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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

Final Fantasy 19: The Paradise of Peaheria

Location: The World of Darkness
Party members: Badger, Ferret, Phoenix
Opponents: None
BGM: Final Fantasy III - Megalopolis Saronia

Peaheria is a sprawling kingdom, the capitol of the World of Darkness, populated primarily by proud black peacocks who hold a position far higher than any petty human in the hierarchy of the land. King Peacock's fair daughter, the Princess Peahen, has been peanapped from her royal throne, and he has put out flyers and messengers across the kingdom looking for mercenaries to go and save her from the pernicious perpetrator: the fowl villain Owl Aye.

Item Shop:
Potion, 50
Hi-Potion, 600
Antidote, 80
Eye Drops, 40
Echo Screen, 100
Phoenix Down, 500
Sleeping Bag, 500
Tent, 1200

Your stock of Potions has likely dwindled, and you may have rather more need of it than you have previously in the near future. Phoenix Downs, Antidotes, and Echo Screens may also warrant purchasing.

Weapon Shop:
Wave Hammer
Magic Wand
Rising Sun

You're going to want to blow most of your money at the armor shop, as defenses are going to be crucial for surviving the World of Darkness. However, if you've bought all the protectives you need, you should probably swing by here to pick up a Wave Hammer for Badger. The Wave Hammer is a good hammer and a worthy purchase, but you'll have a chance to pick one up for free in a while, so it should be the last of your priorities.

Armor Shop:
Silver Bangles
Mythril Bangle
Plumed Hat
Flashy Robe

The best purchases you can make in this city are right here at the humble Armor Shop. Exchanging Silver Bangles, Floppy Hats, and Cotton Robes for Mythril Bangles, Plumed Hats, and Flashy Robes results in a defense increase of 16, which will go a long way to increasing your survivability on the world map. The upgrades won't come cheap, but they're well worth the price for the amount of protection they provide.

You may want to forgo the robe for Ferret, as you can buy her a better one in a different town before the next dungeon. However, this better robe is also correspondingly more expensive. The Flashy Robe will serve Ferret well enough for almost half the price, so if your funds are tight, she'll be happy with some flash.

The story progresses once you enter the inn, where a red canary is fluttering around trying to bully somebody into rescuing the princess with her. (Notice a trend with this game and bullying females?) She threatens Badger with the "great powers of Crimper/ Cheese," which Badger takes as a threat to his personal safety; he proceeds to haul off with his hammer, splattering her all over the nearest wall. Ferret is quite pleased, but unfortunately, the canary is anything but dead, peeling herself off the stones and becoming quite happy. This is just the kind of strength rescuing the princess will require! Badger, of course, is only interested in saving Ultimecia, but the canny canary makes an offer the mammals can't refuse: if they help her save the princess, she'll show them the location of the Temple of Time, from which Badger might be able to access the timestream and find Ultimecia. Stuck for it, Badger and Ferret join the party of the great and powerful Phoenix, although this doesn't stop them from smacking her around a bit more as they head out the door.

Despite her odd idiosyncrasies and her tendency to get kicked around by, well, everybody, Phoenix is a massive asset to your party. She comes with current top-of-the-line equipment, almost twice as much HP as Badger, and the highly versatile "Red Magic" skillset, which gives her access to Cure, Fire, and Blizzard right from the start. Ultimecia she ain't, but Phoenix's magical skills are not to be derided. Enemies beware: Phoenix is here to save our sorry butts.

The story wants you to head to Owl Tower next, as this is the place where the fair princess is being incarcerated. However, the World of Darkness is a big place, and there are lots of locations you can wander to first, most of them holding valuable treasures you may want to take advantage of before venturing into the lair of the evil (?) avian.

At this present time, you can head northwest from Peaheria to locate Leprit, the village of the summoners. Way down to the south is Demur, a small fishing town with no bearing on the plot. Hidden in the trees to the far west of Demur is Dastar, city of the bards. Owl Tower is northeast of Demur and southeast of Peaheria, hidden behind the mountains in view of the coast. And right on the outskirts of Peaheria itself is the Scholars' Library, a dangerous, sealed location only the bibliophiliac-hearted may enter.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Final Fantasy 19: The World of Darkness: Where the Hell Are We?

Location: The World of Darkness, Around Peaheria
Party members: Badger, Ferret
Opponents: Dark Warrior, Stormfin Pike, Thunder Giant, Ninja, Cu Sith, Needle Monkey, Catoblepas, Heavengaroo Magus, Sorcerer, Crazy Horse
BGM: Emotions (Xenogears OST)

What the hey? One moment you're dancing a jig at Ultimecia's handy, more-or-less single-handed takedown of an Immense Insect from the Inferno, and the next, wham, you've been dropped into a world of blue fields and night skies, stars stretching on forever over mountains made of crystal. And Ultimecia is nowhere to be seen.

Houston, we have a problem.

Preparation: Equip both Badger and Ferret with Floppy Hats. You will be facing nothing but physical attacks on the world map of the World of Darkness (unless you head to the beaches, but you do not, I repeat, DO NOT, want to do that at this point in time,) and Floppy Hats offer the best defense of any helmet you have access to right now. If you're lucky enough to have an Oxen Stone, give it to Ferret; otherwise, she should keep holding onto her Horse Rock.

Monster formations:

Dark Warrior
Cu Sith
Cu Sith, Cu Sith
Dark Warrior, Dark Warrior

(Foot of the mountains)
Cu Sith
Thunder Giant
Cu Sith, Cu Sith

Stormfin Pike
Stormfin Pike, Stormfin Pike

Unless you went overboard in the Lakeside Woods and are very much overleveled, your only hope of surviving the enemies of the World of Darkness is status effects. To recap, Badger has access to Mini through his Compression spell; Ferret SHOULD have Paralysis through Shriek and Confusion by way of Ultrasonic.

Dark Warriors are the most common enemy, and also one of the least dangerous. Their attack and defense are both very high, but their speed is low, which makes them easy to handle. They will alternate between their normal physical attack and the !Dark Wave skill, which does an unblockable, unchangeable 20 points of damage to your team, but this is survivable; even preferable, as it happens, for the attack does the same amount of damage to the Dark Warrior himself. Defeating these shadowy menaces isn't too hard, even in pairs; they are vulnerable to all three of the status effects you can cause, so Paralyze them with Ferret until Badger can Miniaturize them, thereby reducing their attack and defense to manageable levels. From there, physical attacks will do the job. You can also Sketch them; 75% of the time you'll get the !Wave of Darkness skill, which deals 20 barrier-piercing points of damage to all enemies without costing Badger HP (since it uses the sketch's HP instead of Badger's own). The other 25% of the time, the sketch will use Blind, which will make the Dark Warrior's physical attacks miss.

Cu Sith are nastier on paper than they are in battle. Every turn, they have a 25% chance of attacking, a 25% chance of using !Howl to remove all positive status effects such as Protect and Shell (which you can't put on yourself yet anyway,) and a 50% chance of using !Phase, which sets Vanish. The Vanish status effect makes the affected target immune to all physical attacks, causing them simply to miss. Once invisible, the Cu Sith will only physically attack until they are revealed again, at which point they return to their previous A.I. script.

This means that Cu Sith spend a lot of time not actually attacking, which gives you plenty of time to plot their downfall. Cu Sith are immune to Mini, but the damage from Compression will still cancel out their Vanished status, which means they will probably use their next turn !Phasing again. However, Ferret is the character who will prove their real downfall. Even Vanished, Vocalizations will still affect the slippery strays. Use Shriek to paralyze Cu Sith, Compress them back into visibility, and hammer them to death from there.

If Badger Sketches a Cu Sith, it might use !Phase on Badger, thereby giving HIM the Vanish status. Unfortunately, this status can be removed by !Howl, so the chances of getting out of the battle with it are small. It is also important to note that Badger can NOT Sketch an invisible opponent.

Ninjas are incredibly annoying due to the plethora of status effects they cause. They only have 11 HP, but between Blind and Blink, you'll find it difficult to get at those 11 crucial points. They can attack physically, but rarely choose to, much preferring the Bio spell to inflict Poison and the Aero spell, which deals wind damage to all opponents. This spell is EXTREMELY important: it is the next Blue Magic spell Ferret can learn, and is both cheap and multi-targeting. It is excellent for revealing Cu Sith, getting through the high defenses of Dark Warriors, or - much to the Ninjas' chagrin - eliminating Ninjas. Don't waste your time with physical attacks or curative items when facing a Ninja; ignore the status effects and let loose with Aero at the first opportunity. (Until you get Aero, Compression can work as well, but it typically takes two casts of Compression to kill a Ninja due to their high Magic Defense. Sketch them instead; you'll Bio them 75% of the time, which will - if it inflicts Poison - kill them, and Aero them the other 25% of the time, which will just kill them outright.)

You'll only find Thunder Giants around mountains, but they're not as difficult as you might expect from their rarity and their enormous size. They pack even more HP and strength than Dark Warriors, but their defenses aren't nearly as good and their speed is outright abysmal. Their attack pattern consists mostly of attacks and, on occasion, !Shock Punch, which may cause Paralyze.

The bad news is that Thunder Giants are immune to both Miniaturize and Paralyze. The good news is that they are vulnerable to Confuse and they are EXCEPTIONALLY good targets to Sketch. Once Confused, the Thunder Giant will waste his next turn punching himself in the face, which is good news for you; better news, however, is that Sketching a Thunder Giant gives a 25% shot at Magnitude 8. This is an extremely powerful multi-target earth-elemental attack, and Earth, as it so happens, is the Thunder Giant's number one weakness. Beguile the Giant with Ferret's Ultrasonic and let Badger Sketch earthquakes until the creature falls.

Avoid beaches at all costs. Beaches are the domain of the Stormfin Pike, and no amount of clever status-manipulation is going to get you through a battle with one of those beasties. The Stormfin Pike is vulnerable to Confuse, but this only provokes it into using Clean Sweep like a maniac. Which it is immune to. If you're really feeling lucky, you can initiate a battle, throw out Ultrasonic as quickly as possible, snag Clean Sweep for Ferret (for yes, this spell is a Blue Magic spell, and a very powerful one at that,) and then run like hell. You might even make it out alive. However, Stormfin Pikes are quite difficult to run from, and it would be better to wait until you have some better equipment, not to mention your third character, who is very near in your future.

Make your way carefully down south. The sprawling metropolis of Peaheria is not far from your starting location, but the enemy encounters might spell your doom if you're not careful and quick on your mental feet. You might want to save after every battle.

Yuunaru! Characters: Ryuu

Nicknames: Dragon Red
Age: 17, Taurus
Grade: High School Senior, Class 1-B
Hair: Black and crazy-messed-up all over the place
Eyes: Purple
Build: Strong but youthful
Profession: Masked crimefighter (sort of)
Family: Mother, father
Personality: Bombastic, ridiculous, sincere
Dream: To make the world a better place
Likes: Sentai shows, giant robots
Dislikes: Dishonesty, his parents' plans for him
Weapon: Justice Sword
Transformed Costume: Skin-tight red spandex
Element: Earth Star

 Chivalry (own defense and magic defense up)
 Heroism (own attack and magic attack up)

 Ryuu, Hiro: Justice Attack
 Ryuu, Fuma: Fusion Attack
 Ryuu, Kisho: Swordsman Attack

 Hiro, Ryuu, Kiyoshi: Righteousness Attack
 Ryuu + Two (Arata, Isao, Hotaru, Jin, Tsuruya, Kiyoshi): Brawlers' Attack

An oddball kid in Hiro's class, Ryuu is a comic book fiend madly in love with sentai T.V. shows, to the point where Hiro's love of video games looks tepid in comparison. He is very overdramatic, very hyperbolic, very gullible, and utterly without a sense of humor, which is the only way anyone could act the way he does without breaking into giggles every few seconds. He unswervingly means everything he says, and will believe without question anything that comes out of the mouth of somebody he trusts, which makes for all sorts of awkward situations when exploitative personalities such as Goo, Shimei, Ai Len, or Fuma get involved. As an only child of conservative parents, he is constantly struggling against heavy expectations and stern disapproval; his parents fight to mold him into the model son they wished they had, while Ryuu struggles to maintain his hard-won individuality. His parents long for him to take up a nice, sober, high-paid business job; his only wish is to make the world a better place in his own personal way. This inevitably leads to bitter fighting in their family, making theirs a sad and uncomfortable household.

Ryuu is one of the many people granted powers by Hiro's wish, and unlike some, he figures this out right away and immediately begins using them to fight crime in the manner of his beloved sentai shows. Upon meeting Hiro and Mizumaki, he promptly "joins forces" with them and begins looking for two more members so that they can have a proper sentai team together. He is despondent when their number extends beyond five-and-one-converted-villain (with the discovery of Taro,) but is reconciled when Taro makes him stir-fry.

Ryuu tries to treat Hiro like his sidekick, but what he really wants is a partner to share his adventures with. Treat him with seriousness, like an equal, and don't let him put you down no matter what, and his respect is yours.

Yuunaru! Characters: Mizumaki

Nicknames: Mizu-kun
Age: 17, Scorpio
Grade: High School Senior, Class 1-B
Hair: Auburn
Eyes: Black
Build: Slim swimmer's build
Profession: Swim team star
Family: Divorced parents; lives with mother and brother, Kou
Personality: Boisterous, friendly, a bit self-centered
Dream: To swim in the Olympics
Likes: Swimming, shopping
Dislikes: Claustrophobic
Weapon: Gloves
Transformed Costume: A miniscule Speedo and googles
Element: Water Moon

 Acid (defense down, one)
 Acid Rain (defense down, all)

 Mizumaki, Hiro: Friends Attack
 Mizumaki, Jin: Ocean Attack
 Mizumaki, Hanako: Friends Attack

 Hiro, Mizumaki, Ryuu: Trinity Attack
 Hiro, Mizumaki, Hanako: Best Friends Attack
 Mizumaki, Jin, Atsushi: Tsunami Attack
 Mizumaki + Two (Taro, Konosuke, Kiyoshi, Tsuruya, Zen): Exhibitionist Attack

Hiro's best male friend, Mizumaki is the star of the swim team, and accordingly much more popular and athletic than his reclusive friend Hiro. Although Hiro, Mizumaki, and Hanako all became friends in elementary school due to a common love for video games, Mizumaki has grown away from them as he has gotten older and often despairs of Hiro's airy-fairy fantasy worlds. Mizumaki himself is quite practical and extroverted, and sometimes doesn't seem to have time for Hiro; but when the chips hit the table, Mizumaki would slit his own wrists for Hiro's sake, since Hiro has always been there for him ever since the caustic divorce of Mizumaki's parents.

It doesn't take much to nurture Mizumaki's complicated feelings toward Hiro into love. Just spend lots of time with him and confide in him about everything. When he sees how adult Hiro has become, he won't be able to hold back anymore.

Yuunaru! Characters: Hiro

Nicknames: None
Age: 17, Cancer
Grade: High School Senior, Class 1-B
Hair: Black, short, spiky in traditional anime hero fashion
Eyes: Black
Build: Slim but strong
Profession: Student, part-time grocery store employee
Family: Mother, Keiko; father, Jiro; grandmother, Matsuko
Dream: To do something great for the world
Personality: Chivalrous, vibrant, idealistic
Likes: Video games, pizza
Dislikes: The news (too depressing,) mice
Weapon: Sword
Transformed Costume: Belt- and chain-covered pants and a sleeveless half-shirt baring his abs
Element: Wish

 Goo  -  Attacks the enemy party with a rampaging Goo
 Yuri  -  Yuri casts a damaging curse at the enemy party; causes Curse
 Middi - Calls Middi to blow debilitating flames over the enemy party; lowers targets' ATK and DEF
 Wish  -  Sacrifices half of Hiro's current HP and heals that amount to both of his allies
 Sacrifice  -  Brings Hiro's HP to 1, heals both of his allies to full health, and damages the enemy party

 Hiro, Mizumaki: Friends Attack
 Hiro, Ryuu: Justice Attack
 Hiro, Shimei: Beneficent Attack
 Hiro, Makoto: Talisman Attack
 Hiro, Taro: NOT AGAIN
 Hiro, Junichi: Adrenaline Attack
 Hiro, Isao: Rivalry Attack
 Hiro, Kisho: Leaders Attack
 Hiro, Kiyoshi: Justice Attack
 Hiro, Hanako: Friends Attack

 Hiro, Mizumaki, Ryuu: Trinity Attack
 Hiro, Mizumaki, Hanako: Best Friends Attack
 Hiro, Ryuu, Kiyoshi: Righteousness Attack
 Hiro, Arata, Hayato: Summoning Attack
 Hiro, Satoru, Hideki: Curse Attack

Hiro is an idealistic high school senior who gets the kind of rush from defeating the final bosses of video games that most of his peers are getting from sex, drugs, or heavy metal. After encountering a mysterious old man and receiving a tarnished old lamp that DOES in fact hold a genie inside, Hiro accidentally turns his world into a battle of good versus evil, transforming him into a hero and granting magical powers to a handful of people in his city. Spurred to fight the increasingly more bizarre Forces of Darkness by his new sidekick, the smart-mouthed slime creature Goo, Hiro revels in the possession of the power he's always wished he could have in his life. However, why was he given this power to begin with...?

Hiro's central characteristic is his caution. Although cheerful and optimistic by nature, he's the type who asks questions BEFORE charging in and getting flattened by the giant beast. After all, he's a gamer, not a daredevil, and once he realizes that the situation he's in has become his reality and there's no GameFAQ to tell him what to do, he becomes much more careful than your typical RPG hero. He cares about others a great deal and will go well out of his way to ensure the happiness and safety of those he cares about, although he is not always the most perceptive person and may thus cause others pain without realizing until it is too late. Some of his favorite video games are Last Imagining VI, Dragon Knight VIII, and Disterra II.

Spectrum: Chapter Three 8/8

   It was finally time. They traveled to Mandala as fast as they could, and when they reached the city, they found it in an uproar. The people were panicking; the mighty cone of Mount Hellena Bas-Crysalli, which had been quiet and smokeless for decades, was showing signs of dramatic activity! Pyre did her best to calm the populace, but her nerves were just as keyed. Was this Acheron’s scheme? Ignite the volcano and bury Mandala in lava? Clara felt this didn’t make sense, but Pyre was done with talking. They had to head to Mount Bas-Crysalli immediately!

   The enormous mountain was indeed smoking dangerously as they approached. Seles half-expected Clara to express fear over their coming task, but obtaining magic had done wonders for the girl’s sense of confidence. She approached Hellena Bas-Crysalli without fear.

   They saw immediately why they couldn’t have attempted this rescue mission without the help of the elements. Mount Hellena Bas-Crysalli was a miniature world unto itself, covered with the cracked and disjointed heights of old lava banks and the huge, deep gouges of old lava flows. Everywhere huge boulders blocked the way, and treacherous igneous rock formations made walking even more difficult. Trying to climb the mountain on foot would have taken weeks.

   At last Seles summoned Faience to him. The great earth spirit had recovered power during her rest, and using that power, she created a long, smooth tunnel straight up the mountain, as close to the center as she dared place it without disturbing the volcano’s building pressure. They ran up the path; Faience warned them to summon Rogalian before going further and then disappeared, once again drained. Seles did so, and Rogalian wrapped them all in a shield impenetrable by heat, although he warned them that this protection wasn’t strong enough to stand up to magma and entreated them to be careful.

   As ready as they’d ever be, Seles, Clara, Niay, and Pyre ran into the heart of Mount Hellena Bas-Crysalli.

Spectrum: Chapter Three 7/8

   They had collected the powers of Faience and Rogalian, so they could now follow Acheron into Mount Hellena Bas-Crysalli. Pyre was understandably desperate to get there as quickly as possible, but Seles managed to persuade her that taking a quick detour to find Fu would be invaluable when they finally confronted her father’s kidnapper.

   It was the work of a moment to find the cave with three entrances; they had stumbled through it more than once during their search for the Crimson Palace. But this time, there was definitely something different about that cave. It might have been the trap door that opened up underneath them and dumped them down a hole into a cave lit by a roaring bellows.

   Fu was a tall man, stripped to the waist, with ferocious black hair and eyebrows that spoke more than he did. He conveyed a definite interest in the Wreath and Scroll, however, allowing Seles to explain that Faience and Rogalian had recommended him to them…or perhaps it was vice versa. This appeared to sit well with the intimidating blacksmith.

   The mysterious Kitsune Fur they had been collecting, Fu explained, was not only incredibly magical and durable, but also possessed of an odd transmuting property. To demonstrate, he took Seles’ bow and the tuft of fur Seles had won from the Brambler way back at the beginning of our story and began to fuse them together, wrapping expertly, adding additional leather and wax, polishing and bending until…Seles’ well-worn Longbow had become a Composite Bow, as though by magic!

   They had four tufts of Kitsune Fur besides the one Fu had already used. Fu offered to forge their armor as well as their weapons, although he refused to upgrade any weapon or armor more than once at this point. He drove a bargain with Seles that he would change his mind if they brought him more of the elemental artifacts to study.

   So now they were faced with a choice. They could either upgrade four of their weapons, all of their armor, or a few of both. It was a difficult decision. What would you do?

Spectrum: Chapter Three 6/8

   They were in what could only be the castle’s library, at the summit of the tallest tower of the palace. To their shock, however, it was coated entirely in ice! Rogalian himself was visible in the center of the room, frozen solid like a fly trapped in amber. They rushed to reach him, but were blown back by a great gale of blistering wind as from the ceiling came a terrible abomination: a blazing halo surrounded by seven enormous, fiery wings.

   Fighting the Unholy Wings was like forcing mice to fight a falcon. The monstrosity would zoom across the great expanse of the library at high speed, knocking them around with its flailing wings and searing slipstream. Occasionally it would hover in the air and summon down a great rain of fire around it, blasting them with meteorites. Dangerous though it was, this was their best chance to hurt it; they aimed for the fiery core with their ranged attacks while the beast recovered from its casting. After damaging it for a short time, it became angry and swept them all away from one another with a great blow of its wings. At this point, every one of them had to fight as if they were alone until their combined efforts injured the monster, sending it reeling away and allowing them to reunite.

   The fight was long and arduous, but although the Unholy Wings had the advantage of size and mobility, it couldn’t overcome the teamwork of the four friends. With Seles and Clara pummeling the creation at every opportunity and Niay and Pyre keeping everybody in good shape, the Unholy Wings was chipped slowly and decisively to its doom. Keening horribly, it vanished in a fiery explosion and dropped its core: a thin, bladed ring: a chakram. Clara, of all people, picked it up and gave it a few practice throws; deciding she liked it, she pocketed the weapon.

   But how were they to free the trapped Rogalian? On a hunch, Seles took the Garnet Wreath from Clara and held it up to the frozen fire spirit. Gathering power from the proximity of its creator, the Wreath flared with magic heat and melted the ice in a twinkling, freeing the spirit from his prison.

   Startling blue eyes amidst golden skin and flowing crimson hair; such was Rogalian, spirit of fire. With his awakening, the sweltering heat of the palace suddenly died down to a refreshing coolness, and outside, the glow of flames from the burning wood vanished like a blown-out candle.

   Rogalian was indeed very weak, as Faience had feared. He had been attacked—he knew not by what—and, like the Sepia Palace, the Crimson Palace’s defense mechanisms had been triggered to protect him. Whoever or whatever his assailant had been, it had been powerful enough to strike him down before he had even sensed it coming; frozen him solid—him, the spirit of fire!—and then made it out through the Crimson Palace’s defenses. Was this strange antagonist targeting all of the elemental spirits of the world? But why? And how could anyone have enough power to do such a thing?

   It was Pyre who dragged them back from their speculation to the situation at hand. Once he understood their need to penetrate Mount Hellena Bas-Crysalli, Rogalian gladly lent them his powers. He would like to meet this Acheron, he said, a hard look in his blue eyes.

   Again, Pyre obtained the ability to cover her weapons with an element—fire this time, of course—and the technique for a new finishing move: the Muspelheim Blow. Clara received the power to smite and destroy using fire; Niay, the ability to strengthen and protect.

   For Seles, Rogalian poured his power into the Garnet Wreath, returning it to full strength once more. Like the Opal Scroll, Seles could now use the Wreath either to return to the Crimson Palace no matter where he was or to call Rogalian to his side, although like Faience, Rogalian warned him that he was likely to be weak for quite some time. Even recharging the Wreath had been a difficult task for him.

   With his powers granted, Rogalian turned his attention to the black mark on Seles’ chest. Faience’s fears had been correct; Rogalian could do no more about it than she had. He was rather more interested in Seles’ birthmark, however. There was power in it, he said, although he wasn’t sure what kind of power it was. Even if he had been at the height of his power, he admitted, Faience was by far the more experienced when it came to magical healing.

   When Clara mentioned Fu, however, Rogalian had useful information. He knew Fu well; in fact, Fu made his home in the Ringcon Caves beneath the Crimson Palace. The spirit told them to look for the cave with the three entrances, which was where the entrance to Fu’s workshop was. With the aura of two elemental artifacts around them, Fu’s curiosity was sure to be piqued and he would certainly grant them entrance. As a parting gift, Rogalian gave them a tuft of Kitsune Fur that he had used in the creation of the Unholy Wings; Fu would make good use of it, he said.

   The Magic Carpet flew them out to the front of the Crimson Palace, where they found the formerly burning wood had, with the extinguishing of the flames intended to guard the palace, been reduced to a plain of ash. Seles was sad that the forest—part of the Palace’s defenses—had been destroyed in this way, but Niay pointed out that the forest would likely grow back even better than before with the regeneration of the soil.

Spectrum: Chapter Three 5/8

   Of course, “safety” was a relative term. They might not be worried about falling flaming trees anymore, but Burning Beasts prowled the halls and Tinderflies buzzed about the ceilings. In normal, non-combustible circumstances, they might have found the Crimson Palace quite pretty—it was large and opulent, designed like a proper castle with sweeping staircases, long halls, and great chambers—but when every staircase was patrolled by a Flare Spider and every chamber was monitored by a Flame Dragon, the beauty was hard to appreciate.

   They wandered through the palace for what felt like hours, struggling to find Rogalian or at least some clue as to what could have happened to him. It was beginning to feel like a lost cause, and Clara was starting to complain, when Pyre suddenly heard something unusuala sizzling sound, like water being dropped onto a hot pan.

   Following the sound, they found a spiral staircase from which water, of all things, was dripping! Where was it coming from? They climbed the staircase with all speed and found themselves in front of an enormous door emblazoned with an intertwined sun and moon.

   Pyre tried to break the door down, but the ornate construction was as solid as steel. Trying another tack, Niay used his Augury magic on it instead and learned that the door was impenetrable by physical means, but would open to the magic of an elemental spirit. The spotlight was on Clara; she cast Spitting Earth on the door, and sure enough, it blew open immediately.

Rambling: Monsters: Dragons

Method of Attack: Claws, teeth, wings, tail
Omega Attack: Primordial Force


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

_____ Breath  -  Fire, Frost, Gale, Lightning, Shining, or Shadow Breath.
_____ Claw  -  Fire, Frost, Gale, Lightning, Shining, or Shadow Claw.
Draconic _____  -  Fire, Frost, Gale, Lightning, Shining, or Shadow power.

Skill Statistics
Normal Attack  -  Lvl 0, MP 0, Short-range
Primordial Force  -  Lvl 0, MP 0, Omega Attack
_____ Breath  -  Lvl 5, MP 12, Long-range
_____ Claw  -  Lvl 8, MP 4, Short-range
Draconic _____  -  Lvl 28, MP 25, Medium-range

 *Each dragon has a 30 in their respective element: Fire for Salamanders, Water for Leviathans, Wind for Wyverns, Earth for Tiamats, Holy for Myrmidons, and Darkness for Bahamuts.
 **The elements refer to the names of the dragons in respective order. For example, all Salamanders learn Fire Breath, Fire Claw, and Draconic Fire. All Leviathans learn Water Breath, Water Claw, and Draconic Frost. And so on.

Rambling: Monsters: Mermaids

Method of Attack: Knifelike blades of song, water-calling song, geyser-calling song, fish-calling song
Omega Attack: Sea Witch


Movement: 4
Spellbook Slots: 2
Magic Experience Gain Rate Chart
   Fire: 05  -  Water: 30  -  Wind: 05  -  Earth: 05
   Lightning: 05  -  Holy: 10  -  Darkness: 20  -  Medical: 15
   Strength: 15  -  Weakness: 25

Lullaby  -  Sings a lullaby that puts enemies to sleep.
Serenade  -  Serenades allies, healing their wounds.
Requiem  -  Sings a dark requiem that Curses enemies.
Siren’s Song  -  Sings a song that Charms enemies into defending you.
*Mermaids all learn up to Level 3 water magic.

Skill Statistics
Normal Attack  -  Lvl 0, MP 0, Medium-range
Sea Witch - Lvl 0, MP 0, Omega Attack
Lullaby  -  Lvl 5, MP 5, Long-range
Serenade  -  Lvl 9, MP 6, Long-range
Requiem  -  Lvl 16, MP 14, Long-range
Siren’s Song  -  Lvl 35, MP 30, Long-range
Ice Floe  -  Lvl 5, MP ?, Long-range
Ice Field  -  Lvl 15, MP ?, Long-range
Great Freeze  -  Lvl 30, MP ?, Long-range

Rambling: Monsters: Dryads

Method of Attack: Slap, gust of leaf-filled wind, flying squirrel, other forest creatures
Omega Attack: Spirit of the World

Red Rose
Tiger Lilly

Movement: 4
Spellbook Slots: 2
Magic Experience Gain Rate Chart
   Fire: 05  -  Water: 15  -  Wind: 25  -  Earth: 30
   Lightning: 05  -  Holy: 15  -  Darkness: 15  -  Medical: 20
   Strength: 30  -  Weakness: 30

Spirit of Wind - Spirit of the wind heals allies.
Spirit of Stone - Spirit of precious stones raises ally defense.
Spirit of Trees - Spirit of the trees attacks with leaves, flowers, and wood.

Skill Statistics
Normal Attack  -  Lvl 0, MP 0, Short-range
Spirit of the World  -  Lvl 0, MP 0, Omega Attack
Spirit of Wind  -  Lvl 5, MP 8, Long-range
Spirit of Stone  -  Lvl 15, MP 12, Long-range
Spirit of Trees  -  Lvl 25, MP 21, Long-range

Rambling: Episode Two: Stage Eight: Crown of Thorns

Stage Eight: Crown of Thorns
Enemies: Bahamut lvl 4 x1 (Boss)
         Dryad lvl 3 x2
         Tin Soldier lvl 3 x5
Replacements: Bahamut with Grizzly Bear lvl 4 x1

   The bad fairy Malevolenta has summoned a mighty Bahamut to block your way into the castle. If you don't keep yourself at full health, the Bahamut's attacks are easily capable of wiping you out, so try to rush it with all of your allies and overwhelm it in a single round.

   Instead of using a brute force approach, you can also use the Red Force Line to create a red Force Field and shatter it, causing huge fire-based damage to everything within the area of the field. Although this won’t finish off the Bahamut, it should leave it weak enough that one solid attack will.

   Since the stage is won when the Bahamut falls, ignore the Dryads and Tin Soldiers and just focus all your strength on defeating the boss. It might be a difficult fight, but it should also be a quick one. If you're having trouble winning, consider going back and redoing the Tepid Pool stage a few times to grab a quick level or two. That should give you the edge you need to win here.

Rambling: Episode Two: Stage Seven: Tepid Pool

Stage Seven: Tepid Pool
Enemies: Water Elemental lvl 2 x2
         Dryad lvl 2 x4
         Mermaid lvl 2 x2

   Another tutorial, this time on Force Fields and the breaking thereof. When a character stands in the flow of a Force Line, the Line will travel in the direction the character is facing. This allows you to direct the flow and length of a Force Line by placing multiple characters in its stream. When a Force Line is directed so as to form a closed shape, the area inside becomes a Force Field, spreading the power of the Line across every square enclosed by the Line. Although the Dryads on this stage are forming a Force Field out of the red Strength Up Force Line, increasing the physical attack power of all the enemies on the field, Flo trains a blue Healing Force Line at it, turning the Force Field from red to purple. This turns the Strength Up Force Field into a Transfiguration Force Field, transforming the enemies into chickens!

   That’s not all, either. Flo then proceeds to Absorb the Healing Force Line’s base, causing the Line to explode, thus breaking the Force Field. Breaking a Force Field causes a gigantic explosion, damaging everything standing on it!

   After Flo’s pyromaniacal delights are over, all of the enemies on the field should be one hit away from defeat, leaving them easy targets for your team. For this reason, you might want to play through this map several times. The next stage is quite difficult, and it's very easy to grind up a level or two for all your characters on this map. Furthermore, having a bunch of enemies at low health makes it easy to kill all but one and then recruit that one for your party. Water Elementals and Mermaids are both powerful casters who naturally learn water magic; their skills may come in handy for the boss fight ahead.

Rambling: Episode Two: Stage Six: Rose Way

Stage Six: Rose Way
Enemies: Dryad lvl 2 x6

   Technically you could Absorb enemies to deplete their Wickedness and recruit them as of the last stage, when the Absorb command was unlocked. However, this is where Flo actually informs you about it. Try it out if you haven’t already. Dryads are not the strongest allies in the game, but they can be valuable support units, especially at this point in the game, with so few units at your disposal. They are capable magic-users with high magic defense and a natural healing spell, learned automatically once they hit level 5, so you might want to take the effort to recruit one on this stage.

   With or without a Dryad ally, this stage is pretty easy. The Dryads here have no magic or special skills learned yet, so they're forced to rely on their physical attacks, and they hit like powder puffs. Take them down at your leisure and continue the story.

Rambling: Episode Two: Stage Five: Briar Entrance

Stage Five: Briar Entrance
Enemies: Tin Soldier lvl 1 x4
         Dryad lvl 1 x2

   The learning’s not over yet! Flo notices Force Lines on this stage that you and your enemies can draw power from. Use the Absorb command on a Force Line, and you will recover HP and MP equal to the line’s level. However, by Absorbing the lines at their base, the absorber instead regains HP and MP equal to the number of squares the line was spanning times the line’s level. In addition, anything standing on said squares will be damaged when the line gives out and explodes!

   You can also use the Absorb command on enemies. This drains their Wickedness gauge, raising the chance they will join you when defeated. Although a wicked monster would rather die than join you, monsters without high Wickedness factor will surrender to you instead. More powerful monsters have more Wickedness and require more Absorbing. The chance of a monster joining you is inversely proportional to the percentage of energy remaining in their Wickedness gauge. Beware that some enemies have Infinite Wickedness, making it impossible to cause them to join you.

   With the Tin Soldiers damaged by Flo’s Absorption of the Force Line, even Yuki can take them out in one physical strike. With the Soldiers dead, the Dryads are easy for Hana and Flo to mop up. They boast high Magic Resistance, however, so Yuki's skills and spells will be less effective on them. Just barrage them with physicals and proceed onward.

Rambling: Episode Two: Sleeping Beauty: Briar Forest

   Flo, who as Fairy Godmother is assigned to grade Hana’s progress, tries to give her 1000 points for being her godchild and a further 569 for being a girl. She then takes off 297 points because Hana is being “too honest.” The fact that 100 points is the most she can receive obviously does not bother the slightly biased Flo.

   The castle is surrounded by thick walls of briars. Flying in is not an option – you might rip the tablecloth. Therefore Yuki lands the tablecloth at a cautious distance and you proceed on foot.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Rambling: Episode One: Snow White and Rose Red: The City of Legend

   Legend is the capitol city of heroism, location of the Hero Society Headquarters and home to hundreds of would-be heroes and their hangers-on. Hana can't believe she's finally going to fulfill her dream at last.

   After difficulty with a line of applicants for the Hero Office and further problems with the secretary, Flo uses force, magic, trickery, and very un-godmotherly threats to sneak Hana into the written exam. The Hero Society scores it and is astonished to find that this mysterious applicant has scored 113%. They are eager to meet this applicant in person, but when they discover she's a girl, they collectively blow blood vessels. Old Silvanus Greare doesn't seem to mind her gender, however, and makes a push for her acceptance regardless of tradition. He is overruled, but he and Hana together manage to pigeonhole the Society using the Hero's Rulebook. Silvanus suggests that Hana be assigned to awaken the Northern Castle--a Sleeping Beauty case, it's called--for her practical exam, a test the rest of the Society is sure she will not pass because she is not a prince and cannot awaken the princess with a kiss like she is supposed to.

   The secretary gives Hana a flying tablecloth (the carpets are all taken) for transportation, as well as a Temporary Hero's License. This license gives Hana authorization to buy the lowest level of items and equipment from the shops in Legend, so take advantage of it before flying off to the Northern Castle.

Valkyrie Profile Hrist: Initiating Battle

.Hrist is required to be in your party at all times.
.Your party may contain between one and four party members.
.Enemies wander the fields of Midgard and Asgard in the visible form of shadowy figures of darkness. The size of the enemy's form on the map can tell you what kind of enemies may await you if you engage that enemy in battle.
.If you hit an enemy with Hrist's weapon before it makes contact with you, you will start the battle at an advantage.
.If you hit an enemy with a crystal before it makes contact with you, it will temporarily be turned to stone and be unable to move. Touching a petrified enemy will not incite battle.
.If you use a crystal to shake the ground an enemy is standing on, that enemy will be confused and will briefly stop moving. Contact with a confused enemy will incite a battle, but you will automatically be at an advantage.
.If you hit an enemy with a Grand Crystal, battle will immediately commence, but you will be at an advantage and the enemies will take damage before the battle begins. Note that the enemy must be hit by the Crystal itself, not by the explosion from it.
.If an enemy makes contact with Hrist rather than her weapon or a Grand Crystal, combat will commence with Hrist and her party at a disadvantage.
.When Hrist is at an advantage, all characters start with an empty Charge Gauge and the allied team will get to attack first. The Break Gauge will also be filled by a small amount.
.When Hrist is at a disadvantage, all characters start with one CT in their Charge Gauge and the enemy team will get to attack first.