Jade Forest

When we last left off, we had traveled to Serin past the Vale of Swords and saw some disturbing activity with the knights, and along the way rescued (and recruited) the bandit Armand.

But as I said before, I am in a hurry to get to Sadovos, so today, we're going to adventure through the Jade Forest to find our way there.

We've been through the whole Vale-of-Swords-and-Jade-Forest path before, when Mythe took a short break from his Fae obsession to help Michelle learn about her gauntlet. So that seems like it might be a good place to go to learn about Kurt's gauntlet, right?

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As soon as we enter the forest's northern opening, a strange creature appears in front of Kurt. He asks them if they are monster of the forest. But instead, the creature cryptically replies that they were waiting for Kurt, and introduces themselves as Platyphyllum of the Lilean Tribe.

More specifically, they were waiting for his gauntlet. Kurt gets excited and demands that the Lilean tell him what they know about the gauntlet, but it seems Platy doesn't really know anything -- they could sense the destructive power of the gauntlet and came to investigate. It seems they probably didn't even realize it was a gauntlet emitting the power until they got close to Kurt.

The Lilean Tribe are a reclusive tribe that live deep in the Jade Forest, using magic to conceal their location, so no human has ever found where they live. They are deeply attuned to the forces of nature and its energies, which probably explains why Platy was able to sense the gauntlet's power as Kurt approached the forest.

After convincing Kurt that they are not enemies, Platy asks if they can travel with Kurt, because they, too, are curious about the nature of the gauntlet, and would like to learn more about it, and if Kurt's quest is to learn more about the gauntlet, their objectives are now the same.

So, we've got a new ally in our party, Platyphyllum the Lilean!

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Platy's initial panels are not much, but it suits the nature of the Lilean tribe pretty well, as a forest-dwelling, magical race.

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Platyphyllum is a very well-rounded character; the only thing they really can't be great at is Earth arts, but they have the highest Wood Elemental Making in the game, and Strength and Skill Making are both 3, so they can be decent enough with any weapon, as well as martial arts. Pretty much any way you want to build Platy is viable.

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Another great aspect of Platyphyllum is that they come with a whole arsenal of Wood Arts! This includes the very useful Missile Guard which protects the party from all piercing attacks.

Platyphyllum is one of my favorite sub-characters in the game. I just think they look really cool, and they're very nature-y, which is great. The Lilean seem to be a plant-like humanoid race, which is really cool. 20 LP and decent growth all around make Platy a welcome addition to any party, and they actually have a reason for joining in both quests they're available in.

I always give Platy a Bow. I don't know why. So this time, I'm not going to give them a Bow. I promise. Someone else will have to take the Bow.

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Immediately after meeting Platy, Kurt is thrown into another gauntlet battle. I struggle to damage Mad Buc still, so it seems pretty hopeless. I don't want to waste my weapon durability right now, either, so I just threw it a lot until Kurt eventually died.

Anyway, after Kurt dies at the hands? guns? of Mad Buc, we're returned to the forest as if nothing happened, and continue along our way.

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Eventually we reach the Eye of the forest again, and I just wanted to take a moment to note that it is the Carrier Guild who posted the warning about the dangers of the forest, not the Knighthood. Maybe the Knighthood really is just completely crap after all, and I just want to imagine they're not so bad.

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Exploring the forest was pretty standard fare. With Armand's Sharpeye ability, I can now purposely trigger mimic traps in hopes of getting a magic tablet, and with both Armand and Platyphyllum in the party, I don't have to worry nearly as much about getting into battles, as they both have high LP (though Armand's pitiful 98 HP is not helping much).

I've given Ventus's Marcasite Spear to Armand to try to get him a Spear Arts panel, as I think he'll really be powerful with one, and I don't think I've ever given him a Spear before.

I didn't have any spare weapons that I wanted to give Platy -- just a bunch of swords for some reason, so they've been just throwing things.

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In fact, everyone did a lot of throwing. Almost every battle started off with at least three Throws, one from each character that I'm using (I've stopped using Ventus in battle now in hopes of getting stuff like Quick-Fix, etc.) and then a few more martial arts from Armand to hopefully boost his HP, as you are more likely to gain HP the more battle commands you receive.

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It wasn't that long before Mad Buc appeared yet again, and I sighed knowing I'd have to sit and throw and throw and throw while I waited for Kurt's LP to deplete. Since he can hang out behind his two meat shields (er, meat and veggie shield?) his LP was still at a full 17 when the fight began.

I was near the southern exit of the forest, and I still had quite a bit of durability on Kurt's axe, and enough money to buy materials to repair it if I needed to, so I figured I'd try to glimmer some more axe arts. I started every turn with three Throws, then a combo of Throw+Woodchopper, hoping to glimmer something else in the Woodchopper line.

Surprisingly, instead of glimmering a new Axe art, Kurt glimmered the level four Throw art, Call Back. This was really a game-changer; I was expecting to lose this fight, but now I actually stood a chance!

Since Kurt doesn't have a Throw panel, there's only one little spot on the reel for Call Back, and it's just completely surrounded by green spots, so it's very hard to see coming and land on. But it's very close to the beginning of the reel, so you can kind of memorize the timing and hit it with decent accuracy.

I was able to get lots of Call Backs in, and eventually was even able to toss away all 5 of Mad Buc's LP!

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After defeating Mad Buc, Kurt regains consciousness in the normal world, but Platyphyllum seems to have actually noticed -- something that's never happened before! They comment that Kurt seemed to be in a different plane of existence, if only for a brief moment.

Kurt initially denies that he went anywhere, but Platy tells Kurt that they are friends, and that there is no need to hide secrets from your friends, but assured him they would not press further if Kurt didn't wish to talk about it. Kurt admits that he gets drawn into Gauntlet battles, but even he didn't realize he was being transported to another world when it happened.

Platy explained that souls have the ability to traverse worlds, and that for just a moment, they sensed that Kurt's soul had left to another world and returned, but they can't determine where that other world is or anything like that.

Learning this, Kurt seems even more determined to unravel the mystery of the gauntlet.

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After their conversation, it was a quick walk to the end of the forest, which ended the adventure. Kurt and Armand both got shiny new L3 Throw panels -- also notice that after defeating Mad Buc, Kurt's Gauntlet panel has also become L3. Along with the Throw panel, we're able to get his Strength and Skill Levels up to respectable values.

Ventus managed to get Quick-Fix, which is awesome, and I ended up giving Platyphyllum a L3 Diplomacy panel. Diplomacy is a surprisingly useful skill in a pinch, and "talking" panels can give you a formation bonus that boosts your Wood Elemental Level, which would be very handy to build upon if Platy can get a tablet that has the Thunderbringer art.

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Arriving in Sadovos, there doesn't seem to be much to do here. In fact, there's not even a single adventure in the inn! And reconnaissance doesn't seem to be helping much -- the locals and travelers hanging around don't say much of interest.

But if you remember when we came here with Mythe, there was someone special who knew a lot about magic tablets, and Mythe recognized that the gauntlet was similar to a magic tablet. So, let's go to the magic shop and see if we can find Judy's grandfather.

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Upon entering the shop, Josef also seems to immediately sense the power of the gauntlet. It makes sense since he's one of the most powerful wizards in existence these days. After seeing he knows something, Kurt gets inquisitive.

Josef is only able to say that it contains both light and darkness, and is more complex than a magic tablet, which seems quite dangerous. But he can't understand it any further than that. Also intrigued by the gauntlet, Josef insists he must come along on the journey to discover its secret, claiming it is his duty.

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Josef starts with high HP and a whole Growth Panel full of tablets! His LP is only 7, though, so he's still quite fragile. He has a Skill Making of 4, which is pretty great, as well as great Magic Making and Fire and Earth Elemental Making. His Endurance and Spirit Making aren't half bad, so he'll be quite resilient to status ailments, too.

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What's even more amazing is that he comes with three magic tablets already! One is the L4 Fire tablet that Marie had found in Mythe's game, containing the powerful Fire and Forbidden Arts we used near the end of the game. The L3 Wood tablet and L2 Metal tablet contain many useful magic arts, too.

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Josef even comes knowing tons of magic arts already! Other than Forbidden Arts, he knows a little bit from every elemental school, including the powerful Holy Seal.

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Whenever you make new friends, it's always great to take them shopping. I bought a piece of Cedar and used it with Kurt's Iron Axe to turn it into a Steel Axe, increasing its power by another 7 points.

That was really all that came out of my shopping trip, though.

From here, there are no more unique adventures available, so we'll have to start working on regular subadventures to advance the time in the game and see story events start to unravel.