Wow, bloodthirsty group we have here. Just remember, Talking Time, the blood of this cartoonishly evil coward is on YOUR hands.

...that's it. One feeble cry for help, the screen fades to black, you hear the "splutch!" sound... not even a corpse to dance on. Kind of an underwhelming way to throw such an unlikable character out of the story, but it'll have to do. (By the way, if you choose to spare him Kraze just vanishes anyway, never to be seen again. In either case he's not the Liberation Army's problem anymore.)

First up we get Pahn back. He doesn't plead forgiveness -- he still doesn't consider his actions dishonorable -- but at least he knows enough to want to be on the winning side. ○∆□☆ of course welcomes him back with open arms.

Next, Lepant gives a short speech about how he's now a fugitive and so he might as well join up just for the hell of it. Mission success! He's got one loose end to tie up first...

Whoa, dude is ICE COLD.

Mrs. Lepant isn't going to take that laying down, though! She's a professional damsel in distress, after all. It is generally agreed that the two can stay married and live together at Eureka's Castle, where they'll get their very own wing to themselves. And if I do say so, it's quite cozier than the deathtrap tomfoolery they had to put up with in their crib in Kouan.

021/108: Eileen
My guess is that she's another pure caster character, like Luc. She comes with an Earth Rune, though, which I can jack and give to someone else. Eileen does demonstrate one of Suikoden's more interesting little obscure tidbits though; if she's low on HP Lepant will jump in front of her to absorb the damage. There are a few of these "guardian pairs" in the game. Like Unite attacks, though, there aren't enough of them for you to really notice them. You're bound to see it at least a few times though; ○∆□☆ has more defenders than any other character.

Back at Eureka's Castle...

...some old friends show up to say hey. For bandits, Varkas and Sydonia are pretty stand-up guys. I mean, we did rescue them from Grady's backyard, but most people would have called that square seeing as how we put them there to begin with. The game implies that whenever a new character joins they bring some nameless NPC cannon fodder with them, which in Varkas's case presumably means the Mt. Seifu bandits. We never see these guys onscreen except in major battles, but it's another reason to recruit as many people as you can possibly can.

022/108: Varkas
I already mentioned that I tend to Free Will my way through the game, and that doing so means the most important stat is ATK. This is important because the one and only time I've ever used Varkas was when I played through the game only recruiting the people the game absolutely forced me to, and Varkas was one of the top picks going into the Great Forest scenario.

023/108: Sydonia

When Varkas asks to see Lady Odessa, Mathiu interrupts and lies to his face. Well, okay. The inner cabal of the Liberation Army (which I guess would be ○∆□☆, Viktor, Gremio, Mathiu and Cleo) is keeping her death a secret in order to keep morale up. We quickly change the subject and decide to throw a party instead!

Careful, Gremio; Camille knows where you sleep.

It's the Liberation Army's first celebration banquet! For some reason Pahn and Eileen aren't allowed to sit at the table.

Hey let's play a fun game! bed!! bed!! bed!! b-- god dammit, Viktor, you broke it.

Also what are you having a contest with Sydonia or something? Lay off the liquor, you freakshow.

○∆□☆ tries to ditch the party and turn in early, which means... cue assassination attempt!

Windy must think ○∆□☆ is as much of a punk as Ted was. She sends one guy after him. One guy. That's just flat-out insulting.

After two rounds of combat Viktor comes out to chastise the hapless assassin. Since everyone is pretty much piss drunk by this point he gets off with a wrist slap. I know Viktor is just being protective here, but you gotta love that double standard; how many enemy castles do you think we will infiltrate over the course of the game, eh?

Pahn and Gremio argue for what seems like hours about who gets to stand outside ○∆□☆'s door. Possibly to make up for the fact that neither lept to his defense earlier until his murderer had already been beaten to a fine pulp? Whatever guys, I won't be sleeping tonight anyway...

...I had Sansuke install some peepholes in the wall that joins my room with the bathhouse. Tell Camille and Cleo it's all set for them.

In the morning we hook up with Mathiu to build our par-- wait, what the hell? Who let him in!?

024/108: Juppo
I've only ever used Juppo in my group for one thing and one thing alone: to recruit another character. To be fair, that's 100% more action than the character he helps us get has ever seen.

Explanation: after every major scenario, the game pretty much dumps every relevant character from that part of the plot into your castle. Here's the Lepant wing of Eureka's Castle, complete with weasely little manservant.

025/108: Giovanni
Giovanni can't be put in my away team, but he does have a fairly useful ability in major battles as we'll see towards the end of the next scenario. So, uh, don't begrudge his existence too much.

Wait. If Juppo and Giovanni tagged along without anyone asking, does that mean...

GOD DAMMIT. Well, at least he's down in the basement and out of sight where company won't see him. (Fun fact: Krin is talking about penises.)

026/108: Krin
Okay, here's the skinny on Krin: don't bother giving him any "haha that guy looks like he sucks" votes like you guys did for Sergei and Antonio; the game's gonna force me to use him anyway around the 90% mark. I mean, you can if you want, just understand that you'd only be doing so because of some deeply heartfelt love for Krin and not because you want me to be stuck using goofy people. Hilariousness: Krin's weapon (L-range) is a Needle, and by the time I have to use him I'll be able to sharpen my shits all the way up to L16 (the max). That's the sharpest Needle in the entire universe! No thimble can protect you!

Why yes. Yes I do! By the way, it's my vault. I just let you live here because I couldn't refuse those precious puppy-dog eyes.

The vault gives you three commands: Withdraw, Drop and Detach. Withdraw takes things out (obviously) and Drop puts things in. You can only Drop things from members currently in your party, but...

...Detach gives you access to the entire army. So the vault system kinda sorta works. They get it right in Suikoden 2 where not only do you have a generic "party item" location in your inventory, but the vaultkeeper will actually let you manage everyone's inventory right from this one screen.

Anyway, Detach is useful for characters I'll likely never use, but whose items I want nonetheless. Stripping worthless people of their gear to either pawn it or hand it off to other characters would be a terrific way to make and save money in any other RPG ever, but since money is completely inconsequential in Suikoden the vault basically acts as a repository for items I'll want to use eventually, but not yet. A lot of Medicines and things end up accumulating here, though, which is a nice bonus.

Mathiu doesn't have a task just yet, so ○∆□☆ figures he'll get some joyriding in. There seems to be a dead elf in the way, though.

Apparently our new elf-friend is an Olympic-level swimmer. I guess he didn't have as much luck with Chinchirorin as ○∆□☆ did. So yeah, the elf's name is Kirkis and he came out here to demand Lady Odessa's help.

Mathiu of course continues to perpetrate the Great Lie.

Summary: now that the Liberation Army isn't just a bunch of guys playing in the Lenankamp sewers, the Imperials have mobilized its six generals to secure its lands. Given that kind of power, a few of these generals decide to get their evil on and engage in a little oppression and genocide while they're at it.

The six generals, by the way, are: Teo McDohl, still in the north dealing with Jowstone; Milich Oppenheimer, given the lands in the west; naval commander Sonya Shulen, in the base of Shazarazade on Lake Toran; Ain Gide, currently holding Kwaba and defending Imperial lands; Kasim Hazil, yet to be deployed anywhere so far as I know; and Kwanda Rosman, currently wreaking havoc in the Great Forest. Mathiu is skittish about making any major movements against that kind of muscle, and rightly so: the Liberation only amounts to a couple hundred guys right now.

He's not about to throw anyone under the bus, though. Mathiu can be ruthless when he has to be, but he's also prudent. He knows that without the people's support the Liberation is every bit as bad as the Imperials, and that rescuing an entire race from a mad general is a pretty damn good way to drum up support.

Kirkis, of course, makes a full recovery inside of a few seconds and elbows his way into my party.

027/108: Kirkis
Kirkis is a pretty decent L-range warrior, but I don't know how good he is with runes. I've only ever leveled him up to L40 because of a reason, but I guess there are people who seem to like him?

Forest Village is southeast of Kouan, and links to a dungeon that will eventually dump us out into the Great Forest. The trick is that we magically cannot pass through the forest without an elf's help, which raises the question as to how Kwanda Rosman got through, but whatever. Really what the game means is "to have been led through at least once by an elf," because after we get through for plot purposes we can walk back and forth all we want regardless of how pointy our ears are.

With the Lepant wing added on, Eureka's Castle is now a bit bigger! As mentioned earlier, some characters will only join once your castle is a certain size, so that's our cue to go a-recruitin'!

Juppo's one and only use in the game is to give Meg incentive to sign up. She seems convinced that he's going to teach her all the tricks he knows, but he isn't at all happy about it. I don't see why not; she seems so polite!

028/108: Meg
Meg's only use that I can see is in Suikoden 2 where she comes with a patented Attack Barrel. Her bug eyes creep me out, anyway.

Back at the inn in Seika, Anne Heche attempts to pick up some girl. When suddenly...

Oh man, I LOVE it when Lepant beats people.

029/108: Sheena
So, Sheena's kind of mediocre overall. I think maybe he has a Unite when his parents are in the group? Not sure. He does come with the game's very first Lightning Rune, though, and it's glued-on so if you want it you have to enlist him. That alone makes him pretty okay, at least until the end of the Great Forest scenario when the second Lightning Rune shows up.

Meg and Sheena both require specific party members to recruit; Gaspar is the first that requires a certain castle size. If you take nothing else from this thread, take this: RECRUIT GASPAR AS EARLY AS YOU POSSIBLY CAN. He is hands-down the single most useful NPC in the whole Liberation.

Haha, nerd!

030/108: Gaspar
Gaspar is just too, too awesome for a quick summary. He gets his own post all to himself.

The Gaspar Post!

"...things I get passionate about." Once again Suikoden chops a cool quote in half. This is my second favorite RPG gambler quote.

So okay, here's the deal: Gaspar throws down in some Chinchirorin, just the way Tai Ho did back in the day. The difference is that when I win he offers to throw again if I agree to double-or-nothing. Since most Chinchirorin wins bring you x2 or x3 your bet, This means you only have to win five or six hands to completely max out your bits. And since we already know Chinchirorin is stacked in the player's favor, ○∆□☆ would have to be a damn fool to not exploit the hell out of him.

Of course, doubling your bet each time means one loss will wipe you out. Don't forget to save, kiddies. L1 + L2 + R1 + R2 + Start + Select = SOFT RESET!

(Don't listen to him, this is a weird translation error or something. I won this hand and he's paying ME double.)

Damn right.

Damn right.

Golly Gaspar! You suck at this!

Alright dude, I think I'm good!

Max bits is just shy of a million. That's about enough to take two-and-a-half characters up to L16 weapons, but right now our expenses aren't that high, so this is gonna last us a long time.

SUPERSTITION TIME: My brother and I could never figure out if Chinchirorin was random or not. Most times, when you win, it's because Gaspar makes several bad throws in a row, and he does seem to do this more often the further you get in the game. We always figured this was some function of the group's total LUK stat, and always used our highest-LUK people when it was time to cheat ol' Eyepatch out of some scratch. Does it work? Who knows, but assigning a lucky group meant only having to reset twice this time.

Hey peanut gallery!
Time to head off to the Great Forest scenario. If I may make a suggestion, now is the first time I actually have all five elemental runes: Cleo's got my Fire Rune, Eileen brought along an Earth Rune, Luc's got a Wind Rune (which, despite what I said last time, is NOT glued to him), Sheena's got his fixed Lightning Rune, and Water Runes are being sold down at Chandler's store. So before the next update I'll probably post a Rune Magic For Dummies interlude. Anyway, now we can start building groups based around rune magic as well as attack power.

Sansuke's still leading in the votes, so unless there's a major upset he's in the team. And Pahn's back, so he's an option too! Pick me three guys out of the red half of the master list, and then it's off to the woods!

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