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How shall I go about this?

Just play normally, with a party of godlike twinked-out characters. Explain the game's underpinnings at length.
- 2 (7.7%)
Use your random-named mooks the whole time -- No named story characters!
- 4 (15.4%)
Use just story characters, and no random-named mooks.
- 1 (3.8%)
Use random-named mooks and story characters, but take votes on how to spec each one. Fail utterly thanks to troll votes.
- 3 (11.5%)
Monster challenge: use recruitable monsters and Ramza in a support role. Explain monsters at length.
- 9 (34.6%)
Dumb As a Rock challenge: Spec characters however, but set them to only use AI on every battle!
- 5 (19.2%)
Single-character challenge: use only Ramza!
- 2 (7.7%)

Total Members Voted: 14

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 [6] 7 8 9 10 11 ... 13

Author Topic: Lay down your arms or die clutching them! Let's Play Final Fantasy Tactics!  (Read 16310 times)

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Well, this is new. Instead of returning to the map, I'm shunted directly into my party roster.

Back to support role.

Important accessory.

Delacroix: Then again, perhaps the fault lies with his adversary. Beoulve blood is not given to spill easily. Even when thinned with that of a courtesan, it would seem.


Delacroix steps away from the chapel lectern.

R2: Where is Lady Ovelia?
Delacroix: You mean to free her? What then? You've turned your back on your house. A man cannot prosecute a war alone. Forget this bootless struggle. Think you mere -will- enough to see you victorious? Even will needs force, and you have none.
R2: Tell me where the princess is!
Delacroix: Gone to Zeltennia. Her Highness has chosen to accept our hand in aid over yours.
R2: You lie!
Delacroix: Her Highness has taken her first step toward the throne. But she will need a steady hand to guide her, and yours falters. Who better, then, than us to stand at her side?

Keep in mind, R2 has no idea who "us" is, or even that Formalv is the one who ordered the hit on him.

Delacroix: She saw this --  why not you? There's no reason you should not join us as well. The thought of besting your brothers holds no allure? We care no less for this world's fate than you. Together we can change Ivalice for the better.
R2: I have no wish to change the world. But nor can I stand by while men suffer and die on the whim of some select few. Do you truly believe you can change the world? Not even I am so naive as that.
Delacroix: Ha ha! Nescient humility from one possessed of such an artefact. That Stone you hold can twist the very weave of nature, to say nothing of the world. Yet I fear my words are wasted on you. Actions speak louder, yes?



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The music for this battle is The Pervert, which is good suspenseful boss music and I don't care what you say.

For his magic attacks, Cuchulainn tears open the gap in his stomach to reveal a set of bared fangs. I'm sure it'd be creepier if it weren't displayed in these tiny sprites. Anyway, this attack is Nightmare, which causes Sleep and/or Doom status.

Again, I bring Friday to a battle where undead status is a benefit. Instead of dying when the Doom counter reaches 0, Friday will be healed to maximum HP.

Not many enemies remain standing after two Choco Meteors.

Much less four.

Since the Doom counter is reduced on each of the target's turns, Haste would just kill my chocobos faster. But since Friday is immune to Doom...

Cuchulainn is charging up a big attack, over a wide area. Further investigation reveals it to be Bioga, an enemy-exclusive magic that, in this case, was trying to cause Undead status on both my red chocobos. What a terrible idea for Cuchulainn, it'd undo all the effort he put into Dooming them!

Clearly he is too dumb to live. Choco Meteor!

One more monstrous groan, and all is silent.



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Delita reports in.

Delita: I am Delita Heiral, a Blackram lieutenant in the service of His Excellency the Baron Grimms. His Excellency dispatched me to rescue the princess. And so I did, disguised as one of your own -- a sheep in Lion's clothing. Now I have returned.

Goltanna: I thought Baron Grimms and his Blackrams felled in battle against the Eye a fortnight past.
Delita: Indeed. That dark news spurred me to adopt that squad as my own as cover return with all the greater haste.

Delita: Bring the prisoner forth!

Prisoner: We thought to deny him the regent's seat.
Delita: Who gave you the order? Duke Larg?
Prisoner: No... a close adviser of Duke Goltanna's seeking to curry Duke Larg's favor.

That's wolf talk! I vote Chancellor Glevanne!

Goltanna: I would hear it nonetheless.
Delita: Who is it?

Delita: Name the one who gave the order!
Prisoner: I'd have your protection?
Delita: On my honor as a knight. Speak!

Delita: To betray your liege-lord is an unpardonable crime, Chancellor.

Delita: The Order of the Southern Sky must march on Lesalia at once, and you with it! Give your enemies but a moment to collect themselves, and they will pin the chancellor's sedition on his lord. Your Grace must strike before they are given the chance! Deny the prince's claim, and set the princess on the throne!



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This was the point my game froze. I figured it was some problem with the patch, so I loaded an unpatched version of the ISO, thanking myself or God that save states worked interchangeably for both versions. Immediately after this scene is a free save point, so I saved to memory card, reloaded the patched ISO, and continued.


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The Time Mage

They debuted in Final Fantasy V, hung on for a little bit, and then kind of got folded into the Green Mage in modern games. Oh well. The original Japanese translates a little better to "Time and Space Mage", which more accurately represents why they can call asteroids out of the heavens, but is a bit long.

Their active skillset is okay but not great, their counter and move skills are some of the best, and their costumes are ridiculous. Series villain Ultimecia is basically portrayed as the ultimate time mage, but never wears the pointy hat with the star embroidered on it. It's a shame, because her costume is even more ridiculous.

Time mages cast time magic. Imagine that. These alter the flow of time (Haste/Slow/Stop/Quick) or have something to do with space or gravity (Immobilize/Float/Demi/Meteor).

Time Mages get one of the best counter skills in the game, though. Critical: Quick isn't it, it just gives you a turn immediately if you enter critical status. Mana Shield means incoming attacks shave off MP instead of HP, but damage in excess of your current MP doesn't overflow and take away HP. With the Manafont move ability granting you a few MP every time you move, you're very nearly invincible.

Swiftness reduces the charge time of magic spells. Useful for summons and high-level magic that tends to take a long time between giving the command and actually casting.

Teleport is one of the best move abilities in the game, hands down. Up to your Move value in distance, you can teleport without fail to your destination, ignoring any height difference, necessary jumps, water, or other difficult terrain. You can also "push" the teleport to move extra tiles, although there's a chance of failure and you lose your Move action for the turn.
Levitate adds always:Float to your character. Useful for crossing waterways, I guess.

The Monk

Monks are dedicated brawlers, pure and simple. They've been around since the first Final Fantasy game, and have shown up in all iterations of the job system since. They have good PA but truly abysmal MA, do not wield weapons, cannot wear shields, and cannot equip any headgear (exception: female monks may wear a Ribbon). They have good base HP to outweigh the lack of HP bonuses from their lackluster equipment choices.

Cyclone attacks all adjacent panels. Pummel does random damage in an ATATATATATATATATA flurry of hits. Aurablast is a ranged power, Shockwave reaches eight panels in a straight line. Doom Fist causes Doom status. And with all that violence over with, Purification cures status ailments, Chakra restores HP/MP, and Revive brings back the dead.

Critical: Recover HP is the ultimate fuck-you counterattack. If you're dropped to critical HP, you are restored to maximum HP after the attack -- essentially, the last hit has to do over 1/8 your HP to kill you. This is fantastically useful in the early game where enemies are weak, but loses effectiveness as monsters and foes get stronger.
Counter is the same as the monster ability. If you're hit with a physical attack and the attacker is in range of your basic melee strikes, you hit him back.
First Strike is Counter, but pumped up -- you hit first, negating the incoming attack entirely.

Brawler lets you fight barehanded, even in classes that aren't Monk. This lets you bypass weapon attack and do damage based solely on your PA and Brave. With high Brave, this is devestating.
Nothing in the game ever mentions this, but being barehanded makes the Steal skillset of the Thief class more accurate.

Lifefont restores a little bit of HP every time you move.


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Ooh, let's watch a bunch of grumpy old men talk about politics.

Baron of Bolmina: Alone, we've sustained, ah, two hundred thousand
wounded, as well.

Hey, it's Elmdore. How's it goin', E?
Marquis Elmdore: Nor does the depletion of our stores - these were to be expected. No, it is this drought that threatens us.

Viscount Blanche: It rained unceasingly in Gallione this season. The grain rotted in the fields before it could be harvested.

Count Cidolfas Orlandeau: The real trouble lies in war's wake. There is no work. Whole villages have been displaced. Orran tells me over one hundred thousand have already fled to Lesalia, and more pour in by the day.
Blanche: Ha! I see no trouble in this! Let Larg struggle to feed the mewling maids and his soldiers both!
Orlandeau: It is no laughing matter! Should the conflict spread, we may find ourselves no better off. Think you Zeltennia proof against such fate? I assure you, we are not! Has not the time come to chart a course to peace?
Goltanna: Your fears are well founded. But we cannot yet end this war. We shall treble the rate of tax, and keep a close watch on those who hope to profiteer in these trying times. As for those seeking refuge outside the castle walls, we shall tighten our patrols at the Limberry border to see they are turned back.
Orlandeau: Duke Larg suffers, as do we. What better time to treat to peace?
Goltanna: You talk in circles, Orlandeau. There can be no peaceful end to this.
Orlandeau: The kingdom cannot exist without her people, Excellency! No more than can we. In the Fifty Years' War, who bore a greater burden than they? Would you thank them now with higher taxes? And it is not only the people. Our soldiers are made to fight on rations that would scarce feed a child at his mother's skirts. We cannot long sustain this war. It is a matter of resources and resolve.
Goltanna: Resolve? Have you any? These are the words of a coward.
Orlandeau: The Fifty Years' War was fought to drive back an invasion of our sovereign soil. We were honorbound to fight!
Goltanna: And in -this- war you do not feel so bound? You were never one given to hypocrisy, Orlandeau. Show leniency now, and they will only strike the harder. This fight is not only for ourselves, but for our people in equal measure. The Crown cumbers them with its every act. We fight to free them of such tyrannies.
Blanche: His Grace has the right of it. Besides, why lay down the sword with victory so near? Your title is ill earned, "Thunder God" Cid. Your gentle words would sooner stir a breeze.
Orlandeau: Is victory so near? My ears are deaf to its approach. What see you in our plight that portends victory? Or have you forsworn the use of your eyes?

You get a screencap because Blanche standing up is the most exciting thing to happen in this scene.

Goltanna: Enough of this! You disappoint me, Orlandeau. Pray you do not disappoint me further.
Orlandeau: ...
Goltanna: I will say this but once. Any man who cares not for the course I've chosen had best remove himself now. I will brook no further doubt, Orlandeau!



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And by "I made for Lesalia" I mean "let's go have random encounters".

Wisenkin are giant bull-headed creatures with pickaxes. They are very slow, but have fantastic HP and PA to close in on enemies and hit them hard. Their Beastmaster ability is Beef Up (get it?), increasing their PA by +2. They cannot enter water, absorb Earth-elemental attacks, and get the standard monster counterattack.

Piscodaemons are squid-headed mages in robes. They are a bit like Red Panthers in that they're not very fast or very tough, but have lots of status-inflicting abilities as they grow. Right now, all they can do is slap enemies with their tentacles, and if a Beastmaster is nearby, spit ink to blind enemies.
They have an ability called "waterbreathing", which I think means they can enter water too deep for humans to swim in, but as I recall this still disables them. They absorb water-elemental attacks but are weak to lightning.


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R2 that is clearly a Squire what up wit dat

Well, random encounters tend to be better-equipped than the stuff that's sold in shops. So I recruited him because it's quicker and easier than stealing his sword, hat, and clothes separately -- in no small part because I haven't trained in Thief at all.

At Balias Tor:


Lay off me, Japa Mala are awesome and this one was free.

Got a bomb, too.

Nope. Gimme your shit and get out.

We pretty much talked about everything about Ghouls that needed talking about first time through this map. They throw ectoplasm as their base attack, and have a one-panel-ranged sleep move too. They levitate, they teleport, they're undead.

Floating Eyes are the one-eyed monsters from... second game? Third game? on. Wherever they debuted, they only have a crappy wing attack in this form. They can fly and absorb wind, but are weak to ice.

What a crew.

Fuck yes it is.

On the way back to the story battle, we are waylaid at Zeirchele Falls!

It's a rough fight, too. Piscaodaemons eventually breed into the nasty Mindflayer, which can tentacle-slap and spit ink as before -- and do a move called Mind Blast, which either berserks or confuses its target.

By this point everyone was berserked. Nothing I could do.

Confused bomb is a bad bomb.

Ghoul down.

Wisenkin down.

R2 down.

Nasty stuff.

We manage to avoid getting horribly killed on the way to Ziekden/Eagrose, at which point we spend a couple months in-game wandering between blue dots again.

He's no Mindflayer, but he's closer than before. Squidraken can use Dischord to remove positive status from enemies -- I'd used Haste in the fight at Zeirchele, and the nearby Squidraken quickly Dischorded it away.

Skeletal Fiends are a step up from the Bonesnatch, offering Ice Anima instead of the other sorts we've seen already.

Ahriman offer the sorts of gazing powers we've come to expect from these little bastards.

Heh. Eyes.

Minotaurs are bigger and stronger than regular Wisenkin, and can Feral Spin to hit all adjacent foes. Their MA is quite high, as their Beastmaster skill gives them fire breath based on that.
Check out the difference between these two, though. Same level, but one has 21 extra HP, 2 PA, and 3 MA on the other.

Ghasts trade the occasionally-useful Sleep Touch for the never-useful Oily Touch. Oil status is supposed to amplify fire damage to the target, but I think a bug in the game prevents it from working at all.

Grenades get Bomblet for free.

Welp, let's rename all these new guys. Roll call!

With troops intact, I'm off to Gollund.


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By the way, I am out of names.

That's not Katia in the back, it's Swasskybo.

What are you doing on the roof there sir

He's on the roof.

Told you.

Rogue: Ha! The cull's got brass. Too bad it's steel he'll be wanting.

So we all thunder up.

Yeah, some knucklehead is pounding around on these guys' roof. We oughta swat him down, eh?

You're not helping.

See what you did?

Orran flips open a book and reads a few words...

...which hurts this guy somehow.

Manny, not Orran, is the enemies' prime target.

And Tweet gets charmed, which he then uses to drop a Choco Cure... on Manny.

In response, I drop something else on the Charm-happy thief.

Orran is blinded.

It's the weakest attack I had, so I used it to uncharm Tweet.

Orran begins charging a spell.

Manny goes down.

Aw, bitches.

Yeah, that needs to go away fast.

Orran finishes charging...

Celestial Stasis tries to Disable, Immobilize, and Stop all enemies on the field at once. It does so admirably, but misses both Chemists and a Thief entirely.

What? He has a Mythril gun!

Have a taste of Wing Buffet! It's all you can eat, motherfucker!

Flying is good.

Sorry Manny. See you in some other game.


Orran: I am fine, thank you. My name is Orran Durai. And yours?

Orran: Might I inquire as to the direction of your travels?
R2: We make for the royal capital. And you? You are welcome to accompany us if our paths are the same.
Orran: A gracious offer, but I fear my road leads away from Lesalia.
Ramza: I see. Fortune be with you, then.
Orran: And with you as well.

R2 looks cluelessly at his hand for a second or two...

...before remembering basic social convention.

Gimme that.



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And we go to Lesalia, the capital of Ivalice and royal seat of power. Goltanna just sacked the place three months ago, so I've no idea why the Beoulve family would be here.

Zalbaag: Alma is here, you know. I'm sure she'd be delighted to see you.
R2: Zalbaag... I --

R2: Can you not end this fighting?
Zalbaag: What nonsense is this?
R2: What purpose can it serve? We Beoulves have ever fought to defend the people - not simply the Crown. And now we fight for no more than our own glory.
Zalbaag: You speak of things you do not understand, R2!
R2: It is you who do not understand, Brother! All of this, this... war, has been plotted to some unseen purpose, Dukes Larg and Goltanna only puppets in some shadow play.

R2: But someone intervened. Princess Ovelia lives, and is now in Goltanna's care.

Zalbaag: You think a man of your own blood capable
of such a thing?

Zalbaag: Enough! Who have you become, that you do not trust your own family? Begone from my sight! Return to Eagrose and trouble me no more!

Zalbaag: The mistake was my own. Until today I had looked on you as a true brother. But your mother's common blood forever stains you common. You are not fit to bear the Beoulve name!

Knight: The Thunder God has broken through our lines at Dugeura Pass.

Zalbaag: Summon the War Council -- all of them! I go at once!
Knight: Milord!


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Upon leaving Lesalia, I'm sucked into a battle!

One split into two parties again, where mobility is key.

That's "postern", but it looks a lot like "postem".

For all the good it would do in a seige, this castle has just a plain wooden back door.

Well, I've been a bit disowned.

Question: dodged.

Question: dodged.

Alma: Helped who?
R2: At first I thought it was Duke Goltanna -- that Delita had sided with him to spite us. But now I fear he may be working with people far more dangerous still. It is they who wanted to thwart the plot to assassinate Princess Ovelia.
Alma: Is it true that Dycedarg planned her abduction?

R2: I am sure he had his reasons, but I cannot see them for the blood.
Alma: Then Tietra--?
R2: Did not share her brother's luck.

R2: I know not who guides Delita's actions, only that they are to be feared. I know not what evil lies at the end of this plot.
Alma: And Delita serves these people?
R2: I cannot be sure.
Alma: You mean to fight them, don't you.
R2: ...
Alma: I'm coming with you.
R2: Are you mad? That's out of the question!
Alma: I want to help you prove the truth of your words!

Wait, are you preg-- oh. Hypothetical.

Zalmour: I come to bring you before the Office on charges of the murder of Cardinal Delacroix and suspicion of heresy. You will come with us. Should you resist, you admit your guilt, and will be executed as a heretic.

Zalmour is surprisingly sturdy, with a full complement of white magic, a pole to hit things with, and Lifefont to restore his HP. He's surrounded by knights and monks, as you can see.



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Normally this fight takes a while to get going, because your units have to walk from inside the castle wall through the tiny door as a chokepoint, crowding onto the balcony. But I have two guys with Ignore Elevation, one with Fly, and one with Teleport. They're all over the wall in a single turn.

A monk has Geomancy!

A knight has Geomancy!

Another monk has Geomancy!

The gang's all here.

Training in white magic helps against some of the status effects from all the geomancy skills flying around.

I missed her charging the spell, but Alma has Aegis, just like Ovelia did back at the waterfall. She only has enough MP to cast it once, but it gives R2 Haste/Protect/Shell/Regen/Reraise here.

Business as usual.

Zalmour has immunities from the nasties status ailments, but he can be Silenced, so let's go for that.


Pole-type weapons' attack power is based on MA, not PA, and has a range of 2. Zalmour has plenty of MA. He knocks my Ahriman down to staggeringly low HP in a single strike, so I interpose R2 between the two of them to shield any more hits while he casts a cure spell.




cocksucking motherfucking

Gaze attacks might be more effective if you're not staring at the back of the dude's head. (They're not.)

Bink again. Since he's Stopped, R2's counter ability cannot trigger, and he doesn't get any HP back from his hit via Auto-Potion.

Or this one.

Stop the monk with Blaster...

Silence the Celebrant/White Mage with Bewitching Eye.

Then drop a meteor on him. After this, the Reraise Alma put on R2 at the beginning of the fight activates, and he gets back up!

Why did you start talking the turn after I silenced you come on

Zalmour: But it is not too late! Repent of your sins! Repent, and be spared!
R2: You name me a heretic, but why? What have I done?
Zalmour: So you pretend ignorance? You slew Cardinal Delacroix to gain the auracite he held and offer it to whatever hellspawn you profane to call a god!
R2: You could not be more wrong! The legends of your holy auracite are lies! The Stones are magicite - they hold in them power for evil. The cardinal used this power, and it perverted him into one of the Lucavi!
Zalmour: Is it not enough that you murdered Cardinal Delacroix? Must you now slander his name as well? More's the pity. You will only see the name Beoulve washed away in tears.

Reraise: totally worth it.

oh. hi.



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R2: *sigh* None of this makes sense. How could the Office of Inquisition have learned of the auracite? Could the Church of Glabados be the ones supporting Delita? What do they hope to gain?
Alma: R2? You mentioned auracite. Have you truly seen the Stones from the legend?

Alma: First you have to promise that you'll take me with you!

Dude, she can cast better protective magic than you. Let her Guest for a few battles, sheesh.


Alma: I should think it is. I've acted against the Office of Inquisition. Surely I am a heretic in their eyes. They will come for me as they do you. And when they do, do you think Dycedarg will protect me? He would never do anything that might endanger House Beoulve.
R2: No, I'm sure our dear brother would not. But you cannot come with me. The danger is too great! You must explain everything to Zalbaag and beg the forgiveness of the Church.
Alma: The one I saw -- it was in Orbonne. A crystal, engraved with the likeness of a virgin maid.

Inasfar as the "Virgo" zodiac symbol actually looks like a young woman -- it looks like the letter M with a loop on the side.

R2: Virgo... I must reach it before they do. Thank you, Alma. Now go to Zalbaag, and do as I have said.

Alma joins as a guest, but like Ovelia, won't be in any actual battles. So I can take her Healing Staff, Barette, and Red Shoes, all of which are hard to come by elsewhere.

Shops now carry the Aegis Shield, too, which gives a nice 50% magic block at the cost of only 10% physical block. (Other shields around this point in the game are around 25% or 30% physical block, with little to no magic block.)


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I have a random battle in Zeklaus on the way. Nothing interesting enough to transcribe happens there.

It does give me enough JP to buy Mana Shield, therefore finishing my training as a Time Mage, though.

This augurs well.

Look at all the murdered priests.

Alma: Never mind that. What happened here?
Simon: You... you must leave this place at once, child. It is not safe. Men have come...come seeking the Stone.
R2: A Zodiac Stone? Then it is as Alma said!
Simon: The Virgo Stone is one of the crown jewels of Ivalice. It was given into our keeping when Lady Ovelia was brought here for her proof of her royalty.


R2: And the ones come to take it -- who are they?
Simon: You are... Alma's elder brother? R2, was it not? I beg you, my son -- leave them be. Block their way, and they will only cut you down.

R2: I am branded a heretic and hunted by the Church. Am I to assume the Stones I now possess are the reason? Who are these men? Please, I must know!
Simon: ...Very well. High Confessor Marcel and his followers seek to restore the Church to prominence. As a first step, they have set Dukes Larg and Goltanna against one another to whittle down their military might. The longer the fighting lasts, the weaker the dukes become - and the more the people lose their faith in the Crown.
R2: And by gathering these Stones, and reviving the Zodiac Braves? What do they hope to gain from such a show?
Simon: The support of the people, of course.
Ramza: Truly? The cardinal used his Stone to infuse himself with the strength of the Lucavi. If such is the power of the Zodiac Stones, it is a power to rival that of any army. Is that strength not what the High Confessor seeks?
Simon: You are unlike your brothers. You remind me a great deal more of your late lord father. You - you may well have what is needed to put a stop to their ambitions.

R2: We cannot leave Elder Simon here alone. Find a safe place to hide. Wait there with him until I return!
Alma: Very well.

Let's pretend I got a screencap of R2 handing Alma the two zodiac stones we've collected -- Taurus, from Goug; and Scorpio, from Delacroix/Cuchulainn.

R2: I shall leave the auracite with you, lest the worst befall me. If I fail to return, cast it into the Bugross Sea.

One of the most ridiculous lines in both translations, since at this point you usually have two or three lady mooks with you who can flatten cities singlehandedly, and probably Agrias too.

R2: Don't be ridiculous! Who would I ever turn to if I didn't have my little sister?
Alma: R2...
R2: Take Elder Simon to safety!



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Templarate Mage: Ser!

One of the hardest battles in the game not including an overpowered custom character class. The Dragoons here are well-equipped with heavy armor, shields, and spears that can do terrible damage from two panels away. The Chemist and Time Mages support the Dragoons.

Shoot the healer first.


Taking down even one Dragoon proves to be an undertaking.

Check out this critical hit, which not only does about 4/5 of Tweet's HP at once, but pushes him back a panel... the second Dragoon a chance to finish the job.

One of the Time Mages is a summoner, giving two enemies in this fight healing powers.

Another Feral Spin...

Another meteor...

One down.

Two down.

They got my yellow chocobo, I got their Chemist. I got one of their Dragoons, they got my red chocobo. One healer and one striker from each side down.

Minotaurs have no ranged moves, so that sucks.

Wings! Claws! An eye! In your face!

Well, I guess you already had two eyes in your face already.

A dragoon obligingly enters my Minotaur's attack space.

Gets countered...

...but blocks the next hit with his shield.


In America, you hit the buffet for wings! In Soviet Russia, wing buffet hits you!

I don't know whether it was from the attack or the dumb joke, but the Time Mage drops. At back: business as usual from the Dragoon.


The red chocobo was soon to follow. I'm out my giant murderbirds.

It's what they would have wanted.


How odd to see no chocobos in my party lineup. ::(:



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Isilud: Heretic! I shall have the stones you carry!

R2: Lay down the Stone you've taken and you may flee with your lives.
Isilud: I've no more need for your mercy than for you. If you want the Stone, come and claim it!

One problem with this game that they fixed in every sequel is that you can't see the layout of the map when you place your troops. Pictured here during Ramza's first move, my least-mobile troops (Minotaur and Grenade) are furthest back in the alcove, while the ones who would ignore the blocking walls entirely (Ahriman and Ghast) are nearest the stairs leading onto said walls.

On the other hand, having the Ahriman where he is lets him fly over to the Summoner and remove him from the fight, doubtless saving me no end of trouble.

Drain Touch is a Ghast's Beastmaster extra skill, allowing him to drain HP from enemies.

Isilud is a Nightblade, a combination Knight/Dragoon. Here's him leaping into the air.

Punch a knight, not that you can see over the bookshelf walls.

I didn't realize until posting these images that the Ghast's main problem in these fights is that he's about fifteen levels behind.

Auto-Potions gonna Auto-Pot.

Archer shoots Ahriman, Ahriman shoots back.

Ilisud's regular phsyical attacks are no damn joke either.

Clearly this battle was not intended to make a compelling LP.

Ilisud: You are a Beoulve! Why do you not heed your brothers' counsel? Why!?
R2: It is -because- I am a Beoulve I do not heed them! The Beoulve name stands for truth and justice! It is not a tool to be used for selfish gain! My lord father fought and died defending our people against Ordallia in the Fifty Years' War. House Beoulve cannot now turn on its purpose and fight for the interests of a corrupt Crown and self-serving aristocracy!
Isilud: Then let it fight for ours! What we wish for is the same! Hear me, R2! The Church of Glabados envisions a world devoid of class divides -- a world where all men can live as equals! Saint Ajora spoke of such a utopia. It is the Promised Land he foretold! Fear and doubt worry the hearts of the people, leaving small room for fealty. You see this! Ivalice lists, R2, and threatens to founder! Should we fail to right her course, this storm -will- claim her!
R2: It is you who churn the waves! You orchestrate this entire conflict! You claim -war- to be the proper course for Ivalice!?
Isilud: Change does not come without cost! Revolution requires martyrs, and we require revolution! The Crown is rotten, the nobility corrupt. They must be made to pay! The people deserve their justice! Help us deliver it to them, R2! Join us, as your once friend Delita has!

And then he carves a big ol' chunk out of me again.

R2: But what you truly want is power. Power beyond that of any army. You would free the people only to enslave them anew with the demonic power of the Stones!
Isilud: -Demonic- power? The Zodiac Stones are vessels for the -gods-! We would use their divine miracles to guide the people to greater glory! There is nothing -demonic- in that!
R2: Few would consider it divine miracle when a man is made a demon. Or do you pretend not to know that their power transformed the cardinal into a Lucavi?
Isilud: What nonsense is that? The only demon I see stands before me! Was it not you who murdered the cardinal for the Stone he possessed? Not that he would have long lied gathering the Stones behind our backs as he was!

So I punch out his archer.

You mother fucker. The Ancient Sword, such as one this knight is holding, sometimes procs Sleep status. As you can imagine, this disables counter moves, so I can't Auto-Potion the damage away.

That ended predictably.

The Minotaur tries to steamroll the knight in his way, while Ahriman wings up behind. The Grenade, for the record, has been completely useless in this battle. With the previous Archer petrified where he is, the Grenade can't reach the rest of the battlefield without doubling back to where the Ghast died and climbing up there.

Stealth isn't a thing this game can do, so my Ahriman takes a shot.


No more Ghast, either.

Minotaur hits Isilud down to critical HP...

Isilud counterattacks!

But critical HP is all it takes to meet the mission objective! Whew!


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Lookin' pretty sparse.


Wiegraf strides forward confidently, and...

...brings the thunder.

Wiegraf: I have lived for this, R2. How long has it been since we last met?
R2: Then you were a warrior who fought to make your dream reality. Now you are only a thrall of the Church.
Wiegraf: What troubled sleep have you known, to speak of my dreams? No matter how sweet, a dream left unrealized must fade into day. Only with power can dreams be made real! I see the truth of it now. What good, dreams, without that power? You think me a thrall? So be it! Your envenomed words succor me, for when at last you yield -- as you must -- their poison will consume you!

I think it says a lot for Wiegraf that he can no-sell a hit like this.

Wiegraf's not the only one in this fight, either. From the far side of that bookcase are archers, knights, and a black mage, pictured here Fira-ing the crap out of Katia.

R2: Even as a man of broken dreams, you might still have been remembered fondly. Your ideas lifted the people, showed them the cracks in the age-old facade of the aristocracy. You acted on your convictions, and so ennobled those actions! But what would the people think now? What would Milleuda and your fallen friends think of this barter you've struck? Dreams built on borrowed stone are defiled before they are made!
Wiegraf: What have you done that did not rely on the labors of others? From birth you have wanted for nothing! You can not know what it is to live the meager life we do. Reason may trick you to believe you do, but your heart can never know! Harsh is the world in which we live. Harsher stil than you can imagine. You have neither right nor reason to pour scorn on me!

So he drops a Judgment Blade centered on himself, hitting all three adjacent targets and KOing two of them.

Black mage also trained as a White Mage. And now that Wiegraf has retreated behind his knights, it'll be just about impossible for me to plow through them all.

Not that I even get to try.


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Shunted back to the prep screen after Ilisud flees the third-basement fight, I can make a few preparations. First, I throw away all of my Hi-Potions (+70 HP), leaving onto X-Potions (+150 HP) to automatically consume.

Then I switch back to the sturdiest class I have capable of equipping robes. (Not all Squires can equip robes, but R2's special Squire job traded the ability to equip axes for helmets, armor, and robes.)

Now to exploit the faulty AI! See, Wiegraf's magic sword abilities aren't Holy elemental. But the game thinks they are! So by equipping a robe that absorbs Holy-elemental damage, Wiegraf won't even try to hit R2 with his magic sword skills.

The Platinum Sword I nicked off of that Squire in Mandalia Plain. It's still better than the swords available for sale in shops.

If I have the chance, I can White Magic my monsters back up now.

Wiegraf opens similarly.

Judgment Blade to open plus counterattack upon hit equals one dead kitty.

Wow, nice sword.

Detonator does what he was designed to do, returning all the damage he's taken to Wiegraf.



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Why he takes Alma captive here is never really made clear to me.

The Aires stone falls out of his pocket. Well, that was eas--

Well, that's no good. This transformation sequence looks awfully familiar...

What, you turn into a giant four-armed sheep monster and now you're too good to pronounce two-syllable words correctly?

unkn'wn, vess'l, wisd'm, thousn'd.

"Seriously, you have a useless bomb and a squid left at this point. Just let it go, man."

Simon stumbles out of the church.

Simon: Written by a man named Germonique... one of Saint Ajora's disciples. It was lost for a great many years. Only recently did I discover it among the stacks of our reliquary beneath the monastery. It chronicles the trule tale of the Zodiac Braves -- no detail is omitted.
R2: Please, Elder, you'll tire yourself.
Simon: I am already... so very tired... I have led a life of sin. All these years I have turned a blind eye as the Church rotted with corruption. With this book, you can expose their misdeeds! You can win... Alma's freedom...
R2: Please, Elder!



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Sure enough, in our list of relics in the Chronicle...


I opened the Scriptures of Germonique, entrusted to me by Elder Simon, and began to leaf through the pages. The words before my eyes were writ in a holy script of the ancients. Several illustrations were scattered throughout, but many pages were missing or damaged, and the script was exceedingly difficult to decipher. I was deeply curious as to what knowledge lay within.

As I was turning pages, faintly penned letters in modern Ivalician script occasionally caught my eye. Notes of an explanatory nature had been added here and there throughout the book. I wondered who might have written them.

Judging by the faded ink, some entries were more than a decade old, while others seemed to have been penned only in the last few days. As I touched my finger to one of them, the writing smeared. The ink had yet to fully dry. Every note was written in the same hand -- Elder Simon's, I suddenly realized. He must have devoted a significant portion of his life to deciphering these Scriptures, line by painstaking line.

I relied heavily on his fragmentary notes as I continued reading.

Apparently the holy script had been recorded by Germonique, a disciple of Saint Ajora. Germonique...That name struck a familiar chord. Half-forgotten history lessons rose unbidden in my mind.

And then I remembered. Germonique was the disciple who had betrayed his master, turning him over to the Holy Ydoran Empire. I was astounded that a libram penned by the same Germonique from my history lessons now rested in my very hands.

I could hardly contain myself as I turned the pages. And then I was assaulted by a shock far greater than the realization that I held a priceless historical artefact.

Originally I had thought the book to be no more than a collection of Saint Ajora's teaching, as recorded by Germonique. How unprepared I was to learn what it truly contained. This tome served as an account of Saint Ajora's life. The Saint Ajora described within was of a considerably different nature than the man about whom we have all been taught.

I had always known that Saint Ajora was no ordinary mortal. My faith in the Church of Glabados was not as profoundly complete as that of my lord brother Zalbaag, yet I did believe that Saint Ajora was a child of the gods, descended from the heavens to deliver humanity from its self-inflicted chaos. Or should I say, I had believed. All I had thought immutable was shattered upon reading the Scriptures.

Saint Ajora's birth came in the midst of a golden age of technology, when airships yet plied the skies.

He was born in Lesalia, in the city of Bervenia. Moments after his birth, he rose to his feet and approached a well. Upon reaching its base, words of prophecy poured forth from his infant lips: "A calamity shall soon befall this well. Seal it up at once, that none may drink of it."

Some days later, the Black Death visited the town of Bervenia, and all those who drank the well's tainted water succumbed to the plague and perished. Only those families who heeded the prophetic words of Saint Ajora were spared from death and malady. After the incident with the well, the people came to revere Saint Ajora as a portent of miracle and child of the gods.

But it was not until he reached the age of twenty that Saint Ajora would become the savior of Ivalice, and take his place among the gods in Paradise.

Ivalice was not always united as it is today. Long ago, the realm was divided into seven kingdoms: Fovoham, Lionel, Limberry, Lesalia, Gallionne, Zeltennia, and Mullonde. Each warred with the others in a never-ending struggle to expand its own territory.

This conflict had continued for centuries, until an ambitious young king rose to power in Mullonde. This young monarch dreamt of united all of Ivalice under his hand, but the road to victory was a difficult and dangerous one. The king turned to ancient tomes and the dark magicks found within, summoning a demon from the netherworld to do his bidding. But once unleashed, the demon slew the king and set out to destroy the very world itself.

To combat this monstrosity, a great hero set out on a quest. Together with his twelve disciples, he collected the Zodiac Stones that had been scattered throughout the world, and the Zodiac Braves were born again. The Zodiac Braves soon defeated the creature's minions and banished the demon back to its infernal plane, for this becoming known as the saviors of our world.

The story is now a well-known legend. The Zodiac Braves have since appeared whenever the world balanced on the brink of catastrophe, only to vanish just as quickly once the crisis has been averted.

Similar catastrophe threatened the world in the time of Saint Ajora. The king of Limberry summoned a demon in hopes of seizing control of all of Ivalice, and once again plunged the world into chaos. And just as in the legend, Saint Ajora collected the twelve Zodiac Stones. And once again the Zodiac Braves rose to defeat the marauding demon. However, the sovereigns of any age have small tolerance for the interference of well-meaning "heroes."

Fearing the charismatic saint's growing influence, the Holy Ydoran Empire dispatched soldiers to capture him and his devoted followers. Pharism was the prevalent religion in that day, and its priests feared Ajora's growing influence. Ultimately, Germonique, the thirteenth disciple, was tempted by the sordid coin, offering vital information that led to his master's capture. The saint was executed upon the gallows of Golgollada soon thereafter.

But lest we forget, Saint Ajora was a child of the gods. The wrath of the heavens was swift and terrible. Immediately following the execution, Mullonde, the center of Pharist teachings, was visited by a terrible cataclysm and sank into the sea.

Saint Ajora then ascended to Paradise to take his rightful place among the gods.

This was the legend with which I was familiar -- the very same tale told to every child of Ivalice. But the Saint Ajora described within the Scriptures of Germonique was a different man altogether.

Ajora was no child of the gods.
He was a mere mortal, no more divine than you or I.
He was a revolutionary, who fought to realize his own ambitions.
He was no lover of peace -- no hero who would sacrifice himself for the good of humanity.

Germonique wrote of him:

As the founder of a new religion with a rising number of followers, Ajora was seen as no more than a nuisance to the empire. But Ajora was apparently more than just a religious founder. He was a saboteur who infiltrated enemy states to collect information and sow disorder. Ajora was a spy, dispatched to the Holy Ydoran Empire by a rival state.

Whatever he claimed to be, it was fact that the empire began to fear this upstart's growing influence. Germonique was employed to collect evidence that would allow the empire to arrest Ajora as a spy. The thirteenth disciple was in reality no more than the empire's instrument in a play to uncover Ajora's true intentions.

It seems that Ajora indeed attempted to reassemble the Zodiac Braves. Germonique confirmed in his writings that Ajora even discovered some of the Stones. But what was his purpose in seeking them?

I do not know if the young king of Limberry actually summoned a demon. At the very least, I have failed to encounter even a single line within the Scriptures that records the event. Yet catastrophe did indeed befall Mullonde at the time of Ajora's death. According to the Scriptures, the bulk of the city sank into the sea.

The footnotes provided further enlightenment.
They expressed a different view, no doubt the personal opinion of Elder Simon.

"Although many spoke of their existence, none had ever set eyes upon these Scriptures of Germonique. Some might say they are fraudulent, written with the sole purpose of discrediting Saint Ajora. But I know this tome to be authentic."

"When I served as an inquisitor for the Church, many others in the Holy Office feared the existence of this work. And the same is no doubt true for the High Confessor. They were all fearful of these writings, for everything contained within them is fact."

"After Saint Ajora's death, the Church, which had capitalized on his considerable influence to seize power for itself, had only one task: to conceal his true nature as a human being. This one fact had to be erased from the annals of history. They needed to ensure that Saint Ajora be remembered as a child of the gods."

"Their use of the Zodiac Braves, a legend believed throughout Ivalice, was a stroke of genius. It was a simple feat to convince the people that Saint Ajora had led the Zodiac Braves to defeat a demon. A demon that never existed..."

"I realize now that I had lost my faith the moment I began to read these Scriptures. And yet I feel no sorrow. Thinking back, I now know that my desire to know the truth was stronger than my faith had ever been."

"But I have committed one great sin. I failed to condemn the Church for lying to our flock all these years. And why? I knew that if I were to share this book with the world, my precious library would be taken from me."

"And to me there could be no pain greater, for this library is the only means of slaking my endless thirst for knowledge. My curiosity eclipsed my will to do what was right."

Elder Simon wrote that Saint Ajora's demon never existed. But I have seen the dark power of the Zodiac Stones with my own eyes. There is an evil presence at work -- something much more sinister than even the High Confessor and his twisted plots.
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