Let's Play Monster Quest part 10





... seriously, this probably actually is a direct Star Wars reference. Japan loves Star Wars. Intelligent Systems also gives us



Sturm, whose design is pretty obviously influenced by Darth Vader, so Intelligent Systems is not a company of people collectively living under a rock -they know Star Wars exists, most assuredly.

So yeah, I'm pretty sure it's an intentional reference.



Anyway, this is the team I bring along. I wanted to take Ross, but I want all of these characters more than I want Ross.

In retrospect Ross probably would've made more sense than Joshua.

Sticking to not bringing a healer. It worked fairly well last mission.

I was totally a prisoner and escaped and Ephraim is totally also a prisoner and I'm completely trustworthy. You should give me the Bracelet so that Grado can't get at the Sacred Stone.
You're concealing a blade and nobody else has mentioned the Sacred Stone. Stop being an obvious traitor Orson. I used to have respect for you.
Awww. Why couldn't it have been just Eirika? She's so trusting... just like Monica...
... please tell me we're going to reduce him to ash later, Seth.
You have my word it shall be done.
Bwahahaha! You fell for my trap! Now you are inside my castle! Lord Valter shall reward me richly for my genius!
Sir Orson, it's not too late to turn back from your path. Are you really sure you want to associate with such idiots?
Hey!
Mooooonicaaaa...
I take it that's a no. Tirado, I don't think you understand how dumb your choice is.  I mean, really, your trap was to let us inside the impenetrable fortress of doom? The historical weakness of castles has always been that they fall apart if infiltrators get inside, and you've let my entire army inside! Really, your inevitable defeat is not even slightly surprising, because you're a moron.
... w-well, your hair is stupid!

And then Orson and Tirado promptly ran away, Orson to go hide in Castle Renais with his beloved Monica and Tirado to sit on his Throne and sulk and grumble about how he's not stupid, he's totally a military genius.

Also, here's a plothole: how the heck does Orson even get out of here? They "blow the bridge" (How does that work, given gunpowder doesn't seem to exist in Magvell?) right behind Eirika's crew, and we're told that the bridge is the only way in or out. So how is it he escapes without commentary?

Fortunately, I'm playing Monster Quest, where I can assume Orson took a page from Pirates of the Caribbean and took a walk through the lake. Hurrah for minimalist hacks closing plotholes entirely incidentally!

But on to the mission.



I start with a quick check of everyone on the entire map, and they've changed Tirado, fairly substantially.

In regular play, he gets a Silver Lance and a Javelin. Here he has the entire weapons triangle, with his Lance murdering your monsters (ie everyone that isn't Eirika or Ephraim) and his Sword murdering Cavalry. (So just Ross, Garcia, and Dummy) Furthermore, he has an Elixir. Admittedly, you can just Steal the Elixir...

Also, poking around on Serenes Forest confirms his stats have been altered. In regular play on Hard Mode, he'd have 42 HP, not the 43 he has here. I didn't think to screenshot his stats before starting the mission and it's a bit late now, but I'll be able to make some inferences when we get to fighting him from the pre-battle numbers.



This is how I have our troops arranged.

... this attempt.

I actually made around 8 attempts at this mission. Only 3 got particularly far before somebody died, but seriously, the RNG just had it in for me this mission. Even when mistakes on my part were critical, it still involved the RNG deciding to just hit me. 3 enemies with below-50% odds of hitting all needing to all land a hit to kill a character? Yeah, sure, sounds good, make it happen.

Frustrating.



Anyway, I open up with having Neimi weaken the left Soldier and Colm finishing them off. I still want Colm leveled up as much as possible, especially since... well, I'll cover that when we get there.



Gilliam handily kills the other Soldier.




This sequence right here was where 5 of my attempts died. I can't get both Lute and Artur in reach to attack this Knight except by one of them attacking from within his reach. This shouldn't be an issue, because their four attacks need to include two misses at accuracy above 80% (Because of True Hit) for it to result in Artur's death. However, the first time I tried this, that's exactly what happened -Artur and Lute both missed one of their strikes and the Knight landed his own blow, and then went on to land the finishing blow on the enemy turn.

Now, Sacred Stone's RNG is really fixed. If you boot the cart and start playing, it will always spit out the same numbers in the same order as any other time you boot the cart and start playing. This usually isn't very noticeable because a player will normally change up their decisions when re-doing a run, and so they'll get different outcomes -the number that causes Neimi to miss will end up fed to a Soldier instead, that kind of thing. However, when something is going wrong this early in a mission, you're very likely to run into repetitive output with little ability to avoid it by changing your actions in a valid way, as I did here.

First I tried handling my actions in a different order. Get the Soldier on the Pillar killed and have Lute and Artur both pile onto the Knight before anybody attacks the other Soldier.

Nope, no-go, same result. Argh.

So I took advantage of a different point -the RNG is used in battles, but also anytime you manipulate a character's movement cursor into a position where it has to decide between multiple equally valid routes to display. The RNG is consulted to pick one, allowing you to "waste" RNG numbers. (Described here under "Swift Soles trick") I did this. It took another four tries before I finally got a result in which Lute and Artur killed the Knight -this one.

I'd consider this to be cheating, but if the system were truly random, I'd just need to re-do the mission until I got the result I wanted. I shouldn't even need to engage in these shenanigans to get through this nonsense. Mind, there's good reasons behind why the game handles the RNG as not-very-random-at-all, but it's never made any sense to me that it always loads the same RNG seed on a fresh boot. Why not have multiple seeds it selects randomly, or in a cyclical order, or whatever?

Anyway.



Lastly, a bunch of moving up in which I try to keep various characters out of reach of that Archer. I also use Franz's mighty skeletal sturdiness to protect Colm's flimsy zombie self -I don't want to lose him after all those shenanigans to get this Knight killed without anyone dying.



Argh, I thought I got the combat screenshot, but apparently not. Regardless, Myrmidon targets Franz, it doesn't go well for the Myrmidon. (Franz is wielding his Iron Lance)



Meanwhile the Archer decides to target Colm, and Colm is SUPER HAPPY to dodge the shot.

Seriously, why are Revenants so happy when they dodge? It's great.

Also the Mercenary moves up but doesn't attack anybody.



Enemy turn over, Ephraim and Kyle and Forde show up. Just showing that it happened, we'll get back to them in a minute.



Back over with the important people, Vanessa finishes off the Myrmidon that attacked Franz and gets a really nice level out of it. At this point I want Strength more than I want Speed, but hey, lots of stats.



Joshua torments me by utterly failing to crit this Archer on either of his hits.

This was actually a recurring thing on my attempts at this mission, that Joshua just would not crit, no matter what. It was bafflingly consistent.



Anyway, Franz attacks the Mercenary and dodges their attack, and you can see the Myrmidon knocked off 3 HP from Franz in the battle I failed to screenshot. Franz is tough, and it's great.



Neimi takes a shot at the Mercenary with her Killer Bow, and gets the crit! Excellent.



Colm then finishes off the Archer easily.



General moving up happens. Note that the two Mogalls are hanging out up there -Artur is going to bait that Shaman out and kill him, and Lute is providing moral support. (Why is it "moral support" and not "morale support", anyway, when "morale" is about psychological wellbeing and "moral" is about morality?)



Meanwhile, over with Ephraim's crew, they do barely any moving, leaving just Forde in reach of a Soldier.



The Soldier attacks, the Soldier is mauled having had little effect. Missed the battle screenshot, though.



Meanwhile up with Artur, the Shaman attacks. I botch catching the miss, but he misses. Convenient.



Lute then has a talk with Artur to bolster their Support rank.

You are bettered just for being in my presence, that's how great I am.
I don't think that's how this works.
It really is. If I wasn't friends with you, that Shaman would kill you in two hits.

Isn't friendship grand?



So now Artur attacks the Shaman on my turn, and this time I catch the Shaman missing him. Excellent, saves me Vulnerary uses.



Eirika's crew does a bunch of moving up, with Gilliam placed to bait out a Fighter and/or Knight. (The Fighter is just past the Pillar, just offscreen. After so many attempts at the mission I was getting sloppy with the screenshots)




Back with Ephraim's company, Forde finishes off the Soldier that dared harm him, and Ephraim breaks out the Killer Lance for the Archer. (Because it's either that or Reginleif, and I can get more Killer Lances more easily than I can get more Reginleifs) Annoyingly, he crits on the second hit rather than the first.



Then Kyle moves up to bait the Fighter out, maybe, and turn ends.



The Knight charges Gilliam and lands a blow, taking a hit in turn.



Meanwhile, the Figher hits Kyle and takes a hit.




Lastly, the Shaman attacks Artur, misses again, and dies, giving Artur a fairly solid level -but still no Luck. It's really weird how bad his Luck is -religious, spiritual, and just plain optimistic characters tend to have good Luck in Fire Emblem games. Did the hack lower his Luck growth, or is this just bad luck?



I decide to have Nemi break out her Killer Bow for this Knight in the dim hope of a crit, and she gets it! On her first hit, even, avoiding wasting a Killer Bow use.

This minimizes the slowdown of my forces.



This is how Eirika's forces end the turn looking.



Back with Ephraim, Forde runs up to finish off the Fighter.



Then Kyle and Ephraim move up, with Kyle placed to bait out the Soldier.



The Soldier comes running, and dies having chipped Kyle's carapace.



My turn, and some Cavaliers show up behind Ephraim. I check them, but they're unchanged from the base game.

I still have no idea what Ephraim and his buddies were supposed to have been doing, here. Did they sneak back in the castle, completely unnoticed, and then hide in the stables or something? Are these Cavaliers supposed to be pursuers rousted by discovering them? Did everyone who made the game completely forget the "only path in or out of Castle Renvall" thing and just intend for the innocuous-but-inconsistent idea that he came in by a different route from Eirika? Of course, that just raises questions about why the castle would even have another route...

Really, this mission's plot wasn't thought through at all. I consider it to be one of two low points in the story -well, three if you count the two routes separately, but I'll get to that when we get to it.

I also consider this mission something of a low point in gameplay, as well, but we'll get to that.




Anyway, I have Ephraim run up to this Mage and break out his Killer Lance, partly in hopes of getting the crit on the first hit and partly because it's either that or Reginleif if I want them dead now. He doesn't, but he partially makes up for it by dodging the Thunder (though he gets another wasted crit to spite me), and he also gets a perfect level out of this kill!



Something weird is going on, though. I actually discovered this on one of the failed runs when Ephraim simply failed to get experience after a fight -for some reason Monster Quest has capped Ephraim at level 10, like one of the Trainee classes. I experimented with promoting him with the Solar Brace, but I didn't keep the outcome because I wanted to see if he'd, like, auto-promote like a Trainee after the mission or something.

Strangely, even though the Readme indicates that Ephraim is supposed to have a different promote from the base game, I could discern no such change when I tried promoting Ephraim.

I'm especially puzzled because Eirika is not capped at level 10. I'm genuinely wondering if Monster Quest accidentally botched Ephraim's level cap somehow. Weird.

For the moment it means I'm not going to be using Ephraim anymore this mission. This isn't much of a change, really -I usually avoid using Ephraim on this mission anyway, because he gets so much experience in Unbroken Heart and his stats are usually so good that he's still competitive the next time he shows up in Eirika's route. Worst-case scenario, I promote him the instant he shows up in Eirika's path.



Anyway, I have Kyle heal up, and general moving up happens before I end turn. Note that Forde is placed to be attacked in melee by one of the Cavaliers that arrived in pursuit of Ephraim and friends.



The Cavalier makes his charge and gets smacked for his trouble.

Note that the Lethal Talon, unlike the Poison Claw, isn't extra effective against Cavalry. I'd sort of assumed it was when I was playing Unbroken Heart, but not so.



Also there's a Javelin Cavalier who tosses his thing at Forde and misses. Convenient.



Anyway, my turn. Kyle breaks out the hideously effective Poison Claw and maims the Javelin Cavalier. He even dodges their retaliation, so that's nice.



Vanessa kills the Cavalier that hit Forde, and takes a hit in return.




Joshua runs forward to hit the Javelin-carrying Cavalier. I was hoping he'd crit on the first attack, preventing a retaliation, but I'm glad he at least got a crit at all -he couldn't have killed them otherwise. He did also dodge the retaliation, so that's something.

He gets a level that's 4 stats. That's decent, but he desperately needs Strength and I wouldn't say no to Defense or Resist, whereas his Speed and Skill are already ridiculous. I'm starting to think Joshua isn't going to be so wonderful after all. Annoying.



Last attack of the turn -Gilliam mauls the last Cavalier, and rather astoundingly dodges their retaliation. That's a lot of missing from these Cavaliers.



Also Forde heals himself and general moving up happens. For some reason I forgot to screenshot the moving up.



The Cavalier attacks Gilliam, since he can't do anything else, and is down to one HP now. Awesome.



Oh, now you're getting a first-strike crit, when it's completely useless.

So yeah, feed an easy kill to Joshua in the dim hope he'll be really good down the line.



General moving up happens, with Franz placed to bait out this Mercenary.

There aren't any aggressive enemies left on the map, bar some reinforcements that are going to show up later, so the map is largely going to be uninteresting for a while.



The Mercenary is baited out successfully, and Franz remains a dodging machine. Awesome.

He can't finish off the Mercenary without delaying the whole operation by another turn, so-



-I have him back off and Vanessa jump in to finish off the Mercenary. She also dodges their swing,

This is getting silly.



A couple turns of moving up later...



... Vanessa is baiting out another Mercenary. Yikes! This one has a chance of critting her, and would've killed her if he'd gotten that to trigger. Extremely low odds, admittedly, between close to coin flip odds of hitting and only 1% crit chance, but I don't like having any crit chance at all from enemies -I've had too many cases where a 1% crit totally screwed me over, including a very memorable case of Serra being instantly killed by an Archer with a 1% chance to crit in Rekka No Ken.



I take a small risk and have her finish him.

She gets a disappointing level out of it.



Even more turns of moving up, with Vanessa healing herself.



Artur is placed to bait out the Shaman and the Archer -the Archer is wielding a Longbow, otherwise it wouldn't be in reach. I checked the numbers, and they can't kill him if they both hit him. (I even checked their crit chances this time, and they can't crit him)

Also, this is how things look at the end of this turn.




Shaman and Archer both land their hits, but like I said, Artur is fine.



Now it's my turn, and I have Joshua run forward and target the Shaman. The hope is he'll get a crit on the first strike and they won't retaliate therefore, but Joshua can't fail to kill them, regardless, between his damage per hit and the fact that he doubles them.

Instead he crits on neither hit and gets hit by Flux.

Why can't Joshua do anything right?



I have Vanessa rush up to the Archer and break out her Steel Lance, because she'll still double the Archer and it's her strongest weapon and also there's a Knight just off-screen who'll be able to attack her once the Archer is dead so I want her strongest weapon ready.



My original intention was to have Artur finish the Archer... but he's injured and the Knight would kill him if he did that.

So my second thought was to have Lute do it... but she didn't have enough movement speed.

... so I had Artur heal and Lute hover next to him for Support reasons and just kind of hoped that the Longbow+Knight attack wouldn't kill Vanessa.

I kind of hate this part of the map. It's where two of my three longer failed runs lost someone. The Knight, in particular, annoys me, as he's passive, but not completely defensive -in my first run I expected him to hold still, and he lunged out and mauled Joshua, followed by another Archer with a Longbow I haven't screenshotted yet running out and finishing him off. (This being where Joshua died to three 50%~ accuracy hits that all needed to land to kill him)

Cutting through the five Knights to the east reduces the shenanigans here, but it also just makes the map even more tedious, and the Knights are considerably safer to bait out from the west than from the door, thanks to their positioning.

Anyway.



To my incredible surprise, the Archer decides to shoot at Joshua, not Vanessa. Oooookaaaay. Sure, why not. I guess the AI has a preference for attacking from maximum range, even over going for effective damage?

And yes, they hit Joshua. I was having interface problems and missed screenshotting the hit.



The Knight does the expected thing and attacks Vanessa for meh damage, taking a fair amount in return.



So my turn again, and the first thing I do is have Artur finish off the Knight.




Then I have Joshua finish off the mortally wounded Longbow Archer.

Naturally, he again gets a completely useless crit. He gets an amazing level out of it -but still no Strength.

Aaaargh.



General moving up happens.



I botch catching the screenshot of them rushing up, but the Longbow Archer I mentioned runs up and takes a potshot at Lute. He misses, thankfully.



You can see him just on the other side of the wall in this screenshot, while Forde uses his Lethal Talon to attack this Cracked Wall.

Aggravatingly, I missed the screenshot every time, but whenever Forde attacks the wall, it applies the "poisoned" visual effect to the wall. The wall never actually takes poison damage... but it still displays an effect indicating it became poisoned.

One of the better illustrations that Intelligent Systems had no intention or expectation of players getting poisoned weapons.



Anyway, general moving up. Note Neimi's position -there's a Shaman beyond that door, and I'm having her bait it out. Also note that Vanessa is just barely out of the Longbow Archer's reach.



First the Longbowman takes a shot at Artur, and misses.

Man, for having had so many runs end thanks to enemies hitting more than they should, I'm getting a lot of lucky dodges this run.




Meanwhile, the Shaman thumps Neimi for some damage, is doubled for most of his life in return, and she gets this weird level that's really not what I want. Oh well, durability isn't bad, and it's surprising how often I use Neimi as a tank in the normal game.




My turn, and I have Neimi take a shot at the cracked wall with her Beacon Bow, Artur opens the door with the Door Key he looted off the Knight so much earlier, and I have Joshua finish off the Shaman.

Naturally, he gets another completely useless crit.



Forde breaks open the Cracked Wall at last, at which point-



-Colm jumps through and shreds the Archer, netting him a level that has the two stats I want most from him. Also Resistance and HP are nice I guess.



General moving up happens. Lute is placed in reach of the western Soldier.



He lands his hit, which annoys me, but whatever, the game's been weirdly generous with my units dodging otherwise.



Two Mages spawn, as does- argh, I could've sworn I screenshotted the Thief's arrival.

There's a Thief. You'll see him in a second. He has a Lockpick. I want that Lockpick. This Thief is why I've been pushing to get Colm leveled up -he needs more Speed than he started this mission with to be able to get the Lockpicks.

The Mages and Thief are, incidentally, unaltered relative to the base game as far as I can tell.



To my intense aggravation, the Thief has one more point of Speed than Colm. When Colm hit 17 Speed, I thought he'd hit the mark he needed and breathed a sigh of relief, but apparently either I'd misremembered this Thief's Speed or it's slightly random.

This is going to require some shenanigans to correct.



I'd originally planned to let Lute finish off this Soldier, but change of plans: Colm murders the Soldier for experience.



Lute instead spends her turn taking all of Vanessa's fighting gear, so Vanessa can then fly south to block in the Thief. She's tough enough to laugh off the Thief's attacks, thankfully.



Neimi, meanwhile, heals, stopping at the edge of this Mage's strike zone.



Joshua also heals, and here's how we end the turn.




The Knight tromps up to Forde and does minor injury to him. He chips them in exchange (Doubling them!) and gets an okay level out of the fight.



Neimi's Mage runs up and misses her. I still love the Bonewalker dodge animation.



Lastly, the Thief chips Vanessa for one whole point of damage.

First time I've ever seen an unarmed Gargoyle combat sprite. Interestingly, I don't think Intelligent Systems simply removed the weapon part of the graphic and called it a day -this isn't the pose a Gargoyle holds when using a melee Lance, so unless it's the pose they hold when using a Javelin or similar, this is actually a slightly new graphic. More effort than I would've expected to see put into it, given that you're pretty much never going to see an unarmed monster in normal play.



My turn, Colm comes in and finishes off the weakened Mage. Hurry up and level, Colm!



I have Artur chip the Knight and then have Neimi chip them with her Beacon Bow for four whole points of damage. (She got a crit, but I didn't quite manage to capture it) It's free experience, why not?

Not sure why I don't have a screenshot for Neimi's pre-combat report.



Then Gilliam comes in and tears the Knight out of their tin can, and gets a really nice level out of it.

 

Lute heals up from her hit, and this is how I end the turn looking.



The last Soldier of the map runs up to Gilliam and misses. Gilliam doubles him, crippling him.

This is why I had Gilliam use his Rotten Claw on the Knight. I'm trying to set up for Colm to get the kill.



The Thief chips Vanessa again. I don't even bother to screenshot the fight.



My turn, and the first thing I do is have Gilliam stop beside Vanessa so he can take over Thief-blocking duty. He's even tougher than her, and I'm not comfortable with her odds of being able to tank that Thunder Mage's attack.




I send in Colm to beat the pinata for experience, and he takes a cue from Joshua, getting a completely useless crit. I didn't get a good frame to catch the laugh Revenants do when they're critting, but if you compare his pose in the combat screenshot to his pose in the level-up screenshot, his head is held up a little higher, and indeed his entire body above the legs is held slightly differently.

Colm gets a pretty disappointing level, but the important thing is getting enough Speed to Steal from the Thief, and I'm just glad he did get that. There's not that many enemies left on the map to feed to Colm!



I have Neimi run up with her Killer Bow to kill the Mage. Alas, she doesn't crit them, but she gets the kill regardless.



Vanessa flies up to Lute and gets her stuff back, as well as giving Lute her stuff back and taking Gilliam's Claws. (Oh yeah, Lute took Gilliam's Claws before he went to meatshield)



Enemy turn, and the Thief can't do anything to Gilliam. I could literally get Gilliam like 24 free experience if I didn't value my time at all by just having him sit here and let the Thief break their Sword on him. Not gonna, but I could.



My turn, and I immediately have Colm steal the Lockpick from the Thief.

Now I can actually loot the chests on this map. Whew.



Lute chips the Thief -oh wait, no, she misses. Never mind.



Okay fine, Neimi, critkill the Thief.

Hint: she doesn't. She just wounds him.

Lucky Thief.



Lastly, I have Vanessa pass Gilliam back his Claws.




I CAN DO THIS ALL DAY, YOU KNOW.



But I won't. Instead, Neimi finishes off the Thief and gets this quirky level. Why does she keep gaining Defense and Resist? Oh well, Strength is one of the stats I really want more of on her. Bows are annoyingly weak in Sacred Stones, noticeably weaker than in the prior two games. It makes it important for Sacred Stones Bow-wielders to get good base Strength.




I set up to bait out this Longbow Archer with Gilliam, because I hate corridor combat. They can't hurt him. I also have Lute set up to lure out the eastern Mage-



-like so. Hey, she dodged! Neat.




Oh hey Joshua finally got a useful first-strike crit. Didn't get the kill, though. Unfortunate.



I have Artur grab the kill, and it nets him a good level. I'm especially happy to see his Luck finally reach 5 points.



Meanwhile, back with the Mage, I decide to let Kyle go for the kill. It's a bit of a gamble -not that he has any chance of dying, mind, just of missing and being crit to 1 HP- but it works out.



I have Forde heal and general movement happens. Lute is in position to bait out the last Mage, and Gilliam stands ready to receive the first of that cluster of Knights to the east.



Gilliam is chipped. That's a Steel Lance he's taking a mere 5 damage from. That's tough.

... he's wielding the Rotten Claw because I forgot to switch to the Sharp Claw. Oops.




Lute gets another dodge, and chips the Mage down, doubling him.




Neimi, meanwhile, chips the Knight with her Bright Bow for more free experience,and then I have Gilliam back off and Forde move in to illustrate something I discovered on one of my failed attempts -the Lethal Talon slays Armor units in Monster Quest!

If there were a third type of poisoned Claw, I'd be guessing it would slay Wyvern Riders, but there isn't. I do find myself wondering if, say, the Sharp Claw will turn out to have the Dragonslaying property. Something to make sure to check when I start fighting Wyvern Riders.



I decide to give Lute the kill on the Mage she baited out, and her streak of dodges finally ends. That's okay, though.




General moving up type of stuff happens, the turn ends, and I move Franz up with the Armorslayer to bait out the next Knight, while Lute heals and Colm finally gets over to the first western chest and loots an Elysian Whip. I'm 99% confident this will be for my Gargoyles.




Enemy turn, and the Knight is baited out successfully. Franz uses his Armorslayer like a can opener after taking a hit, and the kill nets him... uh, this odd level. Not a bad level, just an odd one.




I decide to move Franz up to bait out one more Knight -after checking to make sure he'll survive the experience- and Colm loots the other western chest, netting a(nother) Silver Sword, which I send to the convoy.



Enemy turn, and Franz dodges this attack and kills the Knight by doubling them. Lucky.



Moving up occurs, with the Mogalls set up out of reach of the last two Knights.




Next turn comes and I have Lute and Artur kill one Knight, netting Lute an amazing level. Everybody else is making their way to the dunce.

Hey!



Enemy turn. To my pleasant surprise, Artur dodges the Knight's attempt to attack him.



Lute finishes the Knight on my turn.




A while later, Colm arrives and loots an Angelic Robe from the chest. I promptly send it to the convoy and have Eirika pull it out and use it. One of Eirika's very consistent flaws is low HP, and she hasn't been fighting that trend this run. I could probably give it to someone else -I often give Lute an Angelic Robe, for instance- but Eirika is pretty much guaranteed to get use out of it.

... also, this is the first time I've ever noticed that the HP descriptor says units lose consciousness if HP reaches zero.

Nice euphemism for dies forever, no take-backs.

To be fair, a handful of plot-important characters will "retreat wounded" if killed to justify their ongoing plot presence, but, uh, retreating wounded still isn't losing consciousness, so either way this descriptor is flat-out wrong. Weird bit of... censorship? I guess? I really have no idea why the HP description claims this.

Anyway.




Here's something puzzling: Lute's pre-combat report lists Tirado as having 14 Resistance, but his actual base Resistance is 9 and the Throne is only providing 3 damage reduction, which should be 12.

Where's the extra two points coming from?

My current guess is that Throne tiles have been modified by Monster Quest to provide 5 and for some reason the UI hasn't updated to reflect that.

We also get a look at some of Tirado's stats, letting me compare him to the regular game version of him. He's got an extra point of Strength, 4 extra points of Skill, 6 extra points of Speed going by his reported Attack Speed, and for some random reason has 5 extra Constitution. I'm not sure why that would be, given I don't think any of his weapons even has 15 Weight. His Resistance is unchanged, and I can't check his other stats, but clearly he's overall more threatening.



I decide to have Lute attack him after all... and she misses. Darn. Oh well, the Throne would've healed it off anyway, but I'm trying to get her experience.

Annoyed at his vastly increased Speed. He'd have a worse dodge chance if it were lower, and she'd double him too.




His turn arrives, and he throws his Hand Axe at her. They both miss. All right then.



I decide to have Franz run up and smack Tirado with the Armor Slayer. He lands his blow, somewhat to my surprise, and considerably less surprising is his dodge in turn. I'm ready to Rescue Franz out of reach of Tirado's Bright Lance, for reference.




However, I decide to have Eirika chip him with her last Rapier use, maybe see if someone else can then finish him from there.

She, uh, she crit-kills him, and nets a fairly good level, considering Speed is already capped.

All that's left is to sit in Tirado's Throne and hope stupidity isn't contagious.



Uh-oh, looks like it might be!

,,, speaking seriously, this has always grated on me as a minor plotpoint. The game makes a big deal out of Myrrh's hair color, and that's already iffy with Anime Hair Colors -the twins are blue/green, come on- but it's especially absurd because the game doesn't make any effort to avoid similar shades in other characters.



I mean, look at Duessel here. It's far too easy for me to imagine that his graying purple-ish hair was, back when he was a handsome young man, the exact same shade as Myrrh's hair color.



Lute is a brighter purple than Myrrh, but brightness of hair is heavily influenced by, among other things, exposure to sunlight. Maybe Myrrh just doesn't get enough sun sleeping in the Darkling Woods. It's quite plausible she's a nocturnal hunter -many big predators are. In that case, Myrrh could plausibly have much darker hair than Lute (For one thing even though Lute is a bookworm her Supports indicate she also loves to explore nature, so she probably does get a decent amount of sunlight) while having the same base shade.

There's also Emperor Vigarde and Lyon for a paler shade of purple, and Marisa with a pink/purple color. Purple hair is not anything Eirika should be looking upon as super weird, even aside from how Anime Hair Color-y Sacred Stones is -it's not even as if Eirika is personally unfamiliar with purple-haired characters, since Duessel taught her and Lyon was a classmate.

Meanwhile, let's look at Myrrh's combat sprite.



Giant dragon wings!

This is how Myrrh looks when she's not transformed into a giant death dragon, and the game overland sprites and her overland behavior jive with it -she can fly freely with those wings, no need to transform into her full dragon form, and indeed it seems that her "untransformed" state has those wings out as a default.

Why isn't Eirika going "Wait what why does this girl have wings those wings are huge what is going on dear brother"? The hair shouldn't make her radar at all.

Incidentally, since I'm talking about Myrrh anyway, I'm really looking forward to finding out what Monster Quest has done with Myrrh. My personal hope is that she's Demon King Queen Myrrh, though I find it more likely that she'll be a Dracozombie, but hey, Dracozombies are cool. Just so long as she's not left as a Manakete, I'm fine with either.

Anyway, talking happens, we turn around back to Frelia for no explained reason, Eirika and Ephraim reminisce about Lyon because the writers just realized they never introduced him before and he's about to become plot-relevant, and then it's path split time. For the moment I'm going with Eirika's path, partly because my recollection is that the readme recommends it and partly because I tend to prefer it for a lot of reasons -it feels a lot more like the "true" version of events, though I'll talk about that more later- but we'll be getting to Ephraim's path eventually.



Also the Tower of Valni opens up, but I'm not going to be doing anything with that... yet.

See you next mission.

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