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A character sheet for Final Fantasy VI, originally released for the SNES in North America as Final Fantasy III.
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Adaptation Dye-Job: Most notably Terra, from Amano-artwork blonde to in-game green (and back to blonde everywhere else - Dissidia still gives green in an alternate costume). Other characters had their hair turned into warm grey color (amusingly, Relm's portrait shows her original blonde hair color).
Character Development: This is basically Character Development: The Game. Terra learns to love others, Locke gets over his loved one's death, Celes learns to show affection like a human being, Cyan gets over his Survivor Guilt, and so on.
Desperation Attack: As a precursor to the Limit Break that made a proper debut as a battle mechanic in the next game, everyone note except Gau and Umaro; (they only execute when the Attack command is used, and Gau and Umaro don't have one) has one super-strong attack they may perform randomly while in critical health.
No Pronunciation Guide: Gau, Cyan, Celes, and Relm: none of those names are pronounced like you're probably saying them aloud now.
Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Kefka believes that life is meaningless because everything you create will eventually be destroyed and eventually you will die. Terra then states that the sum of one's life isn't what important; it's the day-to-day concerns, the personal triumphs, the celebration of life and love, and being able to experience the joy that every day of your life can bring.
"A mysterious young woman, born with the gift of magic, and enslaved by the Gestahlian Empire."
Widely considered The Hero of the game, or at least The Protagonist. Terra is a young girl who mysteriously has the innate ability to cast magic, the power of legends though long vanished. The Empire controlled her using a Slave Crown and she has amnesia for much of the game, and is uncertain of what cause to fight for in a war where all sides believe she is a key asset. During the game she remembers her past and her origins - she is the child of an Esper and a human, making her a very unique creature in the world's struggle with the return of magic. She gains the ability to shift into an Esper form, but has trouble controlling it.
Ace Pilot: Terra has access to more attacks in the Magitek Armor in addition of to the standard three elemental beams and one healing move. In the Game Boy Advance version her class name is Magitek Elite.
Action Girl: She was raised to be a living weapon. It shows; in terms of pure stats Terra is the best party member in the game.
Action Mom: The children of Mobliz see her as their Mama after their real parents were killed by Kefka's Light of Judgment.
A.I. Roulette: Like all others in the Coliseum, but Terra is unique due to a strange bug with her Trance command: if it ends up getting used at random, her AI can freeze for up to minutes at a time.
Amnesiacs Are Innocent: Although there is some resentment towards her, the other party members make a point of telling those people that she shouldn't be held responsible for crimes she can't even remember.
Audience Surrogate: For much of the first half of the game, barring her lengthy absence at one point. She's caught up in two sides of a war with no understanding of what's going on or who's the side to fight for.
Badass: Though the personality to match comes and goes with her Character Development, Terra is the best character in the game, without question. She can wear the best equipment, naturally learns very powerful spells, has high stats, and can use Trance to double her stats for a period of time.
Badass Adorable: She has a very vulnerable and sweet personality, but she's an excellent battle unit.
Break the Cutie: Ever since she was a newborn, she had to suffer under enslavement to the Gestahlian Empire. First, she was pretty much raised in a loveless environment. Then, Kefka discovers her and places a mind control device on her against her will, causing her to be forced to fry several Imperial troops alive under his command (50 soldiers, to be precise).
Brought Down to Normal: In the ending, magic and espers cease to exist, but Terra manages to hold onto her life and continues to exist as a normal human.
Catch a Falling Star: In the ending, when escaping Kefka's Tower, Terra's magical powers cease to exist, making her fall. The rest of the party uses the Cool Airship to catch her.
Cute Monster Girl: In contrast to her Dissidia designs, her Esper form is pointedly not this — it terrifies people and is emphasized to be feral and monstrous, with Terra unable to fully control herself in her transformed state.
Determinator: As soon as she recovers from whatever emotional trauma she was experiencing (amnesia and the power leak caused by emotional confusion), she becomes like this.
Doomed Hometown: She was born in the alternate realm of the Espers, so it's more like Doomed Homeworld.
Dub Name Change: From Tina to Terra. The name "Tina" was used in Japan because it was an exotic name to them, but it's a more common name in the West so "Terra" was used for the same purpose.
Easy Amnesia: By way of a Mind-Control Device. It's implied that it malfunctioned and damaged her mind when Valigarmanda attacked her, which is why she can't control her powers properly and can't remember her past.
Fantastic Nuke: Gameplay-wise, she is the only one who can learn the Ultima spell simply by leveling up. Of course, by the time she learns it, the entire party will probably know how to do it from using the Ragnarok magicite or the Paladin Shield.
Fantastic Racism: Terra's "mixed" lineage, her feelings about it, the historical treatment of Espers and magic-using humans, and the reaction to her existence all have shades of this.
Flashback Nightmare: When she falls down the cave and is knocked out, she undergoes a terrifying flashback revealing that she was placed under mind control via the Slave Crown by Kefka, forced against her will to burn fifty Imperial Troopers alive, and being present for Emperor Gestahl's war speech.
Gorgeous Gorgon: While there are no otherwise repulsive features, in Amano's artwork, her Esper form is depicted as quite... feral. It makes sense, as she is only half-Esper, and her father Maduin resembles the Gigas◊ monster from Final Fantasy V, which is very human-looking.
Green Eyes: Her in-game sprite, though it's hard to tell, and fitting perfectly with her mysterious and magical nature. Her Final Fantasy Anthology renders show them in full. Her (in-game) Esper form has Red Eyes, Take Warning—at first played straight, then later subverted.
Half-Human Hybrid: She's half-Esper, half-human. Makes up a good part of her character arc as she questions if she can fit into either world.
The Heroine: According to Word of God, the game wasn't meant to have a main character, as the entire cast was given time to shine. Despite this, Terra is considered the central protagonist. The plot revolves around her for the first half of the game. If you skip recruiting her in the World of Ruin, she still rushes to the final dungeon to take part in the ending sequence. She's effectively become the face of the game due to Dissidia.
Impairment Shot: Gets quite a few of these in beginning due to amnesia, headache, exhaustion, and blunt head trauma before she passes out.
Last of His Kind: Kind of. After killing off Kefka, all of the Espers and magic disappeared from the world due to Kefka's death. The only reason Terra survived this was because she held onto something in the non-magic realm, thus making her the last Esper to survive (depending on how you define the phrase, considering that she is not an esper anymore by this point).
Magic Knight: She and Celes are the only party members to learn magic naturally, her equipment draw includes swords and heavy armor, the best equipment types in the game, and her stats are all-around high.
Meaningful Name: Her English name is Latin for "Earth". Also, her Japanese name, Tina, was picked for more reasons than simply because it was an exotic name in Japan than in the West: Tina is the shortened version of Christiana, which is the feminine form of "Christian", and is also the name of an early saint who was tormented by her pagan father. Similar to that early saint, Terra was tormented by the Empire when they took her as a child.
Power Glows: Some Fanon holds that this is actually the explanation for the Barbie Doll Anatomy — the glow is so bright, it obscures her clothes (thus, she's still clothed and wouldn't be showing that anatomy). Amano's artwork has it as a case of Fur Bikini.
Properly Paranoid: She is extremely wary of everyone she meets in the beginning because she's afraid they just want her for her powers. Although the Returners try to emphasize that they don't want to force her... they still basically want her for her powers.
The Power of Love: In the World of Ruin, Terra stumbles upon a village of orphans whose parents were killed by Kefka and his Light of Judgment. She starts looking after them, the children take to calling her "Mama", and these new feelings confuse Terra. She eventually realizes that it was love all along and that the future of these children is worth fighting for (she finally understood what General Leo meant about love). It's this, and her love for her true companions, that saves her from going *poof* like the rest of the Espers and the world's magic at the end.
Put on a Bus: After the battle in Narshe and her transformation into an Esper, Terra flies away as her powers go out of control. When her friends find her in Zozo, they discover that she still needs some time to get her head together. The Bus Came Back when the other Returners revisit Zozo after rescuing the Espers from Vector. Terra's regained her memories and made peace with who she is, and she rejoins the party.
Rule of Symbolism: For the first half of the game, she's seen as the Messianic Archetype, the one hope to end the war on the Empire and create peace between humans and Espers; her parents are a mortal woman who conceived her due to G-Rated Sex with an Esper, and she helps fight Kefka knowing it might cost her her life. And if you want to, you could stretch her transformation and subsequent incapacitation at Zozo into a parallel of the crucifixion and resurrection — when she rejoins the party after such, she has significantly stronger powers and more control over them.
Super Mode: Morph/Trance: It doubles her magical and physical damage, doubles her heals, and halves all the magic damage she takes (unless they are barrier-piercing spells). This ability is called the Boss Killer with good reason.
What Is This Thing You Call Love?: A big issue for Terra. Espers are not naturally emotional creatures, y'see, which leads to her powers being sapped to pretty much nothing while she struggles with learning how to love in the second half of the game. Her brief enslavement to the slave crown also rendered her temporarily incapable of feeling emotions after breaking free of it.
You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Her in-game appearance has green-hair. This has become a case of Depending on the Artist thanks to Dissidia, where she has blonde hair as in her Amano artwork. Subsequent cameos use either color variably, since the green hair is still considered iconic.
"Treasure hunter and trail-worn traveller, searching the world over for relics of the past..."
A wandering adventurer, Locke insists on being called a "treasure hunter", but in practice he's a thief who sometimes takes things that don't already have owners. His lover, Rachel, died in an Imperial attack many years ago, spurring Locke to fight the Empire. Rachel rejected him when she got amnesia saving him from an accident, and Locke blames himself for her death because he left her side and wasn't there to protect her. His dream is to find the legendary Magicite Phoenix, which could perhaps restore Rachel to life.
Bad Bad Acting: His improvised on the spot acting after he, his comrades, and Ultros unintentionally hijack the Opera.
Dressing as the Enemy: During his escape from South Figaro, Locke does this by stealing his enemy's clothes... during combat.
Failure Knight: Played straight with Rachel. He couldn't save her from her accident and he wasn't in Kohlingen when The Empire attacked and killed her. Averted in the ending, when Locke saves Celes.
Gentleman Thief: He's not a thief, he's a treasure hunter! But either way, he's quite polite, chivalrous, and friendly.
I Let Gwen Stacy Die: Twice over. The accident that cause Rachel's amnesia happened when she saved him from a fall in a mountain, so he and her father both blamed him for it. Then he left town to let her start a new life without him, and she was killed in an Imperial attack.
"I never should have left her side. I... I failed her..."
Iconic Item: His bandanna, to the point Celes recognizes it as his when she sees a bird carrying it.
Insistent Terminology: He is not a thief, thank you! He's a treasure hunter. It's lampshaded in-game immediately after he makes the distinction.
Locke: I prefer the term "treasure hunting"! Arvis: Ha! Semantic nonsense! Locke: There's a huge difference!
Knife Nut: Locke's class "Adventurer" is modeled after tradition Thieves, thus he mostly equips daggers and short swords. His Infinity+1 Sword in the remakes is the Zwill Crossblade, a dagger.
The Lancer: To Terra. He accompanies her during two fair stretches of the game, and when she's Put on a Bus, Locke effectively takes over as the leader of the group until she comes back, one segment during that time revealing his backstory at last. His friendly enthusiasm and adventure lust also contrast Terra's social isolation and hesitation during the first part of the game.
Lightning Bruiser: In sharp contrast to the Fragile Speedster nature of most Thieves in the series, Locke's official job is "Adventurer". The difference is he gets greater access to heavy equipment and the top-tier swords for excellent offense and defense, and he keeps the expected high speed.
Love Hurts: Locke can't forgive himself for what happened to Rachel until after the Phoenix revives her and she convinces him otherwise.
Loveable Rogue: He seems to be the sort that makes a point of only stealing from his enemies.
Meaningful Name/Punny Name/Gratuitous German: Locke Cole comes from a town called Kohlingen, which is roughly equivalent to a town name like "Coalton". His first name may be taken either as a bad Pun (what is it any self-respecting thief ought to be able to get past?) or a reference to the English philosopher John Locke, who espoused "government by consent of the governed" and the theory of Tabula Rasa — Locke is embroiled in a struggle against the Evil Empire and is particularly protective of the amnesiac Terra, due to his backstory.
My Greatest Second Chance: As the party escapes Kefka's Tower, Celes drops the bandanna she found on Solitary Island and, as she runs back for it, the floor begins to collapse. Celes begins to hang onto an edge as Locke rushes to save her, and this time he refuses to let go.
"The young king of Figaro Castle, Imperial ally, and champion of the technological revolution..."
The King of Figaro Castle, Edgar is not only a genius engineer, but also a shameless flirt and womanizer. Though he pretends to be an Imperial supporter, he uses Locke to negotiate alliance with the Returners behind closed doors. After Kefka attacks his castle, Edgar throws off the charade and joins the rebels in fighting back against the Empire.
Anchors Away: His Air Anchor tool, which may insta-kill an enemy.
As Many X as There Are Y: When Kefka inquires about Terra, Edgar responds, "There are more girls in here than grains of sand out there; I can't possibly keep track of them all!" His castle is in the middle of a desert.
Authority Equals Asskicking: He's more than willing to personally fight the Empire, and is one of the most powerful characters in the game for the first part of it.
Blade on a Stick: With the Dragoon equipment, spears and pikes become his most powerful weapons later in the game. In the remakes, his Infinity+1 Sword is the Longinus.
Blinded by the Light: His Flash tool blares an array of light at enemies to damage them and inflict Blind.
Bunny-Ears Lawyer: OK, he's incredibly weird, he'll hit on any female of age, and his icon depicts him with a goofy grin, but he created several advanced machines (including a castle that can submerge into the ground and emerge hundreds of miles away) and is a very good ruler.
Chainsaw Good: Edgar can use a chainsaw that sometimes kills the enemy in one hit or deal massive damage.
The Chains of Commanding: After their father's death, Edgar and Sabin were to co-rule. Both wanted out, but at the same time didn't want to plunge the kingdom into chaos with their absence since there would be no heir. So they settled it with a coin toss. Edgar, being the protective brother he is, rigged the toss with a double-headed coin so it landed in Sabin's favor. Thus Sabin won his freedom while Edgar stayed in Figaro to rule alone.
Deadly Gas: His Bio Blaster shoots a cloud of poisonous mist over enemies.
Disc One Nuke: Edgar is easily the strongest member of your team when you get him, thanks to his Auto Crossbow ability which attacks all enemies for more damage than normal attacks will do, so no cost to MP or anything, However, once you get to Zozo and learn magic, its power wanes in comparison to the HP of enemies. Even then, his Drill does excellent single-target damage and many of his Tools can damage Magitek enemies that are otherwise only weak to magic, which comes in handy in Vector. By the time you get to the World of Ruin though, his power levels out with the rest of the party.
Dramatic Irony: In the World of Ruin, he masquerades as "Gerad" to take command of a band of thieves that escaped from Figaro Castle when it got stuck while submerging, so they can lead him through the caves they used to escape and he can get into the castle and fix the problem. Yes — the king of Figaro takes command of the thieves he imprisoned so they can break back into the castle they escaped from in the first place. Celes even lampshades this.
The Dutiful Son: Edgar willingly stayed behind to rule over Figaro when Sabin became so desperate to strike out on his own. Edgar eventually settled the matter with a rigged coin toss that allowed Sabin to leave with a clear conscience.
Insists on Paying: If you have him at the head of your party while in Figaro Castle, the shopkeepers there will refuse to take any payment from their own king. Edgar insists ("Look, don't you have a family to feed?"), and the player gets a 50% discount as a compromise.
Edgar: (regarding Relm) Not even a lady yet... Here's hoping you're still around in eight years, kid.
There's also a little girl in Figaro to whom he apparently told he'd marry her when she's grown up.
King Incognito: Well, sort of. Celes (and probably the player, for that matter) figures out who "Gerad" is immediately, but he keeps up the charade. Fortunately, the criminals he's infiltrating don't know Edgar as well as Celes does, so the trick works on them.
Mighty Glacier: He can give and take a lot of punishment, particularly since he tends to stay in the back row, but he's also very slow. The Hermes Sandals relic (which gives him the Haste Status Buff, doubling his speed) makes him into an early Lightning Bruiser.
Modest Royalty: Although he's clearly seen as king by his subjects, he avoids gratuitous special treatment by insisting he pay them for their wares.
Obfuscating Stupidity: Appears to be his MO for keeping the Empire from getting suspicious about his activities.
Significant Anagram: "Gerad" in the English version; his alias is "Geoff" in the Japanese version.
Small Name, Big Ego: A possible subversion. He's known as a flirt to his subjects (and the children want to marry him), but his banter to Terra and Celes is not reciprocated. If one pays attention, though, he only attempts it once as a kind of greeting and treats them normally from then on.
Something Only They Would Say: When in his "Gerad" disguise, he tries to get rid of Celes while saying "My Lady". Celes responds that only Edgar would address her that way, and after a moment of silence, he declares that "My Lady" is a fairly common way of addressing someone. In the GBA translation, he refers to Celes as a "beautiful lady", saying that it's common courtesy to be polite to ladies.
Static Character: Edgar doesn't change personality-wise as the game goes on. He doesn't need to, seeing as his development was completed before the game began.
Status Buff Dispel: Edgar's Debilitator tool adds an elemental weakness to an enemy. Being completely random, you could easily end up with a fire-spitting dragon that's suddenly weak to fire, and you could reuse it until an enemy was weak to every element.
This Is a Drill: Edgar's toolset includes one massive power drill, complete with safety helmet.
Two-Headed Coin: He uses such a coin in his childhood gambit with Sabin, betting which of them will leave the kingdom on the result, knowing that when it comes up heads Sabin will be able to live his own life guilt-free. If he's in the party when Celes is abducted by Setzer, it's strongly implied Edgar passes the coin on to her to use for her own bet, and then Setzer holds onto it.
With This Herring: The King of Figaro has joined the party! That means lots of resources, right? Wrong, he comes with some basic tools and equipment. It is somewhat justified in that he spends most of the game on the run, or with his kingdom in shambles, and the shops in his castle are more than willing to give him free stuff. He simply insists on paying since they have families to feed, and settles at a 50% discount.
Sabin Rene Figaro
"Edgar's twin brother, who traded the throne for his own freedom..."
When Edgar and Sabin's father died, the two brothers settled the matter of succession in their own way. Sabin, disgusted with the ordeal and wanting revenge against the Empire that was rumored to be behind their father's death, left the castle but never strayed far from the kingdom, training with a martial arts master near South Figaro. When Edgar mobilizes Figaro against the Empire, Sabin joins his brother in the fight.
Action Commands: His Blitz attacks require controller inputs, but you can't use them until you've actually learned them in-game.
Badass: He's a master martial artist who suplexes trains.
Badass Beard: In some Amano artwork. He's clean-shaven in the in-game sprites, portraits, and CG art though.
Big Little Brother: Played straight. He's the younger of the twins, and is supposed to be a tad taller than Edgar. He's also built like a padded bank vault due to years of training, whereas Edgar has a standard build.
Duel Boss: After Vargas blows everyone except Sabin away, it becomes Sabin vs. Vargas.
Gentle Giant: He's the largest human character in game, and physically the strongest. He's also a pretty nice guy.
Got Me Doing It: After having a hard time trying to instruct Cyan on how to operate the Magitek armor:
Sabin: Oh, for...! Thou art getting to be quite a pain in the— Great, now I'm even starting to talk like you!
Heroic Sacrifice: While he doesn't actually canonically pull one in-game, his Soul Spiral/Spiraler Blitz can be used to this effect as it restores the other party members' HP and cures all their status ailments (even KO and Zombie), at the cost of Sabin's life (his HP goes down to 0 and he's removed from the battle). Unfortunately, the A.I. Roulette can make him use this during the one-on-one battles at the Colosseum, which causes you to lose instantly in a Senseless Sacrifice.
I Got Bigger: We're told that as a kid, Sabin was very small and had a weak constitution. After years of training, we see that's no longer the case.
Informed Deformity: After a flashback to Edgar and Sabin as children, the person telling the story comments that at that time Sabin was small — even smaller than Edgar. However, the flashback used the same sprites as the rest of the game, when Sabin is a very large bodybuilder.
Razor Wind: One of his Blitzes, Razor Gale, sends slicing blades of wind at enemies.
Rebel Prince: Didn't want to be king, preferring to focus on his martial arts.
Royals Who Actually Do Something: Despite not really being involved in the monarchy, he's still a prince, and quickly becomes a hero to rival any of the others.
Shirtless Scene: Occasionally, in official artwork and CGI animation. He'd be a Walking Shirtless Scene except for the fact that he does often wear a shirt (and his game sprites are always sporting one).
Some Dexterity Required: Sabin's Blitz techniques, while freed from many variables in Fighting Games, still require pulling off Street Fighter-esque input commands. However, the game is much more lenient, and not only can commands be given one button press at a time, but the more difficult ones (even the 360-motion Phantom Rush) can be performed with easy and simplified button presses.
"A Magitek knight forged by the Empire and tempered in battle. None have ever truly known the woman beneath the general's guise..."
An Imperial General and a Magitek Knight skilled in ice magic, Celes was imprisoned for treasure and held captive in the occupied South Figaro to be executed. Locke freed her and she joined the Returners, though not everyone was readily accepting of an infamous turncoat. Celes is popularly considered the secondary protagonist of the game after Terra, or at least third protagonist after Locke. In the World of Ruin, she becomes the viewpoint character for the first segment of the new world and begins Putting the Band Back Together.
Anti-Magic: Her Runic ability absorbs magical attacks.
The Atoner: Joins the Returners partially out of a desire to atone for her crimes as a member of the Imperial army. Her most specific described war atrocity was the burning of Maranda.
Audience Surrogate: Celes assumes this role for the second half of the game, though it gradually gives way as she is rejoined with more of her friends. In the ending, she becomes the viewpoint character again for the most part, and expresses the most concern over Terra's disappearance. She, Edgar, and Setzer are the only characters you must have to finish the game.
Badass: A magic-casting sword-wielding general, and one of the best characters in the game.
Badass Cape: Her costume includes one, even though it's only present in the sprites rather than the artwork.
Broken Bird: It's clear when she joins the party that she doesn't have any experience with genuine friendship and affection. It gets even worse on the World of Ruin, where she may make a suicide attempt depending on the player's actions.
Bungled Suicide: In the World of Ruin, she attempts suicide by leaping off a cliff after Cid's death, but survives the fall.
Celebrity Resemblance: Celes resembles the opera singer Maria. Because of this, she becomes a drop-in replacement for the original singer, as part of a plan to obtain an airship. Setzer noticed the difference only after bringing her aboard.
The Chick: As far as the storyline goes, in both the positive and negative aspects. She's the "heart" that pulls the group back together in the World of Ruin. She also spends much of her spotlight in the game pining over Locke.
Concert Climax: She is a replacement singer for the opera and the target of Ultros' 4-ton anvil.
Convenient Coma: Celes was in a coma during the first year in the World of Ruin, giving plenty of time for the other party members to end up in the situations she finds them in.
Dark Reprise: The Aria that Celes sings during the opera is repeated in her character theme/leitmotif... the night before Terra, Locke, Shadow, Celes, and Leo depart to Thamasa from the Albrook port, when Locke is trying to apologize to Celes for thinking that she was a traitor during the confrontation with Kefka in the Magitek Lab. It plays again when she attempts suicide by jumping off the cliff after Cid dies.
Defrosting Ice Queen: Joins the party with a very cold attitude, and then Locke gradually defrosts her. After the halfway point of the game, Celes becomes much more friendly towards the rest of the party and is altogether more optimistic and hopeful, to the point where she eventually becomes their unifying force. Edgar practically lampshades the trope in the SNES version, commenting that Celes is "cold as ice" when they first meet.
Despair Event Horizon: After Celes wakes up from a year long coma to realize that the world really was destroyed, she's stranded on a deserted island with Cid, and everyone she knew is probably dead. Then Cid's death completely shatters what small shred of hope was left in her, which leads to her attempted suicide.
Foil: To Terra. They have nearly identical equipment save for one armor piece and their exclusive weapons in the GBA version, and their stats are very similar. Their contrasts include outfits (green dress with white cloak, red dress with pink cloak), abilities (Runic with Ice and defensive status spells vs Trance with Fire and offensive status spells), and personalities, Terra being innocent, naive, and idealistic while Celes is proud, snarky, and sometimes downright cynical. As she takes over as the viewpoint character in the World of Ruin, some fans consider her a deuteragonist. It's also a rumor that Terra's hair was changed to green in-game to contrast Celes.
Heel-Face Turn: Before the game begins, Celes burns Maranda to the ground; she's the reason that everyone is rebuilding the town when you visit. She resigns from the Empire and is arrested for it afterwards, and after Locke rescues her in Figaro, Celes joins the Returners.
Heroes Prefer Swords: Almost all of her weapons are swords and her ability Runic must have a sword equipped in order to work. Her Infinity+1 Sword in the remakes is the Save The Queen.
Identical Stranger: Celes is the spitting image of the opera star Maria, but is implied to have barely an idea of who she is.
Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Only in the first translation, when her character quote describes her as having "a spirit as pure as snow." Kind of an Informed Attribute when paired with the fact that she is a former general who is infamous for torching a city, though.
Lady of War: She's designed as a melee character (her class is "Rune Knight") and her former position at the top of society makes her this.
Lonely at the Top: Her character description in the GBA retranslation states this when it says, "None have ever truly known the woman beneath the general's guise..."
Love Hurts: If you let Cid die, Celes tries to kill herself. Before she throws herself off a cliff, she thinks about how everyone is gone; she specifically mentions Locke.
Magic Knight: Aside from a very small handful of exclusive items, Celes's equipment and stats are mirror images of Terra's in this regard.
Memento MacGuffin: Finding Locke's bandana tied around a seagull is what gives her the hope to get off of the solitary island and start searching for her friends after her failed attempted suicide, if Cid dies. It appears again in the ending.
The Mole: Subverted: Although Kefka implies that she was a double agent to the Returners, she actually did defect to the Returners, proving her loyalty by teleporting Kefka away before he could attack.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: It was nice of her to prove her loyalty to the Returners by turning the sword Gestahl gave her on Kefka, but she really should have killed him instead of just stabbing him and then backing off. The sight of his own blood and the sting of Celes' betrayal finally catapult him off the deep end, and he seizes the Triad for himself and kills Gestahl. Oops.
The Power of Love: If Cid dies, Celes will see a pigeon on the beach with a blue bandanna wrapped around its wound. Celes recognizes it as Locke's bandanna and knows that he must be alive. Knowing that Locke is out there somewhere is enough motivation for Celes to leave Solitary Island and find her friends.
Tykebomb: The Empire infused Celes with magic at a young age, much like was done to Kefka, except it didn't cause mental instability in Celes since by that time the process had been refined. Kids have better mental rebound as well.
Visible Silence: Her attitude towards Locke after the events in the Magitek Labs.
Younger Than They Look: Celes is only 18 years old at the start of the game, and 19 years old when she wakes up on Solitary Island.
"He comes and goes like the wind, swearing allegiance to no one. Hidden behind his wintry gaze lies a face known to none who live..."
Shadow is a mysterious ninja for hire who loans his muscle to anyone who can pay his fee, then leaves when it pleases him or when his contract is fulfilled. His true name and his past are a mystery. His lone companion is his loyal dog, Interceptor, who accompanies him everywhere.
Anti-Hero: He starts out as a mercenary who will work for anyone who can pay him without question. After being betrayed by the Empire he becomes a Classical Anti-Hero — a stoic loner tortured by old memories.
Attack Animal: Interceptor will often intercept attacks meant for Shadow and then perform a powerful counterattack.
Awesome Mc Cool Name: "Shadow" is a pretty fitting name for a ninja mercenary. His real name is the rather ordinary Clyde Arrowny.
Blood Knight: When you defeat him in the Coliseum, your party asks him what he's doing there, and he explains that fighting is the only thing he knows how to do. He eventually agrees to join the Returners, mostly so he can put his skills up to the ultimate challenge. The reason for this isn't revealed until much later, and then only to the player.
Counter Attack: Interceptor will occasionally block and counter attacks from enemies.
Dark and Troubled Past: He was formerly a train robber, but he ended up chickening out of giving Baram a mercy kill, and it is hinted that his assassin/mercenary role was his way of running from his guilt for failing to do so.
Dark Is Not Evil: He wears all black, and is hinted to kill for money, but overall, he's not half-bad.
Disappeared Dad: When the details of Shadow's five dreams and Relm's one dream are combined, it becomes certain that he is Relm's missing father.
Driven to Suicide: It's implied in the ending that he deliberately stayed behind when Kefka's Tower was collapsing on top of him as a means to atone for failing to grant his partner-in-crime his mercy kill.
The Drifter: In the World of Balance, sans the Floating Continent, Shadow can leave the party at set points in the story, or after he's earned enough money to earn his hiring fee.
Everyone Has Standards: A programming quirk automatically gives Shadow the party leader slot when Kefka announces that he's going to poison Doma. Unless the player switches Sabin back in, this leads to Shadow expressing moral outrage over an inhumane atrocity.
Flashback Nightmare: In the World of Ruin, resting in an inn with Shadow in the party causes him to have dreams of his past.
Game-Breaking Bug: "Interceptor" is considered a permanent status effect for Shadow, and unfortunately, this makes it vulnerable to the infamous Rippler glitch. If an enemy snatches up Shadow's status and is then killed, kiss his beloved pooch good-bye outside of story sequences.
Guest Star Party Member: He'll join your party at a few points throughout the first half of the game, but will decide to leave either through random chance after an enemy encounter or at designated points in the plot. He signs up permanently later on though.
I Cannot Self-Terminate: Was asked by his friend, Baram, to kill him, since he couldn't do it himself because of his mortal wounds. Clyde, as Shadow was known then, couldn't do it and ran away.
Shoo the Dog: He stays behind in the collapsing tower at the end, but doesn't want to drag Interceptor into it and tells him to go and live.
The Stoic: Shadow hardly says anything during the game and very rarely, if ever, shows any emotion.
Shadow: There are people in this world who have chosen to kill their own emotions. Remember that.
Throwing Your Sword Always Works: While his Throw command is (probably) supposed to be used with just shuriken and scrolls, he can throw any weapon, including daggers, swords, spears, dice, brass knuckles, and magic staves.
Wild Card: When he joins up with Sabin he may leave after any random battle, and he will depart after the events of the Phantom Train. The next time he meets the party he demands a hefty fee for his services, and will again be prone to leaving after a random battle. Averted in the World of Ruin, where he will stay with you permanently once he joins, and has his own spot on the airship.
"A noble warrior of a foreign land. A faithful retainer to his lord and master, he fears not even death..."
A samurai of Doma, Cyan is an old warrior used to old-fashioned lifestyles and war methods. When his entire castle is killed by Kefka's use of poison, Cyan abandons his home to join Sabin and becomes a member of the Returners. Vicious for vengeance against the Empire, Cyan is wracked with survivor's guilt and blames himself for Doma's fall, ghosts that haunt him throughout the game, eventually in a literal sense.
Awesome but Impractical: Cyan's Bushido abilites may seem impressive, but it takes so long for the gauge to fill up that it isn't really worth it unless you manipulate your turns so that you select their attacks first and charge up his Bushido while their attack animations are going off.
Badass Grandpa: This old man had the sheer balls to take on the whole Imperial Army at Doma. And he can win, too.
Badass Mustache: Cyan has a magnificent mustache, the only party member in the game to have one too.
Covert Pervert: If you look in Cyan's secret box at Mt. Zozo when Cyan isn't in the party, you can find several books, among them Machinery for Dunces, A Pictorial Guide to Machines, Everything about Machines, Machines for the Mechanically Disinclined, and Bushido in the Bedroom.
Cultured Warrior: He's very skilled at making hand-crafted silk flowers, and he's also a talented poet.
Dead Person Impersonation: Writes letters and sends flowers to the girlfriend of the dead soldier he met in Mobliz to make her happy.
Everything's Better with Samurai: His character class. He's also the only one in the game, although presumably there were others in Doma before they were killed.
Failure Knight: He is one of only two known survivors of Doma Castle. Even his wife and child die when Kefka poisons the river (the other on-screen survivor is an unnamed soldier who together with Cyan is searching the castle for more survivors. He is never seen or mentioned again after Cyan discovers his dead family and goes berserk).
Gory Discretion Shot: His Limit Break "Tsubame Gaeshi" cuts to black as he leaps at the opponent and slices them. We don't see what he does, but it deals a lot of damage.
It's All My Fault: He blames himself for not stopping Kefka from poisoning the river, even though there's no way he could have known the bastard was going to do it. Wrexsoul and the Dream Stooges cheerfully exploit his guilt.
Walking Techbane: He is not good with machines and has a pronounced aversion to them. He tries to learn more about how to use them over the course of the game, though.
Watching Troy Burn: Shortly after repelling an initial Empire attack, Cyan has to watch nearly everyone in his home castle drop dead from poison, including his king as well as his wife and son.
"Draped in monster hides, eyes shining with intelligence, a youth surviving against all odds..."
An orphaned boy abandoned on the Veldt and surviving among the monsters, Gau is a wild child in the purest sense of the idea. His time on the Veldt allows him to understand the copy the behavior of monsters in battle. Sabin and Cyan recruit him for his aid in escaping the Veldt to get to Narshe, where Gau becomes another member of the Returners. An optional sequence late in the game allows the party to reunite him with his father.
Badass Adorable: Being able to survive in a fierce wilderness and kick the ass of monsters bigger than you since you were barely old enough to walk should qualify anyone as this.
The Berserker: When Rage is initiated, although unlike the Berserker status in the series, he has a 50-50 chance of either physically attacking, or using the special move related to the specific "Rage" he's using. As an added bonus, if you cast the Berserk spell on him after he's in Rage mode, he will still have a 50% chance of using his Rage's special attack, but his regular physical attacks will also get a power boost.
Cloudcuckoolander: He doesn't seem to have any interest in the larger situation and is primarily just concerned with his friends.
Crutch Character: Gau is one of the strongest party members in the World of Ruin if you understand how Rages work and know which ones do what. He can be casting Level 2 magic before the rest of your party has touched their first Magicite shard, and he has other powerful abilities too. However, later in the game the power of his Rages in proportion to normal magic and other special attacks begins to level out. By the end of the game his Berserk status when using Rages heavily hampers his effectiveness, though he remains capable.
Difficult but Awesome: Gau's Rages really demand you use a guide to figure out what each one does, or you can rely on trial and error and just remember. But he is very powerful once you figure it out.
Ditto Fighter: Fights using the patterns of defeated monsters, even copying their elemental affinities and innate statuses like Float.
Does Not Like Shoes: To tell the truth, he doesn't like civilized clothing in general, as he finds it cumbersome and uncomfortable. Hence why his best "armor" is the Snow Scarf.
Fairy Battle: When fighting on the Veldt, Gau is liable to appear at the end of fights to rejoin your party after using Leap.
Hulk Speak: Frankly it's impressive that he's able to speak with any kind of coherence, given that he was abandoned as a newborn.
Innocent Fanservice Girl: Some Amano concept art showed him naked (but not showing parts). This would have been entirely logical for a Wild Child in Real Life. The in-game graphics and the more well-known art show Gau wearing his more familiar animal skin clothes.
Lethal Joke Character: He's completely uncontrollable and all of the Rages he actually starts with suck, which makes many players dislike him. If you train and equip him correctly, though, he can be extremely effective.
Lightning Bruiser: Perhaps to make up for his uncontrollable nature and inability to equip weapons, Gau has all-around great stats.
Makeover Montage: During the World of Ruin the party gets him cleaned up to meet his father.
Mega Manning: His Rages let him copy the attack patterns of enemies the party has defeated.
Nature Hero: A very friendly one. He was raised entirely isolated from people and his skillset is based around wild monsters.
"A gambling vagabond who finds freedom from society's narrow views of morality aboard his airship, the Blackjack..."
The proud owner of the world's only airship, Setzer is a free man who lives to fly the skies. He is in love with the opera star Maria and plots to kidnap her, only to fall for the ploy of the party when Celes masquerades as Maria and she sneaks the Returners aboard his ship. Conned into helping them and delighting in their trickery, Setzer wears his life to them as little more than another bet.
Karma Houdini: Setzer's introduction involves a plot by him to kidnap and forcibly marry opera singer Maria. No one ever calls him on his behavior and he's never punished for it, he just decides Celes is a better prize then Maria, and then he loses his coin toss to her and decides to go with it.
Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies: Setzer's Slot command can pull this off in two ways. One is to get 7-7-Bar on the machine, which kills the entire party. The other is getting three bars to trigger a random Esper summon. If the game randomly decides to summon Crusader when your party is still weak, you'll be wiped out.
Sky Pirate: Only very slightly. He doesn't attack and rob other ships (mainly because he has the only airship) but he's definitely not a strict adherent to the law.
Summon Magic: Two of his Slots results. Three bars brings up a random Esper, while three silver dragons will always summon Bahamut.
Take My Hand: Does this to Terra when the Apocalypse ripped the Blackjack into two before both of them falling, making this gesture somewhat pointless and to Celes in the ending scene if you didn't re-recruit Locke in the game's second half.
We All Die Someday: The Advance translation adjusts his reckless gambling into a symptom of this trope. Setzer will ante up his own life because he knows sooner or later his number is going to come up, so he might as well have fun playing the odds and winning until it does.
"When things fall, they fall... Life's a game of chance. You play your cards, and Fate plays hers..."
"An elderly gentleman who has spent his whole life pursuing the secrets of monsters..."
Strago is an old mage of Thamasa, and a master of Blue Magic. Once a monster hunter, he's settled down in his old age to raise his adopted granddaughter, Relm. When Terra and Locke come to the village seeking the Espers, Strago is eventually roped into helping them when he displays his powers and joins the party.
Anti-Magic: His Force Field Lore chooses a random element and negates all damage and magic of that type.
Badass Grandpa: At age seventy, he's one of the oldest characters in the series.
Can't Catch Up: By the time you recruit him, the World of Balance is almost done, and you get him for an hour or two before you move on to the Floating Continent. As a result, you'll have a hard time teaching him even the most basic spells, and in the World of Ruin, he'll be lagging behind everyone else still learning them while they've moved on to the World of Ruin Espers and their end-game magic.
Despair Event Horizon: It is strongly implied that the reason he joined the Cult of Kefka was because he felt he had nothing left to live for due to believing that Relm had died. Thankfully, when Relm reveals her survival, he wakes up.
Elite Tweak: Having problems learning some Lores? Use other's characters' abilities to make the process easier; Gau and Relm can use many Lores via their own abilities, and even Setzer can use one if you're very lucky with (or rigged) his Slots.
Face-Heel Turn: He loses track of Relm during the apocalypse. Believing her dead, he allows the Cult of Kefka to brainwash him and take him in. He snaps right out of it, though, once he realizes that Relm is alive.
Overshadowed by Awesome: Strago's Lores are genuinely impressive, except he's in one of the games of the franchise where magic is ridiculously overpowered. As a result Strago's unique skillset is outdone by the normal spells everyone can learn including him. Their sole advantage is they ignore Reflect, but by the time you get to areas in the game where that's a problem, you've probably picked up magic that ignores Reflect like Meteor or Ultima.
Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right: Thamasa forbids its citizens to openly practice magic, especially when outsiders are around, to avoid their powers being found out. When Relm is trapped in a burning house, Strago decides he doesn't care and begins using magic to try and put out the flames in full view of Terra and Locke.
Squishy Wizard: If you equip him right, he can do a lot of damage, but as you might expect he can't take a whole lot of punishment. Not surprising given his age.
Witch Species: Strago is a descendant of the Mage Warriors from the War of the Magi and as such can use magic naturally.
"In her pictures she captures everything: forests, water, light... the very essence of the things she paints.."
Strago's adopted granddaughter, a ten-year-old girl with a sharp wit and a foul mouth both out of place on someone so young. Her magic manifests in the ability to paint living portraits that attack enemies. Though Strago is often exasperated with her behavior, Relm is always there when the old man needs a kick to get going in the right direction.
Art Attacker: Relm has the Sketch ability which lets her use the target monster's special abilities.
Badass Adorable: She's a cute little girl who can paint a portrait of you that kicks your ass.
The Beastmaster: One relic changes "Sketch" to "Control", letting her directly take command of enemies.
Bratty Half-Pint: She has no problems sassing her elders even when they include kings and former Imperial generals.
Flashback Nightmare: If Shadow dies on the Floating Continent, you will not find Shadow in the Cave on the Veldt, but instead Relm, who will have a dream of her own that ties in to Shadow's five Flashback Nightmare scenes. But without Save Scumming to many hours earlier in the game, Shadow's fifth dream and Relm's dream cannot both be viewed within the same playthrough.
Gamebreaking Bug: In the SNES version, the Sketch command has a good chance of crashing the game if used on the wrong enemies. At worst, it can irreparably bork your save.
Lethal Joke Character: Relm doesn't have very good Strength or weapon options, and Sketch is mostly useless. But she has the highest base Magic stat in the party (even though she doesn't initially know any spells), and her equipment spread also provides her with a lot of magic-boosting options. So with a bit of training and Esper use, she can become very useful.
Little Miss Badass: She proves her worthiness by following the party through a dangerous cave and defeating Ultros.
No One Gets Left Behind: She has none of it when Strago said to leave him and carries him on her back instead. She's also quite insistent that she not be left behind during her ending segment if she is recruited back into the party but Strago isn't.
Parental Abandonment: Relm's mother is said to be dead in the inventory description of her Orphan's Plot Trinket; her father, on the other hand, is never directly mentioned. Indirectly, there's a million and one hints that he's Shadow. The developers confirmed this in an interview. There was going to be a scene between Strago and Shadow confirming his relationship to Relm, but it was dropped.
The Pen Is Mightier: Statistically not, but what she draws with it is possibly mightier depending on the subject.
Puppetmaster: When given the Fake Mustache relic, she can Control enemies.
Running Gag: Her threats to Strago about "painting his picture."
Squishy Wizard: Like her grandfather, Relm is a powerful magic-user. However, whereas Strago was so old he had a hard time taking blows, Relm is so young she has a hard time taking blows.
Tagalong Kid: She's an excellent mage and a fun character, but she doesn't have a huge amount of relevance to the plot and mostly comes along because she demands it.
Useless Useful Spell: Save for a few specific instances, the Sketch algorithm falls into this for two reasons. Firstly, it has the monster's stats, rather than Relm's. Secondly, many elemental or status attack will be likely nullified or even absorbed since monsters are commonly immune to their own status and elemental attacks.
Witch Species: Like her grandfather, Relm is a descendant of the Mage Warriors from the War of the Magi, and as such can use magic naturally.
"A moogle who speaks the words of men, and can summon the earth's power through his dance..."
The leader of the moogle tribe living in Narshe's mineshafts, Mog learned to speak the human language via dreams from Ramuh, an anomaly among moogles. He can use Dances to command the forces of earth against enemies.
The Berserker: Like Gau, Mog becomes uncontrollable for the rest of battle or until killed once he uses a Dance. However, each Dance includes four possible attacks with various effects, so he's a bit more versatile about it than Gau.
Flat Character: Has only a few lines of dialogue in the whole game, none of which indicate much of a personality, is the only non-secret party member without a World of Ruin sidequest, and to top it all off, he doesn't even have a unique sprite, looking just like every other Moogle in the game.
Geo Effects: How he learns his dances. Also used in said dances.
Heroic BSOD: In the World of Ruin, the party finds him alone in the cave where the other Moogles used to live, staring at a wall (the item found by inspecting said wall, a memento from his girlfriend Molulu, implies he was staring at it). Then the party arrives and Mog is overjoyed to see some of his friends are still alive.
Interface Spoiler: In the opening sequence, you get help from eleven Moogles. Oddly, one of them learns an ability while fighting while the others have none, and the others cannot have their equipment modified while the same lone Moogle lets you equip and unequip him like normal. Hmm...
Jumped at the Call: Ramuh told him via psychic dreams to prepare to join your party someday soon. Mog's response? Cool!
Killer Rabbit: In the World of Balance, Mog's Dances are wicked strong. In the World of Ruin, Mog makes for a great Dragoon.
Lost Forever: The Water Harmony Dance can only be learned in the World of Balance via the Serpent Trench or the Lethe River in the original game. The GBA version adds one last chance to get it if you acquire him in the World of Ruin and take him into the optional boss battle with Leviathan, but if you don't, it's Lost Forever for good.
Magic Dance: Learned through fighting in the relevant environments.
Optional Party Member: Aside from a brief appearance at the beginning of the game, Mog won't join your party during the main storyline of the World of Balance; you have to go slightly out of your way and complete a side quest in order to recruit him. See Friend or Idol Decision, above.
Tagalong Kid: Assuming Moogles have roughly the same lifespan as humans. He's only twelve years old.
Uplifted Animal: Learned to speak the human language through a series of psychic dreams with Ramuh.
Verbal Tic: Mog (and all other Moogles) end their sentences with "kupo", kupo!
You Can Talk?: The Party's reaction when he is formally introduced, as the other Moogles in Final Fantasy VI, as well as all previous games, just say "kupo". Mog claims Ramuh taught him to speak through psychic dreams.
"A yeti with a love for bone carvings. Stronger than a gigas... but a bit unruly."
Umaro is a mysterious and obscure yeti living in the caves around Narshe, his only companions are the Moogles. When Mog rejoins the party in the World of Ruin, he browbeats Umaro into coming along.
Cursed with Awesome: Sometimes Umaro's uncontrollable nature is a blessing in disguise. He completely ignores the restrictions on attacking in the Cultists' Tower, he can still attack while Cyan is charging his Bushidos, and he'll never do anything stupid in the Coliseum.
Dumb Muscle: Umaro's muscles are as thick and hard as the mountain stone. So is his head. Mog lampshades this trope as the reason to bring him along: without Mog around to give him commands, Umaro would be helpless.
Fastball Special: When Umaro has the Berserker Ring equipped, he'll randomly throw party members at enemies for increased damage. Sometimes he'll even throw himself!
Hulk Speak: He only has a couple lines of dialogue, but he speaks worse than Gau!
An Ice Person: If Umaro has the Blizzard Orb equipped, he will sometimes attack enemies with an ice storm.
Lightning Bruiser: He's one of the physically strongest characters in the entire series, has a high HP total and can equip the Snow Muffler (the best armor in the game), and he's surprisingly fast to boot.
Not Completely Useless: His uncontrollable nature makes him a surprisingly good choice for the Coliseum, and he's completely unaffected by the Fanatics' Tower's restrictions on attacking.
Optional Party Member: He doesn't have any relevance to the story, being the friend of Mog, who also doesn't have much relevance.
Unskilled, but Strong: Umaro cannot learn magic, equip Espers, or change equipment. What he can do is batter enemies into a pulp with his club.
Younger Than They Look: Word of God is that Umaro is four years old. Though it was actually four years since Mog had him start counting, so this is likely not accurate.
"A man shrouded in strange clothing... Or perhaps a woman? Perhaps not even human at all...”
Gogo is found deep inside a cave under Triangle Mountain after the party is swallowed by a Zone Eater. And... that's about all we know. As his profile quote demonstrates, Gogo is an absolute mystery. We just know that he is a master mime, able to copy the other party members perfectly, including their abilities.
Ambiguous Gender: The character quote in the GBA version extends it to ambiguous species. Hidden price modifiers in the game and his Japanese honoriffics imply it's a man, but who really knows?
"I have been idle for too long. Perhaps I should mimic you... Tell me, what are you doing here? [...] You say you are going to save the world? Then I guess that means I shall save the world as well!"
Continuity Nod: To Final Fantasy V boss Gogo and to the Mimic class in general. A common fan theory is that they're the same person, since Gogo works the same way as Mimes did in V. Presumably when Gogo cast himself into the Void in V, he wound up in the world of VI.
Fragile Speedster: Gogo's Speed stat is the only one that doesn't absolutely suck, and he really can't take many hits either.
Irony: He and fellow secret character Umaro are polar opposites — Gogo can do everything but not well, while Umaro does one thing and does it very well.
Master of None: Gogo can learn just about every skill that's normally accessible to your characters. Unfortunately, Gogo will never do any of them as well as the originals.
Mega Manning: A variant in that Gogo typically steals the abilities of the other heroes, rather than Gogo's enemies. Anything the other Returners can do, Gogo can do too... just not as well because of Gogo's terrible stats. Gogo also specifically imitates what the other active party members can do — if equipping magic from the menu, Gogo can only cast a spell learned by someone else currently in the party.
Optional Party Member: Like Umaro, Gogo only shows up in the World of Ruin and needs some effort to recruit.
Powers as Programs: Gogo can equip almost any other character's special ability (except Terra's Trance and Shadow's Throw if he died)), and does need to equip appropriately to use some of them, though. This includes equipping appropriate relics to use altered abilities, like Mug or Gil Toss.
Secret Character: Recruiting Gogo requires you to engage in battle with a giant sandworm that swallows the party whole. Gogo lives in its innards.
Weak, but Skilled: He has very poor stats but an unmatched level of versatility in his abilities.
"You are that last ray of light. Our only hope."
Leader of the Returners, the resistance group fighting Imperial conquest.
Badass Preacher: His class in the GBA version is "Oracle", and he heals the party by praying.
Big Good: Leader of the Returners and thus the commander of those resisting the Empire's control.
Combat Medic: His Pray ability basically casts Cura on the party for no MP cost, and he can still help out offensively well enough.
Supporting Leader: He's the leader of the Returners and thus the driving force in the war on the Empire, but aside from the trip with him to Narshe, he's working in the background while the player pursues various leads on how to gain an edge in the struggle.
What Happened to the Mouse?: Vanishes from the game once you reach the World of Ruin and is never mentioned again. Though if you think about where he was last seen (in Vector), he may likely be dead.Word of God states you're supposed to use your imagination.
General Leo Cristophe
"You're a human being before you're a soldier."
An elite soldier in the Vector Imperial Army, Leo is their strongest general and one of the most honorable and upstanding men in the Empire, as well as the world in general. His morals put him in direct conflict with the more underhanded and vicious Kefka.
Ambiguously Brown: His artwork and portrait depict him with dark skin, but his field sprite is peach. This may be due to limitations of the game's color palettes though, since different character sprites often draw from the same palette. The smartphone version darkened his sprite's skin, but it's still lighter than his portrait and artwork.
Badass Normal: He refuses a magic infusion and thus has no magical powers at all. In the five minutes you control him, he proves that he doesn't need them, he's still far stronger than your normal party members.
Nice to the Waiter: How do we know from his first appearance that General Leo is an Anti-Villain? He tells an Imperial he's not going to attack Doma again because it'll cause too many casualties on both sides, and doesn't want his men throwing their lives away. That, and he actually speaks to Kefka like a person, as opposed to the heroes and other Imperials who speak about him like the Monster Clown he really is.
Purposefully Overpowered: When you use him as a party member, he has a powerful sword, a shield that can block magic attacks, a relic to attack four times a turn, and a good deal more HP than your party members unless you do a lot of level grinding. It's to ensure you win the obligatory storyline battle he's used for.
Redemption Equals Death: He finally turns against Kefka when he witnesses Kefka's genocide of the espers, but it's too late, and he's killed as a traitor.
Sacrificial Lion: Kefka killing him, his own ally and one of the Empire's best officers, is a sign that any lingering lines Kefka might not have crossed yet have now been crossed.
A spectre encountered aboard the Phantom Train; for some reason, he wants to come with the party, but bows out before they get to the front of the train. If Shadow is not with Sabin and Cyan, a second ghost can be recruited as well.
Ambiguous Gender: The Super NES release referred to the Ghost as an "it", but the Advance remake uses male terminology.
Loophole Abuse: Since you can only use the Ghost during a time when you don't fight any bosses, they didn't bother giving the bosses in the main game resistance to Possess, so even enemies immune to instant death will perish. This can only be accomplished with glitches or hacking, though.
My Name Is ???: Since it's a Ghost that never talks, the party has no idea what to call it, and neither does the interface.
Those Two Guys: Even less relevant than usual, given their very brief appearance, but they do talk a little about the war and magic.
Cid Del Norte Marquez
"The power contained within these stones is far greater than what we could ever hope to extract..."
Head scientist of the Empire and the caretaker of Celes, Cid is the mastermind behind Magitek and thus the creator of the Empire's elite soldiers and war machines. When he discovers the truth of how Esper magic works and witnesses their sacrifice to aid the Returners, he begins to rethink some things.
Promotion to Parent: On Solitary Island, Celes says that Cid is her "granddad" and she his granddaughter.
Reluctant Mad Scientist: Kind of. He says he was threatened by Kefka, but he was extracting power from espers long before (his process is what created Kefka). He does express remorse when confronted with people who point out how awful his actions are.
A key Returner operative living in Narshe, he's the one who rescues Terra in the introductory sequence of the game. When Banon moves the Returner operations to Narshe, Arvis effectively becomes his second-in-command.
Unfazed Everyman: Arvis is the Returner to go to in Narshe, and tags along with Banon when the Returners travel to Vector for peace negotiations with the Empire. Arvis is resourceful, but he isn't a combatant.
A martial arts master living near Figaro, he's Sabin and Vargas's mentor. Some time before the game's events, Vargas killed him to take his place as master of the dojo, but it is later revealed Duncan faked his death.
Badass Armfold: Takes it to an art form, striking this pose almost every other animation.
Faking the Dead: Though it's unknown why he never appears in person until the World of Ruin, or how he survived his encounter with Vargas when everyone (including Vargas) thought he didn't.
Guide Dang It: In the World of Ruin, not only is his home in a completely different location relative to the rest of the world than it was in the World of Ruin, but it's not even marked on the map, appearing as a formation of trees.
Setzer's rival, she was the captain of the Falcon, the other "only" airship in the world. She went missing after a race with Setzer, and the wreck of the Falcon was found a year later. Setzer restored the craft and put both it and Darill to rest in her tomb.
A traveling swordsman and treasure hunter who pops up periodically, his origins and motives are a mystery. Apparently there's an impostor Siegfried around too, and it's never quite clear when you meet the real one or the impostor.
The Artifact: The subplot with the impostor Siegfried? Intended as part of the subquest to fight Gogo before he was moved, but that detail was left in.
Bonus Boss: Bet a Megalixir in the Coliseum to face him in a proper fight. He's moderately strong on his own, but the Duel Boss nature of the Coliseum combined with the fact you can't control your character bumps him up to end-game difficulty, usually requiring a One-Hit Kill build to beat him before he does the same.
Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: Who is this guy? What does he want? Is he a friend or an enemy? How does he know Ultros? It doesn't help that apparently there's an impostor Siegfried running around, so each time you encounter him, who knows if it's the real thing or not.
The Rival: To Ultros, apparently. Ultros tries to steal the statues in the Esper Caves to get his attention.
Spell My Name with an "S": Is it Siegfried or Ziegfried? In the Super NES version this is a plot point: the weak goofball you effortlessly spank on the Phantom Train is Ziegfried, who is impersonating Siegfried, the legendary swordsman who hands you your ass on a platter at the Coliseum. Later releases removed the distinction and they're both "Siegfried".
What Happened to the Mouse?: In the World of Ruin, you find him trailing Gerad and the thieves into Figaro Castle. Once you get through the cave, though, he vanishes, and it's never revealed what he was doing there.
Zero-Effort Boss: The fight against him on the Phantom Train is a complete joke. If you're using the Black Belt accessory, he will probably die during his (really weak) initial attack flurry; even if he doesn't, he'll die in one hit to nearly anything. But it's later indicated that the one on the Phantom Train is the impostor.
Maduin and Madeline
Terra's parents, Maduin was the guardian of the gateway to the Esper World. Somehow Madeline found her way there, and the two fell in love and had a child to see if their two races could truly co-exist.
The main antagonist of the game who arguably steals the show, to the point that he's one of 3 characters in the game who has his own Wikipedia page, the others being Terra and Shadow. He was the first Magitek Knight of the Empire, but the process was still experimental. Something in Kefka's mind snapped that day, transforming him into a cruel and malicious harlequin with an unquenchable bloodthirst. Kefka finds no greater joy in life than in causing death and destruction for its own sake, and as the game progresses he resorts to ever grander heights of the two to make himself laugh.Also see his self-demonstrating article.
0% Approval Rating: All of the Imperial soldiers (or at least the ones in General Leo's camp near Doma) often complained about Kefka, with at least one soldier threatening to quit the military if Kefka was ever allowed to become general in Leo's stead. And for good reason: He had fifty of their finest soldiers burned to a crisp via a mind-controlled Terra, and when poisoning Doma, he is also fully aware that any Imperial captives being held at Doma would die of the poison and does it anyways, stating that it's their fault they got captured in the first place.
A God Am I: Notably the first (though hardly the last) Final Fantasy villain to seek out godhood, and one of the few to achieve it when he absorbs the power of the Warring Triad.
Apocalypse How: He rips the continents apart and kills a good part of the planet's flora and fauna. A year later some towns are still trying to rebuild and people are having trouble getting crops to grow, so the world is slowly sliding into a deathly wasteland. At the end of the game when the party ticks him off, he seems to set his sights on destroying existence itself, going by his statement of "I'm going to destroy everything! I'll create my own Empire of Death/I'll create a monument to non-existence!"
Ax-Crazy: All the way. Kefka isn't truly happy unless someone is dying or suffering at his hands.
Creepy Circus Music: Kefka's eponymous theme combines this with a military march. It starts out light and bouncy with string and wind instruments, then descends into a loud flurry of drumbeats and cymbal clashes. Which is a good indication of how Kefka himself goes as the game progresses. It's sampled twice in "Dancing Mad", the final boss theme.
Death from Above: After his ascent to godhood, Kefka used his Light of Judgment to deal this to anyone who dared oppose him.
Depending on the Writer: A case of this occurring via Woolseyism. The English Super NES version of Kefka is characterized quite differently from the Japanese version due to the translation of his lines. In general, the Japanese version is more silly and comical, emphasizing his Psychopathic Manchild traits, while the English translation depicted him as more hateful and malicious, emphasizing his joy in causing others misery. The Gameboy Advance re-release and his Dissidia incarnation took some cues from the English adaptation of his character because of how popular he is in the West, while otherwise remaining true to the Japanese version.
The Dragon: Fills this role before he murders Gestahl.
Dragon-in-Chief: Even before he overthrows Gestahl, Kefka's the one who actually confronts the party most of the time, while Gestahl is more of a distant Evil Overlord.
Dramatic Irony: Kefka spends a full year causing destruction, but life continued and people still carried on hope for the future. In the end, while Kefka snaps at the party that their lives are meaningless and worthless, his life is the one that has truly become devoid of meaning and worth, because he cast off such things trying to deprive others of them.
Drunk on the Dark Side: If you're not quite sure how strong Kefka is at any given point of the game, don't worry, he'll be happy to show you. Most prominent at Thamasa, where he deals a Curb-Stomp Battle to at least a dozen Espers, demonstrating he can not only kill them en masse with no trouble, but that he's immune to their powers.
Epic Flail: In his earlier boss fights, he has a Morning Star equipped.
Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Even with their homes burned, mutated monsters roaming the world, friends and loved ones dead, and the world a charred husk, the people of the world, including the party, find the strength to keep living and look for hope for the future. Kefka is at first confused by this, then goes to enraged because it doesn't make sense to him.
Like Terra, Kefka was used as an Imperial experiment and has no friends or family and no real joy in his life. While Terra learned to control her powers and found love, Kefka's powers came at the cost of his sanity and he turned to destruction to give his life meaning.
Like Celes, Kefka is an Imperial general with great magical power. While Celes has held onto her humanity and principles, Kefka's madness stripped away his, if he had any to begin with.
Evil Laugh: Kefka's "Uwee-hee-hee!" — the only vocalized character sound in the entire game, opera sequence and Terra meeting Valigarmanda aside.
Evil Sorcerer: He's a powerful magic user, and is deeply evil and power-hungry.
Expy: Of The Joker. The English localizers of Dissidia apparently noticed this, seeing how they had Dave Wittenberg voice the character in a very similar manner to Mark Hamill's characterization of The Joker.
Follow the Leader: Mimicking Mateus' methods of poisoning a kingdom aside, he himself started a trend of villains who desired to become gods in the series.
For the Evulz: This is his defining trait — whatever the reason (see Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds further down for an explanation), the reason Kefka causes so much chaos and death is because he has fun doing it.
From Bad to Worse: No matter how bad things are, he will always try to make it worse. Just take his destruction of the world — it wasn't enough for Kefka to murder countless innocents, rip apart the continents, and unleash mutated monsters on the people, he had to spend his time afterwards blasting the ashes of civilization when he got bored.
From Nobody to Nightmare: He starts the game as a court jester lackey of Gestahl, and by the end of the game, rules the world as a god.
Generic Doomsday Villain: A deconstruction. Kefka has no over-arcing goal or motivation besides gaining power, destroying the world, and causing trouble along the way. It turns out this is because he's so insane that he's unable to understand morality and goodness, and thinks all life is pointless and empty including his own. Destruction is the only thing that gives him purpose and so he embraces it because nothing else holds meaning to him. Kefka is essentially a show of how broken and crazy someone would have to be to become this trope for real.
Genius Bruiser: Kefka's very strong in magic, and is probably tall given his height in Dissidia, yet he is also a pretty good manipulator as well as implied to be technologically skilled (piloting and maintaining Magitek armors, single-handedly manning two cranes in Vector to prevent the Returners' airship from escaping, and presumably inventing Terra's slave crown).
Genocide Backfire: Poisoning of Doma, which resulted in very angry Cyan. In his case, it wasn't really out of fear or hatred of the Domians as much as feeling it is a good kick to do something like that.
Gone Horribly Right: Ultimately, they did succeed in making Kefka a super-powered magic-user capable of destroying their enemies. He just decided to move on to everything else too.
Good Wings, Evil Wings: Has four angelic wings and two demonic wings in his god form. However, they seem to be inconsistent on this — in his Anthology render, Kefka has six angelic wings, while in Dissidia, he has two demonic wings, and his four angelic wings are treated more like they're fused together so he has just two large wings instead.
The Heavy: In the World of Balance, he serves as this trope as Gestahl's Dragon.
Hope Crusher: His favorite tactics and sight is when people is in despair or agony. When he becomes a god, he destroys any semblance of hope in the world since he thinks it's meaningless (and a lot better if it's hopeless).
The Hyena: His pre-recorded sound byte of a cackle is his calling card.
Idiot Hair: Kefka's hair inexplicably has a feather sprouting from the front.
Ignored Epiphany: When the party explains to Kefka that no matter what he does life will go on and people will always find reasons to keep living, he lowers his head, turns around slowly... then spins back around and delivers his famous Shut Up, Kirk! comeback.
The Jester: Kefka's overall appearance is similar to that of a Tyrolean Jester, and similar to the trope, it also led to him not being suspected of being as much of a threat until it was far too late.
Japanese Pronouns: Frequently used Boku/Bokuchin in reference to himself, which gives some significant hints at his maturity level and mindset. He switches to the more polite and formal Watashi, though, by the time you meet him for the final battle.
Just Between You and Me: Kefka, while maniacally reveling about the power he gained in the Magitek Research Facility, is overheard by the Returners, where he also expresses his intent to revive the Warring Triad. It's subverted because despite being overheard by the heroes, he still succeeds in his plan anyways.
Kick the Dog: His poisoning of Doma, his murder of General Leo (and his also casting an illusion of Gestahl "admitting" to Leo that he tricked him into having him collect more Espers and magicite for no reason outside of adding insult to injury), his attempted torchings of Figaro and Thamasa, his having Terra burn fifty soldiers under his employ alive, and finally his destruction of the world and his frequently using the light of judgment on the world.
Kick the Son of a Bitch: Figuratively and literally, to Gestahl. He eventually kills the old man and gloats over his wounded body before finishing him off, but by that point you're more concerned with what Kefka is going to do once he's done with Gestahl than you are Gestahl getting offed.
Knight of Cerebus: To the entire series. The villains of the first five games didn't have very deep characterizations or motivations beyond being Evil Overlords who wanted to take over or destroy the world. Kefka had the same goal of world destruction/domination, but he was clearly having fun causing death and chaos along the way just because he could. And when it came time to execute his plan, he succeeded, making VI one of the few Final Fantasy games where The Bad Guy Wins, and the game picks up After the End in the dead husk of the world that Kefka reigns over, and the party tries to set things right.
Know When to Fold 'Em: Variation. It's strongly implied that he was holding back his power significantly when confronted at the Imperial Camp by Sabin and Shadow, and was running away because he didn't want any distractions from dumping poison into Doma.
Light Is Not Good: Kefka has a weapon called the Light of Judgment that he uses to destroy towns that oppose him, and in the final battle, he turns into an angelic-looking creature. Also provides the trope image. Heck, even before becoming a god, he basically resembled a very colorful clown, was blond and blue/green eyed, and wore white makeup, and was also heavily implied to have pyromaniacal tendencies (eg, forcing Terra to torch his own soldiers alive, attempting to burn Figaro Castle, having his troops burn Thamasa, was implied to have caused a lot of fires when misaligning the Warring Triad, not to mention the whole Light of Judgment thing). His god form also mixes this with Dark Is Evil, as he possesses a pair of bat wings as well as looking more fierce and demonic than a traditional angel.
Load-Bearing Boss: Defeating Kefka not only causes his tower to collapse, but seems to herald the rebirth of the planet's ecosystem and the cessation of magic's existence.
Kefka: Hee-hee! Nothing beats the music of hundreds of voices screaming in unison! Uwee-hee-hee! (dumps poison in Doma's water supply)
Mad God: He seems a bit less insane than before when you confront him at the end of the game, but he's still way off the deep end.
Madness Mantra: "I hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate you!"
Mad Scientist: Probably, seeing how it was heavily implied that he was the one who invented Terra's Slave Crown.
Meaningful Name: Aside from his first name bearing similarity to Franz Kafka, Kefka's last name, Palazzo, is Italian in origin that means palace, mansion, and/or castle, and also sounds very similar to Basque pailazo, Catalan pallasso, Greek paliatsos, Italian pagliaccio, Portuguese palhaço, Spanish payaso, Russian payats and Turkish palyaço, which all translate to "clown," and his appearance pretty much makes it clear that the similar names are very fitting.
Mind over Matter: He was seen levitating two of the Returners with telekinesis when they confront him at the end of the game. Presumably it's part of the whole "god" thing.
Minor Injury Overreaction: After Celes stabs Kefka, he starts screaming about blood as well as either shouting insults while lying down at Celes or screaming the aforementioned Madness Mantra, depending on the translation. However, in his case, it may just be more showcasing of his insanity.
Monster Clown: His in-game overworld sprite doesn't look like one (aside from probably the red splotches below the eyes), but he acts like it. In the Amano artwork and the cutscenes added in the PlayStation version, he does look like one. Also, his Fan Nicknameis "The Psycho Clown".
Noblewoman's Laugh: His laugh sound effect, at least in the SNES version, sounds like this.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: He, and by extension The Empire, did not know that the best and most efficient way to grow in magical power was to use the remains of dead espers, the Magicite, until the heroes acquired some from spers they had drained through their own inefficient methods. This could explain his leap in power from when fought at Narshe to him single handedly slaughtering the Espers in Thamasa.
Kefka: What's the fun in destruction if no precious lives are lost?
Orcus on His Throne: To his credit, though, he probably doesn't even need to move from his chamber to destroy the party at the end of the game, but where's the fun in that? It's also implied ("I've prepared some suitable entertainment for you!"/"I've been practicing my greeting!") that he was waiting for the party to fight their way to him so he could fight them again, and created the monsters they fought to get to him in preparation for their arrival.
Pietà Plagiarism: The third tier of the final battle. When you see Kefka in place of Jesus on the pietà, you simply have to face the facts: the gods are not on your side and never have been, and if you want a savior, you'll have to be the savior yourself.
Poison Is Evil: Poisons Doma and uses the Poison and Bio spells in battle.
Psychopathic Manchild: In the Japanese version, Kefka uses the first-person pronoun "bokuchin", which is primarily used by young boys, when joking around or trying to act sweet.
Psycho Prototype: He was the first Magitek Knight ever produced, but the experimental process, due to it not being perfected yet, snapped his mind.
Put Them All Out of My Misery: There's no doubt that Kefka tries to make everyone's lives as empty and meaningless as he thinks they are. However, in keeping with Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds nudges described further down, his declaration of intent to destroy the very emotions of hope and love comes off as him deciding that if he can't feel those emotions, then no one else will.
Pyromaniac: He seems to love setting things on fire, seeing how most of his atrocities involve fire somehow.
Razor Wings: His God form is fond of the physical attack Havoc Wing, his AI script allowing him the potential to use it every single turn, and later in the battle using it twice in a row.
Sanity Slippage: Kefka slides down the hill of sanity rather nicely throughout the game. At the beginning, he seems to be just doing his job, but, well, he tumbles down the slope quickly. One moment of mention is on the Floating Continent where despite all the power he's gained, Celes manages to trick him and actually stab him with a sword and draw his own blood. The moment he completely loses it is just before the last battle, after the heroes have given their self-help book speech.
Shut Up, Kirk!: His famous rebuttal at the end of the game to the mentioned self-help book speech.
Slasher Smile: He's a sprite with No Mouth much of the time, but you just know he's sporting one of these. Dissidia tells us that he definitely is.
The Sociopath: He has no understanding of morality, no impulse control, manipulates the emotions of others, is a rampant liar, and resorts to ever greater extremes to slake his thirst for destruction. Kefka ticks all the boxes.
Spell My Name with an "S": He's "Cefca" in the Japanese release. Lampshaded in the newer translation, which has one guard in Figaro Castle mention a fringe cult that spells his name with "C"s and not "K"s, and that it doesn't really matter since it's the same guy either way.
The Starscream: He has a major problem with being a servant, and by the time of Thamasa, he's not even hiding that he's taking power for himself instead of Gestahl.
Starter Villain: Serves this role before becoming the Big Bad. Kefka is the face of the Empire for the first quarter of the game or so, and the battle with him at Narshe is effectively the climax of that portion of the game. Afterwards, Terra transforms, the party heads to Zozo, and attentions turn to the Empire and the Espers. Kefka is still prominent, but he doesn't take center stage again until the Floating Continent.
Straw Nihilist: While he really starts being this only after destroying the world, you still gotta admit that when taking everything else that Kefka was into consideration, this really wasn't something that boded well for the world of Balance.
Kefka Palazzo: Why do people insist on creating things that will inevitably be destroyed? Why do people cling to life knowing that they must someday die? Knowing that none of it will have meant anything once they do?
Stripperiffic: In his final form, he wears what appears to be a single length of purple cloth wrapped around his loins.
Suicidal Cosmic Temper Tantrum: With more emphasis on Temper Tantrum. When the party tells him that all his destruction and chaos has failed to wipe out life and people are rebuilding and still have hope, Kefka snaps and goes on a berserk rampage, deciding that he simply hasn't gone far enough yet.
Super Prototype: Kefka is being far stronger magic-wise compared to the other Magitek Knight seen, Celes Chere. For one thing, he has Blizzara, Poison, Drain, and all three of the 1st level Fire, Ice, Lightning spells at Level 18. Celes, at the same level, only has Blizzard, Antidote, Imp, Cure, and Scan. Take note that she was created after Kefka was.
Team Rocket Wins: Kefka is a laughable threat until he gets some major magical upgrades from the Espers and becomes a killing machine in Thamasa.
Took a Level in Badass: It's jarring to see him go from running away from a lone Sabin (granted, Shadow could be there as well) through an entire camp full of his army and having to run away with his tail between his legs from the collective party, to kicking the party's collective asses twice, then killing the best soldier in the Empire, without using any magic, and a small army of Espers on his own that were able to thrash the Capital City of the Empire. And that's just the start of the madness.
Villainous Breakdown: The entire game follows Kefka slowly but surely sliding even deeper into complete madness than he already is. He's actually kinda normal, if still evil and cackling, when you first meet him in Figaro. But by the end of the game...
Villainous Harlequin: If not for Terra's flashback, this would have been the first impression of him.
Villains Never Lie: After the party reaches the part of the Magitek Factory where Espers are being held in captivity, Kefka enters and declares that Celes was a mole. Locke believes him, forcing Celes to perform a non-lethal variant of a Heroic Sacrifice to save Locke.
We Have Reserves: This is Kefka's general approach to warfare. He broke the siege of Doma Castle by poisoning the water supply, killing everyone inside — including women, children, and even some Imperial soldiers that were being kept as prisoners of war.
When you first sneak into Vector, if you can get all the way up to the Cafe where all the Imperial soldiers are hanging out, one man will tell you what he knows of Kefka's backstory. Oddly, just hearing the broad outline and filling in the rest with your imagination is almost scarier than knowing the details.
In addition, it's only at the end of the game that Kefka's nihilism and contempt for life become apparent, possibly because becoming the God of Magic and spending a year burning the burnt husk of a dead world gave him time to reflect on things.
Perhaps one of the darkest interpretations of the trope, evidence in the original game and Dissidia suggests it isn't so much Kefka not seeing the value of love and hope as it is he actually can't understand them anymore, his mind is just too far gone, and destruction is all he has to bring joy and meaning to his life with everything else beyond his understanding now. His famous end-game speech in VI is reused in Dissidia, but with a very obvious tone of despair to the words, Kefka seemingly lamenting the meaninglessness of life rather than declaring it.
The Ultimania guide to FFVI suggests that Kefka was once one of the Empire's top generals. After the Magitek infusion damaged his mind, he was forced to step down and reappointed as Gestahl's personal lackey, then made to oversee the perfected Magitek Knights; Terra and Celes. What really drove him over the brink was watching Leo take up his former position and outdo him in every aspect.
When the Returners give their collective "World of Cardboard" Speech at the end of the game, Kefka looks down and turns away for a moment, seeming distinctly sad. Unfortunately, that's when he really goes off the deep end.
And finally, Kefka's Dissidia 012 museum profile implies that he was Driven to Suicide in the final storyline because he thought destroying himself might finally satisfy his insatiable need to destroy.
Leader of the Empire with grand ambitions and a batshit-insane Dragon. Gestahl discovered the ancient legends of Espers and invaded their homeworld to build a magical army and begin a campaign to conquer the world. However, when Kefka has finally had enough of taking orders, he usurps Gestahl at the height of his power and kicks him to his death off the edge of the Floating Continent.
Bodyguard Betrayal: Gestahl appears with Kefka thoroughly on his side on the Floating Continent. And then Kefka must show them the meaning of power...
Disc One Final Boss: One of the first bosses to invoke this trope, but the technology of the time (cartridge) made it less opaque. Still, when the player is confronting Gestahl, one can't help but think the game is a little short.
Even Evil Has Standards: He desired to rule the world, but when Kefka decided to demand that the Warring Triad expose their true power, he attempts to stop Kefka, feeling that it was going too far. In addition, when Kefka murders General Leo, he claims that he'll simply report that he disposed of a traitor as an excuse for murdering him, implying that Gestahl would not have approved of Kefka killing General Leo, even though he manipulated the latter, unless there was good reason.
Godzilla Threshold: Eventually tries to use Meltdown on Kefka. Keep in mind Meltdown is one of the most powerful spells in the game and hits the enemy and caster parties for heavy damage. Gestahl was clearly desperate.
Go-Karting with Bowser/No, Returners, I Expect You to Dine: After the Espers razed Vector, Gestahl seemingly has a change of heart (or at least realizes that after the Esper attack he has no chance against the Returners), asks for the ceasefire, invites the party to the dinner party, blames everything on Kefka, asks the party to find the espers and negotiate with them to prevent another War of the Magi. The party doesn't fall for it, but they play along since they really need to convince the Espers not to destroy everything. And they leave behind lots of people to uncover the plans.
Karmic Death: It's very fitting that Emperor Gestahl dies at the hands of Kefka after he was responsible for having Kefka infused with magical powers, and had him Promoted to Scapegoat when things started going wrong. Add additional karmic points for the fact that Kefka kills him using the power of the Warring Triad, the very things he has pursued all of this time.
Military Brat: According to the Final Fantasy VI timeline, Gestahl was from a well-off military family. It's also strongly implied that his father was heavily involved in a large coup that resulted in Vector becoming an Empire.
A Nazi by Any Other Name: Let's see... He's an amazingly charismatic dictator attempting to conquer the world, his troops are obliquely compared to Nazi stormtroopers in a reference to a scene from Star Wars, his troops use the "Nazi arm-raise salute", he keeps Espers in a Magitek Research Facilitynote concentration camp, and... oh, he wanted to create a "master race" by breeding Celes and Kefka. His characterization is also quite similar to Mussolini and his Facism movement, especially when taking into account the fact that he was essentially trying to resurrect an old empire of Magic.
Obviously Evil: Wears black and red robes and is an old man. Year, he's evil.
Pragmatic Villainy: In the SNES version, at least, Emperor Gestahl tries to stop Kefka from doing something that will cause The End of the World as We Know It, because he wants to rule the world, not blow it up. Kefka kills him. In the GBA version, his final words were "The world will now experience true fear..." before being kicked off by Kefka, implying that it was closer to Even Evil Has Standards.
Redemption Equals Death: In a sense. He realized just how dangerous Kefka was and tried to stop him from ending the world, and got killed for his efforts. Probably more a case of Pragmatic Villainy as described above.
The Worf Barrage: His magic barrage against Kefka serves to show just how powerful Kefka has become.
The Warring Triad
Three ancient gods that effectively created magic as it is now known, they created the Espers in the crossfire of their feuding but turned themselves to stone when they realized the struggle was destroying the world. They are named Demon, Fiend, and Goddess.
Barrier Gods: Their alignment keeps their own powers in check. Move them out of alignment and the imbalance of power drastically reshapes the known world.
Bowdlerise: Fiend and Demon were renamed to Doom and Poltergeist/Poltrgeist in the SNES and PS Version, and Goddess was give more clothing in the SNES version.
Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Demon is red, Fiend is primarily blue with gold wings, and Goddess wears blue and bears a gold crest. Dissidia assigns them colors in a roundabout way — the three circles that appear during Kefka's EX Burst are in the same formation as the Triad, and Demon's is red, Fiend's is yellow, and Goddess's is blue.
God Is Evil: Though their backstory reveals they realized the havoc they were causing and stopped, by the time you find them in at the end of the game, they're fighting for Kefka for whatever reason. Hell, thanks to Kefka absorbing most of their energies, they barely even qualify as gods by that point.
Infinity+1 Sword: Demon drops the Radiant Lance, Fiend drops the Mutsunokami, and Goddess drops the Excalibur. In the original Super NES release, the former two were the strongest weapons of their kind. Excalibur was outclassed by the Ultima Weapon, Ragnarok, and Illumina, but getting the latter two meant passing up the Ragnarok Magicite that taught Ultima.
Lost Forever: Hope those of you aiming for 100% Completion brought Strago to fight Fiend, because he's the only enemy in the entire game who knows the Force Field Lore. Averted in the Advance port, where you can fight Fiend again... if you feel like dragging Strago through the Soul Shrine.
MacGuffin: They serve as this in the first part of the game, as the source of the strongest magic in the universe.
Only Known by Their Nickname: Concept art reveals they were named Sophia (Goddess), Zurvan (Demon), and Sephiroth (Fiend), but the names are never given in-game.
Secret Art: Tyrfing for Demon, Fiendish Rage and Force Field for Fiend, and Overcast for Goddess. Quasar is not exclusive to Goddess, but it is likely she'll be the first enemy you see using it, since of the only other two with it, one is a normal enemy you're likely to kill before it uses it, and the other is the GBA-exclusive Gilgamesh.
Snake People: Demon's concept art depicts what ended up being his sprite as the torso of a long snake body.
Shout-Out: The rest of the series contains subtle references to them, such as three statues in Kuja's palace resembling them, and Yunalesca resembling Goddess in her second form.
Stripperiffic: Goddess. She actually got censored in the SNES version with lengthened clothes.
Eight ancient and powerful dragons sealed in the earth, they were unleashed when Kefka moved the Warring Triad out of alignment. They reappear in the Advance bonus dungeon Dragons' Den with their boss, Kaiser Dragon.
Actually Four Mooks: The reborn Ice Dragon appears as a group of four, but their sprites overlay on top of each other so you can't pick out a specific one to target.
Bonus Boss: Technically, all of them are optional encounters.
Boss Rush: In the Soul Shrine in the Advance release, their eight reborn incarnations plus Kaiser Dragon are the final opponents.
Bragging Rights Reward: Congratulations, you defeated Kaiser Dragon and won the Diabolos Magicite! Pretty pointless now since all that's left is the Soul Shrine — the spells Diabolos teaches are pretty useless since odds are everyone knows Ultima, and his level up bonus, in terms of pure Min-Maxing, just means party members get a half-dozen or so extra stat points.
Cast From Life Span: The reborn Red Dragon will eventually expire once it puts all its energy into blasting you with the most powerful attacks it can, including Ultima. It's entirely invulnerable until it does, so the party can only endure its onslaught.
Color-Coded Characters: Aside from the black and grey Storm Dragon and green Skull Dragon, the Eight Dragons are colored pretty much just as you'd guess given their elemental typings as listed below. And even with those two the coloring fits.
Earth Dragon's earth elemental attacks can be avoided by casting Float. He has an attack to neutralize Float. Meanwhile, he himself is floating and the reborn dragon absorbs earth, so his earth attacks that hit enemies and allies alike don't hurt him.
Blue Dragon's AI script has it scan for party members with status buffs, then it inflicts itself with status ailments and uses Rippler to swap its status ailments and buffs with yours.
The reborn Red Dragon will use Ultima to deal a Total Party Kill, then a final Flare in case you cast Reraise on anyone.
The Holy Dragon starts off Genre Blind and becomes this in the rematch. The original uses only Holy, and the player is encouraged to use Reflect Rings in the dungeon where you fight it, thus all its attacks will be Reflected and it can't harm you. The reborn Holy Dragon uses Heavenly Wrath (a powerful physical attack), Heartless Angel, and Saintly Beam — namely, it pointedly uses attacks that cannot be Reflected.
Subverted with the Gold Dragon, who is Wrong Genre Savvy. It may absorb all magic, but its weakness is water, and it turns out Flood is one of the few spells that can't be absorbed, not to mention Strago's water-elemental Lores also cannot be absorbed.
Dummied Out: Kaiser Dragon is actually a reimagining of "CzarDragon", a Bonus Boss found in the coding of the original Super NES release but never implemented in the game. Various text in the Super NES release also alludes that a rematch with the Eight Dragons was also planned and would have used the gimmicks of their reborn selves.
Early Bird Boss: The game encourages you to visit Mt. Zozo pretty early on. You are encouraged to step on a switch that releases the Storm Dragon, one of the stronger of the original eight. First timers usually come up against it first.
No Cure for Evil: Averted with the reborn Holy Dragon, it has Auto-Regen and a 66% chance to counter any attack by casting Curaga on itself.
Not-So-Harmless Villain: The Holy Dragon is originally the weakest of the Eight Dragons. The reborn Holy Dragon is one of the strongest, and in particular has learned Heartless Angel as a counter-attack. Factor in that it uses Saintly Beam, which cannot be Reflected or absorbed by Runic, and the fact that there is exactly one equipment piece to absorb or nullify Holy attacks, and you're looking at a Total Party Kill if you aren't careful.
Our Dragons Are Different: Red and Holy Dragon are the only ones to be a Palette Swap of another one of the Eight Dragons; the other six use their own sprites among the group, and thus their appearances vary wildly.
The reborn Blue Dragon is pretty much the same as the original, just higher stats. Its "gimmick" is just that it inflicts more status ailments on itself when using Rippler as described above, but it still only does that if you use your own status buffs.
If you brought along Celes to fight Red Dragon, she can use Runic to absorb all of its spells.
Secret Art: They all get one in the Dragons' Den, aside from Earth Dragon and Storm Dragon, who had theirs originally.
Took a Level in Badass: Their reborn incarnations in Dragons' Den are far higher tiers than the originals. The Holy Dragon is particularly notable — the original is entirely incompetent and a party with Reflect Rings is invincible, but the reborn version is one of the most powerful of them.
Weaksauce Weakness: The first time you come across most of them, anyway, or in the SNES version. The Ice Dragon is subseptible to Mute, the Dirt Dragon is easily put to sleep, the Holy Dragon is especially Mute-subseptible (as it has absolutely no physical attack), Red Dragon can be confused and Rasped down to nothing... the list goes on. The only ones that can't be locked down easily are the Blue Dragon and Storm Dragon. However, the Blue Dragon is fought so late into the game that he's likely a pushover by that point. Appropriately, the Storm Dragon, fought early on if you follow the nudges the game gives you, is considered the strongest dragon.
A recurring octopus boss with a fondness for bad jokes. He pops up to harass the party and cause trouble for them for no real reason other than he can and he seemingly has nothing better to do with his time. His pal is Chupon/Typhon, a fire-breathing monstrosity that acts as his hired muscle.For more info on his appearances in spin-offs, see the Recurring Character sheet.
Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: Where does Ultros come from? Why does he hate the party so much to pursue them around the world attacking them? Why did he even attack them in the first place? Mysteries that will likely never be solved.
Goldfish Poop Gang: Ultros' continued pestering of the party serves to just annoy them every time he arrrives.
Harmless Villain: His battles in VI were never all that difficult to begin with, and he was never as formidable as his more rarely-seen friend Typhon. In the World of Ruin, Ultros is forced to work indefinitely as a receptionist to pay off his crippling debts. You can see him and speak to him as often as you please, but his role as a villain has ended.
Jerkass: Ultros is this in spades. While he is the game's Plucky Comic Relief, he's also downright mean. He attacks your party several times throughout the game for no reason other than just because. In the battle against him in Crescent Mountain, he mouths off to Relm, a little girl who just wanted to paint his picture. This causes the party to stop fighting and berate Ultros for making a little girl cry! He eventually caves in. Of course, Relm had ulterior motives for painting his picture, but Ultros didn't know that and still reacted badly to it.
Took a Level in Badass: In the third battle with him, after a period of time he'll gain powerful elemental spells and will become much stronger, and can even pull off a Total Party Kill if you aren't careful.
An ancient monster released in the apocalypse that terrorizes the children of Mobliz.
Breath Weapon: In the climax of the second fight, he uses Humbaba Breath to blast away two party members.
Foreshadowing: A certain NPC describes him, along with Deathgaze and the Eight Dragons, as one of the ancient monsters of the world.
Recurring Boss: First fought by Terra, then by your party the first time you visit Mobliz. On your second visit, he is first fought by your party, then by Terra, who is permanently in Esper form for this battle, as well as the remants of your party that wasn't blown away by his Humbaba Breath.
Foreshadowing: A certain NPC describes him, along with Humbaba and the Eight Dragons, as one of the ancient monsters of the world.
Get Back Here Boss: Flees after a few rounds of battle, but can't regenerate his HP after combat, so you can wear him down after repeated encounters. It's hard to track down a monster that could be anywhere in the world when you have no way to tell where he may be. You're going to be spending a lot of time flying around looking for him.
An Esper living in the human realm, he calls Terra to him when her powers awaken.
Ascended Extra: Before this game, summons (excluding Bahamut and Odin) didn't get a lot of character exploration. Ramuh was no exception. This time, aside from Valigarmanda and Maduin, Ramuh could be considered the most plot-important Esper in the game.
Heroic Sacrifice: Turns himself into Magicite to grant the party his power to help save the other Espers.
Heroic Sacrifice: Casts a binding spell to sweep the Empire out of the Esper realm, but he's so old it's implied he lost his life.
Senseless Sacrifice: But by the time he does it, the Empire has already captured enough Espers to begin their campaign and keep it going for 20 years.
The frozen Esper excavated in Narshe that kickstarts the plot of the game.
Aborted Arc: Once the Returners try to wake it up, they forget about it for the rest of the World of Balance. Justified in that the first time they tried it, most of them almost got thrown into a chasm and Terra lost control of her powers and transformed the first time, so trying again would be risky to the point of stupid.
And I Must Scream: It still has some sense of awareness when inside the ice, able to defend itself with magic in the World of Ruin. Possibly subverted in that, once he finally wakes up, he's confused about whether or not the War of the Magi is still happening.
Fire, Ice, Lightning: Teaches Firaga, Blizzaga, and Thundaga, and uses a tri-elemental attack when called into battle.
Gameplay and Story Segregation: While the Returners fail to wake Tritoch up the first time they try it and subsequently leave it alone for the rest of the game... unless you, as the player, make them go back and try again.
Giant Flyer: It's field sprite is quite huge, even if it's likely not to scale.
Interface Spoiler: In the story, it's only ever referred to as "the frozen Esper", except that right at the start of the game in the Super NES version, when your party enters the battle screen to play out a cutscene, you can see its name displayed in the enemy listing. The GBA release changed this first scene so it is simply called "Frozen Esper"... but they did not change the second instance when this occurs after the battle with Kefka.
Kill It with Fire: Or rather, free him with fire by melting him out of his icy prison. Either that or chip him out of there with barrier-piercing attacks like the Phantom Rush, Locke's Valiant Knife or some of Cyan's Bushido techniques.
MacGuffin: Its existence and the desire to obtain it drive the first several hours of gameplay.