Okay, I’m very close to the end and I want to share a late game mechanic that I really like but might cause someone else from wasting as much time as I have with guardians/leveling up and can get you SUPER STRONG:
In the final dungeon, you can find a Phoenix feather which doesn’t have an obvious use but says it can be used to make medicine. Bring it to the item/potion shop and the clerk will turn it into medicine that can cure any illness. If you find the woman adventurer who pops up from time to time selling you items in dungeons, she’ll offer to buy it from you. She doesn’t have money but she gives you a Guardian that grants bonus points when you level up. Go back to town and equip that guardian ASAP. If you can, go to two Guardian statues to level it up twice (otherwise just clear out a bunch of goblins in clover ruins until it’s level 3). Now you’re all set to level yourself down at the church until you’re level 1 (I’m the kind of player who holds onto old equipment which made this breezy). Now you’ll get 9 bonus points per level instead of 6 making each level 50% more powerful and gaining levels goes quickly because you’ll be low leveled but can challenge stronger enemies with your magic/buffs and because you’re under-leveled, foes give you the max XP! Level 10 is the equivalent to level 15! I’m now level 14 and my grinding strategy is to use the guardian who grants extra XP, go to the Xanadu Labyrinth and clear the room of enemies next to the teleporter with a couple room-wide lightning spells, then take out the enemies in the rooms that branch off the room where you fight the mid-boss in that area and repeat until you’re close to leveling up. When I get close to a new level, I go back to town, change to that bonus point granting Bella Freunde Guardian, kill more enemies to level up and repeat the whole process. I’ll probably try to learn as many skills as possible
So my summary for players who like grinding and getting super strong (probably unnecessary for most players):
1) Try to keep two easy-to-access Guardian statues unused, the Trechier Forest and Xanadu Labyrinth both have ones right next to the teleporters.
2) Don’t waste time leveling up in the final dungeon, if you’re capable of killing enemies. Push on until you can find the Phoenix feather because you’re going to end up leveling down to 1 before long if you want max strength.
3) Don’t worry about leveling up Guardians that you don’t plan on regularly using, there’s a clear best one for end-game strength (although you’ll want to use something else for the final boss).
I’m one of those weirdos who LIKES grinding in RPGs so I welcome getting to do it more for a considerable buff at the end but I’m not sure if it’s worth it for everyone. Even though I’m clearly almost at the end, I still haven’t found all of the Tabulae - I think I’ll have to check online to figure out what I’m missing, again I just like stretching out my time with the game and having more to do! This game has its fangs in my brain.