Update 15: Princess and Mage Make Technicolor Bird Cower in Fear (Nameless vs. Hippogriff)

A-are you sure this is safe?!
Who's the performer here?
B-but, I-I thought these usually had...trick boxes, I dunno!
What kinda fraud would use tricks for basic stuff like this?
You're at least not gonna use your katana for that, right?! Th-that one's rubber, right?!
Huh? What's the point of using a rubber sword?
I, uh, um... O-oh, right, I think everyone's ready to go fight H-Hippogriff!
...Oh, yeah, you guys were gonna do that. 'Kay, g'luck. We'll try this again once you get back, though!
In the interest of completionism, I'm going to paste Remus's 10F dialogue here, since I forgot to talk to him after taking the mission:
So, do you think you can handle the test for Mastery? The Hippogriff, that "bedamned demon of a beast" as I recall the Guildmaster called it once, has done in many an explorer- it's not an opponent to be made light of. I've heard tales that merely locking eyes with it can fill you with a sort of primal fear, inducing mass panic. Please do take the appropriate precautions, I really would rather you returned in one piece.

As soon as we enter the floor, an event happens.
Hey! You guys!
You hear the now-familiar sound of a guard's footsteps approaching, and turn to face him.

Thank goodness! I thought I'd never see you guys again!
He seems to expect a reply after this.
Um... Long time no see, I guess? Who is he?
Upon hearing your reply, the guard nods happily.
Thanks to your directions, I got to the stairs in one piece!
He then continues cheerfully.
I figured I should thank you for that if we ever ran into each other again.
As he says this, he pulls out a sheet of parchment and hands it to you.
Look, you know how I told you I found a dairy cow in the Labyrinth? I bet if you took that baby home you could get Milk whenever you wanted. Within reason, you understand.
The guard proceeds to explain how to get to where he found the cow.

So if you wanna catch the cow...
The guard pauses to take a breath.
You'd better bring someone who knows Animal Husbandry. Cows don't do well with being startled, believe you me. ...Oh, wait, I guess an explorer wouldn't really have a place to keep a cow...? Uh. ...I guess you could try asking someone to keep it for you? Then you could get your Milk.
That's not much of a problem for us.
What's one cow when Genetta already has all of those cats?
After seeing you nod in affirmation, the man disappears down the stairs with a smile.

The lost guard and something about a cow

You successfully guided a guard back to town, and he told you about a cow!

As you reenter the Labyrinth, a familiar pair of explorers stands in your way, just as before. Once she recognizes you, one of the girls calls out to you in a cheerful voice while waving a hand.

Hey! I heard you're taking the Council's test!
That we are.
As she says this, the Necromancer backs out of your way and gestures towards to your destination.
The Hippogriff's pretty tough, you know. One wrong step and you're worm food.
You already told those before us as much. Nothing a child couldn't infer.
With these cold words, the Reaper turns her back to you allows you to proceed.
All of what you just saw happened before I did some boss preparations--mostly grinding for materials to upgrade equipment.

Alexis's equipment here isn't actually truthful--I replaced his Luck Necklace with a pair of shoes, because certain crucial actions of his were getting outsped by Hippogriff.

Only other major change from prior to this fight is that Mio has a bow equipped now. I recycled her Ice Bat Fang.

Alexis's skill build got overhauled a bit. I exchanged some points in Race skills and one point in Sylphid for a maxed out Wind Curtain and level 9 Vision Thrust.

Iseria has maxed out Chain Shock (12 TP, 200% damage, max 5 chains per turn, -10% chance per hit), and put one point into Chain Boost, which gives her +5% damage for one turn for every activation of a Chain skill.

Kaelin ditched all of his points in Amplifier and his one point in Magic Shield for a level 9 Lightning (157% INT damage, 12 TP) and level 9 Incantation: Compression Form (2.06x damage, 10 TP).

Mio has 5 points in Oracle: Dance now (192% INT damage, 34% resistance decrease, 18 TP).

Dosen's most significant change is he has one more point into Cure Herb (270% healing power, 5 TP).

Putting the now extremely familiar stone pillars of this stratum behind you, you stop in front of the door when you suddenly feel a wave of intense bloodlust. Mostly likely, the Hippogriff is right on the other side! You should make sure you're ready to take on such a fearsome opponent. There's still time to go back to town if you're not confident in your preparations.
If you all are quite done hesitating, I have a bird to fry.

As you open the door and step through, you find yourself in an area enclosed by treacherous cliffs. As you endure the howling winds created by the narrow space, you look around for your target without success. However, the bloodlust continuing to pierce you like needles is all the proof you need of the demon beast's presence. You continue your search for the Hippogriff, weapons at ready.

For those of you somehow playing along at home: the Hippogriff fight starts once you step on this tile!
As you cautiously advance into the room, you suddenly hear a scream from above, like a knife cutting through the wind.

I'm going to break character here and say that I think this guy looks rad as hell. Look at this guy. This is a boss monster. Fuck yeah.

Like a cross between an eagle and a horse, the moment the beast notices you it point a razor sharp gaze in your direction.
What an absolutely tacky monster. Yellow-green, purple, red, and black? An atrocious color scheme.
What you find ugly, I find fascinating.
Is that really the best thing to focus on right now?!
It's too late to turn tail and run; your only choice is to defeat it. Gritting your teeth and clutching your respective weapons tightly, you prepare yourselves for a tough battle with the demon beast before you!

Great prestige awaits us, once we've put you in a well-deserved grave!

VIDEO: Boss Fight: Hippogriff

I'd make some comment about the troublesome fight coming ahead, but it'd be pointless in light of the update title. Everyone knows what's gonna happen.

These three use Defend, since Hippogriff always opens with Fury Gaze, and using Defend reduces a character's chance of being hit with disables.

Kaelin uses Incantation: Compression Form. Literally all he will do for the entire fight is Compression -> Lightning on repeat.

I question my usage of Compression, looking back--prior to level 10, and especially without High-Speed Incantation, Compression's not terribly worth it. Level 9 amounts to an effective 3% damage increase over just spamming the skill back-to-back.

And Mio uses Prayer: Eradication.

Let's see, who to pray to for luck against a giant bird...
Do you really need to "pray" to these fictional--
Ah, yeah, Sasuke, he fought a bird one time!

You have no idea how many attempts just prompted an immediate reset because someone got hit by Fury Gaze.

Are the stiff, twitching fingers part of your magic?
Yes. Now, shut up, you're distracting me.

Wind Curtain's expensive as fuck, yeah, but it's my best option for ensuring that Iseria can live through attacks along with Alexis. I'm not terribly concerned about the back row, since EO's AI targeting system has a built-in bias towards the front row.

Iseria uses Chain Freeze to save TP--nah I'm fucking with ya she's gonna be using Chain Shock.

Mio and Dosen use normal attacks to get Chain hits.

(You'd be forgiven for not being able to guess that due to how the UI animates when you quickly send inputs.)

(Wind Curtain.)
Now, when the beast begins to move, simply perform these steps...
Pretty sure that's not what Wind Curtain is supposed to represent.
Fun fact: that's the same UI effect used for Illusion Step (Survivalist Force Boost) in EO2U.

(Normal attack.)
Like so!

(Sylphid counter, followed by Chain Shock.)
So begins the Chain Train.

I don't think I hurt it much...

That matters not!

Endoloen's Malevolent Perturbation!
You just took that from one of the games that Guild TFKrew has.
And what if I did, hm?
You can see Chain Boost taking effect here, incidentally--Iseria has a 15% damage bonus in effect right now.

It can be a little hard to tell due to standard damage variance.

All it took was one turn to knock off that much of Hippogriff's HP.

Mio uses a Hamao on Alexis to restore his TP a little, since Alexis getting below 30 TP means no Wind Curtain, which means Bad Things for ensuring him and Iseria don't die.

(Bind Claw.)
Hippogriff is no match for a good supply of TP restoration and the fact that Alexis wears shoes.
I'm also no match for these things.
(My earlier attempts at this fight while Alexis was wearing his Luck Necklace resulted in Wind Curtain being outsped by anything Hippogriff does.)

Getting a Chain hit off that is just icing on the cake.

I have Mio cast Prayer: Purple Lightning, so she can cast Oracle: Dance later.

Hmph. No praying to fictional characters?

(Sky Dive.)
...wait hold on what the fuck did I seriously already trigger that

Ack, kaff... I-is this blood?! This wretched beast has made me bleed internally?! Oh, now you've done it!
Sure would appreciate fancy footwork lessons back here...
Kaelin was left at 2 HP there, and Mio and Dosen didn't fare much better.
Back in MY day, the squishies just died to this, full stop. And I LIKED it.

(Wing Guard.)
Oho, trying to keep yourself from bleeding? How interesting. I shall make you spill it all, nonetheless!
Calm down, jeez, you just got hit. We all get hit every now and then.

Alexis uses Vision Thrust on the off-chance that he blinds Hippogriff.

Mio uses Oracle: Dance to amplify volt damage.


Hm! Quite a lot of solid muscle in these wings.
...Aw, crap, I was mistaken. Wing Guard doesn't check for element when deciding to reduce damage, it just checks if the attack is STR or INT-based. Oh well, Kaelin still exists.

No blind, damn.

Cease your useless cowering at once, and bleed!
Kaelin knocked Hippogriff out of Wing Guard, since we did over 500 damage after Lightning.

I have a feeling that we're going to immediately trigger another Sky Dive, so Alexis takes a break to restore his TP with an Amrita.

Iseria uses a Hamao on Kaelin.

Dosen uses Aegis Shield in preparation for Sky Dive, and uses another Amrita on Alexis.

...I really hope this is actually Sky Dive, or else I'll have wasted something very powerful on nothing.


Thank you for your scintillating contribution, Smugfried.
...I will admit, "Smugfried" deserves commendation.

I do the exact same stuff as the last Wing Guard turn.

...How did you get its eyes when those giant wing...fist...things are in the way?!
Sheer force of will! ...In reality, a lot of stretching and nimbleness.

I wonder if losing that much blood is actually making Kaelin lose it...

The fact that Hippogriff is blinded means I'll take my chances on leaving Alexis and Iseria unguarded for the upcoming Sky Dive.


Here's the last Wing Guard...

In all seriousness, this Hippogriff is, bluntly, an idiot.
It's simply stood and cowered in front of us, instead of fleeing. It's had plenty of opportunities to!
And there goes the last Wing Guard.
You know Persona Q, that shitty Persona/EO crossover game? The final boss of that game has this gimmick called Gears of Time where on the first turn, he'll give all of your characters a random number of turns from like, 5-10, until they instantly die. His damage output is pretty meh other than that but it's a decent enough boss gimmick.

When I fought the final boss of Persona Q, I put him to sleep on the first turn. The AI never bothered using Gears of Time after having its first action skipped, so the final boss never bothered actually using its gimmick.

It's kind of like this, except instead of chumping it with one action, it's the sheer damage output causing the boss to cower in fear. I approve. EO5 is a good game.
Overwhelming damage tends to negate a lot of EO5 bosses.

(Defeated Hippogriff!)
Okay, I've had enough.

(Received 1 Hellbeast's Wingfist.)
D-Did you just...slap me? How uncouth.
What's "uncouth" is all the shouting you were doing about blood and bleeding.
Hmph. I have no idea what you're talking about.
Hehe... So Kaelin has a brutal side, huh? Hmm... Raven's adverse to violence, but maybe Cecil...
What are you whispering about and jotting down? ...Is that my n--
D-Don't look!

The Hippogriff, born of griffons, lets out one last high pitched wail before collapsing to the ground. You've successfully defeated the Hippogriff, as the Council requested. Your mission is complete. All that's left is to return to town and report your success.
Where's the fun in that? Let's go to the next stratum! I betcha it's gonna be very bright and cheery.

VIDEO: 3rd Stratum: Vanguard's Mortuary Intro


The normal 3rd Stratum music's fucking ace, by the way. The FM version...not so much.

I-I-Is that a giant skull in the tree...?
I... I believe it is.
That skull is of fictional dragon proportions...
How...how about we just find the Geomagnetic Pole and get out of here?

I immediately went back to the Council to turn the mission in.

Magnificent... You've really defeated that unearthly beast. Congratulations--the Council now officially recognizes you as Masters.
You should've been doing that from the beginning.
...I must admit, your rapid growth has come as somewhat of a surprise to me. Please take no offense, but when you arrived you seemed...what's the word...flaky. But, now that you're Masters, which is rare even here in Aeolis, I have full faith that you'll succeed in all you attempt. Allow me to present you your well-earned reward.

(Obtained 6000 en.)

Now, with the Hippogriff defeated, the path to the third stratum is open to you. This area is still largely uncharted, for only the handful able to call themselves Masters have earned the right to set foot there. And, according to their reports, the scars of the ancient war have twisted the Labyrinth there into something...unnatural.
"Unnatural" is an understatement.
I hope you'll be able to expand our understanding of it with your own reports. With that in mind, we are in fact offering you more than just an empty title. Please, ask the Guildmaster for details on what you may do now that you are Masters.

Eh, Edgar can wait.
So hey like I've heard word that you can't fish up ordinary fish in the 3rd stratum? Logic dictates that this means you can fish up eccentric fish instead! Pretty please with a crappie on top show Miss Genetta an eccentric fish if you catch one???
Wh... What is a "crappie?"
A type of fish. Why?
A-ah, no reason

Hey guys, I hear you reached the third stratum! Really, that's just amazing, really incredible of you guys. So what'd you find there? Anything that make you go, "Wow! I've never seen that before?" C'mon, let me take a look! Just a peek!!
We...haven't gathered anything yet.
C'mon, c'mon, I'll make weapons out of them! I'll make armor out of them! C'moooooon!!!

Oh, right, this thing.
Griff Buster (+72 ATK, +55 MATK, Rest, Silver x4) is made from 1 Hellbeast's Wingfist (Hippogriff normal). Costs 5000 en, sells for 2000 en.

Rest: Uses the arms. Restores the user's HP, based on a static value plus a percentage of their maximum HP. Has a 120% speed modifier at all levels.

Eh. I don't think Cesti really need to heal themselves all that often.

So you've made it to the 3rd Stratum, have you? Are you aware of its history? It's said to have been the main battlefield of a great war fought in ancient times. Even now, it's still scarred by the battles fought there.

Only bar patron is Hansuke.

We actually have three quests to do here.

#1: Request for never-before-seen ore:
Oh, you took that one? Thanks. The client happens to be in the bar right now, so you might as well just ask them for the details.
#2: Moving skeletons: fact or fiction?:
Oh, that one? Thanks. The client's in the bar right now, so why don't you ask them yourselves for the details?
And #3: Peddler Ceric:
That one's from Ceric again. Apparently he has some business in the Labyrinth and wants you to escort him. You can talk to him yourself for the details. Good luck.

I didn't talk to Ceric for the rest of the update. We'll see that next time.

Anyway, the quest patrons.

#1: Girl with a large book:
Girl: Hmm, so these stones are from the first stratum, which means they were mined from the...
Girl: Oh, hello! Sorry about that, I've been busy taking all these notes. So are you the explorers?! You took my request?! All right! Thank you! So do you have any ore mined from the third stratum? Could you please show me some? I'd love to see all the types, but even just one would be great! I wanna feel them, sketch them, and then record it all in this book here! And then, someday, head up there myself to collect them from the Labyrinth. I'm still a kid so there's no way I'm going right now, but when I grow up I'm definitely going! Oh, sorry. That has nothing to do with the request, does it? I'll be waiting here, so when you have the ore from the third stratum just come talk to me, okay?
We just gotta show her all of the things we can mine in the 3rd Stratum. Given that there's Mine points on 11F, that's easy.

#2: Thin Lunarian woman:
Woman: Geez, that girl never listens to a word I say... Oh? Excuse me, are you explorers?
That we are. I'm going to guess you're the woman that posted the request.
Woman: So you are? Then you took my request?! Thank you so much, I've been waiting here for you! I hope you don't mind me cutting right to the heart of matter? It's about my daughter. Lately she's been going around town getting into all sorts of mischief. Naturally I've tried scolding her, but while she makes a good show of saying sorry, the very next day she's always right back at it! But, well, she has a bit of a thing when it comes to ghosts and such. Especially skeletons. Even seeing a picture of one in a book is enough to get her hiding under her blankets. So I was looking through some old documents, and apparently there are actual, real life moving skeletons on the third stratum's 11th floor?
Th-there are?
Woman: I bet if I showed her a picture of one of those she'd be scared straight! Which is where you come in. I want you to register the skeleton monsters of the 11th floor into your Monstrous Codex. You can do it whenever you happen to be up there on other matters, but please, do this for me.

Edgar starts talking as soon as we enter.
Nameless, huh? I've already heard the news. Sounds like you've all been recognized as Masters. You know the idea, but Masters can be given titles. We call this an explorer's Second Name. A Second Name is a symbol of your skills--so, it also means you can learn new skills. Take a Fencer, for example.
We're listening.
A Master strutting around as an "Illusory Fencer" will be dodgier, faster, evasive, like an obnoxious little puppy you can't catch.
That most certainly sounds like me.
But, a Master who fancies themselves a "Thunderclap Swordsman" will learn new consecutive attacks, like the venom coming after a wasp's sting.
I'm...going to assume that's my style of approaching this job.
You can choose your Second Names depending on whatever you want- grab what sounds best, or keep your party balanced. It's your choice. Oh--and while the guild has predetermined Second Names, you can come up with your own names too. Dragon Slayer! Headhunter!! El Destructo!!! ...and other assorted nonsense. You can pick your skills, so you can pick your name. You're a big kid.
Is that it?
I'm done.
And, at last, we get access to specializations--or Second Names, if you want to use their fancy term. You're already familiar with these from the class updates, and Edgar just explained their gist, but just as a refresher: Second Names give access to an entire new page of skills, focused on one specific theme, and they also give small stat bonuses that are relevant to the specialization.

Let's talk to Remus before we mess with them.
Long ago, in ancient times, the Mad King marched his armies on the World Tree. His armies, and their opponents, gathered to halt his advance, are said to have met in the foothills of Yggdrasil. Both ally and enemy suffered heavy casualties, to the point where the land itself was forever twisted; by the scars of battle, and by the spirits of the dead, which still linger. Today, we have another name for the battlefield in which this conflict reached its peak; the Vanguard's Mortuary, or, more simply, the 3rd Stratum. It's a strange and horrifying place, with the lingering undead prowling its corridors. Masters you may be, but please do not underestimate its dangers. It might seem a bit oversaid at this point, but...please, be careful.

ANYWAY. Specializations. One more note about them: a character needs to be level 20 to set them. Once they're level 20, the top option on their Manage menu entry unlocks.

From there, you pick one of the two specializations. I already know which one I want for Alexis: he's our dodgetank, so he's going to become an Illusionary Fencer.


I'm runnin' circles around ya!
Ya're like a car crash in slow motion. It's like I'm watchin' ya fly through a windshield!
D-Did the Hippogriff's gaze finally get to him?
It was a mercy killin', ya live in a...camper van!
I believe I've earned the right to do this!
...Ahem. Thank you. Some...unknown spirit possessed me, I suppose.
Yep, you can type in custom names. You have a limit of 15 characters for it--that's plenty to type out a lot of stuff in English, though.

Precision in personal descriptions is incredibly important!
These two aren't the only ones I've pre-planned specializations for. Our Herbalists' roles have also been decided.

...I suddenly feel an intense desire to perform terrible experiments.
What...kind of experiments?
...Horrible stuff involving baboons. Is this what happened to Alexis?
Dosen becomes a Deeply Compassionate Doctor.

In honor of The Dinogator's most sacred of techniques.
And Magda becomes an Innocent Poisoner.
The rest of the guild, though? Their specializations are up to the thread!

Next time: five characters take their newfound specializations for a spin on 11F.
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