After the confusing Earthgift Shrine debacle, I decided to hop back in my boat and search up north. One villager had mentioned a ruined civilization to the north, and it was the only lead I had. I sailed west and before turning north I brought up the map. I noticed that there was a large continent directly to the west with a couple ports. It was actually the large continent to the east, which Pravoka is a part of. 1 So I Columbused this route and landed at the more southern dock.
There wasn’t much there, though the world map showed a couple areas of interest nearby. I made my way to a town called Crescent Lake. It was mostly empty, except for a woman complaining about her sleeping husband and someone who was asleep — presumably the woman’s husband.
Why are there so few houses in Final Fantasy towns? Especially these early ones — there are shops, temples, things like that. There are the occasional abodes, but usually nowhere near enough to support the villagers walking around. Crescent Lake is no different, because even though there was apparently only one couple living there, there wasn’t a single home.
I checked out the shops. The spells being sold were level 6, so I figured I was in the right spot. They weren’t cheap, but I am flush with cash at this point. I even loaded up on ethers, tents, potions and hi-potions. I bought enough to last me for the foreseeable future, and it only made a mild dent in my wallet. Anyway, I bought Stona, which cures characters who have been turned to stone. So now my lack of Gold Needles is considerably less worrisome. Unless Kai gets stoned.2
Final Fantasy gives your magic users 4 slots for spells per spell level. So Yurto, for example, can have 3 spells for level 1, 3 for level 2, etc. But they typically sell 4 spells for each level, so you have a decision to make whenever these spells become available. It hasn’t been too difficult so far. For Yurto, I strongly favor elemental magic: things like Fire/Fira/Firaga, Thunder/Thundara/Thundaga, etc. Then I go for spells that enhance my characters (Haste), and finally spells that negatively effect my opponents. I’ve largely ignored spells like Teleport and Exit, which move you out of a dungeon by one level or remove you entirely, respectively. That may come back to bite me later, but at least in this version of the game I can actually delete some spells and swap in other ones, apparently.
So I had some decisions to make. With Yurto, one choice was between Death and Stun. Death, well, kills an enemy. Typically this kind of spell costs a lot, has a fairly lousy success rate, and never works on bosses. Stun paralyzes an enemy. It has similar faults, though I doubt it’s as bad. There’s very little chance it will work on any significant boss either, of course.
If you’ve read previous entries, you know that I’ve decided that Yurto has had a rough life, and that his wife was eaten by a %&$^#@* unicorn. He’s seen things that have changed him, man. Dark stuff. Et cetera. I’ve also been listening to Dexter series in audiobook form3 while commuting to and from work. So I’ve decided that Yurto has been corrupted into a sick bastard. He doesn’t just want to kill his enemies. He wants to toy with them. Dark Passenger, foul-mouthed sister, arch-nemesis missing his hands, feet and tongue — the whole shebang. He’s a goddamn serial killer, if killing sharks, goblins and anthropomorphic plants counts.
So I bought Stun. The Death spell wouldn’t be as much fun for the weirdo.
But I digress.
I was a little confused at this point. While I felt like I was on the right track, neither of the town’s residents were helpful at all. I wandered around outside but couldn’t get anywhere. Then (facepalm) I noticed an area on the right side of town that I completely missed.
There was a big grove over there with a bunch of dwarves or wizards. I have no idea why they’re hanging out in the sticks like this, but okay. The main dude’s name is Lukahn. Before I get into what they said, I have to return to the earlier question — where do they live? Or at least sleep? Is this a campground? Perhaps a hippie commune? They’ve got beards and robes, so it’s not out of the question.
Awesomely, they thank me for beating Lich, which the ingrates in Melmond didn’t have much to say about:
They give some background to the story which, if a little overdue, is very welcome.
So the fiends have been making staggered appearances. Wind appeared 400 years ago, Water 200, Earth just recently, and presumably Fire in another 200. Except…
Oops. Well, it’s got to be done, right? Anyway, there’s another mention of the ruined north lands, and then the first “GO THERE!” hint in a while:
To make sure I couldn’t refuse, making the situation super-awkward, he gave me a canoe. Funny, I didn’t see a canoe in the middle of this field. And, so, do we just lug this canoe around with us for the rest of the game? I mean, don’t get me wrong, it’s a nice canoe. Top brand. But, yeesh. A little inconvenient. NO, YOU’RE MAKING THIS WEIRD, YOU CREEPY GARDEN GNOME.
I chatted a few more of them up. The only other thing of real interest was a request that we return to Woodstock when we get all the crystals:
With that, my guys all grabbed part of the canoe and we awkwardly weaved our way through the hippies back to the wilderness, and on to Mount Gulg.
Mount Gulg is hard to miss. It’s a big volcano to the northwest. I took the canoe down the various streams to reach it and headed in. Turns out buying all those potions and hi-potions was a fantastic idea — there are patches of lava that can’t be avoided. When you step on them, you take damage. I recall something similar in Final Fantasy IV — I think it was the Sylvan Cave? You could avoid damage there with a levitation spell. No such luck here. Fortunately it doesn’t do much damage and there isn’t very much of it, at least on the first two levels.
The first level was small and uninteresting, except for the lava. Level two had a lot of treasure chests, but most of them had equipment I already bought or found. Still, I found a few useful things.
Oh, and it was around now that I saw in the manual that monks can do more damage with their bare hands at higher levels. They’re around level 30, so I figured I’d give it a shot. I removed Qasi’s Iron Nunchaku, and WOW. He does a lot more damage — sometimes he’ll hit 8 times for around 400 damage. And keep in mind he’s fighting monsters made of fire. He is punching the shit out of monsters made of fire.
Anyway, I saved at the entrance to the third level. I have a feeling there’s going to be a lot more lava to trudge through.
- This world, while not quite spherical, at least wraps east-west, which makes it a cylinder. I don’t know if it wraps north-south. If it does, that would be weird. That would make the world something like a doughnut, wouldn’t it? Anyway, I think every Final Fantasy through 9 has a world map like this that you can roam freely, at least once you get an airship. ↩
- Well, they’ll stone ya when you’re trying to be so good. ♫ ↩
- I’m on the fourth book. One line review of the series so far: Fun but formulaic. Kind of like Final Fantasy I. ↩