Final Fantasy V - Solo Necromancer

Gilgamesh on the bridge took a few retries, to conserve some rods. I tried until Flaremancer came twice quickly, then broke one rod to take Gilgamesh to just above the 2500 health changeover, another to knock him from 2550 to under 900, then a third to kill him after he Shelled himself. That picture on the left is Rathma trying to heal himself with the Flame Rod + Flame Ring combo. Yeah, that didn't work so hot, Gilgamesh easily dealt more damage than that.

And Oath was really starting to peter out now, at least in light of the Necromancer's healing difficulty. Oath was still able to win all the fights on the walk to Regole and in the moogle river, but Rathma would take a lot of punishment in the meantime. And Oath's randomness was really becoming tiresome. I'd patiently work down one or two monsters with repeated appearances of Skeleton and Rajiformes, and then all of a sudden Flaremancer would finally show up and blow it away. Like, why didn't you just do that ten minutes ago?

Rathma had even run out of his 99 Potions in the basement dungeon and crossing the Big Bridge, so on the walk to Regole, he had to use a Tent after almost every battle. And impoverished as he was, he could only afford about 15 Hi-Potions, so had to keep tenting up on the way to the moogles to save potions for the dungeon.

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At least these guys were comical to watch, suiciding with Vampire against the undead necromancer. That spell there is healing Rathma and backfiring on the monster caster. Killed Tyrannosaurus with a Phoenix Down as usual.

So finally we arrive at Bal Castle, the first place in the game where we can learn a Dark Art! Finally the Necromancer can come into his own power instead of playing like a weird magical Dancer Beastmaster.

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Uh, not quite. To get the Dark Art, the Necromancer has to kill a certain enemy and then win the battle. That actually took quite a number of tries until Flaremancer came enough times and Break missed. (At least they only have enough MP for one Break spell.)

That's better. Okay, what does Hellwind do?

WHOA. That will do nicely. It is a spell of attack 190, more powerful than Fire/Ice/Bolt 3. It is Wind element, hits all enemies, and can even inflict Stone status. 38 MP cost is certainly on the hefty side, though there would be a Gold Hairpin coming up in the Barrier Tower to halve that.

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Oh wow, there's another Dark Art available right here in Drakenvale too. Besides Hellwind, I had not looked up any of these ahead of time, and was going along with the voyage of discovery. What does Evil Mist do?

Same damage, although poison element that those guys absorb. But on the whole that's even better than Hellwind, since it should get the 50% boost from a Venom Rod. Am I correct?

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On the way walking back out (no Exit spell, he's not a Time Mage!), Rathma happened to beat a group of three enemies that all hit their 1/16 chance for their rare drop. 1 in 4096 odds, yet that's now happened to Sullla once and me twice. That RNG sure is a bit repetitive sometimes...

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Gilgamesh on the ship was totaled by Venom Rod boosted Evil Mist too. So was Atomos; couldn't quite get it done with all three party members starting dead, but it worked with two dead and one defending for a few rounds. The Wall Ring took more fights than average, but still came very quickly with Hellwind blowing up everything in a single round.

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Moore village served up an Air Dagger, which gave Hellwind a 50% elemental boost too. By the way, I finally figured out why Hellwind is so powerful. 190 is just a hair stronger than Fire/Ice/Bolt 3 at 185, right? And both get the same elemental-up boost and both jobs have about the same magic power, right? But for whatever reason, the Dark Arts don't incur the halved multiplier when hitting multiple targets. In this way, Dark Arts actually behave more like Summon magic in the ability to annihilate groups of enemies.

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For the forest crystals, Rathma equipped the usual Flame Ring. He hit them all twice with Air Dagger boosted Hellwind, bringing three of them (not Air) to the critical range. Then the water and fire crystals went down to dagger strikes (not spells, to keep the life-giving fire crystal alive.) Rathma worked the air crystal all the way down with a dagger, then killed the fire crystal last, collecting the free healing all the while. Standard stuff.

Rathma rampaged through Exdeath's Castle with Hellwind yet again. He could even beat the two Yellow Dragon encounter that levels most solo characters. With 1 HP remaining!

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Rathma could also block most of the nasty enemy attacks here (stone and confusion) with a Reflect Ring, which my previous casters didn't want to do lest they bounce their own white magic. See his blue glow in that left shot above. Gilgamesh took a few tries Karlabos-style to dodge the Sonic Waves and Hurricanes (lethal since Rathma still couldn't heal) but went down.

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Exdeath was then a different battle than for most solo characters. Rathma had offense on par with everybody except a staff-breaking white mage, but of course he couldn't do anything in the healing department. He could knock Exdeath through to the second half of the AI routine reliably enough in about five attacks (needing to dodge Condemn as always, but just once), but Exdeath would be accumulating damage with physical attacks all the while and kill the unhealable Rathma far too soon.

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Eventually I figured out that Rathma had to wear the FLAME ring, not the Reflect Ring. The Reflect Ring nulls all of Exdeath's Fire/Ice/Bolt 3, while the Flame Ring absorbs fire into healing, nulls ice, and leaves lightning unaffected for normal damage. Across all three elements, the two rings give the same cumulative outcome of zero damage taken, right? Yes, but the Flame Ring enlarges the variance. In other words, I would retry until Exdeath cast more Fire 3 and less of the other two spells. Also, the elements are not quite symmetric after all; the fire spell appears earlier in the AI routine. Finally, the Flame Ring would pick up healing from the Flame/Blaze move (1/4 of max HP) in the first half.

Rathma didn't have quite enough juice to pull it off. He still needed to beat Exdeath pretty quickly. I leveled Rathma from 45 to 49, right there in Exdeath's castle without walking back out, blowing up every encounter in a single round with boosted Evil Mist. Gold Hairpin cut down on magic use and I simply drank an Elixir for a magic refill outside of battle when needed. No other class does that because Elixirs are so valuable in battle, but not for this hero. This leveling got Rathma 400 more HP to work with, plus a magic multiplier to knock Exdeath to the second AI routine in four hits instead of five, important to get that done before he reached Hurricane, which was also fatal for the Necromancer's non-healing.

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Rathma now needed the following combination of outcomes. No Condemn on the first round, of course (1/3). No Demi on the third round (2/3) or he'd be too far in the hole on damage taken. He needed Flame/Blaze to show up for the healing during the sixth round (1/3). Then he needed at least one Fire 3 (5/9) and no Bolt 3 (2/3) from Exdeath's first two rounds in the second half. And overall he needed enough Fight moves and fewer Vacuum Wave specials throughout the whole battle (about 1/2). That multiplies out to 20/1458 or about a 1/72 shot at the whole battle. I decided to try for an hour and go level up more if that didn't work, but all the factors went the right way on about the 30th try. Needed all of those added HP too, finishing the battle at just 120 there!

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