Part 97: Golem: Guardian of the ForestGolem: Guardian of the Forest
: Yep, the winged one was right. There is another Stratum up there.
: There were a lot of trees and flowers too!
: I see... So there was another Stratum above the floating castle. Well, plants do naturally seek the sun. It makes sense to find them on top of the castle. But remember... it is still the Yggdrasil Labyrinth. Don't forget that you are citizens of Lagaard. Should you need any assistance, we are all willing to stake our lives on it. Your battle is ours. Don't neglect the help we can offer. I wish you well on your journey.
: Nothing much so far.
: I'm sure the strongest guild in High Lagaard hates to hear this, but... Be careful. That's all I can say. May the Labyrinth's blessings be with you.
: I probably... shouldn't have... drank that much...
: My tummy hurts...
: What the hell happened here?
: In honor of yeh lot... I've been partying every day and getting blind drunk every night. With a hangover every morning!
: Wooo! Go Firefl-
: ...Okay, I think we better get back to exploring the new Stratum.
: So yeh're still going into the Labyrinth? Are yeh even human? Yeh're almost as scary as the beasts in the forest! I'm scared to have yeh in my bar! Haw! When the Labyrinth was first discovered, it drew all manner of guilds to Lagaard. I tell yeh, I never expected that any of them would make it up to the top. And I certainly never expected it would be yeh lot! Yeh seemed so weak to begin with... I don't know whether to be happy or sad about that... Dammit! I really like yeh lot. Yeh've had that gleam in yer eye from the get-go. When yeh get famous... even more than yeh are now, I mean... Yeh better still visit my bar, got it!? Hawwww haw haw haw!
: Ohhh... I don't think I'll be able to go on another trip to the Labyrinth for the next several weeks. Make that months.
: Same here.
: Um. Take care of them in the meantime, Ling.
: It's been a while since you first came to our shop! Hee hee... It gives me a warm feeling to think about how long we've known each other. I get nervous when new faces walk in the door, but when I see it's you, I feel relaxed. Thanks for coming in so often and letting me get to know you. Browse as long as you like!
: So, there was a hidden forest beyond the floating castle?
: Yeah, we're about to go back there.
: You must really enjoy exploring. Well, I won't get in your way. But that doesn't mean I'm letting you off without a warning! Is that clear?
: Oh great.
: At that height, the oxygen level will be reduced, and you may find it harder to breathe. Temperature also drops as you rise in altitude. At 1,000 meters, it will be near zero. Make sure to dress warmly and wear headgear. Most body heat is lost through the head. Further more... Wait, are you listening? Don't make that face! All right, I'll keep this brief and simple. If you feel weak, or ill, come see me! Follow that rule, and you should be fine.
: It must be tough up there... Are you going to explore it too?
: Uh huh! Nothing is too tough for us!
: I'm a little worried. At this rate, you'll reach the sun before too long! Maybe you should only go into the Labyrinth at night... After all, there's no sun at night, so you won't have to worry about being burned!
: Uh, okay?
Time to head out and see if we can explore more of the 6th Stratum.
: So that's what happened in Etria?
: Yep. Everything I told you is true.
: Oh wow. That's... that's rough buddy.
: Ah, but that was in the past. There's no need to dwell on it anymore.
: Yeah! You're a hero now! We're all heroes now!
: Heh, I guess so. Oh hey, here's the seal.
You feel as though you are being watched by someone... A sword is on the far side of the room. Its blade pierces the ground and a strange magical circle has been formed around it... As you gaze upon the sword, the chief of the winged ones appears with the Foul Grail.
With these words, Canaan looks around and lifts the Foul Grail.
: Almighty Nuh says that the End-Bringer awaits in the depths of the Forbidden Wood. Our god's last instructions were to open the forbidden door and put an end to this land.
: Um, you don't agree with those instructions, do you?
: But do not misunderstand me... We do not wish everything to end, as our god had commanded. If there is such a threat beyond this place... I thought that we who know of its existence must rid the world of it, for our people's future. Our teachings are law, and we have followed these precepts since ancient times... But in the absence of our god, might we seize this chance to change? I would say yes. Even with such a fearsome threat... I know that Firefly can...
So the plot of the postgame? Kill this End-Bringer.
Canaan trails off and stares at you intently. After a long silence, he speaks curtly:
Canaan lifts the Foul Grail and chants in an avian language you are unable to comprehend. His voice gradually increases in volume until the ground and the air seem to tremble.
A flash of white.
Bright light engulfs the area... The Foul Grail has disappeared, and the chief stands smiling.
: It is done. The Forbidden Door has been opened. All you must do now is pull out the sword, and the way forward will be clear.
His expression grows pained, and he continues in a hushed tone.
: But be careful... Even I know not what lies beyond!
The chief blesses your journey before leaving the area. You may examine the sword in front of you, or return to it once you are better prepared.
: I guess we really can't leave High Lagaard now.
: What did we just get ourselves into?
: Who cares? We just need to kill this thing, and we'll be done with this whole Labyrinth! Pull out that sword!
It is driven deep into the ground, piercing the magical circle.
: Here goes.
A flash of white.
: Got it! Whoa!
: Crap! The sword!
You take hold of the sword's hilt, and the blade pulls freely from the earth. Immediately afterwards, the magic circle lets out a shockwave, causing you to drop the sword! It falls through a crack in the land, disappearing into the lower floors of the Labyrinth. You feel a sudden earthquake... The quiet forest is no longer what it was.
: It's kind of louder now. In fact, I can kind of hear some thuds. Where's that coming from?
: Oh what a bother. We're going to have to search the whole Labyrinth for that sword.
: Good going leader.
: Fantastic. Sorry about that everyone- Aliara? Are you okay?
: GUYS! BEHIND YOU!
Your explorer's sense tells you that a dangerous fiend is headed in your direction... The sense of malice is so strong that you are frozen in place, and can barely duck in time! Looming behind you is a gargantuan stone behemoth! There's no time now to chase after the lost sword--you must fight for your lives!
: Oh great, there's one in this Labyrinth too!?
Here's a boss returning from the first game, the Golem! Although it wasn't a postgame boss in EO1. Golem is a recurring boss that's been in all the DS Etrian Odyssey games, though it was absent from EO4.
-Common: Golem Rock - 1 needed for Hex Mantle. Limited Stock.
--Golem fragment that is harder than a boulder.
-Conditional: Statue Arm - Kill with Instant Death. 1 needed for Meteor Axe. Limited stock.
--Golem's arm that has retained its shape.
Description: A mysterious artificial being sleeping within the forest. No one knows why it was built.
Rocksoul: Uses the head. Increases Golem's attack.
Hammer: Uses the arms. Deals severe Bash damage to a single target.
Hammers: Uses the arms. Deals heavy Bash damage to the whole party.
Block: Uses the arms. Increases physical defense.
Ward: Uses the arms. Increases elemental defense.
Reflect: Cannot be disabled. Counters elemental attacks for a severe amount of damage.
Regen: Uses the head. Recovers 300 HP at the end of every turn. If this buff is in effect when Golem dies, then it will be revived with 3000 HP.
Golem is a boss that makes heavy use of buffs, so you either want to bring debuffs or dispels to the fight. For the most part, it's the same as it was in EO1, although its picked up a new trick. When you kill Golem, it will automatically revive itself for half of its HP which begins the 2nd phase. At that point, it'll start using Regen which will heavily undo a lot of your progress. Another thing to note is that if you don't dispel the buff or wait for it to wear off before you kill it, the revive will kick in again. He does follow a bit of an attack pattern. On the first turn it'll use Rocksoul, and every 5 turns after that it'll put up a Reflect. Also, the AI likes to target the back row most of the time, so keep that in mind. Overall, its a pretty simple boss. Its a complete joke if you decide to go for the conditional drop.
Opening up with elementals, and Dampen so my party can go to town on it. Although I made a mistake with Nick. Golem never attacks on the first turn, so I essentially wasted Nick's TP.
This was just a waste of a turn.
: Geez, this thing can take a hit!
: What did you expect? It's a statue.
: Erode and crumble!
Now I can go on the offensive with physical attacks. Though I have Frederik Erase Golem's buffs, because I do not want it to kill my party.
: I don't think so.
And despite the buff from Dampen, Ken is dishing out less than satisfactory damage.
Aliara can't really do much right now. I'm really wondering why I even kept her in the party.
: You know, being hurt is a bad thing.
: Not for me!
Oh right. Aliara getting punched in the face was actually the best possible thing that could have happened this turn.
Fedot's doing more damage, but that's because he has a better gun. Ken's equipment isn't really up to date. I need to get a better katana for him.
Now Frederik is free to buff our party's damage, and Aliara just got a nice setup for Revenge.
Okay, that's much better.
: AHAHAHAHA! Go ahead! Strike me down! I'll just get more powerful if you do!
: Someone took too many blows to the head.
: You can't do that! I worked so hard on that curse!
Dampen counts as a defense debuff, so any defense buffs will dispel it.
: Great, now I can't do anything to it.
: Oh don't worry, I've got just the thing to deal with it! Heh heh heh...
: ...No. Oh god no. Not again!
Remember all that stuff I said about Golem reviving and having a second phase?
: I blow you a kiss!
: MY EYES! MY EYES!
: Uh, I don't know if I should be disgusted or impressed that you managed to do THAT to a giant mechanical monster.
: I did not need to remember any of that.
: Meh. Seen that a million times.
Yeah, instant death bypasses all that. It's also snags its conditional drop, just like in the first game! This is the only other boss in this game that you can kill with instant death. Oddly enough, that wasn't its conditional drop in the 3rd game even though it wasn't immune to instant death there.
Each time, you narrowly escape and counter with what little force you can muster. After a long battle, it seems at last that the fiend has no more energy to fight. The stone behemoth bellows a tremendous roar before collapsing onto the ground! You have mastered your fear and defeated the guardian of the forest of the gods... You may resume your journey!
You can examine the spot where you were supposed to get the sword for another message.
: Well... Now what? We don't have the sword, should we go look for it?
: But we have no idea where it is.
: Maybe we should just look around this Stratum. Canaan did say we can actually explore more of it now.
Now back on the 26th floor...
: Uhhh, that FOE wasn't here before!
: Let's just take it out, how much trouble can it be?
-Common: Gem Chip - 1 needed for Shinshinoko. (Katana.)
--Fragment of the finest metal alloys.
-Conditional: Axe Shard - Kill while arms are bound. 3 needed for Dragvandil (Sword.)
--Battleaxe fragment made from fine materials.
Description: This large creature has a muscular body and a bovine head. Beware of the huge axe it wields.
Weakness: Ice (125%)
Resistance: Volt (0%)
Asterios are very dangerous FOEs if you don't kill them quickly. They hit hard enough to kill anyone in one hit, but once you get it down to half health, it'll start using Smash, which is a random target Bash move that randomly attacks the party 3 to 6 times. It can pretty much lead to a wipe, so kill them as fast as possible.
: Of course. Of course.
And that was the worst possible thing that could have happened.
Especially since I was so close to killing it in one turn!
And I got nothing for it!
: Uh, that wasn't the only one!
: Where did all those FOEs even come from!? They weren't there before!
: What's happening!?
: Uh, what happened?
: I believe we just got teleported somewhere. Look, we're not in the central area anymore.
: Oh please no.
: I guess that's what he meant by the door opening.
Now is the point where we start encountering new monsters other than the Bloodmen.
Skills: Smoke, Guard
-Common: Moss Shell - 1 needed for Phys Wall. 3 needed for Unihorn. 5 needed for Chidori (Katana.) 10 needed for Sage Wand.
--Has gained astonishing hardness over the ages.
-Rare: 1000 Shell - 1 needed for Ill Wind (Bow.) 15 needed for Full Plate.
--Shell of a thousand-year-old crab.
Description: It long ago chose one of the forest's most durable shells; breaking it will not be easy.
Weakness: Volt (150%)
Resistance: Physical (50%)
These enemies are very annoying to deal with on their own, and something you should strongly consider running away from if they're paired up with an enemy that gives you a lot of trouble. Smoke is a party wide debuff that lowers your attack, and Guard is a buff that raises the defense of every enemy. Yeah, essentially they can make it so that you can't do any damage to enemies. A Troubadour might be handy for dealing with them, but only if there's like one or two left in the battle. Oh and another thing about this enemy? They're bugged. Now sometimes it'll try to cast Smoke on your party, but thanks to a scripting error, it casts Guard instead, buffing your party's defense.
Ugh, yeah. If they get paired up with a hard hitting enemy, you might want to run. They're just annoying by themselves, but a nightmare to deal with in certain encounters.
: Please no.
Guess what? Floor 26 is a teleporter maze! How exciting! I'll paint those tiles blue from now on, although marking exactly where those tiles lead is kind of impossible with these mapping tools. I could throw on random icons there, yes, but that would make the maps look rather ugly. EO4 did give you number icons, but that game had no teleporter mazes in it. So those weren't necessary. EOU only went up to 9, when there were far more teleporters than that in its teleport mazes.
: Uh, boss?
: Are you okay?
: Ugh, sorry. I was just reminded of something really bad. And really annoying. Whatever. Let's just move on and get this over with.
Oh, and some of these tiles send you straight back to the entrance.
The right tile is the only way forward.
: Hmm, it appears that we have to choose the right teleporters in order to move forward.
: Is there any way to figure out which teleporters are the right ones?
: Nope, don't bother trying to figure that out.
: That sounds like it's gonna be annoying.
: You don't even know the half of it.
OH GOD NO!
Oh this is gonna be annoying.
-Common: Red Collar - 5 needed for Vorpal (Sword.) 25 needed for Flash Bow.
--Frilled collar hide with flower-like patterns.
-Rare: Albino Fur - 1 needed for Holy Band. 10 needed for Angel Helm.
--White hide from a lizard's stomach.
Description: Its collar appears red, as if flecked with blood, and it can heal its fellow creatures.
Weakness: Ice (150%)
If you see these things in a fight, KILL THEM FIRST! This is because Saliva acts like Salve 3. And they love to spam this. Which means that any enemy that teams up with it will be getting full heals every turn! Oldcrabs and Gorezards are one of the worst encounter combinations to run into, because you'll be doing no damage on top of the enemies healing up any pitiful damage that you've inflicted on them. In fact, if you see those two team up with an even worse enemy, it might be just best to run.
Thankfully you can stop their heals with head binds.
These enemies are pretty much the game telling you that auto-piloting through battles is not a thing you can do anymore. Careful planning is needed for success.
The top teleporter takes you to the bottom area here.
: Oh great, more walking.
And this teleporter just sends you back to the entrance. This whole section is pretty much trial and error if you don't just look it up.
: That's just cheating!
I really need to get Ken a better katana.
Let's try the bottom teleporter this time.
: Now the question is, left or right?
: Who cares? We're just bashing our heads against a wall at this point.
: I think we better try to get out of here as fast as possible. Fedot looks like he's about to blow a gasket.
: Yeah. How about left?
: Thanks Aliara. Thanks a lot.
: Hey, how was I supposed to know it would send us back here?
: Yeah, chill out, boss. It wasn't her fault. We'll get through this. Maybe.
: I sure hope so. Sorry about that.
: No problem, I'm getting annoyed too.
: If the monsters don't maul us first...
I hope you can keep track of all this, because I'm not marking all this down.
Oh hey, another Asterios.
: Get over here!
: I got something to show you!
And I got the drops this time!
Oh dear god.
What a terrible treasure.
That side trip wasn't worth it, but at least the game was kind enough not to send us back to the entrance. But at this point, my inventory filled up, so I opted to go back and restock.
The Golem's drops sell for a ton.
It sucks being poor. This is the best katana I can get for Ken.
The Statue Arm unlocks the Meteor Axe. Which gives less of an attack bonus than the Bomb Axe, but it gives a huge strength bonus, so I consider it the Landsknecht's ultimate axe, even though there's one axe that's slightly stronger than it.
The Golem Rock unlocks the Hex Mantle, which is the Hexer's ultimate armor. I don't know if I'll buy this for Aliara, since I want her to stack HP, not defense for Revenge.
Back at the branch at the bottom, let's try taking the right teleporter.
Hey, a completely new area.
Oh, and there's one more way to deal with these encounters.
Put them to sleep! Aliara is fast enough to use Torpor before they can move. Even if they wake up in the same turn, being put to sleep stops any move you had queued up. This is why Torpor is the superior disable in the postgame. Buying a free turn is very valuable.
: Not so fast!
They aren't too much of a nuisance if you can disable them.
Here's the Chop Point for this floor.
Common: Shiny Vine - 3 needed for Noir Queen (Whip.) 5 needed for Yumiyawata (Bow.)
-Crystallized plant vine.
Uncommon: Deep Leaf - 3 needed for Greed Bow. 10 needed for Arcana Rod.
-Its fibers are hard, like metallic needles.
Rare: Glow Wood - Unlocks nothing.
-Soaks up light in the day to glow at night.
Now here's the thing about item points in this Stratum. Gathering is far more dangerous in the 6th Stratum than in the rest of the game. The gathering ambush chances were fairly low in the main game, but here it's 5% chance to get ambushed on floors 26 through 28. A 10% chance on floor 29. And a 15% chance to get ambushed on floor 30. This is especially annoying since all the items you can unlock from the Take Points in this Stratum are limited in stock, unlike the main game where that was restricted to the rare items.
That teleporter leads back to the first intersection. It's pretty much an exit if you forgot the Warp Wire.
Down here is another Asterios.
Unfortunately, if you don't have the firepower to kill them in one turn, someone is going to die.
Aside from the Asterios, there was nothing else there.
That teleporter just leads back to the leftmost area.
There's two Asterios in this place, and I kill them both.
Unfortunately, Ken dies again in the 2nd fight.
: Goddammit Ken.
: You have no right to say that. At all.
This is the only other teleporter here.
And it takes us to a new area.
With very terrible treasures.
And this teleporter takes us back to the branch at the bottom. Wait, what?
: We're just going in circles at this point.
: I hope we can find the way forward soon. I'm getting dizzy.
: Uh, guys? I think we took every teleporter possible.
: Wait, but that means there's no way forward. I mean look at the map, we're still missing a lot of it.
: ...You're kidding me. Maybe we should- oh screw this! We're taking a break! I've had enough of this nonsense for today!
Well this is troubling. We can't seem to progress at this time. We're missing the right side of the map, but like I pointed out, I've taken every teleporter possible. Can you figure out how we're supposed to move forward? Also, where is the sword now?