Temple of Iskandar

Last time, a lottttt of stuff happened, and we were thrown into another adventure without warning when Mythe couldn't stand still when he heard a silver-haired girl had gone into the sublevel of the Temple of Iskandar, the tomb of both Iskandar and Lord Dixon. So that's where we'll continue this time!

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The girl who asked for help has now joined us, too, along with Laura, the woman whom we unwittingly stole the artifact from.

This new girl, though, is Marie. She's actually Judy's sister and quite an interesting character. She is always calm and collected, and seems to always be a bit ... aloof.

Marie has some really interesting Makings -- her Magic Making and Skill Making are both FIVE, the highest that Ability Makings can go! Elemental Makings only go up to 4, but they have a minimum of 0, unlike Ability Makings which only go as low as 1.

And speaking of Elemental Makings, Marie has two at level 3! And one is Fire, too! But her Fire element is right next to her Skill ability which means it will be really hard to boost both, since they'll be "competing" for boosts from panels. Generally panels tend to boost elemental or ability levels much more than the other, so there aren't very many panels that boost them both well. There are some that boost them each a little, but these aren't very useful since they don't give a big enough of a boost. The only panels that really seem to boost both a decent amount are Magic Blender and the negative panels Phobia, Seal Weapon, and Pacifist.

so, we'll have to choose to focus her in fire level or skill level. Grace and Tiffon are both already heavily focused toward Skill, and Pharr is going to have decent Strength and Skill. What we need more is strong HP damage at this point, and fire magic arts should provide that... if we can happen to get a decent tablet for Marie.

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Marie comes with a Wood familiar and already has a Magic Tablet! It's a L2 wood tablet, which doesn't have anything particularly interesting other than Recycle, which can restore durability to your weapon, even if it's broken. But it only works in battle, and it only works for the caster's primary weapon. So it's not terribly useful, but if you happen to break a weapon, you can give it to someone who has Recycle, and let them repair it during a battle, then give it back to the person who is supposed to use it.

Her tablet is also on the space that gives the most boost to skill level (and magic tablets have horrible Ability level growth), so if you're wanting to utilize her Skill Making of 5, you're going to have to trash the tablet. So you either have to wait until she learns everything you want from the tablet and keep her Skill low that whole time, or ditch it early before you learn the magic arts from it to get high skill.

I'm going to focus instead on her magic making and fire making, since we'll see her again in Judy's story where almost everyone is great at magic, and we can build her toward skill there, where it will be more unique and useful.

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Marie comes with a few magic arts learned already, including Sleep, which is nice, but Mythe is also working on learning that so it's not particularly unique at this point. A lot of the arts she knows are from the L2 tablet she has, so it won't take as long to master it since we already have part of it done.

I'm not going to go over Laura since she has her own game and we'll talk about her there. She and Sapphire will be the ones that eventually get benched.

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With a suddenly full party of 7, we head into the sublevel of the mausoleum. Normally, this is a huge confusing maze crawling with creepies and two terrifying bosses. But a lot of the paths are just... not accessible. You can see in the screenshot that it looks like there should be a continuation of the hallway to the right, but we just... can't walk there.

Perhaps Mythe can sniff out the silver-haired girl's scent or something, and we're following our nose...

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Upon reaching one of the more dangerous areas, we actually almost catch up to the girl, but she continues moving before we can say anything to her. Mythe just says "Oh..." lol

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When we reach this branching path, the whole building starts shaking, and we're told that "something is moving around." Mythe catches up to the girl and tells her we have to go. Then we just... go. From what happens next, it seems like this girl probably didn't come willingly, so maybe he grabbed her and dragged her all the way out.

We literally went on a child abduction quest...

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That's how the adventure ends, and Grace finally got a Bow Arts panel. Way easier than Roy! Of course, it's only L3, but that's good for where we are right now. She's been doing so well with her bow that I forgot she didn't even have a panel for it!

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Mythe talks to the girl only after they've gotten back to the plaza.

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But the girl doesn't seem to respond.

This kinda continues on for a while. Mythe keeps saying a line or two, and she just... stares at him like this. Basically, he tells her straight-up that he saw the photo of her and then decided to go find her, because for some reason he felt like he had to be at her side.

When she doesn't respond, instead of, maybe, questioning if something is wrong, or considering that maybe she's scared because he just kidnapped her, he just starts talking about himself. He tells her that he works with relics of the Golden Age, like the Seven Wonders, and...

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It seems she can speak, at least! At this point I was wondering if maybe she was physically incapable of speaking, didn't speak the same language as Mythe, or was like an Arcanian robot or something.

Mythe goes on to tell her about how he uses his skills to bring out the powers hidden in Golden Age relics.

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Then this happens. I was pretty taken aback, honestly. When she started just saying some kinds of little words here and there, I thought she was going to be some barely-functioning damsel type, and our quest was going to end up being about saving her from whatever is troubling her, because she's so upset she can barely speak.

Seems I was way wrong! Instead, she drills into Mythe about his ignorance, asking him if he's a child or a fool. I don't think Mythe ever realized that relics are "seeds of destruction," but as we've seen through Jeanne's similar mistake, the powers from the Golden Age are not always what they seem. But this girl seems to actually know stuff about them.

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I don't know how you can show both disdain and pity toward someone, since disdain would imply you don't find them worthy enough for pity. But I guess that's why she's difficult to read. It seems that rather than needing Mythe as her savior, she instead seems him as either a helpless and stupid child, or as a dangerous idiot.

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So, Mythe is pretty heartbroken, I guess.

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But the girl doesn't dwell on Mythe for long and just demands some information from him. It seems she's looking for Iskandar. Silly girl, doesn't she know that he only appears in Ruby's scenario? This is Mythe's scenario. You're not gonna find him here! Well, he might appear here, just not as a playable character.

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Remember when we contemplated why Ruby didn't think it was weird for Iskandar to be named that? Well, Mythe goes into the inn and says that Iskandar is a common name. Guess it makes sense for people to name their kid after a legendary hero. He calls out to the patrons and an old man and a small child both happen to respond to the name Iskandar.

When Mythe asks the girl if her Iskandar has any defining features, she just replies, "Iskandar is the one I seek."

And she just keeps repeating this phrase.

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Mythe offers to help find him even though she won't say any more about him. And she permits it. Mythe starts to wonder about something but quickly gives it up -- maybe he was wondering if she was indeed looking for THE Iskandar, which she probably is.

After that scene was over, I didn't have any new adventures in the inn, and wasn't really sure what to do next. So I went shopping as always, and decided I'd make a few accessories since many of the party members didn't have any, and you can make an accessory out of pretty much whatever and it will be fine. So I was going to use some of the junk materials I've been getting from monsters or failed fortunetelling or whatever.

But going into Mythe Works triggered a scene. Oh. I wonder if I was expected to kinda go on some subadventures and stuff and then stumble upon this later?

The scene started with Mythe sighing and moping about because he's not sure what to do. He can't seem to find any information about this Iskandar anywhere.

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Then this girl pops up. Yeah, it's like every couple of steps, girls are showing up in Mythe's life...

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Mythe tells her that the shop is closed so she needs to come back later, and she kinda flips out saying that since he told her to leave, she may as well die. Also if she's heard of him and has been searching for him, why did it take her so long to ... find him in his own shop? Which he owns? And it has his name on it?

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After her little tantrum, Mythe agrees to listen to what she has to ask, and she tells him that she needs help removing her gauntlet. Apparently, the gauntlet is cursed and she can't take it off, but she is repeatedly being thrown into battles that no one else seems to notice.

It's made her so miserable for the past three years, and no one believes her, so she went into hiding. Mythe says he'll look into it, and the screen fades out and back in

I guess he learned something when the screen faded out, because he tells her that the gauntlet's curse taps into her psyche, which gives strength to the gauntlet itself. And that synchronization "somehow" routes images of battle into her head.

Mythe tells her that the gauntlet has a mind of its own, and resembles a magic tablet. But magic tablets are not his thing, so he can't really help any further than that. Honestly I have no idea how he even gathered that much information.

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This seems like... such a divergence from the story we were on.

But apparently this is the first time Mythe has ever bothered to care if something was good or evil in his life. I... think we're supposed to infer that this is a significant change in his character.

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Then Marie pops up out of nowhere (I guess the party really is just following Mythe around and hanging out with him even when we're not adventuring?) and says that her grandfather is researching magic tablets in Sadovos. Which means we're going to get to see Josef most likely <3

There's a new adventure in the inn for traveling to Sadovos. Sadovos is pretty far southwest, but I think it shouldn't be too far from Gadeira. We'll probably have to stop at another town -- all of Mythe's "travels" adventures seem to have one stop before the destination anyway, so that would make sense. But importantly, I think we're going to have to travel through the Vale of Swords. Which is definitely the most interesting road you'll travel on in this game...

Before we head out, though, I'm going to explain the final part of the crafting system we haven't learned about.

I somehow didn't get the screencap of it, even though I remember taking it (though I sometimes press the wrong key or whatever so oops), but Mythe has been wearing a Meteroite Amulet for a while now. This has some nice abilities. The ability set is Heal+5, -----, Lightning Barrier, and Null Paralysis. These are pretty nice abilities. The ---- just means that slot is blank. Unlike weapons, shields, accessories, and armor don't always have four abilities, and there may be some blanks.

You actually do have to "release" the blank. Abilities do release in order, so before getting Lightning Barrier, you have to release the ----- first. You won't get a notification about this, so the only way to know if you've released the second ability slot on this accessory is to release Lightning Barrier, because then you know you've released up to the third ability.

What I'm going to do is actually mutate the ability set of the accessory!

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I use the Meteorite Amulet as the base ingredient -- since I'm in Accessory Creation, that means we're just restoring the durability by repairing the item, not crafting a new item. But you can get mutations both ways.

For the secondary material, I'm choosing Topaz (in the form of a Bestial Shield -- crafting treats all items as 'materials' for the sake of crafting, so whether it's a shield, sword, raw material, or whatever, what we're doing is adding Topaz as the secondary material).

Topaz has a special property about it that when used as a crafting material, it has the ability to replace one of the abilities on that item with Earth Arts. However, the chance is only 20% ... so if it fails, we'll just restore the durability like normal, but if it succeeds...

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We'll get a Meteorite Amulet with Earth Arts as its second ability instead of -----! The reason I explained releasing the ----- before is because if the amulet only had Heal+5 released, we could have added Earth Arts successfully, but we wouldn't be able to tell, because the second ability slot was not released yet.

Now, Earth Arts doesn't just "fill in the blank" on items -- when you use Topaz as a material in crafting to add Earth Arts, it always goes in the second ability slot. The only exception is if you're making a shield, where it will go on the 4th ability slot. And if there's something in that slot, it replaces what is there. And you can't remove it... so be careful when using items like Topaz to restore durability, because you could end up accidentally replacing one of your important abilities. Abilities like <Deflect>, <Parry>, and <Block> also are always in the second slot, so you can't have an item with both magic arts and a deflection ability.

Now, you might be wondering if this is another complicated set of hidden values you have to learn and remember. There's probably tons of weird mutations to really customize your items, right? Don't worry, it's really simple. This is actually only used to add magic arts mutations, and there's only 6 materials that can do it.

Carnelian, Ravenite, Topaz, Opal, Lazuli, and Demonite will add Fire Arts, Water Arts, Earth Arts, Metal Arts, Wood Arts, and Forbidden Arts respectively onto items with 20% success rate. If you ever forget when stone provides which art, you can just look at magical items in the magic shops. All those "allows anybody to use arts" items are always made of the corresponding material. For example, that bestial armlet that Mythe started with that allowed anybody to use Boulder and had Earth Arts as an ability -- it was made of Topaz. I just have these memorized from playing so much, though.

So, ability mutation is basically just a way of getting the Magic Arts abilities onto your equipment. And you can do it with anything you can craft other than guns, so you don't have to rely on the items in the magic shops, and can put magic arts abilities on your higher-level stuff. Everything in the magic shops are made of the bestial stones, so the only Earth Arts items you can get there will always be made of Topaz. But now, I can have Earth Arts on this accessory which has much more useful abilities than a Topaz accessory would have. And you can craft a very powerful item like a Diamond Spear or something, and get Fire Arts on it as well! This is also the only reliable way you're going to see Forbidden Arts on an item to use those elusive arts like Seal of the Abyss and Detect Blood, too.

I did save scum for the sake of showing this example -- the success rate is only 20% so I had to try about 7 times before I actually got Earth Arts to pop up. My first attempt failed and I even unreleased the Null Paralysis ability... so after getting the screencaps, I reset and savescummed until I failed to get Earth Arts and lost Null Paralysis again to be fair. I don't want to keep taking screenshots every time I attempt this for the sake of this explanation lol.

Since I still want Earth Arts for Mythe because he's about to learn the very-useful Sleep, I went to one of the magic shops and bought him a Topaz staff instead. I had been considering teaching him Staff Arts anyway, so it's not so bad.

Not only do you have the option of putting magic arts on any type of equipment, but if you get it in only a couple tries, it can be cheaper. A raw piece of Topaz usually goes for around 1000kr, but in the magic shop, a topaz item can be like 3000-4000kr. Usually it's actually cheaper to buy the magic item since you can easily go through 3 or 4 pieces of Topaz or many more before 'hitting' Earth Arts. But if you buy from the shop, you're still stuck with the Topaz item. So if you wanted a knife that had both Water Arts and Dice on it, for example, you'd have to do it with crafting. The magic shops also only sell daggers, staves, and accessories, so you're not going to find magic swords or shields or spears or anything like that there. You gotta make those at the blacksmith, too.

I probably overexplained something very simple just now, but hey! Not much happened this adventure except a little story.

Now we have all the characters we can recruit. I'm kinda excited to get to Sadovos, though, so I think I'll go ahead and head there before I start any subadventuring, so you can look forward to that next time!