Part 54: Troubadour OverviewTroubadour
May I compare thee to a summer's day? Troubadours are an absolutely great support class, buffing the whole party with their sweet melodies that last ALL BATTLE (so amazing against Bosses and FOEs) and swatting flies from the back with their bows, or swords if you're feeling adventurous. The difference between bringing a Troubadour or not is incredibly noticeable and really worth it if you don't mind a member not contributing damage wise. But as you'll see, they absolutely can contribute damage wise depending on the skill and they're basically a necessity in the postgame, but we'll get to that.
Troubadours have pretty good stats, obviously made to be in the back lines, but they won't immediately fall over if something looks at them like the Alchemist. Their HP is, uh, pretty bad, but their TP lets them spam their skills alright. Don't expect them to actually damage stuff with their meh STR, but they'll be busy buffing the party to begin with anyway. Their VIT isn't too amazing either, being on par with some of the squishier classes, but with their higher AGI they can be pretty quick, since their skills don't have too bad speed modifiers. They have the highest LUC, so yay, they'll boost item drops, otherwise it's useless. Finally they have meh TEC and can't do much with it, so oh well.
Unlocks: Stamina (LV3), Healing (LV5)
That's a nice boost to HP if you want to invest in it early enough, since the Troubadour has a pretty low HP pool. Since they're in the back most of the time, they won't get hit very often, so having some more HP means they'll stick around, as they'll need to apply buffs again if anyone dies. However, the skill itself can be a tricky sell due to the mediocre skills it unlocks.
A nice stat boosting skill for the Troubadour, though it's not one they really need. Can't hurt to take it once you invest in all their important skills. Though uh, they really don't have many super important skills.
Unlocks: Relaxing (LV5), Stalker (LV5)
You might think a 50% boost TP would be amazing for a class that sings all day erry day, but that's not really the case. Because songs last as long as the recipient is alive, you won't be using your skills very much, unless it's to reapply them. Most of the songs are pretty situational anyway, so if the battles end quickly enough, you might not use much TP at all, since once they're laid down their buffs, the Troubadour is perfectly fine taking potshots and being an item mule. Hell, equipping one of the instruments will give you a good chunk of TP and makes this skill pretty unappealing. Still, you should go as far as unlocking Relaxing, since that helps everyone out, even if your Troubadour doesn't exactly need it.
This is honestly one of the classes that needs TP the least due to their mechanics, and the fact that they have a set of accessories dedicated to giving them mountains of TP. The problem is if you want to go for Relaxing, you have to invest a lot in this skill. So you can't really skip this. You can definitely skip the last half of the skill unless there really is nothing else to invest in.
Unlocks: Bravery (LV1), Shelter (LV1), Mercury (LV1), Erasure (LV3), Recovery (LV3), Stamina (LV3), Blaze (LV5), Frost (LV5), Shock (LV5), Ifrit (LV7), Ymir (LV7), Taranis (LV7), Relaxing (LV7), Divinity (LV10)
BUG: Game incorrectly states this skill does nothing, it actually boosts the speed of song skills.
Well now, only having one mastery skill means that you only have one choice to get the good stuff. Songs unlocks a lot of good stuff and the speed boost is alright, but not exactly something to rely on, but what the hell, max it, you might want Divinity, depending on your strats. You at least want it to get the elemental buffs at level 7, with Relaxing being a nice little addition too if you're feeling the TP drain.
It doesn't do much other than serving as an SP gate to skills. The speed boost is nice, I suppose. But due to the wonky speed mechanics in this game, the speed boost honestly doesn't matter too much.
Unlocks: Blaze (LV3), Frost (LV3), Shock (LV3)
Prerequisites: Songs LV1
Boosts STR for the entire party. Song skill, uses the Head.
Huh, that was fast, we've already reached the best song skill. Seriously, a pretty good attack boost that lasts forever and usually goes before anyone else can attack that you can get basically immediately? Holy crap. During longer battles this skill racks up damage SUPER FAST, though like most skills it falls off past level 5. Still, you should max this and use it in basically every fight, it's pretty nuts and is the main reason to use a Troubadour, since it doesn't step on the toes of the Protector or Medic.
By far an amazing skill, and the very first thing you should be maxing out. And pretty much the main thing the Troubadour will be doing, since it is their main selling point and uhhh, most of their other songs aren't too great. Unless you're using an all Alchemist party, or just don't have that many damage dealers in your party (which would actually be an accomplishment, given that even the support classes in this game can deal heavy damage) a Troubadour will add more to your party's offensive capabilities than another damage dealer. As long as you have at least 3 or more damage dealers, at any rate.
To put things into perspective, let's do some math. With a Troubadour and a number of attackers,
Troubadour + 1 attacker: 140% damage. 30% damage per turn decrease compared to 2 attackers.
Troubadour + 2 attackers: 280% damage. 6.7% damage per turn decrease compared to 3 attackers.
Troubadour + 3 attackers: 420% damage. 5% damage per turn increase compared to 4 attackers.
Troubadour + 4 attackers: 560% damage. 12% damage per turn increase compared to 5 attackers.
Another important thing to keep in mind is that because most Troubadour songs last for the entire battle, boosting a song gives even bigger returns! And you don't have to worry about refreshing the cast. So with a level 15 Bravery, the numbers come out like this:
Troubadour + 1 attacker: 150% damage. 25% damage per turn decrease compared to 2 attackers.
Troubadour + 2 attackers: 300% damage. Breaks even compared to 3 attackers.
Troubadour + 3 attackers: 450% damage. 12.5% damage per turn increase compared to 4 attackers.
Troubadour + 4 attackers: 600% damage. 20% damage per turn increase compared to 5 attackers.
With 4 attackers, a max level Bravery (boosted or unboosted) gives the party the damage capabilities of a 5 man party, and then some. Not only that, remember that you still have access to the Troubadour, who can contribute to a battle in other ways. Whether it be dealing chip damage, using their other songs, or being a support. So if you think about it that way, you essentially have access to a 6 man party. Such is the value of buffing classes in this series if you play your cards right.
Also if you're planning on tackling post-game, you need at least 1 point in this skill! Otherwise, a certain boss fight will pretty much become nearly unwinnable!
You could honestly make the case of just picking up Bravery and then that's it for the rest of the game, there are some skills that the Troubadour can use, but this class has zero SP issues compared to other classes. I really struggled figuring out what to invest in after Bravery, the skill is just that good.
Prerequisites: Songs LV1
Boosts DEF for the entire party. Song skill, uses the Head.
You can understand why a DEF boost isn't as great as an ATK boost. Killing stuff is better than surviving stuff, but since it only boosts your party's DEF and doesn't reduce damage by a percentage like Immunize or Defender, it's not as impressive, especially compared to Immunize, but that's an unfair comparison. Still, it could help you survive a few things here and there, but that slot is much better suited for Bravery, though you can definitely use both. Compared to other defense boosts, it just doesn't match up, so it's probably a pass.
In another game, I would say that taking a value point in this could be handy for dispelling defense debuffs but... they aren't common in EO1. In fact, there's only one skill that actually debuffs defense, and only a handful of enemies have access to it. Corrode, which just halves your defense, which isn't a huge effect in this game anyways. And most of the enemies that have that skill are random encounters that are only encountered early on. And one random encounter in the 4th Stratum. This skill is overshadowed hard by Immunize, doesn't even have good utility in protecting against or dispelling defense debuffs. This skill only scales with your armor, but armor never gets super amazing. So I say skip this entirely.
Prerequisites: Song LV1
Boosts AGI for the entire party. Song skill, uses the Head.
Ah, another AGI boosting skill. Again, this won't matter much since either you're faster than the opponent, making this skill useless, or this skill will tweak the numbers just enough for you to outspeed, cause if not, you look like a dumbass. While it might be nice to try this out, it's not a good song when you have other excellent options like Bravery, so just ignore this one, the speed numbers are just too mean in this game.
Speed is so utterly screwed up in this game, that this is kind of questionable unless the increases are enough to raise your speed tiers. Even then, there are other buffs to be making use of, and if you have a Survivalist, you already have access to 1st Turn, which is a far more reliable speed manipulation skill. Don't even bother grabbing this for the debuff protection or dispel utility. There are only 2 enemies in the entire game that have access to a speed debuff, and they both reside in the 3rd Stratum, and aren't really that threatening to deal with.
Prerequisites: Songs LV3
Removes a certain number of an opponent's buffs. Song skill, uses the Head.
This is a pretty good skill, as being able to just slap down whatever shit the enemy is able to pull is pretty rad. However, you absolutely should not max this skill, very few enemies even have the ability to get 3 buffs on them and if they do, they'll probably wanna debuff you instead, so it'll be rare they'll have 3 full buffs up. For enemies that just lay down an attack buff or a super annoying Fire resist buff (im not mad), then it's super useful. So get it so you get rid of 2 buffs on that rare case and leave it at that. And if an enemy gets up 3 buffs? Well, why did you let it?
Only a handful of enemies buff themselves, and there really aren't too many that have access to more than 1 buff. However, don't bother getting Erasure up to dispelling 3 buffs. There is literally only one enemy in the entire game that can even have 3 different buffs active! And it's a boss fight to boot. Making that part of the skill outright useless outside of that particular fight. Heck, even getting it up to 2 buffs is situational, because as long as you're on top of things, you won't ever need to erase 2 buffs at once. As a result, this skill should heavily be considered a one point wonder, and nothing more.
Prerequisites: Songs LV3
Increases the party's natural recovery of ailments starting from the next turn. Song skill, uses the Head.
Another tricky skill from what is starting to turn into a discount Medic. Ailments have a chance of lasting for a certain amount of turns and when maxed, this skill makes all ailments only last 1-2 turns, since they can vary from 3-7 turns since it, at max level, reduces the timer by a third. In any case, you're still dealing with an ailment for a turn or two, but at least Confusion, Blind and Curse are wiped out pretty quickly (though can still fuck with you for the turn they stick around). Sleep, Paralysis, Fear and Poison have a 50% chance of sticking for 2 turns, so why not just use a Theriaca B or Refresh instead? It's awkward to work and mostly useless until the later levels, so don't bother with it.
Theriaca Bs are AOE, and are easily purchasable from the Apothecary. There is no reason to waste a buff slot on this song. Especially when it's impossible for this to dispel an ailment on the turn it lands, which would at least give this skill a usable niche.
Prerequisites: Songs LV3
Increases the party's base HP. Does not recover the health gained. Song skill, uses the Head.
An interesting, if tricky, skill, that increases your base HP, but crucially does not recover the HP you gain, so you'll need to heal it on that turn, or after. This means you should not use this skill to try and survive a hit, since it won't work on that turn. Bit annoying, but the HP boost can be pretty significant, especially at later levels, turning 2HKOs into 3HKOs, which can be super important late game. It does require a bit of set up though and can screw you if it wasn't enough and they die, removing the buff. Maybe don't take so much damage?
It's a far better defensive skill than Stamina, and running into the 999 HP cap is fairly unlikely, so it has some use. That said, you do need healing support for max HP defensive buffs to be effective. A Medic is the best way to support this skill but... if you have a Medic, you likely already have access to Immunize, which is all the defense you would ever need. That said, this is a less cheesy way to buff up your defenses if you want to go that route. Just remember that your Medic would have to be constantly healing to get some use out of this, and won't be able to do much else. Another use it has is buffing the damage of the Hexer's Revenge skill, but uhh, don't do that in this game. It's not worth it.
Prerequisites: Songs LV5, Bravery LV3
Imbues the target's basic attack damage with an additional Fire/Ice/Volt attribute damage. Single target Song skill, uses the Head.
Now these are pretty nice skills you'll pick up cause the prerequisites are easy to get. While it only affects basic attacks, it's as if you were attacking twice, once with your damage type and then again with an elemental attack. Add in elemental weaknesses and the damage can very quickly rack up. However, since there's not much elemental chasing in these games, it makes it tough to justify using these skills, especially since levelling them up doesn't increase the damage. Still, if your party members have nothing better to do, it's not a bad way to boost their damage against a big enemy. Still, you could just use an elemental oil instead of wasting your Troubadour's turn, buuuuuut, it makes your party use their TEC stat for once in their damn life, even if the bonus damage from that stat is pretty minimal. It's at least something your Troubadour can do to boost their own damage, since this, along with Bravery, will actually make them contribute as they don't have a way of boosting their attacks otherwise.
Imbues can be very handy tools in this game. Being able to deal 100% STR + 100% TEC damage at once with regular attacks, which cost no TP for the record, is a steal! Not to mention that regular attacks can crit. That said, this skill doesn't give you that much when you level it up, so isn't really worth maxing out. I do suggest picking up Shock at least, since there's an enemy in the post-game that this can come in handy against if you lack an Alchemist.
Prerequisites: Songs LV7
Increases the party's resistance to Fire/Ice/Volt damage and decreases the enemy's resistance to Fire/Ice/Volt damage for 5 turns. Song skill, uses the Head.
These skills are super useful in the game, even if they're not permanent, like most Song skills. This makes certain conditionals a lot easier to try for, can make elemental weaknesses do so much damage and can be a fine alternative to the Protector's Anti walls (though with certain enemy skills (ESPECIALLY LATE GAME) they should not be a full substitute at all). They just cost a lot of SP if you want them all on a class that really likes the variety of their songs, so it's not recommended to max all of them. But damn they can be useful to compound the damage and make certain sections a breeze.
These skills are of... questionable usage. If you lack an Alchemist entirely (which a lot of post-game parties do), don't bother with them. The damage boost component won't help much. If you do have one, they're the only way the Troubadour can buff their damage, so they can be useful there. Though keep in mind that the damage boost component is a multiplier. It can't create weaknesses as easily as the Runemaster's (An EO4 class) Rune skills can. It does however, amplify any existing weaknesses greatly. But very few classes can capitalize on that. The defensive component can be nice, but it's redundant if you have a Protector. If you aren't using a Protector for some reason, then max these out. They're your only defenses against powerful attacks late in the game.
Prerequisites: Songs LV7, HP Up LV5
Recovers a certain percentage of the party's HP each turn. Song skill, uses the Head.
This song can be pretty useful as a way to keep your Medic from healing every single turn for eternity, but you need to invest a lot into it to actually make it noticeable. At max level it'll take 6 turns to reach max HP, which isn't amazing, but it can be helpful to keep you topped up. If you find a weak enemy you can take little damage against then you can just set this and wait and save items and keep exploring. Otherwise, it's nothing too amazing.
It's a nice way to sustain your party. But unless your defenses are great, don't rely on this for healing. Rather, it's another defensive buffer. You can combine this with Stamina to lighten up on the amount of healing needed to capitalize on it, but this means dedicating 2 entire buff slots to defenses.
Prerequisites: Songs LV7, TP Up LV7
Recovers a certain percentage of the party's TP each turn. Song skill, uses the Head.
This song is much more useful than Healing, since TP recovery is much harder to come by. It's very easy to just set this at the start of the battle and just let it give you some good stuff. It takes a while to get going, however, so it'll be more useful in the late game, but if you can find a weak enemy to grind off, then you can keep exploring the labyrinth so long as you have bag space free. If you can Boost it as well, then you'll be making mad bank, though Bravery could use it more. Still, during long battles, this can be real nice, if nothing special, gives you a turn or two before you have to actually recover TP and isn't that what Etrian Odyssey is all about? Putting off TP recovery as long as possible?
This skill is fantastic. It can keep up your party's momentum on long treks during dungeons, and ensures that TP will not be a huge problem in big fights. Definitely another skill to shoot for after you max out Bravery.
Prerequisites: Songs LV10
Woah woah, hold on there. Before you beeline for this skill immediately, you should know that these numbers apply to the overall experience at the end of the battle, which is then divided by 5 to give to a full party, so everyone gets 6% extra. Now that might not seem like much, but when you get this skill going and go through the whole game, it will add up A LOT. And it stacks too, so if you're crazy to use more than one Troubadour, you'll be rolling in it. It's also useful to bring other members up in levels if you want to make the frog grind quicker. With 4 Troubadours maxed with this skill, your trainee will get... 37% more experience. Which might not be worth it, let's be honest. Look, take what you can get with this game, but it's very much a slow burn kinda skill, you'll see the effects late game, no doubt. But another problem is when you reach the level cap... the skill is useless and you've got 10 dead SP. So, uh, that could be a problem if your Troubadour wants other, more useful, skills.
Something important to keep in mind is due to how level works in this game, this skill can effectively function as both a damage boost and damage reduction since it levels you up faster. Unfortunately, that Songs 10 requirement really makes this skill unattractive since you can't pick up this skill first thing. But it is something to keep in mind. Once you reach the level cap, it is 10 dead SP but... you've seen the rest of the Troubadour's skillset, right? It's not exactly an SP hungry class.
Of course I am writing this under the assumption that you are playing this game with 5 party members, and only those 5, since that's how the games are meant to be played. (It's really really difficult to grind up new party members and rotate them out constantly in this series.) Of course if you absolutely insist on playing that way in one of the least grind friendly games in the series (Like say, maybe doing an LP where you're forced to rotate out party members), then uhhh, I'd heavily advise against this. You'll barely feel the effects of this skill in such a case.
If you're wondering how well this skill functions as a grinding tool... my answer is, not very well. There aren't huge exp payouts in this game, and it speeding up your levels is a gradual thing that takes course over the entire game. At best it shaves off a few battles when grinding.
Unlocks: Return (LV3)
Prerequisites: TP Up LV5
Reduces the encounter rate for a set amount of steps. Field skill.
If you get this skill and Divinity, you're a fucking idiot.
Prerequisites: Stalker LV3
Returns to the most recent staircase used, cannot be used successively, if a pitfall was used, or if you return to town. Field skill.
Yuck. This skill could be useful for general exploration if you need to fast track to some stairs for whatever reason, but it requiring Stalker and having so many caveats just makes it pretty shitty. Just use a Warp Wire and stop getting these garbage Field skills! Christ!
TAKE this as a hint I only have 2 of these left to write.