Final Fantasy V: The Nudists

Now, it's been three years since I played the game, and I never really took notice of the starting equipment in the first place. What's the lead character got to start? Looks like a Broad Sword and Leather Armor. Off with it all.

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I was worried that the opening of the game would prove unplayable without a weapon. Raise your hands all those who ever forgot to equip your weapons in FF1 and died to imps while punching for 1 damage. But fortunately, the FF5 damage formula works out to 6 damage times two hits from an unarmed baby character, which is enough.

Now my character needs a name. Of course, there is only one possible name for a nude character in FF5. I apologize, I really do, but this must be done.

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This report will at least sit on any lame puns involving my Butts. Oops, that one slipped out. But I promise that's the rear end of them.

The very first cave threw up a minor difficulty.

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Can't deal any damage to Devil Crabs with plain old fists. Gotta run.

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The Wind Shrine was like Marsh Cave in FF1: not a real danger, but a war of attrition consuming a potion or two for each random battle. Same went for Wing Raptor: he took a couple dozen punches to kill, but he couldn't threaten Butts with damage and his rest periods allowed plenty of time for potioning.

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Ahh, much better. Yes, that's four Monks. I won't be using any of the weapon-oriented offensive classes, so Monk is the best ticket to having a high-HP job mastered for each of the four characters. Barehanded (Brawl) is a fine ability to equip while later earning ABP for other jobs.

Holy carp, do Monks power up quickly. Sullla's choice of the Monk for his first solo was dead on: this is almost certainly the most powerful class for at least half the game, especially solo. High HP, loads of damage that increases sharply with level, and a built-in all-targets attack... what's not to love?

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Karlabos and Siren were non-issues. I love having a party like this. In most RPGs, the standard structure is to have a couple of strong attackers and some support characters. But who needs support if four attacking characters can just end each battle by whacking?

Now I walked straight from the Graveyard to North Mountain. There's no equipment to buy and I'm not using magely jobs, so had no reason to visit Carwen now.

Once the characters learned Barehanded (Brawl), I made Faris a Thief with Barehanded in order to enable the useful thiefly abilities (Find Passages, Vigilance, and the fast dash.) Somewhat later I did the same thing with Lenna as a White Mage. I know these interactions are the whole point of the job system, but it's still weird as all hell to see a White Mage dishing out hundreds of damage with her bare hands.

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For Magisa, I had the three Monks wait a second until the action bars all lined up, then launched three Focus (BuildUp) attacks. Magisa died under the onslaught without ever summoning Forza!

Then after the fight, I temporarily turned Faris into a White Mage to cast an antidote spell on auto-poisoned Lenna. Why Faris? The other characters would have to lose some current HP in temporarily turning to a White Mage with the lower max (your max HP drops, and you don't regain the current HP when your max HP goes back up), but Faris's HP ceiling as a thief is about the same as a WM's. I would often use this trick for some free White Mage curing or status healing with MP that would otherwise go unused.

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I decided to try the Shiva fight as my next challenge. That failed. The guards just whaled on my monks and Shiva's Blizzara (Ice 2) finished them off.

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I tried again with a party of two White mages and two Black mages, all in the back row. Fire from the BMs dealt 160 damage to Shiva, and being in the back row plus having Protect (Armor) active pretty much neutralized the guards. But the low-HP mages couldn't survive Shiva's Blizzards. The mages all did have Barehanded equipped, but that didn't help any.

So no, Black Mages aren't the answer here. Monks can dish out as much damage, plus have Counter, and lots more HP. So two Monks and two WMs? Also I figured out that I had to have the warriors split 2-2 between the front and back rows to make Blizzara do the least damage. (Split 4-0, it hits all 4 warriors every time. Split 3-1, it either hits 3 warriors or deals double damage to 1 lone target.)

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That came closer, the WMs casting Protect and then Cures. Took out the guards, but only got one attack in on Shiva before getting frozen to death.

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I tried a couple more times, trying to have the Monks Kick out the guards first, but that didn't work either. The guards at 600 HP took six Kicks before they died, and in that time just dealt too much damage that the healing couldn't keep up with.

I know beating Shiva doesn't do anything until you get the Summoner job. But I really wanted to win this fight now, just as a warmup example of how to use the job system to win a difficult fight. So what jobs can do something? White Mage can't cure fast enough, Black Mage has too low HP, Thief isn't any good here, Knight is useless without items of course... hey, Blue Mage. I looked up the available Blue Magic spells and went around to collect them.

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There's the ticket! Flash knocks the guards' chance to hit down to 25%! That plus one White Mage curing bought enough time for the monks to indeed Kick down the guards. Faris the Blue Mage wasn't super useful for the rest of the fight but did chip in some more damage with Aero. Faris also had just enough HP (9 remaining!) to survive past the second back-row Blizzara which flattened Lenna. Soon it was two Monks and the Blue Mage versus Shiva...

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and I won! There's revenge for the multiple times I've walked into this fight unprepared and lost!

Postscript: Towards the end of the battle, I looked up Shiva's HP in a faq. I also happened to see that Shiva's level is 11. So are my characters. Another route to winning that battle easily would have been Goblin Punch, heh.

Anyway, if Flash hadn't been enough, my real backup plan would have been to cross the streams, having the monks gain White Magic level 2 in order to do double duty by casting Protect (Armor) on themselves then still fight for full damage. Crossing in the other direction (Barehanded on a White Mage) wouldn't work because the monk's HP and Counter ability don't translate over.

Moving on to Garula, I first tried the fight with dumb brute force. Four Monks and no plan. Garula's counterattacks swiftly floored my naked armorless brawlers. I'd have to come back with some White Mages in tow and a smarter plan...

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But thanks to Lenna ripping off two crits in her last attack, I won! Holy crap! (I wasn't counting Garula's HP exactly, but I think those both had to be crits or else Garula survives and squishes Lenna.)

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That plan did not work for LiquidFlame. (Well, Plan Pulling Random Crits Out Of My Butt might have worked, but didn't happen.)

So I came again from the save point. I intended to analyze jobs right before fighting the boss... but didn't realize that you irrevocably go into the battle sequence once you approach a few steps away. Well, I tried fighting anyway with the Monks, with a slight change of tactics, this time using only Focus/BuildUp attacks to cut down on the counterattacks. And used one Hi-Potion to keep one character out of death range...

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and, surprisingly, won!

On the way out of Karnak, I even had the oomph to loot all the chests. Three and a half Monks (Faris was a Thief in order to prevent back attacks, but had Barehanded equipped) make quite a powerful offensive team, winning the bulk of the random encounters in a single round. The Gigases did deal some damage with Aero, so twice I temporarily bounced one of the characters to a White Mage just to burn off some MP into healing spells.

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Through a funny series of blind happenstance I even got the blue magic Death Claw from the boss! When I'd been picking up Blue spells earlier, Butts had gotten enough Blue Mage ABP for Learning, so I left it equipped on him as a Monk just in case. Learning had stayed on him ever since, because I'd accidentally fought and beat LiquidFlame without changing jobs, and because Butts hadn't been one of my temporary White Mages for healing (since Faris and Lenna had more MP.) Finally, I didn't realize at first that the boss fight was the boss fight (it looks just like a random encounter), so I killed IronClaw's guards first. (The usual secret is to kill the boss first in his normal Sergeant form, so he won't transform. He only transforms after you kill the guards.) IronClaw just happened to use one Death Claw during the battle... which just happened to target Butts... who just still had Learning equipped because of accidentally winning the LiquidFlame battle without changing jobs.

All together now: It's better to be lucky than good. biggrin.gif - 1kb

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