Etrian Odyssey

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Etrian Odyssey is a first-person tile-based dungeon-crawler series published by Atlus and developed by Lancarse that currently consists of six games, Etrian Odyssey, Etrian Odyssey II: Heroes of Lagaard,Etrian Odyssey III: The Drowned City, "Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan", "Etrian Odyssey V: Beyond the Myth" and Etrian Odyssey Nexus. The first three were released for the Nintendo DS, while the rest were released for the Nintendo 3DS, with Nexus being the final mainline game for the 3DS.

The series' original designer and director admitted in numerous interviews that he was directly inspired by old retro-era dungeon crawler games, specifically Dungeon Master. He lamented that no one made games like that anymore, and set out to create Etrian Odyssey in the hope that it would catch enough interest to revive the genre. While it was not an overnight smash success in that regard, there was enough interest in the first Etrian Odyssey to spawn a sequel. These days, a few more examples of first-person dungeon crawlers are starting to pop up here and there, such as The Dark Spire, Class of Heroes, and The Seventh Dragon, so who knows? They just might have succeeded. In Etrian Odyssey III's first sales week in Japan, Atlus has sold over over 88000 units. Genre revived, claps for Atlus and game team.

One of the most notable features about the series is the requirement to draw one's own map. The player is essentially presented with a blank grid and some different kinds of icons to place and made to do all the work. According to the director, this idea dates back to the old Dungeon Master-era games when one had to map out their own progress while playing, and the sort of strange sense of pride and attachment one would develop for their maps after they were complete. Etrian Odyssey seeks to recapture that, and thus, the only concession to modern technology it gives is letting you use the DS' touch screen on an in-game grid instead of requiring graph paper.

The series is also noteworthy for the infamous "FOEs" (Formido Oppugnatura Exsequens or, in the Japanese version, Field-On Enemy): visible floating orange spheres that take one step for every one step the player takes, and have various patterns; some patrol in circles, others rush straight for the player, etc. If the player collides with an FOE, combat begins with a monster that is usually immensely more powerful than everything else on the level, and meant to be avoided until later, when the player is much stronger. When other RPGs display a message to the effect of "you suddenly sense the presence of a powerful monster that will eat your face, maybe you should run," it's code for "you might want to save first before killing it if you're under-leveled, otherwise, eh." Etrian Odyssey, on the other hand, means it. Also, it's worth noting that each round of combat counts as a step for FOE movement, so be careful not to take too long fighting when you're next to one, since they can and will walk up and join in. All this is on top of the already significant difficulty of the rest of the game.

Etrian Odyssey has nine character classes to choose from, allowing you to name your characters and (somewhat) customize how they look. The classes include the Protector, Medic, Landsknecht, the monster hunting Dark Hunter, Alchemist, Troubadour, Ronin (who for some reason is always being replaced by some other job in the later installments), Survivalist and the curse casting Hexer class.

Heroes of Lagaard is basically the same game as the original, albeit with classes being completely overhauled, plus some minor quality-of-life tweaks, such as a larger variety of icons for the map, quicksave support, and the ability to walk sideways. One can generally identify a dedicated Etrian Odyssey fan by the tears of joy over the simple fact that you can place arrows on your map now. New Classes include the Gunner, War Magi and the ferocious Beast class.

The Drowned City features entirely new classes including the Buccaneer, Ninja, Farmer, Zodiac, Prince(ss), Gladiator, Hoplite, Wildling, Monk, Arbalist, and the two unlockable classes, the Ronin-replacement Shogun and the Yggdroid. The Drowned City also adds the ability to sail the seas in a ship, meaning you can sail to the dungeons instead of going straight to them from town.

Legends of the Titan reintroduces some of the classes from the first two games, like the Landsknecht and the Medic classes, while introducing certain other classes, like the RuneMaster, Fortress, Sniper, Dancer, Nightseeker, and three unlockable classes, the debuffing Arcanist, the Ronin-replacement Bushi and the Elemental Weakness exploiting Imperial. Legends of the Titan is the first game in the series to feature 3D models for enemies, meaning you can now see what an FOE looks like without having to fight it. It also includes an Airship that you can control, allowing you to harvest resources, sail to dungeons, and encounter (or just run away from) bonus bosses.

Beyond the Myth splits it's classes between four races, Humans, or "Earthlains", Elves, or "Celestrians", Therians, and Gnomes, or "Brounies". Classes are, at first, locked by race. But when your adventurers reach a certain level, they can change into any class regardless of their race. Earthlains start out with the Fencer, Dragoon, Pugilist and the Sinister Scythe wielding Harbringer classes. Celestrians start with the Warlock or the Necromancer classes. Therians start with the Rover or the (once again) Ronin-replacement class, Masurao. Finally, Brounies start out with the Shaman and the Botanist classes. Beyond the Myth is also the first game in the series that lets you customize the appearances of your party members, changing their color schemes and even giving them voices.

Nexus only introduces one new job class (not counting the psuedo class: Vampire class) Hero class. 18 classes from the previous games return for Nexus, making a total of 19 (20 if you include Vampire) classes, the largest in the series to date.

Note that in the following examples, Etrian Odyssey refers to the original game. The second is referred to as Heroes of Lagaard, the third is referred to as The Drowned City, the fourth: Legends of the Titan, the fifth: Beyond the Myth and the sixth: Nexus.

There have also been multiple spin offs, like Etrian Mystery Dungeon (Shiren The Wanderer meets Etrian Odyssey), which has had two releases, with only the first one coming to North America. There is also Persona Q (Persona meets Etrian Odyssey), where the main characters from the third and fourth (and fifth in the sequel) games meet each other in a parallel universe they are trapped inside, where they team up to escape it. Persona Q has had two entries, both coming to America. The first two games have also gotten special remakes in the "Untold" series, where along with classic mode, there is also a separate mode with more of an emphasis on story.

Is not what would happen if Homer wrote stories about Jason Blood. Now with a character page!

For similar games to compare and contrast, see the Ur Example, Wizardry, and or the main-series Shin Megami Tensei games, including the fairly recent DS spinoff, Strange Journey.

Tropes used in Etrian Odyssey include:


  • Absurdly High Level Cap: Not quite noticable in the first game, but egregious in the second. You see, in Etrian Odyssey games, the level cap is 70, but the second and third game allows you to increase the level cap under certain conditions. In Heroes of Lagaard, the condition is to raise your character to level 70, then retire them, bringing in a new, level 30 recruit whom you can raise to level 71. If retired at max level, this new recruit can be retired and replaced with the next recruit who can be raised to level 72. And you can repeat this process to level 99[1].
  • Action Bomb: A few enemies in The Drowned City, mainly the Pasaran.
  • Action Girl: On top of having two female portraits for each character class (and a few who could easily pass for one), official art often favors using women. This extends to the point that each game uses a woman as its representative/'mascot':
    • Etrian Odyssey uses the blonde Protector.
    • Heroes of Lagaard uses the blue-clad Gunner with the Jack Frost hairclip.
    • The Drowned City uses the ponytailed Princess.
    • Legend of the Giant God uses the short-haired Swordswoman.
  • Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: One of the many, things that makes these games hard is that almost every item and service, even the lowliest healing item, is ludicrously expensive.
    • The Drowned City cuts the price of revival items 90% to a mere 50en! But there is a catch. While in the past games the shop only require additional materials if you wish to get a unique weapon again, this time ALL items (provided you have unlocked them) can run out of stock if you don't give the shop enough materials. So if you just ran out of the medicine you want, you have to farm the materials again.
  • After the End:
    • The game was set up as After the End in the pre-title intro, which established that the Labyrinth was formed in an apocalyptic disaster that ended the previous age; however, the exact nature of the world Before The End is a major plot twist in the game.
    • Also presumably Heroes of Lagaard, given that people in High Lagaard frequently mention Etria if you imported your save via password from one game to the other, implying that they take place in the same world.
    • In The Drowned City, it is quickly established early on that there has been a 'Calamity' of some sort a hundred years ago that destroyed Armoroad's former prosperity.
  • An Adventurer Is You: YOU are the brave adventurers going on an epic journey into a vast labyrinth of mystery and wonder.
  • 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.
    • By the third game, however, you can summon monsters or make a clone of a character to fill the sixth slot.
  • Art Evolution: Character designs have grown increasingly complex over time, going from generically anime looking to having a very distinct style.
  • Artifact Title: Only the first game takes place in Etria. The second and third take place in Lagaard and Armoroad, respectively. The Japanese titles are different (Yggdrasil's Labyrinth or Labyrinth of the World Tree), but are also artifact titles, since said tree likewise only features predominantly in the first game.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: Played straight in all three games, but generally not so noticeable in the first. Most enemies have an element they are weak to, and receive about 50% more damage from an attack of that element. Alchemists in Heroes of Lagaard had the skill Analysis, and Zodiacs in The Drowned City have the skill Singularity, both of which further increase the damage you do when you hit a weakness.
  • 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.
  • Awesome McCoolname: The elephant your Wildling summons is named "Plague God".
  • Badass Princess: The character class in Etrian Odyssey III.
  • Bag of Sharing
  • Barrier Warrior: Protectors in the first two games, 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.
  • Beef Gate: This is one purpose of the FOEs. 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.
  • Bonus Boss: It says something that a game that was already more than Nintendo Hard enough felt the need to kick it up a notch for the post-game content.
  • Bonus Dungeon: See above.
  • 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 few minutes.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: Basically every FOE, and quite a few of the random encounters as well.
    • Heroes of Lagaard has an enemy that functions almost exactly like the infamous WarMech from Final Fantasy: a completely random encounter regular enemy in the last floor of the Bonus Dungeon with an absurdly low chance of actually encountering it, but if you do, you will die. Adding insult to injury is that this enemy, the Muckdile, was an early FOE in Etrian Odyssey, with nothing particularly noteworthy about it except for stats appropriate to its location. Thus, it was adequately tough when first encountered in the third stratum or so, but outleveled and easily forgotten very quickly afterward. Apparently, it spent the time between games trading its FOE status for about sixty levels in badass. What pushes this into complete cruelty territory is that it is the single enemy in the entire game that is immune to the stun status, and that it uses an extremely dangerous attack if you bind its limbs. Not even the final Bonus Boss does anything like that, and there is no way to know it until it has happened at least once.
    • The Drowned City has a couple. The Great Lynx has a lot of life and has been known to one hit kill party members with normal attacks. The kicker is that this is an enemy on the first floor! The Largebills which populate the second floor are an even stronger version of this type of enemy. The Largebill at least teaches you that it's better to dungeon dive at certain hours (night, since they're asleep then and replaced with a more profitable enemy). Great Lynxes just seem to be a giant middle finger at anyone who's trying this series for the first time. And it gets worse. Of course as you goes down, things will get worse. High Onneps and High Walruses on the second stratum, Stegosaurs and Cave Elephants in the third, Big Snakeheads in the fourth....
  • Bottomless Bladder: You never need to sleep, and one quest in the first game requires you avoid doing so for three days. In the first game, 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.
  • Color Coded for Your Convenience: FOEs come in orange (normal), red (strong), blue (flying), purple (invisible on the map), black (bosses) and, as of the third game, gold (essentially MetalSlimes).
  • Combat Medic: A counterintuitive offensive build of a Medic can result in a surprisingly potent front-line fighter. The damage is meh 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.
  • Death Is a Slap on The Wrist: Subverted in the early parts of the first two games. Revival items are ludicrously expensive, and Medic is the only class that learns a revival skill. 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 third game 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.
  • Disc One Nuke: If you know the conditional drop for a boss, 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: The first game, 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, she adds, will result in Etria eventually turning into a ghost town now that the Labyrinth no longer holds any mysteries to attract adventurers.
  • The Dragon: Ren and Tlatchtga in Etrian Odyssey, Colossus in Heroes of Lagaard, then Kujura and Olympia in The Drowned City, to Princess Gutrune and Abyssal King Seyfried, respectively.
  • Dual Boss: Ren and Tlatchtga in the first game, Artelind and Wilhelm in the second game. Seyfried and Olympia in the third game.
  • Dungeon Crawling
  • Early Bird Boss:
    • An optionalish one occurs in the first game where a pack of Venom Flies may be fought during the first quest. Sure, they are normal enemies on the next floor, but they are deadly to level appropriate adventurers too, and they are in the deepest part of the area (meaning you are alreddy exhausted and you will have a hard time retreating afterwards). It can be avoided if you know which dialog option to pick, but otherwise...
    • Fenrir comes right after the initial hump of Perpetual Poverty, but before your party has hit the point they may reasonably have the powerful skills to make the rest of the game winnable and the enemies (even the FOEs) at that point are too pathetic to reach the recommended level with any decent speed. Thankfully, he can be skipped temporarily with effort by use of a Good Bad Bug.
  • Early Game Hell: For such a hard game, it's even harder at low levels.
  • Earth All Along: Major plot twist revealed in the fifth stratum of Etrian Odyssey. Further enforced in the third game's sea areas. Many of the foreign ports are based on their real life counterpart, though for some of them, they use the old name for the cities so you may not realize it first.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The True Final Boss/Bonus Boss in every game. ESPECIALLY in the first and third one. This... thing would make H.P. Lovecraft proud.
  • Encounter Repellant
  • Enemy-Detecting Radar: All games have this in the lower right corner of the screen. When it flashes blue, you're safe, if yellow, be careful, and if red, get ready to fight. The radar also tells you when an FOE is nearby: when an FOE is within three squares from you, an extra bar in the radar will tell you how near you are to the FOE. Which is handy in Heroes of Lagaard where you have FOEs which don't show up in your map.
  • Engrish: The bartender in The Drowned City speaks with a little of this. This is likely intentional, as she is the only one who speaks in such a way.
  • Everything's Better with Princesses: The Drowned City not only features the Prince(ss) class for your use, but Princess Gutrune of Armoroad and Princesses from other lands as well.
  • 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 moths.
  • Excuse Me While I Multitask: Maps can be drawn while still in battle.
  • Excuse Plot, sort of: the introductory plot to both games is more or less "there's this labyrinth and this town built around it, and you're one of quite a few guys who wants to conquer the labyrinth for gold and glory and to solve its mysteries. Have fun." It tends to remain so for about 3/4 of the entire game, but then things suddenly start happening near the end. In a sense, the major plot twist is that there actually is one. The third game is better about this.
  • Extended Gameplay: Each game has a stratum, several quests and several bosses that can only be attempted after the final boss.


  • Fan Service:
    • Some of the character designs are very... questionable. Male fanservice isn't uninvited either. Check out the first male design for pirates in the third one. Now double back and realize he isn't wearing a shirt under his vest.
    • The Dark Hunter's whip skill tree has a very clear bondage theme. Aside from the basic binding skills (gag, cuffs, shackles), the Dark Hunter's final two whip skills are "climax" and "ecstasy". The Dark Hunter portraits kill any chance that this might not be what it sounds like. Acknowledged by the developer in the EO comic showcasing the Dark Hunter.
      • The enemies are not spared either. Some humanoid enemies wear nothing but Godiva Hair and Censor Steam. Mixes with Fetish Retardant as many of these monsters have massive tentacle monster bodies below the torso.
  • Featureless Protagonist: Your characters are complete blank slates. You get the Excuse Plot implied backstory that you're a guildmaster signing up recruits, which presumably means they're all wannabe-adventurers looking for work. You get to choose from one of four portraits per class, and from those you can probably guess the gender (1 and 3 are male, 2 and 4 are female). That's all you get, and none of that even remotely affects the gameplay. There isn't even a default suggestion for their names. The tutorial gives the option of making the guildmaster one of the adventurers, but that isn't followed up upon.
    • That being said, given how prominently they show up in pretty much all the promotional artwork and covers, the "long-haired female Protector" and "blonde-ponytailed Princess" are usually treated as the nearest thing the games have to a "main" character (Etrian Odyssey I and Etrian Odyssey II for the Protector and Etrian Odyssey III for the Princess, respectively).
  • Fetch Quest: Many missions include going and finding some item in the Labyrinth, these can be random drops or in set locations.
  • Fight Woosh: One for every stratum.
  • Five-Man Band: The classes for the first two games can operate as an example.
    • The Hero: The Landsknecht. The long-haired female Protector is sometimes put into this "role" too, given how often she shows up in artwork.
    • The Lancer: The Survivalist and the Dark Hunter.
    • The Big Guy: The Protector and Ronin.
    • The Smart Guy: The Alchemist, Medic and Hexer.
    • The Chick: The Troubadour.
    • The Drowned City gives us:
  • Flavor Text: Description are provided for each monster.
  • Flunky Boss: The first stratum boss of all three games involve multiple weaker FOEs in the fight somehow. In Etrian Odyssey, a wolf pack spawned behind Fenrir and thus the boss would receive constant reinforcements unless you killed him quickly. In Heroes of Laggard, a pack of Slaveimp FOEs spawned as soon as you entered the chamber, and start moving to join the battle when you fight Chimaera[2]. In The Drowned City, Narmer will run away in the middle of the fight and spawn a swarm of FOEs you have to either defeat or maneuver around in order to confront him again and finish him off.
  • For Massive Damage: The Drowned City has an example which can almost be considered a Game Breaker. Create a Shogun and max the skills "Second Sword" and "Katana Mastery". Since they can have two weapons equipped at the same time, the former skill raises the damage of the secondary weapon, while the latter generally raises the Katana damage. Then give the Shogun the subclass Buccaneer, unlock the skill "Swashbuckling" and max it. It gives the Shogun a 36%-chance of striking the enemy twice up to four times instead of only once when performing a normal attack. Per weapon, which may result in up to EIGHT normal attacks. Now you take a Gladiator and max the skills "Endless Battle" and "Sword Mastery", resulting in a massive damage boost for physical attacks (and give him/her your best weapon available). Then give the Gladiator the subclass Shogun, unlock the skill "Warrior Might" and max it. On the turn it's used, it reduces the Gladiator's defense, but raises his/her power, and lets him/her perform a physical attack every time your other party members attack an enemy. However, multi-hit skills are only followed by a single attack. BUT... this doesn't apply to a Shogun with "Swashbuckling". It works like this: the Gladiator uses "Warrior Might" and waits for the other party members to attack. Then the Shogun uses a regular attack (NO SKILL). Due to "Swashbuckling", there's a pretty high possibility for up to four consecutive attacks per weapon. Even if the main weapon doesn't trigger the skill, there's still the secondary weapon. Each single attack will be followed by the Gladiator, causing a total amount of ridiculously high damage. Per round. This combo makes it possible to kill most bosses and FOEs in one turn without giving them any chance to strike back. Throw in a few stat-increasing buffs for good measure and watch your enemies being sliced to death. Warrior Might is also unique in that it is the only skill that applies elements that have been forged onto the weapon. This allows you to do up to 80% more damage, or even more if the enemy is weak to the element.
  • Genre Busting: Part Eastern RPG-style battles, part Western RPG-style character customization, part Dungeon Crawler.
  • Get Back Here Boss: Narmer in the third game, 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. Also the Combat Medic from the first game. The Shogun from the third game is an extreme example, toting skills further sacrificing defense for attack on top of their already weak armor.
  • Gratuitous German: Landsknecht. Wilhelm's nickname "Der Freischütz". There may be other examples.
  • Green Hill Zone: The first stratum in all three games.
  • Guide Dang It: Absolutely everything in Etrian Odyssey's sixth stratum.
    • Simply making it through that stratum in the first place involves five floors of map design that can be charitably described as "unfair." Entire floor-spanning invisible pit mazes with more pits than the icon limit for your map, making it impossible to map the floor unless you get extremely creative (and messy). Multiple teleporter mazes with no adequate way of mapping them other than "this warp leads here" notes, and several orders of magnitude more teleporters than the limit for notes you can place. In short, the sixth stratum is where the game's very architecture stops trying to be an enjoyable challenge and starts deliberately cheating to try and prevent you from making it through. Using the maps on GameFAQs is highly recommended.
    • If you actually make it through and reach the final Bonus Boss, he has three spells (one of each element) that are absolutely 100% guaranteed to one-hit annihilate your entire party (in other words, instant Game Over) unless countered with a very specific anti-element spell from a specific class that only works on the specific turn it is cast. Also, the anti-element skill has to be at a specific level: the damage is so great that anything less than 100% immunity will still destroy you, but if you raise the anti-element skill higher than immunity level to the point where you absorb damage, the elemental spell starts causing confusion as a side-effect, which means instant death if he uses it twice in a row and you're too confused to anti-element the second. With me so far? So, since the bonus boss has all three of these spells, you need all three anti-element spells at just the right level, and access to a precise compiled turn order so you know exactly which one he'll cast on which turn. GameFAQs has a list that declares that you need to cast Antifire on turn 1, Antivolt on turn 5, Antifire on turn 6, Anticold on turn 7, Antivolt on turn 9.... This is equally erratic throughout the entire list, and it goes on for 50 turns!
      • And that is still nothing when Primevil basically says "screw it" and blocks away all your party's skills or uses a global insta-death spell. Yes, you have to use a guide to kill him and still pray it doesn't all go down the toilet.
    • Lagaard's Sixth Stratum is also painful. Aside from the occasionally vague quests you have to go further, the floors have warp mazes that make 29F in the first game look like a cake walk. The boss at the end is as tough as the first game's, and worse at night.
    • The Drowned City falls into this if you're trying to Earn Your Happy Ending by Taking a Third Option.
  • Guns Are Worthless: Subverted too: gunners are capable of very high damage from the back lines. In the sequel, gunners essentially fill the role that Alchemists played in the first game. Of course, they're still slow and squishy.
  • The Gunslinger
  • 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".
  • 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 FOEs can walk on/through them.
  • 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 FOEs are either, although at least you get to see the FOE in your exploration screen.
    • In the bonus 6th stratum, the 2nd floor is made up of these areas, combined with pitfalls and FOEs, forcing the player to fully map out the area and either remember their location at all times or match up what they see with the map.
  • It's All Upstairs From Here: Played straight in the second game. If you're not in town, you're climbing the tower tree.
  • Jack of All Stats: The Landsknecht and the Princes/ses.


  • Katanas Are Just Better: Played straight: katanas have a higher output damage than normal swords, however, can only be used by one class, which just happens to be the class without any defense on the front line. Ninja can also wield them.
  • Kukris Are Kool: They can be purchased at the shops early on in Heroes of Lagaard and The Drowned City. In the former, they are classified as swords, while they are knives in the latter. Also, the War Magus Artelind wields one on the end of her staff.
  • 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.
  • Leaked Experience: A skill in the third game.
  • Lethal Lava Land: The Molten Caves in The Drowned City.
  • Limit Break: Present in all three games in different forms. Limits in the third and fourth games don't eat up a character's action phase, meaning you can toss one out and have your character perform a regular action in the same turn.
    • In the first game, activating Boost makes whatever action you take become stronger, as well as bumping up the effects of any skill used by 5 levels (a level 5 Immunize becomes a Level 10 Immunize while boosted); a defensive skill becomes more defensive, an offensive skill becomes more offensive, a healing skill heals more, and so on.
    • Heroes of Lagaard replaced Boost with the Force abilities, powerful class-specific moves more reminiscent of the classic Limit Break.
    • In The Drowned City, it's no longer character specific: you have equip 'scrolls' to certain characters to use them. Most scrolls need to be equipped on multiple characters, instead of being single-character moves like in the previous games. The upshot of this is that only one of the characters who is assigned to the scroll needs to have a full gauge in order for the Limit to be used, though the skill can still only be activated through a character with a full gauge.
  • Little Miss Badass:
    • Some of the female adventurers look very young.
    • The third game continues the tradition and has Gender Flipped it, with a few male designs that tread into Token Shota territory.
  • 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. For example, good luck hitting anything with the Hexer's binds or Standard Status Effects until they have ten points in them, at which point their accuracy and usefulness suddenly go through the roof (to add insult to injury, most of them require a certain level in Curses as a prerequisite too). You get one skill point per level. An average exploration pace without too much excessive Level Grinding should net you somewhere between two and three levels per floor. Therefore, no matter what kind of team build you have, if this is your first time through a new game, at least a few members of your party will be useless until at least the second stratum. However, they really do come into their own once you can afford their better abilities. Hexers are arguably the Magikarps of Heroes of Lagaard in particular, what with how they go from dead weight to Game Breaker once you gain enough levels for things like Dampen, Revenge, Scavenge, and actually maxing out the binds and curses. Troubadours are similarly hard to work with at first.
    • Hexers are devastated by the Magikarp effect for the reason above, plus the fact that they rely entirely on their TP to be even remotely helpful. TP restoration is ridiculously rare in the early game, and you're probably saving it for the Medic as it is. An Alchemist can violently burn through a lot of early monsters with relative ease until his TP runs out, at which point he's reduced to Cherry Tapping enemies with his staff (unless you rest in the clearing... that'll bring your TP back up). Once your characters' TP reserves grow (and maybe you've finally learned Cursecut and Transfer to turn your War Magus into a TP-healer), TP becomes less of an issue, and Alchemists can blast through foes more or less as they please. Hexers still have to wait for Revenge or maxed-out binds/curses, though, cementing the Hexer as the Magikarp.
    • All classes are Magikarp at the beginning: it's just that each grows out of that phase at a different rate. For example, a Landsknecht in the first game can easily handle himself solo against the Venomflies on the second floor at as early as Level 5, provided they have a strong weapon, solid armor, and Swords Lv.5 with a point each in Cleaver and Tornado; a class like the Protector, as it lacks early-game offensive skills despite being physically tougher than the Landsknecht, would not be able to outpace the damage from the poison, even with the same equipment setup. Even here, it still depends on the player's build setup and preferences.
  • Metal Slime: The Gold FOEs in The Drowned City, which have a chance to randomly spawn on certain floors. While they're slower than other FOEs, 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.
  • Money Spider: Averted in both 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.
  • Monster Lord: The various Ant Queens. The Abyssal Prince, etc.
  • Mook Maker: Some monsters, of course some bosses too.
  • 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.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: The third game's Class and Subclass system allows characters to take on a secondary class, leading to, say, a Princess with Ninja skills, a Farmer-slash-Pirate, a Monk with a Wildling's summoning skills, or even literal Ninja/Pirate, Robot/Ninja, or Robot/Pirate.
  • Nintendo Hard: It is an Atlus series, after all.
  • Old Save Bonus: By entering a password, players could start Heroes of Lagaard with their first guild's name. Characters and items were not carried over; instead, NPCs recognized you as an experienced guild and reacted accordingly. This had its advantages (special in-Labyrinth events that offered extra items and deals) and disadvantages (the first guard not giving you five free Medicas, even though your crew is still made up of rookies...).
    • This is discontinued by The Drowned City: there is no option to apply your Old Save Bonus.
  • One-Winged Angel: Visil in Etrian Odyssey.
    • Also Princess Gutrune as the final boss in The Drowned City.
  • Our Mermaids Are Different: Deep Ones in The Drowned City.


  • Palette Swap: A customization option in The Drowned City, with each playable character boasting an alternate set of colors.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: The Princesses sport some really fancy dresses, complete with armor.
  • Pretty in Mink
  • Random Drop:
    • Rare Random Drop: You can bring anyone who tried to get it in Etrian Odyssey to tears with the phrase "Shinryuu Sword".
  • Rare Candy: Stat Books in The Drowned City. They can be found in treasure chests, given as quest rewards... and dropped from powerful FOEs after they are slain. Thankfully, there are items and skills that can be used to ensure that they are dropped.
  • Respawning Enemies: Any slain FOE in Etrian Odyssey will come back after three in-game days, unless it was actually a plot-related boss, in which case it will come back after eleven. Increased to 7 and 14 days, respectively, in Heroes of Lagaard and The Drowned City.
  • Retraux: This whole series more or less came about because a certain game designer really wanted there to be Dungeon Master for the DS. Every aspect is lovingly oldschool, even down to the music, which was actually entirely composed on a PC-88. Example from the third game.
  • Royal Rapier: Princes (and Princesses) and Buccaneers use them.
  • Run or Die: Unless you're significantly overleveled for the floor you're on, this is what you do when[3] you get into a battle with an FOE. You better hope your back is clear or that you have the specific skills that allow you to flee from battle to the previous floor, or you're trapped.
  • 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 Schrödinger's Cat situation. Does Murotsumi Guild get permission and you simply aren't told, thus leading to their demise or do they not receive permission and you aren't told, thus having them avoid being killed? Keep in mind that no matter what you chose, you never hear or see them again.
  • Sarashi: The Ronin class.
  • Shmuck Bait:
    • Go ahead. Rest in the clearing. We dare you.
    • In the second game, a squirrel steals your life-saving warp wire every time you try to pet it. Particularly dangerous for genre-savvy players who expect being consistently nice might give some reward eventually, but every encounter plays out exactly the same.
  • Shout-Out: Cameos and miscellaneous references to another fantastically difficult Atlus series, Trauma Center, including Dr. Hoffman in Etrian Odyssey, Dr. Stiles in Heroes of Lagaard, Angie in The Drowned City, and the Medic skill H.Touch in the first two games. Caduceus is a skill for medics in both games, as well as the name of the medical organization in the Trauma Center games. However, in Etrian Odyssey, rather than being used to heal, it's a skill to bash enemies' heads in. Quite useful too, since it occasionally causes stun.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: Heroes of Lagaard, third stratum.
  • 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.
  • Spoony Bard: Strongly averted in Etrian Odyssey, where Troubadours are the second-biggest Game Breakers behind only Medics who know Immunize. They were nerfed hard in Heroes of Lagaard due to Healing and Relaxing being removed, but they can still at least pull enough of their own weight to be worth the party slot with Bravery and arguably Stamina.
  • Stone Wall: The Protector and Hoplite. They have skills which increase their own defense and draw attacks to them. They also double as Barrier Warrior.
  • Summon Magic: Wildlings summon animals into battle, whose specialty is inflicting status effects.
  • Tech Tree: Each class has a rather elaborate one.
  • Temple of Doom: The Fourth Stratum in Drowned City.
  • There Are No Tents: Aside from the deathtrap/field of flowers in the first strata, the first two games play this straight. Averted in the third.
  • Time Stands Still: In The Drowned City, Sea Quest battles don't cause the in-game clock to advance... or rather, it may move forward during the battle itself, only to revert to its original setting once the fight's finished.
  • Too Awesome to Use:
    • Coupons in The Drowned City allow you to purchase any item at half price, from basic supplies to an Infinity+1 Sword. You can also only get eight of them. Ever. Even a New Game+ doesn't allow you to get more.
    • Formaldehyde, from the same game, guarantees a 100% drop rate on all the items a given enemy drops[5] if it's killed on the same turn that the item is used. There's also a terribly limited number of them, and, like Coupons, starting a New Game+ doesn't restock these chests. While it is possible to unlock them for purchasing once you reach the sixth stratum, doing so requires items dropped by FOEs from said stratum. And to make matters worse, they are sold in limited supply; if you buy too many, the shop will run out of them, forcing you to gather the materials again. Have fun!
  • 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 moves the hospital into the inn though.
  • True Final Boss: All three games have one. They tend to be quite Lovecraftian.


  • Underground Monkey: They're mostly regular enemies, but some FOEs appear as modified enemies as well.
  • Under the Sea: The Undersea Grotto from The Drowned City.
  • 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 the first game can be used to heal instead though.
  • "Wake-Up Call" Boss: So you got past the killer Great Lynxes and Largebills on the first two floors of The Drowned City, and you're more or less breezing through the rest of the first stratum? Don't worry: Narmer is waiting at the end of the fourth floor to remind you that yes, this is still an Atlus game.
  • 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.
  • We Cannot Go on Without You: It doesn't matter how many people are in your guild. If your five-member party gets wiped out, you're done.
  • 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. Overlord in Heroes of Lagaard, and both king Seyfried and princess Gutrune in The Drowned City.
  • Wham! Line: The name of the Fifth Stratum in Etrian Odyssey. Nothing prior in the game could have possibly prepared you for Lost Shinjuku.
  • Whole Costume Reference: The first prince outfit in Etrian Odyssey III is extremely close to the king's outfit in My Life As a King.
  • Womb Level: Etrian Odyssey, sixth stratum. 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.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: With Etrian Odyssey III adding Palette Swaps for every character portrait, this has become more common. In Etrian Odyssey IV, purple and teal hair is particularly common among the alt-colors.
  • Zigzag Paper Tassel: In the fifth stratum of The Drowned City.
  1. If you want to do the math, that means you need to retire a character at max level 29 times, and each time you retire a character, they will restart at level 30, meaning that after first time retiring, they need to gain 41 levels to reach max level, then retire and gain 42 levels and so on. Thus, for that 29 times of retiring, a character needs to regain on average 55 levels per cycle. In addition, if you manage to retire a level 99 character, your new recruit will get an additional bonus stat than if you retire said character at level 98, which means after reaching level 99, you still need to retire your character one last time so that they can reach maximum stats. Thus, for a fresh new character (your starting party) to reach perfect cap (level 99 with maximum stat bonus), you need to gain 69 + (29 x 55) + 69 levels...... that's 1733 LEVELS. Makes you wonder if they take a clue from Disgaea...
  2. Unless you use a Lure Bell to draw them to you and beat them down before hand.
  3. Yes, when, not if.
  4. Sadly, a lot of fans will miss out on the second one since the Play Station 3 version won't be coming to America. NAMCOOOOOO.
  5. Even those that normally require certain conditions to be met.