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  #31  
Old 07-10-2015, 05:03 PM
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Yang is too busy helping his wife with the cooking. Duh.
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  #32  
Old 07-10-2015, 05:36 PM
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...okay yeah we don't need GUTS this will do
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  #33  
Old 07-10-2015, 07:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Mogri View Post


Food tutorial. Here's the deal with food:

Oh, uh. Actually, the tutorial covered it all. So just read that.

Although let me add that resting is available almost anytime, making food both a clock and a health reserve. Late in the game, it's trivial to keep your food topped off, since food sources are so abundant, but for now, we can consider food to be a semi-limited resource.
This reminds me of the food system from Might & Magic. (Which I consider one of the least annoying RPG food systems.)
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  #34  
Old 07-11-2015, 09:30 AM
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I don't know. I think it's--
Hold on. Who invited him? Where's Kain?
He couldn't make it.
Yang? FuSoYa? Tellah? Cid? Heck, I'd even take Palom or Porom over him.
When this is over, Edward and I will be accepting your apology.

#TeamEdward
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  #35  
Old 07-12-2015, 09:46 AM
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We return to Lords of Xulima, where our heroes have found their first enemies: three lowly goblins. The game informs us that this is a level-appropriate challenge. We can also see how close we need to get in order to trigger combat. Enemies on the map don't move, meaning we can avoid them until we're ready. When we're too close to a visible enemy, we can't rest, though.



Combat tutorial? If you've played FFX, you'll recognize the timeline on the right. The number next to each portrait shows how many game-seconds will elapse between now and the unit's turn. The tutorial says you'll lose a turn if you're stunned or whatever, but this is inaccurate: three seconds of stun will simply delay your turn by three seconds. You can delay an enemy's turn indefinitely, but you can't skip turns.



Edward is first to go in this battle, and he comes with a single spell. It's not... especially useful at the moment, but it's better than nothing.

But attacking is better still, and I've armed Edward with a bow. This is a good time to talk about positioning.

Our team has two rows of four slots, as you can see. The enemy has two rows of five slots, which is harder to tell right now. The goblins occupy the central three. They're in the front row; indeed, it's impossible for anyone to be in the back row unless someone else is in front.

Because he has a bow, Edward can attack any enemy in any position. If he had a melee weapon, he could... well, he could do nothing, because he's in the back row. But if he were in the front row, he could attack any of those goblins. The heroes in your central slots can melee any front row slot except for the one on the opposite edge, and heroes in your side slots can melee the three closest front row slots.

Was that confusing? Here's a diagram:

Code:
1 2 3 4 5
 A B C D
Hero A can melee enemies 1, 2, and 3.
Hero B can melee enemies 1, 2, 3, and 4.
Hero C can melee enemies 2, 3, 4, and 5.
Hero D can melee enemies 3, 4, and 5.

Polearms are semi-ranged: they allow units in the back row to attack as if they were in the front. I have no idea what they do for front-row units because polearms are the weapons you give to your mages so they have something to do between spells.

A unit can spend an action moving to an empty slot. This is quicker than most other actions: the unit will get another turn sooner than usual.

Anyway, Edward shoots the goblin on the right. Moving along...



Rydia is up next, so let's take a look at the two summons she can use at the moment. Herald of Nalaet is a healbot. Along with Rosa and Cecil, this will make sure we're healthy. Herald of Raznet is an attacker that has melee-sounding attack names but nonetheless works perfectly from the back row.

Positioning isn't important for the Herald of Nalaet, but the Herald of Raznet is subject to the standard positioning rules. For this reason, I might end up moving Rydia around, but Rydia is using a polearm, so she too has to worry about positioning. In a few levels, I won't care, but at level 1, she's just about as good an attacker as Cecil and Gaulen.

Rydia uses her turn to summon a Herald of Raznet to the back left slot.



A few turns later, one of the goblins gets a lucky crit, inflicting a wound on Gaulen. Let's step back for a second and talk about weapons. There are six kinds of weapons:

Swords inflict bleeding, a stackable damage-over-time effect. Bleeding units take damage after each of their turns. If a bleeding unit is stunned, it may also take damage during its downtime. Daggers also inflict bleeding, but not as much as swords. As far as I can tell, there's absolutely no reason to use daggers, since they're less effective than swords while still being melee weapons.

Maces inflict stunning, which delays the target's turn as described earlier. Polearms inflict less stunning, but you can use them from the back row.

Axes inflict wounds, a stackable debuff described in the above image. Bows inflict fewer wounds, but you can hit anyone with them.

I already mentioned that Edward is using a bow and Rydia has a staff. Gaulen has an axe, Cecil and Rosa have maces (goodbye immersion), and Edge has a sword. These are just their starting weapons -- I can (and probably will) switch their weapon types. But your effectiveness in combat is dependent on the skill level of the weapon family you're using, so you'll quickly end up specializing.

Which weapon is best? It depends on the enemy you're facing. Stunning is always great -- not only does a stunned opponent not act, but your hit rate goes to 100% against stunned foes -- but some enemy types are immune. Wounding helps most against larger enemies that will last long enough to get plenty of stacks, and very little is immune to wounding. Bleeding is always helpful, but plants and undead don't bleed.



The rest of the battle goes smoothly, although I should mention that the Herald is too stupid to move when it's out of targets -- the yellow shield icon indicates it's chosen to defend instead. I can have someone swap places with it to get it somewhere better, something to keep in mind for later.



The goblin trio was guarding a small pile of gold and our first armor. That's right: we came naked.

I came prepared!
There's nothing else here. Let's go see about getting into that town.



Ask him how much the toll is.
He just said it's 100 gold.
Ask him again.
He says it's still 100 gold.
We just barely got 100 gold. Can we take these guys?



I don't know. I've got a bad feeling about that.
Fine. Here's your toll.
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  #36  
Old 07-12-2015, 09:47 AM
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Geez, Gaulen. Use a little discretion.
We might as well be wearing big neon flashing "TOURIST" signs.
All right, fine. Point taken. At least I embarrassed myself with this guy and not someone like those guards from earlier.

There's a trainer in every town. Aside from giving you plot dumps, they serve two purposes:



First, they give quests (and they give you the rewards for completing them). This is Baby's First Quest. Progression in Lords of Xulima is limited only by your ability to kill things, and our ability is currently severely limited. This quest is the game's way of pointing us to the easiest area in the game. The goblins we fought earlier? They're the second-weakest enemy in the game. Only the rats are weaker.



The second (and secret most important) purpose to these trainers is their ability to dispense skill points. For a decreasingly modest fee, they'll give the entire party an additional skill point to be used at the next level up. We'll get into skill points in detail a little later, but for now, suffice it to say that we'll drop more than a million gold into training before the end of the game. We don't have that kind of money for now, so we'll pass.

If there's one thing I know about towns, it's that they're full of hidden treasures. Let's take a look around.



This is a well. You think there is something to it, or is it just an ordinary well?
The water is dark orange. That can't be healthy.
Let's drink the mysterious, unidentified liquid! What could go wrong?

You'd think that one of these would be poisonous, but every strange liquid in Xulima is very beneficial. This one increased our party's Electric Resistance by 1.



It's locked.
Oh yeah! Stand back and watch me work my magic.

Lockpicking is a little minigame that's something like Minesweeper. You start at the left gear and you need to get to the right gear, using exactly the number of steps indicated in the top right (9 in this case). If you mess up, you'll probably lose a lockpick (we have 5, as seen in the far top right). As you level up your lockpicking skill, you have better odds of preserving your picks in case of a mistake. Leveling your skill also increases the odds of auto-succeeding. We could click that Auto button and hope for the best, but if you have even a passing familiarity with probability, you'll notice that we'd probably still fail. In that case, you can spend, I don't know, forever breaking the lock. We'd lose ten hours of food, and this is one of the simplest locks in the game. (Aside: We're playing on Hardcore, and this is one of the many small changes in difficulty. That number would be much smaller on Normal.)

Luckily for us, this puzzle has a single possible solution. Can you guess what it is? The rule for placing a new gear is that it has to be adjacent to the last gear you placed, and not orthogonally adjacent to any other gear (except the very last one, naturally).

Here's the solution:



Usually, the game won't be so kind to you. However, if you don't like the puzzle you're dealt, you can exit and re-enter to get a new one. I had to try a few times to get this one.

Later in the game, these puzzles will be much larger and solving them is a real pain. At that point, I rely on the Auto button, reloading if I break an unacceptable number of picks. And that means it's time to remind you that optimal LoX play sucks. As long as you have a single pick, you can try the puzzle, so the optimal play is to sell all but one of your lockpicks and reload any locks that don't instantly cooperate.

You see? Was that amazing or what?
A child could have done that. Blindfolded, even.
(Hmm... I think she's coming onto me.)
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  #37  
Old 07-12-2015, 09:48 AM
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I forgot to light a torch before taking a screenshot here, so you'll just have to trust me when I say I'm in a field full of the game's only Cereal Plants. Collect 40 of these to get a day's food. You can't redeem them while you have more than a day of food, though, so it's not a perfect solution. Alternatively, the guy whose feet you might be able to see next to the heart icon will buy 20 of them for 50 gold. They take something like two days to regrow. (N.B. Optimal LoX play sucks.)

This is a good time to mention that the 100 gold toll we paid to enter the city will only satisfy the guards for a couple of days. The cereal plants guarantee that you can't be stranded inside the city (and the food clock doesn't tick down in town anyway -- you could theoretically spend hundreds of days running around town and harvesting Cereal Plants 50 gold at a time, but let's not belabor the point here), although only you can guarantee that you won't be stranded outside the city. It's hard to imagine what you were doing outside town that didn't manage to earn you 100 gold, but it's conceivable.

A comprehensive search through the town yields a few knickknacks -- a health potion, some gold, minor things. That done, it's time to do a little shopping.



Ooh, look at this shield! It blocks attacks and makes you smarter.
It's very nice, but what about the Brass Philosopher Boots? Same effect, 50 gold cheaper, and we can use it with a two-handed weapon.
Huh? I don't see any boots.
They're covered up by the tooltip.
Well, that's just completely unprofessional. Let's buy both, though.
There's not much else worth buying here, but the merchant says he restocks every few days. Let's check back later.
What now?
I saw another group of goblins to the southeast of town.
Ooh! It's like free experience.
I don't know -- these ones look tougher than the last ones. Shouldn't we rest up first?
Nah. They're just goblins.
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  #38  
Old 07-12-2015, 09:50 AM
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I'm helping!
What? I can't hear you.
Aw, nuts! I guess my songs are only good for people who are right next to me.



OW FRIG
The big goblin just took out most of Cecil's health in one shot! He'll bleed out on his next turn.
Don't worry -- I'm on it.
I can heal too you know



AUGH BLRGHH
First Gaulen, now Cecil! I knew this was trouble.
Chin up! We've got this.

TWO SHURIKEN AND A HEALING POTION LATER



That was an unmitigated disaster. Two down, Rosa can't cast Life...
well actually
Gaulen, don't talk! You're fatally wounded.
not as bad as it looks

A party member that falls in battle is irretrievable... until battle ends. After that, you just need to get that character back above 0 HP to get them in fighting form.

Well, except for the inconvenient detail that is the fatal wound. Until you get a full day of rest, a fatally wounded character is much less effective than normal. Aside from a 24-hour rest, there are very few ways to remove a fatal wound.

A character who dies before the end of battle receives partial experience based on how much of the battle he survived. Gaulen and Cecil were alive for most of the battle, so they won't be far behind the others.

NEXT TIME ON LET'S PLAY LORDS OF XULIMA: RATS, FOILED AGAIN

OLOXPS COUNT: 3 (mushrooms, lockpicking, cereal plants)

UNSOLVED MYSTERIES:
  • Dobrick's Ring is in the rat cave somewhere.
  • Velegarn's Guards are providing a slow drain on our funds with their tolls.
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  #39  
Old 07-12-2015, 12:34 PM
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Okay but why is he named Oven Gel?
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  #40  
Old 07-12-2015, 02:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Mogri View Post
But attacking is better still, and I've armed Edward with a bow.
Just think of it as a harp with only one string.
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  #41  
Old 07-12-2015, 06:23 PM
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He could use bows in FF4, anyway.
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  #42  
Old 07-14-2015, 12:13 AM
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PREVIOUSLY ON LORDS OF XULIMA: OUR HEROES GOT PUSHED AROUND BY GOBLINS

AND NOW



So this is the treasure those goblins were guarding?
This scroll is very nice! It's only a single-use item, but scrolls like these will go a long way towards offsetting our lack of a mage.
Sorry, did you say "lack of a mage"? I thought Rydia was a mage.
I was until the Adventurers' Union issued a cease-and-desist.
Your resume said you were a mage.
It's a sensitive subject, Gaulen.



We're not getting past these archers anytime soon.
More guards? Well, let's make a note of it for later. For now, can we see about getting Cecil and me patched up?



Are you kidding? Those prices are robbery. (I would know.)
We have plenty of food for now. We could just rest here.
Right in front of the inn?
Why not?

THE NEXT MORNING



This is pretty pricey, too.
Everything is pricey when you have no money.
I guess so. Let's just fill up for one day, and we can supplement from there by scavenging through the town. I saw some buckets of water earlier.
Are we gonna eat water?
You're forgetting that Xulima's water has magical properties. It's very filling... somehow.

By the way, as a general note, any time you see numbers outside of the equipment merchant, you can safely assume that they're basically double what they would be in Veteran difficulty, which in turn is about half again as much as Normal. The inn is very affordable in Normal, but heck if I'm gonna pay the Hardcore price.
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  #43  
Old 07-14-2015, 12:15 AM
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This looks more our speed than that last encounter.
Perhaps... but the rats should be easier still. Let's keep looking.



Now here's a battle I'm comfortable with!

SHORTLY



We're never going to level up, are we.
Look, though! There's the rat cave.



Ugh, what's that smell?
...Sorry.



Random encounters! But not the kind we're used to. There are a few differences in this game's approach.

First, they're limited in number, as the tutorial says, and we get an experience bonus for clearing every enemy (fixed and random) from an area. In practice, this takes just short on forever to do, but we'll take advantage of it early on to get a foothold in the game. By the way, here's another example of how optimal Lords of Xulima play sucks. In some areas, clearing out the boss will also get rid of the random encounters, which is so anathema to optimal play that I'd consider docking another point for it.



See that big, glowing, red area on the ground? It's a trap!
How odd. It's very clearly marked, but I didn't notice it until you pointed it out.



The trap disarming minigame is rubbish. You have to click on the rotating gear when it turns green. The game tells me that I should be able to see a pattern. I tell the game that it's much quicker to click on the Auto button and reload if the trap blows up in my face. Increasing the relevant skill (possessed by bards, thieves, and Gaulen) makes it so you have to reload less. If you want to get the most mileage out of your skill points, then once again, you can ignore that skill. It feels unfair to dock another point for this when I already did it for Lockpicking, so let's just roll them together.

Disarming traps like this awards a small amount of experience. Disarming trapped chests doesn't. It's hard to imagine that this is intentional.



Where do we start?
Everything in this place is lethal to one degree or another. Let's get this over with.



ABORT

Poison (and fire, which we won't see for some time still) decreases in damage each turn. Gaulen has 4 poison, so he'll take 4 damage at the end of his next turn, and his poison will go down to 3.

A FEW RATS LATER:



My tummy hurts.
That rat bite looks infected. There's nothing we can do for you here, and the priest back in town will charge an arm and a leg to cure it. You'd just get reinfected by the next rat we come across, so you'll just have to tough it out.
But my tummy hurts!
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  #44  
Old 07-14-2015, 12:16 AM
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Oh! Our first random encounter!
I'm happy you're happy, but I'm in no shape to fight right now.
Spoilsport. Fine, let's try running.
Are you sure? I have excellent camouflage skills, and I have no other way to spend my PP right now.
I'm also very good at hiding.



Hit!
What?
I don't know. It just seems like the thing to say when you manage to run from an enemy.
Edge, that makes no sense.



Oh my Golot! It's one of the living dead!
You've never seen a walking skeleton before?
No way. They're all over the place.
You -- come on, you guys. Just let me have this moment, okay?
This skeleton is probably guarding Dobrick's ring. We'd take heavy losses if we fought it now.
No problem. We're due to level up before too long.



Ow! How do you fire this thing?

It's hard to screenshot because you never know it's coming, but this game has critical fails. You have a low chance (0-3%, depending on the weapon) to flub any attack, dealing a fraction of the attack's damage and secondary effects to yourself. Spells can also fail, but they have zero base failure -- you can only fail a spell if you're suffering wounds.

Edward critical-failed twice in a row here.
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  #45  
Old 07-14-2015, 12:17 AM
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A battle with a larger group of rats leaves our heroes in rough shape again. On the bright side: three vendor-trash rat teeth.



We resolve this problem by taking a day's rest in the cave and restocking with the cereal plants I harvested earlier.

AFTER MORE RATS:



Ding!
Hey, hold on. How come you gained a level before anyone else?
Yeah -- I mean, I'm the one with all the experience-bonus gear.
It's the lockpicking and disarming. Keeps your mind sharp!



Every time you level up, you can increase two different stats by a point, and you get four skill points to spend.

STrength increases the damage you deal, of course: you get an increase in damage for every two points after 8 and for every five points -- effectively an average of 0.7 per point of Strength. It also increases the amount of armor you can wear without incurring weight penalties. Your fighters will want to increase it on most level-ups.
COnstitution gives 4 HP per point, and it increases your party's inventory capacity. Unintuitively, it's a good stat for your casters to raise: they have low natural HP growth.
AGility increases your accuracy and defense, and it decreases your odds of critical fails when you spellcast while wounded. It's also a prerequisite for weapons. Overall, it's a real mixed bag, and you will only rarely want to spend your level-ups increasing it. Quite possibly this is a highly underrated stat that gets crazy good at high levels, but you won't get much return on it for the first half of the game, at least.
SPeed increases your evasion and, well, combat speed. The more you have, the more turns you take, so you basically want everyone to increase it every level. The developers have stated that this is not actually the optimal strategy, and while I believe they're certainly in a position to know, they also didn't mention what the optimal strategy is, and until they do, I'm going to keep pumping this stat. Having your entire party double-turn everything in the game is kind of a big deal.
ENergy increases PP by 1 for the first ten points, then by 2 per point thereafter. On paper, it looks like the kind of stat you want to boost on your casters. In practice, your casters already have good PP growth, but they drop to a stiff breeze. You'll probably still want to boost it, but not as often as you'll want to boost their Constitution.

Edge is spending his skill points on Bows & Crossbows (because I am stupid), Shurikens (because they are great), and Lockpicking. I meant to do Swords instead of Bows, but I got into a groove with my last Thief.

The weapon skills increase your accuracy with attacks from that weapon class. Increasing Shurikens has some influence but it's hard to say what because the game doesn't tell you. Appropriately-leveled shurikens are the game's strongest attacks. They're available at a merchant near you, and we'll also run into another source down the line.

The other skills... well, Perception lets you find doors and traps. Bodybuilding and Meditation increase HP and PP. Armors increases your max armor weight.

We'll unlock more skills as we level up. The game will tell you what skills you're going to unlock next level, which is nice. If you don't have any levels in a skill, it costs one more skill point than usual.

And that, friends, is the long and short on leveling up.

NEXT TIME ON LET'S PLAY LORDS OF XULIMA: A BONE TO PICK

OLOXPS COUNT: 4 (mushrooms, locks and traps, cereal plants, encounter clearing)

UNSOLVED MYSTERIES:
  • Dobrick's Ring is in the rat cave somewhere.
  • Velegarn's Guards are providing a slow drain on our funds with their tolls.
  • Soldiers of Nengorth block passage to the east of Velegarn.
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  #46  
Old 07-14-2015, 06:34 AM
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If those Nengorth soldiers are on the world map like that, does that mean they're only an encounter? Or could you talk to them?
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  #47  
Old 07-14-2015, 08:48 AM
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Does skill cost go up as you level or are they fixed? For example, will levels of lock picking always cost 1 for Edge or does it ramp up as you put points into it?
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  #48  
Old 07-14-2015, 10:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Bunk Moreland View Post
If those Nengorth soldiers are on the world map like that, does that mean they're only an encounter? Or could you talk to them?
For now, we can talk to them. As soon as we kill any guard anywhere, they all attack on sight.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Bean View Post
Does skill cost go up as you level or are they fixed? For example, will levels of lock picking always cost 1 for Edge or does it ramp up as you put points into it?
It's fixed, but so is the four points per level.

Each skill caps out at some point. The weapon skills cap out at 30, and our martially-inclined characters (Edge, Cecil, and Gaulen) can count on spending half their skill points each level on their weapon skills.

Skill point economy varies by class. Edge wants to increase Swords and Shuriken every level and alternate between Lockpicking and Trap Disarming, which is four skill points already. Later on, he'll learn this game's version of Quick Hit, which is another two points, and there's a good case to be made for another two-pointer down the line. Thief is about middle-of-the-line for point starvation, depending on how many skills you dump on him and how many you offload elsewhere. Gaulen and Edward can pick up some of his slack.

We'll look at this in more detail next time, when everyone else levels.
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  #49  
Old 07-16-2015, 04:25 PM
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AND NOW FOR A WORD FROM OUR SPONSORS

Lords of Xulima is available in a current Humble Bundle. It's at the reward tier, so you still have to spend more money on it than I spent on my Summer Sale copy, but you also get half a dozen other games of varying quality -- a real steal!

BACK TO OUR REGULARLY SCHEDULED PROGRAM

PREVIOUSLY ON LET'S PLAY LORDS OF XULIMA: KILLED RATS, GAINED LEVEL

AND NOW



Finding the other Rat Cave encounters to be just a touch too punishing, our motley crew heads back outside to butt heads with more goblins. Rydia and Rosa are next to gain a level.



In what will become a standard move, Rydia invests in SP, CO, and her starting Heralds.

But wait, there are two more! Let's take a look at her options.

Nalaet is the healing summon she already knows. Leveling it will increase all of its stats, but most relevantly, its PP and Light Heal will go up. Later, it will learn better healing skills, just like Rosa.

This might be a good time to mention that summons have 30 skill levels. Since each costs two points (remember, investing in a new skill costs an additional point), it's difficult to get more than two at an acceptable level. The PP cost to summon a herald also increases with the skill level, so Rydia will always be taxed on PP. Right now, she can cast twice from a full PP bar, and it won't get much better anytime soon, despite Divine Summoner having the best PP growth and worst HP growth (1 per level! This is why we invest in CO) in the game.

Raznet's herald learns a new skill at level 2, which just adds some bleeding on top of its already passable damage. It also gets an increase to all its attributes other than PP, which is fine because it doesn't use PP.

Golot has a really weird herald: it casts a spell unique to the herald that extracts money from enemies. There's a limit to the amount of money that can be extracted from an enemy, and weaker enemies yield less money. Since there is a finite number of enemies in the game, the optimal play is to prolong every battle until the herald has slurped up all the juicy cash from every possible enemy (at least once you start getting enough money to replace the PP cost of summoning the herald). Optimal Lords of Xulima play sucks. I don't plan on using this herald. (Aside: Storywise, Gaulen is already the herald of Golot, and the game refers to him as such repeatedly. I can only guess it's a loaded title.)

Alnaet has a clerical herald, who gets all of the Cleric's non-healing spells. It's a niche we have covered twice over between Rosa and Cecil, and the herald of Nalaet will pick up some of the support spells later anyway. There's an argument to be made that our healing needs are covered entirely and we don't even need Nalaet, but regardless, this is a herald we won't touch.

That's only half of the heralds. Rydia will gain access to four others before long. (Sorry, there is no Herald of Yul summon.) Nalaet-Raznet is the current plan, and while it's a little boring, it's also fairly effective. If I find that our healing needs are being met elsewhere, I'll switch out Nalaet for another offensive summon. But that's a decision for later.



Rosa invests a point in Light Heal and keeps the rest of her points for later. Like Rydia, her stat boosts go to SP and CO -- while Cleric is the hardiest of the mage classes, she'll need to keep her HP up to stay on the front lines. Because Rosa and Edge are situated at the edges, they'll take fewer attacks than Cecil and Gaulen, but not fewer enough that they can afford to slack on defense.

You can see that Rosa is set to learn Mend Bleeding at level 3. It's a good spell, but not one that needs to be maxed immediately.



These goblins were guarding a chest full of gold... and what's this?
A travel crystal! If we shatter this, it'll take us back to town in the blink of an eye.
The merchant was selling these for 100 a pop. We could use them to dodge the toll if we were feeling spiteful.
We'd still have to pay it to leave the city, though.
Oh, right. It was a nice thought, at least.



Having cleared the goblins from the eastern area, we head back to the Rat Cave. Gaulen and Edward level up, leaving Cecil behind. Cecil apparently took one dirt nap too many.

Most of the party is diseased now. Cecil now has two diseases: one that lowers all his resistances into the negatives and another that reduces his evasion to zero. The latter is bad news for a tank, but we can live with it for now.



Gaulen increases ST, SP, Axes, and Knowledge of Herbs, with a point left over. The latter skill governs how much we get when we harvest herbs and mushrooms, as you might recall. He'll gain access to two abilities at level 3: Knowledge of Terrains decreases our food consumption as we travel on rough terrain, a must later on but not worth an investment at the moment; and Object Identification helps us figure out how to use higher-quality items.

Object Identification is sort of a luxury. You can pay merchants to identify your items. Unlike most games with this feature, you can't sell something without first identifying it. There's another skill, Object Evaluation, that allows you to determine an object's price. That skill is terrible.

The optimal play with Object Identification is unclear (although it probably sucks, whatever it is). Given the ever-increasing cost of skill points, it's probably best to put just a few points into the skill. Object Identification is learned by Gaulen, Arcane Explorer, Mage, and Bard for 2, 3, 2, and 1 skill points, respectively.

Right now, Gaulen has an abundance of skill points. Only Knowledge of Herbs and his weapon skill are priorities, and while we'll be stuck increasing them until level 30, that's still just three points per level. How skill-starved he is later depends on how many of the utility skills you've managed to offload to other characters. We'll make Gaulen our Perception guy (everyone learns it, but only Explorer and Thief get it for 1), although I forgot to increase it this time. Optimal play is to completely neglect Perception, which for once isn't a terrible idea as long as you're saving constantly, which you should anyway since Perception isn't foolproof.



Edward goes with CO, SP, and Song of Courage, leaving two points for later.

How skill-starved your Bard is depends heavily on how many of his songs you decide to pick up. The bard gets a wide array of buff skills spaced out throughout his lifespan, and then at level 36, he finally gets a song that applies all of those buffs at once. Optimal Lords of Xulima play sucks, because you're really going to want something before level 36. At least the Bard has plenty of utility skills to suck up his skill points while he waits.

Next level, Edward gains access to Object Identification and Song of Stunning. He'll want both: he's got the cheapest Object Identification in the game (and Gaulen is our only other source), and Song of Stunning is a decent support ability that remains useful throughout the game.



One battle later, we get our last level 2. Let's look at Cecil.



This is old news by now: ST, CO, and the weapon skill. We could have leveled his Aura of Healing, too, but I chose not to. It's not strong enough to act as an in-battle heal, and the average PP-to-HP ratio is 1:1 at any level, so the out-of-battle effectiveness doesn't change. If you are counting on Paladin as a primary healer, you can take Aura of Healing all the way to 30, but it doesn't scale well. You'll be healing 46-78 HP when your party is in well into the hundreds. Adding insult to injury, Paladin learns Mass Heal at level 46, which at skill level 1 restores 30-50 HP. It maxes out at 5, restoring 90-150 HP. By the way, the Cleric learns Mass Heal at level 28.

So don't use Paladin for Aura of Healing. Do use Paladin for his other aura, which we'll see later on. Now, granted, Aura of Healing is the only AOE heal available before Mass Heal, so it has some utility on that basis alone, especially because we're going to bump into AOE enemies that will haunt our nightmares for the rest of our days in just a couple of dungeons.

Regardless of the direction you take it, Paladin is a skill-starved class because it rolls together skills from a bunch of other classes at a higher cost than you'd pay in the native class.
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Old 07-16-2015, 04:26 PM
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Okay, everybody ready? We've got a skeleton butt to kick!
But skeletons don't



Ow geez! This guy hits like a truck!
And it doesn't bleed! That really limits my effectiveness in this battle.
Let's pull out all the stops. Rydia, get your imaginary friends up and running as soon as you can. Rosa, make sure we stay out of KO range. Edward, remind me what you do again.



I'm helping!
This thing takes it as well as he dishes it. My attack summon is going to expire in a few seconds, and I'm out of juice.
We'll pick up the slack. It can't take too much more of this.



I did it! Did you see that? I did it!
Nicely done, Edge and Gaulen. Thanks, Rydia and Rosa. We pulled it off without losing anyone.
I killed the skeleton!
Thanks, Cecil. We couldn't have done it without you.
But... but...

NEXT TIME ON LET'S PLAY LORDS OF XULIMA: BEACH PARTY

OLOXPS COUNT: 6 (mushrooms, locks and traps, cereal plants, encounter clearing, herald of Golot, bard songs)

UNSOLVED MYSTERIES:
  • Dobrick's Ring is still in the rat cave somewhere.
  • Velegarn's Guards are providing a slow drain on our funds with their tolls.
  • Soldiers of Nengorth block passage to the east of Velegarn.
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  #51  
Old 07-20-2015, 05:32 PM
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COMMERCIAL BREAK

The game is called "Lords of Xulima," but we've really only talked about two of them. There are nine in total, and although the other seven are mostly nonentities as far as the story's concerned, we ought to at least have a passing introduction to them, if for no other reason than because knowing who's who will be important for figuring out some of the game's puzzles. So here we are.

VALVET (VOWEL-vet) is the lord of fire and is also responsible for demons. Demons are bad, but Valvet is not bad. Somehow? I guess they're, like, a force of nature or something.

TALIET (TALLY-it) is the wind goddess. That's all you really need to know about her, but the lore adds that she's subject to mood swings. (Goddesses, am I right)

NALAET (NALLY-it) is the sea goddess. She controls the waves and stuff. The lore says "she is the most empathetic of the Xulnari and cares after each creature as if it were her own," but that never factors into the story.

KERSKET (kersket) is the stone god. The lore mentions that he molded the earth into its present form. KERSKET FACT: No one cares about Kersket.

RAZNET (RAZZ-net) is the beast goddess. Demons : Valvet :: Beasts : Raznet. Like Valvet, she doesn't seem to mind you killing her creations with reckless abandon.

FEBRET (FEB-ret) is the nature goddess. Demons : Valvet :: Beasts : Raznet :: Plants : Febret. The lore says, "Each tree in each forest is considered a sacred object that is descended from the goddess herself," but I'm gonna call them on that one, because we will be killing a ton of trees before we're finished.

GOLOT (GO-lot) is the architect, creator of the divine temples and artifacts, even those belonging to the other gods. The lore says he's the most intelligent of the gods and has the power to control the mind of any creature he chooses. This suggests that he could have made things much easier for us.

YUL (you'll) is the god of death. I think that puts him in a bad light to a modern audience, so let's talk brass tacks for a second. Yul is the Guardian of Souls, or more accurately, the owner. Every living thing with a will of its own has a soul on lease from Yul, and when they die, Yul takes it back and puts it in the big bowl o' souls called the Twilight of Numbria -- so, like, a creepier Lifestream.

ALNAET (ALNY-yet) is the god of life, the only one able to give life to the creations of the other gods. It's also generally agreed that Alnaet is the most powerful of the Xulnari, which really makes you wonder how Yul expects to win against him and seven other gods. (As previously mentioned, the game does address this... eventually.)

The Lords of Xulima once lived on Xulima, a tiny continent compared to the great expanse of Rodinia. An ocean of the same size separates the continents. There on Xulima, the Lords played god, as is their right, creating new forms of life in an attempt to find something good enough to inherit the great continent. They were not very good at this, and many failed attempts were scrapped without ever leaving Xulima.

The gods hit pay dirt when they created humans. They were pleased as punch with the results, and so they send humans to Rodinia. Hundreds or perhaps thousands of years passed, and humans grew to encompass the great continent. Before long, they ran out of space to expand, and they started killing each other. (Never get involved in a land war in Rodinia.)

The gods were less pleased about this development. Some of them wanted to intervene, but there was disagreement vehement enough that war broke out amongst them. To avoid destroying the planet in the process, they agreed to take the fight to the stars, and thus the Xulnari left this planet. Eventually, their conflict ended with Yul on one side and the entire rest of the pantheon on the other, and if the question was originally what to do with mankind, you wouldn't know it anymore, since Yul was planning to overthrow the other Xulnari and ascend to monotheism.

Golot, the smart cookie that he is, decided that his best hope lay in getting a mortal back into Xulima to restore the eight temples (it would seem that Golot didn't bother building one for Yul, which might account for some hurt feelings), which are at this moment giving power to Yul. Enter Gaulen, who, to his credit, at least brought some friends along.

I bring all of this up not only because the game apparently has some kind of backstory but also because it's as close as you can get to having an informed decision on Yul without consulting outside sources. This is relevant because, as we'll see soon, there are statues of Yul scattered across Xulima, and as you find each one, you are given the option to destroy it or to pray for Yul's blessing.

In gameplay terms, the difference is minor. Destroying statues gives you progressively more experience, but in the grand scheme of things, it's likely to amount to a difference of one or two levels by the end of the game. (Alternatively, you could think of it as roughly a skill point per statue, which sounds a bit more appealing.) If you pray instead, Yul gives you... well, I didn't do it, and it's hard to find documentation from anyone who did. But as far as I can tell, you get something like 1 HP and 1 PP for the whole party.

If that information is correct, then praying is probably the worse option. But far be it from me to shy away from a chance to Science. We're going full Yul-worship.
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  #52  
Old 07-21-2015, 07:35 AM
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Yul is by far the most interesting guy in the bunch for a religion. I fully support monotheistic death worship to the guy that holds the title to our adventurers' souls. We wouldn't want him trying to collect on his debt earlier than expected...
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Old 07-21-2015, 08:42 AM
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Also, does the game ever explain why things ended up with Yul on one side and everybody else on the other? Seems a bit nebulous there.
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Old 07-21-2015, 09:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Bean View Post
Also, does the game ever explain why things ended up with Yul on one side and everybody else on the other? Seems a bit nebulous there.
I suspect it's intentionally vague. The Xulnari were split on whether to intervene in the human conflict. I interpret this to mean it was an 8-1 split (or it ended up there, at least), which is consistent with the details we get much later in the game.
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Old 07-21-2015, 04:43 PM
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PREVIOUSLY ON LET'S PLAY LORDS OF XULIMA: KILLED SKELETON

AND NOW



Now, what kind of goodies was Mr. Bones hiding?
Ew, it's a bowl full of radioactive goo.
Gimme!

This one gives Cecil a point of Constitution (although this varies from run to run), and we'll recognize this color every time we see it from now on. Obviously, you save before drinking from an unidentified cauldron -- not because it's poisonous (it isn't), but because you want to give the attributes to the right person. I chose Cecil because he's been dying too much, and I can't justify spending his level-ups on the stat.

Remember: wells increase resistances for the entire party, cauldrons give a stat boost to one party member. Many of them give skill points. All of these effects are also found in herbs/mushrooms, but there's no need for us to wait to drink.



It's Dobrick's ring! Or at least a ring with "Dobrick" engraved on it. Good enough, right?
And a Light Heal scroll. It's useless to me, but maybe Rydia or Edward can do some reading when they're not casting their own spells.
Let's go back to town.



why i oughtta
Calm down there, champ. We can afford this.



Good thing I packed my swimsuit!
You never stopped wearing your swimsuit.
Not complaining.
Hey, while we're here, let's get some training.



Hoo boy, training. This is the game's great moneysink. Every time you buy a skill point, the cost goes up, and every so often, the increment goes up, too. Soon, you're paying 20k a pop and looking real hard at your team to figure out which one you can sell off to pay for your next hit. I sank a million gold into this in my last playthrough, and Hardcore is significantly more expensive.

As a general rule, try to buy about one extra point each level. You'll still want more, but you can supplement with drugs. No one is content with the four points per level the game gives you, and most classes want much more.



I still can't believe you only packed three shuriken for the trip.
I can't believe this guy only stocks three at a time! How am I supposed to gear up like this?



This gear looks really familiar. Did we load an old save?
Hmm... nope. We still have the ones we purchased. Consider this a bonus.



Yeah, yeah. I don't really care about the story. Can you fix my tummy?
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  #56  
Old 07-21-2015, 04:44 PM
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Those prices make me sick.
The prices scale with our level, and I won't learn Cleanse Disease until level 24.
Well, let's at least wait until we clear out the rat cave before we bother with this.
Agreed.
You GUYS

Not pictured: you can pay the priestess to give you the gods' blessings. They have substantial effects right now, and some of them scale very well late in the game, too. Right now, we could get +5 SP, which is huge. It only lasts eight hours, though, but it's fairly inexpensive (50 gold or so). Golot's blessing provides a small XP bonus (+5%, I think). Since experience is finite, it goes without saying that in order to play optimally, you need Golot's blessing active at all times, but then again, optimal Lords of Xulima play sucks.



What do you mean, "it's too heavy"?
It weighs a ton! Do you want to give it a go?
Why don't we all lift together?
Edward, that's the dumbest thing I've ever heard.



Wandering outside of town, Gaulen notices some mushrooms that are too small to be seen on the map and gathers them automatically. This happens at random sometimes.



Wandering outside of town, Gaulen notices some mushrooms that are too large to be gathered and sees them automatically. This happens at fixed locations.

These mushrooms are our worst nightmare. We won't be facing them for a little longer still, at least.



Oh geez. I can feel bruises welling up all over me just looking at that... thing.
Come on. We already passed the beach. We'll just make a mental note that the road north is blocked.



Aww, man! This beach is awful.
Let's clean it up, then. And by "clean it up," I mean murder goblins. Because that's what heroes do.



They've recruited dinosaurs! We're all doomed!
Actually, the dino riders don't seem much stronger than the rank-and-file. They can attack our back row, though.
I think my life just flashed before my eyes.
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Old 07-21-2015, 04:45 PM
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Hey, this key goes to the mausoleum at the north side of town!
How can you tell?
Because that's the royal crest of Indaris.
How can you tell?
I've been reading up on the local history. It's really fascinating! Did you know that Indaris was the third--
NEEEEERD.

There are like six mausoleums. You don't need the key to get in, and you can sell the key, so optimally, you'll want to pick all the mausoleum locks and sell all the keys. It needn't be said at this point that optimal Lords of Xulima play sucks.

At this point in the game, the key sells for quite a substantial sum, so maybe it's worth considering? Even on Hardcore difficulty, money is not such an enormous concern that you should be optimizing for it, but it could let you buy a few pieces of key equipment early on.



Systematically killing things weaker than me is good for my self-esteem!

The general guideline for the thief skills is to keep them at about half your level. If we stick to that, then Edge is overleveled, but a few early points will grease the wheels for us, and Thief doesn't have a lot to spend points on until a few levels down the road.



What?! Goblins can't use magic!
That's racist.

Edward will get this song next level, and it will be as awesome for us as it is for them (which is to say, decreasingly). Right now, a party-wide stun is a real thorn in our side.



That's how we deal with mages in Eblan!
Yeah? How'd that work out for you?
S-shut up!



The party levels up together, except Edge, who stays ahead of the pack thanks to the experience bonus he gets from picking locks and disarming traps.



The goblins were guarding a sword that is exceptionally useless in spite of its superior stats. Edge would need Swords 6 and 16 Agility and Strength before he could equip it, and by that time, brass weaponry will have gone the way of the stone age.

Each kind of weapon has subtypes that vary in accuracy and power, much like Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup. This is one of the heavier swords, although the best weapon in every type is two-handed. While two-handed weapons are more effective, they require you to give up your shield slot and any nice enchantments it might have. If you want to wring every last experience point from the game, that means sticking to a one-handed weapon so you can hold onto an experience-boosting shield. I'm not willing to give out an OLOXPS point for this, since one-handed weapons are worth considering anyway, but it sure comes close.

The armor in this chest, though, is very nice. +1 to Strength, Agility, and Intelligence. It's a bit on the heavy side, but we don't have much else competing for encumbrance right now.



Rydia gains access to two new heralds next level, which collectively serve to supplant the Arcane Soldier. The Herald of Taliet uses attacks that stun and freeze in addition to damage, making it a great disabler. The Herald of Valvet has fire attacks instead. Fire is functionally identical to poison, except that different enemies have different resistances. Since fire and freeze cancel each other out, you only want one of these two. I'll have to give serious consideration to one of these. Divine Summoner runs up against the skill point limit, so if I did take one of them, it'd be at the expense of Nalaet or Raznet.

Anyway, with little fanfare, we've cleaned out the three fixed formations on the beach. This is an easy quest, even on Hardcore, and it's worth sticking around here to finish out the randoms because the next area is a real doozy.



"Sweet dreams" potion? Doesn't that sound a little... creepy? Are you sure this is on the level?
I'm sure the public job board wouldn't have anything sketchy on it. Probably.

NEXT TIME ON LET'S PLAY LORDS OF XULIMA: MUSHROOM PANIC

OLOXPS COUNT: 7 (mushrooms, locks and traps, cereal plants, encounter clearing, herald of Golot, bard songs, Golot's blessing, mausoleum keys)

UNSOLVED MYSTERIES:
  • Velegarn's Guards are providing a slow drain on our funds with their tolls.
  • Soldiers of Nengorth block passage to the east of Velegarn.
  • Giant Mushrooms occupy the western route to Sporia Forest.
  • A Nasty Ogre blocks the north road from Velegarn.
  • The "Sweet Dreams" Potion requires 20 spores.
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  #58  
Old 07-24-2015, 01:13 PM
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PREVIOUSLY ON LET'S PLAY LORDS OF XULIMA: KILLED GOBLINS

AND NOW



Whoa, check it out! What is that?
The Temple of Febret. According to the townspeople, it's been turned into a prison.
That's awful! Let's break in, show them who's in charge here, and score a victory for justice and righteousness.
There's a locked gate in the way.
That's my cue! ...Oh, wait. This lock is definitely too complicated. No one could possibly pick this.
What if we climb the--
Oh well! We'll come back later.



Say, what's this nice statue doing in front of the temple?
Oh no! This is a statue of Yul, the guardian of souls. He must have taken the temple's power for himself!
Power, you say? Hey, Yul! How about you lend us some of that power?
Are you insane? The whole point of our quest is to purify these temples from the power of Yul!



Thanks, Yul! You're a pal.
Golot forgive us! What have you done?!

The reward is a little underwhelming. I'm hoping it ramps up. (N.B. This screenshot is out of order because I hadn't decided what to do with the statue at the time. Rest assured that the statue did not magically level up the entire party, cure all our diseases, then curse Gaulen and Cecil.)

I hear the forest is bad news. Let's do a bit more exploring before we head there. What about the mausoleum whose key we found on the beach?



I was thinking of selling the key and picking the lock, but the merchant would only give me 90 gold for it.

(I thought it was worth a lot more -- maybe that's just the later keys.)
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Old 07-24-2015, 01:14 PM
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Holy cats! This place is crawling with traps. Watch your step.



Good Golot, another skeleton!
You guys, I have a bad feeling about this.
Oh, come on. What could possibly



AUGH BLRRGH
OUCH, MY HP

ONE RELOAD LATER

I hear the rat cave is nice this time of year.





That's the rat cave and the beach. I don't suppose we missed anything?
No. I guess we go to the forest now.

ORCHESTRAL SWELL



Cecil! Are you okay?
He's stunned. I'll shake him out of it.

The meat-and-potatoes of Sporia Forest is the red mushroom, Bolento. It deals low damage and delivers a moderate stun on hit. Fortunately, every character in Lords of Xulima comes equipped with the "Help an ally" command (found under the helmet icon in the top menu, hotkeyed to H). "Help an ally" cures any status you could reasonably be expected to treat in a single round without use of magic or special medical equipment, which includes being on fire, being trapped in webs, sleeping, and stunning. I'm not really clear how stunning fits here, but it's convenient that it does, since Edward is more useful shaking Cecil out of a long stun than firing an arrow that will probably be blocked.

You can't help yourself, even if it's totally reasonable that you could stop, drop, and roll. Sorry about that.

The Bolento has a green counterpart that poisons instead of stunning. The poison is much more dangerous.



Oh hey, three spores! We're more than a seventh of the way through this quest.



An altar to Febret! Let's spend an hour praying for her blessing.
Whoa, an entire hour? What kind of prayer is that? Yul gave us his blessing straight up.
Augh, don't remind me!

Febret's blessing gives you +20 to all resistances. It's great, but it only lasts eight hours. It stacks with the identical blessing you can buy from the priestess, in case you need some resists and you need them now. In Sporia Forest, the blessing is a nice bonus for resisting poison, but it's obviously far from foolproof.
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Old 07-24-2015, 01:15 PM
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AAAH AUGH PLEASE NO
Dear Golot, what is that thing

The Soniara is the first reason to hate Sporia Forest. It has two attacks: it can put the entire party to sleep, or it can deal a small amount of damage (7-10 HP) to the entire party. The sleep can be resisted, but even with Febret at your back, you don't have the resistances to make much of a difference, and it's pretty fast anyway. (This is an even bigger problem when it's not alone.) If you have a Paladin in the center of a 3-3 party, he can make this battle much easier with his AOE heal. For this party, though? Forget it.

The Soniara also has the creepiest animation, licking its lips and smacking and just generally being as freaky as the still image suggests.



Oh hi Gaulen! I see you've decided to join me at level 4.

SUDDENLY EVERYTHING GOES DARK

???: AROOO



ONE RELOAD LATER

Suddenly, I feel really tired. Let's take a nap so we're ready to fight in case, I don't know, we get ambushed by magical dogs or something.



That was prescient, Rosa! Good call. Too bad about Edge, Cecil, and Edward, though.

The Cursed Hounds attack your party at random. Even the Young Cursed Hound is catastrophic to our young party in these early stages of the game. It can cast a lightning spell that will kill any member of our party outright. This is actually preferable to its melee attack, which might not kill but has a chance to curse, and purifying the curse is very costly.

LATER THAT DAY



Hmm, too bad. Cecil is juuust shy of being able to equip this. Say, Rosa, when do you learn Remove Curse?
*whisper, whisper*
What?! Does the game even last that long?
*shrug*



A few mushrooms later, Cecil hits level 4 and unlocks the Paladin's signature ability. At level 1, Aura of Protection increases defense and evasion by 4. That might sound underwhelming -- heck, it might be underwhelming -- but give it some time. This is the ability that makes evasion builds possible.



This dead guy was reading a book about axes! Let's see... hmm... yep! Got it.
Don't you want to keep the book? There's a lot of information in there that could be helpful.
Nah. It's all up here. My mind's a steel trap.

Skill books bump a skill up one level for a single character. The game only generates skill books for skills that your party has access to. Given the scarcity of skill points, they are always welcome.

Except when they're for completely useless skills. Can't win 'em all.



Isn't that the ogre with the "Impossible" difficulty rating?
Yeah, I think so.
Screeeew that.
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