Music: Dark Caverns
Welcome to the first dungeon of Octopath Traveler!
I'm going to be honest here, the dungeons are pretty uninspired. No puzzles, nothing interesting beyond potentially the settings and graphics of them. You just wander around a screen (multiple screens in later chapters), find paths to loot, and fight through randoms to get to the boss. They serve their purpose, but otherwise they're just filler and if you're lucky there's one or two you might actually remember after finishing the game.
At least the music's good, as it always is.
Music: Battle I
There's a handful of enemies, of course. We met the Ice Sentinel early on, and they are weak to a lot of weapons and, as you may guess, Fire.
Likewise, there are Fire Sentinels weak to Ice. Generally for these Chapter 1 dungeons, that character should be able to break every enemy they come across, though a couple may need to reach into their bags of tricks to do so.
I forgot to mention last update that the enemies' names change color as they take damage. I forget the exact percentages, but they turn green at around 50%, and red around 10% HP left. A couple of abilities we'll get with later characters will also unintentionally serve as a pseudo-HP tracker.
There's a good variety of items available. Soulstones come in all six elements, and simply use that element on the entire enemy party. Not as important since we're using Cyrus, but the Wind, Light, and Shadow ones should be handy to have, plus there are stronger versions of these Soulstones we can get later.
I didn't see many of these guys, but they aren't weak to any of Cyrus's elementals, which means breaking through their whopping two shields with his stick before blowing them away with a boosted spell.
Music: Victory Fanfare
Also, I forgot the victory fanfare last update. Oops! Cyrus will eventually hit L5 in this dungeon, which is pretty much where every character should end up.
Hitting 30JP unlocks the Skills menu, as we can now purchase our first skill.
Music: Dark Caverns
The skill system is interesting for this one. Each character always starts with the top two skills unlocked, then can unlock the next five in any order. The final skill, called a Divine Skill since they stem from the powers of the gods, is only unlocked once all the others are bought, usually being very powerful but also requiring max boost to even be used. In addition, there are passive skills you get after learning enough skills that you can slot on your character for, well, passive benefits.
I'll go ahead and be spoiling all of these so I won't have to later. Let's go ahead and take a look!
Fireball (8SP) - Deal fire damage to all foes.
Icewind (8SP) - Deal ice damage to all foes.
Lightning Bolt (8SP) - Deal lightning damage to all foes.
Simple target-all spells. They deal 133% of the net (Elem Att - Elem Deff) damage to all enemies. Each boost point adds 90% more damage.
Interesting note, every element has a single-target and multi-target version. The characters for Wind/Light/Dark have both versions, while the single-target Fire/Ice/Lightning skills go to Therion/Alfyn/H'aanit respectively. The single-target versions are more powerful, but Cyrus will still do comparable damage simply because he's more focused on Elemental Attack.
Analyze (1SP) - Reveal the HP and one weakness of a single foe.
The weakness revealed is random. Boosting it reveals more weaknesses, one per boost point, meaning max boost results in four weaknesses revealed. Helpful for bosses or when exploring a new area!
Fire Storm (22SP) - Deal fire damage to all foes twice.
Blizzard (22SP) - Deal ice damage to all foes twice.
Lightning Blast (22SP) - Deal lightning damage to all foes twice.
The individual attacks are slightly weaker than the one-hit skills, each one only doing 120% the damage of net Attack, but again, they hit twice. This also means ripping apart elemental shields more easily, and as a bonus boosting them boosts each hit by 95% per point spent. The only reason I don't want to use them is because 22SP is a lot for this stage of the game, but it's still more than doable.
Alephan's Enlightenment (30SP) - [Divine Skill] For two turns, spells cast by a single chosen ally that usually target all foes will instead be focused on a single foe at increased intensity.
It seems to double the damage dealt by these. I haven't messed with this one much so I can't really say much, but considering it requires max boost and doesn't have a long duration, I'd personally rather simply cast a spell twice. I'll probably mess around and see for myself when I eventually get it, though.
Next, passive abilities, in the order we learn them:
Evasive Maneuvers - Reduces the rate of random encounters. (Equipping this skill with multiple characters will have no added effect.)
It's a good deal of a difference, and as you may have imagined this skill is one of the best in the game simply for the quality-of-life benefits. And you wonderful people voted so that I'll always have access to it!
Elemental Augmentation - Augments the equipping character's elemental attack strength by 50.
The second-tier passives generally boost stats, and this is one of the better ones since it means Cyrus can tear foes apart more easily.
Percipience - Prevents the party from being surprised by foes. (Equipping this skill with multiple characters will have no added effect.)
Nice quality-of-life, but hardly vital later in the game.
Vim and Vigor - The equipping character will regenerate HP each turn.
The exact amount is 10% of max HP. Decent, but there are so much better passives out there that for an ultimate passive, it's not as impressive as it seems.
I opt for Lightning Bolt for additional weakness coverage, as being able to hit 4/12 weaknesses with one character is very useful, especially since he doesn't have to deal with gimmicks like all the other characters who can hit more. Analyze will probably be next, and then I'll probably just pick the hit-twice skills randomly. They're really nice, but also really overkill this early in the game.
Back to the dungeon!
Herbs cure one of the seven status effects you can be inflicted with. They're handy to have, but also pretty cheap, so they're not that exciting to obtain in the wild.
Our current meager Robe only gives +3 PD and +7 ED. This is a huge upgrade even without the Speed boost!
Ah, I did not realize this was such a popular location!
Every Chapter 1 dungeon has a random vendor hanging around for no good reason. Well, the gameplay reason is good, so that you won't be caught unprepared by the upcoming boss.
Some items are just vendor fodder, like this coin. This baby sells for 1500 leaves (the currency in Orsterra), and considering we finish this dungeon with 3700, this is a nice find indeed.
We eventually reach the end, so...
Looks like we've found the secret lab of the book thief.
Are you always in the habit of barging into your peers' offices while they're working!?
Apropos of nothing, mayhap you've heard that a certain tome was stolen from the archives.
...I haven't the faintest clue what you're talking about.
Come now, Russell. Playing dumb is just going to drag this out for the both of us.
Unfortunately for you, at precisely the moment you were trying to sneak back with the key... Your friend the guardsman was just waking from his little slumber.
Music: For Truth
Figured you'd say as much. Then perhaps you'd care to accompany me to the academy? To prove your innocence, of course.
Video: Boss - Russell
Music: Decisive Battle I
Time for the first boss battle! I'll be doing videos of all boss battles, which may be worth watching if only for the myriad of battle voices. Voices for boosting, low health, status effects, evading attacks, getting KOed, and of course one for each and every ability in the game. It's impressive work!
Russell is accompanied by two Water Wisps, which will use ice attacks on Cyrus.
They're weak to Fire and Lightning, while Russell is weak to Staves and Ice. Thus the game forces us to choose which to take out first, and even though Russell is the more dangerous threat, the Water Wisps' weak attacks will add up over the course of battle, so I pick them to take out first.
So it's a couple rounds of weakening them, followed by a full-boost blast from a spell of my choice.
I'm experimenting here to find and expose weaknesses, but the optimal strategy here is to break the wisps, then do a fully-boosted ice spell so that I can chip away at Russell while still blasting away the wisps.
Russell's got a bit more variety to his attacks. In addition to basic physicals...
...he has some decent fire and ice attacks, both single-target and party-wide. He'd be more of a threat if I had a full party, but Cyrus can tank elemental attacks pretty well so they're not really that scary.
A lot of bosses also have this signal that they're about to do a big attack. If you can break them, do so to interrupt these! Otherwise, I hope you can take a hit.
In this case, Russell hits with Icicle Storm, which delivers three ice hits. Again, Cyrus just shrugs them off with his high ED.
After a few rounds, I manage to eliminate the Wisps, allowing me to focus on Russell.
While Icewind would do more damage than one of Cyrus's meager staff attacks, it also costs SP and I'm not doing much damage to an unbroken foe anyway, so it's better to chip away and then do my big move when he's busted.
Russell prepares another incantation, but this time we're ready for him!
And that's the kill shot!
Refreshing Jam is the Elixir of this game, fully healing HP and SP. Good stuff.
That tome would fetch a small fortune. This is true. And yet, did you not for a moment consider the consequences?
A grave crime no matter who would perpetrate it, but all the more unforgivable when committed by one who calls himself a scholar.
Cyrus values knowledge and the sharing of it above all else, so it especially wounds him when his colleagues value things differently.
Music: Atlasdam, Seat of Learning
That I did. And yet, I fear this may not be the only volume our friend had purloined.
Russell has already confessed to the full extent of his crimes...and revealed the names of his business associates. We need only track down the books and purchase them back. I'll speak to the guards and see that we redouble security of the archives.
What's this? It says there's another book still missing. Did that scoundrel of a scholar steal this one as well?
It's been missing for some fifteen years now. Russell's aggressive borrowing only extends some two years back.
I see. So this volume was lost - or stolen - long before that.
...Right as always, Professor.
According to our records, it would seem to be a compendium of ancient rites and long-lost magicks. If I am not mistaken, it was the single oldest volume housed within our archives. Needless to say, it was a tremendous loss.
Professor Cyrus Albright, Book Dick.
Again? What could it be this time?
I have no interest in accolades. But if he insists...
Just a short jaunt over to the Headmaster's Office.
Video: A Forced Sabbatical
So we do.
Yes, Headmaster? What can I do for you?
...Professor Albright. A most...troubling report have reached my ears.
A report, sir?
Music: Creeping Dread
If it is untrue, then say so.
I would like to take your words at face value, Professor, but I fear the situation is not so simple. A rumor regarding the royal family, even an unsubstantiated one such as this, is sure to spread quickly.
That is something that simply cannot be allowed to happen. Surely, you understand.
And so what do you intend to do with me, sir?
It is not an easy decision to make. Dismissing you outright would be tantamount to an admission of guilt.
Professor Albright is put on extended leave, while official accounts state that he's doing fieldwork in a distant land.
Do we have a problem, Professor?
Opportunity? For what?
Music: Tranquil Days
I was just wondering when I might find the time to do a bit of research in the field.
(...In search of an ancient tome that disappeared fifteen years ago.)
...Is that so? Do tell, Professor. What is it that you intend to investigate?
Good day to you, Headmaster.
Video: Therese's Regret
Oh, Therese. What is it?
I...I heard that you were leaving the academy.
Then you heard true.
Not until just this moment, when you apologized.
Music: Enveloped in Kindness
I just wanted you to...pay more attention to me.
And that's why you went to the headmaster?
Y-yes... But I... I just wanted to get you in a little trouble...
I daresay the timing couldn't have been better. You see, there's a certain matter I simply can't wait to investigate.
Besides, I am not entirely without fault in the matter.
Music: Cyrus, the Scholar
The line delivery for this one is perfect.
And yet, Her Highness is always eager to ask questions, and I was all too eager to answer them. In doing so, I may have given the impression that I favored her above you and the others. This was not my intention, but I am at fault all the same.
Yes, Professor. Will...will I ever see you again?
And so Cyrus makes his departure from Atlasdam...for now. We'll come right back next update to show it off proper.
But it's a lively little area nonetheless.
Video: Setting Out
(My erstwhile colleague Odette knows more about arcane studies than anyone I know. Last I heard, she sojourned in Quarrycrest. I should begin my journey there.)
And so we end Cyrus's Chapter 1. He started things off looking for a book, and now he's ending things looking for another book. His next task will be significantly more challenging for sure...
...but he doesn't have to do it alone! In fact, I daresay it's time to build our party up from this Monopath Traveler.
The game encourages you to go to the next town either clockwise (Tressa) or counter-clockwise (Ophilia), but that's completely optional! All seven characters are available as far as I'm concerned, so pick the ones you want to see next! I'll recruit the winner once I get the next update up, showing off the city of Atlasdam. Until next time!