Story Update 13: Happy Little Workers (Queen Ant)

Ricky's keen eye is accurate; these seem to have sturdier shells and more ponderous movements than the other ants.
Hey, don't those ants remind you of Raquna?
You mean the whole defender thing? Yeah, I guess I can see where he's coming from.

Oh and for the record, there's no Honey Ant equivalent for these FOEs.
All red and shieldy, so to take this further, therefore means Simon is full of honey?
And just what does that mean, eh!?
Leaving the bickering duo aside, you decide to carefully observe the ants' movements as you move onward.

Ricky smiles as she looks over the map. Indeed, it seems complete enough to hand in at Radha Hall. If you are done mapping B12F as well, then return to the Radha and show them the results. If not, then move along to the next floor, and complete the second half of your task.
The thresholds for mapping missions in this series tends to be pretty lenient, as you can see.
Well it's 26 squares out of 750 total, so that's not too bad. Filling out the fog can be fun.

Upon closer inspection, you find a chipped shield and a broken sword.

...This must be what we were asked to find.
You believe this to be an article of one of the deceased, so you place the sword in your pack and continue on.

This makes three. ...Dude, let's hurry back and deliver them to the pub.
You make a note that you must return to the pub to turn in this quest.

You look to where Simon is pointing, and indeed, there are a number of ants walking in a single-file line.
Hey, if we ambush them now, maybe we could take their stuff!

Yeah sure, let's steal from these happy little workers.
Only space is free from capitalism.
As Arthur says, now is your chance. Slowly, and with great caution, you approach the ants from behind, taking care that they do not notice you. When in position, you strike at the ants before they can drop the heavy burdens they carry!
Alright, let's do this!

Easy enough.

Interesting. It seems they were harvesting food and nesting materials. These could prove quite useful.
You stow them in your packs before resuming your investigation of the forest Labyrinth.

What an easy steal.
See, kids, stealing is rewarding!

Also this pit is kind of important. Make sure to fall down it after unlocking the shortcut at the end.

Oh, blech!

Anyways, let's turn in that quest.

Thank you. I want to think I understand the impulses that drive you adventurers... But seeing things like this makes me afraid to post jobs up. Still, it's true that this town owes its lifeblood to brave, maybe even foolhardy, people like you... ...All I can do is pray for your safety. Don't get reckless, you hear? Promise me that.

Gives regular attacks a 20% chance to bind the target's arms. Yeah uh, no thank you! No one in the Story party can even equip this anyway.
I hate these weapons so much.

No more quests to cover for now, so let's get the rest of this mission done.

Hey, Dude. Am I the only one who hears water somewhere?
You stop and listen closely. It is as she says; you can hear the sound of flowing water somewhere. After searching for the sound's origin, you find a hole...
Is it coming from in there? Should we check it out, Dude...?

Always peer into holes, no matter how dangerous they may be.
When you look into the hole with a light in hand, you find water pooled at the bottom. The water's surface doesn't seem to be stagnant. You can quench your thirst if you wish, or simply leave it alone.

See? We got free water out of it!
"Doesn't seem to be stagnant" is not exactly foolproof.
You cup a handful of water and take a drink. The water is surprisingly refreshing! You feel your exhaustion melt away...
Is it that good?
Hey, Dude, can you get some for me, too?
You draw water for each of your allies and pass it to them... The cool water revitalizes the party!

I wonder how this water came to be so beneficial... Chalk it up to the mysteries of the forest, I suppose. If we remember this place, I think it could be of great use to us. Why not mark the location on our map?
Simon's suggestion seems sound, though if you would rather not waste the effort, you could simply leave.

I want to point out this enemy. Not because it has any good Grimoire skills (It doesn't.) But because this is one of the enemies that Sonic Bombs make absolute jokes. It goes straight from threatening to just a big sack of HP. Like I said, Sonic Bombs are really strong!

Also, Charge sucks because a level 10 version still gives less than a 2x damage boost. Not only that, we have access to Action Boost in Story Mode, the best charge skill in the entire game!
See, Atlus make sure to balance stuff after the cavalcade of Charge in EO3. And then immediately make a new skill to surpass it and a way to pass skills between classes. Game development!

You see it as well... A strange object jutting out from the ground just ahead of where Arthur is crouched. It looks to be stone, but its needle-sharp point is odd for a naturally occurring phenomenon...
Arthur, don't be so careless about approaching strange things.
Ah, I'll be fine. Huh, it's harder than it looks. It might be some kinda treasure! Hey, Dude. Can I try digging this up?
You can give Arthur his way or decline, if you feel that it should not be meddled with.

What's life without taking a few risks, huh?
Hehe, okay! Here goes!
Upon receiving permission, Arthur cheerfully begins to dig around the protrusion... ......
...Is that a conch?
It's no treasure, that's for sure.
Hey, no need to be so down. We can probably sell it anyway!

You return to your investigation while trying to console Arthur, whose shoulders remain slumped.

The party stares at the green object, pulsating eerily on the ground...
That thing clearly looks gray to me!
Suddenly, a tearing sound comes from the object, and a viscous liquid begins to pour out from a seam.

So those FOEs were basically babies? That explains why they're so easy to kill.
Infanticide, hell yeah!
Ugh! Gross!
I see... An ant egg. If we leave it be, the ants may keep multiplying. We ought to do something about the egg itself, if possible...
It seems imperative to come up with a fast countermeasure to stop ants from emerging from the egg...

The ant egg collapses with a wet, sickly popping sound.

Are they panicking because the place where they were born got destroyed?
Who cares why they do it? Now we know if we crush the eggs, we don't have to fight the ants!
...I think it's good to know the reason why things happen...
Despite Ricky's mutterings, you now know how best to deal with the eggs, and so decide to proceed onward.
Arthur cares not for science, for he is wizard.

You feel it as well... a hostile glare cast in your direction. And it has more than a single owner... You tense, preparing yourselves for a confrontation, when hordes of ants emerge from everywhere!
What's got them so mad!? I dunno why a bunch of ants would have... a grudge...

You recall it as well... the way you ambushed a troop of ants before and robbed them of their harvest...
Oops. (I regret nothing.)
Can ants... give you fierce glares? I feel like it's the one thing insects struggle with.
You suspect that they were part of this very same army. But the time for such supposition is past. You are surrounded now, with no way to plead your case!
Here they come...!
You cast your indecision aside and take weapons in hand to defend yourselves against the furious ants!

Is that all you got!?

Raquna looks around desperately while gasping for air. But the ants continue their fearless march toward you over the corpses of their brethren!
...Or not.
No, there's less of them now. This should be their last attack!
Praying that she is correct, you brace yourself for one last wave of ants!


By the way, the event ends with no fanfare. The story party doesn't pipe up after this event is done.

Come on, no one told us there'd be a monster like that here!
Ah... I see. That must be the Queen Ant which gave birth to the eggs we found along the way.

Do you think we can beat it?
Of course we can win! Let's beat that thing, get those maps drawn, and finish up this mission!
Simon nods in concurrence with Arthur's enthusiastic outburst before speaking.
...Surprisingly, I agree with Arthur. Let's defeat this monster and complete our assigned task.
Simon lightly taps the weapon at his hip, hinting that in the end, you must fight the insect to finish the job. You decide to challenge the ant queen to battle in order to finish your mission to draw the maps.
Alright, let's check on Achievers.

I also brought Leg Tanglers for this fight as well. If you're playing Story Mode, you're really gonna want to stock up on these!

Time to squash an ant.

Queen Ant

HP: 6965STR: 38TEC: 29VIT: 27AGI: 24LUC: 25
EXP Given: 32800

Damage Vulnerabilities:
100% 100% 100%
50% 125% 100%

Disable Vulnerabilities:
50% 50% 50% 50% 75% 50% 50%
0.1% 0.1% 30%
50% 50% 75%
  • Crunch: Deals severe bash damage to one party member. Slightly slow.
  • Queen's Verdict: Deals 3-4 instances of heavy bash damage to random party members. Slightly slow.
  • Duster: Reduces all party members' accuracy by 50% for 4 turns. Attempts to inflict blind on all party members, with a moderately high chance. Slightly slow.
  • Ruler's Eye: Attempts to inflict panic on one party member, with an all-but-guaranteed chance. Very fast.
  • Crunch: Deals 160% melee STR-based bash damage to one party member. The damage ranges from 256 to 301 on average. Has an 80% speed modifier and a base accuracy of 99%.
  • Queen's Verdict: Deals 3-4 instances of 90% melee STR-based bash damage to random party members. Has no limit on how many times one target can be hit. The damage ranges from 144 to 169 on average. Has an 80% speed modifier and a base accuracy of 99%.
  • Duster: Reduces all party members' accuracy by 50% for 4 turns. Attempts to inflict blind on all party members, with a 50% base chance. The effective chance ranges from 59% to 72% on average. Has an 80% speed modifier.
  • Ruler's Eye: Attempts to inflict panic on one party member, with an 80% base chance. The effective chance ranges from 94% to 116% on average. Has a 150% speed modifier.
  • Queen Ant will always open with Ruler's Eye.
  • On turns that are multiples of 5, if no party members are panicked, Queen Ant will always use Ruler's Eye.
  • As far as Duster goes, Queen Ant will not use it again after casting it until she randomly decides that she can.
  • Phase 1: Lasts from 100% to 76% HP. Queen Ant only uses Crunch and normal Attacks here.
  • Phase 2: Lasts from 75% to 51% HP. Queen Ant has a low chance of using Queen's Verdict, in addition to Crunch and normal Attacks.
  • Phase 3: Lasts from 50% to 26% HP. Queen Ant will always open this phase with Queen's Verdict. After that, she'll start using Duster, in addition to all previous moves.
  • Phase 4: Lasts from 25% HP to death. Queen Ant stops using normal Attacks.
  • If this is the first turn, use Ruler's Eye.
  • If the current turn is a multiple of 5, and no party members are panicked, use Ruler's Eye.
  • If the Duster flag is not set, and Queen Ant's HP is at 75% or lower, 50% chance to use Duster, and set the Duster flag.
  • 30% chance to unset the Duster flag.
  • If Queen Ant's HP is at 25% or lower:
    • 69% chance to use Queen's Verdict.
    • Else, use Crunch.
  • If Queen Ant's HP is at 50% or lower:
    • If the initial Queen's Verdict flag is not set, use Queen's Verdict, and set the initial Queen's Verdict flag.
    • Else, 49% chance to use Queen's Verdict.
    • Else, use Crunch.
  • If Queen Ant's HP is at 75% or lower:
    • 29% chance to use Queen's Verdict.
    • Else, 40% chance to use Crunch.
    • Else, Attack.
  • If Queen Ant's HP is at 100% or lower:
    • 49% chance to use Crunch.
    • Else, Attack.
  • Queen's Verdict: Deals 3-4 instances of bash damage to random enemies. Slightly slow.
  • Duster: Reduces all enemies' accuracy for 4 turns. Attempts to inflict blind on all enemies. Slightly slow.
  • Ruler's Eye: Attempts to inflict panic on one enemy. Fast.
  • Queen's Verdict: Deals 3-4 instances of melee STR-based bash damage to random enemies. Has no limit on how many times one target can be hit. Has an 80% speed modifier and a base accuracy of 99% at all levels.
  • Duster: Reduces all enemies' accuracy for 4 turns. Attempts to inflict blind on all enemies. Has an 80% speed modifier at all levels.
  • Ruler's Eye: Attempts to inflict panic on one enemy. Has a 120% speed modifier at all levels.
  • Normal: Death Claw. 100% chance. Sells for 1770 en.
    • Queen Saber (+79 ATK, +20 HP, +20 TP): Made from 1 Death Claw. Costs 6600 en.
  • Conditional: Ant's Jaws (Kill while head is bound). 100% chance. Sells for 5310 en.
    • Heaven to Hell (+200 ATK, +4 TEC, +5 AGI): Made from 1 Ant's Jaws. Costs 181000 en.
Queen Ant can be one tough customer to deal with. She has two really hard hitting attacks on top of having access to Panic. But the biggest threat by far here is Duster. The AOE blind is one thing, you can just dispel that easily. But the Story party really doesn't have any good ways of dealing with that accuracy debuff. Short of leg binds anyways. Frederica has Leg Snipe, yes. But if she's hit by Duster, the chances of her actually hitting with it go down. Fortunately, Leg Tanglers ignore the standard accuracy checks. Like I said with Queen Bee, there's a reason why they become available now.

Also if you don't deal with the eggs, you'll have to deal with the FOEs helping her out, and you really don't want that! While they should be easy to dispatch at this point, that's time you're spending not dealing with Queen Ant.

As for good Grimoire skills to grab, Ruler's Eye is a great single target Panic skill to have access to. Queen's Verdict is by far the best skill to grab from her, though. Since it deals so much damage, and can give your Highlander some additional coverage, since all of his skills are Stab attacks. And it gives him some more crowd control capabilities to boot!
DUSTER!!! It's a pretty nasty accuracy debuff and really drags the fight out. Imagine if you had to deal with various adds on top of it? This usually ends up being one of the longer battles of the game and I'm really not a fan of this section. Boss fatigue, yo.

Gonna just buff up my party here.

Since this is a free turn and Raquna can't do much else, I'm going to have her use Shield Smite. Not for the damage, it's really terrible and that would be a terrible idea for this boss. But more for the chance to inflict Arm Bind, since that will defang Queen Ant for a good portion of the fight. If she doesn't land it though, no big deal.

More setup.

Just gonna have Ricky get in a potshot on Queen Ant, and hopefully bind her arms.

Welp, that will make this part of the fight easier!

You tried, Raquna.
45 damage is just pitiful at this point in the game.

Gonna have Dude set up his combo.

My strategy for dealing with Duster? By making sure it never comes out in the first place!

Are you ready to see some absurdity?

Yeah, even with Arm Binds, her regular attacks hit pretty hard!

Well that was a nice stroke of luck!

I'm not using Ice Rounds, because at the level they're at, they deal less damage than a level 3 Charged Shot, even when they hit Queen Ant's weakness. So Charged Shot is gonna be my damage skill of choice here. But anyways...

Ready to see some absurdity?


This was with Front Guard and an Arm Bind. Yeah, if you have no way to mitigate or outright stop Queen Ant's damage output, she can easily tear your party apart!

Holy cow Ricky! She's hitting just as hard as Arthur!

Look at all that HP I shaved off! Also, I don't even need to worry about Duster coming out this turn! Queen Ant is guaranteed to cast Queen's Verdict now, and her arms are bound, so I have a free turn!
This feels like cheating, but hey, fuck this boss.
I prefer to think of it as outsmarting my enemy.

Finishing off that combo.

Aw yeah, that's some sweet damage.


On turns that are multiples of 5, she'll cast Ruler's Eye. There's just one problem with that...

Everyone has Panic Guards! So this was yet another free turn I could take advantage of!
Equipment... to reduce or nullify ailments and binds...? Nah, that just sounds too crazy.

Which gave my entire party enough time to finish her off!
This fight took 22 turns in my LP, with an ATK buff the entire time AND with no Medic, meaning not much really went wrong. Whatever you might think of this game, it's still much better to play than what it's based on.

The... prize... for defeating Queen Ant.

Now if you can't shut down Queen Ant like I just did, be prepared to have a very rough time! See Ragnar's playthrough for an example of what an unrestrained Queen Ant can do to your party.

You have at last defeated the powerful foe!

Uuuuuugh! It's finally over! Damn, I'm tired!
There were those bees in Gladsheim, too... It's been one bug after another lately, eh? Seriously though, I was wondering how much longer that was going to last.
It was quite an obstacle to our cartographic task.

They didn't tell us about this...
Well, the request wasn't solely to draw maps... It was to investigate an unknown region of the Labyrinth. Wouldn't reporting back on the existence of dangerous monsters fall under that purview as well?
That's true, but... These forest missions sure are hard.
Now that the dreadful monster has been vanquished, you begin your journey again to complete the maps.

Raquna's face lights up upon looking at the map. Indeed, it does seem complete enough to hand in at Radha Hall. If you are done mapping B11F as well, then return to the Radha and show them the results. If not, then move along to the next floor, and complete the second half of your task.

And we're done with those 2 floors!

Let's head back to town to report our success. Well, after seeing what's in that King Grimoire we got, first.

The Queen Grimoire contains Queen's Mark, which has priority, and forces everyone in the party to act last.







Not only is this a terrible effect for a King Grimoire skill, it's a terrible skill in general! You're basically asking for the enemies to kill you when you use this! I have no idea what possible practical applications this skill could have. Sure, forcing one party member to move last, I can see some interesting uses for. Forcing your entire party to move last!? That's nothing more than a death wish! Especially considering how deadly a lot of enemies in this game can get if you just give them the chance!

Moving on.
Not all of them can be winners. Well, most of them aren't too great, but yeah, the hell is this shit? I feel like this is only here because the opposite effect is a thing.

Oh yeah, Valerie and Austin talk with us for a bit when we enter the bar. Same deal as in Classic.

Yes, but something he said bothers me. It seems he's trying to investigate something in this town...

Maybe he's on a case?
Yes, it seems he came here at a client's request... to investigate something.
Like you guys from the Library?
...I don't know why, but I seriously doubt he's here for the same reason we are.
And that's all they have to say. Time to hand in our mission report.

I'll send the maps to a printer's at once. Once copies are struck, we will be one step closer to the forest's secrets. We'd like to present this to you as a token of our appreciation.
I never really thought about it, but I guess this society has the printing press. I've always placed this series as more medieval, but perhaps they're rolling along in Tudor times.

Is there some problem?
Well... In truth, when the Chieftain received your report, he proposed that we halt all further investigation.
Huh...!? What in the world's going on here?
After reviewing your account, the Chieftain said he couldn't believe such an absurd story. He went on to mention that perhaps the Radha should reconsider allowing you to explore the ruin... You must admit, all this about a calamity and an ancient weapon to combat it is hard to credit.

All of these choices lead to the same bit of dialogue.
Still, we can't ignore it.
Dude's right! If we don't do this, there won't be anything stopping the calamity!
I agree with what you say. The danger of the calamity is too great to overlook. ...I intend to discuss this further with the Chieftain in the hopes that he might reconsider his position. I'll try and see if I can sway him while you find the next Geomagnetic Field. All that aside, I regret the need to ask this, but there's something I must have you do while you search. We've had some odd reports from the forest lately. They may be related to the calamity. Depending on what we find when we look into this matter, the Chieftain may reconsider his stance. For that reason, I would definitely appreciate your cooperation.

Let's see what Quinn has to say first before we accept.

In the meantime, I would like you to concentrate on your mission to investigate the forest's abnormalities.
Also Rosa has something new to say if you talk to her before you accept the mission. No one else in town has any new dialogue in Story Mode.
I feel people only ever know this stuff from looking at script dumps, only a very tiny percentage of players would ever actually do this.

I have heard that you received a new mission from the Radha. I doubt you have any time to rest, with all these missions one after another. Please, don't push too hard.

Alright, let's accept.

While you were drawing your maps of the third Stratum, a number of our soldiers reported a bizarre experience. It seems there's a mysterious creature in the forest that we know nothing about. They quickly lost sight of it, but it supposedly seemed almost human, even to the point of speaking our language. As your guild has the most experience in the third Stratum thus far, we'd like you to ascertain the truth of these reports. None can say yet whether these sightings are related to the calamity slumbering within the forest or not, but... It certainly bears investigating.
And as for his talk dialogue after this...

Perhaps this is related to the abnormalities occurring in the forest.

It's a bit hard to believe, but he did say it. Still, I think leaving it alone is going to make things worse... I hope that subaltern will be able to convince him otherwise.
So we're supposed to continue our investigation of the Labyrinth in the meantime... A humanoid creature that is capable of speech. Do you have any idea about that, Ricky?
No. Nobody had postulated the possibility of an intelligent lifeform being created like that.
...Is it even possible that they exist?

I don't know.
Well, we've been given the mission precisely because nobody knows.
...You have a point.
Well, talking about it here isn't going to get us anywhere. Why don't we go to the pub?

We're not going to the pub.
B-But... If we're going on a mission, wouldn't it be better if we were a little relaxed before we headed out? Plus, you know...
I can't get pumped up without one or two drinks in me!
She doesn't even try to hide it anymore... Dude, she's probably going to keep this up until we go to the pub. We should just get it over with.
Wh-What's with you? What's wrong with a little...

There might be even bigger discoveries waiting ahead. You'd better rest up while you can!
Don't mind if I do. Let's get something to eat... and of course, something to drink! Hey, Dude, what are you going to get?

I could certainly use a drink.
But you just had Dude say otherwise five seconds ago. Crosspeice will remember this.
Haha, of course! It wouldn't be the Golden Deer Pub without some of that!
All right, you're going down this time, Raquna!
Ha! Don't push your luck, kid.
*sigh* Noisy as always.
Ha, well, you folks just be patient. I'll get your orders out as fast as I can.

Somehow, I missed a screenshot of the dialogue prompts that pop up here. They're:

D-Don't scare me like that, Dude. What's the matter with you?
Agreed, it's almost like uneven characterization is something that doesn't really fit a blank slate like Dude.
I'm sure he was just trying to cheer you up. You are acting somewhat oddly, Ricky.
What? Oh, really? I'm sorry. I was just thinking about something...
What about?
I never thought that the Radha would cancel their investigations. ...What if we get banned from the Labyrinth, and Gladsheim becomes completely closed off...

Don't worry too much about it.
Dude's right. They can't declare it off-limits that easily. This town's entire economy relies on the Labyrinth. The food we eat and the products we use mostly come from materials brought up by adventurers like us. If they cut off access to the forest, the town would lose everything. They wouldn't dare do that.
I... guess...
Come on, what's with all the long faces? Let's drink! All your glasses are still full!
You know, you're a terrible drunk...
Since everyone is probably hungover, we'll deal with this new mission and the rest of the Stratum next time.

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