Breath of Fire II

From Before I Play
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  • Once you reach the town of Capitan, you'll be tasked with saving some villagers. There are six in total, and it's possible to miss some - which may actually be a good idea. The reason for this is that you'll get a reward afterwards that's different depending on whether or not you saved them all - rescuing 100% lets you teach a party member Renew, the first resurrection spell, whereas rescuing fewer lets you teach someone Cure2, a solid healing spell. Cure2 is arguably more useful for a few reasons:
  1. Renew has a 30% failure rate, whereas a LifePl (which is expensive early on, but you'll find a few for free and hopefully you won't be using a ton) will always work. 
  2. Of the six party members you can choose from, two of them don't have enough AP to make use of either spell, and two of them will learn both spells soon enough anyway. This leaves your main, who is about to learn some new spells that deal damage based what percentage of his AP he has when he uses them (thus you'll want to conserve every point), and your primary offensive spellcaster, who is so fragile that they're probably going to be the one that needs resurrecting anyway. 
  3. The aforementioned primary spellcaster has a ton of AP, and can spend a turn in battle attempting to recover more. Giving Cure2 to this person turns them into a near-infinite source of healing - even late in the game this trick will remain useful for topping people off after fights, whereas Renew will eventually be replaced with RenewX or a LifePl. 
  • Almost immediately after rescuing the villagers, you'll be asked to pick a carpenter from Capitan to build someone a house. Each carpenter uses a different design, but more importantly your chosen carpenter will stick around and provide some kind of service. The guy in the regular house will allow you to cook things (combine them alchemy-like into new items), the guy in the treehouse will let you play Othello (that's what those Tokens you've been getting are for), and the guy in the Arabian house will give you stats about your playtime, medicine bought, etc. While the treehouse guy's Othello game can be used to win a few solid pieces of equipment fairly early if you win, he doesn't have anything that won't eventually be outclassed by something better. The guy in the regular house, on the other hand, can give you an infinite supply of stat-boosting items, provided you look up the recipes and have the cash to keep buying the materials. It's your call, but I'd go with the stat boosts (the Arabian dude is functionally worthless, obviously, unless you just really like the look of his house). 
  • At some point you'll gain a party member who can turn into a giant frog on the world map. (Japan!) As soon as this happens, explore the immediate area for some cool optional stuff before proceding with the story - not only can you get your main's next set of spells, you can visit the Wildcat Cafe, which ultimately results in you being allowed to teach a party member the ChopChop spell. ChopChop doesn't do a ton of damage, but it ignores defense, which is fantastic for a few specific enemies. Make sure you get your main's next set of spells before going for ChopChop, though, as it involves a boss fight that can be a bit rough (make sure to say you like your meat rare). Note that ChopChop is missable if you go too far in the story, so get it done immediately.