The Great Forest Scenario
Here we go, the Liberation Army's first major operation. By the time this is over ○∆□☆ and his boys will have had their first taste of major combat. There are lots of preparations to take care of first, though.

The votes showed a four-way tie between Lepant/Eileen/Sansuke/Tai Ho, so I let an impartial third party pick two to come along with me. Since Eileen didn't make the cut, I'm gonna jack her rune and give it to someone else. Cleo and Luc are getting their runes similarly jacked.

Next stop: the vault. All this good armor and Medicine is just going to waste sitting on these guys back at Eureka's Castle, so I'll Detach what I can. This serves two purposes: I don't have to restock Medicine before heading out, and I'll be able to outfit my newcomers for free here at the vault rather than running them all over creation looking for decent armor.

Here's the team! Meg was the overwhelming winner this time around. Her stats aren't bad, but she gets to sit in the back row anyway so I'm not really worried about her. And we know Tai Ho can hold his own during a fight. Really it's just the bath man I'm worried about...

Maas can't do anything for Kirkis, Meg or Sansuke's weapons. In fact, Meg's weapon starts out at L6, which is a level higher than most others in the Army.

Back at the vault, we'll gear everyone up as best we can. But even so...

Granted, he's only L1, but boy howdy does Sansuke suck. Hopefully his stats will catch up quicker than Sergei's did. (Pro tip: Sergei's never did.)

Sansuke's first round of combat doesn't end well for him.

Just to get him over his hump, I'll throw him in the back row for a few fights. Soon he's L10 and has enough HP to at least absorb a hit or two up front. How does his damage stack up?

...I dunno, gang. I'm just not sure what use I have for a guy who can't even kill a squirrel. His weapon doesn't make the typical "thwack!" sound when it connects, more like a "ksh-sh-sh-sh-sh!" shredding kind of sound. Horrifyingly, I think this is supposed to signify his saw getting stuck in the monster and him having to wrench it back out. Also I am 70% sure Sansuke has a rastafarian accent.

Enough complaining about palm-tree-head, we have an adventure to get back to. Here at the Great Forest, Kirkis lays out the plan: he'll lead us through the magic forest, and we'll go visit his homies up in the elves' fantastical treehouse city.

First though we'll check out the Great Forest item shop. Regular Medicines are great for healing outside of combat since they stack to six, and it's going to be a while before Mega Medicine (which stacks only to three) becomes necessary, but I like to be prepared. One stack for everyone!

Kirkis once again reminds us there's a magic forest around here somewhere. Surely he is some kind of savant.

Partway through the woods a girl in a robe teleports in from nowhere and begs ○∆□☆ to please, please, please let her live with him! Well, ○∆□☆ has never turned down a strange girl's advances before, and he's not gonna start now!

031/108: Viki
If you tied me to a chair and started pulling my fingernails out and promised to stop only after I coughed up who my favorite Suikoden character was, I'm pretty sure I would have to go with Viki. There are so many reasons to love Viki! For one, she's such a lovable ditz. She signs all her corrospondence with "Your Viki". She stands by a giant mirror and teleports you wherever it is you want to go. Her magic rune conjures up furniture which she drops on bad guys. Well okay, she can't do that last thing until Suikoden 2; for now she's an NPC. Anyway, if you don't fall in love with Viki now you'll have lots more chances; she's one of the two characters whose name goes up on the stone slab in all five Suikoden games.

Also, she's very easily impressed!

Sansuke actually managed a critical hit here. When he's lucky, his damage output comes in just under the rest of the team on an average day.

Looks like Kwanda Rosman doesn't just have it in for the elves! He infected all the kobolds with some kind of insanity sickness which... isn't really ever adequately developed outside of Kuromimi's sporadic grunts. He pops back up every few scenes throughout the scenario just to remind us that there are sick kobolds somewhere, then he runs off again, leaving us to our own devices.

Fun fact: THIS IS A DAMN LIE. The elf village is actually very nearly directly south of the kobold village. Dammit Kirkis, I thought you knew where you were going.

...going to use the Burning Mirror to destroy the entire forest!" Valeria here is an Imperial soldier who happens to be from a nameless, unfeatured village somewhere in the Great Forest. She betrays Kwanda when she finds out what he intends to do: use a massive superweapon called the Burning Mirror to incinerate the entire forest. Why does Kwanda want burn all the elves to a crisp? Because he's eeeeevil, that's why.

In any case, elves as a species are far too stubborn to ever listen to what some lowly human has to say, so they decide to lock her up in jail. Oh well! Not our problem! (Yet!)

Oh, stuff a sock in it and show me what you have, jerkface.

This is a pretty damn good upgrade for just about everyone in the Liberation right now. It's pretty obvious that the designers didn't intend for you to be able to buy any of these, let alone one for everyone in the team. Fortunately I cheated by savescumming all Gaspar's bits out from under him, so Magic Robes for everyone!

...except Meg. Meg's already got some kind of armor glued on... a Guard Robe I think. I'm actually impressed with her so far; she's been putting the Fire Rune to good use, has been dealing reasonable damage, and even manages two attacks per round sometimes (which is pretty rare). Her inability to ever replace her Guard Robe is a downer, sure, but since she's L-range her armor isn't necessarily that important. Still, she doesn't stack up to Cleo, and Cleo doesn't stack up to some of the other L-range casters we'll meet later.

As soon as we arrive at King Elfington's house, Kirkis's girlfriend starts yelling at him for disappearing when Kwanda last attacked them. He futiley tries to plead his case before what looks like the Grand Council of Elves...

...which goes as well for us as it did for Valeria about nine seconds ago. Little known fact about elves in the Suikoverse: they are born with a stick so firmly entrenched in their asshole it would take a winch and ten oxen to loosen it up.

I... wait, what? Is running away from Kwanda a good thing or a bad thing? And why is this elf convict making fun of me for it? I'm confused, but then again some elves can't tell the difference between east and south so maybe that's par for the course.

Valeria's sob story is actually pretty similar to ○∆□☆'s. She was an Imperial soldier until some bad shit happened, and now she's looking for a way to take them out. Not much she can do stuck here in the elves' tree fort prison though.

Something about the way Sylvina says this with that cute, innocent smile on her face just flat out creeps me out. "Yeah, they totally get cancer or Alzheimer's or kidney failure or whatever. Giggle! What wacky creatures!"

So of course Kirkis lectures everyone on the evils of racial inequality. Humans are stupid, elves are smug, kobolds are dirty, dwarves are scary. (Take notes, there will be a test later.)

Even though she still thinks humans are icky, Sylvina hands Kirkis the key to the cell. I guess there's one thing to like about her, at least!

Stallion bolts the split second the door is open, but at least now we're free. After pointing us in the wrong direction and getting us locked in jail, Kirkis cooks up yet another master plan: we're gonna go visit the dwarves on the off-chance they'll give half a shit that Kwanda Rosman has WMDs.

Fortunately for us the Great Elven Council is out playing Elf Golf*, so we can just walk right out of the dungeon. Damn those elves sure are crafty.

*Elf Golf is like regular golf except it is way better and humans can't play. Any humans who ask to play Elf Golf get locked up in an unguarded prison.

Valeria catches up with us outside and asks to tag along. She can't get anything done on her own and this ridiculous dwarf plan sounds better than anything else she's got going right now.

032/108: Valeria
Definitely one of the better S-range attackers, Valeria comes equipped with a glued-on Falcon Rune. This is a powerful attack rune, about on par with Pahn's Boar Rune, with one major difference: it doesn't make her Unbalanced! This is something like giving her a free critical hit every single round if I choose to input my commands manually instead of using Free Will.

My gut tells me to throw out Sansuke to make way for the newcomer, but I'm confident he's just a few levels away from a breakthrough. Since Tai Ho has already seen action, and will see more later (at least twice!) I'll give him a well-deserved break.

Kirkis invites Sylvina along, but she's too afraid the dwarves will eat her. I don't blame them, I kind of want to eat her too. Her hair looks like cotton candy!

Here's the team shot. Gotta make sure Valeria is in the front row, or she won't do me any good.

The Falcon Rune in action. This is actually the strongest attack in my arsenal right now aside from Meg's rune.

"Sansuke, you suck."

"I make baths and get high all day, seen? I ain't cut out for dis shit, mon."

Oddly enough, the mountain path leading to the dwarf village is right where Kirkis said it was. He must have had an uncharacteristic moment of clarity.

You might say these poor Vikings are Lost. ba-dum tsh

"Brick, those are dwarves, not vikings."

Oh. My bad.

The mountain path loves making you walk behind trees in order to find the treasure boxes. This armor is inferior to the Magic Robes I stocked up on back in Elfland, though, so it'll get sold off at the first available opportunity.

Here's a neat item! The Buddha sits in someone's inventory and, if that person should die, it will destroy itself and revive them. Outside of the Ressurection Rune, this is the only way to revive fallen allies during combat. Suikoden is a pretty easy game, so they don't actually see a whole lot of use, but in later games in the series they may as well be a requirement in certain situations.

One last semi-hidden treasure in the area. The Killer Rune gives someone an increased critical hit rate. This would be great to stick on Valeria if she had an empty slot... otherwise it'll just get handed around between my S-range attackers as I go through the game.

This cliff affords a nice, picturesque view of the whole valley. I don't have any alterior motives for showing it to you, I swear.

You read that right: the dwarves didn't lift a finger to help all the insane kobolds, even though they apparently do have a cure for their nebulous offscreen illness. Doesn't look like they're in a helpful mood! Kuromimi scolds ○∆□☆ and his crew again for being humans, then scampers off to seek help elsewhere.

Finally we make it to the dwarf village! The path here is actually a bit tough. Remember, our weapons are still just as strong now as they were way way back in Lenankamp! We'll be able to fix that soon. First let's find the inn.

It's "Lali-ho!" Didn't you get the memo?

This Boar Crystal dropped off a monster in the path on the way here. Nobody can used it except Pahn, and he already has one that is eternally stuck to him, so this one is totally useless. It can't even be sold for the 0 bits it's apparently worth. There's nothing for it except to just stick it in the vault when I get back to Eureka's Castle.

Here's blacksmith #2! Did I mention they have their very own naming convention?

033/108: Meese
Dressed in stylish green, Meese can sharpen my weapons up to L9, which is the cap his dwarven master was able to attain. Yes, this means Maas is completely obsolete now, having not touched a single weapon except for Sergei's stupid wrench. It's even worse than that: if you don't explore ahead of yourself, what happens is you meet Maas in the human part of the Great Forest, then come through here and meet Meese. That's right, in a "normal" playthrough you won't even have been back to your castle in between the two. Also I'm pretty sure Meese beats Maas up for his lunch money.

As you can see, I've spent about 200k bits since I've been out here in the woods. Sharpening is by far the most expensive thing in the game, but I've pretty much doubled everyone's ATT at this point by bumping their weapons to L9.

This is very much the Dwarf Chief's best line. "Ho ho! Genocide is hilarious! Man, some kobold just asked me to please save all his friends and family! I told him to go fuck himself! Ho ho!"

As it happens, the Burning Mirror is a creation of the dwarves. Valeria happens to know that the Imperials paid Kage, the ninja we met all the way back in Sarady, to steal the blueprints from the Dwarf Vault. Of course no stupid pissant human could ever penetrate dwarven security, so the Chief offers us a proposition: we try to break into his vault, and if we succeed, he'll believe us and help us stop Kwanda.

Yes kids, this is the second mission we've been asked to please break in somewhere and steal something. It's a shame Lepant didn't come along, he could tell this joker how good ○∆□☆ is at breaking into shit.

Hey guys: step one of making sure people can't get into your vault: DON'T LET PEOPLE JUST WALK INTO YOUR VAULT. Seriously this guy's idea of guard duty is to step aside when asked politely. Surely the dwarves have more treacherous lines of defense in store for me down below though... right?

More robo-dolls! Don't let their ominous name fool you -- with my new L9 weapons I cut through these guys like butter.

For some reason the dwarves fill their vault with "puzzles" rather than, oh, I dunno, giant locked iron doors or pirahna-filled moats. The word "puzzle" is in scare quotes because there's not really much puzzling to do; you flip these switches until the right balls sink into the floor, enabling you to cross the catwalks. It's pure trial and error, and since there are only three switches it's not even much trial and error.

The lucky recipient of this rune regains their HP as we walk around. Since we're fully stocked on Medicines, and will be for the rest of the game, I'll put it to better use by pawning it off.

The next area is a maze. It's not even a big maze, or filled with spiked pits, or infested with minotaurs or anything. Just a few walls ○∆□☆ has to walk around. You know what I would put on my vault if I had one? A combonation lock with like eight digits. And I wouldn't tell anyone what they are. My Running Water Root would be as secure as fuck.

Next up: moving platforms. No traps or dead ends here! All the platforms lead somewhere, and there are a grand total of maybe six of them, which means it can stymie potential burglars for upwards of twelve seconds. Seriously you guys, I'm thinking like a big attack dog chained up outside the entrance which I would feed once a week.

No fooling, the giant tablet in this room reads "Fiddle dee diddle dee piddle dee doo." It has, as far as I can tell, precisely zero correlation to the room's "puzzle", which involves pressing these two white buttons in a certain pattern until the door opens. Which, to the dwarves' credit, is the first sensible thing they've done; if I were to make a list of things that wouldn't help people open a door, I should think that some gibberish which has nothing to do with said door would be at or near the top. Of course they still fail for making the buttons easy enough to brute force, but hey, at least now they're trying.

And when the dwarves finally run out of "puzzle" ideas, they just throw in some dead end rooms. You know what I'm gonna have in the dead end rooms in my vault? Flesh-eating spores*. Ain't no upstart ninja gonna walk away with my superweapon plans.

*Chances are no such thing exists in the Suikoverse, I'm just using it as an example.

There is, however, a boss fight!

Sansuke SINGLE-HANDEDLY takes down this Gigantes clown! Well, no, that's not true. Gigantes actually goes down thanks to the combined efforts of pretty much everyone but Sansuke, he just lucked into the last hit somehow. We'll give him the credit anyway so he'll be able to tell his grandkids he did something for the Liberation Army besides just build a room for people to get naked and wet in.

"Excuse me, is your Water Root running?"

"Why, yes. Yes it is. Why?"

"Better go catch it!"


As easy as the dwarf vault was to break(?) into, it sure was damn long, and instead of walking back out I'll just use this handy dandy Escape Talisman. By the way, I found this in a box inside the vault itself so even if some guardsdwarves managed to somehow twig to the fact that I'm inside and come to apprehend me, I'd be impossible to capture. PWNED. Dwarven inginuity 0, stupid mangy humans 2!

Great. We all believe in each other now. The Chief vows to build a Windfire Cannon that we can use to destroy Kwanda's mirror. To recap: we came out here because Kwanda wants to kill all the elves/dwarves/kobolds of the Great Forest, and so far we've been insulted and locked up by snooty-ass elves, snubbed by the sole remaining kobold with his wits about him, and made to jump through hoops for the dwarves (whose ineptitude caused this whole mess to begin with). Who votes we just go home and let Kwanda have his way with them?

Oh snap.

Well crap. Looks like Kwanda got a little trigger happy while we were fiddle-dee-piddle-dee-dippity-doo-ing in the dwarves' vault. I know it's hard not to snicker at the cute little lump of charcoal on the world map, but come on man, Kirkis is still like right there.

That... that's just really horrific.

Okay, I've been giving Kirkis some shit, but let's be honest for a minute. Truth is he and Valeria are the only people in the Great Forest who have any damn sense whatsoever. Kirkis totally called this, and you'll recall that he swam his way across Lake Toran to try and stop it. That's hardcore.

Now the poor guy is so absolutely heartbroken he tries to throw away the engagement ring he was going to give Sylvina. Gremio, ever the optimist, picks the ring up and tells Kirkis to not lose hope.

God damn right, Gremio. We're going to take Kwanda's head and ram it straight up his Imperial ass. It'll be a nice smooth fit, too; as we'll see here pretty soon Kwanda's head looks kind of like a metal condom. First, though, I get the feeling we should leave Burnt Treesville and immediately turn around and come back in.

Aha! Let it not be said that ○∆□☆ doesn't know how to sniff out any preteens that might be hiding nearby.

034/108: Templeton
Templeton gives me a fairly important item, then lounges around in my castle for the rest of the game. He's noteworthy in that when he returns for Suikoden 2 he actually undergoes a name change: he's Templton in the next game (no silent E). The reason for this is that both Suiko1 and Suiko2 enforce eight-character limits on player characters. Suiko1, however, doesn't enforce this limit on non player characters, like Templeton, whereas Suiko2 does for whatever reason.

Templeton's whole schtick is making maps, so naturally he hands me one.

And now ○∆□☆ doesn't have to wander around blindly on the overworld! The map is showing the Great Forest region right now. ○∆□☆ is the red dot on the mini-map, and he's standing at what's left of Elfland. North (not west as Kirkis would have you believe) is the kobold village, with the human village beyond it, and we can see Kouan in the top corner. East of us we can see both entrances to the mountain pass, the dwarf village, and the vault. Due southeast in that circular area is Pannu Yakuta Castle, where Kwanda Rosman is sitting with his Burning Mirror.

The overworld in Suikoden is designed so the mini-map never needs to scroll. Each region of the world is approximately the same size, and you can't travel from one region to the next without going through some kind of location. When I leave here and head back through the forest path I'll be able to see the Seika/Kaku/Kouan region instead. Pretty clever little setup, really.

The plan is to regroup at Eureka's Castle, give Mathiu our report, and figure out a way to administer Kwanda his well-deserved spanking. Shouldn't be too bad, we're just a short jaunt away from Kaku, so...

...crap! Looks like we're surrounded! Fortunately Valeria is the noblest kind of traitor, and she offers to fall on her sword for our benefit:

Okay, ouch. Just ouch. I'm a cold-blooded atheist heathen, and even I wouldn't pull a stunt like this. Guess we're just gonna have to do this the old-fashioned way and lay some smack down.

Finally Kuromimi figures out what the score is and decides to throw in with us.

035/108: Kuromimi
Kuromimi (called "Black Ears" in the manual) has a special place in my heart. He's a kinda-sorta mediocre S-range front-line fighter, absolutely nothing fantastic, and he can't cast a spell to save his life. But he's fierce and loyal and he shakes his leg just so when you scratch the right spot behind his ear.

Of course, just like Lepant before him, Kuromimi is thrown into the back row of this fight where he can't do us any good whatsoever. It doesn't matter, though; I'm strong enough that I can Let Go this battle rather than fight it.

What the hell, man! Those guys were so scared of us we had to let them run away! How on earth are we still losing?

What!? How'd they get here!?

Hooray! Happy ending! Except, you know, for the elf elder and his Great Super Council and all those shopkeepers and whatnot. They're totally burnt to a crisp. But Kirkis's girlfriend and the really really fast guy are alive, and that's what counts!

What's better, it looks like the boys from back in Lenankamp finally hooked up with us, and now we're manly enough to take on the forces of Pannu Yakuta head-on. Give the order, ○∆□☆!

This is the real deal, gang. It's time for the Liberation Army to meet the Imperials on the battlefield for reals.

The red circle indicates where good men will fight and die for their cause. Let's do this thing.

Eh? Eh? See what I mean? Metal condom.

In any case, Mathiu wasn't kidding: ol' strong-and-silent is in our lists now.

036/108: Humphrey
Humphrey is a monster. If there's a beefier tank in the game, I don't know about it. He's strong on the front line, no question there, and eats damage for breakfast. Even better, he's got a blank rune slot, perfect for something like Killer (for now) or Double-beat (when we get it). There's only one scenario that requires Humphrey in the party, and it's not for a good long while, but maybe you guys will take pity on me and let me use him before then, too.

Major battles work on a rock/paper/scissors system. All the major players in the Liberation Army (read: everyone with a portrait) is assigned to a unit, which falls into one of these four categories: Charge, Bow, Magic or Others. Your main method of dealing damage is to select either the Charge, Bow or Magic unit that counters your enemy's Charge, Bow or Magic unit, like so:

Charge beats Bow, because you advance too quickly for the archers to get a bead on you; Bow beats Magic, because Magic requires your unit to stand still, making you sitting ducks for ranged attacks; Magic beats Charge, because if it didn't there'd be no reason to ever use Magic.

Each unit in those three groups has an attack power, and you can only use a given unit once per skirmish. There's no real downside to using the most powerful unit you have, provided you know what the enemy is going to do, to deal as much damage as possible. And how do we learn what the enemy is up to...?

We use ninjas! Well, okay, we don't have ninjas yet. But thieves are a sorta-okay substitute. These guys fall into the "Others" category, and are used individually instead of as a unit. (That is, the first time I use Thieves Krin will try to guess the enemy's strategy, after which he'll be used up an Giovanni will get a shot.)

The downside to the Thieves unit is that there's only about a 1/3 shot of success. Sometimes they'll fail to learn the enemy's plan, and sometimes...

...well, at least the cocksucker didn't keep it for himself. Later on we'll recruit some ninjas, who work like thieves, except they never fail. This gives us one free round per ninja we have where we can deal devastating damage without fear of reprecussion.

Because you're at such a disadvantage in numbers, and because you don't have the benefit of any free rounds, the fight against Kwanda is actually one of the harder ones in the game. Because he outnumbers me, I'm going to guess he'll Charge and plan accordingly.

Right now I only have two Magic units: Luc's and Viki's. This means I can only counter two Charges before I have to meet Kwanda head-on. And that's assuming I picked right...

...I did! Magic vs. Charge deals lots of damage without any danger to myself. That evens the playing field a little bit! Time for round two, let's see if Giovanni does a better job out there than Krin did.

Dammit, son, you're barely even fit to scrub Lepant's toilets. Fortunately I have the numbers now, so a bad guess won't be fatal. I'll put even money on him Charging again.

Viki looks up from her lunch of macaroni and hot dogs long enough to mount a counteroffensive, and...

...swish! I kill a bunch of Kwanda's guys and send their adorable angel spirits on up to their celestial reward. Of course, now I'm out of Magic units. I do have one neat trick left, though...

Merchants supposedly will cause the enemy to turn traitor and join your numbers. However, and this is not an exageration, I have never once seen it work. Let's crunch the numbers here: there are maybe ten of these battles in the game, and for most of them I will have three merchants, and therefore three chances to get the betrayal gimmick to work. I've played Suikoden (no joke) a dozen times or more over the years. And I've never ONCE gotten the enemy to turn their cloak. Fat lotta good these merchants are, I tell ya.

We have a huge numbers advantage now, so we can finish this in one swoop. But first...

Mathiu's unit in the Others menu gives a big attack boost to my next Charge attack. No, there isn't a ○∆□☆/Humphrey/Lepant unit; presumably what's going on here is Mathiu has called the three main captains together and is briefing them on the new strategy. The strongest Charge unit in the game is comprised of (no kidding) stars #106 and #107; the second strongest is Lepant's family, and the third... ○∆□☆'s team itself! This is one of two of ○∆□☆'s spoken lines in the game (assuming you don't count all the "but thou must" dialogue boxes as actual lines). ○∆□☆'s team will only outdamage Lepant's for the next few battles, so I'll enjoy it while it lasts. I'm banking on Kwanda using either Charge or Bow here, which I think is likely because I'm not even sure he's got a Magic attack. If it's Charge vs. Bow I'll slaughter him; if it's Charge vs. Charge we'll meet on the battlefield and my numbers + my strategy will still slaughter him.

Yay! When you win a mass combat like this all your little pixel people run to the middle of the field and start dancing joyously.

Later games in the series expand greatly on the mass combat, from the grid-based tactical system of Suiko2 to the RTS-style system of Suiko5. You've also got your Suikoden Tactics, which I haven't played, but as I understand the less said about it the better.

Say, didn't Kwanda have a giant mirror?

He sure does! Funny he didn't think to use it when the whole Liberation Army was amassed on his front porch, but whatevs.

This is the one and only time in the entire game Mathiu is flummoxed. There tends to come a point in pretty much every Suikoden game where your strategist ends up dropping you in the stew, but fortunately for Mathiu's reputation we totally have a backup plan.

Chief Dwarfenmeister risks seven years of hella bad luck to save our asses. So: Kwanda's army is toast, the Burning Mirror is destroyed, that just leaves one thing...

Couldn't have said it better myself, Viktor. Let's roll.

No party options here, this is what the game foists on you, this is what you're stuck with. Meg did a bang-up job on the back line, but Sansuke... well... let's just say he's got a promising career as professional bench warmer.

In other news, Kuromimi's weapon is simply called "Sword". You have got to love that. As you sharpen it, he renames it the "Good Sword" and "Excellent Sword". <3 <3 Kuromimi.

Inside Pannu Yakuta are lots of Imperial guards, some living suits of armor, and these spkey shield guys who spit Sonic the Hedgehog rings at me. I'm powerful enough to Let Go pretty much everything in here, but then I wouldn't have had any opportunities to get a decent in-battle screenshot, would I?

Here's one of the quintessential Suikoden collectibles: an Old Book. Like the paint we found at Lepant's place, though, we can't do anything with it for now. Best make sure it lands in the vault rather than stuck on god-knows-who for god-knows-how-long.

Yes, please. There might be a boss upstairs.

Kind of weird that the Zombie Dragon is less powerful than the regular Dragon. The fight goes pretty smooth, but due to the makeup of the team it's not really possible to have any attack magic here, unless you give it to Kirkis. In hindsight I probably should have given Fire to Kirkis and Wind to Meg, but that would really only have ended the fight a few rounds earlier, not necessarily made it any easier.

Bring it, punk.

One-on-one duels work on a similar rock/paper/scissors system to major combat. You have three options:

Attack beats Defend, since your opponent won't counter you and you get a free hit; Defend beats Desperate Attack, since you anticipate your opponent's attack and counter; Desperate Attack beats Attack, since you're dealing the stronger of the two hits.

Between rounds your opponent will taunt you, the idea being you have to read his movements from what he says. A much better way to win these duels, though, is to simply Defend every single round. In this case:

if he Attacks, I'll only take a tiny it of damage; if he Defends, we stalemate that round; if he Desperate Attacks, we counter for huge damage.

Just like so. Dueling remains pretty much the same throughout the series, although the Defend trick won't see you through outside of Suikoden 1.

Now that I've beaten Kwanda to a pulp, he starts whining about some Black Rune.

Um, dude, the dwarves have the cure, remember? And Chief McDwarfypants is outside right now. Wait, what does this kobold subplot have to do with anything? It's gotten like eight total seconds of screentime. Let's get back to the beheading!


Wait wrong Konami game. Sorry.

Um, yeah, I'll say. One minute he's a murderous sumbitch and the next he's willing to accept a dignified and honorable death? Something's fishy. This totally isn't a choice for the peanut gallery here; like Kraze, picking the top option really does kill Kwanda permenantly. Unlike Kraze, though, Kwanda is recruitable and a Star of Destiny!

You, uh... wait, what? I think this is supposed to be Viktor's line here. Did you guys get your scripts switched or something?

Kwanda tells us about how Windy gave him a Black Rune which, over time, started to take over his mind. It seems as though all this mass genocide wasn't really his idea after all. Which means...

Kwanda gives a speech about how he is forever loyal to the Emperor, but that the Emperor he knew is no longer alive. This new Emperor, whomever he is, is corrupt and needs to be removed from power.

037/108: Kwanda Rosman
We've enlisted an Imperial general! Kwanda is a very powerful M-range fighter, a good option to slap a Killer Rune on and stick in the back line behind Viktor and Humphrey. The first few times I played the game I actually used Kwanda the majority of the game, and I can totally vouch for him being a solid dude all the way up through the endgame.

Looks like the Liberation Army pulled through! Odessa would be so proud. If she weren't... rotting in a sewer, I mean.

What's more, all the kobolds are back now! For some reason! Even though I didn't do anything! And neither did Kuromimi, apparently, because he was with me! Hip hip, huzzah!

After the tearful reunion Kirkis, Valeria and Kuromimi pledge their swords to my cause because while their forest may be safe once again, the war is long from over. And of course...'s not like Cotton-candy-head has anywhere better to be.

038/108: Sylvina
I assume Sylvina uses a bow? And she's okay with runes maybe? I've never used her. I mean, why bother?

Stallion's kinda strange. When you first meet him he picks on Kirkis and then runs away at the first opportunity, but it turns out he's the hero of the whole scenario (since, if not for him, Mathiu would have never gotten word in time to come rescue ○∆□☆). Whatever his motivation, I'll be glad to chisel his name on my slab.

039/108: Stallion
He uses a bow. Aside from that, all I know about Stallion is that he has the True Holy Rune, which cause you to move a LOT faster across the overworld map. I've always felt this is an unnecessary luxury, since you move pretty quickly across the map anyway and it's not like you spend a lot of time there, but apparently a lot of people like him.

Not officially. Would you mind sending Valeria and Sylvina up to my room once we get back home?

That's that, gang. Our long, arduous, sometimes ludicrous journey through the Great Forest of the Scarlet Moon Empire has come to a close. The Liberation Army is quickly becoming a force to be reckoned with. Hear that, Emperor Barbarossa? You ain't gonna reckon with this!

Lots of new recruits, and plenty more on the way! Feel free to hit up the master list in the meantime.

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