The Return of Talking Time

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  #91  
Old 08-30-2014, 02:56 PM
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Diego delivers his final mercy to this fellow as Eleni silently stares on. I think I heard him whisper "thank you".



I move Clint forward to go chasing after Hassan, and have Eleni administer a precautionary Herb. It will ultimately prove to be unnecessary, but at 15 health, I decide that it's better to be safe than sorry. Besides, I have the Herbs to spare, and a bit of extra XP never hurts.



Kira is hurt, but Hassan doesn't have any ranged capability, so I decide that she's the best candidate to soften up the remaining enemy archer.



She's a single attack away from death, but I should be able to keep her safely out of harm's way for the remainder of the fight.



This, on the other hand, is a fair bit riskier. In fact, I'd call it downright foolish, given that the battle is almost over. I'm almost certain that Grog can finish this guy off if his blow connects, but if the enemy archer blocks (which is a very reasonable possibility in a front attack; I've been very lucky to not have the enemy block at all thus far) then Grog will be going for a swim.



Fortunately, my risk pays off, and Grog's stupiditybravery is rewarded with a level up. In particular, he's just reached level 10, which means that he's the first of my characters that are eligible for promotion! I'd open up his choice of promotion for voting now, but unfortunately there's no break between this battle and the next, so promotion will have to wait until the update after next.



And after that stupid risk, Huxley spends his turn healing Grog anyway. My thought process was this though: by moving Huxley and healing after Grog finished off the archer, I was able to get Huxley into Hassan's attack range. Yes, that's right: I risked getting Grog killed because I wanted to taunt the enemy boss with my healer. I think I may have let those blocks go to my head.





Sure enough, Hassan prepares to strike Huxley with his comically large axe, with attack bonuses from both elevation and side facing. This is going to sting, and I'm suddenly worried that Huxley may not survive.

(Note his delightful attack animation, though. He takes a moment to spit to the side before attacking, complete with appropriate sound effects and little puddle at his feet.)





I'd say God bless you, Huxley, but clearly he already does. How do you even block a giant axe with a stick? By all rights that blow should have sent the frail old man cartwheeling back over the railing behind him.



If Hassan lives to tell this tale, the good news is that no one is ever going to believe him.
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  #92  
Old 08-30-2014, 02:59 PM
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Hassan is an Armor-type unit, which means that he's weak to magic. Eleni's attack is thus predictably devastating. Fearsome as he may appear, it looks as if Hassan is going to put up less of a fight than most of his underlings did.



I position Grog to block Hassan's escape (you can see his movement range in the second screenshot above), but I decide to hold off on the killing blow and toy with him a bit.



Huxley picked up a new ability back during the bridge battle that we haven't had a chance to try yet. Let's check it out!







Just like it says on the tin, Mystic Shield raises the defense of a single target. I wonder by how much though?



"+"

Thanks game, that's really helpful. I can tell you from experience though that it may as well be labelled "=" for all the good that it does. And, to make matters worse, it only lasts for a single turn. Even in scenarios like this where you can predict that a single character will be enduring multiple blows, you're typically better off using your healer's turn to actually heal.



Huxley does at least snag a level up for his experimentation though, making him my second character to hit promotion level. At this rate, my whole squad may be level 10 by the time we have an opportunity to promote them.



Kira decides that she wants a piece of all of this delicious XP as well. Even with a double support bonus, she, as I expected, wasn't quite able to finish him off. This is good, as I'm not done with him yet.



Clint can't quite get far enough to completely encircle Hassan, but he's sufficiently constrained such that only high-health targets are available for him to hit.



I was reasonably confident that he wasn't going to be hitting anyone though. Sure enough, he fled and healed himself. I appreciate your predicament Hassan, but with no one else here to help you, if you spend your turn healing then you're just going to be delaying the inevitable.
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  #93  
Old 08-30-2014, 03:02 PM
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I think you all get the idea at this point. Hassan is an XP pinata, and my teams spends the next few turns getting out all of the candy (which notably leads to Clint and Eleni joining Grog and Huxley at level 10). So let's fast-forward to the end...





Say Wha?



We win! That's a lot of dead redshirts, and a big chunk of change. But what did Hassan just say?



You can't really tell from the screenshots, but Hassan has some great animation here as he struggles for breath on the ground.



Oh. Oh dear.



"...Ever since we were kids, I was always trying to catch up to you... always trying to be stronger, tougher than you... for a while I thought I had passed you, but I was just a filthy pirate..."








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  #94  
Old 08-30-2014, 03:03 PM
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Me too, Ash. Me too.



Yeah, that was kind of a dick move in retrospect...







Grog's a lot stronger than he first looked. Ash should take solace in the fact that he saved him from the bottom of a bottle, as the guy clearly has a lot to offer when he's sober.



That we do Grog. Welcome aboard!



And that brings us to the end of Chapter 1. Chapter 2 shoves us right into another battle, so it will have to wait until the next update. See everyone then!

Next Time: Gillbaris Island
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  #95  
Old 08-30-2014, 06:16 PM
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So are you not going for the good ending at all, or keeping the side quest updates off to the side for later?
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  #96  
Old 08-31-2014, 03:40 PM
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The first Trial of Toroah is quite possibly my least favourite battle in the game. I considered slogging through it after getting the key in my previous update, but I just couldn't make myself do it. I'll get around to it some time in the next few updates. I'll absolutely be showing off the whole quest chain, but when the time comes, I'm going to put it to a vote whether or not I load up a previous save, as the Vandalier kind of breaks the end-game.
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  #97  
Old 08-31-2014, 03:44 PM
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Breaks the game nothing. It's frelling debug mode in the form of a character class. Plus it looks really weird.

If it were me, I'd do the sidequests, keep a save before the last one, and go back to show off the road to the good ending after the normal one.

That or full-on replay the whole thing to get it, so you can also do an update that shows off the promotion choices you didn't go with this time through.
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  #98  
Old 09-04-2014, 10:55 AM
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What happens if Grog is dead before the battle ends?
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  #99  
Old 09-05-2014, 03:17 AM
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"Hassan Madcaptain" and "Grog Drinkwater". The most descriptively-named pair of brothers ever.
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  #100  
Old 09-05-2014, 09:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mogri View Post
What happens if Grog is dead before the battle ends?
The short answer is "nothing". Grog just shows back up for the post-battle dialogue. I'm kind of surprised that this hasn't come up in the LP yet (if I'd realized I was going to go so long without any character deaths I probably would have let someone die early on for illustration purposes). but character death is pretty low-cost in VH. There's no way to revive mid-battle, so a dead character misses out on some XP (which is, admittedly, pretty costly, and can easily snowball if you're not careful), but other than that they just show up in the battle results tally and cost you a bit of gold.
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  #101  
Old 09-21-2014, 10:31 AM
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Hey there everyone! Welcome back to Let's Play Vandal Hearts! Previously, we chartered a ship bound for Gillbaris island operated by reluctant captain Grog Drinkwater. On our way, we were beset by pirates, under the leadership of the feared Hassan the Pirate, who had been terrorizing the local waters of late, and recently been credited with killing Grog's brother. We handily dispatched Hassan and his crew as they attempted to board our ship, but soon after the battle ended, it became apparent that, rather than having killed his brother, Hassan was in fact Grog's brother, who had recently turned to a life of piracy. Grog and Hassan had time for a brief final heart-to-heart before Hassan passed on, and Grog decided that, based on those final moments, Hassan was grateful to have been liberated from the life he had fallen into. With his final ties severed, Grog formally committed his sword to our cause.

We join our heroes as they make landfall on Gillbaris island and approach the island's only settlement, the village of Yuzu.

But first, Mr. Ponderous Voice-over Man (I realized while capturing this update that he reminds me of Ghaleon from Lunar, but I confirmed that it's not) rejoins us for a brief introduction to Act II:


"...this tiny island in the Gadar Sea has given rise to numerous myths and legends. It is called the Island of Ancient Mysteries and has been..."




Full moon, purple fog, what could go wrong?





That's... a worrisome title. Maybe it's just a name?



I'll say. Since when do a few huts with hay roofs constitute a city?



Oh, so you've heard of us? By the way, lady, you're looking a little green. Maybe you should be in bed?



Well, they seem excited to see us. They're so excited that high-pitched rapid piccolo music plays when they talk. This place is alright.



(The piccolo music builds to a crescendo as each successive villager speaks.)

Hrm. Well then. I'm scared of Eleni too you guys, but this is less than ideal.



Honestly, given how the game has gone this far, this isn't so bad? I mean, we're not surrounded, and I don't see any explosives or giant rock men. Things are looking up!



Well, I'd trust you to be able to identify that sort of thing, Eleni. >_>



(Creepy electronically-enhanced low-pitched voices hold a harmonized note for a few seconds as the camera pans to one of the statues. It's suitably unnerving.)



Wow, Clint and Ash waste no time jumping to conclusions. Maybe there's just a crazy cult in this village guys? Destroying their statues might just piss them off further.



That's a good question, Diego. You knuckleheads always gleefully counter-attack when struck, even when I'd prefer you not. Maybe stop doing that?



So we've come to a small village on a secluded island where the locals worship some statues, and we've decided to destroy their idols and herd them like cattle. We're the good guys!
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  #102  
Old 09-21-2014, 10:37 AM
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The pre-battle dialogue wasn't lying. Our objective is to destroy all of the statues while herding the villagers and keeping them from harm (while they actively try to kill us). The combat mechanics take a back seat here, as none of the enemies present any serious threat to us. This is essentially a block-pushing/positioning puzzle. This is the first battle where the gimmick meter is dialed up to 100%, but it won't be the last.



This battle also also marks the return of hidden items. They visual cues are a bit hard to spot at this resolution, so I've gone ahead and circled the two hot-spots. As before, both squares are visually distinct from any other squares on the map. Along with the two visible chests, this means we're going to have to loot four different items while doing our puzzle dance.



First off, let's take a look at the opposition. As you can see, the villagers are level one mooks wielding farm implements. They can be killed by a stiff breeze, so any counter-attacks from one of our heroes will almost certainly kill them (they do have a small chance to block though, if you're feeling lucky).



These guys, on the other hand, are a bit closer to our level, although still notably lower-level than the pirates we just faced. As you can see from the staff icon and "spell" option on the right, they're spell-casters.



Alright, time to get started on defacing the local artwork. Kira can reach one of the statues from her starting position, thanks to an elevation bonus to range, so I take aim and prepare to size-up the competition.



Nicely done. As you can see here, the statues can't really handle a beating. If she'd been able to attack it from the side (and the same elevation), she likely would have destroyed it with a single arrow.



Kira decides to celebrate anyway though, joining my quickly swelling rank of level 10 characters.



Diego finds himself similarly positioned on the other side of my starting formation, and decides to keep things symmetrical.



However, Diego apparently hates symmetry, and is able to reduce his statue to rubble with a single arrow. He too rises to level 10.



Alright, now that the no-brainer opening potshots are out of the way, it's time to examine the puzzle that we've been presented with. Our heroes are lined up just off camera to the lower-right (West), and they need to take out these 5 remaining statues while looting booth chests along the way (and unearthing both hidden items), and have to do so while trying not to kill any villagers in the process. Note that, unlike what the pre-battle chat and mission objective might seem to imply, dead villagers are not a failure state, but rather just a penalty on gold rewards at the mission's end. However, I'm not an inhuman monster, so rather than literally putting a price on human life I'm going to make certain that none of these villagers are harmed.



First of all, for reference, here's a closer shot of our two hidden items. While the raised brown spot on the right is easy to spot, the crater in the left shot is less obvious (this is true in-game as well, as I almost missed it). You can find it two spaces down-left/East of the yellow crate, just below the small drop-off.



Who's ready for more football diagrams!? The four spaces circled in red are our 4 choke-points, which can blocked off using the yellow crates. However, with only 3 crates at our disposal and 4 points to block, things aren't as simple as they might seem. This fight essentially has one correct solution. If you see it, then you can get through with zero dead villagers, but if you don't (and, incidentally, young JBear didn't, although he was close), then you're going to have a bad time, scrambling around trying to minimize casualties and praying that the villagers are able to block your counter-attacks.

I've diagrammed the correct solution here. The aqua line represents the path that our party will be taking, rounding the map counter-clockwise from the right/South-West. The yellow lines represent where we'll be pushing the crates to block the villagers' progress. The SW crate will occupy two different positions over the course of the fight, initially moving only a couple of space to block the choke-point that it's adjacent to, and later being moved further to block the next chokepoint indicated.

Even with the fancy arrows spelling things out, this might seem like an impossible situation, given how the villagers are spread out all over the map. However, the villagers move in a very predictable fashion: they will always take the shortest path to the nearest member of our party. So we need to exploit this fact to direct them where we'd like. Although they initially start very spread out, they'll quickly collapse into a line once we give them only one valid path to us, and then proceed to merrily chase us in a circle around the map. Let me show you what I mean...



I end my first turn by moving the bulk of my party towards the first choke-point, but I leave Eleni behind to keep Kira (who, having already acted, is locked in place) company. Although I don't think she's strictly necessary for a perfect clear, Eleni has a vital role to play in this fight that's very useful for giving me some breathing room. We'll get to the specifics of that role shortly.



Here's how things shake out after the first enemy turn. All of the villagers have started making a mad dash towards our end of the map. That closest woman is already close enough that she can break through the first choke-point on her next turn, so I need to close it up ASAP to make sure that that doesn't happen.
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  #103  
Old 09-21-2014, 10:40 AM
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I begin my second turn by having Kira finish what she started on the first turn. I didn't point it out the first time, but note here that she actually takes care to aim up and over the fence that would otherwise be in her way. I love little details like that.



I'll count myself lucky that this ridiculous rock shower didn't kill a half dozen villagers with falling debris.



Having wrapped up this turn's combat, I have Huxley rush forward to push the first crate, sealing off the choke-point and forcing the advancing horde to round the hut counter-clockwise in pursuit of our group.



I move the rest of the men up to join him and end my turn.



One enemy turn later, and you can already see the line that I spoke of starting to form towards the centre of the screen, as if they're lining up to take turns opening the chest. One eccentricity of the enemy movement here that may not be immediately obvious is that they will insist on taking the shortest path, and if their target space is already occupied by another villager, rather than moving to stand beside that villager, they will instead content themselves to stand on the previous square (or, if that space is also occupied, the closest unoccupied square along the same critical path). In other words, they always form a line, rather than a clump, even though a clump would get the rear member of the line closer to us much faster. This is generally to our advantage, although it's a bit annoying at present, since we'll have to wait for the rear of the line to get as far forward as possible before we open the choke-point back up and make a break for it.



My next turn is largely uneventful, as I continue manoeuvring everyone into position for what's to come. Eleni continues to wait for the advancing zombie horde, while Kira, her task completed, runs off the join the others.



The enemy line continues to slowly advance, but the lead elements are a fair bit closer, so I think it's time to show off Eleni's purpose here.



I don't recall the last time that we took a look at Eleni's spell list, but I am confident that we've yet to cast any of her spells save Dark Star. Piercing Ray is a recent acquisition, and would normally be the stand-out spell on this list. However, this isn't a normal battle, so we'll have to wait until a later update to see it in action. No, what we're looking for is Spellbind, which Paralyzes a single target for a handful of turns (1d4 or so, judging by this battle). If that sounds familiar, it's because we've actually seen it in action: the Mad Book that Clint found buried in the game's very first battle cast the same spell on use.



Just as the book did before, a series of pulsating glyphs drop down from the top of screen and wrap this poor fellow up, while a voice plays that sounds like a miniature newscaster speaking in tongues (I was particularly proud of that analogy before, so I'm breaking it out again). Needless to say, Paralysis status is invaluable here, as it gives the rear of the line time to catch up and tightens the enemy group more closely.



Oddly, the front-most (un-paralyzed) villagers only advance a couple of squares on their next turn. This is because the terrain here is working to our advantage. I haven't discussed terrain much since battle #1, so, just as a refresher, some squares offer defensive bonuses and slow movement by varying amounts. Just down the hill from Eleni here is a moderately-sized patch of thicket (they're the darkened spaces, also visible to her right and rear-left), which costs double to navigate, making this area a soft choke-point of sorts. Otherwise, I wouldn't allow Eleni to remain so close, as they'd likely be close enough to walk up to her and take a magic staff to the face.
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  #104  
Old 09-21-2014, 10:43 AM
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Second verse, same as the first. I move Eleni one space further away and cast another Spellbind on the new front-man.



Oh. Oh dear. I don't know the precise success rate on Spellbind (and VH isn't popular enough for any online resources to have gone to the effort to obtain such numbers), but, anecdotally, based on my own findings, I'd place it somewhere around 75% or so. That's a reasonably good success rate, but not so good that I wasn't prepared for this eventuality. Thanks to the movement penalties imposed by the thicket and the change in elevation, this villager shouldn't be able to reach Eleni on his next turn.



Now that's a line. If we had a way to generate conga music then this nightmare could be over. Alas. Without such an option, Eleni wastes no time hauling ass (she's hiding underneath the "N" in the compass rose in the right-most screenshot), and prepares to take another shot at the same target. Although she's still far enough away that this Spellbind can safely miss (thanks to the square of thicket that she just put between her and her target), I'd really like this one to land, as the villager is perfectly positioned to slow the advancing horde, standing on the last piece of thicket, and just below an increase in elevation (meaning that anyone hoping to move through him would need to spend 4 movement points, which would limit passing him to one villager at a time).



Success! The enemy advance has now been dramatically slowed.



However, at the moment, I'm actually more concerned with the rear of the line than the front. As you can see here, the rearmost villager has advanced far enough that he's not able to reach the centre choke-point in a single move. That means that it's finally time for the rest of the team to spring into action.







And by "spring into action", I of course mean that Grog kicks a crate around.



We take a brief break from exciting crate-pushing action to take a pot-shot at the nearest statue.



Unfortunately, Kira's not able to get into position to finish it off, so she contents herself with giving the crate another shove. She could, if I were so inclined, close up the next gap at this point with a final push, but I'd rather let the villagers think that they have a shot and waste one turn rushing back to get through before sealing it off in their face.
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  #105  
Old 09-21-2014, 10:44 AM
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For the first time so far this battle, we're getting attacked. These statues look appropriately terrifying when casting.



Piercing light is a neat-looking spell, and chooses it colour randomly from roughly a half-dozen different possibilities. 24 damage isn't entirely ignorable, but given that you'd have to be actively trying to put a single character in range of multiple statues at once, it's not really anything to worry about.



Meanwhile, the villagers split into two distinct groups. Those closest to Eleni slowly make their way through the thicket, while those closest to the rest of the group rush back towards the centre choke-point. I'm going to delight in slamming the door in their faces.



Eleni continues with her retreat and paralysis plan. Much like previous turns, the thicket ensures that, if Spellbind fails, the lead villager won't quite be able to reach her.



Excellent. Given how effective it is here, I find myself wondering if I should be making better use of Spellbind in other battles. Maybe I'll try using it more often during this play-through.



Clint cleans up some rubble. Move along folks, nothing to see here.



Infuriatingly, this statue can't be attacked by my archers from this direction. The high fencepost that it's adjacent to protects it from arrows. I might be able to shoot over the fence if I were able to gain some height, but that's not an option here.





Ash shoves the crate into the gap before any villagers are able to get through, and then tops off his health with a Faerie Light for good measure.



The rest of my party rushes towards the back half of the village. Now that the centre gap is closed, the map is essentially a big circle, with the zombie horde chasing my party counter-clockwise, so there's no time to waste.



At the start of the enemy turn, my first Paralysis victim finally recovers with a short show of sparkles and bubbles. The formerly paralyzed target is able to immediately take his turn as normal.



He's doesn't make it very far though, as there's still a line waiting to get through the thicket.
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Old 09-21-2014, 10:46 AM
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Alright, it is now officially time for Eleni to pump those arcane little legs for all she's worth. Once the horde clears the thicket, it's no longer safe to stall with Spellbind, as she needs to stay within their movement range to cast it. It's at this point that I remember that my casters have one less point of movement than the rest of my party, and, more importantly, one less point of movement than the villagers, so I hope I haven't made a mistake here and stalled for too long.



Kira makes up for her earlier failure by one-shotting the next statue in line.



Everyone else lines up behind her. The villagers all seemed to be having so much fun with their lines that I thought I'd give it a shot. However, my plans are ruined when I find out that Diego does, in fact, have two left feet (as evidenced by his concept art), leaving him with a crippling inability to conga.







Green is definitely a prettier choice than the orange beams earlier, but it still doesn't accomplish anything that a friendly gesture from Huxley won't immediately take care of.



By some miracle, I remembered that the rest of my party forgot to dig up the first hidden item on their way through, so I have Eleni pick it up for me as she flees.



Yum! But I wonder what it does?



Localization protip: if you're having trouble fitting a meaningful item description into a textbox, just don't bother writing one.



Clint absolutely will not stand for anything that looks angrier than he does.



Thar be booty, Grog! Show us how it's done!



Hey, it's not an Herb! I'll take it.
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Old 09-21-2014, 10:50 AM
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Huxley tops off Kira as he makes his way forward, and becomes my first character to reach level 11 in the process.



Kira topples Crate Tower here as the next step in our puzzle.



Now that they've broken through the thicket, the villagers waste no time in chasing Eleni down. I may have miscalculated here.



Eleni moves as far as she's able, but I've done the math, and it's not going to be enough. That's a worry for next turn though.







We're taking a break from our regularly-scheduled tactical battle to bring you an exciting crate relay! Ash, you're up!



Well done, Ash. That's why you're in charge. Bring us home, Huxley!



Their box-kicking completed, everyone prepares to advance to the next part of the map. I could have closed the gap this turn, but that would have meant locking out Eleni. Ignoring the scores of villagers that she'd kill if that happened, I worry what she might do to the rest of the party when she's finished.



The closest villagers continue to make up ground on their turn, and it's clear that Eleni won't be able to outrun them, so she's forced to roll the dice and hope that this Spellbind sticks.



One down, one to go.
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  #108  
Old 09-21-2014, 10:53 AM
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Diego shatters the next statue in line in preparation for our advance (but not this turn; I don't want the horde to reverse direction just yet, or else they'd likely catch us). I'm reasonably confident that I could do this map with just Eleni and the archers.





Another turn, another clutch Spellbind. It should be clear sailing for Eleni from here.



The tail end of the horde has finally rounded the North-West corner of the hut where we began. It's just about time to send them scurrying back in the other direction.



Eleni can't quite clear the gap this turn though, so the route remains open for now.



The villagers continue to advance, but now that Eleni is safely beyond the crate, I can afford to be a little greedy. Successfully paralying the old man in front here will buy me yet another turn before I'm forced to seal off this choke-point, and if she fails, then someone else can rush in from the North and shove the crate in front of her, sealing off the route.



I'm almost starting to feel sorry for these villagers, but then I remind myself that the alternative would be much, much worse.



Beautiful, isn't it? There aren't enough Spellbinds in the world to stop this train, so it's finally time to close the door in their face and make our way into the final section of the map. Ash, if you would do the honors?



I hope you guys like walking!



Grog gives the crate a couple of kicks in quick succession to clear the way, and everyone else rushes through the gap behind him. Now we just need to snag the last two treasures and we can finish this final statue off.
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  #109  
Old 09-21-2014, 10:55 AM
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We're treated to some pink lasers this time. If you guys ever feel like giving up this whole evil business I think you could make a lot of money at parties. As it stands, thanks for the free experience for my healer!



Huxley plants his butt next to the remaining statue before healing Clint, in hope of drawing its fire, since he takes less damage from magical attacks. Not that that really matter in this instance, but if feels as if it should.



Everyone else just advances towards the treasure (both buried and in plain sight).



One last shot for good measure. So much for making your last shot count.



At the start of this, my final turn, the villagers still haven't made it around the far corner of the starting hut. I could take a half dozen turns to open the final chest and still be fine. I've clearly been working harder at optimizing this puzzle than was strictly necessary, and putting Eleni at risk for no reason. Oh well, she looks to have enjoyed herself.





Kira digs up another Mushroom, and Clint collects another Herb for the pile. Neither was really worth my trouble.



Grog takes us home in style as he drunkenly lurches at the final statue.



With no dead villagers deducting from our total, we pocket a cool 1330G. Unless those statues were filled with gold, I think our heroes might have done some looting. >_>
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  #110  
Old 09-21-2014, 10:58 AM
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JBear JBear is offline
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That's because someone moved the crates! C'mon guys, I had a system.





Probably best to ignore Eleni's advice here. Do not look directly into the cutscene.



Looks like the bright flash of light took everyone's green make-up with it. That's probably a good sign, but I'd be a lot happier if everyone dropped their rakes and axes.



You were all turned into zombies. Also, you threw away all of your gold for some reason. >_>



Did this nightmare involve running back and forth, but never quite reaching your destination?



I'll give Ash the benefit of the doubt here and chalk that laughter up to nervous relief, rather than laughing at these poor villagers' misfortunes. This line sounds even more callous if you fared poorly in the preceding battle and ended up cutting down several of them.



Hooray, flashback!



Awww, that's not a flashback, that's just exposition. *pout*



Probably haunted by golems... *frowns and glances sidelong at Eleni*



"Some say that they can see flickering lights or hear strange wailing... when Magnus told us why he had come we tried to convince him not to go. But he just laughed at all our warnings..."



Ka-ching!
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  #111  
Old 09-21-2014, 11:00 AM
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JBear JBear is offline
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I don't necessarily have a problem with using a colour filter to indicate a flashback, but muddy pink would not have been my first choice.



That's a good question, Mayor. Given that this is the first time we're seeing them, it's really unclear if these guys are actually as pink as they appear to be, or if it's just the flashback that's to blame.



Oh phew, it's Magnus. Little help?



I... I don't think he's here to help.





...he asks, nervously eyeing the giant bag of gold slung over Kira's back.



Umm, yeah, you just said that you saw him. Do we need to watch the flashback again?



Ash, we just spent a whole battle running in circles and pushing blocks. I for one am itching to bash some zombies in the face.
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  #112  
Old 09-21-2014, 11:05 AM
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JBear JBear is offline
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But first: shopping! (Yes, now that we've cured the villagers, Yuzu functions like a normal town.)



Both the weapon and armor shops are carrying new upgrades for every equipment slot, including, notably, some items that none of our characters can use, like the Iron Claws pictured above. This is going to be pricey. Let's hold off on the shopping spree for a moment...



There's also this little number, at the prohibitively expensive price of 4000G. The description isn't particularly helpful, but we can infer from the keyword "Attack" and the RNG and FLD numbers that whoever uses it will strike all enemy targets within 2 squares of them with... something.



Nerts to shopping anyway; it's promotion time!



Ash is our only character who has yet to reach level 10, so he'll be watching from the sidelines jealously as everyone else gets new abilities and costumes. As for everyone else, let's run over our options:



Clint and Grog can choose to become Swordsmen or Guardsmen. Swordsmen are pretty much more of the same, being balanced physicals fighters. Like most of the advanced classes, they gain extra movement range with promotion. Guardsmen, meanwhile, are walking tanks, trading that extra mobility and lowering their magic defense in exchange for heavy armour. You'll find that the rest of the promotion options follow this same theme of "get better at what you do now or do something different instead."



Next up are our Archers, who have probably the most dramatic choice to be made. They can either choose to become Bow(wo)men, gaining increased movement and attack range, or they can decide to strap on a pair of metal wings (gaining even more mobility) and trade their bow for a spear and a crippling weakness to arrows, becoming Hawknights. As Google observed up-thread somewhere, they're in the unique position of choosing to be scissors or paper. And, as he also mentioned in that same post, I'd be remiss if I didn't point out that Kira's level 20 Archer sprite is probably the coolest-looking in the game.



Finally, we have our casters, who share one promotion choice between them. Eleni can decide to be a better Mage, becoming a Sorcerer and gaining access to ridiculously powerful/useful AoE attacks, while Huxley can decide to become a better Healer by advancing to Bishop and gaining ever-more-potent healing/support magic (as well as some token attack magic and a sweet pope hat). Or, either of them can choose to specialize less and trade in their staves for a more melee-effective pair of claws and an odd assortment of attack, healing, and support magic. Monk is typically a pretty unpopular choice, not because they're necessarily bad, but because the alternatives are so good. That being said, if anyone wants to see the old man wear a skintight black body suit and rock a pair of claws, I totally understand.



That will all have to wait until our next update, though. Let's blow this joint.



Uh... probably not? I got it from some lady in a bar as thanks for helping her sunbathe.



Then you'd better go hit the bar in Minato, because that lady was totally holding it before I was.



Nah dawg, I'm good. I think I'd rather hit the bar. We just saved your whole village from a lifetime of slobbering and flesh-eating, so I'm hoping to snag a round of free drinks. Good luck with that whole Chosen One thing though.

(I'll likely be doing this trial next, but I want to bring the big guns to do it, so it'll keep until after everyone is promoted.)
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  #113  
Old 09-21-2014, 11:10 AM
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JBear JBear is offline
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Time for some spirits of a more mundane nature.



You're damn right, man. Now make with the complimentary drinks.



"...illegal to study the ruins. They were afraid that archeologists would discover that the legend about the royal family and the origins of the country were untrue. Recently, they found out there was an advanced civilization here long, long ago."

I'm sure that this isn't relevant in the slightest. Another round?



"And yet they were of the Ashah Dynasty. Children of Toroah the Messiah. Perhaps ones day we'll all be punished for overthrowing them."



Guys, I think I've had too much. I'd swear that that pumpkin just spoke to me.



Whatever you say, Jack-o. (In case it wasn't clear, this is in fact a clue to the location of an item that we'll need to continue our key side-quest.)




So, Talking Time, I'm going to leave my character advancement choices to you. In my opinion, there are definitely right and wrong answers here, but the game is perfectly doable with any set of classes, so I'll be alright no matter what you choose. Note that I'd love to be able to show off at least one of every class, but we have several more characters yet to join us, so that will still be possible regardless of what you choose here. Also note that I need at least one flyer to complete the key quest chain, so I reserve the right to lock one of our future Archers in as one if you decide not to give me any now. To be clear, all of these advancement choices are permanent, so we're locked in from this point forward. Although there's a 2nd promotion available for everyone at level 20, that promotion is just a further advancement of their level 10 choice. I'll leave the voting open for the next couple of weeks.

So, what say you Tyrants?

Next Time: Promotions and the first Trial of Toroah!
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  #114  
Old 09-21-2014, 01:15 PM
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JBear JBear is offline
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Yeah, it's definitely a highlight, and an update that I've been looking forward to, since it shows what sets this game apart from its peers. It's a really great example of mechanics serving the narrative, as watching helplessly as your party slaughters innocents because of your mistakes really effectively conveys the sense of powerlessness that a situation like that might well engender.
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  #115  
Old 09-21-2014, 01:36 PM
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Googleshng Googleshng is offline
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I think Nich's list is exactly what I did my first time through the game.

When going by usefulness:

Guardsmen kinda suck. Lower mobility is a huge deal in this game, and any time anyone is attacked, they counter, so the best defense is arguably a high offense.

Hawkknight vs. Bowman is the most interesting promotion choice in the game, and you get to make it the most often, too. There are places you can't reach and thus things you can't do if you don't have at least one hawkknight, but there's a bit of paper rock scissors involved, and most maps have at least one really good sniper's perch. I like to keep one bow and give the others wings, personally.

Monks totally suck. You trade away your spellcasters for a really crummy jack of all trades. They have support spells that don't really have much utility, and a sucky heal you'll most likely be using constantly because you gave a real healer up, and never make use of their honestly not very good melee attacks. And Sorcerer is seriously just the absolute best. Such a fantastic list of spells they get, and the game sets up so many perfect places to use them.

When going by aesthetics:

Guardsmen where full plate and helmets, so you won't see their faces. Grog gets a tower shield either way, so it's sword and crazy hair vs. axe and helmet. Clint looks really weird as his third class if you go guard. The 3rd fighter who hasn't joined yet meanwhile looks crazy badass as a guardsman, so, unless you want 2 shields 1 sword, or 3 shields, swordsman's the way to go for both of these.

Kyra keeps her bow. The final result must be seen. Everyone else looks way cooler when they go all jetpack mode I say.

Eleni kinda looks the same from here out regardless. Dressed in head to toe black. It's hood and staff vs. samurai type armor and claws/tonfas. I'm inclined more towards sorcerer because hey, gnarled staff, and she eventually has this weird flipping-the-every-finger thing going on.

Huxley looks pretty great as a monk. Bishop he just puts a hat on.

So personal votes-
Clint: Swordsman
Grog: Swordsman
Diego: Hawknight
Kira: Bowman
Eleni: Sorcerer
Huxley: abstaining

Last edited by Googleshng; 09-21-2014 at 03:36 PM. Reason: TOO spoilery!
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  #116  
Old 09-22-2014, 11:22 AM
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Mogri Mogri is offline
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Clint: Swordsman
Grog: Swordsman
Diego: Hawknight
Kira: Bowman
Eleni: Sorcerer
Huxley: Bisharp
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  #117  
Old 09-22-2014, 12:47 PM
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Gerad Gerad is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mogri View Post
Clint: Swordsman
Grog: Swordsman
Diego: Hawknight
Kira: Bowman
Eleni: Sorcerer
Huxley: Bisharp
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  #118  
Old 09-22-2014, 06:11 PM
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Bunk Moreland Bunk Moreland is offline
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I've just been reading this, not really posting any beyond an early post, but here are my votes:
Clint: Guardsman
Grog: Swordsman
Diego: Hawk knight
Kira: Archer
Eleni: Sorcerer
Huxley: Monk
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  #119  
Old 09-24-2014, 01:42 PM
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SladeForrester SladeForrester is offline
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When I played this, I was under the impression that the more unique looking sprite meant that was the "correct" way to promote. There is another Healer-type coming up soon that I think made a better Monk for me back in the day, so my votes are:

Clint: Swordsman
Diego: Bowman
Eleni: Sorcerer
Huxley: Bishop
Kira: Bowman (it's a gender-neutral term)
Grog: Swordsman

The Monk will come from the next group of people that should also make the first Guardsman and Hawknight.
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  #120  
Old 09-28-2014, 10:05 AM
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FelixSH FelixSH is offline
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Clint: Swordsman
Grog: Guardsman
Diego: Hawk knight
Kira: Archer
Eleni: Sorcerer
Huxley: Monk

I guess there is another character who can become Bishop? If Huxley is the only one make him into one.
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