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Guide Name: Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen
Author: Nathan Garvin
Editor: Nathan Garvin
First Published: 18-01-2016 / 00:00 GMT
Version: 1.0 (????) 16-08-2018 / 02:04 GMT

Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen Strategy Guide

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Chapter 6 - Bitterblack Isle

Chapter 6 - Bitterblack Isle

Lower Stratum

Rootwood Depository

From the entrance head north down some stairs, then turn west and go down another, shorter flight of stairs to reach a watery series of connected rooms occupied by a new foe-the Wraith. Once they’re smote, (or, if you’re a more physical damage type of character, after you decide to ignore them) note a beacon on a pedestal east of the tunnel from when you came. It promises to weaken enemies in the area for a mere 300 Rift Currency. There are several of these strewn throughout the level, but you might want to just ignore them. You can make it through this place well enough without hemorrhaging Rift Currency. Head north from the tunnel from whence you came to find a room to the east. Jump on a ledge to the east, break some boxes, and head into a small chamber beyond, where you can find an ornate chest, which often contains a Maneater.

Monster Info: Wraith

Like Phantasms-but red! Wraiths are really nothing spectacular-they are immune to physical damage, they perform an incorporeal charge attack (which actually does a bit of damage this time!) and will possess nearby characters, dealing damage over time. The only difference is that they do more damage and have more health.

Backtrack to the larger, bone-strewn rooms to the west and note that there are two ways to proceed-north and south. The northern route is the more difficult and less interesting way to move through the level, although undeniably quicker. If you go north you’ll have to pass west down a watery tunnel swarming with Leapworms. At the western end of the hallway you’ll find some rubble you can leap upon, an a small, elevated tunnel to the north, wherein lurks an ornate chest. Beyond this chest you can drop down a ledge to the west, and from there enter a square chamber to the south, from whence you can reach the next level… but again, it’s recommended that you take the southern route.

On the other hand, head south from the Wraith-occuped room and go down a drier tunnel. When you run out of south, turn west to find yet another new adversary-the Giant Saurian Sage. Smack it around, then search the room-it’s another elevated wooden platform chamber. On the first level of the northern-most platform you’ll find a rounded chest behind some crates. In the south-eastern corner of the room sits a square chest, and another sits at the north-western edge of the southern-most platform. Some snakes also lurks around, ready to pester you.

Monster Info: Giant Saurian Sage

Giant Saurian Sages are amongst the Giant Saurians what their lesser kin are amongst the smaller Saurians: the strongest of the Saurians. They’re incredibly aggressive physically, and seem far less inclined to bother with magick than their smaller kin. They’ve got a good deal of health and a robust Magick Defense, but are worth killing for their Moonshimmer Pelts, which are required in quite a few upgrades. As with any other Saurian, chopping off the tail weakens them significantly. They also seem fairly vexed by opponents who dare to grapple them.

When you’re done looting, go through the door to the north, in the north-western corner of the room. Here you’ll find a watery barracks occupied by several Wraiths (who’ll stream in from the north) and a pair of Giant Saurian Sages. A Macabre Sculpture (#23) sits on a shelf in the center of the chamber, along the eastern wall. Continue north into another room dominated by a wooden porch along its southern end. There is little of interest here, so head north off the porch and into a watery tunnel running west along the north-western corner of this room.

This tunnel will end in a chamber occupied by an Eliminator and Skeleton Sorcerers. There’s awful little room to maneuver here, making this fight something of a nightmare-even worse still if you don’t have a Ring of Desiccation. If it’s not bad enough yet, this area’s scavenger - an Elder Ogre - can also appear in this room. If that happens… well, you’d be best served by retreating to the east and fighting on more favorable ground. The Elder Ogre may also appear in the multi-level wooden platform room, or in the Wraith-occupied watery room on the far-eastern end of the level. Suffice to say, this room could well test your understanding of the 'better part of valor'. You can always just attempt to run past these foes to the west and make your way deeper into Bitterblack Isle.

If you stay and fight (and win), you can find an ore vein and a rounded chest in both the southern and eastern side-chambers here. The eastern chamber also connects (via a narrow tunnel to the north) to the northern route you could have taken at the beginning of this level. Explore up some stairs to the north, then turn east and massacre some butt-stain snakes. Continue east to find an ornate chest waiting to be violated.

Midway along this hallway you’ll find an elevated passage to the north, obscured by vines. Climb up in and continue north to reach a wooden bridge. Once one the bridge, drop down to the west onto the watery ground below and score a rounded chest. To the north, under the bridge, you’ll find a cache of coin pouches worth 23,500 G. Climb back onto the bridge and follow it north, into a tunnel, then east, then north again to find an ornate chest. Now all that’s left to do is backtrack to the large watery room where you encounter the Eliminator and head west, where you’ll find doors leading down to the next level.

The Forgotten Hall

In the distance to the north you’ll see a Lich floating around. This Lich will, when it spots you, summon some Undead Warriors to help it, but it’s the least of your worries. Further north, as you approach the statue room, you’ll encounter Death for a third time. Engage or evade Death, then get to looting. There’s a rounded chest on some cut stone midway along the eastern wall. In the statue room you’ll find a rounded chest to the west, and one to the east, between some cut stone and stairs leading down to the east, while a square chest lies behind (north of) the lion statue.

You should know the rough layout of this level from past experience, it’s just like the Garden of Ignominy (among others). From the statue room if you go down some stairs to the east, then follow the tunnel beyond to the north, down another flight of stairs to the north (a rounded chest awaits you just south of these stairs, and on a stone ledge north-east of this chest you’ll find a Macabre Sculpture (#24) ), then turn east you’ll reach the fountain room. Or, from the statue room head through a doorway to the north-east to reach the eastern balcony over-looking the fountain room.

In the fountain room lurks a rather frustrating collection of foes, including a few Sirines, a pair of prisoner Gorecyclops, and a trio of Corrupted Pawn Sorcerers. These are the dangerous rat-bastard Sorcerers you were warned you about the first time you encountered these baddies. They delight in little more than casting Malision, Seism, and Maelstrom, the latter of which can annihilate your entire party. You are, however, safe up on the balconies from such attacks (provided you stay off the ledge). If you’ve got ranged attacks, don’t feel bad about picking the Corrupted Pawns off from here: it’s much easier than going down into the fountain room. If you must, however, play hit-and-run with them, using the hallway you came out of to provide cover if they get a spell off. Try your best not to rouse the Gorecyclops until the Corrupted Pawn Sorcerers are defeated.

These massive beasts, like the one in the Midnight Helix are most easily disposed of by removing their helmets and retreating out of reach, to destroy them at a safe distance-either the room north of the fountain room (which contains a pair of powerful Corrupted Pawn Warriors) or from the eastern hallway. For ranged attacks, the northern room provides a much better vantage point. The Sirines are tertiary concerns, at best. Deal with the foes here however you can, then you can concern yourself with looting this level unhindered. Hopefully, anyways. The scavenger for this level is… well, a trio of Garm. Yeah. They sure ramped the difficulty up here, didn’t they? They’ll appear in a number of areas around the level, mostly in the fountain room and statue room.

Return to the statue room and head through the doorway to the north-east to reach the eastern balcony overlooking the fountain room. At the far northern end of this balcony you can score a Wakestone lying amidst some rubble. Jump to the northern balcony and loot an ornate chest in the middle and ignore a doorway at the western end of the balcony for now, instead jumping to the semi-circular balcony to the south-west, wherein you’ll find an ornate chest. Make another jump to the south-west to reach the western rectangular balcony, where a square chest lurks at the northern and southern ends. There are also some Warrior Remains worth sifting through.

Jump back to the northern balcony and head down some stairs to the west, drop off a ledge and turn south, then west, then south again. When you reach a wooden bridge, drop off it to the west (doesn’t this seem familiar?) and read a 'Recollection of another Arisen' tablet against the western wall. A square chest lies below the bridge. Loot and climb back onto the bridge, then continue south until you reach a ledge leading down. In the tunnel below, loot a rounded chest to the west, then turn east to reach the fountain room.

Now that this room has (hopefully) been cleared, loot it. There is a rounded chest just west of the central depression, near some stakes. Against the southern wall sits another rounded chest, and a third can be found under the eastern balcony, near the northern end. Once done, head into the room to the north, then continue north down some stairs. Turn west and go down a flight of stairs and at the landing before another flight of stairs turn north and go through a hole in the wall. Scale the fallen stone until you reach the top, where a number of coin pouches can be obtained. Backtrack down a bit, but before you return down the hole from whence you came, continue south to find two rounded chests. Return back to the stairwell and continue downstairs, first west, then north, then east, to finally reach a door leading to the next level.

The Arisens Refuge

Now, you’re technically in 'The Bloodless Stockade' level, but your stay will presently be very short. Head west to find a doorway leading west, and a door to the north. Pursue the latter to reach the area that is of current interest to us-the Arisen’s Refuge. This area is similar to the Warrior’s Respite. Head east past a hole in the wall to the north which eads to one of Barroch’s hideouts. Past it sits a ruined Riftstone (25,000 RC). Opposite this, lying amidst some rubble, lies two coin pouches (13,500 G).

Now go through a hole in the wall to the north to reach Barroch’s hideout. Here, of course, is Barroch, who does the typical Barrochy things, should you need his services. Below a smithy in the room Barroch occupies you’ll find a third Moonbeam Gem. Continue up some stairs to the east to find another rest spot and a Notice Board, with brand-spanking new quests. Turn west of the Notice Board and jump onto an elevated wooden ledge. On this level you’ll find a Jewel of Health and a Jewel of Antilight in a drawer, as well as some books on a bookshelf and on a table. Return east and drop back down to the room with the Notice Board and head down some stairs to the east. In the small room at the bottom of the stairs, break some crates in the south-western corner to get behind a bookshelf, where you’ll find a Macabre Sculpture (#25) sitting on the floor, then loot a square chest in the north-eastern corner. When you’re done here, return to 'The Bloodless Stockade'… you might want to grab a pair of Skeleton Keys before you go, though. You know, just a random tip for no reason.

The Bloodless Stockade

Once back in the Bloodless Stockade… a few notes. First, this level is… well, if the 'Ward of Regret' had a baby with the 'Gutter of Misery', this is what you’d get. It starts out as the former, and ends as the latter. So, catacomb-like hallways that descend into sewers. Yay. Second, if the last few levels have been insanely rough for you, just be aware that you’re past the worst of what Bitterblack Isle has to offer, at least for now. You’re almost to the end! Head through a doorway to the west, then jump through a broken cage to the north… or walk along the crumbling floor outside of the caged-off rooms to the north, which terminates at a rounded chest.

Once in the room beyond the broken cage, dispatch some wandering Corrupted Pawns. They’re as rough as usual, but fortunately there are no asswipes casting Maelstrom like there were back in 'The Forgotten Hall'. The Corrupted Pawns aren’t native to this room, so it’s likely they won’t be here in force, nor will they be likely to stand and fight, but you might encounter them here regardless… so, they need to be mentioned. Score a rounded chest and continue north through a doorway. In this hallway you’ll find an Eliminator, which will stand and fight, and considering the close quarters, it can be a bit of a fight. If you’re getting pressured too much, you can always just back through the broken cage to escape-the Eliminator shouldn’t be able to follow you back here.

Once the hallway is pacified, notice the beacon you can light (300 RC) and the two locked doors to the west, which can be opened with Skeleton Keys. If only you had been told ahead of time about needing these keys… Anyways, in the southern room you’ll find a rounded chest. Looting it will provoke a pair of Poisoned Undead to rise from the floor and attack. In the northern room you’ll find another rounded chest-this one is unguarded, however. Once done looting continue north, through a doorway and into a small hall running north-west/south-east. At the northern end of the hallway you’ll find another Rift Currency sucking beacon of uselessness. Ignore the doorway to the east and head west, instead. Go through a short tunnel to reach the northern part of the room with the crumbling floor. Here you’ll find some Spiders and a rounded chest.

Backtrack to the north, then pass through the neglected doorway to the east. This room is identical to the water-filled chamber in the 'Ward of Regret' that contained a Maneater-filled chest… sans the water. This is where the Corrupted Pawns originate, and they will put up heavy resistance here. There are plenty of Mages, two Strider-types, and some Warriors, making them pretty balanced. It’s probably safest to stay on the wooden platforms/stone walkway that surrounds the room and pick them off, but different Vocations, different tactics.

Once the Corrupted Pawns are dead-let the looting begin. There’s a small room located to the west off the stone walkway which contains a rounded chest (hidden in a smaller room to the north, behind some crates). There’s also a Skeleton Key sitting on the table. Score. Drop down to the lower level and note a doorway to the north. Ignore it for now and turn south. Along the western wall you’ll find a ladder leading back up to the stone walkway, along the western wall sits another beacon, and in a small alcove to the south you’ll find a square chest. Opposite the wooden platform (to the east) the room continues. Head east until the chamber terminates, where you’ll find two square chests and one ornate chest. To the south of these chests you’ll find a water-filled canal, but note that there’s a series of gated windows beyond the canal along the southern wall. The eastern-most window’s gate is broken, however, and a good running jump will take you into it. Beyond you’ll find a tunnel you can drop down to reach the sewers below-it’s a safe enough drop, and you’ll land on a pile of bones, but it’s suggested that you ignore this route for two reasons: 1) You can’t get back up via the tunnel you drop down (damned gravity!) and 2) Death appears once you’re down in the sewers. Together, that’s just a bad deal. So… backtrack to the west, then turn north and go through the doorway you ignored earlier.

Once through the doorway turn west and go down a ladder. Once you reach the floor beyond a shade will appear. Follow it and it’ll vanish on the first landing. Your Arisen’s scar will glow and you’ll hear it talk about some 'Grette', apparently some dead Arisen with 'hair of gold'. Hmm… Once it’s done talking, jump up on the narrow ledges that wrap around this stairwell. Follow the ledge around to the western side of the chamber to find a Macabre Sculpture (#26) just sitting there, waiting to be collected.

Head down to the bottom of the stairwell to reach the watery ground floor. Here you’ll find Leapworms and, along the northern end of the room, a beacon and a rounded chest. Also be sure to search the grate in the south-western corner of the room, as you can score some easy Rift Currency there. Turn east and go through a doorway, then follow a hallway to the south-east and go through another doorway to reach the sewer proper. Before doing anything else, you might as well get a monkey off your back; Death almost certainly is lurking around down here. Either provoke him and run back to 'The Arisen’s Refuge', or fight it out with him until he leaves. If you need to go back to 'The Arisen’s Refuge' because, say, all your Pawns get one-shotted by Death… well, then you’re in good company. Take the 'opportunity' to grab some items from your stash… typical big fight items like Potent Greenwarish, Large Mushrooms, a few Wakestones, and maybe-if you’re a Vocation prone to running out of Stamina-a few doses of Liquid Vim.

Now, once you’ve regrouped and are ready to go again, let’s pretend you’re where you left off before your latest encounter with Death. From where you entered the sewers, head east across the canal and head into a room across from the tunnel leading to the stairwell. Here you’ll find a small watery room infested with Leapworms, which guard a rounded chest. Once done slaying and looting, head north until you find a waterfall cascading in front of a broken grate, beyond which is an elevated chamber. Loot some warrior remains west of the waterfall, then jump through the water. Isn’t having a Ring of Desiccation nice? Continue north until you… run out of north, then turn west and head into a smaller chamber, which contains an ornate chest (which in turn often contains a Maneater).

Return back south through the waterfall (again, isn’t having a Ring of Desiccation nice?) and continue south past where you entered the sewers, to where the canal turns east. Inspect the western elbow of the tunnel to find a square stone you can climb on, which allows you to reach an alcove-the remnants of a collapsed tunnel. Grab a rounded chest and return to the sewer, continuing east until the path splits north/south. Indulge the northern path only long enough to loot some corpses in the north-western corner, then turn south. Where the path bends to the east search some bone piles (again, located snug against the wall at the 'elbow' of the tunnel) to score your fourth Moonbeam Gem. After obtaining this little gem, continue following the tunnel as it turns north, then east again to find some stairs leading to an elevated section of the sewer. There’s a good chance you’ll find an Elder Ogre around these parts-this creature frequently appears as a scavenger monster around these parts of the sewers. There are plenty of ledges around to play 'tag' with the Elder Ogre, so dispose of it however you must.

Ascend to the elevated part of the sewer to find yourself at another fork-ignore the path to the south and head north instead. Near where the tunnel bends from north to west you’ll find some warrior remains-again, at the elbow. Continue west a short ways to find an ornate chest near a beacon-again, there could be a Maneater in here, so be wary. If you keep heading west you’ll find some warrior remains near some stairs leading to an elevated part of the sewer. Since this path just leads back to where you were, continue back to the east to reach the last fork, where you ignored the path south.

Head south and… behold! Another fork! Keep heading south past a beacon and through a broken grate. Drop down onto the ledge beyond the grate and turn west and jump onto some roots. From the edge of the roots, jump down into a sewer pipe to find a square chest. Return back onto the roots and climb through the grate. Backtrack past the beacon to the north a bit, then turn east into the unexplored. You’ll shortly reach a relatively large chamber crawling with Leapworms. To the south the area ends abruptly, with a waterfall cascading into oblivion. Near the edge you’ll find a square chest along the walkway to the east and some warrior remains in the water. Head north to find some stairs leading to the next area-search near the grate before you go to find some goodies.

Sparyard of Scant Mercy

Wow… that’s an… interesting area name. Whatever. Head down some stairs to find another broken Riftstone (25,000 RC), and beyond that, your story-ghost. Your heart-scar will glow again and you’ll get to hear more chatter. After the babbling ceases, continue north to find another arena. Like all arenas, the encounter here is random-and you’ll need to clear one to open the way to the next area:

  • Dire Drake
  • Dire Wyrm
  • Dire Wyvern
  • Living Armor
All in all, you might want to consider just leaving if you end up staring down a Dire Drake. The other three encounters can be defeated without too much fuss, but the Dire Drake is... just a real pain in the ass. At least there's only one though, right? If that's not enough draconic combat for you, the scavenger in this area is a Cursed Dragon. It's suggested that you tackle this beast the same way you were told to fight the Dire Drake (read the Monster Info below).

Monster Info: Dire Drake/Dire Wyrm/Dire Wyvern

Rolling up three monster descriptions into one, because efficiency (laziness), and because there’s not much to say about them individually. They fight like the original versions of these lesser dragons; the Drake, Wyrm and Wyvern, save their defense, health, and offensive powers are all significantly boosted. They are all suitably more aggressive.

The Dire Drake is probably the worst of the bunch, as the Drake was already the strongest of the three. Now… it’s a pain in the ass to fight, requiring a lot of punishment to put down. If you’re a Strider-type character, consider jumping on the ledge of the staircase and shooting at it to gain its attention. With any luck, your elevated position will provoke it to fly, where it can be easily shot down by shooting its head or heart. Once it’s on the ground, its heart is pretty vulnerable. If you can manage your Stamina well, or are willing to chew some restoratives, you should be able to kill it without much fuss. Granted, it’ll take half of forever… but, well, you obviously have some free time if you’re playing a video game, right? Ignore this approach if you have Dragon’s Ire equipped, as a fire-enchanted bow will do between nothing and negligible damage.

The Dire Wyrm will utilize its spells mercilessly, Levin, Frigor, Bolide, a death spell… the usual. The Dire Wyvern is, predictably, the flier of the bunch. Shoot it in the face to bring it down, then shoot it in the back to harm it. Repeat until dragon death occurs.

Monster Info: Living Armor

Living Armor is a pretty straight-forward foe, it looks-and largely fights-like a Skeleton Lord of massive proportions. Plus it’s blue! Expect sweeping strikes from it’s man-sized bastard sword, running lunges, and of course, that big bad shield will foil frontal attacks, so you’ll need to either attack while it’s attacking, or attack from the rear. It can also conjure a burst of fire around itself, but it’ll give you a good bit of warning while it’s casting. While its armor is intact, it’s highly resistant to magick damage, but after losing over half its health its armor will be rent, exposing a nebulous 'core'. In this form, it’s highly resistant to physical damage, so it’ll take a multifaceted offense to take Living Armor down. Against these foes Magick Archers are ideal, as they can simply attack it with Daggers while at first, then switch to their Magick Bow after it’s been sufficiently weakened. Enchanted weapons and good, old-fashioned teamwork will suffice, too.

Once the slaying is over, let the looting begin. Search behind (south-east of) the staircase to find a rounded chest. On a ledge beyond (east of) the pillars surrounding the arena you’ll find some warrior remains, and several more warrior remains rest on the arena grounds itself. At the northern end of the arena is a small alcove containing two rounded chests, and along the western end of the arena, between the roots and the wall are two more rounded chests. Finally, scale the ledge around the stairs and follow the ledge counter-clockwise, jumping over gaps as necessary to reach the end, where an ornate chest sits. Also, before the first gap you have to leap search behind a broken square pillar to find a Macabre Sculpture (#27) . once all the looting is done, head to the western edge of the arena to find an alcove containing the door to the next level. Just outside this alcove sits the final 'Recollection of Another Arisen' tablet.

Fallen City

Ah, The Fallen City. It just looks like one of those 'near the end' kinds of levels, doesn’t it? It’s unoccupied right now, so exploring is the name of the game. Head down some stairs to the north-east and search behind some boxes to find a square chest. Continue north to reach a second, lower landing where you’ll find a mining spot, then turn west to encounter another ghost-chatter session. Ignore the obvious path forward-the stairs to the north-and instead scale some rocks to the south, past a torch, wedged against a building. A good Double Vault from the most elevated bit of stone will allow you to clamber onto the roof of the building to the west. Explore to the north to find a rounded chest behind some crates, then drop down to a lower roof to the north. Another rounded chest awaits you to the south-west. Jump onto a sloped, tiled roof to the south, then head east onto the first roof before finally dropping off the eastern edge of this roof, and thus back onto the path from which you deviated.

Note: The Fallen City is abandoned when you first enter it, thus this is the ideal time to explore it. It will not, however, remain abandoned forever. If you should leave and return you’ll find the city occupied by corrupted Pawns-often strategically placed along rooftops. They lack for neither numbers or variety-they include groups of Warriors, Rangers capable of devastating characters with various multishot Longbow skills, and yes, even Sorcerers capable of casting Seism and Maelstrom. All factors considered, this is easily the strongest group of Corrupted Pawns in the game, and one of the more annoying fights in Bitterblack Isle. There are also several Strigoi - a palette swap of the Gargoyle - that fly around, but compared to the Corrupted Pawns swarming about, they’re a secondary threat, at best. If that’s not enough, Death can also make an appearance on this level, so… yeah, best to get through this while everything is calm.

Monster Info: Strigoi

If you thought the Gargoyle was aggressive… well, the Strigoi are like rabid Gargoyles.They enjoy flying around their target (that’s usually the Arisen) in tight circles, constantly attacking much as Gargoyles do. They also have a grapple attack-similar to the Gargoyle’s petrification attack, save they hang on and continuously savage their victim until you break free.

Turn north and head down some more stairs, then continue through the city (and down more stairs) to the west until you spot more ghosts. No chatter this time-they just vanish when you approach. Turn north and you’ll see another ghost in the distance-this one also vanishes when you approach. On your way north score a square chest along the western buildings, and after the ghost vanishes, you should find yourself in the remains of a deserted market of sorts. Continue north until you reach a ledge. Peer to the north-west to spot a building in the distance, connected to the city by a natural stone bridge. That’s your destination… but there’s still plenty of city to loot before you get there. Case in point, score a rounded chest near the cliff edge, then search a seated, slumped-over corpse to find a Moonbeam Gem. Turn west and follow the cliff until you find some buildings that form the western barrier of the market. Find a deserted stall and continue south into an alley, which terminates with an ornate chest. Leave the alley and head east along the buildings that make up the southern border of the market until you reach some buildings to the east. At the junction between two buildings you’ll find a shallow, semi-circular well, inside of which is a Macabre Sculpture (#28) .

Now to backtrack a bit and score some elevated treasure. Leave the market via the road running north-south and when you reach a fork, return back up the stairs to the east until you reach some smaller stairs to the north. Ascend them and scale a short wall to the west to reach the roof of a building, where you’ll find an rounded chest near a chimney. Drop down to a lower, flat, stone roof to the north to score an ornate chest, then climb onto another roof to the north-east. At the north-eastern end of this roof you’ll find a corpse holding onto a Wakestone for you. Drop off the roof to the west to reach the market again, and backtrack south to reach the fork.

At the fork continue south until you reach some buildings. A wider road continues to the west, and if you look down that way you’ll see another ghost waiting in the distance. They’ve waited this long, they can wait a little longer. Instead, turn west and head up some stairs until you reach a flat stone roof with a table on it. In the south- eastern corner of the roof you’ll find a rounded chest to loot. Turn west and climb onto a tiled, sloping roof beyond a chimney. Continue across the roofs to the west until you find a building to with a flat stone roof to the south-west. On this roof score an ornate chest and search some hay in the southern corner to score another Macabre Sculpture (#29) .

Backtrack across the tiled roofs to the east and descend the stairs to reach the roads through the city again. Take the unexplored path to the west and disturb another vanishing ghost, grabbing a square chest along the way. Continue to the end of the path westward and grab a square chest before back-tracking to the previous square chest. Opposite this chest is a tunnel leading north. Head through the tunnel to reach a clearing surrounding by building-and scaring off another ghost in the process. Score an ornate chest to the north, then continue up some stairs to the west where another ghost teases you.

Here the path forks-a wide path leads north across a natural stone bridge to your final destination, so naturally you should turn south, first. Grab a square chest near a building to the west, then continue south until you spot an ornate chest near a rubble-obstructed arch. Ignore the rubble-blocked arch for now, and instead head on another, more accessible arch to the south, then turn west to find another ornate chest near a pile of hay. Note the building to the north of the ornate chest-to the west of this building is a ledge containing another ornate chest. You can reach this ledge by circling around to the northern side of this building and climbing a crumbling, low wall past two wooden wagons.

Return to the ornate chest in front of the rubble-filled arch. You can scale this rubble to reach some wooden planks connecting two buildings. Climb onto the flat stone roof of the building to the north and loot a rounded chest behind some crates. Drop down onto a lower, tiled roof to the east and continue across it until you drop down onto another flat, stone roof, where a square chest resides. Backtrack to the elevated flat roof to the west and explore to the north, where the rounded chest was. Jump on the ledge surrounding the roof, and from there, jump onto the roof of another, higher building to the north. Here you’ll find another pair of rounded chests, some Sour Ambrosial Meat in a basket, and a Pumpkin. Normally these curatives would be… well, worthwhile, but since you’re heading into a big fight, they might come in handy sooner, rather than later.

Backtrack across the roofs to the south, dropping down near the ornate chest near the obstructed arch. Now it’s time to head north across the natural stone bridge. Along the way you’ll be treated with a cutscene with some chatter, showing you the big doors in the distance. Head up the stairs to the door, but turn east before the entrance to find a final Riftstone (35,000 RC). Continue following the cliffs to the east to find some mining spots, plants, and some corpses. Be sure to search the latter, as they can be rather generous with Rift Currency. West of the stairs you’ll find more plants and, at the end of a narrow ledge, more corpses. Again, these corpses are quite loot-worthy, since they tend to only drop Skulls, Rift Clusters (800 RC) or Rift Bicrystals (2000 RC). You can loot each one three times-that’s a possible 12,000 RC… but even half that is a pretty good haul, considering you have to do absolutely nothing to earn it. Once you’re ready to go, head through the large doors at the end of the stairs.

Bitterblack Sanctum

Upon entering the sanctum, a deep echo-y voice will start boasting. Righty-o. Head upstairs to the north to reach a landing, but ignore the doorway to the north just long enough to search the south-eastern corner of this landing where, behind a pot, you’ll find the 30th and final Macabre Sculpture (#30) . Hooray. Once you’re ready continue through the gate to the north to encounter the master of Bitterblack Isle-the Daimon.

Enemy Strategy: Daimon

One of the few truly 'new' foes in Dark Arisen-most critters you’ve fought have been palette swaps, some of immense proportions. The Daimon… well, looks infernal enough. He’s got the physical power and magick to back up his appearance, too.

Fist of the Daimon

Given the Daimon’s size, it should be no surprise that it’s quite capable of pummeling Pawn and Arisen sized foes. Anything from inelegant punch-lunges, flying slams, flying body rolls, and the casual grab and crush (the latter is indicated when the Daimon’s right hand starts to glow-to dodge, just roll towards the Daimon as it charges, but under the opposite-non-glowing-hand).

The Daimon’s Magick

The Daimon, in addition to his great physical strength, also has an unmatched arsenal of spells. At first you’ll only see a casually-cast ice spell (either taking the form of a spread-out fan of ice, a rapid fire burst of ice spikes, or as the more traditional ice pillars that erupt from the earth). A single projectile shouldn’t hurt too much, even to a character with suspect Magick Defense, but getting struck by all five (or, later in the fight when he starts double-casting, up to ten) can be fatal. He’ll also cast Levin, which is easily dodged (just keep moving) Miasma, and-when he turns up the tempo later in the fight- multiple Seisms and Bolide. His worst attack, however, is when he casts multiple bolts of white energy-a Magick Missile type spell. It’s very hard to dodge, the bolts tend to strike in rapid succession (even simultaneously) and they do massive damage. He’ll multi-cast this, too, later in the fight. Most of his spells are easily identified (his hands glow blue for Frigor, red for Bolide, and green for Seism) and give the usual warning indicators (glowing circles on the ground). For the most part they’re also easily dodged. If you see him hunkering down to cast a spell, he’s either casting the Magic Missile mentioned above (he’ll fly up into the air to unleash it, if this is the case) or he’s opening a rift that tries to suck you-and your Pawns-into oblivion. This is an insta-kill move, and your Pawns are usually too dumb to avoid it. You, however, should take cover behind a pillar when you see this spell being cast, or otherwise put distance between the two of you, as both negate the danger this spell poses. Or, if you see him casting something big and dangerous, you can always try and interrupt it-Blast Arrows work well for this purpose.

Defeating the Daimon

Like most foes, the Daimon’s head is vulnerable, but it really has no outstanding strong-points, either. Shoot its head with powerful enough attacks and you may even stagger the beast, and once it’s staggering, it’s much easier to stagger again. A high-powered Ranger can easily stun-lock the Daimon and shoot it to death, providing they’re willing to use some curatives to replenish spent Stamina. Otherwise, aim for the head and dodge its attacks. Easier said than done, sure, but learning its attack routines is the name of the game. You can attempt to grapple it and score some shots on its face, but try not to stay overly long, or you’ll get caught up in one of his attacks. When the Daimon uses its suck-foes-into-oblivion attack it’ll be vulnerable to attacks. If you knock the Daimon out of the attack, or simply survive it, the Daimon will go into a dormant/meditation phase. Its passivity doesn’t serve it well, as this gives you an opportunity to freely pummel it. Harm the Daimon enough during this phase and it’ll fall to the ground, ready for more punishment. As you can tell from the description, the Daimon’s oblivion attack is a huge opportunity to deal grievous damage to your foe… provided you can survive it and are capable of taking advantage of your opening.

Once the Daimon is dead, loot around the Sanctum. Pillars-at least those that haven’t been destroyed-split the area into thirds, lengthwise. At the far northern end of the chapel sits a throne, attended by decorative piles of bone. You’ll find a Wakestone on one such pile east of the throne. There are also plenty of curatives - Harspud Sauces and Salubrious Brews, mostly - strewn around the area. When you’re done looting head through a doorway in the north-western corner of the area to find a small treasure room, where four ornate chests await you, three to the south, one to the north. The central of the three to the south always contains a Moonbeam Gem, but the others typically contains random - usually high-level - Bitterblack items or Rift Polycrystals/Perfect Rift Crystals. You can save/load these chests to get better results, particularly a Weapon Lv.3, although the game might not be so generous on your first run. Bitterblack Weapons Lv.3 are far superior to anything else in the game, and will make a second run through Bitterblack Isle much easier… but more on that shortly…

When you’re done scavenging the ornate chests, head through another doorway to the west and up some stairs. Once you reach the door at the top you’ll be warned that after leaving you will not be able to immediately return. Simply put, if you want to get back to the Sanctum, you’ll have to run through the rest of Bitterblack dungeon again… so make sure you have your post-Daimon loot. Once you head through the door, you’ll find yourself in a small gated room. The way back is barred (as promised) so head south-east and lip a lever to open the way outside. You’ll witness some ghosts chatting over a collapsed Olra. The ghosts play out their drama, Olra awakens, and the credits roll. Hooray! You’re done now, right? Right?