To the Flying Island
It's time for Armic's arduous adventures to come to a close, so he can finally get back to his home in Chapa, and his tribe can perform Iskandar's rainmaking ritual.
Yun told us that the final item we needed to collect, Ares's Banner, is at Flying Island, one of the Seven Wonders. Seems a strange place for Ares's Banner to be, really... but off we go!
Flying Island is probably the easiest of all of the Wonders to conquer, and you may remember it as that big donut with the Elder Dragon in the center. Sadly, when we arrive, Armic doesn't get any kind of special scene or dialogue, and we just start walking around. Though, we're supposed to be here looking for one of the ritual items, so I guess that makes sense.
Unlike the other ritual item adventures, we don't get a new character to join the party this time. Which is fine, because we would have had to leave someone behind for that, and I'm very happy with the current party.
This screenshot pretty much says it all. Like when you come here as a subadventure, this place is pretty empty and simple. There's a lot of little roads to travel, some places to climb rocks or go swimming, and a plethora of treasures to collect, but for the most part, it's very empty.
The solution seems to be the same as the subadventure version of Avalon: as you travel around the donut, you can find three towers with big levers. In the beginning, we noticed a large pit in the center that we could only approach from the northwest, and these three towers surrounding the pit on the sides we can't reach from the northwest.
There are vines hanging down from each lever, and we pull on them to pull the levers, which seems to pull something up from the center of the pit a bit more each time we pull a lever.
Most of the monsters here are not ones that aggress often. There are a couple of demons, but it's mostly stuff like Vegeplasts and Beasts. Which means we don't even really have to fight much. With Norff's Diplomacy L5, we're able to talk away almost all of the enemies. And enemies seem to be pretty few here anyway. So we only get into a few battles the entire time -- and two are against treasure slimes from accidentally tripping Mimic Traps.
Since I learned the location of the Tetra Force from Ruby's trip here, I headed east first so that I'd get to it after pulling all the levers and nearing the northwest area again, not too far from being able to return from the pit. Since not too much happened on this adventure (what an anticlimactic final dungeon!) we didn't get any really interesting panels, but this at least was our final panel development before the final boss. So before we go on, let's take a moment to review how the party fared by the end of the scenario.
First up, our hero, Armic! I kind of jumped around on Armic's build in the beginning of the game, but we got a ton of magic tablets this time, so Armic ended up becoming... yet antoher Water Mage hero. I know, this is the third in a row... though he's quite a bit different from the others. He also excelled in Metal Arts, and had a lot of useful arts for both offense and defense, from Ice Needle and Supersonic to hit all enemies at once, to Magic Lock, Weapon Blessing, and Purify to help out the party when needed. Of all of the three Water Mage protagonists we've built so far, Armic was not only the most versatile, but also the most powerful. I'm really happy with the way he turned out, and he's closer to what I wanted Mythe and Kurt to be like.
I prioritized his Elemental Levels, so his Magic Level did have to take quite a hit, since both his Water and Metal Level spots are in the same corner. His equipment reflect this kind of balance, too, sacrificing Life Protection and higher defenses for the sake of stacking three Water Support and Metal Support each.
Secondly, our good buddy Norff, Armic's first friend on our adventure. Even though we just used Norff in the last scenario, it would be weird to ditch the first person who helped us out, plus he was able to grow pretty powerful from the beginning of the game, learning his tablets from the start, so getting rid of him when we finally got more than seven characters would have been a big hit to the party. Plus, the eight character was Edel, who we also used last time, so...
Anyway, Norff pretty much fulfilled the same role as last time, but with a bigger focus on Diplomacy, which also led to Monger, so he was definitely the best talker of the party. He could talk away pretty much any monster into leaving, and got us a lot of good discounts in the shop, too, which was critical in a scenario all about buying and collecting items. His Wood Arts were quite powerful, and he wasn't outclassed by Platy this time around.
The ever-wonderful Pharr, who is competing for my #1 favorite character spot. While she was a late-bloomer in Mythe's scenario who mostly just drained away HP with Axe Arts, here, she was a huge powerhouse who was one of the most important characters in the team.
Weilding a spear, she was able to stay away from the front and protect her low LP, but used critical arts like Acupuncture and Divine Lancer to lower the enemy's Skill Level, and could deal plenty of HP and LP damage with her arts like Twin Dragons. Sadly, she never glimmered DHS, and even didn't glimmer Acupuncture until almost the end of the game, but even with using only L3 arts, she still was extremely powerful and useful, and a critical member of the battle party.
Iron Body L4 was a really nice and lucky panel drop for her -- putting it in the center of her Growth Panel helped boost her Strength and Skill Levels both up to hover around 50, and the extra defenses definitely help her with her 8 LP.
Outside of battle, she was also the key lockpicker with Locksmith L4; I had the treasure skills distributed among many characters this time around. She also used Aura L4, which is a skill I hadn't utilized much in previous scenarios, which allowed us to "move quiety" and avoid triggering traps and being detected by enemies.
Kong Ming, the annoying misogynist from Ruby's scenario, was somehow the cool tactician this time around. Coming with some magic tablets from the start, I was able to grab a bunch of really useful support arts like Aegis Shield and Missile Guard earlier in the game, then switch him over to utilizing his high Skill Making as a backup LP damager to stand in for Henri.
Since Key panels can combo to boost Skill Level, he also became the Trap Defuser Guy. His other panel was Eavesdrop, which, while nice now and then, is mostly superfluous.
In the end, tag-teaming Random Arrow with Henri against large hoards like the Birds of Paradise or the fish from Sunken City was a lot of fun.
And now to Henri himself. His build ended up being almost identical to Kong Ming's... which I definitely didn't intend from the start. His role was somewhat similar, but he was much more prominent in battle. His Knife and Bow Arts were some of the key LP-damaging arts in the party, and he was able to guarantee LP damage after Pharr used a Skill-lowering art. He came late and started with very low HP, so even with using him more than any other character, he still ended up with the lowest HP in the party.
Outside of battle, he made use of Sharpeye to detect locks and traps on treasures, making him, Kong Ming, and Pharr the treasure box team. He also had Eavesdrop like Kong Ming, which was just situationally useful, if ever. But spamming it now and then helped in finding better Sharpeye panels.
Vearst is one of my favorite characters in the game, and he ended up being one of the greatest members of Armic's party. Starting out as a bit of a weaker tank and support character, his Magic Blender find ended up turning him into the most powerful offensive character in the party with Thunderclap.
Originally, he only had Swimming and Obstacle Crossing as his map skills at the bottom of his Growth Panel, but I expanded them into a line purely by happenstance, boosting his Water Level even further to 53. Combined with a decent Magic Level of 39, his offensive arts were very powerful. Even his Bubble Blow could deal multiple LP damage.
With superbly powerful Magic Arts, huge defenses, 22 LP, and ability to cross all types of obstacles in the game, Vearst was perhaps the most useful character overall by the end.
Nuage, our sexy but random carrier friend, ended up being the Big Strong of the team. I said early on that I wanted to try to make the most of Staff Arts utilizing Nuage's excellent Strength Making, and I'm very glad I did. Certainly he would have been more powerful with a sword or axe, but he was able to still deal quite a bit of damage with a staff, plus he had access to a bunch of debuff abilities and the great Grand Slam art.
I wasn't able to have him fully reach his potential, though -- with a line of L5 martial panels and Iron Body L5 and Axe Arts L5 at the top of his Growth Panel, his Strength Level would have definitely exceeded 80, maybe even pushing 90. I've never seen an Ability Level over 80 before, so that would have been pretty fun.
70 is still huge, though, and he made great use of it. Trading with the Chapas, I was also able to get a Diamond Staff with Roundhouse, something that is otherwise impossible, as well as the Cuirass with Life Protection. So he was able to dual-wield staves in the front of the formation with no worries at all.
And with these brave heroes, we enter the elevator cage that we pulled up with the levers. Normally, we would ride the elevator down to some kind of weird water-looking place in the center of the island and fight a Blue Elder Dragon here. So far, Armic's version of this adventure has been identical to the normal subadventure version, and this is the end, so we can expect something different to happen down here...
When we arrive, there is no Elder Dragon. Instead, Armic seems to find Ares's Banner, though it's not really explained where it was. I guess just lying on the ground, since there doesn't seem to be much here anyway.
As we pick it up, Yun arrives and says he's come to check to make sure we've collected all the items as needed from the tablet he's been deciphering for us. Armic refers to him as "Master Yun" as he thanks him, which is cute.
Yun takes our items from us and starts to rummage through them. Then he seems to start doing other stuff as if he has forgotten we are even there, similar to how he kinda forgot Norff and Armic were around when he first got absorbed into looking at Iskandar's rainmaking tablet.
After enough of this, Armic tries to get his attention...
But Yun shouts at Armic to be quiet! Armic apologizes timidly, and Yun instructs him to stand in a specific spot. Armic tries to tell him that they have to perform the rainmaking ritual in Chapa, but Yun interrupts Armic to tell him to shut up and do as he's told. Yun utters something about how "the Chapa is the key," and Armic says he's going home, thanking Yun for his help once more.
He tells Yun that once the rains come again, he'll be sure to give him tons of fish.
Yun is a bit confused, but it seems we've found out what is really going on -- Yun has become obsessed with obtaining this very powerful Magic Art passed down from Iskandar for himself.
Armic says he collected the items for the tribe's rainmaking ritual, and he can't use them for this. Yun dares Armic to come take back the items himself, threatening that he'll have to exchange his life for them. Yun says that Armic is not the "only Chapa he can use." So apparently a Chapa is required somehow to perform the magic in Iskandar's tablet.
For a second I thought he was meaning he had to sacrifice a Chapa, but I kind of doubt Iskandar sacrificed a Chapa in the past, and it seems more like Chapas themselves have to actually cast the spell or something.
And with that, we've reached Armic's final boss: Yun Crimsonrain. Kind of sad that a handsome guy I thought was our friend, and even Norff's teacher, ended up being the bad guy. But I mean, there weren't really any other characters, so I guess this had to be it...
At the beginning of the battle, Yun says something like, "When they learn to control the elements, they'll kill all the Chapas! And then everyone else!"
And I really think this was most likely a translation error, and he was supposed to say "I" and not "they." In Japanese the subject would most likely have been dropped, so without context it would have been ambiguous, and often this game's script translations look like they were done with a text dump and no context, as there's all kinds of strange things like this.
Kind of sad that Armic's climactic moment ended up with this awkward mistake...
Yun is able to attack with a wide variety of Magic Arts, including the most powerful Fire Arts. He also seems to like using Rainbringer a lot, which is weird, since he doesn't use any other Water Arts except Bubble Blow very rarely. So maybe it's just an allusion to the fact that this tablet is intended for a rainmaking ritual...?
You'll notice that Yun is surrounded by a pillar of light. This is a protective barrier that he is using. As long as this is up, he takes 0 damage from any attack. It's impossible to hurt him at all.
I spent a long time trying every single art I had in my arsenal -- all the different magic arts, weapon arts, martial arts... it came down to the only things I hadn't tried being Axe Arts... and I can't really imagine that Axe Arts are required to break the barrier...
So I thought maybe this is a battle you're supposed to lose. I let Armic die and... I was just booted back to the title screen like a regular Game Over. I decided to try again, loading the same, and meticulously using every single art I had, this time even equipping some random axe and an armlet with Fire Arts on it. Kong Ming had to take the armlet because he's the only member of the party that even has a Fire art, and he only has one: Fire Shield.
I made sure to use all the different elemental and weapon types, and made sure to use all the different damage types (slash, bludgeon, pierce, hot, cold, shock, light). I tried using a variety of Magic Arts like ones that hit groups, ones that weakened enemies, even Magic Lock.
Still nothing. I loaded the save again and walked around the entire donut a second time, making sure I traveled everywhere within the Flying Island before going into the elevator cage. I had already found everything, though, so that didn't seem to be the solution, either.
There didn't seem to be any other targets in the fight and really nothing at all I could even think of to do. So, I finally caved in and looked at a guide.
Apparently, there are actually four barriers, and you must break all four down before you can damage Yun. If you hit Yun with a specific elemental art, at the end of the turn, the barrier will break.
The outermost barrier requires Yun to be hit by a Fire Art. The only Fire Art I had access to before was Fire Shield, which doesn't contact the enemy... so it didn't work to break the barrier. And I had no Fire Familiar or any other Fire Arts across the entire party, because I almost never even got Fire tablets...
So I had to load an old save (thankfully I had saved in a separate slot for the Tetra Force save), and go around to the magic shops and find a new armlet with Fire Arts that also allowed anyone to use Fire Arrows, and I gave that to Kong Ming.
With that, we were able to smash the barrier, and after four turns, all four were down. I was kind of mad that this is the solution, since I think it would be very easy to save at the Tetra Force without access to a contact art of every element... then your only hope would be grinding around the donut and using Tetra Force again and hoping for Familiars of the right element...
Once all four barriers have been broken, some kind of barrier around Yun's feet also seems to dispel, and he becomes completely vulnerable to attacks. Maybe to make up for the whole barrier thing, Yun was extremely fragile. In the very first turn, Henri dealt 3 LP damage to Yun just using Zapper.
It was a bit dangerous to leave the entire party out on the field because of Yun's access to Corona, a Fire Art that hits everyone. Also, look at Vearst's hurt sprite... XD
But also since Yun spammed tons of magic arts, healing was nearly useless, as there's not really much you can do to defend against magic damage in this game, so he'd drain the HP of the party quickly.
So, we just spammed our strongest attacks, and the barrier-less Yun fell in only a handful of turns.
And like always, Yun went nuts and summoned Chaos with Iskandar's secret elemental-controlling thing... somehow.
While Yun himself was pretty easy to take down, Chaos with Yun's abilities is pretty scary at first. Even from the very first turn, it had access to powerful magic arts like Crimson Flare, which dealt 3 LP damage to Nuage as the very first damage he took in the battle.
I was pretty nervous after that...
Though I kept up my intended strategy despite it seeming flawed after that first round. Nuage stood in front, and Vearst stood to his side and queued two Purifies. With one Purify, Vearst could completely restore all of Nuage's HP, and Nuage took very little HP damage from Chaos's physical attacks (like, around 10 damage lol) thanks to his Cuirass and his Drag Down art.
Thankfully, Chaos doesn't like to use its inherited abilities from whoever summons it all that often, so getting hit with Crimson Flare ended up being pretty rare.
So Vearst was able to keep Nuage at full health easily while he smacks away at Chaos with a stick, draining its HP gradually. While Staff Arts are generally pretty abysmal when it comes to damage output, he was doing similar damage as Pharr did with her Axe in Mythe's scenario, if you want to get an idea of just how powerful his huge Strength Making can be. And I didn't even have good combos or L5 panels for him...
Once Chaos's HP was low enough that I started seeing LP damage (which probably took longer than it should have simply because it's really hard for Staff Arts to even damage LP), I'd have Nuage stand out front and use a single art to knock Chaos's HP down at the beginning of every turn (since enemies recover a little HP every turn), then would put an attacker in the second position, and Vearst in the third. If Vearst needed to rest, I could easily swap in Armic, or as a last resort, Kong Ming or Norff, who all had access to Purify. Nuage even had Purify.
Pharr was the first to come out, since Acupuncture could lower Chaos's Skill Level, making LP damage even easier to deal. With her good Strength and Skill Levels, she was able to deal plenty of HP damage and a couple of LP damage with every hit, and she's still only using Twin Dragons because I never got DHS or Poker's Wild or anything like that. For all-around damage output, Pharr definitely was the strongest character. But she also had low LP, so I couldn't keep her out in the battle all the time.
Actually, scratch that. While Pharr was the star for most of the game, once we got Thunderclap, that title went to Vearst. From just chaining a couple of Thunderclaps together, he was doing Reverse-Delta-level damage. In fact, I think these are some of the biggest damage numbers I've seen this entire play diary...
As Chaos got weaker, it started to bring out the big guns. Using tons of actions every turn and using its summoner's ultimate art, we started to see a bit of Lost Spell, which I guess was something Yun could do, but he died too fast to ever actually pull it off.
It could inflict tons of nasty status effects on the entire party all at once, including poison, which doesn't let you regain HP while resting between turns (very bad for long battles like this), and confusion, which makes all of your actions have a pretty decent chance of just... not working at all.
Even still, when we got to Chaos's final form, the party was still in pretty good shape. A lot of characters hadn't even lost any LP, thanks to everyone being able to rest a lot because of Nuage's tanking.
In fact, even Armic was in good enough shape that I felt comfortable sending him out to fight alone. Only one turn, though... After that I was too worried about his LP.
Other than Nuage, everyone in the party had at least one decent LP-damaging art, so we were well ahead in the race for LP damage. I was comfortable swapping in whoever had the highest HP and railing away with their strongest arts. Not even too much strategy was needed. I really ended up with a really great party this time around, and it was a lot of fun.
In the end, Norff got to deal the final blow with a chain of Thunderbringers, doing 4 LP damage at once.
And with that, Chaos was destroyed and we returned to where we were...
The first thing Armic does is ask Yun if he is alright. Yun starts apologizing for the terrible thing he's done, saying he was only just trying to become the most powerful wizard in history, which is, uh, a pretty ambitious goal.
Yun says there's no excuse for what he's done and offers to let us "do to him as we wish." ... Dehehehehe.
But Armic simply relates his experience to how the Chapas can get in nasty fights over fish because they love them so much. It's pretty much the same, just Yun loves magic instead of fish.
I kind of like how it didn't end with Armic forgiving Yun, but rather him not even really recognizing that Yun did anything bad in the first place. I think this reaction really suits Armic's hyper-easygoing character.
Upon returning home, Armic calls out for "Chiera." Whenever he would die during the game, he'd say "Chiera, my love..." but I couldn't understand what he was saying, because this is the first time Chiera was ever actually mentioned in the story.
Chiera appears and calls Armic "sweetie," and then two little Chapas run up calling him "Papa." So I guess all this time, Armic had a whole family waiting for him in Chapa, and had to leave them to go on his journey.
In fact, it seems like he has MANY children, as they're all running to see him as he arrives.
After the little scene with Armic's family, we're given a scene of the Chief performing the rainmaking ritual.
It's told completely in pictures with no narration or anything:
And after that, the story closes with a cute "The End" sign:
I love how there are two little Armics on each side of it.
And we've now completed four characters!
I've already decided which scenario I'm going to do next -- in fact, that means I've decided the entire of all the rest of the scenarios. I'll be doing some more challenge runs for Laura and Judy up next, followed by a more free play again for Ventus's scenario as the final.