The Road to Iskandaria

So Grace told us that she received the photograph from her friend Ms. Pharr in Iskandaria, and offered to escort Mythe there and even introduce him to Pharr. These travelling adventures are pretty short so I was able to churn out a lot tonight lol.

Now we head off for Iskandaria...

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We have Grace yet again in our party. I tried using out her Eavesdrop skill. As you can see, it ... makes a bunch of dots... on the screen. These show the location of monsters. The problem is, we can't really see any of the map since we haven't walked around it yet... so this means much of nothing to us right now.

And pretty much that's about as useful as Eavesdrop ever will get... Though it CAN show if there are monsters hanging out on the same space, as the dots get bigger the more monsters are on a space. So you can use this to judge the amount of monsters that are clumped together. That's about it.

Grace still has the same great stats and comes with all her water arts, and even a ravenite ring that unleashes Water Arts pretty quickly. But since she focused on her magic last game, and I still want to use her again, I'm going to focus on her high Skill Making and make her into an LP-damager.

Sadly, it's nearly impossible to get light martial arts on Grace (though it is at least possible). Basically, she'd have to have no armor on at all and have at least two martial arts panels. Light martial is really fun, but... I don't think we'll have Grace try it. Though I'm curious what her animations would be like... I may end up giving her two martial panels anyway, so maybe I'll try it out on an easier adventure later when it's safer to remove all her armor.

Since I mentioned it, let's go ahead and discuss martial arts classes, since we don't have that much else to talk about in this entry. There are three types of melee art lines: Punch, Kick, and Throw. There are panels for all three of these, so each one sort of counts as its own type of "weapon."

But there are different 'versions' hidden within these three types: There's the regular martial arts (probably what you'll see the most of), heavy martial arts (you'll probably stumble upon this, too), and light martial arts (not as likely to stumble upon, but you still will).

To put it simply, whichever martial class you "qualify" for, you'll use that set of moves when you choose Punch, Kick, or Throw.

Heavy martial arts are unique in that you can't have the related skill panel. So if you have a Punch panel, you can't use heavy Punch arts. You also have to be heavy enough (which isn't that hard to do, unless you're super light, or Roy). Requiring you not to have the panels is nice because you can make room for other panels, but that also means your reel is going to be almost all green nodes and it will be really hard to actually 'hit' the arts you want. And it means you're going to have a very low glimmer rate, so it could take forever to actually glimmer the arts. You'll probably run across the L2 ones easily enough, though. Heavy martial has cool animations, and the heavier you are, the more damage it does, so you can deal a lot of HP damage with these.

To get light martial arts, you must have the corresponding panel, and be light enough. So if you want to do light Punch arts, you'll need to be light enough and have a Punch panel. Light martial arts are really powerful, but you have to leave your characters pretty defenseless, as keeping them lightweight usually means going for weak equipment.

If you don't qualify for light or heavy, you'll do normal martial arts. There's also no heavy version of the Throw line, so it will just be normal throw even if you meet the conditions for a theoretical heavy throw.

That's the simple way to put it. Unless you're really determined to force a certain character into a certain martial arts class, it's fine to just play normally and let the characters fall into whatever class they fall into naturally. This will almost always be normal, but you'll run across the others now and then, too.

Now I'm going to get probably more advanced than I've gotten so far in this play diary. I'm pulling out the formulas :P Feel free to skip this unless you really are curious as to what's going on under the hood about why Grace needs to be naked to do a light punch.

*** BEGIN OBNOXIOUS MECHANIC BLABBERING ***

To get light martial arts, you have to get your weight class to 14 or below and have the corresponding martial panel for a melee arts line in order to use its lightweight arts. So if you wanted to use the light punches, you'd need to have a punch panel, and make sure your weight class is 14 or below. Weight class isn't the same as your weight (I know, I know...), but it's pretty much just your weight plus a martial panel modifier:

(character base weight / 4) + (total equipment weight / 8) + martial panel modifier

Other than the martial panel modifier, this is the same as calculating weight.

Character weight is at least static. Grace's is 61. This is not listed in the game anywhere; I had to look it up in the guidebook. And 61 / 4 is 15 (the division always gets floored). We have to have 14 or less, so we're already over.

Total equipment weight is... complicated. Basically each piece of equipment's weight is based on the material's weight, but there's a multiplier for the type of equipment it is. Body Armor is the heaviest, so it's got a bigger modifier (x8), but leggings (x5) and headgear (x4) are less. Accessories are only x1, and then weapons actually go by the weapon type, so daggers weigh less than swords, etc. But basically anything we wear, even feather armor, is going to end up getting multiplied and push our weight up even more.

For example, Grace comes wearing a silk shirt. Silk has an equipment weight of 2, and since it's a body armor, the weight of her shirt is 2x8, or 16. So even if she was just wearing the shirt, that already puts our weight class at 17...

There is a tiny ray of hope here, though. Any equipment you create yourself in the blacksmith has a weight of 0 no matter what. So you can at least equip two weapons and two accessories. But you can't craft your own headgear, leggings, or body armor, so those will always have a weight penalty. And they have the biggest ones, so...

The martial panel modifier is really the only thing that can save Grace from being doomed to never be able to use martial arts. You get to knock off one point for every martial panel past the first one. So if you have two martial panels, you get a -1 modifier to your weight class.

So with three martial panels (the max, since there's only three types), Grace would get a -2 to her weight class. Since that would drop it to 13, you could actually get her total equipment weight up to 15 and still let her have light martial. Body armor is the most important since it will have Life Protection, plus the highest defense, so you could use any of the few materials that have an armor weight of 1. Which... the only real viable one is Oak, though you can use Cedar while you're waiting for it to appear in the shops. (You can also use Feather, Copse, Angelite, or Demonite, but these are all pretty terrible choices). Then you could choose either a leggings or headgear made of the same materials, and that's the furthest you can go. If you can manage to score some Angelite or Damascus, you can craft accessories from them to get Life Protection to stack on top of this.

That's not a terrible setup, since you'd just be missing headgear, but I already have a plan for Grace's panels, and at most I can only afford two martial panels, meaning I can only get the -1 modifier to her weight class. That means she's going to be at 14 instead of 13 without armor, and that means wearing any body armor at all will push her over. I could choose either a leggings or a headgear, and neither can be made of anything heavier than 1. So... yeah. It's just... really not viable.

*** END OBNOXIOUS MECHANIC BLABBERING ***

Don't worry, there's more where that came from. I'm going to talk about some advanced crafting stuff later in this entry, too.

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But let's talk about a more simple game mechanic. Quick-Fix! Sapphire got this panel last time, so now we can repair our equipment anywhere, as long as it has less than 20EN and more than 0EN. All you have to do is go into your inventory and select the item, and the option will be there! Unlike... literally everything else where you have to go into the Skills menu...

The option will actually be there even if you don't have Quick-Fix available. If you try to do it then, it will just tell you that you need the panel lol.

Then you just roll a reel, and if you hit green, you'll repair a bit of EN to the weapon. The higher your panel level, the more you can repair at once.

If you fail, you'll lose a little EN, and if you critically fail, you'll lose a lot of EN. A higher panel level will also lessen the damage you do, I think. It's pretty rare to hit the crit fail, and the reel is the same no matter your panel level, I think. But you still have to be careful to not let your items get too low in EN before trying to fix them... slipping into the regular failure a couple times or slipping into the crit failure just once can break something that's very low on durability.

The only other thing to note is that the items have to be in your inventory, so you'll have to unequip them in order to repair them. Just don't forget to equip them again afterward! Not that I have ever done that. I totally don't forget like more than half the time or anything >_>;;;;

And that's it for Quick-Fix!

The path to Iskandaria was the same one we took during our Travels with Iskandar, including obnoxious Escatan detour and the weird going-to-silver-hills-and-coming-back-down thing.

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Here is Grace throwing a bird, to show off her Throw animation. It looks like dancing, it's so elegant! Though I don't know how throwing a bird works. They fly, so IDK why they crash down on the ground... but it works, so I'm not going to complain.

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And here is Grace's hindered sprite. She buckles over and holds her tummy :(

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Grace's diplomacy is coming in quite useful again. Fighting multiple monsters at once, even just two, is kind of annoying right now, so I'd rather tell one to get lost.

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Still waiting on your ability release, Mythe. Grace just got here and she already released something...

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Mythe casting animation. ALSO WHY IS HE SO HUGE I DON'T UNDERSTAND???

Once we got to Escata, Tiffon got a Dagger Arts L3 panel. Already L3 dagger and locksmith!

And now that we're here, I'm going to craft a more specific sword that I want. So now it's time for more obnoxious mechanics stuff...

*** BEGIN AGAIN LOL ***

This is another thing you don't really NEED to understand to play the game, but it's nice to know. So far, we've learned that you can choose a base material to create a weapon made out of that material, and you can use a secondary material to help boost its initial EN, as well as give the chance to unleash abilities. And we learned that certain combinations of materials function as recipes to create new materials, like iron + wood = steel.

But how are the four abilities on the weapon determined? They don't release at random -- in fact, you can choose which set of four abilities will unleash on the weapon you create!

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So, I have this Steel Knife with three abilities already unleashed on it. This will help illustrate what I mean. Even though I'm going to use the Steel Knife to create a Steel Sword, because the base item has abilities released, the created item will, too! There's actually a chance to lose abilities as well as release more... using a harmonious secondary material like I described before will decrease the chance of losing your abilities. The abilities don't go away permanently; you just have to release them again.

All four abilities are already pre-determined. They're just hidden until they become released. So they don't just release at random as they appear or something.

What determines the four abilities a weapon has is its weight class. This is a completely different system from the one that determines the character's weight that I described previously in this entry, so please forget all about that for the sake of this!

Basically, every weapon has a "weight class" that does nothing other than determine which four abilities it has, whether they are unleashed or not. You cannot change a weapon's weight class, but when creating a new weapon, the two materials you use will determine the weight class of the new item you create. There are eight weight classes, so that means there are eight pre-determined sets of abilities for each weapon type. Sometimes there aren't a true eight, like for Staff, weight 7 and weight 8 are the same set of abilities.

So, I'm using this Steel Knife to create a Sword. That means I'll end up with a Steel Sword. Steel's base item weight class is 5, but that doesn't mean my Steel Sword will have a weight class of 5. Depending on what I use as the secondary material, I can modify this weight class to be anything between 3 and 8! Steel isn't light enough to get a weight class of 1 or 2 no matter what we add to it, though.

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So, for my example, I'm going to choose a feather to use as the secondary material. Feather's base item weight class is 0. When you use an item with weight 0 (like feather) as the secondary material on top of a base item with weight 5 (like steel), the resulting weapon will either have a weight class of 3 or 4.

Basically, there is a chart you can look at that can tell you what all the combinations will create. There's not really a formula you can memorize, and none of this is shown in the game. Material weights, weapon weight classes, etc. are all hidden values. You have to look at outside source materials like the official guide or online guides. I would recommend staying away from it the first time you play, because any guide you find will also tell you pretty much how to easily craft ultimate weapons. I honestly have that memorized anymore so I can make ultimate weapons pretty easily. In fact, I'm really close to having one right now in this current Mythe game.

Anyway, using an item that already has abilities released as the base is very helpful, because we can tell what weight class our new item is right away by looking at what abilities it has.

Since Steel + Feather = either weight class 3 or 4, we know we're going to have one of those two ability sets.

Set 3 for swords is Multi Blade, Deflect, Rear Blade, Cross Slash.

Set 4 for swords is Multi Blade, Deflect, Slash, Cross Slash.

I specifically want #3 because I want to have all three of those abilities on one sword (Multi Blade is always the first ability on every sword ever -- all weapon types are like this and always have the same first ability. so you're stuck with Multi Blade no matter what).

There's an even chance of getting either outcome, so I have a 50% chance of getting the sword I want.

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The resulting sword has Rear Blade as its third ability, which means we landed on weight class 3! If it had Slash, we would know we were on 4. Since we know what ability set each weight class has (this is another thing you need to look up outside the game), and we know which two we can possibly get with our combination, we can see if we failed or not already.

If we had started with something that didn't have any abilities released or a raw material or something, we would not have been able to tell yet. We would have had to have equipped it and waited until eventually the third ability released through battle, which would have either been Rear Blade or Slash, and then we could see if we had succeeded.

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And once Mythe unleashed the final ability through battle, we can see it was indeed Cross Slash.

So basically, if you want to "choose" your ability set, you have to do these steps:

  1. Look at a list of ability sets for the weapon you want to make (in this case, Sword) and remember which weight class has the ability set you want (in this case, set #3, because it's the only one with Deflect, Rear Blade, and Cross Slash)
  2. Look up what the base weight of the material you want to use is. I want to make a Steel Sword, so I need to look up Steel, which I found was 5.
  3. Look up what weight of materials you can use as the secondary to get the desired weight class. Looking at a chart of combinations, I can see that using a secondary material with weight 0 can create a weapon with either weight class 3 or 4, and I'm looking for 3. There are no other combinations that can make weight class 3.
  4. Look up what secondary materials have the desired base weight. I'm looking for a base weight of 0 to use as the secondary material. Fortunately, I have at least memorized that feather is 0, so I didn't have to actually look this one up. The only other options would have been Angelite or Demonite.
  5. Go back to the list of ability sets and see what the difference is between the two sets that are possible outcomes. For this case base 5 + secondary 0 = possible 3 or 4. So I need to look at what set 3 and 4 both look like so I can tell if I succeeded or not.
  6. Actually make the weapon in the game with the two materials you selected, and compare to the information you have to see if you succeeded... In this case, I used Steel as the base, Feather as the secondary, and got something with Rear Blade in the third ability slot, which proves that I got ability set 3 and not ability set 4.

So, as you can see, you have to cross-reference stuff a lot... You have to look at the list of ability sets two different times, the list of item weights at least twice, the chart of weight combinations at least once, and that's not including when you have to look through your inventory and the shops to see what's available to you. Then usually after doing that you have to go back and look at the item weights again and stuff... It's REALLY obnoxious. That's why I'm programming a weapon calculator so you can just choose the weapon you want, the material you want it to be made out of, and what ability set you want. Then it will automatically calculate which item weights you can use for the best chance of getting that set, and show you all materials you can use as your secondary, as well as tell you what ability sets will be in the 'fail' condition so you can check if you succeeded or not. You'll be able to select it all from one little applet without every looking away from the screen or checking any kind of other lists or anything, press "go," and get a list of all the materials you can use. Then you just have to go to your inventory/shops and see which of those are available to you. That's it.

Of course, I need to actually get around to finishing it...

*** END AGAIN YAY ***

Anyway, let's get back to our adventure...

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We get to Silver Hills again, and we're already fighting Draconians...

They have 4LP which is a big jump from the 1LP monsters we've been fighting this whole time, which had an occasional-but-rare 2LP...

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Also, look at the little wood familiar!

It's so cute!!

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Grace deflecting an attack. Grace is the best character ever.

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Her bow is already coming in quite useful, too...

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Mythe got Swimming, which I was dreading waiting for. During the adventure, I suddenly got a great idea for how I wanted to build Mythe, and wrote it down... but I needed Swimming. Which ... is not something you can control too much, so you just have to HOPE it pops up. Generally you'll see Swimming a lot throughout your game, but of course when you're waiting for it to drop on a specific character, it will never want to appear...

Tiffon got Monger, which we sorely needed. And then I forgot we had. And I bought a bunch of stuff at full price...

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Anyway, we get to Iskandaria and meet up with Pharr in the Dixon Inn! She's happy to see Grace. Pharr is amazing because we're told she's a mighty warrior, so you probably expect her to look like... well, not like this.

Pharr is 55 years old and a character I've been dying to play with. She only appears in Mythe and Armic's stories so I actually have yet to actually recruit her, since those are the only stories I haven't really played.

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Grace and Pharr catch up a bit, and Pharr asks Grace if Mythe is her "new beau," to which Grace playfully responds, "you're such a tease."

SOOOOOO GUESS WHAT MY NEW OTP IS HONESTLY LMFAO

No I don't mean Mythe and Grace -_-;;;

After that little bit, Grace introduces Mythe and says he's come to ask about the photograph. Mythe introduces himself specifically as the apprentice to Nevilson, the inventor in Longshank. Guess I was spelling it wrong.

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Then he starts to freak out because he thinks everyone "knows" he's in love with the photograph or something but I'm pretty sure he's just being paranoid over nothing because I'm pretty sure Grace and Pharr are only thinking about each other and certainly not what strange thoughts this unexplainably large man is having about a photograph of a kid.

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Honestly, Mythe, for such an "ice-cool" guy, you're really melodramatic. No one cares. I doubt Pharr is going to just refuse to tell you more. Just say you want to know? Why do you need to lie?

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After Mythe's internal paranoia monologue thing, Pharr responds and it seems like she knows Nevilson, too. Cool! Nevilson is probably around the same age her maybe. I wonder if the guidebook says... Yeah, it says he's 60 LOL.

Pharr goes on to say she found the photograph in the Undercity Pharos. Yeah, Pharos is here again... I mean, makes sense I guess. Photos are Arcanian technology, and Pharos is the only remnant of an Arcanian city... Maybe it was somehow preserved in there? Since Nevilson was saying it looked too recent to be from Arcanian times, maybe it actually isn't old? Are there Arcanians in there? Or I guess someone could have found a camera or something in there and taken a picture with it... IDK.

Also, this means Pharr was actually able to get into Pharos. The only people who should be able to get in are Iskandar and Alyce Ambrosia. It didn't say how recently she had found the photo, and since she sent it to Grace, then Tiffon found it and stole it, then she sold it to Fugar... who knows how long ago it actually was that Pharr was in there. There's no reason to assume all these events happened one right after another, so...

Mythe begs Pharr to take him to Pharos. He says he'll go with her no matter how far it is. Hahaha. Dumb kid. It's like... right here. Pharr tells him that Pharos is right under their feet. Also I just realized that Pharr's name is eerily close to Pharos. I wonder if this was intentional...

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Pharr comes with almost no equipment (this is kinda common, though, if you haven't really noticed), but she at least does have an armor that already has Life Protection released! She has a copper spear with its abilities released, too. Even though I don't know what her stats are like, I feel like I'm going to end up building her to be largely focused on HP damage, since no one else is good at that yet, and I feel like she probably will be. Which means I'll probably ditch the Spear (maybe I can give it to Mythe, since Grace with a bow will start outclassing guns any time now... which is because Grace is that good, not because guns are that bad. Well maybe a little of both.)

So, next time we'll be off to Pharos! At least, that's what the adventure says. But I don't know how we're going to get in! I have a feeling I know how we'll eventually get in, but I don't know if it will happen now. It's going to most likely be the same way Ventus gets in, which pretty much spoils a bit of Mythe's story if you know about it...

But maybe for now, we'll just go find out it's futile. Or maybe we really will be able to get in already? Or maybe something completely unexpected will happen.

Honestly this story is already 1,000 times more reasonable and comprehendible than Ruby's was.