I alertly unequipped Lenna of everything before she got roped into her royal duties. Importantly saving the Healing Staff which the red mage can also use.
Antlion dropped to three Fire 3's with no Sonic Waves.
The Pyramid wasn't too hard. Faris handled the protecting and healing duties quite adequately. Phil had fun swapping between the Icebrand and Flametongue swords depending on his targets' elemental weakness. (Did I miss a sword somewhere? I could swear I remember having stronger weapons than these by the Pyramid.)
Well, weapon trouble presently became a thing of the past.
Behold the mighty Brave Blade.
Yes, my underpowered FF1style party played Ironman and never ran from anything. The one blemish on the record was running from that Dhorme Chimera in the world 1 desert by the library. I figured this party wouldn't have the power to push through everything without running, but they did. Any encounter where the Healing Staff outpaces the enemy damage rate is no threat. Any encounter where Galuf/Krile could unload top-level black magic was also handleable. In fact I don't think we have ever lost in a random fight yet. I know one upcoming problem may be the Tonberrys in Istory Falls, but we'll worry about that when we come to it. I could just skip Istory completely if necessary.
Melusine: Got a nice setup where Faris can use a low-level magic spell to check the weakness, then Krile can unload a major spell. Krile hit on the first round with Fire 3, then Melusine changed weakness. That's Faris healing the boss for 400 with Ice 2, which means Thunder is the remaining weakness, and so it was.
Sealed Castle. Shield Dragon. Well, no running, gotta beat it. It's weak to Fire so this should be easy.... OH CRAP oh right that's why it's a Shield Dragon.
Well, thanks to that Brave Blade we can still push out decent damage. That was enough.
There's just one legendary weapon that helps this party at all. The Assassin Dagger is well worth giving to the red mage, by far Faris's strongest weapon until we get an Enhancer sword in Istory. (It's legal, the Death spell is legal as an analogue of FF1's RUB.) We can't use the Hardened Dagger (Ninja only), axe, whip, bell, bow, harp, katana, spear, Wizard Rod (elemental up is out) or Sage Staff (Holy elemental up.) I guess we'll take Excalibur; it's inferior to the Brave Blade but we can keep it on hand for Holy-weakness enemies.
But what a difference the Assassin Dagger and Brave Blade made. We went from relying on Krile's limited supply of black magic as literally the only way to deal four-digit damage, to having a sword swinger dealing 2200 and the red mage contributing 900 plus the chance of instant death. These Tot Aevis enemies in the Island Shrine boast 33k HP and nil rewards (just 7 ABP). Any sensible party will run from them, but we're not doing that. Killing one would take the complete full supply of Krile's black magic. But the two weapon swingers can do it just fine (if a bit tediously), and with Armor spells on the two front row warriors, the Healing Staff can keep up with damage taken.
(It's a bit of a catch-22 though, isn't it? "Why do you need a Brave Blade?" "To kill monsters like these." "Why do you need to kill monsters like these?" "Because of the Brave Blade.")
Crap. That one I can't recover from. Stupid cheesetastic Level 5 Death.
Or can I? Lenna tried out a Morning Star weapon (attack 50, Back Row OK) that was hanging around in our gear pack. It did damage! So Lenna laid down Armor and Shell spells on herself, then started swapping rapidly between the Healing Staff and bonking with the Morning Star. This, amazingly, started to work!
The enemies could not punch through Lenna's defense in the back row, dealing only 100 or so physical damage each at a time. The enemies were faster than Lenna and sometimes got two rounds of attacks, but 600 damage was just slightly more than one round of healing. Eventually that one baddy went down!
Lenna was level 33, able to dodge L2 Old and L4 Graviga and L5 Death from the Executor enemy (on the bottom). Level 3 Flare from it was a threat, though, dealing ~700 damage with Shell on. It hit a few times and Lenna had to burn a Cure 3 to heal to full each time inbetween staff bonks. But then that Executor enemy died too! One left, and that was inevitable:
Ha ha ha! We're ready for that White Mage solo run now!
Well, one remaining problem: that burned too much magic and Lenna can't cast a Raise spell!
But one remaining solution: the EXIT spell!
I fought a half-dozen battles on the world map to level Phil and Krile to 36 to avoid that silliness next time.
Now for the boss, Stoker/Stalker/Wendigo. Ouch, Phil went down early to the cheesetastic Hurricane drop-to-critical while HP Leak status was inflicted. Faris met the same fate a bit later. The boss responds with nasty attacks against hit-all-targets magic, but I discovered that you can safely cast a spell on a single target. Krile got lucky a few times, but then ran out of magic. She valiantly grabbed an Air Dagger and started poking...
but that didn't work out.
Wait -- Phil's HP leak was inflicted by his own stupid Thornlet! Unequip that right now!
I realized that Hurricane was the only dangerous boss move, so the most important buff was Shell on everybody to halve the chance of it working. I also realized that lacking Haste is a serious handicap in this battle. Not moving at double speed means you don't get to cluster attacks fast enough to try all the images before it switches.
There actually is quite a bit of strategy here. First, wait until the turn lines up for the three attacky warriors so they can at least try three different images. Second, the weapon attackers should aim at the front row for full damage, while the black mage aims at the back row with the hopes of hitting and bouncing the real one into the front row.
For Fork Tower, the division was obvious. Fighter and Red Mage to the physical side, White and Black mages to the magic side. I had Lenna unequip the Healing Staff just as she reached the top of the magic tower, in order for Faris to equip it and take it up the physical side too. (Stop right now thinking about the logic. You'll hurt yourself.) You can't cast Cure spells in the Minotaur fight, but the Healing Staff works in Faris's hands.
I discovered a problem on the magic side: random encounters could only be won by burning Krile's black magic, leaving none for the boss. But first:
We've got a problem on the physical side too!
Okay -- actually the obvious solution was not the right one. Better is to take the White Mage on the physical side, to keep Phil healed from the back row. And the Red Mage needs to go on the magic side, to use her midrange magic to take out the random encounters to save the top magic for the boss. That beat Minotaur.
But not Omniscient. And in fact I can't beat him straight at all. Fire 3 deals 1100 damage to him. 1100 x 12 shots does not exceed his 17000 HP. Faris can add about 200 x 22, for a total of 17600 from both mages, but his Regen status and Cures will keep him ahead. I tried going the cheap way of casting Mute then hitting him with a weapon, but couldn't get Mute to hit in about ten tries.
Wait, why is Fire 3 dealing only 1100 damage? It deals 2200 to everything else. The algorithms faq says his magic defense is only 8... oh, he gets Shell status for free. Hmm. Okay, I can answer that, Lenna can cast Dispel. So if Lenna has to go up against Omniscient, then the original alignment was right after all. We will just have to beat Minotaur with the tried and true method of retrying until the breaks go our way, until more of his attacks go to Phil and he gets more shield blocks.
Except that I couldn't get that to happen. Something strange was going on with the RNG. Reloading from the save, I would get exactly the same battles each time (with the magic party actually reaching the top of the tower without a single encounter, important for conserving MP) and the same results in each of them. Minotaur killed Faris on the third round of combat with a 755 damage hit every time. I tried to perturb the RNG out of its rut - fighting a few extra battles beforehand on different floors. That would shake up the Minotaur outcome sometimes, but only sometimes.
Well, I do have an answer. Put Phil and Faris in the back row. That halves damage for both us and Minotaur even-steven, but gives me relatively twice as many Healing Staff uses. I suppose this is kosher by the variant rule. I said we must have two warriors in front and two in back. It's always been Phil and Faris obviously in front. But there's no loss by putting the white and black mages in the front row over on the magic side.
That finally worked, though we lose sixty style points for hiding the fighter in the corner like a little spoony girl.
Now for a real shot at Omniscient.
Perfect, Dispel worked and there's my full damage. Keep casting those Black spells.
SHIT he totalled Krile with Flare! Now I have to do it all over again.
Oh, that was his death move. We won!
So on to Istory Falls. No we don't need any more legendary weapons, but I would like to pick up the Enhancer sword for Faris. It's only a minor gain for her, but for the party it is major, because Krile inherits the Assassin Dagger to give her something very useful to do in random fights without burning MP. In other words, this weapon pickup adds an entirely new attacker in random battles.
Uh oh, there's the
Warmech Tonberi. We started unloading full power into it, and got three rounds until it arrived.
Ouch ouch ouch. Actually, that was instructive. I'd thought this monster dealt 9999 damage and didn't bother with Armor spells. But no, they are well worthwhile for the two remaining casters there. We might be able to survive another hit?
Yes. Cool. And Krile might have enough juice left to kill it. And oh right, now we have Flare to deal damage faster.
Oh and HEY STUPID - your White Mage can deal damage now! We just learned Holy!
Nice! But we couldn't handle another of those, so I picked up the one more chest nearby then EXITed out to recover magic.
We didn't have any need to fight Leviathan, but I had to try while we were here. First plan was to stay back until we got the max-protect playcall active, Faris dishing out Armors and Lenna dishing out Shells.
Terrible luck. Leviathan physically hit Lenna who wasn't Armored yet, then wiped her with a Tidal Wave.
On the reload, we met another Tonberi, and this time beat it cleanly with proper max Flare and Holy offense from the outset with Faris dishing Armors.
Major adjustment to Leviathan: go in with Bolt 3 a-blazing instead of waiting for the buffs. Sullla told me once that Tidal Wave is mostly tied to a counterattack, but that's not really true. It's just a 1/3 chance in response to magical damage, while it shows up plenty of times in his normal attack routine. Also a slight adjustment: put Guardian Daggers on Faris and Krile.
That was a near thing, but it worked in the end.
Once again this battle is highlighting the lack of Haste. Leviathan was more often than not getting two rounds of actions to each one of mine. FF5 really is balanced around parties being Hasted, and anybody that can't is in for a serious handicap. I'm also sorely missing Mighty Guard which my two previous variants highly relied on. It's not just that Mighty Guard does its work in one turn instead of eight, it's that you don't even get all eight turns for the Armor and Shell spells because the mages have to start spending turns on healing instead.
Well, I proved our offensive chops against Leviathan. What battle takes offensive power and doesn't care about Haste or Mighty Guard? I couldn't resist trying the Odin fight.
With Flare and a Brave Blade swing, I could do 5000 damage per round, and get in three rounds of combat before the one-minute timer expired. (Holy doesn't work, Odin absorbs the element.) But 3 x 5000 is not quite more than 17000.
The difference-maker actually turned out to be the Enhancer sword on Faris! 1000 more each round is exactly what I need to top his 17000 HP. Lenna had died to a True Edge move, but that was irrelevant. Even on the attempts where she lived, we had to ignore the damage and skip healing, no time for that.
(Monk vs Red Mage checkup: the Monk clearly would have won here.)
I did skip the Bahamut, Phoenix Tower, and Gogo quests; nothing of interest there. I also ended up skipping Great Sea Trench. We don't need anything down there (though a Monk would have to pick up the Kaiser Knuckle.) I started down the Trench just for completeness, but soon got tired of burning 20 Hi-Potions just to walk through a lava room. I wouldn't expect the boss fight to be any trouble nyway, we have enough hit-all magic to win it.Index | Next