Update 1: Nameless

Making a new guild?
We're not getting a shot at Yggdrasil until we make a guild, huh?
Hurry up and sign the paperwork, then!
Not so fast, you two. Nothing's getting signed until we come up with a good name.
Names are important for first impressions, and first impressions are important for everything!
A name that leaves a mark, huh?

It's...ethereal. Mysterious. I like it.
Is it "dark," too? Maybe even "ichorous?"
N-no! It just sounds cool. ...I'm gonna have to remember "ichorous," that's good.
A name that's also not a name... It's perfect! Everyone's gonna remember that!
Okay, what's next? Personal information forms?

Fine, there's mine, done.

Well, someone's in a rush! Let me register ol' Falz, here.

Whaddya mean I have to put down my real name?! Raven IS my name!

Hmm... Is it possible to divert a portion of guild coffers to me automatically?

It's been a long while since I last had to write my name.

Well then, seems like we're all set? Any other advice, Mr. Edgar?
The ban may've been lifted on exploring Yggdrasil, but you're still going to need council permission. Once you finish up here, head over to the council building.
A sound idea.

The telop says "Town Crier."
You there, are you a new explorer? You just came out of the Explorers Guild.
If so, then, as the town crier, I have something to tell you. New explorers must report to the Council to receive a mission. Think of it as test to have the town officially recognize you as explorers. If you plan to work here as explorers, then you have no choice but to take it. If you understand, then head to the Arcadian Council.
That's what we were fixing to do, but thanks anyway.

The telop says "Earthrun royalty."
This is the Arcadian Council. This is where each of the continent's four races send representatives to watch over Yggdrasil. You are all new explorers, yes?
Indeed, Your Excellency.
If that's not a big shift in tone, I dunno what is.
Royals always buy the biggest amounts of the most useless things.
I am Remus. I respect your courage, but I first hope that you'll be a positive influence on the city's well-being. Accept the mission whenever you're ready to begin activities as an explorer.

Aeolis certification exam

You need the approval of the Arcadian Council to explore the Yggdrasil Labyrinth. Enter the first floor of the Labyrinth, map it, and bring back samples of Yggdrasil's roots and soil!
The mission is to investigate the Labyrinth. For this purpose, we will provide you a map.

Obtained Map of the Labyrinth!

As you fill in the map, I want you to collect two items from the 1st floor: a sample of Yggdrasil's roots, and soil from a specific point.

A new area has been marked on your map!
This box shows where the items we need are... Well, I mean, kinda. That box encompasses pretty much all of 1F.

This task is meant to evaluate your aptitude for exploring, so keep calm, and follow the directions, and you'll be fine.
Sounds simple enough.
We'll get going, then.
...I like to think I'm a good judge of character, so... I sincerely hope you'll come back unharmed, and prove me right.
Talking to Remus just has him say this:
Your map should show the area in question.
Leaving prompts this dialogue:

Oh, there's something I forgot to mention. You should visit the market before heading out for your first mission. You should be able to find anything you'll need there.

...Apparently by "you should visit," Remus meant "you are not going anywhere until you go shopping."

The telop says "Brownie boy."
Welcome to the store! Huh? Haven't seen you around before.
I'm pretty sure most of us just got here a few days ago.
Seems safe to assume that girl with the glasses is a new arrival, too.
Well, welcome to town then! I'm the shopkeep here, Ceric the Brownie.

I came here after hearing the rumors about the Yggdrasil Labyrinth. I mean, there's all kinds of never-before-seen stuff in there, right? Figured I could make a killing by dealing in it.
Ah, a man...uh, maybe boy...a person after my own heart!
So if you ever see anything like that, bring it to me!

Most EO games give you 500 en to start. EO5, however, only gives you 300. Most stuff is cheaper to compensate, but crucially...

Medicas cost the same as always: 50 en. If you stock up on even 5 of them (the usual amount), you're really not gonna be left with much to outfit your party, and trust me, armor is very important in EO5. Characters will die very, very quickly if you try to go in with just the stuff you start with.

Anyway, yes, actually buying equipment. Same deal as in previous EO games--you select a character and a slot, buy something, and can immediately equip it. Hit the shoulder buttons to cycle through characters, and X to buy stuff for characters not in the active party.

Veterans of EO, however, might notice two new numbers just above equipment--magic attack (MAT, though I call it MATK), and magic defense (MDF, though I call it MDEF).
You rebel, you.
As part of Atlus's continuing efforts to have EO's numbers and stats make more sense to newcomers, you are now shown abstractions of how hard your character hits/is hit when using/taking INT-based attacks. Contrast with previous games, where you were given no indication of how hard TEC-based attacks would hit or hurt.

This also means upgrading weapons for spellcasters is important! In previous EO games, it was generally a really good idea to just stick to whatever weapon gave the highest TEC bonus for a spellcaster, since ATK didn't affect TEC-based attacks at all. Less importantly, EO5 also makes it so that armor affects magic damage again--this was the case in EO1-4, but was changed for some reason in the Untolds, where the only stat that affected magic defense was TEC.

All of the ATK and DEF stats are pretty easy to calculate, incidentally--ATK is the sum of your STR and weapon ATK, MATK is the sum of your INT and weapon MATK, DEF is the sum of your VIT and total armor DEF, and MDEF is the sum of your WIS and total armor MDEF.

I buy 3 Medicas in case Dosen runs out of TP somehow, and outfit everyone as such. Note that for Dragoons, to actually use their shield skills, you need, well, a shield. Dosen also gets some Leaf Sandals because boots increase action speed.

Leaving triggers this.
Right, right, before you go to the Labyrinth, you've gotta find a nice inn to stay at. If you're gonna be in this neighborhood, I recommend Genetta's.
Sounds like a nice, family-run place.
It's a good a choice as any.

Let's stop by the bar first.
Aren't you a bit young to be drinking?
Let's make sure everyone else knows where we're gonna be lodging, though.

The telop says "Lunarian woman."
My my, is this your first time in here? Fresh explorers, maybe?
Is that just the automatic assumption for new people around here?
This is the Witch's Twilight Tavern, a bar that mediates requests for explorers. I'm Melina, the tavern's proprietor, and it's wonderful to meet you, kids.

I can only show requests to guilds that have passed the council's test, though. Why don't you go and complete the mission first?
We're only here to check on our comrades, don't worry.
Are you dullards finished with all that tedious paperwork?
No, because we need everyone else to--

Yes, yes, now please just go file that so we can begin.
And you didn't file this yourself...why?
So he could be pompous and look like he was ahead of you.
...You're quite good at giving the game away, I'll give you that.

Oh, here's my stuff.
No mention of you being far-away royalty, eh?
I didn't see a place to put it. I don't think it matters much, anyway!

I suppose you'll be needing my forms too, no?
Are, uh... Are these old drawings of you part of the form?
Doesn't the Explorers Guild require a visual reference?
Oh. Well, keep them, then. Consider them a gift from me~

...Is that a gift? A suggestion? Maybe I should've sat closer...
Um, Mio?
Waaaaagh! U-um, sorry, here are my forms!
...Th-thanks, love. Mind if I ask why you're at a table by yourself?
Um... I...like being alone?
...Okay then! What's with those circles and lines, by the way?
Nothing! Nothing! Drawing practice!
Oh, you like drawing? Watercolors or oils?
Uh, is digital an option?

Hm. Is it safe to be practicing sword tricks like that in here?
Heck if I know! All I know is I'm having fun, and people are watching!
Heh, can't deny that most of the bar's impressed.
...Oh, yeah, my forms are right there, on the table!
Well then, seems like that's everyone's guild forms. Let's go book some rooms at the inn before we go into the tree.
Talking to Melina just has her say this:
You want work? Sorry, but I can only give work to explorers who have cleared the council's mission. Try checking back when you're done.

The telop says "Smiling woman."
Welcome baaaaa--a customer?! Eh? What? Oh, I am SO sorry! Hiii, my name's Genetta! If you're looking for somewhere to stay, well, then, you've come to the best where to stay!
The inn's mostly the same as in previous EO games, with some additions.
Talking to Genetta right now results in this:
Time to get going and head out into the Labyrinth! If you're totally wiped, though, don't push it. Just stop back here for a bit!
I couldn't agree more, at least with the "time to head out" part.

The Forest Entrance is a bit different from previous games. Entering it just brings us straight into the stratum selection, for one.

And selecting a stratum lets us select a floor to start on! EO5 removes the Floor Jump feature of the Untolds, and lets you start from whatever floors you've completed and reported to the Council.
"What's that about reporting to the Council?," you may ask. Don't worry, all in due time.

VIDEO: Intro: 1st Stratum - Guardian Forest

The floor subtitle reads: "The first step on a legend-chasing adventure"

Well now. How's all of this fit inside Yggdrasil?
I'm more curious for how it got here. Shouldn't this all be filled with, y'know, wood?
It's very peaceful in here. Quite different from the forest of bears...
C-calm down, Cecil.
Ooooooh, I gotta take extra detailed notes down. This place would be perfect for a non-exploration guided tour!

As you survey your surroundings, you find yourself surrounded by unfamiliar vegetation and the reflections of clear spring water bubbling up from underground. Even a single step into the Labyrinth makes its atmosphere clearly distinct from the town, and carries with it a refreshing aura which soothes your mind and body. However, you must not forget the dangerous nature of this forest. After all, you have already taken strides in learning to combat this danger. Your basic training as an explorer has granted you 3 skill points.
Ah, right, skill point allocation. For once, I didn't get ahead of the game.

Those of you coming from the Untolds might notice that the skill trees in EO5 are considerably pared down from those games--they fit on a single screen, much like EO4. It also, by extension, has far less skills than those trees. This is because these are only the Basic skills, however--we'll unlock Master skills once we get specializations.

You might also notice the arrow pointing left and the tab saying "Race."

Each race has a selection of passives and Union skills they can invest in. They all only cost one skill point to invest in, so it's generally worth just dropping a point in something useful as early as possible.
Many of them also passively raise your stats in addition to their other effects--the exact bonuses scale with level--which tends to make each of the races even more specialized than they were already. Since, you know, a Therian would have more STR boosting racials than an Earthrun.

Accordingly, on every character, I put a point into their "Grace of" skill (the name varies based on race). What this does is it gives characters a small chance (I'd put it anywhere from 10% to 25%, the skill data doesn't say) to restore ((TPCost / 5) + 1) of a skill's TP cost. Any TP restoration at all is good stuff, especially in the early game, where skill TP costs are a much higher percentage of a character's total TP pool.

For Sasha, her remaining 2 skill points go into Line Guard, which can target either row, and reduces cut, stab, and bash damage to that row for one turn--32% reduction at level 2, specifically. It's a core skill for Dragoons throughout the entire game. Also, note that unlike the EO3 version, the damage reduction is the same for both rows--it's not reduced if the Dragoon isn't in that row.

Cecil's remaining 2 points go into Arm Break, which deals melee STR-based bash damage to one enemy, and attempts to bind their arms. The bind chance isn't that great at lower levels (it's only 30% from levels 1-4), but it still deals slightly more damage than a normal attack for only 3 TP--159% at level 2.
I often lay awake at night wondering how a broken arm recovers in 2-4 turns.
Nobody in Etrian Odyssey has bones, it's just cartilage.

Raven puts one point into Miasma Weapon, which consumes, at level 1, 40% of his current HP to put him into the Miasma Weapon state. The state itself does nothing passively, but enables secondary effects on some skills (for the Basic tree, it only affects Scythe of Numb Stasis and Scythe of Exorcism), and is required to use some Master skills.

His other point goes into Scythe of Numb Stasis, which deals melee STR-based cut damage to one row. If Raven were to be in the Miasma Weapon state, it'd also attempt to paralyze the targets. At level 1, it deals 150% damage and has a 40% base paralysis chance.

Gram's two points go into Hawk Whistle, which summons a hawk. The higher the level of Hawk Whistle, the higher the hawk's stat multiplier is--at level 2, it's 1.03x.
Both of the animal whistle skills cost an absurd amount of TP for their level: Hawk Whistle costs 25 at level 1. And you'll notice that Gram only has 45 right now. While it costs more than half her TP, ideally you'll only need to cast it once per dungeon run since the hawk isn't exactly squishy.

And, lastly, Dosen's two points go into Cure Herb, which restores one party member's HP, and Refresh Herb, which cures one party member of status ailments. I mostly want to level up Refresh Herb to learn Resurrection Herb.

The door in front of you is sealed by some mysterious force and doesn't budge an inch despite your best efforts.
It seems resistant to being punched, too.
You might need some kind of key to open it.
We'll find that key much, MUCH later in the game.

At the end of a path encircled by trees, you find a thickly-grown patch of grass. Nearby are chicken footprints and signs that the grass has been pecked at. This could very well be a chicken's feeding ground. You keep this in mind and continue your explorations.
...I loathe chickens with a passion. If I see even one of the wretched things, I'm slicing its head off.
Is this just part of your act?
Why does no-one take it seriously?!
You lay on the deep voice too thickly.

Are those...fish, below the water's surface?
Looks like it. Anyone know how to fish?
Why not go spear-fishing, with that...bayonet, I think you called it.
The bayonet's just for show. I'd rather not drop this thing in the water, anyway.
This is a new type of gathering spot--a fishing spot. If anyone in our party knew Fishing (it's a race skill that Earthrun, Therians, and Brownies can learn), we'd be able to get some fish food items from it.

As you easily proceed through the verdant paths in the Labyrinth, a curious sight meets your eyes. It's a lone guard, watching over a group of chickens, cheerfully scurrying across the ground. The guard had been talking to the chickens in a soft voice, but calls out to you when he notices your presence.

Welcome to the Yggdrasil Labyrinth, explorers! The council's told me to help out new explorers like yourselves.
He also happens to mention that he is raising the chickens. You may ask the friendly guard something, or simply go on your way.
...What's with the chickens?
The guard says all this with a smile. It seems he's raising these chickens by choice.
Putting the chickens aside, I'd think introductions are in order...
You stop walking and exchange greetings. The guard responds with a smile.
Ahh, so you're called Nameless.
So, what are you stationed here for?
Ever since the proclamation, plenty of explorers have come to challenge the Labyrinth, but a lot them end up treating it like a field trip, and getting themselves seriously injured. If you don't want that to happen to you, step carefully and check your surroundings before moving on. By the way, do you know how to draw a map? If not, I could give a quick explanation.
I've mapped plenty in my day. I think we'll be plenty fine.
Great, if you know how to draw a map, then we can move on to the real issue. Okay, listen carefully. The giant roots you'll need for the mission are near the center. And the soil for the investigation is in the northwest. You can get it from...ehh, right about here...

...And that's enough advice. The rest is up to your skill and the whims of Lady Luck.
With that, the guard waves his arm cheerfully and returns to watching his chickens. You continue exploring the Labyrinth with the hints he gave you.

Walking acorns with eyes.
The Labyrinth's off to an interesting start.
I hear there's even boars that eat these things to grow strong deeper in!
Hehah! No.

Ghost Acorn

HP: 104
STR: 20
INT: 13
VIT: 18
WIS: 13
AGI: 10
LUC: 9

Damage Resistances:
100% 100% 150%
100% 100% 100%

Disable Resistances:
100% 100% 100% 100% 150% 100% 100%
100% 100%
100% 100% 100%
Ghost Acorns are about as basic as it gets. Literally all they do is either attack or defend.

Note how their HP is considerably higher than most early random EO encounters though. That's sort of a theme with EO5's early game--everything has considerably higher HP than in previous games, while your party doesn't really hit as hard.
aw, nuts

(Line Guard.)
Alright, then, just stay behind my shield! I guarantee no okay maybe some harm'll come to you!

(Hawk Whistle.)
Ah, there you are, Falz.

(Arm Break.)

Oh, crap.
No need to worry, dear, I'm perfectly fine.

I will cull your souls.
Yes, sir.

Now that everyone's used some TP, I decide to use Magic Heal.

Magic Heal restores 3% + 6 of every party member's maximum TP. It's incredibly useful for prolonging Labyrinth explorations early on.

Ghost Acorns can take a while to die when they're defending.

(Hawk normal attack.)

If you don't issue a specific command for the hawk, it'll just attack a random enemy. Note that this "normal attack" is, in reality, a skill--a skill that deals 100% ranged STR-based cut damage to one enemy. 60% speed modifier, 99 base accuracy, and...a 7% base chance to inflict head bind.

One turn of more of the same later:

(Received: 1 Hard Acorn, 3 Cracked Nuts.)
Nothing to it.
Is it wise to brag about defeating acorns?

(Obtained Strength Ring.)
Not that bad of a find. Strength Rings increase one party member's STR by 8 and HP by 10.

I put it on Gram.

Another chicken spot.

(Received 1 Mossy Ore naturally.)
1F, D5 Mine Point
Gathering points make a return yet again, and while the way they work personally isn't changed much from the Untolds, gathering skills are. Each race has a gathering skill--Lunarians get Chop, Therians get Mine, and Brownies get Take. Earthrun get Woodland Gathering Skills, which acts as all 3 at once.

Exactly what type of bonus each skill gives, I don't know, but to my knowledge, each skill initially rolls for an activation chance. If that succeeds, the character then rolls for each of the drops from the gathering point once, with some kind of bonus being added to each chance. The initial gathering can only find one material at all, too.

Lastly, gathering ambushes are still a thing. This first Mine point can't result in an ambush (it'd be pretty dickish if it did), though.

Balloon Flying Squirrel

HP: 106
STR: 22
INT: 16
VIT: 15
WIS: 14
AGI: 17
LUC: 11

Damage Resistances:
100% 150% 100%
100% 100% 150%

Disable Resistances:
150% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%
100% 100%
100% 100% 150%
I hate squirrels. I almost always have at least one attempt at the first mission end in a reset because these assholes one-shot someone from full or near-full HP with Balloon Drop, almost always in the back row.

Having the squirrel start in the back row is a serious blessing, since it means that it can't hit the back row, and trying to hit the front row will result in a damage penalty.

The squirrel's weakness to stab also means that Gram hits it pretty hard.

...Hey, don't look at me. I'm not expected to hit things.

Thank you for taking time out of ineffectually hitting things to actually patch me up.
I could just...not patch you up next time you're hurt.

Didn't know monsters could just deflate like that.

(Received: 1 Fluffy Fur, 1 Hard Acorn, 1 Cracked Nut.)

Stepping on this tile triggers this event automatically.
As you proceed, you come across a path that's muddy with spring water. It seems countless explorers have passed through, as you can see numerous footprints and traces where people fell into the mud. Looking around, you discover a pile of long, thin branches about 10 feet to the side. You might be able to use these branches as walking sticks to prevent slipping in the mud. On the other hand, such thin branches might immediately break under your body weight. You must decide how you will proceed.

Our options are:
Well, that's not even a question, no? Even if those sticks're thin, crossing the mud without them's gonna end with someone slipping.
I, uh, just bought these clothes. I'd really not want to get them too muddy.
Same for me. You don't wanna know the lengths you need to go to get a Fencer's outfit when you're not one.
Is there any particular reason a saleswoman offering guarded tours would want a Fencer outfit?
Trade secret.
If we're done discussing clothing, shall we cross?
Thinking they'd make good walking sticks, you pick up one of the branches and try stabbing it into the mud. It sinks into the mud, but it you can feel it reach harder ground underneath. Using the sticks you support you, you walk through the mud very carefully to avoid slipping.

...After a long while, you successfully make it across with no harm to yourselves! You take a moment to bask in your marvelous victory before returning to your exploration of the forest.

Explorer's first trouble

Successfully used your wits to cross a narrow path with muddy footing!

Ah, here's a fairly major change. Remember the in-Labyrinth events from past EO games? They're referred to as Adventure Episodes now, and they give EXP rewards at the end. Effectively, what this means is there's basically no reason to ever back out of an event. Even if something bad happens, you'll still get extra EXP at the end of it, so why not?

(Trying to back out of the mud event would just mean we'd take a step back and the game would tell us we can't go any further without crossing.)


As you walk through the Labyrinth overflowing with greenery, you come across a large turtle basking in the sun at the edge of the water. You find its uneven sun-bleached shell and the way it sometimes stretches out its neck without moving to be somehow charming. As you gaze at the turtle, you notice what seems to be a coin buried in the mud in front of it.
Curious, Raven reaches out to grab it, but the turtle moves its head in response. It seems to be wary of you reaching towards it, and is attempting to threaten you. You may continue to reach for the abandoned coin, or give up on it and leave.

Let me handle this.

As Cecil reaches out, the turtle responds by stretching it neck out and staring at them.

Our choices are:
The obvious choice would be the right.
Cecil swiftly reaches out from the right! However, the turtle is faster! Far more agile than you had imagined, the turtle bites Cecil's hand!

Ouch. Listen, turtle: I don't have much patience for this. If you'll just let me take the coin...
Cecil reaches stright down the center! However, your choice was naive. The turtle easily snaps at your hand!

As Cecil shrieks in pain, you get the feeling from the way it looks down on you that the turtle is laughing derisively.
Oh, that is IT!

Yes, Battle 1 does actually start playing here.
Apparently you won't be able to pierce the turtle's defenses with a frontal assault! As explorers, you decide it's time to get serious about snatching this coin!

I'm the one with the shield. If you'll just give me a minute...

Our choices are:
This turtle's smarter and quicker than it looks. Give me a little bit to think...

As the battle heats up, Sasha stops to take a deep breath and calm down. Raven, who'd been watching quietly until now, interjects.
Look, uh, that turtle might be heavy, but I don't think it can do much if we just move it.
They point out that you could just move the turtle and pick it up safely.
And let the monsters have victory over us? You're not paying me for that!
Sasha agrees that this would be good idea, but thinks that doing so would mean admitting defeat!

Our choices are:

C'mon, we've bothered this thing enough.
As Raven suggested, you all pick up the turtle by its shell and gently set it down on a nearby rock. The turtle moves its head in surprise at first, but once it realizes it's still in the sunlight, returns to its basking. All that remains is the coin glittering in the mud. Sasha lazily reaches down to pick it up.

(Obtained Yamato Copper Coin.)
It appears to be a kind of copper coin still in use in the Therian country of Yamato, known as a Yamato Copper Coin. Feeling a strange sense of defeat, you pocket the coin and continue your exploration.

The Yamato Coin and the snapping turtle

You found an old coin in the mud, and while it was a close battle with the turtle, you successfully obtained it!
The coin itself is an item that has no purpose other than to be sold. Also, you can totally beat the turtle, although I don't know exactly how.

As you proceed through the Labyrinth, you come across a muddy path. The mud appears to go all the way up to your knees, but you can see something shining ahead of you. You may attempt to cross the mud to investigate the shiny object, or simply turn back.

Our choices are:
Haste makes waste, kids.
Nothing is more important than safety. You proceed carefully, step by step. While you almost trip over a tree root, you reach the other side without incident and approach the shining object. On closer inspection, it seems to be a Nectar dropped by another explorer. You put it in your bag and return to your exploration with renewed focus.

(Obtained Nectar.)
Nectars do the same thing they did in previous EO games: revive a dead party member at 20 HP. You don't need me to tell you that they're invaluable.

Haste makes waste

You wisely determine the best way to cross, and successfully reach the other side sinking into the mud.

Also: our first level ups!

Cecil puts his point into Fishing so we can use the fishing spots.

Sasha puts another point into Line Guard, which now reduces physical damage by 34%.

Raven puts another point into Scythe of Numb Stasis, which now deals 156% damage.

Gram puts a point into Animal Therapy, which provides a small amount of free, passive healing, while either a dog or hawk is summoned. The heal amount is a little bit of a mystery, but I'm fairly certain it's a base amount plus an unknown amount of variance. The base heal is 1 HP at level 1, incidentally, and scales up to 35 at level 10.
Throw in the dog's actions though, and Hounds can be a way to keep your party topped off with no TP cost whatsoever.

Dosen levels up Refresh Herb, which just lowers the TP cost by 2.

HP: 112
STR: 24
INT: 15
VIT: 17
WIS: 15
AGI: 11
LUC: 16

Damage Resistances:
150% 100% 100%
150% 100% 100%

Disable Resistances:
100% 100% 150% 100% 100% 100% 100%
100% 100%
100% 100% 100%
Ropers serve to be both a nuisance and to screw over early dodge-tank Fencers. They literally don't do anything besides attack and try to bind legs, though.

The dangerous part of this encounter is the Balloon Flying Squirrel in the front row, though.

Okay, hitting our Dragoon is the best possible outcome with these things.

Also, here's Animal Therapy in action.

Nothing much happened there.

(Obtained 1 Labyricanth!)
Our first food item. Labyricanth restore a small amount of HP when eaten.

As you tread a path through the roots, which are so colossal it seems their origin is far beyond vision, a cluster of said roots comes within reach. Do you recall the council's request? They requested a sample of the tree's roots. Given the opportunity, it seems appropriate to take a sample from this cluster. You hack away and carve for yourself a hunk of root, placing it in your bag to take home.

(Obtained Yggdrasil Root!)
One down.

(Obtained Nectar.)
Not gonna say no to one of these things.

I went back to town since there's a certain random encounter further up in 1F that can seriously screw me up, and I wanted a chance to save.
Hi, welcome, howdy! I've got deals today you won't want to miss...but wait a second! I'm pretty sure that you've been to the Labyrinth and back, am I wrong? Then, before we start exchanging ental, I should give you one of these!

(Obtained Bronze Ingot!)
Here at my store, I can forge up your weapons to increase your attack power! You can do it if'n you happen to have any Ingots, like this one, on you, so by all means, give it a try! And even if you don't have an Ingot, you can also susbtitute in the materials used to make the weapon. Sell the materials to me and I'll keep track of them- how convenient!- so don't worry about keeping track, just keep 'em coming!
Forging in EO5 is a neat replacement for the forging system in EO3/4, and I'll discuss it more later.

Thorned Bandage (+24 ATK, +16 MATK, VIT Up 1, Bronze x3) is made from 2 Thorny Vines (Roper).

Shortbow (+19 ATK, +17 MATK, AGI Up 1, Bronze x3) is made from 1 Thorny Vine (Roper).

Ore Scythe (+23 ATK, +23 MATK, VIT Up 1, Bronze x3) is made from 1 Mossy Ore (1st Stratum Mine 1).

Fluffy Bolero (+9 DEF, +14 MDEF) is made from 3 Fluffy Furs (Balloon Flying Squirrel).

Soft Mocassin (+3 DEF, +8 MDEF) is made from 1 Fluffy Fur (Balloon Flying Squirrel).

Fire/Freeze/Shock Oil (Adds fire/ice/volt to one party member's normal attacks for 5 turns) is made from 1 Cracked Nut.

As tempting as it is to upgrade weapons right now, that's a big chunk of our funds.

As you proceed deep in the forest, you reach the end of a small path surrounded by thicket. It's a bit dark, but as you search the thicket you find a filthy sack that must have been dropped by an explorer. You may reach for it or simply ignore it.
Hey, why not?
You pick up the sack and find a 100 en coin inside.

(Obtained 100 en.)
As you thank your luck, you hear the thicket shake violently, so you grab your weapons! This seems to have been the correct choice, as you're attacked by unknown monsters!

Wagh! N-nice doggy! Pet-pet...
Pet it at your own risk.

Mad Dog

HP: 222
STR: 32
INT: 17
VIT: 22
WIS: 21
AGI: 18
LUC: 14

Damage Resistances:
100% 100% 100%
100% 150% 100%

Disable Resistances:
100% 100% 100% 150% 100% 150% 100%
100% 100%
100% 100% 100%
Mad Dogs are the Great Lynxes of EO5. If you don't have a Dragoon, this thing will 100% one-shot someone, partially because of Intimidate, but mostly because they just hit rally hard to begin with. Even with a Dragoon, make sure your party members are at full HP, or else bad things will happen.
Fencers can also dodge them, obviously, but it's still risky and nerve-wracking.

Maybe I should've put a point into Flicker, just to have a chance to stop Intimidate.

Ready to give up on the edgy act yet?

Why me?!

Fucking OW.

(Received 1 Cone Fang.)
Mad Dogs can be seriously bad news when combined with other enemies.

I decide to start building Gun Mount, so Sasha puts a point into Material Guard, which reduces fire, ice, and volt damage by 30% at level 1.

I'm building for One-Two anyway, so Cecil puts a third point into Arm Break, which bumps the damage to 168%.

Raven levels up Scythe of Numb Stasis to level 3, which unlocks Scythe of Exorcism--a skill identical to Scythe of Numb Stasis except for inflicting curse instead of paralysis.

Gram levels up Hawk Whistle to 3, which unlocks Hawk Arrow, which deals stab damage to one enemy with splash damage, and then has the hawk attack adjacent enemies, and Flash of Both Wings, which deals stab damage to one enemy and has the hawk attack the row that enemy was in.

Dosen levels up Refresh Herb to 3, which unlocks Resurrection Herb.

While proceeding through the overgrown Labyrinth, you stop as you notice that you've arrived at the point where the council wants to investigate the soil. As you look around, you see a beautiful array of colorful flowers and grasses, as well as signs that the soil has been dug up in several places. As far as you can tell, the soil varies by location, and some soil is easier to dig up than others. You'll need to bring back one of these soil samples for your investigation.

Our choices are:
No sense taking the easy way out. Let's get that hard soil.
You take out a small shovel and stab it into the ground. ...Your collective exertion is truly a feat to behold, and your combined efforts eventually strike deep into the heart of the earth, rewarding you with soft soil. The council will certainly approve of your mighty success.
Whenever this sort of thing happens, you should probably assume that the other option would have led to a fight.

(Obtained Labyrinth Soil!)
With this, you've safely obtained both necessary samples. However, you still need to finish mapping the desginated area. You return to exploring.
There's just a bit of the upper area to map out, so I go do that

(Obtained Soma.)
Somas restore 80 HP to the party. Useful for emergencies.

I finished mapping the rest of 1F off-screen, so let's turn the mission in.

It seems you've completed your task without incident. With that, you're full-fledged explorers. Please don't grow big-headed from just this, though. There are many dangers in the Labyrinth for which proper care must be exercised. Now, would you please hand in what we asked for?

(Handed over Labyrinth Soil and Yggdrasil Root.)
Thank you. And in turn, I'll give you this.

(Obtained 500 en.)

Mission EXP, as is customary since EO3, is worth a boatload.
Now that you're explorers, I can only assume you'll be staying in the city for the time being. Use that money to make the necessary arrangements, and I hope for your support in the future. Oh, that's right, one last thing. You'll be exploring Yggdrasil in the future, so if you make any discoveries in the process, could you report them to the Council? You won't go unrewarded, of course. You're under no obligation, though; we'd like your reports, but it's all up to you.
Hey, if it pays, why not?
This is what the Registry option is for--we can report the following things to Remus: completed floors, encountered monsters, and items. Monsters and items are automatically registered in the Monstrous Codex and Item Compendium--don't worry, we're not back to the DS EO method of making you check those at the government building--but reporting them to the Council means that Remus'll give us rewards at certain completion percentages. He also gives us a reward for every stratum's worth of maps we finish.
...I spoke longer than I expected to, but that'll be all.

...Well, I said every stratum's worth, but for completing 1F, we get four Yamato Copper Coins.

Here's what we get if we talk to Remus right now:
I've heard of a fish that lives in the labyrinth known as the Labyricanth. Apparently, experienced explorers tend to fish them up as a food source. Why not try it out for yourselves?
We've fished one up already. Don't think any of us want to eat raw fish, though!
Also, Remus has some words for us upon leaving:
Could you hold on for a moment? There's one last thing I forgot to mention. It seems there's something important for exploring that's sold in the market district. You should head to the market for the particulars. ...With that, stay safe.

I just decided to go down the town list in order to get everyone's dialogue. Genetta starts talking as soon as we enter the inn.
Oh my gosh! It's the new customers! I just heard that you cleared your first mission! I'm ridiculously excited, you don't even know how great this is! I guess this means that now you can start really taking on Yggdrasil? Please please pretty please keep staying here while you're exploring, pleaaaase?
W-well, there's not many other places around here...
Your inn's in a convenient location. I'm confident we'll be lodging here for our exploration.
I mean, I'm not lonely, or anything, I mean, I DO have other customers. You've seen them, right?
Can't say that I have.
Well, I guess that makes sense, you did just get here and all! And I mean they're all explorers like you, so I guess if you met anywhere, it'd be in the Labyrinth. Ohhhhh man, this is per-fect! You get to become besties with a bunch of other explorers while you're staying here! You HAVE to tell me some stories! All of the stories, even!
What follows is a tutorial on Guild Cards. Get them through StreetPass or by scanning QR Codes, same stuff as always.

...Okay, our Guild Card's slightly screwed up.

(I had to start the new game from an NG+, and loaded in one of my finished save files.)

I'm not posting the bottom half because it's spoilery.

Welcome back! Hehe, I already heard from the Council. Congrats on clearing that mission! So to cut to the chase, you've got permission to buy Ariadne Threads now. An Ariadne Thread lets you pop back to town from the Labyrinth at a moment's notice. Every adventure needs one or two of 'em. So you're heading back to the Labyrinth after this, right? Then buy one and test it out!
Ceric's not kidding here. Now that Floor Jump is gone, Ariadne Threads are really important again--always make sure you have one on you.

I buy one, and then talk to Ceric.
Gosh, that was fast! You're back already?
I dunno if I'd call that "fast."
Did you find anything that made you go "I've never seen that before?" If you did, could you sell them to me?

I also offload some drops.
Kopis (+21 ATK, +19 MATK, AGI Up 1, Bronze x3) is made from 1 Chipped Mudstone (1st Stratum Mine 2) and 1 Cone Fang (Mad Dog).

Madfa (+20 ATK, +16 MATK, HP Up 1, Bronze x3) is made from 2 Cone Fangs (Mad Dog).

Acorn Vest (+10 DEF, +10 MDEF) is made from 5 Hard Acorns (Ghost Acorn).

Studded Glove (+5 DEF, +6 MDEF) is made from 1 Hard Acorn (Ghost Acorn) and 1 Chipped Mudstone (1st Stratum Mine 2).

I upgraded Cecil's armor to an Acorn Vest.

I should note something incredibly important here: EO5 returns to the EO3/4 method of ALL item purchases consuming materials, instead of the EO1/2/U/2U systems of "gather all the materials once and that's it."

Also upgraded a bunch of weapons. A blue background on a weapon's icon means it can be forged.

Might as well demo forging while I'm here, too. You have two options for materials for forging: either one purchase's worth of materials, or an Ingot.

Ceric's out of materials for the Thorned Bandage, so I could upgrade it with a Bronze Ingot instead.

Bronze Ingots are worth one purchase's worth of materials.

Silver Ingots are worth three purchase's worth of materials.

Gold Ingots are worth five purchaes's worth (a full upgrade) of materials.

Upgrading the Thorned Bandage by one level would buff its ATK and MATK a little, as well as activating level 1 of VIT Up. The stat up passives work a little weirdly--they have 10 levels internally. Tier 1 stat ups (one arrow) go from levels 1 to 5, Tier 2 stat ups (two arrows) go from levels 3 to 7, and Tier 3 stat ups (three arrows) go from levels 6 to 10. What do those levels actually do? You'll see in the eventual Forging mechanics update.

This Guard immediately talks to us after exiting the shop.
So you're all with Nameless, right? I've got a message from the Guildmaster, Edgar. "I've got something to tell you now that you're official explorers. Come to the Guild." Well, that was it. He didn't tell me what this was about, so you'll have to ask him yourself at the Explorers Guild. Anyway, I've gotta get back to my patrol, so if you'll excuse me...
Well, that sounds important.

I went to the bar first, though, because I could not read the message and forgot about what's going on.

Oh my, did you finish the job already?
Yeah. See? This Ariadne Thread's proof.
Let me tell you how requests work, then. We take all kinds of requests here. Requests for materials from the Labyrinth, for example, or monster extermination, or the like. The difficulty varies widely depending on what's required for the job, so I won't be telling you about all of the requests. The further you get into the Labyrinth, though, the more- and harder- requests you'll be able to take. After completing them, you'll earn yourselves a reward. If you want to be a big star, it might be best for you to keep up with requests as you explore.
Quests quests quests. Omnipresent in the EO series since the very beginning. It's in your interest to do them, since not only do they give EXP and (sometimes) useful rewards, you'll need to do them for access to some postgame bosses, too!

Those two quests at the bottom are the DLC grinding quests, which I'm not taking yet.

#1: Request from a craftsman:
Oh, you took that request? *chuckle* I love kids who work hard. Now, let's get down to business and discuss the details. Listen carefully. This one's from a craftsman in town. They want you to mine Darkened Augite. Mining in this case means going to one of the mining spots in the Labyrinth and digging up minerals. If I recall correctly, there should be some on the 1st floor, so try checking there. Also, this will go much easier if you have someone who knows the Mining skill with you. Make sure you know it before heading out into the Labyrinth.
Mining, or Woodland Gathering Skills, either or.

#2: Acorn gathering:
So you want to take that request? *Chuckle* You really are hard workers.
This request came from the neighborhood restaurant. They need three Hard Acorns, so they'd like it if you could pick some up from the Labyrinth. It seems like they're dropped by monsters called Ghost Acorns. They're not very strong, but be careful when you fight them. The Labyrinth is more dangerous than you might think, after all... By the way, it seems like the shells you're gathering are going to be used to decorate an acorn cake.
Easy enough.

#3: Adventure preparations:
This request is from the merchant Ceric. Ceric has a stall open on the street, the Brownie Child. I'm sure you've checked it out at least once, right? In any case, he wants some raw materials so he can make the equipment his shop sells. As for what materials he wants in particular, you'll have to go to his store and ask him directly. Okay then, do your best.
Again, easy enough.

And we move onto bar patrons!

Also, I'm going to have to preemptively apologize, but due to the nature of portraits in EO5, I can't give the bar patrons unique portraits--it'd be far too much work for how many there are. Sorry!

#1: Brownie with a basket of berries:
Brownie: Hello! Are you all explorers? I'm Dale, from a berry orchard a little ways out from Aeolis. I often come to town to sell the Labyrinth Berries I've harvested. I'd love it it you bought some to take with you in the Labyrinth. So if you ever want some, just give me a shout.
Talking to Dale again brings this up:
Dale: Hey, hello there! Today I've got Labyrinth Berries for sale.
I've heard Labyrinth Berries are quite nutritious. I don't see why not.
Dale: Pleasure doing business! Here're your Labyrinth Berries! I'm just glad to be helping out explorers!

(Obtained 4 Labyrinth Berries!)

Dale: Well, I'll be leaving now. I do have other markets to get to. May fortune let us meet again.
Dale shows up from time to time with some generic lines about selling berries. Berries are actually pretty good in the long run, and Dale is a major source of them, if you want to start stocking up early. Seriously, berries are great.
#2: Gentleman with a prosthetic leg:
Gentleman: Oh my...pardon my rudeness, but are you all new arrivals in the city? Explorers perhaps?
Good guess.
Conice: My name's Conice. Some call me a walking dictionary, but I'm just an old fool who managed to escape death. But however you choose to think of me, feel free to ask me anything. I'll answer to the best of my ability, no more and no less.
Conice is the tutorial guy. I have no need to talk to him further.

#3: Earthrun girl in charge of rations:
Girl: Hello, explorers. Have you been making sure to always carry an Ariadne Thread when exploring? It's important to be able to get home in emergencies. Without one, you just have to resign yourself to death. Well, that's what my brother told me anyway, after he forgot one and came home all beaten up.
#4: Chubby novice explorer:
Novice: Man, the Labyrinth is great. You can always fish up something to eat, and if you search carefully there's fruit and stuff too. If you carry around food that you've found, you can eat it to recover your stamina when you're tired. Saves money on food too. Two birds with one stone!
#5: Dark-skinned male Dragoon:
Dragoon: *scoff* Who're you supposed to be? Some first floor newbie who thinks the Labyrinth is all sunshine and rainbows?
For your information, we just cleared the first floor. We're not total newbies.
That...doesn't sound much better.
Dragoon: Those mutts they call Mad Dogs are the worst! After they use Intimidate, even a Dragoon like me can end up on death's door! You be careful if you ever run into one! If it intimidates, use Guard or some other skill that works.
Talking to Melina gives this:
So you're back from the Labyrinth? And how was your trip?
Aside from that damn dog nearly biting my head off, kinda fu--ahem, boring.
At first glance, it might seem like a peaceful, even hallowed ground; but really, in truth, its jaws are always wrapped around your throat, ready to snap in an instant. That's just the way of things. It hasn't been very long since the council lifted the ban on entry, but plenty of explorers have already gone missing. You be careful out there.

Oh, you're back, Nameless? Looks like you're a bunch of genuine explorers now. But remember: that's just step one. Lotsa big shots chicken out now and never get anywhere. Remember that. ...Ah, I'm missing the point. Since you're official now, you can Change Classes.
Oh? We're listening.
Classes are, basically, the skills passed down by the various races. Obviously, each race has classes that are inherited from their own race, that they're good at naturally. But here in Aeolis, the four races have an arrangement. To help conquer the Labyrinth, they're willing to teach their skills to the other races. So if it suits your fancy, you can be a Lunarian Cestus, or a Therian Reaper, or who knows what, no matter your race. That said, the skills each race has inherently can't be taught. Keep that in mind. ...I'm going on this ramble, but you'll learn better from doing. Just test whatever suits your taste.
What Edgar just said boils down to this: we can now change characters' classes. For anyone above level 5, this comes with a 5 level reduction cost. It's as simple as it sounds: you can change someone's class while keeping their portrait and race. There's...not really a lot of useful applications of this in practice, though. Basically every class is tuned to its race's specific stats. A Lunarian Cestus, to use one of Edgar's examples, would be godawful, since they'd have bad HP, bad VIT, and horrible STR.

There's one case where I think changing class is useful, and that's a Smoke-focused Herbalist. This is mostly because Brownies have fucking awful LUC, meaning inflicting ailments is a pain in the ass. Class changing an Earthrun (for maximum LUC) or Lunarian (for far more TP and WIS) into Herbalist is the way to go if you really want to make use of Smoke skills.

Here's Edgar's post-first mission dialogue.
You guys were Nameless, right? Well, looks like you can get started exploring Yggdrasil. Now, I'm not a nosy guy by nature, but I have advice for you. You should change up your party composition based on what you're doing. The more you do, the smoother you'll explore. Say, keeping your gathering folks separate from your fighting team. Specialize, is what I'm saying. Or don't. It's up to you. Just remember I said that if you run into a wall.
Keeping a separate gathering team is pointless in EO5 since the gathering skills only take 1 point to max out. Believe me, though, we'll be mixing up our party a LOT.

Also, I'd like to take this time to point out that your hawk and dog are technically part of your guild. You can't do much other than rename them, but it's still a neat touch.

Hm... A bird and a dog... What other game have I played that I could name these two after... Aha! I know! Battle Network 6! Remember? Cybeasts Falzar and Gregar! I'm sure those'll--

...Oh. Right. Summons are limited to four-character names.

Welp, I guess we're rolling with a dog named Greg now.

Going back into 1F allows me to take on a pseudo-quest from the guard.
Now accustomed to walking through the Labyrinth, you come across the same guard taking care of chickens that you met during your previous mission.
You're Nameless, right? Oh good, I'm glad you cleared the mission. It was kind of worrying me...
The guard shows you a smile as he waves, but his expression is clearly troubled.
Something bothering you?
As you ask him, the guard responds gravely.
Well, ah, you see...a few of my chickens went missing. They...probably went deeper in...to find food. I really wish I could go look for them, but my job is to sit right here and give advice to new explorers. I can't just leave whenever.
Huh. What a dilemma.
You may offer to search for the chickens on the anguished guard's behalf, or take your leave of the chicken affair.
Oh, fine, we'll look for your stupid chickens.
Don't think I've ever seen anyone with such a heated vendetta against fowl.
Try growing up on a farm.
I did, sonny.
When you say this, the guard's face turns to exultation, and he clasps your hand in gratitude.
I think there are 3 missing chickens! Oh, I really hope you can find them before any monsters find them. But...uh, they might be tough to catch without someone who's good at Animal Husbandry.
That's not just flavor text, we do need someone who knows Animal Husbandry as part of their race skills.
Having said this, the guard excitedly and profusely offers his thanks as you return to the Labyrinth to look for the chickens.

It was at this point that I realized the notification in town and this thing in the Guild Card menu meant that I'd received a Guild Card from StreetPass.

Specifically, from my modded 3DS, with...the same save file that I used NG+ to start this run on.

Phew, what a mouthful of an update, huh? Next time: chickens. Also some quests. Maybe even a bit of 2F.
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