Octopath Traveler is a Japanese RPG from Square Enix that draws inspiration from the classic games in the genre, and that means you’re going to have to grind. A lot.
Octopath makes sure you spend hours in its random battles by having wide gaps in level requirements between the chapters of each character’s story, and by not sharing the experience points you gain with characters who aren’t in your party. Characters will fall behind if you often switch your team around, and favoring new characters is a good way to make sure the rest of your crew is underpowered. And you’ll need everyone decked out if you want to chase the endgame and post-game challenges.
Luckily there’s a trick that makes grinding experience and JP, which unlocks class skills in Octopath Traveler, quite a bit quicker. Be warned, however: It’s not simple. Here’s how to do it.
Primrose, the Dancer character, has an ability called Bewildering Grace. This causes her to perform a dance that has a random effect.
Some of these dances provide effects that are beneficial, like restoring your health, your SP (which is mana), or the BP points you use to power up your moves.
But sometimes Bewildering Grace de-buffs your defenses, drains the SP from your Dancer or takes BP from your entire party, silences your party, or causes you to drop your items, which renders them inaccessible for the rest of the battle. It’s a gamble.
Some dances also deal damage to enemies, which is actually not great for our purposes. You might even heal your enemy, although in this context it doesn’t really matter.
The thing that makes Bewildering Grace interesting is that it can multiply the amount of EXP or JP you get at the end of the battle. Common bonuses are double or five times the normal amount. You may even get 100 times the normal amount of experience or JP, although this happens very rarely.
The game doesn’t tell you the probability of getting one of these, but based on my experience there is less than a one percent chance that you will get a 100 times multiplier from any given dance.
Since the odds of getting the result you want from any given dance are very low, you want Primrose to perform as many dances as possible, as quickly as possible, to try to get the jackpot in a reasonable amount of time.
This requires using the BP system, which is kind of like Final Fantasy’s Limit Break system, to power up Primrose’s Bewildering Grace. At the base power level, Primrose performs only one dance, but she’ll do four if her ability is charged with three BP. However, since each each of your characters gets one BP each turn, you can’t do the powered up version very often because of the slow rate at which the game allocates BP. Also, spamming the dance each turn costs a lot of SP, and one of Bewildering Grace’s random effects can randomly drain all of Primrose’s SP.
Between annoying negative effects and low odds for the best outcomes, it can appear that Bewildering Grace jackpots get you EXP or JP slower than grinding out the battles, but looking for the multipliers becomes a viable option if you can rig your party to help Primrose do a whole bunch of dances very quickly.
Okay, don’t just dance.
I have a compulsive need to break every RPG I get my hands on. I am currently working on collecting the secret classes, which I think are supposed to be postgame content, and I still haven’t finished chapter two on most of my characters.
Your goal is to set up the rest of your party to help Primrose spam Bewildering Grace as much as possible, as fast as possible, while also mitigating the negative effects that are certain to occur while you’re spamming hundreds of dances. This will let you brute force your way to a jackpot.
You can do this once you reach the second chapters of your characters’ stories and can find the shrines that enable you to equip secondary jobs.
Find the hardest encounter you can safely defeat, and kill all but one of the monsters in the pack you’re fighting before you start dancing, both to save time on enemy battle animations and to limit the damage coming into your party. You’ll also want to take down the rest of the pack using single-target attacks to avoid dealing damage to the last enemy. You don’t want the damage from your dances to kill it before you’re done with it.
Here’s what you should have in your party:
- Tressa and Therion, who should be Thief/Merchant and Merchant/Thief
- Primrose, who should be Dancer/Apothecary
- Ophilia, or somebody else specced into Cleric
And here’s what everybody will be doing:
The merchant-thieves do a couple of important things. First of all, merchants can donate their BP to another character. Use this ability frequently to charge up your dancer and your cleric.
Second, Merchants have an ability called Rest, which allows them to heal themselves of detrimental status conditions and regain health and SP. This is good for dances that go wrong.
Third, Thieves have an ability called Share SP. They can drain their own SP and give a large amount to either your dancer or your cleric. This is crucial to keep your chain uninterrupted when Bewildering Grace drains your Dancer’s SP after locking your party out of using items. Which is going to happen.
The merchant-thieves will be feeding BP to other characters or resting to regain the SP they’ve gifted almost every turn but, if they have a spare turn, you may want to steal or collect from the enemy you’re battling to try to get some extra items or cash.
The Cleric’s divine ability, Aelfric’s Auspices, gives a targeted ally a buff that lasts three turns, and causes them to do any move they perform twice. That means if your dancer has this buff, and performs a Bewildering Grace that is powered up with three BP, then she’ll do four dances using the powered-up move, and then do four dances again because of Aelfric’s Auspices, for a total of eight dances in a single turn. This dramatically increases the number of dances you can perform.
When you cast a buff on a character who already has that buff in Octopath Traveler, the duration of the existing buff is added to the full duration of the new buff, up to a total possible duration of nine turns. You can maintain 100 percent uptime on a buff if one of your characters is dedicated to maintaining it.
Divine Skills like Aelfric’s Auspices require you to spend three BP to cast them, so you’ll have to feed some BP from your thieves to your Cleric to stack a long duration for this buff on your Dancer. But any time you can feed BP to your Cleric without interrupting your dancing, you should try to cast another Aelfric’s Auspices, so Primrose will produce double the effects from each dance.
The Cleric can also heal your party as needed, to offset the damage you take from negative dance effects and from the enemy attacking you.
The main thing Primrose should be doing is casting maximum level Bewildering Grace as often as possible. But there’s a reason she needs Apothecary as her subclass.
Two of the effects of Bewildering Grace are that it can silence your party for several turns, or it can poison your party and cause large amounts of damage.
The poison is manageable, usually, but the silence really slows you down. And if you get hit with a debuff twice, the second hit adds to the duration, just like buffs do. So if you get silenced twice by a Bewildering Grace augmented by Aelfric’s Auspices, it can prevent your characters from using their skills for five or six turns. This is bad news when you’re focused on speed.
Silence isn’t normally much of a problem, as you can just use Herb of Clamor to remove the debuff. But you need an alternative plan since Bewildering Grace will disable your item use.
The Apothecary has a move called Rehabilitate that removes status debuffs, and also protects against them for a set number of future turns.
If you power Rehabilitate up with BP, the duration of this protection increases; it lasts five turns with one BP invested. Aelfric’s Auspices will cause you to cast this twice, so you get a full nine turns of status immunity on a character by using one BP with rehabilitate. I recommend stacking this onto your Dancer, your Cleric and one of your Merchant-Thieves before you begin dancing to keep your team immune from silence.
Also, it is rare but possible for a string of negative effects from Bewildering Grace to kill your party. The Dancer has an ability called Encore that can automatically resurrect her if this happens and, if she has Apothecary as her secondary class, she can revive the rest of the party.
What about everybody else?
This is all very good for Therion, Tressa, Ophilia, and Primrose, but how can you use this to power up the other four characters?
Since Alfyn is already an apothecary, he can add Dancer as his secondary class and do the same thing Primrose does. The rest of the characters should take on a secondary cleric role, since that character doesn’t need abilities from two classes. But the going will be a bit slower until your new clerics can spend enough JP on their Cleric class to unlock Aelfric’s Auspices.
The Starseer Secret Class may be a good secondary for Tressa later in the game instead of Thief; the Starseer gets an ability that causes a character to gain two BP per turn instead of one. But that will leave you with only one character who can feed SP to your Dancer when she gets drained.
Can’t stop, won’t stop!
Using this setup, you should be able to fire off eight Bewildering Grace dances almost every turn, with delays only when you need to refresh your silence immunity with Rehabilitate, or when your BP gets completely drained (which is a good time to refresh your Rehabilitate).
The only thing that will stop your dance chain is if the damage from your dances eventually kills the enemy, or if you get the rare outcome of transforming the monster into a Cait. If that happens, you will usually still get give times the experience and the JP, and then you can just find a new encounter and set it up again.
Being able to brute force this many spins at the Bewildering Grace slot machine turns the 100 times multipliers from rare events to inevitabilities, and this seems to be the fastest way to level up in Octopath Traveler.