7th Dragon 2020 ~ Sympathy for Chisa Inomiko (an LP EOV Anniversary Project)

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2020. Tokyo, Cabinet offices.

Prime Minister Inazuka: Makabe, report.

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Secretary Makabe: It's an outbreak in Shinjuku just like the one two years ago. An outbreak of monsters.

MP Ariake: They're back again? This is the fourth time this year.

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Secretary Makabe: There's enough of them to justify a code yellow alert, so we've already evacuated the citizens. Right now, it's taking an entire regiment of the SDF to keep the monsters contained.

MP Hatano: What do you mean, contained? Why isn't there a plan to exterminate them?!

Secretary Makabe: Well, er, that's—

Image Just say the word, and I'll handle it.

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MP Ariake: Natsume Hikasa... The newest chief of Murakumo.

MP Hatano: Murakumo? Oh, right, they do specialize in this sort of thing...

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Prime Minister Inazuka: ...You've got the right people for this? And they're good to go?

Image We haven't wasted a moment, sir.

Prime Minister Inazuka: Fine. I'll authorize the Murakumo organization to handle this as you see fit.

Image Thank you.

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Silence.

MP Hatano: Well, that's a relief, huh?

MP Ariake: Recently there have been a lot of monsters, though. Surely even Murakumo will need reinforcements?

Prime Minister Inazuka: Not to worry. I believe she's using this to find herself some fresh blood.

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Prime Minister Inazuka: ...and I imagine her rival won't be far behind, either.

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Part 1: The Murakumo Entrance Exam
Off-site mirror of the update. || Jump to the OP below.

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Image Cadets gathered here today, you are probably all wondering—

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Image Excuse me, the young lady in the back? Have you entered your data yet?

Image Geh!

I couldn't help but be at least a little nervous, considering the context, and my strategy in situations like that was always to sink into the background and pretend I was very small. Unfortunately, I'd been perceived, so that plan was out the window.

Image Y-YES, SIR! I mean, er, N-NO, SIR!

Image ...

Image I HAVE NOT ENTERED MY DATA, SIR!

Image C-could you? And have you considered taking a breath?

On his advice, I did so. It helped.

Image I'm sorry for the holdup... over here, right?

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Image Oh, your terminals are in English?

Image We are a wide-reaching organization, ma'am.

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Image Chisa Inomiko... twenty-three years old, recently graduated with a Master's in classic literature. Referred to the organization by referral from a personal acquaintance of the Chief.

Image Yes, sir.

Image Thank you, return to the line, please.

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Image Ah, but I haven't introduced myself. I am Natsume Hikasa, head of Murakumo.

Adrift Woman: Murakumo... Don't they exterminate monsters?

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Image You're well-informed. I imagine you've heard the rumors floating around the city about us, then?

Sharp-Eyed Man: About a secret organization that only takes in the most elite candidates, whose entrance exams are the stuff of nightmares?

Image These stories are true—you must pass a grueling exam in order to join Murakumo. The reason I've gathered you here today is because this is the location of your examination.

Burning Man: Are you kidding me? I didn't prep for any exam!

Image Is it a written test, or...?

Image Ordinarily, we'd test you by other means, but...

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Image This year, the topic of your examination will be the eradication of all the monsters in City Hall.

Adrift Woman: But... this is all so sudden—

Image Of course, you're allowed to back out, but I assure you this is a small trial to endure compared to the honor of joining us. If you pass—you become Murakumo. The government will finally recognize your S-Class talents.

Clever Guy: So this goes all the way to the top.

Sharp-Eyed Man: Alright, I'm in! I've heard stories about these guys.

Uneasy Man: Y-yeah, me too... I'll never get another chance like this.

Image Few ever have, and few ever will. It's good you see that. Kirino, the exam parameters?

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Image Today's topic is monster extermination. To accomplish this mission, you're expected to form teams of three. You can choose to go it alone, or in pairs, but for safety reasons I really wouldn't recommend that. I suggest you consider the abilities of your fellow candidates and form a well-balanced team. What exactly this monster extermination entails will be detailed on site by your instructor.

Image Let me introduce you to your instructor. This is Genji Gatou.

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Image I'm Gatou, Murakumo Unit 10.

If I was any indication, I imagined a number of people in the crowd were quite intimidated by the heavy-set soldier. In my case, it was...

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...well, plain on my face.

Image Pffft... gahahahahaha! What's with all the long faces? Eh, just do what I say out there and you'll be fine.

Image With that said, I believe we're ready to start. The Seventy-Fifth Murakumo Entrance Exam begins now. I have high hopes for you all.

Image Alright, go assemble your teams! Once you think you're done, head for the Entrance of City Hall!

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I took a look at my data again to ensure I hadn't gotten anything wrong before I spent any time worrying about finding squadmates. That said, I didn't exactly have to do much looking.

Image Yo! The lady at the terminal!

Image Oh! Um, yes?

Image Me and the old man here are looking for a third. You grouped up yet?

Image Oh, not at all. I'd be happy to, Mr...?

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Image Call me Mugen. 's my handle.

Image 'Mugen'?

Image I mean sure it's not my real name, but the last time I gave anyone that was like, YEARS ago. I haven't done IRL in ages, y'know?

Image Ah, I see. You're an otaku.

Image I prefer the company of binary.

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Image And you, sir, you're—

Image Oh my gosh!

Image ...?

Image Kyoshiro Tamura, up-and-coming heavyweight star of the World Boxing Federation! One of the greatest relatively new talents on the scene!

Image Oh, is that who he is?

Image W-well, it's, er, it's common knowledge, really...

Image ...

Image ...I've, um, I've watched some of your matches, sir. It's... an honor to work with you!

Image Likewise.

Image I'm Chisa Inomiko. I'll be here practicing swordplay. I hope not to slow either of you down.

Image Don't worry about that.

Image Sir?

Image ...You're tough. I can tell.

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With that said, I had one thing I needed to ask before I headed in.

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Image Of course. Well, not to be disrespectful, but... it's a bit odd that these are the circumstances we first meet under, you know?

Image Homura and I have largely seen each other through business in the past few years. It is a touch disrespectful of me not to meet her future daughter-in-law before needing business, but she insisted.

Image That sounds like her.

Image Doesn't it?

Image Er... am I missing something here?

Image She's Homura Akaneno's daughter-in-law.

Image Ah, I see.

Image Well, not legally, yet, but—um, at any rate, Chief Hikasa...

Image Call me Natsume.

Image Alright. I imagine Mom talked me up, so... I hope not to disappoint you. That's all I wanted to say.

Image You won't be disappointing me. Oh, no, only Japan, who direly needs the strength of specialists in this, its darkest hour...

Image Bwah?! U-Um?!

Image Snrk... pffftahahahahahaha!

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Image Family friends, huh?

Image I should've known. Mom wouldn't be friends with someone if they couldn't keep up with her.

Image My condolences.

Image Before we head in, there's a number of NPCs milling about the plaza.

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(Image We're right here!

Sergeant Ikoma: Yup.)

Private Makita: How the hell are we gonna pull this off?

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Image Today, we'll be assisting with your exam. You have orders from command. Don't do anything out of line—you have orders, and you'll work quickly.

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Image A swordswoman, a tappytype, and a bodybuilder... No problems here. You got a leader?

Image Do we need one?

Image ...I'll just mark the lady in the uniform down.

Image Wait, er, are you sure about—

Image Quit griping and get moving, everyone else is inside already.

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Image I... I had an important conversation to have...

Image It's okay, Boss. We're all late sometimes.

Image I had an important conversation to have!

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Tokyo City Hall, the game's first area.

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Image Let's get a move on. Remember, you're hunting monsters from here on out.

Enthusiastic Man: So, uh... what exactly do you mean when you say 'monsters'? I mean, I've heard the rumors, but I haven't seen one in the flesh.

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Image Dahaha, ain't that great? There's a live one, right on cue! That right there is a monster. Doesn't look like much, does it? A bit ferocious, but it's mostly just an animal. All right...

Mr. Gatou turned away from the enemy and began to scan the crowd before his eyes, unfortunately, settled on me.

Image Mmm, yeah, you! You were late, you get to give it a go first. We'll keep going if you can take it.

I took a moment to steady my breathing, then nodded.

Image Yes, sir! Mugen, Kyoshiro! Let's go!

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Image Remember, they might not look like much, but they could be hiding anything. Stay cautious!

Image Gee, you shaped up in a hurry.

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Image Shocking nobody, this is a JRPG. We've got your standard features—basic attack, skills, defending, an auto-battle that makes all your characters ram their faces into the enemy headfirst like idiots. For this first dungeon, Chisa, Mugen, and Kyoshiro all only have one skill each, so we won't be doing much spectacular.

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Image Hrgh!

Image Kyoshiro! Are you alright?

Image Don't worry. Hardly a scratch.

Image Alright. Advancing!

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Image Whoa! Nice swing, Boss!

Image Stay sharp, it's coming back!

Image Don't worry, I got this.

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Image Was that a chakram?

Image Yeah, everyone's got one these days. You don't?

Image Oh—Kyoshiro, the second one is open!

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Image Tah!

Image Alright, it's on the ropes!

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Image Nice work, you two!

Image Naturally, this is a JRPG, so we gain experience and money (Az). We'll explain what SP and Dz are later, kids. Don't worry.

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Image Yes, sir. It was the least I could do.

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Image But there's only a few monsters on this floor. The exam begins in earnest above. Oh—since you three got beat on, patch up with these. Wouldn't be much fair if one team started out all beat up.

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Image Thank you, sir! I'll just—

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Image Whoa.

Image Where the hell were you hiding a pack that big?

Image Keeping your supplies hidden is an important tenet when dealing with enemies who are intelligent enough to use them, right? I didn't know what I'd be facing, so I just wanted to be sure.

Image ...Think I like you.

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He headed off, and I and my squad were left by ourselves again.

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Image Here's the stats on each of our characters.

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Image Chisa is our Samurai, the headliner 'protagonist' class. Unsurprisingly, she's generally quite capable, with all-around high physical stats and speed. She's currently our fastest character, actually.

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Image Mugen's one skill right now is a party-wide defense buff. He's the physically weakest character, but has the best magic defense, for what that's worth.

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Image Kyoshiro is a physical tank that punches people. He is not fast.

Each of these classes have some weird, unique mechanics that I'll go over later.

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Image Whoa whoa whoa, you brought this much?

Image Best to be prepared, right?

Image Is that a gun

Image Did you bring a gun

Image Oh my god is that a loaded gun

Image Y-yes?

Image Sweet. Can I shoot it later?

Image How old are you?

Image Uhhhhh, like seventeen?

Image Image No.

Image I brought the gun as a precaution, alright? I'm not very good at using it, actually.

Image This gun will find an owner soon enough, I assure you.

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Image Right! Good luck!

Enthusiastic Man: Yeah, you too!

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Proud Girl: Hm, I was curious to see if any other kids were called here. Appears I'm the youngest.

Image See? I can totally fire that gun.

Proud Girl: Oh, wait—black hair, one red stripe... you're that legendary student council president from Sanba Academy, Chisa Inomiko, right?!

Image Um, yes?

Proud Girl: Wow! I can't believe I get to meet you in person!

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Image I also can't handle this sort of thing!

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Indignant Student: Sending us to a warzone to take an exam! I wanna talk to the person in charge!

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Image ...You never know.

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Image Our friendly neighborhood SDF soldiers are barring the elevator, so we'll be climbing up the stairs to the north.

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Image Alright. Monsters could be lurking anywhere, so keep your guard up.

Image Aww, I bet they were exaggerating. I bet there's like, five.

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Image ...You wanna bet?

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Image Hoo... okay, you two take the one on the right! I've got the left one!

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Image Haaaah!

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Image ...Impressive. Where'd you learn your swordplay?

Image Oh, um... well, a few different senseis, really. There was one my family knew growing up, so I contacted him first—

Image Man, we're shoe-ins! I can't wait to tell my parents, man.

Image They'll be very proud.

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Image Do you think these flowers are from the monsters? They're an odd color.

Image No sense stopping to stare at the flowers, unless you want old man Gatou to make you hit a pinata or something.

Image Hm...

Image Hold on. There's another few up ahead. Mugen, throw your chakram... over there, toward that sofa.

Image Huh? Okay.

Image Now!

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Image Great!

Image ...Have you seen combat before? You seem used to this.

Image Oh, um...

Image I mean, we're all "S-Class" here, right? I guess she's just a natural!

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Cautious Man: These monsters, or whatever they're called, are a really serious threat! You agree with me, right?

Cheery Coed: I've been weighing job offers lately, but it looks like an easy decision~ Make mine Murakumo!

Image god there are so many fucking npcs in this building

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Image They've got the shutters closed. We'll have to go around.

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Image Man, these things aren't that hard!

Image Just keep up the spirit, okay?

Image Fun fact—leveling up in this game fully heals you. After this fight, I actually paused to heal up, but everyone was fresh.

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Quaking Official: All I came in here for was to fetch some important documents, and then... W-what are you doing just standing here? Isn't it your job to deal with monsters like these?!

Image They haven't evacuated you yet?

Watchful Soldier: Don't worry about it. We're responsible for the civilians. Leave this room and make for the stairs.

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Image Watch out for that nymph! It looks stronger than the rabbits.

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Image Gggh—!

Image Kyoshiro! Mugen, its scales!

Image I do not like bugs, Boss.

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Image Hate 'em. Can't stand 'em!

Image Your tastes are noted.

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Considerate Woman: I wonder if the monsters above are stronger? It seems compatibility is important to a team.

Irritated Gal: That bonehead!! He ran off as soon as he started the test! I don't want him to ruin my one chance!

Image That's rough, buddy.

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Image It's true. I feel a little out-of-place, actually...

Image What do you do?

Image Oh, um, I don't really have a job yet myself, I just got out of college... I draw manga, though.

Image Oh, for real? What kind?

Image Well, my girlfriend writes most of it, so I'm up to her whims... A fair amount of romance, though she enjoys writing plenty of action scenes, too. She likes vampires.

Image ...Waaaait a sec—

Image Oh—

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Image Who left this box around? It's full of first aid supplies. We should probably take—

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Image ...Show us your pack.

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Image Kyoshiro, please use this vial of medicine.

Image Thank you.

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Image Moving on, please.

Image Bahahahahaahahahahaaaaaaaahahahaha

Image Your inventory can carry a maximum of 15 of any given item. From here, we move onto the third floor.

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Resting Girl: That sounds hella bothersome... but the pay is good.

Relaxing Student: That old dude is up on the next floor. I don't know what he's gonna say next, but we're taking a breather here.

Worn Man: Phew. I thought these monsters were small fry, but they're tough when they don't stop coming!

Image They're not the worst I've fought...

Image You've fought monsters before?

Image I still have nightmares about those baboons.

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Image Oh, one of the libraries. My mother-in-law steals books from here, sometimes.

Image Hey, free treasure!

Image It's water.

Image T R E A S U R E. My dream is to sit on a massive treasure horde like, uhhh...

Image Like a dragon?

Image Yeah. Yeah, like a dragon.

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Image These flowers, they're everywhere.

Image Perhaps those nymphs eat them.

Image You wanna try eating one?

Image Image No.

Image Awwwwww. Hey, that's a library there, too.

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Image KY! I just wanted to look for some manga, dude.

Image Haha. I'm not sure there'll be any in here.

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Image Seriously though, I'm remembering something. Uhhh... what was it...

Image Oh! A yuri duo who draws manga and one of them is a dark-haired beauty with a signature red swoop of hair—are you Gracia-sensei?

Image Eh?

Image You are, aren't you? Oh man, I follow Carmilla's Twitter! When's you two's next release?

Image Um, well?!

Image Let it wash over you. Fans are trouble.

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Image Oh, well... Carmilla's been taking a bit of a break from writing to work on making music. She has a lot of hobbies.

Image Okay, but more importantly, inquiring minds want to know. Why is your handle 'Gracia'? See, 'cause I always thought it had to be like Hosokawa Gracia, you know?

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Image HELLO, MR. GATOU

Image HELLO, INOMIKO.

Image Aww.

Image So, you're late. Again. But you can handle yourselves in a fight, so it's a wash.

Image Late compared to who? We passed several groups on the way here.

Image ...They tell me to tell that to everyone so you hurry more.

Image Ah.

Image You guys hurt?

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Image Oh, pointers would be very helpful!

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Image Support Skills let us do stuff on the map without using items. They're handy, but we have to hit up a heal point like an inn or green Save Point to restock them.

Image Alright, let's head up.

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Image Why? What's the problem?

Nagare: There's a huge monster in here! This is too much for one person to handle! Crap, he's—

Image Yeah, yeah. Looks like we've got an instructor in a jam. Don't really like the cadets to see it, but...

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Image ...Me too, sir.

Image Here we are on 4F. On our way through...

Aghast Soldier: These demons... Aaaaaaaaaaaaaah!

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Alert Soldier: What the hell was that guy's problem?

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Nagare: Look and see for yourself. It's big enough to be the source of 'em all.

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Image We're here, sir.

Image Coming along? Far as I'm concerned, sounds like this one could be fun. I'll let you tag along, too.

Nagare: You're using the cadets?! But we can't do that—

Image If it was strong enough to give you trouble, it's gonna take all of us to beat it.

Image Yeah! And this'll totally mean we pass!

Image That's not the point. This one might hurt more people if we let it stay loose.

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Image You and I are gonna have to go all around Japan exterminating these things.

Nagare: Yeah, that's for sure. Well... you cadets ready to go or not?

Image You're okay with it?

Nagare: He makes a good point. If you bail on us, it'll get so hairy even this masochist wouldn't enjoy it.

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Image Yes, sir. Let's go!

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Image Is that a dragon?! Oh my god, a real dragon!?

Image Make it dead meat before you marvel at it!

Image Mugen! Kyoshiro! Hit it as hard as you can!

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Image I can do you one better!

Image One of those YUUHI doohickeys, huh?

Image Thanks, Mugen!

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Image COULDN'T HAVE TIMED IT BETTER MYSELF

Image Alright, advancing!

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Image Meet our first midboss, D1. D1 has a very simple pattern. On odd-numbered turns, he'll slap you.

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Image I see an opening! Capitalizing!

Image oh thanks kyoshiro

D-Depth is a status ailment that most Destroyer skills fiddle around with. Kyoshiro has about a 50% chance to land it on his normal attack, for now, and if an enemy has it, he can use his Forward Punch skill. I'll talk more about it when there's more to do with it. Suffice it to say, though?

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Image blue man do big puncho hee hee

Anyway, so on even-numbered turns, D1 spices it up a little.

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Image It's breathing fire!

Image Aaaaagh!

Image I'm on fire! I'm on fire! Help, help, oh my god, help me!

Image Everyone, stand—y-your ground! Kyoshiro, stay on the offensive!

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Image Mugen, calm down! We're almost there!

Image Okay it's easier to be calm when I'm not dying!

Unlike the rest of the monsters, this dragon took blow after blow to defeat. But eventually, we managed to fell it.

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Image Get out!

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Nagare: They actually did it?!

Image Well, I'll be.

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Image Hah... hah... give me a second...

Image Oh my god we're alive. Oh my god we're alive

Image I asked the same question.

Image At least one of you can take the heat. But where the hell does a monster that strong even come from? We'd better check the other floors. Keep moving.

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Image We did it... We did it!

Image Oh my god... Holy shit, we rule!

Image Heh. So we do.

Image But... we have to be cautious. We're not out of the woods yet.

Image We beat the boss, Boss!

Image We need to follow Gatou. Let's move.

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Image Worried about these funny little flowers everywhere. There's something funny about 'em—

Image Thank you.

Image You three take the elevator up. The other cadets should be waiting up there. Oh—and there's a box of medicine over in that hallway if you need it.

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Image Boss? We need to talk.

Image See how you feel when you're without an Ariadne Thread... grumble grumble Mom always said never leave home without 'em, and about five other things...

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Image We skip up from 4F to 10F, now that we've beaten D1. At this point, my characters have gone from level 1 to about level 4. The only enemies in this dungeon are Rabis and Bluegrass Nymphs, so we're not really threatened.

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Image Still, a dragon... I never thought I'd face something like that again.

Image You've fought a dragon?!

Image That was intended to be internal monologue! I—

Image On guard, everyone!

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Image ...They're multiplying.

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Image Chisa. Chisa. Internal monologue is internal.

Image Seriously though, tell me about the dragons you've fought!

Image GAH

Image I wanna hearrrr! I mean, you did draw that one dragon really well in, uhh, Chapter 37 of KyuuKare, so I figured you had some experience, but I didn't imagine it was that kind of first-hand—

He wouldn't get to finish that sentence.

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Image We have a situation. The observation team reports a massive monster touching down on the City Hall roof. Gatou and Nagare are to halt the examination and proceed to eliminate the monster at once.

Our comms buzzed again.

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Image Tch... it had to be the roof! Hey, Chisa, you heard that, right? We're heading for the roof now, but your team's closer. Head to the roof and back up the others.

Image R-right! Yes, sir!

Image If things go south, I want you to retreat. ...I'm counting on you.

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Image We need to hurry.

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Image No... No!

Image Another one?!

Image The other cadets—

Image They're... they're dead. It killed them!

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Image Oh my god

Image Oh my god oh my god

Image We—

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Image We need to fight! We need to protect the city!

Image Oh my god, they're bleeding, I—oh my god, is that what blood looks like?! What—oh god, is that what dead bodies smell like, I thought Zero Escape was exaggerating—!

Image Stay focused!

Image I'm doing my best here!

Image It's coming!

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Image S-setting up a defense field!

Image Lay into it with everything you have! Don't let—

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Image Image Image Gaaaahhhh!

Image My jacket is burning! Oh fuck, I'm on fire!

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Image As long as you're alive, you can still fight!

Image Boss! Are you okay?!

Image I'm—I'm fine! I—

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Image CHISA!

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Image M-Mugen, thank—thank you! Thank you.

Image Just keep hitting it! Come on!

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Image Just keep... going through the pain! We're almost there! I can feel it!

Image Chisa! Open your pack and start treating your wounds! We'll get in there once we have a moment!

Image Okay, I'll—WATCH OUT!

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Image Mugen! Kyoshiro!

Image I can't... take any more...

Image Ugh... keep... going...

Image You two, stay back!

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Image Get out—

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Image —of my city!

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Image Ggg... guhhh... it hurts, it hurts...

Image It's... it's dead...

Image I'll... I'll start treating you two.

Image Wait off for me... he's young. Give him first priority...

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Image That hurts, too... give us a little credit...

Image There was another one?!

Image We... we managed to defeat it. Barely.

Image ...Well, I'll be damned. You've done well. You should be proud of yourself. Especially you, Inomiko. I can't believe you're still standing.

Image Honestly, neither can I...

Image We've gotta go make one more sweep for serious monsters. You guys... stand guard up here and treat yourselves. We'll come and get you afterwards, got it?

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Image I don't... think we'll be going much of anywhere.

Image ...mm.

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Image Kirino.

Image It's strange... so many dead.

Image Such a pity... it happened fast.

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Image (Dead?!)

Image Any success?

Image Just one team. And only one of its members was still standing to fight.

Even as out of it as I was on the roof, I heard the buzzing of the Murakumo comm frequency. It was unmistakable.

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The sky... started to darken.

SDF Soldier: Huh?!

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Image What?!

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Image They're everywhere! We—

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Image Hey... w-what's that?

Image Emergency dispatch! Get out of City Hall! Repeat! Get out of City Hall!

Image Mr. Ayafumi?!

Image Behind us!

It landed on a ground, with a heavy quake. It saw us, and we saw it.

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Image A-another one... there's another one... there's—there's dozens of 'em...

Image I'm having a nightmare... I'm just having a nightmare, I know it...

Image ...Chisa...you need to run.

Image You two... you can't run, not like that. I'm not—leaving you behind! I'm not!

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Image I won't let you kill them!

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Image It's all just a nightmare, any second, I'm gonna wake up...

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Image ...Come here, kid. Come here.

Image Oh, man... it's been ages since anyone held me.

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Image Wow, you give great hugs.

Image Stay behind me... as best you can.

Image No, I—I won't—!

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Image No... p-please... I-I don't...

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Image Ms. Hikasa, we have to leave them! We can't wait any longer!

Image ...Don't you think there's a chance she could still pull it off and get back?

Image But we can't hold on to this position!

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Image A little longer. Wait five minutes more.

Image But, Natsume!

Image I agree with her on this one! If we just leave them to die, what was the point of the mission?!

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Image Geez, we're finally here... Woulda been faster to take the elevator~

Image Exercise is good for you.

Image You calling me fat?

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Image Probably. Takehaya said they'd look about like that.

Image Whoaaaa, someone's still kicking over there?

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Image Sooooo... what now? It's not our job to help, but...

Image Can't just watch her die, I suppose. Back me up, Neko.

Image Yeah yeah yeah, I already knew you were gonna say that. You sure about this, though? If we do too much, Takehaya's gonna be pissed.

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Image Who's... who's there? Please... you have to... get... get away...

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Image ...Mio...

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Image Understood. Continue to monitor the situation.

Transmission: Yes, sir.

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Image There are hostiles appearing even in South Africa. The EU, China, Japan, Russia... and with us, that makes six.

Image What're the damages?

Image We have next to no intel on how other nations are faring, but... I imagine it's just us standing up to them.

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Image What's fortunate is that you had the wisdom to believe all that I told you.

Image In all honesty... I can't really believe it even now. I believed in the knowledge and technology you had. That's all. But with the appearance of the Dragons, I don't have a choice but to trust you.

Image They're strong adversaries. Can we prevail against such a threat?

Image We'll do everything we can. I'm trusting your command at the front, Emille.

Image I'll keep you informed, Mr. President.

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Image This girl is the last survivor. The other two died on our way here. Now get out.

Image What on earth do you think you're doing, daring to interfere with Murakumo business?

Image ...A message from Takehaya.

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Image Nyahahaha! You mad, or is it just the wrinkles~?

Image ...Anyway. Bye.

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Image Take those two into custody! I'll load Ms. Inomiko into the vehicle—hurry and catch them, immediately!

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Image ...Hah. Of course... if anyone were to survive in a situation like this, it'd be Homura's.

Image Chisa Inomiko... I almost feel bad for you.

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In an apartment in Shinjuku, a girl hovers over the start button on her newest song. "Okay," she says, "just breathe. You can do this."

The song begins.



Hibisakareta daichi no... koe
(The voice of the earth was torn apart.)

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Narihibiita gareki no, senritsu ni
(Its cries reverberated from the shaking, the rubble and ruins.)

A young man comes to the front of Tokyo City Hall, and finds it awash in flowers. What was this? Was this part of his initiation? These bright orange flowers? All he wanted was a job...

He looks up, and sees the sky awash with beasts.

Kaerenai nichijou ni mukatte, nani o sakebu no ka?
(As I look upon the daily life that won't return, what should I call out?)

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Mezameta genjitsu wa toki o akaku akaku somete
(This reality I've awoken to has been dyed in red.)

A girl rides on a train through the city. "Argh, Vergil and his motivation!" She mutters to herself, to a camera on her lapel. "He's really hard, okay?"

She wears headphones, and is not cognizant of the massive beast into which the train crashes.

Koware kaketa shishi kakae nani o wameku no ka?
(All these broken limbs—what am I supposed to scream?)

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Itoshii hito yo douka—
(My beloved, I beg of you—)

Nani o inoru? Nani o kaesu? Nani o utau?
(What should I pray for? What should I tell? What should I sing?)

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A rabbit doll looks out the window, and the hermit who holds it stares into the sky from her hospital bed. The nurse comes in—"W-we need to evacuate! All patients!"

"Oh," the hermit says, "so you can see those, too. Here I thought I'd gone crazy."

Sekai no kai o, omoi egaita mirai o...
(The way to save this world, the future drawn in my mind...)

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—Hibikasete!
(Let it resound!)

Atop a cliff on the lake, a haggard woman stands down, sobbing. In her hands, she holds a small box. A great, scaled monster flies down to meet her.

"Can't you see... I'm busy?" The woman says, and in response, two more appear. "Fine. Then I'll kill every last one of you!" And she charges to meet the monsters.

Ikusen to, ikuman to, iku oku to, namida koware kuzure ochitatte
(You tell me that "countless broken tears have tumbled down",)

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Aragaou janai ka, rinne zubunure ni natte inga

(but shouldn't we still fight? It's our destiny, soaked in Samsara)

Japan's most beautiful genius looks out the window of her home, staring up at the sky. "Welp, time to batten down the hatches," she says, clicking a button on her lab's door to cover it with steel. "That'll do for now."

"So, Chisa," she says, crossing her arms and looking up at nothing, "now's your moment, right?"

Nanhen to nai setsuna tatoe sou watashi no shinpaku ga karatatte
(You tell me that "countless times, the rhythm of my heart has broken")

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Kareta kureru na, unmei negatte yamanai to omoi yo
(but even if fate wears me down, I won't stop wishing for my hopes to come true.)

Then, the girl who played the song looks out her window, and sees the sky darken. A chill runs down her spine, and she runs to the window, not to close it, but open it. Then—she opens her phone.

"Chisa..." she says. "Please come home soon."

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Watashi ga aishita mono dakara
(There is so much I love in this world,)

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sasagetai
(I want to keep fighting.)

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Itoshii hito
(My beloved...)

None of us would ever forget that day. Because... that's the day our crusade began.

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Sympathy for Chisa Inomiko
Last edited by KinuNishimura on Wed Oct 14, 2020 9:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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7th Dragon 2020: Sympathy for Chisa Inomiko
(an LP EOV Anniversary Project)


Watch the game's opening movie more clearly here.

What's 7th Dragon?

The 7th Dragon series is the weird offshoot brainchild of Kazuya Niinou, the director of a game you might have heard of called Etrian Odyssey (and none of its sequels). Both series, as a result, are create-your-own-character dungeon crawlers. Where 7th Dragon stands out is its heavier emphasis on storyline and characters, and starting from its second game (this one), a unique sci-fi aesthetic to contrast with other, more high fantasy dungeon crawlers.

Oh, and also, only the last of the four games in the series ever got an English release, so barely anyone has heard of the series.

Okay, then what's 7th Dragon 2020?

7th Dragon 2020, and its sequel, 7th Dragon 2020-II, are the second and third games in the series, forming a duology with several recurring characters and mostly the same gameplay, barring a few additions in II. Since they essentially tell one continuous story about the same people, this LP will be covering both games.

Why do the protagonists look different from everyone else?

This is a narrative LP—since the protagonists in the original game are silent, blank slates, in the grand tradition of dungeon crawler LPs, I've taken the liberty of creating a cast of characters who will be going through this story with you, the viewer, and acting as the heroes. I dearly hope you'll enjoy their stories as much as you do the game itself.

The art for the characters is wholly custom-made, by the amazing Kat Langomez, AKA KiraKiraKat, whose Twitter you can find at this link here.. Thanks, Kat. Appreciate you.

Chisa seems a little familiar.

You may recognize some continuity from a previous LP that I helped on: Etrian Odyssey V. I would, of course, never ask my audience to read an entire other LP to read mine, but if you have read it, you'll likely recognize some continuity and references here and there. It's that LP's fourth anniversary, you know. Happy birthday, LP EOV.

Who are you?

I'm Kinu, and I'll be your host through this game. I'll also be joined by my cohost, Rea, the author of the aforementioned EOV LP.

Basic gameplay commentary will be formatted like this.

Image My personal comments will be formatted like this.

Image Rea's comments will be formatted like this when I'm not using her commentary like some sort of freaky flesh puppet.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

-Chapter 1-

Update 1: The Murakumo Entrance Exam
Update 2: The Dragon-Elimination Strike Team, Murakumo Unit 13
Update 3: Matte! Black Bullet (Tokyo City Hall, 1)
Update 4: An Express Delivery (Tokyo City Hall, 2)
Update 5: Women of War (Vs. Warcry)

-Chapter 1.5-
Appendix B: The Boy's Got Wings (Regarding the Events of Eight Years Ago)
Update 6: Tiny Village in the Desert
Update 7: Dancer in the Street (Shibuya Flowersea, 1)
Update 8: SKY and the Others (Shibuya Flowersea, 2)
Update 9: Working Today, Too
Update 10: Smash Up! (Shibuya Flowersea, 3)
Update 11: The World Beneath Your Feet (Kokubunji Subway, 1)
Update 12: Watch Your Step! (Kokubunji Subway, 2)

-Chapter 2-
Update 13: Steel Myself for Battle
Update 14: Lost in Green (Toshima Sewers)
Update 15: Even Towards Death, Valiantly


Tactical Addenda

Addendum 1: Chisa Inomiko (Unit 13's Captain, Class: Samurai) Tactical Overview Part 1
Addendum 2: SATSUKI (Unit 13's Treasurer, Class: Trickster) Tactical Overview Part 1

Appendix A: Regarding the Backgrounds of Unit 13
The Story of Chisa Inomiko: "The Young Lady and the Cloaked Man"
The Story of SATSUKI: "The Camera Girl and her Cats"
The Story of Youka Fudoji: "The Haggard Woman and her Family"
The Story of Richter Esslinger: "The Hitchhiker and the Waiting List"
The Story of Koron Nagataka: "The Hermit and the Rabbit Doll"
The Story of Mio Akaneno: "The Otaku and the World that Wasn't"
The Story of Homura Akaneno: "Homura Akaneno and her Old Friend"
Last edited by KinuNishimura on Sat Mar 13, 2021 10:47 am, edited 2 times in total.

I've known OF 7th Dragon mostly because of the initial entry being released in Japan, being very fantasy and having art callbacks to the Etrian Odyssey games - and then promptly never sought out any information about it ever again until VFD came out on 3DS recently and was in for a little culture shock from what I knew to what the game had become!

SO, Kinu, thats a lot of words to say "I'm really excited to see what you have to show about this game, and will happily follow the continuing adventures of Chisa Inomiko"

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Consider me interested to the max! Can't wait for those sweet, juicy class and skill breakdowns.

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Oh hey, this is finally up. I helped Kinu and Rea out slightly on the technical back end for this project. (Mostly with data and game mechanics as best I could.)

Fun fact, while most enemies have it so that D-Depth can only have a 45% or 50% chance to land on them, D1 and D2 have their stats fudged so that D-Depth always lands on them. This is so you can witness how a Destroyer works if you have one in the party and actually get to use their full kit in the battles that matter in the prologue. It's a neat little design trick. None of the other classes have such fudging, but they don't need it at this point in the game.


Oh hey it's this game, I have a lot of fond memories of my playthrough where I was rotating classes and basically didn't do any grinding (at least grinding random encounters) and ended up pretty underlevelled most of the time, it was great fun.
I'll have plenty to say about the mechanics when we actually see them, but I have to say that your choice of party for the prologue was interesting, given the whole "hackers start with one skill and it's a defense buff" thing.

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God I love this so much

as far as more specific commentary goes, I present something I said elsewhere:
chisa, voice increasingly high-pitched: This Is Fine. Everything's Fine. This Is All Okay. I See! Things Change In The World. Wow. The Progression Of Time.
Seriously looking forward to more. I've always been curious about 7th Dragon, but never got around to playing it, much less the 2020 and 2020-II entries.

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I think starting Hacker with the Def Buff was a smart design move, because it makes you notice that Def Buff GOOD, and it'll only get stronger(also Hack is useless without follow up skills, and nobody gets more then 1 skill to start save Trickster, who gets 1 Dagger and 1 Gun skill)
Meanwhile Chisa is adorable and I love her

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Hacker starting with a defense buff isn't really a deal breaker unless you opt for a weird Tri-Hacker party, as D1 and D2 aren't particularly hard bosses and the time it buys you can help.

Also at the beginning of the game, everyone deals similar amounts of damage with their normal smacks so it's not like they can't contribute offensively either.

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RIP Mugen and Kyoshiro.

I played both 2020 and 2020-II twice and never used a Hacker for whatever reason, curious to see if I just unfairly mentally dismissed them.

I have many words to say about Hackers, but to put things simply; there are good arguments to be made both for and against them. having a one of your three party members with little to no offensive capabilities is rough, but it also means that you don't feel bad when they're item caddy-ing, they don't have any real/good healing skills, but they don't need them, items are great. also their support is good so you don't lose too much as long as you're only using one Hacker.
also: I'm surprised there haven't been any "as if 2020 needed to get any more messed up" jokes

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Honestly I kind of prefer the dragon 2020 with ours

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Gespenst wrote:
Fri Oct 16, 2020 2:58 am
also: I'm surprised there haven't been any "as if 2020 needed to get any more messed up" jokes
I expect several from the threads. :v: There's a reason why this LP launched now.
Junpei wrote:
Fri Oct 16, 2020 4:50 am
Honestly I kind of prefer the dragon 2020 with ours
At least this president seems to be on the level with the dragon crisis. I don't think I'd want to imagine how our world would handle a dragon invasion. :gonk:

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Sorry about the delay—an illness on our artist's part slowed the earlygame down a bit. With that said?

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Part 3: Matte! Black Bullet
|| SSLP Test Poster mirror.

Chisa's gun finds an owner in this one.

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Ah, having played VFD I am now seeing the class DNA. Kind of. Psychic is Mage, Destroyer is God Hand without the healing and support moves, Samurai is... Samurai, and they pooled Hacker and Gun!Trickster into Agent.

VFD has an interesting mentality to class design that basically boils down to "specialization is banned." and pretty much every class has some form of support/healing and damage.
Oh and we've seen proper dragons now, they're great. giving them two actions makes for some pretty dynamic battles, it's way harder to stay in control when you only have one action more than the enemy. of course Hammerheads aren't a great example of this because they're pretty much just a trash mob to introduce you to the idea that the action ration is 3:2 in big fights

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There's a lot of huge gameplay changes from DS (though also quite a few callbacks, such as putting Hammerheads in the occupied area dungeon.)

A lot of ailments got reworked to have their numbers tuned going off of the skill data now instead of being a hardcoded mechanical interaction. Which leads to stuff like Paralysis having a much lower incapacitation rate compared to the likes of DS and EO. Though you can stack every single ailment on a single enemy now, so that's probably meant to balance it out.

That being said, enemy ailments basically have similar incapacitation rates to DS and Etrian Odyssey style ailments, so it's safe to assume enemy ailments are far more deadly. (Paralysis chances are like 33% to 55%ish on not being able to act to give an example.)

Decoy Mirror is also ridiculously strong in this game. It was a strong defensive skill in 7th Dragon DS, but it got mega buffed here. Lack of shield bleeding and actually making it negate attacks instead of making it essentially a Life extension makes it a fantastic defensive for quite a lot of situations. (And then 2020-II buffed it further. :psyduck:)
If you're coming from Etrian Odyssey: Dragons are not on the same level of power as FOEs. You're meant to kill them as soon as you see them. In fact, if you don't do that, you will regret it very much down the road.
I think this is why the game forces you to fight 5 dragons at the beginning of the game. It serves as reconditioning if players are more familiar with EO, and lets players know it's okay to fight dragons right away. Smart design.

Fun fan translation fact, in the Japanese version, all the junk items had the same description "Sell this to a shop." The fan translation gave all the items unique descriptions.
Junpei wrote:
Sat Oct 24, 2020 12:12 am
Ah, having played VFD I am now seeing the class DNA. Kind of. Psychic is Mage, Destroyer is God Hand without the healing and support moves, Samurai is... Samurai, and they pooled Hacker and Gun!Trickster into Agent.
VFD combined some classes to make its class design, and mega buffed some of them in the process. Some of the skill data jumped big time from the 2020s to VFD.

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Again: Can't wait for those class skill breakdowns when they come up.

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Addendum I: Chisa Inomiko (Unit 13's Captain, Class: Samurai) Tactical Overview Part 1


The story's first bonus update. This one goes over Chisa's skills.

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Heck yeah!

One important side note as just a difference between EO and the first 7th Dragon, and 2020 onwards, is that the ability to level up skills isn't based on your character's actual level. Unlike EO, where you get Skill Points on level up, they're separately gained from fights, meaning there's no actual 'limit' on how much you can level up your skills, aside from your patience for grinding. While you should still be smart about where you put your points, you're never locked out of anything, and you can max everything, given enough time.

Samurai are fun, the stances trick isn't too annoying with only two stances, and as EO Nexus worked out having your stance based character just be in a stance right from the get go is a really good way to make them function well in random encounters.
As far as team comp goes a Samurai is pretty plug'n'play, their attacks are strong, they're sturdy enough to not need defensive support and Renki First Aid can let them heal themselves if your other characters have better things to do, which they often will. though they can end up as a bit of a "filler" class, most of the things they do can be done better by a different class: gun Tricksters can crap out raw damage and daggers are better at statuses, Destroyers are tankier and Psychics are the elemental damage hose, but in terms of versatility a Samurai is basically unmatched.

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Full tables for Redfire Breath and Darksteel Breath for those that are curious.

Redfire:

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Darksteel:

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At least they're not fucking 30 turns in this game?? Not sure why DS think they needed to scale up for that long.

Healing is also really simple. Base Heal + (MAT / 10), that's it. Only use MAT has for physical attackers. (Meanwhile Psychic is basically free to ignore ATK all they want.)

Priority is similar to how Pokemon handles priority brackets, except in 7th Dragon's case, the lower the priority number, the better it is.

On the other hand that scaling is still kind of pitiful. I guess if you max Redfire Breath out and combine it with Pain React it almost? looks like a real skill? If you can get enough extra turns to offset the time spent putting it up? Maybe?

Yeah probably not, I remember trying that once and still couldn't get enough out of it to be able to distinguish it from the game's random damage variance.

so I did a little napkin math and came to a result of +155% of an attack from the entire duration of Redfire compared to just attacking, so +55% against attacking instead of taking a turn to set up. it also doesn't break even until turn 8.
I'm actually impressed by just how garbage that skill actually is.

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Sometimes burst damage can be more necessary than raw numbers that are higher over long term.

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RandomKesaranPasaran wrote:
Sun Oct 25, 2020 2:05 am
On the other hand that scaling is still kind of pitiful. I guess if you max Redfire Breath out and combine it with Pain React it almost? looks like a real skill? If you can get enough extra turns to offset the time spent putting it up? Maybe?

Yeah probably not, I remember trying that once and still couldn't get enough out of it to be able to distinguish it from the game's random damage variance.
The random variance can muddle things when it comes to things like this yeah. Incidentally, it's pretty simple. Just a random number from 0.96 to 1.04 multiplied to the final damage.

If your attack ends up dealing 0 damage, deal 1 or 2 damage instead.
Gespenst wrote:
Sun Oct 25, 2020 2:52 am
so I did a little napkin math and came to a result of +155% of an attack from the entire duration of Redfire compared to just attacking, so +55% against attacking instead of taking a turn to set up. it also doesn't break even until turn 8.
I'm actually impressed by just how garbage that skill actually is.
Oh, right an important note about buffs. Unlike Etrian Odyssey's in-game skill descriptions, 7th Dragon's in-game skill descriptions count the casting turn in their duration count as well. (This applies to the entire series.) This means that those buffs are only in effect for 9 turns in practice.

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Part 4: An Express Delivery
|| SSLP Test Poster mirror.

In this part, we are befuddled by mapping.

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Dragons laugh at the laws of physics! Gravity? HAH!

I love Inverted City Hall, it's great introduction to the games dungeon aesthetic, you get a great sense of the screwed up mess that an Imperial Dragon would call their nest. it's a bit of a shame that the "twisted local landmark" aspect doesn't work nearly as well for international audiences, but there's not much that can be done about that.

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This entire update was just :allears: for cute party interactions!

Gespenst wrote:
Mon Nov 02, 2020 3:46 am
I love Inverted City Hall, it's great introduction to the games dungeon aesthetic, you get a great sense of the screwed up mess that an Imperial Dragon would call their nest. it's a bit of a shame that the "twisted local landmark" aspect doesn't work nearly as well for international audiences, but there's not much that can be done about that.
It's great and really sells the Imperial Dragons as forces of nature and beings from not here rather than just "the next boss". This one inverted a tower and created a mess of floating debris orbiting a singularity just by deciding to live here. Looking forward to seeing if they keep up the trend or just kind of drop it like a hot potato in the future.

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Part 5: Women of War
|| SSLP Test Poster mirror.

There's a boss fight in this one.

You know, I don't think I realized that Salamanders had those silly useless wings until now. Or a cobra hood for that matter.

I don't really have a lot to say about Warcry, it's an extremely nasty fight for a fist boss, and a great lesson in the value of EX boosts, especially on items (want to fully heal your team at the start of a turn? EX a heal aero)
Also I'm gonna have to drop a hot take here; decoy mirror is hyper situational and garbage at most times. sure it's a really strong defensive tool, but I don't really feel like it can really justify the action cost, the Psychic is probably the class who has the most that they want to be doing at all times, so wasting a turn setting up a defense is really hard to justify. especially when you're dealing with AOEs (sure your Psychic is fine, but the other two aren't and you're going to use an aero anyway, so what was the value of that mirror really?)

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It really depends on what your team is capable of. But Decoy Mirror is essentially like a Substitute from Pokemon and those can be incredibly powerful in comp singles. Even if you survive a huge AOE, that's just an extra HP buffer that can help. Depending on how your team's speed turns out, it can let the Psychic spend a free action that wasn't guarding, or lets them do other things more freely in case the enemy acts first. (The aggro system in these games heavily prioritizes the party member with the highest raw LIFE.)

Also there are cases where it's a fantastic and easy answer to dealing with certain boss attacks. Sure by lategame it's pretty much dying in 1 hit due to having no DEF stats, but being able to negate attacks entirely compared to Shieldcraft just being a LIFE extension makes it powerful. (Also there's a pretty hilarious synergy you can pull off with it with a Hacker in the party.)

That being said, the SP cost system in this game makes investing in skills you might regret a much less punishing mechanic in this game compared to the likes of Etrian Odyssey or 7th Dragon DS.

Warcry can be a bit of a nasty boss, but this section of the game really fudges things in your favor as you're getting used to things. All the dragons here, Warcry included, barely resist ailments so a Dagger Trickster can end up being a huge help. A lot of things in this game get far more manageable if you double stack resistance accessories, so being able to avoid stuff like Paralysis can help a ton.

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if you will ever hit the Defend button at any point in the future, ever, there is no downside to picking one level of decoy mirror. if you refuse to ever hit the Defend button and do not instead grab Decoy Mirror, you are doomed and I salute you. it makes the psychic totally invulnerable to all forms of physical or mental harm until it breaks, and given that they are the most frail class and also the class most likely to be the healer (given that hacker and trickster are the only other healers but one heals passively and the other heals by using items) it's a fair trade-off to spend one turn

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I will say it's definitely not a skill you'll be using all the time, and it'll be more situational as you get further and further into the game due to the shield' mechanics. But in the situations that you can end up using it in, it can be absolutely invaluable. Can be a huge difference between a living or dead party member, or saving you from having to make a very hard decision in the battle.

An interesting thing to note is that Warcry actually has 2 different regular attack animations. Him clawing you, and then he starts adding in biting you to the mix when he's below half HP. That's not actually for show, though both attacks deal the same damage. There's something alternate basic attack animations does affect a little later, though I think that'll be talked about fairly soon. Another fun fact. Gather Power does absolutely nothing. It's just there to warn you about Typhoon Howl, which is Warcry's strongest skill. In fact several enemy telegraph skills don't actually boost up the enemy. Their next attack is just naturally that strong. It's just like Etrian Odyssey 1 charge skills!
Typhoon Howl: Non-elemental Ranged attack to all party members. MAT-based. 1.25x damage. 0.75x speed. Cannot miss. 65% chance to inflict Paralysis for 3 turns. Paralyzed targets have a 35% chance to not act.
And it's a pretty hard hitting skill. Enemy ailments tend to be far nastier than player ailments as well, just look at that Paralysis chance.

Angel wrote:
Tue Nov 03, 2020 7:53 pm
if you will ever hit the Defend button at any point in the future, ever, there is no downside to picking one level of decoy mirror. if you refuse to ever hit the Defend button and do not instead grab Decoy Mirror, you are doomed and I salute you. it makes the psychic totally invulnerable to all forms of physical or mental harm until it breaks, and given that they are the most frail class and also the class most likely to be the healer (given that hacker and trickster are the only other healers but one heals passively and the other heals by using items) it's a fair trade-off to spend one turn
The trade off to Decoy mirror against the defend command is that defend is instant, mirror is not. it's more powerful then defending, but it doesn't help much if they die before they get the chance to cast it, to look at Warcry for an example, while he wastes an action to signal his big attack, you don't have a full turn to make sure that you'll get to set up decoy mirror, and if your Psychic isn't fast enough they'll get blasted for full damage where a defend would have protected them (unless you're burning EX but...) And the extra damage mitigation doesn't really matter when you're going to use a heal aero to patch up the other two characters anyway.
of course the single biggest down-side is that an action spent casting decoy mirror is an action that isn't doing big damage, or healing, or curing statuses; Psychics are pretty action starved, a "treading water" action like decoy mirror is pretty hard to justify in nearly every case. it's extremely strong when it is useful, and it's absolutely worth getting, just don't expect it to actually see much use.

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