The Depressed Carrier
Welcome back! It hasn't been long since I finished Mythe's story, but I'm already excited to start adventuring with Kurt. Kurt is one of my favorite characters even if his scenario is the most annoying to play, and he was also one of the first characters I ever cleared. Since then, I've never replayed his game (you'll soon see why), so I've forgotten a lot about the story. This game came out more than 10 years ago, after all!
Without further ado, let's jump right in.
When you select Kurt on the scenario selection screen, his voice clip says "Hi! I'm Kurt Burgundy. Let's go on an adventure together!" and it's the most ultimately cute thing ever. Pretty much from that line alone I started crushing on Kurt when I first played this game hahaha. It's just so cheesy and dorky and pretty much sums up how Kurt is a big softie nerd who just wants you to be happy. He's that kind of perfect cinnamon roll that you must protect.
Actually, I once drew a naked picture of him and posted it on Pixiv and someone added a tag (you can tag other artists' work on pixiv if they allow it) of that quote (though it was the Japanese version) and I think that tag is still there lmao.
Anyway, Kurt is the son of Maximilian Burgundy, the Big Big Knight Man who rules all the little knights. The developer notes say that his curse "may be a source of irritation" and that his story is "left unexplained." Just a heads-up. This is definitely going to be the most annoying scenario we've seen and ever will see. But it's not so bad. Well... you'll see.
Kurt's story has a pretty good intro, so I'll let it explain itself.
When we first start, we're greeted with a 3D cutscene of Kurt looking around and wondering "why he is here." And then we're immediately thrown into a battle!
Kurt says, "Forced to fight... this thing. Could this be the gauntlet's curse?" or something like that. Anyway, if you're wondering what kind of weird hallucinations Michelle was having, this is it. We're fighting an enemy named Scorpion. And yes, it's a recolor of those other bug things we have fought many times before.
I just spammed Throw a lot since it has the best LP damage rate of the basic martial arts. Kurt has a L2 Sword panel and a copper sword equipped from the start, but I don't feel like wasting the durability of the sword for now. I managed to glimmer Kawazu Throw on the very first turn!
Scorpion has 2 LP and isn't that hard to defeat. I don't think it really matters if you win or lose this battle. It's just introducing you to the fact that Kurt is constantly being forced to battle in this weird... purple swirly world, presumably because of his cursed gauntlet that he can't remove. If only he knew Mythe! He'd pop that thing off in a second.
When the battle is over, we find ourselves in Gadeira, Kurt's hometown. Like the other heroes, Kurt's theme music plays the entire time you're not on adventures. His theme is really nice; I like it a lot. It's pretty serene but also has a constantly moving piano part, so it feels like... waking up the morning of a new adventure, hahaha. It also has oboe (or maybe English horn) and glockenspiel featured pretty prominently, which is great, too~ You can listen to it here. (Yeah, Kurt's name is "Cash" in the Japanese version lol)
Anyway, with our nice music playing, the scene shifts to Lord Burgundy's estate.
Ahh, I could listen to this music and stare at this image for a long time... XD This is Joachim, Lord Burgundy's butler, and another crush of mine. This is pretty much the extent of his role in the game right here, but I still think he looks absolutely lovely, and I have a special attraction to butlers. I mean, he has a big nose and glasses and flippy hair and a long face and a big chin and he's a butler like the only thing they missed was the mustache.
Kurt arrives and ruins our perfect scene. Just kidding, Kurt. I love you, too.
There is a lot of dialogue here, and instead of trying to summarize it, I'm just going to copy down the script for you, because it's easier to just read it, honestly. Stuff in [brackets] are my personal commentary or description of characters moving around or whatever, obviously.
Kurt: Hi, Joachim. You seem well.
Joachim: Why, Master Kurt! How many years has it been? You have grown even stronger. It is an unexpected pleasure to see you once again.
Kurt: Flattering as always, Joachim. [teehee] Is Father at home?
Joachim: Oh, I beg your pardon! In my excitement, I failed to inform him. I will do so immediately.
[Joachim leaves to fetch Lord Burgundy.]
Kurt: This house hasn't changed a bit.
[Lord Maximilian Burgundy approaches Kurt.]
Lord Burgundy: What brings you back here? Have you quit the Outland Knights to come take over my Gadeira Knighthood?
Kurt: (to self) Just as I expected; my father hasn't changed a bit.
Kurt: (to Max) I am no longer a knight.
Lord Burgundy: You haven't changed at all. And never will. Are you trying to anger me with such words? How childish. Kurt, how old are you now?
Kurt: I just turned thirty-... two. [I think he's actually pausing to think of his age, not because he's ashamed of it.]
Lord Burgundy: When one is young, one needs to have a childlike playfulness. But to maintain a childish attitude when fully grown... That is foolishness. Maturity brings responsibility. [eugh] You turned out to be useless by abandoning them. [pretty sure he means the Outland Knights]
Kurt: Father, chivalry is not the only code to live by. I saw a great deal on the frontier. Terrifying monsters. Traces of an amazing past civilization. Pioneers struggling against monsters. Living unaware of the Wonders nearby, and without benefit of their blessings... I want to tell them of this knowledge.
Lord Burgundy: Generous fool. Do you really believe those people will listen to your "knowledge?" [I don't know why this is in quotes?] All that concerns them is survival. That's why privileged people like us should spread knowledge. [By this, he means, only amongst themselves, I guess.] Knowledge like that will merely weight them down.
Kurt: Certainly in the beginning. But, the pioneers I met understood it. By using the knowledge of the past, they are able to fend off monsters and lead a better life.
Lord Burgundy: The glorious legacy that remains in the Seven Wonders is not so easily utilized. Progress comes step by step. And progress should be guided by the Knighthood's hands. This is what Iskandar wanted the Knighthood to do.
Kurt: Progress, step by step, comes naturally. It's not the duty of the Knighthood. Father, arguing with you won't change a thing. I must continue to walk my own path.
Lord Burgundy: I'll have no part of it. Daniel and Leon will carry on the family name. Kurt, all of the Burgundy men are knights. If you are no longer a knight, you are no longer a member of the House of Burgundy. Do you understand?
Kurt: I understand that I will not stray from my own path.
Lord Burgundy: Then as of now, you are no longer my son. I must ask you to leave this house.
Kurt: I understand Fa... Lord Burgundy. I wish you the best.
[Kurt leaves the estate, and Joachim approaches Lord Burgundy.]
Joachim: Your grace, to sever the bonds of your family... My deepest sympathies are with Master Kurt. [<3 <3 <3]
Lord Burgundy: That's just fine. Poor parenting is the cause. I gave Nayda too much to say. [Yeah, Max is kind of gross. I used to crush on him, too, though, hahaha.]
[The scene shifts to outside in Gadeira somewhere. Kurt's brother approaches him on the streets.]
Kurt: Oh, long time no see, Leon! It's been three years. You're a fine knight now.
Leon: Not yet. I'm being trained daily at the temple. Maybe I should've become an Outland Knight like you.
Kurt: It's an honor to be chosen as a Temple Knight. You have it all... wisdom, strength, and courage. Out of the three of us, you were always the best. Be confident. I'm no longer a Burgundy. I can no longer call myself your brother.
Leon: What are you saying? Father's wrong. Remember, I'm always on your side.
Kurt: I know, and I'm grateful. But you must be at his side.
Leon: Yes, I will do my best... Brother. By the way, what kind of gauntlet is that on your arm? It's not an ordinary one. Is it a relic?
Kurt: Yeah, I don't know much about it, but I've been trying to learn more...
Leon: People like you help to make the world a better place. You have a gift. I better head back to the shrine in Vaftom. Look after yourself, in the meantime.
Kurt: You, too. Send regards to Daniel for me, will you?
[Leon parts with Kurt.]
Kurt: [as narrator] One reason I gave up my knighthood was to unravel the mystery of the gauntlet. Who would believe that a gauntlet could draw me into battle? I guess I will have to solve this riddle on my own.
And with that, we regain control of the game in the Gadeira town menu.
As you can see, Kurt's story is already has more content and coherency than the entirety of Ruby's.
Personally I love Kurt to death, so it makes Lord Burgundy a bit difficult to like. I mean, he disowns Kurt and is pretty much an advocate of education for only the rich. Basically, he's the personification of "Government Bad!!" that you always see in fantasy stories.
But I like that the knights are shown as a bit more complex here than simply being the obviously-evil law enforcement of the crooked empire -- while the institution obviously seems flawed, especially being led by someone like Max, we see a variety of knights as characters that show other sides to the Knighthood. Kurt, Leon, and Jeanne we already know are good people (even if Jeanne is very misled in Ruby's scenario...) with different views of knighthood. Kurt quits being a knight, but he easily could have remained in the Knighthood and continued to serve the people on the frontier as he did. And even though he disagrees with the path of knighthood for himself, he supports Leon as a Temple Knight, so I don't think we're intended to hate the Knighthood completely.
As a little recap, in this world, the southern parts of the world near Vaftom (where the Festival of Regina Leone is held) are the most developed, and the most developed cities seem to be those of Vaftom and Gadeira. Gadeira is the location of the headquarters of the Knighthood.
There are three types of knights -- Temple Knights, whose sole duty is to guard the Temple of Iskandar, stationed in Vaftom, and serve as a sort of order-keeping government. One of the leaders of the Temple Knights is Jeanne Maure, who we met in Ruby's story, a very interesting character. So Leon is working under Jeanne. Guardian Knights are the main law enforcement that protect the main towns, and are generally stationed in the southern parts of the world. The Outland Knights are the least connected to the main Knighthood, and travel between the small villages, including the areas of the frontier. The frontier are the areas far north and near the desert, both north of Escata and sort of between Escata and Gadeira.
Heading the entirity of the Knighthood is Maximilian Burgundy, who we just met as Kurt's father. And you may remember from our reconnaissance in previous games, Lord Burgundy has "good business sense" because he charges a toll to Carriers for using the roads, which is used to help fund the Knighthood. And Carriers are essentially a guild of couriers that comprise a makeshift postal service for the world, with a Carrier's Guild branch in every town.
And with all of that information, let's get back to the game.
We're not set onto our first adventure automatically, but rather are given free control right from the start. Kurt has access to two adventures from Gadeira, and even though he's well-traveled and just came from the frontier, we only have access to Gadeira for now, so we have to choose between those two.
But Gadeira is also a big town, so it generally generates a pretty nice selection in the shop, and we have access to a blacksmith. Checking out the shop, I find a Silver Mail. As you probably know from the last two scenarios, I love Silver equipment because I love to stack up Water Support. It made Grace into a fabulous and powerful mage in Ruby's quest, and Mythe wore his (with his Faerie Heels) to become a fantastic support character.
So, I had to grab it. It cost over 7,500kr, and we only start with 10,000. So I really dropped a lot of money right from the start...
Kurt starts the game equipped with a Copper Sword, Silk Armor (silky knight, lol), and some Snakeskin Boots. In our inventory, we already have a Copper Shield, Feather Amulet, and a Ravenite Knife with Water Arts on it that allows anyone who wields it to use Rainbringer. Water Arts!!!
Anyway, the Silver Mail has a defense of 15, while the Silk Armor is only 6, so I swap that out while equipping the shield and amulet as well. Now we're much better protected! The knife is not so useful right now since Rainbringer does nothing without other magic arts to go with it (it just drastically shifts the elemental field to water).
I have a tiny bit of money left, around 2,400kr. There's a Tortoise Shell in the shop for around 1,300. The only other thing in the shop cheap enough to buy is some Scale for 1,100. And with that I'm completely broke. Less than 1,000kr and I haven't done anything yet...
I take the Tortoise Shell to the blacksmith and forge a Sword with the Scale as the secondary material. Hopefully the sword is light enough that the second slot will release Deflect. Kurt's Copper Sword is too heavy to use for deflection.
The Tortoise Sword sadly didn't release its second ability, so I replaced the Copper Sword with it (it actually has 1 more power than the copper sword anyway), and hopefully Kurt will release the second ability soon. If it's too heavy, hopefully I'll find some wood or something before the next shopping trip to make another sword. For now, he'll have to do with the Copper Shield, even though with a L2 Sword panel he'll deflect way more often with a sword if he could.
With Kurt having a pretty different setup than he had from the beginning already (only the Boots are the same... where do you find pink snakeskin boots, Kurt?), we're off to the adventures. Also, sorry for spending like half of the content of the post so far talking about my shopping trip and equipment menu.
The two adventures available to us are The Three Keys and The Depressed Carrier.
The Three Keys will force us to play with Kurt on his own, and it can be tough. The Depressed Carrier hints from its description that we'll find a new ally here, so we're going to go that route to get another member in the party. As far as I know, Mythe is the only character in which you're forced to go on an adventure with a single character party.
Kurt sets out just a bit from Gadeira and walks right into the middle of an argument between a Carrier and a Guardian Knight.
Ventus: Huh? Why do I have to pay you?
Knight: The Gadeira Knighthood guards the vicinity! The toll fee covers the cost!
Ventus: Look, no one asked for your protection.
Knight: Silence! You will not pass without paying the toll.
[Kurt arrives and interrupts from behind Ventus.]
Kurt: What's the matter here?
Knight: If you wish to pass here, pay your toll.
Kurt: But why are the knights collecting tolls?
Knight: Do not question our order! Just pay the fee and you can pass here.
Kurt: [as narrator] What is this? The Guardian Knights have become bandits, preying on those they swore to protect? Where has the pride of the knights gone? Sickening. [I wish you could hear the melodrama in his voice when he says "Sickening." lol]
Ventus: I'm not payin'!
[Ventus turns toward the mountain path, away from the main road, and Kurt follows.]
Ventus: I'll be flat broke if I pay the toll. There's no other way; I've gotta take the mountain path.
Kurt: Alright, let me go with you as a guard.
Ventus: If you're asking for money, I'll pass on it.
Kurt: I wouldn't do such a thing. I'm Kurt.
Ventus: I'm Ventus. Nice to meetcha.
And we regain control of Kurt from here, as he's met a new buddy. Like before, since Ventus has his own story, I'm not going to include him in the final party. So he's a temporary member for now. He's also not really relevant to the plot, but more just here to give you another party member to work with early in the game.
Now it's Kurt's job to escort Ventus safely through the mountain path, which is undoubtedly crawling with monsters. Kinda sad that the Knighthood would just... allow innocent people to go wandering into dangerous areas like this over some taxes. But Kurt's comment makes it sound like this is a recent change in the Knighthood.
With a whole mountain of adventure ahead of us and so many things to do and see, the first thing we do is, obviously, go look at a bunch of menus.
First, let's check out Kurts makings.
Despite Kurt being the big burly knight type in appearance, his potential is not very knightly. His Strength and Skill Makings are both only 2, meaning he'll be mediocre with any weapon no matter what he equips. And that big fat Gauntlet panel in the center of his Growth Panel is not helping, either, so we're not going to be making line combos to boost up either of those stats.
However, Kurt has a 3 in Magic Making which isn't terrible, and a surprising 3 in both Fire and Water Making! As a refresher, the max for Ability Makings like Strength, Skill, and Magic is 5, while the max for Elemental Makings is 4. So a 3 is quite high.
And with the Water position being in a more convenient position than Fire (which sadly has to compete with the Magic stat for panels), that means Kurt's best potential lies in, you guessed it, Water Arts.
But since tablet drops are not reliable and we're not going to be able to fit a bunch of familiars on the growth panel (again, due to the gauntlet panel in the center), I'm going to keep Kurt's options open for now. If we find magic tablets for him, maybe he'll develop into a specialist of Fire Arts. Or maybe he won't, and he'll end up being a search-and-explore kind of character with situational battle utility. Or maybe I'll be forced to try to squeeze out every ounce of Strength I can and have him do the best with his Sword. Who knows. It will be based on what panels I get and what tablets I find.
Kurt's starting abilities aren't too shabby. He has Road Guide and Defuse, both of which are immediately helpful. His Punch panel in the top left boosts his Strength a little, and the L2 Sword is pretty much a lifesaver for now, combined with his pre-equipped sword (or our Tortoise Sword!).
Gauntlet is, of course, the most useless ability. It's Kurt's curse, and it basically wastes space. It does provide a decent boost to all of his stats by being in the center, but the inability to make line bonuses with the center spot is not worth the decent stat growth. It's only L1 right now, but we'll at least be able to level it up as we go.
So, let's traverse the mountain path! A few steps in, and we find a sign that tells us where we are. It's the Sevenfold Tail, where we went on some adventures in a previous entry. It's the place with the hidden cavern behind the waterfall, the "No-Travel Season" where there's strong winds, and the seven waterfalls that are a tourist attraction to visitors to Gadeira.
Anyway, this is a great place to start our travels, because I think those tourists drop their money and items here all the time. You know, those giant hunks of mullock and stuff that they carry around. This whole pathway is littered with these bag-type treasure "chests," and if you remember, they can't be locked, and can only have needle and poison traps. So they won't explode or send slimes out to fight us. And with Kurt's Road Guide skill, he can find them all easily, and he conveniently has Defuse as well. We can't Sharpeye them right now, so we just have to try to defuse them without knowing what's on them. If there's no trap, all we did was waste a turn. And this is considered a story adventure, so we have unlimited turns.
Before even reaching the first waterfall, suddenly the screen gets all twisty!
I was expecting it this time, but I remember the first time this ever happened, I kind of freaked out.
All of a sudden, we're thrown into another battle. This time, instead of Scorpion, we're greeted with this mean guy called Zorus, who immediately throws rocks at Kurt's face. Can you imagine? Walking along and looking at some waterfalls and SUDDENLY IN ANOTHER DIMENSION GETTING PUMMELED WITH BOULDERS. Terrifying!
This guy is able to dish out 1LP damage with every single hit. He doesn't always manage it, but he gets tons of actions per turn (usually around 4 or 5), so Kurt is losing about 3 LP per round of combat. In retaliation, Kurt is able to toss this thing around, punch it, and scratch at it with a tortoise shell, doing amazing sums of damage like...
As in 6 HP damage.
It was not long before Kurt died...
But don't fret, Kurt appears unharmed. After the game over music plays and the screen fades out, we're... suddenly back on the adventure map! No explanation or anything, we're just here, and Kurt seems completely fine. The 1 LP he is missing he sustained from a Strangler that we met very early on the path, so his LP was restored to what it was before fighitng Zorus. His HP is restored, too.
But let's not get too excited. We may be fighting cute early-game enemies like Guckies and Stranglers, but we're also fighting stuff like...
...Doubleheaders who can blind both members of the party easily, which is not helpful at all considering the early-game arts have poor accuracy to begin with and we have no healing magic arts, and...
...Ullis, who have ridiculous abilities for this early in the game, causing them to be able to deal as much as three LP damage at a time.
Ventus is serving mainly as protection for Kurt, but the poor kid only has 65 max HP, which means his HP will be depleted to 0 every single battle right away, and he's bound to lose LP each fight. Add to this the fact that the mountain path is straight and narrow, so there's no way around enemies, and we're forced to fight pretty much everything along the path. When enemies don't aggress, I challenge them anyway, to help prevent them from 'stacking' with other monsters. Fighting solo monsters is hard enough right now. I also check the preview to see if it's red, and if it is, I try moving away and waiting turns and things to see if I can "split up" groups of monsters. For groups that involve more than one type of monster, this can work well, and I did split up many groups this way. But if they are groups of the same type of monster, they will always move in unison, so you can't try to catch them when their movement turns are out-of-sync.
Fortunately, as we got past the first area of the mountain path, after a grueling battle with an Ulli, Kurt released Deflect on the Tortoise Sword.Along with a Mullock Armlet and a Wooden Helmet we found in bags along the way (we found a Bow and a Sword, too, along with a bunch of money), I was able to deck Kurt out pretty nicely, giving his Shield to Ventus, and now having both the Copper and Tortoise Swords for use.
But shortly after re-equipping Kurt, I take another step and...
Guess who? It's our good buddy Zorus back to beat up on Kurt some more. Yes, when Kurt says his Gauntlet constantly draws him into battle, he means it. And yes, this is going to continue to happen for the entire game. And it can happen during any adventure during any turn. It's on a timer, so after so many minutes have passed since the last Gauntlet battle, another one will happen...
But Kurt's ability to deflect now is going to come in very, very handy.
Not only that, but the Copper Sword has Slash as its second ability, and on the first turn, Kurt managed to glimmer Slice! Now he has something offensive to use against Zorus.
It took a few rounds of combat, and Kurt almost died (he was down to about 3LP), but he managed to deal 4 total LP damage to Zorus and defeat it!
After defeating Zorus, Kurt says something when returning to the map this time: "Was that a dream? No one seems aware of these battles I'm drawn into. As a matter of fact, I'm not hurt. I don't even have a scratch on me. Do these daydreams actually stop time?"
And indeed they seem to. No turns seem to pass during the Gauntlet battles, and Kurt's HP and LP return to the values they had prior to the battle once it finishes. Weapons, however, still consume their durability. At first I thought this may have been an oversight, but thinking more about it, it was probably intentionally left this way as a way of balancing the game more. You could just use your weapons limitlessly in the gauntlet battles if you knew you couldn't break them.
Now that we've defeated Zorus, the next time the Gauntlet challenges us, Kurt will have to fight the next monster in line. There's a list of Gauntlet monsters, and to stop the battles from happening, we have to defeat every single one of them. And that certainly won't be happening any time soon, if at all over the course of the game.
And similarly to how we couldn't deal any damage to Zorus at all at the beginning of the adventure, we'll often hit walls like this where the current Gauntlet battle is well beyond our capabilities, and later in the game we'll have access to Life Protection and more arts and stuff, so we basically just have to sit and wait out the battle every time it happens while the monster slowly, slowly burns through Kurt's 17 LP.
Honestly, the developers' notes calling the gauntlet a "source of irritation" is an understatement. The concept of the gauntlet battles is cool in theory, but having your adventures randomly interrupted to fight what is usually a slow and unwinnable fight is not fun.
Shortly after defeating Zorus, another Ulli appears and kills Ventus. This is the main reason I focused on Kurt getting deflection early and sacrificing the Copper Sword with Slash while we waited for <Deflect> to release. Now that Kurt is alone, we only get four actions per round of battle (as Ventus's dead body consumes an action every round), and all enemy attacks will be focused on Kurt, who has no Life Protection at all, and only about 10 LP left. And at this point, we're not even halfway done with the adventure.
Yes, this is an incredibly difficult adventure for the first adventure. Even with my knowledge of the game, when I played this on Christmas Eve, I ended up dying and getting a game over because Kurt lost all of his LP by the end.
Also, this game is cruel.
At this point, I forego the strategy of trying to use throws to hopefully stun the enemy to try to combo more throws together, and decide it's even worth breaking the copper sword if it means avoiding LP damage. Kurt can often get a Slice in before the enemy gets a turn, and hopefully it will deal the 1 or 2 LP damage needed to defeat these low-rank monsters. But sadly, if it doesn't, they're going to be dishing out the damage to him instead.
The battle with the three aquans actually went pretty well, but annoyingly, lots of random enemies continued to deplete Kurt's LP as we continued over the mountain.
Eventually, we reach a cave that will connect us to the forest outside Solophero, where we're escorting Ventus.
The game taunts us with a treasure chest, but also places two Slimes hanging out around it. Slimes will never aggress on their own, but all monsters aggress if you interact with a treasure on the same space. So we don't need to get into battles with Slimes right now. Bye-bye treasure.
Slimes are terrifying despite their docile nature on the map. They'll even prioritize seeking each other out instead of chasing the player like other monsters. But this means they'll congregate onto a single space. And if you happen to be on that space and another monster comes along and aggresses, you just got into a fight with tons of enemies. Slimes are also difficult to damage with early-game arts because they're highly resistant to bludgeoning attacks (which means all martial arts) and have pretty decent Life Protection. You'll run through your weapon durability very quickly trying to fight them, and probably sustain LP damage, too.
So, Kurt knows to stay far, far away from Slimes for now. Now that we're in a cave, we can actually maneuver around enemies a little better sometimes. If monsters don't aggress, I'm not fighting them. I head straight for the exit. Kurt's Copper Sword is growing increasingly fragile, and his LP is steadily plummeting toward zero.
I didn't have the opportunity to explore the entire cave, so I probably missed out on many treasures within. But it just wasn't worth the risk to Kurt's health to explore everywhere inside, especially with slimes lurking around.
When we exit to the forest, we're dished another heaping serving of cruelty as the game throws three monsters at Kurt again. Where is the Diplomacy?!
I have Kurt beeline straight to the exit. Well, there are four exits to this forest, and I didn't know which one was the one I was supposed to be going to. I chose the wrong one at first, so instead of an exit, it was a dead end. Luckily, I only ended up fighting one more Vegeplast before reaching the exit, and Kurt was just about dead, and his sword just about broken. The Tortoise Sword did release Slash as its third ability, though, so we did have a bit of backup for the Copper Sword. But I'd rather not lose either sword at this point.
For our valiant efforts, Kurt was awarded a whole stash of L3 panels. They were all nice, too -- Sword, Cave Guide, Architect, and Defuse. The exploration skills would be nice to have early in the game, but it became unnervingly clear over the course of this adventure that we need more offensive power as soon as we can get it, so I took the Sword Arts panel and placed it in the top-right corner where it grew both Strength and Skill levels as much as possible. This is probably not where I want it ultimately, but the immediate gain is what's most important right now.
Cave Guide and Architect are both very useful, and making a Triangle of map panels would greatly boost Kurt's Water Elemental Level. But at this point, we're still not sure if we're going to get good magic tablets or not, so it's not worth risking building him for a role he may not be able to perform. Unlike Mythe, he needs to be able to fight on his own in the Gauntlet dreams, so a pure support build won't cut it. Clearing all the Gauntlet battles is not required to finish the game, but as we clear them, Kurts Gauntlet panel will level up, increasing his stats, and the later Gauntlet monsters have great glimmer rates, so we can get Kurt to learn a lot of great weapon arts that way.
Ventus got a Monger panel, which is perfect, since I plan to eventually bench him once we have six other companions to make a full party. So we'll always have that 15% discount in the store from here on out at least.
And with that, we arrive in Solophero, and our first adventure with Kurt is over. It certainly was a wild ride. I feel sorry for anyone who chooses Kurt as their first scenario without knowing the game very well. For even a seasoned player like me to be able to Game Over on the first quest when I was trying my best...
Kurt's scenario is interesting because it doesn't progress in the same way as the other scenarios we've played, which basically gave us a 'story adventure' we could partake to move the plot forward whenever we wanted in a fairly linear fashion. But you'll have to wait until next time to learn more about how his story progresses.