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The journey continues... 17.03.02 - 04:25

Whyso? This space devoted to RPG's

Ya, this space devoted to RPG's. So what. :P (Technically, almost any game can be considered an RPG, so this will be limited to the traditional definition of the genre: games in which personas, especially the shujinkou and his closest allies, are clearly defined, and in which combat is resolved in a usually turn-based environment or otherwise prevents the player from actin' "at will" as in, say, a fightin' game or platform game. For example, while the Final Fantasy games [from IV onward] do not have a truly turn-based system, you also do not have absolute control over yer charas' abilities to act whenever you want them to, nor can ya move 'em around on the screen to, say, beat down RandomBossXIX from his left flank. FF Tactics also fits the RPG desc, because while you can move yer charas around, the ability is strictly limited to a few "steps" per turn. Compare this to Street Fighter, in which you have full control over when ya punch, kick, jump, or throw yer Haiouden Fireballs.) That said...



The team is bein' raised at excellently cool rates of speed:

-Kassi: Sandslash (f) L63

-Ryoko: Nuoh (f) L55

-Blitzen: Raichu (m) L53

-Gekkani: Burakkii (m) L57

-Blossom: Kireihana (f) L59

-Kyotoshi: Kadabra (m) L55

There is an egg bein' hatched on my team; unfortunately, at least for time's sake, said egg contains an Eevee of what should be perfect Special stats, very good speed, and decent defence, with unknown (gender-dependent) attack. It will have shadowball; it was a crossbreed of Gekkani with a ditto.

Oh, and this was flockin' coo. I had Blossom trainin' on RT-15 at night (encounters: Venonat, Venomoth, Nuoh, Noctowl, and very, very rarely, Lucky.) Actually, since those Pokemon are of average level 25, it wasn't so much trainin' as Lucky huntin'. Found one; it took a massive combined effort of Blossom (sleep powder was the only thing she could do without over-killin' the poor thing) and Blitzen (who was only L49 at the time; one thunderbolt and one quick attack drained Lucky to 1hp, and it didn't use softboiled to regenerise) Then brought Blossom in, pulled a sleep powder, and threw LevelBall. :P Best of all, while she ain't a keeper on her own merits, she had LuckyEgg. USEFUL ITEM, which you can only find from a wild Lucky, so it's about thirty times rarer than the Pokemon herself! It raises the equipper's earned experience from a battle by 50% in the same manner as bein' traded or fightin' a trainer's Pokemon. So, for example (and no, Chousen is not a Pokemon unless it's in the upcomin' games)

L35 Wild Chousen 1000 EXP.

If one of the conditions exists (this Chousen has a trainer, or yer Pokemon has the egg or is traded) 1500 EXP.

If two conditions exist, it goes to 2250.

If all three, 3375.

Now, I believe that if ya go to Viridian Trainer House and you've mystery-gifted with a L100 BLissey trainer, that Blissey is gonna be worth HUGE experience, pro'ly over 10000. With the egg and a traded Pokemon, the Blissey would be worth maybe 30000 EXP--- at least one or two levels!

Also caught Suikun; that was rather tough for want of functional pokeballs. x.x That, and thunderbolt was an auto-kill even at Blitzen's then-L49. However, on the successful attempt, the recover-less Water Dog suffered two headbutt attacks from Kassi. The second one brought it down to maybe 2-3hp at best, then it was just Blossom's sleep powder, recovery move, and continual pokeballin'.



Loki's runnin' a game at L20. It's really funny, because half the party is native not to his campaign settin' but to Forgotten Realms (the munchkin of all campaigns) and the other half ain't.

Let's see, the usual players, mostly:

-Auvil: Elven Psychic Warrior. Right now, he wants to kill any gods he encounters, so that he might subsume their godliness and himself become divine.

-Gribble: Cleric of Tyr. He's the one tryin' to convince me that there's more than one god, and that the one god I know is bein' threatened by imported gods or somethin' like that. He's also talkin' about killin' all the evil gods, and only the evil ones. See also below.

-Ashley: Nekojin monk. She's actually only L19, because the abilities of a nekojin take up one level (it's called Equivalent Chara Level, and reflects a race's capabilities in terms of class levels for the sake of balance.)

-Steve: Ranger, I think. He wasn't there this week.

-Hagen: Archmage. Technically, I'm playin' his chara for 'im; I'm usually like, "Hagen, yer chara HAS this spell, right?" and he's like "I do now." GAAA.

-Feezer: Nezumi thief. Whatever.

-Alex: Dark elf ranger with no spells or dark elf abilities (dark elves are usually level 3 equiv) and female.

-Jamison: Elf mage.

-Kiri-san: Neutral geomancer (druid/mage) who is human, but looks like a double-sized, quasi-humanoid Sandslash (it's a geomancer thing, that the chara mutates, and the combo of mutations I got screamed "SLAA-!!!") Of course. Note that I am very, very neutral, as well as bein' unable to comprehend the notion that the Avatars of gods can possibly be human; the avatar of god, to Koji's knowledge, is a diamond dragon.

But that neutrality forces me to believe that evil and good must both exist. Now, see also Gribble's chara description, and do the calculus yerself. :P

Oh, we're s'posed to kill vampires and stop a second godswar or somethin'.



Loki spends a lot more time in my room now that the Sega Saturn (we have SNES, N64, Saturn and Neptune here now, an' Loki's talkin' about gettin' Gamecube as in "when!" as opposed to "if!") is in my room. The reason?

Well, it ain't Mortal Kombat or Toshinden or Street Fighter. We've decided that ya can't really play any other fightin' game that well after playin' Guilty Gear X.

Yeah, it's Dragon Force, a strategy/RPG (think more along the lines of a simplified version of Romance of the Three Kingdoms or Lords of the Realm, as opposed to Starcraft/Warcraft-like games.)

It's by Working Designs, an old RPG company that depends heavily on anime graphics, but this is far from bein' a bad thing. In fact, the game is beautiful and runs well, though the turns (weeks) are a bit short. While it's simplified, it's far from easy in its own merit; there are troop type differences among ten types (ala Pokemon) and the troops' leaders have a plethora of cheesy or serious dialogues and magical battle-field alterin' spells.

Behold the BOOM!

plot synopsis:

Three hundred years ago, eight warriors led by the Dragon God Harsgalt battled against and defeated the evil god Madruk and his three hell-angels Gaul, Scythe and Kathmandu. However, the heroes could not slay Madruk, instead sealin' him inside a mountain.

Well, now, the seal is failin'.

Meanwhile, one of the eight kingdoms has experienced a coup d'etat at about the same time as the kings of the other nations have been assassinated, and war has been declared.

You are one of the eight monarchs who have just succeeded to the respective thrones. Yer mission, well, yer mission is discovered with a quickness, so it ain't too much of a spoiler, in general, to tell ya: Astea, leader of the goddesses, has chosen eight new heroes to seal the deal against Madruk. Predictably enough, these eight are yer choices for shujinkou (and the plots of each intertwine only in a limited manner, that bein' their combined destiny and certain other relationships between them in specific cases only) and yer mission is to find (read: conquer) the others.

In general, each shujinkou has an NPC advisor whose main game purpose is to prompt ya to take actions or verify those chosen; they are also historians who know almost everything. Each also has four officers of various personality, and each has a different primary choice for troop type.

-WEIN: From the kingdom of Highland in the southeast, Wein is but seventeen, but he's the typical paladin-king type, uber honourable and charismatic. His troop type is "soldier" (foot soldiers) and his flag is white.

-TEIRIS: The forest kingdom of Palemoon is the homeland of the elves. Teiris is their queen, magically inclined but far from strong, and very childishly girly. She and Wein are childhood friends. Teiris's troops are "archers" (elven bowmen who can still attack while their leaders cast spells; most troops can't) and her standard is blue. (So is her hair ^.^)

-JUNON: The Tristan Empire is very similar, politically and physically, to Siberia. Junon, the "Black Death Mask," is a monarch devoted to revenge... but believes at first that Wein was behind the assassinations. No one knows what lies behind the mask, however... Junon uses "Harpy" troops which are flying type and particularly weak to archers (but this weakness won't come into play due to Junon's secret) and a black flag. JUNON IS WAY COO, AND HAS A STRONG TROOP TYPE. START HERE IF YER A BEGINNER; Tristan's northern position is extremely easy to defend.

-LEON: A monk of the desert kingdom of Topaz. He's rash, impulsive, and obsessed with his own strength and training as a monk, but still manages to be very noble. He uses "monk" troops (unarmed fighters) and flies the orange banner.

-REINHART: Descended from the war god Valhart, Reinhart is the boy-king of the magic-using Tradnor Kingdom. He almost comes off as bein' evil and manipulative in his strategic plannin'. His troops are "mages" (look like White Mages in vari-coloured robes, and wield fireball staffs the same way Archers use bows) and his flag is very, very red.

-GONGOS: The Bozack Nation is ruled by primitive beastmen that are pro'ly nekojin, and Gongos, bein' the strongest, is their leader. In a word, he's stupid, and has a tendency to say "yes!" after a lot of things he says. His troops are "beasts" (fight like monks, and are nekojin :P ) and his flag is green.

-MIKHAL: From the territory of the displaced Izumo (their island was sunk by Madruk in the first war) come a distinctly Japanese culture, and Mikhal (an unlikely name, to be sure) is the shogun. Even considerin' his beliefs in the samurai way and bushido, he is very compassionate and would rather not fight, except that Izumo is so close to where the war started. He's got purple hair and flag, and "Ashigaru" troops (like soldiers, only they have a unique advantage).

-GOLDARK: The Mad Lion of Fandaria, he executed his brother Gyzzdark (responsible for the assassins) and started the war. Why? To protect Gyzzdark's name and honour. He even charges one of his most trusted generals to kill him if he ever becomes evil. Goldark is the master of "cavalry" (horsemen) and dual-wieldin' broadswords; his castle flags are yellow.


Every week starts with the Domestic Affairs section. Here you can improve yer generals' troop numbers ("givin' awards") give or take equipped Items or give stat-boostin' items to them, talk to prisoner-officers and try to recruit them, check on yer own officers' status, and two special functions available to some officers:

Search--- Searchin' a castle means that yer officer will find one of four things:

-Mercenary officer, unwillin' to join. "I won't hear such fol-de-rol. Go back to where you came from."

-Mercenary officer, willin' to join. In this case, the officer joins immediately, and if s/he can do search, this also becomes available. "I am Hagar Aren't you impressed?"

-Item, which could be almost anything. "...Oh, what is this!!? Murasame Sword found!" Some castles specialise in surrenderin' specific items.

-Nothin'! "Damn it... nothing."

Fortify- Officers that can search can instead try to improve the castle's rank with this command. A successful fortify action can raise the castle's rank by one or two points, or completely fill the castle's reserve troop supply. Fortify, like search, can fail, but never critically.

Officers with an Intelligence Attribute at 70 or higher can use search and fortify commands, but only one or the other each week. So such charas are very valuable to yer efforts.

Apart from that, you can save the game. ^.^ This is highly recommended and makes yer advisors feel useful. The Saturn's internal memory can only handle one game, while an external memory cart can add five more (though I don' recommend that ya use more than four of 'em because the fifth has been known to glitch sometimes and for no real reason)

After exitin' the domestic section, ya enter the field section. Here is where the quasi-action takes place. A few things to know:

-Castles. Each castle is marked by a flag, either a monarch's colour or gray for the independent leaders that dot the early landscape. A castle can hold up to ten officers at a time, and a number of reserve troops according to its level. The castle level can be from 1 to 50, is increased randomly or by Fortify, and is lowered by sieges (battles involvin' those inside the castle.) Each level allows the occupied castle to hold ten troops, and all castles can hold 50 in addition to those gained by level.

There is one ruined castle in the game, which if you move one of yer officers to it, it becomes a first-level castle best known for givin' many Zombie Troop Tokens (which give an officer one rank in Undead Troops) when searched.

The castle's level also affects the Leadership Attribute of officers within, from 10% all the way to numbers above 40%.

From a castle, you can either "Recruit" (attach troops to an officer, detach them from the officer to the reserve, or change troop types), "Deploy" (send one or more officers to another location, or to idle at the castle's location) or look at dossiers of yer officers or captives.

-Battles. While yer officers are walkin' between locations, they look like yer shujinkou (so do the other monarchs' armies) and if one of them touches a castle or troop type owned by someone other than you, a battle ensues. Battle is where dialogue tends to get cheesily bad "Do not take me lightly, for I am Paine!"

First off, the leaders of the troop divisions (or appointed leader of the castle) taunt each other, then you can decide to attack, negotiate or flee. Negotiation isn't always an option, and usually fails. So, unless yer usin' a levellin' strategy of deliverin' captives to an enemy, or otherwise don' wanna fight, you usually wanna fight.

At this point, one of yer officers might get overly eager and wanna jump out into combat. This can be risky, especially if his troop type might have a weakness on the enemy side, or his troops are needed for another fight. Otherwise, there's not too many reasons to say no.

If it doesn't happen or ya say no, the enemy picks an officer (never the leader until last) and you then pick the officer that'll fight against 'im.

More taunts follow, then battle time.

The enemy first picks their formation and taunts. One is "Special formation. To Madruk's Glory!!!"

Then you pick yer formation. Every officer has the same three formations, plus an extra one that not all of 'em have:

-Special. Everyone has this, and it's 100% of troops in front of ya. They all act on yer command.

-Offence. This formation leaves a 30% rear guard which runs around ya and defends.

-Defence. Similar to offence, except has a 70% rear guard.

The other formations are:

-Surround. This places two forward divisions of 20% each on the flanks, and a 60% stationary guard in front of the officer. Troop defence improves.

-Breach. This puts an arrowhead formation of 70% in the front line, otherwise similar to offence; the formation could be up to five columns. Troop speed improves. This is particularly useful for Mikhal, who learns a spell that can clear the formation's attack line with a quickness. It's called sonic-blast, and throws five waves of energy along the travellin' lines of the attack troops. (The same can crush enemy Breach formations with the same quickness)

-Squad. The troops are divided into five equal divisions, four of which are on standby until told to "rush" and attack, the last one can collapse into defence. Troop attack improves.

-Raid. A 30% rear guard is sent along the "top" of the battlefield (flows left to right, with you always on the right) while the rest make a wall in front. The wall can be moved to the top or bottom. Troop speed improves. This formation isn't too useful for the computer; giving a "disperse" command from Special or Offence or a "Top Move" command from Breach can easily stop it.

-Protect. Most of the troops are set in a wide arrowhead formation, and can be resupplied from the rear guard; or they can all be commanded to collapse into defence. Troop defence improves.

A battle ends when one officer is reduced to 0hp or flees. If both troop divisions are defeated, the officers might be able to duel, though the comp will always duel if defeat is not obvious result of it.

Success in these battles depends on troop and terrain factors, and upon the Leadership Attributes of the officers.

The troop types are ten in number, and like Pokemon, have different type advantages:

-Soldiers. Foot soldiers that are strong against monks and beast, but weak to cavalry.

-Cavalry. Mounted knights trained to work against foot soldiers, but monks and beast can get farther in and defeat them.

-Archers. Elven bowmen who can shoot while their commander casts spells. Only advantage is against Harpys.

-Mages. Staff-wieldin' mages who can shoot fireballs, even if their leader is castin' spells. Not as good as Archers against harpys (though there is still a clear type advantage) but Mages are faster and have advantage over Undead.

-Monks. Unarmed kickboxers. Good against cavalry and Undead, but poor against swordsmen of any caliber.

-Ashigaru. The foot soldiers of the Samurai, they fight much like Soldiers but gain a special, unique advantage against Dragons.

-Beast. Savage nekojin who rock against cavalry but little else. Weak to sword-wielders.

-Harpys. The flyin' harpys are exceptionally weak to troops that use shooting attacks, but overall excellent against most others.

-Undead. Animated zombies that attack with their guts; these troops fall to Monks and Mages, but are tough and durable against most.

-Dragons. The awesome Dragons are chief among yer enemies later on. They fly and kick much ass until ya bring forth the katanas of the Ashigaru troops.

Terrain can be a factor, but those relationships are complex.

There are also a number of basic Officer Types:

-Fighters. These typically command Soldiers and are decent warriors of limited spell ability. "Soooooniiiiiic... BOOOOOMM!!"

-Paladins. These knights have some magical ability and can be seen wielding various spells and troop types. Wein, Goldark and Junon are all paladins; while Wein and Goldark display spells typical of most Paladins, Junon's spells are slightly more magic-user-ish. "Fall to your knees!"

-Samurai. Like Fighters, Samurai don't have a lot of magical power, but do tend to make up for it in spades with their Ashigaru troops. Mikhal, of course, is a samurai. "Feel the power of my ancient sword-technique!"

-Clerics. The priests usually use mages, though archer- and monk-usin' clerics are not unheard of. Typically, they have Resurrection to improve their troop numbers in battle.

-Mages. Mages and clerics sometimes overlap in ability; the latter employ all attack and opponent-stoppin' spells, and typically use mage troops. I don' need to mention Reinhart, do I? "Raise your eyes to the heavens and behold your doom!"

-Shamans. These spiritual masters use summon spells to the exclusion of most else, and their troops are almost always archers or mages. However, these opponents have among the most dangerous magicks available, particularly the unique Summon Reaper attack exclusive to one of Gongos's officers, Katt. The reaper reduces BOTH officers to 1hp. Teiris is the only shujinkou to be a shaman. "Reaper of souls, collect your bounty!"

-Monks. Monk officers, like Leon, tend to have a limited selection of magic, and use monks almost exclusively. "My aura shall be your undoing!"

-Thieves/Ninja. I group these together because they're the same, mostly. They enjoy a very limited spell selection but can drain their opponent's magical "initiative" (a time bar which when full allows a spell to be cast) and are excellent duelists. Thieves rely on soldiers, while ninja use Ashigaru. "My cold, hard steel shall be the end of you!"

-Beasts. The followers or ex-followers of Gongos carry with them a savage fightin' style with a selection of body-slam spells and beast troops. Even Gongos. Yes.

-Undead. Certain unusual leaders appear in the game at various stages; most of these train Undead troops, but one (available to Reinhart at the beginning) wields Dragons. These tend to have properties of shamans or clerics. "If you slay my minions, I shall just make more..."

-Dragons. In the late game, Dragons and their predictably Dragon troops attack ya. They all have three spells only: fireball (which hurts yer officer) sky driver (a jump kick which does the same) and stone pedestal (which stops opponents unless they're harpys or dragons) "YOU WILL MAKE A TASTY SNACK, COCKTAIL WEENIE!"

The game itself is rather interestin', given even the cheesy taunts and battle cries (Zagat of Izumo screams "Behold the BOOM!" for one spell, and a Paladin named Ardor comes back "Behold! Your doom!" and hits Zagat in the good eye with a fireball!)

Hidden charas: There are five. Goldark, due to the particulars of the Fandaria campaign, cannot get these at all. Everyone else can.

-Hayate and Shirox: These two live in a town between Izumo and Bozack, and are ninjas. Hayate is quite powerful, sometimes startin' at ranks as high as 12. Typically, to get Hayate, you must duel with him, a losin' proposition for most. NOTE: This is the only time yer chosen shujinkou is allowed to fall in battle without game over appearin'. The ONLY one.

-Vlad and Sierra: See the note on Undead Officers. These two are exactly that; Vlad lives in a tower near the middle of the map, so get mage troops on yer shujin and head that way. Later on, an undead named Ryskim appears and if ya battle 'im then Sierra joins. They're both able to search/fortify.

-Vangal: The dragon man lives in a different location for each game, and at first attacks ya with no troops. Later on, he must fight an uber dragon named Zado, but it's possible (especially with Izumo's troops) to drain Zado's army and trap him between two castles so that he can't regenerate troops or spell ability. Vangal's ok.. for a hidden optional chara.

Notes on officers. The game records a hidden "Chusei" stat, which determines how a given officer will respond to bein' neglected. With three exceptions, every officer a shujinkou starts with has maximised Chusei; the hidden charas noted above likewise have max Chusei; and most games have particular officers (these are always very early, and only Izumo lacks this option) that are maxed out on the stat... but only in a specific game.

What does all this mean? Max Chusei? What that means is that a chara whose Chusei is at the maximum (255) will never leave yer service, no matter how neglected they are. (Neglected means not bein' allowed to battle; in lieu of battle, givin' items may be a substitute) Basically, whenever an officer is neglected, a random number is picked against his Chusei score, and if the random is greater, the officer in question leaves service.

However, this mechanic never takes place if the officer never enters battle. So don' let them. Only battle with yer reliable officers (the truly patient or challenge-hungry might try with the shujinkou and other monarchs to the EXCLUSION of all else, since only those eight can enter the critical final battles, and any improvement in their ranks is helpful)

I won' spoil the endin' either, 'cept to say that it's different for each monarch, meanin' that to see 'em all, you'll hafta admit that the game's got great replay value. ^.^

My suggestions:

-Start with either Junon or Mikhal. These two are of average power level, but have excellent troop types. In addition, they have great options for powerful officers (Mikhal has the fastest access to ninja-master Hayate, and Hayate will actually join Mikhal without another special requirement (that yer chara knows s/he's part of this destiny thing); Junon has Cinna, a blind elf-mage with white hair, a mean streak a kilometer wide, and the fastest Fireball spells in the land.)

-Those two scenarios are also among the most serious of all. For more humour, pick Wein. Teiris and Gongos are among the most difficult of all, and Leon, while powerful, has his kingdom in the location most vulnerable to attack. Right in the middle.

-Reinhart and Goldark are only available if ya beat the game once first.

-Pace yerself. If all ya do over a few "months" is just fight battles, level up, and deliver yer captives back to the enemy, then you'll be much stronger and well-supplied than if ya just try to rush thru. Madruk won't get any weaker if ya go fast.

-Take opportunity to level up. Like the above. Here's a hint, though. Don' recruit from yer captives unless one of the followin' is true:

1) The captive has Int 70, and can search/fortify.

2) The captive has Int 64, and ya have items that can make him 70.

3) Ya need castle-holders who sit in a castle while yer more important peeps go elsewhere.

4) It's the end-game and ya need all the help you can get stallin' Dragon Armies.

What ya do instead is deploy one troopless officer with a number of captives and move him to an enemy castle. When the option pops up, run away from the battle instead of acceptin' it. If the officer is low-chusei, and you can afford the loss, you can fight if you want instead, even if it is suicidal, it's funny. "What a... disappointment..." That way, the enemies (who always successfully convert captives) can use them against ya again, creatin' more opportunities to level up.

Whew. I should go ^.^


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