Cavern Adventure

With access to four new towns and the fact that Pharr comes with Artiste (the skill that unlocks the additional inventory in shops), we're now able to do a lot more shopping to look for the items on our list. Stuff like Cotton, Cedar, and Copper are pretty easy finds, and I try to pick up the cheapest bestial stones I can, while ignoring the more expensive ones (since I figure I'll have plenty of opportunity to find cheaper ones later, or just buy them at a premium once I have more money).

So we were able to add a ton to our list!

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And then Yun appeared again as we exited a shop. We see him studying the tablet again. So it seems that he indeed studies the tablet the more we acquire items for the list. It's probably just a percentage of how many items you have versus how many total you need, rather than trying to weigh them by rarity or something.

So we head back to Loch Vaan to talk to Yun again. He's discovered that the Earth item is Behemoth's Chain, and it's somewhere in the Cavern of Murals. He asks us what he should work on next, and I pick Metal. Gotta get to Vaftom.

Now we have access to Cavern Adventure from any inn.

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Heading to the Cavern of Murals, we find Kong Ming at the entrance. If you've forgotten him, well, I don't blame you. He's the "gurlz r dum" guy from Ruby's scenario that we quickly dismissed. Since we didn't use him before, and characters only appear in two scenarios, we'll use him this time, though. I want to use everyone at least once.

He seems to be talking to himself when we approach. Armic just... stands near him and stares at him as he talks. As he rambles, he seems to begin directing his speech toward us, despite the fact that Armic literally does nothing but stare at him the entire time.

"Confusion is in the air. My life as a hermit is over... More confusion, I feel. The power behind all this...? No, no, I can't read it. Not skilled yet. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. I'll join you to find out what it really is."

Armic says nothing and then Kong Ming is just... in the party. Yay?

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Kong Ming has pretty good Skill, Magic, and Endurance Making, and starts with two magic tablets already (and a few basic Magic Arts). It seems like he's a shoe-in for the back row using Magic Arts (or Bow Arts), but his 15 LP is not terrible, either, so tossing him in the front with a knife sometimes probably wouldn't be bad, either.

He actually seems like he could be pretty versatile, which I guess fits his 'tactics' ideology.

I gave him the bow that Armic initially started with just to get some practice in with it and hope for a Bow Arts panel drop.

And, uh, I know I kinda hated him for being an annoying little shit in Ruby's scenario, but...

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HIS BATTLE SPRITES ARE SO COOL. I really like flowy outfits like this, and his color scheme is great, too. The little purple ribbons are cute, and overall I just really love the way he looks.

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So, I'm starting to really like him. His personality is kind of whatever (in battle, all his quotes are just "taktix r gud" kind of stuff, and uh THE RUBY THING) but his animations are great. Plus he's using bow which is one of my favorite weapons (I'm not sure if my favorite weapon is bow or staff in this game, hahaha)

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The Cavern of Murals is pretty big, and we have unlimited turns since this is a 'story' adventure. But not a single one of these goofballs has access to Cave Guide! I feel like someone probably did at some point and I put another panel on top of it, but... That means we couldn't find all the treasures easily and I probably missed a bunch. I could have like... waited 10 turns on every space and see if someone finds a treasure by chance, but... I don't feel like doing stuff like that lol.

But the "chests" here are the corpse type, which means no traps or locks or anything. I did try fortunetelling with Armic a few times but kept getting horrible luck with the reel slipping and didn't want to risk it any more.

We did find a handful of money and some more stuff for our list like Copper and Carnelian items.

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Also here's a goblin smacking its booty. Because I always try to capture this when it happens but I never am thinking of it when I fight goblins so I don't have my hand near the screencap button and it's over before I can catch it. But it happened to do it twice in this battle so I got it the second time ;)

I just think it's a cute sprite. It makes you want to kick its ass, right? XD

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Two of the murals turned into Firebirds X_X These aren't as tough as Anka (there are literally three different enemies in this game that use this same sprite lol...) but they are still pretty tough. They can dish out a lot of damage and they're pretty hard for the party to take down at this point.

While I do have access to Drag Down and Sinker to lower its Strength, it still has the ability to shoot fireballs and deal magic damage. I also don't have access to Acupuncture yet, so I have no way to lower its Skill, so it still is able to damage the party's LP pretty easily, especially after blasting them with fireballs, and it's kind of hard to get in any LP damage against them. Our best LP-damaging attacks right now are Thunderbringer and Slice, which are... really not that great. Thunderbringer is nice on small-fry, but big enemies like this seem to brush it off a little better unless they're weak to shocking attacks.

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Also, here's Armic standing and looking derpy during battle. I love how he always just looks... vacant. I think he's adorable.

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The second Firebird was particularly tough (I guess I got lucky on the first one?) and took out Norff before we could defeat it. Which is bad because Norff is The Thunderbringer Guy and we kind of need him...

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So we had to keep on adventuring while lugging around an unconscious kid. If you remember when I was like, confused of why there was some kind of "mystery space" in Kurt's scenario when we were in the cavern, I figured out what it was. I just never got around to the other side, where you can remove a mural to find a crevice that lets you pass between these two points. The reason I probably didn't notice this in Ruby's scenario was because I probably came from the other side first so there was never just an impassible wall for no explainable reason.

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After traveling around quite a bit, I decide to stop fighting the murals. I like getting the battle experience since Norff, Armic, Kong Ming, and Nuage are all studying tablets right now. (Nuage just has a random Water Artist tablet I found that Armic didn't need. Can never have too much Purify!)

I avoided the last two that were birds and fish. Firebirds are a big no after Norff got KO'd, and the fish ones can sometimes spawn Principal Razorfish, and sometimes even more than one, which are terrifying -- probably even more so than Firebirds right now (and especially without Thunderbringer!)

The beast ones are easy because they either spawn a Draco or a few Draco Pups. Even a Draco is not that hard to take out. They have like 4 LP and are easy to damage, and all of their attacks can be deflected with a pretty high rate.

I was really worried about what boss would be waiting for us when we found the source of the "confusion" that Kong Ming was blathering about. Subadventures here have some nasty bosses, like that serpent thing...

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Fortunately, Kummi comes out. Not that Kummi is a pushover, but we're at least able to deflect anything it can throw at us since it just bites and tackles and stuff.

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Here's a cool sprite of Nuage deflecting. The battle sprites in this game are absolutely gorgeous. I can't stress that enough. This game is really a work of art.

Anyway, Kummi is still pretty scary, though, because it can tear through LP pretty fast. And the entire party is hanging on by threads at this point.

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Here's Pharr's elegant throwing animation.

Pharr had to "Rescue" Norff, too. Since we only have 5 characters total, that means all five of them start on the battlefield, including Norff's body, giving us a penalty to the number of actions we can take per turn.

Oh, and Pharr glimmered Twin Dragons, which greatly helped defeat Kummi faster, securing the victory.

... Pharr <3

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We manage to scrape by without any more deaths, but it was awfully close. Armic says "As I told you." when he finds the Behemoth's Chain (which looks like it's made of fabric?) and I am sure this was just an awkward translation. He's probably saying something like "Just as I thought."

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Pharr barely missed getting to 300 HP at the end of this adventure... C'mon now, she deserved it :(

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We get a little cutscene of Armic sitting in a field talking about how he wants to go home, and how we only have two more items to find. Pretty short, but it's cute.

We also get access to Zomar, Iskandaria, Wanda, and Escata. Between Wanda and Gadeira, we now have access to every type of equipment in a blacksmith. And Iskandaria gives us another magic shop and the ability to grind for money and stuff in the Abandoned Fortress ruins if we need it.

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Travelling around the various towns and shopping, we run into Spry in Wanda. This time we're actually able to trade!

The trading mechanics seem pretty interesting, actually.

If the other Chapa has more than the required amount of a material, you can ask for some in exchange -- but only if they have excess. They won't trade you materials that haven't met the requirement yet on their side. Since Spry has 7 carnelian items and we only need 6, we're able to ask for one.

You then can trade any of your items as long as you have more than one. You don't have to have fulfilled the quota yet! And they seem to be willing to trade anything for anything, as long as you have more than one. You can't trade your last one of an item type, though. (EDIT: Yes, you can. I'll discover this a bit later, haha.)

You can change between "lists" of items -- the first one being the more common items that you need 6 each of, and the second one being the rarer items that you need 1 each of. And you can only trade between the same list, so you can't ask for a diamond and offer some cotton -- you have to offer something from the rare list.

What's more interesting about this, though, is that when you exchange items, basically it just changes one of the items in your inventory to the other material. Then that item updates its name and stats to reflect this change, but it doesn't change its ability set.

So, for example, let's say you had a Cotton Cloth Armor and gave it to Spry in exchange for his Ravenite. The Cloth Armor would change into Ravenite, making it now a Basaltic Mail instead of a Cloth Armor, and its defense would change to 15 since that's the defense of a Basaltic Mail... but the ability set would be that of Cloth Armor, so it would have Life Protection and stuff (which Basaltic Mail doesn't have).

It works this way for weapons, too, so if you had a material like Diamond as a weapon with an ability class of weight rank 2, then traded it for Damascus, you could have a Damascus weapon of weight rank 2, which is otherwise unobtainable.

I don't know if you can obtain items made of materials that are normally impossible to make or find (for example, an axe or sword made of Diamond). Or perhaps the reason I can't trade my last Snake Skin is because it would create such an anomaly and the game isn't allowing it, and there's actually no restriction on trading your last item of a type away. But I've not been able to trade the last item of a type yet, but have always been able to trade down to 1 of each.

Anyway, the item you trade for is picked by the computer, so you don't know which of your cotton things you will give away in exchange for a carnelian thing or whatever. So if you really wanted to get interesting items out of this, you'd really have to work for it.

However, the Chapas seem to appear randomly upon entering a town, so you can just exit and enter towns until they appear, and equip everything but two of the exact item you want to exchange... but that still sounds pretty difficult. And you'd still have to hope they have excess of the material you want.

So I'm not going to be aiming for any interesting items like this... but if I happen across them, that would be cool. I wonder if it's possible to get a Cuirass with Life Protection this way...? (Looking at the list, it seems you could if you traded Obsidian Mail for Cuirass!)

So, yeah. Trading! Seeing how useful this can be, I've been buying up extra cotton and snake skin, since they tend to be cheap (less than 1000kr each) so I can trade them for the bestial stones, which run 2000-4000kr and more.

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After trading with him, we find that Spry is a douchebag.

And Armic seems to admire him. Why, little guy?

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Merito, on the other hand, is much more friendly and cooperative.

After a lot of shopping and trading, it seems we didn't get enough items for Yun to decipher about the Metal item, so it's time for more subadventures. We have access to a lot more now, since we've opened up eight towns since our last subadventure.

I'm going to try to prioritize adventures where we can pick up a lot of treasures, since both money and items help us progress. But subadventures generally are not great for this kind of thing, and it might be a bit early to try taking on stuff like wonders, with only five characters and not even many good panels or arts.

But even short adventures are a shop refresh. I'll also keep an eye out for adventures where I remember there are magic tablets lying around.