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We could just hop straight into the ruins, use the key and explore as much as we can right away. I am definitely not going to do that for several reasons, the biggest of which can be found over at the the Blacksmith's place. Let's head on over there, shall we?

It was the sole smithery in the village, and various weapons lined the walls to the ceiling.

There, inside the store where the sound of flames and iron being struck echoed all around, Ren was stood stock still.

Excuse meeee--!

The person who finally came out was a young man in work clothes, who appeared to be the owner of the store.

Ah? What, it's just some kid...? I've not seen you around here before, what're you after?
I've just registered with the guild, so I was told to come and say hello...
Oh? So you must be Ren. I heard the news, but... you really are just a kid.
Well, not that it matters.

"It doesn't matter" he says... then why even bring it up?
Hm? Did you say something?
No, nothing.
Well, anyways! I'm Lagnus. I own the place.
Should the need arise, you can come here to forge new weapons to equip, or enhance the ones you already own.
Forge and enhance weapons?
Yeah. Forging is when you make weapons from scratch...

By the way, both require materials and money.
Of course, the better the weapons, the better quality material and the more money you'll need, but...
Well, there's the guild round here where you can take jobs, or you can go off and gather them on your own.

Hm? Ah, yeah it is. It's light and easy to handle. It suits me fine.

As he spoke, Ren showed off the sword he had attached to his waist.

Seeing that, Lagnus was taken aback and let out a large sigh.

Oi, oi... That's no good.
Taking it case-by-case and reacting to the situation around you is the best way to fight.
...I know. Just gimme a minute. I'll give you something good.

That said, Lagus (sic) disappeared into the back of the store.

Lagnus had come out from the back holding a sword in each hand.


These are?
For your first visit only! It's a special service. After this, you'll have to show your 'patronage', okay?
The Fleuret is a "Medium Sword", and the Long Sword is a "Big Sword".
It's not a big deal, but it might be good to think of it as 'practice' when you use them, at least until you get used to it.
...Speaking of, this is for you too.

The book has a detailed description of the characteristics of each main weapon category.
If you want to know the differences between Small Swords, Medium Swords and Big Swords then you should give it a read.

Here's the differences:

Small Swords have no reach, do weak attacks but can usually do longer combos. If you can hit the enemy, you're nearly touching them so if they don't flinch you're likely getting hit too.

Big Swords have longest reach, do one strong attack that takes forever to recover from and have a charge attack that is borderline unusable in practice.

Medium Swords don't suck.

Well, to start, don't strain yourself or think too hard. It's alright to just use them however for now.
Right. Thank you. You're a surprisingly nice guy.
That's 'Mr Lagnus' to you! Sheesh. This is why brats without manners are...
Well anyway, you should check out the store and see what we have.
If you already have materials and money, you can get making new weapons straight away.
So, what'll it be?

So, as was explained we can make new weapons or upgrade the ones we have. Making new weapons is expensive, time consuming and only sometimes relevant. We'll usually get weapons that are good enough from other places. You'll see.

Enhancing is usually more relevant. We can take weapons we already have, spend far less money and usually less resources to transform them into stronger forms. Not every weapon can be upgraded though, so there isn't a single linear path through them or anything.

It's worth noting that the weapons we start with, the Thin Blade/Fleuret/Long Sword, all require the exact same materials to evolve. Same cost too, for that matter.

We used the Thin Blade before, so we'll swap over to the Fleuret because I dislike it the least. It's not a good first impression of Medium Swords, since it's a rare one that can't combo. For a starter weapon, it showcases the type differences well enough; stronger than the Thin Blade, longer range but worse recovery speed and lower combo ceiling.

We'll use the Long Sword later I guess, but for now we have the regular item store to check out. Time for another cutscene...

The one who had greeted him was a small beastman.

It looked like he was lounging about on top of the counter, but by sitting there, he was just about able to meet Ren at eye level.

Oh my my! I haven't seen your face beforre. Arrre you new?
I've just registered with the guild, so I was told to come and say hello...
Ah! So you're the new registrrree, Ren? I hearrrd the news.

Ah, likewise.
So, this is the item shop, right? Is there anyone else around?
As you see, Avanc is the only one! This is Avanc's Item Shop!
Wow... Even though you're so tiny.
My size i irrrelevant!!
Beside, Avanc's shop has a reputation forrr having a wide range of stock!

If you have money, you can get whatever you want!

The shop part of Avanc's shop kinda sucks, honestly...

And, do you see the big pot over therrre?
Big pot?
Oh, you mean this?

Ren replied, pointing at the pot at the stood next to the counter.

Yes! That's the one!

...and they'll be mixed together in the lick of a paw, giving you a new item or piece of equipment. A truly marrrvelous invention!

It's a pretty basic crafting system, but it's by far the best thing Avanc offers.

Heh~ That does sound handy. ...But I'm a bit scared that you haven't brought up anything about the fee to use it.
Non, non, non! Therrre is nothing to be scared of!
You can use the pot as much as you want, whenever you want, frrree of charge.
...Free of charge?

You must gather your own materials at the ruins, or buy them from Avanc's storrre! Okay?
Yeah. I'll take you up on that.
Now, then...
Right, I'll give you this present as a token of our frrriendship!

It's a good book with some hints about collecting materials!
It's full of really, rreallly handy info, so make sure you look through it properly later!

Er, no it's not. All it tells you is the absolute basic stuff: you get materials as drops from monsters, or by using the Tree/Grass/Rocks harvesting points. Stuff we already know.

Alright, I'll take a look. Thank you.
No no no no no, it's the least I can do.
Since you took the trouble of coming here, you should hve a look at my warrres.
I've assembled all sorrrts of essential items for explorring the ruins!
Well well well, what would you like?

So, I said Avanc's store sucks. It does.

See, we can buy some items (which is split between regular items and crafting materials), all kinds of weapons and even accessories.

There is no armour. Accessories are our armour. This gets silly very quickly.

The main weapons Avanc sells is 4 of each kind of sword. The small swords he sells are the default weapons and their upgrade path. With one exception! He only sells 3 Big Swords from the default line and the base weapon of a second path. It costs $1800 and is not worth buying here. Not just because we can't afford it yet etiher.

...I'll inevitably pick it up later though.

The sub-weapons he sells are okay. Spinning Ray, Self-Defence Knife and Chicken Knife all have ailment proc effects. The Pocket Knife does the most raw damage. They all have finite ammo, though, so I'll just stick with the default infinite Knife for now.

The regular items that we can buy here are mostly pretty good. Basic healing item, ailment cures for four of the five ailments, Life's Guidepost is an immediate warp back to town and the last item (not visible here) does damage to all enemies on screen. I have literally never used it because it sounds underwhelming, but I'll give it a try later.

Crafting materials are very limited, but there's like one that we can literally only get here anyway. Mostly these are from the first part of the dungeon, or otherwise craftable early on, but that Wild Mint Grass is a weird outlier coming from the third area of the main game. Yeah.

Crafting is... it's very basic. We need to make an item at least once to see what it is. We know all the recipes already, including the ones that are only creatable in the postgame. There's 42 regular items, 28 crafting materials (yes), 19 subweapons and 34 accessories craftable here.

I can't guarantee we'll fill out 100% of this but we'll hit the important stuff at least.

Before we head into the ruins again, we'll take a quick jaunt to the guild. Strictly speaking, everything we can do here is now completely optional. We'll need to return now and then to be able to make progress, but no quests are required to get deeper into the ruins ever again.

We're going to do all of them though. I'll offscreen the processes for the more tedious ones.

We'll start with the basic one of "kill 6 slimes". It's not very difficult. The Fleuret does nearly 50% more damage than the Thin Sword (per hit) but can't combo.

The Long Sword does... not that much more, but also can't combo.

The charge attack does a ton more damage! This is enough to actually one-shot a Green Gel. That's actually noteworthy right now, depressingly enough.

However, it takes a while to charge up, once it's ready your movement slows to a crawl and if you get hit while charging it (or do something as simple as a jump once it is charged) then the charge is lost and you have to start again. It works on stationary targets that aren't attacking and virtually nothing else.

While we're here, I pick up some extra early materials including this Rotten Lumber. Now what to upgrade first...

Nah, it's obvious. Gotta be the Fleuret.

This becomes the Middle Sword, which... okay. We can't upgrade this just yet, because we can't get Venom """Benone""" Powder until we're further into the ruins than the first room.

It's damage is on par with the Long Sword, though, so it now only takes 3 hits to kill a slime!

Hm? Oh, yes, the early game is really, really slow. Why do you ask?

6 green gels murdered, we hop back to the guild and claim our rewards. Some basic crafting materials and a free Life's Guidepost. $1200 isn't bad for like a minute's work either. Sadly, I feel the need to point out now that even though we will be able to see completed quests we can never redo them.

So with that in mind, let's go do the next one. Technically we don't even have to enter the ruins for this. You might've noticed before, but Avanc sells Mint for $40 each. We can just buy 8 there and hand it in here for a tidy profit.

But we can also get it for free in...the first room of the ruins. I spend a few minutes going in and out to get it that way instead. I'm a cheapskate and don't want to spend money unnecessarily just yet.

Along the way, I take that free Rotten Lumber and upgrade the Thin Blade to the Short Sword. 3 hit combo is nice, but I like it less than the 2 hit combo personally...

And the Long Sword to the Bastard Sword which shows just how arbitray the weapon typing here is. Bastard Swords are basically the real-life epitome of what this game considers "Medium Swords", but here it's regitered as a greatsword. Just... just go with it.

Speaking of which, the Bastard Sword is so much stronger than the Long Sword that it takes it from 3 hits to kill a slime to... 3 hits to kill a slime.

I am not going to waste time with the charge attack, thanks.

Buying 8 Mint is pretty decent here by the way. This won't always be true though. You get nearly $1000 in profit, along with 3 basic healing items, 1 second tier healing item (we won't get them consistently for a while) and our first of many skill books.

We've unlocked a new 6th quest that we can do right now. If we pick it up here, we can continue camping in the first room of the ruins. I'll get to it later though, since it requires grabbing 5 Green Bugs. Doable but tedious. So, intead let's do the next Baby's First Quest and go kill 5 Skeletons. This forces us to explore more of the ruins.

Before that, we should use Throwing [Part 1]. This requires us to leave the guild and return. This is only explained to you that you need to do this... after you do this with a later book. I'm not an expert at game design, but that's so obviously wrong it shouldn't need explaining how and why it's bad.

Welcome. Been up to anything exciting lately?
Could you take a look at this?

Let's see... Hmmm... Ahh... Interesting...
What's it say?

So, whenever we get a skill book (or more) and come back here, this scene plays out identically. Every single time. It varies the exact wording after this point but I'll cut out most of it from now on.

The Hunter's Left Hand?

In other words, it's a skill that will increase the power of knife attacks, as long [as] it's been assigned.
If you think you might need it, why don't you try equipping it?

Probably not gonna see much use beyond this early, so sure. Let's pop into the menu and check our assigned skills.

It's not very interesting, as it simply increases our subweapon attack stat by 5. This translates to...

...a tiny damage increase. We did 17-18 with our infinite knives to Green Gel before. Now we do 20-21. Hayup.

Well, we're in the ruins and have our new quest to kill some Skeletons. Let's see if we can find some.

The early layout for the ruins is pretty linear, all told. After the first room, we have this small area with stairs leading down to the next floor. We'll skip those for a second and go left.

This gets us to our first save point room. This seems weird but it'll make sense later.

Most, but not all, save rooms also have an item of some kind in them.

This one has a key item in it. It's the first of... many records all written by the same guy. A lot of them are also hidden or kinda out of the way. We'll try to get them all because hey why not.

Heading down those stairs, we get to another long corridor. There's techically three ways out of this room, but we'll try to not fall in pits right now.

The flagstone just tells us that we're officially in the first area of the ruins. I dunno why they're called layers, since it's not a straight linear drop but whatever.

Anyway, this room is pretty simple. No resource gathering points, but there are three slimes here! Moving up in the world.

Jumping over pits is marginally harder than it seems. Barring a tiny handful of exceptions, it almost never matters though. There's no fall damage or anything, so we just end up in a different room. They're good for shortcuts, as a result.

Past our first pit (and the second slime) we find... a Skeleton! It attacks by throwing bones at you. This sounds very Castlevania-y but don't worry it isn't.

Instead of being an arcing shot that's easy to dodge... it's a straight shot that's easy to dodge. And also it boomerangs back like... the Cross in Castlevania...

Anyway, we hit it three times with our sword and it dies.

We'll keep going left for now. There's another Skeleton right away in this room. Dealing with it in melee is doable but annoying, so I just pelt it from barely onscreen with infinite knives. The Skeleton's thrown bone has a longer range than our knives, by the way, so that's probably worth keeping in mind? Maybe.

Past the Skeleton, we can climb up to where those bats are but there's a treasure chest on the bottom part of the area. The first of many!

...It's just a 50HP heal but it's free!

The Black Ptera bats are genuinely so weak we can oneshot them with the Middle Sword.

They can drop two things (here). Both of which are very common.

We can, in theory, get the Noisy Bug from harvesting a Grass point somewhere. It's easier to just get them as drops though.

The top-left most room in the whole map has a moth in it.

Fighting moths at all, but especially right now, is annoying. This one has an AoE poison cloud it spits out.

They like to cling to you so you take contact damage. They can poison you with this too (though it's much rarer).

Poison is just damage over time. It's RPG Poison.

The Giant Moth is what drops, well, moth wings and... """Benone""" Powder. That so obviously should be Venom that I don't know how it happened.

We can't crawl or anything, so we're unable to properly enter this room yet.

The two Skeletons around here can drop Mint rarely, but mostly just give us their bones. After going to the top-left and back, we've hit 3 already... Hmm.

Get the Skeleton kill count up to four as we return to the save point. They fully heal us, get rid of any ailments, very ho hum. As a nice bonus, though, once we find a second one we can warp between save points. This will be very, very nice later.

Take a moment to kill a 5th Skeleton and hand in the quest. The reward's just a bunch of common crafting materials, but it's a nice time saver. We technically haven't been to where we can get Sap and Grande Stones yet, though we could any time.

Gonna pick up the Black Ptera vanquish quest, though we'll basically hand these two in virtually simultaneously. I'll ignore doing either of these, for now, so we can finish our early exploration.

While in town, because I feel like it basically, I upgrade the Bastard Sword into a Claymore. I haven't really played around much with Big Swords so I don't know (at time of writing) what it having a Charge Attack value of 2 means. It's not a separate combo count, I know that much.

Back to the dungeon, we'll head down another set of stairs I glossed past before. We'll keep on hitting up the left-side of the floor first. It's worked out well so far.

Another new enemy appears here and it's a generic zombie!

Though this one attacks by using... a poison breath. We can stand outside its range and hurl knives at it, or just over it during its long windup and stab it in the back.

It's not very durable. This one dropped a different kind of bone, but they can also drop Rotten Meat. Yuck.

There's two Living Dead on this screen, by the way, along with an easier to handle Giant Moth.

The Grass here isn't really different from the one before. The Rocks here can give us Grande Stones along with Parvum.

...This dropped its Benone Powder. I'm still amazed by this. Simple things, I know.

Past the second Living Dead, we find a small treasure room. The regular chest gives a Life's Guidepost so we can just warp out now.

Red Chests give skill book. This one is mandatory for progression even if its name is meaningless.

We'll ignore the obvious hint to take the book and leave. Going right, we can find a tree that gives us Sap and seemingly nothing else. This could be useful later when we need a lot of Sap to make a lot of things.

There's two more Green Gel and another Skeleton here as well, by the way.

Just past there is another spot we can't do anything with. Guess we're stuck. Back to town it is!

Before we use that skill book, I take a moment to upgrade the Middle Sword into the Tinku Blade. This one CAN combo, making it a good example of how Medium Swords are just the best weapon type. It might not outdamage our Big Sword per hit, but it can do two in less time than it take the Claymore to do one.

I grabbed the second Benone Powder on my way out. I walked out, instead of teleporting. Basically always be doing that, except whenever I'm feeling extra lazy.

We can't get Damp Lumber until we can get deeper into the ruins. It's literally just past the block in the last room we were in, even.

The bit about dodging is super misleading. The roll itself has no invincibility frames is the thing.

It's also after we learn to roll that we learn how to use skill books. The idea is likely that this is the first one you get, or you don't come back with just Throwing [Part 1], so you can learn it reasonably but it's still dumb.

Oh well. Now we can explore deeper into the first layer. We'll do that later though. If you'll excuse me, I have to go kill 12 bats and dig through the grass until I find more bugs...