The characters of An Octave Higher.
Elise wants nothing more than to repair the broken piano lying out in the yard behind the factory, and swindles an extra mana potion out of her boss one day to give it a shot. Franz witnesses her attempt, and though she was unsuccessful, he approaches her with the offer of becoming his research assistant. Eager for an escape from the drudgery and hardship of a prole's life, she accepts.
After the Time Skip, Elise has fully integrated into the bourgeoisie and become a successful pianist at a lounge.
- Action Girl: She eventually becomes this.
- Adorkable: Her childlike glee at learning about magic systems and learning about the world lends to her being this. She doesn't quite lose it in the future, either.
- Dark and Troubled Past: She used to live a normal life, but eventually her family went into debt and left her. She was then kicked out of her home from debtors, had to sell her magic on the streets just to survive, was forced to steal bread when money wasn't coming in at one point, beaten by cops, and then thrown into the proles district.
- Dangerous 16th Birthday: Once Elise turns sixteen, Madame Bouvoire plans to put her to work in the brothel. Avoiding this is part of the reason why she agrees to be Franz' research assistant.
- Literal-Minded: After Janis Woolf threatens to summon the shit out of her ass at one point, Franz has to reassure Elise that there is not, in fact, a magic spell that can summon a person's poop. She also tends to take Aretha's teasing literally too, such as the time she told her that Franz had the power to get women pregnant just from standing near them.
- The Hero: By the end of the game, Frederic is dead, and Franz is now the Big Bad, leaving Elise the only one who can save the day.
- Mistaken for Prostitute: Suffers this during her first real meeting with Frederic, who gets her alone and tries to solicit her for sex.
- Orphan's Ordeal: Elise's parents abandoned her when she was a child, and not long after debt collectors evicted her from her own home. She lived on the streets for a time, supporting herself by selling her magical talents, until the police nabbed her for stealing a loaf of bread and threw her into a proles district. She's been working on a factory assembly line since she was eleven years old, and the woman who took her in has made it clear that the only reason she did so was to make Elise into a prostitute. Is it any wonder that Elise wants an escape from all this?
- Parental Abandonment: Her parents fell on hard times when she was a child and just disappeared one day, leaving her behind to fend for herself.
- Playing with Fire: It's in her job description to make use of this trait, and it eventually becomes her method of fighting later on.
- Sarcasm-Blind: Due to being Literal-Minded. Franz' dry quips tend to go right over her head.
A seventeen-year-old aristocrat, Frederic is a talented Sorcer player and the son of Joff Godwin. His gifted Traits are Willpower and Compassion, but because he considers Compassion a useless Trait he pretends to have Courage instead.
Frederic does not see eye-to-eye with his father, and storms off in a huff after a Sorcer match one night. He wanders into a proles district, unwittingly ending up at a brothel and catching a glimpse of a pretty young girl as he tries to get away from there. He cares little for Franz' research, seeing it as foolish and a waste of effort, and when Franz tries to approach him for funding he sends him to the brothel as a prank. But when Franz turns up the next day to sell Lord Godwin on his research, and mentions a familiar-sounding girl, Frederic suddenly takes a renewed interest in the project...
- Blessed with Suck: This is his opinion of his Compassion Trait. He thinks Compassion magic is unmanly and useless outside of the battlefield, so he goes around telling people his second Trait is Courage instead. His father disagrees, and wishes he wouldn't neglect his gifts.
- Blood Knight: He 'really' enjoys beating the hell out of other wizards. After the time skip, he voluntarily helps the police take down the Libertans for some quality fight and even said that he wishes to take down Amadeus, who is rumored to be a terrifying mage, on his own to prove his power.
- Dramatically Missing the Point: Frederic hates Compassion magic because he feels that healing magic isn't manly. This is even after his father makes it clear on multiple occassions that Compassion users are some of the most dogged and powerful warriors (which is typically a masculine trait) because the ability to constantly heal themselves means that they can keep fighting for far longer than someone without Compassion magic. This comes to bite him in the ass several times; even though he beats Janis in the Sorcer match, he still is made to feel like he lost from his dad because he only won through technicality, and could have honestly won if he had just used the magic he was strong in to persevere, instead of trying to make use of fancy tricks with magic he's weak in. And when it comes to his fight with Franz, his persistance to go against a powerful mage with full use of Intelligence and Faith magic without using his strength in Compassion magic meant he was handicapping himself from the start; had he learned to make use of Compassion, the story may not have taken such a dark turn when he decided the only way to win was to cut off Franz's hands.
- Grand Romantic Gesture: Spends an entire night copying out a 24-page orchestral score for Elise after she mentions she'd like to arrange that score into a piano piece so she could play it one day. Unfortunately for him, it backfires since he overlooked the fact that she doesn't have a piano of her own and so couldn't play the score even if she did rearrange it.
- Heroic Sacrifice: In the true ending, he does this to protect Elise against Gesang by summoning a huge earth wall, separating her from the fight between him and Gesang, while subjecting himself to Gesang's lethal magic.
- Hidden Depths: For all that his world seems to revolve around sports, Frederic actually is a shrewd businessman and comes up with a well thought-out, financially sound justification for sponsoring Franz' research pretty much on the spot, much to his father's surprise. It's rather impressive, too; basically, turn a science investment into a practically free advertisement to impress the Conservatoire students and get them to work for his father's company. Everyone around him is impressed.
- Hopeless Suitor: He never really stood chance with Elise once Franz entered the picture.
- Irony: His two traits are Willpower, which makes sense, given how dogged and determined he is, and Compassion...which he abhors because he feels it makes him not manly, and even if he didn't feel this way and actively worked against it, he's still far from a compassionate person.
- Jerk Jock: Frederic is a talented athlete, and one of the best Sorcerers in his age bracket. He's also hotheaded, quick to anger, has little interest for anything outside of Sorcer and locks down on people from the lower classes, and may also be racist if the way he constantly describes Gesang as a beast in his narration is any indication.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold/Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: He can be played as either of these, depending on the player's choices.
- Lonely Rich Kid: Frederic is the son of an aristocrat, home-schooled, has a distant father and an absent mother, and does not seem to have any close friends until he meets Franz and Elise.
- Oh, Crap!: One of the few times he ever admits fear is when Janis is about to crush him with a meteorite.
- Pride: He is extremely conscious of his class and looks down on everyone lower than him. He also 'hates' losing a fight, which causes him to sever Franz's arms out of frustration as he is bested in their duel.
- Redemption Equals Death: At least when Elise is concerned. She sweared she would not forgive him after he chopped down Franz's arms and very likely caused his death. However, after the time skip during a showdown between him and Elise against Gesang and Amadeus, he protects Elise again Gesang's assault, even saving her with his Compassion magic, which made her begin to reconsider his character. Unfortunately, he subsequently died protecting Elise from Gesang.
- Rich in Dollars, Poor in Sense: He doesn't seem to understand why revolutionizing the medical industry, a consequence of getting Compassion magic to work on inanimate objects, would be a good thing for those who either can't afford to call a doctor or don't have the mana to cast healing magic on themselves.
- Sheltered Aristocrat: Of the pompous and mean-spirited kind. Outside of Sorcer and business, he doesn't seem to know much about anything; he is ignorant of the suffering of the proletariat, does not recognize important figures like Dragoon Commander Janis Woolf and Professor Johann Poe, doesn't do anything to contribute to society, and doesn't seem to realize that wandering the streets of the proles district at night alone is not the best idea.
Franz has been given a seemingly impossible topic for his capstone project: to prove that Compassion magic can be used on inanimate objects, something that thirty years of scientific research says cannot be done. He attempts to sell Frederic on his research at a symposium in order to secure a research grant, only to be sent across town to a brothel for his troubles. This prank, however, puts him in the perfect position to see Elise attempt to fix a broken piano with Compassion magic; and he decides to make her the focus of his research.
- Badass Bookworm: Despite not having any formal combat training, Franz is skilled enough to fight Fyodor Hendrix, noted to be a very powerful mage, to a standstill—and completely outshine Frederic in the process. If Frederic challenges him to a fight afterward, Franz proceeds to mop the floor with him... until Frederic pulls out a cleaver. Then it all goes downhill from there.
- Chick Magnet: Elise, Aretha, and Jude are all in love with him.
- Curtains Match the Window: He has red hair to go with his red eyes.
- FaceHeel Turn: Becomes Amadeus after the Time Skip
- It's All About Me: Where he matches Frederic is his selfishness. At the end of the day, he's more concerned about his research project and graduation than the lives of others.
- Primary-Color Champion: In addition to having red hair, his student's uniform features a red cape worn over a red vest, and red bracers.
- She Is Not My Girlfriend: He describes his best friend Arethanote this way, despite clearly enjoying her company and having the option to take her out on a date at one point.
- The Smart Guy: Easily the most intelligent and well-educated of the three main characters, being a university student working on a thesis and all.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Has this reaction when a frustrated Frederic snaps that his research is a waste of time and they'll never fix the piano, angrily demanding to know why Frederic vouched for his research if he never thought it was going to work.
- What You Are in the Dark: We get glimpses of it when he's the viewpoint character, but multiple times it's shown he's a lot colder than he appears from the outset, especially since people can't tell what he's thinking; he doesn't try to stop a mugging and potential rape until the mugger starts to target him, he saves Elise from Janis because her getting arrested would doom his diploma, and the only reason he fears for Elise living on the streets alone is because he'll lose his research subject.
Frederic's father and the founder of Magical Mechanical. He is close friends with Johann Poe and Janis Woolf, but has a distant relationship with his son.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Libertad sees him as such, though the truth is more complicated than that.
- The Stoic: His default expression seems to be an emotionless mask, and he seldom betrays what he's feeling.
A professor of magical science at the Conservatoire de Overture, and Franz' mentor. Professor Poe is a jovial old man and a close friend of Joff Godwin, and he encourages his students to never stop asking "Why not?"
- Establishing Character Moment: He's experimenting on a new way to brew tea using magic when Franz walks in on him, and when Franz asks him why he couldn't just brew tea normally, he reminds Franz that as a scientist it's his duty to never stop asking questions and figuring out new ways of doing things.
- Miniature Senior Citizens: He is visibly the oldest character in the game, and visibly much shorter than everyone else; even Elise is taller than he is.
- Nice Hat: He wears a top hat that's bigger than his head.
- The Professor: And a famous one, at that. He even wrote a book in-universe that explains how magic spells do not create energy and matter, but rather summon them from elsewhere in the world, and eventually return to where they came from.
Aretha is a popular girl at the Conservatoire, making friends easily. A true genius, she aims to make the world's first binary calculator for her capstone project. When she first meets Elise and learns of her situation, Aretha persuades her mother to take Elise in; and the two become fast friends.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Aretha may be carefree and fond of teasing her friends, but underneath her quirky attitude she is highly intelligent and a brilliant engineer, conceiving of the world's first binary calculator and, after the Time Skip, becomes the lead researcher on a Magical mechanical project to design an analytical engine—or in layman's terms, a general-purpose Magitek computer.
- Cute Little Fangs: When she laughs.
- The Engineer: It's right there in her choice of program. Aretha is all about thinking up innovative new designs for magical machines to help improve people's lives, and she's able to think outside the box to come up with effective solutions to various problems.
- The Gadfly: She gets considerable amusement out of annoying Franz, either by pretending to be his lover/sister/mother/ love advisor, or by getting Elise to believe things that simply aren't true while he's around.
- Luminescent Blush: If Franz takes her advice to say her name three times as a good luck charm before the symposium, she gets flustered and embarrassed.
Jude worries about Elise, and feels her friend is setting herself up for disappointment. She considers happy endings a luxury that the proletariat cannot afford, and believes that proles do not mix with the bourgeoisie.
After the Time Skip, she joins Libertad as one of Amadeus' lieutenants.
- Fighting Your Friend: She fights against Elise alongside Gesang in the climax of the true path.
- Florence Nightingale Effect: After saving Franz' life and nursing him back to health, she's implied to be in a relationship with him.
- Living Emotional Crutch: Becomes this for Franz during the Time Skip. She saves his life, nurses him back to health, and gives him a home, and it's clear that he would have long since fallen apart without her support.
Dragoon Commander Janis Woolf
The powerful Commander of the Dragoons. Her magical traits are Courage and Willpower, though she's also adept at Intelligence and Faith as a result of many years of hard work and training. It was originally thought she was the only person in the world without magic, though she's come a long way from that.
- Action Girl: Is she ever. The very first scene of the novel is her treating a skilled Sorcer player like a child. She only lost because she wasn't even trying to play, just gauge how skilled her opponent was. Said opponent was scared shitless at the sight of her about to casually summon a meteorite, by the way. In fact, she doesn't even take any damage; her opponent comes out of the match with nearly broken legs by comparison.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: She's the leader of a group of elite policemen. Policemen in Overture already have to be a cut above the rest; Janis makes them look like gnats by comparison.
- Badass Cape: It doesn't get in the way of fighting, either; it's just there to look awesome.
- Badass Normal: What she eventually trained to be without magic. In a world where everyone has access to and makes use of magic, this makes her especially dangerous, because she doesn't need magic to break bones and kill people.
- The Dreaded: To rogues and the Libertad. Only incredibly powerful members like Gesang can even hope to match her in single combat.
- Empowered Badass Normal: What she eventually became when she was able to use magic.
- Hero of Another Story: She is the hero and viewpoint character of the prequel, One Small Fire at a Time.
- The Lad-ette: She's at home on the battlefield and swears like a sailor.
Gesang first meets Elise when she falls and scrapes her knee after running away from the Godwin mansion. He uses magic to treat her injuries, takes her out to a traditional Dvipantaran restaurant, and teaches her about his country and the origins of magic. Despite his friendly nature and courteous demeanor, he is very powerful and a formidable opponent, able to take on elite mages like Janis Woolf singlehandedly. He hopes to one day see his country freed from Overture's control.
When the police raid Maison de Bouvoire to bring down Libertad, he escapes in the confusion of the mass arrests. Following the Time Skip, he has joined up with Amadeus and rebuilt the organization, acting as Amadeus' right hand.
- The Dragon: To Fyodor Hendrix. And later, to Amadeus.
- Final Boss: Elise and Aretha must defeat him at the climax of the true story path.
- Genius Bruiser: In addition to being a hulking juggernaut and a very powerful mage, Gesang is highly knowledgeable about history and Overturian magical science, and also proves to be good at running a revolution.
- Gentle Giant: He is unfailingly courteous and polite, and cares deeply about the plight of the proletariat. Despite this, he is willing to fight and kill for what he believes in.
- Lightning Bruiser: Not only is he very strong and physically imposing, he's also very light on his feet and can move fast enough to dodge lightning bolts.
- Made of Iron: He is exceptionally tough, and can survive being hit magic spells that would kill most other people. Best exemplified in his fight with Frederic in the true path, when he takes a twenty-foot-wide meteor exploding right in his face and remains standing.
- Younger Than They Look: Possibly. When she first meets Gesang, Elise pegs him as being in his thirties, though he later claims to be seventeen. It's not clear if he was joking or not.
- Wrong Context Magic: He reveals to Elise that Dvipantaran mages have been using magic for thousands of years before Overture discovered them, and that they can cast spells that no modern Overturian mage can replicate because the Dvipantarans use a completely different conceptual framework. He proves it in the final battle of the true path, when he casts Luminaire.
He seeks to topple the existing government in order to create a stateless and classless society, so that everyone will have access to Mana and thus be equal. And when he captures Frederic, he decides that Libertad finally has the leverage it needs to start the revolution.
- Character Death: He is captured by the police and publicly executed for treason in every story path.
- Chekhov's Gunman: He makes a brief unnamed appearance the first time Frederic gets lost in the proles district.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Delivers one of these to Frederic before capturing him.
- Predecessor Villain: Poshumously becomes this for Amadeus following the Time Skip.
- Rebel Leader
The shadowy new leader of Libertad, who rebuilt the organization following Fyodor Hendrix's death. His gifted Traits are unknown. Under his leadership, Libertad becomes a much greater threat than it ever was before.
In reality he is Franz Byron, having turned into a bitter and cynical revolutionary following the loss of his hands. He will stop at nothing to see Joff Godwin and Magical Mechanical brought low, seeing them as the source of all the world's evils.
- Big Bad: Of the true path.
- Non-Action Big Bad: Prefers to hang back and let his subordinates do the fighting. For good reason, as it turns out; without the ability to cast magic, just about anyone could wipe the floor with him.
- Black Cloak: He wears a heavy black robe with a hood, scarf and gloves to conceal his appearance.
- Despair Event Horizon: Crossed it when Frederic cut off his hands with a cleaver, robbing him of the ability to cast magic and ruining his life. Even five years after the fact, he is still shown to be deeply depressed in private.
- The Dreaded: Everyone assumes that he must be a terrifyingly powerful mage, and even Janis Woolf is leery of going up against him. Ironically, he can't cast magic at all.
- The Evil Genius: He's clearly the brains of the operation, both strategically and in terms of devising new solutions to Libertad's problems. Considering who he used to be, this shouldn't be surprising.
- Florence Nightingale Effect: After Jude saves him from death and takes him into her home, the two of them are implied to form a romantic relationship. If nothing else, they've been sleeping in the same bed for five years.
- Freak Out: He did not take Frederic cutting off his hands well, to put it mildly.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: Goes from being a crippled beggar who can't cast magic to the most feared man in Overture.
- Handicapped Badass: A lack of hands doesn't stop him from climbing up drainage pipes to rescue trapped children, or from killing people in self-defense.
- HeelFace Door-Slam: Even though he was convinced to halt the riot by the end of the game, he realized that he could never step down from his actions anymore and decided that his own way out is to die gloriously at the hands of the cops.
- In the Hood: As part of his Black Cloak.
- Laughing Mad: Slips into this twice during the Time Skip. The first time it happens is when he collapses from exhaustion and blood loss after Frederic cuts off his hands, leaving him close to death; the second takes place after he kills an aristocrat in self-defense.
- Protagonist Journey to Villain: The entire first half of the story retroactively becomes this following the Time Skip.
- Red Right Hand: People often note that his hands appear stiff and inflexible. It's because they're cheap prostheses.
- The Strategist: Part of what makes his new Libertad so dangerous compared to the old. Whereas members of the old Libertad would split off to face a single enemy each, his Libertans have been trained to fight in squads with each individual Libertan having a specific role to play, and they now gang up on individual policemen to overwhelm them with focused fire. He can also anticipate what strategies the police will use against him and plan accordingly.
- Suicide by Cop: His ultimate fate in the true ending. After telling his followers to stand down, he gulps down a mana potion and acts as if he's about to cast an extremely powerful spell, panicking the police into attacking him with everything they have and killing him.
- Walking Spoiler: It's very hard to talk about Amadeus without bringing up the subject of his true identity, Franz Byron.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Amadeus legitimately wants to improve the lives of the proletariat by giving them access to magic, but under his leadership Libertad has gotten so bad that the upper classes can't walk the street at night for fear of being attacked. He's also not above ordering the deaths of former friends, inciting mob violence, publicly executing hostages and plunging the kingdom of Overture into chaos and civil war.