HELLO TALKING TIME!
ARE YOU READY TO ROCK
land!?

Ahem.

Okay, where were we. Ah yes, off to Rockland to see a man about some taxes. Now where was that again?


Hold on, let me get a pen. One more time?


The subject is what? Foxes?


Can you maybe Mapquest that for me real quick?


Dude you got a little vein in your head there. Kinda purple. It looks neat!


Yes. Dance for ○∆□☆'s amusement!

Kraze will repeat these messages endlessly, and it's pretty fun just sitting there forcing him to cycle through them in a "○∆□☆, WILT THOU GO TO ROCKLAND? (Y/N) BUT THOU MUST!" kind of way. Really this is the only satisfaction you can get working for Kraze. He's such an unlikeable guy. Wouldn't it be keen if the game would just let us kill him?


Back in Rockland ○∆□☆ hooks up with Grady, who feeds him some sob story about how bandits up in the mountains have been pillaging all their hard-earned taxes. He says this with a straight face while sitting in his posh hillside mansion. (Or, at least, the closest facsimile to a posh hillside mansion permitted by Suikoden's tiny can't-animate-flames budget.)


Gah! Hello, ugly!

Okay, so Kanaan is probably the most infuriating NPC in the game, even moreso than Kraze. Something like 70% of the dialogue boxes between here and the bandits and back are Kanaan talking about how great he is or how we sniveling dogs should be grateful to do his bidding or whatever the hell else. He doesn't even hop in the party to help us out, just tags along with that yapper of his. He quickly volunteers us for a bandit extermination mission, which Gremio frets about but Pahn is all gung-ho for. Well, okay, let's go get us some bandits!


But the treasure box is this way!


Alright, alright, off to Mt. Seifu with us. I probably didn't want that crusty ol' treasure anyway.


Thanks for the pep talk, slick. What's your job back at the palace, anyway? Kneel down next to Kraze's desk so he has a place to set his drink?


Let's talk a little about Suikoden's menu interface. It's functional, but a little clunkier than it could be. Because you don't have a communal inventory, passing equipment around can be kind of a chore. Any time you get a new piece of gear, you have to open up the item screen and pick "Hand over", which will show you whether or not anyone else in the team can make use of it. For instance, right here we can see that the Boots ○∆□☆ just picked up are improvements for everyone but Cleo. ○∆□☆ is a mutant capable of wearing two pairs of Boots, though, so he equips those and we repeat the process with the Gloves. Those get handed off to someone, whose old equipment is checked against the party, and so on down the line, until everyone is fully geared up in hand-me-downs. This actually sounds like it works fine, and indeed it does for a party of five or six... but remember we will eventually be outfitting over seventy characters, and the game is just not equipped to make that a speedy process. I'll go into more detail on exactly why once I get my HQ.


Unlike the elemental rune pieces, these stat rune pieces are actually pretty keen. They're standard "raise a stat!" items you can use on someone. You could argue there's an element of strategy in using them on specific characters for specific reasons, but again, over seventy characters. So I'm just going to feed them all to ○∆□☆ to save myself the headache.


Here's something neat: a ? Pot! Something from the Riddler's home collection. We'll play with this a little later, when we aren't on a bandit hunt.


Wow, that's one intense looking bandit. Niiiiice bandit.


Craaaaaaaaaaaaaap.


After the giant ant monster makes the floor devour us a few times, we have a discussion about whether or not we could actually kill it, or if we should run away, or what. Kanaan at least seems to have his priorities straight.


Um, Ted, no, this isn't some "punk" dragon knight or magician's apprentice. It's a goddamned insect beast from the nine hells. You can't snark this one, champ. Let's just--




Um, okay, or you could call forth a two-story tall orb of annihilation. That works too. Good show, old bean! How'd you--


Tsk. Fine.


Another weird thing Suikoden does CONSTANTLY is these weird asides. Like, a character will say something and nobody else will hear him. This occassionally happens from across the room.


Hey guys, you might entertain more if you didn't have a giant antmonster in your basement. I'm just sayin'.


...LESSON. Dammit, Konami, there was clearly room in the text box for that last word. See, now I have to lecture everyone on widows and orphans and why they're bad so--


...okay, fair enough. Obviously, by "I'm gonna teach you a lesson!" Kanaan means "These guys standing next to me with the super-sharp weapons who are wearing multiple pairs of boots are gonna teach you a lesson!"


Varkas and Sydonia are kinda-sorta bosses, so I guess they're worth screencapping. I think I caught ○∆□☆ mid-sneeze here.


The bandits go down to two rounds of Free Will, we put them in our pockets, and it's time to head back to town.


Of course Varkas's response to Grady's accusation that he's a tax thief is "NO U". Anyway the bandits are hauled off to a dungeon and we get what's coming to us!



Now THAT'S the kind of love I'm talkin' about!



...you doucheweasel.

Okay, you know what? Fine. Enjoy your chump change pal. ○∆□☆ has more than that tucked up under his bandana.


On the way back to Gregminster I got this sweet shot of Gremio bitchsmacking a soldier ant. You know when you get a critical hit in Suikoden because the camera zooms all up in close and you can count the bad guy's dying pixels.


Back in Gregminster after a hard day's work. Kanaan offers to run triumphantly to Kraze and take all the credit while we get the night off, but for some reason invites Ted along for the ride. Surely Ted prefers our company to his though, right?


Oh, god dammit Ted. Fine. Go on then. My feelings aren't hurt at ALL.


Before dinner, though, we're going to hit up the appraisal shack to see about this ? pot. Hmm...


Looks like it's a 2500-bit Vase! Nice! Later on we can use these antiques to decorate a specific room at HQ. But right now HQ is McDohl manner, so I'll just sell it. Don't worry, we'll find tons more along the way.


Dinner's done and the table's cleared off, and Ted still isn't home. Kanaan must have some REALLY bitchin' Nintendo games.


Except no, we go downstairs to find Ted collapsed in a puddle of his own blood. Whoops! Eventually Gremio gets it into his head to move him to a bed, and asks ○∆□☆ for help moving him there.


Hey peanut gallery!
On one hand, Ted's bad attitude alienated that WAY COOL dragon knight and Leknaat's handsome boytoy, and he totally ditched us to go hang out with his new friends up at the palace. On the other, he did prevent ○∆□☆ from being chewed on by an ant of unusual size. What say you? Help him? Or leave him to bleed out all over my nice new rug?

I didn't get anybody new, but here is the star chart anyway, just for kicks.

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