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The Warriors of Light
The main melee fighter of the group. He can wield many heavy weapons such as swords and axes, and can wear the heaviest of armors. This affects his speed, as it greatly reduces his ability to dodge attacks. When promoted, he becomes a Knight, capable of casting some White Magic up to level 3. The Warrior appears representing the original Final Fantasy in the Dissidia: Final Fantasy series and appears in the Spin-Off titles Theatrhythm Final Fantasy and Final Fantasy Brigade. In the official novelization of the game he leads the party and is named Zest.
- Adorkable: In World of Final Fantasy, especially where Princess Sarah is concerned.
- Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": In the original NES and GBA the player could chose. "Warriors of Light" is only ever used in universe as a title for all four heroes. He (along with the other three) was given a Canon Name in a later novel based on the game. In Dissidia he is given a name, but it is never revealed to the player.
- Flat Character: His personality and backstory are not explored (except in Dissidia and World of Final Fantasy).
- The Hero: More so than the other three due to Dissidia.
- Knight in Shining Armor
- Mighty Glacier: He won't be your fastest character, but he can soak up hits better than anyone else.
- The Paladin: The Warrior's upgraded form, the Knight, was the prototype for the Paladin class used in later games.
- Palette Swap: Pretty much a Cornelian soldier with the helmet off.
- Shonen Hair: The PS/GBA artwork gives him very spiky hair.
- Simple, yet Awesome: His specialty is using his standard attack. That's it. But said standard attack can hit for tons of damage by the endgame, especially if augmented with Haste (to double the number of hits, i.e. amount of damage) and Temper (to buff his already high attack power).
- White Magic: Once he upgrades he can use low-level spells.
The secondary melee fighter of the group. They can use most of the same weapons that the Warrior can, but doesn't have as much variety in armor. They are, however, faster than the Knight, and has a better chance at running away from battle than other classes. Upon promotion, they can become a Ninja, and can cast some Black Magic up to level 4. In the official novelization of the game he is a cynic named Sauber.
- Ambiguous Gender: Traditionally considered male, but the Thief does get some female preset names with the remake, and that artwork could either be a Mini Dress Of Power or... just not wearing pants.
- Fragile Speedster: The fastest character, but without much defense.
- Gameplay and Story Segregation: Thief does not actually have a steal command; that would first appear in Final Fantasy III. (They can, however, use Flee.)
- Highly Visible Ninja: In the WonderSwan Color line of remakes, Thief keeps the same shade of bright green on their outfit after the class change. In the original and PSP release, the outfit changed to a garish red.
- Knife Nut: Sticks to daggers until the upgrade.
- Magikarp Power: The class change is kinder to the Thief than anyone else.
- Non-Indicative Name: Despite being called a Thief, they have no stealing abilities whatsoever.
- Status Buff/Standard Status Effects: Since they can only learn Black Magic up to level 4, they never pack the firepower necessary to serve as a serious damage-dealer. They can make up for it, however, by learning all the buff and debuff spells that the Black Mage didn't pick up, such as the powerful Haste.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: In the NES version.
Yet another powerful melee damage dealer, the Monk is a peculiar character in that he deals much more damage unarmed than he would with weapons. Even then, he can only wield nunchaku and a few staves. He is also the only class who is never able to learn magic. His damage-dealing capabilities are increased even further when he receives his promotion to Master.
- Always Male: The open shirt stops that debate.
- Badass Normal: Every other class gets access to magic either from the beginning or through promotion. The Monk/Master never does, but is still one of the most powerful characters in the game.
- Bare-Fisted Monk: Keeping him unarmed is the best choice because adding weapons lowers his attack.
- Fighting with Chucks: Actually a terrible idea due to how their fists scale.
- Kung Fu Fighting
- Lightning Bruiser: The extremely broken way his fist strength levels up means that he easily deals damage in the thousands while the rest of the party is wallowing in mere hundreds. Add to that his impressive speed, and he is far and away the best attacker possible.
- Magically Inept Fighter: The only class that never learns magic.
- Magikarp Power: In the NES version.
- Simple, yet Awesome: Like the Fighter, his specialty is just wailing on the enemy with the standard physical attack for lots of damage. However, he makes it even more simple: Whereas the Fighter uses swords to augment his raw physical damage, the Black Belt is most effective when not using any weapons, making him the most low-maintenance attacker in the game.
- When All You Have Is a Hammer...: Every single other class gets access to magic, either straightaway or after class change. The Monk is locked into using his fists. Though you're welcome to put some magic-casting items in his inventory, it's not the most effective use of his talents.
Red Mage/Red Wizard
The quintessential "jack-of-all-trades, but master of none." The Red Mage (Red Wizard after promotion) can use select spells from both the White and Black Magic schools, but never the most powerful of either. His/Her choice of weaponry is knives and swords
- Action Girl: If considered female.
- Ambiguous Gender: Could be a slender man with long hair, could be a woman. The remakes give both male and female preset names.
- Bishōnen: Or possibly Bishoujo. For all the talk that the White Mage gets, the Red Mage is frankly just as ambiguous.
- Jack-of-All-Trades: Red Mage's ability to cast both sides of magic and do decent physical damage is very useful early in the game.
- Magic Knight: The only mage who gets to use swords as a primary weapon.
- Master of None: As endgame approaches and the other characters benefit from Magikarp Power, Red's versatility loses its appeal. They can't equip the top-tier gear the dedicated jobs can, nor can they cast as high-level magic as the other two mages.
- Mystical White Hair: They're the only character with an abnormal hair color (at least in the remakes, where Thief gets a dye job).
- Nice Hat: So nice, in fact, that it's a defining part of the Red Mage "look" at this point.
- The Red Mage: Trope Namer, so naturally. Later red mages play up the "mage" half of the name by focusing less on melee combat, but this Red Mage can equip armor and bladed weapons, turning them into an effective front-line fighter as well. They really can do it all!
White Mage/White Wizard
The peaceful healer of the group. The White Mage is weak physically, but is capable of using every spell from the White Magic library, from healing spells to status buffs to the undead-killing HARM/Dia spells. When promoted, the White Mage becomes a White Wizard, letting down the hood of their robe and revealing a full head of hair. In the official novelization of the game she is a motherly youth named Floe.
- Ambiguous Gender: Perhaps the most famous example in the entire franchise. While the other five jobs are usually considered to be males, there's a lot of debate over the White Mage. Since White Mages in other games tend to be females, some fans presume the same of this one. Additionally, in the remakes the pre-set names for the White Mage are mostly female. The class change lowers the character's hood to reveal long hair, but that's not unusual for the male characters of the series. Marketing materials for the original NES release of the game heavily implied all the heroes were male, including the White Mage. The numerous Updated Rereleases have changed the White Mage's sprites to be more feminine, but you could still argue it's a effeminate male. Finally, as mentioned, in the official novelization the White Mage is a female, but the novelizations of the games tend to be Loose Canon and are usually ignored by the series, anyway.
- Combat Medic: Of two sorts. First, White Mage can equip several kinds of hammers, including one which shoots lightning bolts for free, giving them surprising combat power. Secondly, while HARM/Dia only affects undead, it's the most damaging spell line in the game and the game loves to throw undead packs at you. It's very possible to have a White Mage carry the team through several of the dungeons.
- Drop the Hammer: The most powerful weapon they can equip save the Masamune.
- Dude Looks Like a Lady: If you choose to make your White Mage male.
- Healing Hands: The whole point of the character.
- Holy Hand Grenade: The HARM/Dia line of spells only works on undead, but deals heavy damage to them. Very late in the game, they can learn the Holy spell that damages everything.
- Squishy Wizard
- White Mage: Like the Red Mage, the Trope Namer comes from here.
- White Magic
Black Mage/Black Wizard
The primary magic damage-dealer of the group. With the lowest HP of any character, Black Mages are often kept in the back of the line as they rain down fire, ice, and lightning on their foes. They are easily spotted by their cone-shaped hats and cloaks that obscure their face (save a pair of glowing eyes). In the NES version, the promoted Black Wizard removes their hat, but all versions after the Wonderswan Color port simply change the outfit, but keep the face-concealing hat on. In the official novelization of the game he is a quiet man named Daewoo.
- Ambiguous Gender: Probably the most out of any hero since you can't see any features at all. The upgraded version does have a male-looking haircut in the original.
- Black Mage: Another Trope Namer.
- Carry a Big Stick
- Face Framed in Shadow: More in the NES version, where they remove the hat like White Mage after the upgrade to Wizard
- The Faceless: This is averted in the original, as their class change makes them take off their hat, but in ports and remakes, their face is covered in shadow.
- Robe and Wizard Hat: Blue shapeless robes and a face-concealing hat. This look would define Black Mage characters in future games, as well as the upgraded appearance with striped pants.
- Simple Staff/Magic Wand
- Squishy Wizard: Has very low defense.
- “I, Garland, will knock you all down!!”
A fallen knight of Cornelia, Garland has kidnapped Princess Sarah and is the first boss battle of the game. Outside of the first quest, he holds little relevance to the game's overall story.Garland appears in Dissidia: Final Fantasy as the villain representing the original Final Fantasy
- Art Evolution: Over the course of the game's remakes, Garland has become larger and more imposing while retaining the same basic design.
- Badass Cape: At the beginning of the game.
- Black Knight
- Chekhov's Gunman: He's actually the Big Bad, revealed when you reach the final dungeon and he transforms into Chaos.
- Face–Heel Turn: As part of his backstory. Garland once served for Cornelia, but eventually went rogue and kidnapped Princess Sarah.
- Fallen Hero: Garland was once a noble knight who served for Cornelia.
- Final Boss: He and the Final Boss Chaos are one and the same.
- Good Bad Translation: "I, Garland, will knock you all down!" Never Say "Die" was clearly in effect here. Then again, maybe not; apparently the original line was "kick you around".
- Heel–Face Turn: Post-credits it's mentioned he will be "waiting for the heroes return" along with everyone else. While it's vague, the line implies Garland managed to avoid Jumping Off the Slippery Slope thanks to the heroes.
- My Death Is Just the Beginning: A prime example; his death kicks off the main plot of the game.
- Recurring Boss: Garland is actually fought twice; he's the first boss of the game, but then returns in the final dungeon and becomes Chaos, the Final Boss.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning/Glowing Eyes of Doom: Garland's sprite has red eyes, clearly visible under the visor of his helmet.
- Save the Villain: After breaking the time loop, he is spared and, along with the rest of Cornelia, awaits the return of the Warriors of Light in the present.
- Spikes of Villainy: Garland also has these with his iconic horned helmet.
- Tin Tyrant: The Ur-Example within the series.
- Warm-Up Boss: The first enemy that require some sort of skill to defeat.
- “But I will be reborn once more. So even as you die, again and again, I shall return. Born again in this endless cycle I have created!”
The main antagonist of the game, Chaos is the driving force behind the four elemental Fiends. Chaos is not present for the majority of the game, only appearing in the final dungeon. He reveals his identity before the Final Boss Battle, where he has enacted a Stable Time Loop as part of a plot with the Four Fiends to gain immortality.Chaos appears in the Dissidia: Final Fantasy series as the Big Bad, and Chaos appears again in the Theatrhythm Final Fantasy Spin-Off as a boss character.
- All Your Powers Combined: In his Boss Battle, he has the elemental attacks of the Four Fiends.
- Art Evolution: As the series has progressed and the game remade for new systems, Chaos has become increasingly demonic looking.
- Big Bad: The main antagonist of the game.
- Big Red Devil
- Bookends: He's the first boss as Garland and the Final Boss as Chaos.
- Character Development/Adaptational Badass: Gets a slew of it in Dissidia: Final Fantasy, but how much of it is actually canon is up for debate...
- Chaos Is Evil: Well, it is his name.
- Chekhov's Gunman: As Garland, he is initially presented as harmless and not plot-relevant at all, but all that changes when you reach the final dungeon.
- The Chessmaster: He's behind the Four Fiends, who were created in the past as manifestations of his eternal rage.
- Elemental Powers: See All Your Powers Combined.
- Evil Plan: He reveals his near the end of the game.
- Final Boss: Chaos is the final opponent fought in the original Final Fantasy, and the only one fought between the definitive Point of No Return for the game if one has Exit and the ending.
- One-Winged Angel: A decade before the Trope Namer existed, there was Chaos.
- Recurring Boss: Chaos is actually the One-Winged Angel version of Garland, the very first boss fought in the game.
- The Reveal: The reveal of his identity provides the game's Twist Ending.
- Spikes of Villainy: He has spikes all over his body.
- Wham Line:Chaos: Two thousand years from now, you killed me. I am Garland.
The Fiend of Earth, who resides in the Cavern of Earth. His siphoning of the Earth Crystal's power has caused the land around Melmond to rot and become lifeless.
- Back from the Dead: His form is skeletal, and he clearly appears to be an Undead being of some sort, making this implication. This also happens within the story: Even after his defeat, you will fight him once more in the final dungeon.
- Dishing Out Dirt
- Elemental Embodiment: Of the Earth element.
- The Man Behind the Man: The rereleases for the GBA, PSP and iOS confirm that the Lich was behind the Vampire who made the land of Melmond rot. In the bonus dungeon, Whisperwind Cove, one of the floors involve putting the souls of your past enemies to rest, the final one being the Vampire. Once he's defeated, his final words are:
- Wham Episode: His sudden reappearance in the past version of the Chaos Shrine. Followed shortly by another with the realization that the other three are there, too.
The Fiend of Fire, who has made her home in the volcano called Mt. Gulg. She was the last of the Fiends to awaken, originally due to arise 200 years after the Lich.
- Avenging the Villain: Swears revenge for Lich's defeat.
- Back from the Dead: She returns along with the other Fiends to battle the Warriors once more in the Chaos Shrine.
- Cute Monster Girl: See her picture to the right.
- Dark-Skinned Blond: Going from a moderate tan to red.
- Dub Name Change: When the game was first released, her name was spelled as Kary, a (possible) mistranslation of Kali, the multi-armed Hindu goddess of death, likely due to Nintendo's policy at the time of no direct references to religion in American releases. Her original name, Marilith, was not used as it was wholly under copyright by TSR.
- Elemental Embodiment: Of the Fire element.
- Multi-Armed and Dangerous: And all of them holding swords.
- Playing with Fire
- Scissors Cuts Rock: Fire damages her more than Ice. Some Fiend of Fire! (Elemental weaknesses as a video game mechanic hadn't caught on yet, plus she was based on a Dungeons & Dragons monster that explicitly had greater resistance to ice than fire.) In reality, she resists fire, ice, and lightning equally, but the player is expected to have Firaga at that point while the stronger Blizzaga is supposed to be learned later.
- Snakes Are Sexy
- Snake People
- Stripperiffic: A bra, and that's pretty much it.
The Fiend of Water, who lives deep under the ocean in the Sunken Shrine.
- Back from the Dead: Like the other Fiends, Kraken returns during the Chaos Shrine to fight the Warriors once more.
- Badass Cape
- Elemental Embodiment: Of the Water element.
- Everything's Squishier with Cephalopods
- Kraken: Of course.
- Combat Tentacles
- Making a Splash
- Noblewoman's Laugh: Only in the NES version, though.
- Wicked Cultured
The Fiend of Air, residing high above the earth in the Flying Fortress. She was the first of the Fiends to awaken, and is the most powerful of the lot. Tiamat is responsible for forcing the sky-dwelling Lufenians to Earth when she took over their fortress.
- Achilles' Heel: While Tiamat is resistant to all magic elements, the BANE/Poison/Scourge spell has a small chance of killing her instantly. She's also vulnerable to BRAK/Petrify, with similar odds of success. These weaknesses are removed during the party's second encounter with her in the Chaos Shrine.
- Back from the Dead: Tiamat returns in the Chaos Shrine as the game's penultimate boss fight.
- Blow You Away
- Elemental Embodiment: Of the Air element.
- Multiple Head Case
- Our Dragons Are Different: Said to be an anti-thesis of Bahamut.
- Shock and Awe
The beautiful eldest Princess of the Kingdom of Cornelia, Garland takes her captive when he goes rogue as a ransom to the kingdom. She appears as a playable character in Theatrhythm Final Fantasy.
- Adaptation Dye-Job: She has blonde hair in the NES and MSX versions, mint hair in the Wonderswan and later versions, pink hair in Theatrhythm and other spinoffs, and red hair in 8-Bit Theater (which, while not canon, is nonetheless notable).
- All-Loving Hero: It's said in some adaptations that even while she was being held as his prisoner, Sarah never stopped trying to reason with Garland.
- Chekhov's Gun: The Lute she gives you opens the final dungeon's entrance.
- Cool Big Sis: It is stated in her Theatrhythm profile that she acts as a gentle caring girl to her little sister, anyone who needs help, and later the heroes themselves.
- Damsel in Distress
- Everything's Better with Princesses
- Legacy Character
- Magic Music: Her Lute. In the crossover games where she's Promoted to Playable, this gets extended to giving her songs a la various Bards when she levels.
- Meaningful Name/Punny Name: Sarah is a Hebrew name meaning "princess."
- Pimped-Out Dress: In her artwork painted by Yoshitaka Amano.
- Princess Classic
- Requisite Royal Regalia: Wears a tiara, as expected of her station.
- Smitten Teenage Girl: After you save her.
- Sound Stone: Her Lute.
- You Gotta Have Green Hair: As seen with her sprites in the Game Boy Advance version.
The Dragon King living under the Cardia Islands.
- Fetch Quest: Sends you to the Citadel of Trials to bring him a Rat's Tail.
- Instant Awesome, Just Add Dragons
- Our Dragons Are Different
- Prestige Class: Bahamut will give you the class upgrades when you bring him a Rat's Tail.
BikkeThe captain of a band of pirates. Bikke plays a minor yet crucial role in the game by handing over ownership of his vessel to the Warriors of Light after they defeat his crew in a fight.
- Dressed to Plunder: Bikke is the Badass Longcoat captain with bicorn and Badass Beard, while his crew have bandannas and eyepatches.
- Heel–Face Turn: Apparently. We'll have to Take His Word For It.
- Nice Hat
- The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Bikke and his men are accused by the people of Pravoka (and even brag themselves) that they've caused much havoc. But after his crew is defeated, Bikke folds like a deck of cards and not only surrenders his ship, but also vows to make a Heel–Face Turn.
- Rape, Pillage, and Burn: See The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything.
- Talk Like a Pirate
- Zerg Rush: He sends nine pirates to attack your party of four.
MatoyaA witch who lives in a cave. She cannot see without the use of her special Crystal Eye.
- Blind Seer: Without her Crystal Eye anyway.
- Mineral MacGuffin: The Crystal Eye.
- Little Miss Snarker: This is how Matoya expresses her (gratitude) upon regaining her vision. "Hmph! You're not even as attractive as I thought you'd be..." You're welcome.
- Small Name, Big Ego
Prince of Elfland/ElfheimAn Elf Prince who resides in a castle at Elfland/Elfheim and is put into a deep sleep by the evil Dark Elf Astos.
- Curse: Astos placed a "sleeping curse" upon him.
- Heavy Sleeper: Astos's curse put him in a deep sleep.
- Instant Waking Skills
- Flat Character: Other than the Mystic Key which he gives you once you wake him up, he doesn't contribute to the plot much. Heck, they never even mention the guy's name.
AstosA minor antagonist, Astos is the Dark Elf who placed a sleeping spell upon the elf prince of Elfland/Elfheim in a bid to rule over all elves.
- Back for the Dead: In the Whisperwind Cove, a bonus dungeon in the Dawn of Souls remake, he returns as one of the restless souls, but is quickly vanquished once and for all by the Warriors of Light.
- Card-Carrying Villain: A very generic bad guy, coy disguises and all.
- Evil Laugh
- Fake King: Hangs out in a ruined castle, where he requests that the Light Warriors retrieve his crown (presumably so he can Class Change).
- Take Over the World: All in good time. He wants both elven kingdoms first.
- The Reveal: He ends up being revealed as The King from the Western Keep.
Dr. UnneA minor character that lives in Melmond, who is an expert linguist and who could translate Lefeinish/Lufenian... if only he had something to base his translation on.
- Instant Expert: To the most extreme degree. Once given the Slab/Rosetta Stone, he instantly completely figures out how to speak a foreign language that nobody outside of said culture could understand. He then is somehow able to confer the exact same level of mastery to the Light Warriors in just as much time.
- Insufferable Genius: He acts extremely arrogant - but considering how fast he can not only master a language, but teach others said language, he's really as good as he presents himself.
Lukahn the SageA minor character that first is mentioned as the one who predicted the arrival of the Light Warriors; he later waits for them at Crescent Lake.
- The Chooser of The One: He's the one who predicts who they will be - four youths, carrying an orb/crystal.
- The Prophecy: Inverted, actually - outside of predicting the coming of the Light Warriors before the game, he and the other sages don't sit there predicting the future - they use their oracular powers mostly to divine information from the past that nobody would otherwise know (such as where to find the Fiend of Fire or where one might get an airship).
- Seers: He's the head of a circle of twelve, and he's specifically the one who predicted the Light Warriors would appear.
- Vagueness Is Coming: He refers to a "cycle of wrath." What's the cause of this cycle? a Stable Time Loop; not some sort of back-and-forth between legacies of good and evil, but the exact same two parties clashing repeatedly due to Time Travel.