Off to Gather Some Herbs!
Well, coming off of Kurt's scenario, I'm pretty eager to get back into playing another adventure (every time I finish this game I want to start again IMMEDIATLEY hahaha).
This time I decided to go with Armic. I was originally saving him for last, because I thought he was the most 'open' scenario, but learning a bit more about how his scenario works, I actually think that title belongs to Ventus. Ventus and Armic are the only two I haven't cleared yet (though I've played pretty far in Ventus's scenario), so it's still saving one I haven't finished for last.
Armic is one of my favorite characters in design, though. He's super cute and I absolutely love his voice. He's voiced by Tiffany Grant! And I've never heard her do a voice like this before -- Armic is a unique Tiffany Grant voice, and I think that's pretty cool. (She also voices Michelle!) Personally if I ever could meet Tiffany Grant I'd probably ask her to sign a copy of UNLIMITED:Saga instead of an Eva thing or whatever hahaha. But ... that's probably just because I love this game so much, not because the voice work here is particularly amazing.
She does a good job as Armic, though. He's very cute and funny.
We load the Clear Data that we saved from Kurt's game and it tells us we've cleared three characters.
As a reminder, Clear Data only carries over a few things between playthroughs -- the biggest impact of these being the Market Rank, so we'll start with maximum Market Rank yet again. This is of course a blessing and a curse, as we've seen before. It means that we'll have more rare items appearing in shops... but it also means those will be taking the place of more common items we could actually afford.
The ecology system's status carries over, but this is just a hidden value that makes the game a little more random to mix up what kinds of enemies (and how many) you see on your adventures. The only other thing that carries over is the enemy name data, so enemies that we have seen before will have their names displayed from the beginning instead of their monster class in battle.
Starting a new game, we can look at Armic's profile before jumping into his scenario. His basic profile is pretty short -- it just tells us that his village is plagued by drought, and he's looking for items for a rainmaking ritual.
His designer note says that his scenario is the hardest "by far." That's... really saying something, considering the general difficulty of this game already. I thought Mythe's scenario was a good challenge with its rocky solo start and slew of low-LP (but still awesome) characters, and a pretty grueling final boss marathon.
But it seems his scenario is all about item collection more than it is about adventures.
And with that, we're off! Armic's scenario is a narrated slideshow, so it's probably best told in pictures:
I thought all the little drawings were cute and was having trouble deciding which to include, so I just put all of them :P In summary, long ago, Iskandar taught the Chapa Tribe a rainmaking ritual and gave them a tablet so they could use it again, because they helped him even when they were in need themselves.
So, the Chapa are pretty cool. They have a special magic tablet thing from Iskandar himself, and they are all around hospitable and generous as a tribe, it seems.
Plus they are cute beaver-looking things.
It seems that drought has come again to the Chapa, and so they plan on doing the rainmaking ceremony again. But they need a bunch of ingredients to do it, as well as they need to be able to understand the tablet that Iskandar left.
Four members of the tribe are chosen as heroes to collect the items. I'll post all the pictures so you can meet them all:
So basically, we get the cutest, bravest, smartest... and Armic.
And our adventure begins in the village of Chapa!
There's not a ton to the intro and we're given control of Armic immediately; however, there's not really too much we can do at this point. If we visit the village chief, he just tells us to get going. Visiting the Carrier Guild gives the same old "Carriers Only!" spiel. And there aren't even any adventures available in the inn!
So it's time to reconnoiter.
Armic asks everyone in the inn about the tablet, but most people have no interest or no idea how to read it. But the last person he gets to is Norff, who you probably remember from Kurt's scenario that we just cleared!
He recognizes the magic inscription, but doesn't understand it fully. He offers to take Armic to see his teacher after he finishes his errands, and Armic comments about how there are kind people in the world. Armic also offers to help Norff with his chores and they become quick friends.
A new adventure appears in the inn titled "Off to Gather Some Herbs!" This is basically an Armic-only version of the Healer's Hills adventure where you gather herbs. The only real difference is that Norff says a line at the beginning and end, and there is no turn limit.
Once we're on the trail, we're able to look at our status menu.
Armic's Makings are... interesting. His Endurance Making and Water Making are both huge, each at the maximum they can be. Metal Making is not too bad. Everything else is pretty lackluster, and he even has a Fire Making of 0. Though it makes sense since he's a creature that thrives in water.
What's also sad is that his good stuff is all clumped in one corner. If you want to focus in Endurance, you'll have to take a bit away from Water. And focusing on his two good Elemental Levels means you'll have to have a very low Magic Level.
His Strength Making is at least okay at 3, though, so I will see what kind of abilities he gets to decide how I want to really build him as we go.
Armic starts with access to both Swimming and Obstacle Crossing, which is really nice! He also has Bow Arts, despite his low Skill Making. He also comes equipped with a sword, though, which is probably a better weapon for him. Sadly he doesn't know even a single bit of Water Arts from the start, though, so if you want him to use magic, you'll have to get tablets for him.
The goal of this adventure is pretty simple -- collect seven herbs. The herbs appear on the green "hill" areas of the map, and they come in four different colors: green, yellow, red, and blue.
Armic starting with Road Guide is particularly helpful, because we can find various treasure "chests" hidden around the map. Neither Armic nor Norff have Defuse, though, so we do have to run into traps if the bags happen to be trapped. But since they're bags, they can only have needle and poison traps, and not the more dangerous explosion or mimic traps. Plus they can't be locked, so we can open them all without risk of breaking them while trying to punch them open. And since the adventure has no turn limit, we can rest as much as we need to if we do encounter traps.
For a character you get from the very beginning, Norff starts off quite powerful. His Thunderbringer art is able to often deal more than one LP damage to an enemy the very first time he hits them with it. These low-ranking enemies aren't built to take hits from what is normally a late-game magic art.
Of course, Norff's Lazuli Armlet doesn't have infinite durability, and he needs it to cast Wood Arts. So we do have to watch out for that, since we don't have access to Quick-Fix nor a blacksmith at this point.
Armic, on the other hand, starts out pretty weak. He only has 90 LP and his Strength and Skill Levels are not very high. He does come equipped with a decent sword, though, and thanks to Norff being able to manipulate turn order more easily with Magic Arts, he's able to combo his attacks together more easily, giving him the strength needed to defeat enemies if Thunderbringer doesn't take them out first.
One nice thing about having no turn limit is you can take your time to find all of the rarer herbs before ever picking up the common green ones. The rarer colors restore your characters better when used. You can scope out where the rare ones are, grab them up, then go back and collect green ones until you have seven.
I forgot to do this from the start, though, and picked up four greens right away. So I wasn't able to get all of the yellows if I wanted to also get the blue and red. The blue is the hardest to reach, so I definitely took the opportunity to grab it.
At the end of the adventure, Armic's HP boosts up quite a bit, thankfully. He got a Sword Arts L2 panel, and Norff got a Diplomacy L2 panel! Not only is that a useful skill right off the bat, but 'talking' skills can give a bonus to Wood Level when you combo them, and using Diplomacy can lead to getting Fashion, Inconspicuous, and Monger to drop as panels, too.
After clearing the adventure, Norff takes us to Loch Vaan to meet his teacher. So now we have two places open on the map!
Armic and Norff take the rainmaking ritual tablet to Yun and he gets pretty excited about it. In fact, he gets so into studying it immediately he forgets that Norff and Armic are even there!
Norff asks Yun if he can help Armic, and Armic agrees to let Yun keep the tablet to study, since deciphering it may take some time anyway.
Outside, Norff asks Armic what he's going to do next, and Armic says he's going to look for the items he needs to collect for the ritual. Norff says he wants to go with Armic and has already asked Yun for permission.
Norff comments again about how nice people can be, and how Yun and Norff have been so helpful. He doesn't like to rush things, but performing the ritual is pretty important to his tribe's livelihood, so he wants to get to collecting the items right away.
During Armic's scenario, we have a unique feature -- the grocery list! I guess the purpose of Armic's story is to collect all the items on this list.
You just need any item made with that material for it to count -- we already have one Topaz because Armic starts the game with a Topaz Staff in his inventory. I keep forgetting to check if items equipped to characters count toward your total, or if they need to be in your inventory proper.
After Armic shows Norff the list, we get a little scene of Yun saying "Eureka!" in his study. I didn't take this as a hint to go back to the spellshop since we just came from there, but I probably should have. Oh well!
And so, Armic's journey has just begun. I'm pretty excited! Gathering the items doesn't seem particularly hard -- though it honestly would have been nice to start with the beginning Market Rank, because we could buy things like Cedar and Copper much more commonly, instead of the shops being filled with things like this:
Taunting us that we can't afford it :(
I'm already enjoying the scenario quite a bit. Armic is a really cute character with fun animations, and Norff was one of the most underutilized characters in my Kurt run, so I'll try to make him more interesting and powerful this time around.