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Rune Factory: A Fantasy Harvest Moon doesn't have the traditional boring farm animals for you to take care of which are found in other Harvest Moon games. No! Instead, you can befriend and enslave monsters from the surrounding caves. It's a nice system once you get it set up.
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Like other Harvest Moon games in which you have to build barns, In order to get monsters in Rune Factory you must build monster huts. You can do this by talking to Camus at his shop and he will build them for you, if you have enough wood and money. You also need to either grow grass or buy it as feed from Camus. Buying it is cheaper unless you have all of your monster huts built.
You can have a total of four monster huts and four basements. Each floor holds four monsters each.
Each hut requires 100 pieces of wood and 1,000 G.
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In order to have monsters in Rune Factory, you have to capture them first. Hey, it's easier than buying farm animals, like in most Harvest Moon games. To capture a monster you need the monster glove from Tabatha. Once you have it just equip it in a cave like you would a weapon and walk up to the monster you want to befriend. They may fight you at first and cause some damage, but once you pet their heads they calm down and you are given the choice to either release them back to their world or send them to your monster huts.
You cannot capture bosses.
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This is much like caring for farm animals in other Harvest Moon games. In order to care for monsters in Rune Factory, you must pet them and feed them daily. Beyond that it is up to you. Petting them increases their friend points which makes them like you more. This is good because it will increase the amount of produce they supply or make them better workers.
Like all buildings in Rune Factory, time stops when you are inside your monster huts, so you don't have to worry about wasting any.
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Producer - a monster that produces something like milk, honey or wool which you can use in recipes (food items) or sell.
Harvester - a monster that will help with the harvest by either watering plants or picking vegetables and fruit. You must give this monster your tools to do the jobs.
Faithful Horsey - Or not. These aren't horses, but wolf like monsters whom you can ride around. You can't take them into Kardia, however.
Fighter - a monster that will help you battle other monsters in the caves. They usually aren't very handy as they run out of HP too fast. Once they run out of HP you can send them back to their world or let them return to the huts.
Do Nothinger - a monster that does nothing and is therefore useless to catch.
Keep this in mind when befriending monsters.
Also, each monster has HP, just like you, and can be leveled up. Leveling them up is done by making them work and caring for them. The more they work the better they will be at it.
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Monster Work Habits
In Rune Factory, when you capture monsters and set them to work, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Producers only make one of each item a day. The more they love you the better quality the item will be.
Harvesters will start working the day after you set them to the task. Also, they will only harvest or water the food in your field, not the ones you have planted in caves. They will only work for about 2 hours until they are too tired to go on. However, if you have more than one monster set to the same task, the second one will take over where the first left off. They will not work on a day that there is nothing to pick (for harvesters) or it is raining (for waterers).
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Sometimes after you fight a monster a chest will appear. Congratulations! You got a monster item! Yes, monsters carry chests and drop items at random moments (not random enough, but I digress). Some of these are items you can only obtain from fighting the monster over and over until it drops something.
For example, Woolies drop a wooly furball.
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Each cave in Rune Factory is crawling with monster generators (where else do monsters come from?). Each monster generator generates the same type of monster over and over. So once you defeat that one wooly, a new wooly will pop out endlessly until you destroy the generator. Meaning you can capture as many Woolies as you have monster huts available to care for them, all in one go. How great is that?