There's a lot new to check out, so I figured I'd break things into chunks. First, we'll revisit all the Chapter 1 towns and take care of the side stories that start there. Then we'll move on after we tackle all that.
Naturally, I steal everything I can.
So the big change is many characters from our party members' various journeys now suddenly showing up all over the towns, when previously none of them would show up between chapters. They'll unlock when you beat that character's story, though some require two different character's story to be completed, and there's even a couple side stories that require all eight main stories to be done.
That said, I'm saving the side stories for their own updates as usual, so there's actually nothing else to talk about in Flamesgrace. On to Atlasdam!
Music: Atlasdam, Seat of Learning
...It was always his dream to be a squire, so I'm pleased for him, even if it gets lonely in the house now.
This is also a good opportunity for me to show off any new dialogue I may have missed earlier as a result of side stories. For instance, this woman is talking about the wannabe-squire that we took to meet Cervantes in "The Adventuring Life".
Hah. The world ain't that generous, and neither am I.
And Milo's not sharing any more tips after we used his to save a destitute merchant in "On the Precipice".
I'm not surprised, for it's a grand tale.
And this minstrel taught us the song that inspired the performer from "Performance Art" to learn to embrace the virtues of Sokrath.
Of course all of these were Chapter 4 side stories.
Not all familiar faces are associated with side stories! Some characters are just chilling out, doing their own thing.
It's also the first opportunity we get to learn their bios, which is nice.
Sadly, the dialogue is the same regardless of whether or not you have the relevant character with you.
She's also the source of the second of three Elemental Augmentors, which are still incredibly relevant since nothing comes close to +100 ElemAtk.
Sadly, you cannot Guide or Allure Therese.
Also, even though I chose to bring this painter to live with his patron in "The Prodigious Painting", we can still obtain his alleged Final Masterpiece, which we proceed to do nothing with since we can't sell it or anything.
That's it for Atlasdam! Next up, Rippletide!
Music: A Sea Breeze Blows
Naturally, our first stop is to visit Tressa's parents.
Each one has an accessory that restores HP (Olneo) or SP (Marina). They also cannot be stolen.
And of course they have something to say to their skilled merchant daughter.
Victorino, from Olberic's Chapter 2, is also here.
A Mighty Belt would've been nice earlier, but Physical Belts outrank them now.
His other item, a Trinity Sword only has a 80% steal chance, and of course I whiff it. That said, 2000 leaves is cheaper than 41,400.
Talking about the well-traveled woman we recruited in "Lost in Translation".
I never did beat this guy up before. So now I do.
This is who that man guarded.
...Not that she needs any guarding.
She has some pomegranates, not much else.
Also I do actually steal the old woman's final keepsake of her dead husband.
Next, a quick stop to Cobbleston
Gaston, the boss from Olberic's Chapter 1, has actually turned his life around and is trying to find his place in the village. So some of these characters can be redeemed after all!
The Crystal Armor has the highest PhysDef in the game by far, and this is the only piece. It also has no other attributes of note, and again, ElemDef is a bigger deal when Hired Help and Sidestep exist to help out against physicals.
Now a brief visit to Sunshade.
This is the girl bragging to her father about being in a play, way back in Primrose's Chapter 1. I have no idea where her father is.
Let's head over to Clearbrook next.
I finally grab the Golden Axe, now that it's outdated by a bunch of other axes.
It just keeps on flowing, not caring much what happens along the way... And I think that's just grand.
Also Grumpy Gertas is no longer grumpy. That's good, I guess.
Next up is Bolderfall.
Music: A Settlement in the Red Bluffs
First off, we see a couple more familiar faces from Tressa's Chapter 2.
Morlock's a bit destitute, his only possessions being the remaining length of his contract with Omar...
...and this really nice staff with solid ElemAtk and a good speed boost.
Also Morlock has some of the best Purchase text in the game.
Omar has actual sympathy for the greedy old fool.
He also has another Death Cleaver, which is grand, and he has no hard feelings against us, which makes sense because he only fought us because of his contract. Omar, you're not such a bad guy after all. Just take care with your future clients, alright?
Even the fighters that Olberic didn't fight will show up in the various towns, and they all still have the fighter bios.
Also Wallace always screams, even when trading with merchants.
Naturally, we'll be ending things today at S'warkii.
Music: My Quiet Forest Home
Here's yet another of the fighters from Olberic's Chapter 2.
He also has this garbage, which trades nearly a third of the defense of the Crystal Armor for a slight resistance to ice. Oof.
Also this guy's never gonna come close to winning the tournament.
Finally, we can chat up with Z'aanta himself.
And we can buy our first Battle-tested weapon. There's one for each weapon type, as well as the Battle-tested Shield. We cannot steal this one, and we can obtain one of each from NPCs. There's also the option to do high-level Challenges (or Provoke if you hate yourself) against specific NPCs to grind drops at a 1/32 chance, though it's certainly not necessary to get more than one of these. Battle-tested weapons are generally, though not always, the most powerful weapon of that tier.
This is a huge step in power above the second-strongest bow, the Transcendent Bow of Shadows we've been rocking forever, and it has a really useful Debuff and a huge Crit boost. Definitely a great grab for us.
Finally, Z'aanta indeed lives up to his reputation.
Next time, the side stories begin! Let's resolve our friends' issues one last time!