To Starship Anchor /
It's finally time to head to Kurt's final adventure! We're going to see both story paths, too!
Kurt's final adventure can be one of two things, if you remember from the last post.
"To Starhip Anchor" occurs if Kurt defeats Agares in the Gauntlet challenge, and will assume that Kurt gets to Starship Anchor before Jeanne Maure. This story path is a bit easier, and hints at the meaning behind the Curse of the Gauntlet (though it's only Kurt's speculation -- we never actually learn the true nature of the Gauntlet).
"Jeanne's Challenge" occurs if the player clears enough subadventures to advance time far enough so that Jeanne commands the Temple Knights to conquer Starship Anchor in pursuit of Iskandar's ideals. It assumes that Jeanne reaches Starship Anchor before Kurt. We learn a bit more about Leon and Jeanne's motives, but not about the Gauntlet, and the path is a bit harder.
Which is really intended to be the 'true' path (or the more likely one, at least) is hard to say.
Starship Anchor as Kurt's final adventure is pretty much identical to the subadventure version of this Wonder. You travel the woods finding the mysterious buildings and planetariums.
Inside two of the buildings are wyverns that you can fight to reach the "Fourteen Stars."
Touching the Fourteen Stars will light up the path inside the Constellation Planes areas.
And inside those, you must walk along the constellations' paths in the proper order to activate the "Milky Way" at the end, which can transport you to the next area.
At the end, we reach a special area where normally a powerful Lich appears that seems to be the result of some forbidden immortality experiment, and that would be the boss of the adventure.
But since this is Kurt's story, something different happens.
To Starship Anchor
If Kurt gets to Starship Anchor first, he'll discover the area at the end of the trident constellation. Before going in, he says he already knows what's going to happen on the other side. I guess because the Gauntlet is a part of him.
Kurt says he was used by the Gauntlet -- fighting in its battles was actually giving power to the Gauntlet, and whatever lies in wait here is what has been seeking that power.
It's not really explained exactly why the Gauntlet was created to do this, or exactly how it works. I guess that's a secret that died with the Arcanians (minus Fae) and the Golden Age.
Leon and Jeanne appear, surprised that Kurt was able to clear the path to the end of Starship Anchor. They say that they have come to harness the power of the stars stored here to pursue Iskandar's ideals. But Kurt tells them they are wrong -- the power stored here is something evil, not something helpful, and it needs to be stopped.
He says he will show them, and uses the gauntlet to summon...
An Arcanian Mech! It seems that this was buried here and able to be powered up by the Gauntlet. Since the Gauntlet seems to have similar patterns to magic tablets, we can only guess that it's some kind of Arcanian device as well, perhaps some kind of energy source for their other devices, like this mech? The mech seems to be some kind of defense mechanism, or maybe an offensive weapon, because it certainly loves attacking us!
The mech has only three attacks that it uses. If it has any more, I didn't see them.
The first is Field Inducer, which is basically just it hitting someone and a burst of electricity coming out. There are actually variations on this, so it's kind of like having multiple attacks with the same name. But basically they're just more intense/stronger versions of the same attack. It doesn't do a lot of HP damage, but it is able to use it a LOT, and it can damage your LP when your HP is low. So it may hit the same character like four or five times, and if each of those hits do one or more LP damage... that's still pretty scary.
The second attack it does is Aerial Crusher. It folds itself up into an aircraft shape and rams into its target. This does tons of HP damage and can damage LP, too. Fortunately, it can also be blocked by deflection.
The last and scariest of the mech's abilities is Plasma Shower. It sends a barrage of plasma shots at the party, hitting everyone. This does a lot of damage, usually some LP damage, and has the ability to paralyze anyone it hits. Its accuracy isn't perfect, but it's not bad enough that you can rely on it missing much at all. And the paralysis rate seems pretty high. It's pretty terrifying!
The mech has a ton of LP but overall it mostly just spams Field Inducer a lot and isn't too hard to take care of. Its HP and life protection seem very low, so we were doing LP damage on the first or second turn even. But it still had a ton of LP, so it was mostly just a waiting game.
After defeating it, the machine makes a bunch of weird noises and then Chaos is summoned. Perhaps this mech was some kind of ultimate weapon designed to harness the power of Chaos itself? And the Gauntlets were the key to unleashing that power? How scary would it have been if Michelle was here, too...?
Before we move on to Chaos, though, let's take a look at what happens if Jeanne gets to Starship Anchor before Kurt.
Let's pretend nothing in the previous section really happened, because Jeanne's Challenge is the adventure I used to save the clear data, so it's the "real" story path we got, I guess.
We follow the same path as before, using the Fourteen Stars to navigate the Constellation Planes. But when we open the large door to the stairs leading to the final Constellation Planes, we find Jeanne Maure in pain.
We're not sure who are what defeated Jeanne here, but she's clearly defeated but physically and mentally. Kurt is sure that this is the doings of one of the Knights -- maybe not necessarily that they attacked her, but at least that they coaxed her out here to try to take on the wonders.
Before we head in, though, let's take a moment to visit our good buddy Tetra Force. The one here is the yellow one. This is our last chance to upgrade the party, and sadly we didn't get anything particularly interesting for panels. But the party was already pretty strong, so it didn't matter too much.
Let's review the party we've journeyed with before heading in to the final confrontation.
Let's start with our hero Kurt. Kurt ended up a lot like Mythe from the last scenario. After defeating Domliat, I ditched his axe and axe arts panel in favor of building him purely as a mage.
His Water Level almost reached 50, though! And his Magic Level was 43, so his Bubble Blow was ridiculously strong. I was even able to deal more than one LP damage with it at a time! So Kurt was an interesting support character who could deal a bit of damage when he needed to. His great defenses and high LP helped him survive long battles, too, to continue supporting the party.
He had not only Water arts, but some Earth arts and Metal arts, too, so he could use things like Sleep, Build-Up, and Armor Blessing.
In the end, Kurt was a really fun character to play around with.
Josef focused completely on Forbidden arts, though his familiars did allow him to have a variety of support arts, too, like Magic Lock and Purify. While his magic arts were very powerful, his 7 LP also made him very fragile, so I had to use him sparingly in long battles. Psycho Noise was invaluable against a lot of random encounters, though. In the end he was a bit of a glass cannon.
His huge Skill Level also made him great with Knife arts, though he had to stay in the back, so he was usually slow with them, and his fragility didn't allow for him to sweep enemies easily. But he did help do plenty of LP damage when he was able to jump in.
Platyphyllum was one of the most fun characters to use. They had access to Staff arts like Earth Dragon and all of the various debuff abilities. The core of their Growth Panel was the line of talking panels to boost Wood Level to 58! And this means using lots of Diplomacy, too. They really talked us out of a lot of situations, and made me appreciate the Diplomacy ability way more.
Wood Veil + Meditation + Overgrowth was enough to buff their Thunderbringer into doing almost 1,000 HP damage at a time to Chaos even! Plus with huge LP, they could stand at the front of the formation and get early actions for the party with Staff arts, support with great Wood arts like Missile Guard and a bit of Water arts, or go on the offensive with Thunderbringer. Very versatile and very powerful.
Norff's Wood arts were quickly overshadowed by the power of Platy's, so I ended up focusing him on martial arts instead. I was going to try to make him well-rounded, but I just never got much in the way of magical might for him, so he ended up being a purely physical character with a rounded build at the end. It's a bit ironic that the character that's actually clearly designed to be a mage was one of the few who didn't use magic arts at all in the end.
While he never glimmered the great light martial arts like Fae did, he still was pretty useful to the team. He was almost always in the front of the formation in random battles, as his Throw arts could stun the enemy, and he could distract the enemies from attacking the characters needed to survive and deal big LP damage.
Armand was by far the main powerhouse of the team. His Makings lend him to that role easily. But he also was the Box-Opening Guy that every party needs, too. His huge Skill Level (69!) made his Bow and Spear arts unparalleled. He also had Acupuncture, which is one of the most useful weapon arts.
Basically if you needed damage done, Armand was your guy. He's really a great character -- looks cool, is powerful, and funny voice lines in battle. Even facing chaos he just smugly brags, "If I take this one down, I'll be a hero!"
Mordeus's goal was to die in battle, so that's exactly what I let him do. Almost every battle he was saying stuff like "Isn't someone ever going to kill me?!" and stuff...
Mordeus had the most unrealized potential out of the party. In random battles he did make great support. Using Sleep was very helpful, but despite his decent Magic and Earth levels compared to his lower Strength level, his sword arts did more damage than his Boulder. He actually was able to do quite a bit of HP damage despite his low stats, though, and was useful for draining away the HP of bulky enemies, especially when we needed to let other characters have a rest.
Finally, Edel is the blind guy who somehow fixed our weapons and shot a bow with great accuracy. He's pretty amazing. I wanted him to use Metal arts, but I just never got a tablet for him across the entire game. He did have a L5 Metal familiar for a while, though.
His Bow Arts though more than made up for it, and I had him use different ability lines than Armand so we could have a lot of different Bow arts available across the party. His Sniper Shot arts were the most helpful, able to do consistent LP damage even before lowering the enemy's LP much.
And so with this group, we journey into the final Constellation Planes. We get to the back room again...
This time, Leon is already here ahead of us. It seems he used Jeanne and the Temple Knights to conquer the Wonder proper so he could get back here. Probably not something he could have done on his own.
It seems he's trying to harness the power of Starship Anchor for himself. Kurt asks if his motivations are to take over the Knighthood, but Leon says that he intends to take over the entire world, just like how the Knights of the Round Table control the creatures of darkness. (No, I don't know what he's talking about.)
He still cites that it's because he's unhappy with how their father is leading the Knighthood, though. Kurt realizes it was Leon who sent the assassins, but Leon says he actually didn't -- though he did send the warning to Kurt through Hiro. I guess he wanted Kurt to stay safe so he could bring the Gauntlet to Starship Anchor?
Kurt is surprised he'd allow the assassination to continue when he knew about it ahead of time, but Leon seems to not care at all, saying Max is "no longer needed in our time."
Kurt says he should have taken Leon with him to the Outlands, as the "bad air" of the Temple has ruined his mind. Leon is offended that Kurt is still treating him like the baby brother that needs protecting, but Kurt says that's the natural duty of an older sibling to protect his brothers.
Leon tells him to do his duty, then, and summons the Arcanian Mech himself.
This is a new version of the mech that is a lot stronger than the other version. It doesn't have any new attacks, but rather does the same attacks as before, now with added animations of Leon riding it. The attacks also hurt a lot more.
It also seems a bit harder to do LP damage to the mech, and the battle took a lot longer this time even though the party was a little stronger.
Once we defeat Leon and the mech, Leon starts screaming for help, saying he's being consumed by something. As the mech summons Chaos, Leon seems to be absorbed with it or something.
Plasma Shower is pretty scary with its ability to paralyze party members. Thankfully, three different characters (Kurt, Platty, and Josef) had access to Purify, so at least we were able to heal it when it happened. There were times I healed it and then got paralyzed again in the same turn...
At this point, there's not a lot to talk about when battling Chaos. It's pretty much the same battle every time. The earlier forms like to spam attacks on the character in front, so I generally have one character that can take the hits stand in front, a second character who is vital to doing damage stand off to the side and attack, and a third character ready Purify on the front character to make it so they can last even longer.
Once Chaos gets to its later forms, it's pretty much a race to deal LP damage. We didn't have as much variety in LP-damaging attacks this time around. Armand's Thousand Needles and Josef's Bloody Mary are the only attacks that consistently do 3 LP damage per hit once Chaos's HP has worn down. And Josef wasn't able to survive the attacks later in the battle, so I mostly had him wear down the LP as much as he could as soon as I was able to do LP damage to the earlier forms, and once he got weak, he was out for the rest of the fight. I did try bringing him back in the final part, but he died immediately lol.
Platty's Thunderbringer and Kurt's Bubble Blow could dish out tons of HP damage to get Chaos's HP down, and they're both kind of bulky, so they could spend a turn on their own in front of Chaos to let others have a rest, and even heal them while they were out there. Kurt couldn't do it as much, since his LP reaching 0 is a Game Over, and I was paranoid of that, but Platty held up very well for the whole battle.
Norff and Mordeus ended up being the primary meat shields, even though they're not very tanky. They both held up surprisingly well, though, and Mordeus's Sword arts were surprisingly strong, so I got a nice chunk of HP damage in when he'd stand in front.
Edel was basically a stand-in when Armand was resting. He couldn't do lots of LP damage, but he would consistently chip off one at a time with Phoenix Arrow.
In the end, it was of course Armand who scored the final hit with Thousand Needles. I didn't bother using Poker's Wild because it was a lot harder to hit on the reel, and sometimes I'd end up hitting a weak attack or something.
When we end, we find Kurt climbing the edge of a cliff. See, Obstacle Crossing! He calls out to the people below him and asks if they're okay.
Jeanne and Leon call out that they're perfectly fine. It seems that the three of them have started adventuring together. Out of the Temple, they're probably learning a lot about the rest of the world, especially learning from Kurt's perspective.
Kurt warns someone not to be quick to touch suspicious-looking things. He should know, after all. He got trapped in the Gauntlet's curse because of that kind of curiosity.
But then only moments later, Kurt picks up some random suspicious-looking mask off the ground... The mask seems to be stuck on his face and he calls out to Jeanne and Leon for help.
But he starts laughing after they freak out, because he's just joking around. "Don't you just love adventures now?" The screen does that thing where it turns to black around a circle over Kurt's face, completely with the comical wah-wah sound effect and everything.
And that's the end to Kurt's story. I don't know why it says "To be continued...?" Maybe it's a joke about how he got "cursed" by the mask...? Or maybe it's a hint that there was supposed to be a final adventure about Iskandar and Jeanne and stuff that never made it into the final game. I'm still sticking with that theory, heh.
Kurt's story is kind of a pain with all the Gauntlet stuff and the fact that it's almost just exclusively doing subadventures to see these lame little scenes with Leon. I do like Kurt and Jeanne, though, so I do like the narrative overall. Kurt's party is a lot of fun, too, and surprisingly one with a ton of magic potential. I'm a little sad I didn't get to make the team completely magic-focused like I wanted, but the last thing I want to do is farm any more Treasure Slimes.
As for what happened to everyone else... Honestly there's not too much creative stuff for me this time. Josef has a family to go home to, and likewise Armand has a girlfriend and Platty has their tribe. Edel and Mordeus are both planning on dying any day. Norff has comlpeted his training with Kurt, so it makes sense he'd return to his master (he probably learned a ton about Wood arts from Platty!) And then Hiro acts like he doesn't even want to be here in the first place, so he'd probably just go home... and Ventus would definitely go back to being a carrier, and probably continue searching for his brother's killer. So really everyone has pretty good motivation to just go back to their lives (or upcoming deaths) as they were before meeting Kurt. It seems like none of them continue adventuring with him, as he's only seen with Leon and Jeanne at the end... but at least we learn what happened to those three.
I'd really like to know, actually, what happens with Max. Does he start to come around and shift the direction of the Knighthood? Perhaps after both Leon and Jeanne come back to convince him to change his mind, and not just Kurt? Does he finally forgive Kurt and accept him back into the family? He's probably had a lot of time to think after the assassination attempt... and the Temple Knights will be in shambles and need restructuring after this, too.
Anyway, thanks for reading and stay tuned for the next scenario!