Brickman's Full-Game Walkthrough*
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Brickman
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Joined: 13 Aug 2008
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 28, 2008 4:05 pm    Post subject: Brickman's Full-Game Walkthrough* Reply with quote
*in progress

Ahem: SPOILER ALERT!

Q: Why are you doing this? Isn't it a lot of work?
A: Well, why not? Someone has to.
Q: Why not just a boss guide?
A: I'm gonna let you in on a little secret: at least on the harder difficulties, the regular enemy battles are harder than the bosses. Even the final boss is a pansy next to chapter 8's random encounters. Actually, this is especially true at the end of the game, since the author, to paraphrase his own words, "toned down chapter 9 because you can't levelgrind there and it'd suck if you got to the end and were stuck".
Q: So why start at the beginning? Don't you have confidence that I can figure out the first few chapters by myself?
A: Maybe on normal, but play on hard or absurd and you'll be amazed at how much resistance even chapter two puts up. Besides, it's easier to go in order, and I'm gonna be writing this as I do my absurd run.
Q: Ok, so why are you mostly skipping chapter 1?
A: Read the previous answer. Chapter one really is little more than a tutorial, and even on absurd the most you need to do is find a non-piercing skill for each party member for the slimes and rotate the party to soak up damage.
Q: But I really need help with part X, not the early stuff.
A: Ask, and I may or may not feel like skipping ahead to it, depending on my mood.
Q: What about a skills guide?
A: I'll let someone else do that. Actually, they already have. All I'll say is: Pick a variety of skills, because they're ALL gonna be useless at some point or another (especially aim high and swordfaith; though useful, if you use them, be ready for entire areas, including the game's hardest chapter, without them available), and make sure you've got something that'll let you pack two turns of damage into one attack because there are enemies with ridiculous soak in a few places. And pick skills you like, obviously.
Q: Is this guide assuming a priest, knight and sharpshooter party?
A: Yes. While two priests and a sharpshooter was much easier in the first game, because the priests had the primary healing skills AND all had offense as good as other classes, in this game the classes are much more balanced, and if you add a second priest you'll find yourself having trouble hurting monsters who aren't in the front row (or hurting all monsters on screen) and possibly also with charging your attacks (knights are the best at this, sharpshooters come in second, and while bless is nice if you're already doing damage I don't think it'll get you past the 700 damage soaking Faith Armors). I will sometimes suggest things for other parties, but not usually.
Q: What level would you recommend for area X?
A: Recommend for what? A challenge? An easy time getting through? Personally, I think the game's fine without level grinding if you do every area at least once and do every available round of the games in chapter 4. That said, doing a second or third run through certain areas late in the game is probably helpful, and I admit to doing so during my hard run (and probably will on my absurd run). That said, whenever the path splits, I will recommend which area should be done first.
Q: Which characters do you recommend?
A: This is an interesting question. For the most part party member selection has less of a gameplay effect than it did in TSE1, where each person had bonuses to two skills and penalties to two others. Here, the knights are all the same, but each priest and sharpshooter is missing one skill. Also, if you're playing Mericious there's an extra boss fight in chapter 6 which rewards you with some powerful items for him (though it's not a terribly easy fight), if you play Ferwin you'll have some interesting effects I'd rather not spoil in chapter 7 which overall are probably a small hindrance, Kaltos gets an extra not-very-important sword mid-chapter-7, Denever starts with a ring only he can wear that grants 24% ethereal resistance, and throughout specific party members will get status effects (generally, the first person gets angry which favors offensive skills, the second gets nervous which favors defense, and the third usually doesn't get any). With the possible exception of Mericious, that's not very important though. What is important is the missing skills. For sharpshooters, Ionae is the best, since explosive shell is almost always unnecessary, while Charlotte's lack of aim high is tolerable and Grace's missing powder imps are a huge problem. Similarly, you probably won't miss staggering blow for Mericious, Enshadu's lack of trick only comes up once or twice and PyanPau's lack of damn makes certain areas much harder. Since you can't have Mericious and Ionae, I'd suggest either Mericious, Charlotte and Denever or Ionae, Ferwin and Enshadu. Of course, that's only if you want things as easy as possible. Each character has a unique story, so it's rewarding to play them all through, and if you do so and increase the difficulty each time it makes sense to save the best parties for your last runs.

Chatper 1:
There really, truly is nothing difficult in this chapter, even on absurd. The only part that even requires something resembling strategy is that you will want to find each character either a non-piercing offensive skill or a defensive skill to use in the slime part, and rotate constantly. Easy. Sink any skill points you gain into skills you'll be using in the future. If you can't (only half your skills are available at the start of the game, and you can only invest points up to a quarter of your level) put them in health or just sit on them.

Chapter 2:
Ah, a store. The first of many. Now, don't worry too much about penny-pinching--you don't wanna throw away your money on incremental upgrades, but you can afford to spend some since money scales up as the game progresses. I suggest spending only on relatively "unique" items until near the end of the game. For instance, the sharpshooter's vest here is not a bad choice, and I usually get the ring of defelection. The party heal talisman's a tossup; you'll get better eventually, but not for a few chapters, If you get it, give it to your fighter, because he's the best able to heal himself and thus needs the boost the least (it heals everyone ELSE). What you should NOT do is buy any red rings of health or any rings of magic resistance; you'll find more rings later, and those rings are the epitome of worthless.

Now, on to the plains! Whoever's in the first party slot is weakened for this chapter, which is annoying especially if you wanted him to be your damage-taker, but there's nothing you can do about it. There's three enemies in this area: Grass Jackals (big dogs), Razorwyts (colorful birds) and Parmins (elephants). You should let your priest take hits from the parmins and maybe the jackals, but never the razorwyts, because part of their melee damage is magical (their feather throwing attack is not magical at all; however, it counts as several hits, which means that the benefits of armor apply to it three times. Because the chi sheild prevents the priest's armor from having any effect, someone else should take these hits). Also, the razorwyts have a decent chance to dodge, so if you're so lucky as to already have black bullet, use it on them (it is your best attack against dodgers since the poison can't be blocked). Anyways, use whatever attacks you want, either focusing on the whole group (area attacks) or the guy in front. Whenever the parmin's in front, you're gonna want to hit him with slay, wrath and aimed shot, and maybe black bullet. If you're itching for someone to use damn on, it's him. Be careful about killing parmins--whenever one dies, anyone too close to him is hurt significantly. This is usually the enemies, but if he dies while charging it'll be you--especially do NOT finish him off with trick.

Anyways, after a bit you'll reach the aulder mausoleum, which houses your first boss: Aulder's Reach. Save first. Honestly, this fight's only really bad if you've got Mericious as your priest, because he can't heal yet; hopefully your fighter can either recover or brace. If not, you're gonna need smokescreen. Anyways, he'll just keep attacking whoever's in front at first; he hits hard, but you can control it and he's a bit slow. Whenever he curls up into a ball, pause everyone's attacks because he's nigh-invincible. Just let your energy charge up, and maybe heal your party a bit. He uses this as a chance to heal, which is annoying but tolerable because he doesn't heal very much. When he comes out he'll use an attack that hits the whole party for decent physical damage (for this reason, do not let your priest's health get low in this fight, and if someone else's is heal while he's hiding), but you can pay him back with all that attack energy you just saved up. Eventually he'll die. Once he does, DO NOT SPEND YOUR SKILL POINTS UNTIL AFTER WALKING TO THE FAR RIGHT EDGE OF THIS AREA. Your middle party member gains two skills upon beating him, but your other two will gain skill points at the end of a conversation upon seeing a sign at the right edge of this area. And those are gonna be the skills you need for the next area, coincidentally enough. Don't forget to open the treasure chest, by the way (like you were going to).


More to come. Also, better quality to come (I hope; once I catch up with my party I'll be able to make the guide more accurate about shops and enemies and stats and stuff).
Edit: updated with enemy names, a bit more to the FAQ, and a bit more to the boss strategy.


Last edited by Brickman on Tue Sep 23, 2008 2:07 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Nillo
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 28, 2008 6:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
I found Chapter 2 pretty easy on Absurd actually, with the help of a little emergent gameplay.

You know the first area with monsters in it? The first monster group in that area has only two enemies in it, which makes it easy to defeat even without any micromanagement. So if you repeatedly enter the area, set the speed to max and kill it, you'll gain about 5 levels in no time. This trick works in a few other places as well, like the first snowy area before the Count (I forget what number the chapter is).

In other news, it was very bad planning on my part to leave the one party that doesn't have Powder Imps for the final difficulty level. Blah.
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Brickman
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 28, 2008 9:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Edit: Added second half of chapter three and all of chapter four.

Same here with the powder imps. Anyways, I make a point of not powerleveling, although I did stretch those rules near the end of my hard run. I certainly wouldn't consider doing it this early in the game. Besides, there's no point writing a guide whose solution to every, or even any, problem is "powerlevel".

Anyways, the guide:

After beating Aulder's Reach and assigning skill points, the path splits. The lower path is considerably easier, but has enemies who can only be hurt by magic attacks, which is the reason for the upper path. However, you just learned some magic attacks and if you were wise you just spent skill points on them, so you should take that path first. Note that because both paths contain treasure chests and there is a finite ammount of money in the game it is wise to do both, but go down first.
The new area adds two enemies to the existing animals. The first type of ghost you'll see, Phantasm, does a melee attack which does magical damage (which, at this point in the game, primarily means that your priest's chi sheild will not absorb it, although if you invested in the "chosen" skill he will take slightly reduced damage compared to his allies). The second new type, the Poltergeist, hurls rocks. Both can be hurt by only magic damage, which means swordfaith, wrath, and lucky shot. The animals can still be hurt as normal. If you're using all three magic attacks, you may want to target the ghost in back with your swordfaith, so that both fall at about the same time (as your sharpshooter's magic bullet is more effective if only used while there's three enemies). In the middle of this area is some gold and a minor ring or two; equip them on whoever you feel like.

Once you've tackled the ghost town, you should go back and save before making a run through the Tall Grasses (note that you can always return to any area you've unlocked, so backtracking to save does not make you replay an area; there's one exception to this in the entire game and it's not even a required area). If you are playing on absurd, or possibly hard, you may not want to do this whole area, as it is arguably harder than most of the next chapter and obviously less profitable from a levelgrinding perspective. In that case, you'll still want to fight your way to the middle of the area, where a chest with some more credits is waiting for you. Anyways, in addition to the animals from before, you now have to deal with Burbundles and Poisonous Burbundles. The regular ones do ordinary melee attacks and are generally stronger than the jackals but not quite as powerful as the elephant, but will heal themselves instead of attacking when injured, which is frustrating. It's especially frustrating when they stand in front of the poison burbundles; these enemies will sit for a while without attacking, then with a hiss poison everything onscreen that isn't a burbundle (including the other enemies) for significant ethereal damage. At this point the only character with any ethereal resistance at all is your priest, and while it is a significant ammount of resistance this damage also ignores your sheild and eats at your pathetic hit points instead, which means he will still be the first to fall. Your first priority is taking out the poisonous ones before they can act (or before they can act twice). If it is in front this is easy, but if not you should use swordfaith and aim high if you have them (and if you only have one of them, thunderstrike or lucky shot to back it up). If you have no attacks that can directly target them, you might as well concentrate on taking out your opponents in sequence rather than area attacks. The poison burbundles are surprisingly vulnerable to black bullet, and the regular ones are somewhat vulnerable.

After completing (or at least getting the items from) both areas, move on to South Point Bastion. After a cuscene, you will be required to defend against a parmin and two grass jackals for 80 seconds (I checked and this number is the same on all difficulty levels). The timer says 83 but they all run away when the trumpet blares at three seconds left. Unless you are on easy, if you kill them they will come back much faster than the 24 seconds displayed under their corpse and will be regenerated at full health (I believe it depends on the difficulty level; it's not very long on harder ones), so it might be wise to just defend all the way, but since that's not much fun and may involve one character just standing around you're probably going to want to take out the grass jackals a few times. Never kill them all, though, as they'll all instantly regenerate if you do. Anyways, I won't presume to know which defensive skills you've invested skill points in, but they're all pretty effective here except aurora and trick; as I said, if you go full-defense you'll find yourself generating more healing than you have damage to heal, even on absurd.

Once you've done that, you have access to fort longreach. There's two shops and a savepoint. The amulet of party heal's a good buy, as is the fortunate sash and, depending on your skill selection, any of the three scriptures. If you feel like upgrading anyone's weapon at this point, I won't stop you; the weapons in the next chapter aren't that good (except the staff, which actually is a bit better than this one but more expensive too). Those two "Big" weapons you're probably eyeing right now would have been unaffordable if you'd collected every penny up to this point, not bought a single item and sold your whole inventory; you'll get another chance at them near the end of the game. Once you're done shopping, move on to the airfield and catch your plane.

Chapter 3

Yeah, you didn't really think it'd be that easy, did you? Nope. Anyways, the silent snowfields hold some odd enemies, but statistically they're just not tough enough to do much. If you have aim high (aka you're not using charlotte), you should take out the Southstars first, backing it up with thunderstrike. Sadly, they're immune to magic, so swordfaith and lucky shot won't work. If aim high is out, you should just concentrate on whoever's in front like normal. The Flumpus enemies (the ice pillow things) are fairly unique in that they can heal themselves effectively without spenidng a turn doing so, which means anything but a concentrated attack on them has no effect at all. Watch out for the Nordlefly--when he attacks he won't retreat again until he takes damage, instead continuing to bite you every few seconds until you can attack him; he could get in two or three bites in the time it takes to recharge an attack's worth of energy. Because of this, you should always keep one attack in reserve. Don't use it too early; you have to hit him after he's made his first bite, not while he's charging, or it won't work (I, err, forget whether or not trick works). Anyways, the Southstar does magic damage every once in a while and the others do physical damage, so keep your priest away from the stars. There's still not enough magic damage flying around for aurora to really be worth it.

Once you clear the snowfield it's time for chapter three proper. Almost. First you've got to kill a couple Demonites. These imps have a great dodge chance, so black bullet is the way to go, even with their ethereal resistance. Otherwise, use whatever attacks you want and let the law of averages see you through. Don't forget your defensive skills. From this point on, the rest of the chapter takes place in an "enclosed space", which means swordfaith and aim high are unusable, which is a shame because swordfaith would be perfect for this area. Once you kill the imps, again, DON'T SPEND YOUR SKILLPOINTS. Don't spend them until after you've gone to the bowbuffer, talked to the foreman and had the conversation about the briefcase upon trying to leave the area, because again you get new skills you could spend those points on. There's a shop in the underport area and a shop in the bowbuffer area; the dragonslayer's harm is a tempting offer, the ring of strength and/or bererker ring (I forget which if not both were bought here) are worth buying, the imp bottle may be worth it (especially if your sharpshooter is grace, who can't make them herself), and if you haven't upgraded your sash yet either of the available ones may be worth it (note that it is ok to have two sashes; say, one that boosts magic damage for lucky shot and one that boosts regular damage for everything else). By the time you enter the chapter itself, some of your party members may have status effects; Mericious will be angry, Charlotte and Edward will be nervous (but not, I believe, PyanPau). Check for yourself. Ignoring these doesn't hurt you too bad, but if you slant your actions towards offense for angry characters and defense for nervous characters it certainly won't hurt; especially try to avoid support skills when angry if feasible (though charge comes out about even). Anyways, after stocking up you should head to the main canalway for some action.

The Chaots will usually create a skull symbol on top of another enemy, which means that the next time that enemy attacks they do extra damage and steal health. Powder imps will stop the healing, but for some strange reason brace doesn't even reduce it (it does do a decent job against the boosted attack itself, though). They will also occasionally shoot two magic projectiles at you. These are the first of many enemies you'll face with chi sheilds just like yours, which presents two options: Either do a lot of piercing and concussive damage to them, especially by using skills like hack and thunderstrike that capitalize on their pathetic armor (chi sheild means that armor doesn't manifest at all, and even once it's gone they always have weak armor), or just ignore the sheild entirely with ethereal and magic attacks; the downside to that approach is that most enemies with a chi sheild have a tremendous magic resistance, though they run the gamut from 0 to 100% ethereal resistance. There's little point doing both, since a half-depleted sheild means absolutely nothing and a fully depleted sheild means you shouldn't bother putting up with their magic resistance, but black bullet is an exception because its initial damage takes advantage of the lack of armor while the poison takes advantage of the lack of HP. In this case, magic is probably the best option, as their magic resistance is relatively low and their ethereal resistance is nearly nonexistant.

The Batrocs are standard tanks; they do decent concussive damage and have enough armor that hack is ineffective, but are quite weak to magic. They will also sometimes, when injured, curl up in their shell and heal some; oddly they will ALL do this even if only one needs to. While doing so they're more or less invulnerable. They're also immune to ethereal all the time, so don't try it. The lightshows have a pretty decent dodge rate, although not as good as the demonites', so black bullet is again effective (they also have 0 ethereal advantage, conveniently enough). They're effectively immune to piercing damage, and whoever gets hit by their attack will become poisoned (again, this will have less effect on your priest; because you can make sure it doesn't happen twice, though, it's probably not a bad idea to let him take one of these hits). Powder imps, fortunately, are immune to poison, so if you block with one of those the imps will only take the impact damage but will stop the poison for free. The demonites are also back, same as before. Note that the demonites are the only enemy in this entire area who actually count as undead, and nobody counts as large.

Knights should generally stick to slay for the batrocs, thunderstrike or hack for the chaots and demonites and thunderstrike for the lightshows, or alternately use defensive skills. Everything in the sharpshooter's lineup is ok, but black bullet and powder imps take center stage. Wrath similarly is the only priest attack worth using, along with healing, sprite summon and maybe wrath on the chaots or blessing on one of your allies.

At this point, the path splits, and you can proceed to Weir 21 or the Cathedral of Edges. The former has a bunch of regular battles, the latter is a boss fight. This boss is actually a bit tricky, unlike the previous ones. Both areas will reward you with a few minor items and a level or two, but completing weir 21 will give you the eager effect, which boosts all your abilities to 110% effectiveness and overwrites your previous emotional state. For this reason, and because the boss is harder, I'd recommend doing weir 21 first.

There are two new enemies in this area, and both look tougher than they are. The gaegleesh randomly select a party member when combat starts and will continually drain his or her health. Though logically this should be ethereal damage, it affects your priest just as fast as anyone else; bad luck if it's him. You can't prevent this damage, but it shouldn't take much effort to keep healing it. They will also occasionally heal all other monsters (I'm unsure of whether or not they heal themselves, because once vulnerable I killed them faster than they use this attack). The gaegleesh has a very, ahem, "modest" chi sheild, and worse magic resistance than the chaots, though their ethereal resistance is decent. You can kill them with either physical or magic attacks, it doesn't really matter; there's not as much hurry to pick them off as the game leads you to believe unless they've targeted your mage, and they fall easily once they become the closest enemy. It's not like your primary back-row targeting skills are available anyways. The other new enemy is the thunderhulk. His armor is a bit lower but otherwise this guy is generally bigger than the batrocs, doing more damage and having more health. His magic weakness is just as pronounced. His second ability, rather than the batroc's healing, is to produce a shockwave which deals some magic damage to the whole party. If you're really suffering at the hands of the gaegleesh this'll finish you off, but otherwise it's not that bad. Batrocs and lightshows are also back. If you're keeping score, this entire area is weak to magic damage--lucky shot and wrath should be effective, along with strike if the gaegleesh is in front and aimed shot or black bullet as appropriate. Your fighter should probably use charged slay if the batroc or thunderhulk is in front, hack if the gaegleesh is in front, thunderstrike if the lightshow is in front or the enemy you were hurting flees to the back, or healing more or less anytime.

Before entering the cathedral of edges, give your sharpshooter the ring of health you just found and, if you bought it, the ring of deflection. Equip her with the iron vest if you have it too. The crone has two attacks. The primary one, defined as the one which is much more effective and much more annoying, is to jump up off the screen and come down on top of whoever she perceives as "weakest"; rotating your party won't change the target. This will usually be whoever has the least health, which will usually be your sharpshooter, but if you can get your knight's health down to roughly the same she'll recognize the dodge chance and attack him. I think; it worked for me anyways. You want her attacking your fighter, because your fighter has brace, which means he can survive forever against this attack without needing to heal (risking going above the sharpshooter's health). If you can't get her to do that, she'll just keep pummeling your sharpshooter and all you can do is heal with your priest and hope she can dodge, since this attack deals more than one heal spell's worth of damage and you'll work up a nasty damage multiplier. Eventually your sharpshooter will die, unless maybe you use smokescreen. Her other attack is to shoot two magic beams which hit whoever is in front, presumably because otherwise this would be a very boring battle. If you want, you could cast aurora or powder imps to protect against this, but it's not necessary. She will also occasionally summon a red rune on one of your guys by making a second red rune on herself; I have no clue what this does, but it does not heal her, hurt you or indicate who she will attack. Anyways, anyone not occupied with protecting against the dive attack should attack her whenever possible. Be sure to pause your attackers until right after she acts, though, because if you attack while she's diving your attack is wasted (especially annoying for melee attacks). She is undead, large and has enough armor to warrant not using hack. She's not too easy, but she isn't too hard either.

Once both tasks are done, stop by the shops one last time and procede to Templeson Bridge for the last battle of this chapter. The eager effect puts you in prime condition, and you'll now be out of the enclosed space that was stopping swordfaith. Even better, you get an ally for this fight: Ariene Taylor, a sharpshooter who'll stand behind you and provide extra firepower. The crone's second form is nothing like her first. She has three abilities now: First, she will use a laser that hurts everyone with magic damage (including Taylot). Your priest will want to occupy himself almost entirely with casting aurora to counter this, only healing if someone's low on health, because otherwise it'll flatten him. Sadly, that won't protect Taylor; even with her dodge rate she'll almost certainly fall at least once, but she gets back up quickly. The second attack is to shoot three balls into the air which will then come down on top of a random party member (or ariene), dealing concussive damage. This attack is the only reason you'll want to use heal rather than aurora at all. Finally, she'll summon three sheild orbs around her. Each one takes one hit to destroy (hack counts as two, all other attacks are one), and she is immune to everything until they've all been destroyed (or more specifically, a second AFTER they're all destroyed--hack won't hurt with the second blow and you shouldn't attack too early). When she does this, you should let your fighter use hack (even if you have no points in it) to take out two orbs and let Ariene hit the third because her attacks aren't as powerful as yours and are thus better to waste; if she's down, you should instead let your sharpshooter use flashbang for the last orb (again, even if you have no points in it). Otherwise, slay, swordfaith, wrath, strike and aimed shot all do excellent damage against the crone, who is both undead and large. If all else fails and you lose your priest, your knight can survive almost indefinitely against the crone with recover (brace is sort of lousy) by himself, and there's always smokescreen, so you can wait out the recovery time. The crone has a little bit of regeration, but it's nothing compared to your own healing. During this fight, powder imps and trick have absolutely no effect, nor the amulets which cast them.




Chapter 4

Ah, Porto Vale. Happiness, sunshine, carnival games, shops with good items and plenty of money to spend on them. And character development. Can't forget that. Your eager status from the end of the previous chapter will carry you through the entirety of this one, which is nice.

Anyways, penny lane has three shopkeepers and the promenade has a circus with several attractions you can win money from. The shops have lots of great items. Preacher's vestments is a must, along with paladin's heart and armguard, unless you really want a defensive fighter in which case you might want the wall and the kite sheild. Simaron's strength, either staff and the rifle are also good buys, but really there's almost nothing in this area that wouldn't fit well in at least some parties.

The promenade has three challenges. Nearest the right end is a test-your-strength machine. You pay 5 credits and get 150 if you win (and some experience). It gets stronger after each win, but stops being available after five. To beat it, just combine all your support skills--an enpowdered, charged, blessed slay or swordfaith against a damned beatometer ought to do it. Overcharge your energy and bless the sharpshooter if you need to; you've got infinite time to make one attack. 725 easy coins. On the far left is the sparkometer, aka test your endurance. Same rules and rewards as before, except instead of hitting it as hard as you can you survive a set ammount of time against its attacks. Thing is, it's not that strong and you can generate a lot of defensive effort when you're not worried about attacking at all. It does both magic and physical damage, so aurora is effective but so are chi sheilds. It makes direct attacks against the guy in front, so powder imps work and you can rotate injured people in back to complete safety. Smokescreen works, brace works (though they don't work well together), heal works, recover works, armor works, fortify works. If it helps, do this after buying any new armor from the shops. 725 more coins.

Finally, there's Urtat Underval. There's already a guide to fighting him on this forum, but suffice it to say, his defense is massive. You WILL need charged attacks or enpowdered bludgeoning attacks to kill him, and bless or damn couldn't hurt, and you may want to use overdrive too if he doesn't charge up while you're waiting. Black bullet also has a small effect; I usually shoot it at him right before unleashing my beefed up attack to take advantage of his damage multiplier. However, Urtat uses recover a lot, especially when low on health, so you could fight him for an hour with poison as your only means of damage and never break through. You need charged attacks (or to attack while he's charging--the bonus is only a quarter of the bonus if you charged, but then, you're getting it added on for free).
For his part, Urtat has a small variety of attacks. He'll usually run up and smack the guy in front, but he'll also sometimes use swordfaith on the weakest party member (aurora is recommended to protect your priest) and sometimes he'll lean foward and then run forward and slash at the whole party. He will also sometimes charge--just like your knights, his next attack will be more powerful but he takes equally increased damage until then. If possible, always attack when he charges (though if you reach maximum overcharge before then attack anyways). He'll also sometimes use fortify, raising his armor even higher--do not ever attack him while this is up. Finally, as mentioned, he loves to use recover to heal himself. Defending against his attacks is much easier than hurting him, but don't get too cocky anyways. If you can best him you'll be rewarded with only 300 coins and a boss's worth of XP, but it's a fun challenge anyways and good practice for your second encounter, where the reward is much better. Still, if you're stuck skip it, or put it off until after everything else (advancing the plot on both the briefcase and keeper fronts gives you a sizable ammount of XP, and each of the other games is worth about a level). For some reason I found Urtat EASIER on my absurd run than my others despite accidentally doing it at a lower level; his defensive stats are almost exactly the same as before but my party had skills better tailored to fighting against tough armor and I had the strategy down pat. Still, I almost have to wonder if he secretly scales up...

Anyways, once you're done with the carnival, talk to the guy outside the keeper's old place on penny lane and visit the admiralty house. After that, wrap up your shopping and head to the west docks. Here you'll get what, if one were generous, one might call a boss fight of sorts; three enemies you don't see anywhere else in the game and a named unique enemy. That's right, four enemies--great time for area of effect attacks. The three in front are vicious--they have mediocre armor (though better against magic) but do wicked damage when they attack, dealing two hits per charge, and all have a 20% chance to dodge everything. The guy in back is a priest. He will first cast damn on whoever's in front of your party (combines nicely with the double-striking warriors), then casts wrath on whoever's in front until the damn wears off, at which point he starts over. No, he doesn't care if the damned party member stays in front. Anyways, because he's easier to drop, you should probably focus on offing him first. He has a chi sheild, but his magic resistance is still not enough to stop you from easily crushing him with lucky shot and swordfaith (if you're noticing a pattern, don't worry--their magic resistance will get better as we go along). Once he's gone, try and take out the warriors as best you can before he regenerates, but try not to die first! Smokescreen may save your life here. Anything goes against them--black bullet for the dodge, hack for the low armor, thunderstrike or lucky shot for the low armor, slay/aimed shot/aim high/strike/trick for plain damage output. Note that if you use powder imps, and the imps can only survive the first strike, you'll block the second for free, so they're not a bad idea either. Eventually they'll fall, and you'll gain an entirely unwarranted ammount of experience (like, 5 levels' worth) with which to enter the next chapter by continuing to the left. You'll need it. . .
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 29, 2008 8:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
This is a really good guide Brickman. Thanks for taking the time to make it. I couldn't have written one much better myself.

I think I'll 'sticky' this topic once the guide gets closer to completion, if that would be okay with you.
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 31, 2008 6:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
This bit took a while, because I must have thrown myself at that first battle of Penny Lane at least a dozen times before giving up and killing Urtat and the rest of his area first. Damn poison.

edit: Added first part of chapter 6.


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Chapter 5

Alright, lets be honest. The game hasn't been very hard so far. Sure, you may've had to try the crone once or twice before beating her, and the demons and animals may have made you restart a few times, but it's been nothing you couldn't figure out with the haphazard application of whatever skills you felt like using. Well, it's about to get Hard, with a capital H, and this chapter marks the beginning of that. Instead of every enemy having a unique trick, as before, now every enemy has a unique trick which makes them hard. Anyways, you've got emotional states to deal with again: the second party slot member will be depressed, getting a penalty to all skills, your third slot will be nervous (bonus to defense, penalty to offense), and your first slot will be nervous or angry depending on which person it is. These will last for the whole chapter.

The battles in the seabunker are predetermined rather than random (actually, many if not most of the battles in this chapter are). First you'll face a tool shambler and a rifle shambler. The tool shambler will shamble forward and swing twice for concussive damage, and the rifle shambler will use explosive shell for concussive damage against the guy in front and half to the guy behind him. Both are undead, and though their armor's lousy they're a little resistant to piercing and a bit more to ethereal, so adjust appropriately if possible (strike and wrath work very well if your priest isn't busy with healing). The tool shambler's not too different from what you've seen before (mostly his dual attack means brace and trick won't be very effective), but the rifle shambler requires some planning, because you can't just let the person of your choice get hit--not only can only one person be completely safe, but for any given pair of people getting hit you can't decide which will take full damage and which will take half. However, there are several ways of "cheating" him out of the second target's damage. The easiest is to use powder imps against him, as powder imps appear far enough in front of you that the splash damage is wasted. As a bonus, as in previous chapters, powder imps can sometimes cheat the tool shamblers out of their second attack and foil the poison attacks in Penny Lane. Alternatively, if you time your attacks to make a melee attack just before he fires, the charging attacker will be too far in front of his allies for the splash damage to hit anyone. If you leave your melee attacker in front and play on turtle speed you can usually pull this off by attacking between when he starts to fire and when the damage is applied, but it won't be very reliable; ideally you're going to want to develop a feel for how long it is between attacks and already be out there by the time he gives you any visual or audio cues. Also, if you are misfortunate enough to lose a party member, keeping that one in the middle will cause only one person to take damage, but due to the unchangable party order this may mean putting someone you don't want in front. One final nasty feature of all types of shambler is that, when killed, they have a ridiculously short regeneration timer--only ten seconds, rather than the 24 or so you're used to. They only take a single swordfaith or strike to kill (your milage may vary with attacks which don't do extra damage to undead), but keeping them down requires you to constantly toss attacks at them, distracting you from those remaining. Keep an eye on the timers; it's still better to be facing two attacking enemies at a time than three, so if one's about to return and you have the energy for an attack consider waiting a few seconds and using it on the shambler (and especially, if you are using area of effect attacks, wait until your third target comes back before unleashing it). Multi-target skills may not be a bad idea when facing shamblers, since killing one quickly isn't as useful as killing them all eventually; enpowdered thunderstrike is quite an effective tactic for almost this entire chapter.

The second battle has, in addition to the two shamblers, a mourmodon. This enemy, especially in a chapter full of quickly regenerating comrades, seems scientifically calculated to be as annoying as possible to try and kill, but in reality he's only really a problem if you don't understand how he works. He has zero armor, but he has humongous resistances to everything--even on normal he soaks more than half of all damage dealt to him of every single type, and it goes up with difficulty level. But that's not the bad part. No, the bad part is that if you deal too much damage to him too fast, he'll become "angry", which makes his attacks much stronger and also raises all of his resistances substatially. And he has several levels of anger too, the worst being nigh-invulnerable. And what will set him off is left to guesswork. And meanwhile, while you're waiting for him to cool off and become non-angry again the shamblers are regenerating on you. And his anger's on a continuous scale, so attacking just after he cools him off will set him off again. Also, it's set off by damage dealt, not number of attacks, so there's no cheating, not even with black bullet. There's probably several "best" ways of handling him, but one I'd recommend is to use area of effect attacks right from the start of the battle. Empowdered thunderstrike is especially effective, as it will also do a better job of finishing off everyone who isn't a mourmodon than two separate attacks (which invoke armor twice) and almost everyone in this area is vulnerable to concussive. Even without points in enpowder this was enough to kill reviving shamblers in one round on absurd, while lucky shot and thunderstrike was not, and you'll be doing just enough damage that you'll have the mourmodon mad by the time you've finished off everyone behind him. By spreading out the damage to this individual enemy over time you prevent him from getting too angry at any point, and save yourself waiting time later. At the very least, if you some damage to him at the beginning and then kill everyone else, it'll take you that much less time to kill him later on and he'll have forgotten the initial attack by that point. When it comes time to attack him directly, he is large but strongly resistant to piercing, so slay and aimed shot come out only slightly ahead, hack more or less even. Use black bullet at your own risk--he's somewhat weak to it, but once it's on you can't control the poison damage and won't be able to calm him down until it stops if it sets him off. Smokescreen may also be useful, as if you're going to have periods of waiting during which you make no attacks you might as well be protected. The third battle in the seabunker (and the last before you can save) has two mourmodons and only one shambler.

At this point, there are three areas you could enter. Each has at least some items in it, and each is difficult. Admiralty house is the shortest and a dead end--there are only two battles there, and only the first one must be fought to get the place's items, but you'll be doing it under an enclosed ceiling. There's little reason not to do it first. After that, The Promenade is arguably easier if approached from the right, so you might want to do Penny Lane first and then loop back (however, doing so means that you'll be facing the optional boss last rather than second; that said, he is much easier from the right). The main difference is that Penny lane is full of nasty poisonous enemies, while the Promenade has more cloud spawns and shamblers but opens with a rematch against Urtat Underval, with help. Both are hard, but I somehow found Urtat easier on my absurd run while Penny Lane's first battle was a brick wall; the reverse was true on my hard run, however, so your results may vary. Both have great items in them, but you have to fight for it. I'll write the guides as if you approach both from the left however. Only once you've gotten the items from all three should you face the boss at Dragon's Gate. Regardless of the order you pick, however, stop by admiralty house to make use of the save point outside.

Admiralty house adds a new enemy to your lineup: the cloud spawn. He is deadly offensively, with two magical attacks: Half the time he will strike the person in back with lightning, and half the time he will shoot three balls of energy at the person in front. The lightning attack has absolutely no warning, so keep whoever you want that to hit in back and rotate the party to respond to any other attacks from the cloud spawn or anyone else. Aurora is HIGHLY recommended whenever these enemies are present. Their magic resistance is pretty good, but won't completely block you out, so physical or magic attacks are both viable (but don't bother mixing them). They are pretty weak to ethereal though. However, since swordfaith is unavailable against this one and he's in the back you're going to have to use physical, or to be precise with enpowdered thunderstrikes. Just keep doing that while your priest stacks auroras and occasionally heals, while rotating your party carefully, and this battle won't be too bad. Our reward is some credits, a rifle with bonuses to dodge and lucky shot and a belt that gives small bonuses to powder imps, enpowder, smokescreen and armor--quite timely, wouldn't you say? You don't really have to fight the other group in here, but you'll probably feel like it anyways. Now, armed with your new sharpshooter equipment (or not), it's on to Penny Lane or the Promenade.

Penny lane adds two more enemies, and thematically they fit each other beautifully. The foul growth adds poison to the next melee attack of one of its allies, and does so very fast--it'll usually be able to get both of them inbetween their attacks, and thus inbetween yours. Even worse, it will occasionally poison your entire party, for what seems to be the same effect (this may or may not only occur when the growth runs out of enemies to add poison to; it's hard to tell). It has a lot of health and a bit of resistance to damage, but nearly nonexistant armor. This poison effect cannot be dodged, but luckily, powder imps will negate it on any attack they block. Note again that all poison counts as ethereal damage and thus a priest with points in chosen has high resistance to it, though it cuts past the chi sheild; since the foul growth does have a poison attack that doesn't hit the front row and it's hard to pin a number on the poison you should treat his health as a precious commodity. Bizarrely, trick will prevent the poison from being inflicted but will leave the poison on the attacker; this is fairly meaningless if the attacker is a tool shambler, though (and may be unwise if the bit about the second attack occuring when it can't poison anyone else is true). The foul growth would be nothing without its allies, however, and those allies, aside from the mourmodons and cloud spawn, are pokran shamblers. These annoying undead dogs attack frequently and quickly, and make up for a lack of armor with a small ammount of dodge. Black bullet should be, technically speaking, rather effective against them, but the reality is that you do not have time to wait around for it to work here. Hack is extremely effective against them, especially if you use empowder on it first, as are multitarget attacks, and you might want to use black bullet at anyways. The dogs share the ridiculously short recovery time of the humanoid shamblers, just to make things harder on you.

After grabbing the free treasure chest, your first fight is against a foul growth flanked by two pokran shamblers. By the time area of effect attacks would kill anything you'll be dead twice over, so you'll want to focus either on killing the foul growth with swordfaith and aim high or killing the dog in front, then wailing on the foul growth until he returns. Either way, you will need AT LEAST one party member dedicated to defensive skills to make it through alive; Powder imps are ideal but party heal, a heavily leveled-up recover, or anything else could work. On absurd I found this battle almost impossible with any tactics, but eventually empowdered hack saw me through.

The rest of the area's not quite as bad, especially since in order to see it you have to be strong enough to have survived the first fight. one of the battles has two mourmodons and a foul growth, but if you focus most of your attacks on the growth you'll find that mourmodons are far less aggressive than pokran shamblers and this battle's much easier. In the middle is a valuable staff and a nice amulet, both great prizes.

If you choose the Promenade first, your first battle will pit you against two circus freaks. These guys are extremely slow, only attacking very occasionally, but hit for absurd damage (over a thousand on absurd, over 700 on hard) and they regenerate as quickly as the shamblers. However, they take a few moments to wind up before attacking, and if you attack during that time you'll stun them and counter their attack; as such, with a bit of care you can easily defeat them without them having the chance to make a single attack. Trick and brace would also be effective against them if you want; fortify and strong armor probably wouldn't. They're weak to magic and undead, so swordfaith and wrath work well. I'd think twice about using area of effect attacks; they have a delay on them that's longer than the window of opportunity for stunning the freaks. You're better off stunning them with swordfaith, aim high and/or explosive shell. Once you've beaten them and grabbed the free treasure chest, you can continue on to Urtat Underval, now a hulking zombie. He isn't any stronger himself, possibly even weaker, but he gets a circus freak to stand in front of him, who adds extra attacks and will prevent you from using attacks besides swordfaith and aim high unless you kill it or Urtat is in the middle of an attack (which rules out hitting him while he's charged). Unless you waited until after killing the seabunker thugs before doing it you should be half a dozen levels higher than last time you fought him, at least, so the extra muscle's only fair. If, as the guide recommended, you approach him from the right, the circus freak will be behind him, and you can use whatever skills you want against Urtat; however, you won't be able to interrupt the freak except with aim high, swordfaith, explosive shell, thunderstrike or lucky shot. Upon beating him, you will recieve a true reward: the Ghost Steel and the Paladin's Breast. I never really liked Ghost Steel, but Paladin's Breast is quite good. You may want to double back to the save point at this point; Urtat won't reappear, and he sometimes takes quite a while to finish off. If you do, you'll find the first battle strangely has a random enemy added to it and the second (with Urtat) is gone. Anyways, the remainder of this area is cloud children, shamblers, mourmodons and freaks; nothing too unusual.

Once you've killed everyone and collected the items in every area, procede to dragon gate. Actually, you should probably stop by even earlier for the save point and the magic protection ring, but now you're actually gonna fight here. The boss you're up against is a fully grown cloud child, and he's extremely fun but not very hard at all. At least, if your priest has points in aurora he's not that hard. You'll basically want to keep casting aurora for more or less the entire battle, only switching to heal if you really need to, because the vast majority of the cloud child's offense is magical. If you don't have aurora, you're going to need a lot of healing, for all members of your party, or at the very least a very good smokescreen. Foritfy should be quite effective if you're not using aurora, though I believe that aurora completely nullifies fortify if you try to use both. It has three attacks: It will shoot out three plasma balls that deal magical damage to the person in front, hurl a rock at the person in front for concussive damage, and call down a storm of lightning that hits everyone in your party once and hits the two with the least health (including their aurora) twice. Through careful shifting of party order and constant use of aurora, you should be able to completely protect yourself from the two magical attacks (be sure to constantly check your aurora's strength by hovering your mouse over each character), and though the concussive attack does decent damage, it should be quite managable since it's watered down with magical ones. Be sure to hold your attacks until right after the cloud child attacks, because if you attack while it's summoning lightning the attack is wasted.

Anyways, that's its offense. Its defense is the fun part though. What looks like a chi sheild on further inspection isn't anything of the sort. While the sheild's up, its actual health bar is untouchable and all damage is applied to the sheild, except ethereal which is completely blocked. However, while it is up the cloud child also has zero armor and zero resistance. The sheild does regenerate, but not enough to stop you. Enpowdered hack is objectively THE most effective attack (capable of doing upwards of 1100 damage per round), though if you don't have points in one or both anything can be used as a substitute (the cloud child is a large creature, so slay and aimed shot get bonuses). If it's only got a tiny bit left and you don't want to waste an attack, for some reason if you deal the last hit with black bullet the poison damage will still be applied to its actual health. Alternatively, storing up an extra attack's worth of energy right before finishing the sheild is never a bad idea, regeneration or no. Once the sheild falls, it will be inactive and the cloud child will be unable to perform any attacks until the sheild regenerates all the way back to its full starting value, allowing you to damage the cloud child itself with impunity. Though it has nothing on Urtat, the child has very good armor (especially on harder difficulties), such that you're gonna want to use assist skills here for sure; he's weak to concussive though. Depending on if you saved up extra energy before finishing the sheild, there is enough time during this portion for two or possibly three moves; my recommendation is to use charge and black bullet first, then use enpowder and slay second. If there's time for a third, it'll probably be ripe for another black bullet. Alternatively, since it's weak to concussive, if your party's health isn't in dire need of two turns' worth of priest spells an enpowdered strike would be quite effective, and can be used every round. There's nothing wrong with damn or bless either, if your priest's wanting for things to do. Anyways, once the sheild's completely back to full the cloud child will stand up again and resume attacking until you can knock it back down to earth. Repeat until you win, then continue on to the aid station.

Now that you're at the aid station, you get some conversations, can do a little shopping and then can move on to the next chapter. Talk to everyone, they have interesting things to say. Sneaky Pete has some items for sale, but be careful about your money, because there's another merchant right at the beginning of the next chapter, and you can't go backwards (how annoying). I'd actually recommend saving, checking Pete's stock, then going to the next chapter, checking its stock, then loading again to do your shopping and continue on properly. Anyways, from Pete the only item which caught my eye was Ghorlemange, though the rifle might not be a bad idea. The seller in the next chapter has a ton of stuff that's worth buying though. Once you're done, you can move on to chapter 6.

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Chapter 6

This chapter opens with some character-developing cutscenes, then some situation-developing cutscenes once you start moving. After that, stop by the shop. This shop's full of great stuff; the sharpshooter's jacket, either staff, either tome and the amulet of party healing are not bad buys, but the jacket and the amulet are the most unique and thus most important. If you have mericious with you, be aware that you're about to get two powerful staffs (one offense, one defense) and an offensive tome, so hold off on any purchases for him.

Now, if you don't have Mericious in your party skip this paragraph. If you do. . . stop reading this until you finish the cutscene, I don't want to spoil it. Ready? Alright. The inquisitors are pretty tough, mostly because they combine an absurd ammount of healing with a good offense. First round, Thanes will cast sprite summon on himself and Serenuth will damn the party member in front. That sprite summon seems to last forever, for some reason, but occasionally he'll spend a round doing what I can only assume is renewing it; damn will be recast as soon as the first wears off, regardless of whether or not the cursed player is in front. After this, Thanes will continually rush forward and strike you for a good deal of damage, both concussive and ethereal, while Selenuth will cast wrath. At some point Thanes will almost surely cast trick, so try not to use any melee attacks on him after that. What makes it hard though is that they will both alyways switch to healing the other if it is needed, with ridiculous efficiency, and thanes' chi sheild (the one in front) regenerates at far more than the usual speed, enough that you may be temped to damage him magically. Since their magic resistance and armor is good, however, I'd recommend casting damn on whoever you want to attack if that's your choice, and I personally found it far more effective to just blast the chi sheild with enpowdered hack and then whittle him down with aim high and thunderstrike while mericious keeps me healed. Thanes WILL move to the back when hurt, but swordfaith and lucky shot don't care and wrath and black bullet can be used while he's charging at you, and the same goes for any physical attacks you choose to use. It's a hard fight no matter who you try to off first, but do your best. Beating them has a huge reward, however: Four powerful unique items. You can choose which you do and don't like, but keep in mind that the "poison" ability of gharl's foul tongue poisons EVERYONE, friend and foe, but it isn't very strong poison.

Anyways, now that you've left Littlehampton, with or without a fight, its time for the mountain. The first battle will be against two enemies: a "Blunderbuss" (why not call it a yeti, I do not know) and an iceeni. The blunderbuss has pretty good armor, weak against magic and ethereal, and can heal himself or run up and punch you. Nothing special. The Iceeni, however, is annoying--it will alternatingly freeze one party member and shoot two bolts of magic forwards. I have no idea how the AI works on the Iceeni, but it seems remarkably good at figuring out who's capable of dealing the most damage to it and freezing that person. When you face multiple Iceeni, the second will just always use the magic attack because only one person can be frozen at a time. The Iceeni also seem to have a party heal ability, but they only use it when there's more than one of them and the other is wounded (it'll still heal the third enemy though, even beyond its starting health I believe), and the only time I'm aware of that you have to face that is the third battle of Frostmaw Rink. The frozen character cannot act, won't regenerate energy and cannot be moved when rotating the party (which results in some rather goofy visuals, as the other two party members still can; who takes damage if two people occupy the same space is impossible to accurately predict). They have decent defense against magic, but not enough to stop you, especially if you cast damn on them first. They're also rather vulnerable to ethereal if you can get them in front, and their sheild isn't too big if you want to crush it instead.

As you move on, you'll encounter chillspinters. These guys are a real pain. They have good armor, though it's slightly weak against piercing (well someone in this game had to be), but their attacks are brutal and ignore party order. They will either dissapear underground and come up directly under the party member of their choice (it is usually the weakest one, but they will occasionally pick everyone) or they'll dip halfway into the snow and then charge forward, hitting all three party members for slightly less damage. Frustratingly, more than one can attack a given character at the same time. They are invincible during both attacks, so hold your attacks until you know you can connect (this makes it hard to use area attacks, if you even wanted to given their armor). Smokescreen is a lifesaver against chillsplinters, and fortify should prove effective as well, but you have to damage them somehow, and that'll take a while. Damn and hack seem to go together pretty well though.

Once you fight your way to the end, pop by the Bitten Breeding Fields to verify that the bridge is locked, then head over to the christoff place for a nice friendly boss fight. Count Christoff is really not hard at all with a good strategy. His main attacks are to freeze a party member seemingly at random, to charge forwards and slash at the person in front for what is MOSTLY piercing damage but seems to include a bit of absolute (if so, that means the attack cannot be dodged) which is added to his own health, or to drain life from the party member with the greatest health and add it to his (dealing absolute damage). Both life draining attacks are more effective the more health you have, but they can still finish you off. Very occasionally he'll turn into a cloud of bats, disappear for a few seconds and then charge across the screen, hitting and poisoning all party members, but this isn't very strong and you can retaliate as soon as he gets back since it's long enough to charge up for a full attack. During the entire fight, Christoff LOSES health over time and has pathetic armor and undead status.

The easiest way to fight him by far is to use your knight as a meat sheild. Stick the knight in front and keep using brace to screw up his attacks, while using recover whenever you get a breather to ensure that your knight has the most health and thus that the life draining attacks always hit him (as he's braced, it won't be very effective). This not only ruins his offense, it also prevents him from getting any decent healilng done. Meanwhile, let your other two party members wail on him. Enpowdered strike capitalizes nicely on his undead status, but anything works. Powder imps would probably not be a bad skill to use if you don't want to use the strategy I just described, though smokescreen won't do much. If your knight ever needs a breather, your priest should be able to take one or two hits from his melee attack easily thanks to the chi sheild. If you use this strategy, you'll find the count almost pathetic as his huge health bar drops away at as-yet-unheard-of speed. As a reward for beating him you'll get two interesting items. The amulet's quite useful, especially later on when you start facing enemies who are extremely hard to damage, because it deals absolute damage which ignores both dodge and armor. The ring is useful if one of your characters is making melee attacks near-exclusively in any given area, but oddly I had trouble finding good places to use it in the later parts of the game during my first two runs.


Last edited by Brickman on Tue Sep 23, 2008 2:51 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 4:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Sorry I put the guide on hold; I just got Bioshock and for some reason both it and TSE are attractive when I'm in the same state of mind (tactical real-time but slow-paced combat with planning as a key; at least that's how I play it). Of course, because of the startup and load times, I'll only play it when I have a good block of time at my disposal, and TSE takes slightly less. And look at that: I'm going back to school, so huge blocks of time should be decreasing in frequency. Guess what that means I'll be playing more vs less.

Anyways, the guide:
-------

The inhabitants of the crypt are a bit less difficult than the ice monsters outside, but still aren't too easy. The main problem here is that you're back in an enclosed space (taking away swordfaith just in time to slaughter some undead, again and proving that the author is quite vindictive). Also, being undead, they all have faitly low respawn times (15 seconds or so), although not as bad as the shamblers. The hardest enemy, or at least the hardest enemy on the harder difficulty levels, is Deep Mass. Deep Mass is another of the "No armor but massive resistance" enemies; they're quite resistant to piercing (and thus hack) but thunderstrike, enpowder, black bullet, spirit summon or any other non-piercing attack is quite effective, especially those that hit multiple enemies or hit one multiple times. And ESPECIALLY the ethereal ones. He can perform a very powerful, 3-hit physical attack against the weakest party member, but whenever he's hurt he will instead activate a very strong regeneration ability instead. It may be wise to get him to that point as quickly as you possibly can on higher difficulty levels; in fact, focusing on getting (and keeping) these guys down to the "wounded" threshold as fast as possible via thunderstrike, magic bullet and enpowder was the way I got through the crypt on absurd. Nobody in the crypt has even half-decent armor against magic or concussive, so area attacks may be used with reckless abandon. Strong armor and fortify should help a bit with them as well, considering the three-hit attack. Because of this guy I do not recommend using your priest as a tank in this area; he will be slaughtered if the Deep Mass decides he's the easiest target.

The Vampyre Child enemies are similar to the boss you just fought; they slowly lose health over time but when they attack they steal some. They're undead and while slightly resistant to piercing and ethereal, they have weak armor so nothing in your arsenal will really have a hard time damaging them. They make two attacks when they charge, so brace will be fully consumed in stopping them, and more importantly brace does not appear to reduce their rate of healing, but they do a lot of damage so you still might try it; powder imps however DO stop the monster from healing at all, and as a bonus if they only survive the first strike they'll block the second for free. So use powder imps. The vampites seem to deal both physical and some other kind of damage, so chi sheilds will take most but not all of the heat, but it's apparently not absolute because they CAN be dodged (or at least I dodged one once while writing this guide). I can't really guess whether or not their attacks vary in strength depending on your health. Finally, the Piecemeals are very, very weak to concussive and resistant to piercing, and nearly immune to ethereal; magic has medium effectiveness. They're also undead. In case you haven't noticed the pattern yet, strike is a pretty good move for this whole level. Anyways, they're only ability is a melee attack, but said attack inflicts poison on the victim, so be careful and use powder imps if you can.

Midway through the crypt you'll find some money, some powerful defense-oriented armor (Titan's Rockplate) and a sword (the ominously-named Early Grave). Hold on to that sword; you might not need it, but if you find yourself stuck later on in the game by being unable to deal enough damage it could turn out to be just what you need. The armor is your choice. One battle later, you'll find the key. If Kaltos is in your party, you'll also find an additional sword, the Black Death, and there's some kind of cutscene attached to it if you keep it weilded long enough, but I've yet to investigate that. Anyways, once you grab the key continue to the right to exit the crypt. Before going on to bitten breeding fields, stop by Littlehampton and talk to the guy who told you about the count; he'll give you some money as a reward. There's no reason not to accept it; I played through my first run without doing so (didn't realize there was one) and it elicits no surprise effects later on and no changes to the story. There's certainly not a morality award coming later on.

The Bitten Breeding Fields is like the Southern Ascent, whose enemies it inherits, only it also contains two new enemies. The Night Gales are immune to everything except magical damage (which kills them VERY fast), so you MUST use swordfaith, wrath and/or magic bullet. They attack by flying off the top of the screen, then making two passes at a party member using logic I can only guess at in their target selection, but they'll USUALLY hit a weak party member and won't always hit the same guy twice. They'll hit twice before returning, doing magic damage. Be sure to hold your attacks so that you never waste any while the Night Gale is offscreen. The other new enemy is the blue bitten. He is immune to ethereal and resistant to concussive damage, and marginally weaker to piercing than magic, but has good armor all around. He has two actions: He'll either attack the weakest party member with a magical snow attack from above, or he'll summon an ice sheild around himself. This sheild will absorb the next attack that hits him and then shatter (flashbang will not still have its stun effect; haven't tested staggering blow because I had Mericious during the run I made this guide), causing him to take no damage. Use skills which do more than one hit or hit more than one enemy to break it; hack will still deal damage with the second swing, and thunderstrike, magic bullet and explosive shell are also effective. Damn won't work because it has no effect on 100% resistances, but I like to cast it anyways due to his armor (especially since you're likely to be using attacks like lucky shot and hack in this area which are weak to armor and benefit from damn). Anyways, between those two and the iceeni, more than half the damage being dealt here is magic, so if you have aurora it will be quite effective. Since it takes the bitten a full turn to summon its sheild, if you can smash it without wasting a full turn you will be at an advantage every time he uses it. The last battle in this area will be against three Night Gales, which can be quite tough since you can't direct any attacks away from your priest; try using smokescreen to buy time for aura.


And finally, we have Frostmaw Rink. This is the point of no return, so be sure you're ready and that you've gotten your reward from Littlehampton. And you'll need all the readiness you can get, because this level's TOUGH. First you'll battle a group of three chillsplinters. This is extremely hard and depending on your party can take forever, because chillsplinters are nasty and, as with the previous fight, you can't control where any of their attacks go. Worse, these guys are actually hard to kill, unlike the Night Gales. Using smokescreen is virtually required for this fight along with anything which can boost it (you may even want to bless the user, and certainly use any equipment that helps with it). Otherwise strategies may vary, and you can focus on them one at a time or try to take them out in rapid succession by weakening the second before killing the first, but you need something that's capable of dealing a lot of damage through armor and which preferably doesn't involve your musketeer, who'll be busy on smokescreen. The strategy that got me through on absurd was to stall a little with smokescreen to build up some energy/overdrive and then unleash a damn+hack+enpowder combo on each chillsplinter in turn, with the priest saving any energy he didn't need for damn to heal. It helped that, having mericious, I had his unique equipment which gives massive bonuses to damn, but I was doing so much damage while taking so little that I'm sure it would have worked with Enshadu too (PyanPau, lacking damn, would need a different strategy; probably one involving more smokescreen, slay or swordfaith, probably charge and possibly the Early Grave from the crypt).

As soon as you kill those three, there will be a short cutscene, followed by an avalanche. You now have a time limit for the rest of this area (note that going to the items/skills menu pauses it, so tweak away). You get some back after every battle, about 20 seconds, as you run from the avalanche, but you have to be fairly quick and play offensively. It's filled with the same enemies as the previous area, who are vulnerable to the same strategies, but try not to use any more defense than strictly necessary (ideally none) and always remember you're on the clock. Pirority #1 is ALWAYS to kill the Iceeni, because if you don't they can and will freeze you, wasting valuable time; damn plus swordfaith plus magic bullet can take one down in a hurry, and is almost a mandatory combo. Night Gales come next, as they can disappear as targets for valuable seconds at a time and shouldn't be left for last. Equipping items with healing abilities may stop you from having to spend time healing, which is nice, as is extra health and armor. The good news is, since you get time back, if you can beat the first battle in really good time you can almost ignore it for the rest.

The first battle is an iceeni and two blunderbusses. This battle is extremely hard, especially with the time limit. Remember that even when damned, slay, aimed shot and black bullet are the strongest attacks against the blunderbuss. You more-or-less do not have any time at all to waste healing this battle so make every hit count. Don't make the mistake of trying to use trick on the blunderbusses unless you KNOW they aren't going to heal. Then comes an Iceeni, a Night Gale and a Blunderbuss; slightly easier. You may have to waste a round on aurora if the Night Gale attacks your priest. The third, two Iceeni flanking a Blunderbuss, will make you tear your hair out because of the Iceeni's party heal ability. Try your best to smash one at a time, then beat on the Blunderbuss. Final battle is the same as the second with a different order in the enemy ranks; iceeni first, then night gale, then blunderbuss. I'm at a loss to imagine beating this area without damn; perhaps bless would be a substitute? I don't know, it seems unfeasible. Anyways, during this part of the game the iceeni more-or-less consistently froze my musketeer, for what it's worth.

Congratulations! You've beaten chapter 6. One of the scientists in the Institute has some gear for sale, but just like Sneaky Pete, there's two more merchants waiting at the beginning of the next chapter, with no battles inbetween you. Save, examine his wears, write down anything you might want to buy, then skip to the next chapter and compare his items to the two merchants there. Then reload and do it again for real. Everything in the Institute could be useful, though I warn you that the gunbelt will periodically hurt the user (not a lot, and partially compensated by the armor bonus when compared to a no-defense belt, but it can interfere with a carefully-laid-out strategy) and unless you use magic bullet near-exclusively the other merchant's rifles are better. Actually, the scriptures except the first are kinda iffy. The armor-seller to your left in the next chapter has two fairly-but-not-too-useful swords, a good defensive sheild (tower sheild), a decent self-defensive staff and two excellent armors: the Juggernaut, which greatly boosts thunderstrike, slightly boosts hack (especially enpowdered hack) and has great armor values; and the Warplate, which greatly boosts fortify, adds significant piercing damage to all your attacks (which helps all but thunderstrike and swordfaith) and has excellent armor values. I'll warn you that most of chapter 8 will be in enclosed spaces and the first two thirds of chapter nine doesn't use swordfaith much either, so you may not want to invest in Azoth. To your right, the hunting rifle is a great catch if you like flashbang and Calivero is a must for any party; there's also a great yet cheap defensive gunbelt and two defensive light armors (the athlete's garb could probably more useful except in boss fights, although it's also more expensive). I'd highly recommend against rouletta; there's very few opportunities left where magic bullet will be seeing more use than other attacks, because the next two chapters contain some enemies who are immune or at least too greatly resistant to magic; its heaviest use was in the chapter you just beat. Other belts and other purchases will probably serve you better. Don't forget to sell excess items as well; stores to do so at are in limited supply, and you will run out and have to drop stuff. In fact, after leaving Huntingden there's only three shopkeepers left in the game. I'd suggest not even bothering to sell rings of health or anything else worth under 50 gold; just dropping them is easier.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 8:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Great job, fun to read - thank you !!
I´m not through, yet...but little comment on the Crone (1st appearence): the red runes seeem to be a curse affecting skill performance (so best pause character till the rune vanishes)
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2008 4:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Thanks. I'll have to check for myself, and that's not high on my list of priorities, but if you can verify it again for me I'll stick it in. Check with recover to avoid needing a calculator; record how much you can heal with or without the crone's curse on you (I want to know the percentage drop), then check if difficulty level affects it.

Anyways, new chapter, new post. This chapter's long and nonlinear, but I think I'll survive. So far this is the easiest I've ever gotten through Misty Marsh, even easier than my normal run; empowdered hack/thunderstrike helps a LOT.
---------------

Chapter 7

Alright, now that your shopping's done (I'll count it as chapter 6), it's off to the jungle. If you have Ferwin, there's an extra cutscene and an interesting mixed blessing/curse: Ferwin gets a status effect which knocks a quarter off the effectiveness of all his skills and shaves off a little armor while it's going, but you also get a bonus party member for the whole chapter. Honestly, since her attacks aren't THAT strong and she can't be directly controlled, and aside from a good dodge rate she's pretty fragile to boo, this is NOT a good deal at all, but you'll have to cope. Now, this area's the least linear in the game; you get to choose, to a small degree, what you'll face and how much. You have to beat two out of three possible areas to unlock both the Maw and the part with mimics; you then have to beat the mimics. You then have to beat two more areas (including those you've already done, and including the mimics) of your choice collecting seeds. Actually, probably slightly less, but once you're halfway through you may as well. Then you can go to the maw and end the chapter. Actually, if you really wanted you could gather seeds while unlocking the maw, and only have to beat four areas total rather than five. Each area has different enemies and a different environmental effect; the enemies are set up to take advantage of said effects, with one exception. Writing this guide is tough since it entails knowing where everything is, which entails beating an area on my absurd run that I would normally skip. Fun. One more note before we start: In this chapter, all enemies have natural regeneration that's always on. It's not enough to foil an effort to kill somebody, but whenever you are forced to play defense your enemies will get some significant healing in, and you need to focus on one goal at a time because dealing a little bit of damage to an enemy won't accomplish anything if you don't follow up right away. That doesn't have to mean one enemy at a time though, as multiple fungal growth and animated sludge enemies can be efficiently fought with area attacks; just don't expect to accomplish much against whoever else is present while doing those area attacks.

Anyways, first choice is misty heights vs thorley's thicket. I'll go over misty heights first, even though I usually skip it or at least save it for last (If you have Grace, though, it might be easier than Flittertop Canopy for accessing the Maw). That's partly because of the enemies being nasty, and partly because this is the only area with a genuinely malicious environmental effect. This area is under dense fog, which gives EVERYONE (except, I think, the extra party member with Ferwin) a 10% dodge bonus and has a 20% chance of swallowing any single-target ranged attack whole (that's everything for the sharpshooter except magic bullet and including explosive shell, as well as swordfaith and wrath), and of course no enemies use such attacks. Try and avoid those attacks, but it's not impossible to use them (unless you spend the whole area on defensive and support skills your sharpshooter has to).

The first enemies you'll encounter, approaching from the right (aka the town side) are an Opal Swarm and a fungal growth. The Opal Swarm is a pain in the butt: He disappears the first instant he's attacked, making him impossible to hit again, and he waits to reappear until right before his next attack (his return is announced by an annoying but informative buzzing sound. That attack can't be stopped, though if you try he'll disappear right after. He does two hits per attack and attacks often, so armor and fortify are good and brace is worthless. Trick, interestingly, will make him vulnerable for a fraction of a second after he hits while he sees stars, but you need to have already initiated the next attack by the time he hits for it to work. This trick requires very, very precise timing with the pause button. Flashbang, more perplexingly, has no such effect. Anyways, he's strong against piercing attacks but weak against concussive; more incentive still to use that trick; overall, combining trick with a timely attack from one or both of your other party members brings this guy down in no time. Logic and pattern recognition from the entire rest of the game would suggest this guy SHOULD be immune to ethereal to avoid logical quirks with black bullet, but he's not; I think he only takes damage while he's onscreen though. Anyways, single, hard-hitting attacks are the only way to kill the swarm.

The other guy is the Fungal Bloom. These guys are unique in that they share health; if more than one is present, and one of them gets injured, the other(s) will respond by instantly giving some of their health to him until all are even; the same net ammount exists, but it's evenly distributed. A single attack can kill one before this ability kicks in though, and poison is still tied to whoever got hit by black bullet even though it drains all the growths' health evenly. They've got nearly no armor but resist magical damage quite well; I like to use thunderstrike or empowdered hack on them instead. They have only one attack, in which they make a spike come out of the ground under two adjacent party members; front or back is random. That means the middle guy always gets hit (Ferwin parties excepted). Each growth also regenerates constantly and quickly, so with three growths that's triple the regeneration (sort of). The area also contains wild burbundles, which are just melee tanks; they're weak to poison and have mediocre armor and are slightly resistant to concussive, but there's nothing else interesting about them.

Anyways, first battle is a swarm in front of a growth. Not too bad. Next comes three growths. Your ability to direct enemy attacks is limited, and none of your enemies will fall until they're all nearly dead, but it's survivable if you capitalize on their low armor with a constant stream of enpowdered thunderstrikes (or thunderstrikes and black bullets, or. . . well, anything involving the word "thunderstrike", or at the very least "hack"). Next up is a burbundle and two growths; if you're gonna use thunderstrike and/or lucky shot you ought to damn the burbundle first. Finally, there'll be a burbundle, a growth and a swarm; no harder than the others. Pound your way through for a save point and access to the Flittertop Canopy and The Maw. By the way, DO NOT go to the Maw until the end of the chapter; if you go before seeing Mama Saga, you'll have to sit through the mamoth of a fight that is the Maw's spiders twice because your party will just decide it's a dead end.

Thorley's Thicket is, of all the areas in chapter 7, the most "normal". The area's effect is dank bog, which makes everyone move slower when making melee attacks; since it doesn't affect energy regeneration this is almost meaningless, and if anything it helps you by making it easier to direct attacks or hit back-row enemies.

The enemies are also mostly new. The Plated Gair, aka armored snake thing, has excellent armor, though he's weak to ethereal and a bit weak to magic. He will make a normal melee attack, but will also sometimes charge, as per the skill; when he does attacks against him do more damage but so does his next one. He will also, when wounded, retreat into his shell and regenerate some and becomes invincible; just ignore him until he comes back out. He is large and has armor so slay and aimed shot are quite effective, along with swordfaith and wrath, and damn should help with him as well, but no matter what he takes a good bit of effort to kill thanks to the healing shell move.

The Animated Sludge is immune to ethereal and has absurd piercing resistance, but has no armor OR resistance to concussive or magical attacks. He has two abilities: He will either create (or enhance, if it already exists) a "sludge barrier", effectively a small extra enemy with no attacks but who gets in the way (you don't have to kill it to end combat though), or hit all party members with a poisonous concussive attack. Lucky shot is quite good against him, as it picks up extra damage every enemy it travels through (including sludge barriers), and thunderstrike works too, but be aware that those attacks are not going to scratch the Plated Gairs and are unadvisable against Opal Swarms. I usually don't bother directly attacking the barriers at all, just the creator, and area attacks take care of them anyways.

One last nasty enemy here is the Muegin. This ameoboid monster will rush forward and latch onto the party member in front, and will not stop stealing their health until he is dislodged by an attack. Not every attack will dislodge the Muegin, but every attack has a chance of doing so; melee attacks may be more effective and attacks by the afflicted person may be less, but it's hard to be sure. If one of these is present you should pick at least one party member to always keep an action readied, and move him out of the front whenever the Muegin attacks (The dank bog effect gives you even more time). Note that the attacker must be behind the party member the Muegin attaches itself to, or he'll just hit one of the other enemies. If you're both quick and lucky you can reduce his attack's effect to relatively little. His armor and resistances are all mediocre, and he is extremely weak to piercing (which, conveniently, is what most melee attacks do) and least susceptible to magic. Hack is probably the best skill by far to use on him, but you ought to be prepared to have your priest use strike if that fails.

First fight is a Gair and a Sludge. After that I think it may be random, but at least once I got a Gair and two Sludges, then Two sludges and an Opal Swarm, and finally two gairs and a sludge. Thunderstrike and lucky bullet, used wisely, will see you through, though that third battle may be more of an "empowdered thunderstrike" deal. It's all healing for the priest (unless you want to damn the gairs), especially if you have Ferwin and his delicate friend, as the animated sludge hits the whole party with its attacks. The last battle I just listed hardest, because the gairs are difficult to kill, but it's not impossible.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 24, 2008 9:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
It's great to see you continuing this guide Brickman!

Count Cristoff and the Vampyre Children all deal ethereal damage in addition to piercing. I can't remember how far I went on coding it with the Children, but for the Count at least it should be linked to the amount they heal, and so no health at all is gained if you dodge it.

Night Gales deal a mix of magic and ethereal damage. Blue Bittens should always gain the effects from Flashbang and Stunning Blow when hit - the ice shield simply gives them damage immunity. Let me know if this is not the case.

The Crone's red rune was supposed to debuff attack skills ( or be an anti-Bless ). I forgot to make it clear what it does and now even I have partly forgotten. Not a very good piece of game design. Sad

Plated Gairs are not quite invincible when they curl up, just very resistant, except to Black Bullet, which finishes them off quite quickly in this state.

I am learning some interesting things by reading this too, and it's fun. Smile Let me know if I can help you out in any way.

I picked up Bioshock too last month, now that it is half-price or less. I've really been enjoying it, even though the internet has completely spoiled the plot for me. But at the moment, when I have time spare, I only seem to be in the mood for Team Fortress 2, Company of Heroes or Civ4.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 24, 2008 10:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
the Crone´s runes:
hard to figure out exactly without spending hours (or so...) I could reproduce -23% with healing (without override), on attack skills it seemed to be slightly less (if I didn´t mess up with override/multiplyer).

Could only try on hard (next time I won´t lock...)
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 24, 2008 12:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Well now I have to ask what flashbang actually DOES. Because I just tested your claim, and while it did produce the ring of stars by a freak of timing before the sheild even finished its shattering a new one was up. Does it slow their rate of energy regeneration, or is it supposed to prevent them from using skills?
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 24, 2008 3:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
All creatures have an energy pool that refills at a rate of 1 per clock cycle, and all skills require a certain amount of energy to use. Flashbang subtracts energy when it hits a target ( currently 7x the number of foes )

I just checked the numbers for the Blue Bittens - the shield recast costs 17 energy, whilst their attack costs 37. It is possible for them to be shielded at ~36 energy, about make an attack, when you hit them with Flashbang. Flashbang breaks their shield and subtracts 21 energy, leaving them with 15 energy. 2 clock cycles later ( or possibly 1, depending on the code ordering ), they can recast their shield.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 24, 2008 10:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
I didn't even realize that the sheild was cheaper than the attack. I wrote the guide and beat the area assuming it wasn't. Are there any other creatures/bosses with one or more substantially cheaper moves?
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 24, 2008 10:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Shara's instant res skill I think. Most monsters decide their next skill immediately after using the previous one. There are only a few cases ( mostly Heal and Recover ) where they will react immediately to a change in their situation by changing their next skill )

Flashbang used to affect monster skill cooldown, a stat which player characters also have, and so was more like a 'stun' effect. But I removed that variable to simplify the monster code. The Blue Bittens are probably one of the few areas where this shows.
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2009 4:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
The Crone's Runes:
Unless my memory's messed up then the Crone's runes are de-bless's. In combat I recall moving the pointer over my rune'd character to see the level 8 levels lower than the rest of the party on normal.
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