The Dragonslayers Reward
You’ll wake up back in your house in Cassardis, along with your romantic interest. This romantic partner, whoever they may be, will be making your house here their permanent residence for the rest of the game… possibly quite annoying if, say, Asalam decided he fancied you. Talk to your lover and they’ll certainly have something to say about your epic rescue… at least, if they’re one of the ‘main’ NPCs (typically characters who have items that specifically increase their affinity have more to say than generic characters.) Other developments to be aware of-you now have the Godsbane blade in your inventory (this gives you the Achievement/Trophy ‘Destiny’), which you need not keep on hand-it won’t come into play until later. You also have a Crimson Dragon Scale, a material you only get from killing the Dragon. Last but certainly not least, you’ll have a new weapon (or weapons) based upon what weapon(s) you killed the Dragon with. Since these weapons are bound to be about twice as strong as whatever you had previously, don’t hesitate to switch to it immediately. So much for the new gear, all your old gear has been Dragon-Forged… which means it should be massively more powerful now.
That’s all fine and good, but the question is… well, what gives? You killed the Dragon, reclaimed your heart, saved your true love (or whatever cheap tramp you gave the Arisen’s Bond to)… why is there still more game? Just free-playing post-game? Well, then why does the sky look like it had a casual fling with the abyss and forgot to take a shower afterwards? Something’s not right here, that Dragon seemed too eager for you to kill it, and, well, the duke and the capital seemed to be in pretty bad shape after that cutscene. Perhaps you should head back to Gran Soren and see what’s up?
Head into Pablos’ Inn to see two things; 1) the Notice Board has new quests. In this case the quest should be ‘A Challenge’-apparently something needs a beating in the Frontier Caverns. Normally Notice Board quests wouldn’t get attention, but… well, this one gives you the incentive to track down a rare monster, one you wouldn’t encounter otherwise. It would be bad guide-writing not to include it. 2) Madeleine is here (if she wasn’t your romantic interest, of course), and she-like all the merchants-have a fully-fleshed out inventory including tons of new loot. New, powerful, and expensive loot. You might want to refrain from buying any of it, however, as you’ll be getting better loot for free with a bit of adventuring. Anyways, the point is; be sure to check all merchants and Notice Boards from now on-they just might have interesting stuff for us. While you’re here, stash any excess loot you found while fighting the Dragon and… well, if you want to talk to folks around Cassardis to flesh out back story, now is a good time. Some of the villagers exalt in your victory, but a few will mention the state of the world, and mention the ‘fall’ of Gran Soren that went hand-in-hand with the fall of the Dragon.
Return to Gran Soren
When you’re done in Cassardis, head outside. Some of you may have wondered why Seabreeze Trail and Manamia Trail weren’t covered as thoroughly as other areas, and there are several reasons. First, there’s precious little loot to cover in those area. Second, you were trying to get to Gran Soren as soon as possible back then. Third, they were just boring areas, as far as encounters went. Wolves, Goblins, Bandits, the same things you’d be fighting for a while yet. Now, however, the world is in ruins, and dangerous beasts wander what were once the safer, more civilized parts of Gransys… it’s almost enough to make one want to start talking about it!
On that note head west along the road from Cassardis. Shortly you should find some Goblins along the road… but Goblins unlike any you’ve seen before. Don’t let their size and the frailty of their less cousins fool you-these gray-skinned ‘Grim Goblins’ are far stronger than they look.
Monster Info: Grim Goblin
Grim Goblins share many features with their lesser counterparts-they have smaller ‘Goblin’ versions, and larger ‘Hobgoblin’ ones. They can carry torches, the typical assortment of throwing objects, shields… and employ all the tactics their weaker counterparts employed. They will be better armed, however. Instead of clubs and crude swords they’ll have serrated, black, wing-tipped swords, which they’ll use to great effect. They’re also much stronger and sturdier than Goblins, or even Hobgoblins. Harder to kill, harder to knockdown, this makes them more likely to land hits on you in melee. Pair this with being more aggressive and you have a foe that should probably not be engaged in melee lightly; those uncoordinated, flailing Goblinoid attacks you’ve been ignoring for half a game now take on a new dimension with this kind of power behind them.
Now for the rest of this area-you might find a few Hellhounds lurking around the woods to the south, as well as more Grim Goblins… in much the same places as Goblins were, before. The chests around have the same crappy loot as they always did, so there’s no need to go looking for all the treasure here-it’s the monsters that are new, not the loot. Down by the beach prowls a Gorechimera, which is a bit more potent than the original inhabitants of the beach. Anyways, when you’re done scoping out the new foes head into the Encampment.
There are a few new things to do here-first head into the ‘Command Headquarters’ tent and talk to Johnathan in the back. He’s the Pawn who sells custom objects to you for Rift Currency, but now he has something that’s really worth buying. Check his ‘Other’ section of goods and scroll to the bottom to find the ‘Secret of Metamorphosis’ item, which costs 10,000 RC. Steep, but it’ll add an option to the main menu that allows you to customize your Arisen and you Pawn at any time, for free. A must-have item for nit-picky games who want to tweak this or that, or who just want a fresh face every now and again. Once that’s done, head over to the Notice Board to score whatever new quests are here.
When you’re done, leave the Encampment and head onto Manamia Trail. Next stop? The Mountain Waycastle. Manamia Trail has been shaken up as well (but the Verda Woodlands and Vestad Hills are both the same.) Continue along the road north of the Encampment until, at the fork that leads up into the Verda Woodlands, you find a new foe-Giant Undead. They might be new-but they’re not alone. You might well attract some Succubi, who fly around these parts. The hills west of the road that were formerly occupied by Bandits are now the playground of Hellhounds. These will be your companions throughout Manamia Trail, until you hit the Mountain Waycastle. The only part of Manamia Trail that is, in fact, not crawling with new foes is the Cobol Coast-mentioned briefly before but never officially explored. If you follow the coastal cliffs north you’ll find the Cobol Coast. The only thing of interest here is a river where two Harpies bathe, and a Cyclops, which you were wise to avoid on your first trip through. Those three creatures still lurk at the river, carrying on as if nothing happened.
Monster Info: Giant Undead
Strong, slow, and sturdy, Giant Undead aren’t nearly as fearsome as many of the other new monsters lurking around Gransys these days. They’ll flail, they’ll lumber about, they’ll grapple… typical undead attacks. They do more damage than smaller undead, but compared to Hellhounds and Grim Goblins, they’re a walk in the park. As for new attacks, they’ll drop the shoulder and perform a rush attack, but even this is nothing to be feared. Fire hurts them well. but they’re slow enough that most any attack works fine.
Surprisingly there are still a few Gran Soren guards around the Mountain Waycastle, which is certainly a far more dangerous posting now than earlier. Cross the bridge to Moonsbit Pass and make your way through the mountains. No Harpies here anymore, not even Succubi, the place is now home to Geo Saurians. Continue north until you reach the split-the shortcut on the lower ground is now occupied by Grim Goblins instead of Bandits. If you continue down through the Grim Goblin-occupied lower pass you’ll have to contend with an Ogre, if you continue up through the main, larger, higher pass you’ll encounter a Golem near the ledge where Harpies once roosted in great numbers, so pick your poison. (To be fair, the Golem is much easier to avoid).
Past the Golem - en-route to the Mountain Cottage - lurk more Geo Saurians. Some will cling to walls, most won’t. When you reach the Mountain Cottage, search it to discover its new inhabitants-a pair of Skeleton Lords. Continue past the Mountain Cottage, taking the low ground, watching out for falling rocks which have certainly respawned by now. At the ledge over-looking the gate to the Estan Plains you’ll find a mob of Skeletons-who are initially dormant, just waiting for some fleshy mortal to come near. This group includes another pair of Skeleton Lords, three Skeleton Knights, and two Skeleton Sorcerers, all hanging out near the lone tree on the ledge. Fortunately you need not provoke them all at once.
Continue through the gate to the Estan Plains. The Estan Plains haven’t been spared invasion by the new foes unleashed upon the world, but oddly enough, the way to Gran Soren should be more or less clear, provided you stick to the road. As you near the bridge leading to the southern gate, however, you’ll hear the ominous sound of wing beats behind you…
Enemy Strategy: Wyvern
Wyverns are visually nothing more than palette-swaps with the Drake, but the devil is in the strategy. Wyverns are the most nimble of the three lesser forms of dragonoids, and prefer aerial engagements.
The main attack of the Wyvern is, like most dragons, its breath. In this case it’s a vortex of wind. Its primary tactic is to hover around and try to blast you with it-if it’s successful it’ll sweep you into the air. Although this itself does little damage, the fall won’t be as gentle. Unfortunately for them, characters with very high Magick Defense are quite unlikely to suffer from it much. They’ll also perform this attack during fly-by attacks, similar to those performed by the Dragon.
Strike it From the Sky!
Wyverns love to fly, and their two main tactics-hovering while using their breath, or performing fly-by breath attacks both force you to deal with them at a range. Fortunately Mages, Sorcerers, Striders, Rangers, Assassins, Magick Archers and staff-bearing Mystic Knights are all quite capable of hitting them… at least during their hover-attack. While they’re hovering, just try to shoot them in the head, which will knock them down and leave them vulnerable for a bit. If they are taking too much abuse with this tactic, they’ll resort to fly-bys, which require more aim. Hitting the head and wings are the best way to knock it from the sky, but any hit is better than nothing.
Then again, it is a large, strong foe, and it will resort to melee once in a while… but even here it tends to perform aerial maneuvers. It’ll try to terminate fly-by attack routines by landing on you, using sheer mass to inflict damage. It’ll also do the hover-slam attack the Drake employed. The former can be dodged by watching it while it flies, checking for the charge, and simply running out of the way. The latter, however, can only be avoided by keeping your distance. The vulnerable spot of the Wyvern is its back; the same spot as on the Dragon when you were climbing it during its flight after the ballista-tower. Do not bother climbing them unless you’re confident in your grip and you have plenty of Stamina-healing items, as they’ll spin relentlessly to knock you off, leaving very little opportunity to strike.
After killing the Wyvern, the way stands clear to Gran Soren… but let’s finish off the Estan Plains before you head inside. The Estan Plains are, as previously mentioned, crawling with infernal foes. This hasn’t spread to the rest of the world, however. You might find a few new critters here and there, but for the most part, the strong new monsters are restricted to Seabreeze Trail, Manamia Trail, Moonsbit Pass, and the Estan Plains. An odd place to find the most savage of beasts… perhaps it has something to due with the catastrophe in Gran Soren? In any event, note that all manner of beasties fly around over Cape Pactforge-Harpies and Succubi. They’re not flavor, if you manage to hit them, it will provoke (or kill) them, but they’re so high up in the sky that they likely won’t come after you if you leave them alone. They seem quite content to fly around in their stupid little circles, so let them, you’ve got bigger fish to fry.
If you head north along the road outside of Gran Soren and under the arch in the wall you’ll soon find yourself attacked by a pair of Gargoyles. Continue north to discover that the Bandits in the ‘Collapsed Meeting Room’ have been ousted by a pack of Hellhounds-likely the most numerous bunch of them you’ll encounter all game. North-west of here, past the western walls, in and around the watery depression that served as a roost for Harpies earlier you’ll now find Succubi and Hellhounds, the former of which can be quite numerous here, but both are rather spread out. Finally, along the road to the Ancient Quarry (which still counts as civilized, and is safe) you’ll find a Drake.
That’s all the changes between Cassardis and Gran Soren, but there are a few more, if you care to look for them. They’ll just be enumerated here, instead of leading you on a scavenger hunt (omitting the encounters you’ll be dealing with in the next section, to avoid redundancy.)
- West of Aernst Castle, in the Vestad Hills, you'll find a Cockatrice prowling around where the Oxen roam.
- In the 'Conqueror's Sanctuary', the Cyclops and Goblinoids have been replaced by a Drake.
- South of Windbluff Tower, east of the road, lurks a Wyvern.
- Atop Bluemoon Tower you'll find a Wyvern.
- A Gorechimera has replaced the Chimera in the Barta Crags.
- In the Watergod's Altar, a Wyrm now lurks in the Offering Chamber, instead of a Cyclops.
Once you're done exploring, head into Gran Soren's southern gate... it doesn't matter which gate, really, but you need standards, so, here it is. During the next section you'll deal with some unfinished business... you've got two old friends to hunt down, and you should probably confront the duke who, while he may have been an Arisen, was certainly no dragon slayer.