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Videogame: Etrian Odyssey

Etrian Odysseynote  is a first-person tile-based dungeon-crawler series published by Atlus and co-developed with Lancarse, consisting of four major installments, remakes of the first two games, with an additional installment and spin-off game on the way.

The series' most iconic feature is the in-game cartography system. The player is given a blank grid every time they enter a new area and must chart out their own map. The system is meant to recall retro games, where players had to map out their own progress while playing. Thankfully, the whole point is that the game doesn't force you to break out your own graph paper: you draw your maps on the DS' bottom screen and mark interesting locations with a variety of icons.

Also iconic are the infamous "F.O.E.s" (Formido Oppugnatura Exsequens or, in the Japanese version, Field-On Enemy) — ridiculously overpowered Pre Existing Encounters that roam the dungeons. If the player collides with an F.O.E., combat begins with a monster that is usually immensely more powerful than everything else on the level, and meant to be avoided until the player is much stronger. When there's a message to the effect of "you suddenly sense the presence of a powerful monster that will eat your face, maybe you should run," unlike other RPGs, Etrian Odyssey means it. It's worth noting that each round of combat counts as a step for F.O.E. movement, so taking too long will allow them to sneak up on you and join in the fight. All of this is on top of the already significant difficulty of the rest of the game.

According to the series' original scenario designer, Shigeo Komori, the series was inspired by retro dungeon crawler games, specifically Dungeon Master. He lamented that no one made games like that anymore, and designed Etrian Odyssey in the hopes that it would catch enough interest to revive the genre. While the series wasn't an overnight success, the first game managed enough sales to warrant a sequel and by the time Etrian Odyssey IV rolled around, its first week sales in Japan pulled over 100,000 units. The series has become a sort of cult hit internationally, and is definitely one of Atlus' staple franchises at this point - to the point that an Etrian-mechanics-inspired Persona game, featuring the casts of the modern Persona games, was released in 2014 (staggered worldwide, to boot).

The series has a character page that could use some work.

For similar games to compare and contrast, see the Ur Example, Wizardry, and/or the main-series Shin Megami Tensei games, including the spinoff Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey. Also compare Persona Q: Shadow Of The Labyrinth, which is essentially an Etrian game with a Persona spin on the visuals, settings and a few mechanics.

The games in this series include:

  • Etrian Odyssey note (Nintendo DS, 2007)
  • Etrian Odyssey II: Heroes of Lagaard note (Nintendo DS, 2008)
  • Etrian Odyssey III: The Drowned City note (Nintendo DS, 2010)
  • Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan note (Nintendo 3DS, 2012)
  • Etrian Odyssey Untold: The Millennium Girl note (Nintendo 3DS, 2013)
  • Shin Sekaiju no Meikyuu 2: Fafuniiru no Kishi note  (Nintendo 3DS, 2014 for the Japanese version)
  • Etrian Mystery Dungeon note , a crossover with the Mystery Dungeon series (Nintendo 3DS, 2015)
  • Sekaiju no Meikyuu V note , teased, system and release date TBA.

This series provides examples of:

  • Abandoned Laboratory: The Hall of Darkness in Legends of the Titan.
    • The new dungeon, Gladsheim, in The Millennium Girl.
  • Absurdly High Level Cap: While the level cap starts at 70 (like in the first game) in Heroes of Lagaard, this can be raised. The condition is to raise your character to level 70, then retire them (which raises the cap by one level), and keep repeating the cycle until they reach level 99. note  But after reaching level 99, for best results, you would need to retire your character one last time so it can reach maximum stats. Thus, for your starting party to reach this perfect cap, you need to gain 1733 levels per character. Makes you wonder if they take a cue from Disgaea. Fortunately, all games afterwards decided to forego this and instead make it so that the three dragons each raise the level cap by ten (aside from the last one, which does so by nine).
  • Action Bomb:
    • A few enemies in The Drowned City, mainly the Pasaran.
    • The Flame Rat in Legends of the Titan can be one if it's with the Flame Lynx.
  • Action Girl: On top of having two female portraits for each character class (and a few who could easily pass for one), official art often favors using women. This extends to the point that each game uses a woman as its representative/'mascot':
    • Etrian Odyssey uses the blonde Protector.
    • Heroes of Lagaard uses the blue-clad Gunner with the Jack Frost hairclip.
    • The Drowned City uses the ponytailed Princess.
    • Legends of the Titan uses the short-haired Landsknecht and the pigtailed Fortress - in a much, much more prominent fashion than the previous examples. See two tropes below.
    • And Untold has Frederica, naturally.
  • Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: One of the many, things that makes these games hard is that almost every item and service, even the lowliest healing item, is ludicrously expensive.
    • The Drowned City cuts the price of revival items 90% to a mere 50en! But there is a catch. While in the past games the shop only require additional materials if you wish to get a unique weapon again, this time ALL items (provided you have unlocked them) can run out of stock if you don't give the shop enough materials. So if you just ran out of the medicine you want, you have to farm the materials again.
      • Legends of the Titan keeps this system as well, to an extent.
  • Adventure Duo: The bob-cut Landsknecht and pigtailed Fortress of Legends of the Titan are portrayed this way in promotional art - the only time you might see one without the other is on the Japanese soundtrack covers. Otherwise, not only are they everywhere, but they are always used together. And even in proper Adventure Duo fashion - the Landsknecht is usually being a fairly sensible Hero while the Fortress is often posed a little more dynamically or is doing something goofier (perfect example: the back of the American art collection booklet).
  • After the End
    • Etrian Odyssey was set up as After The End in the pre-title intro, which established that the Labyrinth was formed in an apocalyptic disaster that ended the previous age; however, the exact nature of the world Before The End is a major plot twist in the game.
    • Heroes of Lagaard, mentions Etria several times, confirming that it takes place on the same world. The game's plot also revolves around the aftermath of the apocalypse.
    • In The Drowned City, it is quickly established early on that there has been a 'Calamity' of some sort a hundred years ago that destroyed Armoroad's former prosperity.
    • Legends of the Titan has a world in which most of the inhabitants are unaware of the existence of or locations where any others aside from them reside in the aftermath of a battle with the Titan that lead to a sizable amount of death. The Sixth Stratum also hints that this world is post some kind of calamity as well.
    • It's revealed in The Millennium Girl that the Calamity is the Yggdrasil Project's core corrupting and becoming a horrific monster with godlike regenerative abilities. While it's possible to stop it, fighting it without the proper weapons will lead to how Armoroad became or worse. There are also seven of these.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: M.I.K.E. goes insane after the party confronts him about activating Gungnir. It eventually leads to him trying to activate Gungnir anyway despite not meeting the requirements to actually kill the core. However, after he is defeated and talks to Frederica, he believes in the party and uses all spare energy he has to assist them.
  • A Kind of One: all three games contain straight examples as well as aversions.
    • The Japanese version of Etrian Odyssey feature Gullinburstis in the 5th stratum, though they were renamed during localization. Both versions of the remake retain the original name.
    • Heroes of Lagaard has the player battling Sleipnirs (and yes, they all have 8 legs)
    • Most bosses are actually aversions, including types of monsters that are normally A Kind of One in other games (like fenrir wolves or chimerae)
  • Alternate Continuity: It's actually become unclear if this applies - the first two games are explicitly linked (as in, you can use a password to make your EO1 guild the EO2 guild-plus-locals, which is generally seen as canon), but then 3 and 4 seemed to exist in each of their own little pockets, with some shared enemies at best (although in 4, the Imperials resembling a significant number of previous hero portraits raised some eyebrows.) Untold's Story Mode, however, does quite a bit to suggest that 4 is very much contiguous with the first two games, and makes it plausible that 3 would be as well. Word of God is currently silent on the question, however, so for now whether there's one continuity or three - or whether players are meant to interpret it however they wish - is up in the air.
  • Alchemy Is Magic: Alchemists fill the Black Mage role and serve as the major source of elemental damage.
  • Ambiguously Gay: A bit milder than some other examples, and of course the series practically encourages you to write your own head-canon, but some of the art of the aforementioned EO4 Adventure Duo comes across this way. The bit at the very end of the "Music and Art Collection" booklet (the one behind the CD) turns the most heads in this regard, but in general they're depicted doing a lot together - straight down to grocery shopping and eating meals. If they aren't the trope, they're at least Heterosexual Life-Partners.
    • It doesn't help that some of the personal artwork of Yuji Himukai, the series' lead artist, "pours fire" on the speculation... to put it mildly.
  • An Adventurer Is You: YOU are the brave adventurers going on an epic journey into a vast labyrinth of mystery and wonder.
  • Angst? What Angst?: Invoked in The Millennium Girl quite a bit.
    • Frederica is from the distant past and left behind her family, everyone she knew, and all of the customs she was familiar with. This is mostly glossed over in favor of her being upset over having amnesia, a sub-plot which is resolved fairly quickly.
    • Arthur is from a mining town called Gotham and was almost killed by Gungnir firing and destroying the town when he was younger. Despite that fact, he remains cheerful all the time, and the only kind of problem he seems to have developed from it is a fear of darkness... which is only brought up in an optional and missable scene.
    • As the party enters the Sandy Barrens to fight and kill the infected members of the Forest Folk, Raquna feels exceptionally down about the idea of having to carry out these executions. No talk is made of it in the aftermath of the ensuing battles.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: While getting a Game Over will erase all other progress since you last saved, changes you've made to your map can still be saved.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: The original series designer/director actually admitted in an interview that he set the party limit to five to ensure that players would always feel like they're missing out on the benefits of whatever class they're not using — with six or more, parties were just too complete.
    • In The Drowned City, however, you can summon monsters or make a clone of a character to fill the sixth slot. Legends of the Titan includes a sixth slot for guests, but removes the ability to fill the sixth slot using a skill.
  • Art Evolution: The character designs have grown increasingly complex over time, going from what might be described as "generically anime" and not involving a lot of detail or complex colors, to having a very distinct, detailed kind of "Puni Plush" style that involves a lot of complex use of color and gradients, with very elaborate clothing that is usually European-inspired.
    • This is on particularly hilarious display in Untold - the new story-mode cast is, of course, the most recent creation of Mr. Himukai... and they share a game with the unaltered art from the original game. It's all been up-rezzed compared to the DS version to better fit the 3DS top screen, but the art is otherwise unaltered. During the story mode this doesn't stand out too bad, if only because the game makes sure that the new cast only ever shares screen-time with Ren, Tlachtga, Quinn, and Visil, but if you import the story team into Classic mode in a New Game+, the art difference when put right next to the old designs in a party can be jarring. (The hair and eyes, in particular, often look wildly different.)
  • Artifact Title: Only the first game and the remake takes place in Etria. The second, third, and fourth take place in Lagaard, Armoroad, and Tharsis, respectively. The Japanese titles are different (Yggdrasil's Labyrinth or Labyrinth of the World Tree), which makes sense even though the eponymous tree in each game is completely unrelated to the others.
  • Artificial Brilliance: Some beetle enemies in both Legends of the Titan and The Millennium Girl will sometimes guard an enemy when they themselves are at low HP. Not only will they not move normally if they did anything else due to being too slow, but they would also prevent you from slamming a healthy enemy with a powerful attack, or preventing an ability that requires a certain character to kill an enemy from activating. This is used to strategic effect in the former game, as there are enemies in the Hall of Darkness that react angrily to other enemies being killed.
  • Artificial Stupidity: Enemies may try to use skills that won't work due to the required body part being bound, giving you a free turn.
  • Attack Its Weak Point For Massive Damage: Played straight in all of the games, but generally not so noticeable in Etrian Odyssey. Most enemies have an element they are weak to, and receive about 50% more damage from an attack of that element.
    • The mage-like classes from the second game on have skills all further increase the damage you do when you hit a weakness. Alchemists have Analyze in Heroes of Lagaard, Zodiacs have Singularity in The Drowned City, and the Rune Masters have Runic Guidance in Legends of the Titan. Analyze also returns for The Millennium Girl.
  • Awesome but Impractical:
    • The Infinity+1 Sword and Infinity–1 Sword weapons in Legends of the Titan. They're only slightly more powerful than the third most powerful weapon of its type. However, the killer is that despite having a full six/seven forge slots, they require one of each material used to make the weapon to be used for a single slot. This is a problem because the items are either normal or conditional drops from difficult bonus bosses or the sixth stratum's super difficult boss. Especially since the bosses take a lengthy fourteen days to respawn after they're defeated.
    • Also from Legends of the Titan, Blood Surge is initially very practical, but becomes this after putting more than one or two skill points into it. At one point, it boosts your damage by 45% in return for costing 10 HP and 5 TP every turn. Further points give a 5% increase to the damage bonus, but a much higher increase to the HP cost. Maxed out at six points, it becomes +70% damage for 197 HP and 10 TP per turn.
    • Tagen Batou in The Drowned City. While it's capable of defeating the bonus boss in a single hit, it requires multiple turns to set up effectively and requires you to leave empty slots in your party, which is a terrible idea.
  • Awesome by Analysis: Alchemists have the skill Analysis, which increases their damage when they attack enemies' weak points. The Zodiac class supposedly uses the power of math to manipulate the ether.
    • Analysis became a Burst skill in Legends of the Titan, where it reveals all information of the scanned target.
  • Awesome Mc Cool Name/Names to Run Away From Really Fast: The elephant your Wildling summons is named "Plague God".
  • Badass Adorable/Little Miss Badass: Some of the female adventurers look very young. The Drowned City continues the tradition and has Gender Flipped it, with a few male designs that tread into shota territory.
    • According to the "Explorer's Log" comics by character designer Yuji Himukai, the "representative" Hexer (the girl with the pale lavender hair) in the first two games is all of twelve years old at the start of Etrian Odyssey. (Funnily enough, though, the female Protector, who is the nearest thing to a main character EO1 has, is apparently in her mid-twenties when most people would peg her younger.)
  • Badass Princess: The character class in The Drowned City as well as one of the main characters of Knight of Fafnir.
  • Bag of Sharing
  • Barrier Warrior: Protectors and Fortresses, while mainly acting as Stone Wall, have skills that can completely block certain elemental attacks or improve defense for the entire party. In The Drowned City, several classes have the ability to put up barriers (which, if barriers are necessary to begin with, will likely be all they do for the entire battle).
  • Battle Ballgown: The Princess and Hoplite classes in the third game.
  • Bears Are Bad News: In Legends of the Titan, the F.O.E.s in the first big dungeon are Cutters. Later in the dungeon come their nastier cousins the Bloodbears, and said dungeon ends with an even more ferocious one called the Berserker King. And the portions of the final dungeon that weave through the first dungeon feature Desoulers, an F.O.E. that makes the prior three look tame by comparison.
    • They also appeared in Etrian Odyssey, and return in The Millennium Girl.
  • Beef Gate: This is one purpose of the F.O.E.s. Special cases above and beyond even that that are mentioned as such even in game include Wyvern in Etrian Odyssey, Salamox in Heroes of Lagaard, and the Stalkers in both games.
  • Benevolent Boss: A lot of the town leaders are decent, but worth noting is the Outland Count from Legends of the Titan. He at first comes across as a pampered aristocrat with his fancy outfit and his fluffy lapdog, Margherita. It quickly becomes apparent, however, that he has a very good understanding of the responsibility that comes with his position and he would gladly give anything, even his own life, to protect the city.
  • Bittersweet Ending: In Heroes of Lagaard, The Overlord is defeated, thus freeing High Lagaard from his insane experiments, but the Birdmen are now left with the reality that their "god" was in fact a fraud, and their leader admits that his people's future is uncertain. Also, the Overlord's death unleashes the Ur Child, but the Guild deals with that in the postgame.
    • In The Drowned City, both the Armoroad and Deep City endings are this. In both routes, the Final Boss begs you to protect the world in their place, and to tell their sibling they are sorry before dying, your party is left wondering if they chose the right side after all, and Yggdrasil points out that the true enemy, the Abyssal God, is still out there.
  • Blackout Basement: Invoked in Legends of the Titan. A few areas of the Hall of Darkness on the second and third floors feature pitch black rooms with teleporter traps on the floor. In actuality, the safe places to walk coincide with the patches of poison on the floor in the adjacent rooms.
    • A couple floors in The Millennium Girl start out with very little lighting, and you have to either light torches, therefore waking up the F.O.E.s, or carefully see one step ahead of you. B27F, however, gets special notice for retaining the large amount of pits on the floor like in the original, having an already difficult floor be cranked Up to Eleven. Fun.
  • Blatant Lies: If you use the password system in Heroes of Lagaard, it's stated multiple times that your guild saved Etria. This is completely false, as your guild killed their Yggdrasil by killing the only thing keeping it alive, and potentially turned it into a ghost town. Though this was fixed with The Millennium Girl, as Etria's Yggdrasil (as well as Gungnir) would have wiped a large portion of civilization off the map if your party hadn't intervened.
    • The bear F.O.E.s in the fifth stratum in The Millennium Girl are weaker than the mantis on the same floor, according to the minimap. The bears also have a random, heavy-hitting attack that can wipe out your party in a single turn, even with buffs and debuffs added, which is far more than a mantis can do.
      • In the same game, some skills have deceiving descriptions. For example, Stone Gleam says it targets a line, while it really only targets a single person/enemy. Forest Barrier reduces defense and Forest Breach reduces attack, despite the names making more sense the other way around. When the party healing skill Salve is at level 9, the "next level" descriptor in the Custom screen says it will target all enemies at level 10. Allied Bonds says it recovers HP when party members in the same line sacrifice their HP, but it actually recovers TP. The text in cutscenes also occasionally has typos.
      • There are also a few Grimoire effects guilty of this as well. One such notable example says that new Grimoire Stones will be at double the level of the original... but it actually increases the level of abilities on equipped Grimoire Stones by 2.
  • Blush Sticker: The girls in The Millennium Girl have this in the cutscenes. It's otherwise absent, however.
  • Body Horror: The Titan's Curse in Legends of the Titan, which appears partway through the third land. It slowly and painfully transforms its victims into vegetation. While discussed and described at length, its effects are almost never shown with the exception of Prince Baldur, who takes on a One-Winged Angel form thanks to the tree's effects.
  • Bonus Boss: It says something that a game that was already Nintendo Hard felt the need to kick it up a notch for the post-game content. Three of them in particular have been in all the games: the Wyrm, the Drake, and the Dragon. They were renamed to Great Dragon, Blizzard King, and Storm Emperor in Legend of the Titan onward.
    • The third game adds another dragon to the mix, the Elder Dragon, who, being the one who had the quests for them unlocked in the first place, proves to be even harder than the aforementioned three!
    • The fourth game brings in a fifth dragon, the Fallen One, who is implied to be the fourth's dragon's counterpart, and it shows with its abilities.
  • Bonus Dungeon: Every game in the series features a sixth (or seventh, in the case of the Untold games) stratum that houses much harder enemies and a powerful Bonus Boss.
  • Boring but Practical: Making detailed maps can take quite a while, but since the nature of the game makes it so that you have to run through the same floors over and over it pays off when you're able to get through the first Strata in a few minutes.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: While F.O.E.s are sometimes considered this by new players, you can choose when you want to fight them. However, many random encounters are just as deadly.
    • Heroes of Lagaard has a returning enemy from the first game, the Muckdile, who traded its not-very-noteworthy F.O.E. status for a deadly rare random encounter. Along with many factors that make it more formidable, it's the single enemy in the game that is immune to Stun, and uses an extremely dangerous attack if you bind its limbs. Not even the final Bonus Boss does anything like that, and there is no way to know it until it has happened at least once.
    • The Drowned City has a couple. The Great Lynx, on the first floor, has been known to kill party members with normal attacks. Largebills are a stronger version, though they teach players to go dungeon-hopping during certain hours. These seem to be a giant middle finger at anyone who's trying this series for the first time. Of course, as you go down, things will get worse. And this happens at every stratum in the game. The worst kinds, however, are the monsters that summon/combine/transform to F.O.E.-type monsters if left alive for too long.
    • Practically any ape monster qualifies in Legends of the Titan.
  • Bottomless Bladder: You never need to sleep, and one quest in Etrian Odyssey requires you avoid doing so for 5 days. There isn't really that much reason to sleep, with an easily obtainable source of infinite TP on the first floor and the cost of the inn.
  • But Thou Must: The first game forces you to follow through with the mayor's plans to genocide the forest people in order to proceed (you can't continue until you accept his mission to annihilate them.) And to make it worse, he explicitly says that he's doing it to protect the town's tourist industry.
    • After you defeat the boss in Heroes of Lagaard's Crimson Vengeance postgame quest, you have one of three responses for the Guildmaster after you save her. Only one of the responses will actually allow you to proceed, mainly to prevent her from resigning and leaving Lagaard.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: In The Millennium Girl, Visil is taken over by the Yggdrasil Core, though he manages to snap out of it shortly before his death.
  • Canada, Eh?: The Millennium Girl doesn't try to hide that Raquna is Canadian. She comes from a cold area north of Etria that has wonderful maple syrup, and adds "eh?" to some of her sentences. Her home city? Ontario.
  • Cast from Hit Points: The Bushi's Blood Surge skill in Legends of the Titan boosts the user's attack power considerably but consumes a portion of HP and TP with each action made while the skill is active, and their Shockwave skill that hits every enemy consumes 25% of their max HP. A good number of the Highlander skills in The Millennium Girl require you to sacrifice some HP for an attack. Much like Shockwave, the health sacrificed is a percentage of your current HP.
  • Censor Steam: Shin, one of the possible fourth stratum bosses in The Drowned City.
  • Cognizant Limbs: In Legends of the Titan, the Heavenbringer is supported by its two arms. The Warped Savior then one-ups it with two claws and two buds.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: F.O.E.'s come in orange (normal, follows a set path), red (strong, and will actively pursue you), blue (flying), purple (invisible on the map), black (bosses) and, as of the third game, gold (essentially MetalSlimes).
    • In Legends of the Titan and The Millennium Girl, while F.O.E's use their own model on the field, they now have a colored aura around their icon on the map indicating their strength. Blue means you can likely defeat them easily, yellow means that you can manage them, but proper planning is a must, and red means "run!". Purple is reserved for bosses.
  • Combat Medic: A counter-intuitive offensive build of a Medic can result in a surprisingly potent front-line fighter. The damage is subpar at best, but Caduceus will turn everything you touch into stun.
    • The Monk class from The Drowned City takes this even further. He can use Qi to heal his allies, and his muscles to pummel the enemy from the front lines.
    • Depending on subclass choices, a Medic can also make a decent fighter in Legends of the Titan. Most people tend to favor the abilities Knockout Blow and Star Drop.
  • Continuing Is Painful: In the early parts of the first two games, revival items are expensive, and Medic is the only class that learns Revive. Even then, Revive is an expensive spell, and doesn't become available until you've invested quite a few skill points to acquire it—if you even decided to use a Medic at all. This means that in the early game, the death of any party member essentially requires you to cut your dungeon crawl short to visit the hospital. The Drowned City goes easier on the player, as the revival items are much less expensive. Sadly, they're also "limited supply" items - the store's supply is limited to the amount of certain drops that you've sold them.
  • Crazy-Prepared: You. That's right, you. Honestly now, how many warp wires are you carrying on you at all times? Yeah, I thought so.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: Legends of the Titan makes a full party KO a true slap on the wrist on Casual difficulty by simply kicking you back to town. In a similar fashion, The Millennium Girl's Picnic difficulty lets your party continue when they're wiped out, though Standard difficulty will let them continue only once.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Even The Millennium Girl's title tells you that the hero isn't the Highlander. Instead, it's Frederica.
  • Difficult but Awesome: Tagen Batou in The Drowned City. In order to use it effectively, you need to have some spare slots in your party (something you don't want any of to begin with) and fill them up with clones. Since creating clones costs 10 TP and gives half your HP and TP to the clone, dying and/or running low on TP is a very real possibility. If you want even more power, subclassing your Ninja in Gladiator (or your Gladiator in Ninja) would allow them to use Berserker Vow to deal even more damage. However, if this is actually pulled off, it's capable of finishing off even the Bonus Boss in a single use.
  • Difficulty Levels: In Legends of the Titan, there's Casual and Normal. Normal is the same as the other games, but Casual difficulty warps your party back to Tharsis when they're all dead, prevents certain items from being used up, and makes enemies easier.
    • The Millennium Girl has Picnic, which seems similar to Casual difficulty but lets them continue on instead of warping them back to Etria, Standard difficulty, which lets the party continue on once, and Expert, which is close to the same difficulty of the original version.
  • Disc One Nuke: If you know the conditional drop for a boss, or manage to save up a Formaldehyde in later games, you can unlock some pretty powerful equipment early in the game. The only obstacle from that point is the hundreds of thousands of En it costs to purchase it.
  • Downer Ending: Etrian Odyssey, with a healthy dose of Nice Job Breaking It, Hero for good measure. Once you've completely filled the codex by logging every single drop and enemy in the game, Subaltern Quinn comes to see you and offer recognition of your feat - which, he adds, will result in Etria eventually turning into a ghost town now that the Labyrinth no longer holds any mysteries to attract adventurers. The ending for beating the boss at the end of the fifth stratum also counts, since killing that boss killed Etria's Yggdrasil. Though this is fixed in The Millennium Girl.
  • Driven to Suicide: A possible curse the Hexer can do to a terrified enemy has it attack itself.
  • Dual Boss: Ren and Tlachtga in Etrian Odyssey and The Millennium Girl, Artelind and Wilhelm in Heroes of Lagaard, and Seyfried and Olympia in The Drowned City.
  • Dual Wield: The Shogun from The Drowned City have this as their Innate Class skill, trading one of their armor slots for a second weapon.
    • Legends of the Titan plays this interestingly. All classes can equip two weapons; however, they don't automatically use both weapons to strike. Instead, they rely mostly on their 'mainhand' weapon, but can use the other for related weaponry skills. Only a couple of classes learn skills that enable them to use both weapons at the same time; otherwise, it's functionally more like Choice of Two Weapons or Bow and Sword, in Accord.
  • Dub Name Change: Most classes have relatively mundane and plain names in Japanese, which are changed to something more distinctive in localization.
  • Dungeon Crawling
  • The Dragon: Ren and Tlachtga in Etrian Odyssey, Colossus in Heroes of Lagaard, and Kujura and Olympia in The Drowned City, to Princess Gutrune and Abyssal King Seyfried, respectively.
    • Whirlwind, aka Logre is one to Baldur in Legends of the Titan, at least before he joins Tharsis' side.
  • Earth All Along: Major plot twist revealed in the fifth stratum of Etrian Odyssey. However, The Millennium Girl, the remake of the first game, actually spoils this twist with a throwaway gag line on the first floor.
    • Further enforced in The Drowned City's sea areas. Many of the foreign ports are based on their real life counterpart, though for some of them, they use the old name for the cities so you may not realize it first.
  • Early Game Hell: For such a hard game, its even harder at low levels. Mainly due to your lack of options.
  • Early Bird Boss: An optional one occurs in Etrian Odyssey where a pack of Venom Flies may be fought during the first quest. Sure, they're normal enemies on the next floor, but they are deadly to level appropriate adventurers too, and they're in the deepest part of the area (meaning you are already exhausted and you will have a hard time retreating afterwards). It can be avoided if you know which dialog option to pick, but otherwise...
    • Toyed with sadistically in Heroes of Lagaard. If you transfer your data from the first game over and go to a similar point in the Ancient Forest, your party will recall being ambushed by Venomflies and you have a choice whether you want to rest or not. Unlike in the first game, saying no causes the battle.
      • Fenrir in the original game comes right after the initial hump of Perpetual Poverty, but before your party has hit the point they may reasonably have the powerful skills to make the rest of the game winnable and the enemies (even the F.O.E.s) at that point are too pathetic to reach the recommended level with any decent speed. Thankfully he can be skipped temporarily with effort by use of a Good Bad Bug.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The True Final Boss/Bonus Boss in every game. ESPECIALLY in Etrian Odyssey, its remake, and The Drowned City. This... thing would make H.P. Lovecraft proud.
  • Eleventh Hour Superpower: In The Millennium Girl's Story Mode, Kupala of the fourth stratum's forest folk pulls a Heroic Sacrifice in order for the party to have their weapons become strong enough to defeat it. That said, it does not make the boss easy for the unprepared.
  • Empty Levels: Some skills have these. For instance, the Boost Up skill from the first game only increases Boost's effect with an odd amount of SP invested (which makes this especially bad is that it's a 10 point level - the last point does nothing). Even more egregiously, Arm Heal, also a 10 point skill, only has three levels where it gets improved (and out of those, the first one is the only one which does more than just reduce the TP cost).
    • Finally corrected in Legends of the Titan and The Millennium Girl - every skill level will either improve the strength of the ability, reduce its cost, or improve the success rate of the ability. Some abilities will increase in cost, but those are accompanied by larger increases in strength and/or success rate. However, the improvement in strength and/or success rate isn't always worth the cost.
  • Encounter Repellant
  • Enemy Detecting Radar: All games have this in the lower right corner of the screen. When it flashes blue, you're safe, if yellow, be careful, and if red, get ready to fight. The radar also tells you when an F.O.E. is nearby; When an F.O.E. is within 3 squares from you, an extra bar in the radar will tell you how near you are to the F.O.E. Which is handy in Heroes of Lagaard where you have F.O.E.s which don't show up in your map, and very helpful in The Drowned City, since the fifth and sixth stratums have no-radar areas.
  • Escape Battle Technique: Present in all three games. In the first two, the Protector can learn the Flee skill, which always escapes the party from any battle where they aren't trapped, and has a chance of dropping them at the last staircase they used. In the third game, the Ninja's "Tonsou Jutsu" skill does the same, but it's no longer a guaranteed escape (merely an increased chance), while the Shogun's "Retreat" skill simply takes you out of the battle.
  • Everything's Better with Princesses: The Drowned City not only features the Prince(ss) class for your use, but Princess Gutrune of Armoroad and Princesses from other lands as well.
    • Knight of Fafnir also features a main character Princess in its Story Mode, and Princes/ses as a class in Classic Mode.
  • Excuse Me While I Multitask: Maps can be drawn and otherwise edited while still in battle.
  • Excuse Plot: Sort of. The introductory plot to Etrian Odyssey and Heroes of Lagaard are more or less "there's this labyrinth and this town built around it, and you're one of quite a few guys who wants to conquer the labyrinth for gold and glory and to solve its mysteries. Have fun." It tends to remain so for about 3/4 of the entire game, but then things suddenly start happening near the end. In a sense, the major plot twist is that there actually is one. The Drowned City is better about this.
    • Legends of the Titan breaks this and has a plot throughout the game, though it starts off the same.
    • Averted with the Story Mode in The Millennium Girl and Knight of Fafnir, where the same plotline in the original is expanded upon and spread out over the course of the entire game.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: Even the first floor is torture. That stone you can sell? It's being guarded by a trio of powerful moles. That serene clearing where you can rest and regain strength? That's being guarded by a trio of ludicrously powerful poisonous butterflies.
  • Expy: The Highlander in The Millennium Girl is similar to Giulio from Gungnir. Ranging from weapon choice, hair colour, their ultimate weapon being Gungnir, and their belief that true justice should be given to all. note  That said the Highlander rejects Gungnir after learning that it's a Fantastic Nuke, whereas Giulio accepted it in spite of that fact.
  • Extended Gameplay: Each game has a stratum, several quests, and several bosses that can only be attempted after the final boss.
  • Eye Scream: Baldur in Legends of the Titan, due to the Titan's Curse, has a vine growing out of the character's left eye. This has no effect on his accuracy, however, and he gets better after he's defeated.
  • Fanservice: Some of the character designs are very... questionable. Male fanservice isn't uninvited either. Check out the first male design for pirates in the third one. Now double back and realize he isn't wearing a shirt under his vest.
    • The Dark Hunter's whip skill tree has a very clear bondage theme. Aside from the basic binding skills (gag, cuffs, shackles), the Dark Hunter's final two whip skills are "climax" and "ecstasy." The Dark Hunter portraits kill any chance that this might not be what it sounds like. Acknowledged by the developer in the Etrian Odyssey comic showcasing the Dark Hunter.
      • The enemies are not spared either. Some humanoid enemies wear nothing but Godiva Hair and Censor Steam. Mixes with Fetish Retardant as many of these monsters have massive tentacle monster bodies below the torso.
    • Knight of Fafnir has a hot springs quest DLC, which includes special portraits for Arianna and Chloe. They're exactly what you'd expect.
  • Fantastic Nuke: Gungnir in The Millennium Girl.
  • Featureless Protagonist: Your characters are complete blank slates. You get the Excuse Plot implied backstory that you're a guildmaster signing up recruits, which presumably means they're all wannabe-adventurers looking for work. You get to choose from one of four portraits per class, and from those you can probably guess the gender (1 and 3 are male, 2 and 4 are female.) That's all you get, and none of that even remotely affects the gameplay. There isn't even a default suggestion for their names. The tutorial gives the option of making the guildmaster one of the adventurers, but that isn't followed up upon.
    • Legends of the Titan shakes this up a bit. You do eventually unlock other classes just like in other games, but while you still fight two of the three class representatives, if you play your cards right, they can join the party as regular player units. You're still welcome to recruit anonymous new schlubs, of course.
    • Averted with the main characters in The Millennium Girl and Knight of Fafnir during Story Mode.
  • Fetch Quest: Many missions include going and finding some item in the Labyrinth, these can be random drops or in set locations.
  • Fight Woosh: One for every stratum.
  • Five-Man Band: The classes for the first two games can operate as an example.
  • Flavor Text : Description are provided for each enemy.
  • Flying Seafood Special: Lots of monsters are these. Cotrangl/Corotorangul in Etrian Odyssey and The Millennium Girl is a boss example. Narmer, Ketos, Cruel Roamer, and Hammerhead join it in The Drowned City.
  • Flunky Boss: The first stratum boss of the first three games involve multiple weaker F.O.E.s in the fight somehow. In Etrian Odyssey a wolf pack spawned behind Fenrir and thus the boss would receive constant reinforcements unless you killed him quickly. There's also the Ant Queen of the third stratum and, to a lesser extent, Cernunnos in the second.
    • In Heroes of Lagaard a pack of Slaveimp F.O.E.s spawned as soon as you entered the chamber, and start moving to join the battle when you fight Chimaera, unless you use a Lure Bell to draw them to you and beat them down before hand.
    • In The Drowned City, Narmer will run away in the middle of the fight and spawn a swarm of F.O.E.s you have to either defeat or maneuver around in order to confront him again and finish him off.
    • The Berserker King of Legends of the Titan has a pair of bear buddies who must either be tediously and probably resource-intensively fought down individually (and even then, it's willing to come help them) or they'll add into the fight with the boss. You can use one of the bears to open a passageway which leads behind the boss; not only can you ambush him, but the bears don't add in when you have the Berserker King between you and them.
      • Legends of the Titan gets a straighter example with the Hollow Queen, who first summons a line of Hollow warriors, then a line of Hollow spellcasters after you kill the warriors, and repeats this process until she either kills you or you win.
  • For Massive Damage: The Drowned City has an example which can almost be considered a Game Breaker. The Shogun class can attack once for every attack by another character. Buccaneers have an ability to attack multiple times a turn, and can be doubled with the Shogun's Dual Wielding ability. Give the best weapon in the game to the chasing Shogun, as well as all your best attack buffs and damage-increasing equipment. With the Shogun chasing a team of multi-attacking, dual-wielding pirates, nearly any boss could crumble in a single turn.
    • A character with Tagen Battou, with the right buffs, attack power, and weapons, are even more so when there are four or more copies.
    • The entire point of the Imperial class in Legends of the Titan.
  • Four Is Death: Every four turns the Elder Dragon from The Drowned City uses an attack that deals in the upward thousands unless you have its head bound. Thankfully, it doesn't suffer from binding decay like every other enemy in the game.
    • Its Legends of the Titan counterpart, the Fallen One, has the same attack and uses it every four turns, but binding decay is present.
    • The Millennium Girl's Blizzard King, on every fourth turn, will use a powerful counter if it's attacked.
    • Also in The Millennium Girl, Coeurl will use a powerful, party-wide attack every four turns before anyone can act, outside of skills such as Front/Rear Guard.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: In the original Etrian Odyssey, your party will commit genocide, kill the leader of a town, destroy a tree meant to restore life to the Earth, and ruin a town's economy. You are lauded as heroes in the second game, regardless.
    • In The Millennium Girl, Arthur will complain about getting his formulas wet in the third stratum, even if you change his class to something else.
  • Genre-Busting: Part Eastern RPG-style battles, part Western RPG-style character customization, part Dungeon Crawler.
  • Get Back Here Boss: Narmer in The Drowned City, probably the first boss that actually try to flee from the player instead of chasing the player as they usually do.
  • Glass Cannon: The Ronin and the Combat Medic from Etrian Odyssey and Heroes of Lagaard. The Shogun from The Drowned City is an extreme example, toting skills further sacrificing defense for attack on top of their already weak armor. The Bushi in Legends of the Titan and the Highlander in The Millennium Girl, while not particularly fragile, have a penchant for losing HP every turn.
  • Go Out with a Smile: Visil in The Millennium Girl.
  • Grail in the Garbage: In an early sidequest in IV, you are tasked with recovering an armor set that was used as collateral in a bargain; the merchant only agreed because the armor was said to have been created by a minor master. When retrieved, it's pretty much unusable, and the merchant will angrily toss it to you, thinking he's been cheated and writing it off as garbage. Unfortunately for him, a quick visit to the local blacksmith will reveal that the armor was indeed created by said master, and it's repairable for free!
  • Gratuitous German: Landsknecht. Wilhelm's nickname "Der Freischütz". There may be other examples.
  • Green Hill Zone: The first stratum in the first three games and the remakes, and the first few dungeons that you visit in Legends of the Titan.
  • Grey and Grey Morality: The Drowned City. On one side, you have Princess Gutrude, a fair minded ruler who just wants to see her brother again, but has resorted to consuming Deep One flesh to prolong her life, mutating her and putting her at risk of becoming a Deep One herself, and falling under the Abyssal God's control. On the other side, you have Abyssal King Seyfried, the aforementioned brother of Gutrune who is fanatically obsessed with killing her due to her Deep One taint, but genuinely believes that its the only way to stop the Deep Ones' advance, and genuinely seeks to protect his former city.
  • Guest Star Party Member: The Drowned City has computer-controlled guest characters who you can fight alongside with in order to help them out on their sea quest.
    • Unlike The Drowned City, the guests' combating actions in Legends of the Titan are controlled. The three unlockable class representatives throughout the game can temporarily join your party on the floor the dungeon boss is on before their class is unlocked. If you leave the floor before you kill that boss, they'll leave your party until you return to that floor, at which point they'll ask if you want them to join your party again.
    • Either Kirjonen or Wiglaf in Legends of the Titan can be one if you help one of them in battle while exploring the Lands. They can also join you, if you want, when you're battling the Blizzard King and the Storm Emperor, respectively, in the post-game. Baldur will be one when you battle the Great Dragon.
    • In The Millennium Girl, Ren and Tlachtga will join the protagonist for the first mission in Story Mode, and are at least thirty levels higher than him.
  • Guide Dang It: In The Drowned City, getting a certain ending requires ignoring a mission you have seemingly no reason to not pick up immediately, then backtrack an entire area to talk to a character you've only seen once before who, while essential to the story, has never been indicated to be able to actually (sort of) improve the current crisis.
    • Want the king grimoires in The Millennium Girl? If you're not insanely lucky, better hope you know that aligning the final digit in your guild card stats increases your chances!
  • Guns Are Worthless: Subverted too, gunners are capable of very high damage from the back lines. In Heroes of Lagaard, gunners essentially fill the role that Alchemists played in Etrian Odyssey. Of course, they're still slow and squishy.
  • The Gunslinger: Gunners.
  • Hero-Worshipper: The innkeeper's son in The Drowned City, and Wynne from Legends of the Titan.
  • Hungry Jungle: The Drowned City's Sixth Stratum
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: B27 floor of Etrian Odyssey is subtitled "All that live shall succumb". Which becomes apparent to mean "If you can still get up and walk, you can still walk right into one of those invisible pits we're strewn all over the entire floor." And fall into the floor appropriately named "Explorers' Abattoir".
  • Idle Chatter: In The Millennium Girl's Story Mode.
  • Insurmountable Waist High Fence: Heroes of Lagaard introduces a special type of wall that looks more or less like a waist-high pile of rubble. You easily look over the rubble-walls and see everything on the other side, but they still count as walls, and you absolutely cannot pass. The only actual gameplay-related difference is that blue F.O.E.s can walk on/through them. There are a couple side dungeons in Legends of the Titan with similar obstacles (including water that flying/aquatic F.O.E.s can just move over).
  • Interface Screw: Several floors in the lower strata of The Drowned City include some areas where your radar is turned off. This means that the map screen does not show you where your party is going. Good luck memorizing the map. And to make matters worse, the map does not show where the F.O.E.s are either, although at least you get to see the F.O.E. in your exploration screen.
    • In the bonus sixth stratum, the second floor is made up of these areas, combined with pitfalls and F.O.E.s, forcing the player to fully map out the area and either remember their location at all times or match up what they see with the map.
  • It's All Upstairs from Here: Played straight in the second game. If you're not in town, you're climbing the tower tree.
  • Jack of All Stats: The Landsknecht and the Princes/ses
  • Katanas Are Just Better: Played straight, in the first two games, katanas have a higher damage output than normal swords, however, can only be used by one class, which just happens to be the class without any defense on the front line. Averted in The Drowned City, where katanas (apart from the Bragging Rights Reward Infinity+1 Sword) are on par with other high damage weapons.
  • Kukris Are Kool: They can be purchased at the shops early on in Heroes of Lagaard and The Drowned City. In the former they are classified as swords, while they are knives in the latter. Also, the War Magus Artelind wields one on the end of her staff.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: While it doesn't spoil everything, Story Mode in The Millennium Girl definitely takes some of the punch out of the Fifth Stratum Wham Episode, since Ricky's backstory reveals Yggdrasil's nature and entire history right as you're entering the Third Stratum. Raquna even makes mention of being from Ontario on the first floor!
  • Lazy Backup: Justified, since your max party size is five; if you even have additional people in your exploration guild, they're stuck back in town, with no way of knowing if the Five-Man Band in the dungeon is dead or just doing some much-needed level grinding.
    • However, it is later played straight. If the party actually did die, the rest of the guild should be smart enough to assume the party died after a week or so of being in the labyrinth, and attempt to collect the deceased members' items and continue on. Since there is no official main character, there isn't a reason for the backup members to take their place.
  • Leaked Experience: A skill in the third game.
  • Lethal Chef: Dalla in Legends of the Titan can be one if she wishes, as seen in a quest. However it's normally averted, as her skill is praised heavily.
  • Lethal Lava Land: The Molten Caves in The Drowned City.
  • Life Drain: The Black Sabbath skill in The Millennium Girl. Though its power depends on the skill level and current party HP, rather than a fixed percentage.
  • Light Is Not Good: In The Drowned City, Yggdrasil is considered the light to the Abyssal God's darkness, and it indeed wishes to protect the world from the God's evil, but its tendency to turn its servants in fanatically single minded automatons suggests a ruthless side to it. Though to its credit, it does mourn Seyfried in the Armoroad ending.
  • Limit Break: Present in all four games in different forms. Limits in the third and fourth games don't eat up a character's action phase, meaning you can toss one out and have your character perform a regular action in the same turn.
    • In the first game and its remake, activating Boost makes whatever action you take become stronger, as well as bumping up the effects of any skill used by 5 levels (a level 5 Immunize becomes a level 10 Immunize while boosted); a defensive skill becomes more defensive, an offensive skill becomes more offensive, a healing skill heals more, and so on.
    • Heroes of Lagaard replaced Boost with Force abilities, powerful class-specific moves more reminiscent of the classic Limit Break. Knight of Fafnir modified this system by having two forms of Force abilities. There is Force Boost, in which a skill's effects last for three turns (this includes the protagonist's transformation form), and Force Break, which will use up the entire Force gauge and render it unusable until the party goes back to Lagaard.
    • In The Drowned City it's no longer character specific - you have equip 'scrolls' to certain characters to use them. Most scrolls need to be equipped on multiple characters, instead of being single-character moves like in the previous games. The upshot of this is that only one of the characters who is assigned to the scroll needs to have a full gauge in order for the Limit to be used, though the skill can still only be activated through a character with a full gauge.
    • In the fourth game, they're called "Bursts" and are accessible to every character, but you can only equip 2 of them initially, with the number going up to 5 by doing specific quests for the Guildmaster. Depending on their strength, they can take anywhere from 1 to 5 stocks from the Burst gauge to perform, which you fill up mostly by killing enemies: there is some equipment that allows you to fill it up quicker, and Dancers can learn skills that fill it up faster the more dances are in effect or allow them to randomly consume 1 less Burst stock when using a Burst skill.
  • Luminescent Blush: Raquna from The Millennium Girl gets this after drinking even a little. There are also a few moments where Frederica gets them.
  • Magikarp Power: Certain class abilities are either unavailable without prerequisites, such as the Ronin's Midareba, which, in Heroes of Lagaard requires ten points in Overhead and five in Dead Law, which itself requires one point in STR Up. Others are near-useless until pumped to near-max level (the Hexer being the infamous example). However, all classes are Magikarp when the game begins, with different rates of growing out of it than others. Ultimately, it depends on the player's build and preferred direction of the classes.
  • Marathon Level: There's a quest in Etrian Odyssey that has you spend five consecutive days on a single floor. It's really simple (there's a small area that allows you to heal for free and allows you to walk back and forth without monsters appearing) but it's really, really long.
    • Appears in Heroes of Lagaard as a quest, which requires you to spend three consecutive days on the fourth floor. Unfortunately, there's no safe zone like in Etrian Odyssey.
    • Mercifully, while the quest appears again in The Millennium Girl, you can choose to rest at night and also sleep in the following morning to help speed things along. Unless you're playing Classic Mode.
  • Metal Slime: The Gold F.O.E.s in The Drowned City, which have a chance to randomly spawn on certain floors. While they're slower than other F.O.E.s, they make up for that with the ability to walk through walls. If you actually catch up to them, they'll constantly attempt to escape (binding their legs prevents this) or self-destruct (binding their heads prevents that). On the other hand, successfully killing one gets you a lot of Experience Points.
    • Pookas in Legend of the Titan. They also try to escape off the map as soon as they can. If you can chase one down, though, they go down in one hit. but instead of giving experience, they give out stat-boosting books.
      • There's also golden enemies, which the game calls "rare breeds": any non-boss enemy can be a rare breed and taking one down multiplies all the experience gotten from that battle by 5, but they also have one of the highest turn priorities and often try to run away. In extremely rare cases, multiple enemies may end up as rare breeds, but you won't get any more experience than you'd get for killing a single one for killing several in a single battle. And yes, F.O.Es can also be rare breeds: while they don't run away like normal enemies, they gain significant stat boosts every turn and if you can't kill one quickly enough, they'll quickly become too strong to take down. In Legend of the Titan you can also turn any overworld F.O.E into a rare breed if you feed them rare-quality food that they like.
  • Mission Pack Sequel: The games tend to only incrementally update between installments, but Heroes of Lagaard is by far the most guilty of this as it's more or less the same game as the original. There's a few things that have been balanced, specifically old classes and returning FO Es, and there are some new conveniences like more icons for your maps and the ability to strafe, but the game is basically an expansion pack.
  • Money Spider: Averted in the first two games. There is one town with one shop, to which monster giblets are sold to raise money and follow the Sorting Algorithm of Weapon Effectiveness via unlocking more powerful new equipment that just happens to be made from the giblets of more powerful monsters. Compared to other RPGs, this works surprisingly well in both gameplay and story and makes a surprising amount of sense.
  • Mook Maker: Some monsters, of course some bosses too.
  • Monster Lord: The various Ant Queens. The Abyssal Prince, etc.
  • Multiple Endings: The Drowned City has three. One where you side with Armaroad, one where you side with the Deep City, and a hidden true ending.
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: The Eldest One and the Abyssal God from The Drowned City.
  • New Game+: Present in The Drowned City, allowing players to pursue the Multiple Endings without having to completely sacrifice their experienced guild. It's also present in Legends of the Titan, but certain things cannot carry over this time.
    • In The Millennium Girl, when you start a New Game Plus after the game was completed in Story Mode, you have the option to carry certain things over to Classic Mode, including levels, En, and even all your Story Mode characters. However, the reverse won't allow you to actually use your custom-made characters in Story Mode.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: The Drowned City's Class and Subclass system allows characters to take on a secondary class, leading to, say, a Princess with Ninja skills, a Farmer-slash-Pirate, a Monk with a Wildling's summoning skills, or even literal Ninja/Pirate, Robot/Ninja, or Robot/Pirate.
  • Nintendo Hard: It is an Atlus series, after all.
  • Old Save Bonus: By entering a password, players could start Heroes of Lagaard with their first guild's name. Characters and items were not carried over; instead, NPCs recognized you as an experienced guild and reacted accordingly. This had its advantages (special in-Labyrinth events that offered extra items and deals) and disadvantages (the first guard not giving you five free Medicas, even though your crew is still made up of rookies...)
    • This is discontinued by The Drowned City; there is no option to apply your Old Save Bonus.
    • Interestingly, while data similarly cannot be carried into Legends of the Titan, the interface explicitly says that carrying your LotT data forward into other titles could be a possibility in the future, especially as party data can be saved to the SD card on the 3DS for easy importing (which LotT will do when prompted). The Millennium Girl retains this feature as well.
  • One-Winged Angel: Visil in Etrian Odyssey.
    • Also Princess Gutrune as the final boss in The Drowned City.
    • Also Baldur in Legends of the Titan. He gets better, and helps out against a Bonus Boss if you request his aid.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: Untold's version of the original game's final boss theme, "Throne of Creation".
  • Our Mermaids Are Different: The Deep Ones of The Drowned City are the spawn of an alien Eldritch Abomination.
  • Palette Swap: A customization option in The Drowned City and Legends of the Titan, with each playable character boasting an alternate set of colors.
  • Petting Zoo People: The Sentinels in the fourth game, which are known as Bushi when signed up to the guild.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: The Princesses sport some really fancy dresses, complete with armor.
  • Power Copying: Grimoires in The Millennium Girl and Knight of Fafnir allow a character to use an enemy's skill.
  • Precursors: The Ancient Civilization in The Millennium Girl.
  • Pretty in Mink
  • Previous Player-Character Cameo: Some of the QR Quests from Legend of the Titan have connections to previous games. For instance, the "Finest Plains" quests are from Farmers, with Kirtida complimenting one's distinctive hood.
  • Quirky Bard: Strongly averted in Etrian Odyssey, where Troubadours are the second-biggest Game Breakers behind only Medics who know Immunize. They were nerfed hard in Heroes of Lagaard due to Healing and Relaxing being removed, but they can at least pull enough of their own weight to be worth the party slot with Bravery and, arguably, Stamina.
  • Random Drop: Subverted with conditional drops, which require enemies to be killed in a certain way.
    • Rare Random Drop: You can bring anyone who tried to get it in Etrian Odyssey to tears with the phrase "Shinryuu Sword."
  • Rare Candy: Stat Books in The Drowned City. They can be found in treasure chests, given as quest rewards... and dropped from powerful F.O.E.s after they are slain. Thankfully, there are items and skills that can be used to ensure that they are dropped. They return in Legends of the Titan, as rewards from catching and defeating Pookas, but each character can only use 10 of each type of stat book.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: All authority figures in Legends of the Titan. Even Wufan, who took some Vessels with her to rescue the Medium instead of waiting for the council to make a decision, as well as Baldur, who was originally following the same ideal as his father. Baldur averts this later, however, due to becoming more desperate as the barren land rapidly approaches his empire.
  • Recurring Riff: Scatter About, the theme of the Elemental Dragons, appears in every installment of the series. The End of The Raging Waves from the third game is remixed to The End of The Raging Winds in the fourth game.
  • Remixed Level: Most of the maps in The Millennium Girl and Fafnir no Kishi are very different in terms of routes from Etrian Odyssey's, forcing the player to make their maps from exploration instead of memory.
  • Respawning Enemies: Any slain F.O.E. in Etrian Odyssey will come back after three in-game days, unless it was actually a plot-related boss, in which case it will come back after eleven. Increased to 7 days in Heroes of Lagaard and 14 days in every game after that.
  • Retraux: This whole series more or less came about because a certain game designer really wanted there to be Dungeon Master for the DS. Every aspect is lovingly oldschool, even down to the music, which was actually entirely composed on a PC-88. Example from the third game.
  • Royal Rapier: Princes (and Princesses) and Buccaneers use them. Usable by Landsknechts and Arcanists in Legends of the Titan as well.
  • Run or Die: Unless you're significantly overleveled for the floor you're on, this is what you do whennote  you get into a battle with an F.O.E. You better hope your back is clear or that you have the specific skills that allow you to flee from battle to the previous floor, or you're trapped.
    • And in the fourth game, dragons are essentially F.O.E.s cranked Up to Eleven. They take up a massive 9 squares on the map, move 2 squares at a time over the entire map and have a short cutscene showing their arrival whenever they spawn. If one of them catches up with you, you don't even get a Hopeless Boss Fight - you simply get a message box informing you that the dragon has smashed your skyship and you, and you get sent back to town with at least single character reduced to 1 HP and a random number of them dead. You also lose any of the food you collected on the world map, with the exception of the food you've collected for quest purposes. Then again, it's preferable to getting an instant Game Over.
  • Sadistic Choice: In The Drowned City, you must choose whether to preserve the Deep City, or to expose it's existence to the rest of the world. Either choice determines which hidden class you unlock, as well as how the rest of the story plays out. You can Take a Third Option, but doing so is a Guide Dang It as you have to turn in one mission but not accept the one that becomes available as you do so in order to get another mission from a specific source with no indication at all.
    • Also in The Drowned City, you indirectly decide which member of the Murotsumi Guild dies. No way to save both. This almost wouldn't qualify if it weren't for the fact that it repeats every playthrough, meaning after the first time through you know what is going to happen the moment the choice pops up.
      • Hypothetically you can save them both. If you refuse to cooperate with them, you are never told whether or not the Murotsumi Guild is given permission to explore deeper into the dungeon. Therefore it becomes a Schrodinger's Cat situation. Does Murotsumi Guild get permission and you simply aren't told, thus leading to their demise or do they not receive permission and you aren't told, thus having them avoid being killed? Keep in mind that no matter what you chose, you never hear or see them again.
  • Sarashi: The Ronin class.
  • Servant Race: In 4, the Vessels and Sentinels, as well as the Hollows, were created by humans to aid in the completion of the Yggdrasil Project.
  • Shmuck Bait: Go ahead. Rest in the clearing. We dare you.
    • In the second game, a squirrel steals your life-saving warp wire every time you try to pet it. Particularly dangerous for genre-savvy players who expect being consistently nice might give some reward eventually, but every encounter plays out exactly the same.
  • Shout-Out: There's many Cameos and miscellaneous references to another fantastically difficult Atlus series, Trauma Center, including Dr. Hoffman, Healing Touch and Caduceus in Etrian Odyssey, Dr. Stiles and Healing Touch in Heroes of Lagaard, Angie in The Drowned City, and Dr. Cunningham as a playable Medic in Legends of the Titan. In addition, while Dr. Hoffman is absent in The Millennium Girl, the English dub has a couple of familiar voices fans will recognize from Trauma Team.
    • Take a look at this vid from the indicated point on, and look at the names of the PCs that were chosen for the demonstration. Terezi, Kanaya, Gamzee, Equius, and Karkat. All of them from Homestuck's fifth chapter. And three of them were only revealled a few weeks before the vid was released, at most. Someone at Atlus USA must really like MS Paint Adventures.
      • They also hired a member of the Homestuck art team, Alexandra "Lexxy" Douglass, to illustrate for the art book included with North American preorders of Legends of the Titan. There's also a QR quest that has a shield named after her nickname as a reward.
    • The entirety of the Cyclopean Haunt in The Drowned City is full of references to HP Lovecraft. Some are obvious (e.g. the Deep Ones); others are less so (powder of Ibn Ghazi, anyone?).
    • Also in The Drowned City, hit Y to bring up the "alternate colors" for the Buccaneers. One of them looks rather like he has the surname Threepwood, and another looks suspiciously like a certain Ms. Fleur.note 
    • Speaking of the monk, one of its attacks is named Kikouken.
    • One of the ninja's ability is called Izuna.
    • The names of many weapons as well, katanas in particular.
    • There's a very, very subtle one to a meme from /r9k/.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: Heroes of Lagaard's third stratum. The third Maze in Legends of the Titan, after destroying a cluster of heat scales, will temporarily have that floor become cold and the water frozen.
  • Socialization Bonus: StreetPassing with Legends of the Titan and The Millenium Girl swaps guild cards with other players, and gives you some benefits, like being able to use one of their guildmembers in a limited fashion or acquiring a Grimoire Stone from them.
  • Sorting Algorithm of Weapon Effectiveness: Played straight most of the time, as the weapons created with the materials sold to the shop just happen to get stronger as the game progresses. There are exceptions, though, such as how killing bosses in specific ways can get you items that create some of the strongest items in the game early on. You still have to gather the money to buy those very expensive weapons, though.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Before the official names in The Millennium Girl were released, Raquna's English name was spelled either the official English name, Racoona (the Japanese website's spelling), Lacoona, or Laquna by fans.
  • Spoiler Opening: The Millennium Girl's opening reveals who the villain is.
    • In a more minor example, Fafnir no Kishi's reveals Artelind and Wilhelm battling the guild.
  • Stone Wall: The Protector, Hoplite and Fortress. They have skills which increase their own defense and draw attacks to them. They also double as Barrier Warrior.
  • Stupidity Is the Only Option: In the fourth Maze in Legends of the Titan, one kind of F.O.E. doesn't move at all unless you trigger an alert from a different F.O.E. The former completely lacks weaknesses and resists most attacks. If an alert is activated, it's capable of moving much faster than the party can. Naturally, there's an occasion where it's acting as a roadblock, and you have to activate it in order to advance in the dungeon. Fortunately, it's possible to open up secret passages to maneuver around the F.O.E. in question for subsequent trips into the dungeon.
  • Summon Magic: Wildlings summon animals into battle, whose specialty is inflicting status effects.
  • Suspend Save: Used in all games from Heroes of Lagaard on.
  • Take That: One is made in the Legends of the Titan comic towards players who don't like the new Casual mode.
  • Tech Tree: Each class has a rather elaborate one.
  • Temple of Doom: The Fourth Stratum in Drowned City.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: In Fafnir no Kishi, this happens in battle as long as the hero is transformed.
  • There Are No Tents: Aside from the deathtrap/field of flowers in the first strata, all other games besides The Drowned City play this straight.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: The superboss of 2 has an attack called Begone that it uses after 13 turns that [[deals around ten thousand damage [[to the whole party. For reference, the HP cap is 999. It can, however, be survived with timely use of the Protector's Limit Break, which negates all damage for a turn.
  • Time-Limit Boss/Timed Mission: In the last Area of the new dungeon in The Millennium Girl, the boss, the AI called MIKE, must be fought and defeated within 50 Turns, which includes steps. There are two ways to get to it: go straight for the boss and fight the F.O.E.s, but have a worn-down party, or go around the F.O.E.s at the cost of several turns.
  • Time Stands Still: In The Drowned City, Sea Quest battles don't cause the in-game clock to advance — or rather, it may move forward during the battle itself, only to revert to its original setting once the fight's finished.
  • Too Awesome to Use: Coupons in The Drowned City allow you to purchase any item at half price, from basic supplies to an Infinity+1 Sword. You can also only get eight of them. Ever. Even a New Game+ doesn't allow you to get more.
    • Formaldehyde, from the same game, guarantees a 100% drop rate on all the items a given enemy drops, even conditional ones, if it's killed on the same turn the item is used. There's also a terribly limited number of them, and, like Coupons, starting a New Game+ doesn't restock these chests. While it is possible to unlock them for purchasing once you reach the sixth stratum, doing so requires items dropped by F.O.E.s from that area. However, they are sold in limited supply; if you buy too many, the shop will run out of them, forcing you to gather the materials again. Have fun!
      • It returns in Legends of the Titan and The Millennium Girl, but are much more rare. On the bright side, the chests containing them are restored on a New Game+. You still need to get a certain drop in the late-game to buy more, however.
  • Transformation Is a Free Action: Possibly subverted. The hero in Fafnir no Kishi appears to be able to transform using Force Boost instantaneously during battle and during cutscenes.
  • Trauma Inn: The inns fully heal HP and TP regardless of how long the characters stay, although the inns can't revive or cure petrification, which are handled by the hospitals outside the inns. Games from The Drowned City onward move the hospital into the inn, though.
  • Traversible World Map: Legends of the Titan sports this as one of its main differences from the rest of the series. The bulk of the game takes place navigating the large map with your airship, the series' traditional "Stratums" now replaced with "Lands", or the various zones of the map.
  • True Final Boss: All games have one. They tend to be quite Lovecraftian.
    • Millennium Girl plays with this by making its Final Boss a weakened version of the original game's True Final Boss. Then you unlock the Bonus Dungeon where you can fight it without any such handicap.
  • Underground Monkey: They're mostly regular enemies, but some F.O.E.s appear as modified enemies as well.
  • Under the Sea: The Undersea Grotto from The Drowned City.
  • Unlockable Content: The second game would let you carry over some information from the original Etrian Odyssey for benefits.
    • Etrian Odyssey IV and Etrian Odyssey Untold both have QR unlockables. In the case of the former, some official codes can be used to give new missions, items, or armor to characters. Both games also allow other players to send guild cards to others, allowing them to have access to the other players' party members or Grimoire stones respectively.
  • Useless Useful Spell: Completely averted. Status affects and bindings are not only useful, but can literally mean the difference between life and death. The Hollows and the Hollow Queen from Legends of the Titan is practically impossible unless you have spells or weapons that cause head and leg bindings, which the stratum thankfully gives you on that floor.
    • It also helps that almost all attacks that inflict status effects, or bindings do at least as much damage as your normal attacks, are dirt cheap to use or affect multiple enemies and try to inflict the status effect multiple times over several turns after a single use. Once they land, you can get free attacks off them or gain massive damage boosts against any enemy with a status aliment.
  • Vendor Trash: The items dropped by enemies have no uses aside from being sold to the shops. Once sold, they are used by the shop owners to craft new items for you to buy. A very few dropped items in Heroes of Lagaard can be used to heal instead, though.
  • Voice Grunting: Present in The Millennium Girl.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: So you got past the killer Great Lynxes and Largebills on the first two floors of The Drowned City and you're more or less breezing through the rest of the first stratum? Don't worry - Narmer is waiting at the end of the fourth floor to remind you that yes, this is still an Atlus game.
    • Even sooner, the first F.O.E. on floor 2 is capable of wiping out your party with ease. Unless you have a Ninja with Kagerou.
    • In Legends of the Titan, the Berserker King, the first boss, gives you a crash course in isolating the boss from nearby F.O.E.s, while the Hollow Queen teaches that no, Binds are not a Useless Useful Spell, and you will need to utilize all three types of bindings if you want to have any hope of defeating it.
    • Fenrir in The Millennium Girl reminds the player that even though it can be far easier than the original, taking it lightly can and will kill you, especially on Expert difficulty.
      • Right after Fenrir in the remake is Coeurl. Unlike Fenrir, his gimmick can't be stopped by items, and has a powerful attack that hits the whole party that's used every four turns.
    • There's also Logre in the fourth maze. Most players who fought the Hopeless Boss Fight version the first time will expect the non hopeless version to be roughly the same. And them He uses Shock Drive and deals damage to one of your characters in the thousands, thereby showing the player that this boss battle is on an entirely different level than any other fought so far. To put in perspective, the Dungeon's actual boss is a joke in comparison, if only for the fact Logre is fighting alongside you with the same moveset he displayed in his boss battle as a Guest Star Party Member with no playable-version nerf.
  • Weapon of Choice: Each character class has one or two weapon types they can use, and some weapons can be used only by certain classes. In The Drowned City, two weapon types, knives and books, can be used by anyone, although ninjas can benefit more from knives.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Visil in Etrian Odyssey sets up the whole labyrinth exploring thing only to make the city more wealthy in order to keep the purifying thing going. He wants the explorers to explore the labyrinth, but would kill them if they go too deep. From the remake, we have M.I.K.E., who ultimately wants to commit mass murder in order to stop the Core. Overlord in Heroes of Lagaard, both king Seyfried and princess Gutrune in The Drowned City, and Emperor Baldur in Legends of the Titan.
  • Wham Line: The name of the Fifth Stratum in Etrian Odyssey. Nothing prior in the game could have possibly prepared you for Lost Shinjuku.
    • And more an encapsulated Wham Moment from Legends of the Titan: you are following a certain someone after events at the end of the third land. You enter the fourth. Yggdrasil looms overhead, this music starts playing... and the camera pans down to show that you're being confronted by three heavily-armed sky-battleships, which were previously thought to be an impossibility, and the lead ship greets you with a heavily-armored figure saying, paraphrased: "Bring your city's leader here. The Empire will explain its actions." This is when you know things have gotten real.
  • When Trees Attack: The recurring Rockwood/Medusa Tree and Sickwood/Gasser Tree enemies. Arguably the Petaloid family as well, although that's closer to When Flowers Attack. Visil's One-Winged Angel form in Etrian Odyssey, the Etreant, is a fusion of himself and the Yggdrasil Tree, while the eponymous Titan of the fourth game is Yggdrasil itself in a humanoid form.
  • Whole Costume Reference: The first prince outfit in The Drowned City is extremely close to the king's outfit in My Life As A King.
    • The alternate colour of the rightmost Arcanist in Legends of the Titan is Miku.
  • Womb Level: The sixth stratum in Etrian Odyssey. The walls seem made of flesh, blood cell enemies, damage tiles that look like stomach acid, and the final boss is called the "heart of the labyrinth". In spite of all that, it's still a forest.
    • The sixth stratum of The Drowned City qualifies as well. Only it (fittingly) looks like you're inside a tree's body with the anatomy of a human. Some liberties are taken for the sake of challenge, however.
  • Xanatos Gambit: Visil pulls one in The Millennium Girl. If he beats the party, the labyrinth's secrets are protected. If the party beats him, he finally found someone strong enough to kill the Core.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: With The Drowned City adding Palette Swaps for every character portrait, this has become more common. In Legends of the Titan, purple and teal hair is particularly common among the alt-colors.
  • You Shouldn't Know This Already: Before Legends of the Titan's release, the Imperial class was freely discussed by sources and fans alike. However, once the game released this quickly stopped once it became apparent that the very existence of the Imperials is a major plot point in the story.
  • You No Take Candle: The bartender in The Drowned City speaks with a little of this.
  • Zig Zag Paper Tassel: In the fifth stratum of The Drowned City.

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Eternal PoisonCreator/AtlusGrowlanser
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alternative title(s): Sekaiju No Meikyuu; Etrian Odyssey
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