The Three Keys
Last time we left off, we had ventured through the Jade Forest and ended up at Sadovos, the same path Mythe had taken Michelle through in order to find Judy's grandfather Josef, to ask him about the gauntlet. In the end, Mythe just popped the gauntlet off in some kind of weird youngster shenanigans we can only imagine, but this time, we have no brave kiddos, so Josef, interested in the power of the gauntlet, decides to tag along on our adventure.
Now, we're going to go back to Gadeira where we started, and embark on the original adventure we saw in the inn, "The Three Keys."
There's an isolated house far from town that used to belong to an aristocrat known for his eccentricities. It seems anymore, the house is abandoned and known as "Monster Manor."
Creepy house full of monsters. Seems like that's definitely worth our time, right?
Hey, remember this place? If you don't, this is the place Tiffon went to ransack while Mythe and Sapphire were stalking her. She must have heard the same rumors we did. Perhaps there's an implication that this eccentric aristocrat was loaded and had lots of treasures, but no one has gone to retrieve them because his house is overrun with monsters.
Of course, the excitement of starting a new adventure is quickly interrupted by Kurt immediately entering a gauntlet battle when we start. This little cutie is Vergirius. Don't let its whimsical appearance fool you -- it's packing Forbidden Arts!
Mostly Vergy uses a lot of debuffs, so as long as you can take it out quickly, it's not too tough of a battle. But last too long and it will start dishing out some pain. Kurt's Call Back throws do the job swiftly and neatly, and Vergirius falls in only a few rounds of combat.
So, back to adventure...
If you're having trouble remembering, Mythe and Sapphire encountered these locks, wandered around the house looking for some keys, found nothing, and upon returning, found they were already picked, then went behind the door to follow Tiffon into the weird basement.
But if that doesn't jog your memory...
This probably does!
Yup, Sabretiger is back, and still chilling out in the same spot under the second floor balcony like before. The thing is, we can't just wander around until Tiffon does the dirty work for us. Fighting the Sabretiger is actually a required part of this adventure it seems.
The fight was very tough, and over half of the party's collective LP was quickly drained. In the end, the only thing that seemed to be able to do LP damage was Kurt's Call Back (not even Armand's spear was seeming to scratch it, nor Josef's Holy Seal!), and even then Call Back would only sometimes do a single LP damage. Other times it did none, and Kurt seemed to miss a lot, too. Even comboing it into Holy Seal didn't seem to help -- sometimes Kurt and Josef together would deal near 1000 HP damage, but still not damage LP.
Speaking of Call Back and Holy Seal, though, I want to take this time to point out another reason I really love Josef -- other than the fact that he's a cute old man. He has really unique and interesting battle animations! Whenever he uses any kind of weapon, instead of holding it like all the other characters, he actually manipulates it with telekinesis! So you get to see his weapons floating around his head while he's preparing an attack, and then there's neat weapon animations as he commands the weapon to attack the enemies by pointing his fingers and waving his arms. He even deflects this way, too!
For Magic Arts, the item he's using to channel the magic will float behind his head, and he'll read from a book, and then when he casts the art, he holds the book up to cast as the item raises up, too. It's absolutely adorable, very fun to watch, and there are no other characters with animations like that in the game.
Anyway, after long, grueling battle, we finally defeated the Sabretiger.
The beast was guarding a Silver Key. I intentionally picked it up with Josef to get a screencap of his little circle portrait close up :P
And when I say the battle was long, I mean that...
It was long enough that another gauntlet battle started as soon as we stepped back into the hallway...
Meet Agares. This is a very notable Gauntlet battle for two main reasons. One I will get to later, but for now, just realize that this is a sudden and huge difficulty spike in the gauntlet challenge. Agares does around 2 LP to Kurt with every single attack, and gets to attack four or five times per round of combat. Kurt is not equipped to handle this, and with only 8 or 9 LP to start the battle with after the sabretiger fight, there was no chance at all to win this. And there may not be for some time.
That means for the unforeseeable future, we're going to have to keep waiting for Kurt to die every single time we get in a Gauntlet battle, because we're not going to be able to defeat Agares.
I did use it as an excuse to try to glimmer some new weapon arts, though. Kurt's Axe released the Hammer ability after fighting Sabretiger, so it was a fresh ability line hungry for glimmers. Right away, Kurt glimmered... Fuji View. I couldn't believe it! What was Pharr's ultimate Weapon Art in the previous game, that I only managed to get right at the end, Kurt has already glimmered and we haven't even cleared five adventures yet.
But even with the power of a great Axe art like Fuji View, there was no hope at all for defeating Agares. He just tears through Kurt's LP way too quickly. We'll need to power Kurt up quite a bit before we can move on. (I screencapped Fuji View at the absolute worst moment during its explosion animation -- the screen was just pure grey lol)
Exploring around the ground floor some more, we find a bunch of random Rusty Keys and plenty of locked doors. The keys have the Locksmith ability (you may remember this from the Kitty adventure that started Ruby's scenario), so we can use them to open the doors; however, they will break once we use them. I even opened one door, and behind it was just a room with another key lol.
Returning to the two padlocks in the central hallway just ahead of the entrance, I was able to use two Rusty Keys to get rid of the locks. That just left the door, which didn't want to respond to the Silver Key, so I decided to head back to the stairwell near the entrance and explore the second floor.
The abandoned mansion is full of traps and treasures. It's quite exciting. I also got to see a lot of the things everyone says when they fall into or evade traps. Armand's arrogant attitude after escaping a trap is probably my favorite. I don't know if I gave my opinion on him before, but I actually quite like Armand. Like most characters, he doesn't get a lot of story or depth, but I just kind of like the idea of a bandit joining the party and turning over a new leaf.
He's also strong and says lots of silly cocky things which always make me laugh. His voice is hilarious. Sometimes after battles, he'll say "You're almost good enough to be my backup!" and stuff. I also like his hair?
Anyway, more creeping around the house and we find a Copper Key hidden away in a corner. Not only that but...
We find a mysterious ball thing, too! Ah, this probably is the right way to get into the locked door, right?
... Okay, I had a lapse in judgment and never even tried a Rusty Key on the door. It's not any different than other doors, other than it had those padlocks on it, so I don't know why I didn't try. When the Silver Key didn't work, I thought it must be a ~special door~ even though the Silver Key doesn't work on any of the other normal doors, either...
So I ended up just using another Rusty Key to get into the door. Instead of finding a hidden entrance to the basement already uncovered by Tiff, we just find an empty room with an eerie painting.
It's missing an eye. Hmmm, now, where did I see a prominent unique item that was the shape of an eye ball...
Yeah, we take the little crystal ball thing and put it into the eye socket, and the secret passage is revealed.
I don't know if I showed a screencap of the hallways when we were chasing Tiffon around down here, but this place is definitely weird. This is that place with tons of rooms and hallways, including random large dining rooms next to rooms full of a bunch of lined-up caskets...
There were a lot of places with locked doors, but we had no more Rusty Keys. I know this place is loaded with treasure, but I guess we need someone with the Locksmith ability to really grab them all.
... Or so I thought. After exploring everywhere, I noticed that I hadn't found anything but locked doors. So having walked all the way back to the basement entrance, I decided to go to the closest locked door and try the Copper Key.
... I'm really glad this adventure had a 400-turn limit.
It works. The doors down here are a higher level than the doors upstairs, and they seem to respond only to the Copper Key. I guess it's the basement door key? Thankfully, the Copper Key doesn't break when we use it, though it does have a slightly harder locksmith reel (why is there a skill check involved in opening a door with a key -- you can't really mess that up!)
Inside the locked doors, there are tons of delicious treasures! We came across three rooms with three chests each. Sadly, the only treasure-related skill we have at the moment is Armand's Sharpeye. So that means any chest with an explosion trap is pretty much unobtainable, and for the rest we have to hope someone can punch or kick it open.
We did find two Treasure Slimes along the way, though, but sadly neither dropped a magic tablet. As for the treasures, Kurt managed to punch the first one open and recover some money inside. Everything else exploded or we broke the contents while punching it, until the very last one...
Which had a magic tablet! And yes, it is indeed possible to break a tablet while using martial arts to open the chest it is in, and it is possible for a tablet chest to have an explosion trap on it. (Magic tablets are always in pre-determined locations -- unlike other treasures, their contents are not randomized, though the chest's level and traps and things like that are randomized like any other chest).
So I was very lucky. I also didn't realize there was a magic tablet in here. I think we missed this with Mythe because we had no way to open the doors, and either way, we got to the room where we saved Tiffon and ended the adventure before ever getting to this corner of the basement anyway.
But I remembered which room that was, so I saved it for last. It had a level 80 locked door, much higher than even the other basement door levels, and only responded to the Silver Key. That means if we hadn't defeated the Sabretiger, we couldn't have cleared the adventure!
When Tiffon entered, she encountered a Pinhut Titan or something like that inside. Just a pretty basic Undead enemy. Of course, even the most basic Undead are a nightmare for her.
But this time...
A necromancer and their puppets pop up!
This isn't too difficult of a fight. The necromancer does have a good bit of LP (like 5 or 6?) for this early in the game, but they just seem to use some basic offensive magic arts, including a couple of the less terrifying Forbidden arts.
The minions are those weak rank 1 Undeads, so they fell quickly to pretty much anything the party did. The necromancer fell not long after.
Afterward, we get this... message. Was our goal not to raid the treasures but to... judge the habitability of the house...? I don't know...
The magic tablet was only L1, but it was at least a Water tablet, so I gave it to Kurt. I can't remember if the L1 Water tablet has Purfiy on it -- I hope it does. I also hope it has Bubble Blow, too, so Kurt can have some offensive magic. At the beginning of the game, Bubble Blow isn't bad at all.
Armand got a new Sharpeye L3 panel. Sadly none of the other 'key' panels appeared for him. Sharpeye's level is irrelevant, so getting Locksmith or Defuse would have been nicer.
Platy got a staff panel, thanks to smacking the necromancer with a staff a lot. I was hoping for another 'talking' panel and even tried to use Diplomacy as much as I could (though there were a lot of undeads, which always aggress right away...)
And Josef got a Water familiar. So overall, a decent panel haul, even if I didn't get exactly what I wanted.
Upon exiting the adventure, before we're returned to the town menu, enough 'time' has passed in the game so that the story moves forward. It's not much this time -- but we see Kurt's brother Leon in the Temple, gaining an interest in the gauntlet's power himself.
Seeing this scene also opens up Loch Vaan, Chapa, and Longshank on the map. We don't get to meet Ruby, Sapphire, Hiro, Armic, or Mythe, despite these being their hometowns. Sapphire's fortunetelling house is closed, and Mytheworks is probably being run by Mythe's master while Mythe is out (which also makes it pretty useless since we don't have access to Mythe's unique panels, so we'll still use the blacksmith in Gadeira for our forging needs.) And Armic doesn't seem to be hanging out with his tribe.
However, stopping by the magic shop in Loch Vaan, the owner seems to be able to sense the power of the gauntlet. There are a lot of people who can sense the gauntlet, it seems. He doesn't seem to know anything, though, and tells us that it would take a great wizard like Leith Torles to puzzle it out. Kurt says it's not that easy.
Seeing we're on a quest to unravel magical mysteries, though, the man decides it's a perfect opportunity for his apprentice to get some real-world experience, and asks Kurt if he'd be willing to let the boy join the party. Kurt advises that the quest we're on is quite dangerous, but the man insists, and even the boy seems eager to go.
So, this kid is tagging along now, too. I'll introduce him in the next post when we head out on our next adventure.
One thing that's interesting to note, though, is that we still have the Silver and Copper Keys in our possession! I don't think you can use them as infinite locksmith items, because they're tied to specific doors (it makes sense, really, that they'd only work on the doors they were made for), but we can use them as crafting materials. You can sell, them, too.
Another great thing about them is that they count as having all four abilities released on them, so if you make something with them, there's a good chance it will have all four abilities already on it. I made a Silver Circos for Kurt, which already has its evasion and Water Support abilities released!
I found an Ironstone Spear in the shop which also had Grasshopper released as its second ability, so that seemed like a good find. I snatched it up and used a piece of Copse that I got by trading a Fang in Chapa as the second ingredient, and it became an Iron Spear with 50 power, which is 13 points higher than the 37 of Armand's previous Marcasite Spear.
With new gear, a new magic tablet, and a new companion in tow, we're more than ready to head off on our next adventure!