Let's Play Monster Quest: Part 20

So before we start the actual chapter: stuff I should've done much, much sooner!


Here's Nidhogg. It has three max range, I presume because it's a Bow and it'd be sort of doofy for the Bow Sacred Twin to have the same range as all these normally-melee weapons. It's actually lost 3 Might and gained 2 Weight, so aside from the range increase and unlimited uses it's strictly inferior to the normal version, but that's fine with me. This is still amazing and I love how Monster Quest handles the Sacred Twins.


I ultimately use the Dragonshield on Tana. I considered giving it to Lute or one of the other Mogalls, but their Defense cap is so low I'm worried they'll hit it on pure leveling in spite of having poor Defense right now. I also considered making Tethys even more immortal for giggles, but naaah, Monster Quest has upped the challenge enough I'd like to do useful stat gains.

So! That stone thing Lyon dropped while fleeing.


... huh. Myrrh can't use it. That's... surprising.


Colm can use it! Very odd. In the regular game, Myrrh can use monster weapons and monsters can use the Dragonstone. Monster Quest has made a rather more significant alteration than I expected!


Confirming the reverse: the Dragonstone can't be used by monsters. (I did not test this exhaustively, note)

Iiinteresting.


Confirming that monster weapons are more nuanced than even "Myrrh gets Dragonstone and everybody else gets everything else" -I can give Joshua the Mauthe Doog a Sharp Claw and he'll use it, but Gilliam the Bael has no use for Fiery Fang. I might investigate this more thoroughly later.


Oh, and it turns out if you look at the Stone Shard from the use item screen it basically straight-up tells you it's a monster weapon.

I didn't take a screenshot, but the regular monster weapons do not have this text themselves, and indeed have no text at all. To be fair, I'm pretty sure the Stone Shard can be used by any monster other than Myrrh that doesn't use regular weapons -I didn't screenshot it, but I did confirm that passing it to one of my Deathgoyles didn't let them use it- where the other monster weapons are more nuanced than that. It might not have been practical to lay out what each monster weapon can be used by.

... though this is making me that bit more disappointed that Myrrh isn't a Dracozombie, since Monster Quest apparently figured out how to sub-divide monster weapons, and so Wretched Air wouldn't be something I could slap onto Gilliam or whatever.

I want a Dracozombie, dangit.


And the Stone Shard is +3 to Skill, Speed, Defense, and Resist. Nifty! I appreciate how the Stone Shard helps keep monster weapon monsters relevant in the end-game, given they don't get the completely absurd Sacred Twins.


Grabbing this screenshot because I am not joking with these jokes about the two hearts of the Darkling Woods. I'll grab an equivalent screenshot later, for the final mission, just to prove this point.


I grabbed this screenshot later than I usually do and then liked how it came out.

The name has always seemed odd to me. Yeah, Lyon's got some Twoface thing going on in this mission when we catch up to him, but that's not really the two faces of evil. That's one face that's good or an act -depending, strangely, on whether you're on Eirika's route or Ephraim's route- and another face that's evil.

Oh well, whatever.

This is a short mission that's basically gobs of free experience. It turns out the Monster Quest version is rather more challenging, but it's still short -lately my screenshot counts have run 300+ or 400+, but with this mission I had less than 200 screenshots, even with all this pre-mission stuff.

I had to restart it twice due to two mean traps. I'll be pointing them out as we go along.




Yeeeeah, that's a boss Gorgon with capped Magic, capped Resist, and carrying Latona with the S in Staves needed to use it.

I actually never saw it use Latona, though. I suspect it would use it if seriously injured and still alive on its own turn? But even though I periodically left enemies maimed, the Gorgon just... sat there, doing nothing. It's alternatively possible the AI just doesn't understand Latona at all. Maybe the Gorgon would've used it if any injured monster had been within Physic or Fortify range of the Gorgon. Dunno. Something to pay attention to when I get here on Ephraim's route.


Here's who I go with and how I set them up.

In my original run, I brought along Ewan on the idea that this would be a good opportunity to feed him some easy experience. Then it turned out that he literally couldn't hurt anything. Maybe if I'd given him a stronger Tome he could've achieved chipping damage, but it just wasn't worth it.

Joshua replaced him on a similar idea, but with better stats and better movement speed. In my second run I had him placed where Colm is this run, but I'll cover why in a minute.



As my first action, though, I dump Ephraim to the east to solo the southeast and hog delicious Gorgon Egg experience to himself. (They're worth 50 experience points when killed, no more and no less, no matter what) He gets a crappy level, even considering he has 3 stats capped. Oh well. If I really cared about his stats right now, I'd have already promoted him. I'm trying to satisfy my curiosity right now.


Part one of a jerk move I didn't notice until this run! The frontmost Gorgon Egg activates immediately, and has 5 out of 10 HP base, meaning it hatches instantly. (Gorgon Eggs, once they activate, gain 5 HP per turn until they reach their maximum HP, at which point they hatch) And unlike proper reinforcements, the newly-hatched unit gets to immediately take its turn!

I missed the screenshot for the combat though, partly because I forgot to turn combat animations back on. Colm's fine: he dodged.



Then the Gargoyle comes along, actually lands its hit, and gets doubled in exchange, but not quite killed.


Over to the southeast, another Gargoyle fights Ephraim, who doesn't actually kill it just yet.


Lastly, a pair of Baels show up in the southeast because Ephraim is in the area.

Then I turn combat animations back on, because they're essential to my screenshotting needs!

Seriously, the overland-animations version of combat just goes too fast and with poorly-screenshottable indicators of crits. The screen shakes a bit and the normal crit sound effect plays, and that's about it.


Then I have Ephraim attack this Bael because I can't do math. I thought he was going to kill it. If I'd had him attack the other Bael, he would've killed that one in complete safety.


Time for Eirika to go on an adventure!


Here we see part 2 of the jerk move I was referencing earlier. This Gorgon has Shadow Shot (Monster siege tome, basically), is willing to move, and is placed such that if you have someone melee that first Gorgon egg, they will promptly be attacked by a 40 total attack siege tome. Surprise!

Oh, and of course the Gorgon will now be in a position to nuke basically anybody else of yours on future turns. Panic!

This is what killed my second run -I had Joshua rush forward on the first turn, break that first Gorgon Egg (I didn't even know it was going to activate and hatch first turn, I just wanted to move fast in general), and then he promptly died because his HP and Resist just plain aren't good enough to tank a hit like that.

So I'm short-circuiting that with Eirika butchering the thing with the assistance of Warp. I'd actually wanted to do so on the first turn, but Tethys couldn't Warp her close enough on the first turn, so I settled for what I did with Ephraim.

Also, I just love how useful Eirika is in Monster Quest. She's an incredible troublershooter!


Anyway, elsewhere we have Myrrh breaking an Egg. There's some things worth noting here, but I'll be covering them later -with the exception of pointing out, since readers have probably forgotten by now, that the Dragonstone does not have 1-2 range in the base game like it does in Monster Quest.


Franz takes out another Egg, because he's here to gain experience too.


Tana finishes off the Gargoyle, building more Lance experience.


Then L'Arachel uses Lightning to wipe out the newly-hatched Gorgon. No crits or anything needed!

In retrospect I'm not entirely sure why I didn't try to let Colm kill something somewhere in here, but oh well.


Then moving up happens, and I end turn looking like this.


The weakened Bael finishes itself off on Ephraim, and illustrates how dumb it was of me to give them more opportunities to attack him -that's a fair amount of damage and decent enough odds of hitting.



Though it's working out as it happens, with both Baels dead without touching Ephraim.



Then we bounce north to a Gargoyle suicidng on Eirika.

This was actually a crit that I missed the timing on. Since I was trying to catch the red starburst effect this time, due to missing her twirling her sword, I actually noticed the lack of such. I'm guessing it's due to Sieglinde having been given a magic ranged attack, as magic attacks don't employ the red starburst effect on crits. Basically I'm guessing the starburst effect is tagged per weapon or something of the sort, such that Sieglinde has no starburst for melee crits because it has no starburst for crits, period.



This was another crit that I missed the timing of, though more understandably because seriously that flicker is fast. Eirika gets a great level out of it.



Then we bounce back to Ephraim for a moment, where a Toxin Lance hits him.

If you math it out, he could've died. 16+16+12 is 44 HP, when he started this sequence with 41 HP. So yeah, I really should've had him actually kill something instead of almost killing something on my turn.


Lastly, Eirika's presence has provoked this Gargoyle and these two Baels to arrive. I was expecting a bunch of Eggs to activate as well, but they didn't. At this point I'm pretty sure eggs are uniformly time-based, when I'd historically thought they activated as your troops got close enough to them.


Speaking of Eggs, here's Ephraim aborting a monster for a level.


Eirika butchering the closer Bael. There's a reason I killed this one rather than the other one.


Myrrh killing another egg. Note that this isn't actually a perfect levelup for her -in a prior attempt, she got +2 HP from leveling. Just like in the base game, both her HP and Defense growths are over 100%.

It's still a really good level, though.

Incidentally, I've always found it surprising that Sacred Stones bothered to make a 'transformed into a dragon' overland sprite for Myrrh. Unless you turn off combat animations, you're pretty unlikely to ever see it, and yet it's one of the most detailed overland sprites and contravenes the usual rule that animation-less attacking is simply two units sort of bumping against each other with no other visual effects.


Tana making an omelette.


Another Tethys Warp in which I fail to screenshot the destination.


Hooray! Franz gained a level! And it's a decent enough one, too.

Side note: I brought Franz along because he's one of my highest Sword rank guys. I'm kind of hoping to slap Audhulma on him, since Eirika has the superior Sieglinde.


Then more moving up, ending turn like this.



The other Bael suicides on Eirika while landing a rather unlikely blow. That's annoying.



Followed by the reinforcement Gargoyle also landing a hit. Eirika's still fine, but yikes.


Colm successfully baiting out this Mogall, and even dodging its attack! Nice.



And here's me remembering to note this.

27 Skill should be a crit rate of 13. Demon Surge is not providing any crit chance. Nonetheless, this Gorgon has 15 extra crit. Conclusion: Gorgons have a bonus to crit chance. That means the Archmogall/Gorgon comparison is a little more even than I realized, and I quite like having a magic crit-focused class exist.

Incidentally, this is part 3 of the earlier jerk move: the Shadowshot Gorgon has a rather high crit chance, and so may well vaporize even fairly tanky units in one shot through blind luck.

.... aaaand I only just noticed in writing up this update that Stone has unlimited uses, as opposed to its usual 3 uses. That's... that's horrifying.


Anyway, continuing with cleaning out the nests.


Eirika clears out another Egg, and gets a surprisingly awful level.


Oh wait she's now only got 3 levelable stats that aren't capped. She couldn't have gained Luck, Skill, or Speed.

Kind of surprised her Speed has a cap lower than 30. Normally her Speed cap as a Great Lord is 30. Her Skill cap is also 3 lower. Her other stats seem to have their usual caps, so she's a little weaker than normal. On the other hand, Sieglinde is now awesome, among other points effectively raising her Strength by 5 permanently, so fair enough.

Hmm. Maybe this is what the readme was alluding to? Maybe Eirika would have higher caps if I hadn't double-promoted her. I guess I'll be testing that in Ephraim's route.


Ephraim busting an Egg, placed such that the Mogall will suicide on him.


L'arachel butchering the Mogall Colm lured out.


Tethys Warping Joshua so he can get in on the Egg-busting action.


He promptly runs away from the Mogall and busts an Egg.


I end turn looking like this.



Ephraim baits out his Mogall successfully and... doesn't double it? Whu-oh.


L'Arachel successfully baits out a Gorgon and dodges its Stone attempt.

I've always found it frustrating how Stone, on top of being an utterly insane effect to suffer under in the first place, has range 3. Notice how L'arachel can't retaliate.


My turn again. Tethys Physicing Ephraim because yikes.



Then L'Arachel softens up the Gorgon, and thankfully dodges the retaliatory Stone attempt.


Colm landing the finishing blow and finally reaching level 20 with a pretty rad level.

Incidentally, I'd sort of been expecting the Stone Shard to play a different animation. It doesn't, which I'm not that surprised by given what I've read about hacking GBA Fire Emblem games, but Monster Quest has surprised and impressed me enough times I wasn't quite willing to assume there'd be no animation.


Eirika using an Elixir, because yikes.


Joshua breaking another Egg, getting a decent enough level out of it. His stats are so unbalanced.


Enemy turn! Eirika successfully baits out and slaughters this Mogall. She's amazing, seriously.



Ephraim finishing off his Mogall, dodging its attack, and... not quite leveling. Dang.
And then it's my turn. Short enemy turn.


Joshua cracking another Egg.


Followed by Franz.


Time to promote Colm!...

... crap, I forgot to screenshot his new battle sprite. Good stat gains though, particularly glad to see his defenses propped up.


Myrrh breaking another Egg.


Physicing Colm because Tethys can't move far enough to Heal him. I'd consider it a waste, but unlimited Hammerne uses.


This Egg is about to hatch, so Artur shatters it even though I was hoping to have Ephraim pop all three.


Same for this other one, only Tana handles it instead. Solid level out of it.



Rescue shenanigans I shall explain in just a second. Been a long time since I bothered to screenshot Rescue shenanigans.


Aaaaand here's a thing: the boss Gorgon moves!

This is why I've been so careful with unit placement in the northwest, and why I just Rescue-shenaniganed Myrrh -the Gorgon would've doubled her, instantly killing her, even without the potential for a cit. This is pretty scary.

Also note how all the Eggs you can see are lighter. All the Eggs around the Gorgon are currently active. It's easy to be baited out into rushing into the boss' area on the idea that Gorgon Eggs are delicious experience you need to take before they crack open into inferior experience and that the boss is safe to approach so long as you stay more than three tiles away from it, and nope! Most likely you'll lose someone to this nasty surprise.

Fortunately, L'arachel was able to bait it out without being Stoned. I'm in a good position to kill the boss come my turn.


Oh, and those bubbly red tiles? Those hit things that land on them with a burst of flame for 10 damage, enemies included, and the AI doesn't account for them at all. Free damage for me!

Incidentally, I didn't get a screenshot of it, but I confirmed in one of the failed runs that Colm can 'disable the trap' by landing on these tiles, just like in the base game. (Question: what trap? It's bubbling lava!)


Oh, and here's a reinforcement Bael. I... think Ephraim might have blocked a second one from appearing, which I wasn't expecting.

Thing is, reinforcements come in two varieties: the usual kind simply appears in a particular tile from nowhere, as we've seen repeatedly with Forts, and won't appear if something is standing on that tile when the unit arrives. This particular Bael arrived in that manner.

All the other reinforcements on this map (Discounting Eggs hatching) are the other form of reinforcement, which instead walks in from the edge of the map and attempts to move to a target tile, but if said tile is occupied will simply stop on a nearby tile. I'm not sure why it's just this one reinforcement that's the exception to this form.

The second form of reinforcement is, somewhat oddly, mostly used in cases where it's more or less impossible for the player to be anywhere near the reinforcements in question when they arrive. It's also used a lot with recruitable characters, ensuring that if you do somehow occupy their target tile, you don't invisibly block yourself from having a shot at the character. Cormag and Amelia were both reinforcements of this type, for example. I haven't previously noted it though because, as I already said, in most cases it's basically impossible to interfere with the walk-in reinforcements, and so it's essentially irrelevant that walk-in reinforcements work differently from appear-from-nowhere reinforcements.

Anyway, back to the actual mission.


Myrrh cooking another Egg, and getting what's for her a bit underwhelming of a level. I don't even particularly care that she's gotten +2 to Defense twice in a row -she's guaranteed to cap it no matter what.

.... hm. Unless Monster Quest has raised her stat caps and I didn't notice.


Ephraim breaking that last Egg and getting a nearly-perfect level, given how much of his stats are capped.


L'Arachel killi-


...

sigh

Well, okay, Colm has 24 Speed with the Stone Shard, so he can doubl-


-uh.

Oh. Apparently the Stone Shard has a Weight of 11, because Colm has 4 less Attack Speed than he should.

Well.

Dang.


Amelia sacrifices herself to weaken the boss! You know, other than successfully dodging the massively more accurate attempt to Stone her.

Fine, whatever.


Colm lands the finishing blow! And gets a pretty poor level out of it.

You can also kind of see him back there. Trust me, he looks revolting. Not sure why his hair has randomly turned blood-red though.

You try tearing people apart with your bare hands without it getting into everything!


Rescuing L'Arachel. You'll see why in a minute.



Enemy turn! We start with that reinforcement Bael getting itself seriously injured by Ephraim.


We end with reinforcements in the north, including a Gargoyle equipped to kill your promoted Lord(s).

This batch of reinforcements activates once you're in this northern area, and makes the trap I mentioned earlier nastier. They are in fact what ended my original run; I had Eirika rush the Gorgon boss, it Stoned her, and these reinforcements spawned in. I Rescued Eirika, but I had other forces too close to the area, and ultimately things came apart. This time, I'm actually ready for them.



Warping Ephraim for another Gorgon Egg kill. He gets a very good level out of it.


Eirika slaughtering Bael 1.


Vanessa softe-


-ooorrrr not. I'd intended to feed that kill to Joshua or Franz. Dang.


Artur killing an Egg, getting an eh level out of it.


Tana finishing off the Bael that attacked Ephraim a minute ago.



Myrrh hitting a Bael for some experience!

Now hold on a second. Two things worth noting that are fairly obvious here: firstly, the Dragonstone isn't extra effective against monsters! Secondly? Myrrh is gaining experience like she's a promoted unit. Those two points (That normally she murders monsters and normally she levels like an un-promoted unit) were part of why I wasn't bothering to field her, as I could've simply waited until we got to the other heart of the Darkling Woods and she'd be level twenty in no time flat while murdering basically everything effortlessly. Not so in Monster Quest. I like this, honestly, as she's no longer a crutch character (That punishes players that lean overly much on her!), and is instead merely a mildly unusual part of your force.




Enemy turn!

I had Franz and Joshua block off this Bael's access to Myrrh, because otherwise the Bael would've doubled Myrrh and probably killed her. Joshua is frail, but not too frail, and fast enough to instead be the one doubling it.



Then the Gargoyle almost suicides on Artur.


... and denies me the kill experience by being killed by fire.

Dangit.


Myrrh getting some more free experience, as well as...



... opening the way for Franz to land the finishing blow.

From there, it's Egg cleanup.



The last two Eggs go to Eirika and Ephraim, as my two highest level characters who thus maximize the overall experience gain to my force by taking these kills.

A Dramatic Cinematic ensues, in which Eirika pursues Lyon by herself somehow for some reason.

Boy who I sort of kind of know! Why did you make Grado attack literally everyone else!?
Hey, could you give me the Sacred Stone of Renais?
Why would I do that?
Um.
Grr! I am a cruel alternate personality that does evil things for the evulz! Bow before me, puny creature!
Gasp! I have just enough control over my own actions to ask for the Sacred Stone, so I might use it to purge myself of the other personality! Please help me!
What? No. That's stupid. You're stupid. The Sacred Stones aren't omnimagical rocks capable of doing anything convenient or good. They just incinerate anything they don't like. They're not so fine and discriminate as to surgically remove an alternate personality.
Also, as a loyal servant of the Demon King, it would probably melt the flesh off your bones even if it was capable of choosing not to.
O-oh.
Also, while I'm curious as to how you shrunk your pupils, grew those two locks of hair longer to obscure your eyes, made your nose less pointy, and then reverted it all, the acting itself was rather unconvincing.
I am too evil!
Also, we're all evil. That still doesn't explain why you attacked everyone, smashed the Sacred Stones -wait a second.
No no! I really want it for, um, peaceful and happy uses like, um, curing permanent physical scarring from searing fires! I've done lots of Science that proves it's possible!
Your goons have smashed three out of five of the things. Even if I was a nitwit who wanted to believe you, your words do not fit your actions.
sigh
Smashing the Sacred Stones makes Lord Fomortiis happy! Bwahaha!
Wait, why didn't you say so earlier??

(Pretend I screenshotted the Sacred Stone being smashed)

Oh thank goodness. Just one to go.
Idiot. You fell for my ploy! Fomortiis doesn't want the Sacred Stones smashed, he wants them used to incinerate the disloyal! He will hate you forever and ever now!
... are you acting again?
Oh no, not even slightly.
... but... if you're not acting... why are you gloating?
Huh?
I was going to go merrily off to smash Rausten's Sacred Stone, since you told me what was apparently a lie, doing your job for you and thus helping you achieve whatever ends it is you're trying to achieve, but then you gloated and told me you'd been lying.
Uh.
In fact, on second thought, why am I still talking to you? Let me just pull Sieglinde ou-
gottagokthxbye
-t.



Eirika! Are you all right, having rushed on ahead of the entire army for no reason in pursuit of the most dangerous foe we have ever faced?!?
I had a very good reason for doing so, brother dearest.
Yes?
Um.
I regret my oaths.
Obviously it was so she could steal the kill for herself!
Ah! Yes, obviously. Yes. That is why I was drawing Sieglinde to cut down Lyon as you approached. Because I am greedy, as encouraged by our dark lord Fomortiis.
I believe you.
Eeeeh.
Yes, I make good and logical albeit selfish decisions.
And now we go to my beloved homeland of Rausten!
Are we... going to be nearby your homeland's Sacred Stone, L'arachel?
That's a state secret.
I'm going to hope that means 'no' but suspect it means 'yes'. I think I know what our near future looks like...
?
Never mind me, let's just... go.

---------------

See you next mission.

Or alternatively skip all the grinding stuff and go to the actual next mission.

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