An Eorzean adventurer from one of three city states. Those who started in 1.0 witnessed a star shower and met an Archon of the Circle of Knowing and were t hen gifted with the Echo and became entwined with the war with Garlemald. New players to A Realm Reborn are implied to be from outside of Eorzea entirely, and have come for reasons the player may define in the opening. In the process of proving themselves to their adopted city-state, they too meet a (now-former) member of the Circle, discover their possession of the Echo, and become involved in a conflict not with the Garleans, but with a perhaps older and more sinister power...
The setting does play with the stereotypes a bit, however; Ul'danian Lalafell tend to be much "craftier" than normal for their archetype, Mi'qote from Gridania tend to be legitimately and deeply spiritual, and a number of Roegadyn bemoan the stereotypes about them.
Sword and shield wielding class that specializes in defense over attack. While they have a lower strength then other melee classes they have a slightly higher rate of attack. They can upgrade to the The Paladin job which sacrifices the greater variety of weapon skills for greatly increased defensive ability and healing abilities
Balanced hand to hand fighters that wield cestus', they can use Elemental Punches and a Stance System to easily shift and adapt to the pace of combat. The Pugilist can become the Monk class which increases the classes versatility and attack speed.
Heavy wielders of axes who bear unrivaled ability to both absorb damage and return it in full. The Marauder can increase its already incredible damage potential by becoming a Warrior which enhances the already impressive arsenal powerful attacks and crowd control.
Wielders of lances that can pepper enemies with rapid stabbing attacks that allow for powerful damage dealing. After becoming a Dragoon this allows the character to use its signature Death from Above attacks and rain death In a Single Bound.
Magic users that concentrate on healing and bestowing allies with a few Status Buffs while commanding the power of earth, water and wind to defend themselves as needed. Becoming a White Mage gives the player unparalleled healing skills as well as gives them the powerful Holy spell.
Dark Is Not Evil: The Guild leaders reffer to their art as "diving into the Abyss", and the god of death is one of the guild's patron deities. But the Thamaturges make a point to understand life itself along with the destruction their magic brings.
Good Is Not Soft: Most Arcanists are extremely affable people, and Summoners are generally a "good" class in most of the games, but their spells don't shy away from mentioning that the effects are horrifying and cause suffering (Miasma, for example outright says it fills the target's lungs with choking poison, Energy Drain outright pulls blood into your book to heal you, ect. ect.).
Familiar: The summons of this class work on a principle like this.
Horned Humanoid: Well a horned headdress anyway that helps pull the look off.
Limit Break: Their level 50 job skill, Enkindle, makes their egis use a weaker (but still strong) version of a Primal's ultimate attack.
The leader of the Immortal Flames Company, he seized power in U'dah through the winnings he earned in the Bloodsands. He has tuned his back on the other members of The Syndicate for refusing to aid the Sultanate.
Ms. Fanservice: Dressed far more modestly in ARR to the point of looking like she's getting on in years. This is probably because her adopted daugher Minfilia has taken up the new Ms. Fanservice torch for ARR.
A new organisation founded after the Calamity from the remnants of the "Path of the Twelve" and the "Circle of Knowing". Working independently from the three Grand Companies and owing allegiance to no nation, their goal is to ensure the future of Eorzea as a whole. The majority of their members possess the "Echo", a divine power that grants immunity to the "tempering" of the Primals and the ability to re-live another's past.
The current leader of the Scions of the Seventh Dawn. Her charisma and compassion makes her a natural leader.
The Artifact: She was the one to be able to inform the player of The Echo but as the story was shifted to the Seventh Umbral Era her role was taken by Louisoix and the other archons. She later comes back into prominence after the death of Louisoix and takes the reigns as the leader of the two groups combined forces.
Genghis Gambit: Her goal is to get the three city states and the beast tribes to form one to fight The Empire however since relationships between the beastmen and city states soured this plan has fallen wayside.
Heroic Sacrifice: Uses his power to save all of Eorzea's heroes from Bahamut by transporting them into the future, his survival is still in question.
A recent video from the developers showing the inside of the Binding Coil of Bahamut hints that he's alive showing what appears to be Louisoux watching over Alisaie and the player as they delve deeper into the coil, but when Alisaie suddenly turns to look where he is there is no one there.
Big Damn Heroes: Expect him to show up Just in Time to help you out in the main plotline. At one point he jokingly says he might as well just follow you around himself given how much trouble you seem to find yourself in.
An energetic and light-hearted Pugilist who helps to guide the Player Character if they begin in Gridania. Though capable, Yda tends to be quite lazy and makes excuses to get out of work she feels is beneath her.
Cloudcuckoolander: She thinks that she has the qualification for being a Little Lady. Mind you that Little Ladies' Day is a festival that, as can be seen from the name, a (supposed) little girl has an opportunity to be a princess of the city for the day. Nevertheless, she was chosen.
Cool Mask: Her eyes were never been seen. When her Rite of Cleaning mask fallen off as she was blown back at the end of Gridania storyline, she revealed to be wearing her own mask under that mask.
An ancient Elezen said to be one of the people responsible for the coming of the Sixth Umbral Era nearly fifteen centuries ago. He is a mysterious sage and prophet who correctly foresaw the coming of the Seventh Umbral Era.
A new arrival to Eorzea, and the grandson of Louisoix. He approaches the world with a wry and pragmatic view that sometimes borders on heartlessness, but his desire to save Eorzea from the trials of the Seventh Umbral Era is sincere.
The Heavy: His role in the story drastically increases after Livia raids the Waking Sands and wipes out the scions. He (presumably) snaps your character out of a Heroic BSOD, helps Cid realize who he is, and helps track down the Enterprise, after that he takes the back seat, but he's still very present in the plot.
Heroic BSOD: Very brief, but when Garuda kills her captive and summons Titan and Ifrit the sight of all three of them there at once causes Alphinaud to lock up in horror. Cid had to break him out of it.
A new arrival to Eorzea, and the granddaughter of Louisoix. She is far more cynical than her brother and heavily criticises the conduct of the Grand Companies in the aftermath of The Calamity, specifically taking issue with (what she perceives to be) the lack of respect shown towards her grandfather and the Warriors of Light.
Put on a Bus: She storms out of the current storyline after a particularly heated argument with her brother, saying that she will find a way to save Eorzea that does not pander to the Grand Companies.
The Bus Came Back: After the defeat the hard mode versions of the primals she returns to the plot with almost no warning. Having kept an eye on the player since her argument with her brother she requests their help exploring the Binding Coil of Bahamut with the goal of learning the ultimate fate of Louisoux and Bahamut.
Gadgeteer Genius: He is an expert magitek engineer and airship craftsman which put a giant target on his back when he betrayed the empire and created the Garlond Ironworks to help bring magitek to the people of Eorzea.
Cosmetic Award: The special-limited-time-only Goobbue Horn that the Minstrel bestows allows you to summon a goobbue as a mount. Despite being 20-30x bigger than a chocobo, it runs at the exact same speed. For all intents and purposes, it's functionally a glorified alt costume for your chocobo. That said, it's a great tool for harassing/griefing other players while they go about their business by standing on top of them and blocking their view with giant mossy goobbue ass.
Distressed Dude: Averted. He gets arrested by the Limsa Lominsa authorities for fear-mongering but he seems to be staying in jail willingly, since he effortlessly teleports you out when you visit him.
Herald: He also repeats the prophecy of Mezaya Thousand Eyes about the coming Seventh Umbral Era.
An expansionist empire loosely patterned after the The Roman Empire. Founded by the brilliant Solus zos Galvus (who remains its ruler to this day), the Garlean Empire are the creators and masters of Magitek technology, which they have used to conquer over a third of the known world. The nations that they conquer are assimilated into the Empire and their citizens drafted into the army, ensuring a consistently large (and loyal) military force.
First Emperor Solus zos Galvus
The first and current ruler of the Garlean Empire. Solus zos Galvus rose from humble beginnings to forge a empire through his military genius and charisma, and has maintained the position for eight decades. However, he has no heir or named successor to his position, and his advanced age is becoming a serious concern for the future of the Garleans.
Your Days Are Numbered: There are many whispers and rumors in the Empire about his health and that it's rapidly deteriorating.
Gaius Van Baelsar
The Legate of the XIVth Imperial Legion, and the commander in charge of the Garlean invasion of Eorzea. Gaius is a proud and powerful soldier who holds absolute belief in the ideals of the Garlean Empire. Believing that Eorzea is plagued with chaos and strife, he seeks to deliver the stability and absolute order that would come with Garlean rule.
A Father to His Men: Literally so to Livia and implied with his mentorship and pride with Rhitahtyn.
Affably Evil: He congratulates the players on defeating Nael and genuinely supports their quest to stop him.
All Your Powers Combined: Ultima Weapon absorbs the primals and he uses their power against you in the penultimate battle.
Badass: Thancred, Y'shtola, Yda, and Papalymo took him on all at once during Legacy. The only one who even got close to landing a hit on him was Yda while Y'shtola and Papalymo had their hands full defending her and Thancred. Meanwhile throughout the fight you can't help but get the feeling Gaius is barely even trying.
Face Death with Dignity: With his base ablaze and in ruins, the Ultima Weapon destroyed, and his plans utterly crushed Gaius looks around the remains of his ambitions as he quietly admits that's he's lost before letting the explosion of the base consume him.
Undying Loyalty: To the Emperor, his gunblade is called Heirsbane because he personally slew nine potential usurpers of the crown.
We Can Rule Together: In the build up to the final battle, he offers your character the chance to join him in conquering Eorzea for the Empire in return for Regency of it once they've fallen, you deny him almost instantly.
Wife Husbandry: He is strongly implied to be involved with Livia whom he raised from her childhood as a war orphan.
Legate of the VIIth Imperial Legion, and also known as "The White Raven". Nael is assigned the task of dealing with the Primals that have been judged a grave threat to the Garlean Empire. However, believing that Eorzea is beyond saving, Nael plots to use the power of "Project Meteor" to bring Dalamud down upon the continent, wiping out everyone and everything upon it.As his plan continues, Nael's madness is catalysed by the dark presence lurking within Dalamud: the sealed primal Bahamut. Though Nael is defeated by the Warriors of Light, the victory comes too late: Dalamud is unleashed upon the world, heralding the Seventh Umbral Era.
Ambiguously Human: He never removes his armor and his build suggests he may be an Elezen and not a Hyur.
Bonus Boss: Finishing the storyline unlocks the hard version of his fight, designed to be the "most punishing battle in Final Fantasy XIV before A Realm Reborn" which rewards the player with a Cosmetic Award unique earring (that, admittedly, can be useful for some gear setups). Said battle starts with a 7500 damage megaflare, and only gets worse after that.
Energy Absorption: His weapon is able to drain an Aetherial Node's energy and shoot it as a high energy beam.
Fake Difficulty: To have some decent chance to survive the hard version megaflare without resorting to crazy buff stacking, players have to use the Lunar Curtain item which can only be crafted by farming materials obtainable during the fight...after the party already survived megaflare.
Named Weapons: His gunhalberd Bradmante, which in turn was named after a warrior maiden that he killed using that spear.
Not Quite Dead: He is very clearly seen at the end of the Binding Coil of Bahamut along Louisoix watching over the head of Bahamut, but whether he's still truly alive or not is yet to be elaborated upon. It's worth noting that his gunhalberd Bradamante is not with him and thus his appearance in The Binding Coil is consistent with his departure at the end of the Nael Deus Darnus boss battle in Legacy.
Shout Out: Legatus of the 7th Legion, silver armor, summons Meteor to destroy Eorzea, walks away in the middle of flames, Ominous Latin Chanting battle theme... Nope, doesn't sound like Sephiroth at all.
You Are Too Late He just shrugs off the destruction of the lunar transmitter as a minor delay then claims he can and will still cast Meteor anyways, and the companies are too late to stop it. He wasn't lying about that.
Nero tol Scaeva
A commander of the XIVth Imperial Legion, and second-in-command to Gaius. Nero is an ambitious and intelligent technician who has won great praise for his contributions to Magitek research and weapons development. However, he is only concerned with accumulating personal fame and power, and carries a dark grudge against Cid.
Villain Exit Stage Left: Once defeated the lights go out leaving the room pitch black and giving Nero time to escape, making him the only member of the XIVth to survive the main story.
Livia sas Junius
A commander of the XIVth Imperial Legion. Livia is a war orphan who was adopted and raised by Gaius, later joining the military to repay him. She is a capable and efficient soldier who will push herself past any limit if it will serve the needs of her beloved adoptive father.
Alas, Poor Villain: Once defeated she collapses to the ground sobbing and begging the player to not take Gaius from her just as she dies. Once he arrives on scene, Cid can't help but feel pity for her.
Ax-Crazy: She is likely the most vicious of Gaius's subordinates.
Bad Boss: Much like Nero, Livia is not above the casual slaughter of disobedient soldiers under her command.
Broken Bird: Livia is deeply broken from her past as a war orphan, citing that only Gaius gives her a reason to live.
Villainous Breakdown: Ryitahtyn's death at the hands of the player sets her on a spiral of starting to relive her past as a war orphan. After defeating her as she dies sobbing that it's happening all over again.
Wife Husbandry: She is in love with Gaius who adopted and raised her and it is implied that the two are lovers as well.
Rhitahtyn sas Arvina
A commander of the XIVth Imperial Legion. As a former mercenary whose homeland was subjugated by the Empire, Rhitahtyn serves as a shining example of how Garlean meritocracy can promote anyone with appropriate skill to a high-ranking and respectable position. As Gaius was the one who recognized his ability and appointed him to his current position, Rhiyahtyn is very loyal to both his commanding Legate and the ideals of the Garlean Empire.
Affably Evil: Rhitahtyn is well mannered, humble and believes violence should be avoided if it can be helped.
Undying Loyalty: He is fiercely loyal to Gaius who favors him despite not being Garlean by birth.
Villainous Valor: He is prone to this, especially in comparison to his comrades Livia and Nero.
Worthy Opponent: Considers the players to be this despite preferring not to resort to bloodshed.
A cult of dark sorcerers that have lurked in the shadows of Hydaelyn for centuries. It is said that they taught the Beastmen tribes how to summon their primals, and with the coming of the Seventh Umbral Era, their actions are becoming more overt. They are worshippers of Zodiark, a slumbering god of chaos inferred to be the dark opposite of Hydaelyn. The Ascians themselves are immortal and formless, and use "Dark Crystals" to possess living hosts so that they can interact with the physical world.
A powerful sorcerer who bears the rank of "Overlord" in the Ascians, and who can be identified by the red mask he wears. He seems to be helping the Garlean Empire advance their agenda by sowing chaos in Eoreza and helping the Beastmen to summon their Primals. He possesses the body of Thancred sometime during the events of the story. His goal is to manipulate Gaius into completing the Ultima Weapon so that the ancient artifact at its heart can be used to advance the resurrection of Zodiark.
The Primals are manifestations of elemental aether given physical form by the "summoning" rites performed by the Beastmen who worship them as gods. In addition to being creatures of great destructive power, the Primals are dangerous because they distort the natural flow of aether in the world: not only are vast quantities of aether required to summon them, but once given form the Primals will go on to instinctively seek out and gorge themselves on as much aether as they can find. Furthermore, the Primals can use a process known as "tempering" to brainwash innocent people into their lifelong subjects, whose worship in turn increases the power of the Primal.
Tropes applying to all of the Primals...
Brainwashing: They can do this to mortals through a process called tempering which binds the mortals to their will making them fanatically loyal til death releases them from service.
Fake Difficulty: Pretty much every player that fought Ifrit in 1.0 will tell you that the hardest part of his fight was dealing with the lag and animation lock. Both are gone in ARR, though a laggy connection can still make Ifrit much harder than he's intended to be.
Harder Than Hard: Ifrit "Extreme", which was one of the hardest fights in Legacy. It will be making a return at some point in ARR.
Kill It with Fire: The quest name for the weaker Ifrit battle is, "It Kills With Fire"
One-Hit Kill: What's that? You didn't destroy the giant flaming nail thing he summoned fast enough? Have fun getting one-shot by Hellfire. Oh and hard mode he summons four of them. Good luck getting past that without a Limit Break.
Wake-Up Call Boss: In ARR, Garuda has more mechanics than any boss faced at the time you fight her in the story and there is a good chance she'll rip your party to shreds at least once if you're doing it with people unfamiliar with the fight. Calling her the beginning of the end of the story wouldn't be exaggerating.
This repeats once you reach the endgame. "Hard" Ifrit is, frankly, a fight anyone in job-quest blues and a random weapon can complete, so long as you can manage to not stand in things and limit break the nails. Hard Garuda literally doubles the mechanics of an already difficult battle and sips on rookie players as a light apéritif.
One-Hit Kill: Near the end of all FATE battles with Odin, around 10-15% health remaining, he will start charging Zantetsuken at a slow but steady pace, with a very wide range of attack. Unlike other moves where it would be prudent to get out of his attack zone, however, this is your queue to attack him with everything you can throw at him. If you fail, he'll wallop every person inside of the attack zone for 99999 damage(!), taunt everyone who fought him, and leave.
Dummied Out: Was originally going to be the first primal you do battle with, but after the Japan earthquake he was shelved and replaced with Moggle Mog.
Fake Difficulty: Landslide and Weight of the Land used to (and still sometimes do) be similarly lagged like Ifrit's abilities were in 1.0. Particularly bad given that Landslide is usually a One-Hit Kill due to its knockback effect easily knocking the player out of the platform, making them fall to their deaths, outside the healers' reach. This video shows a perfect example of it.
One-Hit Kill: So you didn't destroy Titan's heart fast enough? Enjoy getting lit up by Earthen Fury.
Ring Out: Titan's main method of wiping the party out quickly. Once the rocky barriers surrounding the battlefield are destroyed, it's very possible to suffer knockback from Titan's attack and get shoved off the platform so that you fall to your death.
Villain Song: The music for the last phase of Titan's battle is a very hateful, death metal-esque tune with the lyrics sung from Titan's perspective.
Dummied Out: Leviathan was intended to make an appearance in Legacy (and his model could even be found in the data files), but in the wake of the earthquake-tsunami disaster he was shelved completely and not even "replaced" like Titan was.
Dark Is Not Evil: Despite being a primal, Ramuh is rather calm and pragmatic, and unlike the other worshipped primals, the only time he even asks the sylph to summon him is when the forest is endangered (such as the Garlean invasion).
Made more apparently when the people of Gridania hear that Ifrit and Titan were already summoned and feared that Ramuh would come next. The sylphs assured everyone that Ramuh is not evil and he only protects his territory. You don't fight Ramuh, but you get his crystal anyway.
Dark Is Evil: While Belias has only shown up in egi form so far, that egi appears as a twisted, dark-purple-and-black version of the Ifrit egi.
Sorting Algorithm of Evil: Is called an "elder primal" by the Ascian who gives Tristan the knowledge to summon it, and the egi of it is vastly more powerful than an Ifrit-egi.
(Even bigger spoiler related to below) Additionally, given who Belias is and what his history and relationship to Zodiark is, it seems likely that he is a servant of Zodiark and Ultima and related to the Ascians somehow.
God of Evil: God of the Ascians, whose rise will bring about the destruction of the Mother Crystal and as a result, all of Eorzea and Hydaelyn.
Dark Is Evil: While Hydaelyn, The Mother Crystal, is aspected to Light, Zodiark is Darkness.