Therion's journey was approaching the home stretch as he continued on towards the Chapter 4 bosses. With the large exception of Gareth, most of the Chapter 3 bosses had been fairly easy and I was looking forward to testing Therion's abilities against his remaining opponents. His particular skill set made him a surprisingly sturdy character thanks to massive lifesteal and exceedingly high evade. With the top endgame gear due to arrive shortly, I was confident that Therion could completely max out the evasion stat and become nearly unkillable against physical damage opponents. In fact, I was so eager to get my hands on Therion's best dagger that I decided to undertake Alfyn's Chapter 4 story immediately rather than work on side stories and optional quests first. This led Therion into the Forest of Rubeh:
This can be a dangerous area for a lot of solo characters since the horned deer creatures will buff up their physical attack and then hit for extremely heavy damage (as pictured). Two of those blows landing would be enough for an instant kill against Therion. Fortunately I found that he almost never took a direct hit from these enemies, dodging something like 80% of their incoming attacks. Physical attacks were landing rarely enough that they weren't a consistent danger. Most of the damage was still coming from those blasted elementals which appeared yet again in this dungeon as well. The Forest of Rubeh has the wind version of this enemy and their gusty spells would typically hit for 500-600 undodgeable points of damage. It was all part of a longstanding pattern in which Therion had to be more careful of elemental damage over physical damage since his shiftiness was useless against spells. Anyway, Aeber's Reckoning was still maxing out at 9999 damage against everything and Therion was able to cut a path through the woods with little resistance.
The boss at the end of the dungeon was the Ogre Eagle and I paused for a bit to think about what equipment to bring for the ending encounter. Most of the attacks from this boss were physical in nature so it seemed like a good idea to keep running Therion's evasion gear setup. For the accessory slots, a Tempest Amulet was mandatory to block the multiple wind element spells used by the boss and render them inert. What to bring in the other slot though? The Ogre Eagle has a "Double Rend" ability that hits twice and has a chance to inflict poison, darkness, confuse, and physical/elemental attack down. I could only block one of those status ailments and couldn't stop the physical/elemental debuffs at all. I decided to start by blocking blindness with a Bright Stone and see how that went, then adjust from there based on what happened.
The Ogre Eagle ended up being a trickier opponent than I'd been expecting. While the Tempest Amulet blocked its wind element abilities as always, I found to my disappointment that the Double Rend attack hit at an unusually high rate. This must have been one of those monster abilities that has a heightened accuracy rating because Therion was only dodging something like 30-40% of the time (in contrast to 80-90% of the time against normal attacks). Double Rend has a random chance to inflict any of those aforementoned statuses or debuffs, and as a result each battle played out differently depending on what stuff Therion was slapped with. Sometimes he was poisoned, sometimes he was confused, sometimes his attack was debuffed, and never in the same order in any two battles. This was something different from the norm: Octopath Travel tends to be pretty deterministic in its boss fights, with the same attacks hitting in the same order over and over again. (It's much less random than Final Fantasy 5 in that regard.) I found myself rerolling the same boss encounter repeatedly to test out different RNG patterns which was a novel experience in this game.
My first realization was that confusion was arguably a worse status than blindness. I could work around being blinded by not attacking until it was cleared but confusion took Therion out of my hands altogether and that was never a good thing. After Therion died twice because he was confused right before he was about to get off a big HP Thief heal (and then attacked himself instead of lifestealing back to full), I opted to drop the Bright Stone in favor of a Clarity Stone. This was enough to get Therion past the first half of the battle through a combination of HP Thief and Aeber's Reckoning, only to be confronted with the damage race in the second half of the battle. The Ogre Eagle uses an ability called Toxic Rainbow that drains away some of your character's max HP at the end of each round. There's only so much time before your character loses enough health to die in a single hit. Despite my best efforts I was finding that Therion was coming up a little bit short in this damage race, consistently dropping under 2000 max HP and then getting one-shotted by the Ogre Eagle while he was still trying to land a final Divine skill. I'm sure that I could have forced a victory by spamming Revitalizing Jams but there was an easier solution here: Therion simply needed more total health to give him a few more rounds to win this battle. I decided to back out of the dungeon and grab some additional resources and then return for another try.
The easiest way to do this was to travel to some of the other towns out in the third ring that Therion hadn't reached yet and pick up more of the stat-boosting nuts. Riverford in particular had a Large Nourishing Nut worth +300 max HP along with double Large Tough Nuts that translated into 45 additional points of physical defense. Finding all of those nuts scattered across the world and feeding them to the solo character is a big part of increasing their overall strength. While Therion was visiting Riverford, I had him pop into the nearby Shrine of the Warbringer where he came across one of these Animated Armors for the first time. Hey, remember how Therion is a Thief in this game? With that combat skill Steal that I basically never used at any point in time? It turns out that Therion could rob more than helpless townspeople in this game. The Animated Armors are the one repeatable random encounter with Refreshing Jams as a Steal option and I happily swiped one off this monster. Actually, Therion took two of them at a time thanks to his "Snatch" support skill that caused him to loot double the items from a successful Steal. This is another potential avenue for acquiring repeatable Refreshing Jams beyond having Olberic Challenge that one poor Merchant in Grandport over and over again. For the solo Therion run, it meant that I could spam Refreshing Jams as much as I wanted while easily restocking them afterwards.
For the Ogre Eagle refight, I decided that it was more important to have additional total health and dropped all status protection in favor of bringing the Empowering Necklace with its +1000 HP bonus. More total HP would help out significantly during the Toxic Rainbow portion of the battle while also providing greater overall safety by virtue of having a larger pool of health to work with. Running a battle with 5500 HP had a much greater margin for error than the 4000 HP that Therion had previously been operating with. I had Therion carefully work the Ogre Eagle down to the halfway point of its own health, then broke the creature's shields and initiated the damage race. Aeber's Reckoning was the skill of choice here since it would almost always max out the damage gauge at 9999 without needing to debuff the boss with Armor Corrosive ahead of time. I burned Refreshing Jams for healing since there wasn't enough time to use weaker options. Everything worked out on my first renewed attempt at the boss as Therion won with about 2800 HP remaining:
Having more total health had been the correct answer to this situation. I might even have been able to win previously if I'd caught on to this fact sooner and had Therion take the Empowering Necklace from the start. In any case, Therion had emerged victorious and could move on to the next set of opponents. (Side note: I've been repeatedly typing "Refreshing Hams" because the "J" and "H" keys are right next to one another on an English keyboard and now I really wish that they existed in this game. Mmmm, delicious Refreshing Hams! )
The whole reason for taking on Alfyn's Chapter 4 story right out of the gate was due to the weapon that it unlocks upon completion. After finishing up with this tale, Vanessa Hysel appears in the Undertow Cave holding some basic apothecary supplies and the Battle-tested Dagger. This was another situation where Therion had 0% odds to Steal the item despite his high level and I had to fall back on Tressa's ability to Purchase the thing. The Battle-tested Dagger was the real deal though, with an increase of almost 50 points of physical attack over the Viper Dagger and the chance to debuff the target's accuracy on a successful strike. This did apply to HP Thief and Steal SP just as Therion had previously been able to poison his foes with the Viper Dagger while using his Thief abilities. That accuracy debuff synergized perfectly with the other huge benefit on the Battle-tested Dagger: a bonus of 140 points to the evade stat. This was more than worth losing the speed bonus on the Viper Dagger as it pushed Therion well over 800 points in total evasion. I was confident now that he would be able to hit the cap of 999 evade before his journey was over. None of my previous solo characters had managed to reach that point and I suspected that it would be a lot of fun to play around with.
To no surprise at all, Therion was even harder for his opponents to hit after he upgraded to the new weapon. Standard attacks from random monsters missed Therion close to 90% of the time and the main source of incoming damage came from elemental spells that autohit the target. It was also noticeable when enemies would have specialty physical attacks with higher accuracy than their normal attacks, the sort of thing that would pass unnoticed in a normal game. If a physical attack suddenly started hitting half the time, I could easily conclude that there was an accuracy boost behind it. With the Battle-tested Dagger in tow, I belatedly had Therion begin clearing out some of the optional side dungeons scattered around the third ring. I went through the Everhold Tunnels followed by the Loch of the Lost King where the weak Tyrannodrake miniboss wasn't even able to land a single hit. It was amusing to get the "Untouched" bonus money at the end of a nominal boss encounter.
I also took the time to clear out the Captain's Bane side area and face the Leviathan optional boss. This can be a difficult opponent due to the presence of the two urchin minions (which the Leviathan will keep resummoning endlessly) along with the presence of poison and unconsciousness status ailments. I was able to bring protection against both of those afflictions using Therion's accessory slots, at the cost of having no extra HP for this fight, and fortunately Aeber's Reckoning was able to one-shot the minions for 9999 damage every time that they popped up. This left only the boss octopus itself to contend with and Therion proved to be completely safe from anything that it could do. Most of its attacks were easily dodged and the few that landed could be healed away with HP Thief. This was one of the first times seeing the Battle-tested Dagger in action and the gray bullseye icon next to the boss indicated that Therion had debuffed its accuracy with a successful attack. Anyway, the minions died instantly whenever they appeared and the boss couldn't lay a tentacle on Therion, all of that quite aside from the near-infinite healing power on Therion. I don't think the fight could have been much easier.
With the choice of any of the remaining Chapter 4 stories available, I decided to have Therion pursue Olberic's tale next. This would unlock a series of useful items and I thought that Therion's supreme evade would result in a favorable matchup against Werner. My Thief tore right through the random encounters in the Lord's Manse while continuing to rack up "Untouched" bonuses for taking no damage along the way. I'd say he was scoring that 10% money bonus in something like a third of the random encounters, pretty incredible given that he was the only character present and would have to dodge at least half a dozen attacks successfully without ever taking a hit. Soon enough it was time to face Werner:
This opponent had been a major roadblock boss for many of my past characters. Werner inflicts terror on every attack and can also break out stunning moves as well, forcing both accessory slots to be occupied by the Calming and Conscious Stones. He will debuff the party's physical attack and defense with his Oppression ability and then increase his actions to three moves per round once he falls below half health. To make a long story short, Werner gets a lot of attacks and those attacks will do a whole bunch of damage. Characters with low health like Cyrus had a great deal of trouble simply surviving the incoming damage without getting wiped out when Werner gets a long string of five or six actions in a row.
However, I discovered to my pleasant surprise that things were completely different for Therion. He was able to counter Werner's Oppression debuff with his own Shackle Foe and Armor Corrosive debuffs (although having to apply them separately instead of both at once), and I made sure that Werner's physical attack was debuffed throughout the entirety of the fight. This had a major effect as far as cutting down Werner's damage throughout the battle. More importantly though, Werner simply didn't have much luck in terms of hitting Therion. His natural sneakiness was on full display here as Werner missed attack after attack during the fight. His "Sweep" attack seemed to have the highest accuracy rating and landed something like 40-50% of the time while the other boss attacks were significantly less successful. I'd estimate that Therion dodged roughly 75-80% of the base attacks, Double Strikes, and "Boot to the Head" moves. The Battle-tested Dagger even chipped in by debuffing Werner's accuracy further. This boss has entirely physical damage and it was amazing how much easier the fight became when most of the incoming attacks were missing.
I relied on HP Thief for offense as the health restoration was far too useful to pass up. Werner started out the battle weak against daggers and that was a huge help as always, with an unboosted and unbroken HP Thief still restoring 1300 HP back to Therion in a single round. I was able to land the pictured fully boosted HP Thief for almost 14,000 damage while also refilling Therion's lifebar back to full. Unfortunately Werner blocked his daggers weakness after recovering from his initial break and that cut down on Therion's damage somewhat. I tried initially to break him a second time using soulstones but it ended up not being worth the effort. With a clear majority of Werner's attacks failing to hit Therion, and the ones that did hit having reduced damage thanks to Shackle Foe, Werner was unable to deal enough damage to get through Therion's innate lifestealing powers. I could use HP Thief at max boost every five turns and that would completely refill Therion's healthbar. This ended up turning into a routine battle that Therion won without difficulty on his first attempt. I wish I could have said that about some of my other characters!
Defeating Werner is always useful because he unlocks a bunch of useful equipment afterwards. Most of these items are tanky gear such as the Crystal Armor, the Battle-tested Shield, and the Crystal Vest which I didn't anticipate using a lot with Therion. The Ethereal Dancer Gear with its massive +166 evade was simply too perfect for his setup. There was one critically important weapon that I did want to pick up, however: the Battle-tested Sword available from Erhardt in Wellspring. This was the same weapon that Olberic had wielded to great effect and with Therion being a fellow swords user it was an obvious upgrade. The Battle-tested Sword wasn't just something to break out on the rare occasions when Therion made a sword-based auto attack though. This weapon has a special property that increases physical damage dealt by 30% as long as it is equipped - and yes, that also applied to Thief skills using Therion's equipped dagger! Just having the Battle-tested Sword sitting in the other inventory slot was sufficient to get that 30% extra damage. This was massive since it would increase Therion's damage across the board from all of his various abilities. I probably should have picked up this item first since it represented a bigger upgrade than going from the Viper Dagger to the Battle-tested Dagger. Oh well, I had both weapon slots filled with the best possible options now.
Therion was able to take advantage of that increased damage for the first time against Esmeralda at the end of Tressa's Chapter 4 story. She will hit with three different elemental daggers that lock out physical attacks, physical skills, and elemental skills in succession. The first Red Blade did nothing since Therion never used his basic auto attacks but the Blue Blade that followed was a different story, resulting in the screenshot pictured above and all of the important Thief skills blocked from use. Fortunately Esmeralda keeps cycling through her three blades and after using Violet Blade she returned to Red Blade which unlocked Therion's physical skills for some unknown reason. (This happens every time you face her and I'm guessing that the game limits each character to having two types of damage prevented at a time.) Therefore we danced in circles for a while, with Therion using his debuffing skills when he couldn't attack and setting up for a big HP Thief for 14,000 damage when the blades weren't blocking him. Esmeralda was missing most of her own attacks and I was keeping her debuffed with Shackle Foe to minimize the damage that Therion was taking. Her damage was low enough that the periodic max boosted HP Thiefs were mostly enough to keep Therion safe; when they weren't, I drank a few Refreshing Jams since Therion had about 40 of them in stock and could easily steal more as needed.
The second half of this boss fight is theoretically supposed to be more dangerous because Esmeralda can initiate a ticking death clock that only gets removed on a shield break. I wasn't worried though because I had set up the boss for a break prior to dropping her below 50% HP and could remove that countdown timer as needed with soulstones. I snapped a picture of this moment above, with Therion down to his final turn but a Wind Soulstone already in hand and about to be used to cancel it out. This part of the boss fight was easier since Esmeralda was fooling around with this death clock rather than locking out Therion's physical abilities over and over again. I had the boss prepared for a max boosted HP Thief on the next turn and that was more than sufficient to finish things off. This was another straightforward battle where Therion won on the first try.
I stopped briefly in the Shrine of the Runeblade afterwards to pick up its treasure chests and do a bit more stealing. These "Remnant Mark II" monsters are another bigtime target for steals as they drop a Large Soulstone (or two soulstones with the Snatch support skill) on each successful theft. There are six types of them corresponding to the six elements in Octopath Traveler and they are a very common encounter in the four shrines dedicated to the game's secret jobs. Even better, they are often encountered alongside the Ancient Armor monstered mentioned earlier on this page who are holding more Refreshing Jams. Let's just say that this was a target-rich environment for Therion's pilfering abilities. I'll have to remember this as a potentially easier way to acquire soulstones as opposed to Olberic Challenging certain NPCs that can also drop them.
It was now time to take on the boss that has consistently caused the most problems for my solo characters: Darius at the end of Therion's own Chapter 4 story. The narrative begins with Therion sneaking into the town of Northreach which has been taken over by Darius and his goons. After recognizing his face on a wanted poster in the tavern, Therion gets accosted by a group of enemy thieves in the streets of the town. There's a short battle here where every single enemy failed to hit Therion before he murdered them with Aeber's Reckoning, followed by a cut scene where Therion gets surrounded and has to be "rescued" by Heathcote, the butler from the beginning of Therion's journey. (Talk about the cut scene diverging from the actual gameplay! The enemy thieves should have been running away screaming in terror from Therion.) Heathcote reveals that he was a former thief himself in his younger days before being caught and redeemed by the owner of Ravus Manor. Instead of being sent to prison, Heathcote was employed by the family and trusted to look after their daughter, a trust that Heathcote has been repaying ever since. As before, the lesson is that it's important for Therion to move past being betrayed and learn to trust others once again.
After stealing a disguise and progressing through the Lorn Cathedral basement, Therion eventually meets up with Darius again. The two of them have a genuinely revealing conversation where Darius explains that he deliberately sought to exploit Therion's trust for his own gain, and that gaining power over others is the only thing that he ever wanted in life. Therion gets to reply with a pretty sick burn about how after betraying so many people it must be pretty lonely at the top. I love this line even if Therion's whole story is one big anime cliché. Then the two of them have their big boss fight and...
And the battle was a complete and utter joke! What?! How could this be? Hasn't Darius been the bane of so many other solo characters? Well yes, but as it turned out, Therion's unique kit completely and utterly countered Darius in every way. Darius initiated the battle as always by stealing Therion's items, however that was easily countered by hitting him twice with HP Thief and Steal SP since they each hit two times. Darius is always weak against daggers no matter how he shifts around his other vulnerabilities and that was music to Therion's ears. As a result, it was easy to break Darius at all points in time and the constant presence of those daggers weaknesses increased the damage caused by Therion's main abilities. Next up, Darius largely proved unable to hit Therion throughout this fight. His fearsome Steal SP and Steal BP abilities never hit even one time against Therion, and his Steal HP only tagged Therion a single time. Darius is normally super dangerous because he's locking out item usage and then stealing away HP and SP and BP to limit what each character can do with their own abilities. Nothing like that happened here, with Darius never stealing items away again after the start of the battle and missing with everything else under the sun as Therion calmly dodged out of the way of each blow.
So Darius wasn't having any luck stealing away Therion's items and he couldn't seem to hit with his physical attacks. He uses two fire-based elemental attacks (Will O' Wisp and Hellfire) which I had blocked ahead of time with an Inferno Amulet. No more luck there. The only thing left in Darius' arsenal was his uber-cheese "Call Comrade" move which results in an instant defeat for every solo character when it appears. That is, every solo character *EXCEPT* Therion, since "Call Comrade" removes everyone other than Therion from the battlefield. For once this ability did absolutely nothing at all and the fight continued onwards as usual. Shorn of his various cheap moves and without sufficient accuracy to hit Therion, Darius turned into a blubbering crybaby running home to momma. I didn't have to use a single healing item in this fight and was even using Steal SP over HP Thief a lot of the time because Therion was already sitting on full health. It was absolutely crazy how easy this fight was in comparison to normal!
Oh and there's actually in-battle dialogue as well between Therion and Darius, a real rarity in this game and something that doesn't pop up when Therion is dead. It turns out that Darius was jealous of Therion and envied his superior thieving skills, thus deciding to backstab his partner out of fear that Therion would do the same to him. Thus we end up coming full circle in this story, with the person who couldn't trust anyone else inevitably causing his own downfall by turning Therion into an entirely unnecessary enemy. After Darius loses the fight, he crawls away to make off with his loot, only to be backstabbed in turn by his followers who (understandably) have zero loyalty towards their leader. It's implied that Darius bleeds to death all alone in the underground of the Lorn Cathedral basement as he pathetically cries out for someone to help him. Given how much Darius has tortured my past solo characters, I have no sympathy for this jerk.
Therion's story concludes with him returning the missing dragonstones back to Ravus Manor. It's revealed that Therion has already unlocked the manacle on his wrist and he could have abandoned his quest at any point in time but continued out of a desire to reward the trust that had been placed in him. Cordelia Ravus invites him to stay but nope, Therion isn't interested in living in a mansion with a beautiful and wealthy young woman. He'd rather continue being a wandering vagabound with no place to call home. This is completely crazy to me and I don't understand it at all; maybe it's some trope that you have to be Japanese to understand. In any case, Therion bids farewell and continues on his journey to wherever he might be going next. (His in-game sprite also loses the thief's band from this point forward; if you look closely you can spot the difference in the following screenshots.)
Completing Tressa's and Therion's stories unlocks two additional useful items. The more prized item was Mikk and Makk's Shield, the armor with the highest bonus to evade in the whole game at 178 points. This was a major upgrade over Gustav's Shield which Therion had been using since the end of the Chapter 2 stories and when combined together with the other evade gear in Therion's possession it maxed out the stat at 999 points. This is another situation where I wish that the stats could go beyond the three digit limit since Therion was losing out out on some of the bonuses from his equipment and could have reached 1100 evade if the score wasn't capped at 999. I would eventually drop the Silent Bandana in favor of the Adamantine Hat to avoid wasting that excess evade to no purpose. The other new item was the Blessed Blazon which granted +100 physical and elemental defense, a helpful general use item for all sorts of different situations. Now that Therion had maxed out his evade, I was trying to boost his other defensive stats with better equipment for the rare occasions when he did get hit by something.
There were also four remaining story bosses to contend with before finishing with the Chapter 4 tales. I expected Mattias to be the easiest of the bunch and he indeed didn't put up much of a fight. The combination of a Void Amulet and Tempest Amulet nullified nearly all of the elemental damage that Mattias could produce and Therion's innate dodging took care of the physical attacks. There was one occasion where Mattias used his lightning ability named Black Thunder and stunned Therion but it only showed up once and everything else was ineffective. Therion mostly took no damage at all while hacking away at the boss with HP Thief and Steal SP. Note that the unbroken Mattias was taking close to 14,000 damage from one of these abilities at max boost, another sign that they were outperforming Aeber's Reckoning since it was stuck at the 9999 damage cap. I expected to use Therion's Divine skill against Mattias' minions, only to find that he never summoned any of them throughout this battle. I have no idea why he failed to bring them out since I didn't do anything notably different with Therion in this battle as compared to other characters. In any case, Therion sliced the boss to ribbons and almost never fell below full health in the process. Zero healing items needed from start to finish.
Lucia was a similar story although requiring a bit more setup ahead of time. The trick with this boss is not to break through her 30 shields since it switches her over to a new set of AI actions with different status ailments to defend against. Since HP Thief and Steal SP both hit twice on each usage, I had to be careful to employ them only at max boost or else Therion would cut through those shields too quickly. I also made sure to turn off the Incidental Attack passive support skill before the battle, as I would be doing a lot of debuffing and didn't want Therion to kick in extra attacks in the process. Lucia is weak to all physical weapons except staffs and therefore would lose a shield from any Incidental Attack leveled with swords or daggers. Better to turn them off entirely for this encounter.
From there, the battle was about as predictable as it could get. We settled into a four turn cycle in which Therion would spend three turns continuously debuffing Lucia with Shackle Foe and Armor Corrosive followed by a max boosted HP Thief or Steal SP on the fourth turn. This attack would deal about 12,000 damage and then the cycle would repeat over again from the beginning. Lucia did tag Therion perodically with her physical attacks but never frequently enough to put him in serious danger of dying. Therion could always get a full health restore for 6000 HP on the next max boosted HP Thief and that was plenty to sustain him throughout the battle. Rinse and repeat the process eight times until the fight was over. Lucia never had a chance to alter her AI routine and I was content to keep the dance going until victory arrived.
Therion was already en route to his next opponent when I made an important discovery with his Steal skill. He was heading through the short Grimsand Path area before entering H'aanit's Chapter 4 dungeon when he came across one of these Revenant monsters in a random encounter. I usually hate fighting these big things because they have a ton of health (20,000 HP) and they don't provide much of anything in terms of gold and experience for defeating them. The Revenants show up in a number of endgame dungeons and I often have my characters run away from them since the encounters take a fair bit of time and aren't worth much. On a lark I decided to have Therion try Stealing from this guy and was shocked to discover that they have Revitalizing Jams as their theft option! These weren't the more common Refreshing Jams that restore HP and SP but rather the ultra-rare Revitalizing Jams that also restore BP as well. Up to this point in time I had not been able to discover a repeatable way of obtaining these items and now, finally, I had found a source. This was a really, really big deal for future characters.
The best part of all was the fact that the success of Therion's Steal skill is completely unconnected to his level! Other characters could theoretically knock a Revenant down into the critical range, revive Therion just to pull off the Steal, and then let him die again afterwards. Revenants are an uncommon encounter type but they aren't too difficult to find in this area, certainly a lot easier to find and defeat than the Cait enemies who are the only other ones that drop Revitalizing Jams. (Note that there are several different types of Revenants and this is the only one that has Revitalizing Jams as a Steal option. The various elemental Revenants have other assorted junk not worth trying to grab.) I picked up a few of these items here, thieving two of them at a time with Therion's Snatch passive, and happily noted this place down for future use.
By way of contrast, the battle against Redeye at the end of the Grimsand Ruins was routine and didn't produce anything new or unexpected. I equipped Therion with a Conscious Stone to prevent being stunned and took along the Empowering Necklace for +1000 HP in the other accessory slot. In retrospect it would have been better to drop the extra health and bring a Bright Stone since Therion kept getting blinded over and over again. This was due to the fact that Redeye's "Rend" attack clearly had a much higher accuracy rate than any of its other abilities. That one seemed to land roughly half the time while every other attack was missing endlessly without ever touching Therion. The good news is that this was a minor issue and I could cure Therion's darkness status without any problems. Redeye keeps shifting back and forth between three sets of weaknesses at the end of each round, and it was no trouble at all to keep hitting the creature with boosted HP Thief attacks whenever the daggers weakness was in effect. When Redeye was broken and debuffed with Armor Corrosion, Therion was able to hit with a double 9999 damage HP Thief for the maximum damage possible under the Thief skill set. I didn't know if he'd ever have the damage capacity to hit that point and it was pretty awesome to see the 9999 HP heal popping up as a side effect. This was another easy fight that Therion won without breaking a sweat.
I belatedly did the side quest to pick up the Captain's Badge afterwards (an accessory that I had completely forgotten about) so that Therion could grab a little extra experience from random encounters. He didn't have a lot of time remaining in his quest but I figured I might as well get the most benefit from whatever monsters he did fight. The last remaining Chapter 4 story was Primrose's mission to defeat Simeon:
This is the only multi-phase boss encounter amongst the main storyline chapters. For the first phase against the two marionettes, the trick is to defeat the minions before they can drop below half health and pick up additional buffs from Simeon. The boss himself does almost nothing in this phase and can largely be ignored. I let Therion's boost meter fill all the way up to the maximum five points and then hit all three opponents with Aeber's Reckoning. This was the one time where it still outperformed Therion's HP Thief skill, in situations like this where he needed to hit multiple targets at once. The remaining two boost points were enough to finish off the Dancer Marionette with HP Thief, and then I let the boost meter fill up again to hit the Father Marionette with a max boosted HP Thief for 15k damage to eliminate it as well. Shorn of his minions, Simeon was almost comically weak and did nothing as Therion sliced away with his daggers. I was able to get another double 9999 attack from Steal SP that restored 999 spirit points back to Therion. This was easy stuff and Therion quickly moved on to the second phase of the battle.
For the second phase of this boss fight, I focused on keeping Simeon's physical attack debuffed with Shackle Foe. This isn't too important during the first half of the battle (before Simeon drops below half health), but after he falls under 50% HP Simeon will get a third action each round and start using his "Act of Impulse" ability. This is a very powerful physical attack and Simeon will double its base strength by buffing himself while simultaneously debuffing your characters. I had Therion keep Shackle Foe in place at all times in order to counter Simeon's "Blood Boil" buff; the two of them would cancel out and then I could reapply Shackle Foe again on the next round. This kept the damage from Act of Impulse down to a reasonable range where each attack did about 1500 damage instead of the potential 3000+ damage that I've seen from some other characters. Even better, Act of Impulse seems to have a relatively low accuracy rating because this kept happening again and again:
Most of the attacks ended up whiffing and hitting nothing but empty air. I think that Therion was only hit once or twice in the whole battle despite Simeon spamming that move repeatedly. I had brought the standard combination of a Void Amulet and an Articulate Stone to block dark element damage and silence statue respectively. This kept Therion safe from pretty much everything that Simeon could do other than the aforementioned Act of Impulse which he was dodging like a beast. It also helped that Simeon was weak to daggers and Therion could take full advantage of that for extra damage. (The boss actually lost that daggers weakness after the first break, interestingly enough, although Therion wasn't having too much trouble either way.) With HP Thief healing back thousands and thousands of health every few turns, this was another boss fight that ended up being surprisingly simple. Simeon just couldn't do enough damage to get through Therion's constant sustain. I had dozens of Refreshing Jams saved up in case Therion needed an emergency health refill and he never needed to break the glass seal. Once again, I wish that many of the other solo characters could have had things this simple!
That wrapped up Therion's tour through the final mainline story segments of the game. Based on the ease with which Therion had handled most of these opponents, however, I knew that he was strong enough to take on at least some of the optional endgame superbosses. Although I doubted that he'd be able to make it as far as the overpowered Runelord job, there was no reason not to give it a shot and see how far he could go. Therion's report will conclude on the next page with a look at these extra challenges as his skills were tested to the limit.