Music: Atlasdam, Seat of Learning

Today we're going to explore Atlasdam, the town Cyrus starts in. There's the actual town, then the central hub that leads to the library, palace, and Royal Academy.

The characters with orange text bubbles hold side quests. I'll go into those later.

It's a city of learning, where many scholars come for the purposes of study and research.

The Flatlands is one of the eight regions, and each region has three towns, nicely separated for Chapters 1, 2/3, and 4. Note that characters will move all over for their quests. For instance, Cyrus's Chapter 2 quest is in a town within the same region that Therion starts in.

For town updates, I'll show off every NPC and their Scrutinize info, because it's generally pretty interesting even for the most-seemingly-dull NPCs. Once we recruit Tressa, I'll go into whatever items they have, and perhaps dive into the other path actions, too.

It's nice to see this guy taking his job seriously.

Scrutinize doesn't just give interesting flavor text. Certain NPCs may give some benefits, whether leads for items, info to finish side quests, tips to make path actions easier, or access to new wares like we've got here.

Libraries aren't for me. My cows are my priority.

Eh, some people just like to work.

The inn is already pretty cheap, but this makes it even cheaper.

Your parents must be weepin' in the afterlife to see you like this, "Professor." You spineless weakling... Good for nothing but cracking open books!

Yeah, it'll be awhile before we can resolve this one.

Some of these are auto-successes, while others have a chance of failure.


He has a notebook he took from the highborn house - it's his prized possession, they say.

Good for him, I guess. Sounds like he stole it, but whatever.

You know, there's a lot of these descriptions that could really serve as important life lessons...

...A small home for one feels terribly small and cramped in comparison.

Keep an eye out for info like this. This guy is probably important for a future side quest, and the game does a poor job tracking anything involving side quests. That said, since Scrutinize gave us nothing, it's likely we'd have to buy or steal his journal to get this information. Something to save for later...

We just heard one about the legendary knight, Sokrath. How valiant and noble he was!

We'll meet the bard shortly, but in the meantime, it's descriptions like this that are why I'm going to show off every single one of these.

...Says he don't want to be a knight himself. Just his squire. It's a rum notion for a lad to get into his head. But truth be told, he's not fit for anythin' else that I can tell...

Too many people want to be leaders. If anything, we should have more followers. I'm personally much happier following along and avoiding the stress of leading people who see themselves as leaders.

The last batch of wares he told me about I sold in a single morning! If Milo says he has a business opportunity, then I listen.

Hey, gotta make your money how you can.

What? You think it means anything, this useless thing? Sure, it meant I was a part of something once. And what does that mean? Nothing. Brotherhood don't fill your belly.

Another one to keep tucked away.

A lot of NPCs seem to have unique dialogue if Cyrus fails his Scrutinize. It's hard to fail a lot of these, so that's a lot of detail. And honestly, that's the least of it as far as unique reactions to path actions go.

Sounds like a charmer.

That's a lot of responsibility for a ten-year-old girl!

Some NPCs will give locations to items. The mini-map will guide you where to go.

Medium-level Soulstones are invaluable for a very specific reason early on that we'll hopefully run into sooner or later.

To find and obtain such treasures at that young an age is an impressive feat.

This helps Tressa's Path Action when we get her. When she normally trades with NPCs, there's a random chance she will automatically negotiate a lower price after buying it. Smarter Bartering raises that chance.

Big note, this only applies for trades within Atlasdam, and not all path actions get such boosts in all cities, in fact it's more the exception than the norm. You'll probably get a couple if you're lucky.

Alas! For some reason, nobody's willing to give it a try. It could save these people a fortune, but everyone's stuck in their old ways. If only I could find my first customer, I'm sure my luck would change!

It's probably because building a new windmill on untested data is a pretty serious risk, and also we don't really know how prevalent windmills are around here.

Sounds like a pretty solid life to me.

I wonder if that axe is really any good. No way to check yet, nor do we have a character that can use one, so I guess it doesn't really matter.

Apothecaries are the doctors of Orsterra. There will generally be one in most towns, and we'll be recruiting one eventually.

I believe this lowers the level requirement for Ophilia to use Guide. You may notice that the two Path Action boosts we got boosted those of the two characters who start adjacent to Cyrus. The game's surprisingly well balanced in that no matter where you start, as long as you move to adjacent lands, you will always end up with the four distinct path actions for your first four characters. This happens because similar path actions are opposite each other (so in Cyrus's case, Alfyn is the farthest-away character). Of course, you're welcome to recruit whoever you want in however order you want, or even skip characters if you really want to.

Hey, if you can keep getting away with it, why not?

Cor, I love knights, don't you? Their fancy armor and jaunty plumes atop their heads... All I needs do now is find one in need of a squire...

Hey, gotta have dreams, no matter how bizarre, right?

Russell doesn't seem that bad if he willingly gave himself up. He wasn't a bad man, just a desperate one. A shame that one major mistake will likely ruin his career, though.

Merchants in Orsterra have a lot of pride in their work. You'll learn a lot more about how they work soon enough, though...

All are welcome to engage in the pursuit of knowledge here.

This area is where most study takes place.

Want to hear it? Of course you do, matey, of course you do!

I have to assume "Colzione family" refers to Tressa's family, but it seems a bit weird to point them out since they seem to be small-time merchants. Still, if someone has that much success in predicting trends, any merchant worth their salt will want to learn from him.

Information is basically used for side quests. Someone might want to accomplish something but need information, so we Scrutinize/Inquire that information from a NPC like we did here, then take that info to the NPC in need to resolve the situation.

On one hand, this means it can be a chore to find the right NPC to get info from, especially since it could be anyone from the whole 24 towns and cities in the game or even someone wandering in the overworld, which pretty much needs you'll likely need a guide to 100% everything. But on the other hand, it's a really clever and organic way to world build, using information from the other side of the world to help out a NPC who clearly would've never gotten that information otherwise. Your party not only travels a lot, they also learn a lot and share that knowledge with others to make the world a better place. Personally I think that idea of world building is worth having to use a spreadsheet to get everything, but that's just me, and it probably could've still kept that aspect while making the whole process less trial-and-error.

I'm still working on my delivery, but would you care to hear some of it? Ahem...

Oops, messed up that check!

Gotta start somewhere, and it seems like a promising start to his young career.

The Royal Academy is full of people, but we can't actually interact with anyone. In fact, there's nothing to even do here. Yvon and his assistant are nowhere to be found.

Tough call here. His side-job is pretty shady, but it also encourages him to be effective at his main job.

Luckily, his type seems to be the minority, as there's more trustworthy fellows within the palace itself.

Only some herbs in these chests.

We never meet the royal family beyond Princess Mary, but they really do seem like rational and well-respected leaders who run their country very well.

Very terrible stats, but hey, literally better than nothing!

I buy a better one shortly.

He founded the Royal Library and Academy, where nobles and commoners alike can learn freely.

Wise idea, have the throne room guarded by two people who have no respect for each other. Ah, such is life.

I forgot to grab this until now. Nuts grant permanent stat increases. The twist is that these increases are a percentage of the character's base stats, so to maximize their effect you want to use the nuts associated with the character's higher stats. So Cyrus would gain more stat points from an ElemAtt-boosting nut than a PhysAtt one.

That said, I literally never used any until the post-game content in my first playthrough. They're nice but nothing essential.

That discount makes a cheap stay ridiculously cheap.

Also, here's the inn music because why not.

Music: A Brief Respite

Some towns have the item and equipment vendors separate, others combined into one vendor. This town is the former.

I got a few vendor items from Scrutinize Item Hunts. That money will come in handy!

That said, there's not much to buy here. Clamor restores Silence, Light restores Blind, and Revival restore Unconscious (which is different from being KOed). I'll go into those status effects when they actually pop up.

Every town has a tavern, and this is where you change your party. You can also access the gear of the characters not in your party with the Equipment option.

Hear a Tale is mainly used for later chapters. As soon as you enter a town with a character who has a quest there, it'll prompt you if you want to begin. If you'd rather explore first, this is the option to start that quest.

Finally, if you annoy people too much, this is how you regain access to path actions, though it'll cost you depending on the town. Most of these aren't that bad, but there's one city in particular that costs a whopping 100,000 leaves, which even end-game isn't anything to sneeze at.

At any rate, let's upgrade our gear.

The Arcane Glaive is mainly there if you chose Tressa and made your way to Cyrus's town. It actually gives a nice boost to Elemental Attack in addition to Physical.

For now, I get a Light Staff since the others are overkill.

And these round out my purchases. You'll find a lot of loot exploring dungeons and the like, but it's still good to stock up on gear, since generally your gear will matter more than your levels.

Accessories cover a wide variety of effects, but the early ones are minor stat boosts, in this case HP and MP. I hold off for now since Tressa will get them cheaper when we recruit her.

So next time, we'll explore the Flatlands and Coastlands, and also do our first side quest!