Final Fantasy XII
Power Walkthrough
Version 2.15
Last updated June 25, 2007
Written, edited, and compiled by Arthellinus and many others
Copyright (c) Arthellinus (arthellinus@yahoo.com) 2006-2007, all rights 
reserved.

===============================================================================
  Legal Stuff
===============================================================================

This FAQ is for personal use only and is not to be reproduced for any other 
reason. It CANNOT be placed neither in part nor in its entirety on any website 
other than the following:

http://www.gamefaqs.com/

or otherwise distributed publicly without advance written permission from the 
author. Use of ANY part of this guide on any other website or as a part of any 
public display is strictly prohibited, and a violation of copyright.


===============================================================================
  Version History
===============================================================================

All names taken from Final Fantasy XII listed in this document are copyrighted 
by Square-Enix. Xenosaga is copyrighted by Namco.

Below are the details for updates that I deem significant (as in, excluding 
minor syntax/formatting changes).

06/25/07
Version 2.15
- Big update regarding Ultima Blade. Some other minor updates and 
  reorganization throughout.

06/22/07
Version 2.1
- Reorganized and expanded the Miscellaneous section. Several minor updates to 
  the walkthrough.

06/16/07
Version 2.0
- Complete overhaul of entire document. Changelog for older versions provides 
  too much clutter and is generally superfluous and outdated.


===============================================================================
  Contents
===============================================================================

  1. READ FIRST ....................................................... [010]

  2. Power Walkthrough ................................................ [020]
     a. Introduction .................................................. [02a]
     b. Early Power-Leveling .......................................... [02b]
     c. Through to Raithwall .......................................... [02c]
     d. Zodiac Spear and Other Goodies ................................ [02d]
     e. Through to Archades ........................................... [02e]
     f. Catching Up ................................................... [02f]
     g. Through to Balfonheim and Beyond .............................. [02g]

  3. Miscellaneous .................................................... [030]
     a. The Petrify Glitch ............................................ [03a]
     b. Other Helpful Hints ........................................... [03b]
     c. Comments on Rare Items and Equipment .......................... [03c]
     d. Challenges .................................................... [03d]
     e. Random Thoughts ............................................... [03e]

  4. Credits .......................................................... [040]



===============================================================================
  1. READ FIRST                                                         [010]
===============================================================================

Those who are familiar with this guide will notice that this new version 
(2.0+), which comes more than sixth months after the last one, is much smaller 
and much different. Here I will explain the reasons behind this update to those 
who remember the last version as well as those who are reading this for the 
first time.

1. This FAQ has been severely outdated for some time.
   This needs no real explanation. Some of the methods that I detailed have now 
   been replaced by better ones. I recently went back to playing the game for a 
   little bit and now I feel compelled to keep my guide as updated as possible.

2. The previous versions contained a considerable amount of fluff.
   What I mean by this is that there was plenty of color commentary as well as 
   in-depth explanations contained in what was essentially NOT a full-fledged 
   walkthrough. Time has passed and now there is more documentation on this 
   game (on gamefaqs.com) than almost anyone would ever need. Thus, Iíve 
   decided to trim the fat and simplify things to only what needs to be known.

3. The previous versions covered a variety of topics besides the core power 
   walkthrough.
   Some of this has been excised. Previously, I went into various little things,
   like damage formulae, how to acquire top-tier equipment towards the end of 
   the game, and other stuff like that. As Iíve said, there is plenty of 
   detailed information on all of those things, so these various offshoots are 
   no longer necessary. I will leave SOME things and in fact add a few others, 
   but overall, what you're getting is the bare bones.

Please do NOT send me any e-mails with questions that you can easily answer by 
researching the plethora of resources available to you, including the ever-
elusive trait known as common sense. If you do, do not expect a response.

Now, as for the old FAQ, I present to you its remnants:

Q: Who should use this guide?
A: This guide is for people who want to do a complete run through Final Fantasy
   XII in as little time as possible. It involves maximizing efficiency in 
   terms of leveling and acquisition of high-rank items and equipment.

   However, be aware that this guide does NOT actually tell you how to do or 
   get everything in the game. This guide is supposed to act as a companion 
   piece to whatever real full walkthrough or other in-depth FAQ you are using.

Q: Who should NOT use this guide?
A: This guide is NOT NOT NOT NOT NOT NOT NOT NOT for anyone who is looking for 
   a traditional walkthrough that takes the player step by step through every 
   single area and task in the game. I do not recommend that first-timers or 
   casual players use this guide because it contains a lot of methods that can 
   grow tedious very quickly, and if you are playing the game for the first 
   time, it really ruins the experience and also takes most of the challenge 
   out of the game. Unless, of course, doing the kind of stuff described in 
   this guide is EXACTLY why you play RPGs.

Q: Can you tell me how to do/get (this and that)?
A: If it's not in the guide, it's not in the guide. There are already several 
   excellent walkthroughs that cover how to get everything in the game in great
   detail. Again, what is here is very specific and circumstantial, and if I 
   don't mention something, it is for the purposes of this document irrelevant.

Q: Spoilers?
A: Location spoilers, I suppose, but no plot spoilers.


===============================================================================
  2. Power Walkthrough                                                  [020]
===============================================================================

  ----------------
  2a. Introduction                                                      [02a]
  ----------------

This guide focuses on making Final Fantasy XII, already a very easy game, even
easier by saving the player time in trying to go through the game with the 
intention of collecting as much high-level equipment and as many levels as 
possible in the shortest amount of time.

To do this, I will do the following:
- Mark off early opportunities to get good equipment.
- Detail fast-leveling techniques and highlight important parts during run-
  through of the main storyline.

Since there isn't much to the game, this is all that is necessary to enable 
powering through the game.

Before we start, I have to mention the chests that you have to leave alone in
order to get the Zodiac Spear from the Necrohol. I know this is pretty much 
common knowledge by now, but I'll include the info here anyway.

   1. At the southern end of Rabanastre Lowtown, do not open the chest that 
      sits in front of Old Dalan's house.
   2. In the Rabanastre Palace Cellar, do not open the treasure chest(s) that 
      sit in the southeast corner of the map. There are either one or two 
      chests that may appear there. Do not open anything in either case. To be
      specific, do not open the chest with the Elixir in it (on your left as 
      you approach the southeast corner), but that chest is not guaranteed to 
      show up. Just play it safe and don't open anything you see in the 
      southeast.
   3. In the Nalbina Dungeons, do not open any of the treasure chests that 
      appear in the room where you get the map for the area and regain your 
      equipment (Confiscatory).
   4. At the eastern-most section of the Phon Coast (Vaddu Strand), do not open
      any of the 16 chests that are there. This step is irrelevant, because if
      you are going to follow the walkthrough in this guide, you will obtain 
      the spear way before you ever reach the Phon Coast.



  ------------------------
  2b. Early Power-Leveling                                              [02b]
  ------------------------

  [Timeframe]
  After the Rogue Tomato hunt and before breaking into Rabanastre Palace.

  [Objective]
  Level Vaan, and Vaan only, on his own to approximately Lv 25-30. Acquire 
  Monographs, as well as some decent equipment, before breaking into Rabanastre
  Palace.

First, why do we level Vaan by himself? Because Balthier and Fran join at 
Vaan's Lv + 1, and if that spread is then maintained, Basch, Ashe, and Penelo 
join permanently at Vaan's Lv + 2. That saves you a lot of trouble from having
to level up the other party members. So we start with Vaan alone. You can do 
this either before or after the Sunstone quest in the Giza Plains with Penelo.

Start by heading into the Estersand and chain Wolves when Vaan is by himself. 
This will bump him up a few levels and will also net you a decent number of 
Wolf Pelts to sell. While you are doing this, you can attempt to acquire the 
Rod. This is courtesy of x3mgame@gmail.com.


  Rod
  ~~~
  Stats: +30 rod
  Method: Chest - Dalmasca Estersand, Sand-swept Naze

  The Sand-swept Naze is two screens south of the South Bank Village. Take the
  southeastern exit. You will end up in a small area known as the Passage 
  Entrance where there's a save point. Save your game and head back to the 
  Sand-swept Naze. Now move to the SMALL CLIFF that juts out slightly a little
  east of north-center. There might be one treasure chest here. If you see it, 
  open it. There's a chance that you'll receive the Rod. If you don't get it, 
  or if you don't see the chest which happens 9% of the time, reload your game
  and try again. Keep doing this until you get the Rod.


It goes without saying that you'll need to learn the proper license before you 
can equip the Rod. This holds true for any other equipment I'll mention, so 
this will be the last time I mention it.

If your patience runs out, you don't need the Rod. Stay in the Estersand and 
continue to chain Wolves. You can also head over to the Giza Plains and chain 
Hyenas, which won't break your chain. Once you have 2000 gil, head to Nalbina 
Fortress.

Purchase the Bronze Helm and Bronze Armor to bolster your defenses. Buy the 
Leather Shield as well. It will be of use later. If you did NOT get the Rod, 
buy the Iron Sword here when you can. It'll cost another 1200 gil (for a total 
of 3200).

Earn some more gil and buy a bunch of Phoenix Downs from either Nalbina or 
Migelo's in Rabanastre (if you've done the Sunstone quest)  to prepare for some
serious leveling. Once you have a good stash, head over to the Westersand and 
beat yourself up until your HP drops below 10%. Once you're there, go to the 
Corridor of Sand.

Dustia, a rare monster, will show up. It is an undead monster, so a Phoenix 
Down will kill it in one shot. It is also a teleporting monster, which means 
that if you kill it but leave the area before the Exp/LP totals show up, it 
will respawn once you reenter the area. You get about 1100 Exp per Dustia. This
translates to about 20 levels in around an hour, less if you get good at it. 
What's also good about this method is that you effectively build up a chain and 
can stand to make some serious gil. Practice picking up the loot and exiting 
without breaking your chain and you'll be able to pick up a lot of Book of 
Orgains, which you'll be able to sell for a lot of cash. By the way, I don't 
take credit for this method.

Remember, whenever you want to leave and save before heading back for more, 
you have to be below 10% of your max HP before Dustia will spawn.

Once you're in the mid 20s, go back to Rabanastre. Unlock all of the Forgotten 
Grimoires:

- 18000 gil -> Hunter's Monograph, enhances loot from beasts/avions
  Speak with Gatsly in the Muthru Bazaar after completing the Thextera hunt.
- 19000 gil -> Knight's Monograph, enhances loot from giants/insects
  Talk to any weapon merchant more than 30 times.
- 20000 gil -> Warmage's Monograph, enhances loot from amorphs/undead
  Read the hunt bulletin board more than 20 times.
- 21000 gil -> Mage's Monograph, enhances loot from fiends
  Talk to any magick merchant over 25 times.
- 22000 gil -> Scholar's Monograph, enhances loot from constructs
  Talk to any armor merchant more than 15 times.
- 22000 gil -> Dragoon's Monograph, enhances loot from dragons/plants
  Read the hunt bulletin board more than 40 times (you can save this one for 
  later if you want to differentiate between Scholar's and Dragoon's).
- 25000 gil -> Sage's Monograph, enhances drops from elementals
  Talk to any merchant over 100 times (this doesn't take much additional effort
  after unlocking all of the other ones).

You don't have to buy them all, but with the money you've accumulated fighting 
Dustias, you'll be able to afford quite a few. Your priorities should be the 
Hunter's and Warmage's Monographs because you stand to profit the most from 
obtaining those. Leave the Sage's Monograph for last. You're not going to be 
chaining elementals anytime soon.

Go back to Nalbina and buy the Blind spell. Time for another good weapon.


  Gladius
  ~~~~~~~
  Stats: +45 dagger, Windstrike
  Method: Steal from Lindbur Wolf - Dalmasca Westersand, Shimmering Horizons

  Chain more than 20 Wolves in the Westersand and head to Shimmering Horizons. 
  Lindbur Wolf will be here with a few lackeys. Equip the Leather Shield. 
  Repeatedly cast Blind on the Lindbur Wolf until it connects. It should almost
  never be able to hit you now. Get rid of the small fry and steal from Lindbur
  Wolf until you obtain the Gladius.


Nice, right? You can go back to Rabanastre, save, reload, and repeat this for 
as many copies of the Gladius as you'd like, but you only really need one. 
Ready for the next weapon?


  Kotetsu
  ~~~~~~~
  Stats: +50 katana
  Method: Rare drop from Werewolf - Giza Plains, Starfall Fields

  Save your game at Giza Plains, Crystal Glade. Head west and you'll find two 
  Werewolves stalking around in the southwestern corner. They are weak to wind.
  Perfect! Go to town on them with your Gladius. You can chain them by heading 
  two screens east (don't touch the save point) and returning. You'll likely 
  also build up a few more levels this way.

  The Werewolves aren't pushovers, though, even with the Gladius. You can buy 
  Protect from Nalbina (thanks for the reminder from prinnypayday@yahoo.com) to
  help you move things along. If things get really rough, consider investing 
  some LP into a Mist Quickening (MQ). A few Red Spirals should be all you need
  as a desperation move.


From now on, I will refer to the process of moving two screens away and 
returning to respawn regular monsters as "zoning".

You should be around Lv 30 by now, which is plenty. If you want to level some 
more via the Dustia method, go ahead. Kotetsus are essentially all you need to 
power through the story. You can kill Dive Talons in the Westersand to pick up 
Burning Bows (+63 bow), but this is really overkill and ultimately not 
efficient, since you have no good way to fight flying creatures at this point
besides MQs, which is painstakingly time-consuming. Remember, that's what this 
guide is about: efficiency.


  ------------------------
  2c. Through to Raithwall                                              [02c]
  ------------------------

  [Timeframe]
  Between and including Rabanastre Palace and the Tomb of Raithwall.

  [Objective]
  Get through these areas as quickly as possible. Complete the Barheim Key
  sidequest.


Race through the game up until you exit the Barheim Passage into the Estersand.
If you got a Mage's Habit from a Mimic in Barheim, that is a nice bonus. If not,
no big deal.

Back in Rabanastre, everyone will leave and you will have Vaan by himself again.
Now that you have Gambits to play with, as well as the Protect spell, you can 
go back to killing Dustias and/or Werewolves, which will be REALLY easy. 
However, Balthier and Fran do not gain any experience with you, so they will 
not have any extra levels you add here once they rejoin (which is almost 
immediately, in terms of story progression). Basch, however, has not yet 
permanently joined (again, he will almost immediately), so he does reap the 
benefits here. Do what you want.

Note that you can also head back into the Garamsythe Waterway and beat up on 
Gigantoads and Malboro Overkings, which individually give more experience than 
the Werewolves, but you cannot efficiently defeat them with regular attacks 
like you can Werewolves. Therefore, I do not recommend this method for leveling.
HOWEVER, you can do this for other reasons.


  Francisca
  ~~~~~~~~~
  Stats: +89 axe
  Method: Sell Wind Magicite x6, Malboro Fruit x4, Pointed Horn x2 and purchase
          from Bazaar for 10350 gil.

  Credit here goes to branflakecereal@gmail.com. Wind Magicites are dropped by 
  Dive Talons in the Westersand. Malboro Fruits are dropped by the Malboro 
  Overkings in the sewers. Finally, Pointed Horns can be dropped by the Lizards 
  in the sewers. 


While we're here, take up the Flowering Cactoid hunt and complete it if you 
haven't done so already. Take the flower you get to Dantro's wife in the South 
Bank Village.

Continue on with the storyline through Bhujerba and the Lhusu Mines. Once you 
touch down in the Westersand after the events on the Leviathan, go back to 
Rabanastre and sign up for the Nidhogg hunt. Take a detour and ride an airship 
to Bhujerba. Make sure you choose the leisure craft option. Aboard the airship, 
buy a bunch of Teleport Stones. Traveling will be much easier from now on. 
Complete the Nidhogg hunt in Bhujerba. Hold on to that Great Serpentskin.

In addition, you should complete the Rocktoise hunt in Bhujerba while you're at 
it. If you've been doing hunts diligently up to this point, your clan rank 
should have upgraded to Rear Guard, which means that you can now purchase 
Teleport Stones from the Clan Shop in the Muthru Bazaar. Thanks to M.W. for 
this tip.

Head to the Tomb of Raithwall. Kill both Demon Walls. They should be easy with 
your equipment. Activate the side stairs in the area of the first Demon Wall by 
examining the area where the Demon Wall was and then save your game outside at 
the Gate Crystal. Time for another weapon.


  Demonsbane
  ~~~~~~~~~~
  Stats: +59 1H sword
  Method: Chest - Tomb of Raithwall, Royal Passage

  Now take those stairs you opened up all the way to the back. Once you reach 
  Royal Passage, go all the way down until the two paths converge. There is a 
  70% chance that there will be a chest here. If there is, there will be a 
  22.5% chance that it holds one Demonsbane. You can fight through all of the 
  Tallows, or just grab the chest and run. If the chest isn't there or if you 
  don't get the sword, reload your game and try again. If you run out of 
  patience, then don't worry about it. The Demonsbane is merely temporary and 
  will become obsolete once we get out of Raithwall. However, the fun part is 
  that the chest respawns, so you can grab the Demonsbane, run back to the 
  save point, save, reload, and try your luck again ad infinitum/nauseum.


Clear Raithwall.



  ----------------------------------
  2d. Zodiac Spear and Other Goodies                                    [02d]
  ----------------------------------

  [Timeframe]
  After returning to Rabanastre from Raithwall and before going to Jahara.

  [Objective]
  Defeat the Bomb King. Grab the Zodiac Spear from Nabudis. Get the Barheim Key 
  and head back into Barheim Passage.


Once you're out of Raithwall, go back to the Estersand. Complete the chain of 
events that unlocks the ferry for your usage and ends with Dantro's wife 
informing you that the Serpentskin you gave her (you still had it, right?) will 
speed up her mystery guest's recovery. I will not detail the sidequest here; it 
is well-documented elsewhere.

If you sold the Great Serpentskin for some reason, all is not lost. However, 
you might not be able to do the Barheim stuff (see end of section) until a 
little bit later in the game (i.e. after some more story events).

Okay, now back to the main task at hand. Head back to Rabanastre. Make 
ABSOLUTELY sure that all six characters know Libra, Protect, Shell, and as many 
HP augments as you can learn.

I recommend that every character have around 2000 HP. To be on the safe side, I 
also recommend that you have a healthy supply of Phoenix Downs (maybe 30 or so) 
because you'll be using them. Purchase the best armor available in Rabanastre.

When everything is set, go to Nalbina Fortress. Approach the two guards that 
block the Mosphoran Highwaste entrance and listen to their babble (hmm, those 
names look kind of familiar, no?). Speak to July nearby and hear her end of it 
before heading over to Gurdy and renting a chocobo. Now run at the guards agai 
and pretty soon the way to Mosphoran will be open (and you can eventually get a
Salamand Halcyon from July the next time you see her, which will be when you 
reach Archades and go to the Magick Shop). Stay on the chocobo and race through 
Mosphoran Highwaste to the Babbling Vale. Save your game and approach Luccio, 
the merchant. He has Thief's Cuffs and Golden Amulets for sale. Buy 6 Golden 
Amulets. This sets you back 27000 gil, but doubling your LP gain for the rest 
of the game is not a bad trade-off, wouldn't you say? You can buy Thief's Cuffs 
as well, which you'll want to do as soon as you can to make your career as a 
thief a bit easier.

Run through the rest of Mosphoran and into the Salikawood. Head straight for 
the Gate Crystal at Quietened Trace. Save your game. The Bomb King is one 
screen away from you. Put on your game face and head north. The Bomb King will 
start out with some minions, so get rid of those first. However, once you've 
done so, pull back out to the crystal. The little ones won't be there when you 
go back.

Kill the Bomb King. This is easier said than done, but you should be able to do 
it with the help of Kotetsus, Demonsbanes, and your Francisca. Equip as many 
of those as you can. As far as your characters go, make sure that you have at 
least four characters that know MQs. This shouldn't be an issue by now, but it's
the bare minimum if you want to be safe, and for those four, it is preferred 
that at least three of them have attained their Level 2 MQs.

Once your characters are set up, rush in. Hack away at the Bomb King until it 
starts to call for help (reviving the little Bombs). This usually happens with 
50% to 60% of its health remaining. When you see this, immediately start your 
MQs. Sometimes your chain won't kill it immediately. If this happens, you must 
not allow the Bomb King to stick around for much longer, since it will cast 
Renew to heal itself completely, so swap out one character for your fourth 
character with MQs and start another chain, hopefully one that will do enough 
damage to finish it off. Obviously, if you have more characters with MQs, you 
can repeat this process up to two more times.

Retreat to the save point again and rotate all of your characters around so 
that every single one of them has an active Libra/Protect/Shell. Save your game.
Now, reform your party so that it has only one member.

Run through where the Bomb King previously stood and take the left branch. Keep 
heading west and you will enter the Necrohol of Nabudis. This area is filled 
with deadly traps and difficult enemies. With your level of equipment, it is 
stupid to pick fights in here. That's not why we came, anyway.


  Zodiac Spear
  ~~~~~~~~~~~~
  Stats: +150 spear
  Method: Chest - Necrohol of Nabudis, Cloister of the Highborn

  Avoid all traps and run from all the enemies. In the first area, keep heading 
  west while searching for the exit. This is the hardest area to get through, 
  since Baknamys are extremely aggressive. When you lose a character (and you 
  will), swap out another one, but ONLY one. This guarantees maximal 
  survivability. Once you reach the second area, stop to revive, heal, and 
  recast Libra/Protect/Shell on everyone. Keep running, this time heading 
  northeast. Eventually you will reach Cloister of the Highborn, the central 
  area and home to what is for the most part the strongest weapon in the game.

  Make a right from where you come in and then the next left. You should be 
  heading down a corridor heading north. Take the first left; this room should 
  have sixteen treasure chests in it if you left the right chests alone earlier 
  in the game. The Zodiac Spear is in the second chest from the left in the row 
  closest to you as you enter the room. You will likely have Elvorets on your 
  tail, so grab the weapon and get out of there. Backtrack through the first 
  two areas and exit out to the Salikawood. Make your way all the back to the 
  Gate Crystal. Congratulations!


By the way, you can head back into the Necrohol if you're particularly 
desperate for Ethers. The Baknamy Merchant sells them at 222 gil each, which is 
a great price. Refer to a map of the Necrohol for the location of the shop. 
Keep in mind that you should come back here later for Magepower Shishaks, 
Maximilians, Telekinesis, and Scathe. The first three are available after 
Giruvegan, and Scathe is available after the Pharos at Ridorana.

There are a couple of other things we can get, and they're actually kind of 
optional, since you flat out don't need anything else to blast on through, but 
you should now be able to get the Barheim Key from the South Bank Village in 
the Estersand. Talk to Dantro's wife and then head on back around her hut. Her 
former patient will give you the Barheim Key. Head to Murmuring Defile and 
reenter the Barheim Passage. Make your way to the Gate Crystal at North-South 
Junction.

goldeneye86 first came up with the method to get the following:


  Deathbringer
  ~~~~~~~~~~~~
  Stats: +90 1H sword, occasional KO on hit
  Method: Steal from Ithuno - Barheim Passage, Special Op. Sector 5

  In Special Op. Sector 5, which is west of the Gate Crystal, run past the 
  Silicon Tortoise and keep going until you see a rock on the right side of the 
  tracks. On the far side of that rock there will be a chest. If there are two 
  of them, the silver-looking one is Ithuno. If the silver chest is not there, 
  reload your game. Examine the silver chest to provoke Ithuno. Let it chase 
  you all the way back to the entrance of Special Op. Sector 5. At this point, 
  just keep stealing until you get a Deathbringer. If you need to heal, go back 
  one screen and heal before returning (Ithuno will still be there, like the 
  Lindbur Wolf). Don't move back two screens or you will reset the area. Once 
  you've obtained your Deathbringer, head back to the Gate Crystal and save 
  your game. Now quit and reload. Repeat the entire process if you want another 
  one. Rinse and repeat as many times as you like.


There is also some top-notch armor that you can obtain right now, but getting 
it will require significantly more work. Thanks to goldeneye86 and 
spirit_guy_25 for their contributions here.

Refer to this minimap of Barheim for locations for the following armor. 
http://www.geocities.com/arthellinus/barheimchests.jpg


  Dragon Mail
  ~~~~~~~~~~~
  Stats: Heavy Armor, +53 Defense, +8 Strength
  Method: Chest (see map)

  Head to the West Annex, which is he south of The Zeviah Span and east of 
  Terminus No. 7 Adjunct. Looking at the map of that section, there's a large 
  area to the east, a fairly small section to the west, and a thin path that 
  connects the two. The Dragon Mail is in a chest at the tip of the 
  southwestern "peninsula" of the large east part. Like most chests, it may or 
  may not be there, and it may contain the armor, a Knot of Rust, or some gil.


  Cleric's Robes
  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  Stats: Mystic Armor, +37 Defense, +9 Magick Power
  Method: Chest (see map, credit GnatB)

  The Cleric's Robes is in that tiny little bit of the Zeviah Span that's only 
  accessible from the West Annex.


  Celebrant's Miter
  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  Stats: Mystic Armor, +50 Magick Defense, +6 Magick, +5 Speed
  Method: Chest (see map, credit Kimber Boh)

  Go to the Zeviah Span. The main span there is fractured in the center, where 
  the train tracks are. The chest with the Celebrant's Miter is on the SOUTH 
  side (using the auto-map) of the fractured train tracks. The NORTH side of 
  this chasm has a chest which is always a Mimeo.


By the way, you can get additional Franciscas from Mimeos (rare drop), as well 
as Gigas Hats (+38 Magick Defense, +530 HP) as rare steals from Dead Bones 
enemies.

I don't think it's entirely necessary to get the armor because the Zodiac Spear
and Deathbringers are good enough at making the game much easier already. No
matter how good your armor is, the enemies are not going to die any quicker. I
don't see this as an indispensable step, but it's hard to deny that you can get
some incredibly potent stuff here while you're hunting for Deathbringers. Just
beware that the enemies within are fairly powerful. The area with the Dragon
Mail in particular has a ton of high-powered undead. It may take some time 
before you are comfortable surviving here (you could also formulate a strategy
similar to how you ran in to get the Zodiac Spear). However, all of this takes 
time that you don't really need to spend. Remember, you'll STILL need to farm 
LP so that you can actually use all of this stuff.

I do realize that if you go into Barheim FIRST and try your luck at getting 
Dragon Mails and such, you'll have a much easier time with both the Bomb King 
and the Necrohol. However, you'll have to survive Barheim instead. It's up to 
you to decide.

One more thing.


  Loxley Bow
  ~~~~~~~~~~
  Stats: +51 bow
  Method: Reward for "Viera Rendezvous" sidequest in Rabanastre

  If you want a decent ranged weapon to round out your offense, complete the 
  sidequest, which pretty much consists of running around for 5-10 minutes 
  (minimal effort). Again, you can check the strategy guide (which erroneously 
  reports that you have to visit Jahara first; you don't) or any other full 
  walkthrough for details.



  -----------------------
  2e. Through to Archades                                               [02e]
  -----------------------

  [Timeframe]
  From the Zodiac Spear events through to Archades.

  [Objective]
  Blast through everything with your superpowered weapons through to Archades.


Why blast through to Archades? Because this guide is about efficiency.

We want to get our hands on the Embroidered Tippet as soon as possible to 
maximize the amount of experience obtained. Since your party's levels should be 
in the mid to upper 30s, you should have little trouble getting through this 
portion of the game with the Zodiac Spear and, if you bothered to get them, 
Deathbringers.

There is one weapon of note, to be collected after clearing the Henne Mines. 
The -ra spells (Fira, Blizzara, Thundara) will be available at Eruyt Village 
(as well as Golden Amulets, but you have those already, right?). This is a good 
time to head back to Rabanastre for a hunt.


  Yoichi Bow
  ~~~~~~~~~~
  Stats: +76 bow
  Method: Reward for White Mousse (Rank V) hunt

  If you've been doing hunts on a regular basis, the bill for White Mousse 
  (Rank V) should be up. Doing this hunt right now will net you a Yoichi Bow 
  (+76 bow), which is very useful. The fight is not hard; you have the Zodiac 
  Spear and Fira does a ridiculous amount of damage to the mark. Now, 
  technically you could have done this hunt immediately after Raithwall. I put 
  it here because Fira makes the fight that much easier (I'm talking about 2000 
  damage per blast).


Make your way to Old Archades. Don't run from fights completely since you can 
always use more gil. Just fight whatever you see along the way, while taking 
the most direct path to your next destination. Take shortcuts if you can. For 
instance, you can just teleport from Mt. Bur-Omisace to the Salikawood with 
zero hassle. Also, you can give the wayward chocobo north of the Hunters' Camp 
at the Phon Coast a peck of Gysahl Greens and ride it all the way to the Gate 
Crystal in the Tchita Uplands (or simply hire one from the moogle). If you don't
have any Gysahl Greens, go kill some Black Chocobos on the Ozmone Plains, or 
just buy them during an airship ride (much like how you got Teleport Stones, of 
which you should still have a healthy supply).

Now, I have discovered that you can in fact reach the Cerobi Steppe and 
Balfonheim BEFORE you ever get to Archades. Here is a video, courtesy of 
KaddyGamer, that shows you how:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=VCbcc8-_9mM

Basically, once you reach the Phon Coast, you can reach the Cerobi Steppe with
a chocobo (the path is blocked otherwise) and head to Balfonheim to access the
Gate Crystal. Thanks to fighting_fury for linking the video.

Technically, this means that you can get the Ultima Blade once you have access
to the Phon Coast. That's a pretty big deal. But you know what? We don't need 
it just yet, since we have the Zodiac Spear. If you want to level as quickly 
as possible, I still suggest that you go get your Embroidered Tippets first. If
you insist on getting it now, skip to the next section (2f), then come back and
resume reading.

You can steal Embroidered Tippets from Coeurls in the Tchita Uplands (with 
Thief's Cuffs). Thanks to Shane G. for pointing this out. However, I still 
recommend that you keep on going until you reach Archades.

Finally, try to steal a Death Powder from Ahriman in the Sochen Cave Palace.

Once you arrive at Old Archades, buy some Embroidered Tippets if you don't have 
three already. But don't go running off just yet! I recommend that you complete 
the events in Archades, which will grant you access to the Gate Crystal. Now, 
we can finally have some fun.


  ---------------
  2f. Catching Up                                                       [02f]
  ---------------

  [Timeframe]
  After accessing the Gate Crystal in Archades and before reaching the Draklor
  Laboratory.

  [Objective]
  Do everything you've been skipping, and doing it very easily. Accumulate lots 
  of levels and money. Acquire one or more Fomalhauts, an Ultima Blade, and 
  High Arcana in preparation for the Tournesol.


Buy the best armor you can afford in Archades, as well as the Aeroga spell, and
go do whatever you need to do (mostly hunts, probably). However, I will focus 
on several locations I singled out. By the way, just to remind you, your active
members should have Embroidered Tippets equipped at all times, except when 
taking down hunts and bosses. Switch to Golden Amulets then. As for your reserve
members, they should have Golden Amulets on all the time.

- Golmore Jungle
  With Lente's Tear, enter the southernmost section. Clear out all of the 
  Coeurls and Hellhounds (and Diresaur) and you will find a massive skeleton 
  spawning area. You can easily manage a 90-chain before having to zone the 
  area. When you come back, you'll have to kill all the Coeurls, etc. all over 
  again, but it's worth it. These suckers (the skeletons) give out 950+ Exp 
  each (with three members, and not counting the Embroidered Tippet effect) and 
  are MUCH easier to kill than any other enemies that give a similar amount of 
  experience. Just make sure to have a Blindna or Eye Drops gambit handy, since 
  they use Flash very often. Also, a Grave Lord will sometimes show up during 
  your skeleton chain. He shouldn't be too bad with the Zodiac Spear, and the 
  Deathbringer's KO effect works on him. The Sturdy Bones and Burgeonets 
  dropped make for nice cash, as well. My advice is to stick around here until 
  you're around Lv 45.

  You might be wondering about the Coeurls here. I told you earlier that you 
  can steal Embroidered Tippets from Coeurls. So right now you might be asking 
  me why I didn't tell you to simply come here and steal them immediately when 
  you first gained access to this area. My answer is that according to the 
  strategy guide, you CANNOT steal Embroidered Tippets from THESE Coeurls. They
  must be the ones in the Tchita Uplands.

- The Feywood
  Chain tons of Mirrorknights here in the areas around the Save Crystal at 
  Antiquity's End. The drops you get from them sell for big chunks of gil.

Now for a couple of uber-weapons.


  Ultima Blade
  ~~~~~~~~~~~~
  Stats: +118 greatsword
  Method: Sell Gnoma Halcyon x1, Adamantite x2, Death Powder x2 and purchase
          from Bazaar for 22800 gil.

  Okay, so maybe you followed the guide and are ready to go loot-hunting with 
  Embroidered Tippets on hand. Maybe you're too impatient and want the Ultima 
  Blade before you even reach the Sochen Cave Palace. Either way is fine with 
  me, though I still think you save a bit more time in the end if you do the
  stuff in Archades first. Regardless, here's how to get the Ultima Blade.

  First, get to the Balfonheim Gate Crystal if you haven't already. See the 
  previous section (2e) for details. Now head to Cerobi Steppe, Feddik River.
  Kill Adamantitans here for Adamantite x2. You can also just get one
  Adamantite this way and get the other one by completing the Darksteel hunt, 
  but you need to have gone through Archades for that. I am aware that there 
  are Adamantitans in the Barheim Passage. However, those Adamantitans do NOT 
  drop Adamantite (this is much like my note about the Coeurls in Golmore).

  By the way, you can get some really nifty stuff at Cerobi if you have a 
  Diamond Armlet. The only way to get a Diamond Armlet at this point is through
  a random chest in Tchita Uplands, which is time-consuming. If you do bother 
  with that, though, you can head to Cerobi Steppe, Crossfield, where you can
  get Fomalhauts, Ribbons, and Dark Shots from random chests. However, this is
  even more time-consuming and is not recommended, since there is a much easier
  way to get Fomalhauts, which I will detail next.

  Anyway, once you have your Adamantites, make a trip to the Westersand while 
  there is a sandstorm. Locate a Gnoma Entite, which can be found in each of the
  two areas closest to the Zertinan Caverns entrance. Equip the Thief's Cuffs 
  and commence stealing from the Entite. Once your steal is successful, run 
  towards the western exit and re-enter. The Entite, which you made hostile, 
  will be neutral again. Furthermore, if what you stole was NOT a Gnoma Halcyon,
  you can simply try your luck by stealing again. If you don't get it, exit and 
  come back, and the Entite will be neutral again. Repeat this until you get 
  your Gnoma Halcyon.

  Almost done! Warp to the Sandsea Gate Crystal and head west into to the Nam-
  Yensa Sandsea. Find the entrance to the Zertinan Caverns and go in. You should
  end up in an area called Darkened Wharf, with another area known as the 
  Drybeam Cavern to the southeast. There are Bogeys located in both of these
  areas. Kill these guys until you get two Death Powders. If you were lucky, 
  you might have stolen one from Ahriman in the Sochen Cave Palace (if you 
  cleared it). If so, you only need one more here. BE VERY CAREFUL not to take
  the southeastern-most exit from the Drybeam Cavern. You'll be thrown into a 
  boss fight (Adrammelech) that you might not be prepared for. Fortunately, if 
  you do end up there by accident (the minimap will become blurry), you can 
  leave whenever you want.

  And that's it! You can go get your Ultima Blade now.


  Fomalhaut
  ~~~~~~~~~
  Stats: +50 gun
  Method: Chest - Lhusu Mines, Site 9

  Complete the Antlion hunt. The Killer Mantises that swarm you along with the 
  Antlion can be nuked with Aeroga, since they are weak to Wind. Afterwards, 
  return to the Lhusu Crystal and save your game. Head back to the place where 
  the Antlion was. Hopefully there is a chest at the back of the room, and 
  hopefully it contains Fomalhaut. No Diamond Armlet is needed. If you don't 
  get it, just reload and try again. This is a repeatable chest, and Fomalhaut  
  is the best gun in the game. Don't get shy about farming them here. In fact,
  getting three of them is ideal for our next task.


  Tournesol PREPARATIONS
  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  No, we're not going to get the Tournesol yet, but we can do some stuff to 
  make it a lot easier later on.

  Enter the Zertinan Caverns from the Westersand. Complete the Marilith hunt if
  you want. Find the save crystal at The Undershore, which is two screens away 
  from the Athroza Quicksands (remember that place?).

  Now save your game. Head into the Athroza Quicksands and meet Adrammelech 
  (since it's a flying creature, it's a good thing you got those Fomalhauts, 
  right?). 

  Steal High Arcana x3 from the Esper so you don't have to worry about getting 
  these later. You need 6 of them for the Tournesol, and you can get 2 for free
  later on and one more while you're farming other Tournesol ingredients (see
  Section 3c for details).
 
  You can steal from Adrammelech, exit, re-enter to steal again, and repeat the
  process until you have enough. The High Arcana is a rare steal (so Thief's
  Cuffs are mandatory), so this might require some patience, but this is better
  than having to go out of your way later.

  Once you've done that, you can defeat the Esper if you want. Having three 
  Fomalhauts makes this fight a joke.


Leveling to around 50 should be enough for this stage. Let's move on.



  ------------------------------------
  2g. Through to Balfonheim and Beyond                                  [02g]
  ------------------------------------

  [Timeframe]
  After the events in Section 2f.

  [Objective]
  Break open the rest of the game.


Clear Draklor and reach Balfonheim. At this point, there aren't many tricks 
left, except when when we're talking about gaining levels. I will cover that, 
but otherwise, that's about it for breaking the game open.

- Leveling to 60-70
  Head into the Nabreus Deadlands and find the Gate Crystal (careful, there's a
  Crystalbug you have to get rid of first). From the crystal, go south into The
  Slumbermead and hug the northern edge of the area. You will see a path that 
  winds around the back of the second rock you come across that is unmarked on 
  the map. Follow this trail and you will end up in The Fog Mutters. Keep 
  moving west and you will enter a small area called Overlooking Eternity.

  This is the third and ultimate mass field of skeletons. You can generally 
  wipe out about 40-45 of them per visit. Return to The Fog Mutters and then 
  come back, and we have ourselves a party. It has been documented by both 
  myself and others that with Embroidered Tippet equipped, you can gather about
  1200000 Exp (that's 1.2 million) in an hour. The numbers speak for themselves.


That's great, you say, but looking at some other numbers, it would still take a 
long time to get your levels REALLY high. Oh well, it can't be that easy, right?

Right?


- Leveling to 99, Minimal Effort Edition
  Go whoop on some Espers if you haven't already. In fact, you could have 
  chosen to skip the Deadlands altogether and come straight here if you met the
  necessary requirements. I'm talking, of course, about the secret area of the
  Henne Mines, which you can only unlock after you gather 10 or more Espers AND
  complete the Mindflayer hunt. Thanks to goldeneye86 for reminding me about 
  the Mindflayer.

  Naturally, it would be easiest to defeat everything but the three hardest 
  ones, which are Chaos, Ultima, and Zodiark, so that is what I recommend. And
  of course, you can't even reach Zodiark before unlocking this area anyway.

  If you don't want to wait that long (i.e. until after the Pharos, since you'd
  need Hashmal and Famfrit), you pretty much have to beat Chaos and Ultima 
  first. Neither is particularly difficult at Lv 70, although you should make 
  sure you get Telekinesis before you fight Chaos, since the Attack command is 
  sealed for that fight.

  Regardless, if you do some quick counting, you'll realize that this area 
  cannot be accessed until after you clear Giruvegan and obtain the Treaty-
  Blade.

  So do your thing however you like and then speak with Geomancer Yugelu in 
  Jahara to open up this area (he's across from the shop). Before entering this
  extremely dangerous place, you must have the following:

  - Arise
  - Curaja
  - Disable OR Sleepga, although Sleepga is preferred
  - Bubble
  - Protectga
  - Float

  Faith, Hastega and Shellga are nice, but not necessary.

  Teleport to the Henne Crystal. Now cast Protectga, Bubble and Float on your 
  whole party and start running through Phase 2 Dig (east of where you fought 
  Tiamat). Head straight all the way to the end, where a Gizamaluk is duking it
  out with a couple of Abysteels, and grab the map. You might have to fight the
  creeps, but the bats should be weakened and the Gizamaluk is pretty easy. Now
  open up the map and locate Pithead Junction C. This is where you want to go, 
  so keep running all the way until you get there, refreshing Float as is 
  necessary.

  Take a breather for a minute once you reach Pithead Junction C. This is a 
  very suspicious four-way junction with a blue-red gate switch. The suspicion,
  of course, stems from memories of about twenty Jelly enemies dropping down on
  you when you hit the switches in other areas of the Henne Mines.

  Here, you get to deal with about twenty Lv 65ish Abysteels when you hit the 
  switch. But that's GOOD news for us. Why?

  - Abysteels are undead and therefore can be damaged by healing spells.
  - Abysteels are weak to Disable (credit leeboo1211) AND Sleep (credit Garbo).
  - At Lv 65, Abysteels give out 3000+ Exp each. That's when you have three 
    party members. That's without factoring in Embroidered Tippet.

  So basically, Disable/Sleepga + three waves of Curaja = tens of thousands of 
  experience in about 20-30 seconds. The actual numbers come out to something 
  like 3 million per hour.

  Of course, keep Bubble and Protectga up at all times because even one bat can
  still kill a vulnerable character. However, once your gambits are set, you 
  don't really have to do much of anything. With your Warmage and Headhunter 
  augments active, the rate at which you regain MP by beating up on Abysteels 
  is utterly ridiculous, so MP is essentially a non-issue.

  If you want to play it extra safe, buy three Demon Shields from the shop in 
  Nabudis and equip all of your characters with Main Gauches. This will give 
  them high evasion, so the bats will barely touch you. You can even reasonably 
  risk not using Disable/Sleepga, although the damage still piles up very 
  quickly if the bats do hit you. By the way, Abysteels drop Demon Shields 
  themselves, and you can sell a bunch of them for a huge chunk of cash.

  The first time you flip the switch, it will turn from blue to red. After you 
  kill the Abysteels, take the east exit. Make the first left (it isn't very 
  far) over to another area. Now double back and head back to the switch room.
  Hit the switch again, which makes it go from red back to blue. The Abysteels
  come down again. Mop them up and then hit the switch, turning it red again. 
  Now exit out east, take the first left, return to the switch room, and so on.
  Very, very fast.


That's about it. I hope that by following this guide, you will be able to do 
everything in the game in MUCH less time than if you simply progressed through 
it normally.


===============================================================================
  3. Miscellaneous                                                      [030]
===============================================================================

  ----------------------
  3a. The Petrify Glitch                                                [03a]
  ----------------------

The big glitch in Final Fantasy XII is as follows:

1) During a chain, if the player successfully petrifies an enemy of a different
   type that, when defeated normally, would break the chain, the chain will not
   be broken once the different enemy type turns to stone. In addition, any 
   loot dropped by this enemy will match the quality of the loot being dropped
   by the chained enemy. For example, if after chaining 60 Hyenas, the loot 
   being dropped is Level 4 Chain loot (represented by a large golden ball), 
   petrifying a Wildsnake mandates that any loot dropped by the Wildsnake will
   also be of the Level 4 Chain type (i.e. also a large golden ball).
   (Credit: Unknown, not me though)

2) Furthermore, after the petrified enemy is vanquished, if the player moves 
   far enough away (e.g. one minimap screen away from its original position), 
   the petrified enemy will immediately respawn upon returning, without 
   requiring that the player move two screens away and back.
   (Credit: Garbo)

It has also been proven that an enemy that is defeated by Poison also does not 
break a chain of another enemy type, but I'm not sure if Point 2 above applies 
as well.



  -----------------------
  3b. Other Helpful Hints                                               [03b]
  -----------------------

- Increasing Chain Level
  To increase your chain level quickly, do NOT pick up loot unless the chain
  number is flashing. If you're trying to build chains rapidly during endgame,
  I recommend using your best bow with Assassin's Arrows. If you don't have 
  Assassin's Arrows, the process takes a little longer, and you could 
  feasibly substitute the bow with a gun.

- Stealing from Neutrals
  If you steal from a neutral enemy (thus making it hostile) and move one 
  screen away, the enemy will be neutral once you re-enter. Its stash will 
  also be intact again! This makes stealing those Halcyons from various Entites
  much easier, although it's still pretty annoying. I have already referred to
  this trick earlier in my discussion of the Ultima Blade.

- Stealing from Rare Trophy Monsters
  Since trophy monsters do not reappear once you kill them, and since some of 
  them have very good loot for stealing, if you need more than one of what they
  hold, steal from them, return to a save point, save, reload, steal from them 
  again, return to the save point, etc (of course, you need to keep at it until
  they show up again). This is particularly useful when you are farming 
  ingredients for the Tournesol.



  ----------------------------------------
  3c. Comments on Rare Items and Equipment                              [03c]
  ----------------------------------------

Here, I do everything from providing various levels of detail on obtaining 
items to musings about the effectiveness of equipment, in no particular order.


  Tournesol
  ~~~~~~~~~
I mentioned in the walkthrough during the fight against Adrammelech that you 
should try to steal 3 out of the 6 High Arcana you'll need to obtain the 
Tournesol. How do you get the other 3?

1. Obtain from Montblanc after reaching the "Paragon of Justice" clan rank.
2. Obtain from Montblanc when you control 4 Espers.
3. Due to a trick you can employ when unlocking stuff at the Bazaar (which I'm
   not going to detail, you can check FeuFeu's Bazaar FAQ on gamefaqs.com), you
   can do the following:

   "Since the Empyreal Soul and the Serpentarius are used only in making the 
   Tournesol there is no need to make either one until you have enough loot to 
   make all three of each (6 total). If you sell 2 Serpent Eye, 4 Snake Skin, a
   Soul Powder, 2 Wargod's Band (the ingredients for the two reagents minus the
   High Arcana) AND a High Arcana AT THE SAME TIME (i.e without leaving the
   loot-selling window in between selling) you can unlock both the Empyreal Soul
   and the Serpentarius at the same time. This can be repeated three times and 
   therefore you can buy all six with only three High Arcana. Just make sure you
   sell one batch at a time."

   The above is in quotes because I got it from an email courtesy of 
   lost_notes_forgotten@yahoo.com.

One more note here that I'm bringing back from my old guide. Snake Skins are 
dropped by Wildsnake in Giza Plains Dry, Toma Hills. This is the ONLY place that
I know of where there's a Wildsnake, and there is ONLY the one that is there. I
suggest that you either run through the nomad camp to the east and then back 
again to make it respawn or chain some Hyenas and then use the petrify trick.


  Eksir Berries
  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~
You can return to the place where you got the Eksir Berries before reaching 
Raithwall (northeast section of the Nam-Yensa sandsea, where the blue save 
crystal is) at some later time. The plant there will have flowered again, and 
you can pick some more Eksir Berries.


  Elixirs / Hi-Ethers
  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
With a Diamond Armlet equipped, many regular treasure chests (that normally 
give you insignificant items or amounts of gil) have a 10% chance to reward you
with either an Elixir or a Hi-Ether. Roughly speaking, if you walk around 
opening everything in some of the late-game locales while wearing a Diamond 
Armlet, you have a chance to get an Elixir or Hi-Ether roughly one out of every
ten chests. The Feywood is especially good for this; almost all of the chests 
there hold Elixirs at a 10% chance with Diamond Armlet.


  Grand Helm
  ~~~~~~~~~~
The Grand Helm is perhaps the second-most annoying piece of equipment to obtain 
in the entire game, after the Danjuro. Details on how to obtain it will not be 
provided here. Instead, I would just like to say that unless you are looking to 
acquire every piece of equipment in the game, you would do well to ignore the 
Grand Helm completely. The Grand Helm provides one additional point of Magick 
Defense and one additional point of Strength over the Magepower Shishak (MPS). 
Both are negligible, especially the point of Strength, since by the time your 
characters reach very high levels, it will be easy to hit 99 Strength. Any 
overflow (bonuses that push Strength, Magick Power, Vitality, or Speed over 99) 
is discarded. Given the Magick boost provided by the MPS, there really is no 
contest as to which is the better heavy helmet.


  Grand Armor
  ~~~~~~~~~~~
Likewise, the Grand Armor is not as good as the Maximilian, for the same 
reasons why the Grand Helm is not as good as the MPS. However, there is more 
merit to the Grand Armor because it provides a relatively bigger bonus over the 
Maximilian (compared to Grand Helm vs. MPS) and is also easier to obtain. Again,
I will not detail how to obtain the Grand Armor. It is well-documented 
elsewhere.


  Zodiac Escutcheon / Brave Suit
  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
(in reference to sephirosuy's Great Crystal Upper Layer map on GameFAQs)
The treasure chest behind the Taurus II Gate in the GCUL holds either a Zodiac 
Escutcheon or a Brave Suit. My advice is to definitely go for the shield if 
you're trying to collect every piece of equipment in the game. The one in 
Barheim is horrendously annoying to get, where as the other Brave Suit in the 
Henne Mines secret area is a guaranteed reward from a chest that has a 25% 
chance of appearing, which isn't too bad, relatively.


  Yagyu Darkblade / ninja swords in general
  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Why are these completely useless? The exception is against Yiazmat, I know, but 
there are videos out there that prove that the Masamune has by far the most 
devastating potential out of any weapon in the game, and fighting against 
Yiazmat is no exception (see maltzsan's Game Mechanics FAQ, Appendix B).
Everything within the game points to the notion that ninja swords were 
originally supposed to come in pairs, and that dual-wielding was nixed for 
whatever reason. Hopefully, Square-Enix will surprise us and fix this in FFXII 
International, but I'm not holding my breath.


  Danjuro
  ~~~~~~~
The Danjuro will go down in Final Fantasy lore as the single most annoying piece
of equipment to obtain in the history of FF games. I'm sure you completionists 
have already heard many horror stories about trying to get Larva Eater to spawn,
and more anecdotes about how many Larva Eaters it took to get a Danjuro. If you
really must undertake this challenge (and it's a challenge of patience), I 
recommend what is known as the Mom Bomb method. I didn't come up with it, and 
you can check out bcs4981's excellent Ultimate Equipment FAQ for details. And
yes, I did do this myself and I do have a Danjuro.



  --------------
  3d. Challenges                                                        [03d]
  --------------

Final Fantasy XII is a paragon of tedium. It's very polished but very, very ...
tedious. That is why the task of crafting this speed/power walkthrough was very
appealing to me. Since the game isn't hard to begin with, I didn't see a reason
for why there shouldn't be a reference to help players get everything and do 
everything in as little time as possible. FFXII is a game that sums up 
everything about this day and age when RPG developers are constantly coming up
with new ways to artificially prolong their games for as long as possible.

The developers themselves admit to this, albeit not explicitly. Don't believe 
me? Go read up on what Square plans to do with the International release. More
convenient treasure chest locations and friendlier item and drop rates? A frame
-skipping double-speed feature you can activate by holding down L1? Square knows
how to milk its merchandise, all right. People everywhere are saying, "That
sounds AWESOME!!" Of course, the implied version is, "That sounds AWESOME 
because the way it is now sucks!!"

Fortunately, the gaming community is reliable in being able to come up with ways
to get the most out of most marquee games, and FFXII is no exception. If you 
think there's a lot about FFXII that bores you, here are several ways to play 
the game that are ACTUALLY innovative and do make it more interesting. I didn't
come up with any of these, though many of them may seem obvious.

A) Enforced Class System Challenge
   There is a guide to this approach on GameFAQs, but you could easily come up 
   with your own version of it. Admittedly, Square has jumped on board with this
   one and is offering us class-specific License Boards in International, but 
   then again, I and most of my other Western Hemisphere cohorts will be hard-
   pressed to have any sort of convenient access to it.

B) Low Level Challenge
   Commonly known as an LLC game or a 122333 (representing the levels for Vaan,
   Balthier, Fran, Basch, Ashe, and Penelo respectively) game, this is also 
   detailed on GameFAQs.

C) No License Board Challenge
   Commonly referred to as an NLB game, this is another method that ramps up the
   difficulty significantly.

D) LLCNLB Challenge
   A combination of methods B and C. This actually sounds pretty impossible. But
   hey, it's still an idea.

E) Dual Character Half License Board Challenge
   Known as a DCHLB game, this actually sounds the most interesting to me and is
   fairly young in its conception (as of June 2007). In short, you're only 
   allowed to use two characters. One is given access to just the lower half of 
   the License Board (weapons and armor), while the other is given access to 
   just the upper half (accessories, magicks, technicks, augments). There's a 
   topic for it on the GameFAQs boards, and if this sounds interesting to you, 
   go check it out.

Sounds a lot more fun than resetting a million times because you can't seem to 
get that Ribbon chest to cooperate, doesn't it?



  -------------------
  3e. Random Thoughts                                                   [03e]
  -------------------

I have sapped most of the main walkthrough of all color commentary, but everyone
enjoys a good rant now and then, so I will use this section to sound off some
more on the more eccentric (and sometimes very irritating) aspects of this game.


  Transportation
  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
This is kind of a follow-up to what I was saying in the previous section. I know
it's easy to marvel at how huge the game world is, but seriously, when you're 
revisiting areas, do you ACTUALLY appreciate it that much the second (or tenth) 
time around? The Sandsea. The Phon Coast. The Tchita Uplands. The Cerobi Steppe.
Giruvegan and the Great Crystal. The Pharos. When you've got a very specific 
destination during a hunt or other sidequest, are you actually thinking about 
how great it'll be to be able to have to slog through one of these maps again?

Teleport Stones are a good idea and a much better method of travel in FFXII than
by airship (although the Strahl does have its uses). But you know what would've 
been a better idea? Some better Teleport Stones, ones you don't have to use at a
Gate Crystal. You know how you can call up the World Map and look through every 
individual map within every single area you've visited? Why can't you use 
Teleport Stones in that capacity to warp to a specific map when you want to? Oh
right, because that would shave hours off the endgame. We certainly wouldn't 
want any of that, would we?


  Balthier's and Fran's Stats
  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
For what are arguably the two most popular characters in the game, these two 
certainly have gimped stats. Balthier is a poor man's Vaan, while Fran is a 
poor man's everything. In addition, according to maltzsan's fantastic Game 
Mechanics guide (easily the most informative and entertaining FFXII guide there 
is, IMHO), Balthier is actually slightly less proficient with a gun than 
everyone else, while Fran is slightly less proficient with a bow than everyone 
else (their respective animations take more time). Those are their default 
and/or preferred weapons. Is that supposed to be funny?


  Mist Quickenings
  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I hate MQs in terms of usage. They can be ridiculously cheap and, at the same 
time, utterly random and unpredictable. But what I hate even more about them is 
their designs. Does anyone actually have any idea what the heck is going on in
any of them? What are the characters DOING? Actually, what are the CG artists at
Square smoking? Pass me some of that, please.

Not only are the MQs for all of the characters identical in terms of actual 
damage output and effect, but I can't even enjoy the animations. They're just 
made up of random stuff cobbled together that's supposed to look cool. Am I 
really supposed to get off on Penelo doing a little dance and then "shattering"
the television screen (Resplendence)? Or how about the ultimate offender (for 
me), which would be Basch's Ruin Impendent. Whenever I see him punch at 
nothing like that, I immediately think, "He thrusts his fists against the 
posts and still insists he sees the ghosts." Any Stephen King fans out there?

Go read Genzen's Quickening Guide on GameFAQs and check out the descriptions 
for the MQs. It's hard for me NOT to laugh. Nothing against Genzen and not
because his descriptions are bad; on the contrary, they're quite accurate. But
that's the thing. It's all utterly absurd to me. Seriously, try a little harder
next time, Square.


  The Bestiary
  ~~~~~~~~~~~~
Ivalice is an intricately woven world, with intimate and detailed histories, and
this is reflected in FFXII. The problem? Sorry, you have to go around killing a
random number of every single enemy in the game in order to unlock all of this 
reading material, tucked away on Page 2s after every bestiary entry. This is the
kind of exposure that the writer or group of writers who put all that hard work 
into coming up with all of this stuff gets. Next time, take a page from Monolith
Studios and learn from Xenosaga's Database.

And really, you're telling me I have to essentially go through the process of 
spawning the Behemoth King fourteen times in order to complete the entries for 
those Mandragora squirts? Fourteen times? Are you kidding me?


===============================================================================
  4. Credits                                                            [040]
===============================================================================

Here is a filtered credits section. It is longer than most credits sections, I 
know, but back in the day when I first began to write this guide, the massive, 
Robert-Jordan-length guides had not yet emerged, and a lot of the information 
compiled, which was new and fresh back then but common knowledge and taken for 
granted now, came through user feedback and a lot of scouring the boards on the 
part of yours truly. I figure that all contributions to the crafting of this 
guide at any point in time deserve acknowledgment.

Author
- Arthellinus

Contributors
- Aeana
- AmanoJ
- branflakecereal@gmail.com
- civicized@hotmail.com
- Dave G.
- dwm042@email.com
- freakazoidz
- Garbo
- Gavin B.
- gen_esis@yahoo.com
- GnatB
- goldeneye86
- GreenDave
- hellfire185@gmail.com
- IndigoSage
- JonathanEyoon
- Kairi
- Kimber Boh
- koalainusa@hotmail.com
- leeboo1211
- maltzsan
- M.W.
- ramza723@yahoo.com
- redmem
- rmdsc
- Shane G.
- spirit_guy_25
- x3mgame@gmail.com
- lost_notes_forgotten@yahoo.com
- prinnypayday@yahoo.com
- fighting_fury
- KaddyGamer

Special Thanks
- maltzsan
- Garbo
- rmdsc, EiEi, thrakkemarn, and everyone else from the "Damage from non-STR 
  based weapons" thread on GameFAQs (a relic of the past)
- sephirosuy
- Kouli
- CJayC