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Back to Simon's Path

Ardford Summit

Well, time to bring Chapter 2 to it's thrilling conclusion with... diplomatic negotiations. Woo. Sierra Lee is testing a lot of new music in this area, so you might enjoy the BGM's on again if you've got them switched off. New battle music is nice, for instance.

Rest Stop

After leaving Janine's Retreat and a quick text cutscene, we end up at this retreat on the edge of Ardoheim. Talk with Nalili for a funny conversation with Carina. While you can technically leave at any time by talking to the guy in green next to the horses, we'll want to talk to the Ambassador inside the building first. Once you're done talking to whomever you want to, (Yarra is just up on the roof for the fun of it), go ahead and continue on.

Ardford

Once we enter Ardford, we'll make a quick trip to the Palace with the Ambassador, and then are pretty much free to explore. You must talk to Vhala in the Military District, and then try to sleep in your room before the day advances. So you have a lot of time to play around before doing that. Take advantage of it and explore. Left of the Royal District is the Religious District, Right is the Military District, and going straight down is the Merchant District. You can't leave any of these last three districts yet, but a few later quests will let us leave the Military District by the gate once we pick them up. Oh, also every time you reenter the palace, you get a full heal. Make sure you do this if you've been beat up pretty badly.

Royal District

I'd like to call your attention to two places here, the first is the embassy building on the left, which is Yhilin and Aram's embassies. The second is the larger embassy building on the right, which is the embassy headquarters for everyone else. If we'd invested in the Dwarven Embassy, they'd have one here in the larger building. Since we didn't, the main interest is the Ghenalon embassy, (not currently occupied), the Givini embassy, and the embassy for Vinario. Just talk with the Givini ambassador here, he'll in a very round about way give you a quest in the Merchant quarter. Vinario will be across from him, and your new mission will be to dump on this guy as much as humanly possible. Just run this poor sucker into the ground whenever you can. It'll pay off in the end. I'll discuss it in more detail at the end of the first summit day.

Religious District

Big square building with no windows is the Ivalan church's bank. Carina can negotiate here for a core lender's agreement, (don't do this now). There's also a really annoying priest you'll be talking to later on, when you get to take him down a peg. Investing in this bank will get you a +2 bonus to Simon's Economy and Religion scores, +3 Carina RP. (The other bank in town gives +5 Economy/Ardoheim and can be made cheaper than this).

The building guarded by a masked mage is the Holy Knights headquarters, you won't get to enter this until a few quests with Vhala in, but be advised this was the reason you had Robin research those hiding spells if you had her do so. Ten RP with Dari, whom you'll meet later, is the reward for that. Otherwise you still get in long enough to shut a distortion down.

The building with the knight standing slightly away from the door is the Royal Retreat. We'll visit this a few times, but not until later in the Vhala quest line, the same time we visit the Holy Knights.

You still cannot access cloisters, (nuns everywhere breathe a sigh of relief), so the other knight is useless.

Main Cathedral building has a few interesting things inside: 1. There's another masked mage near the top of this map, you'll want to remember him for later on when you're investigating. 2. The nun on the left side will give you a quest to close down the distortions around town. Check the Quest guide on it. (You'll scare up demons while clearing concretely when you close the 2nd and the 7th rifts, rough are weak to physical attacks, spiked are weak to lust attacks, nearly every spell you can use except lust based debuffs is useless on both.) 3. If you chat with the sanctified priestess inside, she will give you some interesting background on Alonon.

Ardford Business District

Most of your investments are located here. You'll want to ignore nearly all of them for now, though. You need to do at least one thing before you invest in anywhere else.

The Bank of Ardford is on the left. It's prohibitively expensive right now, but "the asshole" in charge will be lowering his asking price based on what else we've done around town/invested in. Don't bother with investing now. Best investment price is 300k ProN. That requires 20+ Ardoheim. Unfortunately, that last +5 would come from having the dwarven embassy, so it's out of reach. Instead, you'll be shooting for 400k if you invest here, (15+ Ardoheim).

Merchant Guild is the building with 3 entrances on the right as you enter. This should be your first stop. Really, before we do anything else in town, we want to join the merchant's guild. Step up to the noble lady behind the counter to do so. You needed to have 1M ProN in your pocket to qualify, and it costs you 100k ProN. Pretty much the reason I've been telling you to avoid the other investments up until now. Becoming a merchant just got you an extra optional clue in an upcoming Vhala quest, as well as giving you a big chunk of hidden stat points for Simon. It might not pay out in ProN just yet, but it's the best stats for the investment cost opportunity in Ardford. Other options in here are the Ardoheim supplier, and the Crystal Merchant. I hold off on investing in anything except the Guild membership in Ardford until the summit itself is over. Note the Givini merchant here, you'll be visiting him again later for a quest.

Restaurant is below the Merchant Guild a bit. It costs 25k ProN, and is mostly for the investment potential, with a very small +1 Ardoheim increase.

Ardford Naval Guild is about halfway down the right side of the map. It costs 250k ProN to invest, and it sounds like it will get you an intercontinental traderoute/troop transport. In the short term, it gets a +2 Ardoheim/+2 Economy for Simon. You'll be back here later on in the summit, so you can save investing until after that.

Givini Poorhouse is below the Naval Guild, it's the shiny spot in the corner. You'll be free to explore/clear this area now that you've spoken to the Givini ambassador about it. Basic idea is to use fire on the slugs, thunder on the bats, and one ordinary attack on the dire spider at the end. Note the mirror here, 8sx in the broken box by the bed, and a sex scene in said bed with Aka/Nalili. Revisit the Givini merchant before handing this quest in, and go get him that mirror. You'll get a really nice pin, and the Givini Ambassador will refuse to reward you in slightly less insulting terms.

Sanitation Mages Guild is in the right corner. 100k to invest here, for +2 Ardoheim. Not necessary just yet, but it is on the way to that distortion near the stables.

Silver Stump is located between the Armor/Weapon shops and the Item shop, with the drunk merchant outside. There's a quest on the wall inside. Having a meal here will also get you another sex scene with Trin and Qum D'umpe. You'll revisit here later to shit on the Vinario prince again. Sir Bartholomew of the Order of Silence also relocates here once you've funded them. (It's worth some exp to visit him then). If you walk out of the Council room and the Merchant rep owes you a reward, he'll be here.

Military District

You'll see this area quite a bit in the next little while, it's how you visit areas outside of Ardford.

First building you see is the Blademasters' Guild. There's an NPC inside you will want to watch/meet with for some hilarious dialogue with every female party member. Between this guy, and the Vinario prince, all of your sadistic tendencies should be fully satisfied in this chapter. Later, you can meet the Aramite Ambassador here for drinking if you've been really nice, and he'll agree to vote with you on the entire third day's agenda.

Building next to that is the Military Headquarters. Sir Bartholemew of the Order of Silence is here, he'll let you invest to found this order if you so desire. (Plan on cutting him at least the 10k startup fee later on, there's a new exp area in it for you). Vhala is upstairs, you'll be visiting her a few times this trip. Going upstairs to talk to her is advised now, since you're here. Be completely honest with her for a better RP point outcome with her, although every single response does get you thrown out for now.

Just before the gate is the guardhouse where Ardford's Sx defenses are housed, (don't worry, they'll explain). Do the quest here now, so it's all out of the way. Downstairs: ants are weak to fire; scorpions poison and are weak to lightning; eaters are always your priority targets, hit like a speeding bus, resist nearly every spell, and are weak to poison or whatever Aka and Simon can hit them with; Slayer is technically the boss here, he'll be weak to lust and ice, Simon's Corrupt is the only reliable debuff. Check skeletons for items as usual. If you forget to check or haven't cleared the distortion, the guard will let you back down when you ask.

When you've decided to stop questing and exploring, (hopefully after clearing the walls, every distortion you can reach now, the gardens of steam, and the poorhouse), head to your room at the palace. Quick chat with the ambassador, extended confrontation with Vhala, and a nice long rest to cap off the day.

Summit Day 1

Pretty straightforward here. War vote fails no matter what you do. Feel free to deal, but remember what you saw in the beginning cutscene of this chapter. Ardan ambassador is not the honest person she appears to be. Best idea is to turn her down flat, and plan to keep her in the dark the rest of the summit. The rest of the ambassadors are here to ruin your stereotypes of their respective nations. Aramite ambassador is actually a decent guy. Instead of needing rescue, the Zirantian ambassador is relatively strong willed, almost knightly. He also values honesty. Darghelon is naive and trusting, but also very petty. Hester won't deal, but she will remarkably tell you every single vote she plans to make. The Dwarves will abstain on almost every vote except the ones you're trying to defeat, (if you had invested in the embassy, this would be where they'd be useful). Ghenalon has a surprise ambassador here, who pretty much just wants to make sure you don't ruin trade or invade Ghenalon. The Merchants are obviously crooked, but if you play your cards right they'll actually bribe you to vote for things you wanted anyway. Remember that all summit votes are passed by a modified majority, (5 instead of 2/3ds or 6), not a plurality. So, a vote of 4 in favor of something will still fail no matter how few votes against it.

Now that I know how this first vote actually matters, I chose to play ball with the Aramite Ambassador. As he tells you, he's a war veteran first, and isn't a sneaky merchant. So, I agree to vote against the war and then actually convince the ambassador to do just that. He'll be more forthcoming later if you decided not to lie to him now. Talking to everyone else is pretty boring, just remember to not agree to anything the Ardan ambassador says, and don't give up any information on how you plan to vote, either. If you wanted to make a save and play the other way just to see how it worked out, you can see she takes petty to a brand new level of annoying.

After this vote ends, we need to visit Vhala to get that monkey off our back. Quest is short, and we'll meet Dari at the end. Remember that you're going to split your party up ahead. On the way to the hole, ice spells work pretty well on everything, especially the Vinz Clortho/Zuul wannabes, thunder is slightly better on lizards. Yarra and Qum don't do a lot of good either way here, so you can use them up in the beginning if you want. Sex attacks don't work well, but they do hit. Try to keep Robin near full mp, she'll go through a lot (400 mp) clearing wards later. Carina makes a good healer for the first part, just don't overdo it, I really like her shield spell for the full party mini-heal. You'll want Altina for Vhala's group later. There's a ladder to the right you can use to reach the lower area, and the bridge to the hole is off down the left side path.

After the party split, you're going to be in two groups. Simon, Aka, Carina, and Robin in one; Vhala, Altina, Qum D'umpe/Hilstara, and Varia in the other. Hilstara's buffs are mini-heals, so I tend to use those, since Vhala's unhuman aura will completely shut down Succubi for 5 rounds. You'll face a new group of lizards/demon dogs with Vhala every time Simon takes down a ward. To learn how to do that, step up to the blue ward on the left after Robin takes down the initial ward for that first -100 mp. Blue Holy wards next, then purple sex wards, then red magic wards. Carina/Simon will lose some MP in the first two of these as well. There are two boss battles here. One will be the Canine Abomination Vhala faces after you clear the red ward. It uses all lust attacks, so Vhala's unperson aura is great defense, and it takes a massive hit from her arrow of purity. The second is when Simon tries to escape, the Failsafe Ward. It's a countdown timer battle, like the Rift Demon in the Stineford Accademy was. You need to unload on it as fast as possible. You have 2-3 turns to destroy this thing before it kills you outright, so unload on it. Carina's shield is the only healing you should ideally do, since it also helps shake off incoming damage. Ward is surprisingly only affected by fire, sex, and poison magic to full affect. Aka should probably skip poisoning in favor of chaining her Forceful Lunge since you only get two rounds to get in maximum impact before you risk it wiping your party.

After all that dramatic action, it's back to negotiating with ambassadors. You'll probably have to discuss strategy with your party back in your room first. You'll agree to the defense pact, but will be willing to deal on the unperson vote. Then go out and mingle. Again, talk to the Ardan Ambassador, and go ahead and tell her no deal. Talk to the Darghelese ambassador. Go ahead and agree to her deal since we don't really have the votes to swing the unperson vote the other way and agreeing helps us out a bunch on day 3. Let Aramite vote how he wants when you speak to him, he respects you for not playing politics. At this point, both his votes are meaningless to you tomorrow, anyway. You could screw over the Zirantian ambassador today by making a deal you can't keep with him, but might be better to just be honest with him. If you screw him for a vote on the Unperson motion, he'll actively undermine every vote you cast on day 3. The guild envoy will offer to let you bribe him for 10k pron to vote against the unperson motion. We know it's going to pass anyway, so don't bribe him. Dwarves aren't playing on your team right now, and Ghenalon just tells you they're against both motions. You could go hear Tyna's opinion on the matter over in the library, it doesn't do much but it does illustrate just how much you've influenced things. (Not really that much, harder work would have been to get it voted down).

With all of that out of the way, it's time once again for our favorite game show!!! WHEEL! OF! MISERY! Today's victim is the prince of Vinario. We'll begin by listening to his offer of 5M ProN. You'll discuss it and realize what a horrible deal it is. Now, you could dicker with him at this point by pointing out his offer's flaws, but that's defeatist talk! NO WAY! Talk to him again and just let him know just what you think of his offer. (-1M ProN). As he reconsiders and lowers his price, go ahead and sic Megail on him. At over 50 RP, she'll really lay into him. (-2M ProN). Now, we've been good in the game so far, so I'd really like you to just lean back and bask in the chaos and misery you've just caused this poor bastard. When you're done, add insult to injury by telling him how the war vote went. (-500k ProN). You've now driven him to drink. Of course, that's letting a perfectly viable victim get away from us, so let's go chase him down at the Silver Stump. Go ahead and let him know you're suspicious about whether he ever expected to get his kingdom back for another helping of misery. (-1M ProN). Back to the embassy. Yarra is about to offer him the worst deal ever, then we're up. This time talk to him and leave the building. He'll be super desperate now. (-300k ProN.) (He'll stop you as you exit the building and make one more offer). You should now have him offering to sell it to you for about 200k ProN. We're not done yet, but sing it with me now:

It's the S & M man, Oh, the S & M man,

The S & M man because he mixes it with love, And makes the hurtin' feel good.

The hurtin' feel good.

At this point, our quest begins to get ourselves to just under 200k ProN, so we can add the final insult. I know you're all for investing now, but hold off for just one more summit meeting negotiations. It's time for bed.

Summit Day 2

Well, we knew how this meeting was going to go, so let's just give the Ambassador our opinions and sit back to watch. And now that we're done dozing off completely, it's time to work.

Vhala wanted to see us after the meeting today, so let's go take care of that. It's the Great Unperson Investigation, Charlie Brown! Once done for today, we can move around town and get some more stuff accomplished for the summit. (Like finishing the Magical Rifts quest for +2 Ardoheim, +1 Religion, and a lot of exp from the boss).

Back at our room, let's decide, choose to, friggin' agree already to save our orcs! Balia is counting on us! Also, "release the... uh... angry... puppy, I guess..." just lacks the impact our Doomed King plan is going for. Let's also crack open those vaults. So off to visit the Guild Ambassador. He'll pay us if that first vote fails. However on the orcs, we do not negotiate with corrupt individuals. (Unless they're paying us, in which case pull up a chair and would you like something to drink?) He also wants to help us with the vaults! Hmm, looks like we need to swing the vote, and meet him at the Naval Guild to do a little fighting. Since we supported her on the Unperson vote, Darghelon has our back on those last two votes when we talk to her. Zirantia backs us on the orc vote, and will at least abstain on the vaults. Hester pretty much isn't having any of it. Let's meet with the Ardan ambassador and continue to keep her completely in the dark, (so she doesn't screw us over, and knows we don't trust her). Tyna thinks we have a lousy chance at nearly all of our positions... let's prove her wrong! Dwarves turn out to be dwarves still. Ghenalese ambassador is not home, but the maid can tell you where to find him later. Aram wants to go drinking at the Blademaster's guild. Funny, he doesn't strike me as a Blademaster, either. But let's get pissed! When we actually drink with him he gets all mushy and agrees to back every vote we make! Score! This was all we needed to do to fix that first vote. Second vote is also now in our favor. Just gotta get that third vote to stick, now.

Clear the Hidden Port Quest Once you're ready, you'll be facing 3 types of enemies: moths, which are your priority target and are weak to fire and take normal damage from physical attacks, squids, which are weak to lust, ice and seem to get a lot of extra attacks in, and finally demon snails, which you can save for last, are weak to thunder, and you might as well give up using physical attacks on. Roughest battle is in the far north pier, which is 4 snails. Probably want Altina to do this one for single targets and heals, as well as Robin. Swap out Altina for Aka on the next battle, the western spawn under that battle which has 2 moths. Beating moths fast is the key there, so they can't steal your mp or hit you with every status effect. The other roamers are regular groups with one of each type. That far pier has two squids and a snail, a Hilstara + Carina combo can be great for outlasting that one. Once you finish them off, they'll yank you back home.

There is one final task before we are free to explore, and that's speaking with the Ghenalese Ambassador to work that 3rd vote. Yeah, he wants you to visit the Yhilin embassy and blow 120k on his plan. That's the final bit to securing the third vote for us. Since we will make 100k off that first vote, we're only out 20k, and we get +1 Yhilin/Ghenalon for spending that. Not terrible, I suppose.

You are cut loose at this point. You can start investing now if you feel like it. Just remember we're shooting for 100-200k before we talk to the Vinario prince. I'll go into detail once I've playtested it a bit more.

Summit Day 3

Okay, vote one fails. Vote 2 fails. Vote 3 passes. Talk with the Ardan ambassador right after and assuming you did as directed, (No agreement, no deal, don't answer), you should get +1 Social and +1 Ardoheim for not falling into her traps. By being honest with Zirantia before, the ambassador gives you +1 Zirantia. Avoid the Guild rep for now, he'll give you 100k, but you might not need to collect it just yet if you're still trying to get Vinario down.

Here is your finalized investment path:

  • Get merchant status for 100k as soon as you get cut loose from the palace and before the first vote.
  • Ardford Naval Guild - From here down, any time prior to buying into the bank.
  • Crystal Refining
  • Ardoheim Supplier
  • Restaurant
  • Sanitation Mages
  • Order of Silence to 100k (No, I don't know what this does beyond unlocking the empty lot area, but I can spare the 100k and it won't help me afford either of the other two banks.)
  • You will be spending 120k on Genalon's war vault vote.
  • Buy the Ardford Bank when the offer is at 400k. (You can't get it down to 300 with the choices made thus far).
  • Buy Vinario since you should now have less than 200k ProN. (Choose Invest then Invest again even though you have less than 200k).
  • Once all that is complete, pick up your reward from the Merchant Guild in the Silver Stump. (Otherwise, you'd end up spending it on Vinario).

You will skip both the Yhilin and Ivalan Banks as core lender doing this. There will be a small loss in future ProN returns, but the actual gains you'd make in your stats are much better with the cheaper Ardford bank option. Following this path cuts you loose with 105k ProN heading into Chapter 3.

Getting Vinario for 100k will get you +5 RP with Trin, Nalili, Megail, and Yarra. If you have to spend 200k it's only +3 Megail, +4 Yarra/Trin, and +5 Nalili. At least on paper you would now be the uncrowned king of Vinario. It's on your ledger, but it's a guess whether it'll ever be worth anything.

Funding the Order of Silence in any capacity will get you to a new area by talking to Sir Bartholemew in the Silver Stump, (on Summit Day 3). There's some pretty good exp in here. Fire on slimes; Lightning, Poison or Lust on the Orichal Snail. There's also a threesome scene in the tent, and a scene with the two Chosen from the bar up in the other corner. A group of Simon, Yarra, Robin and Altina will pretty much mop up in here. Altina may need to throw more single target spells than usual, though.

After leaving, Vhala has another quest for us in the Unforge. You'll port straight into it if you head to see her now. As long as you know what your facing, these areas are cake. The cultist have a defender in most of their groups, (white robe or priest), take her down first, as her only attack is an aura that shuts down your succubi. These aren't much rougher than the mine groups. Unperson groups have a trick to them: The Twisted Versions are what you'd expect, just without the Unhuman strike they had in Yhilin, they are also weak to Ice instead of Thunder. The Failed Unhumans are actually weak to everything but lust and anti-sex attacks.[1] You'll want to work your way left and upwards at the start. Downstairs, you want to first head up and then down the left side for chests. Now head back to where you started, pick up the chest, and head down and right. Big thing of note is that rope ladder in the bottom right corner of the downstairs map, it leads to an ice charm upstairs. As you approach the top right corner, you'll see a blue room with an unperson group in it. (This is the boss group). BEFORE approaching, swap your party so it contains Vhala, Carina, and Robin. Hopefully, you've kept up with their mp costs, because those three will be your boss party. As you approach, you'll be first warned about the wards ahead. The second time, it'll let you reform a party and choose what to do. You want the hardest option, [Breach without Destroying]. Now had you given Robin instructions to research secrecy, you could've kept Simon here, but as I think you'll agree, that would have been overkill. Have Vhala use her defensive arrow attack twice to cut down the field's attacks. Have Carina double buff you with her shield spell to raise your own defenses. At this point, probably Robin is the only one taking more than a pittance of damage. The Unhuman you face is only slightly stronger than the last one of these, and he is just as weak to Lightning. Between that and Vhala's arrows, it'll be a long fight, but not too hard. Loot everything, and work your way upstairs. When you come back downstairs, skip the hallway between two suits of armor for now, and take the other ladder first. Once you have that chest, you've got all your loot and can go back to that hallway to finish.

After the Unforge, Vhala's questline concludes in a trial at the Royal Residence, where you pick up Dari as your new companion. This will also close out the chapter by sending you on a one way trip to the War Vaults. Don't start this yet until you finish in town. The contents of the Unforge is such that you'll want to hold off buying new armor until after you've seen it.

Before you leave town, you'll want to check out the War Vaults, which you get prompted to do once you've seen the Trial above. (You get the unique and missable key item Incubus King's Helm from the vaults, it's the companion to your armor key item from the Optional Dungeon in Devil's Pass). You also get decent gear for Carina in the vaults, so it's probably worth not buying stuff for her once you've finished the Unforge.

Final bit of this chapter is all scripted cutscenes. You have already seen the tent scene in Empty Lot, the bed scene in Poorhouse, the under table scene in Silver Stump, and the bath scene in Gardens of Steam, so you will be getting the end of chapter orgy scene. When it comes time to choose for Nalili afterwards, I go with Aka after Simon. We've been neglecting her since chapter 2 started.

Recap:

  • All the investments of the previous part of this chapter plus:
  1. Yhilin Beautification lvl 1 (late)
  2. Ari-Garda to House Rose
  3. Iron Cudgel
  4. Dusty Horde
  5. Premium Steel Partnership
  6. Merchant Guild member
  7. Ardan Bank Core Lender
  8. Deeds to Vinario
  9. Mercenary Flotilla
  10. Ardford Supplier (That makes 1 for every nation we've visited so far).
  11. Sanitation Mages Guild
  12. Ardford Restaurant
  13. Crystal Refining
  • 100k into the Order of Silence.
  • Harem members are at the following levels:
  1. Yarra and Megail are capped.
  2. Qum D'umpe is at 96.
  3. Janine is at 95.
  4. Nalili is at 97.
  5. Robin is at 90.
  6. Hilstara is at 87.
  7. Varia is at 62.
  8. Aka is at 66.
  9. Trin is at 58.
  10. Altina is at 68.
  11. Carina and Balia are both at 50.
  12. Sarai is at 52.
  13. Vhala is at 5.
  14. Dari is at 55.

Secret Stats:

  • 13 Social, 3 Religion, and 38 Economic.
  • We'll be returning to Yhilin with 11 points, final Ardoheim score was 22.

Onward to Chapter 3

References

  1. There's at least one battle where Unwoman Failure and Twisted Unwoman are in the same group. If you get confused, just use ice on the one with the reddish bits on her wings.

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