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Clarste

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Home Security Opera ~ Kaguya Holmes
As you may not have noticed and now cannot notice, the last few installment titles have been rather uninspired. Without the whole stage narrative of dungeon -> random encounters -> boss I find it very difficult to come up with boring puns, or even mildly relevant phrases. However, I recently realized that the quests themselves have names, so future installments will be named after their quest. As you are now able to notice, they have pretty weird names. Previous installments have had their titles edited.

Anyway, as I mentioned last time Kaguya has challenged Mokou to a duel. This quest has a special completion condition, which is that only Mokou is allowed to participate in the battle. As I discover, this does not mean that no one else can fight Kaguya, just that you'll fail the quest if you win with anyone in the party other than Mokou.

First of all, I prepare Mokou for a duel. I have no idea what she'll have to deal with, but clearly its designed for her to win by herself, so it can't be too bad. I decide to focus on damage primarily and spec her out of her tanking characteristics and more into a fighter. I also buy her an up-to-date fist weapon, which conveniently enough has the Immortal-slayer property. That sounds helpful. How many immortals can there be though? I can't remember the icon for it...

Kaguya is back in Eientei, and as with Rumia the enemies are not at the appropriate level for my party. This annoys me, because it turns the fights into complete wastes of time instead of meaningful obstacles (or at least experience points). This time around I decide to start from the end and work my way backwards.

Kaguya is quickly discovered hiding in a corner, using the same Fairy-with-magic-circle sprite that Rumia did. Having already prepared Mokou I simply engage her and am surprised to discover that that my full party is in combat. I had been kinda hoping for a cutscene or something. Failing that, at least automatically separate Mokou! I'm also surprised to note that Kaguya is a wizard, not an immortal. Oh yeah, those kanji mean undead. It said "not death", cut me some slack. While I try to remember whether or not its possible to intentionally create a less than full party, I spend a few turns attacking with Mokou while everyone else defends. Then I decide to just run away and try this again.

As it turns out, it is possible to create a party with only one person, although it involves a slightly different order of selecting things. Not too troublesome. Then I get attacked from behind by a random enemy that I had avoided instead of killing (because they're worthless). After a bit of trouble and multiple encounters with that same enemy I manage to get back to Kaguya. And she kills me.

Kaguya doesn't do much damage, around the 30-150 range on Mokou, but that's an awful lot when you have about 500 max HP and don't have a healer. I was hoping for something closer to, say, zero. She doesn't have low enough HP to just burst down before she kills me. She also has some annoying abilities like Time Stop, which does about a hundred damage and stuns, as well as some shock ability which does about 30 damage and paralyzes. Rounding that out is her Last Word which simply does a bit more damage than her other attacks. I intended to run away if things went badly, but stuns put a damper on that plan and she actually kills me. Poor Mokou.

I mentioned this a ways back, somewhere, but Mokou has very few abilities. Like, four. And they're all spellcards, and they all just do fire damage. In the expansion, she got 2 new ones (also spellcards) that cast Reraise, a single targeting one and party targeting Last Spell version. Which might be nice if surviving with 1 HP was something that could be considered meaningful here. So I don't exactly have a lot of options here. This has to be possible though. My first thought is to steal whatever it is that lets Reimu regenerate 100 HP per turn, which turns out to be her sword. C'mon, I just bought a fist weapon!

Anyway, given that she randomly uses more or less powerful attacks, as long as the average per turn is less than 100 I should be good. To that end, I redo Mokou's tanking stuff to see if I can just survive by regeneration. And then I can't find Kaguya. I guess she moved to another room. It's at this point that I remember that Eientei is a maze of one-way doors and hidden passages. And is infested with rabbits, who trigger pointless battles that don't end nearly as fast as they should. And to kill them efficiently I'd have to switch my party back to people other than Mokou.

I decided to ignore that last point and just run away from everything I could with only Mokou in my party. Unfortunately, having enough defense to take 0 damage doesn't help against instant death. Oh yeah, enemies used to be threatening. So I died again, and then again, trying in vain to search for Kaguya. After a while of this, I decide to just give up and exit and re-enter the area until she respawns back where I found her before. This works, and I engage her again. And she kills me. Turns out she has an HP to 1 attack too, so the slow and steady option is doomed to failure.

Then I decide that this is impossible, and maybe that quest condition thing was a typo? Or something? I dunno, but I'm gonna kill Kaguya. With my full party. She seems to have a slightly different moveset like this (or maybe that's just my imagination), but as you might expect she dies really easily and drops a crafting material for Mokou's weapons, the Phoenix Feather. Um... I just spent like 3 of those preparing for this fight. After the battle, I see the dreaded "Mission Failed" message and I have no choice but to reload. I simply cannot live with that on my conscience.

I didn't actually know that I could reload since the game is constantly auto-saving, but pressing F12 takes me back to the title and when I load the game I'm at the Eientei heal point and Kaguya is still there. The mission goes on.

Then I start trying some crazy stuff. Kaguya is like, a wizard right? She's casting spells, not hitting me with a stick. So all of Mokou's semi-fancy armor is doing nothing, theoretically speaking. What if, instead of wearing heavy armor with 0 magic defense she wore light armor designed for mages, with practically no defense but some magic defense. Low values of magic defense seem to have high returns, if Patchouli being able to survive any battle ever is any indication, so if I combine this with stacking magic defense accessories maybe I could lower Kaguya's magic damage below 101 and survive even after the HP to 1 attack!

It was beautiful dream, but it was crushed by reality. It seems to have little to no effect on most of her attacks, and caused Mokou to take more damage from at least one of them which apparently physical. Okay... how about I steal Reimu's armor but keep the magic defense accessories. No. Buy new armor from the shop? No. Respec her to sword specialization? No, and I'm not sure why that might help. Ultimately I decide that I'm on a dead end and that defensive strategies clearly aren't working. In that case, the best defense is a good offense.

So I respec Mokou to spam spellcards and equip her with STR and extra bomb accessories. I keep the regen sword, which is stronger than her fist anyway. Although the fist gives her a chance to double attack, including with spellcards, the sword's regeneration is significantly better than nothing. Anyway, I just have to hope that the HP to 1 attack fails. It has a rather high chance of simply doing 1 damage. During this process I re-evaluate Mokou moveset and realize that I'd been using the Final Spell version of Reraise, so I replace that with the single target one to conserve bombs.

So I start the battle again and as always start the fight with Reraise. Except it's not Reraise. It's regeneration. It causes Mokou to regenerate a percentage of her HP every turn, which when stacked with the sword is a little over 200, more than enough to survive anything Kaguya can dish out even after being reduced to 1 HP. As far as I can tell, it never runs out, ever. Kids, that's why you should always read the spell descriptions, even if they're in Japanese and the icon is a little angel that looks exactly like the reraise spell in Final Fantasy.

That's not the end of my problems though. When reduced to low HP, Kaguya heals. Remember that? That was her thing back in the day. She also casts defense up on herself and attack down on me. So she can't kill Mokou, and Mokou can't kill her. Truly the war of the immortals. Very thematically appropriate. You know that whole Game As Art thing where everyone always argues about whether gameplay itself can tell a narrative? Well it fucking can. The endless battle between two immortals, locked in a conflict that neither can win, nor can they lose. I shed a single tear at both its beauty and its ugliness.

I have the advantage though, I don't have to spend MP! So while she'll eventually run out and be unable to heal (probably), I'll be there to take the final hit! After about 10 minutes of this she's still at 95% so I run away. Screw that. Even if that ends up being my strategy I should probably turn off the animations first.

The obvious answer to this problem is more damage and more bombs. I remove the last vestiges of Mokou's defensive accessories (paralyze resist counts as offensive!) and load her up with more bombs. I also decide to not waste bombs while I have attack down. Kaguya doesn't always heal, so as long as I can burst her down in between (while its on cooldown?) it should be fine. And it is.

This time she doesn't drop anything. The quest reward is a single Phoenix Feather. Which I've now spent 6 of.

...Victory is its own reward. Surely.
27th Jan '11 10:58:26 PM flag for mods
comments
The quest titles aren't so much weird as they are otaku jokes. Rumia's is based of Ore Imo, this one off Tantei Opera Milky Holmes. Not sure about the Eirin/Reisen one, but it sounds familiar
Hylarn 5th Jan 11
... Well that was kind of morbidly hilarious.
Fawriel 8th Jan 11
Oops. Apparently editing older installments pushes them to the front. I don't know how to fix this.
Clarste 18th Jan 11
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