Dead Man's Well

Now that we've finally secured the Orichalcum Dolphin, we can return to Vanguard to get the control room up and running again.

Placing the statue in its appropriate position, the room lights up some more, and the screen (or window?) behind the statue allows us to see outside into the ocean.

But Vanguard still isn't moving. Mikhail wonders what else we might need to get the place going, so we decide to go ask the Captain about it.

He tells us that we're going to need mages skilled with Genbu arts to move Vanguard. Well, we have Tiberius, but we need like... a whole team of mages it seems, so we have to go gather them up.

When Mikhail asks where we might go to look for mages to assemble, he says that it seems like a lot of Genbu mages are already gathering in Moses to the south. Well, that sounds convenient!

Moses is one of the only places on the map we still haven't visited yet, but if you remember, people in nearby towns talked about how it had been split in two. There's actually two places to enter the town from the world map here, both a north and south. We'll go ahead and enter from the north.

Walking around here, everyone seems to be a mage. They say that Undine is tutoring them in magic arts. In one of the houses, someone comments that Undine only gathers good-looking guys to be her apprentices.

So it sounds like this Undine character is forming a harem party of hot guys, too. Mikhail understands deeply and is interested in meeting this person with a shared interest.

At the southern edge of the town, there's someone blocking the road. Seems the place is off-limits, and we can't go there for now.

We head into another building, and a mage behind a counter yells out at us asking who we are. Another mage says it doesn't matter who we are -- we're the perfect opportunity to try out the new formation.

And all of a sudden, we're being attacked. Honestly these don't look like hot guys to me. The look like jester dolls and there are no mustaches??? Undine has terrible taste.

I used to think you had to complete this in order to recruit Herman -- I don't know why, so I used to always come and do this really early, and this was a very difficult battle. But it was very easy this time, coming a bit later into the game. Not that we're even particularly far yet.

It helps that the mages were also susceptible to Nap...

Afterward, the Undine we've been hearing about comes down the stairs and scolds her apprentices and apologizes to us. And then... asks us for a favor. She wants us to go to the south half of town and kill Volcano. No explanation. Just, "Sorry these kids went berserk on you. Want to go off someone for me?"

We can respond either yes or no. We need to be on her good side, though, because we need the Genbu mages to be our slaves instead of hers so they can make a city move around...

After accepting her task, we can wander around her house with a bunch of teleport tiles everywhere, and find a couple treasures to take from her. One is another Sorceress's Eye, but more importantly, we also find the Robe of Lakes. This is a pretty nice defensive armor, and whoever is wearing it will also regenerate HP when the elemental field is in water. I give it to Herman, since he's hanging out in the back row and the extra magic defense will be more useful than having high physical defense, and his low LP welcomes some extra healing ability.

If we step on all the teleporters just right, we can actually find Undine's room. There's a door near the main entrance that has a teleporter behind it that takes you straight here, but we can't access it now.

Since we've made peace with Undine, we tell her that we need her harem to help us move Vanguard, and would appreciate her cooperation.

She tells us that she can't offer right now -- as long as Volcano is still around, she can't let the mages leave Moses, but she'll gladly offer them to us after we kill him.

So, it looks like we really have to go kill someone for this...

The mage guarding the south exit allows us through now, since Mikhail seems much more familiar with the mages now. We pass through a tiny island between the north and south half of the town that has a well in the middle, and head to the south side.

But there's a different-colored mage here that is blocking the way like before... and he won't let us through.

So we leave the town out the north exit and enter the southern side of Moses from the world map.

There seem to be a lot of mages wandering around this place, too. There's also a pub here, but no inn, while the northern side had an inn but no pub.

A woman at the pub tells us the well on the little island between the two halves of town is known as Dead Man's Well, because apparently you can find corpses in there. Mikhail and friends are giddy already. We love corpses!

We also gather that Undine and Volcano are gathering mages to build a mage army to fight each other, because they're both after something in Dead Man's Well.

We find another building with mages eager to attack us. In fact, the dialogue here is almost exactly like last time. This time they want to try a new item rather than formation, but... I don't think it really means anything. We're just going to fight them.

These ones don't even look human! I guess they couldn't be bothered to create unique sprites and just used some monster sprites or something. These things fall asleep easily and go down even easier than Undine's mages.

Afterward, Volcano comes down the stairs and scolds them -- this dialogue is literally an exact copy/paste of Undine's dialogue. The only difference is he asks us to kill Undine from the north, rather than saying Volcano from the south.

So, uh, we just say yes? I mean, it doesn't really matter if we're going to kill him anyway, right?

Climbing his building is different than Undine's -- his is just an endless looping staircase that if you go high enough, you'll eventually end up at the ground floor again. He has a treasure room, too, but each chest is guarded by mages who won't let us pass. Even though we said yes!

When we talk to Volcano, we're given the option to go ahead and carry out our assassination attempt. But for now, we choose not to, to see what he has to say.

We tell him about our need for Genbu arts to move Vanguard, and he says that his mages aren't skilled in that area, but once we kill Undine for him, he can easily make her mages into our Vanguard-moving team.

To be honest, I don't really like this whole murder-someone-to-get-a-pack-of-slaves thing.

So instead, we head to Dead Man's Well. Maybe if we can figure out why they're fighting over this place, we can settle their dispute and get the help of the mages that way.

Now that we have the trust of both head mages, we can tell the guards from each group standing in front of the well that Undine or Volcano is summoning them, and they'll just run off with their gullible little feet.

Inside the well, we first find a Bloody Sword. I don't think this is what we're looking for. The Bloody Sword curses whomever equips it, and you can't unequip it until you use its special weapon art. It's not really worth equipping to me, but I've never really tried it because I hardly ever use swords (this run, though, I'm using two people with swords!)

This place is teeming with creepy-looking enemies. I guess I should take this time to note that there are actually two entire classes of undead monsters in this game -- there's skeletons, which are a class of their own, and then regular undead, which are typically more zombie-like. This is one of those, not a skeleton.

Undeads are scary because they often are resistant to most status effects, and status effects are a big part of this team's strategies.

There's also these super cute bagworm monster things.

And remember when we had to fight four blue fireballs before? We're just now being presented with just one at a time.

There are also these big axe-wielding executioner guys, who are also undead. They resist status effects, are very fast, and have a rushing attack that can stun the entire party (making them lose their action for that turn). And they like to show up in groups.

Somewhere down in the well is a secret passage. I know there is a secret passage and every time I play this game, I forget where it is. The problem is you have to go through the secret passage if you want to solve the problem this way. But I have so much trouble finding it that I have to exit the well twice to go stay at the inn because I completely run out of WP or JP on multiple characters...

I guess I should note that there are multiple ways to solve the problem here -- you actually can kill Undine or Volcano and get the Genbu mages to join you that way. But I don't like having to do that, because, well, that's really messed up.

Here's just a cool animation. Trucks using Soul Freeze, a Lunar art that makes this skeleton face thing appear and blow icy wind around the screen. Not only does this do damage to all the enemies, but it can also paralyze them, too!

The monsters down here are kind of a high rank, but manageable, so in my time running around trying to find the secret passage, I did get a lot of stats up, and glimmered some nice arts, too.

Trucks glimmered Imprison, which is a Foil art that paralyzes the opponent. This is nice because he has a much higher Foil level than Bow level, so he'll be more likely to inflict paralysis with it. Plus it costs 0 WP, where Shadow Sew costs 1 WP. Shadow Sew has the advantage of being able to hit any enemy, though, which is really a huge deal. Imprison can only hit enemies within close attacking range, so enemies in the back row are off limits.

THIS IS WHERE THE SECRET PASSAGE IS.

Right after entering here, Ward glimmered Megahawk. Megahawk is like an upgraded version of Tomahawk, the axe-throwing art. It's stronger and it throws a bunch of axes to hit all enemies.

I didn't really realize it when I glimmered it, but this was probably critical to my success moving forward.

Behind the secret passage there's just a single undead enemy standing at the top of a staircase. It doesn't chase or engage you, but you can interact with it to start the boss battle here.

You have to fight an undead necromancer and some minions. And he can summon more minions.

This can be a pretty difficult fight, especially if you come here very early in the game (like I always would). I would get stuck on this fight a lot.

Because the necromancer is protected by the enemies in front of him and keeps summoning more, you have to be able to target him with ranged attacks or arts that hit all enemies. The gargoyles in front take multiple turns to defeat, so it's not likely you can just wipe them out and count on Ward dealing a big blow at the end of the turn each turn.

The ghosts in the back are not too hard to take out, but the gargoyles take forever. The necromancer itself is pretty tough, too. It also has a shield, so it can deflect some attacks, including arrows from Bow arts.

I'm not sure if it can be paralyzed -- going into the battle, I felt like I remembered that it could be paralyzed. I used Shadow Sew on it, and the arrow contacted and the necromancer did the flashing animation. Normally this happens when an enemy is successfully paralyzed with Shadow Sew. If the enemy can't be paralyzed, the arrow will still hit, but the enemy doesn't flash, and they don't become paralyzed.

So it did do the flashing animation, but it also played the shield blocking sound. So I think the arrow connected but it hit its shield? So maybe if that hadn't happened, it would have become paralyzed. I don't know. I stopped trying to paralyze it after that anyway.

The necromancer is able to use Nap itself, which is scary.

But we were able to defeat it without anyone dying! Having access to Tiberius's powerful Thunderclap art (I didn't try Daybreak lol), Herman and Trucks's bow arts, Ward's Megahawk, and Mikhail's variety of arts that I could use on whichever target I needed to hit, the battle wasn't as hard as I was expecting.

Afterward, the enemy drops an item called Devil Emperor's Shield. Sounds like a relic from the Devil Emperor Era. And something that would probably have some mages warring over it...

When we leave the well with the shield in our possession... in seems we get busted.

Undine and Volcano both ask that we hand the shield over to them, then realize the best solution would just be to team up together and kill us first, then they can... continue fighting about the shield, I guess.

So with no opportunity to rest at the inn after fighting the last boss battle and going all the way in and out of the cave fighting the strong undeads inside, we now have to fight a boss even harder than what we've been fighting already.

Also, Undine's leg. lol.

Both of them can be paralyzed, but they also tend to break out of it right away (as in, at the end of the same turn you paralyzed them), so it can be kind of helpful, but I'd rather spend my turns dealing damage and just deal with taking the extra damage they do from being free to move.

Undine raises a water shield early on, which heals her for a ton of HP if there's a water elemental field (which there was for almost the entire battle since Undine and Tiberius both spammed water-based magic arts...)

She takes extra damage from Trucks's Screwdriver since she's female, but her water shield will randomly completely absorb any physical attack made against her, so it ended up being completely deflected many times.

Volcano has some scary abilities, too, but for some reason he just did this stupid yelling thing a lot which just does a little bit of damage to everyone (as well as wakes them up). It even damages Undine. But like, it's seriously just 5 damage or something??

Megahawk was again extremely useful here, too. I really glimmered it at just the right time... without it, both of these boss battles would have been much more difficult.

After defeating them, we don't actually kill them, but just convince them to get along, pointing out that they've ignored the well-being of the people of Moses to pursue their petty fighting.

And now we have both of them on our side!

We can go grab Volcano's treasures now as they're unguarded. And the 'shortcuts' to get to Volcano and Undine's rooms are now easily accessible.

Talking to either of them will allow them to teach us magic arts. Undine teaches Genbu arts and Volcano teaches Suzaku arts. The receptionists (?) in their homes will also teach us Solar and Lunar arts.

Talking to Undine also gives us the option to ask her to join the party. For some reason you can't recruit Volcano, even though he's handsome. In Imperial SaGa, Volcano was made a playable character. As was The Professor. And even some enemies. But not Tiberius. I will never stop being bitter about this...

We also are able to ask Undine about the mages assisting in moving Vanguard again, and she offers her full cooperation. So now we can finally see Vanguard in motion!

Before heading back to Vanguard, I went to put some stuff in storage and sell some stuff, and I noticed I had items in storage. There were 2 of all the items that I had created for Mikhail on the throne, including the ones that were originally started at the workshop. This is especially nice because that means I got two protect suits.

I don't know why I didn't think about why I never actually received all those items before... I just... never even thought about it? So now I have a bunch of new items I didn't realize I had.

And what's especially great is that we also got two Death Rings. Death Ring raises defense pretty well, negates mental status effects, and raises magic by two. This brings Tiberius's magic to a total of 26 now! That's... really high! The thing is, these kinds of 'death' items tend to have bad side effects, like making you always poisoned or draining your HP or making you zombie-like (so you can't recover HP). Stuff like that. So we'll have to see what it's like in battle. But it can still be very useful in situations where we can deal with the side effect, so having two of these in the inventory is pretty cool.

Normally you can only get these from the workshop, and it takes a Death Fragment to create one, which is a hard-to-find item.

So now it's time to head back to Vanguard now that we've secured the cooperation of a team of Genbu mages.