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Guardian of the Description Thread
Welcome, one and all, to my second attempt at a written Let's Play! This thread's featured game is...

Photo obtained via Wikipedia

...Suikoden 4! Now, here's a game I usually find more fun than Suikoden 3. Having full control of the party is definitely an upside, as the way it worked in Suikoden 3 was... well, it was a experiment, at best. Another oddity is that, once players obtain the HQ, they can set up three (or four) separate parties. This is a functionality I barely use, but, it's interesting to note regardless.

That's not to say the game doesn't have it's share of downsides. Such as, for whatever reason, they limited the party-size to 4, rather than 6. Another thing I don't quite understand is that there is no "all members" window for Jeane-mistering (I mean, come on, she's the Rune Sage in EVERY SINGLE GAME), the Blacksmith, or the Armorer, despite being one of the best (and most useful) features that the series introduced in Suikoden 2.

All that aside, this should be a fairly regular (for me) playthrough. Though, I must admit, I sometimes forget a star or two (Damn you, Ted), and therefore cannot gain the 108 Star Bonus. So, if there is a challenge to be had, it's to get that bonus! As before, I will be as receptive to any feedback as possible, and the thread is open to comments!

Table of Contents
  • Graduation, and the Kindling Ritual
Session 1 - Message for you, sir!
Session 2 - Path to Exile
  • Deserted Island and Obel
Session 3 - Lost and found
Session 4 - Isles of Terra
  • Joining Forces with... Pirates?
Session 5 - Wrecthed hive of scum and villainy
Session 6 - All your Stars are belong to Us
Session 7 - Everything's coming up roses
  • Recovering Razril and Obel
Session 8 - Homecoming for Lazlo
Session 9 - The End of the Ring, the Return of the King
  • The Last Unicorn Stage
Session 10 - Coup De Gras
Guardian of the Description Thread
Shall we begin with the opening FMV? I think we shall!

After that, we do not get an opportunity to transfer save-game data from Suikoden 3. This may be partially because this game occurs somewhere around 150 years before the original Suikoden occurs. That's not to say that there will be no familiar faces whatsoever, but, they will be at a minimum.

However, we do get to name the Tenaki Star, and the game's protagonist. To the best of my knowledge (and Suikosource's), this game's protagonist has an official name of "Lazlo". Which is what we'll use for this LP. I don't recall in any of the other name-entries in this game have official names, but, we'll cross those bridges when we get there!

So, we're sailing along, minding our buisiness, when a scout notices an enemy vessel. We ready ourselves for the upcoming battle. Geeze, not even ten seconds, and we're already in a naval battle!

Rather than "normal" cannons, this game uses Rune cannons. As such, they are based on the main elements of the series: Fire, Wind, Earth, Lightning, and Water. As it happens, our opponent has a Lightning cannon and a Water cannon. So, I pick Kenneth to man our one Rune cannon slot so that we can "cancel" their Lightning cannon if they fire that, and "beat" their Water cannon if they fire that. I put everybody else as underlings. We win this battle pretty handily, like we're supposed to. However, we're still boarded, and get into regular combat! My party currently consists of Lazlo and Snowe, which happen to have the Unite skill "Friendship Attack". Which I use to beat up on the lady with the staff first to remove the potential healing.

The battle lasts, maybe, ten rounds before we call it quits, then Commander Margulis Glenn comments about how easily he was able to board us. Snowe says he'll be more careful, of course.

After this, Glenn wishes to engage with Lazlo in a duel. All for the sake of training, of course. I think I only get one chance at this, but it also sounds like I could do this later, and feed Lazlo the proper amount some stat-stones for a Suikoden protagonist. Though, I do have to note that including this duel, we'd see all the combat-related gameplay that's going to be thrown at us, all within the space of the first ten or so minutes of the game? Innnnnteresting.

In any event, I go ahead and engage in the duel, and come out a victor. Glenn's pretty easy to read. At this point, we can talk to some of the cadets on this ship. Talking to Kenneth, then Tal (or Jewel?) gets us a cutscene of our ship entering Razril port.

The game mostly hoard-lords us into the commencement ceremony, but, there's a few places I can go as get stuff. Stuff like, getting Old Book Volume 9, and a Water Orb. After the graduation comes the Kindling Ceremony. Snowe starts out strong, but passes the torch (literally!) to Lazlo. After we light all the remaining torches, we get a cut-scene of the town mayor doing his speech, theeeeeeen, we're free to wander around, but, with a two-man party, I'm not particularly inclined to poke around where I know there's encounters.

Though, if I visit Chiepoo at the docks, I learn of a kidnapping. Snowe is all over this, but, I want to get a little help from the others. Maybe even hand out some stat-stones while I'm at it. This also gives me a perfect opportunity to talk about the game's inventory, since...

Let's see, now. 50 of each for the hero...'s nowhere near anything the series has ever done. I mean, when you get right down to it, it's an auto-sorted database. I recognize that. It's not "special", per say. It's just that none of the other games in this series (at least to the best of my knowledge) do this. They mostly opt for a system where the party carries a maximum of 30 or so items, where the only "stacking" going on is medicine, and the like.

Anyway, the back streets of Razril prove an okay place to level. My party of Lazlo, Snowe, Tal, and Paula get to level 3 before I choose to attack the kidnappers, who are tucked away in a corner alley. I go ahead and switch to Jewel and Kenneth for the journey back to Chiepoo because why not. He's glad everything turned out all right, and I figure there isn't much else to do at the moment, save to advance the plot.

Next morning, I report to the Knight's Hall for a bit of extra training. I have to find Snowe first, but I find him just outside. I formulate the initial party as Lazlo, Snowe, Tal, and Paula. They ask me to reconfigure it at least once, and I choose Kenneth and Jewel instead. After that fight, I'm asked I'm okay with this setup. The game's pretty sneaky about this choice. See, at this point in the game, there's four available Knights: Tal, Paula, Kenneth, and Jewel. Of those four, I can recruit two now (which is what I'm choosing RIGHT NOW), and obtain the other two... waaaaaaaaay the hell later. So, while they are all automatic stars, when players recruit them is optional.

I still go with Kenneth and Jewel. Not just because because the Lightning and Water Runes they bear tend to be more useful than the Earth and Wind Runes Tal and Paula bear. Mostly because Jewel has at least one cool line later on. Maybe it's just how she says it because this game has VOICE ACTING. Which cannot be very well relayed in a written LP, but, oh well?

Anyway, my first duty as a newly-dubbed Knight of Gaien is, to deliver a message to Middleport. Or to defeat three "sea creatures". Whatever that translates too. It sounds like I can technically do both, but I formally agree to the message delivery. Maybe not the most grand of missions. However, before I venture out to the great blue sea, I should do some shopping, and generally see what's available here. I run into (but cannot recruit) a few stars during my rounds in Razril. However, eventually, I get myself to Middleport...

...though, in all honesty, it's not all that for from Razril. It doesn't take me long to find who I deliver this letter to, as it's the first guard I see, and happen to talk to. I still explore the town, and utilize the services here. I meet a number of future recruits, but, of course, I can do nothing about them now. It will be some time 'till that can happen!

I haven't explored a heck of a lot of the overworld map, but, maybe enough to show you one of the sticking points of this game for me. Namely, how the world map relays what players have explored, and what they have not.

"Mapped" water is blue! As is "unmapped" water!

Now, if you had a game where a lot of the territory that could be explored was open ocean, what could possess a person to choose a sky motif for the unexplored area? I mean, I can get behind this concept. I just wish the execution was better in that you could more easily tell the difference between explored and not-explored. I dunno. Maybe I'm just ranting.

In any event, back to Razril! I have no idea if I've done the other mission that was available to me already or not. When I land, the guard there congratulates me on a job well done, and comments about him having another job when I get stronger. If I talk to him again, he tells me of a request made by Middleport. I go ahead and take the job. Not like I've got anything better to do!

Apparently, there's some kind of fluffball of a critter out there laying waste to this one guy's fishing boat, and they want us to take care of it. Just because it's small and cute doesn't mean it isn't deadly. My party's pretty buff, thanks to the stat stones, so I'm not terribly worried about it. However, that can be for another session.
Guardian of the Description Thread
Right. Time to beat a bot! Er, boss! Probably. Maybe it would feel more like one if a) I didn't feed my team stat-stones or b) Friendship Attack wasn't Level 3? Whatever. I fight the Damp Hairball after maybe a minute or two of sailing. I assume that's the thing the guy was taklin' about, but, I putz around on the open ocean a bit longer.

I got 2000 potch for my services when I get back to Middleport. I've a somewhat bad feeling, so, I choose to rest here, then continue to Razril. When I land, Snowe gives his report to Vice-Commander Katarina. She tells us to remain vigilant, regardless of the ease of this mission. She then goes on to inform us of a pirate called Brandau that's been increasing his area of influence of late. She also informs us that there is a separate mission for both Lazlo and Snowe, and that we should hurry on to meet Commander Glenn. I don't feel any particular need to delay this event. I did just save at Middleport.

This meeting involves Glenn and Katarina, of course. It also involves the Lord Mayor (have I mentioned yet that the mayor is Snowe's father?), and one other guy who's totally not a star I get to recruit later on. The fellow goes by the name of Ramada, and wants safe passage to Iiluya. We've trained in those waters as cadets many times, but, our client fears pirate attacks. Katarina and Snowe do their best to alleviate his doubts, at least for now. The Lord Mayor thinks such a mission is beneath Snowe, and mentions that he wouldn't mind having him sent to the front lines. Commander Glenn understand where he's coming from, but, believes that this mission could still benefit Snowe.

I leave the Knight's Hall, only to have Snowe depart on me, making preparations for the voyage. I head over to sleep, and use the handy-dandy save-point in Lazlo's room inside the Knight's Hall. The upcoming string of events is pretty big.

I find Snowe just outside the Knight's Hall. We double-back to the audience chamber to tell our client that we're ready to go. The journey to Iluya's gonna take quite some time, as it's on the other side of the map from where we're at. It gives the game plenty of opportunities to throw nasty things at us.

Not even an eighth to the way, we hit a Wall of Event. Here, Snowe discusses the favorable conditions for sailing, then goes on about our client's ship. They were supposed to be carrying spices, but, he took a sneak-peak, and found Rune Cannon ammo. Big ones. Big enough to sink a galleon with 'em. He wonders aloud if we're going to be all right.

The game switches context to Glenn and Katarina. Glenn snaps at his Vice-Commander at even mentioning nasel birds in front of strangers. However, Katarina's more concerned about a communique. The report is about a ship with six masts heading on our general direction. Katarina thinks it's Brandau, but Glenn reminds her that we're not supposed to be carrying any cargo of import. That's half the reason he let Snowe be captain in the first place! On the other hand, he's got a really bad feeling about this, and doesn't really want to take that chance, and asks Katarina to get a fast ship prepared. With any hope, his feelings will be unfounded, but still, one cannot be too cautious.

The game switches context back to Snowe/Lazlo. I'm on the deck of the ship, but, by talking to Snowe, I get hit by an event...

...among other things. Remember how confident Snowe was? Well, he's totally lost it. His orders are to return to port at full speed. The knight complains that if we do that, our ally will be sunk for certain. Snowe doesn't seem to care. The knight can't believe what he's hearing, and looks to Lazlo for direction. Now, I've got a choice here. Either I can back up Snowe's command to retreat, or take command from him, and engage the enemy. In no playthrough of this game have I ever backed Snowe's command to retreat. This play is no different.

There's a bit more cut-scene here including Snowe seeing a dingy, and getting it into his head that he could use it to escape. As for me, well, I'm in a naval battle.

With this battle, I have exactly one no-name ally for each Rune cannon type. The enemies has one ship with a Fire cannon and another with a Lightning cannon. My ship has two cannon slots, so, it behooves me to set up an Earth cannon (beats Lightning), a Water cannon (beats Fire), and set the others to underlings. The enemy was a lot faster than me, but I still managed a flawless victory.

I still get boarded, though. Obviously. I kick Brandau's butt, and his not-so-cute side-kick too. My men surround the pair, telling him that he should surrender. However, Brandau has one more trick up his sleeve, and it's quite a doozy one that I'm pretty sure nobody expected.

Utter eradication of every person on the scene occurs; not even dust remains. There are two exceptions: Lazalo and Brandau.

The game switches context to Commander Glenn's ship. He spots Snowe. They skip to after Snowe makes his report, and, suffice it to say, the Commander is pissed at Snowe's report.

Snowe earns a good, solid punch, from the Commander too, but, that quote was too good to pass up. Anyway, the game switches context back to Brandau and Lazlo. After a brief scene, we get into a duel with Brandau. Guy doesn't stand a prayer. Still, Lazlo falls unconscious after the duel. Brandau's somehow still alive, and Commander Glenn's now on the scene. The True Plot Rune that Brandau bears passes to Glenn, and is then reduced to ashes himself.

Now, maybe it's just me, but, I get the particular impression that Lazlo was spared because the Rune wanted a new host, and, from everyone on that ship, thought Lazlo was the best choice. Then, when Glenn came on the scene, it changed it's mind, and decided to attach itself to him instead. THE RUNE CHANGED IT'S MIND! This may be the only instance is this series where a Rune changes it's mind like this, but, I could be wrong on this point.

Anyway, There's an additional cut-scene with Ramada and a pair of ninja talking among themselves, then another one where we see Snowe back on his dingy (I don't really see Glenn doing this as a form of punishment) as a ship (Glenn's? The one Snowe was supposed to be captain of?) bearing Lazlo sails past him. Snowe doesn't seem to happy to see me. After a bit, I wake up in my room, ready for whatever this day has in store for me.

Snowe's waiting for me when I get out of my room. Says he's got a few things to pick up. Um, okay? Along the way we meet up with some Knights who think I didn't do too bad out there the other day. They don't have good things to say to Snowe when he butts in, but, at least it doesn't escalate any further than snide commentary. Though, Snowe says he'll "be more careful next time". In what respect, I suppose we'll just have to see.

After an event at the general store, I overhear some people noticing me and Snowe together. They recognize me first, then go on about how Master Snowe must feel so safe with somebody so strong by his side. The talk sickens Snowe, obviously. Is he not a Knight of Gaien in his own right?

That's a pretty good question to ask, and I kinda wish Snowe would think on it. Like, exactly how much of his training is due to his father's pushing? Remember, he wanted Snowe to go directly to the front lines after graduating, and Glenn KNEW he wasn't ready for that. I'd wager that Snowe would still be a trainee if it were not for the mayor pushing him to be a Knight. The only thing I can think of in regards to a reason why he would want that is some kind of political gain angle. Like, if his son becomes a hero, that brings fame to the family name, and the additional fortune that such a title generally brings can't hurt either. I mean, I'm only guessing here, but, if this is true, it's kinda sad.

Er, back to the game. I head to the Commander's Room, but Snowe splits after the chef informs me the Commander's meal is ready. I pick the meal up, and meet Glenn and Katarina. She asks about the medicine, and I answer, honestly, that it is from Snowe. We're almost ready to talk business, but the True Plot Rune interferes before we get anywhere. I'm not really sure where I'm going, but, I aim to leave the Knight's Hall courtyard. On the way, I see a cut-scene of incoming pirate ships. Oh, great.

We're not in a naval battle yet. I talk to Tal, Paula, Kenneth, and Jewel, then head for the harbor, then I can engage in the naval battle!

The enemy's Rune cannons consists of Wind and Fire. Wind cannons are beat by Fire, and I have no access to that Rune cannon type. However, I do have access to Water, which beats the Fire cannons. My AI ally has a Lightning cannon, which has no interactions here. So, that's going to end up as an each blow when they attack, or counter-attack. We take a bit of damage, but, we emerge victorious.

Hey, we don't get boarded this time! The enemy is retreating! Snowe's ship charges forth, alone, however. The pirate ships maneuver themselves to beat on Snowe's ship, and it's up to me to save his butt again. I move toward the scuffle, which make the pirates reconsider, and withdraw for good this time. Now, Snowe might have been thinking that defeating two pirate ships alone would make up for Iiluya, but there's a difference between bravery and outright foolishness that maybe he hasn't quite learned yet.

Back in port, I'm summoned by Glenn. He saw our battle, and congratulates me on my wise decision. Snowe, on the other hand, gets another rap in the mouth. Snow's a little pissed that despite holding his ground this time, Lazlo still gets all the credit. Or, more like, he's just really confused about the happenings in the last few days. Katarina recommended that I go to sleep, so I do just that. The worst is still yet to come.

Next day, I get called to bring up the Commander's meal to him. There's a bit of talk about the pirates from earlier. About how there's someone behind them that's specifically trying to get the Knights riled up, or some-such. All of the sudden, there's shaking and loud noises. We're under attack AGAIN!? So, how bad is it this time?

For now, the game puts Katrina into my party. This is good. I was ready to feed her stat-stones as soon as she entered. When I exit the Hall, I engage in four fights, with no respite between them, before the cut-scene with Glenn triggers. He uses the Rune and lays waste to the enemy ships at sea. What remain withdraw in a hurry. Katarina reminds us not to enter the Hall, and to prioritize the mending of wounded. I talk to everyone I can, but, in the end, the game refuses to advance until I go into the Hall.

Darigaaz, I can rest and save in my room. I do so, then continue up to the roof. At which point, the True Plot Rune decides that it's done with Glenn, and transfer to me. Glenn's body is reduced to ash, and vanishes. And who's there to witness all this but Snowe?

Framed for the murder of Commander Glenn, my punishment is to be exiled, never to return to Gaien. My last words to Katarina are that I did not kill Glenn. Which is true. However, the whole situation is really sketchy, and it boils down to a case of my word going against Snowe's. As it happens, the judge of this case is the Lord Mayor, who is in no way impartial. He's heavily favoring Snowe's account, and it doesn't seem that Lazlo has the opportunity to defend himself. Though, I'm not really sure what kind of defense would be useful here. It might be a moot point regardless. At least he's not to be beheaded?

The Knights of Gaien set me on my way on a small ship, then depart for Razril. Snowe is the new Commander now. I wager his dad pulled some strings, as he's a power-hungry idiot. Personally, I'd be more comfortable with Katarina at the helm, but, there's nothing that can be done of it. At least I'm not totally alone on this boat. Kenneth and Jewel decided to tag along, despite having a future as Knights. We're ready and raring to get ourselves moving, but, rather than finding the oars Kennth stashed on this ship, we find a stowaway in the form of Chiepoo! This will be my active party for quite some time. Maybe even the entirely of the next chapter, if not longer. However, this chapter has come to a close.
I lost my arms in a tragic chibi accident
I'm really enjoying your playthrough so far Marrend! It also helps that Libs is playing it at the exact same rate, so I get to see two different playthroughs of this awesome game.

I also like how you can have different knights join you on the boat depending on who you've used more, for example you have Kenneth and Jewel while Libs got the two gals.

Ah, keep in mind that the Lord is not just the mayor of the town, but also one of those running the Knighthood - he has a lot of say in what happens; enough that Glenn is forced to accede to him sometimes.

There's likely a small group at the top, of which he is the most influential, as I very much doubt that someone who literally just became a knight and in which the others have little-to-no confidence due to his stupid decisions would have become Commander otherwise, especially when there are many knights that are his senior.

Another thing to point out - the two who join you on your banishment are based on who you've gotten up the most levels. In my LP I've got Paula and Jewel with me because they're the two with the highest levels. If you have all four on an equal level, it would have been randomly selected from them.

I'm a little ahead of you in my LP so far (like, barely). ;p
Only once did I choose to follow Snowe's advice to turn back. I can't quite recall what happened - I think Snowe still gets into trouble for it and he tries to bring your name into the ring only to be told that HE was the Captain, not us, and that it was up to us to follow the Captain's orders, meaning we did right. I don't think we can lose out either way (we're Glenn's favourite X3) All through my LP I kept calling him 'Daddy' because he kinda is our adopted father.

Actually, that's another point - it's interesting to point out that we were brought up with Snowe as a pseudo-brother. There was a distinction made, of course, but we were close to the Lord too, as he also looked kindly apon us as we were growing up and treated Lazlo as, maybe not quite a son, but someone he was fond of. Likely part of the reason we weren't beheaded was because of this, too - he knew that we and Snowe were very close and as much as he is a jerk, he's not a heartless bastard. Just pretty greedy and power-hungry.

Lastly, I do like certain aspects of this game, but dear god it is a slog. The first episode of the LP is so much longer just because of the amount of encounters present, and we haven't even really started the exploration. It took about, oh, 5 hours to get up to where you are now. That's... quite long. XD
Guardian of the Description Thread
Huh. I very largely assumed it was the two you chose in training grounds, because that's how it's always worked for me. Then again, the likelihood of those two that you did pick being higher levels than the other two is pretty high. I mean, it's not like they give you an opportunity to let the other two join after the festival! :P

However, the point about Snowe and Lazlo being raised as brothers is a fair one. I'm sure that if it was anybody else, they would meet Madame la Guillotine. Of course, Lazlo's got a different set of problems now, what with that True-Plot-Rune-That-Must-Never-Be-Named in his left hand...
Guardian of the Description Thread
Last time we left off our intrepid heroes, they were drifting along the open ocean with no particular direction in mind. We do this for about two encounters until Jewel spots a merchant ship. Well, the cut-scene aboard that ship largely suggests otherwise, but, oh well?

When we get on board, we are questioned as to what we're doing. I get the impression that we're all trying to talk at once, because the second-in-command is all flustered, telling us to settle down, then comments that we should get some rest. After that, I speak to the captain at the fore of the ship, mumbling something about "being early", then reiterating that we should get some sleep. Hrmmm.

Still, I go to sleep in the cabin. Sort of. When I go back outside, I get a cut-scene of the party overhearing a report of the pirate attack on Razril. They didn't know about it, so, at least it wasn't instigated by them. Still, Kenneth recoils a bit, and makes some noise. Noise loud enough for our hosts to hear us, and call us out into the open. We admit that we're former Knights of Gaien. Not that they care about that particular point, as they attack.

A casting of The Shredding knocks the party out before we even get any attacks in. Thankfully, we're supposed to loose this fight, and we make our way back to our boat. The Kooluk captain does not wish to pursue us. Ultimately, we are but wanderers on the open ocean that cannot return to our homeland, and is willing to let the sea decide our fate. The second-in-command isn't too happy with that decision, but still abides by it.

Back to drifting on the open ocean. This lasts for one fight. After that concludes, we get a cut-scene where we're attacked by a boss. We defeat it pretty handily, but, the game's not gonna let us off so easily. Of course not. A tidal wave comes crashing down on us, knocking us out cold. When we wake up, we appear to have drifted to some kind of deserted island.

This is probably one of the most repetitive sections in the game. Though, I think it might be possible to get a "fake" end here by choosing not to escape? Whatever. I've never been interested in it. I'm going to escape this island and glaze over a good number of details, since it's very same-y!

Day 1. I chop the wood, Jewel collects rope, and Kenneth collects coconuts. I explore the back of the cave to find... a mermaid?

She's quite surprised to see me, and swims away in great haste. So much haste, that she left a little something behind. I snag it, because why not. Though, I get the odd impression that I do not intend to return it. Of course, it's only after this, that the rest of my party has completed their tasks for the day, and are willing to join me. *shakes fist*

Day 2. Kenneth cuts trees, I collect rope, Jewel collects coconuts, mermaid drops a Water Amulet.

Day 3. Jewel cuts trees, Kenneth collects rope, I do the coconuts, mermaid drops a Guard Ring.

Day 4. We finish building our ship, and can get off this island!

Like it would be that easy! Yeah, riiiiight! We learn through the island's resident mermaid that Cheipoo's got himself into a tizzy, and needs our help. Of course, the critter that got it's claws on Cheipoo is not particularly a friend of the Republic mermaid. So, if we take it out, we get back Cheipoo, AND make this mermaid happy. It'll be like hitting two birds with one stone!

Er, anyway, the resulting boss fight comes in two halves. The first half, it comes with two minions, and just turtles it up. We can barely put a dent in, or otherwise scratch, that shell. There is then a prompt to use the True Plot Rune, or no. Choosing "no" feels like a "but thou must!" situation in that it keeps looping this choice until you agree to use the Rune.

Shouldn't Lazlo have to roll a reality check, though? Using this particular Rune has always had really terrible consequences for both sides of the equation. Though, in this instance, the Rune doesn't entirely obliterate absolutely everything. Or even damage the boss, as far as I can tell. All it does is just make it uncurl, stand on it's legs, and summon six minions for the next half of the boss fight. Pffft, that should be fine, right? RIGHT?

Well, we won, and Cheipoo's doin' jus' BOOOM! I've keeled over, and summoned into Dark Space to unlock a new spell-slot for True Plot. When I come to, there's very little to do, except save, and leave the island. We encounter the mermaid one more time, and she tells us of civilized lands to the south, and that we'll be welcome back. We have directions, as vague as they are, and sail south for two encounters. On the second encounter, we get a boss battle follow-up encounter. Here we go again!

The battle is won, and the boat is still in one piece! Huzzah! Oh, wait. Our oars have been destroyed. We have the best luck, don't we?

With no way to steer, or move, this boat, we drift along the sea for who-knows-how-long before being saved by a passer-by. At least this ship belongs to the Kingdom of Obel. Which... I don't think is an enemy of Gaien. Or Kooluk. However, they seem to recognize the Rune on my left hand. I'm a little shy to show them the thing, but, it's pretty clear they know what it is, even if nobody else does. In any event, we land safely in Obel proper.

I'm directed to see the King. Maybe later. For now, I take a snooze at the inn, then explore the town for a spell. When we arrive at the palace, we're a bit surprised when we actually meet this king! I should have taken a sceenshot of Flare chuckling. That aside, Lino's hospitable enough. He gives us a place to sleep, and will allow us to work for him. Also, I've a funny feeling I'll be able to start recruiting. If not right now, then very, very soon.

Well, that's one way to say "Congratulations, you're Suiko-screwed!"

...Aaaaaaand, a speech from Leknaat that includes the words... the other way. Well, Futch.

Let me run a bit of music from our base-at-the-moment... I note that the characters I can recruit in this section: Ornan, Perrault, Rita, Mitsuba, and Reinhold.

I know exactly where Ornan is, as he's generally the only person I recruit during this time. He also happens to be in Obel. :P

The other charcters, well, there're NOT on Obel. Of course, I don't recall exactly where the other islands are located where I can recruit characters. Time to set sail and explore!

Let me level with you. The exploration alone will probably take an entire play-session onto itself. Maybe more. However, there's very little to actually write about in regards to said exploration. So, you will have to excuse me if I glaze over the exploration portion, and an inevitable delay for the next write-up.
Guardian of the Description Thread
The time I took exploring was a little under three hours. Which isn't as bad as I thought! Anyway, the first island I found was a pseudo-resort island called Mordo (music link). There isn't anybody for me to recruit here now, but, that's not to say there will not be later.

A bit more sailing, and I come across Nay (music link). Here, I find Perrault... in the Nay Kobold Settlement (music link).

Na-Nal (music link) isn't far off from Nay, and I find the rest of the stars I can recruit there.

Rita's a gambler, and we have to win 500 potch from playing her mini-game, Ritapon. Ritapon's pretty fun to play, and is among my favorite mini-games from the series, bested only by Triple Toss Chincirorin.

Reihold provides an interesting service. It's not available right now, but, when it is, he'll provide up to five rounds of normal combat, each round getting more and more difficult. Of course, experience awards gets better with each round you survive. If you survive all five rounds, you get a special bonus. I forget what the "standard" award is, but the very first time, he gives you a Slash Rune.

The Slash Rune is a pretty interesting Rune onto itself, as it essentially replaces the "Let Go" command with a "Wipe the board" command. Of course, since players would normally be able to access the "Let Go" command to begin with, the gold/exp probably isn't worth the player's while to begin with. However, I still really like this idea, even if this kind of effect would be better off in a game like Suikoden 3, where the battles are at least worth it for the Skill Points. Oh well!

I took, maybe, an extra hour-ish to level the new characters, and going to Nay to sharpen their weapons. I'm about ready to explore the ruins of Obel, and talk to whoever's in there about this Rune. My first foray into the ruins are a short one, as I find the Angel Hairball inside a treasure chest. This thing's, like, boss-tough, and it takes a decent number of spells/resources to take it down. Thankfully, I get a Golden Hammer for my trouble! That's, like, the second-best hammer in the game?

That aside, there's Blood Skeletons in this zone. Castlevania reference aside, what that translates too in this game is that, as long as at least one other enemy stands, any Blood Skeletons you've felled get back up. I eventually face the boss of this area, and it withdraws after two rounds of combat? I'm feeling there's gonna be a Part 2 for this boss.

Oh man, they're giving me a handy-dandy save-point on the next screen. For now, our "tour" guide, Rakgi, thanks us for our hard work, and we get the lowdown from Rikie.

You know, I'm just starting to realize how many voice actors/actresses there are in this game that also did voices for the Xenosaga series. Commander Glenn? Same guy that did Commander Margulis. The mermaid? I swear she sounded like Shion. Rakgi, I think, is the same person that did Gaignun Junior/Rubedo? Not that I'm complaining, necessarily, but, it's still an interesting observation to me. You'll have to forgive me for not knowing the names of these actors/actress, and generally being a terrible person like that, however.

Er, anyway, when I try to leave this screen, the boss from before makes it's reappearance, and this time, it's got arms! Not that it makes too much difference. The thing falls just as easily as last time. It's also true that I was going all out with my Runes this time, so, who knows.

After the fight, the mother and son join me. They were automatic stars, so, I didn't list them in the last update. Though, if my notes are correct, and for full disclosure, the next character I should be getting is the mermaid from the Deserted Island, Lilin. For now, though, I head back to base to rest up.

When I'm ready to go, I visit the Royal Palace. Lino isn't there, but Flare comments he might be at sea. She admits that she ultimately has no idea, but, it's the best lead I've got. I met Manu on the way to the base, so, I ask to use his one-way elevator to get to the harbor in a jiffy. No sooner to I board the boat that I hear a cry for help from, you guessed it, Lilin!

I steer the boat to the obvious ship that's marked on my mini-map like a big pearl. There, I encounter some fools on Tengarr's Hix that we beat up a bit on before letting them go. Lilin joins us soon afterwards, and that might have triggered a few more recruits to open up. There's a bit of a naval battle when I try to get to port (and a few accompanying scenes), but, it's nothing to write home about. Lemme look at my notes...

Well, there's at least 5 people in this next section, four of which are auto-stars. The one star that is "optional" is Cedric, this game's bearer of the Godspeed Rune. Which does make our walking/running speed (and animation?) faster, but, I swear, makes the encounter rate ten times worse? Which is sometimes saying a lot, as this game's encounter rate can be annoying high, at times. Anyway, so long as I'm at the base, I listen to what Desmond wanted to talk about.

Apparently, there's a message from Lino about us trying to get a guy called Oleg on our team. He's an inventor, of sorts, and can be found on Nay. Good thing I know where that is!

There's a few scenes here involving our Kooluk "friends". I've not talked too much about them, as the scenes have been very short interludes, but, this latest one's fairly important. Remember the Rune Cannons that Ramada was shipping? These guys have one, and during this interlude, they take out Illuya with it. Well, maybe "take out" is too strong a word. The island is still very much there, but, the village that was on it has been reduced to ruins.

The next morning, Oleg's device shows us some of the footage of this destruction. Then, we hear that there's some survivors have washed ashore on Nay's beach, and, we're off to help! I'm not sure if we actually do or not, as the scene cuts to some villagers talking about the drifters, then the next thing I know, they're in the village elder's house for treatment. If I recall correctly, those two are stars that I recruit much, much later on in the game. For now, I take Oleg to meet with Lino back in Obel.

Lino makes an offer: he cannot reward Oleg right now, but is willing to let him work with us for the time being. Oleg agrees, though, I expect that he'll want to be paid proper at some point in time. Like, a "after the events of this game are over" point in time ;)

With an embargo on ships leaving or entering Obel, there's not a heck of a lot I can do except return to base, and advance the plot even further. On the way, I get ambushed by Ramada, and his ninja.

They're pretty handily defeated. We tie 'em all up, and send 'em over to Lino. There, we share with them that this particular Rune has this nasty tendency for it's hosts to die after it's been removed, forcibly or otherwise. I mean, the intention may have been to kill Lazlo anyway, but, I would also wager that they would not be happy when the Rune transfers itself onto one of them, only for them to be reduced to ash after the Rune transfers again.

With three more stars in the bag, I try going back to base one more time. Given that there's guards posted everywhere in the courtyard, and serve as a barrier, I've a funny feeling about this.

Yep. We're under attack by Kooluk ships, and it gets into the game's head that I need to use the Rune of Punishment. As in, the game will not progress until I do so. And this time, we wipe some ships with the Rune. That's gonna cost Lazlo something. Maybe later. For now, there's a naval battle to win!

Sure enough, after the battle is won, I get summoned once again into Dark Space to unlock the level 3 spell on True Plot. I'm... I'm not dead. Then again, there's probably about 108 reasons why this is true, so let's take comfort in that. At least, for now.

After this, I wake up in my room with Kenneth/Jewel/Cheipoo surrounding me. I leave to get a little cut-scene with the members I have recruited taking 'bout fighting together, and getting stronger so that we will not rely on my accursed Rune. I'll put the ninja in the party so that I may feed them stat-stones :P

I make for the Royal Palace, only to hear the war-horns sound. If I try to continue on, there's a guard in my way. So, the only path left to me is to double-back to base. Except when I get inside, there's nobody around! Awkward. I bet they're in the plot-lockdown war room, though. Sure enough, everybody's there. Lino drops in later, to throw down something, I must admit, was kind of surprising to hear of when I first played this.

Lino thinks it advisable to take this ship, and leave Obel. Maybe not the most noble of plans to escape, but, it's our best chance to survive this mess. He wants me to get as many people on this boat as possible, and make sure I have a doctor before I leave. No hints about recruiting guys there ;)

Flare's tagging along, but, they forcefully remove the ninja from my party, and I cannot manipulate my party at this time. So, it'll be just me and Flare for a bit.

I've looked at my notes for available characters, and I believe I can get both Yu (the aforementioned doctor) and Adrienne now. I do so, then run back to base. Flare complains that I'm not done yet, so I double-back, and start talking to whoever I haven't talked to yet. I eventually get a number of preparation cut-scenes. At some point, Flare tells me that that's everybody, which I take as a sign to move outta here. While I note I can go into the ruins, I feel I can level Flare when she joins me for real.

For now, she's gonna ditch me, and stay on Obel. I continue on ahead. There's a number of scenes here where Setsu makes a complete idiot out of himself (this is normal, actually), but, in the end, the Kooluk fleet does not persue us beyond their initial volley. It collaspses the cave entrace where this ship came out from, but, we're not using it anymore, and it will be some time before I'm back.

I meet up with Kika's ship again. She invites me to her hideout. That's the next chapter of the game. However, if my notes are correct, I've a messload of stars to recruit before I even start that story-arc. That's for another session, though.
The fake ending on the island is actually pretty funny as it gives you different portraits for the characters - black and white chibi sketches. They're pretty cute. Sadly, it's a fake ending that puts you back into doing what you'd normally do but with the added detriment of never being able to complete it and thus being locked out of the game itself. It's a cute little side dish, but it's just something small to check out if needed.

Now if we were talking about 5 - that games has a few different endings depending on choices you make (though bar the two last ones, they're all bad endings/gameovers).
Guardian of the Description Thread
My list of currently available characters include: Mao, Nao, Taisuke, Bang, Viki, Ugetsu, Jeane, Manu, Shiramine, Lilan, Nataly, Izak, Kate, and Rene

Mao and Nao are technically already on this boat, but I have to get some scenes with Tov before I can open the Forbidden Room and recruit them. I've never really used their services, so, I cannot really comment on them.

Given this list, and it may be a little out-of-order, but, I go to Nay first for one very good reason.

Viki's a super-convenient service onto herself, but, when she comes with the Blinking Mirror, it's just icing on the cake. I also get Bang here, because why not?

Taisuke's on the Deserted Isle, so, I have to explore a bit to find it. After I recruit him, it's off to Na-Nal for Ugetsu, Jeane (her "introduction" cut-scene in this game is one thing, but I swear, Suikoden 5 dials it up to 11), and Manu. I give Maxine a bout of combat, but, I can't quite recruit her yet.

With Ugetsu recruited, I can fish out Shiramine from my ship's rear deck, and recruit him. It's a really awkward scene, since that rod/line looks like it should have broken. Then again, you can fish out whales in at least one of the Breath of Fire games (3?), so, who knows?

My next stop is Donut Island (I had to double-check that spelling), actually. Rene's not here quite yet, but, it's now on Viki's teleport list. This is an island that's in the eastern seas, not really that far from Obel. However, there was a plot-wall preventing my exploration of that area earlier. I suppose the way plot-walls make sense in a thematic way (a strong wind redirects your ship elsewhere), but, I almost wish it turned the ship so that it faces the opposite direction you came from instead of... whatever the heck it's doing. I don't think it's completely random, but it still pisses me off.

Illuya's my next point of interest. I can catch Lilan via Shiramine's net off the coast of that island. Which makes a hell of a lot more sense that Shiramine's recruitment, if a bit of a sad point regarding potential mermaid hunters. Illuya proper nets me Nataly, Izak, and Kate.

Three-ish game-hours later (sorry, I wasn't necessarily keeping track), I get Rene on Donut Island. I forgot she had a prerequisite of "find the message-bottle on Nay". That, and there was exploration in the Illuya area. Maybe an extra two game-hours later (again, I wasn't keeping track) to explore the area east of the Den of Pirates before I enter that story-arc.

I can apparently recruit Phil right off the bat, before even talking to Kika. Looking at my notes... Darigaaz, there's another a mess-load of characters to recruit! Later. I'll probably need Kika and her gang for a number of these recruits anyway, so I go head and advanze ze plot.

Don't be such a tsundere. You know you want to join us.

Speaking of who I can recruit this chapter, here's the list of the remaining auto-joins and non-auto-joins from my list: Elenor, Agnes, Lilon, Gau, Aldo, Jango, Brec, Lilen, Lo Fong, Lo Hak, Lo Seng, Igor, Nalkul, Champo, Bartolomew, Liloon, and Katarina.

If I leave and return to the Den, Katarina washes ashore, and gives me a low-down on what's happened to Razril since I've gone into exile; Snowe sold out Razril to the Kooluk. To be fair, the player has seen an interlude between the Kooluk Governer and Snowe. Because of Snowe's cooperation, they made him a captain of a squad(?) of anti-pirate vessels. Which, if we leave port again, we engage in a naval battle with. He's surprised to see us, of course, but chooses to attack anyway, to "make the seas safer". Jewel, if you would?

"Snowe, you idiot!"

Snowe doesn't stand a chance. Not because of any plot-related event, or grand strategy on my part. It's because I'm the kind of terrible person that has UGED, and applied, a number of Ocean Rune Pieces to both my HQ, and the Grishend (Kika's ship). I suppose the simplest way to explain Ocean Rune Pieces is that they are stat-stones for naval battles. So, for example, my HQ has a "Shooting Distance" stat of 30.

You thought I was kidding. This thing can fire it's cannons to the other side of the freaking universe if it really wanted to.

The Grishend is a bit more well-rounded, and certainly not as many Ocean Rune Pieces pumped into it as HQ, here.

The games wants me to chase Snowe to Razril because... reasons. Well, no, it's not entirely random. I just think we can leave the guy alone, and get the the next batch of stars. However, the Blinking Mirror refuses to function, and Viki feels sleepy. So, I guess we're going along with it?

Snowe is a rather popular fellow. In that "not" kind of way. The people of Razril pelt his ship with fire arrows, and there's even a few high-spirited townsfolk that throw stones at his boat. He obviously can't land; he'll be lynched. So he goes back to sea, only to be captured by us. Snowe's a star, so I cannot execute him. I do, however, give him the opportunity to join us. He refuses, of course. We give him a dingy, and let the sea determine his fate. We'll meet again, Snowe. Much later. For now, the aptly-named Hermitage Island is highlighted on my map, not to mention that both Viki and the Blinking Mirror are functioning again! Gonna do another batch of exploration before hittin' that Hermitage, though.
First time I played the game, I gave Snowe the ol' neck chop. Fuck it, I play to lose first time in Suikoden games and it was most gratifying... until I realised that meant I'd have to play the game again. Thankfully New Game + is kind.

You never really need to pump up your ship abilities. The war games in this Suikoden are much, much easier than in any other Suikoden game. So much so that winning is practically decided the moment you choose which runes to equip your ships with. It's not the best battle system they devised, but there is something silly about it which makes it kinda fun. Maybe the fact that it -is- so easy and thus doesn't become a trial to get through (like the rest of the game ;p ).
Guardian of the Description Thread
It may not be necessary to pump the ships, but, man, seeing the scene of my HQ firing to the other side of the board is always satisfying.

There's a New Game+ for this game? Huh. I don't recall that. I'm pretty sure there is one for 5, though. I recall a FAQ-writer lament about how it would have been so cool to allow Prince to be able to wear the outfit that he wore at End of Game if you get the Golden Perfect Ending.
Guardian of the Description Thread
Right! Hermatige Island!

Sigurd, Hervey, and Dario lock themselves into my party. Which is fine by me, since they've been in my party for a bit. We're here to see Elenor, but her pupil, Agnes, greets us. Then proceeds to give us drugged food and drink. Maybe one of the oldest tricks in the book, but it's SUPER EFFECTIVE!

Lazlo's probably the only one that has any modicum of wit about him, so Elenor takes him inside for a chat. She's not to thrilled about the request to fight with us, but, if we do her a favor/test, she'll consider it more. Of course, the task in question involves fighting a boss. Of course! However, to my utter surprise, a Voice of Death works? Darigaaz, I did not expect that!

Elenor honors her promise, and joins me on an official basis. She'll be on the ship shortly. I start toward HQ, and Agnes is there, declaring that I'm a terrible person (she's not wrong), and her decision to tag along. There's a very short interlude of Lino going to Elenor's house, but, I ignore it for now. There's stars to recruit!

The first of which is Lilon, which I obtain by warping to the Nest of Pirates, leaving, then re-docking. Gau and Aldo are back on Hermatige Island. I seem to recall that you have to fight Gau in normal combat, and you need a party of less than four to recriut him, but there might be another detail there I'm forgetting. Jango and Brec should appear in my HQ's bridge after I recruit the two on Hermatige, and Lilen's back on the Deserted Island where I met Lilin and Taisuke.

Okay, so, apparently, neither Gau nor Aldo will appear unless I name HQ first. This involves a duel with Lino (that I win). There's two names floated as suggestions. One is Chicken (from Cheipoo) and the other is Dauntless (from Tov). I think Dauntless might be the official name. However, since it's me, I name it Kamiyama.

We also get the opportunity to name our army. Why is there not a suggestion for Orange Army? Well, Desmond suggests "Rush" and Akaghi suggests "Lazlo Army". I don't know if there's an official name here or not. Suikoden 5 makes a reference to the Island Nations Federation, but that's way too many characters to fit into the text-box. I've used "Motojima" before, so that's what I use.

Okay, I sorta got ahead of myself earlier with those character recruits, but, I've got all those people now. Next up is Mordo Island for Lo Fong, Lo Hak, Lo Seng, and Igor.

Nalkul and Champo are a bit tricky, as they need Chiepoo in the party, and a friendly warning of pickpockets from the Nay-Kobold village. And, because Cheipoo mentions it, a visit to the trading post. The way Nalkul steals the Golden Seal is more than a bit wonky, and would have worked ten times better if there were more people around. That "accidental" bumping-into is just... ugh.

Bartolomew's here, but, I can't seem to recruit him now? I'll look him up later. During the attempt, I find Maxine along the path to the Nay-Kobold settlement, and give her another bout. Not yet recruited, but she wasn't on the list either. Maybe one more'll do it. Liloon's on Iiluya, tucked behind a stairwell near the pier. Bartolomew... still won't join me. What gives?

Apparently, I have to read a news article about him first. I don't think that was in the walkthrough at all. Thanks, Suikosource! After him, I hop by the Nest of Pirates, and find Katarina back to full health, and eventually joins the Motojima after questioning me about Glenn.

That should do me for recruits at least until I advance the plot again. Which may be some time, as there's a number of people I'll want to feed stat-stones to, and generally level (I think Reinhold's training might be available now), so that means derping around for a bit.

Er, as a way of apology for the lack of images, have the HQ theme that's been running since we lanuched the Ship of Obel (ie: the Kamiyama before it was named as such)...

...and Ritapon, because this is an awesome tune, and might be half the reason I enjoy this mini-game.

Guardian of the Description Thread
I'm not sure how long I spent exploring and leveling my peeps, but, I'm about ready to advance the plot. This involves going into the war room.

Elenor's plan is to get support from the surrounding islands before taking on Kooluk proper. While Rarzil is mentioned for having been abandoned by Gaien, we choose to go with Middleport first. Not that we had fast travel to either location, so we've gotta sail. Our closest warp-point is the Deserted Island, of all places!

When we arrive, we fight this huge boss of a monster. Which was, apparently, somebody's pet? But wait, not just anybody's pet. It belonged to the town's Lord Mayor. His son is quite appreciative of our slaying of the beast, and is willing to put in a good word to his father, however.

Man, it has been a while, Middleport! However, I'm pretty sure we cannot recruit people right now? Lemme jot down the list here, and see what names jog memories: Keen, Deborah, Oskar, Eugene, Selma, Reinbach, Micky, Helga, Etienne, Gareth, Millay, and Charlemagne.

I can get a scene with Keen if Sigurd is in the party, so, I might have to come back a bit later for him. I can get Deborah now, and I know Oskar comes some time later, but I'm not sure when. I don't even remember who Eugene is, but, some of the names after his are on/with Na-Nal's events. I'm talkin' to the mayor...

...which gives me the weakest instance of the Reinbach joke ever. I mean, how can one not see this coming? Anyway, Oskar still won't join me, and Keen isn't in his spot, so... depart and re-dock? Though, I do get another scene with Reinbach III, saying he'll join me... in exchange for a Rose Broach Crest. Hence, why he's under the "optional" characters, and not an automatic! Which I did not list. WELP.

Huh. Oskar's gone, as is Keen. Keen's not already on board, but, would Oskar happen to be...? Yes. In Deborah's room. Keen, lemme look him up, and Eugene too while I'm at it.

All right, to recruit Keen, Sigurd can not be in the main party, and Eugene is one of the characters on Na-Nal. Good to know!

So, a few new services have opened up. Deborah comes off as a rumor-monger, but, in actuality, gives you hints to stars you have not recruited yet. While we don't have a detective per say, we do have Keen...

Hey, this sounds familiar.

...who's confessions sometimes gets people to admit their faults, and backstories. Not always. For instance, you'll never get anything out of Viki, not so much because she's something of an airhead, but traveling through time as well as space is bound to confuse a person. As for Jeane, well, whatever secret she's been keeping has always been under wraps even if virtually nothing else about her is.

Anyway, on to Na-Nal, our next target! It's no longer on Viki's teleport-list, but Nay is, and isn't terribly far from Na-Nal.

They lock Lino into the party, but, otherwise, I can bring whoever. There's a bit of a dizzy as I fight Kooluk soldiers on the way to the town. Has Na-Nal been taken by them already!? We're allowed in to see the village chief, and he explains, in his own way, that Na-Nal has not joined Kooluk, and has no intention of joining Obel. Well, fine, but what about the Motojima? Well, he perceives the Motojima as more barbarous as the Kooluk, as they did not demand their cooperation as soon as they landed. Not sure what kind of trick Troy has up his sleeves, but, we're caught in the middle of it.

They ask us to go to the big ol' tree, and "borrow" some medicine from the Elves there. Yeah, that's going to go over reeaaaly well. Of course, they provide us the best accommodations that they are willing to offer... to prisoners. Joy.

That night, we just want to get this dumb fetch-quest over with, and set out to for the Great Elven Tree. I'm not sure what's more awkward, the fact that the remedy is in the first room we see, or that we don't have to fight for it. I'm smelling a trap.

The next morning, Axel has fed the remedy to the injured Kooluk soldiers as compensation for my "idiocy". Lino comments that the village chief is bowing down to Kooluk, but the chief is not bothered by the words of "thieves". Cute. Real cute.

Along the way back to the Kamiyama, I get beset upon by an Elf.

Axel's none-to-happy about this request, but Lino and I are willing to hear her out. Which lands us in the Elven jail. Sorry, I just have to laugh at this irony, and Axel's response. Lino apologizes to the Elven elder when he appears before us, but, he's not at all mad at us. In fact, the events have transpired exactly as he planned. Apparently, he's set us all up! He doesn't care if humans lay claim to the island, but is not a fan of the island being "sold", undoubtedly a reference to the dealings with Kooluk. We're supposed to be living witnesses to the coming slaughter, and is the only reason we're alive, and in this cage. Oh, beautiful.

I'm not sure how much time was supposed to have past here, but, after talking to everybody (maybe just Lino), Selma comes back to free us. We hurry back to Na-Nal. Whatever the Elven Elder wanted to happen, it's probably happening right now.

As it turns out, the Elven "Remedy" was actually poison, and the remaining Kooluk have orders to kill the villagers. Do they really think the island natives knew the remedy was actually poison? Well, maybe. It's possible. I suppose it doesn't matter, in the end. However, as a result, both Kooluk and Na-Nal fighters are undoubtedly killing each other off. Which is exactly what the Elven Elder wanted. The kicker is that the Na-Nal chief suspected that Kooluk would attack the village at some point, but was merely a question of when.

He then asks to join forces with us. I'm sorry, game, but, what the hell? Was all of that some kind of test? Maybe. Seems more than a little shady, and very roundabout, but, whatever. We agree, and welcome Axel to the Motojima as a representative of Na-Nal.

Just outside the inn, I notice a pair of people that weren't there before. That's probably Eugene. Which means I can probably recruit Selma too.

Alright that should do it for Na-Nal. Next is... Nay.

Nobody forces themselves into the party, and the elder of Nay is a tad easier to convince than Na-Nal's. He says he knows some people willing to join me, but to come back later. Let's see who I can get, then.

Looking at my list again, a number of recruits just will not happen without Reinbach in the party, so I have to visit Gareth at the Inn eventually. He'll join me later, and might be among the stars that require Reinbach. I putz around both the human village and the Nay-Kobold settlement, but I can't see anybody to recruit right this moment. Right. Let's pick up that Rose Crest, and deliver it.

With Reinbach and Micky out of the way, I go on ahead and visit Middleport's inn for Helga, then the Lord's Mansion for Etienne. I'll have to come back later for Charlemagne. Gareth should be recruit-able, but Nay's still locked out as a fast travel point. Thankfully, Millay is on Na-Nal. Funny how that works.

Looks like Millay will have to wait a bit. There's supposed to be a guy that talks about her in Middleport's harbor, but, he's not around. I go ahead to Nay to pick up Kevin and Pam (which were auto-stars, according to my notes?) as well as Gareth. Then, back to Middleport (hey, the guy's here!) and Charlemagne. Then to Na-Nal for Millay!

Whew! That should be everybody for this section, and, as it happens, this chapter! Insane timing on my part, too, as RMN's Birthday event is coming up!
It may not be necessary to pump the ships, but, man, seeing the scene of my HQ firing to the other side of the board is always satisfying.

There's a New Game+ for this game? Huh. I don't recall that. I'm pretty sure there is one for 5, though. I recall a FAQ-writer lament about how it would have been so cool to allow Prince to be able to wear the outfit that he wore at End of Game if you get the Golden Perfect Ending.

New Game plus has a few features that makes it nice to use. For one, it lets you go double-time... literally. I can't recall if it's by holding or pressing a certain button, but you go 2x speed.

It also does the usual "Keep levels and items found", bar a few speciality armours - the treasure chests can basically be ignored in the second play-through since there's nothing in them (if you got them the first time around, at least).

The best feature, though, is that the person in the first slot of your party becomes your on-map avatar. Yes, instead of watching Waddlebutt McWonkyWalk all the time, you can have, say, Jeane sashaying around or anyone else who can be in your active party showing up instead. This makes for a lot more interesting visuals, as they all have their own way of walking.

I can't find a video of it but I'll show it off when I get to that point in my LP.
Guardian of the Description Thread
What the heck was I doing in this game? Oh yeah, getting support from the other islands. With Nay, Na-Nal, and Middleport on my side, it's time to re-take Razril.

When we arrive, we are meet by a Kooluk fleet that we engage in via a naval battle. One of the enemy ships turns rouge, and attacks one of the Kooluk ships! However, as the ship had already taken a nasty beating from the Kamiyama, it can only take one more action before it sinks. The good news is that the other ship it was attacking was also in range of the Kamiyama, so that doesn't take much longer to sink either :P

The enemy captain surrenders to our overwhelming might, and has a request for us.

I counter-offer a recruit request because it's me. Helmut agrees. He's an auto-star, so, it was bound to happen one way, or another.

Some familiar faces greet me when I make landfall...

...with Kenneth requesting that we get anybody willing to join the Motojima at the training hall. I've a funny feeling that it's going to take a bit more effort than simply going to the training hall to recruit people for this section.

Speaking of, the list of recruits for this section: Basil, Maxine, Funghi, Frederica, Ameria, Gretchen, Karl, Konrad, Warlock, Pecola, Jeremy, and... Ted. Damn you Ted, I miss you almost every single blasted time.

That aside, let's get started. Basil's at the inn, and, thankfully, I don't need to play his mini-game to recruit him. Which is good, because I am so terribad at it. Maxine's next, and I happen to find her at the inn. She doesn't fight me, which is another thing I didn't entirely expect, but I'm not complaining about that either!

I thought I could get Funghi now, but, that doesn't seem to be the case. Not a huge issue. I'll just advance the plot a bit...

...Which involves a rousing four-word speech from Lazlo ("Everybody, let's fight Kooluk!" or some-such), a cut-scene involving Snowe's dad (I thought he left?), and an interlude cut-scene with the Kooluk. It's definitely way too convenient for the Governor to be "under the weather" and give command of the Kooluk operations to Graham Cray. Also, I sense that, even if they do acquire the Rune of Punishment, they will not simply hand it over to Harmonia for military support.

Anyway, back to Razril, I now find Funghi in the kitchen of the Knight's Hall. There's one more scene I have to see...

...before I can recruit Frederica in the item shop. I have to rest in my room in the Knight's Hall before Ameria pops up on the roof. Man, I knew there was somebody was on the roof, but I thought it was Maxine! Anyway, I find Gretchen just outside Razril's armorer, and Karl on the back street. Konrad I'll need Katarina in the party for, but, that's a non-issue!

Oh, I, uh, guess I have to beat Snowe again before I recruit Konrad. The guy's turned to piracy. Now, I'm not sure if he did that because he thought I was a pirate, and needed to be better than me at something, or if it's merely a case of having no other profession to turn to. I mean, I get the funny impression that he's failed Kooluk they gave him the boot, plus, he's not, exactly, welcome at Razril!

The battle is nothing to write about, and I ask Snow to join me one more time. Of course, he refuses, and off he goes on another dingy. We'll meet again, Snowe. For now, I head back to Razril with Katarina in tow to recruit Konrad.

Recruiting Warlock involves a delving a dungeon in Middleport. It's a fairly high-level dungeon, if memory serves, so I can't take any of the newbies along. I'll have to train 'em at Reinhold's first. Besides, I will want to learn the one-and-only quadriple Unite tech in the game.

If the party-size was the normal 6, I bet Lazlo would have been a part of this Unite. As it stands, it's not a bad Unite, however, I can really use it while aboard the ship. I can't even switch to this party while training with Reinhold! Like, what the Futch?

Anyway, let's jump ahead to Warlock's dungeon. We have to talk to Pablo beforehand. Thanks, walkthrough! This place has a number of dead ends, maybe even with treasure, but, I'm really only interested in the recruit. So sue me.

Pecola was a bit awkward to get. I had to physically depart from Middleport, then re-anchor for her to appear. Jeremy's at the Na-Nal square, and I'll need Mitsuba in the active party to recruit him. That should leave Ted. He.. can be in the next session.
Guardian of the Description Thread
So, Ted. Probably the #1 reason I keep missing this guy is because his trigger is to go to the War Room and get a scene there. As I tend to avoid that place unless I absolutely have to (ie: the plot demands it), and the timing window (plot-wise) in which I have to get him, it's a perfect recipe for disaster. Not this time!

The scene in the War Room is basically us colliding into a ghost ship. Lino locks himself into the party, and I can take one other person to explore the ship, thus leaving a rather conspicuous empty slot in my party. The Fog Ship is a literal straight-forward dungeon. There are no twists, turns, or even as-so-much treasure to find. While having a less-than-full party means I cannot use the Rush command, I can still use the "Slash" command, or Unite with Kika for the Double Sword Attack.

At the end of the tunnel, I meet the captain/master/boss of this ship/dungeon. He doesn't really have a name, per say, but, he still makes promises of eternal life if I but relinquish the Rune of Punishment onto him. Oh, hell no! Our guide steps forward. He's been doing some thinking during the walk here (there were two small scenes where he posed some questions about my Rune), and this conversation, and has come to a decision not to hide anymore, and to reclaim the Rune he once had.

Of course, the good captain is not gonna just give Souleater back. You kidding? We have to fight him for it. After he falls, Leknaat makes an appearance. The Fog Ship captain makes a Standard Evil Speech of needing to gather strength before he can exact his vengeance upon this world, but Leknaat says that such is not his role he was given. Souleater takes the cue, then proceeds to do it's namesake, and eat his soul. After a bit more blattage, it's high-time to get ouuta here! The Ghost Ship is... sinking? No, more like dissolving into the aether. Afterwards, Ted requests to be left off at the nearest island, but, of course, we ask for him to join us. I didn't go through all that just to drop you off somewhere! Geeze!

I've been noticing a plot-pointer at the Nest of Pirates for a while, now. I'm counting 14 empty slots on the Tablet (no in-game running count here, but, that might only exist in Suikoden 3?), and that's exactly how many there are left, according to my notes. Let's do this.

When I make landfall at the Nest, I meet Tanya. She's a librarian who's looking for Elenor. I recruit her, and drop off the Old Books I've been carrying (among other such items, like Treasure maps for Rene, and Pecola's room-stuffs). Once inside the Nest, we get a cut-scene. It's finally time to reclaim Obel from Kooluk, and I also return the Golden Seal to Lino. Afterwards, we get a short interlude in Kooluk.

It's the Bishop Governor!

Well, well, well. Fancy that. He asks Ramada to help him stop Cray's insurrection, and to get word to the Kooluk King. Of course, he's seen by Cray while still in the dungeon. That's not going to bode well!

Back to the Kamiyama, we set sail to Obel from Donut Island. Once there, we get a cutscene of Lino in a neat getup...

...followed by Gary and Ema rallying the people. Flare and Setsu thank the couple for bringing everyone together, then do a rally of their own.

We inevitably get into a naval battle. Our forces are split up, leaving the Kamiyama to fend for itself. Or so it would appear. The other two vessels in the Motojima maneuvered themselves into a surprise pincer attack! It's not long before the battle concludes, and we capture Colton.

He asks us to kill him. Before we even consider that, Elenor notes how Colton probably thought to use the hole that was made by the Kamiyama when it departed as cover for their own pincer attack. Yet, the reinforcements never came. Now, why is that, does one suppose? Could it be that it was taken over by Flare and company?

Lino laughs this off when he sees it. Elenor apologizes for using his daughter this way, but, Lino is alright with it. We then get a report of an enemy fleet heading this way that absolutely nobody knew about before-hand. Not Colton, or Elenor, nobody. Is it time to call upon the Rune of Punishment once again, and enter Dark Space to unlock the last spell-slot?

I'll take that as a big "yes".

There's a number of cut-scenes before we get to Dark Space. One shows us Ramada, where he tries to weasel himself out of trouble with Cray. He wasn't particularly effective. In fact, he got a dart in the gut for his efforts. He has to rely on his bird to get the information the Governor gave him to us.

I've double-checked the walkthrough, and I believe I can recruit everybody that's left in the game at this moment. This includes Wendel, Nabakov, Carrie, Gunter, Trishtan, Gary, Ema, Noah, Rachel, Travis, and, Snowe. For at least two of these recruits, I'll need Yu in the active party, aaaaannnnd, off to Obel I go!

I warp/start at the harbor, and go from there. I find Nabakov first, as he's literally right in front of me this way. I come across Carrie next, and she has a short talk with Yu before joining. Same kinda deal with Trishtan. Gary and Ema are exactly where they were when I was first in Obel. Noah's behind the throne in the palace, and thank goodness I don't have to play her mini-game.

Gunter was a bit awkward, since I think I had to talk to him at least once in both Middleport and Na-Nal before he shows up in Obel to be a recruit. It's possible I skipped at least one of these locations, but, I warped to both just to be on the safe side. For Rachel, I needed Cedric in the active party, and go to where the Kamayama was docked.

I have no idea what's up with Wendel. The walkthrough mentions seeing a scene when you dock at Obel (the one they are talking about is probably the one you get by visiting the deck of HQ, rather than docking at Obel), but I'm just not seeing her. Suikosource tells me I also have to talk to Nico before she shows up. All right, let's try that.

Yep, that did it. Thanks, Suikosource! Maybe the walkthrough just assumed players talked to Nico before-hand, since he never mentions Wendel ever? Anyway we're down to two recruits. Travis is a bit annoying to get, since he asks to see use use an Escape Talisman. Which I've never used, by the way. The Blinking Mirror has served a very similar purpose for me, and is not consumable. However, that's what we have to do, and I have to go through the Obel ruins twice (but only face the boss once) to recruit him. It's still very much "uggggh" level of annoyance, though, don't be fooled.

I noticed while I was on Suikosource that successfully recruiting Snowe (the next/last character) requires a number of "forgiven" confessions. I have not messed with this at all, and might be something of an experiment to see what happens in such an instance.

Thankfully, Snowe joins me without too much fuss. Though, maybe there's a "forgiveness" factor generated from other in-game events? Not just in dealing with Snowe, himself, but in recruiting the other 107 stars, or other story-events? I really don't know. If such a thing actually exists, it's a "hidden stat", and there's no sub-guide as to how it increases or decreases, like there is for "Lym points" and/or "Lyon points" for Suikoden 5.

That aside, with a full roster of 108 characters, the finale is close upon us. I feel that's a session onto itself, so, stay tuned for that!
Guardian of the Description Thread
This might be another reason I never get Ted: as soon as players see the scene on the deck of the HQ after liberating Obel, entering the War Room will trigger the end-game, rather than the Fog Ship sequence. However, the 108 Stars are by my side, so, I don't mind :P

The strategy for attacking Fort El-Eal can be summarized as thus:

This is a fine plan by me, and Elenor wants us to execute this plan three days hense. She wants me to think about the parties, but, that decision is made. I let Elenor know about my choices, and she directs me to get some sleep. For the sake of disclosure, I assigned Knight Attack (Kenneth/Paula/Jewel/Tal) for the separate detachment, with my main party consisting of Double Sword Attack (Lazlo/Kika) and Pirate Attack (Sigurd/Hervey). I might as well get one more training with Reinhold with my active party before I shove off.

Anyway, being told to rest means one of two things at this point in the game. To my surprise, nothing happened. Somewhat confused, I go to Louise to save (you know, just in case), and visit the War Room again. There, Elenor asks if I'm ready to go. Well, I more or less am, so, I make my big speech ("Victory will be ours!"), then hit the "that night..." event.

We see a short scene with the Knights of Razril before we can free-roam the rest of HQ. Kika's got a scene, as does Sig n' Herv. Going into Elenor's room triggers a cut-scene. Same deal with Lino. Downstairs in the lobby, there's a scene with Rene/Noel/Rita. Going outside, I note that Viki is... somehow, not asleep (her service is still unavailable). Talking to Rikie on the fourth floor will trigger a small scene with her, then cut-scene with the Nay-Kobolds. It shows Dario/Nalleo next. Federica has a small scene in the Library. As I move down the fitfh floor, I trigger a cut-scene with Helmut and Colten. A short cut-scene in the Rune Cannon room with Palbo and Tov marks the end of my journey. Time to go back to my room.

I get a cut-scene with Snowe before I enter. However, the "that night..." events of this series is never truly done until... gets a visitation from Leknaat. I remember reading somewhere, possibly on Suikosource, that she removes the kickback of Voice of Death during this scene? Maybe as part of the 108 bonus, even? I don't really recall.

If this is part of the 108 bonus, and is the best in-game bonus this game can offer, I feel really sorry for this game. I cannot recall Suikoden 5's off the top of my head, but, compare to the other games. Resurrecting Gerimo in original Suikoden? Being able to cast freaking Forgiver Sign in Suikoden 2? Being able to play from Green Bishop's perspective in Suikoden 3?

All right. Enough of that. Let's focus on gettin' this game done. To the War Room! Er, no, the deck! Welp.

The game gives us a short cut-scene, and a little conversation with Lino before switching to Elenor and her entourage. We get to walk a short distance with them before the game switches context back to the deck of the Kamiyama. Geeze, make up your mind, already! After some conversation between Tanya, Agnes, and Louise, Desmond sends word that the decoy fleet has been launched. Time to do our thing. You know, some armies fight with air power. Some with desert power. We fight with mermaid power!

On the Kooluk end of the equation, there are reports of the 2nd fleet (that's Colten's fleet) having gone missing in action, then the news of an enemy fleet approaching. Troy orders an awareness of the Rune Cannon's range, and to confirm the identity of the approaching fleet before firing. Is he suspecting a decoy? Maybe. Of course, the gunnery captain fires too soon...

...which probably means that they took out our decoy fleet. Agnes says we have two hours before the Rune Cannon can fire again. Though, we might be outside the minimum range by then, if the positions of Troy's fleet in this naval battle is any indication? It might not matter. The victory condition is still "destroy all enemies", so, my thought is that it's not an in-game timer, per say.

After we sink those ships, it's back to Elenor. I find it somewhat hilarious that I don't even need to use Knight Attack on these encounters; I can just "Slash" right through 'em! We meet Graham on the third floor. A bit of a conversation takes place before he tries to shoot Elenor with a dart, only for Ramada to come running out of nowhere to take the dart for her. He warns Elenor of his left hand (ya don't say!), then the Knights of Gaien face off against Cray. After we beat him, he makes an escape to elsewhere. Elenor asks us not to pursue him, but to create an escape route, and to take Ramada with us. She'll take care of things here.

Switch context to Lazlo. We're entering El-Eal using a similar route to the other party, except they went up to the Rune Cannon control room. I've a feeling we've got to go down, but, let me confirm that before heading off like an idiot.

Nope. We have to go up to the control room. If I'm reading this right, there's an adjoining room that houses a key. That key opens a door on the second floor, and from there... well, one thing at a time.

The second floor doorway leads to a three-screen long set of staircases. Which may not be as long as, say trying to hoof it up the Shinra Building in FF7, but, oh well. Didn't Xenogears have a long staircase syndrome somewhere that might be a shout-out to FF7? I digress.

I use the handy-dandy save-point at the top of the staircase. Nothing screams "Hey everybody, it's a boss!" like climbing a set of stairs, only to find a save-point next to the door.

Of course, I meet Cray. He welcomes the Rune of Punishment back. I respond with "Returned?" He answers with a follow-up: within the Rune's memories, did you see a child. I tell him that he wanted bread. At which point, he laughs hysterically, then makes...

...this comment. Now, maybe it's juuuust me, but, I've always read this to mean that he can, or has manipulated the memories of the Rune. Which brings my most recent re-play of Suikoden 3 to mind. The entire reason Green Bishop does what he does is based on the memories that are relayed to him via the True Wind Rune. Yet, what if those memories were altered? Though, I suppose "play" can take on a different meaning here. I mean, how would a person even go about altering the memories of a Rune, much less a True Rune, to begin with?

Regardless, Cray babbles about how everything, even the Rune of Punishment, was made to fulfill his destiny, then proceeds to animate a tree-dragon-thing...

ExDeath wanna be!

...that serves as the game's final boss. If there is one observation I wish to make, it is that all the kickbacks from the Rune of Punishment have been removed, not just Voice of Death. This... might be the 108 bonus from Leknaat? Not really sure. If so, I totally take back my earlier comment!

After we defeat the thing, guess what! The whole fortress is falling apart! High-time to get outta here! I mean, it's not like something similar has occurred in every single Suikoden game so far. However, it's usually over after players manage to leave. Not this time. Oh, no. I have to duel Troy first. It goes as well as one might expect. It's after the duel that is a bit more interesting. There's a prompt here to ask Troy to come with us, or to just let him go. I get the funny feeling Troy will not join me if I ask, but, what the hey. I'm a bit curious as to what might happen. Though, I still bear the Rune of Punishment and it might still behoove me to be as forgiving as possible.

As predicted, he did not join me. He says that this is how he wanted it to end between us, and that there was nothing to regret. He has a few flashbacks as his ships sinks, then realizes that he's meet me before. Still, he goes down with his ship. Lino complains that he wasted his life. Maybe he's right. Then again, there is a certain loyalty about the man in regards to his ship, and his fleet.

Back to the room of the dead tree, Cray isn't quite dead yet. He and Elenor have a bit of a conversation (sort of), then we cut back to the Kamiyama. The sounds from El-Eal are getting louder! It would probably be wise to retreat, even if Elenor's still inside. Then, an explosion at/near the Rune Cannon. The shockwave hits the Kamiyama pretty hard, and the only thing that can save us is a bit of True Plot Rune intervention.

Dark Space. We meet, but do not fight, the former Queen of Obel. She does not say anything. She just turns her head towards us, smiles, then fades away rather. She does NOT become reduced to ash like everybody else I've meet here. I'm not sure if this has some hidden meaning, or what.

Cut back to the outskirts of Fort El-Eal. The sun is shining, the fort's in smoke, and everything seems hunky-dory. Flare's fetching Lino's kingly outfit from before. Cut to the harbor of Obel. A mess of people are gathered here, awaiting Lino's arrival. With a boat as huge as the Kamiyama, someone was bound to see it in the distance.

In front of the palace, Lino and his daughter arrive to greet their people. Flare's got a new getup for this scene...

...then, when they arrive at the palace, Lino makes his speech. Among other things, he proposes the making of the Island Nations Federation. Then, the aftermath of the 108 Stars of Destiny, followed by the credits.

After the credits, the game cuts to somewhere in the open ocean. No clue where. A seagull passes by. A small dingy enters view. We cut to that boat, and in a bit, we see a prone Lazlo. My first thought when I saw this was that we were seeing some kind of burial boat. Yet, if Lazlo were dead, would not the Rune of Punishment pass on? Would his body not become as ash?

Some green-colored sparkles fly across the screen. The scene cuts again, the sparkles stop, and, Lazlo comes to. Another hidden meaning? A blessing from the 108 Stars of Destiny, perhaps? I don't know. However, wait, is that the Kamiyama in the distance? That kinda looks like Lino at the front! Lazlo waves a hand in the air, hoping somebody will see him. The camera pans out/back quite a bit before the game fades to black, and I get an opportunity to create a clear game save.

Time expired in-game is recorded as 34 hours, 5 minutes, and 14 seconds. That's a little more than 12 hours under my time spend in Suikoden 3, as a point of comparison. Still, whew, man!

Questions? Comments? Crazy theories? Go for it!
Alright, so you seem a little confused about a few things. Lemme edumacate you~

First off, the rune has a Forgiveness power and that's what's activated by getting all 108 stars. What does this mean? I'll get to that in the moment, just know that this is the bonus you get from the star collecting.

Secondly, the queen of Obel smiling at Lazlo? The hints and talk about a lost child? Yeah, hey, guess who the missing prince of Obel is~ You. Lazlo. Thus Flare and Lino? Sister and Father. Woo!

Lastly, it's assumed that you collapse after the last power use (good old Sleeping Lazlo) and they thought you might die and pass the rune on, so you were put in a boat and sailed out to the ocean so that the rune couldn't pass on to someone else. It was a failsafe just in case you bit the big one. And if you hadn't gotten the 108 stars you would have. But since you got them all, the rune entered forgiveness mode which removes the detriments of the power usage, including it straight-out killing you for such a big use.

Cornatag! You changed the rune from Punishment mode to Forgiveness mode and won the gamu!
This is the prequel of entire series right? talking about forgiveness mode, its also happen on Suikoden 2
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