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So far I'm on chapter 5, and have 4 royal arms, all of which I have found during the course of the main quest. I looked at the display of the royal weapons on the menu and there is a gap between the ones I have found so far.

This led me to believe that I have missed one that I should have found by this point in the story, but I haven't seen a quest for it (optional or main).

I also visited a royal tomb without a related quest, and found only a note from some hunters saying that it had been stolen, which leads me to believe that there will be a quest to retrieve it at some point.

So will I encounter each of the royal arms through the main questline, or can some be found without a related quest?

Please put any spoilers for beyond Chapter 5 in spoiler tags.

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In short, no you can't expect to find them all through the main quest arc or even through optional side quests:

MAIN STORY

  • Sword of the Wise - found north of Leide, when accompanied by Cor.
  • Blade of the Mystic - found before the fight with Titan.
  • Swords of the Wanderer - found behind the waterfall as part of the quest 'The Sword in the Waterfall'.
  • Axe of the Conqueror - found in the Keycatrich Trench, Cor leads you here after aquiring the Sword of the Wise.
  • Trident of the Oracle - given to you after fighting the deathclaw during the 'Breath of the Glacian' quest.
  • Katana of the Warrior - defeat the Marlboro during the 'Hand of the King' quest.
  • Sword of the Father - found in Zegnautus Keep.

Optional

  • Greatsword of the Tall - missing from Tomb of the Tall in Titangrove. You must travel to Costlemark Tower nearby at night and defeat the monster at its innermost sanctum.
  • Mace of the Fierce - found at the summit of the Rock of Ravatogh.
  • Star of the Rogue - found in the Mrylwood dungeon, near Vesperpool.
  • Shield of the Just - found in Thommel's Glade.
  • Scepter of the Pious - found in the Malmalam Thicket dungeon
  • Bow of the Clever - found in the Balouve Mines dungeon.

Here's a map of the locations:

map of tomb locations

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    OP requested any Royal Arms passed chapter 5 to be in spoiler tags Jan 16 '17 at 14:15
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    @Wondercricket he requested any spoilers past chapter 5 to be tagged so. There isn't any spoilers in this answer however, and technically, we should tag all spoilers before chapter five also.
    – ediblecode
    Jan 16 '17 at 14:17
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    I think the spoilers would still apply here because you aren't told anything in-game other than the whereabouts are not fully known. I'd edit this answer to comply with OP request. Jan 16 '17 at 15:33

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