Final Fantasy V - Solo Necromancer

Rathma's adventure is not done. Let us draw the curtain on a new chapter!

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Something is still incomplete. Look at those holes in the Dark Arts spell list. They can only be obtained in the Sealed Temple, the post-game bonus dungeon in Final Fantasy 5 Advance.

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Okay, we've had several requests in the Realms Beyond thread to take a solo character through the bonus dungeon. If I'm ever going to do that, now is the time. The Necromancer is obviously the natural class to do it, with the most to gain in new Dark Arts, and as possibly my last solo. I did play this dungeon once with a nonvariant party (on my actual GBA cartridge), but I remember next to nothing about it.

Now, I had no delusions that Rathma could really make it all the way through as a pure solo Necro. I don't remember what any of the bosses do, but I'm sure they're at least as nasty as Omega and Shinryuu. Here's my rule: I'd try to win everything as an actual Necromancer if possible, but also on the table is to revert to the Bare job with Dark Arts equipped. This is what you're _supposed_ to do with the job system late in the game, use the Bare job with all the accumulated power of the other classes. Fortunately, I had saved most of the gear that would go towards doing this, with a Ribbon and Aegis Shield in stock. For now, it's still a true Necromancer though.

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Okay, those are familiar enemies so far. What's on the next floor?

New enemies, and a new Dark Art! What's Chaos Drive do?

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Craploads of damage. Same 190 attack as the other Dark Arts; this one is Lightning element and can inflict Paralyze status. It got the elemental-up boost from the Magus Rod like all the other elemental Dark Arts.

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And another one. What's Deep Freeze do?

Same damage and can inflict Stop status, although at only one enemy at a time.

Oh, and these enemies are worth ungodly ridiculous amounts of experience. 24,000 per fight?!?! Rathma gained levels at a completely absurd pace. I spent a long time on a floor called Hall of Doubt, picking up chests and getting lost several times until I found my way out. Rathma shot up over a million experience and seven extra levels in under an hour.

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I'm not going to expound much on the structure of the dungeon or the random enemies. Rathma could win every encounter in one to three rounds of Hellwinding and the other Dark Arts. I took my time exploring rather than use a walkthrough or map. If you want to see the dungeon, dear reader, you can play it too. biggrin.gif - 1kb

What we want to see is the bosses!

The first one encountered was a Gil Turtle here. If he's anything like the world 2 Gil Turtle, he's weak against Ice damage.

He is, but gets Shell inherently. This turtle's only attacks were physical, and didn't seem to add any bad status ailments like confusion, just poison. There was nothing nasty here, just accumulated damage that the undead Necromancer couldn't out-heal. Drain Touch was not remotely enough healing, getting back only 300 per cast against the turtle's high magic defense and Shell. My first thought was to maximize Rathma's physical defense with the Cursed Ring. Would that work?

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No. Gil Turtle would still get enough attacks and damage to kill Rathma. The next tactic was simply to cycle the Wonder Rod around to Armor, which looked like it was going to work...

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... until the boss cast Earth Shaker for 3600 as his dying move. Ouch. No way to dodge that. It can't be reflected, and Rathma had no way to get Float status nor immunity or absorption for Earth element.

The answer was to prepare the Magic Lamp for Golem. Golem's absorption formula scales with level, so he would block over 4000 damage for Rathma and keep him alive the whole way with enough to survive Earth Shaker.

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That guy wants you to catch a Behemoth monster, meaning to use the Beastmaster's command. Okay, there's no way around that for a true solo necromancer or any other class. Rather than pollute Rathma with Beastmaster ABP, I had Faris catch one.

Looks like the next quest is to visit this guy, which puts you on a five minute timer to reach the next boss. There's no consequence unlike Karnak if the time runs out, you just have to start over. At least it was possible to reach the save point midway through the timer, rather than having to repeat the run to the softening supplier for each shot at the boss. The 5:00 timer was no problem with Rathma easily winning each random fight in one or two rounds.

Here is the next boss. The Dark Elementals are random monsters Rathma had fought earlier, not much of a problem, dropping in a single cast of Hellwind. And what does the boss itself do?

Dammit. The Necromancer's worst enemy: Maelstrom. Drain Touch could not restore enough health to overcome the next Breath Wing attack. Here's the relevant info from this boss from the GBA algorithms guide.

HP: 42000
ELEMENTAL ABSORB: Fire, Ice, Lightning, Wind
STATUS IMMUNITY: Death, Petrify, Toad, Mini, Float, Poison, Zombie, Darkness,
                 Old, Sleep, Paralyze, Confuse, Berserk, Silence, Stop
{Breath Wing,Zombie Powder,Blaster}
{Maelstrom,Poison Breath,Wing Attack}
{Zombie Breath,Zombie Powder,Evil Eye}
Breath Wing
Counter(HP Damage & Alone){
     Unhide Monster:(Change Monster):0 Grand Aevis
                                     1 Dark Elemental
                                     2 Dark Elemental

That's a tough one. He absorbs many elements, but at least the poison element of Evil Mist would work, and also kill the Dark Elementals each time the boss would revive them. And there's an instant death attack in Blaster and a stoning attack in Evil Eye (Demon's Eye.) And there are no status vulnerabilities to exploit. And even if Maelstrom doesn't come, four Breath Wings also always add up to a kill from any life total, at 1/4 of max HP each hit.

Zombie Powder was no threat to Rathma but could cause trouble in reviving the dead warriors into zombies. I worked around that by turning them to Stone beforehand rather than dead.

All of Rathma's usual defensive measures were no help here. Armor or Shell from the Wonder Rod, or Golem from the Magic Lamp, or a Reflect Ring, would all do nothing against Maelstrom or Breath Wing. The answer was to bring the Wonder Rod around to the black Death spell, which Rathma could use on himself for one free full heal.

It still took several tries, but eventually all the nasty stuff either didn't appear or missed. With his one free Death heal, Rathma was able to last long enough to hit with seven Evil Mists for the win.

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Footnote: This battle played the "big boss" music theme from the Exdeath fights rather than the regular boss theme, "The Decisive Battle" in the music player on the GBA version. Was that just for variety or do they actually think that was a seriously big boss?

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