Matt Bird writes all sorts of nonsense, but he dedicates a large chunk of his time to writing game walkthroughs.
Another multi-step errand? Yes, another multi-step errand. Unlocked after your return from Historic Hamelin, The Forest Alchemists asks Oliver and company to wade into new territory and face enemies that might be a little too strong for the party. Give it a shot regardless, as the weapon formula you get is pretty good for this point in the game.
Apparently, some forest dwellers in the southeastern part of the Shipwreck Shore are amazing at alchemy.
The brothers live in a forest atop a series of cliffs overlooking the eastern beaches of Shipwreck Shore (you know, the shore with all the shipwrecks, east of Castaway Cove). Travel here, grab the Slice of Game Pie from the red chest, note the purple chest the younger brother says contains a 'great weapon', then talk to the older brother.
This smart, if linguistically challenged lad, will offer to teach you how to make the Royal Spear via the task The Forest Alchemists. You need two of each of the following ingredients to conjure up a Royal Spear.
'Pretty ball. Like glass.'
The first ingredient is Jade Marble. Jade Marbles are the primary reason you may not be able to do this quest yet, as their draw points can't be reached by foot or ship. That said, Swaine can use Mug Shot to steal them from Tyke Pykes on Spire Island, located off the east coast of Autumnia. The enemies here are above your current level, but not by much, so if you're careful you can scrape through these battles without a ton of difficulty. Take out any enemies accompanying the Tyke Pyke, then go on All-Out Defense and use Mug Shot until you get your Marbles. (They also have Nix-be-Gones, so you'll almost certainly be facing more than two battles.)
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'Black metal. No rust.'
The second ingredient is Raw Steel. You can get lots of Raw Steel by killing the Iron-Men of the Pig Iron Plain, south of Hamelin. You can also find draw points in the region with Raw Steel; check the mine entrances in particular.
'Black stone. Shiny. Hard.'
The final ingredient is Shadowglass. This is by far the easiest ingredient to find, as Shadowglass spawns from a sparkle point just outside Hamelin. Check beside the rusty wreck on the outskirts of the city every few minutes for a fresh dose of the stuff.
Combine the three in the Cauldron to get your Royal Spear and show it to the brother back in the forest. He'll be so impressed that he'll give you two Fogdrops, two Coldstones, 1500 guilders and five Merit Stamps. He'll also give you some more alchemical formulae to try out, all of them for equipment. Score! (Nice as that all is, of course, the Royal Spear is the main reason to do this quest. It's a pretty awesome weapon for this point in the game.)
With that done, you're finally free to get back on track with the main quest . . .
. . . or perhaps not. First, there's a little something about a casino on Tombstone Trail that might be worthy of your attention.
© 2013 Matt Bird