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Makai Kingdom: So it shall be written, so it shall be liveblogged:

 1 Willy Four Eyes, Thu, 4th Mar '10 6:42:51 AM from the Outside of Somewhere Relationship Status: Abstaining
Who Am I Again?
Makai Kingdom: Chronicles of the Sacred Tome (known in Japan as Phantom Kingdom) is a Turn-Based Strategy RPG from your friends and mine at Nippon Ichi Software. This is the story of Zetta, the Badass Freakin' OverlordTM of the Netherworld, who accidentally blows everything up and sets out to conquer it all over again in hopes of getting his body back.

The game plays a lot like Disgaea and Phantom Brave, in that you move around a grid and have to kill all of the enemies to win. There is one major difference between those two games, though. While Zetta is the main character of the story, he won't be able to participate directly in the battles. In fact, none of the unique characters that appear here are playable until the first playthrough is completed, so the army we use to take over will be completely our own.

Introduction

Our sordid little tale of conquest begins in the Forbidden Library, where Zetta  voice credits has discovered the location of a book called the Sacred Tome, which contains all of the secrets of all of the Netherworlds in the Underworld. He's seeking it out because if he doesn't find it, the oracle Pram prophesizes that his Netherworld will be destroyed. As he Power Walks toward the book's lectern, he is stopped by the thunder god Raiden, whose master has ordered him to destroy Zetta. Zetta laughs off Raiden's threats, and the two of them begin fighting.

A battle tutorial ensues, but Zetta isn't fully interested in telling it, urging the player to check out the Help menu for any questions. The objective of each battle is to kill off every enemy with red life bars. There's no friendly fire immunity, so anyone caught in the targeting circle of any of the skills you use will be affected, like it or not.

The battle begins with me controlling a level 2000 Zetta, equipped with a Zetta Sword which makes him zetta powerful. His opponent is a level 1000 Raiden, who has a thunder drum, four level 100 Incubuses flanking him, and about half as much HP as Zetta. Zetta starts off by using a sword skill called Zodiac to get rid of Raiden's bodyguards. Raiden retaliates by beating on his drum and zapping Zetta with lightning, but even with all of that power on his side, he's no match for Zetta's otherworldly sword skills, and the battle winds up being completely one-sided.

Zetta, unimpressed, notes that Raiden's fighting style reminds him of someone. He doesn't take more than a few seconds to ponder it as he indulges in a bit of Evil Gloating. When he opens the book, he expects to hear good news about his overworld being saved, but instead finds an entry saying this:

"Lord Zetta is stupid. His foolishness has doomed the Netherworld to extinction."

Zetta is not pleased to find that the tome is mocking him, so in anger, he sets the Sacred Tome on fire, which triggers "Final Attack: Divide by Zero" and blows everything up...just like the good book said. At the very last second, Zetta decides to confine himself to the book to save his own skin, but not in time to prevent everything he's ever owned from being burned into katamari stardust.

After the smoke clears, a little green-haired girl strolls by as Zetta monologues about his new predicament. The girl pulls a Jedi Mind Trick on him, saying that she doesn't have to worry about him, and then dashes off.

Out of nowhere, he senses a strong mana energy coming through. "Mmmph...it better not be Salome!" he thinks. It's actually Pram, who emerges from her own Netherworld to answer his call, and crack open a few book jokes at his expense. Zetta wants to know if he can get his body back. Pram says it's possible, and tells him that she brought along a friend in Star Overlord Valvoga to help him out. "Valvoga" is an overlord comprised of three beings: Micky, the head - a four-armed freak that does most of the speaking and has Ambiguously Gay written all over him; Ophelia, the body - a head who manipulates Micky into doing things he doesn't want to do; and Dryzen, the...dragon thing, who likes to scream and kill things.

Some narration from Overlord Zetta about the state of the Netherworld War, followed by Micky remarking about how Zetta hasn't lost much of his mana power since being turned into a book. Zetta gloats again, but Pram mocks his badassitude by saying that he can't do anything with it because he can't move around. She says that he can get his overlord back by simply wishing for it to return. However, he can't do that right now, because he, uh...kinda doesn't have limbs. Pram prepares to write something in the Sacred Tome. Zetta, reminding her of who he is, demands that she start out by giving him a new Overlord's Castle. Pram complies, but she makes his "castle" a doghouse, telling him that he has to start from the bottom again. Zetta, naturally, is not amused.

We finally get down to business and get a chance to create some new characters. In order to do this, you have to select an object to bind it to (just like in Phantom Brave; different objects affect a character's stat growth). Zetta starts by making his first new minion from an Allied Symbol, a pendant that raises all available stats by 20%. This character will be our Standardized Leader, and his name shall be Steve.

Here are the classes you get to choose from at the start when creating characters:
  • Male Warrior: A powerful melee class. Good with swords, morningstars, spears, and axes.
  • Female Warrior: Same as the warrior, but her attacks favor speed over strength. Has proficiency in daggers, swords, rapiers, and spears.
  • Healer: Basically, she heals stuff, both inside and outside of combat. Not powerful, but necessary if you want to survive in the underworld. She can use daggers, spears, books, and syringes.
  • Male Magician: Old guy who can use elemental spells with devastating effect. Is able to use daggers, books, drums, and boxes.
  • Female Magician: Like the male magician, only more girly and younger. Daggers, books, magic staves and magnets are her forte.
  • Thief: Is good at stealing items from enemies. He also can hold more items than other characters for this purpose. He can use daggers, rapiers, UF Os, rifles, and fishing poles.
  • Merchant: When outside of battle, she sells weapons and armor. At higher levels, her inventory grows, and sale prices decrease. She can use spears, nunchakus, bazookas, and hammers.

Zetta says that we'll need at least two new characters. We have the following objects at our disposal: two Palm Trees (which raise HP and SP slightly, but lower DEF and RES slightly), two Weeds (which raise SP and TEC, but lower ATK and DEF), two Rocks (which raise HP and DEF, but lowers INT and TEC), and two Flowers (which raise SP and INT, but lower HP and ATK).

Now, this is where you, the readers, come in. Who shall accompany Steve on his journey to be Zetta's guinea pig to take back his Netherworld? You get the pick the classes and the names.

edited 4th Mar '10 6:45:17 AM by WillyFourEyes

What class is Steve going to be?

I'd like one of the party members to be a female warrior named Meredith, after my DnD character. >_>
 
 4 Willy Four Eyes, Thu, 4th Mar '10 9:06:07 AM from the Outside of Somewhere Relationship Status: Abstaining
Who Am I Again?
I'm going to make him a warrior, like I did with my leader the first time I played and beat this game. They have pretty good starting HP, and can be very dangerous once they get their attack power up.

Zudak: Okay. Meredith the female warrior will be registered. Steve has decided to create her from a palm tree for the HP and SP boost. She'll be his "girl Friday".

Now, I just need one more character, and then we can go on (I can always go back and create more later.)

edited 4th Mar '10 11:18:32 AM by WillyFourEyes

Geekling
Oh! Oh!

A healer named Kashiwa!

 6 Willy Four Eyes, Thu, 4th Mar '10 12:50:30 PM from the Outside of Somewhere Relationship Status: Abstaining
Who Am I Again?
Kashiwa? Why Kashiwa? Just curious, that's all.

Geekling
Kashiwa is my druid healer in World of Warcraft.

Her name is Japanese and translates to "Oak Tree".

She's a tree-form druid who likes smiting mean people with wrath-bolts and tentacles of rape-y doom.

Mmmm, rape-y doom... ^_^

 8 Willy Four Eyes, Thu, 4th Mar '10 2:34:49 PM from the Outside of Somewhere Relationship Status: Abstaining
Who Am I Again?
That ought to do it. Kashiwa was spawned from one of the flowers, so now she has a doubly Meaningful Name.

Steve reports his success to Zetta, who spawns a shop within the castle. He also gives Steve 500 Hell (HL) for buying weapons and other goodies. He gets himself a Saber (sword-type weapon), a Stone Knife for Meredith (a dagger-type weapon, obviously), and a Sai Spear for Kashiwa (she'll need to fight, too, eventually). The girls are more than happy to receive their new weapons.

Episode 1: Pages of Tragedy

Zetta decides that it's time to get a new netherworld to conquer. He doesn't trust Pram to grant his wish without screwing it up (see: his dog house), so he asks Micky to do it ("in the name of Dark Lord Valvoga"). Writing down the wish in the Sacred Tome sucked away some of Micky's mana power. Pram states that more powerful and complex wishes drain more mana from the user, and creating a new netherworld would likely erase a lesser demon from existence. Ophelia, Dryzen and Micky argue briefly about what Zetta can do to repay him for granting his wish. Zetta thanks Micky, but also calls him a pushover.

There's now a Dimensional Gate at the castle, which Steve, Meredith, Kashiwa and others can go to travel between netherworlds. Steve approaches the gate, and heads toward "Beginner's Lounge".

Stage 1-1: Meet Micky

As Zetta travels down to the new netherworld, Pram insults Micky for being too soft on Zetta. Ophelia slyly notes to Pram that she left a little "surprise" waiting for Zetta as soon as he landed.

A new netherworld for Overlord Zetta has been created in the name of Dark Lord Valvoga.

P.S. Please enjoy the thrills and adventure. — Micky

Zetta notices the band of rogues coming toward him, and issues an ultimatum: "Listen up, you punks! The name's Zetta, and I'm gonna overlord your faces off!"

A tutorial on inviting fighters into battle ensues. You can have as many as eight characters on the field at any time. If all of them get killed during battle, the game's over. Enemy units are assigned a "point" score, and each stage has a point threshold that is needed to pass the stage. If that's not fulfilled, then defeating all of the units will be good enough. Extra points mean extra rewards at the end of the battle, up to a total of 1000.

There are three enemy units on the battle - two unarmed warriors, and a samurai with a Broadsword. Zetta summons Steve and his two not-girlfriends into battle to show them who's boss.

"You called, Master?" Steve asks upon landing.

"Yes, " replies Zetta. "Get those idiots off my property!"

"You got it!"

Steve, Meredith and Kashiwa head toward one of the unfortunately unarmed mooks and kill him. The Samurai comes over and attacks with a technique that hits all three of them at once. Kashiwa stands by to treat her wounds along with Meredith's. Steve's tough and hasn't taken much damage, so he doesn't need the healing. Meredith tries to back off, but the two remaining enemy fighters beat her into submission. Steve gets angry and takes his frustration out on the one without the sword for killing off their friend. They eventually triumph, and gain a Hospital, a Rapier and some pocket change for their victory. When they return, Zetta places the hospital in the castle. Steve hurries over there to bring Kashiwa back to life, which luckily doesn't cost much for a character at her level.

"Whew, " says Meredith. "That was painful. Those guys came out of nowhere."

"I know, " replies Steve.

Kashiwa nods in agreement. "Yes...being punched in the face and passing out was certainly not the way I wanted to start my existence."

"I'm sure we'd be a lot better off if we had a few more people helping us out, " said Meredith. "Having just three of us isn't going to be good enough. Who knows? They might even have four bad guys coming after us!"

Kashiwa sighs and shakes her head.

"I'm not sure if we should trust this Micky guy, " says Steve. "I never trust anyone with more than one body."

The trio gathers around their remaining artifacts and Zetta's doghouse to ponder their next move.

edited 5th Mar '10 1:02:32 PM by WillyFourEyes

 9 Willy Four Eyes, Fri, 5th Mar '10 3:45:36 AM from the Outside of Somewhere Relationship Status: Abstaining
Who Am I Again?
I like to have a balanced team of classes going in to future dungeons. There are still six objects left, and four class that we haven't used up yet (Male Magician, Female Magician, Thief and Merchant). Any suggestions for names for any of them?

 10 Awe Striker, Fri, 5th Mar '10 5:58:38 AM from a moving point.
RM/8
How about we have a male magician character called Astral and a thief named Io?

edited 5th Mar '10 5:59:05 AM by AweStriker

"Only now, after being besieged by a flock of talking ponies, did he really understand what he'd lost. "
 11 Willy Four Eyes, Fri, 5th Mar '10 6:03:18 AM from the Outside of Somewhere Relationship Status: Abstaining
Who Am I Again?
Okay, got it. Now, for the Female Magician and the Merchant (who is also female)?

Geekling
Female merchant?

Questionable ethics?

Nabiki!

 13 Willy Four Eyes, Fri, 5th Mar '10 11:55:00 AM from the Outside of Somewhere Relationship Status: Abstaining
Who Am I Again?
Great! Now, we just need a name for a female magician, and we can continue.

 14 Awe Striker, Fri, 5th Mar '10 12:21:19 PM from a moving point.
RM/8
I'm going to say... Morrigan.
"Only now, after being besieged by a flock of talking ponies, did he really understand what he'd lost. "
 15 Willy Four Eyes, Fri, 5th Mar '10 2:07:28 PM from the Outside of Somewhere Relationship Status: Abstaining
Who Am I Again?
Excellent. Now that we have a full stable, we can go back to our show.
"The only Overlord I trust is Zetta, " he continues. "He gave me life, and also the power to grant life. I can use my powers to get some more allies from us, easily."

"Are you sure that's not going to hurt you?" asks Kashiwa. "Creating another life from scratch is a hard thing to do."

"Maybe for you, " Zetta interjects, "but for an Overlord like me, it's a piece of cake. I gave a bit of my power to your 'leader' there just for this purpose. It won't cost you anything at first, but if you want more powerful minions, you'll need to fight hard and get more Mana."

Meredith sits down in front of the doghouse, sharpening her dagger and pretending not to be interested. "All right, 'leader', " she murmurs. "Go ahead and do your thing. I'll be over here...sleeping."

Steve walks over to the other flower and hums a spell. A bright light washes over the flower, and after a few seconds it disappears, leaving an old bearded man in its place.

"Hmm...?" the man grumbles. "How did I get here? And who are you?"

Steve extends his hand as a gesture of welcome, but the old man ignores it. "I'm Steve", he says. "You're in the Overlord's castle now."

"Overlord? Hmph...I'll show that Overlord a thing or two about what it means to use magic!"

"Hey!" shouts Zetta. "I'm standing right here, you know."

A few minutes later, Steve uses the same spell on the other palm tree, and out pops a girl with pink hair and matching robes.

"Hiya! I'm Morrigan!" she says, grinning from ear to ear. "Nice to meetcha!"

He then does the same with the two weeds, creating a boy in a suspicious-looking hat and a girl in a baggy blue outfit and a pouch hanging off her left hip.

"...Io, " says the boy.

Steve waves to him. "'Yo' to you, too."

"Not 'yo'...'Io'. That's my name. EYE-oh. Got it?"

Io walks up to Steve and tries to palm a few HL from him, but fails.

"Yeah, I got it, " says Meredith. "By the way...your technique needs work."

Kashiwa walks up to the other girl, who is unpacking weapons and other assorted goods and laying them out in front of the shop. "And who might you be, young lady?"

"Name's Nabiki, " she says. "If you've come to buy something, I'm the girl to ask."

"Since Steve brought you into this world, that officially makes you part of the team, right? So...what exactly is going to happen with all of the money we spend?"

"It goes right into research and development, of course. You get to research my development as I get stronger when you spend money."

"That doesn't make any sense, " says Io.

"Neither does being born from weeds or flowers, but hey, " says Meredith. "It's a weird universe, this Netherworld..."

Io takes the Rapier lying on the ground and puts it in his pocket. Steve purchases a pair of books for Astral and Morrigan, and spends a little bit on Nabiki to buy her some Nunchaku.

"I've got some armor, too, if you want it!"

Sadly, Steve doesn't have enough HL to purchase any just yet, so he orders everyone to come with him to the next area.

Stage 1-2: Micky's Celebration

Another tutorial, this time on lifting and throwing. Zetta notes that everyone can take items with them if they're holding them once they complete the mission. He also teaches the gang about extension maps, which will pop up if an object or enemy is thrown out of bounds.

The army's opponents this time are the same as on the first map, but there appears to be an extension map to the east. (The main map is worth only 100 points, but the extension carries 300, which will be necessary to complete the map satisfactorily.) Zetta summons everyone into battle, leaving not one person behind.

"You guys again?" says Steve. "This time, we've got a numbers advantage, so you'd better watch out!"

The team begins an all-out assault on the bodyguards. Steve, Meredith and Nabiki easily take out one, but Io and Kashiwa have trouble disposing the other. Astral and Morrigan use wind and fire magic on the samurai before he gets a chance to attack. While they think they've won, a new map springs up to the east, populated with three pumpkinheads, who move forward to attempt to attack. Kashiwa treats her wounds, and Astral takes out the other bodyguard before he can hit her again. Io spots a nice-looking flower on the east side of their starter map and runs over and takes it.

"Ooh! That looks so cute, " says Morrigan. "Can I have it?"

"Sorry, " says Io. "Finders keepers!"

"Aww, you're no fun."

She, Nabiki and Meredith team up on one of the pumpkinheads, who attempt to fight back, but turn out not to be quite as dangerous as their freakish appearance leads them to be. While Astral practices his magic on an unsightly rock, everyone else gangs up on the two pumpkinheads. They come away with a small flower, a weed, and a mysterious item called a "Gency Tonic" for their troubles.

Meanwhile, Pram and Valvoga are watching the battle on celestial television. Pram and Ophelia are mildly amused by the carnage taking place on Micky's netherworld. Micky is again mocked for being too soft on Zetta, and he retaliates with a Lame Comeback about him having seniority over Pram, who promptly shows him up by demonstrating a Battle Aura capable of cowing him into subservience.

Author's Note: The flower Io picked up on this map had four stars next to its name. When used to create a new character, it provides a boost to the character's starting stats depending on how many stars are displayed (and also allows for more allocation of skill points). It's a good idea to pick up these items when you see them.

Also, defeating the pumpkinheads in battle has added it to the list of creatable characters. It can use daggers, rifles, flamethrowers, and wrenches. Since we don't have any firearms in the shop yet, pumpkinhead's utility is going to be quite limited early on.

edited 5th Mar '10 2:11:15 PM by WillyFourEyes

 16 Willy Four Eyes, Sat, 6th Mar '10 5:15:30 PM from the Outside of Somewhere Relationship Status: Abstaining
Who Am I Again?
As the team returns to base to rest up, Steve looks around the area. Aside from the hospital, the shop and Zetta's doghouse, there aren't any other buildings in the area.

"Hey, Lord Zetta, " he asks. "Why aren't there any buildings here?"

"Don't ask me, " says Zetta. "It was Pram's wish to create this place, not mine. If you want some buildings here, why don't you get some mana and wish for one? It'll cost you big time, though."

Steve opens the Sacred Tome and prepares to write down a wish, but finds that the building creation option is unavailable to him.

"Hey! Why can't I do that?"

"In order to create a new building in this place, the wish maker must give up his/her life to make it appear, " says Zetta. "You're the leader of the team, and if you were to give up your life, there'd be no team. The only way to do it safely would be to have someone else wish to be leader first."

Meredith looks at the Tome, and scans through a list of buildings until she finds one that appeals to her...a cheap-looking hut that only costs five mana to summon at her level.

Some of the other buildings you can acquire in this game: Available buildings:
  • Warehouse: Can house several characters at once.
  • Academy: Very expensive, but boosts experience growth of anyone who is summoned from it.
  • Hut: Cheapest of all of the buildings. Increases attack power by 10%, and has a wider range of summoning.
  • Raider Hut: An upgraded hut; this one increases attack power by 20%
  • Outpost Tent: Increases defense by 30%
  • Fortress: A spiffy-looking mini-castle that boosts attack power by 30%.
  • Command Center: Increases defense by 40%. Only Warriors can wish for it.
  • Hospital: Restores 10% HP every turn. Only Healers can wish for it.
  • Library: Increases weapon mastery rate by 50%. Only Magicians can wish for it.
  • Shop: Increases money gained in battle by 50%. Only Merchants can wish for it.
  • Graveyard: This building actually damages your characters 10% each turn, but causes nasty side effects to any enemies it gets dropped on when summoned into battle. Only Thieves can wish for it.

Nobody has the requisite mana power to create buildings at the moment, so Steve buys some armor from Nabiki (though because he doesn't have enough to outfit the whole party, she doesn't get any.) His business done, they go back down to Micky's netherworld to knock some heads.

Stage 1-3: Micky's Anthem

Author's Note: This is a fully Randomly Generated Level, so it'll be different each time the party comes to this area.

Upon landing, the team notices a group of rogues brandishing weapons and grinning menacingly. They don't seem to be fully organized, so Zetta calls in the whole team to dispatch them.

"All right, minions!" says Zetta. "Time to go to work! And whatever you do, don't let any of them touch me!"

"What happens if they do that?" asks Io.

"Then I'm afraid you'll all just have to walk back to the Overlord's Castle, won't you?"

The party collectively gulps, and then heads off into battle. They emerge on a beachfront, with only two enemies - a female warrior and two carrot men. There appears to be something beyond the ocean, but they can't tell yet. The carrot men retreat while their leader comes forward by herself.

"That was your last mistake, " Meredith says to the rogue warrior.

"Not even worth wasting my magic on, " says Astral as he shocks her with a bolt of energy from his magic book. Killing her reveals an area with a rogue merchant and another warrior. Oddly, this new tract of land appears right next to the beachfront. Nobody seems to want to question where the water came from, or where it's all going to go.

While the team is focused on getting rid of the two carrot monsters, the second warrior sneaks up behind everyone and attacks the Sacred Tome. Everyone, including the attacker, hears a loud CRACK! and simultaneously feels a sharp pain running through them.

"You fools!" said Zetta. "Look what your carelessness has caused! Next time, protect me, and don't let anyone sneak attack you like that again!"

Astral kills off the warrior before she gets a chance to attack the book again and cause any more damage, but the enemy merchant sucker-punches Io and knocks him out. Astral and Morrigan press onto the second map and destroy a key stone, seeking an opportunity to cause more chaos.

"You know, you've already completed the objective, " says Zetta. "You guys can leave whenever you want."

"They don't look so tough, " says Steve, pointing his sword in the direction of the new monsters that sprung up. Two of them gang up on Morrigan and take her out with their knives. The others rush forward to assist Astral as he tries to hold them off.

Nabiki takes one of the palm trees and sticks it into her pouch of holding. "Gather everything you can!" she shouts to everyone. "Io would have wanted it that way..."

They defeat the leftover pumpkinhead and collect a bit of experience and money, but because Zetta was attacked, they don't get any material rewards besides the ones they had ganked from the battlefield.

Zetta chides the team for letting their guard down, and orders them to go back to the battlefield and do it all over again. They have a bit more success this time around, as they face off against fewer enemies than last time. They get much more in return this go-round, including a chest protector, a traveler cape, some steel plate armor, and linen armor.

Nabiki announces that she has some new inventory, but Steve realizes that he still can't afford it yet.

The party gains the ability to create carrot monsters, who are good with swords, spears, shovels, and hammers. They also get 10% more experience and mana than everyone else, which would make them good classes to use for transmigration.

Steve takes the plants and rocks they took and places them around the castle to provide more atmosphere for the place, but with complete disregard for feng shui. He orders everyone to get their wounds treated before going on to the next challenge.

Stage 1-4: Micky's Blessing

"Hey...what's with the weird music?" asks Morrigan.

Kashiwa listens intently, and her ears pick up an intense tune with trumpets and violins playing in the distance.

"I think we're about to fight a boss, " says Kashiwa.

"Stay on your guard, everyone!" says Steve.

The party descends into battle, as usual. They are met by four unarmed carrot monsters, which they dispatch easily.

"Hey!" says Io, noticing one of the carrots carrying a rock over its head. "That one's got the key!"

Io pulls out a UFO and uses it on the rock, wresting it from the carrot's hands. Astral destroys it, revealing a path leading to an open field with more mercenaries. They are dispatched, opening the way to a hill with a raider hut on top. A samurai carrying an axe comes out and stares them down.

"The name's Redonis, " he bellows. "I rule this underworld. If you punks want to take it over, you'll have to go through me!"

"All right, " says Steve, flashing a Twinkle Smile toward him.

Redonis stomps and growls. "No! That's not how it works! You're supposed to lay down your arms and surrender! Grrgh...fine. Men! After them! If any one of those louts leave this rock alive, I'm putting it on your heads!"

Redonis' pumpkinhead mooks don't listen, wandering off in random directions.

"Forget about the pumpkin men!" says Zetta. "They're worthless! Go after their leader!"

Steve holds up his sword and points it towards Redonis, who is running toward the group at full speed. "This one's mine."

"Hold on, there, " says Meredith. "Don't think you're going to get this one all by yourself. You've got backup, you know."

Against Zetta's better judgment, they go after the pumpkin men first. Redonis strikes and cleaves Morrigan, killing her off in one hit, but with his own back exposed, Steve delivers the finishing blow.

"Cowards..." Redonis says as he slumps to the ground, dead.

Zetta congratulates the team on a successful conquest, and points out that they'll be doing his battles for him. Pram, who was watching the whole battle from above, is impressed by Zetta's ruthlessness.

One Netherworld captured, seven more to go!

edited 6th Mar '10 5:16:57 PM by WillyFourEyes

 17 Willy Four Eyes, Sun, 7th Mar '10 3:58:46 PM from the Outside of Somewhere Relationship Status: Abstaining
Who Am I Again?
Zetta orders Micky to stay away from what is now HIS netherworld. Pram tells him that netherworlds are supposed to have monsters in them, and Ophelia's little "addition" wasn't an anomaly. Zetta remembers that he had to kill a lot of monsters in order to get his first netherworld. Another assistant to Zetta's cause should be on the way shortly, she says. He hopes that it isn't Salome, because she left on her own free will due to some unspecified mishap.

The new assistant is the Dragon Overlord Babylon, who makes his entrance to one of my favorite music tracks in the game (reminds me of something that might appear in Final Fantasy Tactics). Babylon is glad to see him (for given values of "see", since he's really, really, REALLY old; in fact, he's the oldest of all of the overlords). He wandered into a few planets on his way to meet Zetta. They must have been destroyed or something. No big deal. Zetta is nervous, because Babylon falls asleep right in front of him, and is worried that he might not be in the proper frame of mind to give him the help he needs to get his body back. Pram asks Babylon to wish for a new Netherworld, but he kinda sorta has the same "lacks opposable thumbs" disadvantage that Zetta has right now.

Decision time again, chums! We now get to choose whose netherworld we'll get to invade next. This mainly determines what kind of monsters will show up in the random portions of the stages, and how many of them we'll be seeing.

  • Micky - the wimpy overlord we started the game against. His netherworlds tend to have enemies with a high amount of HP.
  • Pram - Her netherworld is small, and mainly contains units that are capable of using magic. Hers would be the "easy" choice.
  • Babylon - His netherworld is large (just like him), and he has a mix of normal and "unusual" monsters. His would probably be the "hard" choice.

 18 Awe Striker, Sun, 7th Mar '10 5:56:46 PM from a moving point.
RM/8
I'm going to say Babylon, just because...
"Only now, after being besieged by a flock of talking ponies, did he really understand what he'd lost. "
 19 Willy Four Eyes, Sun, 7th Mar '10 6:10:26 PM from the Outside of Somewhere Relationship Status: Abstaining
Who Am I Again?
Okay, that's one for the dragon god. Any other suggestions?

 20 Game Guru GG, Sun, 7th Mar '10 11:19:44 PM from Nerima Relationship Status: Shipping fictional characters
Amazon
Pram, I don't think our team is up to Hard Mode yet.

Also, for a possible Pumpkinhead recruit... Great Motherfuckin' Pumpkin or Satan if that's too long!
 21 Willy Four Eyes, Mon, 8th Mar '10 4:03:16 AM from the Outside of Somewhere Relationship Status: Abstaining
Who Am I Again?
One for Babylon, and another for Pram, eh? Looks like I'll have to leave this one to the dice...

*generates 100 random integers to stage a fake battle between the two overlords*

Aaand it looks like Babylon the senile dragon god beats out Prissy Pram by a margin of 52-48. Seniority does rule, even in the Netherworld, it seems...

Episode 2: Arch Nemesis

Zetta informs the team that not only can they invite themselves onto the battlefield, they can also bring buildings with them. It's possible to put players and items inside and bringing them onto the field that way, and it's much quicker to do. The facilities will grant bonuses to characters stored inside them during battle, as I'd detailed above.

Steve uses one of the special palm trees to generate a pumpkinhead named Satan, and grows Caerbannog the evil carrot from one of the "ordinary" palm trees. He gives his new creations weapons, and he takes them out with him onto Micky's netherworld for a little bit of "training".

[Gonna Fly Now Montage goes here]

After the team does a bit of training, they descend to Babylon's netherworld, which is fittingly called "End of World".

Stage 2-1: Babylon's Rest Area

As soon as Zetta lands on the new netherworld, his arch-rival, Alexander (a.k.a. Alex, Alejandro, or Zetta's favorite personal insult, "Asshat"), appears. They've been at war with each other since the last time the Sacred Tome had kept count. Neither of them can agree on who's "won" more battles. Alex cracks book jokes, but Zetta shrugs them off and does some more Chaotic Neutral gloating...until he falls can't can't get up.

"Who's the Overlord now, bitch!?" says Alex, who then takes some pot shots at Salome and her relationship with Zetta before jacking out.

Babylon's overworld begins populated with a trio of hellcats wielding nunchaku. Two of them have their eyes on a pretty flower on the west side. On that same side of a bridge is a raider hut filled with a pair of bomberheads. They're physically strong, but unarmed.

"All right, boys and girls!" shouts Zetta. "Everyone ready?"

The warriors file into a facility of their choice. There's plenty of room for everyone, so there's little fighting or pushing done. They all give the thumbs-up to Zetta, and he air-drops the buildings onto the battlefield one by one.

Steve's party (comprised of him, Meredith and Io) jumps out of the doghouse and wastes no time in eliminating the hellcats, while Astral and Morrigan rush to assist Nabiki in the shop. The two bomberheads move in to attack, but are no match for Morrigan's team. Steve's team takes control of the Raider Hut vacated by the bomberheads, and Zetta air-drops the hospital containing Kashiwa and the others into battle. An enemy thief attempts to capture the hospital, but Satan (the pumpkinhead) successfully kicks him out. An army of rogue mages attempts to secure the hospital, but they, too, fail.

Recruitable monsters gained this stage:
  • Hellcat: High mobility, but low offense. Excels with katanas, morningstars, nunchakus, and fishing poles.
  • Bomberhead: Slow, but has decent HP and SP. Good with heavy weapons, such as gatling guns, bazookas, flamethrowers, and bombs. We don't have any of those right now, so we won't be using bomberheads at all until later.

Steve, Meredith, Nabiki and Astral have earned enough experience to move up to the next powerful class (Apprentice -> Fighter for Steve and Meredith, Junk Trader -> Pawn Shop Clerk for Nabiki, and Magician -> Sorcerer for Astral). Doing so for each of these guys will cost 50 mana + whatever's being used on wishes. That's pretty much how the transmigration process works in this game. You could easily create the units from scratch if you have the right amount of mana, but it's recommended that you do it this way, because it makes the characters more powerful in the long run.

Author's Note: Occasionally, when uncovering an extension map, a random magical effect will pop up that changes the course of the battle. I'll explain those in my next post.

edited 8th Mar '10 5:08:53 AM by WillyFourEyes

 22 Willy Four Eyes, Tue, 9th Mar '10 2:56:10 PM from the Outside of Somewhere Relationship Status: Abstaining
Who Am I Again?
"What's up with that Alexander guy?" asks Meredith. "He seemed like a real blowhard."

"In a way, he sort of reminds me of Lord Zetta, " says Io. "Do you think they'll eventually wind up fighting again?"

"The Overlords are always fighting, " says Astral. "It's pretty much all they do down here. Soldiers are generated, they fight, they die, and they are reincarnated to do it over and over again for all eternity. That is the vicious cycle of the Makai Wars."

"It sure sucks to be us right now...we're caught in the middle of all this."

Morrigan looks at one of the flowers in the garden, as it reminds her of the hellcats she saw on the battlefield. "Hey, Steve?" she asks.

"Yeah, Morrigan?" he replies.

"Can I have a kitty?"

There is still plenty of room to roam around in the Overlord's Castle, so if she were to have a cat as a pet, it would theoretically get more than enough exercise. Steve looks at Morrigan as she twirls her hair around. "All right, " he says, "as long as you take care of him and don't let him do anything dangerous."

Steve generates a hellcat (class: Cat Kid) from one of the palm trees, and decides to name it Graz, in honor of the flower that he saw the other hellcats playing around in Babylon's Netherworld. It immediately crawls next to Morrigan and starts purring. She decides to take Graz for his first walk in Micky's Netherworld.

"You're taking it into the Netherworld?" says Steve. "Morrigan! What did I tell you?"

Morrigan pets Graz's head as it bats at a nunchaku lying on the floor of the doghouse. "Aw, come on, Stevie! You saw that kitties we fought earlier! They can defend themselves!"

"Hey, boss!" shouts Caerbannog. "Incoming!"

A group of armed bandits approach Zetta's troupe's position. He summons the entire team to take out the threat. Graz goes first by himself, because he hasn't yet been assigned a house to live in. While they're fighting the bandits, the entire battlefield is afflicted with a "Taking a Break" effect when an extension map pops up, giving them all Laser-Guided Amnesia  *. Without access to the special techniques they picked up in the last few battles, the fight degenerates into an outdoor Bar Brawl. The "heroes" eventually win, but Astral and Kashiwa have to get patched up again to tend to their wounds. Graz hisses as he grabs his nunchaku in his mouth while everyone is teleported back to base.

"He got his first confirmed kill today!" says Morrigan. "Isn't Grazzie just the cutest little hellcat?"

"Yeah...a real ball of sunshine and rainbows, " mumbles Meredith.

Morrigan smiles, and leads Graz to a group of flowers growing around a dead tree.

Shortly after she gets out of the hospital, Kashiwa inspects the Makai Gate and notices that there is a link to another world that they had not seen previously. "Lord Zetta?"

"What is it?" asks Zetta.

"What's this 'Happy Dungeon' place about?"

She points to the image on the control panel. The words "Happy Dungeon 1", "Happy Dungeon 2", and "Happy Dungeon 3" are shown on it, displayed in a separate menu from the main portals.

"Oh, those. Those are what we like to call 'free dungeons'. They exist outside of the continuum of most Netherworlds, so they're rarely affected by all of the fighting going on. They contain all sorts of monsters, too, so you'll have to be careful if you're thinking of going down there."

"I say we check it out, " says Io. "There might be all kinds of cool treasures."

"Hmm...as leader of this team, " Steve cuts in, "I say we take this to a vote. All in favor of going down to the Happy Dungeon, say 'aye'."

All of the human characters raise their hands in agreement.

"All in opposition, say 'nay'."

Satan and Caerbannog are the only dissenters.

"What about you, Graz? What's your opinion?"

Graz just stands there, looking up at Steve and rubbing against his leg.

"I don't think he can understand you, boss, " says Io. "He's...how do I say this? He's a freaking cat."

"Oh, right... *ahem* Anyway, let's go! There are enemies to be knocked out and treasure to be looted!"

Sub-Episode 1: Happy Dungeon 1

The team is loaded into their buildings and dropped in what appears to be a cave. (No boxes of scraps here, sorry.)

There are four Happy Dolls guarding the area in the north. While they are very well organized, they are not very well armed. There are also assorted treasures to the south, including a pendant that looks almost like the one from which Steve was created. After the buildings are dropped in, Steve orders Graz, Nabiki and Io to loot whatever they can find and return to base with it. Morrigan notices one of the owl dolls attempting to attack the Sacred Tome, but she picks it up and harmlessly tosses it back. The dolls don't directly attack the team, but instead try to attack them (one by one, of course) while they're still in the houses - specifically, the doghouse where Steve and Meredith are housed. The invading doll is level 3, but Steve and Meredith are both level 5. They never had a chance.

The team celebrates victory shortly afterward. They don't get any points for the dolls they defeated through thwarted home invasion, and that means they don't get any bonus point prizes. Luckily, Io and company were able to pick up an Imperial Seal (labeled simply "Imperial" in this game), a Diver (lets you skip ahead in really deep dungeons), another Gency Tonic, and some Shoes (increases mobility slightly).
Now, then...while exploring dungeons (either storyline or otherwise), there's a small chance that a random map affect will occur when an extension map is spawned. These will either summon a specific group of enemies onto the map, or give a status effect to everyone on the map (this includes allies and enemies). Here are a few that I've encounters so far:

  • One Last Wish: Everyone is hit with "Gamble" status (shown by sweatdrops). Attacks against a character under Gamble will either miss completely, or kill the character in one hit.
  • Taking a Break: Everyone is hit with "Amnesia", which limits all of their offense to basic attacks.
  • A Thief Appears!: Generates Thief units equipped with UFOs. They don't attack directly, but try to steal whatever equipment you have on you.

 23 Willy Four Eyes, Thu, 11th Mar '10 1:35:56 PM from the Outside of Somewhere Relationship Status: Abstaining
Who Am I Again?

Stage 2-2: Babylon's Castle Ruins

The gods are wondering why Alexander suddenly showed up to disrupt their fun. It was almost like he knew that Zetta was about to shop up. Ophelia and Dryzen indirectly accuse Pram of giving him a sly nod and wink to Zetta's location. Pram, in retaliation, gets all glowy and Death Glares at Micky. Micky freaks out, and cowers before the might of the oracle's maidenly Battle Aura. At this point, Babylon suddenly remembers that he has to go iron his dog, and exits stage left. Micky's scream of terror unwittingly generates some hellcats down below, and Zetta is dragged into battle once again.

"Disperse, loyal battle monkeys!" sayeth the Overlord of Overlords. "Do my bidding and bust a cap!" Oh, if only we had guns at this points in the game...we could make that part literal.

All Zetta can see of the castle interior once he materializes is an H-shaped corridor guarded by hellcats at each of the north and south edges. He sends the team in to dispose of them, when suddenly a wave of dark energy washes over the field, cutting everyone's life force in half (this effect is called "Hell's Field Takes Life"). Kashiwa tries to undo some of the damage, but only manages to help out Nabiki, Io and Caerbannog before the next group of monsters (which consists of metal golems, wood golems, and mud-like creatures called Tar Men) move in to attack. Astral and Morrigan fall again, as expected. Io heads back into the shop to lick his wounds, while Graz and Steve come out to try to trim the suddenly overcrowded field of monsters.

"Uh, guys? A little help here?" says Steve as he puts his new Tornado Slash technique to use, which only winds up spawning more baddies.

Graz gets taken out by one of the tar men, leaving only five combatants to stem the tide of encroaching monsters.

Steve's crew now finds itself on the defensive, as they are vastly outnumbered by the enemy. They continue to hold the line, and eventually gain some ground when they find that the remaining foes are unarmed. Zetta decides that enough is enough, and orders the team to return to base to recuperate.

New monsters acquired on this trip:

  • Metal Golem: Low mobility, but high HP and defense. Best used with heavy weapons, such as gatling guns, cannons, drills, and wrenches.
  • Wood Golem: Good attack and defense, but low magic resistance. Are good with Morningstars, Axes, Hammers, and Shovels.
  • Mud Creatures: Decent HP and defense. Can makes the best of short-range weapons, such as swords, spears, drills and shovels.

Stage 2-3: Sleeping Babylon

"You know, I'm really starting to hate cats, " says Meredith. Graz hisses at her, and then goes back to cuddling up next to Morrigan.

Upon further inspection of Babylon's netherworld, the group lands in an area that looks a lot like the bridge they saw in the entrance to the castle ruins. Astral, Morrigan and Graz are sent out first as punishment for their initial failure. They get lucky, as the small group they meet there is killed with little resistance. A group of angry hellcats and wood golems, brought onto the map by way of Energetic Power! appears to the south, but the group ignores them after they defeat the initial patrol.

"Zetta was right, " says Astral. "That old fart of a dragon just doesn't have what it takes these days. If I had enough mana power, I'd create a netherworld so vast with monsters so powerful that the lot of you would wet your pants in terror at the very sight of them!"

"You mean, like Baal?" asks Steve.

"Don't be ridiculous. Nothing's scarier than Baal."
Extension Map Effects 102:
  • Hell's Field Takes Life: All active units' HP are reduced by 50%.
  • Energetic Power!: Summons units with high attack power armed with strong melee weapons.
  • The Power of Magic: Summons magician units armed with books.
  • Fast Asleep: Puts all enemies to sleep. Beneficial to you.

The monsters they encounter are getting tougher, and the monsters never stop coming, so the team spends some time in the castle hacking away at Babylon's leftovers in order to earn more money to upgrade their equipment. Nabiki's inventory has expanded slightly to include drills, katanas, and morningstars, which Steve has put his eye on for later acquisition.

edited 12th Mar '10 10:06:34 AM by WillyFourEyes

 24 Willy Four Eyes, Sun, 14th Mar '10 8:14:25 PM from the Outside of Somewhere Relationship Status: Abstaining
Who Am I Again?
"Hey, boss..." says Satan. "What are you plannin' on doin' with that tree?"

Steve circles around one of the saplings, examing the bark and testing it for sturdiness. "I was thinking...the enemy's got tree monsters on their side, right? Maybe we ought to have one, too, just to keep them on their toes?"

"Heh...the more, the merrier, I say."

Steve murmurs a spell and makes chopping motions in the air, as if he were actually attempting to cut down the tree. When he is finished, he sees a small tree stump standing in front of him, with slits carved into its bark to form eyes and a mouth.

The others look around nervously as it reaches for a morning star lying on the ground. Kashiwa tugs on Steve's sleeve and whispers to him while everyone else is focused on the new wood golem. "Uh, Steve? Don't you think that it's going to get a little crowded in here with these monsters roaming around? I hope you have a plan for a place to keep them all."

"Don't worry, Kashiwa, " he says. "I'll find away to keep them safe and sound."

Kashiwa groaned. "'Them', Steve?"

Steve names the new wood creature "Woody" (gee, how original), but decides against taking advantage of the ironic situation caused by giving it an axe. He does some backtracking in earlier dungeons to help get Woody up to speed, who can only growl with joy as it whacks incoming bandits and warriors trying to take over what used to be Micky's Netherworld (it's okay, he can create as many more of them as he needs.) After a little while going back and forth between dungeons, Steve gains enough mana to transcend.

"Lord Zetta, " he says, laying his hands on the Sacred Tome, "I think I'm ready. I'd like to make my first wish."

"I hope you understand what you're about to get into, " says Zetta. "Remember what I said earlier: once you make a wish of this magnitude, there's no guarantee we'll be able to retrieve your soul afterward. Are you sure about this?"

Steve nods, and then turns to the page concerning housing facilities. "I wish we could get rid of this crappy doghouse and have something nicer...like this straw hut here. That would be nice."

"Hahahaha! You got it! One straw hut, coming right up!"

The Sacred Tome slams shut, and Steve collapses to the ground after writing in his wish, as if someone had inscribed his name in the Death Note. His soul floats away, and a straw house emerges in his place. The party gives a short Informal Eulogy, but Meredith (who had to wish to be the new leader so that Steve could make his wish for a new hut) wanders around, looking for the best-quality artifact to bind his soul once again. She stumbles upon a palm tree, which apparently has four stars' worth of mana power in it.

"Listen, Steve-O, " she says to the tree, "I know I agreed to be the leader of the group while you went on your 'spiritual journey', but I think you're more cut out for this thing than I am."

Instead of simply whispering to the palm tree like Steve does, she punches it, causing Steve to reappear in a similar pillar of light that created here. He looks mostly the same as he did before, except his hair is now a darker color, and his title reads "Fighter" instead of "Apprentice".

"It seems that the transmigration process was a success after all, " says Zetta. "How does it feel, Steve?"

"I feel...a little bit weaker than I did before, " says Steve, "but I bet I could fix that with a little more battling. Who's with me?"

The crowd cheers Steve on upon his return. During their celebration, they knock over the doghouse, which Steve orders Zetta to have destroyed.

"Man, am I ever glad to be rid of that thing, " Zetta mumbles to himself. "I-I mean, good work, everyone. Now, there's still more exploration to be done in Babylon's netherworld, so get to it!"

Next time: Powered Steve and his Ragtag Bunch of Misfits head into the treasure room!

Author's Note: Once a character transmigrates for the first time, an option called "Reincarnate" will appear in the wish menu. This will allow them to jump to new classes more quickly, though the mana cost is dependent on how many stars they've absorbed through items, and how many times they've reincarnated previously. A lot of the time, it's easier and more cost-effective to just wish for huts (since they're so cheap to build), even though you'll miss out on character-building points.
A few more Map Effects were discovered on this journey!
  • Then, everyone was gone.: No enemies are spawned; just dead trees and rocks. If this is generated when you have fulfilled the point requirement and there are no more enemies, the level is completed.
  • Infestation of Thieves: Similar to "A Thief Appears!", this generates a few thief units with UF Os. There doesn't seem to be any strength differential between the two effects, though.

edited 14th Mar '10 8:15:28 PM by WillyFourEyes

 25 Willy Four Eyes, Thu, 18th Mar '10 5:44:30 PM from the Outside of Somewhere Relationship Status: Abstaining
Who Am I Again?

Stage 2-4: Babylon's Husk

The team materializes inside what appears to be a treasure room of a castle. There are four doors leading north, south, east and west, with chests in front of each.

"Are you sure that this is the right spot, Lord Zetta?" asks Steve. "I don't think that we've ever been teleported inside of a building before..."

"Hey!" Zetta groaned. "I'm not the one who programs that teleporter. We just happened to wind up in this spot by chance. Now, help me clean out this dump so that I can get my netherworld back!"

"Yes, sir!" everyone says.

Io emerges from the hut and approaches one of the chests, which rattles before he gets a chance to open it.

"D-did that thing just move?" he says.

The other three chests get up and start moving along with that one, but they hold their positions in front of the doors.

"That's weird...they're moving, but it's like they're...not moving, in a way."

"Who cares?" says Meredith. "They're mimics. These ones probably don't have a whole lot of good treasure in 'em anyway."

Meredith leaps out in front of Io and starts slicing up one of the mimics until it collapses. She looks down at her dagger and is surprised to see that it's still intact after using it to cut through hard metal. One of the doors opens, leading to a less heavily-guarded room. The team quickly disposes of the thieves and magicians in this room, but is unable to find any useful treasure.

"This place sucks, " says Satan. "There's nothing but rocks and junk in here."

"Oh, well, " says Nabiki. "Guess we have no choice but to trash the place. That way, people will think twice before searching for treasure here."

"I'm not sure I understand the logic in that, " says Kashiwa.

The party continues to unlock the other doors using this method, but the result is the same - more enemies, and rooms full of rocks (and not very high quality ones). One of the mimics, still alive after a joint strike by Nabiki, Kashiwa and Caerbannog, marches toward the Sacred Tome, but is snuffed out by Astral's magic. Io decides to have some fun with his UFO by stealing a few items from the enemy, picking up a Power Belt and some Protein (a muscle item which increases maximum HP). The UFO works a lot better for him than the rapier, so he decides to use that as his primary weapon for a while.

Once Zetta decides that he's had enough of the place, they return to the castle to let Nabiki steal more of their money in exchange for better armor. Completing the level gives the party the ability to create Mimics. You probably wouldn't be able to tell from my first encounter with them, but mimics have the potential to gain high defense and magic resistance, which is offset by low HP (think golem units in Ogre Battle).

2-5: The Aged Babylon (looks like a random dungeon)

The next area appears to be another random dungeon, populated at the start by a few thieves and impatient Death Sabers (upgraded Cat Kids). Zetta surprises them by dropping the hut on one of the thieves, critically injuring it.

"Ha ha ha! How do you like that?" he says. The thief doesn't get much of a chance to respond before getting beaten up by Meredith.

Zetta scans the area and finds a spot to place one of his buildings, in order to scan for more enemies. However, in doing this, the whole party is struck by lightning!

"What happened? I...can't...move!"

The magical lightning has rendered the party (and only the party) unable to move due to paralysis, but they can still attack, as Graz demonstrates by nunchucking an enemy thief to death. A group of mages approaches from the south, taking advantage of the party's weakened state. Kashiwa casts Espoir on a few of the paralyzed party members, and then casts it on the Sacred Tome, which cures everyone. They're not sure who was responsible for the attack, but they vow to take out as many enemies as they can until they do. They rethink the plan when they see a batch of armed monsters closing in on them.

Graz and Goldie go down fighting, while Meredith (Fighter), Astral (Sorcerer) and Morrigan (Sorceress) transcend. During their transmigration, Astral and Morrigan swapped magic specialties. Astral now specializes in fire magic, and Morrigan now dabbles in wind magic.

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