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Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen
Strategy Guide

Author(s): Nathan Garvin
Editor(s): Nathan Garvin
First Published: 18-01-2016 / 00:00 GMT
Last Updated: 17-03-2018 / 09:14 GMT
Version: 1.0 (????) 19-10-2018 / 03:37 GMT

Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen Strategy Guide Download PDF

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Chapter 6 - Bitterblack Isle

Chapter 6 - Bitterblack Isle

Upper Stratum

Garden of Ignominy

Head down some stairs to the east and score a square chest. Continue east to hear a disembodied voice babble uselessly, then turn north when you can to encounter the first new foe of Dark Arisen: Wargs. Kill the Wargs and continue north. The voice will continue to talk nonsense as you go. Search along the eastern wall to find a square chest and continue north until you reach a lion statue flanked by two robed figures. West of the statues, in some water, you’ll find a rounded chest, while another sits to the east of the statues, near some cut stones.

Note: Be wary when opening chests in Bitterblack Isle, as some of them contain that most heinous of dungeon monsters; the Maneater. It’s a variant of an RPG staple-the proverbial horror-in-the-box. In this case it’s a tentacle beast that’ll bite (and attempt to devour) whomever opens the chest in which it lurks. Be prepared to use consumables and put blisters on your thumbs trying to escape from one. On the plus side, they can drop quite a bit of Rift Currency, if you’re lucky. Try to get a Pawn to open chests for you, if you’ve got the patience for it… or if you’re a strong Magick Archer, use the Immolate skill before opening chests.

Note: Loot coming from chests in Bitterblack Isle will not be recorded. This might seem an intentional oversight compared to the rest of the guide, but there are reasons. First, the best gear you’ll find in Bitterblack Isle can’t be identified at the moment of its discovery; it is, in fact, random. Second, the gear found in chests will change as you advance through Bitterblack Isle. Without giving too much away, your first journey through the place will probably not be very rewarding. At first you’ll be finding a good bit of low-quality loot, but quickly you’ll start to score Everfall-quality loot as you go along. Third, you can do runs for the best gear in the game, which makes knowing the contents of every chest throughout Bitterblack Isle rather useless. Simply put, it’s not worth the time to record it, but to compensate somewhat, every chest here will be pointed out, because they can contain Bitterblack items as well as Rift Currency.

Monster Info: Warg

Another doggie-type creature, Wargs are physically weaker than Hellhounds (as their experience value shows), but they are quite quick. They’re prone to leaping attacks and… well, they do all the wolf-attacks you’re familiar with. Oh, they’re also poisonous. All in all, if they are any threat to you, you’re too weak to be in Bitterblack.

Now along the eastern end of the statue room you’ll see two doorways, one to the east, which leads down some stairs, and one to the north. Go north first, up a small flight of stairs, and onto a balcony. If you look over the western edge of the balcony you should see some Hobgoblins lurking around. Ignore them and continue north to find a rounded chest near some rubble.

Time for a bit of tricky jumping. Jump onto the western ledge of the balcony and run along it north, jumping north-east as you near the stone at the end of the balcony. With Double Vault or Levitate, you should be able to reach a semi-circular balcony to the north. Explore this balcony to the west to find a rounded chest, then jump onto the stonework surrounding the balcony to the south-west of the chest to spot another semi-circular balcony. This jump should be much easier than the last one. Once achieved, search around for an ornate chest. On more jump awaits us-climb onto the stonework surrounding this balcony and look west to spot another rectangular balcony to the south-west. Jump there (another easy jump) and head south to find an ornate chest.

Return to the east, jumping from balcony to balcony until you’re on the stonework surrounding the eastern semi-circular balcony. You can jump onto the edge of the diagonal stone at the northern end of the eastern rectangular balcony to get back; what hindered you one way helps you the other. Run back south to reach the statue room, then head down the stairs to the east. Turn south and head down a long, covered balcony, killing some Snakes as you go. Head down some stairs and turn west to reach the large, Hobgoblin-infested room the balconies over-looked. Here you will encounter Death. At this point in the game, you’re probably not going to be able to put up much of a fight against Death, so either flee or try to fight him off-you won’t be killing him in one go.

Enemy Strategy: Death

Death. The proverbial grim reaper. Black robes, lantern, scythe, the whole deal. How does one fight death? Rather conventionally, as it turns out. Death has tons of Hit Points and will flee if you damage him enough, making this, by necessity, a multi-encounter fight. Death randomly appears throughout Bitterblack Isle as you explore.

Touch of Death

Death is death. His scythe is oblivion, and swinging it is his only damage-dealing attack. He’s rather slow about it, but he has great range, and again, any hit he scores will be fatal. If he hits Pawns (and they’re far too stupid to avoid him) you’ll need to pull them back out of the rift. If he hits you… well, there’s just no surviving it. The strategy is simple; stay away from death.

Death’s Brother

In Greek mythology, Death (Thanatos) was the brother of Sleep (Hypnos), and in Dark Arisen, Death and Sleep go hand-in-hand. One of Death’s few 'attacks' is to shake his lantern about, the effects of which are to cause everything (friend or foe) nearby to fall asleep. If Death puts you to sleep, you’re as good as… well, dead.

Death, Unbound

Death is immaterial-he’ll often just fly through scenery. He also is fond of teleporting. Keep your eye on him, stay dry, be prepared to keep moving. Keep your distance, and if at all possible, engage him on open ground. Maneuverability is your friend in this fight, unlike so many fights in Bitterblack Isle. Trying to wedge yourself somewhere safe is just asking for a scythe to the face.

After Death is gone, search this chamber proper-like, dealing with whatever Hobgoblins linger about. Just north of the tunnel you came out of, under the balcony you were on earlier, is a square chest. From this chest continue south, following the perimeter of the room. Along the eastern end of the southern wall you’ll find a rounded chest, and along the western end you’ll find a tunnel leading south. Ignore it for now and follow the western wall to the north to find a square chest. Smash crates and pick plants around the interior of the chamber, ignoring the northern route for now. You can score some Kingwarish, which is an even more potent form of Greenwarish; a massively potent healing item, and one that should be harvested.

You should also notice that Hobgoblins leave behind piles of gore when they die-all fleshy Bitterblack inhabitants do. This rotting meat may, if enough accumulates, draw the attention of other predators-in this area it’s a Garm that will come hungering for flesh. The foe(s) lured by such fare tend to be static on each level-you should always encounter a Garm here, for example (although exceptions do exist). Also, their locations should be static as well. Not only will you always encounter a Garm here, but you’ll always encounter one in this chamber. After clearing Bitterblack Isle once, however, monster populations will change, including scavengers. You can use Rancid Bait Meat to attempt to lure such creatures without having to go through all the bother of making other monsters dead, so knowing what spawns where can help with material harvesting.

Note: The new creatures in Bitterblack Isle-especially the big ones with multiple health bars-drop components that are often quite valuable. This is a good thing, since some Bitterblack arms and armor can cost up to 1,000,000 gold to upgrade to three stars, so scoring thousands-or sometimes tens of thousands-of gold per component can provide a welcome source of revenue. Of course, these resources aren’t just monetarily valuable-most of them are required components for said upgrades. Still, be aware of their value and, if you should find yourself in possession of an abundance of a certain material, and in need of coin… well, be sure to use the Suasion Augment and, if you get ahold of one, keep a Ring of Thrift in your inventory to maximize profit.

Monster Info: Garm

Garms are the fifth and final wolf-foe in Dragon’s Dogma, a massive mastiff indeed. They’re absolutely brutal in melee combat, with a lunge-and-fling move that can nearly one-hit-kill a 200th level Assassin on normal difficulty. Ouch. They also have poisonous breath which can inflict blindness and poison, and they will shake fiercely if mounted, making it a less than optimal strategy. They have two important weaknesses, however-their size impedes them, as with many Bitterblack foes. If you scramble up on a ledge, they likely won’t be able to follow. They can jump just fine, but again, on a small object they tend to not be able to do much except fall off. They’re also pretty vulnerable to lightning.

Head over to the southern tunnel you ignored earlier and descend into the watery passage. As it turns east, search the southern wall for an ore vein… the new materials speech has been given already, and it won’t be mentioned again. Be sure to mine for new Bitterblack goodies. Continue east, then turn south to reach a chamber occupied by Hobgoblins. Search the north-eastern corner to spot a square chest, then go through a narrow tunnel to the east (ignoring a larger tunnel south) to reach a small, Hobgoblin-occupied chamber. Kill the Goblinoids, then jump onto a ledge to the east and explore a small passage to score an ornate chest.

Return to the less cramped rooms to the west and head south. Turn west when you can and search the north-western corner of this smaller, southern room to spot a square chest. Now head south into a tunnel, turning west and entering a Spider-infested room to the west. Kill the bugs and note the wooden platforms. Hidden behind some crates in the south-eastern corner of the room you’ll find a rounded chest. Climb a ladder along the northern lip of the southern wooden platform to reach the top, then search the south-western corner of the platform to find a rounded chest. Also, atop some cut stones along the southern end of this wooden platform you’ll find a Macabre Sculpture (#3) . The northern platform has two levels-you can jump onto the lower platform by using the cut stones to the west, and you can reach the upper platform by climbing a convenient ladder. The lower platform holds a rounded chest, while on the upper platform you can find a door to the north that leads back to near where you entered this level.

Return to the room where you encountered Death and head north, where you have yet to explore. Go down some stairs, turn west, and when you get a chance go through a doorway to the north on a landing between two flights of stairs. Climb up a series of cut stones until you reach a small L-shaped chamber. Search the south-western corner to find an ornate chest. You’ll find a few coin pouches along the way, so be sure to pick up the precious metal as you go. Return to the staircase below and continue down until you reach a door leading to the next level.

Duskmoon Tower

Watch a cutscene as you enter, where you’ll encounter a roguish, sideburn-heavy fellow Arisen. This man - named Barroch - will wager on your longevity, and when the cutscene ends, go talk to him. He’s the merchant of Bitterblack Isle, capable of 'rarefying' loot-upgrading it up to the new maximum of Gold Dragon-Forged. Sadly, at this point, you likely lack both items worth upgrading so high, and the materials to do it. It’s worth noting that, unlike normal upgrades, the Silver/Gold Dragon-Forged upgrades require Rift Currency… and they must reach the rank of Dragon-Forged before you can advance them further. He will also allow you to learn and set skills, manage your inventory, and buy/sell items. His stock includes a good variety of potions, as well as a great selection of arms and armor, although he doesn’t sell any Everfall quality loot. Do yourself a favor and stash whatever extra junk you’ve picked up thus far, and grab yourself a pair of Skeleton Keys-you’ll be needing them soon.

By talking to Barroch you’ll complete the Notice Board quest 'A Guiding Light' if you had the good sense to pick it up earlier. The reward? A Liftstone. Liftstone? It’s like a Ferrystone, save it takes you from anywhere in the depths of Bitterblack Isle to the surface. Yeah, that’s right, your Ferrystones are useless down here. Always keep a Liftstone handy if you can.

Note: Barroch will remain in this area for a while, but after you progress further into the dungeon, he’ll move one. Use him while you have access to him-he’ll be more reliable later on, but don’t always expect to find him here.

Now to explore this area-it’s quite the idyllic little niche in the midst of what’s supposed to be a dark, scary dungeon. Bunnies hop around, deer graze on grass, it’s a veritable secluded garden paradise. You’re not here for tranquility, however. From the balcony turn west and jump on some rocks to reach some stone ledges. If you have Double Vault you can reach a higher ledge which holds two Warrior Remains and a Wakestone Shard. On the lower ledge you’ll find a broken gate that leads into a tower. Head inside, descend to the bottom, and loot two chests-one ornate, one square. Return to the balcony from which you entered.

Head across the balcony to the east, go down some steps, and jump off them when they collapse. On the stone remains to the east you’ll find a rounded chest. Turn around to the west and drop down to the grassy floor below and walk west along the stone steps you descended until you pass a strange stone door. This place is crowded with such doors, but alas, you cannot open them yet, as you need a 'Moonbeam Gem'. One gem, one door opens, and beyond lies Bitterblack-quality loot. Static drops, no need of identification. You’ll find Moonbeam Gems as you explore, but the contents of the chests beyond the doors here will be listed now, so you can choose what items you want when you get the gems. There are three doors along the southern wall, for the chart below, consider the eastern-most one door #1, with #2 in the middle, and #3 at the western end. The others (#4-#8) are in order clock-wise around the area, and will be pointed out as you pass them.

Moonbeam Door Treasure Description
#1 Trophy Jacket Magick-boosting Strider armor
#2 Dragon's Glaze Cold-enchanted Longbow
#3 Adept's Robe Magick-user armor
#4 Ring of Desiccation Ring that prevents Drenching
#5 Adept's Mantle Cloak wearable by all
#6 Dragon's Roost Lightning-enchanted shield
#7 Dragon's Ire Fire-enchanted Bow
#8 Ring of Perseverance Ring that increases Discipline

Continue west past Moonshadow Door #2, and along the southern wall between Moonshadow Doors #2 and #3 you’ll find some large, cut stone blocks which can be scaled. Climb until you reach a diagonal stone and climb to its top-most point to find a Macabre Sculpture (#4) lying in plain sight. Score. Drop back down to the ground and continue past Moonshadow Door #3 to the west, then turn north when you run out of west. You’ll pass a rounded chest and an ore vein, and as you go north you’ll find another ore vein in the north-western corner of the area. Follow the northern wall east to find a square chest near a waterfall, then continue east and follow the watery rocks to the north to rind an ore vein. Turn east and walk along some worked stone to find a rounded chest.

Turn south from the rounded chest, pass a square pillar, and find a large sloped stone that serves as a ramp to the north. Ascend and jump from the northern end of the rock to the top of the square pillar, then turn north-east to spot a stone ledge. Jump onto it and turn north to find another square pillar you can reach with a good jump. If you continue north you’ll find another, higher pillar you can jump onto. Below you to the north-west you’ll find an arched ledge, upon which lurks Moonbeam Door #4.

Note it and ignore it, as you don’t have any Moonshadow Gems to use. Instead jump onto the higher square pillar, then turn east and jump onto a higher ledge to reach a large stone balcony opposite the one you entered onto earlier. Here you’ll find Snakes and Spiders… and a few chests. A rounded chest lurks in the north-western corner, another in the south-center of the balcony, and a third in the north-eastern corner. From the north-western chest, follow the wall south, then west to find a stone ledge surrounding the balcony. Jump on it, and from it, onto a stone ledge to the west, whereupon lies Moonbeam Door #5. Note and ignore again, then return to the balcony, explore up some stairs in the north-center to reach a door leading to another, entirely optional, area. Grab the coin pouches near the door (worth 14,500 gold) and head on inside.

Rotunda of Dread

Behold, an arena! You’ll find a few of these places scattered around. Before you worry about loot, deal with the monsters below. The encounter is random:

  • A Lich (who will summon Hellhounds) and Phantoms.
  • A Drake and a pack of Saurians and Sulfur Saurians.
  • Three Cyclopes and a Golem.
  • A pair of Cyclopes and several Grim Goblins.
  • A Wight and a Wyrm.
  • A pair of Chimeras and a pack of Wargs and Direwolves.
  • A Cockatrice and a mixed flock of Harpies and Snow Harpies.
  • An Evil Eye and several Vile Eyes.
  • Three Skeleton Lords, Phantasms, and Skeleton Sorcerers.
  • A Hydra and a pack of Wargs.
It's worth noting that the enemies within will respawn every time you enter this area, allowing you to fight as much as you wish-just leave, return, and massacre. Once your foes are vanquished, let the looting begin. Return to the beginning of the area and jump on the stonework surrounding the balcony opposite the stairs that lead to the entrance of this area. Turn west and grab two Giant Coin Pouches, worth (20,000 gold), then turn east and follow the stonework counter-clockwise, jumping gaps as they appear to score two ornate chests. A rounded chest hides behind (south of) the stairs that lead from the balcony to the arena floor, while a square chest sits along a ledge on the eastern end of the area, beyond the stone pillars you jumped around on earlier. On the arena floor, search an alcove to the north to find no fewer than four rounded chests, while another sits in an alcove to the west. At about 11:00, just counter-clockwise from the quad-chested northern alcove, you'll find another **Macabre Sculpture (#5)** on a rock. There's also Kingwarish plants, Cragshadow Morels, Warrior Remains, and ore veins scattered around, which you can find on your own-there's hand-holding, and there's just being obnoxious. When you're done looting, return back to the previous area.

Duskmoon Tower, Continued

Once back in Duskmoon Tower, head to the north-eastern corner of the balcony and jump onto a ledge to the south-east. Follow the ledge to the east, stopping only to loot a rounded chest in an alcove to the north. At the eastern edge of the ledge, jump onto a stone roof to the south-east. If you drop off the northern end of this roof you’ll reach a ledge running east-west, upon which lies Moonbeam Door #6. Interesting at a later date, perhaps, but for now ignore it. Return to the roof and head… south-east. Go up a natural ramp to the north-east to find some lootable corpses, a Wakestone Shard, and an ornate chest. Once done head to the southern end of the roof. There is a small ledge below the roof you can drop down onto if you’re careful. From this ledge drop onto another stone ledge to the south, then turn west to find a Macabre Sculpture (#6) .

Drop down to the ground level to find yourself in front of a door that leads to another area. Ignore it for now and head north along the eastern edge of the area. A short distance north you’ll find another building, larger than the one you ignored. Beyond this building’s door you’ll find two more Moonbeam Doors (#7 and #8, #7 being the northern, and #8 being the southern of the two). Exit and continue north to find a square chest. From here turn west to find a discover a door leading to a tower.

Inside, go downstairs to reach a rounded chest at the bottom, while an ornate chest lies upstairs at the top. Exit the tower and follow the walls outside east, scoring another square chest along the way. In the center of the area you’ll find a locked door under the northern balcony. It’s where you need to go, but alas, you’ve no key. From here turn south to find some Warrior Remains near some rocks, then turn west to find a square chest near some more rocks. Backtrack due east and pass a tree to return to the door you ignored at the beginning of this Step. It’s the only place left for you to explore, so explore it you shall.

Ward of Regret

From the entrance head west, hear a spooky voice, and head through a doorway. In front of you looms a watery chasm, while to the north lies a room beyond some ruined gates. Inside this chamber is a broken Riftstone, which can be repair… with Rift Currency, of course. In this case, 3500 Rift Currency. It’ll only get more expensive as you travel. Repair it if you care to, then loot a square chest in the northern corner of the room, before finally going through a doorway.

In the hallway beyond you’ll encounter a few Giant Undead, which should be easy-peasy to kill. Redeadify them and open the first of two doors to the north, beyond which lies a small room with three rounded chests inside. The second, northern-most room is decidedly less friendly, as it contains only two rounded chests. Also, a Skeleton Lord and some Skeleton Sorcerers will spawn and attack. Put them down, loot, and return to the hallway. Continue north-west through a doorway, then turn north-east. When you reach an east-west fork turn west to reach the far end of the chasm you encountered earlier. Two Giant Undead think they’re clever and are playing dead. End their game and loot a rounded chest, then return to the east.

Note: It should be noted that unlike the more generous doors in the Pastona Cavern, these doors will re-lock as time passes. Simply put, every time the treasure beyond the doors respawns, you’ll need more keys.

Head through another doorway and onto a wooden bridge that leads to a stone walkway looping around this watery room. Continue north and head into a room to the west. Kill some Spiders and loot a rounded chest. There are some pots lurking around, as well as a door you can’t open yet. Return to the walkway and follow it around to the east. Ignore a hole in the wall to the north and instead head onto a wooden bridge to the south, whereupon an innocent square chest lurks.

Or perhaps not so innocent, as it turns out-this is likely the first place you’ll encounter a Maneater. Let your Pawns open the chest, if they’re not disobedient (mine were), or if you must, open it yourself and hope they will break you free. If you’re lucky, you might score a mother-load of Rift Currency from a Maneater (you can obtain around 30,000 RC from one, if you’re lucky), or at least some low-quality Bitterblack items. If you’re not, it’ll drop some minerals… some can be decent, but enduring a Maneater and getting some rocks is kind of a bummer.

Monster Info: Maneater

The cliche chest-monster, this tentacle terror is that most obnoxious of foe. It will automatically grapple any fool who opens the chest within it resides. If your Pawns aren’t being assholes, they may just strike it for you and free you (or you them), after which it’s a pretty standard fight. It can still attack, even though it’s stationary, either by whirling around and trying to strike foes with its own body, or by spitting (which can cause petrification). Its most dangerous attack, however, is the death-spell it’ll certainly cast if its prey breaks free. Don’t stand in any glowing red circles and you’ll be fine. Note that Maneaters will not lurk around forever waiting for you to kill them-they prey on the unwary by virtue of the element of surprise. Take too long to kill one, and it’ll retreat back into its chesty lair and vanish… presumably to move on to another chest from which to attack.

Now go through the hole in the wall to the north, through a Bat-infested tunnel, and into a chamber beyond. Loot a rounded chest to the south, then continue north, following the tunnel as it turns. At a junction to the north you’ll encounter a small horde of Skeletons, led by a new fiend-a Skeleton Brute. This intersection is also the location of this area’s scavenger spawn, should you be so unfortunate as to draw the attention of one. The beast that appears here is an Elder Ogre.

Monster Info: Elder Ogre

Apparently when Ogres get older, they don’t get bigger-they just get badass. Elder Ogres fight just like Ogres, save they have much higher defense, more health, and deal a lot more damage… and that’s really enough to be a massive pain in the ass. Like with a normal Ogre, shoot for the head. A high-powered Ranger can effectively keep one stun-locked, but other than that… they’re a rough fight. The best that can be suggested is that you learn their moves, try to stay away from them, and dodge.

Oh, another important note; Elder Ogres tend to focus their attacks on males, if there are any, instead of females. They also have a bit of an AI flaw. If you climb onto a ledge they - unlike most foes - will be able to effectively pursue you. Once they focus on you, however (and like most foes in Bitterblack Isle, they favor going after the Arisen, regardless of gender) and begin to move towards the ledge you’re on, they’re pretty much committed to jumping on said ledge. You can use this fact to play ledge-run chicken with them, striking them when they approach, and using their jumping animations and subsequent reorientation to vacate the premises and find other high ground. Repeat until victorious. It’s lame, sure, and cheap, but until you’ve got the best weapons Bitterblack Isle has to offer, take victory however you can get it.

Monster Info: Skeleton Brute

This beastie fights just like a normal Skeleton-it’s just much bigger and stronger. Skeletons can be annoying enough, but even moreso one that’s twice that size which can actually deal decent damage. All the same tricks work against it, though-fire, holy, and smashing it with blunt things.

Loot a rounded chest in an alcove to the west, then jump up on a ledge to the south to find a Macabre Sculpture (#7) along the eastern edge of the ledge. Finally head north past where the Skeletons were to reach another east-west fork. Again, start out by going west. When you get the chance to turn south, jump onto a ledge to the north to find a square chest-then go south. Head through a doorway and continue south. Some Skeleton Sorcerers will appear on a ledge, and Giant Undead lurk in a pile of debris before them. Once they are obliterated, turn west and loot a rounded chest. To the east you’ll find a doorway to the south, wherein a square chest lurks. Once done looting, jump up onto the ledge where the Skeleton Sorcerers lurked. Turn north-east to spot a wooden platform above you. A very precise running Double Vault will get you there… or a decent Levitate. Do what you must to reach the platform, then go through a doorway to the east to reach a small room with an ornate chest to the east, a lever to the north, and the door it opens to the south. Behold, a short-cut opened!

Ignore it, you don’t need to back-track right now. From the chest return west, drop off the platform and return to the east-west fork just beyond the Skeletons you vanquished earlier. Now it’s time to explore to the east. Head down some stairs and loot a rounded chest before turning north and heading down some more stairs to the north. A few things to do here-ignore the doorway to the west and instead jump upon a ledge to the east. From there, turn north-west and jump to an elevated wooden platform, upon which you can score a square chest. Drop back down and go through the western door way to reach a room full of debris. Undead will rise from the debris-Skeleton Sorcerers and Giant Undead, and two rounded chests lurk around-one in the south-western corner of the room, and one to the west. Kill, loot, and play on the corpses suspended from the ceiling for some crazy stupid physics fun. Seriously, jump on one and give it a stab or twenty. Wee! When you’re done goofing off, head through the door to the north to reach a new area.

Midnight Helix

Head north down some stairs, then turn west when you can. North of here is quite the gory display of rotten meat, some of which can be scavenged. Yum! To the west, however, is a huge cylindrical chamber where a Cyclops of massive proportions stands tied up-a Prisoner Gorecyclops, to be precise. A coiled stone staircase cork-screws up the chamber, supplemented by wooden planks and rope bridges where necessary. The heights are crawling with Skeleton Sorcerers. Try to dispatch them, whilst avoiding the Prisoner Gorecyclops for now. If it is struck, it will anger, and eventually break free. Gargoyles also lurk in the heights, and they exist just to complicate things-perhaps by knocking you off ledges, or with the dire threat of petrification. Ignore the loot now and focus on the murder of monsters.

If the Prisoner Gorecyclops wakes up, one of two courses of action are advisable; attain the heights and shoot down magic and arrows, or flee back into the eastern tunnels from whence you came, and attack it with magic and arrows. You may even consider running away from it when it’s nearly dead, as it’s got a chance to drop Lv.2 Bitterblack weapons and/or armor. A single fortuitous weapon drop can make life much easier for you. A random scavenger can appear in the chamber with the Prisoner Gorecyclops if too many tasty treats are left around for it-in this case a Cursed Dragon.

Note: Influencing Purification Results

Since this is likely the earliest point you’ll acquire Lv.2 Bitterblack weapons and armor, so now is the time to point out that while you can’t influence the type or level of the Bitterblack loot you find (Lv.1, Lv.2, Lv.3, Weapon, Armor, Novelty, etc), you can influence the types of weapons and armor you are rewarded with when you purify Bitterblack arms and armor. This is mentioned earlier in the 'Hints & Tips' section, and will be mentioned again below, as a reminder when you start scoring Lv.3 arms and armor… it’s kind of important.

Save the game before you purify anything, because the Vocations of your Arisen and your Main Pawn determine the types of gear you’ll get when you purify. If, say, you’re playing an Assassin and you really want some Helmbarte Daggers, Sapfire Daggers, or a Dragon’s Ire bow, make sure both your Arisen and your Main Pawn are either Striders or Rangers before purifying items. This will greatly improve the odds of getting a weapon related to that Vocation.

Hybrid Vocations (Assassin, Magick Archer, and Mystic Knight) are not ideal for this, since both their base Vocation types influence the gear you’ll get after you purify. An Assassin will often obtain both Fighter gear and Strider gear. So, if your Arisen is an Assassin and your Main Pawn is a Sorcerer, don’t be surprised if you don’t get many Daggers or Bows when you purify items… at least, not compared to how many you’d get if both were Striders. Use this trick to manipulate your purification results and you’ll be dancing around with superior Lv.2 weapons in no time. If you should find yourself with an abundance of Lv.2 weapons and armor, note that said arms and armor can be sold for hundreds of thousands (sometimes around a million) gold each.

Monster Info: Cursed Dragon

You’ve fought little dragonlings before; the Cursed Dragon is of a size and shape similar to the Drake, Wyrm, and Wyvern, all old foes. In appearance, however, it’s much more similar to the Ur-Dragon. All rotten and dead-might as well have called it a Dracolich. As a dead dragon, you can expect Holy damage to harm it more, and like all little dragon creatures, it’s got a weak spot; in this case a cluster of crystals on its chest. You’ll also see many attacks return, it’ll do flying body presses, grab-and-slam attacks, tail lashes, and spins.

There are differences, however-its normal bite attack is now a three stage swinging bite attack during which the Cursed Dragon can direction rather considerably. It’s quite damaging and is probably the Cursed Dragon’s favorite-and most annoying-attack. The Cursed Dragon also has a breath weapon-a gout of vile Putrescence that damages and debilitates. Like the Ur-Dragon, Cursed Dragons will rear up from time to time and gather energy for a massive breath attack, which should be avoided. They typically start exhibiting this behavior after they’ve lost more than half their health, and follow a simple routine at this point: three normal attacks (usually bite combos, but variable depending on where its target - usually the Arisen - is) followed by a rear-back breath attack. It’s also worth noting that Cursed Dragon’s have a much greater chance to Dragon Forge gear than other Dragon types. You’re almost guaranteed to Dragon Forge any item upgraded to three stars when you kill a Cursed Dragon and even Dragon-Forging completely unupgraded gear isn’t out of the question.

Monster Info: Gorecyclops

The Prisoner Gorecyclops is a Cyclops on a massive scale-the attacks are all the same, as are the vulnerabilities. All Gorecyclops are armored and helmeted, but the method for getting them to shed their armor is different. You must still climb them (and avoid or endure passive damage from their spiked armor) and reach their head. Their helmet is connected to a unbreakable metal collar by a breakable leather strap. Destroy it and the helmet will fall off. Their eye, of course, is the weak spot.

As was said earlier, the Prisoner Gorecyclops doesn’t have any new attacks, but it is always angry and rampages indiscriminately. Climbing it while it’s raging just isn’t viable, and trying to stand up to it in melee is foolishness. Directed, aimed attacks with a Bow will do the most damage if you can hit the eye, or perhaps even stagger it, if you’re using a Longbow. Their biggest disadvantage? Their size. Massive power is a boon, but the size that grants it is a liability. Every single Prisoner Gorecyclops you encounter can be evaded by running somewhere it cannot reach, and from there, you can kill it with ranged weapons and magic. It’s a crappy tactic, to be sure, but it works.

Note: There are technically two types of Gorecyclops; the 'Prisoner' Gorecyclops are massive, chained beasts (hence 'prisoner') like the one encountered here, while others are merely Cyclops palette-swaps. Both are called Gorecyclops in the Pawn Bestiary, although a distinction for them is made in the 'Adventure Log'. Non-prisoner Gorecyclops are much weaker (and smaller) than prisoner Gorecyclops, and hence worth less experience. Both drop the same Gorecyclops materials, however, save Blue Iron Buckles which belong to prisoner Gorecyclops alone, for obvious reasons.

Once you’re done slaying, it’s time for looting. On the ground level, where the Prisoner Gorecyclops was chained up, you’ll find two square chests-one at 10:00 and one at 3:00. At 7:00 you’ll find a massive grate with a hole in it-ignore it, it’s an egress, not an ingress for us. At around 9:00 you’ll find the start of stone stairs. Take them up until they terminate and you’re forced onto some broken ledges to the west. You can either head clockwise or counter-clockwise- the latter is less broken and continue up and around the area, while the former leads across broken stone, through a doorway, and into a small room. Take the clockwise route first.

Cross the ledge from the stairs clockwise and head into the small chamber at the end of the walkway. A larger doorway to the north-west leads to a bridge, which spans bloody, miasmic waters below. Like most things in Bitterblack Isle, it’s in disrepair, and is patched by wood halfway along. Cross wood and stone to reach a natural stone chamber stacked with piles of bone. There are also two enticing chests-one ornate, one rounded, to serve as lures. Once you near the piles of bone a new foe will emerge to attack you: Leapworms.

Monster Info: Leapworm

Simplistic foes, Leapworms… well, they just leap at you and try to land a good bite. When you kill them, their acidic blood will injure you, and worse still, potentially lower your defense, making you more likely to fall prey to Bitterblack critters of greater stature. On their own, though, Leapworms are more of a nuisance than a legitimate threat, really.

Kill, loot, and return to the bridge. Along the northern end of the bridge you can spot some dry areas around the miasmic blood water below. Drop down onto them to find more piles of bones and more Leapworms. Along the north-western 'shore' lurk two rounded chests, one at the edge of the chasm, where the water runs off, and one to the south-west, past the bridge. Oh, it should go without saying, but avoid the blood-water, as it inflicts poison. Now that you’ve been told to avoid the water… you can find some goodies hiding in the water. A few Rift Crystals can be scored, but more importantly, there’s a Macabre Sculpture (#8) hidden next to (along the south-western side of) the wooden bridge supports. You’ll just have to endure the poison to score these treats… but that’s what High Halidom is for, right? After looting the chests and fishing in poisonous waters, approach the northern-most edge of the chasm into which the blood-water flows. Look down and you’ll see a ledge below. Drop down onto it to find a lootable - and likely lucrative - corpse to violate.

Climb back up and jump to the south-eastern shore. Turn south-west and continue past the bridge to the south-west, where you’ll find another rounded chest. Climb onto the narrow ledge around a stone pillar and walk to the south-west, dropping down on the shore on the other side, where you’ll find a square chest. Continue south and jump up on another, more substantial ledge, which wraps around to the east. Loot a rounded chest near a collapsed pillar, then turn north-east and go through a grate to reach the Prisoner Gorecyclops chamber.

Back at the bottom of the cylindrical chamber, return to the stairs running around the perimeter and head up them again. When the stairs degrade, take the counter-clockwise ledge this time, jumping and climbing as necessary to continue going counter-clockwise, and higher. You will find a square chest where the stone ramp falls into ruin, and blow that, a wooden bridge that runs to the north-west and connects to an intact section of the stone ramp above. On the far side, continue clockwise until you find another square chest where the ramp terminates, and before it, another bridge. You get the idea. Cross the bridge to the south-west to reach another, higher ramp. Beyond a half-intact gate hides a square chest in a small cell. Loot and continue counter- clockwise and cross yet another bridge. At the end of the bridge jump onto a stone platform, loot an ornate chest that tends to be fairly generous, and pick up the 'Void Key' that lies near a corpse.

Now, for some stupid acrobatics. If you go past the ornate chest you just looted and look off the ledge to the north-east you’ll see another ledge along the while, quite a ways off. If you make a running jump and perform a Double Vault or Levitate you can hop from ledge to ledge. This just is much easier with Levitate-but doable with Double Vault. On this ledge you’ll find an ornate chest that tends to divulge a good bit of Rift Currency. Now turn south-east to see a hanging cage in the distance. You can Levitate or Double Vault from this ledge to this cage, but for Double Vault, it’s at the very limit of your reach and will take a bit of skill to manage.

Another way to reach the cage is by standing on the ledge where the Void Key was and looking to the south-east. You’ll see a corpse hanging from the ceiling-this corpse can be jumped to and grappled, and from there you can leap again to the cage-it sounds trickier than it is. However you reach this cage, your reward is another Macabre Sculpture (#9) and a Rift Bicrystal sitting on the lap of a corpse. As for getting back, you can use Levitate from the cage to reach the bridge to the south-west, but if you’re restricted to Double Vault, you’ll just have to suffer some damage.

Vault of Defiled Truth

With the Void Key in hand, return to the Duskmoon Tower and unlock the door along the northern wall, beyond which lies the Vault of Defiled Truth. Lovely name. Head down stairs to the north, then west to reach a chamber with a square chest along the western end. Ignore the voices that speak to you and continue north into a larger room with nothing of interest in it, and then through a small doorway to the north to reach a water-filled chamber. Rocks line the walls, bones litter the floor. Leapworms inhabit the latter, ore veins the former.

Continue west until you find a passage north. Peer into the room to the north to spot a chamber identical to the fountain chamber from the Garden of Ignominy. You remember, you encountered Death there for the first time? Yeah, you’re several levels in and you’re already seeing recycled areas. This time it’s occupied by a Cockatrice and Hobgoblins, although a scavenger Warg could appear if enough food is lying around. Let’s not bother exploring this room yet, however, as it’s the way to the next level and there’s lot of this level yet to explore.

Sadly, there’s no clean way to explore this place-there will be back-tracking and overlap involved. From the watery tunnel south of the fountainless fountain room continue west. You’ll find some rocks you can climb and a tunnel to the north that begs to be explored. Continue north, turn west, and drop off a ledge into more water. Continue west and turn south through a hole in the wall to reach a watery chamber with a rounded chest in it. To the west is a larger chamber with three side-chambers (including the one you already went through) and two tunnels coming off of it-one to the north and one to the south-east. In the room to the west you’ll find an ornate chest and a rounded chest, while in the room to the south sits a rounded chest. Loot, then head down the tunnel to the south-east.

You’ll finally reach a room to the east with a wooden deck to the south. This chamber is occupied by new foes-Greater Goblins and Goblin Shaman. Smite them and continue through a less inhabited room to the south. Here you’ll find some beds you can search and some books lying on tables you can grab. Continue south to reach a room with elevated wooden platforms-another room you should remember from the Gardens of Ignominy. On the ground floor in the south-eastern corner you’ll find a square chest behind some crates and barrels, while in a side-room to the north-east you’ll find another square chest. Once you’re done playing around on the ground floor climb the ladder to the southern platform to find two square chests in the south-western corner of the room. On a large wooden beam running east-west under the ceiling of the room you’ll find another Macabre Sculpture (#10) . This beam is intersected by five vertical beams, forming four partitions of the same size. This sculpture is on the second one from the east, near the vertical beam. Once obtained, make your way to the smaller, multi-level, northern wooden platform. On the lower platform you’ll find a rounded chest, while on the upper platform you’ll find a door to the north.

Monster Info: Goblin Shaman

It’s as close to a new foe as you’re likely to see in Bitterblack Isle-Goblin Shaman are small Goblinoids that follow the rule of Skeleton Sorcerers-they’re fond of sitting around and acting like stationary magick turrets, blasting foes with elemental magick until somebody finally smites them. They’re also incredibly resistant to magick, so use physical attacks-bows or melee weapons-if you can.

Monster Info: Greater Goblin

New Goblins, and why not? You’ve already encountered two new types of wolves, a new Ogre, a new Skeleton, and a new Cyclops, so… yeah, why not Goblins? Is Bitterblack Isle only reskins and recycled monsters, you ask? Yeah… pretty much. Anywho, you won’t see any new attacks with Greater Goblins, as they fight just like Grimgoblins, but stronger. Like with Grimgoblins, they recycle all the old Goblin types; small like Goblins and large like Hobgoblins.

Go through the door to reach a wide hallway identical (again) to the one in the Garden of Ignominy. It’s the first chamber you entered in Bitterblack Isle, occupied by Wargs. Anywho, continue north to find a clone of the statue room-a lion flanked by two robed guys? Along the way smite an Ogre (a normal Ogre this time, not an Elder Ogre), encounter a new foe - the Sirine - and loot a rounded chest along the eastern wall of the hall. In the statue room you’ll find a square chest to the west, as well as some ore veins to the south-west. Turn east to find two passages-one upstairs to the north-east and another downstairs to the east. Ignore the north-east passage (which experience should tell you will lead to the balcony over the fountain room) and head east, turning north when you must. Kill a Hobgoblin and loot a rounded chest along the western wall. Your way north will eventually be blocked by a large boulder, which that butthole Hobgoblin would have loved to push on us, if only you came from the other direction. Shame.

Monster Info: Sirine

Another shameless palette-swap, the Sirine functions just like the Harpy. It flies, it sings, and it’s physically aggressive, like the Succubus. They’re also highly resistant to holy damage, so use something else if you want to actually hurt one. A Sirine’s song can heal its allies-and it can heal quite a lot of health very quickly, so in a fight including Sirines, seek them out and kill them first, so you can make good your damage on other foes.

Backtrack south and return to the statue room. Now take the north-eastern passage to the balcony over the fountain room you ignored earlier. At the end of this balcony is rounded chest. You should know the drill now-run along the ledge of the balcony and jump to reach a semi-circular balcony to the north. Search this northern balcony for an ornate chest, then notice yet another Hobgoblin to the west, near yet another boulder said Hobgoblin oh-so desperately wanted to drop on you. Smash the boulder and note the stairs down beyond. Ignore them for now and climb up on the railing along the eastern side of this balcony and jump from the stonework onto another balcony to the south-west. Score another rounded chest here, then jump from the stonework of this semi-circular balcony onto a rectangular balcony to the south-west. On this balcony head to the southern end to find an ornate chest.

Return to the balcony to the north (the one upon which the boulder-pushing Hobgoblin lurked) and head down the stairs to the west, the ones previously blocked by a boulder. Follow the tunnel as it goes until you reach a chamber with a wooden bridge spanning it north-south. The room below the bridge is watery and uninteresting, save for a rounded chest that lurks along the western edge of the room. Loot it, hop back on the bridge, and continue south. Go through a doorway, drop down a ledge to reach an east-west running tunnel beyond. Turn east and finally enter the fountain room, kill its inhabitants, and score two square chests-one under the northern end of the western balcony and one under the southern end of the eastern balcony. Finally, continue to the north to find a door leading to the next level.

Gutter of Misery

Hooray! Stairwell! Head west and you’ll find stairs leading up and down. Go up first to reach a platform-a door to another area lurks along the western wall, and to the east, behind some boxes, sits a square chest. Loot and go through the door.

The Warriors Respite

Surprise! Safe-zone. Seriously, the name should have given it away. Head east to find a broken Riftstone (this one costs 5000 RC to repair), and opposite it (to the south) you’ll find two square chests hiding in rubble. Return to the Riftstone and continue east to find a Healing Spring. Jump on in, splash around, and enjoy healing fun. Once you’re done, turn north to find a small ledge you can jump on. Jump on it, then turn east to spot another ledge above the Healing Spring that can be reached with Double Vault. Reach it and look south to see a Macabre Sculpture (#11) on a small ledge amidst some hanging ivy.

Note: Barroch will always be in The Warrior’s Respite when you come calling. Hooray for static merchants!

Backtrack to the Riftstone again and continue west to find a hole in the wall leading north to find Barroch hanging out. Stash excess loot, buy stuff, do whatever you need to do, then back to searching. Go up some stairs to the east to find a 'Resting Bench', where you can sleep… if you didn’t already splash around in a Healing Spring. South of the Resting Bench is another Notice Board, with brand new quests for your perusal. From the Notice Board turn west to spot an elevated wooden platform you can jump on. Do so and west to find a Moonbeam Gem sitting on a desk, near a slumped-over skeleton. Return east, drop down to the previous Notice Board-bearing room, continue east and go down some stairs to find some rooms full of goodies. You’ll find a crate of Throwblasts, and nearby an Airtight Flask. Turn east and head into another room to score an Ornate Chest and another Airtight Flask.

Gutter of Misery, Continued

With that you’re done in the Warrior’s Respite. Return to the Gutter of Misery and head downstairs until you reach a large room at the bottom. Here you’ll find no fewer than three chests-a square chest hidden behind some crates to the south-east, another square chest near a puddle to the north, and a rounded chest behind some crate to the north-west. Once you’re done looting head through a hole in the wall to the south to reach a twisting natural tunnel. Follow it, drop down a few ledges, and you’ll eventually find yourself in a sewer system.

You now have two ways to go-north or east. Go north first and keep an eye on the eastern wall to spot some stairs leading up to a doorway. Go east through the doorway to reach a watery room beyond. Drop down a ledge and turn north to score a rounded chest, then head south, drop down a waterfall ledge to find a small watery platform infested by Leapworms, with a rounded chest to loot. Return to the larger hallway to the west and continue following it north. You’ll find an elevated broken gate behind a waterfall, beyond which you should explore… if you want to score two square chests. From them turn west to find a rounded chest. Goodies, goodies everywhere!

Return south and when you reach the tunnel from which you entered the sewers continue east. You’ll have to dispatch some Saurians and Vile Eyes. The tunnel slopes downward and forks north-south, but the two forks meet further east, so… go nuts. Along either fork you’ll find a Giant Saurian lurking-one on a wall and one on a pile of bones. A square chest lies at the end of the northern fork, right before it meets the southern fork. Note that the Saurians here-including the Giant versions-might randomly be replaced by Sulfur Saurians. The scavenger beast in this area is an Elder Ogre, which will appear in the northern tunnel here.

Monster Info: Giant Saurian

Fights just like a normal Saurian, but bigger. Didn’t you fight one of these in Dripstone Cave, during the quest 'Deeper Trouble'? Whatever, they drop new stuff, so, uh, yeah. Cool.

Monster Info: Giant Sulphur Saurian

Same as the Giant Saurian, above, just more sneaky… like Sulfur Saurians tend to be.

When the forks combine head south-east. You can score another square chest behind a collapsed pillar near a waterfall. Continue south and the fork will split again. For now ignore the eastern fork and continue south. Score another square chest near a broken grate, then head through the broken gate to find yourself on a small ledge. Turn south-west and jump on some roots, and from there continue south-west, jumping tenderly into an open pipe. Search the grate in the pipe to score a Macabre Sculpture (#12) . You can also gather some goodies from a skeleton near the grate.

Return back to the north-east and crawl back into the sewers, searching the unexplored east. North, up some stairs, you’ll find a door leading to another area. First, head south and loot a square chest beyond some crates. You can also find some Warrior Remains in the water, and you can search the grate to the north for more goodies. Once you’re done looting, head through the door to the next level.

Shrine of Futile Truths

Hear another disembodied voice, babbling about some great cycle, and continue north-east to reach a spiraling ramp. Follow it down clockwise and shortly a massive foe will descend from outside the ramp-the Gazer.

Enemy Strategy: Gazer

The Gazer is an Evil Eye on a massive scale, the grand-daddy of all floating orb monsters. Or mother. It could really go either way. Maybe they’re asexual? One would probably prefer to remain ignorant about Gazer gender. Consider it the 'boss' of the upper stratum, which of course, it is.

Eye in the Sky

The Gazer, of course, has many similarities to the Evil Eye-it’ll send its tentacles to harass you, wherever you are. The tentacles cast spells, bite, grab, spit, all that you’re used to. The Gazer also has a few huge tentacles which will erupt out of the floor from time to time. You can spot them coming by the orange mess on the floor. In addition to the tentacles and their attacks, the Gazer also has its own magic gaze attack, which damages and debilitates. Last and not least, it can thump you with its body if you get below it. Why go beneath it at all, then? Well, when it’s sending its large tentacles to spike out of the ground under you, if you run under it (and it’s focusing on you), it will end up clocking itself in the eye, stunning it and leaving its eye distended and vulnerable. Just be careful on the ground floor, as it can spew a noxious cloud of poisonous gas onto you down there, leaving you only two options-retreating to the ramp or just taking the damage.

Putting Out the Eye

No magical barrier this time-the Gazer is just outright immune to damage anywhere save its eye. Size equals thick skin, which is fine defense, it turns out. You can try to remove its tentacles, but its vulnerability state while it regrows tentacles leaves much to be desired. Fighting it requires either ranged attacks, or some guts. Jumping off the ramp and grappling its eye-hole and attacking it directly is amazingly effective. It might bite down with its… mouth-eye teeth, but the damage it deals is pretty tame compared to the damage you’ll be able to do to it.

Ritual Interruption

One of the odd mannerisms of the Gazer involves the Gazer sending several of its tentacles to the southern end of the arena and starting some odd ritual. The tentacles will shoot out beams and create a Sauron-like eye effect in the air. If you kill the tentacles participating in this little ritual, the eye will float down and you’ll be able to release multiple bolts of energy by striking it-it functions just like the Magick Cannon skill. In addition, this ritual interruption staggers the Gazer-put together, interrupting the ritual you’ll be able to deal massive damage to the Gazer.

Note: Unlike most foes, the Gazer will not respawn… at least, not during your first run-through of Bitterblack Isle. After completing the dungeon once, the Gazer will respawn like any other foe.

Once you’re done smacking around the Gazer, a gate will open, allowing you to continue deeper into Bitterblack Isle. First, however, it’s time for some looting. On the ramp you can score three rounded chests-one at about 1:00, just before a large tree root, one east of the stairs to the arena floor, and another at the end of the ramp. The ramp and ground floor is a treasure-trove of various herbs and mushrooms, which you can loot at your discretion. Amidst the rubble south of the stairs you’ll find two chests-one round and one square. Further south, at about 5:30, sits another square chest. Continue around the edge of the level clockwise until you can head between some pillars, where you’ll find two rounded chests (at about 8:00). Continue clockwise to find yet another square chest (10:00). Finally, note that a shape has been made on the ground using stones (it appears on the map and mini-map, in case you’re wondering). The shape is a circle with three lines coming off of it. Search the perimeter of the circle just north of the western-most 'ray' to find a Macabre Sculpture (#13) hidden in the grass. Once this area is looted, head down some stairs to the north to find a door, which continues deeper into Bitterblack Isle.

Corridor of Emptiness

From the entrance head north-east until you find a gated door to the east. From there turn west and scale some rocks to find a corpse just hanging out on the stone. Near it, fittingly enough, are some Corpse Nettles and a Macabre Sculpture (#14) . Climb back down to the east and ignore the gate for now and continue north, where you will randomly find Barroch waiting around to make your life easier. If you continue down some stairs to the east you’ll reach a dock, near which sits a square chest. North-west of where Barroch stood you’ll find stairs heading down, deeper into Bitterblack Isle. Soon enough, but for now head back to the gate you ignored earlier. If you go through said gate to the east you’ll find a "Recollection of another Arisen" tablet and a Riftstone (5000 RC). Continue up the stairs to the east and you’ll find a door leading back to the surface. Once outside you can flip a lever to open the gate and consequently, the first shortcut to the depths of Bitterblack Isle. Yep, that’s right, first stratum is done. Hooray…