Update 4: Howl

[Okay, let me make sure I'm doing this right. Nod if this makes sense.]
[Good. Good.]
[So, uh-- S-so... What was living with bandits like?]
[Wait. Did you just stutter in sign language?]
[I... Maybe. Is that weird?]
[I dunno if it's weird, but it's definitely cute!]
[I'm going to the pub and I'm going to try to blend--]
[Aw, come on, stay here! Only a few sentences and this is already the most fun I've ever had talking!]

I was being slightly coy with the intro. Rosa started talking to us as soon as we entered Logjammin.
He included some rare herbs and fruit as well, so I plan on trying to make some new blends... What kind of blend would all of you from Tenebris prefer?

We raised Rosa's Guildkeeper Relationship, meaning we can choose a new cordial for her to prepare. Our new options include:I went with the Echinaceup--it's generally pretty good at lengthening the time we can spend in the Labyrinth before having to go back.
It's probably the best option for most of the game, honestly. The HP drink has some applications as well.
So...is it to your liking? I've heard that explorers encounter many challenges, so I tried to come up with something new. I hope that it will be of aid to you and Tenebris...

Cordials? All I need for a pick-me-up is yoooOOF!
You can go back to sleep now, Momoe. To answer your question, yes, giving ourselves more energy is extremely useful.
Thank you very much. It's a relief to hear that from you. ...I've heard that the previous owners of this mansion retired from exploring due to injury. Please be careful. I shall also do my utmost to support you. Now then, is there anything else you would like me to do?

And with that, let's begin.

So, hey, I've been wondering, why is it we always have to open these things from one specific side?
The opening's too small from this side. We'd need to shove a giant block of metal very quickly to open it safely, given the thorns.
But we have a guy wearing a bunch of metal right--
Quixote, please help.
Thorns are the most terrifying feature of the forest! We must take the long way around.

The music stops.
A wolf howl sound effect plays.
Ah, whatever, it's just one--
Several more howls play.
The sounds increase in number and grow so loud as to shake the forest! Just as the Radha told you, this floor seems to be overrun with the pack of wolves. You remind yourself to beware of any marauding wolves as you proceed...
...I was hoping this would be a bit of a breather...
Never hope for or expect a breather.

Hey, at least it's alone.

Giraffa Beetle

HP: 327
STR: 14
TEC: 8
VIT: 12
AGI: 9
LUC: 9

EXP Given: 240

Grimoire Skills:
  • Strike Up: Uses the head. Deals melee STR-based stab damage that pierces enemy rows. Has a 90% speed modifier and a base accuracy of 99%.
Drops:Damage Vulnerabilities:
75% 75% 75%
100% 150% 100%

Disable Vulnerabilities:
100% 100% 50% 100% 100% 100% 150%
100% 100% 100%
100% 100% 100%
Giraffa Beetles hit hard, they can reach the back row, where our squishy party members are likely to be, they have a good shot of taking our front-liners from 90% HP to 0, and they're annoyingly resistant to physical damage.

With that last part in mind, please evaluate this party for a second.
These things are honestly really tanky all around. Absolutely use head binds if you have them, Strike Up is the first consistently lethal attacks for squishier characters from normal enemies. We'll start to run into these "larger" monsters from here on out, which tend to form the core of most threatening enemy formations.

No-one likes bugs! Not even that terrifying Ronin with the Hexer who's made out of bugs!
...Huh? Wait, you implyin' that Tlachtga is--
A swarm of bugs impersonating a human, yes!
Nah. No swarm of bugs could ever look that cute.

Even Momoe managing a crit deals pitiful damage against this thing.

[I don't like this thing very much!]
[Well, realistically, there's not much we--]
<Fuck you, beetle!>
[F-for morale purposes, I guess that's something.]

Tickle, tickle, tickle! Fear your own monster laughter!
You're not. You're seriously not.

Note to self: bring ice cubes next time.
Eh? Why would ya bring ice cubes? Wouldn't they just melt in ya pack?
Conventional arrows don't seem to hurt those beetles. Ergo: attach ice cubes to arrows.

That fight is not at all representative of how fights with Giraffa Beetles usually go.
It's pretty representative of how fights against dangerous enemies in this game go when you apply the proper tools to them.

Ice Wall now reduces ice damage by 75%.

Horse Slash now deals 230% damage.

I don't particularly feel like having Afon bump up the TP cost of Long Thrust yet, or have her work towards Delayed Charge, so I have her level up ATK Up to learn Bloody Offense early.

Efficiency now increases item restoration by 68%.

Evil Eye now has a 43% base infliction chance.

Encounter formations start becoming very fun by this point, incidentally!
Tanky frontliners defending a dangerous backliner or two becomes a trend for enemy formations in this. Honestly, this game has pretty creative formations that demand some amount of flexibility.

Very fun.
And here's the really fun type of formation where backline disruptors/supporters pave the way for a heavy enemy to reduce you to a smear on the floor.

Woulda preferred...not dying to a plant...

wait vince no

my precious synced EXP bars

oh well, that's what my save editor's for

This event happens automatically.
You turn to see that Vince's foot is caught in a hole on the side of the path. Vince tries to pull free, but the leg is lodged in deep, and it won't seem to budge.
Fare thee well, Vincent!
The name's...Vinny, Vince, or even Vincenzo...but not Vincent! Also, you are not leavin' me behind!
We're not leaving our Protector in this hole.
You gather around and try to figure out how you can extricate Vince.

Pouring water on the area does nothing.
Shovel. I need a shovel.
...Why do you have a shovel.
It never hurts to be prepared for all possible situations!
You dig up the earth around the stuck leg to safely free Vince. Vince escapes the hole without any further trouble and notices a bag in the newly expanded cavity. You open it, curious as to what might be inside, and discover a number of medicine bottles in pristine condition. Another explorer must have dropped the bag into the hole while walking by. You see no reason not to claim the bottles and put them in your pack before returning to the investigation.

Choosing to pull results in another item--not really sure what.

[Afon. Why did you just stab the rest of us before going for the monsters?]
[Like my old man always said--"let the grunts take the lumps!"]
Here's a demo of Legion Thrust, by the way.
I always preferred the other version, even if it's weaker.

Went back to town because I'd just unlocked a shortcut, so why not.
Insect Whip (+42 ATK, +1 VIT) is made from 1 Beetle Jaw (Giraffa Bettle normal). Costs 550 en.

Framea (+38 ATK, +1 AGI) is made from 3 Mandrake Roots (Mandrake normal). Costs 410 en.

The Framea's a decent upgrade over Afon's current Harpoon, so I buy it for her.

Oh, hello, what's this?

Randomly, guildkeeper effects will have extra positive or negative effects attached to them. These are basically never a factor in anything, they're so minuscule.
The rare breed rate increase bonus is great for grinding against FOEs later on.

Much like B3F, B4F doesn't have too much going on.

I̧̬̫̗͝ ̸̮̗͕̼̬͈͈̺d̸̡̥̳̠͝I̷̪E̮̘̳͈̟.̩̟̦̗̞̰.̛͕̠̰.̴̢̰͙̥͙̬̤̥f̴̛҉̟̻r̵͉͇E̴̳̰̮̥̙̜̩ȩ͍̘̕͠ͅ.̲̣̬̕͜.͎̙͖̙̠̘ͅ.̬͕̹̳̹
He-- [Afon, h-he just did that to freak us out, right?!]
[Did what?]
Strike Up showing just how dangerous it can be.

Unable to shake your intense curiosity, you pick up the glowing object. Happily, it seems to be a Grimoire Stone. One can never have too many of these stones and their mysterious powers... You put it in your pack.
For some reason, there's a party-based check here. If you have a Survivalist in your party, this happens.
However, Elowen notices something and heaves a rock into the trees above! Suddenly, a monster falls headfirst from the branches! The monster has yet to recover its balance... You take the opportunity to strike!

Ooooh, quick thinking, Elly. That's the kinda stuff that could make a girl fall for you easily~
Do you really gotta flirt with everyone?
[You've seriously never blushed before? ...Or been flirted with?]
Without a Survivalist, we get ambushed here.

Flying Beetle

HP: 206
STR: 14
TEC: 9
VIT: 14
AGI: 9
LUC: 10

EXP Given: 180

Grimoire Skills:
  • Cover: Uses the arms. Takes all damage for all other party members for one turn. For levels greater than 1, reduces any damage taken while in effect. Has a 200% speed modifier at all levels.
Drops:Damage Vulnerabilities:
50% 50% 100%
150% 150% 150%

Disable Vulnerabilities:
150% 50% 100% 50% 100% 100% 100%
100% 100% 100%
100% 100% 100%
Enemies that halve the most common types of physical damage that can tank damage for other enemies are really fun.
These kinds of enemies aren't really a threat on their own, but with attacker types to support they're absolutely monstrous and can prevent you from eliminating the real threats, which then makes them the priority target instead.

Oooookay, nearly broke my katana in half, gotta be careful with that next time.

Even Vince takes a little bit of a beating from this thing.
They have moderately high STR too, I guess.

Ooh, okay, so the horn's the secret.
Might wanna tell Afon that.
Oh, perfect chance to try out my sign language training! [Afon, to kill that thing, you gotta stab it in the--] Oh crap, how do I sign horn?
[Stab it in the what?]
Uh, crap, guh-- Oh, right! [Stab it in the cow!]
Wh... What?
Your hands were a bit too high, there.

A solo Flying Beetle's no issue.

The monsters of the Labyrinth relish any chance to strike while your guard is lowered. You commit the lesson to heart while picking up the dropped Grimoire Stone before you resume your journey.

Yes, yes, give me more.

It was inevitable.

This must be the forest wolf you've heard about at the Radha. In order to vanquish Fenrir, there is no other path but through here. Steel yourself and step forth!

We don't have a way around this wolf without fighting it. If we try to step to the sides, it'll just follow us.

Finally, bigger game.

Forest Wolf

HP: 660
STR: 18
TEC: 16
VIT: 13
AGI: 14
LUC: 13

EXP Given: 550

Grimoire Skills:
  • Evil Cry: Uses the head. Increases all party members' physical attack for 4 turns. Has a 70% speed modifier at all levels.
Drops:Damage Vulnerabilities:
100% 100% 100%
150% 50% 100%

Disable Vulnerabilities:
100% 50% 50% 50% 50% 50% 50%
10% 10% 50%
50% 50% 50%
Even though Forest Wolves are FOEs, and the FOE music is playing right now, they really cannot take much of a beating before they die.
These things kinda suck, even with their gimmick.

You are a bad parent and your cubs are starving without you!

That was with Boost Active, effectively meaning Afon used a level 9 Long Thrust--220% damage, from its normal 158%.

That thing really likes t' suck in air, huh?

I'll trim your fur, free of charge!
That Horse Slash was casted with Boost active, meaning it dealt 320% damage, instead of 230%.

That's what an unboosted Horse Slash does.

...'Ey, hitting things isn't my...thing.

Too long since I had wolf steaks. Tonight, though, that changes.

I was in a cautious mood when recording this, so I went back to town.
Celtis (+51 ATK) is made from 1 Wolf Fang (Forest Wolf normal). Costs 780 en.

Hakenbuechse (+48 ATK) is made from 5 Beetle Jaws (Giraffa Bettle normal). Costs 720 en.

Hairband (+9 DEF) is made from 1 Hard Shell (Flying Beetle normal). Costs 140 en.

She smiles dauntlessly before taking a black object from her belongings.
A bomb?!
This is called a Sonic Bomb. It makes a loud enough noise to cancel out all other sounds. Use it to block out the wolves' howling so they can't call allies.
...Is my terror not enough to stop that?
She puts the Sonic Bomb in a bag and tosses it to you.
Trust me. Radha Hall put a special order for this in to Shilleka's Goods. It's guaranteed to work.
With that, she moves out of your way and leaves. You transfer the Sonic Bomb Ren gave you into your own pack before setting out on your way.

These things are sporadically useful throughout the game, mostly for cancelling out Charge effects.
They effectively make anything that uses Charge a joke. It's kind of hilarious.

Oh hey, another Forest Wolf.


And that's the floor.

Back to town we go.

It's part of my job to see that they get properly escorted back to their rooms.
...Why would you need to get someone back if they were just getting a drink?
Oh, Elly, you innocent baby. Okay, so there's this thing called alcohol...

It...ain't a contest.

You could say that I have grown somewhat fond of this place... And I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
Oh, trust me, Rosa, you make this place very enjoyable.
I agree, her cordials are a nice boost in the morning.
...Wow, uh, you really don't-- Oh, never mind.

So it's all thanks to you adventurers that I can run my business.

One-armed drunkard:
...I heard the Hall's issued a mission. You don't have time to waste sitting in a bar talking with liars.
Yes we do.
...Ugh, what a pain. Fenrir, huh? I've heard of that one. A real troublesome monster. A lot of people talk about how menacing he is, but that's not the true terror. The real problem is the loyalty of his pack. He's the king of the wolves. When Fenrir howls, wolves come to protect him. Even if it means certain death for them... But that's because they're obeying their king's command. If you use a Sonic Bomb, the wolves won't come.
That's partially true.
So, how d'ya know that?
How do I know? Because I've fought one before. Do you believe that?
Quixote, do you really have to shout the start of sentences?
You guys are stupid, you know that? Everyone knows I'm the town liar, in case you forgot. ...Be careful out there, Tenebris.
Leggy dark hunter:
I got another new item. Fighting monsters is so fun, huh? That War Bison is so intense, but he's such a good boy. Oh, Tenebris... You want to know what I know, huh? Hmm... Well, I do feel like a good meal today.
Fried Claw over here, please! ...For two!
Ohhh, it's so much meat! It just blows me away! Hm hm! I'll tell you, then. All you have to do is defeat a War Bison with a stab attack. Use a bow or a spear or something, and you'll make a nice little hole, netting you Penetrated Hide. ...Of course, you've got to have someone who can even use those weapons in your guild to do that. He's a dangerous monster, so be careful you don't get stomped on. ...Unless you're into that. Hm hm hm...
There are people that like being hurt?
Elly, you are absolutely adorable, you know that?
Friendly landsknecht:
Hey, the forest is full of wolves now, huh? I can see why the Hall has stopped trainees from entering the Labyrinth. Have you run into any Skolls?
Can't say that we have.
They run when you try to get near 'em, don't they? But when you're stuck in the middle of battle, they sneak up on you and jump in. If you get into a fight near one, finish the fight quickly. As long as you're in battle, they'll keep joining the fight against you.

The continued growth of adventurers such as you leads to this town's prosperity. I hope you only get better.

With all the town dialogue done, let's do quests.

Observing adventurers I:
Decided to take the request, have you? Good, I've been hoping someone would. Shilleka from the store posted this job. Why don't you speak with her and find out the details? Make sure you do your best for her, okay?
Will do, Valerie.

End of a story:
Decided to take the request, have you? Good, I've been hoping someone would. I'm pretty sure you've figured it out by now, but the merchant you showed the gathering points to needs help again. He was attacked by a monster while heading to the mining point on B3F, and he dropped all his stuff. He gets blinded by greed when he's focused, but he's not a bad guy. I do feel sorry for him. He's here in the pub, so why don't you talk to him yourself?

Oh, it's you... Is there something you want with me...?
We're here for...y'know, that request you put up?
You accepted my job?! Thank you! Thank you so much! This is a pathetic story... I went to B3F to find that mining point you told me of, and I had to flee, leaving my fortune behind... It was terrifying mantis monsters! Two of them, charging right for me! I get chills just thinking about it. Ah, sorry. I need to be more specific. I left my riches in a room with giant mantises on B3F. I'll mark it on your map... There. Please, go and retrieve my treasure!

I beg of you, please get my fortune back! I'll pay you even more than it said in the listing! Please! Bring me back my fortune!
We'll take care of it soon as possible. An' by that, I mean, right as soon as we do more important things.

Yes, we accepted your terrifying request for-- Erm, wait, now what was it again...?
Ahhhh, you're doin' it for me? T'anks, t'at's a real help! I'll give you t'details, t'en. I want you t'let me in on one o' y'adventures. See, I'm always makin' equipment for y'folks and selling you items... But I only been into t'Labyrint' a handful o'times. So I wanna see how t'pros explore t'Labyrint' for once. Will y'take me t'B1F of t'1st Stratum?
You...wanna go into the Labyrinth...wearing that? I mean, it's cute as hell, don't get me wrong, you wear it really well, and I'd like to ask--
Oh-kay! [Elowen, please, we gotta keep her from doing that next time it happens.]
Hooray! T'anks so much! We can go whenever y'ready.

Hey, don't make t'at face. Even I've been t'B1F before!

there's no way i wasn't going to pick this option
'Ey, uh, Shillie...ain't ya cold?
Huh? No, I'm fine. Why d'ya ask?
Well, y'see...
...Oh, very funny... Ahem! Now, if you're t'rough makin' fun, can we get t'B2F?
You nod and look at your map to set a route to B2F.

Floor Jump just kinda trivializes this already simple quest.

...Oh, god. That kinda hurt to read.
Etrian Odyssey is my favorite Roguelike Dark Souls

why do you let me pick this again, game
Yo, Shillie, y'sure you're okay here? No cold?
You just asked that.
Ask me t'at again, and I'll give you a good smack.
And you'd deserve it, Vince.
...What did I do?!
Hmph... It's a little late now, but I should tell y'what I wanna do here. Y'see, what I want t'see here ist'monsters t'at live on t'is Stratum. T'deer, t'boar, and t'mantis. Y'seen 'em before, right? I heard t'ey're really ferocious, but y'can't understand 'em unless y'see 'em in person, right? I can't fight, but I wanted t'get the same perspective as y'explorers. So I t'ought maybe if I saw 'em myself, I'd get into t'explorer mindset.
Wait. You're-- You're interested in fighting with us?
Hah! If I could do t'at, I wouldn't have posted t'job in t'first place. Don't be mean... Just take me to t'deer, boar, and mantis. Pleeeease!
Easy enough.

T'ose antlers are pretty impressive... One hit could really mess someone up. All right, next one! If we stick around here, it'll chase us down! On t'see t'boar and mantis!
Shilleka has special dialogue for if you start a fight with an FOE, and for if you actually kill it. Since there's not much difference between the two, I'll just paste in the kill versions.
M-My heart! Gettin' cornered by t'at t'ing almost stopped it dead! T'at was t'scary deer everyone talks about, right? T'ose antlers are pretty impressive... One hit could really mess someone up. But y'went and beat it anyway! T'at makes y'even more amazin'. Hee hee! I bet y'can do anyt'in'! Okay, next! On t'see t'boar and mantis!

Wow... It's made of stone?! How can anyone take t'at t'ing on? You guys must be really strong...
Well, to be technical, we haven't fought it yet, but eventually I will know what the face of a terrified rock looks like!
You were almost normal there, Quixote. Almost.
Okay, let's see t'next one! Come on, t'is one's too scary for me! We've still gotta see t'mantis!
T-T'at was scary! I t'ought it was a boulder, but it was really a boar! It really is made of rock, just like t'ey say... I can't believe y'beat it! You're really somet'in', huh? Well, enough talking. Next! We've still got a mantis t'see!

I... I don't know what t'say! How do y'explorers do it?! All right, t'at's all t'monsters I wanted t'see! Now let's just go back t'town!
Wow... You're really, really strong if y'beat t'at giant bug... You're so incredible, I don't know what t'say! But don't start takin' risks while I'm still here, okay? Wit'out you here t'protect me, t'ere's no way I'd make it home alive.

While I'm here, I might as well also do End of a story.
There is nothing left of value here. It must have been taken.
Poor guy.
You do notice something: another bag tucked under a bush. It seems to have been undisturbed. It appears to contain the materials that the merchant had collected. It isn't much, so you decide to take it back with you and turn it in when you report your findings.

T'at was t'longest I ever been in t'Labyrint'. It sure was tirin'! But now I know how tough it is bein' an explorer.
[Nope, not really.]
I really respect how hard y'all work. And I'm gonna work even harder t'support y'guys! T'anks for takin' t'trouble t'help me wit' m'request! I know it was a pain! I left y'reward at t'pub, so please take it! I'll see y'again at t'shop!

*sigh* Where am I to sleep tonight...? You! Did you get it?! Did you find my riches?!
Not really. All gone, except for this small bag.
No... Everything I'd worked so hard for... The fruits of my labor...all gone...? N-No...! What have I spent my life doing?! Ugh...
Th-Those are the materials I was gathering... You brought them back...? But this isn't nearly all I-- ...No, I'm going to be gracious and accept it. It's not much, but I'll use it to start again. Thank you. I feel like I've recovered something important about myself. I know! Why don't you take this? I know it isn't much, but the reward alone can't express my gratitude!

Ooh, Ladette'll probably appreciate this.
Please don't pass that off as, I'unno, you buying her a gift.
Now, excuse me while I tell the owner that the quest is complete. I'm sorry I couldn't pay more. Now, if you'll excuse me... Now that I'm poor, I have no time to waste! Hahaha!

How was it? Was escorting our little lady difficult?
Nnnnnnnnope. Not really.
For what it's worth, I bet it must've been a fun assignment, though. All right, here's your reward. I'll be sure to mention you if something else comes up.

The merchant left the pub with a great big smile on his face. I'm real glad you guys took the job. I added a little more to the reward myself. Thank you, everyone.

And with that, we're done for this update. Next time: B5F.
And our very first real friend.

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