Part 19: Stickerbrush SymphonyUpdate 14: Stickerbrush Symphony
Was Ranger okay? That screaming seemed...unlike him.
Yeah. Just said he had a killer headache. Even the blankest of minds can't stand headaches, heh.
Can we get going now? I don't wanna get back too late.
Now that we finished the Salamander mission, the guard blocking the other door has left, letting us go further into 8F. Notice how much of the map Salamander's nest takes up, by the way.
Thorned vines rooted in the floor... The Labyrinth certainly has strange ecology.
Meh. How bad can floor thorns be?
I have to wonder why we thought this was a good idea.
I--ow--have bandages for our feet. Let's not try that again...
Damage tiles have been in every EO game to date. While they were pretty obnoxious in EO1, where there was no way to mitigate damage tiles at all and walking through them was basically mandatory, they got less annoying in EO2 and on.
A nice change that EO2U makes not just for Labyrinth tiles, but for several Labyrinth obstacles in general, is it'll automatically color the map floor a certain color if you step on a special tile--it won't override floors you paint yourself, though. In this case, the damage tile was painted dark red on the map when we stepped on it.
First Mine point of the floor, with a very convenient location of "7 tiles from the stairs." It gives Scarlet Yams for its ingredient.
And here's something that EO3, EOU, and EO2U all use damage tiles for: letting you skip large portions of the floor if you're willing to eat the damage. I could just walk through the damage tiles that you can see to the right and have Realga heal everyone up, but I'd rather not skip the entire floor.
HP: 189, STR: 11, VIT: 12
- Flame Breath: Uses the head. Deals moderate Fire damage to one row.
- Normal: Crimson Hide. Sells for 45 en. 1 needed to make Green Whip (+60 ATK). 4 needed to make Self Bow (+58 ATK). 3 Gooey Fibers and 2 Crimson Hides needed to make Rubber Dress (+23 DEF).
"Lizard skin impervious to any flame. Often used in place of cloth when thinly sliced."
- Normal: Cut, Stab, Bash, Volt
- Weak: Ice
- Resist: Fire
- Normal: Blind, Poison, Panic, Sleep, Curse, Petrification, Instant Death, Stun, Head bind, Arm bind, Leg bind
- Weak: Fear
- Resist: Paralysis
A lizard that resists heat and spews fire. Nullify its flame, and it is a pushover...
Flame Lizards are annoying. Actually, let me rephrase that: one Flame Lizard on its own isn't that bad. The issue is when there's multiple Flame Lizards in one fight, at which point the damage from Flame Breath starts stacking up quickly. Kill these things first in a battle unless you want multiple dead party members.
You might also notice that the (G) tag on certain skills has been replaced with a monster skill icon. I don't think I ever explained it, but (G) denoted that an enemy skill can be turned into a Grimoire, and the monster skill icon does the same.
HP: 148, ATK: 14, DEF: 13
- Bracing Liquid: Uses the head. Used upon death. Places a physical/elemental attack buff on all enemies. Does nothing if Red Gel is the last enemy to die.
- Insulation Gel: Uses the head. Raises all allies' resistance to Fire for 3 turns.
- Normal: Gooey Fiber. Sells for 49 en. 1 needed to make Rubber Collar (+28 DEF). 3 Gooey Fibers and 2 Crimson Hides needed to make Rubber Dress (+23 DEF).
"A fibrous nucleus that gives off warmth. When specially treated, it becomes a soft cloth."
- Ingredient: Liquid Red Gel. Used in Persimmon Pudding (Western Food 2) and Autumn Dango (Japanese Food 2).
"A vivid, sweet gelatin."
- Normal: Volt
- Weak: Ice
- Resist: Cut, Stab, Bash, Fire
Red Gels, on the other hand, should be killed last. Insulation Gel is completely negligible, especially given that no enemies in the Auburn Thicket are weak to fire, but Bracing Liquid can turn enemies like Flame Lizards into complete nightmares.
Don't think I've shown Chase Heal yet. The way it works is that Realga targets one party member, and then immediately prepares Chase Heal at the start of the turn. Whenever that selected party member takes damage, when the enemy that dealt the damage is done with their turn, the selected party member is healed at least one time, based on the number of times they were hit. The chance of being healed goes down with each heal.
It tastes like strawberry jelly. Not bad.
D-do you really feel the need to consume our enemies? I thought Hexers communed with dark powers...
Eatin' beasts seems like it has the same effect as cursin' them. I wouldn't think too much about it.
Ouch. If you're wondering why Rheine took considerably less damage than Tyler despite having comparable equipment, TEC-based attacks like Flame Breath use a character's TEC value to determine resistance to elemental attacks, instead of VIT. This is why classes like Landsknechts and Highlanders--high VIT but low TEC--tend to take a lot more damage from elemental attacks than others.
Well, aren't yeh speedy?
I was waiting for you to get hit that entire time.
The rest of the battle was uneventful.
We can see a smaller version of what we saw earlier--usually small patches of damage tiles make you take a slightly longer path around.
Those of you who have played EOU might be thinking all of this sounds like B7F from that game, and you'd be correct, because all these damage tiles acting as pseudo-barriers was that floor's gimmick too.
Do we really have to get that treasure? At least, do we have to walk across these thorns?
Unless you want to climb up those trees and get to the treasure from there, then yes.
How can you all be so resistant to inflicting this kind of pain on yourselves?
I'm willing to put up with a lot for the sake of potential riches. Plus, who cares? We already get banged up pretty badly in battle, and I can just patch us right up.
Oh yeah, watch your encounter radar when walking over damage tiles, since getting into a fight after stepping on damage tiles can turn out pretty badly.
Heh heh heh, well worth the pain.
You can also take this path to the chest, if taking 30 damage instead of 20 damage is your thing.
All these long corridors and the damage tiles really make 8F feel more like an EOU floor than an EO2U floor. I dunno, it feels more confined than most EO2U floors do. EO1 and EOU really had things for long, straight corridors with maybe a branching path or two.
Oh yes, I'd like to take this opportunity to mention how nice Venom Curse is for random encounters with just one row. Had I not just slaughtered these things before the Poison took effect, they would've just died on the spot.
Venom Curse isn't an instant "I win" button you can apply to every encounter like it was in EO2 due to the introduction of rows for monsters, and the damage starts falling off much earlier than it did in the original EO2 due to overall higher enemy HP totals, but for the first two or three Strata, it's a nice way to not have to deal with encounters.
Tyler and Rheine got level ups from an otherwise unremarkable encounter.
A minor increase in damage for Link Order, but Delayed Charge got a pretty big upgrade. Not only did its damage for being activated on 1 or 2 turns after preparation get increased a decent amount, but it now goes up to 3 turns. For reference, level 5 Delayed Charge deals 310% damage 2 turns after preparation, while 3 turns deals 430% damage. Yeah.
SYSTEM: Beyond the low grass is a small field with patches of wild strawberries growing in places.
Ooh man, those look tasty.
They don't seem poisonous. Well, they don't LOOK poisonous.
Hey, why not?
SYSTEM: You give thanks for the blessing and enter the field with your comrades to enjoy the snack. A worry flits across your mind that a monster may ambush you, but it proves to be unfounded. You enjoy your fill of freshly-picked strawberries.
Given how fast Realga and Stardust are chewing through their TP with Salve and Cocytus Formula, respectively, a 50 TP heal is much appreciated.
SYSTEM: You suspect that if you come again tomorrow, there may be more of the sweetly tart berries to enjoy. This is a spot to remember for later if there ever was one...
Again, look at the path we had to take to avoid the damage tiles.
Okay, at this point, Sophie, I must ask: where does this insatiable hunger of yours come from?
...I was brought into the Cult of the Shadow Demon at a young age, and studied under the demonologist Sern. He intended to use the cult to bring something he only called the Shadow Demon into our world--
I've known Sophie for years. She was never in any kind of cult, she's just perpetually hungry.
HP: 655, ATK: 20, DEF: 20
- Strike Down: Uses the arms. Deals heavy Bash damage to one row. Only used when the Armor Tortoise is not at 100% HP.
- Normal: Ankylosaur Skin. Sells for 101 en. 1 needed for Broadsword (+63 ATK). 3 Flourite and 2 Ankylosaur Skins needed for Carapace Boots (+9 ATK, +2 AGI, can be equipped by Beasts). 5 Ankylosaur Skins and 2 Rubies needed for Red Claw (+66 ATK).
"Thorned armor of a giant dragon. Specialized skills are needed to mold it."
- Weak: Bash, Fire, Ice, Volt
- Resist: Cut, Stab
- Normal: Blind, Paralysis, Panic, Curse, Fear, Petrification, Instant Death, Stun, Head bind, Arm bind, Leg bind
- Weak: Sleep
- Resist: Poison
Its tough shell is also covered in spikes which effortlessly deflect its foes' blades.
I'd advise spending a turn buffing your party before unloading on the Armor Tortoise. Strike Down seriously hurts, but it'll only use it when it is not at full HP. Since the thing's super weak to Sleep, you can tackle it by buffing up for one turn, and then unloading on the Tortoise after putting it to sleep using either Sleep Arrow or Torpor Curse.
Now, watch as I fail to follow my own advice!
Worth noting that you don't get bonus damage from attacking an asleep enemy with a TEC-based attack, like Alchemist Formulas.
Nice damage, but we've only lopped off around half of the Tortoise's HP. This is gonna hurt.
Okay, it didn't use Strike Down. Phew.
That's, erm, quite the way to die.
That could've gone worse if the Tortoise had decided to use Strike Down.
We're roughly halfway done with 8F. Like I said, you can skip a LOT of the floor if you walk through the damage tiles.
What'd yeh think it was?
The other Mine point of the floor. This one gives Root Chili for an ingredient!
Want to skip most of the floor? Just eat 80 damage on your entire party! That may sound like a lot, but Salve makes it a non-issue.
Holy crap, that thing's huge!
It's smaller than Salamander, but does still seem big for an FOE.
SYSTEM: It will be a challenge to navigate these narrow confines while staying out of the monster's path... Though of course, one option is to engage the monster in combat and force your way through the room.
Haha fuck you too, game.
SYSTEM: Once you have decided on a course of action, do what you see fit.
So we have a Fire Drake to go around. It has a pretty simple movement pattern.
For every move we make, the Fire Drake will alternate between moving on a set patrol path and becoming inactive. If at any point we get in the thing's line of sight, it will become aggressive, and ditch its patrol path and go after us, with the same moving->inactive->moving pattern.
This Fire Drake isn't that hard to go around: just walk along the edges of the room, and you'll get to the door without getting in its line of sight. Moving onto the next room:
SYSTEM: This room is larger than the last, but the ground is choked with thorny vines. It will be difficult to pass without injury. And you still cannot predict what the monster may do. Careful observation will be necessary to avoid a fight...
Oh yeah, damage tiles throw a wrench into the Fire Drake's field patterns. While a Fire Drake is on a damage tile, it won't go inactive every other turn, meaning it will move every turn.
Oh gods, it looks hungry...
Just follow me, and we'll skip bein' this beast's lunch!
Here's my strategy for this Fire Drake. Aggro it at this position...
Lure it off the damage tiles...
Get into a FUCKING BATTLE ONE TILE AWAY FROM THE FIRE DRAKE OH GOD
Force Breaks like Eschaton are uesful for situations like this.
Another boost to Cocytus Formula. I dunno if I'll actually max it out for the boss, but I at least want it at level 9.
Anyway, just make a mad dash for the door through the center path after that, and you'll be one step away from the Fire Drake the entire time.
Probably the biggest pain in the ass encounter on 8F. Thought Armor Tortoises were annoying? Try two of them!
Oh hey, gameplay "feature" we haven't seen yet. If the entire front row dies, the rows will automatically switch, putting your back row in front.
At least Venom Curse and Cocytus Formula make short work of them at the end of the turn.
C'mon, you two, up and at 'em.
Two of them.
SYSTEM: But considering what you've learned in the process of reaching here, you think you have some idea of how to proceed. When you are fully prepared, then begin moving forth!
This room seems deceptively simple at first. But don't be fooled--it's super easy to get ambushed by one of the Fire Drakes here, and trying to run away from a fight with them is an experience best described as futile.
Here's how I solve this room. Walk onto the lower damage tiles, which'll aggro one of the Drakes while it's off the damage tiles.
Then you just give the Fire Drake the outside until you're at the door.
And we're done with the floor, basically.
Uh-oh. An encounter with a rare breed Flame Lizard, plus a normal Flame Lizard, and my party's at super low HP. This is...a bad situation, to say the least.
Ooh, I know! I'll use this to demonstrate Medical Miracle!
The star... The star... Focus on the star...!
Medical Miracle heals your entire party for what is basically a full heal, purges all debuffs, purges all status ailments, purges all binds, and revives any dead party members while healing them as well. It's basically the best defensive panic button in the game if you're finding an FOE or boss fight going really south.
Yeah, if I hadn't used either Medical Miracle or Steady Hands-boosted Salve, I would've game overed here.
All I can say is, uh, phew.
Please, Realga, try to keep us healthier next time.
Oh, yeah, knowing when monsters'll get on us is something I can super easily do.
That's an interesting mark.
I don't normally take what Asriel says at face value, but his theory that it's a locked door made sense, at least.
We'll be revisiting these doors later on.
Anyone feel like going through this new floor?
I would really rather not.
Good, because I'm tired as hell.
I'm getting seriously hungry. Why didn't we eat before we left?
And now that we've stepped into 9F, it's time to head back to town. At this point, I did some off-screen material gathering with the Byeahs.
This also happened while gathering stuff. That's all we need for Quid pro quo.
All the stuff we unlocked.
Broadsword is unlocked by selling 1 Ankylosaur Skin. If I had either Zack or Colette in the party, I'd buy it for them, since Hrothgar's Sword has fallen off in usefulness by now.
Tachi is unlocked by selling 5 Steel Fangs and 1 Flourite. It gives 11 ATK over the Fushuu, but doesn't have the +10 TP bonus.
Green Whip is unlocked by selling 1 Crimson Hide. It has 10 ATK over the Red Whip, and 17 over the Rafflesia Whip. If Freyja was in the party, I might buy it for her since it's the second-best whip you can buy in the 2nd Stratum.
Long Bow is unlocked by selling 10 Scarlet Vines. The Self Bow takes a lot less grinding to get and gives a bigger ATK bonus (+54 ATK vs. +58 ATK).
Rubber Dress is unlocked by selling 3 Gooey Fibers and 2 Crimson Hides. It's the best clothes you can buy in the 2nd Stratum, and I might outfit the more fragile members of the guild with one before the end of the Stratum.
Rubber Collar is unlocked by selling 1 Gooey Fiber. If you're playing along at home, I'd advise holding off on this, since there's another collar unlocked through a later 2nd Stratum monster's conditional drop with a useful added effect.
Pine Shield is unlocked by selling 1 Red Pine. It's not the best 2nd Stratum shield (by one point of DEF), but it gives +1 AGI. I don't know why it does, since that's a negligible increase for any class that can equip shields, and will not even come close to offsetting the action speed penalty from shields.
Pine Staff is unlocked by selling 1 Red Pine. It gives +2 TEC and +20 TP. I actually buy two for Rheine and Stardust, since both of them can chew through TP quite quickly.
Lactarius Maul is unlocked by selling 10 Open Caps. In addition to +53 ATK, it gives +10 HP and +2 VIT. I wouldn't buy it for a damage dealer War Magus, but it's kind of useful if you're doing Combat Medic since the +2 VIT boosts Vital Hit's damage.
Shotgun is unlocked by selling 4 Steel Fangs and 1 Ruby. Boring middle-of-the-road gun. Not even the second-best you can buy in the Stratum.
Since I've started putting in item icons with this update, I should note that blue icons are items that don't need to be restocked, while gold icons will consume a certain amount of materials when bought, and will need their materials restocked when Sitoth Trading runs out. Items made from rare finds from materials gathering points and conditional drops are always gold items.
And let's go through everyone's dialogue, starting with Marion.
By the way, you're a regular at the Flaus Inn, aren't you? Then you've likely met the innkeeper's daughter.
I mean, she IS manning the desk. We see her every day.
She's quite the adorable one...but she's a bit fragile, so be kind ot her if you see her. Well, that's all I have to say for now. Try to avoid unnecessary risks.
...By now, there is very little I can tell you about the Labyrinth that you wouldn't already know. I can only say this. I wish for you to continue your exploration, and find the floating castle... That is all. I will be on my way now. I wish you luck.
Oh hey, Regina has something new for us.
He was thrilled with your work in city development, and he wants you to be in charge of the other districts as well. Which means that you can now carry out advertisement and town development in the North Ward, Uptown...and the Slums. This is something that's very important to FOEbucks's success. I'll be counting on you.
I should really get on top of town development.
Oh yeah. The North Ward is home to Ronin and Troubadours, Uptown has Protectors and Sovereigns, and the Slums house Dark Hunters and Hexers.
Anyway, Regina's dialogue.
All artisans could learn a thing or two from him. It's important to know you can trust in the quality of someone's work. Heh. One day, I'd like to have the same kind of dignity he does.
Still holding off on developing food since we'll get the last 2nd Stratum recipes on 9F.
And now, onto the Stickleback Bar. Let's turn in Quid pro quo, first.
Ahhh, yeh're back, are yeh? Lessee... Oh! If I knew yeh were gonna be that quick, I'd have asked for more!
Haw haw haw! Relax, I'm just kiddin'... Here's the chess piece. Good luck gettin' that Princess! See yeh around!
And we start the slow climb to having 5 "chess" pieces.
The 9F quests.
Hmm? Yeh want to take this quest? That's actually perfect, since it affects yeh lot too. Yeh've stayed at the Flaus Inn before, right?
We basically live there!
This one's from the landlady over there. Ain't much of a reward for it, so I feel bad makin' yeh handle it... Well, yeh can think of it as repayin' her for all the hot meals and warm beds, eh? She works hard.
We already pay her every night we stay there--
Like usual, if yeh wanna know more, go talk to the requester yerself.
Smithy Thompson's request:
Oh, that request is from...ol' Smithy Thompson.
Yeh lot should know him. He works at Sitoth Trading. He's asked for any guild to collect materials for his next piece. Go to the trading post and ask what he needs. G'luck!
Cass's 9F dialogue:
Oi! Yeh lot! I heard all about it. So that lizard thing wasn't just a rumor!
Oh yeah. It wasn't a rumor. Gods, what I'd give for it to just be a rumor.
Did yeh see it? So, uh, yeh think its tail would grow back even after yeh cut it off?
Cass, if you don't mind me asking...where did you hear that? Why are you bringing this up?
Well...yeh see, I made this bet with a customer. I win if the tail grows back, he wins if it doesn't! ...Just between yeh lot and me, it's a well known fact that lizard tails grow back, right? C'mon, just say yes.
I don't know. The Salamander is considerably larger and more complex than a gecko, for example.
So, what's the answer? C-C'mon, hurry up and say somethin'! I got money ridin' on it! Haw haw haw!
The bar patrons...er, bar patron. Rozsika will never say anything new.
U-Urrgghh... Spikes, spikes everywhere...
I think she's having a nightmare. Anyone got any ideas?
Hot drinks are usually how I prefer to combat drowsiness.
Cass! Hot Osmanthus Tea, please!
Whoa!? Who!? Wh-What is this!? What was that!? Spikes!? Spiked drinks!?
Risen! Wolves! Risen riding wolves!
...H-Huh? Oh, it's you... You woke me up again? Oh, thanks. Is this tea a charm against evil...? Wow, there's so many different types of plants... Yes...plants...plants everywhere. Like those...Attack Cactuses...or maybe the...you know...Attack Cactuses. Sigh... I was trying hard to get a Fleeting Thorn because Lilly wanted it... People say you have to kill an Attack Cactus in just one turn to get the Thorn. Keeps the thorn from getting all beat up! That's the idea, anyway...but you know how hard it is to kill one that quickly?
If it's like any other FOE...hard enough that it's effectively impossible.
Hrgh, but this is all for Lilly's sake! I'll...do my best! I'll keep on trying! *sigh*
I don't think we'll be able to get Fleeting Thorns for a very long while.
And like an idiot, I forgot to get Abigail's dialogue for 9F before taking on Smithy Thompson's request. WHOOPS.
He says he's too busy to come out, but I think he's just shy around people. Isn't that weird for someone like him? Hee hee! Oh, I need to give you his list! He needs... 5 Glow Quills! You can get them from the monsters in the 2nd Stratum, he said. Just sell them back to me once you collect them! We're counting on you!
Glow Quills can be obtained from Madness Owls, which we'll be seeing soon.
And to close out the update, Hanna talks to you immediately upon entering once you take on Labyrinth stew.
Now, listen, kids. Mama's got a problem... Did you kids ever try our signature dish? We call it the "Labyrinth Lunch!" It's a meal decorated with ingredients from the Labyrinth...!
I eat monsters on a regular basis, and that still sounds...unsettling.
Looks terrible, but tourists adore it! My husband usually gets the ingredients we use as decoration, but the poor dear injured himself at work. Now we have a full house, and we're missing the most important part of our signature dish! Can you kids go to the Labyrinth, gather 3 Bendy Vines, and bring them back for me? It's not far at all, dears. Even my darling can get to the 7th floor. Drop off the ingredients at the bar when you're all done, okay, kids? Now, off you go! Mama's waiting, okay?
Fanged Vines drop Bendy Vines, as we've already seen.
Next time: 9F. We're almost done with the 2nd Stratum.