Part 54: Bloody BattlefieldBloody Battlefield
: I think we better talk to Fedot about what Artelind said. He's gonna wanna hear about that.
: Yeah. Oh, hey, there's the Geo Pole or whatever it was called!
We reached a new floor, you know what this means.
Going back to town and getting all the dialogue and new quests!
: You are going at such a pace, I must warn you of something.
: Oh, what is it?
: I told you the legend regarding the floating castle, yes...? There is another strange legend we have here in High Lagaard. God waits in the floating castle for heroes. The strong will live with God forever. It seems every week that I hear stories of strong guilds not coming back from the Labyrinth. Do they fall prey to beasts or are they truly being taken to the floating castle...? It seems something you should be aware of while you proceed. I expect much from you.
: I do believe we got ourselves mixed up in something big.
: But just how big?
: I don't mean to presume, but I should warn you... Do you know of Guild Esbat?
: Yeah, we met with them a few times.
: There are two members to watch out for, both extremely skilled. One gunner and one war magus. I've heard tell that those two are up to something. If your paths should cross in the Labyrinth, just be careful. That's all the advice I have for you. Never underestimate anything or anyone.
: Thanks for the concern.
: We're just thinking about some things.
: I just won big at my weekly card game, and I'm feeling fine! Look at that beautiful sun! Have a round on the house!
: No thanks.
: What... Yeh don't want any? Why've yeh got to spoil my mood?
: Uh, you guys okay? You're usually not like this.
: We'll tell you about it later. It's complicated.
: Anyways... looks like yeh're doing well for yerselves up in the Labyrinth. But don't forget to have a look at the request board over on the wall now and again! Exploring the Labyrinth ain't an explorer's only calling. Yeh've got a duty to the people of Lagaard, too! Especially since yeh've made a name for yerselves as one of the strongest guilds!
: PFFT! WHAT!? Ack!
: Don't worry, I got this!
: Uh, why don't we check out what's on the board.
: Ah! This one's a very special quest! The client is... me! Haw haw haw! See, yeh lot are becoming notorious here in the city.
: You're not serious, are you?
: Yeh heard me! Yeh lot came from nowhere to make it all the way to the 3rd Stratum! No guild's ever done that before. Of course yeh're famous! Never underestimate the power of rumors... Thanks to them, I get a lot more customers now. Thing is... well, normal hooch is easy to get, but my secret whiskey's another story. It's damn good, and very popular, but I need herbs from the Labyrinth to make it. Which I'm sure yeh could have guessed...
: You need us to fetch them for you.
: Haw! Yep, I'll need yeh to fetch the ingredients. Here's what I need... 2 White Chips, 2 Blue Cores, and 2 Death Stems. That's all... Some of those yeh'll need to fight monsters for, but no problem, right?
: There's no rush, so don't feel like I'm pressuring yeh into this.
: But you don't have much of it left, do you?
: Hmm...? Well, yeah. I don't have much of the good stuff left... I just know yeh're busy too.
: Hey, we'll go look for them.
: Awww, I told yeh not to worry about it! When yeh've got everything, just bring it here.
We've got the White Chips and Death Stems, but we need to get the Blue Cores from some monsters on the 14th floor, so we can't complete this yet.
: Uh, what's up with this one?
: I wouldn't do that one if I were yeh...
: Why not?
: Can't yeh tell just by looking that it's bad news? Someone found a treasure in a tiny crack on one of the 13th floor walls. But the man who posted that request is a thief. He tried to hide it, but I know him of old. He didn't cause any trouble, and he left a proper reward, so I went ahead and posted it... I've heard only one body will fit through that crack at a time. But I don't see why yeh have to go alone into the Labyrinth for this one. Mighty suspicious... Well, if yeh're willing, I won't hold yeh back. But don't blame me if anything happens! The wall in question's at the western area of the 13th floor. That thief'll be waiting. Watch yerself, yeh hear?
: Okay, so who wants to go on a solo adventure? I volunteer-
: Yeah, I'm going to stop you right there. None of you are allowed do this quest.
: Aw, come on! We're can of handle ourselves.
: Yeah, maybe when you're in a five man team, but alone? Just leave it to me.
: Uh, you sure about that?
: I'll be fine. I've done a few requests like this before. I know how to handle myself.
You really want to do this quest because the reward is very good. But you need to complete To the bitter end to unlock this.
: Give us the rundown on this one, my good man!
: Ah yes, that quest. The client will be very happy to hear that yeh're handling it.
: Why's that?
: Hm? Ah, surely yeh remember the lass who wanted revenge for her fiance's death?
: Oh, that's her? How's she doing now?
: She's since become a troubadour and joined the naval band. I gave her the herbs yeh brought back with the bone... Though of course, I kept the bone to myself. She cried up a storm for a spell, but she seems better now. Once yeh'd got revenge for her, she thought she'd spend her life trying to save other people. And she hated to think of anyone feeling as low as she did, so a troubadour was the natural choice.
: I was surprised myself! But she's a natural at that music stuff. But it seems they don't have enough people for a job they're planning... So she came here, asking if anyone can help out. And that's the story. Bring me a troubadour with a voice like a lark, and we'll get started!
: I don't think we can do this request.
: All right, enough joking around. Bring me a real troubadour! They're deadly serious, and I guarantee you they won't find this funny.
: There's no way we can get this done.
: And I don't even see Gilbert anywhere.
: Oh, you're looking for Gilbert? He's out doing something. He should be back soon.
: Oh, we're fine. How are you?
: I went to the Explorers Guild for the first time! I was on an errand from my father. There were some explorers there waiting around... They all looked so strong... It was strange to think about you going on adventures and fighting monsters with them... It's really amazing! I think explorers are so, so wonderful!
: We haven't had many patients coming in lately. It's been a nice change of pace. But so long as the Labyrinth and the Explorers Guild exists, our work is never over. I don't mean to discourage you, but... watch your health while you're in the Labyrinth!
: Sorry, haven't seen her around.
: I just sent her to the bakery, but she's not back yet. I wonder what she's doing...
: You sure it's okay to send her out there?
: Oh, she'll be fine! It's the bread I'm worried about! I have a guest waiting for it.
: But you think she's fine by herself?
: My daughter? Bahaha! You're so kind to ask! I'm sure she's just fine.
: Everyone in town knows her, so no one would be foolish enough to try anything. My daughter and I know more about this town than anyone else! But it's nice to know you care. Thanks, loves!
Right, so that quest needs a Troubadour to complete. Getting the extra rewards is also another skill check, but this time the required skills have to be at level 5, which can throw some people off. You get 600en for having a level 5 Shelter, but 1200en for having a level 5 Stamina.
A group of explorers seeks a troubadour with a beautiful voice... The troubadour currently in your party would be perfect for their needs! Return to the bar once you have a spare moment.
: Ah hello! I hear that I was needed for something?
: Actually no-
: Someone needed a Troubadour to help them out with something.
: I would be glad to help!
: You idiot.
: I see... Tell me, are good looks one of the conditions for joining Firefly?
: Oh, I, uh. Well.
: Haw haw! Relax, I was kidding! Yeh there, sing me a song.
: Oh, um. Sleigh bells ring, are you listening, in the lane, snow is glistening... How's that?
: Ahh... now that's a lovely voice. We had a singalong here the other day, and my ears bled. This one tosser made people faint and dogs howl... It was like nails on a blackboard! That guy, he... Oh, I s'pose this isn't the time or the place, is it? All right, come with me. The rest of yeh, mind the bar.
Cass leaves and comes back.
: I'm back. Thanks for looking after the bar for me. That lass thanked us so profusely for helping that I felt a mite awkward! But I'm sure it'll all work out in the end. To tell the truth, I was more worried about yeh lot here! Haw haw haw! Yer one will be back when the job's done. But until then... yeh have some free time, don't yeh?
: Why yes, I do have some available.
: Well, what a coincidence. I'm a mite short-handed on staff... How about pitching in?
: Actually I just remembered that I have much more important things to be doing. Such as uh, eating shoes in the basement of the inn.
: What!? I break my back for yeh and yeh won't return the favor!? Come on now... Please!?
Fade to black.
: Ahh, welcome back. Whew... Thanks for yer help. The job's all done, is it?
: Ah yes, she escorted me back herself.
: Escorting yeh personally... She must have really appreciated yer help, eh? Me, I'm shocked that one song can do so much! I heard yer song bestowed the strength of ten men, and they cleaned house! Well, here's yer reward for a job well done. Take it with my thanks!
Oh boy. This is possibly one of the strongest consumable items in the game.
Oh, and the extra reward. Whatever.
These can only be used in battle, but what they do is boost a party member's Force by 30 points. These were in EO1, but they were a lot weaker, only restoring 10 Boost points. And Boost was much weaker than Force. Considering that the main things preventing Force Skills from completely tearing the game apart are how slowly the meter builds up, and that it's impossible to use them more than once in battle thanks to the slow gain, this item is really strong. Instead of being forced to wait 50 turns for your party to get full Force meters for a boss battle, you can just stock up on these and have everyone fill up. Theoretically anyway. Axcelas are really rare at this point. We can't buy these until the 5th Stratum. And the problem is that we can't actually spam Force Skills that well with these. You'd have to have 4 of your party members doing nothing but using these on the guy that's gonna use their Force Skills. It's still a really strong item, and it was too strong to the point that this is the last game it appeared in, other than EOU. EO3 reworked how the special moves worked, and Atlus thought these items were a bad idea that messed up the balance.
: When did he actually get good?
: He did a lot of practicing while you were all up there. A lot of practice.
: At least we won't have to hear his terrible singing anymore.
There's a shortcut nearby. There's also a path to the right.
Which leads nowhere. There's no big ice puzzle like that frozen lake on the 12th floor, but there are a bunch of dead ends on this floor.
Skills: Shell, Counter
-Common: Shell Chip - 1 needed for Sallet. 5 needed for Luck Staff (Staff.)
--Shattered fragments of a crab shell.
-Conditional: Whole Hull (Don't kill with physical. 1 needed for Volt Axe (Axe.)
--An intact shell of a Hugecrab.
Description: A forest crab, evolved to the size of a large dog. It now seeks bigger prey to match...
Weakness: Volt (150%)
Resistance: Stab (50%)
These things aren't too deadly if you can take them out quick. If you get blindsided by them, they'll use Shell. Shell increases their defense, making them a bit harder to take out. If you damage them, but don't kill them, they'll have a chance to start using Counter. When they take damage and don't die, they'll counter with a really powerful attack that's very likely to kill your party members at this point. Indirect methods of damage like Poison won't activate Counter.
: I've made these to be especially painful!
Now that Bellamy has Analysis, the game will tell us if we hit a weakness by saying that the spell was a crit.
I should also probably mention that I went ahead and relocated Aliara's points in Torpor to Curses, so she has Dampen unlocked, she just doesn't have any points in it yet.
: Cheap shot.
: How humiliating.
Just demonstrating that you need to be careful around them. Also I got two level ups, but I forgot to make use of them. The reason being...
: Okay, let's just revive them and move on.
: We can't.
: What? What do you mean we can't?
: We're out of Nectars we forgot to stock up on those.
: Goddammit. We're going back.
After few seconds spent restocking and reviving everyone, I go back.
Taking the right path up, there's a branching path here. We can go up or right. I go right since it leads to an event.
: This looks like a good spot to take a break.
: I don't know about this.
You take off your backpacks for a well-deserved rest. But the chill that soon creeps into your bones is so awful that you jump right back up! You have a terrible feeling about resting here... You leave the area as soon as possible!
: What was that?
: I think something's watching us!
: Okay, break time's over! Move!
: Man I really wish we got more rest.
: I think we spent more energy setting up than actually taking a break.
This event is a pretty big dick move. You can recover from HP loss easily. We can't do that with TP loss just yet.
: All shall fall before me!
: Not to rain on your parade, but GIANT CRAB!
: That wasn't here before! When did it get here?
: It must've been attracted by all the noise we were making.
Before I go take on that FOE, I'm gonna use up my skill points first.
Bellamy's weakness damage got boosted to 10%.
Pauline mastered Bows, so she unlocked Apollon.
Nick's one point away from unlocking the Bait skills.
Here's an FOE returning from the first game, the Killclaw. They don't appear on the field normally. If you get into a random battle near their spawn point, they'll appear on the map and try to join in on your battle. If you're not paying attention to the bottom screen, it can be a nasty surprise when one suddenly joins in and decides to bisect your Hexer or whatever.
One of the reasons I had my Alchemist take the Volt skills was so I could fry this thing instantly.
-Drop 1: Red Blade - 1 needed for Goliath (axe.)
--Crab scissors whose tips are covered in blood.
-Drop 2: Carapace - 1 needed for Hauberk.
--Steel-hard carapace with a brilliant luster.
-Drop 3: Space Husk - See Clawbug bio.
Description: A denizen of the upper reaches of the forest. Its tremendous claws can cut a man in two.
Weakness: Volt (150%)
Resistance: Physical (50%)
Do not fight these things if you don't have an Alchemist. It will wreck you. Heavy resistance to physical attacks means that you're gonna have to spend more than 2 turns dealing with it, which is what you don't want. Claws is a heavy hitting attack that hits twice. On top of that, it has a chance to inflict instant death, which means that your frontline will turn into crab food fast.
If you do have a way of dealing heavy damage, they're not too much of a problem.
: Anyone want some fresh crab meat?
: After what you did to it? No.
: Okay, so you gotta tie the whip here-
: You're taking notes!?
: I'm going to need a lot of alcohol when we get back.
Of course I miss out on one of their drops, even with Scavenge. Oh well, at least that ability makes drop hunting much less annoying.
Walking all the way around nets us some money.
Skills: Evil Cry, Fang
-Common: Snow Fang - 1 needed for Wolf Pain (Whip.) and Landanum. 10 needed for Nikkari (Katana.)
--Sharp fangs, used in high-quality weapons.
-Rare: White Hide - 1 needed for Pure Beads and Hauberk. 3 needed for Snow Coat.
--The thin hide beneath a wolf's pelt.
Description: A white-furred wolf that hunts in packs through the forest's center. Stay well clear.
Weakness: Fire (150%)
Resistance: Ice (75%)
Wolves have a very simple AI. First they'll use Evil Cry, which boosts their attack. Then they just use Fang over and over to kill you. Don't let it get to that point and they're not a problem. If you get blindsided, you may just want to run so your party doesn't die.
: Oh god, the teeth!
: Remember me. As the greatest Alchemist in history.
: Not happening.
Unfortunately I let it get to that point.
Of course it's only just one Wolf, so it goes down easily. Now if you were facing multiple Wolves, that would be problematic.
Another shortcut we can't access yet.
: Why do we keep finding stuff that we can't use?
: And shortcuts we can't get through?
: Those are a good thing, something to look forward to!
By the way, ambush FOEs respawn indefinitely. Don't think you're safe if you killed one in the area. Because of this, they're really not worth killing aside from their drops.
Of course if you want to fight them, have to make sure they're next to you when you finish the battle, because they'll disappear after you take one step. A strategy you can use to deal with them is to set up in a random battle, and wait for them to join in so you kind of have a head start of sorts. You actually have to do this in EO3, because unlike the FOEs in 1 and 2, the ambush FOEs in that game despawn immediately after you finish a battle.
There's another Killclaw in this area.
Okay, I walked straight into the FOE, with the intent to get into a fight. So why the fuck does my party get blindsided even though they were looking right at it?
: My legs. I can't feel my legs.
: Can't breathe.
: Could someone go and make it so that we don't have to see the boy's lungs sticking out?
: On it.
: Try chopping my legs off now!
And that is why you should avoid Killclaws. At least I managed to get all of its drops this time.
There's a Killclaw right around here.
And Ken gets a level up!
Kienzan is maxed out, dealing 170% fire damage to everything. Ken can clear mobs pretty easily now.
There's a new FOE patrolling the area down here. And the first Take point is here.
Common: Strawberry - 1 needed for Stonard. 3 needed for Amrita. 5 needed for Therica AX.
-Sweet berries that restore some HP.
Uncommon: Icy Flower - 1 needed for Beast Bell. 3 needed for Landanum. 5 needed for Sleep Gas.
-Snow-like flower that restores some TP.
Rare: Narcissus - 1 needed for Cut Mist, Bash Mist, Stab Mist, Fire Mist, Ice Mist, Volt Mist, Phys Mist, and Evil Mist.
-Carnivorous flower with its own water supply.
This is a really important Take Point. Getting a Narcissus will unlock most of the Mist items in the store. And we can buy Amritas and Therica AXs once we have enough Strawberries. Well, we can buy Therica AXs at least. We also need a drop from an enemy on the 15th floor before we can buy Amritas. You'll want to stock up on Therica AXs through, especially if your party doesn't have a Medic.
Skills: Charge, Bullrush
-FOE: Red Jaw - 1 needed for Rune Gage.
--Teeth so large that one man cannot carry them.
-Encounter: Metal Horn - 1 needed for Brio Wrist, Kotsujiki (Katana.), Fin Bow (Bow.) 3 needed for Iron Saker (Gun.)
--Broken animal horn, made of various metals.
Description: A large, extremely territorial elephant that adapts to its environment.
Weakness: Fire (125%)
Resistance: Ice (0%), Volt (0%)
Metal Horns can be found on some monsters on the 15th floor. Armoths will almost always spend their first turn charging, and then hit your front row with Bullrush. After that, they'll do whatever. Fire is their only weakness, which I forgot at the time.
Fortunately, we still have Ken, who is an absolute monster at this point.
And I don't even get their FOE drop.
Going up and crossing over that ice is the only path we can take that doesn't lead us to a dead end.
And we can skip over all that on future trips.
: You guys hear that?
You look around and spy an animal cub under attack from a forest monster! There is no reason or reward for rescuing the cub, but you feel compelled to act...
You rush in to protect the cub by moving between the monster and its prey!
: Get out of here!
Quickly understanding, the cub escapes into the forest. The monster, however, is furious at losing its prey, and will not let you go without a fight!
Oh hell no.
: Play dead.
: Good boys!
There's no additional text out of this. The game was right, there's no reward for doing this, unless you count the exp and drops as a reward.
I noticed Aliara was close to a level up, so I got into another fight.
Oh yes! YES!
Ha ha ha. Dampen is very expensive, is a single target debuff unlike Frailty which is an AOE debuff, requires 25 skill points to even unlock, and has a speed modifier of 1% at level 1. All of which I assume was a half-assed attempt to balance it. As for what it does, let's take a look.
Remember that Clawbugs have a 25% resistance to physical attacks.
: Know your place, weakling!
What Dampen does, is nullify every single resistance on an enemy. It doesn't even matter how resistant they are to an attack. Whether they only take 75% or even 0% damage from an element, a level 1 Dampen will make it so that they take 100% damage from all attacks they aren't weak to. A level 5 Dampen makes them take 120% damage, and even affects enemies that take the standard 100% damage from elements. Levels 4 and 5 of the skill can create an artificial weakness for the Alchemist to exploit. Dampen does not affect weaknesses. If an enemy takes 150% damage from Fire, Dampen won't mess with that weakness in any way.
Dampen is a middle finger to the very concept of resistances. It is so broken that it never made a reappearance in any of the other EO games including the remake. There wasn't even an attempt to nerf the skill, it was fundamentally broken. Revenge didn't even have that honor. Remember how Salamox's conditional drop was to kill it with Fire and it took 0% damage from that? Dampen makes those kinds of conditional drops very easy to get. What makes this skill even more broken is that there is a disproportionate amount of enemies in this game that are resistant to physical attacks. This skill is why you can get away with not using too many elemental skills in this game. For parties that have a lot of physical attackers, Dampen is one of the best support skills in the game. And this is a debuff, not a status effect, so it works on FOEs and bosses.
There are a few downsides to this skill. It's slow, very expensive, and only targets a single enemy. And since it only affects resistances, skills that deal untyped damage don't benefit from it. The Hexer has access to a defense debuff, Frailty. Unlike Dampen, which just sets resistances to a given value, Frailty is a multiplier. It causes all enemies, not one, to take an extra 132% damage at level 10. Unfortunately both skills do not stack so you can't make enemies ridiculously weak to everything. If you have a party that's heavily reliant on elemental attacks, Frailty is the superior option. It actually affects weaknesses, and not too many enemies are resistant to elements. Oh and just because you can use Dampen on everything, doesn't mean you should. Some bosses have a special reaction to being hit with Dampen. You do not want to see those special reactions. Still aside from all that, Dampen is one of the most powerful skills in the game. It makes getting certain conditional drops much easier, so it's worth the investment.
With that aside, let's see how the rest of the guild is doing.
These five are the same.
Frederik hasn't changed much. He's working towards Cursecut, but that's it.
Fedot has maxed out his strength stat, so he's gonna be hitting slightly harder than Ken at this point. I've started putting a few points into TP so he can use his skills more.
Aegis is just working towards survivability. He's maxed out En Garde.
Now Emilia's skillset took a more interesting turn. She has both Blazer and Shocker maxed out, which are her chaser skills. They deal elemental damage to any enemies that got hit by the selected element. Theoretically, these are the Landsknecht's best damage skills. The problem is that she can't actually hit anyone with these unless she has party members that have elemental attacks in the first place.
Maverick has maxed out Purity and has one point in Freedom. He also has some points in Patch Up, which should help with sustain and prevent us from having to use up too many resources while in the Labyrinth.
Gilbert hasn't changed much, he has 5 points in Stamina, but 3 points in Health. Health is a really good skill that reduces the party's chances of being hit by a status effect. At level 3, Status Effects only have a 48% chance to hit. This doesn't affect binds, unfortunately.
Now Ling has maxed out Loyalty. Which is gonna give him a 75% chance to block attacks that come for other party members. Not really a good deal, but I did that so he could max out Rampage, which randomly hits enemies 3/4/5/6 times 160% damage. The proc chances for the amount of hits it can do are 45%/25%/20%/10%. It's basically Ricochet on steroids, but the accuracy of each hit is 75%. Despite all that, on average this deals out more damage than Midareba and Ricochet, so it's the best damage skill in the game.