Update 9: Archaeology Stream

I can't say I've ever seen you frown before. What's vexing you?
Oh, hello, Waylon. I am vexed by my own lack of imagination, unfortunately.
I'm not sure I follow.
You are familiar enough with how runes work, yes? I've attempted to explain it to some of the others, but I don't think I've gotten some of the fundamentals across properly.
I solve physical problems, not intangible ones, but if I've understood you correctly, you basically reconfigure energies of creation into new forms, right?
That is the gist, yes.
Okay. What's bothering you, then?
For years now, I have attempted to find some sort of demonstration that would tie my studies together, prove that runes are not simply magic, or me attempting to make alchemy seem like something new, but every idea I have had was merely brushed aside by whatever scholars I could get the ear of, back in Ontario.
Ah, academia.
I had hoped that those pursuing knowledge would be amenable to helping me brainstorm, but each of them merely laughed in my face.
That is unfortunately what I'd expect, yes.

...Something just occurred to me. What you do now—the lightning lines, those sorts of things—is just reconfiguring runes all around us, correct?
Incantations, yes.
Is it possible to create new runes?

I...do not see why not, though it would come at tremendous cost to oneself.
Put that aside for now. So, with enough energy and the right manipulation, you could create what is essentially raw matter?
I would suspect that creating enough runes in one spot would result in a physical object possessing no attributes besides, well, existing physically.
Now, hear me out here: is it possible to destroy runes? Could you create new matter, and then...detonate it, is how I would put it.
Destruction of naturally-occurring runes is unthinkable. I fear that would set off a terrifying chain of reaction.
...But destruction of artificial runes... Waylon, you are a genius!
Woah, woah, no need to hug me—!

Wow, that ascent was faster than I expected.
The night shard's gasses are extremely light. I'd wager that's part of it.
New places to explore...new mapping to do!
We now have most of the Scarlet Pillars accessible to us. Let's fly around and see what we can go to now.

You have three different line colors to use for overworld maps, with the clear intent being one for drawing the first elevation's walls, one for the second, and one for the third. I use green for the first elevation, blue for the second, and red for the third.

There's also different ground tiles for different elevations.

First it was giant kangaroos, then it was giant sheep, and now...giant praying mantises.
Those arms are, uh, real big. Sharp, too.
Probably best we steer clear of them.
That is an omnihunter, and engaging one in combat now would be a very bad idea.
you should do it anyway. you should become power. why aren't you brave

Drop some fish.

Yay, that person at the bar was right.
I am confused how anyone would know the eating preferences of an FOE that stays at this higher elevation.
Maybe she just watched it from down on the ground. That's what we did with the giant purple alligator thing.
That's plausible, yes.
Omnihunters are damn near impossible to get by without feeding them food. They're about as aggressive as bounding beasts were with regards to aggroing on us, except omnihunters move two steps for every step we take, meaning they can catch up to us extremely quickly.

That was quite a lot of poultry and fish just to map out this little alcove.
Making complete maps is important.

More rough currents, huh?
That altar down there... It looks suspiciously similar to the one from the Windy Plains.
Anyone wanna bet on one of the labyrinths here having another giant tablet at the bottom that'll clear the winds if we bring it up here? I'd give it pretty good odds.
I hope not. You know how godsdamned heavy that thing was?
Not very.
You don't count!

Now it's a proper homecomin'.
That forest down there's where you came from, I'm guessing?
It's got the same marking out front as the monument. Just like the Lush Woodlands.
...Huh. Wonder if anyone back home know's what we might be sittin' on.
That woman—Wufan—seemed to know a good deal of history we are not privy to. Perhaps she is aware of how to dispel the currents, as well.
So we send a party out to go find where the rest of Ray's kind are, and see if we can talk to this woman again?
She wasn't very happy to see humans in that small forest, though. I think if we go in now, she may be...angrier.
Angrier? Regardless of what she might've said, lass, she still helped Ray and Naijou save our lives.
Mm. I still don't think it's a good idea to go talk to her.
We do still have a lot of new ground out here to map. Maybe that'll give Wufan enough time to calm down and be more open to answering our questions.
Fair enough.

Still, let's remember to jot down where this place is, eh?

♪ No music ♪

I took a moment to rest, so reset food spawn points so I can get the food Wiglaf wanted, and...this happened.
...I don't like that the clouds just got dark all of a sudden.
Um. Shelly? O-Off starboard...
While you are still perplexed by the abnormal circumstances, a sudden peal of thunder echoes across the sky!

Your meager guild cannot even scratch this golden terror... You must take every caution to stay well clear!
Holy shit, it's one of your dragon plushes.
It's very real and not stuffed!
An honest-to-gods dragon, huh. Lady Luck's playing it real strange as of late.
I see the escalation of danger will not cease...
If I may interrupt you all, we need to move, now!


It's very fast.
I don't know if it's fast, or we're just small.
M-More worryingly, I think it's just going wherever it wants! How do we stay away from it?!
By givin' it a wide berth. The more time we've got to react to it headin' our way, the better.
Man, I was sleeping, what's with all the sudden jerking—
Ah. So that's how it is, huh?

Look, crystals! Just like that hunter at the bar said!
You're not suggesting we try to get those, are you, Harper?
The hunter said dragon crystals are worth a lot. We could maybe use them, too.
...I'm nowhere near confident enough in my piloting to try that, but maybe Shelly is?
I'm not going to let some giant yellow snake knock my ship out of the sky. I'll get those crystals, just you watch.

Hoist those crystals up quickly! The dragon's coming back around!

...Or it could give us a wide berth, I guess.
We've got another load of crystals coming up!

We can get more, it's just under that sheep—

...Dammit, where'd they go?
I guess we were too slow to those last clumps.
Regardless of however many we missed, these crystals are resplendent!
...And prone to blinding you if the light hits them the wrong way.
Perhaps they would make for excellent good-luck charms, if we were to take them with us into the field.
Or we could sell them.
So! That was our first overworld encounter with a dragon. After you obtain the first height upgrade, the dragons will randomly show up on the overworld, and randomly fly around, taking two steps for every one you take. Their fligiht path is truly random, so you just kind of have to give them enough space to ensure you don't collide with them. If you do collide with them, well... Your skyship will be knocked out of the air, you'll lose a lot of money for repairs, and random characters in your party will either be reduced to 1 HP, or just outright killed.

It's not all risk, though, there's some reward to the dragons showing up. Randomly, as they're flying, the dragons will drop crystals, which you can pick up like food. Each dragon's crystals gives different effects if you "consume" them.
Breaking the crystals will give you a lot of extra SP and has a chance to drop Quality Fuel.
...Yeah, fire crystals and ice crystals aren't anything special, especially since they don't give stats, but the flash crystal can make farming for certain rare drops considerably easier. Having it active would bring some of those obnoxious 20% chance drops up to a 40% chance. You've still got less-than-even odds of obtaining it, but I'd rather have a 40% chance than a 20% chance.

If you're wondering how the dragons' respawns work, each dragon has a random cooldown between 1 and 350 turns that is rolled for after your last encounter with them ends—be it by the dragon leaving, or you getting your skyship swatted out of the air. The cooldown only ticks for overworld steps; it pauses when you're in a labyrinth. Additionally, the counter for a given dragon only ticks when you're in that dragon's overworld. You can also only encounter each dragon once per day, though the countdown will still tick down even if you can't encounter it again on that day. As a result, you could encounter a dragon, waste the rest of the day just spinning on the overworld, and if the dragon's cooldown was rolled low enough, you can go back to the inn, rest, go back to the land the next day, and immediately encounter that land's dragon again.

One annoying thing about the dragons is that, if Wiglaf or Kirjonen are on the map, a dragon appearing will forcibly despawn them, and you'll have to wait until they decide to show up again to do a favor for them. Pookas are unaffected by dragons, however.

This mantis seems oddly protective of this lake. Or, well, whatever is on that island in the center, at least.
Shouldn't be anything there but a marsh. An empty one.
How peculiar.

Looks like that purple thing doesn't like us.
That would be a dinogator. It is a fearsome creature with an extraordinarily strong jaw and, judging by what we saw last week, a taste for the local sheep.
Bow Mom had...a lot to say about dinogators. Gun Mom had to stop her before she started swearing.
I've heard that Lagaardian dinogators are spectacular and terrifying in equal measure, yes.
The origin myth behind them is...fascinating, although its veracity is difficult to determine.
An origin myth? I've never heard this one before.
As I heard it, dinogators were originally nothing more than a constellation worshipped on a far-off star. However, one of the Pantheon was extraordinarily devout in their worship of the constellation, and when they came to our planet, saw fit to create living incarnations of their object of worship.
Fascinating, albeit unverifiable.

I have an idea. If we drop vegetables here...

As expected. The question now is—

Okay, good, the dinogator prioritizes eating sheep over menacing us.
Sorry, sheep.
That's a bit cruel, isn't it, luring that poor sheepie to certain death?
Is it significantly different than us engaging it in combat?
Fair, fair.
Nature really is pointless and cruel, huh.

According to rumor, the wild animals in this region fear the dinogator and will not go near the forest. How would a forest with practically no wildlife have developed...?

I am deeply interested to see what sort of ecology has developed here, pending any more pressing business elsewhere.

I'm done mapping out the new height.
No you're not. There's a bunch of the Windy Plains that we couldn't go to before, remember?
Oh, right!

It's sorta surreal, having to look down to see where we used to fly.

Do large birds usually have such well-defined pectoral muscles?
No, this thing is almost like some sort of weird bird-man.
Are those...biceps?
That worryingly muscled bird in front of us is a supreme wing. It patrols a set path, taking two steps for every one of ours. It is level 25, and its only stat below 30 is its LUC. It's not as strong as an omnihunter, but taking it on is still a very bad idea for now.

Three tornadoes is where I start to wonder if a storm god is trying to tell me something.
Oi, never mind that, look over there! Leftside! Port, larboard, whatever the hell it's called!

From your high vantage point, you see a dangerous creature unlike the usual wildlife. You stop and stare at it.
Another bloodbear.
How the hell'd it end up here?
A better question would be "why is it here."

Well, that's two locations that beg for a more thorough ecological study.
Look out, everyone, Waylon van Houten's on a roll today.

No, seriously, what is the deal with all of these damn tornadoes?

♪ No music ♪

Not again.

This one's a right chonker, ain't it?
It'll "chonk" us out of the air if I'm not careful!


Strange creatures, these dragons. Why did it not attack us?
Too much effort?
By virtue of basic physics, any movement from these dragons must consume a staggering amount of—
Too much effort, got it.

Whatever, grab the crystals.

I wonder what kind of ingredients I can get with the crystal money.

Save some of it for equipment, too.

Well, that crimson bastard took a few years off my lifespan. Let's finish mapping out the new heights.

Well. Today was...how does the saying go? "Very much?"
"Very much" what?
If you just say something was "very much," it usually means it's very tiring in general.
Harp's got the right of it.

Okay, the map's done now.

...I'm kind of surprised you were able to keep it together during two different encounters with a dragon.
You of all people should be able to guess that I was a fuckin' mess while that was going on. I get jolted up from a nap, walk up to the deck to see what the hell's going on, and the first thing I see is this humongous flying yellow snake, which I'm then told is a dragon.
True, but even then, you do such a good job of not seeming freaked out that I can't even assume, sometimes. You're the same person that managed to survive a humongous bear king falling on top of them. At a certain point, it becomes hard to tell whether or not you're just doing scarily well at seeming calm, or if certain death has bounced off you enough that you get blasé about it.
Good news, I'm some stupid combination of both. Isn't having a human brain fun sometimes? Anyway, trust me, it'll take a lot longer than a month of exploring for me to get actually— Wait, what was that word you used?
Blasé. Basically, being exposed to something so often that you just stop caring.
Where do all these weird words that sound nothing like what they actually mean come from? Completely different from what we were talking about, I know, but I still gotta ask.
I wish I knew, I just use the words I know. Eine or Waylon might be able to give you a good answer.
Probably, but I get the feeling that if I start looking into the weird places that different words come from, that's a rabbit hole that I'm going to lose sleep over.
Blasé is weird, now that I think about it. Where did any of the common language come from? Did we just borrow a lot from whatever was left behind from the old world?
Oh no. The brainworms, they're spreading.

I do wish I had time to partake of Dalla's cooking, but alas, I'm merely here to drop off and pick up some items from our storage.
A shame. Do you truly lack the time to sit down and enjoy at least one cut of buffalo? Young men need their protein, after all.
I have several other errands to run after this.
Is the Daffodil Guild truly running a child so ragged that he has no time for—
I am not a child, sir. I volunteered to handle these tasks.
Right. Don't push yourself too hard, though. You are Daffodil's medical expert, after all.
I'm...well aware.
On a lighter note, I overheard some newbies talking at the guild earlier. Seems that they saw your guild's skyship examining a forest on the western cliffs of the Windy Plains.
Indeed. If I remember correctly, we've dubbed it the Dense Bushland. There was a sole bloodbear inhabiting it, as far as we could tell—Waylon is quite interested to investigate it.
I'm glad to hear that. Can't tell you the number of explorers I've met, and then lost, who only cared about the Lush Woodlands. When one chases a single objective, it can be easy to lose sight of what's important. Follow your curiosity. That's the way of a real explorer.
I'll be sure to relay your praise to everyone else. Thank you.
While you're at it, tell Ace to cut it out with the nicknames.
With all due respect, sir, I don't think she will stop, no matter what. She's given Ciaran a nickname, too.
Of course they did.

...Right, there's more treasure maps we'll need to do, now that we can go new places.
Tedium, ho!
Your words and your tone of voice are at odds, lass.
Let's put that off until tomorrow, please.

Hurk— Box it, fast!

Oh! What a fortunate find.
To me, it looks like a medica bottle, but far larger.
That's essentially what it is, yes. My fathers call these "madoras." Simply using a larger container and higher volume of medica allows for more efficient distribution in times of crisis.
This gunk's way more powerful than your run-of-the-mill medica. It's even better than those really good ones we've been finding laying about.
Like I said: a fortunate find.
Madoras restore 150 HP to one row of party members. Very powerful stuff, and we won't be able to farm them until a good bit into the 3rd Land.


Yes. I like this new bow.
Huh. This is another one'a those sturdier weapons, like the ones we found back in the green.
Even beyond that, I can tell that the construction is vastly superior to that recurve bow she was using before.
It's good.
The ancient hindi is an absolutely wild upgrade for snipers, especially if you grab it as soon as possible. The best bow you can buy from 2nd Land drops has 67 ATK and 2 slots. Missing 1 ATK is almost literally mathematically irrelevant, and the extra 2 slots are very much welcome. It's basically the best bow you can get in the 2nd Land, limited only by the fact that there's only one. Harper will be using this until the 3rd Land.

Huh. It's rare to see Wiglaf's ship on the ground.
...She's in trouble.

Oh, shit, she is.

Are you alright, Miss Wiglaf? Do you need any medical assistance?
Nah, I'm fine, just got ambushed while I was trying to gather some food.
Good, good.
N-Not the "you were ambushed" part, that is not good, it's good that you don't need—
Don't worry, I get you.
On occasion, instead of asking for a specific bit of food from you, Wiglaf and Kirjonen will be stationary on the world map. Talking to them will give you the chance to assist them in a battle that is, generally, somewhat more difficult than random encounters you might have been getting otherwise.

Assisting them in battle also leads to them temporarily joining you. This is actually the first time we've seen a guest party member; there'll be more, as the game goes on. Guest party members are fully controllable, and come with unique looks (and, in Kirjonen's case, unique equipment), but you have no control over their skill builds. In this case, Wiglaf is a level 20 dancer equipped with a sword.

Ahh, I see your steps are a bit spicier than mine.
Makes sense. You danced for a living before becoming an explorer, yeah?
Meanwhile, my dancing knowledge is pretty much entirely "how do I best use my body to kill monsters."
Interestin'. Of all the disciplines you could've learned for combat, you chose dancing?
I've got a lot of battles to fight, and the gods decided to give me legs that never quit. I think being a combat dancer's a pretty natural conclusion, given that.
Aye, aye, I respect it.

Well, that didn't feel good.
The way the lightning shoots up from its ears looks cool.

...Shelly? Are you alright?


Is, uh. Is she okay?
I think so. She was fighting.
That electric shock couldn't have been pleasant, but she otherwise seems fine.

I think that's about all we're gettin' outta her, hoho!

I'll have to keep my guard up next time I'm out getting my next meal. Thanks, Daffodil. I owe you— Wait, no, I have something I can give you right now, if you want.
Ha, someone's eager.

Wish I could help you load it onto your ship, but I need to get going. Safe travels, Daffodil.
Bye, Wiglaf.
After checking her skyship for damage, Wiglaf waves to you and departs. After you see her off, you resume your own journey.
The foodapult mark II allows us to throw food two files in front of us, an increase over the foodapult we were initially given.

You can calm down, lass, I don't think she heard you when you got shocked.
You did, though!
Lass, calling someone "hot" is one'a the tamest ways you can say what you're feelin'. Why the shame?
It's... Gah, it's embarrassing enough when it happens when we're just in town, but having that happen during a battle is mortifying.

Oh, come on.

Anyone opposed to just staying over here and getting whatever buried treasure's around here, rather than going for dragon crystals?

With that said, this ring is...interesting. It's emitting runes that serve to dampen the effect of freezing temperatures.
Could you walk around in snow without a coat on, if you wore that ring?
Possibly! I do not know if it would be pleasant, but you could try.
Ice charms reduce ice damage the wearer takes by 50%. Defensive accessories just aren't that great in EO4, you're usually better off with accessories that augment your offense or support.

A plain-ass alarm clock.
No, I recognize this, actually. It's shaped like an alarm clock for...what I can only assume was for the sake of being whimsical, but it's meant as a combat aid. If it detects signs of REM sleep in the middle of battle, it'll immediately go off, hopefully rousing one from their inopportune slumber.
...Huh. That's really useful, actually. Still weird that it looks like an alarm clock, though.
Sleep guards increase the wearer's resistance to sleep by 80%.

Another book.

Mind if I touch that one, actually?
I have Shelly use this speed book. Every point of AGI helps her get to that all-important point where she can outspeed everyone without needing to rely on Vanguard.

Neat ring. What's it do?
I've seen these 'fore. They help keep poison outta your blood.
Cool. How's that work?
Don't look at me. Waylon? Xiao?
How a ring would be able to do that is beyond me.
...No, no special runes. I have no idea!
Poison charms increase the wearer's resistance to poison by 80%. Out of all of the resistance-increasing accessories, this is probably the most extraneous one. Poison is rarely deadly, and due to its bizarrely high place on the ailment hierarchy, it can actually serve as a way of preventing someone from being hit with nastier ailments.

Huh. I've heard of lucky rabbit's feet, but...a lucky choker with a cute rabbit face?
I want it.
Lucky chokers increase the wearer's LUC by 5. Not a bad accessory, except for the fact that farming them is something of a pain in the ass (they require a conditional drop obtained from instant death), and they'll be outclassed by something we can make with gather materials from later in this very land.

I have Harper equip it, since Ray is already effective enough at inflicting disables.

Oh, I got this from Wiglaf by giving her some rare food. The next step in her accessories: +5 TP and +1 all stats over the last one. Not a huge step up, but a total of +10 stats is pretty decent for this point in the game. Much like the last one, though, the real value is the flat TP increase, which can be a boon for classes like bushi, which have low natural pools that aren't boosted much by TP forge effects.

Since Naijou had the driftwood dragon before, he gets to equip its upgrade.


Double feh.

New medicine. Eine?
Let me...see...

Hey. Hey, Eine. You alright?
We must treasure this concoction, everyone. It may prove to be the difference between life and death at some point.
Not like you to be so dramatic, lad. What is this stuff?
A nectar, but one that fully revitalizes, instead of simply getting one back on their feet.
...Aye, yeah, that's important.
Nectar IIs revive one party member, and fully restore their HP. They save you the trouble of having to restore someone's HP after they get back up, as well as giving whoever just got revived a higher chance of living through enemy attacks.

One has to wonder who would go to the effort of burying all of these dampening mists across wildly disparate and difficult-to-traverse locations.

Yessssss. Finally, one of these things that I can use.
Right after you wash the dirt off of it, hopefully.
The ancient rapier has the same ATK as a basic rapier, but has a whopping four forge slots, compared to the rapier's zero. If you go strictly by ATK, it's not the best rapier (wow talking about a rapier named "rapier" is real confusing) you can find in the 2nd Land, but the next upgrade has 69 ATK, and one forge slot. Shelly will be using this thing throughout the rest of the 2nd Land, much like Harper with her ancient hindi.

The pigsticker sure didn't last long, huh?

Okay, with that diversion out of the way, I'm assuming we all want to know what's up with that woman who knew Ray, yeah?
I would rather we get our myriad questions answered before we explore any of the minor labyrinths, yes.
Took the words right out of my mouth.
Oi, don't forget me, too.
Okay. Just be safe when we're fighting monsters.
Same deal as last time, gotcha.

Lots of mist, but no gas.
Thank the gods for that, eh?
Right, I'm gonna assume Wufan's at the town, which should be easy to find. Straight path n' all.
No nickname for her this time?
You, me, and everyone else here'd get real annoyed if I rattled off her nickname every time I'm talking about her.

This one is a misty forest whose tall trees grow in clusters. You begin walking through the misty labyrinth, appreciating its tranquil atmosphere.
The scenery and ambient sounds are relaxing, but...the lack of any animal sounds is unnerving. Not even one bird chirping.
Meh, you'll get used to it. Hearin' birds chirpin' all the time out in the Lush Woodlands felt new to me.

Geomagnetic poles aren't terribly useful in EO4, but there's no reason not to touch them, even so.

Watch your step! The mist gets a titch thicker here.
A "titch" thicker. I see.

Many bunny...
"Many bunnies," surely?
You've got a lot to learn about cutesy talk, don't you?

Seeing many bunny is a good experience.
Thank you, rabbits.

I forgot to invest the skill points until later. I'd say "oops" but I think the number of times this has happened across all of my EO LPs is well into the mid-double digits at this point.

Nothin' but good, high-quality wood out here. No sticks or pieces of bark. Just wood.
Obtained mahogany x3 and jet-black pith x1.
Life belts can be good for fortresses, but the weapons you can make with both chop materials are nothing to write home about.

Is that bulbous monster using its own internal gasses to float off the ground?
I'm sure Waylon will have a field day when he encounters one.
...Don't remember these fellas from the last time I was around here! Huh.

Fire Bulb
Level: 20HP: 430STR: 20TEC: 25VIT: 17AGI: 18LUC: 26DS: 77
EXP Given: 1457

Damage Vulnerabilities:
100% 100% 100%
50% 150% 100%

Disable Vulnerabilities:
100% 100% 50% 150% 100% 100%
75% 75% 100%
100% 100% 100%
  • Expand: Telegraphs that the user is about to use Self-Destruct.
  • Self-Destruct: This version is used if the user explodes on its own. Deals severe fire damage to all party members. Very accurate.
  • Self-Destruct: Used upon death, if the user is expanded. Deals heavy fire damage to all enemies.
  • Expand: Telegraphs that the user is about to use Self-Destruct. Has a speed modifier of +5.
  • Self-Destruct: This version is used if the user explodes on its own. Deals 130% ranged TEC-based fire damage to all party members. Has a speed modifier of ±0, and a base accuracy of 120%.
  • Self-Destruct: Used upon death, if the user is expanded. Deals 100% ranged TEC-based fire damage to all enemies.
  • Fire bulbs have a small chance to use Expand on their first action. After that, they have a 50/50 chance of using either Expand, or a normal attack.
  • Fire bulbs always follow up Expand with Self-Destruct.
  • Fire bulbs will never use Expand on the first turn if the party was blindsided.
  • If the Fire Bulb is inflated:
    • Use Self-Destruct.
  • If the party was blindsided:
    • Attack.
  • If this is the Fire Bulb's first action:
    • 25% chance to use Expand.
    • 75% chance to attack.
  • If none of the above occurred:
    • 50% chance to use Expand.
    • 50% chance to attack.
  • Fiery Rind: 70% chance. Sells for 75 en.
    • Studded Mail (40 DEF): Made from 1 Fiery Rind and 1 Ebony Fur (Black Claw Drop 1). Costs 1180 en.
    • Studded Gloves (12 DEF): Made from 1 Fiery Rind. Costs 570 en.
  • Fiery Seed: 30% chance. Sells for 96 en.
    • Ice Charm (+50% Ice Resist): Made from 1 Fiery Seed. Costs 1400 en.
I believe the fire bulb's explosion was evolved as a method of defending from predators, but although we—that is to say, the races who would read this journal—are not truly predators, we run afoul of it as well. If you run afoul of them, either constrict the organ that generates the explosive gas or simply destroy them before a critical mass can be generated. ...Don't eat them.
Fire bulbs are a brutal lesson in enemy prioritization, if the other ones haven't gotten the point across yet. Once they Expand, you have one turn before they blow up. At low enough levels and with the right composition, it's possible for Self-Destruct to be a complete party wipe. You're also probably not going to have access to skills that bind enemies' heads the first few times you meet them, so that's out the window as far as solutions to not getting blown up go.

After the first few encounters, once you've gotten access to head binds and also just generally have more damage, fire bulbs won't be nearly as dangerous as they initially were. I mean, sure, most monsters become less dangerous the more powerful your characters get, but fire bulbs especially just lose any semblance of being a threat.

...If I pop this thing with a rapier, is it gonna blow up in my face?
I don't know, and I'm not sure I want to learn the answer.

I assume it immediately sensed that we are threats.

Oi! What just happened?
It blew up on its friend.
Well, better the rabbit than us.

Backpack's full.
Wait, what? Already? How?
Looks like all the stuff we dug up got put in here, both the useful stuff and the junk.
Looks like we're cutting today's venture short, lads and lasses.
Do I count as a "lad?" I thought it was a method of referring to those significantly older than you.
Every one of us masculine types is a lad, Naij.

Huh. I thought you's were goin' into a new maze, but ya didn't bring much junk. What's up?
We filled our pack with actual junk from looking for buried treasure.
Oofs. Well, here, any of this interest ya?
Berund Atelier has the following new items in stock:

...Not particularly, sorry.
We'll be back with better things next time.

Oh. You can eat those.
You've already met the dragons?
W-Way more times than I'd prefer, but yeah. Got a bunch of their crystals too.
Valuable things, aren't they? It's not every day that someone comes back to town with them. Just between us, though... I'd rather cook the actual dragons' meat than whatever these crystals they leave behind are.
Far be it from me to doubt your capability for self-defense, but...what would you arm yourself with?
Oh, that's easy. See here, this butcher's knife? I had the master of the atelier make it for me! It's so nice and sharp.
Seven hells, Dalla, that thing looks like it could cut through existence itself.
Doesn't it? It was worth every ental, though—sometimes the animals can get a bit ornery.
So I've heard. From across town.

How could you've guessed, lass?
Yeah, yeah. Dat stuff ya brought back drom dat other place reeked, but it was real fun ta work wit'. Last I checked, mist doesn't smell like anything, so dat means I get all da fun'a new junk without da awful smell! I'm ready ta burst, I tell ya!
Heh. Keep your blood and bones inside ya, lass, we're gonna need you.

In large part because of the requests.
True, though a few of yours have come by here to... Well, I would not say "drink excessively," but drink more than one normally would.
...Incidentally, Shelly drinks a worrying amount for a ship captain. At least, I think she's your captain.
She's given me and some of the others lessons in how to fly the ship, don't worry.
That's good, though I do still worry for her own health.
I think she's gotten plenty of practice at drinking alcohol, if her liquor hoard is any indication...

Old soldier raising a mug:
Hail, explorers. Take a seat and have a drink, why don't you?
Not right now, but thank you.
Well, you can at least take a moment for some advice, yeah? When you're up against a war bison, you can't be the ones to attack it first. That only makes it angrier.
Do not provoke presumably large bovines. Understood.
Right. It's the same when you're going up against rival guilds. Throw the first punch, and you're liable to get arrested...
What, did I say something weird?
We're going now.

...Wait, right, there are new requests.
I was surprised that you were about to leave without checking the board, yes. I assume you'll want to inquire about both.
If it isn't a bother.
Not at all. This one is from Wynne. She wants you to help her gather some small flowers from the minor labyrinth perched on the cliffs of the Windy Plains.
The Dense Bushlands?
Is that your name for it? Regardless, I'm not sure if you know, but Wynne is quite beloved amongst the people of Tharsis. Many find her indomitable enthusiasm charming.
So her getting hurt during this trip would be...bad.
Very much so. I'll let her know that you've accepted this request, so stop by the atelier whenever you have time.
And the other posting?
This one comes from a young lady who lives in a mansion at the city limits. She has a taste for rare things, and is interested in a rare type of flower that used to grow near Tharsis.
I'm not sure how we'll find it if it only "used to" be here.
You are in luck, then, as there have been rumors of this flower appearing in the... Miasma Forest, I believe its name is?
Were you informed why this particular flower? Does it have a name?
Not that I'm aware of. Regarding "why," this flower's bloom changes based on the time of day. A brilliant red in the daytime, and a mysterious purple after nightfall. The woman is offering a different reward for each flower: a power book for the day bloom, and an intelligence book for the night bloom.
Well, I'm not looking forward to having to go into the Miasma Forest myself, but we'll keep an eye out.
One moment. This is nothing more than an idle curiosity, but... I am somewhat curious what the flower's bloom would look like during dawn.
We'll see if the opportunity presents itself. Thank you, Kirtida, and good day.
Kismet be with you all.
This quest is nothing too complex, but the reward(s) are pretty great. You'll get the day bloom for investigating the spot we need to go to between 7 AM and 4 PM, the night bloom for 7 PM to 4 AM, and the dawn bloom between 5 AM and 6 AM.

That's its name, yep.
You and your guildmates have been staying cautious, yes? Everywhere you are treading was, prior to your discovery, uncharted territory.
We'll be fiiiine, Teach.
That is what you told me before you asked me to hit you with everything I've got.
Yeah, so?
The wall you were flung into still has a distinctly you-shaped impression in it.
Do you see any lasting damage on me? I'm tellin' ya, we're fine.
Well, just make sure you keep up your training. A first-class explorer always evolves and adapts to new situations.
Way ahead of you, Teach. Later!
Save travels, Ace. And stop calling me "Teach."

It's always been very freeing, yeah.
...I was gonna tell yeh something else, but it's slipped my mind. Dammit.
Meh, that happens to me more often than I'd want to admit.

Well, some of my comrades went into a minor labyrinth filled with a noxious gas that caused them to vomit and pass out, so the danger is already here, really.
...I see. I'll have to let the guildmaster and our scouts know about that.
The minor labyrinth right next to the Misty Ravine is the one with the gas, by the way, so you don't have to play guess-and-check.
Thank you, my good man. I have some urgent business to take care of, so if you'll excuse me...

Miss Wynne? We're here about the request you posted.
The one about small flowers in the Dense Bushland.
I shoulda guessed you guys'd be da ones ta accept it.
If I may ask a question... Why do we need to gather small flowers? Last time I checked, you still have a good amount in store.
For da Daffodil crew, yeah. But the other guilds are kinda runnin' low, plus we always keep a bunch in stock for emergencies. Sometimes Dalla needs a buncha nectar when a buncha explorers get wiped out and saved, dat kinda stuff.
...Also, da boss says I gotta get outta da shop more.
Right, well, we aren't doing much else today, so—
I can come wit you guys right now?!
I was going to ask if you wanted to get started immediately, yes.
Hey, boss, I'm headed out! Small flowers, fresh air, all dat junk! Laters!

♪ No music ♪

Woahs! Dis is what you guys fly on?! It's huge! Humongous! I can't think of another word! What kinda stuff did ya have ta do to get Ciaran to give ya dis?
Nothing, really, it's my skyship.
Ya own a skyship, and it's DIS huge?!
I'm honestly surprised you haven't seen it before.
I'm kinda too busy dealin' wit sellin' and smithin' ta notice! Jeez louise.
I hate to interrupt a round of "admiring a feat of engineering," but we should get going.
Whoops, eheh. Right.

Y-Yeah, that's...about right. I don't think I'll ever...get used to that.
Ow. Ow. Ow.
If I may help stabilize you...
Bwaaaaah. Okay, not spinnin' inta poles any more. Thanks for dat.
Teleportation sickness has quite a severe effect on my friends, but I must confess, I don't think any of them have ever spun and bounced around like that.
Anyway, sorry, but we're going to take a detour to gather some meat to cook, first.

So how special's dis pig dat we're takin' a detour for it?
I've got a good recipe for silk white pig. It makes us stronger, too.
Yep, dat's what my parents said meat'd do to you.
Well, no, that's a standard parental simplification of how the nutrients in meat dishes can promote muscle growth and maintenance. This is—
Magic. It's magic, don't think about it too much. I eat the pig meat, it makes me even harder to knock down.
Makes me rock even harder, too! You don't hear me questionin' it, eh?
...Can I try some?
I made you two plates. Waylon said you always take seconds at Dalla's inn.
Yeaaaaaaaaa— Wait, Wales, ya said what?!
I-It was just an observation I made!
Anyways, um... I know I already said we'd be taking a detour, but please do be patient.
Meh, how bad can it be?

Dat was so long and so borin'. I don't geddit. How do you explorin' types do dis every day.
Very carefully.

Y'know, I was expectin' a big-shot lady pirate ta have a better joke for dat.
Hey! Harper, tell her it was funny!
...Oh. That was a joke? I was...supposed to laugh. Haha! Hahahaha! Ha! Hahaha! Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!
You can stop now. That's just making me feel worse...

...We're here.
Are you...sulking? About the joke?

You arrive at the labyrinth known as the Dense Bushland with Wynne. The young girl's puppy-like giddiness and astonishment at everything she sees is contagious.

At least some of us are exploring a labyrinth on a near-daily basis, yes.
Man, ya explorer types're cool. Anyways, we're here ta find small flowers. Dunno where dey are, but dat's part'a the adventcha! C'mon, let's mosey!
W-Wait for us, lass!

Gyaaaaaah! I-It's a b-b-b-bear! A huge one!
We refer to them as "bloodbears," for the record.
Why're ya so calm when it could maul ya at any second?!
We, ah, have killed many bloodbears. They don't really pose much of a threat to us any more.
...R-Right. Right, yeah, you guys're real professionals.
Are you worried for your own safety, Lady Wynne?
N-Nah, I know ya guys're professionals, just— It's just, y'know—
Yeah, see, she gets me!

Wait, whuh? Why'd it go after da logs?
Fallen trees in these sorts of environs, for reasons I can only guess at, are drenched in sweet-smelling sap. Both varieties of bear FOEs we've encountered simply can't help but be drawn to it.
Did you miss luring bears over to trees in order to clear a path? The gimmick here is that we've only got the one bloodbear here. If you kill it, well, you're not gonna be destroying any more blockages on this expedition.

Encounter formations in the Dense Bushland are a step above what we saw on Lush Woodlands B3F, but we're very capable of handling them at this point. Hell, if you accepted this quest pretty much any later than I did, which is the earliest you can do so (setting foot into Misty Ravine B1F, to be clear), you'd just walk over the random encounters here.

Wow. Da Daffodil crew, real bear-jukin' experts.
Is our trip into this minor labyrinth not as illustrious as you were hoping?
Wha? No, I'm lovin' this! Who else but ya guys'd stare a bear right in the face and make it clear a path for ya?
The sparkles in your eyes are almost blindin' us, lass! Hoho.
Wait, what? Crap, do ya need me ta close my eyes?
N-No, lass, it's just a joke! You can keep your eyes open. Please keep them open, in fact.
Hard to have a dry wit when a bunch of people around you are serious enough to take everything you say at face value, huh?
Small price to pay to have a good crew around you, eh?
True, true.

Huh! Would ya look at dat, this thing's made outta a fortifyin' alloy. Good find.
I had Naijou equip the strength bracers, bringing him up to 193 max HP.

Ah, I can see a patch of small flowers up ahead.
Gathering flowers with the bloodbear right behind us would be bad.
Serendipitous, then, that there would be fallen trees just ahead.

Wow! Lookit alla dem small flowers! Keep a lookout, Eine'n I'll get pickin'.
M-Me? I mean, I do fancy myself an expert at proper gathering of herbs, but—
Ya're so good at pickin' herbs that it's made ya look like da kinda guy that's good at pickin' herbs. Dat make sense?
...No, but we should get to work.

Huh. Don't think I've ever seen a bloodbear stop moving after breaking one of those trees. What's it...doing...
I didn't know monsters could have blue tongues.
Something about that just isn't right.

Indeed, Miss Wynne is very good at this.
My last name ain't Wynne, but hell, "Miss Wynne" sounds nice. Anyway, dere's gotta be more around here somewhere, right? C'mon, let's go look!
Lass, please, you can't run ahead of us!

Waaaaaaaagh! B-Bull! Cow! Mad cow! Mad bull! Mad—
We're here, lass, don't worry!
...This appears to be a bison, by the by.

War Bison
Level: 18HP: 456STR: 24TEC: 22VIT: 21AGI: 18LUC: 20DS: 62
EXP Given: 1389

Damage Vulnerabilities:
100% 100% 100%
150% 100% 100%

Disable Vulnerabilities:
100% 100% 100% 150% 100% 100%
100% 100% 100%
100% 100% 100%
  • Rampage: Deals heavy stab damage to 3 to 4 party members. Extremely fast.
  • Rampage: Deals 140% melee STR-based stab damage to 3 to 4 party members. Has a speed modifier of +10, and a base accuracy of 99%.
  • War bisons will only use Rampage once they have taken any amount of damage.
  • When war bisons have not taken any damage, they will do nothing.
  • If the War Bison has taken any damage:
    • Use Rampage.
  • If the above did not occur:
    • Do nothing.
  • Metallic Horn: 100% chance. Sells for 129 en.
    • Shamshir (56 ATK, 2 Slots): Made from 1 Metallic Horn and 1 Mountain Claw (Great Lynx Drop). Costs 2300 en.
    • Hindi (51 ATK): Made from 1 Metallic Horn and 1 Teak Wood (Chop: Lush Woodlands B2F). Costs 1540 en.
    • Meteor Hammer (57 ATK, 2 Slots): Made from 1 Metallic Horn. Costs 1840 en.
    • Kettle Hat (13 DEF): Made from 1 Metallic Horn and 1 Mahogany (Chop: Misty Ravine B1F). Costs 790 en.
    • Round Shield (20 DEF, +5% Max HP): Made from 1 Metallic Horn and 1 Umbrella Lump (Trip Mushroom Drop 2). Costs 1120 en.
The fur of the War Bison is impressively poor at dealing with heat—this is the reason why it remains in such densely-wooded areas. However, I would recommend not trifling with them. They are painful. For explanation, please refer to the included diagram.
War bison are a good lesson in coordinating burst damage to take an enemy down quickly. If you can't take these things down in one turn, they will start spamming Rampage, and at 24 STR, that's a lot of damage it can pump out to three or four party members.

Even with coordinating your offense, though, taking them down quickly isn't going to be easy, what with them having almost quadruple the HP of jig lizards and deathstalkers. At least they take an extra 50% damage from fire attacks, which...we only have Blazing Link for right now. Oh dear.

I-I don't get it, it cornered me, and— And it's just standin' dere?
It is, most likely, waiting for one of us to attack, creating an opening for it to retaliate.

Still standing, huh...
May I suggest something?
I'm glad you understand.
"Burst?" Wuzzat—


Howdja do that? Howdja do that?!
Jeez, is what we do really that exciting?
I suspect the fact that our burst weapons are made of pure, shining light may be influencing her reaction.
Just a bits!
A good lightshow'll make anyone forget they were just in mortal peril, hoh.

Hey, look, I fixed my mistake from earlier.

The significant thing here is Marlin beginning to put skill points into Chase Samba, which will give him a more consistent method of contributing damage, since "other party members in Marlin's row attacking enemies" is something I can actually directly control.

Ah, another flower patch. Let's be quick with this, Wynne.

It's pickin' time!

I guess the bear really wanted to go back for seconds. Sap seconds. Sapconds?
That one's not going to work out, lass. Trust me.

Indeed. I doubt we'll ever want for nectar again. Ental permitting, of course.
Wish I could convince da boss ta just give 'em to ya. Oh well. Anyways, I gotta good feelin'—wanna try for one more?

Your...floral sixth sense, I suppose, is impeccable, Miss Wynne.
Dunno what dat means, but I'm assumin' it's good!

Now den, let's get to it!

You hear it too?
Yeah. That rustling. Don't like it.

...Ah! Wynne, behind you!
What, what's wr— BWAAAAAAAAAAAH!
Get down, Wynne!
Marlin dashes in and grabs her before a monster's claw descends, barely evading the attack! You seize the narrow window of opportunity to grab your weapons and take on the monsters.


Get out of here.

Is...is it over? Is it safe ta come over dere now?
Mhm. It's okay now.

Oy, lass, it's okay. You can dry those tears, no monster's going to get you while we're here.
...Well, you could dry those tears if you had sleeves. Of all the times for me to forget my damn handkerchief.
Your...sniff... Your ribbon? You don't mind it gettin' soggy?
No. We can wash it later.
Hmm... Ah, wonderful, both of our packs survived the ambush.
Phew... I owe ya big for everythin' today! Soon as you're done here, let's get back to Tharsis. Da boss's gonna be real happy with dis haul.
Her cheerful demeanor recovered, the young girl springs back up and rejoins your party. You have successfully granted the girl's desire! All that remains is to escort her back to Tharsis.

...What a bizarre thing to find inside an ancient treasure box.

Oh. I've seen other snipers around town with these. I didn't want them, though.
They do look kind of clunky.
The map is done, by the way. We can go now.

Very understandably so.
I, uh. I knew explorin' was dangerous, but today was beyond what I was thinkin'. I dunno how ya do dis for a livin'.
Now's a good time to say it.
Very carefully.
...Yeah. Yeah, I geddit now. Dat ain't just a bad joke, heh. Anyways, see ya 'round, Daffodil crew!

That completes your task. All you need do now is to report to the bar on your own time.
That lass has a lot to learn, huh?
I feel that she shows great promise, though. Both as a blacksmith, and as a fixture of this town's explorer community.
Can't say I disagree.

Whew... We're back, Kirtida. Just saw Wynne off back to the atelier.
I trust all went well?
Had a bit of a scare, but the lass is unharmed. Got plenty of small flowers, too.
Around the same level as what's in our pack, if you're curious.
...Yes, that does indeed qualify as "plenty." I must admit, I am slightly jealous of her. Being able to experience an explorer's daily life firsthand, with capable escorts at her side... Perhaps I should make a similar request some time. At any rate, here is your reward. Congratulations on a job well done, Daffodil.

Holy Gift increases EXP gained from the current battle by 50%. It cannot stack with itself.

The burst cost is maybe a bit much for what it does, but it stacks multiplicatively with the rare breed bonus EXP. The issue, there, is having to use a burst slot on something with no in-battle utility, especially when we're limited to just two of them. I don't think I'll be using this at any point in the LP.
shout out to heavenly gifts in nexus

I was so excited about gettin' back and da flowers, I forgot about all da junk! What kinda blacksmith am I?!
A blacksmith that had a lot to worry about. It's okay.
Berund Atelier has the following new items in stock:

I decide to put LUC forges on Harper's ancient hindi for now.

Anyway! Next time, we actually explore B1F of the Misty Ravine, and meet a new friend.

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