Part 7: Overview: The CoveThe Cove
Enjoy our rich aquatic wild-live and mystical fauna
Funny how we go from talking about the starter zone to talking about the last developed zone during early access. If the ruins was Army of Darkness, then the cove is Call of Cthulhu. The main theme of the cove is eldritch enemies, more specifically focused around fish-men and other aquatic fiends. In terms of combat, this area came with the advent of the PROT mechanic, so you'll be seeing a lot of that alongside a focus on bleeding damage from enemies. An offensive occultist would be a great thing to bring to this dungeon, since many of his skills come with anti-eldritch properties and he has a unique accessory that further buffs that; Should your occultist have the Eldritch Hater/Slayer quirks along with the Eldritch Slaying Incense, he can crit-storm a majority of the enemies in this area. Houndmaster is also a wonderful class to bring since his anti-prot technique is incredible, however the Bounty Hunter works just as well and can synergize with the Occultist you will most likely be bringing. As for items, you want to bring a bunch of shovels for treasure, medical herbs for both treasure and quirk removal, and band-aids for the gross amount of bleed here.
Exclusive Enemies (for now):
Pelagic Grouper (Threat Level: FUCK)
-Starting things off strong with the biggest threat of this dungeon. These guys are pain incarnate: They have high initiative, high damage, and a wide attack range. No one is safe from these jerks. They can attack the front two characters with Seaward Slash and the back two rows with Spearfishing. Both these attacks have high damage ranges considering they have to be the only real damage unit in the dungeon. Their biggest threat however is the encounter of Four Fishmen, easily rending your team's HP asunder before you can even act. These guys are awful. I would say kill them first, but there's an enemy that prevents that...
Pelagic Shaman (Threat Level: High)
-The other big threat of this dungeon, mainly from the support he brings to his allies. The Shaman brings two support skills that can make a run much more frustrating: It can use Sea Breeze to heal an enemy for a fair bit of HP, and it can also use Call of the Deep to buff an enemies accuracy, crit chance, and more importantly damage. An interesting offensive option it has is Stress Wave, which is comprable to Stressful Incarnation but moves the Shaman back one space along with having a 40% chance to target two people. All of these moves can used in rank 2-4, which leaves the shaman vulnerable if you get him to rank 1, where he only has a dinky Ceremonial Cut to respond with. He may not be the biggest threat in general, but in practice he does have to die first since he's the healer and can pad the fight longer than you would care to indulge in.
Pelagic Guardian (Threat Level: zzzzzzzz)
-With the creation of the PROT mechanic came the most tedious and non-threatening enemy in the game. The Guardian is a sack of HP with a wall of Prot that exists to get in your damn way as you try to kill the Shaman. This enemy only has two abilities: His main gimmick is to guard any enemy with Barnacle Barrier along with buff his own prot to even more staggering levels, while his other attack from his Octocestus does low damage but also causes a small bleed effect as well. The sad part is that while this guy exists to take the hit and save his friends, an aoe including his bodyguard will ignore the guard completely and a stun will cancel out the guard, so if you're prepared then he's a non-issue. An even funnier thing is that if you push a Guardian to rank 4, all he can do is guard a target and then nothing else. I really do hate this enemy though just because of how exponentially long he can pad out a fight.
Sea Maggot (Threat Level: Low)
-Hey look, even more PROT enemies! I enjoy this guy's gimmick at least; he's got a thick shell of 50%+ PROT to cover his low HP levels, so he's not a chore to fight. He only has one attack with Brine, which does low damage but can debuff a target's dodge and has a chance to cause any disease as well. The main reason why I classify him as a bigger threat than the Guardian is because of his disease chance and the ability to remove your dodge. There's no real strategy to fighting him though, just hack at him like a coconut.
Deep Stinger (Threat level: Medium)
-The Deep Stinger is a dirty fighter that focuses on status effects to control your team. Both his attacks operate at any range, so any move effects have no real effect on his capacity to attack. Both his attacks also have the off-chance to disease your heroes with any disease, which can get frustrating. His big attack is Shocker, which does miniscule damage but can stun your mercenaries and also debuff their bleed resistance. Their other attack, Salty Gouge, does more damage alongside a bleed effect, and it can also debuff the dodge chance of your adventurers. Luckily they don't come with a lot of HP, so if you don't like the rest of the Stinger's team then it would be best to kill him first since it can stun dudes and reduce your capacity to attack.
Drowned Thrall (Threat level: Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes)
-The Drowned Thrall is a neat concept to me but ultimately a gimmick fight. You have two turns, barring any stuns, to kill this guy or else you will regret your inability to do so. His first attack will always be Gargling Grab, which does decent damage to your front rows and causes mild stress damage. His second attack will always be The Revenge, where he does a suicide attack that causes extreme damage and stress damage to your entire team. A Thrall has decent stun resistance, so a stun is basically a coin flip in regards to these guys. Their attacks can be done from any range, so move skills do nothing to them. Basically you want to bull-rush this guy with everyone and kill him first, or he will kill you all first.
Curios & Effects
Barnacle Crusted Chest
-You stand before pirate treasure, matey. Old-ass treasure, covered in sharp pointy aquatic life. If you hit this thing with a Shovel, it'll remove all the barnacles and allow you to grab all the wonderful treasures and heirlooms within. If you interact with it without an item, you'll get less treasure in general but also have a chance to get either nothing or your hero will cut his hand on the barnacles and bleed all over the place. Worth the extra shovels imo.
-A curious statue of an unnerving nature. You could use a Shovel to interact with this, however doing so will set the chosen hero's stress to 100 so I wouldn't recommend it. A vanilla interaction however comes with a high chance for a free random positive quirk, a low chance at a random negative quirk, and the very rare chance of getting the disease "The Red Plague." Worth the gamble imo, the odds are mostly in your favor and there's a curio that can offset the negatives of this anyway.
Brackish Tide Pool
-This is a curio that, on paper, is mostly positive however I always seem to have bad luck with it. A vanilla interaction with this pool will either give you a high chance of buffing the heroes status effect resist until a camping session, while also having an off-chance of giving the hero a random disease. Using Antivenom on this however will purify the pool, allowing you to heal some HP and stress on one of your heroes. I honestly don't bother preparing for this curio since the benefits are not really worth spending money for. The Vanilla interaction also scares me since I always seem to get diseases from this pool, however you can chalk this up to confirmation bias more than anything. Cool I guess.
-This is the main reason why I go to the Cove. The reason being is if you use a Medicinal Herb on this coral, it will remove one negative quirk, at random, for free. Vanilla interactions will either cause the hero to heal stress damage, take stress damage, or get nothing at all. This is a huge money saver, and while the curio isn't guaranteed to appear in a dungeon it can save cash compared to the hospital. Always pack herbs in anticipation for these.
-A pelagic totem of religious worship, and a pain in the butt without holy water. If you vanilla interact with this curio, your hero will be debuffed with either low damage & accuracy or low dodge until you setup camp. Suffice to say, you shouldn't be doing this. However, if you use Holy Water on this statue, you will instead get a buff to either damage or damage & accuracy until your next camp. I honestly never pack in anticipation of this curio, it doesn't really offer much in return for what you pay for.
-A big, disgusting fish corpse rife with disease and sharp bones. The smart thing to do with this is disinfect it with Medicinal Herbs, allowing you to grab all the wonderful treasures and heirlooms this creature feasted on, along with the possible chance of getting some food as well. A vanilla interaction with this is much more riskier however: You have a high chance of getting nothing, a low chance of getting some treasure, and a low chance of getting blighted, diseased, or bleed. This is the other reason why I bring medicinal herbs here, the reward that comes from this is quite frankly staggering.
-This curio amuses me more than it should. If you do a vanilla interaction with this clam it can give you a small amount of treasure, nothing at all, or bite you for a bleed effect. If you use a Shovel on it, you pry the poor creature's moth open and are free to take all the treasure within its maw. However, if you have a houndmaster in the team, you can feed the oyster one of your Dog Treats to get a huge dodge buff. I don't know what the logic for the dodge buff is, I just assume the oyster likes you and licks you like a goofy dog. Either way, this curio is a good reason to waste a shovel.
-A monument to those lost at sea. There's no item interactions with this curio, however you have no need to do so either way since a basic interaction will either buff your damage and speed until a camping session or just heals 33% of your current stress level. Free buffs/healing? Always touch this statue.