The Ace: Heavily implied in Final Fantasy XII, and made more explicit in Final Fantasy Tactics A2. In the former, it's not readily apparent since he's only of nominal importance to the plot, but side quests and NPC conversations paint him as nothing if not hypercompetent, and he has the the stats of a god.
All-Loving Hero: He goes out of his way to help a lot of people during the side quests as well as lets the refugee Aegyl live on his airship.
Audience Surrogate: He's often criticized for being superfluous to the plot of FFXII, but it can be argued that the more "mythic" personalities in the cast like the warrior-princess Ashe and noble knight Basch would have been harder to identify with and his status as a commoner not privy to a lot of the intrigues going on and the ways of the larger world does give the opportunity for some much-needed exposition.
Badass: This is all he has to distinguish himself in the original game, though his relative inexperience diminishes it. In Revenant Wings, he's the only one able to hold his own against the Physical GodBig Bad; the rest of his team can do the same when working together and they finish him off together. And in Tactics Advanced 2, he's attracted the attention of whole cartels due to his exploits (and in some cases, scares them of through reputation alone).
Idiot Hero: Subverted in the original game, though he's impulsive and a bit naive, Vaan is clever, resourceful, and has a fair amount of scenes where he shows a more inquisitive and insightful side. The manga however makes this his defining trait, cranking up his Hot Bloodedness and making him rather arrogant and cocky, but lacking the skill and intelligence to back them up.
Magikarp Power: Begins at Level 1 with no LP, no magic, and barely anything else to his name. By Level 99, he's your party's MVP bar none.
Master Of All: He's got all around amazing stats in XII, having emphasis on strength (best score along with Basch), magick (second best score), vitality (best score) and speed (second best). Stats-wise, he's easily the best character of your party. The cherry on top of the cake is that even his attack animations are faster – Vaan can deliver combos in under half the time than the rest of the party (save Basch and Balthier) needs to execute the same amount of blows.
Overshadowed by Awesome: Vaan isn't really a bad character, he just happens to be in a game where, as far as Western audiences are concerned, he and Penelo are not as interesting or developed as the other cast members.
Overrated And Underleveled: While he and Penelo are far from slackers in Tactics A2, their default classes don't have very good stat growths. However, the trope is otherwise subverted in that the class abilities are more than decent. Vaan's Life of Crime ability has potential to deal 999 damage every time with 100% accuracy provided you have stolen enough. They're best moved to other jobs after learning their unique abilities and aren't bad as guests, either.
Supporting Protagonist: He serves as a Foil to Ashe, both of them wanting to see Dalmasca restored and to claim vengeance for the death of their loved ones. However Vaan's actions only drive the story up to when Ashe joins the party, after that the game follows her entirely and Vaan just advises her like the other characters and acts as party leader in non-combat areas. He gets over this role in Revenant Wings, though, whereas Ashe's is somewhat downplayed.
The Sneaky Guy: He was able to infiltrate the Royal Palace of Rabanastre with a little prompting from Old Dalan and find its hidden Treasure Room. Balthier, a legendary sky pirate, considers it a feat on his level and he and Fran had to wait for the chaos of La Resistances attack to achieve the same.
Tagalong Kid: He is only two years younger than Ashe and is more of The Lancer towards her, but does not have a true connection to the main plot. This is averted in Revenant Wings, though, in which he really is the main character.
Took a Level in Badass: Once in Revenant Wings, and another, huge one in Tactics A2, where he is regarded as the greatest Sky Pirate who ever lived. Even a Criminal Syndicate has a flee-on-sight order when confronting him.
Underrated And Overleveled: Despite being just "a petty thief", Vaan's stats are demolishing gameplay-wise, easily surpassing Ashe, Penelo and Fran in physical attack, Basch in magic and Balthier in both. All of this summed up makes him the most versatile and overall best character in the game.
Walking Shirtless Scene: The little vest he wears in XII doesn't leave much to the imagination of what his torso looks like. Averted in the sequel and Tactics A2
"I'll be going too, of course. Every good sky pirate needs a partner, right?"
Voiced by Yuna Mikuni (Japanese) and Cat Taber (English)
Vaan's childhood friend and Love Interest. When Vaan's parents died, Penelo's family adopted him and his brother. However, after the war between Dalmasca and Archadia began, her parents and older brothers were killed in a raid and left her an orphan. She now lives at Migelo's house with Vaan, and works odd jobs in Lowtown to get by. Penelo remains a perky and responsible girl who keeps Vaan's immaturity in check.She reappears as the main heroine of Revenant Wings and alongside Vaan in Final Fantasy Tactics A2. She also makes a cameo appearance in the character tutorials of Dissidia: Final Fantasy, where she interjects her own amusing opinions on the Dissidia cast.
Aborted Arc: Pre-release material mentioned Penelo's elder brothers as former soldiers and the ones who taught her how to defend herself, come the games actual release they have no mention until Revenant Wings though the backstory is still represented in a cursory mention in the instructions booklet.
Nightmare Fetishist: In bothDissidia games she says she thinks that the Cloud of Darkness' snake creatures are "cute."
Odd Friendship: With Larsa. They still communicate regularly through letters and remain close friends after the first game has ended.
Overrated And Underleveled: Zigzagged where in A2, where her and Vaan's default classes don't have very good stat gains even though they are rather helpful as guest characters and can be good in other classes, too. Her Dancer class is good as a secondary skillset. 0-cost debuffs are quite good, and the Sword Dancenote a double attack, used only if she has an edged weapon equipped attack is very useful if she is a Spellblade or Assassin.note who wield broadswords and katanas, respectively
An infamous and aristocratic Sky Pirate. Well-mannered, intelligent and witty, Balthier proclaims himself to be "the leading man". His personal airship is the Strahl, which he flies with his partner-in-crime Fran. They are drawn into the conflict when they break into the royal palace to steal a rare piece of magicite, only for Vaan to accidentally beat them to it.His real name is Ffamran mied Bunansa, a former Judge and the son of Archadian Imperial researcher Dr. Cid. He abandoned his post in disgust when his father became obsessed with nethicite, and warns Ashe against a similar obsession.
The Ace: He likes to think of himself as one. He does certainly live up to his claims though.
Badass: Has a history of sky piracy and the skills to back it up. Being a former Judge certainly helps.
Casual Danger Dialogue: It's remarkably difficult to get Balthier to lose his cool, even when he's at a considerable disadvantage. Held at swordpoint, he comments dryly that "At least your sword is to the point," and one of his lines when defeated in combat is to snark calmly, "Is that your best?"
Flynning: His attack tend to be the least practical and have the most theatrical flourishes.[[spoiler: It makes sense when its revealed he's actually from The Empire.
Foreshadowing / Vocal Spoiler: In the English version of the game, Balthier is the only character in the Five-Man Band who speaks with an English accent courtesy of Gideon Emery. Dalmascans speak with American accents, thus making it an instant giveaway that he's not one of Vaan's countrymen but is actually from The Empire.
Fragile Speedster: While he's definitely agile both stat- and story-wise, Balthier has less physical and magickal prowess than Vaan.
Gentleman Thief: Looter and pilferer as he may be, Balthier never stops being educated and charming.
Genre Savvy: Generally, he predicts what tropes will come into play exceptionally well...
Getting Crap Past the Radar: When Fran goes ballistic, he comments on her dislike of being "tied up" in the same suave voice he uses whenever he breaks out the charm... and then he immediately turns to Ashe and asks, "How about you?" Hrm...
Handsome Lech: Has shades in the original game, while his manga adaptation seems to be taking cues from Zidane - flirting with Ashe before he even knows her name. He later tells Basch one should only show off for ladies and that, as such, using his bravado and strength to save Vaan is a waste.
The Hero / The Leader: Subverted. While he insists that he's "the leading man" every other cutscene, which isn't entirely unjustified as he knows he's more important than the Kid Heroes (given his connections to The Empire), but this turns out to be one of the few areas in which he's Wrong Genre Savvy. It's Ashe who is the true hero of the story and the who decides where the party goes and what it does.
Heroic Sacrifice: He makes a point of mentioning that he may be required to invoke this trope eventually, as the sort of thing that a "leading man" might be expected to do. He goes through with it during the ending when he stays behind on the collapsing Bahamut to fix its engines to fly it away from the city as it crashes (only to subvert the trope by surviving the experience).
Firing One-Handed: His crossbow and rifle animations are this, which while cool slows him down a decent bit when using these weapons.
Improbable Use of a Weapon: Balthier uses all hafted weapons one-handed, notably attacking with poles in an odd manner very reminiscent of a baton twirler. Him wielding spears are likewise executed from the same bizarre grip.
Informed Attribute: Promotional materials refer to him as a silver-tongued womanizer, but, as noted under Handsome Lech, he really doesn't show it at all during the game. There's a couple hints he have a relationship with his partner in-crime, a brief handkerchief scene with Penelo and one NPC says she's smitten with him, if you find her.
The Ladys Favor: Played with. Balthier hands Penelo his handkerchief to assure her that he will bring Vaan back safely when they are arrested for aiding La Résistance. This leads to Penelo being kidnapped by Ba'Gamnan.
Nervesof Steel: He is unflappable, rather secretive, and can be hilariously indifferent to nasty surprises, such as being thrown in a dungeon (where he implies he's seen it all before), finding out 'Amalia' is actually Princess Ashe ("Huh. Can't believe that was the princess."), or witnessing his partner flying into a Mist-induced frenzy.
Ashe: "What's wrong with her?"
Balthier: "I always knew Fran didn't like being tied up. I just never knew how much."
The Charmer: Of a more subtle flavor. It doesn't help that he has a beautifully smooth voice, but is noticeable when he and party rescue Penelo.
Penelo: "Here, Balthier...your handkerchief. I thought you might want it back."
Balthier: "I shall wear it close to my heart."
Weapon of Choice: Guns. Ironically the special animation he has with guns makes his firing speed a fraction of a second slower then other characters.
Heroes Prefer Swords: Even The Wiki Rule admits that he's the slowest character with guns, but he excels with swords in hand. In fact, his stats are perfect for a sword in hand, which is perfect for the "leading role".
Fridge Brilliance: What was he before becoming a Sky Pirate? A Judge, who use swords as their primary weapon.
"I have discarded Wood and village. I won my freedom. Yet my past had been cut away forever. No longer can my ears hear the Green Word. This… solitude, you want, Mjrn?"
Voiced by Rika Fukami (Japanese) and Nicole Fantl (English)
Balthier's steadfast companion and a master of weapons, magic and mechanics. Fran is one of the Viera, a One-Gender Race tribe of bunny-women who live in the Golmore Jungle and command powerful magical abilities, such as the ability to "hear" the god-like spirit of the Wood. Fran disagreed with the Viera's philosophy of isolation and left her home village, sacrificing many of her natural abilities to live a life of freedom.
Adaptational Badass: Fran's pretty badass in the original game, but she's on a far higher tier in the manga, having super-speed and a Blizzard-enchanted claw attack that deals a One-Hit Kill to Firemane and freezes Ghis's sword. In the game, she finds an exit from the Nalbina Dungeons but the magick bindings are too strong to break. The manga, she's perfectly able to break them, it's the Imperials outside that stops them from leaving.
Informed Ability: Despite the fact that the Viera are supposed to be very magically adept, Fran's magical stats are mediocre at best, lagging behind Penelo, Vaan and Ashe. Also, despite the fact that she is supposed to be a skilled archer, her firing animation with the bow is actually slightly longer than normal, reducing her DPS and effectiveness with it compared to any other character.
Fran's weak magic may serve as Fridge Brilliance due to the fact that she notes that her magical abilities and the ability to hear the spirits of the Wood have waned over time after she left her village.
Master of None: Like Vaan she is an all around styled character, but with all her stats being all around low. In fact, stats-wise, she probably is the worst character of your party, being overshadowed by everyone else.
The Reliable One: For a fanservice character who's on the more minor side of the main cast, she's one of the most useful throughout the course of the game, average fighting stats notwithstanding. She saves members of the main cast not once, not twice, but three times, rescues her sister, indirectly rescues Basch, and is often the one the party turns to for advice, such as directing the princess to those who can help her with the Sun Cryst, translating texts, or just beating up a bunch of guards that have captured everyone.
The Stoic: Generally quiet, dignified and level-headed. However, there are a few moments in the game where her cool cracks a little, leading to...
Verbal Tic?: She has a slight but noticeable (and consistent) lisp due to her overbite. Superlative Dubbing turns this into a sexy voice—she feels inherently different from the Hume party members, yet always friendly and understanding.
Weapon of Choice: A bow and arrow, but unlike other characters her promotional artwork shows her wielding many different weapons such as swords and guns. She also has a unique bow-firing animation making her fire a bit slower than other characters, even though the bow is her iconic weapon of choice.
You Are a Credit to Your Race: Averted. Balthier mentions it, but is clearly joking. This doesn't spare him from a well-placed comeback, however.
Balthier:(notices Vaan staring at Fran) "Not many Viera where you come from, thief?"
Vaan: "It's Vaan. (looks to Fran) Sorry."
Balthier: "Well, Fran is special, in that she'd deign to partner with a Hume."
Fran: "Oh? Like a sky pirate who chooses to steal through the sewers?"
The former captain of the "Order of Knights of Dalmasca", Basch is framed for the assassination of Dalmasca's king and imprisoned as a traitor. Vaan and company find his cell during their escape from the Nalbina Dungeons, and reluctantly allow him to join to aid their escape.Having failed the royal family of Dalmasca once, Basch is determined to protect and serve Ashe in her quest to reclaim the throne. His sense of honour and loyalty to Dalmasca is second to none.
A Father to His Men: He was this as his scenes with Reks could attest too, which made it that much harder on the poor boy when he died.
The crown princess of Dalmasca and the last true heir to the Dynast King. Ashe lost her father and husband only a week after her wedding when Archadia invaded Nabradia, and was soon announced to have committed suicide out of grief. In reality, she fled underground to lead the insurgencyresistance against Archadia's occupation of Dalmasca.She is determined to restore Dalmasca whatever the cost, driven by her hatred of Archadia and her own feelings of responsibility as the crown princess.
Break the Cutie: She's a widow while still in her teens. Unlike most political marriages, both Ashe and Rasler actually loved each other.
Character Development: Learns to do what is best for Dalmasca and its people as opposed to blindly chasing revenge against the Empire, which would probably get her kingdom destroyed and herself killed. Also becomes more heroic and sociable as time goes on, when you first meet her she's a bit of a bitch and doesn't really trust the other party members.
Chickification: In the manga. Her introduction in the game establishes her as a BadassLady of War, cutting down an imperial troop and proving a powerful fourth ally for the waterway. In the manga she's actively fleeing from her attackers, and is nearly helpless in subsequent battles.
Determinator: To the point its a detriment actually—even when she gets a legitimate chance to regain her standing and rule Dalmasca, she refuses because she wants to see the Empire destroyed above all else. That, and just listen to her Quickening quotes:
"I must endure." / "I must believe." / "I must be strong."
Gray Eyes: In-game and in the spinoffs, but her official render seen to the right has her with blue eyes.
The Hero /The Leader: Despite what Balthier says, In practice it's Ashe's desires and motivations that guide the party in their quest, while the other party members tag along with her for various reasons and offer her support and advice.
Politically-Active Princess: Zig-zagged. At first, she tries to take Rabanastre by force. Later, she attempts to reclaim her kingdom by bargaining with The Empire and other factions for most of the game. Although she's a Badass Princess and would rather fight against the Archadians, she slowly understands that the easiest way to avoid bloodshed is to take the diplomatic route.
Spare To The Throne: If you pay attention to the NPC conversations you will find out that Ashe was the youngest of nine siblings with eight older brothers who have all died from war or sickness.
Unscrupulous Hero: Arguably. She spends most of the game focused on gaining nethicite with her ultimate goal being using it to destroy the Archadian Empire to avenge her husband and restore her kingdom.
Weapon of Choice: Swords of various different styles, even when she uses bombs in the sequel she still has a sword in her artwork. She also likes her shield. Even her unarmed animation has her putting up her left hand like she's got one on there.
A former captain of the Dalmasca militia. Vossler is one of the top soldiers in the Resistance, and takes on the duty of protecting Ashe after she is forced underground. He has a deep respect for Basch, and works tirelessly to restore Dalmasca.His constant struggles against the Empire eventually wear him down to the point where he betrays Ashe, selling her out to Archadia in exchange for some of Dalmasca's sovereignity, knowing full-well that Ashe would merely be a puppet ruler.
The leader of Bhujerba, a city floating in the sky with rich magicite mines. Though Bhujerba claims to be neutral, it is an open secret that Ondore is aligned with Archadia to prevent them from simply conquering his city. However, he is also secretly funding resistance movements against Archadia and seeks to reclaim Bhujerba's independance. He is the narrator of the game.
Royals Who Actually Do Something: Pun not intended. He does get involved with the events and does what he can to try and prevent another outbreak of war. And he's not even the true/direct heir to Rozarrio, but implied to be one of many—that's got to count somehow.
Sexy Secretary: No, he's not one himself! He's always accompanied by one whose main job seems to be holding his sunglasses.
Tuxedo and Martini: Tactics A2 reveals that he is this sort of Spy for Rozzaria with the unique Agent job.
Overrated And Underleveled: In Tactics A2, he cannot change classes. He is the only unit who cannot change classes. Even Vaan and Penelo, who also join with unique classes, are able to class change. This means he can't use any than other than guns, can't ever learn a secondary skillset other than Item, and can never learn any Support or Reaction abilities.
The Wise Prince: Yes! Because some of his... well, activities aside, he's a very clever man and a competent politician. When he first meets Ashe he bring up important matters for her to consider, and when the party's shown determined to seek out the Deifacted Nethicite, he makes important points such as actually needing to find what they're looking for. Plus see his above quote.
Reddas (Judge Magister Foris Zecht)
"The illusions of the past. You think to have cast them off, only to find them years later, unwearying, unrelenting. The past can bind a man as surely as irons."
The head of the pirate city of Balfonheim, who turned it from a den of corruption into an outlaw but ultimately moral city. Reddas has the honor of being the final Guest Star Party Member in the game.He was formerly known as Judge Zecht, and defected from the Empire after he was tricked by Cid into destroying Nabradia with the Midlight Shard.
Small Role, Big Impact: You meet him with only a few hours left in the game, not counting time spent on sidequests. But once you find out his past, it turns out he's more influential than some of the people you've seen all game.
Vaan's older brother. He was a member of the "Order of Knights of Dalmasca" under Basch. When he rushed to prevent the assassination of King Raminas, he found his comrades slaughtered and the king dead, supposedly at the hands of Basch. He was stabbed, and lived long enough to testify his version of events before dying.
Tragic Keepsake: His pendant which Vaan is seen wearing for the entirety of the game.
Unwitting Pawn: He is fatally stabbed by Gabranth in order to frame his twin brother for regicide and tortured to give his testimony against Basch because he too was accused of taking part in the murder.
Berserk Button: Flies into a screaming rage at the implication that Venat's actions might actually have a point.
Big Bad: From a historical standpoint, and from Venat's point-of-view. What's more, she spends 90% of the game slow-walking Ashe into becoming a genocidal tyrant under her thrall, the likes of which would have put Vayne to shame by miles.
Manipulative Bastard: She tries everything to get Ashe to destroy Archadia and Venat, progressing from subtle manipulation to to outright ordering her to do it.
One-Shot Character: Appears as herself for less than five minutes, despite having a continuous role throughout the plot of the game.
Poisonous Friend: Ashe doesn't realise who poisionous she is until they meet face to face in Giruvegan.
Protagonist Journey to Villain: Spends the whole game trying to make this happen for Ashe. Fails spectacularly at it because she just couldn't keep her big mouth shut.
Shape Shifter Guilt Trip: The ghostly image of Rassler that keeps appearing to Ashe over the course of the game is Gerun playing off her grief and rage towards Archadia to get her to acquiesce to genocide.
She Is the King: She's referred to in the game's lore as the "King" of the Occuria.
Sophisticated as Hell / Wicked Cultured: Speaks in poetic meter, uses highfalutin language and poetic abbreviations such as pow'r, and carries herself with all the dignity of an Elizabethan monarch, until you piss her off.
"Ivalice will know a new Dynast King, and Man will keep his own history! The tyranny of the gods is ended!"
Voiced by Nobuo Tobita (Japanese) and Elijah Alexander (English)
The son of the current Emperor of the Archadian Empire, and recently appointed Consul to Dalmasca. His affable nature cloaks his intelligence and utter ruthlessness, and his schemes permeate every part of the plot.Vayne is a complex character with a multitude of goals: to break the control of the Occuria over Ivalice, to destroy the corrupt bureaucracy of Archadia, to become the next Dynast King and gain complete control over Ivalice, and to prepare the way for his younger brother Larsa to inherit his position.
Affably Evil: Arguably the most affable villain in the series. When Migelo refuses to drop the "lord consul" title from his name, Vayne invites him to dinner at the palace and tells him he'll get the guy drunk until he gets it right.
A Dynast-King Am I: He intends to use his manufacted nethicite to overthrow the Occuria and rule the world as a benign overlord.
Anti-Villain (Type III): While getting to rule the world is a nice plus, Vayne's goal is to defy the reign of the Occuria by overthrowing those they favor, thus ending their control over the races of Ivalice and giving Mankind freedom from manipulative and controlling gods. He's also shown to be a pragmatic, intelligent and charismatic leader who wants to secure the future of House Solidor and truly cares for his brother Larsa.
Adaptational Villainy: In the manga he's much more cruel and manipulative, getting a few new Kick the Dog moments and having his charismatic speech to Dalmasca omitted.
Depending on how you view the cutscenes that show the power struggles going on in the Empire, Vayne is aware that his brother would ultimately make a better ruler for the people, but the times are troubled and for the moment Vayne is the better ruler on account that he can handle the war and politics that Larsa is too young to deal with yet.
Vayne: "Observe well, Larsa. Watch and mark you the suffering of one who must rule, yet lacks the power."
Cain and Abel: Averted with him and Larsa regardless of how different they are they love each other dearly, However in the back story Vayne murdered both of his older brothers.
Apparently, his father commanded him to, and it is implied that Vayne had to be forced to carry out those orders. This likely fostered ill will towards his father, which in turn helped motivate Vayne's assassination of the Emperor and ascend to the throne.
The manga takes it further by revealing the reason Archadia attacked Nabradia and later Dalmasca was due to an insurgent faction in Nabradia seeking an alliance with Rozarria over Dalmasca. The Archadians feared a civil war in Nabradia could lead to a power shift and invaded to ensure stability, and then they went to war with Dalmasca as well due to their alliance with Nabradia. It is implied Vayne had some hand in the insurgents' rise to power, effectively making him single-handedly responsible for causing a world war.
Xanatos Speed Chess: Plays a mean game of it. He can't control what Ashe and her allies will do, nor the resistance or Rozarria, but he still manages to get what he wants out of it.
The Evil Prince: While he has no actual title Prince despite being the Emperor's son, it's implied he killed his two older brothers, on his father's orders. He later seizes power by murdering his father and framing the Senate, allowing him absolute power over the Empire making him ...
Expy Some traits of his match that of Emperor Mateus, including his being the reigning Emperor, his allying himself with a rogue being, and even down to his final defeat on a flying fortress. Unlike Mateus, however, that defeat was permanent.
An ambitious, handsome young man able to use his charisma and keen political mind to consolidate power while simultaneously winning the support of the people as well looking to bring about an era of peace: Vayne or Augustus, first emperor of the Roman Empire?
One-Winged Angel: It's Square-Enix, this is not a spoiler. Though he does play with convention by doing it twice, first by growing muscle-bound and superpowered by nethicite to become Vayne Novus, then by doing a Fusion Dance with Venat and grafting parts of his airship onto his body to become The Undying.
Genre Savvy: Vayne recognises that a populace that despises their conquerors can and will end up rebelling. So, what does he do? Why, give a great speech to win them over to his side. Obviously, it doesn't work with the Five-Man Band (because there wouldn't be a game if it did), but the fact that he tried says it all.
Kick the Dog: While actually referring to the subjects as dogs, no less. While Drace questions his innocence in Gramis's death and threatens him, Vayne orders Gabranth, her confidante, to execute her right then and there. He also refers to Gabranth as a dog and reveals he knows Gabranth was spying on him under Gramis's orders, and thus the execution is a test of loyalty.
In the manga, during the attack by the resistance at the start of the game, Vaan spies on Vayne and Gabranth watching the carnage, and is discovered and hauled before Vayne. Vayne knows full well Vaan is enraged and mocks him, calling him a powerless dog too weak and cowardly to do anything but kneel at his feet. When Vaan brings up Reks's death, knowing Vayne was at Nalbina that night, Vayne says that since he comes from a family of dogs, he should be grateful he didn't have to pay for a funeral. Vaan pushes himself to his feet, and when Vayne just mocks him some more for not knowing his place, Vaan finally musters the courage to attack him, only to be blocked by Gabranth. Gabranth asks if they should show leniency since Vaan obviously isn't a rebel, but Vayne orders him executed anyway, and just to drive a knife into Gabranth's heart too, taunts him about his brother and his homeland a bit before he leaves.
Large Ham: When he goes nuts at the end, he REALLY goes nuts.
Magic Pants: As Vayne Novus and layer The Undying, his clothing dissolves leaving only the armored portions, which encompass gauntlets, boots, the tails of his outfit, and his belt with a convenient flap of armor hanging over the groin.
Necessarily Evil: Even in his quest to become the new Dynast-King that will unite all of Ivalice, and shake off the Occuria's yoke, he is very much aware of the atrocities he commits, and the tragedies his and Cid's plotting have wrought. His remark "my hands are stained with blood, I see little reason to stay them now" alone shows he's aware of what he has done and will have to do in the future to see his goals to fruition.
The Unfettered: A more rule-abiding version, he nonetheless states (in a conversation with Emperor Gramis) that he's willing to do whatever he must, even if it means raising his sword and taking life en masse. Especially if he can prevent Larsa from having to do so instead.
No Place for Me There: It's never stated outright but there are implications that he's trying to unite the world under his banner so that he can hand it over to his brother, Larsa, when the time is right. This would, quite obviously, leave a man like him without much purpose but he doesn't seem fazed at all by this fact.
Well-Intentioned Extremist: His ultimate goal is to create a world free from the Occuria's influence...albeit under his complete dictator-like rule.
Larsa Ferrinas Solidor
"The men of my family, we are taught to place the needs of others before those of our own. I will see that you are kept from harm. It is my duty to House Solidor."
Voiced by Yuka Imai (Japanese) and Johnny McKeown (English)
Vayne's younger brother, and competition for the throne of Archadia. Unlike Vayne, Larsa ultimately desires peace and works with the protagonists to unravel the web of secrets that his brother has spun.As a child of twelve, Larsa is too young to fully understand the harsh realities of the world. Several factions plot from the shadows to either take advantage of his naiveity or to protect his innocence and idealism.
As a guest party member he can be fairly high level—at age twelve—and seems to be fully trained in some style of Archadian fencing. It can be odd to see him engage a nine-foot-tall Werewolf with an expression of Dissonant Serenity.
Break the Cutie: By the end of the game, everyone this kid loves and cares for is dead. You see him break multiple times as a result.
Cain and Abel: Mostly averted, Larsa and Vayne clearly love each other dearly but ultimately Larsa challenges his brother's authority when he feels he can no longer stay idle to his plans.
Combat Medic: You'll probably appreciate Larsa most for his healing skills, but he's a decent fighter too.
Crutch Character: It isn't a bad idea to save the optional sidequests and bosses for Larsa's second time joining the party. Besides the fact that Guest Party members are always a good thing for the fourth swordarm, Larsa's infinite supply of Hi-Potions make a lot of the optional parts of the game much easier. His Gambits have him use a Hi-Potion any time someone dips below 50% HP, and at 10% he uses an X-Potion instead, likely a full heal or close to it either way. He's also got the Telekinesis Technick, allowing him to attack flying enemies physically, while your party members will be relying on ranged weapons and magick.
It doesn't help that he's initially known as "Lamont," not the most gender-specific name, and he isn't explicitly referred to as a male by anyone until some time after he joins you.
It does help, however, that he's very young. He's only twelve, for Pete's sake! And, of course, if Larsa takes after his big brother in the looks department, then he'll be just fine and manly-looking after a growth spurt or two.
Heroic BSOD: Has a brief one when Al-Cid reveals that his father passed away.
Hyperspace Arsenal: The kid is famous for having an infinite supply of Hi-Potions and X-Potions, and he is not at all shy about using them. Subverted in the International Zodiac Job System re-release, where Guest party members use items from your inventory instea. This means that Larsa no longer has infinite items, but this is compensated by him getting very useful white magic—more powerful than you likely have at his parts of the game.
Item Caddy: Larsa has potions up the wazoo and you will appreciate them.
Magic Knight: In the International Zodiac Job System, he has Cura, Bubble, Water and Balance, along with some status-healing spells, and knows the Shades of Black Technick that casts random Black Magic for free.
Odd Friendship: With Penelo. They still communicate regularly through letters and remain close friends after the first game has ended. He even revamps Penelo's entire airship kitchen when her cooking finally proves tasteful.
The Red Mage: In the International Zodiac Job System, Larsa becomes one (though different from the Zodiac Job's version of the game). He loses his infinite supply of Hi-Potion, but is granted many powerful white spells before anyone else, and even some black spells (plus the Shades of Black technique), making him a jack of all trades. Combined with his quite high Magic power, high MP pool, his ability to wield a sword and his very high evasion, he is a force to be reckoned with, though he still lacks in the HP department.
Sheltered Aristocrat: While he is certainly skilled in politics, especially for a twelve-year-old boy, he is still incredibly naive.
The Sixth Ranger: The second introduced in the story (after Vossler and before Reddas).
Wise Beyond Their Years: He's only twelve, but is very intelligent, mature, and well-spoken, and manages to play a few rounds of Xanatos Speed Chess against his older brother. He seems to be quite effective at sweet-talking the ladies as well.
Youngest Child Wins: Towards Vayne. And his other two older brothers, who Vayne himself assassinated several years before the first game took place.
The head researcher of Archadia's Draklor Laboratories, and notably the first Cid to be a major villain. He is the creator of manufacted nethicite, the substance that powers Archadia's war machines, and of various other technical marvels such as airships that can traverse Jagd. He is allied with Vayne and is completely obsessed with the potential of nethicite.He is the estranged father of Balthier, who left in disgust when Cid became consumed by his nethicite research. Cid received the knowledge of how to create nethicite from Venat, who he works with to destroy the Occuria's hold over Ivalice.
A God Am I: Shows shades of this at the top of the Pharos.
Mad Scientist: Fills the criteria but actually a subversion, Cid is perfectly sane and knows exactly what he's doing. This is lampshaded by Balthier, who notes "he wasn't mad at all," and indeed Cid isn't — he's just busy talking to someone other people can't see, likes being overly theatrical, and is obsessed with a particularly fascinating and important field of study.
Nay-Theist: He manufactures nethicite in direct defiance of the Occuria (and at Venat's urging). He was the one who spurred Vayne to invade the small countries south of Archadia to get at their deifacted nethicite.
Pragmatic Villainy: Come the late game he's come to realize that the huge amounts of power stored in deifacted Nethicite is too great to be worth the risk of trying to control, since they have a habit of detonating like nuclear warheads if used improperly.
"To Hell with the Occuria and their stones! What good a power that cannot be harnessed?"
"They are fulfilled beyond your knowing. The Cryst is sundered, Age of Stones, complete. From the Undying ones the world is freed. You shall not tread this path alone. Together we go, come...
A rebel Occuria who disagreed with the philosophy of its kin, and sought to break the control of the Occuria over Ivalice. To accomplish this it aligns with Cid and Vayne, revealing the secret to creating nethicite.
Affably Evil: Is very polite and well mannered towards others.
Ambiguous Gender: Is specifically voiced by a woman, yet the body is ... confusing, to say the least. The voice is also digitally modulated to mimic certain masculine vocal inflections too. Since the Occuria leader Gerun is in the same circumstance, it's tough to say whether the Occuria even have genders at all, or if 'female' is the standard definition for them (as opposed to male). Or they just all have female voices regardless of gender. Either way, it's never specified what gender Venat is, but for simplicity's sake, she's referred to as female in this section from here on out.
Alternatively, she could be considered the Big Bad with Vayne and Cid as Co-Dragons and the rest of the Occuria as the Bigger Bads. This game seems to love ambiguity.
The Bad Guy Wins: Its goal was to stop the Occuria's manipulation, something that heroes have no problems with, and in the end succeeds.
Blue and Orange Morality: Like the rest of the Occuria, Venat's motivations are as unknowable as her actions. In siding with Ivalice's mortal races and desiring to free them from her brethren, she's willing to engage in atrocities on the scale of genocide, but treats her allies in this quest with kindness and honor, and only does as much evil as is absolutely necessary to bring about the "greater good." By the end of the game she succeeds.
The highest-ranking officers in Archadia, essentially making them the most powerful military authority in Archadia. but also the chief magistrates of the Archadian nation, making them the Supreme Court as well. They are also unofficially obedient to House Solidor.
Applying to the Judges as a whole:
Anti-Villain: Aside from Bergan, they all rank as Type Is, and individually they variably verge into the other three. All of the Judges (again, except for Bergan) show themselves to have some level of nobility and honor, and some do question the direction the rulers of Archadia are taking the country. In fitting with the Grey and Gray Morality of the game, it's just that they're on the other side of the war from the playable party, not that any of them are really "evil".
The Brute: Bergan, Ax-Crazy and valuable power and brutality, which is why he champions Vayne as the perfect emperor.
The Dark Chick: Drace, the only one of them not afraid to be open about her suspicions of Vayne, and as such not afraid to speak against him. Bonus point for actually being the only female of the group.
Sixth Ranger Traitor: Zecht, who has gone missing by the events of the game after the destruction of Nabudis and is assumed dead or a deserter. It turns out to be Reddas.
Four-Star Badass: They're the commanders of Archadia's militia and they kick a lot of ass.
Antagonistic Old Folks: With the exception of Gabranth, they all appear to be much older than the party or Gabranth.
Tin Tyrant: All of them wear custom suits of full plate armor.
Took a Level in Badass: In the game they mostly only use basic magic, if at all, and generally are not very impressive bosses, not counting the International rematch with all five of them. In the manga adaptation of the game, they're upgraded to One-Man Army. Bergan and Drace march across a battlefield knocking troops aside with ease, and Ghis kills a Firemane with one hit.
Judge Gabranth (Noah fon Ronsenburg)
"Silence! All was stripped from me. Only hatred for the brother who fled our homeland remains mine!"
Voiced by Akio Ohtsuka (Japanese) and Michael Rodgers (English)
An Archadian Judge and the Emperor's right-hand man. The Emperor tasks him with protecting Larsa from the ugly side of politics and war. However, he becomes ensnared in Vayne's machinations and finds his loyalties to the Empire and Larsa tested.He is Basch's twin brother Noah, who impersonated Basch to kill King Raminas and disgrace his brother. When his homeland was conquered by Archadia, he joined the Empire instead of joining his brother in Dalmasca.He appears in Dissidia: Final Fantasy as a Hidden Character.
Break the Haughty: Actually he's already broke; the events of the game simply serve to break what little is left.
Darth Vader Clone: His echoing voice, servitude to the Emperor, and armored appearance are the tip of the iceberg. He's also Basch's brother who joined the Empire, is deep down a demoralized and broken man, and is convinced by Basch to reclaim his honor and help them defeat Vayne, only to be mortally wounded for his efforts. And on top of this, he's considered more iconic and popular than Vayne, the actual Big Bad.
Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: "You confound me, brother! You failed Landis, you failed Dalmasca, all you were to protect. Yet you still hold on to your honor. How!?"
Evil Counterpart: To Basch. He was also is an antithesis for Vaan and Ashe who at the games emotional apex chose to Turn the Other Cheek on the man who destroyed their entire lives while he spent his life mulling in his hatred for Basch.
Evil Twin: He's actually a Deconstruction of this trope, having initially had good reason to hate his brother. By the events of the game however, Noah was serving the country who originally assimilated his homeland of Landis. This may originally have been justified to him by his and Basch's mother being Archadian, but by the game's events he's gradually falling ever further, whereas Basch was able to put his life back together and fight on even when all his honour seemed lost. That neither side is entirely right or wrong keeps this trope from being played straight, much like the treatment somanyotherstropesinthe gameare given.
Exact Words: After Vayne transforms into Vayne Novus, Vayne tells Gabranth to defend his brother, Larsa, as he will have "much need in the Hell to follow." Gabranth obeys the command to defend Lord Larsa... by turning his sword against Vayne and aiding the heroes instead.
Unknown Rival: Is on both ends of the trope. He despises Basch and in every interaction with him mocks and goads him, while Basch remains calm and regards him with collected reassurance of himself. On the other end, Ashe and Vaan despise him, but they don't even meet until near the end of the game and Gabranth doesn't think much of their hate except to try and use it to manipulate Ashe.
Villainous Breakdown: Suffers this after it becomes clear that Basch was able to transcend his past and hardship while Noah is still empty and bitter. After Basch defeats him he finally lets go and performs a Heel-Face Turn.
You Killed My Father: Ashe is not happy when Gabranth (almost gleefully) admits to killing her father and essentially ruining her life (of course, this was his intention with the confession).
"Too late, and to their sorrow, do those who misplace their trust in gods learn their fate."
One of the Archadian Judges who believes that power and might are the key to ruling. As such he eagerly accepts Vayne as the new emperor when he takes power. Has a short but very memorable role, demonstrating he has no problem slaughtering an entire mountain village of innocents for no real reason.
Blood Knight: It's largely implied, but still demonstrated in-game. The manga adaptation shows this is his normal state, with him leading the assault on the Dalmascan troop at Nabudis and clearly enjoying himself immensly.
The Brute: Of the Judge Magisters as a group, and of the Archadian military as a whole. Presumably.
Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: If several of these tropes are any indication, Bergan was, if not kind, at least a more sane man at some point before the events of the game. Even in his first appearance in-story, he's rather brusque but somewhat level-headed. In his subsequent scenes, his taking manufacted nethicite into his body causes him to first brutally throw Drace across the room, followed by his slaughtering people at Mt Bur-Omisace before the nethicite destroys his body, killing him.
Meat Puppet: By Venat, to precipitate the slaughter of the Kiltias and galvanize Ashe's retaliation.
Might Makes Right: Believes Vayne to be best suited to rule Ivalice by virtue of being the most powerful and ambitious.
"Spare me your lies! I see the serpent coiled here before me!"
Voiced by Yoko Soumi (Japanese) and Julia Fletcher (English)
Another Archadian Judge, and a more reasonable one. Knowing Vayne is a Magnificent Bastard she doesn't trust him and prefers Larsa. She's the second Judge to fall (after Ghis) when she tries to call him out on killing his father. Vayne has her executed for treason.
Breast Plate: Averted, her armor is subtly different from the male judges' in the chest and has a wider hip area, but still fits the same basic design.
Voiced by Ryusuke Obayashi (Japanese) and Mark Wing Davey (English)
An Archadian Judge (probably the second-oldest after Zargabaath) who plays an important role in the early plot by capturing the party members multiple times. Unlike the other judges, he only seems to be out for himself; in short, he's a careerist and a schemer. When he gets his hands on some deifacted nethicite he contemplates seizing power for himself, but dies when he finds out how powerful it really is.
Bling of War: While the other Judges wear imposing silver and black armor, Ghis is quite a bit more stylish with a uniform of red and gold with matching weapons.
The Chessmaster: Tries, but ultimately isn't as good as the bigger and more well-informed Chessmasters.
Even Evil Has Standards: Seems to have shades of this in his first appearances - especially compared to Bergan - but it's really more that he prefers to not dirty his own hands if he can help it. When the party confronts him, he has no further issue with attempting to kill them, though it must be acknowledged that he doesn't appear to hold a grudge afterward. Say what you will about his ethics - or lack thereof - but don't mistake him for a simple-minded mass-murderer.
Faux Affably Evil: He's definitely cultured and polite, rarely if ever losing his composure even when Ashe's group is fighting against him to escape the Dreadnought Leviathan. He's also got an enormous ego and an inflated opinion of himself which comes from being a cunning social climber.
I Gave My Word: A villainous example, Vaan hands him the Dusk Shard but asks he promise not to execute anyone. Ghis doesn't voice agreement, but does order they be imprisoned rather than have them killed, even though three of the party members hold no political value.
Jerkass: Polite he may be, but a creep he most definately is.
The Starscream: He makes a very revealing comment right before his death that implies he'll use the nethicite to put himself on the Archadian throne.
Starter Villain: The primary Imperial representative to oppose the party. Until he blows himself up.
Too Dumb to Live: Really, Ghis - you just had to test the deifacted nethicite while on an airship, not stopping to consider just how powerful it must be if King Raithwall used it to conquer the lands all those years ago? With not even any safety precautions in place, you were kind of asking to get blown up.
The final of the five Archadian Judges seen in the game, he's more the quiet type and acts as a voice of reason among them. He's an honourable sort, loyal to Archadia as a nation and ideal rather than any person. Is notably the only Judge to make it out of the game alive.
Only Sane Man: He and Judge Drace are probably the most level-headed and reasonable of the Judges, but unlike Drace he tends to keep his thoughts to himself and refrains from antagonizing his lords. This may be one of the reasons he's the only Judge still alive by the end.
Pet the Dog: He attempts to talk Vayne out of killing Drace.
And again when he's willing to sacrifice himself, his crew, and his Empire's flagship, to save someone else's city from the collapsing Sky Fortress.
Reasonable Authority Figure: Easily the sanest Judge Magister, and arguably more reasonable than both the Senate and the ruling family.
To Be Lawful or Good: For most of the game, Zargabaath decides on being lawful - either regretting what he's witnessing but not stepping in (like when Bergan went berserk at Mt Bur-Omisace), or appealing to Vayne, being rejected, and going along with it (when Vayne orders Drace's execution).
What Happened to the Mouse?: Despite surviving the game, Zargabaath has no mention in the ending or the sequel. His fate is a complete mystery, though it could be safely assumed he will help Basche and Larsa to stabilise the Empire, appoint new Judge Magisters and reinstate the senate.
Manipulative Bastard: See Revenge trope below. As adorable as he looks, as patient and kind as he is towards Clan members, his ulterior motives essentially boil down to this. Whether the player sympathizes with him afterwards is another story.
Mythology Gag: The names of the prominent members of Clan Centurio; Kjrn, Ma'kenroh, Emet and Monid where Clan Nutsy's founding clan members in Final Fantasy Tactics Advance. Unfortunately in the English version of Tactics Advance these names are randomized so the reference is mostly Lost in Translation.
Verbal Tic Since he's a moogle, he automatically uses "kupo".
"The whole affair has the smell of money. I may have to whet my beak a little."
Voiced by Koji Ishi (Japanese) and Steve Blum (English)
A Bangaa bounty hunter with his eye set on claiming Balthier's bounty (he's the green Bangaa in the bottom center - the others are his gang/siblings). He is incredibly cruel and his methods are wildly illegal. Such methods include kidnapping and attacking innocents to draw out his prey.
Demoted to Extra: Ba'Gamnan appears shortly into the beginning with an established desire to get Balthier, and soon after kidnaps Penelo to lure Balthier in. In the following battle, he's so tough it's actually recommended to run from him rather than fight (unless the player's been Level Grinding). Sounds like he'll be a major recurring antagonist, right? Well... no, actually. He basically disappears from the main plot altogether, reappearing as part of a Hunt, and that's it for his appearances in Final Fantasy XII.
Though he becomes a recurring villain in Revenant Wings. You even get the chance to play as him for a brief portion of the game.
Mysterious beings known as The Undying who act as Gods over Ivalice and dwell within the Great Crystal high above Giruvegan where not even airships can reach.
Biggest Bads: Their control over history is what spurred Venat to turn, making them responsible for the whole plot.
Blue and Orange Morality: Essentially, they view their actions as promoting peace among mortals. Sometimes their actions can lead things look beneficial, but if they seem something as an obstacle to their vision of how the world should be, they will take any means to remove it, regardless of what it is.
Expy: Of the final bosses of earlier games in multiple cases. Cu Chulainn, Belias, Zalera, Adrammelech, Hashmal, Zodiark, and Ultima hail from Final Fantasy Tactics (which is set in the same continuity as XII), while most of the others are based on the final bosses of Final Fantasy I (Chaos), II (Mateus), IV (Zeromus), and V (Exodus). Only Famfrit and Shemhazai have no counterpart in the previous games.
Fallen Angel: All of them thematically. Ultima is a literal one.
Field Power Effect: Several of them have these when you fight them. They include disabling magic, disabling basic attacks, disabling items, draining health and draining magic. Ultima cycles through them as well as two others used by other bosses.
A mysterious armored figure who aims to invade Ivalice from the floating continent of Lemurés and start a war between the aegyl and humes. Sky Pirates call her the Judge of Wings due to her resemblance to the Archadian Judges.
"I'm gonna learn to fly all by myself! I wanna fly higher than anyone's ever flown before!"
Another orphan from lowtown, Filo follows faithfully in Vaan's footsteps. She still bears the emotional scars of the war, but she doesn't let them interfere with her dream of becoming a sky pirate. She actually appears in Final Fantasy XII, but doesn't do anything until the sequel, where she's part of the main party.
"I got my hands full watching the shop... and Old Dalan had something for me to do, but I can't get away."
An orphan living in Rabanastre's Lowtown, Kytes is one of Vaan's closest friends. Hoping to become a sky pirate himself, Kytes practices magick with single-minded determination. Like Filo, he appears as an orphan in Lowtown in Final Fantasy XII proper, but doesn't have any real characterization until the sequel.