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It’s All Upstairs From Here…Let’s Overanalyze Final Fantasy Legend

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  #1  
Old 07-10-2013, 12:58 PM
Beowulf Beowulf is offline
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Default It’s All Upstairs From Here…Let’s Overanalyze Final Fantasy Legend


A long, long time ago, the team at SquareSoft that had created Final Fantasy 2 was put in charge of a new series called SaGa. The first game in that series, Makai Toushi SaGa, (“Warrior in the Tower of the Spirit World ~ SaGa”) was released in the US as Final Fantasy Legend, hoping to boost sales by cashing in on a successful franchise. It apparently worked, as they made two more Game Boy games, three SNES games, two PS1 games, two PS2 games, and two DS remakes. (Check out the LP of FFL3. It’s really good, I swear.)

Of course, these games were also annoyingly difficult, often due to design choices like limited-use weapons, obtuse leveling systems, empty rooms full of monsters, and irritating traps. I think I noted elsewhere that FFL3 was the only game in the series I ever beat “honestly”. Some I gave up on, some I used cheat codes, and some (like this one) have glaring programming oversights that allow you to snap it in half with a little time and grinding. I’ll be showing those off.


At the center of this game is the Tower, which stretches impossibly high into the sky and is said to lead to Paradise. Our team is merely the latest in a long line of warriors hoping to uncover its secrets.

For those of you not familiar with the game, you create a four-character party by creating a leader character (who starts slightly stronger than the others and can never be removed) and then recruiting three others from the guild. Like later Final Fantasy Legend games, you have the choice of male and female humans, male and female mutants, and several varieties of monster.

Because my intent is to make this a narrative LP (and attempt to differentiate it from the LP Archive one), I’m going to dictate a few things about our party, then let you vote on the rest of the details.

Character 1 will be our leader, will be human, and will be named by me.


Character 2 will be a human, and will be the mighty warrior / meathead character. Please choose a name and a gender.


Character 3 will be a mutant, and will be the smart guy / wizard type. Please choose a name and a gender.


Character 4 will be a monster with a Cloud Cuckoolander personality. It needs a name, and if you’d like it to identify with a particular gender (as opposed to not acknowledging the concept of gender at all or being curiously genderfluid, which are also options), say so.

My tentative plan is to split my updates into story updates (which will involve all of my effective fanfiction and ramblings about the worldbuilding) and mechanics updates (which will show off how I’m breaking the game in half and whatever maps/artwork I can scan from the manual and my old Nintendo Power collection).

In the story updates, it’ll be easy to tell what I’m making up: If dialogue appears in a screenshot, it’s in the game. If it’s typed out, I made it up.

As a note: If you are inspired to play along, I’d highly recommend playing the fan translation of the Wonderswan Color remake of the game, available at Tower Reversed. I’m sticking to the original because I want to show off both the original experience and all of the good bad bugs that came on the Game Boy cartridge, but if you actually want to play the game instead of snapping it in half, go with the version that gives you a better experience.

Let’s get voting!
  #2  
Old 07-10-2013, 01:20 PM
aturtledoesbite aturtledoesbite is offline
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As a fan of Captain SNES, I'm tempted to vote the monster as a Zombie named Bob (presumably male, if zombies have maleness).

...Actually, I will vote that.
  #3  
Old 07-10-2013, 01:21 PM
hafrogman hafrogman is offline
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I played this game a lot growing up. It tended to stymie me a lot. I'd get stuck in certain places, then give up. Then much later I'd eventually return and progress a little further just to get stuck a few levels up.

I did eventually beat it, more or less legitimately.

Now, if I recall we just get four character for names. . .

2. Our warrior woman, Ursa
3. Our brilliant mutant man, Xavr
4. Our monster, Bob
  #4  
Old 07-10-2013, 01:24 PM
Solitayre Solitayre is offline
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Man, I'm going to end up replaying this game before this LP is over, aren't I?


Quote:
Our brilliant mutant man, Xavr
Seconding this.
  #5  
Old 07-10-2013, 01:35 PM
Gerad Gerad is offline
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Warrior man: Banjo

Magic woman: Kazooie

Monster: Bottles
  #6  
Old 07-10-2013, 02:24 PM
Büge Büge is offline
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Mutant females are cute. Get one and name her Cleo.
  #7  
Old 07-10-2013, 02:49 PM
Raven Raven is offline
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Four monsters party--oh.

Man, this game scarred me as a kid with its obtuseness. Came back many years later and beat it in the emulator out of spite. Nice concept and all, but imho the game really didn't hold up well and some of the set-pieces are downright bad. Memorable final battle, though.

Female Warrior (Xena), Male Mutant (Xavr), Monster (Xeno).
  #8  
Old 07-10-2013, 02:59 PM
Mogri Mogri is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raven View Post
Four monsters party--oh.

Female Warrior (Xena), Male Mutant (Xavr), Monster (Xeno).
^this, but especially the part about the four monsters party


Also, your post has been infected with TVTropes. There's no easy cure. TVTropes is forthcoming with the fact that it will ruin the reader's life, but it is less well-known that it will also ruin everyone else's life.
  #9  
Old 07-10-2013, 03:07 PM
Gerad Gerad is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mogri View Post
Also, your post has been infected with TVTropes. There's no easy cure. TVTropes is forthcoming with the fact that it will ruin the reader's life, but it is less well-known that it will also ruin everyone else's life.
What, the Cloud Cuckoolander thing? I thought that was a Banjo-Kazooie reference, hence my naming suggestions.
  #10  
Old 07-10-2013, 03:22 PM
Mogri Mogri is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gerad View Post
What, the Cloud Cuckoolander thing? I thought that was a Banjo-Kazooie reference, hence my naming suggestions.
When there's only one reference in a post, I let it slide.
  #11  
Old 07-10-2013, 03:51 PM
Matto Matto is offline
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I don't care which characters you pick, name at least one of them Akitoshi and the other Kawazu.
  #12  
Old 07-10-2013, 04:02 PM
Mogri Mogri is online now
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The character limit is four. What do you think this is, 16-bit?
  #13  
Old 07-10-2013, 04:04 PM
Teaspoon Teaspoon is offline
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Female meatbag, female wizard, genderfluid monster. So that's Gabrielle, Xena, and, erm...what kind of genderfluid monster are we talking here? Makes a difference for the name.
  #14  
Old 07-10-2013, 04:28 PM
Red Silvers Red Silvers is offline
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Female Mutant named Sara.

There's a FFL history with that name and me.
  #15  
Old 07-10-2013, 05:57 PM
Octopus Prime Octopus Prime is offline
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Female PUNCHMAN named BRDA
Mutant Manly Guy XAVR
Monster-eating-monster named KRBY
  #16  
Old 07-10-2013, 06:11 PM
jpfriction jpfriction is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Octopus Prime View Post
Female PUNCHMAN named BRDA
Mutant Manly Guy XAVR
Monster-eating-monster named KRBY
What he said.
  #17  
Old 07-10-2013, 06:18 PM
Solitayre Solitayre is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Octopus Prime View Post
Monster-eating-monster named KRBY
Please do this.
  #18  
Old 07-10-2013, 07:10 PM
Albatoss Albatoss is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Octopus Prime View Post
Female PUNCHMAN named BRDA
Mutant Manly Guy XAVR
Monster-eating-monster named KRBY
I will second all of these!
  #19  
Old 07-10-2013, 07:55 PM
Red Silvers Red Silvers is offline
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As a Captain SNES fan I have to second Bob for our monster.
  #20  
Old 07-10-2013, 08:15 PM
Droewyn Droewyn is offline
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A monster named RAWR. Because it's adorable.
  #21  
Old 07-10-2013, 10:25 PM
Mogri Mogri is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Octopus Prime View Post
Monster-eating-monster named KRBY
  #22  
Old 07-11-2013, 12:34 PM
Beowulf Beowulf is offline
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Current vote tallies:

Human: Xena, female (3), Brda, female (3), Ursa, female (1), Banj, male (1)

Mutant: Xavr, male (7), Kazz, male (1), Cleo, female (1), Gabe, female (1), Sara, female (1)

Monster: Krby (5), Bob, male (3), Xeno (2), Bott (1), Rawr (1)

Anybody: Akitoshi and Kawazu (1)

2 votes for an all-monster party. (Which won’t be happening. It’s easy early on but it makes the final boss literally impossible without cheating.)

1 vote that I avoid TVTropes-speak for the rest of the LP. (Which...I'll try.)

It looks like Xavr and Krby have a lock, but we need a tie-breaker on Xena versus Brda as our warrior-woman.
  #23  
Old 07-11-2013, 12:44 PM
Mogri Mogri is online now
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Who's Brda, anyway?
  #24  
Old 07-11-2013, 12:50 PM
Octopus Prime Octopus Prime is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mogri View Post
Who's Brda, anyway?






Her.

Besides, if XAVR and KRBY are already locks, might as well round things out with another Jack Kirby character.
  #25  
Old 07-18-2013, 09:59 AM
Beowulf Beowulf is offline
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Default FFL Adventurer’s Log #1



Sana’s log, day 1



Does that sound pretentious of me? Probably. I’m not sure I should try to claim this is a great adventure, when I know it’s a little bit crazy and a lot stupid. I could have stayed back in Porle where it was safe, but instead I took grandpa’s saber and spent my savings on a boat trip to this place, Demon Tower Island. (Apparently the native name for it means “the continent,” which is the sort of thing that doesn’t fly on, y’know, actual continents that you can’t hike across in a day. It’s a deepwater island that’s maybe 30 miles across, apparently ruled by several local warlords and spotted with several villages.)

Anyway, stories about this tower have been around since I was a little kid--that it’s full of monsters, that it leads to Paradise, that it’s ruled by the devil himself, that it’s a gift from the Creator, that it’s all a big tourist trap. But nobody knows what the actual story is, and I’m just full of myself enough to think that I can be the one who finds it.


Tower Base Town was pretty much the tourist trap you’d expect. Overpriced shops hawking equipment for “adventurers”, an inn offering tiny rooms with no privacy, and plenty of locals happy to push the tourists in their fantasies of finding riches or power.

One of the local constables was happy to regurgitate the most common of the local legends to anyone who passed by. “Many warriors challenged the tower but none returned.” Blah, blah, blah.


Of course, it can’t be as easy as just walking in the front door—that would kill the mystery of the Tower too quickly. A magical seal, hunh? Bet that hasn’t been there for long.


The tour guides wanted me to go to the local “adventurers guild” and join up with a party. They were curiously mute on how or why or even when the Tower had been sealed, though. This whole thing smells funny.


I ended up chatting with a cute guy in a silk hat at the inn, the only person I could find who didn’t seem to be part of the local industry. Apparently a powerful monster named “Gen-Bu” emerged from the Tower a few years earlier, sealed the door with some sort of magical sphere, and then magically locked the sphere into a statue in one of the other villages. That raises all sorts of questions—What is this creature? What interest would it have in locking the Tower?

Okay, Tourist Trap Tower, you’ve got my attention.



But there’s too much danger outside for one barely-trained woman. First, I’ll need some help.


At the Guild, the pickings were slim. After turning down several potential companions, I settled on three.



[BRDA] A warrior-woman from one of the local areas, she claimed incredible strength, or at least the potential for it.

[XAVR] Though he looked unassuming (and honestly, rather fragile), he claimed that his mutant genes gave him psychic potential beyond normal humans.

[KRBY] He claimed that the creatures that wandered the world carried “specially seasoned meat” that would allow him to transform into different and stronger creatures. Apparently this ability was moderately common in this world; I resolved to find out more details later.


We made plans to set out for the village of Hero in the morning, and stayed at the inn that night. The man in the silk hat had moved on, which I found vaguely disappointing. I wish he’d been interested in coming along; I could have done with more eye candy.
  #26  
Old 07-18-2013, 10:01 AM
Beowulf Beowulf is offline
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Sana’s log, days 2 - 7


Before we left, I took another look at the gift shops. These potions labeled “STRONG” and “AGILITY” were claims to permanently increase your natural gifts. I was skeptical, but Xena swore by them. Against my better judgment, I sold grandpa’s saber for a tidy sum, and downed the first of what would likely be many dubious concoctions. Hopefully it wouldn’t give me cancer.


We explored the area surrounding the Tower, trying to get the lay of the land. Apparently the tour guide was right when he called it a “savage land”—all manner of creatures attacked us. We’d have to delay our progress to prepare more.



Sana: Wasn’t there a perfectly pleasant goblin at the guild yesterday? Told the off-color joke about his mother?

Brda: He was a creature of honor. These are ferals.

Xavr: I believe what she means to note is that some monsters, like Krby here, have a human-level intelligence and capacity for social interaction. Though their ancestors are believed to come from the Tower like all other monsters, they learned peaceful coexistence. These feral creatures simply forming roving packs that prey on travelers, and are best put out of their misery. Rumor has it that the creatures in the Tower are even worse, and that may be related to why it was sealed. Which is a shame, as I would wonder how many monsters that are trapped within the Tower could successfully assimilate into our society, like Krby here.

Krby: I WANT TO EAT THE MEAT!

Xavr: Or perhaps he’s a bad example.

Sana: Or perhaps it’s just the air out here. Krby seemed a bit more eloquent at the guild.


It was quickly made clear that Krby’s claim of “specially seasoned meat carried by monsters” was only tangentially related to the truth. In several of our fights, there was enough of a monster remaining that Krby chose to devour the corpse, a disturbing sight that cause an intriguing one: He entire body transformed into a new creature.

Sana: OH HOLY CREATOR!

Krby: Am I beautiful now?

Sana: What the hell was that?

Xavr: Biologists theorize that Monsters, despite their diversity of form, are actually a single race. This is evidenced by the fact that the sentient—as opposed to feral—monsters have demonstrated the ability to change their form to match others of their brethren. It requires a rather ghastly practice, however: In order to effect the change, a Monster must eat the freshly-killed meat of another Monster. There is a very short window in which this is possible—mere minutes after death, the flesh become inert and no longer useful—and the Monster wishing to change must participate in the battle, as the adrenaline rush also seems necessary for the change.

Sana: Or in layman’s terms?

Brda: When Krby eats monsters, he gains their powers.

Sana: …delightful.

There were many, many such creatures roaming the area, though we were lucky to only encounter them one at a time. We were able to recover some money from these creatures—no doubt the remains of less lucky groups of tourists—which we used to better outfit our motley crew with armor and additional weapons. At night, we retreated to Base Town and rested at the inn.


Though Brda and I would be relying on the various potions to grant us superhuman abilities (and Krby…yeah), Xavr apparently needed no such assistance. Soon, he was killing goblins with a single blow.



XAVR: Though there are some who claim we mutants are descended from the “older races” of the world—including some who claim draconic ancestry--and that our potential comes from there, my research indicates nothing could be further from the truth. We mutants are the next step in humanity’s evolution. Not only do we have the ability to effectively use and resist magic, we have the potential to unlock psychic abilities, and to become stronger and faster without the need for any potions.

It sounded like bullshit, but there was no denying the results. In short order, he demonstrated ever-increasing physical strength and dexterity, and the ability to produce a strength-reducing stench or a damage-deflecting barrier. He also claimed to have developed ESP, but for the life of me I couldn’t see it having any useful effect.
  #27  
Old 07-18-2013, 10:03 AM
Beowulf Beowulf is offline
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Sana’s log, day 8


After a week of honing our skills, we finally set out for the town of Hero, in the central part of the island. The journey was relatively uneventful.


The town was apparently named for the statue of an unknown “hero” in the center of it. Impressive, no one in town could tell me who the depicted hero was, what they had done, who had built the statue or how old it was. Nobody seemed to remember a monster hiding a magic item in the statue, either.


We examined the statue carefully, but while it was obviously incomplete, we couldn’t find any seams, locks or hidden compartments. Brda suggested just smashing the thing, but given that the locals cared enough about this statue to name their town after it, I thought that would go over badly.




A bunch of friendly demons at the local bar (…wow, I just wrote that!) were able to clue me in on the specifics: The statue apparently used to have a magical sword, armor and shield attached to it. The three local warlords somehow got ahold of these treasures and renamed themselves after them. Apparently somebody long ago thought the best use for badass magical equipment was decorating an unguarded statue. Brilliant!



As one would expect from power-hungry warlords, they were now fighting each other to try to win all three of the artifacts. I wondered offhand if they had some sort of influence on the wandering feral monsters.


An older eye-monster woman was able to provide us with the missing clue. Apparently Gen-Bu’s lock on the sphere-key-thing was connected to the artifacts being removed from the statue.

Brda: Seems straightforward, then. We kill the three kings, take back the artifacts, rebuild the statue, and unlock the sphere. Or we cut out the middleman and smash the statue, as I suggested.

Sana: We’re not smashing the statue! We have no reason to believe that wouldn’t destroy the sphere and just leave the tower permanently locked.

Brda: Then we’re for killing.

Sana: NO! Okay, maybe. But not yet. Xavr, some of this story doesn’t add up. The demons said the statue wore the artifacts “a long time ago”, but the tower has only been locked and the warlords have only been in power for a few years.

Krby: I know that one! Demons have very short lifespans. They why most monsters don’t stay in that form for long.

Xavr: He’s correct.

Sana: Really?

Xavr: Indeed. You’ll also note a certain small-town lack of sense of scale from the people here. The three kings could never hope to conquer “the world,” as it were, because they possess only small armies and virtually no naval support. In fact, each of them only controls a relatively small amount of farmland and forest in this island, and none claims dominion over the Tower. Without their artifacts, each only possesses a small amount of wealth and relatively weak popular support.

Brda: In other words, with sufficient preparation, we can kill them handily.

Sana: Brda, please. It doesn’t sound like they’d be willing to part with the artifacts if they’re that dependent on them. But it might at least be worth talking to them.

Krby: King Shield controls this town. We should meet with him first. I was born in what is now King Armor’s domain. I can speak to him.

Sana: …I swear his IQ jumps 50 points when we’re within city limits. What the hell?


The townspeople were able to supply us with directions to the castles. I suppose it wouldn’t hurt to at least meet with these people.
  #28  
Old 07-18-2013, 10:05 AM
Beowulf Beowulf is offline
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Sana’s log, day 9


King Shield’s castle was in the nearby forest, a short walk from town.


We walked in and promptly introduced ourselves to the guards. They threw us out with little fanfare.


So instead, we waited for the shift change and adopted one of the great social engineering tricks of our time: We walked in boldly like we belonged there and didn’t talk to anyone.


Which, shockingly, got us into the throne room. King Shield, however, looked ten minutes from death and sounded that way, too. We tried to explain the situation, but he wasn’t interested in hearing about the tower, Gen-Bu, the statue or anything else. All he heard was that we wanted the shield, and he definitely didn’t want to hear that.


His steward had a similar reaction, and had the guards toss us out on our ears.

Sana’s log, day 10


Despite how poorly our visit to King Shield had turned out, we trekked out to King Armor’s castle in the northeast anyway. Krby explained that this king was trying to expand his territory southwards, and might be more open to negotiations.


He was also able to secure us an appointment, via the much more receptive guards.


The king told us a story with a twist I wouldn’t have expected: He had intended to expand his territory through marriage to a landowner in the south, but when they met, he felt a real connection and fell in love with the woman. But when he proposed, she refused and cut off contact.

Sana: Okay, quick sanity check, folks: Is King Armor actually a grieved party we should be helping, or did we just talk to a Nice Guy� who thinks he’s been “friendzoned”?

Xavr: His sadness seemed genuine to me.

Sana: That wasn’t my question.

Brda: Obviously, the only choice is to speak to the woman in question. It is on her word that we will determine if this man deserves righteous wrath or mere pity.

Sana’s log, day 11


Far to the south was a prosperous town surrounded by rivers. I could see immediately why this area would be attractive for any of the kings to control, and why it would be difficult for them to conquer via military action.


The local slime…people were able to direct us to the woman who the king was fixating on.


Apparently, she was interested in King Armor and perfectly willing to marry him, except that a local bandit leader who was trying to accrue power had threatened to destroy the town if she didn’t marry him.

I’m going to opt not to write down what Brda said at this point, as I hope to recount these stories to my children someday. Needless to say, she was visibly and audibly upset.


Another villager knew where the bandits’ hideout was. I’m pretty sure I know what we’re doing tomorrow.
  #29  
Old 07-18-2013, 10:07 AM
Beowulf Beowulf is offline
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Default Mechanics Update #1

FFL Mechanics Update – Starting Out, the Basics

So, in general things to know if you’ve never played this game before: Battles are your standard turn-based affair. You choose actions for your characters, then they and the enemy act in order of agility modified by a random number. When you win, you receive money. Enemies also sometimes drop items, and meat that you can use to upgrade your monsters. Pretty standard stuff.

Among the gimmicks: Humans can carry up to 8 items, and as many of them as you want can be weapons, which give them a lot of options in battle. Mutants can carry 4 weapons and random acquire (and lose) up to 4 skills. Monsters have an assigned set of skills for each form they take, which are identical to what the enemy monsters of the same type can use. They can’t use any items.




Items are (virtually) all limited-use. This includes swords, bows, martial arts and spells (which we’ll see in a later update). There’s an item that lets you recharge the uses of a weapon, but it’s really expensive and virtually never worth using. When you use up a sword, buy a new one.


Of the starting characters that we discussed before, gender matters to starting stats and equipment but not much else. Humans start with 40 HP, 7 Strength and 3 Agility (males) or 40 HP, 3 Strength and 7 Agility. Mutants start with only 20 HP, 5 Mana, and the same gender split for Strength and Agility. Male characters start with a Hammer, females with a Rapier.

Your starting character gets a couple more bonuses. They get an extra 20 HP, an additional point of Strength and Agility, a Bronze Glove that provides 1 point of Defense, and a better weapon: a Long Sword for males, or a Saber for females.


This is the reason you should always start female: The Long sword is available in the Base Town and is a useful weapon in the first world. The Sabre isn’t available until we’ve climbed the Tower a ways, and sells for considerably more than any other item we’ll find this early. And always sell it before your first battle: Selling prices decrease exponentially if an item has been used.


I opted to buy three AGILITY potions with my cash, which increased Sana’s damage output considerably, from 2-3 points to 13-15 points per hit. Damage in this game is calculated by multiplying a weapon factor by the character’s Strength, Agility or Mana, depending on what weapon you use. Rapiers are Agility weapons, so Sana’s big agility advantage over Brda means she’ll hit much harder. (Agility also determines whether or not you hit.)


For this initial grinding session, I aimed to get all of my characters who could equip gear a set of Gold armor (the best available in this world) and a backup weapon. I bought some extra hit points for Sana and Brda, too. I’ll go into more detail about Mutant growth and Monster transformations later, but this session also got Xavr some significant boosts.


I probably spent an hour all told, periodically stopping at the inn (which charges 1 GP per HP restored, and restores all uses of Mutant and Monster abilities), as every monster in this area comes solo and leaves 40 GP. In general, you want to hope for a lot of 20 HP Goblins and Albatrosses, and few 60 HP Redbulls (which also hit like a truck at this stage of the game).

I actually did a bunch more grinding in the Base World while trying to get certain monster meats; I’ll detail that in my next mechanics post.
  #30  
Old 07-18-2013, 10:49 AM
Octopus Prime Octopus Prime is offline
Mystery Contraption
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: The Great White North
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This game is not very... good with its grammar, is it?
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