"One of these days I’ll fly an airship of my own. I’ll be a sky pirate, free to go where I will."
Voiced by Kouhei Takeda (Japanese) and Bobby Edner (English)
An energetic street urchin living in Rabanastre who talks big about rebelling against the occupying Empire and becoming a Sky Pirate. He is an orphan, his parents having died from the plague when he was young, and lives with Penelo at Migelo's house. When he sneaks into the royal palace and steals an incredibly rare (and significant) piece of magicite, he becomes entangled in the uprising against the Empire.He acts as the Audience Surrogate in Final Fantasy XII, but becomes the main protagonist in Revenant Wings. He later makes appearances in Final Fantasy Tactics A2 as a Hidden Character and Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy as one of the main cast.
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 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 letting 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 off 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. Dissidia 012 likewise dials up the idiocy to the point he has trouble remembering simple names.
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.
Only One Name: In a game where most characters either have a last name or have taken an alias, Vaan never has his full name reveled. Courtesy of Old Dalan it's sometimes thought to be "Ratsbane", but it's a joke on how much time he spends fighting rats in the sewers and not actually his name.
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 Résistance's 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.
There Is Another: It is strongly implied that the Occuria are grooming him as a replacement for Dynast-King if their manipulations of Ashe don't work; Vaan can see Rasler's ghost too, but to him it looks like Reks.
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's abducted by Ba'Gamnan as a ploy to capture Balthier, and much like Vaan gets caught up in the power struggles of the war for it, though not on the same side.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 game's actual release, and they have no mention until Revenant Wings, though the backstory is still represented in a cursory mention in the instructions booklet.
Overrated And Underleveled: Zigzagged 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 Assassinnote who wield broadswords and katanas, respectively.
An infamous Sky Pirate, Balthier is well-mannered, witty, and charming, travelling the skies on his personal airship, the Strahl. He proudly proclaims himself "the leading man", considering the quest his own story he's to see out. He and Fran are pulled into the conflict when they choose to break into the royal palace in the midst of an rebel attack, and are subsequently lopped in with them by enemy and ally alike. Balthier's stake in events is more personal than he lets on though, as his past catches up with him in ways he'd rather not admit.
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.
Big Brother Mentor: To Vaan, though not on purpose. Balthier balks at the idea when others mention the trope, and Vaan is likewise not impressed, but in practice they do have this dynamic.
Vaan: Since when am I Balthier's apprentice? Balthier: Not the first time I've heard that joke. I'm still not laughing.
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 attacks tend to be the least practical and have the most theatrical flourishes. It makes sense when it's revealed he's actually from The Empire.
Foreshadowing: Quite a lot of it regarding his true past. Further, 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. You know which characters do speak with English accents? The Archadians.
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: he immediately believes Basch's story about having an Evil Twin, is aware that the ancient tomb they're about to break into will be full of booby traps and monsters, and so forth. However, he's Wrong Genre Savvy in presuming he's The Hero: Ashe is. Fran lampshades this in the ending, but Balthier scoffs at the idea.
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 it's Ashe who is the true hero of the story and 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. His 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 has 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.
Lampshade Hanging: As the profile quote demonstrates, Balthier is perfectly content to perform a Heroic Sacrifice because he believes that he's The Hero, and thus cannot die thanks to Plot Armor. He's proven correct when he survives the destruction of the Bahamut at the end of the game.
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."
That Man Is Dead: Though he doesn't reject it as fiercely as some, he doesn't appreciate being called by his real name when he runs into people who know his past.
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.
"I have discarded Wood and village. I won my freedom. Yet my past had been cut away forever."
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.
Action Girl: She's a female and the most physically inclined of the cast for story reasons.
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.
Badass Driver: She's got a hoverbike and is an amazingly cool pilot on it.
Combat Stilettos: As with all Viera, she wears them to compensate for her much longer feet.
Gameplay and Story Segregation: So very much, doubling as an Informed Ability. Viera are supposed to be very magically adept, but Fran's magical stats are mediocre at best, square middle among the six main party members. 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. Her weak magic may be due to the fact she's left the Wood and thus her abilities have diminished, but that's one heck of a power loss when the Humes are now better than her.
I Have No Son: She inverts this on her sister, Mjrn, advising her to forget about her since she has left the Wood and should no longer exist to her.
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.
Ms. Fanservice: Along with the rest of her race. She's got a shapely body covered up by what can best be described as a wire bikini, and it's quite form-fitting too.
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.
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?
You Can't Go Home Again: When she does eventually return to visit the Viera village, it's implied they miss her, but Fran holds this opinion; she's made her choice and must live with it, for better or worse.
Captain Basch fon Ronsenburg
"If I could protect but one person from war's horror... then I would bear any shame. I would bear it proudly."
The former captain of the "Order of Knights of Dalmasca", Basch was framed for the assassination of Dalmasca's king. The king's death was the cause for peace talks to break down and Dalmasca fall to the Empire, and Basch was executed as a traitor. However, this is only a cover story: in reality he was kept prisoner to be interrogated about the resistance that was forming. 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.
Badass: Easily the most awesome party member of the game. He's a former knight captain, and it shows.
Beard of Sorrow: When in prison, but he trims it to a reasonable length once he escapes.
Boring but Practical: His attack animations are all pretty basic stuff with little to no acrobatics, but comes out very quickly and would actually really hurt if done in real life.
The Captain: Before the main events of the game. In the Japanese version though his rank was General.
Clear My Name: Every thinks he killed Raminas, but he's innocent. Subverted in the end. By the end of the game the public at large still thinks he's dead and guilty, and the people who know he's alive also know he's innocent.
Horse Archer: He's one in the opening movie, though mounted on a Chocobo.
The Paladin: In Revenant Wings, it's his character class.
Pull the Thread: Larsa practically invokes the trope by name regarding Basch and Ashe. The world thinks Basch dead, but someone kept him alive in secret. There are reasons for that, and his survival will really shake up the status quo as word gets around.
Purple Prose: More so than any of the other party members, he tends to be very eloquent.
The crown princess of Dalmasca and the last true heir to the kingdom. 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 resistance 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.
Action Girl: Ashe is just as capable in battle as any man.
Anti-Hero: Somewhat, during the story's early stages - while she cared for Dalmasca, she wasn't exactly the most level-headed member of the group before her Character Development.
Badass Princess: Don't let the fact she's royalty fool you, Ashe has survived in the resistance for two years and can handle herself in a fight. Her Establishing Character Moment is to cut down an Imperial and basically shout "Bring It" to three more advancing on her.
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. Also, 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 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.
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: She's rude and abrasive at first, but gradually warms up and accepts the party as friends and allies.
Lady of War: Even in the heat of battle, Ashe remains poised and graceful.
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.
Pyrrhic Victory: Ultimately realizes she's setting herself up for this. She could take the power of the Sun-Cryst and use deifacted nethicite to fight Arcadia, but it would entirely betray the ideals and principles of the kingdom she's been fighting for, and at that point her cause will be truly lost.
Revenge Before Reason: She treads this path for a very long time until she takes Vaan's example to fight for what's right rather than for vengeance.
Royals Who Actually Do Something: Her defining trope more than anything else, Ashe takes her position as Princess very seriously and is fully committed to the political responsibilities that it entails.
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. However, two years of little success have begun to wear down his resolve. As a result he cuts a deal with the Empire to restore Ashe to the throne as a Puppet King, feeling that outright defiance will gain them nothing.
Sacrificial Lion: His death and Ashe's refusal to accept his bargain with the Empire firmly establishes what her priorities are: vengeance first, Dalmasca second. His betrayal also shakes the game up on a meta level, truly introducing the grey morality of the antagonists and the heroes.
The Sixth Ranger: An outsider to your main part of six who helps them from behind the scenes.
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 allied 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.
The Chessmaster: Manipulates a lot of events behind the scenes without directly getting his hands dirty. Being he's closely watched by the Empire, he has to be secretive about it to avoid his true plans being discovered.
Cool Old Guy: He's old, but still a good player in the political field.
La Résistance: Not a member, but a close ally. After Vossler's death he effectively becomes the leader of it.
Unreliable Narrator: Infamously so, in-universe he's known for publicly lying and concealing the truth for assorted political reasons. There's a reason "Don't listen to Ondore's lies" is a Memetic Mutation.
"I would lay down my life at a single word to be sure… but I harbor no maundering delusions of valiant grandeur".
A member of the ruling family of Rozzaria, a nation rival to Archadia. He works alongside Larsa to avert the war brewing between the two empires, as the cost of such a war would devastate both sides.
Ascended Extra: A meta example, he was a minor supporting character before Norio Wakamoto was cast. His vocal performance considerably endeared Al-Cid to the developers and netted him a bigger part in the game.
Royals Who Actually Do Something: 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 man.
Sexy Secretary: 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 Spymaster: Claims to have "little birds" who tell him things. We never fully find out what that means, but Al-Cid clearly has connections.
The Wise Prince: Some of his 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.
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, and is a surprise ally of the party that's aiding Ondore's war efforts.
The Atoner: He's seeking to make up for a great sin he did in the past.
Badass: Reddas is the last Guest character and a beast in battle.
Bald of Awesome: Being prematurely grey and having no hair on his head does not stop him from kicking ass.
Berserk Button: Much like Balthier, but more overt. Try bringing up nethicite around him and see how he takes it.
Dark and Troubled Past: He's really Judge Zecht, the sixth Judge Magister of Archadia charged with using the Midlight Shard at Nabudis to see the power of deifacted nethicite. Horrified by his own unwitting actions, he vowed to never let such destruction be unleashed again, and forsook the empire, his title, and his name, to become a force in the resistance.
Death Seeker: One of his aides, Elza, claims Reddas has been looking for a time and place to die all along. All things considered, she may be on to something.
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.
The Ghost: You've been hearing people talk about "Reddas" all game, but you never meet him in person until the very end. And even then, you probably don't realize he actually is the person you've heard of before.
Wretched Hive: Acts as the de facto leader of one, Balfonheim, a pirate port. In his own words, it's "a city of men without countries, pirates of the sea and of the sky. Few are they would fain lay down their lives for a friend, let alone a king."
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.
Nice Guy: Very much so, according to the people who knew him.
Promotion to Parent: After his and Vaan's parents died, five years before the main events of the game.
Sacrificial Lamb: Hand-in-hand with Decoy Protagonist, Reks exists to die in the introduction and demonstrate clearly this game will not be shy about killing off important characters.
Tragic Keepsake: His pendant which Vaan is seen wearing for the entirety of the game.
Unwitting Pawn: He is allowed to survive the attack on Nalbina because the Archadians need a witness to testify it was Basch who killed Raminas. Not knowing it was a frame job, Reks played right into their hands.
White Void Room: Vaan remembers his brother dying in one as he sat unresponsive in a catatonic state.
"The nethicite is ours to give, to chosen bearer or to none."
Voiced by Seiko Tomoe (Japanese) and Bernice Stegers (English)
The leader of the god-like Ocurria. She guides Ashe, and by extension the party on their quest to topple the Empire by appearing to the Princess in visions. However, this is a case of Small Role, Big Impact: Gerun is a critical figure in the game's plot in lots of spoiler-riffic ways.
Ambiguous Gender: Just like Venat, Gerun has no physical gender and will be referred to with feminine pronouns for the purposes of this entry.
Ancient Conspiracy: The Occuria have been manipulating Ivalice for centuries. Now thanks to Venat and Archadia, their grip is slipping, and they're not happy about that.
Berserk Button: Flies into a screaming rage at the implication that Venat's actions might actually have a point.
Big Bad: Well, from one point of view — this game likes Grey and Gray Morality, after all. 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. Additionally, it's her control over Ivalice via the Dalmascan kings that motivated Venat to rebel and bring Archadia to power in the first place, making her indirectly responsible for the conflict of the game.
Blue and Orange Morality: Annihilating every man, woman, and child in Archadia is completely justified to her if it rids her of Venat and scours manufactured nethicite from the world so the Occuria can keep humanity under their thumb.
Cosmic Plaything: She used Raithwal to establish Ocurrian rule over Ivalice and plans to use Ashe to preserve it.
Energy Beings: Appears as a floating specter of light with a shadowed "face".
General Ripper: The whole "World War" thing Ivalice is heading towards? She doesn't mind, as long as the right people emerge victorious.
"The Humes ever skew hist'ry's weave. With hate they move through too-short lives. Driven to err by base desired, t'ward waste and wasting on they run. We Occuria light the path for wayward sons of man."
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.
Small Role, Big Impact: Eclipses even Reddas in terms of the screen time:plot importance ratio. The meeting with her and the revelations that follow cast a very revealing light on the true goals of Archadia and the villains you've been fighting.
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.
Walking Spoiler: As all the whited-out entries might have tipped you off. Gerun is a late-game character and the meeting with her reveals a lot of critical plot details.
Vayne Carudas Solidor
"Ivalice will know a new Dynast King, and Man will keep his own history!"
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 has the entire world gripped in fear of what would happen should be take the Archadian throne, and that includes Archadia's own imperial senate, who don't trust him. While he has the fairly traditional goal of Take Over the World, the motives and causes that prompt Vayne to seek the path of world conquest make him considerably more complex than standard Final Fantasy villains.
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.
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 God Am I: He intends to use his manufacted nethicite to declare himself the new Dynast-King and rule the world.
Aloof Big Brother: To Larsa. Everyone comments on how much more powerful Vayne is than Larsa, but he remains stoic and stern throughout the game.
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.
Big Bad: A top contender to the title of most central and important antagonist, though there are others.
Big Brother Instinct: He does a lot to keep Larsa safe and innocent. Cutscenes in the Empire imply 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. Though they are very different and are opposed ideologically, they still love each other and would never harm the other. Ultimately it's Larsa who turns on Vayne, at the end of the game when the party confronts of the two of them. However, the backstory implies Vayne murdered his two other brothers on charges of treason, though the details are unclear.
The Chessmaster: Though you don't see him on-screen as often as previous villains, it is made clear Vayne isn't just sitting around doing nothing and is working on securing more power for himself through politics and manipulation rather than just force. The manga reveals 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.
Cultured Badass: He's very intelligent and well-spoken, and a political mastermind.
The Evil Prince: While he has no actual title of 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 and crowning himself The Emperor.
Evil Virtues: Ambition especially, but also love, honor, and determination.
Some traits of his match that of Emperor Mateus: a charismatic Emperor who sways one of the heroes to his side, relies on air superiority to dominate the world, plays as The Chessmaster always one step ahead of the party, and raises a massive flying fortress in a cyclone as his ultimate weapon. 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?
Flying Weapon: His Sephira swords fly on their own accord to attack.
Genius Bruiser: A tactical expert, cunning politician, and competent fighter in his own right.
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.
When 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.
Kung-Fu Wizard: It's not fully clear which attacks of his are Ki Attacks and which are nethicite-powered magic, but either way he uses them in tandem with martial arts.
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.
Nay-Theist: His goal is to overthrow the Occuria and free humanity from the control of the gods.
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.
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.
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.
Power Floats: In his second and third forms, he hovers above the ground.
Reconstruction: Vayne is effectively a reworking of the usual Final Fantasy antagonist shtick, which usually entails seeking the world's destruction for it's own sake or to rule it as a dead rock]]. Vayne recognizes that such destruction is pointless as, obviously, there would be nothing left to rule - as clearly shown from how he tries to preserve the lands he conquers and win their people over to his side. So, what does he do? Well, like most other FF baddies, he does end up pursuing power/ but only so that he can rule the world as a benevolent dictator rather than simply using said power to blow it up For the Evulz — providing a rare example of a JRPG villain who actually answers to question of And Then What?.
Storm of Blades: His swords fly around and attack you without him even touching them except during special attacks.
Taking You with Me: Come the very last fight, this is the point he's reached. He knows he's dying and his plans are over, but before that happens he's going to repay the favor.
Übermensch: Vayne does what he believes is the right thing to do, societal laws be damned. And justified, since so few others understand how the Occuria manipulate the world's stage from behind the curtains.
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.
Villainous BSOD: Shortly after the Vayne Novus fight when he is defeated and his attack on Gabranth is stopped by Larsa, he seems to finally question if his plans have been worth anything or if all his efforts were for naught.
Villain with Good Publicity: He manages to turn public opinion of him around 180° with one speech. To the kingdom he's just overthrown and put under military occupation. Amazing.
Visionary Villain: He seems himself as a Dynast-King that will unite Ivalice under Archadia's banner and usher in a new era free from Occurian rule.
Well-Intentioned Extremist: His ultimate goal is to create a world free from the Occuria's influence...albeit under his complete dictator-like rule.
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.
Larsa Ferrinas Solidor
"The men of my family, we are taught to place the needs of others before those of our own."
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 naivety or to protect his innocence and idealism.
A Child Shall Lead Them: A classic example, Larsa is young and naive and champions doing the moral thing no matter what the politics may say. This is why so many respect him.
Adorably Precocious Child: A reconstruction, he takes on responsibility because he is competent enough to be a player on the world stage regardless of his age.
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: Averted, Larsa and Vayne clearly love each other dearly. 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.
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 instead. 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.
Princely Young Man: He provides the page picture. Much like Vayne, Larsa technically isn't royalty, but is a prince in manner nonetheless..
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. However, Cid has higher designs than world conquest that he hopes to achieve with his stones. Often seen talking to him under his breath and carrying on conversations with empty air, it's widely believed and accepted that Cid has long gone insane, but he's still brilliant.
A God Am I: Shows shades of this at the top of the Pharos.
Anti-Villain: Just like Vayne and Venat, there's a good and noble man behind the villainy.
Badass Bookworm: He's the head scientist of Archadia, but he still leaps into the fray with your party without hesitation, and can hold his own too.
Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: His goal boils down to this. The Occuria consider nethicite their power to gift to man as they choose, and Cid's started mass-producing it so humanity can follow its own path instead of the Occuria controlling everything. Near the end of the game he provides this quote
"To Hell with the Occuria and their stones!"
Dual Boss: With Famfrit, who he summons partway through the party's second battle against him.
Evil Genius: Not truly evil, but he counts in the traditional sense as the mastermind of the villain faction.
For Science!: His entire motivation is to make discoveries for the sake of making them. However, he has a bit more justification than most, since the further he plumbs the depths of knowledge, the more he frees humanity from the Occuria that don't want humanity knowing the secrets to nethicite.
Large Ham: "A TRIAL FOR ASHELIA B'NARGIN DALMASCA!"
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.
Motor Mouth: Shouts very rapidly during his Gatling Gun attack. "Youwillseenopityfromme!"
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.
No Indoor Voice: Even when he's comparatively calm, Cid tends to be a bit loud. When he busts out the ham, best take off your headphones.
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.
"A convenient thing, justice. And so I must now make a choice... between my throne, and my son."
Voiced by Hidekatsu Shibata (Japanese) and Roger L. Jackson (English)
The current patriarch of House Solidor, father of Vayne and Larsa and The Emperor of Archadia. Gramis was once a powerful emperor who led Archadia to conquest over Nabradia and Dalmasca with the aid of his sons, but in his old age he has become sickly and weak, leading to an uneasy political climate in Archadia over which of his sons, if either, will take the throne when he dies.
Bigger Bad: As the ruler of Archadia he's the real villain behind their plays for power, but does nothing personally to be an antagonist.
WARNING - the following profile has unmarked spoilers for the end of the game.
"The Cryst is sundered, Age of Stones, complete. From the Undying ones the world is freed."
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 so they may throw off the Occuria's control.
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.
Anti-Villain: Type III. She orchestrates a world war in the name of freeing humanity from the control of the gods.
Bigger Bad: Vayne and Cid are threats, but only because Venat's aid enables them to be.
The Bad Guy Wins: Its goal was to stop the Occuria's manipulation, something that heroes have no problems with, and in the end she 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.
Defector from Decadence: It didn't think it right that the Occuria manipulate humanity from afar and sought to change that.
Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: Essentially his entire plan. The Occuria use nethicite and its power to control the fate of Ivalice via controlling its rulers. Venat decides this is wrong, and the way to undo it is to teach humans how to make nethicite themselves and shake up the status quo.
Necessarily Evil: The only real way to shake off Occurian rule is to get rid of those they've put on the throne of world power.
Pet the Dog: After Vayne is mortally wounded, Venat offers up her immortality so that he doesn't have to die alone. Similarly, her final farewell to Dr. Cid, saying it was a pleasure working with him.
Puny Humans: In sharp contrast to the rest of the Occuria, her motivation is that she does not believe that the Occuria (including herself) have the right to manipulate mortal affairs, and believes so precisely because the Occuria are above them.
"Indeed what claim does Gerun have on history's reins, seated on throne immortal, rent from time?"
You Are Not Alone: Venat forsakes its immortality so that Vayne does not have to die alone.
The Judges of Archadia
The Entire Group
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.
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".
Badass Cape: Standard attire for them is a long black cape with the sigil of the Empire in red.
Evil Old Folks: With the exception of Gabranth, they all appear to be much older than the party or Gabranth.
Five-Bad Band: Within themselves. Gabranth is their leader, Zargabaath is second-in-command, Ghis is the intellectual plotter, Bergan is the power-craving muscle, and Drace is the lone female. They also have a Sixth Ranger Traitor, Judge Zecht, who has been missing since the fall of Nabudis and is presumed dead or a deserter.
Four-Star Badass: They're the commanders of Archadia's militia and they kick a lot of ass.
Standard Evil Organization Squad: Each Judge has a distinct weapon and armor styling, and aside from being the enforcers of the Empire their individual goals and motives vary quite a bit.
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 each 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. When a Judge takes the field in the manga, it's a sign to anyone not on their side to go Oh, Crap.
"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 has a deeper connection to the party than is first apparent, but it's a big spoiler how.He appears in Dissidia: Final Fantasy as a Hidden Character.
Animal Motifs: A stray dog with no master nor any loyalty or honor for it. Invoked repeatedly by Vayne.
Anti-Villain: He's a broken man who feels he has no honor or pride after discarding his loyalty to his homeland and his family to side with the Empire that destroyed them.
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.
The Dog Bites Back: Come the end of the game, he's finally had enough with his treatment and does something about it.
Vayne: "The hound strays... treason bears a price!"
Gabranth: "One I gladly pay!"
Determinator: Of the villainous kind, his hatred of Basch is all that keeps him going when he's lost everything else.
The Dragon: He's the right-hand man of the Emperor who personally carries out missions. On a larger scale he's Co-Dragons with Zargabaath, who commands the main branch of the airship fleet.
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, as a disgraced Failure Knight who keeps fighting, but while Basch fights by holding to honor, Gabranth is motivated by hatred. 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's spent his life letting his hatred destroy him from the inside-out.
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, he was serving the country who originally assimilated his homeland. 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 honor seemed lost. That neither side is entirely right or wrong keeps this trope from being played straight, much like the treatment given to so many other tropes in this game.
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.
Failure Knight: For the Republic of Landis, his homeland that fell to the Empire.
Sixth Ranger Traitor: Played with in regards to the other Judge Magisters. Though he eventually turns on Archadia, by that time the Judges aside from him are as one.
Sword Beam: His signature skill Innocence has him slash the air to sent out waves of energy.
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.
That Man Is Dead: Like so many characters, he's discarded his past and his true name. He's actually Basch's twin brother Noah. At the end of the game when Basch calls out to him as such, Gabranth mutters he's lost the right to use that name.
The Power of Hate: As said under Determinator above, this is what he has to motivate him now. Also deconstructed when we see just how hollow and broken he is for living such a life.
"Long have I walked in hatred's company. As long as I can curse your name I shall not be defeated!"
Villainous Breakdown: Suffers this after it becomes clear that Basch was able to transcend his past and hardship while Gabranth is still empty and bitter. After Basch defeats him he finally lets go and performs a Heel-Face Turn.
Wham Line: There's some hints beforehand who Gabranth really is, but he dispels any doubts when he delivers this doozy:
"Yes, it was I who wore Basch's face, who cut down the lifeblood of Dalmasca. Lady Ashe! Your father's murderer is here!"
What You Are in the Dark: Alone and able to express himself freely near the end of the game, Gabranth betrays Archadia and tries to goad Ashe into causing a war. Comes back to bite him when Cid steps from the shadows and calls him on his treachery.
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 small but memorable role when he demonstrates the full extent of his brutality and cruelty.
Ax-Crazy: He slaughters an entire mountain of peaceful refugees for no reason other than he can.
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 immensely.
The Brute: Of the Judge Magisters as a group, and of the Archadian military as a whole. Presumably.
General Ripper: He firmly believes that a leader must be forceful, ruling with an iron fist and showing no mercy to enemies. This drives his loyalty to Vayne.
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 power-hungry schemer, she conspires with Gabranth to protect Larsa from him if his ambitions go too far. It does not end well for her; when Vayne makes his play for power, she is executed.
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 and is perfectly practical for combat.
Honour Before Reason: She might have lived if she, like Zargabaath, had examined the situation with Vayne killing his father more rationally.
Mama Bear: She's willing to commit treason if it means protecting Larsa.
Only Sane Man: She's the only Judge willing to do anything when Vayne obviously kills Gramis as a pretense to dissolve the Senate and declare himself Emperor. Her above jab at Bergan is a sneer that he's going along with the cover story.
Sour Supporter: Towards Vayne, not disguising her disgust with his methods.
"Blood alone does not an emperor make, Vayne."
Voiced by Ryusuke Obayashi (Japanese) and Mark Wing Davey (English)
An Archadian Judge 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 who is always looking to advance his station.
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.
The Corrupter: In the manga, he's the one who convinces Vossler the resistance is futile and he should ally with the Empire.
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. For instance, take this quote — the "last encounter" he refers to was when he launched a Flare spell at Ashe fully intending to kill her.
"Such a tremendous honor to again be graced with your presence, Majesty. You left us with such great dispatch upon our last encounter that I must confess... I had begun to worry that we may have given some cause for offense."
Hoist by His Own Petard: He decides to stick a piece of deifacted nethicite in his airship's machines to test how powerful it is. It's so powerful it blows up the fleet.
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.
Magic Knight: He has an Aero spell which is very powerful at the time you fight him and appears to cast Flare during a cutscene.
Oh, Crap: When he realizes exactly what's about to happen to the Shiva after the deifacted nethicite goes in the ship's drive, and the readings go red.
Pragmatic Villainy: He recognizes the value in using Ashe as a political pawn to placate Dalmasca's citizens, rather than just having her killed.
Smug Snake: He's eternally confident and condescending. And his lack of control and foresight gets him blown up.
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 in the first act of the game. The manga adaptation effectively elevates him to Big Bad, on account the other villains are Demoted to Extra as a result of the manga being cut short.
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 no safety precautions, or even knowledge of how nethicite actually works? You were asking for trouble.
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 honorable sort, loyal to Archadia as a nation and ideal rather than any person who's in charge.
Anti-Villain: Type IV. Zargabaath never acts evil in any way, he's just on Archadia's side is all.
The Dragon: He's the eldest of the Judges, and he's also commander of the Alexander, the flagship of Archadia's largest airship fleet. This also makes him Co-Dragons with Gabranth, who is the Emperor's personal aide.
Even Evil Has Standards: Fitting given he's not all that evil to begin with. He'll engage the resistance fleet in a battle, but when the Sky Fortress Bahamut is destroyed and her wreck is about to fall on Rabanastre, Zargabaath calls up the enemy and asks for their aid in stopping it (or at least, for them to not interfere while he tries on his own).
Heroic Sacrifice: Subverted at the last second and called a fool for his efforts. He intends to ram the falling Sky Fortress Bahamut with his airship to keep it from falling on Rabanastre, but Balthier is indignant that he and his efforts to repair the engines are being ignored.
Minor Major Character: He has the smallest role of the Judge Magisters, yet plays a relatively major role in the final stages of the game.
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.
Reasonable Authority Figure: Easily the sanest Judge Magister, and arguably more reasonable than both the Senate and the ruling family.
Satellite Character: Zargabaath gets enough screentime to establish his own character, but doesn't really do anything proactive in terms of story, and if he was quietly cut from the game's plot and replaced with a generic Judge character for most of his scenes, his absence would be negligible. It's telling the only thing he really gets to do himself happens during the ending of the game.
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 most probable he returned to Archadia with Larsa and Basch and continued to serve with them.
It's Personal: There's a few Elite Marks he puts up bills for himself, because of this trope. This includes the game's Superboss.
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.
Revenge: His beloved master was slain by the great beast Yiazmat, and all the master's disciples were scattered to the winds. He created Clan Centurio in order to find (or train) the one warrior who would be able to match and slay Yiazmat and thus avenge his master by proxy.
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."
Ba'Gamnan is voiced by Koji Ishi (Japanese) and Steve Blum (English)
Ba'Gamnan is a bangaa bounty hunter with his eye set on claiming Balthier's bounty. He is incredibly cruel and his methods are wildly illegal. Such methods include kidnapping and attacking innocents to draw out his prey. Ba'Gamnan himself is the green bangaa shown at the bottom, the others are his siblings/minions, brothers Gijuk and Bwagi, and sister Rinok.
Bounty Hunter: He's tracking Balthier to bring him to justice, but only for the money.
Casting a Shadow: Ba'Gamnan has the Souleater skill, the typical ability of the Dark Knight. Revenant Wings makes it his class and gives him Dark Aura and Drain to go with Souleater.
Chainsaw Good: Ba'Gamnan's weapon is a rotating saw blade on a pole.
Color-Coded Characters: Each of the four is colored differently. Ba'Gamnan is bright green, Gijuk is dark green, Bwagi is grey-blue, and Rinok is lavender.
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. He does become a recurring villain in Revenant Wings. You even get the chance to play as him for a brief portion of the game.
The Gunslinger: Gijuk's weapon is a gun in cutscenes. He trades it in for a crossbow in the actual fights.
Hopeless Boss Fight: As mentioned above, he and his flunkies appear as enemies after Penelo is rescued, but unless the party is overleveled they're near impossible to defeat, so it's generally better to run.
Knife Nut: Bwagi and Rinok fight with daggers in Revenant Wings.
Unuseable Enemy Equipment: Subverted, their weapons are all obtainable in-game: Rinok wields the Gungnir and the Javelin, while Gijuk has the Aldebran and the Bowgun. The exception is Ba'Gamnan's weapon, a sort of buzzsaw polearm.
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.
Bigger Bad: Their control over history is what spurred Venat to turn, making them responsible for the whole plot. They also act as a collective Bigger Bad for the entire Ivalice Alliance, given how every other game set in Ivalice (except for Tactics Advance) follow this one chronologically.
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.
Energy Beings: They are mysterious floating masses of mist with blank faces and glowing eyes.
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), III (Famfrit) IV (Zeromus), and V (Exodus). Only Shemhazai has no counterpart in the previous games.
Fallen Angel: All of them, thematically. Ultima is a literal one, having an angelic design.
Flunky Boss: Mateus, Cu Chulainn, Zalera and Chaos, all summon minions to aid them. Subverted with Adrammelech and Zeromus. The enemies in their areas spawn whether the Espers are there or not, and do so continuously.
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.
Fixed Damage Attack: Zodiark's Limit Break does exactly 50,000 damage. Summoning Zodiark in Tactics A2 has a 50% chance of hitting each unit on both sides for 999 damage.
Multi-Armed and Dangerous: Belias has a larger pair of arms for attacking and a smaller pair that he seems to use to cast magic.
Necromancer: Zalera wields the element of Death.
Omnicidal Maniac: There was a good reason for imprisoning some of them, namely Exodus. Not surprising considering who he's based on.
One-Hit Kill: Zalera does this both when summoned and during his boss fight. Zodiark's Darkja ability inflicts this in addition to blind to the entire party. It's less likely to take effect than the blind effect, but there's nothing that grants you immunity to it.
Our Monsters Are Weird: Mateus and Zeromus particularly. Belias might also count for looking like two humanoids fused together, giving him two heads.
Non-Elemental: Exodus has no official elemental alignment, but his "element" is clearly the Colony Drop, being that he wields Comet and Meteor.
Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Zodiark is the smallest of the Espers, but easily one of the hardest bosses in the game and the most powerful Esper. In fact, his power was the exact reason his creators sealed him away.
"You must give your anima to the heavens! Only then will you fly on wings undying!"
The self proclaimed God of the aegyl. He has been alive for a long time, thanks to the Auracite. With the barrier around Lemurés gone, he has started a plot to get revenge on the world. This vengeance is prompted by the Occuria, who tried to dominate the aegyl, thus causing Feolthanos to take them to Lemurés.
A God Am I: Considers himself the God of the aegyl.
Big Bad: He manipulates the Judge of Wings and is the true antagonist of the game.
Emotion Eater: He eats the Anima of his people and all who use the Auracite to become more powerful.
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.
Ascended Extra: Just one of Vaan's friends in the original game, and now a party member.
Trap Master: Her Job relies on her setting traps to lower enemy stats.
"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.
Ascended Extra: From a bit-player supporting character to party member.
Black Mage: His job class, and he specializes in offensive magic for it.