The Drake in Devilfire Grove
From the 'Rest Camp' head west along the road leading away from it. Follow it as it turns south-west, then south. After exiting the first rocky pass, note the area to the south of the road, where Hobgoblins and Cyclops lurk (at least at night). North of the road is the grove where a Drake lurks. Again, you may want to seriously consider avoiding this foe now, as it's quite powerful. Let's remain a slave to the chronological order in this instance, and discuss fighting the creature here. A wise Arisen would wait until they had better gear and a few more levels under their belt, however.
Enemy Strategy: Drake
The Drake is a Dragon in miniature-in fact, killing a Drake is good preparation for the Dragon, as the two use many of the same attacks and tactics. Two big, scaly reptiles with wings and fire breath fight the same, who knew? In terms of power and resilience, you will not find a more dangerous foe until you fight the Dragon-just look at all those health bars!
The Drake is a threat on multiple levels-its fire breath can damage at a range (albeit a rather short range), it has shout attacks which will kill Pawns outright and inflict the Arisen with Spell Stifling. If you are off to its left it'll swipe at you with its claw, if you're in front of it or to the right it'll try to grab you. If it grabs your Arisen it'll look at you with disdain and slam you into the ground. If it grabs a Pawn it'll speak to them and try to dominate them-if it succeeds the Pawn will turn hostile and you'll have to put it down to bring it back under control-not a good thing if you've got powerful Pawns. If you're in front of it, it'll try to bite (which affects an area in front of it), perform a breath attack (while backing up or advancing) wing-buffet (which will stagger you briefly), or spin around in an angry circle... which does negligible damage if you're close to its front. If you're a distance away it'll charge at you-the charge itself can inflict a bit of damage, but sometimes it'll be in a somewhat more bitey mood; if you run away from its charge, it'll sometimes continue to charge to the extent of its territory... the beast is tenacious, if nothing else. If you're behind it, it might swipe at you with its tail. Finally, it also will actually use its wings to... you know, fly around. The one attack you need to worry about if you're close-by is its flying slam, where it rises quickly into the air, then tries to land on its foes below. Other than this it'll hover in the air, keeping a fair distance from you, while it shamelessly tries to blast you with its fire breath. The way to knock it down? Hit it, of course. The heart is the best target (more on this later) but the wings and head also work well... and as usual, Bows and Longbows are the best way to do this, since you'll have better range and free aim. Sorcerers and Mages will just have to make do-getting behind something when it retaliated with its breath weapon, and Fighters and Mystic Knights will just have to use Burst Strike. Warriors, well... good luck.
Know Your Role
The key to fighting the Drake is knowing its attacks, and your limitations. If you're a Mage or Sorcerer, you're best off hiding behind or on a rock, and generally just trying to avoid tangling with it in melee. Miasma and High Gicel work wonders on the beast, if you can hit it in the heart... and actually get the spell off. Archer types can try to stand back and avoid it, but it'll do all in its power to close ground. All in all, the safest place is probably in front of it, where its attack routines become predictable. In fact, your positioning will influence its responses; if you can predict its attacks you'll find that they're all easily avoidable, or, in some cases, are just simply incapable of hitting you if you remain close. Another perk of being close by and in front of it is the fact that you'll have access to its most vulnerable part, the heart... which brings up the next topic...
The Heart of the Matter
As was mentioned before, the heart is the most vulnerable part of the Drake's body. You can hit it elsewhere, but it'll do very little damage (aside from the heart the head is the next best target.) So... the heart it is. This requires you to be able to aim, and, preferably, be close to its front... which again, is probably the safest place if you know what you're doing. Great attacks include Gicel, Miasma, Burst Strike, Heavenward Slash, and multi-shot bow skills.
Forged by Dragon Fire
Beside the experience, the Dragon materials, and the practice for the Dragon, the best reason to tangle with a Drake is to Dragon-Forge your gear. While you still haven't found anything terribly worth Dragon-Forging yet, the concept bears explanation. You can visit shops and pay to have gear enhanced (from one to three stars). This costs money and materials. Dragon-Forging is the fourth-and ultimate-upgrade step. Killing any draconic creature gives every item a chance to become Dragon-Forged... don't take the Achievement/Trophy literally, you don't need to get hit by fire to do it. You do, however, need to have upgraded an item previously to have a chance for it to be Dragon-Forged. Un-upgraded gear will not be Dragon-Forged, and the more stars it has, the higher the chance to Dragon-Forge. When you fight the Dragon later, everything you're wearing will automatically become Dragon-Forged, whether its upgraded or not. If an item is Dragon-Forged you'll get the Achievement/Trophy 'Dragon Forged'.
Strengthened equipment in wyrmfire.
Through the Verda Woodlands
Eventually the road will turn south-east for a bit, shortly thereafter turning south again. Be watchful for Goblins and Hobgoblins at this point. What? You thought you were done with them? Sorry, they're a staple. You'll be fighting them until the end of the game, unfortunately. Eventually you'll reach a fork in the road, which strangely enough Pawns find fit to roam around on. At the fork, turn west into more forested hills. Follow the road as it gradually turns south to find another fork. Stick south-west until the road terminates shortly. You now are firmly in the Verda Woodlands. To the north you'll find wooded hills crawling with Hobgoblins. At an indeterminate point this stops being the Verda Woodlands, and turns back into Devilfire Grove. There are plenty of natural goodies in the forest to the north, if you care for such materials. Your foes will be Goblins, Hobgoblins, and perhaps the odd Chimera, depending upon your luck. The odd boulder might hide bits of loot, but all in all, it's a pretty dull trek up north. Your focus should, then, be more westward.
From the end of the road, continue westward between two boulders to find a small campsite, befouled by the presence of Goblinoids. This is marked on your map as the 'Traveler's Camp'. Route the Goblinoids and take loot the nearby junk-filled rounded chest for whatever goodies it may possess. Like the woods to the north, expect this area to be crawling with Goblins and Hobgoblins. Especially at night, where it seems like you can't turn around without another half-dozen Goblinoids spawning. In the woods to the north here you can also find a third form of incorporeal undead: the Specter.
Monster Info: Specter
A bit different from their P-named counterparts, Specters aren't into that whole possession thing. They still have the annoying incorporeal lunge attack, but even this will, oddly enough, give you the boon of increased Strength. If you approach too closely, they'll contract in on themselves and let loose a damaging wail. Despite their bloated XP value, these things are hardly a threat compared to their “lesser” cousins.
From the Traveler's Camp head north, north-west, uphill and through forest, slaughtering Goblinoids as you go... and perhaps the odd Specter. eventually, near the cliffs that bound the Verda Woodlands to the north and west you'll find the third of Gransys' three Healing Springs. Although this spring is swarming with Goblinoids and, at night, Specters, it's still a welcome spot for healing, one you should remember for the rest of the Verda Woodlands, as there's still lots of exploration left. On that note, should your inventory fill up while exploring, do not be shy about running back to the 'Rest Camp' to stash loot.
Head north from the Healing Spring until you hit the cliffs, which you should then follow west, then south. Eventually, the cliff you're following will sink to ground level. To the west rises another cliff, which continues to bound the area as it runs south-west. Ignore it for now and head up a hill, which on your mini-map loots like a little dagger (the cliff you were following earlier lies of the eastern edge of this hill. At the northern-most point of this hill lurks a bush, which obscures a ledge beyond it to the north-technically off the map. Jump onto this northern, lower cliff and head past another bush to discover a square chest, calmly waiting for you to loot it.
Slide down the cliff to the east... and continue following the cliffs to the south-west until further progress in that direction is impeded by elevation. At this point, turn east to see a large valley, occupied by Goblinoids and a pair of Cyclopes, one armored, one not. Appears to be a theme. This is marked on your map as the 'Conqueror's Sanctuary'. Before you descend down these cliffs, note that there are more Goblinoids on the hills east and south of the valley, and they have ballistae... wooden pickets built along the ledges should stand out. Put aside any plans to explore for a bit, as you'll need to clear the area before searching it, and ignore the Goblinoids and Cyclopes in the valley, as the foes on the cliffs with the ballistae are more annoying.
Slide down the ledge cliff to the east and run across the valley to the south-east, ignoring the Cyclopes and Goblinoids. Head up a ramp that heads uphill, between the sheer rocky faces of two cliffs-one to the south-west, and one to the north-east. Make the south-western hill here your priority, as it's occupied by Goblinoids with a ballista. Dispatch the Goblinoids that man the ballistae (and chuck exploding barrels on them to destroy them, if you wish to ensure they aren't operated by any Goblins you might miss.) You could, of course, always man the ballistae yourself, but even at this point in the game, if ballistae are doing more damage than you are, you probably need to spend some time leveling.
Once clear, do a circuit north around the valley and clear out the Goblinoids on the hills overlooking the valley. On the hill north-east of the ballistae- bearing, Goblinoid-infested hill to the south you'll find a square chest on top of a rock formation. You'll find another ballistae overlooking the valley to the north of here, on a lower ledge near the northern pass to this valley.
Once the opposition around the valley is destroyed, head into the valley and obliterate the Goblinoids and Cyclopes there. Once done, stand in the center of the valley, which is a fine point from which to survey the area. There are three passes that lead to the Conqueror's Sanctuary-to the north, to the south-east (which leads to the hills you cleared) and to the south (which leads to Bloodwater Beach.) You came down from the cliffs to the west. For loot, head to the southern end of the valley, near the pass that leads to Bloodwater Beach. You'll spot a rock formation under the cliffs of the southern Goblin-infested, ballista-bearing hill, upon which lurks a square chest.
Your first destination (which unfortunately requires some back-tracking if you want to scope out every nook and cranny here) is back on the ballista-bearing southern hill overlooking the 'Conqueror's Sanctuary' valley. There's a junk-filled square chest near the valley-facing side of the cliff to loot near a wagon and some crates. Once searched, head south-east from the cliff face to find a large boulder surrounded by Grandgrapes (surrounded in this case means two bushes with six clusters of grapes.) Climbing upon this boulder will provide you with a good vantage point of the area. To the south-east you'll see some standing stones, which you will avoid for now. Due south the land stretches out to form a peninsula over-looking the sea. You can score some warrior remains down there, and another square chest, both of which yield junk. There's also quite a haul of Grandgrapes, if you care for such things.
Continue along the seaside cliffs until you spot a lower ledge to the south-west. Jump on down (or simply walk down via more even ground to the north) and explore the southern end of this area, as well. Here, near a large rock formation, you'll find Shiverberries, Grandgrapes, Southron Oregano, Strongwarish, and an ore vein. Look over the edge of the cliff west of the rock to spot a beach, below. Bloodwater Beach. You'll get there shortly.
Follow the irregular contours of the western cliffs while heading north, which eventually trends downhill sharply, ending shortly thereafter. Jump onto a lower ledge to the north, then immediately turn west. Across the chasm is another grassy ledge. It's a jump you can make, although one less nerve-wracking if you have Double Vault or Levitate. Make it to this ledge and scour the warrior remains here for goodies. More importantly, grab the Noonflower near the ledge. This is the only such plant in the game, there are no other locations where it grows. Despite its name, however, you can find it at any time, day or night.
Head west along this ledge to spot another ledge beyond another gap. Jump over to it, score an ore vein past some bushes, and explore the north-western cliffs to find a cavern. Down a short tunnel you'll find an abandoned lair, complete with two chests and a Giant Coin Pouch (10,000 G) hidden in a nook. Thank your generous, mysterious benefactor and return to the ledge.
|Fine Magick Buckler|
|Navy Leather Gloves|
Look over the edge of the ledge to find another ledge below you, overlooking a campsite. Drop down to the lower ledge to the east and search behind some bushes to score another Giant Coin Pouch (10,000 G). One thing this area is not, is hard on your finances. Drop down to reach the campsite to the east, where you'll find a square chest, and just north of the campsite, two warrior remains.
|Warrior Remains||Warrior Remains|
|Feather-Light Pelta||Direwolf Bow|
From the campsite in the pass, continue south to reach Bloodwater Beach. This is the chosen destination of many escort requests, and, as you can see, it's not a simple trip... which is why you were encouraged to simply ignore most of them. Bloodwater Beach is, however, quite lucrative, with an escortee or not. Searching some sacks north of a boulder on the eastern side of the beach can yield some goodies, the fishing spots along the shore can contain Giant Fish, searching the interior of the beached ship can score you Large Coin Pouches (3,500 G), Rotten Giant Fish, or the surprisingly rare Wooden Plank. Under a shelter along the northern cliff lie no less than three chests, one of each type. The rounded an ornate ones contain loot worth mentioning. Along the western end of the beach you'll find some warrior remains, which can also give up some gear. All in all, quite a lucrative beach.
|Ornate Chest||Rounded Chest||Warrior Remains|
|Chain Mail||Hunter's Jacket||Over-Knee Boots|
|Divine Axis||Red Leather Hood|
|Font of Fire|
Backtrack up north through the mountain pass, keeping an eye on the eastern cliffs. Past the campsite, where the pass stops running north-east, and turns north-west, you'll see a ledge to the east that slopes sharply downward. Scale it (Double Vault makes this easy, although it can be picky about Levitate) to find some warrior remains you can loot. To the south you'll find another ledge uphill, which you can reach by jumping. This will lead you to where you jumped to reach Noonflower ledge. From here, just head north up another ledge and turn east to reach the southern ballistae hill over-looking the 'Conqueror's Sanctuary' valley. Now follow the cliffs eastward until you reach the Vestad Hills, which will end your exploration.
Tomb of the Unknown Traveler
Continue along the seaside cliffs, heading east as much as possible. You'll eventually reach the small peninsula upon which the standing stones lurk, which is marked on your map as the 'Tomb of the Unknown Traveler'. Here you'll find a curious mass of stones... which turns out to be a new foe - the Golem - in its dormant state.
Enemy Strategy: Golem
The Golem matches the Ogre and the Cyclops in power, and is perhaps the most difficult foe you've yet faced. First off, if you rely on magick damage (Mage/Sorcerer), you're out of luck. The Golem is immune to magick. Second, it's not a straight-forward fight for a physical damage character, either, as Golems are not foes you can simply smash into submission. Instead they have magical discs on their body which must be destroyed. Since this either requires climbing or ranged attacks, the Golem is a foe the Strider/Ranger/Assassin excels at killing... even moreso than most everything else.
Going For the Glow
The Golem has many discs on their body, as follows; one on the bottom of its left foot, one on the lower back, one on the right hand, one on the front of the right thigh, one on the left shoulder, one on the right breast, and one on the back of its head. Seven in total, all must be destroyed in order to stop the Golem. There is a problem, however-it's nearly impossible to hit the disc on its hand and the one on its foot while it's standing. Smashing a disc will knock it down if it's standing... or cause it to freeze in place, go dormant temporarily, and shortly awaken in a berserk state. It's a gamble, but here's the order in which to tackle a Golem. First smash the disc on its lower back, then when it falls forward, attack the one on the foot. Wait for it to get up and don't attack it until it does, if you destroy more discs while it's on its hands and knees, it could go dormant, and you don't want that. Next, shoot the disc on its hand until that breaks. All the 'difficult' discs now broken, finish it off as you wish. If it goes dormant now, it's just giving you time to attack it.
Yes, It Has Lasers
The Golem's attacks include swipes with each arm (which can hit you while you're on its back), ground-punches, stomps, and... lasers. Yes, it can shoot lasers, which explode after a delay. Sometimes short bursts, sometimes in long, sustained streams. Heh. Anyways, its attacks aren't any different while it's berserking, only more frequent. Even experienced adventurers should avoid it while it's berserking.
Once the Golem falls, search around to find a stone with a sword stuck into it. Yeah, yeah, the old sword-in-the-stone bit. Search the sword to find... well, you're apparently king Arthur, except instead of Excalibur, you only score a mediocre bladed weapon. Feel free to search to the southern end of the peninsula to score some Southron Oregano. Due north of here you'll find the northern of the two southern hills overlooking the 'Conqueror's Sanctuary' valley. Upon a large boulder you can find a junk-filled square chest.
|Sword in the Stone|
Return to the standing stones around the 'Tomb of the Unknown Traveler' and continue east. Drop down a ledge and follow the cliff south, and follow it as it wraps around the peninsula, above. You'll find plenty of Southron Oregano. Where this ledge terminates you'll find an ore vein and a Large Coin Pouch (3500 G) hidden in some bushes near a pillar of stone to the south. Now head back to the north, but be careful-the path here is treacherous.
Along the lower area east of the 'Tomb of the Unknown Traveler' you'll find some Grandgrapes, and plenty more further north. Signs of harvesting the Grandgrapes exist nearby-stools, buckets, and so on, meaning either Goblins are harvesting grapes, or this area was overrun recently. East of some rocks you'll find some warrior remains worth looting. Further east, however, you'll find a chasm with a natural stone bridge. Head over to the bridge, but do not cross it. Instead stay on the western side and follow the chasm northwards, heading downhill to the end of a ledge. Drop down off the edge of the ledge to reach the bottom of the chasm safely.
Caverns of Delusion
Head to the northern end of the chasm first and score a Wakestone Shard on the ground, past an ore vein. Once done, turn south until you reach a beach, where many goodies await. Loot a junk-filled square chest on the northern end of the beach, then scour the fishing holes, which often contain Giant Fish. Search the western cliffs at the southern end of the beach to find another cave, which predictably contains two chests, one square, one rounded.
|Square Chest||Rounded Chest|
|Adventurer's Cloak||Barreled Helm|
|Golden Ring||Chainmail Bracers|
Leave the beach and head north back up the chasm. Pay attention to the western cliffs to find a series of ledges you can climb to make it back to the low ground east of the 'Tomb of the Unknown Traveler'. Cross the natural stone bridge over the chasm and continue east to reach some rocky hills littered with the signs of battle, now occupied, as much of this area is, with Goblinoids. You've pretty much seen everything worth seeing out here, but you'll discover one last area before heading back to Gran Soren.
Continue along the seaside cliffs to the east, scoring the odd junky square chest and plant-life along the way, and of course, killing Goblinoids. There's always more Goblinoids to kill. Eventually you'll find a gravestone near the edge of the cliff, where you can score some Capeflowers. From here head due north. Again, there are plenty of chests to find, but they contain uninteresting loot. When you come across a road follow it north until you see a small building to the west. Inside you'll even even more Goblinoids, some warrior remains, and a square chest. Nothing too interesting, but since it's marked on the map as the 'Miner's Toolshed', it's worth discovering.
With that done, it's time to return to Gran Soren... perhaps using the Ferrystone Ser Robert gave us? When you're back in Gran Soren, stash your loot and look presentable-it's time to see the duke.