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Dias Guide by Khaulepi
Version: 1.87 | Updated: 02/13/09
Dias Unlimited Star Ocean: The Second Story Sony Playstation North America Version Version 1.87 (2/13/2009) E-mail: JustusBowman@gmail.com >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Dias Unlimited >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> This is the Dias Unlimited Guide. It may not be reproduced in any way without my written consent. I created this guide for the North American version of the game. This FAQ is ~95% complete. If you have something to contribute, please e-mail me at JustusBowman@gmail.com -------------- Contents -------------- Version Info Note Introduction A Taste of Knowledge The Art of War The Three Forms of Dias StaP Killer Moves First Form The Slave/Support Team Dias in 1:30 Preparation Heraldry Forest Second Form The Big Run Tournament Third Form Onward Frontline and Beyond My experiments with StaP To 100 and Further The Fields Four and a Little More Nine Wise The Cave of Trials The Big Four Thanks ------------------ Version info ------------------ -Version 1.0 (1/5/2009) How to unlimit Dias and “solo” up to Universe-difficulty Gabrie Celesta. -Version 1.50 (1/13/2009) I revised my writing to aid reader comprehension. The guide lost ~3,000 weak words. -Version 1.75 (1/28/2009) Added a Thanks section, added Youtube links to some of the guide (my example videos, for visual aid purposes), and made minor corrections/additions. -Version 1.87 (2/13/2009) Added more Youtube links, made some other additions, and corrected some errors. -Version 2.0 (coming) More Youtube links. Added a description of how to solo The Hell Servant, Gabrie Celesta, unlimited Indalecio and Iselia Queen with Dias. ---------- Note ---------- Dias Unlimited is the first walkthrough I have ever written for GameFAQs. If you find anything incomplete or missing in this walkthrough, please contact me via JustusBowman@gmail.com. I’m rather receptive to e-mails with subject lines like “Star Ocean” or “Dias for President.” ------------------ Introduction ------------------ You might take interest in this guide if you enjoy playing as Dias, you like a challenge, you love to absorb information from many sources, etc. So, even if you don’t plan to go through every step of this like a Dias fanboy, you might want to look it over out of admiration for SO2. Keep in mind, this guide is not about how you can level Dias to 255 in the shortest amount of time. It is about creating the best possible Dias and beating the entire game (within the game parameters) using only Dias. I suggest you read through this once before attempting to use it as a guide, and if you are new to the game, read other guides first. This guide is divided into two major sections: the first section contains information (some of it priceless); the second section describes my path to unlimiting Dias and exploring his power. As you can see, this is not a general guide to Star Ocean: The Second Story. There are plenty of those guides available, but mine is unique in its purpose. Why should you believe there is something written here you haven’t read before? Because I’ve played this game off and on for about a decade, I've read many other guides,and I’m a videogame fanatic. Alright, let’s get going. ----------------------------- A Taste of Knowledge ----------------------------- ---The Art of War: I didn’t think it would make me serious.--- Starting stats (Str, Dex, Con…) for characters are never different no matter how much you load. Starting Skill Points (SP) are never different no matter how much you load. Every character has random talents to start with. If you save before you initiate a team-member then you can load and they will have different talents each time you gain them. Every level you gain random stat bonuses. That means you can load and get different bonuses to different stats. Luc and Agl are not raised by leveling. Keep in mind that when I say “random,” I mean as random as possible for a program. Piety is a skill that gives an increase to a random stat (including Luc and Agl). The increase is based on the stat number. For example, an 800 strength will get a bonus of let’s say 22 while a 100 strength might just get a bonus of 2. What this means is we can attain the best bonus from Piety by waiting to use it until stats are extremely high. Since level gaining and Piety give a random stat increase, one can save and load to manipulate a character’s growth: Dias’s growth. Leveling up with Dias does not change the stat bonus possibilities. This differs from how Piety works. Every level he can get up to +6 Str, +3 Con, etc. It doesn’t matter if he is level 35 or 160, whether his Str is 1,000 or 175, he will never gain more than +6 to Str when he gains a single level. I originally aimed towards high Str, Dex, Agl, Luc, and Guts. That is the kind of fighter I saw Dias as being: strong and swift. There came a problem. As I mentioned, Luc and Agl don’t go up by level. Eventually, I decided to go ahead with Status Point manipulation (see “StaP” section) that concerned Str, Con, Dex and Guts. Con had to be my new Agl, though I prefer evading attacks rather than taking lower damage from them. ---The Three Forms of Dias: How? How can this be?!--- That’s right. There are three Dias forms in this game. Sound strange? What I mean is you get Dias on three separate occasions (once for good) while playing Rena. One has to be careful because things are not as simple as they seem. Mars Dias: He is level 35. He has 200 SP and a selection of skills based on which sets you’ve bought (get Perseverance from Herlie). His stats are Str 175, Con 70, Dex 120, Agility 20, Int 0, Luc 96, Stm 45 and Guts 50. He probably has three or four talents (load until he has three or less). He will have some rather nice equipment you will want to relieve him of before he leaves your team this time. -- A Quick Description of Youtube Additions In this version, I added Youtube links to much of the guide. You don't need to use them in order to enjoy this guide, and they aren't based directly on what you are reading (sadly). Nevertheless, they can be useful to if you want an example of what I'm saying. Feel free to mute the videos or skip ahead in them if you are only seeking information about Dias. End of Quick Description-- Youtube example video (YEV): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VFk rUmNdLlA&fmt=18 Tournament Dias: He is whatever level you gained him to at Mars, he has however much SP you left him from before, his stats are whatever they were when you left him, his Killer Moves (KMs) have the same proficiency they did when you left him, his equipment is whatever you left equipped on him, and his talents are the same as any he had in Mars, plus any you unlocked with him there. Simple, right? YEV: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gs92L6Mw25o&fmt=18 Frontline Dias: This is the tricky/limiting one. He is level 35, his KM proficiencies are the same, and he has any KM you previously unlocked. This includes KMs you could not have at level 35. It is odd, but I haven’t noticed any problems down the road. His equipment is the same as it was at Mars. His stats are the starting stats he had in Mars (except his Int). That’s right. Any levels gained and any skills purchased that increased stats (or HP/MP) had no permanent effect (other than on Int). Here is the real problem: all his skill levels stayed the same! Let’s say you raised Kitchen Knife (KKnife) to 5 sometime before reaching Frontline. When you first purchased it, his Str increased by 100 (20 per point). The problem is you still have 5 in KKnife at Frontline, but the 100 Str vanished. In fact, all skills you bought that increased his stats are now useless up to the point you bought them. Poker Face (Guts), Danger Sense (Stm), and the rest are wasted. If you bring KKnife up to 6 in hopes of regaining that 5 KKnife Str (100) plus the 6 KKnife bonus (20) you will find that his strength only goes up 20 to 195. This is how you deal with the situation. In Mars and Lacour, only pick skills for Dias that do not increase stats (except for Int), like Per (severance), Play (fulness), Strong Blow, etc. I made sure the skills that don’t increase stats still work at Frontline. I checked Strong Blow in battle, and I had one brief cooking match (10 eggs each) with Rena (both at 8, her Luc higher, his rate was better) to check the success rate for non-combat skills purchased before Frontline. Remember, you can level him up before Frontline, and any Int increases will remain (not too useful, but hey). His level will revert to 35 at Frontline, and that means any levels gained can be regained. You can get Int boosts for let’s say levels 35-45 twice if you wish. His talents have reset as well. Any talents you unlocked in Mars or Lacour may not be there anymore. That means you can unlock talents more than once. This is bonus SP if you want it (100 per unlocked talent). He will max out all his skills eventually anyway, but this can be useful early on. YEV: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nI23T30YoMw&fmt=18 ---StaP: Well, it must be this much, otherwise it's not worth it.--- Let me give you an example of StaP (Status Points) manipulation. One time in Mars, I saved when I was nearly to the next level (36). I loaded at least 8-12 times and regained the level to test how random stat increases would be. I also noted some SP randomness when leveling. The left column of numbers below represents my level 35 Dias’s stats. Those numbers include stat gains from skills because I didn’t foresee the problem that would occur at Frontline. The middle column is the level-up stat set-up I ended up picking. I saved stat sets in a few different slots, so I could reload any that stood out. The right column is the difference between the 35th level and 36th level stats. Str 275 281 +6 Con 82 85 +3 Dex 120 124 +4 Agl 25 25 +0 Int 24 25 +1 Luc 96 96 +0 Stm 82 82 +0 Guts 65 66 +1 StaP: 15 As you can see my Str (+6), Con (+3), Dex (+4), Int (+1), and Guts (+1) increased this level. I gained 15 StaP. My first level-up only had 13 StaP, so this is better. Still, there is more to consider. I didn’t choose a 17 StaP level-up even though it had 2 more Int and 1 more Stm than my level-up. I preferred the +1 Str of my 15 StaP level-up over the +2 Int and +1 Stm from the 17 StaP level-up. --Rumors It is a widespread belief that Dias has bad stats. In reality, he is capable of gaining 18 StaP per level: higher than other character in the game. As you'll soon know, if you don't already, most people screw up Dias because they don't realize the insanity of his Frontline transformation. In a way, it's their fault he has bad stats. Rumors-- If you want an easier way of manipulating StaP, I have one. You can just load a few times to see if you can get more StaP than your first level-up. If you do, then you can take that level-up. Personally, I suggest looking at where the bonus StaP is coming from (Int, Str..?). Skill point gains ranged from 30 to 38 SP for this level-up (35th-36th level), but I was far more concerned with StaP since you will eventually max every skill with Dias. On the other hand, you can’t max all stats, so you must try to gain as much as possible. I conveniently ended up with 37 SP. StaP ranged from 9-17 (8-18 possible). If you don’t load, you can easily end up with 9. Getting 8 less StaP (than max) for levels 36 to 255 can be bad news. 10 less, even worse. For your support characters, SP is more important than StaP. You want their non-combat skills as high as possible when they reach their limit of level 35 (gain 10 Comprehension). After that you can only read books or unlock talents in order to gain additional SP. Feel free to give them a different skill distribution than each other. This could be useful with Familiar (call different birds), Musical Talent (various creatures summoned from The Evil Melody), etc. ---The Killer Moves: Air Slash!--- Air Slash (ASlash): I suggest always leaving this on one KM slot. If you run faster (pump up Gale) than your opponent(s), this move often grants you victory regardless of the difference in strength between you and the enemy. It is really fast, has a great range, and is very cheap on MP. ASlash can hit more than once and more than one creature. You can easily see this throughout the game. Fight some jumping bunnies outside of Linga, or just fight a lot against many creatures. I’ve killed two creatures at once, hit a jumping bunny three times, etc. ASlash has a short-range version (it does less damage). It can strike multiple enemies around you, multi-hit sometimes and so forth. Versatility is nice, but be careful. When you are fighting power-houses, keep your range long. One way to avoid going short range is to target an enemy behind the closest enemy, then attack. This move is great for defeating certain enemies quickly regardless of how far they are from you (use manual targeting). Maybe the lone mage needs to die first, the time-stopping hourglass is too much, the quick-footed one is the most dangerous, etc. Chaos Sword (CSword): This is a really fast move, it can hit flying creatures, it is cheap, and it gets 2 hits as you build it up. If 1 hit kills, then the other hit goes through to the next monster. If 1 hit knocks a creature back (Strong Blow) then the other hits follows straight to the creature to strike it again. Very nice. Cross Wave (CrossW): This cost 2x the MP cost of ASlash, it is slow, if the creature is retreating then this move often fails to connect, and if it knocks back a creature with the first strike then the second strike misses. You can build it up, but the fundamental problems do not change. Still, if this works for you or against certain enemies, feel free to use it. It does sometimes hit enemies in front and behind. I don’t really bother with it unless I just want to get the proficiency (prof) up on all KMs. Crescent Wave (CWave): This cost 2x the MP cost of CSword, it is slow, it opens you to quick attacks, it has range of basically 0, it misses too much on creatures falling in (surround attack) and flyers, etc. The upgrade doesn’t do much to help it. Again, maybe I’ve missed something, and this is the best move. It can hit in front and behind. Feel free to try it out. Personally, I’m not interested. Gale Stab (GStab): This move cost 2x the MP cost of CSword, and it does a lot of damage. It is also slow, only moves in one direction, etc. I wouldn’t use this one in serious situations unless the ability to do increased damage can win the day. Crescent Moon Flash (CMFlash): This cost 3x the MP cost of ASlash, requires a certain distance to work (possible running around), but it doesn’t take as much time to reset as GStab. Even though both require a certain distance, GStab closes the gap then has to move back again. CMFlash stays at the same distance while attacking. Hawk Scream Blast (HSBlast): This cost 4x the MP cost of ASlash, it isn’t too slow, it can hit multiple enemies, it has a varying range (short-mid), it can multi-hit a little, and its short version can build up to the point that it will send the move after a retreating or similar moving enemy. Full Moon Slash (FMSlash): This move cost about 6x the MP cost of ASlash, and it is really slow at first; but once it targets somebody they cannot evade the attack (by running, going invisible, etc.), it increases speed dramatically after being built up, it can kill enemies that are near the circular sword motion and the distance requirement seems less important after it is built up. This move is expensive, but I like it somewhat well. Once during Eluria Tower, I noticed this move sometimes had an odd effect on the Shielder-type enemies. It would cause them to shrink, turn upside down, then get sucked into the moon. We're talking instant kill, here. For a long time, I thought it could only happen to those types of enemies; however, recently, while working on my other guide, the same thing happened to Sandworms, leading me to believe this move has some chance of instantly destroying targets. I'm not certain of the restrictions, at this time, other than I've only seen it occur on two types of enemies thus far. Illusion (Ill): This cost about 4x MP of CSword, it hits up to four times, it is quicker than most multi-hit moves of other characters (useful for Dias’s dancing-in-and-out fighting style); but this KM has problems with Strong Blow (unless you turn off Strong Blow), and it has some difficulty with jumping/retreating/whatever enemies. Firebird Shockwave (FSWave): This move cost 6x the MP cost of CSword, it hits multiple times (sometimes), it requires a certain distance between you and the enemy, it misses moving enemies too much (I think), and it does fire damage. I don’t like this move. It is very expensive, it isn’t very fast, it has only one acceptable distance, and the fire damage often is bad/worthless against certain enemies (think fire immunity). Final Words in the KM Section Equipment affects the pros and cons of KMs. Whenever you use Bunny Shoes or similar items, a lot of the moves that had unbearable reset times (getting back to a position of attack) can now be used with little issue. In fact, the reset necessity may become useful as it keeps consistent distance between you and the enemy. Other equipment changes up KMs as well. As in, CSword normally costs 5 MP while Ill costs 21 MP (1:4 ratio). If you equip a Fairy Ring, CSword cost 2 while Ill cost 10. Ill is now 5 times more expensive than CSword. I could continue to list items (Link Combo, anyone?), but what I’m pointing out is equipment can alter the effectiveness of KMs. Keep an eye out; things like this happen. -------------------- First Form -------------------- ---The Slave/Support Team: Piece of Junk--- Before I jump into this journey, let me explain something. I want to only use Dias as I create this guide, but I can’t get him permanently until he is level 35. Because of this annoyance, I have devised a strange compromise. I will allow four people on my team besides Dias. I will allow them to aid me with their skills, but I will never use them in any battle when Dias can fight it alone. Exception: I will allow them to fight in order to gain up to 35th level. No more. Why 35th? Because I am unable use Dias from level 1 as the main character. The game forces me to wait until he is level 35, so I don’t think my team of four 35th level people is illogical or “unfair” on this Universe game. ---Dias in 1:30: That’s all?--- Here's how I got through the first section of the game. I broke this segment into pieces in hopes of making it simpler to follow. 1) I restarted my game several times in order to get the Dexterity talent for Rena (I wanted Mischief). I also avoided getting Sense of Taste (keep this in mind). I grabbed some items from Arlia then saved near Shingo forest. If you are serious about this guide, I suggest doing the same. This is a good save to come back to in case you make mistakes. 2) I changed my targeting to manual (for maximum precision), then recruited Claude. I had to load a few times here in order to get his number of talents down from 4 to 2. This will make sense later, if it doesn't already. 3) I flew through the storyline and escaped from all battles in Salva Drift (and only picked up a couple of items). Because I made the level 35 rule, I wanted to save my levels for a later time. 4) I killed Alen by setting Rena to physically attack while I controlled Claude and hit X repeatedly. Alen blocked many times (Universe setting...), but we overwhelmed him with attacks. Neither of us took damage, and we each gained two levels (Rena to 3, Claude to 4). After Alen recovered, I accepted the Ring of Happiness from him. 50 luc can help in item creation. YEV: 5) I ran to Cross Castle and went through the storyline until I reached Celine. I kept loading, wanting to make her start with fewer than four talents. It seemed fruitless, so I moved on. 6) I set us to Escape Shift and put everyone on manual control, thinking it would make escaping easier. We found the Ancient Writings but avoided the chest with the flying bat creatures since it was nonessential. I let Celine join my party as the third slave/support person for Dias. Why? She starts at level 8, is easy to recruit, and she starts with some somewhat expensive skills (Esthetic Sense, for example). 7) I looted Herlie (specifically Zand's mansion), then bought 20 eggs. Four eggs and one minute later, Rena had unlocked Sense of Taste (bonus 100 SP). I maxed out her Perseverance (80 SP), and put Playfulness at 7 (11 SP), which gave me enough money to afford the Bandit Gloves (BG). 8) I put pick-pocketing up to 5 (10 SP) and ran to Clik. I looted the city then did the PA with Filia. I stole Mischief from her, then pick-pocketed various others. After that, I ran to Mars, ready for the "Dias and Children" part. Time=1:30 (Why I call this section "Dias in 1:30"). I had remained well under level 35 with my slave/support team: Rena 3, Claude 4, Celine 8. YEV: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a7Pe8Fcy2Hg&fmt=18 ---Preparation: He’s getting something.--- 1) I pick-pocketed the old man for the Treasure Chest (TC), pick-pocketed various others, then took Celine’s Silk Robe from her room. I switched the characters down one slot to secure the 1st position for Dias. I saved it, considering this a great pre-Dias base save. From here, I could easily load if I wanted to get fewer talents for him or needed to change something later. 2) Dias often gets four talents here, but I loaded until I got three. Originally I gained Sense of Taste to get some extra SP, but When I found out about the Frontline problems, I wasn’t willing to put a skill point in Kitchen Knife since I would necessarily lose that potential 20 Str. Try learning Sense of Design instead. Instead, I maxed Per (80 SP), Play (35), and I put the rest in skills that did not increase my stats or MP/HP. I moved Rena off my team and switched Air Slash to R1 (right-handed). 3) I used the TC until I got the Marvel Sword (MSword). I got it on the 2nd try. Other times it took me a very, very long time. I did this on multiple occasions because I went back to old loads sometimes when I noticed problems (Frontline for example). You might get lots of Force Swords, Lotus Eaters, Atomic Punches, Sorceress Knuckles and more before getting the MSword. You can settle for the Ignite Sword, but I didn’t. Random tip: Alphabetize your items. I have died because something was in the wrong place. Maybe I’m just a greenhorn. ---Heraldry Forest: Cecille…---- 1) I equipped my MSword, set my formation to Astral Shift, took all the items in the forest (since I’d be around a while anyway), talked to Cecille, and I saved it. Then I increased the prof of the starting four moves to about 150-200. I decided not to up the prof of Gale Stab (GStab) since I’d lose it at Frontline (I thought). I equipped a Ruby. Those little witches annoyed me to death with their Firebolt attacks, but I felt better when they only did seven damage. :) As far as level gaining went, I tried to max the Int gains since that is the only stat increase that would remain once I reached Frontline. I ended up gaining 21 Int StaP from 35th to 43rd level (just for kicks). This area took me a while, so I just enjoyed playing around with KMs, gaining items and money from Mischief, etc. After I finished leveling and such, I unequipped Dias. Addendum: You can leave the forest anytime you wish, even after encountering Cecille. You can sleep at the inn, buy, and sell; however, you cannot leave the village. 2) I encountered the Heraldry Forest boss. Without equipment, this can be less than fun. Line them up, and use “Magic” Rocks (MRo) if you have them. If that doesn’t finish them, then you can blast them with ASlash. You are faster than them, so you will win. Addendum: There are two chances after the boss battle to unequip Dias. Keep your gear on when battling. YEV: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X9zh8qDHt8I&fmt=18 -------------------- Second Form -------------------- ---The Big Run: Whew!--- 1) Here I changed my formation to Linear Motion because I learned the Escape Shift should not be used in most cases. It groups you together, which allows some creatures to kill more than one party member at a time. Hilton: I bought 20 of many items, bought all the skills, and I upgraded my support team’s equipment (easier to survive attacks while escaping). I resisted the temptation to buy cheap Seltzer. Linga: I came here and saw Precis. I bought items to help unlock talents (Pet Food, MKit, etc.), bought all the skills, then I was ready for the Precis PA. 2) Precis started with three talents. I figured that was ok. Precis: I unlocked Dexterity (Machinery), Sense of Design (Machinery), and Pitch (playing songs). Rena: I unlocked Sense of Rhythm and Pitch (playing songs). Claude: I unlocked Love of Animals (Familiar), Sense of Rhythm (playing songs), Pitch (playing songs), Dexterity and Originality (Metalwork). Celine: I unlocked Originality (Metalwork), Pitch and Sense of Rhythm (playing songs). Quick Talk on SP -- Always max Per first. For the support team, Play is nice (quick $), Familiar is useful (esp. for Come on Bunny), and I definitely tried to get Comprehension (Comp) level 10. Once that occurs (or at least level 7, 8 or 9 Comp) you know you are going to get nice SP most level-ups, so you don’t need to worry about reloading with the support team. You can read skill books to raise a skill up to 5. A person must have 5 in a skill in order to write a book about it for someone else. It isn’t a big deal if you don’t do it, but do it if you want free skills. Here are some of the ways I got around troubling situations: Rena had only 2 SP from long ago, so I gained Musical Talent (boom! 100 SP). She also gained Sense of Rhythm (another 100), then all was well SP-wise. Claude couldn’t get enough skills to unlock talents. Of course, I could waste SP by buying higher-priced skills (Per not maxed). Instead, I wrote a book with Rena (I think), and Claude read it for Animal Training. Whistling only cost 1 SP, and he had 6 SP from near the beginning of the game. He used Familiar to gain Love of Animals (100 SP). :) -– End of Talk on SP After the talent unlocking, I bought all the skills in Lacour, registered for the tournament in Lacour with the bald man, and did the Lacour PA with the old woman who gives you a Rainbow Diamond (future Dream Bracelet). Let the tournament begin. ---Tournament: Claude!--- I gained Dias with Rena. When I fought those tavern guys, I used a FMedal on him, so he gained a little bonus Int and SP before Frontline. I mandraked Rena in the battle in order to not gain a level. I unlocked Dias’s Sense of Design, so I had even more SP to use before his third form reset his talents. Good thing Dias has no use for the Eternal Sphere because Claude got stomped in the tournament (he was level 4). I liked that Dias used GStab once in the tournament since he shouldn’t have that move at lvl 35… I used a FMedal on Dias before the tournament, but it apparently didn’t register. Darn. Addendum: I've tried switching Rena to the bottom of my team slots, setting Dias to manual control, mandraking Rena anytime she is alive and on Dias's team, and setting Dias as leader in the battle formation screen. It's no use. Even though it said "manual" by his name during some of the tournament fights, I could not control him. What did it do about Rena being dead after Dias left? It let me continue to play with her dead on my team, and she wasn't even in one of the first four team slots. If you find a way to control Dias in the tournament, let me know. I have this image of being able to do it and can't decide whether it was reality or a nerdly dream. YEV: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XW1GkDsJh8E&fmt=18 -------------------- Third Form -------------------- ---Onward: They seem tough.--- After the tournament I turned Comprehension on, put Practice on everyone, set Precis to manual, and I went to Linga to prepare for the Sanctuary quest. I set us to Run from Enemies. It probably wasn’t very useful without Sixth Sense (SiSe). 1) I ran in the Sanctuary to get the Clarisage. I encountered bunnies, carrots ("Mandrakes"), slimes, and pig-dogs (perhaps “Hell-hounds”). I escaped from battles. Sometimes I used an MRo, a Peep-peep bomb or something similar to annoy the enemy while I ran for it. If you run through here like I did, be careful of the lady and wolves combo. They are extremely aggressive. Example: I used Head Splitter one time to kill the female mage, she used Black Saber, I fell out of the sky, and then the wolves destroyed me before I touched the ground. Running is just as “effective” at low levels. Some creatures can’t hit some of your characters when your characters are running away. Celine was the second one down from the top, and in some of the battles so was a bunny. The bunny repeatedly attacked her but never connected. Nice. I gave the Clarisage to Bowman, went through the storyline, hopped to Lacour, boated to the Hoffman Ruins, and noticed Leon at level 30 equalled all my other character levels combined (Re 3, Cl 4, Ce 8 and Pr 15). 2) I ran through the ruins, cutting corners and takest the shortest routes possible. I figure the fewer the steps you take and the more the screens change, the less chance you have of getting in battle. Anyway, the little squatty knife-wielding monsters couldn't hit Celine or Claude (while escaping), so I survived the run in. I saved before the boss. I bought some Mind Bombs (MBomb), RBottles and such from a Stork familiar (lvl 6 familiar). I put Precis first on the team and switched to Assault Shift (putting her closest to the left side of the battlefield). I equipped her with two crystals to resist lightning damage. I switched Claude to Attack with all MP, set Rena to physically attack. I figured would buy a little time by annoying the goatheads (Harfainx). The Fight Ok, I opened by making Celine do Thunderbolt (use Ray if you have it) to one of the goatheads (distraction). I switched her to Attack with all MP after that. I took Precis, used a MBomb and then I ran to the wooden pillars. Somehow you need to use four MBombs before the Harfainx can defeat you. Also, you must get Precis to the exact left of the lower wooden pillar. Once you do, the goat brothers can’t attack you since they only attack horizontally. So, if you survived (feel free to use berries or whatever), used four MBombs, and are standing at the left of the pillar I mentioned, pat yourself on the back. That is the end of the first and most dangerous part. Start the second and final part by using Killer Poisons (KPoisons) until both Harfainx are poisoned. This is essential. The goatheads are going to start taking over 2,000 damage every time a poison period comes around. I think they take damage quickly because they are “hyped” up or something. Look how fast they bounce around. I used an Extension Card (ECard) here for the heck of it. At the end of the battle, Precis gained nineteen levels! That put her at level 34, which is close to her maximum. She had over 400 SP, so that was useful. Levels were Re 3, Cl 4, Ce 8 and Pr 34. All KMs had 0 prof and only one power had any proficiency (TBolt at 1). You need MBombs, KPoisons, and an interest in challenge to win the battle this way. If you can do it, you've defeated the Harfainx at the lowest possible level on the hardest possible setting (Universe). Correction: You could come at a lower level if you let Rena or Claude die during the Alen-Tax battle. Give it a shot. YEV: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LRTDwdmu6_s&fmt=18 3) I ran out of the ruins (easier with Precis at level 34), unequipped Leon, yawned through storyline and saved outside of Frontline. ---Frontline and Beyond: Looks like I can use my maximum force.--- Finally I could recruit Dias, then all the changes the game put him through would stop. I could control him to the fullest. First thing I noticed was that I couldn’t change his talents just by loading. Every time I loaded he had the same four talents when I gained him. I even loaded again from right after fighting the goatheads, and when I got to the Frontline, he had the same four talents. His new talents must have been set somewhere earlier (right before his tournament matches perhaps?). I rememeber once when I got to Frontline he only had 2 talents, so he doesn’t always have those four; nevertheless, his number of talents didn't worry me. He was going to gain SP for levels 35-44 even though he gained it previously. He didn’t have Sense of Design here at Frontline,so I could unlock that again for another 100 SP. ---My experiments with StaP: It took longer than I thought.--- 1) I saved it here with Dias at 7:04. You can get to Frontline faster if you don't play around in Mars getting bonus Int, bonus SP, etc. I gave him better equipment (including MSword); I switched my team to Dias only; I put on Astral Shift; and I unequipped all others except for the accessories Mischief, RoH and BG. I bought tons of items... I unlocked Sense of Design (Art), Sense of Taste (Cooking) and Pitch (playing music). By the way, it took me hundreds of CBatons to gain Pitch. Get used to it. One time in Mars, I gained Sense of Taste my first try, but on another load, I ran out 19 food items first. I suggest you put your SP mainly in Metalwork and Copying. I got Metalwork up to 8, and I was able to make a Dream Bracelet (DBracelet). I got Copying up to 7. Other than these two you can put SP in any skill besides Piety. I would save that skill for a long time from now. I did some Identify-All trickery with MKits in Linga. As in, I bought low and sold high to gain extra Fol. Then I ran around until I gained an FMedal from Mischief. 2) I was able to reproduce a FMedal at level 7 in Copying; however, I tried to quickly build up Copying, as Reproduction (Repro) isn’t easy without Orchestra. I set FMedal near the top of my item list to save time. I did the DBracelet trick, so I could gain two levels at once. I figured I could handle two levels when it came to comparing StaP gains. For a while I wrote down SP and StaP every level. This turned out to be time-consuming. I stopped writing down Luc and Agl (because they never go up by level), SP (because StaP is more important), and both Int and Stm. I don’t care about Int and Stm because Int is for power-users (plus I had bonus Int already) and because Stm is only useful after battles (for regaining HP and MP). For a long time I didn't realize Con would be important for me. I had hoped to focus on Agl (evasion), not realizing it wouldn't go up in level. I wasted a lot of time before I thought, "He'll need something to help him handle incoming attacks." So, I began writing down Str, Con, Dex and Guts as my main stats. With my new concern about Con in mind, I decided my best StaP for gain each level (every two really because of DBracelet) would be… Str 12 (6 For ) Con 6 (3 One ) Dex 8 (4 Level ) Guts 2 (1 Gains ) I never waited until 12/6/8/2 occurred. Instead I used that as a reference point. For example, I wouldn’t take 7/5/7/1, but I might take 11/4/7/1. You can do it however you wish, but keep in mind each point lost can be a big deal. After two hundred levels (two at a time) of taking 11/4/7/1 instead of 12/6/8/2, the loss is 100 (Str)/200 (Con)/100 (Dex)/100 (Guts) StaP! 3) I decided to attempt StaP manipulation again, this time with Con in mind and with 23 StaP as my requirement. For example, 12/4/5/2=23 StaP. I did get a few 24s, 25s and one or two 26s while leveling. I compared this attempt with my previous attempt at StaP manipulation (for levels 35-71). It turns out I might have done better when I knew less about StaP. Surprise! I expected since I knew the roof stats I would be able to do better. During my first test, I didn't even know each level had the same max potential (6/3/4/1), so I judged a each level gain relative to the next one. I would save notable ones then load whatever I considered best. Apparently, my average exceeded 23 StaP... 4) I decided to try again from 35 to 71 with a less controlling method. I only saved if I gained 2 Guts every time. I didn’t care about the other stats. This Dias obviously turned out to be the gutsy one, but he lost in the other three stats. Should I keep the extra 9 Guts and give up 40 Str, 5 Con and 2 Dex. I had a rough time deciding because so many items (Atlas Ring, Berserk Ring, etc.) dramatically increase damage output, but few help Guts as much. 5) I decided to try one last time to defeat my original gains from levels 35-71. It continued to perplex me how my uninformed attempt defeated my informed attempts. During this period, I decided to try something different. I equipped a Dream Bracelet, used a FMedal, gained an acceptable level, unequipped it and gained another acceptable level. It seemed logical that one perfect StaP gain at a time is more likely to occur than two perfect StaP gains at a time. The perfect StaP for two levels is 12/6/8/2, while the perfect StaP for exactly half (6/3/4/1). Also, this time through I decided to have my one level StaP requirement be 12. At a two-level look, that is 24. I hoped this stringest requirement would soundly defeat my first StaP experiment. It took more time but turned out well. I saw some perfect scores while I never recorded any when gaining two levels at a time. I thought a perfect couldn’t happen, then I remembered a perfect I had long ago when I was first testing StaP (see the StaP section for confirmation). I ended up keeping the 4th attempt over the others. Below is the score comparison (Str, Con, Dex, Guts). 1. 2. 3. 4. 734 721 694 737 167 172 163 183 341 350 339 342 107 102 116 105 ---To 100 and Further: It’s absurd.--- 1) I started here at 71 then continued on to 100 using the same method: FMedals+DBracelet+StaP manipulation. I noticed people on my team didn’t have enough skills to get my Super Specialties to 10. I gained some levels with them until it was Re 15, Cl 21, Ce 25 and Pr 34. Their SP went toward increasing my Super Specialties to 10, gaining a good variety of Familiar and a good variety of Musical Talent. 2) I gained some levels with Dias while I looted places I had run through with the support team. I also tested KMs in order to make the KM section of this guide. I gained the support team up to 35th level, so I could keep them out of my mind from then on. I learned too late that it is best to put a DBracelet on before using Effort, once FMedals no longer work (level 100+). I gained SiSe with Dias by switching around settings whenever I had to reload after gaining an unacceptable level. It happened enough that twice (different save files) I gained SiSe my first time I changed it to Look for Enemies after loading. To combat boredom, I bought everything and pickpocketed everyone I ended up saving it in Frontline with Dias at level 107. He had 9,999 HP and 666 MP. His non-combat skills were maxed out (except Piety). His equipment was MSword, Barrier Armor, Mithril Shield, Plate Helm, Silver Greaves, Blue Talisman (Blue T) and Berserk Ring. 17:27/536 Battles I decided to compare this level 107 Dias with a level 151 Dias I had from a game aimed at completing the voice collection. The stat comparisons are below. I believe they are without equipment, and the only problematic difference should be that the level 151 Dias has level 10 Piety (though I didn’t manipulate the stat increases back then). 107 151 Str 934 1034 Con 276 321 Dex 471 635 Agility 114 116 Intelligence 270 328 Luck 96 96 Stamina 109 143 Guts 132 139 3) I fought Shin at Frontline. I did 0 damage even though I was level 107. ----- That surprised me, and I think my friend must have been lying or mistaken when he said he once defeated Dias in the tournament by leveling Claude to 50 or 60; however, another friend told me he used a Game Shark in order to beat Dias. Both friends agreed (at separate times) that a Game Over occurs if Claude wins, so it is pointless to try and defeat Dias at Lacour. Understand? No defeating Dias. I'm guessing the same applies to Shin, until Eluria. ----- I used MRos to keep Shin off of me for the required time. When I had to fight the little bats on the ship, I let the support team die/mandraked them. I won with Dias, and none of the others gained a level. I then fought Shin and let myself die without much of a fuss. I landed on Eluria and switched the team to Dias only. I entered the tower, obtained all the items (especially Trickster), gained some levels, crushed Shin, then headed to the top. Berle is easily kept off with MRos, or you can just dodge his attacks. Surely by this time you have learned how to time dodges against many types of creatures (wolves, Salamanders, Berles…). Right?! YEV: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RsnI6qRBRBE&fmt=18 YEV:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jPfHOVv-XkU&fmt=18 YEV: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8PB2UNYX9fI&fmt=18 -2nd CD- I used Orchestra to create and sell Pleiad swords (big money), then I used it to unlock some talents. Dias: All but Blessing of Mana Celine: All but Love of Animals Rena: All but Sixth Sense Precis: All but Blessing of Mana Claude: All but Blessing of Mana and Sixth Sense I went to North City and killed the Synard in three ASlashes. You might be able to make it less if you switch out the Blue Ts for a Berserk and Atlas Ring. I did have a Crimson Diablos (CrimsonD), so that helped. Keep in mind the similarity in body type between the Synard and the Dragon Tyrant. I’ll talk on this later. When I went to the Red Crystal Cave, I switched from the Assault Shift (on since Hoffman Ruins...) to the Astral Shift. It made a difference here because the big crystal in the middle of the field can cause targeting issues. I kept Noel mandraked on the ground, and I didn't bother getting Chisato's ID. After acquiring the Synard, I bought the Magical Rasp, won Duel Battle A, stole Bunny Shoes, etc. Here's some data, in case you are wondering how well you are doing at following/adhering to this guide. CrimsonD Relfective Armor Star Guard Odin's Helm Bunny Shoes The time was 22:03, I was level 113, and I had been in 627 battles. I felt ready for the four fields. YEV: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4zLNGlWygK4&fmt=18 YEV: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WNpcsxqS7QY&fmt=18 ---The Fields Four and a Little More: Waste of time.--- 1) Four Fields Field of Power: I fought some, used some ECards and leveled up to 123. This place is great because it is warrior v. warriors. There is no power-using, time-stopping, etc. I gained some nice items while the avalanche carried me down (Mischief?). That was strange. Field of Courage: Ill reached 999. I gained up to level 135 my second time through this field (used some ECards). You’ll see soon enough why I had to go through twice. I maxed out all skills except Piety here. Field of Love: I hate this place. The mages can stone you (if they are capable of damaging you), which destroys your whole party (Dias). Also, the battle terrain is difficult to navigate. You’ll see what I mean if you fight any here. I suggest escaping every battle. I did that my second time through. I accidentally fell into a rather large trap here. I ended up gaining four levels from a fight with the Gelatin Blocks. I saved it in a safe place, so I could see if I had happened to average 12 StaP per level. I went somewhere while I left the game on for a few minutes. I came back and fought, forgot what I was doing and saved over my good save, so I saved four levels of 9-10 average StaP. I sought to correct this problem by requiring 13 StaP to be my minimum gain for many levels. A little later I decided it would be easier to go back a few hours. Lover took Dias hostage in order to threaten me. It was ridiculous since Dias is the only character who fought Lover, I took 21 damage at the most from any one move. I ended up leaving this place at level 135. Field of Intelligence: I beat this place and ended up at level 135 still. I took little damage during the boss fight. I had escaped all other battles since this field is too similar to the Field of Love. Field of Courage: Yes, I’m back. I forgot to defeat the guardian after level-gaining. He was a wimp, and I moved on. I was level 137 at the end of this field. CSword went to 999 prof. 1st v. 2nd Field Adventure When I loaded after accidentally getting stuck with four pathetic StaP levels, things changed. I had to regain all the levels previous to my mistake, which meant my stats would be different due to randomness. After 10 levels, the difference ended up as seen below. The left-column includes my stats from right before the Gelatin Block problem, and the right column is the time through when I sought to correct the problem. 1st 2nd Str 1092 1091 Con 340 345 Dex 574 574 Guts 152 153 I had the same requirement (minimum 12 StaP), yet my second time through I ended up with five more StaP. I must have gained some extra 13s (perhaps 14s). 2) Barker I blew through a bunch of storyline, escaped all battles in the Mihne Cavern and jumped Barker. This can be tough. Though you can level your way past him, I had grown too lazy. In addition, I forgot to equip my two best moves, and I had two Blue Ts on (limiting my damage and doing nothing to withstand Lost Patience). To sum it up, the fight sucked. I had to use a few Fresh Syrups. when you get to Barker, switch to damage-boosting accessories and powerful KMs. Don't worry about the speed of your maneuvers. He doesn't move. ---Nine Wise: I will not die like this.--- 1) Marsilio I built up CMFlash while fighting him. I never healed. Shigeo I mostly used MRos and CMFlash. No healing necessary. I gained a level on this guy which brought me to 138. Fortunately, the level was worth 12 StaP, so I didn’t reload. Berle He seemed a bit tougher than the other two, probably due to Meta Guard, but I didn't heal. I stuck with CMFlash and used MRos, Tri-balls, etc. Later I found out Dias hadn't had a helm on since the Barker, when I had compared a Duel Helm and Odin's Helm. After defeating Berle, I did the Marianna PA in Fun City. When I first played the game, I remember hoping she would join my party. And until this year, I thought she died when fighting Marsilio. Fortunately, I was wrong, and she had some items for me. *tear* Ruprecht, Jibril and Nicolus I tested this fight and noticed I might have a rough time soloing it. Especially since I hadn't leveled much after leaving the Field of Courage. I decided to level up in order to drag out the fight. I wanted to learn more about this fight: the personalities and battle techniques involved. 2) On Training So many times, it happens too fast, you trade your passion for glory… Oh, sorry. On to the game! Field of Courage I took off my Blue Ts to see if increased attack power could speed up my training. Here's a word: humility. The 0s from before turned into bigger numbers, and I could turn to stone, get poisioned, etc. I had become a fighting slob, who depended more on defense than skill. I turned to smarter fighting tactics, switched on Look for and equipped damage-boosting accessories. Though my damage per hit never exceeded 9,999; excessive attack power has its uses. The stars (Star Guard, Eternal Sphere and so forth) do a fraction of your normal attack power (not damage). So, if your attack power is supremely high, you can even have your stars doing max damage at times. This isn’t too useful for Dias since he isn’t able to spray stars from his weapons, but his Star Guard (or Valiant Guard) can do some heavy spray-damage if he is ultra-strong. I stayed in the Field of Courage until level 151. It was enough to build up CMFlash and HSBlast (not a high-school party) to 999 prof. I decided to compare the new 151 Dias to the old 151 Dias. The left column is the old 151 Dias (played before I made this guide), the middle is the new 151 Dias (without 10 Piety), and the right column is the new 151 Dias with 10 Piety. I didn't manipulate the 10 Piety because I wanted to keep it even with the old 151 Dias (random Piety gains). Old (Piety) New New (Piety) Str 1034 1177 1248 Con 321 386 386 Dex 635 633 670 Agl 116 114 117 Int 328 362 372 Luc 96 96 100 Stm 143 126 126 Guts 139 162 170 The Old column is defeated by the New column in 75% of the stats that I care about. Once I gained 10 Piety for the new 151 Dias in order to even the playing field, the Old was defeated in all of the stats I care about (Str, Con, Dex, Guts). In fact, the Old only won in Stamina. It would take the Old at least 35 perfect Str levels (6 per lvl) to catch up to my Str, 21 perfect Con levels (3 per lvl) to catch up to my Con, 8 perfect Dex levels (4 per lvl) to catch up with my Dex and 31 perfect Guts levels (1 per level) to catch up with my Guts. After this test, I reloaded. No way was I going to assign Piety before level 255. Field of Power I came here in hopes of battling pure fighters: those unable to inflict you with a multitude of status ailments. Unfortunately, I realized Ghasts could paralyze you. I lost my taste for battle, annoyed that every field had creatures who could petrify or paralyze you. I noticed during this field that MP gains per level are somewhat random. I think I remember recording gains from 4-6 for Dias. It isn’t a big deal since MP will max out at 999, but it is interesting. I didn’t find any MP-ties to Int or other stats. End Training 3) Ruprecht, Jibril and Nicolus I didn’t want to level up in the fields anymore, content with fighting Phoenixs and green salamanders for big xp (extension cards). I decided to attack these three wisemen. Watch out for being petrified and paralyzed by this group. Use MRos and whatever else you need. I died once because I had forgotten to alphabetize (couldn't find my MRos!), so be careful. During my winning battle, I killed Jibril first. He liked to eat me and use a wave. I killed Ruprecht next. I killed Nicolus last (he did 0 damage with his red move, his spells weren’t bad on me, etc.) My equipment was: My KMs were: Crimson D ASlash Duel Suit CSword Star Guard Duel Helm Bunny Shoes Blue T Blue T I ran to the next save point and gained up to level 155. About this time, I remembered to turn Practice off. I had fought six wisemen with it on... Vesper and Decus I used Ill, ASlash and MRos mainly against these guys. I think I used one half-dead bomb to distract Decus. My armor change was Reflective Armour, Pallas Athena and Odin’s Helm. I wanted to be prepared against powers. These guys aren’t shabby at all, but you can beat them. After this, I spent a lot of time building up GStab against computer chips. I used it over 200 times, then leveled and gained an unacceptable amount of StaP. Ouch! Cyril He sucked. Just make sure to equip stuff that is nice v. powers (he likes wind). I suggest taking off Blue Ts since they are unnecessary. Instead beef up your attack, and remember those delicious MRos and bombs. At the time, I couldn't think of a way to avoid gaining a level when fighting this guy, so I kept fighting him until I gained an acceptable level. CSword really works here. It's so fast, he rarely got a move off. When he did, it was because I had exhausted my hand energy. That's no surprise when you realize I had to fight him 11 times to gain an acceptable level. 11th time a charm? I ran and saved right before Indalecio. ---The Cave of Trials: This is a strategic escape.--- I ran many times in order to avoid gaining too much experience at the wrong times. 1) I ran all the way out of the tower. I did the Filia PA in Central City. I used Fun City to transport to Expel. I pickpocketed the little kid in Arlia for Santa’s Boots. I used them some at inns in order to gain items. I gained at best a Mental Ring, Bunny Shoes, etc. I never gained any super stuff like a HolySword Farwell (HSFarwell) or a Seraphic Garb. I went to the Cave of Trials (CoT). It seemed a bit rough on the 1st floor because of the shield guys, the mages, the owls that stone you, etc. The experience wasn’t that fun to gain. I went to Eluria Tower and gained up to level 165 there. I built FMSlash up to 999. Quick Talk on Building up Moves -- One of the best ways to build up moves is to put on no sword or a bad sword (Dull Sword), put on two Rings of Sadness and fight snowmen near Giveaway. They are tough, worth little experience, but you can get nice money and/or metals in that area. Personally, I did it the dumb/hard way by gaining levels and building up moves in random places at the same time. It kept me sane to keep moving around and such rather than staying in one place forever. Still, it also made me insane to lose some of my move prof because of my lack of system. Go back to the GStab event and assume that type of thing happened more than once. -- End of Talk on Building up Moves 1st Floor: After Eluria Tower, I went to beat Dark Feather. I didn’t beat her the first time I fought her, but that was ok. Certainly it can be done. I used the following equipment: KMs: CrimsonD ASlash Duel Suit CSword Star Guard Odin’s Helm Bunny Shoes Blue T Berserk Ring My tactics mainly consisted of using ASlash. I sometimes used a mid-range CSword that stunned her in order to follow up with one close-range CSword. I might have used some MRos, but it isn’t necessary. I think I almost gained a level. 2nd Floor: I solved the puzzle. Turn Milene south, turn Luke north, turn Feria east, turn Yufie south, turn Lloyd east, turn Sharon west and turn Cistina south. More detailed solutions are all over the Net. I used the same equipment from before to fight the boss on this floor. The creatures are slow, so just beat them. ASlash will suffice. 3rd Floor: Here are my directions for completing the level: go right until you can't anymore, go down, go left until you can't anymore, go up until you can't anymore, go right until you can't anymore, go down, go left, go left, go down...bingo. I fought the time-stoppers (not from the movie). They are rather easy if you know a little trick. Whenever they do Dreampeace, press triangle. Make sure there is no repeating sound. If there is, exit and press triangle again. Wait until you see your character or your character’s shadow move. The movement signifies that Dreampeace has ended. The time you spend in your menu is time Dreampeace is running out. I kept the same equipment and KMs from the Dark Feather fight except that I now had a Seraphic Garb. 4th Floor: I played a song for that false god. I fought Miel 32 (boss 4). I was level 170 when I fought him. I suggest staying away from this guy. He is strong and fast. You can use MRos and ASlash to win. I came really close to leveling up when I defeated him. 5th floor: This is ridiculous. Here I ran into a major problem. Dias couldn’t use a Weird Slayer. I considering using Rena, but she had no moves like Bowman's Firebird Attack or Chisato’s Preparation. With those moves, I could use them then mandrake the move executor before the move actually hit the Weirdbeast. That would both win the battle and prevent the character from gaining past level 35. The problem was that Chisato starts at level 40 (not usable), and I didn’t have Bowman. Rena had to do a normal attack because powers won’t do the trick. Even if they did, she doesn’t have a Windblade type power; and no items that give powers (“The Judgment” for example) allow a Windblade-type power. I tried using bombs and such with her, but I didn’t notice any that would convey the Weird-slaying quality through to the creature. Rena also couldn’t equip a Star Guard, so I couldn’t mandrake her right as the stars began to spray. Call me stumped. I decided to look at my options just in case Dias had to win the day (which might have taken all day). I figured I could do hundreds of thousands of damage with items (20x Half-dead Bomb, 20x MRo, 20x Protection Bomb, etc.). Without items, Dias could do 2 damage per hit (probably due to the CrimsonD). The creature had about 1,600,000 HP; so even several hundred thousand damage from items wasn’t enough to be of much use. I went ahead and fought it with Dias and Rena. We gained about 165,000 experience. Rena gained seven levels, but I couldn’t afford any since she was level 35 already. I loaded my game. 2) A Contemplative Break I decided to level Dias up a bit while I thought about this 5th floor problem. I leveled up to 175. I decided to test the Dragon Tyrant issue after making 20 Skandas. Could I defeat him and gain a couple of acceptable levels? I noticed that once I dropped from floor 1 to floor 9, I could run from some creatures (slimes, archers, etc) without using a Skanda. It helped that I had equipped the Valiant Boots (found behind a fake wall), two Blue Ts and a Seraphic Garb. It is safer to Skanda every battle if you think 20 is enough to get you to the Dragon Tyrant. Honestly, it is even safer to fight the creatures down there rather than running from them. You are faster than them, you can equip items that will let you do max damage, you have ASlash, etc. The problem with fighting is that you will gain levels quickly. I didn’t want to gain unacceptable levels (StaP less than 12), so I fought as little as possible. Fighting very little, nitpicking every level and so forth must seem annoying. It is!! I played Romancing Saga with my wife during part of this game when I felt weary of slow leveling. The break helped refresh me. When I say I've escaped without using a Skanda, it does mean I escaped unaided. As you probably know, I often use items (Peep-peep bomb, Tri-Ball, etc.) Also, I tend to move to a better location before hitting escape. On floor 10, running from creatures was tougher. I could run from Mindflayers and slimes, but the small, pink, robots are mean! Do not screw with them unless you know what you are dealing with. Instead, quickly use a Skanda. The boss on floor 10 is a large robot (Guardian?). He can waste you, so use hit and run tactics. Equip powerful equipment (Berserk Ring, Feet Symbol) because Blue Ts don’t matter when you aren’t getting hit, plus the fight lasts much longer if you don’t do max damage (trust me!). Use ASlash to stay safe, but but you can use other KMs if you are feeling brave. This boss has 800,000 HP and is worth about 320,000 experience. I gained zero levels. I ran down to the Dragon Tyrant. He has the body type of a Synard, so ASlash tore him to pieces (not to steal from Claude). Also, like most creatures, he hates taking MRos in the face. The Dragon Tyrant has about 1,100,000 HP and is worth about 1,910,000 experience. I gained four levels from him. I went down to him three times to test what kind of StaP I would gain over four levels. My first time, I gained an average StaP of about 10.25 (3.75/2/4/.5) per level. The second time, I gained an average StaP of about 9.75 (4.25/1.75/3.75) per level. The third time, I gained an average StaP of about 10 (4.5/1.75/3.5/.25) per level. Darn. So yes, you can drop down early to level nine. You can fight the regular monsters for quick experience, you can grab the Valiant Boots/other nice items, and/or you can slay the Dragon Tyrant who will give you the last skill: Float. Tips You can drop down at a lower level than 175 and conquer the Dragon Tyrant with Dias. Equip Bunny shoes/Valiant Boots, use ASlash, use items to keep him off you and use an E-Card. He is worth a lot of levels. Another tip/trick can be done with the Dragon Tyrant if you have the Silver Trumpet. Have someone with level 8 Music skills play The Evil Melody. It will summon the Dragon Tyrant. He is the same strength as in the CoT and gives the same xp. You can summon him over and over. End of Tips After I fought the Dragon Tyrant three times, I decided to gain some levels with Dias. While doing that, I built CWave to 999. I also set Comprehension to “Do Nothing” since I didn’t need extra SP, plus I hear Comprehension weakens you slightly (perhaps by slowing you down). I gained up to level 179, then I decided to go to Fun City to check out my statistics for fun…in a city. Dias: Level 179 Time 39:34 Fights 1536 Chance of acquiring a TC 55% Item creation success ratio (46% (630/1369) Pickpocket success ratio 67% (132/195) Saves 716 Escapes 415 (about 27%) Monsters defeated 3936 Max # of combat skills used consecutively 62 After this point, I gained up to level 181 while building up CrossW to 999. Sometimes I fought on level two and three of the bonus dungeon to get close to my next level, then I would finish the level around Linga or Frontline. It allowed me to make sure not to gain 60,000 experience for a battle when I only needed 10,000 to gain a level. Also, I could build up moves while fighting multiple battles there. At level 182, I went back and did a fourth test. The enemies on ninth and tenth floor were easier to run from. Even Clubgunners couldn’t kill me when I had Valiant Boots, 2 Blue Ts and a Seraphic Garb. I equipped the Valiant Guard I got from the Guardian, and I equipped a Berserk Ring and a DBracelet. I only gained three levels because of the DBracelet (somehow I was greatly pleased and surprised)! The StaP was about 9.65 (4.33/1.33/3.33/.66). It was less than any of my four levels at a time, but I figured that was a rarity. All of a sudden, many ideas started entering my brain (some failed, some worked). I realized I could go on one dungeon run and gain two levels instead of one. The DBracelet would allow such a thing. With this new thought of being in dungeons half the time to gain the same amount of levels, I started making E-Cards. I stopped messing around with FSWave for the most part while I tried to quickly gain levels. I equipped a Berserk Ring with my DBracelet and went to fighting with CSword and ASlash. I accidentally gained an extra level in the dungeon, but it turned out to be acceptable. So, I went in once but came out with three levels because of the DBracelet. The End of Contemplation I put a DBracelet on everyone except Dias and fought the Weirdbeast. Rena, Celine and Precis gained three levels. I took Practice off everyone (because I noticed it on). All the girls gained two levels. There seemed to be no way to win like that. I thought, "It's too bad the DBracelet can't be my cure all. But what was this new marvelous yet horrendous discovery?! Indeed, Precis can use a Weird Slayer. You may have known this all along as you read my document. I did not. I thought only Bowman, Chisato and Rena could use it. It doesn't help that I rarely use Precis. I'd probably never had her on my team and owned a Weird Slayer at the same time. Ah well. Time for a new attempt. I used Rocket Punch with Precis, I mandraked her while it was on the way (you may have to try a few times), Rocket Punch hit the Weirdbeast, Precis was dead, and I had succeeded. She remained at 35th level (my limit), so all was well. At this point I thought about how nice it was to have the DBracelet. It allowed me to avoid gaining a level when fighting bosses. Here it struck me! I had fought Cyril 11 times. With the DBracelet equipped, I wouldn’t have gained a level. I could have just fought him once. I cried profusely, then used the Red Lotus Gem to proceed to level 6. 6th Floor: Behind? I wanted to be here, so I could obtain a Go-Home Frog. Then I could stop wasting as much time running back and forth. Interestingly enough, I didn't know the power of a Go-Home Frog until this year. Santa was not there. I used action (X button) on the “lowest, most right” thief (not humblest, most righteous thief). I went to the end of the level. The boss wasn’t too hard, though he technically back attacks you. I suggest killing the time-stopper first. 7th Floor: Everyone stay back. Escapes weren’t very difficult at this point for me. I was level 187 (DBracelet). Go up all the way then right all the way, you will get a jewel from a box, Metalwork it into the Red Lotus Gem, put it on the pedestal and you will be done. Just remember to make sure to read the sign. Why? It's one of those RPG things. The boss is terribly difficult (1,200,000 HP). I had on a Blue T and a DBracelet, so I did little damage. He occasionally blasted me (Lost Patience) for max damage (down to 1 HP) Talk about nerve-wracking. I suggest using a Berserk Ring and a Feet Symbol. It will go much better for you. Also, you migh want CSword or Ill as your second option instead of stupid-suck shockwave. I mean, FSWave. He only gives about 245,000 experience, so you don’t need a DBracelet. Also, a Blue T has no effect against Lost Patience. Woe was me. 8th Floor: Go straight up until you see a fat-faced wall thing. Feed it any worthless food you want until it says something strange then give it a Mandrake. The door to the next floor will open up. I went ahead and left through the portal on floor six. I wanted to save it before doing much else. 9th Floor: I dropped down, grabbed the Valiant Boots then went back up toward floor six to meet Santa. Running from enemies on ninth floor was much easier than when I was testing the Dragon Tyrant stuff. A fat Mithril Eater? (pink slug) was in my way on the way to floor six. I thought it sucked, so I used FSWave to build it up during the fight. Even with 1500+ defense, it ate me. The next time I used ASlash to win. I gained about 300,000 experience. It had around 900,000 HP; so you can beat it with about 90 hits at max damage (Berserk Ring, Feet Symbol). After that fight, I ran to get to Santa. While escaping from one battle, I died. How? Time-stoppers. I had not switched to two Blue Ts, and they kept doing Dream Peace. I couldn't use the menu trick while running away. Dead. The next time, I used CMFlash against the pink slug. It is fast (thanks to Valiant Boots helping the reset time), and it is a move that forces you to keep a certain distance. It does take more MP than ASlash, so I had to restore some MP during the battle. That annoyed me because it doesn’t appen often with ASlash. Regardless, I won. I ran to sixth floor to find Santa. He wasn’t there. I decided to fight some with my DBracelet on, so I would be close to two levels once I left through the portal. I dropped again, and I ran up to find Santa. He was not there, so I ended up leveling twice. I dropped again to find Santa. No freakin' luck, so I leveled twice. The next time I walked from 1-6. He was there, and I bought some items. To get cash, I bought/sold (Identify All trick) Sage's Stones. I ended up with 20 of every metal, two Tri-Emblems and two Santa Boots (including my one from earlier). I leveled twice before leaving. I was level 195 and my stats (without items) were: 1422 492 799 114 446 96 149 194 During these Santa runs, I might have unequipped Mischief and Trickster. I have a theory that the constant stop-and-go causes more random battles to occur. 3. Once outside, I realized I hadn't used Cinderella Glasses in my dealings with Santa. There went millions of Fol. I lived with it,dropped to the ninth floor then ran to the tenth. 10th Floor: Two travel options. 1: Best for items: Start at lowest leftmost square of grid, walk right until you reach the bottom right corner, then walk straight up to complete the grid path. 2: Safest way: Start at lowest leftmost square of grid, walk up one, walk right one, walk up two, walk right two. Running on this floor wasn’t too bad, though you may not want to run from the pink small robots (as I mentioned previously). I think two Blue Ts are the safest way to go when escaping. I grabbed some items when I was down here on this level then I fought the Guardian. I used two Tri-Emblems and ASlash mostly. I went ahead and used an E Card on him and gained a level because I forgot to equip a DBracelet. It turned out as 12 StaP anyway. After this battle I noticed something. Tri-Emblem only brought up my Guts by one point to 255. After a little testing (2 Tri-Emblems, Odin’s Helm, Piety, etc.), I found out 255 is the max for Guts. It is okay to wear an item that raises your Guts to 255, even if you have more levels to gain. For example, you might have 235 Guts. You put on a Tri-Emblem which brings your Guts to the 255 maximum. You can still gain Guts by leveling because once you take off the Tri-Emblem you might have 236 Guts. The artificial maximum of 255 (when caused by items) doesn’t stop you from gaining natural Guts. I hope that makes sense. 11th Floor: I dropped to floor 9, walked to 11 and fought the Dragon Tyrant. ASlash=win. I gained only two levels. After three tries, I gained acceptable StaP. I read the sign (or touched the door?) for entry to the 12th floor. I wanted to do that just in case the game wouldn’t allow me to go down to that floor without first reading the sign. I think my equipment v. the Dragon Tyrant was: DBracelet, Tri-Emblem, Duel Helm (since Odin’s Helm wasn’t so useful for Guts anymore), Valiant Guard (obtained from Guardian) and the usual other stuff. 12th Floor: Only two people could go. I figured that wouldn’t be a problem. The Phoenix lost. I used ASlash, DBracelet, Berserk Ring, etc. I didn't gain a level. I read the sign to the 13th floor and grabbed all the items on the 12th floor. I got FSWave to 999 while finishing off two levels. Here I Dias wasn’t wearing any of the items from the Magical Rasp, and I had only used one Go-Home Frog thus far. Some things hadn’t changed too much since the old days of playing, but the StaP manipulation was significantly different. 9th Floor: Uhh… The wizard in the coffin was really difficult for me. I ended up losing many times. On the side of trying, I would gain levels plus I got GStab to 999 (all KMs at 999). The level-gaining was more fun at this point since I didn’t have to watch terrible moves over and over. I was on level 225 before I ended up beating the guy. When I finally defeated him I was using: HSFarwell (Supposed to be good against the evil wizard) Seraphic Garb (eventually stops damage from Dream Shades) Valiant Guard (Better than Star Guard) Duel Helm (Odin’s Helm not of much use) Valiant Boots (Better than Bunny Shoes) DBracelet (Unfortunately necessary to not gain a level) Blue T (Helps against the Dream Shades early on) I definitely killed the Dream Shades first because they were the worst part of the battle. They would get in the way, and sometimes freeze time just long enough (a mere second before I could use the menu trick) for me to be blasted by the wizard. I ended up using CSword to crush them while an MRo kept the wizard busy. After that, I had to constantly distract and dodge the wizard. You don’t want him to get off spells or hit you…ever. I used MRos, Half-dead bombs and anything else available. I would often hold the square button while doing ASlash in order to make sure he wasn’t too close to me. If you press R1 only to notice that he is too close then quickly press circle to cancel your attack. That is a really useful part of manual targeting because sometimes you must run from him. Don’t attempt to wear down his MP through items because he has 999. Also, he will probably kill you with his normal attack anyway. He can dish out the status ailments. I believe I also tried pumping my defense up to around 2,000; but it didn’t do any good. He could still hurt me. I may have tried pumping my resistance up as much as possible during one or few of my losses, but I think it too was futile. This guy made me second guess my StaP manipulation. Depressing! Addendum: Use a Care Tablet, so you won't have to worry about status ailments. You'll still want to avoid being damaged, but it isn't quite as critical. 13th Floor: The phoenix was back, so I killed him on the way. I grabbed all the items on 13th floor, I pulled the two levers, and I tested running. You can run from enemies, but it isn’t easy. The safest way is to Skanda. I used a Go-Home Frog. At this point, I leveled to 255 (took some time), then I decided to test Piety. Having items equipped has no affect on Piety gains. My base stats at 255 were: Str: 1742 Con: 648 Dex: 1022 Agl: 114 Int: 558 Luc: 96 Stm: 184 Guts: 238 The first Piety level brought up the stat by the following: Str: +52 Con: +19 Dex: +30 Agl: +3 Int: +16 Luc: +2 Stm: +5 Guts: +7 The stats eventually go up more from each Piety level, but that will soon become clear. Dias's Str and Dex seemed high enough to me, so I didn't feel compelled to increase them, despite them getting great Piety increase. I wanted to care about Agl and Luc, but the Piety increase seemed too low at this point in the game. For example, my Luc went up +2 at the first Piety level, but I had at least one item that would raise it by 50. Stm doesn't aid in battle, Int is useless to a fighter, and I several items that would max out my Guts. I decided to go with Con because Dias's Con left something to be desired. I loaded and saved until I had every Piety gain on Con. The progression was as follows. 648-667-687-707-728-749-771-794-817-841-866 866=final Con. I gained over 200 from 10 levels in Piety. I figured that was plenty. ---The Big Four: Don't think you can go back alive!--- I went on a two-year SO2 hiatus, so I had to regain everything I had lost. I'm still working on it, but here are some major changes in the way I'm using Dias. Music I now play music before every fight with a questionable outcome. It really makes a difference. You have a lot of songs to choose from, so pick one that suits the occasion. For example, against casters, you might play The Judgment, allowing you to trade a damage-boosting accessory for a spell-resistant one. Agility I switched Dias's StaP manipulation to Str, Dex and Guts. Instead of Con, I used Piety to boost Agi. Also, my gear selection will mostly revolve around increasing Avd. It's what I wanted from the start of this guide, and I expect it will be quite effective since Dias's starting Agl is high (10 more than claude's, 15 more than Ashton's, 15 more than Bowman's, etc.) If you choose to boost Agi with Piety, you can do it earlier than level 255, but you want to make sure you have bought all Agi-boosting skills. when you have, Dias's Agi should be at 114. Here is the Agi progression using Piety: from rank 0 to rank 10 114-117-120-123-126-129-132-135-139-143-147 His Agi increaes by 33 or ~29%. It doesn't seem like a lot, but for a skill that doesn't increase by leveling, it's something. It gives more Avd than Marvel Sword, Reflective Armor, Neo Greaves, Tri-emplem and Gold combined. More importantly, it doesn't requirement any equipment. The Agi is yours forever! 1) The Hell Servant --------- Thanks --------- *Thanks to the Star Ocean fanatics on the GameFAQs site. Your posts on the board have enlightened me, your friendship has inspired me, and your FAQs have provided me with information since last century! *Thanks to my wife for letting me play like a madman! *Thanks to Tri-ace, Links and Enix for creating Star Ocean: The Second Story. May you live forever.