Part 36: Cleanup: The First StratumCleanup: The First Stratum
First things first, I unlock all the items from selling stuff from the first stratum's Take points.
Also, finishing up that fetch quest I got a few updates ago.
: Okay, Fedot said that guard was around here. Aha! Hi there! Fedot sent us!
You pay the guard for the medicine he's offering.
: It's an honor to meet any members of Odyssey. Have a pleasant journey!
The guard leaves the area with a smile, happy to merely to have met you. You, too, elect to retun to your journey through the Labyrinth.
: Why did he call us Odyssey?
: Oh, it's the name of Fedot's old guild. You know, the ones that got famous in Etria for, uh. Hmm. I need to make Fedot tell me the rest of that story. Anyways let's go turn in that- what's with the funny looks?
: Uhhhh. There's something standing behind you.
: It's a panda! It doesn't look dangerous. Wonder what it's doing here.
: Whatever, let's just go. Oh, and why are the townspeople talking about our guild all of a sudden?
: Didn't you hear? Our guild slayed the vile Chimaera and reached the second stratum! We might be getting famous!
: Oh, I see. Just how famous are we talking about here?
: I'm not sure, but that's all everyone in the bar has been talking about lately.
: Ah, welcome back! All done with yer rock hunt?
: Here you go!
: Four, five... Yes, that's all of them. I'm still shocked yeh knew that guard so well. Can't forget yer reward, of course. I'll be counting on yeh!
Has a low chance to blind all enemies. Meh.
: Uh, I think we may have gotten a new souvenir from the Labyrinth.
: What are you talking- how long was he with us?
: Uh. Oh boy, how am I gonna explain this to Fedot?
And for selling all the mining items, we unlock a few new weapons. No upgrades unfortunately.
And all these are from selling the items from the chop points.
: So let me get this straight. While you were out gathering, a panda showed up and followed you home?
: Can't we keep him? I promise we'll take good care of Ling.
: You named it?
: Hey, didn't the guildmaster say we could train beasts to help us with the Labyrinth?
: Oh oh, and I could practice my curses on him!
: Don't you dare!
: Fine, but he's your responsibility. You need to be the ones to train him.
Say hi to our newest member, the Beast. I'll show off the class in the next stratum. While I'm here, I'm gonna create a few more characters.
Now I held a vote for the names of two Hexers I was going to create, but it turned out I didn't need the Hexers for what I wanted to do. Instead, I used those names for two Landsknechts, which I'll need for something much later down the line. Oh, and if you're planning on boss grinding, make sure to create a level 1 character. Any class will do. They won't be going into the Labyrinth.
That is a nice hat. I want that hat.
Oh, right. You want to put them in a party alone.
See that word and number to the right? That's the calender, and you can use that to help keep track of when you last killed an FOE or boss, so you know when they'll respawn. Every month has 28 days in it, and bosses respawn every 14 days.
So what you want to do is sleep at the inn for 14 days, which only costs 70 en, as opposed to the thousands you'll be spending if you try to do this with your regular party.
Once you're done with that, make your party, and while you're including the characters you want to level up, make sure to put in the characters that can kill the boss easily.
Chimaera's respawned, but notice how we're behind it now.
That's right, you can get preemptive strikes on bosses if you come at them from the floor above. Sadly, this is the last game that let you do that. The rest of the games usually limit it to the first boss, and a few others.
Once you kill the boss, just rake in the exp.
Selling the Brute Tail unlocked the Shadow Bow and the Beast Tail for us. But these items are limited in stock. Now, when you unlock an item in the store, most of the time, you can buy the item as much as you want. But some items have limited stock, meaning that you need to sell the drop that unlocked the item to the shop again before you can buy another one if they run out. This is usually limited to boss drops and postgame items. But if we buy the Shadow Bow here, that means we can't buy the Beast Tail (if it was unlocked) since both of those items came from the same material. So that's another thing to keep in mid.
Another strategy for the Chimaera fight, if you have an Alchemist at level 9, and a Troubadour and have them both use their force skills...
You can nuke Chimaera in one shot. However, this is only because of Gilbert's Force Skill, Crusade. It increases the attack, defense, and maximum HP of everyone in the party for as long as the Troubadour is alive, or until the battle ends. Without it, Eschaton only does around 700 damage to Chimaera at this point. Crusade may seem like a really good Force Skill, but there's a pretty big downside to it I didn't get a chance to show off.
Time to get down to FOE hunting.
FOEs tend to have drops that lead to some nice pieces of equipment, so even if they don't give out exp anymore, killing them for their drops can be worthwhile, especially if you can pull it off early.
-Common: Brass Fang - 1 needed for Hell Claw (Claw.)
--A Raptor's steel-hard tooth.
-Rare: Gum Hide - See Roller bio.
Description: A creature whose jaws can tear through any human once its saliva paralyzes the poor soul.
Weakness: Ice (125%)
They're pretty much the same enemy as the Gashtor, only stronger. If you're using a Beast, make sure to kill one of these so you can get a good weapon for them.
At this point, they're not a problem for us anymore.
If you're planning on doing a certain quest, make sure to eliminate the Raptor in this area.
The Glue Hide unlocked this piece of armor, that we don't have all the drops for yet.
The Brass Fang unlocked this claw for our Beast. We already had a claw unlocked earlier, but this one will outclass ay new claws that we unlock in the shop for a while.
Time to finally take down these things.
: I hope you guys still have room for Venison.
: When it's not the only thing we're forced to eat? Sure.
-Common: Deer Hide - 1 needed for Hide Armor.
--Durable hide with a sandpapery surface.
-Rare: Gum Hide - See Roller bio.
Description: A deer whose beautiful fur and magnificent horn can bewitch travelers.
Weakness: Fire (125%)
Resistance: Ice (75%), Volt (75%)
Step is a splash damage melee attack that has a chance of confusing whoever it hits. Oddly enough, this is the only Etrian Odyssey game where they don't have a volt weakness. They're weak to fire instead, so make sure to use those attacks. Not too tough, but the confusion can throw a wrench into your plans.
Some respectable damage.
Remember when Step used to be a one hit kill? Our party has come a long way since the start of the game.
: Mmm, fresh meat.
: On second thought, maybe not.
And I don't get the drop I wanted. Ugh, this is the worst part about FOE hunting. Most of the time you only need one of their drops, but it doesn't drop that often, meaning you need to kill multiple FOEs to get it.
Now we can take down the Furylord safely since it won't summon any helpers this time around. You can also come up to it from behind to give yourself a bit of an advantage.
-Common: Deer Hide - See Furyhorn bio.
-Rare: Gum Hide - See Roller bio.
Description: Unlike lesser deer, this hart is quite intelligent and relies on trickery, not direct attacks.
Weakness: Fire (125%)
Resistance: Ice (75%), Volt (75%)
It's just a stronger Furyhorn, nothing special. It would be kind of cool if it actually did tricks like the description talked about.
At max level, Dead Law increases the Ronin's damage by 30%, but also causes the Ronin to take an extra 20% damage from all attacks, making it a bit risky to use. But if you have a free turn of setup, it can be worthwhile to use. It's a weaker version of the Landsknecht's War Cry, but it's also a safer version.
Oh boy, just look at that damage.
: The sunlight! It burns!
: It's 8 in the evening!
: Ah, I'll never get tired of doing that.
: I'll never not get sick from seeing that.
Are you serious? Ugh, random drops suck. If there were only a way to make them guaranteed...
Several deer kills later...
Finally. As for the last FOE, the Stalker...
This is a good start.
: Uh oh.
: Oh this is gonna hurt.
If that looks like respectable damage, keep in mind that Stalkers have 1200 HP. Twice as much as they had in the first game. Yeah, they really ramped up the FOEs for this game.
: MY ARM!
: Hey, the hospital can put that back on. It's not like anything important got cut off.
: MY HEAD!
: I stand corrected.
: Oh, the smell of so much blood is so enticing.
: Uh. We'll just have to come back later to kill these things.
Yeah, Stalkers pretty much outclass our party right now. And we're nowhere near strong enough to kill them in one turn. Generally for Red FOEs, you wanna come back after completing the next stratum to take them on.
This piece of armor is unlocked from the Deer Hide.
Time to finally complete these quests that have been sitting in there since the beginning of the game.
: Oh, yeh're feeling up to the job? Much obliged. It'll be good to have an in with the Duke. I haven't got much details for yeh, but it sounds like they need a strong landsknecht. Other'n that, the Duke's men seem a mite... recalcitrant about the whole affair. Ahh, but I'm sure they pay well, and that's what counts, innit? But don't get all puffed up just because yeh're the man they're looking for!
: Hey, Emilia? Could you come over here?
: Oh sure. What do you want? Oh, this request? Sure!
: So that's yer one, eh? Hmm... I bet yeh've got what it takes! Come with me now. I'll leavve the store with the rest've yeh and be back before long.
Cass' sprite fades out to show that he's left.
: Woo! Free beer!
: Sit down, Nick.
: All right, I'm back. I saw the hodgepodge lot they'd gathered... What a sorry crew! Yer one trumped them all put together! Haw haw haw! I don't know what they're up to, but sit tight. They should be done soon.
And a fade out to show time passing. Even though it doesn't actually do that.
: Ah, here we are. So, what was the big deal?
: Oh, they just wanted me to train a bunch of new guys.
: ... They had yeh teaching swordplay to the green recruits? Haw haw! Well, good job, whatever yeh did. I'm sure the Grand Duchy appreciated yer skills. Here's the reward. G'luck, and keep up the hard work!
You'll always get the Power Ring, which is an accessory that gives a 5 point boost to strength, for completing the quest. But if your Landskecht is level 6 to 9, you'll get an extra 50 en. If they're level 10+ you'll get the full reward of 100 en. Completing this quest opened up a new one.
: Ah, yeh're willing to take care of this one? Nice. Remember when yeh took yer landsknecht to the Grand Duchy? Seems they were well impressed. They've got a job in the offing they want yeh to be part of. Fame comes quickly, doesn't it? This time it's a protector they're after, to help fight off a pack of beasties.
: Wait, you know about the job this time?
: How do I know about the job, yeh ask? Like I said last time... the Grand Duchy trusts me now. It's all thanks to yer fine work that the Duke's men recruit from the Stickleback Bar!
: Aegis, could you come over here? We need your help.
: What do you want? Oh. Ugh, fine.
: Ah, so it's yeh this time, eh? Yeh've got quite a guild there! Where d'yeh find these people? Well then, follow me. The rest of you, mind the store. I don't want a break-in while I'm away!
Cass leaves and then comes back.
: Thanks for staying! I admit, that looked like a hearty bunch of protectors. But don't worry. Yer one was clearly the strongest, just yeh wait and see! If yeh've time to sit a spell, why don't yeh relax here? Business is slow today, and I hate maundering around the place by myself. Haw!
Fade to black.
: Ahh, welcome back. Er, you look a bit the worse for wear. Was the job a rough one, then?
: Ugh. I had to deal with so many monsters.
: A protector lives or dies by the shield, man! If you don't know that, I worry for yeh. Anyhow, thanks for taking care of this one. I'm always counting on you lot!
Oddly enough, there's no additional reward for this one. Aegis was level 16 at the time, for the record. Another quest opens up, but I'm not tackling that one just yet.
Suddenly, arrows fly from all directions, piercing the ground near your feet! It seems that the hidden passage is riddled with traps. As you contemplate how to pass the traps, your protector pushes you aside and steps forward.
: Is this all you needed me for?
The arrows become little more than a nuisance against the protector's raised shield. You may now follow the protector and pass the forest wall.
And we run into a battle immediately.
: Coming through!
: Don't you get dizzy from doing that?
: A little bit.
Tornado is a cut attack that deals splash damage to any enemies next to the main target. It's pretty much the Landsknecht's best damage move, but the damage isn't much.
: Rhino corpses in 3, 2, 1.
: Oh those poor animals. Did you really have to kill them like that?
: The choking and twitching is the best part!
: Fedot, is it really a good idea to have this evil witch in the guild?
: Well it's been working out for us so far.
: Evil witch? Maybe I should test my curses on you when you're not looking. Like when you're sleeping.
The Hide Aspis is a Shield that Aegis or Emilia can make use of. Aegis needs to have a shield equipped so he can make use of his defensive skills.
But it is immediately apparent that doing so will be no simple task. A monstrous, grey spider whose web is strong as steel waits for you there... The metallic strands are spun far and wide. You wonder if there's any way through... After each member tries, your landsknecht steps forth valiantly. The spider has fled, but you are powerless to cut its steely web and move forward!
: Step aside. I'll handle this. HAAAAAAA!
The landsknecht raises a sharp blade and brings it down with a wild cry. The tough fibers are chopped in two, and the nest begins to fall apart! Thanks to your landsknecht, you push through the brush and reach the passage beyond.
Right on the other side is a Hide Plate, heavy armor for Aegis or Emilia. But I already have both of them equipped with that, so this is just free money for us.
Oh, and one more thing.
: Uh oh.
Never, EVER go into the Labyrinth without a Warp Wire. I'm fine since the party's much stronger than the enemies in the Labyrinth, but if you're trapped in a dangerous situation with no way out, well, save that map data and try not to make that mistake again.
: I forgot to buy more Warp Wires.
: Are you serious?
: Don't worry, we can get back to town through the 6th floor.
Well the map is complete at least. No more to explore on the 3rd floor. This floor and the 1st floor are the only maps that are completed so far. It'll take a little longer to complete the rest of the stratum.
: Well this might be a good time for you two to show us what you can do.
: Can I cut in?
All Out just has the Landsknecht deal a lot of damage to every enemy. It doesn't have any additional effects, like Issen's instant kill.
: Go ahead, just try to kill me.
Painless doesn't have a fancy animation associated with it. Not even the buffing animation. It's one of the best force skills in the game since it makes your party completely invincible for one turn. Not even status effects and binds will affect your party.
And I managed to get the Raflesia's regular drop too.
Time to go back and finish up the last quest.
: Whoa! The trees are on fire!
Ugh. Time to tackle the worst quest in the game. This one becomes available by the time you get to the 4th or 5th floor, after completing the level 3 Protector quest.
: I don't have a good feeling about this one.
: Yeh can't be serious... That job's a living hell! If yeh're not seriously prepared, best to stay away. It's another Grand Duchy request... The 4th floor beasties have been acting up. The corps is out too, of course, but they want a strong guild backing them up.
: So... are yeh up for it? Ahh, I'm sure yeh'll do fine. It's only three days! Haw!
: The quest starts with the rise of the sun. G'luck out there!
This isn't a monster extermination quest. Oh no, that would actually be interesting. I'm going to rant here for a moment. There was a quest in the first game where you had to spend 5 days on the 8th floor without leaving, or you'll have to start over. It was one of the worst quests in that game, but it could be cheesed thanks to a healing spring on that floor that restored all your HP and TP, although it couldn't revive the dead unless you were playing Untold. The room the healing quest was in also had no random encounters in it, so it you could just run back and forth in there for about half an hour until the quest was over. For some reason Atlus thought it was a good idea to bring that quest back. Yes, this is just a repeat of that quest. Thankfully the time limit got lowered to three days, but there were some additional changes made to it. I'll let these quotes from the Etrian Odyssey 1 LP tell you about it.
Dr Pepper posted:
Man that must have taken forever. At least the game was kind enough to give a TP restorative on that floor.
Imagine if they didn't.
I'd rather not.
That's right, there's no healing spring on that floor, or any spots where you can avoid random encounters. In fact there's no healing springs in this game at all! You have to go back to town if you want a full heal. You can't do it in the middle of the Labyrinth anymore. The whole monster slaying excuse is Atlus telling you that you can't (or at least, aren't supposed to) cheese it this time. Remember, the 4th floor is the place where you'll run into guaranteed blindsides, and probably lose a few party members the first time through. I have no idea how Atlus thought people could feasibly complete this quest that early in the game. There's another quest like this much later in the game, but the conditions for that one are a lot different.
: Hmm, looks like I'll need to make some special preparations for this one.
Your task is to stay on this floor for 3 days, defeating as many monsters as you can. Will your items and stamina last that long...? You now have 3 days remaining.
If you come here any later than 5 AM, the quest won't start.
: Woo! Camping trip!
: Why did you take me along for this?
: We need someone experienced to do a lot of monster slaying.
: Come on, I'll show you guys how to set up a campsite.
Now, you're not supposed to cheese this quest, but there's a few things Atlus overlooked. Rember that secret area with the 4 passageways and the Raptor? For one thing, you can't encounter solo Evil Eyes there and run into guaranteed blindsides. And the encounter rate there is really low.
: Stay quiet and follow my lead.
I'm not doing this legit. I'm cheesing this quest. There's no additional reward for killing a lot of monsters anyway. Using Stalker in this area will essentially turn off random encounters as long as it's in effect. Anyways, as for how long we have to do this. Each step we take, or turn that passes in battle counts as 1 turn. It takes 30 turns for an hour to pass, so that's 720 turns for a whole 24 hours. And we need to do this for 3 days. So that's 2160 turns. Now Pauline can cast a level 10 Stalker 6 times right now, so that's 1500 turns I won't have to run into random encounters. I forgot to grab some Sour Fruits from the take points to restore her TP, so I have to endure 660 turns of walking around with random encounters on. Oh and she's level 20 because I'm resting her after the quest is done. Not wasting 10 skill points for a skill I won't need in my main trips. After a while of walking back and forth in that hallway, I remembered to do something for another quest we took.
: Hey boss, what about those trees?
: That's right. Hang on guys, just follow me for a few minutes.
The thin, grey trees are twisted in a way that seems to call out to you... You think back to the doctor's words and take an instinctive step back. What could this disturbing tableau mean?
: That's not what trees are supposed to look like.
: Oh my, what happened here?
: What evil could have done this?
: No clue, but the hospital's looking into this. If you see any spots like these in your trips, write down the coordinates.
You note down the coordinates of the strange trees and leave the area.
Several hours later.
You have no way of knowing the hour, save by the sun's light fading and rising. Still, but you have little choice but to remain until the next guild arrives to relieve you.
: Why did I agree to this?
: I could ask myself the same thing.
One day later.
If you can make it through the day, your quest will be complete. Visions of returning to town and collapsing onto a soft comfortable bed tempt you...
: Oh man. Even I'm getting tired from this.
: Just... Ugh. Keep at it... We're almost done.
Be glad I'm skipping through this because this is nothing but tedium. Why did Atlus think this added anything to the games?
: Oh sweet sunlight! How I've missed you!
: Are we done? I think we're done.
: It should be the third day. Anyways, why don't we just walk up to the 6th floor to get back to town? We could all use some more exercise.
: What!? Are you kidding me?
: You forgot the Warp Wire again, didn't you?
: Gracious, yeh're back! You look sore all over. I told yeh this one would be hell. On the other hand, the Firefly Guild is on everyone's lips now. Yeh lot are famous! And of course, there's this other reward on top of that. Take it, and enjoy yer rest!
At least the reward is good. An extra 50 HP at this point in the game really provides a lot to a party member's durability.
: Ah! Our heroes return! I've prepared a song for your arrival! Ohhhh... Mph.
: Hmm, Torpor needs a bit more work. Oh, you didn't want to hear it. Just trust me.
: Okay then. Well, get some rest now, cause some of us are leaving for the second stratum tonight. That means you, Emilia.
: Wait, that's today!? But we just got back from that quest! That's not enough time for a break!
: Oh that's right. You haven't been on the main explorations until now. Yeah you're not gonna have a lot of breaks while you're on the main team. Good luck with that.
: What did I get myself into?
Next time, we start exploring the second stratum. But first, let's take a look at our guild members.
Ken put a point into Midareba. Not much happened here.
Nick took a rest, and relocated his Cuff points into maxing out Climax, and putting one into Gag.
Frederik got some huge changes. He now has 5 points in War Lore, and lost his points in Regenall and Cure. He now has 2 points in Cure 2, and maxed out Cure 3, which needs 5 levels to do that, and fully heals a party member for only 22 TP at max level. Maxing it out only lowers the TP cost, but Cure 3 is well worth it.
Fedot lost his two points in Haltshot, and now has 9 points in Guns.
Aliara now has 3 levels in Torpor, which has a 35% base chance of putting all enemies to sleep.
Aegis has Front Guard maxed out, has 2 points into Shields, has 3 points into Provoke, and 1 into Parry.
Pauline needs to take a rest, but she's not being used in the next few updates anyway, so eh.
Emilia has Tornado maxed out, and has 5 points into Swords.
Bellamy has 5 points into TP Up and TEC Up, which unlocked Analysis, which he put a point into. What it does is increase the damage an enemy takes if they get hit by an element they're weak to. He also has a single point in all the first tier elemental spells.
Maverick has 3 points into Healer, his mastery skill. He has 1 point in Cure 2, but most importantly, he has 8 points into Refresh, which is a single target status effect dispelling ability. At level 8, it can cure Petrification, which we'll be running into in the next stratum. He also has 4 points into Patrol at the moment.
Gilbert has 3 points into Song, his mastery skill. And 10 points into Bravery, which increases everyone's attack by 32%. He also has 3 points into Stamina, which is a buffing skill that increases everyone's max HP by 8% at that level. He also has a point into Esc Up.
Ling has a point into Esc Up, and 2 points into Preen, which acts like the Protector's Provoke, and 1 point in Wildwall, which acts like Parry. He also has 1 point into Saliva, which only heals 10 HP to another party member at the moment. Ling also has 5 points in Maul, which is a damage skill that gets stronger as his HP gets lower. That unlocks Devour, which Ling has 5 points in and has mastered. Devour is a damage skill with a drain effect, it heals Ling for 56% of the damage he deals to an enemy at max level for 202% damage. He also has 2 points into Loyalty, the Beast's mastery skill.
Now what Loyalty does is that it might make the Beast take damage in another party member's place. If you've played EO3, think of it like a completely uncontrollable Bodyguard that loves to kick in for everyone that's about to get hit. Now, Beasts are tanky so this wouldn't normally be a problem. The problem is that when Loyalty activates, the Beasts takes all the damage the intended target would have taken. So if something looks at your squishy Alchemist or Hexer funny, say bye to your Beast. And when maxed out, Loyalty kicks in 75% of the time. And it can proc multiple times, even against AOEs. See where this is going? Yeah, maxed out Loyalty turns your Beast completely suicidal. And since it's a passive, it can't be turned off. But it's a mastery skill, so if you want your Beast to learn a few certain skills, you have to put points into this. This is part of why Beasts aren't a great class. The other being that they don't have access to the Protector's Anti skills, so can't contribute much in the postgame.