lot of attention and money - part of wooing him is doing whatever he wants you to do and buying him all the things he suggests you buy, which will take grinding - and also requires walking a fine line between playing along with him and humoring him. If he feels he's being treated like a child, he will speedily lose interest in you...unless, of course, he wants to be treated like a child at that particular point in time, in which case he will speedily lose interest if you DON'T.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Rambling: Monsters: Witches

Method of Attack: Hexes, jinxes, general bad-luck curses
Omega Attack: Witch's Kitchen

Black Annis

 Movement: 3
 Spellbook Slots: 3
 Magic Experience Gain Rate Chart
   Fire: 20  -  Water: 20  -  Wind: 20  -  Earth: 20
   Lightning: 20  -  Holy: 20  -  Darkness: 20  -  Medical: 05
   Strength: 05  -  Weakness: 30

Learns magic up to Level 4 of one random element.

Skill Statistics
Normal Attack  -  Lvl 0, MP 1%, Long-range
Witch's Kitchen  -  Lvl 0, MP 0, Omega Attack
Level 1  -  Lvl 5, MP ?, Long-range
Level 2  -  Lvl 15, MP ?, Long-range
Level 3  -  Lvl 30, MP ?, Long-range
Level 4  -  Lvl 60, MP ?, Long-range

Rambling: Monsters: Gorgons

Method of Attack: Claw slash, jewel toss, tail slam, super slap
Omega Attack: Death Glare


Movement: 3
Spellbook Slots: 2
Magic Experience Gain Rate Chart
   Fire: 05  -  Water: 15  -  Wind: 20  -  Earth: 30
   Lightning: 15  -  Holy: 10  -  Darkness: 25  -  Medical: 05
   Strength: 20  -  Weakness: 30

Stone Gaze - Gorgon turns, removes her mask, and raises a mirror; causes Stone.
Jewelry Shower - Blows a cloud of smoke that thunders and rains jewels.
Fatal Gaze - Removes Gorgon’s mask to cause instant death.

Skill Statistics
Normal Attack  -  Lvl 0, MP 0, Short-range
Death Glare  -  Lvl 0, MP 0, Omega Attack
Stone Gaze  -  Lvl 5, MP 12, Medium-range
Jewelry Shower  -  Lvl 10, MP 13, Long-range    
Fatal Gaze  -  Lvl 33, MP 50, Medium-range

Rambling: Episode Three: Stage Fifteen: Abyss Bridge

Stage Fifteen: Abyss Bridge
Enemies: Snuff Imp lvl 6 x3
         Manikin lvl 7 x3
         Witch lvl 8 x1

   The only bridge across the gorge between you and Aerei is guarded by a Witch and her summoned imps. Although not as powerful as Malevolenta, the Witch will still throw Fire spells at you from the safety of other side of the bridge, and her bevy of attendant imps will join in with Fireballs.

   This is not a battle where you can hang back and let the enemies come to you, as they will refuse to do so. Your only choice is to storm them, and the only way to do this is by crossing the bridge (or by fielding a group entirely comprised of Crows to fly over the chasm, but this is rather impractical). Of course, crossing the bridge is going to be a slow process, and you're going to be pelted by flames the entire time. This sounds like a job for a magic-defense tank, like, say, oh...Søren?

   With Søren to lead your advance, deploy some similar tanky types with high magic defense (Familiars, Elementals) or, failing that, high HP (Flo, Manticores). Since the enemies are trapped in tight quarters on their side of the bridge, area spells from Elementals or Yuki can put a large dent in their collective strength, allowing your advancing tanks to wade in and finish them off.

Rambling: Characters: Pepper

Recruited: Episode 3, Stage 14 (Mountain Pass)
Method of Attack: Ferret flip, ferret rush, or blowtorch (?!)
Omega Attack: Pepper of the Opera

Pepper is a ferret who was turned into stone while traveling through the Carapan Mountains. Yes, traveling. Pepper is a traveling imitator who imitates famous people from around the galaxy. He’s also completely off his rocker, which is the only explanation for how he knows about all these people from around the galaxy. He is a firm believer in Good and Justice, and is therefore proud to travel alongside a hero such as Hana. At least, this is what we think his excuse is. He only speaks in loud, opinionated squeaks.

Starting Level: 5
Movement: 6
Spellbook Slots: 1
Magic Experience Gain Rate Chart
   Fire: 25  -  Water: 05  -  Wind: 12  -  Earth: 10
   Lightning: 25  -  Holy: 05  -  Darkness: 10  -  Medical: 05
                   Strength: 05  -  Weakness: 05

Crabwalk - Pepper dresses up as a crab and pinches the foe severely.
Pepper daVinci - Pepper dresses up as Leonardo daVinci, scribbles on canvas, and ceremonially smashes it over the foe’s head.
Pepper Charat - Pepper dresses up as Digiko and fires Laser Eye Beams.
Pepperman - Pepper dresses up as a superhero and flies into the enemy.
Pepper Bonaparte - Pepper dresses up as Napoleon and commands the advance of a ferret army.
Pepper Dif - Pepper dresses up as Rene Dif and belts out Barbie Girl (?!).
Pepper the Great - Pepper dresses up as Alexander the Great and attacks from a chariot.

Skill Statistics
Normal Attack  -  Lvl 0, MP 0, Short-range
Pepper of the Opera  -  Lvl 0, MP 0, Omega Attack
Crabwalk  -  Lvl 0, MP 4, Short-range
Pepper daVinci  -  Lvl 5, MP 7, Short-range
Pepper Charat  -  Lvl 9, MP 6, Long-range
Pepperman  -  Lvl 17, MP 16, Medium-range
Pepper Bonaparte  -  Lvl 22, MP 22, Long-range
Pepper Dif  -  Lvl 26, MP 34, Long-range
Pepper the Great  -  Lvl 38, MP 51, Medium-range

Rambling: Episode Three: Stage Fourteen: Mountain Pass

Stage Fourteen: Mountain Pass
Enemies: Crow lvl 7 x3
         Oread lvl 7 x5
         Gorgon lvl 7 x1
Guests: Pepper (Ferret) lvl 5

   A level 7 Gorgon is dangerous, but not really worrisome. Later in the game, these will become one of your most dreaded foes, capable of killing in one hit with their Fatal Gaze skill, but for now the worst they can do is turn you to stone with Stone Gaze. While inconvenient, this ailment is easily cured with Refresh or Hana’s Scent of Roses. None of the monsters here really pack much of a punch at this level, so you shouldn't have trouble handling them in straight-up combat.

   However, before moving on, take careful note of that little ferret statue off to the side. If you examine it, you’ll notice that it has stats. That’s because it’s actually a character! Use Refresh or Scent of Roses to unstone the little ferret...and you’ll find out that you just unleashed a fireball of ferret-energy called Pepper. Most of Pepper’s stats are very low, but his attack, speed, and movement are through the roof. He’ll be controlled by the computer for this one battle, and you’ll see his worth as a fighter as he rips off the face of every enemy within his range. After the battle, you have the option of letting him join you. If you refuse, you will not get another opportunity! However, if you accidentally miss unpetrifying him the first time through, he’ll still be there on subsequent playthroughs of this stage.

Rambling: Episode Three: Stage Thirteen: Foot of the Mountain

Stage Thirteen: Foot of the Mountain
Enemies: Dryad lvl 7 x3
         Oread lvl 7 x3

   This is a simple enough stage that really exists so you have a nice, easy stage to experiment with SørenSøren is a heavy-duty tank-type character with good defense and very high magic defense, making him an ideal counter to any strong magic-user you come across. His spells are strong, but expensive, so particularly at this early point in the game, you'll want to conserve them for serious threats only.

   There's not much to say about the battle itself. Focus your attacks on one dryad at a time, as all six of them can heal themselves, undoing all of your hard work. Also, try to let your weaker characters finish the dryads off for some easy experience.

Rambling: Characters: Søren

Recruited: Episode 2, Stage 12 (Sleeping Tower)
Method of Attack: Knight Sword
Omega Attack: Sleeping Lightning

A prince from the faraway city of Once Upon a Time, Søren bit into an poisoned apple and fell into a deep magical sleep. He was sealed away in a tower for a princess to come and kiss him awake, in keeping with tradition, but the bad fairy Malevolenta learned of this and took over his tower herself. Søren has been trapped asleep in his tower for years now – but when Hana comes and kisses him awake, his once-simple life reveals itself to be much more complicated than he remembers it to have been.

Starting Level: 5
Movement: 4
Spellbook Slots: 2
Magic Experience Gain Rate Chart
   Fire: 15  -  Water: 20  -  Wind: 20  -  Earth: 15
   Lightning: 25  -  Holy: 20  -  Darkness: 10  -  Medical: 15
   Strength: 20  -  Weakness: 05

Awakening - A rising slash that sends the enemy flying, then two stabs.
Sleeping Thunder - Raises sword and summons lightning, then swings it at foes.
Refresh - Cures the status effects of one ally.
Sleeping Storm - Calls lightning into sword and rushes the enemy.
Sleeping Bolt - Throws sword into the foe and summons lightning to it.
Sleeping Tempest - Shreds enemy with swordskill amidst a thunderstorm.
Awakened Mjolnir - Summons the thunder god to incinerate foes with lightning.

Skill Statistics
Normal Attack  -  Lvl 0, MP 0, Short-range    
Sleeping Lightning  -  Lvl 0, MP 0, Omega Attack
Awakening  -  Lvl 0, MP 10, Short-range    
Sleeping Thunder  -  Lvl 0, MP 12, Long-range
Refresh  -  Lvl 10, MP 8, Long-range
Sleeping Storm  -  Lvl 15, MP 22, Short-range
Sleeping Bolt  -  Lvl 23, MP 36, Medium-range
Sleeping Tempest  -  Lvl 31, MP 67, Short-range
Awakened Mjolnir  -  Lvl 41, MP 40, Long-range

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Rambling: Episode Three: The Beauty and the Beast: Carapan Mountains

   To reach Aerei, one must travel through the Carapan Mountains. Hana asks Søren about Aerei – Søren says that it is a small, sleepy town.

Rambling: Episode Three: The Beauty and the Beast: Legend

   The Hero Society is astounded to see Hana, Yuki, Flo, and Prince Søren returning to Legend. One and all they turn on Silvanus, who remarks that he didn’t specify that it was a princess at the Northern Castle. With no other choice, the Society declares Hana a Hero.

   To get rid of her, the Society sends Hana and co. off to Aerei to get rid of a terrible man-eating monster there. The secretary regretfully informs you that you have been put on the Society black-list and are not allowed to borrow any flying materials as of now. Søren joins Hana’s team.

Game Reviews: Gungnir

Gungnir is a PSP game developed by Sting and Dept. Heaven and brought over to the U.S. by Atlus. It's the ninth entry in the Dept. Heaven game series, which includes several other strange and wonderful RPGs such as Riviera, Yggdra Union, and Knights in the Nightmare. No matter whether you like Sting's RPGs or not, you can't argue the fact that every one of them is quite unique, and Gungnir follows in these footsteps.

Graphics: 7/10
Gungnir's graphics are pretty, to be sure, but for the most part, they're nothing exceptional. I quite like the character designs and the battlefields are stunning, but while the attention to detail is exquisite, the actual "whoa" factor is missing from the locales and attacks.

Music: 8/10
For the most part, while the music is both pretty and atmospheric, it's not particularly break-the-mold notable. The exception--a song that bumps the music score up a whole point--is "Raguel," the theme for the penultimate battle. It's rare that a song comes along that can, on its own, transform a battle from "big fight in a video game" to "YES! I AM INVOLVED! GO, SORCERESS! GO, PALADIN! MAKE THAT SHOT! CAST THAT SPELL! WE WILL WIN THIS FIGHT TOGETHER, MY ARMY!" immersion. Take a listen for yourself:

Story: 6.5/10
The story of Gungnir is not a strong one...or rather, it is, but less-than-ideal storytelling unfortunately hinders it. While the plot is a good, meaty one filled with questions, secrets, politics, and character flaws, it is told at far too quick of a pace and through an unsatisfactory filter: the main character, Giulio. While I have no problem with Giulio as a character, or even as a main character, his personality does not lend itself to conduction of the plots going on around him; he's the type of character who holds his ideals tightly in his arms, puts his head down, and bulls through the webs of intrigue in hopes he can ferry those ideals safely to the other side. Because of this, a lot of the nuances of the game are lost on him, and because of that, they are lost to the player as well, who is forced to absorb the story through this less-than-helpful conduit. Regardless, if you have the imagination to fill in the backstory for yourself, the story is good, and the game definitely gets credit for having some very interesting, non-traditional endings that have incited much anger among players for those non-traditional aspects. In short: a story I enjoyed, but one I recognize as flawed and not for everyone.

Characters: 8/10
"A mixed bag" is the best way to describe the characters of this game. Giulio is solid, but not very interesting, to be brutally honest. His older brother, Ragnar, is a deeper and more tormented individual who nevertheless never succumbs to Wangst, for which I give him much credit. I find the elderly Paulo to be a shallow, distasteful character, but he has many fans (although I question whether those fans like him for his personality or for his battle prowess). Alissa is a character you will either love or hate; I found the juxtaposition of her wide-eyed anime-heroine exterior with a MUCH more complex and MUCH less innocent interior to be fascinating and compelling, but I recognize how she could come off as grating to others. Valerie is a character archetype I usually enjoy--the brash Amazon--but I found her to be a little bit too abrasive for me. Natalia was a fascinating ball of intrigue much like Alissa, and although I wanted to smack her, I loved that she could elicit that reaction from me. The crown jewel of the cast, however, is clearly Elise: a deadpan snarker of a Valkyrie who couldn't give a fig about the war she is involved in and makes this quite clear at every opportunity.

As for the villains, King Wolfgang is a bit underdeveloped but interesting in his weakness; Ziyad is pretty two-dimensional, and his only notable quality is being a quadriplegic; Robertus is a Magnificent Bastard to a T and great fun to hate; and Isabelli is adorable, suicidal, diabolical, and a real pain to fight, making her most memorable indeed. All told, the cast is roughly half mediocre and half great, which tips it onto the side of being good rather than bad.

Gameplay: 10/10
What can I say: Gungnir's gameplay blew me away. I'm not even going to try to describe how it works, but in my opinion, there is not a single negative to it. The gameplay is complicated, strategic, and unbelievably well-balanced, actively punishing typical SRPG "easy win strategies" such as power-leveling only one character or using an army entirely made up of one broken character class, while rewarding versatile blends of character types and well-thought-out tactics. Knockback is an invaluable tool, as are heals, status effects, equipment switching, collection of TP, careful Ragnarok summoning, positioning, combo attacks...every facet of the battle system can be put to good, creative use, and it's SO much fun to do so.

Total Score: 7.9/10, B-
It's by no means the best game in the world, nor is it even the best Sting game (that honor falls to Yggdra Union, in my humble opinion). However, it's a fun game saved from anonymity by amazing gameplay, and considering the PSP is on its way out and you can find it for fairly cheap, it's well worth the price. I played it and loved it, and you should too!

Final Fantasy 19: Wandering the World of Darkness: Dastar, City of Bards

Location: The World of Darkness
Party members: Badger, Ferret, Phoenix
Opponents: None
BGM: Final Fantasy III - Covert Village Falgabard

Corresponding to Duster, residence of Bards and Geomancers, Dastar is the place where Ferret will FINALLY get an equipment upgrade. Hidden in the middle of the star-shaped forest to the west of Demur, Dastar is definitely worth a visit before storming Owl Tower.

Item Shop:
Gold Needle
Eye Drops
Echo Screen
Holy Water
Phoenix Down

Dastar possesses all of the status-effect curing items in the game (except the unique ones such as Jinnspice and Shivan Soup). You won't need most of them for a while, but it wouldn't hurt to stock up early if you have the money.

Weapon Shop:
Thundering M-Phone
Dream M-Phone
Banshee's M-Phone
Song Stone

At last, weapon upgrades for Ferret! But which to choose? Unless you've spent a huge amount of time grinding for money, you won't be able to afford the Banshee's M-Phone. The Dream M-Phone is also vastly overpriced, especially as its effect can be mimicked once Ferret hits level 10 and learns Lullaby. The most reliable option--unless you're filthy rich--is the glorious Thundering M-Phone, which will finally allow Ferret to hurt all monsters instead of simply attacking them.

The Song Stone is good enough, all things considered; it protects from Sleep, which isn't a bad status effect to have protection from. However, it's very expensive, like almost everything else in the area, and protection from Sleep just isn't that necessary right now. If you've bought everything else in Dastar (up to and including the Banshee's M-Phone,) the Song Stone is not an unworthy purchase. However, if you've done that, you don't really need the Song Stone at all, now do you?

Armor Shop:
Diamond Bell
Plumed Hat
Bardic Robe

The Bardic Robe is a Ferret-only equip that offers only one point more Defense than the Flashy Robe but almost twice as much Magic Defense. It's a great piece of armor, as long as you can afford it. The Diamond Bell is a beautiful helmet with extremely high Defense; its physical protection might even outweigh its complete lack of Magic Defense and its typically exorbitant price tag. Or it might not, especially since Owl Tower and the Scholars' Library - the two dungeons you'll be tackling next - have foes with powerful magical attacks in them. Plumed Hats were, of course, for sale in Peaheria already.

A typical party set-up at this point might be:

Wave Hammer
Plumed Hat
Flashy Robe
Mythril Bangle
Remora Eidolon

Thundering M-Phone
Plumed Hat/ Diamond Bell
Bardic Robe
Mythril Bangle
Oxen Stone

Magic Wand
Plumed Hat
Flashy Robe
Water/ Storm Jewel

At this point, you can go and venture into the Scholars' Library if you wish. However, even with equipment from Peaheria and Dastar, you may not be strong enough to survive its many dangers. I will cover that location after Owl Tower.

Final Fantasy 19: Wandering the World of Darkness: Demur, Town of Fishermen

Location: The World of Darkness
Party members: Badger, Ferret, Phoenix
Opponents: None
Items: Remora Eidolon
BGM: Final Fantasy III - Town of Water

Demur corresponds to the World of Light's city of Amur. It is, if possible, even less important to the story than Amur was to the story of Final Fantasy III, but aside from the oddly attractive fishermen and their brash but good-natured wives that populate the area, there is one interesting thing to find.

Down on the beach are a trio of young boys fishing. If you talk to them, they accidentally pull up a giant fish that scares them all away. Seeing Badger and company as the only people around, the fish demands that you get that accursed hook out of its jaw. If you agree to do so, the fish will grant you the Remora Eidolon accessory in gratitude.

The Remora Eidolon isn't the best summon stone around, not by a long shot, but it does have its uses. Its summon spell, Latch On, deals a small amount of damage with the added chance of Slow and Paralysis. It works well against hardy enemies you need to take out of commission for a little while, such as Thunder Giants.

Item Shop:
Eye Drops
Gold Needle
Echo Screen

Final Fantasy 19: Wandering the World of Darkness: Leprit, Village of Summoners

Location: The World of Darkness
Party members: Badger, Ferret, Phoenix
Opponents: None
Items: Chocobracelet, Elixir
BGM: Final Fantasy III - Covert Village Falgabard

Filled with Summoners, Leprit is the World of Darkness version of the town of Replito. Small and quiet, these summoners live at peace with the natural magic of the world and dedicate their lives to the raising of Chocobos, which they unanimously seem to adore.

Item Shop:
Bottled Calamari
Toad Tonic
Titanic Pepper
Lunar Prism
Shivan Soup

Leprit is home to many interesting items that cannot be found elsewhere. If you have the money to spare, consider purchasing some Ottershrooms, which are convenient when you've run out of resources and need to escape a dungeon to recover.

The main hall of Leprit contains several Summoners who will explain various aspects of the game to you. One explains the differences between different types of magic. Another details all the positive status effects in the game, and her twin, the negative. Another gives various hints of how you might learn Ferret's new Vocalizations, while another vaguely references her Rage Gauge. They discuss the aspects of Ultimecia's Draw, Phoenix's Limit, and the powers of several characters you haven't even recruited yet. Also in the main hall is Rydia, famous summoner of Final Fantasy 4, who is in a panic; her friend Cecil just disappeared in a way that Badger connects as being oddly similar to Ultimecia's abduction. Hmm...

If you head over to the Chocobo corral and talk to the Yellow Chocobo, you have a dialogue choice between "Wark" and "Warrrk." Choosing "Wark" causes the Chocobos to perform a choco-dance. Phoenix's exuberant applause flatters the big birds, and they hand over a Chocobracelet to show their pleasure at your good audience skills.

The Chocobracelet will come in handy in Owl Tower, as it offers high Magic Defense and a large Speed boost. However, you'd best not equip it on the world map, as its regular Defense is quite low.

"But I'm back again!" said Norah!

Hi everybody! Sorry I was gone for so long. Life has been most involved recently.

For one thing, I got a new job! No longer do I work in retail; I am now a proud employee at Smashwords, an ebook publishing company, as a formatting editor! I'm moving up in the world! WOO-HOO!

The other thing that has come up aside from suddenly working three jobs is a host of new video games to be experimenting with (and parsing for use in my own ideas). I've decided I'm going to start doing some video game reviews on this blog in addition to my game ideas and League of Legends builds, because, why not? Specifically, the games I've been playing recently have been Gungnir; Elsword; Diablo 3; and Pokemon Conquest. So keep an eye out for those incoming reviews!

There's also a surprise for this blog I've been working on, but that's been going slower than expected. My lips are sealed on the details for that one, though; you'll just have to wait and see what that is!

Hopefully posting will become a regular thing again. Once more, sorry to have been gone for so long!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Post Number 100!

WOO-HOO! I've reached post number one hundred! Hooray!!! :D

Yuunaru! The Battle System

Yuunaru!'s battle system is not only complicated, but also fairly important to envisioning how the game is supposed to look and play. For this reason, I'd like to try and portray it to you as accurately as I can, so you can get an idea of what all these random characters and skills I'm throwing at you are.

Let's pretend you're only shortly into Yuunaru! Inferno, the first game/ chapter in the concept. Your party currently consists of Hiro, Mizumaki, Ryuu, Shimei, and Ai Len. A story battle is about to start, so you are preparing your battle teams beforehand in the Status menu.

Battles in Yuunaru! take place on an isometric grid, in traditional SRPG style. Your characters take to the field divided up into various "teams." Each team consists of up to three characters and moves and attacks as one contiguous unit. There is no limit to how many teams can be fielded every battle, so you can deploy all of your available characters every map should you so choose.

On the status screen, you would be viewing the sprites of your characters grouped into their teams. At maximum, by the end of the game, you will have thirty characters; as such, the screen has room for ten teams in two columns across the screen. It would look something like this:

   Hiro, Mizumaki, Ryuu         Shimei, Ai Len, _____
   _____, _____, _____        _____, _____, _____
   _____, _____, _____        _____, _____, _____
   _____, _____, _____        _____, _____, _____
   _____, _____, _____        _____, _____, _____

...only with sprites instead of plain, boring names, of course.

The cursor will be pointing to Hiro's team, as they are the first team on the screen. Select them with the confirmation button and a small list of options will appear opposite their team:

   Character Status: This allows you to view the status of the characters making up this team. This includes factoids such as parameters, skills, and current equipment.
   Equip Gem: Traditional equipment does not exist in Yuunaru! All characters come with an initial and unchangeable weapon and armor, listed under the Character Status screen for completion's sake but not actually alterable. To influence your characters' parameters, resistances, and skillsets, the player equips them with customizable Gems by using this option. More on Gems in a later update.
   Arrange Units: A self-explanatory option, this allows you to change the location of the characters comprising a particular team. You can put units into different teams or rearrange their position on their current team using this command.
   Unison Attacks: Yuunaru! is chock-full of Unison Attacks that can be activated when certain characters are part of the same team together. For example, when Hiro and Mizumaki are both in the same team, the "Friends Attack" Unison Attack can be selected as an option in battle. You can check what Unison Attacks are available to the current team by selecting this option.
   Bench Units: If there are characters you don't want to use, or you only want to send full teams into the coming battle, or you're doing some kind of self-inflicted challenge, use the Bench Units command to take characters "out of" your teams altogether. Benched units will not participate in the coming battle in any way.
   Mobilize Units: This command simply allows you to take characters off of the bench and place them back into an active team.

Okay. So you've checked your status, double-checked your gems, and decided that Hiro, Mizumaki, Ryuu and Shimei, Ai Len will be fine teams for your battle. You initiate the fight by leaving the menu and, first thing, are called upon to select the starting positions of all deployed teams. This is a step that should be familiar to most SRPG players. With your teams placed, the battle begins in earnest.

As in Soul Nomad (and, in fact, most Nippon Ichi SRPGS,) Yuunaru!'s battles are turn-based by side. The first turn in battle is the player's, and the player may move all of his or her teams and decide upon their actions during this time. When the player ends their turn, the enemy teams all move simultaneously against the player; then it is the player's turn again, and so on. When you select one of your teams on the field, the following options are available to you:

   Move: Self-explanatory; this allows you to move the selected team about the field. Movement distance is equal to the average of the movement parameters of the characters in the team.
   Attack: Also self-explanatory, this allows you to initiate an attack against an enemy unit within range. While attack range is 1 for most characters, only allowing them to attack adjacent enemies, a few characters (i.e. Raye, Fuma, Zen) have a range of 2, allowing whichever team they are on to attack from two squares away rather than one. Certain Gems will also increase the range of a team, although it is important to note that these Gems' effects will not stack. More on what happens during an attack in a bit.
   Field Skill: Skills learned by characters are solely activated during battle. However, many Gems grant special additional skills to those equipped with them, and some of those skills can be used on the battlefield (for example, the highly useful Flash Step, which lets you teleport after moving, or Revitalize, which heals all allied teams adjacent to the user's).
   Item: Still pretty self-explanatory, this allows the selected team to use an offensive or defensive item. Offensive items, such as bombs, deal damage to an enemy unit within a certain range without danger of counterattack. Defensive items tend to recover health to the utilizing team or a nearby ally, increase parameters, or both.

Let's say that you decide to move Hiro's team within range to engage an enemy team comprised of two Tsukumogami and a Yuki-onna. Upon selecting Attack, the battlefield switches to a more traditional turn-based, Final-Fantasy-esque battlefield, with your allied team's individual characters on the right and the enemy team's on the left. This confrontation is called a Skirmish. This is similar to what happens when engaging enemies in Soul Nomad, or La Pucelle, or some of the Fire Emblem games. However, unlike these games, this sub-battle mode does not run on auto-pilot; it has commands of its own.

   Attack: In most games, "Attack" provides you with a simple physical attack to use to save on MP usage. However, Yuunaru! doesn't have MP, and its "Attack" function is not quite so simple. Instead of hitting one enemy, the character will actually use unleash a physical combo on their target. This combo increases at set levels that differ for each character; more physically-oriented characters will upgrade their physical attack more frequently, resulting in a longer and more powerful combo, while more magically-oriented characters will end up with weaker combos but stronger spells.
   Skill: Each character in Yuunaru! learns five spells as they level: three offensive spells related to their innate element, and two "special effect" spells that serve other purposes, such as recovering HP or lowering enemy defenses. These skills do not require any resource, such as MP, and can be used whenever you wish. Skills are important even for characters with low magic, as higher-level enemies will usually have special shields in place that need to be broken using specific elemental skills. Higher-level offensive skills can also be useful for their ability to hit all enemies in an opposing team.
   Defend: Selecting this command causes the character to take a defensive stance for the skirmish's duration. A defending character takes half damage from all attacks and recovers 10% of their maximum HP by defending, allowing them to stay in the game longer.

Upon selecting all commands for your side of the Skirmish, if your team has access to Unison Attacks, you may choose whether or not to use them and which one to use. Only one Unison Attack can be used per Skirmish. After this step is completed, all of your allies will attack; then the Unison Attack will be used; then the enemies will attack; then an enemy Unison Attack, if available, will be used. At this point, the Skirmish is over and the game returns to the main battlefield.

And so goes the battle system! Sorry for the miles of text. Thanks for sticking with it, though!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Rambling: Bosses: Malevolenta

Class: Bad Fairy
When Fought: Episode 2, Stage 12 (Sleeping Tower)

A bad fairy who presumably put Prince Søren into an enchanted sleep and left him in the Northern Castle to rot. When Hana and Yuki arrive to interrupt the spell, she appears herself to stop him. Does she have a reason to put so much effort into keeping this prince asleep and hidden from the rest of the world...?

Movement: 3

Method of Attack: Astral punch, cane
Omega Attack: Poisoned Apple

Bad Magic  -  Attacks enemy with a blast of evil magic.
Curse  -  Throws a curse at the enemy to prevent them from attacking. Does no damage.
Briar Hedge  -  Conjures a briar hedge beneath foes.
Malevolent Spell  -  Throws a powerfully evil spell at the enemy. May cause Curse.

Skill Statistics
Normal Attack  -  Lvl 0, MP 0, Short-range
Poisoned Apple  -  Lvl 0, MP 0, Omega Attack
Bad Magic  -  Lvl 3, MP 7, Long-range
Curse  -  Lvl 21, MP 32, Long-range
Briar Hedge  -  Lvl 26, MP 22, Long-range
Malevolent Spell  -  Lvl 35, MP 55, Long-range

Rambling: Monsters: Beasts

Method of Attack: Bite, tail sting, wing whack, heavy paw, body slam
Omega Attack: Morphology


Movement: 5
Spellbook Slots: 1
Magic Experience Gain Rate Chart
   Fire: 15  -  Water: 05  -  Wind: 05  -  Earth: 05
   Lightning: 05  -  Holy: 05  -  Darkness: 10  -  Medical: 05
   Strength: 05  -  Weakness: 15

Ravage  -  Drinks enemy’s blood to restore own HP.
Tail Spikes  -  Attacks foe with fired tail spikes. May poison or paralyze.
Man Eater  -  Devours your foe. User is fully healed if this attack kills.

Skill Statistics
Normal Attack  -  Lvl 0, MP 0, Short-range
Morphology  -  Lvl 0, MP 0, Omega Attack
Ravage  -  Lvl 5, MP 6, Short-range
Tail Spikes  -  Lvl 13, MP 7, Long-range
Man Eater  -  Lvl 30, MP 30, Short-range

Rambling: Monsters: Pastries

Method of Attack: Windmilling arms, gumdrop projectile, pie to the face, giant cake meteor
Omega Attack: Sweet Dreams

Cookie Man
Gingerbread Man
Candy Man

Movement: 4
Spellbook Slots: 1
Magic Experience Gain Rate Chart
   Fire: 10  -  Water: 05  -  Wind: 05  -  Earth: 10
   Lightning: 05  -  Holy: 05  -  Darkness: 05  -  Medical: 05
   Strength: 30  -  Weakness: 05

Sugar High        Uses sugar to energize allies and increase their stats.
Sugar Rush        A powerful, secret, sweet combo attack.

Skill Statistics
Normal Attack  -  Lvl 0, MP 0, Short-range
Sweet Dreams - Lvl 0, MP 0, Omega Attack
Sugar High  -  Lvl 5, MP 16, Long-range
Sugar Rush  -  Lvl 25, MP 50, Short-range

Rambling: Monsters: Cats

Method of Attack: Scratches, ball of yarn, fish head, acrobatics
Omega Attack: Catcall

Father Gatto
Puss in Boots

Movement: 7
Spellbook Slots: 1
Magic Experience Gain Rate Chart
   Fire: 05  -  Water: 05  -  Wind: 10  -  Earth: 10
   Lightning: 15  -  Holy: 10  -  Darkness: 15  -  Medical: 05
   Strength: 15  -  Weakness: 15

 Quickdraw         Strikes the enemy faster than the eye can see.
 Cat’s Eye         Hypnotizes the foe, Charming them or putting them to Sleep.
 Cat Combo         A cat’s ultimate attack!

Skill Statistics
Normal Attack  -  Lvl 0, MP 0, Short-range
Catcall  -  Lvl 0, MP 0, Omega Attack
Quickdraw  -  Lvl 5, MP 5, Short-range
Cat’s Eye  -  Lvl 7, MP 13, Medium-range
Cat Combo  -  Lvl 17, MP 24, Short-range

Rambling: Episode Two: Stage Twelve: Sleeping Tower

Stage Twelve: Sleeping Tower (One-shot)
Enemies: Malevolenta lvl 7 x1 (Boss)
         Familiar lvl 6 x5
         Manticore lvl 6 x2

   This is the last stage of the episode, and you can be sure it's not going to be easy. Malevolenta stands near the princess’ canopy bed, casting Bad Magic and Fire on you from afar while her Familiars and Manticores rip you to shreds up close.

   To make this stage easiest to handle, you need some strong defensive units to counter the strength of the two Manticores. You already have Flo, but by repeating the stages Crown of Thorns, By Way of the Kitchen, or Dusty Staircase, you can Absorb the Wickedness of and recruit a Grizzly Bear, a Cookie Man, or a Manticore, respectfully, to bolster your fighting forces. Ideally, at this point in the game, you will have recruited enough monsters to field a full ten-character party against Malevolenta.

   The stage is over the moment Malevolenta falls, but the close quarters of the stage and the large amount of enemies upon it makes reaching her difficult. To make things even more awkward, an Impenetrable by Good Force Line extends across the stage, blocking off the princess' bed; Malevolenta stands in this Line, directing it at her minions, who bounce it about to draw a complicated maze across the map during your first turn. Although the maze will be destroyed once the enemies take a turn and move off the Line, it effectively stops you from reaching Malevolenta until your second turn, at the earliest.

   Use your first turn to take out as many Familiars as possible before they get a chance to act. Familiars have high magic defense, so use your melee units to take them out while your spellcasters try to aim their spells at the Manticores bringing up the rear. If you can end the first turn with a few Familiars down and the Manticores weakened, you're in good shape to win the battle.

   Your second turn should see the end of all of the Familiars and maybe even one of the Manticores, leaving Malevolenta as the major threat on the field. If your units are bunched close together, she'll have more play to damage with her Bad Magic and Fire spells, but spreading out is difficult on a map this tiny. Grit your teeth and bear her assault, using healing spells from Yuki and a Dryad or two to keep your units healthy, and rush her on your second or third turn. Malevolenta's defenses are quite weak, so once you reach her, you should find that a few powerful Briar Rose and Paper Cut volleys suffice to take her down.

   Hana pulls back the hangings on the princess’ bed to reveal...

   A prince.

   Flo threatens to give Hana –10,000 points if she doesn’t kiss him, and awards her a million when she does. Well, that mission ends successfully.

Rambling: Episode Two: Stage Eleven: Dusty Staircase

Stage Eleven: Dusty Staircase
Enemies: Crow lvl 5 x4
         Familiar lvl 5 x2
         Manticore lvl 5 x1

   Much of this stage is dominated by a huge, spiraling staircase. From the top, a Manticore and two Crows move down towards you. At the base level, two more Crows and two Familiars stand ready.

   Take out the ground monsters first with combo attacks and set up your forces near the base of the stair, waiting for the other monsters to come to you. Hardier units, such as Hana, Flo, or Cookie Men, should be in the front, with fragile spellcasters like Yuki, Elementals, and Dryads behind them. Chances are good that the flying Crows will pull far ahead of the Manticore and fly over your strong characters to get at the squishy mages; pelt the Crows with spells the moment they come into range and try to eliminate them before they can do any lasting damage to your team.

   Hopefully, the Manticore will not reach you until all the other enemies are gone. He's huge and powerful and can heal himself at your expense with the Ravage skill, but his health and defenses are lower than the Bahamut's, making him easier pickings. A handy Defense Down Force Line streams away from the bottom of the stairs, too; position your forces just behind its flow and the Manticore will likely stand in it to attack you, further weakening him for your fighters.

Rambling: Episode Two: Stage Ten: By Way of the Kitchen

Stage Ten: By Way of the Kitchen
Enemies: Cookie Man lvl 5 x2
         Familiar lvl 5 x2

   This is the first map where your opponents will be on level 5 and will actually have skills to use against you. Beware the Familiars’ Quickdraw, which causes heavy damage, and watch out even more for the Cookie Men’s Sugar High, which increases their strength, magic, and defense. You also have to be careful of the stage. Fire Damage Force Lines extend from the mouths of the open ovens, dealing fire-elemental damage whenever anything ends a turn upon them. Although you can direct these Force Lines at the enemies to damage them as well, the characters you use to direct the lines will take collateral damage, so be wary of this tactic.

   You might want to recruit both a Familiar and a Cookie Man from this fight, as these are two powerful monster types that will be handy in the battles ahead. Keep in mind that if you’ve recruited any monster allies yourself, they’ll also be learning their first skills on level 5; if any happen to be close to that level, consider doing a little training on this stage and the previous one to push them the rest of the way. A Dryad’s Spirit of Wind or an Imp’s Fireball can really prove to be a big help in the stages to come.

Rambling: Episode Two: Stage Nine: Decadent Hallway

Stage Nine: Decadent Hallway
Enemies: Snuff Imp lvl 3 x6
         Tin Soldier lvl 3 x4

   This stage is simply comprised of a long hallway lined with enemies. Snuff Imps alternate with Tin Soldiers all the way to the stairway up, and all of them must be defeated to continue. A Strength Up Force Line runs down the right side of the hallway and a Defense Up Line runs down the left, reinforcing your foes and making this otherwise plain fight a little bit more interesting.

   Take out the closest Snuff Imp on the Strength Up Line and move Hana onto the square on which the Imp used to stand. Turn her so that she faces away from the other enemies, allowing the Force Line to flow through her position, and then attack from afar using her Briar Rose skill. Once her turn is over, turn her to face directly into the Force Line. This way, she gets the benefit of the Strength Up Line during her turn, but does not end her turn presenting her vulnerable back to the enemies. This little trick will serve you well throughout the game when dealing with Force Lines.

   The enemies on the Strength Up Line will be quicker to defeat and are more dangerous than the enemies on the Defense Up Force Line, so try to take them out first. Utilize the long-range capability of Yuki’s Xerox Machine to target groups of enemies at once, then move onto their positions on the Force Line to receive its benefits.

Rambling: Episode Two: Sleeping Beauty: Northern Castle

   Flo continues her point campaign as Hana and Yuki enter the castle of the sleeping princess, this time awarding Hana 2092 points for defeating the Bahamut and 274 for brushing dust off of a table.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Yuunaru! Characters: Makoto

Nicknames: Mako-kun
Age: 17
Grade: High School Senior
Hair: Black
Eyes: Green
Build: Powerful
Profession: Temple monk
Family: Divorced parents; lives with father and grandparents
Personality: Happy, emotional, loyal
Dream: To become his father
Likes: Bells, festivals, hot food
Dislikes: Ghost stories
Weapon: Gloves or nunchaku
Transformed Costume: Pure-white kenpo gi
Element: Light Star

 Protection Talisman (defense up, all)
 Purity Talisman (magic defense up, all)

 Makoto, Hiro: Talisman Attack
 Makoto, Chinami: Purification Attack
 Makoto + Ai Len/ Taro/ Kisho/ Kohei/ Atsushi/ Zen: Martial Attack

 Makoto + Two (Arata, Kisho, Konosuke, Tsuruya): Bara Attack

NOTE: Has an Osakan accent

Devoted son of an Osakan monk, Makoto was raised with his father and paternal grandparents in an Osakan shrine and is entirely devoted to it. Boisterous, optimistic, and determined, he receives incredibly heightened senses when Hiro makes his wish, which causes his father to mistakenly believe his son has achieved enlightenment. Meditation hones his abilities to the point where he can feel Hiro and Hotaru using their powers from miles away, and he follows the sense of them out of curiosity with his father's blessing. Upon learning of the Battle Between the Forces of Good and Evil (from Ryuu, of course,) he offers his assistance to Hiro unconditionally.

Makoto appears out of the blue when Ai Len attacks Hiro, Mizumaki, and Ryuu inside the Mirror World as they try to rescue Yuri. Drawn to their powers, he attempts to broker peace between the fighters, but quickly throws his lot in with Hiro and Ryuu when Ai Len sics a pack of monsters on him. After Ai Len is forced to retreat, Makoto becomes interested in getting to the source of Hiro's wish and the magical powers suddenly granted to common civilians, and sticks around to help figure them out.

On a romantic level, Makoto is looking for someone who accepts and embraces his life of religion and training. Offer yourself up to him as a training partner and you will find it easy to win his love. Unlike several other characters, speaking to Makoto on your free days will often send you, not on a complicated dialogue tree, but off on training missions or philanthropic excursions consisting of battles or minigames. The extra experience and rewards you can get from these exercises can really help out a first-time player, making Makoto a good character to build a relationship with on your first playthrough.

Yuunaru! Characters: Ai Len

Nicknames: None
Age: 28, Scorpio
Grade: N/A
Hair: Dark blue
Eyes: Brown
Build: Slim but strong
Profession: Shimei's personal maid
Family: Unknown
Personality: Quiet, dry, devious
Dream: To continue to watch over Shimei
Likes: Cleaning implements, being ignored
Dislikes: When things do not go according to plan
Weapon: Feather duster
Transformed Costume: Dark and demure apparel
Element: Water Sun

 Clean (removes bad status from allies)
 Rinse (removes positive status from enemies)

 Ai Len, Shimei: Servant Attack
 Ai Len, Kohei: Ninja Attack
 Ai Len, Motoki: Domestic Attack
 Ai Len, Atsushi: Service Attack
 Ai Len, Makoto/ Taro/ Kisho/ Kohei/ Atsushi/ Zen: Martial Attack

 Ai Len + Two (Shimei, Hayato, Kisho, Yukio): Bishounen Attack

He was hired to take care of Young Master Shimei at the age of 22, and that is just what he has been doing - with utter, unshakeable, undeniable loyalty - ever since. Calm, polite, introspective, and subtle, he enjoys studying people and learning to anticipate their needs and actions, which makes him a very good friend and a very dangerous foe. Despite unkind words of Shimei's classmates, who are jealous that Shimei gets a butler and they don't, Ai Len and Shimei see each other as big and little brother and have no romantic attachments whatsoever. This does not, of course, mean that they don't still love each other fiercely.

Fuma approaches Ai Len to be one of Hotaru's associates, portraying Hiro as a danger and letting Ai Len come to his own conclusions. Concerned for Shimei, Ai Len assists Hotaru in attacking Hiro, and is in fact the first of his allies to do so. However, things become more complicated for Ai Len when Shimei joins Hiro and fires Ai Len for attacking him. Ai Len wrestles with his conscience for a while, but quickly decides to throw his lot back in with Shimei after a brief, unsuccessful stint working with Arata. From there, he is loyal until the end.

Ai Len is interested in complexity. He wants to figure you out, but doing so will bore him and cause him to lose interest. Seek him out while Shimei is elsewhere and converse with him for long periods of time to arouse his interest and eventually win his affections.

Yuunaru! Characters: Shimei

Nicknames: Prince Shimei
Age: 17, Sagittarius
Grade: High School Senior
Hair: Dark blue
Eyes: Light blue
Build: Slender
Profession: Rich kid
Family: Mother (father deceased)
Personality: Commanding, obsessive, easily manipulated
Dream: Having authority over others
Likes: Being treated like royalty
Dislikes: Anything he deems disrespectful
Weapon: Wand
Transformed Costume: Princely garb
Element: Wind Sun

 Healing Breath (heals one)
 Healing Wind (heals all)

 Shimei, Hiro: Beneficent Attack
 Shimei, Ai Len: Servant Attack
 Shimei, Raye: Ricochet Attack
 Shimei, Taro/ Fuma/ Jin/ Yukio: First Aid

 Shimei + Two (Ai Len, Hayato, Kisho, Yukio): Bishounen Attack
 Shimei + Two (Taro, Fuma, Jin, Yukio): Medical Emergency

Shimei is the epitome of the spoiled rich kid. Forced to attend public school by his concerned mother, he walks about with his nose in the air and insists on being attended by his butler/ maid, Ai Len, at all times no matter what. He despises all of his classmates impartially, since it's not really them he hates but being torn away from his rose-tinted childhood. Since the unfortunate death of his father, his mother has become worried that she has ill-prepared him for the real world (which is true) and has attempted to rectify this by virtually cutting him off emotionally for the last few years. Although this strategy might have worked with some children, it has only served to make Shimei bitter; although he used to be sheltered and naive, being love- and attention-deprived has made him into the introverted snob he is today.

Shimei is introduced to his new powers when he accidentally walks into a battle on school grounds and unleashes lightning magic to protect himself. Confused and a little intimidated by this, he agrees to work together with Hiro and his friends, although he regrets this loudly and frequently thereafter. He becomes further conflicted after Hiro frees Yuri from the World Within the Mirror and Ai Len attacks the group on Hotaru's orders, not knowing about Shimei's involvement any more than Shimei knows about Ai Len's. Shimei fires Ai Len for trying to kill him, but suffers from increased anger and loneliness thereafter until Ai Len defects from Hotaru's side out of loyalty to Shimei, which proves to be the first step in mending Shimei's wounded soul.

Shimei really just wants somebody to treat him like the king he thinks he is. Showering him with affection is what he needs to blossom into a kind and generous ruler instead of the stingy aristocrat he is now. Tough love will be necessary to smack him through his brattier phases, but if you can show him that the harshness is out of love, he will never leave your side.

League of Legends: Galio Build

That's right! It's another League of Legends build, this time for my favorite tank and solo top-lane-dominator: Galio, the Sentinel's Sorrow. People tend to think Galio is a counterpick at best, as his kit deceives people into thinking he can't build anything other than magic resistance; this is the oversight that often wins me games with him. By building Frozen Heart, popping Bastion for the defense boost, and using Spirit Visage to boost Bastion's HP restoration, Galio can tank any damage, physical or magical, without breaking a sweat. His ultimate is a game-breaker, his AOE damage is insane, and his ability to build pure tank and still contribute to the team is second to none. And that's why I love him so!

Solo Top Building
Chalice of Harmony
Mercury’s Treads
Frozen Heart
Spirit Visage
Abyssal Scepter
Force of Nature

Meki Pendant -> Chalice of Harmony
Vital for sustain. Start with the Null-Magic Mantle instead if laning against two AP champs.

Boots of Speed -> Mercury’s Treads
The only boots Galio should ever get.

If you’re really getting starved, buy Heart of Gold between Boots of Speed and Mercury’s Treads. It can easily upgrade into Randuin's Omen if necessary, and if you don't need it, you can sell it in the endgame.

Now, start building Glacial Shroud if laning against one or more AD champs. If all enemies are AP but you’re gaining the upper hand on them OR you’re laning with an AP carry, start building Abyssal Scepter.

Ruby Crystal -> Kindlegem -> Spirit Visage

Next, finish Frozen Heart if building it or start it if you’re going to need it (if there’s any strong AD champ on the map, you’ll need it). Then, if you don’t have Abyssal Scepter, it’s time to grab it.

I love for my last item to be Force of Nature, but if the map is crawling with AD champs and the AP champs are little threat, build Randuin's Omen instead, especially if you bought the Heart of Gold earlier.

Once everything else is complete, you might want to consider selling Chalice of Harmony and upgrading to something better. If you’re still not tanking adequately, grab Guardian Angel or Thornmail to cement your status as uber-tank. If your allies are all squishy and they could use the help, grab Aegis of the Legion. On the other hand, if you’re already tanking everything no sweat, turn yourself into a damage machine with Rabadon’s Deathcap.

Final Fantasy 19: CHARACTER: Phoenix

"She dreams of stardom, heroics, and enormous amounts of marshmallows in her hot cocoa."

Strength 47
Speed 37
Stamina 39
Magic 28
Attack 26
Defense 53
Evasion 12 %
Magic Defense 21
Magic Evasion 4 %

Equipment: Wands
Desperation Attack: Rebirth Flame

Starting equipment:
R-Hand Magic Wand
L-Hand Mythril Bangle
Head   Plumed Hat
Body   Flashy Robe

Age: 2
Birthdate: July 11
Blood Type: B
Hometown: Unknown
Treasure: Her signed photo of Sailor Moon
Likes: Magical-girl TV shows
Dislikes: The villains in said TV shows
Often strikes random poses.
Ending Credits Theme: Believe in Myself

Although she claims to be the all-powerful Esper of eternal resurrection, Phoenix also claims to be a magical girl destined to save the world, a fabulous idol singer with a galaxy-wide following, and a wielder of the great powers of Crimper/Cheese. Since the great powers of Crimper/Cheese have yet to save her from Badger and Ferret, who continually use her as the butt of both their jokes and their most destructive weaponry, the verity of her other statements is also in question. Regardless of her status as scapegoat and pathological liar, however, Phoenix remains eternally optimistic and generous to a fault. In fact, Phoenix's determination to do good is only surpassed by her ability to delude herself; in addition to proclaiming herself a magical girl, Phoenix has decided that Ultimecia is trying to protect the world and that Badger wants to marry her instead of Shiba, each of which is more ridiculous than the other. However, don't hold her tenuous grasp on reality against her. Always willing to help others at her own cost and always certain that everything will turn out for the best, Phoenix is--whatever else might be doubtful about her--always full of kindness.

Phoenix has been fluttering around the World of Darkness for a while now, attempting to instigate acts of heroism and good cheer wherever she goes. (She has been completely unsuccessful in these endeavors, as a trail of unfortunate, shell-shocked citizens across the World of Darkness can attest.) Her latest project has been rescuing the oft-kidnapped Princess Peahen of Peaheria, but to go up against the villainous Owl Aye, Phoenix realizes she'll need some back-up. Enter Badger and Ferret! ...much to their annoyance.

- Phoenix doesn't remember where she was born. She thinks she was kicked out of the nest for reciting old movies over and over again until her siblings got sick of her.
- Phoenix is always the first in line for new movie showings at any town she visits. Even when it's physically impossible for her to be.

Desperation Attack: Rebirth Flame
Phoenix unlocks her Esper heritage and bathes the battlefield in healing flame. Deals both Fire and Holy damage to all enemies while reviving all fallen allies. This attack has a 1.25% chance of being used if Phoenix is the last character alive, regardless of her HP, or when Phoenix receives a killing blow.

Special Skill: Red Magic
Phoenix learns spells of both White and Black Magic by gaining levels.

Cure, Lv 1, Small HP recovery
Fire, Lv 1, Small fire damage; selectable
Blizzard, Lv 1, Small ice damage; selectable
Thunder, Lv 8, Small thunder damage; selectable
Protect, Lv 9, Grants Protect
Shell, Lv 10, Grants Shell
Haste, Lv 14, Grants Haste
Cura, Lv 15, Medium HP recovery
Imp, Lv 18, Changes a character into an Imp, or vice versa
Fira, Lv 20, Medium fire damage; selectable
Blizzara, Lv 21, Medium ice damage; selectable
Thundara, Lv 22, Medium thunder damage; selectable
Esuna, Lv 23, Cures all negative statuses
Raise, Lv 24, Revives fallen ally to 25% HP
Osmose, Lv 25, Absorbs MP from one
All-Life, Lv 40, Revives all fallen allies to full HP

Special Skill: Limit
As Phoenix takes damage, her Limit gauge fills, allowing her to unleash increasingly powerful (and increasingly pink) attacks. Phoenix learns new Limit skills by both using her old skills and killing certain numbers of enemies.

Fireball, Damage one with raining fire
Antipode, Damage one with fire and ice
Righteous Fury, Damage one with indignant lightning
Volcano, Damage one with an eruption from below
Cherry Blossom, Damage all with showering blossoms
Shooting Stars, Damage all with glittering stars
Final Flame, Damage one with burning love