Epic Age of Pigeon
The Era of Crow has ended, and it's time to choose another Emperor. We were presented with the options of with another Vagabond, a Light Infantry, a Heavy Infantry, and a Ranger. Sadly, no Saigo Clansmen.
With a Speed stat of 20, and me still kind of missing Crow after his unexpected passing, I ended up choosing Pigeon, the Vagabond, as our new Emperor.
The first thing we do is sit on the throne, and Pigeon calls for a Peep. He has an idea to build a university (to "attract intelligent folk" lmao) which sounds SO COOL AND I WANT IT SO BADDDDDD
But it costs 2,000,000Kr, which we don't have in funds right now. Very close but not quite. So no uni for us :(
I don't even know what it does but I want it. So I guess we gotta go adventure a bit and make some money. But first we need another party.
Since we now have access to Mages-for-Hire, we go straight to our research facility and talk to them. I've always kept a Court Mage in the party prior, but now I wanna try one of these guys out! We have the option between Lily and Algol, and of course there's still the two Court Mages, and Topaz the Court Mage was so cute and had a cool color scheme (yellow clothes!) and Capricon seemed like a solid addition to the party...
So, I went against my own rules and cheated a little. I invited them all into the team to compare their stats and starting magic spells and stuff to decide who I wanted...
In the end, Lily the Mage-for-Hire had the lowest Logic and highest Magic of the four, so she easily won out, and we invited her into the party. Which is also cool because I have one of the Mage-for-Hire ladies in my Imperial SaGa main party, too.
We also now have access to the Comsology spell "Sunlight," which is an offensive spell that's a bit more costly than the ones we can already use, though it doesn't seem to be particularly better in power.
We head up to the R&D Peeps just to see what they have to say, and Weapons Peep wants to develop a new spear, which is cool I guess, but he wants 1.2 million Crowns so we immediately tell him to fuck off.
Our next order of business is of course RECRUIT BELLY DAD so we head to the Saigo Mu encampment thing. But they're not there, so they must have migrated across the Straight...
We head south to the Straight which is indeed frozen over. It ends up being one of those slidey-ice puzzles like the ones in Pokémon games. Basically, as soon as you touch the ice, you lose control of your character and keep sliding in that direction until you hit something. Then you can press another direction and go sliding again... so you have to figure out a way to get to where you want with the weird mechanics. There are also cracks in the ground that turn into holes when you cross over them, but the holes don't function as a hazard to make you fall into the icy straight, but rather then become 'stopping points' for you to bump while sliding.
The "solution" is basically to go in circles a few times and you'll hit enough cracks to stop at one that lets you through to the bottom half of the Straight, where the exit is in the far bottom-right corner and easy to get to. It's hardly even a puzzle -- more of just an inconvenience. There are also some tentacle enemies wandering around the ice, and you can press the dash button to speed up while sliding or let go to slow down, so you can try to avoid them while doing it. Fortunately, we didn't get into any battles (which would have been devastating, since Pigeon and Lily would not have been able to take them on their own -- they don't even have equipment on yet!) and I don't know if you can run from battles while on the ice, so...
I was planning on just seeing if it would be easy to get to the Saigo Peeps, planning to just head back to the World Map if it seemed to hard. But here we are sliding around the middle of a tentacle rink...
On the other side, we're able to go straight to the Mu encampment, though! So it wasn't that bad. The tentacles were few enough that they weren't that hard to avoid at all, though I guess it's possible to get really unlucky with them. We meet Harfagre (lol what a name) and recruit him instantly. So now we're up to three. Actually, looking at my screenshots, it looks like I must have actually loaded the save after checking out the four mages and then went straight to Harfagre and then back to Avalon to recruit Lily.
Harfagre is our first Saigo Clansman to recruit! He starts with high Martial Arts and Club/Staff Levels, and all his stats are kinda mediocre except for Strength and Stamina. But, like, who cares about stats. Belly and beard.
One of the Mu Peeps says the "ruins in the east are too much" which opens up Gelid Ruins on the map. I don't know what this is, but if we can help the Daddy Tribe, I want to do it. (Do you people ever get sick of me?? LOL)
But we still need more party members...
We try heading back to the "merchants" and we still can't recruit one of the Pirate Peeps. Since we already have a Vagabond, I decide to recruit a Ranger into the party, forgetting that their speed is really not that great. And I was kind of conflicted for the last slot, so I went out to the Dragon's Lair Brawlers to recruit another class we haven't tried yet. So we end up going and recruiting Dynamite. Actually we may have had one of these guys before but they didn't last long or something? I don't remember. Anyway, they're good at Martial Arts and that's about it.
So with Pigeon, Lily, Harfagre, Anne, and Dynamite, we have our full party ready for some adventures.
Information Peep tells us that Hiraga the inventor wants to show us his new invention or something, so we go visit him in Somon. I can't remember if I talked about this guy before, but there's always an inventor named Hiraga here, but he says he's from a different generation each time the time skips ahead. So this time we're talking with Hiraga XII.
His new invention is a "cooling machine" which is that weird contraption behind him in the screenshot. It's like a fan blade on top and a box of streamers on bottom...? It's weird. He asks us if we'd like to try it and we go inside the box, and the streamers start flipping around and the blade turns. We pop back out and complain about being exhausted and say it's not even cool.
Afterward, Hiraga tells us he has an idea for a bridge over the Victor Canal. We say we can't have a bridge because ships won't be able to get through, and that's the whole point of the canal. But he says he has an idea for a bridge that can also let ships through, and asks to build it. But then he wants 1,000,000Kr for funding... Pigeon complains but we accept the offer, putting us further away from getting the Intellectual Folk to come hang out in our university... but I figured if it's anything like before, it'll take a while before a Peep will let me ask about the university again anyway.
We head over the canal to see if maybe we can talk to Hiraga during the construction or something, but... the bridge is already finished! I really wasn't expecting that. Hiraga brags for a bit and now we can cross without having to take the little ferry and all that nonsense.
There didn't seem to be anything else to do with the bridge for now. I guess I just paid 1,000,000 Crowns to avoid the inconvenience of the ferry... yay...
Other than visiting Hiraga, Information Peep doesn't have anything else for me to do, so we head straight for the Gelid Ruins to help out the Daddy Tribe!
This place is kinda cool looking, and a bit intimidating. There's LOTS of doors which I always feel overwhelmed when presented with. As much as it may seem like bad level design, I actually really do enjoy the simple, straightforward dungeons we've had so far. There's some amount of excitement to exploring and stuff, especially when you get to make a map as you do it, but in a game like this, honestly, I don't want to be trying to remember where to go on top of all the other stuff I have to worry about. It makes me appreciate the decision to remove dungeons completely from SCARLET GRACE even more.
Fortunately, though, all the doors just lead to tiny little rooms with treasures in it. I was anxious for nothing!
... JUST KIDDING the boxes are, rather than treasure, filled with monsters! And I forgot to set my formation after making the new party! So there's actually a lot to fret about.
Well, the enemies aren't terribly hard so it's really not so bad.
And some of the boxes actually do have treasure. We manage to find 250,000Kr in one of the first ones, which is a nice step back toward getting our university. Only a million more to go...!
Which I guess isn't that much if a single chest can give you a quarter of that. Or even better, like the next chest that scored us 350,000!
Eventually we reach a room with some platforms we can't reach immediately, so we have to press buttons on the far sides of the room to create staircases to the top. There's a huge thing pacing around in the middle of the floor, so we kinda avoid it for a bit and grab the treasure off to the side, which thankfully is not another swarm of monsters. We get the Grim Reaper, which is a pretty powerful bow with an attack of 27! And if it's anything like similar bows in the series, it might glimmer a unique bow skill, too!
We head to the big guy in the center of the room and enter a fight with a Giant. And uh, this thing is absolutely terrifying. It gets multiple actions per turn, and can KO any party member in a single hit. Even Daddyfagre who is standing in the front and decked out in the best armor we have...
Since he's basically just a really big human, though, he's at least susceptible to stuff like Stun, and his attacks can be countered, too. But, uh, all it takes is one missed counter and Harfagre is dead.
And everyone died pretty fast... We didn't have enough time to keep up on the healing and everything, and only Pigeon was fast enough to regularly attack first and get a stun in, and it's not like Stun activates with a 100% success rate...
So we're back in Avalon picking another new Emperor... definitely our shortest Era yet. We choose the Mage-for-Hire Algol this time, because our Emperor does have access to some really nice Magic Levels, so we may as well make use of it.
Realizing the importance of having quick characters to stun the Giant, we throw together a party using both Vagabonds, Mouse and Starling, as the flanks of the Imperial Cross formation, and we grab Capricorn for some magic damage from the back because magic is awesome in this series.
We head south to the Mu encampment, and it seems that the Saigo Peeps are on the north side of the Straight again. But this time, the Clansman won't join the party. Instead, he talks about how there's a Mu Calf and a child missing, but they have to leave them behind despite knowing where they are, because it's migration time. It sounds kind of cruel, but if they go after them, they can't migrate with the Mus across the Straight and then everyone dies, so it's a choice between sacrificing two and sacrificing everyone... the two will die either way, so may as well save everyone, right? I'm glad I don't have to make these kinds of decisions in life.
But that opens up a dungeon in the southwest called "Child and Mu Calf" which is probably the worst name for a cave ever.
It's a pretty big place with all these holes in the ground. Falling in them lands you in monster traps and you can climb back out. When we walk next to one, we can hear some crying, and if we fall down that hole, it's not a monster trap. As we continue traveling through the giant cave, we keep encountering tons of path options, but walking near one will always make the crying sound and notification, so it seems the goal is to follow the sound of the crying to find the kids.
Because I was hoping solving this little problem would let us recruit the Clansman, who I wanted to finish off the party with, we went in with only four members. I want to take a moment to say that this game has some absolutely creepy monster designs. They're very cool, but also the things of nightmares.
Mouse glimmered a bow skill called Execution Arrows, which I am guessing is a unique skill for the Grim Reaper. She points the bow to the sky, shoots a bunch of arrows upward, and they rain down upon the enemies, striking straight down through their heads. Any enemy that is hit by an arrow instantly dies. And the success rate seems pretty high! It does cost 7 SP, though, so we can't just get through every battle with it easily.
Eventually, though, I couldn't figure out where to go next because I couldn't hear any cries and everything seemed like a dead end, so I just gave up and left. We ended up recruiting the Heavy Infantry Tortoise to the party and decided to head back over the Straight again to try to fight the Giant once more. Maybe if we can help the Saigo out they'll join the party anyway...? Even though... the part is full...?
Well, I'm just determined to beat this thing since I was mad that it killed Pigeon.
We do end up finally bumping one of the tentacles on the ice. Even when holding the dash button to slide faster, it doesn't seem to break your formation when you bump an enemy here, so that's nice.
With no treasures to open, we don't have to explore all the little doors in the ruins, so we can just walk straight to the Giant again.
This time, things are quite a bit easier. Mouse and Starling can use Feint and Trip respectively to Stun the Giant, and with both of them moving first, there's a pretty good chance the Giant just won't get any attacks at all, as Stun stops all of its actions for the turn. Meanwhile, Tortoise uses Parry just in case both Stuns fail, in which case the Giant will most likely attack Tortoise, and we have one more chance to avoid damage. Algol and Capricorn spend all of their time spamming their strongest spells (which at this point is still pretty much Blades of Wind) on the Giant, unless anyone has been attacked, in which they heal them up instead.
And just to be safe, both of them focus on healing even if only one bout of Water is needed to heal someone up fully... just in case the Stuns fail and the Giant happens to target one of our two mages. I don't want to take any chances. This is going to be a slow, steady, and safe fight.
And SLOW is right. This thing had like 999999999999 HP or something. I think I was battling it for a solid 30 minutes. I feel like maybe we weren't supposed to come fight this yet... but here we are! Though it's good to know you can beat it early if you use the right strat. But if you don't have the right party for it, you can always just come in and grab the Grim Reaper and walk back out.
Eventually, though, the Giant was felled, and we got tons of boosts. Algol got a raise in HP, Pyrology, and Aerology. Capricorn got HP, Hydrology, and Aerology. Tortoise got Sword, Mouse got HP and Foil, and Starling got HP. We also managed to glimmer a few skills and saw through Blunt Strike during the battle!
In addition to all our Levels Up, we also got to loot the chest behind the Giant, scoring us an Amethyst Axe, which has a whopping thirty-six attack power! For comparison, our best axe before this one had an attack power of 12, and I thought the Grim Reaper's power of 27 was pretty huge!
When we head back to the Daddy Tribe, though, they still don't want to join up with us for now and don't even acknowledge that we beat up the Giant for them. Which I guess makes sense, since they're on the opposite side of the Straight. And they're still talking about how they don't have time to go save the kids even though they totally could have gone and done it while we were off fighting the Giant.
I didn't manage to post a picture last time, but if you're curious why I'm so enamored with the Saigo Peeps, THIS IS WHY. And there's a bunch of hot arts of them strewn throughout Imperial SaGa as well, dehehehe....
But yeah, I can't complain when we got a fantastic axe and a bunch of Levels Up. So next time we'll have to go figure out something else to do in the Era of Algol...