Music: A Sea Breeze Blows

We've finally arrived at the sleepy little port of Rippletide.

Our companions have green text boxes to indicate that they'll join us once we help them with their own quests.

I'm getting everybody's things back, no matter what it takes!

So the idea is to help Tressa out with her Chapter 1 quest, and then she'll join with us for the rest of the game. Same for everyone else, really.

We're going to be locked into her quest once we do this, but all these chapters are the same length of 60-90 minutes, so it's no big deal.

You can see everything in one playthrough. If you've played before, you can just say "no" and go ahead to the next dungeon. But saying "yes" will let us see Tressa's story as if we picked her as our main character.

Suffice to say, I'll be showing off everyone's stories, so let's begin!

Video: Smiley, Mannerly, and Early

Music: A Sea Breeze Blows

This is Tressa, the merchant.

She helps run a shop with her parents. She's the only protagonist whose birth parents are probably still alive. Go figure.

Looks like our number one employee is ready for another day of work!

Sure am! And I'll start by stocking up the store.

Tell me: what're the three things a merchant needs most?

You're too clever for me, Tressa. Now off ye go!
Leave it to me, Pa!

Oh, those pirates have been causin' trouble around the tavern lately. If you see them, you make sure to keep a wide berth, you hear?

Marina's great if only for her thick Midwestern accent.

She reminds me of myself when I was that age. Always running off somewhere, wanting to prove myself a full-fledged merchant.
Don't flatter yourself, dear. Our Tressa is something special.

It's time for a day in the life of Tressa.

One of these chests have an item that can inflict poison.

To progress, we just have to go west.

Ye even beat some fishermen to the pier.
Hehe. Don't sound so surprised! We both know the early bird gets the worm. Or, in our case, the fish!
Yer darn right it does. Well, here's the catch of the mornin'.

Blue marlin, I see. A big one, too. With lots of good meat on its bones...

It's worth a li'l more than that. This one's a whopper!
I guess I'll just have to take my business elsewhere then.

...Fine. Ye got yerself a deal, missy.

Tressa's still young, but she's already showing a natural talent for trade.

Yer a born natural at negotiatin'. I was wrong to underestimate ye.
Ya got that right! I may not look like much, but I can haggle with the best of 'em.

I won't! Thanks again!

For this one, we'll be using Tressa's Path Action, Purchase.

Here's our guy.

NPCs have a set few items to buy (or steal if you're so inclined). Once they're obtained, that's it. That said, you can get good discounts on some items doing this, and there's a lot of items and equipment you can only get from NPCs.

Unlike the other Noble-path NPCs, Tressa has no limitations to what she can buy other than how much money she has. That said, some of these items can get quite expensive...

There's a chance of Tressa automatically haggling a lower price after buying something. It's random, but it's always pleasant to see after plopping down 30,000 leaves on a new sword.

NPCs have unique dialogue when you Purchase from them, followed by Tressa's trademark "Always looking for a bargain!". I'll show off the more interesting ones as I come across them.

Video: New Ship in the Harbor

A deal so good it was practically a steal! This oughta liven up our little shop!

Just me, Ma, and Pa... If I don't take over, who will?

The ocean is so vast...

What do I really want to do? What do I really want in life?

Tressa's young and has lived her whole life in Rippletide. It makes sense she has a desire to see the world and make a name for herself, though she also feels obligated to stay and help her parents, and perhaps she hasn't gained the courage yet to make that one big step...


But enough idle daydreams, something interesting is going on in sleepy Rippletide!

Naturally, Tressa is inclined to check it out.

But it carries a delectable scent. Its cuisine may be promising.


Indeed, and I am its captain.

A pleasure to meet you.
I'm sure you have all kinds of neat cargo onboard.

I'd love to see what you've brought from overseas.

You have a true merchant's eye, lass. You gaze at a simple trading ship as if it were made of solid gold.

Some commotion starts happening off-screen.

What was that!? I'll go check it out!

Time to investigate.

Music: An Ill Omen

That's all I have left...

We got nothin' left ourselves. Ain't that right, Makk?

Please, have mercy...

There be only one cap'n around here. And it be me.
Hah! Everyone knows I be the cap'n and yer me first mate.
We'll see about that, Makk, ye scurvy swine!
Aye, we will, Mikk, ye scabby-bottomed sea bass!

...Fine. Now show us what other treasure ye be hidin'!

Says me! The people here are merchants and fishermen doing all they can to put food on the table.

How's this for heart? I'll give ye one chance to shove off, kid.
But I-
Best to be on yer way, li'l one. We're doin' grown-up business here.

Well, well. What ye got there, kid?
It's rainbow wine! And it be ours now!

A brat like ye wouldn't appreciate it none anyways.
We're doin' ye a right favor by takin' it off yer hands. Now say "thank ye."

You've got pluck, I'll give you that. But they don't look like the types who'll listen to reason, savvy?
That lily-livered scalawag knows what he's talkin' about, kid. Best take his advice to heart.

Aye, it's been a bloody pleasure.

Alas, it seems the pirate scum have won this one.


Not even the best merchant can buy back his life once it's taken from him.
I know, but...

Instead, they're holed up in the Caves of Maiya, west of town.

So, do you think Tressa's going to sit back and let this happen?

Music: A Sea Breeze Blows

Of course not. Tressa's going to take justice in her own hands.

Though it's probably a good thing that captain from before is in her way.

If I didn't know better, I'd say you were setting a course straight for the pirates' den. Awfully rash, wouldn't you say?
I know, but...
And still you intend to go, I see.

And a weapon, of course. You wouldn't dare go empty-handed, would you? Only a fool would think they could haggle their wares back from dastardly pirates.

Those poor people might starve if they don't get their belongings back!

Aye. If you're so determined, I won't stop you...

How so?
I'm willing to part with some of my wares if you think they'll prove useful on your journey.

We've got three merchants to buy from now.

You'll want to take a close look at the wares of my fellow merchants here.

The idea is to find that one particular item to give Tressa an advantage against the pirates.

Tree Nuts and Candy restore minimal SP/HP, and mainly exist as items you can buy/steal from children.

Yes, you can steal candy from children.

I buy all these because why not, but what we're looking for isn't here.

Likewise, this person simply has another herb and a couple of vendor fodder items.

This fellow has a healing grape and, of course, our ultimate prize.

I'm sure those pirates must be exhausted after all that looting.

You're a clever one, aren't you?

Thank you!

Because my eye tells me to do so. As a fellow merchant, I'm sure you understand.

Hehe. I see...

That should do the trick.

The trap is now set. So that brings us back to now...

Sooooo the silent protagonist bit continues on even with recruiting characters. In fact, in story scenes the other characters won't even show up, only the character whose chapter it is.

Suffice to say, I'm going to change things up a bit, so let's rewind...

A bold and noble cause! I wish to help in any way that I can!
Really? You're gonna help me!? I can't thank you enough. You've got a heart of gold!

Alright! Take that cask and follow me!

Your party will follow behind you, as will any NPCs you may have used Guide/Allure on.

Tressa has basic starting gear, and for Chapter 1 (and only Chapter 1!) enemies and bosses will scale based on the number of characters you've recruited so far. A basic spear upgrade and some evasion-boosting gear should be enough for now.

Now to make our way to those pirates.

It's just a short path to the actual dungeon, and the enemies are the same as from the rest of the Coastlands, but let's check out our new party member, shall we?

Music: Battle I

Tressa's main weapon is the spear, though she can also use bows. Her starting abilities are a single-target wind attack, and Collect.

Collect, well, collects money from an enemy. It's always a set amount, and the chance of success depending on your boost level and how much HP the foe has left (which makes it double as a rough HP gauge, though you can only Collect each foe once so once you Collect, you lose that perk).

Next up, a list of Tressa's abilities!

Collect (2SP) - Collect money from a single foe.

Boosting increases the chance of success by 10%/30%/90% respectively. You basically get a 5% base chance, with every 1% of HP damage done to an enemy adding another 1% to chance of success. Generally not that great against random foes, but surprisingly lucrative if you use it on bosses.

Tradewinds (7SP) - Deal heavy wind damage to a single foe.

The single-target elemental spells do 64% extra net damage, with each boost point adding 80% more. Tressa has mediocre Elemental Attack (all her stats are pretty average), so it won't pack quite as much punch as equivalent spells.

Rest (0SP) - Restore one's own HP and SP, and cure status ailments.

For HP, it heals 1.25 * Elem. Def., with each boost point adding 30% more healing. SP is much simpler, 25SP at base and another 25SP for each boost point. Not that great, but it's free HP/SP for Tressa, so if you've got the opportunity, might as well!

Trade Tempest (10SP) - Deal wind damage to all foes.

The wind equivalent to Cyrus's elemental spells. I'm generally favorable with target-all spells since they help a lot with randoms, so this will be one of the first skills I'll pick up.

Donate BP (3SP) - Grant 1 BP to an ally.

Spending a boost point means donating an extra boost point, to a max of 4. BP is an incredibly important resource later in the game, making this one of the best BP resources in the game, depending of course on how much you use Alfyn.

Sidestep (10SP) - Dodge a single physical attack with a 100% success rate.

This is a buff that is used up when Tressa is targeted by a physical attack. Boosting this adds another layer to the buff, up to four in one turn. Like all similar buffs, Tressa can have a maximum of nine Sidesteps on her.

Sidestep is not good, not great, but amazing. You can cheese a couple of key bosses using this marvelous ability, and the fact that it only works on Tressa doesn't overshadow just how fantastic an ability it is.

Hired Help (0SP) - Pay money to summon hired help to the battlefield.

...This one I'll have to go into later, as it has a few options of its own and I can't seem to find much documentation on it. That said, the options range from cheap (150 leaves IIRC) to expensive (30,000) and add a few extra weapon options. The cheap one is still incredibly good, though, doing sword attacks on all enemies and also giving the entire party a three-turn physical defense buff. Boosting adds an extra attack per boost point and adds an extra two turns of buffs to those that give buffs. As you may expect, very useful for the right price.

Bifelgan's Bounty (30SP) - [Divine Skill] Unleash a non-elemental attack on a single foe and receive leaves equivalent to the damage dealt.

This goes off Elemental Attack, and won't give money for any damage that exceeds the foe's remaining HP.

Assuming my math is right, it should do roughly 33 times the net damage to a foe (9.8 base skill multiplier multiplied by boost modifier of (1 + (0.8 * 3)) since it has to be max boost as a Divine Skill), which is pretty solid but won't be as impressive-sounding by the time you actually get it.

Passive Skills:

Endless Items - When a character with this skill uses an item, there is a 25% chance the item will not be consumed.

That's...nice, I guess? Not really that great an ability, honestly.

Grows on Trees - Gain additional leaves after battles. (Equipping this skill with multiple characters will have no added effect.)

It's a net 10% gain on money from winning battles. It's decent filler, but again, nothing that's going to be in your mid-game set-ups.

Hang Tough - When the user is not near death, all attacks that would reduce the user's HP below zero will instead leave the user with 1 HP.

"Near Death" is at 30% of Max HP. This is nice for more challenging foes that will beat your face in quickly, though if you're getting hit that hard regularly you probably have bigger problems to worry about. Not one I used much, but it has some solid applications and can save your butt a few times.

SP Saver - Halves SP consumption for the equipping character.

SP management can be a pain once you're not leveling up every other battle, and this is a solid way to deal with SP. Great for randoms and some bosses, especially in combination with other SP skills.

So Tressa is sort of a jack-of-all-trades with some really amazing skills to back her up. She ends up being one of the more powerful and useful characters in the game as a result.

Let's close things off by paying the pirates a little visit.

Music: How Amusing!

Not you again! You lookin' for trouble, brat!?
No, siree! I came to apologize on behalf of my town. We should've known we didn't stand a chance against you swashbucklers.

The cap'nses'll be happy to see this.

I'm happy I lived to LP this game if only for the opportunity to transcribe the word "cap'nses'll".

Prolly don't even know how! From the looks of it, their crusty barnacle of a town don't get many pirates.

An' that's the way the world works.

Aye. We set out to follow in his footsteps, and ain't looked back since.
There ain't no better life than just takin' what ye wants.

Right! Like I said, yer just the first mate-

That kid came by, said 'er town was sorry for what it done.

A toast to the landlubbers!

Cheers, mateys!
To the piratin' life!

Next time, we tangle with some pirates.