Welcome back to Hero’s Realm! Last time we were about to explore Stromholm. Let’s get on with that.
First of all, doesn’t this boulder look suspicious?
Interacting with it moves it over a space, and then if you search underneath where it used to be…
A measly 12 gold! Wonderful!
Thanks Helen! This man to the right has a quest for us.
Fruit Seller: The Merchant’s Pass to the south has been overrun by monsters! But the King is too worried about the children to do anything about it! Oh, Holdana, would you please clear out the monsters for the sake of the economy?
Holdana: Of course! We cannot allow evil to run free.
Fruit Seller: Oh thank you thank you thank you! Come back to me if you clear out the monsters, I will reward you handsomely!
Ridcully: Good chap.
Funny you should say that, old man… One hop into a well later and:
A house. In a well. Let’s explore inside.
It’s our first Tiny Medal house! This is what Tiny Medals are for. There are 100 in the world, and trading them to a Tiny Medal man will allow us to get prizes.
Tiny Medal Man: Oh good! You’ve found some medals!
He takes the medal we found behind the King’s throne last update.
- 5 medals: Boomerang
- 10 medals: Bladerang
- 40 medals: Staff of Jubilation
- 50 medals: Shield of Wisdom
- 55 medals: Crosserang
- 60 medals: Immunity Idol
- 70 medals: Fixed Dice
- 80 medals: Chakram
- 95 medals: Hero Ring
- 100 medals: Lightsabre
We’ll examine these items as we acquire them. And if you are wondering why there’s such a great gap between 10 and 40 medals, it’s because there are 10 medals in each chapter until the fifth chapter, and the medal count resets between those chapters for reasons that will become obvious once we hit those chapters!
Anyways. Up and out of the well we go! Let’s explore the barracks, as we didn’t do much there last time.
Score. Upstairs is a small room with 3 chests which give us a Leather Cap, a Club and a set of Wayfarer’s Clothes. I give them all to Robin, our Ranger, as we’ll outfit the rest later.
This mage gives us the rundown on the different types of magic. To sum up: black magic is typically damage magic, white magic is supportive magic and also anti-undead magic, effect magic deals with status ailments, status boons and stat alteration. Poison is poison.
I hope it is a while before I have to show off the Temple’s facilities.
Tarot cards are a cool little implementation in this game. You don’t know which tarot card this is until you use it on the character who can use tarot cards (harlequins). We won’t be seeing this in action for a while.
Now this is a rumour in an RPG. Therefore there is a 100% chance of it being true. In addition, there is a place that only allows men inside. Kentona managed to some quick thinking when it came to predicting annoyance with this, and made it so that dead characters don’t count when trying to get into these places. But don’t worry, to circumvent this we will be making an all-male and an all-female party in the future.
The basement of the barracks has a woman who reminds us to steal everything that isn’t nailed down. The various containers here give us a Stamina Seed, a Tiny Medal, a Firebal Scroll (multi-target fire damage, used once) and 4 gold.
Let’s take in some shopping.
Carlotta: Brass Knuckles? How… satisfying. This tunic however, it’s so scratchy.
Ridcully: This knife suits me.
Robin: So… we’re saving up for a bow for me, yes?
Holdana: Three hundred gold for a bow?! Robin we will… have to see. (I wonder if they’d give us a discount for saving these children…).
In the item shop I sell the tarot card we got at the barracks and bought some antidote herbs and a medicinal herb. Money is tight at this point in the game and we’ll shortly be tackling a short dungeon where poison is rampant, and poison is annoyingly powerful in this game. To get the point across: you will lose 1% of your health every single time an ally or enemy uses a move. That racks up quickly.
The general shops holds some alchemy recipes for warlocks/witches, a tool for an engineer and a poison-protection amulet which is hilariously expensive.
To the west of the shops is the inn.
Colourful! The man at the bottom is from Helminsk, and he’s blocking us from exploring that wardrobe. We’ll get around that soon enough.
Two secret search places later and we’re almost done with Stromholm for today!
The last house in the town has a few secrets of its own.
Oh, I know where this is going. There’s a Heal Scroll in the left-most bookshelf.
Conspicuous cellar stairs go!
There’s a switch on the right-hand side of the room which opens that obvious secret passage on the left-hand side of the room. The wardrobes here contain a Cloth Tunic and a Ticket, which we’ll be using in the future.
Our first mini-dungeon! Emphasis on the ‘mini’.
I like the way dungeons are laid out in this game. They’re not all one long screen, but broken up into smaller areas which lets the player keep track of where they’ve been quite a lot easier than it would have been otherwise.
The first battle gives us our first battle with the whole gang! You’ll notice that Ridcully is hanging back slightly. That’s because I have him in the back row. His job is healing and casting spells, so he’s not likely to be relying on physical damage. Being in the back row should aid his survivability.
Ridcully: Poor thing.
Anyways, the Rat goes down in one club hit from Holdana, so I can’t show off anyone else’s abilities.
This is what the northern branch holds for us. I slap this on Ridcully.
The next battle allows me to show off Robin. Called Shot can of course only be used when he’s using a bow, and Cleansing will allow him to remove any negative status he currently has. His spells change depending on the environment, and he’ll get more as he levels up.
The next screen shows us that we made the right choice in taking the first exit. Nothing suspicious about this chest right?
Ridcully: So many disgusting things!
Carlotta: I thought they were poor things?
Ridcully: Shut up and kill them!
As you can see, Holdana has already been poisoned by the Rat’s Plague Bite ability. For reference, the Mouse cannot use any skills, though they have similar stats and go down quite quickly. This fight is a quite evil though, as they deal 10-13 damage each and can easily take out a party member should they all target the same one.
This is Carlotta’s starting ability.
Even her sprite changes! And she does a great deal more damage now. Holdana hits around 100 damage with her club, and under wolfman status Carlotta reaches around 185!
Ridcully’s spells. Poison deals a decent amount of damage for this point in the game even without the chance of poisoning the enemy, so he’s quite useful.
Plague Bite in action. Luckily it didn’t poison Carlotta. Poison persists after battle and will deal damage to the afflicted with every few steps, just like the older RPGs.
For our trouble we get a nice ring, which I slap onto Carlotta to improve her strength by 10, making her my mightiest party member.
A hop, skip and a jump and we’re out of there!
Hmm… do you think this might have been the sleeping man from the last update? We’ll have to find out later, because a few steps south and:
Let’s see if we can’t find Helminsk!
Heading through this gap brings us another battle!
Wolves can use Bite, and Oursons can use Claw. They can dish it out but they both go down quite quickly.
Robin has different spells here. Lagomorph is very useful – having group healing at the start of the game is quite powerful, even if it’s area-conditional.
We also encounter these! Remember how Holdana almost lost to one Bruin at the start of her adventure? Well this could have been a touch and go battle too, if they focus fired. The RedCabbage wastes its turns casting Heal on itself, despite not having lost a single hit point. The Bruins each take a few turns to kill, but it’s worth the (minor) effort!
Holdana and Carlotta reach level 2, which grants the former the Blaze spell. Ridcully and Robin will level up next battle.
Heading north and over this bridge and we finally hit nighttime! The time system of this game is only in action on the world map and can be reset at inns. Many puzzles in this game rely on waiting for night to come around, like talking to that man in the Stromholm prison.
Even battles get this nice nighttime tint. This is a new formation, and is a more powerful form of surprising the enemy. These Lizarders never stood a chance, but they did show off their ability to use Leecher, a move that drains HP and heals themselves. Robin learned the Puff spell when he leveled up from this fight. It’s a spell that deals earth damage to the entire enemy party. Very useful.
Further north and we’ve found a temple!
Temple Keeper: But the power to the teleportal has been drained by some mysterious force.
Robin: Is there a way to restore this power?
Temple Keeper: I will need a new Dilithium crystal to recharge the teleportal.
(The stairs behind her lead to her quarters, from which we loot a Moon Herb, an item that wakes up numb allies.)
As she said, the teleportal does not work. What are the chances that we need to restore this portal before the end of this chapter?
The path to the right by the way, holds a locked door behind which lies another teleportal.
We head back out to the world map.
By the time we reach Helminsk, it’s morning!
We will explore this town next time! Additionally, we will find out what the Tickets are used for and see if we can’t sort out that monster problem at the Merchant’s pass!
End of Update!
Holdana the Level 2 Huntress
Ridcully the level 2 Druid
Robin the level 2 Ranger
Carlotta the level 2 Shapeshifter