Palace of the Dead

Intro & Mechanics
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Steel ArrowJune 20, 2017

Overview | How to Unlock | General Info | Experience | Saving | Aetherpool | Pomanders | Accursed Hoard | Deadly Mechanics & Bosses | Potsherds | Soloing


What is Palace of the Dead?

Introduced in Patch 3.35, it is also referred to as the Deep Dungeon. As of patch 4.0 (Stormblood), it has a maximum of 200 floors, all randomly-generated, broken up into sets of 10, with each set increasing in difficulty, and every 10th floor ending with a boss. After defeating said boss, you save your progress and any gear obtained, and can progress deeper at your leisure.

In the Palace, you start off at level 1, and gain XP at an extremely rapid rate, learning your spells and abilities as you would normally outside of the dungeon. If you're just a base class, IE, Gladiator, you do not turn into a Paladin at level 30. But if you have your job crystal equipped, you'll eventually gain all of its spells, even if you haven't done the quests to obtain them normally.


How to unlock Palace of the Dead

In order to unlock it, you have to be at least level 17, and you can grab the quest inside the Adventurer's Guild in New Gridania. This will take you to the western side of South Shroud, and then over to Quarrymill.


General Info (Patch 3.45)

  • Aetherpool rating has changed entirely, and 99 is the new maximum. It is now possible to upgrade beyond 30 rating consistently as early as floor 21, and the rating can be much higher before being synced - making players much more powerful early on. As a result, it is now much faster and easier to farm Padjali weapons and complete floors 1-50.
  • Acquiring and upgrading a weapon will only subtract 30 and 60 points from your total, respectively. You must have purchased a Padjali (235) weapon to upgrade to a Kinna (255) weapon.
  • Players who have completed the first 50 floors may now choose to begin a new save from floor 51 (solo or party).
  • Upon completing Floors 50 and 100, you will receive a gelmorran potsherd and +1 rating to arm/armor rating.
  • Insistent inquisitors are the new version of the weapon-wielding adventurers. These have a high chance to drop chests, that have a high chance to be a mimic.
  • In general: just about everything has a nasty AoE. Look away when you see an eyeball graphic and move away or stun anything else. If you've been paying attention to the mobs in the game so far, the positioning of the AoEs shouldn't be a surprise. Luring traps are very common past floor 50, and it's very easy to get surrounded by roamers. A few overlapping AoEs can wipe the party. A quick pomander of rage or witching can really help turn these situations around.
  • Dragons will frequently nuke nearby players even if not engaged in combat (similar to the succubi of Amdapor Keep). Flame Dragons cast Fireball, which deals 4000 damage to all players in a large area and applies Burns - a 650/tick dot for 15 seconds. Dark Dragons cast Dark Thorn, which deals 3000 damage to all players in a large area.
  • any players don't realize that status potions are targettable. If your whole party is hit with an impeding trap, using echo drops on your healer will allow them to remove the rest.
  • Succubus and Kuribu forms no have longer fixed damage, and gain the damage benefit from vulnerability stacks and cooldowns activated before transformation including Blood for Blood / Raging Strikes.
  • The solo achievements are presently bugged, and are only awarded upon dying after passing floor 50 / 100.

Experience

  • Leveling in PotD does not use any of your current rested bonus, and experience gain can not enhanced by anything, including food or worn items. Enemies inside the PotD give a flat amount of experience every time that is specific to each enemy, regardless of your level difference.
  • Your level inside the PotD can exceed your class level, and you temporarily gain unearned skills that are normally locked behind a quest-wall. Players without Heavensward will also be able to reach level 60, but will not be able to go past Floor 40.
  • You have the full 60 minutes to run around and level up, but once you move forward you can't go back and keep your progress.
  • Mobs are spawned more frequently while you are moving. If you need to afk inside, make sure your drg isn't running in circles. If you're having trouble keeping up with mob spawns, have your bard stop running around like an idiot. If you're trying to turn spare time into extra xp - get moving from room to room. PotD includes a lot of throwbacks to console games, and this is one of them.
  • You gain a large amount of job class experience based on your current player level when you complete a set of floors. This amount does benefit from the armory bonus, but not rested or food bonuses. This experience is awarded every time the floor set is cleared, and is approximately equal to a leveling roulette's daily bonus (slightly reduced for the lower floors). Level capped players receive tomestones and coin (amounts listed in the patch notes).

Saving

  • Each save may only move forward or reset. There is no way to repeat only a specific floor set.
  • You must complete the entire floor set to save your progress. If everyone in the party dies, or the timer runs out, all progress is lost and you must begin again from the last save.
  • A fixed party may convert to a matched party, but cannot convert back. The newly formed matched party must continue from the current floor set, using the same jobs.

Upgrading Aetherpool

  • Aetherpool rating can be considered a stat. As long as you complete your floor set, any gains made are permanent. This rating is the only attribute which affects your character in the PotD - aside from level. Saved aetherpool progress is separate from your class, weapon, or save file; and stays with you even if you reset to level 1 or change classes.
  • The Padjali (235) weapon can be obtained once you've completed floor 50 and have both ratings rating at 30 or higher. You are not restricted to the class that completed the dungeon, but your current ratings are reduced by 30.
  • You will need to repeat floors to fully upgrade your aetherpool gear.
  • Aetherpool rating upgrades occur individually for every person in the group when a silver chest is opened. Whether this affects the weapon or armor is also rolled individually. Upgrades are never guaranteed to succeed, but you have a higher chance when your your aetherpool rating is less than half your character level. A greater difference also raises the chance that your rating will increase by 3 or 4. (Your aetherpool arm/armor flares/brightens, instead of flickers). Floor 10-40 boss kills now grant aetherpool rating if it is considerably lower than the target value for your level. Floor 50 always gives +1 to aetherpool arm and armor rating.
  • General Strategy - Repeat lower floor sets if your aetherpool rating is low. The early floors can be cleared very quickly with a high rating (15 minutes or better, solo), so increasing your rating will be faster than trudging through the deeper floors with a bad rating. Think Lufia 2 Ancient Cave here - the more times you run it, the easier it gets to go deeper.
  • To maximize your chances of successful upgrades, consider progressing both save slots together - run floors 1-10 twice, then 11-20 twice, and so on. This is more efficient than backtracking through floors that have nearly no chance of upgrading your aetherpool rating. The same class or party can be used for both slots, since saved aetherpool progress is not tied to any particular save slot.
  • You don't have to lose your progress to farm lower tiers. You can use your second save slot as a a throw-away farm slot, while maintaining your first slot for progression.
  • Understanding Aetherpool rating - The scaling is different now, and new information is needed. Put simply: rating is easier to get, overall difficulty is slightly lower, soloing is more viable.

Pomanders

You may acquire a maximum of three of any given pomander. If you can't hold a pomander when a chest is opened, the chest is not lost. These are kept with a save, and any unused pomanders get carried forward to future floor sets. Any pomanders gained leading up to a a duty failure are lost; but also any pomanders which were consumed prior to the duty failure are restored.

  • Pomander of Strength - Boosts your healing as well as your damage, so consider one mandatory for boss fights if solo.
  • Pomander of Lust - Transforms the user into a succubus which gains the Void Fire II spell and loses the use of other abilities. Void Fire II is a targetted AoE attack with a 2.5 second base cast time that does 300 750 damage and applies a 2 minute vulnerability debuff that stacks up to 5 times. At 5 stacks damage is doubled - this is very useful on bosses. The transformation may be cancelled early by clicking off the buff. The succubus now gains a benefit from its own vulnerability stacks, and players also appear to take increased damage while transformed.
  • Pomander of Rage - Transforms the user into a manticore which gains the Pummel attack and loses the use of other abilities. Pummel is an instant casting melee range ability that instantly kills normal enemies. The damage is reduced to 500 on enemies on floors with a knockback ban and bosses.
  • Pomander of Safety - Removes floor traps but does NOT remove chest traps (detonation or mimic).
  • Pomander of Purity - The only way to cure the pox you got from the box.
  • Pomander of Witching - Polymorphs all nearby enemies - these are best saved for encounters with enemies which have instakill mechanics or mimics if you don't have a Pomander of Purity.
  • Pomander of Flight - Reduces the amount of mobs on the next floor.
  • Pomander of Alteration - Each enemy in a random room on the next floor has a chance to be replaced by a mimic or mandragora - the roll occurs separately for each enemy. The mimic will debuff you considerably, but the mandragoras die in one hit and yield a large amount of experience when killed.
  • Pomander of Raising - Similar to Raise 3 / Reraise. When used, will revive the next party member to die. Has no effect on party members who are already dead.
  • Pomander of Resolution - Transforms the user into Kuribu, with the Heavenly Judge ability. This is a ground-targetted AoE that deals 750 damage (12500 to undead) and stuns all enemies - living or dead - who are not stun immune for (4/2/1 diminishing) seconds. Undead enemies include: Dark Dragon, Palace Knight, Insistent Inquisitor, Palace Mummy, Palace Corse, Palace Wraith, Nybeth Obdilord and his summoned zombies.

Accursed Hoard

Can be found on any floor except boss floors. A pomander of intuition will tell you whether a cache is on your floor, and will cause it to glow. Standing on this location for a few seconds will add a cache to the character sheet of every party member, which will be lost if the party wipes or turned into a Bronze-trimmed Sack upon completion of the duty. It is possible to find these without the pomander of intuition by accidentally standing in the correct location. Appraising this yields a random item which can include Modern Aesthetics - Samsonian Locks, grade IV / V materia, fireworks, and many minions including Page 63 and the Baby Opo-Opo.

  • Iron-trimmed sacks - Obtained from the accursed hoard in floors 51-100. These appear to yield all of the same items as the bronze-trimmed sacks (fireworks, materia IV-V, etc), with some new possibilities which include: Clear Demimateria III (vendors for 5000 g), Blackbosom Orchestrion Roll (the combat music from the Floor 50 boss fight), Wind-up Edda, and HQ Replica Allagan Gear.
  • Gold-trimmed sacks - Obtained from the accursed hoard in floors 101-200. No gold-trimmed sacks have been found below floor 100.

Deadly Mechanics & Bosses

All Floors

  • Random weapon-wielding Adventurer: - Much higher level than the enemies found on the floor. These yield bonus experience but don't appear to have a higher chance to drop a chest.
  • Exploding chests/Land Mine traps - If you don't keep yourself at full health while moving or between fights, they can end a solo journey or kill your healer. Don't run around needlessly during fights, and stay topped off when out of combat.
  • What does the Cairn of Return do? - Once activated, any surviving party member can use the Cairn of Return to revive all dead party members. If you've not progressed far enough to activate that floor's Cairn, a phoenix down does work inside as well.

Traps

  • Mimics - Mimics can appear randomly from chests, and will cast a 10 minute debuff called pox which applies a minor dot, halts your regeneration completely, and lowers dps considerably. The cast bar says "Infatuation". Can only be removed with Pomander of Purity. These are rare, prevent the cast with a Pomander of Witching if you don't have one. As of 3.4, mimics also have deathtrap, which is a circular aoe which does approximately 3k damage at level 60. (uncertain of scaling)
  • Impeding Trap - Causes 30 second pacify and silence, but Titan's attacks are unaffected. Removable by esuna. Echo drops will remove the silence only.
  • Toading Trap - Causes 20 second toad, which reduces max hp, amplifies damage taken, and prevents you from taking any action - even sending a pet to attack. Palace Cobras can also instantly kill you while a toad with Devour. Not removable - one of the best reasons not to move around needlessly during combat.
  • Land Mine - Causes approximately 80% of maximum HP to everything in range when stepped on. Stay topped off between rooms.
  • Exploding Chest - Deals 80% of maximum HP to everything in range when opened. Top off before opening chests.
  • Luring Trap - Spawns three random enemies from the floor to attack you. Quickly survey them to address any potential for instakill mechanics.

Floors 1-10

  • Palace Hornet: Final Sting - The bee must hold still to cast. Stun it, break line of sight, or have a pet soak the damage if you don't have the dps to kill the hornet fast enough. These will be the biggest hurdle to a solo player, especially before your aetherpool gear is upgraded.

Floors 11-20

  • Palace Slime: Rapture - damages everything in range for an amount equal to current HP - this will instantly wipe an entire party. Cast after the second digest (~20 seconds in). Burn these fast or use a Pomander of Witching if you get several at once. Damage can be avoided by running out of cast range or breaking line of sight.
  • Spurge: (L20 Boss) - Two Palace Hornets will spawn together at regular intervals. Pop succubus form if solo and bring them down fast. Otherwise the damage will overwhelm you, even though the stings are no longer directly fatal at this level.

Floors 21-30

  • Palace Skatene: Chirp - Induces a 15 second sleep on every party member in range. Chirp is subject to diminishing returns (15/7/3), and can only be avoided by going out of range or breaking line of sight. Turning away will not prevent the sleep. Due to the numerous wandering enemies with dangerous knockbacks, this can lead to party wipes.

Floors 41-50

  • Final Boss: Black Honeymoon - Failing to avoid In Health will cause a rune on the ground to illuminate. This ability is a large aoe used after Cold Feet and can only be dodged by standing directly under the boss. If all five runes become illuminated before the next Black Honeymoon, it will kill the entire party.

Bosses (Floors 60-100)

  • Floor 60 Boss: The Black Rider (Headless Horseman) - Drops large purple pools that cause bleeding and small yellow puffs that explode for 10k. Also uses Valfodr, a line indicating he's about to charge. Move close to the boss and don't drag Valfodr over another party member.
  • Floor 70 Boss: Yaquaru (Leviathan Type) - Casts Douse, a point-blank AoE which leaves a pool of water on the ground that provides the boss with a haste buff while inside. Also frequently inflicts the tank with Heavy to hinder efforts to move the boss out of these pools.
  • Floor 80 Boss: Gudanna (Behemoth Type) - Frequently casts Thunderbolt (2000 damage frontal cone AoE) toward the tank. Uses Charybdis at regular intervals, which covers a large circular area of the arena in swirling black plumes that will inflict a high damage, long-duration Windburn that should be quickly removed. Charybdis will remain in place for a long time, and suck in any players who wander too close. This is normally followed by Trounce, during which the boss will move to a cardinal direction of the arena and cover the majority of it with a frontal cone AoE. The party should follow the boss as he moves and stand behind him or to the side, reminiscent of Chudo-Yudo's Swinge from Stone Vigil. Casts Meteor during the last 10% (Similar to Ultima or Zantetsuken, but not a guaranteed death). This is the first new boss which presents a credible threat
  • Floor 90 Boss: The Godmother (Mom Bomb) - Small, untargettable bombs will appear frequently throughout the fight and create small explosions around the center of the arena. Grey Bombs will spawn occasionally and should be killed before they can explode. The boss will regularly cast Sap (a circular AoE) at non-tanking party members. Every 2 minutes, The Godmother will begin to channel Massive Burst, which hits the entire party for 80% of maximum hp (to a minimum of 1 hp), and can be stunned. If in a party, only use stuns to interrupt the cast, to prevent immunity. If solo without stun, knock the Giddy Bomb toward the boss, being careful not to get it killed in the smaller bombs' explosions. It is very easy to wipe at this boss Tank limit breaks do not reduce Massive Burst damage.
  • Floor 100 Boss: Nybeth Obdilord (Necromancer) - Regularly attacks the tank with Abyss, an AoE nuke similar to Dark, while occasionally inflicting minor party-wide damage with Word of Pain. Also casts Shackle, a line-based attack targetted on a random non-tank party member. His primary mechanic is Summon Darkness, which will spawn 2-3 Palace Corse style zombies around him. Use Pomanders of Resolution to quickly handle these adds, and continue use Kuribu's Heavenly Judge on Nybeth for high damage. Most parties will need three of these to cover the entire fight. At low health the boss will begin to cast Doom - a wide cone AoE which will kill any player caught in the effect. For this reason Nybeth should be tanked in the center, not the edge.

Gelmorran Potsherds

The bronze chests which contain these may be found on any floor, but are more commonly found on later floors. When obtained in a party, the potsherd is directly placed into a random member's inventory exactly as a potion would be. Like potions, these are not lost if the duty is failed.


Soloing Summary

  • Bring Echo Drops
  • Sprint!
  • If your goal is to get the 235 weapon as quickly as possible while soloing, just go as a summoner and thank me later. (Getting started - the first 5 minutes are the hardest. There is a fair chance you will get wrecked by a roaming Ziz. Bring a few potions to get you going. Steer clear of everything except sprites and mice, you should be able to get to 4 with a little care. After that you're set.)
  • If your goal is to gain experience on a class that doesn't have heals, you get the same experience in a party, and soloing isn't recommended for experience.
  • If you still want to solo for the challenge or personal preference, tanks are going to have trouble with the DPS checks, and DPS will have trouble staying topped off to handle the traps. Keep in mind that XP is gained to your base class, and inside the PotD there is no traditional gear, so there is very little motivation to enter with a soulstone equipped. Entering as a base class will allow you to sacrifice a few job skills to access to crossclass abilities from any class, with twice as many slots. Every class has access to cure and protect. Your character does still have stats determined by class - though they are invisible - but aetherpool arm upgrades affect healing and attack potency indiscriminately, so it should be more viable than one would first expect. All post-50 skills are tied to the job class, and some classes fare better without them than others. If you find yourself stuck, your aetherpool progress will carry to a party (but not your floor).
  • HQ potions do drop frequently, but not frequently enough to maintain a full health bar, buy them from the marketboard or save them for the bosses. Use stuns, silences, or Pomanders of Witching on the instakillers. Use Pomander of Lust to weaken bosses.
  • Consumables - You can use any consumable item, including those from outside the PotD. Many players aren't aware that status curing potions are targettable. You can save your party by using echo drops on your healer after everyone is hit with the silence/pacify trap during combat. HQ potions will drop from enemies inside. A good supply of HQ potions will make classes without heals viable, but they will need to beware traps. Several traps within cause long-duration status effects. If you're a caster, bring echo drops. There doesn't appear to be a potion to remove the 30 second pacify or the 20 second toad. Food will provide a benefit to stats, but not to xp gained.
  • Crossclass actions - Cross-job slots become available at the levels at which they would during normal syncing.
  • Chocobo - is a no go. They may not be summoned here.

Source:
Palace of the Dead Mechanics - Everything you ever wanted to know