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Skyblade
06-04-2014, 11:34 PM
So, I guess we should start by asking "What is Rune Factory?". It's a spin-off of the classic Harvest Moon franchise, originally developed as a tenth-anniversary celebration game, that was so successfully that it spawned its own series, and has wound up getting a game onto my Top 5 Greatest Games list.

I actually think that the history for this series is really fun and relevant to the game, so if you're interested Harvest Moon was a game created by Yasuhiro Wada. When he started making a game, he was dismayed by the fact that most of the games centered around combat, and he set out to create an alternative. He was inspired to make a farming simulator because of his own experiences with the culture shock of moving from rural Japan to Tokyo. He felt that there were a lot of aspects of rural farm culture that would be appreciated in the city if it could be translated to them.

So Harvest Moon was a game created to break down cultural boundaries and to create a fun game without combat.

Ten years later, Yashimoto Hirofumi wanted to create a game to celebrate the series tenth anniversary. Similar to Yasuhiro, he drew from his own experiences. Specifically, from his time playing Dragon Quest, and one of his favorite activities, going around and talking to the NPCs after beating the game, to see what would change about what they said.

Yashimoto wanted to pull RPG elements to the series. A storyline, questing, dungeon exploration, etcetera. But, most important of all, he wanted a game with no faceless NPCs. In his own words “I want to create a small but rich microcosm in the DS, where every single person’s lives shine like jewels in a treasure box."

The resulting game was Rune Factory: A Fantasy Harvest Moon. It changed a lot about Harvest Moon, beyond just introducing combat and other typical RPG elements, and a number of those changes would later be reflected back in the main series (I had also heard that Yashimoto had also wanted a project to shake up the relative stagnation the series had found itself in, but I haven't been able to find confirmation of that).

However, the game we're playing is Rune Factory 3. This is the game that I feel perfectly captured Yashimoto's idea. This is a game in which every NPC feels alive. Where not only do they change what they say after ever major event, they also change what they say almost every day. To the point that there are entire sub-stories that will play out with the day to day dialogue with the townsfolk, completely outside the quests and actual storylines that you'll play through.

We're going to be playing that game together here today. Rune Factory 3. One of my favorite games of all time.

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After that fantastic intro, we get dropped into the world of Rune Factory.

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Literally.

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Aw, yay, I'm being saved by the kindhearted village lady.

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And you're just going to have to deal with it, Grandpa.

So while the old man complains that he doesn't want to have monsters in his house, the girl just says that she'll take care of it and that he can forget about it.

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The monster then changes into a man. This is our main protagonist. Normally, I'd be worried about the young lady's reputation, what with a strange man waking up in her bed. But she already tucked a strange monster into said bed, so...

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Uh-oh. Do I sense an amnesia plot coming on?

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Yeah, I guess that makes sense. I mean, you're probably still half asleep, not to mention concussed from a fall from who-knows-how-high. Things being kind of dream like is understandable.

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Yay, a person! Now I can find out where I am, and what's going on!

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Or maybe not.

But then the kind lady who rescued us shows up, and chats at the Quiet Girl, whom we learn is named Raven.

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How should I know? There haven't been any name selection boxes, and the game just calls me "???".

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Yep, amnesia plotline incoming. Ah, good old gaming clichés. Though I do actually really like the way it's handled in this story.

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This does not sound good.

For those unfamiliar with the series, this idea almost always turns into "I have a farm for you to run".

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Sir Percival Blakeney Baronet.

Well, this is the point where we get to choose our name, but that won't fit in the text box, so I'll go with Sky.

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You know, I quite like the name as a diminutive form of "Skyblade", but I don't think I would describe it as "manly".

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Is the Sharance Tree like a village meeting spot or something? Or is it the town prison?

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So at least I'll have visitors in prison.

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Well, I have no idea where I am, who I am, or what is going on, so I guess I might as well go exactly where I'm told.

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Well, at least it's a fairly inviting tree.



I will still be updating Pokémon XD, but shion had expressed some interest in this, so I thought I'd get it started. I'll have another one of these out soon, just to get into the meat of the game, then updates will probably come relatively slowly for both games. Real Life is picking up (and this game is slow paced already), and I've not got a lot of time. But I want to see how good a job I can do setting one up for this game.



EDIT: Thank you, EoFF, for eating my images, while still nicely displaying them on the preview. Thank you also for setting my edit box settings to right justification, something I'm still not sure how to correct. Hopefully there is still some enjoyment to be found if I've gotten this working right.

Pumpkin
06-05-2014, 03:11 AM
Can't see any of the images D:

Pumpkin
06-05-2014, 01:39 PM
Fixed :jess:!

I've always been curious about the Rune Factory games so I am liking this!

Skyblade
06-06-2014, 05:09 AM
So we step inside the Tree, to reveal that there's a giant room inside. It's kind of weird.

Raven says that she only brought me here because she was asked, and she prepares to leave, when Shara (the game hasn't introduced her yet, but I'm not going to call her "Girl" for the rest of the post) shows back up.

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How nice it is to have a video game character who actually says what I would say in that situation. Polite, yet honest, and still confused about the entire situation.

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Oh, Shara. Making life decisions for me without asking, and doing it so smoothly it takes me several seconds to notice.

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Yeah, you don't get to choose where I stay. You could at least ask me if I want to stay there, or try to convince me to stay, instead of just deciding for me. It is my life, isn't it?

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That's...

That's a good point. You are one sneaky, sneaky lady, Shara. :shifty:

But I do remember introducing myself to you, so I'm pretty sure that we didn't have a conversation where I agreed to live in the tree house. Don't you feel bad manipulating an amnesiac like this?!

She then mentions that her grandfather gave permission for me to live in the tree.

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So just because you're the mayor's granddaughter, you think you can order everyone's lives for them?

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She also introduces herself and Raven.

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This is Raven's friendly face.

It's then general tutorial time. Shara takes me around the house, showing me different aspects of things and how various features like storage areas and such works.

She also asks me if I'm interested in cooking. I choose to say yes.

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She clearly only wants to help support my interest in cooking, and is willing to put up with eating tasty treats to help me succeed in that endeavor.

Actually, Cooking is one of my least favorite skills in this game, just because there is so much to it. I'll get more into it when I explain crafting, but for a completionist like myself, Cooking is a nightmare.

Fortunately, on this run, I can safely ignore most of it, so I won't do much more than grind when I feel the need (mostly to learn to make Cookies, Cakes, and Riceballs). I don't need to learn and make everything, the way I usually do.

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This is a good tip, so I don't mind repeating it. Red Arrows are interact points. Any time you move up to a box, a sign, a chest, anything, it will have a red arrow (most of them will have blue arrows before you approach). However, you will also occasionally find red arrows seemingly in the middle of nowhere. These are hidden items throughout dungeons (or even in town). They spawn in certain locations, and a couple spawn per area per day. Finding them gets you free stuff, and increases your Search stat. So never be afraid to interact with arrows!

She then shows me my Calendar. It's nice, because it tracks town events like festivals, as well as birthdays of people.

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This is also a good point. You have to build friendship with people for them to trust you with personal information. Identity theft is always an issue, after all.

She then shares her birthday and Raven's.

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Here I thought asking for free food was a subtle hint.

She also shows me my journal, which acts as a save point, by letting me record my events in case I lose my memory again.

With my room/house explained to me, she asks me to follow her downstairs. She won't tell me why though, so I'm betting it's not because I have an awesome wine cellar.

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Some rather overgrown ones too.

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Well, how can I stay here? Won't whoever is working this place need to live here?

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Oh. Right. That person is me. Go figure.

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You said it! Don't expect any early rent payments, Shara.

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Son of a...

That's another good point. You're an extremely manipulative lady, Shara. Has anyone ever told you that?

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Oh, yay! You're actually giving me presents? Instead of asking me to get some for you? Maybe I was too harsh on you.

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Maybe not. :grumble:

You're just giving me tools to work the land? Not only that, but bottom tier tools at that? Those are your "presents"? Meanie.

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I guess I might as well. Heck, if we follow standard tradition (for both Rune Factory and Harvest Moon), this first introductory period will not count down the in-game clock, making it the absolutely perfect time to clear as much of the field as possible.

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But the orc that just waltzed in from the lower left seems to disagree. I guess I'll have to fight.

But I have no weapons! :eek:

Pumpkin
06-06-2014, 07:29 PM
I like Shara

Skyblade
06-08-2014, 04:57 AM
I like Shara

Oh, so do I. I just think she's a little manipulative. Especially in this section of the game.

Actually, I like all the characters. Rune Factory on the whole has done a really good job of making them all solid, likeable characters, far better than Harvest Moon ever did. While I'll usually only like maybe two of the bachelorettes in Harvest Moon, in the Rune Factory games, I usually like them all enough that I actually keep an old save so I can see how things play out had I chosen another girl.

That said, while Rune Factory 3 has a really solid cast, there is one character who is simply flat-out better than everyone else, in my opinion. Better personality, better design, better storyline, better combat ability. Everything. It does kind of make the bachelorette battle way more one-sided than it would otherwise be. I'll leave you all to see if you can figure out who it is.



So, there I was, with no weapons, at the mercy of a monstrous orc.

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I warn the girls back, and Raven runs off. I then do the only sensible thing I can.

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I ask Shara if she has any weapons. I mean, I may be brave and manly, but I'm not entirely stupid. It's an orc. I want weapons.

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...

Shara, I really appreciate the help. I mean, it is essentially a stick with a lump of metal on the end, so it can definitely be used as a weapon. But the balance is a bit off (plus the quality is rubbish). Couldn't you at least have given me a mattock?

Oh well. Combat time!

Unfortunately, I can't get Fraps to work with Desmume. So I can't show you what combat is like. The closest comparison I can think of is 2D Legend of Zelda games, but that is definitely not a fair comparison. While it may start out that simple, it progresses. You get weapon combos, spells, special moves, etcetera.

For this battle, though, I just whack the orc in the head multiple times.

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So, quick lore lesson. In the Rune Factory games, monsters come from a place called the "Forest of Beginnings". It's a world where only monsters live. They come to this world through portals. Every weapon and farming tool is enchanted with magic that sends the monsters back to the Forest of Beginnings when they are defeated. If you care, that magic is called "Retornen". Similar to Pokémon, monsters aren't killed, they're just sent back home.

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So, while that explanation is being given to us, two more monsters show up. See, this is the problem with taking time to explain things. Your enemies just keep moving.

Fortunately, at that point, another individual shows up.

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This kind gentleman offers me a choice of weapons. The choices are:

Shortswords are standard weapons. Meant to be paired with a shield, they are pretty much average at everything. Think Link's sword, and that's pretty much it.
Longswords are much bigger, and have wide swinging arcs. They can hit multiple enemies easily, but are much slower. More like Biggoron's Sword in the Oracle games.
Spears have incredible range and very solid power, but a very limited hit area. You have to be precise with them usually, but they make up for that by being powerful and keeping things at arm's reach.
Hammers are meant for knocking foes down and throwing them off guard. They're slow, like Longswords, but do a lot of damage, and can stun or disorient enemies.
Axes are pretty much the same as Hammers. They even share a skill.
Staves boost magic, and have weak primary attacks. Their charge attacks can unleash some really powerful spell effects, as well as easy elemental damage.
Dual Blades are basically two Shortswords. They are weaker, and they keep you from using a shield, but more than make up for that by letting you attack ridiculously quickly. They are my weapon of choice, and they become absurdly powerful once you unlock their ultimate attack.

These are the different weapon types in the game, and which you pick chooses your starting weapon (though you can freely switch to any weapon you have at any time).

I choose the Dual Blades, and the newcomer tosses two weapons straight at me. Fortunately for everyone, I catch them instead of getting impaled, and I then go to town on the little beasties.

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This is Gaius. He's a dwarf, and he works as the town Blacksmith. I am definitely going to surpass him in skill, though.

No offense, Gaius, but I love crafting weapons in this game, and I wind up being able to make things way better than anything you can craft.

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Yeah, Raven didn't just run from the monsters. She ran to get the one guy in the town with an entire arsenal of weapons.

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Raven looks at me with her friendly face before turning around and leaving.

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Raven is not exactly quick to warm up to people, if you hadn't gotten that already.

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I don't know why I'm asking. It's not as though I can just go back to Dream Zanarkand if Spira here is completely infested by fiends.

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A connection? Between violent monsters attacking people and us getting attacked by violent monsters? Gee, I wonder.

Shara then asks me what I thought of the monsters.

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This is actually the difficulty selection. While I normally play on hard (by saying the monsters are weak), I'll be doing this Let's Play on Easy, since I'll be trying to go fast.

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This is what you get if you say they're weak. Not only do you get Hard Mode, but the monsters take personal offense and jump you again.

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Either way, Shara is impressed with you, though.

She then offers to teach you how to farm. This gives you a farming tutorial, and the ability to take advantage of the frozen-time state of the tutorial to clear the field, if you want.

I accept.

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Yes, Shara. Yes it is.

Shara just made a mess of that section of the field to let you practice clearing it. But she can apparently just make a mess any time she wants.

I need at least an axe to chop down that stump.

Pumpkin
06-08-2014, 06:19 AM
I would have picked the dual blades too

Gaius is adorable :omgomg:

Skyblade
06-11-2014, 11:11 PM
Ok, I need to take a moment to explain why this part took so long.

Similar to the Fire Emblem series, the characters in Rune Factory are frequently built around quirks or archetypes (also similar to Fire Emblem, the characters are really well written).

The game is built to help you get a feel for each character almost immediately. The first time you meet a character, you'll get your "Hello, I'm Sky, who are you?" etcetera dialogue. But it's all slanted to fit the character's personality, and fleshed out quite a bit more than just a simple hello.

Furthering the issue, however, is that the first time you enter one of the houses in town, you'll get a little skit that plays out introducing you to the characters that live/work there, and their interactions with each other. Because, while the characters are strong in their own rights, they also do have some solid interactions between each other. If friends are on the same screen together, when you talk to one of them, the other will frequently chime in or change the dialogue to a completely different subject.

But running through that initial setup meant that I had over 400 images to sort through to decide which I should show. It took a while. Sorry about that.



So Shara continues to give me tutorials, teaching me all the farming that we are all familiar with from Harvest Moon, demonstrating some more magical abilities (such as preparing a field of full grown flowers in a few seconds) and some fourth wall breaking, such as by running over to where your HP and RP are displayed and jumping up and down to make sure you know where they are.

She then has me name my farm, and asks me to visit her at her house once I am ready, as she has some more tasks for me.

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So my first task is to go meet everyone in town. Yay.

We'll start with the general store.

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This is Karina. She's incredibly lazy, and likes to spend most of her time sleeping.

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This is Hazel, Karina's mother. She's awesome.

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Yeah, my employers say that breaks are legally mandated in some states, and you can get in trouble if they are denied to employees.

I'm not sure sleeping whenever a customer comes in counts, though.

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Works for me.

Hazel asks Karina to explain how shipping items works, but Karina deflects it back to her mother.

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Hazel then rushes off to handle another customer, and Karina is stuck with both the explanation, and the work.

Nice try, Karina. :D

So, with that out of the way, we move on to the Blacksmith's shop.

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Now we know why Raven came here when monsters attacked. Because this place is an armory bigger than most castles would have.

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Raven is here to greet me. We chat a bit about the weapons, all of which were made here in the store. When I ask her if she makes any of them, though, she gets a little cold(er).

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Before I get rushed out of the store, though, Gaius shows up.

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We find out that Gaius just really likes to forge. To the point that all the weapons in here were basically just created at a whim. If it weren't for Raven, the weapons would just pile up indefinitely or all be given away.

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Now we get to see Raven's shy face. Because so far, she's just been so outgoing and bubbly.


Well, with that finished, I decide to move on to the shop near the lake.

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These two are Carlos and Carmen. They're siblings who love to fish. They've sectioned off a part of the lake, and they stock it with rare or out-of-season fish, so that you can find and catch them easier.

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They're quite close to each other. And they both really, really like fishing. They also tend to be a bit overly dramatic. Their quests and stories mostly revolve around their relationship.

I then head off to the clinic.

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This is Marian. She's a witch who feels that magic is going out of style, and is convinced that the future is going to need a fusion of magic and technology. She's always attempting to prove the veracity of her ideas by testing her semi-magical potions and medicines on anyone within reach.

Whether they need it or not.

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This is Marjorie. She's Marian's grandmother, and a witch who is content to just sit back calmly and run the clinic. And stop Marian from killing all the townsfolk.

If you faint in a dungeon, you'll wind up at the clinic with Marjorie taking care of you. And she usually takes a pretty hefty percentage of your gold to fix you up.

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You know she's not going to listen to you, Marjorie. She was about to use her magical trumpet to fire a blow dart that would inject me with her incredible cure-all. Proper bedside manner is the least of our concerns here.

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And this is why I never EVER want to get sick.

Skyblade
06-15-2014, 05:20 AM
After being terrified away from the clinic, I head to the building next door.

Before I get there, I see a new face!

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Gasp! Is it someone who knows me?

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:(

When I step inside, I see the gentleman there (whose name is Sherman) being fed by his daughter. He says "Yuck" to every dish, then asks for more.

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Well, at least he's talking normally.

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Nevermind.

This is the local de Saint Coquelle family. They're a widespread family, and recurring throughout the Rune Factory series (not the individual characters, just the family name).

They're also all weird.

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As Evelyn explains, Sherman and Sofia frequently talk in opposites. Anytime they talk in red, that part of their sentence actually means the opposite. It can be confusing sometimes.

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Yes, but Sofia she's awesome, so who cares? Also, unlike her father, she has a reason for speaking in opposites, and it is utterly heartbreaking.

So, with the local mansion scouted out, I travel to visit the two buildings on the north edge of town. We'll start with the local diner.

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Another trait of the de Saint Coquelles is that the head of the family is always a big eater. So Sherman is here in the diner as well.

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This is Collette. She's a tiny little chef in training who is able to eat on par with Sherman due to a lightning fast metabolism.

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This is Blaise, the local cook. He bakes recipe bread, which teaches you crafting recipes, and will sell you cooking equipment.

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This is Rusk, Collette's brother. He's a pastry chef and hates most non-sweet foods, so his sister's eating habits kind of get on his nerves.



With the diner out of the way, we're almost done meeting the village! Next up, the inn!

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This is Sakuya. She's a little obsessed with money.

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This is Pia. She's a little obsessed with baths.

She's also a little insane. But in a fun way. I think she only nearly kills you twice.

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Pia and Sakuya start fighting over me. Pia runs the baths, and Sakuya runs a shop that sells little items.

Sakuya's shop actually sells any random item you ship. From ore to monster loot, she carries a random assortment of miscellaneous goodies. She can be a good source of some ingredients if you need them for crafting.

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This is Shino, Sakuya's mother, and Pia's adoptive mother. She's another awesome lady. She's the one who actually runs things here at the inn, because her girls are... Well, they're Pia and Sakuya.

Shino is also actually a dedicated swordmaster and gives you a ton of monster slaying jobs to train you to be stronger.

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She's also very polite when dealing with customers, which I appreciate.

So, now we've met everyone, right? Nope!

There's still Shara's house, of course. But there's also one other house, nearby the entrance to the first dungeon.

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Right inside the Privera Forest. Who is inside this colorful place?

Pumpkin
07-08-2014, 03:50 PM
I like Sakuya, I think she's adorable :jess:

And I like Karina probably more than I should xD

Skyblade
07-11-2014, 06:29 AM
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So inside, we see this lovely lady. This is Daria. She is-

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Actually, no. I don't think I can do Daria justice. I'm going to let you see her whole scene, just so that you can get a proper impression of her.

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Always thinking of the rest of the world, and how tragic it would be without her art.

Let's go introduce ourselves.

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That's a fair question.

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Awesome, so now we have a modeling gig in addition to our farming job.

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"Extraordinaire" is certainly one word to use.

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So she also offers me an assistant job. Pity, I think I'd make an awesome model.

Anyway, Daria is the resident artist, responsible for a lot of the colorful art adorning the Privera Forest. She's also an elf.

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That is another word that could be used to describe her accurately.

Daria has a habit of showing up, brandishing her hammer, and screaming "Rainbow", to the point that she'll actually show up in certain scenes with other people, depending on where you go, just to exclaim "RAINBOW". She's incredibly fun, and sort of the anti-Karina, in that she's one of the most energetic people in the town.

So, now that we've met Daria, it's time to go back and visit Shara and her grandfather in the flower shop.

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Well, it's a fairly small town, I'd have to stop by at some point.

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Yay, seed store. Magic seeds are nifty. You toss them on the ground, and they sprout into a plant that acts sort of like a pet. There is a Sword flower, that will attack enemies, a Shield flower, that protects you, a Lily flower, that lets you glide over water, and several others. They're all pretty nifty.

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Ok, who is this? And why is she attacking me?!

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Shara grabs little Monica here and drags her off.

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I seriously love the protagonist of this game. So easy to relate to.