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Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker


Scouting Guide

by Alucadrian

Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker
Scouting Guide
by Alucadrian

Table of Contents

1.00: Updates
2.00: An Introduction to Scouting
3.00: The Secrets to Successful Scouting
4.00: A Step-By-Step Guided Example
5.00: Scouting Theories and Frequently Asked Questions
6.00: Legalese and Contact Info
9.99: Thanks

1.00 - Updates

11/30/2007 - v1.00 - The guide's first version started and finished 
12/03/2007 - v1.01 - Included Double Trouble trait tip.
12/11/2007 - v1.02 - Included several other suggestion tips and the
theory section.
1/17/2008 - v1.03 - Included more tips, expanded a few sections, and
updated the email/theory section.

2.00 - An Introduction to Scouting

Such an important part of the game, and yet so very intricate and 
potentially frustrating as well. Let's start with a simple definition:
The act of ordering your monster team into a display of physical force 
toward the purpose of coercing an enemy monster into joining your side.

This is, you can guess, very central to the game's entire dynamic. 
Scouting monsters is one of only three different methods of getting new 
monsters in the entire game, and is quite likely to be the method most-
employed (the others are to have them given to you, or to synthesize 
new ones from two of your own). Here's a bit of a breakdown:

- Upon selecting "Scout" from the battle menu and choosing a target 
  monster, you've committed your team to an assault on that monster for 
  NO ACTUAL DAMAGE. Instead of damaging the monster, the attack values 
  are tranferred to a percentage bar showing the extent to which that 
  monster has been convinced to join. It is possible to reach 100%, 
  guaranteeing a scout attempt will succeed, and it is possible to have 
  an end total of 0% if your monsters are too weak to even be worth 
  noticing to the target monster, which guarantees that you've just 
  wasted your turn, your time, and possibly your team's lives when the 
  monsters retaliate. The displayed percentage chance is literally 
  that: the game's calculated odds out of 100 that the monster will 
  join. Thus, you could scout a monster with only a 1% chance given 
  enough time, patience, and a certain flair for masochism.
- After the scouting attempt has completed and your monsters have all 
  shown their stuff, the monster will take a moment to "size up" your 
  team, rolling the dice against your percentage total. 
     - Upon success, the monster immediately joins. If there are other 
       monsters on the field at that time, they will immediately flee. 
       Though you can defeat bystanding monsters before a scouting 
       attempt to minimize distraction, note that a battle ending in a 
       successful scout attempt awards no experience, gold or items, 
       even if every other monster was killed.
     - In the event of failure, one of two things may happen with equal 
       chance: either the monster will consider the situation further 
       (prompting the entire enemy team to take a round of free 
       retaliation attacks against your squad), or the monster will 
       take offense at the scouting attempt (prompting the entire enemy 
       team to gain a tension rank, and THEN take a round of free 
       attacks against your team for heightened damage). In the first 
       case, you can attempt to scout again during your next turn and 
       any turn thereafter until you succeed, your team is annihilated, 
       or the monsters take offense at your arrogance. Should the 
       monsters take offense, the scouting option will gray out and be 
       unselectable for the remainder of the battle; either slay the 
       enemies or run away to reencounter them if you wish to try 
- After the battle, you get to name your new monster whatever you would 
  like, view its stats, and assess its usefulness. After naming it, you 
  can choose to add it to your active team, your substitute team, or 
  send it directly to monster storage. Remember that inactive monsters 
  do earn a small percentage of experience from battling, so a level 1 
  slime you caught and sent to storage near the game's beginning might 
  be over level 10 and synthesizable by the time you're exploring the 
  second or third island; in other words, even if you're only scouting 
  a monster for synth purposes later on, you don't necessarily need to 
  feel compelled to level it manually to 10 or beyond.

3.00: The Secrets to Successful Scouting

There is no other factor to scouting except pure, raw power (in game 
terms, we're talking physical HP damage; your monsters' Attack stat is 
the primary stat indicator). What this means, at first glance, is that 
the only real way to improve your percentages is to use the strongest 
monsters at the highest levels to scout with.

This is, of course, flawed thinking. If you had the strongest monsters 
at the highest levels, what exactly would you need to scout new 
monsters for? Thus, this section of the guide centers on the ways to 
tip the scales in your favor within the boundaries of its guiding rules 
to successfully scout stronger monsters with weaker ones, thereby 
improving your overall team.

The loopholes all lie within one single fact of the game's mechanics: 
higher Attack stat = higher success percentage. In order to scout a 
monster, you have to show him that you COULD have done him some serious 
harm... IF you'd chosen to.

So, a scenario. Your Incarnus is a good monster, he's been serving you 
well, but you're really liking the look of that Gigantes that's 
sometimes seen wandering around on Infant Isle. If you could only scout 
him... you'd have a Rank A powerhouse on your side before you even 
finished up with Xeroph Isle! But your level 12 Incarnus and your level 
15 Rank F monsters just aren't up to snuff; every scouting attempt 
is producing 0%, offending him, and getting you club-spanked, your team 
sent running with your tail between your legs. The first conclusion 
is "I'll have to come back later and get him with stronger monsters." 
But why wait? He'd be infinitely more useful NOW, wouldn't he? So how 
do you get that percentage up above zero and start rolling the dice?

Tweak your attack stat, that's how. There are five ways to do this.

1. More than likely you've been seeing various monsters psyching up to 
attack you with enhanced power. You've probably also noticed that 
certain few monsters that you can scout or synth also have "Psych Up" 
as a battle command, allowing them the same capability at the cost of 
turns spent preparing. Any monster with the "Psycho" trait listed on 
its detail screen can do this, and your Incarnus is one of them. 
Psyching up has four tiers (tension increase by 5, 20, 50, and 100, 
respectively), and each one adds a percentage multiplier to your attack 
and wisdom stats for damage calculation of your next attack. A 
successful attack at super-high tension can deal somewhere in the 
range of 350% damage above your normal attack level! This can help you 
to turn a 2% scout chance increase into a 10% chance, if it's timed 
correctly so that all that tension is unleashed in a scouting attempt 
/ NOTE: All tension from psyching up is released by the first attack, \
| be it physical or magical, after psyching up has occurred. THIS DOES|  
| NOT INCLUDE the casting of damageless spells, such as Oomph! That   |
| means you can use your fully psyched-up Incarnus to cast Oomph on   |
| himself and the other party members, and still hold onto the super- |
\ high tension without wasting it until you're ready to scout. Use it!/

2. In addition, the "Oomph" spell is a standard buffing spell that 
"greatly increases" the attack stat for its three-turn duration of 
effect. It can only be cast on a single target, but for the next three 
turns that monster will do nearly two-thirds more damage with each 
attack (my calculations have all shown somewhere between a 50%-75% 
increase in damage). Cast this on one or all of your monsters before a 
scouting attempt, and that 2% scout chance increase could become a 4 or 
5% instead. Every little bit helps.
   Oomph is learned in the following skillsets: Champion, Fortifier, 
Wulfspade, and Anti-Metal. Most of those skillsets also include the 
Oomphle spell further in, as well, for full-party modification, but 
bear in mind Oomphle only increases attack by 25%, versus Oomph's 50%. 
Your Incarnus can learn it pretty early on, and you can almost always 
Oomph the entire party using only a single monster (takes three turns, 
of course) before the first casting wears off.

3. While we're talking traits like "Psycho," which allows psyching up,
GameFAQs reader Phil has reminded me of another incredibly useful trait
called "Double Trouble" that can greatly assist in scouting. Any
monster possessed of this trait attacks twice per battle round, rather
than only once, including during a scout attempt. Oomph one of these
and his two attacks will add twice the percent together! Unfortunately,
traits are not synthesizeable, and the Double Trouble trait doesn't
show up until Rank A monsters are on the field, which is a bit of a
hindrance when it comes to using this extra bit. In the early-to-mid-
game, you'll have to rely on Oomph and Psycho to help you out, but
definitely take the time to synth a Demon-At-Arms (Rank A Demon) or
one of the S- or X-class powerhouses that come with this invaluable
trait. For those post-game library completion hours, there's no

4. Every monster has a type, and every monster type has weapons that
exploit that type's weakness. If you're really serious about scouting
a particular target, you can go so far as to equip your scouters with
typed weapons that exploit the target's weakness (i.e. Dragonslayers
if you're hunting a dragon). The extra damage % will carry over to
scout %!

5. In similar fashion, your monsters will happily employ anti-type
skills as scout attempts in order to squeeze extra damage out if the
situation calls for it. In order for this to work, you must meet the
following requirements:
  - Your monster must have an anti-type skill
  - Your monster must have sufficient MP to use the skill
  - The target must be of the type the skill is meant to affect
  - Your monster's tactics MUST be set to be able to use the skill
That last bit is of particular importance, as it is easy to overlook.
If you've got your monsters set to "Don't Use Magic," they'll obey
even in a scouting attempt, and will fail to use any skills that
might otherwise better your chances. "Mix It Up" seems to be the most
effective tactic to encourage appropriate skill usage, but "Show No
Mercy" has also produced good results. If your monster has a few good
anti-type skills, set their tactics and see if you can't phenagle a 
few extra scout % that way.


So you take all this information, run up there, engage big blue boy one 
more time, and start psyching up. Your other monsters don't have the 
Psycho trait, so you just defend with them. And the Gigantes takes one 
look at what you're doing, walks over, and cracks your little Wulfspade
on the head, killing him in a single critical blow. So much for 
psyching up, huh? This brings me to my second point: keeping the target
from turning you into filet while you're busy stacking the deck against

Odds are if you're scouting a monster that you very much need, you're 
probably looking at less than a 10% chance of success naturally 
(meaning a cold scout attempt; no buffs, first round, regular attacks 
only). Few people have the patience to try a scouting a hundred times 
to snag that elusive Gigantes with a 2% chance of success. And an 
unpleasant fact goes along with that: most monsters you've got less 
than a 10% chance of scouting are pretty big and bad compared to you. 
So you've got to distract them. Here're my suggested ways to divert 
their attacks while your other boys (or girls... what the hell does 
+ and - mean anyway?) Oomph and psych up, in order of desireability:

Best Methods of Scout Target Diversion

1. Snooze (A sleeping monster presents absolutely no threat)

The first monster you'll find that learns Snooze is the Lips, found in 
the cave passage on Infant Isle. Snooze is the first learned skill in 
the Hypnotist skillset. I personally was using a Frou-Frou, which I had
synthesized by combining several Rank F monsters in succession; their 
Cold Sleep skillset also includes Snooze as the kickoff skill. 
Likewise, any Nature creature of an insectile nature will be able to 
learn it as a part of the Hive Mind skillset, so if you want a slightly
stronger monster than a Lips early on, scout a Scorpion from Xeroph 

2. Paralysis (A paralyzed enemy presents no threat, but for less time)

Paralysis has a chance of being broken every turn after infliction in
which the monster attempts an action (which is every turn). Snooze, on
the other hand, has a more reliable duration that is only interruptable
if the creature is struck. In short, use paralysis only if you don't 
have Snooze.

3. Dazzle/Blind/Sandstorm (A monster that cannot see mostly misses)

Bear in mind, though, that a blind monster does still have a chance to
hit you. If you're fighting a big bad baddie with the potential for a
one-hit kill, you might consider one of the better methods above, as
a stray Whack spell or heavy attack can screw your pooch.

4. Fuddle/Bemuse (A confused monster may attack itself or an ally 
   instead of you)

This is like a less-effective blindness, but with an added risk of the
monster killing itself, too. Use it if you've got nothing else.

Sleeping and paralysis are best; a blind monster does still have a 
chance to hit you, and a confused monster has a chance to hit you AND 
a chance to accidentally kill itself or interrupt the confuse effect. 
Paralysis works, but the average duration is usually 1-2 turns less 
than Snooze. Whichever one you have ready to use, however, remember 
to recast it every other round until your scouting attempt is fully 
prepared; it is easier to layer a status effect over an existing 
status than it is to inflict one on a healthy monster.

ALSO, avoid attacks that inflict a status along with damage and try to
stick with pure status-inducing spells. There is enough trouble with
scouting as it is without having to add in the hassle of having your
target die on you just because your status attack didn't take the
first two times you tried it.

/ NOTE: Don't forget that your player character is an unofficial      \
| fourth battle member who has access to one very useful command:     |
| Items! The player character ALWAYS goes first in any battle round,  |
| which is immensely valuable for healing up serious damage before the|
| enemy has the chance to strike again. You can also use your player  |
| character's quickdraw item use to apply the Oomph effect to a       |
| monster, or to buff physical or magical defense on a monster while  |
\ it's psyching up. Remember it!                                      /

4.00 - A Step-By-Step Guided Example

So, here's our scenario of the team vs. Gigantes, replayed with new 
tactics in turn-by-turn detail:

Turn 1
Give Orders - Incarnus - Psych Up
            - Monster 2 - Defend
            - Monster 3 - Snooze - Gigantes

Incarnus psyches up. Tension increases by 5.
Monster 2 defends.
Monster 3 casts Snooze! The Gigantes is unaffected.
The gigantes attacks! Monster 2 suffers 54 damage, but doesn't die.

Turn 2
Item - Strong Medicine - Monster 2
Give Orders - Incarnus - Psych Up
            - Monster 2 - Oomph - Incarnus
            - Monster 3 - Snooze - Gigantes

Player uses Strong Medicine on Monster 2, fully healing it.
Incarnus psyches up. Tension increases by 20.
Monster 2 casts Oomph. Incarnus's attack is greatly increased.
Monster 3 casts Snooze! The Gigantes falls asleep!
The Gigantes is still asleep!

Turn 3
Give Orders - Incarnus - Psych Up
            - Monster 2 - Oomph - Monster 2
            - Monster 3 - Defend

Incarnus psyches up. Tension increases by 50, reaching a state of high
Monster 2 casts Oomph. Monster 2's attack is greatly increased.
Monster 3 defends.
The Gigantes is still asleep!

Turn 4
Give Orders - Incarnus - Psych Up
            - Monster 2 - Oomph - Monster 3
            - Monster 3 - Snooze - Gigantes

Incarnus psyches up. Tension increases by 100, reaching a state of 
super-high tension!
Monster 2 casts Oomph. Monster 3's attack is greatly increased.
Monster 3 casts Snooze. The Gigantes falls into an even deeper sleep!
The Gigantes is still asleep!

Turn 5
Scout - Gigantes

Player prepares to scout!
Incarnus's body is filled with a mysterious power!
Monster 2's body is filled with a mysterious power!
Monster 3's body is filled with a mysterious power!
Incarnus launches a show of force! 11% chance.
(Super-high tension + Oomph = ~5.5xAttack)
Monster 2 launches a show of force! 13% chance.
Monster 3 launches a show of force! 15% chance.

The Gigantes is sizing up Player's team...

Whatever happens at that point is a matter of chance. What's important 
is that in only five turns, we've managed to transform a 0% chance of 
scouting a Rank A monster (impossible) into a 15% chance (a 1/7 
chance!), using only a handful of easily-attainable spells and skills 
and a host of rank F monsters! This same principle can turn a natural 
20% chance into a 65% chance, or a natural 30% chance into a 100% 
certainty. Though the hassle of setting everything up over 5 turns 
may seem excessive at first, the benefits of early scouting and the 
synthesizing that can follow are second to none.

You've got the knowledge now. Go do it!

5.00 - Scouting Theories and Frequently Asked Questions

This section is regarding possible scouting dynamics for which I do not
yet have hard data, but would like to test further. Anyone who is
interested or willing to run some tests and help prove or disprove
any of the theories contained in here, please feel free to email me
with your findings and I'll credit you in an update.

Without further ado, the FAQ portion of the FAQ:

Q1. I've noticed that scouting a monster gets harder if I already have 
one/two/five copies of that monster in my party/in storage! What's up
with that?

A1. Through testing I've hit upon the closest thing to a pattern I 
think can be found to explain this. It appears that, allowing for a 
slight fluctuation as a result of the
game's natural random seed for determining damage, the chance of 
scouting a monster is reduced by (16.66% x M), where M is the number of
duplicate copies of that monster already under your control. This 
applies to the sum total of all of that kind of monster, whether it is 
in your active party or held in storage. The shorter version is, every 
one you catch means 1/6 less a chance of catching the next one, so if
you're needing a lot of a certain kind of monster for synthesis or
skill farming, you might consider doing it in stages so as not to waste
a lot of time trying to scout the sixth or seventh one.

Q2. Isn't there anything else skillwise that I can do besides Oomph 
and Psycho to improve my scouting chances?

A2. There sure is. If you happen to have a monster who possesses an
anti-type skill, such as Dragon Slash, and you're trying to scout
a dragon-type monster, that skill can be used for scouting, and it WILL
have a positive effect on your result percentage. The catch to this
(and the reason why most people never stumble across it accidentally)
is that certain conditions must be met before your team monster will
know that it's okay for him to pull out all stops and use the relevant
whammy skill. Try setting your monster's Battle Tactics to "Mix It Up,"
which enables all battle skills simultaneously for use at the monster's
own discretion, and then watch as your monster instinctively knows to
use a skill when it would be the most effective. Progressive logic
seems to indicate that "Show No Mercy" would work in a similar way, but
I haven't yet tested that personally; only "Mix It Up" has been 100%
verified to work to date.

Q3. Do defense-impairing skills and spells increase the scout chance of
subsequent attempts?

A3. ...Is really not an answer at all, I'm afraid. I haven't done any 
conclusive testing on that; the best I can tell you is that I can 
remember trying to improve my odds in that fashion near the beginning 
of my own game, and being disappointed with the results. Whether there
were no discernable results at all, or if the difference was just 
disappointingly small, I can't say, as I was still very new to the game
back then and probably wasn't a fair judge at the time. If you're 
intending to do any testing on the Defense factor, please email me your
results and I'll include them in the next guide revision straightaway.

Q4. Does damaging the monster at all/to below half its HP/to near-death
increase the scout chance?

A4. No. I've gotten a great many emails with claims to this effect, and
gone back to test and retest it several times as a result just to be
sure my findings weren't inaccurate, and I can now confidently tell you
that damage done to a monster before a scout attempt has absolutely no
effect whatsoever on the resulting scout percentage. While the enemy HP
is a factor in the game's algorithm for determining scout chance of
success, it is the MAX HP which is factored, never the current HP.
Therefore, damaging a monster is a means to one end only: killing it.

6.00 - Legalese and Contact Info

This guide is copyrighted to Alucadrian, c. 2007.

Anyone who wishes to post my guide on their site may freely do so with 
my permission, provided they ask me with an email first. Anyone in 
violation of this is kind of a silly asshole.

Anyone with questions, comments, suggestions or corrections please feel
welcome to email me anytime at alucadrian at gmail dot com.

Thanks for reading!

9.99 - Thanks

- Thanks as always starts with GameFAQs itself and Jeff "CJayC" Veasey,
  the site's senior editor. You're the nexus of a site that's helped me 
  countless times with as many different games, and I appreciate all 
  your hard work!
- Thanks to Phil for emailing me a reminder about the Double Trouble 
- Thanks to Vox and Zac M for additional contributions via email.
- Thanks to Mark Hawkman for the suggestion about paralysis in 
- Thanks to Ericx909x for his questions about which skillsets include
  the pertinent scouting skills.
- Thanks to Janet for her excellent tip about encouraging monsters to
  scout with effective skills by setting tactics accordingly.