Let's Play Monster Quest Part 28
You're hurled straight into this mission with no access to the world map after the previous mission, which has always struck me as a bit of an obnoxious gimmick. If you know it's coming, you just stock up ahead of time and it's no big deal. If you don't know it's coming, you can trap yourself in a bad situation and be unable to go back short of starting a new run. I've never been entirely sure if this is a deliberate attempt to make Ephraim's route harder or just an intersection of plot and gameplay whose impact on gameplay wasn't properly considered.
My picks and their starting positions.
Hooray for being able to squeeze in Cormag!
In retrospect, it might have been smart to dump Neimi and Colm so I could work on Joshua and Franz on this mission, since Colm and Neimi aren't necessary for this mission, Colm is already at maxed Speed and Neimi at a hilariously high level, and Colm is outright a bit of a weak point if the RNG decides to be uncooperative. On the other hand, babying Joshua in the initial portion of the mission would probably have been a tremendous pain, and I'm already babying Cormag and, when he shows up, Ewan, so that might've been a bit too much. The main thing is the initial portion with the rush of Axe users probably would've gone a bit better if I'd had Franz for Swording things.
Also note that I've pulled stealable items back onto my people, because I'm reasonably confident there's not Revenants on this mission. Or not enough that are aggressive enough to be a problem, anyway, so long as I don't derp again.
This mission is, by the way, basically a breather mission after the previous one. It's so easy I got it in one try. The only genuinely tricky bits are the initial rush and recruiting Marisa.
Caellach is here initially, but this is functionally a lie, as he's going to be replaced with the map's actual Boss on the second turn. I'm not going to bother trying to see if I can compare his stats to what they'd normally be here, since it only matters if you're doing serious shenanigans.
I forgot to get Marisa's stats initially, but she didn't gain any levels so even though this shot is actually from after the mission it doesn't matter. All that's lost is her initial equipment, and that was just a Firefang and a Hellfang.
Compared to when we met her as Eirika... Marisa is unchanged. Well, that was straightforward.
On to actually playing the mission.
Right out the gate I get to start on breaking the mission design with Monster Quest being Monster Quest, and Artur gets a fantastic level out of it.
A bunch of shuffling around happens to get ready to meet the oncoming enmies, with the main of my forces positioned like so.
Over in the west, Cormag successfully baits out a Cavalier and gets started on dishing out damage.
Also, he was in more danger than I'd realized because his Luck is apparently awful. He couldn't have died, at least... but I didn't think he could be crit. Oops.
Kyle successfully baits out a Cavalier himself, and now I'm regretting that I didn't have him wield his Sharp Claw instead.
Colm dodges an Axe.
Vanessa turns out to be in range of a Shaman, taking some unnecessary damage as a result. Whoops. That... complicates things a bit.
Artur draws fire from the Archer he attacked, naturally, and since he finished them off...
... the other Archer joins the fun, only slightly less ineffectual.
Then the enemy turn ends, and...
... a bunch of monster reinforcements arrive. (Though the Mauthe Doog just north of the Mercenary in the first shot is actually Marisa. The rest of the monsters are new, including the Cyclops)
Our heroes express shock and dismay-
Monster working with humans is our thing. What happened to monster supremacists?
You done offended our sensibilities as right proper monsters by working together!
... so you're going to work together with humans in response.
Yep! Kill ya all!
Do... do you not see the inconsistency there?
Nah, it's fine, we're going to eat these other humans afterward.
But you'll still have willingly worked with humans.
I said it's fine so it's fine! Now hold still so we can kill ya!
... okay fine whatever let's just get this over with.
-and then the mission carries on.
You know what's always bothered me in the base game? It's never explained why the Grado soldiers are able to get along with the monsters just fine. Like okay I can buy that Lyon's control over the monsters is precise enough that they can distinguish between Gradosian soldiers and my people, or whatever, but the soldiers themselves failing to react to sudden monster presence is just bizarre. Particularly since the majority of Grado is supposed to be entirely unaware of the darker forces at work in their upper ranks. Given the way monsters are presented by the plot, I'd expect the Gradosian soldiers to ally with Ephraim's people against this sudden monster invasion!
Of course that's all irrelevant in the bizarro world of how I'm interpreting Monster Quest, so eh.
As for the Boss...
... he's replaced a Hand Axe with a Tomahawk, gained +4 Strength, +6 Skill, +7 Speed, +10 Luck, +2 Defense, and +6 Resist. That's... actually not so bad for Monster Quest, especially considering he's a monster and so I can pick on his weakness to Light Magic and all. I'm particularly surprised it didn't boost his HP any.
Anyway, down southwest Gilliam gets started on single-handedly demolishing the Gargoyles.
Lute finishes off the other Archer.
Artur... crit-kills the Shaman. Awesome.
Cormag finishes off the Cavalier he baited out, netting him... a serviceable level. So long as his Speed keeps climbing he won't be too awful.
Vanessa heals up and arranges to ensure the Shaman won't go down near Gilliam by blocking the way.
Garcia whips out Dozla's Battle Axe to finish off this Cavalier, netting him a level that... well, it contains two of the most important stats, but seriously Garcia, work on your Luck.
Forde uses the Poison Claw's anti-cavalry properties to maim a Cavalier.
Neimi finishes said Cavalier off using a Silver Bow.
... I'm not entirely sure why I did that instead of using a weaker weapon. Pretty sure she could've taken them out with one... maybe I was worried about missing?
That opens the way for Ephraim to vaporize another Cvalier, netting him a solid enough level.
Kyle takes out the Luna Shaman, and doesn't even take any damage in the process. Nice.
Ross wears down the forward-most Pirate, taking a hit in the process.
And now it's time for the enemy turn, starting with said Pirate wasting its time targeting Colm.
Followed by a Fighter following in his footsteps.
The Mercenary goes for Artur, doing minimal damage.
The dogpile on Gilliam begins with a miss on the enemy's part.
It continues, netting Gilliam an excellent level considering Defense is already capped.
Also he takes minor damage but whatever.
Then the last Gargoyle misses too.
Then we bounce back to Artur, taking another sword to the face and still fine. Notably, he actually doubles the Cavalier.
Back east, Ross takes some damage from a Shaman, ouch.
Back north again, Lute exchanges blows with a Mage who can't touch her.
The second Mage isn't any better off.
Colm dodges more Axes being tossed his way.
Over west, the Shaman I accidentally baited out before targets Cormag, giving me a bit of a heart attack with seeing that they had a crit chance on him, but it works out okay.
Stop sucking, Cormag!
Then two other Shaman go after Forde, which brings him alarmingly close to death.
Lastly, the eastern ship here adds a Mercenary and an Archer.
I've always found these reinforcements irritating. Where are they coming from? Why, the part of the boat that's just off-screen! The... tiny strip of boat that's just off-screen. Seriously? Why not just expand the map a whole tile to the right and have these guys standing on the boat? Or at least have them arriving from stairs into the hold.
Something that actually makes sense.
Anyway, Gilliam breaks out his Sharp Claw to speed things up a bit, doubling the Gargoyle burdened by its Horseslayer and taking it out.
Artur retreats from the melee enemies and wipes out the Shaman for my Gargoyles. Takes no damage, too.
Lute vaporizes the Cavalier since he has a Lancereaver.
Cormag approaches over the water and heals himself.
Neimi wipes out this Pirate primarily because he's a ranged threat.
Kyle takes out one of the Shaman from the north, being able to double them, and gets a fantastic level out of doing so.
Garcia joins in on the fun, only he misses and so the Shaman is still alive. Arrrgh.
Colm takes a bit of a risk to finish off the Fighter in front of him.
The thought process was that I'd move Ephraim in front if he did take a hit.
After some consideration, I have Ross heal himself instead of taking a risk on trying to finish the northern Shaman or the like.
Ephraim ends up taking the Shaman kill for lack of anyone else able to safely do it.
And lastly, Forde heals himself up fully.
The enemy turn starts out with a Pirate landing a clean hit on Colm, which is a bit worrying.
Up north the Mercenary flails at Lute and does moderate damage.
Here is why it wasn't safe for someone other than Ephraim to take out the Shaman: because this Bael would be in range and, if it landed a hit on Ross or Forde, would've killed them.
Ephraim instead is fine.
... fails to wear down either of the Gargoyles remaining, while taking damage.
Somewhat irritatingly, these two Gargoyles never miss Gilliam over the coming turns, even though they have only marginally more accuracy than Gilliam does here.
Ross takes more Dark Magic damage, but he's a big boy, he can take it. And dish it out.
The next Shaman isn't any better off, but I'm quite glad Ross didn't get an improbable crit here.
Turns out Lute was immune to these Mages thanks to the power of love, though it's not like she's in actual danger. Especially not now that she's netted a perfect level out of killing one of them.
The other goes just as readily, and this one doesn't even do chipping damage to her.
Colm dodges more tossed Axe action. I was honestly a bit amazed the Fighter went for Colm over Ross here. I was prepping myself to restart the mission.
Lastly, more reinforcements arrive, two more from the magical ship relying on being slightly off-screen, plus a Bael over in the west.
This is a tricky spot with how many enemies are pouring into the eastern area and how I've got two seriously wounded people.
I start with the easy/obvious thing of having Gilliam continue to wear down the Gargoyles, using his Rotten Claw this time so he won't be missing.
The northwest area is only slightly simpler, and I open with Artur doing severe damage to this Mauthe Doog -it's going to be the most problematic element up here- which nets him another awesome level. Heck yeah, Artur is going to actually be competitive with Lute in this run!
Since I'm still trying to feed Cormag experience, I have him take a potshot at the Mercenary -from a distance so the Bael won't be able to come after him next turn. Thankfully, he pulls through.
Vanessa takes her own ranged potshot, but at the Mauthe Doog, and also pulls through.
Lute and Ross heal themselves up.
Ephraim gets started on softening up one of the Baels, taking an unlucky hit in the process. That... could be a problem.
Kyle finishes off that Bael, so that's this situation partially handled.
Forde finishes off the other Bael, so actually now I'm pretty sure Ephraim is safe. He's too fast for the Mauthe Doog to double him, after all.
Neimi finishes off this Shaman, netting her another excellent level in the process.
Colm and Garcia join the healing parade.
Which makes it the enemy's turn.
First a Shaman goes for Garcia, who is set up as my current axe-wielding blockade.
Then a Pirate joins in the fun, thankfully surviving the retaliation because yikes Garcia is already nearly dead.
... to take down these Gargoyles by virtue of them slamming themselves into him, and he even gets a highly improbable crit to speed things up! Awesome.
Over in the northeast, Ephraim takes a Mauthe Doog bite to the face but was in no danger -it can't double him, and even with a crit he'd have survived.
Garcia gets lucky and survives a coin flip chance of dying, securing his safety for the rest of the turn.
And then more Bael reinforcements show up east and west.
I start with the easy stuff in the west: Artur softens up this Bael...
... which lets Cormag finish it. He misses one time, but whatever.
Ephraim handles finishing off the Mauthe Doog. Still no danger of death.
Gilliam marches north and heals himself to speed things up a bit -he'll deal with the Gargoyle in retaliation just fine.
Ross rejoins the fight in the east, taking out the last Shaman.
Then Neimi finishes off the Pirate -not really my ideal scenario, but everything else was more awkward.
Then Garcia fully heals himself and backs off.
Oh and I had Colm swap Neimi to her Short Bow, enabling her to instant-critkill this Mercenary.
The next Mercenary survives and even lands his hit, but whatever.
Meanwhile Gilliam, as intended, finishes off the final Gargoyle through retaliation.
Back east an Archer plinks at Colm. Whatever.
The Fighter takes a potshot at Forde, but eh.
Meanwhile, something I failed to screenshot is Lute being set up to bait out this Mage, which she does successfully and even inflicts egregious damage upon them.
Neimi exchanges arrows with an Archer.
And even more Bael reinforcements show up.
Lute works on this Bael instead of dealing more with the Mage -he can wait.
Cormag goes to soften up the Bael, the idea being that Vanessa would finish it in melee just south to then retaliate against the other Bael next turn, but luckily Cormag gets a crit, helping pull him forward on experience. Awesome.
For lack of anything better to do, Artur heals himself.
Ross takes out the nearer Archer, Neimi having gotten out of his way, and gets a really solid level.
Kyle wipes out the Fighter that Ross' action opened access to. The dodge is a nice bonus.
And then the forward push slows down with Forde attacking this Mercenary and being doubled by them, not able to kill them himself.
Colm heals up for lack of anything better to do.
Garcia takes a potshot at the Mercenary because why not.
And then it's the enemy's turn, opening with an Archer plinking at Forde. Whatever.
Turns out I accidentally set Gilliam in range of this Bael. Oops? Not a big deal, though.
Forde gets more carapace shavings rubbed off, and leaves the Mercenary with one hit point.
An Archer fails to plink at Forde.
Lastly, another Bael shows up in the east.
Ephraim heals up.
Cormag goes for taking out the Bael and succeeds, netting himself a very offensive level. I'm happy with this.
Lute returns to finish off the Mage, earning her their Elfire.
Forde wipes out one Archer.
Colm handles the Mercenary, and gets a decent enough level out of it. Still prefer for him to work on his defenses...
Lastly, Garcia and Kyle handle the final Archer, causing them to drop their Short Bow in the process.
And with that we're nearly done with the aggressive enemies. Just the reinforcement Baels to contend with, and then the mission will just be me picking apart defensive and occasionally passive enemies.
This is me noticing these Bonewalkers on the northern edge and going 'wait, are these reinforcements or not? I don't remember them being here before, but I don't remember them showing up either'.
This is me having Lute Visit this inn because I'm derping and thinking Ewan is in here, rather than the house just to the north as he actually is. This place doesn't actually have anything in it if you don't care about dialogue. It throws me every time, since it's a big, important-looking building, but... there's nothing of mechanical value in it.
This is Cormag healing, what with being on the verge of death and all.
Neimi softens up the nearer Bael...
... and Garcia seals the deal.
Lastly, aside some moving up I didn't bother to screenshot, Forde and Kyle heal up.
Lute successfully baits out her next Mage, which is helpless in the face of her.
And that's it for enemy action, aside yes those were reinforcement Bonewalkers earlier, and here's more of them.
Neimi once again softens up a Bael...
... this time so Forde can get the kill, earning him a pretty great level. It'd be nice if he had more Defense, but he's got plenty of room to cap it.
Artur vaporizes this Bonewalker -which in retrospect might've been a wasted opportunity, because...
... Lute Visits the house Ewan is hiding in. (Because I don't want that Bael attacking her)
Ewan is, compared to when we got him as Eirika, identical in stats, which doesn't surprise me. In fact, the only difference is that instead of bringing an Energy Ring he's brought a Dragonshield. Eh.
It is going to be such a pain to raise him for LP purposes.
General moving up happens, and I end turn.
The Mage follows Lute as planned, dying and granting her a decent enough level. She's pretty great as-is, and Defense is her only stat that didn't grow that I don't expect to end up capped or unimportant. (Skill is nice, not necessary) So sure, this works.
Additionally, even more Bonewalkers march in from the north.
That's another thing it's frustrating the game doesn't address: why aren't the civilians reacting to monsters coming into the town? The innkeeper talks about Tethys, and the only other building is just Ewan, who's just babbling about Marisa. Since it's not possible for a player to reach the buildings prior to Caellach leaving and the monsters coming in, you'd think there'd be at least one example of villagers freaking out about the monsters.
Mechanically this is one of the better-made missions in the game, but the plot side is so frustrating.
Anyway, I open my turn with Neimi once again softeni- um, vaporizing a Bael.
... I should've moved Colm away first. Oops.
Lute heals up.
And a bunch of moving up happens. You can kind of see my plan already.
Up north, Artur has successfully baited out the Bow Bonewalker, though not yet killed it. Go faster, Artur! More Speed!
Garcia has successfully baited out the last Mage, though he failed to hit it.
And my turn.
Over east, I'm being an idiot and feeding Cormag some experience through this Mercenary. Past me! Stop being stupid!
Artur finishes off the Bow Bonewalker.
You can also see melee Bonewalkers making their way over to the Mogalls and Gilliam.
I end turn looking like this, having backed up to avoid tangling with too many enemies at once.
Forde gets weirdly lucky with the first Bonewalker, dodging their strike and critting them in retaliation, though his damage is too low for it to be a kill.
The second Bonewalker also misses, but no improbable crits occur.
And my turn.
The RNG saves me from my own stupidity with Cormag.
Ross weakens the Lance Bonewalker from a distance...
... and Garcia contributes too...
... allowing Forde to land the finishing blow, if barely. Come on Forde, you're almost there on your stats!
Ephraim deals with the other Bonewalker in my group's face.
And then I end turn looking like this, with Kyle blocking access to Ross.
First new Bonewalker actually lands a hit on Forde.
As does the second.
The RNG once again saves me from my own stupidity with Cormag. Past me grits his teeth in rage, unaware of the gift he has been given.
Meanwhile, Ross and Garcia repeat their wearing-down of a Bonewalker...
... letting Forde finally get another level. And it's a really good one, too! The Juna Fruit is really paying off. Just last mission Forde was a tremendous burden, and now he's... well, still basically flatly inferior to Kyle and Gilliam, but he only requires a little babying at this point, instead of constantly being doubled by enemies who do Real Damage to him.
Kyle softens up the other Bonewalker.
Then I give Neimi the kill.
Not entirely sure why I did that in retrospect.
Regardless, I end turn looking like this, with Artur ready to bait out that Mage.
He takes laughable damage, and gives better than he took.
Ewan starts on his training, having pulling a Fire Tome off of Lute.
Also I might've bought one for him from the shop you've maybe noticed west of the Arena by now. I forget. It happens somewhere in this vicinity.
Anyway, then Lute vaporizes the Mage...
... while Artur softens up one of the Bonewalkers, protecting Ewan in the process.
Gilliam attempts to take the kill to minimize danger to Lute, but fails. Eh.
The RNG fails to save me from my own stupidity, but fortunately I wisen up next turn.
Lastly, Forde heals up and off-screen moving happens.
... fine, not even taking hits and in no danger of dying if she had.
My turn again, and Ewan chips a little bit more experience for himself.
Garcia charges up to try to take the kill, but misses. Fine. Free experience point.
After some thinking, I end up giving the kill to Artur. Not my preferred choice, but whatever.
Then I move up some more, with Gilliam positioned to pull that Archer away.
And it's my turn again, with Cormag... failing to hit things.
Stop sucking, Cormag.
Pretty nifty motion blur on the Archer, though.
Garcia doesn't do any better. Ugh.
Gilliam and Ephraim move up to pin the Archer, healing themselves up in part in preparation for the Shaman to join in the fighting.
Which leaves me ending turn looking like this.
Naturally, two Shaman charge forth and both target Gilliam. Ow.
Then it's my turn again, and I open with Ephraim getting a level out of wiping out one Shaman. Another really good level.
Ephraim is basically set for life at this point. Heck, he'd probably be serviceable even if the repromote wasn't coming later.
Garcia takes another swing at the Archer, and this time actually lands his blow.
Cormag, meanwhile, continues to miss.
Lute cleans up his mess, freeing me up to kill the Shaman before he can go after Cormag.
Ross handles that problem, technically taking a slight risk. The Shaman also drops a Guiding Ring, replacing the one I lost last mission. Excellent.
Then I end turn looking like this.
My turn again, and Ewan starts on Plan: Milk This Mercenary For Experience.
This being what I was talking about regarding my stupidity re: Cormag and this Mercenary. I could've milked a lot more experience out of this guy if I hadn't worn him down so much with Cormag.
I'm not going to be screenshotting anything other than levels and the kill past this, though.
I move up, looking like this, ready to bait out the Shaman with Artur.
Baiting successful, though with the wrinkle that I was expecting the Shaman to stop on the staircase, which would've made this simpler. Oh well.
Artur finishes them off on my turn, and gets... a level out of it.
Defenses that high are good, admittedly.
Time passes, and Ewan manages to finish off the Mercenary and get a level out of it. Not a great level overall, but that Magic boost is vital to ensuring Ewan will be less of a pain to grind in future, so whatever.
Meanwhile, with the Mercenary out of the way, I move to bait out that Bonewalker.
Yes, I didn't do anything else while Ewan was grinding. The Mercenary was in the way for baiting out enemies not near Marisa, and Marisa's movement speed is so high that any position that would bait out either of those Fighters or the Mercenary would also be in range of Marisa. This is precisely why I've been somewhat dreading recruiting Marisa in Ephraim's path ever since I first saw she was a Mauthe Doog, because you can only recruit her with Ewan and just like back when we recruited her as Eirika Marisa will attack any of your party members while she's an enemy. So where I could use Natasha to bait out enemies back with Joshua without him attacking her, trying to do so with Ewan would end very badly.
Even aside how weak he is in general.
Bonewalker successfully baited with Gilliam.
Ewan continues his training.
In pursuit of that, I delay killing the Bonewalker, using my Baels to wall it off.
It goes after Forde on the enemy turn, which is fine by me. In fact, this math is perfect.
First, Forde softens up the Bonewalker further, shrugging off the hit...
... and then Ewan finishes them off! Unexpected benefit. And Ewan gets another Magic-containing level, not to mention this one is four stats. I'd really appreciate Speed so he doesn't have to worry about being doubled by things, but this is reasonably lucky.
Uncertain whether the Cyclops Boss is the kind that moves or not, I set up Gilliam to bait it out.
It sits around doing whatever bored Cyclops do, so Vanessa moves to bait out the next Bonewalker.
Baiting successful, and Vanessa gets a... well, it could certainly be a worse level, anyway.
Well, it's not so much 'baiting' as 'murdering', but close enough.
Gilliam dangles the lure for the Entombed now.
It takes it, with no danger to anybody on my team!
Colm Steals the Vulnerary back for free experience.
Artur starts on melting the Entombed from safety.
Vanessa contributes, and it's even successful to my surprise.
Then Gilliam goes for the slightly risky (Silencer!) finishing blow, and gets a very nearly perfect level. I'll probably be promoting him next battle, too!
In retrospect, I'm not entirely sure why I didn't have Ewan take a potshot. He'd have been able to do damage, albeit he'd have been quite unlikely to hit.
So that's one of the last tricky hurdles dealt with. There's just wrangling Marisa and dealing with the Cyclops left.
Garcia and Ross hit A Support at last, making them a deadly duo. They're going to be vicious once they're both promoted.
Then a bunch of turns pass without screenshots.
So it turns out Mogall Ewan actually somewhat cancels out Mauthe Doog Marisa complicating this setup, since he can just fly over the wall to recruit her without ever being in danger.
Now it's just a matter of dealing with the enemies around him before any of them have a chance to attack.
Marisa immediately turns her attention to the last Bonewalker, since it's the furthest away and thus most difficult to dogpile immediately. She dodges and gets a crit I failed to screenshot, but not the two crits she'd need to finish them by herself.
That's okay, because Ephraim is able to handle the rest without even stopping in the Cyclops' reach.
Vanessa gets started on the Mercenary.
And amazingly Cormag pulls through when it counts, finishing off the Mercenary in spite of his somewhat shaky odds.
Lute singlehandedly -well, tentacle-y- vaporizes one of the Fighters...
... while Artur and Garcia handle the other, leaving only the Cyclops to deal with. Garcia also gets a fantastic level out of it! Nice.
Moving around happens...
... and I set up Gilliam to open the fight with the Cyclops.
It goes for it, and fails to hit him while taking damage in exchange. That's a pleasant surprise.
Ephraim is up next, taking advantage of the Swordslayer being equipped to weak havoc on the Cyclops with only a tiny chance of being critkilled in response.
Then Neimi takes the finishing blow, and gets a great level out of it. The Cyclops also drops their Tomahawk, which is going to be appreciated for a bit.
And that ends the mission, only somewhat less unceremoniously than the prior one. Ephraim's side of the campaign is a bit lighter on plot, which is one more bit that makes me think Eirika's story was the focus.
Though before we go, I decide to slap the Dragonshield on Colm. He's painfully fragile and I will be using him all the way into the endgame just because he's my thief and such an excellent Support for Neimi, and as is usual with Monster Quest the majority of my other characters have quite high Defense. There's other characters who probably would've gotten decent use out of the Dragonshield, but I'm not convinced I'll actually keep using Joshua once I've gotten him promoted, and other character could get lucky and roll enough Defense boosts to waste the Dragonshield. Even Colm could, actually, just not prior to his promotion.
See you next mission.