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===================================================================== VAGRANT STORY COMPLETE WALKTHROUGH AND PLAYING GUIDE ===================================================================== Version 1.3 June 18th, 2000 Author: Zy Nicholson E-mail: email@example.com All text copyright Zy Nicholson, 2000 LEGAL NOTICE: This guide is for private and personal use only. It is not to be used or reproduced, in part or whole, for profitable or promotional purposes. This encompasses paper-based and electronic reproduction, whether as part of a magazine, book, website, CD / DVD format or any other medium. Permission has been granted for www.gamefaqs.com to reproduce the full text, and I welcome requests from other sites wishing to be granted the same, especially fan sites. All content was created by Zy Nicholson and is owned by me. I also acknowledge any trademarks and copyrights that are not specifically mentioned in the text. On a final note, you should also appreciate that I'm a professional journalist with the means, the resources, the know-how, the moral obligation and the dogged perseverance to pursue any legal action, no matter how large or small, should you attempt any infraction of these terms in the false belief that you are safe from international copyright law. You are not. You have been warned. Vagrant Story is (c) 2000 Square. ============================================== Contents ============================================== 1. Revision History 2. Introduction 3. Level Guide 4. Second Play Secrets 5. Playing Tips 6. Weapons 7. RISK 8. Break Arts 9. Chain Abilities 10. Defence Abilities 11. Magic 12. The Workshop 13. Combining, Forging and Reforging 14. Combination Tables 15. Items 16. The Bestiary 17. Training Dummies 18. Secrets and Extras 19. Credits ============================================== 1. REVISION HISTORY ============================================== May 21 2000 - Version 1.0 created I've still got notes to write up, but figured that maybe some of you would like what's already been written sooner, rather than later. May 26 2000 - Version 1.1 Despite a hideous workload and a personal tax return to contend with, your enthusiastic mails have been the Spur of Guilt to my Rump of Inaction. - began revision of entire level guide, Weapons, RISK, Second Play Secrets section - added content to Break Arts, Magic, Combination and Combination Tables - added new sections Chain Abilities, Defence Abilities, Secrets and Extras May 28-June 1st 2000 - Version 1.2 - revisions to every section bar Bestiary - added new sections in Playing Tips and Items - wedged heavy wooden chock under wheel of social life June 2nd 2000 - Version 1.25 - *proper* revisions added to some sections June 11-18th 2000 - Version 1.3 - make friends trick added to Playing Tips - dragon breath trick added to Playing Tips - maps for Iron Maiden B2/3 and Snowfly Forest - more on item lists and combination, as well as armour pegging - revision of main text, section re-jig ============================================== 2. INTRODUCTION ============================================== Vagrant Story isn't easily definable. Sure, it's an RPG -- and an action game, and a platformer, and a wargame, and a cinematic adventure. The design team features staff from the Japanese development company Quest, responsible for the Ogre Battle series, including director Yasumi 'Yazz' Matsuno and artist Akihiko Yoshida: these two last worked together on Final Fantasy Tactics. To quote Matsuno from the game's website at www.vagrantstory.com: "The design of this game came from the design sense and ideas of our staff and was not the result of conventional product planning. This may seem very natural, but this is something that recently has begun to disappear from the gaming industry. We believe that it is important to return to our origins in natural, even spontaneous, game design." In an industry that seems increasingly concerned with mass-market satisfaction, it's refreshing to see a title created in the knowledge that it won't appeal to everyone. Not because of any lack of quality, but through a respect for individuality, diversity and the importance of experimenting with original, untested ideas. Yoshida's characters have finally been granted the dramatic stage of a 'realistic' 3D environment in which to act out their roles, and his strong sense of design has impressed a unique and indelible style upon Vagrant Story's engine-driven cut-scenes. By comparison, the sheer personality of these living, breathing individuals shows up Metal Gear Solid's cast list as a bunch of cartoon heroes and villains with black-&-white values. Credit is also due to Hiroshi 'Nigoro' Minagawa, who I believe has succeeded in his ambition to turn every single room, view and perspective into a work of art. I've worked in game scripting and design myself, so it pains me to neglect a few names at this stage, but I congratulate a talented team on coming up with a fascinating and addictive piece of original work that eschews the weary formulae and conventions of the modern, commercial RPG product. One final point: once you've clicked through the intro, there's no more FMV in the game. Vagrant Story uses engine-driven cut-scenes to deliver its dramatic impact. Not only does this result in a fluid, seamless incorporation of non- interactive scenes within an interactive medium, but it also allows for those scenes to reflect the state of play. The character delivering lines is standing in the same position, holding the same items, as they were just moments ago when you were controlling them. There's no pause and flick to a pre-rendered interpretation of the moment: when the scene ends then you can go take a look at something you just noticed, like a closed chest, and it's still ready to be opened in the playing environment. This is, I'm convinced, the future model for all videogames with a narrative to convey. ============================================== 3. LEVEL GUIDE ============================================== This isn't a strict walkthrough in the sense of a 'go left, open box' set of instructions. You'll have a better time if you play the game for yourself, and take advice only when you're stuck. For this reason, the structure strives for completism and lists every room in the game, by name. If you're stumped at any point or you'd like more information then a simple search for the room name should take you straight to a description of where you are and what you need to do. On a second point, there's little mention of the cut-scene placement. The game's plot will be dealt with in a later version, as the twists involved would be better placed in a spoiler section than being thrown at you against your will. With regard to room contents, I haven't attempted to nail down the exact numbers of inhabitants (Bats x 2, Silver Wolf x 1 etc.) because, frankly, it's misleading. There is no fixed number. Over time, in response to your own increase in power, every room will start to boast more creatures, or harder creatures, or both. So for greater precision I've simply listed the kind of creatures you're likely to find there. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ INTRODUCTORY PROLOGUE ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ When you first load the game, let it run on after the FMV has played. There are two engine cut-scenes that provide some background to the story, set in the VKP headquarters and the grounds of the Bardorba Manor respectively. There's also a version of the game's trailer based on a cut of the introductory sequence. Duke Bardorba's Manor, Graylands 2:32 AM Although you're free to skip straight through it, the game's introductory sequence includes two playable battles that serve as tutorial for the weapon- targeting system. Just advance the speech with your CIRCLE button and avoid pressing START (as this will end the intro). The Manor Courtyard Hardin issues instructions to kill the hostages, but his Mullenkamp cultists are interrupted by a noise and go to investigate (honestly, you were nowhere near the box...). "Here we go..." Mullenkamp Soldiers HP 60 / MP 20 Human Special Attacks: none This shouldn't present any problem at all, as each will fall after a couple of hits. Concentrate on one before turning your attention to the other. Also, take a moment to try out the marvellous first-person pause on the START button and have a look at both your opponents and your surroundings, as you won't be seeing this place again. When both cultists are killed, this playable scene ends. (NB: if you're replaying this from a Game Clear Data, you'll be equipped with the last weapon and shield you were holding and not, in all probability, Fandango. Also, on a plot point, note that the bodies stay put where they fall: Lea Monde's power holds no sway here...). The Manor Chapel Wyvern HP 83 / MP 0 Dragon Special Attacks: Fire Breath The bristle of spears still lodged in its body should be a sufficient clue that this Wyvern has already encountered either the Duke's retainers, or Guildenstern's Crimson Blades, or both. Consequently it's very weak, and can't take much more punishment. A few blows to the head will be sufficient to finish the job. Don't expect the next Wyvern you meet to be such a pushover. When this is done then let the game run on, including the lengthy quote, and you'll get a proper explanation of your new mission in another cut-scene. Inquisitor Callo Merlose fills you in on the known details of your quarry. You've pursued Sydney Losstarot to Lea Monde, but first you need to get inside... ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Wine Cellar ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Your overriding aim is to reach the city of Lea Monde via the cellars and catacombs running under the sea. But a magically sealed door blocks the way, so your first objective will be to find the Chamomile Sigil that unlocks it. Win the Sigil from the first boss, unlock the door and defeat the second boss to leave the Wine Cellar. Entrance To Darkness You begin the game with a few basic items. Your sword, Fandango, is an Edged weapon with a Scimitar blade and a Short Hilt grip that will serve you adequately for now. This room is empty at first, but will house more enemies if you return later in the game. Practise jumping around, climbing on the wine crates and getting in and out of Battle Mode. When you have a weapon equipped then you can still jump, but your hands need to be free to grab ledges or scramble up steep steps. It's worth learning that lesson right now. If you pressed START at any time to skip the intro sequences then this is where you'll find yourself - it may not be clear to the impatient player. Worker's Breakroom Magic Circle Chest (unlocked): 'Tovarisch' (B) Hand Axe plus Wooden Grip, Leather Glove (L), Buckler (W), Vera Bulb x 5, Cure Bulb x 5 Return here much later in the game and you'll also find a Training Dummy (Human, Crimson Blade effigy). The Magic Circle is the first Save Point in the game, and standing on one of these will make available the Save options within the Data section of the Main Menu. If you've just played out the lengthy intro in full then you'll probably feel like using it at once. Already, you have a choice of weapons. Examine them, by all means, but don't attempt to mess about with the Disassemble options at this time. Until you get to the first Workshop, you won't be able to put them back together. Equip the wooden shield and leather glove before moving on. Hall of Struggle Bat HP 45 / MP 0 Beast Special Attacks: none The first aggressor of the game will swoop down to attack, so you'll need to have your weapon ready and target it when it comes within range of your weapon. Fortunately, it's about as threatening as you'd expect of a mouse with wings. When that's dispatched, you can try picking up carry crates with the X button: just as you found with jumping, you need your hands free of weaponry to do this. Smokebarrel Stair An overheard conversation between two Crimson Blades reveals that the lower door is locked with a Chamomile Sigil. There's a secret floor trap in that gap between the outer wall and upper staircase, but this one is a beneficial Heal Panel. Besides restoring health, it also reduces RISK. If you need to use it more than once, simply jumping up and down will reactivate it (it's worth remembering that the same goes for more harmful traps - walk off, rather than trying to jump clear). Wine Guild Hall Magic Circle & Container The Crimson Blades are the Cardinal's elite guard, under the command of Guildenstern, and for political reasons they don't want Riskbreakers sniffing around. You might have thought these stout, God-fearing fellows would be your allies, but they have their orders... Goodwin HP 160 / MP 10, Human Sackheim HP 145 / MP 15, Human Special Attacks: none The Container is where you'll store excess items to free up your inventory for more spoils, and using it will also save your game position. There's nothing in it at first (in case you were hoping for a Resi-style stash of extras) so you can ignore it for now. On your first trip through the Wine Cellar, the items you win from enemies by defeating them will be scripted and predetermined. Use the Cloudstone to cross the gap to the exit - it gives a reassuring wobble when you're fully standing on it. It's an odd state of affairs, perhaps, but Vagrant Story certainly makes every effort to justify the mad things that gamers would ordinarily take for granted. Wine Magnate's Chambers Bat, Silver Wolf As you take the final path to the door, stick to the wall so as to avoid a hidden Gust Trap that's two floor tiles in front of the exit. Fine Vintage Vault Crimson Blade x 2 (thereafter Bats, Wolves) After the first swordsman has been dispatched, climb up onto the three crates and jump across to the central span. There's a crossbowman waiting for you on the other side: he'll try to back off and use his weapon's superior range, so you'll want to rush him. Chamber of Fear Silver Wolf, Bats An earthquake will rearrange the room when you try to cross it. Climb onto the low ledge and jump from there to reach the higher one: the wolf guards the entrance to a treasure room. The Reckoning Room Silver Wolf, Bat Silver Wolf HP 90 / MP 0, Beast Special Attacks: none Chest (unlocked): 'Seventh Heaven' (B) Gastraph Bow plus Simple Bolt, Reinforced Glove (L), Vera Root, Cure Root The door locks behind you: there are many of these trap rooms in the game, with the idea being that you have to defeat all of the inhabitants before the doors will open again. Labourer's Thirst Silver Wolf, Bat To reach that exit door, pick up a carry crate while standing on the middle span and walk over to the jutting platform. Drop the crate in front of it and stand on top, jumping up to grab the ledge above. The Rich Drown In Wine Silver Wolf, Bat A high lever opens the exit door and, as in the previous room, you need to use a crate step to reach its platform. However, the stack of crates is too tall for you to pick one off the top. So draw your weapons, target one of the crates and destroy it. This is a trick you'll need to repeat in future puzzles. Then again, if you were nervous about jumping into the wolf-pit then one of the animals below may have already destroyed the crate when leaping at your shins. There's a two-second time limit for jumping down from the lever and running through the door. Mostly, it's just a tutorial device to introduce the idea of timed challenges being suddenly thrust upon you. Room of Rotten Grapes Silver Wolf, Bat More crate-carrying antics will get you up the high wall at the end of the room. I won't insult your intelligence with further description. Blackmarket of Wines Magic Circle Chest (unlocked): Cure Potion, Cure Bulb x 5 You're about to meet a boss, so feel free to save. Upon your return, this room will contain a Training Dummy - don't panic, it's just an effigy - on which you can practise your newfound battle abilities. It looks like a Crimson Blade, and, sure enough, counts as a Human target, so it will affect your weapon bonuses if you spend too long hammering it. Try not to wear out your weapons too much until you reach a Workshop that can restore their DP. The Gallows Boss: Minotaur HP 275 / MP 5, Beast Special Attacks: Giga Rush Prize: Chamomile Sigil, Grimoire Guerir (Shaman spell, Heal), Grimoire Debile (Sorcerer Spell, Degenerate) Chest (unlocked): Pelta Shield (W), Vera Bulb x 3,Yggdrasil's Tears x 15 Use the weapon that you've been building up on Bats and Wolves, as Minotaur occupies the same creature class of Beast. His huge club can happily reach your high, prominent entry point, so don't imagine you're safe there. Indeed, he'll very likely get the first hit in before you can draw, so dive into the arena and rush in to put him within the range of your own weapon. However, his stature means that you'll be struggling to hit anything above the knee, and his legs are the best-protected location on his body, especially against Edged weapons. Take advantage of anything else that comes into range, going for the best damage-versus-probability gamble you can afford. If you take too much damage, use a Cure item: holding down the L2 button will bring up a faster shortcut menu when your control is restored. He's not so hard unless you're unlucky enough to take a Giga Rush, so a few solid hits will finish him off. Events in this room will also cause Ashley to remember his basic Battle Abilities: in other words, Vagrant Story's *real* combat system. Assign all of the abilities to buttons and go practice a few chain timings on that Dummy outside. When you're ready, you may make your way back to Smokebarrel Stair and open the magically sealed door. As you do so, try out the Grimoire items you've acquired. Using one of these will destroy the Grimoire in the process, but you'll also memorise the spell permanently for future use regardless of whether it succeeds or fails. Unlike most RPG scrolls, just reading the Grimoire will drain your mana points and so you won't be able to use one unless you have sufficient MP for the casting. Room Of Cheap Red Wine Upon entering, you'll be treated to an explanation of what is later referred to as "an incomplete death". When the living die in Lea Monde, the Dark claims both body and soul for its own ends. Mandel HP 145 / MP 15 Undead Special Attacks: none Prize: Rapier (B) It's worth pointing out an old FF-styled trick here: if you cast Heal on an Undead opponent, it actually attacks them as a single-target spell and does damage. You probably won't need it here, though. Room Of Cheap White Wine You enter this room from an advantageous point, and you could try casting Heal or aiming for the heads of creatures below before you jump down to floor level. Zombie HP 120 HP / MP 10 Zombie Fighter HP 140 / MP 15 Ghoul HP 120 / MP 10 Undead Special Attacks: none Prize: Cure Roots x 2 per head The Greedy One's Den Silver Wolves The Hero's Winehall Boss: Dullahan HP 180 / MP 30, Evil Special Attacks: casts Degenerate Prize: Elixir of Queens, Elixir of Mages, Grimoire Lux (Warlock spell, Spirit Surge) Chest (unlocked): 'Rusty Nail' (B) Spear + Spiculum Pole, Braveheart gem, Cure Bulb This animated suit of armour has a supposed weak spot in its abdomen, but that rather depends on what you're packing. If you employ a Piercing weapon then the extra damage is significant, but it's a trickier spot to hit. If all else fails, go for the breastplate -- he's weak to Piercing weapons all over. Abandon any combo if the first hit doesn't do decent damage, as high RISK will multiply the damage of Dullahan's vicious sword-swipes (RISK-reducing Vera items can help here). You should also try to get the timing down for the Impact Guard defence ability to halve the damage you take. Cast your Shaman magic to Heal yourself whenever you get down to near half your health. When you're done, don't forget to check out the chest to the right of the exit before moving on to the catacombs. Point o' fun: I once managed to alter the camera angle of this battle's opening cut-scene by climbing up onto the right-hand ledge rather than walking straight into the centre after entering the room. If you return to this room later in the game with much higher HP, you may find a Dullahan and a Hellhound as the respawning enemies. The Dullahan will be carrying an Iron Rhomphaia that you can (rarely) win as a prize. Also, if you enter from the Catacombs, it's even possible to sneak up behind this Dullahan and follow him around the room for ages before he sees you... ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Catacombs ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Now that you've escaped the Wine Cellar, you'll have to do the same to pass through the Catacombs. As the name declares, this was once an old burial chamber. The double doors at the Withered Spring will only open to the Lily Sigil, which you'll find by defeating the minor bosses in this area. Hall of Sworn Revenge Magic Circle & Container You'll find a hidden Cure Panel trap on the left raised step, opposite that of the Save Point. This will cure any status ailments you have, but it's not likely to see much use. There's also a Heal Panel next to it, which will restore HP and reduce RISK. Much later in the game, this room will also house a Dummy of a Skeleton Knight for training against Undead targets. The Last Blessing Hellhound HP 110 / MP 0 Beast Affinity: Fire Special Attacks: Fire Breath If it seems only slight harder than the Silver Wolf, the Hellhound's Breath is a low-level multiple-target attack: this means that if the flame envelops your entire body, every hit location will take damage. When you add all of that up, it can make the Hellhound unexpectedly deadly at this stage. Prioritise the Hellhound as a target and chain a couple of attacks together to take it out in one combo. It's weak against Water, Light and Piercing blades, so you could try out your new Spirit Surge. There's a simple challenge here: you must get through both corridors to the Persecution Hall before the timer expires and the door at the end shuts tight. Instead of dashing and dodging straight through, make the effort to take out enemies while on the run. It's actually faster to kill them first than let them have their attacks as you pass. The Weeping Corridor Skeleton HP 120 / MP 20 Undead Special Attacks: none Skeletons are able to camouflage themselves in the Catacombs by appearing as inanimate piles of bones, but this one should be easier to spot. Finally, there's a Freeze Trap two tiles in front of the exit that's designed to catch you off-guard. Approach the door from the side. Persecution Hall Skeleton, Hellhound If you examine this room on your map, you'll see a white dot indicating an exit that you may not have noticed. Look up to the left of the entrance and you'll see a dark passageway high in the wall - too high to reach by jumping, in fact. Fortunately, there are some crates in the opposite corner. Smash one of the crates in the stack so that you can pick off the top one. Carry this over to the raised floor under the doorway. There's a step nearby that's only half the height of the raised floor, so place the crate on that. Now climb up onto the step yourself, pick up the crate, turn and place it on the raised floor. This is how you move crates up steps, lifting them one tile height at a time. Climb up again and put the crate under the doorway. Now you can jump up. Rodent-Ridden Chamber Skeleton Chest (unlocked): 'Pink Squirrel' (I), Goblin Club plus Wooden Grip, Cross Guard grip, Cuirass, Long Boots, Iocus gem, Mana Root x 3, Cure Bulb x 3 Again, the surrounding floor is slightly too high to lift a crate onto it. So use a step - in this case, the other crate - by placing one crate on another, climb up onto the outer floor and pick up the top crate from there. Shrine To The Martyrs Skeleton, Hellhound "This would need an earthquake to open it." One scripted earthquake, coming up. Take the open door for now. The Lamenting Mother In another Time Trial, you're given just 30 seconds to defeat a new enemy. There's no penalty if you don't - it'll just disappear, in fact - but you'll miss out on the booty. Ghost HP 70 / MP 130 Phantom Special Attacks: Mind Blast Because the Ghost's affinity is Light, the same as your Spirit Surge, your Warlock magic is useless here. Stick to physical attacks. The Ghost will usually cast Degenerate to weaken your attack before using its specials. It has the ability to teleport, and will use this in an attempt to 'hit and run' before you can get close. The trick to beating it is that it likes to appear at fixed locations, only moving between a few key spots, so if you can identify these regular warp points and stick by one then you can ambush the Ghost as it pops up. If it starts to materialise beyond your weapon range but just within its own spell range, then run away and get yourself to another regular warp point: you can often force it to teleport again, right where you want it. Prize: Cure Bulbs x 3, Elixir of Kings Chest (unlocked): Shandy Gaff (B) Broad Sword, Knuckles (B), Elixir of Queens You can rattle the handle of the door by the chest but it, too, is rusted shut. When you return to the previous room, though, an earthquake will strike. This will shake the rust off the hinges of both doors. It also knocks the floor out of The Lamenting Mother, so only the first rusted door will be accessible. Hall Of Dying Hope Zombie Knight HP 160 / MP 40 Undead Special Attacks: none Scale the sheer wall first at this T-Junction, as the left door leads to a single treasure room. First, you'll be introduced to the push crate: just shove it forward and then left, all the way to the wall, placing the carry crate on top of it for a higher jumping point. Bandits' Hideout Ghost, Bat, Hellhound Chest (unlocked): Soul Kiss (S) Scramasax plus Swept Hilt, Targe (B), Knuckle (B), Bear Mask (L), Haeralis gem, Spirit Orison x 3, Eye of Argon x 3 To reach the chest's platform, you need to move out that rolling cube from the near corner. So break the push crate beside it with a weapon, step into the space that's left and roll the cube into place. The last push crate will slide under the chest's niche, allowing you to kneel and open it from the correct height. The Bloody Hallway The puzzle here is how to get the wooden crates over that central span, and to solve it you'll need to build yourself a step like the one you used in Persecution Hall. Climb over the span and roll the lower of the two cubes along the wall until it's underneath the higher one. Stand on it and you can push the higher cube towards the other side. Climb up onto the span and keep rolling the high cube until it drops down on the other side, next to the other crates. Now you have a two-tile step and two spare carry crates. Lift the two carry crates onto the central span via the step, then stack them under the exit. Faith Overcame Fear Skeleton, Zombie Knight The Withered Spring Ghost, Skeleton Mummy 90 HP / 5 MP Undead Special Attacks: none Magic Circle The huge double doors are magically locked with a Lily Sigil, which is found by exploring the rooms beyond the door to the right as you enter. First, though, check out the door to the left as it opens onto the game's first Workshop. Also, look up with first-person pause and take a psychological deep breath. WORKSHOP: Work of Art Magic Circle & Container Tools for Wood, Leather, Bronze Now you can start experimenting with the real potential of your equipment. Try combining that Reinforced Glove with a bronze Knuckle, for instance, or disassemble a weapon and reassemble its blade with a better grip. You should also have three gems - Iocus, Haeralis and Braveheart - to decorate and enhance either weapons or shields. Repent O Ye Sinners Bat, Ghoul The Reaper's Victims Bat, Zombie Knight Although this is a locking trap room, there's no treasure chest to be had. You might find some decent items on the creatures themselves, though. The Last Stab Of Hope Skeletons If you forgot to open that chest containing Shandy Gaff, or the earthquake cut you off from it, just take the side exit here. It's the second rust-hinged door that you previously tried to open from the other side, in The Lamenting Mother. The earthquake has shaken it loose. Beside the chest, though, and an irate Ghost, it leads to nothing. Hallway of Heroes Here you'll find either a Zombie Knight with a hammer or a Skeleton with a spear, in alternation. The Beasts' Domain Yes, this is the place to win the Lily Sigil. It looks empty at first, because your opponents won't appear until you explore the raised area in the far left corner. Lizardman HP 240 / MP 25 Prize: Glaive (B), Knuckles (I), Grimoire Antidote (Shaman spell, Antidote), Elixir of Queens Lizardman HP 240 / MP 25 Prize: Spear (I), Cuirass (L), Lily Sigil Dragon Special Attacks: none With the Lily Sigil in your possession, return to the Withered Spring and open the grand double doors to advance to the Sanctum. NB If you revisit this room at a later date, don't expect to find more Lizardman. The new inhabitants are rather less savoury: Slime HP 60 / MP 0 Beast Affinity: Earth Special Attacks: Acid Sneeze ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Sanctum ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Defeating the Golem boss on this level will activate a Cloudstone to carry you over the river. Prisoner's Niche Take a weapon to the rightmost push crate: with the space you've made, you can slide its neighbour next to the others and thus make a solid base of three adjacent crates. Now lift the two carry crates onto this base. Step up there with them, standing in the gap that remains, pick up the nearest carry crate and stack it on top of the other. From this three-crate column you can climb over the barricade. Corridor Of the Clerics Skeletons For now, just take the door straight ahead. Priests' Confinement Bats, bats, bats Prize: Eye of Argon (won from the bat in the far left corner) There's a Heal Panel trap on the low table just in front of you as you enter. If you can't find it, you can use the Eye of Argon to reveal it. Look to the right, down this long room, and you'll see a dark passage entrance high in the far wall. Though it may not seem likely, it is possible to jump to it from this room, unaided. There's a heavy piece of furniture under the entrance and slightly to the right. From the top of this tall cabinet, you need to jump slightly left and then up so that you turn in mid-air to face the wall. It may take a few goes, but if you get it right then you'll be able to grab the ledge and clamber up. If you're using the Dual Shock then try facing the wall, jumping and adding a brief left flick while still pushing forward into the wall. The Alchemist's Laboratory Skeleton Knights, Poison Slime Chest (unlocked): 'Bosom Cleaver' (B) Langdebeve, Dragonite gem, Grimoire Halte (Sorcerer spell, Fixate) The chest is located on the far side of the room, and is fairly easy to reach by jumping from bookcase to bookcase. To leave this room, take the exit at ground level so that you unlatch its door for future access. Skeleton Knight HP 160 / MP 30 Undead Special Attack: none These skeletons are drawn from the city guard rather than the ancient burial chambers of the Catacombs, so they're in better shape and their gear is slightly more sophisticated. Poison Slime HP 110 / MP 0 Beast Special Attack: Poison Sneeze Prize: Faerie Chortle You probably won't have much beyond Piercing weapons to burst this creature right now, but in future you should know that it's also weak versus Air and Fire attacks. To counteract its poison, you can either cast an Antidote spell or administer a Faerie Chortle (an item which, predictably enough, can be won from the slaying of Poison Slimes). They're not tough, exactly, but the Poison Sneeze can create a few menu-trawling chores for you... The Academia Corridor Skeletons Theology Classroom Ghost, Skeleton A locking trap room, and another one that offers little beyond the Cure and Vera items you might win as prizes from its denizens. It looks as if there ought to be more to do in here, with all its nooks and crates, but I've found nothing else of value. An observation: locking trap rooms often have a 'normal' set of occupants that differs from the group you must beat to unlock the door. If you re-enter immediately upon leaving, you may find a different set of creatures has instantly respawned. Shrine Of The Martyrs Hellhound, Skeleton Knight Hallowed Hope Poison Slime, Bat Hall Of Sacrilege Boss: Golem HP 240 / MP 15 Evil Affinity: Earth Special Attacks: Granite Punch Prize: Cure Bulb x 2, Elixir of Dragoons, Grimoire Ameliorer (Sorcerer spell, Prostasia) What you could do here is lure him over to the steps on the near right by standing in the corner, then move down a step or two towards him: this will give you a better selection of body locations to target. If that's a bit fancy, just run in and whack his arms and legs with something Blunt until he cracks. Defeating Golem will activate a Cloudstone in Passage Of the Refugees, allowing you to cross the torrent, so head back to the start of Sanctum and take the remaining exit from Corridor of the Clerics. Advent Ground (South Bank) Bat, Lizardman A wide, fast-flowing river blocks the way here. There's no point jumping but if you should fall in then you'll simply restart at the door by which you entered, less 20 HP. Passage of the Refugees Bat, Poison Slime, Lizardman There's a carry crate buried at the centre of those push crates, so just hack away the top one to reach it. You only need one crate to scale the wall. Then jump aboard the Cloudstone and arm yourself in readiness for the Lizardman (you can also try out your Fixate spell here). Advent Ground (North Bank) Magic Circle and Container Might be a good idea to save, here... The Cleansing Chantry Boss: Dragon HP 480 / MP 0 Dragon (...) Special Attacks: Thermal Breath, Tail Attack Prize: Cure Bulb x 3, Elixir of Sages, Grimoire Analyse (Sorcerer spell, Analyze) Despite the flames, this Dragon has no particular affinity to fire or weakness to water. Treat it as a heavy physical opponent. Dragons have weapon-type weaknesses in their heads and in their tails - Piercing and Edged respectively, here -- though it takes a bit of running around with a long-hafted weapon to get so much as a glimpse of tail because the dragon will try to stay facing you. You're unlikely destroy it with one chain, so use single hits or no more than 2- 3 hit combos to keep your RISK down. A very smart trick for annoying dragons is to get in really close, under the neck and head. The dragon can't use its breath attack unless you're beyond a minimum range from its mouth, so stay tight and don't let it back off. It will be forced to resort to a lunging bite attack, which is much less dangerous and has only a physical affinity. Also, try to get down the Impact Guard timing for that Tail Attack: once you suss out that you should press, not on the first sweep over your head, but when it whips back at you, then you'll be able to halve some pretty immense damage. It's a defence ability timing that will benefit you for the rest of the game. Start using the Analyze spell a lot, too - it'll give you more precise information on specific foes than I'm able to provide here. See the Magic section for details on using it. Stairway to the Light Bong! You've made it under the razor corals and deadly whirlpools, slain a dragon and arrived in Lea Monde. Not bad for a morning's work. Now for the City itself. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Town Centre West (north bank) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Crimson Blades have secured this area, so your goal here is to wrest a Crimson Key from Father Duane and his cohorts. This will grant access to the passages running through the City Walls. A Cloudstone spans the river that divides the region, but it will only become operational when you return from the Abandoned Mines B1. When it does, you'll also find that many of the previously empty locations have acquired Crimson Blade patrols. Rue Vermillion Magic Circle The heavy door here leads to City Walls West but is locked with the Crimson Key, so remember to return here when you obtain it. For now, take the north-eastern exit. The Rene Coastroad The reason for coming here first? Well, 'Number 1, Rene Coastroad' happens to be the postal address of the game's second Workshop. There's also a Heal Panel trap on the grassy overhang in the far eastern corner that overlooks both the sea and a tall facing building. This is as useful for instantaneously reducing RISK as it is for improving health after a few lengthy battles. WORKSHOP: The Magic Hammer Magic Circle and Container Tools for Bronze and Iron The Magic Hammer offers a much-needed chance to repair your weapons and perform any necessary metalwork, but it's purely a smithy. Bear in mind that if you upgrade any equipment to Hagane by combining Bronze and Iron, this Workshop will no longer have the tools to rework the material. Rue Mal Fallde You'll get a cut-scene on your first visit, and the resting Blades will force you to find another route. So double back to Rue Vermillion and head south this time. Tircolas Flow Boss: Father Duane, Sarjik and Bejart, Crimson Blades Human Special Attacks: Poison Mist (Duane) Father Duane, Crimson Blade cleric lieutenant HP 250 / MP 100 Prize: 'Magnolia Frau' (S) Wizard Staff, Wizard Robe, Crimson Key, Grimoire Demolir (Warlock spell, Explosion), Grimoire Clef (Sorcerer spell, Unlock) Sarjik, Crimson Blade swordsman HP 180 / MP 70 Prize: Rapier (I), Mana Root x 3 Bejart, Crimson Blade halberdier HP 190 / MP 55 Prize: Guisarme (B), Cure Root x 3 The enemy's tactic here is for Sarjik and Bejart to run in, attack once and retreat. Duane will keep his distance in the rearguard and use spells, attacking with his staff only when you've been poisoned. If you keep using Antidote to null the effect of Poison Mist then he'll just keep casting it, so you could either use this to stop him physically attacking; or else ignore the infection and try to finish him off before the poison has too much effect. When the battle is won, you'll have that Crimson Key for Rue Vermillion. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ City Walls West ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ There's not much to do here right now except follow the passageway to the Abandoned Mines B1. Students of Death The Gabled Hall Zombie Knights This is a locking trap room. Where The Master Fell This Staircase leads down to the Abandoned Mines B1. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Abandoned Mines B1 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Sydney has barred your passage through this mine with the Hyacinth and Fern Sigils, which you'll acquire within the Mine itself from a boss and a chest respectively. That means some fairly thorough investigation of the entire Mine. Dreamer's Entrance Stirge HP 90 / MP 0 Beast Special Attack: Bloodsuck This vampire is a much tougher form of bat, and can be formidable enough in numbers (three, here) to throw you off guard. If your RISK is very high, the damage done by its Bloodsuck rises dramatically. The Crossing Magic Circle A Hellhound often dogs this save point (sorry). Head west first to tackle the treasure room. Miner's Resting Hall Goblins, Mimic Chest (magic lock): 'Stinger' (B) Guisarme plus Sand Face grip, Quad Shield (B), Ring Mail (B), Ring Leggings (B), White Queen gem, Grimoire Visible (Sorcerer spell, Eureka), Cure Bulb x 5 Goblin HP 220 / MP 25 Human Special Attacks: none You may find some interesting bits of kit when attacking these chimp-like troglodytes. Collect it and save it all up for some future business in the Workshop. Mimic HP 120 / MP 0 Beast Special Attack: Numbing Needle This old D&D stalwart gives itself away a bit too soon, perhaps. We all know that you should never trust a room with more than one chest. To open the chest, you'll need to use that Unlock spell. If it doesn't work first time, just keep trying. As your reward, you'll get the Eureka spell and never have to use another Eye of Argon. The Suicide King Goblin, Stirge A simple locking trap room to give you Yggdrasil's Tears from the corpses of the fallen. You'll be needing plenty of them in the Mines. The Battle's Beginning Boss: Wyvern HP 340 / MP 0 Dragon Special Attack: Fire Breath Prize: Hyacinth Sigil, Cure Tonic, Grimoire Ignifuge (Enchanter spell, Pyro Guard) Nobody's had a crack at this one with a pointy stick beforehand, so it's all down to you this time. Unlike ordinary reptiles, this Dragon-class creature is strongest against Piercing weapons and weak against Blunt ones (you may find a spear does more damage against its body when successful). If you can get behind or to the side of it, the tail is susceptible to Edged weapons. In case you're wondering - and I know you weren't - the heraldic definition of the difference between a Wyvern and a Dragon is that the Wyvern stands erect on two legs, while the Dragon walks on four (as in the Welsh national flag). There, that should save you any future embarrassment at dinner parties when you find yourself sitting next to a questing Knight Errant and the discussion moves to the profit margins involved in professional dracicide. What Lies Ahead? Goblin, Goblin Leader HP 260 / MP 60 Human Special Attack: casts Stun Cloud, Degenerate Stun Cloud's effect is Paralysis, which prevents you attacking physically for a short period. That's quite a serious status ailment when you're in a room full of Goblins, all things considered, so assign the Defence Ability 'Ward' to one button and attempt to counter the Stun Cloud. If that fails, use Yggdrasil's Tears or retreat. Also, be sure to check this FAQ's Magic section for a trick to using Ward. When you're a more accomplished mage, this won't matter so much. The Fruits of Friendship If you use this route to reach The Earthquake's Mark, just cross with the Cloudstone and move the top push crate out and to the wall to reach the latched door. Conflict And Accord Goblin, Hellhound The End of the Line Goblin, Stirge Another locking trap room to stock up on Yggdrasil's Tears. It's not so easy to get the timing right for Ward, is it? The Earthquake's Mark Stirge Two of these doors are locked - one on a Latch, the other needing a Hyacinth Sigil -- but the third, to the left, is open. Just be sure to avoid the Eruption trap with Eye of Argon or Eureka. Coal Mine Storage Goblin, Goblin Leader Chest (unlocked): Ring Sleeve (B), Chain Coif (B), Undine Jasper, Fern Sigil Make a cursory check with Eureka before you head to the chest. Right in front of it is a seemingly unavoidable Poison Trap, but on the ledge behind it is another floor pad called 'Trap Clear'. Stepping on this deactivates all traps in the room, and you'll see it crop up again in future (while there's no way of discerning beforehand, Trap Clears are almost always placed where you wouldn't normally go, while dangerous Traps are precisely where they expect you to tread). The Passion Of Lovers Another time challenge grants you just 15 seconds to make it to the Dark Tunnel through the Hall of Hope. Hall of Hope Goblin, Goblin Leader The Dark Tunnel Magic Circle From here, take the east route first for a treasure room cul-de-sac. The north route requires the Silver Key, which you won't find for some time. If you return later in the game, this room will house a Dummy in the form of an Ogre for training against Beast-class opponents. Rust In Peace Goblin Leader, Goblin, Mimic Chest (magic lock): Chain Sleeve (B), Salamander Ring, Manabreaker, Elixir of Sages, Grimoire Undine (Enchanter spell, Frost Fusion) Everwant Passage Goblin, Mimic This exit is sealed off with the Silver Key. Ignore it for now. The Smeltry Boss: Fire Elemental HP 320 / MP 140 Phantom Special Attack: Fireball Prize: Grimoire Flamme (Warlock spell, Flame Sphere), Elixir of Queens, Mana Tonic Equipping the Salamander Ring raises your overall Fire affinity and thus makes you more resistant to fireballs. Decorating your weapon with an Undine Jasper raises its Water affinity, causing more damage to Fire-aligned creatures. Finally, when you're facing your foe and have your weapons drawn, open with Frost Fusion to increase your weapon's Water affinity even further. Changing weapons mid-battle will cancel an Enchanter spell. Clash of Hyaenas Using Fixate when it's closest will ease the task of jumping to the Cloudstone. Then hack away three of the crates before sliding the last one to the wall. Greed Knows No Bounds Goblin Leader, Goblin Live Long And Prosper The door here is locked with the Fern Sigil, which you should have picked up from the chest in Coal Mine Storage. Pray To The Mineral Gods Stirges Traitor's Parting Boss: Ogre HP 540 HP / MP 35 Beast Special Attacks: casts Degenerate Prize: Cure Bulb x 3, Elixir of Kings, Grimoire Rempart (Enchanter spell, Terra Guard) Despite the humanoid appearance, you'll want your best Beast-hunting weapon for the Ogre. Casting Prostasia beforehand is also recommended here. Ogres move in and out of range with enviable speed, but to slow one to Movement 50% you'd have to hamstring both legs (by which time he'd be dead anyway, so it's not as clever a tactic as you might imagine). Instead, go for the head or the arms. On a final note, Ogres are incredibly resistant to combos. If you try to chain more than a couple of attacks, you'll find you just start clocking up misses. Escapeway The stairs lead up, and a well-earned rest is in sight... ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Town Centre West (south bank) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ This place is busier on your return, but the Cloudstone over the river is now functional and making regular ferry trips. Now that you're back, call in at the Magic Hammer and get to work on upgrades and repairs. If you've been having a rough journey so far, you might want to spend some time here and start picking fights with Crimson Blades in order to steal some neat armour and learn a few more abilities and Break Arts. When you're ready to move on, you need to locate the entrance to Undercity West. That's your next destination. Rue Bouquet Magic Circle Tircolas Flow (south side) Crimson Blades Note that your human enemies are not only intelligent enough to cast spells, but will casually use the Cloudstone to reach you. Try to attack them singly and finish them off before picking another target, as many possess cure spells and items. Glacialdra Kirk Ruins You'll find an intriguing gate-barred staircase here marked with the Rood Inverse. Hate to disappoint you, but this simply isn't accessible on your first game. You need to beat Vagrant Story at least once to be able to open it, so don't expect to get a 100% rating straight off. Instead, clamber over some fallen masonry to find a slightly concealed entrance to the south. Then pass straight through Rue Sant D'alsa to Villeport Way. Villeport Way A cut-scene shows you where you need to go, but when it concludes you'll find that the gate is locked and the only other door is latched from the other side. Return to Rue Sant d'Alsa for Dinas Walk to take you inside. Rue Sant d'Alsa On your first visit, you'll pass straight on to Villeport Way. You'll be coming back, soon enough. Crimson Blades Ambushed! But pay attention and you'll see that one of the Blades jumps down from a balcony terrace above you. Use the first-person and distant views to get a look at it. By standing on the raised grassy hillocks to the right, you can get enough height on your jump to climb up onto it. There's a door here that enters a derelict building. Dinas Walk This is little more than a corridor with some broken floor to leap and an exit at the far end that places you on the other side of Rue Sant D'alsa's locked gate. When you emerge, drop down to the post that the Crimson Blade is guarding and dispose of him before opening the inner gate to Undercity West. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Undercity West ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The skyless streets and boulevards of the Undercity offer a refuge from the sun for Lea Monde's walking dead and damned. In game terms, that means you should pack your bags with weapons for despatching Undead, Evil, Phantoms and Beasts. On this first trip your aim is to reach the Snowfly Forest, but later on you will return here with the Iron Key to open up closed avenues, claim the Clematis Sigil and eventually enter the Limestone Quarry. The Bread Peddlar's Way One of the more suspenseful tunes of the game, that. Way of the Mother Lode Zombie Knight, Ghast HP 120 / MP 0 Undead Special Attacks: none The Ghast is familiar Undead fare, but sometimes packs a decent weapon on a fairly strong hitting-arm. Sewer Of Ravenous Rats Skeleton, Zombie Mage HP 135 / MP 80 Undead Special Attacks: casts spells, including Lightning Bolt When he's facing the other way, you can often creep up on a Zombie Mage and stab him in the back before he can utter so much as a magic syllable. This passage joins up to another part of Undercity West, but for now the door is sealed with the Silver Key. Underdark Fishmarket Boss: Giant Crab HP 420 HP / MP 0 Beast Affinity: Water Special Attack: Aqua Bubble Prize: Cure Bulb x 3, Elixir of Queens, Grimoire Sylphe (Enchanter spell, Luft Fusion) Switch that Undine Jasper to your shield, if you're packing one. The Undercity's guardian has a weakness to Fire but it's probably not worth bothering with a level 1 Flame Sphere, as you won't be able to target more than one or two hit locations on such a huge crustacean. It's also weak against Air, and you'll find that Fire, Air and Lightning Break Arts or spells will inflict immense damage. Blunt hammers serve well for crushing its shell armour but if you're using a Piercing attack then you might aim for the mouth. For the record, not one of the crabs in the game seemed to pose any kind of threat. If you're getting stuffed, check that you haven't still got a Salamander Ring attached - this would amplify its Aqua Bubble damage. The Sunless Way Magic Circle Hall of Poverty Zombie Knight, Ghast The Washing-Woman's Way Zombie Knight, Zombie Mage There's a Heal Panel near the door locked with the Silver Key. Remembering Days of Yore Zombie Knight, Ghast, Zombie Mage Come back here when you have the Iron Key: you'll be able to access Larder for a Lean Winter and claim the Clematis Sigil. For now, though, take the steps up to Snowfly Forest. Where The Hunter Climbed These steps will take you to the Snowfly Forest. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Snowfly Forest ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Finding your way through this place is actually quite confusing. Not only is the layout designed to befuddle, but the canopy of trees can also hinder your ability to see pathways and creatures (I'm none too keen on that aspect). Many exits in the Snowfly Forest do not lead to where you expect. Instead, they warp you to a distant area or return to you a place already explored. The effect is deliberately disorientating, but it can be mapped (see below). When Rosencrantz tells you to follow the Snowflies, that's not to be taken literally: there's no clue to be discerned by trying to see which way they fly across the screen. Instead, it refers to the fact that your path through the Forest is blocked by a swarm of Snowflies at the Yellow Wood, and that's where you need to get through to proceed, so you'll have to defeat the local boss first to shift them. This boss will also give a Bronze Key for later use. A neat hidden trick is that if you click on a lone tree with the X action button, Ashley will sometimes be able to tell compass direction by the side of the bark on which the moss grows (you get an option to readjust the direction you're facing). Amusing, but it's better to keep checking your map screen from place to place. ----------------------- Map 1: Forest Path ----------------------- Each room is identified by its central letter. The exits are shown as letters around the 'walls' of the room, and these letters indicate where you will end up if you leave the room through that door or passageway. A - The Faerie Circle N - The Secret Path B - The Hunt Begins O - Hewn From Nature C - Which Way Home P - The Wood Gate D - The Birds and the Bees Q - The Giving Trees E - Traces of the Beast R - The Wounded Boar F - Fluttering Hope S - Golden Egg Way G - Return to the Land T - The Woodcutter's Run H - The Yellow Road U - The Wolves' Choice I - Where Soft Rains Fell V - Howl of the Wolf King J - Forest River W - They Also Feed K - Lamenting to the Moon X - The Hollow Hills L - Running with the Wolves Y - The Spirit Trees M - You Are the Prey Z - The Silent Hedges ^ - Entrance * - Exit +-----------------------------------+ | |~~~~~~| | | |~~~~o~| J | | |~o~~~~| | | |~~~~~~| | +- K ----------------- A ------- I -+ | J | | J | +-- Y --+ -+ +- ------- -----+ | | | | V K U Q Z Y Q Y | | I | | G | -+ +- ------- -+ | | | | boss! | | L | | W | | H | +-- F --+ Snowflies | X | | K | | Y | | I | | S | | G | -+ +- -+ +- -----+ -+ +- -+ +- -+ +- -+ +- Z M L M L X L X | D W H W H E H E F E F S -+ +- ------- -+ | -+ +- -+ +- -+ +- ------- | N | | V | | Q | | S | | D | | M | | X | | W | | H | | E | | | -+ +- -+ +- -+ +- -+ +- | N | Z V K K U T U T D Q D W | | ------- -+ +- ------- -+ +- | O | | S | | C | +-- N --+ | H | | D | | W | | | -+ +- ------- -+ +- -+ +- | O | F S R S R C R C Q C Q Y | boss! | -+ +- ------- -+ +- ------- +-- P --+ | E | | B | +- O -+ | C | | | S | | | P | E+W | B | | | N | | +- * -+ | A | NB: the passage from H to I is blocked by a +- B -+ Snowfly swarm until the boss at G is defeated. | | | A | | | +- ^ -+ The Faerie Circle Magic Circle Your starting point. Go south from here to reach The Hunt Begins A straight path. Keep going south to Which Way Home Basilisk HP 120 HP / MP 0 Beast Special Attack: Acid Breath The Basilisk is smaller and less petrifying than you might have been expecting. Its affinity is Earth, so Air spells and attacks will hurt it more. You can occasionally win valuable Snowfly Draughts from Basilisks but it's the more common Faerie Wings that you want to collect, as these will be vital later on. From here, go south again to The Birds and The Bees Ichthious HP 100 / MP 0 Beast Special Attack: Spiral Shell The Ichthious has an Air affinity, as opposed to the Basilisk, so Earth spells and attacks will hurt it most. The Ichthious sometimes surrenders Snowfly Draughts but it's the Faerie Wing that you should stock up. Go south to Traces of the Beast If you go east from here, you'll enter the Yellow Wood and discover the Snowfly swarm blocking a south exit. So for now, to reach the boss, go west to Fluttering Hope. Fluttering Hope Take a south again from here to enter Return to the Land. Return to the Land Boss: Earth Dragon HP 510 HP / MP 0 Dragon Special Attack: Acid Breath, Tail Attack Prize: Bronze Key, Grimoire Parebrise (Enchanter spell, Aero Guard), Vera Potion This creature's armoured scales make it pretty tough to hit with almost anything, even Air and Lightning assaults, despite its declared Earth affinity. Once again, though, its head is weaker against Piercing weapons while its tail is weaker against Edged blades. Earth Dragon's breath is significantly stronger than the Basilisk's, but it's ultimately your choice whether to play safe with the defence of Terra Guard, or take the offence of Luft Fusion and try to kill it quickly. Cast one of those Enchanter spells, in any case, and use the Terra Ward defence ability to halve damage from Acid Breath. Destroying the Earth Dragon causes the wind to change direction and removes a swarm of Snowflies that were blocking an exit of The Yellow Wood. Both exits from this boss area take you to the same place, so you'll need to retrace that path to the Yellow Wood. Yellow Wood The southern exit is blocked by Snowflies until you defeat the Earth Dragon in Return to the Land. When that's accomplished, head through it to Where Soft Rains Fell Fire Elemental You probably weren't expecting one of these. Head south again, obviously. The Forest River Basilisk, Zombie Knight Magic Circle & Container Chest (unlocked): Knuckle Guard grip, Circle Shield (H), Chain Mail (I), Sylphid Ring, Nightkiller gem, Acolyte's Nostrum x 3, Grimoire Agilite (Sorcerer spell, Invigorate) There are three exits from the Forest River. The one just left of where you've entered is a warp shortcut back to the Faerie Circle. To carry on through the forest, you want to take the exit over the river. Use the Container to dump some of your booty if you're over-encumbered. Don't jump with weapons readied or you won't be able to catch ledges if you slip. Once you've lined yourself up to face the tall columns of rock, rotating with L1 & R1 for a side-on 'platformer' view of the leap you need to make is probably the easiest way to judge it. If the Zombie Knights seem a little bit lost out here in the Forest, just think back a couple of cut-scenes. Hmm, now what fate might have befallen Faemdos and Lamkin, Grissom's Crimson Blade escort? From the exit on the Zombie side, go north Lamenting to the Moon Go north Running with the Wolves Go east You Are the Prey Go north The Secret Path Go north Hewn From Nature Sydney isn't your enemy in this battle, so just concentrate on destroying both Grissom and his summoned guardian. Boss: Father Grissom, Crimson Blade cleric commander, HP 350 HP / MP 100 Human Special Attacks: spellcaster Prize: 'Shillelagh' (H) Wizard Staff, Swan Song accessory, Grimoire Annuler (Sorcerer spell, Magic Ward), Grimoire Gnome (Enchanter spell, Soil Fusion) If you can, sap Grissom's mana points with chains or beat him senseless about the head to shut him up. His spells are good but his physical staff-swipes are very weak. Boss: Dark Crusader HP 380 / MP 80 Evil Special Attacks: Prostasia, Degenerate, Tarnish Prize: 'Angel Wing' (H) Katana, Grimoire Deteriorer (Sorcerer spell, Tarnish), Elixir of Queens The Crusader will cautiously cast Prostasia on itself and Grissom before closing to attack with its huge sword (a two-handed Katana it can wield with one hand). Air affinity magic and Break Arts have some of the best chances of denting this armour in the chest or arm, while a Piercing blow to the abdominal region can be the most damaging but risky physical attack. Partner (!): Sydney Losstarot HP ??? / MP ??? Sydney fights on your side for this battle, and proves reasonably useful by casting Prostasia on you to begin and then dividing the attention of your enemies if you stay near him. You can even dodge behind him physically to use him as a shield against Katana blows, if you wish. It is genuinely possible to defeat Sydney in this battle, albeit briefly, but ultimately rather pointless as he's nigh-immortal. He'll utter a message about it not being his time, then vanish in a blue column, but he'll be right back again in corporeal form for the closing cut-scene. The fight ends only when you defeat both Grissom and his Crusader. Chest (unlocked): 'Corpse Reviver' (I) Firangi, Circle Shield (H), Demonia gem, Vera Tonic x 3, Cure Bulb x 3 Incidentally, you now have the spell Magic Ward - one of the most powerful protection spells in the game. Be sure to test it out as soon as possible, as you'll need to learn its advantages and drawbacks alike. Finally, leave by the north exit (the path near the chest) to enter The Wood Gate Magic Circle The door here takes you back into the City Walls, but at the South side. A small warning: this place looks very similar to the Faerie Circle, but importantly has a heavy wooden doorway rather than a descending flight of steps. Don't be tempted to think you've come full circle and rush back into the Forest, impatiently. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ City Walls South ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ This corridor carries you straight into the Keep if you stick to it, so head there first and Save before exploring. You should also unlatch the doors as you go to increase your freedom of access in future. The Weeping Boy Lizardman Swords For The Land Lizardman, Blood Lizard HP 250 / MP 0 Dragon Special Attacks: none Another time challenge demands that you clear this room completely in the 20 seconds allowed, otherwise you'll have to start again with all enemies restored. In Wait of the Foe The latched door here opens onto Villeport Way. Where Weary Riders Rest Lizardman The Boy's Training Room Just keep heading forward and the corridor will become part of the Keep rather than City Walls. Later in the game, this room will contain a Dummy in the likeness of a Lizardman for training against Dragon-class creatures. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Keep ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Sigil doors here are for time trial bonuses only, and not essential to completion. You may also reach the Iron Maiden B1 from here. Regard the Keep as your base of operations for now. The Soldier's Bedding The south door leads to Iron Maiden B1, and you'll be coming back here shortly to use it. The north door is locked with a Gold Key: like the Rood Inverse gates, you won't be able to open this on first play. Just head east for now. A Storm of Arrows Minotaur (Kalmia Sigil), Dragon (Columbine Sigil) Urge The Boy On Earth Dragon (Anemone Sigil), Snow Dragon (Verbena Sigil) A Taste Of The Spoils Damascus Golem (Schirra Sigil), Damascus Crab (Marigold Sigil) Wiping Blood From Blades Death and Ogre Zombie (Azalea Sigil), Asura (Tigertail Sigil) These eight doors lead to time trial rooms for the game's Record Time scores. It's not essential that you hunt down the Sigils that grant access in order to complete the game, and only two (Minotaur and Dragon) are actually accessible on first play. The challenges themselves don't even have rooms on the map proper, for % completion purposes. Instead you'll be warped to a previously visited boss room for the battle, and automatically returned to the corridor afterwards. See Second Play Secrets for obtaining the other six Sigils. The Warrior's Rest Magic Circle Chest (needs Chest Key): 'Sweet Sorrow' (I) Francisca plus Gendarme, Tower Shield (I) plus Death Queen gem, Sallet (H), Sorcerer's Reagent x 3 You'll need the Chest Key from the Iron Maiden B1 to open the Chest. This area is perfectly safe until you try to open the door to Town Centre South, in the north wall. Knowing that you're near, and hiding, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are ready. Mini-boss: Jan Rosencrantz, ex-Riskbreaker HP 400 / MP 100 Human Special Attacks: Sword Break Arts (Vile Scar, Cherry Ronde) Most special chain effects and magic spells simply won't work on Rosencrantz, so don't bother trying anything too clever. This is a Riskbreaker duel, pure and simple, so pick your best weapon and just let him have it with Break Arts and short, damage-orientated combos. Rosencrantz will only yield and plead for surrender when you inflict enough harm, and he can also cast Heal or use items to undo those wounds. His use of Break Arts doesn't affect the amount of HP damage that you need to score against him before you're declared the winner. Analyze will always miss, but if you use the Status screen to examine Rosencratz then you will at least discover that he packs a sword called Pussyfoot (looks like a Nepalese Kora, by the shape). There's no prize for this battle, and Rosencrantz slinks away quietly at the end. WORKSHOP - Keane's Crafts Tools for Bronze, Iron, Hagane You can now reforge or upgrade your Hagane armour and weapons with the advanced furnaces here. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Iron Maiden B1 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ You can actually get away with visiting no more than the first two rooms of this level, as this is enough to win you the items you'll need to complete the game. The remainder of the Iron Maiden is essentially one big dungeon bash, a bonus area that offers plenty of tough monsters and puzzles to overcome in exchange for treasure: levels B2 and B3 won't even become accessible until you've beaten the game at least once. In any case, you won't be able to reach most of B1 until you've claimed the Tearose Sigil from the Abandoned Mines B2, but consider coming back later. The useful Chest Key is located in the Iron Maiden B1, in the possession of a boss. There are no save points in the Iron Maiden, quite deliberately, so you'll simply have to retrace your steps. Here you'll find the Kalmia and Columbine Sigils for the time trials (the rest are in B2 and B3). The Steel and Platinum Keys are only available on replay. The Cage Steps leading down... The Cauldron This is a locking trap room. You'll need the Tearose Sigil to pass through it, but the only items vital to game completion are right here. Wraith HP 120 / MP 140 Phantom Affinity: Dark Special Attacks: Mind Blast, Poltergeist, Reaper Scythe Prize: Mandrake Sigil, Grimoire Exsorcer (Warlock spell, Exorcism) The Wraith's tactic is to cast Silence on you first, then pile in with its specials (NB these count as physical rather than magical attacks, so they won't cancel your Silent state and Magic Ward won't save you). Like the Ghost, the Wraith has the ability to teleport. Light-affinity Break Arts and spells like Spirit Surge will have an advantageous effect against this Dark spirit, but physical damage is still a good way to deal with Wraiths. Gargoyle HP 120 / MP 0 Evil Affinity: weakest versus Air Special Attacks: Numbing Hook Prize: Spirit Orison x 3, Vera Bulb x 3 When you're Numbed, your walking speed drops by 50% and you lose the use of all battle abilities. Cancel this by administering a Spirit Orison, or avoid it in the first place through timely application of the Ward defence ability. One point about flying creatures: to reduce their movement to 50%, you should target their wings rather than their legs. Also, this high concentration of body locations in a small area can make them prone to multiple-target spells. It's worth packing a crossbow or a two-hand weapon to reach these fliers more easily with your physical attacks. The Wooden Horse This is simple enough when you're going into Maiden - just drop down. When you want to get out then you'll need to return this way, so push the lowest movable rolling cube next to the stuck one so that you can push the upper rolling cube towards the crate. Stand on the cube and pick up the crate, placing it one ledge higher. Use the crate to jump higher. Starvation Another locking trap room. Wraith Prize: Kalmia Sigil, Grimoire Venin (Poison Mist) Mummy Prize: Shamshir (H), Vera Bulb x 3 Mummy Prize: Chamkaq (H), Vera Bulb x 3 The Breast Ripper You've reached a crossroads. To maximise your treasure retrieval, try east, then west, then head south. The Wheel Dark Skeleton, Shadow HP 170 / MP 260 Evil Affinity: Light and Dark Special Attacks: casts single-target elemental attack spells Oddly strong in both Light and Dark affinities but weaker in others, this flimsy psychedelic spirit is physically weak enough to be polished off from a distance with a decent crossbow. The four examples in the game will each stick to casting one of the following, in order: Vulcan Lance, Fireball, Lightning Bolt or Aqua Blast. Chest (magic lock): 'Bull Shot' (H) Griever plus Bhuj Type, Baselard (H), Djinn Amber Gem, Valens wine The Branks Dark Skeleton, Shadow Chest (needs Chest Key): 'Balalaika' (H) Balbriggan, Bec de Corbin (H) blade, Dao Moonstone gem, Volare Wine The Pear To cross to the west side using the Cloudstone, you need to add its momentum to yours in order to propel yourself to the other side. That means making your leap at the very last moment, just before it stops moving. To make the return journey, jumping that same distance to the Cloudstone, you need to gain some height first. Destroy the two crates in the corner to make a space; slide the free push crate right in front of the doorway; then climb into the space of the exit passage itself (being careful not to leave the room altogether) and push the crate out to the very lip of the chasm. A Faerie Wing or Invigorate spell can also help your jumping here. To climb to the upper level, remove the two 1-point rolling cubes from play by pushing them anywhere once, then roll the 3-pointer to the wall and left one tile. Jump up and left to grab the wooden catwalk. It's tricky but possible, and Invigorate can help again. Alternatively, roll the 3-pointer left two tiles only - some players find this jump easier, as it's straighter. The Judas Cradle Dark Skeleton, Shadow Chest (magic lock): 'Sonora' (H) Bastard Sword plus Power Palm, Bullova (H) blade, Ifrit Carnelian gem, Prudens Wine By now, it should be sinking in that practically every room in the Maiden sounds like a really naff death-metal B-side. The Whirligig Dark Skeletons Spanish Tickler Boss: Wyvern Knight, HP 520 / MP 0 Dragon Special Attacks: Flame Breath Prize: Elixir of Dragoons, Elixir of Queens, Chest Key This creature has a remarkably high INT (150), despite the lack of magical power, and the result of this is a greater resistance to spells. Given that the Wyvern Knight has no real elemental weaknesses to exploit either, melee combat is a much better route to take. To that end, you'd be wise to turn Blunt weapons against its head and Edged weapons against the Neck and Body. If you're packing something like a spear, run around to the side of the Wyvern Knight and you'll find a weakness to Piercing weapons in its Tail. Here's the correct location of the Chest Key. I've tried to mark all chests in the game with the correct method of unlocking them so a text search for Chest Key should, in theory, turn up everywhere you need to use it. Heretic's Fork Dark Skeleton Be sure to use Eureka to pick out those Freeze and Gust Traps before your rush your enemy. The Chair of Spikes Dark Skeleton, Wraith Another locking trap room, just for the hell of it. Blooding Dark Skeleton Again, the presence of only one enemy should alert you into casting Eureka. This room has the deadlier Eruption and Death Vapour traps. Bootikens Getting down here is simple enough - keep falling. But how do you get back up? Like this. The highest ledge to which you can climb still leaves you one cube-height short of grabbing the top. So you need to get a blue magnetic cube onto that ledge, to stand on. There's only blue magnetic cube you can pick up to start: stand in the space by the wall, lift the cube from its ledge under the push crate and place it over the blue cube to your left side. Now step up, grab the other blue cube and place it to hover in the space where you stood to move the first cube. By stepping up onto this you can grab the first cube. Carrying it, step down onto the ledge it came from and put it down just below the push crate. Now take the floating blue cube behind you. Putting one cube on the other, you can climb up and grab the hovering cube. Burial Boss: Iron Golem HP 420 / MP 0 Evil Special Attack: Granite Punch Prize: Columbine Sigil, Elixir of Dragoons This incarnation is tougher in body only, and hasn't learnt any new tricks over its stone predecessor. Blunt weapons and Air-aligned attacks will still have the advantage. You shouldn't have too much trouble. Burning Bit of a red herring, that pile of crates. You only need one push crate ever, either to jump up to the door or to jump over to the Cloudstone when it's at the nadir of its cycle. You can even make it to the Cloudstone without a crate at all, although it's advised if your agility is low. Regardless, there's a rather nasty Terra Thrust trap in roughly the spot that you'd cross upon landing safely and dashing for the exit. Cleansing The Soul The Ducking Stool Dark Skeleton, Shadow Chest (unlocked): 'Red Viking' (H) Kora plus Power Palm, Pole Axe (H) blade, Marid Aquamarine, Virtus wine The Garotte Hanging Dark Skeleton, Wraith Not only is this door sealed with a Steel Key, but there's a Platinum Key door just inside so it's pointless venturing any further until you've got that too. In fact, you may find yourself hopelessly trapped. These are available on replay only, I'm afraid. See Second Play Secrets if you're ready to pursue it. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Town Centre South ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ You have a choice of paths to take from here. Now that you have the Bronze Key, you'll find a door in the Rue Morgue that you can unlock to reach the Abandoned Mines B2. This is the general direction to take to proceed to the next stage of the game. However, if you've obtained the Mandrake Sigil from the first rooms of Iron Maiden B1 then you may also begin to explore further accessible regions of Undercity West via City Walls East. You'll have to do both at some point, and as the creatures introduced in the Undercity are much weaker than those of Mines B2, there's an implicit suggestion by the game itself that you should tackle the Undercity a little way first. You only need to explore far enough to grab some key items, including a Cattleya Sigil. Forcas Rise Crimson Blades When you've finished exploring the Valdiman Gate and Rue Aliano to either side, climb the eastern steps of the inner courtyard and clamber up onto this building's low, flat roof. Make a leap across the rooftops to the north-eastern corner. There's a high exit here to Rue Faltes. If your agility is too low to make the jump, cast Invigorate or use a Faerie Wing from the Snowfly Forest. And make sure you're not still holding weapons in Battle Mode, of course. Valdiman Gate Magic Circle A latched doorway here will later offer access to City Walls South. Rue Aliano Crimson Blades The door to The House Khazabas is locked with a Mandrake Sigil, obtainable from the beginning of Iron Maiden B1. The House Khazabas Chest (magic lock): Eye of Argon x 10, Grimoire Muet (Sorcerer spell, Silence) Zebel Walk Like Dinas Walk,, you just have to jump and get through. Rue Volnac One door is latched, but on first visit you can pass through City Walls East to Undercity West. The latched door simply adjoins City Walls East at a different point. Rue Faltes That portcullis isn't opening. Take the archway. Rue Morgue Crimson Blades When ready, use your Bronze Key on the gate and descend to the Abandoned Mines B2. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ City Walls East ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Train and Grow Strong This room boasts another door locked with the Rood Inverse, available on replay only. The Squire's Gathering Zombie Mage, Dark Skeleton HP 150 / MP 25 Undead Special Attacks: none The Invaders Are Found Dark Skeleton Unlatch the door here for that secondary access to Rue Volnac. The Dream Weavers Zombie Mage, Dark Skeleton The Cornered Savage Gargoyle Three gargoyles, no less. The staircase leads down to Undercity West. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Undercity West ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Fear of the Fall Boss: Dark Elemental HP 380 / MP 160 Phantom Special Attacks: Dark Chant Prize: Cattleya Sigil, Grimoire Meteore (Warlock spell, Meteor) Spirit Surge and other Light-affinity attacks or Break Arts will be your best weapons against the Dark Elemental, unless you're confident enough of your physical prowess to stick to bashing away with a Phantom-slaying weapon. Dark- aligned and Piercing attacks will have less effect. Sinner's Corner Magic Circle Dark Skeleton Dark Eye HP 100 / MP 90 Phantom Special Attacks: Dark Chant, spells The Children's Hideout Dark Eye, Gargoyle Chest (unlocked): 'Sweet Death' (S) Shamshir plus Knuckle Guard, Footman's Mace (H) blade, Steel Bolt grip, Spiked Shield plus White Queen gem, Sallet, Undine Bracelet, Speedster gem, Grimoire Dissiper (Sorcerer spell, Dispel) Nameless Dark Oblivion Dark Eye, Dark Skeleton This passage connects this area to the rest of Undercity West, but is sealed with the Silver Key at one end. The Washing-Woman's Way is on the other side. Corner of Prayers One door is sealed with the Gold Key. It leads to Hope Obstructed, which in turn leads to the Abandoned Mines B2. If you haven't been able to get a 100% rating, you may have left this route unexplored. Hope Obstructed This staircase leads downs to Work, Then Die in Abandoned Mines B2. Follow it to the end and you'll enter Bandits' Hollow via the final, unexplored one-way door. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Abandoned Mines B2 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ This is a large and testing level, with more than half of it devoted to a major time challenge. Follow it to the very end, though, and you'll reach Town Centre East. Beating the final boss will also give you a Tearose Sigil that will enable you to explore more of the Iron Maiden at your leisure. Corridor of Shade Enter here from the Rue Morgue, Town Centre South. Revelation Shaft As you enter, push the crate over the edge and use a weapon to destroy the top carry crate. Drop down onto the push crate and pick up the remaining carry crate on the stack. Take it to the chasm's edge and line it up with the high Cloudstone, then place the nearby carry crate on top on top. From this high vantage you should be able to jump across and grab the Cloudstone, but use Invigorate to aid you if in you're having trouble. Gambler's Passage Orc HP 240 / MP 25 Human Special Attacks: none Besides a weakness to Blunt weapons and a strength versus Piercing ones, this demi-human hog-beast is also slightly more susceptible to Water affinity attacks. The Miner's End Boss: Air Elemental HP 380 / MP 160 Phantom Special Attack: Lightning Bolt Prize: Grimoire Foudre (Warlock spell, Thunderburst), Mana Bulb Soil Fusion will enhance your weapon attacks against this creature. If you've acquired anything else, Gnome items on weaponry and Sylph items on armour and accessories will help. If you're suffering too greatly from his Lightning Bolts, try timing the Windbreak defence ability to halve damage. The Treaty Room Magic Circle Poison Slime, Slime Damned slime! Use that Magic Circle, as you're about to undertake a time challenge. Way Of Lost Children Orcs, Orc Leader HP 280 / MP 110 Human Special Attacks: casts Herakles, Prostasia Unlike his minions, the shamanic orc leader possesses great defence against Blunt weapons and is weaker against Edged blades. Here's the time challenge: twenty rooms, numerous dead ends, and just two minutes to find the right path through to the Bandits' Hollow. Don't worry if you get lost or foul up: the worse that can happen is for you to be teleported back to the Treaty Room. It's not a locking door challenge either, so you're free to return to the Treaty Room of your own volition before the two minutes expires, if you wish. I haven't spotted any bonus for doing this perfectly on first attempt, and correspondents have reported same, though I still need to know if there's a time reward. The fastest route through from the Treaty Room is south (to Way of Lost Children), east (to Desire's Passage), east (to Senses Lost), north (to Crossing of Blood), east (to Fool's Gold, Fool's Loss), north (to Tomb of the Reborn), north (to The Lunatic Veins), and finally, unavoidably, east (to Bandits' Hollow). Calling up the Main Menu pauses the timer as well as the game, so you've got a chance to get your compass bearings. If you want simpler directions from rushing through then that's forward through the door of The Treaty Room, left, forward, left, right, left, then keep going to the end. If you choose to explore a little first, there are three treasure rooms where you'll find chests and traps: these are Hidden Resources (requires Chest Key), Acolyte's Burial Vault and Suicidal Desires. One last tip: if you've become reasonably strong, it's often faster to stop and kill the creatures in your path before they get a chance to slow you down with their own attacks. Otherwise, gulp down a Faerie Wing and watch that Riskbreaker move! Hidden Resources Mimic, Imp HP 150 / MP 70 Evil Special Attacks: casts Poison Mist and Stun Cloud These can be quite tough against a crossbow that is Piercing rather than Blunt, but you're in such a small space that a hand-weapon can be as effective. That would mean letting them near enough to cast spells, but the Restoration spell becomes available in this room. Chest (requires Chest Key): 'Eviscerator' (S) Kudi, Tower Shield (I), Breastplate (I), Fusskampf (H), Trinity gem, Saint's Nostrum x 3, Grimoire Mollesse (Shaman spell, Restoration) Desire's Passage Slimes There's a Cure Panel trap just before the door, if you're suffering from any status ailments. Senses Lost Orc Leader, Orc Cast a preparatory Eureka for two Traps before attempting to dash through this dog-leg. Crossing of Blood Orcs Diabolos and Death Vapour traps guard two exits. Very often you'll find this beneficial, as one Orc regularly stumbles into a trap upon spotting you. The Abandoned Catspaw Slimes Hall of Contemplation Orcs, Orc Leader Hall of the Empty Sconce Orc, Orc Leader Acolyte's Burial Vault Mimic, Imps Chest (unlocked): 'Affinity' (H) Corcesca, Framea Pole, Circle Shield (H), Gauntlet (H), Hellraiser gem, Grimoire Vie (Shaman spell, Surging Balm) The Fallen Bricklayer Not a pub I'd recommend, by the sound of it. Cry of the Beast Orcs Staircase down to... The Ore of Legend Orcs, Orc Leader Suicidal Desires Mimic, Imps Chest (unlocked): 'Dog's Nose' (H) Footman's Mace plus Sarissa Grip, Target Bow (I) blade, Barbut (S), Gnome Bracelet, Elixir of Queens, Vera Bulb x 3 Hit that Eye of Argon or Eureka before you take a single step, because this is the second-deadliest trap room in the whole of Vagrant Story. Predictably enough, there's a Trap Clear panel to deactivate the lot, and you'll find that it's the lone tile high to your right. Lambs to the Slaughter Slime, Poison Slime There's a Heal Panel trap on the south wall that's worth bumping into purely for its RISK reduction. A Wager of Noble Gold Orc, Orc Leader Kilroy Was Here Orc Leaders Fool's Gold, Fool's Loss If you approach from the west then you can drop straight down to the left via that wooden catwalk. Those coming from the south will have to wait around for the Cloudstone to ferry them across. Tomb of the Reborn Boss: Earth Elemental HP 380 HP / HP 160 Phantom Special Attack: Vulcan Lance Prize: Grimoire Gaea (Warlock spell, Gaea Strike) Equip the Gnome Bracelet for better defence. If choosing between the Earth armour of Terra Guard and the Air weapon enchantment of Luft Fusion, bear in mind that the latter would probably bring about the end of the battle in a shorter time. Also, this is an opportunity to try out your level 1 Thunderburst spell and also throw in any Air Break Arts you have before chaining a single combo. If you're watching the clock move into the last few seconds then also keep in mind that the time challenge doesn't end with this boss. Oh, no. You still have to negotiate two more doors before it's all over, so be ready to get cracking as soon as you're done turning this chap to sediment. The Lunatic Veins Slimes Almost there... The exit you're about to take is a one-way door rather than a Latch, so you won't be able to return after passing through. If you haven't grabbed all of the treasure, now's the time to consider letting yourself be teleported back the Treaty Room for another exploratory foray. Bandits' Hollow Magic Circle Blood Lizard, Imps Cast Eureka to see both a Trap Clear (which is the panel beside the lower rolling cube) and a Heal Panel. You must avoid stepping on the Trap Clear if you want to use the Heal Panel. If the thing is still there when you try to climb up, you may need to shoot out or spear the push crate that's wedged into a corner of the top ledge. Destroying it makes a lower wall edge that's one cube closer for you to grab when you jump. Often, as with the Wolves back in Wine Cellar, the Imps will attack and destroy it beforehand if they consider it to be in their way. Also on this tile, under the crate, is the Heal Panel - assuming you haven't removed it with Trap Clear. The second one-way door won't be opened on your first play, and there's also an Iron Key door that's inaccessible right now. That leaves only one wooden door you can take, but save, save, save first. Dining in Darkness Boss: Sky Dragon HP 675 / MP 0 Dragon-class Special Attacks: Tail Attack, Thunder Breath Remove that Gnome Bracelet! You want the Sylphid Ring instead. You may have acquired a Gaea Strike in the past few minutes, but the area of effect is too pitiful at level 1 to reach many hit locations. So equip a Piercing weapon for the head or an Edged weapon for its tail, decorate your grip with Dragonite and cast Soil Fusion to get the job done quickly. Windbreak its breath attack if you can and keep your RISK low or you may be surprised by the power of this boss. Mind you, doesn't it have the loveliest translucent wings? Ahem. Prize: Tearose Sigil, Grimoire Demance (Warlock spell, Drain Mind), Elixir of Queens While the Tearose Sigil will let you have a crack at the goodies held in the Iron Maiden (recommended), the Drain Mind spell starts you on the road to self- sufficiency and should be tried out as soon as you find yourself short of mana. Subtellurian Horrors There's a bit of work to do before you're free. Jump to the Cloudstone, using Fixate to aid you if necessary. The other side of the abyss is blocked by a wall of crates, but the rightmost stack is only two cubes high rather than three and leaves a vital gap. You can reach that gap by jumping and grabbing when the Cloudstone is lined up against the right-hand wall. If your agility is low then use Invigorate or Faerie Wings to aid you. If you happen to have a crossbow on you then you can make the second jump even easier by shooting out some of the crates beforehand. Ignore the frictionless cube here, as it's only useful when you're coming back from the other side and want to get back up to the door. To return to the surface, you'll take a very short detour through two new rooms of Undercity West. ** NB Additional Room for 100% Completion Work, then Die This staircase isn't accessible on your first play, as it's on the opposite side of the other one-way door that leads into Bandits' Hollow. To get to it, you need to come down from Hope Obstructed in Undercity West (requires the Gold Key). Follow it to the end and you'll enter Bandits' Hollow via the final, unexplored one-way door. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Undercity West ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Crumbling Market Magic Circle Dullahan Unlatch the door in the Crumbling Market as you pass through (it leads to the Hall of Poverty), but don't take it yet - head east instead. And if you fancy a laugh, try Eureka too. You won't be going *there* on first play, oh no. Tears From Empty Sockets Dark Skeleton ... The title might lead us to believe that this is one unhappy Lea Mondean, but don't fall for it. He'll still have your guts on the cobbles as soon as look at you, so be the cause of those tears and head on up to the fresh air of Town Centre East with a light conscience. The only other exit is a Gold Key door that you'll ignore for now. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Town Centre East ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ If you have the Cattleya Sigil then this will likely become your new base of operations for the rest of the game. Your next port of call is Undercity East, where you'll retrieve items and powers to open up more of the map. For now, explore both the Town Centre East and the City Walls North to get the lay of the land. Rue Lejour Magic Circle There's a side door here to the City Walls North. The more obvious path leads to Town. Kesch Bridge Magic Circle Crimson Blades The other end of City Walls North can be reached through the wooden door here (some spatial dilation/contraction, surely?). You're now entering a region with the toughest Crimson Blades in the game, but that's also a euphemism for 'Crimson Blades with the most desirable kit'. I spent hours robbing and looting these fellows, and I think it paid off on the whole. Point o' fun: if you can kill a Crimson Blade in mid-air while he's jumping over the water, he'll fall with a resounding splash. Hurrah! Rue Crimnade Crimson Blades Previously you met a defensive-type Crimson Blade magic-user: this area and the next contains offensive-types. Don't get carried away on the old RISK. A regular trick with these areas is that each Crimson Blade is weak to a different weapon. If you enter an area with three Blades then regardless of what you're packing - Blunt, Edged or Piercing - you'll find that one takes lots of regular damage, one takes half that damage and one takes almost nothing at all. Getting rid of the easiest first and leaving the toughest till last for a one- on-one means that you don't have to worry so much about escalating RISK. WORKSHOP Junction Point Tools for Wood, Leather, Bronze, Iron, Hagane This workshop is sealed with the Cattleya Sigil, won from the Dark Elemental in Fear of the Fall. Read back over Town Centre South if you haven't got it yet. Rue Fisserano Crimson Blade (magic-user) Look up: the street continues, but above head height. There's another useful workshop here too. A Heal Panel on the upper level will help you recover from unexpected Fireball / Aqua Blast damage. Some fun you can have here is that the Crimson Blade jumps down to the lower level to attack. Usually you can hit him as he's falling through the air, but grab the ledge and pull yourself up just as he's launched himself off. He can't get back up (although he can cast spells if you're in line of sight) and you can run on through. WORKSHOP Metal Works Tools for Silver, Damascus Finally, an opportunity to combine and upgrade your Silver weapons. Even if you can't enter Junction Point, you can still repair all of your equipment here. Shasras Hill Park Crimson Blades Follow the path to the end and you'll find a small outhouse with a gate and staircase leading down. You can use your Bronze Key here to unlock it for Undercity East. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Undercity East ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Your foray into the eastern Undercity has the overall goal of acquiring the Iron Key, not to mention the Stock, Eulalia and Melissa Sigils that will open up areas here and elsewhere. Hall To A New World Quicksilver HP 120 HP / MP 70 Evil Special Attack: casts Silence See, you don't need to be tough to be impressive: 'disturbing' is a far more threatening characteristic. Though by far the most dangerous thing about these creepy girl-doll puppets is that they work in tandem with other creatures, rushing in with Silence spells just as you're about to protect yourself. Magic Ward is well worth the mana cost in areas like this. They might be nimble, but a competently anti-Evil crossbow delivering a bolt to the Quicksilver's Piercing-sensitive head can tangle their strings long before they enter spell-casting range. Place of Free Words Mini-boss: Harpy HP 210 / MP 160 Beast Affinity: Dark Special Attacks: Blasphemous Howl, Banish, Devitalise Prize: Grimoire Intensite (Enchanter spell, Herakles), Angelic Paean x 5, Cure Tonic Now, that's the kind of superb reinterpretation of a Western mythical cliche that only the Japanese have the correct measure of understanding and distance to pull off... The Undercity's two-faced Emu of Doom is actually quite docile and lethargic, and it's possible to run through a room of them without disturbing them. Ruffle their feathers, though, and you'll quickly invite a Howl that places a Curse on you. The Curse reduces all of your attributes on an indefinite basis, and the only way to undo it is to cast Blessing - a Shamanic spell only found towards the end of the game - or to use an Angelic Paean. Appropriately, Angelic Paeans can be won by killing more Harpies. The Encyclopedia isn't kidding about that "spell of death", either. Although it uses it with thankful rarity, the Harpy also possesses Banish, an instant death spell of Dark affinity. If either your RISK or your Light affinity is high then it's almost guaranteed to work, too - phut! Game over. There may also be a rule that the Harpy only uses its Banish as a last resort - if you let it get an attack in when it's almost dead - but I've yet to establish this. Leave them or finish them in one is still a good rule to observe. Upon winning Herakles, you have a STR-booster spell that will not just cancel Degenerate but actually reverse it. Bazaar of the Bizarre Boss: Lich HP 130 / MP 110 Evil Special Attacks: accomplished magic-user Prize: Summoner Baton (I), Agales' Chain accessory, Eulelia Sigil, Mana Tonic, Elixir of Mages Prize ability: Teleport Liches traditionally open with Silence and then bring out the heavy guns of multiple-target magic. They also possess immunity to many spells. Furthermore, they can teleport (see the Ghost entry for dealing with that). All of this puts them among the deadliest opponents in Vagrant Story, and if you regularly let your RISK run high then you'll fall to one of these sorcerers more often than not. Their only elemental weakness is Physical, so Talos Feldspar and Titan Malachite gems will improve your weapon damage. As the armour on the arms and head tends to be simple INT-raising wizard gear, target your weapons here. If you can maintain a Magic Ward while wielding a weapon with range enough to catch them before they disappear, you stand a better chance of killing them first. When the Lich is defeated, he'll pass on his secret of Teleportation. In game terms, this lets you warp between Magic Circles and so cut out too much trekking back and forth. Access this new ability through the Magic sub-screen of the main menu. If your mana point maximum is still relatively low, you may have to make several jumps to reach your destination. Noble Gold and Silk Quicksilvers An Iron Key is required to open the eastern door, so you'd best go and get it... Weapons Not Allowed Lich, Quicksilvers Chest (unlocked): 'Mojito' (B) Falchion, Stone Bullet grip, Titan's Ring accessory, Grimoire Nuageux (Sorcerer spell, Psychodrain), Iron Key Now that you have the Iron Key, many previously inaccessible areas will open up. You'll need to revisit Undercity West for the Clematis Sigil, but there's also treasure to be had if you warp to Bandits' Hollow. A Knight Sells His Sword Harpy, Quicksilver Using your new Iron Key, you can reach the City Walls North from this room's north exit. You'll pass through Traces of Invasion Past before reaching From Squire To Knight. Finish exploring the available rooms of Undercity East first, though, as you need the Melissa Sigil from here. Gemsword Blackmarket Boss: Nightstalker HP 260 / MP 110 Evil-class Special Attacks: Solid Shock, Sorcery spells Prize: Melissa Sigil, Grimoire Eclairer (Sorcerer spell, Enlighten), Angelic Paean This is an overgrown Dullahan, by any account, but one with sufficiently good armour to prevent it being a total pushover. It also has a very deadly special in the Solid Shock spell (Magic Ward will nullify it - once, but it has Physical affinity so it can be Guarded too). Keep using Herakles and Prostasia to counter its spells and you may keep it so busy with magic that it neglects its sword attack. If you can cast Degenerate and Tarnish on it, then your chance of landing more hurtful blows in the chest or abdomen will greatly increase. However, Nightstalker has a supply of Snowfly Draughts to dispel magical effects even when Silenced. The Pirate's Son Harpy, Quicksilver Eureka will reveal a simple Gust trap. Sale Of The Sword Lich, Quicksilver Chest (unlocked): Ahlspies grip, Pushpaka accessory, Grimoire Tardif (Sorcerer spell, Leadbones), Stock Sigil The Stock Sigil is for a treasure bonus. When you get a free moment to investigate, teleport to the Blackmarket of Wines in Wine Cellar and re-enter the Minotaur's arena. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ City Walls North ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ When you're done in the Undercity East (i.e. you have at least the Iron Key, the Melissa & Eulalia Sigils), take the Iron Key exit from a Knight Sells His Sword and follow City Walls North right to the end to get back to town. This way you'll come across the door locked with Clematis Sigil, which is what you need to find next. Rest up in town, repair your weapons and get ready to go look for it. This is also a great place to hone your Dragon-slaying weapon, as just popping between town and city walls respawns the enemies in each area. Traces of Invasion Past This staircase is locked with the Iron Key and connects City Walls North with Undercity East. From Squire to Knight Blood Lizards If you come straight here from Rue Lejour, you'll find one exit leading to Traces of Invasion Past (locked with the Iron Key) and another heading north. Be For Battle Prepared Blood Lizards Destruction and Rebirth Dark Elemental This time challenge asks you to beat the guardian in 20 seconds or try again. There's no special prize. From Boy To Hero Blood Lizards For now, the wooden door leads out onto the steps of Kesch Bridge, Town Centre East. The end door is locked with the Clematis Sigil on your first visit, but you'll be coming back here soon enough to reach a different part of Undercity East that can't be accessed from the Shasras Hill Park ingress. Later in the game, this room will house a Dummy in the shape of a Ghost for training against Phantom-class foes. Given the relative rarity of Phantoms, it's one of the more useful dummies. A Welcome Invasion Dark Elemental By using the Clematis Sigil to open the door in From Boy To Hero, this last staircase of City Walls North grants access to a new part of Undercity East. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ USING THE IRON KEY ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ You now have the Iron Key, plus Teleportation ability. You can take advantage of both to acquire the next item you'll need, plus some bonus treasure. Finding the Clematis Sigil Teleport to The Sunless Way in Undercity West and head west to Remembering Days of Yore. There you'll find a door that opens with the Iron Key. Larder for a Lean Winter Lich, Dark Skeletons Chest (unlocked): 'Balin's Revenge' (H) Tabar plus Heavy Grip, Vambrace (H), Elixir of Sages, Alchemist's Reagent x 5, Clematis Sigil Bonus Treasure Teleport to the Bandits' Hollow in Abandoned Mines B2 and take the Iron Key door right next to the Magic Circle. Delusions of Happiness Blood Lizards Chest (unlocked): 'Pirate's Mate' (H) Sabre Halberd plus Sarissa Grip, Kris (D) blade, Heater Shield (I) plus Orion gem, Swan Song accessory, Vera Potion x 3, Grimoire Salamandre (Enchanter spell, Spark Fusion). ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Undercity East from City Walls North) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Greengrocer's Stair An innocuous staircase at the moment, but we'll come back to this... Where Black Waters Ran Lich, Quicksilvers Arms Against Invaders Harpy Catspaw Blackmarket Lich, Quicksilvers Use Eureka to uncover traps. There's one placed directly in front of the chest, but a Trap Clear tile on the right can be activated to remove it. Chest (unlocked): Round Shield (H) plus Dark Queen gem, Grimoire Paralysis (Sorcerer spell, Stun Cloud), Aster Sigil You'll find that the Aster Sigil opens up a door in Undercity West. More on that after this intermission... The Greengrocer's Stair revisited When you next enter this room in order to leave this cul-de-sac of Undercity East, you're immediately confronted by two of Guildernstern's top-ranking commanders. Father Grissom's corpse is also present, and they (not unfairly) blame you for his death. The fight itself actually takes place in the previous room, Where Black Waters Ran... Lady Neesa & Sir Tieger HP: unknown / MP unknown (800 HP total) Human Affinity: Fire (Neesa wears a Salamander Ring), Water (Tieger wears an Undine Bracelet). Special Attacks: Break Arts, recovery spells This is a little bit unusual, as the overall aim seems to be to inflict an undisclosed total of damage rather than taking out one, or the other, or both. Neither can be defeated outright, and both will submit when just one falls. 800 HPs seems to be the ballpark figure for how much damage you need to inflict. A prior Magic Ward is advised, as both have decent spells (initial attacks can be healed with your now-plentiful items). Because of their accomplished fighting skills, a few Break Arts of your own will invite less danger than a chain that takes your RISK over 25. Start with Break Arts and spells first. If you can then succeed with chains that sap mana points or cause Silence, you may attempt to tackle them physically. Paralysing effects are also potentially successful against these warriors if you prefer to use magic. Even a missed Analyse tells you enough to know that they have slight elemental affinities, so use that to your advantage. There's no real victory here, as both will beat a hasty retreat on yielding and victory carries no prize beyond escaping this section. When you attempt to leave by the Greengrocer's Stair one more time, you'll be greeted by a final cut-scene before being allowed to continue. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Undercity West ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Now that you have both the Iron Key and the Aster Sigil, you're ready to embark on a trek through the Limestone Quarry. This journey will take you all the way to the ancient Temple of Kiltia. To begin, you should return to The Sunless Way again (you can teleport straight to its Magic Circle, for ease of travel). There you'll find a door locked with the Iron Key. Proceed to the Limestone Quarry. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Limestone Quarry ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ This isn't a straightforward journey, as this subterrain has a couple of alternative paths, but follow it to the end and you'll reach the Temple of Kiltia. Dark Abhors Light A simple staircase. Dream Of The Holy Land Boss: Water Elemental 380 HP / 160 MP Phantom Special Attacks: Aqua Blast Prize: Grimoire Avalanche (Warlock spell, Avalanche), Elixir of Sages, Acolyte's Nostrum Equip the Undine Bracelet and place Undine Jaspers on your shield. Decorate your Phantom weapon with Salamander Rubies, and cast Spark Fusion if you have it. Aqua Blast attacks are single-target spells, so even at high RISK you should be able to halve the damage with an Aqua Ward defence ability. If you take your time positioning the area of effect grid, even a level 1 Flame Sphere can be placed so as to encompass many hit locations on a Water Elemental's body. You've done the Elemental thing many times by now, so this battle shouldn't even require pause for thought. It's possible to take on the Water Elemental as soon as you acquire the Iron Key, of course, but the door behind the Water Elemental is sealed with the Aster Sigil. If you haven't got it yet, you should obtain it from Undercity East as accessed from the City Walls North. The Ore Road Magic Circle Here you get a choice of east and west routes. Both lead the same way, meeting at the Dreamer's Climb, but you'll want to see both if you're looking for percentage completion on a replay. The east route also boasts a treasure room. Atone for Eternity (west route) Gremlin HP 190 / MP 90 Evil Special Attacks: casts Silence, Herakles, Prostasia If you were hoping to get by with just a crossbow against Evil creatures, this Hieronymus-Bosch-inspired demon will show up your folly. It's pretty tough against everything of magical origin, even Light, so strong physical attacks are often your best chance of knocking them out of the air. Some of these flying fiends are packing Damascus armaments, so it's not even safe to assume you're now hard enough to withstand repeated attacks. Regard this as a chance to build up a good one- or two-handed melee weapon against the powers of utter Evil. By the way, cast Eureka to reveal a trap here too. No point embarrassing yourself as well by looking like a complete novice. Stair To Sanctuary Wraith The Fallen Hall Ogres The first time you enter here, this locking trap room will present a time challenge with two Ogres to defeat. On the second visit you'll meet two Dullahans. The Rotten Core Gremlins This room feeds into the Dreamer's Climb, the meeting point of both routes. The Air Stirs (east route) Gremlins Head east again for the treasure room. Bonds of Friendship Air Elemental Chest (unlocked): 'Matador' (H) Shiavona plus Counter Guard, Cranequin (H) blade, Side Ring grip, Brigandine (H), Rondanche (H), Lionhead accessory, Snowfly Draught x 5, Grimoire Benir (Shaman spell, Blessing) Bacchus is Cheap Wraith Screams of the Wounded The first time you enter here, this locking trap room will present a time challenge with two Dullahans to defeat. On the second visit you'll meet two Ogres. The Ore-Bearers Gremlin Again, the suspicious presence of just one Gremlin should have you sticking to the spot until you've cast Eureka. The Dreamer's Climb There's a Heal Panel trap under the cubes in the north-east corner of the floating island. In a reversal of this room's normal format, you'll be coming from the lower levels in order to reach the high exit. The idea is to jump to the central island and stack one blue magnetic cube on another, thus creating a hovering edifice of three cubes in height. From the top, you can reach the wooden catwalk. If you find yourself coming from the side with the long jump, it's possible to make the leap to the island by moving the available crate two tiles nearer for a diagonal jump. Faerie Wings and Invigorate will help as usual. Sinner's Sustenance Wraith The Timely Dew of Sleep Gremlins There's a Gold Key door here that, yet again, you'll have to ignore on first play. The Auction Room Magic Circle A most welcome save point. The Labourer's Bonfire You need the Melissa Sigil to leave this room by its high exit. You should have picked that up from Gemsword Blackmarket in Undercity East. The obstacle course itself requires another leap to a central island. If you're coming from the side of magnetic cubes then stack them for a jumping point to the island. There's a Paralysis trap next to the cubes, but should you be stung then the effect will probably have worn off by the time you leave. Use a weapon to destroy just enough of the island's crate stack to allow you to jump up. If you're already on the island then you'll need a spear or crossbow to pick them off, aiming high. If you then climb up onto the stack to find yourself short, the obvious trick is to enter and leave through the nearby door of Stone and Sulphurous Fire to restore the crates (you'll definitely want to enter it once on your way through Labourer's Bonfire anyway, as it's a treasure room). Stone and Sulphurous Fire Earth Elemental Chest (unlocked): 'White Lady' (H) Morning Star plus Runkasyle, Balbriggan (H) blade, Power Palm grip, Talos Feldspar gem, Acolyte's Nostrum x 3, Grimoire Egout (Warlock spell, Drain Heart) If you haven't tried a Thunderburst spell yet, now's your chance. Torture Without End Boss: Ogre Lord HP 560 / MP 110 Beast Special Attacks: Tornado, also casts Degenerate, Surging Balm Prize: Shiavona (I) plus Power Palm, Braveheart gem, Morlock Jet gem, Agales' Chain, Elixir of Queens, Mana Tonic x 3, Cure Potion The Tornado is pretty rare, and mostly he's content to cast Degenerate and run away. Counter it with Herakles. If he tries to use Surging Balm then casting *any* spell on him will negate it (If you haven't got Drain Mind then Antidote, of all things, is cheapest on MP, but feel free to try more ambitious spells). His sword does pack a punch, but if you keep him busy enough by undoing his magic then you can effectively waste his time while getting in Break Arts of your own. Like all Ogres, he's not only a left-hander but he also possesses a natural combo-breaking ability: if you persist with a chain, you'll often score nothing but misses. Way Down Magic Circle Take the east door before heading south. Excavated Hollow Water Elemental Chest (unlocked): 'Angel Face' (H) Balbriggan plus Heavy Grip, Elephant grip, Casserole Shield (H), Beaded Anklet, Missaglia (I), Grimoire Flamme (Warlock Spell, Flame Sphere) Must be a promotion on Balbriggans this week.... Otherwise, this represents a major treasure stash. Beaded Anklet is one of the finest stat-booster accessories you can equip on first play; the Elephant grip is the best Edged haft for Axes; and using the Grimoire Flamme item will take your Flame Sphere up by one level, increasing its damage, range and area of effect. Parting Regrets Wraith I recently discovered that if you run down one of these staircases with the right timing, the Wraith is so busy teleporting to the wrong spot that you can get all the way through without being touched. Nyar, nyar! Corridor of Tales Gremlin, Ogre Despite the name, there aren't many interesting anecdotes about this place at all. Dust Shall Eat The Days The idea here is to use the Cloudstone's forward momentum to help you jump to the other side. The problem you'll encounter is that the other side is hedged in by two stacks of crates, so you've also got to aim for the narrow gap between the two (a Dual Shock can help you here). Check the Cloudstone's path from all sides and you'll see how it moves down- forward and up-back, as well as left-right. You've got to use this down-forward part of the motion to jump from. If you try to jump from the Cloudstone while it's moving left-right, you'll be thrown sideways yourself when you leap. Also, if you're packing a Crossbow (you'll need the range of a Windlass or higher) then you can pick off the crates as you slide back and forth and clear a space on the other side. This will make your final jump much easier. If you're coming back the other way, get rid of the top cube and roll the lower one two tiles towards the wall. It's just possible to jump and grab the edge. Hall of the Wage Paying Boss: Snow Dragon HP 720 / MP 0 Dragon Special Attacks: Tail Attack, Frost Breath Prize: Grimoire Barrer (Enchanter spell, Aqua Guard), Panacea, Elixir of Queens Trying to catch you out, the Snow Dragon has a Piercing weakness in the Tail and an Edged weakness in the head. That doesn't make too much difference at this stage, though. It's still too huge for a level 2 Flame Sphere to frighten it, so stick to Fire-affinity weapons and Break Arts with as much Water-aligned defence as you can muster. If you've a grip that you can plaster in Dragonite then you might even stand a better chance on pure physical terms. Tunnel of the Heartless This isn't immediately obvious, so have good look around first. But prepare to be disappointed. There's a high exit door in the far wall, and a tall pier of rock extending from the front of that exit, that you need to jump to. Except that, ordinarily, you can't. It's too steep to reach from below, and if you try to leap across you'll discover a cube-shaped gap that just stops you getting the height you need. But if the gap were filled, you'd have sufficient height to make it across. So what you need to do is move the push crate all the way around to fill that gap. As you enter, slide the lower frictionless cube forward to the central wall. Climb up and push the higher frictionless cube on top of it to make a stack. Now walk to the other crates and push the leftmost rolling cube to the right, off the top of push crate, so that it fills the gap below the second rolling cube. Push that second rolling cube twice so that it rolls onto the first one and then onto the floor. You can now edge the push crate out and then onto the central wall with spaces around it that allow you to push it right, along the edge of the wall. When it gets to being lined up with the blue frictionless cubes, you can stand on them to push it inwards. From there it's just a matter of getting the push crate into the gap. Alternatively - and this is the killer - just eat a Faerie Wing and jump from where the push crate should go. It works, and I got my finest ever rating of Little Green Man (7 seconds) by solving it in this cheapster fashion. Tcha! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Temple Of Kiltia ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ There's plenty of plot going down here, but your tangible goal is to prise the Silver Key from the Minotaur Lord and then use it to reach the final boss of the Temple. You'll eventually surface at the doors of the Great Cathedral, where the final chapter of Vagrant Story takes place. The Dark Coast A tile-wide ledge running along the left side of the room is your only means of crossing the chasm: jump from the very edge of the floor before it dips a tile and you can just make it up onto the narrow platform. If you cast Eureka then you'll see the Trap Clear panel next to the wall that's very easy to drop onto, but avoid it if you can. It actually removes a Heal Panel on the other of the chasm. Hall Of Prayer Mini-boss: Last Crusader HP 480 / MP 240 Evil Special Attacks: Sorcery spells Prize: Agria's Balm accessory, Grimoire Purifier (Shaman spell, Clearance), Alchemist's Reagent x 3 This final incarnation of the Dullahan wields a huge Damascus Rhomphaia in one hand, so you have to keep your RISK down - with Vera items if necessary - or a single blow will gouge away half your health or more. If you're hoping to Reflect Damage or use Impact Guard, note that he's got two different attacks; a slow swing and a faster thrust. Despite his spellcasting ability, this isn't the most intelligent suit of armour in the world. That means your own Sorcery spells will stand a good chance of affecting it. One clever technique you might try is to cast Degenerate and / or Tarnish on the Crusader, then Silence him before he can undo them (he doesn't have Magic Cancel items). This buys you time and keeps his damage low. He'll necessarily get physical with you, but if you Herakles and Prostasia yourself then you'll have a much better chance of scoring damage against him. Or you can just keep using Sorcery spells on him and let him waste his efforts on undoing them while you're hitting him. Most chains will fail after a couple of hits, so it isn't always easy to hurt him if you're packing the wrong weapon: this particular enemy is weakest against Edged blades, though I also recommend a Piercing Gale Break Art if you're packing a sword. If you pass through this room on later occasions, you'll be faced with a Water Elemental and a Nightstalker instead. If you haven't got the Silver Key yet, take the right-hand door. Those Who Drink The Dark To jump over the chasm, use the high column. If you're coming back from the other way, push a crate to the edge for the same effect. There's a Silver Key side-door here, but ignore it for now: it actually leaves the temple and enters Ants Prepare For Winter in the Limestone Quarry. So, the side door isn't an option. The only way to get up that high wall at the north end is to move that highest push crate straight towards it and use the extra height to jump up. One problem: when you make the first push, it drops straight down and you can't get behind it to push it any nearer. To solve this, you need to make a small side-platform at floor level out of two adjoining crates. Push the topmost of the stack of two to the west by one tile, so that it fills the hole in front of the two crates wedged next to the west wall. Now destroy the innermost (northern) of those wedged crates so that you can push the remaining one out (south) over the filled gap. If you keep pushing (south) by 5 tiles, you'll find enough space by the chasm at the entrance to get around it and move it (east) two tiles into the centre of the corridor, with a space on each side. Now smash the crate that you used to fill the gap and move the remaining floor crate to the east by one tile. You'll see that this crate left on the floor has enough space on each side to move it in and out (east and west) of where it is. This slider movement will be instrumental. See, if you then push one of the other crates onto this slider, and then again (north) onto the floor, you can move the slider sideways to make a space behind the one that's just hit the floor. This enables you to push the floored crate towards the high wall (north). So, using the slider, move those two remaining southern crates (north) onto the floor and towards the high wall, one at a time. That means moving the nearest one east by one tile and then north by eight tiles (pausing to move the slider west by one tile to give you that space). Now restore the slider (east one tile) and move the second crate north by nine tiles. You've still got that highest crate in place, but you've now made a two-tile ledge at floor level. More precisely, when you've pushed the high crate north by one tile towards the high wall, and it's dropped down, you then want to be able to push it out east one tile, onto a wooden crate on the floor, then north one tile by sliding it onto the other crate; then back in to the west one tile, onto the raised stone, so that there's a single gap behind it that will let you push it all the way to the wall. There. Simple. You'll be wanting diagrams, I suppose. The Chapel of Meschaunce Mini-boss: Minotaur Lord HP 540 / MP 0 Beast Special Attacks: Giga Rush Intimidating as he looks, this particular Minotaur is rather more than 50% bull. Go in ready for a straight physical fight, no tricks, and the whole thing should be over in seconds. His attacks are unexpectedly weak and he doesn't have too much in the way of armour if your Beast weapon is Edged. You may even find you now have a Break Art that knocks whole slices of steak off him, finishing the job without need for a normal attack. Prize: Titan's Ring, Elixir of Queens, Alchemist's Reagent x 3 Chest (unlocked): 'Frost Maiden' (H) Mjolnir plus Runkasyle, Sonic Bullet grip, Ghost Hound accessory, Cure Potion x 2, Mana Potion x 2, Silver Key Just like the Iron Key, the Silver Key opens up a few bonus treasures to hunt down in a moment of diversion. For now, head back to the Hall of Prayer and take that opposite door. The Resentful Ones There are two puzzles here, and it's quite a trek to reset the room if you foul up on the second. Puzzle 1: the rolling cubes here have only a limited number of moves, and the idea is to use them as stoppers for the frictionless cube so that you can slide it into position. The idea here is to get the frictionless cube right next to the push crates, just between stack and high wall, so that you can push the top crate onto the frictionless cube, one tile closer to the high wall. To do this, start with the rolling cube that's furthest from the blue cube and push it north two tiles, then west one tile. Now push the other rolling cube north one tile, east one tile, south one tile. With this set-up, just three pushes on the frictionless cube to east, north and east again will set it up ready to take a push crate on top. For the second stage, move the rolling cube to act as a stopper for both frictionless cubes so that they line up with the crate stack. Close up the gap between the two blue cubes. Then push the top crate over the two sliders. From this nearer two-cube stack, you can jump diagonally for the exit platform. To do this, push the rolling cube north one tile and then west three tiles. Slide the first of the blue cubes west so that it stops next to the push crates. Now push the rolling cube north two tiles and repeat with other blue cube. Close the gap by push the northern blue cube south and then move the top push crate north by two tiles. (Time-puzzlers will realise that you can use the rolling cube itself to fill in for the second frictionless cube, by pushing it north and east instead after the first frictionless cube is in place). Those Who Fear The Light Air Elemental, Gremlins Chamber Of Reason A superb cut-scene is followed by... Kali HP 500 / MP 500 Human Special Attacks: Raven Eye (poison), Caesar's Thrust (paralysis) By spreading individual weaknesses across her body - and only slight ones, at that - Kali is tough against magic, and almost impossible to hurt with a multiple-target spell. However, this also means that there will be body locations that you'll have a chance of hurting, regardless of weapon type. Your best bet here is to stick with whatever you've been sharpening on the Crimson Blades, bolstered with a Haeralis gem and backed up by a Titan's Ring or Rusted Nails accessory for maximum damage against Human-class opponents. Her legs and head have no particular weapon strengths, otherwise. Her major weakness to Sorcery is the Leadbones spell, and you can really annoy her with this. If she kicks off with Degenerate, don't forget that you can reverse it with Herakles. This actually keeps her very busy, undoing either spells on her or spells on you. As long as you keep your health up whenever it drops then even her big hitters shouldn't knock you for six. Exit To The City Centre Just step onto the rising podium to activate it. There's a Magic Circle coming right up, so don't rush back to the Dark Coast. When you arrive at Plateia Lumitar, it's a good idea to teleport back to Junction Point and get yourself organised for the Great Cathedral. You'll also find a few old doors on your explored maps that are now unlockable with your new Silver Key. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Town Centre East ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Plateia Lumitar Magic Circle The double doors are unlocked, and will take you into the Great Cathedral itself. If you jump over the water to the small doorway and follow the path, you'll get back to the latched door near Junction Point. Gharmes Walk Besides the treasure, there's already a Dummy here in the shape of Gremlin that you can use for training against Evil-class creatures. Chest (requires Chest Key): 'Klondike' (S) Falchion plus Power Palm, Round Shield (S), Angel Pearl, Sorcerer's Reagent The House Gilgitte Chest (unlocked): 'Ribsplitter' (H) Khukuri plus Power Palm, Dragonhead accessory, Faerie Wing x 5, Audentia wine This is the house that had its door rattled in an earlier scene with Merlose and Hardin. That very door is also the one you've seen latched in Rue Crimnade, just above Junction Point, so now you can unlatch it and open up the whole of Town Centre East. That's that solved, then. You don't really need it, but if you want to go back to Plateia Lumitar via this path then there's a block puzzle to solve. Facing south, climb up and push the highest cube onto the floor so that it falls in front of the treasure chest. There are two wooden crates in the formation of four, and if you smash the upper one then you can push the free blue cube left and forward to the wall. Now break the lower wooden crate and use the gap to move the other blue cube on the floor right and forward to the wall, mirroring the other one. The very first cube you dropped into place will act as the stopper for doing this. All but one of the cubes is now wedged in place. Stand on the right frictionless cube and push that last free cube towards the high left wall. It'll drop to form a two-high stack, from the very edge of which you can *just* jump 'n' grab. Honest. Invigorate if necessary. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Using The Silver Key ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ On first play through the game, the Silver Key opens up a number of locked doors in previously explored areas. Only two will lead to extra treasures. (1) Teleport to the Dark Tunnel in Abandoned Mines B1 and go north to Everwant Passage. Here you'll find a locked Silver Key door to Mining Regrets. Mining Regrets Cast Eureka to spot a Death Vapour in advance. Chest (unlocked): 'White Cargo' (D) Voulge plus Winged Pole, Mana Potion x 3, Polaris Gem (2) Teleport to The Auction Block in the Limestone Quarry. Take the Silver Key door to Ascension. Ascension Wraith Stairs leading down... Where The Serpent Hunts Gremlins The east exit from this T-Junction leads to a treasure room, the west to a corridor leaving the Limestone Quarry. Drowned In Fleeting Joy Dark Elemental Chest (unlocked): Falarica Bolt, Plate Glove (H), Elixir of Mages, Mana Potion x 5 Ants Prepare For Winter This corridor leads to Those Who Drink The Dark in the Temple of Kiltia. (3) For completeness, you might want to unlock the Silver Key doors in Undercity West: one door joins Nameless Dark Oblivion to The Washing-Woman's Way, while the other in Sewer of Ravenous Rats leads to Beggars of the Mouthharp and Corner of the Wretched. The latter is ultimately a dead end, though, sealed with the Rood Inverse and inaccessible on first play. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Using The Stock Sigil ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ BlackMarket Use Teleportation to warp back to Blackmarket, in the Wine Cellar. The Stock Sigil will unseal the door that once led you to the game's first proper boss. Minotaur Zombie HP 720 / MP 0 Undead Special Attacks: Giga Rush Don't reach for your Beast-smacking blade: this is the very same boss you slew before, but it's been reanimated by the power of the Dark. Draw the weapon you reserve for Undead foes instead. If that's a short weapon, you might like to take the fight to the steps in the far corner or run around the side of the Zombie to reach its upper body locations more easily. In all other respects, this should be a familiar fight with the only real difference being the enemy's increased HP. Prize: Rune Earrings, Cure Bulb x 3, Elixir of Queens Chest (requires Chest Key): Circle Shield (D) plus Titan Malachite gem, Cure Potion x 3, Vera Potion ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Great Cathedral ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Quick check - on first play, does your progress show roughly 75% of the map complete before you enter here from Plateia Lumitar? If it does, you've pretty much found everything there is to see before this final temple. There aren't many normal enemies here, just bosses, so pack for Phantoms, Dragons, Evil and Undead (pretty much in that order of importance). Because the Cathedral sends you up and down between levels continuously, this section describes the order of rooms in more of a walkthrough style than previous areas, as a floor-by-floor description would be hopelessly confusing. Into Holy War, L1 The Cloudstone lift is inoperative when you first arrive, so you'll have to take the stairs down to Struggle for the Soul, B1. You'll need to defeat the Iron Crab to activate the lift, which leads to the Convent Room, L2. Struggle For the Soul, B1 There's a Heal Panel Trap here that will also reduce your RISK. Just jump up and down for repeated use... There are exits on either side of the canal. You can either go straight ahead to meet Ifrit, or jump over the water for Marid. My advice is to take Marid first and explore as far as the Poisoned Chapel, then return and tackle the rooms with Ifrit and the Iron Crab before taking the lift up from The Victor's Laurels. Order & Chaos, B1 Marid HP 500 / MP 180 Phantom Special Attacks: Avalanche lvl 3, Aqua Blast Prize: Elixir of Queens, Grimoire Avalanche Marid is essentially a king Water Elemental, so use your previous Fire-offence and Water-defence tactics and upgrade where possible with better Flame Spheres, gems and Enchanter spells. If your resistance to Water is naturally good or your weapon isn't capable of damaging him (Marid is stronger versus Edged) then a Spark Fusion is going to speed things up. Defeating Marid also activates the Cloudstone elevator to L2 in The Victor's Laurels on this level. The other door in this room leads to An Offering of Souls. An Offering of Souls Stairs leading up to Sin and Punishment, L1 Sin and Punishment, L1 Magic Circle and Container Watch for two oddly-placed traps here, Curse and Eruption. You don't even know they're there until, one day, when you're heading urgently for the save point... The southern door is broken (as in closed-off broken), while the north one leads to the Poisoned Chapel. The Poisoned Chapel, L1 The far door is locked with the Laurel Sigil, and before you can even get across you'll need to activate this Cloudstone by defeating the Djinn in the Flayed Confessional L1. For now, go back to Truth and Lies, B1 and tackle Ifrit (or explore B1 further if you haven't). Truth and Lies, B1 Boss: Ifrit HP 500 / MP 180 Phantom Special Attacks: Fireball, Fire Storm Like Marid to Water, Ifrit is the big cheese of Fire Elementals and the same tactics apply. He's also strong versus Edged weapons, but you should now have a level 2 Avalanche for some multiple-target spellcasting fun. Again, if your armour is strong versus fire or you're having trouble doing damage then go for Frost Fusion. Otherwise, Pyro Guard against the deadlier attacks like Fire Storm and set your defence abilities to include Fireproof. Prize: Elixir of Queens, Grimoire Flamme And if you look closely, you'll see that the huge crack casts a Rood symbol in twilight on the opposite wall... From this room you can reach two others - Sanity and Madness, and the Victor's Laurels. Sanity and Madness, B1 Boss: Iron Crab HP 375 / MP 0 Beast Special Attacks: Aqua Bubble, Tidal Rush With a good Spark Fusion on your Beast weapon, aim for the mouth with Edged and Piercing weapons, or the shell with Blunt types. Unless you're accidentally wearing Salamander gear, there's very little reason to fear this one: I found him unusually pathetic, and even his specials seem underpowered. Prize: Valens wine, Elixir of Kings Defeating the Iron Crab also activates the Cloudstone elevator in Into Holy War, L1. This gives you two ways to advance to L2, but I'd recommend The Victor's Laurels. The Victor's Laurels, B1 The Cloudstone elevator rises to Cracked Pleasures, L1. It can be activated by defeating Marid. Cracked Pleasures, L1 There's another elevator to Free From Base Desires, but take a small diversion first by going through the door to Hieratic Recollections. When you return after slaying the Djinn, go up on the elevator and out to Abasement From Above. Hieratic Recollections, L1 Or did they mean 'Heratic Recollections' ? I think the Heratic is supposed to be you, and the Recollection is one of "Oh hang on, I've done this bit..." when you accidentally stumble into here later on by mistake. If this is your first time, just carry on. Nothing to see here. The Flayed Confessional, L1 Boss: Djinn HP 500 / MP 180 Phantom Special Attacks: Lightning Bolt, Thunderburst Prize: Elixir of Queens, Grimoire Foudre (Warlock Spell, Thunderburst) Getting to the chest is a simple matter of destroying the push crate in the corner, then pushing the other one out until it falls into place. Chest (unlocked): Fluted Armour (H), Fluted Glove (H), Vera Potion x 3, Saint's Nostrum It's that Elemental thing again. You need Sylph / Air defences to defeat its Lightning Bolts and Earth-affinity weapons (i.e. Gnome / Dao gems on weapons, Soil Fusion enchantment) to maximise your effectiveness. By now, you might even be able to inflict massive damage by taking advantage of Djinn's Phantom-class status and equipping an anti-Phantom weapon bristling with Trinity gems. Check out your Gaea Strike, by all means, but if the damage / probability result looks lousy then those MPs might be better spent. Defeating the Djinn also activates the Cloudstone bridge in The Poisoned Chapel. It's not worth going there until you have the Laurel Sigil, though, so for now you should head back to Cracked Pleasures and take the elevator to Free From Base Desire, L2 There's another Cloudstone elevator here that leads up to The Wine-Lecher's Fall, L3. If you pursued that route right now, you'd find it blocked by the Calla Sigil. So stay on L2 and go through the passage for Abasement From Above, L2 Your goal is to reach the side door, and that requires a bit of jumping from either direction. Cast Eureka to see this room's Paralysis, Curse and Poison traps. You should be able to make the jump quite easily from this side (use Invigorate if you can't), which is why I've brought you this way. It is also possible to get to the side door from the Convent Room side by jumping along the west wall, but much harder. Not only do you need to run a gauntlet of unavoidable traps, but to get around one particular column you need to drop off the edge, curl around in mid-air (some players may find this easier with the Dual Shock) and grab the column below as you fall past it. Yes, quite. Get your dragon gear ready and enter The Hall of Broken Vows L2 Mini-Boss: Flame Dragon HP 750 / MP 0 Dragon Special Attacks: Searing Breath, Tail Attack. Prize: Calla Sigil, Sorcerer's Reagent If you're wielding a Piercing spear, aiming for anywhere but the Head will exploit a weakness. Its Tail is particularly prone to a cutting from Edged weapons, if you can run round behind it with a Great Sword or Axe. And, of course, this is a fire-affinity beast, so you can equip gems accordingly (don't forget the Dragonhead accessory if you have it too). If you're not wearing a shield, put Fireproof on your Defence Ability buttons and try to halve the damage. When armed, cast Pyro Guard or Frost Fusion for defence or offence respectively. Also, use Impact Guard to half the damage from its lunges and Tail Attack - this can add up to a lot of health saved over the course of the fight. Note that this is a mini-boss, so you don't get any chance of a stat upgrade or new rating. The Hall itself is locked on the south side by the Acacia Sigil, but two other doors lead west and north. Go north to Light and Dark Wage War. Light and Dark Wage War, L2 It looks impossible, but it isn't: you can get across. Instead of running down the steps, look for the paths to each side of the entrance that run around the walls. If you follow the left side, there's one long jump that may still require Invigorate if your AGL is low. If you follow the right side, you just need to push to the other side as you fall down into the gap so that you catch the ledge on your way past. From both of these side platforms you can jump to the door. There's a lever to the left of the exit, so throw that first before you proceed. It unlocks the door to Unknown on the upper balcony of the Heretic's Story, L3. But first, we're going treasure-hunting. An Arrow Into Darkness, L2 Chest (unlocked): Fluted Leggings (H), Fluted Glove (H), Eye of Argon x 5, Cure Potion Push the northernmost cube west until it stops, then south, and leave it there: it'll act as a stopper for the other one shortly, leaving a much-needed space. Turn your attention to the other cube and push it west, west, south, east (it can be tricky turning around there without stepping onto it), south and west. You can now step up to the chest. Finally, take the elevator down to Where Darkness Spreads, L1 Chest (unlocked): Oval Shield (H), Burgonet (H), Mana Bulb x 5, Elixir of Queens To reach the treasure you need to make a bridge of blocks by filling up that gap in a straight line to the chest. The crucial first move comes in what you do with the three wooden push crates already in the hole, so jump down into it and stand on the highest step, facing the chests. Push the top one west, then go stand on it and push the middle crate east. You can now move both of those two crates on the steps north by one tile so that they fall into line with the blue stack. The rest of the puzzle is more arduous, taking place up on the main floor, and requires you to use the push crates as stoppers so that you line up the remaining frictionless cubes with the bridge and slide them on. For example, by moving the northernmost push crate west and then north, you can slide the blue cube back near the Cloudstone west, south, west into the hole. Unless anybody wants more detail, I think the rest is really hard to screw up. When you're done, use the stopper crates themselves to fill the last holes and then walk across your bridge to the chest. Huzzah! The Cloudstone is the only way to leave this room as the doors are broken - that goes for resetting the puzzle, too - and to get onto it you need to jump from the blue cube that's placed uselessly close to the wall (so don't move it! I haven't tried, but I can see you being able to trap yourself in here). This is a good time to save and visit a container, but when you're done, return to the Hall of Broken Vows L2 and go west this time to He Screams For Mercy L2 Eureka first. There are two very nasty jumps to make to doors going north or coming back from the south, so you'll need Invigorate and / or Faerie Wings if your AGL is low. Visit both areas and defeat the Liches to win the Laurel Sigil and open up a route you'll be needing shortly. The Acolyte's Weakness L2 Stairs leading down to... Monk's Leap, L1 Zombie Knights, Lich Prize: Ghost Hound accessory, Laurel Sigil, Elixir of Queens, Grimoire Demolir (Warlock spell, Explosion) Maelstrom of Malice L2 Dark Skeletons, Lich Lord HP 290 / MP 320 Evil Special Attacks: spellcaster The best protection against a Lich Lord is a Magic Ward, pure and simple. Every time his spells are negated, replace it immediately. As you'll only have enough MP for roughly three Wards on first play (four if you cast one before entering and wait a sec), you can either use restorative items or replace your Mana quickly with a chain combo that includes Gain Magic and also damages him. The weakness of the Lich Lord is Physical damage (he's supposedly weaker to Light too, but high INT means that spells like Spirit Surge tend to bounce off him). His own staff attack is not too strong either, and he'll only use it rarely, so as long as your Magic Ward is in place then you can let your RISK rise and concentrate on smacking him up good. You'll notice that the armour is weaker on his head and arms, as with the Lich, and he wields his staff in the left hand. When this Lich Lord is defeated, the Cloudstone that bridges the upper balconies of the Heretic's Story, L3, will be activated. Now that you have the Laurel Sigil, head for the Poisoned Chapel via Sin and Punishment. The Cloudstone will now be taking passengers (assuming you've disposed of the Djinn in The Flayed Confessional, L1), and you have the means to unlock the far door. A Light In The Dark, L1 Mini-Boss: Arch Dragon HP 785 / MP 0 Dragon Special Attacks: Divine Breath Prize: Acacia Sigil, Acolyte's Nostrum You don't meet many Light-affinity monsters in Vagrant Story, and this makes for a slightly odd battle. Your armour won't have been tested by many Light attacks either, so you may suddenly find yourself very weak: especially as there are no Light / Dark Enchanter spells you can use to magically align yourself. Worse, the Divine Breath can also tear off MPs as well as HP, leaving you with only your items or your chains to effect an immediate recovery. Possibly the most useful trick here, then, is to run in and stay under its head so that it can't use its breath at all. If you can guard against the physical bites and tail swipes while whittling away at close quarters, you'll avoid its worst attack. In any case, put Shadow Guard on your defence abilities, wear an accessory that boosts your Light status and try to get the job done quickly. Use Morlock Jets and Dragonite, sticking Angel Pearls on a shield if you're using one. The good news is that Dark affinity spells like Drain Heart now have a superior chance of success, so you can try reclaiming some of your lost health vampirically. This Dragon has weaknesses against Edged weapons, and some of those Dark Break Arts can prove worthy as well. You now have the Acacia Sigil, which opens a doorway in the Hall of Broken Vows L2, but it's not worth trying to use that just yet as it leads straight to another door locked with a Palm Sigil. Instead, return to Free From Base Desires and use the Cloudstone elevator that takes you up to The Wine-Lecher's Fall, L3 (you need to jump to the Cloudstone from the tall boxes). The Wine-Lecher's Fall, L3 A few easy jumps will deliver you to a door onto... The Heretic's Story, L3 (lower level) There are two levels to this room: from this entrance on L3 you can only move east-west, while on the balconies (inaccessible from here) you'll cross the chasm north-south. You'll need to use the Calla Sigil you acquired from the Flame Dragon to open the door here. If you haven't yet, and you've come here early, go to the Hall of Broken Vows L2. Grr, I really hate the way that you can't get a straight side-on view, whether zoomed-out or close-up. Oversight or deliberate cheap trick? Regardless, making a game harder by not letting the player see what's happening would certainly have knocked points off a 40/40 score in my opinion... You've got to cross the abyss using the Cloudstones. Okay, so one way to do this would be to jump like an idiot from Cloudstone to Cloudstone. That's the stupid way. Another way would be to step from one stone to the next when they touch, and that works, too. All the stones move in set rhythmic patterns, so you can count off and predict when you should start to step across. It's easy to mess up, but it also works. However, the real trick to making this room a doddle is to remember that you've got a Fixate spell (go back to the Sanctum and find it if you haven't!). Step onto the first stone and watch closely for the moment when it touches the next. You've got a shortcut button on L2 that you can release and hold, release and hold, until you capture the exact instant. Then cast Fixate and casually walk across. Jump to the next stationary Cloudstone if you think you can, or wait and repeat Fixate for that. Oh, the easy life. Another vital point is that you'll need to use the momentum of the fast, final Cloudstone to jump the last gap. Leap when it's racing towards the edge, just before it turns, and it'll practically hurl you through the wooden door. On your return, Fixating the stone at its nearest point and using a Faerie Wing before the jump may prove necessary. Use the Calla Sigil on the door and enter... Hopes Of The Idealist L3 Boss: Dao HP 500 / MP 180 Phantom Special Attacks: Vulcan Lance Prize: Palm Sigil, Elixir of Queens, Grimoire Gaea The ruler of Earth Elementals is naturally weak versus Air attacks, and you may find Blunt weapons do much better than Edged ones. Magically, you can enchant yourself with Terra Guard or Luft Fusion or else read your new Grimoire Foudre to see a level 2 Thunderburst in action. You may find that the most trouble you'll have with Dao is that he'll fly away in fear and cower high out of reach in the far corner, rushing out only when he's ready to Lance you. If so, you may find you have some Break Arts that offer Air affinity, and a longer range than the weapon you're using, to spear him out of the skies. If not, play a version of the old Sheepdog game and try to herd him into a corner without any crates in it. With the Acacia and Palm Sigils tucked into your belt, you can return to the Hall of Broken Vows L2 and open the door there. The Acacia Sigil first grants access to... The Melodics of Madness L2 Push the lower of the two blue cubes south and west, then move the push crate east, so that both line up and fill the holes to for a bridge. You can now move the higher blue cube all the way south until it stops, then east and south to get it to the part of the wall where you can use it to climb up. Use the Palm Sigil on the next door to enter What Ails You Kills You L2 Boss: Nightmare HP 500 / MP 180 Phantom Special Attacks: Meteor level 3, Dark Chant, Curse Prize: Grimoire Meteore (Warlock Spell, Meteor), Elixir of Dragoons A master of Dark Elementals, the Nightmare is susceptible to Light affinity attacks or Break Arts: try Spirit Surge, and weapons decorated with Angel Pearls. There's no Enchanter spell to help you here but a Morlock Jet on your shield can help defend against Dark spells. Defeating Nightmare activates a Cloudstone in this room. You won't be attacked between now and the next Save Point, so jump aboard to reach Despair of the Fallen L3 There's nothing here but a door that re-enters the Heretic's Story L3 on the upper balcony level. Just use the Cloudstone to cross to the door marked Unknown and enter. If this door is still locked, that means you haven't yet thrown the lever in Light And Dark Wage War on L2. Where the Soul Rots Here you'll find an Elevator to the Atrium, L4. There's nothing else for it... ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Atrium, Great Cathedral L4 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Magic Circle Save, save, save. Believe it or not, you've made it to the closing scenes and the final boss, so now is the time to make all your last minute preparations (using the teleport makes it easy). Another point to bear in mind is that you should use all of your elixirs and your wines, and read all of your Grimoires. When you're ready, climb the stairs. If you're wondering why your save-file only shows 83% or thereabouts, that's because the other sixth of the game -- those hidden areas behind Gold Keys and Rood Inverses -- can only be accessed if you replay. And before you can do that, you've got two small problems to overcome... The Paling, Great Cathedral's dome Final Boss, part I: Guildernstern HP 500 / MP ??? Evil Special Attacks: Stun Cloud, Poison Mist, Degenerate, Tarnish, Last Ascension Edged weapons seem to have an advantage here. Your foe is intelligent enough to resist harmful spells, so use Sorcery spells and forget about Warlock magic. If Guildenstern runs out of magic - either you've stolen it, or the battle is dragging on -- then he'll unveil his Last Ascension, a kind of Break Art performed with the 'Holy Win' Damascus Rood blade he wields. Final Boss, part II: Guildenstern, dark angel HP 700 / MP ??? Evil Special Attacks: Degenerate, Tarnish, Psychodrain, Leadbones, Gravity, Judgment, Apocalypse, Bloody Sin. Talk about dropping you right back in it. For starters, getting close to Guildenstern is hard enough: you need to stand on the edge of the circle and be ready to squeeze in as much as possible when he comes within range. It's pointless trying to chase him: the only chance you will have of attacking him is when he moves in to attack you. If you stand right at the centre of the paling, or spinning magic circle, then you'll also find that Guildenstern can't hit you with half of his spells: only Apocalypse and the Bloody Sin can reach you there. You might also assume that you're supposed to use a crossbow or long two-handed weapon, but unless you have a low RISK and good protection (from a shield, say) then the dark angel's major attacks will kill you outright. Once close enough, you may find that most of your normal attacks start with little or no chance of success, so this boss is hoping to lure you into using long chains to break through his defences. That's a very dangerous thing to do. Well, there are a several tricks to employ here. The first is to stick to Break Arts: find a couple that work, use a few before the target flies away and then heal completely. Many cheaper Break Arts have a much longer range than the weapons that produce them, so you can still pull off hits with any weapon you wish to use. Keep your RISK at zero to maximise a Break Art's success and damage. If your chance to hit is so low that you really need to use chains, remember that you probably have some fairly serious Vera items (Tonics, Potions, Nostrums and Reagents) to kill any RISK immediately when you're done. Another trick to this battle is to survive lots of hits. Some of Guildenstern's big attacks seem to carry RISK: he's much easier to hit after a Bloody Sin has failed to kill you, for instance. If you can keep your own RISK at zero while his rises, your attacks will have greater success and damage. If you survive long enough then it's even possible for him to run out of mana points, letting you beat on him repeatedly when he's finished waiting to gather enough MP for Degenerate and Tarnish. THE BLOODY SIN Guildenstern won't use his biggest special attack until you've reduced him by at least 25-50% damage. You'll get a warning before the Bloody Sin special, as it involves some extra animation and switching cameras. Keep your finger held on the L2 shortcut button and you'll notice that control is briefly returned to you when the camera is overhead. Exploit this free moment to use items that restore your HP to maximum and your RISK to zero, and for heaven's sake equip a shield if you aren't using one. When Guildenstern swoops down over the arena, it's also possible to target him: you need to be standing on or near his flight path, and you also have to be especially quick, or very adept at a 'frame-by-frame' advance with a sneaky use of the L2 button (release and hold, release and hold). If you launch any attack on him as he passes overhead, no matter how feeble, you'll interrupt his concentration and cancel the Bloody Sin. Even if you don't manage this, the Bloody Sin *is* survivable. It can be halved or even reflected through defence abilities (see Alternative Tactics, below), and if you're packing a shield then the difference is immense. The Bloody Sin's elemental affinity is Dark, so don't decorate your shield with Angel Pearls unless you want to be toasted. You could try Morlock Jets or Berial Blackpearls if this attack is causing you problems, but the tactic may backfire if Guildenstern decides to cast Judgment instead. Other points to note: Piercing attacks are generally useless. You'll have a much better time with a Blunt or Edged weapon. That goes for Break Arts as well. Also, if you cast Herakles and Prostasia on yourself then you may occasionally provoke Guildenstern into cancelling them with Degenerate or Tarnish, rather than a more serious attack. Every little helps. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Alternative Boss Tactics ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ PHANTOM PAIN Now here's a neat one. Fill out your remaining weapons inventory with long-range weapons (crossbows, etc.) that have had their Phantom Points maximised to 100+. When you get a shot at the dark angel, open a combo with Phantom Pain (or keep it up until the Phantom Pain chain connects). Then equip the next weapon, and repeat. 100+ damage per combo with each weapon through the amassed damage of Phantom Pain will practically finish the job, no worries. GUARDING AND REFLECTING HITS It is indeed possible to reflect the worst attacks that the dark angel form of Guildenstern inflicts, but you need to choose the right mode. Judgment (Light) and Apocalypse (Dark) are spells, so select Reflect Magic or Shadowscale / Demonguard. The Bloody Sin is a special attack, though, so use Reflect Damage or Impact Guard. As it transpires, The Bloody Sin is actually easier to reflect than Guildenstern's spells. The animation is long, true, but the timing to look for follows Guildenstern's wings raining down blue spears of light. There'll be a rumble on the paling, and the camera will suddenly zoom straight back down and towards Ashley at high speed. The instant that the camera stops in Riot's face is the moment to hit Impact Guard or Reflect Damage. RAGING ACHE If Guildenstern hurts you bad then you're better placed to hurt him back with a Raging Ache chain. Getting by on low hit points rather than attempting to heal can, when used correctly, really enhance the damage you inflict. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Epilogue ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ It's not over yet... When you finally deliver the killing blow, you'll be treated to a real corker of a finishing sequence (engine cut-scenes, I tell ya...). You'll also get a rating, with game scores (the last boss will add 1% to your completion rating) and some rather attractive concept art to admire during the credits, too. Then you'll get the chance to save a Game Clear Data, which allows you to start from scratch with almost all of your kit and your stats intact, but with the chance of opening up that last sixth of the game. The only things you'll be missing will be your Miscellaneous Items: all of these will have gone. That's why it's important to use the elixirs and read the Grimoires before you tackle Guildenstern. ============================================== 4. SECOND PLAY SECRETS ============================================== ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Using the Rood Inverse ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Rood Inverse isn't a conventional key, so you won't find it on your inventory. You'll need to follow the later cut-scenes to find out just what it is. (a) Town Centre West From the Glacialdra Kirk Ruins in Town Centre West, you can take the Rood Inverse gate to a new part of Undercity West. You won't be able to get far until you possess the Iron Key and Silver Key too, however. (b) Undercity West Path To The Greengrocer Lich Crossroads of Rest Lich Lord Check in advance for a Gust Trap by the lamp-post. This T-junction has exits that require either a Rood Inverse or an Iron Key. The Iron Key leads to Path of the Children, while the Rood Inverse leads to Corner of the Wretched Lich, Dark Skeletons Follow this dogleg around to reach Beggars of the Mouthharp Dullahan The end of the corridor is locked with a Silver Key. The door adjoins Sewer of Ravenous Rats, which you may remember from your first play as a dead end. Path of the Children When you can boast the Iron Key as well as your Rood Inverse, you may head down to Shelter from the Quake in Escapeway. (c) Escapeway Shelter from the Quake Quicksilvers A Gold Key is required to enter Buried Alive, while the Silver Key grants access to Movement of Fear. For now, take the open passage to Fear & Loathing Marid, Dao This is a locking trap room, and these fellows are exactly as you met them in the Great Cathedral. Prize: Grimoire Avalanche, Grimoire Flamme Blood & The Beast Water Elemental You're advised to use Eureka, to search for traps. Where Body & Soul Part Quicksilver Chest (magic lock): 'Bellini' (S) Double Blade plus Runkasyle, Vera Bulb x 5, Elixir of Mages Very dark room, this, but just keep targeting and cancelling until something comes into range. Also, you might try looking around with first-person pause to suss the location of enemies as they drop down onto you. When you're done here, return to Shelter from the Quake and use the Silver Key to access Movement of Fear Air Elemental Facing Your Illusions Quicksilvers Cast Eureka to spot a Diabolos Trap. The Darkness Drinks Earth Elemental Interestingly, the exit from here leads back to a new part of Undercity West... (d) Undercity West Where Flood Waters Ran If you've seen that inaccessible chest in the Crumbling Market, I think this is the door you were hoping for... The Crumbling Market Dullahans, Liches, Lich Lords Check with Eureka first: you'll see that the Chest is surrounded by trap panels, and there's no Trap Clear this time. As long as you've killed any enemies in the room who can reach you, that's not necessarily fatal (see PLAYING TIPS, Traps). Jump across via that central island, using Invigorate if necessary, and minimise damage by jumping straight onto the trap in front of the Chest (fortunately, it's just a Gust Trap). Chest (unlocked): Agales' Chain, Elixir of Queens, Valens wine, Gold Key You now have the Gold Key! (e) In City Walls East, look for the room Train and Grow Strong at the southern end. This room also has a Rood Inverse door that leads you the Snowfly Forest East. (f) Snowfly Forest East Steady the Boar-Spears Interesting little glitch here: if you switch to first person PAUSE view, you can see a Magic Circle that doesn't actually exist. A paling blocks your Map for now. Can you hear a noise in the Forest? Oh well, just carry on... The Boar's Revenge Yep, definitely heard some kind of rumble... Just walk on down this long green path. Nature's Womb Boss: Damascus Crab 500 HP / 0MP Beast Special Attacks: Aqua Bubble, Tidal Rush Prize: Platinum Key, Cure Tonic x 3 Oh, it's only a crab. And its specials haven't been upgraded either. This Damascus version is mildly weaker against Fire spells and Blunt weapons, so enchant your weapon with Spark Fusion and that 500 HP shouldn't take you more than a few hits. Chest (unlocked): Knight's Shield, Djinn Amber, Acolyte's Nostrum x 3 Hang on - I can still hear rumbling... ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Using The Gold Key ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ (a) Escapeway Return to Shelter from the Quake and use your Gold Key to enter Buried Alive Fire Elemental Chest (unlocked): 'White Rose' (D) Bec de Corbin, Grimoire Grip, Grimoire Radius (Warlock spell, Radial Surge), Grimoire Meteore (Warlock spell, Meteor) (b) Limestone Quarry This Gold Key door is easiest reached by teleporting to The Auction Block and heading east. Companions in Arms Fire Elemental Chest (unlocked): 'Death Sentence' (D) Executioner, Side Ring, Balvus & Beowulf gems, Spiral Pole grip, Casserole Shield (D) plus Orlandu & Ogmius gems, Close Helm (D), Plate Mail (D), Edgar's Earrings accessory, Grimoire Fleau (Sorcerer spell, Curse) (c) Undercity West To reach this Gold Key door, teleport to Sinner's Corner and head east to Corner of Prayers. Salvation For The Mother Lich Lord, Lich Cast Eureka to detect a Poison Trap by the lamp-post. The Body Fragile Yields Lich Lord There's another Gold Key door here, but it merely joins up this section with other parts of Undercity West by opening onto Tears From Empty Sockets. Head back to Salvation for the Mother and take the other door to Bite the Master's Wounds Death HP ??? / MP ??? Evil Special Attacks: accomplished mages You'll find no less than two Deaths here, and you can always try running through if you can't face them. You should look on these as uber-Lich-Lords, pretty much, and use the same tactics of maintaining a Magic Ward and going for physical damage rather than trying to outsmart them on the spellcasting front. To improve your Physical damage, decorate your weapon grip with gems like Talos Feldspar and Titan Malachite. Death can surrender some pretty hot Damascus items. WORKSHOP: Godhands Tools for Wood, Leather, Bronze, Hagane, Silver, Damascus The ultimate workshop, empowering you to work with and combine any materials you choose. (d) The Keep Yes, there's a Gold Key door here too. It leads to Stair to the Sinners in the Forgotten Pathway. (e) Forgotten Pathway Stair to the Sinners As it says. Slaughter of the Innocent Damascus Golem 560 HP / 0 MP Evil Special Attacks: Granite Punch Prize: Cure Tonic x 3 Again, this fellow is weak versus Air and Blunt weapons. He really hasn't learnt anything over his predecessors, so you won't have any problem here. Lightning Bolt works well if you now have it, or use relevant Break Arts, but mostly you're just toying with him. Then again, the prize is lousy. The Oracle Sins No More Blood Lizards Cast Eureka to check for two traps. From here you can go both east and west for two treasure rooms. Awaiting Retribution Blood Lizard, Imps Chest (unlocked): Diadra's Earring accessory, Ogmius gem, Elixir of Queens The Fallen Knight Blood Lizard, Imps Chest (unlocked): Kadesh Ring accessory, Orlandu gem, Elixir of Queens, Steel Key ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Using the Steel Key and Platinum Key ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Now that you have both the Steel Key and the Platinum Key, make your way through the entirety of Iron Maiden B1 to the very bottom to use them. In Hanging, you'll find a Steel Key door. Use this to enter Impalement. You're also advised to check out the Secrets and Extras section to get an insight into the ultimate rewards of the Iron Maiden B2. Last Crusaders with Damascus weapons, no less... Impalement Just drop down. The bottom door is locked with the Platinum Key, and once you enter here then expect the Iron maiden's rule of no Magic Circles to persist until you come out the other side. For that reason, make your inventory as empty as possible before venturing inside. Knotting Mini-boss: Wyvern Queen HP 700 / MP 0 Dragon Special Attack: Fire breath Prize: Anemone Sigil, Elixir of Sages On the surface, the Wyvern Queen appears to be strong versus everything. But take a closer look at her stats and, as you'll suddenly appreciate, she's so STUPID (an INT of 13!) that spells are super-effective. Just Warlock her up until you've got her near death, then try out your weapons purely for the potential bonuses. Direct Blunt weapons to her head, and Edged weapons to her body and tail. Piercing weapons are at a general disadvantage. When you're done, pass on through to... ---------------------------- Map 2: Iron Maiden B2 & B3 ---------------------------- There's some magical jamming going on that prevents you looking at your map in this section. It'll all be clear when you surface. Each room is identified by its central letter. The exits are shown as letters around the 'walls' of the room, and these letters indicate where you will end up if you leave the room through that door or passageway. Iron Maiden B2 & B3 A - The Eunic's Lot J - The Spider S - Ordeal By Water B - Ordeal By Fire K - Lead Sprinkler T - Tongue Slicer C - The Oven at Neisse L - Squassation U - Brank D - Pressing M - The Strappado V - Tormentum Insomniae E - The Mind Burns N - Thumbscrews W - The Iron Maiden F - The Rack O - Pendulum X - Judgment G - The Saw P - Dragging Y - St. Elmo's Belt H - The Cold's Bridle Q - Strangulation Z - Dunking The Witch I - The Shin Vice R - Tablillas > - wraparound door ^ - entrance from B1 * - exit to The Keep (i) Iron Maiden B2 S E + W +-----+ | M | +-----+ N | | -+ +- | | | K J K J L J L | | | -+ +- | | +-----+ | I | +-----+ +--J--+ | | | I | | | +--H--+ | N | | I | | R | -+ +- -+ +- -+ +- O U V > H > P S T -+ +- -+ +- -+ +- | T | | G | | Q | +--H--+ | | | G | | | +--F--+ | F | | G | | U | -+ +- -+ +- -+ +- U V R > F > S T Q -+ +- -+ +- -+ +- | W | | E | | M | | O | | F | | T | -+ +- -+ +- -+ +- M N O > E > R M N -+ +- -+ +- -+ +- | U | | D | | J | +--E--+ | | | D | | | +--C--+ | S | | D | | Q | -+ +- -+ +- -+ +- T Q P > C > V R M -+ +- -+ +- -+ +- | R | | B | | S | | F | +--C--+ | P | -+ +- | | -+ +- Q P S | B | N O U -+ +- | | -+ +- | O | +--A--+ | N | +-B-+ | | | A | | | +-^-+ start (ii) Iron Maiden B3 +--V--+ | | | W | | | +--X--+ +-----+ | W | +-----+ | | -+ +- | | | Z X Z X Y X Y | | | -+ +- | | +-----+ | * | +-----+ end * - Exit to the Keep The Eunic's Lot Shrieker HP 160 / MP 150 Evil, Special Attacks: Silence, Psychodrain Much like her Quicksilver predecessor, the Shrieker moves fast and attempts to use Sorcery spells on you before hitting you. She's weaker versus Light, Fire and Air, but you really ought to be nailing her in the head with a crossbow bolt or great sword before that becomes important. This is a locking trap room, so there's no retreating once you're in. Ordeal By Fire Dark Dragon HP 850 HP / MP 0 Dragon Special Attack: Poison Breath Prize: Verbena Sigil, Elixir of Kings The lack of Enchanter spells of relevance comes up again, but that doesn't mean you can't cast Spirit Surge and fit your weapon with Angel Pearls. With the Dragon weapon you must have by now, you could win this battle on physical damage alone. The Oven at Neisse This is where the warping tricks start again. Take either side passage as you enter and you'll simply re-enter the same room from the other side - there's wraparound, basically - so just head straight forward (you're facing south as you enter). Pressing Ravana HP 750 HP / MP 750 Human Special Attack: Heaven's Tear Prize: Schirra Sigil This is a mechanical version of Kali, with a very fast weapon strike special added to the ability list. The Mind Burns Shriekers Again, this crossroads has sideways wraparound. Go straight forward, but check for a Gust trap first. The Rack Ogre More side-passage wraparound, so go straight forward to exit once more. The Saw Dragon Zombie HP 500 / MP 0 Undead Special Attack: Rot Breath, 'untitled' (turns and swipes with tail - fart attack?) Prize: Marigold Sigil There's something very odd going on with that 'untitled' special attack, but otherwise this is a breeze. By now, you'll have a weapon versus Undead that will take apart anything that moves without a pulse. The Cold's Bridle Ogre There are no less than three traps to Eureka for in this room, and the wraparound means that you should head forward once more. The Shin Vice Ogre Zombie HP 620 / MP 120 Undead Special Attacks: Prize: Azalea Sigil This once-ogre is still strong vs Blunt weapons, and can resist chain combos after the first hit or two. Single hits, then, and am I glad I made Soul Kiss into a silver Crescent axe before coming here... Death HP 360 / MP ??? Evil Special Attacks: Thunderbolt, Gravity, Fire Storm THIS IS IMPORTANT. Before you start running around, try to keep a grip on where you came in. As there's no map, there's no red dot indicator either. When you're done, you want to head out the way you haven't been yet. Unexpectedly, Death has a Light affinity. He's not especially weak against Dark attacks, though, so try to take advantage of the other flaw in his armour. Like the Lich, Death is weakest versus Physical damage. That means the Talos Feldspar and Titan Malachite gems will increase your weapon's power against him. Aim for the arms and head, as with the Lich, to target the lightweight pieces of his mage's armour. Even if you've met Death before, this room puts you at a disadvantage. While you're running around trying to finish off the Ogre Zombie first, as is sensible, Death is teleporting all over the shop and appearing just out of range of your weapon to cast spells before you can react. As his spells are so powerful, my technique was the Magic Ward one of maintaining anti-spell protection while using chains of Raging Ache and Gain Magic to recoup that essential mana. I survived first time, so maybe there's something in that. The Spider Shriekers This time, you don't want to go straight forward. Each of the two side rooms - Lead Sprinkler to the left and Squassation to the right - is a treasure room with decent gear, so clear them out before taking the straight-on route to The Strappado. Lead Sprinkler Lich, Shriekers Chest (unlocked): Hoplite Helm (H), Mana Potion x 3 There's a Paralysis trap right in front of the chest. Squassation Lich, Shriekers Chest (unlocked): Hoplite Shield (H), Cure Potion x 3 This chest is guarded by Terra Thrust and Poison traps. The Strappado Lich Lord Let's establish a small format here. By entering from The Spider, you come from the north entrance and are facing south. To take in all of the rooms in Iron Maiden B2 so that you don't have to come here again, take the last direction listed in every subsequent room description. East: Tablillas South: Tongue Slicer West: Thumbscrews Thumbscrews Lich Lord Coming from Strappado, you enter from the east. South: Pendulum North: Brank West: Pendulum Pendulum Lich Lord Check for one trap. Coming from Thumbscrews, you'll enter from the east or the north. Bear that in mind before you leave Thumbscrews, to keep your bearings. West: Brank South: Dragging Dragging Check for one trap. Coming from Pendulum, you'll enter from the north facing south. South: The Rack (don't go this way, or you'll start again) West: Ordeal by Water East: Strangulation Strangulation Lich Lord Coming from Dragging, you'll enter from the west facing east. East: Tongue Slicer South: Ordeal by Water North: Tablillas Tablillas Coming from Strangulation, you'll enter from the south facing north. East: Tormentum Insomnia (this is the route to take if you want out NOW - skip down to the entry) West: The Strappado (don't want to go there again) North: Ordeal by Water Ordeal by Water Coming from Tablillas, you'll enter from the south facing north. North: Strangulation East: Dragging West: Tongue Slicer Tongue Slicer Shriekers Check for one trap. Coming from Ordeal by Water, you'll enter from the east facing west. West: Strangulation North: The Strappado South: Brank Brank Coming from Tongue Slicer, you'll enter from the north facing south. South: Thumbscrews East: Pendulum West: Tormentum Insomniae Tormentum Insomniae Ogre, Ogre Lord Coming from Brank, you'll enter from the east facing west. West: Tablillas South: the Rack (Again, you don't' want to restart from here) North: exit to Iron Maiden B3 Iron Maiden B3 The Iron Maiden Boss: Asura HP ??? / MP ??? Human Special Attacks: Raven Eye, Caesar's Thrust, Heaven's Tear, Judgment Prize: Tigertail Sigil, Cure Potion I've got a really good tip for beating Asura, and that's the Sorcerer spell Leadbones. Not only does this reduce her agility, it also dispels her Surging Balm. And as she's so eager to keep restoring her Surging Balm, she'll waste her time on that while you're getting in small hits. If you go for her legs and try to wound them for a Movement 50% injury, she'll be so slow that you'll have time to do whatever you want -- Break Arts and Heal, long chains and Vera -- in order to finish her off. The one good spell in Asura's arsenal is Judgment, as it's a multiple-target attack with a Light affinity. If your armour is weak versus Light (perhaps you've been suffering lots of Dark spells and not Healing much) then resort to a Magic Ward just in case. Judgment You've entered this crossroads from the south. Instead of going straight forward this time - which will take you back to the Keep, and to a Magic Circle save point - check out the left and right side doors first for treasure rooms. St. Elmo's Belt Lich Lord Chest (unlocked): Hoplite Leggings (H), Hoplite Glove (H), Elixir of Kings, Elixir of Queens Dunking The Witch Lich Lord Chest (unlocked): Hoplite Armour (H), Hoplite Glove (H), Elixir of Kings, Elixir of Queens When you've seen both, go to the Keep and save first at the Warrior's Rest - you don't want to waste all of that time and effort. Then you can go try out all of the new Sigils you've acquired. Basically, they grant access to a number of Time Trial boss battles in the various rooms that lead off from the Keep's main corridor. On your first play, you could only get to see the Minotaur and Dragon at best. Now you've got the lot. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Getting 100% Completion ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Gazette feature under the Score Option will tell you how much of the game you've explored, as a percentage. You can use the map menu here to consult just how far you've explored in any area, and the obvious trick is to look for the white spots of doors that don't lead onto new rooms. Those spots may also be locked Gates or Doors marked with an ???. Look, especially, for any minor unlockable areas that join different maps. Using the Gold Key in Corner of Prayers in Undercity West, for instance, opens up just two new staircases, but one is in Undercity West and the other is in Abandoned Mines B2. Both areas are incomplete until you join them. If that's all done, and you can't find any doors or passages you haven't taken, then the chances are that you've missed a location or more in one of the areas with warps: namely, Snowfly Forest and Iron Maiden B2. To be complete, your maps for these areas need to show 26 areas and 22 rooms, respectively. Compare your maps with the ones below. <NB I'll have some more details shortly but, in the meantime, Ivan Gluscic (firstname.lastname@example.org) has posted a very neat ASCII map of the Snowfly Forest's warps on the GameFAQs Vagrant Story page. Nice one.> The last boss counts as the last 1%, so if you're already on 99% then the chances are that you're not missing anything at all. When you've beaten him after visiting every location in the game, you'll find the 04 'Wanderer in Darkness' Title for 100% completion waiting for you on the Game Clear Data when you next play. Chasing down missing chests is more arduous: perhaps you didn't have the inventory space to take any more gear, or you were missing a Chest Key at the time, or maybe you reverted to an old save file and forgot to revisit a chest you'd just opened. I've done all of these things in my time, so I've tried to list the location, lock types and contents for all the chests in the game. The Gazette feature under Score will let you know how near you are to finding all the chests, and checking 100% of them grants you the (03) 'Treasure Hunter' Title. ============================================== 5. PLAYING TIPS ============================================== In response to some incredibly clueless pleas for help, this section includes both basic and advanced playing tips and explanations of the game system. Have a read anyway as - you never know - there might be something in here you haven't spotted yet. ----------------------------- (a) Attributes ----------------------------- STR (Strength) determines the amount of damage you inflict when attacking with a melee weapon. It also influences how resistant you are to an enemy's weapon attacks, with higher STR reducing the amount of damage you take. STR can be raised temporarily with the Herakles spell to increase damage, or reduced temporarily with the Degenerate spell to decrease damage. INT (Intelligence) determines the amount of damage you cause with magic. Increasing your brainpower with Enlighten will temporarily raise the amount of damage that your spells inflict, while Psychodrain will reduce your spell damage. AGL (Agility) is used to determine your speed and your jumping potential in the platform elements of Vagrant Story, but also determines your chance to hit an opponent in the menu-driven combat sections. (Yes, it's one of those Agility=Dexterity=Perception shortcuts that many RPGS, both paper-&-dice and computer, often resort to for simplicity). If you increase your AGL with Invigorate, your chance to hit an opponent with both melee weapons AND Warlock spells will improve while making you more difficult to hit. Besides the Sorcery spell enhancements, the items you choose to equip will affect your attributes. Every weapon has its own STR that is added to yours for the purposes of resolving attack damage, while a heavy suit of armour might have a large minus value on its AGL that will slow you down slightly. There are no 'experience levels' in Vagrant Story, but consuming certain items (elixirs, wines) will raise your stats permanently by a few points, as will the bonuses acquired after defeating a boss. These points will start to make a considerable difference as they add up over the course of the game. Otherwise, the way to improve your effectiveness rests in improving your equipment through use. ----------------------------- (b) Weapon Types ----------------------------- This is the single biggest cause of new players feeling that the game's too hard, and they don't have a clue about how to get around it. If you're having trouble hurting enemies then this is very likely the reason. Not all weapons are the same, and there are three different types in Vagrant Story. Some are Blunt, meaning that they have a flat face for smashing the enemy; some are Edged, meaning that they have a sharp cutting edge for slicing up the enemy; and some are Piercing, meaning that they stab the enemy with a sharp point. All weapons fall into one of these three categories. Your enemies will have varying resistances to these weapon types. Imagine fighting a Skeleton: if you stabbed at it with a rapier, the point of your blade would be likely to slip harmlessly through the gaps in its ribs. But if you were to take a large club to its pelvis, the chances are that you'd shatter its brittle bones. So, as expected, the Skeleton has a resistance to Piercing weapons but is weak against Blunt weapons. And that, in a nutshell, is the secret of the weapon Type Ratings. You need to find the right weapon for the job. So if you've been attacking enemies and finding that your chance of damage is given as zero, the chances are that you need to try a different weapon type. When starting out, therefore, you should always try to carry a Blunt weapon, an Edged weapon and a Piercing weapon so that you can try one if another isn't having much success. Not all weaknesses are obvious. For instance, an enemy might be wearing chain mail that you can't actually see on their in-game representation. Chain mail is very good at deflecting Edged blades, but a Piercing attack could find a hole in the links through which to penetrate. That's not something you'd guess when trying to slice up an enemy with your sword. For this reason, you should learn to use the Analyze spell so that you can read the enemy's strengths and weaknesses versus different weapon types directly. Until you get the Analyze spell, trial and error is your best bet. Weapon Type is the most important factor in resolving basic combat, and all of the various creature-class and elemental affinity bonuses are just that: bonuses, applied afterwards. That's not to say you couldn't eventually craft a Skeleton-slaying rapier by magically enhancing it or improving it through use, but if you're starting out then these bonuses play a lesser role. Of course, if everything you have is still unable to cause an iota of damage then, especially early in the game, you may need to resort to attritional combos and use some pretty desperate chain abilities to wear down your opponent. See the Chain Abilities section for help with that. The support spells of Sorcery are also incredibly useful for swinging the balance in your favour. ----------------------------- (b) Elemental Affinities ----------------------------- There are seven 'elements' at work in Vagrant Story. To make sense of its elemental modifier system, you need to look at it as a matter of attack versus defence. The basic rule here is that every elemental attack is weak against defence of the same type, strong versus defence of an opposite type and average versus all else. The elements are: Physical - a neutral attack Air - opposite of Earth Earth - opposite of Air Fire - opposite of Water Water - opposite of Fire Light - opposite of Dark Dark - opposite of Light So if you come up against a Fire Elemental, a Water-based attack is the best way to hurt him and douse his flames. When that Elemental strikes back, you want a defence with the same elemental affinity as his attack (perhaps a shield with a Fire-affinity gem attached to it, or the Enchanter spell 'Pyro Guard' active) to weaken the effectiveness of his assault. Your equipped items will gradually accumulate elemental bonuses as you use them, and these bonuses will improve the items with respect to the creatures they've encountered most often. In effect, your items gain 'experience'. So if you repeatedly fought Fire Elementals with the same equipment then your weapon would gradually acquire Water bonuses after successful attacks, but your armour would pick up Fire bonuses from successfully deflecting fireballs. ----------------------------- (c) Enemy Thought Bubbles ----------------------------- Even though they seem to sense your presence by casting Sorcery spells on your arrival, not all enemies will spot you as soon as you enter a new area. With some of the slower creatures (Zombie Mages, Skeletons resting as bone-piles) it's even possible to sneak up or charge them and attack before they see you. You'll know if a creature has spotted you and is planning to attack, as at this point it will start to display the ellipsis '...' thought-bubble cycle over its head. When this thought-bubble turns to an exclamatory '!' then it is ready to attack and will do so as soon as you are in range. Your enemy will not be able to attack again until it has cycled through its dot-dot-dot bubble to another '!'. If you drop down into an area where a creature is already waiting below with a '!' showing, and you happen to land within range of its attack, that creature will automatically land the first blow. (NB: while enemies will normally wait for Ashley to touch down before they strike, Ashley can happily hit opponents as they sail through the air or drop down from crates. It's one of the built-in advantages of the game, and worth exploiting if you haven't already. Ashley needs to be on solid ground himself before he can attack or cast spells or change weapons, so stay on terra firma and let the enemy do all the leaping. You can go exploring later, and if Ashley is struck while hanging from a ledge then he'll be forced to let go). You can actually lose an enemy by moving out its range of perception, and if its route-finding fails to lead it to you within a few moves, the creature will show a small '?' over its head and stop for a moment. If you don't turn up then it may begin looking for you by following its own pattern of movement. Along with the game's engine cut-scenes, the thought-bubble feature was undoubtedly one of the reasons for those grossly inaccurate comparisons to Konami's Metal Gear Solid made by early previews. I fell for it, so I should know. ----------------------------- (d) Line of Sight ----------------------------- Vagrant Story makes good use of its 3D environment, and you can occasionally exploit this to your advantage. If you take cover behind a wall or corner just as the enemy is about to strike then an attack may be unable to reach you. Weapons will clang hopelessly against stone, resulting in a MISS; Vulcan Lance spells will explode amid a stack of boxes, fizzling out harmlessly. Multiple-Target spells will still frazzle the entire area around you, though, so you're not safe from every kind of attack. And if you're standing behind a wall but on a slope then it may not be clear if the enemy's attack can reach you or not. A far more rewarding exploitation of this trick is to dodge behind an enemy and use them as a living shield just as another enemy is about to attack. If you get your position right, the attacker will strike and damage their colleague with the attack intended for you. The injured party will show a '\|/' thought-bubble when this occurs, and it indicates an undocumented status of Confusion. Confused enemies react normally with regard to themselves (casting Heal or Sorcery spells as usual) but if they attack then they become less discerning in their choice of target. They'll still aim for you if you're within range, but if not then they will happily attack their allies instead. Judicious use of this trick can lead to some amusing in- fighting, as you stand back and watch Lea Monde's finest gouging holes in each other... This system works both ways, so if you're in a tight situation and there are two enemies in a line in front of you then you may not be able to hit the rear enemy, even though their body locations are given as viable targets. If one enemy is obscuring your line-of-sight on the next then they will take the hit intended for their ally in the rearguard. ----------------------------- (e) Enemy Friendship ----------------------------- This trick follows on from the Confusion status, and is the discovery of Daniel Day. I have got it to work by his method, but I think it's simpler than that. Essentially, you need to heal an enemy - possibly several times - so that you rescue it from a critical or near-death situation. You'll know if it works, because the enemy will start following you everywhere, while displaying a little thought bubble with a big, red heart! Daniel's method gets enemies to ally with you by taking advantage of the Confusion status mentioned in the previous section. Repeatedly position yourself so that one enemy gets hit by its colleagues three times in succession. Then keep casting Heal on that enemy until its wounds are healed (it may take more than one Heal spell). If it works, you'll win the friendship of this enemy. The loyal converted unit will fight other enemies on your behalf, and may be targeted for attack by those enemies instead of you. The state will be cancelled if you subsequently attack your enemy, but they seem prepared to ignore the fact that you attacked them previously. If you try to make friends with an enemy by healing them before they've taken three hits, you'll need to start again from scratch to get another three enemy hits on them before they'll be amenable to this technique again. ----------------------------- (f) Status Ailments ----------------------------- Enemies will try to react intelligently to status ailments, either on you or on them, but there are a few loopholes in their AI that you can learn to exploit. For instance, creatures that use Silence will abandon spellcasting after Silencing you, as they know this will cancel your Silent status. Spellcasters are the most powerful enemies in the game, so they will view the maintaining of your Silent status as a priority. All you need to do, then, is Paralyse them physically with the Paralysis Pulse chain. This denies them their only alternative course of action, and effectively befuddles them into doing nothing. You'll see them stumbling backwards, '!' thought-bubble at the ready as they wait for the Paralysis to wear off but don't know what to do in the meantime. Likewise, if you're Poisoned, Paralysed or Numbed by an enemy that's desperate to see its major attack take effect then they may keep trying the same attack after you counter it. So restore yourself and squeeze in an extra attack every time they try it on. Creatures with Sorcery spells often like to keep the odds in their favour. So if, for instance, you hit them with Degenerate or Tarnish, then often they'll keep trying to counter it with repeat castings of Herakles or Prostasia on themselves. This wastes their time and their MP, and stops them turning their attention to hitting you. Even when this technique fails then, at worst, you'll be hit by an enemy whose equipment or attributes have been reduced in power. ----------------------------- (g) The Spoils of War ----------------------------- Enemies often have lots of great kit that you can steal by killing them. But if you're after a specific item that they're carrying, the surest way to obtain it is to repeatedly target the body location to which that equipment is attached. Perhaps you'd like the weapon that they're carrying? Then try to kill them by attacking the arm in which they're holding that weapon. The basic probabilities for item acquisition rest on attacking the following locations with deadly force: Right Arm - equipped weapon, right arm armour Left Arm - equipped shield, left arm armour (equipped weapon for left-handed enemies) Head - head armour, accessory Chest / Body - body armour, items from all adjacent locations Legs - leg armour This isn't a guaranteed system, and you can often win unexpected items that were nowhere near the location you targeted. All it does is positively influence the probability of you getting the item you wanted, rather than determine it. Bear in mind that there's also a probability of you winning a rare item associated with that creature, rather than anything you can see on them. Getting the item you really want may take many, many fights, so there's a lot of luck involved too. In some areas, the items you win will be predetermined. In the first three levels of the game, for example, all of your wins are pre-scripted by the level designers. If the enemy only has one or two pieces of equipment attached, you might as well hit them anywhere you please. The limited choice of booty you can win greatly increases the chance of the prize being exactly what you were after, by default, so you might as well get the job done quickly and keep fighting them until it turns up. ----------------------------- (h) Traps ----------------------------- TRAPS CANNOT KILL YOU. At worst you will be reduced to 1 HP, although that can be enough to introduce the risk of death in a room with at least one enemy left alive. Being killed by a bat you hadn't noticed would be bad enough. It would be more embarrassing still if, in an empty room, you were reduced to 1 HP and then fell into a river / hole / abyss for the loss of 20 HP... Traps can also be reactivated by jumping up and down on them, so for both of these reasons it's safer to walk off a trap rather than jump to be sure of getting clear. To spot traps in advance, spend an Eye of Argon item or cast the Sorcery spell, Eureka. Using either of these methods will reveal the room's traps to all occupants, though, so note that some traps can snare enemies too. Traps attack with an elemental affinity, so your armour bonuses will be taken into account for the final damage total. That includes any Enchanter spells you might have active at that time. TRAP EFFECT Gust Air affinity attack Inferno Fire affinity attack Terra Thrust Earth affinity attack Freeze Water affinity attack Death Vapour Light affinity attack Diabolos Dark affinity attack Eruption Physical affinity attack Poison Trap Causes "Poison" status Paralysis Trap Causes "Paralysis" status Curse Trap Causes "Curse" status Heal Panel Restores HP, reduces RISK to zero Cure Panel Cancels Poison, Numbness and Paralysis status Trap Clear De-activates all trap panels in the room ----------------------------- (i) Interface Options ----------------------------- THE STATUS SCREEN The options available under this sub-menu are woefully undocumented, and you may have been playing the game at a disadvantage by not understanding just how much helpful data it can provide. When you first call up the screen, you'll see Ashley and his basic stats displayed. You can use the D-pad to move the arrow cursor from entry to entry for extra information on what each particular stat means. As shown, pressing the SQUARE button calls up some status info on creature-class and elemental affinities. You can keep pressing the SQUARE button to cycle through the available lists. But if you press the CIRCLE button instead, you'll get a list of Ashley's equipped items. Select any one of these with the arrow cursor and you can cycle through the individual status screens with the SQUARE button. Aside from the useful Creature / Element / Type details, do you see those + and - signs at the end of each entry? These figures tell you all of the bonuses acquired since you last saved or swapped items, with overall pluses shown in blue and losses shown in orange. If you really want to keep track of the progress of your items, this is where to check. You can use the X button to backtrack out of both of these modes. But here's the piece de resistance. Whenever you enter a new room, call up the Status screen and use L1 & R1 to cycle. All of the monsters in that room are instantly revealed and displayed. If you wish, you can immediately check the items they're carrying by using the CIRCLE button. Successfully using the Analyze spell merely fills in the ??? entries with firm details, enabling you to check creature status info on elemental / type rating defences with the SQUARE button, or individual equipment info with the CIRCLE button followed by status info cycling. For extra fun, you can hold the L2 collar button and use the directional pad or the controller's other thumbstick to manipulate the 3D representation of the creature shown, whether that's Ashley or his enemies. It works just as it does in the Encyclopedia. THE SHORTCUT MENU Accessed by holding L2, this is one of the finest and most intuitive pad shortcut menus I've seen since Secret of Mana's 'torus' GUI. The full menu will fill in as you acquire new options, and after a while your hands will learn to find the desired sub-menu without the need to read it. With judicious use of the L2 button, you can also achieve a pseudo-'frame-by- frame' advance in the heat of battle. Hold L2 while an enemy's attack animation is underway and wait for the menu to pop up, indicating that you have regained control. Now release and hold again, release and hold... ----------------------------- (j) Tricks and Tactics ----------------------------- DRAGON BREATH Once you've mastered the guard timing for the tail whip, the deadliest special attack in a dragon's repertoire is its multiple-target breath weapon. So here's the tip: the dragon can only use its breath when you're beyond a certain range. If you run in close at the start of the battle, staying under its head and neck even when it tries to back off, then the dragon will be forced to resort to a lunging bite or tail swipe instead. STAT ROULETTE When you beat a major boss, you'll be given the chance to increase your stats with a little lottery wheel of possible upgrades. Simple HP bonuses are most common, with high STR, INT and AGL modifiers being rarest. As soon as you can read it when the wheel starts to turn, look at the second prize to roll down through the window. If it's something you wouldn't mind having, start jamming on the button immediately for all you're worth and you'll get it. Likewise, if it's completely undesirable, you should let the wheel roll on a little before you press. It would seem that the bonus highlighted in the window when you press really is the one you get, but being able to pick out a good one at such high speed is no better than sheer luck. SAVE FILES AND ELIXIRS I thought this was too obvious to mention, as surely you must have used it before in any game with the same mechanisms, but people keep sending it in... Use your elixirs after you've saved. If you get a string of +1 results, reload and try again for those +4s before saving again. Though if you find yourself replaying boss battles for better results, please bear in mind that your time on Earth is desperately short and you still have much to achieve. CHECKING CHESTS If you open a chest, then decide that you haven't got inventory space to take advantage of its spoils, you can opt to close the chest immediately with the End (X button) option. The chest will close again and retain its treasures. If you take so much as one item, though, anything you leave behind will be lost. Prizes marked in yellow text are impossible to ignore, as these are key items required for the game to progress. ============================================== 6. WEAPONS ============================================== Getting to know your weapons intimately is the mark of a successful Riskbreaker, and this 'technical' side of gameplay carries more tactical weight in Vagrant Story than in most of Square's recent RPGs. --------------------- (a) BLADE ATTRIBUTES --------------------- WEAPON STR When you arm yourself with a weapon, its STR, INT and AGL values are added to your own for the purpose of resolving combat. So the relative powerfulness of a weapon is determined by its attributes -- the higher they are, the better. STR determines your base damage for melee combat, so the stronger the weapon, the more damage it will cause. As you progress, you'll discover that 'better' weapons are those that start with a higher STR value. WEAPON INT Your capacity for magical damage rests on your INT, and some weapons have better INT ratings that will improve your spellcasting potential. The staff, especially, is designed to be used by budding wizards. WEAPON AGL Your AGL determines your attack speed (among other things) so you'll find that heavier weapons have a lower AGL - which may even be negative for very slow, cumbersome hammers and the like - while faster, lighter daggers can actually improve your combat AGL. WEAPON RISK As weapon designs improve to deliver greater STR or longer range, the pay-off is always a higher RISK rating for the blade. Every time you make a first strike with a weapon, the amount added to your RISK bar will correlate directly to the RISK of the weapon you're using. -------------------------- (b) WEAPON TYPE -------------------------- As for the kinds of weapon you designate, the Type rating is far more important than you may initially realise. All creatures and armoured foes will have a set resistance to various types of weapon. At the start of the game, when your weapons have no exceptional bonuses, Type carries even more importance in dealing damage than creature-class and elemental affinities put together. There are three Type ratings for weapons: Blunt, Edged, and Piercing. Blunt weapons rely on bludgeoning foes for damage; Edged weapons cut through the enemy; and Piercing weapons rely on the focus of energy on a sharp point to deliver a puncturing attack. In short: if you draw a weapon against a foe and suddenly discover a prospect of zero damage or 0% chance of hitting, the chances are that you're using the wrong Type of weapon. Try swapping to a different weapon type, even if you've dedicated that weapon to fighting a different class of creature, and see if it's suddenly better against that creature. Eventually, you may discover that you need to nurture a different Type of weapon against the class of creature you're fighting. The workshop can help here, letting you turn a rapier with Phantom bonuses into a hammer, and so on. ---------------------------- (c) EXPERIENCE FOR WEAPONS ---------------------------- While Ashley Riot doesn't gain experience in any conventional RPG sense, his equipment does. The more you use a particular item, the better it gets at its job. The most important rule in Vagrant Story is that you should never discard anything you've used successfully. Instead, upgrade it and reforge it when the opportunity presents itself. The central principle of the game's system is that everything you equip will improve with use, so an old bronze helmet that's been through the wars will offer more head protection than a brand new iron one you've just discovered. This is where the Workshops come in: by combining that old bronze helmet with the iron one, you'll create a brand new helm in superior hagane alloy that will boast the strengths of the iron and the accumulated experience of the bronze. The way that the experience system works is very simple. If your bronze helm is frazzled by a fireball, its resistance to fire stands a chance of increasing. This would equate to an increase of +1 in its Fire statistic, but may also lead to a decrease in a different statistic. When such changes occur, they are displayed in the lower left corner: a blue message indicates a stat increase, while an orange message reports a stat drop. You can disable this Weapon Status display in the Options menu. BASIC WEAPON DEDICATION The simple version of this tactic is to choose a weapon that you'll use solely and exclusively against a particular class of creature, then stick with it. In other words, reserve a weapon that's solely for use against Humans; carry a different weapon that's solely for use against Beasts; and so on. Perhaps you'll decide, early on, that the Rapier makes a great zombie-bursting tool: in which case, stop to equip the Rapier whenever you fight zombies or any other form of Undead creature. By doing so, you put that weapon on the fast track to becoming a zombie-slayer, accumulating bonuses against all creatures in the Undead class and improving its performance dramatically. This can mean a lot of fiddling with your inventory in areas with mixed class foes - personally, I'm not averse to swiping the odd zombie with a dragon-spear for the sake of an easy life - but if you're reasonably diligent then you'll soon establish an arsenal of powerful and dedicated weaponry. The other bonuses you'll start to clock up are those of elemental affinity. In the Wine Cellar, for instance, you'll be hitting both Silver Wolves and Bats. Bats have an Air affinity, being weak versus Earth, while Silver Wolves are Dark-aligned with a weakness to Light. So while both will give up Beast bonuses, you'll also get Earth+1 / Air-1 and Light+1 / Dark-1 bonuses attaching themselves to your weapon too. Such bonuses for weapons are only possible on the first hit of an attack, and subsequently chained moves will not accumulate any further bonuses. So if you want to advance a weapon quickly, stick with single hits instead of combos. ADVANCED WEAPON DEDICATION It's also possible to 'double up' quite efficiently, so that you can get a weapon to be effective against more than one class of creature, and the way to do that efficiently is to consult the Quick Manual on the relatively 'safe' gaps between class affinities. Essentially, the best combinations are Human and Phantom, Beast and Dragon, Undead and Evil. Instead of having six different weapons, you could try to get by with three. If this is hurting your head then that's all you need to know, and you can move on now. Although this is explained in the Quick Manual, it doesn't really tell you how to exploit it. I've got more space available to me than the poor manual writer, though, so here goes. When you win a bonus of +1 on your equipment through use, there's also a chance of a -1 being applied to another of the equipment's attributes. With the elemental modifiers, that's easy to guess. If you get a Fire +1, then a Water -1 is most likely to balance it out. But with creature classes, there's a more complex system of priorities. It looks like this, and you're welcome to pull faces of anguish at this stage. EVIL-> HUMAN-> BEAST-> UNDEAD-> PHANTOM-> DRAGON-> EVIL-> HUMAN->... Say you've got a Dragon-slaying weapon. That means for every time you get a +1 against Dragons, any -1 modifiers are mostly likely to come from the next immediate classes in the list, in that order of priority. Here, Evil follows the Dragon so that means Evil is the class most likely to get a -1 for every Dragon +1. Human is next most likely to see a -1, and so on. (This list actually wraps around, too, so Beast, Undead and Phantom would follow after Human). Go check against your weapons now and see how it's already worked on your gear. To take advantage of this, you could actually use one weapon against two creature classes. Now, if you used your Dragon-slayer to kill Dragons then your weapon's Phantom affinity would hardly ever be affected. But every time you then killed a Phantom, you'd almost always be losing Dragon points. So you need to balance out the probabilities to find the classes that least interfere with each other. In this instance, the Dragon-slayer could happily deal with Beasts too and only occasionally would you lose some of your hard-fought points. An Evil weapon could be doubled to fight Undead, and a Phantom weapon could be doubled for Humans. In the long term, this system is *slightly* slower than creating weapons dedicated solely to one class, as sometimes you will exchange points between the two classes. Also, your weapon's elemental affinities may advance more slowly because of the broader range of creatures you're attacking. Then there's the issue of gem attachment, that reintroduces the menu-fiddling you might have been hoping to avoid... Nevertheless it's something to consider, especially if you're fed up with weapon-swapping or want to free up your inventory for greater carrying capacity. ---------------------- (d) EQUIPMENT TITLES ---------------------- When looking at the information on weapons or items you possess, you might have seen some described, variously, as a "Knightly Weapon" or "Prestigious Shield". To understand this, look at the stats that the item possesses. The rule that governs an item's calibre or 'title' is determined by the two highest values it can boast in either creature class or elemental affinity. Both values need to reach the next plateau to advance: so you might have a weapon that has almost 100 vs Human-class opponents, but perhaps the next-highest value in either creature-class or elemental attributes is 55. This would still mean you have no more than a Warlord's Weapon, because the secondary factor is still only in the 50-59 range. It's only when these attributes jointly achieve a certain minimum attribute level that an item's fame or 'title' is allowed to advance. Minimum Attributes Title Below 10 Weapon / Shield / Armour 10 to 19 Warrior's Weapon / Shield / Armour 20 to 29 Knightly Weapon / Shield / Armour 30 to 39 Prestigious Weapon / Shield / Armour 40 to 49 Brave Weapon / Shield / Armour 50 to 59 Warlord's Weapon / Shield / Armour 60 to 69 Champion's Weapon / Shield / Armour 70 to 79 Glorious Weapon / Shield /Armour 80 to 89 Legendary Weapon / Shield / Armour 90 to 99 Supreme Weapon / Shield / Armour above 99 Divine Weapon / Shield / Armour The two highest values can be drawn from either creature class or elemental affinity, so a Glorious Weapon could be Dragon 76 / Fire 71, or Dragon 76 / Beast 71, or Fire 71 / Light 76, and so on. The title applies to the finished weapon, not the Blade, so you may also raise its prestige by adding gems that boost the final stats. ------------------------ (e) CHOOSING WEAPONS ------------------------ Picking the right weapon for the job is never easy to predict when you first pick up Vagrant Story. By way of example, a mental association with frilly duelling shirts and bodkins meant that I made the mistake of reserving a Rapier for use against Phantoms, and only later did I discover that I was inadvertently hindering myself. I've compiled the following to help you avoid my mistakes, but please bear in mind that it inevitably includes a certain measure of personal taste, too. If you want to use a dagger when I've recommended a two-handed sword, look at the advantages and disadvantages entailed. As long as you understand the factors involved, your choice should hopefully be as informed as it is personal. HUMAN CLASS WEAPONRY The majority of human-class opponents wear additional pieces of armour, so Blunt weapons enjoy many advantages here. On the other hand, you'll be fighting more human-class opponents than anything else, so for this class it's more important to pick a comfortable weapon that you really enjoy using. My own attachment to Fandango meant that, bar an upgrade to Hagane, I stuck with it for the entire game and eventually beat Asura with it. Recommended Gems: Haeralis, Orlandu Recommended Accessories: Titan's Ring, Lau Fei's Armlet BEAST CLASS WEAPONRY The majority of beasts are skin and fur, and the first creatures you meet will be susceptible to Edged and Piercing weapons. The armoured shells of Crabs are weak versus Blunt weapons but your most testing Beast battles will be against Ogres and Ogre Lords, whose leathery hides possess a natural resistance to Blunt weapons, so that's another reason to stick with the other types. Recommended Gems: Orion, Ogmius Recommended Accessories: Swan Song, Pushpaka UNDEAD CLASS WEAPONRY Piercing weapons deal well with reanimated flesh, but a Blunt weapon exhibits bone-shattering power against skeletons. You'll also meet zombie versions of creatures from the other classes on occasion, so there's no perfect choice. Since the Dead Who Walk tend to do so quite slowly, you can be sure of getting near enough to use a close-quarter sword or dagger. Silver weapons come with automatic bonuses against Undead: I used the early find of the Soul Kiss dagger and honed it on zombies, later reforging it into a more powerful type of silver blade. Recommended Gems: Iocus, Balvus Recommended Accessories: Rood Necklace, Edgar's Earrings, Cross Choker PHANTOM CLASS WEAPONRY Generally speaking, Piercing weapons are the most ineffectual against Phantoms (some kind of ectoplasmic property, no doubt). Their ability to materialise in and out of range similarly rules out very short daggers, unless you want to do a lot of running around. But this class includes Elementals, whose attacks are magical in nature, so you should still lean towards one-handed weapons that would allow the simultaneous use of a shield decorated with protective gems. Consider an intelligence-boosting staff to help you engage in magical battles: granted, it's a low-STR club, and difficult to chain for physical attacks, but the INT-boost is a good defensive measure. Recommended Gems: Trinity, Beowulf Recommended Accessories: Ghost Hound, Rune Earrings, Beaded Anklet DRAGON CLASS WEAPONRY If you want to get into the dragon-slaying business on a professional level, you can't beat a scale-piercing spear or two-handed sword. Reach is very important if you want to be able to locate weak spots other than the head, and the dragon will make every effort to stay facing you. Build up your blade by practising on the copious numbers of Lizardmen, as you'll only meet dragons in a boss capacity. Since Lizardmen can't use spells or special attacks, a shield is less important anyway. If you would rather have a one-handed weapon and then have to face off a fully grown dragon, a neat trick is to get in under its head and stay close. The dragon can't use its breath attack if you're practically hanging from its neck, so you'll only have to fend off its less serious bite attack instead. Recommended Gems: Dragonite, Sigguld Recommended Accessories: Dragonhead, Faufnir's Tear EVIL CLASS WEAPONRY The majority of Evil creatures you'll meet will be able to fly or teleport, so the extreme range of a crossbow can prove useful here. To take on more fearsome creatures, such as those suits of animated armour from the Dullahan upwards, a stronger melee weapon and shield combination needs to be invested in too. Look for a good sword or hammer to complement the crossbow, or you'll be rendered ineffectual towards the end of the game. Recommended Gems: Demonia, Angel Pearl (for Dark enemies only) Recommended Accessories: Agales' Chain, Rune Earrings, Balam Ring ---------------------- (f) WEAPON CATEGORIES ---------------------- DAGGERS The advantages of the dagger reside in its speed, its friendly agility modifiers and its low RISK. This class of weapons actually encompasses all forms of short blade, up to short swords: only a few are genuine Piercing weapons, with heavier blades featuring a curve or hook and thus counting as Edged weapons. The payoff, as you can guess, is that the range remains resolutely short, and this can greatly reduce the choice of hit location when trying to catch up with a fast opponent. Nevertheless, more advanced designs like the Khukuri and the Baselard also offer extreme weapon STR and damage potential, even though the base RISK remains consistently at 1 (even the Stiletto and Jamadhar, the most powerful daggers, have a base RISK of only 2). SWORDS The stalwart sword is likely to be the weapon of choice for some players, allowing the simultaneous use of a shield for a balanced measure of offence and defence. With later grips providing spaces for up to three gems, this set-up can really benefit the player who enjoys using both magic and fighting skills in combination. There's a definite Eastern bent to Vagrant Story's one-handed swords - literally - as most of them feature the innovation of a curved blade to focus the force of the cut at the point of contact (historically, many European designs had straight edges with a tapered point for 'cut and thrust'). The Rapier appears to be the only form of Piercing sword in the game, but if you fancy sticking with one for its unique bonuses against certain creatures then your own increase in strength will gradually overcome the shortfall in the blade itself. AXES & MACES The reason for grouping both weapon types in this category is that they share the same grips, to which you may fit either Blunt or Edged heads. As with the sword, these one-handed weapons allow the use of a shield for both offence and defence in equal measure. If you had to choose between sword or mace and axe, the difference would rest not just on the attributes of the available blades and grips but also in the usefulness of the various Break Arts against your intended foes. STAVES The purpose of the staff is to improve your spell-casting ability by raising your intelligence rather than your strength. It's your opportunity to play a proper wizard rather than the warrior-mage that sums up Ashley's normal disposition. To act the part, you should also look to equip other items that improve your intellect. Look for accessories with a high INT rating, and also keep an eye out for gems like Hellraiser, Polaris, Manabreaker and the myriad high elemental gems with an INT boost of 6. The bonus of higher intelligence means that a staff also provides magical *defence* as well as offence, so it can be worth taking a bit of time to cultivate one. By the time you come to replay, you'll be hurling stronger fireballs than Ifrit can muster. The physical strength of a staff is lousy, by way of balance, but you can still improve its performance dramatically by building it up against enemies. It's remarkably tricky to combo at first, thanks to some very sudden and unexpected timings attached to its animations, but in the context you should never perform more than single hits or short special effect chains anyway (Gain Magic can be useful when the Drain Magic spell is unavailable or ineffective). RISK is a real probability-killer, so you want to keep it in single figures to maximise your potential for offensive Warlock spells. On the other hand, note that Sorcery and Shaman spells thrive on RISK. GREAT SWORDS This category of two-handed weapon covers everything from the Scottish Claymore to the Japanese Nodachi, but straight-edged European designs are dominant. In exchange for the loss of your shield, you gain the advantage of superior range and immense damage. That extra reach can mean the difference between being hit by a killer spell and being able to cut down a materialising Lich Lord before he can open his gob, so the best tactic for using this weapon is to adopt a 'first strike' mentality. The slow attack rate can make it less intuitive to combo for long periods, but the principle here is that you shouldn't need more than a few hits to slay anything. GREAT AXES Much the same goes here as for Great Swords. An occasional advantage is that the Runkasyle, Bhuj Type and Elephant grips have slightly better Edged or Blunt ratings over the sword's Side Ring and Power Palm hilts. It can be a less agile weapon than the Great Sword, by way of pay-off. HEAVY MACES If you thought one-handed maces were fun, wait till you have a swing on these stars. This class culminates in the deadly Destroyer, which is as much fun as you can have with a big stick (unless you manage to swipe a Minotaur's club - consult the Secrets and Extras section for details on how to do this). Although the game's descriptions portray many of these hammers as being effective against armour, that's a little misleading: it really depends on the armour, and whether it's weak or strong versus Blunt attacks, rather than the blade itself. There are plenty of armour and shield types designed to withstand Blunt attacks. POLEARMS Range is the selling point of the polearm. It gives you a full choice of enemy hit locations from a long distance, and you should be able to polish off most enemies before they can get near enough to raise their weapons. With only slightly less reach, the damage is also more respectable than the crossbow. Fortuitously, there's none of the real-world drawback of wielding space either (consider a man with a dagger standing one step away from a man with a polearm - who'd win, do you think?). These melee weapons are also useful against large bosses, with practically every dragon in the game having a weak spot versus Piercing that the polearm is best placed to find. It's not exactly a magical weapon, and pole grips tend to be short on gem slots in comparison with other classes, leaving you with little beyond the brute force of the blade. That's often sufficient to get the job done, though sometimes you'll wish you'd been carrying a shield. CROSSBOWS This projectile weapon possesses an extreme range that is balanced by its low damage potential and high base RISK. Crossbows are remarkably easy to combo, though, and one way to exploit them is to use them for special effect chains where damage isn't the priority - silencing or paralysing enemies, for instance - before you move in with a melee weapon. Different models of crossbow will fire either Piercing bolts or Blunt bullets, so it's important to find a grip with ammunition that matches the attack type of the 'blade'. If you're about to upgrade a crossbow through combination, move the cursor up to the result beforehand to check that you're not about to create something for which you don't possess an advantageous grip. This reflects the historical difference between crossbows that were used to hunt game (the 'prodd', or stone-bow, wouldn't tear huge holes when you wanted the fur) and those that were used to hunt people (a pointed steel tip could punch through armour). UNARMED COMBAT This is incredible fun for the accomplished player, rather than a serious combat option, but still worth investigating when you've mastered your core arsenal. There's nothing quite like smacking a dragon in the jaw and seeing it collapse, or humiliating thousands of years of esoteric magical wisdom by dropping a Lich with a gut-punch, to prove to yourself that you've beaten the game. Martial Art attacks rely on bare fists, and you won't gain any class or affinity bonuses for your hands by using them, so advancement is purely a matter of scoring kills to earn those Break Arts. The fastest way to do this, therefore, is to return to the early levels - Wine Cellar, Catacombs etc. - and to start duffing up bats, wolves and zombies (when starting out, a cheap blast of Heal magic will soften up Undead opponents for a quick killer punch). The advantage of your hands remaining 'neutral' is that you won't even need to swap weapons for this task. Martial Arts moves are just as effective when carried out with a shield equipped, as your left hand will simply pummel the victim with the shield's blazon. SHIELDS Not strictly a weapon, but it enjoys more active use than the rest of your armour. It's easy to underestimate the value of a shield when you see the damage attached to those big two-handers, but the difference it can make is phenomenal. Like weapons, shields improve through use: so if you stick with one and let it soak up the fractures and fireballs of a hundred battles, perhaps reworking it or upgrading it occasionally to take advantage of some new item's positive modifiers, you'll end up with a shield that can deflect the lightning of the gods themselves. When you cast a spell on yourself in Battle Mode, the shield's bonuses will count against you. If you happen to have a Manabreaker equipped, that means there's a 20% chance of your own spell failing to affect you. Your best bet is to disarm and cast the spell, but this isn't always possible in the heat of battle. In such circumstances, using an item with the same effect as the spell would be the surest course of action. A point about gems intended for shield use. For one thing, the modifiers for gems like Manabreaker and Nightkiller don't seem to be cumulative when doubled or tripled up, as you might expect. A Shield with three Manabreakers still seems to possess only a 20% chance of a causing a spell to miss (and in practice, it seems like far more than four in five spells cast by enemies hit their mark: but when *you* really need a Heal spell to take effect on yourself, and can't afford to let your shield drop, sure enough...). One way to counter Manabreaker's -20% is to have a Hellraiser gem (+20% spell success) equipped to your weapon: I'm not keen on this technique, though, as both Hellraiser and Manabreaker possess lousy stat increases for the space they take up. When your shield is powerful enough, do away with Manabreaker and find something better to put in its place. ============================================== 7. RISK ============================================== Admittedly, RISK is an odd game concept. The premise is that if you spend a long time attacking one enemy with chain combos or defence abilities, you'll have spent your concentration and will have less focus for dealing with further attacks or defending against other enemies present. But in reality it's more of an artificial balancing mechanism for the idiosyncratic combat system, to ensure that you can't afford to just rattle off chains indefinitely. The more you try to fit into each attack by using battle abilities, the less effective you become in subsequent attacks. So the clever fighter learns when to use RISK moves and when not. If you've found the game incredibly tough without knowing why, the chances are that you've been letting your RISK run riot by assuming that it's all about chaining hits. It is not. Low RISK: chance to hit is greater. Damage done is greater. Enemy chance to hit is lower. Enemy damage done is lower. This applies to Warlock spells, Special Attacks and Break Arts for both sides as well as ordinary melee combat. (NB the chance of success for both Sorcery spells and Shaman spells is *lower*, however). High RISK: chance to hit is reduced. Damage inflicted is reduced. Enemy chance to hit is higher. Enemy damage done is higher. This applies to spells, Special Attacks and Break Arts for both sides as well as ordinary melee combat. (NB the chance of success for both Sorcery spells and Shaman spells is *higher*, however). The solution is to restrict yourself to single hits and short combos. If you can't seem to hurt the enemy with normal attacks, check first that you're using the right weapon type for the job. If you read the Chain Abilities tips then you'll find a few pointers for causing more damage against tough creatures. Using long chains is a fighting style rather than a necessity, so don't assume you can't avoid a high RISK. Use long chains only when your enemies are either extremely tough to dent, or if you think you have a chance of finishing off the main opponent by persevering with the chain you've initiated. Breaking down your combos is another technique: RISK starts to accumulate additionally through 'persistence', so two six-hitters will incur less RISK than one 12-hitter. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ (a) USING AND REDUCING RISK ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ USE YOUR VERA ITEMS I finished my first playthrough with almost a hundred Vera Roots unused. This made me feel remarkably stupid about all the times I'd spent waiting for my RISK to fall before entering the next room. When you need these items, the game seems to provide them in the form of spoils from enemy kills; so don't be afraid to make use of them when you have them. RISKBREAK The second Staff Break Art, Riskbreak, has RISK-reducing powers. It still needs Vera help on occasion, though -- see Break Arts. HEAL PANELS If you know you're near one, a Heal Panel cancels all RISK immediately. THE PASSAGE OF TIME RISK falls naturally over time in any case, but the process is faster when you don't have your weapons drawn in Battle Mode. CRITICAL HITS As your RISK rises, so does your chance of scoring a critical hit. This is identified by a loud explosion of extra sparks when the weapon first connects, and the result is double damage for that hit. If you chain an attack onto a critical hit, it becomes a critical chain and each subsequent hit in that chain will have its damage doubled too. You can only score a critical on the first hit of any chain. ATTRITIONAL COMBOS There are occasions when you'll be forced to let your RISK rise to dangerous levels, and that's when the enemy is seemingly invulnerable. If your chance of success is 0 damage or 0% success with everything you've got (try different weapon types first), and you can't retreat, you'll need to wear them down through repeated attacks in the hope of penetrating their defences. Combo damage increases slightly with each successful chain, so if you chain stubbornly then you can begin to improve on that 0 damage, though very slowly. Read the Chain Abilities section for more information. Don't forget that you can also use Sorcerer spells like Tarnish, Prostasia, Degenerate and Herakles to swing the odds in your favour before embarking on such combos. Unless the spell has a 0% chance of success, which indicates an enemy immunity, you'll save yourself a lot of effort through this judicious use of magic. SHAMAN SPELLS AND RISK Here's one area where high RISK can really help you out. High RISK means that enemy spells will hurt you more, but those same modifiers will also work for you when you try to cast a spell on yourself. A Heal spell cast when your RISK is at 100 will restore many more points of damage. SORCERY SPELLS AND RISK This is another area where RISK positively benefits your chances of success. If you're having trouble getting a Degenerate or Analyze to work, but the percentage for success is shown as a real possibility (i.e. above 0%), that percentage chance will increase with RISK. WEAPON RISK The RISK rating attached to Blades is added to your RISK total whenever that weapon makes a first strike. It doesn't have any further consequence for a chain, where the RISK rating of the chain abilities will come into play instead. A high base RISK will be more noticeable when you do a series of single hits or short chains, but if you enjoy tacking on long chains then it won't be so important. ============================================== 8. BREAK ARTS ============================================== The Break Arts are class-specific groups of weapon techniques that you'll master over the course of the game. Each class of weapons has four Break Arts to learn, and any weapon within that class can be used to perform any of the four Break Arts. Generally speaking, the really useful Break Arts are those that have special effects (i.e. paralysing an enemy or tarnishing armour); those that greatly increase either the range or the strength of the weapon; and those that change the weapon's attributes for something that might be more appropriate in context (i.e. getting a Piercing-Type attack from an Edged Great Sword). Learning Break Arts is achieved by clocking up kills. Or, more precisely, killing blows: the kill will be attributed to whatever weapon type delivered the attack that actually finished off the opponent. Using a Break Art makes an immediate drain on your Health Points, with the more powerful versions demanding more of your life: Break Art Level HP Cost 1st 25 2nd 40 3rd 55 4th 75 Note that the power and effectiveness of a Break Art is always dependent on the enemy it is used against. In the best conditions, you will find that your victim is weak versus both the Break Art's affinity and its Type rating. This means that a 1st level Break Art could be more effective than a 4th level one in certain circumstances. At other times, you might even fare better by delivering a single, normal weapon blow than by trying to use a Break Art at all. I've seen Break Arts described as finishing moves, but that's highly misleading (and unlikely to work for certain fighting styles). The success rate of a Break Art is adversely affected by high RISK, in much the same fashion as normal attacks, so it's more commonly at its most powerful at the start of battle. You can improve your chance of hitting by raising your AGL with Invigorate. Increase the damage by raising your own STR with Herakles and the weapon's STR with Prostasia. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ (a) The Break Art / Heal Trick ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Here's a really easy trick that actually feels slightly cheap, especially when you use it to beat a boss who's barely finished making their big entrance scene. Find a Break Art that does a reasonable amount of damage to your opponent (i.e. either its Affinity, or Type, or both, will exploit an enemy weakness). With your RISK at or near zero, use it once, twice, three times - as much as you think is safe - and then heal unto you're fully restored. Then repeat the process. It really works, and because your RISK never rises you're as safe as you can be against enemy attack. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ (b) The Break Art List ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ -------------- DAGGER -------------- (1) Whistle Sting Bludgeons foe with focused power from the blade. Affinity: as Weapon Type: Blunt (2) Shadoweave Paralyses foe with a damaging strike. Affinity: Dark Type: Blunt (3) Double Fang Repeatedly strikes the same location. Affinity: as Weapon Type: Piercing (4) Wyrm Scorn Splits the blade to attack from all directions. Affinity: as Weapon Type: Piercing -------------- SWORD -------------- (1) Rending Gale Launches a sonic wave to shred foe to pieces. Affinity: as Weapon Type: Piercing This Art has a tremendous range to rival polearms and even crossbows. (2) Vile Scar Forms a poisonous cloud to choke the enemy. Affinity: as Weapon Type: Edged The toxic aspect of this Art works like Poison Mist, and will thus have no effect on immune creatures such as Undead. (3) Cherry Ronde Encases both blade and foe in an icy sheath. Affinity: Water Type: Edged (4) Papillon Reel Calls heavenly light down into the blade. Affinity: Light Type: Edged -------------- GREAT SWORD -------------- (1) Sunder Focused energies cut the life from foe. Affinity: as Weapon Type: Piercing (2) Thunderwave Paralyses foe with a damaging strike. Affinity: Air Type: Edged (3) Swallow Slash A quick flick of the blade deals double damage. Affinity: as Weapon Type: Edged This is one of the most powerful Break Arts available, as it's effectively a single critical hit on call. (4) Advent Sign Rippling holy energy shreds foe. Affinity: Light Type: Edged In exchange for Light affinity, the range of this Art is seriously limited. -------------- AXE & MACE -------------- (1) Mistral Edge Whips a stunning sheet of air at foe. Affinity: as Weapon Type: Edged (2) Glacial Gale Numbs foe with a damaging strike. Affinity: Air Type: Edged (3) Killer Mantis A blinding rush damages and saps MP from foe. Affinity: as Weapon Type: Edged (4) Black Nebula Blasts foe with a burst of negative energy. Affinity: Dark Type: Blunt -------------- GREAT AXE -------------- (1) Bear Claw Smashes foe with a luminescent downward strike. Affinity: as Weapon Type: Blunt (2) Accursed Umbra Curses foe with a damaging strike. Affinity: as Weapon Type: Blunt Duplicates the effects of the spell, Curse. (3) Iron Ripper Powerful blow that damages both armour and foe. Affinity: as Weapon Type: Blunt (4) Emetic Bomb Unleashes a series of slashing blows. Affinity: as Weapon Type: Edged Great name, that. -------------- STAFF -------------- (1) Sirocco Searing hot winds and wildfire engulf foe. Affinity: Fire Type: Blunt Instead of being straightforward attacks, the Staff's Arts tend to play up its role as a wizard's conjuring zapstick. (2) Riskbreak Focused blow that deals damage and reduces RISK. Affinity: as Weapon Type: Piercing This is the only type of Break Art - or, indeed, ability -- that reduces RISK, so it's rather special. However, since the hit needs to connect successfully for the RISK reduction to take place, then it's slightly limited on its own: if your RISK is 100, then the chances of a Riskbreak actually working are going to be minimal. Using a cheap Vera Root beforehand is often enough to get decent odds on cancelling the rest. (3) Gravis Aether Solidifies aether to crush foe. Affinity: Earth Type: Blunt (4) Trinity Pulse Crushes foe with a triad of shockwaves. Affinity: as Weapon Type: Blunt -------------- HEAVY MACE -------------- (1) Bonecrusher Energy release metes out a bone-crushing blow. Affinity: as Weapon Type: Blunt (2) Quickshock Numbs foe with a damaging strike. Affinity: Air Type: Blunt (3) Ignis Wheel A spreading sheet of flame engulfs foe. Affinity: As Weapon & Fire Type: Blunt (4) Hex Flux Fuses powers of Light and Darkness in one. Affinity: Light & Dark Type: Blunt -------------- POLEARM -------------- (1) Ruination Lashes out with a focused thrust of energy. Affinity: as Weapon Type: Piercing (2) Scythe Wind Inflicts damage and tarnishes arms and armour. Affinity: Air Type: Piercing (3) Giga Tempest Energy storm damages both armour and foe. Affinity: as Weapon Type: Piercing (4) Spiral Scourge Whips air moisture into a penetrating whirlwind. Affinity: Water Type: Piercing -------------- CROSSBOW -------------- (1) Brimstone Hail Unleashes the fury of the Dark to damage foe. Affinity: Fire & Dark Type: Piercing (2) Heaven's Scorn The haft becomes a conduit for heaven's light. Affinity: Air & Light Type: Piercing (3) Death Wail Fires a bolt of pure demonic energy. Affinity: Earth & Dark Type: Piercing (4) Sanctus Flare Channels the powers of the dragons of light. Affinity: Water & Light Type: Piercing Crossbow Arts reduce in range as they get stronger, and this one actually has a range more appropriate to melee weapons. -------------- BARE HANDS -------------- (1) Lotus Palm Focuses spirit into Ashley's fist. Affinity: Physical Type: Blunt (2) Vertigo Numbs foe with a damaging strike. Affinity: Physical Type: Blunt (3) Vermillion Aura Strikes the Dark using the power of light. Affinity: Light Type: Blunt (4) Retribution Turns the power of the Dark against itself. Affinity: Dark Type: Blunt ============================================== 9. CHAIN ABILITIES ============================================== To acquire Chain and Defence Abilities, you simply need to land enough hits on enemies to reach the next target figure. That includes chains themselves, so a five-hitter will bring you five steps closer to the next ability. --------------------------- (a) Chain List --------------------------- Heavy Shot RISK: 1 Information: Inflicts an amount of additional damage equal to 70% of damage dealt. The RISK of 1 makes this your basic combo ingredient for normal usage. It possesses no special effect, and actually has a slight negative modifier on its chance to hit: if your foe is resistant to chains, Heavy Shot will miss more often than most. However, the damage it causes is significant enough when successful that it's a good chain for preceding special chains like Gain Magic. Gain Life RISK: 2 Information: Regenerates an amount of Ashley's HP equal to 30% of damage dealt. It's not especially powerful on its own, and if you use it to follow a low- damage chain then you'll have a hard time recouping health. To maximise its power, use it after a heavy hitter or gradually build up the HP it regains by alternating it in a longer chain. Mind Assault RISK: 1 Information: Reduces foe's MP by an amount equal to 30% of damage dealt. There's no personal gain for this chain, as it's purely designed for ripping MPs from enemies. If you use it early on in a duel then you can stop some creatures casting their most powerful spells. When it starts turning up zeroes then you've cleaned them out, although, like Ashley, they will regenerate mana over time. Gain Magic RISK: 2 Information: Regenerates an amount of Ashley's MP equal to 30% of damage dealt. The amount of MP you gain is directly proportional to the damage inflicted by the previous hit, so there are two ways to maximise the effectiveness of this chain. If your enemy is easy to hurt, you should immediately follow the initial strike with Gain Magic to take advantage of that massive opening damage. This is often enough to refill your entire Mana Bar in one stroke, allowing you to concentrate on dealing damage thereafter. If your opponent is hard to hurt, and you're dealing damage in pitiful figures, throw this into a chain like Raging Ache / Heavy Shot and alternate it a few times to claw back a few single-figure MP gains. Raging Ache RISK: 1 Information: Inflicts an amount of additional damage equal to 10% of the damage Ashley has sustained. Right, here it is. Raging Ache is the most important chain in the game. Why? Because of that "10% of the damage Ashley has sustained". If you're below full health, Raging Ache gets better. So if you're losing a fight, Raging Ache will help you win. Say you have a max of 250 HP, and you're down to 80. That means Raging Ache will initially carry an extra 17 HP damage (10% of 170) on its opening blow, and will just keep growing from there. Even if the chance to hit and hurt with the first blow said something like 0 / 0%, and proved correct, Raging Ache would do that base 0 + 17 HP damage when chained successfully - and would climb from there. You see the potential? And because it's so cheap in RISK, you can afford to keep alternating it with something like Heavy Shot, Instill or even Crimson Pain and do major damage in a short space. There's a whole fighting style here based on keeping yourself weak and not healing every point of damage as soon as you lose it, and Raging Ache is the key to that technique. Mind Ache RISK: 1 Information: Reduces foe's MP by an amount equal to 20% of the MP Ashley has used. This is the Raging Ache of MPs, though less useful. If you really want to strip an enemy of Mana, go in after casting several spells and alternate Mind Ache with Mind Assault. Unless you're up against a spellcaster boss, you'll completely destroy their magic potential within a few hits. Temper RISK: 2 Information: Inflicts an additional 40% of damage on foe and repairs a small amount of weapon DP. In practice, Temper isn't a very effective weapon-healer because it needs to be used in chains. And every time you land a first blow on an opponent, you're damaging your weapon. So the best you can hope for Temper to achieve is to slow your weapon's degradation, rather than restoring all of its DP. Crimson Pain RISK: 2 Information: Inflicts an additional 100% of damage on foe and deals 30% of base damage to Ashley. This looks like a stupid idea at first: "What, I have to take damage to inflict it?" But just you see if it isn't. If you're on full health then alternating Crimson Pain with Raging Ache is one of the most powerful combos in the game, and matches high damage with a high success rate as a result of the danger it incurs. If you want to make short work of a Training Dummy for the item bonuses then this is precisely the combo to use. The damage inflicted by Crimson Pain starts at the weapon arm and spreads outwards, so the first sign of overuse will be a yellow / amber / red arm on the indicator followed by an "Attack 50%" warning. One odd thing to try with Crimson Pain is to alternate it with Gain Life. You'll find that the damage it recoups exactly matches the amount drained by Crimson Pain, so you can keep doing your heavy damage and then heal on the next chain. The timing isn't exactly comfortable, though. Instill RISK: 1 Information: Inflicts additional damage equal to 10% of damage dealt and adds that amount to PP. Not only is this a great low-RISK chain, with a superior chance of landing a successful hit, but it also restores a considerable number of Phantom Points to a weapon. That's useful when you've just repaired, sure, but use it with Phantom Pain and you have an interesting little trick you can exploit... Phantom Pain RISK: 3 Information: Inflicts additional damage equal to the total accumulated Phantom Points in Ashley's weapon. You probably haven't paid much attention to Phantom Points, bar the fact that a weapon on full PP does more damage. Well, here's something else to consider. If you have a weapon with 100 PP, this chain will spend the whole lot in exchange for a hit of base damage + 100. And you won't actually lose the weapon's PP until the hit actually connects, so it's safe to keep trying it until it works. On its own, a single strike with this chain inflicts an impressive one-off killer hit. But if you also use it with Instill and another chain, building up the Phantom Points with a sequence of Instill + other and spending them again occasionally with Phantom Pain, that killer hit needn't be a one-off. This really benefits early weapons too, as you'll find the weakest bronze Spatha will often possess more Phantom Points than a hagane Falchion that's had its DP and PP compromised through constant reforging. Paralysis Pulse RISK: 3 Information: Adds "Paralysis" to attack. A remarkably useful chain, this, as it carries a high success rate. Paralysed enemies aren't stupid, and will retreat from battle just far enough to escape the range of your weapons (they hope) while still keeping sight of you. Paralysis wears off after a short time. Numbing Claw RISK: 3 Information: Adds "Numbness" to attack. The trick to using this special is that you need to make it the last hit of a chain. Hitting the enemy again will simply cancel their Numbed status. Numbness prevents the enemy using their Special Attacks, and also slows their actions and movement by 50%. Dulling Impact RISK: 3 Information: Adds "Silence" to attack. This is one of the first chain abilities you should select, as the chance to shut up one of those darned spellcaster enemies can't be overlooked. Combine it with Paralysis Pulse and you can take a short holiday while your enemies skulk off to recuperate. Snake Venom RISK: 3 Information: Adds "Poison" to attack. As mentioned elsewhere, Poison works a little too slowly to be effective. If you want to be cruel, though, try Poisoning and Paralysing an enemy before disarming, letting your RISK drop as you watch them curl up in a corner and die slowly. Some enemies will pack spells or Antidote items that will negate the effect, though. Another way to exploit this is to use a crossbow or polearm to Poison enemies who can't reach you, allowing you to sit back and take a break. It's interesting, perhaps, but it's not the most efficient use of a chain unless you're locked into a long battle. Creatures such as Undead are immune to Poison, so you're wasting your time by employing Snake Venom against them. --------------------------- (b) Chaining Tips --------------------------- You only need two chains, used in alternation, to get a combo going. So if you're having trouble with the timing at first, try a simple Heavy Shot / Raging Ache combo and just stick to two buttons, getting a rhythm going until you get used to anticipating when to press. After that, you can be more adventurous with different abilities and all three chain buttons. Generally, chains with special effects have less predictable timings. Those that Drain and Gain tend to have a long, pulling draw-cut motion, while specials such as Paralysis Pulse demonstrate a rather flash spear-shake or sword flourish that's harder to follow with the next button-tap. Different weapons have different animations for the same Chain Abilities: many people find the crossbow to be one of the easiest weapons to chain, for instance, because its animations are slow and simple. Ashley has both vertical and horizontal weapon swing animations for dealing with enemies in all directions, and there's a slight difference in their timings. If you're trying to hit an enemy in a room far below, or you're on the bottom of a ramp swinging up, your chain might switch to a series of vertical or overhead combat moves rather than the ones you'd normally see. The crossbow is the obvious exception, but this weapon still needs line of sight on an enemy or it will ring a MISS. When you press the button correctly to use a Chain Ability in a combo, the effect of that chain will only take place if and when the following hit connects. So if you attack an enemy and tap Gain Life successfully when the first strike lands, it will only be on the next hit that you'll actually stand a chance of Gaining some Life. If that second strike is a MISS then Gain Life has failed. Long chains are not the be-all and end-all of the game. They're just one way of fighting, and carry many disadvantages in factors such as RISK. The reason for using them is that the damage caused by chains rises slowly but surely with each successful chain: so if you've been having trouble causing any kind of damage to a particularly tough enemy, chaining hit after hit is one way to start making a dent. And let's not forget, they can be a lot of fun too. But most of the time, you'll be able to get by on single hits and short chains. Take the first few rooms: Bats fall after a single blow, but you only need one successful use of the Heavy Shot chain for a two-hit combo to completely obliterate the tougher Silver Wolf too. THE MAGIC 8-CHAIN When a combo slips over 8 chains, you'll notice that you start to incur an additional RISK penalty for 'persistence'. Even with a low-RISK weapon and chains, you'll see your RISK follow a sequence something like this: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 20, 33, 48, 65, 84... So if you get carried away then your RISK will start to shoot through the roof, and just a few more hits will place you in the vicinity of a full 100. Worse, your accuracy degrades as you persist with a combo, so you may be acquiring RISK points in exchange for a string of misses. If you like chaining, observe the Magic 8-Chain limit and you'll prevent your combo / RISK ratio becoming hideously inefficient. THE ! INDICATOR The exclamation indicates the point in the attack animation when you should have pressed, so if you watch for it and then press, you're already too late. You want to be pressing as the contact flash occurs. Watch the attack animation instead, as the contact is just as good an indicator. The sounds are also very helpful: listen closely to a crossbow fire and you'll hear the whup-whup-whup of the bolt, which connects with its target at the end of the last 'whup'. You can even switch off the ! indicator in the Options menu when you're feeling confident. GOOD! EXCELLENT! PERFECT! You've got a very small 'window of opportunity' in which to hit the chain button around the time that the ! indicator is visible. We're talking fractions of a second, but the closer you get to the centre of that window, the better your rating will be. So if you only get a GOOD!, you're nearer to a SLOW! or a FAST! than if you'd hit a PERFECT! and may need to work on it just a little bit more. It's my opinion that the window contracts slightly at regular waypoints (14, 21, I'm not sure) to make it harder to keep the chain going. --------------------------- (c) Combining Chains --------------------------- I run the risk of repeating some of the individual entry information here, but it may be worth it. Just a few pointers, then: Heavy Shot, Raging Ache, Instill These Low-RISK specials are your friends. Raging Ache and Heavy Shot alone are enough to kill most of the enemies in the game, while Instill is useful for bringing freshly-repaired weapons up to par and also has a very generous hit success rate when compared to other chains. And they're all RISK 1, so they make cheap, safe, sugar-free combo components. Raging Ache, Crimson Pain Read the individual entries for more info. If you want to make short work of a Training Dummy, or any other creature that claims to be invulnerable to your weapon damage, show them a few chains of this. One feeds the damage of the other, so its power increases quite dramatically through use. It's risky if you don't watch your health, but against certain enemies this is one of the quickest means of destruction. If in doubt, have a Heavy Shot or even Gain Life on the third button so that you're not forced to use the Crimson Pain every time. Starting the chain while Ashley is on much less than full health also makes a big difference to Raging Ache's initial damage, of course. Instill, Phantom Pain As described in the individual entries, the idea here is to build up plenty of Phantom Points in your weapon, spend them all in one massive hit, then start the cycle again. Paralysis Pulse, Numbing Claw, Dulling Impact, Snake Venom If you want to see these in action then you only really need to use them on the first hit and leave it at that, although they have a slightly lower success rate than other chains. Throw in a basic Heavy Shot and Raging Ache or similar on the other buttons, so that you've something to alternate in case it requires a few tries for the special to successfully take effect. ============================================== 10. DEFENCE ABILITIES ============================================== --------------------------- (a) Defence List --------------------------- Ward RISK: 1 Information: Prevents Paralysis and Numbness. The Ward ability has a little secret that makes it easier to use than you might imagine. It's active, rather than reactive, and can cancel Paralysis whenever it's used successfully. Okay, explanation time. Say a Goblin Leader hits you with Stun Cloud, and you fail to block it with Ward. You're now Paralysed but, as long as you're not Numbed, you can still use your Defence Abilities. So if a Goblin then runs up and hits you with a sword, use Ward again to deflect the hit. If successful, you will cancel the Paralysed state, even though the Goblin's attack didn't possess a Paralysis element. It's much easier to time a Ward defence against a crossbow or sword animation, so this is a really neat trick to remember. Siphon Soul RISK: 6 Information: Adds 50% of MP used in foe's magical attack to Ashley's MP. Effective versus magical attacks. If you used this against a Dark Chant then you'd win 14 MP for the sake of +6 RISK and a possible heap of damage. Even a Gain Magic chain is more efficient than that. When you're able to withstand a Meteor lvl. 4 then the pay-off is rather better, but it's still something of a novelty. Perhaps if that 6 RISK had bought you 80-100% of the MP then it would have been more useful earlier in the game. Reflect Magic RISK: 2 Information: Reflects 40% of damage. Does not reduce damage received. Effective versus magical attacks. I love this for its poseur value, especially towards the end of the game, but it has some usefulness beyond that. If your enemy is difficult to hit, a successful Reflect will turn an enemy's superior firepower against them. As long as you can stand the damage, the pay-off is immensely rewarding. It's especially gratifying if you weren't even looking at the enemy at the time: *nobody* screws with a Riskbreaker, even when your back is turned... Reflect Damage RISK: 2 Information: Reflects 40% of damage. Does not reduce damage received. Effective versus non-magical attacks. Ditto Reflect Magic, except that Reflect Damage is more manageable (no enemy melee attack is as powerful as the strongest enemy spell, so it's safer to try) and it's usually easier to time against the visible impacts of enemy melee animations than to remember the hot-spot of a long spell. Absorb Magic RISK: 4 Information: Reduces damage received by 20%. Effective versus magical attacks. I've never used this seriously, as it's better to equip a Guard defence that matches the elemental affinity of the critter you're fighting and so earn a 50% damage reduction. If you haven't got the right guard, or you don't know what affinity of attack you might be facing, then this is an all-round measure that requires no button swapping. Absorb Damage RISK: 4 Information: Reduces damage received by 20%. Effective versus non-magical attacks. If you either don't know or don't have the right affinity guard to deflect something like a Dragon's Breath special attack, or you simply can't be bothered to keep switching, then this is the next best defence. Impact Guard RISK: 4 Information: Reduces physical damage by 50%. Windbreak RISK: 4 Information: Reduces Air affinity damage by 50%. Fireproof RISK: 4 Information: Reduces Fire affinity damage by 50%. Terra Guard RISK: 4 Information: Reduces Earth affinity damage by 50%. Aqua Guard RISK: 4 Information: Reduces Water affinity damage by 50%. Shadow Guard RISK: 4 Information: Reduces Light affinity damage by 50%. Demonscale RISK: 4 Information: Reduces Dark affinity damage by 50%. Phantom Shield RISK: 6 Information: Uses the accumulated Phantom Points in Ashley's shield to counter an equal amount of damage. --------------------------- (b) Defence Tips --------------------------- You never know what you're going to come up against next, so use that Shortcut menu to change your set-up whenever necessary. If you encounter a Snow Dragon, slip an Aqua Guard onto one of the buttons before you engage in combat and use it against its icy breath attack. You still want to make your use of defences become a natural reflex, though, so try to use the same buttons for the same kinds of guard and establish a habit. For example, Impact Guard is a vital defence for all combat, so stick it on your most comfortable button and leave it there. Forever, if possible. Choose another button that you will always use for the elemental Guards, and make sure they only ever appear on that button. Over time, your hands will grow accustomed to finding the right button for the job without the need to remember what's where. Anything that makes your reactions faster will improve the stopping power of your Defence Abilities. The 20% absorb and 50% damage recoveries are processed after the full attack has taken place, so don't be too shocked if you seem to die (0 HPs) and then recover a small health bar. The advantage of having it work this way is that it creates a cut-off limit for damage. Theoretically, if you were hit for 1,250 HP damage at the start of the game, then being able to halve it to 625 damage before it struck wouldn't offer much comfort. But as it works, even if you managed a simple Absorb Damage, then you'd regain 20% of damage dealt (= 250 HP) on top of your 0 HP and have a full health bar again. Because it works this way, though, do be aware that the transfer of recovered health still needs to penetrate your defences. Like casting a Drain or Heal spell, there's a chance of failure. It's quite possible to hit the guard timing successfully but have the rest of the process fail with a MISS, especially if you're packing a shield. ============================================== 11. MAGIC ============================================== There are four schools of magic, accessible from either the Main Menu's Magic option, or by holding L2 and then pressing a button on the shortcut menu. Each menu will only appear when at least one spell from that school has been read from a Grimoire, of course. Teleportation is also covered under this topic. ----------------------------- (a) Warlock (Attack spells) ----------------------------- The probability of Warlock spells succeeding decreases dramatically with high RISK. A word about elemental Multiple Target spells: these have four levels of increasing power, and each increment offers a longer range, a larger sphere of effect and increased damage potential. If you already have a level 1 Flame Sphere, for instance, then reading another Grimoire Flamme will give you a level 2 Flame Sphere. After the reading, you have the choice of casting the spell at any level up to that which you possess. All creature body locations whose centre fits within the sphere of effect will be targeted, so readjusting the X, Y & Z coordinates carefully to include the greatest number of targets can maximise damage. Bear in mind, though, that it's possible for Ashley to target and damage himself if he's also standing within the sphere of effect. You CAN blow yourself up with an Explosion... Generally, the individual hits of an elemental Multiple Target spell will carry less power and probability than a Single Target attack of the same kind and affinity, but the overall total could add up to much more damage. Experiment and see. Lightning Bolt MP: 25 Affinity: Air Conjuration Single Target Information: Shoots out arrows of Lightning. Fireball MP: 25 Affinity: Fire Conjuration Single Target Information: Pummels enemies with balls of fire. Vulcan Lance MP: 25 Affinity: Earth Conjuration Single Target Information: Showers enemies with volcanic debris. Aqua Blast MP: 25 Affinity: Water Conjuration Single Target Information: Engulfs enemies with freezing water blast. Spirit Surge MP: 28 Affinity: Light Conjuration Single Target Information: Summons a spirit of light to attack enemies. Dark Chant MP: 28 Affinity: Dark Conjuration Single Target Information: Afflicts enemies with crippling pain. Exorcism MP: 22 Affinity: Light Evocation Multiple Targets Information: Exorcise Undead foes. When successful, this spell instantaneously delivers exactly the amount of HP damage required to destroy each and every Undead creature caught within its small, cylindrical area of effect. If you lure them close enough then that 22 MP cost can be a very cheap method of eradicating 2 or more Undead, but you'll probably find yourself using this purely as a 'convenience' spell when you're not interested in fighting fiddling small enemies, or need to concentrate on a more serious enemy in the room. Zombie Bosses possess a predictable immunity to this spell, and you should check the probability of success for each target or risk wasting your MP. Banish MP: 25 Affinity: Dark Evocation Multiple Targets Information: Forbidden spell of instant death. As with Exorcism, this spell instantaneously delivers exactly the amount of HP damage required to destroy each and every creature caught within its small, cylindrical area of effect. Check each of the targets for individual probability of success before casting. Explosion MP: 36 / 44 / 52 / 60 Affinity: Physical Evocation Multiple Targets Information: A highly focused, devastating blast. Explosion's affinity is Physical, hurting creatures with a blast of shrapnel rather than any incendiary damage, so it's just as effective against Fire-based creatures as Water-based ones. The pay-off for this general base damage is that it never benefits from the modifiers that apply to elemental opposition, but you will find some creatures (like the Lich) have a weakness to Physical damage. Thunderburst MP: 36 / 44 /52 / 60 Affinity: Air Evocation Multiple Targets Information: Calls down a great bolt from the heavens. Flame Sphere MP: 36 / 44 / 52 / 60 Affinity: Fire Evocation Multiple Targets Information: Wreaths target in flames. Gaea Strike MP: 36 / 44 / 52 / 60 Affinity: Earth Evocation Multiple Targets Information: Creates crushing gravity warp around target. Avalanche MP: 36 / 44 / 52 / 60 Affinity: Water Evocation Multiple Targets Information: Super-freezes air around target. Radial Surge MP: 38 / 46 / 54 / 62 Affinity: Light Evocation Multiple Targets Information: Pierces enemies with focused rays of light. Meteor MP: 38 / 46 / 54 / 62 Affinity: Dark Evocation Multiple Targets Information: Rains meteors down on the target. Drain Heart MP: 12 Affinity: Dark Evocation Single Target Information: Steals HP from enemies. Unlike many other RPG health-draining spells, the result of this magic isn't limited by either the creature's HP max or by your ability to absorb damage. It will still suck the life from enemies regardless of whether your health bar is already full; and if you happen to be low on health, but your INT is relatively high, then you can not only kill a small creature outright with this spell but also drain hundreds of HP more than the victim originally possessed. This spell has no effect on Undead creatures, as Lea Monde's stumbling corpses have no independent life-force to drain. Drain Mind MP: 2 Affinity: Dark Evocation Single Target Information: Steals MP from enemies. Unlike Drain Heart, this spell will only drain Mana Points from creatures that possess them, and will transfer as many MP to you as are taken from the enemy. ----------------------------- (b) Shaman (Recovery spells) ----------------------------- The probability of Shaman spells succeeding increases with high RISK. When casting Shaman spells upon yourself, you will have to penetrate all of the magical defences that you normally present to magic-using enemies. Shields with Manabreaker spells can actually cause your own spells to fail, in other words (and I actually dumped the Manabreaker gem on my second play). Heal MP: 5 Affinity: Light Evocation Single Target Information: Restores Target's HP. The amount of HP restored will increase with your RISK, which can be very handy in a tight spot. If you cast Heal on an Undead opponent, it will attack them and cause damage as if it were a single-target offensive spell. Restoration MP: 3 Affinity: Light Evocation Single Target Information: Cures "Paralysis". Antidote MP: 3 Affinity: Light Evocation Single Target Information: Cures "Poison". A Poison status needs time to take effect and causes small amounts of damage at frequent intervals, so if you cast this fast enough after being poisoned then the toxins will have no effect at all. Blessing MP: 17 Affinity: Light Evocation Single Target Information: Cures "Curse". Clearance MP: 15 Affinity: Light Evocation Single Target Information: Cures all status abnormalities. This spell removes the status abnormalities of Numbness, Paralysis and Poison but not Silence or Curse. Surging Balm MP: 20 Affinity: Light Evocation Single Target Information: Recharges HP over a short period of time. In all honesty, that description should read 'long period of time'. Surging Balm is 'Poison-in-reverse', restoring just a few hit points at frequent intervals. Any subsequent spell cast upon you will nullify it, and most enemies are intelligent enough to do so when they see you using it. And even if they don't, most battles are over so quickly in game-time that the cumulative recouping of HP can add up to less than a Heal spell. Remember, all chains take place in an instant, and most creatures can fit in three or four attacks in the time it takes the Balm to restore just 22 HP. Just leaving the area you're in will also cancel a Surging Balm. I think I used this effectively just the once, when I left the game running and went to put the kettle on for a nice cup of tea. I suppose you might be able to use it by sticking Ashley in a room with a couple of bats and leaving it running for an hour, in order to get yourself some rock- hard anti-Beast armour, but I really don't like tricks like that myself. I'd rather play the game. Consequently, I find this spell useless. The HP restored doesn't even increase with RISK, which could have made it worthwhile, and it's just too slow to work in a fight. --------------------------- (c) Sorcery (Aid spells) --------------------------- A quick point about Herakles, Degenerate, Enlighten. Psychodrain, Invigorate and Leadbones: it's only possible to have one of these enhancements or handicaps active on any one creature - Ashley included - at any time. So if an enemy casts Degenerate on you, Invigorate will override it as surely as Herakles. The same goes for your opponents: it's actually very easy to scupper the Sorcery spells used by enemies, even early in the game, so don't fight on with a handicap if you can take a moment to reverse it. Herakles MP: 12 Support Magic Evocation Single Target Information: Temporarily increases target's strength. Herakles is one of the major spells of the game, boosting your STR and thereby increasing your potential for damage with every hit, while simultaneously reducing the damage that enemies can do to you. In many other RPGs this kind of stat-booster is often a waste of MP, but here it really makes a difference. If you're Degenerated, Herakles will cancel Degenerate and take its place. 'Herakles' is the Greek name for Hercules, incidentally. Degenerate MP: 7 Support Magic Evocation Single Target Information: Temporarily decreases target's strength. Another vital spell, Degenerate reduces melee damage against you by sapping the enemy's STR. The physical damage you can do against a target is also a result of the comparison between their STR and your STR, so if you emasculate them with Degenerate and cast Herakles on yourself, you'll maximise your potential for damage and minimise theirs. Enlighten MP: 12 Support Magic Evocation Single Target Information: Temporarily increases target's intelligence. Just as STR vs. STR accounts for the extent of physical damage possible (see above), so your INT versus an enemy's INT determines the damage exchanged in magical battles. If you Enlighten yourself before casting a Warlock spell, that spell will be more effective and more damaging. Psychodrain MP: 7 Support Magic Evocation Single Target Information: Temporarily decreases target's intelligence. Psychodrain is the INT equivalent of Degenerate, and swings a magical battle in your favour by reducing an enemy's magical strength and increasing yours by comparison. If you're Enlightened and your enemy is Psychodrained, you'll maximise the HP damage your Warlock spells inflict against them. Invigorate MP: 12 Support Magic Evocation Single Target Information: Temporarily increases target's agility. Agility or AGL is used to determine your speed and your jumping potential in the platform elements of Vagrant Story, but it also determines your chances of hitting the enemy. If you increase your AGL with Invigorate, your chance to hit an opponent with both melee weapons AND Warlock spells will improve while making you more difficult to hit. Leadbones MP: 7 Support Magic Evocation Single Target Information: Temporarily decreases target's agility. This is the 'Degenerate' of Agility or AGL, both slowing an opponent and making them easier to hit (see above). If you successfully cast Invigorate on yourself and Leadbones on your opponent, you'll maximise your chance of landing a hit. Prostasia MP: 15 Support Magic Evocation Single Target Information: Temporarily strengthens target's equipment. While Herakles improves Ashley's personal STR, Prostasia increases the attributes of his equipped items. If you want to inflict more damage per hit with your weapon, while making your armour more resistant to enemy attack, this is right up there with Herakles and Degenerate. You can also have Prostasia active at the same time as Herakles or any other stat-booster spell. Tarnish MP: 7 Support Magic Evocation Single Target Information: Temporarily weakens target's equipment. The antidote to Prostasia, Tarnish has the effect of weakening enemy swords and armour. It's as important as Prostasia in swinging the odds, and if you use both deftly then you'll be laughing at those previously untouchable suits of armour. Silence MP: 7 Support Magic Evocation Single Target Information: Temporarily prevents target from casting spells. Once you've had it used against you, you'll appreciate the sheer power of a Silence spell. Its successful use against an opponent means no more magic spells uttered from that particular orifice, and that could mean the difference between life and death. To prevent this becoming a killer spell, therefore, plenty of enemies - especially mages - are immune to Silence. Some creatures pack Magic Cancel items, similar to your Snowfly Draught and requiring no words to activate, so you may find your Silence spell causes little beyond a distraction. Also bear in mind that Silence will be cancelled as soon as another spell - any spell - is cast on the victim. You'll notice that enemies who use this spell are clever enough to give up on magic and go for physical attacks after Silencing you. If you use it yourself, you should also appreciate that Silenced enemies have no choice but to hit you. Repeatedly. So if your opponent would normally take time out from physical attack to utter a series of hopeless spells that never had any chance of denting you, there's every possibility that you've just made them more dangerous by casting this. To cancel a Silence spell you can leave the room; use a Snowfly Draught item; or wait for an enemy to hit with you with a spell. Another sneaky thing you might be able to try here in the right circumstances relies on the fact that you can still read a Grimoire while Silenced, because it counts as Using an Item. So if you have an unread Enchanter, Sorcery, or Shaman Grimoire then you may still be able to cast a spell on yourself, breaking the Silence. Magic Ward MP: 21 Support Magic Evocation Single Target Information: Nullifies the next spell cast on target. Without a doubt, this is THE big magic protection spell of Vagrant Story. The idea is to cast it in advance, as it lingers permanently until spent. Magic Ward will then nullify the very next spell cast upon you. Essentially, it's a one-shot magic force-field. As long as you have an active Magic Ward then any spell cast upon you, whether it's a Leadbones or a Radial Surge level 4, will impact upon the Magic Ward and fail. If you consider the latter example, you can begin to appreciate the true usefulness of this spell. It kills all incoming magic, dead. Note that if the spell that attempts to hit you is a MISS then your Magic Ward will remain intact. As soon as your Magic Ward absorbs a successful incoming spell, though, it will be consumed and vanish. There are several tactics to be observed when using a Magic Ward. Once it's active then you can't heal yourself through magic: even your own spells on yourself will impact upon the Magic Ward. There's no chance of you casting Prostasia, or Antidote, or Invigorate etc. either, as all these will simply destroy the Magic Ward while failing to take effect in the process. If you want to keep the Magic Ward in place, get around it by using items with the same effect: this is a mid-battle tactic when you haven't the time, the MPs or the desire to cancel and replace the Magic Ward. Your own Drain spells will also attempt to pass HP or MP through the barrier established by Magic Ward, so a Drain Heart will suck health from the enemy but then cancel the Magic Ward when it tries to transfer the HP to you. When unsure, it's a good idea to have a Magic Ward in places where the occupants of the next room may try to Silence you. If you restore a Magic Ward as soon as the previous one vanishes, then you can maintain an effective anti-magic defence against spellcasters like the Lich. Assuming you're still around the starting 50 MPs, it's possible to cast one in advance, let your MPs recover to full, enter battle and still have enough MP for two more Magic Wards during the fracas. Judicious use of Mana items will also let you keep up this magic shield in the midst of combat. Once your MPs are exhausted then Mana items, Drain Magic and the Gain Magic chain will aid you in restoring a Magic Ward whenever it is cancelled. Don't get carried away with its potential, though. Special attacks like dragon breath are actually physical attacks with an elemental aspect, so Magic Ward won't stop them. Stun Cloud MP: 7 Support Magic Evocation Single Target Information: Casts "Paralysis" on target. Many creatures will boast at least a resistance, if not immunity, to this spell, as it's immensely powerful. The same effect is available in the chain ability Paralysis Pulse. Paralysis can be cured with an Yggdrasil's Tear item or the Shaman spell, Restoration. It will also wear off after a short period of time. Poison Mist MP: 11 Support Magic Evocation Single Target Information: Casts "Poison" on target. Poison is overrated, frankly, as - and we've mentioned this before - most combat situations occupy very little game-time, while Poison takes a long time to have any effect. If you're in one of those situations where the enemy can't reach you, or you take the effort to Paralyse them simultaneously, then it's sometimes a sure-fire way of hurting foes who may otherwise be resilient to your attacks. Curse MP: 17 Support Magic Evocation Single Target Information: Casts "Curse" on target. Reducing all of an enemy's stats will grant you enormous bonuses in tackling them, before you even start on your usual barrage of supportive Sorcery spells. However, the creatures you would most think of using it against are often those who are immune to its effects. Fixate MP: 3 Support Magic Evocation Single Target Information: Freezes the room's Cloudstones in place. Many Cloudstone jumps can be made easier by Fixate if you're not a natural platform-gamer. This effect only lasts for a short period, and the Cloudstones will start flashing from red to green to warn you in advance. Dispel MP: 10 Support Magic Evocation Single Target Information: Nullifies any spell currently affecting target. If you've been inundated with Degenerate and Tarnish or you don't have the necessary reversal spells then Dispel is a quick way to cancel them all. Unlock MP: 3 Support Magic Evocation Single Target Information: Opens treasure chests locked with magic. If it doesn't work first time, just keep trying. Eureka MP: 6 Support Magic Evocation Single Target Information: Reveals all traps in the room. Note that Eureka reveals traps for all occupants in the room, so that casting it will help your enemies to avoid them as well. Analyze MP: 5 Support Magic Evocation Single Target Information: Analyses enemies' parameters and stats. A word about using the Analyze. If you haven't worked it out, then this spell fills in the enemy's details that appear under the Status option of the Main Menu (see PLAYING TIPS, Interface Options). What you have to do on the Status screen is hit L1 or R1 to cycle through from Ashley to the creatures' entries. If the spell succeeds then full stats, HP, MP, RISK etc. will be revealed for the target creature only. This means that you can press the SQUARE button to cycle the Affinity and Type ratings for the target's armour in every body location, or examine the enemy's armour and weapons right down to grips, gems and even the affinity of unknown accessories through the CIRCLE button. Further Analyze spells will need to be cast for every individual's details to be revealed. -------------------------------- (d) Enchanter (Affinity spells) -------------------------------- The Enchanter spells magically alter your elemental affinity for a brief period, in order to enhance either your offensive or defensive power. You may only have one Enchanter spell active at any time, and note that equipping or de-equipping weapons or armour will cancel it immediately. Switching in and out of Battle Mode will have the same effect, so cast them when your weapons are already drawn. Enchanter spells are split into Fusion (attack) and Guard (defence) categories. If you were fighting a Fire Elemental, for instance, then you could either improve your weapon's effectiveness with a Water enchantment (Frost Fusion) or you could raise your Armour's resistance to Fire (Pyro Guard). Many players seem to be missing out on the usefulness of these spells for making many battles easier, so you should definitely give them a try if you haven't yet. Luft Fusion MP: 10 Affinity: Air Evocation Single Target Information: Temporarily strengthens target's Air affinity. Spark Fusion MP: 10 Affinity: Fire Evocation Single Target Information: Temporarily strengthens target's Fire affinity. Soil Fusion MP: 10 Affinity: Earth Evocation Single Target Information: Temporarily strengthens target's Earth affinity. Frost Fusion MP: 10 Affinity: Water Evocation Single Target Information: Temporarily strengthens target's Water affinity. Aero Guard MP: 9 Affinity: Air Evocation Single Target Information: Temporarily strengthens armour's Air affinity. Pyro Guard MP: 9 Affinity: Fire Evocation Single Target Information: Temporarily strengthens armour's Fire affinity. Terra Guard MP: 9 Affinity: Earth Evocation Single Target Information: Temporarily strengthens armour's Earth affinity. Aqua Guard MP: 9 Affinity: Water Evocation Single Target Information: Temporarily strengthens armour's Water affinity. -------------------- (e) Teleportation -------------------- Teleportation can only be performed when standing on a Magic Circle. Once you have acquired this ability, call up the Magic option on the Main Menu to see that an extra entry has been added at the bottom of your existing spell groups. Ironically, there's no shortcut to the Teleportation menu. The cost of using the teleport depends on how many Magic Circles you wish to jump through. The formula is (4 x no. of Circles) + 15 MP, so teleporting from Advent Ground back to the Worker's Breakroom (6 Circles away) would cost (24 + 15 = ) 39 MP. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Magic Circles ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Worker's Breakroom Wine Guild Hall Blackmarket Hall of Revenge The Withered Spring Work of Art / WS Advent Ground Rue Vermillion Magic Hammer / WS The Crossing The Dark Tunnel Rue Bouquet The Sunless Way The Faerie Circle Forest River The Wood Gate Valdiman Gates The Warrior's Rest Keane's / WS Sinner's Corner Crumbling Market Treaty Room Bandits' Hollow The Ore Road The Auction Block Way Down Rue Lejour Kesch Bridge Metal Works / WS Junction Pt. / WS The Dark Coast Plateia Lumitar Sin and Punishment The Atrium Godhands / WS ------------------- (f) Hidden Spells ------------------- That's right - you can win pages of a Grimoire as rare treasures from certain creatures. Although this is most likely to happen on your second play, when the probability seems to increase slightly, it is possible to obtain major spells like Banish on your first play too. Not all of your finds will be useful, either: getting another Spirit Surge is a waste of good vellum, frankly. I'm still trying to assess whether the type of creature determines the type of Grimoire - Phantoms seem to hold an awful lot - but here's the list as it currently stands. Grimoire Banish (Banish) - Harpy Grimoire Terre (Vulcan Lance) - Ghost Grimoire Teslae (Lightning Bolt) - Zombie Mage Grimoire Glace (Aqua Blast) - Dark Eye Grimoire Incendie (Fireball) - Ghost Grimoire Patire (Dark Chant) - Wraith, Dark Eye Grimoire Lux (Spirit Surge) - Ghost, Wraith Grimoire Zephyr (Solid Shock) - Ghost, Wraith Grimoire Radius (Radial Surge) - Lich Grimoire Avalanche (Avalanche) - Water Elemental Grimoire Foudre (Thunderburst) - Air Elemental Grimoire Flamme (Flame Sphere) - Fire Elemental Grimoire Gaea (Gaea Strike) - Earth Elemental Grimoire Meteore (Meteore) - Dark Elemental ============================================== 12. THE WORKSHOP ============================================== (a) WORKSHOP LOCATIONS All Workshops contain a Magic Circle and a Container. You can use any Workshop to repair all of your equipment through the REPAIR option, whether or not the tools for shaping the weapon's component materials are present. Work of Art Catacombs, accessed from The Withered Spring Tools for Wood, Leather, Bronze The Magic Hammer Town Centre West (north side), accessed from The Rene Coastroad Tools for Bronze, Iron Keane's Crafts The Keep, accessed from The Warrior's Rest Tools for Bronze, Iron, Hagane Junction Point Town Centre East, accessed from Rue Crimnade Tools for Wood, Leather, Bronze, Iron, Hagane This Workshop must be opened with the Cattleya Sigil Metal Works Town Centre East, accessed from Rue Fisserano Tools for Silver, Damascus Godhands Undercity West, accessed from Bite The Master's Wounds Tools for Wood, Leather, Bronze, Hagane, Silver, Damascus This workshop is only available on second play (b) ASSEMBLING WEAPONS The secret of happy assembling is to find a grip that best suits your blade type. Perhaps you've come across an axe blade that you'd like to try out: an axe is an Edged weapon, so select this option and check the status of your available grips to find the one with the highest Edged rating. Assembling this blade and grip will give you the strongest weapon you can make with your equipment. Consider, also, the number of gem slots that the grip possesses. It's better to go with a grip that has more gem slots, on the whole, as any shortcoming in strength can be overcome by equipping a suitable gem. Grips with gem slots will also offer more customisation potential in the field, allowing you to (say) stick a Water-affinity gem to a sword for extra damage against a Fire-affinity opponent. (c) ATTACHING GEMS The rule for gems on weapons is to pick those that elementally oppose the creature you wish to hurt. If you're tackling an Air Elemental, for instance, then Earth-aligned Gnome Emeralds will enhance your weapon's killing power. You don't need to disassemble a weapon to remove its gems. Go to the Attach Gems option, highlight the gem you want, then click once to highlight it and once again (either on that line or where it's repeated at the top of the screen) to remove it. (d) RENAMING WEAPONRY Please, don't do it. Don't call your sword "Orcrist" or "Masamune" or "Something's Bane". Force yourself to be creative for a moment, even if that moment takes minutes, and thereafter you'll find that you never get your weapons confused. You'll also be able to credit yourself with more imagination than the majority of script writers working in the games industry. (e) STORING ITEMS Vagrant Story can get a bit clumsy when it comes to inventory management, and the fact that you need to access the memory card for your container can lead to some slow swapping back and forth. Worse, on second play you'll find yourself having to discard lots of items that you simply haven't got the space to put aside for later combination. A few tips, then: (i) Accessories are often given to you more than once, but you only need one of each kind. So if you find yourself with two Swan Songs, or two Rune Earrings, then dump one. It's uselessly taking up Armour storage space. (ii) Accessories are easily superceded by later finds. If you've been using a Swan Song for tackling Beasts with its +15 advantage, but then find the Pushpaka with its +30 for Beasts, the chances are that you'll never need the Swan Song again. Dump it. (iii) Many items are easily obtained by fighting creatures for their gear, and could be obtained again if you desired them. So if you find you've got half a dozen Wizard Hats won from Zombie Mages, you know you can dump them all to make space for rarer items. If you really want another Wizard Hat, you can always go fight for some more in the Undercity. (iv) Whenever you win a weapon from a fight, that weapon will contain a blade and a grip. But only the blade might be combined into something better, while the grip remains a single entity. So when the space fills up, be brutal and get rid of all those Sarissa Grips and Short Hilts that you'll never be using again. (v) If you seem to have too many gems, check your shields and see if you haven't got a lot of useless ones still sticking to weapons or shields. You should check for attached gems every time you win a new shield from a chest or enemy. (vi) Always have spaces in your carried inventory before venturing into a dungeon. If you open a chest but haven't got space to pick up all the treasures, those spare items will be lost to you. ============================================== 13. COMBINATION, FORGING AND REFORGING ============================================== The workshop ability to reforge equipment is possibly the finest option available to the core player. This is where you'll really get the chance to establish your daylight-shunning gamer status, spending hours in a to-and-fro motion betwixt storage container and the Equipment Set-up option. Because this guide is eager for you all to get those diurnally-necessary skin vitamins, however, we're establishing this section for quick and easy referencing of both techniques and component lists to so that you can check for the best combinations on a handy table. The original lists are mine by research, and it is merely a matter of time before I write up my remaining notes, but I'm also hoping to credit many of you with unforeseen addenda. There are several reasons for choosing the COMBINE option: (a) Improving an item's metal There are seven different materials at work in Vagrant Story; Wood, Leather, Bronze, Iron, Hagane, Silver and Damascus. This order also represents the increasing strength and resilience of the metals involved, with some additional factors thrown in. Through use of the workshop, it's possible to combine various materials to create either stronger items or items constructed of completely new materials. The general rule is that lesser materials become absorbed into greater ones. So if you combine a Hagane shield with an Iron shield, the result will be Hagane rather than Iron. Rare materials are more difficult to combine, and be warned that you may even end up with a shield that is less powerful as a result (see point 3 below). There are some interesting metallurgical results derived from combination, though, as follows: (i) Combining Bronze and Iron creates Hagane. This is a useful trick to use early in the game, as you can take your starting items and improve their strength while retaining all the bonuses you've accumulated. So that much-loved Fandango blade needn't be tossed aside: find an Iron Scimitar blade, combine it with the Bronze Fandango, then reassemble the blade with the best grip you can find for a brand new Hagane weapon. (ii) Sometimes, combining Bronze and Hagane items results in a Silver item. I've yet to suss the exact conditions for this, and would like to hear how it's resolved. But I can say that if you're looking at an unwanted Silver result from a combination, try alternating the order of the items being combined. I've noticed that the Silver result normally occurs when you have a Bronze item in the first field and a Hagane item in the second. Reversing them so that the Hagane item is listed first can actually change the result to Hagane rather than Silver. (iii) Sometimes, combining Hagane and Silver items results in a Damascus item. A couple of contributors and myself are on the brink of sussing the rules for this, but Silver and Damascus aren't pure or unmixable at all. You will be able to upgrade all of that Hagane equipment to Damascus, in time, and it is possible to combine the two and retain a Damascus result. (b) Creating a new item Here's where you'll really get into the whole combination business through addiction. The game will only surrender so many weapons and pieces of armour: the rest are to be discovered, and most of those will only come into being if you make them yourself. In other words, there's a stack of great kit in the game that will only come into your possession if you use the workshop to make it by hand. Excited, yet? (As Vincent Merken puts it, "Gotta forge 'em all!"). There are some perceivable rules to combination that will take your experiments beyond mere trial and error. (i) Upgrading items from the same weapon group. If you're looking to improve your weapons, the key is to stick with items of the same class. Some commonsense applies: if you combine a high-STR dagger with a low-STR dagger, you'll usually end up with a dagger whose STR rests somewhere in between. Advancement through combination is also possible, and there are a couple of tricks to try out here when you're looking for the next big thing. (ii) adding closely-related items. Especially, this is the trick to use when you wish to bring your familiar starting items up to scratch. Combine a Jambeau leg-armour with the weaker Poleyn and you'll create the superior Missaglia. Then combine the Missaglia with another Poleyn and you'll have a Plate Legging. Keeping to the same class of weapon is important here, so if you want to upgrade item x in the list of Great Swords, try combining it with Great Sword x minus 1 (the next Great Sword down) or x minus 2. (iii) combining identical items If you've reached what seems like the end of the line with the previous technique, try doubling up for a result. For example, a Tilt Glove plus a Tilt Glove results in a Freiturnier; a Mjolnir plus a Mjolnir creates a Griever; a Hoplite Shield plus a Hoplite Shield will give a Jazeraint Shield; and so on. (iv) creating new items from mixed groups When you combine weapons from different groups, the results are less predictable. A mace combined with a polearm might actually lead to a rapier, or a crossbow. Mix legging armour with sleeve armour and you may find yourself looking at a type of helmet. This is one good reason for never discarding anything, in case it can be combined to create more than it seems. The rule here is that the sophistication of the items will come into play, and items from crossed classes will never be in the same league as those from which they're produced: combine a basic knife with a basic axe and the results will be basic, whereas a high-calibre dagger combined with a high-calibre axe might result in a new, mid-calibre class of weapon. Furthermore, there seems to be a pegging system for the power of weapons and armour that you can exploit to create a new item in a different class but of the same relative strength. Try combining a glove with an armour, for instance, and if both are (say) at Fluted level then the result will stay Fluted too. See the table of suit groups below to find out how to make similarly pegged items. (c) Strengthening a weapon Even when you've created exactly the item you want, in the metal you want, the possibilities of combination remain. By way of example, let's take a piece of hand armour. Perhaps you've already combined a Vambrace (I) and a Gauntlet (B) to make your own Plate Glove (H) that's been serving you very well. Suddenly, you win a Plate Glove (I) that ought to be less powerful, but when you consult its basic stats you realise that it's almost as sound as the one you've made in Hagane and improved through a few hits. The good news is that there's no either/or here: what you can do is head to the workshop and combine the Iron Plate Glove with your Hagane model, resulting in a new Hagane Plate Glove that has some of the Iron's bonuses added to it. This system works both ways, of course, and you may find that adding a negative statistic in the combination process has reduced some of your blade type or elemental modifiers. Sometimes the pluses are overwhelmed by the minuses and would result in an inferior piece of kit, so there's still a lot of status- checking and weighing-up of odds to consider before you combine items. In practical terms, this means you should use the SQUARE button to check the various statistics of the components you're combining with the result before acknowledging the combination. Keep pressing SQUARE to cycle through all attribute displays, incidentally. (d) Strengthening armour The most important aspect here is the Type rating. A piece of armour can gain all sorts of creature-class and elemental bonuses, but the Type rating remains fixed. When combining, look for combinations that improve the Type rating and avoid those that reduce it. The ideal combination will give your item a decent stat in all three classes. The next factors to watch for are those negative affinity modifiers. If you start adding lots of negative values, you're building weaknesses into the armour. A helm with -20 vs Dark can be improved against Dark attacks over time, but working off that handicap will inevitably result in a near-similar number being subtracted from your vs Light score. The technique is further limited by the possibility of accidental upgrade. Combine a Tilt Glove with a Tilt Glove and you'll actually get a Freiturner, when you may have wished to retain a Tilt Glove for future combination. The long and short of it, though, is that you should never discard less sophisticated items that might be combined with your existing equipment for potential gain. No matter how simple its design, a Bronze Buckler made of a thousand used and scavenged shields may offer more protection than a fresh Damascus Targe that's never seen combat. ============================================== 14. COMBINATION TABLES ============================================== My notes are still being written up for weapons, but this should set you on the road to invulnerability. Note that there seem to be some 'key' items that you can't make from lesser items in the same group, and that aren't available to you until you reach certain areas. I suppose this is one way of moderating player defence, and also preventing somebody putting together a suit of Fluted Mail from piles of Leather Bear Masks and Bandages... To upgrade your starting items, at first you may need to add them to much more powerful items of the same kind just to put them on the step of gradual advancement, as outlined in these tables. For instance, combining the Tovarisch Hand Axe with a Battle Axe will get you nowhere, but incorporate it into a Francisca and you're on the upgrade tree. A quick note on end results. There isn't much difference between the Dread class and the Jazeraint class, when it comes down to it, as it's more a question of a single point that goes either towards STR at the expense of INT (Dread) or towards INT at the expense of STR(Jazeraint). A personal choice, in other words. Though why anybody would want that ugly great Dread Shield when you could have a lovely red Jazeraint diamond with a Rood on it... Also, if you acquire the Holy Wind rood blade or the Hand of Light maces, note that these work like metal converters and possess some unusual combination properties. Place the rood blade in the first slot of Combine / Blades and, as long as the weapon you add to it is sufficiently powerful, you'll produce that second weapon in Damascus while retaining its design. The Hand of Light is also a metal converter: place it in the second slot of Combine / Blades, stick any other item in the first slot and you'll produce that first item in the same metal as the Hand of Light (Iron or Hagane). In reverse, some alternative combinations are possible. The two tricks don't work together to make a Damascus Hand of Light, however. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ CHEST AND BODY ARMOUR ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ PRIMARY COMBINANT SECONDARY COMBINANT RESULT Banded Mail Cuirass Ring Mail Ring Mail Banded Mail Chain Mail Chain Mail Ring Mail Breastplate Breastplate Chain Mail Segmentata Segmentata Breastplate Scale Armour Scale Armour Breastplate Brigandine Brigandine Breastplate Plate Mail Brigandine Scale Armour Plate Mail Platemail Brigandine Fluted Armour Fluted Mail Platemail Hoplite Armour Hoplite Armour Hoplite Armour Jazeraint Armour Jazeraint Armour Jazeraint Armour Dread Armour ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ HAND AND SLEEVE ARMOUR ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ PRIMARY COMBINANT SECONDARY COMBINANT RESULT Reinforced Glove Knuckles Ring Sleeve Knuckles Ring Sleeve Chain Sleeve Ring Sleeve Chain Sleeve Gauntlet Gauntlet Vambrace Plate Glove Vambrace Plate Glove Rondanche Rondanche Plate Glove Tilt Glove Tilt Glove Tilt Glove Freiturnier Freiturnier Rondanche Fluted Glove Fluted Glove Freiturnier Hoplite Glove Hoplite Glove Hoplite Glove Jazeraint Glove Jazeraint Glove Jazeraint Glove Dread Glove ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ LEG AND SHIN ARMOUR ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ PRIMARY COMBINANT SECONDARY COMBINANT RESULT Fusskampf Poleyn Jambeau Poleyn Chain Leggings Jambeau Jambeau Poleyn Missaglia Jambeau Chain Leggings Missaglia Missaglia Poleyn Plate Leggings Plate Leggings Missaglia Fluted Leggings Fluted Leggings Plate Leggings Hoplite Leggings Hoplite Leggings Hoplite Leggings Jazeraint Leggings Jazeraint Leggings Jazeraint Leggings Dread Leggings ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ HATS, HELMETS AND HEAD ARMOUR ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ PRIMARY COMBINANT SECONDARY COMBINANT RESULT Chain Coif Bone Helm Spangenhelm Spangenhelm Chain Coif Cabasset Cabasset Spangenhelm Sallet Sallet Barbut Basinet Basinet Barbut Armet Armet Basinet Close Helm Close Helm Basinet Burgonet Burgonet Close Helm Hoplite Helm Hoplite Helm Hoplite Helm Jazeraint Helm Jazeraint Helm Jazeraint Helm Dread Helm ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ SUIT GROUPS ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ There are 16 distinct 'suits of armour' in the game, many of them roughly corresponding to historical fashions (for instance, the angular 'poleyn' kneepads and plate segments over mail both appeared in the early- to mid-14th Century). If you combine items from the same suit group, you'll create another item within that group. For example, add an Armet to a Brigandine -- both group 11 -- and you'll get the Missaglia. This is how the items match up for each group: No| SLEEVE ARMOUR HELM BODY ARMOUR LEG ARMOUR ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 1| Bandage Bandana Jerkin Sandals 2| Leather Glove Bear Mask Hauberk Boots 3| Reinforced Glove Wizard Hat Wizard Robe Long Boots 4| Knuckles Bone Helm Cuirass Cuisse 5| Ring Sleeve Chain Coif Banded Mail Light Grieve 6| Chain Sleeve Spangenhelm Ring Mail Ring Leggings 7| Gauntlet Cabasset Chain Mail Chain Leggings 8| Vambrace Sallet Breastplate Fusskampf 9| Plate Glove Barbut Segmentata Poleyn 10| Rondanche Basinet Scale Armor Jambeau 11| Tilt Glove Armet Brigandine Missaglia 12| Freiturnier Close Helm Plate Mail Plate Leggings 13| Fluted Glove Burgonet Fluted Armor Fluted Leggings 14| Hoplite Glove Hoplite Helm Hoplite Armor Hoplite Leg's 15| Jazeraint Glove Jazeraint Helm Jazeraint Armor Jazeraint Leg's 16| Dread Glove Dread Helm Dread Armor Dread Leggings NB The game's sixteen shields also correspond to these groups - so that Knight Shield (no. 13) would properly be worn with Fluted Armour, aesthetically speaking - but as there's no workshop crossover, and you can't actually see the armour, it doesn't really mean very much and there are no perceptible bonuses for wearing a 'complete' suit. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ SHIELDS ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ PRIMARY COMBINANT SECONDARY COMBINANT RESULT Targe Buckler Pelta Shield Pelta Shield Targe Quad Shield Quad Shield Targe Circle Shield Circle Shield Quad Shield Tower Shield Tower Shield Quad Shield Spiked Shield Spiked Shield Circle Shield Round Shield Round Shield Tower Shield Kite Shield Round Shield Spiked Shield Kite Shield Kite Shield Round Shield Casserole Shield Casserole Shield Kite Shield Heater Shield Heater Shield Casserole Shield Oval Shield Oval Shield Heater Shield Knight Shield Knight Shield Oval Shield Hoplite Shield Hoplite Shield Hoplite Shield Jazeraint Shield Jazeraint Shield Jazeraint Shield Dread Shield ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ DAGGERS ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ PRIMARY COMBINANT SECONDARY COMBINANT RESULT Dirk Scramasax Throwing Knife Throwing Knife Scramasax Kudi Kudi Throwing Knife Cinquedea Cinquedea Kudi Kris Kris Cinquedea Hatchet Hatchet Kris Khukuri Khukuri Hatchet Baselard Baselard Baselard Stiletto Stiletto Stiletto Jamadhar ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ SWORDS ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ PRIMARY COMBINANT SECONDARY COMBINANT RESULT Rapier Spatha Short Sword Firangi Short Sword Shamshir Shamshir Firangi Falchion Falchion Shamshir Shotel Shotel Falchion Kora Kora Kora Khopesh Khopesh Khopesh Wakizashi ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ AXES ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ PRIMARY COMBINANT SECONDARY COMBINANT RESULT Francisa Battle Axe Tabarzin Tabarzin Francisca Chamkaq Chamkaq Tabarzin Tabar Tabar Tabar Bullova Bullova Bullova Crescent ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ MACES ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ PRIMARY COMBINANT SECONDARY COMBINANT RESULT Ball Mace Spiked Club Footman's Mace (1-H) Footman's Mace (1-H) Ball Mace Morning Star Morning Star Footman's Mace (1-H) War Hammer War Hammer War Hammer Bec de Corbin Bec de Corbin Bec de Corbin War Maul ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ GREAT SWORDS ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ PRIMARY COMBINANT SECONDARY COMBINANT RESULT Katana Broad Sword Executioner Executioner Katana Claymore Claymore Executioner Schiavona Schiavona Claymore Bastard Sword Bastard Sword Bastard Sword Nodachi Nodachi Nodachi Rune Blade ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ GREAT AXES ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ PRIMARY COMBINANT SECONDARY COMBINANT RESULT Sabre Halberd Large Crescent Balbriggan Balbriggan Sabre Halberd Double Blade Double Blade Double Blade Halberd ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ HEAVY MACES ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ PRIMARY COMBINANT SECONDARY COMBINANT RESULT Footman's Mace (2-H) Sabre Mace Gloomwing Gloomwing Footman's Mace (2-H) Mjolnir Mjolnir Mjolnir Griever Griever Griever Destroyer ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ STAVES ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ PRIMARY COMBINANT SECONDARY COMBINANT RESULT Summoner's Baton Clergy Rod Shamanic Staff Shamanic Staff Summoner's Baton Bishop's Crosier Bishop's Crosier Bishop's Crosier Sage's Cane ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ POLEARMS ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ PRIMARY COMBINANT SECONDARY COMBINANT RESULT Scorpion Glaive Corcesca Corcesca Scorpion Trident Trident Corcesca Awl Pike Awl Pike Trident Boar Spear Boar Spear Trident Fauchard Fauchard Boar Spear Voulge Voulge Fauchard Pole Axe Pole Axe Pole Axe Bardysh Bardysh Bardysh Brandestoc ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ CROSSBOWS ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ PRIMARY COMBINANT SECONDARY COMBINANT RESULT Target Bow Gastraph Bow Light Crossbow Light Crossbow Target Bow Windlass Windlass Target Bow Cranequin Cranequin Windlass Lug Crossbow Lug Crossbow Lug Crossbow Siege Bow Siege Bow Siege Bow Arbalest ============================================== 15. ITEM LIST ============================================== ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ GRIPS LIST ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ------------------------------------ Dagger, Sword and Great Sword Grips ------------------------------------ GRIP BLT/EGD/PRC GEM SLOTS Short Hilt 0 / 4 / 1 x 0 Swept Hilt 0 / 2 / 4 x 0 Cross Guard 8 / 6 / 2 x 1 Counter Guard 0 / 8 / 7 x 1 Knuckle Guard 0 / 5 / 9 x 2 Side Ring 10 /12 /10 x 2 Murderer's Hilt 0 /13 /17 x 2 Power Palm 0 /15 /12 x 3 Spiral Hilt 20 /20 /20 x 3 ------------------------------------ Axe, Mace and Staff Grips ------------------------------------ GRIP BLT/EGD/PRC GEM SLOTS Wooden Grip 5 / 1 / 0 x 0 Czekan Type 8 / 4 / 0 x 0 Sand Face 3 / 6 / 0 x 1 Sarissa Grip 6 / 9 / 0 x 1 Heavy Grip 6 /15 / 0 x 1 Gendarme 13 / 5 / 0 x 2 Runkasyle 17 / 7 / 0 x 2 Grimoire Grip 21 / 9 / 0 x 2 Bhuj Type 8 /19 / 0 x 3 Elephant 11 /22 / 0 x 3 ------------------------------------ Polearm Grips ------------------------------------ GRIP BLT/EGD/PRC GEM SLOTS Wooden Pole 11 / 0 / 1 x 0 Winged Pole 2 / 6 /16 x 0 Spiculum Pole 2 /12 / 4 x 1 (2 1 -3) Ahlspies 10 /14 /12 x 1 Framea Pole 16 / 4 /10 x 2 Spiral Pole 15 / 6 /21 x 3 ------------------------------------ Crossbow Grips ------------------------------------ GRIP BLT/EGD/PRC GEM SLOTS Simple Bolt 1 / 0 /10 x 0 Steel Bolt 1 / 0 /13 x 1 Javelin Bolt 17 / 0 / 2 x 1 Falarica Bolt 3 / 0 /20 x 1 Stone Bullet 23 / 0 / 4 x 1 Sonic Bullet 5 / 0 /25 x 1 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ WEAPON LIST ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ DAGGERS 01. Battle Knife 02. Scramasax 03. Dirk 04. Throwing Knife 05. Kudi 06. Cinquedea 07. Kris 08. Hatchet 09. Khukuri 10. Baselard 11. Stiletto 12. Jamadhar SWORDS 01. Spatha 02. Scimitar 03. Rapier 04. Short Sword 05. Firangi 06. Shamshir 07. Falchion 08. Shotel 09. Kora 10. Khopesh 11. Wakizashi 12. Rhomphaia AXES 01. Hand Axe 02. Battle Axe 03. Francisca 04. Tabarzin 05. Chamkaq 06. Tabar 07. Bullova 08. Crescent MACES 01. Goblin Club 02. Spiked Club 03. Ball Mace 04. Footman's Mace (1-H)* 05. Morning Star 06. War Hammer 07. Bec de Corbin 08. War Maul *Don't get this confused with the Heavy Mace also called Footman's Mace. GREAT SWORDS 01. Broad Sword 02. Norse Sword 03. Katana 04. Executioner 05. Claymore 06. Schiavona 07. Bastard Sword 08. Nodachi 09. Rune Blade 10. Holy Win GREAT AXES 01. Guisarme 02. Large Crescent 03. Sabre Halberd 04. Balbriggan 05. Double Blade 06. Halberd HEAVY MACES 01. Langdebeve 02. Sabre Mace 03. Footman's Mace (2-H)** 04. Gloomwing 05. Mjolnir 06. Griever 07. Destroyer 08. Hand of Light **Don't get this confused with the one-handed Mace also called Footman's Mace. STAVES 01. Wizard Staff 02. Clergy Rod 03. Summoner Baton 04. Shamanic Staff 05. Bishop's Crosier 06. Sage's Cane POLEARMS 01. Spear 02. Glaive 03. Scorpion 04. Corcesca 05. Trident 06. Awl Pike 07. Boar Spear 08. Fauchard 09. Voulge 10. Pole Axe 11. Bardysh 12. Brandestoc CROSSBOWS 01. Gastraph Bow 02. Target Bow 03. Light Crossbow 04. Windlass 05. Cranequin 06. Lug Crossbow 07. Siege Bow 08. Arbalest ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ARMOUR LIST ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ SHIELDS 01. Buckler 02. Targe 03. Pelta Shield 04. Quad Shield 05. Circle Shield 06. Tower Shield 07. Spiked Shield 08. Round Shield 09. Kite Shield 10. Casserole Shield 11. Heater Shield 12. Oval Shield 13. Knight Shield 14. Hoplite Shield 15. Jazeraint Shield 16. Dread Shield HELMS 01. Bandana 02. Bear Mask 03. Wizard Hat 04. Bone Helm 05. Chain Coif 06. Spangenhelm 07. Cabasset 08. Sallet 09. Barbut 10. Basinet 11. Armet 12. Close Helm 13. Burgonet 14. Hoplite Helm 15. Jazeraint Helm 16. Dread Helm BODY ARMOUR 01. Jerkin 02. Hauberk 03. Wizard Robe 04. Cuirass 05. Banded Mail 06. Ring Mail 07. Chain Mail 08. Breastplate 09. Segmentata 10. Scale Armour 11. Brigandine 12. Plate Mail 13. Fluted Mail 14. Hoplite Armour 15. Jazeraint Armour 16. Dread Armour LEG ARMOUR 01. Sandals 02. Boots 03. Long Boots 04. Cuisse 05. Light Greaves 06. Ring Leggings 07. Chain Leggings 08. Fusskampf 09. Poleyn 10. Jambeau 11. Missaglia 12. Plate Leggings 13. Fluted Leggings 14. Hoplite Leggings 15. Jazeraint Leggings 16. Dread Leggings ARM ARMOUR 01. Bandage 02. Leather Glove 03. Reinforced Glove 04. Knuckles 05. Ring Sleeve 06. Chain Sleeve 07. Gauntlet 08. Vambrace 09. Plate Glove 10. Rondanche 11. Tilt Glove 12. Freiturner 13. Fluted Glove 14. Hoplite Glove 15. Jazeraint Glove 16. Dread Glove ----------------------- Miscellaneous Items ----------------------- Cure Root Roots of an herb that restores strength. Item effect: restores 50 HP. Almost any creature can surrender a Cure item, if the game thinks you're struggling to stay healthy. Cure Bulb Bulbs of an herb that restores strength. Item effect: restores 100 HP. Cure Tonic Extract of an herb that restores strength. Item effect: restores 150 HP. Cure Potion Potion made from an herb that restores strength. Item effect: restores all HP. Mana Root Roots of an herb that restores mentual acuity. Item effect: recharges MP by 25 points. Mana Bulb Bulbs of an herb that restores mentual acuity. Item effect: recharges MP by 50 points. Mana Tonic Extract of an herb that restores mentual acuity. Item effect: recharges MP by 100 points. Mana Potion Potion made from an herb that restores mentual acuity. Item effect: recharges all MP. Vera Root Roots of an herb that restores concentration. Item effect: Lowers RISK by 25 points. Practically any creature going can surrender a Vera item, whenever the game thinks you're not doing so well on keeping a low RISK. Vera Bulb Bulbs of an herb that restores concentration. Item effect: Lowers RISK by 50 points. Vera Tonic Extract of an herb that restores concentration. Item effect: Lowers RISK by 75 points. Vera Potion Potion made from an herb that restores concentration. Item effect: Clears all RISK. Acolyte's Nostrum Nostrum used by the acolytes of Lea Monde. Item effect: Restores 100 HP and MP. Saint's Nostrum The nostrum that a high priest received from the heavens. Item effect: Restores all HP and MP. You can win these occasionally from Deaths. Alchemist's Reagent An experimental potion made by Valnain's alchemists. Item effect: restores 25 HP; lowers RISK by 25. Sorcerer's Reagent Reagent made by sorcerers in ancient times. Item effect: restores 50 HP; lowers RISK by 50. Yggdrasil's Tears Extract of Yggdrasil known to heal status abnormalities. Item effect: cures "Paralysis". You can win these from Goblins. Faerie Chortle Made by the faerie king as a remedy for use in battle against serpents. Item effect: cures "Poison". Win these from Poison Slimes. Spirit Orison Pellets made from flower petals and dried yak livers. Item effect: cures "Numbness". Angelic Paean A talisman bearing the icon of St. Iocus. Item effect: cures "Curse". Win these from Harpies. Panacea Potion made with odd bits of herbs. Item effect: cures "Paralysis", "Poison", "Numbness". Snowfly Draught Potion of dried snowfly wings. Item effect: cancels all magical effects cast on target. Win these from the Ichthious and Basilisk in the Snowfly Forest. Faerie Wing Powder that faeries use to accelerate movement and improve jumps temporarily. Item effect: imbues "Quickness". Win these from the Ichthious and Basilisk in the Snowfly Forest. Eye of Argon Temporarily enables Ashley to see traps set in the room. Item effect: reveals traps in the room You can win these from Bats and Stirges. Valens A Lea Monde red wine with a delicate, yet robust, flavour. Item effect: permanently adds a few points to STR. Prudens The most elegant red wine, with a gentle flavour and bouquet Item effect: permanently adds a few points to INT. Volare A Lea Monde white wine known for its honey-like fragrance. Item effect: permanently adds a few points to AGL. Audentia A Lea Monde quality sweet wine allowed to age to perfection. Item effect: permanently adds a few points to maximum HP. Virtus A sparkling wine made from a blend of three grapes. Item effect: permanently adds a few points to maximum MP. You can win these, very rarely, from Mimics. Elixir of Queens Elixirs given to soldiers by Lea Monde's monks in ancient times. Item effect: permanently adds a few points to HP. You can win these from the Crusaders of Iron Maiden B2. Elixir of Mages Elixir the mages of Lea Monde once used. Item effect: permanently adds a few points to maximum MP. You can win these from Deaths and Lich Lords. Elixir of Kings Item effect: permanently adds a few points to STR. I've won one of these from a Dullahan, but only rarely. Elixir of Sages Item effect: permanently adds a few points of INT. Elixir of Dragoons Item effect: permanently adds a few points to AGL. ============================================== 16. THE BESTIARY ============================================== Note that your encyclopaedia doesn't cover all the creatures you'll fight. Humans are excluded, and there are various modes of undead fighters (archers, halberdiers, etc.) covered by just one entry. Monster stats and tactics are detailed in the level guide text, but I'll be filling this section out properly for quicker reference. Encylopaedia List (01) Zombie (02) Mummy (03) Ghoul (04) Ghast (05) Zombie Fighter (06) Zombie Knight (07) Zombie Mage (08) Skeleton (09) Dark Skeleton (10) Skeleton Knight (11) Ghost (12) Wraith (13) Goblin (14) Goblin Leader (15) Orc (16) Orc Leader (17) Lizardman (18) Blood Lizard (19) Lich (20) Lich Lord (21) Death (22) Gargoyle (23) Imp (24) Gremlin (25) Mimic (26) Shadow (27) Silver Wolf (28) Hellhound (29) Bat (30) Stirge (31) Slime (32) Poison Slime (33) Dark Eye (34) Basilisk (35) Ichthious (36) Harpy (37) Quicksilver (38) Shrieker (39) Minotaur (40) Minotaur Lord (41) Minotaur Zombie (42) Durahan (sometimes written 'Dullahan') (43) Dark Crusader (44) Nightstalker (45) Last Crusader (46) Golem (47) Iron Golem (48) Damascus Golem (49) Ogre (50) Ogre Lord (51) Ogre Zombie (52) Giant Crab (53) Iron Crab (54) Damascus Crab (55) Air Elemental (56) Djinn (57) Fire Elemental (58) Ifrit (59) Earth Elemental (60) Dao (61) Water Elemental (62) Marid (63) Dark Elemental (64) Nightmare (65) Wyvern (66) Wyvern Knight (67) Wyvern Queen (68) Dragon (69) Sky Dragon (70) Flame Dragon (71) Earth Dragon (72) Snow Dragon (73) Arch Dragon (74) Dark Dragon (75) Dragon Zombie (76) Kali (77) Ravana (78) Asura ============================================== 17. TRAINING DUMMIES ============================================== If you revisit a room to hear a hollow rattle rather than the noises of its usual inhabitants, you may have discovered a new Training Dummy. These inanimate sparring partners are marked with the Rood, and will happily take a few hits or spells directed against them. You can actually break them by getting a little bit, shall we say, 'overzealous': and the reward is an item in the class of potions, tonics and elixirs (not always worth the effort, in other words). If you want the Dummy to regenerate, you'll need to leave the area entirely (ie. that level map) and return. Initially useful for practising combo timings, Dummies also come in different creature classes so that you can build up a weapon's strengths against a specific class. The nature of the Dummies means that you'll often win Physical bonuses too, but this is very often at the expense of your Elemental ones. For this reason, it's recommended that you only use them briefly to take a novice weapon to a low level of competency. Even late in the game, there may be good reasons for doing this: you might wish to nurture another weapon type without reshaping the blade you already use for that class, so that you have a choice of both Blunt and Edged, or one-handed and two-handed, or long & short range weapons, versus a particular class. But because of the negative elemental drain, on the whole, it's nowhere near as effective - or as fun - as fighting the real thing. Hits on training dummies also count towards your acquisition of Battle Abilities, so after acquiring your new Abilities for the very first time in the Minotaur's arena then you could easily acquire the next one mere seconds later. However, you will need to attack a real opponent afterwards for the choice of new Ability to be granted. Training Dummies are 'unlocked' gradually according to your position in the game, but it's not really worth checking back until you have the Teleportation ability. By design, all of them are placed usefully near to Magic Circles. HUMAN Blackmarket, Wine Cellar (Crimson Blade) Worker's Restroom, Wine Cellar (Crimson Blade) BEAST The Dark Tunnel, Abandoned Mines B1 (Ogre) UNDEAD Hall of Sworn Revenge, Catacombs (Skeleton Knight) PHANTOM From Boy To Hero, City Walls North (Ghost) DRAGON The Boy's Training Room, City Walls South (Lizardman) EVIL Gharmes Walk, Town Centre East (Gremlin) The excellent Sam Minh <email@example.com>, another VS FAQ author, has proposed that getting elixirs from these dummies is a case of beating them with record chains, either before or, as a method of, the kill. I haven't got this to work yet, but I'm still eager to learn the rule that decides whether you get potions or elixirs from them. Anybody? ============================================== 18. SECRETS AND EXTRAS ============================================== ----------------------------- (a) Getting the Rood Blade ----------------------------- We've already mentioned that the creatures in each room vary depending on your strength and power. Essentially, this trick relies on keeping yourself weak in order to find a wholly different, and unexpected, kind of occupant. The key is to enter the rooms of Iron Maiden B2 on less than 150 HP. Instead of Lich Lords or Ogre Lords, you'll find Last Crusaders waiting to take advantage of your vulnerability. What's special about these creatures is their equipment: all of them are packing Damascus weapons, including the 'Dainslaif' and 'Pinaka' Rhomphaia blades and - best of all - the 'Excalibur' Holy Win Rood blade that Guildenstern wields in the last battle! Fight the Crusaders for long enough and you'll start winning these items, as well as the superior gems and Spiral Hilt grips attached to them. Even if you don't win a weapon, you might pick up some useful Elixirs. My recommended starting technique is to get all the way through to the Judgment crossroads in Iron Maiden B3 as usual. Reduce your health by fighting either the Lich Lords in the treasure rooms to each side (St. Elmo's Belt and Dunking The witch) or the last Ogre and Ogre Lord with Break Arts, then go back through The Iron Maiden, B2, and enter Tormentum Insomniae in low health. Instead of an Ogre & Ogre Lord, you should find a Last Crusader. Keep stepping between the two rooms. A warning, here. The rood blade is given out about as rarely as the Minotaur's Hand of Light, so you won't get hold of one easily. Make sure you have space for the whole weapon - blade, grips and two gems - as I'm not sure the game likes giving away this special prize as disassembled components. If you're still getting nowhere then try different killing methods rather than doing the same thing on the same hit locations each time. If you want to venture further back into B2 then, by starting at the far B3 end, at least you'll be well-placed to heal and run for The Keep when you've got what you came for. The rood blade also possesses some unusual combination properties. Place it in the first slot of Combine / Blades and, as long as the weapon you add to it is sufficiently powerful, you'll produce that second weapon in Damascus while retaining its design. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ prize list ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Eunic's Lot (1) Shrieker x 2 (2) Dark Crusader with 'Brionac' (H) Rhomphaia plus Power Palm, Polaris gem, Sigguld gem (+30 vs Dragons) The Oven at Neisse (1) Dark Crusader with 'Mjolnir' (S) Rhomphaia plus Power Palm, Basivalen gem (PHY/FIR/WAT + 20, -10 all else), Altema gem (+30 vs Evil) The Mind Burns (1) Shrieker x 3 (2 with Kris (D), 1 with Agrippa's Choker) (2) Dark Crusader with 'Pinaka' (D) Rhomphaia plus Power Palm, Galerian gem (PHYS/LIT/DRK + 20, -10 all else), Titan Malachite gem The Rack (1) Ogre (2) Dark Crusader with 'Sarnga' (H) Rhomphaia plus Murderer's Hilt, Vedivier gem (+5 all), Djinn Amber The Cold's Bridle (1) Ogre (2) Dark Crusader with 'Izanagi' (S) Rhomphaia plus Murderer's Hilt, Berion gem (+10 all), Ifrit Carnelian The Spider (1) Shrieker x 3 (2) Dark Crusader with 'Ascalon' (D) Rhomphaia plus Murderer's Hilt, Gervin gem (+15 all), Dao Moonstone Tablillas (1) Dark Crusader with 'Isolde' (H) Rhomphaia plus Spiral Hilt, Tertia gem (+20 all), Malid Aquamarine Brank (1) Dark Crusader with 'Dainslaif' (S) Rhomphaia plus Spiral Hilt, Lancer gem (+25 all), Seraphim Diamond (+30 Light) Tormentum Insomniae (1) Ogre Lord (with Griever, Cross Choker), Ogre (2) Last Crusader with 'Excalibur' (D) Holy Win plus Spiral Hilt, Arturos gem (+50 everything), Berial Blackpearl gem ----------------------------- (b) Enemy Occurrence ----------------------------- As mentioned at the start of the level guide, there's no fixed number or type of enemies you might encounter when entering a room. On first play you'll find bats and wolves make up your initial opponents, for example, but by second play you'll have spotted that zombies and ghouls start cropping up earlier than before. Essentially, Vagrant Story offers a reactive difficulty level. There's some form of points system, tied into your current health and power, that determines the occupants of any room you enter. If you're incredibly low on health, then the Wine Cellar might offer little more than a bat to fight. A little stronger, and you might find more bats, or wolves replacing those bats. Stronger still and you could face bats, wolves and Undead in the same room. Even later in the game, you might come back to somewhere like the Crumbling Market to discover that the expected Dullahan has been replaced by a Lich or Lich Lord more worthy of your exceptional health and prowess. The Last Crusader trick is a special case of this rule, offering up more deadly enemies with incredible kit when you least expect it, but that's not to say you won't get unusual results on other levels too. Try re-entering Catacombs or Sanctum on very low health and spot the number of slimes replacing the usual skeleton enemies. Admittedly, there are places where the enemies never change. You're unlikely to find anything but Crimson Blades by stumbling through town on low health. But it's an interesting tactic to consider, and one that you might exploit for a Title-winning time of less than 10 hours for completion. If you're weak, your enemies might not be so daunting. And if you're au fait with Raging Ache, they'll fall even quicker. Get the idea? ----------------------------- (c) Record Game Times ----------------------------- The previous tricks came courtesy of Vincent Merken, who says he finished the entire game in 10 hours *on first play* by adopting this technique of staying weak and moving on, thus inviting weaker opposition, rather than resting up and getting strong. Furthermore, Vincent contends that it's possible to get through the entire game this way and rely on no more than one weapon and a couple of spells. I'm hoping he'll do a Speed FAQ of his own at some point to inform the rest of us mere mortals (although I understand his hands are tied in some respects, so he couldn't give anything away), but within the remit of this FAQ I'm happy to record any other speed tricks and techniques other players might have found. Director Yasumi Matsuno himself told the Japanese games press that he thought it could be finished in 3-4 hours, although a mistranslation of the quote led some Western game sites to erroneously report that Vagrant Story was *only* 3-4 hours in length. Currently, the suggested record seems to stand at something around 80 minutes. Even if you've taken longer, I'd be casually interested to hear how long you took to finish the game first time, and also how long you've been spending on it since... (average current time for first play seems to be 25-30 hours). ----------------------------- (d) Getting the Minotaur Club ----------------------------- The good news is that you can win this weapon, and pretty soon in the game too. On the other hand (like me, tch...), you may fight the same battle for hours and turn up zilch. It's possible to get it on your first fight, according to some, but it's a very rare prize. If you don't succeed on first go (and the odds are against it) then there are several places to try later. The weapon itself is the 'Hand of Light', and you'll already appreciate both its range and STR potential from being on the business end of it. There are subtle differences in the weapon assemblage that you'll win, though, depending on where you win it. MINOTAUR I've now confirmed that you can win items from creatures in the Time Challenges. So once you've acquired the Kalmia Sigil for the Keep, stepping into the Time Challenge repeatedly will provide you with an endless sequence of battles with the game's first Minotaur. Prize: Hand of Light (I) plus Czekan Type grip MINOTAUR ZOMBIE Once you've acquired the Stock Sigil, it's also possible to fight the Minotaur's Zombie incarnation repeatedly by teleporting out and back to the Blackmarket. Prize: Hand of Light (H) plus Runkasyle grip MINOTAUR LORD The Minotaur Lord in the Temple of Kiltia is also a recurring enemy, and once you have the Silver Key from his room then the easiest way to keep fighting him is to switch Puzzle Mode to OFF in the options, run back outside and take the side door to the Limestone Quarry, then step back into the Temple of Kiltia and climb up to the Temple of Meschaunce. The Minotaur Lord's Hand of Light has a Titan Malachite attached, and this is one of the most useful gems for tackling Lich-type opponents. Prize: Hand of Light (H) plus Runkasyle grip, Titan Malachite gem Quite apart from its comically huge and unwieldy appearance, the Hand of Light also has some other bizarre properties. Like the rood blade, it's a metal converter: place it in the second slot of Combine / Blades, stick any other item in the first slot and you'll produce that first item in the same metal as the Hand of Light (Iron or Hagane). In reverse, there are some alternative combinations possible that result in existing weapon types. It doesn't seem possible to make a Damascus Hand of Light, incidentally. ----------------------------- (e) Record Combo Chains ----------------------------- In all honesty, mine's a mere 22 Chains. This isn't the place for a high score chart, but I'd be interested to hear from anybody who has bona fide tips on massive chains. My only advice is that, as far as I can gather, it's not enough to keep up a rhythm or observe the appearance of the '!': there seem to be regular waypoints where the timing window moves slightly as Ashley pauses or rushes, in order to catch you out at the same chain lengths every time. ----------------------------- (f) Evolve Or Die ----------------------------- You'll need to crack of handful of old-fashioned cube puzzles to make your way through some of Vagrant's Story's rooms and passages. If you then return to a room where you've already beaten a serious cube puzzle to progress, you'll be thrown into a time challenge version of the same puzzle called Evolve Or Die. There's no prize for beating any of the time challenges, and no secret awaits you for doing them all or trouncing the suggested times. It's just a minor diversion with a touch of humour, thrown in for good measure. If you look through the Options via the Main Menu then you'll see a Puzzle Mode toggle. This is ON by default, and means that you'll enter an Evolve Or Die time challenge every time you return to a solved puzzle. Switching the puzzles OFF won't remove any that you haven't yet encountered, but any puzzle you've beaten will remain solved so that you don't have to do it more than once. (Sometimes the crates you'll find with Puzzle Mode OFF aren't an exact copy of the solution, just useful steps to get you out of the room). YOUR PLACE ON THE FOOD CHAIN I haven't tried for a complete list, but here's a rough summary of the ranks you can win. As you can see, the extensive range of loser titles implies that you're supposed to fail often and win rarely, so don't be put off by that 'average' time being consistently tough to beat. Little Green Man - Beat the challenge with a superb time. Homo Sapiens - Win in roughly the given time. Neanderthal - Ooh, just missed it. Baboon - A couple of seconds late. French Poodle - Capybara - A kind of guinea pig, apparently. Dodo Bird - Platypus - Horny Toad - Scallop - Sea Slug - Amoeba - Amino Acid - Mmm, primordial soup. Game Designer - Bottom of the evolutionary scale. Unplaced: Protozoa, Pregnant Yak... ----------------------------- (g) The Bird ----------------------------- Silly one, this, but if you look up into the sky in first-person PAUSE while in an exterior town location then, very occasionally, you might catch sight of a bird with a long wing-span circling in the skies above. Because of the excellent ambient background sounds (Lea Monde still has some 'ordinary' wildlife, then, despite the corruption of Bats and Wolves by the Dark?) I must admit that I assumed it was a bird, and not something more serious... ----------------------------- (h) Fine Wines ----------------------------- I normally reserve nothing but disdain for those "you can get Gau's Dad as a secret character!!!" rumours, so here's the deal. In the second intro scene, Ashley tells Merlose that if he finds any Lea Mondean fine wines - all of which will have been laid down for at least 25 years, remember - then they're hers. I stocked up all of my wines to the end of the game, and finished, and saved a Game Clear Data without using any of them. You get nothing for doing that. It's an intriguing piece of personable character dialogue, nothing more. Wines are basically elixirs with interest, so you just miss out on improving your stats by putting them by. Go on, prove me wrong. ----------------------------- (i) Rumours ----------------------------- DESIGN TEAM DEMOTED? The most worrying rumour of this month's newsgroups is that the VS design team has been demoted within the hierarchy at Square because of the game's poor sales (i.e. less than Square's requisite million) in the home market, despite the global critical acclaim. I haven't had any confirmation of this story, and will try to find out if it's true from an official source, as it seems highly improper. CHEATS Vagrant Story has no real cheats to date, so I mention this purely because it's the obvious way for a cheat to exist. What if you gave your weapon a certain name and it automatically became a cheat weapon? It's an old-fashioned kind of RPG cheat (naming your character with a specific title for starting bonuses) and I've seen it used as recently as Harvest Moon, so half of me suspects that this might be a possibility. Knowing my luck, the names Orcrist, Masamune and Xxxx's Bane would work, but I haven't dared try. ----------------------------- (j) Bugs ----------------------------- MAGIC CIRCLE VANISHING TRICK In the first area of Snowfly Forest East (second play), the first-person PAUSE view shows a magic circle. Click back, and it's gone. BREAK ART COUNT If you finish the first play without collecting all of the Break Arts, enemy deaths won't start counting towards your next required total until you've defeated the Minotaur boss again on second play. DISC TROUBLE Vagrant Story has an enormous disc index to contend with, so if your PlayStation is extremely old and has seen some bruisingly lengthy sessions in that time then you may encounter occasional hitches as the head searches and searches again for the precise track that it needs. Those tiny orbiting sparks you see when you initiate a Break Art or spell are an effect to cover the disc access times, and it's here that you're most likely to see the game pause for an extra second or two while the read head has another go. It's NOT a bug or code glitch, but a direct result of your hardware seeing *way* too much use over the years, so give it a chance to catch up and it will. If you've taken to standing your PS on its side occasionally to see games run more smoothly* (which may mean that the rack- &-pinion needs some lithium grease) then this applies to you. Hey, it's better than having to swap discs just to teleport to old areas... *(For the record, my original Japanese SCPH-1000 series Serial A is still in good working order: but I wasn't entirely surprised by PS2's supposedly innovative vertical / horizontal dual mode, as I've been doing that for years...) ============================================== 19. CREDITS ============================================== There's no way I could do all of this on my own, of course, and the amount of really useful material I've had come my way since starting this FAQ is nothing short of astounding. So here's a list of Rather Superb People: they've all helped out for no reward beyond the knowledge that their work will be shared freely and may help other players. I'm indebted to you all. James Savell <firstname.lastname@example.org> Not content with putting me right on the facts about Damascus, James suggested a theory for combining different items of a similar pegging (empirical method re: creating Damascus is still early stages), filled me in on the status screen and also furnished me with an item list. He's since replaced my lost notes on fighting the Wyvern Knight too, which meant this FAQ update got to you an evening earlier. Yowza! Vic Palileo <email@example.com> Vic did ALL the work for me on the Weapon Titles table, just when I was dreading the possibility that I might have to research it all myself, and even went away to level up his weapons for a complete list. Can't thank him enough for that. He also simplified the Light & Dark Wage War jump better than anyone. Lawrence Oei <firstname.lastname@example.org> Lawrence kicked off the alternative boss tactics section with his Phantom Pain x 8 trick and, more importantly, came up with some metallurgy pointers that got me back into the workshop. Greatly appreciated. Vincent Merken <email@example.com> Vincent's speed playing tips, not to mention his discovery of Last Crusaders in Iron Maiden B3, have made him one of this FAQ's most valuable contributors. He's since contributed some equally valuable chain info, too. Nelson Murphy <firstname.lastname@example.org> Some valuable RISK pointers for improving the chance of Sorcery spells came from this guy, as well as a reminder of the Riskbreak Break Art, and I'm just as grateful for his enthusiasm. The Stat Roulette tip is all his. Daniel Day <D_Day2001@hotmail.com> This guy's hot, and not only uncovered the friendship trick but did so weeks before anyone else. He's also contributed a few other worthy items herein. <HLai105838@aol.com> Taunted me with his spanking Minotaur's Club, which he'd already obtained in the Japanese version. Aha, I have several now! Robert Schmitz I first encountered Robert when he was editor of the sorely-missed Shining Forth: a fine zine, not just a fanzine. He took time out from reviewing for workingdesigns.com to send me his Crimson Pain / Raging Ache tips and observations. "One other observation: two room names in the Snowfly Forest are Bauhaus songs (Hollow Hills and The Silent Hedges)". Goth-tastic! Joe P Shelton <SHELTONJP@prodigy.net> Continues to contribute some very helpful pointers for the hidden Grimoires section, and always before anyone else too. Thanks! ZenCrawler@aol.com So, you don't need ranged weapons to take out the crates blocking your Cloudstone jumps. This fellow showed me how. Kaworu <email@example.com>, Trevor <firstname.lastname@example.org> Kaworu noted how to cancel the Bloody Sin (that'll save a few tears, I'll wager) while Trevor prompted me to re-try reflecting Guildenstern's attacks. Cyrus Nunn Suggested a couple of tips, including his version of Training Dummy regeneration, and was more usefully pedantic about my typos. Firseal@aol.com Urged me on to explain the potential doubling-up of weapons for creature classes, which is now in. D. Bingham Brown <email@example.com> Some canny observations mean the Ward defence trick is all his. Paul Riggle <firstname.lastname@example.org> We like people who actually send full info, rather than just an "I found a doohickey!" message which forces me to spend an evening working out what they were saying and tracking down the item to discover either (a) its stats, or (b) they were greatly exaggerating something perfectly mundane. Koh Chuan Koon <email@example.com> Emasculate those dragons by running under them at the start of the battle. Benjamin Ford <firstname.lastname@example.org> Chest-closing info and Snowfly Forest East magic circle glitch, that's what. Tim Espasandin <email@example.com>, Bryce Rollins <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Sas2231@aol.com, William Simon <email@example.com> These people convinced me to write more on Absorb defences, which was worth including after all. Still, it is not the invulnerability trick that some correspondents have suggested. Kyle <talon@QNET.COM>,Markweb Jimenez <firstname.lastname@example.org> Precise additional trap info and more. Chris Lai <email@example.com>, Keith Rhee <firstname.lastname@example.org> Got lost in Iron Maiden B2 on my behalf. I've now done an Iron Maiden map that is probably as flawed as my original guide, but here goes nothing. Ryan Kern <email@example.com> A correction-identifier of the first order. Gun Dream <Gunnm@operamail.com> Garrett Beaty <firstname.lastname@example.org> NaturalH <NaturalH@msn.com> The first of many to note it, but these early sharpsters simultaneously pointed out my gem removal error. Sorry if I'm still behind on some credits. V1.3 is an admittedly desperate release of an FAQ that has only been half-updated in some areas, but I haven't had a day off work in two weeks. That's the trouble with being freelance: even Saturday Night is no longer sacred. I'm hoping to fit in a whole weekend to myself on a wed/thu sometime before July, if it reassures... Zy Nicholson <This week, the author is indebted to Massive Attack vs. Mad Professor, Miles Davis, Sneaker Pimps, and You Shall Know Them By The Trail Of The Dead (must be getting old). And if he ever catches the burglars who made off with his original US Secret Of Mana cart, among other valuables...> If you've discovered something that needs correcting or updating, or you've spotted something that the Vagrant Story-playing world needs to know, then e- mail email@example.com and I will see to it that your finest observations are both incorporated and duly credited to you. Please bear with me, as, by dreadful misfortune, I also need to fit in working hard for a living... //FIN.//