Let's Play Monster Quest Part 29
Fluorspar being Selena, of course.
Mind, I've never really gotten the title regardless. Like yeah the chapter is focusing on how Selena is loyal to Vigarde and all, but the game never really establishes what her conflict is about, and in particular her chat with Myrrh heavily implies that Selena is aware that Vigarde isn't Vigarde at all. Cormag was wrestling with himself because he viewed his orders as fundamentally legitimate but found them in conflict with his beliefs about how his country works/is supposed to work, and so didn't want to betray Vigarde and yet didn't really want to obey the orders. Selena is operating on the premise that the man she's actually loyal to didn't issue the orders she's obeying (And in fact is probably a zombie), that the current regime is probably corrupt and a betrayal of everything Vigarde was about, and yet here she is trying to kill us instead of having fried Valter with Bolting already.
There's Honor Before Reason, and then there's pretending there's a conflict where none exists so you can force the player to tragically kill someone who has zero reason to be an enemy at all.
... okay maybe my issue is less with the chapter title and more with the chapter...
Selena herself is, as we've previously seen, a Gorgon equipped with Excalibur and Bolting. Fortunately, she won't move, so her Bolting isn't as threatening as it could be. Bolting is normal, Excalibur would normally be an Elfire. Stats-wise, she has -2 levels (Great, less experience...), +2 HP, +6 Magic, +2 Skill, +1 Speed, +7 Defense, +3 Resist, -1 Move and +5 Constitution. That's surprisingly light by Monster Quest's standards, though admittedly the Magic boost will particularly sting thanks to the Bolting abuse.
Nice, an Energy Ring to loot... and a Sleep Staff to be a nuisance. Not so great.
This Great Knight demands I bring Colm for theft purposes.
And so too for this Mage.
So naturally, I do so.
In retrospect I might've been able to get away with swapping Cormag in over Vanessa if I'd played a bit smarter. On the other hand, I did this mission in one take, so whatever.
Overall I'm happy with how this run turned out.
Gerik and Tethys instantly join us once the battle starts-
-way off to the right of the rest of the team, though it's not a big deal, particularly since Tethys can just help Gerik join up with everyone faster.
Compared to when we met them as Eirika... Tethys is the exact same, but Gerik has actually jumped up 4 levels, gaining +5 HP, +2 Strength, +2 Skill, +2 Speed, +2 Luck, +2 Defense, and +1 Resist. That's... actually pretty good. If I'd raised him myself he could've gotten luckier than that, but he could also have done worse pretty readily. It's actually a bit convenient the plan is to raise Gerik in this run.
He's got the exact same equipment, though.
For the proper first move of the turn, I open with Gilliam softening up a Fighter.
Kyle promptly crit-kills another Fighter, which wasn't really the idea. I'd... been hoping to maybe feed a kill to Ewan. Oh well, this works okay.
A bunch more moving up/around happens, but no further attacking. You can see Ross and Garcia are headed east to meet the oncoming enemies in that direction.
First enemy action is the Fighter Gilliam softened up killing itself on Forde. Convenient.
Then a Cavalier gets itself mauled by Gilliam. Almost there.
Neimie successfully baits out an Archer, as planned. And murders it, meaning...
... the other Archer also gets baited out and murdered. Perfect.
The last Fighter in the area takes a potshot at Forde. Whatever, he can take it at this point. More or less.
Then it's my turn, and I open with Gilliam hitting his final level prior to promotion. Bit of a waste to kill the Fighter with him, but all the options were kinda wasteful so whatever. Having a ranged attacker around Ewan was also undesirable.
I'm quite glad to see he got Speed.
Forde gets started on taking out one of the Cavaliers.
Ewan tries, and fails, to get himself some more experience.
Kyle secures the kill on this Cavalier, netting him an okay level all things considered.
Tethys helps Garcia get closer to the action.
Forde and Ephraim boost their Support rank to B.
And I end turn looking like this.
First action of the enemy turn is a hurling himself at Vanessa ineffectually. Excellent, he's now set up for Joshua.
Over west the Cavalier finishes himself off on Forde's talons, netting Forde a level containing all the things I currently care about most. I mean, Speed would be nice, but Defense and Strength are ideal so good on you Forde.
Neimi baits out a Cavalier at range, netting her a surprisingly nice level.
Lastly, reinforcements show up in the south; three Pegasus Knights and a Brigand.
First action of my turn is Vanessa clearing space for Joshua by going after this Cavalier... and not only failing to get a crit on him while wielding a Killer Lance but actually missing it. Seriously?
Joshua takes his kill, and the level he gets out of it is surprisingly good. A few more levels like this and he might actually end up properly part of my A team.
Garcia wipes out the other Soldier.
Tethys helps Joshua move up to work on getting more experience, though he doesn't attack just yet. This incidentally also makes it harder for Vanessa to get dogpiled.
Ross breaks his hatchet doing some chipping. I figure better to get it out of my inventory, given long-term considerations.
Neimi finishes off the Cavalier she baited out earlier.
Then while trying to figure out who is going to be baiting out Bolting, I notice Selena has an alarming amount of crit, and proceed to confirm that she has an S in Anime (duh, or else she couldn't use her Sacred Twin) and infer anew that oh yeah Gorgons have +15 to crit in Monster Quest.
That... makes Selena considerably nastier than in the base game. Without Supports, obviating all that crit this early in the game is pretty unlikely. Even with Supports, it'll be a pain.
So much so that in the end I go with hoping the RNG is adequately cooperative, using dodge-based baiting.
Meanwhile, Gilliam at last promotes -notice that I wasn't offered any options, this is all he could promote to. I quite like his Elder Bael design, in any event, and that's a pretty great set of promotion bonuses. The HP is probably kind of wasted given how monstrous his HP growth is, but oh well. This is pretty great regardless -probably to make up for the fact that promoting to an Elder Bael doesn't really do anything for him. No new weapon types, no new travel capabilities, no special abilities that I'm aware.
... you know, I'm not sure whether Elder Baels get +15 to crit in Monster Quest. I'll need to pay attention for that going forward. Or maybe they were given Great Shield? Hmm. Possibilities to keep in mind. After all, Entombed were given +15 to crit and Silencer.
In any event, we move on to the enemy turn -notice Colm's position, we'll be coming back to that- starting with Vanessa coming under attack and doubling her opponent while still not getting a crit. Fine. Whatever.
Joshua takes a hit and is struggling to do damage, but hey he did get a crit so that's something.
Forde dodges a strike made on him, dishing out serious pain in return.
Selena takes a shot at Colm -he's dodgy as heck in a Forest and with Neimi's backing, and so even though she has a respectable chance of critting him if she hits, odds are very long against such a hit. And he can survive a non-crit hit, so there's a bit of wiggle room here.
I quite like Selena's look here. It's striking, very memorable, even if it's obviously based on her human color scheme. Now I'm sad that it looks like I'll never get to have her on my team.
The enemy turn ends with a new wave of reinforcements, and just like last time it's three Pegasus Knights and a Brigand.
The combination of those Brigands and Selena is pretty annoying, but this mission is comparatively merciful. The village rewards aren't that amazing, and there's no post-mission reward for saving them both. If you really want to hunker down and let them burn while waiting out Selena's Boltings, you're not losing out on much.
Though ideally you'd be more aggressive about baiting out her Boltings than I've been, regardless.
Ewan gets himself some experience -successfully, this time.
Gerik goes for the kill... and manages to botch it. Dangit.
Kyle handles it instead.
Ephraim charges forth and exchanges Javelin tosses with this Cavalier, taking improbable damage in the process.
I'm trying to clear the way for the western Village. While neither of them is amazing in its rewards, I want the western one reasonably strongly.
Vanessa finally gets a critkill after way too long, clearing the way...
... for Joshua to finish off the other, much more weakened Cavalier.
And yes I had to break out the Hellfang to finish off the Cavalier n one hit. Joshua could have used a Fiery Fang to double them to death, but without a crit he'd almost certainly have taken damage, and then very possibly died to the follow-up Cavaliers if I was careless.
Tethys heals Vanessa.
It's a total waste of a Recovery Staff use, but I already know about the infinite-use Hammerne and Latona Staves so I don't care.
You can also see Garcia has been moved up to protect Joshua. I'd originally intended to let Joshua do the fighting, then got cold feet.
And now it's the enemy turn, starting with a Cavalier getting free damage in on Garcia. Dangit.
Selena continues to hit trees with her lightning, and this time I manage to catch her energy orb in action. It looks surprisingly cool with these colors.
I botch the screenshot timing, but the Cavalier Ephraim exchanged blows with at range gets into melee with him and dies.
I've never understood why the AI will, when using 1-2 range weapons against 1-2 range weapons, preferentially angle for attacking at range 1. I've always wondered what the coding thought process behind that was. Is it so the AI will drag itself more toward the rest of your forces incidentally? Or was it a totally arbitrary decision some coder picked at random? Or what?
The only other thing of note to happen on the enemy turn is even more reinforcements -this batch not including a Brigand, but otherwise basically the same as the prior two waves.
Vanessa gets two crits at last, though she also takes a hit in the process and the second crit was unnecessary, but hey whatever. She also gets an excellent level given Speed is capped. 10 Luck!
Garcia follows up, trying to crit-kill the other Cavalier, but no dice. Oh well, I've got Tethys-
-to... really? Really? Ugh.
I also give up on the idea of having Forde get healed by Tethys and use an Elixir instead.
Some other shuffling about happens to make ready for the first wave of Pegasus Knights (You can see I had Colm back away, for example), and I end turn.
Gilliam successfully baits out and tears apart this Killer Axe Fighter.
Garcia continues to fail to kill his Cavalier while continuing to take hits. Because of course.
It's a good thing I don't care that much about this eastern Village. This is stupid.
Gilliam wipes out a Cavalier foolish to provoke him.
Ross successfully takes on a Pegasus Knight, and unlike Garcia gets the job done with no damage taken.
This Mage comes out after Vanessa, which is a scenario I did plan for -hence why Vanessa has the *Slim Lance out. Joshua swapped it in.
I wasn't expecting the Mage to have a crit chance on her, though, and for that matter I was really expecting her to counterkill them. This is... inconvenient.
Then Joshua and Colm dodge tossed Javelins. I'm a bit surprised the eastern Pegasus Knight didn't go for Vanessa.
The enemy turn ends with one final 'wave' of reinforcements -a single Pegasus Knight this time.
I open my turn with Forde wiping out the Pegasus Knight that went after Colm.
Garcia gives up on attacking the Cavalier and instead wipes out the Pegasus Knight that went after Joshua.
Vanessa goes to handle the Cavalier instead, and the RNG continues to spite me on this one Cavalier, with her getting no crit and in fact missing one of her attacks while taking a hit.
Fortunately, I planned for this possibility, and Tethys is there to patch Vanessa right up.
Then the enemy turn starts, opening with the Cavalier finally dying to Garcia. Garcia gets a... level. He really needs better levels than this if he's going to be more than just Ross' cheerleader in the late game...
Over in the west, Kyle wipes out a Pegasus Knight.
The first Brigand makes it to the eastern Village and burns it to the ground.
This particular Village would've given up a Talisman. I generally don't care that much about missing out on Talismans -Resist is nice, but Sacred Stones is tuned so it's not particularly necessary, and your mages in particular tend to effortlessly dominate enemy mages, making it unnecessary to boost non-mage Resistance while your own mages are prone to capping Resistance all on their own.
Admittedly, in Monster Quest my Resist scores have tended to be a bit deflated, but I still can't find it in me to care, especially given how much more dangerous Selena is than in the base game.
Speaking of, here's Selena missing Gilliam -placing him there was a deliberate attempt to bait her shot out.
Note that Gilliam would, in fact, have died here if she'd crit him. If he'd been at full HP he'd be able to survive such a thing, but he's wounded so...
Gilliam continues to collect pointy bits in his carapace.
Garcia wipes out this eastern Pegasus Knight thanks to still wielding his Hand Axe. Takes a whole point of damage in the process, boo hoo.
Colm dodges a Javelin sent his way.
And lastly a new kind of reinforcement shows up: a Pirate in the southwest.
So now I'm very much on the clock if I want that western Village, above and beyond the Brigands wending their way to here.
Incidentally, one thing I've always hated about this mission is how the Gradosian soldiers completely ignore these raiders coming in to burn the Villages to the ground. Selena is clearly defined as one of Grado's generals who has a strong moral character, with the only major caveat being that her loyalty to Vigarde trumps her morals (Never mind that her loyalty is rooted in how she respects him for, among other things, his own strong morals), and yet here she is not only not blocking off these raiders but in fact de-facto helping them burn the Villages to the ground since her menacing Bolting radius makes it much more difficult to reach the Villages yourself.
It's frustrating in general how fond the Fire Emblem series is of lose/lose situations like this where you have to take ridiculous risks if you want to get all the goodies on a map, but this mission stands out for how contrary it is to the narrative being woven. If this were Riev with Purge in the center of the map, I wouldn't question the Brigands and Pirates being allowed to do their thing. With Selena though... really?
So with the clock ticking, I move Kyle forward even though this puts him in Selena's range. One Pegasus Knight down.
Gilliam handles the Knight beyond her, taking minuscule damage in the process.
Tethys heals Garcia, while the group in the east prepares for combat.
Forde dishes some pain out to this northern Pegasus Knight, and takes a bit in return.
Colm takes advantage of the opportunity to nab a kill -maybe someday he'll stop being a liability in combat.
And then it's the enemy turn, starting with Ross successfully baiting one Pegasus Knight...
... while Garcia successfully baits out this Fighter.
Kyle thankfully dodges Selena's wrath.
Though you can also see why I was willing to risk Kyle here: she'd have needed a crit to kill him, and he's more than able to fend off eg the Pegasus Knight you can see.
Said Pegasus Knight goes for wasting her time attacking Gilliam, though. Not sure why.
Finally Ross baits out the other Pegasus Knight near him, netting him a... not so hot level. Could be worse, but ouch. At least his stats are already quite solid.
Lastly, another Pirate shows up, unsurprisingly.
We start things up north, with Vanessa snagging a Pegasus Knight kill.
Neimi employs massive overkill to deal with the other once Ross moves out of the way.
Joshua wipes out the Fighter Garcia lured out during the enemy's turn, getting a crit... on his second hit where it doesn't help. sigh
The Fighter drops a Halberd as a consolation prize I guess.
Tethys heals up Joshua so he's not in danger of death.
And I end turn having failed to screenshot my western activities: they were having Kyle retreat while Gilliam advances fearlessly.
This Cavalier survives scratching Gilliam's back purely due to blind luck.
First Pirate adds another decoration to Gilliam's carapace. Nice frisbee.
Garcia is baiting out the other Fighter in the east. It doesn't go quite as well as the previous.
Ephraim gets to take a turn dodging lightning.
More decorations for Gilliam's carapace! More!
And then it's abruptly my turn again -for all that there's a lot of enemies still on this map, most of them don't move unless something of yours is in reach, so per-turn activity is actually fairly low.
Ephraim speeds things along a bit in the south because I don't want that Village burned to the ground.
Joshua finally has the stars align, getting a double-crit and dodge.
Not that he needed two crits, mind... but he did need one.
The level he gets out of it is literally perfect. He might actually make it on my A team!
Tethys heals up Garcia for lack of better ideas.
Ross in turn wipes out this pesky Mage who gave me a scare so long ago.
Gilliam tries, and fails, to wipe out this Pirate. Uh-oh.
... but the enemy turn comes, and the Pirate resists the siren's call of the Village, electing to give Gilliam another frisbee. Huh.
The Cavalier contributes in a similar vein, though his survival is down to luck rather than attacking from a safe distance.
What is with Cavaliers dodging so much on this map?
Another frisbee for Gilliam. I'm sure the nephews and nieces will love 'em.
Garcia successfully baits out this Sniper, who incidentally is a big part of why I don't consider it all that worthwhile to push for rescuing the eastern Village. It's very dangerous to be trying to fly a Pegasus Knight -or Cormag- over to loot the Village, since a single moment of inattention can lead to them being one-shotted, even aside Selena calling down the thunder on them.
Lastly, the last surviving Pegasus Knight adds another decoration to Gilliam's carapace.
The mental image of Giant Spider Gilliam just calmly standing around while javelins and frisbee-axes fall all around him and occasionally land ineffectually on him will never cease to delight me.
Also note that Selena didn't toss Bolting this turn. We're done with that now! All that's left is saving this Village, and everything after that is reasonably straightforward mop-up.
My turn opens up with Ephraim working to clear the way to the Village, getting yet another amazing level. Seriously, what did Monster Quest do to the twins' growths?
Gilliam wipes out the Pirate that's closer to the Village. Safe! Ish! (The Brigand can't reach the Village this turn)
Ross starts softening up the Sniper in the east, and actually gets a rather lucky crit. Not enough to finish them off, but welcome timing.
Joshua promptly jumps on the opportunity for a level, netting him another pretty great level. The missed Strength is not ideal, but a strangely defensive level-up on such a fragile character is plenty appreciated.
Tethys pushes Ross to keep going...
... so he gets started on this Cavalier here.
Then it's the enemy turn, starting with the Cavalier in question surviving their Poisoning (Thankfully) only to suicide on Garcia.
Over west, Kyle has baited out a Cavalier -notice that Ewan is in the area. At last he'll have a chance to grind for some experience!
The other Cavalier in the east throws himself at Joshua, which was expected, and Joshua... avails himself poorly.
Seriously, so many improbable Cavalier dodges.
Gilliam continues to collect frisbees.
This Archer moving onto the Village is actually convenient, letting me potentially buy time to deal with the Brigands!
The western Mage gets in on the be-ineffectual-against-Gilliam bandwagon, though he doesn't understand the goal and causes almost-real damage to Gilliam.
This Pegasus Knight gets it.
And then it's my turn, which I open with Ewan earning some more experience.
Joshua earns himself some experience over east.
Tethys heals him up in preparation for more fighting.
I end my turn looking like this -retreating out of the Archer's range so they'll keep hiding on the Village.
Kyle absorbs some more punishment to start.
... that's a really frustrating hit point threshold for that Cavalier to end up at...
Joshua gains some more experience and continues to not crit. Now it's starting to get a bit ridiculous and annoying.
A Mage runs up to get himself stomped by Ephraim, admittedly doing real-ish damage in the process.
The last Pegasus Knight doesn't even land a hit and is promptly crit-killed. Useful timing! Kinda!
My turn again, and I open with Ewan getting more experience.
Seriously inconvenient number there.
Vanessa takes this particular kill instead, earning her an okay level. Not the stats I most want on her, but oh well.
Joshua continues to work on his experience, and it involves an improbable amount of missing.
You can also see that Garcia and Ross tried to bait out that Knight, but he's not willing to move it turns out.
I decide Tethys might as well help him along, which nets her a typical Crazy Tethys Level. Seriously, her HP, Speed, Luck, and Resist are all over 100%.
Joshua actually obliges with an immediate crit-kill!
I do some shuffling about and end turn looking like this.
Also up north Kyle baits out the next Cavalier.
But back in the south we open with Forde drawing the remaining Pirate's attention...
... followed by one of the Brigands giving Gilliam another frisbee.
And it's my turn again already. I open with Gerik taking out the Pirate -I do want to train up Gerik this run, after all.
Kyle softens up the Cavalier he baited out, getting a nice level in the process. Capped Defense!
Ewan... fails to get real experience off the Cavalier. Dangit.
Over east, Tethys heals up Garcia.
Enemy turn anew, and it starts with Kyle's Cavalier committing suicide.
Meanwhile, Gerik's new position successfully baits out the other Brigand, who promptly dies.
The first Brigand goes for the ranged attack and so yet lives.
And now it's my turn, which I open with having Colm heal himself up. I no longer recall exactly why.
Neimi leverages Colm's Support to tear up the Knight...
... which lets Joshua take the kill. And he gets another surprisingly good level, though now his Speed and Skill are capped so the RNG is going to need to be quite kind for him to not be expecting poor levels from here on.
Tethys heals Neimi for experience.
I'm not sure why I didn't do a Dance instead. It would've been worth more experience.
In any event, over west Gerik deals with the final Brigand.
Which makes for the last of the aggressive enemies dealt with. It's all under my control from here.
Enemy turn opens with this Mercenary going for Joshua, but he misses so it's all good.
Up north, Kyle baits out the next Cavalier.
In the south, Gilliam convinces the Archer to get off the Village.
And over east, Colm successfully baits out this Mage without taking a hit.
What I didn't properly plan for was him baiting out the Great Knight! If the RNG had completely hated me, Colm actually could've died here.
Instead, though, Colm Steals the Mage's Speedwing. Now I just need to Steal the gem from the Great Knight!
But first Neimi vaporizes the Mage.
Joshua earns himself some more experience, this time with the Fiery Fang so he can double the Mercenary.
Tethys heals him -I don't want to risk him being killed by the Great Knight joining in on the fun.
Gilliam loots a Barrier Staff from the western Village.
Which probably is more useful to me than the Talisman would've been, really.
Vanessa gets started on pinning the Archer while getting some damage in...
... and Gerik wipes it out.
The enemy turn opens with Joshua taking a hit from the Mercenary.
Kyle has backed up so Ewan will be able to safely attack this Cavalier.
Lastly, Joshua takes a hit from the Great Knight. Ow.
I open my turn by having Tethys heal Joshua after he's backed away.
Neimi then wipes out the Mercenary, taking his Zanbato in the process.
Ewan earns himself a little more experience.
And again with the awkward number.
Enemy turn, and alas, Kyle doesn't miss the Cavalier.
Over east, the Great Knight wastes his time going for melee on Neimi with a Hammer.
My turn again, and I open with Stealing his Red Gem.
Tethys promptly gives Neimi another move, and she promptly ends him with a critkill.
Not precisely what I was intending, but this works.
Kyle and Forde hit B in Support...
... and the enemy turn starts with Kyle baiting out his next Cavalier.
Also the Troubadour tries to put him to Sleep -I'd actually entirely forgotten she had it by this point.
Joshua nips that in the bud with a useful crit, grabbing her Energy Ring in the process.
My turn, and I check the numbers and decide to have Kyle soften up the Cavalier further...
... which finally lets Ewan snag a kill!
The level is... less than ideal, but Speed is important to making Ewan less agonizingly vulnerable so okay.
The Cavalier also drops a Dragonspear I'll probably never actually use.
Neimi wipes out one Shaman because screw Luna seriously, which brings her to her last unpromoted level. It's just about perfect!
To my surprise, the other two Shaman don't go after Neimi. They're apparently not willing to move. Huh.
So my turn rolls around again and I open by having Neimi promote -this time to a Maelduin. I never did really take advantage of her Sword and Lance access in my prior run, so outside horse-slaying gear turning her into a Maelduin is probably the superior choice thanks to the boosted movement speed and greater Constitution boost and all.
... especially because it turns out that while Tarvos have regular cavalry movement, Maelduin have Ranger movement, so now Neimi can cross rivers!
Time passes and I give Ewan the Energy Ring, because I'm committed to using him this run and he desperately needs more damage.
Neimi hops the river and wipes out another Shaman because I just plain don't want to take risks with their Luna Tomes.
Meanwhile, Kyle baits out a Cavalier.
On my turn Forde softens said Cavalier up some more.
Tethys gains another Tethys level healing Gerik.
Ewan gains a bit more experience...
... but Colm ends up being the one who secures the kill.
Neimi takes out the final Shman, continuing to leverage her newfound ability to trot on water.
Unsurprisingly, this leads to the last Cavalier charging her instead of Kyle. Eh.
Ewan gains a bit more experience...
... while Neimi has bigger fish to fry.
I promptly use Rescue shenanigans to pull Neimi out of reach, as while it's unlikely Selena could get a double-crit and kill Neimi thanks to Excalibur being Brave.
The enemy turn comes and Forde earns some experience.
He continues this process on my turn...
... which clears the way for Ewan to claim another kill, earning himself a vital set of boosts. Ewan may yet not suck!
Lastly, after a give heal from Tethys Neimi closes us out by vaporizing Selena for a kinda eh level.
For an extra bit of irritation, this is where, narratively, we've retrieved Myrrh's Dragonstone, but she still won't fight alongside us until it's time to attack the Renai castle. Because apparently the hundreds-year-old dragon that personally fought Fomortiis has severe confidence issues.
In any event, I poke at all my options and rapidly conclude that Cormag is the best recipient of Tethys' Goddess Icon. I mean jeez he still only has six Luck after using it. Ow. That's awful, dude.
See you next mission.