Final Fantasy: Ironcore

Well, the early game of a Fighter - Fighter - Red - Red party is almost too easy for words. The starting 400 G went for four Rapiers, two Chain Armors for the fighters, and FIRE for both red mages.

I walked right in, smashed Garland too quickly to get a screenshot, leveling to 2. Back in Coneria, I bought three TENTs, two Cloths for the red wizards, and stayed at the Inn.

The walk to Pravoka had only easy fights: two WOLVES, one CREEP, one CREEP again. Except that four steps from the destination arrived two OGREs!

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FF1I0002.png 256x224Well, the Ironcores were up to the task without trouble. Absorb from armor sure makes a lot of difference.

PIRATEs were no trouble either.

FF1I0004.png 256x224And on the way to Dwarf Cave, I had a welcome encounter with KYZOKUs! 600 gold will sure help stock up for Marsh Cave.

After looting the Dwarves, I had about 3000 gold to budget for the Marsh Cave trip. The secret to beating Marsh Cave early is actually to skimp on the weapons, and concentrate on buying healing items. That 3000 gold went for LIT and ICE for the two mages, one Iron Armor, and two Scimtars. That last is unusual, but Scimtars are much cheaper (200 to 550) and actually almost as effective (10 damage / 10 hit%) as Short Sword (15/10) -- specifically a Scimtar still gets 2-Hits for a Fighter at level 5. The Red Mages would just have to make do with their Rapiers.

FF1I0007.png 256x224FF1I0006.png 256x224That left enough gold for 6 HEAL potions, 6 TENTs, and 7 PUREs as we set out for Marsh Cave. The characters made level 5 and the 2-Hit threshold on the way, and I recovered all that damage by using 2 TENTs before entering the cave.

I cleared the north wing of Marsh Cave extremely easily, picking up the Short Sword there. Total used was 4 PUREs and 4 HEALs, plus a TENT on the way out. Well, this still wasn't quite enough resources to take the WIZARDs, so I returned to Elfland to reload, reaching level 6 on the way. (This is a dungeon retreat, but entirely planned, not emergency or stealth leveling at all.)

The party regained Elfland with 4900 G on hand. I bought one FIR2 and one LIT2 (the latter for use against the WIZARDs), Iron Shields for the fighters, 8 PUREs, stayed at the Inn, and the rest on another dozen HEAL potions.

Back to the cave, and to the WIZARDs.

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Four of them, uh oh. Vita aimed his LIT2...

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and killed ALL FOUR WIZARDS with one spell! Who needs NUKE?!

FF1I0008.png 256x224On the way out, things got a bit comical when the game just would NOT stop throwing WrWOLVES at me. Five of them (seen here), then six of them, then four of them. The damage wasn't consequential, but I ran out of PUREs before even exiting Marsh Cave, and one warrior lost his HP to the poison and died. And yet a fourth batch of WrWOLVES accosted me on the trek back to Elfland. Here's a tragicomic sight of the party...

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Anyway, I made it back to town, with about 5000 G, plus a bit more after selling the Copper Bracelet. This time I bought a Silver Sword for a fighter (it's the most useful purchase for the Astos fight, and afterwards we'll have tons of money from looting all the KEY-locked treasures), and refilled on PUREs and HEALs.

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Astos landed his RUB, but died easily.

Back in Elfland, I bought a second Silver Sword, and handed both of them to the RED MAGES. They can get 2 hits that way, while the fighters can still get 2 hits with the Short Sword and Scimitar. That state didn't last long, though, since I headed right for the Temple of Fiends with the KEY to get the Were and Rune swords. Those both have 15 Hit%, same as the Silver, so the Reddies got those.

FF1I0016.png 256x224So I cleared the rest of the KEY treasures, and loaded up on items to head for Earth Cave, but found myself strangely short of money. Did I forget something? I cleared both castles, Temple of Fiends, and Marsh Cave -- oh, forgot Astos's castle and the Power Staff of 6172 sell value. I went back for that and turned it into 99 HEAL potions.

So it's time for Earth Cave. The Red Mages are absolutely at the peak of their powers right now. They boast damage capability only a few points behind the fighters, the same for absorb capacity with Silver Armor and Bracelet, and top it off by packing all the offensive power of a Black mage.

FF1I0017.png 256x224So I won't spend much time talking about this quest. I will note that Earth Cave is loaded with cash. I entered with only a few thousand in the previous picture, and emerged with a pocketbook boasting over 40,000 gold. There's two 5000 chests, plus the monsters yield piles of treasure. Wizards cough up 300 each, EARTHs 768, Trolls and Bulls 500, and the Vampire himself 2000.

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LICH died in three rounds, after the mages FASTed then FIR2ed.

Since I now had loads of gold, I bought a Steel Armor for my lead fighter. Usually I skip it, since the Ice and Flame armors come soon enough anyway. But with _two_ fighters, it'll stay useful for some time, until I get both of those. Also, the Red Mages don't need any expensive level-5 spells until level 15, so I've got nothing else to sink the gold into.

So that's the easy part of Ironcore out of the way. On to the Holy Midgame Troika - Ice Cave, Castle Ordeal, and Gurgu Volcano.

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