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Yes, a worthless avatar riding my posts.
DW, it's in that little shack in the northeast corner of town, you need a Magic Key to get in. You can just buy them for 38 gold each there. I thought that's where you were getting them...I always stock up after reaching level 13. Actually, that should go at the end of the grinding segment so you don't have to do it every time you want to record the next one...
Quote from ShinerCCC:
I started testing Dragonlord fights while watching $E2, and I saw that the Dragonlord's second form always always ALWAYS starts with 130 HP. Nothing random about it.

Wow.  I'll have to adjust my simulator (and FAQ) appropriately.  I definitely made a mistake in assuming that since the first form was randomized that the second form would be.  I'm not sure exactly why it isn't randomized code-wise, but I did notice the random part was skipped (I haven't looked further into what specifically makes it skip, but it's probably just the fact that it's the 2nd form).  This will probably make the odds of winning at level 18 considerably harder.

I guess this could be combined with segment 1 if you're ballsy. One less save will save a lot of time but if the sprint fails you have wasted 30 minutes of your life, lolz.

From a segmented speed run POV, I'd say that you have to make those kinds of sacrifices.

did that guy on GameFAQs ever get a straight answer regarding Metal Slimes: are the odds of killing one better if you gamble on Hurt, or try to smash it with your sword?

No, but only because his statistics didn't factor in a lot of important variables.  That kind of statistical analysis is a pain in the ass to do.  I plan on testing this in my simulator as well as testing if it's even worthwhile to fight in that zone at all.
Yes, a worthless avatar riding my posts.
Okay I'm stupid, I discovered a few things:
- The "I hate thee" message is from a soldier in Tantegel. It's the guy by the MP healer, he says "Where oh where can I find Princess Gwaelin?" but when you have her in your arms he says he hates you because HE MAD. The "Who touches me?" and "The search hath failed" guy is the soldier in Brecconary's inn (I was spelling it wrong the whole time, oops), he says those if you do or don't have Gwaelin in your arms respectively. Well, screw the happy ending now, Gwaelin gets to rot like in the TAS ending!
- While grinding in Hauksness, if you're in the level 15-16 range and need to heal desperately, don't cast Heal; cast Repel and walk around outside of town for a bit. The east-west strip south of town, if you walk only along desert, is 13 steps, so do laps on that to keep track of your HP before you resume. Repel technically keeps away enemies that have less strength than your defense so at that level you should be trouble-free.
- Just tested doing segment 1 + 2 at 100% game speed using L. In 17 minutes I was killed by a Wolf 2 steps away from Rimuldar. Started the fight with 23/30 HP and 5 MP, maybe I should have played it ultra-safe and cast that Heal. I had pretty good luck leveling up to 3 actually. But yeah, it's not 30 minutes at all, that figure was from my previous plan of leveling to 5 instead of 4. Not bad at all. If it happens in single segment I would just go to the Hills of Hubris, level up to 5 while making back the money, then try again. The odds of making it can't be all that bad anyway...
- Other alternative: before you start grinding, you're standing there in the tool shop with 34 gold already, you could buy 1 Herb as a safety net for later...but I don't think it's necessary in the least.
- Next I think I'll try to take some guesses at the worthiness of Magic Armour.
- The Axe Knight seems to spawn with 55-69 HP. That's the difference between 1 or 2 hits, given what level we're trying to kill him at. So you have that as well as Sleep usage to factor into how lucky you need to get to win.
- Maximum Starwyvern HP is 65. Plan on that if they get a Healmore off.
- Someone on GameFAQs blabbed that chance of escape is 100% if the enemy is asleep. Is it true, Ryan?
Magic Armor so far seems to be a dud, but I'll have to wait until level 12 or 13 to be certain.

Yeah, the sleep thing is true.  I'd heard someone once say that enemies could still block you while you were asleep and I believed it considering how archaic the game is.  But when I actually looked at the code, I found out he was wrong and that you could always run.  It's always good to challenge these things, like the Dragonlord's second form HP. Wink

On that note, I'm not sure how long it takes to get to level 19, but it may be necessary.  According to the new data, the success rate for Str+HP was about 15%, which is pretty bad.  At level 19 it was 96%, so it seems pretty clear that for a single segment you'd want 19.
Highly Evolved
I still don't like the idea of healing in grassy areas in Hauksness.  Killing two in Hauksness a minute is slightly more efficient than three a minute outside of Hauksness.  I don't know if you can keep that ratio going, though, with healing Starwyverns taking up turns and then wasting time walking around to heal.  Maybe since it looks like we'll have to get to 19, staying in Hauksness at level 18 is ok.

Sucks that it's 130 HP all the time.
Yes, a worthless avatar riding my posts.
Well, that's why I made those savestates, so I can test what methods are actually fastest at 100% game speed. That way, I can account for split-second decision making and have a better feel for what actually takes longer when text prompts and steps aren't whisked away by frameskip. It means I can time the interval between each level too, I guess.

But right now I'm lazy.

I need to go change something in the segment guide: combine 1 and 2, but break up the first part of 3 into its own segment. Get the Death Necklace, trigger the glitch, get garbage text, THEN SAVE. That way, you won't go insane if something goes wrong during grinding, and you'll be able to optimize this really long segment too.
I was thinking about the segmented run and wondering, why not just get the Stones of Sunlight later on?  Since you're going back to Tantegel eventually to save for your other segments anyways, why not just do it then?  This would allow you to leave even earlier to Rimuldar if you thought it was beneficial.

Or to get insanely crazy, why not try a run at Rimuldar at level 1?  I'm sure the odds are absolutely terrible, but how awesome would it be to just skip buying the Club and Clothes?  You could buy two herbs (to heal after the swamp) and the dragon scale, and then just see how lucky you could get.  I bet it would be really hard to grind around Rimuldar at level 1 though, regardless of your equipment.  So you'd probably make an inn trip after each fight.  On the plus side, it would probably only take 2 fights to reach level 3.  Another negative would be that getting the Death Necklace would be near impossible.  It's probably too wild an idea, but fun to think about.
Edit history:
ShinerCCC: 2010-02-04 08:52:32 pm
Yes, a worthless avatar riding my posts.
Yeah, I already kind of thought about it myself. I figured "there's no way you can have 106 gold+enough Herbs to make it at level 3 or lower" but you DO start with 124 after selling the Torch, so all you need after that is 6 gold if 1 Herb is enough to power you through the swamp...that's enough fighting to reach level 2, which will give us 22 max HP. But then you'll need the inn, which means 6+ more exp of fighting (no Heal to use for free healing, can't die because we need the starting capital).

Reaching the Death Necklace at such a low level would be hard indeed, then there's the randomness to consider. Killing slimes with no gear will take quite a while so we need the 5 minute savings more than ever.

I always get the Stones of Sunlight while doing the glitch because you're 8 steps closer to them when you go to the treasure room.

Let's try some of this insanity in FCEU right now...

Naked L has a tough time even killing Slimes. Sometimes you do 0 damage, slimes can deal 2 to you. So maybe a Bamboo Pole and a Dragon Scale are in order. ...nope, still got ravaged by a Drakee. I think I need to run from them, the objective is to build up gold and not experience anyway!

At 6 experience and 1 HP left I headed for home, then a Red Slime surprised me and killed me. Hate those guys. Starting from 80 gold just makes it seem too far away, we're barely breaking even. But there has to be a way to make 6 gold somehow...we could plunder stuff from the Mountain Cave, except for the part where you have to walk out alive. Would be a great way to build up Herbs for free though!

Wait, I suddenly see exactly what you mean by putting off the Stones of Sunlight...I only need 53 gold, I only need one key to get into the treasure room. ...


*biggest facepalm of 2010 for me*

It's so hard to build up gold at the start too! Why didn't I just think of this before?!?
Okay, time to start testing this. Starting with a Dragon Scale and 2 Herbs, running to Rimuldar with 66 gold. I guess I could buy a Bamboo Pole and grind to level 2, actually. Ghosts tend to get a surprise round or keep me from running, they're annoying. You also need more than 1 Herb just to cross the swamp, having 16 HP kind of sucks.

Okay, I've made a savestate for level 2. First run out to Rimuldar...after using a Herb a Scorpion in the tunnel blocked me, then hit me for 6 HP to kill me. ow, death by Scorpion? This isn't No More Heroes II.
attempt 2: a Magician in the tunnel blocked me and Hurted
attempt 3: a Magician shut me down right before the big swamp. I'm starting to think Z would have an easier time with this just because he has 6 agility instead of 4.
attempt 4: a Wolf hit me for 17 of my 22 max HP...I ran on the first turn, then made it to Rimuldar! HAHAHAHAHAHA! Just as High the Memory by Yes kicks into the halfway point. Okay...let's see what the Mountain Cave is like.

attempt 1: a Scorpion killed me right before the Herb chest. WEAK!
attempt 2: oops, I missed the "two steps right" and got into too many fights and died.
attempt 3: Magician surprises me and immediately kills me with Hurt. Was on the north edge of the cave that time too.
attempt 4: killed by a Scorpion that wouldn't let me run away before I even got past the marsh. lame.
attempt 5: took tons of damage outside, missed the two steps right, surprised by a Druin when I had 1 HP.
attempt 6: surprised by Druins back to back, dead.
attempt 7: a Skeleton hit me twice. Huh, first time I've seen one. WHY IS THIS HARDER THAN GODDAMN RIMULDAR
attempt 8: finally, I got the Herb! no fights at all in the cave! One Druin fight, then I got the gold chest downstairs...a Warlock hit me twice after that, no Death Necklace attempt.

This luck doesn't add up at all. I'm going to try both of these sprints again once I do my gold glitch. While I don't get the 5 minute savings of the Death Necklace, I think I saved about 12 minutes by not grinding to level 4.

Oh, I just remembered, you NEED to get the gold chest downstairs too, or you'll run out of chests to trigger the glitch. 3 upstairs + 3 spares in the room + Herb + one more is needed to fill the array of 8. And with only one key, you can't fall back on the Stones of Sunlight. So this requires even more luck than we first thought. Anyway, time to use the rhythm I came up with on 400% game speed to get all this money...I'm too lazy to get a hex editor and edit a savestate >_>

Okay, 5393 gold has been pulled. Bought two herbs and a Large Shield in Garinham...then a Magidrakee killed me on the way to Kol. ROFL, LEVEL 2.
attempt 2: Magician killed me before Kol
attempt 3: note the Inn in Garinham is more expensive than 1 Herb (by 1 gold, but come on, portable inn!)
attempt 4: 3 STEPS AWAY FROM RIMULDAR a Wolf hits me twice to kill me. He did 9, then 6 damage...I'm pretty sure Wolves can't do more than 6. I don't think my defense is high enough to resist them.
attempt 5: nothing like having to run away from a Slime 3 times...twice in a row...once I finally got to the island, a Metal Scorpion hit me 4 times in a row. lame. You know, I'm pretty sure I won't even be able to kill anything at level 2...
attempt 6: after buying the Full Plate, a Magidrakee surprises and smokes me for 10.
attempt 8: Magidrakee in the swamp surprised and Hurted me. I think I need another savestate starting from Kol, even though running from Slimes and stuff can vary too.
attempt 9: got a bunch of trouble from Wolves right after I got out of the tunnel. Good thing I DID make that Kol savestate, this is really really annoying. This should also reflect the difficulties of getting to Rimuldar the first time, even though I have 3 Herbs this time. Note that if you have max HP (22) and don't get into any fights, you can cross the swamp and have 2 HP left. Awesome.
attempt 10: lmao a Druin just hit me like 5 times before I could run away. It's funny, I have such crappy agility but enemies can't damage me very effectively, so I imagine this skrawny idiot with heavy armour on who can barely walk, trudging his way past stupid floating enemies. anyway, I just ran away from two Metal Scorpions and lived, don't ask me how. A third challenged me just outside Rimuldar, and I used my last Herb when I had 6 HP left because I had to run away something like EIGHT TIMES. OMGWTF but at least I finally made it. Let's see if I can even kill anything.

I just had a tooth-and-nail fight with a Skeleton, went from 22 HP to 5, but I only have 40 gold. um

I did 1 damage to a Metal Scorpion and then it killed me!

later anecdotes: a Wolf surprised me and did 9 damage. I have 38 defense...just chcked, Wolf has 40 attack power. So even Z with his extra point of defense isn't enough. This is bad. Level 3 is necessary for grinding here, I would say.

Wait, no it isn't...your Agility only goes up by 2, so this means Z is necessary for this tricky new route. He needs the extra 2 starting Agility, lmao. So all these savestates I just made are useless because I used L for my name.

Restarting with Z, and level, I made it to Rimuldar first try this time. I must admit I got a little bit lucky though, managed to run from everything with nary a scratch. Also did the 1-Herb run across the swamp. Now time to activate the glitch. Oh, and I had 1 gold short of buying 3 Herbs, so I'd say go for 3 Herbs and restart if you come up too short when you turn the corner for level 3. Actually you could use the MP healer if you really wanted, since you're using the Bamboo Pole it can't be that much slower.

attempt 1: killed by a Druin.
attempt 2: made it to the Death Necklace no problem. A Poltergeist sneaked a Hurt on me but I got away immediately. Having twice as much agility to work with definitely helps, it actually doubles my chances of escape according to the formula. Well, guess I'd better roll one up!

wtf is going on? I haven't even seen one yet...oh wait, then I get one and accidentally load state again. My heart hurts >_<

lolwtf I did something weird with my keyboard and all of a sudden I got a Death Necklace. No really.

Anyway, I just got to Rimuldar at level 3 with 77 gold in my pocket. Here's some anecdotes:
- had to run from a Wolf, too much HP. Z has exactly 40 defense though, so he's the perfect warrior.
- killed the next wolf with an excellent move for 20 and some more hits
- couldn't run from a Metal Scorpion for something like 5 turns, died.
- on reload, killed two Wolves using my last 2 Herbs. Now I'm level 4. VICTORY!

So we've established we can get started in Rimuldar at level 3, but only barely. Metal Scorpions really ruin your day because of their agility, it just took me 7 tries to run from one. If you die, well, actually I guess you can recover from it as long as you're level 4. Once you have a little more than 55 gold, you can float along in Rimuldar.

Reminder: don't use Hurt on Skeletons, they have low defense and lots of HP, as Gwonam would say, YOUR SWORD IS ENOUGH.

Thanks again Ryan, you have awesome ideas. >_>
So does it turn out to be beneficial in the end?  I'm kind of surprised that it's even possible.

Also, what emulator are you using?  I use FCEUXD, and if I want to change my gold, I just use the built in hex editor and change $BCBD, which is the gold memory address.
I like to watch
Yeah, I love FCEUXD.  Heh, I was going to suggest using a debugging emulator with a memory viewer/editor, but you beat me to it.  Smiley  Hmm, I thought that $BCBD would be in the ROM address range.  Then again, maybe you're talking about the amount of gold you start the game with?  What about the RAM location of gold during play?  (I'm using another computer without access to my usual tools, or I'd find out myself.  Sorry if they're the same address.. I'm used to working with larger-memory games like FF1 and DW4)
Sorry, I shouldn't have referred to it as $BCBD.  What I really meant was that it's at $BC and $BD, and that the two are used together to form a number between 0 and 65535.  And yes, FCEUXD is great.  If I want to do a simulation at a certain level, I just change $BA and $BB to the appropriate experience.  Don't wanna make the trek to Charlock?  Change your x and y coordinates.  It really speeds things up to be able to change these values on the fly.
I like to watch
Oh, yes, of course.. zero-page / direct addresses.  :-}  I hear you.. I've found the memory editor to be invaluable in the same ways during GG code creation and testing.  I haven't done any of that in some time, though.. I should get back into it sometime.
Edit history:
discoransom: 2010-02-06 03:44:59 am
This has been an incredibly interesting thread to read.  I've had this in the back of my mind since I was a little kid.  Right now I'm taking a mental health break from my retardedly impossible single segment Ninja Gaiden pacifist run (boss kills only- search youtube for Ninja Gaiden Superplay that some other guy posted to get a feel of what it looks like) but I digress  Grin

I'm assuming the early game is defined as getting to lvl 13 and 14.8k gold, and that seems to be where the most room for improvement lies.  I tried going without the large shield to avoid the trip to Garinham and it was really bad news- took until nearly 3:00 to level 13 (no saves), and I was well short on gold.  I'm wondering if the large shield can somehow be combined with the silver harp.  It would necessitate leveling at "hills of hubris" and at Kol (gaining the flute) before making the first rush to Rimuldar (2 [1 if waiting on stones] extra keys shouldn't be a problem), then gold glitch, stones, then large shield + harp.  edit: I know it sounds like a conflict of interest to add so much risk to a single segment run, but I've dashed for the harp very early a bunch of times back in the day, and this death would come somewhere near the first hour.  Mad dashes for items in general are less risky than they first appear.

Has anyone looked at this?  I'm hoping it may be useful for a single segment to avoid random deaths around Rimuldar- grinding near Kol is solid, predictable and I bet not too much slower from level 5-7 right?  I know you guys will let me know if I'm smoking crack.  Great work so far!
Combining the Large Shield run with the Silver Harp run would be very hard, especially in a single segment.  You have to get through the gold glitch, and dying after an hour of tedium would be pretty disappointing.  I don't know what the odds would be of getting through the grave, but they'd have to be pretty steep.  Plus, it requires you to get 1 or 2 more keys and a full complement of herbs, which would set you back a little time.  I'll try testing the odds at some point of runs through the grave at various levels.

I thought about using the grave instead of the Mountain Cave to do the gold trick, but that requires getting closer to level 6 before you could do that, and might not speed things up for a single segment.  The trip and back to Garinham really only takes about 40 seconds if I remember right, so it would have to be a drastic difference just to make up for 40 seconds.
Edit history:
ShinerCCC: 2010-02-08 03:00:36 am
Yes, a worthless avatar riding my posts.
Exactly, walking to Garinham doesn't take long at all, especially the second time when you can bring Fairy Water with you...but it's an interesting thought. It takes an extra key to get in, and you could use the 3 chests upstairs before you even enter the tomb itself to fill the array. But this goes back to the issue of needing 2 keys when only 1 is really necessary.

The Large Shield is needed for early Rimuldar grinding because it pushes you up to the 40 defense power you need to fight Wolves easily. But I've been thinking that I could use L for the segmented run anyway despite his early difficulties. Sure, he's 1 defense short of fighting Wolves in Rimuldar, but you could run from them before you're level 4, you only have to win 2 or 3 fights to reach level 4 and then you're in the clear. (although now that I think about it...2/5 encounters there are Wolves, Warlocks are out of the question, Skeletons have almost as much HP as wolves but far less experience, and Metal Scorpions are nearly impossible to run away from if you're in trouble.) As for the crappy low agility at the start, well, it's a segmented run, abuse luck and deal with it.

I still need to do some 100% game speed runs to compare Z with L. Hopefully more than once so I don't just have anecdotal evidence.
- Time taken from level 12 to 13: L can fight Wyverns more effectively at level 12
- Time taken from 17 to 18: L can fight Green Dragons more easily
- Time taken from 3 to 4: Z can fight Wolves but it takes some luck. It's so much harder for L to get started at level 3 that the first two payoffs may be nullified. (grinding L up to 4 before leaving for Rimuldar takes an extra 6 minutes, stayed at the inn once and fought a few Drakees)

Other comparisons:
- how to last around Hauksness: cast Repel? switch to the north strip? switch to the south strip? Note that even north strip enemies only rarely die in one attack, but stronger ones almost always die in 2 or 3. Basically, how exactly is the best exp/min achieved before level 17?
- is it better to gamble on Sleeping Wolflords before level 10 (adequate defense)? level 9 (big Strength boost)? level 7 (Sleep learned)? Or just save the MP for Heals on the Rimuldar sandbar?
- A lot of inn trips are made for the level 3-13 stretch. Can Magic Armour reduce enough of them to compensate for the extra 18 minutes of gold farming needed to buy it? Better yet, can it be bought partway during Rimuldar grinding, then Silver Shield money be made after beating the Axe Knight?
- (for single segment purposes) How long does it take Z to go from level 18 to 19? Can he attempt the Dragonlord several times in the same span of time and successfully kill him at level 18 instead?

Someone else can do it for me, that's why I uploaded the savestates for you guys!
Highly Evolved
Well in a practice run where I was timing levels, I went from 17-18 in 26 minutes.  That's 3000 exp at ~115 exp/minute.  That was with no heals and fighting in Hauksness only when HP was high, and walking along the southern strip to heal.  During that test run, the Magiwyvern/Metal Slime strip was pretty inefficient as you needed a turn to cast stopspell and many wasted turns on metal slimes.

I imagine it would take another 25 minutes to level to 19, maybe a bit less as the slight strength boost will KO starwyverns in two hits more often, and as you mention, Green Dragons are nerfed.  It takes around 10 minutes to go from Tantegel to Charlock with no use of Repel/Fairy Water, so you realistically get two shots.  If the numbers are as bad as the seem to be now, with the DL having 130 HP every time, then 19 may be required.  A segmented run will be done on Level 18, I'm sure.
Does anybody have a reasonable idea of the times to level 13 yet?  Within say ten minutes?

I agree about the responses that Garinham is a short trip for the shield.  I'm scrapping the idea of combining it with the harp for now.  It was based on leveling at Kol rather than Rimuldar for some time, acquiring money for the extra keys and herbs in the process.  I think it actually loses about 5 minutes on its own, which outweighs the benefit of an early harp/staff  (single segment of course).  I did however make it to the harp twice in ten tries at level 7, loading a save state after gold trick.
Highly Evolved
Somewhere around three hours or so single segment.  The first disk change would happen after level 10 is reached.
Edit history:
ShinerCCC: 2010-02-08 01:37:07 am
Yes, a worthless avatar riding my posts.
In one of my test runs I think Segment 4 (Rimuldar leveling from 5 to 13, in one of my older routes) took 2 hours. But when you're actually doing it the time just flies.

This is a small post so I will edit it later with some leveling times I guess.

EDIT: Here it is, I tested one thing. Z leveled from 18 to 19 in about 19 minutes. 1000 experience gained in 7 minutes, 2000 exp gained over about 15 minutes. Wait, the last 1000 in another 4 minutes? That must have been a rough beginning...anyway, about 4 Starwyverns got off a Healmore, I think less than 4 were blocked by Stopspell. But that's because if I got a low damage roll, I'd go for Stopspell, then hit them for low AGAIN, then they'd just attack instead of trying to Healmore. For healing I merely used Healmore. I walked on the grass once when I wasn't thinking, didn't get any encounters and gained about 40 HP doing so, but I still have 21 MP left at level 19 here. Level 18 is really easy going so use Healmore at will, stick to sand so you can get in more encounters quickly. If you run out of MP keep fighting; if you're close to 19 then use the grass or Repel outside to heal, if you're far then just fight to the death, then cast Repel and walk back I guess.

Darkwing, your figure of taking 10 minutes to reach the Dragonlord is based on no Fairy Water, but I figured out a key can be spared so you can buy more (or you can buy more in Cantlin instead). I just tested walking to Charlock with 2x Repel (no Fairy Water handy on this savestate) and it only took 3 minutes to reach the castle and another 2 to run from an Armored Knight about 6 times in a row, then die to a 30 damage Hurtmore. I was overusing MP to Sleep Stonemans anyway, because I was playing while listening to Venetian Snares again and had no sound to use for bonking navigation so I spent 3 MP on Radiant as well.

I guess it would only take another 2 minutes to reach the second last floor, then get through the last floor...the primary difficulty isn't beating the Dragonlord, but escaping from all the damn Red Dragons. If it only takes 19 minutes to reach level 19, then go for it in a single-segment run by all means.

A fight with the Dragonlord using Z at level 18 took me 3 minutes. (I used my last Healmore at 41 HP...I lost, he had 13 HP left. Should not have settled on going into the fight with 98/115 HP.)
Highly Evolved
I posted on Gamefaqs that I went from level 5 to 12 in 1:50.  That included a death, however.
Yes, a worthless avatar riding my posts.
I'm making a new post to rant about other timing issues I've found. Also note I've edited my previous two posts.

- Darkwing, that must have been an early death for you to throw away half of the gold you'd accumulated...
- Ryan, is there any way I could install some breakpoints to see my escape formulas calculated? I'm surprised to find that L can barely run away from anything at Level 3, even things as mundane as Scorpions, while Z has such an easy time with it. The formula should go something like (256 * my agility) vs (64 * enemy agility) which means the odds are 4 to 1 in my favour IF my agility is tied with the enemy's. Z has 8 agility and L has 6's a little confusing to think about, why is Z so much better at this? Anyway, I'm trying to say that if L has to waste tons and tons of turns trying to escape in vain then he's wasting more time than Z ever could.
- BTW, I'm using FCEUX 2.0.3. Nov 2 2008 release.
- It takes a scant 3 minutes to walk from Tantegel (on the map) to the Death Necklace, at least for Z. But I didn't get into any fights in the cave's second basement. Add another minute loading your file, talking to King Lorik and walking would take 4 or 5 minutes to search for a Death Necklace. If the odds are correct, 32 tries will take about 3.5 man hours, and that's how long it will take for me to get my Death Necklace. ...seriously? I get the feeling it will take a month or longer. It often takes 5 minutes of solid frameskip load-state mashing to even see it once. But that may involve landing on the same frame/RNG value on consecutive load states.
- L has a stupidly hard time fighting Metal Scorpions. Running away is out of the question, so I tried fighting one all out. I managed to kill one using an Herb, the next one took a Heal and my last Herb out of me and I still lost. There's no sensible way to fight them either, they can do 0 to 6 damage while you can rarely do up to 3. Wolves tear him apart even harder. They're also hard to run away from, I just got blocked 3 times in a row on another load. It's not impossible to advance to level 4 though...Skeletons and Metal Scorpions CAN be killed. Since you only need to advance from 23 exp to 45, you can probably make it in 2 fights. Try not to gamble too hard on those Metal Scorpions though; your Herbs are there to advance you through the difficult beginnings.
- I changed my mind, use Hurt when you're level 4. Why? You'll kill the enemy in fewer turns. Money is no object, feel free to use the inn a lot more. Actually, it doesn't take long to reach level 5...let's not make conjecture and actually time some stuff. I'll just try Z for now because I'm not sure about L's payoff later on yet. This savestate has no Herbs left btw:

Using MP for Heal, trial 1: ~3 minutes. One stay at the inn. I got an excellent move on a healthy Wolf though. When I had 3 MP left, I would chuck out a Hurt.

Using MP for Hurt, trial 1: 2m44s. I switched to that online stopwatch, even though I don't like having to task out to click it. 2 trips to the inn. I tried to be overly aggressive but I think I used Heal when I was about to die once. I got a suspicion my use of Hurt was overkilling enemies...for trial 2 I will be peering at $E2. Also note I did not see a single Metal Scorpion, which would maximize my efficiency with Hurt >=(

Using MP for Heal, trial 2: 2m30s. This data makes no sense because I got an excellent opening move on a Wolf, and the next swing killed it, while a previous one took ages to kill. I also killed a Metal Scorpion with 2 hurts and 2 swings, but I WAS looking at its HP. I also screwed up and Talked to the air twice and used frameskip to try to compensate. One stay at the inn btw. Um...let's try this again.

Using MP for Heal, trial 3: 2m33s. I saw the Wolf had 5 HP left, and I had 5 HP left myself...I gambled and lost. But I had 95 exp so that would have leveled me up. Generally you should Heal if you're at 7 HP or lower, just in case. I also saw two Metal Scorpions, I killed them mostly with Hurt, obviously.

Using MP for Hurt, trial 2: 3m38s. WTF? Well, I did get a really bad start...had to run from the first Wolf because I was getting my ass kicked, did 1 damage to a Metal Scorpion with 2 HP left, took a Wolf down to 1 HP, had to Heal versus a Skeleton because I saw it had 24 HP while I had 7, and I had 5 MP left...healing worked out. I'm quite surprised, since Hurt can really help kill Wolves faster because of their high HP and your damage range being something like 4-7 against them. 2 Stays at the inn btw. Let's try this again.

Using MP for Hurt, trial 3: 3m50s. I had to run from a Warlock, and I did use some frameskip to compensate for tasking out of the stopwatch...why is this time so much slower? I stayed at the inn twice again...I think it has to do with Hurt being not that much better against Skeletons because of their low defense. Or maybe it's just Dragon Warrior being really random like it always is. I'm going to try to get a "best time" where I combine all these strategies. I just got 3:25, I ran from a Wolf who surprised then dodged me, and I forgot to heal before my last fight versus a pretty tough Wolf.

I'm not sure if this distinction even matters any more. Heal is more reliable for staying alive but I like using Hurt just because of the chance I can do more damage. Wolves usually have around 30 HP, Skeletons spawn in the range of 24-30 I think, Metal Scorpions are 18-22 I think. I'll check GameFAQs and compile a range of enemy healths later. I'm tired.
I have an FAQ I'm working on that has all the enemy stats broken down, and it may be of help.  I'm going to upload it to my site soonish.

Quote from ShinerCCC:
- Ryan, is there any way I could install some breakpoints to see my escape formulas calculated? I'm surprised to find that L can barely run away from anything at Level 3, even things as mundane as Scorpions, while Z has such an easy time with it. The formula should go something like (256 * my agility) vs (64 * enemy agility) which means the odds are 4 to 1 in my favour IF my agility is tied with the enemy's. Z has 8 agility and L has 6's a little confusing to think about, why is Z so much better at this? Anyway, I'm trying to say that if L has to waste tons and tons of turns trying to escape in vain then he's wasting more time than Z ever could.

I could give you a breakpoint, but what exactly is it that you would hope to get from it?

It could be bad luck you're having, or it could be a limitation of the random generator.  Discounting the chances of those, running from a scorpion as L should be about 25% chance of being blocked, and as Z a 18.75% chance of being blocked.  I could maybe do a check to see if the RNG limitations are making it harder (although I'm somewhat doubtful).
Yes, a worthless avatar riding my posts.
I just want to see what values are rolled and/or calculated for me + the enemy when I try to run away. I just want to see if L is close to being able to escape or nowhere near successful.

This post will be edited with some more timing stuff later; probably the level 12 stuff for L and Z.
Highly Evolved
All right, I'll post what I'm looking at so far for the single segment portion.  I'll do it by level and questionable stuff I'll do in a different color.  Yellow equals unsure action.  Teal equals reactionary actions.

Level 1:

Go to Brecconary, buy club and clothes, buy Dragon Scale, sell Dragon Scale, Buy one herb.

Go to mountains southwest of Tantegel, do not use inn until level 2 is reached.

Level 2:

Use inn when needed, do not use inn until leveled to 3.

Level 3:

Level to four.  No use of inn.

Level 4:

Move to the southernmost strip and liberally use hurt against stronger enemies.  Use inn liberally.

Level 5:

Use inn.  Buy enough herbs to stay above 106.  Run to Rimuldar.  Flee every battle.  Buy two keys in Rimuldar.  Die immediately.  Run to mountain cave, try to make it to herb.  Use torch if get lost.  Move to lower floor, get larger gold chest/death necklace.  Die immediately.  Use gold glitch.  Get to 5300, or enough after necklace sale, grab Stones of Sunlight or whatever script it'll use.

Run to Garinham.  Run from everything.  Take northern path.  Sell necklace, buy herbs?, buy large shield.  Run to Kol.  Run from everything.  Get Full Plate, get Fairy Flute.  Use inn.  Run to Rimuldar.  Run from everything except Metal Scorpions near the city proper and high enough help.

Buy Broad Sword.  Grind levels liberally using inn.  Use hurt on Metal Scorpions.  Run from Warlocks.

Level 6:

Sometime during levels 6-13, buy 3 (4-6) keys.  Level same way as level 5.

Level 7: 

Start using sleep on wolves, pray they stay asleep more than one turn.

Level 8:

At this point, hurt is not as useful as Broad Sword on Metal Scorpions. 

Level 9:

Sleep starts being less needed on Wolves.

Level 10:

Leave Rimuldar Strip.  Head for southern hills.  Run from Goldmen.

Level 11:

No change.

Level 12:

Keep an eye on gold.  If gold is looking to be short of 14.8k, defeat enough Goldmen as necessary.  An extra 35 for fairy water in Brecconary?  Leave enough MP to use return once Level 13 is reached.

Level 13: 

Use Return, go to Brecconary.  Buy Fairy Water, Fill up on herbs.

Use Fairy Water Walk to Cantlin.  Run from all enemies. Defeat Golem.  In Cantlin, buy Silver Shield, fill up on herbs and Fairy Water.  Use one Fairy Water on space to talk to inn keeper.  Use inn.  Use Return.  Walk to Hauksness.  Defeat Axe Knight, get armor.

Walk to Erdrick's Token, use Return.

Use Fairy Water.  Walk to Garinham. Get Silver Harp.  Use Outside + Return, Use Fairy Water, walk to Staff of Rain.  Use Fairy Water, walk to Rainbow Drop.  Go to Rimuldar, use inn, go to Charlock, use Radiant in the dark areas, get Sword of Erdrick.  Use Outside and Return, refresh magic, use Return, walk to Hauksness area.

Grind on northern strip enemies, walking to the southern strip at full health.

Level 14:

Spend more time in southern strip.

Level 15:

Spend nearly all time in southern strip.

Level 16:

Start going into Hauksness at full health.

Level 17:

Spend more time in Hauksness.

Level 18:

Looks like you'll have to level to 19, so do that as much in Hauksness as possible.  If a key remains, disregard, but if no key, near level 19, walk to Cantin, hitting level 19 right outside of Cantlin.

Level 19:

If needed, buy 2 Fairy Waters in Cantlin, or use key and buy two in Brecconary.  Use inn, fill up on herbs, buy torch if at zero.  Use Fairy Water on way to Charlock.  Kill Dragonlord.
Edit history:
ShinerCCC: 2010-02-09 05:33:29 am
Yes, a worthless avatar riding my posts.
Some stuff in that route makes no sense to me...

- We already mentioned there's no need to use two keys for the gold glitch. You can buy two more Herbs to make the trip more surefire instead. Just buy 5 or 6 keys before you leave Rimuldar; this leaves 2 for the Silver Harp, 1 for Cantlin, 1 or 2 for Fairy Water, your 6th can get the Stones of Sunlight.
- There is definitely no need to grind up to level 5. Segmented won't even get up to 4 but it's absurdly risky. If you make it to Rimuldar with some surplus cash you can definitely just spam Hurt to kill everything. You'll reach level 5 in only a few fights.
- Instead of buying Clothes you could sell your starting Torch and buy an extra Herb instead. However I think that makes Drakees more painful to fight, I'll have to test that.
- I've gotten better at navigating the mountain cave in the dark. You start by going 2 spaces right, if you don't hear bonking immediately after going up you're probably on the right track. If you're not sure, go left immediately, if you don't see stairs and start bonking then you're definitely on the right track. After grabbing the Herb, you go up until bonk, then left 4 spaces, but after going left once you can just start testing Down, keep trying until you don't bonk immediately. Same with the next floor, after going right 2 spaces you can start testing Down.
- Death Necklace sells for 1200, so in the extreme off-chance you get one, farm up to 4115. Remember the kickback from your initial gear, and some starting cash for Rimuldar.
- You absolutely won't need to fight Goldmen, ever. You can grind up a bit of cash in Hauksness' northern strip on the way, or in Garin's Tomb if you do it first (it's really easy at level 13). In addition, Wolflords give about 70-80 gold, Wyverns about 80-96...Goldmen up to 199. It's not that much of a difference for a single fight but they have lots of HP and give crap experience. You'll be especially rich if you start fighting Wolflords at level 7 by relying on Sleep, although it's better to put that off until your power boost at level 9 because you can two-shot Wraiths in the area.
- Don't buy Herbs in Garinham at level 5, that's hard-earned glitch gold. 24 gold = about 5-10 seconds of pulling. After level 13 you'll be rolling in gold that you don't need, save Herb purchases until then. I only buy Herbs at the start (to cross the swamp/not die at level 3 in Rimuldar), before Garin's Tomb (convenient, you also get the free one in the building) and finally in Cantlin after fighting Axe Knight + Golem, but that's another issue. For single segment the second batch should probably be in Brecconary again (to Golem), then in Cantlin (for Axe Knight), then in Garinham (Garin's Tomb then Erdrick's Sword raid). If you used some during the raid or during your 13-19 grinding then get the last batch in Brecconary.
- Why not get Erdrick's Token after buying the Silver Shield?!? Swamp doesn't hurt that much. You're going to cast Return or die as soon as you get it anyway. Then you won't have to return to that area ever again. If you die on the way, well, stick to the plan of grabbing it right before 19 then.
- Only use the inn in Kol if you somehow took a lot of damage on the way there (highly unlikely at level 5, you can run from anything that casts Hurt). It's a few steps out of the way and a waste of 20 gold, after all. 24 gold buys you a mobile inn stay anyway.
- If you're level 5 then you should have enough MP to kill something on the way to Rimuldar. Use one of your initial Herbs (you'll have at least one from the mountain cave) if you need to, it's better used to get a strong start than as some kind of wacky failsafe.
- Max out your Fairy Water purchases every time. They're also really cheap, spend away. At level 13 (first set), this should give you 6 of them (7 if you don't have the Stones of Sunlight yet). Use 1 to walk to Hauksness, for the rest of the way to Golem you're on your own, but you can't buy it back in Cantlin because you need room for Erdrick's Token. Use 1 to walk to Hauksness and fight the Axe Knight. Use 1 to walk to Garinham and get the Silver Harp, use 1 to walk to the Staff of Rain, use 1 coming out of the tunnel onto Rimuldar, use 1 after getting Rainbow Drop. (you probably won't take any damage as a result, no need to use Rimuldar's inn) After that you have one left...use it to walk to Hauksness for your 13-19 grind. You need 2 to reach Charlock for the final encounter though. You could just use Repel instead of buying 2 more, that's probably faster than walking into Brecconary again. You could use the inn in Rimuldar if you really, really want the 4 MP back, but you probably won't need it to run from Stonemen anyway. Of course, if you end up dying trying to retrieve the Token at level 13, then you could opt to buy the two Fairy Waters in the Cantlin region.
- If you really insist on having cold feet on buying Fairy Waters, you can spend the 400 kickback on the Large Shield on them when you warp back to Brecconary.
- I never checked if Garinham or Tantegel is closer to the Staff of Rain. I'll test it right now by comparing how long it takes for Fairy Water to run out. ...Tantegel is way, way closer.
- If you haven't got a Torch, you can use 3 MP on Radiant if you can spare it...but you should have one anyway, there's a free one in that chest in Garinham. Since you put it off until later you should definitely pick it up then, you'll have room after using all those Fairy Waters.

Just tested using the Hills of Hubris to level Z from 4 to 5, and it took 5m57s. 3 stays in the inn, I believe. Basically, this is the dumbest idea ever, and here's why:
- 2 of the 5 enemies in the region use Hurt, which does 5-10 damage
- Scorpions consistently do 4 OR 5 damage, and take 2 or 3 turns of Hurt to kill
- Ghosts linger in there, lame 3 experience
- crappy experience

Compare this to Rimuldar, whose most dangerous enemy (Wolf) does 0-7 damage.

Is this for the sake of a safer trip to Rimuldar? Heck no. Level 5 adds 5 strength, 2 agility, 4 HP and 4 MP. So, an extra Heal, insignificantly better chances of running away, and 2 steps of extra swamp travel. The 5 strength won't help you run away on the way there, since you're on the way to greener pastures you'll be running from everything on the way there. Given that you have to rise from 47 to 110 exp to reach this level, you'd gain about 100 gold from the whole excursion; you could just grind for 1/4 that long to buy one more Herb and have a much much much better chance of even making it to Rimuldar. I've established that grinding there at level 4 isn't hard, and I can say from experience it's a heck of a lot easier than trying it at level 3. So yeah, please don't level up to 5 before making any trips to Rimuldar. This means we won't get to show off the Hills of Hubris in our speedrun but I really don't care, I think having 5300 gold and 50 experience is a lot cooler.

I should also remind everybody that I'm doing all these tests on a PRG0 ROM, which has the slightly faster combat text, so every timing I take is very optimistic.

EDIT: While testing (on frameskip) to see if the Clothes actually helped, I reminded myself of something I should have already known: the Club pays for itself. When you stick to the Bamboo Pole you have to return to town much much more frequently and combat takes longer. I also found the Clothes didn't help at all. Don't fight Drakees at level 1 or 2, but at level 3 they're easy enough to kill because of mild boosts in strength and defense. So your starting junk should be a Club and a Dragon Scale. Sell the Dragon Scale and your Torch, then buy two Herbs. You won't have to walk to that island in town for a long, long time.

At level 4 I had 74 gold. so with a bit more gold I could have bought a third herb (probably a good idea to do so before dying for SS). Segmented can pull it off too! Only one Herb is needed for crossing the swamp anyway, it won't matter because once you're on the island making it to Rimuldar is 100% luck anyway. The Herb from the mountain cave can help for the return trip but buying one or two more in Garinham would probably be a good idea to speed things up once you get there.