Part 28: Ladybugs are DicksLadybugs are Dicks
My computer decided to die and the hard drive ate itself, so I had to start the game over and play back to where I left off last time. As a result, there's gonna be some slight inconsistencies with my last playthrough.
For one thing, our party is a lot richer since I tackled most of the floors in one go, so I didn't spend too much on Warp Wires. Also, I still have that Nectar from the first floor that was used up shortly after we got it.
: Does this mean we can actually buy food now?
: That guy told us we can get back to that light pole with this, right?
: Well, let's find out.
: Aw, sweet!
: Okay, so back to where we left off.
: I think we better be careful in this next room. I'm getting a funny feeling about this.
: Are you sure that's not your heart again old man?
The monster in the depths surpasses your current skills... Fighting it means your death! Not all monsters have strength proportional to the level of the Labyrinth they inhabit! Sometimes it's best to leave these demons be... This, too, is a form of strategy. Observe the monster at your leisure and continue on your journey, mindful of your skills.
You can't see it normally, but as the game warned us, there's an FOE in this room. I filled out the room, then died and saved the map data so we could see the movements easier.
The game introduces red FOEs here. Red FOEs are the strongest FOEs in the stratum. You REALLY want to avoid these. Even if you can take out the regular FOEs, a red FOE can still rip your party to shreds. Red FOEs also aren't affect by FOE items and skills, so you either have to fight past them, or figure out a way around them on your own. Let's take a look at this one, shall we?
Those are some high stats. This FOE also has been in every Etrian Odyssey game to date. And in all the DS games, it has a conditional drop that requires you to kill it on the first turn. Which you probably can't do at this point. Amputate is a melee skill that will kill a party member in one hit at this point and all it ever uses. Arm binds will help a lot, but unless you can actually kill the thing, it won't do much.
This FOE is aggressive, so unlike the Furyhorns, this one will actively chase us down, which the game tells us by turning the FOE icon red. Stalkers usually have a movement pattern of moving 3 steps, and then stopping for one turn, then repeat that pattern again.
: That's a huge bug.
: I don't like how sharp those arms look.
: I wonder how fast that thing can kill us.
: How about we don't find out? Now I've got a plan to get past that thing. Take a look here.
: Got it?
: Sure, whatever.
The plan is going well until this happens.
: And we were so close to the door.
This is why it's important to empty out your random encounter before entering an FOE area. Fortunately, we're not in too much trouble unless we take more than 4 turns to finish this.
Skills: Charge, Horns
-Common: Red Shard - 1 needed for Nail Glove and Kodachi (Katana.) 5 needed for Boar Spear (Sword.) 7 needed for Horn Mace (Staff.) 3 needed for the quest Sounding the call)
--Fragment of a rhino's horn.
-Conditional: Red Horn - Kill with fire 1 needed for Tabarzin (Axe.)
--A large rhino horn, turned red from heat.
Description: A generally docile rhino with an abnormally large horn. Once agitated, it cannot be contained.
Weakness: Elemental (150%)
Resistance: Physical (75%)
Redhorns are not enemies you want to take down fast, because at this point you probably can't unless you have a team full of Alchemists. They're pretty bulky and resist physical attacks. Horns is a powerful damaging skill. It should be noted that they never use a regular attack. Their AI always follows this pattern: Turn 1, Charge. Turn 2, Horns on a party member. They can deal a lot of damage to a party member, probably killing them if they get a chance to use Horns. Of course they're really not that threatening if you know how to handle them.
I start using Cuffs at this point so Nick can deal a bit more damage. Doesn't do that much more though.
: Are all the animals around here thick skinned?
Ken is our hardest hitter and he can barely scratch these things. Ken just one shots the Hedgehog.
: Come on, please work.
Fedot's Fireshot is our biggest damage attack for these kinds of fights.
: Pfft. You just aren't doing this right. You need the right tools to tackle this kind of meat.
Aliara's poison kicking in here. It's doing quite a bit of damage, but it's not reliable damage. Yet. Still, it's her best contribution since her regular attack only does single digit damage now.
: Hmm, good, but I think I can make my poison even stronger.
: That thing is already writhing in pain! How much stronger do you want to make your poison!?
: Until everything drops dead with one cast.
: Well that would be nice and convenient for us.
: Just don't cast it on any of us.
: You guys are no fun.
These are the enemies that drop the Red Shards for that quest. We'll be getting the rest of these later.
: Phew! That was a close one.
: Shh! I hear more buzzing.
: Aw crap. Another one? Got another plan for this one? It's whole body is blocking the hallway.
: Hmm, doesn't look like this one moves unless we're in it's line of sight. Okay, new plan.
: And what if the thing turns around?
: Well I hope you didn't have any unfinished business before you signed up for this.
: That's not too reassuring.
This Stalker has a bit of a weird movement pattern. It only aggros once you're in it's line of sight. Walking right beside it or behind it (for a few steps anyway) won't cause it to chase you.
: Now see? That wasn't so ba- is that a giant ladybug?
: It is a winged demon from the flowery depths of hell! It must be destroyed!
: Okay gramps, you don't have to shout about it.
Oh god, these things are dicks.
: Finally, something on this floor that doesn't feel like you're hitting a rock.
: Feels like they hit as hard as one too.
Fortunately for me, nothing much happened in that battle. Okay, so about the Ladybugs.
-Common: Bug Nail - 1 needed for Culverin (Gun.) 2 needed for Short Bow (Bow.) 3 needed for Kodachi (Katana.)
--Clawed tip from the leg of a ladybug.
-Rare: Bug Shell - 1 needed for Color Boot. 5 needed for Pure Vest. 5 needed for the quest The item trade II
--A ladybug's magnificent outer shell.
Description: A beetle much larger than those found above ground. It has unusually keen senses.
Weakness: Volt (150%)
These monsters have the highest agility out of all the random encounters in the first stratum. Which means they're fast, and that your attacks will miss more often against them. They hit decently hard too. They also love to use Blink, which raises the entire enemy party's agility, giving them the same benefits. If you don't know what these things are truly capable of, they're very dangerous. If you know how to handle them, not so much. So what makes them dangerous? Well it didn't get shown off in my initial playthrough of this floor, because I made absolutely sure not to let them pull off their trick. So I had to grabs some screens later.
These things don't do too much when they're in groups. But when they're alone, they like to do this.
Say hi to the Raflesia again! Cause it's back to feast on your tears!
: What is that thing? Why does it have so many teeth!?
If you didn't spend any time gathering, or got lucky, this is when you would first run into these. Once again, random encounters from the 5th floor, that 3rd floor monsters can sic on you. Thanks Atlus. Still, when we first got ambushed by it, that party was level 1. This party is level 7 at this point, so maybe they can take it out.
: OH GOD MY EVERYTHING!
: Goddammit Nick.
Nope. Guess not. Yeah, Ladybugs are another crash course in prioritizing enemies. And hammering it in that enemies can call for help. Deadly help. For record, if an enemy called for help in EO1, it was usually an enemy of the same kind or an enemy of equal strength. So this is the first Atlus pulls a move like this in the series.
The way to handle Ladybugs is to take them out first if they're paired with another enemy. If they're the only enemies in the battle but in a group, you have to take them out at the same time. Chances are your party members aren't that fast enough to snipe them before they can summon Raflesias so try not to let it get to that point. It's Atlus telling you, you can't just press A (or L) to win. You have to plan out your moves carefully, or a flower will eat you.
This would be one such encounter. Unfortunately Ladybugs do hit pretty hard, so it can be kind of hard to hold back deliberately and survive just make sure a flower doesn't maul your party.
Fortunately, if the Ladybug is beat up enough, you can probably snipe it before it summons help. Of course it has a chance to do something else other than calling for help when it's alone, but I wouldn't risk that.
He notices you and begins to speak.
: Need any help? You look like explorers--you looking for something?
: Do you know where we can find Red Shards?
: But we already have one.
You tell him about your quest relating to the hunting horn and await his reply.
After relaying this information, the guard returns to his post. Is he a lookout of some sort? You walk away from the guard, rededicated to your task.
: Frederik, we already knew where to find these. We have one right now.
: Oh we did? Terribly sorry.
: Relax, there's a wall between us. It can't reach us.
: What if it can fly over the wall?
: I don't want to think about it.
: Well I've never seen an FOE that could fly over walls before, so I think we're safe there. Oh hey, there's a chest on the other side of this wall. Hmm, can't reach it from here.
: Alright, careful now.
The Boar Spear is actually a sword despite the name. Spears don't become actual weapon types until EO3. If you're using a Protector or Landsknecht, this is a great find. Ken needs to be using Katanas, and Nick is a Whip Dark Hunter, so the only one who can use this is Frederik. Also, just walk in and walk out. You don't have to solve some sort of elaborate movement puzzle to avoid the FOE.
: We still have Warp Wires, right?
Our party was running low on TP and supplies, so I warped out and restocked. Sold off all our stuff aside from the Red Shard.
The Boar Spear is a pretty big boost to attack power. Also, since it's an actual sword instead that Dagger Frederik initially came with, he'll be acting a lot faster in battle now. I make my way back through the Labyrinth, this time being more conservative with TP.
Okay, here's how to properly fight a Redhorn. When it charges, unload every attack on it, and make sure everyone is healed up.
Then have everyone defend.
: Oh don't think my stomach can take any more of this.
: Hey, just be glad you didn't get munched on by a flower.
Normally that attack would have killed Frederik, but defending cuts down the damage taken by a lot. Defending also makes that character more resistant to status effects and binds. The important thing to note here is that the Redhorn will never use a regular attack, it will always use Horns to attack. The reason this is important is because regular attacks can crit, skills cannot. Until the 4th game anyways, and only one class can do that. So as long as your health is topped off, you can't be killed by these things. Even Aliara can tank a hit from one of these.
Snagged a Red Horn from it, and the party's getting close to a level up.
Of course even if you figure out how to handle one monster, Atlus loves to put those in formations where you'll have to make some tough decisions.
: Yeah, I'm just gonna walk away from this.
Or you can just run away.
The Sleep Bell is an item that can stop an FOE in their tracks for a few steps. This doesn't work on red FOEs.
: Another one?
: We'll just have to come back- Frederik. Put the sword down.
: Why do we have to go to the other side to open these up? Can't we do it here?
: You know that is a good question I don't have the answer to.
: Goddamn road blocks everywhere.
: Aw, it couldn't have been something awesome like that spear sword?
: How does that thing even work?
: I have no idea.
Blaze Oil adds a fire effect to your regular attacks in battle. Could be kind of handy, but it's not that great an item.
Even though the Cactoid hits hard, the Ladybug is still a number one priority. Atlus will start getting a lot more mean with the encounters from this point on.
: You said... you're from Firefly, right? Could you hold off on that door for now?
: And why is that?
The man looks at your party each in turn, a troubled expression on his face.
: I can't explain why. Just go ask the Grand Duchy... you'll understand then.
The protector remains in place, blocking the door with his head hung low. It seems that he won't let you pass just yet. You should return to town and visit the Duke's Palace for an explanation.
: Just let us through!
: You can come here all you like... I'll keep repeating myself. Go ask the Grand Duchy. If you still want to go past here after hearing what they have to say, I won't stop you.
It seems that he won't let you through for any reason until you have returned to town. You should inquire about the matter at the Duke's Palace.
: Cheer up man. At least we can get back here fast.
Right over here is a chopping point.
Common: Bent Twig - 1 needed for Wood Bow (Bow.) 3 needed for Slice Whip (Whip.) 5 needed for Beast Bow (Bow.) 1 needed for the quest The item trade I.
-Flexible wood that doesn't break easily.
Uncommon: Hard Root - 1 needed for Targe. 3 needed for Horn Mace (Staff.)
-Tree roots that grow deep underground.
Rare: Log - Unlocks nothing.
-Cut-down tree trunk worth quite a bit.
We can finally finish that quest we were handed on the first floor here. We just need to send in the gathering team to get it.
Ha, this is nothing.
The party levels up here. Ken just levels up Overhead some more.
I start making Nick learn Climax at this point. It'll be handy for finishing off problematic random encounters. And other things.
Frederik learns Warmight.
And Frederik takes a second and his last level in Haltshot. We'll need it for something later, but two levels is enough. And then we'll never need this skill again. Aliara's poison gets even more potent. After level 5, each point in that skill starts giving us some bigger returns.
Went ahead and hunted down the last Red Shard I needed.
: That should be all of them. Anyways, I hope you guys like rhino meat.
: As long as it's something new.
: At least it isn't hedgehog or snail.
: Land sakes, that was fast. These're bigger than I though. Hm... You did get three, though. Well then, here's the reward. Nice work, all of yeh.
: This is redundant.
The poison gas just tries to inflict the poison status on all enemies. Aliara's poison is better and will get even better. The townspeople don't have anything new to say since we didn't reach a new floor yet, so it's off to the Duke's Palace.
: Is anything the matter?
: Oho! You there! You're the ones from Firefly, are you not? Excellent timing, I have a boon to ask of you. I tell you now, it's a very dangerous mission. I won't force you to do it. But if you're willing to help this old man... Perhaps you wouldn't mind hearing me out.
: Alright, so what's the problem?
: Oh, you'll do it? Splendid, thank you very much. Allow me to explain further. A number of the guard corps have gone missing over the past few days. We have guards and medics posted around the first Stratum to support new explorers, you see.
: I've seen the guards but not the medics. I call bullshi-
: And what's the problem? Keep quiet all of you.
: I assumed that the danger they would face there wouldn't be anything they couldn't handle. However... yesterday, when the shift was over, ten of them did not return. I fear something very bad is happening near the Labyrinth's entrance.
: But I think I can entrust this one to you... Let it motivate you to someday surpass those sterling guilds! Now, go... find out the source of the disappearances and save the guards! Oh, yes... Here, take this.
: What's this thing for?
: It's a Lure Bell. All guards carry one with them at all times. If you see an enemy that's too much for you, you can stop its movement or lure it to you. It won't work on every monster in the Labyrinth, but it still comes in handy. We only have one left, alas... But you can make these from Bell Steel. If you want more Lure Bells, you can chop for this material on the 3rd floor. I'm relying on you. Make me proud!
: These bells can either stop an FOE for a few turns or lure them to the spot where it's used. However, it only works on FOEs that are nearby. In addition, some FOEs are immune to their effects. Try using the bells near an FOE to see what happens!
Don't lose this item, you'll need it for the mission.
: I'm not getting a good feeling about this one.
: Me too. This sounds pretty urgent. Meet me by the entrance later once you guys are done preparing.