• Welcome to Talking Time's third iteration! If you would like to register for an account, or have already registered but have not yet been confirmed, please read the following:

    1. The CAPTCHA key's answer is "Percy"
    2. Once you've completed the registration process please email us from the email you used for registration at percyreghelper@gmail.com and include the username you used for registration

    Once you have completed these steps, Moderation Staff will be able to get your account approved.

  • TT staff acknowledge that there is a backlog of new accounts that await confirmation.

    Unfortunately, we are putting new registrations on hold for a short time.

    We do not expect this delay to extend beyond the first of November 2020, and we ask you for your patience in this matter.

    ~TT Moderation Staff

Killing Chaos before it was cool: Let's Play Dawn of Souls FF1: Mod of Balance!

Kalir

Do you require aid.
(whatevs)


Okay, so here's the plan for today. We're at Melmond now, but we need to head to the Cavern of Earth on the Devil's Tail peninsula, so we can restore the Earth Crystal and give that vampire what-for.



So off we go. More marshlands!



The overworld encounters are now drawing from the Marsh Cave enemy lists, fittingly.



There's another cave over here, let's check it out!



Giant's Cave, eh?



Hey bud can you turn around and help us out?



Guess not.

Lesser Tiger
HP: 140
Damage: 21
Accuracy: 74
Defense: 3
Agility: 24
Intelligence: 13
Evasion: 89
Magic Defense: 21
Rewards: 48 gil, 438 EXP, Hi-Potion
Weaknesses: Poison, Sleep

If this is a Lesser Tiger, I'd hate to see the Greater one. These bad boys are fast and mean, and they take a beating. Fortunately, one good Scourge spell can put them down before you get into any real danger. If you don't have the spell available, uhhhh maybe run? Or hope your physical fighters are accurate.



Fine, be that way, jerk. At least the giant doesn't fight us.



Back on the overworld, we get a level from a fight so inconsequential I won't even show it.



The most exciting thing here is that level 12 is where Vahn gets their third punch.



Anyway, here's the Devil's Tail peninsula.



One last ambush before we go in, I see.

Hyenadon
HP: 153
Damage: 24
Accuracy: 45
Defense: 4
Agility: 24
Intelligence: 8
Evasion: 53
Magic Defense: 31
Rewards: 20 gil, 288 EXP, Power Plus
Weaknesses: Confusion, Mind

Hyenadons are extremely similar to Lesser Tigers, save that they gain a bit of bulk and lose a significant amount of speed. They can also drop Power Plus, capable of permanently boosting a character's Strength score! I dunno who I'd give that one to, but it's probably either Vahn or Rondo.



I'm so glad I'm going to use a Tent after this.



Well, let's see what Polka's Cura can do.



The sparkles are brighter, does that count?



Oh that's actually pretty good. Shame that Polka's MP can't support that kind of healing on the regular, but it's at least better than a standard Potion.



EARNED THAT



I decide to give it to Rondo.



There's our destination. We're going to get uncomfortably familiar with this place this update.



Right off the bat, the Cavern of Earth dumps us in an open area with a bunch of possible places we can go.



I remember this place well enough to know that we go north first.



Goes without saying that the encounters here are spicier than anything we've seen yet.

Minotaur
HP: 280
Damage: 36
Accuracy: 64
Defense: 12
Agility: 24
Intelligence: 8
Evasion: 40
Magic Defense: 55
Rewards: 160 gil, 489 EXP, Great Axe
Weaknesses: Paralysis, Confusion, Mind

I could've sworn Minotaurs were weak to poison, hence my equipment change for Rondo in this fight. Anyway, Minotaurs are absolute beefcakes that can even survive a magical assault from Red. If you can't kill them fast, your best alternative is a Confuse spell, to turn their powerful attack away from you and towards their team. Or running, that's fine too.



Blizzara is kind of overkill on Anacondas, but I get the brain endorphins when I hit elemental weaknesses.



Dang, everything's coming up statbooster.



Rondo has like twice the Luck of everyone else here, and Luck is notably important for your magic resistance, so I'd say either Vahn or Polka should get it on this team.



JUST LET ME HAVE THE BOX



Oh dear.

Earth Elemental
HP: 468
Damage: 60
Accuracy: 170
Defense: 24
Agility: 9
Intelligence: 6
Evasion: 10
Magic Defense: 160
Rewards: 244 gil, 1536 EXP, Knight's Armor
Weaknesses: Fire, Poison, Dia
Resistances: Quake, Lightning, Ice, Stone, Paralysis, Darkness, Sleep, Silence, Confusion, Mind, Death

Commonly appearing as hardy fixed encounters guarding chests here in the Cavern of Earth, Earth Elementals are serious foes. They're slow as hell and can barely dodge, but they're extremely durable, deal mega-huge damage on physical attacks while inflicting Poison, they can cast Zeal to boost their team's attack, and worst of all: they have a special Stone Gas move that can turn everyone in your party to Stone at once. Stone is hands-down the meanest status effect in the game, so any encounter with an Earth Elemental should be cause to bust out the Holy Water and Venom Daggers if ever there was one.



We haven't seen Zeal yet, and I'll save the details for when we see it in a shop, but suffice it to say that it boosts the damage of the team. So now the Earth Elemental hits even harder! It also reuses the old Dia animation.



Taking no chances here.



Holy Water effectively casts Diara on enemies, and this is coming from Red's stats. Which means:



Bah! They must've made their magic resistance roll.



NOW IT'S OUR TURN



Stone Gas can potentially petrify every single member of your party! Every time anyone uses it is a time you get to feel what it's like to have a heart attack!



The infliction rate is super low but THAT DOESN'T MAKE IT FEEL ANY LESS SCARY



Well I earned that.



Anyway, I know the path to the next floor is to the right, so we're ignoring it for now.



We still have Gargoyles and Cobras to deal with, now in even greater numbers. They're less scary now, but still annoying.



If you look to your left, you can see one of the most well-known tourist sites in the Cavern of Earth!



This is the Hall of Giants, which is literally packed to the gills with spiked squares, each with an encounter with some of these guys! Pioneers of FF1 would traverse this cavern up and down for hours on end, picking fights with the Hill Gigas.

Hill Gigas
HP: 480
Damage: 40
Accuracy: 119
Defense: 12
Agility: 24
Intelligence: 5
Evasion: 33
Magic Defense: 60
Rewards: 225 gil, 879 EXP, Giant's Tonic
Weaknesses: Quake, Time, Poison, Confusion, Mind

Not as scary as the Earth Elemental, but still pretty intimidating. The Hill Gigas, in addition to being one of the rare enemies actually weak to Quake, is just a straightforward brawler of an enemy, with loads of health and a solid amount of attack power. They award some solid gil and XP and can be triggered pretty consistently in the Hall of Giants, without having much in the way of surprise spells or status effects to end your fun early.



Anyway I'm gonna need these guys to stop trying to kill Vahn.



Butterflies are very confusing.



Enemy confusion is very easy to see, just look for the horizontally-flipped sprites. Fitting, no? They do, however, have a chance to break out of Confusion whenever they're hit.



Right, let's actually Tent up this time.



This is the way to the other B1 treasure. The path straight down is a quick dead end.



Solve the maze, loser!



You solve it by going left, by the way.



One of these jerks again, huh?



Taste Rune Blade!

That's actually pretty decent damage for a physical attack on an Earth Elemental for where we are.



Citation: Vahn has usually been our best physical damage dealer. Don't sleep on slaying weapons!



Potion, money. Cool!



The right side of the maze has more treasure! Calling it a maze is a bit much, honestly. It's really just branching pathways that make an intimidating first impression.



A very important tip for not dying in the Cavern of Earth: not all of the squares around the chests are enemies. Try approaching them from an angle that isn't literally the shortest distance there to avoid foes. I like that a lot, feels like an early digital way of emulating sneaking past a dangerous monster for its horde, classic D&D style.



Anyway, like I said, go right at the start to get right to B2.



B2 is a little more open and freeform, but stick to the walls if you want the treasure here.



New slime time.

Ochre Jelly
HP: 136
Damage: 32
Accuracy: 39
Defense: 21
Agility: 3
Intelligence: 3
Evasion: 9
Magic Defense: 71
Rewards: 23 gil, 252 EXP, Speed Drink
Weaknesses: Fire, Ice
Resistances: Quake, Lightning, Stone, Paralysis, Poison, Darkness, Sleep, Silence, Confusion, Mind, Death

Ochre Jellies have high defense, lots of resistances, and no other attributes of merit. They're trivial, really.



Let's go down first, why not.



Not STRAIGHT down, though. Dead end if you do that too much.



Actually, just don't go that way. The second floor is another open maze, full of lots of spare room full of too many encounters with small fries.



Hey, spell level 3 for Rondo!



Okay, here we go. Right as far as you can, then go straight down.



Damn, they're learning.



Most of the treasure has been updated to a point of at least usefulness by now in this mod. This Leather Shield has not.



At least we're rich as hell.



Lucky us, we get to fight the Earth Elemental on the way out, too.



More big friends.

Troll
HP: 320
Damage: 24
Accuracy: 59
Defense: 14
Agility: 24
Intelligence: 6
Evasion: 48
Magic Defense: 81
Rewards: 180 gil, 621 EXP, Mythril Sword
Weaknesses: Fire

Trolls set themselves apart from everyone else in the Cavern of Earth by having some mild regen. I'm not gonna have a lot to say in these blurbs from here on out for a lot of enemy types, since player power tends to drastically eclipse random encounter power as you go on.



Anyway, we're low on MP. Back to the surface with us.



This is officially the last time we'll ever visit Pravoka in this LP. Wow! I get Blind and Thundara for Rondo, because I want to get them Warp for the third spell so we can have more freedom to unleash with Red.



And since I'm sitting on this much money and there's a nice enticing Kotetsu for sale, why not?



Unfortunately, the Kotetsu isn't quite what Rondo needs right now, as much as they were looking forward to it. The non-damage stats are improvements, yeah, but we're notably just shy of being able to score four hits in sequence with it, which is what I was really hoping for. And while Vahn can equip it, their number of attacks actually decreases, so that's not happening.



That said, the Kotetsu does help Polka remain competitive as an off-fighter. Especially once they get that third hit, they'll honestly be about as good at fighting as the other two.



Anyway, back in we go.



B2 has another treasure room on the far right side.



This time, I think to approach from the sides of the chests, so as to avoid getting punked by Earth Elementals.



Not that it matters, these ones don't seem to be trapped, but hey, the pay's good.

Coral Sword
A sword effective against aquatic foes.

Damage: 18
Accuracy: 14
Critical Rate: 12
Slaying: Aquatic
Availability: Knight, Rogue, Enchanter, Paladin, Ranger, Battlemage

Another slaying sword for Polka's stash. Will probably see quite a bit of use honestly; not only are aquatic enemies common, but we'll be encountering a fair amount of them in the area after Cavern of Earth. Still gonna use the Kotetsu for general-purpose combat, of course.



Exit's just below that treasure room.



B3 is a lot more straightforward, thankfully. We're basically in a large loop around the vampire's lair, with a branch for treasure stuff on the right side. That passage you can see above us is the entrance to the lair.



We have our priorities straight.



Still trying to avoid traps, of course.



Piscodemons are officially random encounters now.



Nothing new in the encounters yet, but a pack of Mummies makes me consider saving some Polka MP.



Yeah here's the branch. Left to Vampire, right to loot.



Down first!



Holy Water, also known as Red's anti-undead grenades.



Okay four Zoidbergs is kind of a lot.



NINJA VANISH!



Underwhelming. Still, Blind is a pretty nice status effect for physical opponents to get hit by, sharply lowering their accuracy AND making them more vulnerable to damage.



After a close call with a Wraith ambush, we hit our next level. How good might this one be?



Pretty good, turns out. Polka jumps up to 3 hits while wielding the Kotetsu, as well as spell level 4 (which will bring Clarity, Healara, and NulFrost). Red also gets spell level 5 (earning them Firaga, Scourge, and Stun). But we're so close to the Vampire, I don't want to back out juuuust yet.



WHY DON'T I LEARN

(The chest has lots of gil)



Oh no, did I seriously not check the entire right side when I was playing? I'll have to go back later to make sure I didn't miss anything vital.



The treasure in this room is BAAAAAATS!



Will I run facefirst into a trap this time? Place your bets!



Yay, I can learn!



Well, I gotta go back for the rest of the treasure here, but we made it to the Vampire! Go us!



Continued adventures of bats.



You make that sound like a challenge.


Vampire
Lord of the Undead

HP: 606
Damage: 76
Accuracy: 95
Defense: 30
Agility: 65
Intelligence: 26
Evasion: 72
Magic Defense: 155
Rewards: 500 gil, 1200 EXP, Vampire Fang
Weaknesses: Fire, Dia
Resistances: Quake, Ice, Stone, Paralysis, Poison, Darkness, Sleep, Silence, Confusion, Mind, Death

Look at that damage stat! The Vampire, like Bikke's Pirates and the Piscodemons guarding the crown, is actually just a normal random encounter enemy, encountered earlier than you normally would. The problem is that the Vampire is WAY further ahead than any of the above, and hits like a freight train. No spells or techniques save for a paralytic Gaze and some minor regen, but the Vampire doesn't need spells to dissect us. And since the Vampire regenerates and shrugs off status effects, what you need here more than anything is evasion and healing, especially revival.

All it takes for me to take this fight seriously is the one hit they land on Vahn, dealing over half their health in damage. And with Red being low on MP and me still needing to Warp out after the fight, I can't quite afford to cut loose with Fira on them. If you CAN afford to sling magic at the Vampire, especially fire or Dia spells, do so. This fight needs to end before they crater your team, one by one.



DO YOU MIND?



Okay, NOW we can leave.



I am now very, very glad I got Warp on Rondo.



Armed with a snack for the Giant in their cave, hopefully we can pass.



Here ya go, big guy.



Might be an acquired taste.



The giant trudges off to merge with the wall, leaving us free to pass.



After looting, of course. Nothing usable here, but lots of money.



Outside of the Giant's Cave is the path to Sadda's cave. Everyone either lives in towns or caves.



No relation to the player class, I assume.



No treasure here, and we're not about to ransack his collection of pottery to look for some. We have STANDARDS.



That's us. Seen an Earth Crystal anywhere?



Seriously? That place took forever already, and you're telling me there's more?



Well, whatever, we have an earth rod and can open the SECOND HALF of the Cavern of Earth now. Thanks for existing solely to prolong a dungeon, Sadda.



We go back to Melmond to fill out Red's new spell level, and I plan to trek down to Elfheim for Polka, too.



FIELD TEST!



Do you appreciate how the poison clouds kinda look like skulls



Scourge is really, really good.



And there we go. Sorry I can't show off Aero on this playthrough.



Just using a Sleeping Bag to heal up before the triumphant return. No sense wasting a Tent before I've spent MP, y'know?



We hit lucky number 15 on the way down, after passing the treasure I now know I missed on B3.



Vahn is now able to learn the Meditate spell, which will be nice to have in general. Could see them taking prolonged boss fights by just saucing up with Blink and Meditate until they're a peerless physical fighter.



Anyway, we can go through the door behind where we fought the Vampire.



There's a strange stone slab behind it, which we wave the earth rod at.



The Cavern of Earth ride never ends



How many more floors you GOT down here?!



To absolutely nobody's surprise, B4 is another wide open maze.



First treasure room's not too hard to find, just head upwise.



Just be ready for the encounters.

Cockatrice
HP: 40
Damage: 13
Accuracy: 27
Defense: 5
Agility: 36
Intelligence: 8
Evasion: 93
Magic Defense: 17
Rewards: 40 gil, 186 EXP, Cockatrice Claw
Resistances: Quake

Cockatrices are notorious enemies in all iterations of FF1 despite their paper-thin defenses. You can kill an entire flock with a Pain spell even on someone like Rondo, but they go really fast and can turn you to Stone if they hit. Fortunately, we've got one of the best teams around for these guys, with plenty of evasion, magic resistance, and area damage. Any party with a Knight starts sweating bullets once the Cockatrices come out.



Jackpot~



YOU FOOL!



Oh, that works. Sometimes they also come with Hyenadons in these encounters, fair warning.

Ogre Mage
HP: 450
Damage: 33
Accuracy: 92
Defense: 25
Agility: 27
Intelligence: 20
Evasion: 33
Magic Defense: 109
Rewards: 325 gil, 723 EXP, Power Staff
Weaknesses: Poison
Resistances: Quake, Confusion, Mind

Take your standard Ogre, jack the stats up even further than the Ogre Chief, delete almost all of their weaknesses, and give 'em a few status effect spells and some regen for good measure, and you've got the Ogre Mage. Fortunately, between Scourge, the Venom Dagger if you're still using one, and the Rune Blade, your teams really shouldn't lack for ways to exploit the few weaknesses that do remain before the Ogre Mage disables your team, and they're still pretty slow.



Got some cash and a Feathered Cap, but there's no way that last square isn't trapped with a mean encounter, so let's get that over with.



Well would you look at that.

Sphinx
HP: 270
Damage: 26
Accuracy: 123
Defense: 10
Agility: 60
Intelligence: 36
Evasion: 155
Magic Defense: 175
Rewards: 266 gil, 1160 EXP, Wizard's Hat
Resistances: Quake

Although it doesn't do much damage, the Sphinx is hands-down the fastest thing we've faced yet. Like the Ogre Mage, it comes packing a bunch of mean status spells, and with its Intelligence, it stands a good chance of landing their effects, too. Hope you brought Clarity and Mind Balms!



Blind seemed to work for you, but how about THIS for a status effect?



Yeah, Scourge and Firaga are the big ticket names everyone likes, sure.



Stun just single-handedly won us this fight for half the cost of either of those spells. Respect the Stun spell.



Sure, we only got money out of this, but we've got a LOT of money now, and some very nice things we can potentially buy with it.



What even is this encounter group.



I've been grabbing some Cockatrice Claws from encounters here, and they're not bad. I doubt we'll need them that often, but they're nice.



A little while later, and we get our first major gear drop from an Earth Elemental! Not that we can use it, but this kind of gear wouldn't ordinarily be available until the next town, and even then!

Knight's Armor
Armor crafted from steel plate.

Slot: Body
Defense: 35
Weight: 40
Availability: Knight, Paladin, Battlemage

Very heavy, very expensive, and it has no innate resistances. That's okay, because the Knight's Armor affords the wearer the kind of defense you'd normally only expect from some lategame armor choices, and no class that's capable of wearing it will care about dodging anyway, especially not with this sucker on. To our team, the pricetag is a feature, because this thing will sell for a LOT back at the home base.



What else you got for us?



I was careful to open all the chests here from behind, getting some more cash and a Tent!



Unfortunately, Vahn gets a faceful of Stone Gas, putting this run to an early end since I didn't stock Remedies.



To make matters worse, Earth Elementals are apparently super hard, if not impossible, to flee from! Which means MY XP WILL BE DESYNCED!!!!!!!



Oh, and Stone characters can't be healed normally.



Hm... Healara on Polka isn't BAD, but again, mostly that's a feature from how low this team's total HP is. Still gotta see how I feel about their level 5 spell selection, far off though it may be.



And because I didn't pack Remedies (a mistake I won't repeat) I get to sail all the damn way back to Elfheim to get Vahn back in working order.



At least they target the party.



Plus I'm sitting on a frankly unreasonable amount of cash. Let's get that Meditate spell!



And that's BEFORE we sold extra gear.



Here, Vahn, to make up for all the extra backtracking I'm making you do.



OUTTA MY WAY, IM IMPATIENT



I DONT KNOW WHAT THE MELTING POINT OF A GARGOYLE IS BUT WERE ABOUT TO FIND OUT



And there's your big number quotient for today!



Oh and here's NulFrost because Wraiths happened again.



Barely felt that!



We get a level for everyone except Vahn from another Earth Elemental at the tail end of B3.



B4's stairs are in the top left area.



Please let us go



Even more new and deadly enemies down this far!

Basilisk
HP: 310
Damage: 30
Accuracy: 81
Defense: 24
Agility: 12
Intelligence: 14
Evasion: 17
Magic Defense: 91
Rewards: 164 gil, 1977 EXP, Remedy
Weaknesses: Ice

Yeah, the Cockatrices and Earth Elementals aren't enough, let's have Basilisks too. Assuming you don't get a very silly and abstract brain virus from looking on it, it can try to turn you to Stone by looking at you. It's also a fairly chunky foe, but that's just the Cavern of Earth for you.



Anyway, go left for the actual Fiend of Earth. There might be treasure on the right, I didn't check, CAN YOU BLAME ME



STOP



Okay let's do this.



A very annoyed and gritty Vahn.



The fiend takes their true form...



And we do BATTLE, HEROICALLY!


Lich
Devourer of Life, Eternal Sorcerer, Fiend of Earth

HP: 1440
Damage: 50
Accuracy: 60
Defense: 35
Agility: 12
Intelligence: 25
Evasion: 24
Magic Defense: 166
Rewards: 2000 gil, 2200 EXP, Dry Ether
Weaknesses: Fire, Dia
Resistances: Ice, Stone, Paralysis, Poison, Darkness, Sleep, Silence, Confusion, Mind, Death

Lich is an absolute beast of a foe. Not only are they nearly as physically capable as the Vampire with paralytic strikes on deck, not only do they have a command of black magic that makes Astos weep, they also sport far more HP than any foe we've seen yet. You need to be ready for the long haul in this fight, which is tough when you've got spells as strong as Blizzara being thrown at you. And unlike Astos, you can't effortlessly neuter Lich's magical offense with Mute, not with their resistances. While you can try to fight physically, you're better off holding the line so your strongest casters can hit them with Firaga, Diara, or the next best thing they can wield. If you lack that, stack buffs on your hardest hitter and keep them alive at all costs.

Red is the main reason we won this fight. Sure, Polka can heal, and the other two can deal physical damage and dodge like champs, but having Red able to sling Firaga for as much damage as they can PLUS using Elven Balm for area healing was what really kept us going. I also played it safe and assumed that Lich wouldn't try to repeat elements in their offense spells, leaving the NulShock up to absorb a predicted Thundara, and it worked! That said, I could've played smarter, by ignoring status effects. I've seen them work to great effect in a lot of boss fights in this game, but Lich is not the one you can use them on.



With Lich vanquished, we're free to break the seal on the Earth Crystal!



Open up!



Woooooooo we did it!



Meanwhilst, at Earthgift Shrine...



The statue blocking the entry is gone, opening up our first Soul of Chaos dungeon!



I'll deal with that later, though. Right now, our heroes need a break.

Next Time: Twelve sages are we, guided to this land by the stars and prophecy.
 
Last edited:

Kalir

Do you require aid.
(whatevs)
I probably will a little bit, but there isn't much in terms of flavor quotes I can pull from Earthgift. The other Soul of Chaos dungeons have actual talkers in there.
 

Kalir

Do you require aid.
(whatevs)


Turns out I was right, Cavern of Earth is officially cleaned out. Here's the only new friend I found.

Earth Medusa
HP: 325
Damage: 11
Accuracy: 42
Defense: 12
Agility: 36
Intelligence: 25
Evasion: 103
Magic Defense: 121
Rewards: 288 gil, 1218 EXP, Bard's Tunic
Weaknesses: Fire, Dia
Resistances: Quake, Stone

Yeah, there's another petrifying enemy down here. I hate it.



Anyway, the expected path of the game is to head down to the southeast continent.



We've got a second option available to us now, though: we can finally enter Earthgift Shrine and check it out!



We do so, ending up in a desert.



The Soul of Chaos dungeons change out the usual random encounters for unique palette swaps. Their properties aren't really too different though, it's mostly just barely increased stats.

Gloom Widow
HP: 148
Damage: 18
Accuracy: 18
Defense: 9
Agility: 44
Intelligence: 12
Evasion: 55
Magic Defense: 30
Rewards: 40 gil, 277 EXP, Antidote
Resistances: Poison

And I do mean barely. By far the most notable boost on the Gloom Widow is their HP and Agility, so they can make a lot of attacks relative to a Black Widow and take more of a beating, but they're still pretty squishy.



I'm posting encounters because the features of the desert, uh, aren't.

Desertpede
HP: 168
Damage: 40
Accuracy: 41
Defense: 25
Agility: 40
Intelligence: 3
Evasion: 69
Magic Defense: 69
Rewards: 104 gil, 412 EXP, Venom Dagger

The Desertpede is at least a bit more dangerous, which is interesting given the gimmick of Earthgift Shrine's desert floor. But I'm getting ahead of myself.



There are some trees to help you get your bearings in the desert, but not many. It goes without saying that the desert loops on itself both horizontally and vertically, of course.



This is a different solitary tree. I never said the landmarks would be good.



The three-tree configurations are your best indicators of location.



Your goal is the oasis, which holds the exit to the next floor. I ignore it because I want treasure, which is pretty much THE reason you go to Earthgift or any of the Soul of Chaos dungeons.



BY THE WAY THE DESERT WANTS YOU DEAD.

Abyss Worm
HP: 1880
Damage: 62
Accuracy: 130
Defense: 25
Agility: 10
Intelligence: 10
Evasion: 66
Magic Defense: 148
Rewards: 490 gil, 4000 EXP, Megalixir
Weaknesses: Ice, Dia
Resistances: Quake

No typos in these stats, this is just an enemy they can throw at you in random encounters on Earthgift Shrine's desert floor. For extra fun, it's got the ability to turn you to Stone with its attacks (as if it couldn't oneshot everyone in our party except Vahn) and a Wormhole technique that swallows a party member whole for an attempted instakill. Abyss Worms are basically death to an overly curious party exploring Earthgift for the first time, and serious contenders even for a high level team.



Well that sucked out loud. We didn't get any of our flee attempts to succeed, and I'm not sure if these guys are flagged as a fight you can't escape from or a spiked square or what, I just know the desert sometimes decides you get to instantly die.



However, the Soul of Chaos dungeons don't boot you to title when you die. Instead, you're returned to the dungeon's entrance, with your inventory in the exact same state you left it, meaning even a failed run can benefit from some of the rare goodies you find within.



Here's where the Chaos parts come in. On our second run, we're in a completely different, much smaller, and significantly less lethal B1 more resembling the Cavern of Earth.



In the original Dawn of Souls version, these chests held items that didn't appear in the original game, mostly consumables like Spider's Silk or what have you. Their contents are unchanged in Mod of Balance, but some of the nicer toys have alternate methods of acquisition, so you don't have to do multiple runs and hope for the RNG.



It isn't a Soul of Chaos run without these guys.

Black Goblin
HP: 200
Damage: 20
Accuracy: 35
Defense: 15
Agility: 22
Intelligence: 1
Evasion: 73
Magic Defense: 16
Rewards: 90 gil, 200 EXP, Hi-Potion
Weaknesses: Time, Stone, Paralysis, Poison, Darkness, Sleep, Confusion, Mind, Death

Black Goblins were buffed from their original incarnation in Dawn of Souls, but mostly by getting new spells (Slow and Focus) and having higher HP. They are still pretty much pushovers, especially if you do the economical thing and just Pain them.



Still sad that XP is desynced, but I'll get over it.



The treasures here aren't anything new to us, but they'd be completely unique if you were playing original Dawn of Souls.



WHAT IS YOUR DAMN PROBLEM EARTHGIFT SHRINE

Yellow Dragon
HP: 1275
Damage: 101
Accuracy: 133
Defense: 41
Agility: 99
Intelligence: 45
Evasion: 144
Magic Defense: 171
Rewards: 960 gil, 2850 EXP, Rune Staff
Resistances: Quake

Just as dangerous as the Abyss Worms, if not more so, but at least Yellow Dragons have the decency to appear solo. They also like to use a Thunderbolt technique to deal thunder damage, so NulShock is a solid opener against them if you're expecting to fight. And hey, they're a dragon, you ought to have Wyrmkiller by this point, right?



Fortunately for me, Red's Stun sticks, so we actually get to survive this fight and progress.



Yeah yeah penalties to damage watch me not care



YEEUH.



Respect the slaying weapons.



We got it, good, can I PLEASE just have a normal Earthgift run where I get treasure and then get wiped by a boss?



That's more like it.

Wild Nakk
HP: 115
Damage: 30
Accuracy: 30
Defense: 8
Agility: 80
Intelligence: 22
Evasion: 124
Magic Defense: 5
Rewards: 15 gil, 240 EXP, Potion
Weaknesses: Fire, Poison, Death

The most interesting thing about the Wild Nakk is its Death weakness, which is completely pointless to actually target. They are just as much of pushovers as the Black Goblin and I don't think they have any techniques. Maybe they have a poison bite, I dunno.



Exit's right here, this floor is extremely short.



Time for the other major gimmick setpiece of Earthgift Shrine.



The dark soldiers here are actually fights, and you talk to them to start them. Defeat the fight, and the soldier vanishes.



Eh.

Skuldier
HP: 144
Damage: 35
Accuracy: 26
Defense: 20
Agility: 10
Intelligence: 10
Evasion: 71
Magic Defense: 42
Rewards: 92 gil, 330 EXP, Scimitar
Weaknesses: Fire, Dia
Resistances: Paralysis, Poison, Darkness, Sleep, Silence, Confusion, Mind, Death

It's the skeleton recolor. Notable techniques include laughing and rattling their skulls at passersby, but neither of those could be realistically folded into the FF1 engine. Remakes and mods couldn't help either.



Hey, it's a fang. Fangs allow you to cast the -ra line of spells for their color. I'm pretty sure White Fangs cast Blizzara, but it could be Thundara, I'm not paying that close of attention when Red is literally right there.



Anyway, the cursed forest map is a donut, where you start just under the stairs down, but have to take the long way around. Very frequently, you get opportunities to dive off to side paths if you fight a soldier. Also very frequently, this does nothing but waste time and resources on filler fights like the above.



Also said filler fights are entirely capable of pasting Red if they happen to look in their direction.



This guy actually blocks a treasure branch.



However, said treasure ought to be visible in the upper left corner. It clearly isn't.

This is a "balancing element" of the Soul of Chaos dungeons. Each map has a certain number of chests it can spawn, each randomly assigned a bit of treasure for that floor. The desert and cursed forests have 4 treasure chests apiece, which is exactly how many treasures any given Earthgift Shrine floor can hold. However, if one of these big maps generates too early in a dungeon's generation (and not all possible combinations can fit the seeds due to memory, especially in later dungeons), well, tough, you get fewer chests anyway! We're screwed out of two treasures for B2 because they happened to roll to a treasure slot that didn't generate, because screw you. Oh, and spoilers: one of the B2 treasures we can get is so incredibly valuable to this party we'll actually want two of them.

Is it any wonder Mod of Balance added alternate methods of getting these rare pieces of equipment?



This guy is another dead end.



This guy up here potentially leads to goodies.



"Potentially" being the operative word. There's another chest that's supposed to generate here.



Beyond this guy, it's more or less a straight shot to the exit, additional mandatory fights aside.



Get out my way.



Sure, it's mapped to stun, whatever. It's the second-least useless treasure we can get for this floor!



Next please.



Another Cavern of Earth map, this one fortunately generates the full 3 chests for this floor. The other one only has 2 chests slots. Either way we're missing a treasure here (spoilers: it's the good one this time).



First boxes are at either end of these narrow halls.



Last one's up here. We're now proud owners of a Potion, Speed Drink, and Protect Drink, I guess.



Here, have a new enemy to break up the monotony!

Python
HP: 272
Damage: 50
Accuracy: 41
Defense: 15
Agility: 15
Intelligence: 10
Evasion: 62
Magic Defense: 25
Rewards: 33 gil, 430 EXP, Ether
Weaknesses: Ice
Resistances: Poison

Poisonous bite, gets wrecked by Blizzara. Otherwise about as much of an insignificant power bump for their respective recolor compared to all the other Soul of Chaos jabronis.



I'm upset.



I'm also pretty sure I don't have any more Phoenix Downs, so we're just gonna try scrambling through the desert whose layout I don't remember. Fortunately, Desert on B4 not only generates all of its chests, it can drop an Elven Cloak as one of its options, and we still have a lot of people who'd love one of those.



I get a Silver Apple first, which isn't bad at all since it boosts max HP (y'know, that thing our party sorely needs).



This is not the Elven Cloak.



It has also ceased to matter, as this is where our run dies.

Hundlegs
HP: 667
Damage: 53
Accuracy: 92
Defense: 30
Agility: 40
Intelligence: 10
Evasion: 45
Magic Defense: 53
Rewards: 140 gil, 1279 EXP, Power Plus
Resistances: Quake

Not even close to as deadly as the Yellow Dragon or Abyss Worms, Hundlegs are nonetheless dangerous enough to our party that an encounter with them is one we ought to consider running from. It's also actually possible to flee from Hundlegs, I'm fairly certain.



Well, we might be a tad underleveled for Earthgift Shrine right now. That's okay.



At least we got a Silver Apple, right? That's a pitiful haul from a Soul of Chaos dungeon, even Earthgift Shrine, but it's ours, damn it all.



Okay fiiine I'll go progress the plot.



So, landmarks here. We're headed to the town of Crescent Lake, which you might recall as Lukahn's vacation home. There's also a few elementally-distinct dungeons here: Mt. Gulg to the west, Cavern of Ice to the north, and a secret one not visible on the map.



It'd be unfair for me to call attacking you guys vengeance, but I'm not in a great mood.

Ankheg
HP: 222
Damage: 45
Accuracy: 111
Defense: 20
Agility: 24
Intelligence: 10
Evasion: 14
Magic Defense: 74
Rewards: 67 gil, 1194 EXP, Power Plus
Resistances: Poison

New chaff for a new overworld region. Honestly less threatening than what your average Cavern of Earth fight throws at you on a regular basis.



Okay game, I get it, stat boosters are more useful than equipment drops for this team. I still want to show off the rare stuff!



Can't complain too much, I guess.



It's a very short walk to Crescent Lake, fortunately.



Hey guys.



Come on, gimme the good stuff.



Perfect timing. Rondo gained magic level 4, great, but Red's hit 6 now, and wouldn't you know it, we're right outside the town that sells that level of spell!



Nice. Kinda cozy.



Inn prices continue to jack up as you progress further out, and it will cease mattering to us in maybe two updates or so.



There are exactly two normal NPCs in Crescent Lake and they're "haha married couple hates each other" jokes, so I disregard them.



The shops, though, these are EXCITING.

Thundaga
Deals heavy thunder damage to all enemies.

MP Cost: 25
Availability: Sage, Archmage, Ninja, Battlemage

Everyone loves the sweet taste of high-voltage mayhem. A nice additional element for Red, and especially strong in a dungeon that's coming up a little ways off. Not much else to say here, Thundaga is more made interesting by its competition for this level. Also worth noting: this spell level is where Ninjas, Paladins, and Rangers get off the bus. Rondo will never get an area spell better than Thundaga.

Death
Attempts to instantly kill one enemy.

MP Cost: 12
Availability: Sage, Archmage, Ninja, Battlemage

You all already know why this one costs so much less, both in terms of gil and MP. Instantly deleting an enemy from play is nice, yeah, but would you rather do that with a low-chance infliction spell that virtually everything you'd care about using it on resists, or on raw magical damage? It's especially useless to this party, given that Qi Strike is available to both Vahn and Rondo, and Stun is almost as good for Red. Still, it has its uses, and it's cheaper than Qi Strike on Rondo.

Quake
Deals heavy quake damage to all enemies.

MP Cost: 32
Availability: Monk, Sage, Archmage, Ranger, Battlemage

More expensive, more commonly resisted, and only slightly more damage than Thundaga. Quake is still good in terms of availability, giving Ranger and Monk a solid area attack for this level where they ordinarily would not have one. Quake is notable for being a former instakill spell reskinned to a damage spell, like Scourge. Unlike Scourge, Quake has very few enemies that are weak against it (only one I can find is the Hill Gigas, and a lot that resist it (specifically enemies that fly, burrow or swim).

Comet
Deals serious damage to one enemy.

MP Cost: 15
Availability: Monk, Sage, Archmage, Ninja, Battlemage

That's right, black mages have a single target damage spell now! Comet is a really nice spell to have, and it's the first one we'll grab for Red for this level. Gives us a good way to deal with bosses when we don't have an elemental spell that does the trick, or on dangerous single enemies we can't realistically tag with Stun or something. It's also an upgrade to Pummel for Rondo.



Even though we can't use the white magic yet, we can still appreciate it.

Esuna
Cures all status effects for all allies, excluding death.

MP Cost: 20
Availability: Monk, Sage, Enchanter, Paladin, Ranger, Priest

The best status curing spell in the game, hands down, no question. Once you get this, you no longer have to panic and use a Remedy every time you get a party member petrified, which is a LOT more expensive than just reviving them at a church, let me tell you.

Zeal
Increases damage for all allies.

MP Cost: 40
Availability: Sage, Enchanter, Paladin, Priest

We've already seen this one on the Earth Elemental, and it goes without saying it's a very strong spell. However, Temper, Meditate, and the equivalent of the Saber spell we'll see later all boost Attack by higher amounts (even though buffs now have a cap), and more importantly: using this is a full turn and 40 MP your healer can't spend on healing your team, and the damage boost is likely not going to affect half your team. That said, we might still get it for Polka, we'll see.

Vanish
Increases evasion for all allies.

MP Cost: 30
Availability: Monk, Sage, Enchanter, Ranger, Priest, Battlemage

Also known as Cool Protera, formerly known as Invisira back when Invis was a spell. Anyway, Vanish is a great way to get your entire team to start dodging enemy attacks, starts good from the moment you learn it, and never stops being good as long as there's an enemy that can physically attack you. With our team, we'll definitely want this.

Exit
Teleports the party out of a dungeon, regardless of depth.

MP Cost: 25
Availability: Monk, Sage, Enchanter, Paladin, Priest

Definitely more convenient than Warp, except that it's more expensive and might not actually be an option if you're in a position where you need it since it's likely tied to your healer's MP. Since Red and Rondo both have Warp, I might give this a miss for Polka. They're going to ditch either Exit or Zeal, not sure which yet. I'll cross that bridge when they get level 6 spells.



The gear shops are very exciting for us, not nearly as mundane as they were before. Check it.

Flame Sword
A sword that dances with flame.

Damage: 25
Accuracy: 20
Critical Rate: 3
Element: Fire
Slaying: Regen, Undead
Availability: Knight, Enchanter, Paladin, Ranger, Battlemage

That's right, Polka gets this bad boy and Rogues don't! The Flame Sword is a great reliable choice for this stage of the game, plus it has extremely attractive elemental and slaying bonuses. Now would be a good time to mention: resistances DO NOT APPLY to elemental weapons! It's effectively a slaying tag that checks elemental weakness rather than monster flags. Definitely going on the wishlist.

Ice Brand
A sword gripped by winter's chill.

Damage: 27
Accuracy: 16
Critical Rate: 3
Element: Ice
Availability: Knight, Enchanter, Paladin, Ranger, Battlemage

Definitely a heavier and stronger weapon, but much more situational than the excellent Flame Sword considering its much weaker element. There is a dungeon coming up where the Ice Brand would be nice for Polka, but I'd hardly consider it an essential buy. If we find one, great, but if not, no big deal.

Dark Claymore
A sword with a shimmering black blade.

Damage: 34
Accuracy: 12
Critical Rate: 12
Strength: 3
Intellect: -3
Element: Dark
Availability: Knight, Battlemage

The best thing a Knight could ask for in this shop, no questions asked. Monstrously powerful, with solid crit chance and Strength boosts on top, and since when has a Knight cared about Intellect? Slightly more situational for a Battlemage, but worth having as a pivot option if they run out of MP and want to just go to town.

Duel Rapier
A rapier refined for battle.

Damage: 26
Accuracy: 45
Critical Rate: 20
Evasion: 25
Agility: 2
Availability: Knight, Rogue, Enchanter, Ranger, Battlemage

Although this is the designated upgrade for the Rogue in this weapon shop, the Duel Rapier could see some use for other characters were it not for the price tag. Polka will grab a Flame Sword years before they touch this thing, the Knight already has the Dark Claymore, the Ranger is probably happily playing with their Melmond-made axe, and the Battlemage is already strapped for cash and has better options in this very shop.

Cat Claws
A weapon with razor-sharp blades.

Damage: 18
Accuracy: 50
Critical Rate: 20
Evasion: 10
Agility: 5
Availability: Rogue, Enchanter, Ranger, Ninja

Very high accuracy, crit chance, and Agility boost mean that this weapon will hit a lot of times and with pinpoint accuracy, but that damage value is heartbreakingly low for this stage of the game. Better than the Kotetsu at least, so we might get one for Rondo if we see a good chance.

Ashura
A sword whose name embodies battle.

Damage: 23
Accuracy: 25
Critical Rate: 30
Agility: 3
Availability: Monk, Enchanter, Ninja, Master, Battlemage

The designated katana for the Crescent Lake weapon shop. Yeah, we want at least one when we get a chance, but it's too costly for us right now. We'll get there eventually though.

Flame Staff
This staff's flame never dies.

Damage: 18
Accuracy: 10
Critical Rate: 8
Evasion: 10
Intellect: 5
Element: Fire
Spell: Fire
Availability: Monk, Sage, Enchanter, Archmage, Battlemage

Can't just not have the spellcaster's option here. The Flame Staff's got a nice Intellect boost on it, but it also has the handy feature of a fire element that lets even Red do okay physical damage in a pinch. That is, assuming they don't just activate the Fire spell embedded in it for free, that'd probably be outright stronger than a physical attack. Anyway, Flame Staff's good.



For once, the armor shop is actually really exciting for this party, too! Note the Knight's Armor appearing here, and how much cheaper it is than the original FF1/Dawn of Souls version.

Flame Mail
Mail infused with the power of fire.

Slot: Body
Defense: 25
Weight: 10
Resists: Ice
Availability: Knight, Rogue, Paladin, Ranger, Priest, Battlemage

Okay, so we still have some disappointment in store for us, don't worry. That is NOT an error in the Flame Mail's description, by the way. The Flame Mail grants the wearer ice resistance. Think about it: incoming fire attacks will still cook you, but ice attacks you'll shrug off because your armor will burn them away!

Ice Armor
Armor infused with the power of ice.

Slot: Body
Defense: 28
Weight: 10
Resists: Fire
Availability: Knight, Paladin, Ranger, Battlemage

Likewise, the Ice Armor provides resistance to fire. It's also heavier and more exclusive in who can wear it, I guess. Ice is heavier than fire, y'know.

Kenpogi
An outfit favored by martial artists.

Slot: Body
Defense: 16
Weight: 1
Evasion: 11
Strength: 3
Stamina: 5
Agility: 3
Availability: Monk, Ninja, Master

THIS THIS THIS. THIS ONE, RIGHT HERE. Formerly an exclusive drop found only on B2 of Earthgift Shrine, the Kenpogi is the upgrade we've been waiting for in terms of both Vahn and Rondo's armor. Vahn won't find anything to replace this until we've started delving into other Soul of Chaos dungeons, and Rondo won't have a lot else to work with either. Obviously, the downside is that they're like the only characters who actually want the Kenpogi.

Sage's Surplice
A robe that enhances intelligence.

Slot: Body
Defense: 10
Weight: 5
Intellect: 5
Availability: Monk, Sage, Enchanter, Archmage, Priest, Battlemage

The Monk will be happier with a Sage's Surplice, as will any character whose primary role in combat is defined by their spellcasting. One big caveat with the armors sold in Crescent Lake, especially given their availability relative to Melmond armors, is the lack of status effect resistances. If you've been relying on those to keep your team safe, you'll be in for a bit of a rude awakening when switching to the Crescent Lake stuff, although the stats are worth it.

Minerva's Robe
Robe for wizards who kick butt.

Slot: Body
Defense: 20
Weight: 3
Resists: Fire, Ice, Paralysis, Mind, Poison
Availability: Monk, Sage, Enchanter, Archmage, Priest, Battlemage

Although it's the most expensive piece of gear we've seen yet, Minerva's Robe is a very handy bit of spellcasting gear with a wide set of useful resistances. I wouldn't necessarily go out of my way to get it, but if your caster keeps dying to enemy spells, this is a great way to keep them standing against most such forms of offense.

Protect Cloak
A large cloak worn over armor.

Slot: Shield
Defense: 6
Weight: 2
Resists: Death, Sleep, Time
Availability: Universal

Do my eyes deceive me, or is this a shield upgrade for Rondo? The stats aren't especially amazing, sure, but the Protect Cloak can be worn by anyone, and it sports a few handy resistances that everyone would welcome. Vahn and Red are probably going to get and keep their Elven Cloaks, and Polka can use actual shields, but this is still nice.

Flame Shield
A shield alive with the power of fire.

Slot: Shield
Defense: 10
Evasion: 8
Resists: Ice
Availability: Knight, Enchanter, Paladin, Ranger, Priest, Battlemage

Speaking of actual shields, here's one Polka can use! It's not super flashy, but it is usable where the Flame Mail wouldn't be, so that's an advantage to Polka for sure. I'm pretty sure resistances don't stack, though, so there's no sense stacking the Flame Shield with the Flame Mail if you can.

Ice Shield
A shield alive with the power of ice.

Slot: Shield
Defense: 10
Evasion: 10
Resists: Fire
Availability: Knight, Enchanter, Paladin, Ranger, Priest, Battlemage

I don't know why the Ice Shield is stronger than the Flame Shield, blocks a more common element, and yet costs the exact same amount. Maybe it's because whichever one you choose here gets its effects shored up by whichever opposing element of armor you use? Because that's the actual play here: use Flame Shield with Ice Armor, and Ice Shield with Flame Mail.

Wizard's Hat
A traditional hat brimming with magic.

Slot: Head
Defense: 7
Intellect: 5
MP: +10%
Availability: Sage, Enchanter, Archmage, Priest, Battlemage

Yep, that sure is headgear for your casters. Monks can't use it though, because reasons. Eh, they're probably fine with their unarmored bonus for that slot anyway, right? Right?



Anyway, the actual reason you ever need to hit Crescent Lake (if their amazing shops didn't do it for you) is over here.



A circle of twelve sages (none of which have the same dress sense as an actual Sage) give us the lore breakdown on the Fiends of Chaos.

  • There is a fiend for each element: Fire, Earth, Water, and Wind.
  • They tend to awaken once every two hundred years or so, with the Fiend of Wind being the first. Lich, the fiend of Earth, was third in line.
  • Prior to Lich's awakening, the respective Fiends of Water and Wind did enough damage to the northern continents to wipe out what was formerly a massively advanced civilization.
  • While the Fiend of Fire wasn't due to wake up for another two hundred years, our trouncing of Lich pulled them out of vacation early, and they're awake, active, and pissed.
  • The Fiend of Fire, conveniently enough, resides in the nearby Mt. Gulg. Less conveniently, said mountain is an active volcano.



This guy in particular is Lukahn, who gave the prophecy about us. He's not even touching the Fiends right now, he's on another incomprehensible level entirely.



Anyway we need a canoe, they give us a canoe.



This lets us go through rivers that are too small for our sailing ship to handle, and is small enough to carry around!



Y'all wanna see some overkill?



I don't know if this is recycling an animation from an enemy-only spell or something from the FF2 half of the game. But it's cool and unique!



Daaaaang, you normally only get that damage from a weakness.



OKAY, SURE



Stat boosters. Again, Luck usually goes to Polka or Vahn.



Somewhere along the line, Vahn gets to level 18 and unlocks a fourth punch!



Anyway, Qi Strike! Appreciate that unique flavor text.



While we could use the canoe right outside Crescent Lake and just follow the rivers to Mt. Gulg, we're actually heading north from Crescent Lake, docking up here.



Gonna be starting off with the canoe here. Appreciate the tiny faceless person rowing it for us. They're doing great.



You can get encounters in the canoe, by the way. I just haven't gotten any on this entire trip for whatever reason.



Anyway, there's a hidden cave here, by the Cavern of Ice.



Whisperwind Cove is the wind-themed companion to both Earthgift Shrine and Lifespring Grotto.



The fella standing guard doesn't speak any language we can speak, unfortunately.



Same deal here, defeat the Fiend of Wind to open this up.



FINALLY



They're no Hydlas.

Hydra
HP: 425
Damage: 25
Accuracy: 65
Defense: 20
Agility: 18
Intelligence: 14
Evasion: 63
Magic Defense: 84
Rewards: 77 gil, 915 EXP, Kotetsu
Weaknesses: Lightning

Mostly notable for how many attacks it can make. The Hydra is another standard overworld enemy, notable in particular for being a river-dweller and weak to lightning attacks.



Anyway, we're entering the Cavern of Ice soon. Surely we've got enough resources to work with, right?

Next Time: Ambushed!
 

Kalir

Do you require aid.
(whatevs)


Let's get right into it! The Cavern of Ice is a fairly linear dungeon, quite welcome after the confusing open sprawls of Cavern of Earth and Marsh Cave.



We still have Piscodemons to deal with, apparently.



And these jerks, too.

King Mummy
HP: 516
Damage: 47
Accuracy: 109
Defense: 28
Agility: 12
Intelligence: 24
Evasion: 41
Magic Defense: 92
Rewards: 415 gil, 984 EXP, Great Sword
Weaknesses: Fire, Dia
Resistances: Paralysis, Poison, Darkness, Sleep, Silence, Confusion, Mind, Death

King Mummies are definitely an upgrade, but nothing we can't handle by this point. As with their royal subjects, I'm pretty sure they can Blind you on hit.



Let's give 'em the new fun!



The animation for Qi Strike is a recycled version of Sleepra, the spell nobody ever cast in the first place.



It gets results though, taking down the King Mummy in a single move.



Ughghghghg I'm gonna need more Remedies.



Anyway, B1 is pretty much a straight shot to the stairs down.



While it appears that you can go further down, there isn't anything there but a dead end.



There's a catch, though. The Cavern of Ice is actually divided into two parts on each floor! We're gonna have to go down to the bottom, then come back up, fall back down, it's a mess. Despite the floor-bouncing, the entire experience remains fairly linear.



This room is a square. We're in the top right corner, we gonna go to the bottom left, either path will get us there at the same rate.



Now would be a good time to mention that we're technically sequence breaking! You're expected to do Mt. Gulg first, and then go to the Cavern of Ice. Normally, any player of FF1 worth their salt knows that the way I'm doing it is correct. Mod of Balance makes this a little harder, but not by much.

Specter
HP: 205
Damage: 40
Accuracy: 54
Defense: 12
Agility: 54
Intelligence: 15
Evasion: 87
Magic Defense: 115
Rewards: 99 gil, 432 EXP, Stamina Plus
Weaknesses: Dia
Resistances: Quake, Ice, Stone, Paralysis, Poison, Darkness, Sleep, Silence, Confusion, Mind, Death

Like Wraiths before them, Specters have a command of black magic, and can cast Blizzard and Pain. They generally prefer the former, however, so NulFrost is a very reliable opener against them. Physically, they're not too intimidating, fortunately, but casters without access to Dia might have some trouble.



Let's not take chances.



Hey, wait, I used Firaga, that means I get a win! Rude!



Oh well, do your worst.



Pain does some pretty mean area damage, but nothing Polka can't just heal up later. Far preferable to a damage spike on a single target that can't dodge.



Damn me and my compulsive need to map things out!



Ah, here are the icy foes.

Winter Wolf
HP: 176
Damage: 25
Accuracy: 67
Defense: 8
Agility: 27
Intelligence: 12
Evasion: 108
Magic Defense: 45
Rewards: 60 gil, 402 EXP, Ice Shield
Weaknesses: Fire, Paralysis, Poison, Sleep
Resistances: Ice

By this point, wolf-class enemies shouldn't scare you, and the Winter Wolf isn't enough of an upgrade to be worth changing that assumption. They do have an Icestorm technique that deals cold damage to your party, but it doesn't do much damage, even before NulFrost is up.

Ice Gigas
HP: 844
Damage: 65
Accuracy: 108
Defense: 16
Agility: 24
Intelligence: 10
Evasion: 28
Magic Defense: 99
Rewards: 450 gil, 1752 EXP, Ice Brand
Weaknesses: Fire, Time, Poison, Confusion, Mind
Resistances: Ice

These guys though, they're absolute units. Loads of health for where we are, capable of hitting pretty dang hard, and they can cast Blizzara and Stun if they really feel like it. If you're in a fight with them, be prepared to hunker down with long-haul spells like Confuse and NulFrost.



Icestorm!



Yeah that's fine. This is with NulFrost up, to be fair.



I got a Stamina Plus from a later 4 Specter fight on that branch, so hey, we can call that a treasure?



Here ya go Rondo.



This part of B3 exists solely to link two disparate parts of B2 together, don't worry about it. It might have a goofy encounter table? I don't know that for sure, but it FEELS like it should, y'know?



Anyway, this part of B2 is the actual objective, but due to how the dungeon works, we can't get the main thing until later.



Oh no I hope I don't get bullied by IP lawyers.

Mindflayer
HP: 204
Damage: 20
Accuracy: 57
Defense: 12
Agility: 24
Intelligence: 21
Evasion: 79
Magic Defense: 187
Rewards: 249 gil, 822 EXP, Soma Drop
Weaknesses: Dia
Resistances: Time, Paralysis, Silence, Confusion, Mind

Upgraded Piscodemons, now with a Mind Blast that can paralyze the party (bypassing the usual Paralysis resistance, I'm pretty sure) and Pain spell. If memory serves, their physical attack has a chance to instakill, but don't quote me on that. They're real jerks is what they are!



Mind Blast is rude as hell. Observe:



It hits the entire party...



And it stuns two of them outright. Do note that Vahn, at present, is wearing a paralysis-resistant Magical Robe. Mind Blast targets the much-rarer Mind element for its check, while still inflicting the same status effect.



Guys, I don't know if the item drops like me or hate me at this point.



Once you enter this room, it is my highest recommendation that you save your game.



These jerks are why.

Dark Wizard
HP: 184
Damage: 21
Accuracy: 43
Defense: 20
Agility: 39
Intelligence: 24
Evasion: 78
Magic Defense: 170
Rewards: 360 gil, 1095 EXP, Black Robe
Weaknesses: Dia

Dark Wizards are the scariest thing you can find inside the Cavern of Ice, and that's because despite their frankly unimpressive stats, they can cast Firaga. If you don't have every single party member at full health, any turn where a Dark Wizard gets to act is a turn where you can lose the game. Not even NulBlaze can hold off the damage from Firaga for very long, and good luck tagging a status effect through that magic defense. For the icing on top, their normal attack can turn you to Stone!



Vahn stands pretty good odds of dropping a Dark Wizard in one action, but the others have to either work together or break out spells.



OH DEAR



AWJUGJIHGIOREHGOIH



DO NOT LET DARK WIZARDS EVER TAKE A TURN, EVER.



Well now my XP is well and truly desynced.



At least I have some Phoenix Downs, but Polka really needs to get to the level where they can cast Life already.



Anyway, here's the goal of the dungeon. As you can see, the floor here is cracked. Step on a cracked floor, fall into the rest of B3. We're not doing that until we get that treasure on either side, starting with the left.



Hell the damn yes.



That's a keeper, goodbye Kotetsu.



Better yet, Rondo can have the Kotetsu now for that higher attack count.



The one on the right is trapped, unfortunately.



With a Dark Wizard encounter that has successfully ambushed us.



COOL.



The rematch goes much more smoothly.



The Flame Sword is very good, by the way. This is without Polka hitting any weaknesses!



HOW DO YOU LIKE IT JERKS



I don't think they liked it at all.



Congrats on surviving to your next level before anyone else, Polka.



WORTH IT



I don't have the Phoenix Downs to revive Red, though, so let's take five and go restock.



They're gonna wake up in some fancy new duds though!



Warp is at least smart enough to navigate through places like this, so that's neat.



Okay, let's see if I can get through here okay. I didn't have many encounters on the way in, hopefully that luck holds.



Y'know what? This is fine. I'm cool with this. I get to run away, you all get to read their stats, they get to live, everyone wins!

Piranha
HP: 60
Damage: 19
Accuracy: 33
Defense: 3
Agility: 36
Intelligence: 10
Evasion: 109
Magic Defense: 2
Rewards: 5 gil, 240 EXP, Hi-Potion
Weaknesses: Lightning
Resistances: Quake

Also known as river wolves. They can Blind you with their attacks. Trivially easy for us to fight at this stage, even with their numbers.

Red Piranha
HP: 195
Damage: 29
Accuracy: 59
Defense: 7
Agility: 36
Intelligence: 13
Evasion: 78
Magic Defense: 7
Rewards: 15 gil, 546 EXP, X-Potion
Weaknesses: Lightning
Resistances: Quake, Fire

Red Piranhas might survive a single basic attack, and are less likely to dodge. Not a lot else to say about them, save that the added fire resistance is pointless when Thundara works just as well on them as anything else in the rivers.

Ochu
HP: 364
Damage: 20
Accuracy: 58
Defense: 30
Agility: 12
Intelligence: 18
Evasion: 6
Magic Defense: 97
Rewards: 29 gil, 1224 EXP, Silver Apple
Weaknesses: Fire, Lightning
Resistances: Quake

I'm willing to bet these guys inflict a status effect on their attacks. Maybe stun, that feels right to me.



Okay this one's actually pretty intimidating

Crocodile
HP: 265
Damage: 45
Accuracy: 56
Defense: 20
Agility: 24
Intelligence: 9
Evasion: 37
Magic Defense: 39
Rewards: 180 gil, 816 EXP, Coral Sword
Weaknesses: Lightning
Resistances: Quake, Fire

Crocodiles are nearly as likely to show up in groups as Piranhas, but they're considerably hardier. Even a Thundara might not suffice to clear a Crocodile group out if they make their magic defense checks (unlikely though that is). Take them a little more seriously than Piranhas, at least.



This is highway robbery.



Okay, let's grab some consumables.



Polka's STILL got the old Leather Armor? No, we're fixing that.



Yeah here's the Flame Sword at full sauce. We're very close to no longer needing the ol' Rune Blade and Wyrmkiller now.



I'll probably ease off on showing individual levelups in the future unless they have especially notable milestones (new spell levels, increased attack counts). Probably switch to end-of-update stat screens for everyone instead.



I haven't used it a lot yet for MP conservation reasons, but Comet is a legitimately terrifying spell. That damage doesn't oneshot an Ice Gigas, but it does do over half its health in one go, which is ridiculous.



Right, down we go.



We end up on the wrong side of a monster closet.



Not a fan, I gotta say.



Fortunately, we make it out more-or-less okay.



This is where the Cavern of Ice opens up a little bit. Do note the spiked floor to the left. That is, as expected, a damage floor that will injure you as you take steps on it. Fortunately, the damage is super low, and you can't get into encounters on there. In fact, lots of players use damage floors as a way to bypass costly encounters.



We don't get to avoid them, either. Not that we mind, of course, but I do mind going this way in retrospect since it's a dead end.



To the left... hm, probably a fixed encounter, yeah?



Yeah.

White Dragon
HP: 500
Damage: 63
Accuracy: 93
Defense: 20
Agility: 60
Intelligence: 20
Evasion: 80
Magic Defense: 98
Rewards: 620 gil, 1701 EXP, Ice Armor
Weaknesses: Fire, Lightning
Resistances: Quake, Ice, Stone, Poison

Nowhere near as deadly as the Yellow Dragon in Earthgift Shrine, the White Dragon is still a mean fighter for our stage of the game. It's basically an Ice Gigas that hits even harder, and it has a much more deadly version of the Icestorm attack the Winter Wolves can use. If you have the Flame Sword from earlier, make sure whoever's using it puts it to good use here.



Fortunately for us, Qi Strike renders the fight trivial. Wanna bet it works again on the way out?



The gear here is entirely worthless to us, consisting of Mythril Gloves and Ice Armor.



I elected to save Rondo's MP for Warping out later if needed, instead opting to throw a Cockatrice Claw at it. I was not aware, at the time, that it resisted Stone.



I should've used Qi Strike.



I REALLY SHOULD HAVE USED QI STRIKE



Anyway, head down from there for another misleading branch. Left is another dead end.



Right definitely is. Straight ahead we go, then!



I think that wall to our left is a treasure room, let's go get it.



SURE IS



A particularly ugly fight with a Vampire and their cadre of Bloodbones gets us to level 20, and apparently Polka hit level 20 just before and I wasn't paying attention. I should've been, because level 20 brings a new spell level for both of them. Vahn can finish their spell list for the rest of the game with Qi Strike, and Polka can invest in the spell that means I don't need to stock infinite amounts of Phoenix Down!



The Viking Axe is the only prize in this room that isn't money. This is a GOOD HAUL right here.



It's so good, in fact, that I leave the dungeon early to go get loads of delicious new kit with it. (Being dangerously low on MP and supplies also may have been a factor.)



For what it's worth, I did decide against using Diara for Polka this playthrough, instead opting for Haste. Red has Firaga now, and they're only going to get stronger, so clearing out big groups of undead isn't really worth the overkill. Plus, Vahn becomes a terror with Haste.



Oh by the way, Dark Wizards petrify you with their normal attacks. They don't NEED that ability, but they sure do have it.



I'm starting to think I may be a touch underleveled for Cavern of Ice, but screw it, I can revive these guys midfight, let's go.



Give 'em the cherub!



We're back in the game!



Oh hey, nice, a random gear drop we can use!



This is going to make Mount Gulg MUCH smoother.



Okay, up we go.



That doesn't look threatening or anything.



Oh.



Well, uh, thanks.



I want that other box too, how trapped is it?



Not trapped at all. Hooray!



Oh. That kind of takes the magic out of finding an Ice Shield as a random drop. Oh well. Anyway, that crack will take us down to that last item in the earlier cracked floor room.



Now you're just being mean.



The Flame Sword outclasses the Crosier without even trying. Go away.



At BEST, I can use it as a tanking weapon for Vahn if I'm okay with halving their attack count. Which is, uh, not a good option.



This staircase is a trap, by the way. It's a one-way exit from the dungeon, and if you re-enter, you do so from the original entrance. Don't touch it.



Wanna take bets that thing is trapped?



Didn't think so.



Okay, miniboss time it is.

Evil Eye
HP: 524
Damage: 36
Accuracy: 118
Defense: 33
Agility: 6
Intelligence: 30
Evasion: 84
Magic Defense: 192
Rewards: 425 gil, 3225 EXP, Mind Plus
Weaknesses: Darkness, Dia
Resistances: Quake

Honestly, even in Mod of Balance, the Evil Eye is kind of a pushover. I'm more worried about Dark Wizards than this thing, even if it does carry extra-spicy Thundara and some mean Gaze attacks. Hit it really hard and don't die. The only real misplay is trying to hit it with status effects; at the level you're at, you will never breach its magic resistance.



The Evil Eye is a dangerous spellcaster, but so are Dark Wizards, which have wiped us on at least one run through the dungeon. You don't scare me.



Your Thundara only killed one of my teammates? PATHETIC.



Meanwhile, on a good roll, the Comet spell can oneshot it.



Well, we have a levistone now. What are we supposed to do with it, though?

You'll get to see, don't worry. This is THE reason we came down here. (Although the cash and gear was nice too.)

Next Time: Those who would oppose me shall burn in hellfire!
 

nosimpleway

(he/him)
I scrolled up to compare, the Eye is worth about three Dark Wizards or four Mindflayers in EXP, and with that HP total either a Comet or a Ki Strike oughta be enough to one-turn it, right?

If it opens with Thundara then the mod didn't even revert to its old spell set of opening with an instant-kill, so... uh, yeah.
 

Kalir

Do you require aid.
(whatevs)
Comet stands a very good chance of oneshotting it, assuming you have someone who can cast it by that point (which is to say, an Archmage or Sage). Qi Strike, not so much, seeing as that isn't a damage move, but a non-elemental instakill, and the Evil Eye still has great magic resistance.

That said, I wouldn't exactly call it risk free. I might've joked about Thundara, but even if Rondo was at full health that would've done heavy damage to them.
 

Torzelbaum

????? LV 13 HP 292/ 292
(he, him, his)
You're expected to do Mt. Gulg first, and then go to the Cavern of Ice. Normally, any player of FF1 worth their salt knows that the way I'm doing it is correct.
Go treasure hunting, save Marilith Kary for last.
 
I know in the original, if you used warp after falling through a hole in the floater room, it would teleport you right back to that space, does that work in this version?
 

Beowulf

Son of The Answer Man
(He/Him)
I know in the original, if you used warp after falling through a hole in the floater room, it would teleport you right back to that space, does that work in this version?
Warp didn't exist in the original, did it?
 

Torzelbaum

????? LV 13 HP 292/ 292
(he, him, his)
Well it did but you normally couldn't have it at that point in the original game. The warp trick is only possible with mods or cheat devices.
 

Kalir

Do you require aid.
(whatevs)


So my first impulse was to take the levistone to the dwarf in Mt. Duergar. Y'know, the expected spot. Apparently the NPC that has the clue is in Elfheim though, and I didn't think to look that up until after I got here, not that it matters.



Point being, this is the entire reason you do the Cavern of Ice.



The Ryukahn Desert is not a dungeon of any sort, simply a small site for a cutscene.



Let's get everyone out here real quick, eh?



Levistone, ACTIVATE!



A thankfully far-enough distance away...



The sands of the Ryukahn Desert split apart!



And from the revealed chasm, now powered by the levistone we've brought...



The start of a Final Fantasy classic, right here.



That's right, it's airship time.



Like the sailing ship we got from Bikke, the airship is a vehicle for fast travel across the world.



The airship is in a class of its own, though. Incredibly fast, no random encounters while flying it, and it can land anywhere there's a patch of clear plains to dock at. This isn't quite as untouchable as you'd expect, since the northern islands are either heavily forested or covered in an even larger desert, both of which aren't especially viable to dock at.



Still, this means we can get back to any town we want in the blink of an eye, which I'll use to take care of some details before we hit Mt. Gulg proper.



Maybe one more shot at Earthgift?



Hey, new guys!

Yellow Ogre
HP: 725
Damage: 62
Accuracy: 71
Defense: 21
Agility: 10
Intelligence: 5
Evasion: 47
Magic Defense: 33
Rewards: 105 gil, 1112 EXP, Strength Tonic
Weaknesses: Time, Paralysis, Poison, Darkness, Confusion, Mind

The Soul of Chaos version of ogre. Yellow Ogres were especially prone to fleeing in the original version, but that got toned down in Mod of Balance. Kind of feels like a misstep because that's like the only bit of character these guys have.



Perfect field test for Quake, if I do say so myself.



That's some solid damage I tell you hwat



Hm, not a great start here...



OKAY FINE WE'LL GO CLEAR MT. GULG FIRST JEEZ



Fine, if Earthgift won't get me a Kenpogi, I'll just buy one my damn self!



Anyway, Mt. Gulg. Home of the newly-awakened Fiend of Fire, naturally in a volcano.



The first floor is basically their way of saying "listen, convection laws are meaningless here, you NEED to walk across the lava to progress".



They're the exact kind of damage fields as in Cavern of Ice. Which is a feature, because with how many there are here, there's lots of places where you just won't get into encounters.



As with the Cavern of Ice, expect lots of fiery foes in here.

Horned Devil
HP: 166
Damage: 19
Accuracy: 66
Defense: 33
Agility: 36
Intelligence: 21
Evasion: 132
Magic Defense: 66
Rewards: 77 gil, 666 EXP, Flame Mail
Weaknesses: Dia
Resistances: Quake, Fire, Ice, Paralysis, Poison, Darkness

Remember how much of a pain in the ass Gargoyles were before? Horned Devils are worse. They don't even need Silence to mess with you with their massive list of resistances, so they can even shrug off basically any spell except a Thundaga. And they're fast enough to dodge lots of attacks. They're also a really mean way to counter the expected early Blizzara, since they'll absorb it effortlessly.



Woooooo that's floor B1!



Floor B2 can be even shorter if you play it the straight way. Don't go in the doors, and the stairs are right down the path.



But then you miss out on the treasure.



There's a LOT of treasure.



Also the encounters aren't that scary yet. Even the Horned Devils aren't too bad.



BOX



Not as scary as their earthy companions.

Fire Elemental
HP: 440
Damage: 50
Accuracy: 99
Defense: 16
Agility: 21
Intelligence: 12
Evasion: 79
Magic Defense: 110
Rewards: 200 gil, 1620 EXP, Flame Shield
Weaknesses: Ice, Dia
Resistances: Quake, Fire, Stone, Paralysis, Poison, Darkness, Sleep, Silence, Confusion, Mind, Death

They can Blind with their attacks, and have access to Firaga and a lesser Blaze attack. None of that compares to the statline or threat of the Earth Elementals from before. Without the Stone Gas, they barely even register in comparison.



Anyway, time for the breath weapon or whatever for this biome.



oh no a fire



To be fair, I do have NulBlaze up, but even so.



Well, at least we can sell it. -the tagline for this team



The interior path is a little labyrinthine, but nothing to worry about. You should have no trouble navigating to all the treasure.



Okay, I don't have NulBlaze up yet, do your worst.



Ehhhhh I'll more chalk that up to Red fumbling than that actually being threatening.



Two more boxes just above those.



Just money, but hey, money's good.



These guys, not so much.

Pyrolisk
HP: 102
Damage: 23
Accuracy: 61
Defense: 10
Agility: 36
Intelligence: 15
Evasion: 141
Magic Defense: 45
Rewards: 100 gil, 423 EXP, Feathered Cap
Weaknesses: Ice
Resistances: Quake, Fire

As you'd guess, Pyrolisks are very much like Cockatrices. They're fast, they're fragile, and they're potentially lethal with every action they take. Their Gaze attack can kill you instantly! Oh no!



Bring it on.



If the Gaze attack succeeds...



Well, we'd get an animation, but we didn't get one this time. Because it failed.



Rondo is not so lucky, and their soul gets mad-dogged clean out of them.



Ponch



Anyway let's get some dang ol' levels, although I doubt I'll grab any new spell levels for the party for a while yet.



No thanks, I will be trading this in at the pawn shop.



I have enough swords anyway.

Fire Hydra
HP: 699
Damage: 32
Accuracy: 92
Defense: 15
Agility: 18
Intelligence: 16
Evasion: 84
Magic Defense: 119
Rewards: 177 gil, 1825 EXP, Genji Helm
Weaknesses: Ice
Resistances: Fire

Lots of attacks on these guys, and they're pretty chunky. Not especially deadly, but dangerous enough to not just sleep on them. We might have a slight advantage from going to Cavern of Ice first, but I doubt it's major.



Okay, you guys are getting annoying.



Just a little bit of static before the real bolt hits.



BADAMN



Good.



Two more boxes up hereabouts.



And I once again procure a Flame Shield from a random encounter, knowing damn well this dungeon will have another one in a chest later.



This just has money and/or gear I immediately mark for sale.



Seriously? What are you guys even doing here?



Anyway, down here is the big treasure trove of this floor.



Lots of good stuff, although as usual, most of it is either consumables or unequippable by this party.



Of course the tile right next to the most treasure is spiked.



Not that it's a big deal or anything, as usual.

Lava Worm
HP: 444
Damage: 60
Accuracy: 131
Defense: 30
Agility: 2
Intelligence: 12
Evasion: 61
Magic Defense: 159
Rewards: 110 gil, 1671 EXP, Red Cap
Weaknesses: Ice
Resistances: Quake, Fire, Poison

The only thing really setting the Lava Worm apart is their relatively higher Defense than most things around here, which isn't enough to merit its status as a spiked encounter.



I use Temper here, but I honestly didn't need to. The Defense is high, yeah, but they aren't THAT hardy.



Case in point.



Yeah I'm not gonna screencap every level from here on out. Just post nice convenient statblocks for everyone after each update.



So yeah, most of this wasn't very useful, but we have a lot of cash to work with now.



Let's go spend it!



If we're staying at an inn that isn't Cornelia's inn, I assure you I have a good reason for it (no I don't).



It's been long enough that I'm fine with selling the Venom Daggers. Anything they could do, we've long since outpaced.



And since we have a lot of money and not much equipment we can get with it, let's just get DRUGZ



Plus an Ashura for Rondo, since their Kotetsu is clearly reaching its limit, and a Flame Staff for Red because they're not gonna see another upgrade for ages.



Oh, and a Protect Cloak. Better than the Buckler if you ask me.



By the way: level 22 marks where Red can cast 7th level spells! But we haven't found the shop that sells those spells and I'm none too keen to go hunting it down this update, airship or no. Besides, we can clear Mt. Gulg with what we have, no problem.



As before: with the treasure cleaned out of B2, we're free to just run down the hallway and Heal up the damage after if we want.



Mt. Gulg does the same thing as Cavern of Ice, with going up and down between different sections of the same floors. This section of B3 is pretty much empty.



Just head not-left to leave.



Cool pattern, though.



B4 here is another transitory floor. Mt. Gulg has a lot of these.



I should note that Mod of Balance increases the encounter rate in areas that are predominantly lava-filled, since those don't have encounters for themselves. So you want to generally avoid the islands in this area, and stick just to the lava. Makes sense, right?



The stairs bottom-right take us to the real B3.



Not that there's a lot here either. It's more mazelike, going back to the ol' Cavern of Earth style of level.



Lots of curved tunnels going all around the place with nary a treasure in sight.



Can't forget the featureless dead end rooms, now with lava!



Just give me more loot, will ya?



There we go. The real B4 is where we get back to actual treasure.



Most of it is still money and gear we can't use, but I'm still very much here for it.



And hey, trap encounters!



Not that they're dangerous or anything, mind.



Oooh, more stuff!



Wait, it's been this long before I encountered a Hellhound? Wild.

Hellhound
HP: 432
Damage: 35
Accuracy: 94
Defense: 14
Agility: 24
Intelligence: 6
Evasion: 89
Magic Defense: 103
Rewards: 130 gil, 1182 EXP, Red Fang
Weaknesses: Ice, Dia
Resistances: Fire, Poison, Darkness, Sleep

Fire breathing evil big bois. I guess they're an upgrade to Hyenadons, sort of. They can attack in packs, where either Diara or Blizzara come into fine play.



Oooh, that's going right to Polka!



Okay, so here's Rondo with Ashura, pretty solid.



And here's Polka, having missed a hit but still keeping pace.



And Vahn still kinda gets to beat them both without trying, but ehhhhhhh



Called it



Oh that's a danger guy.

Red Dragon
HP: 682
Damage: 75
Accuracy: 105
Defense: 30
Agility: 48
Intelligence: 24
Evasion: 69
Magic Defense: 120
Rewards: 1250 gil, 2904 EXP, Red Jacket
Weaknesses: Ice, Stone, Poison, Dia
Resistances: Quake, Fire

Okay, so maaaybe Earthgift Shrine's dragons are a bit much for us, and kinda threw off our barometer. The Red Dragon is still pretty tough, with the usual helping of Firaga and the extra-strong Blaze technique, not to mention some really good damage potential off regular attacks alone. Exercise caution, and don't be afraid to throw a Cockatrice Claw if you have to.



Qi Strike continues to be Pretty Good



This floor is full of small treasure rooms, don't forget to grab them all!



Especially when they have one of these suckers!

Black Cowl
Black hood brought from a distant land.

Slot: Head
Defense: 9
Weight: 1
Evasion: 11
Strength: 3
Agility: 3
Stamina: 3
Resists: Sleep
Availability: Rogue, Ninja, Master, Battlemage

This is the other worthwhile bit of gear from Earthgift Shrine aside from the Kenpogi. As you can see, it's incredibly powerful, but pretty harshly limited in who can actually equip it. Fortunately for us, this time that limit works in our favor, as the Black Cowl is extremely useful for both Vahn and Rondo.



PUT IT ON YOUR HEAD



There are a LOT of treasure rooms on this floor.



Lizard

Fire Lizard
HP: 430
Damage: 32
Accuracy: 84
Defense: 20
Agility: 18
Intelligence: 12
Evasion: 39
Magic Defense: 79
Rewards: 320 gil, 2472 EXP, Flame Staff
Weaknesses: Ice
Resistances: Fire

As always: the Cavern of Earth enemies were harder. I have to wonder if their stats are scaled down due to all the damage floors in the area.



Baaaaah



Surely this is the last one, right?



Hey look, it's that content overlap thing again.



And that's it. We got a lot of haul out of that, some of it even usable!



This floor is rude. Of the eight paths now available to us: one goes to the boss, and two of them go to a treasure chest that has the same content in it, which means you need to explore all of two of the eight paths. To make matters more annoying: the boss, lower left, is just under one of those. I did not remember this when I played.



I did, at the very least, remember this is the way to the treasure.



Gee, how come you get two layers of spiked tiles?



The first one is a Fire Lizard (which we will have to fight on the way back).



The other, of course, is a Red Dragon that actually lands a hit on us.



Okay, we've got NulBlaze up, do your worst.



Spicy.



Okay, ow. Again, this is through NulBlaze.



The Flame Mail is the only thing down here, and you guessed it, we can't equip it.



NOW TO STUMBLE AROUND THE REST OF THE FLOOR LIKE A BIG STINKY IDIOT



This room, like every other room except the bottom left, has nothing.



But hey, I can show you the Fire Gigas.

Fire Gigas
HP: 948
Damage: 77
Accuracy: 102
Defense: 20
Agility: 24
Intelligence: 8
Evasion: 51
Magic Defense: 83
Rewards: 401 gil, 1506 EXP, Flame Sword
Weaknesses: Ice, Time, Poison, Confusion, Mind
Resistances: Fire

From here on out, Gigases effectively replace Ogres as the sacks of HP. They also have spellcasting ability, of course. I forget the exact details, but I think it's Fira and maaaaaybe Blind?



Anyway yeah, skipping ahead.



Hello to you!



As with Lich, Marilith is unsealed from the orb to take her true form!



Boy do I have bad news for you.


Marilith
Infernal Swordmaster, Bringer of Volcanic Ash, Fiend of Fire

HP: 2325
Damage: 55
Accuracy: 72
Defense: 50
Agility: 24
Intelligence: 32
Evasion: 68
Magic Defense: 155
Rewards: 3000 gil, 2475 EXP, Ashura
Weaknesses: Ice, Paralysis, Darkness, Sleep, Silence, Confusion, Mind, Dia
Resistances: Fire, Lightning, Stone, Poison

No, I didn't get the weaknesses and resists backwards. Marilith legit is weak to almost every status effect under the sun, severely undercutting her otherwise-excellent magic resistance. It doesn't matter that she can do lots of Poison-inflicting, hard-hitting physical attacks, or that she's fully capable of casting Firaga. All it takes is one, maybe two Stun spells, and you've already won the fight. Marilith is a case study for why you don't have bosses in your games that are weak to status effects that shutter their ability to act. On the off chance you don't have any way of inflicting a suitable status effect, you're going to have an uphill battle, especially since anyone who could cast Stun would likely be your source of Blizzara. Use NulBlaze and be very proactive about healing your team, and keep your damage dealers up and buffed as long as you can.

Any semblance of strategy I could posit for this fight would be eclipsed by the four letters in the word "Stun". While Lich is a tense battle of weathering a varied magical onslaught until you can strike back, Marilith is a literal check to see if you have the status effect you need to win, which you almost certainly do if you have any spellcaster worth a damn. Even without Red, we still have Rondo who could inflict Blind, and Polka who could use Mute. Sure, Marilith's defense is high, but who cares when she never gets a chance to attack?



Let's light up that Fire Crystal.



Ding!



Two down, and apocalypse averted!



Oh, damn, forgot about this.



See, Hellfire Chasm isn't accessible until you get the airship, yeah? So ordinarily, you don't visit it and learn the L O R E until after you defeat Marilith, at which point the elf inside will update what they have to say. For the record: apparently that's a place where the elves choose their next prince via trial or something.



Anyway it's open to the public now. Rejoice and stuff. Not setting foot in there for a while.



Anyway, stats.

Vahn continues to be an unstoppable punching machine despite their helmet and gloves being weak as hell. They have also completely mastered all the spells they will ever learn, and their stats on defense and punching are only going to get better. Truly, they are a constant in this world and on this team.



Rondo isn't quite as strong or unstoppable, but they're still the fastest character in the game, and their magic resistance is getting up there, especially with the added benefit of the Protect Cloak. They can dodge like nobody's business, especially with Blink and Blind available. Plus, we're starting to hit the part of the game where Ninjas quickly outpace Rogues as far as gear goes. Look forward to Rondo only getting better!



Similarly, Polka is getting past their rough start in fine form. Their access to relatively high-level white magic means they're going to be keeping our team alive for a long while, and they're coming into their own as a pretty capable physical fighter, owing to their versatile set of elemental/slaying weapons and easily-accessible elementally resistant shields. Their biggest weakness is their low accuracy and hit count, so their attacks can be somewhat swingy even when hitting a weakpoint.



Red has the poorest equipment selection in the game with physically weak stats, so they pretty much have to spend MP or items to be useful. That's okay, because their ridiculously high Intellect combined with their command of black magic means they can frequently solve encounters by going through their list of spells and figuring out which one most enemies are weak to. They also have some really mean status effects to work with, and those are only going to improve as well.

Next Time: I love having legs!
 

Kalir

Do you require aid.
(whatevs)
Hi! Sorry! How are you!

So, uh, I would like to play this game for all of you, I would. But clearly, this LP hasn't updated in uhhhhhhhhh two months. So what's going on here guv?

Two problems, one minor, one significant. The minor problem is that I've gone back to work after the pandemic, wooo! My work is always somewhat infrequent no matter what, but due to Circumstances this is the busiest I've been in a while. Not a lot of time to be on my laptop. Now, technically speaking, I COULD bring my laptop to work and use the not-insignificant downtime of my new position to write updates, yeah?

That's where the other problem comes in: this laptop is OLD. The case cracked ages ago and I can't get it back together again. An alarming number of keys on the keyboard don't work consistently when pressed, or indeed at all. I literally have to copypaste a "b" from some other text in order to generate that character at all, which is a problem when I have to type up bold tags roughly every time I encounter a new enemy. I don't want to move it from the desk its on because I'm worried it won't physically survive the journey.

So, sad to say, this LP is going on hiatus, and I don't know when I'll get back to it or any other LP, really. I'm super sad about this and I want to get back as soon as possible, but that's going to have to wait until I either take this laptop into a shop, or more likely, replace it entirely. I'll try to think of some way to make subbing to my Patreon not a literal waste of money in the meantime (maybe uploading some Deep Rock Galactic streams, that game rules), but right now, the right thing to do is to let all y'all know why this thing's ceased. I'm sorry and I hope to be able to come back soon!
 
Top