Part 7: Dungeon DivingThis update, Euchre will be exploring Xeroph Shrine and hopefully finishing whatever it is that Wildcard wants him to do.
Onward, to adventure!
Music: Seeking Treasure
But my ultimate goal is the Nexus Chamber that lies at the heart of this shrine. Much danger lies within, but your word must be kept. Come with me into the shrine.
And with that, Euchre is deposited into the entrance hall of Xeroph Shrine.
Through the immediately obvious door lies this new room. To the left, just off-camera, are some stairs leading upwards. But what about the door straight ahead?
Another hallway, of course! This one contains some new monsters.
Music: Monster Battle
Imps aren't very interesting. They only have one non-standard ability.
Unfortunately for them it's Frizz, which proceeds to do less damage than their normal attack. Frizz dropped off in usefulness back on Infant Isle.
Euchre proceeds to scout one anyway, in the hopes that it will be slightly more interesting than its wild ways suggest. Unfortunately Imps have abysmal base MP and so have no hope of being used ever. Storage!
There's actually a reason for that MP, though! Imps are a joke enemy in pretty much every game they appear in. They have access to top-tier spells, but never have enough MP to use them. It can be pretty funny watching them try, though. Sadly, when they're on Euchre's side, they're just bad.
The next monster of note is the Dessert Demon. These are the near-mandatory monster that's way above the power level of everything else here, and they only appear in this corridor.
It's clear that they're not supposed to be fought when they start attacking. That's more than the Orc could do! Thankfully they don't seem to have any other tricks up their sleeves.
In an attempt to scout it, this is the highest Euchre could get with his current team setup. Yes, this is with a Wildcard at 100 tension. It's not worth the trouble right now.
Music: Seeking Treasure
Let the shining crests / Show you the one true path.
This stone tablet lies by the door at the end of the Dessert Demon hallway. That door that Euchre went through that led him here didn't have a "shining crest" near it, so it probably wasn't the right path. Going through the door leads back to the previous room.
Up the stairs to the left of the entrance is another door, but this one has a symbol on the ground in front of it. There's also a new monster here!
Music: Monster Battle
Hammerhoods, as enemies, are identical to Mischievous Moles in terms of gimmicks.
In other words they randomly Psych Up, making them stronger on their next attack. Immediately targeting ones which use it is a good strategy.
Music: Seeking Treasure
Giving them a taste of their own medicine with high-tension scouting is the name of the game here. Dedede here goes to storage, never to see the light of day.
What happens if Euchre ignores the obviously correct door in front of him and goes upstairs?
There's yet another door waiting for him, guarded by more Hammerhoods. Going through this one yields...
...the exact same corridor as last time. Great.
The door he just came through is sealed, too, so there's no way to go but through the monsters. Going through any "wrong" door results in the exact same room, so there's no reason to choose any more of those.
Going through the middle door, the one with the crest in front of it, leads Euchre to...
The same room again, but with a different crest in a different position - there are two circles now, and two lines in the centre of each instead of just one. They're coloured differently, too.
What isn't immediately obvious, though, is that the encounters have changed too. This one drops down from the ceiling.
Music: Monster Battle
Meet the Bag 'o Laughs. It's actually got something that hasn't come up yet.
Well, sort of. It's yet another multi-target Dazzle-inflicting ability. This one's a spell, though, which makes it totally different!
Music: Seeking Treasure
Into storage it goes, along with everything else.
Incidentally, the only other monsters in this room are Hammerhoods.
Not so much with the next room, accessed through the lowest door, which sports Imps and more Bags 'o Laughs which drop down on Euchre when he's running up the stairs.
This time the crest is on the top floor. The pattern with increasing numbers of circles continues, with three this time, and there are three lines inside each. Presumably the pattern will hold for any more after this.
Or maybe that was the last one, since the room layout has changed.
Music: Monster Battle
The new monsters here are Mummy Boys, by the way. They attack, and that's about it.
Unfortunately Euchre's luck runs out when trying to obtain one and the group gets angry.
In the free turn the Mummy Boys get from this they kill off both Healix and Ducktor Cid, so Euchre decides that running away is the best option. The team might need some work. Incidentally, this sort of situation is what Exodust and Chimaera Wings really come in handy for. Getting at least one of each at the Scoutpost is strongly advised.
So, what's the best way to get better monsters?
Synthesis, of course!
Oh? You've never synthesised monsters before? Synthesising lets you combine two monsters to create a brand new one.
The best way to learn is to do it yourself! Would you like to have a go?
Absolutely. The game does an okay job of explaining synthesis, but it's better to go more in-depth. Let's start off with the basics: monsters must be at least level 10 if they are to be used as synthesis components. This is why it's impractical to synthesise monsters until around this point; there's just no way to get the levels up high enough.
Here's the synthesis screen. You put two monsters in - one positive, one negative - and get one of three monsters out. Monsters' magnetic characteristic is randomly determined, and it's somewhere around 50/50. The reason why it's not exactly 50/50 is that there's actually a third option that appears rarely - neutral. Wildcard, for example, will always be a neutral monster. He, along with any other neutral monster, can be synthesised with anything else that isn't neutral.
It just so happens that Ducktor Cid and Healix, Euchre's only level 10 or above monsters, have opposite magnetic characteristics. Synthesising them can yield a Hammerhood...
...or a Ghost. Which one is obtained is up to Euchre.
The way the game decides what monsters to offer is simple. First, it checks the ID numbers of the component monsters. These can be found in the Monster Library. Second, it checks the families of the monsters. There are eight families: Slime, Dragon, Nature, Beast, Material, Demon, Undead, and Incarni. Only the first seven matter in generic synthesis, which is what is happening now.
Since Euchre is synthesising a Beast monster and a Slime monster, the first two options will of those two families. The game finds the highest of the two components' ID numbers and checks each family for the next highest ID. In this case, the highest ID is that of Healix, at 23. The next monster that has an ID above 23 in the Beast family is Hammerhood, at 27, and the next monster in the Slime family is She-Slime.
The third monster uses the lower ID of the two in the same way, and the game has a lookup table to decide on the monster family to use.
In this case, with a Beast and a Slime, the result is an Undead. Ghost, with an ID of 7, is the next ID number up from Ducktor Cid's 4.
Oh, and when synthesising two monsters from the same family there's only one result. It takes the higher ID number and always produces a monster of the same family as the components.
A She-Slime will be used for this demonstration. Once a monster is created, it has to be named.
After that, skills have to be picked, like so:
The skills that can be picked from consist of all the skills belonging to the component monsters, plus the signature skill of the resultant monster. There are also any skills that putting points into other skills unlocked - for example, if there was a total of 50 or more points invested into Attack Boost among the parents, Attack Boost II would be among the inheritable skills.
It's worth noting that the total number of skill points that the component monsters put into a skill is halved and passed on to the resultant monster should it take that skill. If one component monster has 50 points in Healer, for example, the result will have 25 points in Healer. If there are any unspent skill points, the total is quartered instead of halved, so it's important to spend skill points if you intend to keep a skill around. Because some skill points are passed on, it's generally worth it to hold off on synthesising until level 11, since that's when monsters get their third batch of skill points.
Speaking of skill points, the number of skill points a monster gets when levelling up depends entirely upon the number of skills it has to spend them on. Scouted monsters almost always have two, but synthesised monsters generally have three outside of special cases. As such, they gain 1.5 times the number of skill points that scouted monsters do.
One more thing: Traits aren't carried over through synthesis. For example, in this synthesis Healix had the Trait Health Professional. Bo does not get Health Professional through synthesis, but instead has her own trait: Frizzmeister.
In any case, that demonstration didn't actually happen. Healix and Ducktor Cid will live to get synthesised another day. What did happen is that Rocket and Slash, two of the Slimes that Euchre scouted on Infant Isle, were synthesised instead.
The result was another Slime. When two of the same monster are fused together, the result is always another of that monster. Here's the thing, though: Gloop actually has higher stats than his predecessors.
Gloop's Stats posted:
Rocket's Stats posted:
The reason for the increase is that some of the component monsters' stats are added on to the result's base stats, meaning that the higher a monster's stats are, the better the result of a synthesis involving it will be. Even better, some of the components' stat growths will be added onto the result. This makes synthesised monsters gain considerably more stats on level-up than scouted monsters.
Essentially, synthesis is good and should be done as much as possible.
Clearly that means getting another Slime fused. Euchre picked up a couple of extra Slimes from Infant Isle earlier, you see, and they level up very quickly.
What happens when putting these two stronger-than-average Slimes together, though? Based on the rules of synthesis established so far, it would be another Slime, right?
Wrong. This is the result of something called Grandparent Synthesis, which are special synthesis recipes consisting of four monsters. In this case, the recipe for a King Slime is four Slimes.
This is the skill that makes King Slimes so good. Cleric gives Zapple, a strong tier 2 spell, and Multiheal, a mid-to-late game multi-target healing spell, in the first ten points. The only things wrong with this King Slime right now are the fact that it's stuck with Slimer, which isn't all that great, and its low MP pool compared to the costs of its spells.
In other news, Wildcard learned Oomph and Lightning Slash during the Slime grind, making him even more useful. I think it's time to try Xeroph Shrine again.
Music: Monster Battle
This is how much damage Monarch's Zapple is doing. It's not as big as the numbers that Wildcard could be doing with a combination of Psych Up and Lightning Slash (which does more damage than a normal attack on top of being Zap-element), but it doesn't take as long to set up. It's not sustainable, though, since Monarch is also the healer of the team right now.
Music: Seeking Treasure
In the face of such overwhelming power, a Mummy Boy is forced into Euchre's storage.
Just past the Mummy Boys are a couple of chests. The blue one, as always, contains a piece of darkonium, bringing Euchre's total up to two. The other one, though?
It contains an Yggdrasil Leaf, an extremely rare item which revives a single monster with all of their HP. It'll be useful if someone dies in an important fight.
Going through the door starts a cutscene.
Few would have done as I asked and accompanied me to this place. Are you as courageous and compassionate as you seem? Or are you just a fool? Time will tell, perhaps...
Once again, Euchre is deposited into a hallway. This one is a bit more interesting than the last, though.
The first things of note are the four statues along the walls. The two on the left show a salamander-looking thing and a wolf, and on the right...
...is a bird of some sort...
...and what might be a primate of some description. It's difficult to tell.
On the two doors in this hallway there are patterns of a wolf on the left, a dragon on the right, and a bird on the bottom. There's some other animal on the top, but it's impossible to see clearly due to having no vertical camera movement available.
There's nothing to loot here, though. Unfortunate. Maybe there's something in the next room.
Does that count as loot?
I'm sure that Euchre and the sentinel can just talk it out like sensible gentlemen.
Or it could attack first! That works too.
Music: Boss Battle
The boss of Xeroph Shrine, Golem is a brick wall literally, if not figuratively. Much like most things in this game, it's fairly simple if you know what you're doing and have a synthesised monster or two.
For this fight Euchre's packing Wildcard, who will be doing the majority of the damage with Psych Up/Oomph/Lightning Slash, Monarch, who will be on healing duty, and Cat-Ears, who will be lowering Golem's stats. Sadly Cat-Ears only has Slowing Slug for this, but it should be enough.
It hits hard, but strangely not as hard as the Dessert Demons in the very same dungeon. It can Psyche Up, though, to boost its damage. Funnily enough it never tried it in this fight, making it a cakewalk - if it does, it's a good idea to just have the team defend on the next turn.
The strategy remains largely unchanged - raise tension to 100...
...and nuke the boss.
Instead of a new weapon, this boss drops a manual. Euchre will be reading this thing as soon as possible.
Wildcard stares dumbfounded at his raw destructive power.
Then he walks forwards, towards the pedestal.
Give me now the power...
The pedestal starts glowing, making the screen fade to white...
Music: Sanctuary (Variation)
...and when the light clears Wulfspade is replaced with whatever this thing is.
The transformation has made me more powerful... ...though not yet powerful enough.
Farewell, Euchre, and may fortune favour you!
There's no way Euchre's giving up his MVP that easily. Oomph AND Psycho? It's a match made in heaven!
...Ah, I think I see. You have witnessed my power, and now you would have me join you?
...And yet, perhaps we can both profit from such an arrangement. You are, after all, competing in the scout challenge.
Then I would lend my growing strength to your cause and help you to victory. I must have the Mark if I am to complete my mission.
The victory alone is reward enough.
So the Scout's Mark is useless to anyone other than the Incarnus? Why is Dr Snap giving it out as a prize, then?
Euchre nods. He seems to think it's a fair deal, at any rate.
From this moment on, you shall be my master. Do not fail me, Euchre.
Now, to victory! The Monster Scout Challenge awaits!
Wow, that's got to be the shortest time between a character leaving the party and rejoining ever. In any case, Euchre's got another reason to compete in the Monster Scout Challenge. CELL seems to be ignoring him, so some more motivation is just what he needs.
The manual that the Golem dropped is the priority, though.
Reading it teaches Zoom, which is an incredibly useful spell.
It duplicates the effect of a Chimaera Wing, which means less needing to buy them from the Scoutpost shop. Exodust is still necessary, though. It's also easier to access in the menu than Chimaera Wings are, so that's another plus.
As Euchre is leaving the shrine, Hawkhart speaks up.
Here in Green Bays, there are three more shrines like this one. I must visit each of them if I am to attain the power I seek. Hmmm... I sense that the next shrine lies somewhere over yonder.
But of course, where we go next is up to you to decide.
If another shrine was on the next island, why wouldn't Wildcard let Euchre go there? That seems a bit short-sighted. Whatever the case, the team is looking a bit worse for wear after that fight. Why not go to the Scoutpost before heading off to parts unknown?
Euchre's just learned the perfect spell for it, too. With a cast of Zoom, he's enveloped in light...
...and flies off, while standing completely still. Well-animated this ain't, but at least it's consistent with most of the rest of the series.
It takes him straight to the Scoutpost, no questions asked. Handy!
Next time, Euchre will be heading off to the next island, but not before he finishes off some loose ends.
Extra: The Monster Library
Regarding monster synthesis, this section will only go over the monsters that Euchre obtains. That means no She-Slimes yet. Without further ado, let's begin!
King Slimes have the Skill Cleric and the Trait Critical Massacre. They're also immune to Whack. They're not obtainable through generic synthesis, and require four Slimes to create through grandparent synthesis.
Cleric is an incredibly good skill. It contains Zapple and Kazap, the tier 2 and 3 Zap spells, Multiheal and Omniheal, the two multi-target healing spells, and Reheal, a spell which causes HP regeneration on a single ally. It also hosts Gigaslash and Gigagash, two very strong Zap-based abilities that target a single enemy and all enemies respectively. Finally it gives Zap Guard, which lowers damage from Zap-elemental attacks. The main problems with Cleric are a lack of single-target healing and the generally high MP cost of its abilities, both of which can be easily solved at end-game - putting another healing Skill on a Cleric monster really helps with the former, and the latter becomes less relevant as monsters get more MP available to them. Highly recommended.
Hammerhoods get the Skills Huntsman and Attack Boost when scouted, and just Huntsman when synthesised. They have the Trait Psycho and are immune to Dazzle.
Huntsman is advertised as having abilities for hitting enemy weaknesses, but that's not entirely true - only three of its abilities actually do that. There's Dragon Slash, which does more damage to Dragons, Metal Slash, which does more damage to metal monsters, and Uncarnate, which does more damage to Incarni. The other abilities taught by the Skill are Sleep Sock and Assassin's Stab for inflicting status effects, Penny Pincher and Klepto Clobber for stealing money and items respectively, and Double Up, which does more damage than a normal attack but lowers the users defence on the turn that it's used. Overall Huntsman doesn't seem to know what it wants to be - Uncarnate is practically useless in single player, for example, while Penny Pincher and Klepto Clobber are useless in multiplayer. Other than that, its abilities are pretty good, though. It might be worth using if there's no other source for those.
Bag o' Laughs
Bags o' Laughs have the Skills Fear-monger and Defence Boost. They have no Traits or resistances.
Fear-monger specialises in abilities that confuse enemies or make them miss a turn. For the former there's Fuddle, Bemusing Breath, Baffling Bonk and Kafuddle, and for the latter there's Heart Breaker and Tongue Lashing. Spooky Aura is another ability that the Skill teaches, and it can be useful in the right circumstances - it lowers all enemies' resistance to magic. Inaction Guard and Confusion Guard also feature, to lower the chances of being inflicted with their respective ailment. Overall Fear-monger does what it sets out to do, which is to annoy the enemy with its two status effects. It's pretty useful and might be worth getting if you want a monster that can inflict these ailments.
Imps come with the Skills Frizz & Bang and Wisdom Boost when scouted and just Frizz & Bang when synthesised. They have the Trait Bangmeister, raising the power and lowering the MP cost of their Bang spells, and are immune to Fizzle.
Frizz & Bang is the same as it was for Spitniks in Part 6.
Mummy Boys have the Skills Graveheart and Attack Boost and have no Traits. They're immune to Crack and Whack, but vulnerable to Zap.
This is the third time that Graveheart has come up, with the previous times being on Ghosts in Part 4 and Funghouls in Part 5. It's exactly the same as it was both of those times.
Hawkhart has the Skill Hawkhart, just like Wulfspade had the Skill Wulfspade. Its Trait is Psycho, again like Wulfspade. It's immune to Fizzle, weak to Water (which really doesn't crop up much) and healed by Fire.
The Skill Hawkhart is essentially the Fire equivalent to Wulfspade's Lightning. Frizz, Frizzle and Flame Slash replace Zap, Zapple and Lightning Slash. Singe and Sear replace Spark and Lightning. Fire Guard replaces Lightning Guard. The main difference between the two lies in its other spells, though - Snooze and Dazzle instead of Oomph and Sag. These are a little less useful than their equivalents, but still not actively bad.
Hawkhart II follows the same pattern as Wulfspade II, so everything moves up a tier. Frizz and Frizzle become Frizzle and Kafrizz, Sear and Cremate replace Singe and Sear, Inferno Slash replaces Flame Slash, and Frizz Guard is added on top of everything else. Strangely, Dazzle is still learned, but Snooze is replaced by Kasnooze. This is probably because Dazzle only has one tier. The skill point costs of the two are swapped around, though. Unlike Wulfspade II's sidegrades, Hawkhart II completely obsoletes Hawkhart.
Overall, Hawkhart II is pretty good, just like Wulfspade II. The non-fire abilities are more situational, though, so it's not quite as good.