Video Game / Etrian Odyssey

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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, and a Mystery Dungeon spin-off game, with an additional installment 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 also has a themed crossover game within the Chunsoft's Roguelike Mysterious Dungeon note  franchise released in 2015.

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)
  • Etrian Odyssey 2 Untold: The Fafnir Knight note  (Nintendo 3DS, 2015)
  • Etrian Mystery Dungeon note , a crossover with the Mystery Dungeon series (Nintendo 3DS, 2015)
  • Sekaiju no Meikyuu V: Nagaki Shinwa no Hate note , (Nintendo 3DS, August 4, 2016 JPN, western release TBA).

This series provides examples of:

  • Abandoned Laboratory: The Hall of Darkness in Legends of the Titan.
    • The Millenium Girl's Gladsheim, as well.
  • 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 have you raise the level cap by beating the three dragons.
  • Achievement System: Some games have several tracked accomplishments for you to shoot for. The common ones include entering a stratum for the first time and uncovering a certain amount of item and monster logs.
  • Action Bomb:
    • A few enemies in The Drowned City, but most notably the Pasaran.
    • A Flame Rat in Legends of the Titan can be one if when paired with a 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 prefers showcasing women. Each game uses a woman as its representative or mascot:
    • Etrian Odyssey uses the blonde Protector.
    • Heroes of Lagaard uses a 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.
    • Untold has Frederica, naturally.
    • Ariana would continue the trend into The Fafnir Knight, but the main character lending his name and image to the game got in the way.
    • The End of the Long Myth uses the blonde Fencer.
  • Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: One of the many, things that makes these games hard is just how much basic goods and services can cost.
    • The Drowned City cuts the price of revival items by 90%, just 50en! There's a catch. The past games only require materials for unique weapons, but in this game ALL unlocked items rely on raw materials. Even basic medicines require item farming.
      • Legends of the Titan keeps this system, mostly. The starting shop items just require cash.
  • 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 is set up as After the End in the pre-title intro, which establishes that an apocalyptic disaster ended a previous enlightened age; however, the exact nature of the world Before the end is the biggest twist in the game.
    • Heroes of Lagaard takes place on the same world. The game also revolves around the aftermath of the same disaster.
    • In The Drowned City, it is quickly established early on that a much more recent 'Calamity' (one hundred years ago as opposed to 1000) destroyed Armoroad's original prosperity.
    • The Sixth Labyrinth in Legends of the Titan goes a long way towards explaining exactly why no one in Tharsis knows much of anything about the lands to the north. Spoiler alert, it involves ecological disaster of apocalpyptic proportions.
    • It's finally spelled out in The Millennium Girl that the disaster of 1000 years ago is (major spoilers) our world's ecological collapse. The Yggdrasil Project was initiated to stop it, but there's a side effect: the COMPLETION of the project causes Yggdrasil's core to go berserk, since it no longer has contaminants to feed on. There are also seven of these.
    • It's unclear if V will continue this trend, as early material seems to indicate it will take place in a "new world" with an actual overworld map that looks unfamiliar. It's alternately possible this means the "new world" of the American continents, and we'll get our first true look at how the western hemisphere has been changed by the Yggdrasil Project.
  • A.I. Breaker: Provoke in Etrian Mystery Dungeon. If there's anything - including a member of your party - in between an enemy and the Protector, it won't attack if it doesn't have any ranged attacks to directly attack the unit with Provoke, instead just moving back and forth fruitlessly.
  • 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.
    • Almost every problem related to Yggdrasil stems from this: The system doesn't know what to do when it runs out of contamination/pollution/miasma to purge.
  • 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: For a time it was unclear if this applied - 2 continued directly from 1, but 3 and 4 seemed like they could be their own little worlds - but the Untold games, Fafnir especially, have made it crystal clear that every single Etrian game to date and probably to come takes place in the same setting. This setting is our own planet, a thousand years-plus from now, following ecological collapse and attempts to prevent it - the Yggdrasi. The only remaining question mark is Etrian Mystery Dungeon, due to its spinoff nature, and even then it makes mention of the other games.
    • V seems to be leaning heavily toward being a new continuity and explicitly a "new world", with a map that looks unfamiliar and races that haven't been seen before. It's possible this is also just a bait-and-switch to show off the "new world" of America, but it's uncertain either way.
  • Alchemy Is Magic: Alchemists fill the Black Mage role and serve as the major source of elemental damage. Though unlike most examples, it's jars of formula that deal damage than straight up magic.
  • 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.
  • And the Adventure Continues: The ending of the Story Mode in The Fafnir Knight has Arianna, Flavio, Chloe and Bertrand heading south to Armoroad to look for the Fafnir Knight.
  • 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 most easily seen in the Untold games, where the original art from the DS games and the new art can be compared side-by-side.
  • Artifact Title: Only the first game and the remake takes place in Etria. Every other game takes place in a different country. 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: 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/eight 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 Battou in The Drowned City. While it's capable of defeating the bonus boss in a single hit, getting the full power of the attack requires multiple turns of set-up and requires you to have multiple open slots in your party, which is a terrible idea.
    • Various "ultimate weapons" obtained in the middle of several postgame quests in Heroes of Lagaard and The Fafnir Knight. They have the best ATK stat of all weapons of their kind... but other postgame weaponry - usually those obtained by selling boss conditional drops - have a slightly smaller ATK stat but also grant various handy stat boosts. Most glaring is the Yggdrasil Staff, where most classes who would wield it are not going to even attack with it, making its colossal ATK stat moot. The one saving grace for them is that the player can carry them over to a New Game+ and equip to new party members, giving them respectable power to blaze through most of the floors without spending hundreds of thousands of ental on the alternatives.
  • 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.)
    • Frederica, the titular Millennium Girl, takes the cake. She looks to be 15 at the oldest, and runs around gunning down monsters with you. This is, of course, played for irony, as not only is she actually an adult, if a young-ish one, and was a researcher for the Yggdrasil Project, but chronologically she's a thousand years old if a day.
  • Badass Princess: The Prince(ss) character class in The Drowned City as well as one of the main characters of The Fafnir Knight.
  • 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.
  • Berserk Button: Several enemies behave like this - most notably, the Iron Crabs found in the deepest floor of the labyrinth in The Millennium Girl will not do anything until one of its allies is killed - upon which it will constantly unleash a powerful attack that can level even the strongest parties.
  • 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.
  • Bizarre Sexual Dimorphism: In The Drowned City, female Deep Ones are far more humanoid (basically resembling mermaids with claws and inhuman skin colors) than the males (Fish People).
  • Blackout Basement: A few areas on the second and third floors of the Hall of Darkness in Legends of the Titan 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 Landsknecht skill "Recover" says it can remove binds off of an ally when, in fact, it only affects the user. 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.
  • Bling of War: A quest giver in The Millennium Girl is obsessed with gold, and has you fetch him golden horns (to decorate his house) and hide (to make himself a gold coat), and rewards you with literal gold armor - which has terrible defense (as can be expected of armor made of soft metal) but offers other bonuses when worn.
  • 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.
    • Each game also has a 'superboss' that dwells at the final floor of the entire labyrinth, and these tend to be stronger than everything else in the game. There is Primevil/Yggdrasil Core in the first game and its remake, Ur-Child in the second game and its remake, the Abyssal God in the third game, and the Warped Savior in the fourth game. The Fafnir Knight takes this Up to Eleven by introducing a DLC boss that is fought on the labyrinth's 31st Floor and is even stronger than the Ur-Child.
  • 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 remake also has said monster in all its unnaturally powerful glory, but it makes it all the more difficult for the player by making the very first guaranteed encounter shiny, resulting in many parties destroyed or heavily injured before they can even move. What makes it worse is that there is a quest that forces the player to go hunt one to complete it, and the means of triggering this encounter are not immediately noticeable. That aside, the player can, on rare occasions, also encounter normal versions of this monster... sometimes in pairs.
    • 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 or lion 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.
  • Bragging Rights Reward: Ameno-Habakiri, the strongest katana (arguably, due to other katanas a step under it also giving decent stat boosts), which can be obtained by selling a monster drop from the ultimate Bonus Boss. However, by the time you get it, your party will be so strong there's next to nothing worth using it on. Taken Up to Eleven in The Drowned City where the katana has 8 free forge slots... and forging in each one requires another of the drop. Somewhat averted in the Untold games - completing Story Mode of The Millennium Girl will give the player access to this weapon even if they haven't accessed the Bonus Dungeon, while The Fafnir Knight still has DLC bosses that can be even more challenging than the ultimate boss.
    • In Legends of the Titan, the Ameno-Habakiri is downgraded to the penultimate katana, now requiring the player beat a different but slightly easier Bonus Boss instead. Taking its place in this trope (and taking it Up to Eleven) are the Yggdrasil weapons, detailed above in Awesome, but Impractical.
    • Also, every game gives out an accessory that grants impressive stat bonuses and can be used by any party member as a reward for achieving 100% Completion - by logging every enemy, every enemy drop, and every gathered item in the game. Barring DLC or QR code quests there is nothing left worth using it on.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • It also forces you to fight Visil after he tells you that he'll fight you to the death if you enter the door he's in. Notably, you're told an alternative is to go to town and be lauded as heroes for your adventures in the labyrinth, but going back and even trying to turn in the mission doesn't allow you to avoid the battle.
    • 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.
      • Earlier in the game, at least in The Fafnir Knight, you're outright barred from entering the labyrinth if you find the missing guards but don't take the mission to fight Chimera. Even if you do try to ascend the nearby stairs, you're just told that it's banned until further notice.
  • 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.
  • Character Customization: V goes beyond simply giving you a set of four portraits for each class to choose from: you're also able to change each character's hair, eye and skin colors, as well as assign them a voice.
  • 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 and subsequent games 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, and the drop is often either a rarely-acquired harvest item or a conditional drop from a monster.
    • While healing is much easier in Etrian Mystery Dungeon, the consequences for death are made much more dire. If your party is wiped out, you lose all your gold and items in your inventory. If you let a F.O.E. reach the surface, it will destroy one of the town's buildings, rendering you unable to use it for a while. And if one of your party member dies, the monster you were fighting evolves into a more powerful form. To top it all off, the game autosaves when you enter a dungeon to prevent you from save-scumming.
  • Contractual Boss Immunity: Played with in some cases, averted in others. Most bosses do possess immunity to attacks that would one shot them, emphasis on 'Most'. Some bosses and FOE's can only give their special drop this way. Almost none are immune to any form of Bind, and status effects can mean the difference between victory and defeat with some of the more powerful enemies.
  • 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.
  • Damage Sponge: Basically everything in The Fafnir Knight, though especially on the highest difficulty setting, has massive HP pools for soaking damage. Presumably this was done to counteract the Fafnir's ludicrous damage output levels, thought it becomes a bit of a problem on Classic Mode where you don't have the Fafnir around.
  • 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.
    • Etrian Mystery Dungeon subverts this in a very painful fashion. You won't lose characters who fall in the labyrinths, but you will lose equipment and items. Usually, you can get them back if you return to that floor of the labyrinth but there are some circumstances under which you can't, and there are no exceptions made for rare or even unique gear either.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Even The Millennium Girl's title tells you that the hero isn't the Highlander. Instead, it's Frederica.
  • Destroyable Items: One of the more controversial elements of Etrian Mystery Dungeon, although they're not exactly destroyed so much as lost. There are multiple ways in which you can permanently lose your equipment, most notably by dying in the labyrinths, and there is no protection given to unique or rare equipment, either. Even your priceless Infinity+1 Sword, only one of which exists in the game, can potentially be taken away from you.
  • Developers' Foresight: In The Millenium Girl, guests Ren and Tlachtga have lines recorded for some very unlikely occurrances on your first mission, including if the enemy flees, if they level up, and even if you get a Game Over, the latter two of which are difficult to have happen since they're so many levels ahead.
  • 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 Untold games have 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.
  • Downloadable Content: The Fafnir Knight and Etrian Mystery Dungeon have additional content available for purchase. It consists of special quests and bonus bosses, and The Fafnir Knight also has an additional class and extra character portraits.
  • 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, Artelinde and Wilhelm in Heroes of Lagaard and The Fafnir Knight, 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-Based Economy: Many of the games feature base camp towns that become richer and better-equipped as you recover treasures and valuable Organ Drops from monsters.
  • Dungeon Crawling
  • The Dragon: Ren and Tlachtga in Etrian Odyssey, Colossus in Heroes of Lagaard, and Kujura and Olympia in The Drowned City to their respective faction heads. The Progenitor, despite being the True Final Boss, is The Dragon to the Abyssal God. Logre serves Baldur in Legends of the Titan.
  • Early Game Hell: EO is especially difficult when your party is low level. The difficulty curve flattens out as your battle options expand.
  • Early Bird Boss: A group of Venom Flies, on the first floor can act like this during the first quest. They're normal enemies that are deadly to level appropriate adventurers, since they hail from the deepest parts of the next floor. You can avoid the encounter by picking the correct dialogue option, but otherwise...
    • Sadistically reprised in Heroes of Lagaard. Choose to transfer data from the first game and go to a similar point in the Ancient Forest, your party will recall being ambushed by Venomflies before the player is given a choice of whether or not to rest. Saying no causes the battle.
  • Earth All Along: Etrian Odyssey's world is actually our world after an ecological collapse.
  • Easier Than Easy: Picnic. The Fafnir Knight in particular, to the point where the game might as well be playing itself.note 
  • 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 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 in the early games. For instance, the Boost Up skill from the first game only increases Boost's effect with every odd skill point (which makes this especially bad is that it's a 10 point level - the last point does nothing). Arm Heal is even worse, since it's also a 10 point skill, but only three of those ten levels do anything (and the later two levels 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 levels of abilities will increase in cost, but those are accompanied by larger increases in strength, success rate, and/or duration. However, the improvement in strength and/or success rate isn't always worth the cost or skill point investment.
    • The trope rears its ugly head again in The Fafnir Knight - but not when levelling skills normally. Within the first 10 levels of a skill, the above properties apply, but when pushing a skill past the cap with Grimoire Stones, some skills (most noticeably, the weapon mastery or damage up skills) do not give bonuses at certain levels after 10.
  • Encounter Repellant: The Warding Bell item, and a few different class skills.
  • Enemy-Detecting Radar: All games have this in the lower right corner of the screen. Blue and yellow mean you're safe, but red means it's time to get ready to fight. The radar also tells you when an F.O.E. is nearby; a F.O.E. within 3 squares from you pops out an extra bar with three stages to let you know when they're nearby or right behind you. Very handy in Heroes of Lagaard where some F.O.E.s don't show up in your map, and in The Drowned City, since the fifth and sixth stratums have no-radar areas.
  • Escape Battle Technique: In the first two games, 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. It shows up as an early Burst Skill in Legend of the Titan.
  • Everyone Loves Blondes: Sort of. There are no real main characters for any of the games (Untold remakes notwithstanding), however promotional materials and assorted artwork for soundtracks, artbooks, etc. for the first three games heavily feature and highlight: for EO1- the blonde female protector, for EO2- the blonde female gunner (she actually shares heavy spotlight with the blonde Protector, as her class returns in EO2), and for E03- the blonde female Princess. This is averted in EO4 which opts to heavily feature the bob-cut dark-haired female Landsknecht instead of any of the available blondes. EO5 brings this back with the blonde Fencer, though.
  • Everything's Better with Princesses: The Drowned City not only offers the Prince(ss) class as a character class, but Princess Gutrune of Armoroad is a major player in the story, and some Sea Quests have Princesses from other lands join your party.
    • The Fafnir Knight has a Sovereign in its Story Mode, and Sovereign as a class in Classic Mode.
  • 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.
  • Excalibur in the Rust: In the Heroes of Lagaard and its remake, the party retrieves a rusty sword known as "God's Key" in order to open up the rest of the Bonus Dungeon for exploration. This event is followed by a chain of Side Quests involving sharpening the sword to restore its power, culminating in the unlocking of a Bonus Boss at the end and finally gaining the sword as an equippable item for yourself.
  • Excuse Me While I Multitask: You can draw or edit the bottom screen map during battle or while in conversation.
  • Excuse Plot: Sort of. The opening of 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." Things start happening about 3/4s of the way into the game. 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 The Fafnir Knight, where the plotline of the original is expanded upon and spread out over the course of the entire game.
  • Expy: The Highlander in The Millennium Girl is similar to Giulio from Gungnir. Ranging from weapon choice, hair colour, them both being involved with a weapon called 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 only available 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 his defeat.
  • Fake Difficulty: In both Etrian Odyssey and The Fafnir Knight. The former is due to a hidden mechanic that grants enemies additional power based on how underleveled you are compared to what level you're expected to be at during that point of the gamenote , while the latter is because everything needlessly has loads of HP to artificially extend battles.
  • Fanservice: Some character designs are... questionable. Male fanservice isn't skimped over, either. Check out the first male pirate in the third one. Now double back and realize he isn't wearing a shirt under his vest.
    • The Dark Hunter's whip skills are very obviously bondage themed. Their basic binding skills involve gags, cuffs, and shackles, and their final 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.
      • The enemies are not spared either. Some humanoid enemies wear nothing but Godiva Hair and Censor Steam. Might be Fetish Retardant as many of these monsters have massive tentacle monster bodies below the torso.
    • The Fafnir Knight has a hot springs quest DLC, which includes special portraits for Arianna and Chloe. They're exactly what you'd expect.
      • There's also the portrait DLC, which is non-sexual fanservice.
    • Ye gods, the Necromancer class in The End of the Long Myth. All four portraits wear as little clothing as possible while still being able to claim being clothed.
  • Fantastic Nuke: Gungnir in The Millennium Girl.
  • Featureless Protagonist: Your characters are blank slates. You get the implied backstory that you're a guildmaster signing up recruits, which presumably means they're all wannabe-adventurers looking for work. Each class has four portraits, two per gender, though it's not always obvious which is which (1 and 3 are male, 2 and 4 are female). That's all the game gives you, and none of it affects the gameplay. There isn't even a default suggestion for their names. The tutorial invites you to imagine that your guildmaster/you as one of the adventurers, but that isn't followed up upon.
    • Legends of the Titan shakes this up a bit. Other classes unlock during the game, just like in other games, but major NPCs can join the party as regular player units with the right dialogue options. You're still welcome to recruit anonymous schlubs, of course.
    • Averted with the Story Mode main characters in The Millennium Girl and The Fafnir Knight.
    • Etrian Mystery Dungeon uses the guildmaster-as-adventurer idea more explicitly: you're forced to make a Landsknecht as your first character, and they must run through a trial dungeon to earn the right to form a guild. You're free to delete them immediately afterwards if you so choose.
  • Fetch Quest: Most quests involve going and finding something in the Labyrinth.
  • Fighting Your Friend: The Demi-Fafnir, aka Bertrand in The Fafnir Knight.
  • Fight Woosh: One for every stratum. When a battle starts, there's a rustling of leaves followed by blackened branches styled after the particular stratum covering the screen.
  • Five-Man Band: The classes broadly can be assigned to the five standard party slots.
  • Flavor Text: Found in all of the beastiary entries and most item descriptions.
  • Flying Seafood Special: Lots of monsters. Cotrangl/Corotorangul in Etrian Odyssey and The Millennium Girl are a boss examples. Many, many more come from The Drowned City. Narmer, Ketos, Cruel Roamer, and Hammerhead...
  • Flunky Boss: The first stratum boss in every game sees the boss try to involve weaker F.O.E.s in the fight somehow. In Etrian Odyssey wolves spawn behind Fenrir and provide a constant stream of reinforcements until he's killed. There's also the Ant Queen of the third stratum. The fourth stratum boss is particularly sadistic about this; it's functionally immortal until all of the F.O.E.s on its floor are defeated. Leave and they ALL come back.
    • 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.
    • It is fair to say that most stratum bosses function this way, either through commanding F.O.E.s that join the battle or having Cognizant Limbs that appear and can be targeted mid-fight.
  • 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.
    • Also from Legends of the Titan, the Sky Emperor, an FOE normally accessible in the postgame overworld, uses an alarmingly accurate instant-kill attack on the fourth turn.
    • 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.
    • In The Fafnir Knight, a soldier identifies Chloe as a War Magus and asks her to heal his unit, even if you've reclassed her. She also says that she can only apply first aid, even if she's reclassed to a Medic and learned Cure and Revive.
  • Genius Bruiser: Fredrica: Badass gunslinging Action Girl. Also one of the scientists of the Yggdrasil Project
  • Genre-Busting: Wizardry-style Dungeon Crawler to the core, with the graph paper mapping built in. Since the third game, additional elements have crept in, like the Sea Chart movement puzzle, and the fourth game's overworld exploration.
  • "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. The End of the Long Myth takes it Up to Eleven with the Masurao, who can use all four of their equipment slots for swords, foregoing armor entirely.
  • Go Out with a Smile: Visil in The Millennium Girl and Violetta in The Fafnir Knight.
  • Godzilla Threshold: Subverted twice in IV.
    • Using the Heavenbringer was the Empire's last ditch attempt to restore life to their dying land, even if doing so would eliminate the vessels and sentinels. Subverted, in that the Heavenbringer wasn't viable long-term, since it would only buy a few decades.
    • The Hall of Darkness is home to the Warped Savior, an giant insect meant to destroy Yggdrasil in case it went out of control. The subversion here is that the failsafe was fed on Yggdrasil's power, and was corrupted just like Yggdrasil, and the lead scientist locked it away himself.
  • Grail in the Garbage: An early sidequest in IV, tasks you with recovering armor used as collateral in a bargain; the merchant agreed since the armor was supposedly the work lesser genius. When retrieved, it's pretty much unusable, and the merchant will angrily write it off. A quick visit to the local blacksmith reveals that the armor was indeed created by said master, and is repaired for free!
  • Gratuitous German: Landsknecht. Wilhelm's nickname "Der Freischütz". There may be other examples.
  • Great Big Library of Everything: The Midgard Library, the common thread between the Untold games. Simon, Arthur and Raquna investigate Gladsheim in The Millennium Girl on its orders. Flavio and The Fafnir Knight's protagonist are sent to Lagaard to accompany Arianna to Ginnungagap, causing the protagonist to become the titular creature.
  • Green Hill Zone: The first stratum in the first three games and remakes, and the first dungeons areas 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 during sea quests. Amusingly, you're THEIR guest star, since they're the quest givers and you're helping them solve their problem.
    • Unlike The Drowned City, the guests in Legends of the Titan are player controlled. Representatives of three unlockable classes temporarily join your party on the boss floor. Leave the floor before you kill the boss, and they'll leave your party until you return, at which point they'll offer to join your party again.
    • Kirjonen and Wiglaf in Legends of the Titan fight with you if you interact with them when their balloons are downed. They also offer to join you when you're battling the Blizzard King and the Storm Emperor, in the post-game. Baldur makes the offer 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.
    • In The Fafnir Knight, Wulfgar hops aboard for your first time through the first floor in story mode. At level 12, he's stronger than the rest of the party, but not as strong as the examples above.
    • In the same game, Hrothgar joins for the fight against the Chimaera in story mode. He's level 16, about equal level with the recommended level to fight the boss. Marion also serves as a guest party member for the first fight against the Great Dragon in the postgame, but unlike the former two examples, by this point it's already likely your party is on par with, or even stronger than her.
  • 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, then get the number values on your guild card to match up, and take on a boss enemy. Even then, that only gives you a 30% chance of getting the grimoire.
    • Want a conditional drop without expending a Formaldehyde? While monster codex entries and certain bar NPCs may sometimes give big hints as to how to do so, the hints aren't always there, and the NPCs are often missable. The names of the conditional drop are also likely to make sense only in hindsight. Then there's actually accomplishing that condition, which is incredibly likely to fail in many, many ways...
  • Guns Are Worthless: HELL no, gunners are capable of ludicrous 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.
  • Helpful Mook: Axolotls in The Fafnir Knight can potentially be these: when encountered in battle, they won't do anything except watch. Leave them alone for long enough, and they'll use a move that completely fills the party's Force gauges - even if they used their Force Breaks! Attack them, on the other hand, accidental or not, and they will instead drain your characters' Force gauges.
  • 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 Animation: Idle Chatter at any rate. In The Millennium Girl's Story Mode if you stand around doing nothing your party members will occasionally comment on it.
  • Infinity+1 Element: Some Limit Breaks and other extremely powerful attacks like Megido and Origin Rune deal "Untyped" damage (sometimes referred to as "Almighty" in a Shout-Out to fellow Atlus franchise Shin Megami Tensei). This cannot be resisted by any means, though on the other hand it's also hard to boost as most buffs specifically raise elemental or physical power. Subverted in Etrian Mystery Dungeon, where Untyped damage is both more common and usually weaker than whatever else you could be using instead.
  • 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 of the first game and its remake, 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.
    • The bonus stratum of The Fafnir Knight presents F.O.E.s that emit fog so dense that visibility for both the player and other F.O.E.s are drastically hindered, and the map is also turned off as mentioned above. That, and most of these rooms are damage tile mazes.
  • Interface Spoiler: In Legends of the Titan, the final floors of most of the dungeons have large swathes of untouched territory that can't be accessed. At the time. Before entering the final dungeon, the guild takes a secret pass through these unexplored areas to gain access.
  • 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 Landsknechts, Troubadours, Princes/ses, and Dancers
  • 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 with the worst armor options. 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 Artelinde wields one on the end of her staff.
  • Last Lousy Point: Possibly the king of this trope is in Etrian Mystery Dungeon: the Green Shard from the Demented King. You have to survive 60 floors without checkpoints, starting at level 1 with no items, just to have a 1 in 20 chance at getting it.
    • Opening all the treasure chests in The Drowned City. One of them is behind a door that can only be opened in the true ending, and all chests reset (except for the ones that have coupons in them) upon choosing new game plus.
  • 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! Not to mention that characters reference and talk about the Old World as early as the prologue.
  • 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.
    • Finally averted in Etrian Mystery Dungeon, where if a party is downed, any guild members at the guild can be sent down to retrieve the downed party to avoid item and money loss.
  • Leaked Experience: Etrian Mystery Dungeon has this, which is justified by the characters training at the Explorer's Guild while not on duty. A skill in the third game also could offer non-combatants a share of the experience. The Yggdrasil Clover Tea in Untold 2 does the same alongside its primary effect of increased experience gain. This also works on quest EXP.
  • 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 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 strengthens any action you take, effectively buffing any skill by 5 levels (e.g. level 5 Immunize becomes a level 10 Immunize while boosted).
    • Heroes of Lagaard replaces Boost with Force abilities, powerful class-specific moves more reminiscent of the classic Limit Break. The Fafnir Knight modified this system by having two forms of Force abilities. There is Force Boost, a class-specific buff that lasts for three turns (this includes the protagonist's transformed state), and Force Break, a single powerful move that renders Force abilities unusable until the party goes back to Lagaard.
    • The Drowned City's "Limits" are no longer character specific - you equip 'scrolls' to certain characters to use them. Most scrolls need to be 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.
    • Mystery Dungeon has "Blasts", which for the most part function like 4's, except that you can use any you have unlocked without needing to equip them, and there are also class-specific ones. In this game, the gauge charges by touching amber tiles as well as killing monsters.
  • 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.
    • Fully powering up the Ronin's Peerless Combo attack in The Fafnir Knight is an incredibly costly undertaking, as the skill powers up based on three other skills, each with their own set of requirements.
  • 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.
    • Ginnungagap B3F during the Story Mode of The Fafnir Knight. It's a long, labyrinthine trek full of Axolotls that can take away your Force gauge if you attack or kill them and Death Wall FOEs that will rush you from across the room and are impossible to run from unless you run when it's guarding. Moreover, once you enter you can't leave until you finish, although you get three Return Flutes just in case you get stuck and you can't save inside, preventing it from becoming Unwinnable by Design. Annoyingly, if you're playing Classic Mode, you receive no warning that this will be a Marathon Level until you enter the floor, by which point you are unable to leave.
  • Metal Slime: Pasarans 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.
    • In the ocean, you have tanniyn. They're quite rare, take several hits to successfully kill (although you can unlock improved harpoons) and will sometimes attack and damage your ship as you fight them. When you kill one, however, their drops are worth a small fortune, especially if you get some Tanniyn Liver.
    • 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.
    • While absent from The Millennium Girl, The Fafnir Knight brings back these types of enemies via EOU's Yggdrasil plant enemies. These are weak enemies only capable of using a basic attack and give little EXP upon dying. However, they drop tea ingredients that can either increase your Material/Gathering Rates, increase the chance of getting high quality Grimoire Stones, or multiply EXP from every encounter by three while also sharing it with the guild members not actively in the party. While normally rare and hard to find, a DLC released alongside the game makes these enemies spawn at guaranteed rates when accepting their missions.
  • 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 FOEs, 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.
    • It's all part of the challenge; your inventory is limited to sixty items, and nothing stacks. Therefore, for every Warp Wire or emergency Nectar (for reviving your Medic, you see) you take into the dungeon, that's one less giblet for you to carry back to town and sell...which means less money to put toward the prohibitively expensive Warp Wires and Nectars.
    • In The Drowned City, however, once you get to the last stratum, a team of farmers with the appropriate skills will make your money issues moot. Mining, chopping, and gathering will net you more or less 100k per visit. Then again, by the time you do reach the last stratum, you won't have much need for money. Good thing it carries over to a new game.
    • Etrian Mystery Dungeon is a bit more merciful, giving you a sperate inventory for usable items and supplies. Justified since it's a Roguelike; you're going to need every one of those item slots just to stay alive.
  • 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. The same applies for The Fafnir Knight, and is speculated to hold true for future Untold games.
  • 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.
  • Non Standard Game Over: Heroes of Lagaard has one if you choose to leave the Grail of Kings with the Overlord in the middle of the final battle.
  • 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...)
    • Interestingly, while data similarly cannot be carried into Legends of the Titan, the game tells you that your data from LotT can carry over into other games. 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".
  • Organ Drops: Some of the loot you gather include valuable body parts from some of the monsters, like the hard chitin of giant insects, claws and fangs from beasts, various parts of plant monsters, and so on. Justified, as some of these body parts are then used by the shops you sell them to - chemicals derived from the loot can be used to concoct healing potions, claws, fangs, hard chitin, and metallic remains of enemies can be used to forge weapons and armor, and other materials are used to make essential tools like the Warp Wire.
  • Our Mermaids Are Different: The Deep Ones of The Drowned City are the spawn of an alien Eldritch Abomination.
  • Palette Swap: Each playable character portrait has an alternate set of colors in The Drowned City and Legends of the Titan.
  • Path of Most Resistance: Expect various sidequests to give the best rewards if you take the options that require the most effort to complete.
  • Peninsula of Power Leveling: Any location with easily-respawning F.O.E.s can qualify, once the party is strong enough to defeat it repeatedly. Of note is the Scarlet Pillars in Legends of the Titan, where the Dreameaters can be easily turned to a rare breed with locally-found plants, and respawn every day, compared to the usual 7 for the other F.O.E.s.
  • Petting Zoo People: The Sentinels in the fourth game. They're even playable as members of the Bushi class.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: The Princesses sport some really fancy dresses, complete with armor.
  • Post Final Boss: At the end Story Mode of The Millennium Girl, after beating Etreant and MIKE, the party gets into a premature fight with the Bonus Dungeon's ultimate boss, only with story events making the experience easier. After its first defeat, it gets up again, and the party gets a massive power boost to defeat it for good. The same goes for The Fafnir Knight, as the Yggdrasil Core returns to full power and blows the party away, and the protagonist uses the Holy Grail to gain the power to defeat it alone.
  • Power Copying: Grimoires in The Millennium Girl and The Fafnir Knight allow a character to use an enemy's skill.
  • Precursors: The Ancient Civilization in The Millennium Girl.
  • Prestige Class: In End of the Long Myth classes can pick a master title which lets them specialize in a particular area. For example, a Fencer can become an Illusionary Swordsman, which boosts their agility and helps them with evasion, or a Thunderbolt Knight, which gives them harder-hitting attacks and lets them better synergize with their party.
  • 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.
  • Purposely Overpowered: The Seven King Grimoire in Untold combines the best skills from the seven baddest bosses in the game. Getting ONE King Grimoire is a Guide Dang It; ALL SEVEN are needed to make this one.
  • Puzzle Boss: Almost all bosses will have their own gimmicks to enforce specific strategies, to the point where you have to interact with map events to weaken some of them. Several even have set AI patterns that make them a lot easier once discovered. The ultimate Bonus Bosses take the cake by commonly having a fixed attack pattern that has been studied and documented by many, making it possible to have a turn-by-turn guide to defeat them.
  • Quirky Bard: Strongly averted in Etrian Odyssey, where Troubadours are the second-biggest Game Breakers behind only Immunize Medics . They were nerfed hard when Heroes of Lagaard removed Healing and Relaxing, but they still pull their weight 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." The materials used to make this particular sword are rarely dropped by the three elemental dragons.
  • 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.
    • White Potions in Etrian Mystery Dungeon instantly raise a character's level by 1. Golden Potions increase it by 3.
  • 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... though he does get some points back in post-game when he fights to protect his people during their relocation.
  • 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, returns with a new arrangement in Mystery Dungeon, and is set to return again in EO5.
  • Recycled Soundtrack: Most of Etrian Mystery Dungeon's soundtrack is remixes of themes from the other games.
  • Redemption Demotion: Logre and Prince Baldur are far stronger as bosses than as allies, though they'll still hit hard due to their Imperial class. Justified in Baldur's case, as he was fought in a One-Winged Angel form that he is no longer capable of taking on.
  • Remixed Level: Most of the maps in the Untold games are very different from their original versions, forcing the player to make their maps from exploration instead of memory.
  • Respawning Enemies: Slain F.O.E.s in Etrian Odyssey come back after three in-game days. Plot related bosses come back after eleven. From Heroes of Lagaard onward, this increased to 7 days for normal F.O.E.s and 14 days for bosses.
  • Retraux: The whole series 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 a F.O.E. Pray that your back is clear or that you can escape from battle to another floor, or you're trapped.
    • The fourth game's 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 and get a cutscene when they show up on the field. If one of them catches up with you, you don't even get a Hopeless Boss Fight - just a message that the dragon smashed your skyship and you, and your party is sent back to town with at a random number of the party dead or at 1 HP. You also lose food collected on the world map, excepting any collected for quest purposes. Still better than an instant Game Over.
  • Sad Battle Music:
    • "Towering Pair", the battle theme of Ren and Tlachtga from Etrian Odyssey and The Millennium Girl.
    • "Guardians of the Sorrowful Ice", the battle theme of Wilhelm and Artelinde in Heroes of Lagaard and The Fafnir Knight.
  • 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.
  • Secret A.I. Moves: Enemies have a completely different set of skills than you, though the effects broadly parallel your skills. The Millennium Girl plays with it, since many enemies skills can drop on Grimoire Stones. However, the composition of the stone is randomized unless you know exactly how to manipulate the system. Even so, it can take quite a while to get the Grimoires you want or need.
  • 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.
  • Shaggy Dog Story: Some choices can come across as this. One dungeon has a hidden crayfish in a pond, which continuously snaps at whoever tries to catch it, and pretty much taunts you every time it does and every time you nearly catch it only for it to escape anyway. Whenever by sheer luck you actually manage to grab it, you exult in your victory for five full seconds before questioning why you wanted it in the first place and kicking it back in.
  • 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 it 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 Girlnote , the English dub has a couple of familiar voices from Trauma Team.
    • Take a look at the names used in this video. Terezi, Kanaya, Gamzee, Equius, and Karkat. 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 H.P. 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/.
    • In Untold, Austin is a clear Sherlock Homage. Reinforcing this, a barfly related to him (heavily implied to be his Moriarty figure, Baroudeur) is described as "man with twisted lip".
    • On a slightly more subtle note, one of the Gunner class portraits wears a pin on her hat bearing the face of the Jack Frost monster from the Shin Megami Tensei series, and Olympia from 3, prior to her Robotic Reveal, wears Pyro Jack's face, from the same game.
    • The "Golden Gun" from the second game is described as "a golden gun that can be disassembled and carried freely."
    • Wilhelm is based off the opera Der Freischütz, from which he gets his nickname. This is further compounded by his incredibly high accuracy when you battle him, as well as using magic (elemental) bullets, just like the main character in said opera. The gun you get from his drop is also from it.
  • Skill Point Reset: Resting a character allows you to reassign their skill points, at the cost of a few levels. note 
  • 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 the 3DS games swaps guild cards with other players, and gives you some benefits, like being able to use one of their guildmembers or acquiring items from them.
  • Solo-Character Run: A popular challenge, especially against the Bonus Bosses. Usually this relies on the Protector's ability to just tank anything thrown at them. It's also a rather viable way of playing Etrian Mystery Dungeon. Not only do you get quests that require you to do so, but because of the occasionally derpy character AI and the splitting of resources, going solo might actually make the game easier for you.
  • 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 Knight's reveals Artelinde and Wilhelm battling the guild.
  • Star Power: Zodiacs from The Drowned City study the stars to learn magic.
  • 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.
    • In The Fafnir Knight, the minister complains that some newbie adventurers will just plagiarize the maps of veterans for their starter quest, which may be a nod to new players looking up maps online.
  • Tech Tree: Each class has a rather elaborate one.
  • Temple of Doom: The Fourth Stratum in Drowned City.
  • The Magnificent: When a character takes a Prestige Class in End of the Long Myth they gain an epithet that can be chosen by the player.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: In The Fafnir Knight, 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.
    • This is the entire point of the main character in The Fafnir Knight. It's entirely possible for him to kill the bonus boss in one turn.
  • Time-Limit Boss: In area V of Gladsheim in The Millennium Girl an unwavering M.I.K.E. must be fought along the path to stop Gungnir from destroying Etria, making him this.
  • Time Stands Still:
    • The Ronin's Limit Break in Heroes of Lagaard.
    • 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.
  • Timed Mission: In the last Area of the Gladsheim in The Millennium Girl, you have to cross the map to deactivate Gungnir to stop it from destroying Etria within 50 turns. This includes defeating the boss, the AI called M.I.K.E.
  • 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 if it's killed on the turn the item is used. They're also in short supply and a New Game+ doesn't restock these chests. You can make them once you reach the sixth stratum, by selling item drops from F.O.E.s there. Just remember that each item you sell makes one unit of Formaldehyde. Have fun!
      • It returns in Legends of the Titan and the Untold games, but are much more rare. On the bright side, the chests containing them are restored on a New Game+. You still need late-game drops to buy more, however.
  • Transformation Is a Free Action: The hero in The Fafnir Knight 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. The Drowned City has the revival clinic as part of the inn, though.
  • Traversible World Map: Legends of the Titan has one, unlike every other game in the series. The series' traditional "Stratums" are now broken into smaller dungeons and larger labyrinths.
  • 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 a 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.
    • The habit of using QR was continued in Etrian Odyssey 2 Untold as well as the spin-off Etrian Mystery Dungeon.
  • 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.
    • Sadly, Curse (affected player/enemy takes damage whenever they inflict damage) plays this straight - thanks to the Health/Damage Asymmetry, monsters are going to barely be tickled by the curse damage, while Player Characters will lose most or all of their health from the damage incurred by doing a normal attack, forget about any hard-hitting techniques. This gets particularly grating with any conditional drops that require an enemy to kill itself with the reflected damage.
  • 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.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: As you journey across the labyrinths in Legends of the Titan, you can meet and talk to various soldiers in various predicaments, like getting lost or being separated from their unit. Helping (or sabotaging) them is optional, but if you do help, towards the end of the plot as you advance towards the final few bosses, the soldiers you helped appear and hand over several healing items as they thank you for the assistance.
  • Voice Grunting: Present in The Millennium Girl.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: Yes, despite the games being Wizardry Hard, there are bosses can crank the difficulty up even higher. Special mention goes to Fenrir; the party has yet to escape Perpetual Poverty, or have the levels/skills to fight effectively. Adding to the problem, first stratum enemies and FO Es don't yield enough experience to make grinding easy.
    • So you got past the Great Lynxes and Largebills on the first two floors of The Drowned City and you're 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 this is still an Atlus game.
    • In Legends of the Titan the Berserker King (the first boss) is a crash course in isolating the boss from nearby F.O.E.s. The second boss is another, in demonstrating that binds are not Useless Useful Spells.
  • 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 offers to turn the party immortal by assimilating and experimenting with them, and in the remake's Story mode he attempts to assimilate the party to obtain the power of Fafnir and use it to stop the Calamity himself. 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.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: This has actually cropped up, courtesy of Millenium Girl and Fafnir Knight making it explicit that all the games share a continuity and that there are seven Yggdrasi dotting the surface of the post-apocalyptic world. To wit:
    • EO1 was originally an aversion; Lost Shinjuku left little doubt as to exactly where you were. Millenium Girl, though, adds a decent bit of confusion to the mix, as between being not too far for a blatantly-Gaelic "Highlander" to make the journey there, being close enough to "Ontario" (e.g. almost certainly the actual place) to have large parcels, including a cream churn, delivered there, Ricky Irving (who is, even in the Japanese version, almost certainly an American) being put into cryosleep in the area before the Big Disaster, and the AI near Etria having an Anglic nickname to boot, it would make more sense overall for the area now called Etria to be located on the Eastern Seaboard of America, probably near New York, Boston or Philadelphia. Lost Shinjuku is still there, though.
    • Starting in EO2, things got a little less obvious. However, given the way the new, treated-as-locals classes are dressed (or are literally shaggy bears), the colder climate in general, and being located up in the mountains as a refuge for older, larger cities as per Lagaard's legend, it's often been suspected that Lagaard is located in northern or eastern Europe, in the Ural Mountains, the Alps or maybe even the Scandinavian Mountains. Fafnir Knight reinforces this a decent bit, with Bertrand's blatantly French last name and Arianna being from the relatively nearby kingdom of "Caledonia" - that being an old name for Scotland, which all leans on the Alps theory.
    • EO3 is also not super obvious... by itself. The island itself and the dress of a lot of the inhabitants suggests it's in the Mediterranean, which would also make some sense given the nearby archipelago. Fafnir Knight also drops the hint that it's located in the general "south", which also could suggest the Mediterranean, though some have taken it as a suggestion it's located further south and possibly in the overall global south, perhaps in the South China Sea, the Phillipines or Indonesia. The island-hopping sailing aspect would certainly make a lot of sense for any of those options, to boot.
      • The map, despite the out-of-place names, is definitely the South China Sea, with Hong Kong in the northwest.
    • EO4 is perhaps the most "non-obvious" of the main games. At first. Despite the "European genericness" of Tharsis and the Nordic bent of the Empire's royal family, between the obviously Chinese-inspired second land (particularly the names), the blantantly Japanese names of the third, and the heavily terraced hills in and visible beyond the fourth land, it seems very likely that the Tharsis Yggdrasil is located somewhere on continential Asia, probably either in China itself or on the Indochinese Peninsula.
    • The Midgard Library, featured in the Untold games, likewise has no definite position. It definitely seems to be in the rough global north since Armoroad is definitely far to the "south" of it, but Lagaard is similarly a fair way "north", or at least distant from Midgard. Ontario doesn't seem to be too far, however (given that Raquna works for the Library), nor does the apparently-Ameri-European-esque town of "Gotham" - a popular alternate name for New York - which was the original home of Simon and Arthur. This suggests that Midgard, at least, is probably somewhere on the North American continent even if Etria isn't.
    • Ontario, however, is always definitely Ontario.
  • 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.
  • With a Friend and a Stranger: Played with in the two Untold games' story modes.
    • Untold has two strangers (the player and Frederica) join with a trio of friends (Arthur, Simon, and Raquna).
    • 2 Untold has two friends (the player and Flavio) meet a stranger (Arianna), and then another pair of friends (Bertrand and Chloe).
  • 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.
  • Yandere: An NPC who posts up a request in Heroes of Lagaard (and its remake) requests for ingredients to cook up a meal for her husband. The party is rather wary of the requested ingredients, and it is eventually discovered said NPC intended to poison her husband after seeing him with another woman.
  • 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 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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