Subadventures Digest #2

The final set of subadventures before we head off to the Hanging Gardens...

Desert Mirage

First up is Desert Mirage. There's a mirage in the desert, and you have to find it.

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This takes place in a different desert map than Night Desert and Lumina Stone did. Also, it's nice to have Grace back! She's got a gun now, too (Gracie's got a gun~~)

But we have something even more important to talk about!

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Sapphire has Magic Blender now!

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Basically, Magic Blender allows you to modify one of your magic arts by "blending" three other arts into it. So for example, here we're taking Holy Seal, and by adding Life Boost to it, we can up the power of Holy Seal, but it also ups the HP cost it takes to use the art in battle.

All magic arts have a certain rate they effect the others, but it differs by element. So, for example, if we had blended Life Boost into any other fire art, it would have given the same modifications that it did with Holy Seal. But if we had put it onto an art of a different element, it might have different properties.

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After blending four magic arts together, or after pressing the 'finalize' button with less than four, you'll get a modified version of your base art that you chose.

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Though, through certain 'recipes,' you can create brand new magic arts! These have different base damage and stuff than the art they were created from, plus they still get the power boost from the modifications! There seem to be various ways to create each special art, but the 'base' art you choose has to be the same. So to get Holy Lightning, for example, you need to use Thunderbringer as your base art. But the other three, there are many combinations that will work. I found this one from just playing around, but it's possible you could not have any combinations that work at all... and combinations can be better than others, as the spells used determine the modifications.

I forgot to check if I could use all the magic arts that I blended together... I remember in Minstrel Song, you 'lost' your arts that you blended together. (You can easily deconstruct them, though, to get the original arts back.) This is my first time using it, so...

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So, let's try out the new magic art that we created for Sapphire in battle...

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Over 1300HP damage, and 3LP damage... it's not even used in a combo... this is... really amazing...!!! This is more damage than Roy and Iskandar do comboing their strongest weapon arts together...

It did over 100 damage to Sapphire herself, though, when she used it...

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I didn't really get any good panels from this adventure. It was too short so I didn't get to fight much, and ended up with mostly L3 panels. However, if I had put this L4 Fortuneteller here, I could boost Sapphire's fire level to sixty! But, I don't want to get rid of defuse, so that's a no-go.

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After the adventure, I got a market rank up, and I'm finding Demonite now...! Too bad there wasn't a Demonite Ring or something... though I think that would be pretty unlikely to find. I may be at the final market rank (or at least close to it) at this point...

Also notice that Corundum Spear... now I have a duplicate, so I can actually have Iskandar use a Corundum Spear and save the other for the final boss...! It has a power of 70 (!) so that's really good.

I also found a Hydra Mail, which has a defense of 20 and a lower healing reduction than the Ironstone armors I have now (which have defense of 18 and Heal-20, while the Hydra Mail has Heal-5). It also has three of its four abilities unleashed already, so hopefully it'll get the final one (which... hopefully is Life Protection) soon enough. I also gave a new Ironstone armor to Anzan during the Desert Mirage adventure and he released Life Protection on the very next battle :)

Warmth of the Throne

Escata Palace has been destroyed by Dagul Bos, but rumor has it the throne is still warm...

This is one of a few adventures you can take to the destroyed Escata Palace. This is by far the easiest one, as long as you know your way to the throne room, since the turn limit is only 100.

Again, not much happened here. Sapphire finally mastered Seal of the Abyss, and just needs to finish Recycle to have finished her entire tablet and get a little stat boost from it.

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Iskandar finally got that Level 4 spear panel, though!

Escata Palace

There are rumors of treasure hidden in the palace. Minister Hogg was a greedy man who apparently kept a secret stash of money somewhere in the castle. Let's go try to find it!

This is another Escata Palace adventure. This one is a little trickier than Warmth of the Throne, because you have to find a clue to where the treasure is as well as find the treasure based on the clue. The solution is the same every time, though, so once you've cleared this adventure, it's just as easy as the other.

Note: You'll need to use the 'inspect/look' action (using "Action" with the space you're on as your target) here, which is one of the few times you ever need to do it. It's easy to not realize you need to do it, so you could end up running out of turns and failing the adventure while wandering the castle ruins aimlessly trying to figure out what to do.

Anyway, there's an optional monster encounter in the palace you can do by finding the well. I didn't realize people kept wells inside buildings, but whatever. Inspect the well and you'll see something shiny in the bottom... take a closer look and you'll find out it's demons. A lot of people say this will always be two of those coin snake demons, but the truth is actually that it's based on your monster rank.

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I got three Satanachias at once :P They have kind of a lot of LP so this was a rough fight, but winnable. Just took a lot of turns and ate away at my weapon durability. You're not rewarded for picking a fight with the demons, other than in gives you some high-rank monsters in your 'history' which will help you get better panels at the end of the adventure.

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Unlike most subadventures, this one actually does have an actual reward at the end! You really do find Minister Hogg's cache! You get a Lv99 chest full of money! And an appropriate Lv99 amount, not a fixed number. I ended up with 49,324Kr. Nearly 50,000Kr is a LOT of money. (If you're wondering, Kr may stand for "krowns," which is a recurring currency in the SaGa series. But in the Japanese version, the money is called "kero," which could be an abbreviation for something. I have heard other names for the money but I don't know if there's a canon name for it? I'll have to look in the English manual and see if it says...)

Again, no good panels. I bought a bow in the shops after this... I'm actually running out of decent bows. They seem more rare than the other weapons...?

Monsters of the Ruined Castle

The last subadventure you can take inside the ruined Escata Palace. Monsters seem to have moved into the destroyed palace. That's it. This adventure doesn't really have any real objective, it's just an opportunity for training. Once you've wandered around for a while, though, you'll suddenly get into a fight with a hoard of high-ranking demons. Defeating them will clear the adventure.

During that demon fight, I just sent out only Roy and had him spam his bow broken, hoping I'd get a bow panel. Well, guess what? Roy didn't even get any L4 panels when pretty much everyone else did. What gives??

I surprisingly got a market rank up after this adventure.

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I've gotta be at the highest market rank, because Damascus is appearing now. Too bad this wasn't something useful :(

Actually even at the highest rank, Damascus stuff almost never appears... why did it have to just be a hunk of Damascus on the game where I can't craft with it D:

Dagul Bos's Castle

Dagul Bos is the Anubito that destroyed Escata. So we go to try to challenge him. You know, because adventurers do that kind of stuff. Dagul Bos isn't home, though. So we just fight some randos.

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The battle background in the castle is pretty cool, though.

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Afterward, I found a Cuirass in a shop. It's... so expensive. Even with the discount it's like more than 1/5 of the money I've saved up over the course of the entire game... Anyway, this has huge defense. The only downside is that it doesn't release Life Protection. But it can keep your HP pretty high. I gave it to Anzan, since his LP is so big anyway, and he recovers HP very quickly.

Roy got all L4 panels, but not a one was Bow.

Crossing the Desert

Secure the path across the desert. This adventure also takes place at antlion hill (where the oasis was in Desert Mirage); however, the objective this time is just to walk from one side to the other. That's it. There's no antlion or something that you have to fight or anything. Just walking. I'm at the point where the monster rank is high enough I get L4 panels pretty regularly, so I'm just gonna go for quick/easy adventures and hope for a L4 bow on Roy.

Everyone got L4 panels but him though :,)

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But in the shops afterward, I did find a Diamond Spear... this is even better than the Corundum ones... it has the same set of abilities, too, so I don't have to change my plans, and can do DHS with it! Though it would have been cool if it had both Aim and Multipoke... Acupuncture is so useful.

Dragon of the Fiery Mountain

It's time to head into Magma Cave to slay a dragon. This is a really fun and interesting adventure, and the cave is full of all kinds of little traps and stuff that utilize the board game mechanic pretty well. Pretty much we're going to be traversing into a dangerous volcano to beat up a dragon. Excitement!!

Annoyingly, the path through the volcano is full of Rank 1 monsters. They're more here to get in your way than anything. But journey into some of the hidden areas and you'll encounter some high-ranking demons!

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I don't even remember these things :) But they have 4LP and are pretty strong. But the party is way stronger.

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I don't want to spoil too much about the cave so you can enjoy it on your own if you play (maybe I'll go more in-depth with some of the subadventures in later characters), but here's one thing that's interesting to take note of.

Along the path deeper into the volcano, you will encounter these magma spots blocking your path. Some of them you can go around if you take a longer road, and some you have to pass over to continue. Your only real option is to walk over it, which will deal a lot of damage (like hundreds of HP!) to the whole party, and just like traps, if this takes your HP to 0, you start losing LP. There are many of these, and the inside of the volcano is hot, so it's hard to rest.

But if you have the water art Bubble Blow, you can actually cool the lava enough so that it won't hurt you as you walk over it! This isn't really explained so it's a nice thing to know.

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At the end of the cave, if you can figure out how to get there, is a room where a red elder dragon is dwelling. Let's hunt him! This dragon is a true dragon in that he hoards lots of treasures. In the little hidden rooms, and behind him in this cove, you can find tons of Lv99 treasure chests... and if they contain money, that's another near-50,000kr for you :)

Anyway, red elder dragons are also pretty good for glimmers. Glimmer chance is based on your weapon skill level (which level of panel you have), the glimmer rate of the art(s) possible for you to glimmer in the ability line you chose, and the glimmer level of the enemy you are fighting.

So for example, I want to glimmer Doppelgangers. This is a L4 sword art and part of the Cross Slash ability line. So if I use Cross Slash against an enemy, I have a chance to glimmer Doppelgangers. But if my Sword skill panel is too low of level, or if the enemy is too weak, it will be impossible to glimmer. On the other hand, having a high-level panel and fighting an enemy with a high glimmer rate, you can be very likely to glimmer the art.

Lower-level arts like L2 things, if you have a high enough panel and are fighting the right enemy, you can get guaranteed or near guaranteed glimmers, so as you progress through the game, it would be near impossible not to glimmer arts.

Anyway, as you can see, Hiro glimmered Doppelganagers. It's a fun-looking attack where your character splits into four clones of themselves and all of the clones attack the enemy. It hits multiple times (which is a hidden mechanic you don't really need to understand), which means it can deal some serious damage and even deal multiple LP damage easily when the enemy has low HP and especially if it has bad Life Protection. Swords are not amazing for damaging LP, but this is one of the best arts you can get for it.

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Not only did that happen, but Roy glimmered Thousand Needles...!!! So now I don't even need to get the Bow panel, really... I mean, it would still be nice to have, of course. But I was going to wait until I had L4 Bow and then go to an adventure where I know you fight a boss with a very high glimmer rate (maybe highest in the game?). Since I'm not savescumming, I didn't want to go there early and risk missing out on the glimmer. I mean, I could still have missed out, but the chances would be a lot better with the L4 bow.

BTW, I forgot to mention this earlier, and I don't remember exactly when it happened, but at the beginning of one of the battles, Ruby said "It's really hot in here" or something like that, and Hiro responded, "Ungh! Please, don't take it off!" O______O

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After the adventure, no one got good panels again -- this is mostly because their panels are all already good so there's not much available to top them, and I'm not getting L5 panels so they can't replace their L4s with those... the only thing I'm really wanting to see is a L4 Bow for Roy. Otherwise everyone already has L4 of everything they need... L5s are not really needed to finish the game and getting all L5 panels is outside the scope of a normal playthrough anyway.

But I did find a Black Staff in the shop...! Of all weapons, it had to be Staff, which is kinda lame. But hey, at least it's a black weapon (oh yeah, Ruby glimmered Aqua Luna during the dragon battle, too!)

I think I'm going to go on one more subadventure, just to see if I can't grab Poker's Wild and try for Bloody Mary (I'm okay with not getting Bloody Mary since I have DHS, though), and maybe I'll get that L4 Bow panel for Roy, too...

Titan's Flute

Well, here's my last attempt to try to get the stuff I wanted! Spoiler: I didn't get a single thing I came here for and pretty much just broke some weapons in the process. Nothing good in the shops afterward, either...

Oh, Grace got a Fortuneteller LV4 panel, which boosted her Water level up to 37. 40 is what I would consider a "very good" stat. So yeah. (You can get stats like as high as 70 with a making of 50 and good panels, but ... I'm not comparing to those situations XD having 50 in something is really great in general).

Anyway, Titan's Flute takes place in a tower... in Escata... I kinda forgot the story already oops. but the wind passing through the tower resonates with some kind of machine that creates sound that drives monsters away. But recently fiends that are immune to the sound have occupied the tower, so the administrator gives you the key and asks you to adjust the sound the machine is making at the top of the tower. (but wouldn't that make the fiends who were previously driven off by it now able to return...? don't ask me)

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As you climb the tower, you'll come to this statue of a monster. That looks like it might come to life. That doesn't sound foreboding at all...

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Anyway, here's Anzan with a gun blasting this thing in the fucking kneecap. Anzan, you've changed so much...

I love how the recoil actually causes him to roll backward, so both he and the gun at now facing upward.

I had Anzan use a gun once to take this cap, and he got a L4 gun panel. Roy broke an entire bow and used his bow like 9999999 times and didn't get a bow panel. JUST SAYING.

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And since I didn't actually show it last time, here's what 1000 Needles looks like. The character shoots a spray of arrows like this four times back to back.

So we get to the top of the tower, break one of the controls (oops) and then pull the other lever, and it says something like "This is the control that makes the fiends more calm" or something so I'm like... yay I did it. Time to head back.

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This guy is Giant. He has a strange pulsating abdomen. And he's really sexy with his yaoi hands and big, long spear. Honestly if a character can be described with the word "bulky" I probably am sexually interested in it because I have like no standards.

Anyway, he has one of the highest (if not the highest?) glimmer rate of any monster in the game, so he's great for trying to glimmer new weapon and melee arts. Hint: save this until you have better panels so you'll have the best chance of glimmering new arts here. Or so I thought. Really it's another monster that uses the same sprite, not him.

But uh I forgot to even change my weapons out even though on the way up I was trying to remind myself to do it. But I wasn't able to learn Acupuncture or Bloody Mary because I didn't have a weapon equipped with those ability lines (Aim and Dice). So the only things I really aimed for were Poker's Wild and Golden Dragon, both of which are L5 arts and I wasn't expecting to glimmer them. I didn't glimmer them.

Anyway, I get all the way back down to the bottom of the tower and go to the entrance. The administrator is not there. It asks if I want to leave. I know what this is. Leaving now will fail the adventure because I didn't do the stupid lever right... And this isn't the first time I've done this. In fact I feel like I do this almost every single time I play this adventure...

Essentially, you're just pulling at the controls whimsically because there are no labels and you don't know which control adjusts the sound. So you pull the one down and it tells you that the pitch was lowered, and this is the control that calms the fiends. And I always interpret that as my action of pulling it successfully calmed the fiends, but that's not what it's saying. It's saying that's the proper lever. The sound being turned down means it's getting weaker lol. You have pull the lever in the other direction (you can choose the direction when you pull it) and when you pull it in the proper direction it will say the "fiends have been calmed and everything is okay now" or something like that. It's definitely a success message. And I don't know why I always pull it the wrong way first either lol. You'll awaken the Giant either way, so it doesn't matter.

Fortunately, this adventure has a pretty high turn limit (350!) because instead of fighting Giant, you can like... sneak around through all these secret corridors and stuff to go down the tower a different way than you came up. I've never done it, though. I'd always rather fight Giant. Well, I tried to do it once and ran out of turns because I spent too much time treasure hunting. There's actually a lot of treasures in there. So I guess you have to choose between lots of treasures and figuring out the more difficult path, or a pretty strong optional boss with a quick and easy path to the bottom.

So I traveled all the way back up the tower (and I feel like there were TONS more monsters than normal, so maybe turning the stupid sound down makes more monsters appear too X_X), pushed the lever the other way, and then went all the way back. This time when I got to the entrance, we gave the keys back to the administrator and the tower became their responsibility again, clearing the adventure. It actually says "You cleared the map!" which is... kind of annoying because there are multiple maps and the game never refers to adventures as "maps" except for this instance???? Also it ALREADY told us that we did the good in the other description so why did we need that extra line??

But yeah, subadventures are OVER. I'm not gonna keep trying for glimmers or panels at this point. Even with Roy having his stupid L3 bow. We're gonna go ahead and head out to Hanging Gardens! We will have at least one more chance to get the L4 bow since we'll get new panels at the Tetra Force. Also, Jeanne still has like... half the Tetra Forces...?? But the adventure in the inn is called "To Hanging Gardens" so we're definitely going there next. Maybe we'll have a confrontation with her outside. I honestly don't know what happens at this point. I've gotten this far but not gone on before haha.

Also here's a bonus:

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This is what the world map looks like, since I haven't shown it yet. Yeah, it's horrible. The top half is like... just covered in that white glare so you can't even see it. Then there's that weird blue rectangle like superimposed over the left part??? And the bottom right is like... TV static?!? The towns are such tiny little thumbnails you can't even see them (Yes, the paintings for every town are actually all over this map. Try and actually see them. I dare you.)

There's no animation or anything here, it just ALWAYS looks like this. And zooming doesn't make it look any nicer.

In fact, it's always zoomed all the way in to the town you are in, and if you want to change towns, you have to hold down the 'zoom out' button until you get it to look like this, then you can change towns. Because you can press the d-pad to change which town is selected, but it will only navigate between towns currently visible on the screen.

The world map is one of the worst UI elements of the entire game. As you press up/down here, you'll just see the name of the town change, and the text will move to where the town is. So like if I pressed 'up' from here, the text would move like way down to the bottom-left corner where Vaftom is (Vaftom is the southernmost city and Torle is the northernmost).

There's like an 'expanded' version of this map in the guidebook, it's a whole two page spread. The left page is pretty much the map you see here. And then the right page is the desert. I'm not even kidding lol.

But yeah, off to Hanging Gardens...!