Music: A Settlement in the Red Bluffs

Occasionally characters not in your party will pop up at taverns for you to talk to. Nothing much there beyond a line of generic dialogue, but a neat touch.

So as I mentioned, I was pretty underleveled for that last chapter, and I don't really think I'm leveled enough to even properly use my Path Actions for these new towns! So let's take a break to gain some levels and get some new gear, and what better way than to explore some more side dungeons!

I'll be rolling with this team and job configuration for all three dungeons we'll be exploring today. Apothecary gives Cyrus some much-needed utility, Warrior gives Therion some added punch and target-all options, Cleric suits Primrose's ElemAtk and Speed quite well, and Hunter gives Tressa a cute hat.

Music: Dark Caverns

The first dungeon is within the Sunlands, known as the Whistling Cavern.

The purple chest here is simple but welcome.

We've got Skull Rollers and a Dark Roller.

Dark Roller can hurt and seems to have a high chunk of defense to it.

It's nice having a single-target option for Cyrus. Lets him do more damage without spending a bunch more SP on his tier-two spells.

This is a neat trick. You have to walk to the foreground, loop to the right and underneath to reach that chest on the left.

This is the extent of how this game does puzzles, but it's kind of neat that they avoided the usual variety of JRPG dungeon puzzles like pushing blocks or sliding on ice or all that other stuff and instead have you try to navigate the environment to get treasure.

Speaking of which, this is a nifty upgrade and currently our strongest bow.

Killer Bugs exist. There's that.

We've seen Giant Scorpions before when we picked up the Dancer job. They're a pretty nasty foe in this dungeon.

Another area that seems like it should have a boss.

Yeah, not much to talk about for that one. Let's jump to the next one.

Music: Dark Caverns

Twin Falls is the dungeon for the Riverlands.

It's basically one massive circle.

The Purple Chest has a nice staff upgrade. Granted, it has no other perks beyond a debuff upon attack, but at least it's a nice debuff, and it's strong in the most important stat for a staff.

Not much new here besides River Froggen.

I do pick up Snatch for Therion, which will be nice for component grinding down the road.

On the northern section of this cave, this warning will pop up. And for good reason, as this dungeon actually has a miniboss!

Video: Miniboss - Monarch

Music: Battle I

These aren't really bosses, since they get regular battle music, start popping up as a rare encounter in that dungeon upon defeat, and can even be Captured by H'aanit.

These foes are generally pretty powerful, but are easy to cheese if you know a few tricks. I decide to hold back for this one and fight it "legit".

Which means tearing through its defenses. It's vulnerable to polearms, bows, and Dark Magic, so Thousand Spears and Rain of Arrows will rip through its shields, high as they are.

The Monarch is mainly dangerous due to its Mass Slumberwave ability, which can hit everyone with sleep. This one only hits Tressa, but a later one got everyone but Cyrus.

It also hits pretty hard.

It's got a whopping 9000 HP to burn through, so this will take a bit.

Some good loot, at least.

Eventually we defeat the Monarch and end his streak of supervillainry, at least for today. Go Team Octopath!

Our reward is Refreshing Jam. It's alright, I guess.

Music: Dark Caverns

The last dungeon for today, this is at the bottom of a chasm in the Cliftlands.

This is also a circle, except really more like a triangle. We could go north or east, I opt for the latter.

Purple Chest.

As usual, mainly interesting for its nice views.

Ash Ravens can inflict Horror and hit decently hard, probably around 250ish.

oh no I unlocked bewildering grace, what have i done

Not much of note treasure-wise, besides more cash.

Buuuuut there is one more miniboss here! Let's end things right!

Video: Miniboss - Heavenwing

Music: Battle I

Heavenwing is pretty similar to Monarch, right down to having identical weaknesses and the same amount of shields.

It does have a bit more HP, though, and it has some different attacks.

Instead of a wind attack, it has a really nasty fire attack. It can also debuff both your attack stats.

As I said earlier, there's ways to exploit these Minibosses, and probably the easiest one is Poison. While regular bosses only take 1% of Max HP in damage, minibosses are technically still regular enemies, so they take the 1/6 Max HP damage each round. That means you can kill them with six rounds of poison if you can survive long enough.

If nothing else, these bosses are good for some quick and easy money.

Thanks to Poison, I make quick work of this thing.

Our reward is an odd one. The Enchanted Axe has lackluster PhysAtk, but has an impressively high ElemAtk that makes it rival most Chapter 1 or early Chapter 2 staves. Since spells only pick the highest ElemAtk value of all weapons, this is great particularly for those who may not have access to staves yet would like more ElemAtk, like if you went Hunter Primrose or whatever else.

That's enough dungeon diving for one day, but we'll probably find more things to do to get us up to speed!