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Strategy Guide by sjr_st

Version: 1.12 | Updated: 09/06/2005
Highest Rated Guide

La Pucelle: Advanced Techniques & Analysis Guide
Version 1.12 (created 06/13/05, updated 09/06/05, US date convention)
by Matthew A. Peeler
sjr_st@hotmail.com

This document is copyrighted 2005 by Matthew A. Peeler, and is intended for 
entertainment and/or educational purposes only. This document should not be 
reprinted, in whole or in part, without the express consent of the author.

The author has authorized this guide to be posted on the website:

http://www.gamefaqs.com 

+++++++++++++++++
Table Of Contents
+++++++++++++++++

[0.1] Version Update
[0.2] Introduction/Purpose
[0.3] General Notices About The Guide
[0.4] Vocabulary
[1.0] What do you mean by "Advanced Strategies"?
[1.1] Tiers in La Pucelle
[1.2] What happens in the second tier?
[1.3] Can I use these strategies in the first tier?
[2.0] Prerequisites (What do I do first?)
[2.1] Characters and Monsters
[2.2] Types of Approach
[2.3] Heavy Hitter
[2.4] Attackers and Decoys
[2.5] Balanced Party
[2.6] Pros and Cons of Each Approach
[3.0] Increasing Stats
[3.1] Gaining Character Levels
[3.2] Leveling Items
[3.3] The Interaction Effect (the key to getting high stats)
[3.4] Gaining Stat Levels
[3.5] Braveheart/Magic Up
[3.6] Which Stats Are Important?
[4.0] Experience Gaining
[4.1] Experience Formulas and Categories
[4.2] Fratricide (Killing Your Own Characters)
[4.3] Goddess's Blessing
[4.4] Places in the Game to Gain Experience
[5.0] Item Combining
[5.1] What Is Added When You Combine Items?
[5.2] Choosing Base Items
[5.3] Is This Item Worth Combining?
[5.4] Best Store Items For Combining
[5.5] Item Experience and Leveling
[5.6] Guide to Efficient Item Leveling
[5.7] Stats on Monsters for Item Combination
[6.0] Prerequisites for the Dark World
[6.1] Surviving and Profiting in the Dark World
[6.2] Threats in the Dark World
[6.3] Purification of Dark World Monsters
[6.4] How Fast Do I Increase the DEI?
[7.0] Other Things of Note
[7.1] The Rosenqueen Store and Surveys
[7.2] Abusing the RNG in La Pucelle
[7.3] Other Observations
[7.4] Caps
[7.5] Acknowledgements

Searching by topic can be done by using Ctrl-F (Find) on the section number 
enclosed in brackets by each section.

++++++++++++++++++++
[0.1] Version Update
++++++++++++++++++++

Version 1.00 (06/13/05): Initial version

Version 1.01 (06/18/05): A lot of small corrections. Clarification and renaming 
of the abuse of the pseudo-random number generator. Added info about Baal and 
The God's Ordeal, now that I have beaten him. Fixed Spd description and 
switched Hit and Spd in order list. Added an extra experience category. My MV+4 
was a quirk in the game, so it has been removed. Aspects do not seem to affect 
item leveling at low levels, so this has been removed until I can prove 
something more concretely. Added some caps and observations about when you are 
ready for certain parts of the game.
(Pulled before submission in favor of Version 1.10)

Version 1.10 (06/20/05): After some time investigating, I've got a basic (well, 
sort of basic) rundown of how items gain experience and levels. Made a new 
section (5.5) for this. It seems to work well, only showing an error of +1 
occasionally under controlled circumstances. Haven't calculated an R^2 for it 
yet, but I bet it in the high 0.90s. Reworked element aspects in line with 
this.

Version 1.11 (07/07/05): Fixed cap information after some posts and 
investigation. R^2 for item expansion is in high 0.90s, so that section looks 
good. Added some theories on new Baals in European/re-release Japanese 
versions, but since I'm unable to play it in America, will have to remain only 
theories for now. Explained number/date conventions for international audience. 
Also added basic info for likely monsters for item combination (Section 5.7). 
Changed some minor things for clarity. Added XP formula and Bestiary info.

Version 1.12 (09/06/05): Delay in update due to another project (nearing 
completion). Added item element and multiplier combination effects. Item 
interaction starts implementing on every 2/5 level basis after levels 500/1000, 
so changed formulas to reflect this. Confirmed that some item abilities stack, 
changed item section to reflect this as well. Experience formula for monsters 
is based on rank of monster category, not Demon status. I have further info on 
this and some purification data, but am waiting on permission to reprint. 
Anubis and Reinbach III have done some work on Dark World difficulty and 
stronger monster surveys, which has been added.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++
[0.2] Introduction/Purpose
++++++++++++++++++++++++++

This guide is an analysis and list of suggested advanced strategies for the 
strategy RPG La Pucelle. Rather than having a complete walkthrough of the game 
from beginning to end, this guide gives tips and details relating to the ending 
portion of the game, for those players who wish to defeat the strongest enemies 
in the game, make the best items, achieve the highest levels, and so on.

To produce this guide, I performed some basic analysis on the game's 
statistical formulas. Once the mechanics of the game are known (level 
advancement, item advancement, item combination, and so on), I could draw 
conclusions on the best methods to achieve the desired results. The results of 
these formulas are also provided for the interested. Other useful information 
related to common questions about the game is also provided.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
[0.3] General Notices About The Guide
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Note 1:
I have provided several formulas in this guide, which have been developed using 
statistical techniques conforming to generally held standards. Statistics is, 
however, an imperfect science. These formulas are NOT guaranteed to be exactly 
correct in every circumstance, but on the whole to be close. There seems to be 
some amount of randomness in the game that changes results slightly for some 
formulas.

Note 2:
Since I use a lot of statistics to get the results here, there are a lot of 
formulas and mathematical and statistical terms. I realize this may be 
intimidating to some readers. To remedy this, I have provided a vocabulary of 
terms and try to keep math-speak to a minimum when stating conclusions.

Note 3:
For those readers who want to know the formulas and the rationale behind the 
strategies, I have also provided them. I have in a few cases simplified the 
formulas so as to make them accessible to anyone who is familiar with basic 
algebra and the use of formulas (some of the formulas are too complex to be 
easily calculated).

Note 4:
All analysis was done on the North American release. Foreign releases may be 
different, but usually localization does not significantly alter the game 
design. Also, this document uses standard US conventions on numbering (1 
thousand million=1 billion, dates listed month/day/year).

++++++++++++++++
[0.4] Vocabulary
++++++++++++++++

Game Terms:

Stat: A character, monster, or item statistic. There are a total of 10 (HP, SP, 
Atk, Int, Def, Spd, Hit, Res, MV and Jmp).

Main Stat: The major 8 statistics (HP, SP, Atk, Int, Def, Spd, Hit, and Res) 
that can be raised/lowered by items and stat levels. MV and Jmp generally only 
increase with specific items or skills, and cannot be improved by item 
combination.

Base Stat: For a character or monster, their stats without any items equipped. 
For an item, its stats at level 0.

Element/Elemental Aspect: The elemental icons are the colored graphics on 
characters, items, and monsters that carry elemental effects. There are a total 
of 7 (Blue=Cold, Red=Fire, Green=Wind, Lt. Blue/Cyan=Healing, Yellow=Lightning, 
Purple/Magenta=Aid (Status), and White=Holy). Dark Portals and their streams 
are also colored red, blue, green, or the various combinations above according 
to their elemental properties. They can be combined to form the other four 
elements.

Stat Increaser (Stat Increase Multiplier/Raises): The colored box icons below 
the stats on an item that indicate how much it helps a character gain stat 
levels. These exist for the main stats.

Stat Level: When a character kills monsters, stat experience is given to each 
of the main stats based upon the items equipped. These turn into stat levels, 
which can be seen at the far right of the status screen. Stat levels increase a 
character's statistics and may allow additional skills.

Aspect: For an item, an aspect is a nonzero stat, an element, a stat increase 
multiplier, or a special ability. The total number of aspects in an item is an 
important factor in item combination. The maximum number of aspects an item can 
have is 25 (9 stats counting MV, 4 elements, 8 stat inc., 4 abilities), but for 
our purposes we only use 24 (MV does not transfer for item combination).

TNL Experience: The amount of experience required for a character to reach the 
next level (TNL=To Next Level).

Off-color/On-color: When purifying a Dark Portal, elements that match the 
portal (red, green, or blue) are called on-color. If the portal has a stream, 
elements that match the color of the stream are considered on-color for that 
stream, or portion of the stream that it matches if the stream changes color. 
All other elements are called off-color.

Mathematical Terms:

Operational Symbols: + : Addition 
                     - : Subtraction
                     * : Multiplication
                     / : Division
                     ^ : Exponents
                     % : Percent

Numerical shortcuts: K : (kilo-) Thousand
                     M : (mega-) Million
                     G : (giga-) Billion (US) (1 thousand million)

Coefficient: A numerical value that is multiplied by a variable in a formula.

Constant: A numerical value added to a formula.

Linear: A formula that contains a variable not raised to an exponent, 
multiplied by a coefficient, then added to a constant. For example, the 
experience formula below is linear.
        Experience = 381.25 * level – 253
In this formula, the coefficient is 381.25 and the constant is – 253.
(A good portion of the formulas in La Pucelle are linear, or close enough to be 
estimated by linear formulas.)

Linear Regression: A common statistical technique that tries to find a linear 
formula to estimate data.

R^2: The square (second power) of the Pearson correlation coefficient (denoted 
R), used as a measure of how accurate a regression formula estimate is. It can 
only have values between 0 and 1, with 0 being completely useless (about as 
good as guessing randomly) and 1 being perfect. The closer R^2 is to 1, the 
better the formula is. (There are other measures for the reliability of a 
regression, but for our purposes, R^2 works well.)

Strata/Tiers: A category or time period where a particular formula works. If a 
variable works using one formula for a while, then moves to another, each time 
it changes formula, a new stratum or tier is created. One of the subtleties of 
La Pucelle is that it is a tiered game, in that, it works with one set of 
formulas for a while, then changes to another set.

Arithmetic progression: A variable sequence that increases by adding the same 
amount each time. The following sequence is arithmetic (+3 each time):
         5, 8, 11, 14, 17, 20, . . .

Geometric progression: A variable sequence that increases by multiplying by the 
same amount each time. The following sequence is geometric (*2 each time):
         5, 10, 20, 40, 80, 160, . . .

Interaction effect: The amount that the effect that two variables have that is 
larger than both of the variable's individual effects. For example, if one 
variable adds 3 and the second variable adds 4, but both together add 9, the 
interaction effect is +2 (the difference of 9 and 7 (3+4)). At later levels, 
the interaction effect of items levels and character levels on the stats of a 
character can be quite great. 

Differences (First, Second, etc.): A sequential difference is the result of 
subtracting a number in the sequence from the previous number. For example, for 
the following sequence, the sequential differences are listed:
        Sequence:   20,   25,    35,     50,     70,     95, . . .
        Diff. (1 st):   +5    +10    +15     +20     +25
The sequential difference is also called the first, or first order difference.
If we subtract each first difference from the previous difference, we get the 
second difference. In the above example, the second difference is +5 for all 
values. Similarly, we can get the third difference by subtracting the second 
differences, and so on.
In La Pucelle, an example of a first difference is the experience required to 
reach the next level (TNL experience), since it is the difference between the 
minimum amount of experience between two levels (the sequence, in this case). 
An analysis of the second difference helps us determine a formula for 
determining a character's level.

Median (M): The middle value in a set of values, used as a measure of the 
center of a data distribution. It is also known as the 50 th percentile value, 
in that exactly 50% of the values in a data distribution fall below the median, 
and 50% above, so it is exactly halfway between the values in the data set.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
[1.0] What do you mean by "Advanced Strategies"?
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

I developed this guide to help with the advanced portion of the game, that is, 
the part of the game dealing with the Dark World, getting demon titles, 
fighting Baal, and so on, that exist past the regular walkthrough of the game. 
For a walkthrough of the chapters of the game, see the people listed in the 
Acknowledgements section, who have done excellent work in this regard.

I further called this an Advanced Strategies guide because I primarily focus on 
the second (or advanced) tier of the game.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++
[1.1] Tiers in La Pucelle
+++++++++++++++++++++++++

One of the most important things to realize in La Pucelle is that it is a 
tiered game. Basically, the computations done in La Pucelle use certain 
formulas for one part of the game, then change them for another part of the 
game. This divides the game into two tiers, or strata.

The first tier is designed for characters going through the main walkthrough of 
the game, all the way to the end. This can be accomplished with characters 
around level 50-60, but the game uses it until your characters are level 99.

The second tier is designed for characters of high enough level to tackle 
monsters in the Dark World, get demon titles, fight Baal, and so on. The game 
changes to this tier at level 100.

The game changes the calculation of some key formulas (experience, stats, level 
progression) based on the tier it is in.

You can actually "see" the game change tiers. Watch the amount it takes for 
your character to level up. For level 99, it should be around 200-300K, 
depending on the character. For level 100, it will suddenly almost triple to 
about 500-700K. Then, for level 101, sanity will return and it will drop back 
to the previous 200-300K (actually a little less than before). This is due to 
the change in formula.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
[1.2] What happens in the second tier?
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

During the first tier of the game, the primary focus of defeating your 
opponents can be easily accomplished by out-leveling them. In other words, 
levels are extremely important in combat, and if you are of sufficient level, 
combat is no problem. Most tough bosses (the Monster in Chapter 4, the Giant 
Thing in Chapter 8) that prove difficult for a party of one level can be 
defeated easily by the same party with a few more levels, or a few more 
abilities.

However, when facing monsters in the Dark World (level 100+) or Baal (level 
2000+), getting a bunch of levels above them is extremely time-consuming, and 
also unnecessary. The game adds a few new things in the second tier to even the 
odds.

First, item expansion and item levels becomes much more important. Get ready to 
combine items like crazy.

Second, the game introduces a character/item level interaction effect that 
increases stats dramatically.

Third, experience classes for monsters become more pronounced, allowing for 
much more power leveling.

This guide is designed to explain all of these effects, and how you can use 
that knowledge to your advantage.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
[1.3] Can I use these strategies in the first tier?
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

These strategies can be used in the first tier of the game, with some 
modifications. I'll note these as we go along. I think that a lot of power 
leveling early is just so much wasted time, since the effects become so much 
more pronounced after level 100, however, I realize some players may disagree. 
I have not done much analysis into the first tier of the game, but I can 
include some basic hypotheses about how to proceed within that tier.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
[2.0] Prerequisites (What do I do first?)
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

I generally assume that you have played the game up to Chapter 12, getting the 
Angel's Shoes and Goddess Ring in the appropriate chapters, and turning back 
before you start to lose characters. This means that you will have 11 main 
characters (Prier, Culotte, Alouette, Éclair (light or dark), Homard, 
Papillion, Yattanya, Chocolat*2, Father Salade, and Monya-Monya (if you bought 
him)). Check the walkthroughs for details on how to do this (in particular, the 
Angel's Shoes are very useful). Those starting earlier may have to do some 
substitution (Croix can substitute for Homard fairly well, but otherwise you'll 
have to use monsters).

You should also be of sufficient level to have learned all of your main 
character's attacks, and it is also useful to have all spells as well (all the 
healing spells and Braveheart/Magic Up are the most important).

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
[2.1] Characters and Monsters
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Now, it's time to pick a party.

In general, it is easier to manage a party of 8 characters used almost 
exclusively in every stage, rather than juggling more than 8, since you can 
only use 8 in a stage. So, we'll select 8 characters.

A lot of players like to use monsters, especially early in the game when you 
don't have 8 main characters, however, the main characters have skills monsters 
can never get, plus special attacks that can't be gained or duplicated by 
monsters, also, monster purification is abysmally low, so we'll stick to the 
main characters.

I suggest as the main party: Prier, Culotte, Alouette, Homard, Yattanya, 
Éclair, Father Salade, and Papillion. The Chocolats are just too weak to start 
and although Monya-Monya is a great spellcaster, both Culotte and Alouette can 
purify, and Papillion has more attacks and MV.

Respectively, the characters strengths/weaknesses are as follows:

Prier: Strengths: High Atk, HP, multiple close and long-range special attacks,
                  Purifier, MV 9 (with MV+3)
       Weaknesses: Low Res, slow expansion on attacks
Culotte: Strengths: High Int, SP, Res, long-range specials,
                    Purifier, quick level expansion on attacks
         Weaknesses: Low Def, MV 8 (with MV+3), some Int based attacks,
                     costly attacks (Kitty Kitty = 90 SP per square affected)
Alouette: Strengths: High Int, SP, close and long-range specials,
                     Purifier, quick level expansion on attacks
          Weaknesses: Low Def, MV 8 (+3), some Int based attacks
Éclair: Strengths: High Atk, HP, Int, SP, close and long-range specials,
                   Purifier, good at physical and magical attacks, MV 10 (+3)
        Weaknesses: Low Res, 20% XP penalty (takes 20% more to level up),
                    costly attacks (Light & Dark = 100 SP)
Homard: Strengths: High Atk, HP, close and long range attacks, MV 9 (+3)
        Weaknesses: Non-purifier, 20% XP penalty, slow expansion on attacks
Yattanya: Strengths: High Atk, HP, close and long-range specials
        Weaknesses: Non-purifier, MV 8 (+3), Low Def,
                    costly attacks (Meteor Paw = 45 SP per square affected)
Father Salade: Strengths: Very high Atk, HP, high in all stats but Res, 
                          MV 10 (+3), Purifier 
               Weaknesses: Low Res, costly attacks (Holy Truth = 63 SP),
                           40% XP penalty, very slow expansion on attacks,
                           no long range specials
Papillion: Strengths: High Int, SP, Spd, Hit, Res, close and long-range
                      specials, MV 11 (+3), quick expansion on attacks
           Weaknesses: Low HP, Atk, Def, Non-purifier

+++++++++++++++++++++++
[2.2] Types of Approach
+++++++++++++++++++++++

So, how should you go about attacking the Dark World? There are three basic 
approaches, which I have labeled
=Heavy Hitter
=Attackers and Decoys
=Balanced Party

++++++++++++++++++
[2.3] Heavy Hitter
++++++++++++++++++

Also known as BMOC (Big Man/Mother On Campus), this involves using one high 
level character and seven lower level characters. The "heavy hitter" does all 
the attacking, while the other seven can be used as decoys, casting 
Braveheart/Magic Up, healing/purifying, and/or running for the exit.

The best "heavy hitters" are Prier, Homard, or Éclair (in that order). All 
possess high damage Atk-based special attacks, at least one long range attack 
(for monsters on different platforms), and above 8 MV (with MV +3). Using Prier 
or Éclair removes a purifier from your decoys (you should almost never use the 
hitter to purify), but both Homard and Éclair have the 20% XP penalty.

You will need one high level character and 4 powerful items (not including the 
Angel's Shoes). The seven decoys need little (some Int boosting items perhaps, 
and the Angel's Shoes if they are running for the exit).

For each level of the Dark World, deploy decoys to divert attacks from the 
"heavy hitter" and purify monsters, while the "heavy hitter" kills what they 
can. If there are too many threats (see Threats in the Dark World), decoy 
attacks with the lower level characters and run for the exit.

This method quickly levels the attacker, but does nothing for the decoys, and 
can have a high failure rate (If your attacker dies in the Dark World, it's run 
for the exit every level, or be wiped out).

++++++++++++++++++++++++++
[2.4] Attackers and Decoys
++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Rather than using just one attacker, this strategy uses 2 or 3 attackers (high 
level) and 5 or 6 decoys (low level). The idea is the same as that of Heavy 
Hitter, but with more attackers, the party can attack more monsters. Decoys 
tend to use Braveheart/Magic Up more often, and there is less running for the 
exit, since the party can more easily handle multiple threats.

I would suggest 3 attackers (Prier, Homard, and Father Salade) and 5 decoys. 
The reason is that Braveheart/Magic Up can only increase a character's Atk/Int 
stat to 100% more than its original value, and each casting increases 20%, so 
over 5 Braveheart/Magic Up casters would be useless. Éclair can serve as a last 
resort attacker if necessary, and Papillion for a quick run to the exit if 
needed. All the others cast, heal, purify, and serve as decoys.

You will need 3 high level characters and 12 powerful items (16 if you want 
Éclair in an emergency). Again, the decoys need little and remember to use the 
Angel's Shoes for a run to the exit.

This method does not gain levels quite as fast as Heavy Hitter, but is faster 
than Balanced Party. Again, attackers gain levels quickly, decoys almost never. 
With multiple attackers, the danger is less, as you can afford to lose an 
attacker (or maybe two), but if all attackers are killed, your only choice is 
to run.

++++++++++++++++++++
[2.5] Balanced Party
++++++++++++++++++++

This strategy seeks to have all of the party at roughly the same level, so 
everyone can attack. This allows most levels of the Dark World to be swept 
(kill all accessible monsters), and accumulates a lot of items and XP, but 
requires a great deal of patience. (It's also a lot of fun to see Papillion Fan 
Chop a Demon Lord for thousands of points of damage). Any of the purifiers can 
purify instead of attack, so this method generally acquires more items than the 
others.

Since all characters can attack, you will need at least 32 powerful items and 
probably a few more for swapping out.

This method offers the most safety and, potentially, the strongest party, since 
you can continue to attack monsters even with one character left. Level 
progression, however, is extremely slow (you must advance all 8 characters, 
rather than 1 to 3).

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
[2.6] Pros and Cons of Each Approach
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Previous guides have advocated either Heavy Hitter or Attackers and Decoys 
approaches, and these have their advantages, the main one being the speed at 
which the attackers advance levels, and the limited number of items required. 
I, however, use (and advocate) the Balanced Party approach. It's slower, but 
has a much higher chance of party survivability, and allows for acquiring many 
more items. Much of the information in this guide was developed to try to speed 
up level advancement using Balanced Party.

If you use one of the other strategies, don't despair. The guide's advice still 
works for them, as well.

++++++++++++++++++++++
[3.0] Increasing Stats
++++++++++++++++++++++

To survive the challenges required in the second tier, stats become all 
important, so the best strategy is to increase your characters' stats to as 
high as possible. There are 5 ways to increase stats.

Gain Character Levels
Equip/Level Up Items
By the Interaction Effect
Gain Stat Levels
Use Aid Magic (usually Braveheart/Magic Up)

Here's how each of them work.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
[3.1] Gaining Character Levels
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

You gain levels by earning experience (obviously). Experience is only gained 
when the monster dies, and only by characters participating in the battle that 
kills the monster. You earn NO experience by killing monsters in dark energy 
streams, in miracle attacks, or if killed by damage-over-time (such as Poison). 
Experience is split evenly between all characters participating in the battle.

Characters gain levels at different rates. Éclair and Homard have a 20% 
experience penalty, meaning they require 20% more experience to gain a level. 
Father Salade's penalty is 40%. All others gain at the same rate.

So, for example, if Prier needed 300K for a level, so would Culotte, Alouette, 
Papillion, and Yattanya. Éclair and Homard need 360K (300K * 1.2) and Father 
Salade 420K (300K * 1.4).

To get a picture of how much experience is needed for a given level, we must 
examine not only TNL experience, but also the difference in TNL experience per 
level (second difference). It appears that the second difference (amount TNL 
goes up per level) bounces around quite a bit before stabilizing somewhere 
around level 200. Once your characters enter the second tier, it actually drops 
for a short period, then proceeds upward to (I think) stabilize around 1525 per 
level (+/- 5 to 10 points).

What this means is that, for each level you earn (past around level 200), the 
TNL experience goes up by about 1525.

To illustrate this, I'll use some actual data from my party.

To advance Prier from:
Level 325 to 326 takes 495010 experience points
Level 326 to 327 takes 496535 experience points (2 nd difference=1525)
Level 327 to 328 takes 498055 experience points (2 nd difference=1520)
Level 328 to 329 takes 499580 experience points (2 nd difference=1525)
Level 329 to 330 takes 501105 experience points (2 nd difference=1525), etc.

Again, these same numbers occur for Culotte, Alouette, Papillion, and Yattanya. 
The others can be calculated by multiplying.

(Father Salade: From level 329 to 330 takes (501105 * 1.4) = 701547 XP).

As we will see later, this number 1525 will occur again in our formulas (it's 4 
exp. levels).

This would mean that you will need about 1525*(current level) experience points 
to gain the next level (TNL = 1525*level). This formula is a little low at the 
beginning of the second tier, but gets better around level 200+. 

Extending this further, we can get a rough formula for how many experience 
points are needed for a given level. This formula would be:

Experience = (level) * (level+1) * (1525 / 2) – (around 0.7M-1.1M)

The constant here is actually lower at level 101 (about 0.7M) and starts 
increasing slowly to around 1.1M as levels get higher (say, around 300+). 
Again, let me state that this is a rough estimate, so it won't be exact, but it 
will be close (say, within a few hundred K), and gets more accurate the higher 
level you are.

As an example, to get to level 350 would require:

(350) * (351) * (1525/2) – 1.1M = 92,573,125 XP (around 92.6M)

The actual amount (observed through playing) is 92,570,240 XP.

Earning a level gives a small boost (somewhere around 3 to 7% for early levels, 
less later) to each base stat. Its main advantage is in the interaction effect 
that occurs after level 100.

++++++++++++++++++++
[3.2] Leveling Items
++++++++++++++++++++

Gaining item levels increases the stats on the item by multiplying the base 
stats of the item (at level 0) by a tiered percentage as follows:

Level 1:     adds 10%
Level 2-19:  adds 5%   (at level 19 = 200% or 2* base stats)
Level 20-99: adds 2.5% (at level 59 = 300% or 3*, level 99 = 400% or 4*)

Level 99 seems to be the max, so the most an item can increase is 4* base.

For example, an Atk 200 sword at level 0 becomes:
Level 1 :   Atk 220 (+20)=10% of 200
Level 2 :   Atk 230 (+10)=5% of 200
Level 3 :   Atk 240 (+10)=5% of 200
.
Level 18:   Atk 390
Level 19:   Atk 400 (+10)=5% of 200  (2*base stat)
Level 20:   Atk 405 (+5)=2.5% of 200
Level 21:   Atk 410 (+5)=2.5% of 200
.
Level 59:   Atk 600                  (3*base stat)
.
Level 99:   Atk 800 (max)            (4*base stat)

This increase is the same for all stats except MV (which does not increase).

After quite a bit of investigation, I've got some basic conclusions about item 
experience and advancement. Originally, I thought it was geometric, but it 
turned out to be arithmetic, with geometric factors. There are several factors 
involved in item experience, too many to come up with a straight formula, and a 
few cross-interactions that I do not have the equipment to properly test at 
this time. However, the basic details are given in Section 5.5: Item Experience 
and Leveling, and hold up extremely well under controlled circumstances.

Stats on items only apply so long as the item is equipped, and also contribute 
to the interaction effect after level 100.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
[3.3] The Interaction Effect (the key to getting high stats)
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The interaction effect only occurs after level 100 (in the second tier), and is 
THE way for you to get high stats. Here's how it works.

After level 100 (up through level 500), each level you gain adds 1% to every 
item stat that character has on. It's not shown in the item window, so you can 
only observe it by calculation. After level 500, it gives 1% every 2 levels, 
and after level 1000, every 5 levels.

So if a character is level 101, and has an Atk 200 sword on, the true boost to 
the attack stat is 202 (200, +1% of 200 for the extra level above 100).

To see it, take off all a character's items and record the base stats. Put on 
any item, and compare the item description to the amount of change from the 
base stats (subtract the new stats from the base).

Using our example on a character (level 101):

Base Atk: 1945
Sword:     200
New Atk:  2147

2147-1945=202 (200 * 1.01)

And, there it is. Doesn't seem like much, does it? Trust me, it's the key to 
getting high stats.

To prove it, here's a more typical example, taken from my party right after the 
first title:

Prier, Level 291
Base Atk: 2553
Sword:     853 (level 0)
New Atk:  5035

5035-2553=2482 (853 * 2.91=2482.23, round down)

That's almost as much as the base stat, off of 1 item. Now, that sword I was 
using was level 0. Let's level it up using a typical multi-miracle to level 21 
(about what would be earned using a normal, non 3*experience miracle).

Prier, Level 291
Base Atk: 2553
Sword:    1748 (level 21=2.05 * 853=1748.65, round down)
New Atk:  7639

7639-2553=5086 (1748 * 2.91=5086.68, round down)

(Note: In these formulas, the game always rounds decimals down.)

Now, Prier has 3 times the Atk, and again, this uses just 1 item. If you have 4 
of these, the total Atk is 22897 ((4 items * 5086) + base 2553), and that's 
more than enough to take out a 500 level demon overlord. Without the 
interaction, the total is 9545 (4*1748+2553), meaning over 13K Atk was earned 
by the interaction effect.

The interaction effect happens automatically whenever items are equipped, and 
totals the same regardless of where the items are placed or how they are 
placed.

After level 500, the next increment (to 5.01*base stats) happens at level 502 
(not 501) and increases every 2 levels thereafter (so, at 502, 504, 506, and so 
on) up to level 1000, where it starts incrementing every 5 levels.

This means that to maximize our stats, we want to have high character levels 
AND high item levels, rather than focusing on one or the other solely.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++
[3.4] Gaining Stat Levels
+++++++++++++++++++++++++

To gain stat levels, kill monsters with items equipped that have stat 
increasers on them. Stat increasers are the square icons below the experience 
bar on the item status window. A total of all stat increasers is given on the 
status screen for a character.

A rough formula for stat experience is = (level of monster + 1) * stat 
increaser (R^2=around 0.96). So, killing a level 200 monster gives 201 
experience per stat for *1, 402 for *2, etc. The amount to raise a level varies 
by character and stat, but can easily get over 100K for levels above 50, and 
around 200K for 80+. They max out at 99.

Stat levels give small boosts to base stats (around 0.5-1% early, somewhat less 
later) and allow extra abilities (Criticals, Breaks, Super Dodge, Auto-hit, 
etc.). The amount of increase and the relative rarity of stat level gain 
(sometimes a character will earn 4-10 character levels before getting a stat 
level) means this will have little total effect on your character's stats in 
the second tier. So, after you gain most of the abilities, the stat increasers 
are not a matter of much concern.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++
[3.5] Braveheart/Magic Up
+++++++++++++++++++++++++

The Aid magic spells temporarily increase stats in combat. Of these, the most 
important two are Braveheart (increases Atk) and Magic Up (increases Int).

Each casting increases the stat by 20% of the stat with items equipped, up to a 
maximum of 100% bonus (2*stats, or 5 castings). Each round lowers it by around 
34%, so to keep the doubled stat, cast 5 times, then 2 times every round.

Most characters calculate damage by using Atk, so for these, use Braveheart. 
However, Culotte, Alouette, and Papillion have some attacks that use Int (see 
the Acknowledgements for guides listing this), so you want Magic Up for these.

If you use these, however, I would focus on Braveheart. Magic Up works on the 
same principle, but there are some other concerns:

First, every character has an Atk special, so Braveheart works for everybody.

Second, usually Atk items are easier to find than Int items, so naturally Atk 
will be higher than Int.

Third, boosting Int does not help physical attacks. You probably will be using 
specials to attack monsters, but you WILL be counterattacked, and then Int-
boosts will be useless.

Bravehearting is a very crucial technique to learn for a party with few 
attackers (Heavy Hitter and Attackers and Decoys). For a Balanced Party, 
though, it's almost useless. With 2*Atk (5 Bravehearts), a character generally 
inflicts 2*-5* the damage (I tested this a few times, killing the same monster 
with identical stats with and without Bravehearting. Damage calculation seems 
to be very random, thus the large range of values). In a Balanced Party, all 
characters have about the same Atk, so you get around 6* the damage using 6 
attacks rather than the 2*-5* you get from 1 attack boosted by 5 Bravehearts.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
[3.6] Which Stats Are Important?
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

In order of importance, the stats rate as follows:

Atk: Most important. This inflicts the damage for physical attacks and 
counterattacks, and most special attacks.

Def: Protection from physical attacks. It's almost impossible to kill all 
monsters on a stage in one round, so you will be attacked.

Res: Protection from magical attacks. Magical attacks are deadly in the Dark 
World, and every point here matters.

HP: To survive the damage from monster attacks.

Int: For spells and some specials for Culotte, Alouette, and Papillion.

SP: Special attacks cost SP, so you'll need this. However, I've hardly ever run 
out of SP in the Dark World.

Spd: Dictates the order of physical attacks, and possibility of evading a 
physical attack. It will not help against specials, however, and most monsters 
in the Dark World that are Threats will be much stronger than your Spd will 
allow you to evade. On the whole, not very useful.

Hit: Occasionally, you want to use physical attacks. You'll need Hit to make 
sure you connect, but otherwise worthless.

Obviously, MV is also very important, but it cannot be raised except by 
equipping Shoes or the special items for titles (Warp Engine, Robot Suit, 
etc.).

++++++++++++++++++++++++
[4.0] Experience Gaining
++++++++++++++++++++++++

So, how do we gain a lot of levels fast? There's a couple of methods to speed 
leveling up, detailed below. To compare them, however, we need to know how 
experience is gained.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
[4.1] Experience Formulas and Categories
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Experience is calculated based on the type and level of monster you kill. Boss 
monsters (in set stages or the large monsters in the Dark World) generally give 
more experience then normal monsters, and higher levels more than lower levels.

Many sources (including the published official guide) state that normal 
monsters give so much experience, and bosses give around 4* the amount of a 
normal monster.

This is a good rough estimate, but really doesn't give the whole picture. It's 
a little more complicated.

There are (so far as I can tell) 12 categories of monsters, and they give 
different experience amounts, based on a base formula multiplied by a 
coefficient. So, some monsters give the base amount, some give 1.2 times that 
(20% more), some 40%, and so on up to 5 times the amount (+400%).

The base amount is based on the amount you get from killing your own 
characters, and is given by the formula (381.25*level) – 253. This formula only 
holds for the second tier (monster level 100+), and gets more accurate the 
higher the monster level.
(The R^2 for this formula for my data is 0.9999999996, almost perfect).

To simplify this, figure about 380 XP for each monster level.

The categories of monsters that I have found are listed below, along with a few 
examples of monsters in that category. This is not a total list of every 
monster in the game, but some of the most commonly occurring monsters (I'll 
update as I get more information).

Category      Coefficient    XP per level     Examples
    A              1            380-382       Your characters, some Skeletons,
                                              Ghosts, Hairballs, Lg. Bats
    B           1.2-1.3         457-495       Whales, Sm. Bats, Sm. Bears,
                                              higher Skeletons, Hairballs
    C             1.4           533-534       higher Lg. Bats, Dark Knights,
                                              Dark Officers
    D           1.5-1.6         580-610       Undines, higher Pumpkins,
                                              higher Bears
                                              (Skeletons, Ghosts in CoT 5)
    E             1.8             685         higher Plants
    F              2            761-764       top rank Skeletons
                                              (Lvl 500 Skeleton in CoT 5)
    G              3              1142        Succubi, Crabmen, Haniwas, Boxes
    H           3.5-3.6        1332-1373      higher Boxes
    I           3.7-3.8        1434-1447      lower rank Chimeras
                                              (Chimeras in CoT 5)
    J              4           1523-1527      Monshrooms, Alioks, Gorgons
    K             4.2          1599-1601      Orthros, high rank Chimeras
    L              5           1903-1911      Capricorns, Grendels,
                                              Gigas, Hekatoncheir, Baal
                                              (Hekatoncheir in CoT 5)

For monsters with multiple ranks (such as Skeletons, which have Zombie, Big 
Zombie, Zombie King, etc.), higher ranks mean more experience.

To calculate this, multiply the level of the monster by the category 
coefficient (I'll call this product exp. levels), then multiply by the base 
amount per level (about 380 XP).

Some examples:

Killing a level 150 Hairball gives:
      150 * 1 (Category A) = 150 exp. levels
      150 exp. levels * 380 = 57000 XP

Killing a level 200 Dark Officer gives:
      200 * 1.4 (Category C) = 280 exp. levels
      280 exp. levels * 380 = 106400 XP

Killing a level 320 low rank Box (Gremlin) gives:
      320 * 3 (Category G) = 960 exp. levels
      960 exp. levels * 380 = 364800 XP

Killing a level 700 Supreme Demon Monshroom gives:
      700 * 4 (Category J) = 2800 exp. levels
      2800 exp. levels * 380 = 1064K XP (1064000 XP, or over 1M XP)

Killing level 2000 Baal gives:
      2000 * 5 (Category L) = 10000 exp. Levels
      10000 exp. levels * 380 = 3800K XP (3.8M XP)

As you can see, killing monsters of higher category yields much more 
experience.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
[4.2] Fratricide (Killing Your Own Characters)
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

One way to gain experience with almost no risk is to kill your own characters 
(fratricide). You can kill up to 7 characters a stage (the eighth character 
does the killing). Many players advise this, and it does work, but it may not 
be as effective as many may think. To illustrate this, consider the following:

Your characters are always category A (coefficient 1), so you get only 380 per 
level. Monsters in the Cave of Trials (particularly CoT 4 and 5) give higher 
coefficients, and therefore more experience. For example, CoT 5 gives around 2M 
XP (over 5200 exp. levels), all told. This is more than you can get by killing 
your characters until the characters you kill total more than 5200 levels 
(around level 750 each if you kill all 7 possible). The Dark World, with its 
Demon titles, further increases the coefficient (Some Demon Lords are worth 5 
times their level in killed characters, since they are coefficient 5).

Also, generally attackers are of higher level than decoys (they kill more), so 
if you have only 1 attacker (Heavy Hitter), you can only kill decoys, which 
give less experience because they're lower level. The same is true, to a lesser 
extent, for a party with 2 or 3 attackers. A Balanced Party benefits the most 
from fratricide, since all the party members are the same level.

However, you can use the Cave of Trials for a long, long time to safely gain 
experience if you can complete CoT 4 or 5, or even blitz the level if you can't 
complete it (that is, have 7 characters attack to gain the experience, then 
have the eighth leave the stage. You get no money, but you do get the 
experience). The Dark World is also particularly useful, due to higher 
coefficients, but you have to be able to survive it. More on that later.

Also, if you don't mind killing your monsters, this tends to give better 
results than killing your characters (monsters you purify to fight for you 
still have the same category, and coefficient). For characters without the 
first title (cannot purify bosses), use Haniwas (3*experience) or other high 
coefficient monsters such as boxes (see the chart above). If you have the first 
or second title, use high level bosses (Hekatoncheirs or Baals=5*experience). 
Please note that killing your own monsters drops their happiness.

In short, fratricide gives some quick experience (and raises the Dark Energy 
Index) and money (if you finish the stage after killing 7 characters, you get 
extra money according to the levels of the characters you killed) with no risk, 
but if you are careful, you can usually find a stage or Dark World that gives 
more experience and money with little risk.

++++++++++++++++++++++++
[4.3] Goddess's Blessing
++++++++++++++++++++++++

Goddess's Blessing is a special ability activated randomly during physical 
attacks when you are the attacker, and grants around 50% more experience to 
that character.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
[4.4] Places in the Game to Gain Experience
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

So, where are the good places to level up? Here are a few suggestions.

For characters going through the chapters, until the Cave of Trials shows up in 
Chapter 11, simply replaying any levels with a lot of monsters should be 
enough. The game controls the difficulty well at the beginning, unless you 
answer surveys asking for tougher monsters (do that later). Remember to upgrade 
items regularly, and you should be fine.

In Chapter 4, defeating the monster whale usually takes a party with level 10+, 
so replay some levels earlier (Chapter 3, if possible).
In Chapter 8, defeating the giant thing at level 100 may require some leveling 
as well, so use the previous stages.

Up until the Cave of Trials, the giant thing offers a lot of experience. Kill 
it repeatedly for some levels if you need them to advance the plot.

However, your goal should be to get to the Cave of Trials, so only get as many 
levels as you need to do the stages easily. You'll earn a lot more experience 
in the Cave of Trials than you will before it.

Once you are in the Cave of Trials (and done all the stages in Chapter 12 
before losing characters), you should be able to beat CoT 1 and CoT 2 fairly 
easily. Sweep them a few times for some levels, then go to CoT 3. CoT 3 is a 
great stage for item levels (many monsters clustered together, open space, and 
a lot of room to maneuver means easy chains of portal streams), and the 
experience total is fairly good. Once you're ready, CoT 4 is the first big 
experience stage.

In CoT 4, your targets are the five boxes in the center of the stage (levels 
70-75). With high coefficients (boxes generally have some of the highest 
coefficients for normal monsters), this means massive experience, and you can 
blitz (kill then retreat) with little risk. Abuse this for many levels until 
you can clear all monsters easily, then make your first attempts into CoT 5.

CoT 5 is the next big stage, and you'll spend a lot of time here, for 
experience and later, monster purification. The level 110 ghosts and skeletons 
are worth around 64K each, the level 130 chimeras are worth around 182K each, 
the level 200 Hekatoncheir 382K (coefficient=5!) and the level 500 zombie king 
about 380K. All told, 2M experience. Use range attacks with the checkerboard 
formation (level 7) to kill multiple ghosts and skeletons on each side, then 
hit the Hekatoncheir in the center hard. If 7 characters can't kill all the 
ghosts and the Hekatoncheir, use the eighth to retreat, and try again. When all 
these can be destroyed easily, then try the zombie king. Lure him out with one 
character (Papillion), let him kill that character, then blast him with all the 
others. Repeat this stage often for many extra levels.

Very late in the game, after defeating Baal, the stage he is in (The God's 
Ordeal) is good for level building. Baal is coefficient 5, so he's worth about 
3.8M (level 2000). The henchmen are around 2.3-2.4M each (coefficient 4 for the 
Aliok and Gorgon, 4.2 for the Orthros, level 1500). The grand total is around 
10.8M.

As a summary, here are the base experience totals for each level of the Cave of 
Trials and The God's Ordeal assuming all monsters are the base (lowest) level.

CoT 1: 39K
CoT 2: 83K
CoT 3: 274K
CoT 4: 848K
CoT 5: 2069K
TGO  : 10787K

By this time you finish CoT 4 or 5, you should be able to handle low DEI Dark 
Worlds (maybe 110-120) with little risk, and should be over, or at least close 
to, level 100. Now it's time to start with item combining.

++++++++++++++++++++
[5.0] Item Combining
++++++++++++++++++++

Here, we'll discuss combining items. In general, to combine an item, you need a 
monster with sufficient stats, a base item, and 1 to 3 items you want to be 
absorbed into the base item.

For purposes of clarity, the item to gain aspects (stats, elements, stat 
increasers, or abilities) is called the base item, and the other items that 
will contribute aspects are called combining items.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
[5.1] What Is Added When You Combine Items?
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

When you combine items, the base item is reset to level 0 and gains the aspects 
of the combining items, and the combining items cease to exist. So you get a 
base item with higher base (level 0) stats.

A base item can only absorb as many aspects as it has levels. Since an item has 
8 stats (MV and Jmp don't count), up to 4 elements (extras are ignored), 8 stat 
increasers, and up to 8 specials, there are only 28 aspects on each item. 
Therefore, a base item level 84 or above absorbs ALL aspects on all 3 possible 
combined items. However, in practice, since we will tend to use combining items 
with few aspects and high stats, the base item probably won't need more than 20 
except in very rare circumstances.

A combining item can only pass as many aspects as it has levels, so you need to 
have any combining item to be of a level equal to (or greater than) its number 
of aspects.

When items are combined, the base item gets:
    For stats: Half of the base stat (at level 0). The new stat cannot be 
higher than the base stats of the monster (decreased slightly, see below) doing 
the combining, or it will stop at the monster stat.

    Example: A combining item with Atk 130 at level 0 adds 65 (130/2) to Atk.

    For elements: Combining items adds 1 + half of the combining item's element 
(round down) to a maximum of four elements on an item. The max number for any 
element is 99.

    Example: A base item has Fire 5, Cold 13, and Heal 1. The combining item 
has Fire 1, Cold 20, Aid 1 and Holy 1.
             First, Fire 1 is added: Fire 5 + (1+1/2=1) = Fire 6 on base item
             Second, Cold 20 is added: Cold 13 + (1+20/2=11) = Cold 24
             Third, Aid 1 is added: Aid 1
             Fourth, Holy 1 is added, but since the item already has 4 (Fire,
                     Cold, Heal, and Aid), Holy is ignored.
             Final item has: Fire 6, Cold 24, Heal 1, Aid 1

    For Stat Increasers: The same as for elements (1+1/2 the combining item's 
multipliers). The max for a stat increaser is 99.

    For Abilities: Abilities are generally halved if the base item does not 
have that ability. If it does, it increases the percentage by 5% to a maximum 
of 100%. There is a maximum of 8 abilities on an item.

    Example: Base item: Sleep 45%. Combining item: Sleep 26%, Hairball 20%
             Sleep: Base item has Sleep: 45% + 5% = 50%
             Hairball: Base item does not have Hairball: 20% / 2 = 10%
             Final item has Sleep 50%, Hairball 10%
(Note: There are two exceptions to this, Special Attack and Reduce SP)

So, the best strategy is to have a good base item, then repeatedly combine 
items into it to get large base stats. Then level it up for large stats.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++
[5.2] Choosing Base Items
+++++++++++++++++++++++++

How do we choose an item to be a base item? Well, having high stats to start 
with is a plus, but since it's hardest to advance abilities, a better idea is 
to work with items that have good abilities, then raise their stats. Most of 
the best abilities come from items in the Dark World, so it's best to wait for 
them.

Here are the best abilities to have on items (item adjectives that have this 
ability are given in parentheses):

Recover HP (Vitamin items): Face it, you're going to take damage. Recover HP 
augments your self-healing abilities to allow you to regenerate more HP per 
round (i.e. free healing). Characters that don't have to waste turns healing 
can be attacking, purifying, or in general helping your cause. Usually found on 
low DEI portals (110 to around 150).

Exp Up (Training, Maiden items): Extra experience is always good. These items 
give a percentage chance of implementing the Goddess's Blessing on a character 
(+50% XP). Training items are particularly rare (I only got one) and show up on 
low DEI portals (110 to around 150). Maiden items are much more common, but 
usually only show up regularly around DEI 200+.

Special Attack (Samurai, Deadly, Godly items): Gives a percentage chance for a 
critical (around 2*-3* damage) on physical attacks and counterattacks only. 
This ability only adds 1% on combining and max is 20%. Fairly common on all 
DEIs.

Reduce SP Used (Psycho items): Reduces the SP cost of every special and spell 
by 10% (minimum amount reduced is 1 SP). A little extra SP doesn't hurt, 
although you usually have enough. This ability does not seem to combine at all 
(combining two Psycho items does not give 20% reduction, although equipping two 
Psycho items does). Common on all DEIs.

Reduce Damage (Sun, Moon, Star items): Looks better than it is.  Gives a 
percentage chance of triggering your best physical guard ability when hit by a 
monster. 100% on this does not reduce all damage to zero, it only guarantees 
that your best guard will be up. Even so, any damage you don't take means a 
better chance to survive. A little rare, but available on all DEIs.

Purify (Sexy, Miracle items): Causes a percentage of the damage inflicted in a 
physical attack to be purifying damage. You want at least one item to have 100% 
purification before you try to recruit Baals. Gives you extra monsters to 
combine items. (This ability stacks, but you probably won't need more than one 
on a character). Sexy items are a little rare, and are on low DEIs. Miracle 
items are more common on higher DEIs.

Most other abilities are either useless (Sleep, Charm, Hairball, Paralyze), or 
downright dangerous (Close Call, which you should NEVER use).

So, for base items, select some of these. Other items (without abilities) that 
might also be considered as good base items are:

Goddess Ring (from Chapter 8): Great starting stats and stat increasers.

Godhand (from CoT 5): Great attack item.

Angel Shoes/Warp Engine (from Chapter 4/First Title): A well-known trick to the 
game is the equip Angel Shoes/move/unequip Angel Shoes trick to temporarily 
increase a character's movement. A little known side effect is that the 
character's stats go down when equipping the shoes, then back up when you 
switch back to your regular item. Not a problem for most stats, but your 
current HP and SP do not go back up when you switch back, so the character has 
less HP and SP then before they moved. Getting good HP/SP stats on the Angel 
Shoes prevents this. The same thing applies to the Warp Engine.

Robot Suit (from Baal): Good stats (1000 base on HP, Atk, Def, Hit, Spd, +3 
MV), but by this time, you should have much better items. Still really useful, 
though (particularly the 1000 HP, HP is a little harder to get).

There are further reward items for players in the European and Japanese re-
releases (Super Robot Suit, Myao's Rod, etc.) for the extra versions of Baal. 
Again, if you are at that point, you probably have about as good, or better.

Remember, you want at least 4 base items for each attacking character (32 for 
the whole party), and maybe 1 or 2 more for switching. Make sure to have at 
least 1 Purify 100% item for purifying Baal or his henchmen. 

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
[5.3] Is This Item Worth Combining?
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Once you have base items, you need to consider your combining items. After 
going through the Dark World, you often have a ton of items, which take time to 
level up so that they can be combined. Which begs the question: "Is this item 
worth my time to level up and combine, or should I just sell it?"

There is no true simple answer to this question. Obviously, if an item has a 
good special ability (Recover HP, Reduce Damage, and all the others listed 
above) you should keep it to augment base item abilities. For items without 
these, a good test would be that if you can buy an item that gives more than 
the items largest stat and takes less levels to combine (has less aspects), you 
should sell the item, otherwise combine it.

In other words, if we have an item with 3 aspects and Def 110, we should sell 
it, since you can buy a Guts Vest that has only 2 aspects and Def 128 (it only 
requires 2 levels to combine rather than 3, and has a higher Def stat).

You should also be wary of combining items with a lot of aspects (say, more 
than 6 or 7 non-element aspects). It takes a long time to level these up 
without using a multi-miracle, and you want to save these for the base items.

Items with element aspects, in general, gain experience faster than items 
without, which usually makes up for the extra level(s) you need. Therefore, 
don't worry about element aspects slowing down item expansion.

So, for comparison, I have enclosed the best item you can buy at the Rosenqueen 
store for each stat, its number of aspects, the stat number, rank, and cost.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
[5.4] Best Store Items for Combining
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

For HP:
Olhalicon       HP 50     4 aspects     Rank B    Cost: 1.12M

For SP:
Light Staff     SP 100    6 aspects     Rank B    Cost: 1.69M
God Staff       SP 300    7 aspects     Rank A    Cost: 179M

For Atk:
Storm Eringa    Atk 250   5 aspects     Rank B    Cost: 1.665M

For Def:
Olhalicon       Def 250   4 aspects     Rank B    Cost: 1.12M

For Int:
Light Staff     Int 250   6 aspects     Rank B    Cost: 1.69M
God Staff       Int 500   7 aspects     Rank A    Cost: 179M

For Hit:
Telescope       Hit 160   3 aspects     Rank 8    Cost: 123200

For Spd:
Stealth Cape    Spd 80    3 aspects     Rank 6    Cost: 33920

For Res:
Light Staff     Res 100   6 aspects     Rank B    Cost: 1.69M
God Staff       Res 300   7 aspects     Rank A    Cost: 179M

Also consider (for quick advancement):
Axe Bomber      Atk 120   2 aspects     Rank 7    Cost: 84800
Guts Vest       Def 128   2 aspects     Rank 7    Cost: 98100
Magic Ring      Int 100   2 aspects     Rank 7    Cost: 112000
Divine Book     Res 60    4 aspects     Rank 7    Cost: 106800

Most other items have lower stats, negative stats in other areas, or a higher 
amount of aspects. All of these items can be purchased from the store if you 
are Rank A.

Please note that for SP, Int, and Res, the God Staff is the best item, but its 
cost of 179M (179 million) is too high for lower-level players to use 
regularly. Also, after some amount of purchases, it may disappear (for example, 
I purchased it twice, and now it's no longer in the list). Thus, I have also 
included the cheaper and slightly weaker Light Staff.

Also, note that you will be using a lot of Dark World items, which are random. 
You may find that you are getting low in a certain stat because the game is not 
giving you enough items with that stat (Def, HP and Res are the stats that you 
usually need more of). To advance those stats, buy a couple of the items listed 
above for that stat and combine them into your base item.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
[5.5] Item Experience and Leveling
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Item experience is gained by on items equipped when a character purifies a 
portal. The amount gained changes based upon several factors, including bonus 
value, length of stream, color of stream, if the stream is single or double, if 
the stream changes color, if the stream hits monsters, the element of monster 
hit, and if the stream causes a miracle. A (somewhat) basic rundown is as 
follows:

First, an item advances a level at 60 XP per level of the item. So,
Level 0 to Level 1:   60 XP
Level 1 to Level 2:  120 XP
Level 2 to Level 3:  180 XP, and so on.
The level of the item does not affect how it earns experience.

None of the aspects on an item affect its XP growth except for elements.

The Bonus Gauge is an important factor in item growth. In general:

-The Bonus Gauge goes up +1 per square of the stream (single), +2 if the same 
color goes into the stream (double).

-If it hits a monster, it adds 10 for the first monster, 20 for the second, 30 
for the third, and so on.

-If it causes a miracle, it adds the previous amount for hitting a monster, 
plus a bonus based on the size (in squares) of the area enclosed.

-Also, a miracle purifies all portals inside it, causing a multi-miracle. The 
second portal in a multi-miracle has 2* all bonus amounts, the next has 3*, and 
so on up to 6* for the sixth portal (the max in any stage).

The amount of experience that a non-element item (no element aspects) gains is 
7 + (Bonus/2) XP.

However, items with elements get additional XP:
-If the item has an element that is not the color of the stream at any point 
(off-color), it gains 1 XP, plus an additional 1 XP for every 4 extra of that 
element on the item. This starts at 3, so:
Off-color 1,2     : +1 XP
Off-color 3,4,5,6 : +2 XP
Off-color 7,8,9,10: +3 XP, and so on.
These are calculated separately for each element, so purifying a green (Wind) 
portal with an item with Fire 3 and Cold 1 give (2+1=) 3 extra XP. Multiple 
color elements (such as Aid=red+blue) count as off-color for their component 
colors (So an aid item it considered off-color for red, blue and green 
portals).

-If the item has an element that is the same as the color of the stream (on-
color), it gains 1 XP plus half of the length of the stream while it was that 
color for the first point of that aspect. So, with Fire 1, purifying a red 
stream gives:
Length 1: +1
Length 2: +2
Length 3: +2
Length 4: +3
Length 5: +3
Length 6: +4, and so on (all fractions rounded down).

-For each point on-color after the first, around 20-33% is added to the amount 
above (this cross factor interaction is difficult to nail down effectively). To 
illustrate, here is a table for purifying a red portal with:

                                        Length
            1     2     3     4     5     6     7     8     9    10  
Fire 1:    +1    +2    +2    +3    +3    +4    +4    +5    +5    +6
Fire 2:    +1    +3    +3    +4    +4    +6    +6    +7    +7    +9
Fire 3:    +2    +3    +3    +5    +5    +7    +7    +8    +8   +11
Fire 4:    +2    +4    +4    +6    +6    +9    +9   +11   +11   +13
Fire 5:    +2    +5    +5    +7    +7   +10   +10   +13   +13   +15
Fire 6:    +2    +5    +5    +8    +8   +11   +11   +14   +14   +17
Fire 7:    +3    +6    +6    +9    +9   +12   +12   +16   +16   +19

(This table sometimes seems to have a set formula, but occasionally gives an 
extra point where it shouldn't go. The game may be keeping fractional amounts 
which cause this, but I doubt it. A full factor analysis/cross correlation 
regression for this requires statistical tools which I, at this time, do not 
have access to.)

-If a stream changes color, it treats all the element colors that it takes as 
on-color, and gives the bonus based upon the length it was that color. All 
other elements are considered off-color. For example, for a stream that was 
green for 5 squares, then yellow for 4, an item with Cold (blue) 2, Wind 
(green) 3 and Lightning (yellow) 1, it adds:
For Cold (off-color)    :   +1 (Color 2)
For Wind (on-color)     :   +5 (Color 3 and Length 5)
For Lightning (on-color):   +3 (Color 1 and Length 4)
Total                   :   +9

If a stream hits a monster, it adds an extra amount to any items that have the 
color of the MONSTER, not the stream.

-For the first point, it gives half the Bonus Gauge value of the monster (5 XP 
for the first, 10 for the second, 15 for the third, etc.). So, hitting two 
monsters, the first Fire and the second Aid, adds a bonus 5 points to items 
with Fire, and 10 points for Aid. Items without those colors get nothing.

-For each point after the first, it adds about 20-66% more (around +1 to +3 for 
each 5 XP) to the amount given. This may be the same, or double, the cross 
correlation effect above. For example, hitting a Fire monster (+10 Bonus, +5 XP 
to Fire) with Fire 2 gives +8 XP, with Fire 5 gives +13 XP.

If the stream causes a miracle, the following effects occur:

-All monsters inside the miracle are hit with the previous XP bonus to their 
elements as above.

-Any portals inside the miracle are purified (multi-miracle), and all their 
bonuses are 2*. If another portal is purified by the first, or subsequent 
miracle, its bonuses are 3* and so on up to the sixth being 6* (the max on a 
stage).

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
[5.6] Guide to Efficient Item Leveling
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Clearly, a multi-miracle levels items the most, and should be the method of 
choice for base items. The Halls of the Dead is the preferred area for multi-
miracles, although the Cave of Trials (particularly CoT 2) has also been 
mentioned. I use the Halls, though, so I can control the red streams better 
(see below).

For how to set up a multi-miracle, see the Miracle FAQ listed in the 
Acknowledgements.

Without the 3*bonus, most items will go from level 0 to around 12-18 if they 
have no elements, but items with the right elements can go much higher (I've 
seen as high as the 30s). If you have the 3*bonus from the surveys at 
Rosenqueen, this usually means about double the levels (around 25-35 for no 
element items, up to the 50s for items with the right elements).

So, which elements are best?

Of the effects listed above, some of them you can control (such as length or 
color of stream), and some you can't (the elements of monsters). Generally, the 
length of stream seems to have the most effect, so setting up your miracles to 
be of a particular color will advance that color the most.

In general, no matter how or where you set up your multi-miracle, most of your 
miracles will be Healing or Holy (depending on whether you set red portals into 
your stream or not). That means Healing (Lt. Blue) or Holy (White) elements 
will advance items more. Since both are composed of Cold and Wind (which will 
likely be the last stream and net 6*), these are also good to have on items. 
After that is Fire (from the red portals), then Aid and Lightning (mostly by 
off-color bonus and monsters), and lastly Non-element.

So, in order:
Healing/Holy (Lt. Blue/White)
Cold/Wind  (Blue/Green)
Fire (Red)
Aid/Lightning (Pink/Yellow)
Non-element

To take advantage of this, I try to get as many Cold, Wind, and Healing 
elements on my base items as I can, then use multi-miracles that start with 
Healing. The last miracle is a damaging Cold or Wind, and net great extra 
experience for items with these elements.

Another approach is to start with Holy miracles. This will advance Holy more 
than Healing, but, in general, you still should see the effects fall in the 
order above.

Since we use combining items with high stats and a low number of aspects, the 
base item really only needs to have 10-20 levels, so one multi-miracle should 
be enough.

For combining items, you'll probably have too many to continually multi-miracle 
them all. I use a regular stage to level them.

Pick a stage with a lot of open space and a lot of monsters to hit with portal 
streams for extra item experience (I use CoT 3, lots of bats and no 
obstructions). Designate one of your purifiers as the item leveler (I use 
Culotte, but Alouette or Éclair are good choices, also), and give them 4 items 
to level. Have the item leveler purify all the portals, trying to hit monsters 
with portal streams and form miracles, while the other characters draw the 
monsters away (or even just stand near the entrance). Swap out items as they 
earn enough experience to combine all their aspects. If you use a stage with 
decent monsters (such as a CoT stage), you'll earn some extra experience, which 
can't hurt, either. Using low aspect (2 to 5) items, it should only take 1 or 2 
times through to level up 3 items to combine. 

So, now we have the base item and combining items leveled up. We now need a 
monster.

The best monsters to use for combining can be found in the Cave of Trials. If 
you don't have the first title, start with Large Bats from CoT 3 (you'll be 
spending a lot of time there, anyway), which average out to around Atk 400. 
Once you can complete CoT 4 safely, immediately change to the level 90 Boxes in 
the back (their stats are usually near 1000). The level 110 ghosts and 
skeletons in CoT 5 have high stats is some areas, low stats in others, but the 
boxes are high all around. Use these and the occasional Haniwa from the Dark 
World until you get your first title. After that, use level 200 Hekatoncheirs 
from CoT 5 and Haniwas. Several items combined and leveled with them should be 
more than enough to defeat Baal, and then you can use him (or his henchmen, see 
below) to make your items about as high as you want.

A detailed analysis on the combining monsters statistics is given below.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
[5.7] Stats on Monsters for Item Combination
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

For this section, I detail the stats for the combining monsters I mentioned 
above as an aid for item combining. Generally, the item's new base stats must 
be lower than the monster's stats, so a guide to the monster's stats is given 
here.

On certain occasions, with stats on an item close to, but still below, the 
monster's stats, the game still gives the "This monster is weak" message and 
lowers the item's base. I have a theory about why (the game probably uses the 
monster stats before applying bonuses for stat levels), but cannot confirm it 
at this time. I have controlled for this in the numbers below by dropping them 
about 10% as a safeguard.

Below are the three monsters listed in Section 5.6 (Large Bat in CoT 3, Box in 
CoT 4, Hekatonchier in CoT 5) and a listing of values by each stat.

(For the interested, the values are median values from a sample of 30 of each 
monster, reduced by 10% to account for those occasions of base item dropping I 
mentioned previously in this section.)

Advised Limit on Combined Item's Base Stats by Monster

Large Bats (CoT 3):
Stat      Safely Combine
HP             861
SP             331
Atk            467
Int            396
Def            338
Spd            483
Hit            401
Res            325

Boxes (CoT 4):
Stat      Safely Combine
HP             708
SP             435
Atk            1120
Int            694
Def            2150
Spd            680
Hit            515
Res            1518

Hekatoncheir (CoT 5) {after first title}:
Stat      Safely Combine
HP             7603
SP             1023
Atk            1820
Int            1273
Def            1318
Spd            1260
Hit            1393
Res            1362

You may be able to push stats higher than these with some monsters, but it 
would be rare.

As a quick and easy guide, based on the numbers above, I advise the following:

You can use the Large Bats out of CoT 3 for items up to a base of 800 for HP, 
400 for Atk and Spd, or 300 for anything else.

You can use the level 90 Boxes out of CoT 4 for items up to a base of 2100 for 
Def, 1500 for Res, 1100 for Atk, 500 for Hit, and 700 for anything else.

You can use the Hekatoncheir out of CoT 5 for items up to a base of 7500 for 
HP, 1800 for Atk, 1000 for SP and 1250 for anything else.

Since most players are mostly concerned about Atk, to summarize, you can go as 
high as 400 with Large Bats, 1100 with Boxes, and 1800 with Hekatoncheirs.

After defeating Baal, you can use him or his henchmen to level up items. 
However, be aware that there is maximum point for item stats at 32767. In other 
words, if you get an item stat over 32767 (by leveling it or combining it), it 
stops at 32767. If an item has a base stat of 8192 (1/4 of 32767) or higher, 
you will hit this maximum. Also, the base stats for an item are capped at 9999. 
Baal or any of his henchmen have stats above 9999 almost all of the time, so 
you can use any of them to combine items up to the stat cap.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
[6.0] Prerequisites for the Dark World
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

When you're ready for the Dark World, get a stage's Dark Energy Index (DEI) to 
above 100. I suggest starting with 110, gotten by killing 11 characters inside 
the stage one at a time, then exiting (kill 1 character, exit, repeat*11). I 
also suggest using the very first stage of the game for this (Devil's Stomach). 

You will also later want a second portal to the Dark World, which you can place 
anywhere. For simplicity, I used Mt. Tarte's first stage for this. 

It is best to advance the DEI slowly. I found that advancing by 10 (one 
character kill) increases the level of the monsters about 10-20%, which is a 
good pace. Remember, though, the Dark World is random, and may give you 
monsters of much higher or lower level than you may expect (One time I went in 
a 180 DEI, expecting monster levels around 170-200 on the first stage, and got 
300-350. I reset, played a stage, went in again and got 90-100 on the first 
stage.).

Keep the second portal as an area to level up and get Dark World items, so it 
should be much easier, but still not a cakewalk. I like to keep it 40-50 DEI 
lower. You also may want to consider keeping it a low DEI (around 110-150) if 
you are strong enough to handle higher DEIs, since some items with special 
abilities are more common in low DEIs (particularly Recover HP items).

There is some debate as to how, exactly, Dark World difficulty increases. The 
DEI is certainly a factor, but several other contributing factors may also 
affect the level of enemies. My current theory is that the level of the 
monsters in the Dark World (and also the strength of Dark World items) is also 
affected by how many monsters you sent to the Dark World and/or their success 
in the Dark World (determined by how many times you ask the robed guy in the 
Rosenqueen shop how they did). This theory is unconfirmed at this time.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
[6.1] Surviving and Profiting in the Dark World
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

To use the Dark World to its fullest, you should try to sweep as many levels as 
you can, by purifying and killing all the monsters you can on each one. 
Purifying gets you lots of items to combine, and killing Dark World monsters 
generally gives more experience. Also, killing all monsters on a stage gives 
you bonus money, and beating the boss on stage 10 gives you the good ending 
(more money and a better item).

The best way to do this is to identify and quickly dispose of threats, leaving 
the other monsters to be dispatched later.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
[6.2] Threats in the Dark World
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The best strategy to survive in the Dark World is to eliminate the monsters 
most likely to kill characters first, leaving the weaker ones for later. These 
I call "Threats".

Monsters in the Dark World are Threats if they:
=Are the big Demon Lord/Overlord types (monsters like Capricorns, Succubi, 
Skull King/Hekatoncheir, Monshrooms, Gigas, Belials, and others that are twice 
the size as the other monsters) with high Atk and HP (heavy physical damage).
=Have high level magic attacks (high level Omega spells=many dead characters, 
especially if your Res is low).

These should be killed or purified and killed before anyone else. Use any 
special attack available to dispose of these, especially magic casters on 
platforms you can't walk to (the range on those spells can be quite long). 
After you have the first title, the Warp Engine makes managing the Threats on 
other platforms much easier. If you can't kill all Threats, spread characters 
out, occupy choke points, and do all the usual strategic things you learned in 
the main part of the game.

Once they're all dead, you can relax a little and take your time purifying and 
cleaning up all the weaker enemies. But, don't relax completely. Unless you are 
tremendously overpowered for the DEI that you are on, any monster can luck out 
and get a Critical/Break/Auto-hit attack combination, which will be instant 
death for the character it hits. Also, don't count on ANY status effects to 
work (so Charm, Sleep, etc., on items and as spells, are useless) unless, 
again, you greatly overpower the monsters. For these guys, you can use physical 
attacks to spread out experience (or perhaps get a Goddess's Blessing or two) 
and allow your item effects (particularly Purify and Special Attack) to work.

Also, try to defeat the boss on level 10 to get the extra money and better 
item. Here, use everything (especially Homard's Burning Soul) to take him down. 
Attack with everyone you can, even decoys (you, too, could get the 
Critical/Break/Auto-hit and do some damage), leaving 1 to run for the exit if 
you're not successful.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
[6.3] Purification of Monsters in the Dark World
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

To purify monsters, use the Purify command or physically attack with a Purify 
item. 

The power of the purify command is based on the character's level and Purify 
Power ability. This is based on the character's level + 9, multiplied by a 
coefficient based on the character's Purify Power, as seen below.

Base (Purify Power +0):  1*
Purify Power +1:         1.2*
Purify Power +2:         1.5*
. . . (each + gives +0.3 to coefficient)
Purify Power +9:         3.6*
Purify Power +10:        4*   (this + adds 0.4)

(This formula courtesy of chocomog, who posted it on the board, and pokeeiyuu, 
who translated it from a Japanese website.)

So, for full power characters (+10), Purify Power is level*4 + 36.

Purify items use the damage of the physical attack multiplied by the percentage 
of the Purify special ability.

The game then compares the purify power (from command or item) against the 
level of the monster to determine the purify percentage.

(The exact formula was translated by pokeeiyuu from the aforementioned site, 
who sent it to chocomog for use in the Bestiary. Since he desires chocomog to 
be the first to publish it, I will honor his wishes and not reprint it here at 
this time. Interested parties should consult the Bestiary.)

It is, however, important to note that there is a level cap for purification. 
If you are less then about one-third of a monster's level and at full power 
(Purify Power + 10), NO amount of purification will work, whether you have the 
appropriate title or not (Actual formula: monster level < 3* character level + 
18). If you are lower than Purify+10, the cap is lower (around 2*-3* character 
level). (This formula was found by a joint venture between Anubis and myself.)

Monsters in the Dark World purify just like normal monsters, except they always 
give you items and never join (thus, it is useless to purify a monster with no 
items in the Dark World).

The lone exception is the Haniwas, which will join your party. A Haniwa with 
items joins with the items equipped, but you can remove them on its Items 
screen (so you get the Haniwa and the items).

Having multiple monsters of the same type makes purifying the monster more 
difficult. After about 6 or 7 of the same type of monster, you'll likely need a 
purifying item or a Heal miracle to make them convert. Also, higher rank 
monsters are more difficult to purify in general, as well. Haniwas and boxes 
seem to be about the toughest.

Once you gain the first title, Supreme Demons, Demon Lords, and Demon Overlords 
can be purified for items. Purification of these should be virtually automatic 
if you are of sufficient level.

A common strategy I use is to pair up a purifier with a non-purifier, purifying 
with the first and killing with the second. The fourth pair will have two 
purifiers, but the idea is still purify with one, kill with the other. This 
nets four monsters killed and up to four items acquired per round, and can 
sweep levels of the Dark World with amazing speed. I cycle the killing purifier 
to keep levels close, and sometime take easy (few Threats) levels with just the 
purifiers acting so as to keep the party balanced. You will likely find a 
strategy that suits you along these lines.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
[6.4] How Fast Do I Increase the DEI?
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Generally, a safe, if somewhat slow, strategy for Balanced Party is to increase 
the DEI only if you are able to sweep the Dark World without losing a 
character, or maybe losing your weakest character(s). For attacker/decoy 
strategies, another good strategy is to increase DEI if your attackers are 
easily overkilling the monsters (exceeding their HP by a good 20-30% or more on 
one attack). Again, remember that each time you increase the DEI by 10, you're 
increasing the monster level by at least 10-20%, and that includes their HP, 
Atk, levels on spells, and the interaction effect on their items (it works for 
monsters as well).

Faster increases get you titles quicker, but are more dangerous, and you'll be 
running through, or worse, reloading, a lot. However, if you are patient about 
reloading, feel free to go faster.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++
[7.0] Other Things of Note
++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Here, we'll look at a few other important things in the game.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
[7.1] The Rosenqueen Store and Surveys
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Obviously, the Rosenqueen store is where you buy items. You increase your rank 
in the store by purchasing more items, thus allowing better items to be sold. I 
have listed some of the best items for combination in the Item Combination 
section above.

The store occasionally offers items with their stats increased by from 10-30% 
from the normal amount (with a similar increase in price). These are great 
purchases for combining items.

It is possible to get Dark World items from the store by buying all the items 
the store has at one time, however, they will be (at most) the same relative 
strength as the normal items that the store was selling at the time (or 
weaker). So, if you lower the strength of items in the store (to make them 
cheap), then buy it out, you get cheap Dark World items. Later in the game, 
when you have a lot of money and when some low power Dark World items with 
useful abilities (Vitamin, Training, etc.) are hard to get, buying out the 
store at full strength can serve as a quick way to get these items. 

There are 3 special surveys that occur randomly after you answer the questions 
about item strength and availability.

The first asks if you are interested in the Dark World. Answering yes increases 
the DEI on the next stage by 20-30 points.

The second asks if you want to fight stronger monsters. Answering yes (and the 
game will ask you to confirm this) increases the level of the monsters on the 
next few stages by around 5-10%. You can increase the monsters you fight this 
way, but answering no at any time removes all bonuses, and does not seem to 
affect Dark World monsters (this information courtesy of Anubis and Reinbach 
III).

The third asks you for your choice of 1 out of 4 possible boosts in the next 
stage (3* XP, 3* item XP, 3* money, 3* monster training). Of these, early on 
the 3* money is most useful (since buying better items is expensive), but after 
you start combining items, the one you want is 3* item XP, for use in multi-
miracles. The 3* XP only applies to the next monster you kill, not to the 
entire stage, so it's not quite as useful.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
[7.2] Abusing the RNG in La Pucelle
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

An interesting note is that in some games based upon seemingly random 
occurrences, there is an identifiable pattern that can be exploited to help the 
player. This allows the player to, in essence, "steal" from the random nature 
of the game without actually cheating.

This is especially true in computer/console games, since it is nearly 
impossible to have a computer create a truly random series of numbers (It's 
even really difficult for people to do it). As far as I can ascertain (and this 
is not my area of expertise), computers use a bit of coding to generate what is 
called a (pseudo-)random number generator (RNG or pseudo-RNG), by extensive 
mathematical calculation and/or calculation using numbers pulled from a 
supposedly random source (like the clock). This isn't really random, as it 
usually shows a cyclic nature (it will start repeating the same numbers over 
and over), but it takes so long to see the pattern (say, a couple of billion 
observations or more), that you'll never notice it. The game conceals the 
pattern further by having some numbers pulled "in the dark" (behind the scenes 
where the player will not see the result). However, for some generators, the 
first number used is always the same, no matter what. This seems to be the case 
in La Pucelle, and you can use it to your advantage.

In La Pucelle, when you start a stage, the monster levels and portal 
arrangements are arranged randomly, EXCEPT in the very first stage after 
starting the game. In that case, it's the same every time. I've used this to 
test several theories about the game, by fighting the same monsters with the 
same stats using different strategies. It can also be used to help in building 
character or item XP. If you can find a normal stage with high level monsters 
or a good portal arrangement, you can replay it again and again by restarting 
the machine each time (after saving, of course).

In particular, I have found that playing the first stage in CoT 3 (where I 
level up items to combine), gives a portal arrangement that is easy to set up 
long portal streams hitting many monsters, and easy single miracles. It's like 
free item experience, "stolen" from the supposedly "random" arrangement of the 
stages.

Also, if you do not fight any monsters, go back to town, train any monsters, or 
in general do anything that would obviously call for a random number, the 
portal arrangement in each stage you visit will be in a set order (first stage 
always the same, second stage different than the first but always the same, 
etc.). If you're leveling items, this allows you to go in, purify a portal, 
have another character leave, then enter and get a new arrangement that will be 
the same for every second stage when you start the game up.

++++++++++++++++++++++++
[7.3] Other Observations
++++++++++++++++++++++++

-When am I ready for the Cave of Trials?

If you play through the chapters up to the start of Chapter 12, you should be 
able to handle CoT 1 easily.

-When am I ready for the Dark World?

Generally, if you can complete CoT 4, you can probably handle the Dark World at 
DEI 110-130. If you don't use CoT, a very defensive measure would be the start 
of the second tier (level 100). You could probably go in a little earlier, if 
you're patient with reloads, or power-level a lot.

-When am I ready for the First Title/Baal?

This will depend on your strategy and playing style, but a good measure is your 
Atk statistic. To beat a 500 level Demon Lord (and get the first title), you 
probably want an Atk close to 10K to make it relatively easy. For Baal (level 
2000), I beat him with a Balanced Party with Atk ranging from 25-30K, but it 
was a difficult battle. All of these Atk numbers are without Bravehearting.

-What about the bigger Baals (European/re-release Japanese)?

The European and Japanese re-release of La Pucelle contains extra stages with a 
level 4000 Baal and a level 9999 Baal. Since I play the North American version, 
I have not fought these. However, it seems that the same type of rules apply to 
these Baals. As a general theory (and it is only that, a theory), if you want 
to know if you can handle these Baals, compare their Atk stat to yours. If the 
Baal's stat is more than 2* or 3* yours, the answer is No. Even with half of 
Baal's stats, you're in for a fight.

-Types of Dark World?

Dark Worlds are labeled Spirit World, Demon World, Demon Lord World, Demon 
Overlord World, etc., probably based on their DEI (and, perhaps, monster 
results in the Dark World). This list is a rough estimate, and not meant to be 
exhaustive, but, in general. . .
Spirit World:         DEI around 110-130
Demon World:          DEI around 120-160
Demon Lord World:     DEI around 150-210
Demon Overlord World: DEI around 200-300
There is a current hypothesis that Haniwas cannot appear in the Spirit World. I 
have not investigated this, but I did not see any Haniwas until DEI 130+, so it 
could very well be true. 

-What about DEI 300 runs?

A DEI 300 run is when you go through a DEI 300 Dark World not fighting 
anything, just running for the exit. This is usually done early on in the game 
(before the party is ready to fight the monsters in DEI 300) to get powerful 
Dark World items. Equip the runner (usually Papillion) with as many Shoes as 
possible (or the Warp Engine), and go straight for the exit on each map. If you 
can't get there in one turn, deploy decoys weaker than the runner to draw away 
attacks.
It takes some luck (in the layout of the maps) and a lot of patience, but you 
can get some good equipment, even very early in the game. It's not necessary in 
the regular plotline (you can just level up), and the equipment you get is not 
as powerful as you can get later on (say, by just fighting through a Dark World 
DEI 150+), but it does work.

-Dark World Difficulty?

Monster levels in the Dark World seem to be based on the DEI and the amount of 
monsters sent and/or questions asked of the Dark World representative in the 
Rosenqueen shop. Several people have posted and/or sent suggestions for this 
(specifically Anubis and pokeeiyuu, who have advanced closely related formulas 
for monster levels). When this has been confirmed and permission granted, I'll 
post them here.

++++++++++
[7.4] Caps
++++++++++

These are the maximum numbers allowed in the game (for the truly adventurous):

Character Level: 9999

Item Level: 99

Maximum Base Stat on an Item: 9999

Maximum Stat on an Item: 32767

Maximum Elements on an Item: 4. An element can go up to 99.

Maximum Special Abilities on an Item: 8. Each can go to 100% (except for 
Special Attack, whose max is 20%).

Experience Total: Not sure, but if my formula holds (a big if), for regular 
characters, you should hit level 9999 at around 74G experience (74 billion). 
For Father Salade (40% penalty) that would be 103G.

Most Experience At One Time: If you have 7 Baals (level 2000), and can kill 
them in one attack, you net around 26.8M experience for one character. For the 
level 4000 Baals in the European/Japanese re-release, double this to 53.6M. For 
the level 9999 Baal, see below (Most Experience For A Single Monster).

Most Experience For A Single Monster: A level 9999 monster with coefficient 5 
will net a little less than 19M experience. For 7 of them (the max in one 
attack), you'll get around 133M.
 
Stats: With 4 items at the max (32767) and a character level of 9999, this 
would come to a stat cap around 3-4M. 
(I should note that you do not need anything near this to defeat any enemy in 
the game.)

Stat Levels: 99

Special Attack/Magic Levels: 50

Time: The save game time marker stops at 255 hours (and I've gone way past it 
testing all these formulas).

++++++++++++++++++++++
[7.5] Acknowledgements
++++++++++++++++++++++

This guide would not have been possible without a lot of help from the 
following:

A lot of the material for this guide was based on previous walkthroughs/guides 
published on GameFaqs, which I simply tested and codified. The authors of these 
guides truly deserve much praise for their work.

Crimson Phantom's and micken's Walkthroughs provide the basics of how to get 
through the first tier of the game, and I used some of their ideas for 
strategies in the Dark World.

Wakuseino's Item Fusion Guide gives the basics of item fusion. I have borrowed 
his term "aspect" for my explanation.

A I e x's Miracle FAQ is a must-see for how to set up multi-miracles.

Paragon's Stat Increase Guide gives some ideas for how to efficiently increase 
stats, which I have used in this guide.

Coduan's Chapter 1 Power Earning Guide is a great way to try to finish the game 
without going through the main story.

Chocomog's Bestiary gives stats on the monsters available in the game.

All of these, and other useful guides, are available at www.gamefaqs.com

I would also like to thank the contributors on the La Pucelle Board on GameFaqs 
for helping me with ideas for this guide. In particular:

RPGaholic for helping me confirm the formula for the interaction effect, which 
served as the basis for this guide.

Suicune girl for helping me with the Spd and MV statistics. 

Cacticus for hosting the first topic for this guide.

Pokeeiyuu for stat cap information (32767 item stat cap), and several Japanese 
websites to peruse (the ideas for modifications to monster experience and Dark 
World difficulty came from these sites, which I confirmed independently).

Reinbach III for stat cap info (32767 item stat cap), info from the European 
release, item interaction after level 500, and Dark World monster info.

Anubis, for help on the survey and purification information.

And many others on the Board who, through their questions and comments, 
encouraged me to make and continue to improve this guide.

Thanks also need to go to the hard working people in charge of GameFaqs, for 
providing the forum for discussion, and to Mastiff and Nippon Ichi for 
producing and releasing the game.

All trademarks and copyrights in this document are owned by their respective 
holders.

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