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Chapter 12 - When In Rime

Quick Summary
We've slain Zaebos, we've killed Leonard, now it's time to murder the Duke! After Leonard told us that the Duke was meeting with the Dark Knights in secret to sign a treaty, Denim headed to Rime to stop him. On the way he encountered the Beast Master Ganb again. In Rime, Denim hides behind some bushes and sees that Bacrum soldiers are running around willy-nilly. The Duke and Lans meet in a shack, but Vice is tricky and stabs the Duke! He's about to get his and his 5 knight buddies' asses handed to them by Lans, when Denim begins his pursuit! What our former best friend did not expect was 2 other dark knights coming in to mop the floor with the regular joe knights, so Vice begs for his life in the stupidest way possible and Lans lets him go! At Armorika, Guildus and Mildain join the cause and everyone sets sail for Fiduc Castle.

The Army
We're at level 22 now, some of us anyway. I decided it is a good idea to try and let people gain some levels in real combat to increase their loyalty. Level differences are starting not to be such a huge deal as they were way back in the good ol' days. When Guildus and Mildain joined the group, we got their unique weapons, Isleberg and Dessert. They're both swords, if anyone wants to use them then let me know. Here are their descriptions:

Isleberg - A big sword which the northern hero Nibble loved to use. Requires both hands to use. Physic, WGT 22, STR+30, DEX+5. (A 2handed non-element weapon. It's okay, not super powerful, but more powerful than most things we have as of now)
Desert - A sword discovered at some ruins in the an ancient kingdom in the Dalmuh desert. Physic, WGT 18, STR+28, DEX+5. (That was the actual description, no joke. It's a 1handed nonelement sword, not super powerful but slightly better than what we have now.)

Currently we're at the top tier of purchasable equipment in the game. As of the end of this episode, I can purchase all Balder weapons. The only things that are better can only be found on enemies or in special locations or auctioned. So things like these unique weapons and elemental armor are going to be better than what we can buy. Think about what you might want your character to use. There are a number of elemental weapons like bows, hammers, axes, and swords. Elemental armors exist too, but those appear in specific battles in chapter 4. I also have the ability to train monsters like Cockatrices for Wing Rings, so if you want your character to do something special like walk on water, teleport, or fly then let me know.

Unit Spotlight - Warlock

One of the stranger units in the game, the Warlock is much like a Witch: a mage who can use support and bane(dark) spells. They can also use powerful Draconic magic, but that's not accessible yet. They also have a support buff which increases the fighting power of Golems. Its uses are not many, because warlocks are typically built like mages or dexterous units to make their spells effective, so they're in danger when in range of melee or archer units and that's where Golems are typically. As far as attributes go, their growth is abysmal, so any and all levels should go to Wizard, Exorcist, or Ninja respectively. The class is far better than its stats; a warlock has high resistances, making it a great choice for use, but not for leveling. All in all, a warlock is just as or even more useful than Witches and I've gotten a ton of use out of our resident Warlock Logan.

Logan - Warlock - Fire
HP 213 MP 125 STR 120 VIT 123 INT 172 MEN 152 AGI 123 DEX 143 LUK 49
Equip: Balder Staff, Mind Ring
Spells: Melt, Stun, Charge
Kills: 4
Achievements: Here Comes The Stun
Nothing has changed, you're still giving the other mages MP or you're flinging stun spells around. Your performance can be iffy at times, but that comes with the territory of being a support mage. Stunning enemies remains a good strategy, because the enemy doesn't wake up when hit. I'll get access to draconic magic in chapter 4 at some point, so you may be doing some damage soon.

Rob - Golem - Wind
HP 159 MP 0 STR 219 VIT 158 INT 98 MEN 155 AGI 71 DEX 81 LUK 50
Kills: 2

You've inspired me to write and illustrate a comic titled "The Nice Guy Golem." It's about a large clay man who walks around, helping people with his handy stash of healing herbs and berries. Sometimes people are afraid of him and try to kill him, but he has a heart of gold and is basically a brick wall. You're our walking wall that heals people and that's pretty much all you're going to be until I can get some Orbs to lower your weight.

Gage - Knight - Fire
HP 235 MP 51 STR 162 VIT 133 INT 124 MEN 133 AGI 133 DEX 155 LUK 50
Equip: Fire Sword, Balder Shield, Balder Chest
Kills: 15
Achievements: Damsel In Distress, Stone of Shame

Not much to report this time, I will be deploying you in the next couple of battles after this. Your strength continues to rise as I give you levels as a dragoon, maybe some day you'll be a real boy.

Peter - Earth - Terror Knight
HP 246 MP 30 STR 151 VIT 155 INT 116 MEN 140 AGI 148 DEX 154 LUK 49
Equip: Phlanka Axe, Tower Shield, Balder Chest
Kills: 39
Achievements: Boss Blocks

Still surprised you have such a great evade rate. Your terror ability and decent attributes make you a great tank along with that block ratio. We're nearly at the end of the chapter, but I think William City is on the horizon. I'm considering giving you a Wing Ring, letting you fly. This can't happen until I can auction my new cockatrice at Armorika though.

Jon - Berserker - Water
HP 256 MP 58 STR 150 VIT 138 INT 118 MEN 156 AGI 144 DEX 160 LUK 50
Equip: Phlanka Axe, Power Gauntlet, Balder Chest
Kills: 10

I decided to give you a level in Ninja just to get your AGI and DEX up a bit, to keep that evade rate up. Not much to report here, but you'll get some action at Armorika.

Sagar - Berserker - Fire
HP 250 MP 53 STR 159 VIT 148 INT 109 MEN 157 AGI 140 DEX 153 LUK 50
Equip: Fire Sword, Power Gauntlet, Balder Chest
Kills: 10
Achievements: Cock Block

Now that you have something that isn't outdated by 2 chapters you're hitting much harder, almost on par with Josh and Gage. Your dodge rate isn't so great and you almost bit the dust in Rime, but that doesn't mean that you weren't badass. We saw the guy who has the axe I want to give you, but we have to wait a bit more. Soon though.

Jay - Octopus/Tiamat - Wind - Black Dragon
HP 266 MP 0 STR 232 VIT 152 INT 116 MEN 172 AGI 91 DEX 92 LUK 50
Kills: 38
Achievements: Charming, Quite Charming

Your skills weren't really needed in the last couple of battles, but they will be at Armorika. I think you have about 20-30 more points in Vitality until I can make you a Tiamat, then we'll be talking.

Josh - Dragoon - Earth
HP 243 MP 28 STR 161 VIT 145 INT 115 MEN 141 AGI 138 DEX 173 LUK 53
Equip: Fafniel, Balder Shield, Balder Chest
Spells: Incubus
Kills: 13
Achievements: Early Riser, One Hit Wonder

It's good to know your Dragon Slay ability is nice to have in nearly every battle we have or will face; I forgot how often dragons are deployed in this game. Even without the dragons, most enemies go down in a few smacks. If only the sleep effect from Incubus was more reliable. Rime is the next location of the next piece of your Dragon Armor set, so I might train up a Holy Dragon before heading off to Armorika.

Velika - Witch - Earth
HP 208 MP 103 STR 126 VIT 123 INT 150 MEN 158 AGI 147 DEX 160 LUK 48
Equip: Gemini Crossbow, Mind Ring
Spells: Charm, Petrify, HealRain
Kills: 6
Achievements: Dragon Charmer, Stone Cold

All of that archer training was really helpful, as you were instrumental in helping us take down that dangerous wizard and reducing other threats. I need to get your INT up a bit more though, because your spells are really inconsistent with the AOE and I think it's because it's at a threshold where weather patterns affect your ability, so the size of the AOEs go up and down based on your tile and weather bonuses.

HP 186 MP 120 STR 121 VIT 105 INT 185 MEN 163 AGI 114 DEX 129 LUK 50
Equip: Balder Staff, Balder Staff, Mind Ring
Spells: Meteor, Acid, Pain
Kills: 13
Achievements: Bitchin

BOOP....BOOP....BOOP....BOOP...BOOP...BOOP....BOOP...BOOP....BOOP...BOOP...BOOP... I usually cast Acid because that meteor is driving me fucking CRAZY! I'm hoping that a wizard or siren with the earth element summon spell appears soon, because I want to get it for you. That'll make you able to deal massive damage on a large scale or assassinate a single unit of your choosing. Anyway, you're doing great, but you're really squishy and almost die to arrows on a regular basis.

Brian - Lizard Man - Water
HP 257 MP 4 STR 169 VIT 149 INT 91 MEN 151 AGI 156 DEX 124 LUK 48
Equip: Aqua, Balder Shield, Balder Chest
Kills: 21
Achievements: Murder Hobo

Not much to say other than you're smashing faces. I wish you were a little faster, because your turn rate isn't quite as good as I'd like it to be.

Dylan - Terror Knight - Wind
HP 251 MP 38 STR 159 VIT 149 INT 117 MEN 152 AGI 145 DEX 154 LUK 50
Equip: Dragon Sword, Balder Chest
Kills: 35

Sometimes I'm happy with this, sometimes I'm not. It's tough being a leader...

Battle 1 - Wyoburi Mountains
This map comes with a new tile type: lava. You see, we're high up on some sort of volcano or something. Here we meet Ganb once again and he's brought 2 more friends, they're cockatrices and they're ready to be shitty. The only difficulty on this map is traversal, because no unit can walk in or on lava...that is unless they have Spark shoes, which I gave to Dylan for some reason. Coincidentally, Ganb has spark shoes. You may notice at some point that I'm only doing single digit damage to him, this is because he's of the fire element and standing on lava.

Gameplay Note: each tile has qualities which act as bonuses and penalties to the unit standing on them. Each tile gives a flat offensive bonus, defensive bonus, and element modifier. Every tile has motif, they can be dirt, grass, road, stone, and much more. Usually the harder the material of the tile, the higher the bonus given. Road and stone tiles give the highest offensive and defensive bonus while soft tiles like dirt, tall grass, and water give the lowest bonuses. Not only does the player have to think about the unit's position, but also the tile they're moving the unit to. The element modifiers are a little different, they range from negative to positive values and heavily affect combat. The tiles give different modifiers to different elements. In this instance, Ganb is fire element and standing on a lava tile which gives him +8 modifier for his element. I don't know the exact math or if the attacker's tile is included in the calculation, but the +8 makes Ganb a defensive beast. Offensively, he sucks there because the tile gives a shitty offense bonus.

Anyway, since there were only 4 other enemies and I was focus firing on Ganb, he died pretty quickly, while I had very little to worry about.

Battle 2 - Rime (One More Time)
I keep saying all the time this is where the game gets brutal and this battle is no exception to that. The two biggest threats on the map aside from the two knights with bows, dragons, and dragon tamers with crossbows are the two wizards. I say this because the Wizards are packing the biggest heat in the game: summon spells. Gameplay Note: Summon spells come in several flavors of element. They cost a lot of mana to cast, but when they are cast the spell sends around 7 or 8 separate attacks to all targets in the spell AOE. All of these attacks do about half the normal damage of a spell and the attacks split among all people in the AOE. Summons are very fatal when cast only on 1 or 2 targets, as the bolts don't split as often, resulting in death of at least 1 unit. This is bad news for us. There are TWO of them in this fight, but if we kill them we probably will get the summons. Too bad it's a water and a wind guy, none of our casters are of those elements.

Starting off I send Ashley and Velika to shoot the wizard on the right who was stupid enough to walk into range, he's dead immediately and drops a bag. I then rush Denim, Jeff, and Brian to the left to zerg the other wizard. A couple of times I thought I was going to lose Jeff, Josh, and Peter, but some lucky turn orders allow me to heal them with items from Jorshe and the others. Jorshe didn't do a lot of tanking in this one, but he healed a couple of times, causing a domino effect where I saved units in time for them to go on to kill some other important target. Logan got stuns on the right hand dragon and dragon tamer, letting Velika petrify them easily. Brian smashed the other dragon tamer's face in. Sagar even got some good smacks in, but he was shot to critical health, so I had to make a strategic decision and end the battle with Josh and his mighty sword Fafniel!

For our trouble we got both summon spells, some junk, and the leader's Warp Shoes. I don't know who I'm going to give those to yet, but they're hells of useful as they give the wearer the warp movement ability.

Story Summary

As Leonard stood dying, he informed us that Duke Ronway was about to sign another treaty with the Dark Knights. That would be no good, because Denim realized that this whole entire shit-fest of a conflict was entirely orchestrated by the Cardinal and the Duke as a struggle for power instead of a fight for true peace. Denim's next trip would take him to Rime, where the Duke was supposed to be. Our heroes made their way across the Wyoburi Mountains, where Ganb the Beast Master waited for us. He was defeated, but retreated and we moved on.
Yes you are...

We see in a scene Kachua being a stupid idiot again, but lo and behold there's Lans Tartare to comfort her. He reveals she is the daughter of the late king Dolgare, telling her to read her necklace's inscription. Wouldn't she have felt a little weird about that for about her entire life? Oh well, he bids her come with him to become the true queen.

No brother OR not parents, I'm not entirely sure.
Well we already know Kachua's loyalty; she's Queen Bitchy-Pants!

In Rime, Denim did the smart thing and walked around by himself trying to find the Duke, but he sensed some commotion and hid behind some bushes. There he saw his old buddy Vice running around with Bacrum Soldiers. Mr Ronway was meeting with Lans inside a shack, but Vice came running in and shoad him his stabs, then ordered the five Bacrum Knights to kill Lans. Before Vice could realize he didn't bring nearly enough soldiers, they are interrupted by commotion outside. Denim began his attack!
Let's casually hide behind these bushes, they'll never find me!

Stop kidding yourself, this is Valeria: the land of treachery.


Yes, that stab wound in your gut should tell you

Let's not push our luck, Vice
Vice, your grave is getting deeper by the word

Lans Tartare and his pals Oz and Ozma were helping the nice Bacrum soldiers inside the shack take a nap and Vice was panicking. They did not appreciate the treachery, but after Vice begged for his life - coming up with several wildly different excuses - they allowed him to live. Not sure why, they should have killed him. Oh well, you live to see another day, motherfucker.
The barks that dogs do have
The tables have turned, now it's the Dark Knights who get to tell you to shut up!

We go to Armorika (me expecting a fight) and we see Denim addressing a few soldiers who want to fight for him. They say that the people there were ordered to surrender to him in case all of this happened, by Leonard. Turns out Leonard was a good guy after all, just doing what was necessary to get the job done. Denim assures them they will be fighting for their ideals and not some shitty noble. Meanwhile, Denim and Canopus visit Warren, Guildus, and Mildain. Warren is wounded and will not be fighting with us, but Guildus and Mildain offer their services...why not? Let's hire them! At least we'll get their shit. Why is Guildus wearing a magic ring? Fuck. Anyway, our next target is Fiduc castle, we're going to visit some Bacrum guys and bring the pain.
Denim giving another inspiring speech

Next time someone does something I don't like I'm going to say "HOW DARE!"