Solo Thief Guide - Up To Astos
So. You decided to run a solo thief run of Final Fantasy 1 Pixel Remaster.
Let me get this out of the way right now:
You. Will. Die. And you will grind.
Warning #2: Chaos will test your limits and will seem impossible. And he might be. But you will need a lot (and I mean a lot) of luck, a lot of grinding, and a lot of double luck to succeed. This is your last chance to back out. Success isn't guaranteed.
A lot. A LOT lot. I have 12 hours into this game on my Steam library playthrough and my save file has 6:30 playtime, meaning I spent about half the time reloading after dying. There are some easy parts. There are some very, very difficult parts. And there are some impossible parts. So, let's dive in.
There are 3 difficulty spikes in this playthrough. The Marsh Cave is a 10/10 in terms of difficulty. Castle of Trials and Ice Cavern are a 8 out of 10. And Chaos is a 100/10. Everything else is easy to medium difficultly because of your high level and attacks (and luck).
Paralyze will kill you more than almost anything else in the game. Undead creatures, Big Eyes, Gaze attacks, these will frustrate you to no end (until you get the Ribbon). Save often. You have a quick save. Use it. If you have to use it after every fight, do it. But anytime you fight against a paralyzing foe, chances are you will die. That's just the way it goes. Running, especially with pre-emptive strikes, is your best bet. But even when you have a pre-emptive strike, running isn't guaranteed.
First: This is a THIEF solo walkthrough, no job changing to Ninja. No using any other classes. And I'm going to assume you know certain things about Final Fantasy 1 already, but I will try to walk you through everything I can. Side note: Because stats seem to be randomized on level ups, the levels may be a bit off, but I will try and estimate what is the best level for certain fights.
The first thing to do is pick your team. I went with 3 Black Mages and 1 thief, because those black mages need to die quickly and they will. Sadly, in FF1PR, you can't use items if they don't have an effect tied to them, so you will have to defend (and thus mitigate damage) during your first random encounter just so the monsters can kill the black mages. Once they are dead, you are ready to go.
Head to Coneria, buy a rapier, buy leather armor, buy 10 potions, and 1 antidote (just in case). Head out, talk to the King, and start leveling.
You can either use potions to heal to save time, but waste money, or head to the inn to heal, which saves money, but wastes time. Again, it is up to you to decide. Head to the Chaos Temple at around level 5-6, maybe 7, get the leather cap from the chest to the SW corner, then prepare to fight Garland. He hits hard. But you have potions and a strong will to live.
After you defeat Garland, you will head back to Coneria, get the loot, repair the bridge, see the cut scene, and now it is time to head east and pick up our ship. Restock on potions, grab an extra antidote or two, and head to Pravoka. Dangerous enemies in this area: Everything. Seriously. Everything. Warg Wolves. Werewolves. Regular wolves. Crazy Horses. Gigas Worm. Ogres. Iguanas. These will pose a serious threat. Fight what you can, run from what you can't. And pray you make it to Pravoka. Time to fight a bunch of pirates. But first, upgrade your equipment. I think the only thing you can equip here is Leather Gloves and Scimitar. Make sure you have some potions. And get ready to get your face stabbed a bunch of times.
The issue with this fight is the sheer number of attacks and the RNG factor. 9 hits in the first round, 8 hits in the 2nd round, 7 in the 3rd, etc. Since you can only attack one enemy per round, this fight gets a lot easier as the enemies die. But the first 3-4 rounds are tough. If you need to, use hi-potions to heal to full to be safe instead of the 50 HP heal from regular potions. Take your time. Kill them. Get your ship.
Now the real grind begins. If you can survive this, you are well on your way to fight Chaos. You might be around level 12 at this time, maybe less, maybe more. But you will need to get to at least level 21+ for the Marsh Cave. Maybe even more to be safe.
Get in your ship and head south/southwest to find Elfland. Sea monsters hit hard, especially sharks, buccaneers, and Big Eye has the ability to paralyze you. Sahagins can overwhelm you, they are stronger than pirates, and can come in backs of 6 (with 2 Big Eyes).
In Elfland, you can upgrade your weapon to a Saber, and buy a Copper Armlet. It has the same def as your leather armor, but it offers more evade, which is amazing for thief. Stock up on: Potions, Hi Potions, Antidotes. And well, basically start leveling in this area. You need to be able to one shot the Piscodemons while surviving their attack, and the one way to guarantee a one hit kill is the only way to clear the Marsh Cave. And as you level, you get more hits with your attack. You will need to get to 5 hits, at minimum, to do more than 84 points of damage to kill a Piscodemon. And there are 4 of them. And they hit. HARD.
Grind. Grind. Grind. Level to level 21+. I was at 21 and got REALLY lucky with my Marsh Cave run. If you want to lessen the luck factor, level to 25. That's all I can say. And leveling here sucks. You have no access to any AOE spells. Things can kill you even if you outlevel them by 10. So be patient. Grind. Grind. Grind.
Once you are at level 21+, head to the Marsh Cave. Make sure you have a healthy stock of potions, antidotes, hi potions, and maybe a few tents.
Marsh Cave is like Australia. Everything here can and will kill you (except the green slimes, but the goods news is you can't kill them!). Grey Oozes hit like a truck. Undead and Creepers can paralyze you. Blood Bones can hit surprisingly hard (and have about 140+ hp). Scorpions (run) can (run) hit (run) for (RUN) over 100 damage, have decent HP, and come in groups of 3+. So yeah. RUN. Save often. IF you have to save after every fight, do so. Just. Survive. And advance.
In the Marsh Cave, head south, down the stairs, south/south west, down the stairs. The Crown is in the room 2E and 3S from the entrance of the 3rd floor (you can check your mini map to double check).
The Piscodemon fight. Oof. You will need luck and some luck and some luck to get your treasure. If you get REALLY lucky, you will start with a pre-emptive strike. If you get unlucky, you might get ambushed. Otherwise, this fight is pretty straight forward. 4 Hard Hitting mobs. 1 thief. Take them out one at a time. Heal (use hi potions) when needed. If you take 2 out, you are in good shape. But if you get some unlucky hits, some high damage rolls from the demons themselves, you will die. But the good news is you quick saved right before you opened the chest, right? So keep trying at this fight until you manage to win. That's all I can say. If you kill 2 quickly, you have an easy go. If you still can't reliably one shot a piscodemon, maybe you should level some more until you can. With my thief, my attacks were hitting 5 times for around 80-130. Sometimes I'd get unlucky. but more often than not, I'd kill them in one hit.
After you defeat them, quick save, and head out. If you are low on supplies, head to Elfland to stock up, otherwise head north to the Western Keep to fight Astos.
Astos...isn't that hard if you get lucky (as is always the case). If his death attack misses, and he doesn't cast slow, you should win in a few rounds (healing as necessary). He hits for an average amount, but the deadliest move is Slow, because your damage drops to 1-10 damage because you are only hitting 1 attack. You outlevel him by a lot, but his Slowra and Death spells can end the encounter quickly. So just keep trying and he should be easier than the Piscodemons.
Solo Thief Guide - Endless Grinding To The Chaos
After you defeat Astos, your damage input should double. With the new weapons, mystic key in hand, blow up the land bridge and head west.
Now, if you want, you can risk skipping Melmond for now and heading to Crescent Lake for some weapon/armor upgrades, especially the Buckler. I don't know how the mechanics on this thing works, but when I equipped a shield, I was blocking a lot more and anytime you can avoid damage, that's a good thing. But it could have also have been my extremely high level for the Earth Cave.
Anyway, once you have everything sorted out, stock up on potions, high potions, tents and head over to the Earth Cave. Now, this place can be difficult due to the undead monsters, but if you take it floor by floor, you should be able to get to the Vampire miniboss with some luck and determination. Note: Get the Coral Sword on the 2nd floor.
The vampire hits pretty hard, and with gaze (paralyze), he can wipe your party, so make sure to save before you fight (in fact this should be a given before any boss fight, so I'll just stop saying it).
Make your way out of the Earth Cave, give the Titan the star ruby, continue with the story, and make your way back to the Earth Cave to fight Lich.
Lich isn't that difficult, he doesn't have that much health, and if you equip the Rune Blade, you should be able to kill him after a few rounds. The Rune Blade does more damage to magic users, and his Bestiary classification has him listed as a mage/magic, so it is the best weapon to use on him.
After Lich, go get the canoe and head over to the Castle of Trials. Even though we won't be class changing, there are some great equipment here for our thief to use. The most important is the (Zeus) Gauntlets, which when used as an item, casts Thundera on everyone. Now packs of enemies will go down much quicker than before, and you have an easier time for the next few dungeons. Another item of note is an upgraded armor (Ruby Armlet) that boosts your DEF and will be great until your final armor (Diamond Armlet). The Castle of Trials is fairly difficult due to the status and magic users here, so be careful.
Next up: Ice Cavern. Here's where things get difficult. It is full of enemies that can kill you easily. Mindflayers can one shot kill you with their physical attacks. Undead can paralyze you. Mummies can sleep you. And dragons and white wolves and freeze you. But if you take your time, you should be able to clear it. Note: The only item of use for you here is the Floater, but if you are a completionist, I suggest coming back after you get the Ribbon to make it easier. With your gauntlets, however, you should be a lot safer going through the Ice Cavern than without it, so that's why we went and grabbed them first before coming here.
After you get the airship, you have a few options, but here's what you should do: Go to Gaia. Get a protect ring. Go to the Waterfall Cavern. Get the Warp Cube, Ribbon and Defender (when used in battle, it casts Blink, which gives +Evasion) Buy the Fairy Bottle from the Caravan and buy some Strength Tonics from him also. With the Ribbon equipped, status effects are null. You don't have to worry about them anymore. Now, time to kill some fiends.
Mt. Gulg should be a breeze, considering your high level (mid 40s perhaps?). The only monster here that offers any difficulty are Fire Giants that can still pack a punch. Marilith is a pushover, if you cast Blink a few times, her attacks will hit like a wet noodle, and if you quaff a strength tonic or two, you should be killing her with no trouble.
Return to Gaia, get the Oxygen, head to the Sunken Temple. Get the Rosetta Stone and Diamond Armlet from the mermaid town, then make sure you pick up a few key items before you kill Kraken. Make sure to get the Giant's Glove (on use casts Saber), Light Axe (on use casts Diara), and Mage Staff (on use casts Fira). There are a few other treasures here, but nothing you can use.
As with Marilith, Kraken is a big pushover. He kept casting Ink on me, and with my ribbon, it didn't stick. So I buffed myself with Giant's Glove a few times, cast Blink, and started attacking. I suggest using the Coral Sword, since it does more damage against Aquatic creatures, and Kraken is considered an Aquatic Creature. Kill Kraken, go to Melmond, give the scholar the Rosseta Stone, head to Lufenia, get the Chime
Lastly, time to kill Tiamat. The treasures in Mirage/Flying Fortress don't offer much for use, except the Black Robe (On use Blizzara). Tiamat shouldn't be too much of a problem, buff yourself like the other bosses, and unless you run into a lot of bad luck, you should kill him easily. Make sure you equip the Wyrmkiller for extra damage due to Tiamat being a dragon.
Finally, Chaos time. Well. No. Not really. Time to grind. But first, a pit stop over to the Dragon Caves. Here you should find an X-Potion and Elixir. These are very,very, very important. If you found any other X-Potions (they drop from Lesser Tigers), please save them.
Head to the Chaos Shrine, go back in time, fight your way through waves and waves of monsters. Things shouldn't be too difficult. You should be high enough level to clear everything and everyone. When you make your way to Tiamat's floor, make sure to grab the Masamune. Finally, you have a weapon to replace your Coral/Runeblade/Wyrmkiller. Time to grind some more. Get to level 99.
Yes. It is required. Get to level 99 anyway you can. Once you get to level 99, head back through the Chaos Shrine until you see the Death Eye npc again. Since he only gives 1 XP/1GP, this is not the ideal leveling location, so make sure you are 99 before you do this. Now, you need to kill him again, go down the golden ladder, then back up, kill him again. Repeat this literally hundreds of times until you get around 5+ extra elixirs. So with your xpotion, your elixirs, you should have 7+ full heals. That should be enough. Should.
Time for Chaos. Look, I'll be honest. This fight is RNG based. Simple as that. If he casts Haste on himself, its game over. If he casts Curaja on himself after you start attacking, its game over. If he uses mostly physical attacks, its game over. There are so many things that can go wrong. But. When it goes right, you can win. Here's how.
Start the fight with using Defender twice.
Then cast Saber 8 or more times. Your attacks should be doing around 1500+.
When your health gets low (under 350 or so), use an elixir or xpotion.
Continue to buff if you have to. Then start attacking. He has around 20k HP.
If things go right, and he casts spells more often than physical attacks, you should get 3-4 attacks before you need to heal. Continue this until he dies, hopefully he doesn't cast Curaja. Hopefuly he doesn't cast Haste. And hopefully you can survive his onslaught.
Good luck. You'll need it.
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