===============================================
Final Fantasy Solo Black Mage Guide
Version 1.0  5/12/2004
anomie <gamefaqs@anomie.ddts.net>
===============================================


INTRODUCTION
============

One of the great challenges in Final Fantasy is to complete the game with
only one living character: a Solo Quest. Fighter and Black Belt are
(relatively) easy, and Red Mage isn't too bad. Thief would be hard, but
allowing for Ninja would make it a bit easier. Black Mage would be very
difficult, you can kill things with magic but your supply is limited and
your defense sucks. White Mage can't do much damage at all, but RUSE and
healing magic make up for the defense.

This guide will attempt to take you through a Solo Black Mage game. Note
that I will not be wasting my time telling you exactly where to go, or how
to beat most monsters, or even the monster's stats or attacks unless they're
particularly relevant. Refer to a general walkthrough and monster list for
that sort of information.



RULES
=====

Nothing fancy:

1. You must kill off all Light Warriors except your chosen Black Mage in the
   very first battle, preferably before you ever attack the first Imp. After
   that, they must never be revived, not even as decoys when fighting a
   fiend or Chaos. At the end of the game, just before Chaos, you should be
   able to look at their Status screen and see "EXP.POINTS       0".

If this is too tough, you are allowed to make things somewhat easier on
yourself:

1. You must kill off all Light Warriors except your chosen 2 (or 3 or 4)
   Black Mages in the very first battle, preferably before you ever attack
   the first Imp. After that, they must never be revived, not even as decoys
   when fighting a fiend or Chaos.

If you want more of a challenge, try adding some of these to either of the
above:

2. No class change, make it really a Black MAGE challenge. This limits you
   to the Silver Knife/Power Staff/Mage Staff (no Catclaw) until you find
   the Masmune, and no WARP or NUKE. And sorry, you never get Hadoken ;)

3. No emulator savestates. All saving must be done with Inns, TENTs, CABINs
   or HOUSEs, and no saving mid-dungeon or mid-battle.

The walkthrough will be written with the original rule #1 in force, as well
as rule #2. Rule #3 only adds greater luck requirement, a greater skill
requirement, and probably a need for higher levels. No change in strategy is
required.

If you do not use rule #2, the only real differences are that you can equip
the Catclaw and you can learn WARP, NUKE, and a bunch of useless spells. So
the only real strategy changes will be that you can kill things easier, and
get back outside somewhat quicker.

If you weaken rule #1, many strategy changes are possible. The simplest is
to just have all your Mages follow the 1-Mage strategy as best as possible.
On the down side, you'll have to spend more on magic, weapons, and armor.
And later in the game, you have to divide up the magic-casting equipment,
only one Mage gets an Opal Bracelet and Masmune, there are only 3 Ribbons in
the game, and so on. In particular, you may want to grab the White Shirt as
soon as possible to allow you to up everyone's defenses.

If you do have more than one Mage, you'll probably want to rotate them,
since the first in line gets attacked twice as often as the next, and the
second gets it twice as often as either of the last two.



TACTICS
=======

For the beginning of the game, you will be running from everything unless
you're specifically leveling. The only way to effectively kill things is to
blast them with some sort of magic, and you don't have much of it to
spare. And large groups will probably kill you before you can hit them each
individually with FIRE, LIT, or ICE.

Once you get the ship, LIT2 greatly increases your killing power, since you
no longer need to use 9 spell charges to kill 9 enemies. FIR2 and ICE2
follow soon after. Sea monsters in particular will learn to fear you.

The Zeus Gauntlet greatly reduces your dependence on Inns, since it doesn't
use up your precious spell charges! Now you can stay outside as long as your
HP holds out. The Defense Sword and the Heal Staff reduce further your need
to sleep. Heal Staff brings your HP up cheaply, and Defense finally lets you
RUSE to avoid being smacked around so much.

You now have three ways to heal: Heal Staff, Heal Potion in battle, and Heal
Potion out of battle. The Staff is cheapest, and should be used whenever
you're RUSEd up and facing enemies that can't hurt you too badly. A Potion
in battle will restore 16-32 HP, compared to 12-24 for the Staff, so use
that if you're for some reason trying to heal yourself instead of killing
the opponent faster. A Potion out of battle will always restore 30 HP, so if
you are trying to heal mid-battle with potions you should probably use a
minimal number and fill up afterwords.

Beyond this point, nothing much changes until the very end. You get better
armor, (slightly) higher HP, better spells and more spell casting items, but
it's all more of the same.

Then, just before you reach Chaos, you get the Masmune. Finally, you can
attack again! And just in time too, since Chaos is strong against all
elemental magic so your attack spells (besides NUKE if you allow it) and
magic-casting items would be rather less useful.



WALKTHROUGH
===========

1. NO! FOREST IMPS!
-------------------

Get yourself a Black Mage and three bodies (for fun, choose a Fighter, a
Thief, and a Red Mage). Buy a small knife, a cloth, and FIRE or LIT for your
Mage, and get wooden staves (or small daggers, they're both cheap) for the
three suckers. Also get 4 HEAL potions. Give your Mage three meat shields,
then go out and find some imps. Kill off all but one, and let everyone else
show off their sticks. Threaten the Imp with stabbity death while it slowly
pound your compatriots into the ground, drink a HEAL as necessary. Then
carry out your threat.

Remember that HEAL potions cost 60, while the Inn only costs 30. So if you
can survive the battle and make it back to Coneria without using a HEAL,
save the HEAL.

Now you have 2 shots of magical death, but you need to kill 5 Imps to earn
enough to stay at the Inn. You may actually want to risk dashing up to the
northern forest, zap 2 Wolves with your magic, and get a quick level up:
it'll come close to doubling your HP, and give you another valuable spell
charge. As much as possible you'll want to kill the more northern enemies,
as they show up in smaller groups that are more likely to be killable
without trying to stab them to death. Expect to die often. Face it, you
can't even consistently kill an Imp in one round with that butter knife.
Even GrImps are good, it only takes two to make an outing worthwhile.

Eventually, you'll buy your other attack spell, you'll make a run to the
Temple of Fiends and get that Cap (double your absorb!). You can run up to
the Temple of Fiends and maybe find some Creeps (unfortunately, they give
bad gold and will probably kill you). Finally, you'll get around to
attacking Garland. If you're lucky, 4 shots of FIRE/LIT will kill him. If
not... He'll probably kill you, unless you have another shot. TENT outside,
or just run up from Coneria each time. Your option.

2. THATS A LONG WAY TO RUN WITH SUCH SHORT LEGS
-----------------------------------------------

Load up on potions and a tent or two and take a nap in the Inn. Check your
gold reserves, you'll probably want 110g if you make it to Provoka (more if
you relaxed rule #1). The plan is to run from everything and head straight
across, don't stop for cookies at the witch's cave. Once you arrive, the Inn
costs 50g, and some gloves cost 60g. If you can manage it, an extra 400g for
ICE would help. Total 510g.

Unfortunately, the pirates are REALLY HARD! The thing is, they typically hit
you for 10hp, and you have to survive somewhere between 36 and 45 attacks.
So either you need over 400HP, or they have to miss often. HEALs don't help
until the very end, you'd get 30 back and then 2 or 3 of them would take it
right back off. Take heart, though: once you beat them, things get much
easier for quite a while.

Leveling up outside Provoka can be frustrating... Ogres, Iguanas,
GrWolves/Wolves/GrImps/Imps, and maybe Creeps are worth it, anything else
will probably kill you or not give enough to make it worthwhile (MadPonies
especially). Note that the southern forest has harder (and more rewarding)
opponents.

I finally managed (with much luck) to kill them at level 8. The basic
strategy is to kill as many as possible with magic, then try to inflict
stabbity death on the survivors.

Get the boat. Yay.

3. MORE LEVELING...
-------------------

Your best bet for leveling is probably to sail back to Coneria (cheaper
Inn), then kill things on your boat. You could try fighting Ogres/Creeps
around Elfland, too. Eventually, you'll want to buy LIT2 (1500g), a Copper
Bracelet (1000g per Mage), ICE2 (4000g!), FIR2 (1500g), a hell of a lot of
HEAL potions (up to 5940g), and a few PUREs and TENTs. Probably in that
order. Eventually, you'll also want FAST, but not for a while (who are you
planning to attack?). You could also get a Large Knife, or you can just wait
and get a free Silver Knife in Coneria after you get the KEY. Only saves you
87g though.

Sharks will fall to a few ICEs or LITs, unless you get really unlucky with
the damages. Large groups of Sahags are good too, if they don't kill you
first. Kyzokus are even better, but they're also more likely to kill you.
OddEyes are EVIL! Especially when you run into just one or two, and they
decide to GAZE constantly and never attack. You just sit there, round after
round remaining permanently paralyzed.

Once you get LIT2, things become MUCH easier. It'll be rare that you don't
kill everything except Sharks in one round. Once you get ICE2, The
Ogre/Creep collections around Elfland will fall easily.

If you decide to try the Power Peninsula, it certainly is possible. Just
remember you'll probably have 2-3 battles to run from on the way there and
on the way back, and you'll probably want to TENT both before and after.
FrWolves are probably your best enemy, if you're lucky one FIR2 will fry
them all, otherwise a second should finish them off. Trolls/Zombulls can
also be beaten with 2-3 FIR2s, if you're lucky enough to survive that long.
I've even managed to kill 2 Giants with 3 ICE2s and a FIR2, but that was
rare...

4. PREPARE TO DIE! (RUB STYLE)
------------------------------

Hike over to the Marsh Cave, running from everything. Go through the Marsh
Cave, running from everything and hoping you don't get paralyzed by the
undead. The Wizards will be tough, but LIT2 should beat them easily as long
as they don't kill you first. After they've been zapped, grab the CROWN and
run to Astos.

The hard part about Astos is that he will most often RUB you the very first
round, and there's nothing you can do to prevent this. At least you don't
have to worry about random battles after you TENT right outside his door.
ICE2 is probably your best bet to defeat him, it usually takes 3 rounds.

After you firmly kick his a** (with your toes!), run the CRYSTAL over to
Matoya, then take the HERB to the Elf Prince's doctor. Swipe the key from
the prince and loot the treasure room. If you feel lucky, go get the Silver
Bracelet from the Marsh Cave, and the crap from Astos's castle (at least
there's no random encounters in there, and if you have any FIR2s left the
Mummies give good experience). Loot the Temple of Fiends (the swords sell
for nice money), and get your Silver Knife from Coneria Castle.

You have a minor dilemma here: you can equip the Silver Knife for 10 attack
and 15 extra hit %, or you can equip the Power Staff from Astos's place for
12 attack but no extra hit %. Keep in mind that when you hit 32% (level 13
with the knife, and 28 with the staff), you get the ability to do 2 hits.

Now go blow up the dwarf, loot their cave, and sail off to Melmond and buy
some FIR3. Sell all the crap you can't equip for cash. If you have more than
1 Mage (or you skipped excavating the Marsh Cave), you'll probably want to
get more Silver Bracelets in Melmond and maybe Silver Knives from Crescent
Lake. If you have the extra cash (20000g) and the spell points (levels 16,
17, 19, 22, 25, 30, 36, 42 & 48), pick up LIT3 while you're over there.

If you can handle it, you may want to do all this early to get the weapons
and armor to more efficiently kill things on the Power Peninsula to level up
easier. Also, now that you have FIR2, FIR3, and LIT3 you may want to head up
to Astos's castle again and pester the Mummies--almost always a one-shot
kill with FIR3/LIT3 (FIR2 will usually wipe them all out as well), and you
get 300 Exp and 300g per Mummy (so if you zap 5 with one shot of FIR3, you
get 1500 Exp and 1500g!).

5. ARCHEOLOGY, ANYONE?
----------------------

Go to the Earth cave. Unless you want cash, you can skip the chests (check
a comprehensive walkthrough to find which chests have what, and where the
guardians are). A lone Earth CAN be beaten, if you manage to survive 3
rounds or so to FIR3. I wouldn't recommend seeking them out, though, unless
you're making a trip just for treasure and experience. One FIR3 should kill
the Vampire, if not a second will. Swipe the RUBY, and hope you don't get
killed on the way out.

If necessary restock, then go feed the Titan, get the Rod, dig deeper into
the Earth Cave, and find Lich's tattered bones. Fortunately for you, Lich is
undead, so FIR3 him into oblivion. Theoretically, it could take as few as 2
or as many as 6 castings, depending on just how lucky you get with the
damages. Hopefully Lich will waste his turns casting FAST or SLOW/SLO2, and
miss you if he attacks. But if he gets lucky with ICE2 damages, or critical
hits, or stuns you (attack effect, SLP2, HOLD, SLEP) you could be in
trouble.

6. OUT OF ORDER
---------------

Head to Crescent Lake and get your canoe. Now the sages will try to ship
you off to Gurgu Volcano to fight Kary. However, you can dock at any river
mouth, it's time to head to the Castle of Ordeals and get your first
magic-casting items. You can also swap your tarnished old Silver Bracelet
for a sparkly new Gold version. BTW, if you want to it is possible to run
from the MudGols.

From now on, you can basically cast LIT2 for free, which means you'll have
less concern over conserving spell charges.

7. BLACK MAGE ON ICE!
---------------------

Now, it's off to the dreaded Ice Cavern. The plan is to get the FLOATER and
get out, nothing fancy. Remember, you can't run from Wizard battles, but you
can Zeus/LIT3 them to death in a few rounds. Potion yourself up afterwords.

There is no real strategy for the Eye, just LIT3/FIR3 him and hope he
doesn't instant-death you. Then just make it back to your boat safely, and
you should have no trouble sailing down to the desert to claim your airship!
Fly over to Coneria to restock, save, and celebrate.

BTW, if you have WARP later when you come back for experience, you can skip
the room-o-undead: drop down the bottom-most hole in the Eye room, then WARP
and you'll be standing on the hole! So you can now take one step up and be
in the Eye's alcove.

8. SHOPPING SPREE
-----------------

Now that you have your flying boat, there are a number of things you can do.
Gaia has ProRings for sale to replace your threadbare gloves, Gold Bracelets
if you have need for more than one, and ICE3; the BOTTLE needs purchasing to
get your OXYALE; the Cardia Islands need looting (if you need cash); and if
you allow yourself class change you can do that and buy a Catclaw and a ton
of magic.

9. WHY DOES THE ROBOT HIDE AT THE *BACK* OF THE WATERFALL?
----------------------------------------------------------

The waterfall should be your next goal, in order to obtain the Ribbon and
the Defense Sword. Ditch the baseball hat for the hair bow, and put the
Defense Sword in an easily accessible place. Finally you can RUSE! Your
strategy changes yet again: against most weak enemies, Defense 2 or 3 times,
then Zeus them to death. And you can finally make effective use of that Heal
Staff you've been lugging around.

Of course, before all this you'll have to face a random group of WzMummies,
Mummies, Coctrices, and Perilisks. FIR3 them to death, easy. Going in is
more dangerous, since you have to worry about the mummies putting you to
sleep and possibly the Coctrices/Perilisks getting you stoned.

10. THE EYES HAVE IT
--------------------

Now, you're basically all set to level yourself up as high as you want to
go (unless you want to go higher than level 50). You have the Defense to
protect you from most attacks. You have the Heal Staff to heal yourself when
battling wimpy monsters. You have the Zeus Gauntlet, so you don't need to
rely on your scarce spell charges. You have the ProRing and the Ribbon, so
you have little to fear from instant death attacks. In fact, all you lack is
a ProCape (and a Thor Hammer or a Mage Staff to replace the Zeus gauntlet
then), an Opal Bracelet, and a Masmune ;)

As you know if you've read just about any decent walkthrough, the best place
to level up now is the Eye back in the Ice Cave. His myriad instant kill
attacks shouldn't kill you, he'll seldom attack, and if it really worries
you you have an unlimited supply of RUSE. Getting to him isn't much tougher,
Mages and Sorcerers shouldn't instant kill you anymore, so you only need to
worry about running before they attack you to death. You'll need only take
two steps between each Eye battle, and you get 3225 experience points per
Eye slaughtered. Once you get to level 30 or so, you'll be leveling up every
10 or 11 Eyes you harvest.

A warning: The Ribbon and ProRing don't make you completely immune to
instant death (there's approximately a 3/256 chance), so you may want to
save every once in a while. Or go fight the ZombieDs where you got the TAIL,
they hit harder but no instant death. Remember, you can park the boat much
closer than you can the airship. Or try those Mummies back in Astos's place,
especially after you get the Mage Staff.

11. MMMM, SASHIMI
-----------------

Head to Onrac, wave your effervescent booze at the person blocking the sub,
and head down to the Sea Shrine. Remember that many critters here are weak
against your Zeus Gauntlet, but don't forget to use your Heal Staff if they
do manage to hit you too hard. Or just run from everything, doesn't matter
too much. Ghosts are the major exception, they can hit you for 100+ HP on a
*normal* attack, 200+ for a critical. Waters aren't too nice either.

As usual, head for the Mermaids first. Grab the Mage staff on the way (and
stick it in your weapon list), but feel free to skip everything else. Once
you reach the top floor, the right-hand chest in the room directly above you
has your ultimate armor: the Opal Bracelet. Replace your old Gold with
opalescent Opal, grab the SLAB (rightmost box in the "hard" to reach room),
and head back downstairs. Exit and stop at Ye Olde Onrac Inn if you want,
then continue down to Kraken.

Kraken can be difficult, since with its 8 hits it can deal over 200HP to you
each round. On the other hand, each individual hit could miss (especially
when RUSEd), so the damages could be quite a bit less. With a little luck
and a high enough level, you should be able to survive your 3 rounds of
RUSEing. Then LIT3 the thing to death. If you feel the need to heal, use
Potions.

12. "LU....PA....?" SURE HAS MANY MEANINGS
------------------------------------------

Take the slab to Unne in Melmond, learn Lefeinish, then fly over and take
the long walk over there. Watch the old Power Peninsula foes run from you
for a change, if you've spend enough time leveling. Grab the CHIME ("Made in
Lefein" indeed), and buy NUKE if you can. Sell your crap and rest up in
Coneria, and head over to the surprisingly solid Mirage Tower.

13. GOING UP!
-------------

Again, skip most of the chests, you need neither the weapons nor the cash.
Do grab the Thor Hammer from the leftmost chest on the second floor, though.
Grab the HOUSE too if you feel like it. You have a decision. You have 4
magic-casting weapons: Heal Staff, Defense, Mage Staff, and Thor Hammer. You
have only 3 available weapon slots, so which magic item to give up? The
answer: none of the above. Since you never attack, ditch the Silver Knife,
and equip the Mage Staff if you really feel the need for a weapon. Once you
hit level 28 and until you reach 45, the Mage Staff is probably the better
weapon anyway. If you're a Wizard with a CatClaw, you'll be giving up a bit
more to equip the staff.

The Blue Dragon is not terribly easy, only because he has a strong THUNDER
magic. So just FIR3/ICE3 him to death, and hope he doesn't hurt you too
badly.

Once in the Floating Castle, you can get the Bane Sword if you really want,
but otherwise skip the chests on the first floor. On the second floor, you
may want the Black Shirt (on the right) for the ICE2 it can cast, but skip
the White Shirt unless you have more than one living Light Warrior. The
Black Shirt is actually slightly worse armor than your Gold Bracelets, only
because it takes an extra point off your evade stat (not that you'd
notice...).

On the third floor, go grab the ProCape (lower left). Now you have a real
dilemma: do you wear the ProCape for an extra 8 absorb, or do you keep the
Black Shirt for ICE2? Don't think of equipping both, however. Giving up your
Opal Bracelet for the Black Shirt cuts 10 absorb, which is more than the
ProCape gives you.

Eventually, you'll reach Tiamat. Yes, you could take the easy way and wave
your stinky Bane Sword around until he chokes, but it IS possible to beat
him without. RUSE thrice and shoot ICE3/LIT3/FIR3 at him. Your only hope is
if he attacks (and misses) frequently, since most of his magic does more
damage than you can heal with a Potion.

Is WarMech possible, without using savestates to make him always miss? I'm
not sure, you'll need more luck since he has more strength and NUCLEAR takes
off much more HP than Tiamat's magic. Beating both Tiamat and WarMech in one
go would be very difficult without Bane.

Of course, NUKE would make things a bit easier, since it's non-elemental and
does more damage to boot.

14. DID ANYONE BRING THE MARSHMALLOWS?
--------------------------------------
(subtitle: Did i forget something?)

One orb left to relight, so head to the volcano to do so. Skip all the
treasures, and remember that walking on lava is a way to avoid unnecessary
battles. Kary seems to have a pretty high critical hit rate, and she's
strong against all elements, but the same old Tiamat strategy will work. Or
you could break out your Mage Staff/Silver Knife and your FAST spell and
attack, if have enough strength you might hit as well as the spells and the
chance for criticals always helps.

15. WHERE'S MY DELOREAN?
------------------------

First, check your levels, potion stock, and such. Buy FAST if you haven't
already. At level 46, you get 9 charges of FAST. At level 42, you gain the
ability to do 4 hits with the Masmune. Starting at level 30, the experience
required for level up levels off, alternating between 32799 and 32800 per
level.

Head over to the Temple of Friends, and head back into the past. Remember
that once you do so, there is no way to return unless you allowed class
change and bought WARP. Run from everything you can, use the Defense & Heal
Staff combo to refill your HP when you find weak enemies, and hope you don't
run into too many GasDs (at least they're weak against ICE) or Worms. The
Phantom is undead, if you want to use FIR3. Or just Mage Staff the thing to
death, it's not that hard.

Lich has much stronger magic this time around, but unless you get unlucky
with NUKE you can probably FIR3 him to death easily enough, or try your luck
with FAST. Kary is the same as before except with stronger magic. Kraken
isn't much more difficult, sure he has new spells but LIT2 doesn't compare
to NUKE or FIR3 you've faced already.

Finally, you can upgrade your weapon. Go get the Masmune, and equip it ASAP!
You probably never thought you could see your poor little Black Mage do 300+
damage. At this point, you'll probably want to switch to the ProCape if
you've been using the Black Shirt.

If you use all 9 of your WARP charges from here, you can escape back to the
present! Even with 8 it's not too bad, WARP back to that room where the
stairways are something like 16 steps apart, walk across that room, and use
your final WARPs to exit. With fewer, you'll have to pick more floors to
walk back through manually, keeping in mind you'll have to fight Fiends
again if you don't WARP past them.

Even if you're not trying to exit, it might not be a bad idea to WARP once
(back to the Water Floor) just so you don't have to walk so far back to
Tiamat.

You can Defense against Tiamat if you want, otherwise just pound him into the
ground with your new toy. FAST to make it go quicker. If you're lucky, he'll
waste his time casting LIT2 and FIR2 instead of attacking you. Take the
stairs, and prepare to meat Chaos.

There are two possible strategies. If you're lucky, the Ribbon will protect
you adequately from ICE3 and LIT3 (and INFERNO) that you won't be hurt too
badly, and Chaos won't attack until you've RUSEd thrice. Then you can FAST
and use Heal Potions until he does his CUR4 thing. If that doesn't appeal to
you, FAST then attack until your arms fall off, and hope you kill him before
he CUR4s or kills you. If you get lucky with critical hits (and your Max HP
is high enough), you can finish him off with over 400 HP remaining. If you
get unlucky, he'll zip through his spell list and CUR4 just before you would
have killed him (although if he really zips through, you'll probably die
before he gets that far).

With 4 Black Mages/Wizards, first stick the one with the Masmune in the very
back! Then i'd probably have the one with the White Shirt use that, the
Masmune guy should RUSE himself (with the Defense Sword, of course), one of
the others FAST him, and the last throw a Heal Potion in his face (or cast
NUKE). Next few rounds, White Shirt again, attack with the Masmune, and have
the other two either Heal Potion your important guy or NUKE. After that, all
three weaklings should do the Potion/NUKE thing and hope Chaos doesn't CUR4
too quickly.

If you want to try something with a very low chance of success, BANE, RUB,
QAKE, BRAK, and ZAP! all have a 3/256 chance of working (as do SLEP, HOLD, SLP2,
CONF, STOP, and ZAP!). If you could somehow cast XFER, certain spells (HOLD,
SLP2, CONF, and BRAK (and MUTE)) improve to 12/256.

Once Chaos finally falls, enjoy the same old ending with the knowledge
you've completed one of the hardest Final Fantasy challenges.



EQUIPMENT
=========

For weapons, you get the Small Knife, the Large Knife, the Silver
Knife/Power Staff/Mage Staff, maybe the Catclaw, and the Masmune. For armor,
you get Cloth->Copper Bracelet->Silver Bracelet->Gold Bracelet->Opal
Bracelet. Headgear is either Cap or Ribbon. Hand coverings are Gloves or
ProRing. And eventually, you get a ProCape to fill your shield slot (ditch
this if you ever feel a need for magic-casting armor, i.e. the Black Shirt).

From when you get it until you get a Black Shirt/ProCape, the Zeus Gauntlet
should fill the empty spot in your armor list. The Defense Sword, the Heal
Staff, the Mage Staff, and the Thor Hammer fill your weapon box.

Your final equipment:
+------------------------+
|  Heal Staff            |
|  Defense               |
|E-Masmune               |
|  Thor Hammer/Mage Staff|
+------------------------+
|E-ProCape/Black Shirt   |
|E-ProRing               |
|E-Opal Bracelet         |
|E-Ribbon                |
+------------------------+
This will give you an absorb of either 43 or 51, and only subtract 3 or 5
from your evade.

With 4 Black Mages, you might do this:
+---------------+--------------------------+---------------+---------------+
|  Thor Hammer  |  Bane Sword              |  Mage Staff   |   Defense     |
|  Light Axe    |  Light Axe               |  Heal Staff   | E-Masmune     |
|E-****         |E-****                    |E-****         |               |
|  Wizard Staff |                          |               |               |
+---------------+--------------------------+---------------+---------------+
|  Heal Helmet  |  Black Shirt             |  White Shirt  |E-ProCape      |
|E-Ribbon       |E-ProCape, Zeus, or Heal H|E-Ribbon       |E-Ribbon       |
|E-ProRing      |E-ProRing                 |E-ProRing      |E-ProRing      |
|E-Gold Bracelet|E-Gold Bracelet           |E-Gold Bracelet|E-Opal Bracelet|
+---------------+--------------------------+---------------+---------------+
**** = pick the Silver Knife (10 attack, 15 extra hit %) or the Power
Staff/Mage Staff (12 attack, 0 extra hit %)

Of course, pick the mage with the highest Strength stat to wield the
Masmune. With Black Wizards, you can get Catclaws for the other three, and
you can replace a Gold Bracelet with the Black Shirt (and thus open up a
slot for another magic-casting item or a ProCape).



MAGIC
=====

This lists the magic I would bother to buy. Starred magics can only be
learned by Wizards. Parenthesized magics are not particularly useful until
late in the game, and I would skip them until you have spare cash.

ONE BLACK MAGE GAME  | NORMAL GAME (for comparison)
---------------------+-------------------
1  FIRE  LIT         |  FIRE  LIT
2  ICE               |  ICE
3  FIR2  LIT2        |  FIR2  LIT2
4  ICE2 (FAST)       |  FAST  ICE2
5  FIR3 *WARP        |  FIR3 *WARP
6  LIT3              |  LIT3
7  ICE3              |  ICE3
8 *NUKE              | *NUKE

The major difference is that FAST will be much less useful until you get the
Masmune.

If you like status effects, HOLD/SLOW/SLO2 seem most useful. SLEP is
useless, if it works then the enemy wakes up next turn and you've gained
nothing. At best, first round the enemy goes first then you SLEP them, and
next round you physically attack first and get a slight damage bonus. You
could get CONF, but remember the Wizard Staff gives you this for free if you
want it.

You could also try the instant-death spells, but they never seem to work
reliably enough for me. By the numbers, QAKE is actually *more* effective
than RUB, unless the enemy is strong against QAKE but not RUB. XXXX will
only work if the enemy isn't strong *and* has less than 300 HP remaining.
ZAP! is actually *weaker* than BANE or QAKE, however only Chaos is resistant
to ZAP!'s element (being strong against the element takes 144 points from
the chance of the spell succeeding).


A NOTE ON EMULATOR SAVESTATES
=============================

If you're using an emulator and allow yourself savestates, these are a few
points to keep in mind:
 * The number of steps to the next battle, which battle that will be, who
   gets to strike first, and the number of each enemy in the battle (where
   that is variable) are rather deterministic. Particularly, if you
   savestate, then walk 3 steps and get attacked, you will always get
   attacked by the same monsters 3 steps after loading that savestate. And
   if they strike first and RUB you, they will always strike first and RUB
   you.
   - However, on the world map you can always try changing attack domains.
     Battle #3 might be much easier 3 steps to the north than 3 steps to the
     east, if you're near a boundary.
   - Boat 'steps' count for 1/3 a walking step, BTW. And sea monsters are
     different, so perhaps an easier battle.
   - River monsters are also different, and so possibly something easier.
   - You could tent and reset, that changes at least the battle you'll face
     if not the number of steps.
   - If you're near a spiked square, jumping into that battle will at least
     change some of the parameters if not the battle number.
 * What happens IN the battle, for example missing, damages, critical hits,
   stats gained at level up, the order everyone attacks in, and such are
   determined after your last action is selected. So if you savestate, then
   select fight, and get critically hit and killed, just reload and things
   may well go differently. This can also help you if you're going for max
   Str: savestate just before you hit fight to kill the last enemy, and keep
   reloading until you get what you want.
   - This works because the game is constantly cycling through its random
     numbers while it's waiting for you to decide what to do.



=========================================================================
Legal Crap: This document is Copyright (c) 2004 by me, anomie. Do whatever
you want with this, just acknowledge where you got the info (see the email
address above) and don't charge for it. If for some reason you need to
contact me and the email address at the top doesn't work, curse all spammers
and try the snes9x forums.

For anyone who cares, I've read through the various Solo guides on gamefaqs
before trying this, and I've referred to some of the comprehensive guides
for treasure locations.

Special thanks to BSulpher's walkthrough (as my general walkthrough more
than any specific tips) and Patbuns17's Character Lists (for many specific
numbers).
=========================================================================