As ever, Edward’s Challenge Dungeon shows up at the end of his Tale. You’ll find the entrance to the Dungeon in Kaipo, courtesy of the Namingway who’s standing in the northwest corner of town.
Edward’s Challenge Dungeon is based upon the accumulation of cold, hard cash. The chests at the end must be purchased before you can open them, and so the hoarding of wealth throughout is key. The more you pay, the better the item you’ll receive. This can be rather tricksy for your party, since Harley’s Gil Toss is by far your best weapon, so you’ll have to rely on slogging through physical hits to kill your foes. Note that gil accumulated inside the Dungeon cannot be used outside… though there’s not much reason to use it past this point anyway.
You’ll still have your three Guards when you reach this Challenge Dungeon, though unlike Edward and Harley their levels cap out at twenty. As such it’s wise to level up your main two characters with all of the Guards dead - and to do so outside the Dungeon, at least until you hit around level thirty. The Baron area is by far the best place to grind levels in this Tale.
After a short trip north you’ll wind up in a large Lobby. We’ll work our way around from here. (This place is biiiiiig.) The chests and items in this Dungeon appear to be randomized to a degree, though not always. At any rate, the items listed below are not necessarily accurate. The chests and items will reset themselves whenever you enter the Dungeon.
- South of the entry stairs is an empty dead end room. In here you may find a Bandit. These guys will drop lots of gil for your war chest, but they’ll flee if you don’t kill them quickly enough.
- There are two sets of stairs to the east of the entrance. The southern stairs lead to a room containing a Cottage, a Tent, a Hi-Potion, a Bomb Fragment, a Gold Needle, and Echo Herbs. There’s also a Potion in one of the pots, and if you check the suits of armour in the north you’ll find a Gil Band. This Band, when equipped, will increase the amount of gil earned from battle by half. Very useful here. The north stairs lead to a wider room with a Tent, 1,000 gil, a Bronze Hourglass, and Hermes Sandals (check the pots in the west). It’s also possible to find a Bandit in here, behind a table in the east, and a man wanders in the area who wants 10,000 gil. Lend it to him now and you may get a return later… though there’s a decent chance you’ll get nothing back. Unless you feel like taking the risk it’s better to save your cash.
- There are two other sets of stairs in the west. The southern set leads to the larger passage listed above. The northern set leads to a Boss Room where you can fight a Steel Golem. Easy fight, though long. Check the pot on the right for a Red Fang, and pass through the left wall (look for the absence of a shadow) to find a White Fang. Strong enemies can show up in this room randomly, so be cautious.
- There are three doors in the north of the Lobby. The middle door leads to the Merchants’ Square, where you can purchase combat items. You’ll also find a merchant who wants a Gil Bird Egg; bring him one and he’ll fork over 13,000 gil. The left door leads to a passage with a Phoenix Down (pot), Hermes Sandals, a Tent, and another merchant. This one wants a Poet’s Notebook which, you can find randomly in one of the Dungeon’s chests. It will earn you 1,000 gil when handed in. The right door leads to a Tent, a Bronze Hourglass, a Hi-Potion, 500 gil (check the armour) and, yes, another merchant. This one wants Whisperweed Seed. You can also find the Seed randomly in one of the Dungeon’s chests, quite often in the chests right outside his room. The merchant will take the Seed for 500 gil.
- Last but not least, there’s a set of stairs in the middle of the Lobby. They lead to the Lobby’s second half.
- There’s a girl wandering near the stairs who will ask for 5,000 gil. Fork it over and, if you find her again later, she’ll double your money - and sometimes then some. She’ll reappear elsewhere in the Dungeon; she can appear in a hallway below, or in the hallway leading to the merchant who wants the Poet’s Notebook.
- There are semi-hidden doorways on either side of the large set of stairs north of the entrance. The right passage leads to a room full of shelves. Check the flowers here for Echo Herbs and the shelves for… an item. (I missed what it was. Dammit.) The northern door leads to a connecting tunnel which ultimately leads to the right passage. Also here you’ll find another Merchants’ Square with more items for sale, a Hi-Potion, and a woman looking for a Bard’s Lyre. She’ll give you 5,500 gil. Between these pathways is a central path that leads to Tower 3F, which we’ll look at shortly. An Adamantine Pig can be standing here, depending on your luck. If you come through here during a New Moon you can find a Gil Bird. Kill it (not too difficult, so long as you have Gold Needles and a Remedy or two) to earn a Gil Bird Egg. The Gil Bird will appear in other places during different Moons, each listed below.
- There are two doors in the north of the Lobby. The right leads to a potential Bandit battle; the left leads to a long line of toll keepers, each wanting 500 gil. This passage can potentially contain one of three NPCs (investment man, investment girl, or Adamantine Pig) which can earn you some sweet cash. The toll keepers reappear every time you enter this area.
- There are two final doors in the southeast and southwest corners of the Lobby. These lead to the Tower.
- 2F. Both corridors are connected. You can find a Gil Bird in the eastern half during Waxing Moons. At both ends you’ll find elevators leading to the third and fourth floors; using them will cost 1,000 gil per trip. (You can avoid the toll for the third floor by walking through the hidden passages in Lobby 2F, though in doing so the elevators will be stopped at the second floor.)
- 3F. On the right side of the corridor you’ll find a room filled with chocobos. These chocobos may give you, at minimum, 10,000 gil; they can also take just as much, and there’s nothing you can do about it. I don’t recommend trying your luck. The left door in the corridor leads to a boss room populated by a Flame Hound; killing it will earn you a Bard’s Lyre. You need to pay gil to one of the three toll collectors in the room to get at the Flame Hound; one will take 300 gil, one will take 1,000 gil, and the last takes 10,000 gil. There’s no telling which is which, and they will take their fee (or as much as they can) automatically before disappearing.
- 4F. First off, there are Flans up here. You normally need magic items to kill these, but Harley’s Piercing Sight can remove their defences. At the east end of this corridor you can find a Gil Bird during . In the middle of this corridor, through the south door, you’ll find a restaurant with an old woman who will pay you for an Adamantine Pig; lead the Pig back from where you (hopefully) found it earlier and she’ll give you 8,500 gil. You won’t be able to procure the Pig until you’ve spoken to the woman.
- There’s one final boss room up here. Inside you’ll face a Belphegor, which isn’t too difficult. You’ll also find a Gil Bird up here during a Full Moon. Beyond this is the last moon in the Challenge Dungeon, this containing five chests. These are your prizes for completing the Dungeon. They cost from 10,000 gil to 50,000 gil, and if you have enough (unlikely) you can open all five and reap the rewards. The more expensive the chest, the better the chance that you’ll get a good item. Remember, you can’t keep the money from the Dungeon, so there’s little point holding back. The chests (may) contain the following:
- Officer’s Hat
- Exorcist Gown
- Ice Whip
- Level Band
- Muse Harp
- Professor’s Robe
- Silver Apple
- Soma Drop