There are eight individual stories within an overarching plot in Octopath Traveler, though some are much better than others. We’ve ranked, from worst to best, each story in the game.
Warning: Major spoilers ahead
H’aanit is notorious for always keeping her cool, despite being raised by her impulsive master whom she often lectures for his behavior. H’aanit is a hunter who, in the English version of the game, speaks in Old English dialect. She’s driven by her goal to save her master, who is like a father to her.
Summary of H’aanit’s Story
H’aanit first helps members of her hometown by killing a monster that has plagued the area by killing for sport. Afterward, her master’s direwolf shows up without its master, Z’aanta. Z’aanta is also H’aanit’s master and has been gone for over a year, and she can tell he’s in danger, so she sets off to find him.
She meets up with a friend of Z’aanta’s to discuss the situation. Afterward, she continues to look for Z’aanta, only to find him turned to stone in a forest. He has a note that says that H’aanit must find and speak with Susanna in order to help him.
When H’aanit arrives at Susanna’s, Susanna explains that H’aanit must defeat Redeye, the beast that turned her master to stone, in order to save him. Susanna then instructs H’aanit how to get the plant that can prevent petrification for her upcoming battle with Redeye. H’aanit gets this plant and then sets out to defeat Redeye. Once she does, her master is saved.
Unfortunately, H’aanit’s story severely suffers from a lack of creativity. While I enjoy H’aanit and Z’aanta as characters, a daughter on a journey to find and save her master/father from a beast doesn’t strike me as terribly interesting. H’aanit’s story lacks any personal growth, moral dilemmas, or unique ideas that could have made this much more engaging. While she is actually one of my favorite Octopath Traveler characters to use, it seems that her story was given the least attention.
7. Tressa Colzione
Tressa is the hopeful dreamer of the bunch. She is a young girl who is desperately seeking adventure, and her biggest dream is to see more of the world. She is a merchant who desires to improve her skills through experience.
Summary of Tressa’s Story
Tressa’s story begins by her meeting the captain of a Merchant ship, Leon. Leon used to be a pirate captain, and Tressa is intrigued by his past adventures. Leon allows Tressa to take one of his treasures, and she chooses the notebook of Graham Crossford. Reading this results in Tressa deciding to travel the world for herself.
Tressa travels to where the notebook left off. Here, she meets another merchant named Ali who becomes her rival. However, a man with a monopoly over the town’s gold business confronts them and ends up kidnapping Ali. Tressa defeats this man and rescues Ali before heading off to a new town.
Tressa is now looking for a treasure to bring with her to the huge Merchant’s Fair in Grandport. She runs into Leon again, and she discovers that a treasure map being sold in town actually belonged to one of Leon’s close friends. Tressa retrieves this map and follows it to a treasure, but through this learns that someone can only have one true treasure that is most precious to them.
In the final chapter, Tressa encounters a disabled girl named Noa who wishes she could see the world but cannot because of her restrictions. There is a contest being held by Noa’s father for who can present the best treasure for Noa. Tressa enters her notebook into the contest and wins, realizing that this is her greatest treasure, and could be the most precious treasure for Noa too.
Tressa’s story isn’t necessarily bad—it’s simple. Tressa’s tale of longing for an adventure, setting off on a journey, searching for what’s most important to her, and then inevitably finding it is the plot of hundreds of Disney movies. So, if you’re into that stuff, maybe Tressa’s story is your jam. After all, there’s a reason Disney movies were—and continue to be—so popular. Tressa herself is a nice, entertaining Octopath Traveler character. But if you’re looking for depth or creativity in addition to a warm, fuzzy feeling, Tressa’s tale leaves much to be desired.
6. Olberic Eisenberg
Olberic was once a proud knight of Hornburg. Despite losing his purpose when Hornburg fell, Olberic remains a dedicated protector of the innocent and those he cares for. He is driven by his sense of justice.
Summary of Olberic’s Story
A child is kidnapped by bandits in Olberic’s hometown. Olberic tracks down the bandit and saves the child. Gaston, the leader of the bandit group, wields a sword that was once wielded by Erhardt. Erhardt was a close friend of Olberic’s who betrayed their king, which led to the downfall of Hornburg. Gaston tells Olberic where to find Gustav, someone else who knew where Erhardt was.
Olberic pursues Gustav and enters a tournament for an opportunity to speak with him. Once he defeats Gustav, Gustav tells him where he can find Erhardt.
In the town where Erhardt resides, he is viewed as a hero for helping the townspeople. Erhardt is seemingly missing at the moment, and Olberic helps to defend the town against an attack. Eventually, Olberic finds Erhardt and the two of them work together to slay the leaders of the attack. After, Erhardt tells Olberic about his motivation for betraying the king and how he was hired by a man named Werner.
Olberic arrives in Riverford, where Werner has taken over. Olberic tries to help the resistance attack, but Werner cuts them off. Erhardt shows up to help, and Olberic eventually defeats Werner. Werner explains that he crumbled Hornburg because the Gate of Finis is located there.
At first glance, Olberic’s tale has some key features that I look for when I want to get totally engrossed in a story. Considering what a struggle the search for meaning and purpose has been in my own life, I could strongly relate to Olberic’s search for purpose, and I suspect many others could as well. However, his search for purpose stemmed from a reason far too basic for me to find interesting. Essentially, he was lost and couldn’t find meaning not because we live in a complicated and harsh world, but because no one was telling him what to do anymore.
Olberic was perfectly happy taking one order after another in service of his kingdom, and only when that was gone did he question his existence. This still could have potentially held more value for me, but the conclusion of his story didn’t really add anything to his original questions about meaning. Instead of exploring this further, he essentially just decided that he’s happy protecting people now that he knows what happened with Erhardt and Hornburg. This conclusion did not feel justified by what led to it, and it ultimately led to me feeling like Olberic was the weakest Octopath Traveler character.
Therion is your classic “bad boy” character. He has been burned in the past, so he’s very cynical and doesn’t trust anyone, but you can tell he still cares deep down. Therion is confident in his thieving abilities and is known as one of the best thieves out there.
Summary of Therion’s Story
Therion has heard about a fantastic treasure in Ravus Manor, so he heads there to steal it. Heathcote, the butler of the manor, confronts Therion. Though Therion wins, Heathcote has managed to slap Therion with a Fool’s Bangle, a mark of shame that Therion cannot remove. Cordelia Ravus explains to Therion that their family’s Dragonstones have been stolen, and that they will remove the Fool’s Bangle if he gets them back.
In the next chapter, Therion breaks into Orlick’s Manse to steal back the ruby Dragonstone. He successfully defeats Orlick and takes back the stone.
Following this, Therion heads for the black market in Wellspring. Therion is close to being able to steal the next Dragonstone from a merchant, but then bandits kill the merchant and steal the stone themselves. He follows them, only to realize that they are led by Darius, the one who betrayed and tried to kill Therion many years ago after they were partners together. Therion defeats Darius’ right-hand man, but Darius gets away with the two Dragonstones in his possession.
Therion arrives in a town that is totally controlled by Darius and his thieves. He infiltrates the thieves’ base and confronts Darius. Though Therion has been grappling with whether to trust people, he concludes that he will still choose to, despite Darius’ betrayal, and explains that this makes him stronger, not weaker. Poetically, Darius is betrayed by his own men, and Therion’s Fool’s Bangle is removed.
While I didn’t find Therion’s story to be terribly unique, I did find that it had a fair amount more depth than the stories of Tressa, H’aanit, and Olberic. Perhaps it’s just the case that personal experience has made me more of a sucker for stories that focus on overcoming a deep betrayal of trust. But I found that Octopath Traveler did a great job with Therion’s character by striking the perfect balance between cynical and hopeful. Even in the simple ways that he’d speak, you get the clear sense that he was disinterested and cold, yet there was something else going on beneath the surface.
What stood out the most was his decision to trust again due to Cordelia’s explanation on how she was able to trust again. Cordelia was also betrayed, but she was able to slowly confide in Heathcote over the years, prompting hope in Therion. If you’ve ever been betrayed by a loved one before, this probably strikes a very different chord with you than those fortunate enough to have never been in this position. This relatability for many makes Therion one of the better Octopath Traveler characters. But despite being relatable and portrayed well, the story didn’t do a ton to offer up any unique commentary.
4. Ophilia Clement
Ophilia is the most soft-hearted person of the group and a strong believer in the Sacred Flame. She is always trying to help and care for those in need. Ophilia used to be depressed and withdrawn after losing her original family, but she opened up over time to her new sister, Lianna.
Summary of Ophilia’s Story
Archbishop Josef, the man who is like a father to Ophilia (and Lianna’s actual father), falls gravely ill. Because of this, Ophilia offers to go on the holy pilgrimage in place of Lianna, who was originally intended to go. Ophilia goes to the Cave of Origin and takes Aelfric’s Lanthorn to start off the pilgrimage.
In her next town, Ophilia sees a child being harassed by his friends. In character with her personality, she helps these boys reconcile their issues. Afterward, she continues with her journey.
In the net town, Ophilia runs into an issue when she is unable to perform the Kindling (a step in her pilgrimage) because the bishop is too distraught. Ophilia learns that the bishop’s daughter has been kidnapped by cultists who want the Scared Flame from Ophilia. Ophilia rescues the daughter, but Lianna appears and tells Ophilia that their father has died. Lianna then proceeds to drug Ophilia and steal Aelfric’s Lanthorn.
Ophilia pursues Lianna and arrives in a town that clearly has ill feelings towards her. The townspeople talk of a “Savior” who is helping them when the Sacred Flame has turned its back on them. The savior turns out to be Mattias, a merchant Ophilia knew from home. He has lied to Lianna about being able to use the Flame to resurrect her father, when in reality, Mattias plans to revive the God of the Accursed Flame, Galdera. Luckily, Ophilia puts a stop to this plan and helps Lianna realize she cannot bring their father back to life.
At first, I was convinced that Ophilia’s story was going to be the worst of them all. I am not drawn to soft, kind-hearted characters, and I also was not even slightly intrigued by a story of a holy pilgrimage. However, I was pleasantly surprised by some of the themes that were tackled within her storyline. While chapter two was so pointless that I think it should have been entirely replaced, chapter four more than made up for it.
For starters, chapter four took a character that was considered “good” (Lianna) and made her into an antagonist. However, her reasons were truly understandable, especially if you took the time to consider how you would feel if you had lost a loved one and were presented with the hope of getting them back. Lianna’s perspective was complicated and intriguing.
More intriguing than that though was the way that the town frowned upon Ophilia when she arrived in chapter four because they were angry with the Sacred Flame. Whether you’re religious or not, blaming a higher power for unfavorable world circumstances is a common theme within many religious circles, and I loved that they called attention to that in this game. Ophilia’s final chapter also highlights how easily desperate people are manipulated into believing in corrupt figureheads, a concept that is markedly notable in our society today.
Though Ophilia herself wasn’t one of the strongest Octopath Traveler characters, her story was one of the better ones. It didn’t delve deeply into these concepts, but I appreciated the attention called to them and the beginning of the conversation through her story.
3. Primrose Azelhart
After the murder of her father many years ago, Primrose is a strong but bitter woman who is hellbent on revenge. She works as a dancer for the sole purpose of hunting down those responsible for her father’s death. Primrose is usually closed off from others, though she doesn’t hesitate to stand up for those who need it.
Summary of Primrose’s Story
While working as a dancer, Primrose sees a man with the mark of a crow on his left arm, indicating that she’s finally found one of her father’s murderers. She ends up being confronted by Helgenish, her boss, before she can get to this man. Primrose takes down Helgenish and then leaves to pursue the left-hand man.
Primrose meets up with Arianna, someone who used to work for House Azelhart. Arianna now works as a prostitute for the left-hand man and points Primrose in his direction. Primrose takes him down and then returns home to Noblecourt.
Once in Noblecourt, Primrose meets up with Simeon, someone she was passionate about in her youth. She also meets up with Revello, a man who used to work for the city watch. Together, she and Revello find the right-hand man who helped murder Primrose’s father. The right-hand man is Albus, someone who used to work for house Azelhart in the city guard. After Primrose kills Albus, Simeon appears and stabs Primrose, telling her he was the one who killed her father.
When Primrose has the strength, she pursues Simeon. Simeon puts on a play in his town, mocking Primrose’s life. However, she isn’t distracted, and Primrose kills Simeon, getting her revenge. She then finally visits her father’s grave, still feeling hollow.
I can already imagine the gasps and the outrage from those reading this at my ranking Primrose’s story only third best. I know, I know, Simeon was great. Believe me, I go weak in the knees for any psychopathic villain, especially in anime or JRPG fashion. And I will admit right away that the flashbacks of Primrose’s life combined with Simeon’s play making a total mockery of all of it was by far the best story-telling in the game. Aesthetically, nothing can top Primrose’s tale. But was the story itself really that great?
To be honest, if it weren’t for my weakness for psychopathic villains and the amazing aesthetics that went along with it, I would have ranked Primrose’s story near the bottom. This is a very cliché revenge story that seems like it might take a significant twist when Simeon’s role is revealed. However, the story actually doesn’t change much at all once we find out Simeon is a psychotic killer. Instead of this factor deepening the story, it simply put a face and a name to the one Primrose sought to kill, and then she kills him.
The end of Primrose’s story is as empty as we all knew it would be. That’s the theme of everything ever—revenge doesn’t solve anything. And in the last opportunity to make the story worthwhile and unique after Primrose fulfills her dream and still feels empty, they simply drop a line about how she feels lost but she will “just keep dancing!?” Yikes. This made her one of the weaker Octopath Traveler characters for me.
Primrose’s story was necessary for the game. It had a lot of flashy elements that really stood out from the other routes, and I thoroughly enjoyed playing through it. But I cannot, in good conscience, rank an empty revenge story as the best.
2. Cyrus Albright
Cyrus is a scholar who strongly believes in not only the pursuit of knowledge but sharing knowledge with as many people as possible. He has a strong dislike for those who hoard it. Cyrus is extremely analytic and intelligent, yet he tends to be naïve when it comes to interpersonal relationships.
Summary of Cyrus’ Story
Cyrus’ story begins with him working as a professor in Atlasdam. Cyrus eventually discovers that there is a book missing from the Archive. He investigates and finds that his colleague, Russell, has been stealing and selling valuable tomes. This leads Cyrus to realizing that there is still a book missing from before Russell began stealing. So, after getting falsely accused of having an inappropriate relationship with a student, Cyrus leaves on a sabbatical to find this missing tome.
Cyrus meets up with an old friend, Odette. She agrees to help him if he solves the case of the missing townspeople first. Cyrus investigates, finds the kidnapper, and defeats him. Through this, he finds a translated copy of From the Far Reaches of Hell, the tome he is looking for. He and Odette trace the translator back to Stonegard.
Cyrus finds the translator who explains he only did the translation so he could buy medicine for his daughter. Additionally, Cyrus is being followed at this point by Lucia, who tricks Cyrus into being captured. Therese, Cyrus’ student, has also followed Cyrus and helps him escape. Cyrus defeats Yvon, the headmaster who was being used by Lucia. Therese then tells Cyrus that Yvon had planned on going to Duskbarrow, so Cyrus heads in that direction pursuing Lucia.
Cyrus follows Lucia into the Ruins of Eld and discovers an ancient collection of tomes that were thought lost. Lucia requests that Cyrus joins her in gaining and keeping this hidden and powerful knowledge, but Cyrus declines. Instead, he gives a speech on how knowledge should be accessible to all, and he defeats her.
Unlike many of the stories discussed earlier in the list, Cyrus’ story did something more unique. The pursuit of knowledge is nothing new, but the discussion surrounding the hoarding of knowledge is far less common. Perhaps this story resonated so much because of the state of the world we currently live in. It seems that, as a society, we struggle with having equal access to knowledge. Knowledge is used and manipulated by those in power and education is limited depending on all sorts of factors, but especially geography and poverty. Knowledge is not as widely available to all as you might think it is.
The best part about Cyrus is that he had the capability of being someone who could’ve hoarded knowledge. He is wicked smart, has the right credentials, and happens to be in the right place at the right time. But his deep care for wanting as many people as possible to have access to all knowledge resonated and made him the best Octopath Traveler character for me. Furthermore, he even expressed his desire to be the one learning from his students one day, and I couldn’t help but think about what our world might look like if more people adopted that attitude.
1. Alfyn Greengrass
Alfyn, like Ophilia, is another kind-hearted character. After being saved by a traveling Apothecary when he was young, Alfyn has dedicated his life to working as an apothecary to save others. Alfyn is generally positive and in high spirits, which he tries to share with others.
Summary of Alfyn’s Story
Alfyn’s story begins with his best friend, Zeph, whose little sister was bitten by a snake. She became quite ill, and Alfyn has to go retrieve the snake’s venom to cure her. Afterward, Alfyn decides that his talents are needed in the world, and he sets off to be a traveling Apothecary like the man who once saved him.
In a new town, Alfyn encounters a sick child. However, he is turned away because the child is already being treated by another Apothecary. Unfortunately, when Alfyn encounters the child again, the child is even sicker than before. When Alfyn sets out to find ingredients for a cure, he discovers that the other Apothecary who’d been treating the child was actually making people sick on purpose for financial gain. Thus, Alfyn defeats this “Apothecary.”
Next, Alfyn encounters a wounded man named Miguel, but another Apothecary named Ogen advises Alfyn not to treat him. Alfyn writes these comments off and treats Miguel anyway. Miguel goes on to kidnap a child when he’s better, but Alfyn tracks them down and kills Miguel, saving the child. Ogen explains that he assesses people’s character before treating them for this exact reason.
In the final chapter, Alfyn is distracted by doubts about his practice. Ogen falls sick, and Alfyn works to heal him, though still halfheartedly. However, Alfyn finds a letter from his best friend Zeph telling him to stick to his beliefs, so Alfyn becomes reinvigorated for his quest.
Again, maybe I’m just overly critical, but I did not have high hopes for Alfyn’s story. “I’m going to go help a bunch of people” just doesn’t really hook me in any way. I was first drawn in by the realism with Vanessa, the Apothecary who was intentionally making people sick so she could profit off treating them. Compared to the other stories, this was immediately relatable in a very angering way, as I live in a capitalist society full of people that do exactly that—find ways to profit off those less fortunate. Calling attention to this trope in Octopath Traveler upped my interest in the game in general.
But what truly designated Alfyn’s story as the best in the game was his dilemma with Miguel and Ogen. Was Alfyn wrong for helping Miguel after being warned not to? Should Alfyn make judgment calls in who he treats instead of blindly helping everyone no matter what they’re like? These are serious moral questions that you’re left pondering well after you’re done playing Octopath Traveler.
Alfyn decides that it isn’t up to him to “play God” by deciding who should and shouldn’t be treated, but these questions remain open-ended, as most good literature does. These moral considerations make Alfyn’s path the most thought-provoking of the bunch. Additionally, they also make Alfyn one of the more interesting Octopath Traveler characters.