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  #61  
Old 07-24-2015, 01:17 PM
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At this point, I decide to get rid of all this pesky cash by getting rid of the party's afflictions. I wouldn't have done it, but Cecil literally has zero evasion, which has led to him dying in way too many battles.

A quick note about healing, since this party requires it between every single battle: I'm doing all my healing the natural way; that is, by resting. This sounds costly, and it certainly has the potential to be costly, but even the opening area has a fair abundance of renewable food if you know where to look:
  • Two berry vines in the opening tutorial area
  • One berry bush near the rat cave
  • One berry bush near the northwest entrance to town
  • Two berry vines on the beach
  • One berry bush in Sporia Forest
  • The cereal plants in Velegarn

With the exception of the beach vines and the forest bush, these are all instantly accessible. (Even the beach vines are technically accessible from the start, but you'll get murdered before you get there. The bush in the forest is blocked by the three-mushroom encounter that's effectively impossible at level 1.) Once you can safely harvest the beach, food becomes self-sustaining, even though collecting it is sort of a pain. Cost-free recovery is a big deal (at least early on), lest you find yourself penniless.

Later in the game, there are much more generous food sources, including one particular cornucopia that will eradicate any urge you had to spend your hard-earned coin on food. From that point, you can usually stay near the food cap without trying too hard. Food is one area where optimal play doesn't suck, which is good, because a bad food system can really turn a game into a chore.

Now, resting between every battle is wasteful, but it's not the worst thing. A full heal will take, at most, eight hours of food as long as you have no fatal wounds. If you do, then it takes a full 24 to get rid of them, as I mentioned in a past update. That's expensive, although food regrows on a clock, so it's not as bad as it sounds. If you're low on food, it can be worthwhile not to worry about the fatal wounds, since as long as a character has positive HP (HP can go as far negative as it can go positive, by the way), the character can still participate in battle.



I mentioned that the Soniara is the first reason to hate Sporia Forest. Its nearly-identical cousin the Rasmaga is the second. I think this one is a Soniara, but I can't tell at a glance, and that's kind of a huge problem in terms of evaluating a battle's difficulty. The second of the large mushroom family breathes poison over your entire party. If it does this, you're in for a rough fight. If it does this twice, heaven help you -- you're taking half your health bar in poison damage each round. No one can keep up with that. It can also breathe not-poison to deal 10 HP to the entire party, which is not a fun time either.



Naturally, here's an area full of encounters with two of each large mushroom.

The intent behind Sporia Plain is that you weave between the mushrooms' aggro circles to avoid an instant death. In what may be the game's most baffling design choice, this is the one and only area in the game where saving is disabled. If you're willing to play this safely, then there's no actual challenge in avoiding these battles. It's tedious and nervewracking.

We'll be back here much later to have our revenge on the mushrooms and harvest the herbs littered around the area. For today, it's good enough that we have our 20 spores.



Thank goodness that's done! I never want to see another mushroom again.
Right then! What's up next?
Well, we could -- no, there's the ogre. I guess we could -- wait, no, the archers are that way. But that just leaves...
Oh, balls.

NEXT TIME ON LET'S PLAY LORDS OF XULIMA: BEYOND VELEGARN

OLOXPS COUNT: 8 (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, and Velegarn wants it dead.
  • Sporia Plains is a minefield made of mushrooms.
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  #62  
Old 07-28-2015, 12:51 PM
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That temple was pretty cool looking. I think the art in this game is definitely pretty sweet.
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  #63  
Old 07-30-2015, 03:34 PM
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PREVIOUSLY ON LET'S PLAY LORDS OF XULIMA: KILLED MUSHROOMS

AND NOW

The start of Lords of Xulima is the very hardest part of the game, a trait it inherits from its CRPG ancestry in large part. You'd be forgiven for quitting before you managed to leave the first map, and the biggest reason for that is Sporia Forest.

I started this LP on Hardcore. It's not technically the hardest possible difficulty: that distinction belongs to Hardcore Ironman, which is identical except you can only save in towns. I knew that if I needed to abandon Hardcore, I'd figure that out before we left Velegarn. Sure enough, Sporia Forest got the better of me. I don't think Hardcore is bad (although enemy HP is too inflated for my tastes), but it demands a level of optimization that our team doesn't enjoy. Let's take a quick look.

Rydia is the biggest factor shaping our team. We have a 4-2 layout because of her: literally any other class would allow Rosa in the back lines. Rosa as a frontliner is not a problem in and of itself, but the team arrangement lends itself to other problems.

Edward is one of those problems. His buffs only affect adjacent allies. Bard and Divine Summoner make an awkward pairing: do you wait for the offensive summon to show up before you do your buffing? Where do you position the two of them? (Incidentally, the correct answer is that Rydia should be behind Rosa; the only reason she didn't start there is that Rydia is a competent attacker at level 1, before everyone else has left her in the dust.) Edward himself is a non-starter. He plucks his string as hard as he can, but you want a Bard for the songs, and he doesn't offer much in that respect for the first few levels. See also: the start is the hardest part.

Cecil suffers less from the 4-2 layout than Edward, but he still has to put up with limited range on his auras. This will be particularly relevant in Sporia Forest. Cecil makes a passable frontliner, but he requires a large skill point investment to act as a makeshift Soldier, and he won't get access to the Soldier abilities for some time still.

Edge is our most effective attacker (especially when you throw shuriken into the mix), but I don't dare put him in the center of the formation, where he'd be able to reach more enemies. Cecil and Gaulen already have a hard enough time surviving, and Edge doesn't have their natural bulk.

Rosa feels a little awkward, at least for now. The Herald of Nalaet is just as competent a healer, and it's also faster than Rosa. Eventually, Rosa will provide all of the team's healing needs, but at the moment, she mostly serves to clumsily wave her mace at the nearest enemy unless someone is in dire need of medical attention.

Finally, Gaulen is a subpar combatant on a team of subpar combatants. The game wants you to carry Gaulen until he gets access to Venomous Strike, but Gaulen is stuck carrying the rest of the team, and that's the real problem: we don't have a single good frontliner. Our damage is pretty limited, and our ability to take damage isn't exactly stellar, either. We have a great team on our hands if we can survive long enough, but Sporia Forest wants a word with us first.

What does all this mean for the LP? It means that we're dropping to Veteran. This isn't a setting you can change after the game starts, so I restarted. (The Veteran run caught up to the LP in much less time than it took to get the LP there.) The difficulty change doesn't really show up in screenshots, and I'm dedicated to bringing you a seamless LP experience anyway. I just thought you should know.

With that out of our way, let's see what the team is up to.



Hmm. Do you ever get the feeling something's wrong?
Yes.
I can't remember how Rosa and Gaulen were incapacitated, and I could have sworn we've spent more than ten days here.
It's probably not important. What matters right now is that we've made it through Sporia Plains. Let's see what's on the other side!



Hey, it's the ogre Velegarn wants dead.
Still as impossible as ever.



The road keeps going north. I know we're down two, but I think we should press on. We have the travel crystal if things get out of hand.



Hey, it's another dimensional portal!
Blocked by goblins we're in no shape to confront, sadly.
If we can just find a source of food, we can regroup and take them down.



A battle arena?
Where there's a spectator sport, there's bound to be...
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  #64  
Old 07-30-2015, 03:35 PM
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A concessions stand! Good call, Edge.

24 HOURS LATER



Sure, why not?



Hey, remember when we found the altar to Febret? I mentioned that you can get the blessing from the altar, and it stacks with the one you get from the priestess.

The arena is a series of one-on-one fights that provides a sizeable cash bonus and a good chunk of XP to your champion. More importantly, clearing out the arena gives you an artifact that you can trade for a permanent blessing. In this case, it's Golot's blessing. The one that gives you a bonus to XP. In a game with finite XP.

If you can see where this is going, then you win the Basic Pattern Recognition Award. Optimal Lords of Xulima play sucks, because you have to visit Golot's altar every eight hours to refresh the blessing until you can beat the arena. We haven't even found Golot's altar, but you can bet that if we were interested in optimal play (we aren't; it sucks), then we would have to beeline there. I don't actually remember where Golot's altar is, but it's not anywhere you can reasonably reach at this level.

Anyway, this is the only arena fight I do for now because I mistakenly think that the next opponent is the tough goblin (it's the weak goblin).



Back to Velegarn!



Oh, this again.
You know what? Let me handle this.
This can't end well.



Shuriken diplomacy is the Eblan way!



Well! A little closer than I prefer to cut it, but we're all in one piece.



I'm out of shurikens. See what he's asking.



On second thought, who needs shurikens?



Well, this was a disaster.
You know what? I bet the merchant has a few shuriken by now.
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  #65  
Old 07-30-2015, 03:37 PM
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FOUR SOLDIERS LATER



Hey, not too shabby! Um, too bad about Rosa, though.
That's all of the guards in Velegarn proper. That just leaves the archers blocking the road east.
I have a bad feeling about those guys, not least because they can actually hit me. There must be somewhere else we can go first.
Right. Let's clear out Sporia Forest!
Nooo



Yesss

Quick Strike is the Thief's bread-and-butter and the only attack he learns other than the near-universal Aimed Strike. If you've played Final Fantasy X, you might remember how utterly game-breaking Quick Hit was. Quick Strike will eventually let the Thief take twice as many turns as everyone else (provided he can put up the MP for it), and the Thief is already the class with the highest base Speed. It also increases accuracy and damage. It's really good.

It's so good, in fact, that they had to restrict the ability to the Thief class and make sure the Thief has no access to maces or polearms. You could totally stunlock anything in the game otherwise. As it stands, we'll have to settle for extreme bleed damage.



Level 5 Edward gets his first level of Mercantilism, which decreases shop prices and increases resale prices. It's not a lifeblood skill in the same way that, say, Object Identification might be, but it's very handy and will give us freedom to spend more of our cash on skill points.

Edward also maxes Song of Courage at this level, neglecting Song of Stunning for now. (By the way, you can't spend skill points except at level up, and you can't increase the same skill twice in one level except through a skill book.) At level 6, he'll get access to Song of Rage, the first of many songs that Edward will decline to learn because it's encompassed in his lategame omnibuff. Aimed Strike is also on the list for some reason.



And here's a Rasmaga, the absolute worst. We don't even get to solo the wretched thing, since it's brought a friend. It's got a boatload of health to get through before it'll stop spewing poison on the party.



It wasn't pretty.

We have just over a day's worth of food left. Let's get the others on their feet and get back to town.



Edward just ate the last berry! I can already feel myself withering away into nothingness.
Edge, there's another berry bush ten yards ahead of us.

Starvation isn't instantly fatal, although it does apply a party-wide debuff that adds an additional incentive to hoof it back to town. While you remain starving, your party will periodically take a good chunk of damage. It's nevertheless possible to explore the game's most hostile environments foodless, though if you must do so, it's advisable to only keep one party member alive to minimize healing costs. Dead men cast no spells, so you probably want that party member to be your Cleric.



Rosa and Rydia are the last to reach level 5. Rosa maxes Light Heal, and it will be a little while before she gets a better spell. That said, Light Heal V is plenty for now. She'll be able to learn Mass Stun Relieve and Regeneration next level, but she won't, because they're pretty bad spells. (Regeneration isn't terrible, but it doesn't scale well.)

Rydia works on her heralds of Nalaet (the healy one) and Valvet (the fiery one). Herald of Valvet is excellent against anything that doesn't resist its flame arrows, and it can attack the enemy's back row. Good stuff.

Rydia gains access to her penultimate summon at level 6. The Herald of Kersket seems to be designed as a tank summon, being the only one of the group with the defenses to stand in the front row. It's a bad niche for a summon. HERALD OF KERSKET FACT: No one cares about the Herald of Kersket.

Okay! Are we all good? We have some archers to fight.



See the Herald of Valvet in inaction! Isn't "Veliacan" a cool name? I think it is.

Anyway, I was overly concerned about the archers, who are severely allergic to shuriken.

BACK IN SORRENTIA



Oh no! Raptors!
We've fought raptors. Remember? They had goblin archers on top of them. These ones don't. Ergo, they can only be easier.

SEVERAL PINTS OF BLOOD LATER



A beautiful forest and no enemy encounters! This is my kind of place.
I dunno. Something seems off, but I can't put my finger on it.
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  #66  
Old 07-30-2015, 03:38 PM
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Oh nooozzzz



Oh, this is terrible! Not only did we wind up back at the entrance to the forest, we've been asleep for hours! And we've lost a few hours of food, too!
I snack in my sleep, okay?



AROOO

Aw man, it's the Cursed Hounds again. I thought you said this place had no random encounters.
Cursed Hounds have no respect for the rules.

This hound killed a few people and didn't bother dropping a fang. Rude!

The secret of the Golden Forest is to avoid the flowers sometimes. Even knowing this, I got dumped back at the start an embarrassing number of times, because the flowers can be subtle. If you like skimping on torches, this is one area where you'll want to burn one anyway. (By the way, I learned in this process that the Golden Forest is also a no-save zone. It's not nearly as consequential as Sporia Plains, since the only danger here is losing some food. It's still a questionable design choice.)

There are a few good treasures in the forest. Rydia found a Herald of Nalaet skill book, which is very much appreciated.



OH NO IT'S A PLOT DUMP



Seriously, though



it's a lot of words



THE IMPORTANT PART: Four badguy princes hold four of the keys to four of the temples. (The other four are ????) Gaulen loudly and publicly states that he's killing Nengorth first, which is your cue (you, the player) that Nengorth is the easiest of the princes. Your other cue is that he lives right next to Velegarn (but to the east instead of the north).

Well, now that that's over, we can go back to



What now? I'm busy. Princes to kill.

YEAH COOL

BUT LISTEN

I JUST REMEMBERED THAT I LEFT ARTIFACTS ALL OVER XULIMA

YOU COULD, I DON'T KNOW, USE THEM PROBABLY
Oh, good idea! Where did you leave them?

WELL WOULD YOU LOOK AT THE TIME


Hey, thanks. That was way more helpful than Golot.



Do we really need this infodump three times in a row?



Three and a half times in a row?

Okay, we have what we need. Time to head back to Velegarn.



Um... We've been here for hours. We just finished breakfast together. Are you feeling well?
Can we trust the hermit?
This "hand of Golot" smells funny.

NEXT TIME ON LET'S PLAY LORDS OF XULIMA: AIMLESS FOREST WANDERING

OLOXPS COUNT: 9 (mushrooms, locks and traps, cereal plants, encounter clearing, herald of Golot, bard songs, Golot's blessing, mausoleum keys, the arena)

UNSOLVED MYSTERIES:
  • A Nasty Ogre blocks the north road from Velegarn, and Velegarn wants it dead.
  • The Tower of Melancholy contains one of Golot's artifacts.
  • Nengorth, first of the Impious Princes, holds the key to the temple of Febret.
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  #67  
Old 07-30-2015, 07:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mogri View Post
Anyway, I was overly concerned about the archers, who are severely allergic to shuriken.
Hey! A shuriken allergy is a serious and life-threatening condition. You shouldn't make light of it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mogri View Post
Oh no! Raptors!
We've fought raptors. Remember? They had goblin archers on top of them. These ones don't. Ergo, they can only be easier.

SEVERAL PINTS OF BLOOD LATER
The goblins must have been slowing them down...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mogri View Post
Four badguy princes hold four of the keys to four of the temples.
Oh no! The bad guys have the four crystals. Er... The four keys. The four crystal keys?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mogri View Post
(The other four are ????)
These must be the dark crystals. Er... The dark keys. The dark crystal keys. So they obviously are in the underground realm of the dwarves. This world has dwarves, right?
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  #68  
Old 08-03-2015, 10:16 AM
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sorry we picked you a kinda lousy team, Mogri.
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  #69  
Old 08-03-2015, 10:36 AM
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Nah, it's better this way. I don't have to fight the fat sacks of HP that Hardcore throws your way.

I have no doubt that this team could get through Hardcore, but we were regularly losing people in normal battles, and you bleed XP and GP that way. Gaulen and Paladin are on the low end of the "viably tanky frontliner" spectrum. You can turn Paladin into an ersatz Soldier (and there's a good argument to be made that I should do so with this team composition), but you'll spend almost twice the skill points a Soldier would, and that's assuming you don't take any Paladin-exclusive skills.

But the team is doing fine on Veteran, which doesn't require you to be especially optimized. I'm happy I switched.
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  #70  
Old 08-05-2015, 11:26 AM
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PREVIOUSLY ON LET'S PLAY LORDS OF XULIMA: FAILED TO KILL ANYTHING OF CONSEQUENCE

AND NOW



Okay! We'll be leaving now.



Nengorth's soldiers are all the way out in Sorrentia, huh? I guess we won't be going down this road.
Well, there's still the tower with Golot's artifact to explore and Nengorth himself to kill. I bet if we got rid of Nengorth, his soldiers would disband, too.
Good plan. Let's head to Nabros first, then.

HEY

HEY GAULEN
oh no.

I JUST GOT THIS GREAT IDEA

WHAT IF

WHAT IF YOU KILLED THE FOUR IMPIOUS PRINCES

STARTING WITH -- NOW HEAR ME OUT HERE -- NENGORTH
Are you joking me.

GOLOT DOES NOT JOKE


He's been lying there for hours. Should we--?
Nah, leave him there.



Upon crossing the border into Nabros, the game chooses to open The Impious Princes chapter (concurrent with The Divine Artifacts and the temples one), even though this is not even possibly the first time you've heard of the princes.



Okay, that's not strictly true. The game is sufficiently nonlinear that if you avoided talking to any NPCs about it and came to Nabros before talking to Odred the Hermit, then you could get here without any context and even kill Nengorth before talking to Odred. (I wonder if this would change the dialogue where Gaulen promises to kill Nengorth.)



Such are the perils of a nonlinear game, I guess. In the context of this flow (which also follows the natural difficulty progression), this cutscene is super redundant.



I had forgotten about this cutscene. I thought this guy was an enemy, and I got excited for reasons that I'll have to explain much later.

Anyway, he's not joking about the soldier patrols.



The helpful information is "stay off the roads, dummy."



Whether or not you buy him off, Taldin will steal an extra 50 gold as he goes.

Gaulen suggests that we might bump into this guy in the future. If you check the journal entry for this event, it also suggests that we might bump into this guy in the future. We do not ever see him again.



Hey, I got an idea! What if, instead of walking on the roads where the soldiers are patrolling, we went through the forest?
I don't know. It sounds like there are monsters in the forest.



On second thought, I am rather fond of the forest.

You can bump into this same formation as a random encounter if you're near the roads. It will kill you at this level.



AROO

Shoot, I've been cursed!
Well, you'll have to deal with it. We can't fork out every time those dogs show up.
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  #71  
Old 08-05-2015, 11:28 AM
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The road keeps going south to another region.
My danger-sense tells me we shouldn't go there yet.
That's not a real thing, right?
We have more to explore around here anyway.



This ostrich-fellow likes to yell at your party so loudly that everyone is both damaged and stunned, a nasty combo. It's really not as bad as it sounds, since the stun is very short-lived, and the alternative is a highly damaging bite that also inflicts wounds. Wounds stick around after battle, and they can only be cured with spells, items, or an eight-hour rest.



Our party breaks into level 6, and Cecil gets a preview of a whole load of new abilities he'll unlock next time. The Strike abilities add effects to his regular attack; since Cecil is using a mace, the only one we care about is Stunning Strike. We could possibly learn Powerful Strike, too, which adds more damage, but it's a hefty skill point investment for a boost that doesn't scale well late in the game.

Divine Armor is the Cleric spell, which is several levels too late to make a difference and which Rosa didn't bother learning anyway. Both classes eventually learn Mass Divine Armor, which hits the whole party and for much greater effect. Immunity is available to everyone, and it raises all resistances by a point per skill level. It's decent enough once you've maxed the more important skills.



Here's what it looks like when you try to avoid the soldiers and fail. Check out the timeline on the right -- most of the party was dead before anyone got a turn. I don't know what's going on with cloak-of-displacement Weapon Master in the middle. Bad screenshot timing, I suppose.



I once asked my son, probably two years old at the time, what sound two lions make. Well, to paraphrase...

AROO AROO

This is ridiculous! We're lucky to escape a single hound with no casualties.
Edge and I have been cursed, too. Let's hope that this was a fluke -- I'd hate to think that the hounds are increasing in both frequency and intensity.
The guards are everywhere. Let's head back to Velegarn and regroup.



When Lords of Xulima tells you to find "a forest north of Velegarn," it really means "a forest anywhere in a vaguely northish direction from Velegarn, and probably not on the same map." We'll make a mental note of this.



This is the tower Golot told me about.
So you're saying Golot really talks to you when you have those seizures?
Yes. Stop giving me that look. The door's locked, but what if we turned the handle using the Hand of Golot?
That's the dumbest idea I ever... huh. Look at that.



Charming.



The Tower of Melancholy is likely to be the first area where you'll find hidden switches. This one isn't particularly well-hidden, but nor is it especially obvious if your cursor isn't hovering over it. You can hold the right mouse button to scan for items like this. Later in the game, that trick won't reveal the switches, so don't rely on the technique.
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  #72  
Old 08-05-2015, 11:29 AM
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Cryptic!



Double-cryptic!



Oh! "Follow the path of blood." So that means we should go this way.

ONE RELOAD LATER

How about we assume that the evil talking skulls don't have our best interests at heart?



Edge is the first to hit level 7. At level 8, all characters gain access to Learning, which boosts experience gains. It costs 2 skill points for every class (3 for the first level).

You don't need to maximize Learning at the earliest possible level, but you should maximize learning quickly. That puts it in heavy competition for a small pool of skill points. Remember that you get four points per level naturally, and you should purchase at least one point per level from the trainer. So how will our party spend five points each level?

Gaulen wants Axes (2), Knowledge of Herbs (1), and Learning (2). He'd also like Perception (1). Of those skills, Herbs will max first at level 20, freeing him up to spend points on Perception and Knowledge of Terrain. Soon, he'll gain access to Envenomed Strike, and then we will have to make some difficult decisions.
Cecil wants Maces (2), Learning (2), and the occasional spell. Aura of Protection (2) and Stunning Strike (2) are the top contenders for now.
Rosa mostly wants Learning (2) and the Cleric spell du jour. New spells pop up at a steady pace, but she doesn't need all or even most of them, so we can consider her one of our less skill-starved characters.
Edge wants Swords (2), Shuriken (1), and Learning (2). He'd also like Lockpicking and Trap Disarming, but those will have to take lower priority.
Rydia wants Learning (2) and her two Heralds (2). The PP cost for the Heralds ramps up too quickly for them to be desirable every level, but she'll have other skills to consider before long. She'd also like Meditation (1) to increase her PP capacity, but that's a luxury, not a requirement.
Edward wants Learning (2). He wants Learning really bad so that he can get the useful songs very, very late in the game. With his abundant pool of skill points in the meanwhile, he's taking Object Identification (1) and Mercantilism (1), and not much else. It's safe to say that Edward is all set for skill points.

Aside from leveling and training, we can get skill points from mushrooms and basins, but for those, we have to choose a single recipient. That recipient will usually be Cecil or Gaulen, although needs shift as our characters gain new abilities and max old ones through the course of the game.



Are these skulls telling a story? Or is it a hint?



Oh! It all makes sense now.

If you want to solve the puzzle yourself (not that it's a real brain-bender), then don't read on.
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  #73  
Old 08-05-2015, 11:30 AM
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This is a two-part puzzle. Turning the small statues towards the Yul-statue (which is not one of The Statues of Yul) opens the side area with the treasure trove. To open the gate, turn the large statues to face away from Yul.



That doesn't sound like a riddle. I don't like the sound of that.



I don't like the look of that.
I thought those were copyrighted!



The tower guardian uses gaze attacks, just like a suspiciously similar monster currently owned by Hasbro. Sometimes, he'll just damage the whole party. The real threat is this attack, which can inflict "Crazed" status on the entire party. It only lasts one turn, but a crazed party member will attack an ally or do nothing, leaving the guardian an opportunity to repeat the process. Luckily, it can be resisted, but as you can see here, the rate on that is not so good.



Eight crystals... One for each of the Lords of Xulima.
What about Yul? Everyone's always giving Yul the short stick. I'd be pissed, too!
Do you think we could go home if we dropped this in the ocean?

NEXT TIME ON LET'S PLAY LORDS OF XULIMA: REGICIDE, PART I

OLOXPS COUNT: 9 (mushrooms, locks and traps, cereal plants, encounter clearing, herald of Golot, bard songs, Golot's blessing, mausoleum keys, the arena)
NO NEW OLOXPS
A NEW RECORD

UNSOLVED MYSTERIES:
  • A Nasty Ogre blocks the north road from Velegarn, and Velegarn wants it dead.
  • Nengorth, first of the Impious Princes, holds the key to the temple of Febret.
  • The witch Yoranwa dwells in "a forest north of Velegarn."
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  #74  
Old 08-10-2015, 01:02 PM
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PREVIOUSLY ON LET'S PLAY LORDS OF XULIMA: KILLED NOT-BEHOLDER

AND NOW



If I were better-organized, I'd have included this in the last update. BUT I'M NOT, and so we have Rydia's final summon coming up next level. The Herald of Febret is a buffbot. Interesting, but not worth the skill points, the PP, or the summon slot, especially with Edward picking up slack there.

It would be really handy if there were some sort of reference guide on these summons so that you could figure out what they do without spending a hundred skill points. Unfortunately, the only source I've been able to find that has any detailed information is the "Secrets of Xulima" guide that comes with the Deluxe Edition, and I'm not shelling out $7 just so I can figure out if it's worth investing in this thing for the next 30 levels.

On top of that, the tooltips for the heralds are misleading. Herald of Valvet's awesome flaming arrow attack is listed as "Bow," which is exactly how it's listed for the Herald of Taliet. I think Divine Summoner has a lot of good ideas wrapped up in a bad implementation. It's a good class, but it's very hard to use effectively.



Our next order of business is to return to the mausoleum in Velegarn, where the skeletal guardian is now a "balanced" encounter.



The treasure is trash. It's the very special kind of trash that's probably better than the sword Edge is using but not actually worth investing two skill points into Daggers so that he can equip it.



This is why I have trust issues.



We've officially reached the point in the game where two-handed weapons become our best option. The claymore is significantly less accurate (from +10 to -10), but the damage is almost tripled, and it has the same bleed potential as Edge's short sword despite the latter's "bloody" enchantment. The accuracy penalty isn't as bad as it sounds: it doesn't actually translate to -20% accuracy.



Rosa's the last to hit level 7, and we get a sneak preview of the reason she can afford to be in the front line. Divine Prayer restores a decent amount of health and a small amount of PP, and it costs nothing. Cecil will gain access to this ability, and while he gets it later than we'd like, Divine Prayer is an ability that is useful for the entire game. This gives Rosa an excellent alternative to her ineffectual melee.



Deep in the forest of Nabros, we discover the altar to Nalaet. Nalaet's blessing is, like, +5 Constitution or something. A nice bonus, but don't go out of your way to get it.



Edward is the first to level 8, and we get a preview of his next buff. We'll be skipping Song of Rage, since Edward's capstone song rolls it up into one big ball of buffing along with some songs we have yet to see.

Speaking of songs we won't learn, I don't think I covered the barely-visible Song of Fear. It causes enemies to flee combat, and you lose any rewards they would have given. We could probably leverage it to get past the large groups of guards here, but there's not much else it'd be good for.



Does anyone see a way around these guys? ...No? Then we're going in.

Hold on. I'm almost positive it's not necessary to fight this encounter, but I really have no idea what the intended route is here. If I had to guess, I'd say it involves going through the steamy area at the top of the map, which deals damage over time but is still much more survivable than this nonsense. But I could swear there's an identical guard formation blocking us from the entrance there, too.

Credit where credit's due, though: I love Lords of Xulima's hands-off approach to your path through the game. In Final Fantasy 6, the guards are either unbeatable, impassible, or both (i.e. if you do manage to beat the Magitek armor in South Figaro, you still can't leave). That's standard treatment for this sort of thing. Lords of Xulima is happy to let you take the brute force approach here, and we'll see more examples of this down the road.



Edward's Song of Stunning is essential in this battle. He lacks the PP to keep them locked down, but a full-party stun is as debilitating to them as it's been to us in the past.



We also have it in scroll form. This is not a fight you're meant to beat -- not now -- so our victory here requires us to burn resources. Lots of them.



It's eventually down to a very wounded Cecil against a low-level Soldier and Archer. Neither is a serious direct threat, but the Soldier has a chance to stun, which puts Cecil behind the curve.



After expending nearly all of our healing consumables, Cecil comes out on top.

Lords of Xulima won't stop you from brute-forcing a solution, but it will make you pay for it. If a battle is this hard, it means you're doing something wrong. This is probably the most difficult battle we'll win in the course of the game. It's certainly the last battle of this caliber we'll attempt for quite some time, because we simply don't have the resources to pull it off again.



Look, another portal!
Thank Golot! We desperately need to resupply.

The low-level goblin group guarding the portal is Lords of Xulima saying, "Hey, dummy, this is what an area-appropriate encounter looks like." If anyone happens to know what the intended path is to Nengorth's castle, I'd love to hear it.

BACK IN VELEGARN



In a more dramatic showing of the benefits of two-handed weapons, we have a flail, heaviest of the mace family, against Cecil's starting weapon. This isn't a fair comparison, since the flail is three-star bronze to the mace's brass, but it's still illustrative that we are doubling our stun and more than doubling our damage. Cecil's strength is too low to equip it, but some equipment shuffling solves that issue, and we now have two party members holding their weapon in both hands.

There are two more drawbacks to the heavy weapons. The first is the vastly increased critical fail chance. At 5%, the weapon is yelling at you to stop hitting yourself. It's balanced by a commensurate increase in critical hit rate, though, and one of the possible weapon enchantments drops critical fail to 0%. The other drawback is the lower attack speed on the heavy weapons. The mace is about 20% faster than the flail. Add the loss of a shield slot, and one-handed weapons start looking like a good idea. The math still works out in favor of the heavy weapons, but occasionally, you'll run into a one-handed weapon of a much higher quality than your current two-hander, like the dagger we found earlier.



This is their detachment to guard the back gate? Eblan had way better defenses!
For all the good it did.

(Lords of Xulima continues to mock our tactical espionage skills.)



And the front door is completely unguarded. Shall we?
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  #75  
Old 08-10-2015, 01:03 PM
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This really strikes me as cutting off your nose to spite your face.
Not to mention criminally terrible hospitality.
I'm not walking through that. Let's find another way in.



JUMP IN WELL Y/Y?



We end up in the reservoir, which is full of food and not so much water. To our left is an enemy formation that resembles the guy we talked to on the road last time. I got excited because I thought he was one of these.

What's so exciting about this guy, you ask?



Thief-type enemies always drop shuriken. (They also always drop the things they stole from you, which is why the food and healing salve are there.) It's a fairly common class of enemy from this point forward, and as long as you don't let them escape with your valuables, they're also relatively unthreatening. This makes them an excellent source of ammuntion for Edge, to the point where you no longer need to purchase them if you play at least somewhat conservatively with them. If you don't have a thief in your party, they're just another enemy, but if you do, then they're always a welcome sight.



The enemies in the castle are a chatty bunch. Here, we see a priestess (left) and a bard (top). Priestesses are fancy clerics with a weak attack spell, and bards are bards that can throw shuriken for some reason. Thief-type enemies also throw shuriken on occasion, but bards don't do you the courtesy of dropping shuriken for you to use. Neither of these enemies is particularly threatening without a strong escort.

And what's that to the far left?



Great and powerful Yul! Lend us strength!
No, you fool!

So it appears the stat-boost rewards also scale up. Interesting.



Four castles for four princes means this is one of the recurring dungeon types, along with the tower we scaled last time. The towers are all puzzle-and-trap areas, culminating with not-a-beholder at the top. Castles are trap-and-combat areas. Castles have more treasure than towers, while towers are good sources of stat-boosting basins like the purple one seen here. (There's some crossover, obviously.)

This is the castle's alchemy room. The green clouds will hurt us as we pass through, dealing probably 12 damage to each party member (mitigable through Organic Resistance, but there's no good source of it for now, and it's not worth speccing for a specific trap). There's no way around them, although this room is optional. We want what's inside, so we'll take the damage. Searching carefully in this room reveals quite a few potions as well. The party takes another 12 damage on the way out.



The flames in the castle's entryway are similar to the toxic gases. They deal much more damage, though, and check Fire Resistance instead of Organic Resistance. More importantly, there's a way to get rid of them. Mages learn End of Flames at level 22, which is later than you'd like. Arcane Soldiers learn it at 37, by which point it's hardly necessary and barely useful. We got it in scroll form, which is nice because the only exit is the one covered in flames. Since our party has no natural access to the spell, we should probably try to keep a scroll or two on hand.



Man, it's dark down here.
So light a torch.
I did light a torch.
Man, it's dark down here.

Next to Cecil's portrait, you might be able to see a coat of arms. Clicking on it reveals the passage to our right.



This branch has secrets within its secrets. Not that the switch is hard to see.



The ensuing chamber has a fight with an enemy sorcerer. Of the specialist guards, it's the most dangerous -- kill it quickly. Like many enemies, it suffers a severe shuriken allergy, making it a non-threat for this team.

The enemy was gracious enough to leave us a key to Nengorth's throne room.



The key isn't strictly necessary. You can lockpick the door, although it's very difficult. The door to the south (glowing trap-red) leads to the flame-filled entryway. A party that don't even care about obstacles could wade through the flames, bust down both doors, and walk straight in to Nengorth, bypassing the dungeon in its entirety.

A slightly more cautious party that has a hard time finding secrets could access the throne room by walking over the spike traps to the left. They'd still have the door to deal with, although it's a straight path to the sorcerer from here, so lockpicking isn't the only option even if you never find the secret passage.

Little touches like this make me really appreciate Lords of Xulima. Lest we forget, we would still be wandering the Nabros forest if the game had a more rigid structure. Meanwhile, we can pat ourselves on the back for being clever enough to avoid this castle's traps, and if we weren't, we still could have completed the castle, but it would have been more costly. Kind of like fighting the superguards formation.
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  #76  
Old 08-10-2015, 01:05 PM
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Nengorth is directly ahead, although I should have taken care of some business before fighting him.

The game doesn't have a ton of voice acting, but major enemies get voiceovers for their introductory lines.



You know, he makes a really good point.
I don't take moral advice from Yul-worshipping fools.



I'm inclined to let justice run its course here.
Edge! Get over here and fight!



Nengorth is a fairly unremarkable opponent. Single opponents get some advantages to compensate for the numbers, and in Nengorth's case, that means he can hit three front-row combatants or a single column. He can also cast a lightning spell to damage and stun (as demonstrated by Cecil). He's quite a bit quicker than our party, too, and has a good chunk of health to chew through. His regular attacks can inflict wounds, although every regular attack in the game can inflict one of the three weapon effects (stun, wound, bleed).



Despite all that, it's not a difficult battle. It lasted long enough for the Herald of Nalaet to time out, but no one came especially close to dying.



I am curious as to what he was hiding behind the doors to his chambers...
There's only one set of doors leading into this room.

This is a really cryptic comment. As best I can tell, it's telling you to pull the lever behind the throne and check the bottom of the map.



Like so. But that only makes sense if you interpret it to mean "behind the entrance to the castle."

Defeating Nengorth causes his guards to disappear globally. You won't encounter any more enemies within the castle, and the guard encounters are gone from the Nabros map, too. This is a problem if you're aiming for optimal play, but then optimal Lords of Xulima play sucks. We would ideally need to clear out every minion of Nengorth before confronting the big man himself. This isn't the only boss that removes other encounters from the game after defeat, but it's probably the most egregious. There are a lot of Nengorth guards.



Edward will be able to learn Song of Speech at level 10. He won't actually learn it at level 10, since we won't see enemies capable of silencing for ages. We'd probably be better off buying Song of Speech scrolls than spending the skill points. Even so, he'll probably learn it at some point, if for no other reason than he'll have more skill points than he reasonably needs. This is one of just a few spells that caps at level 1, so it's pretty economical anyway.



Oh... and here's this note. We already found the secret passage. In the future, the game will be less kind about mentioning their existence, although a high Perception will allow you to detect the presence of secret doors without giving you a direct clue as to how they're opened.

BACK IN VELEGARN



Everyone in Velegarn is chuffed that we've defeated Nengorth. The trainer gives us a free skill point.



The merchant gives us a life potion, which removes the "fatal wound" status from one party member. The reward is probably random, but don't quote me on that.

The food vendor gives you several days' worth of food. We're OK on food, so I'll hold off on claiming that reward.



Wolly/Terry gives us a decent chunk of experience.



Finally, the priestess gives us 1 HP and 1 PP.

Just like Yul!

NEXT TIME ON LET'S PLAY LORDS OF XULIMA: BEWITCHED

OLOXPS COUNT: 10 (mushrooms, locks and traps, cereal plants, encounter clearing, herald of Golot, bard songs, Golot's blessing, mausoleum keys, the arena, minions before bosses)

UNSOLVED MYSTERIES:
  • A Nasty Ogre blocks the north road from Velegarn, and Velegarn wants it dead.
  • The temple of Febret is open for business now that we've defeated Nengorth.
  • The witch Yoranwa dwells in "a forest north of Velegarn."
  • The arena in Sorrentia has more monsters to kill.
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  #77  
Old 08-10-2015, 11:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mogri View Post
Rubicante?
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  #78  
Old 08-11-2015, 10:34 AM
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Ohhh daaaang

But (spoilers) we won't fight the four elemental fiends until practically the end of the game.
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Old 08-11-2015, 06:45 PM
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Are they each guarding one of the crystals keys crystal keys?
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Old 08-11-2015, 09:51 PM
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The four princes are holding four of the eight keys. The other four are an absolute mystery, and no one can possibly okay yes they are.
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Old 08-14-2015, 11:58 AM
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PREVIOUSLY ON LET'S PLAY LORDS OF XULIMA: KILLED NENGORTH

AND NOW



With Nengorth dead, we have our pick of locations to explore. Common sense says the temple of Febret, since we just got the key, and while that would have been a good choice, I sort of forgot about it. So we're in Sorrentia instead, and when you pass through Sorrentia, you stop by the arena and do a few rounds. It's just what you do.



The arena is good for laser-targeted experience boosts, since the full experience for the battle goes to the sole combatant. This gets Gaulen to level 9, just one shy of learning Envenomed Strike. Gaulen is the only playable character who can learn this skill (although one of the summons has it or something functionally identical), which is a shame, because it's really good. There's not much that resists poison -- if it breathes, poison will work.

Envenomed strike turns Gaulen from a subpar combatant to one that can pull his weight. He shouldn't be the most powerful character on your team (and if he is, you've done something wrong), but he no longer feels like someone you're dragging along to pick mushrooms.



Rare is the arena battle where Rydia is a good pick, but it happens on occasion, so she hits 9 here, too. Starting at level 10, she'll unlock skills that give boosts to all of her summons. Heralds Vigor (apostrophe sold separately) is not worth picking up unless you're frontlining your summons for some reason (which, granted, I did just now in the arena, BUT STILL), but in a few levels, she'll be able to increase her heralds' speed and duration. Both are very useful, and the latter is especially welcome now that we're running into longer battles, and even random encounters are outlasting her summons. Because summons are on a fixed timer, though, increasing their speed will also cause them to take more turns before they go poof.

So we have more point-sinks to look forward to down the line, and when we finish with those, we may want to consider the skill that increases their PP, too. Divine Summoner is not recommended for beginning players. This is a really easy class to screw up.

Note that Edward is never a good pick for the arena.



Going forward, the roads in most areas are populated with thieves. They're like little shuriken dispensers.

At the Puny challenge rating and below, random encounters start avoiding you, and you have the option to avoid combat free of risk. Well, except for the implicit risk of losing that experience permanently, but you can't have everything -- this isn't Earthbound. You might expect me to say something about optimal play at this point, but I'm feeling generous.

Fixed encounters do not attempt to run from you, to the best of my knowledge.

Just past that gate, if you hug the left wall, you'll reach...



...the smallest map in the game. Now, all of the overworld maps are the same size, as far as I can tell, but this one only uses about a fourth of that real estate. It's pretty dense, though, as you'll

AROO AROO AROO



Oh come on.



We leave the battle with (read my lips) no new curses, although for that we have to thank three of our front row for coming into the battle with the curse that the hounds inflict. Rosa also hits 9 at this point, quite a bit later than everyone else. Why is Rosa lagging behind?

Well, it's not so much that Rosa is lagging behind as that everyone else is... uh, lagging ahead? See, Edward and Rydia are stacked with experience boosters, and everyone else has been rotating through the arena -- mostly Gaulen and Cecil, which resulted in them surpassing Edge and his Thief experience gains.

Anyway: at level 10, Rosa unlocks Light Ray, the Cleric's first attack spell. Is it good? Well, it's decent, and if you pump it, then it's actually really nice at level 14 when it maxes out. But it's also fairly PP-inefficient if you're not targeting undead, and she'll get some way better conjurations eventually (a very long time from now). Light Ray is a reasonable investment, especially given the dearth of other options at this stage in the game, but we'll pass on it.



Meanwhile, back on the farm... Oh, right, there's a farm here.



Hey, perfect! We have a quest to kill Yoranwa anyway.
*wham*
--I mean, yes, we'd be happy to rescue your son. (Geez, go easy!)

Caleb here is the game's only source of free healing. The orchard in his front lawn also has a considerable wealth of food. You can probably exploit this by staying in his bedroom until the fruit regrows. I have a suspicion that the hounds are tied to the in-game time, and I'm not having food problems anyway, so I don't.



the_wicker_man.jpg

Bees are fast, and they are proof positive that speed is the best stat in this game. I mentioned this already once upon a time, but speed determines not only your rate of action in battle (note how the timeline is filled with bees), but also your base evasion. These suckers fly like butterflies and sting like... well.

Magic is unavoidable. Our team has three potential sources of magic damage: scrolls, which are too costly to burn against bees; Rosa, who has opted not to learn Light Ray and won't get another new attack spell for at least 15 more levels; and Rydia's summons, which cast spells whenever they darn well feel like casting spells. Our secret weapon against bees is Edward, whose Song of Stunning has a good enough success rate that we can reliably take down a few of them.

Failing that, we have about a 30% chance to hit a bee in melee, which is pretty good, all things considered (hey, you try hitting a bee with a sword sometime), but it does result in us taking a lot of damage while the bees laugh at us. Speaking of which... these are totally wasps, not bees. But I'm not going to edit these last three paragraphs, because that would take effort and ruin the Wicker Man joke.



Yoranwa's cabin is cleverly hidden. If it weren't for Caleb and his good-for-nothing son, you would almost certainly go through the map without finding her. You need to hug the left wall of the forest to find the path that leads here. The other witches are similarly well-hidden, and on my first playthrough, I didn't find the third witch until I had nearly beaten the game. The witches are optional, but they have some nice rewards.



But first, demons.

Yoranwa's bouncers are terribly out-of-depth for our crew, which is why four of them have jumped ship in this shot. They have a very respectable melee attack, a fairly powerful fire spell, and an annoying dodge rate. We won't see another demon for some time. That's for the best.



Like Nengorth before her, Yoranwa's first line is voiced ("Come here, my young, handsome explorer"). Make a mental note of that.



I don't know why the game lets you chitchat with the witches, who are totally ancillary to the plot anyway.



"So it's true! The old woman in the witch hat standing on the bloody pentagram is a witch!"
Hey, you don't just bust into an old lady's house and kill her! You gotta give them the benefit of the doubt.

Yoranwa fights you even if you try to leave. Let's do this.



BIG OUCH.

Yoranwa's standard attack hits the entire party with crows. It deals moderate damage and a concerning amount of bleeding. She can also use a party-wide sleep spell or a single-target fire spell. You want the fire spell, because the crows are murder. (Laugh track.)

Lords of Xulima is happy to let you go as far as your sword will take you, and it's good at subtly suggesting that, hey, maybe you shouldn't be here yet. This is one such occasion. Yoranwa is out of our league, and the first sign, in hindsight, was that the demons at her front door totally rolled us.

But heck if I'm going to run back to Velegarn with my tail between my legs. I'm committed. I'll keep trying this battle until it goes my way.

"Come here, my young, handsome explorer."

"Come here, my young, handsome explorer."

"Come here, my young, handsome explorer."

"Come here, my young, handsome explorer."

"Come here, my MUTE
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  #82  
Old 08-14-2015, 11:59 AM
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After more attempts than I care to admit, she finally uses not-the-crows enough for me to scrape out a victory. Yeesh.



The kid is in one of the side areas. The witch's house is pretty small, but it does have a couple of secret doors and a lot of potions to pick up.



I bet we could get a lot of money for this.
Would you at least wait until we're out of earshot?

The Book of Life sells for a lot of money. Don't sell the Book of Life.



Elsewhere in this area, we run into a Riddle Imp. Not the first one we've encountered, but I failed to give them the mention they deserve before now. Riddle Imps guard a modest treasure, which they'll give you if you answer their questions in the form of the name of one of the Lords of Xulima. (Golot, in this case.)

Or! If you are the more enterprising sort, you can try fighting them. If you do this, they'll transform into a hulking Earth Guardian. A party optimized for fighting Earth Guardians can kill them with levels in the late 20s. Realistically, you need a much higher level, since the best party for fighting Earth Guardians is not so great at the rest of the game. There's a mandatory fight with an Earth Guardian near the end of the game.

There's a case to be made that the rewards for killing the Earth Guardian are better than what's in the chest, and certainly, if you want to play the game optimally, then you'll want the large amount of experience and herbs that they give. But optimal Lords of Xulima play sucks. You do still get a small amount of experience for answering the riddle anyway.

BACK IN SORRENTIA



The altar to Alnaet is right smack dab in the middle of the map. I knew this, and I still had a devil of a time reaching it. You have to come from the left.

Still, Alnaet's altar is very conveniently located. You see...



Hey, Gaulen. Alnaet is the god of life, right?
Yes, and the most powerful of the Lords of Xulima, too. Why do you ask?
I wonder if he'd like the book Caleb gave us.
Cecil, I strongly doubt that the god of all things living has any interest in what a mere mortal has to say on the matter.



Huh! I stand corrected.

We now have Alnaet's blessing on a permanent basis, granting us +10 maximum PP. It's a very nice bonus, especially this early in the game. Totally worth making the detour and no I didn't forget about the temple of Febret I just really wanted to kill the witch okay

NEXT TIME ON LET'S PLAY LORDS OF XULIMA: DE-CRYPTING

OLOXPS COUNT: 11 (mushrooms, locks and traps, cereal plants, encounter clearing, herald of Golot, bard songs, Golot's blessing, mausoleum keys, the arena, minions before bosses, riddle imps)

UNSOLVED MYSTERIES:
  • A nasty ogre blocks the north road from Velegarn, and Velegarn wants it dead.
  • The temple of Febret is open for business now that we've defeated Nengorth.
  • The arena in Sorrentia has ever more monsters to kill.
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  #83  
Old 08-18-2015, 03:17 PM
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PREVIOUSLY ON LET'S PLAY LORDS OF XULIMA: KILLED WITCH #1

AND NOW



After a totally-justified detour to off the first of the N Sisters (2 < N < 5, exact value hazy, ask again later) and obtain Alnaet's blessing, we find ourselves in the temple of Febret. Either the temple has been redecorated recently, or the priesthood of Febret is comically inept at housecleaning.



"They" killed everyone in the temple but left the high priest's note conveniently near the entrance.

Also, I call shenanigans. The doors are not sealed.



Edge.
What's up?
Do you know why we're here?
"Here" in the metaphysical sense, or "here" as in the temple?
The temple, Edge.
Oh, that's easy. We're here because we got a key.
We are here to purify the temple. We are here to rid it of Yul's taint. We are here to overthrow Yul, and WOULD YOU STOP WORSHIPPING HIM ALREADY?
What has Golot done for you lately?



Did this guy go to the Ellipsis School of Writing? This note is terribly written.
There's a huge pile of bodies here and you're complaining about the -- oh. Oh, yeah. I can see that. That really is something.

As the note suggests, the passage north of here is filled with spiders, which in this case is a fancy damage terrain instead of combat. The prison in Nengorth's castle is the first time you'll see the webs-with-spiders terrain. I opted to skip it, leaving a live prisoner in his cell to rot because he gave a paltry amount of experience in exchange for taking a large amount of spider damage.

MORAL: If you must be an NPC, make sure you offer rewards commensurate with the task you require of the heroes. If you only learn one thing from this LP, let it be this.



Do you hear that heavy breathing?
S-sorry. I forgot my inhaler.

(How many of these screenshots show that I just quicksaved? Probably lots of them. F5 and F8 are the quicksave/quickload hotkeys. Use them religiously.)



If you aren't the quicksaving type, this arboretum is very dangerous. The trees serve as an effective maze, and the skeletons in the garden have some really nice rewards, so you may end up spending more time here than is safe.



Any time at all in the garden is unsafe. The Cursed Guardian is a palette-swap of the Earth Guardians that I mentioned last update. It's almost certainly easier, not that you would know it at this level. If Gaulen isn't level 10 yet, it's worthwhile to spend the PP on Camouflage.

Or you can just quicksave/quickload. That's what I do.

On Ironman, though, Camouflage is definitely the way to go. Everything in here resists poison anyway.



The temple of Febret puts us over our collective weight limit for the first time. This is basically a factor of when the chests contain body armor, since breastplates and plate mail are much heavier than anything else.

The tooltip says our movement speed is decreased, and if that meant what it sounds like it means, then I would avoid overload like the plague. What it actually does is cause the clock to advance more quickly when we're walking around, making our food deplete more quickly. I can deal with that, especially since time slows to a crawl in indoor maps. You don't want to be overloaded in the desert, for example, but in general, it's fine, and we'll remedy the issue with a trip to the vendor when we're done here.

Note that there are two types of encumbrance. Character encumbrance is determined by the Strength stat and the Armor skill, and equipment has a separate inventory weight and equip weight, which doesn't make a lot of sense, but it makes the higher-quality armor harder to equip without making it harder to carry. As an additional "huh?", equipped gear doesn't contribute towards your inventory weight.

Inventory encumbrance is determined by your party's total Constitution stat. It's not usually a big issue as long as you put points into your casters' Constitution regularly.



Here's the Cursed Earth Guardian dealing 132 damage to Gaulen, no big deal.

You can't realistically beat the Cursed Guardian at this level, obviously, but certain party setups can abuse some degenerate strategies to kill it much earlier than usual. There are two approaches to Earth Guardians: either you wound-lock them, or you burn them.

Wound-locking relies on your ability to deal a lot of wounds in a small amount of time. When an Earth Guardian has about 20 wounds or more, it will cast Cure Wounds. If you can inflict 20 wounds between each of its turns, it will never attack you. Right now, the Guardian is significantly faster than us, and Gaulen is our only wounder anyway.

The burning approach is the real abusive strategy, and it's kind of funny in a slapstick sort of way. You dedicate all of your party members to inflicting as much burn as possible before the Guardian kills them, and when you're down to one party member, you move to the extreme edge of the battle formation. The Guardian will move to follow, so you move again. Every time the Guardian acts, it takes burn damage. Imagine this huge thing chasing you in circles while burning to death.

Even with the burn strategy, you have to have a party member who's at least as fast as the Guardian. Buying the +5 Speed blessing from the priestess can help out here, but I strongly suspect that we'd still be underleveled even then (not to mention that this particular party is clearly not equipped to inflict enough burns to kill one of these).

Anyway, I bring all this up because the Cursed Guardian is the only enemy that despawns when you purify the temple. I know I've already mentioned "minions before bosses" on the list, but optimal Lords of Xulima play sucks to a special extent when it involves one of these monstrosities.
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Old 08-18-2015, 03:18 PM
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To clear the temple, you have to find and defeat the three other fixed encounters located exactly where you would expect they would be on the minimap. That will deactivate the magic barriers blocking this sanctum, for reasons not adequately explained.



Gaulen, Yul is the steward of souls. As such, part of him is indeed in all of us, and when we meet the end that awaits all men, our souls shall return to the Twilight of Numbria.
Shut up and fight.



The Herald of Yul is so thoroughly unremarkable that I failed to capture a single screenshot. He has more or less the exact moveset of Nengorth and isn't appreciably more threatening.

BUT WHAT'S THIS? The Herald's soul has returned to Yul! I'm sure that won't come back to haunt us later.



Well, that's about the most unsettling thing I've ever seen.
Whoa -- whoops!
Edward! What have you done?
Sorry, boss...



I dropped the priceless artifact into the terrifying pit of despair.
Well, would you look at that! It cleared right up.


NEXT TIME ON LET'S PLAY LORDS OF XULIMA: I TALK TO THE TREES

OLOXPS COUNT: 12 (mushrooms, locks and traps, cereal plants, encounter clearing, herald of Golot, bard songs, Golot's blessing, mausoleum keys, the arena, minions before bosses, riddle imps, Cursed Earth Guardian)

UNSOLVED MYSTERIES:
  • A nasty ogre blocks the north road from Velegarn, and Velegarn wants it dead.
  • The arena in Sorrentia has ever more monsters to kill.
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  #85  
Old 08-19-2015, 10:08 AM
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Beowulf Beowulf is offline
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This LP is delightful. I'm glad I'm reading it and not playing this game, which has a ton of gameplay elements that I typically hate!
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Old 08-19-2015, 11:25 AM
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Out of curiosity, which would those be? There are several that are pretty bad in other games that I feel LoX got right -- food being the prime example.

If I have one overarching complaint about the game mechanics, it's that it's too easy to screw up your character builds. I don't know what a good solution would be -- in other RPGs, I'd say it needs a re-spec option, but here, balancing short-term and long-term needs is an explicit feature of the skill system. (For example, investing 10 skill points in Light Heal is borderline necessary to get any mileage out of an early Cleric, but you won't use the spell later on. The Mage is an even more extreme case of this.)
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Old 08-19-2015, 02:13 PM
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Among them, I think the limited XP and risk of permanently screwing up your character/party build are the worst. I also generally dislike food/time mechanics, even when they're done well. But I think it's mostly that limited XP/treasure (especially when it's missable or randomly generated) makes the game less an rpg and more a painful sort of optimization puzzle. And while I'm sure you don't need to be particularly extreme about that on easier difficulties, it combines with my anxieties to make games non-fun.
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  #88  
Old 08-19-2015, 02:34 PM
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aturtledoesbite aturtledoesbite is offline
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Meanwhile, what does it for me is this picture, right here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mogri like a month ago
I hate equipment systems that involve balancing hundreds of little percentages. Just...no. Screw that.
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Old 08-19-2015, 03:32 PM
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@Beowulf: Are you insinuating that optimal Lords of Xulima play sucks? That seems pretty controversial.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aturtledoesbite View Post
I hate equipment systems that involve balancing hundreds of little percentages. Just...no. Screw that.
Oh, yes, the Torchlight Effect. Actually, experience is the only thing in the game with percentage bonuses, and on equipment, it only comes in two flavors (+3% and +5%). There are also a lot of enchantments that give small bonuses to resistances, and I just ignore them.

For weapons, the enchantment is generally less important than the base item, and it's often worthwhile to use something unenchanted. Not so with armor and accessories. The difference between 40 and 60 defense pales in comparison to the other bonuses available in those slots, especially since there are spells to provide defense buffs.

Armor/accessory enchantments come in a few varieties:
  • +XP, just to make optimal Lords of Xulima play that much more fun. Now, as much as I go on about this, I do have to point out that the ~20% increase from a full set of Prophet gear is probably in the ballpark of four extra levels at the end of the game, given the experience curve. The Learning skill is more relevant, since it eventually gives you something like +50%. These bonuses stack additively, so the +4% bonus for choosing Golot as your patron ends up mattering little, too. For our early purposes, though, these are a good way of getting Edward to Usefulville in a hurry. Late in the game (where you get more XP from battles!), you probably want something else.
  • Resistances, for instance. Resist enchantments are common as they are useless, at least early on. Unlike +XP, this category increases with the quality of the gear, and I'm about 80% sure that your resistance values are flat percentage mitigation, meaning the more of these you have, the more effective they are. Worth looking into, but not for quite some time.
  • Core stats are my pick in the meanwhile. These also increase with the quality of the gear, but early on, +1 Agility might be all that's between you and equipping that shiny new weapon you found. This is also the only way to get increased damage out of your non-weapon slots.
  • Other stuff tends to be mostly bad. There's probably a good build out there rocking all +evasion, but I don't know why I'd ever put +defense in my ring slot.

Importantly, unlike Torchlight and Diablo, there's no crossover. No piece of equipment falls into more than one of these categories, and weapons can't have any of these enchantments. You're not balancing a million little numbers.

One thing I haven't mentioned: all of the gear in the game is random. The merchant randomizes his stock every few days, and every run will have different chest contents. The merchant gear has a strong tendency to be A) worthwhile and B) affordable, which is a rare combination for this sort of game. A "living off the land" run could go through the entire game without filling all of everyone's equipment slots.
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Old 08-19-2015, 03:59 PM
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I'm curious to see if all this Yul worship makes a difference plot wise or if it's just going to be optional flavor.

Spoiler theory:
I bet Yul was the side that wanted to intervene in the war to protect all the souls and the other Lords voted him down leading to the 'screw you guys I'll do it myself moment.
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