Part 8: Overview: The WealdThe Weald
"Why not take some time off wandering our tranquil paths and lush forests..."
Welcome to quite possibly the hardest zone in the game in general. The weald is a sprawling zone of unfettered growth and alien wildlife, and everything here will push your team in if you are not prepared. In terms of fights, you're going to be dealing with a bunch of blight damage at every angle, enemies with high PROT and high dodge, and a mish-mash of enemy types to make favored enemy choices tough. Disease is not prevalent, but the one disease you do see here is kind of awful so if you're paranoid a Graverobber or Plaguedoctor would be nice to have. A lot of enemies here have a susceptibility to bleed here so things like the Houndmaster, Hellion or Bountyhunter are also good. There's a lot of PROT here, however DODGE is actually a bigger hassle here so if you can load up on Occultists or Arbalests to get rid of the high dodge on enemies in this area. In terms of provisions to bring down here, Antivenom is very nice since there's both blight damage everywhere alongside curios that are neutralized via antivenom. Bandages are also good because curios here are also neutralized by them. There is use for Holy Water and Medical Herbs here, however I don't bring them because the curios are either too rare to consistently prep for, or the benefits are just not worth it.
Fungal Scratcher (Threat Level: High)
-Man. These things suck. Fungal scratchers are the perfect mix of tankiness and attack efficiency, possessing anywhere between 33-50% PROT depending on difficulty along with incredible synergies with other enemies. Their main attack is Groping Swipe, which does decent damage, however the big threat of this attack comes from it having a Blight attack-rider in veteran dungeons onward. That move gets ditched however for Rend the Marked if a target is marked, effectively doubling the damage output of the attack but lacks any attack-riders. Finally, if they are out of position, they have Harmless Swipe for the express purpose of getting out of rank 3-4. These guys, no matter the circumstance, do a great job at just tearing apart your front line with no mercy or remorse, and I generally hate fighting them. Luckily they have low stun resist so you can mitigate their action pool, along with wicked low bleed resist and debuff resist for whatever your black heart desires to kill them.
Fungal Artillery (Threat Level: Medium, High with a Scratcher)
-Man, guess who else sucks? Fungal Artilleries are the compliment to the fungal scratchers, alongside some of the later enemies. They exist to harass the back row and enable other enemies to do way more damage. The attack you will see a lot of is Mark Prey, which marks a target typically in the first two ranks and reduce their DODGE, making dodge-tanking less effective. Their other attack is Rain of Blight, hitting your rank 3-4 units with light damage, a blight proc, and also a low disease chance for any disease. Finally, if you think you're clever and pull them forward to stop the bullshit, they have Escape Cloud to hit your first two ranks with a blight proc. These guys are just as awful as their biped counterparts, and even worse if both are teaming up to ruin your day. An amusing, albeit terrible note however, is that if you save them for last and get rid of corpses, two artilleries in the front row can chain Escape Cloud your front line for heavy blight buildup with how fast they are.
Ectoplasm (Threat level: Despair)
-Bullshit draws near, your command? Ectoplasms (I'm just gonna call them slimes from here out btw). are probably the reason I hate the Weald the most, for reasons you are probably already guessing. Slimes have generally low HP, average evasion, and low damage output, however their threat comes from their moveset. Their main attack is Slime, which just punches a dude. Their other attack, one of two I hate, is Cytokinesis, which punches a dude and clones himself at full health. You can see where this is going right? His third attack is the worst: Ectoplasmic Profusion hits the entire team for regular and stress damage, and produces the following...
Large Ectoplasm (Threat Level: Agony)
-Bullshit has drawn near now that this guy is on the scene. Inbetween Big Slimes and regular Slimes, I've had fights go on for 15-20 turns because of their ability to just mass-reproduce. The Big Slime is hardier with more HP and more PROT, but he also possess a little bit of crowd control. His main attack is Big Slime, which hits any rank for decent damage but also reduces speed on higher difficulties. His second attack is Slime-smack, which hits your front two units with decent damage and a hefty stun chance. His third skill however, which is absolute garbage, is Cytokinesis, and you all know what that does! These guys just exist to wear down your patience and make the Weald entirely unfun to deal with. God I hate slimes.
Gnashers (Threat Level: Medium)
-Gnashers are rather frustrating in the weald. They're not as lethal as say the myconoids nor as persistent as the slimes, but they exist in their own little niche of annoying the player. Their only attack is Rabid Rush, which does damage, Bleed procs, and a low chance to inflict Rabies on a hero, which reduces accuracy until the disease is cured. Their high speed in tandem with their high evade makes them such an irritant too since you can't exactly intercept their actions with a stun or alpha-strikes since they will either go first or just dodge the attack. Dogs aren't as mean as literally everything else in the weald, but they are still a huge hassle.
Distinct threats to follow in the harder difficulty writeup.
Curios & Effects
-While everything enemy-wise in the Weald is awful, the curios are actually quite nice. The Pristine Fountain is a curio that is always good to use, it just depends on how good you want it to be. Just interacting with it alone heals 20 stress, however putting Holy Water in it sanctifies it and increases the heal to 30. I never really pack for this curio though since I often never deploy with stressed out heroes and this curio has a rare spawn rate, however it serves as a great way to remove stress for cheap if you either prep for it or had a holy water pop out of a curio.
-Another good curio, the Ancient Coffin is a simple but delightful curio. There's no item interactions with it, however a coffin will either have a decent chance for cash, a moderate chance at nothing, and apparently a super rare chance of the Weald-specific traits. Even if you can get nothing from this, the Coffin is nothing but positive so absolutely interact with them forever.
-The beast carcass is a curio that could help out a lot, but I don't bother dealing with them in general because of how I prepare for missions. A cursory examination will result in either some food, nothing, a random disease, the specific disease "Rabies", or the negative quirk "Zoophobia." If you rub Medical Herbs on it however you get two food stacks! This is basically a food curio, but you should be bringing food down here anyways so I don't usually bother bringing herbs to exploit this.
-Eerie Spiderwebs are a curio that can debilitate a hero if you aren't prepared for it. You absolutely want to rub Bandages on it so they protect your hands and allow you to get a bunch of money. You can still have a chance of getting money without a bandage, and an equal chance of getting fuck-all, but there are two separate 10% chances of getting a -SPEED quirk from this curio. Speed is a wonderful trait that I would recommend you never have a deficit of, so don't interact with these spider-webs unless you have the bandaids.
-Left Luggage is a neat little curio imo. Just opening it normally gives you a 50-50 shot of either getting a light amount of loot or getting hit with a blight trap. However if you pour an Antivenom into the lock, or just use a Skeleton Key to open it, you get 3x the amount of loot drops from it. I know its a relatively simple thing that we see in other areas, but something about using antivenom to disable the poison trap makes me smile from a design standpoint.
-Mummified remains are the other reason you bring Bandages to the Weald. Rubbing them on the remains protects your hands from...stuff?... and gets you some gold drops. Normal interactions result in either a little bit of loot, a blight proc, or just nothing. A simple curio, but I'm wondering why bandages?
-Its an old tree trunk, it can't possibly be bad right? That's where you're wrong, because a normal interaction results in either minor loot drops, nothing, or a blight proc from the tree's poisonous sap. Luckily an Antivenom neutralizes said poisonous sap and lets you get way more gold drops. Bring maximum antivenom in the Weald, cause Blight is everywhere.
-Shallow Graves are why I usually bring max shovels to the Weald. Never do a normal interaction with this curio because it will result in either a blight proc or a disease proc. There's nothing good out of just digging graves via your bare hands. However if you're smart and brought a Shovel you can dig up the grave proper and get all the money drops. I usually bring max shovels to exploit these, but I'm also certain that the Weald has way more wall spawns than other places so I usually dont dig a grave unless I'm certain there's no more walls.
-The Traveler's Tent is an ominous curio that can be good or bad. There's no item interactions sadly, its just a tent. The results from examining in general can either be found loot, a map for scouting, nothing, or stress damage after seeing the ill fate of the travelers. Stress, while sticky, is easy to deal with after the fact so just go ahead and dive into the tent. The benefits outweigh the downsides honestly.
-The Troubling Effigy is something I should prepare for more often, since its a means of developing your heroes in unique ways. A cursory examination will either give you a Positive Quirk, a negative quirk, either blight or bleed damage, stress damage, or just nothing. However, sanctifying it with Holy Water will guarantee you a random positive quirk. This is nice since it can fill up your positive quirks faster and possibly roll something good like Warrior of Light or Quick Reflexes, but its so rare that I often forget it exists and rarely bring Holy Water down here.