_   _    ___    _     _     _____    ___       ____   _____   _____
     | | | |  / _ \  | |   | |   |_   _|  / _ \     / ___| |  ___| |_   _|
     | |_| | | | | | | | A | |     | |   | | | |   | |  _  | |__     | |
     |  _  | | | | | | |/ \| |     | |   | | | |   | | | | |  __|    | |
     | | | | | |_| | | ' A ' |     | |   | |_| |   | |_| | | |___    | |
     |_| |_|  \___/  |__/ \__|     |_|    \___/     \___/  |_____|   |_|

 _         _______   _       _   _______   _                  _____     _____
| |       |  _____| | |     | | |  _____| | |                / ___ \   / ___ \
| |       | |       | |     | | | |       | |               | |   | | | |   | |
| |       | |___     \ \   / /  | |___    | |               | |___| | | |___| |
| |       |  ___|     | | | |   |  ___|   | |                \____  |  \____  |
| |       | |         | | | |   | |       | |                _    | |  _    | |
| |_____  | |_____     \ V /    | |_____  | |_____          | |___| | | |___| |
|_______| |_______|     \_/     |_______| |_______|          \_____/   \_____/

        _   _   _____   ____    _   _     _____    ___     ____   _____
       | | | | |  ___| |  _ \  | | | |   |  ___|  / _ \   / ___| |_   _|
       | | | | | |__   | |_| | | | | |   | |__   | |_| |  \ \      | |
       | | | | |  __|  |  _ <   \ V /    |  __|  |  _  |   \ \     | |
        \ V /  | |___  | | | |   | |     | |     | | | |  __\ \    | |
         \_/   |_____| |_| |_|   |_|     |_|     |_| |_| |____/    |_|

        ___    __    _   ____      _____    ___    ____    _       _   _
       / _ \  |  \  | | |  _ \    |  ___|  / _ \  |  _ \  | |     | | | |
      | |_| | | A \ | | | | | |   | |__   | |_| | | |_| | | |     | | | |
      |  _  | | |\ \| | | | | |   |  __|  |  _  | |  _ <  | |      \ V /
      | | | | | | \ ' | | |_| |   | |___  | | | | | | | | | |___    | |
      |_| |_| |_|  \__| |____/    |_____| |_| |_| |_| |_| |_____|   |_|

 An extreme powerleveling guide focused on being as fast and early as possible



Would you like to go through essentially the entire game of Final Fantasy 12 at
level 99 from start to finish without using cheats?  This guide focuses on
extreme powerleveling, both fast and early.  Depending on the method you
choose, each having their own pros and cons, this is doable in 70, 65, 40, 35,
or even 25 hours (on the game clock), even though you won't have access to the
embroidered tippet.  Not only that, I've also detailed how, only 35% of the way
through the game (after receiving the dawn shard), you can get 11 pieces of
very high end equipment that you normally wouldn't see until nearly the end of
the game.

There are 6 available methods and 15 unique routines.  Not all routines need to
be done though for each method.  While the initial parts of each method
generally go by quite quickly, the final stage of each method is the longest of
all, typically 5 times longer than all others combined.

What's more is that I've provided a brief walkthrough as to how to squeeze out
another 350-450 HP (700-900 with bubble) and 40-50 MP (120-150 with all 3 mist
charges) that you probably didn't realize you could have.  Being a guide
focusing on extreme powerleveling, this is fitting for my guide.




        ___     ___    __    _   _____   _____   __    _   _____    ____
       / _ \   / _ \  |  \  | | |_   _| |  ___| |  \  | | |_   _|  / ___|
      | | |_| | | | | | A \ | |   | |   | |__   | A \ | |   | |    \ \
      | |  _  | | | | | |\ \| |   | |   |  __|  | |\ \| |   | |     \ \
      | |_| | | |_| | | | \ ' |   | |   | |___  | | \ ' |   | |    __\ \
       \___/   \___/  |_|  \__|   |_|   |_____| |_|  \__|   |_|   |____/

                ###############
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   ########                         ########
#####   0  Table of contents **020000**   #####
   ########                         ########
        #############     #############
                ###############

Tip:  use control+F to use your browser's find feature to jump to the specific
sections.  The string you search for is in the "search" column - note how it
relates to the section number in the **AABBCD** format where A is a major
section (using 2 digits, with a leading zero if needed), B is a section (using
2 digits, with a leading zero if needed), C is a subsection (using 1 digit),
and D is a sub-subsection (using 1 digit).  Do note that the table of contents
completely leaves out all level 4 headers (the D) and low-importance level 3
headers (the C) to better compact it.

+----------+-----------------------------------------------------+------------+
|  Section | Title                                               |     Search |
+----------+-----------------------------------------------------+------------+
|        0 | Table of Contents                                   | **000000** |
+----------+-----------------------------------------------------+------------+
|        1 | My history and using the guide                      | **010000** |
|      1.1 | My powerleveling history                            | **010100** |
|      1.2 | Using this guide                                    | **010200** |
|    1.2.1 | The concepts                                        | **010210** |
|    1.2.2 | Extra features                                      | **010220** |
|    1.2.3 | The method of organization                          | **010230** |
+----------+-----------------------------------------------------+------------+
|        2 | Deciding which method to use                        | **020000** |
|      2.1 | An overview of the 6 methods                        | **020100** |
|      2.2 | The 70-hour method                                  | **020200** |
|      2.3 | The 65-hour method                                  | **020300** |
|      2.4 | The 40-hour method                                  | **020400** |
|      2.5 | The 35-hour method                                  | **020500** |
|      2.6 | The 25-hour method                                  | **020600** |
|      2.7 | The optimization method                             | **020700** |
|      2.8 | Method compatibility                                | **020800** |
+----------+-----------------------------------------------------+------------+
|        3 | Helpful tips and tricks                             | **030000** |
|      3.1 | Configuration-related                               | **030100** |
|      3.2 | Battle-related                                      | **030200** |
|      3.3 | Navigation-related                                  | **030300** |
|      3.4 | Other tips                                          | **030400** |
+----------+-----------------------------------------------------+------------+
|        4 | The tutorial and rogue tomato                       | **040000** |
|      4.1 | Rush the tutorial                                   | **040100** |
|      4.2 | Hunting the rogue tomato                            | **040200** |
|      4.3 | Obtain cure                                         | **040300** |
+----------+-----------------------------------------------------+------------+
|        5 | The rod in the Estersand                            | **050000** |
|      5.1 | Cross the Yardang Labyrinth                         | **050100** |
|      5.2 | Beware of nekhbet                                   | **050200** |
|      5.3 | Obtain and license the rod                          | **050300** |
+----------+-----------------------------------------------------+------------+
|        6 | The crazy fast dustia method                        | **060000** |
|      6.1 | About dustia                                        | **060100** |
|      6.2 | Preparing for the dustia method                     | **060200** |
|      6.3 | The short first cycle                               | **060300** |
|    6.3.1 | The basics of defeating dustia                      | **060310** |
|    6.3.2 | Healing loot is your enemy                          | **060320** |
|    6.3.3 | The first cycle's requirements                      | **060330** |
|      6.4 | The longer second cycle                             | **060400** |
|      6.5 | The third cycle and beyond                          | **060500** |
|      6.6 | Obtain a quickening - red spiral                    | **060600** |
+----------+-----------------------------------------------------+------------+
|        7 | Ichthon, fast LP, and reload                        | **070000** |
|      7.1 | To South Bank Village                               | **070100** |
|      7.2 | The strong battle harness                           | **070200** |
|      7.3 | Ichthons and fast LP                                | **070300** |
|      7.4 | Obtain a quickening - red spiral                    | **070400** |
+----------+-----------------------------------------------------+------------+
|        8 | Shopping in Nalbina Town                            | **080000** |
|      8.1 | Travel to Nalbina Town                              | **080100** |
|      8.2 | Buy onion arrows                                    | **080200** |
|      8.3 | Buy new armor                                       | **080300** |
|      8.4 | Buy the poach technick                              | **080400** |
|      8.5 | Buy some magicks                                    | **080500** |
+----------+-----------------------------------------------------+------------+
|        9 | The burn of the burning bow                         | **090000** |
|      9.1 | Off to the Westersand                               | **090100** |
|      9.2 | Defeating dive talon                                | **090200** |
|    9.2.1 | Quickening the dive talon                           | **090210** |
|    9.2.2 | The chain-status-death trick                        | **090220** |
|    9.2.3 | Direct chaining                                     | **090230** |
|    9.2.4 | When the burning bow drops...                       | **090240** |
|      9.3 | The very unfriendly odds                            | **090300** |
|      9.4 | The burning bow's 8 major advantages                | **090400** |
+----------+-----------------------------------------------------+------------+
|       10 | Focusing on augment licenses                        | **100000** |
|     10.1 | An overview of augments                             | **100100** |
|   10.1.1 | The junk augments                                   | **100110** |
|   10.1.2 | Partially useful augments                           | **100120** |
|   10.1.3 | The must-have augments                              | **100130** |
|     10.2 | The route you need to take                          | **100200** |
+----------+-----------------------------------------------------+------------+
|       11 | Advance the story:  Passing Barheim Passage         | **110000** |
|     11.1 | Why advance the story?                              | **110100** |
|     11.2 | Avoid those 3 chests                                | **110200** |
|     11.3 | 2 tanned hides in Giza Plains                       | **110300** |
|     11.4 | The rats and bats of Garamsythe Waterway            | **110400** |
|     11.5 | The palace puzzles                                  | **110500** |
|     11.6 | Garamsythe again and gambits                        | **110600** |
|     11.7 | Escaping Nalbina Dungeons                           | **110700** |
|     11.8 | Barheim Passage                                     | **110800** |
+----------+-----------------------------------------------------+------------+
|       12 | The powerful traveler's garb set                    | **120000** |
|     12.1 | About the traveler's garb set                       | **120100** |
|     12.2 | Gathering 2 of the required items                   | **120200** |
|     12.3 | The risky braid wool of greeden                     | **120300** |
+----------+-----------------------------------------------------+------------+
|       13 | The slime-covered winged helm                       | **130000** |
|     13.1 | About the winged helm                               | **130100** |
|     13.2 | The spooky Zertinan Caverns                         | **130200** |
+----------+-----------------------------------------------------+------------+
|       14 | Hunting for the clan rank                           | **140000** |
|     14.1 | Why go on hunts?                                    | **140100** |
|     14.2 | Thextera unlocks more hunts                         | **140200** |
|     14.3 | Read the hunt board 20 or 40 times                  | **140300** |
|     14.4 | The effortless flowering cactoid                    | **140400** |
|     14.5 | The doom-loving wraith                              | **140500** |
+----------+-----------------------------------------------------+------------+
|       15 | Gambiting the return of dustia                      | **150000** |
|     15.1 | Why return to dustia now?                           | **150100** |
|     15.2 | Buying phoenix downs                                | **150200** |
|     15.3 | Setting up the 1 gambit                             | **150300** |
|     15.4 | Going to the last cycle                             | **150400** |
+----------+-----------------------------------------------------+------------+
|       16 | The hasty hermes sandals                            | **160000** |
|     16.1 | About the hermes sandals                            | **160100** |
|     16.2 | The warmage's monograph                             | **160200** |
|     16.3 | Back to dustia again                                | **160300** |
|     16.4 | Buying the hermes sandals                           | **160400** |
|     16.5 | Buying the last of what's left                      | **160500** |
+----------+-----------------------------------------------------+------------+
|       17 | Chaining werewolves                                 | **170000** |
|     17.1 | About the werewolves                                | **170100** |
|     17.2 | Defeating the werewolves                            | **170200** |
+----------+-----------------------------------------------------+------------+
|       18 | Urstrix and dive talon mayhem                       | **180000** |
|     18.1 | Why go after dive talon again?                      | **180100** |
|     18.2 | The basic routine                                   | **180200** |
|     18.3 | Dive talon is fierce (longer method final stage)    | **180300** |
|   18.3.1 | Levels 44 to 51 - protected rough training          | **180310** |
|   18.3.2 | Levels 51 to 54 - optional transition               | **180320** |
|   18.3.3 | Levels 55 to 67 - getting easier                    | **180330** |
|   18.3.4 | Levels 68 to 70 - transitioning again               | **180340** |
|   18.3.5 | Levels 71 to 80 - focusing in on 2 hits             | **180350** |
|   18.3.6 | Levels 81 to 99 - second half at full speed         | **180360** |
|     18.4 | Dive talon is helpless (the 40-hour method)         | **180400** |
+----------+-----------------------------------------------------+------------+
|       19 | Blazing fast grinding in the sewers                 | **190000** |
|     19.1 | About Garamsythe Waterway                           | **190100** |
|     19.2 | Garamsythe's deadly enemies                         | **190200** |
|     19.3 | The routine's first zone                            | **190300** |
|     19.4 | The routine's second zone                           | **190400** |
|     19.5 | The constant immobilization method                  | **190500** |
|   19.5.1 | Before level 57 - immobilization not guaranteed     | **190510** |
|   19.5.2 | Levels 57 to 65 - the strength of the winged helm   | **190520** |
|   19.5.3 | Levels 66 to 91 - scaling the scale armor           | **190530** |
|   19.5.4 | Levels 92 to 99 - full speed ahead                  | **190540** |
|   19.5.5 | The speed of the routine                            | **190550** |
|     19.6 | The direct attacking method                         | **190600** |
|   19.6.1 | Before level 59 - immobilization not guaranteed     | **190610** |
|   19.6.2 | Levels 59 to 63 - a new route opens                 | **190620** |
|   19.6.3 | Levels 64 to 69 - enforcing immobilize              | **190630** |
|   19.6.4 | Levels 70 to 73 - ensuring safety                   | **190640** |
|   19.6.5 | Levels 74 to 80 - bursting ahead                    | **190650** |
|   19.6.6 | Levels 81 to 99 - supersonic leveling               | **190660** |
|   19.6.7 | The speed of the routine                            | **190670** |
+----------+-----------------------------------------------------+------------+
|       20 | The long-lasting and varied 70-hour method          | **200000** |
|     20.1 | What is the 70-hour method?                         | **200100** |
|     20.2 | The optimal route through the augments              | **200200** |
|     20.3 | Stage 1:  The beginning                             | **200300** |
|     20.4 | Stage 2:  The rod                                   | **200400** |
|     20.5 | Stage 3:  Rapid licensing                           | **200500** |
|     20.6 | Stage 4:  Shopping in Nalbina                       | **200600** |
|     20.7 | Stage 5:  The burning bow                           | **200700** |
|     20.8 | Stage 6:  The traveler's garb set                   | **200800** |
|     20.9 | Stage 7:  Chaining the werewolves                   | **200900** |
|    20.10 | Stage 8:  The winged helm                           | **201000** |
|    20.11 | Stage 9:  The final stage                           | **201100** |
+----------+-----------------------------------------------------+------------+
|       21 | The fast and very early 65-hour method              | **210000** |
|     21.1 | What is the 65-hour method?                         | **210100** |
|     21.2 | The optimal route through the augments              | **210200** |
|     21.3 | Stage 1:  The beginning                             | **210300** |
|     21.4 | Stage 2:  The rod                                   | **210400** |
|     21.5 | Stage 3:  Leveling up on dustia                     | **210500** |
|     21.6 | Stage 4:  The burning bow                           | **210600** |
|     21.7 | Stage 5:  Shopping in Nalbina                       | **210700** |
|     21.8 | Stage 6:  The traveler's garb set                   | **210800** |
|     21.9 | Stage 7:  The winged helm                           | **210900** |
|    21.10 | Stage 8:  The final stage                           | **211000** |
+----------+-----------------------------------------------------+------------+
|       22 | The fast and varied 40-hour method                  | **220000** |
|     22.1 | What is the 40-hour method?                         | **220100** |
|     22.2 | The optimal route through the augments              | **220200** |
|     22.3 | Stage 1:  The beginning                             | **220300** |
|     22.4 | Stage 2:  The rod                                   | **220400** |
|     22.5 | Stage 3:  Rapid licensing                           | **220500** |
|     22.6 | Stage 4:  Shopping in Nalbina                       | **220600** |
|     22.7 | Stage 5:  The burning bow                           | **220700** |
|     22.8 | Stage 6:  Advancing the story                       | **220800** |
|     22.9 | Stage 7:  The traveler's garb set                   | **220900** |
|    22.10 | Stage 8:  The winged helm                           | **221000** |
|    22.11 | Stage 9:  Werewolves are for low levels             | **221100** |
|    22.12 | Stage 10:  Dive talon leveling                      | **221200** |
|    22.13 | Stage 11:  The final stage                          | **221300** |
+----------+-----------------------------------------------------+------------+
|       23 | The fast-starting 35-hour method                    | **230000** |
|     23.1 | What is the 35-hour method?                         | **230100** |
|     23.2 | The optimal route through the augments              | **230200** |
|     23.3 | Stage 1:  The beginning                             | **230300** |
|     23.4 | Stage 2:  The rod                                   | **230400** |
|     23.5 | Stage 3:  Leveling up on dustia                     | **230500** |
|     23.6 | Stage 4:  The burning bow                           | **230600** |
|     23.7 | Stage 5:  Advancing the story                       | **230700** |
|     23.8 | Stage 6:  The traveler's garb set                   | **230800** |
|     23.9 | Stage 7:  The winged helm                           | **230900** |
|    23.10 | Stage 8:  Going on the hunt                         | **231000** |
|    23.11 | Stage 9:  The return of dustia                      | **231100** |
|    23.12 | Stage 10:  The hermes sandals                       | **231200** |
|    23.13 | Stage 11:  The final stage                          | **231300** |
+----------+-----------------------------------------------------+------------+
|       24 | The insanely fast 25-hour method                    | **240000** |
|     24.1 | What is the 25-hour method?                         | **240100** |
|     24.2 | The optimal route through the augments              | **240200** |
|     24.3 | Stage 1:  The beginning                             | **240300** |
|     24.4 | Stage 2:  The rod                                   | **240400** |
|     24.5 | Stage 3:  Leveling up on dustia                     | **240500** |
|     24.6 | Stage 4:  The burning bow                           | **240600** |
|     24.7 | Stage 5:  Advancing the story                       | **240700** |
|     24.8 | Stage 6:  The traveler's garb set                   | **240800** |
|     24.9 | Stage 7:  The winged helm                           | **240900** |
|    24.10 | Stage 8:  Going on the hunt                         | **241000** |
|    24.11 | Stage 9:  The hermes sandals                        | **241100** |
|    24.12 | Stage 10:  The final stage                          | **241200** |
+----------+-----------------------------------------------------+------------+
|       25 | Advancing the story for the dawn shard              | **250000** |
|     25.1 | About the afterward section                         | **250100** |
|     25.2 | Obtain the 7 monographs                             | **250200** |
|     25.3 | Through Barheim Passage                             | **250300** |
|     25.4 | Boosting Basch                                      | **250400** |
|     25.5 | Get Balthier and Fran back                          | **250500** |
|     25.6 | Obtain 2 extra burning bows                         | **250600** |
|     25.7 | Obtain 2 extra winged helms                         | **250700** |
|     25.8 | The cluckatrice hunt                                | **250800** |
|     25.9 | Story advancement at level 99                       | **250900** |
|   25.9.1 | Going unarmed?  Making the decision                 | **250910** |
|   25.9.2 | The Lhusu Mines - fight instead of escape           | **250920** |
|   25.9.3 | Boosting Ashe and Penelo                            | **250930** |
|   25.9.4 | Crossing the sandsea                                | **250940** |
|   25.9.5 | The Tomb of Raithwall                               | **250950** |
+----------+-----------------------------------------------------+------------+
|       26 | Preparing for Nabradia                              | **260000** |
|     26.1 | 3 new hunts on the hunt board                       | **260100** |
|     26.2 | Shopping for the essentials                         | **260200** |
|     26.3 | Recommended gambit and character role setups        | **260300** |
|     26.4 | Croak the croakadile for new hunts                  | **260400** |
|     26.5 | White mousse's better bow                           | **260500** |
|     26.6 | Hunts in the west                                   | **260600** |
|     26.7 | The no-gil-involved gil snapper                     | **260700** |
|     26.8 | The status-effect-loving orthros                    | **260800** |
|     26.9 | New treats at the clan shop                         | **260900** |
+----------+-----------------------------------------------------+------------+
|       27 | Crossing into the Nabreus Deadlands                 | **270000** |
|     27.1 | The 3 ways into Mosphoran Highwaste                 | **270100** |
|   27.1.1 | The river boat method                               | **270110** |
|   27.1.2 | The earth tyrant method                             | **270120** |
|   27.1.3 | The chocobo method                                  | **270130** |
|     27.2 | Luccio's great accessories                          | **270200** |
|     27.3 | To the Salikawood                                   | **270300** |
|     27.4 | Through the Salikawood                              | **270400** |
|     27.5 | To the Nabreus Deadlands Gate Crystal               | **270500** |
+----------+-----------------------------------------------------+------------+
|       28 | Nabreus Deadland's 7 high-end items                 | **280000** |
|     28.1 | Common chaining techniques used                     | **280100** |
|     28.2 | The powerful and evasive defender                   | **280200** |
|     28.3 | The high-HP crown of laurels                        | **280300** |
|     28.4 | The troublesome minerva bustier                     | **280400** |
|     28.5 | The magickal golden skullcap                        | **280500** |
|     28.6 | The dark-absorbing black mask                       | **280600** |
|     28.7 | The poison-inflicting yakei                         | **280700** |
|     28.8 | The rather weak power rod                           | **280800** |
+----------+-----------------------------------------------------+------------+
|       29 | The 4 ultimates in the Necrohol of Nabudis          | **290000** |
|     29.1 | About the Necrohol of Nabudis                       | **290100** |
|     29.2 | The overpowered, power-wasted zodiac spear          | **290200** |
|     29.3 | The best heavy armor, the maximillian               | **290300** |
|     29.4 | The shield-allowing runeblade                       | **290400** |
|     29.5 | The not-so-grand grand armor                        | **290500** |
+----------+-----------------------------------------------------+------------+
|       30 | Leveling up Balthier and Fran                       | **300000** |
|     30.1 | 2 new methods to level up Balthier and Fran         | **300100** |
|     30.2 | Mosphoran Highwaste - easier than pie               | **300200** |
|   30.2.1 | Before level 37 - zodiac spear power                | **300210** |
|   30.2.2 | Levels 37 to 47 - expanding the route               | **300220** |
|   30.2.3 | Levels 48 to 74 - push for speed                    | **300230** |
|   30.2.4 | Levels 75 to 99 - full throttle                     | **300240** |
|     30.3 | A horde of dead bones - warp speed and challenging  | **300300** |
|   30.3.1 | Before level 50 - calling for assistance            | **300310** |
|   30.3.2 | Levels 50 to 99 - engage warp speed                 | **300320** |
+----------+-----------------------------------------------------+------------+
|       31 | Optimizing and perfecting HP and MP                 | **310000** |
|     31.1 | What is optimizing HP and MP?                       | **310100** |
|     31.2 | The mechanics behind HP and MP growth               | **310200** |
|   31.2.1 | How HP grows - like a yo-yo                         | **310210** |
|   31.2.2 | How MP grows - not very predictable                 | **310220** |
|     31.3 | The types of optimization                           | **310300** |
|   31.3.1 | True perfection                                     | **310310** |
|   31.3.2 | Near perfection                                     | **310320** |
|     31.4 | About the routines                                  | **310400** |
|     31.5 | Stage 1:  Hiring Penelo                             | **310500** |
|     31.6 | Stage 2:  Putting Penelo to work                    | **310600** |
|     31.7 | Stage 3:  Gathering everyone                        | **310700** |
|     31.8 | How to process a level up                           | **310800** |
|   31.8.1 | The basic process - try, try again                  | **310810** |
|   31.8.2 | The 5 degrees of effort - choose your sacrifice     | **310820** |
|     31.9 | Stage 4:  The early levels                          | **310900** |
|    31.10 | Stage 5:  Werewolves                                | **311000** |
|    31.11 | Stage 6:  Westersand leveling                       | **311100** |
|    31.12 | Stage 7:  Garamsythe Waterway                       | **311200** |
|    31.13 | Stage 8:  Defeat 4 marks                            | **311300** |
|    31.14 | Stage 9:  Dustia is for arcanae                     | **311400** |
|    31.15 | Stage 10:  The Tomb of Raithwall                    | **311500** |
|    31.16 | Stage 11:  Prepare for Mosphoran Highwaste          | **311600** |
|    31.17 | Stage 12:  The Mosphoran Highwaste Python Craze     | **311700** |
|    31.18 | Stage 13:  Level up a second character              | **311800** |
|    31.19 | Stage 14:  Raise the clan rank                      | **311900** |
|    31.20 | Stage 15:  Obtain Nabradia's high end equipment     | **312000** |
|    31.21 | Stage 16:  Level up the last 4 characters           | **312100** |
|    31.22 | The list of perfect HP and MP values                | **312200** |
+----------+-----------------------------------------------------+------------+
|       32 | Frequently Asked Questions                          | **320000** |
|     32.1 | The basics of powerleveling                         | **320100** |
|     32.2 | About this guide in general                         | **320200** |
|     32.3 | About the video guide                               | **320300** |
|     32.4 | About the routines                                  | **320400** |
|     32.5 | General FAQ                                         | **320500** |
+----------+-----------------------------------------------------+------------+
|       33 | Copyright, credits, and other legal stuff           | **330000** |
|     33.1 | How to contact me                                   | **330100** |
|     33.2 | Copyright                                           | **330200** |
|     33.3 | Credits                                             | **330300** |
|     33.4 | Version history                                     | **330400** |
+----------+-----------------------------------------------------+------------+




                    _____   __    _   _____   ____     ___
                   |_   _| |  \  | | |_   _| |  _ \   / _ \
                     | |   | A \ | |   | |   | |_| | | | | |
                     | |   | |\ \| |   | |   |  _ <  | | | |
                    _| |_  | | \ ' |   | |   | | | | | |_| |
                   |_____| |_|  \__|   |_|   |_| |_|  \___/

                ############################
        #############                  #############
   ########                                      ########
#####   1  My history and using the guide **010000**   #####
   ########                                      ########
        #############                  #############
                ############################

.==========================================.
# 1.1  My powerleveling history **010100** #
`==========================================`

Before 2002, I was used to platformers where there were only 20 to 30 levels. 
RPGs were mostly completely unknown to me until I played Final Fantasy 7 (FF7).
Beforehand, I only saw them from someone else playing them, namely Final
Fantasy 6, but I didn't start actively playing RPGs until about 2002 when
platformers seem to have mostly disappeared.  When I first played FF7, after a
bit, I began wondering just how many levels there were as I kept leveling up. 
From my quest of figuring out how many levels there were, I got into
powerleveling, extreme powerleveling.  I take it to the extreme in almost any
RPG (look no further than what I've done in the Disgaea series, especially
Disgaea 2 on the PS2 - 8.45 billion damage with tera fire and nearly 400
billion total damage on just 7 enemies).  In fact, I primarily play RPGs not
for their story, but for the powerleveling.

Although the challenge of battles and boss fights essentially vanish, I enjoy
the thrill of how quickly I can wipe out something much more than the challenge
or story.  From nightmares during my 5th grade year from doing a lot of novels
and difficult-for-me reading comprehension, I've never been into stories. 
Thus, with RPGs being focused on storytelling more, I get far more enjoyment
out of an RPG if I can powerlevel to the extreme without having to advance the
story.  How extreme do I go?  Try reaching level 50 in FF1 before defeating the
vampire in the Terra Caverns.  Try maxing pretty much every stat in FF2 with
Mindu still in the party (and without the action-cancel glitch as I wasn't
aware of it).  Try getting Cecil in FF4 to level 60+ just as he upgrades (and
level 50 as a dark knight).  Try getting meteor and ultima in the first world
of FF6 by reaching level 99 with Terra and Celes.  Try 4 playthroughs of FF7
and never going beyond disk 1 without someone on level 99.  Try reaching level
100 in FF8 before doing the Dollet mission.  Try reaching level 99 in FF9
during disk 2.  And in Final Fantasy 12, I've never done the first visit to
Jahara without everyone on level 99 in my 5 previous play throughs.  Talk about
extreme!  Despite the dull and boring story in Final Fantasy 12, I have more
hours logged on FF12 than any other Final Fantasy game thanks to its extreme
powerleveling potential and the battle system it uses (despite its many bugs,
flaws, and annoyances).


.==================================.
# 1.2  Using this guide **010200** #
`==================================`

..............................
1.2.1  The concepts **010210**
..............................

This guide focuses on Final Fantasy 12.  Final Fantasy 12 is among my greatest
favorites primarily because you can reach level 99 with virtually no story
progress and in reasonable time.  I also love its battle system, if it weren't
for the very annoying and pointless damage limit of 9999 and a bunch of bugs
with ranged attacks and nonleader characters casting spells and technicks. 
This guide will explain how to do this.  Being so early, you won't have access
to the embroidered tippet.  Even without it, it's surprisingly fast to get
level 99, reachable in as little as 23 hours.  Yep, 1/8 of the way through the
story and you have 4 level 99 characters only 23 hours in without the
embroidered tippet - a good example of how unimportant it is when you have to
wait so long for it to become available.

There are 6 different methods available, each with their own pros and cons. 
The shorter the method, the more advantegeous it gets but the more
disadvantageous it gets, balancing things out.  Each method is based on a good
idea on the amount of time it will take based on the game clock.  If you want
to keep the story progress to a bare minimum (just 4% done), the 70-, and
65-hour methods are for you, but it gets extremely repetitive for the final
stage (nearly 10 hours are spent on those last 5 level ups alone but it's up to
70% faster than using dustia).  If you want to advance the story a small
amount, to 1/8 of the way through (that's about 12 1/2% for comparison - I
often reference this as 12% - "(LowestEnemyLevelInFocusArea-1)/50" gives you a
guide on the amount of story progress you have for the enemies in the active
area), the 40-, 35-, and 25-hour methods open up.  The 40-hour method is for
those that want to safely and easily reach level 99.  The 35-hour method is a
clone except that it includes the use of dustia.  The 35-hour method is
generally the most advantageous of the bunch.  The 25-hour method is basically
the equivalent of speedrunning powerleveling in this game and it involves a lot
of risk - one wrong move and it's game over.

................................
1.2.2  Extra features **010220**
................................

In addition to explaining how to get level 99 as fast and early as absolutely
possible, I also have an extra section at the end explaining how to get some of
the game's best and near best equipment with still relatively little story
progress, about 35% (about 1/3).  Near best?  You won't see equipment like the
crown of laurels, golden skullcap, minerva bustier, zodiac spear, the defender,
maximillian, and 5 others until nearly the end of the game... if you know how
to get them.  This will essentially allow you to go through the last 2/3 of the
game with nearly the best possible equipment allowing you to bash through tough
marks with ease and race through the story faster and more focused than before!

Being a guide focused on powerleveling to the extreme, what better way is there
to enhance it than explaining how to get near-perfect (or even fully perfect)
HP and MP for every character.  Did you know that you could squeeze out another
350-450 HP (700-900 with bubble) and 40-50 MP (120-150 with all 3 mist
charges), that you didn't know you could have?  Seriously, try, through normal
game play, to get Basch with over 6600 HP (with all HP licenses but no
equipment).  You won't see it.  If you focus on HP, you could quite well have
Basch with 6700 HP, not the 6250 you'd normally see (imagine the damage balance
could do with all the HP-boosting equipment there is - constant 16,600s popping
out of everything!).  Instead of Ashe having 860 MP, how about naturally having
over 1000 MP without any MP-boosting equipment?  Yes, it's funny seeing 815 MP
and not be able to summon a 2-mist charge esper or having 999 MP and the third
mist charge isn't even half full!  I've actually experienced both cases (well,
16,550 with Basch)!

Throughout the guide, I offer plenty of options, methods for doing a routine,
suggestions, and alternatives.  I detail quite a bit on the various pieces of
equipment you'll run into along the way, why I suggest going after it, and
optimal ways of obtaining that piece of equipment.

............................................
1.2.3  The method of organization **010230**
............................................

In a sense, this guide is 6 guides in one.  Why not submit 6 separate guides? 
All 6 cases are closely related using very similar methods.  The order of the
routines isn't always constant either.  By using the previous design I had, the
guide was only turning out to be a mess and quite disorganized, considering
that some routines, mainly the winged helm, are best done at different times
relative to others, like the winged helm for example.  Plus, having you to
check to see if that part is needed or, worse yet, jumping around (again, the
winged helm is one culprit), only makes things messier.

1.2.3.1  General layout **010231**

Because my guide is so big and massive (note the section 33 on the table
contents), keeping things organized is essential.  Just before each major
section, you'll find a word in large, thick letters representing the basic idea
covered.  Each major section has a wide, extra large, and bold border around it
directly below the giant text.  A large gap is present between the ends of each
section to make them stand out better.

Each section within a major section also has a bold border, but it's not as
large.  There is a smaller gap between such sections.  Subsections within a
section still stand out, but only lightly.  The gap is no longer present. 
Sub-subsections, the deepest level I go into (and rarely) have no borders or
decorations with no gaps.

If you're observant, you might notice the Fibonacci Sequence in the styling in
many areas.  The Fibonacci Sequence is one of my favorites.  Basically, start
with two ones.  Take the current number then add the previous and you'll build
it up:  1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21....  How many places can you find where the
Fibonacci Sequence appears?

As a consequence to this messy layout I would have had if I used the old
format, I decided to split up this guide into 6 main parts.  The first 3
sections cover the basics of the guide, explaining the pros and cons between
the methods, and offering general tips.  Sections 4 through 19 explain the
routines, one section per routine (section 10, the augments, being an oddball -
it's not a routine).  Sections 20 through 24 explain how to use each method and
briefly explains what you need to do in each method, as well as any changes
needed in the routine specific to that method.  Sections 25 through 30 explain
how to get the high end equipment normally not seen until the end of the game. 
Section 31 is the optimization method, a special method.  Lastly, the FAQ and
legal stuff follow at the end.

1.2.3.2  Organizing routines **010232**

Throughout sections 4 through 19, you will find a "used with" field with some
numbers following.  This indicates which method(s) use the given routine.  70H
means the 70-hour method, 65H means the 65-hour method, and so on.  The "opt"
means the optimization method.  Exclusive to the optimization method is the use
of "optional" in parentheses to indicate that that routine is not required but
may be of use.  The routines are not all in sequential order for every method
so be sure you check the actual methods themselves.

If more than one method uses the routine and if any differences are present,
there will be a subsection listing any differences.  If major differences are
present, a separate routine is used instead.

1.2.3.3  Reading tables **010233**

About the imaginary example armor (cost:  750,000):
+-------------------+---------------------------------+
| Equipment bonuses | Extra important properties      |
+-------------------+ Absorbs wind, weak to lightning |
| Attack power    0 +---------------------------------+
| Hit points    250 |          License path           |
| Mist points     5 +-------------------------+-------+
| Defense        86 | License                 |    LP |
| Magick resist   2 | License you should have | Start |
| Evade           0 | ^ Go up                 |    60 |
| Magick evade    0 | > Go to the right       |    45 |
| Strength       15 | v Go down               |   110 |
| Magick power    0 | < Go to the left        |   400 |
| Vitality        7 | Total                   |   615 |
| Speed           1 |                         |       |
+-------------------+-------------------------+-------+

About the burning bow (cost:  dropped from enemy (7500 base)):
+-------------------+---------------------------------+
| Equipment bonuses | Extra important properties      |
+-------------------+ 50% more damage w/ fiery arrows |
| Attack power   63 +---------------------------------+
| Hit points      0 |          License path           |
| Mist points     0 +-------------------------+-------+
| Defense         0 | License                 |    LP |
| Magick resist   0 | Small swords            | Start |
| Evade           0 | v Bows 1                |    20 |
| Magick evade    0 | v Bows 2                |    30 |
| Strength        0 | v Axes & Hammers 1      |    15 |
| Magick power    0 | > Bows 4                |    40 |
| Vitality        0 | Total                   |   105 |
| Speed           0 |                         |       |
+-------------------+-------------------------+-------+

When references to equipment or spells are found when explaining the routines,
I often provide a table.  This table indicates how effective this piece of
equipment is compared to what you'd have had beforehand.  "Equipment bonuses"
indicate the increase in a character's stats while that piece of equipment is
equipped.  "Extra important properties" refers to special properties that the
item has.  "License path" is the most efficient route to the needed license. 
The first license listed is one you should already have obtained.  Those
following are extras that lead to the important license.  You may or, most
likely, may not have these licenses.  The arrow to the left of the license name
is the direction to find it relative to the previous.  That is, for the second
example (a real case - the first is imaginary for demonstration purposes), from
the "small swords" license (one you have by default), you'd go down to obtain
"bows 1", down to obtain "bows 2", down to obtain "axes & hammers 1", then
right to obtain "bows 4".  The LP cost is also stated along with the grand
total at the very end (if you've obtained any of the licenses along the path,
the grand total you have will be less).

1.2.3.4  Explaining the methods **010234**

Sections 20 through 24 explain the various methods, step by step.  Each step is
a stage, taking after the old style I had.  Think of each stage as a milepost. 
Within each stage are a set of related tasks.  Each task is a routine that you
need to follow.  Unlike the dedicated area, these are only covered briefly,
summarized, unless there's differences needed where more depth is used.  In the
first section of each method, you will find a link to the playlist that
includes the segments specific to the given method.  While not everything will
match exactly, the general idea is very close.  Plus, this guide is slightly
more up to date than the videos.  Be sure to check the annotations at the
bottom for a few updates.  At the top of each routine entry, you'll see 5
pieces of info.

Routine (section):  This is the routine used, as based on the giant text.  The
section number is given in parentheses so you can quickly jump to it.  For
example, if section 6 is referenced in the 25-hour method, you'd go to section
6 or use the shortcut - press control+F to bring up your browser's "find"
feature, type 2 astrisks, then your 2-digit section number, with a leading 0 if
below 10, then 4 zeros, then 2 astrisks.  That is, type **xx0000** where xx is
06.
Segment(s):  This is which segment numbers you reference in my narrated YouTube
video covering this routine.  Long-lasting routines will have multiple segment
numbers present, listed in order.
Time:  This is the time you should have on the game clock when you finish this
routine.  You're doing good if you're under this time.  If you're over it, you
must have done something wrong somewhere.  Ignore this if you're not focused on
time.
Level:  This is about what level you should be by the end of the routine.  Some
routines have uncertainty so an approximation is given.  When a suggested range
is given, the lowest value is used.
What to do:  This is what you need to do in the given routine, in brief.  See
the actual routine itself for the full details.  This, however, includes any
adjustments, changes, and left out information that is specific to this method.
Such information goes into the same depth as the routines themselves.  Because
many of the methods are similar for some parts, you'll see a lot of nearly
identical text.

1.2.3.5  About the video walkthrough **010235**

To aid you, giving you a real-time visual guidance, complete with narration, I
went through the entire process myself, recording videos to explain each and
every routine.  While I generally do very good on the narration, there are some
occasional mistakes or left-out information.  The corrections are in each
segment's annotations.  You'll find the annotations at the bottom of every
segment, each lasting 5 seconds.  Extra commentary and secrets are also
provided on occasion with annotations.  For the first 10 seconds of every
segment, you will see which methods the given segment is used for.  To follow
along the given method, reference the playlist given in section xx.1 where xx
is the section number for your method (from 20 to 24).

I've also set up the audio in the video so you can filter out the narration. 
By simply adjusting the balance (usually part of your sound card's software or
your operating system's audio settings), you can choose what to filter out. 
Don't like my narration and just want the game's audio?  Adjust the balance to
the right to completely filter out my narration.  Want to clearly hear what I
say without the game's audio drowning out my narration?  Adjust the balance to
the left to filter out the original game audio.  The game's audio will still be
heard, but it's about 15 to 25 dB fainter, very significant.




              ___    _   _    ___    _____    ___    _____    ____
             / _ \  | | | |  / _ \  |_   _|  / _ \  |  ___|  / ___|
            | | |_| | |_| | | | | |   | |   | | |_| | |__    \ \
            | |  _  |  _  | | | | |   | |   | |  _  |  __|    \ \
            | |_| | | | | | | |_| |  _| |_  | |_| | | |___   __\ \
             \___/  |_| |_|  \___/  |_____|  \___/  |_____| |____/

                ##########################
        #############                #############
   ########                                    ########
#####   2  Deciding which method to use **020000**   #####
   ########                                    ########
        #############                #############
                ##########################

.==============================================.
# 2.1  An overview of the 6 methods **020100** #
`==============================================`

There are 6 choices available, rather much.  So, I'll drill down each and every
one of them to explain the main reasons for choosing them.  Each method has
their own pros and cons.  The faster the method, the better the pros become but
also the worse the cons get as well.  In the end, the pros usually outweigh the
cons by a noticeable amount.  Each method is named after how long it takes to
reach level 99.  If you're fast and focused on keeping the game clock to a
minimum, you could get a time less than the advertised time.  To best
illustrate the pros and cons, here's a table to compare them and the meaning of
the grades (which are based on the US system):

A - the method excels here.
B - the method does well here.
C - the method is fair but okay here.
D - the method does poor here.
F - the method is failing here.
+ - a small adjustment for being a bit better.
- - a small adjustment for being a bit worse.

+-----------------------------------------------------------------------------+
|                     Method effectiveness report card                        |
+-------------------+---------+---------+--------+--------+--------+----------+
| Attribute         |     70H |     65H |    40H |    35H |    25H |      Opt |
+-------------------+---------+---------+--------+--------+--------+----------+
| Story progress    |   4% A+ |   4% A+ | 12% B- | 12% B- | 12% B- |    35% F |
+-------------------+---------+---------+--------+--------+--------+----------+
| Lv 99 chars       |    6 A+ |    6 A+ |   4 C+ |   4 C+ |   4 C+ |    6* A+ |
+-------------------+---------+---------+--------+--------+--------+----------+
| Fast and early**  |       C |      B- |     D+ |     C+ |     A+ |       F- |
+-------------------+---------+---------+--------+--------+--------+----------+
| Total license     |      A+ |      A+ |     C+ |     C- |     D+ |       A+ |
| points gained     |  25,000 |  24,000 |   7000 |   6000 |   5500 |   65,000 |
| (approximate)     | -27,000 | -26,000 |  -8000 |  -7000 |  -6500 |  -80,000 |
+-------------------+---------+---------+--------+--------+--------+----------+
| Total gil earned  |       D |       C |     C- |     B+ |     A+ |       A+ |
| (approximate)     |    120K |    350K |   300K |   600K |   800K |    5000K |
|                   |   -150K |   -400K |  -400K |  -800K | -1200K | -12,000K |
+-------------------+---------+---------+--------+--------+--------+----------+
| Difficulty***     |      C- |      B- |     A- |     A+ |     D+ |       D- |
+-------------------+---------+---------+--------+--------+--------+----------+
| Level of risk^    |       C |      C+ |      A |     A+ |      F |        D |
+-------------------+---------+---------+--------+--------+--------+----------+
| Repetitiveness^^  |      D+ |       F |      B |      C |     A+ |      F-- |
+-------------------+---------+---------+--------+--------+--------+----------+
| Gambits available |      No |      No | Yes^^^ | Yes^^^ | Yes^^^ |      Yes |
+-------------------+---------+---------+--------+--------+--------+----------+
| Boostable chars@  |       1 |       1 |      3 |      3 |      2 |        6 |
+-------------------+---------+---------+--------+--------+--------+----------+
| Final grade@@     |   55 B- |    60 B |  57 B- |  59 B- |  55 B- |    27 D+ |
+-------------------+---------+---------+--------+--------+--------+----------+

Table footnotes:
*  The optimization method essentially has 6 characters at level 99 when it's
done, but you have 0 when all 6 join.  The grades are based on when the method
is done so it gets the best grade here.
**  The faster and earlier, the better the grade, based on a 40/60 weight (40%
speed, 60% early).  The optimization method fails miserably as you make triple
the story progress and it takes more than twice as long (quitting and reloading
ignored) as the slowest method.
***  The harder the process is to do, the lower the grade.  The transitions in
the final stage of the 70-hour method hurts it the most.  Having to be level 1
through the first 1/3 of the game makes the optimization method score low here,
along with leveling up the first 2 characters.
^  The riskier the method, the lower the grade.  The 25-hour method really
stands out.  Being level 1 in the optimization method for the first 1/3 of the
game makes it quite risky.
^^  The more repetitive and the less variety there is for the method, the lower
the grade.  The optimization method fails very miserably as it's so repetitive
that it makes the 65-hour method look like good, strong fun.  The 70- and
65-hour methods are very repetitive for the final stage.
^^^  The use of gambits is not advised during the final stage due to problems,
limitations, and annoyances with the gambit system.  This has no effect on the
final grade though.
@  Boosting characters costs a lot of time and is generally not recommended. 
This is not a determining factor in the final grade though.
@@  The final grade is similar to how the GPA system the US uses.  F scores 0
points (including the miserable fails), D- is 1, D is 2, D+ is 3, C- is 4, and
so on up to A+ at 12.  For reference, the total score and the average are both
used.

Overall, the methods, with the obvious exception of the optimization method,
are all more or less the same.  If you can handle the difficulty and the high
risk of the 25-hour method, it is easily the most advantegous of them all.  If
you can handle heavy repetition, the 65-hour method is the best instead.  See
the following sections for in-depth details.


.====================================.
# 2.2  The 70-hour method **020200** #
`====================================`

Pros:
Go through 96% of FF12 at level 99 and smash early bosses like never before.
Everyone starts at level 99, even guests.
A fair balance between fast and early.
Obtain every license and have tons of LP to spare.
A somewhat safe method to level up with.

Cons:
Little gil is earned but sufficient enough for most things.
A little challenging, especially at the start of a new stage.
Very repetitive at the end, but has plenty of variety early on.

The 70-hour method is the longest of all the methods.  In general, it involves
getting the rod, using the ichthons near the river to level up on, getting the
burning bow, using the enemies in the Westersand to level up with, getting the
traveler's garb set, leveling up on the werewolves, getting the winged helm,
then using the dive talons to level up on until the end.  Although there is
plenty of variety during the earlier stages, the final stage, the dive talons,
will really test your patience.  Going up and down a course 1800 total times is
enough to steer almost anyone away due to boredom.  Throw in the fact the last
5 level ups take almost 11 hours alone and you're really in for the long haul. 
At least you'll be able to go through the bulk of the game at level 99, get
everyone to start at level 99, obtain every single license with so much LP left
to spare that you could do again (if only you could), and it is fairly safe to
use.  Transitions to the starting of the next stage, especially toward the end,
can be quite difficult.


.====================================.
# 2.3  The 65-hour method **020300** #
`====================================`

Pros:
Go through 96% of FF12 at level 99 and smash early bosses like never before.
Everyone starts at level 99, even guests.
A decent balance between fast and early.
Obtain every license and have tons of LP to spare.
A fair amount of gil obtained, enough for almost anything for later.
A fairly safe method to level up with.

Cons:
Extremely repetitive - just dustia and the final stage is 96% of what's done.
A little challenging, especially at the start of the final stage.

The 65-hour method is based on the 70-hour method except that it involves using
dustia to level up with first thing, all the way to level 45.  It is the second
best of all the methods, only to the 25-hour method.  In general, it involves
getting the rod (gathering gil while doing so), using dustia to level up on,
getting the burning bow, traveler's garb, and winged helm, then doing the final
stage.  That's it.  No wonder why the 65-hour method fails on repetitiveness -
there's hardly any variety.  Like with the 70-hour method, you'll be going up
and down that course 1800 total times.  However, the final half is when the
method really gets fast, peaking at about 70% faster than dustia and about 8%
faster than the 70-hour method.  You'll be able to go through the bulk of the
game at level 99, get everyone to start at level 99, obtain every single
license with so much LP left to spare that you could do again (if only you
could), and it's quite safe to use.  The only challenge lies with the
transition into the final stage as it is a bit difficult at first.


.====================================.
# 2.4  The 40-hour method **020400** #
`====================================`

Pros:
A full party of level 99 characters, after a bit.
Very easy to use - little challenge is present.
Very safe to use - the only noticeable risk is early on.
A fair amount of gil obtained, enough for almost anything for later.
A little repetitive - quite a bit of variety throughout until the end.

Cons:
Slight story progress is required, but only 1/8 of the way through.
A poor balance between fast and early.
About half of the license board will be cleared, sufficient enough though.
Balthier and Fran get left far behind, as if you never leveled up.

If the 65- or 70-hour methods are far too repetitive for you, then consider the
40-hour method.  In general, the 40-hour method has you getting the rod, using
the ichthons to level up on, getting the burning bow, advancing the story until
Barheim Passage is done (getting the fiery arrows while doing so), getting the
traveler's garb and winged helm, using the werewolves to level up on, using
dive talons to level up on, then using Garamsythe Waterway for the final
leveling.  While there is plenty of variety, the last 3 stages of the process
are still quite repetitive, especially the final one.  It's not as bad as the
70- or 65-hour method's final stage, however.  By Balthier and Fran getting
left far behind, I really do mean it.  Vaan could very well have all of his
augments obtained with 4000 LP to spare and yet Balthier and Fran get left
exactly how they were when they leave - hardly any LP and very little of the
augments cleared.  It's as if you never even leveled up at all.  This problem,
however, is fixed during the final routine of the afterward section (see
section 31).  Despite that, you'll still be able to get a full party of level
99 characters.  The 40-hour method is very easy and safe to use and you do
obtain a fair amount of gil.  Although story progress is required, you're only
1/8 of the way through the game, still quite early.  This method is a poor
balance between fast and early.


.====================================.
# 2.5  The 35-hour method **020500** #
`====================================`

Pros:
A full party of level 99 characters, after a bit.
A fair balance between fast and early.
Lots of gil is obtained, easily enough for pretty much anything.
The easiest methods - just hand phoenix downs, and attacking helpless enemies.
The safest method.

Cons:
Slight story progress is required, but only 1/8 of the way through.
Balthier and Fran get left far behind, as if you never leveled up.
Moderately repetitive - dustia and the final stage dominate but some variety.
About half of the license board will be cleared, sufficient enough though.

The 35-hour method is a clone of the 40-hour method except that it involves
using dustia to level up with first thing and again later after doing the story
events.  In general, it involves getting the rod (gathering gil while doing
so), using dustia to level up on, doing only 2 rounds, getting the burning bow,
advancing the story until Barheim Passage is done (getting the fiery arrows
while doing so), getting the traveler's garb and winged helm, doing hunts to
raise the clan rank, continuing dustia to level up on, doing one more round of
dustia for arcanae to get the hermes sandals, then doing the final stage.  This
method is the safest because, primarily, all you primarily do is hand dustia
phoenix downs and attack immobilized enemies that can't get you (or flee if it
misses).  Although still fairly repetitive, it's less so than the 65-hour
method.  By Balthier and Fran getting left far behind, I really do mean it. 
Vaan could very well have all of his augments obtained with 3000 LP to spare
and yet Balthier and Fran get left exactly how they were when they leave -
hardly any LP and very little of the augments cleared.  It's as if you never
even leveled up at all.  This problem, however, is fixed during the final
routine of the afterward section (see section 31).  Despite that, you'll still
be able to get a full party of level 99 characters.  You do obtain a lot of gil
during this.  Although story progress is required, you're only 1/8 of the way
through the game, still quite early.  This method is a fair balance between
fast and early.


.====================================.
# 2.6  The 25-hour method **020600** #
`====================================`

Pros:
A full party of level 99 characters, after a bit.
The best balance between fast and early.
Tons of gil obtained, so much, over a million, it's hard to spend it all.
The least repetitive method of them all.

Cons:
Slight story progress is required, but only 1/8 of the way through.
About 2/5 of the license board will be cleared, sufficient enough though.
Balthier and Fran get left far behind, as if you never leveled up.
Quite difficult as you must be careful, though only during the final stage.
Extremely risky - one wrong move and it's game over.

For those that just want to get level 99 as absolutely fast as possible and
don't mind the very high risk or challenge, the 25-hour method is a great
choice.  It's also great for powerleveling-loving speedrunners.  In general, it
involves getting the rod (gathering gil while doing so), using dustia to level
up on, doing only 2 rounds, getting the burning bow, quickly advancing the
story (getting the fiery arrows while at it), getting the traveler's garb,
quickly getting the winged helm, doing hunts to raise the clan rank, doing one
last round of dustia only for arcanae to get the hermes sandals, then diving
into the final stage with barely 4 1/3 hours on the game clock upon starting
the final stage.  Risk and challenge aside, it's by far the best of all the
methods and it will show you speed like you've never seen before, putting the
embroidered tippet to shame as you only get it so late in the game.  Seriously,
potentially as high as 14,500 experience per minute on, in a sense, 4
characters at once.  What other method in the game can get that (and yet, this
is essentially the beginning of the game!)?  Seriously, just watch segment 37
and you'll see that I'm gaining a level in under 5 minutes around the upper 20s
for the level.  The main focus of the 25-hour method is on the game clock -
keeping it as low as absolutely possible.  The 25-hour method is the best
balance between fast and early.  Due to the narrow paths involved and the
enemies being along it dropping high-value loot, it wouldn't be unusual to get
over 1 million gil.  This method is also the least repetitive of all of them. 
By Balthier and Fran getting left far behind, I really do mean it.  Vaan could
very well have all of his augments obtained with 2500 LP to spare and yet
Balthier and Fran get left exactly how they were when they leave - hardly any
LP and very little of the augments cleared.  It's as if you never even leveled
up at all.  This problem, however, is fixed during the final routine of the
afterward section (see section 31).  Despite that, you'll still be able to get
a full party of level 99 characters.  Although story progress is required,
you're only 1/8 of the way through the game, still quite early.


.=========================================.
# 2.7  The optimization method **020700** #
`=========================================`

Pros:
Get 350-450 more HP and 120-150 more base MP for everyone.
Clear the entire board 5 to 6 times over (!).
Incomprehensible gil - potentially 10 million with enough focus.

Cons:
Lots of story progress is required, 1/3 of the way through the game.
The least useful for being fast and early.
Very difficult initially due to having to remain at the lowest possible level.
Quite risky - being at a low level early on means deaths are common.
Insanely repetitive - the 65-hour method is a lot of fun compared to this.
Extremely time consuming - a good 400 hours is needed.

Did you know that you could squeeze out another 350 to 450 HP (700 to 900 with
bubble) and 40 to 50 MP (120 to 150 with all 3 mist charges) from every
character?  If you can easily handle the 70- or 65-hour methods, this might be
something you can take up.  Keep in mind though that you'll need to spend about
200 to even 400 or more actual real world hours (depending on how much effort
you put into quitting and reloading) to doing this.  Thus, if you log 8-hour
days day in and day out without a gap, this will take you about a month to
finish!  That's with medium effort though, the one I suggest the most.  To
gauge this and decide the degree of effort you should put into this, reference
this chart:

+---------+-----------------------------------+----------+
| Effort  | Game time, Q&R time, real time**  | Lost HP* |
+---------+-----------+-----------+-----------+----------+
| Minimal | 150 hours |  30 hours | 180 hours | 175-250  |
| Low     | 150 hours |  50 hours | 200 hours | 140-200  |
| Medium  | 150 hours |  90 hours | 240 hours | 110-160  |
| High    | 150 hours | 200 hours | 350 hours |  80-125  |
| Extreme | 150 hours | 450 hours | 600 hours |  60-100  |
+---------+-----------+-----------+-----------+----------+

Table footnotes:
*  Lost HP is approximate and assumes you do not level up any one until
everyone joins and that you've boosted the characters upon them joining.  It
assumes 1.415x as the aptitude, the mid point between the highest and lowest.
**  Game time is the time on the game clock.  All efforts are the same.  Q&R
(quit and reload) time is time spent quitting and reloading to force the random
number generator in your favor.  Real time is the amount of time you spend in
the real world doing this.  Do note that there are 168 hours in a week and
730.4 hours in a month (assuming 24/7 play - adjust based on how much time you
have available to spend on this (e.g. 4 hours means you multiply by "24/4" or 6
so 250 hours means about 9 weeks instead of about 1 1/2 weeks)).

As you can see, by looking at this chart, you can see that with a little extra
effort, you can get a fairly considerable boost.  However, with higher efforts,
you gain even less HP per unit of time.  The best balance is the medium route. 
Low is good if you just want a quick taste of a boosted game, high is good for
dedicated players.

The only difference between near perfection (that I suggest), and true
perfection is that true perfection demands about 30 to 50 times more time
(you've got odds like 1 in 204 and 1 in 205 to thank for that, faced 18 total
times, not to mention 36 more of 1 in 100 or worse) for only another 60 more HP
and 12 more MP (based on high effort).  That's hardly anything for such a huge
time difference!  Don't forget about the cases when the characters join -
Balthier and Fran joining is the worst of the worst for the odds and time
needed for a single attempt.  I've undertaken the near perfection case with
high effort and boy does it really, REALLY test your patience and persistence
to the extreme.

To combat this extreme repetitiveness, I do things off the side while waiting
for the game to load.  For example, watch TV (on a separate display device),
write a review for GameFAQs, design your own game, write a book, do job-related
stuff, do sudoku puzzles, just find something you can do while still being able
to pay attention to and interact with the game.

The goal of this method requires that you get all 6 characters on as low of a
level as you can (preferrably no higher than level 10, the minimum possible is
suggested).  You'll definitely want to use the 122333 challenge until all 6
characters join and then start working on the leveling up process from there. 
The lower the level you can get all 6 characters to join at, the closer to true
perfection you can get.  I did this with level 18 or so as the starting point
and I missed out on about 15 MP and 40 HP.  Had I did this with the minimum
level instead of level 18, I would have gotten another 12-18 or so extra MP and
30-50 extra HP.


.======================================.
# 2.8  Method compatibility **020800** #
`======================================`

The methods are not all compatible with each other.  While there are plenty of
cases where they are identical, there's plenty of differences.  For example,
the 40- and 70-hour methods start out exactly the same.  They only split apart
once you get the burning bow.  If you start with the dustia method, every
method, except the optimization method, starts out the same way.  All methods
require the rushing of the tutorial part, but once that's over, the
optimization method splits off in one direction and the no dustia start method
splits off in another.  The 25-, 35-, and 40-hour methods require the same
extra story progress in pretty much the same way with the same preparations as
well.  The ending part of the 25-, 35-, and 40-hour methods is pretty much
identical with only a few small differences.

It is possible to convert from either of the slow methods to the faster ones
(or, at least, using their techniques) but you can't go back once the story
progress is made without reloading an older save.  Thus, if you wish to use the
slower methods but can't stand it for long but still want to do it, consider
saving to a separate file before making the story progress.  Just make sure you
don't overwrite it.  When ready, just reload that file and continue the slower
method.  Because the 25-hour method has focus on the game clock, all other
methods are incompatible with it.  However, you can still use the techniques
the 25-hour method demands during the 35- and 40-hour methods' final stage.

The optimization method is a complete oddball.  Because it requires you to be
at a very low level (the lower, the better) until all 6 characters join, the
routines are significantly different from the other methods.  Still, there are
enough similarities to warrant the use of the standard routines, there are a
lot of changes needed.  Section 31 covers everything.




                         _____   _____   ____     ____
                        |_   _| |_   _| |  _ \   / ___|
                          | |     | |   | |_| |  \ \
                          | |     | |   |  __/    \ \
                          | |    _| |_  | |      __\ \
                          |_|   |_____| |_|     |____/

                #####################
        #############           #############
   ########                               ########
#####   3  Helpful tips and tricks **030000**   #####
   ########                               ########
        #############           #############
                #####################

There are several things you can do to squeeze out more time, speeding up the
process.  These are pretty much the same, regardless of the method you use. 
Here's a list of 16 tips, organized by category.


.=======================================.
# 3.1  Configuration-related **030100** #
`=======================================`

Tip 1-1.  Max out the battle speed.  This does not increase the degree of
challenge to any noticeable degree, but it makes this process much faster as
less waiting is involved.  While status effect duration and animation duration
remain the same, the charging speed of actions is improved.  This doesn't have
much of an effect, but it helps greatly, saving about 1 to 3 hours.  There is
only one case where the slowest battle speed should be used instead.

Tip 1-2.  Use active mode.  While active mode is more challenging, it can
easily save an hour or two over the course of the process (3 to 5 hours when
going with the 70-hour method).  Active mode will take time to get used to, but
if it's too much for you to handle, then, by all means, use wait mode.  There
are a few cases that I strongly advise against active mode and they will be
noted accordingly.  Due to the extreme danger of the final stage in the 40- or
especially the 25-hour methods, never use active mode there.


.================================.
# 3.2  Battle-related **030200** #
`================================`

Tip 2-1.  Keep breaks between attacking to a minimum.  Constantly attacking
while moving toward your destination can easily shave off 20 minutes (even an
hour in the 70-hour methods).  With a bow, just constantly pass by enemies
(except when noted) while attacking them.  With a close-range weapon like a
sword, make your attack and lead the enemy toward where you want to go while
your next attack is being charged.  The leading of an enemy is more difficult
to master and it has a small effect, saving maybe 5 total minutes.  The former
case is easier and, due to being more common, saves a lot more time.

Tip 2-2.  Master pseudo running.  Pseudo running is the apparent fleeing from
an enemy while not actually fleeing (holding R2).  Your attack is being charged
up while you're keeping your distance from the enemy.  With a short range
weapon, this is hard to do but still possible.  With a ranged weapon like a
bow, it's easy to do.  In fact, if you've masted pseudo running and you have
the space available, you could actually get 2 shots off in the time the enemy
only gets one (combos aside), even with slow status.

Tip 2-3.  Changing equipment can speed things up.  In an emergency situation,
changing equipment as soon as a cure spell goes through (that is, you see the
popup), can eliminate the long delay and allow you to heal almost as fast as
potions (potions only being faster).

Tip 2-4.  Be careful with using R2.  If you need to flee, as from immobilize
missing, the stop from putting the weapon away with R2 may cause you to get hit
when simply running can get you much farther.  Only use R2 if you have plenty
of distance from your enemy.  If you decide to avoid R2 but you're charging an
attack, switch to wait mode if using active mode, and alternate between casting
cure and attacking.  Don't let either action take effect though or you'll stop.
By taking effect, I mean from fully charging.  Let an action charge about 3/4
then change actions.  Never repeatedly target the same target with the same
action.  You may use the same action only if you change your targets.  You may
only use the same target if you change your action.


.====================================.
# 3.3  Navigation-related **030300** #
`====================================`

Tip 3-1.  Cross zone boundaries perpendicular.  Since it makes no difference
where the zone boundary is crossed to get the system to load the next zone,
keeping as perpendicular to it as possible will help save some time.  If you
can't do it perpendicular, from walls being in the way, use the nearest edge
instead.  Although this only saves but 1 or 2 frames per crossing, you change
zones so much that this amounts to a good 20 minutes being saved.

Tip 3-2.  Use racing techniques.  Unlike cars that skid around when cutting
corners too sharply, characters are not affected.  Although I see, on rare
occasion, sudden and very brief leaning, this doesn't seem to affect anything.

Tip 3-3.  Avoid checking the map.  You should get to know the areas before
starting them.  This hardly has any effect though, usually about 1 or 2 total
minutes.

Tip 3-4.  Avoid getting chests.  Unless you need the gil, as from starting out
with the dustia method.  There are a few cases where getting a chest is
required though.  Of course, if a chest is slightly off the path, then feel
free to get it.  Consider combining tip 2-1 or 2-2 with this.

Tip 3-5.  Minimize weapon sheathing and unsheathing.  When the weapon is
sheathed (put away, as from not being in combat), you move 20% faster.  Any
time you take out the weapon, it costs you about a half second.  Thus, if your
enemy is just out of range and you can't target anything quickly enough and the
weapon gets put away, run at full speed for a second or two then attack to at
least kind of make up for it.  For nonagressive, green life bar enemies, you
can pass right by them and then start attacking, best with a long range weapon.
If nearby targets are available and you don't quite want the weapon to get put
away, target those but keep out of range to keep the weapon out.  Doing so can
take about a half second.  It's not much, but it adds up and it's rarely
available, but enough to save a minute in the longer methods.


.============================.
# 3.4  Other tips **030200** #
`============================`

Tip 4-1.  Do not speak to anyone unless instructed to.  Unless required by the
story or I tell you to (usually shop clerks), speaking to someone only wastes
time.  When speaking to someone is required, just rapidly press the X button. 
When choices are needed, the default choice is always the one you use.

Tip 4-2.  Do not spend gil unless instructed to.  Some things are not cheap and
will take a while to get.  By spending gil on junk, you're only wasting time
from having to recover that.

Tip 4-3.  Avoid stealing from enemies.  This may seem contradictory to tip 4-2,
stealing, except when noted, mostly wastes time.  Standard drops, if you avoid
getting unnecessary items, can easily cover what you need.  If you start with
the dustia method, however, that's a different subject.  While advancing the
story once Balthier and Fran join, stealing will help with getting the hermes
sandals sooner.  Avoid stealing from rare game and bosses though - it takes too
long to score a steal.  Also, only steal once per enemy, even if you miss,
don't attempt again.

Tip 4-4.  Do not spend LP unless instructed to.  LP takes a while to
accumulate, even with that area in the Estersand that has enemies at high
density all over.  Thus, only spend LP when I tell you to.  Yes, thanks to the
design of the license board, you frequently have to get junk licenses to reach
the you need.

Tip 4-5.  Skip every story scene you can.  To do that, press start then X.  If
you want to see the story, play another game on a separate save file.  It may
seem strange, but doing this can actually save you nearly 30 minutes, a huge
effect.  For the 40- and 25-hour methods, that amounts to almost 2 hours being
saved, despite 3 scenes that you can't skip at all (probably a bug with the
programmers).



  ____    _____    ____   _____   __    _   __    _   _____   __    _    ____
 |  _ \  |  ___|  / ___| |_   _| |  \  | | |  \  | | |_   _| |  \  | |  / ___|
 | |_| | | |__   | |  _    | |   | A \ | | | A \ | |   | |   | A \ | | | |  _
 |  _ <  |  __|  | | | |   | |   | |\ \| | | |\ \| |   | |   | |\ \| | | | | |
 | |_| | | |___  | |_| |  _| |_  | | \ ' | | | \ ' |  _| |_  | | \ ' | | |_| |
 |____/  |_____|  \___/  |_____| |_|  \__| |_|  \__| |_____| |_|  \__|  \___/

                ###########################
        #############                 #############
   ########                                     ########
#####   4  The tutorial and rogue tomato **040000**   #####
   ########                                     ########
        #############                 #############
                ###########################

Used with:  70H, 65H, 40H, 35H, 25H, Opt


.===================================.
# 4.1  Rush the tutorial **040100** #
`===================================`

The first part is completely unavoidable.  This is the tutorial area.  My guide
is not intended to be a walkthrough of the game's story.  Consult a regular
walkthrough or my videos for that.  First, obviously, start a new game and set
the configuration settings as you see fit.  When ready, choose "begin the game"
and skip the story scenes that follow.

When you first get to fight, bring up the party menu, go to "config", and set
the battle speed to the maximum.  Set the battle mode to active too, if you're
comfortable with it.  For the boss, just have Reks use thunder and keep your
distance.  Let the others use potions.

There's no need to get Reks to level 99.  If you want to, save to a second
file.


.==========================================.
# 4.2  Hunting the rogue tomato **040200** #
`==========================================`

Once you gain control of Vaan, after skipping a lot of story scenes, deal with
the 3 dire rats that like to run around.  Continue on until you're in the
Estersand.  Here, deal with the 3 cactites you see first, getting those that
are awake first before the sleeping ones (so as to avoid bringing several
enemies together in a fight (if that happens, just quit and reload)).  You may
get a sleeping one if the others are too far away.  Next, clear out the 4 or 5
wolves around the rogue tomato's area.  You should get a level up when you
finish the second wolf.  Deal with the rogue tomato next.  By clearing out the
wolves around it, you can quickly get to the rogue tomato before it heals.

Use a potion when at least 80 HP is missing, preferrably 100 so as to make full
use out of a potion.  Before using a potion, unless you have 20 HP or less
remaining, finish off whatever enemy you're dealing with.

When done, return to Rabanastre.  If any of the cactites have respawned along
the way back, deal with them.  Be ready to skip more story scenes.  This is the
only story progress you'll make in the 70- or 65-hour method.

Since you start right beside clan hall, go there and speak to Montblanc twice. 
The second time will get you 3 potions, 105 gil essentially.  Next, head toward
The Sandsea and speak to Tomaj to claim the bounty, essentially 470 gil.


.=============================.
# 4.3  Obtain cure **040300** #
`=============================`

About the cure spell (cost:  200):
+-------------------+---------------------------------+
| Equipment bonuses | Extra important properties      |
+-------------------+ None                            |
| Attack power    0 +---------------------------------+
| Hit points      0 |          License path           |
| Mist points     0 +-------------------------+-------+
| Defense         0 | License                 |    LP |
| Magick resist   0 | Accessories 1           | Start |
| Evade           0 | < White magick 1        |    15 |
| Magick evade    0 | Total                   |    15 |
| Strength        0 |                         |       |
| Magick power    0 |                         |       |
| Vitality        0 |                         |       |
| Speed           0 |                         |       |
+-------------------+-------------------------+-------+

The cure spell will almost completely replace the need for potions.  Because MP
recovers as you run around, you'll never have to use a potion outside an
emergency case.  Instead of waiting until you have 100 HP missing, cast cure
between battles when at about 60% of your HP, or just as you're about to cross
a zone boundary.

Head toward Yugri's magicks.  Sell the loot you got, including all but maybe 2
potions (for emergencies) and buy cure.  You may be 1 LP short (2 if unlucky)
of being able to license cure.  That's expected to happen and is fine.




                             ____     ___    ____
                            |  _ \   / _ \  |  _ \
                            | |_| | | | | | | | | |
                            |  _ <  | | | | | | | |
                            | | | | | |_| | | |_| |
                            |_| |_|  \___/  |____/

                ######################
        #############            #############
   ########                                ########
#####   5  The rod in the Estersand **050000**   #####
   ########                                ########
        #############            #############
                ######################

Used with:  70H, 65H, 40H, 35H, 25H, Opt


.=============================================.
# 5.1  Cross the Yardang Labyrinth **050100** #
`=============================================`

Return to the east gate and, this time, continue heading to the northeast. 
Defeat every enemy along the way, except the wild saurian that does 500 damage
(a certain game over).  Try to deal with one enemy at a time.  This can be
difficult with wolves.

License cure as soon as you can.

In the Outpost zone, just continue straight ahead.  There's a 5 gil piece right
along the way, but picking it up is not necessary unless you do it real quick.

Yardang Labyrinth (a labyrinth is a maze) is more complex because enemies tend
to be grouped together more.  Try to separate them by dealing with closer ones
while the others are far away.  This can be difficult and time-consuming to do
though.  The cockatrices are especially troubling, but are much easier to
separate.  Get close to a cockatrice, the distance at which they can start
going after you, and let one come after you.  Have attack charging up before
starting though.  Let the closer cockatrice start coming toward you - when it
does, get back immediately.  Should the far cockatrice suddenly start rolling
very quickly toward you, get back immediately.  Once your first attack hits,
lead the cockatrice you're attacking away from the other one.  Quite often,
however, the game's 6-enemy limit will get in the way, blocking the appearance
of one of the cockatrices so you only have to deal with one.  The wolves are
only half as strong so they're much easier to deal with.

For the most part, just hug along the northwest wall.


.===================================.
# 5.2  Beware of nekhbet **050200** #
`===================================`

Next, follow the obvious path then head to the north-northeast.  Avoid the
cockatrices here.  They're not worth the difficulty.  Plus, there's also a rare
game called nekhbet present that looks pretty much exactly like a cockatrice. 
This enemy will do a good 200 damage per hit with its mucus skill (this can
also cause slow status), and its poke does about 130 damage.  It's also got
4000 HP.  It's easy to spot amongst the cockatrices as, if you see 3
cockatrices, nekhbet is present.  In addition, it frequently has one of up to 4
status effect icons to the left of its life bar:  protect (a blue hexagonal
stone), shell (a green circle with a light green circle inside), bravery (a
sword with a blue curved arrow pointing up on the right), and/or faith (a staff
with a blue curved arrow pointing up).  Should you see Nekhbet, get away
immediately!  There are 3 areas for which nekhbet will appear - the far western
area that's highly out of the way, the area just to the right of the obvious
path, and the area far to the east.  The middle case is the most common it
seems.

What should you do when you get sighted and attacked by nekhbet?  Run for it! 
My video for the no-dustia start demonstrates how to spot and deal with nekhbet
very well.  Head toward the nearest zone boundary and cross it.  Nekhbet is
very easy to avoid though, even easier if you avoid the cockatrices.

Do be warned that, after roughly 80 seconds, the status effects will pretty
much expire leaving you at higher risk of thinking it's a normal cockatrice. 
Before attacking a cockatrice, or what seems to be one, check the target list. 
Choose "attack" to see the target list.  You don't need to select a target
though.


.============================================.
# 5.3  Obtain and license the rod **050300** #
`============================================`

About the rod (cost:  found in treasure chest (1500 base)):
+-------------------+---------------------------------+
| Equipment bonuses | Extra important properties      |
+-------------------+ None                            |
| Attack power   30 +---------------------------------+
| Hit points      0 |          License path           |
| Mist points     5 +-------------------------+-------+
| Defense         0 | License                 |    LP |
| Magick resist   0 | Small swords            | Start |
| Evade           0 | < Staves 1              |    15 |
| Magick evade    0 | < Rods 1                |    15 |
| Strength        0 | Total                   |    30 |
| Magick power    1 |                         |       |
| Vitality        0 |                         |       |
| Speed           0 |                         |       |
+-------------------+-------------------------+-------+

What's so special about the rod?  First, you'll roughly triple the damage
you've been doing.  How is it triple when the attack power only goes up a
little more than double?  Enemy defense.  The damage formula explains it (the
mythril sword and rod use the same formula):  "(SATK*rand(1, 1.125)-TDEF) *
(1+SSTR*(SLV+SSTR)/256)".  SATK (source attack power) is 13 with the mythril
sword and 30 with the rod.  TDEF (target defense) is usually 4 or 5.  The first
part of the formula is the main part that controls damage.  This means your
attack power is effectively 9.5625 with the mythril sword and 27.75 with the
rod (for the average after subtracting defense (based on 4)).  27.75 is
slightly less than triple.  In fact, you'll be doing over 100 damage at only
level 3 thanks to this.  Not only that, you also get 5 more MP, useful in
healing needs, and 1 added to magick power to make healing slightly more
effective.  The formula for healing is "MPOW*rand(1, 1.125 *
(2+SMAG*(SLV+SMAG))".  Since SMAG (source magick power) appears twice in
multiplication, it's like it's squared so that 1 point has a somewhat
noticeable effect.  Not bad for barely 40 minutes into the game!

First, if you haven't gotten 30 LP yet, go around whacking wolves (and only
wolves) until you do.  Once you do, head into the eastern exit and save your
game.  After saving, head straight north to find the chest containing the rod
on the edge of the northern cliff.  The chest has a 75% chance of appearing, a
60% chance of being an item, and a 50% chance of that item being the rod. 
Basically, that means you have a 22.5% chance of getting the rod.  If you don't
get it, quit and reload.  If you do, what you do next depends on your method -
either you get more or you continue on.  If you don't get the rod, quit and
reload.  By reloading, you'll force the game to reset the chest (and enemies). 
Otherwise, you'd have to get 3 zones away (all the way back to the zone with
the wild saurian) and return to try again.  For the most part, you should only
need about 3 to 6 tries.

When going after the rod for later attempts, ignore fighting the enemies.  Once
you get the rod, you'll be able to handle everything here, except nekhbet, with
almost no effort.  Once you license the rod, feel free to bash whatever enemies
are around, except nekhbet.  With the rod, the cockatrices are not a problem
any more.




                 ____    _   _    ____   _____   _____    ___
                |  _ \  | | | |  / ___| |_   _| |_   _|  / _ \
                | | | | | | | |  \ \      | |     | |   | |_| |
                | | | | | | | |   \ \     | |     | |   |  _  |
                | |_| | | |_| |  __\ \    | |    _| |_  | | | |
                |____/   \___/  |____/    |_|   |_____| |_| |_|

                ##########################
        #############                #############
   ########                                    ########
#####   6  The crazy fast dustia method **060000**   #####
   ########                                    ########
        #############                #############
                ##########################

Used with:  65H, 35H, 25H


.==============================.
# 6.1  About dustia **060100** #
`==============================`

Dustia is what's called rare game.  It is found in the Corridor of Sand of the
Westersand and only spawns when you have 10% HP remaining or less.  Dustia is
also an undead enemy (it looks like a fat, bony ghost with very sharp-looking
claws) with about 7000 HP and the ability to teleport.  It's worth an
impressive 1100 exp and 3 LP each should you defeat one.  Dustia also drops
some pretty valuable loot too and it comes in 2 types.  The book of orgain is
the 40% (most common) drop and each one sells for 532 gil.  The flame staff is
a 3% drop (a weapon with no use to any of the methods) and sells for a whopping
1200 gil.  This may seem like it's something you can't handle at all, but,
surprisingly, dustia is far easier than even the wolves.  All you need to do to
defeat dustia is nothing more than hand it a phoenix down.  Unfortunately, at
this early point in the game, phoenix downs are quite expensive but there's
ways around that.


.=================================================.
# 6.2  Preparing for the dustia method **060200** #
`=================================================`

..........................................
6.2.1  Obtain more rods for gil **060210**
..........................................

The rod sells for 750 gil, a lot.  That's enough gil for 3 phoenix downs!  With
the chest containing the rod always reappearing, it is, thus, possible to
repeatedly get the rod and really store up a lot of gil.  Whether or not you do
this, however, depends on your method.  The process is very simple though -
once you get the initial rod, license and equip it as usual, then return to the
save crystal, save, quit, and reload.  Rush to the chest again and attempt for
another one.  No chest or no rod?  Quit and reload.  Rod obtained?  Return to
the save crystal, save, quit, reload, and go at it again.  Each run adds barely
a minute to the clock but you get 750 gil for every rod you get.  The number of
rods you get depends on your method.  Reference your chosen method for the
ideal number to get - the value is higher for the longer methods - 12-20, 8-12,
or 6-10.  The approximate number of phoenix downs you'll get is the number of
rods you get plus about 12.  If you get 8 rods, for example, you'll get about
36 phoenix downs.

For comparison, it takes about 4 minutes to get 3 phoenix downs without this. 
It takes but 1 minute on the game clock for 3 using the method of repeatedly
getting the rod.  Once you're done with dustia, you'll have a ton of gil for
another round, and a lot of LP, not to mention level 19 in under an hour on the
game clock.

................................................
6.2.2  Nalbina Town for phoenix downs **060220**
................................................

Once you get the rod (or multiple rods), the methods involving starting with
dustia split apart from those that don't.  Those that don't have you heading
farther north.  Starting with dustia has you heading back where you came from,
Yardang Labyrinth.  In this area, simply head south until the path splits in
two.  Take the path heading east.  You'll find a surprise cactoid that pops out
of the ground.  When the path splits again, take the north route (south leads
to Giza Plains - you don't need to go there).  At the end, you'll find the
entrance to Nalbina Town off to the east.

Once here, you'll see a shop and save crystal right in front of you.  Save at
the save crystal.  Optionally, quit and reload what you just saved to reset the
enemies.  At the shop, sell pretty much everything you have, except the
currently equipped equipment and Vaan's starting mythril sword.  With the rod,
you can bash enemies with minimal effort.  With the cure spell, there's no need
for potions, so long as you watch your HP closely.  When you've sold
everything, buy as many phoenix downs as you can get.  I strongly suggest
having at least 16 phoenix downs.  With the stealing method, you're likely to
have 18.  With the rod method, you could get 40.  If you don't get enough, use
the rod method until you do.  Much less than 16 and you'll likely be doing a
lot of quitting and reloading just to get started.  The more you can get now,
the less quitting and reloading you'll need and the faster things will be.

.......................................
6.2.3  Reaching the key area **060230**
.......................................

Return to Yardang Labyrinth and head as much west as you can.  If you enter
Giza Plains, you went too far south - quit and reload or backtrack
(backtracking costs time).  If you enter the Outpost, you're good to go - just
pass through and continue back to Rabanastre, bashing whatever enemies are
along the way, except wild saurian as usual.

Continue heading west through Rabanastre and take the west gate.  Make sure you
save at this save crystal.  If something goes wrong, you'll have to back track
a lot.  Head to the northwest bashing whatever enemies are along the way near
your route and reach, but don't cross, the zone boundary.

....................................
6.2.4  Going below 10% HP **060240**
....................................

At this point, you'll need to satisfy the only condition needed to get dustia
to appear.  That is, you must be at or below 10% HP remaining.  To find the
upper limit, simply drop the ones digit.  Yep, that means you'll need 20 HP or
less (for the most part), next to nothing.  The obvious way to get low HP like
that is to get into a fight with an enemy and let the enemy do the work, but
that's quite slow, especially when you've got a long way to go such as from
being around level 30.

There's another method - attack yourself.  Attacking yourself, however,
presents 2 problems.  The first is that there's the risk of combos happening
when you don't expect them or want them.  The solution to that problem is
simple - just as the damage popup appears, open the party menu and change your
equipment immediately.

The second problem is that the damage you do to yourself is, initially, greater
than the maximum allowed HP.  You may go from 11% HP remaining to death,
causing a game over.  To help control the damage, take note of how much damage
your mythril sword does that you start with and also how much damage you do
when unarmed.

The formula for the damage of swords is "(SATK*rand(1, 1.125)-TDEF) *
(1+SSTR*(SLV*SSTR)/256)" and the damage formula for going unarmed is
"(11*rand(1, 1.125)-TDEF) * SSTR * (SLV+SSTR) / 256".  They are both quite
similar.  SATK is source attack, 13 for the mythril sword.  The "rand" is a
random number generator function that returns a value from and including the
left value to and including the right value.  TDEF is the target defense, 4 in
this case.  SSTR, source strength, and SLV, source level, are the other
variables.  Due to differences in damage calculation, for the second half of
the formula (where strength and level play a role), unarmed is slightly more
than half as powerful as the mythril sword.  Based on level 5, for which you'll
likely be by this point, the mythril sword should do about 38.6 damage on
average with your armor, 54.3 without.  Going unarmed does 22.5 damage with
your armor, 34.2 without.  These values vary by about 10% in both directions. 
These are averages.  Given that you'll have around 207 max HP, going unarmed,
even with your armor, can still take you from 11% HP remaining to a game over.

...........................................
6.2.5  Wait at the slowest speed **060250**
...........................................

Before starting to deal with dustia, there are 3 other things you must do.  The
first is to set the battle mode to wait mode.  When dustia gets defeated, you
must grab the loot and quickly change zones.  You have just one second from the
moment dustia is defeated to the moment you must have crossed the zone
boundary.  During that, you must grab the loot.  If using active mode, you have
to wait for the loot bag to drop enough before it can even be picked up,
costing valuable time.  By using wait mode, you can bring up the battle menu as
soon as dustia is declared defeated by the game to pause the 1-second limit but
still let the loot bag drop.  By unpausing and quickly pausing again, you can
grab the loot bag and very easily make it in time.

The second is reducing the battle speed to the bare minimum.  Because you have
to wait for dustia to fully materialize before you can even target dustia, and
while you're waiting, dustia is charging up dark.  Because dark requires a
charge time and the use of items don't, reducing the battle speed actually
gives you a significant advantage.  By reducing the battle speed to the
minimum, dustia's dark will take twice as long.  It takes so long in fact that,
once the red life bar appears, you still have a whole 2 1/2 seconds to initiate
the use of a phoenix down before dustia's dark spell will begin taking effect. 
That's a lot of time to spare!

The third preparation is to move the phoenix downs up to the very top of your
item inventory list.  This way, you're not sorting through a list of items
repeatedly, wasting time.  If you followed my advice of selling the unnecessary
items, this step is already done for you.


.=======================================.
# 6.3  The short first cycle **060300** #
`=======================================`

................................................
6.3.1  The basics of defeating dustia **060310**
................................................

With every preparation now set, you're ready to level up like you've never seen
before, very likely even gaining 2 levels at once (like I did in my video,
jumping from level 5 to level 7 (or from 6 to 8)).  Cross the zone boundary to
the north.  Once the zone loads, run back toward the zone boundary line but
don't cross it.  Wait for dustia to appear.  When it does, noted by a
glittering light effect, run up to it so that you are touching it.  If dustia
decides to teleport first thing, go to whereever dustia teleports to, usually 1
to 3 meters away from the previous position, almost always right next to you. 
Regardless if dustia decides to teleport first thing or not, wait until you see
the red life bar appear.  At this point, hand dustia a phoenix down.  Why a
phoenix down?  Dustia is an undead enemy and they get harmed with healing items
(hand dustia a potion and it'll take 100 damage).  Phoenix downs revive
someone.  The opposite of revival is death.  Thus, the restorative item that
the phoenix down is turns into instant death on the undead.  It's this reason
that you need the phoenix downs and also why you can handle dustia so easily at
even level 1 (if you defeated your first dustia at level 1, you'd jump clear to
level 5 on your first one then 7 on your second).

Once the phoenix down connects, press X and wait for the loot bag to drop to
the ground.  Once it's on the ground, press O while moving toward dustia to
resume time and being sure you get the loot bag but immediately press X again
to confirm you got it.  If you didn't get it try again, using the same method -
be sure you are moving toward dustia at all times when grabbing the loot - this
ensures you get it.  Once you get the loot, press O and immediately head toward
the zone line.  If you don't cross the zone boundary within one second after
the phoenix down claims dustia, you won't get another one to appear - you'll
have to go way back to Rabanastre and back to get another one, costing you a
whole minute (and in that time, you could defeat 3 more dustias!).  My video
demonstrates this loot-grabbing technique perfectly.  Missing the loot will
cost you early on quite significantly, especially if you didn't repeatedly go
after the rod, as you need a 50% return to at least get break even.  You may
only stick around after defeating a dustia if you defeated the last dustia
(from using the last phoenix down you had).

Once you cross the zone boundary, return, run back to the zone boundary without
crossing it like before, and, whaddaya know, another dustia.  If you took more
than a second to leave upon the phoenix down claiming dustia, dustia won't
appear forcing you to have to run to Rabanastre and return.  If dustia isn't
appearing, you took too long to leave.  I would suggest quitting and reloading
if that happens, but if done right, that should never happen.

For the most part, repeat this process until you've used up all of your phoenix
downs.  The chain number should exactly match the number of phoenix downs you
started with.  Starting with 38 phoenix downs means you're done once you see
"38-chain" appearing.  With 40 phoenix downs used, you should be already at
level 19 and still have under an hour on the game clock!  Talk about extreme! 
There's only one Final Fantasy game I've played that has a faster leveling up
speed - Final Fantasy Tactics (but it doesn't allow you to gain more than one
level up at a time; 50 levels within 10 minutes is just insane).

From in-depth statistical analysis of this, I average about 22 1/2 seconds per
dustia (with a 0.275-second standard deviation in 43 points of data) if dustia
doesn't drop anything.  I average 23 4/9 seconds per dustia if dustia drops an
item (with a 0.275-second standard deviation in 44 points of data).  Of course,
this is with a lot of practice and doing it for so long.  When you first start,
you might be about 1/2 to 1 second longer, but you'll get faster with practice.
Don't get too fast though as control-disabling animation will get in the way. 
Pace yourself.

............................................
6.3.2  Healing loot is your enemy **060320**
............................................

This subsection's title seems contractory, but it is for real.  Should the
chain level up, there's a small chance, 10% per drop, that you'll get healed
10%.  Do note that that is per drop.  At chain level 2, there's a 48.3% chance
of a drop meaning that the odds are not 10% per dustia, but a much more
comfortable 4.83% per dustia.  Should that happen, dustia won't appear again
when you return.  You'll have no choice but to either fiddle around with
equipment to get back under 10% or simply attack yourself again (punching is
sufficient enough until higher levels where the mythril sword is better).  Once
you're back under 10% HP remaining, dustia will be back and you can continue
on.  The drops will also recover your MP.  Don't confuse MP recovery with HP
recovery.  MP recovery has very small numbers whereas HP has considerably
bigger ones.

If the chain levels up again, protect and shell may be added on.  Protect can
be a problem when you get a healing loot drop and need to get back under 10% HP
remaining.  With a 20% chance of a heal per loot drop and 54% chance of a loot
drop, that's still an 10.8% chance of being healed per dustia, quite low.  The
next chain level up has a 25% chance of a heal and a 60.4% chance of a drop
pointing to a 15.1% chance of being healed per dustia, fairly high but still
not too bad.  Grabbing the loot will help prevent the chain from leveling up,
unless the number is flashing a lot where, in that case, it's unavoidable.

Because it's critical that you get the loot drops, you must continue the chain.
Once you can start buying 99 phoenix downs on demand, then you may consider
breaking the chain after it levels up twice.  A 10% chance of healing isn't a
problem.  To break the chain, just smash a wolf or cactoid.  Entering
Rabanastre also works, but not recommended after the second cycle and it costs
a lot more time.  It only costs about 15 extra seconds to get back under 10% HP
remaining.

................................................
6.3.3  The first cycle's requirements **060330**
................................................

The first cycle is the roughest one.  Getting down to 10% HP the first time is
minor in comparison.  Why?  With so little gil, you can't get enough phoenix
downs to really make use of multiple drops.  Before that, the drops are more
against you.  To get ahead, you have to force the game to get you sufficient
enough drops to get enough gil to quickly get started.  Doing that involves
using quitting and reloading until you've met the required conditions.

What conditions do you need to meet?  Well, it's actually only one condition
that needs to be met - getting at least 10 books of orgain (about a 5% chance).
This may seem like you're going to be going at it for quite a while, but
remember that dustia also drops flame staves?  For every flame staff you get,
you can deduct 2 books of orgain off the requirement.  If you get 1 flame
staff, you only need 8 books of orgain (this has a much nicer 12% chance).  If
you get 2 flame staves, you only need 6 books of orgain (this has about a 7%
chance).  Overall, you have about a 25% chance of meeting this goal (based on
having 15 phoenix downs to start with).  Since all cases are mutually
exclusive, the probabilities get added.  If you don't meet the requirements,
quit and reload and retry the first cycle (if you saved at the west gate, you
should only need to head into the Westersand and immediately go at it again). 
You can expect to meet the goal in about 1 to 4 trials.


.=========================================.
# 6.4  The longer second cycle **060400** #
`=========================================`

If you used the rod method for quick gil first thing, skip this as it doesn't
apply.

......................................
6.4.1  Back to Nalbina Town **060410**
......................................

To replenish your phoenix downs, once you've met the requirement on the first
round, reset your settings (active mode, if you've been using it, and maxing
the battle speed), heal yourself once, then return to Rabanastre bashing
whatever enemies are along the way, doing far more damage than you were when
you first came here.  Save once you reach the save crystal.  When you're done,
head back to Nalbina Town, bashing enemies along the way.  Sell everything in
the same way as before, including all flame staves you got.  Buy as many
phoenix downs as you can.  If you did well, you should have about 30 phoenix
downs right now.  Return to the Rabanastre and the west gate again.

........................................................
6.4.2  Dustia vs phoenix down, round 2, ding! **060420**
........................................................

Defeating dustia for the second round is pretty much the same as the first
except that it lasts much longer.  Unlike the first cycle's requirement, there
really isn't any condition you need to meet.  The reason for that is simple: 
multiple item drops.  Once the chain count reaches 11, you'll have a chance of
getting 2 books of orgain from a single dustia.  That increases to 3 at 19 and
4 at 27.  At 27, should a book of orgain drop, you're guaranteed 2 of them. 
You won't see multiples of the flame staff until 19, with 2.  At 27, you could
get up to 4 flame staves, but that, with max chain level, only means a 0.6%
chance of getting per dustia.  There's a 5.5% chance of getting 4 books of
orgain per dustia.  That's a 0.033% chance of both (about 1 in 3000).  Consider
yourself very lucky if that ever happens.

When you run out of phoenix downs again, you'll be around level 19 to 21,
depending on how many phoenix downs you've had.  Head back into Rabanastre to
save.


.============================================.
# 6.5  The third cycle and beyond **060500** #
`============================================`

........................................
6.5.1  Through the Westersand **060510**
........................................

This time, instead of going all the way to Nalbina, head west, deeper into the
Westersand.  For the most part, just ignore the enemies here.  Defeating
dustias is far faster for leveling up, 3 times faster, if not more.  Only the
regular wolves are of any worth as you can defeat those in one hit, but they're
only good for LP, not exp.  The alpha wolves, urstrixes, dive talons, and
sleipnirs are things you must avoid.  Definitely avoid the alraunes though. 
They do 50 damage and they combo frequently.  If you've been targeted by one,
run for it.

The enemies here give around 260 exp each and take several hits to defeat. 
Dustia is at least 3 times faster than that.  Thus, it's best to just avoid
them.  Although R2 helps, sometimes, however, it's just not possible.  Should
you engage combat, any urstrixes or alraunes that are fully opaque will start
walking toward where the action is.  As a consequence, keep an eye on the
minimap as well.  Should one be approaching, get back.  Once you finish off the
enemy, heal all the way.  Feel free to get any regular wolves though - you can
take them out in one hit and they're essentially free license points and a
little extra gil.  They do have a special attack called "fangs" that's
defense-ignoring and does nearly 70 damage though.  Avoid alpha wolf though -
it's not like those in the Estersand where you can bash them in one hit.

.....................................
6.5.2  Avoid the sandstorm **060520**
.....................................

If you get a sandstorm upon leaving Rabanastre (there's a pretty decent chance
of it), you'll encounter an enemy called gnoma entite in 2 zones.  If you see
the green life bar and begin using magic, gnoma entite will turn aggressive and
start using some powerful magick that deals about 1300 damage per cast, not to
mention silencega and sleepga.  To avoid this risk, leave Rabanastre after
saving to check for a sandstorm.  You can tell by the sounds upon the music
starting.  If it's windy, you have a sandstorm.  There are 2 ways to fix this. 
The first is to return to Rabanastre then, once the west gate zone loads,
return to the Westersand right away (you don't need to do anything, just change
regions).  It may take a few tries though.  The second method is quitting then
reloading your save, friendly on the game clock.

I would strongly suggest going after getting a clear blue sky.  Why?  It's for
something that's to come later - the burning bow.  Without a blue sky, the
burning bow will miss about 50% of the time, quite frequently.

...........................................
6.5.3  Lohen sells phoenix downs **060530**
...........................................

Continue as far west as you can.  You'll find a gate crystal and a shop in the
same small zone when you're there.  Speak to Lohen here.  Sell dustia's loot
along with other loot and items you picked up.  Again, buy as many phoenix
downs as you can.  When you can pick up around 40, you have a very good chance
of picking up the full 99 on the next and all future trips all thanks to
multiple drops.


.==================================================.
# 6.6  Obtain a quickening - red spiral **060600** #
`==================================================`

About red spiral (cost:  free (character skill)):
+-------------------+---------------------------------+
| Effects           | Extra important properties      |
+-------------------+ Rank 1 quickening               |
| Attack power   90 +---------------------------------+
| Hit points      0 |          License path           |
| Mist points     0 +-------------------------+-------+
| Defense         0 | License                 |    LP |
| Magick resist   0 | Accessories 1           | Start |
| Evade           0 | ^ Accessories 2         |    15 |
| Magick evade    0 | ^ Accessories 4         |    35 |
| Strength        0 | ^ Red spiral            |    50 |
| Magick power    0 | Total                   |   100 |
| Vitality        0 |                         |       |
| Speed           0 |                         |       |
+-------------------+-------------------------+-------+

Quickenings have one key advantage.  They serve as an easy way to drastically
increase your maximum MP.  Quickenings, early on, are extremely powerful
attacks.  They are also, when set up properly, the way to getting the highest
single damage popups possible, even passing 131,072 damage in a single damage
popup with enough hits and plenty of luck.

The MP increase isn't why you need the quickening, since MP is practically a
nonissue.  The reason for it is the burning bow that's coming up very soon, but
only if you decide to take the quickening route, the best for the game clock. 
You will need to license a quickening later on though, but that can wait until
the time comes should you not get it now.




            _____    ___    _   _   _____   _   _    ___    __    _
           |_   _|  / _ \  | | | | |_   _| | | | |  / _ \  |  \  | |
             | |   | | |_| | |_| |   | |   | |_| | | | | | | A \ | |
             | |   | |  _  |  _  |   | |   |  _  | | | | | | |\ \| |
            _| |_  | |_| | | | | |   | |   | | | | | |_| | | | \ ' |
           |_____|  \___/  |_| |_|   |_|   |_| |_|  \___/  |_|  \__|

                ##########################
        #############                #############
   ########                                    ########
#####   7  Ichthon, fast LP, and reload **070000**   #####
   ########                                    ########
        #############                #############
                ##########################

Used with:  70H, 40H, Opt


.=======================================.
# 7.1  To South Bank Village **070100** #
`=======================================`

With the rod in hand, bashing wolves, cockatrices, and cactoids along the way,
continue northward toward that village where those palm trees are.  There's no
risk for nekhbet in this zone but there is an enemy called greeden that appears
if you haven't messed with the cactoids here for 3 minutes.  Just defeat a
cactoid to block greeden from appearing (and being worth almost 40 exp, they're
quite valuable).  Unlike before, you can handle the cockatrices very easily
now, going down in 2 hits instead of 5 or 6 and they'll usually only attack
once instead of 4 to 5 times, allowing you to face a few cockatrices at once or
several in a row before needing to heal.


.===========================================.
# 7.2  The strong battle harness **070200** #
`===========================================`

About the battle harness (cost:  1000):
+-------------------+---------------------------------+
| Equipment bonuses | Extra important properties      |
+-------------------+ Allows for counterattacks       |
| Attack power    0 +---------------------------------+
| Hit points      0 |          License path           |
| Mist points     0 +-------------------------+-------+
| Defense         0 | License                 |    LP |
| Magick resist   0 | Accessories 1           | Start |
| Evade           0 | ^ Accessories 2         |    15 |
| Magick evade    0 | ^ Accessories 4         |    35 |
| Strength        2 | Total                   |    50 |
| Magick power    0 |                         |       |
| Vitality        0 |                         |       |
| Speed           0 |                         |       |
+-------------------+-------------------------+-------+

The battle harness has 2 advantages, both fairly small.  The first is that it
raises strength by 2 points.  Remember the damage formula?  That's
"(SATK*rand(1, 1.125)-TDEF) * (1+SSTR*(SLV+SSTR)/256)" - note how SSTR (source
strength) appears twice in multiplication.  This means a squaring effect is
going on so a small increase has a huge effect.  At level 5, this means you'll
do about 11 1/3% more damage, quite noticeable.  The second advantage is that
it allows for counterattacks, but they seem to have about 2% chance of
occurring per regular physical hit, too slight to be depended on.  Because of
the boost in strength, this item will come in handy not just now, but
throughout the entire process as there's no better accessory outside the hermes
sandals (not available in the 70-, 65-, or 40-hour methods).

Once in the village, speak to unlucky merchant, sell your loot (leave behind
some items, depending on your method - see your method for what to avoid
selling), then buy the "battle harness".  You likely don't have enough LP to
license it just yet, but if you do, then license it.  Do not buy anything else.


.======================================.
# 7.3  Ichthons and fast LP **070300** #
`======================================`

Once done, save your game, quit, and reload.  Why quit and reload?  This will
reset the enemies so you can quickly get more LP.  Once you've reloaded, leave
the village, then head west then north to follow along the river.  Here, you
will encounter a quite colorful fish with a lot of crazy fins called ichthon. 
These are fairly powerful, doing about 20 to 25 damage, but, with that rod of
yours, they're quite easy to handle.  Be warned though.  If you get too far
from them, they'll begin to use a special skill called "water cannon".  This
skill will do over 100 damage to you.  To avoid it, always keep right next to
ichthon.  There's still that very slight chance it will use it despite always
keeping ridiculously close to it.  How?  The very annoying and pointless
feature called knockback that you can't stop from happening.  However, the
ichthons are worth about 187 exp, essentially 17 wolves in one.

You might also consider, starting at level 7, 6 at the earliest, stealing from
ichthon.  The fish scale it has is worth 151 gil, quite significant.  Also,
after defeating an ichthon, fully heal.  If your HP is dropping below 70, use a
potion to quickly heal.  This, however, shouldn't really happen, even at level
4.  Just focus on defeating the ichthon - you can heal right after defeating
it.

Be sure to get the second ichthon farther west - just follow the river's banks
toward the west to find the other.  Heal as needed as well.  Later on, the need
to heal will be less or even no longer needed.

After dealing with the 2 ichthons, go around bashing the cockatrices, cactoids,
and the numerous wolves around the zone you're in (and only the zone you're
in).  The 2 cockatrices should be your next obvious targets.  Head south to get
a wolf and cactoid (the cactoid is often out of sight so I tend to ignore it as
it's too far off the path).  Continue heading south, east, north a bit for 2
wolves, back to the south for a cockatrice, the east for a cactoid, more to the
east for 3 wolves, the north for a pack of 3, sometimes 4 wolves, then check
the river again for more ichthons (there's a fair chance that they've
respawned).  For speed, just check just the one nearest to the village.  If
it's there, fully heal then deal with it.  You can pick up about 18 total LP
and about 500 total exp doing all this, not bad for only 4 minutes.

Return to the village when you're done.  Once here, just save, quit, and
reload.  After some time, you'll be defeating everything here except the
ichthons, in one hit.  Make sure you pick up the loot bags as you're going to
need a lot of gil.

Repeat this process until you've licensed the battle harness and you've stocked
at least 130 extra LP, 150 preferably.  For the most part, you should be about
level 10 or just starting 11 by then.


.==================================================.
# 7.4  Obtain a quickening - red spiral **070400** #
`==================================================`

About red spiral (cost:  free (character skill)):
+-------------------+---------------------------------+
| Effects           | Extra important properties      |
+-------------------+ Rank 1 quickening               |
| Attack power   90 +---------------------------------+
| Hit points      0 |          License path           |
| Mist points     0 +-------------------------+-------+
| Defense         0 | License                 |    LP |
| Magick resist   0 | Accessories 4           | Start |
| Evade           0 | ^ Red spiral            |    50 |
| Magick evade    0 | Total                   |    50 |
| Strength        0 |                         |       |
| Magick power    0 |                         |       |
| Vitality        0 |                         |       |
| Speed           0 |                         |       |
+-------------------+-------------------------+-------+

Quickenings have one key advantage.  They serve as an easy way to drastically
increase your maximum MP.  Quickenings, early on, are extremely powerful
attacks.  They are also, when set up properly, the way to getting the highest
single damage popups possible passing 131,072 damage in a single damage popup.

The MP increase isn't why you need the quickening, since MP is practically a
nonissue.  The reason for it is the burning bow that's coming up very soon, but
only if you decide to take the quickening route, the best for the game clock. 
You will need to license a quickening later on though, but that can wait until
the time comes should you not get it now.




           __    _    ___    _       ____    _____   __    _    ___
          |  \  | |  / _ \  | |     |  _ \  |_   _| |  \  | |  / _ \
          | A \ | | | |_| | | |     | |_| |   | |   | A \ | | | |_| |
          | |\ \| | |  _  | | |     |  _ <    | |   | |\ \| | |  _  |
          | | \ ' | | | | | | |___  | |_| |  _| |_  | | \ ' | | | | |
          |_|  \__| |_| |_| |_____| |____/  |_____| |_|  \__| |_| |_|

                ######################
        #############            #############
   ########                                ########
#####   8  Shopping in Nalbina Town **080000**   #####
   ########                                ########
        #############            #############
                ######################

Used with:  70H, 65H, 40H, 35H, 25H, Opt


.========================================.
# 8.1  Travel to Nalbina Town **080100** #
`========================================`

Once you reach the goal, begin heading toward the south again, bashing whatever
enemies are along the way.  Remember to avoid Nekhbet - you still don't stand a
chance against it and for only 600 exp and 3 LP, it's not worth it.  Get the
other enemies around the area though - you need the LP and gil so go for it. 
You should be defeating pretty much everything in one hit now.  Continue
heading southwest to get to the entrance of that path that leads to Yardang
Labyrinth.

Here, continue bashing enemies and picking up their loot.  When the path
splits, make the turn - you should be heading southeast.  In this, a cactoid
will come out - bash it for a quick LP and about 37 exp.  When the path splits
again, take the left path to head north, bashing whatever enemies are along the
way.  The entrance to Nalbina Town is on the east.


.==================================.
# 8.2  Buy onion arrows **080200** #
`==================================`

About the onion arrows (cost:  100 gil):
+-------------------+---------------------------------+
| Equipment bonuses | Extra important properties      |
+-------------------+ Must be equipped with a bow     |
| Attack power    1 +---------------------------------+
| Hit points      0 |          License path           |
| Mist points     0 +-------------------------+-------+
| Defense         0 | License                 |    LP |
| Magick resist   0 | License not required    |   --- |
| Evade           0 |                         |       |
| Magick evade    0 |                         |       |
| Strength        0 |                         |       |
| Magick power    0 |                         |       |
| Vitality        0 |                         |       |
| Speed           0 |                         |       |
+-------------------+-------------------------+-------+

The onion arrows require the use of a bow in order to be put to use.  They are
a basic arrow.  Since the quantity of arrows you get is infinite, you only need
to buy one set.  Equipping arrows adds slightly more attack power on a bow as
well.

First, upon entering town, speak to the seeq that has a shop.  Buy just the
onion arrows here.  I know, you just got the rod and you've been using to bash
wolves and cockatrices like crazy.  Why would you get arrows?  It's a
preparation for the burning bow that you're about to get that is far more
effective than the rod (think:  2 1/2 times more damage).  Be sure to save at
the save crystal that's present here.  If you make a mistake, simply quit and
reload.


.===============================.
# 8.3  Buy new armor **080300** #
`===============================`

There are 5 pieces of armor that have any worth in consideration.  I'll list
the 5 in the order of the most useful to the least useful.

About the bronze helm (cost:  700):
+-------------------+---------------------------------+
| Equipment bonuses | Extra important properties      |
+-------------------+ None                            |
| Attack power    0 +---------------------------------+
| Hit points      0 |          License path           |
| Mist points     0 +-------------------------+-------+
| Defense         0 | License                 |    LP |
| Magick resist   6 | Light armor 1           | Start |
| Evade           0 | > Heavy armor 1         |    20 |
| Magick evade    0 | Total                   |    20 |
| Strength        2 |                         |       |
| Magick power    0 |                         |       |
| Vitality        0 |                         |       |
| Speed           0 |                         |       |
+-------------------+-------------------------+-------+

Because the enemies you're going to be dealing with do not use magic (or if
they do, they're going down in one hit or using it on themselves), magick
resist is a completely irrelevant stat.  Thus, because helms focus on magick
resist, a heavy armor helm offering as much strength as possible will be the
most beneficial.

About the bronze chestplate (cost:  500):
+-------------------+---------------------------------+
| Equipment bonuses | Extra important properties      |
+-------------------+ None                            |
| Attack power    0 +---------------------------------+
| Hit points     40 |          License path           |
| Mist points     0 +-------------------------+-------+
| Defense         8 | License                 |    LP |
| Magick resist   0 | Heavy armor 1           | Start |
| Evade           0 | ^ Shields 1             |    15 |
| Magick evade    0 | > Light armor 3         |    20 |
| Strength        0 | Total                   |    35 |
| Magick power    0 |                         |       |
| Vitality        0 |                         |       |
| Speed           0 |                         |       |
+-------------------+-------------------------+-------+

The bronze chestplate may not raise strength, but the 8 on defense and 40 extra
HP can be useful for what's to come after you're done shopping though the
usefulness of this depends on your method.

About the bronze armor (cost:  700):
+-------------------+---------------------------------+
| Equipment bonuses | Extra important properties      |
+-------------------+ None                            |
| Attack power    0 +---------------------------------+
| Hit points      0 |          License path           |
| Mist points     0 +-------------------------+-------+
| Defense         7 | License                 |    LP |
| Magick resist   0 | Heavy armor 1           | Start |
| Evade           0 | Total                   |     0 |
| Magick evade    0 |                         |       |
| Strength        2 |                         |       |
| Magick power    0 |                         |       |
| Vitality        0 |                         |       |
| Speed           0 |                         |       |
+-------------------+-------------------------+-------+

I find it strange that the best heavy armor for the body, which is normally
geared for defense, has the lowest devense of the 3 body armors.  Still, the 2
on strength is useful and it requires the same license as the bronze helm.

About the kilmweave shirt (cost:  500):
+-------------------+---------------------------------+
| Equipment bonuses | Extra important properties      |
+-------------------+ None                            |
| Attack power    0 +---------------------------------+
| Hit points      0 |          License path           |
| Mist points     0 +-------------------------+-------+
| Defense         8 | License                 |    LP |
| Magick resist   0 | Shields 1               | Start |
| Evade           0 | ^ Mystic armor 2        |    20 |
| Magick evade    0 | Total                   |    20 |
| Strength        0 |                         |       |
| Magick power    3 |                         |       |
| Vitality        0 |                         |       |
| Speed           0 |                         |       |
+-------------------+-------------------------+-------+

Even stranger is that mystic armor for the body, not normally geared toward
defense, offers the best defense available (tied with the light armor).  This
armor is only good for quicker healing, should that be necessary, thanks to the
+3 on magick power.

About the topkapi hat (cost:  500):
+-------------------+---------------------------------+
| Equipment bonuses | Extra important properties      |
+-------------------+ None                            |
| Attack power    0 +---------------------------------+
| Hit points      0 |          License path           |
| Mist points     0 +-------------------------+-------+
| Defense         0 | License                 |    LP |
| Magick resist   8 | Mystic armor 2          | Start |
| Evade           0 | Total                   |     0 |
| Magick evade    0 |                         |       |
| Strength        0 |                         |       |
| Magick power    3 |                         |       |
| Vitality        0 |                         |       |
| Speed           0 |                         |       |
+-------------------+-------------------------+-------+

To go together with the kilmweave shirt, the topkapi hat offers the same +3 on
magick power.  This, for the most part, isn't needed.

Head into town and pass through the first zone.  You'll find the armor shop
pretty much straight ahead.  The armor you buy depends heavily on the method
you're using.  Reference the method to see what you should get.


.========================================.
# 8.4  Buy the poach technick **080400** #
`========================================`

About the poach technick (cost:  7000 gil):
+-------------------+---------------------------------+
| Equipment bonuses | Extra important properties      |
+-------------------+ Works only on HP critical enemy |
| Attack power    0 +---------------------------------+
| Hit points      0 |          License path           |
| Mist points     0 +-------------------------+-------+
| Defense         0 | License                 |    LP |
| Magick resist   0 | Steal                   | Start |
| Evade           0 | v First aid             |    20 |
| Magick evade    0 | v Poach                 |    30 |
| Strength        0 | Total                   |    50 |
| Magick power    0 |                         |       |
| Vitality        0 |                         |       |
| Speed           0 |                         |       |
+-------------------+-------------------------+-------+

The poach technick allows for you to be guaranteed an item when used on an HP
critical enemy, instantly defeating it.  Being so overpriced (I wonder if the
game designers intended on it being 700 gil), you might not have the gil to
obtain it.  It can wait a little more, but getting it now while you can is
preferred, saving quite a bit of time.

Return to the previous zone to find Troublesome Technicks first thing along the
path.  Whether or not you get this depends on the method you're using.  Be sure
to check this.


.==================================.
# 8.5  Buy some magicks **080500** #
`==================================`

About the poison spell (cost:  500 gil):
+-------------------+---------------------------------+
| Equipment bonuses | Extra important properties      |
+-------------------+ Adds "poison" status            |
| Attack power    0 +---------------------------------+
| Hit points      0 |          License path           |
| Mist points     0 +-------------------------+-------+
| Defense         0 | License                 |    LP |
| Magick resist   0 | White magick 1          | Start |
| Evade           0 | < White magick 2        |    20 |
| Magick evade    0 | ^ Green magick 1        |    25 |
| Strength        0 | < Green magick 2        |    30 |
| Magick power    0 | Total                   |    75 |
| Vitality        0 |                         |       |
| Speed           0 |                         |       |
+-------------------+-------------------------+-------+

The poison spell causes an enemy to take damage equal to 1/16 their max HP
(rounded down) once every 12 seconds.  This only has use if you want to make
use of a bug to get the burning bow faster in real world time, but not on the
game clock.

About the protect spell (cost:  500 gil):
+-------------------+---------------------------------+
| Equipment bonuses | Extra important properties      |
+-------------------+ Adds "protect" status           |
| Attack power    0 +---------------------------------+
| Hit points      0 |          License path           |
| Mist points     0 +-------------------------+-------+
| Defense         0 | License                 |    LP |
| Magick resist   0 | White magick 2          | Start |
| Evade           0 | ^ Green magick 1        |    25 |
| Magick evade    0 | Total                   |    25 |
| Strength        0 |                         |       |
| Magick power    0 |                         |       |
| Vitality        0 |                         |       |
| Speed           0 |                         |       |
+-------------------+-------------------------+-------+

The protect spell cuts physical damage by 25%.  The usefulness of this depends
heavily on your method.

About the blindna spell (cost:  200 gil):
+-------------------+---------------------------------+
| Equipment bonuses | Extra important properties      |
+-------------------+ Removes "blind" status          |
| Attack power    0 +---------------------------------+
| Hit points      0 |          License path           |
| Mist points     0 +-------------------------+-------+
| Defense         0 | License                 |    LP |
| Magick resist   0 | White magick 1          | Start |
| Evade           0 | Total                   |     0 |
| Magick evade    0 |                         |       |
| Strength        0 |                         |       |
| Magick power    0 |                         |       |
| Vitality        0 |                         |       |
| Speed           0 |                         |       |
+-------------------+-------------------------+-------+

The blindna spell simply removes the "blind" status effect without the need of
consuming eye drops.

Continue toward the town exit to find Mysterious Magicks.  Here, you'll find
these 3 spells.  As to which one(s) you get, that depends entirely on which
method you have and how much gil you have available.

When you're done shopping, leave town and return to Yardang Labyrinth.  I find
it very disappointing you can't get into the area to the north as that place is
far better for leveling up at than even the final place in the 40- and 35-hour
methods, up to 50% faster even (which ties the 25-hour method's potential
speed).




          ____    _   _   ____    __    _     ____     ___    _     _
         |  _ \  | | | | |  _ \  |  \  | |   |  _ \   / _ \  | |   | |
         | |_| | | | | | | |_| | | A \ | |   | |_| | | | | | | | A | |
         |  _ <  | | | | |  _ <  | |\ \| |   |  _ <  | | | | | |/ \| |
         | |_| | | |_| | | | | | | | \ ' |   | |_| | | |_| | | ' A ' |
         |____/   \___/  |_| |_| |_|  \__|   |____/   \___/  |__/ \__|

                #########################
        #############               #############
   ########                                   ########
#####   9  The burn of the burning bow **080000**   #####
   ########                                   ########
        #############               #############
                #########################

Used with:  70H, 65H, 40H, 35H, 25H, Opt


.=======================================.
# 9.1  Off to the Westersand **090100** #
`=======================================`

Regardless of which method you're using, the burning bow is required before
continuing.  Before starting, however, you need to head into the Westersand's
far western area.  There's a gate crystal and Lohen running a shop in this
small zone with 2 guards blocking the route farther west (disappointingly,
since you can't get the fiery arrows at this point).

There are 2 ways to get into the Westersand.  The first and most obvious is
through Rabanastre.  This is the quickest way, but it comes with a catch -
there's a low chance of getting a clear blue sky.  In order for the burning bow
to work properly (not miss frequently), you need good weather.  You could save
at the save crystal by the Westersand's entrance then enter the Westersand.  If
you get something other than a blue sky, quit and reload.  The other method,
costing time, is to return to Rabanastre then return to the Westersand.  You
don't need to do anything in Rabanastre.  By changing regions, you change the
weather.  Change regions often enough and you can force the game to get you the
weather you want, but only in select areas (and only with adequate story
progress).

The second way to get there is through Giza Plains.  This route yields the
highest chance of all for getting the required clear blue sky, but it takes
much longer.  The route you take depends mostly on dustia.

In the Westersand, you'll find a lot of urstrixes and quite a few wolves.  For
speed, avoid engaging combat with these enemies as they're quite tough and
they'll take several hits to defeat.  It's not really worth the time for 263
exp until you can upgrade the rod to the burning bow.

If you do insist on fighting the enemies here, I very strongly advise that you
don't fight the alraunes.  First, they combo frequently.  Second, should they
use "war song", they're even more powerful.  Third, they are quite evasive,
hard to hit.  Fourth, and lastly, they are attracted to fights.  Even facing
one of them is very challenging, especially at level 10.  If you get sighted by
them and they attempt to attack you, just run for it.  Also, if you fight
something, and an urstrix (or alraune) is fully opaque (not being made
transparent from extreme distance), chances are, that urstrix (or alraune) will
walk over to where the action is - get away should that happen.

Also, do not attack dive talon.  First, you can't hit them with your regular
weapon anyway.  Second, they can do about 500 damage.  While you can target
them with a quickening, do not do so... yet.


.======================================.
# 9.2  Defeating dive talon **090200** #
`======================================`

After you reach the westernmost zone with the gate crystal and Lohen (the
shop), switch to wait mode then save your game and I mean it.  What you do at
this point depends.  There are 3 ways to get the burning bow from dive talon.

...........................................
9.2.1  Quickening the dive talon **090210**
...........................................

My preferred method is the quickening method as it keeps the game clock to a
minimum and it's also the easiest and least risky to use.  The only downside,
and a major downside, is that it costs a lot of real world time, really testing
your patience.  You can expect an average of about 2 1/4 to 7 hours at this in
real world time.  However, it only costs about 2 minutes (on average) on the
game clock.  The use of this method also requires you to license a quickening,
found 3 blocks above "accessories 1".

9.2.1.1  How to use this method **090211**

To use the quickening method, return to the previous zone with the dive talon
right at the entrance.  Use red spiral on the dive talon, easiest if done from
the rear or sides (use the front only if you're skilled), and try to connect 2
more hits.  Why only 2 more?  I'll explain in a bit.  When your quickening run
is over, immediately pause the action by bringing up the battle menu.

If you did not defeat dive talon from this, turn the camera around with the
battle menu still up, resume the action by canceling, and immediately run to
the zone with the save crystal.  Don't bother using R2 to flee either - the
delay from putting the weapon away costs valuable time and you run at pretty
much the same speed as the enemy does (the enemy is about 10% faster, not much
but sufficiently slow enough to be a nonissue).  If dive talon is far away upon
reaching but not yet crossing the zone boundary line, you might consider
letting it catch up a little at the zone boundary.  When within striking range
of quickenings, cross the zone boundary, touch the save crystal, then return.

Once the zone loads upon the return, immediately bring up the battle menu to
pause the action and get a quickening fired off.  The quicker you are, the
better.  Should dive talon decide to attack and lunge at you or, worse yet, go
suicidal with kamikaze, you'll need to make sure your quickening will fire off
in time.  In fact, as soon as you see the yellow arrow, bring up the battle
menu again and cancel to get the quickening to fire off immediately.  Failing
to do so will result in dive talon's lunge or kamikaze connecting, doing a huge
500 damage.  If kamikaze hits, you get nothing for it forcing you to have to
quit and reload (or get a game over if you have little HP - both have the same
effect though quitting and reloading is 10 seconds faster) to get another one.

If dive talon is defeated, check to see if it dropped any loot - grab it if it
does.  Wait a few seconds for the item list to go through to see if you got a
burning bow.  If no loot drops or there wasn't a burning bow, quit and reload
to try again.

9.2.1.2  How to use quickenings **090212**

To use the quickening, you first need to set off the quickening chain by
choosing "mist", "quickening", then "red spiral".  Choose your target (dive
talon) and get in range.  Quickenings are long-range attacks, having the same
range as magicks and ranged weapons.

Once the system loads the quickening chain system, you'll see the main content
you interact with at the bottom - a 4-second timer with a fuse-like effect and
the button controls for each character above the fuse.  For one character, only
triangle is ever used.  For 2 characters, triangle is for the top character in
the list, square for the bottom.  For 3 characters, triangle is the top, square
is the middle, and X is the bottom.  Guests don't count as they can never use
quickenings, making them useless bystanders that only just get in the way. 
Characters that cannot take commands (as from being disabled, sleeping, gone
berserk, or KO'ed) cannot participate in the quickening chain and will thus be
removed.  You'll also see a "R2 shuffle" on the bottom left, left of the fuse. 
Pressing R2 causes the available choices to be regenerated and takes about a
quarter second.

On the far right of each character's line, you'll see a list of actions and an
assortment of red disks.  The number of red disks represents how many mist
charges you'll need for that skill, from 1 to 3.  The "mist charge" option
doesn't show any disks but will fully restore all mist charges.  "Mist charge"
will only show up if at least 1 mist charge is missing.

The object in quickenings is to get as many hits as you can.  Press R2 until
you get a desired action or "mist charge".  There are exceptions to this
though, rare ones mainly for efficiency reasons in this guide.

9.2.1.3  Quickenings for the burning bow **090213**

For the purpose of getting the burning bow, you only need to get "mist charge"
to appear then rapidly press triangle to activate it and the following red
spiral.  For the most part, just watch the disk in the bottom right corner as
you're pressing R2.  When it disappears, stop pressing R2 and immediately start
pressing triangle.  You only need to connect 3 hits, getting "mist charge"
twice with the following "red spiral" right after.

Why only 3 hits instead of more?  There are 2 reasons for this.  By getting 3
hits, you also get a concurrence, inferno.  This is important in that it has
completely predictable damage.  Simply take 90 (inferno's attack power) and
muliply it by the enemy's level.  Dive talon happens to be level 27 or 28 so
that means inferno will do 2430 or 2520 damage.  The remaining roughly 1500
will have to come from the regular hits or a second cycle.  The next higher
concurrence demands 7 hits, but that's so difficult to get with just one
character and one mist charge that it's not worth going for (and for 550 extra
damage, hardly worth it as there's no real guarantee).

The second reason is that the damage output with regular quickening hits is
about as unpredictable as a weather forecast will be for a day that's exactly
217 days from now.  A random number from 1 to 90 is multiplied by another
random number from 1 to your character's strength stat.  Quickenings ignore
defense and buffs like bravery, focus, sleep, and protect.  Yep, you can do as
little as 1 damage in a single hit to as much as 8910.  For so much MP being
used up, you do so little damage.  If only quickenings weren't so random and
based the damage on the amount of MP you use up, then, yes, they would be much
more reasonable (and even open up the possibility of 7-figure damage popups
should you get enough hits (that would be fun!)).  Basically, with strength at
about 32, you can really only expect about 900 damage per hit.  That doesn't
seem like much for all that MP and it really isn't.  However, compared to what
you have while after the burning bow, they are significantly more powerful.

..............................................
9.2.2  The chain-status-death trick **090220**
..............................................

I call this method the chain-status-death trick because it involves a glitch
where, if an enemy is defeated through a status effect (excluding instant
death), the chain does not break and the chain level is not affected but you
can still get loot from other enemy types as if you've been chaining them all
along.  For example, if you go around chaining mirror knights in the Feywood
then decide to see what mu has in the same area, first, disable it so it can't
move or act.  Then cast either break, poison, or countdown on it, get back, and
watch.  Feel free to throw other status effects on it, but don't defeat it. 
When the timer runs out or poison makes its final strike, you'll claim the exp,
LP, and... you'll get a gold coin that might offer you MP recovery.

If you just want to get the burning bow as quickly as you can in real world
time and don't care about the game clock, this method is a good choice.  Still,
expect to take about an hour and you'll need to have bought and licensed the
"poison" spell.  This method is also significantly riskier unless you really
level up a lot or use a large group of characters that you can put away should
things go wrong.

9.2.2.1  Preparations **090221**

Before you start, preparing for this is a must.  First, buy the strongest bow
you can buy from Nalbina.  A gun could work too since dive talon's defense is
pretty high (17 or 18).  Equip armor that raises magick power as high as you
can.  The kilmweave shirt and topkapi hat add 6 to magick power, increasing the
success rate by 6 percentage points (e.g. going from a 52% chance to a 58%). 
For best results, license "serenity" to help.  Serenity will double the success
rate of poisoning dive talon, pretty much guaranteeing it, if it hits.

To start, you need to first get the chain level up as high as you can.  The
fastest way to level up the chain is to simply ignore all loot that drops. 
Instead of having to wait for a 60-chain or higher, you could easily have chain
level 4, noted by large, bright, pure gold coins by a 30-chain at the highest
(if you go above 30, chances are, you accidentally picked up loot somewhere). 
I seem to average around 22 to 25.  The earliest possible is 18, but consider
yourself very lucky if you get chain level 4 with the chain count only in the
teens as that's very rare.

Begin by chaining urstrixes.  Why the urstrix?  They are attracted to any
battles and they'll only get in the way.  There's also a ton of them around. 
Just simply ignore the other enemies.  Got sighted?  Just run away and they'll
eventually return.  Be warned of fideliant though - that undead enemy easily
does over 100 damage per hit, upwards of 200 with bone toss.  Fideliant,
however, is easily defeated with a phoenix down but doing so will break the
chain.  Since I suggest using the dive talons in the zone where the Zertinan
Caverns' entrance is - there's 3 of them in a small area and there's also a lot
of urstrixes around, and it clearly takes more than 5 minutes to defeat them,
it's best to just ignore fideliant as it'll only respawn anyway.  By spending
more than 5 minutes in a zone, the enemies in all neighboring zones will
respawn which will include the back tracking.  Early on, while trying to get
the chain to level up, do go after fideliant as early as you can.  To get
fideliant to appear on demand, repeatedly enter and exit that zone, going back
and forth a lot.  There's a 20% chance per attempt - so 5 attempts means a
67.2% chance of getting fideliant to be present.  When you do, hand it a
phoenix down to get rid of it.  From there, this middle zone will be cleared -
get the urstrixes afterward to level up the chain.  Early on, they'll be very
difficult to defeat.  Avoid taking on more than one urstrix at a time.  One
coming your way?  Get away immediately.  This is the reason for the need of a
higher level.  The only problem, then, are the wolves - you'll have to ignore
them.  They're quite weak at least... except for their "fangs" attack but
fortunately, that's rarely used.

9.2.2.2  Using the method **090222**

Once you max the chain level, you can begin exploiting this very useful bug in
the game.  There are 4 choices.  How you use them works like how the gambit
system works - priorities.  Here's how these work.

First, if poison is not active on dive talon, poison dive talon.  If you
licensed "serenity", heal before poisoning.  You should be practically
guaranteed to get poison to work with serenity and full HP.  Keeping poison
active is key as you'll, over time, defeat dive talon.  Because a status effect
caused the death, you won't break the chain.  Thus, you may see a nice, big,
bright, pure gold coin popping out.  That means you have a 5% chance of it
dropping the burning bow instead of a 1% chance.

Second, if poison is active and you have more than 4 hits left before dive
talon is defeated, attack it with the bow or gun you got from Nalbina.  This
will accelerate the damage.  By having a 5-hits-remaining minimum limit, you be
sure that you won't accidentally defeat dive talon should poison take a hit
while attacking or you get an unexpected critical hit.  This second case,
however, is optional.

Third, if 15 seconds have passed since dive talon has return to its territory
(noted by it slowing down) and 15 seconds have passed, provoke it in some way. 
Cast poison on it again as usual, even if already poisoned.  Blind it, slow it,
zap it with thunder (only if the second case applies), do something to get its
attention.  If you wait too long, dive talon will begin healing, undoing your
efforts.

Fourth, if poison is active and you can't or don't want to attack, simply get
sighted by dive talon.  To do that, just get in the line of sight of dive talon
(basically, the front of it).  While attempting however, hold R2 and always be
ready to run.  Dive talon will turn its head when you've been sighted and
you'll see a red target line connect to Vaan.

9.2.2.3  The big chase **090223**

Regardless of which one you do, as soon as the attack connects ("poison",
"miss", a number, or "parry" pops out), immediately change your equipment.  I
would strongly suggest the accessory as it hardly has any effect.  By changing
equipment, I mean the removal, replacement, or addition of something, anything.
Since the accessory is the least useful, I find it the best choice.  By
changing equipment, you eliminate any "stun" effect that happen, allowing you
to instantly be able to move again (disabling status effects aside).  This can
allow you to heal or cast far more rapidly per unit of actual battle time,
great in an emergency.

Once you leave the party menu or, instead, you get sighted by dive talon (dive
talon turns its head to look at you and/or a red target line is coming from
dive talon), hold R2 and run for it, hugging along the northern wall.  Watch
dive talon on the minimap.  When it begins to return, chase after it, keeping
it on the minimap, while still fleeing.  If it chases after you again, run
away.  If it doesn't chase after you, keep chasing it until it slows down and
get ready for your next action.  By keeping dive talon on the move, you can
prevent it from healing.  It normally takes about 15 or so seconds before that
starts, healing 1% per half second.

Just, whatever you do, do not get close.  Remember the horizontal range of
Vaan's starting sword?  When dive talon gets that close, it will be able to
attack.  Dive talon can and will do a good 500 damage.  Should it decide to
suicide with kamikaze, all your efforts on that dive talon go down the drain
plus over 500 damage.

One problem you may face while doing this is enemies respawning.  After at
least 3 minutes, there's a chance that the urstrixes you've dealt with earlier
are back - be very careful with this.  Either ignore them (if dive talon is
chasing you or not what you decided to chain), or attack them (if that's what
you were chaining and dive talon is back in its territory).  If you spend more
than 5 minutes in a given zone, all enemies in all surrounding zones will
respawn.  This means you must ignore fideliant.

.................................
9.2.3  Direct chaining **090230**
.................................

This method is only available if you've leveled up a ton or, the best option,
you advanced the story as the 40- and 25-hour methods require and obtained and
licensed immobilize.  This method's usefulness depending on your leveling
method.  Unlike the other 2 methods, this method involves directly chaining
dive talon.  This involves ignoring all the enemies along the way and there are
a lot of them making this difficult.  Thus, this method is only recommended
with the 40- and 35-hour methods.  With immobilize, you can just give the
unwanted enemies the boot (after the icon for the status effect) and ignore
them.

9.2.3.1  Preparations **090231**

The key to this method's success is attacking safely.  Thus, preparing is
important.  First, buy the best bow or gun you can from Rabanastre or Nalbina
(or use the longbow in the "arrows alight" bazaar package and use the onion or
fiery arrows for it - there's no difference which you use (the only difference
is when you get the burning bow)).  Second, buy the best armor that raises
magick power as high as you can.  Third, license serenity to help ensure
immobilize will hit.

9.2.3.2  Mastering immobilize **090232**

Immobilize is the key to this whole method.  For every unwanted enemy along the
way, immobilize it then just leave it alone.  Being immobilized, it can't chase
you.  Try keeping the area around the northern wall clear of enemies, in case
you need to run.  For dive talon, be sure you heal first as the success rate is
much lower without serenity taking effect.  Immobilize dive talon then attack
with that longbow.

Pay close attention to how many actions dive talon makes.  When dive talon is
starting its third action, you have about 15 seconds left before immobilize
expires, enough for about 2 or 3 more hits.  Immobilize lasts 77 or 77 1/2
seconds.  Once the third action has started, immobilize is about to expire -
make 2 more attacks and get ready to run.  Change your equipment to stop the
attacking once the attack goes through (you see the damage popup - changing the
accessory is the best choice).  Once out of the party menu or immobilize missed
in the first place, hold R2 and continue doing so but get your distance.  If
dive talon starts going after you, run for it.  When you see dive talon begin
to return to its territory, give chase, keeping R2 held.  If dive talon decides
to go after you again, return to running away from it.  If dive talon doesn't
give chase, it'll return to its territory, noted by slowing down.  For best
results, when you notice the slow down, get immobilize charging again and
repeat.  You should be behind the enemy so it should be easy to hit and get
away.  Once immobilize hits, you should easily be able to finish off dive
talon.  When you do, move on to the next one.

9.2.3.3  Don't be greedy! **090233**

While it may seem dumb, potentially missing out on a burning bow or two, I
suggest completely ignoring the loot until chain level 3 at least (noted by a
bronze emblem), preferrably level 4 (giant gold coins).  Why?  You'll quickly
get the chain level up.  The difference between level 3 and 4 isn't very
significant, but it's enough to make level 4 worthwhile.  It takes an average
of about 9 more dive talons to go from level 3 to 4.  That seems like a lot,
but consider this:  at chain level 3, you need an average of 33 1/3 dive talons
per burning bow and at chain level 4, it's only 20.  You need 13 fewer for 9
extra, a net difference of 4.  This makes chain level 4 the best choice though
the difference isn't significant.

By getting the loot every time it drops, you'll have to wait a lot longer to
get the chain to level up.  I've had a 50+-chain and still only chain level 2. 
However, through ignoring the loot entirely, I've had chain level 4 by only a
19 chain at the earliest I recall - 18 is the absolute soonest.

...............................................
9.2.4  When the burning bow drops... **090240**
...............................................

If a burning bow does drop, regardless of what method you used to get it, SAVE
IMMEDIATELY!  If you make a mistake from this point until the time you save
again, you'll have to go through that effort all over again.  It's best to save
even before you bother to license it.  The risk is yours - take it safe.


.==========================================.
# 9.3  The very unfriendly odds **090300** #
`==========================================`

The biggest problem with getting the burning bow is the horrible odds and poor
equipment.  The burning bow is a 1% drop from dive talon.  Even if you max the
chain level, it's still only a 5% drop, rather tiny.  To see how much time
you're expected to spend at this method, refer to these tables:

............................................
9.3.1  The statistics at a glance **090310**
............................................

Odds for a given number of trials for each of the methods:
+-------------------------------+             +-------------------------------+
|     The quickening method     |             | The chain-status-death method |
+--------+---------+------------+             +--------+---------+------------+
|        |  Odds   | Total time |             |        |  Odds   | Total time |
| Trials |   (%)   | (H:MM:SS)* |             | Trials |   (%)   | (H:MM:SS)* |
+--------+---------+------------+             +--------+---------+------------+
|      1 |    1    |    0:02:30 |             |      1 |    5    |    0:20:00 |
|      5 |    4.9  |    0:12:30 |             |      5 |   22.62 |    0:36:00 |
|     10 |    9.56 |    0:25:00 |             |     10 |   40.13 |    0:56:00 |
|     20 |   18.21 |    0:50:00 |             | **  20 |   64.15 |    1:36:00 |
|     30 |   26.03 |    1:15:00 |             |     30 |   78.54 |    2:16:00 |
|     40 |   33.1  |    1:40:00 |             |     40 |   87.15 |    2:56:00 |
|     50 |   39.5  |    2:05:00 |             |     50 |   92.31 |    3:36:00 |
|     60 |   45.28 |    2:30:00 |             |     60 |   95.39 |    4:16:00 |
|     75 |   52.94 |    3:07:30 |             |     75 |   97.87 |    5:16:00 |
| ** 100 |   63.4  |    4:10:00 |             |    100 |   99.41 |    6:56:00 |
|    125 |   71.53 |    5:12:30 |             |    125 |   99.84 |    8:36:00 |
|    150 |   77.85 |    6:15:00 |             |    150 |   99.95 |   10:16:00 |
|    200 |   86.6  |    8:20:00 |             |    200 | > 99.99 |   13:36:00 |
|    250 |   91.89 |   10:25:00 |             |    250 | > 99.99 |   16:56:00 |
|    300 |   95.1  |   12:30:00 |             |    300 | > 99.99 |   20:16:00 |
|    400 |   98.2  |   16:40:00 |             |    400 | > 99.99 |   26:56:00 |
|    500 |   99.34 |   20:50:00 |             |    500 | > 99.99 |   33:36:00 |
+--------+---------+------------+             +--------+---------+------------+

To find the odds for any number of trials, use this formula:
TargetOdds = 1 - (1-DropChance)^Trials

Trials:  the number of attempts used

Trials needed for a given targeted probability for each of the methods:
+------------------------------------+   +------------------------------------+
|       The quickening method        |   |   The chain-status-death method    |
+----------+------------+------------+   +----------+------------+------------+
|  Target  | Avg Trials | Total time |   |  Target  | Avg Trials | Total time |
| odds (%) |   Needed   | (H:MM:SS)* |   | odds (%) |   Needed   | (H:MM:SS)* |
+----------+------------+------------+   +----------+------------+------------+
|        1 |       1    |    0:02:30 |   |        1 |     < 1    |  < 0:16:00 |
|        5 |       5.1  |    0:12:46 |   |        5 |       1    |    0:16:00 |
|       10 |      10.48 |    0:26:12 |   |       10 |       2.05 |    0:24:13 |
|       20 |      22.2  |    0:55:30 |   |       20 |       4.35 |    0:33:24 |
|       30 |      35.49 |    1:28:44 |   |       30 |       6.95 |    0:43:49 |
|       40 |      50.83 |    2:07:05 |   |       40 |       9.96 |    0:55:50 |
|       50 |      68.97 |    2:52:26 |   |       50 |      13.51 |    1:10:03 |
|       60 |      91.17 |    3:47:56 |   |       60 |      17.86 |    1:27:27 |
|       70 |     119.79 |    4:59:29 |   |       70 |      23.47 |    1:49:53 |
|       75 |     137.94 |    5:44:51 |   |       75 |      27.03 |    2:04:06 |
|       80 |     160.14 |    6:40:21 |   |       80 |      31.38 |    2:21:31 |
|       85 |     188.76 |    7:51:54 |   |       85 |      36.99 |    2:43:57 |
|       90 |     229.11 |    9:32:47 |   |       90 |      44.89 |    3:15:34 |
|       95 |     298.07 |   12:25:11 |   |       95 |      58.4  |    4:09:37 |
|       99 |     458.21 |   19:05:32 |   |       99 |      89.78 |    6:15:07 |
|  *** 100 | impossible | impossible |   |  *** 100 | impossible | impossible |
+----------+------------+------------+   +----------+------------+------------+

To find the average number of tries needed for any target odds, use this
formula:
Tries = log(1-TargetOdds) / log(1-DropChance)

log:  the logarithm function (any positive base will work)
TargetOdds:  the targeted probability you're seeking

Table footnotes:
*  Approximate total time is based on 2 1/2 minutes per try for the quickening
method or 4 minutes per try plus 16 minutes to set up for the
chain-status-death method, a rough average for real world time.
**  This is what the average is and about what to expect.
***  100% is impossible because there is no solution for the logarithm of 0.

..........................................
9.3.2  Analyzing the statistics **090320**
..........................................

For the most part, anywhere from about 60 to 160 attempts is about normal for
the quickening method, and about 12 to 33 attempts for the the
chain-status-death method (assuming you've maxed the chain level first).

From actual data I collected during the recording of my videos, if you get the
3 hits with the quickenings on your first attempt upon a reload, it's 1 minute
and 40 seconds per attempt.  For each time you need to return to the save
crystal to restore your mist charge(s) to get another quickening round
available, add 50 seconds onto that.  For the most part, I get an even mix of 1
and 2 tries (2 meaning I needed to return to the save crystal once),
occasionally 3, and rarely anything beyond (I've had a 7 once - if you don't
have it after the 5th cycle (4 returns to the save crystal), just consider
reloading).  This points to something more around 2 minutes and 24 seconds per
attempt or more around 4 hours on average as opposed to the 4 1/6 hours the
charts indicate.

Just looking at these charts tells of a long ordeal about to come.  Right away,
at about 9 tries or almost a half hour in, you can see that both methods use
the same amount of time only for the chain-poison method to eventually get to
the point of using just 1/3 the time.  Thus, the longer you go at the
chain-poison trick, the faster it becomes overall.  However, if you only do
sessions lasting less than 30 minutes, there isn't really that much of an
advantage.  You have so stick at it for a while and the longer, the better the
chain-poison method becomes.  You cut the time in half only 45 minutes in, a
60% reduction by about 75 minutes in, and a nice 2/3 reduction 4 hours in
though by 4 hours, you're quite likely to have it with this method.

...........................................
9.3.3  Rumor:  RNG manipulation? **090330**
...........................................

In addition, I've heard rumors that's actually possible to manipulate the RNG
(random number generator).  Now, how to go about doing that to get the burning
bow on demand, I have no clue.  If anyone knows, could you please E-mail me.  I
would very greatly appreciate it.  If it is possible to manipulate the RNG to
get the burning bow on demand, then I could add a fourth method to the list and
combine it with the quickening method to severely speed up the process.


.======================================================.
# 9.4  The burning bow's 8 major advantages **090400** #
`======================================================`

About the burning bow (cost:  dropped from enemy (7500 base)):
+-------------------+---------------------------------+
| Equipment bonuses | Extra important properties      |
+-------------------+ 50% more damage w/ fiery arrows |
| Attack power   63 +---------------------------------+
| Hit points      0 |          License path           |
| Mist points     0 +-------------------------+-------+
| Defense         0 | License                 |    LP |
| Magick resist   0 | Small swords            | Start |
| Evade           0 | v Bows 1                |    20 |
| Magick evade    0 | v Bows 2                |    30 |
| Strength        0 | v Axes & Hammers 1      |    15 |
| Magick power    0 | > Bows 4                |    40 |
| Vitality        0 | Total                   |   105 |
| Speed           0 |                         |       |
+-------------------+-------------------------+-------+

The burning bow seems like it robs you of a lot of what the rod provided.  You
get no evasion, no boost on magick power and no MP boost.  The benefit comes in
numerous forms.  The first is that it has more than double the attack power of
the rod, dishing out more than twice the damage after taking enemy defense into
account.  This truly is the most powerful weapon you can get your hands on just
4% of the way through the game, more than half as powerful what you normally
encounter at the end of the game!  You won't be able to buy one clear until you
reach the Phon Coast more than halfway through the game's story!

Second, the burning bow is a ranged weapon.  You don't have to get so close to
the enemy to attack with.  You can keep your distance and easily sneak up on
them clearing enemies out before their other comrades even have any idea that
someone was after them for quick and easy license points.

Third, If you master pseudo running, you can very well get 2 shots off in the
time it takes the enemy to only get 1, even with slow status and the slowest
battle speed.  In fact, what used to be extremely troublesome is no longer a
threat thanks to that.  You can, even at level 15, defeat nearly any enemy in
the Westersand without getting hit thanks to pseudo running.  The exception is
when enemies gang up on you in groups.  Even then, the very dangerous alraunes
are now far easier to handle, to the point I now recommend going after them
should they be along your route.

Fourth, should you have a lot of distance to cover and easy enemies are along
the way, you can simply attack along the way without having to draw an enemy
toward you constantly.  This saves a huge amount of time.

Fifth, only available when not doing the 70-hour method, once you acquire the
fiery arrows, you can boost damage by another 50% putting the burning bow along
the lines of the saggitarius, the game's best bow!  However, the actual damage
without them is only multiplied by 1.5 to get the actual damage.  Get an enemy
with a defense of 70 (and there aren't any - 51 is the highest I see - foobar)
and you'll barely even scratch it.  However, should you use the fiery arrows on
an enemy that is immune to or, worse yet, absorbs fire, you're only holding
yourself back.  Going after regular, nonelemental arrows is all you need to fix
that.  Onion arrows and parallel arrows are the only options you have.

Sixth, when an enemy has no long range attacks, gets immobilized, and you've
got the burning bow, you can easily defeat pretty much any enemy with
practically no effort.  Just give the enemy the boot and attack away for about
70 to 80 seconds for the most part (that depends on the enemy's vitality)! 
Yep, constantly attacking, making 12+ shots, and the enemy just sits there
unable to do anything about it.

Seventh, you cannot effectively do the final stages of any of the processes
without it.  For the 70-hour method, the best you could do is dustia or the
werewolves, peaking only 2/3 as fast.  The other methods are too unsafe without
it as you wouldn't last long, especially at such low levels when they become
available.  Should you be able to handle them without problems as far as the
damage and status effects go, they'll take a ton of hits to defeat with the
rod, even at the end of the process.

Eighth, and finally, you can take advantage of the terrain, forcing enemies
with short range attacks to have to take a detour around an obstacle, costing
them time while they constantly get hit.

Overall, despite the fact you lose out on evasion, magick power and MP, along
with attacks needing a somewhat longer time to charge up, the burning bow is so
advantageous that that 4-hour ordeal is well worth the effort.  You can begin
to see why it's required and how useful it really is in the videos.

For reference, the damage the burning bow does uses both strength and speed. 
The formula is "(SATK*rand(1, 1.125)-TDEF) * (1+SSTR*(SLV+SSPD)/218)".  Note
that strength (SSTR - source strength) only appears once meaning it has a small
effect.  Also note that speed (SSPD - source speed) is also a determining
factor and that it doesn't have as much of an effect.  Also, note the 218 for a
division instead of the 256 - you'll do quite a bit more damage thanks to that,
if strength and speed match.




        ___    _   _    ____   __   __   _____   __    _   _____    ____
       / _ \  | | | |  / ___| |  \ /  | |  ___| |  \  | | |_   _|  / ___|
      | |_| | | | | | | |  _  | A V A | | |__   | A \ | |   | |    \ \
      |  _  | | | | | | | | | | |\ /| | |  __|  | |\ \| |   | |     \ \
      | | | | | |_| | | |_| | | | V | | | |___  | | \ ' |   | |    __\ \
      |_| |_|  \___/   \___/  |_|   |_| |_____| |_|  \__|   |_|   |____/

                ###########################
        #############                 #############
   ########                                     ########
#####   10  Focusing on augment licenses **100000**   #####
   ########                                     ########
        #############                 #############
                ###########################

Used with:  70H, 65H, 40H, 35H, 25H, Opt


.==========================================.
# 10.1  An overview of augments **100100** #
`==========================================`

Augmentation licenses are special in that they provide permanent bonuses. 
These bonuses include a permanent increase of 5 on strength and magick power. 
They include a 30% reduction in MP costs for casting.  There's also speeding up
charging by over 56%.  Don't forget the 1000 extra HP that you can get as well
and the numerous MP-recovery licenses.  While many augmentations have no use to
this process, there are some that are.  Here's a brief run down on the
augments:

....................................
10.1.1  The junk augments **100110**
....................................

Junk augments are those of minimal or no use for my guide in any of the
methods.  Avoid getting these unless there's no other way around them.

Potion lore.  These make potions restore more HP.  The cure spell will, very
soon, exceed what potions can restore making these junk.  MP, of which cure
spells use, is completely renewable but potions are not.  Only the 65- and
25-hour methods have any use for these, albeit very rarely.
Ether lore.  These make ethers restore more MP.  This is pure junk as you won't
be using ethers at all outside, perhaps, emergencies and if you're watching
your MP closely enough, that shouldn't happen.
Phoenix lore.  These make phoenix downs restore more HP.  This is pure junk as
you're soloing 99% of the time.  If you time the use of a phoenix down just
before you're dealt the final blow, you might prevent a game over, but I have
yet to confirm that.
Remedy lore.  These make remedies recover more status effects in addition to
the default ones.  Aside from removing slow, something pseudo running can
counter, these are pure junk until the afterward section where, combined with
the nihopalaoa, can severely cripple any enemy though that's only needed twice
at the most.
Shield block.  These add 5 percentage points to the evasion a shield provides. 
This is pure junk as pseudo running works wonders and bows and the rod don't
allow them.
Gambit slot.  These add an extra gambit slot, up to 10 total extras.  These
aren't even available in the 70-hour method and gambits are not recommended for
the main leveling making these junk.  They are very strongly recommended in the
afterward section though, but only then.
Warmage.  This restores MP upon dealing magick damage.  This is pure junk as
you're only using physical attacks.  The only magic you're using is for healing
yourself.
Spellbound.  This makes status effects last 50% longer.  Because, for the most
part, you won't be using status effects, this is junk.  The 70-hour method does
have some use and the 65-hour method even less use, but it's very minimal.  The
afterward section has a much greater use in this.
Brawler.  This makes attacking unarmed deal more damage, significantly
increasing attack power, even though it doesn't show.  The attack power is
based on the average of the level and strength stat.  In short, it's not very
useful and it will interfere with the dustia method.  This, however, will make
going unarmed your most powerful attack in the afterward section, beating even
the burning bow with the fiery arrows.
Last stand.  When HP critical, this makes damage received be cut by 50%.  This
is pure junk.
Martyr.  This makes you recover MP as you receive HP damage.  This is pretty
much pure junk as you'll only get 1 MP per hit until the final stage where
you're either rarely getting hit or you have to avoid getting hit because the
enemies are too powerful.

............................................
10.1.2  Partially useful augments **100120**
............................................

These augments are partially useful, mainly depending on your leveling method. 
One method may totally require one or more of these, but another method would
consider it pure junk, of no use at all.  Some methods require these, others
have them as junk.  Some have limited usefulness in every method.  Be sure to
read the descriptions for how these fit in.

Focus.  When at full HP, this increases damage output by 20%.  This is only
junk to the 25-hour method, required in the other methods.
Adrenaline.  When HP critical, this doubles damage output.  This is only used
in the 65- and 25-hour methods and is required.
Serenity.  When at full HP, this increases magick damage output by 20%, healing
by 50%, and doubles the success rate of status effects.  This is required by
the 40- and 35-hour methods.
Spellbreaker.  When HP critical, this doubles magick damage output, healing
potential, and the success rate of status effects.  This is only used and
required in the 25-hour method.
+%1d HP.  These add extra HP to your maximum, up to 1000 total.  They are only
of real use to the 70-hour method.
Headsman.  When you defeat an enemy, you'll restore MP.  Take the enemy's level
and divide by 4, rounding down and having a minimum of 1, to determine the MP
recovered.  This is only junk to the 70- and 65-hour methods.
Inquisitor.  When you deal physical damage to an enemy, you'll restore MP.  The
amount depends on the damage you do.  This is only of use to the 40- and
35-hour methods.  Of too insignificant of use to the others.
Magick lore.  These increase magick power by 1 point each and there are 5 of
them in all.  These are slightly useful in the 70- and 65-hour methods, but
only for increasing the healing you do per cast.  They are must-haves for the
other methods.  These are generally found at the top half of the augments.
Channeling.  These reduce MP consumption by 10% each, up to 30%.  Fractions are
rounded down.  They are very slightly useful, if at all, in the 70-hour method,
complete junk in the 65-hour method as, by the time they're put to use, you
already have a few hundred MP.  They are, however, quite useful, though not
strongly, in the other methods due to heavy use of immobilize.

.........................................
10.1.3  The must-have augments **100130**
.........................................

There are only 2 types of augments that all methods use.  They are definitely
well worth getting in all regards.

Swiftness.  These reduce charging time by 12% making regular attacks take about
10% less time.  Actions charge about 13% faster.  This may not seem like much,
but it adds up over time.  The second one cuts charging time by 24%, making
attacks charge up 31.1% faster.  The third one is the big one.  It cuts the
charging time by a whole 36%, making attacks charge up 56 1/4% faster. 
Basically, compared to not having any swiftness licenses, having all 3 is like
having a permanent haste effect, plus a bit faster.  Being a guide focused on
speed, these are often priority 1 and absolute must-haves.  Getting them as
soon as you can will seriously speed things up.
Battle lore.  These increase strength by 1 point each and there are 5 of them
in all.  These are second priority because a lot of what you do is attacking
physically.  They are generally found in the bottom half of the augments.


.=============================================.
# 10.2  The route you need to take **100200** #
`=============================================`

Each method has it's own route, but there's a lot of similarities present.  For
the 70- or 65-hour methods, start focusing on the augments once you begin
dealing with the werewolves or after finishing up on dustia.  For the others,
wait until the gambit system is available.

For the most part, the initial focus is on the required licenses for your
method.  The swiftness licenses follow, then, from there, it depends entirely
on your method.  Reference your method (section X.2 within your method) for
details on how to best go through the augmentations section.




                      ____   _____    ___    ____    _   _
                     / ___| |_   _|  / _ \  |  _ \  | | | |
                     \ \      | |   | | | | | |_| | | | | |
                      \ \     | |   | | | | |  _ <   \ V /
                     __\ \    | |   | |_| | | | | |   | |
                    |____/    |_|    \___/  |_| |_|   |_|

                ##########################################
        #############                                #############
   ########                                                    ########
#####   11  Advance the story:  Passing Barheim Passage **110000**   #####
   ########                                                    ########
        #############                                #############
                ##########################################

Used with:  40H, 35H, 25H, Opt


.=========================================.
# 11.1  Why advance the story? **110100** #
`=========================================`

My guide is focused on being both as fast and early as possible.  So, then, why
is extra story progress one of the things you do?  There are several reasons
for this.  First, you'll gain ready access to enemies in Garamsythe Waterway
that are worth 3000 experience each right after palace and Nalbina Dungeons
events of the story.  This area, later on, becomes about 2 1/3 times as fast as
the 70- and 65-hour methods' fastest using the safe route and 50% faster still
in the 25-hour method.

Um, but don't the malboro overkings and lizards do 700 to 900 damage when
you've only got 900 HP?  And what about their horrible status effects they add?
That's where another element comes into play only possible if you advance the
story - the extremely powerful immobilize spell.  Should an enemy not have any
long range attacks (both the lizards (worth about 2600 exp each) and malboro
overkings (worth about 3000 exp each) have no attacks with a range anywhere
near that of your hard-earned burning bow.  Should you immobilize them, you can
render them 100% harmless until you get too close or you need so many hits that
you can't really defeat them in time (that's unlikely if you go prepared).

"Until you get too close" - the gambit system's automatic movements can cause
problems with that but gambits aren't really necessary.  The bugs with the
gambit system become very apparent in this area.  Attack the lizard over the
edge of the cliff and the gambit system insists you have to go a long way
around to get to it or the target is too far away when all you really need to
do is just walk up to the edge of the cliff and you're easily in range.  Ranged
attacks and terrain utilization are apparently poorly tested in FF12. 
Disabling gambits will eliminate these problems and the automatic movement that
you can't stop short of disabling gambits.  All you're doing is immobilizing
and attacking - very simple.  You do need to keep an eye on the minimap and
nearby enemies' actions too while you're at it, but you've already been doing
this from going after the rod.

Before bothering with advancing the story, be sure to save the story-advanced
part to a separate save file.  Why?  If you want to return to the more
beneficial 70- or 65-hour method, you'll have to reload your older save.  Also,
make sure you have bought poach and blindna (don't license them though).  The
latest you can buy poach and blindna is right after the sunstone event, but
it's more efficient to get it before that.


.=======================================.
# 11.2  Avoid those 3 chests **110200** #
`=======================================`

As you make the story progress, you'll run across 3 cases of treasures that you
must avoid at all costs if you want to get the zodiac spear.  "3 chests?  Every
guide I've seen tells you there are 4 to avoid.  Why is yours inconsistent?" 
You might be thinking that very thing.  The reason is simple:  you'll be
getting the zodiac spear well before you even see the Phon Coast - you can't
even get into the Phon Coast when you get the zodiac spear.  The Phon Coast is
first seen and accessible about 55% of the way through the game.  You can get
it when you're supposed to be heading to Jahara, right after you get the dawn
shard.  That's only 35% of the way through the game, about 2/3 as far.  This
leaves only 3 chests that you must avoid instead of 4 and hence the reason I
use 3.  See the "afterward" section for details.

Perhaps the most tempting chest of them all, because it's the most obviously
visible and seen so frequently, is the one straight ahead from Old Dalan's
place, mixed in among the boxes and crates.  The second one you likely won't
even see - it's the one in the southeast corner of the palace.  The third is
also tempting, but you only see it once and it's not as obvious.  This is the
chest in the area where you get your belongings back during Nalbina Dungeons.

If you avoid the last 2 chests, you'll only see the one in front of Old Dalan's
place during this.  With the chests only giving small bits of gil and almost
never anything of use, you should pretty much be ignoring the chests as you're
only wasting time if you do.


.================================================.
# 11.3  2 tanned hides in Giza Plains **110300** #
`================================================`

.............................................
11.3.1  While getting the sunstone **110310**
.............................................

While doing the sunstone event in Giza Plains with Penelo, be sure you license
Penelo for stealing.  Because your burning bow will tear up every enemy in one
hit with no effort, Penelo won't be able to do anything other than just follow.
Thus, there's no need to waste 5 to 10 minutes to license up Penelo for
anything else - that will be done in the afterward section.  Save at the save
crystal in the southwestern part of the village.  Take the east exit from there
and steal from then defeat the slaven that's present here.  Slaven has tanned
hides and you need 2 of them.  Since tanned hides are not the most common item
and not the rarest, it may be a bit to get one.  While it's not necessary that
you do at this point, consider yourself very lucky if you got both already.

Head south then west to find Jinn.  Remember Jinn's remark on the werewolves,
being warned to stay away from them.  Go back east, getting the dark crystal
here, then north to the zone to find another slaven, since that zone respawned
its enemies.  Be sure to get the dark crystal here too.  Do not clear out every
single enemy out of this zone though.  There's a bug involving the cluckatrice
hunt.  Even though the hunt is not active or even available, once you clear
this zone, enemies won't respawn until you leave the region or quit and reload.
Pick something that's quite out of the way to spare.

Once you deal with the slaven here, continue north one zone then head west 2
zones bashing whatever's along the way for easy LP.  If you don't have the 2
tanned hides yet, do not go for the dark crystal just yet.  Deal with the last
slaven along the normal route that's present here.

For the most part, you should only need 3 crystals.  There's a small chance
you'll need all 4 or just 2.  If you need all 4, consider quitting and
reloading and trying again.  Once you get 100% energy, you'll automatically be
returned to the village.

...........................................
11.3.2  Not enough tanned hides? **110320**
...........................................

If you still don't have a single tanned hide after the third slaven has been
dealt with during your route to getting the sunstone, just quit and reload. 
This has a 31.1% chance of happening, kind of moderate.  The tanned hide is a
25% drop.  Stealing has 10% but the 3% takes priority giving you an actual
chance of 9.7% for the steal.

If you have just one tanned hide, you're fine for now - you can get the other
one when done with the dark crystal.  Save in the village's southwestern part
then take the east exit and get that slaven.  If it doesn't give you a tanned
hide at this point, quit and reload and try again.  If it does, continue north,
west, then north to get back into Rabanastre.

If you already got 2 tanned hides at this point (lucky you), just head straight
north and continue to Rabanastre.

..................................................
11.3.3  Warning:  fully unequip Penelo! **110330**
..................................................

Once in Rabanastre, regardless on which option you needed, save your game. 
After saving and before going back to Lowtown, fully unequip Penelo.  Why?  You
won't be seeing her again until you're level 99.  You can make use of her
equipment later on, especially for going after the hermes sandals for the 35-
and 25-hour methods.


.===========================================================.
# 11.4  The rats and bats of Garamsythe Waterway **110400** #
`===========================================================`

Once in the Garamsythe Waterway, you generally need to head north.  Along the
way, bash whatever enemies you encounter along your path.  It is unnecessary to
get each and every one.  While you certainly need the LP, spending 15 seconds
chasing down a single enemy going in the wrong direction is not worth it.  It's
right along your route or very slightly off the side, then, yes, it's a good
choice, especially if you have the burning bow.

In addition, you also have the choice of whether or not to go after the
parallel arrows.  You'll be obtaining something a lot better so you may prefer
to skip the obtaining of them.  I suggest you skip going after them because, by
the time the parallel arrows will be of use, you'll be level 99.  This is
because they're needed in the afterward section, a long ways down the list of
tasks.  Of course, if you get lucky on the most troublesome ingredient or you
just spam quitting and reloading, then, feel free to go for them.  You need to
get 1 bat fang from the steelings (steal from them).  Should you get these on
your trek through the Garamsythe Waterway, great - you'll save a little time
for later.  Just make sure you don't sell these key items.  You're now only
missing one last ingredient - 2 dark stones.  Those will have to come later.


.=====================================.
# 11.5  The palace puzzles **110500** #
`=====================================`

The Royal Palace of Rabanastre involves a lot of puzzle solving.  Fortunately,
they're quick to go through.  First, of course, get the map urn and optionally
save.  Through the doors, you'll enter a downstairs chamber of sorts, a cellar.
There are treasure chests here, one of which you must not get.  Simply ignoring
the mostly-useless chests (saving time too) is all you need, but if you insist,
do not get those in the southeast corner.  Head toward the group, rush through
the text, approach the guard, speak to the seeq, holler, run to the stairs
while going away, wait for the guard to get halfway past the yellow tile and
run along the edge to get upstairs.

In the next room, there are 4 hallways, 3 of which with guards.  To call the
guards, get to the edge of the middle rug closest to the guards and holler. 
You'll need to get past the hawk signet which doesn't do any good.  Immediately
turn around and go to where the guard-free passage is.  Head north 2 hallways
and use the crescent stone on the lion signet.  Return without calling the
guards and head one more hallway north.  Call the guards here, go one hallway
south, call again, one hallway south, call again, one hallway south without
guards, then hug along the western route, now free of guards.  Turn left at the
northern end.


.===============================================.
# 11.6  Garamsythe again and gambits **110600** #
`===============================================`

After skipping some cut scenes, Balthier and Fran join at a level 1 higher than
Vaan.  Save at the save crystal, go down the stairs, and rush the gambit
tutorial.  Once done, licensing Balthier and Fran are needed.  First, give
Balthier the quickening to the right of accessories 2.  Give Balthier the white
magick 1 license and poach license as well.  Give Fran the quickening 2
licenses directly below where the burning bow license is.

About the flame staff (cost:  dropped from enemy (2400 base)):
+-------------------+---------------------------------+
| Equipment bonuses | Extra important properties      |
+-------------------+ 50% more damage w/ fire magick  |
| Attack power   33 +---------------------------------+
| Hit points      0 |          License path           |
| Mist points     0 +-------------------------+-------+
| Defense         0 | License                 |    LP |
| Magick resist   0 | Rods 1                  | Start |
| Evade           0 | v Staves 2              |    25 |
| Magick evade    0 | Total                   |    25 |
| Strength        0 |                         |       |
| Magick power    4 |                         |       |
| Vitality        0 |                         |       |
| Speed           0 |                         |       |
+-------------------+-------------------------+-------+

The flame staff is much like the rod only a bit better but doesn't raise max
MP.  With a higher attack power, the staff will do a bit more damage than the
rod does.  With 4 extra on magick power, you can heal considerably more HP with
healing magick.  Because of the higher attack power, this is mainly being used
not for casting, since healing is very rare, but physical combat, something
staves are not meant for.

As far as how you deal with weapons, that depends.  If you plan on stealing
from every enemy you can (repeatedly obtaining the rod first thing for dustia
is the best way for gil early on), give Balthier Vaan's burning bow and Vaan
the rod.  Give Fran the flame staff or the rod, whichever you have.  If you
don't want to constantly steal, then give flame staves to Balthier and Fran
(or, if you don't have them, the rod to Fran and Fran's bow to Balthier).  Fran
is strangely slower with bows and Balthier's gun is very weak.  Being level 20,
even the mythril sword regularly does more damage than the gun and the gun is
very slow as well.  Thus, get rid of it.  Whatever you do, do not license Vaan
for any weapons - his LP is needed for quickly getting started with leveling up
once all the preparations are done.

As far as setting the gambits, have the character with the burning bow only
ever attack.  This character will tear up enemies like a fly to a fly swatter. 
Have the others as healers as needed.  Change the "first aid" on Balthier to
"cure" and, as usual, on any ally below 70% HP (since that's all you can really
use).  From the powerleveling, you shouldn't have a problem with HP at all. 
You practically won't even need to have to heal at all.  One gambit I do
suggest, if you license an extra gambit slot, is "ally:  any = blindna".  This
is because one of the bosses you'll run into likes to blind characters and
backtracking to the save crystal is only a waste of time.  There's no need to
license poisona though.  Although there is a boss at the end of Garamsythe
Waterway that likes to poison everyone, simply defeating it will remove the
poison status effect (and fully heal you as well).


.============================================.
# 11.7  Escaping Nalbina Dungeons **110700** #
`============================================`

Nalbina Dungeons is probably the single shortest area you'll do in the entire
game, perhaps even a little shorter than the tutorial area.  First, skip the 4
story scenes then just head north to the save crystal (don't bother saving -
you just did).  You'll be using punches during this but you can, for Balthier
anyway, license thunder (black magick 1) and use it to deal significantly more
damage.  When done, skip the story scenes again.  Get your equipment back but
do not get the chests in this room.  Don't bother saving though - it's not
really necessary.  Continue straight then head into the north central part of
this zone, bashing the imperials along the way.  That's really all you do.  So
quick and simple!


.==================================.
# 11.8  Barheim Passage **110800** #
`==================================`

Once you skip more story scenes, you'll be in the Barheim Passage.

.............................................
11.8.1  License Balthier for poach **110810**
.............................................

If you haven't licensed Balthier for poach, do so now.  Why Balthier?  He's
only one license panel away from it instead of 2 like Fran is.  Plus, it's only
needed for this area and not beyond.  Once back in free roaming areas, there is
no need for poach (monographs will usually do that work).  Thus, giving it to
Balthier will save some LP for Vaan so he can get more important stuff.

..............................................
11.8.2  The fuse and battery mimics **110820**
..............................................

The first step is to go in the dead end area off to the right.  You'll find
about 1600 easy gil in the 3 chests here.  Next, check the power unit in the
narrow side path that's present.  Go to the shop owner, ignoring the save
crystal, and get a tube fuse from him (it's free).  Do not buy or sell anything
with Burrogh.  Return to the power unit and install the fuse.  At this point,
save your game.  Activate the gate and go through it.  Deal with the battery
mimics (you might get a mage's habit dropped by them if you're lucky - it's the
1% drop) and head into the next zone.

........................................
11.8.3  Those 2 crooked fangs **110830**
........................................

Once in The Great Eastern Passage, you'll find an enemy called "seeker" that
replaces one of the steelings (with a 5% chance).  Seekers are silver- and/or
white-colored bats instead of a maroon color so they are easily distinguished,
as hinted at in my videos - I spot them before I even see their names being
available in the target list.

11.8.3.1  Gain damage control - kill the guest! **110831**

When you see a seeker, get back so you can't see its life bar.  This is where
you need to use poach.  But, you can't just use poach first thing as is.  To
use poach, the enemy has to be HP critical meaning that you have to get the
seeker's HP to 107 or less and you can't defeat it.  To effectively do this,
you must have complete control over your damage output.  This is actually a lot
easier than you think.  Unfortunately, you are forced to have a tagalong that
you absolutely cannot control at this crucial point.  This is the guest, Basch,
who will only attack.  To gain the critical control you need, you must kill the
guest (give him KO status by simply attacking him - the burning bow works
wonders for this, doing about as much damage as the wild saurian would if one
was present).  At the level 5 to 7 that you're normally supposed to be while
going through this area, Basch is quite useful.  At level 18 with the burning
bow, you could solo this entire part of the game and rarely ever need to heal. 
By removing the guest out of the equation, you can then begin controling the
damage.

11.8.3.2  Control the damage **110832**

At this point, you are now ready.  Before starting, switch to wait mode so you
can carefully plan out your actions.  Have one character doing damage and the
others using technicks or nondamaging attacks like slow or steal.  Even if you
steal something, keep stealing so as to prevent these characters from
attacking.  You can also get poach being used constantly too.

The damage dealer must be careful.  I suggest having Vaan as the damage dealer.
First, I start with the rod.  It should do close to 200 damage out of the 535
the seeker has at the minimum.  After 2 hits, you should get it close to HP
critical.  If not, change the rod to the mythril sword.  This will
significantly reduce the damage giving you great control.  If a combo starts,
be ready to change equipment to stop the combo.  Once HP critical, have the one
who licensed poach (Balthier) use it on seeker.

Do note that seeker has skills to heal itself.  To help combat that, keep the
mythril sword ready, attacking with it as needed.  Go unarmed for finer damage
control (as long as you don't have the brawler license that is).  Once poach
hits, you'll win a crooked fang but you won't gain any exp, LP, or clan points.

11.8.3.3  Going for the second seeker **110833**

You need 2 crooked fangs though so find another seeker.  If you didn't get any
seekers or only one, head south into the next zone to the south (ignore the one
off the side).  Go into the eastern route and follow the path to open the gate.
Avoid the dead ends along the way.  Back track then continue south.  Basch
mysteriously revives if you've KOed him - save your game and return to the
north.  There's no need to quit and reload because you're already 2 zones away.
Pass through the zone to the north.  Repeat the check for the seekers.  None
present?  Quit and reload.  Found one?  Poach it in the same way as before.

..................................
11.8.4  The mimic queen **110840**
..................................

Once done with the seekers, reset to active mode if you've been using it. 
Don't bother reviving the guest though.  Just continue south and reach the
mimic queen.  Save at the save crystal just before the boss.  This boss, thanks
to that burning bow, is very easy thanks to the powerleveling you've done.  500
damage per hit is way ahead of what you should be doing.  Just focus all of
your effects on the mimic queen, having the burning bow user constantly attack.

Once defeated, you'll have more story scenes to skip (one of which can't be
skipped, strangely), you'll be in familiar territory.  You might even remember
this very spot from going after the rod.




        _____   ____     ___    _   _      ____    ___    ____    ____
       |_   _| |  _ \   / _ \  | | | |    / ___|  / _ \  |  _ \  |  _ \
         | |   | |_| | | |_| | | | | |   | |  _  | |_| | | |_| | | |_| |
         | |   |  _ <  |  _  | | | | |   | | | | |  _  | |  _ <  |  _ <
         | |   | | | | | | | |  \ V /    | |_| | | | | | | | | | | |_| |
         |_|   |_| |_| |_| |_|   \_/      \___/  |_| |_| |_| |_| |____/

                ###############################
        #############                     #############
   ########                                         ########
#####   12  The powerful traveler's garb set **120000**   #####
   ########                                         ########
        #############                     #############
                ###############################

Used with:  70H, 65H, 40H, 35H, 25H, Opt


.================================================.
# 12.1  About the traveler's garb set **120100** #
`================================================`

About the feathered cap (cost:  3280 for set (1900 base)):
+-------------------+---------------------------------+
| Equipment bonuses | Extra important properties      |
+-------------------+ None                            |
| Attack power    0 +---------------------------------+
| Hit points      0 |          License path           |
| Mist points     0 +-------------------------+-------+
| Defense         0 | License                 |    LP |
| Magick resist  18 | Mystic armor 2          | Start |
| Evade           0 | ^ Mystic armor 3        |    20 |
| Magick evade    0 | ^ Mystic armor 4        |    25 |
| Strength        0 | Total                   |    45 |
| Magick power    5 |                         |       |
| Vitality        0 |                         |       |
| Speed           0 |                         |       |
+-------------------+-------------------------+-------+

About the traveler's vestment (3280 for set (1900 base)):
+-------------------+---------------------------------+
| Equipment bonuses | Extra important properties      |
+-------------------+ None                            |
| Attack power    0 +---------------------------------+
| Hit points      0 |          License path           |
| Mist points     0 +-------------------------+-------+
| Defense        16 | License                 |    LP |
| Magick resist   0 | Mystic armor 4          | Start |
| Evade           0 | Total                   |     0 |
| Magick evade    0 |                         |       |
| Strength        0 |                         |       |
| Magick power    5 |                         |       |
| Vitality        0 |                         |       |
| Speed           0 |                         |       |
+-------------------+-------------------------+-------+

Since you won't be facing enemies that use attack magic on you (except those
you can simply hand a phoenix down to to defeat), the magick resist stat is of
practically no use.  The defense stat, thus, has a very strong effect.  It just
so happens that, of all the types of armor the game has, the best armor for
defense at this point just happens to be mystic armor, something not geared
toward defense.  With a magick resist of 18 and a defense of 16, you can render
most of what you've faced at this point 100% harmless and many other enemies
become very weak.  Only the cactoids, greeden, and nekhbet in the Estersand
will do any damage, the cactoids only on occasion.


.====================================================.
# 12.2  Gathering 2 of the required items **120200** #
`====================================================`

There are 3 ingredients that you need to get.  You need 2 tanned hides, 5 water
stones, and 2 braid wools to get the traveler's garb set.  The order in which
you get them depends on your method.  Since 2 of the items are in Giza Plains,
I'll cover that first and it's usually the first area you go to after getting
the burning bow.  Stock up on LP while working for this - you'll need it.

.....................................
12.2.1  The 2 tanned hides **120210**
.....................................

Tanned hides are stolen from and dropped from slaven in Giza Plains.  From the
Nomad Village in the center of the plains (save here first), you'll find a
slaven in the zone immediately to the east.  Steal from it first, making sure
you get something.  Chances are, it's an earth stone.  One robbed, defeat it,
grabbing the loot it drops, if any.  If you didn't get any tanned hides, quit
and reload.  If you got one, return to the village, save, quit, reload, and go
for your second one in the same way.  You have a 16% chance of stealing a
tanned hide through repeated stealing and a 25% chance of it being dropped. 
Thus, you have a 37% chance of getting a single tanned hide per attempt, a 4%
chance of getting both in a single slaven.

.....................................
12.2.2  The 5 water stones **120220**
.....................................

The 5 water stones come from either the ichthons, if you took that route, or
giza rabbits.  If you're already in Giza Plains, steal from every giza rabbit
you run across.  Chances are, they'll run away - chase it down.  Defeat it when
you stole something from it.  You have a pretty nice 90.6% chance of stealing a
water stone.  You have a 25% chance of a giza rabbit dropping one.  Thus, you
have a 92.9% chance of getting a water stone from a giza rabbit.  The best
place to get them is in the southwest zone where 2 giza rabbits are.  Just
straight east is another one.  If any of the giza rabbits are heading toward
the werewolves, attack the giza rabbit right away before it gets too close. 
You're not ready for the werewolves yet.


.==================================================.
# 12.3  The risky braid wool of greeden **120300** #
`==================================================`

The braid wool is not found in Giza Plains (at this point in the game).  It's,
instead, found in the Estersand.  So, head there and to where the South Bank
Village is (farther north from where you got the rod).  Along the way, if you
haven't picked up the bronze armor and bronze helm yet, do so now as the extra
+4 on strength will help a little.  Pick up "blindna" from the magick shop
while you're at it - you'll need it for later.  And feel free to defeat Nekhbet
should you run across it.  You can handle it now though it would be a bit
tough.  Make sure you save your game at the save crystal, buying the battle
harness if you haven't already.  If you licensed the quickening from going
after the burning bow, you should have the battle harness already licensed.

.........................................................
12.3.1  Waiting 3 minutes - spare the cactoids **120310**
.........................................................

In order to get the braid wool, you need to wait for 3 minutes in the zone just
outside South Bank Village until an enemy called greeden shows up.  Since
you're forced to wait for a while, I strong recommend going around bashing all
wolves, cockatrices, and ichthons.  Whatever you do, do not attack a cactoid. 
Just ignore the cactoids.  Why?  In order for greeden to show up, you must
ignore the cactoids for 3 minutes.  If you accidentally get one, quit and
reload.  If you accidentally target one, either get back, quickly get cure
casting, or target something else (ordered from the easiest and safest to the
most risky).  I would also suggest going after the loot the enemies drop here,
since you need to pass the time anyway and the burning bow will just tear these
enemies up like there's nothing to it.  Get any chests you find as well.  When
you're done, return to the river.

....................................
12.3.2  Defeating greeden **120320**
....................................

Greeden is rare game, like dustia (if you took that route) and Nekhbet (of
which you can handle now).  While you can't hand it a phoenix down like you can
with dustia or fideliant and call it good to go, you have to do HP damage to
it.  The problem is, Greeden has 7000 HP and does about 240 damage and can even
cause blindness.  How you defeat greeden depends entirely on your method.  See
your method's details on the approach to use.  Once greeden is defeated every
method is the same - check to see if it drops something.  If it does, grab the
loot.  If you get braid wool, head back into South Bank Village (feel free to
defeat any cactoids along the way now), save your game, quit, then reload.  If
nothing drops or what you get isn't the braid wool (don't confuse braid wool
with the blood wool, the 3% drop), just quit and reload, repeating the process.
Since you need 2 braid wools, the 40% drop, you will need an average of 5
rounds of this - expect about 3 to 7 for the most part.

.................................................
12.3.3  A new bazaar item is available **120330**
.................................................

Once you get your second braid wool, return to South Bank Village and sell them
along with the 2 tanned hides and 5 water stones.  When you leave the sell
screen, you'll find a notice stating that new bazaar items are available. 
You'll find "traveler's garb" in the list, costing 3280 gil.  Buy this, license
it (see section 12.1), and equip it.  Now the wolves and cockatrices in the
Estersand are completely harmless.  Nekhbet and greeden aren't though.  The
cactoids will only occasionally do damage, and if they do, it's hardly
anything.  The enemies in the Westersand are rendered very weak.




     _     _   _____   __    _    ____     _   _   _____   _       __   __
    | |   | | |_   _| |  \  | |  / ___|   | | | | |  ___| | |     |  \ /  |
    | | A | |   | |   | A \ | | | |  _    | |_| | | |__   | |     | A V A |
    | |/ \| |   | |   | |\ \| | | | | |   |  _  | |  __|  | |     | |\ /| |
    | ' A ' |  _| |_  | | \ ' | | |_| |   | | | | | |___  | |___  | | V | |
    |__/ \__| |_____| |_|  \__|  \___/    |_| |_| |_____| |_____| |_|   |_|

                ############################
        #############                  #############
   ########                                      ########
#####   13  The slime-covered winged helm **130000**   #####
   ########                                      ########
        #############                  #############
                ############################

Used with:  70H, 65H, 40H, 35H, 25H, Opt


.========================================.
# 13.1  About the winged helm **130100** #
`========================================`

About the winged helm (cost:  dropped from enemy (2500 base)):
+-------------------+---------------------------------+
| Equipment bonuses | Extra important properties      |
+-------------------+ None                            |
| Attack power    0 +---------------------------------+
| Hit points      0 |          License path           |
| Mist points     0 +-------------------------+-------+
| Defense         0 | License                 |    LP |
| Magick resist  13 | Shields 1               | Start |
| Evade           0 | > Light armor 3         |    20 |
| Magick evade    0 | > Heavy armor 3         |    30 |
| Strength        5 | Total                   |    50 |
| Magick power    0 |                         |       |
| Vitality        0 |                         |       |
| Speed           3 |                         |       |
+-------------------+-------------------------+-------+

The winged helm is a great heavy armor helm for your burning bow.  The +5 on
strength is especially useful.  The +3 on speed may seem like it'll make
charging up attacks go faster, but that's not the only benefit that has.  The
other benefit is that it will also increase damage output even more than the +5
on strength.  This is because bows have speed as a secondary stat for
determining damage.  Raising speed raises bow damage.  This is a great item to
get so early in the game, accessible even in the longer, earliest methods, but
best obtained when at a high level (as from after the chaining of the
werewolves) or with a party.


.==============================================.
# 13.2  The spooky Zertinan Caverns **130200** #
`==============================================`

.................................
13.2.1  Enter the cave **130210**
.................................

Remember that cave in the Westersand that I told you to not enter?  Well, this
time, enter it.  However, if you haven't picked up the "blindna" spell yet, do
so now as you will need it.  Why not enter it earlier?  The enemies here are
very powerful, able to do over 100 damage (considerably less with your
traveler's vestment).  But, now that you've leveled up a lot or you have a
party to help (and fiery arrows to really dish out big damage, depending on
your method), you can easily handle these enemies.  Be sure you save at the
nearest save crystal to the cave that you can.  Giza Plains works in all
methods.  Rabanastre only works in the 70- and 65-hour methods.  Pick one and
save.  I would suggest the Giza Plains one, the one at the southernmost part of
the village, as it's closer and you have a high chance of getting a blue sky. 
Upon entering, skip the movie (start, X) as usual and head straight.

.......................................
13.2.2  Attacking the slimes **130220**
.......................................

There's a few singing speartongues around but just ignore them.  Speartongues
love to use angelsong and magick ballad, nothing more than basic buffs on them.

However, the enemy you're after is one that you can't readily see - slime. 
When you reach certain points, an enemy called "slime" will drop down from the
ceiling.  Simply attack it.  Slime likes casting blind and sleep.  For sleep,
have someone that's unarmed attack that character, after defeating the slime,
unless it's your damage dealer - get your damage dealer immediately.  If solo,
you'll have to wait for slime to attack you or for it to expire should sleep
hit just as you defeat slime.  For blind, just use blindna.  The other attacks
aren't a problem.  Slime is primarily physical but does cast spells quite
often.  If it casts aero, separate your members so only one character gets hit
instead of 2.  If slime uses "divide", let it as you'll quickly get another
slime to speed the process up.

.............................................
13.2.3  Danger:  beware of 2 traps **130230**
.............................................

There are 2 traps that you must avoid, only visible with libra active. 
However, libra is not required if you learn the locations.  Where are the
traps?  The best way is to reference the walkthrough video.  The first trap is
in the small alcove as you round a V-shaped bend.  A slime drops very near it. 
Stay away from the alcove and you're fine.  The second is on the side away from
the alcove, a bigger alcove, but near it, also where a slime happens to drop. 
Just remember:  small is confined and is thus a trap.  Big is open and secure
and thus not a trap.  Don't forget the 2 slimes at the end of the corridor. 
You'll often encounter only 1 slime though.  This is because of the 6-enemy
limit getting in the way, thanks to those speartongues that you must ignore. 
Take the same path back out, sticking to the big alcove and avoiding the small
one near the V.  These traps are easy to avoid, fortunately.  You just need to
remember their locations.

........................................
13.2.4  Caution:  rarest drop **130240**
........................................

Unfortunately, the winged helm is the 1% drop from slime.  Fortunately, unlike
the burning bow, slime is easily chained.  For best results, ignore the loot
until the chain levels up 3 times, noted by giant gold coins popping out and a
red-colored chain number.  This way, instead of a 1% chance of getting it, it's
5%, much higher.  You could start at the previous chain level if you want.  The
difference is small.  At chain level 3, you need an average of 33 1/3 slimes
for a winged helm.  At chain level 4, it's only 20.  However, it takes about an
extra 9 slimes to get chain level 4 giving a difference of only 4 1/3.  It
normally takes about 15 for the chain to get to level 3, 24 for the chain to
get to level 4.

If you don't have the winged helm by a 50 chain, 60 at the highest, I would
recommend quitting and reloading and trying again if you're focused on the game
clock.  If not, just keep going until you get it.

Once you get the winged helm, what you do depends on your method.  See your
method's details to learn what to do.

............................................................
13.2.5  Warning:  fully unequip Balthier and Fran **130250**
............................................................

If you're doing either the 70- or 65-hour methods, this does not apply. 
Because you'll need to head into Rabanastre for the next part, causing Balthier
and Fran to leave, you must unequip them in full.  Why?  You won't see them
again until you're level 99.  You must do so before crossing any zone boundary
that leads into Rabanastre.




                    _   _   _   _   __    _   _____    ____
                   | | | | | | | | |  \  | | |_   _|  / ___|
                   | |_| | | | | | | A \ | |   | |    \ \
                   |  _  | | | | | | |\ \| |   | |     \ \
                   | | | | | |_| | | | \ ' |   | |    __\ \
                   |_| |_|  \___/  |_|  \__|   |_|   |____/

                ########################
        #############              #############
   ########                                  ########
#####   14  Hunting for the clan rank **140000**   #####
   ########                                  ########
        #############              #############
                ########################

Used with:  35H, 25H, Opt


.===================================.
# 14.1  Why go on hunts? **140100** #
`===================================`

You might be wondering why there would be a routine involving the hunts.  The
reason is simple:  getting the hermes sandals requires an ingredient you can
only obtain at this early point from the clan shop.  For that to happen, you
must raise your clan rank from Moppet to Rear Guard.  This requires that you
defeat 4 marks and have accumulated 8000 clan points.  You should easily have
20 times that CP by now so it's just a matter of having enough marks.


.==============================================.
# 14.2  Thextera unlocks more hunts **140200** #
`==============================================`

Unfortunately, it seems as if only one hunt is available:  thextera.  Montblanc
doesn't have anything either.  Aside from story progress, marks also require
that your clan rank is high enough before they even show up.  This means you
must do the thextera hunt first.  Because you must enter Rabanastre to read the
hunt board, causing Balthier, Fran, and Basch to leave, you must do these hunts
solo.  Fortunately, at level 20, they're effortless.

Fortunately, this hunt is very quick.  Gatsly just so happens to be but 2
meters away, along the same wall as the hunt board!  Accept the hunt then rush
toward the Westersand via the west gate.  Don't worry about the weather and
save as well since you just got the winged helm.  Outside Rabanastre, follow
the obvious path, then head south when you can.  In the path to the southeast,
you'll find thextera.  You should be able to defeat it in one hit, missing from
bad weather aside.  With the traveler's garb, thextera can't damage you outside
the "fangs" attack.  So, just attack and be done with it.  Ignore the lesser
wolves until thextera is defeated - they're completely harmless anyway thanks
to the traveler's garb.


.=====================================================.
# 14.3  Read the hunt board 20 or 40 times **140300** #
`=====================================================`

Return to Gatsly, claim the bounty then read the hunt board to discover that 2
new hunts available:  flowering cactoid and wraith.  These are the last of the
hunts you'll need to do.  Accept both hunts.  While you're at it, read the hunt
board 37 additional times.  This seems like you're wasting time, but it's not. 
After all, I can get about 70 reads a minute.  What do you do?  Easy:  X, up,
X, X, up, X.  Repeat this 35 more times.  Each one, if you're fast, takes 5/6
of a second.  Why so many times though?  I'll explain later.  Since you're
here, you might as well do it now, to make efficient use of time.


.===================================================.
# 14.4  The effortless flowering cactoid **140400** #
`===================================================`

Dantro is in the Estersand's Outpost.  Head out the east gate and bash
everything except the wild saurian for easy and quick LP.  You don't need to
save in East Gate.  Head along the same route as you did with getting the rod. 
Once in the outpost, you'll find Dantro near the fire in the middle.

Head off into the northeast, following the northwest wall and continue until
the second turn off at the northern end.  You'll find the flowering cactoid in
the area where the surprise cactoid pops out of the ground.  You should be able
to take it down in 2 hits, easy enough.  If you recall, the flowering cactoid
has a 1000 needles technick that does 1000 damage and you likely don't have
1000 HP.  Thanks to some powerleveling and that mighty burning bow with the
fiery arrows, the flowering cactoid is practically effortless, to the point it
won't even use that technick.  In fact, as soon as you make the first hit, it
tries to run away.  If it attacks, it practically won't do any damage (1s and
2s anyone?)

Return to Dantro and claim the bounty.  10 potions for a reward seems pointless
at this point, but think of it this way:  it's 350 gil.


.=========================================.
# 14.5  The doom-loving wraith **140500** #
`=========================================`

Milha is in the northeastern end of Lowtown just before you turn to the west
for Garamsythe Waterway.  She's right in front of the house crouching down. 
Speak with her.

Head into Garamsythe Waterway and head into the middle of the first zone. 
You'll find wraith here appearing out of nowhere.  Just stay near it and
attack, ignoring the doom status effect.  It may seem that, if doom's timer
runs out, it's game over.  Don't worry, I've defeated wraith with the timer at
7 at the lowest, leaving plenty of time.  Simply attack and just let wraith do
whatever.  Your traveler's garb set will absorb nearly all of the damage it
will do.

When defeated, just return to Lowtown.  You'll remove the doom status effect
later, when you save before going to the next part.  Return to Milha and claim
the bounty.




 ____    _   _    ____   _____   _____    ___      ____    ____           ___
|  _ \  | | | |  / ___| |_   _| |_   _|  / _ \    |  _ \  |  _ \         / _ \
| | | | | | | |  \ \      | |     | |   | |_| |   | |_| | | | | |       |_| | |
| | | | | | | |   \ \     | |     | |   |  _  |   |  _ <  | | | |          / /
| |_| | | |_| |  __\ \    | |    _| |_  | | | |   | | | | | |_| |  _     / /__
|____/   \___/  |____/    |_|   |_____| |_| |_|   |_| |_| |____/  |_|   |_____|

                #############################
        #############                   #############
   ########                                       ########
#####   15  Gambiting the return of dustia **150000**   #####
   ########                                       ########
        #############                   #############
                #############################

Used with:  35H, 25H

.============================================.
# 15.1  Why return to dustia now? **150100** #
`============================================`

You've now advanced the story a fair amount so why return to dustia now?  It
may seem strange, but there are actually 3 good reasons.  First, the initial 1
or 2 runs of the dustia method were mainly for getting enough LP to license a
quickening and possibly the burning bow (depending if you decided to repeatedly
obtain the rod) and also to get enough gil for what's to come next.  Second,
the dustia method is faster since you have gambits available.  Third, from
running previous routines like the winged helm and traveler's garb, you can
accumulate extra gil to make this easier and faster to get going.


.=======================================.
# 15.2  Buying phoenix downs **150200** #
`=======================================`

As you probably know by now, since you started with dustia if you're using this
routine, simply handing dustia a phoenix down is all you need to defeat it for
1100 exp and 3 LP.  Unlike before where you had to go to Nalbina Town (or the
Westersand) to buy phoenix downs, you can now buy them from Migelo's Sundries
in Rabanastre.  This means it takes less time to reset.  However, unlike
before, you probably have a lot of other junk as well.  What exactly do you
sell?  Well, here's the full list:

1.  Sell all of your loot, including teleport stones.  You can get more during
the afterward section from clan rank increases then even buy them.
2.  Buy the "tail of the phoenix" and "first-aid kit" bazaar items first as
you'll get 4 phoenix downs for 850 gil (780 with the junk potions being sold)
at a modest discount, almost getting one for free.  You may not have these
available though, as from previously buying them from starting with dustia.
3.  All consumables, except for phoenix downs, can be sold.  Potions (including
the 2 from the first aid kit) are useless when cure restores far more HP and
you pretty much literally don't even need to heal.
4.  All accessories.  The gauntlets from the wraith hunt are a good 600 gil. 
Selling the battle harness is optional.  You won't be making use of a shield
for a very long time.  You can always buy the gauntlets and battle harness back
later on as needed.
5.  All ammunition, except for the fiery arrows and parallel arrows (since you
can't get them again), can be sold.  You can buy the onion arrows again as
needed.  The same goes for shot as well.
6.  All weapons except the burning bow, the rod, and the mythril sword.  These
are needed for damage control.  Although the long bow is the second-most
powerful weapon you have, sell it as you'll be getting more burning bows for
everyone after you've reached level 99, done early in the afterward section.
7.  All armor except the leather clothing (sell all but one), your traveler's
garb set, the winged helm, and, if you got one, the mage's habit.  This is for
damage control.
8.  Buy as many phoenix downs as you can get, up to 99 in stock if you can
afford that many (quite likely, inevitable if you started out going after the
rod repeatedly).

Although you can still get away with 20 phoenix downs, you'll have to come back
to Migelo's Sundries far more frequently, essentially wasting time.  If you
followed my earlier advise, this shouldn't be a problem.


.==========================================.
# 15.3  Setting up the 1 gambit **150300** #
`==========================================`

Just... 1 gambit?  It seems strange but seriously, that's all you need for
this.  What is that gambit?  "Foe:  nearest visible = phoenix down".  While
other enemies are in the area, they are outside the range of the gambit system
and thus have no effect.  Dustia always appears close and will, thus, take
effect and only on dustia.  Dustia is the one that needs the phoenix downs so
this one gambit setup is all you need.  Just make sure you disable it when
you're done.  It'll save about a second per dustia.


.==========================================.
# 15.4  Going to the last cycle **150400** #
`==========================================`

Just follow the usual method for dealing with dustia - wait mode, the slowest
battle speed, utilizing the battle menu to grab the loot, and attack yourself
as needed.  When you run out of phoenix downs, just return to Migelo's
Sundries, sell the books and flame staves, buy 99 more phoenix downs, save, and
go back at it again.  Repeat until you're just about done as the last cycle
will be different, covered in the next routine below.




                _   _   _____   ____    __   __   _____    ____
               | | | | |  ___| |  _ \  |  \ /  | |  ___|  / ___|
               | |_| | | |__   | |_| | | A V A | | |__    \ \
               |  _  | |  __|  |  _ <  | |\ /| | |  __|    \ \
               | | | | | |___  | | | | | | V | | | |___   __\ \
               |_| |_| |_____| |_| |_| |_|   |_| |_____| |____/

                #########################
        #############               #############
   ########                                   ########
#####   16  The hasty hermes sandals **160000**   #####
   ########                                   ########
        #############               #############
                #########################

Used with:  40H (optional), 35H, 25H, Opt


.===========================================.
# 16.1  About the hermes sandals **160100** #
`===========================================`

About the hermes sandals (cost:  18,000 (20,000 base)):
+-------------------+---------------------------------+
| Equipment bonuses | Extra important properties      |
+-------------------+ Haste always on if equipped     |
| Attack power    0 +---------------------------------+
| Hit points      0 |          License path           |
| Mist points     0 +-------------------------+-------+
| Defense         0 | License                 |    LP |
| Magick resist   0 | Quickening (red spiral) | Start |
| Evade           0 | > Accessories 8         |    45 |
| Magick evade    0 | > Accessories 12        |    60 |
| Strength        0 | > Accessories 15        |    70 |
| Magick power    0 | ^ Quickening (white wh) |    50 |
| Vitality        0 | > Accessories 18        |    50 |
| Speed           0 | Total                   |   275 |
+-------------------+-------------------------+-------+

The hermes sandals has the haste status effect always on, making attacks charge
up 50% faster making attacks happen about 30% more often.  This may not seem
like much, but with the huge number of attacks you'll be making, this will
seriously pay off in the end.  It may only be 250 milliseconds per attack that
you save, almost the blink of an eye, but with the nearly 16,000 actions you'll
be making (maybe a thousand or two more), that amounts to nearly 3/4 of an hour
being saved, after taking other things into account (and 3/4 of an hour is a
lot on 25 hours, 3%).

For best results, only go after licening the Hermes sandals after you've
obtained the first 2 swiftness licenses, the quickest ones to get.  The third
takes about 50% more LP to reach than the Hermes sandals and comparing a
roughly 19% increase in charge time to a whopping 50% increase really says why
this is.


.==========================================.
# 16.2  The warmage's monograph **160200** #
`==========================================`

When you have at least 25,000 gil (more, up to 44,750, is preferred, depending
on your method), you are ready for the final cycle of the dustia method. 
First, buy the warmage's monograph, costing 20,000 gil.  The warmage's
monograph is in the bazaar and is the reason for reading the hunt board 20
times.  You'll notice another costing 22,000 gil - don't get that one yet but
it will come in very handy.  See the routine in section 15 above to see how to
use the dustia method at this point in the game.

What is such an extremely expensive bazaar item for?  One of the ingredients
for the Hermes sandals is 15 arcanas but you don't have the canopic jar nor do
you have access to it at this early point in the game.  Fortunately, there is a
way around that - that's what the monograph is for.


.=======================================.
# 16.3  Back to dustia again **160300** #
`=======================================`

Buy as many phoenix downs as needed (the amount depends on your method) but
don't get fewer than 40 unless you plan on heavy quitting and reloading or
making an extra trip(s) to Migelo's Sundries to buy more.  There is a 30%
chance dustia will drop an arcana in addition to the usual books and staves. 
Since you need 15 arcanas, that means 50 dustias is the average (since,
strangely, chains don't affect monograph drops at all).

When dealing with dustia, you should definitely be very aware of how annoying
healing loot is.  Unfortunately, healing, with the warmage's monograph taking
effect, becomes considerably more likely to happen.  From only about a 60.4%
chance of a loot drop and 15.1% chance of a heal at chain level 4, the
monograph increases this to a 72.28% chance of a loot drop or an 18.07% chance
of a heal.  By postponing the monograph until your last round, you can keep the
heals to a minimum and thus saving time.  Still, you'll quite inevitably get
healed.  Either continue until you've run out of phoenix downs or you get the
15 arcanas.  What you do depends on your method.


.============================================.
# 16.4  Buying the hermes sandals **160400** #
`============================================`

The Hermes sandals are now just moments away.  Head to the clan shop in the
southern part of Muthru Bazaar (use the moogling).  Sell the books of orgain
only.  Now buy 33 gyshal greens, costing 108 gil each for a total of 3564. 
Next, sell those gyshal greens you just bought and the 15 arcanas.  You'll find
that new bazaar items are now available.  The "wind walkers" cost 18,000 gil,
quite expensive, but if you went heavy on phoenix downs or you started with
repeatedly getting the rod, you should easily have a ton of gil.  If you have
at least 21,300 gil, go ahead and buy them but don't license them until you've
obtained the first 2 swiftness licenses.  Once licensed, equip them.  You may
lose out on strength but the sheer speed of attacking easily makes up for the
very tiny loss (remember that strength plays a very small role in determining
damage with a bow thanks to strength only appearing once (as opposed to twice)
in the formula).  If you don't have 21,300 gil, then hold off buying the hermes
sandals and focus on the more important stuff first.


.=================================================.
# 16.5  Buying the last of what's left **160500** #
`=================================================`

Before you even start on the next stage, there are a few things you need to
get.  While you're still in Rabanastre, now's a good time to get them.  You'll
need at least 3300 gil.

................................................
16.5.1  The ultra powerful immobilize **160510**
................................................

About the immobilize spell (cost:  600 gil):
+-------------------+---------------------------------+
| Equipment bonuses | Extra important properties      |
+-------------------+ Adds "immobilize" status        |
| Attack power    0 +---------------------------------+
| Hit points      0 |          License path           |
| Mist points     0 +-------------------------+-------+
| Defense         0 | License                 |    LP |
| Magick resist   0 | White magick 2          | Start |
| Evade           0 | ^ Green magick 1        |    25 |
| Magick evade    0 | ^ Time magick 1         |    20 |
| Strength        0 | Total                   |    45 |
| Magick power    0 |                         |       |
| Vitality        0 |                         |       |
| Speed           0 |                         |       |
+-------------------+-------------------------+-------+

Immobilize:  it doesn't do any damage, it just makes an enemy unable to move. 
So, then, how can this spell be so powerful?  If an enemy is hit with
immobilize, and it does not have any long range attacks available when you do
(the burning bow that you worked so hard for), that affected enemy is rendered
100% helpless.  That is what makes immobilize so powerful.  Enemy with 7000 HP,
able to do 700 damage when you only have 900 HP, and you can only do 800 damage
to it per hit?  With immobilize, that enemy is much easier than the wolves you
first started with, so long as it doesn't have any ranged attacks.  Just give
it a boot and calmly attack away like there's nothing to it.  Immobilize has 3
other advantages as well.  First, it's an area-of-effect spell so you can
immobilize multiple enemies at once in a single cast.  Second, it usually lasts
about 70 to 80 seconds (depending entirely on the enemy's vitality), long
enough to allow you to get more than a dozen shots off, usually well more than
enough to defeat the enemy in question.  Third, it also prevents an enemy from
evading attacks which comes in very useful in the afterward section.  This
spell is required.  You cannot do what's to come next without it.

You're probably thinking, why not just use disable instead as that completely
prevents the enemy from acting.  There are several problems.  First, disable
requires a higher magick power to get the guarantee of it working.  Second,
enemies tend to be immune to it more often than immobilize.  Third it lasts
only 40% as long, enough for only a few hits (and often not enough).  The only
good disable really has is slipping past an enemy that's right in the way while
constantly attacking it.

......................................
16.5.2  Charging up your MP **160520**
......................................

About the charge technick (cost:  1700 gil):
+-------------------+---------------------------------+
| Equipment bonuses | Extra important properties      |
+-------------------+ Recovers MP or lose all if miss |
| Attack power    0 +---------------------------------+
| Hit points      0 |          License path           |
| Mist points     0 +-------------------------+-------+
| Defense         0 | License                 |    LP |
| Magick resist   0 | Steal                   | Start |
| Evade           0 | > Libra                 |    20 |
| Magick evade    0 | v Charge                |    30 |
| Strength        0 | Total                   |    50 |
| Magick power    0 |                         |       |
| Vitality        0 |                         |       |
| Speed           0 |                         |       |
+-------------------+-------------------------+-------+

With the very heavy use of immobilize coming up, your MP will be getting
drained very quickly.  Should you run out, you'll need to recover it.  Running
around takes a long time and ethers are very hard to come by at this point. 
There's one thing that's always available that will quickly help you restore
your MP:  charge.  The charge technick restores MP based entirely on your
character's level.  It is multiplied by a random number from 1 to 1.33.  Being
level 25 means you'll get anywhere from 25 to 33 MP recovered.  At level 40,
that turns into something from 40 to 53.  There's one major downside to charge
though - if it misses, you lose all of your MP.  Thus, only use it when your MP
is really low (such as being unable to cast a much-needed spell).  While not
required, I very strongly recommend this, especially first thing.  The headsman
license will help significantly, but it's not entirely enough.

...............................................
16.5.3  The scale of the scale armor **160530**
...............................................

About the scale armor (cost:  1000 gil):
+-------------------+---------------------------------+
| Equipment bonuses | Extra important properties      |
+-------------------+ None                            |
| Attack power    0 +---------------------------------+
| Hit points      0 |          License path           |
| Mist points     0 +-------------------------+-------+
| Defense         9 | License                 |    LP |
| Magick resist   0 | Light armor 1           | Start |
| Evade           0 | > Heavy armor 1         |    20 |
| Magick evade    0 | > Heavy armor 2         |    25 |
| Strength        3 | Total                   |    45 |
| Magick power    0 |                         |       |
| Vitality        0 |                         |       |
| Speed           3 |                         |       |
+-------------------+-------------------------+-------+

You might be wondering why you'd get this when you've just got the traveler's
garb set.  This isn't for immediate use, it's for later.  When you get to the
point when magick power reaches 60, swapping in the winged helm and then the
scale armor will improve damage output while having no effect on the success
rate of immobilize.  This is because, at 55 for magick power, immobilize, with
serenity or spellbreaker taking effect, is guaranteed to work, never missing. 
Thus, any extra magick power is only going to waste so trade in the
magick-power-boosting equipment that the traveler's garb set is for something
that increases damage output.  For efficiency, it's best to get it now.  The
scale armor is much like the winged helm except that strength goes up only 3
instead of 5.  Still, an increase in speed like that only means that your
already powerful burning bow will now only get much more powerful.  This is
needed during the final stage though.




       _     _   _____   ____    _____   _     _    ___    _       _____
      | |   | | |  ___| |  _ \  |  ___| | |   | |  / _ \  | |     |  ___|
      | | A | | | |__   | |_| | | |__   | | A | | | | | | | |     | |__
      | |/ \| | |  __|  |  _ <  |  __|  | |/ \| | | | | | | |     |  __|
      | ' A ' | | |___  | | | | | |___  | ' A ' | | |_| | | |___  | |
      |__/ \__| |_____| |_| |_| |_____| |__/ \__|  \___/  |_____| |_|

                ##################
        #############        #############
   ########                            ########
#####   17  Chaining werewolves **170000**   #####
   ########                            ########
        #############        #############
                ##################

Used with:  70H, 40H


.=======================================.
# 17.1  About the werewolves **170100** #
`=======================================`

If you did the sunstone event or recall it, Jinn mentions of staying away from
the werewolves.  Well, you're now going after them and, taking things four
steps higher, chaining them.  With the burning bow, they'll be defeated very
quickly.  With pseudo running, you can, with skill and some luck, get 2 shots
off for every 1 the werewolves do.  With the traveler's vestment armor, you're
absorbing nearly half the damage they would have done, protect cutting that
down even more.  Instead of about 200 damage per hit, they only do about 80.

The only worry point there is with the werewolves, however, is the "smite of
rage" technick.  This special skill ignores defense and does nearly 450 to even
600 damage but it's only ever used when HP critical and not berserk.  The
werewolves sometimes use bacchus's wine, causing them to go berserk.  This,
thanks to pseudo running, isn't a problem either even though the werewolf
charges up attacks twice as fast and deals 50% more damage.  You can still
quite well get 1 or still even 2 shots off for every shot they make thanks to
pseudo running.

The items the werewolves drop are quite valuable - the quality hide sells for
384 gil each and that's the 40% drop, the most common.  There's also the 1%
drop that is the kotetsu, selling for 1900 gil.  The kotetsu is a short range
weapon and weaker than your burning bow so it's only worthwhile for the gil. 
Each werewolf is worth 1206 exp and 2 LP making it very worthwhile, worth more
exp than dustia but it takes longer to defeat the werewolves than dustia making
the dustia method still faster though only by about 5 to 10% at the peak of
this method's fastest.


.===========================================.
# 17.2  Defeating the werewolves **170200** #
`===========================================`

The process for how you defeat the werewolves depends entirely on your method
and accessibility to immobilize.  Before starting, save your game in the south
central zone, one zone east from the werewolves.  Why don't the dustia versions
have this in their routines?  For the 65-hour method, dustia is faster though
not by much (about 8%).  For the 35-hour method, you'll almost certainly be
level 18 or higher, the minimum (usually around 20 or 21, 22 if you got lucky,
19 if unlucky).

...........................................
17.2.1  Going without immobilize **170210**
...........................................

Without immobilize, the case with the 70-hour method, you must depend on pseudo
running and protect.  Level 18 is the absolute earliest I recommend for
starting this, 25 for the later end.  Start by attacking the nearest werewolf
you see.  The other is almost certain to chase, to investigate what's going on.
As soon as you make your first attack, keeping as much distance as you can,
begin pseudo running back to where the zone with the save crystal is.  Keep an
eye on the minimap to see where you're running to so you don't run toward where
a wall is and end up having to take more hits.  As you lure the werewolves too
far from their starting points, they'll begin to return.  If needed, heal but
only heal twice at the most.  Return to the weakened werewolf and continue
attacking.  If healing isn't needed, to be the case later on, simply chase
after them.  If you're close enough to them upon returning to their territory,
they'll stop and resume attacking - pseudo run again and repeat as needed.

If, however, the next shot is bound to make the werewolf you're attacking HP
critical, I strongly recommend deliberately having the werewolf's attack
connect by letting it attack you.  This will delay the use of smite of rage
allowing you get another shot or two off before it does which should pretty
much inevitably defeat it.

With one werewolf defeated, heal yourself, if needed, then attack the other one
in the same way.  With only one werewolf, you don't have to put as much effort
into keeping out of sight of the other one which makes it easier.

Once both werewolves are defeated, heal yourself along the way back.  Unless
you have the focus license, it's fine to be short by about 50 HP, otherwise,
fully heal yourself.  By picking up the "headsman" license or getting a big
enough chain going, MP shouldn't be a problem.  Cross into the zone with the
save crystal and continue east without touching the save crystal.  When that
zone loads, return to the zone with the werewolves to find 2 more present. 
Just before returning to the werewolves, cast protect on yourself again, even
if protect is still active.  Why?  This just resets the timer and won't have to
worry about protect expiring (this isn't in my walkthrough videos as I didn't
think about it then).  Defeat them in the same way as before.

For best results, ignore the loot until the chain reaches level 4, noted by
giant, brilliant gold coins being dropped.  At that point, and when the last
werewolf you defeat causes the chain to level up, grab the loot.  Otherwise,
ignore the loot.  For speed, just flat out ignore the loot altogether, getting
the sleipnir along the way if you want some extra LP.

When the chain reaches 100 to 120, sell your loot at the village and save your
game in either the village or the southern zone.

Repeat this process until level 45 at the most recommended (you can get away
with 44).  Level 55 is the highest I'd recommend.

..........................................
17.2.2  The power of immobilize **170220**
..........................................

With immobilize, the werewolves are effortless so long as you have the serenity
license, full HP, and a ranged weapon.  You have a ranged weapon:  the burning
bow.  To get full HP, just cast cure until you have it.  The serenity license
is covered in section 10 above and 20.2 below.  With these 3 put together, the
werewolves are pretty much completely helpless along as immobilize hits (it's
guaranteed with magick power at 36).  You can defeat them even at level 1!

For this, I strongly recommend turning off your gambits and using wait mode. 
The automatic movement is untrustworthy.  Get just a little outside the range
and, out of nowhere, Vaan is running at full speed toward the werewolves and if
you're not paying attention, you'll get hit.  Plus, I find it very annoying. 
All you're doing, however, is nothing more than immobilizing and attacking, 2
simple actions.

Save at the save crystal in the southern zone of Giza Plains.  Head west and
continue west until you see 2 werewolves in the southern part of this zone. 
Cast immobilize on them always keeping out of their sight (right at the limit
of range with magicks).  If immobilize misses, hold that R2 button and run back
east at full speed!  After you get near the zone boundary, the werewolves will
return to where they were, wait a half second then give chase.  The exception
to this is if a werewolf has gone berserk - just cross the zone boundary in
this case (or if it happens first thing, quit and reload).

If immobilize hits, simply start attacking and keep your distance.  The other
werewolf will attempt to investigate... but it's dumb.  It doesn't check to see
where the attacks are coming from and since it's not bothering to see you,
it'll just stand there.  When this werewolf, however, gets very close to the
immobilized one, consider casting immobilize on the immobilized werewolf to get
the one that isn't.  You'll see "miss" appear on the werewolf that's
immobilized - don't worry about that one.  If it appears on the one that wasn't
immobilized, however, run for it as usual.

With both werewolves essentially disabled, just attack away.  They're now 100%
helpless, unable to do anything about your constant attacking.  Claim that
effortless 1206 exp and 2 LP.

When defeated, head east, through the zone with the save crystal without
touching it, then return back west to get 2 more werewolves.  Repeat the
process in the same way and repeat until you're at least level 18, 25 at the
highest.  It is not necessary that you chain the werewolves as you'll level up
so quickly it's almost ridiculous.  The dustia method is still faster, though
not significantly so.




   ____    _____   _   _   _____     _____    ___    _        ___    __    _
  |  _ \  |_   _| | | | | |  ___|   |_   _|  / _ \  | |      / _ \  |  \  | |
  | | | |   | |   | | | | | |__       | |   | |_| | | |     | | | | | A \ | |
  | | | |   | |   | | | | |  __|      | |   |  _  | | |     | | | | | |\ \| |
  | |_| |  _| |_   \ V /  | |___      | |   | | | | | |___  | |_| | | | \ ' |
  |____/  |_____|   \_/   |_____|     |_|   |_| |_| |_____|  \___/  |_|  \__|

                ############################
        #############                  #############
   ########                                      ########
#####   18  Urstrix and dive talon mayhem **180000**   #####
   ########                                      ########
        #############                  #############
                ############################

Used with:  70H, 65H, 40H


.=================================================.
# 18.1  Why go after dive talon again? **180100** #
`=================================================`

You should be familiar with dive talon since you got the burning bow from it. 
However, instead of going for a burning bow this time, you're using dive talon
for leveling up on as the 2000 exp they are worth is well above anything else
around (except what's offered in the 35- and 25-hour methods).  The 2 LP they
give is very nice too.


.====================================.
# 18.2  The basic routine **180200** #
`====================================`

There is plenty in common with every method.  The general concepts are the same
in every method.  I'll assume you're starting from the zone nearest to
Rabanastre in the Westersand, 2 zones away from the main zone you'll be working
in.  From there, head west, taking the west exit.  

If you encounter a skeleton-like enemy with an eerie, dark glow or haze around
it called fideliant, simply hand it a phoenix down to defeat it.  Why pass up
on 930 exp and 3 LP?  Get any urstrixes along the way too - some might respawn
in later visits to this zone.  Regardless, head southwest to the south exit.

Follow the obvious path.  If the wolves are far away, ignore them and head
directly to the left.  There are 2 urstrixes here - get them for 528 exp and 2
LP.  If the wolves are very near, wait before attacking so you can get sighted
by them.  Remember the behavior of the urstrix where, if there's activity going
on somewhere and they are not fully opaque that they'd come over to
investigate?  Earlier, this behavior was a nightmare.  Now, it's extremely
beneficial as it speeds up the routine.  Of course, if the urstrix is busy
casting protect, it won't come or even care that any commotion was going on, be
it a wolf or another urstrix.  While dealing with the 2 urstrixes, try getting
sighted by one of them to draw the other near by.  If these urstrixes aren't
visible or are heading in the wrong direction (away from you), ignore them -
they're usually not worth the time.  There is still the small chance (about 5%
it seems) that being sighted won't draw the urstrixes over.

How can getting these 2 urstrixes be worth it?  See the FAQ in section 32.4 for
details.

After those 2 urstrixes, continuing to the southwest, you'll find 2 more
urstrixes - try to get sighted by the nearest one, unless both are together. 
The sleipnir, a horse-like enemy, doesn't care if a fight is going on so you
can ignore it.  Do, however, get it as the 277 exp that it gives is worth it
and it's right along your route.

The next part is the dive talons.  See the following sections (18.3 and 18.4)
below for details on this as it varies depending on whether or not you have
immobilize.  Dive talons only have 3 actions:  a regular attack, "lunge", and
the rare "kamikaze".  Dive talons seem to like lunging at you the most, a
fiercely powerful attack that can combo (albeit slowly) but is very fast to
charge up and does close to 30% more damage.  Kamikaze is the worst of them
all.  It ignores defense, doing over 500 damage, and you lose all of your
efforts as you get absolutely no credit for it - 0 exp and 0 LP.  Ignore the
cave - there's no need to go in there and risk losing your blue sky that you
need for accuracy (not to mention gnoma entite that pretty much means game over
if it starts attacking as from using magicks near it).

When done with the dive talons, head back to the northeast.  If the wolves on
the left start heading outward, get back so you can avoid fighting them.  Of
course, if they're too far or pointing in the wrong direction (so they can't
see you running by), you're fine.  Backtrack the way you came, heading into
that familiar north exit.  Head to the northeast to the east exit then back to
repeat the whole process again.

As a tip, any time you have a lot of distance to cover between enemies and
you're stuck having to put the weapon away, consider running at full speed for
at least 2 seconds, preferrably 3 or more if you can.  This way, you can make
up for the time spent from stopping to put the weapon away and take it back out
again (I wished you could do that manually).

Oh, and two things.  First, you'll get roughly 7330 total exp - 4 urstrixes, 1
wolf (average), 1 sleipnir, and 3 dive talons.  Second, and the most
scary-looking one, is that you'll be going up and down this route a total of...
1800 times.  Yeah, that's right, nearly two thousand times up and down this
course.  Now can you see why the 70- and 65-hour methods gets very poor grades
for repetitiveness as it's so extremely repetitive.  Yep, 60+ hours of this.


.===================================================================.
# 18.3  Dive talon is fierce (longer method final stage) **180300** #
`===================================================================`

This routine is the final stage of the 70- and 65-hour methods and is the same
whether or not you started with dustia.  Without immobilize, dive talons are
fierce and tricky, but you can now handle them without the need of a save
crystal or quickening chain.  Jinn remarked on the werewolves being something
to avoid.  Dive talons are worse, much worse, but they're worth a lot of exp
and LP, making them more worthwhile.  Early on, kamikaze is often unavoidable,
slowing things down some.  Later on, this becomes far less of a problem, thanks
to pseudo running, knock back, and taking dive talon down in fewer hits. 
Should dive talon decide to go suicidal, keep back and try to defeat it while
you still can.

.............................................................
18.3.1  Levels 44 to 51 - protected rough training **180310**
.............................................................

When you first start out in this very long-lasting stage, the final stage of
the 70-hour method, dive talon will really take a toll on you, being difficult
and powerful and will take 4 hits to defeat.  Even with the traveler's vestment
absorbing about 3/8 of the damage it does, you still take close to 350 damage
per hit.  Thus, be sure you use protect and keep it active, especially when
fighting the dive talons.  After you defeat a dive talon or it decides to go
suicidal, heal.  Fully healing is not a necessity, but get close.  During this
span, you'll be averaging close to about 150 seconds per run.  This may seem
slow, but that's about 2820 exp per minute, or about 20% faster than the dustia
method.  This takes into account the higher odds of getting hit with kamikaze.

........................................................
18.3.2  Levels 51 to 54 - optional transition **180320**
........................................................

During the area from level 51 to 54, you're in a transition zone from taking
dive talon down in 3 hits or 4 hits.  You might consider changing the
traveler's vestment to the bronze armor to increase strength to more frequently
get dive talon in 3 hits instead of 4, but the effect isn't very strong and
you'll take a lot more damage.  In fact, I can't tell if doing this has any
benefit.  I prefer to just keep the traveler's vestment equipped so that
healing is faster and the dive talon won't do as much damage.

...................................................
18.3.3  Levels 55 to 67 - getting easier **180330**
...................................................

From levels 55 clear until 67, you'll be taking dive talon down in 3 hits
constantly.  You're not taking anywhere near as many hits and, should a
critical hit happen during one of the first 2 hits (if a miss doesn't occur on
the first hit, from the enemy dodging the attack), you won't be attacked at
all, speeding up the process.  You're also not taking anywhere near as much
damage so you no longer need to cast protect any more.  You'll also generally
only need to have to heal along the long backtrack back to the north zone exit
instead of between each dive talon.  This speeds up the process still more. 
During this span, you'll be averaging about 132 seconds per run, or about 3270
exp per minute, nearly 40% faster than the dustia method, quite significant,
and this will only get faster still.  This takes into account the lower odds of
being hit with kamikaze.

........................................................
18.3.4  Levels 68 to 70 - transitioning again **180340**
........................................................

Levels 68 to 70 are another transitional zone as, during this point, you can
take dive talon down in 2 hits, provided the focus license is taking effect. 
This means you won't be getting attacked by dive talon any more... unless that
first shot misses and knock back or a critical doesn't occur on the second hit.
This is the only time I really recommend trading in the defense for a little
extra strength.

..........................................................
18.3.5  Levels 71 to 80 - focusing in on 2 hits **180350**
..........................................................

During the area from levels 71 to 80, fully heal yourself, if any HP is
missing, just as you are about to begin attacking the dive talons (usually
after defeating the sleipnir).  This way, the focus license takes effect and
you'll take dive talon down in just 2 hits.  Unless the first attack misses,
you won't take damage.  Of course, not watching the minimap while pseudo
running and carelessness will cause you to still take hits - you'll need to
heal before going to the next dive talon.  The speed of this process is getting
very close to the maximum at this point, averaging about 124 seconds per run or
about 3540 exp per minute, about 50% faster than the dustia method.

As a tip, wait before attacking the first dive talon, running toward it as
usual though get to the point when you're after attacking but haven't selected
a target yet.  When you get to the halfway point (slightly earlier if dive
talon is going in the opposite direction, later if going in your direction),
confirm the attack.  This way, you can run at full speed longer and get the
dive talon to follow you toward your main destination.

..............................................................
18.3.6  Levels 81 to 99 - second half at full speed **180360**
..............................................................

At level 81, and onward to level 99, you no longer need the focus license to
take dive talon down in 2 hits.  This is when both methods max their speed. 
For the 70-hour method, focus on defeating dive talon - you no longer need to
have to heal.  Each round will last about 119 seconds or about 3700 exp per
minute, about 60% faster than dustia.

For the 65-hour method, there's a riskier approach you'll use that trims about
7 or so seconds off each round making it 8% faster.  Instead of taking dive
talon down in 2 hits, you can defeat it in just 1.  This remains for the final
half of the process.  For this to work, you must be at HP critical, with the HP
showing up in red, occurring at 20% HP remaining or less.  Yep, just 700 HP or
less remaining, constantly.  You'll need to have purchased the "adrenaline"
license though - you should have cleared the entire augments section at this
point too.  The "last stand" license will, in a way, double that HP as you're
only taking half damage.  I've seen the urstrixes doing 2 damage, 8 at the
highest, with normal attacks and slap.  "Gust" is the only troublesome one,
doing about 18 damage (as opposed to 36).  You shouldn't need protect though. 
With the traveler's vestment, you're absorbing nearly all of the damage the
lesser enemies do and they're the ones doing the damage, not the dive talons. 
In fact, I've gone on 5 hours straight using up only 600 total HP.

With dive talon going down in 1 hit, you can do the last nearly 900 runs of
this without ever taking a hit from dive talon.  If you do, you should be able
to still handle it.  Don't let HP drop below 400 though - use potions and
hi-potions to heal instead of casting cure.  If you don't have either of these,
then cast cure then attack yourself with a weaker weapon (like the mythril
sword together with the bronze armor).

From in-depth statistical analysis of this routine, only obtained for the
65-hour method, with over 150 data points (!), I'm getting an average time of
111.9 seconds with a standard deviation of 3.9 seconds per run.  This means
3925 exp per minute on average, an impressive 70% faster than the dustia
method.  Some of your fastest runs can even dip below 105 seconds.  Bad and
unlucky runs can pass 2 minutes.

Once you reach level 99, you're done.  Have fun going through Nalbina Dungeons
doing 4000+ damage to everything in sight.  If you go unarmed and make use of
adrenaline, you'll do 9999 damage to essentially everything in sight (just make
sure you raise strength as high as you can as the higher, the better).  9999
damage on mimic queen?  Comin' right up!


.==============================================================.
# 18.4  Dive talon is helpless (the 40-hour method) **180400** #
`==============================================================`

The difference between the longer method and the 40-hour method is that this
route isn't the last step.  For the 40-hour method, you continue this until
somewhere from level 30 to 40 (the choice is yours - the lower the level, the
riskier the final stage is from immobilize missing more frequently.

The routine is otherwise exactly identical to the longer methods except that,
instead of just attacking the dive talons, you immobilize them, fully healing
before attempting.  Once immobilized, just attack away, keeping your distance. 
None of dive talon's attacks are ranged so dive talon is completely helpless
should it get hit with immobilize.  If immobilize misses, run for it - when
dive talon begins to return to its territory, wait until dive talon is about
1/3 of the way to the edge of the minimap from the center then chase after it. 
When it begins to slow down, try casting immobilize again, always from behind. 
Repeat for all of the dive talons.  Ignore the cave though - you don't need to
go back into it, risking losing your accuracy-helping (and thus speed-boosting)
blue sky.




            __   __    ___    _       ____     ___    ____     ___
           |  \ /  |  / _ \  | |     |  _ \   / _ \  |  _ \   / _ \
           | A V A | | |_| | | |     | |_| | | | | | | |_| | | | | |
           | |\ /| | |  _  | | |     |  _ <  | | | | |  _ <  | | | |
           | | V | | | | | | | |___  | |_| | | |_| | | | | | | |_| |
           |_|   |_| |_| |_| |_____| |____/   \___/  |_| |_|  \___/

                ##################################
        #############                        #############
   ########                                            ########
#####   19  Blazing fast grinding in the sewers **190000**   #####
   ########                                            ########
        #############                        #############
                ##################################

Used with:  40H, 35H, 25H


.============================================.
# 19.1  About Garamsythe Waterway **190100** #
`============================================`

Dire rats and steelings that later became ghosts, gigantoads, and garchimaceras
that are hardly worth any exp... why would you even come here?  Well, instead
of those enemies, there's enemies here that offer you not 130 exp but a
whopping 3000!  You might be thinking that, if they're worth 3000 exp, then
they must be terrifyingly powerful, way too powerful for you to handle at even
level 60.  After all, they do about 700 to even 850 damage when you only have
about 800-1500 HP.

This is where immobilize comes in.  Remember:  if an enemy is hit with
immobilize and doesn't have any long-range attacks and you do (what was that
burning bow for again?), that enemy is rendered completely helpless.  None of
these enemies have long range attacks, except water elemental but if you follow
my advice, you won't see it for a long time.  This is why immobilize is
required.  You'll make these enemies look easier at level 25 (when they can
defeat you in 2 hits) than the wolves that you started with and they really are
very easy to handle thanks to immobilize.  Sure they'll take probably 10 hits
to defeat, the enemy is completely helpless until immobilize expires after
about 73 seconds.  You'll be making progress very rapidly, especially if you're
using the 25-hour method.


.==============================================.
# 19.2  Garamsythe's deadly enemies **190200** #
`==============================================`

There are 3 different types of enemies in the area.  The malboro overkings are
the most common.  Lizards are the next most common.  Water elemental is the
last one and rarest.

..............................................
19.2.1  About the malboro overkings **190210**
..............................................

When you first ran through this game, you probably thought the malboro
overkings were frustrating enemies to deal with.  Here, you're soloing them
(and for the 25-hour method, at critical HP, one hit from death and game over)
with inferior armor and at least a halfway decent weapon.  They have around
6600 HP so they'll take several hits with the burning bow with the fiery arrows
to defeat, so many hits that you won't defeat them by the time they start
attacking... for 500 to 800 damage.  This means you're only 3 hits from a game
over.  How can you possibly stand a chance?

That's where immobilize and your ranged weapon that the burning bow is comes
in.  The malboro overkings only have short range attacks.  As a consequence,
should they be immobilized, they will be completely unable to reach you, thus
rendering them 100% helpless.  Simply attack away and an effortless 2903 or
3087 exp is yours.  Yep, roughly 3000 exp for these enemies here, it's no
wonder why this place is so crazy fast!  There are 3 of these present, 7 in the
later part of the 25-hour method.

The malboro overkings, however, have another major weakness.  No it's not
holy-elemental attacks or the complete lack of long-range attacks, it's,
instead, their behavior.  They love playing with their crown, tossing it up 10
feet in the air complete with acrobatic twists and catching it.  In fact, if
you let a malboro overking approach you, wait for it to begin toss its crown up
in the air then quickly get back.  The malboro overking will toss its crown up
again and return to standing.  If you time the use of immobilize right, you can
have the malboro overking begin to return to normal standing just a tad before
immobilize takes effect (about 4 to 8 game frames, if that).  Yep, a whole 10
seconds is spent doing absolutely nothing but playing with its crown while
you're already attacking away or getting a ridiculously massive head start in
fleeing if immobilize misses.  Mastering the exploitation of this behavior will
make the 25-hour method go faster as you can actually get 2 casts of immobilize
off during all that crown tossing.

The malboro overkings have 4 main attacks:  attack, lunge, bad breath, and
cloying breath.  The standard attack does around 500 damage with the scale
armor equipped and it combos as well.  Lunge does close to 750 damage.  Bad
breath and cloying breath just add a lot of negative status effects such as
poison, blind, and slow.  Late in the process, near the end, bad breath and
cloying breath miss very frequently (I couldn't demonstrate cloying breath in
over an hour of attempts because it kept missing and that's level 92, let alone
99).  Early on, the breaths are especially troubling.  At least they're very
easy to avoid - just immobilize them and keep your distance.

....................................
19.2.2  About the lizards **190220**
....................................

There are 2 lizards around as well.  One lizard is in the low-lying area, the
other in the far southwestern part of the map.  Lizards have over 7000 HP and
are frightfully powerful, the most powerful enemy present.  Although they are
powerful, they don't give as much experience - 2525 or 2618.  Still, for about
2572 experience, they're not that bad.

Or are they?  Lizards are swift.  Unlike the malboro overkings that just have
to play with their crown upon getting close, lizards are instant to attack. 
They require far more caution than the malboro overkings.  Should you need to
have to immobilize one from the front, use caution.  If the lizard is not
moving, approach it very slowly with immobilize at the ready.  If the lizard is
moving toward you with its squishy-sounding walks, let it approach you while
you stand still with immobilize at the ready.

Lizards have 4 actions as well:  attack, flee, gnaw, and angelsong.  The
regular attack does around 550 damage.  Gnaw does nearly 850 damage, very
extreme.  Angelsong just adds the "regen" status effect to all nearby enemies,
including itself.  On occasion, though only with the first sighting that I'm
aware of, lizard will, instead of attacking, quickly get away.

........................................
19.2.3  About water elemental **190230**
........................................

Exclusive to the 25-hour method after a while is an annoying enemy called water
elemental.  While it may seem innocent enough with a green life bar, this thing
will prevent you from using immobilize.  Should you use any magick near it
(near being that you can see the green life bar), it will turn aggressive and
unleash some severely devistating attacks that, even at level 99 with full HP,
can pretty much mean game over.  You won't, however, find it in the 40- or
35-hour methods' routines but you will in the 25-hour method's routine.

Water elemental has 3 main attacks:  watera, silence, sleep, shell, and
protect.  Watera does around 400-500 damage and is very fast to charge.  I find
it disappointing that characters cannot get watera or waterga, just water, a
very weak spell making the cloud staff practically worthless for its bonus. 
Silence will prevent you from using immobilize making you unable to return
unless you can very sneakily sneak past the malboros and lizards.  If, of
course, you have echo herbs, use those though it's unlikely you will.

The worst one of them all is sleep.  Sleep may seem innocent enough, but it's
the fact that the endless barrage of watera won't wake up the character...
doing 50% more damage while at it.  You can't move or get away so if sleep hits
and you're in range of water elemental, as from not immobilizing it, game over
is just moments away, even at level 99 with full HP and possibly even bubble
(which doubles max HP).  It is actually possible to fully prevent sleep,
indirectly.  How?  As soon as sleep's spell effects start, use an alarm clock. 
Action being carried out at that moment?  Change equipment to cancel it
instantly.  While you will get put to sleep with some chance for some time, the
alarm clock has been readied and will take effect, waking up the character less
than a second after falling asleep.  Basically, the order of events is this: 
sleep spell effects, alarm clock used a reaction time later (300 ms), alarm
clock's animation effects start, character is put to sleep, alarm clock's
effects take effect, character wakes up.  I've done this once and it literally
saved me from a game over.  Of course, chances are, you won't have an alarm
clock.  If a malboro finds you, it may save you, but, chances are, you've
already immobilized them, defeated them, or they're just too far away and they
can't help you.

Thus, the best way to deal with water elemental is to simply ignore it and not
use magick near it, nothing more.  For the 40- and 35-hour methods, simply
avoid the zone that has it.  For the 25-hour method, you don't even use
immobilize when you get to go into here - only the protect will cause problems
early on.  While not after attacking you (it has the green bar), it will
randomly cast protect and shell on not only itself but any other enemies, if it
starts near them.


.===========================================.
# 19.3  The routine's first zone **190300** #
`===========================================`

This section covers the early part of the routine, involving the first zone. 
This is always the same in all methods early on.  The 25-hour method branches
off at about level 59.

...............................
19.3.1  Starting out **190310**
...............................

As you return to Rabanastre, upon getting all of the required licenses, the
equipment, and other preparations, head into Lowtown, heading far to the north.
From the wraith hunt and the story advancement beforehand, you should be
familiar with how to get here.  Go past the metal gates and save your game. 
One wrong move now and you'll have to redo the stuff up to this point from your
last save so I urge you to save now while you can.  There are so many zone
exits here, you might be confused as to which one to use.  After saving, head
to the east and take the 4th zone counterclockwise around the circle.  My
videos demonstrate this very well.

19.3.1.1  Immobilization not guaranteed **190311**

Early on, immobilize has a fair chance of missing.  If that happens, run for
it.  If the enemy is far away (such as from playing with the crown), hold R2
and run.  If the enemy is close, don't use R2 as the character stopping from
putting the weapon away will pretty much guarantee you a hit.  If a hit in
inevitable, then use R2.  You'll take the hit but at least you'll get a head
start, if you survive and the enemy doesn't combo.  If you already have an
action charging up, alternate between attack and cure without letting them
execute from fully charging.  I would suggest letting them charge to about 80%
then change actions.  As long as the action doesn't take effect, you'll keep
running at full speed.  My 25-hour method video demonstrates why R2 isn't
always the best way to flee (it was unintentional).  I could have escaped had I
not used R2 - the delay from putting the weapon away cost me a game over
(thankfully, only about 15 minutes of effort was lost and it was a bad take as
I wanted to record something).

If immobilize hits, defeat the affected enemy(ies).  However, should another
one creep up, be ready to immobilize it.  If immobilize fails on it, you'll
have to sacrifice the enemy you were attacking and run away.  It's fine if
immobilize misses on an enemy already affected by immobilize, however.  Because
of the high frequency of immobilize missing early on, you'll need to avoid
immobilizing several enemies at a time unless it's the only option you have. 
Remember that time is important.

19.3.1.2  The first section **190312**

The first zone has 2 sections, in a sense.  The first section has a malboro
overking often very close and a lizard in the low-lying area.  Never go into
this low-lying area as it's full of traps.  There are treasures present, but
they're not worth getting.  Stick to the high area at all times where you won't
run into any traps.  The low-lying area is reachable with the burning bow and
immobilize by simply standing at the edge of the cliff.

If the malboro overking is very close as you're going toward the lizard, deal
with it first.  Do not cut around the corner to get the malboro as, just
because you can't get to it because the wall is blocking it doesn't mean the
malboro can't get you.  I've had quite a few surprise attacks because of that. 
If the malboro overking is near the edge, wait for it to approach.  If it stops
moving, get back, just in case it's playing with its crown and/or getting ready
to attack.  If it's heading in the other direction, wait for it to get out of
the way and then go for it.

The low-lying lizard can cost you some experience.  Why?  See that transparent
U-shaped part on the minimap?  If that lizard crosses farther to the west from
the center point of the easternmost part of that U's top, you can't get it at
all.  If this lizard is very close to this point, don't immobilize it, attack
it.  This will draw it out.  If you immobilize it and the very annoying knock
back happens, you won't be able to finish it off.  As a consequence, you
essentially lost it.  By attacking it, you can draw it away into an area where
you can easily get to it without knock back causing problems, unless it decides
to use angelsong where you should just continue attacking it (or wait if
knockback sends it out of range).  Immobilize it as soon as you can, such as
after the first attack.  To illustrate what I mean, consider this diagram
(about to scale):
 _     _
| |   |X|
| |___| |
|_______|

The X is the point of no return.  Farther to the west and the lizard is
completely inaccessible without going into the lower area (and that's one crazy
long detour).  Farther to the east and you can get it.

19.3.1.3  The second section **190313**

The second section has 2 more malboro overkings and another lizard.  The order
you deal with these enemies is pretty much closest to farthest.  Whether or not
the lizard is first, middle, or last is almost purely random.  Unlike the
lizard in the first section, this lizard is the most troublesome one,
especially early on when immobilize is not guaranteed to hit.  If it's facing
toward you, either approach it very slowly after immobilize has charged or, if
the lizard is moving in your direction, stay put slightly out of range and let
it approach you.  If immobilize misses and the lizard decides to use angelsong,
you can try again, but be ready to run immediately.  Treat the 2 malboros here
in the usual way.

Whatever you do, do not go into that zone to the south.  There is an enemy
called "water elemental" that's here that pretty much spells game over should
you use any magicks near it or even just attack it.  Just stay in this zone and
the area near the entrance to Lowtown.

.........................................
19.3.2  Respawning the enemies **190320**
.........................................

Once the 5 enemies have been dealt with, check to see if that lizard is
accessible, if you couldn't get to it.  If it is now accessible, deal with it. 
Otherwise, just ignore it and respawn the enemies.  To respawn the enemies,
back track to the zone immediately before the point in which you entered - the
second route to the right.  Follow along the obvious path, then hold the stick
to the bottom left to quickly get into the zone you were just in barely 10
seconds ago.  With a 3-zone roundabout completed, you can get an infinite
supply of enemies, making for an effective way to accumulate license points and
level up while also keeping loading times to a minimum.

...........................................
19.3.3  Your magick number is 55 **190330**
...........................................

No, this isn't the speed limit on rural roads in the US.  Instead, it's a
special threshold for the magick power stat.  Why is 55 special for the magick
power stat?  When it reaches 55, immobilize is guaranteed to work.  Why is it
guaranteed to work?  The formula for calculating the success rate of immobilize
is "(50+SourceMagickPower-TargetVitality)*2".  The malboro overkings have up to
55 on vitality and the lizards have up to 54.  The multiplication by 2 is from
the serenity license.  Without serenity, even if magick power is maxed at 99,
there's still no guarantee on these enemies.  You can see just how critical
serenity (and magick power) is for getting status effects to work successfully.

Once immobilize is guaranteed to work, you no longer need to be as cautious. 
You still do need to be careful, however, thanks to these enemies being so
frightfully powerful.  At least you'll be able to run the course more quickly,
speeding things up.  Once you can begin regularly defeating the low-lying
lizard in 3 hits (4 hits maximum, mainly if far from the stairs), you no longer
have to immobilize that lizard.  This is thanks to the ridiculously long detour
it has to take just to reach you.  If you follow it along the route, you should
be able to get 5 or even 6 total shots off.  It's only the fact you're not
guaranteed to hit it that makes attacking the lizards directly strongly not
advised.  It's only the fact that the low-lying one takes such a long detour
just to reach you that it's more dependable.  However, if you have 2 or more
shots left to defeat that low-lying lizard and it's reached the bottom of the
stairs, immobilize it and begin running toward the zone boundary as needed.

How far you go with this first zone depends on your method.  See section 19.5
below for details.


.============================================.
# 19.4  The routine's second zone **190400** #
`============================================`

The zone to the south from the first zone you deal with is the second zone.  It
is exclusive to the 25-hour method thanks to water elemental being present.  In
this zone, there are 4 malboro overkings, 1 lizard (that only appears when in
the right location), and 1 water elemental.  Do not bother with the lizard
found in an isolated, out-of-the-way corner that's at the end of the route and
in the northwest corner.  Wait until level 74 before attempting to get the
hidden lizard, if you want to risk it.  While it is possible to just immobilize
it, the fact you must be careful and that water elemental is present makes this
not worth the risk.

To respawn the enemies, continue heading far to the east until into the next
zone to the east.  Back track to find 4 more malboro overkings, another hidden
lizard, and the usual water elemental that must be avoided.  Continue through
the first zone, dealing with the enemies there, only going in reverse.  If
immobilize misses during the reverse trek, get 2 zones away, fleeing if safe to
do so, and head into the zone you used to reset the second zone's enemies and
try again.  You may immediately reenter the zone you fled from to give it
another go, but only do so if the target enemy is far from the zone line.  If
the lizard goes after you again upon the zone loading, just get 2 zones away
again.


.=====================================================.
# 19.5  The constant immobilization method **190500** #
`=====================================================`

The 40- and 35-hour methods only ever use the first zone and are exactly the
same for the final stage.  This way, water elemental won't cause you problems. 
Everything, except that low-lying lizard, is immobilized.  The low-lying lizard
is only immobilized early on in the process, but once you can begin defeating
it in 3 hits (4 at the most, mainly if around the corner far from the stairs),
there isn't a need to immobilize it unless it's right next to the stairs.  As
you level up during these methods, certain thresholds come up, mostly revolving
around magick power being 55 or higher (you might consider 54 (using 54 means a
99% success rate on the malboros (comfortably high) and a guarantee on the
lizards)).  If you decide to use 54, keep alert until magick power goes up
again (usually after 2 level ups).  Just remember that any time a level up
occurs, you must heal yourself so that serenity can take effect.  The following
subsections will explain these thresholds in detail and what makes them
important.

..................................................................
19.5.1  Before level 57 - immobilization not guaranteed **190510**
..................................................................

In the earliest part of the process, immobilize will miss fairly often, but
improving as you level up more.  During this time, be cautious when approaching
an enemy.  Mastering the luring of the malboro overkings to play with their
crowns will really help.  If you do it right, you can easily get a huge head
start on escaping if immobilize misses, sometimes so much of a head start that
you can almost have the malboro overking completely off the minimap by the time
it even starts attacking.

During these early levels, you'll be leveling up quickly even though immobilize
misses quite a bit.  As you level up, immobilize misses less and less often,
eventually getting to the point where immobilize is guaranteed.  Remember that
55 is your magick number - when magick power reaches that point, immobilize is
guaranteed to work.

....................................................................
19.5.2  Levels 57 to 65 - the strength of the winged helm **190520**
....................................................................

When you reach level 57, your magick power stat is 59 with 4 magick lore
licenses.  If you only have 3 magick lores (or have 4 but want the guarantee),
level 59 is the threshold.  If you can obtain a 4th magick lore during the area
from level 57 to 59, do this part once you obtain it.  At this point, license
and equip the winged helm that you went after a while ago.  This lowers magick
power to 54.

The winged helm should increase your damage output by a whole 10%.  This
doesn't seem like much, but it can knock off an entire hit early on and when
fewer hits are needed, time is saved - saved time means the process speeds up.

............................................................
19.5.3  Levels 66 to 91 - scaling the scale armor **190530**
............................................................

At level 66 (68 if you want the guarantee), swap out the traveler's vestment
for the scale armor, licensing the scale armor before equipping as usual.  I'm
assuming you have all 5 magick lore licenses at this point.  Although magick
power will be 54 again, you won't have to bother changing equipment again from
this point on.  During this, you'll also be constantly defeating the enemies in
3 hits - this means you no longer have to immobilize that low-lying lizard. 
The exception, as usual, is if it's very close to the stairs and it doesn't
decide to flee like it often seems to when there.

.....................................................
19.5.4  Levels 92 to 99 - full speed ahead **190540**
.....................................................

Level 92 is the point in which the method maxes out its speed.  This is because
you're guaranteed to defeat every enemy here in 2 hits, 1 if you get a critical
on the first hit.

...........................................
19.5.5  The speed of the routine **190550**
...........................................

From in-depth analysis of the routine during the time from level 97 to the end,
I've figured out how fast the routine really is.  You obtain about 14,050
experience per round (slightly less due to the occasional case, about a 3%
chance, of the low-lying lizard being inaccessible).  Each round takes about
89.52 seconds with a standard deviation of about 5.82 seconds.  This means you
gain about 9400 experience per minute on average, just pushing past 10,000
experience per minute on the fast end.  This is with 113 total data points
being analyzed accurate to the frame.


.==============================================.
# 19.6  The direct attacking method **190600** #
`==============================================`

The 25-hour method is nearly identical to the safer methods early on, but once
you reach level 59, that's when things really change and in more ways than one.
How things change in the 25-hour method depends almost entirely on when you can
get the battle lores.  Focusing on them will seriously speed things up far more
so than immobilize hitting.  The following subsections will explain these
thresholds in detail and what makes them important.

..................................................................
19.6.1  Before level 59 - immobilization not guaranteed **190610**
..................................................................

When you start this routine, the fact immobilize misses fairly often makes it
not very dependable.  Despite this, you'll level up significantly faster than
the dustia method as just one of these enemies is worth about 2 1/2 dustias and
they take roughly 20 seconds to defeat instead of 30.  You could gain a level
once every 5 minutes, 4 minutes on a fast run, first thing when you start.  Of
course, this slows down considerably as level increases but you're still
gaining several levels in an hour.

While at this, you'll be focusing on getting faster, at least getting the first
2 swiftness licenses and licensing the hermes sandals.  Once you get that,
focus on getting as many battle lores as you can.  You're doing good if you can
get 4 by level 59.  You'll also need to make sure you have at least 75 LP
stocked before you reach level 59.

......................................................
19.6.2  Levels 59 to 63 - a new route opens **190620**
......................................................

Once you reach level 59, license the winged helm and scale armor both,
equipping them.  This will boost damage output enough so that you will be
guaranteed, with 4 battle lores, to defeat the malboro overkings in 2 hits.  If
you only have 3 battle lores, start at level 60 unless you can license the 4th
one during 59.

Once 2 hits becomes possible, this routine really takes off on speed.  Although
you sacrifice the guarantee of immobilize working, you don't really need it any
more, except on that one lizard in the western part of the first zone.  Just
one enemy, that's it.  Not having to immobilize everything before attacking
easily saves a whole 5 seconds per enemy and for the number of enemies you deal
with, that's quite significant.

What about the numerous malboro overkings though?  Unlike the safer methods,
you directly attack them without immobilizing them.  Since they spend so much
time playing with their crown, you can easily get 2 shots off.  However, should
knock back happen, there's a chance that the malboro will go after you right
away.  Solving that is not a problem though - remember all that pseudo running
you've been doing during the parts before the final stage starts?  Time to put
that to great use!  Be warned though - if a malboro overking is near one you're
attacking, it'll dart toward you as usual.  Simply let it approach without you
approaching it, let it begin to toss up the crown, then get back as soon as you
see it tossing up the crown.  It'll toss its crown after a bit.  If you have an
attack that's just about to connect as the malboro overking gets in range, get
back immediately.

To push out more speed, if no other malboro overking is nearby, approach the
malboro overking while still attacking but still keep out of range.  If knock
back happens, keep back as usual, approaching only if you realize that the
malboro is not already attacking yet.  It takes practice and careful
observation to know this but remember that, if the malboro begins attacking
right away, pseudo run from it.  If you can start 3/4 of a second closer to
your intended destination, you've saved 3/4 of a second.  That's hardly
anything, but it's the sheer number of times where this can be put to use that
makes it far more worthwhile.  In just one round, you could do it about 10
times, saving 7 1/2 seconds.  You'll be doing close to 200 to 250 rounds of
this so that's a very impressive 1800 seconds saved, a whole half hour (and a
half hour is a lot against 25 hours)!

You might be wondering - why not just directly attack that lizard?  There are 2
reasons why you shouldn't.  First, and most importantly, lizards can evade
attacks.  With no guarantee on hitting them, missing on the first shot pretty
much spells doom.  The second is that they are very swift to attack should they
decide to attack.  While angelsong is practically harmless, allowing you to get
2 more shots off, it's just not worth the risk.  Thus, immobilizing it is the
only way to safely deal with that lizard.  The lizard cannot reach you when
it's in the lower area and you're above.  If it's fully on the stairs, it's too
high and can and will reach you.  Thus, you can safely attack while on your way
south.  Deal with any malboros along the way though.  The low-lying liazard,
however, you can directly attack.  Even if it gets to the stairs, constantly
attack it but get ready to cross the zone boundary if things go wrong.  If
immobilize misses on that troublesome lizard, run in the direction you've
cleared the enemies out of and respawn the enemies in that zone (or the
southern one as well if you want).

Unlike the safer version of this routine, you need to head to the south exit
and continue through.  With only malboros present, it's easy to deal with. 
Just master the crown playing during the first few levels and you'll find this
very easy to deal with.  There is an exception though.  If water elemental is
present and puts protect on one of those malboros, you won't be able to defeat
it in 2 hits any more.  Should that happen, return to the previous zone you
were in and respawn the enemies to try again.  It is, fortunately, very rare
that this happens.  If you use the speed up with the malboros, you can reduce
the odds of that happening.

.........................................................
19.6.3  Levels 64 to 69 - enforcing immobilize **190630**
.........................................................

Once you reach level 64, if you have 4 battle lores by then (66 if you only
have 3), change the scale armor into the traveler's vestment to now guarantee
immobilize on the one lizard that needs it.  Still approach that lizard very
carefully.  Once immobilized, just proceed as usual.  This threshold comes from
needing to keep the 2-hit guarantee.  The boosting of the success rate is just
as effective if you only have 1 magick lore due to the lizards only needing 54
magick power to guarantee immobilizing.

My videos show of dealing with the hidden lizard.  It's not worth using and it
costed me about 5 to 10 minutes on the game clock from doing it.  Having to be
careful around it is the problem, not to mention water elemental.  The only
effective way to deal with the hidden lizard is to directly attack it but wait
until at least level 74 before you do.  Doing so will speed up the process a
slight amount, about 0.7%.  That hardly seems like anything, but over the
course of only 5 hours, you save nearly 2 minutes.  It's not much, but for the
risk, I don't think it's worth it.

...................................................
19.6.4  Levels 70 to 73 - ensuring safety **190640**
...................................................

At level 70, the scale armor can be returned as immobilize is guaranteed, but
only if you have 3 magick lores obtained (level 72 if only have 2 magick lores
obtained).  Other than this, no change in the routine is needed.  The threshold
comes from the guarantee of immobilization.  Once you get a fifth battle lore
licensed, go after "last stand" next as this will give you an extra chance or
2, preventing a one-hit game over.  Just buy some potions from the shop just
outside Garamsythe Waterway's entrance and use them to heal as needed instead
of the cure spell, healing only when not in combat and far from an enemy, as
from backtracking.

...................................................
19.6.5  Levels 74 to 80 - bursting ahead **190650**
...................................................

When you reach level 74, assuming you have all 5 battle lores obtained, protect
on the malboro overkings no longer presents an issue - you're now guaranteed to
defeat them in 2 hits even with protect.  You'll also notice that some critical
hits do 9999 damage, doing that more frequently as level increases.  At this
point, you're already hovering around 12,100 exp per minute, 5 1/4 times faster
than the dustia method and more than 3 times faster than the 70-hour method. 
No kidding this is fast and it's still only getting faster yet!

Oh and focus on getting the "last stand" license if you haven't gone after it
yet.  With this, you can take more risks and with more risk comes even more
speed.  This means you can get that hidden lizard.  I wouldn't advise that you
do, however.

........................................................
19.6.6  Levels 81 to 99 - supersonic leveling **190660**
........................................................

Level 81 is special in a different way than you might expect.  How?  It's at
this point, with all 5 battle lores, that you now start having the chance of
defeating a malboro overking in just 1 hit without the need of a critical.  In
fact, by this time, you're now picking up even more speed on the routine.  By
the time you reach about level 88, still not even the 3/4 mark, you're able to
push past 13,000 experience per minute as the average and still getting faster.

...........................................
19.6.7  The speed of the routine **190670**
...........................................

So, okay, you're well aware of the 25-hour method being so fast, right?  Well,
how fast is it?  From 35 data points, I find that, toward the end (levels 95 to
99), the average time per run is 226.75 seconds with a standard deviation of
6.41 seconds.  Each 3-3/4-minute run gets you a total of about 52,070
experience per run (less than the 52,216 that's expected due to that low-lying
lizard that you can't get to on rare occasion - my value is based on losing out
on 2 lizards which actually did happen in my data collection run).  This means
I was averaging about 13,780 experience per minute.  Fast runs pushed past
14,000 experience per minute.  It's thanks to defeating the malboro overkings
in 1 hit quite frequently that makes this get so fast.  Yep, the last 1/4 of
the process (from level 91) hovers around 13,500 experience per minute, so fast
that you only need under 40 minutes to level up.  Yes, I know that 35 data
points doesn't seem like much, it's the fact each run lasts much longer and I
started the exact-to-the-frame logging from level 95.




              _____    ___          _   _    ___    _   _   ____
             |___  |  / _ \        | | | |  / _ \  | | | | |  _ \
                / /  | | | |  ___  | |_| | | | | | | | | | | |_| |
               / /   | | | | |___| |  _  | | | | | | | | | |  _ <
              / /    | |_| |       | | | | | |_| | | |_| | | | | |
             /_/      \___/        |_| |_|  \___/   \___/  |_| |_|

                #########################################
        #############                               #############
   ########                                                   ########
#####   20  The long-lasting and varied 70-hour method **200000**   #####
   ########                                                   ########
        #############                               #############
                #########################################

.==============================================.
# 20.1  What is the 70-hour method? **200100** #
`==============================================`

The 70-hour method is a lower-risk early powerleveling method in Final Fantasy
12 that keeps story progress at a bare minimum, does not involve starting out
with using dustia to level up on, and does not involve utilizing the adrenaline
license near the end.  You'll reach level 99 only 4% of the way through the
game's story - right after the parade in Rabanastre and before you even see
Lowtown for the first time.  I call it the 70-hour method as you'll be level 99
within 70 hours.

For the video walkthrough of how the 70-hour method works, at least for the
general idea, reference this play list on my YouTube:

http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLLUkzkTsdHsoVKyZPkexLKhsFuByfGMzr


.=========================================================.
# 20.2  The optimal route through the augments **200200** #
`=========================================================`

Routine:  Augments (10)
Video:  Undefined
Time:  Undefined
Level:  Undefined
What to do:  The time you start going after the augments in the 70-hour method
is once you get the burning bow.  The sooner you dig into them, the better. 
There is a problem though.  You can't obtain any of the gambit slot licenses,
creating a barrier to the augments.  There is a way around that though and the
most efficient way is digging through the white magick licenses until you've
obtained white magick 4.  From there, that's where the route starts.

Because the route through the augments that you use depends entirely on your
method, the routine itself only briefly covers this.  Here, you'll learn the
entire details, step by step.  The 70-hour method has focus on strength, HP,
and swiftness.  This means the battle lores and +HP licenses are very
important.  Of top priority, however, are the swiftness licenses.  This is the
entire route, from start to finish, as I suggest.

The first steps - going for HP and swiftness:
 X.  White magick 4 - the starting point
 1.  v Ether lore 1 (20 LP) - pure junk
 2.  v Spellbreaker (65 LP) - pure junk
 3.  v Headsman (30 LP) - slightly useful
 4.  < Swiftness (30 LP) - must-have!
 5.  < +150 HP (70 LP) - useful
 6.  v Potion lore 3 (70 LP) - junk
 7.  < Swiftness (50 LP) - must-have!
 8.  v Focus (70 LP) - must-have!
 9.  < +200 HP (100 LP) - useful
10.  v Battle lore (80 LP) - very useful
11.  < +500 HP (155 LP) - very useful
12.  < Swiftness (80 LP) - must-have!

This route will get you dealing damage very quickly, charging up attacks
quickly and making what's to come easier to handle.

The other 4 battle lores:
 X.  Headsman (30 LP) - the starting point
13.  v Potion lore 2 (35 LP) - junk
14.  > Phoenix lore (30 LP) - pure junk
15.  > Remedy lore 1 (20 LP) - pure junk
16.  ^ Battle lore (25 LP) - very useful

 X.  Remedy lore 1 (20 LP) - the starting point
17.  > Shield block (25 LP) - pure junk
18.  v Battle lore (40 LP) - very useful

 X.  Swiftness (80 LP) - the starting point
19.  ^ Battle lore (120 LP) - very useful

 X.  Focus (70 LP) - the starting point
20.  v Shield block (75 LP) - pure junk
21.  > Battle lore (55 LP) - very useful

Getting the 4 battle lores requires digging through a lot of junk just to get
to them but will help increase the damage output.  The first one costs 110 LP
with the next being only 65 more LP away.  Those that follow are 120 total then
130.  Thus, by going after the 2 on the right right away, you can increase
strength the fastest.

The 5 magick lores:
 X.  Spellbreaker (65 LP) - the starting point
22.  > Magick lore (25 LP) - slightly useful

 X.  Ether lore 1 (20 LP) - the starting point
23.  < Magick lore (40 LP) - slightly useful

 X.  +200 HP (100 LP) - the starting point
24.  ^ Remedy lore 3 (70 LP) - pure junk
25.  ^ Channeling (80 LP) - slight junk
26.  ^ Magick lore (55 LP) - slightly useful

 X.  Channeling (80 LP) - the starting point
27.  < Magick lore (80 LP) - slightly useful

 X.  Battle lore (120 LP) - the starting point
28.  ^ Magick lore (120 LP) - slightly useful

The magick lores only serve to speed up healing, nothing more.

The remaining stuff of worth:
 X.  Battle lore (40 LP) - the starting point
29.  v +100 HP (50 LP) - somewhat useful

 X.  White magick 2 - the starting point
30.  v +50 HP (30 LP) - slightly useful

 X.  Magick lore (120 LP) - the starting point
31.  ^ Quickening (50 LP) - slightly useful

 X.  +100 HP (50 LP) - the starting point
32.  v Quickening (50 LP) - slightly useful

 X.  Remedy lore 1 (20 LP) - the starting point
33.  v Adrenaline (65 LP) - very useful at level 81
34.  v Last stand (70 LP) - somewhat useful at level 81

 X.  Obtain the rest of the augments

The remaining stuff is to get the last of the HP bonuses that are available,
which don't have much of an effect, get you up to 2 more quickenings (skip one
if you decided to get the second one during the routine for getting the
traveler's garb set).  The final one is only needed for the 65-hour method
during the second half of the final stage, needed to push the speed limit to
the max (3800-4050 exp per minute instead of 3600-3800 exp per minute).


.==========================================.
# 20.3  Stage 1:  The beginning **200300** #
`==========================================`

Routine:  Beginning (4)
Video segments:  1, 2
Time:  5 minutes
Level:  2
What to do:  Nothing changes with the tutorial part.  Be sure you max the
battle speed during this, and use active mode (if you're comfortable enough
with it).  For the rogue tomato hunt, simply attack the necessary enemies
around the rogue tomato, using a potion when about 60 HP is missing at least
finishing off your current enemy before using one.  Claiming the bounty and
getting the 3 potions from Montblanc are useful but not required.  Do buy cure
though, licensing it.


.====================================.
# 20.4  Stage 2:  The rod **200400** #
`====================================`

Routine:  Rod (5)
Video segment:  4
Time:  15 minutes
Level:  3
What to do:  Defeat the enemies along the way, taking them on one at a time the
best you can.  Ignore the cockatrices unless there's no way around them and
definitely only deal with one at a time.  Definitely avoid nekhbet though.  Do
go after the wolves though as they're easy to deal with.  Avoid the bigger
alpha wolf, for now.  Accumulate 30 LP by defeating wolves as needed then save
in the southeast zone exit from the area where the rod is and get the rod,
licensing it.  The rod is almost due north from the save crystal at the edge of
a cliff - ignore the enemies while going after the rod.


.============================================.
# 20.5  Stage 3:  Rapid licensing **200500** #
`============================================`

Routine:  Ichthon (7)
Video segment:  8
Time:  1 hour, 30 minutes
Level:  10
What to do:  Go to South Bank Village, whacking wolves and cockatrices along
the way (avoid nekhbet and ichthon).  Buy the battle harness, licensing and
equipping it as soon as you can.  Save your game, quit, reload, then defeat the
ichthons, cockatrices, cactoids, and the numerous wolves around this area
heading from east to west.  When done, save in the village, quit, and reload. 
Repeat until you've licensed the battle harness, quickening, and stocked up on
at least 80 extra LP, 100 LP suggested.


.================================================.
# 20.6  Stage 4:  Shopping in Nalbina **200600** #
`================================================`

Routine:  Nalbina (8)
Video segments:  9, 10
Time:  1 hour, 45 minutes
Level:  10
What to do:  Return to the south, heading to the northeastern exit in Yardang
Labyrinth to get into Nalbina.  Buy one set of onion arrows for 100 total gil. 
Go into the town itself and buy the bronze armor, bronze helm, and, optionally,
the bronze chestplate at the armor shop.  The kilmweave shirt and topkapi hat
are optional but not needed.  Buy protect and blindna at the magick shop.  If
you want to use the chain-status-death method for getting the burning bow, buy
poison.


.============================================.
# 20.7  Stage 5:  The burning bow **200700** #
`============================================`

Routine:  Burn bow (9)
Video segment:  11
Time:  2 hours
Level:  18
What to do:  Go south from Nalbina to the Giza Plains, bashing every enemy
along the way and saving at the southern save crystal.  If you need to practice
the use of quickenings, do so here, quitting and reloading without saving when
you're done practicing.  Head into the Westersand and be sure you get a blue
sky (return to Giza Plains then back until you do).  Ignore the enemies
(strongly recommended).  If you have to fight, make sure you don't take on one
enemy at a time.  Continue west, heading as far west as you can.  Beware of the
attraction to fights that the urstrixes have - keep them separate.  Definitely
ignore the alraunes but feel free to whack the wolves, except alpha wolf (found
in only one place).

Switch to wait mode, equip armor to get as much strength as you can, then save
at the save crystal.  After saving, use a quickening on dive talon, going for 3
hits, and only 3 hits.  If you don't defeat dive talon, return to the save
crystal without using R2, touch it, then return and immediately fire off
another quickening.  When defeated, grab the loot.  If you get a burning bow,
save immediately!  If you don't get one, save only if you defeated dive talon
on the first round of quickenings and you're under level 18, otherwise just
quit and reload to try again.  Expect to spend about 4 hours doing this, or
about 100 tries.  This will only add about 2 to 3 minutes on the game clock
from the initial save.  Reach at least level 18 before continuing on, defeating
the enemies in the Westersand via pseudo running and the burning bow.


.====================================================.
# 20.8  Stage 6:  The traveler's garb set **200800** #
`====================================================`

Routine:  Trav Garb (12)
Video segment:  19
Time:  2 hours, 30 minutes
Level:  18
What to do:  Return to South Bank Village, bashing whatever enemies are along
the way for quick LP.  License a second quickening if you want (2 below the
burning bow license), and save, quit, and reload.  Spend 3 minutes defeating
enemies in the zone just outside the village, ignoring all cactoids, then
return to the river.  If you don't see greeden, head a bit south, going 1
second farther away than the top of the sand dune and return to check again. 
If you see greeden, fire a quickening off trying to get as many hits as you can
(7 at the most if you manage to get that high).  If greeden is not defeated,
finish it off with your burning bow.  If no braid wool drops, quit and reload,
repeating the process.  If braid wool does drop, return to the village, save
your game, then quit and reload, repeating the process a second time.  When you
get your second braid wool, sell the 2 braid wools together with 5 water stones
(from giza rabbit or icthons) and 2 tanned hides (from slavens) then buy,
license, and equip the traveler's garb set for a massive boost on defense and
magick power.


.====================================================.
# 20.9  Stage 7:  Chaining the werewolves **200900** #
`====================================================`

Routine:  Werewolf (18)
Video segment:  27
Time:  10 hours
Level:  45
What to do:  Return to Giza Plains, saving at the southernmost save crystal. 
Cast protect, then begin attacking the werewolves, pseudo running as needed. 
When defeated, head back east, healing as needed and recasting protect, even if
already active.  Pass through the zone with the save crystal without using it,
then return, repeating the process.  It'll be difficult at first, but, when you
can constantly defeat the werewolves in 3 hits without the need of focus,
around level 35, or when you get the +500 HP license, you won't need protect
any more.  By level 43, the werewolves will be always going down in 2 hits with
the focus license.  While defeating the werewolves, ignore the loot until the
chain level maxes.  Once it does, grab the loot.  Sell your loot when the chain
gets to about 100 to 125.  Continue the process until level 45.  You can get
away with level 44 at the absolute lowest.  For the final stage to be safer,
you can go up to 55, but I don't recommend it as the final stage becomes
faster.


.=============================================.
# 20.10  Stage 8:  The winged helm **201000** #
`=============================================`

Routine:  Wing helm (13)
Video segment:  29
Time:  10 hours, 30 minutes
Level:  45
What to do:  Go back to the Westersand, saving at the southernmost save crystal
in Giza Plains.  Head into the Zertinan Caverns in the first zone you visit in
the Westersand, found in the southwest area.  Begin chaining the slimes that
drop from the ceiling, attacking them.  Avoid the 2 traps present.  Big is open
and safe, small is confined and dangerous - remember this for the locations of
the traps, referencing the odd wall indents.  Ignore the loot until chain level
3.  Have blindna ready should slime blind you.  For sleep, you can only wait
until slime decides to attack physically which is pretty common.  If you get a
winged helm, license it and equip it, leave the cave, getting the speartongues
along the way.  If you don't get a winged helm by a 50-chain (60 at the
highest), consider quitting and reloading to try again and keep the game clock
to a minimum.


.=============================================.
# 20.11  Stage 9:  The final stage **201100** #
`=============================================`

Routine:  Dive talon (19)
Video segments:  31, 32, 33
Time:  70 hours
Level:  99
What to do:  Head to the westernmost part of the Westersand where Lohen is, and
save your game, quit, and reload.  Back track to the zone with the cave and
cast protect on yourself before entering this zone.  Defeat the 2 dive talons
along the way from the save crystal.  If the wolves are too far, ignore them
and head to the left getting the 2 urstrixes here.  Head to the southwest and
get these 2 urstrixes then the sleipnir.  The dive talons follow - defeat them,
pseudo running as much as you can.  When you defeat a dive talon, heal.  When
you reach level 57, you no longer need protect.  At level 70, equip your
strength-boosting body armor so you can defeat dive talon in 2 hits with the
focus license.  At level 81, equip your traveler's vestment body armor, and you
no longer need to heal.  The speed of this routine has been maxed.  Around
level 85, you should have enough LP to obtain every license on the license
board - do so.  Continue this until you're at level 99.  Once there, save your
game and you're done and continue on to the afterward section.




               ____   _____         _   _    ___    _   _   ____
              / ___| |  ___|       | | | |  / _ \  | | | | |  _ \
             | |__   | |__    ___  | |_| | | | | | | | | | | |_| |
             |  _ \  |___ \  |___| |  _  | | | | | | | | | |  _ <
             | |_| |  ___| |       | | | | | |_| | | |_| | | | | |
              \___/  |____/        |_| |_|  \___/   \___/  |_| |_|

                #####################################
        #############                           #############
   ########                                               ########
#####   21  The fast and very early 65-hour method **210000**   #####
   ########                                               ########
        #############                           #############
                #####################################

.==============================================.
# 21.1  What is the 65-hour method? **210100** #
`==============================================`

The 65-hour method is a fast and very early powerleveling method in Final
Fantasy 12 that keeps story progress at a bare minimum, involves starting out
with using dustia to level up on, and involves utilizing the adrenaline license
near the end.  You'll reach level 99 only 4% of the way through the game's
story - right after the parade in Rabanastre and before you even see Lowtown
for the first time.  I call it the 65-hour method as you'll be level 99 within
65 hours.

For the video walkthrough of how the 65-hour method works, at least for the
general idea, reference this play list on my YouTube:

http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLLUkzkTsdHsrhYOgNmHZhXOJYjhETXt6c


.=========================================================.
# 21.2  The optimal route through the augments **210200** #
`=========================================================`

Routine:  Augments (10)
What to do:  The time you start going after the augments in the 65-hour method
is once you get the burning bow.  You may start earlier, but be sure to spare
105 LP for the burning bow.  The sooner you dig into them, the better.  There
is a problem though.  You can't obtain any of the gambit slot licenses,
creating a barrier to the augments.  There is a way around that though and the
most efficient way is digging through the white magick licenses until you've
obtained white magick 4.  From there, that's where the route starts.

The route through the augments in the 65-hour method is exactly the same as the
70-hour method.  See section 20.2 for details.


.==========================================.
# 21.3  Stage 1:  The beginning **210300** #
`==========================================`

Routine:  Beginning (4)
Video segments:  1, 3
Time:  5 minutes
Level:  2
What to do:  Nothing changes with the tutorial part.  Be sure you max the
battle speed during this, and use active mode (if you're comfortable enough
with it).  For the rogue tomato hunt, steal from then defeat the necessary
enemies around the rogue tomato.  Steal only once - if it misses, just attack. 
Use a potion after finishing your current enemy when at least 100 HP is
missing.  Only use a potion when fighting an enemy when HP drops to 20 or less.
This is all because you really need the gil - the more you can get, the better
you'll start off.  Claiming the bounty and getting the 3 potions from Montblanc
are required along with buying and licensing cure.


.====================================.
# 21.4  Stage 2:  The rod **210400** #
`====================================`

Routine:  Rod (5)
Video segment:  5
Time:  15 minutes
Level:  3
What to do:  If you plan to repeatedly obtain the rod, then just defeat the
enemies along the way.  If not, then steal from then defeat the enemies along
the way instead.  Only make one attempt at stealing.  Try to take them on one
at a time the best you can.  Ignore the cockatrices unless there's no way
around them and definitely only deal with one at a time.  Definitely avoid
nekhbet though.  Do go after the wolves though as they're easy to deal with. 
Avoid the bigger alpha wolf, for now.  Accumulate 30 LP by defeating wolves as
needed then save in the southeast zone exit from the area where the rod is and
get the rod, licensing it.  The rod is almost due north from the save crystal
at the edge of a cliff - ignore the enemies while going after the rod.


.==================================================.
# 21.5  Stage 3:  Leveling up on dustia **210500** #
`==================================================`

Routine:  Dustia (6)
Video segments:  6, 7, 13
Time:  6 hours
Level:  45
What to do:  Optionally obtain several more rods, at least 9, though as many as
16 are preferred.  Go back south and then east to Nalbina Town.  If you
repeatedly obtained the rod, just defeat every enemy along the way.  If not,
steal from then defeat every enemy along the way.  Only make one attempt at
stealing.  Never bother with nekhbet.  Once there, sell almost everything you
have then buy as many phoenix downs as you can possibly get - the more, the
easier and faster it'll be getting started.  If you get less than 15, consider
either quitting and reloading or repeatedly obtaining the rod.  17 or 18 is
about average, far more if you repeatedly obtained the rod.  Save at the save
crystal, quit, reload, then return to Rabanastre.  Only defeat what's along the
way - stealing is no longer needed.  Head out west gate, saving at the save
crystal there.

Head out into the Westersand and to the northwest.  Attack yourself until at or
below 10% HP remaining.  Set the battle mode to wait and reduce the battle
speed to the bare minimum.  Cross the zone boundary to the north.  When
dustia's life bar appears, hand it a phoenix down.  Utilize the motion pausing
to grab the loot and quickly get out of that zone then return to get more
dustias.  Continue until you're out of phoenix downs.  Make sure you have at
least 10 books of orgain - deduct 2 books for every flame staff you got.  If a
loot drop heals you, attack yourself after crossing to the south.

Return to Nalbina for onion arrows and as many phoenix downs as you can get,
selling the books and flame staves.  Repeat dustia again.  This time, head into
the Westersand, heading as far west as you can.  Sell the books and flame
staves to Lohen and buy as many phoenix downs as you can.  Go back and forth
between dustia and Lohen until you're level 45 (44 is marginal but fine).


.============================================.
# 21.6  Stage 4:  The burning bow **210600** #
`============================================`

Routine:  Burn bow (9)
Video segments:  11 (for the basics), 12
Time:  up to 6 hours
Level:  not after 45
What to do:  The burning bow can be obtained at any time during the dustia
method, but it must be obtained before going any further.  Switch to wait mode
then save at the save crystal near Lohen.  After saving, use a quickening on
dive talon, going for 3 hits, and only 3 hits.  If you don't defeat dive talon,
return to the save crystal without using R2, touch it, then return and
immediately fire off another quickening.  When defeated, grab the loot.  If you
get a burning bow, save immediately!  If you don't get one, just quit and
reload to try again.  Expect to spend about 4 hours doing this, or about 100
tries.  This will only add about 2 to 3 minutes on the game clock from the
initial save.


.================================================.
# 21.7  Stage 5:  Shopping in Nalbina **210700** #
`================================================`

Routine:  Nalbina (8)
Video segment:  13
Time:  6 hours, 20 minutes
Level:  45
What to do:  Return to Nalbina and, this time, go into the town itself and buy
the bronze armor and bronze helm.  Buy protect and blindna at the magick shop. 
License and equip as needed.


.====================================================.
# 21.8  Stage 6:  The traveler's garb set **210800** #
`====================================================`

Routine:  Trav Garb (12)
Video segment:  20
Time:  6 hours, 30 minutes
Level:  45
What to do:  Head to the west and then the north to get to South Bank Village,
bashing whatever enemies are along the way for quick LP.  Save, quit, and
reload your game.  Spend 3 minutes defeating enemies in the zone just outside
the village, ignoring all cactoids, then return to the river.  If you don't see
greeden, go a bit south, going 1 second farther away than the top of the sand
dune and return to check again.  If you see greeden, just attack.  You can
easily defeat greeden at level 45 without the need for quickenings or protect
despite it being able to do 240 damage and having 7000 HP, thanks to pseudo
running and its own stupidity.  If no braid wool drops, quit and reload,
repeating the process.  If braid wool does drop, return to the village, save
your game, then quit and reload, repeating the process a second time.  When you
get your second braid wool, what you do next depends.  If you have 5 water
stones and 2 tanned hides already, return to the village and sell them with the
2 braid wools.  If not, get the 5 water stones (from giza rabbits and ichthons)
and 2 tanned hides (from slavens) and then sell the items.  Buy, license, and
equip the traveler's garb set for a massive boost on defense and magick power.


.============================================.
# 21.9  Stage 7:  The winged helm **210900** #
`============================================`

Routine:  Wing helm (13)
Video segment:  29
Time:  7 hours
Level:  45
What to do:  Go back to the Westersand, saving at the southernmost save crystal
in Giza Plains.  Head into the Zertinan Caverns in the first zone you visit in
the Westersand, found in the southwest area.  Begin chaining the slimes that
drop from the ceiling, attacking them.  Avoid the 2 traps present.  Big is open
and safe, small is confined and dangerous - remember this for the locations of
the traps, referencing the odd wall indents.  Ignore the loot until chain level
4 then get it.  Have blindna ready should slime blind you.  For sleep, you can
only wait until slime decides to attack physically which is pretty common.  If
you get a winged helm, license it and equip it, leave the cave, getting the
speartongues along the way.  If you don't get a winged helm by a 50-chain (60
at the highest), consider quitting and reloading to try again and keep the game
clock to a minimum.


.=============================================.
# 21.10  Stage 8:  The final stage **211000** #
`=============================================`

Routine:  Dive talon (17)
Video segments:  31, 32, 33
Time:  65 hours
Level:  99
What to do:  Head to the westernmost part of the Westersand where Lohen is, and
save your game, quit, and reload.  Back track to the zone with the cave and
cast protect on yourself before entering this zone.  Defeat the 2 dive talons
along the way from the save crystal.  If the wolves are too far, ignore them
and head to the left getting the 2 urstrixes here.  Head to the southwest and
get these 2 urstrixes then the sleipnir.  The dive talons follow - defeat them,
pseudo running as much as you can.  When you defeat a dive talon, heal.  When
you reach level 57, you no longer need protect.  At level 70, equip your
strength-boosting body armor so you can defeat dive talon in 2 hits with the
focus license.  At level 81, get yourself to HP critical status, equip your
traveler's vestment body armor, then have fun defeating dive talon in one hit,
maxing the speed of this routine.  Around level 85, you should have enough LP
to obtain every license on the license board - do so.  Continue this until
you're at level 99.  Once there, save your game and you're done and continue on
to the afterward section.




              _   _    ___          _   _    ___    _   _   ____
             | | | |  / _ \        | | | |  / _ \  | | | | |  _ \
             | |_| | | | | |  ___  | |_| | | | | | | | | | | |_| |
             |___  | | | | | |___| |  _  | | | | | | | | | |  _ <
                 | | | |_| |       | | | | | |_| | | |_| | | | | |
                 |_|  \___/        |_| |_|  \___/   \___/  |_| |_|

                #################################
        #############                       #############
   ########                                           ########
#####   22  The fast and varied 40-hour method **220000**   #####
   ########                                           ########
        #############                       #############
                #################################

.==============================================.
# 22.1  What is the 40-hour method? **220100** #
`==============================================`

The 40-hour method is a fast and varied powerleveling method in Final Fantasy
12 to get a full party of level 99 characters.  It does not involve using
dustia to level up on, and requires that immobilize is always used at the end. 
You'll reach level 99 only 12% of the way through the game's story - right
after the Barheim Passage event is done and Balthier and Fran leave leaving
Vaan alone for the final time in the game.  I call it the 40-hour method as
you'll be level 99 within 40 hours.

For the video walkthrough of how the 40-hour method works, at least for the
general idea, reference this play list on my YouTube:

http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLLUkzkTsdHsrVv95TJgMmHBB94MkhYBVf


.=========================================================.
# 22.2  The optimal route through the augments **220200** #
`=========================================================`

Routine:  Augments (10)
What to do:  The time you start going after the augments in the 40-hour method
is once the gambit system becomes available and you've obtained the required
licenses.  The required licenses are serenity, immobilize, and charge.  Once
the required licenses have been obtained, focus on the augments.

Because the route you use depends entirely on your method, the routine itself
only briefly covers this.  Here, you'll learn the entire details, step by step.
The 40-hour method requires the serenity license in the augments.  This doubles
the success rate of the required immobilize spell.  Swiftness, strength, and
magick power are the main focus in the 40-hour method.  This means the battle
lores and magick lores licenses are very important.  After the serenity
license, the swiftness licenses follow.

The required serenity license:
 X.  White magick 1 - the starting point
 1.  v Gambit slot (15 LP) - junk
 2.  < +50 HP (30 LP) - slightly junk
 3.  < Gambit slot (20 LP) - junk
 4.  < Ether lore 1 (20 LP) - pure junk
 5.  < Magick lore (40 LP) - useful
 6.  < Channeling (30 LP) - somewhat useful
 7.  < Warmage (30 LP) - pure junk
 8.  < Ether lore 3 (70 LP) - pure junk
 9.  < Serenity (70 LP) - required!

The serenity license will double the success rate of immobilize, but only when
you are fully healed.  You absolutely cannot go without immobilize after stage
10.

The first swiftness - going fast and strong:
 X.  Warmage (30 LP) - the starting point
10.  v Channeling (50 LP) - somewhat useful
11.  v Gambit slot (50 LP) - junk
12.  v Swiftness (50 LP) - must-have!
13.  v Focus (70 LP) - must-have!

The second swiftness - getting faster:
 X.  Magick lore (40 LP) - the starting point
14.  v Gambit slot (40 LP) - junk
15.  v Swiftness (30 LP) - must-have!
16.  > Headsman (30 LP) - very useful

You might be wondering why I have the longer route to a swiftness license
first.  This is because of the focus license.  A 13% increase in charging speed
with a 20% increase in damage (which means speed) immediately following means
it's faster.  The second swiftness will further boost the speed, and more
quickly.  It's like 3 quick speed boosts in one.  In addition, thanks to the
heavy use of immobilize, the channeling license first thing will help cut down
the MP cost still more - 12 instead of 14 or 16.  However, before continuing
any more, buy and license the hermes sandals.  The third swiftness license
requires far more LP to get than the hermes sandals do and the hermes sandals
provide more of a speed boost than the third swiftness license does.  Thus, go
for the hermes sandals before continuing.  By getting the headsman license, you
can significantly reduce the need to have to use charge.

The third swiftness - going supersonic:
 X.  Focus (70 LP) - the starting point
17.  v Shield block - pure junk
18.  < Battle lore (80 LP) - useful
19.  < +500 HP (155 LP) - slightly useful
20.  < Swiftness (80 LP) - must-have!

With this third swiftness license, you're now going at full speed, already very
fast.

The 3 other easy magick lores:
 X.  Gambit slot (20 LP) - the starting point
21.  v Magick lore (25 LP) - useful

 X.  Gambit slot (50 LP) - the starting point
22.  < Channeling (80 LP) - somewhat useful
23.  ^ Magick lore (55 LP) - useful

 X.  Channeling (80 LP) - the starting point
24.  < Magick lore (80 LP) - useful

In order to get immobilize to hit successfully, the higher magick power is, up
to 55, the better the odds.  Each point on magick power adds 2 percentage
points to the success rate.  Thus, by focusing on those first you can speed up
the process by not having to run as often from immobilize missing.  Thus,
focusing on those first is high priroty.  The last magick lore takes a lot of
time to get to.  With the last of the channeling licenses, immobilize now costs
11 MP to use instead of 12.

The remaining stuff:
 X.  Magick lore (25 LP) - the starting point
25.  > Gambit slot (30 LP) - junk
26.  v Battle lore (25 LP) - useful
27.  v Remedy lore 1 (20 LP) - pure junk
28.  > Shield block (25 LP) - pure junk
29.  v Battle lore (40 LP) - useful

 X.  Swiftness (80 LP) - the starting point
30.  ^ Battle lore (120 LP) - useful
31.  ^ Magick lore (120 LP) - useful

 X.  Shield block (75 LP) - the starting point
32.  > Battle lore (55 LP) - useful
33.  > Remedy lore 2 (30 LP) - pure junk
34.  > Inquisitor (30 LP) - very useful

 X.  Obtain the rest of the augments

The rest of the battle lores, the reamining magick lore, then inquisitor round
out the last of what's needed for this method.  Why inquisitor?  That combined
with headsman will pretty much mean you're at full MP almost constantly, never
again having to use charge until you're level 99.


.==========================================.
# 22.3  Stage 1:  The beginning **220300** #
`==========================================`

Routine:  Beginning (4)
Video segments:  1, 2
Time:  5 minutes
Level:  2
What to do:  Nothing changes with the tutorial part.  Be sure you max the
battle speed during this, and use active mode (if you're comfortable enough
with it).  For the rogue tomato hunt, simply attack the necessary enemies
around the rogue tomato, using a potion when about 60 HP is missing at least
finishing off your current enemy before using one.  Claiming the bounty and
getting the 3 potions from Montblanc are useful but not required.  Do buy cure
though, licensing it.


.====================================.
# 22.4  Stage 2:  The rod **220400** #
`====================================`

Routine:  Rod (5)
Video segment:  4
Time:  15 minutes
Level:  3
What to do:  Defeat the enemies along the way, taking them on one at a time the
best you can.  Ignore the cockatrices unless there's no way around them and
definitely only deal with one at a time.  Definitely avoid nekhbet though.  Do
go after the wolves though as they're easy to deal with.  Avoid the bigger
alpha wolf, for now.  Accumulate 30 LP by defeating wolves as needed then save
in the southeast zone exit from the area where the rod is and get the rod,
licensing it.  The rod is almost due north from the save crystal at the edge of
a cliff - ignore the enemies while going after the rod.


.============================================.
# 22.5  Stage 3:  Rapid licensing **220500** #
`============================================`

Routine:  Ichthon (7)
Video segment:  8
Time:  1 hour, 30 minutes
Level:  10
What to do:  Go to South Bank Village, whacking wolves and cockatrices along
the way (avoid nekhbet and ichthon).  Buy the battle harness, licensing and
equipping it as soon as you can.  Save your game, quit, reload, then defeat the
ichthons, cockatrices, cactoids, and the numerous wolves around this area
heading from east to west.  When done, save in the village, quit, and reload. 
Repeat until you've licensed the battle harness, quickening, and stocked up on
at least 80 extra LP, 100 LP suggested.


.================================================.
# 22.6  Stage 4:  Shopping in Nalbina **220600** #
`================================================`

Routine:  Nalbina (8)
Video segment:  9, 10
Time:  1 hour, 45 minutes
Level:  10
What to do:  Return to the south, heading to the northeastern exit in Yardang
Labyrinth to get into Nalbina.  Buy one set of onion arrows for 100 total gil. 
Go into the town itself and buy the bronze armor, bronze helm, and, optionally,
the bronze chestplate at the armor shop.  The kilmweave shirt and topkapi hat
are optional but not needed.  Buy protect and blindna at the magick shop.  If
you want to use the chain-status-death method for getting the burning bow, buy
poison.


.============================================.
# 22.7  Stage 5:  The burning bow **220700** #
`============================================`

Routine:  Burn bow (9)
Video segment:  11
Time:  2 hours
Level:  15
What to do:  Go south from Nalbina to the Giza Plains, bashing every enemy
along the way and saving at the southern save crystal.  If you need to practice
the use of quickenings, do so here, quitting and reloading without saving when
you're done practicing.  Head into the Westersand and be sure you get a blue
sky (return to Giza Plains then back until you do).  Ignore the enemies
(strongly recommended).  If you have to fight, make sure you don't take on one
enemy at a time.  Continue west, heading as far west as you can.  Beware of the
attraction to fights that the urstrixes have - keep them separate.  Definitely
ignore the alraunes but feel free to whack the wolves, except alpha wolf (found
in only one place).

Switch to wait mode, equip armor to get as much strength as you can, then save
at the save crystal.  After saving, use a quickening on dive talon, going for 3
hits, and only 3 hits.  If you don't defeat dive talon, return to the save
crystal without using R2, touch it, then return and immediately fire off
another quickening.  When defeated, grab the loot.  If you get a burning bow,
save immediately!  If you don't get one, save only if you defeated dive talon
on the first round of quickenings and you're under level 18, otherwise just
quit and reload to try again.  Expect to spend about 4 hours doing this, or
about 100 tries.  This will only add about 2 to 3 minutes on the game clock
from the initial save.  Reach at least level 18 before continuing on, defeating
the enemies in the Westersand via pseudo running and the burning bow.


.================================================.
# 22.8  Stage 6:  Advancing the story **220800** #
`================================================`

Routine:  Story (11)
Video segments:  15, 16, 17, 18
Time:  3 hours, 30 minutes
Level:  16
What to do:  If you haven't bought poach yet, do so now - go to Nalbina's
technicks shop for that.  You must get poach before you head into Garamsythe
Waterway for the palace events.  Buy blindna too while there.  During the story
advancement, there are 3 chests to avoid opening if you want the zodiac spear -
the obvious one in front of Old Dalan's place, one in the southeast corner of
the cellar in palace and the chests in the spot where you get your belongings
back in Nalbina Dungeons.  While in Giza Plains after the sunstone, steal from
then defeat the slavens (east exit from village gives the best chance) to get 2
tanned hides.  Giza rabbits have water stones and you need 5 of them.  Before
going into Lowtown after getting the sunstone, fully unequip Penelo - you won't
see her again until you're level 99.  During the Barheim Passage events, make
sure you poach the seeker (it replaces one of the steelings in the Great
Eastern Passage zone with a 5% chance).  Kill the guest then swap weapons to
control the damage.  Get 2 crooked fangs this way.  License poach on Balthier
or Fran and not Vaan.  Continue until you're back in a familiar-looking place
in the Estersand - that's the spot where you saved when going after the rod!


.====================================================.
# 22.9  Stage 7:  The traveler's garb set **220900** #
`====================================================`

Routine:  Trav Garb (12)
Video segment:  21
Time:  3 hours, 45 minutes
Level:  16
What to do:  Instead of heading toward Rabanastre as the story says, head north
to South Bank Village, bashing enemies along the way for easy LP.  Once there,
sell 4 fire stones and the 2 crooked fangs and buy the arrows alight for 3800
gil.  Trade Fran's bow for the longbow provided.  Equip the fiery arrows on the
one with the burning bow.  Save, quit, and reload your game.  Spend 3 minutes
defeating enemies in the zone just outside the village, ignoring all cactoids,
then return to the river.  If you don't see greeden, head a bit south, going 1
second farther away than the top of the sand dune and return to check again. 
If you see greeden, fire a quickening off to get as many hits as you can (7 at
the most, fairly easy to do with 3 characters at it).  If greeden is not
defeated, finish it off with your burning bow, long bow, and rod.  If no braid
wool drops, quit and reload, repeating the process.  If braid wool does drop,
return to the village, save your game, then quit and reload, repeating the
process a second time.  When you get your second braid wool, sell the 2 braid
wools together with 5 water stones and 2 tanned hides then buy, license, and
equip the traveler's garb set for a massive boost on defense and magick power.


.=============================================.
# 22.10  Stage 8:  The winged helm **221000** #
`=============================================`

Routine:  Wing helm (13)
Video segment:  22
Time:  4 hours, 15 minutes
Level:  17
What to do:  Go back to the Westersand, saving at the southernmost save crystal
in Giza Plains.  Head into the Zertinan Caverns in the first zone you visit in
the Westersand, found in the southwest area.  Optionally kill Basch as he can't
do anything outside take some of the damage the slimes do.  Begin chaining the
slimes that drop from the ceiling, attacking them.  Avoid the 2 traps present. 
Big is open and safe, small is confined and dangerous - remember this for the
locations of the traps, referencing the odd wall indents.  Ignore the loot
until chain level 4 then get it.  Have a blindna gambit ready on those that
don't have the burning bow, ready in the event the slimes blind you.  For
sleep, either wait until slime decides to attack physically (which is pretty
common), or if it's on your damage dealer, have one of your other members go
unarmed and attack the sleeping ally.  If you get a winged helm, license it and
equip it on Vaan, leave the cave, getting the speartongues along the way.  If
you don't get a winged helm by a 50-chain (60 at the highest), consider
quitting and reloading to try again and keep the game clock to a minimum.


.===========================================================.
# 22.11  Stage 9:  Werewolves are for low levels **221200** #
`===========================================================`

Routine:  Werewolf (17)
Video segment:  28
Time:  5 hours, 15 minutes
Level:  18
What to do:  Skip this if you're level 18 or higher.  Otherwise, you'll want to
level up quickly before going to the next stage.  Head to Giza Plains, disable
your gambits (thanks to the annoying automatic movement that's untrustworthy),
then save at the southernmost save crystal.  Continue west.  Immobilize the
nearest werewolf then attack.  If immobilize misses when the werewolf doesn't
already have it, run for it.  When both are defeated in this fashion, get 2
zones away to the east, return, and repeat.  Don't bother chaining them though.


.==================================================.
# 22.12  Stage 10:  Dive talon leveling **221300** #
`==================================================`

Routine:  Dive talon (18)
Video segment:  30
Time:  6 hours
Level:  35
What to do:  Go to the Westersand, being sure you get a blue sky.  Run through
the first zone of the Westersand from Giza Plains much like the 70-hour method.
Ignore or get sighted by the wolves and defeat them.  Get the urstrixes you've
attracted the attention to off to the left.  Go southwest getting the urstrixes
and the sleipnir along the way.  Fully heal if needed upon getting the
sleipnir.  Instead of attacking the dive talons, immobilize them first
(otherwise, you don't stand a chance).  If immobilize misses, run for it.  If
it hits, defeat the dive talon.  Head to the northeast and then the east and
return, repeating until you've accumulated enough LP to get the required
licenses.


.==============================================.
# 22.13  Stage 11:  The final stage **221400** #
`==============================================`

Routine:  Malboro (19)
Video segments:  34, 35, 36
Time:  40 hours
Level:  99
What to do:  Head into Lowtown, go north, then west to reach the Garamsythe
Waterway.  Save at the save crystal before starting.  One wrong move and rotten
luck means it's game over.  Take the southwest zone exit.  Immobilize the
malboro overking.  If it misses, run for it.  Otherwise, defeat it.  It will
take a lot of hits at first, but for 3000 exp, it's worth it.  Immobilize the
lizard in the low area next.  You have 2 chances in this case.  If both miss,
immediately cross the nearest zone boundary.  Continue to the west for the 2
malboros and 1 lizard here.  Be careful with the lizard when approaching it on
the front.  If it's moving, stop when just out of range of immobilize and stand
still to let it approach you.  If it's not moving, approach it slowly.  Get the
malboro overkings in the usual way.  Never go into the zone to the south.  To
respawn the enemies, use the second-closest zone boundary on the back track. 
Continue this until level 99.  Once there, save your game and you're done and
continue on to the afterward section.




              ____    _____         _   _    ___    _   _   ____
             |___ \  |  ___|       | | | |  / _ \  | | | | |  _ \
               __| | | |__    ___  | |_| | | | | | | | | | | |_| |
              |__ <  |___ \  |___| |  _  | | | | | | | | | |  _ <
              ___| |  ___| |       | | | | | |_| | | |_| | | | | |
             |____/  |____/        |_| |_|  \___/   \___/  |_| |_|

                ###############################
        #############                     #############
   ########                                         ########
#####   23  The fast-starting 35-hour method **230000**   #####
   ########                                         ########
        #############                     #############
                ###############################

.==============================================.
# 23.1  What is the 35-hour method? **230100** #
`==============================================`

The 35-hour method is a fast, easy, and safe powerleveling method in Final
Fantasy 12 to get a full party of level 99 characters.  It involves using
dustia to level up with and requires that immobilize is always used at the end.
You'll reach level 99 only 12% of the way through the game's story - right
after the Barheim Passage event is done and Balthier and Fran leave leaving
Vaan alone for the final time in the game.  I call it the 35-hour method as
you'll be level 99 within 35 hours.

For the video walkthrough of how the 35-hour method works, at least for the
general idea, reference this play list on my YouTube:

http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLLUkzkTsdHsrTL3WpdkclWjmqEliV7T_y


.=========================================================.
# 23.2  The optimal route through the augments **230200** #
`=========================================================`

Routine:  Augments (10)
What to do:  The time you start going after the augments in the 35-hour method
is once the gambit system becomes available and you've obtained the required
licenses.  The required licenses are serenity, immobilize, and charge.  Once
the required licenses have been obtained, focus on the augments.

The route through the augments in the 35-hour method is exactly the same as the
40-hour method.  See section 22.2 for details.


.==========================================.
# 23.3  Stage 1:  The beginning **230300** #
`==========================================`

Routine:  Beginning (4)
Video segments:  1, 3
Time:  5 minutes
Level:  2
What to do:  Nothing changes with the tutorial part.  Be sure you max the
battle speed during this, and use active mode (if you're comfortable enough
with it).  For the rogue tomato hunt, steal from then defeat the necessary
enemies around the rogue tomato.  Steal only once - if it misses, just attack. 
Use a potion after finishing your current enemy when at least 100 HP is
missing.  Only use a potion when fighting an enemy when HP drops to 20 or less.
This is all because you really need the gil - the more you can get, the better
you'll start off.  Claiming the bounty and getting the 3 potions from Montblanc
are required along with buying and licensing cure.


.====================================.
# 23.4  Stage 2:  The rod **230400** #
`====================================`

Routine:  Rod (5)
Video segment:  5
Time:  15 minutes
Level:  3
What to do:  If you plan to repeatedly obtain the rod, then just defeat the
enemies along the way.  If not, then steal from then defeat the enemies along
the way instead.  Only make one attempt at stealing.  Try to take them on one
at a time the best you can.  Ignore the cockatrices unless there's no way
around them and definitely only deal with one at a time.  Definitely avoid
nekhbet though.  Do go after the wolves though as they're easy to deal with. 
Avoid the bigger alpha wolf, for now.  Accumulate 30 LP by defeating wolves as
needed then save in the southeast zone exit from the area where the rod is and
get the rod, licensing it.  The rod is almost due north from the save crystal
at the edge of a cliff - ignore the enemies while going after the rod.


.==================================================.
# 23.5  Stage 3:  Leveling up on dustia **230500** #
`==================================================`

Routine:  Dustia (6)
Video segments:  6, 7
Time:  1 hour, 15 minutes
Level:  20 or 21 (about)
What to do:  Optionally obtain several more rods, at least 9, though as many as
16 are preferred.  Go back south and then east to Nalbina Town.  If you
repeatedly obtained the rod, just defeat every enemy along the way.  If not,
steal from then defeat every enemy along the way.  Only make one attempt at
stealing.  Never bother with nekhbet.  Once there, sell almost everything you
have then buy as many phoenix downs as you can possibly get - the more, the
easier and faster it'll be getting started.  If you get less than 15, consider
either quitting and reloading or repeatedly obtaining the rod.  17 or 18 is
about average, far more if you repeatedly obtained the rod.  Save at the save
crystal, quit, reload, then return to Rabanastre.  Only defeat what's along the
way - stealing is no longer needed.  Head out west gate, saving at the save
crystal there.

Head out into the Westersand and to the northwest.  Attack yourself until at or
below 10% HP remaining.  Set the battle mode to wait and reduce the battle
speed to the bare minimum.  Cross the zone boundary to the north.  When
dustia's life bar appears, hand it a phoenix down.  Utilize the motion pausing
to grab the loot and quickly get out of that zone then return to get more
dustias.  Continue until you're out of phoenix downs.  Make sure you have at
least 10 books of orgain - deduct 2 books for every flame staff you got.  If a
loot drop heals you, attack yourself after crossing to the south.

Return to Nalbina for onion arrows and as many phoenix downs as you can get,
selling the books and flame staves.  Repeat dustia again.  This time, head into
the Westersand, heading as far west as you can.  Sell the books and flame
staves to Lohen and buy as many phoenix downs as you can.  Go back and forth
between dustia and Lohen until you're level 32 (27 to 38 is recommended).


.============================================.
# 23.6  Stage 4:  The burning bow **230600** #
`============================================`

Routine:  Burn bow (9)
Video segments:  11 (for the basics), 12
Time:  1 hour, 30 minutes
Level:  20 or 21 (about)
What to do:  The burning bow must be obtained before advancing the story. 
Switch to wait mode then save at the save crystal near Lohen.  After saving,
use a quickening on dive talon, going for 3 hits, and only 3 hits.  If you
don't defeat dive talon, return to the save crystal without using R2, touch it,
then return and immediately fire off another quickening.  When defeated, grab
the loot.  If you get a burning bow, save immediately!  If you don't get one,
just quit and reload to try again.  Expect to spend about 4 hours doing this,
or about 100 tries.  This will only add about 2 to 3 minutes on the game clock
from the initial save.


.================================================.
# 23.7  Stage 5:  Advancing the story **230700** #
`================================================`

Routine:  Story (11)
Video segments:  15, 16, 17, 18
Time:  3 hours
Level:  22
What to do:  If you haven't bought poach yet, do so now - go to Nalbina's
technicks shop for that.  You must get poach before you head into Garamsythe
Waterway for the palace events.  Buy blindna too while there.  During the story
advancement, there are 3 chests to avoid opening if you want the zodiac spear -
the obvious one in front of Old Dalan's place, one in the southeast corner of
the cellar in palace and the chests in the spot where you get your belongings
back in Nalbina Dungeons.  While in Giza Plains after the sunstone, steal from
then defeat the slavens (east exit from village gives the best chance) to get 2
tanned hides.  Giza rabbits have water stones and you need 5 of them.  Before
going into Lowtown after getting the sunstone, fully unequip Penelo - you won't
see her again until you're level 99.  During the Barheim Passage events, make
sure you poach the seeker (it replaces one of the steelings in the Great
Eastern Passage zone with a 5% chance).  Kill the guest then swap weapons to
control the damage.  Get 2 crooked fangs this way.  License poach on Balthier
or Fran and not Vaan.  Continue until you're back in a familiar-looking place
in the Estersand - that's the spot where you saved when going after the rod!


.====================================================.
# 23.8  Stage 6:  The traveler's garb set **230800** #
`====================================================`

Routine:  Trav Garb (12)
Video segment:  21
Time:  3 hours, 15 minutes
Level:  22
What to do:  Instead of heading toward Rabanastre as the story says, head north
to South Bank Village, bashing enemies along the way for easy LP.  Once there,
sell 4 fire stones and the 2 crooked fangs and buy the arrows alight for 3800
gil.  Trade Fran's bow for the longbow provided.  Equip the fiery arrows on the
one with the burning bow.  Save, quit, and reload your game.  Spend 3 minutes
defeating enemies in the zone just outside the village, ignoring all cactoids,
then return to the river.  If you don't see greeden, head a bit south, going 1
second farther away than the top of the sand dune and return to check again. 
If you see greeden, fire a quickening off to get as many hits as you can (7 at
the most, fairly easy to do with 3 characters at it).  If greeden is not
defeated, finish it off with your burning bow, long bow, and rod.  If no braid
wool drops, quit and reload, repeating the process.  If braid wool does drop,
return to the village, save your game, then quit and reload, repeating the
process a second time.  When you get your second braid wool, sell the 2 braid
wools together with 5 water stones and 2 tanned hides then buy, license, and
equip the traveler's garb set for a massive boost on defense and magick power.


.============================================.
# 23.9  Stage 7:  The winged helm **230900** #
`============================================`

Routine:  Wing helm (13)
Video segment:  22
Time:  3 hours, 45 minutes
Level:  23
What to do:  Go back to the Westersand, saving at the southernmost save crystal
in Giza Plains.  Head into the Zertinan Caverns in the first zone you visit in
the Westersand, found in the southwest area.  Optionally kill Basch as he can't
do anything outside take some of the damage the slimes do.  Begin chaining the
slimes that drop from the ceiling, attacking them.  Avoid the 2 traps present. 
Big is open and safe, small is confined and dangerous - remember this for the
locations of the traps, referencing the odd wall indents.  Ignore the loot
until chain level 4 then get it.  Have a blindna gambit ready on those that
don't have the burning bow, ready in the event the slimes blind you.  For
sleep, either wait until slime decides to attack physically (which is pretty
common), or if it's on your damage dealer, have one of your other members go
unarmed and attack the sleeping ally.  If you get a winged helm, license it and
equip it on Vaan, leave the cave, getting the speartongues along the way.  If
you don't get a winged helm by a 50-chain (60 at the highest), consider
quitting and reloading to try again and keep the game clock to a minimum.


.===============================================.
# 23.10  Stage 8:  Going on the hunt **231000** #
`===============================================`

Routine:  Hunts (14)
Video segment:  23
Time:  4 hours
Level:  23
What to do:  To get the hermes sandals, you have to get gyshal greens and the
only way to get them at this point in the game is to buy them from the clan
shop when you've reached the "rear guard" rank, after defeating 4 marks (3
extras).  Return to Rabanastre now, but, before entering, fully unequip both
Balthier and Fran - you won't see them again until you're level 99.  Use the
moogling to go to the sandsea and read the hunt board - accept the thextera
hunt, required to get the next 2 to show up.  You'll find it in the Westersand
just outside Rabanastre to the south - you should be able to defeat it in one
hit, weather-related accuracy aside.  Return to the hunt board and accept the 2
new hunts that show up.  While here, claim the bounty and read the hunt board
40 total times (37 extra).  The second is the flowering cactoid, defeated in 2
hits (parry aside) and found in the Estersand in northern Yardang Labyrinth. 
Claim the bounty on the way back to Rabanastre.  The third is wraith, found
right in the entrance to Garamsythe Waterway, the first area you see.  It
should take about 6 to 8 hits to defeat, depending on your level and luck with
critical hits.  Claim the bounty on the way back.


.==================================================.
# 23.11  Stage 9:  The return of dustia **231100** #
`==================================================`

Routine:  Dustia Rd. 2 (15)
Video segment:  24 (kind of)
Time:  6 hours
Level:  Around 33
What to do:  Repeat the same process as before with dustia except that you can
use Migelo's Sundries to buy phoenix downs from.  Be sure to save at the save
crystal to get rid of the doom status effect as well.  Continue using dustia
until level 27 to 38, if you haven't gotten that far yet.


.=================================================.
# 23.12  Stage 10:  The hermes sandals **231200** #
`=================================================`

Routine:  Hermes (16)
Video segment:  25 (kind of)
Time:  6 hours, 30 minutes
Level:  Around 35
What to do:  When you only have one more round of dustia left to do, buy the
warmage's monograph and go one last round at dustia, now getting arcanae from
it.  Buy the "wind walkers", immobilize, charge, and scale armor.  License
immobilize and charge only.  Focus on the swiftness augments then the hermes
sandals should you still have spare LP.


.==============================================.
# 23.13  Stage 11:  The final stage **231300** #
`==============================================`

Routine:  Malboro (19)
Video segments:  34, 35, 36
Time:  35 hours
Level:  99
What to do:  Head into Lowtown, go north, then west to reach the Garamsythe
Waterway.  Save at the save crystal before starting.  One wrong move and rotten
luck means it's game over.  Take the southwest zone exit.  Immobilize the
malboro overking.  If it misses, run for it.  Otherwise, defeat it.  It will
take a lot of hits at first, but for 3000 exp, it's worth it.  Immobilize the
lizard in the low area next.  You have 2 chances in this case.  If both miss,
immediately cross the nearest zone boundary.  Continue to the west for the 2
malboros and 1 lizard here.  Be careful with the lizard when approaching it on
the front.  If it's moving, stop when just out of range of immobilize and stand
still to let it approach you.  If it's not moving, approach it slowly.  Get the
malboro overkings in the usual way.  Never go into the zone to the south.  To
respawn the enemies, use the second-closest zone boundary on the back track. 
Continue this until level 99.  Once there, save your game and you're done and
continue on to the afterward section.




     _______   ___    _____         _   _    ___    _   _   ____        _______
    /______/  / _ \  |  ___|       | | | |  / _ \  | | | | |  _ \      /______/
   _______   |_| | | | |__    ___  | |_| | | | | | | | | | | |_| |    _______
  /______/      / /  |___ \  |___| |  _  | | | | | | | | | |  _ <    /______/
 _______      / /__   ___| |       | | | | | |_| | | |_| | | | | |  _______
/______/     |_____| |____/        |_| |_|  \___/   \___/  |_| |_| /______/

                ###############################
        #############                     #############
   ########                                         ########
#####   24  The insanely fast 25-hour method **240000**   #####
   ########                                         ########
        #############                     #############
                ###############################

.==============================================.
# 24.1  What is the 25-hour method? **240100** #
`==============================================`

The 25-hour method is a powerleveling method in Final Fantasy 12 that allows
you to get a full party of level 99 characters as fast and early as absolutely
possible.  The sheer speed of this method will blow your mind away!  It
involves focusing every bit of speed as possible, taking great risks, and
putting heavy focus on the game clock.  You'll reach level 99 only 12% of the
way through the game's story - right after the Barheim Passage event is done
and Balthier and Fran leave leaving Vaan alone for the final time in the game. 
I call it the 25-hour method as you'll be level 99 within 25 hours.

On my first try of using this method, I got the time under 24 1/2 hours and I
can definitely see plenty of improvement is possible.  In fact, I think 23
hours might be the absolute fastest meaningful time, perhaps 22 hours if you
really push everything to the absolute max (luck aside).  Had I ignored the
loot more often, didn't have to explain everything, made fewer mistakes, risked
the hidden lizard, and used the repeated rod method for gil to get started, I
likely would have dropped the time under 23 hours though it's hard to say.  If
load times were completely absent, this is doable in under 20 hours.  There is
no faster way to get a full party of level 99 characters than this method.  It
starts off almost identical to the 35-hour method, but it focuses heavily on
the game clock.

For the video walkthrough of how the 25-hour method works, at least for the
general idea, reference this play list on my YouTube:

http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLLUkzkTsdHsrG5hP_UfgrfJmNYHSsf60r


.=========================================================.
# 24.2  The optimal route through the augments **240200** #
`=========================================================`

Routine:  Augments (10)
What to do:  The time you start going after the augments in the 25-hour method
is once the gambit system becomes available and you've obtained the required
licenses.  The required licenses are spellbreaker, adrenaline, immobilize, and
charge.  Once the required licenses have been obtained, focus on the augments.

Because the route you use depends entirely on your method, the routine itself
only briefly covers this.  Here, you'll learn the entire details, step by step.
The 25-hour method requires the spellbreaker license in the augments.  This
doubles the success rate of the required immobilize spell.  Adrenaline,
swiftness, and strength, are the main focus in the 25-hour method.  This means
the battle lores licenses are very important.  After the spellbreaker and
adrenaline licenses, the swiftness licenses follow.

The required spellbreaker license:
 X.  White magick 1 - the starting point
 1.  v Gambit slot (15 LP) - junk
 2.  < +50 HP (30 LP) - slightly useful
 3.  v Gambit slot (30 LP) - junk
 4.  < Magick lore (25 LP) - useful
 5.  < Spellbreaker (65 LP) - required!
 6.  v Headsman (30 LP) - useful

The spellbreaker license will double the success rate of immobilize, but only
when you are HP critical (under 20% HP remaining).  You absolutely cannot go
without immobilize for stage 10.  By going after the headsman license, charge
is needed far less frequently, saving time.  Whether or not this actually helps
in the end, I'm not sure.  It's almost too close to tell.

The adrenaline rush - double the damage output:
 X.  Gambit slot (30 LP) - the starting point
 7.  v Battle lore (25 LP) - useful
 8.  v Remedy lore 1 (20 LP) - pure junk
 9.  v Adrenaline (65 LP) - must-have!

By going after adrenaline as soon as possible, your damage output will jump
significantly as adrenaline will double your damage output.  That, however,
only happens when HP critical, the same timing as spellbreaker.  In fact, it's
thanks to adrenaline that the 25-hour method can seriously go fast.  You'll
reach the point where you can one-hit defeat the malboro overkings in the final
stage in 1 hit quite frequently (there's still no guarantee though).

A second magick lore - better immobilization odds:
 X.  Spellbreaker (65 LP) - the starting point
10.  ^ Ether lore 1 (20 LP) - pure junk
11.  < Magick lore (40 LP) - useful

This is the second magick lore, useful in getting immobilize's success rate up
- having to flee only wastes time.  The other 3 are quite far away and not
worth it early on.  They will be needed though but much later.

The first 2 swiftness - going fast:
 X.  Headsman (30 LP) - the starting point
12.  < Swiftness (30 LP) - must-have!
13.  v Spellbound (30 LP) - pure junk
14.  < Potion lore 3 (70 LP) - slightly useful
15.  < Swiftness (50 LP) - must-have!

With 2 swiftness licenses out of the way, your attacks will be going very
quickly.  You might find it odd how potion lore actually has some slight use. 
It's for later though, much later.  At this point, however, go after licensing
the hermes sandals before continuing the augments.

Going for 4 battle lores - needing strength:
 X.  Adrenaline (65 LP) - the starting point
16.  > Battle lore (40 LP) - useful

 X.  Swiftness (50 LP) - the starting point
17.  v Focus (70 LP) - pure junk
18.  v Shield block (75 LP) - pure junk
19.  > Battle lore (55 LP) - useful

 X.  Shield block (75 LP) - the starting point
20.  < Battle lore (80 LP) - useful

You'll need to get 4 battle loes by the time level 59 rolls around.  This way,
you can really speed up the process drastically.  The sooner you can get 4
battle lores, the better.  Remember to spare 75 LP after getting the fourth
battle lore for the winged helm and scale armor though.

The third swiftness - going supersonic:
 X.  Battle lore (80 LP) - the starting point
21.  < +500 HP (155 LP) - somewhat useful
22.  < Swiftness (80 LP) - must-have!

This third swiftness license takes a while to get to thanks to the bulky HP
bonus that's in the way but once you get it, you'll really be cruising.

The 2 somewhat quick magick lores - ensuring immobilize
 X.  Swiftness (50 LP) - the starting point
23.  ^ Gambit slot (50 LP) - junk
24.  < Channelling (80 LP) - useful
25.  ^ Magick lore (55 LP) - useful

 X.  Channelling (80 LP) - the starting point
26.  < Magick lore (80 LP) - useful

With 2 more magick lore licenses, immobilize's success rate goes up 4
percentage points.  The sooner you can ensure it beyond level 59, the sooner
you don't have to be as cautious around the troublesome lizard.  The difference
is about 4 or 5 levels, quite a bit and for a nice 10% boost on speed, it's
definitely worth it.

The last stand - a hint of survival
 X.  Adrenaline (65 LP) - the starting point
27.  v Last Stand (70 LP) - very useful

By going after last stand at this point, you should be able to survive a hit,
should something not work in your favor.  While not a strong necessity (you may
prefer to get the last 2 lores before going after this), it does help.

The last 2 lores - going full on
 X.  Swiftness (80 LP) - the starting point
28.  ^ Battle lore (120 LP) - useful
29.  ^ Magick lore (120 LP) - useful

The last 2 lores will dish out all the damage you can and help get immobilize
to succeed without the need of magick-power-raising equipment (aka mystic
armor).  This way, you can focus purely on damage.

Extra HP - helping with survival
 X.  Swiftness (50 LP) - the starting point
30.  < +150 HP (70 LP) - slightly useful

 X.  Last stand (70 LP) - the starting point
31.  > +100 HP (50 LP) - slightly useful

 X.  Focus (70 LP) - the starting point
32.  < +200 HP (100 LP) - somewhat useful

In the off chance something goes wrong, having a little extra HP will make it
easier to survive.  You might be wondering why I have the HP gains in this
order.  The case for the 150 is simple - it's the most cost effective per LP. 
The 100 and 200 each have a 2:1 ratio exactly - for every 2 LP, you get 1 HP. 
The 150 has a 2.14:1 ratio, a little better.  By starting with the small one,
you can get a quick boost earlier.  Of course, whether you do the 100 or 200
first is mainly up to you.  This is just what I suggest.

The potion lores - faster potion healing
 X.  Gambit slot (15 LP) - the starting point
33.  v Potion lore 1 (20 LP) - slightly useful

 X.  Headsman (30 LP) - the starting point
34.  v Potion lore 2 (35 LP) - slightly useful

 X.  Obtain the rest of the augments

This may seem odd going after the potion lores, but should you take a hit,
you'll need to heal when you can (along the route to respawn the enemies). 
Cure will restore so much HP, even without any mystic armor equipped, that you
will always be out of HP critical status.  With that, you'll have to change
equipment around, attack yourself repeatedly, being careful of combos, change
the equipment back, then resume.  Since it's usually only one hit that you take
instead of 2, the 300 damage only means needing 2 quick potions to restore, 3
at the most.  It's far faster using potions than fiddling around with equipment
and attempting to block combos when they happen (not to mention the character
blocking his own attack).  By getting the potion lores, you'll need fewer
potions to heal with.  Hi-potions only come in when more than 600 HP is
missing.


.==========================================.
# 24.3  Stage 1:  The beginning **240300** #
`==========================================`

Routine:  Beginning (4)
Video segments:  1, 3
Time:  4 minutes
Level:  2
What to do:  Nothing changes with the tutorial part.  Be sure you max the
battle speed during this, and use active mode (if you're comfortable enough
with it).  For the rogue tomato hunt, defeat the necessary enemies around the
rogue tomato.  Use a potion after finishing your current enemy when at least
100 HP is missing.  Only use a potion when fighting an enemy when HP drops to
20 or less.  This is all because you really need the gil - the more you can
get, the faster you'll start off.  Claiming the bounty and getting the 3
potions from Montblanc are required along with buying and licensing cure.


.====================================.
# 24.4  Stage 2:  The rod **240400** #
`====================================`

Routine:  Rod (5)
Video segment:  5
Time:  12 minutes
Level:  3
What to do:  Defeat the enemies along the way, taking them on one at a time the
best you can.  Ignore the cockatrices unless there's no way around them and
definitely only deal with one at a time.  Definitely avoid nekhbet though.  Do
go after the wolves though as they're easy to deal with.  Avoid the bigger
alpha wolf, for now.  Accumulate 30 LP by defeating wolves as needed then save
in the southeast zone exit from the area where the rod is and get the rod,
licensing it.  The rod is almost due north from the save crystal at the edge of
a cliff - ignore the enemies while going after the rod.


.==================================================.
# 24.5  Stage 3:  Leveling up on dustia **240500** #
`==================================================`

Routine:  Dustia (6)
Video segments:  6, 7 (kind of)
Time:  45 minutes
Level:  18 or 19 (about)
What to do:  Repeatedly obtain the rod so you get 21 total, 18 at the minimum,
24 at the maximum.  Save your game after obtaining the initial rod, quit,
reload, and get the rod again.  Didn't get it?  Quit and reload.  Got another
one?  Save, quit, reload, and go again.  Ignore the enemies the best you can
unless directly along your path.

Go back south and then east to Nalbina Town defeating every enemy along the
way, except nekhbet.  Once there, go to the technick shop and sell almost
everything you have, including all but one rod.  Buy poach but don't license
it.  Go to the magick shop and buy just blindna but don't license it.  Go to
the shop just outside the town, buy the onion arrows, then as many phoenix
downs as you can possibly get - the more, the easier and faster it'll be
getting started.  You should have at least 30 phoenix downs, perhaps even as
many as 40.  Save at the save crystal, quit, reload, then return to Rabanastre
bashing enemies along the way.  Head out west gate, saving at the save crystal
there.

Go into the Westersand and to the northwest.  Attack yourself until at or below
10% HP remaining.  Set the battle mode to wait and reduce the battle speed to
the bare minimum.  Cross the zone boundary to the north.  When dustia's life
bar appears, hand it a phoenix down.  Utilize the motion pausing to grab the
loot and quickly get out of that zone then return to get more dustias.  If a
loot drop heals you, attack yourself after crossing to the south.  Continue
until you're out of phoenix downs.  Make sure you have at least 40 books of
orgain - deduct 2 books for every flame staff you got.  If you don't have this
minimum, quit and reload and try again until you do.  The multiple item drops
later on will really help.


.============================================.
# 24.6  Stage 4:  The burning bow **240600** #
`============================================`

Routine:  Burn bow (9)
Video segment:  11 (for the basics), 12
Time:  55 minutes
Level:  18 or 19 (about)
What to do:  The burning bow must be obtained before advancing the story.  Rush
into the Westersand completely ignorning all the enemies here except the
regular wolves (since you can defeat them in one hit), and only if they're
right along your route.  License the quickening above accessories 4.  Switch to
wait mode then save at the save crystal near Lohen.  After saving, use a
quickening on dive talon, going for 3 hits, and only 3 hits.  If you don't
defeat dive talon, then you have a choice.  You could do one more try,
returning to the save crystal without using R2, touch it, then return and
immediately fire off another quickening.  Or you may choose to flat out quit
and reload to keep the game clock at the bare minimum.  When defeated, grab the
loot.  If you get a burning bow, save immediately!  You likely won't be able to
license it yet though.  If you don't get one, just quit and reload regardless
to try again.  Expect to spend about 4 hours doing this, or about 100 tries. 
This will only add about 2 minutes on the game clock from the initial save.


.================================================.
# 24.7  Stage 5:  Advancing the story **240700** #
`================================================`

Routine:  Story (11)
Video segment:  15, 16, 17, 18, check 26 for adjustments
Time:  2 hours, 10 minutes
Level:  20
What to do:  During the story advancement, license and equip the burning bow as
soon as you can.  There are 3 chests to avoid opening if you want the zodiac
spear - the obvious one in front of Old Dalan's place, one in the southeast
corner of the cellar in palace and the chests in the spot where you get your
belongings back in Nalbina Dungeons.

While in Giza Plains after the sunstone, save at the save crystal in the
village, steal from then defeat the slaven in the east exit and get a tanned
hide now.  If you don't get one, quit and reload.  If you do, speak with Jinn,
save your game again, then be sure you get another tanned hide while after
getting the sunstone.  If you don't get one or you must use all 4 crystals,
quit and reload.  Get 5 water stones from the Giza rabbits.  Before going into
Lowtown after getting the sunstone, fully unequip Penelo - you won't see her
again until you're level 99.

During the Barheim Passage events, get past the unskippable story scene, save
at the save crystal, then get a seeker along the way south.  The seeker
replaces one of the steelings with a 5% chance.  If you don't get one, quit and
reload.  If you do, get the crooked fang from it (quit and reload if you
don't), and continue south.  Go for your second crooked fang preferably within
the first 2 bats but no later than 3.  To poach seeker, license poach on
Balthier or Fran only and not Vaan, kill the guest, then swap weapons to
control the damage.  Continue until you're back in a familiar-looking place in
the Estersand - that's the spot where you saved when going after the rod! 
Ignore the map urn in Barheim Passage as you can always come back here.


.====================================================.
# 24.8  Stage 6:  The traveler's garb set **240800** #
`====================================================`

Routine:  Trav Garb (12)
Video segment:  21, check 26 for adjustments
Time:  2 hours, 20 minutes
Level:  20
What to do:  Instead of heading toward Rabanastre as the story says, head north
to South Bank Village, bashing enemies along the way for easy LP.  Once there,
sell 4 fire stones and the 2 crooked fangs and buy the arrows alight for 3800
gil.  Trade Fran's bow for the longbow provided.  Equip the fiery arrows on the
one with the burning bow.  Save, quit, and reload your game.  Spend 3 minutes
defeating enemies in the zone just outside the village, ignoring all cactoids. 
Have the leader constantly steal from every enemy and let the others do the
damage.  Return to the river.  If you don't see greeden, head a bit south,
going 1 second farther away than the top of the sand dune and return to check
again.  If you see greeden, attack it while using the obstacles like the trees
and rocks to severely delay greeden's attacking.  If no braid wool drops, quit
and reload, repeating the process.  If braid wool does drop, return to the
village, save your game, then quit and reload, repeating the process a second
time.  When you get your second braid wool, sell the 2 braid wools together
with 5 water stones and 2 tanned hides then buy, license, and equip the
traveler's garb set for a massive boost on defense and magick power.


.============================================.
# 24.9  Stage 7:  The winged helm **240900** #
`============================================`

Routine:  Wing helm (13)
Video segment:  22, check 26 for adjustments
Time:  2 hours, 30 minutes
Level:  21
What to do:  Go back to the Westersand, saving at the southernmost save crystal
in Giza Plains.  Head into the Zertinan Caverns in the first zone you visit in
the Westersand, found in the southwest area.  You must get a winged helm within
the 5 slimes that are present here.  If you don't, quit and reload and try
again.  Make sure you get the speartongue near the first slime so you can make
sure you get all of the slimes available.  Sure the winged helm is a 1% drop,
you get 5 chances in about 6 to 7 minutes.  It's more than twice as fast as the
burning bow despite the very long runs.  Avoid the 2 traps present.  Big is
open and safe, small is confined and dangerous - remember this for the
locations of the traps, referencing the odd wall indents.  Ignore the loot
until chain level 4 then get it.  Have a blindna gambit ready on those that
don't have the burning bow, ready in the event the slimes blind you.  For
sleep, either wait until slime decides to attack physically (which is pretty
common), or if it's on your damage dealer, have one of your other members go
unarmed and attack the sleeping ally.  If you don't get a winged helm in the 5
slimes present (6 if you're lucky), quit and reload.


.===============================================.
# 24.10  Stage 8:  Going on the hunt **241000** #
`===============================================`

Routine:  Hunts (14)
Video segment:  23
Time:  2 hours, 45 minutes
Level:  21
What to do:  To get the hermes sandals, you have to get gyshal greens and the
only way to get them at this point in the game is to buy them from the clan
shop when you've reached the "rear guard" rank, after defeating 4 marks (3
extras).  Return to Rabanastre now, but, before entering, fully unequip both
Balthier and Fran - you won't see them again until you're level 99.  Use the
moogling to go to the sandsea and read the hunt board - accept the thextera
hunt, required to get the next 2 to show up.  You'll find it in the Westersand
just outside Rabanastre to the south - you should be able to defeat it in one
hit, weather-related accuracy aside.  Return to the hunt board and accept the 2
new hunts that show up.  While here, claim the bounty and read the hunt board
40 total times (37 extra).  The second is the flowering cactoid, defeated in 2
hits (parry aside) and found in the Estersand in northern Yardang Labyrinth. 
Claim the bounty on the way back to Rabanastre.  The third is wraith, found
right in the entrance to Garamsythe Waterway, the first area you see.  It
should take about 6 to 8 hits to defeat, depending on your level and luck with
critical hits.  Claim the bounty on the way back.


.================================================.
# 24.11  Stage 9:  The hermes sandals **241100** #
`================================================`

Routine:  Hermes (16)
Video segment:  24 (partial), 25 (partial), check 26 for adjustments
Time:  3 hours, 15 minutes
Level:  About 25 or 26
What to do:  Buy the warmage's monograph, 50 phoenix downs (60 maximum, 40
minimum - the fewer, the better the game clock but the more quitting and
reloading is needed), save at the Westersand save crystal (which also gets rid
of the doom status effect) and go at dustia once more, now getting arcanae from
it.  Continue until you get 15 arcanae then stop (check your inventory's loot
for this).  Out of phoenix downs and don't have 15 arcanae?  Quit and reload to
try again.  Buy immobilize, charge, and the scale armor.  If you can afford it,
buy the "wind walkers" as well.  Don't bother with the other monograph yet
unless you can afford it.  License immobilize and charge only.  Focus on the
swiftness augments then the hermes sandals should you still have spare LP.


.==============================================.
# 24.12  Stage 10:  The final stage **241200** #
`==============================================`

Routine:  Malboro (19)
Video segments:  37, 38, 39
Time:  25 hours
Level:  99
What to do:  Head into Lowtown, go north, then west to reach the Garamsythe
Waterway.  Save at the save crystal before starting.  One wrong move and rotten
luck means it's game over.  Take the southwest zone exit.  Immobilize the
malboro overking.  If it misses, run for it.  Otherwise, defeat it.  It will
take a lot of hits at first, but for 3000 exp, it's worth it.  Immobilize the
lizard in the low area next.  You have 2 chances in this case.  If both miss,
immediately cross the nearest zone boundary.  Continue to the west for the 2
malboros and 1 lizard here.  Be careful with the lizard when approaching it on
the front.  If it's moving, stop when just out of range of immobilize and stand
still to let it approach you.  If it's not moving, approach it slowly.  Get the
malboro overkings in the usual way.  Never go into the zone to the south.  To
respawn the enemies, use the second-closest zone boundary on the back track.

Once level 59 is reached, license the winged helm and scale armor, equipping
them.  From there, directly attack the malboro overkings without immobilizing
them but do immobilize the lizard in the southwest section of the first area. 
Continue south and attack the 4 malboro overkings here.  Never attack or use
magicks of any kind near water elemental.  Unless at least level 74 with all 5
battle lores, if water elemental casts protect on a malboro, back track to the
previous zone exit and respawn the enemies as usual.  Over time, the malboro
overkings will start to fall in a single hit and when that happens, the process
only gets faster.  Continue this until level 99.  Once there, save your game
and you're done and continue on to the afterward section.




  ____     ___    _     _   __    _      ____   _   _    ___    ____    ____
 |  _ \   / _ \  | |   | | |  \  | |    / ___| | | | |  / _ \  |  _ \  |  _ \
 | | | | | |_| | | | A | | | A \ | |    \ \    | |_| | | |_| | | |_| | | | | |
 | | | | |  _  | | |/ \| | | |\ \| |     \ \   |  _  | |  _  | |  _ <  | | | |
 | |_| | | | | | | ' A ' | | | \ ' |    __\ \  | | | | | | | | | | | | | |_| |
 |____/  |_| |_| |__/ \__| |_|  \__|   |____/  |_| |_| |_| |_| |_| |_| |____/

                #####################################
        #############                           #############
   ########                                               ########
#####   25  Advancing the story for the dawn shard **250000**   #####
   ########                                               ########
        #############                           #############
                #####################################


.==============================================.
# 25.1  About the afterward section **250100** #
`==============================================`

You might have noticed odd new routines that are out of place with the rest of
the routines.  This is the afterward section, a special section that all
methods use after you've reached level 99 in any of the methods.  There are
some great benefits you'll gain in this section.  The first and biggest is that
you'll have access to equipment you probably didn't know you could have only
35% of the way through the game.  Ever wanted the maximillian, zodiac spear,
crown of laurels, defender, golden skullcap, and 5 other pieces of such
end-game equipment without going all the way to, well, the end of the game? 
You will be able to get such equipment just 35% of the way through the game,
barely 1/3.  You only need to know how, and get well-prepared.

There are other benefits as well, but not as significant.  The next biggest
benefit is that you'll have all the monographs pretty much first thing (you can
do it during the 70- or 65-hour methods but you likely won't have the gil for
them).  The third benefit is that you'll learn the real potential of the
Nihopalaoa.  The last is that you'll gain gil at a blinding fast speed.

At first, you'll be getting the 7 monographs.  Then you'll want to get to the
point where all of the methods are at the same point in the story.  That's what
the following 2 subsections are for.  From there, all of the methods are mostly
identical for the routines used except for the Balth Fran section at the end
(section 30), something the 70- and 65-hour methods don't use as Balthier and
Fran start at level 99 when you first get them.

Like with the standard methods for reaching level 99, I also have narrated
videos for the afterward section as well.  Like with the standard methods, be
sure to check the annotations for any corrections, updates, and extra
commentary:

http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLLUkzkTsdHsofRBtzU612uBQw56Wx7aQJ


.==========================================.
# 25.2  Obtain the 7 monographs **250200** #
`==========================================`

Before setting out for the next part, I strongly recommend getting the 7
monographs.  I'll explain how to do so here.

Hunter - do the thextera hunt then speak to Gatsly in the Muthru Bazaar.
Knight - activate shop system for a weapon shop 30 times.
Warmage - read the hunt board 20 times.
Mage - activate shop system for a magick shop 25 times.
Scholar - activate shop system for an armor shop 15 times.
Dragoon - read the hunt board 40 times.
Sage - activate shop system for any shop 100 combined times.

The hunter's monograph is often easy to miss because Gatsly is quite hidden. 
If you went for the hermes sandals, you've already got the warmage's monograph
along with the dragoon's monograph.  The other 4 come from visiting shops
repeatedly.  You don't have to do anything, just get the shop system to load. 
The sage's monograph combines all shops, including traveling merchants (like
Lohen), Migelo's Sundries, technick, and gambit shops.  You've already racked
up 70 from the specific shops cases and likely several more from other shops
from selling your loot.  In general, just keep activating the shop system until
you see that new bazaar items are available.  Don't confuse the sage's
monograph, costing 25,000 gil, the most, with the less expensive ones from the
specific shop types.  If you get the sage's monograph first while, for example,
going after the scholar's monograph, buy the sage's monograph but keep going
until you get the scholar's monograph to appear.

The only monograph-like item you can't get is the canopic jar as you can't get
the items for it for quite a while (you'll have the high-end equipment before
you'll even start to be able to get them).


.==========================================.
# 25.3  Through Barheim Passage **250300** #
`==========================================`

If you used either the 65- or 70-hour methods, you will need to do this.  If
you used one of the shorter methods, skip this part as you've already made the
story progress.  Because you still haven't done the Nalbina Dungeons part for
the longer methods, you'll need to advance the story at this point to do so. 
The process is pretty much identical to the "Story" section (section 11) but
there are a few differences, thanks to being level 99 with every single license
obtained.

The first difference is that you don't need to have to steal from slaven during
the sunstone event.  You already have the traveler's garb set.  The second
difference is that you can license Penelo in full, obtaining every single one
of her licenses.  The third difference is that, when Balthier and Fran join, do
not obtain the "brawler" license - you'll need the weak damage output for the
obtaining of crooked fangs from the seeker.  Sure you'll do around 176 damage,
rather much, it's the absolute weakest you have available.  The mythril sword
will do around 319 damage, almost too much.  This assumes Balthier with all 5
battle lores, the winged helm, the bronze armor, and the battle harness.  If
all else, you might even have to hand the seeker a potion to help control its
HP so poach works successfully.  Balthier's starting gun can help too since the
damage it does is always fixed but there's the risk of critical hits so use the
gun with caution.  Once you get the crooked fangs though, feel free to license
brawler on both.

Speaking of brawler, did you know that, with the adrenaline license taking
effect and as much strength as you can get, you could be doing 9999 damage to
pretty much everything in sight?  Fun times that!  9999 damage on firemane?  Go
for it!  9999 damage on mimic queen?  Feel free!


.=================================.
# 25.4  Boosting Basch **250400** #
`=================================`

Regardless of the method you used, this part is the same.  The title of this
section may seem confusing, but how would you like to get your Basch to have a
little more HP and/or MP than average?  It does take about 2 minutes per run,
but it's worth the effort as you could get Basch an extra 30 to 50 HP and/or 8
to 15 MP, depending on the amount of effort you put into it and what your focus
is.  This seems odd, but it's entirely possible.

First, visit Old Dalan to get the Sword of the Order.  Before handing this item
to Balzac in the westernmost part of Lowtown, save your game at the very nearby
gate crystal.  Once saved, go to Balzac and skip the story scenes.  Return to
the gate crystal and save your game to a second file (preferrably one that's
adjacent to the one you just saved).  Don't bother licensing Basch or anything.
If you focus on HP (like I usually do for Basch since he's the HP king), write
down the HP he has.  If you focus on MP, write down the MP.  If you want both,
write down both.  When you're done, quit and reload your slightly earlier save,
from before Basch joining.

Repeat the process again of getting Basch to join.  Once he does, check his HP
and/or MP.  You'll find that it's different.  If your focused stat is an
improvement, return to the gate crystal and update your newer save.  If no
improvement occurred, just quit and reload.  Repeat this process as many times
as you want.  Don't expect to get the perfect HP of 5778 and the perfect MP of
264 the odds of that happening are absolutely insane:  1 in 9.27323E154 (92
11/15 quinquagintillion).

Do note that the 4 bottom stats (strength, magick power, vitality, and speed)
are fixed so don't focus on those.  Focus, instead, purely on HP and/or MP as
those are the ones that are randomized.


.=============================================.
# 25.5  Get Balthier and Fran back **250500** #
`=============================================`

When Balthier and Fran leave, they stop earning experience and, worst of all,
LP.  If you used any of the shorter methods and Balthier and Fran rejoin,
you'll find that they were left exactly the way you had them.  Whereas Vaan and
Basch have around 2000 to 4000 LP with the entire augments section cleared (the
amount depends on your method) and every available piece of equipment,
technick, and magick licensed, Balthier and Fran have hardly any LP and have
almost no progress in the augments.  They really do get left in the dust.  I
wonder if this is a bug or oversight by the programmers considering that
characters who haven't officially joined and characters not active in battle
still get the same LP.  This, however, is not a problem if you used the longer
methods - they'll initially join with so much LP that they can clear their
entire license board with enough LP to spare to almost do it again.  By getting
Balthier and Fran back now, you can at least get them to accumulate LP.


.==============================================.
# 25.6  Obtain 2 extra burning bows **250600** #
`==============================================`

If you used the slower methods, chances are, you already have 6 or more burning
bows - skip this part if you have at least 3 burning bows.  If you used the
faster methods, you almost certainly only have 1 burning bow.  This is now a
great time to get more burning bows, since it's the most powerful weapon you
can get your hands on for quite a long time to come.  Unlike before where you
had to use quickenings (or the chain-status-death method), you can use the
direct chaining method.  With the fiery arrows, dive talon will go down in 1
hit so it's actually pretty easy.  You're probably thinking that it's going to
take 8 hours to get 2 more burning bows.  Nope, it's only about 1 hour, and
that's if you're unlucky.

...................................
25.6.1  The easy process **250610**
...................................

For this to work, first get a blue sky so that your accuracy is as good as
it'll get, follow the path in the "dive talon" routine (section 18). 
Initially, you may bash the urstrixes, wolves, and whatever else is along the
way for LP.  Once you defeat your first dive talon, you cannot attack the other
enemies.  It's inevitable that they'll get in the way though but there's an
easy fix for that:  just immobilize them then ignore them.  Equip the
traveler's vestment as well so that the wolves are at least harmless (outside
their "fangs" attack).

Ignore the loot from dive talon until the chain reaches level 4.  When it does,
grab the loot and keep doing so until you've obtained 2 burning bows.  I got my
2 extra burning bows in under an hour and that's with fiddling around (adding
more status effects than needed - you can freely add any status effects to
enemies as you want, just so long as you don't defeat them (chain-status-death
bug case aside) to the unwanted enemies and immobilizing those that are clearly
not an issue).

From ignoring the junk enemies, you'll often find that only 2 or even just 1
dive talon is present.  By going into the zone to the north and returning, you
can refresh the enemies in the key area which should get the dive talons that
didn't show up due to the 6-enemy limit to appear.  Do not use the cave though
as you need a clear blue sky at all times and you can't face gnoma entite yet
although you could survive it.

............................................
25.6.2  Kotetsu:  the alternative **250620**
............................................

Don't want more burning bows for whatever reason?  There's an alternative
available that's much easier to get.  It's also slower to get.  This is the
kotetsu, dropped from the werewolves.  The kotetsu doesn't have the damage
potential or the range of the burning bow though so I don't advise you get it.

...............................................................
25.6.3  Unarmed:  the alternative to the alternative **250630**
...............................................................

If you've obtained the brawler license, there is yet another alternative that
doesn't seem obvious.  If you go unarmed, you can actually deal more damage
than the burning bow with the fiery arrows.  The benefit goes even higher as
enemy defense increases.  More details, including the exact reasoning behind
it, are explained in section 25.9.1 a little below.


.==============================================.
# 25.7  Obtain 2 extra winged helms **250700** #
`==============================================`

Once you get your 2 burning bows, get 2 more winged helms so that way everyone
has one.  It's the strongest helm you can get for a while and the damage boost
it provides is great, especially if you decide to go with the unarmed approach
where it's vastly more effective.  Like before, defeat the slimes, now going
down in 1 hit, and ignore the loot until chain level 4.  Get your 2 winged
helms then leave.

If you see gnoma entite on the way out of the cave, there is a way to steal
from it completely safely, 2 ways even.  The first method is the safest method.
Bring out one extra character, preferably Basch, and have Basch steal from it. 
Keep your leader very far but you must be able to see the green life bar.  As
soon as steal connects, immediately bring up the party menu and put Basch away.
Although gnoma entite will now have a red bar, it hasn't targeted Basch yet so
it can't get the thief so it continues to wonder around like nothing happened.

The second method is riskier and it requires that you are within about 4
seconds of a zone boundary.  Have 2 of your characters steal from gnoma while
you keep the leader separate and as far as you can.  As soon as the others
connect the steal, have one of them cast something (cure is nice) so as to get
silencega instead of a damaging spell, and, once you set that action,
immediately make the leader cross the nearest zone boundary.  If done right,
you'll double your chances of stealing and you'll likely only get silenced
which can simply be ignored or echo herbed out.  Attacks only take effect if
the damage or output popup has appeared.  The action may execute, but as soon
as a zone boundary is crossed, the action becomes 100% harmless.  I've actually
prevented a game over from crossing a zone boundary (from going after the
burning bow at only level 12 and dive talon lunging).


.=======================================.
# 25.8  The cluckatrice hunt **250800** #
`=======================================`

Before advancing the story, I strongly recommend doing the cluckatrice hunt. 
Why?  When it comes to preparing for the final 2 routines, you'll need to get
stuff from the clan shop that you can't get otherwise.  Because Giza Plains is
fixed to be rainy during the main hunting season, you have to do the
cluckatrice hunt while Giza is still in the dry.  You must do it before doing
the Tomb of Raithwall events.

To start, speak with Montblanc to get the hunt available.  Accept the rocktoise
hunt while you're at it since you'll be going there anyway.

You're probably well aware of the petrification cluckatrice can cause.  Being
level 99 with an overpowered burning bow, you could practically defeat
cluckatice in a single hit.  The chicks for sure, but the cluckatrice itself
requires the adrenaline license to take effect, thanks to protect.  Plus, you
have other party members too so you won't get a game over in the extreme off
chance your character gets turned to stone.  I've soloed it without any trouble
at all.

Dania is found in the pen with the friendly cockatrices in the Nomad Village. 
Speak with her to accept the hunt.  Take the east exit then clear out every
single enemy in this zone.  You're guaranteed 9999 damage on the giza rabbits
thanks to the fiery arrows.  Once cleared out, leave the zone then return to
find cluckatrice and the 3 chicks.  Simply attack these and you're done. 
Return to the Nomad Village and claim the bounty from Dania then return to
Rabanastre.


.================================================.
# 25.9  Story advancement at level 99 **250900** #
`================================================`

......................................................
25.9.1  Going unarmed?  Making the decision **250910**
......................................................

Since you now have a full party, I would suggest having one character serve as
a damage dealer.  One interesting option is having one character being unarmed.
How can that be beneficial, considering the attack power is only 11?  The 11 is
actually misleading once you get the brawler license.  The real attack power is
actually the average of your "strength" and "level" stats.  Thus, raise
strength as much as you can as, unlike traditional weapons, raising strength
has a 3-fold effect instead of 2 (or 1 in the case of weapons that use a
secondary stat).  Why is it a 3-fold effect?  It comes down to the damage
formula (the top one is unarmed with brawler, the bottom is for the burning bow
with the fiery arrows):

((SLV+SSTR)*rand(0.5, 0.5625)-TDEF) * SSTR * (SLV+SSTR)/256
(SATK*rand(1, 1.125)-TDEF) * (1+SSTR*(SLV+SSPD)/218 * 1.5

Note how SSTR (source strength) appears 3 times in multiplication in the top
formula, the one used for going unarmed with the brawler license, and only once
in the bottom formula, the one for the burning bow with the fiery arrows.  With
strength as high as you can get it, you can do some major damage going unarmed.
Because target defense (TDEF) generally remains the same within an area, the
higher attack power that going unarmed has only makes going unarmed far more
worthy despite the 50% damage bonus the fiery arrows have.

Let's compare this to an enemy with a defense of 8, about typical for what
you'll face in the Lhusu Mines.  In my comparison, I'll assume you have the
winged helm, scale armor, battle harness, all 5 battle lores, and that focus or
adrenaline are not taking effect (multiply by 1.2 for focus, 2 for adrenaline).
Going with the burning bow and the fiery arrows, you'll deal about 4683 damage
on average.  Going unarmed means an average of 6416 damage, 37% more damage,
quite significant.  However, you don't need that kind of damage for the bulk of
what you'll be doing.  Still, having the unarmed character with adrenaline
taking effect always doing 9999 damage is quite fun.  Plus, should a combo take
effect, scoring multiple hits of 9999 damage is even better!

Given this, I very strongly recommend having one character unarmed.  Being HP
critical, however, is not a necessity.  Have Vaan with the burning bow with the
fiery arrows and have him lead so he can always get the first shot.  Have Basch
go unarmed.  The reason is that Basch doesn't have as much speed as Vaan does
and speed is a determining factor for damage dealing.  Basch also has the same
high strength as Vaan.  Vaan could use the haste of the hermes sandals.  While
it doesn't affect damage, the quicker charging time helps a lot, especially for
a first strike.

When your next level 99 character joins, have both Vaan and Basch go unarmed
and have your other character (usually Ashe in my case as she's good with
magick and healing), have the ranged weapon since ranged weapons are great for
first strikes and there's always pseudo running available.

My videos don't show the going unarmed case as I didn't think about it until I
started dealing with the entites as their defense of 48 makes going unarmed
far, far more effective than your burning bow ever could, even if the entite
was weak against fire.  I also wanted the near-instant enemy removal for the
surprise enemies that only possible with a ranged weapon.  In fact on an
entite, you could do nearly 2569 damage per hit instead of 728 (don't forget
that entites have a 30% damage reduction ability and the use of the onion
arrows are used instead, cancelling the 1.5 multiplier), over 3 1/2 times as
much (and the burning bow's damage varies a lot as the entite is absorbing a
huge fraction of the damage).  In general, going unarmed is more beneficial the
later you get, until you can get your hands on better weapons as is the case in
the "Nabradia" and "Necrohol" sections of the process.

............................................................
25.9.2  The Lhusu Mines - fight instead of escape **250920**
............................................................

Now comes the fun part - blasting bosses like you never thought possible. 
Return to Rabanastre and get to Bhujerba.  When Lamont joins, you'll find that
he/she (can't tell what it is) is level 99 as well.  In fact, every single
guest is going to be level 99 and you're always stronger than the guests thanks
to those burning bows or going unarmed.  During the case where Ba' Gamnan
attacks where you're normally supposed to escape at full speed, you can very
easily handle them.  Attack at will and you won't have to bother escaping.  If
you can handle the far more dangerous dive talon, you can handle Ba' Gamnan and
his grew without any effort.  Fire a quickening off on them and show them a
5-figure damage popup if you want.  For optimal damage, focus on level 1
quickenings - the higher ones are more of a waste.  With skill and moderate
luck, you could quite well approach 25 hits.  In addition, thanks to the
traveler's garb set, they'll barely even damage you, only the more reason to
get them with.

Be sure to accept the Nidhogg hunt when the story scene has you resuming
control in the Cloudborne.  The hunt board is hard to miss.  Seek Pilika in the
western area that you couldn't get to earlier and Aekom just before the
entrance to the Lhusu Mines.  Repeat your run through the mines and the 2 marks
are hard to miss.  Nidhogg happens to be weak against fire so you'll very
easily take it out in 1 hit, even with protect.  Rocktoise is vulnerable to
fire but has a return damage ability that causes any character that deals
damage to it to also suffer damage, 5% of what you dealt.  This, however, is
not a problem.  I just cast slow and blind on it while the damage dealer just
rips away.

...........................................
25.9.3  Boosting Ashe and Penelo **250930**
...........................................

Like you did with Basch, you can do the same with Ashe and Penelo.  Ashe is the
quickest, taking a mere 40 seconds per attempt.  She's good with healing and
magicks so giving her a lot of MP is recommended.  Try for at least 290,
preferrably 295.  Visit the shop and do the usual saving before bothering with
Ashe though.  Ashe joins at level 99 as well with enough LP to clear the entire
augments section plus a lot left over.  Swap Balthier or Fran (whichever one
you used as your third character) for Ashe so that way you have a full party of
level 99 characters.  Save before continuing as you can do Penelo immediately
after.

Penelo is the worst one of them all.  This is because, to get her to join, you
have to fight through a constant supply of imperials.  You might as well wipe
out the entire imperial army while you're at it....  Each run takes 3 minutes. 
Yep, no kidding she's the worst one.  You could do the same for Balthier and
Fran during that part, but that's even worse, much worse (and exclusive to the
longer methods).

The fastest way for Penelo is to go around one of the sides instead of going
straight when the path splits in 3 directions.  Left or right doesn't matter in
this case as both routes are the same.  In the next zone, you'll find a lot of
imperials present.  After bashing them, take the west exit as it's the closest
one.  There's no need to remove the alarm.  The next zone doesn't have any
enemies but focus on going as much west as you can.  In the open square-shaped
area, Penelo will join.  Back track as needed.  For Penelo, I would suggest MP
because her HP is the worst of all the characters.  288 is recommended because
the route takes 3 minutes to do, not including the backtracking to save.  290
is preferred though you could go for 295 if you are willing.

Of course, you could just hold R2 and just run for it constantly.  The
imperials are quite weak and you've got a ton of HP.  By using R2 constantly,
you'll do each run in around 2 minutes.

.......................................
25.9.4  Crossing the sandsea **250940**
.......................................

While heading through the sandseas, stay away from salamand entite.  This
entite is much like gnoma entite except that it always uses firaga for nearly
2000 damage.  With just the "cure" spell available, you don't stand much of a
chance.  If you do insist on picking a fight with it, keep your leader apart
from the others - the others should go unarmed for massive damage.  All entites
have a defense of 48 so if you only have kotetsus, you'll barely even damage
it.  The burning bow will only do about 700 damage as the entite is absorbing
so much of the damage.  By going unarmed, you can really do some serious
damage, 3 1/2 times more than what the burning bow offers, literally.  Have 2
characters constantly attacking while the other stands back with a rose
coursage equipped casting shell and cure whenever possible.  By keeping your
leader separate from the rest, only one character will get hit with silencega
and likely firaga.  Have your leader cast shell constantly to minimize the
usage of firaga.  Have nonleader characters only attack or use items - turn off
all magick gambits.  The guest, Vossler, is more of a damage absorber than
anything else, completely helpless to do any damage.  Use alarm clocks to
remove sleep, if that goes through (shell reduces the success rate).  Once
defeated, continue on as usual, healing with healing magicks instead of items. 
If you can defeat salamand entite at this point, you'll find the Nabreus
Deadlands and Necrohol of Nabudis very easy for you.

While crossing the sandsea, stick to the northern route.  The "urutan eater" is
worth a fair amount of LP is definitely worth it.  The urutans only do about 25
to 30 damage to it, next to nothing, but your strongest damage dealer could
almost very well do 4000+ damage to it, bringing it down in 2 or 3 hits as
opposed to the 300 or so the urutans need.  Fire off a quickening and a nice
5-figure damage popup appears, over 1000 times more damage than the urutans
can!  Isn't it fun being so overpowered?  There is no need to return to get the
eksir berries.

About the cura spell (cost:  1500):
+-------------------+---------------------------------+
| Equipment bonuses | Extra important properties      |
+-------------------+ None                            |
| Attack power    0 +---------------------------------+
| Hit points      0 |          License path           |
| Mist points     0 +-------------------------+-------+
| Defense         0 | License                 |    LP |
| Magick resist   0 | White magick 1          | Start |
| Evade           0 | < White magick 2        |    20 |
| Magick evade    0 | < White magick 3        |    30 |
| Strength        0 | Total                   |    50 |
| Magick power    0 |                         |       |
| Vitality        0 |                         |       |
| Speed           0 |                         |       |
+-------------------+-------------------------+-------+

Cura is a major step up from cure.  Not only is it 2 1/4 times as effective, it
also heals every character in your active party in a single quick cast.  Oh and
it has a very calming and peaceful sound effect, my top favorite in the entire
game.  While it doesn't have much use now, it will for what's to come later. 
One key benefit is that the elementals (the big ball entites and random mess
elementals) are now easy and safe to handle.

About the raise spell (cost:  1900):
+-------------------+---------------------------------+
| Equipment bonuses | Extra important properties      |
+-------------------+ None                            |
| Attack power    0 +---------------------------------+
| Hit points      0 |          License path           |
| Mist points     0 +-------------------------+-------+
| Defense         0 | License                 |    LP |
| Magick resist   0 | White magick 3          | Start |
| Evade           0 | Total                   |     0 |
| Magick evade    0 |                         |       |
| Strength        0 |                         |       |
| Magick power    0 |                         |       |
| Vitality        0 |                         |       |
| Speed           0 |                         |       |
+-------------------+-------------------------+-------+

Raise has the advantage of preventing the need for a phoenix down.  It can also
be used as an instant death attack on the undead (if they're not immune to it).

You'll find Dyce along the way just before you reach the Tomb of Raithwall.  He
has cura available - make sure you get it.  It has more than double the healing
power as cure and it heals everyone in your party.  Raise is somewhat decent
though not necessary at this point (it will come in useful later though).  The
rest are not necessary but feel free to get them.

Garuda will go down pretty much before it even gets a chance to make its first
strike thanks to your burning bows and pseudo running.  Yep, with that, there's
no need for the eksir berries.  The burning bow with the fiery arrows will do
far more damage than those berries will.  Just continue along.

........................................
25.9.5  The Tomb of Raithwall **250950**
........................................

For the Tomb of Raithwall event, if you haven't gotten the fiery arrows yet, do
so.  The seekers here are always present.  Feel free to get both demon walls. 
The first one you can normally ignore and run from, but the second one is
required.  You can so effortlessly blast both of the demon walls.  In fact, it
takes 4 times more time just getting to the second demon wall than it takes to
defeat it.

When you reach Belias, switch out the fiery arrows for either the onion arrows
or go unarmed.  This is because Belias absorbs fire - you will heal it instead.
Of course, a big quickening chain for a 5-figure damage popup is always nice.

Feel free to unleash your wrath on the boss in the following event with a
quickening chain.  While a 21-hit quickening like I have in my video is
excessive, I loved the huge 5-figure damage popup that came with it.




      _   _   _   _   __    _   _____    ____                ___     ___
     | | | | | | | | |  \  | | |_   _|  / ___|      _       / _ \   / _ \
     | |_| | | | | | | A \ | |   | |    \ \       _| |_    | |_| | | |_| |
     |  _  | | | | | | |\ \| |   | |     \ \     |_   _|    \__  |  \__  |
     | | | | | |_| | | | \ ' |   | |    __\ \      |_|      ___| |  ___| |
     |_| |_|  \___/  |_|  \__|   |_|   |____/              |____/  |____/

                #####################
        #############           #############
   ########                               ########
#####   26  Preparing for Nabradia **260000**   #####
   ########                               ########
        #############           #############
                #####################


.================================================.
# 26.1  3 new hunts on the hunt board **260100** #
`================================================`

At this point, the Nabreus Deadlands are now accessible.  However, it's a very
dangerous place and you're poorly equipped to handle it right now.  You can
certainly go there now if you want, but it'll be a lot more challenging and it
is still doable with adequate skill.  Balthier's remark about "it's best that
we go prepared" is right on the mark in this case, but not for the story
advancement.  This is actually as far into the story as you're going to get in
my guide, still only 1/3 of the way through.

While you can't really get much better equipment, you can, however, get some
very helpful spells.  The problem is, the magick shop doesn't have anything
significant.  There is one shop, however, that does carry something very
helpful, 3 things actually.  That shop is the clan shop.  Getting all of those
3 things requires that you have defeated 14 marks and have 100,000 clan points.
Chances are, you have a few million clan points so the only limiting factor is
the defeating of 14 marks.  If you went after the hermes sandals, you already
have 4 down.  You've dealt with cluckatrice and the 2 in the Lhusu Mines.  This
means only 7 marks remain.

In addition to the new spells, you can also get the nihopalaoa.  This item can
cripple an enemy like you've never thought possible and it completely ignores
vitality so the effect is guaranteed!  Have you played Final Fantasy 8?  Do you
remember how the malboros in that game cause pretty much every single negative
status effect in the book (except KO and hp critical)?  With the nihopalaoa and
a remedy with the 3 remedy lores, you can do that same thing on the enemy! 
Yep, up to 14 negative status effects can be applied at once (13 maximum since
petrify and doom cannot coexist).

Due to advancing the story more, new hunts have become available.  Check the
hunt board to see that 3 new hunts that are available.  Croakadile and wyvern
lord are 2 that you can do without further advancing the story.  Enkelados is
the only hunt you cannot do as it requires still more story progress (though
not much).  Accept all 3 anyway.


.==============================================.
# 26.2  Shopping for the essentials **260200** #
`==============================================`

About the berserk spell (cost:  1000):
+-------------------+---------------------------------+
| Equipment bonuses | Extra important properties      |
+-------------------+ Adds "berserk" status           |
| Attack power    0 +---------------------------------+
| Hit points      0 |          License path           |
| Mist points     0 +-------------------------+-------+
| Defense         0 | License                 |    LP |
| Magick resist   0 | Time magick 1           | Start |
| Evade           0 | < Arcane magick 1       |    25 |
| Magick evade    0 | Total                   |    25 |
| Strength        0 |                         |       |
| Magick power    0 |                         |       |
| Vitality        0 |                         |       |
| Speed           0 |                         |       |
+-------------------+-------------------------+-------+

Berserk.  If you're familiar with Final Fantasy series, berserk is often
treated as a negative status effect.  After all, it does completely sacrifice
control on the affected character as that character will only attack.  In Final
Fantasy 12, however, it is extremely useful, practically a must-have.  Once you
get a hold of it, you won't turn back.  Why?  What can go wrong with double the
charging speed and 50% more damage?  Berserk is best on a character that serves
as a damage dealer.  Simply have the other 2 characters serve as support,
healing, keeping status effects in check, and so forth.  In fact, the
berserker, when unarmed, will frequently do 9999 damage early on, especially
with focus taking effect.  There's also a hidden bonus with berserk - it'll
make that character immune to confusion.  This is because confusion and berserk
cannot coexist.

Before starting, I strongly recommend visiting the magick shop and buying
berserk.  There's nothing worthwhile in the technick shop.  The weapon shop has
nothing worthy of buying since your burning bows are still superior to the best
the weapon shop has (and going unarmed is superior to the burning bows but
lacks the range).  However, stop by the weapon shop anyway because the
petitioner, Sherral, is there.

About the golden armor (cost:  3200):
+-------------------+---------------------------------+
| Equipment bonuses | Extra important properties      |
+-------------------+ None                            |
| Attack power    0 +---------------------------------+
| Hit points      0 |          License path           |
| Mist points     0 +-------------------------+-------+
| Defense        20 | License                 |    LP |
| Magick resist   0 | Heavy armor 3           | Start |
| Evade           0 | > Heavy armor 4         |    35 |
| Magick evade    0 | Total                   |    35 |
| Strength        4 |                         |       |
| Magick power    0 |                         |       |
| Vitality        0 |                         |       |
| Speed           0 |                         |       |
+-------------------+-------------------------+-------+

For bow users, the golden armor is weaker than the scale armor.  Sure you get a
bigger boost on strength, it's the fact speed is also a determining factor in
damage that makes the scale armor better for damage.  The reason for getting
this, however, is if you plan on going unarmed (with the brawler license). 
Thanks to the cubing of strength, every one point has a huge effect on damage
output.  The defense of 20 is also very nice though with what you're about to
face when you're done with the hunts, the defense bonus isn't very worthwhile.

The armor shop now starts to finally get the stuff you've had for a long time
now - the winged helm, traveler's vestment, and feathered cap.  A few items
even exceed what you have, though not entirely advantageous.  I would suggest,
if you're going the unarmed route, getting the golden mail for the +4 in
strength instead of +3.  Get one for each character you want to go unarmed with
(2 suggested at most).  Keep the scale armor for the bow user(s) though - it
does more damage because of the +3 on speed.  There are some things that still
demand ranged attacks so you'll want to keep the scale armor for the potential
need for bows.


.===============================================================.
# 26.3  Recommended gambit and character role setups **260300** #
`===============================================================`

Now that you're prepared as far as equipment goes, I'll explain the character
roles and gambit setup I use.  For reference, I have my gambits setup like
this, for the formatting I use:  "5.  Foe:  status = silence = attack
(disabled)" or "7.  Ally:  [damage dealer] = berserk".  The number on the left
is the slot number (slot 5).  The part to the left of the rightmost equal sign
(Foe:  status = silence) is the target condition and the part to the right is
the action (attack).  The part in parentheses, if present, are special flags
for notes.  Read the description afterward for details.  If no parenthecal part
is present, assume the gambit is active.  Because later section refer to the
gambit setup, I'm also filling in things you don't have at this point.  For
those marked "to be filled in", you can either leave the slot blank or fill in
the target.  When a specific character is referenced, the role is given.  For
example, if you make Vaan your damage dealer (it doesn't have to be him), I'll
reference it in square brackets.  In the second example, instead of "Ally: 
[damage dealer]", you'd have "Ally:  Vaan" if you make Vaan your damage dealer.
Do note that using Balthier and Fran are strongly not recommended if they're
not level 99 as they're too weak to do much good.

....................................
26.3.1  The damage dealer **260310**
....................................

You can only have 3 characters in the active party.  Out of those 3, I strongly
suggest having one of them as a damage dealer.  This character pretty much just
focuses on dealing damage.  He/she only comes in for aid when there's an
emergency such as revival or dangerously low HP.  This character is often
berserked so damage is amplified and his/her gambits don't have much of an
effect, only working if berserk lapses and no enemies are around.  Vaan and
Basch are great candidates for this role as they have a very high strength. 
Vaan is the best for the burning bow with the fiery arrows though as he's also
fast.

1.  Ally:  any = phoenix down
2.  Ally:  HP < 30% = cura
3.  Ally:  any = esuna (disabled)
4.  Foe:  nearest = attack
5.  Ally:  any = bubble (to be filled in)

As to the gambits of the damage dealer, I always have revival in the first
slot.  The sooner you can bring a downed ally back up again, the better. 
Phoenix downs are instant.  Raise is not.  Both are pretty much just as
effective so go for the speed.  Just make sure you have at least 20 before
setting off though it's unlikely you'll need them outside the small chance for
the "Necrohol" section.  For healing thresholds, I'm only offering a
suggestion.  You may adjust it as you see fit such as using something from 20%
to 50%.  When enemies go heavy on status effects, removing them is important
though there are some you can't effectively remove, mainly slow.  I have the
esuna case disabled (turned off) so that way it doesn't take effect.  Damage
dealers aren't healers so I tend to not have an esuna gambit active.  I only
make it take effect when there's a need for it and that's pretty rare.  With
all emergency stuff out of the way, attacking is done.  A good offense is a
good defense - by getting rid of the enemies, you can defend yourself, in a
sense.  The last one only kicks in when berserk expires at almost the same time
bubble does, bubble expiring less than a second later, and only when not in
battle.  Bubble is a must-have and is very important to keep it active at all
times.  You'll see why at the end of this section.

...........................................
26.3.2  The status effect keeper **260320**
...........................................

The second character serves as a status effect keeper.  This character will
keep status effects in check, since status effects are very skilled at one
thing - expiring.  This character, however, only focuses on adding the status
effects that are guaranteed to work.  The exception is berserk, but only when
not in battle (you may choose otherwise, especially when faith becomes
available).  Bubble and faith are always guaranteed to work.  Berserk is not. 
They'll also get involved in combat as well, should no status effects be in
need of reapplication.  Thus, a character high in MP is a good choice.  I use
Basch in my videos who isn't very decent for this role.  Vaan, Ashe, and Penelo
are good alternatives, mainly Penelo and Vaan.

 1.  Ally:  any = phoenix down
 2.  Ally:  any = bubble (to be filled in)
 3.  Ally:  HP < 40% = cura
 4.  Ally:  any = shell (disabled)
 5.  Ally:  [healer] = faith (to be filled in)
 6.  Ally:  any = esuna
 7.  Ally:  any = protect (disabled)
 8.  Self = faith (to be filled in)
 9.  Self = libra (optional - one character needs it)
10.  Foe:  nearest = attack
11.  Ally:  [damage dealer] = berserk

Like with the damage dealer, the status effect keeper only does healing when
there's an emergency need for it.  A threshold from 30 to 60% is suggested for
the healing point.  The status effect keeper's form of healing, however, is
through the use of keeping bubble in check at all times since, in a way, it
doubles the amount of HP the target character currently has.  For much later to
come, shell is needed so this will be disabled for a while.  Since faith makes
healing magick 50% more effective, having faith on the healer will help ensure
the healer can heal a lot when needed.  Removal of negative status effects is
essential, though not that much for a status effect keeper.  Protect isn't as
useful, but if you're having difficulties later on, you can turn this gambit
on.  Keeping faith active on the status effect keeper can help with any
emergency healing or berserking Vaan.  To see traps, you need libra.  It
doesn't matter which of the 2 supporters it goes on, but someone needs it. 
This would be a good choice for the status effect keeper though.  When none of
the main status effects need to be reapplied, combat will continue.  Because
berserk isn't guaranteed, having the status effect keeper apply it outside of
battle is recommended.  You might consider disabling the berserk gambit and
having the high magick power healer do the work instead.

.............................
26.3.3  The healer **260330**
.............................

The third character serves mainly as a healer and also has a backup role as a
status effect keeper.  This user is high in magick power to help ensure berserk
is successful, even doing it during battle.  I tend to make my healer the party
leader for an assortment of reasons.  First, magicks are long range attacks. 
Second, the party leader tends to get the first shot (and the first hit but can
be avoided to some extent with pseudo running) so crippling an enemy right away
with immobilize or something will really help.

 1.  Ally:  any = phoenix down
 2.  Ally:  HP < 70% = cura
 3.  Ally:  any = esuna
 4.  Ally:  any = shell (disabled)
 5.  Ally:  any = bubble (to be filled in)
 6.  Ally:  [damage dealer] = berserk
 7.  Self = faith (to be filled in)
 8.  Ally:  [status effect keeper] = faith (to be filled in)
 9.  Self = libra (optional - one character needs it)
10.  Foe:  undead = cura
11.  Foe:  nearest = attack
12.  Self = cura

The usual revival is at the top.  For a healer, however, the threshold is much
higher.  A value from 50 to 90% is recommended.  Healers focus on removing
status effects so the esuna gambit is higher.  Shell is needed for much later
so it's disabled as usual.  Since bubble doubles the current HP, bubble also
serves as an indirect way to heal.  If bubble is good to go, keeping berserk on
the damage dealer follows since the healer's higher magick power makes berserk
much more likely to be applied.  Keeping faith active follows.  Since the only
way to see traps is through the use of libra, keeping this on gambit is a must.
Libra doesn't have to be on the healer, it can also be on the status effect
keeper.  Just pick someone, it doesn't matter who (I suggest the status effect
keeper myself).  The next one on the list seems like a strange one.  Why use
healing magick on an enemy?  The undead (your zombies and ghosts) take damage
from healing actions.  With the huge amount of undead that you face near the
end, this is a very useful gambit as it's also an area of effect skill.  Of
course, if the enemy isn't undead, a regular attack will be used instead.  The
last gambit entry is also a curious one.  By having the healer target
him/herself with cura, you can get serenity to take effect which then means 50%
more healing on the other 2 allies.  This isn't a must, but it's very useful
during the Necrohol section.


.=====================================================.
# 26.4  Croak the croakadile for new hunts **260400** #
`=====================================================`

......................................
26.4.1  Reaching croakadile **260410**
......................................

The first hunt to do is the croakadile hunt.  Croakadile is pretty easy, but
takes a while to get there.  First, head into Giza Plains from Rabanastre and
proceed to the southeast then south.  When the path splits going due west and
due east, choose the west route so you can go to the nomad village where Sadeen
is.  Along the way, before entering the village, you'll encounter a white
withered tree that looks bone dry.  Be sure you strike it to knock it over as
you have 6 of these to get for a future hunt.

Once in the village, head slightly to the left to find Sadeen near the
cockatrice fence.  You'll see another withered tree in the view - strike it
after dealing with Sadeen, accepting the hunt.  Take the west exit, the only
option you have.  Follow the path to the west then head south and back east
again.  Before crossing into the zone to the south, don't forget the withered
tree.  Just as you enter the southwestern zone, head left to get the fourth
withered tree.  You won't find enemies here as the croakadile is on the loose.

..............................................
26.4.2  Dealing with the elementals **260420**
..............................................

Along the way, if the weather conditions are favorable, you'll find 2
strange-looking types of enemies present.  One seems like a random mess with
bits of lightning, storm elemental, and the other looks like a giant ball of
deep-violet-colored lightning, mardu entite.  You can now very easily handle
these entites, thanks to cura.  Have your berserker go unarmed to really dish
out some serious damage.  Make the healer constantly cast so that the healer is
the target.  Don't forget to equip a rose coursage on the healer.  Shell will
really help with mardu entite though not needed with storm elemental.  For best
results, keep your healer separate from the rest of your party and avoid using
the fiery arrows as the elementals here are immune to fire.  The parallel
arrows (or onion arrows if you don't have them) are a great choice.  While you
won't do much damage to mardu entite with the burning bow, just have these
characters attack.  For the healer, just use shell and cura as much as you can
while keeping your distance from the others.

.......................................
26.4.3  Defeating croakadile **260430**
.......................................

When you reach the end of the bridge, let your berserker(s) catch up.  When
they do, turn to the left and croakadile will quickly jump out.  With the fiery
arrows, 9999 damage is guaranteed as croakadile is weak against fire.  Going
unarmed, especially for the nonberserker(s) is a good choice too since you
won't have weather-related accuracy penalties to bother with.

When defeated, head toward the nomad village and claim the bounty from Sadeen.

.........................................
26.4.4  Back to the hunt board **260440**
.........................................

Return to Rabanastre (you'll get the other 2 withered trees later) and check
the hunt board again to find 3 new hunts:  white mousse, ring wyrm, and
marilith.  Accept all 3 of them.  Since the tavernmaster happens to be barely 5
meters away in the area you're already in, don't forget to speak with him!


.============================================.
# 26.5  White mousse's better bow **260500** #
`============================================`

........................................
26.5.1  Reaching white mousse **260510**
........................................

Leave the Sandsea and use the moogling to get to west gate.  Speak with sorbet
which also happens to run the moogling.  Accept the hunt.  Use the moogling
again to return to the Sandsea and head north into the northern Lowtown
entrance.  Head into Garamsythe Waterway and follow the route in the 25-hour
method.  Unlike the 25-hour method, you don't need to be HP critical and you
don't need to immobilize these enemies either.  Just let your berserker do the
work though have the party leader get the first strike.  Head to the west then
the south.  Bash the 4 malboro overkings here following the obvious path.

.........................................
26.5.2  Defeating white mousse **260520**
.........................................

Once you head down the stairs, white mousse will appear.  White mousse is weak
against fire so put the burning bow with the fiery arrows on the damage dealer
and let him do frequent 9999 damage to white mousse.  The others aren't as
strong but can still dish out a fair amount of damage.  White mousse loves
using waterga though so be prepared for that.  Have the healer use cura as
needed and have the damage dealer dish out 9999 damage every rapid hit he/she
makes.  White mousse should go down very quickly.  When it does, simply back
track to Lowtown.

.....................................
26.5.3  Balzac's ring wyrm **260530**
.....................................

Do you remember Balzac?  You spoke to him for the part of boosting Basch.  The
far southwestern part of the north sprawl is where you need to go.  Accept the
hunt.

.......................................
26.5.4  Claim the bow bounty **260540**
.......................................

Return to Rabanastre's west gate then speak with Sorbet to claim the bounty. 
You will receive the yoichi bow.  In addition, you'll also get a key to operate
the sluices in Garamsythe Waterway.  It's not necessary right now, however, and
I strongly advise against going after Cuchulainn at this point - you're not
prepared for it (but you are prepared in regards to story progress
requirements).  It's best to wait for bubble and faith to become available
before going after cuchulainn, or, to make things even easier, the high end
equipment that's to be obtained soon.

About the yoichi bow (cost:  hunt reward (12,500 base)):
+-------------------+---------------------------------+
| Equipment bonuses | Extra important properties      |
+-------------------+ None                            |
| Attack power   75 +---------------------------------+
| Hit points      0 |          License path           |
| Mist points     0 +-------------------------+-------+
| Defense         0 | License                 |    LP |
| Magick resist   0 | Bows 4                  | Start |
| Evade           0 | ^ Bows 3                |    35 |
| Magick evade    0 | > Bows 5                |    45 |
| Strength        0 | Total                   |    80 |
| Magick power    0 |                         |       |
| Vitality        0 |                         |       |
| Speed           0 |                         |       |
+-------------------+-------------------------+-------+

The yoichi bow is the most powerful bow you can get until nearly the end of the
game.  Despite the higher attack power, the burning bow with the fiery arrows
is still more powerful, unless dealing with an enemy that's resistent to,
immune to, or absorbs fire, or the enemy has a very high defense (like the big
ball elementals, the entites).  In that case, the yoichi bow is stronger. 
Beating them all, however, is going unarmed.  Thus, you may prefer to have the
yoichi bow on your party leader for that first strike potential.


.====================================.
# 26.6  Hunts in the west **260600** #
`====================================`

At this point, you have 4 hunts to deal with.  The wyvern lord, the ring wyrm,
and the marilith are the ones you'll be dealing with here.  The other one,
enkelados, will not be done.

.................................................
26.6.1  The out-of-the-way wyvern lord **260610**
.................................................

Use the moogling to head to south gate then use the gate crystal to teleport to
the Tomb of Raithwall, the closest point to the wyvern lord.  Once you arrive,
head east, following the obvious path for quite a while.  When you begin to see
urutan yensa present (which are cheap license points), head to the northeast
exit that's off the path.  Follow the path to the left, the lower route, and
head to the far north to find the wyvern lord amongst the bagolies.  The
bagolies, however, drop bent staves which sell for a ton of gil.

Wyvern lord is a flying monster so equip bows.  The burning bow with the fiery
arrows is the best on the berserker.  Use the yoichi bow with the parallel
arrows on the party leader and the other burning bow with the onion arrows on
the other character.  Make the first strike then pseudo run.  If done right,
you shouldn't even get hit at all.

.................................................
26.6.2  Rabanastre for the nihopalaoa? **260620**
.................................................

This part is optional but can help if you're having difficulties with marilith.
Return to the gate crystal in the Tomb of Raithwall to teleport to Rabanastre. 
Why?  If you visit the clan shop, you'll find that the nihopalaoa is available
and you can buy teleport stones.  Buy the nihopalaoa to make a lot of what's
coming up very easy.  However, it only works if you have a remedy and all 3
remedy lores.  You can't buy remedies but you can get them in the Westersand's
treasure chests.  It's not a must, however, but if you have at least one
remedy, you'll make one of the marks far easier and that mark is marilith, a
powerful beast.  Be sure to buy teleport stones though.  I usually don't go
below 10 but buy around 20 to even 30.  Either way, when you're done, return to
south gate's gate crystal and teleport to the Westersand.

....................................................
26.6.3  The effortlessly-soloed ring wyrm **260630**
....................................................

If you decided to skip the case of going after Rabanastre, return to the gate
crystal in the Tomb of Raithwall to teleport to the Westersand.  Either way,
you'll now be only one zone away from the ring wyrm itself.  Head east, which
will force a sandstorm to be present, then follow the southern part of the zone
to find it.

Ring wyrm is my second-most-liked mark in the entire game, only behind death
gaze.  If you've ever wanted to really see the potential of immobilize, look no
farther than ring wyrm.  It's so effortless that you can easily solo it, even
without taking a hit, literally.  My video walkthrough even proves this.  Yep,
just give it a boot and simply wait.  After the second action that ring wyrm
makes expires, give ring wyrm another boot as immobilize is on the verge of
expiring.  Chances are, however, it'll use "restore" which recovers about
40,000 HP.  With it being immobilized, it's completely helpless, or so you'd
think.  Ring wyrm does have some ranged attacks but from all the times I've
dealt with it, they are rarely used.  If you really want a challenge and to
really see the potential of immobilize in its full glory, equip the short bow,
the onion arrows, and defeat it with that, immobilizing as needed.  Yes, it'll
take a very long time to finish it, but it's still so easy that it's nothing to
worry about.

......................................
26.6.4  The boring marilith **260640**
......................................

Continue to the north and follow a familiar route (if you've done the 70- or
65-hour methods).  Along the way, you'll find gnoma entite.  Unlike before, you
can now very easily handle it, but not solo.  Section 26.3.2 above explains how
to deal with gnoma entite.  Gnoma entite is actually very easy compared to
mardu entite (or salamand entite if you bothered crossing the sandseas again). 
Your destination is the Zertinan Caverns - enter it from the Westersand.

Once you enter this zone, you need to stay here for a whole 5 minutes before
marilith will even show up.  While waiting, go around bashing the enemies that
appear.  There are 5 slimes and 3 speartongues.  Throw status effects on them,
fiddle around, do whatever.  You'll need to clear out the enemies though, since
the 6-enemy limit will get in the way of getting marilith to appear.  Once
you've cleared out the 8 enemies, good for gil and license points, go around
grabbing the various chests scattered around.  One thing you could do while
waiting is attempting to see just how far you can leave your berserker behind. 
Start from the entrance and follow the course going around the loop in the
southwest, then heading back to the entrance.  Chances are, if berserk doesn't
expire during this, you can get your berserker well off the map.  After some
time, however, the enemies will respawn.  This is your 3-minute marker.  Go
around bashing these enemies for some license points and gil, following the
full course as usual.  When you've cleared them out, head into the sunlit room
where the 2 speartongues are.  At the far corner, you'll find marilith.

However, before approaching, have everyone get the protect status effect and
have your berserker go unarmed.  If you bothered to go after the nihopalaoa,
equip it and simply hand marilith a rememdy immediately upon seeing it to
cripple it as far as crippled can get for it.  Marilith is very powerful, doing
close to 1000 damage per hit and it combos quite well.  Near the end where the
combos are crazy, just because one character is handling the healing doesn't
mean you should continue attacking.  This is where one of the flaws in the
gambit system kicks in.  Picture this.  Vaan, my berserker, has 3000/6200 HP
remaining and Ashe, my healer, just fires off cura to fully restore that. 
Marilith decides to get a big combo going but the main healer has only just
activated and there's a long delay before the next action can occur from the
healer.  Vaan's HP is rapidly dropping because of the combo.  At this point,
when you realize this, manually input a healing command from the status effect
keeper (Basch in my case - don't bother with healing using the damage dealer -
have him only attack).  This way, you can override the annoying flaw in the
gambit system.  I've had cura being fired off and a character being HP critical
and the other character still doesn't get healing being charging up, only
attempting to reapply a status effect lower down in the priorities.

.......................................................
26.6.5  Bounties and Montblanc's 2 new hunts **260650**
.......................................................

Once defeated, leave the cave then head into Rabanastre.  Use the moogling to
go to the muthru bazaar.  At this point, you can get bubble from the clan shop,
but you don't really need it right now.  You can, however, get the Nihopalaoa. 
That, however, is not essential but it does help if you have remedies.  I would
suggest waiting on bubble though as there's a really annoying bug in the game
that will just get in the way.

Head into the clan hall and speak to Montblanc.  You'll get plenty of rewards
from raising your clan rank and defeating bosses.  After a bit, Montblanc
finally offers you 2 new hunts:  orthros and gil snapper.  Accept both hunts.

Continue off to the east without using the moogling then enter the Sandsea to
claim the bounty from the tavernmaster.  Continue to the weapon shop to claim
the bounty from Sherral off to the left (remember that imperial?).


.==================================================.
# 26.7  The no-gil-involved gil snapper **260700** #
`==================================================`

Return to the moogling or continue on.  You need to get into south gate for
Giza Plains.  Head to the southeast then south.  When the path splits, instead
of going due west this time, head due east.  Straight ahead in the next zone is
a withered tree in an odd right-angled corner - be sure to get it, your fifth
one.  Continue south hugging the eastern side.  In the southeast zone, you'll
find a series of trees making a path but you can't cross it yet - those are the
withered trees you've been knocking down.

Continue to the west to find Nanau resting against the small dark crystal in
the same area where Jinn was to be found.  Nanau and Roaklo speak a lot so just
repeatedly press the X button to skip over the conversation quickly and accept
the hunt.  You'll find the sixth and final withered tree almost directly behind
them - be sure to get it.  You'll hear a special sound effect play as well,
absent when the previous 5 were dealt with.

Return to the east and that path of trees.  Inspect it to find that it's now
crossable and cross over.  Bansat attempts to join in for this.  If you decided
to get bubble, you'll find your characters trying to cast bubble on Bansat,
just for an "immune" to pop out.  This is a glitch (oversight) in the game as
bubble should only affect the main 6 party members.

To get gil snapper to appear, you need to get the heaviest rain.  There are 3
visual cues to let you know.  The first is that the scene will be tilted
downward initially instead of more straight across.  This is the easiest way to
tell.  The second is that the rain is very intense.  The third is that you'll
see lightning in the sky.  Fourth, though not obviously visual, Bansat will
mention that he saw the mark.  Once the gil snapper has appeared, it's time to
begin attacking it.

First, before attacking, have your damage dealer go unarmed as the gil
snapper's defense is quite high.  Next, once you see it, cripple it with
negative status effects.  First, silence it.  Second, immobilize it.  Third,
blind it.  Fourth, slow it down.  Of course, if you got the nihopalaoa, equip
it and hand the mark a remedy to instantly inflict it with up to 14 negative
status effects at once (minus those its immune to and the petrify/doom
conflict).  Bansat will both attack and attempt to help by putting positive
status effects on your characters.  Shell can be very annoying when you've got
missing HP and berserk expires - recasting it may take several tries as it will
miss quite often.  Have your status effect keeper heal the healer (the one with
the highest magick power) to get serenity to take effect.

Don't worry about the case with having to draw it into the urn upon the final
blow.  This is done automatically so just focus on the attacking.  Chances are,
your berserker will end up dealing the final blow as it's the only one doing
4-figure damage, even with protect and the damage reduction abilities taking
effect (Bansat barely even gets 3-figure damage as he's very weak compared to
you).


.===================================================.
# 26.8  The status-effect-loving orthros **260800** #
`===================================================`

Return to Rabanastre again and use the moogling to go to the Sandsea for the
northern entrance to Lowtown.  Head toward Garamsythe Waterway but don't enter
it just yet.  Speak to the odd seeq laying on the floor, contrite thief.  She
will jabber a lot so just press the X button repeatedly for a while.  When
done, accepting the hunt, do exactly as you did with the white mousse hunt
until you reach the area white mousse was encountered.  Before continuing into
the eastern exit, change your party so that Fran, Ashe, and Penelo are the
active members, and only that combination.  If you've used the faster methods,
you'll probably think that this is a bad idea because Fran is incredibly weak
with likely under 1000 HP.  This, however, isn't a problem.  Just deal with the
enemies along the way before making the change then change the party just
before entering the eastern zone.

When you enter the zone continue to a familiar location - this is where you
found the 4 flans.  While you're heading here, watch very closely and get the
triangle button ready.  The moment you see the red life bar of orthros, switch
out the female-only party with your original party.  From here, the battle
begins and orthros won't vanish.

Orthros is weak against fire so you'll definitely want your berserker to have
the fiery arrows and burning bow equipped along with the usual winged helm and
scale armor.  This way, you'll frequently deal 9999 damage to orthros with
focus taking effect.  Spread out your members as much as you can to minimize
the effectiveness of area of effect skills.

The biggest problem with orthros that makes this battle very difficult is the
fact that orthros loves using status effects.  While there's nothing you can do
about the slow status effect other than using a remedy (not advised), esuna
works for the rest.  If someone gets hit with confusion, have that character
equip the weakest weapon you have.  You could have your healer constantly cast
cura to at least attempt to delay the use of mythril bubbles.  Already used? 
Use the next weakest.  Never use unarmed as the brawler license will pretty
much mean instant death.  Do note that the berserker is immune to confusion, a
major plus.  As a consequence, you might consider having 2 berserkers for this
battle.  The other one is just the healer.  Once confusion is removed, reequip
your original weapon.

Once orthros is defeated, return to Lowtown and claim the bounty from contrite
thief.  You'll have to wait a few seconds for the game to load her though.  Be
sure to pick up the bounty from Balzac as well.


.==============================================.
# 26.9  New treats at the clan shop **260900** #
`==============================================`

Return to Rabanastre and use the moogling to head to the muthru bazaar and go
to the clan shop.  The clan shop now has a lot of new stuff available.

.........................................................
26.9.1  The hidden potential of the nihopalaoa **260910**
.........................................................

About the nihopalaoa (cost:  30,000):
+-------------------+---------------------------------+
| Equipment bonuses | Extra important properties      |
+-------------------+ Reverses healing item effects   |
| Attack power    0 +---------------------------------+
| Hit points      0 |          License path           |
| Mist points     0 +-------------------------+-------+
| Defense         0 | License                 |    LP |
| Magick resist   0 | Accessories 18          | Start |
| Evade           0 | > Accessories 20        |   120 |
| Magick evade    0 | Total                   |   120 |
| Strength        0 |                         |       |
| Magick power    0 |                         |       |
| Vitality        0 |                         |       |
| Speed           0 |                         |       |
+-------------------+-------------------------+-------+

This accessory may seem like a major disadvantage, making potions deadly and
knots of rust just as deadly as they were.  However, when used properly, the
nihopalaoa is almost a must-have for tough enemies.  When have all 3 remedy
lores obtained, you can restore up to 14 total negative status effects.  Since
this item reverses the effects of healing items, restoring becomes damaging. 
Instead of restoring 14 negative status effects, it adds 14 negative status
effects and all at once:  poison, blind, slow, stop, silence, sleep, sap, oil,
doom, petrify, confuse, immobilize, disable, and disease all get added at once
at the same time, minus those that the target is immune to and the petrify/doom
compatibility problem (since doom and petrify cannot coexist - petrify takes
priority).  Unlike the individual status attack magicks, this is all guaranteed
at once as vitality is ignored when checking the success rate (it is considered
when setting the duration though.  It's now like you've turned into the
malboros from Final Fantasy 8, using their status effect nightmares against the
enemy.  Now, every time you encounter a mark, boss, or rare game enemy, just
equip this accessory and hand it a remedy to cripple it like you've never seen
before.  Of course, once the effect is done and you see the numerous popups
appearing at once (what a mess!), equip the original accessory you had, if you
want.

The first one you'll notice is the nihopalaoa.  This item is a special item
that will make some of what's to come far easier as you'll be able to cripple
some of the toughest enemies in the game without vitality or shell blocking it,
only actual immunity.

........................................
26.9.2  The must-have magicks **260920**
........................................

About the faith spell (cost:  5800):
+-------------------+---------------------------------+
| Equipment bonuses | Extra important properties      |
+-------------------+ Adds "faith" status             |
| Attack power    0 +---------------------------------+
| Hit points      0 |          License path           |
| Mist points     0 +-------------------------+-------+
| Defense         0 | License                 |    LP |
| Magick resist   0 | Arcane magick 1         | Start |
| Evade           0 | < Arcane magick 2       |    30 |
| Magick evade    0 | < Green magick 5        |    45 |
| Strength        0 | < Green magick 6        |    50 |
| Magick power    0 | Total                   |   125 |
| Vitality        0 |                         |       |
| Speed           0 |                         |       |
+-------------------+-------------------------+-------+

The faith spell is like serenity and spell breaker except that it's an
additional boost.  It makes healing magicks and status effect magicks 50% more
effective and makes attack magicks 20% more effective.  Combined with serenity,
cura can now restore about 7000 HP with the traveler's garb set equipped.

About the bubble spell (cost:  3300):
+-------------------+---------------------------------+
| Equipment bonuses | Extra important properties      |
+-------------------+ Adds "bubble" status            |
| Attack power    0 +---------------------------------+
| Hit points      0 |          License path           |
| Mist points     0 +-------------------------+-------+
| Defense         0 | License                 |    LP |
| Magick resist   0 | Green magick 6          | Start |
| Evade           0 | ^ Arcane magick 5       |    60 |
| Magick evade    0 | Total                   |    60 |
| Strength        0 |                         |       |
| Magick power    0 |                         |       |
| Vitality        0 |                         |       |
| Speed           0 |                         |       |
+-------------------+-------------------------+-------+

The bubble spell is something you should never go without.  It offers numerous
advantages (and thanks to a bug (an oversight) a disadvantage).  First, it
doubles your maximum HP.  If you thought the 6350 Basch had was impressive, try
again - 12,700 is far better.  There is a bug present in the game - the
displayed HP stops at 9999 causing many to think that you only have 9999 HP. 
If you were to target that character, however, you'll see that you really do
have 12,700 HP.  If you were to take 2500 damage, you'll see that 9999 is still
displayed but the life bars are noticeably depleted and the focus license isn't
taking effect.  In addition, you'll see "10200" instead of "12700" upon
targeting that character.  An "Ally:  HP < 80% = cura" gambit will fire off
too.  This, however, is not the disadvantage I'm referring to (that case is
much worse).  Second, bubble makes you immune to the disease status effect
because both bubble and disease cannot coexist.  Third, when combined with HP
critical and the balance spell, you can regularly do 5-figure damage, exceeding
the annoying and pointless 9999 damage limit that you've probably already seen
a lot of.  There is, however, an annoying disadvantage.  All guests and allies
are immune to bubble and yet the gambits are always going off.  This very
annoying oversight causes you to either drain your MP to nothing from endlessly
casting it (and you can't get rid of guests without killing them (and then the
revival gambit goes off)) or waste gambit slots to individually target each of
the active main characters.  Of course, there's another downside - the effect
is only temporary so it often has to get recast (just put it on gambit, placing
it high on the list).

All of those hunts you did were for these 2 spells.  While you can go without
them, the area you're about to deal with is very difficult without them thanks
to having inferior armor and mediocre weapons.

..................................
26.9.3  The other items **260930**
..................................

The other spell, reverse, isn't of use until much later in the game.  While it
does have some use, it's not very much.  There is another useful item available
here too - the teleport stone.  Buy a good chunk of them.  At this point,
travel between gate crystals can become quite routine so get them while you
can.

......................................
26.9.4  Adjust your gambits **260940**
......................................

Now that bubble and faith have been obtained and licensed, it's time to adjust
your gambits to fill in the new gaps.  See section 26.3 for details on what
goes where.




   __   __    ___     ____   ____    _   _    ___    ____     ___    __    _
  |  \ /  |  / _ \   / ___| |  _ \  | | | |  / _ \  |  _ \   / _ \  |  \  | |
  | A V A | | | | |  \ \    | |_| | | |_| | | | | | | |_| | | |_| | | A \ | |
  | |\ /| | | | | |   \ \   |  __/  |  _  | | | | | |  _ <  |  _  | | |\ \| |
  | | V | | | |_| |  __\ \  | |     | | | | | |_| | | | | | | | | | | | \ ' |
  |_|   |_|  \___/  |____/  |_|     |_| |_|  \___/  |_| |_| |_| |_| |_|  \__|

                ##################################
        #############                        #############
   ########                                            ########
#####   27  Crossing into the Nabreus Deadlands **270000**   #####
   ########                                            ########
        #############                        #############
                ##################################


.======================================================.
# 27.1  The 3 ways into Mosphoran Highwaste **270100** #
`======================================================`

To get into the Nabreus Deadlands, you first have to get into the Mosphoran
Highwaste.  Before the story progress was made, Mosphoran Highwaste was
inaccessible.  Now it is.  However, there's not 1 way to get there but 3.  Each
method has its pros and cons but they all lead to the same point - the gate
crystal in the Babbling Vale area in the center of Mosphoran Highwaste.  I'll
explain them in the following subsections, along with what to do.  All the
methods are named after what they involve.

........................................
27.1.1  The river boat method **270110**
........................................

The first method is great for LP, useful if you want to get Balthier and Fran
to catch up on LP.  It does involve a lot of waiting around for the game
though, however, and a lot of back and forth movement initially.

Use the moogling to teleport to the east gate and head off into the Estersand. 
Make sure you get a blue sky because the large number of enemies you're about
to be bashing will make a strong accuracy worthwhile.  Go into the Outpost. 
You can now defeat the wild saurian in one hit with your berserker - immobilize
it and let every one rip away.  Once in the Outpost, speak with Dantro, found
near the fire.  Remember him?  He was involved with the flowering cactoid hunt.
He has a favor to ask.  Continue to the South Bank Village and bash enemies
along your route though you don't have to go after each and every single one
though.  Once in the South Bank Village, head almost straight across to find a
hut with someone standing just out the door.  Speak to her, Dantro's wife.  She
has a patient she's dealing with though the completion of that quest is not a
necessity for this guide.  She also has another favor to ask.  Return to Dantro
and speak with him once more.  You'll learn that something is a bit strange. 
Again, return to South Bank Village.

This time, there's a group standing in the river and the river boat is there. 
Speak to the one on the dock and agree to go with Tchigri.  You'll now be on
the North Bank Village, but you can't leave yet.  Speak to Ruksel straight
ahead - Tchigri stands directly in front of him.  The game will automatically
return you to South Bank Village.  Speak with Dantro's wife to learn about the
flower.  Go to the back side of the hut to find a flower.  Examine it then wait
about 20 seconds.  When done waiting for the game to do its love for animation,
since you can't skip it, lead Dran, the cactoid, to Tchigri and cross the river
again.  Approach the giant cactoid and, again, wait for more animation.  Once
you receive the 1000 gil and wyrmfire shot (how a cactus can have or even get
this, I don't know), you can proceed into the west exit.

Head to the north-northwest, bashing the numerous worgens and dive talons
present.  In the next zone, the path splits in 2 first thing - take the left
route.  Head into the north exit to enter the Mosphoran Highwaste.  Be sure to
get a blue sky (not overcast) - return to the Esterand and reenter to force
another weather rerandomization.  Head to the northwest to enter Babbling Vale.
Save at the gate crystal present.

..........................................
27.1.2  The earth tyrant method **270120**
..........................................

If you like boss fights, this is a good method to use.  While it doesn't offer
as much LP, it's, at least, more challenging (for those that like it), quicker,
and a bit more varied.

Use the moogling to teleport to the west gate.  You'll find Rimzat near a sack
- speak with him.  He'll tell you to find Cotze.  Head into the Southern Plaza
(go through West Gate) and you'll find Cotze in the fountain straight ahead in
the southwest corner of the fountain.  He mentions of going to Northon.  Go
into the area near the entrance to Garamsythe Waterway and look almost due
south of the entrance.  Milha is there as well, the petitioner for the Wraith
hunt - Northon is just a tad more south.  He mentions of a windvane being near
a giant cactus.

Head into the Westersand (the weather doesn't matter much) and go to where the
entrance to the Zertinan Caverns is and the 3 dive talons.  Head into the zone
exit to the north of the cave then hug the southern edge.  Inspect the giant
cactus here to find a wind globe.  Return to West Gate to find the 3 involved
grouped up - speak with one of them, any one you want.  You will receive the
wind vane.  Return to the Westersand (again, the weather doesn't matter much)
and take the north exit in the first zone, an exit you should be very familiar
with if you used dustia to level up on.  You're not after dustia so there's no
need to go after 10% HP remaining - just continue on.  Follow the obvious
course to the west then around to the east.  Here, if you don't have a sand
storm right now, you are forced to get one.

Continue straight ahead to find the earth tyrant boss (you can skip the scene).
Have your berserker go unarmed to ensure accuracy and considerably increase the
damage output.  Also, first thing, equip the Nihopalaoa on someone and have
that character hand the earth tyrant a remedy to cripple it with a ton of
negative status effects.  Just let your berserker rip and the earth tyrant will
go down faster than you've ever seen before.

Once defeated, head to the east and you'll be in the Estersand.  I would
suggest trying to get a blue sky here since there's a lot of enemies along the
way.  Head straight to the north, bashing the numerous worgens and dive talons
present.  In the next zone, the path splits in 2 first thing - take the left
route.  Head into the north exit to enter the Mosphoran Highwaste.  Be sure to
get a blue sky (not overcast) - return to the Esterand and reenter to force
another weather rerandomization.  Head to the northwest to enter Babbling Vale.
Save at the gate crystal present.

.....................................
27.1.3  The chocobo method **270130**
.....................................

While this method yields no LP and costs 800 gil, it's the king of all the
methods as it's easily 5 times faster than all the others.

For this, use the moogling to teleport to the south gate.  Use the gate crystal
to teleport to Nalbina Town (noted as "Nalbina Fortress").  Buy a chocobo for
800 gil from the moogle a few steps away.  With the chocobo in hand, go to the
guards blocking the way to find that one of them is chicken - scared of a
chocobo.  After plenty of jabbering, you'll find that the path is fully cleared
- cross to the north.  I would suggest getting a blue sky though (not overcast)
since there's a lot of enemies along the way, fliers.  Once you get one, head
to the north-northwest.  The path is almost a straight line with a few gentle
curves so feel free to use the sprints the chocobo has and really zoom by. 
You'll eventually reach a red zone line.  Simply dismount and head into
Babbling Vale.  Save at the gate crystal present.


.=============================================.
# 27.2  Luccio's great accessories **270200** #
`=============================================`

Regardless of the method you used to get into the Mosphoran Highwaste,
everything is the same at this point until further notice.

About the golden amulet (cost:  4500):
+-------------------+---------------------------------+
| Equipment bonuses | Extra important properties      |
+-------------------+ Doubles LP gained               |
| Attack power    0 +---------------------------------+
| Hit points      0 |          License path           |
| Mist points     0 +-------------------------+-------+
| Defense         0 | License                 |    LP |
| Magick resist   0 | Accessories 4           | Start |
| Evade           0 | > Accessories 7         |    40 |
| Magick evade    0 | ^ Accessories 8         |    45 |
| Strength        0 | Total                   |    85 |
| Magick power    0 |                         |       |
| Vitality        0 |                         |       |
| Speed           0 |                         |       |
+-------------------+-------------------------+-------+

The golden amulet will allow all characters, even those not active, to
accumulate LP at double the rate you were.  If you used the slower methods
where Balthier and Fran start at level 99 and you've got every license obtained
(with enough LP to spare to clear the entire board all over again), this item
is completely useless.  For the faster methods, this will come in very handy
for finally allowing Balthier and Fran to catch up.

About the thief's cuffs (cost:  3000):
+-------------------+---------------------------------+
| Equipment bonuses | Extra important properties      |
+-------------------+ Improves steal chances & amount |
| Attack power    0 +---------------------------------+
| Hit points      0 |          License path           |
| Mist points     0 +-------------------------+-------+
| Defense         0 | License                 |    LP |
| Magick resist   0 | Accessories 7           | Start |
| Evade           0 | > Accessories 10        |    40 |
| Magick evade    0 | Total                   |    40 |
| Strength        0 |                         |       |
| Magick power    0 |                         |       |
| Vitality        0 |                         |       |
| Speed           0 |                         |       |
+-------------------+-------------------------+-------+

The thief's cuffs have 2 advantages.  First, the success rate of stealing goes
up.  Instead of a 3, 10, and 55 combination, it's 6, 30, and 80.  In addition,
you can also steal multiple items at once instead of just one.  Basically,
without the thief's cuffs, you have a 3% chance of stealing the rarest item. 
If that succeeds, the 10 and 55 are ignored.  This means the 10% steal is
actually a 9.7% chance.  If that succeeds, the 55 is ignored.  This means the
55 is actually a 50.635% chance.  With the thief's cuffs, the rarest item is 6%
instead of 3, double.  However, instead of just stopping there if it succeeds,
the other items are checked as well.  This means you can have up to 3 items in
a single steal instead of just 1.  In fact, the odds of getting a successful
steal go from 60.715% to 86.84%.  Obviously, if the steal misses, you can keep
trying until it works but once something is stolen, the enemy has no more. 
Thus, if you steal constantly until you get that item, the actual odds are
actually a little higher - the order being (approximately), 4.94, 15.98, and
83.4% without the thief's cuffs and 6.91, 34.55, and 92.12% with the thief's
cuffs.  Thus, the rarest item improves by about 40%, the middle item improves
by more than double, and the most common hardly improves at all.

After saving, speak with Luccio, the shop owner to the east-northeast.  He has
2 major things you should get:  the golden amulet and the thief's cuffs.  In
addition, you can buy a good supply of remedies to put that nihopalaoa to great
use.  I would suggest having at least 10 remedies, 20 preferrably.  You can
have more though, but 20 is a good quantity to have for the most part.  You
might prefer 50 or even 80.  Feel free to pick up any other items Luccio has. 
The nishijin belt is a good choice too, though not really needed for this guide
(since it became accessible too late in the game).


.====================================.
# 27.3  To the Salikawood **270300** #
`====================================`

You won't be seeing a shop again for a very long time so make sure you get all
the stuff you can now while you still can.  When you're ready, head to the
northwest, heading to the far northwesternmost zone line as it's the only way
to continue farther north.  The first python you deal with is what I often call
the "level up python" or the "level up snake" as it's used a lot in the
optimization method.  The path here splits in 2 - pick a route, any route.  I
prefer the upper route as it's got chests present and you're less likely to
have to deal with fire elemental.  Plus, the vultures are very good for gil as
their loot drops of a very high value.  The black cowl is an upgrade to your
feathered cap (from the traveler's garb set), but it's only a 3% drop.  You
don't need it, however, as there's something far better that you can get.  The
main plus with the black cowl is that you get a speed boost.  Although rocks
block the southern exit that you can strike to create a path that way, you
don't need to go there.  Head north.

This zone is one of my favorites because it's one of the best areas in the game
to level up and get fast LP.  It's the leveling ground for the optimization
method.  The reason is simple - the enemies are in high density and there's
kind of a roundabout as well which helps with the 6-enemy limit and getting a
constant supply of enemies.  Still, some of the pythons may not always appear. 
You should be able to defeat everything here in one hit anyway, especially with
the berserker.  Feel free to bash the enemies around here for close to about 20
LP (40 with the golden amulet) and a lot of gil.  You might be back here again
for leveling up Balthier and Fran.  Either way, continue north following the
obvious path then cross the bridge to enter the Salikawood.


.=========================================.
# 27.4  Through the Salikawood **270400** #
`=========================================`

.................................................
27.4.1  Bone mail for unarmed warriors **270410**
.................................................

When you first enter the Salikawood, you'll encounter a green-life-bar wyrdhare
popping out of the ground.  Just attack it for a quick license point.  Ahead
are 4 pumpkinheads that like to add status effects to you.  Just pseudo run and
let your berserker do the work.  They tend to be sleeping on the job quite
often though.  Just pass through.  In the next zone, you'll find the path
splitting in 2 and a save crystal.  If you want to get the bone mail for your
unarmed warriors to get even more powerful, save at the save crystal.  If you
don't want the bone mail, skip the rest of this part and go to section 27.4.2
below.

From the blue save crystal, head straight then take the east route when the
path splits, avoiding the bridge leading west.  Head north at the next split
then east at the turn.  You'll find the chest in question very near the zone
boundary leading farther east.

The chest appears 45% of the time, has a 40% chance of containing an item, and
the usual 50% chance of it being what you want.  This means you have an actual
chance of 9%.  If the chest isn't there, contains gil, or is a hi-potion, quit
and reload to try again.  Your other option is going after the wild saurians
just before the entrance to Mosphoran Highwaste, but it's a 1% drop and not
worth it.  The chest method is much faster and easier.  I would only suggest
getting 1 bone mail, 2 at the most, one for each of your unarmed damage
dealers.

About the bone mail (cost:  found in chest (5900 base)):
+-------------------+---------------------------------+
| Equipment bonuses | Extra important properties      |
+-------------------+ Weak to holy, 50% dark resist   |
| Attack power    0 +---------------------------------+
| Hit points      0 |          License path           |
| Mist points     0 +-------------------------+-------+
| Defense        34 | License                 |    LP |
| Magick resist   0 | Heavy armor 3           | Start |
| Evade           0 | ^ Light armor 5         |    25 |
| Magick evade    0 | > Light armor 6         |    30 |
| Strength        6 | > Heavy armor 5         |    40 |
| Magick power    0 | Total                   |    95 |
| Vitality        0 |                         |       |
| Speed           0 |                         |       |
+-------------------+-------------------------+-------+

The bone mail seems iffy for effectiveness, but it's actually very useful. 
First, you'll get a massive defense boost which will help for what's to come
next.  Second, you'll add 2 more points on strength compared to the golden
armor which will make your unarmed characters much more powerful.  Third, the
damage reduction from dark magick will help.  Although it makes the character
weak to holy, it's extremely rare to find holy-elemental attacks so that
downside is hardly even a downside at all.  Plus, even if it was used, you'll
have 9999 HP (thanks to bubble) and the 9999 damage limit to protect you from
instant death anyway (and what you face wouldn't do 5000 damage anyway.

Once you do get the bone mail, license it and equip it on your berserker so
he/she can seriously dish out some major damage.  Return to the blue save
crystal and continue on.  If you want another, save, quit, reload, and repeat
the process for more.  If you got all that you want, saving is optional upon
your last one but continue on.

......................................
27.4.2  To the gate crystal **270420**
......................................

Cross the bridge.  Ahead are more pumpkinheads - dispose of them then take the
left path, crossing the bridge.  Follow the obvious route until the path splits
in 2 - take the right route heading north.  If spee shows up along your route
(in one of the dead ends), equip the nihopalaoa and hand it a remedy and just
let your berserker rip away.  The next zone is a bit confusing as it splits in
several directions.  In general, just head to the north-northeast.  You'll find
the zone exit heading east.  In this zone, another split happens, but the path
should be obvious - save at that gate crystal.

.........................................
27.4.3  Dealing with King Bomb **270430**
.........................................

A boss fight is coming up, an optional boss for the game's story, but required
to get to where you need to be.  Have your berserker go unarmed.  In addition,
first thing, equip the nihopalaoa on someone then hand king bomb a remedy to
cripple it with a ton of negative status effects.  From there, just let the
berserker rip away leaving the boss mostly helpless.  Starting to get a new
idea on how to handle bosses and tough rare enemies in this game?  Yep, just
equip the nihopalaoa and hand it a remedy to cripple it as far as it can be
crippled.

...........................................
27.4.4  To the Nabreus Deadlands **270440**
...........................................

You're now almost there.  Continue straight until the path splits - take the
right route, heading north.  The path splits twice more in the next zone - just
take the route leading north in each case.  You'll reach the Nabreus Deadlands
here.


.========================================================.
# 27.5  To the Nabreus Deadlands Gate Crystal **270500** #
`========================================================`

Things are now about to get tough.  If you haven't been going unarmed for your
berserker, do so now as you'll deal significantly more damage than the burning
bow with the fiery arrows will do, easily.  This is because these enemies have
a high defense, typically around 30 (one enemy pushes 51).  This means they're
absorbing almost half of the damage your burning bow with the fiery arrows
could be doing.  Going unarmed means they're only absorbing about 28% of the
damage.  You'll notice a huge difference in damage going unarmed for this area.
The region is also packed with undead enemies so the "foe:  undead = cura"
gambit will really come in handy.  Of course, everything here, except one
enemy, is vulnerable to immobilize so immobilize and keep back, letting your
berserker work wonders.  The crusaders and dead bones here tend to have high
evasion as well.  However, with immobilize, you can prevent them from evading
attacks, really helping.

When you first enter, you'll be introduced to one of the game's most annoying
enemies - the baknamy.  Note that they are around level 44.  These enemies are
no joke.  They can very well do 1000 damage and should they decide to use a
fang, they can do several thousand damage.  If you're having difficulties,
enable your protect gambits.  If you're still having difficulties, enable your
shell gambit as well or raise your healing threshold.  They generally aren't
that difficult to deal with, but they can be a pain.  If you can handle these
quite easily without protect or shell, then you'll have little trouble dealing
with what's to come.  The baknamies are vulnerable to immobilize which will
really help with hitting them.  Just immobilize and keep the leader away if you
can.  Blind and silence also work, though silence isn't of significant use in
this area.

Either way, follow the obvious path.  There's a story scene involving the back
history to this area.  Basch warns "if you value you life, it's best we turn
back".  Ignore this advice as you're well prepared for this area, despite the
poor armor.  With 12,000 HP and a healer that can restore 4000+ HP to all in a
single cast, you're definitely ready.  I've gone through this area with only 2
characters and only 1 mist charge in much the same way and it wasn't all that
difficult.  Here, you've got 3 characters and 3 mist charges which makes things
even easier.

You'll soon run into a zone that's quite empty with 4 crusaders present.  These
enemies are highly evasive so immobilize them to prevent them from evading your
attacks (I didn't think of that when I made the videos for this point).  They
do have long range attacks, however, so you can't just keep your distance and
call it good, but at least preventing evasion is very helpful considering they
tend to evade frequently.  Cura also works wonders on them as they're undead. 
Head to the east and take the northern of the exits leading to the east.

Hug the northern edge, getting whatever is along the way and cross into the
zone to the north.  Whether you take the left or right route to continue north
doesn't matter as they join up in the same spot.  Beware of leamonde entite in
this area though.  This entite is actually one of the easiest of all the
entites, especially once you get the black mask where it's almost completely
harmless.  Fearga is quite annoying as it pretty much completely drains all of
your MP - just use charge to restore some.  Continue into the northern exit.

Here, you'll find a gate crystal.  However, it's not what you think it is.  If
you were to attempt to use it, you'll be instantly attacked!  Touch it and
quickly separate your healer.  For the most part, just let your unarmed
berserker rip away.  Going unarmed will result in significantly more damage,
nearly 2 1/2 times that of even the yoichi bow.  Crystal bug absorbs fire so
the yoichi bow is the best choice, easily.  Once the crystal bug is defeated,
the real crystal will appear - use it to save.




        __    _    ___    ____    ____     ___    ____    _____    ___
       |  \  | |  / _ \  |  _ \  |  _ \   / _ \  |  _ \  |_   _|  / _ \
       | A \ | | | |_| | | |_| | | |_| | | |_| | | | | |   | |   | |_| |
       | |\ \| | |  _  | |  _ <  |  _ <  |  _  | | | | |   | |   |  _  |
       | | \ ' | | | | | | |_| | | | | | | | | | | |_| |  _| |_  | | | |
       |_|  \__| |_| |_| |____/  |_| |_| |_| |_| |____/  |_____| |_| |_|

                ##################################
        #############                        #############
   ########                                            ########
#####   28  Nabreus Deadland's 7 high-end items **280000**   #####
   ########                                            ########
        #############                        #############
                ##################################


.==================================================.
# 28.1  Common chaining techniques used **280100** #
`==================================================`

Now is the moment you've been waiting for!  It's time to start getting some of
that end-game equipment I've advertised since the beginning that's available
only 1/3 of the way through the game.  Getting this stuff will get you so far
ahead of what's expected for the story that you'll be pretty much invincible
and unstoppable for quite a long while.  That's powerleveling at its finest! 
You've gotten this far, you deserve a big reward!

Because the bulk of the methods involve chaining enemies to get rare drops to
be more common, there are some techniques that common in many cases.  I'll
explain these techniques in the following subsections.  Within each header of
the following sections is a recommendation level (from 1 to 5 stars where 5 is
the most recommended and 1 is purely optional), the method of obtaining the
item, the drop rate (based on chain level 1, the following part is based on
chain level 4), a rank compared to the best in the group (weapons focus on
attack power within a set (e.g. rods, staves, swords, bows, etc.) , armor
focuses on magick resist for helms and defense for body armor), and a suggested
rank where other aspects are considered as well.  This way, you can see just
how high end this equipment really is.

....................................
28.1.1  The basic routine **280110**
....................................

The easiest way to chain any enemy is to pass through a zone that has a save
crystal present.  On one side, first thing, you have one type of enemy.  On the
other side, you have another (or maybe the same one) but the save crystal zone
has no enemies.  Simply get the enemy you want to chain right along the way
first thing.  When defeated, pass through the zone with the save crystal and
return, repeating as needed.  Ignore the loot in full until the chain reaches
level 4.

............................................
28.1.2  The path-clearing routine **280120**
............................................

The path-clearing routine is the most common of all the methods used.  More
than half of the equipment involves the use of this method.  In the event the
zone with the enemy you want to change is not next to the zone with a save
crystal, you will have to clear a path.  For this, defeat the enemies along the
route for getting 2 zones away, cutting a fairly wide path.  These enemies will
eventually begin to respawn after 3 minutes, but after they've respawned the
second time, they will stop respawning.  This, in a way, makes this middle zone
much like the save crystal zone.  While waiting for the respawns to cleared,
feel free to grab the loot of the enemy you're chaining - the chain will
inevitably get broken anyway while waiting for the respawns to stop so that
won't affect anything.  However, as soon as you've defeated the second
respawning of the junk enemies, ignore the loot until chain level 4 is reached.

.........................................................
28.1.3  The junk-enemies-along-the-way routine **280130**
.........................................................

Sometimes, to chain an enemy, you have junk enemies along the way and they need
to be dealt with accordingly.  There are a few ways to do that.  The first is
to set up your gambits so that you will only target an enemy affected by a very
specific condition such as silence.  As for junk enemies though, enemies
unrelated to the chain, you will have to either ignore them or put them out of
order with one of the 4 disabling status effects - stop (you don't directly
have it (nihopalaoa with chronos tear or remedy is the only way)), sleep (not
recommended until you get sleepga due to the long pause before you can move
again, a bug in the game, an inconsistency), immobilize (you definitely know
this one), and disable (not reliable as immunity to it is quite common and it's
harder to apply - the enemy will still follow you though be careful).  Most
enemies tend to be vulnerable to immobilize so that's often the best choice. 
Don't know what an enemy is vulnerable to?  Equip the nihopalaoa and hand it a
remedy.  When the remedy connects, check that enemy's status effects carefully
and note which of the 4 disabling status effects it has and use that one.  By
ignoring the disabled junk enemies, you can easily keep your chain going.

...............................................
28.1.4  The teleporting enemy glitch **280140**
...............................................

The last of the methods has mixed usefulness and is more difficult to use.  The
only condition is that the enemy must be the type that can teleport.  If you've
used dustia to level up with, you used this chaining method.  For best results,
lure a teleporting enemy to a zone boundary then attack it, defeating it.  Once
defeated, immediately cross the zone boundary and return to find another one. 
Defeat it and cross again.  Repeat until chain level 4, ignoring the loot until
then.  Once chain level 4 is reached, disable your leader's gambits entirely so
you have as much control on movement as you can.  When the enemy is about to be
defeated, have the leader stand on the side of it and keep a close eye on the
target's HP.  Pause the action by bringing up the battle menu with wait mode
used and be ready for the moment of the final blow.  Once the final blow lands,
pause the action, let the loot coin drop, unpause then quickly pause again
while moving toward your target to ensure you grab the loot and once you have
it, immediately cross the zone boundary.  It takes a bit of practice but it's
well worth the effort.  Continue as far as you want.  Care for a 100-chain on
evil spirit?


.====================================================.
# 28.2  The powerful and evasive defender **280200** #
`====================================================`

Recommendation:  ***
Method of obtaining:  basic
Drop rate:  1% (5%)
Rank:  6th best greatsword
Suggested rank:  5th

About the defender (cost:  dropped from enemy (13,000 base)):
+-------------------+---------------------------------+
| Equipment bonuses | Extra important properties      |
+-------------------+ None                            |
| Attack power   91 +---------------------------------+
| Hit points      0 |          License path           |
| Mist points     0 +-------------------------+-------+
| Defense         0 | License                 |    LP |
| Magick resist   0 | Bows 4                  | Start |
| Evade          35 | v Axes & hammers 3      |    25 |
| Magick evade    0 | > Axes & hammers 4      |    30 |
| Strength        0 | > Axes & hammers 5      |    35 |
| Magick power    0 | > Greatswords 1         |    50 |
| Vitality        0 | > Katana 3              |    45 |
| Speed           0 | v Greatswords 2         |    70 |
+-------------------+ Total                   |   255 |
                    +-------------------------+-------+

The greatswords haven't even been introduced in the normal story progress yet
and here you are with needing the second greatswords license.  This weapon will
greatly improve on damage.  While going unarmed actually still does more
damage, the benefit behind going after this weapon is the evasion bonus, a
monstrous 35.  Yep, it blocks more than 1/3 of incoming attacks, quite
significant and definitely fitting for the name.  The problem, however, is that
a lot of enemies, especially later on, tend to ignore evasion so this benefit
is not really all that advantageous.

To obtain this item, continue north from the save crystal then to the right. 
Do not go left as there's a risk of a baknamy interfering and breaking the
chain.  Go around the path present in the eastern area then cast raise on the
leynirs, since they're vulnerable to it.  The leynirs are undead so raise
causes instant death for them.  Cura also works well as an alternative.  There
are actually supposed to be 3 leynirs here, but one of them tends to be absent
because of the 6-enemy limit.  To get it to appear, get that odd island to the
east to be completely off the minimap then return.


.===============================================.
# 28.3  The high-HP crown of laurels **280300** #
`===============================================`

Recommendation:  ****
Method of obtaining:  path clearing
Drop rate:  3% (12%)
Rank:  ] 3rd best light armor helm [
Suggested rank:  :] 2nd [:

About the crown of laurels (cost:  dropped from enemy (7500 base)):
+-------------------+---------------------------------+
| Equipment bonuses | Extra important properties      |
+-------------------+ None                            |
| Attack power    0 +---------------------------------+
| Hit points    680 |          License path           |
| Mist points     0 +-------------------------+-------+
| Defense         0 | License                 |    LP |
| Magick resist  42 | Mystic armor 3          | Start |
| Evade           0 | > Mystic armor 5        |    25 |
| Magick evade    0 | > Mystic armor 7        |    30 |
| Strength        0 | > Mystic armor 9        |    35 |
| Magick power    0 | ^ Mystic armor 10       |    50 |
| Vitality        0 | > Mystic armor 11       |    50 |
| Speed           0 | > Light armor 10        |    50 |
+-------------------+ Total                   |   240 |
                    +-------------------------+-------+

The crown of laurels adds a huge amount of extra HP.  Do note that bubble will
double that 680 to 1360.  The 42 on magick resist is more than double what the
best armor you can currently buy from a shop.  The reason for getting this is
the extra HP.  It may seem like it would be best to just continue to the right,
like I did in my videos, it's actually more efficient to head up to mystic
armor 10 as there's an item you'll be getting covered in that license, along
with mystic armor 11.  Yeah, as advertised, pretty much the top of the line.

The crown of laurels is a 3% drop from crusader.  You passed through that zone
along the way to the save crystal.  In the zone before, to the east, you'll
need to clear a path and deal with the respawns as usual.  For the most part,
just immobilize crusader then finish it off with either your berserker or cura.
They are immune to instant death from raise, however.


.==================================================.
# 28.4  The troublesome minerva bustier **280400** #
`==================================================`

Recommendation:  ****
Method of obtaining:  basic
Drop rate:  1% (5%)
Rank:  4th best light armor body armor
Suggested rank:  ] 3rd [

About the minerva bustier (cost:  dropped from enemy (12,400 base)):
+-------------------+---------------------------------+
| Equipment bonuses | Extra important properties      |
+-------------------+ None                            |
| Attack power    0 +---------------------------------+
| Hit points    610 |          License path           |
| Mist points     0 +-------------------------+-------+
| Defense        40 | License                 |    LP |
| Magick resist   0 | Light armor 10          | Start |
| Evade           0 | Total                   |     0 |
| Magick evade    0 |                         |       |
| Strength        0 |                         |       |
| Magick power    0 |                         |       |
| Vitality        0 |                         |       |
| Speed           0 |                         |       |
+-------------------+-------------------------+-------+

The minerva bustier adds a considerable amount of HP as well, 1220 extra with
bubble.  In just this and the crown of laurels, that's a whole 2580 extra HP
added (with bubble - 1290 without), a fairly significant amount.  The main
reason for getting it, however, is for the defense boost, twice as powerful as
the best you can get from a shop, a huge difference.  With this, you can now
render the enemies in Giza Plains harmless (defense-ignoring skills aside).

Obtaining this item is quite tough but well worth it.  The reason is that the
enemy that drops it, foobar, is an unfriendly one that isn't all that easy to
get.  It likes using mythril bubbles which prevents you from using anything but
regular attacks for quite a while, and, the worst part, causes confusion. 
Phantasmal gaze also causes confusion.  Of course, confusion with a very
powerful weapon against poor armor can really spell trouble.  The fix for that
is simple though.  Any time a character gets confusion, equip the weakest
weapon you have on that character (do not go unarmed).  Weakest weapon already
used by an inactive member?  Remove it and use that.  If it's already in use by
another confused character, just use the next weakest weapon.  This way, you
can keep damage to a minimum, even getting 0s for someone with the traveler's
vestment or golden armor.  Once confusion goes away (as from esuna taking
effect or the character hits him/herself), reequip what you originally had. 
Ignore the poison though as it's not that important though it will get esunaed
away eventually.  Do note that the berserker is inherently immune to confusion
because berserk and confusion cannot coexist.

The best way to deal with mythril bubbles is to use a spell with a long
duration just before it takes effect.  There are 2 options.  The first is the
offensive option.  Give your healer the hermes sandals and be sure to raise the
"foe:  undead = cura" gambit to the top to ensure it goes through, dealing
damage to foobar (since it's undead).  The second method seems more of a waste,
but it's even easier.  Start charging cura just before you know foobar appears
and let cura go through.  This way, regardless of the route you used, if
mythril bubbles is used, foobar has to wait for the effects of cura to finish
and while it waits, your berserker is ripping away, destroying it.  If foobar
is defeated before cura's effects are done, mythril bubbles will have no effect
at all.  In addition, consider having 2 berserkers for this.  This way only the
healer has the risk of confusion (unless berserk decides to expire just before
mythril bubbles takes effect).  The reason this works is because berserk and
confusion cannot coexist.

Because there's only one foobar in easy reach, this will take a long time to
chain.  You'd have a lot of junk enemies to deal with and quite often, the
6-enemy limit will only get in the way for the others.  This means you only
have 1 foobar available.  Only leamonde entite will get in the way.  When it
does, just equip the weakest weapons you have and quickly get 2 zones away.


.===============================================.
# 28.5  The magickal golden skullcap **280500** #
`===============================================`

Recommendation:  *****
Method of obtaining:  stealing
Drop rate:  3% (6% with thief's cuffs)
Rank:  :] 2nd best mystic armor helm [:
Suggested rank:  :] 2nd [:

About the golden skullcap (cost:  stolen from enemy (16,000 base)):
+-------------------+---------------------------------+
| Equipment bonuses | Extra important properties      |
+-------------------+ None                            |
| Attack power    0 +---------------------------------+
| Hit points      0 |          License path           |
| Mist points     0 +-------------------------+-------+
| Defense         0 | License                 |    LP |
| Magick resist  58 | Mystic armor 11         | Start |
| Evade           0 | Total                   |     0 |
| Magick evade    0 |                         |       |
| Strength        0 |                         |       |
| Magick power   10 |                         |       |
| Vitality        0 |                         |       |
| Speed           3 |                         |       |
+-------------------+-------------------------+-------+

The golden skullcap is almost the best of all the mystic armor helms, perhaps
the best.  It's only behind the circlet, and a very close second.  The circlet
has 60 magick resist +2 on strength, and +10, for comparison.  Strength doesn't
serve much on magick users so the speed boost is what makes this almost a tie
with the circlet.  Still, for only 1/3 of the way through the game, this is
really, really out there, more than triple the magick resist that you can buy
from the shops!  What's more is that, when this is equipped along with the
maximillian (coming soon) and the dawn shard, you can make spells like fira,
thundara, and blizzara completely harmless, doing 0 damage.  This is nice on
the berserker.  From going after the crown of laurels, you already have this
license.

While there are several dead bones scattered around, the source of the golden
skull cap, the best place is in a secret passage, a path not marked on the
minimap or even the main map.  From the save crystal, head south then go west,
hugging the northernmost part of the zone.  In an area well hidden by super
tall grass (ever heard of grass reaching 30 feet high?), you'll find the secret
passage.  There is a surprise foobar present, but there's a very high chance
the 6-enemy limit gets in the way, preventing it from appearing.  Regardless,
avoid the area to the left and stick to the right following the obvious path
that's present.  At the end, you'll begin seeing a lot of dead bones present.

When you cross into the next zone, adjust one character's gambits so that,
instead of attacking, he/she steals.  Consider having your party leader doing
some stealing as well.  The party leader, the healer in my case, should have
the flame staff equipped.  The flame staff is decent enough as you'll pretty
much entirely be using cura for attacking.  Here's a gambit setup I suggest for
your thief, of which I've given to my status effect keeper:

Status effect keeper (your main thief):
 1.  Ally:  any = phoenix down
 2.  Ally:  any = bubble
 3.  Ally:  HP < 40% = cura
 4.  Ally:  any = esuna
 5.  Foe:  farthest = attack
 6.  Ally:  any = shell (disabled)
 7.  Ally:  [healer] = faith
 8.  Ally:  any = protect (disabled)
 9.  Self = faith
10.  Self = libra (optional - one character needs it)
11.  Ally:  [damage dealer] = berserk

The first 3 are the same as before.  Because the dead bones tend to use flash
quite often, causing blindness to pretty much everyone, removing blindness
becomes more important than usual.  If no one needs revival, bubble is active,
no one needs emergency healing, and no one has been blinded, the thief will
just steal, always targeting the enemy that's the farthest away.  This seems
strange, but it tends to significantly increase the number of enemies that get
robbed.  With "foe:  nearest", the thief will just keep stealing from the same
enemy.  With "foe:  farthest", the thief will not be targeting the same enemy
unless it's the only one in the range of the gambits meaning he/she is off to a
different enemy.  For the most part, 2 gambits have been moved.

This area has 25 dead bones enemies present, all in such a very confined space.
In fact, if you move forward a small amount from when the first dead bones
appears, another one will appear.  Have the party leader steal from the closest
dead bones and have the thief steal from the next closest one.  By using manual
input and doing the split like this, you have a high chance of scoring a steal
each time, speeding up the process.  Let your berserker rip away and your
healer heal, err, damage, away.  As you continue forward a small amount, after
destroying the first 2, you'll get 3 more.  Have the party leader steal from
the closest one as usual and your thief steal from the next closest, the middle
one.  Ahead are 2 more and then 2 more.

After this, however, the main party begins.  Rush forward and a lot of dead
bones will appear.  Have the party leader target the one on the inside edge
(left) of the path and continue rushing ahead.  This way, cura will target 5
dead bones at once.  Just let your gambits go off from here, wandering around
as your berserker tears these things up, your healer goes crazy on cura, and
your thief goes at work stealing.  When it seems like you've cleared the area
(boy was that intense!), check around again to see if you missed any.  If
nothing shows up, return.  You may get some respawns if you took rather long
(at least 3 minutes).  In fact, you may even prefer to stick around a little
bit just to get the respawns as it's a lot faster than having to run through
that junk zone again.  You're not after chaining them though this is the best
place to go after a 999 chain, the maximum, and my videos show this.

When done dealing with any respawns, cross the middle zone and return.  Chances
are, if you went after the respawns, this middle zone will have fully respawned
its enemies, as if you got 2 zones away.  That only happens if you haven't
visited that zone for more than 5 minutes.  Again, it's not chaining that
you're after, it's stealing.

Since this is the best mystic armor helm you can get until reach the Pharos at
the end of the game, I strongly suggest getting 6 of them.  The +3 on speed is
a nice plus.


.================================================.
# 28.6  The dark-absorbing black mask **280600** #
`================================================`

Recommendation:  *****
Method of obtaining:  path clearing
Drop rate:  1% (5%)
Rank:  4th best mystic armor helm
Suggested rank:  ] 3rd [

About the black mask (cost:  stolen from enemy (12,400 base)):
+-------------------+---------------------------------+
| Equipment bonuses | Extra important properties      |
+-------------------+ None                            |
| Attack power    0 +---------------------------------+
| Hit points      0 |          License path           |
| Mist points     0 +-------------------------+-------+
| Defense         0 | License                 |    LP |
| Magick resist  53 | Mystic armor 10         | Start |
| Evade           0 | Total                   |     0 |
| Magick evade    0 |                         |       |
| Strength        0 |                         |       |
| Magick power    8 |                         |       |
| Vitality        0 |                         |       |
| Speed           0 |                         |       |
+-------------------+-------------------------+-------+

The black mask may not be as decent on magick resist or the boost on magick
power, it's a very useful item in a different way.  The key benefit that makes
this item worthwhile is that it absorbs dark element.  What that means is,
instead of taking damage from darkra or darkga (dark is absorbed in full from
the magick resist and doesn't count), you actually get healed.  Thus, if you're
facing a lot of enemies that tend to use darkra or darkga, it's best that you
use the black mask.  There is a hidden advantage to the black mask as well, one
that seems very strange and bizarre.  If you equip all 3 characters with a
black mask, you can have someone with an "ally:  HP < 70% = attack" gambit to
heal with if your equipped weapon is dark elemental.  Yep, get a hold of a
ninja sword (especially the yagyu dark blade) or the fomalhaut with dark shot
and you can keep healed through attacking.  It's very strange, yes, but it's
very useful should enemies decide to use actions that prevent anything but
physical attacks from getting through.  For long fights like Yiazmat, the yagyu
darkblade can serve as a backup for healing when MP runs low - just have that
character constantly attack him/herself.  One effective use in this is to equip
a character constantly under decoy with a black mask and a dark-elemental
weapon of some sort.  Have this character constantly shoot him/herself with the
dark shot to keep healed even while flare and the like are going off.  While I
have yet to confirm the effectiveness of this trick, it can be quite useful
from what I can tell.

To obtain the black mask, head south from the save crystal and continue south. 
Hug the eastern wall as you continue south to ignore the bulk of the junk
enemies along the way.  Head to the west when you reach the southernmost part. 
This area is the key area in focus.  See those 2 banshees?  That will be your
source but there's a problem.  Hidden along the wall is a foobar.  For now,
it's okay to deal with since the zone to the west has 5 baknamies that need to
be dealt with.  Clear this zone of the baknamies and the respawns.

For the best results, use the defenders (or the yoichi bow on the leader) to
destroy the backnamies.  You can also immobilize them to prevent them from
evading for which they do quite frequently.  When dealing with the banshees,
fully heal your highest-magick-power character and raise magick power as high
as you can.  The golden skullcap, traveler's vestment, and flame staff are a
great combo as, when fully healed, you're almost guaranteed to defeat the
banshees in one hit with cura.  In the event cura doesn't defeat them, from
faith expiring just as you execute the cast or just being unlucky, pseudo run
and get another cura going.

Once the zone with the baknamies has been cleared, reduce your party to just
one character, your magick user.  Turn off all attack gambits as, chances are,
when you get at collecting the loot drops, foobar will join in and you don't
want to be attacking it.  Do only manual input for attacking.  Keep the faith
and libra gambits active though.  As a tip, when you are back tracking through
the middle zone, cast faith manually.  This will reset the timer and ensure
that faith will not expire just as you're attacking the banshees with cura.  If
foobar joins in, blind it and run from it.  Foobar is immune to all 4 disabling
status effects (that is, immobilize, disable, stop, and sleep) so you can't
stop it from attacking if it goes after you.  You can, however, still cripple
it some with blind.  Just hold R2 and run from it.  If you get hit with confuse
from foobar's mythril bubbles, just equip the weakest weapon you have until
confusion goes away, often from the character attacking him/herself though
foobar can help too if its physical attack connects.


.==============================================.
# 28.7  The poison-inflicting yakei **280700** #
`==============================================`

Recommendation:  *
Method of obtaining:  path clearing
Drop rate:  1% (5%)
Rank:  4th best katana
Suggested rank:  ] 3rd [

About the yakei (cost:  dropped from enemy (12,500 base)):
+-------------------+---------------------------------+
| Equipment bonuses | Extra important properties      |
+-------------------+ Adds "poison" status on contact |
| Attack power   74 +---------------------------------+
| Hit points      0 |          License path           |
| Mist points     0 +-------------------------+-------+
| Defense         0 | License                 |    LP |
| Magick resist   0 | Katana 3                | Start |
| Evade           5 | Total                   |     0 |
| Magick evade    0 |                         |       |
| Strength        0 |                         |       |
| Magick power    0 |                         |       |
| Vitality        0 |                         |       |
| Speed           0 |                         |       |
+-------------------+-------------------------+-------+

The yakei is the most powerful katana you can get until you have access to both
the "Battle on the Big Bridge" hunt and the site 11 key (from the Phon Coast
after completing the events in Arcades).  Although the attack power is fairly
low compared to the defender or even going unarmed, katana have the extra
advantage of tending to combo frequently.  The masamune is the king of all
weapons in the game (thanks in part to the damage limit).  The fact the yakei
adds the poison status effect to its victim can be of use, it's not that
important that you get the yakei.  Feel free to get it though.  From licensing
the defender, you already got this license.

To get the yakei, you need to chain the baknamies in the zone you had to clear
while going after the black mask.  The middle zone is the zone with all the
crusaders present.  You only need to get the 2 on the eastern side - the one
that's obviously along your path and the other that's a little past where you
need to go (as this one can sneak up fairly close).  Once 2 zones away, return
and clear out the baknamies again.

The best way to deal with the baknamies is to equip a ranged weapon on your
leader and go heavy at immobilizing them.  Because the baknamies have ranged
attacks, namely the very powerful fangs that can do 4500+ damage, immobilize
isn't being used for a safer way to get them.  It's, instead, being used to
prevent them from dodging attacks as they have a high evasion.

When you can finally max the chain level, be sure to quickly grab any loot
drops because the baknamies will take it.  If you were to ignore a piece of
loot, any vanished baknamies will go after it without unvanishing and you'll
soon see a "Baknamy B steals your loot" appearing.  Once no loot remains,
they'll unvanish and go on the attack.  The baknamies grabbing the loot has no
effect on the slowing of the chain level increase.  Immobilizing them also
helps prevent this, provided they're far enough away.


.============================================.
# 28.8  The rather weak power rod **280800** #
`============================================`

Recommendation:  **
Method of obtaining:  junk enemies along the way
Drop rate:  3% (12%)
Rank:  4th best rod
Suggested rank:  ] 3rd [

About the power rod (cost:  dropped from enemy (4500 base)):
+-------------------+---------------------------------+
| Equipment bonuses | Extra important properties      |
+-------------------+ None                            |
| Attack power   44 +---------------------------------+
| Hit points      0 |          License path           |
| Mist points    15 +-------------------------+-------+
| Defense         0 | License                 |    LP |
| Magick resist   0 | Rods 1                  | Start |
| Evade           6 | v Staves 2              |    25 |
| Magick evade    0 | v Maces 2               |    20 |
| Strength        0 | < Maces 3               |    25 |
| Magick power    3 | < Rods 3                |    30 |
| Vitality        0 | Total                   |   100 |
| Speed           0 |                         |       |
+-------------------+-------------------------+-------+

The power rod is quite a decent weapon, but it's usefulness is very poor for a
while.  The cause for the poor usefulness is that the best HP-damaging magicks
you can get at this point in the game are so weak that they pretty much can't
damage or barely even damage the enemies you're dealing with.  It's not from
elemental effects (fire on a fire-weak enemy), it's from nothing more than
magick resist being higher than the magick's attack power.  Fire, blizzard, and
thunder have an attack power of just 25 (water is 37, dark is 46, and aero is
52).  Pretty much every enemy here has a magick resist of 29 or higher which
means fire, blizzard, and thunder are completely harmless to them, even if weak
against that element.  The only worthy attack magick is cura (only when used on
the undead).  Cura is defense-ignoring and when fully boosted with the golden
skullcap, flame staff, and traveler's vestment, you could get as high as 8000
damage on the undead with cura.  The 15 bonus on MP (turning into 45 with the 3
mist charges) is pretty nice though.

To obtain the power rod, you cannot have a berserker and you have to set things
up so that you specifically go after focalor, the source of the power rod. 
Thus, disable all berserk and attack gambits except for the main one.  Change
the target condition to something like "foe:  status = silence".  Focalor is
vulnerable to silence.  This way, your characters will only target an enemy
when it has one of these status effects.  Although slow is the most beneficial
overall, the problem is that you don't have access to a "foe:  status = slow"
gambit.  Silence, at least, does last forever.  It's immune to blind so that's
not an option.

Head to the south and wait for berserk to expire or bash extra enemies for
extra loot (and thus gil) and LP while waiting.  When ready, cast slow (or
silence, whichever your condition you chose is) on focalor and watch the others
go after it.  If the banshee shows up during this, just immobilize it.  If you
unexpectedly get foobar into the mix, blind it (with a nonleader character) and
immediately cross the zone boundary and get 2 zones away to respawn everything.
If leamonde entite joins in (there's a good chance of that happening),
immobilize it and keep your distance (equipping black masks helps as leamonde
entite will regularly heal you instead).




        __    _   _____    ___    ____     ___    _   _    ___    _
       |  \  | | |  ___|  / _ \  |  _ \   / _ \  | | | |  / _ \  | |
       | A \ | | | |__   | | |_| | |_| | | | | | | |_| | | | | | | |
       | |\ \| | |  __|  | |  _  |  _ <  | | | | |  _  | | | | | | |
       | | \ ' | | |___  | |_| | | | | | | |_| | | | | | | |_| | | |___
       |_|  \__| |_____|  \___/  |_| |_|  \___/  |_| |_|  \___/  |_____|

                #########################################
        #############                               #############
   ########                                                   ########
#####   29  The 4 ultimates in the Necrohol of Nabudis **290000**   #####
   ########                                                   ########
        #############                               #############
                #########################################


.================================================.
# 29.1  About the Necrohol of Nabudis **290100** #
`================================================`

The Necrohol of Nabudis is a very difficult area.  While getting to it is easy
enough, the place itself has enemies very close to but just shy of level 50. 
They are very powerful.  If you haven't prepared much, you'll have a difficult
time.  If you spent the time going after at least the golden skullcap or crown
of laurels (pick one) and the minerva bustier (for HP and defense), this place
is actually pretty easy.  Bubble and faith will help significantly as well. 
Immobilize also works very well too as the 2 dominant enemies (baknamy, near
the entrances to the place, and elvoret, in the middle) are vulnerable to it,
both of which are highly evasive.

Since the baknamies here have several new skills, including the use of magicks,
you should consider activating shell.  The main reason for this is the "death"
spell that they have.  It's not very common, fortunately, but shell will cut
the already low success rate (from your very high vitality) of that in half. 
Although shell will make it much more difficult to add berserk, it at least
helps more than it causes problems in this place.  When the baknamies use
pyromania or sandstorm, magicks won't work until the effects are done.  While
waiting, you might as well do something and just attack.

Initially, there are a ton of baknamies along the way.  Elvorets and babils are
in the middle 1/3 of the Necrohol of Nabudis.  The third zone is the focus
point for all 4 pieces of equipment.  Every case involves the use of the middle
zone, the third one.

Once 20 enemies have been defeated (not just baknamies, but anything and only
while in the Necrohol of Nabudis), you'll get an oversoul to appear.  Oversoul
loves using annul which causes the target character to lose all MP - simply
charge (don't charge if it's your berserker - he/she will recover MP insanely
fast).  When 15 more have been defeated, another oversoul appears.  The next
appears after 10, 5, 3, and then 1 more enemies.  Once the 6th one has been
disposed of, helvinek appears, a teleporting, deep-violet horse-like enemy with
tentacles for a mane appears.  This beast has over 100,000 HP and loves using
status effect magicks.  The worst one is disablega.  When that affects one of
the support characters, have the other support character immediately hand over
a remedy (no nihopalaoa!) so that way it takes effect.  You don't want 3
disabled characters that can't do anything for a while.  While you could bring
in Penelo and get esuna going, I prefer to use the remedy route as it goes off
in an instant.  If you have 3 disabled characters and don't want to or can't
bring in someone to fix it, quickly run to the nearest zone exit and cross in. 
Once in that zone, wait about 3 seconds then cross back again.  Wait 3 seconds
and cross.  Repeat until disable expires.  Once helvinek is defeated, you won't
have to worry about any more oversouls or another helvinek.  You will need
helvinek, but not at this point.

See section 28.1 for details on the fields below as the system is unchanged.


.=============================================================.
# 29.2  The overpowered, power-wasted zodiac spear **290200** #
`=============================================================`

Recommendation:  *****
Method of obtaining:  treasure
Drop rate:  100% (100%)
Rank:  =:] 1st best spear [:=
Suggested rank:  =:] 1st [:=

About the zodiac spear (cost:  obtained from chest (0 base)):
+-------------------+---------------------------------+
| Equipment bonuses | Extra important properties      |
+-------------------+ None                            |
| Attack power  150 +---------------------------------+
| Hit points      0 |          License path           |
| Mist points     0 +-------------------------+-------+
| Defense         0 | License                 |    LP |
| Magick resist   0 | Katana 3                | Start |
| Evade           8 | > Katana 4              |    50 |
| Magick evade    0 | ^ Sagittarius           |   120 |
| Strength        0 | > Zodiac spear          |   235 |
| Magick power    0 | Total                   |   405 |
| Vitality        0 |                         |       |
| Speed           0 |                         |       |
+-------------------+-------------------------+-------+

The zodiac spear is the game's most powerful weapon for raw attack power.  On a
berserked character, 9999 damage is practically inevitable, even without
bravery and focus taking effect.  With this weapon, you'll really learn to
absolutely hate that damage limit.  You could very well be doing 11,000+ damage
on these enemies, able to defeat them in one hit if it weren't for that
pointless damage limit.  The zodiac spear, however, is only present in that
chest if you ignored the 3 chests I told you to earlier during the advancement
of the story in section 11 (and continuing to avoid the one in front of Old
Dalan's place throughout).

When you reach the third zone in the Necrohol of Nabudis and you see the path
splitting into a northern and western route (if coming from the east), take the
northern route and hug the western wall.  You'll find a room with 16 treasure
chests present.  Take the one slightly to the left directly in front to obtain
the zodiac spear.  Equip it on your berserker to really significantly speed
things up.


.========================================================.
# 29.3  The best heavy armor, the maximillian **290300** #
`========================================================`

Recommendation:  *****
Method of obtaining:  clear path
Drop rate:  1% (5%)
Rank:  :] 2nd best heavy armor [:
Suggested rank:  =:] 1st [:=

About the maximillian (cost:  dropped from enemy (17,000 base)):
+-------------------+---------------------------------+
| Equipment bonuses | Extra important properties      |
+-------------------+ None                            |
| Attack power    0 +---------------------------------+
| Hit points      0 |          License path           |
| Mist points     0 +-------------------------+-------+
| Defense        58 | License                 |    LP |
| Magick resist   1 | Light armor 10          | Start |
| Evade           0 | v Light armor 8         |    35 |
| Magick evade    0 | v Light armor 9         |    35 |
| Strength        9 | > Heavy armor 7         |    50 |
| Magick power    0 | > Heavy armor 9         |    60 |
| Vitality        0 | Total                   |   180 |
| Speed           6 |                         |       |
+-------------------+-------------------------+-------+

The maximillian is often considered the game's best armor simply because of the
huge speed bonus it provides.  It adds a considerable amount of strength and a
tiny boost on magick resist as well.  The maximillian is perfect for bow users.
Once you get a maximillian, equip it immediately.  The maximillian is by far a
very impressive suit of armor.  It'll make the enemies in Mosphoran Highwaste
completely harmless outside defense-ignoring skills (power stun and kamikaze)
and the annoying fire elemental (golden skullcap + dawn shard can render it
harmless outside the status effects).  They'll only do 0 damage.

To get the maximillian, for which you should get 6 of them so that every
character can get one, you must clear the middle zone, the third zone, of
enemies and respawns.  Once cleared, there are 4 worthy-of-getting elvorets
(the source of the maximillian) in the east and 2 more in the west.  Level up
the chain to level 4 then grab the loot.  When a maximillian drops, put the
first one on your berserker to really crank out more damage potential.

The eastern route is the best but there's a trap in a very bad spot that makes
it nearly impossible to avoid since you can't get float.  What I do is that I
begin charging up cura when about a half second away from triggering it and
deliberately triggering it.  This way, cura is pretty much ready to go to heal
as needed before any combat is done.  From there, deal with the elvorets. 
Immobilizing them helps as the elvorets have a high evasion.  While there are
more elvorets present, there's a hidden zombie warlock present beyond the
initial 4 that will only result in breaking the chain if you get too close.  If
you see it, immediately equip the weakest weapon you have and get out of there
as soon as you can.

The western route only has 2 elvorets and a not-so-troubling trap.  Making up
for that is dark elemental.  If dark elemental is present, simply leave.


.================================================.
# 29.4  The shield-allowing runeblade **290400** #
`================================================`

Recommendation:  ***
Method of obtaining:  junk enemies along the way
Drop rate:  3% (12%)
Rank:  4th best sword
Suggested rank:  4th

About the runeblade (cost:  dropped from enemy (14,500 base)):
+-------------------+---------------------------------+
| Equipment bonuses | Extra important properties      |
+-------------------+ None                            |
| Attack power   85 +---------------------------------+
| Hit points      0 |          License path           |
| Mist points     0 +-------------------------+-------+
| Defense         0 | License                 |    LP |
| Magick resist   0 | Sagittarius             | Start |
| Evade           5 | ^ Dragon Whisker        |    60 |
| Magick evade    0 | ^ Swords 6              |    60 |
| Strength        0 | Total                   |   120 |
| Magick power    0 |                         |       |
| Vitality        0 |                         |       |
| Speed           0 |                         |       |
+-------------------+-------------------------+-------+

While the rune blade may seem weak compared to your defender, by only 6 points
on attack power, the fact that it is a one-handed weapon makes up for that. 
How?  Remember that, with a one-handed weapon, you can equip a shield.  You
probably only have the golden shield as the best shield so far, with 16 on
evasion.  With the 3 shield block licenses, it's actually 31%.  Factor in the
5% on the weapon's evasion and you have an actual chance of 34.45% for evading
an attack, very slightly less than the defender's 35% and the defender has a
higher attack power.  Later on in the game though, especially once decoy
becomes available, the runeblade being combined with a shield will be
especially decent for a tank.  If you combine the black mask with the fomalhaut
and dark shot, you could block a lot of attacks and easily be able to keep
healed should a few attacks go through (especially with the ensanguined
shield).  The main gauche together with a shield is the best combination for
blocking attacks.  Trouble is, some enemies, especially the big ones, tend to
ignore evasion so the high evasion doesn't really have all that much use.  This
makes attack power more useful than evasion, in my opinion.

Once you're done with the maximillian, go after the runeblade if you want one. 
Getting this involves the babils that love using attack magicks.  There are 6
of them all crammed into the western zone from the third one.  The trouble is,
however, there are 2 elvorets right along your path that are often hard to
avoid.  You can hit them with immobilize and go after them that way, or you can
use the specific target trick to get them with.  My preferred method is to
simply just reduce your party to 1 character, turn off that 1 character's
attack gambits, immobilize the elvorets, and just slip by them.  Once clearly
out of the range of the gambits, bring back the others.  When you need to slip
by again, reduce your party to 1, slip by, then bring them back.  My videos
show my preferred method very well.

Start by hugging either the eastern side or the western side, depending on how
the elvorets are placed.  If the elvorets are mainly to the west, stay to the
east and get the 3 babils that are very closely spaced.  If the elvorets are
mainly to the east, stay to the west to get the 2 babils that are obviously
visible then the one at the end of the alley.  When you get rid of one set of 3
babils, go to the other.  If immobilize expires on the elvorets, simply
reimmobilize them.  Since they weren't targeting you for a while, due to being
out of range, they won't be going after you.

As usual, get the chain to level 4, ignoring the loot until it does, then grab
the loot.  Being a 3% drop, you can get up to 4 runeblades from a single babil.


.===============================================.
# 29.5  The not-so-grand grand armor **290500** #
`===============================================`

Recommendation:  ***
Method of obtaining:  teleporting enemy glitch
Drop rate:  1% (5%)
Rank:  =:] 1st best heavy body armor [:=
Suggested rank:  :] 2nd [:

About the grand armor (cost:  dropped from enemy (0 base)):
+-------------------+---------------------------------+
| Equipment bonuses | Extra important properties      |
+-------------------+ None                            |
| Attack power    0 +---------------------------------+
| Hit points      0 |          License path           |
| Mist points     0 +-------------------------+-------+
| Defense        61 | License                 |    LP |
| Magick resist   0 | Light armor 10          | Start |
| Evade           0 | > Mystic armor 12       |   100 |
| Magick evade    0 | > Heavy armor 10        |    90 |
| Strength       12 | Total                   |   190 |
| Magick power    0 |                         |       |
| Vitality        0 |                         |       |
| Speed           0 |                         |       |
+-------------------+-------------------------+-------+

Although the grand armor offers a very high defense and one of the best
strength boosts, it's not a very effective item as it lacks any other bonuses. 
It can, when combined with the ring of renewal, make enemies around level 40
harmless (defense-ignoring attacks, magicks, and status effects aside).

Under normal means, getting the grand armor makes getting the burning bow via
the quickening method look blazing fast.  It's a 1% drop and it takes a lot of
time and effort just for a single attempt.  The reward isn't really that worthy
either (if defense approached 80 and better bonuses were provided (like +10 on
vitality, +10 on speed, etc.) like the maximillian has, then it would be worth
getting).

To obtain the grand armor in a more reasonable way, you have to exploit a bug
in the game.  If you used dustia to level up on or you went after the hermes
sandals, you used this bug to your advantage.  When you defeat a teleporting
enemy and cross the zone boundary within 1 second and return, you'll find
another one present making the chaining of these types of enemies almost
effortless.  To get the grand armor in reasonable time, you'll have to exploit
this bug.

The source of the grand armor is helvinek.  This deep-violet-colored
teleporting mistmare loves using status effects and powerful magicks like
firaga and darkra (yes, darkra instead of darkga).  Helvinek also happens to
have a ton of HP - 104,912 to be exact.  The display shows 99,999 but if you
hit it with 9999 damage (inevitable with the zodiac spear), you'll see that
it's not 90,000 but 94,913 instead.  Because you can't just hand helvinek a
phoenix down like you can with dustia, you have to very closely watch the HP
and always be on the alert on what helvinek is doing, you can easily expect to
spend a good 60 minutes just getting 3 suits of grand armor, 90 minutes for 6. 
The maximillians are nearly twice as fast to get (only longer thanks mainly to
having to clear out the middle zone of respawns - it would be triple the speed
if that weren't the case).

Before going after the grand armor, you'll have to leave the Necrohol of
Nabudis if you've already defeated Helvinek, the source of the grand armor. 
It's a good time to save anyway since you got 3 things already while here.  To
get Helvinek to appear again, you'll need to get 6 oversouls.  One will appear
after 20, 15, 10, 5, 3, then 1 enemies have been defeated, 54 total.  I'm
unsure if chaining oversouls has any effect on speeding things up (it's a
teleporting enemy so chaining it is as easy as being near a zone boundary and
crossing it upon defeat, much like dustia), but I focus on reaching the middle
zone as it's the easiest to use.

Focus on defeating every enemy you see, though don't get too carried away. 
When you reach the end of the middle zone, the third one, you should have 3 or,
perhaps, 4 oversouls dealt with already.  At this point, you need to be a bit
more careful, only defeating enemies near a zone boundary so that you can
quickly cross it when helvinek appears.

When helvinek appears, several changes need to be made.  First, disable your
party leader's gambits.  Because you must cross the zone boundary within 1
second of defeat, you must have full control over movement so you can't have
the party leader firing off berserk or faith.  You'll have to leave your status
effect keeper to do that.  Also, be sure to equip your black masks so that
darkra can at least help you from being healed by it.

If you want, equip some thief's cuffs and attempt to steal a few magick lamps
from helvinek while you're waiting for your berserker to take helvinek down. 
Although my videos mention of 20,000 as the threshold, it's actually based on 3
hits.  Once helvinek goes HP critical, damage is cut to 1/3 of what you were
doing (revealing the true power of the zodiac spear - 5000 with no protect and
focus taking effect is only but 1/3 of the real damage it does).

You also have to factor in one of the game's biggest annoyances - the fact you
have absolutely no control over the act of putting the weapon away.  From the
moment the last action completes, you have 5 seconds before the weapon gets put
away if that character is not being targeted or attacking something.  Just keep
an eye on your characters' HP, healing only when helvinek is absent (as from
just having crossed the zone boundary).

Regardless of what you do, you must very carefully watch what helvinek does. 
If helvinek uses disablega, immediately cross the zone boundary.  The last
thing you want are 3 disabled characters that can't do anything at all.  While
you can bring in Penelo and esuna it out with her, crossing the zone boundary
frequently to prevent helvinek from targeting Penelo, it's just a lot easier to
cross the zone boundary before the effects take full effect.  That is, if the
popup doesn't appear, the action has no effect and crossing a zone boundary
causes the action too have no effect.  Go ahead and have one of your nonleader
characters attempt to cast blizzaga on one of your own allies - even if you see
the ice crystal just appear and you cross the zone boundary, you won't take any
damage.  The only way you can really cripple helvinek is casting slow on it -
do so as early as you can.

When the chain reaches level 4, as usual, you'll need to grab the loot.  For
this, you have to be standing on helvinek's side and, like with dustia, utilize
the pausing of the action that wait mode offers to quickly grab the loot and
get out of there.  It does take a bit of practice, but don't focus too much on
grabbing the loot.  If you feel you can't get it and leave the zone in time,
focus on crossing the zone.  Failing to cross the zone boundary in time will
result in helvinek not appearing again.  You'll have no choice but to go
through all this all over again.  You'll either have to quit and reload or go
through the rest of the Necrohol of Nabudis, leave, and return to try again. 
If you're unsure if the weapon will get put away, have the leader alternate
between attack and steal when the final blow is just about to be dealt but neer
let either of these actions take effect - change actions when about 3/4
charged.  Of course, if Helvinek goes down, the action will get canceled anyway
giving you the much-needed control.




   ____     ___    _       _____   _   _     _____   ____     ___    __    _
  |  _ \   / _ \  | |     |_   _| | | | |   |  ___| |  _ \   / _ \  |  \  | |
  | |_| | | |_| | | |       | |   | |_| |   | |__   | |_| | | |_| | | A \ | |
  |  _ <  |  _  | | |       | |   |  _  |   |  __|  |  _ <  |  _  | | |\ \| |
  | |_| | | | | | | |___    | |   | | | |   | |     | | | | | | | | | | \ ' |
  |____/  |_| |_| |_____|   |_|   |_| |_|   |_|     |_| |_| |_| |_| |_|  \__|

                ############################
        #############                  #############
   ########                                      ########
#####   30  Leveling up Balthier and Fran **300000**   #####
   ########                                      ########
        #############                  #############
                ############################


.==============================================================.
# 30.1  2 new methods to level up Balthier and Fran **300100** #
`==============================================================`

If you used the 70- or 65-hour methods, skip this part as Balthier and Fran
joined at level 99.  If not, this part is optional, but, if you want to use
Balthier and/or Fran, you'll need to do this.  If you don't want to use them,
then skip this.

There are 3 methods available for leveling up Balthier and Fran.  At this
point, you're probably well aware of Garamsythe Waterway and how effective it
was.  However, Garamsythe Waterway has lost its favor as there are now 2 faster
methods available.  I'll explain these in the following sections.  I will
assume that Balthier is your berserker (he's got the higher strength and speed)
and Fran is your supporter and leader (she's got the higher magick power).


.========================================================.
# 30.2  Mosphoran Highwaste - easier than pie **300200** #
`========================================================`

The Mosphoran Highwaste method is a great place to level up while solo.  With
the maximillians and grand armors, these enemies are completely harmless...
almost.  The vulture's "kamikaze" and the slaven wilder's "power stun" are
defense-ignoring and will do damage.  The pythons can also cause poison with a
small chance per hit.  The biggest hazard is fire elemental.  With the golden
skullcap and dawn shard equipped, it, too, can be rendered harmless outside the
status effects it causes (you now have immunity to sleep - the nishijin belt)
and the annoying damage return.  Other than these cases, you are now invincible
to these enemies making this place the easiest to level up at.  I'll explain
the major steps in the following subsections as level will directly affect
which routine you use.

Regardless of the progress, you must get a blue sky so your accuracy doesn't
suffer.  It appears that teleportation via gate crystal doesn't rerandomize the
weather like it should so if the first attempt of directly teleporting into
Mosphoran Highwaste fails, teleport to Nalbina Fortress, rent a chocobo to rush
through the low-value enemies, and go from there.  Get the blue sky on the
chocobo (time spent loading or checking the map doesn't count against you) then
proceed north-northwest.  If guards are present, just approach them and, after
pressing the X button repeatedly for long enough, you'll get the guards out of
the way and you can proceed.  Once in Babbling Vale, you'll first need to head
to the northwest exit and strike the "weathered rock" that's blocking the path
to the south that you'll need to be using for speed.  This way, it's very fast
to get 2 zones away.

.......................................................
30.2.1  Before level 37 - zodiac spear power **300210**
.......................................................

At a low level, the burning bow with the fiery arrows will take a few hits to
defeat these enemies, even with berserk.  Thus, early on, I would suggest using
the zodiac spear on your berserker and only dealing with the 3 (or 4 if it
appears) pythons and the 3 humbabas first thing then getting 2 zones away and
returning to repeat.  Each run is worth about 7286 exp on average so it'll take
several runs to reach level 37.  Do remember that that 7286 is on one character
- you are actually getting double that.

With Balthier being berserk and rapidly charging up attacks, you might consider
having Fran disabling her attack gambits.  For the humbabas, use manual input
for attacking.  Also, use active mode to further speed things up.

........................................................
30.2.2  Levels 37 to 47 - expanding the route **300220**
........................................................

At level 37, if you have the winged helm and maximillian on your supporter and
berserker, you can defeat the vultures in 2 hits, one from each character. 
That's, of course, assuming Fran has the yoichi bow with the parallel arrows
and Balthier is berserk with the burning bow with the fiery arrows.  Both cases
assume focus is taking effect.

At this point, extend your route to cover the entire zone.  As usual, deal with
the 2 pythons, the 3 humbabas, and the series of pythons along the way.  When
you get at the point where you have to turn right (avoid the area to the right
initially - there's no enemies there), I tend to ignore the python straight
ahead and cut even sharper to the right.  I tend to ignore it as that python
rarely appears.  From here, go around the roundabout, focusing along the edges
of the circle, getting the vultures when they get close.  When you're done
going around the route, be sure to check for that python that off to the right
through that narrow passage as it should be there with near certainty.

There are so many enemies here that it's easy to get about 18,000 exp per
3-1/2-minute run (to only get faster, much faster).  This may seem slow
compared to Garamsythe Waterway, but keep in mind that you're splitting the
experience among 2 characters instead of 1 so each only gets half of the actual
36,000 exp you'd get.  This already makes this route almost as fast as the
25-hour method at around level 80 and the method will still only get faster.

...................................................
30.2.3  Levels 48 to 74 - push for speed **300230**
...................................................

By level 48, if you have the winged helm and maximillian equipped on your
berserker, you'll now always be able to defeat the numerous pythons in one hit,
evasion aside.  Thus, something at or slightly before level 48 (46 is the low
end I suggest) is when this method will get a significant speed increase, now
probably dropping under 3 minutes per run.  By then, you'll just be able to run
the route while your berserker takes care of the enemies along the way.  You'll
still want to get Fran involved with attacking the humbabas and vultures
though.

In addition, by level 50, you should no longer need the golden amulet as you've
caught up enough.  Give Balthier the hermes sandals so he can strike very
quickly and Fran the battle harness for added strength.

At level 59, Balthier, while berserk, will be guaranteed to defeat the vultures
in one hit as well.

..................................................
30.2.4  Levels 75 to 99 - full throttle **300240**
..................................................

At level 75, Balthier, while berserk, will be able to defeat everything here,
except fire elemental, in a single hit.  Without berserk, he'll be defeating
the pythons in one hit as well.  This is when the method's speed pretty much
maxes out, needing around 2 1/4 to 2 1/2 minutes per run (unconfirmed but
estimated).  This makes the method slightly faster than Garamsythe Waterway in
the 25-hour method though it doesn't seem like it.  Remember that the
experience is being split among 2 characters.


.=====================================================================.
# 30.3  A horde of dead bones - warp speed and challenging **300300** #
`=====================================================================`

Do you remember that secret passage with the 25 dead bones that you used to get
the golden skullcap with?  That's the focus point of the second method.  This
method isn't as easy, but it is so fast that it makes even the 25-hour method
look slow, literally.  The 25-hour method had you soloing, focusing all of the
experience on a single character.  Here, you're doing 2 characters at once
which causes the exp to be split in half with each half going to one character.
Even with that, I was averaging around 19,300 exp per minute near the end - 183
seconds per run of 58,950 total exp.  That's about 19,300 exp per minute on a
single character, about 40% faster than the peak speed of the 25-hour method. 
However, since you're doing 2 characters at once, the speed is actually nearly
tripled!  Even when you start out, you're still going at nearly the 25-hour
method's peak speed and a whopping 2 to 3 times faster than the 25-hour method
would have for the same level, even with the maximillian for a boost.  You want
speed?  Then this method is easily the best choice for you!  Oh, and don't
forget that you can very easily get a huge amount of gil, several million even.
For that, just sell your loot once the chain reaches 300 or 400.  200 is the
lowest end, 500 is the higher end, 600 is the max.  I'll explain the level
thresholds in the following subsections.

...........................................................
30.3.1  Before level 50 - calling for assistance **300310**
...........................................................

Early on, Balthier and Fran are just too weak to handle these enemies by
themselves.  They need help and you have 4 level 99 characters available. 
Choose a character with a high magick power like Ashe or Penelo.  Equip
everyone with the grand armor (or maximillian if you didn't go for the grand
armor).  For the helm, have the black mask on the level 99 character for sure
so that way the dead bones' darkra spell will heal you.  For Balthier and Fran
with their very low HP, you might consider the crown of laurels to give them an
extra 1360 HP.  Since magicks are slower to use than normal physical attacks
(and physical attacks can combo), it's a good idea to sacrifice the small
difference in magick resist to almost double their HP (depending on their
starting level).  By level 30 or so, you can switch in the black masks for
darkra's healing though that point is up to you.  With Balthier not using
magicks at all (from being berserk), consider equipping the dawn shard on him
so that magicks do far less damage (and darkra will do a lot less healing). 
When you switch out the crown of laurels, equip the golden skullcap on Balthier
so that only darkra will do any damage, though not much).  With fira, thundara,
and blizzara having an attack power of 70 and your magick resist being 78 (79
with the maximillian), you won't take any damage at all from such attacks as
78.75 is the required magick resist for complete immunity.

I prefer to put a lot of status effect gambits on Fran such as "ally:  any =
protect", "ally:  any = regen", "ally:  any = faith", and other such things. 
Due to the fact nonleader characters get left behind, this will often leave
Fran out of the combat as she's staying in the back casting away.  Just make
sure you watch her MP.  If it drops below 22, use charge.  Why 22?  This is the
highest MP cost of any of the spells you have.  With the healer only covering
the major status effects like faith and especialy bubble, she can focus on
using cura on the dead bones to do some serious damage to them, far more than
Balthier and Fran.  It's from this that will allow you to level up very
quickly.

......................................................
30.3.2  Levels 50 to 99 - engage warp speed **300320**
......................................................

Once you reach a level somewhere from 45 to 60, depending on your preference,
you no longer need your healer as Balthier and Fran are now powerful enough to
handle the hordes of dead bones fairly well.  Just have Fran take on the role
of healer and status effect keeper.  You only need the essentials - faith (on
the healer, Fran, only), bubble, berserk, and libra.  Optionally consider
regen, though regen isn't all that important at this point any more.  With Fran
doing nothing but casting and Balthier doing nothing but attacking, give
Balthier the argyle armlet for immunity to blind and Fran the hermes sandals
for speed.  With blind being the only status effect involved, thanks to flash,
you can turn off your esuna gambit too.  A blind character still has perfect
accuracy with magicks and with Fran casting constantly, the blind status effect
won't affect her at all so you can just ignore it.

For a speed boost, any time there are more than 3 dead bones in close range,
force a manual cast of cura if the gambits decide to go off so that way you can
get several enemies at once in short notice.




         ___    ____    _____   _____   __   __   _____   _____   _____
        / _ \  |  _ \  |_   _| |_   _| |  \ /  | |_   _| |___  | |  ___|
       | | | | | |_| |   | |     | |   | A V A |   | |      / /  | |__
       | | | | |  __/    | |     | |   | |\ /| |   | |     / /   |  __|
       | |_| | | |       | |    _| |_  | | V | |  _| |_   / /__  | |___
        \___/  |_|       |_|   |_____| |_|   |_| |_____| |_____| |_____|

                ##################################
        #############                        #############
   ########                                            ########
#####   31  Optimizing and perfecting HP and MP **310000**   #####
   ########                                            ########
        #############                        #############
                ##################################


.================================================.
# 31.1  What is optimizing HP and MP? **310100** #
`================================================`

This may seem odd and out of place for my guide, but HP and MP are randomized
upon each level up.  You will find that, despite the complete lack of
HP-boosting equipment on both your side and my side as you followed my guide,
you likely don't have exactly the same HP and MP that I got.  In fact, thanks
to this randomization, you're missing out on around 350-450 HP (700-900 with
bubble) and about 40-50 MP (120-150 with all 3 mist charges) that you probably
didn't know you could have.  You might also recall the cases during the
advancement of the story where you could boost Basch, Ashe, and Penelo.  In my
videos, you'll see that from making another attempt, I gave my Basch 87 extra
HP (at the cost of 10 MP).  I got my Ashe to have 295 MP (turning into 885 with
all 3 mist charges).  In the "special" video, the final segment, you'll see an
example of optimized HP and MP (though I got everyone at level 18 or 19 unaware
of the things I know now so I likely missed out on another 30-50 HP and 5-10 MP
(for the base) as I put high effort into it.

To optimize HP and MP, you need to utilize repeated quitting and reloading to
force the game's random number generator in your favor.  I've heard it's
possible to manipulate the random number generator, but I don't know how to do
so for almost anything.  If anyone can fill me in on this, I'd appreciate it. 
See the "legal" section for contacting me.  Either way, the method involved is
gathering experience until you're one enemy away from a level up.  At that
point, save your game.  After saving, get the level up and save your game to a
second file.  Write down the HP and MP you got - you'll need to know this. 
Now, reload that older file from before you got the level up and get the level
up again.  If you get an improvement, overwrite your second save.  If you
didn't get any improvements, just quit and reload as is.  When you're done,
reload your newer save and repeat the process.  If you level up before you
save, quit and reload and retry the level up - check the character's status
frequently to keep an eye on your progress.

Due to the way MP works, I would suggest focusing on getting the highest value
for MP then going for HP.  I'll explain the mechanics behind HP and MP growth
in the next section so you can see why.


.========================================================.
# 31.2  The mechanics behind HP and MP growth **310200** #
`========================================================`

The amount of HP and MP growth you get depends on your level, as one might
expect.  However, it's not as simple as that.  HP and MP have their own
mechanics though fairly similar.  Deeper within the game is a points value that
each character has stored up.  Each character has a starting points value and
an aptitude.  When a level up is obtained, the points associated with that
level up are added to that character's total points and the new maximums are
adjusted based on the aptitude, a simple multiplication.  In the 2 subsections,
I will explain how HP and MP grow.

..............................................
31.2.1  How HP grows - like a yo-yo **310210**
..............................................

The way HP growth works is like a yo-yo.  The amount of points you can get per
level up goes up and down like one.  Here are 2 charts summing up the basics.

Character HP aptitudes:
Vaan:  1.48
Balthier:  1.44
Fran:  1.38
Basch:  1.5
Ashe:  1.37
Penelo:  1.33

Base points per level up:
Levels 1 to 25:  base points increase by 1 from 10 to 34.
Levels 26 to 34:  base points decrease by 1 from 33 to 25.
Levels 35 to 49:  base points increase by 2 from 27 to 55.
Levels 50 to 67:  base points decrease by 2 from 53 to 19.
Levels 68 to 99:  base points increase by 1 from 20 to 51.

Base points is the basis for which the upper limit is based on.  To find the
upper limit of the range, multiply the base by 6/5 and round down.  Level 1,
for example, has 10 points.  6/5 of that is 12 after rounding down.  Level 2,
has 11 points for the base.  6/5 of that is 13.2 which rounds down to 13. 
Level 49, the one that gives the most HP in a single leap, gives something from
55 to 66 points.

Unfortunately, getting the highest bonus isn't as simple as a flat 1 in 3
chance for level 2.  The actual chance is "mod(Base, 5) in Base".  That is,
take the modulo (remainder of a division) of the base with 5 as the divisor. 
This means, for level 2, you have a 1 in 11 chance of getting the 13.  You have
a 0 in 10 chance of getting 12 in level 1 so that means 11 is the highest
possible bonus for level 1, 65 for level 49.  65*1.5 is 97.5 so Basch, the HP
king with the highest HP aptitude, could get up to 98 more HP in a single level
up, the most out of any character.  Level 4 has a 3 in 13 chance of the highest
possible.

In a way, I find it very strange that level 67 gives the same amount of extra
HP as level 10 does.  I would have expected level 67 to give somewhere around
40 extra points.

......................................................
31.2.2  How MP grows - not very predictable **310220**
......................................................

MP works a lot like HP only much simpler.  MP growth is slightly focused on
being fast early on but really slows down toward the end, getting half of the
total level up bonuses by only level 46.  Here are 2 charts summing up the
basics.

Character MP aptitudes:
Vaan:  0.54.
Balthier:  0.48.
Fran:  0.55.
Basch:  0.44.
Ashe:  0.57.
Penelo:  0.55.

MP points per level up:
Levels 1 to 10:  3 to 5 points.
Levels 11 to 29:  4 to 7 points.
Levels 30 to 43:  5 to 9 points.
Levels 44 to 60:  4 to 7 points.
Levels 61 to 80:  3 to 5 points.
Levels 81 to 90:  2 to 3 points.
Levels 91 to 99:  1 point only.

Unlike HP, all possibilities are evenly distributed.  Thus, level 4 will give
you a 1 in 3 chance of getting 5 points.  Level 36 will give you a 1 in 5
chance of getting the full 9 points.  9*0.57 is 5.13 so Ashe could get up to 6
more MP in a single level up, the only character that can.  Do note that this
is based on the base MP value which, like HP, is rounded down.  This rounded
down value is what gets tripled with 3 mist charges, always causing the maximum
to be a multiple of 3.  This is why you don't see a 902 maximum MP - it's
either 900 or 903 only.  The only way to get 902 maximum MP is either using a
Gameshark (or the like) or editing your save file.

Do note that the MP aptitude is less than 1.  Does your level 2 Vaan have 29.16
or 29.7 MP?  There's no way to tell without processing level 3 (for which, if
you got the 29.7, you'll see a 32 showing up, something you won't see if you
got the 29.16).  As a consequence, focus on getting the highest visible value
for MP and then focus on HP.  Use your charts and the rather simple formulas to
get an idea on what to expect.

HPPoints = RoundUp(HPObserved/HPAptitude);
MPPoints = RoundUp(MPObserved/MPAptitude);

Thus, for example, if you see 3608 HP for Vaan, you'll know you have 3608/1.48
or 2437.84 points which rounds up to 2438 points.  With 2438 points, you'd have
3608.24 HP which truncates to 3608 as fractions are ignored.  MP is more
difficult, but you can still get a basic idea on where you are and what to
expect next.


.============================================.
# 31.3  The types of optimization **310300** #
`============================================`

..................................
31.3.1  True perfection **310310**
..................................

31.3.1.1  Perfecting both stats is not advised **310311**

There are 2 types of optimization.  The first is the obvious case of true
perfection.  I very strongly suggest that you do not go for true perfection. 
Why?  You're battling odds that makes getting the burning bow via the
quickening method look like warp drive speed.  There are 6 instances where you
have to fight odds that are 1 in 200 or worse.  That's about the same as going
after 2 burning bows via the quickening method (not in a row though).  There
are plenty of other cases where the odds are 1 in 100 or worse as well.  And
that's just one character!  Try it for all 6 and you're really asking for it.

Throw in the fact you cannot tell if you have 29.16 or 29.7 MP for a level 2
Vaan, you may even have to go back a level or even a few levels and retry the
level up from level 1 to 2 to get it.

Oh, and don't even think about the boosting of the characters when they join. 
Ashe may be the fastest, but even focusing on her alone will steer you away. 
Although each attempt takes 40 seconds, you have to get 3 perfected level ups
in a row all at once.  That involves odds that make getting the burning bow via
the quickening method look blazing fast.  Level 1 has a 1 in 2 chance of
getting perfect HP and a 1 in 3 chance of getting perfect MP for a net chance
of perfection 1 in 6, not bad.  Level 2 has a 1 in 11 chance of perfecting the
HP and a 1 in 3 chance of perfecting the MP - a 1 in 33 chance overall, very
unfriendly.  These 2 level ups combine, since you must get them simultaneously,
for a 1 in 198 chance.  Then there's level 3 with the 1 in 6 chance of
perfecting the HP and the usual 1 in 3 chance of perfecting the MP, a 1 in 18
chance overall, again not very friendly.  These 3 combine for a 1 in 3564
chance since all 3 must be done at the same time.  At 40 seconds per attempt,
you can expect to spend 39.6 hours at this.  Lovely, isn't that?  Try getting
10 burning bows via the quickening method (a total, not in a row) and you can
get a good sense on how extreme just Ashe is and she's the fastest one.

Now try Basch.  He takes about 2 minutes per attempt, 3 times longer, thanks to
having to wait for the system to load unwanted story scenes and the long
distance needed to be covered to reach the key area.  You still have the same 1
in 3564 chance but now you're expected to spend 118.8 hours.  That's getting 30
burning bows, in a sense.

Not bad enough?  Penelo is even worse, needing about 2 to 3 minutes per attempt
(I'll call it 2 1/2 minutes), 25% longer than Basch.  Yep, that's 148.5 hours. 
That's about the same as getting 37 burning bows via the quickening method. 
Fun, isn't it?

Still not bad enough for you?  Wow!  You must be the king of patience then! 
You'll easily change your mind though when Balthier and Fran are considered. 
Although only 2 levels have to be processed, meaning the 1 in 198 chance, you
have to do 2 characters simultaneously.  That means... you might want to look
away now... a 1 in 39,204 chance.  Making matters worse is the fact you have to
go through the entire palace event each attempt and that's an easy 10 minutes
per attempt.  When you combine all of that, that's 9 total months of 24/7 play
in just doing that part alone.  That probably got your attention, didn't it? 
Forget a total number of burning bows, try getting 2 consecutive burning bows
back to back with the third within the next 2 tries!  In other words, forget
about true perfection unless you can somehow reduce the time needed per attempt
to virtually nothing.  Still want true perfection?  Forget my method as
explained here.  Instead, it's nearly a million times faster to just get a
Gameshark (or the like) or edit your save file, both of which can do far better
than true perfection.

In short, if you only spend 4 hours a day at this every day without a gap, you
might as well be at this until well into the next decade.

31.3.1.2  Perfecting a single stat is okay **310312**

However (and here's the big if), if you want to perfect only one stat, then the
odds aren't as troubling.

There are 3 advantages to perfecting HP.  First, and obviously, you'll be able
to take more damage before being KOed.  Second balance can potentially do more
damage.  Third, unlike MP, you can be assured that you have obtained the
absolute maximum HP as you're not stuck knowing if you got a x.28 or an x.76. 
The sole disadvantage, and a major one, is that you'll still have to battle
odds like 1 in 51, it's not the 1 in 200+ that you have to deal with and 1 in
51 is very rare.  Upon joining, Basch and Ashe have a 1 in 33 chance of the
perfect HP which really isn't all that bad.  It's about as fast as getting the
burning bow via the chain-status-death method, an hour (Ashe being much
faster).

While perfecting HP, especially when you've got good odds (like 1 in 20 (or
perhaps 1 in 30, depending on your preferences) or better), consider trying to
boost MP as well, at least trying to get the mid point.  Thus, instead of 270
MP for Vaan for a single mist charge, you could get 290 or even 300 if you put
more effort into it.

Basch is the HP king and the poorest for MP so focusing heavily on perfecting
his HP would be something you could consider.  You must see a 145 for Basch at
level 3 to start with true perfecting his HP.  Vaan is also very good for HP so
it's worthwhile to perfect his HP (and far, far easier to start with as you
only have a 1 in 2 chance to deal with).  You must see a 109 when going after
the 3 rats to perfect Vaan's HP.

There are 4 advantages to perfecting MP.  First, and obviously, you'll be able
to cast a lot more before running out of MP.  Second, you can charge twice in a
row with a higher success rate.  Third, it will make elixirs more effective. 
You also have nice odds of 1 in 5 at the worst to deal with (turning into a
guarantee at level 91).  The sole disadvantage, however, is that you absolutely
cannot tell if you have x.28 or x.76 for your MP (or, even worse, x.04, x.48,
or x.92).  To perfect MP means you have to go back and redo some level ups if
you get values you shouldn't be getting.

Ashe is the MP queen so true perfecting her MP is worthy.  To get some
assurance on Ashe, save to a second file the moment she joins then repeatedly
reach level 5 with her but don't save.  If you see a 35 for her MP on level 4,
you missed a point for sure.  To be absolutely sure, you must see a 40 at level
5.  Try about 25 times, unless the 35 on 4 case applies.  If it's not showing
up, repeat the joining of Ashe.  Penelo is also great for MP perfection.  The
biggest problem with Penelo, however, is that she takes a very long time to get
an attempt, it's also difficult as you're only at level 1, 2, or 3, and you
don't get the guarantee again.  Whether you have 42.9 or 42.35, you can't tell.
You have to do the same thing with Ashe.  Even worse than Ashe is that you must
go to level 5 with Penelo to even know if you got the perfect.  You must not
see a 45 at level 5.  If you do, you missed a point - repeat the joining
attempts.  You must, however, see a 48.  Give yourself about 25 attempts at
reaching level 5 to ensure you get it, stopping, obviously, if you get a 45.

..................................
31.3.2  Near perfection **310320**
..................................

This is where the second method comes in, to make the odds more meaningful and
the time far more reasonable - near perfection.  Although it'll still take a
very long time to do, it's way, way better than 15+ years.  I've done it and it
only took me a month of 10-hour days with high effort (but too high of a
starting level so I lost out on a lot more).  This table summarizes how effort,
time, and lost HP all tie together:

+---------+-----------------------------------+----------+
| Effort  | Game time, Q&R time, real time**  | Lost HP* |
+---------+-----------+-----------+-----------+----------+
| Minimal | 150 hours |  30 hours | 180 hours | 175-250  |
| Low     | 150 hours |  50 hours | 200 hours | 140-200  |
| Medium  | 150 hours |  90 hours | 240 hours | 110-160  |
| High    | 150 hours | 200 hours | 350 hours |  80-125  |
| Extreme | 150 hours | 450 hours | 600 hours |  60-100  |
+---------+-----------+-----------+-----------+----------+

Table footnotes:
*  Lost HP is approximate and assumes you do not level up any one until
everyone joins and that you've boosted the characters upon them joining.  It
assumes 1.415x as the aptitude, the mid point between the highest and lowest.
**  Game time is the time on the game clock.  All efforts are the same.  Q&R
(quit and reload) time is time spent quitting and reloading to force the random
number generator in your favor.  Real time is the amount of time you spend in
the real world doing this.  Do note that there are 168 hours in a week and
730.4 hours in a month (assuming 24/7 play - adjust based on how much time you
have available to spend on this (e.g. 4 hours means you multiply by "24/4" or 6
so 250 hours means about 9 weeks instead of about 1 1/2 weeks)).

Going from minimal to low gives you about 43 more HP and you only need another
20 more hours.  That's a pretty nice boost for such little time.  Going from
high to extreme, on the other hand, gives you just 16 extra HP and adds 250
total hours to your time, barely 3% as fast.  That's not worth it, is it?  This
is why I suggest going after the "medium" option as it's the best balance
between losses and time spent.  If you just want to get a quick taste of a
boosted game, then "low" is a good option.  If you're really dedicated, then
"high" is a good choice.  See section 31.8.2 for the fine details behind these
numbers and where they come from.

In addition, for every level higher starting from the bare minimum that you go,
you lose out on about 2 HP (turning into 3 beyond level 8 and 4 beyond level
15) and 0.5 MP (turning into 0.75 beyond level 10).  Thus, instead of being
level 3, if you were level 10 when you start, you'll be missing about 16 more
HP and 7 more MP on everyone (boosting can help, but don't expect much
recovery).

It is possible to combine true perfection and near perfection, to some extent. 
While true-perfecting HP, especially when you've got good odds (like 1 in 20
(or perhaps 1 in 30, depending on your preferences and will) or better),
consider trying to boost MP as well, at least trying to get the mid point. 
Thus, instead of 270 MP for Vaan for a single mist charge, you could get 290 or
even 300 if you put more effort into it.  When perfecting MP, only boost HP
when you know for sure there's only 1 possible MP value that you should be
getting and have received (the fractional part of the target level is less than
the aptitude - such as going from 186.96 to 192.09 for Ashe's MP when going
from level 40 to 41).  When you don't have the guarantee (such as going from
328.89 to 330.6 for Ashe's MP when going from level 81 to 82), just keep the HP
you get.

If you wanted my opinion on which stat to true perfect for a given character, I
would suggest focusing on HP for Vaan and Basch and MP on Ashe and Penelo. 
Balthier and Fran are kind of in the middle so I would suggest going with near
perfection on both stats, using the standard method, for these two.  Their join
routine is also ridiculously long as there's so many story scenes and tasks to
do just to do it so this presents a severe problem, considering you have to do
both at the same time.


.=====================================.
# 31.4  About the routines **310400** #
`=====================================`

Unlike the 5 original methods, the optimization routine requires a
significantly different approach.  You're also not on the clock either (if you
chose that route) so take your time as needed and plan strategies.  Avoiding
battles so you don't level up can sometimes be quite difficult as there's often
a lot of enemies around.  However, that R2 button will become your friend
during this.  Only fight what you absolutely must (mainly bosses) and just run
(and heal) as needed.  Although a lot of what's covered in the standard
routines is still used, there's a lot of modifications.  The following sections
will explain the process in detail.  The routines mentioned are just the basic
idea.  Some routines are completely new to this method but still have some
references to the standard routines.  Unlike the standard routines, I don't
have a direct video walkthrough for the optimization method and some elements
haven't been tested yet.


.==========================================.
# 31.5  Stage 1:  Hiring Penelo **310500** #
`==========================================`

Routine:  Beginning (4), Story (11; start only)

As usual, rush the tutorial part.  It's fine to get Reks to level 99 - this
won't affect anything for what's to come though you're mostly wasting time. 
When you get to the point where you save at the save crystal, save your game. 
Continue through and skip the story scenes when you can.  When you can control
Vaan, check his HP and MP.  Since you have a 1 in 6 chance of getting him with
104 HP and 27 MP, start with that.  If you don't get it, quit and reload.  If
you do get that, continue on, saving as soon as you can.

Before going after the rogue tomato, consider heading to Montblanc and getting
the 2 potions from him to help.  In the Estersand, ignore every enemy you see
except the rogue tomato itself.  Defeat just the rogue tomato only so you don't
level up.  If a single wolf decides to join in, just ignore it and focus all of
your efforts on the rogue tomato.  If more than 1 wolf joins, then make a
decision.  You could either finish off the rogue tomato (best if only 1 or 2
hits from defeat (2 hits if you have high HP), ignoring them, or hold R2 and
run away.  Either that or just quit and reload.  If all else, cross the zone
boundary and return.  Use potions when you need to.

When you're done, return to Rabanastre, save your game, then deal with the
parade event as you see fit.

At this point, you'll need to make story progress until Penelo joins.  Enter
Lowtown and speak with Old Dalan, avoiding the obvious chest in front of his
place.  Head into Giza Plains and head south, ignoring the enemies along the
way.  Speak with Brunoa near the tent and then Masyua near the dark crystal. 
Penelo joins at this point.


.===================================================.
# 31.6  Stage 2:  Putting Penelo to work **310600** #
`===================================================`

Routine:  [several - follow the 65- or 70-hour method]

Once Penelo joins, this is when the main activities starts in familiar grounds.
What's so important about Penelo though?  Regardless of what you do with Penelo
alone, all of your efforts, aside from LP and gathering items, gil, and
equipment, are for nothing.  Yep, even if you get Penelo to level 99, when she
joins again, she'll be... level 3 at the minimum.

Thus, KO Vaan then begin following the standard routines of the 70- or 65-hour
methods, starting with the rod.  Any time you save your game, make sure you KO
Vaan before you defeat any enemies.  If Vaan levels up during any of this, quit
and reload.  KOed Vaan will still gain LP (uncertain) but not exp.

Start by going after the rod with Penelo, defeating any enemies along the way. 
Once obtained, either head for Nalbina for phoenix downs for the dustia
routine, or continue to the South Bank Village and use the ichthon routine. 
Dustia is recommended the most as it's a fast way to get Penelo leveled up and
ready for the final bits, and it's also a fast way to accumulate LP until the
final stage of the slower methods is available.  Repeat the use of dustia until
you're level 44 or so.  Go after the burning bow (this will be even more of a
pain as you'll have to remember to KO Vaan every attempt you make unless you
use the chain-status-death method for obtaining it where Vaan only needs to be
KOed once), traveler's garb, winged helm, and then continue with the final
stage until you've obtained 3 burning bows.  You may continue with the final
stage using Penelo, focusing on the wolves and stuff along the way, until you
get enough LP to clear the license board.  You're not after leveling up, you're
after 3 burning bows and LP.  Be sure to pick up poach while in Nalbina, when
you can.


.===============================================.
# 31.7  Stage 3:  Gathering everyone **310700** #
`===============================================`

Routine:  Story (11) then dawn shard (25)

When done, save your game, to revive Vaan as well, then fully unequip Penelo,
giving Vaan the stuff she had.  Do not, however, equip Vaan with the battle
harness - you can't afford to have counterattacks defeat enemies.  Use the
orrachea armlet instead.  Advance the story until all 6 of the main characters
have joined.  The only enemies you should ever defeat are those required by the
story.  For the imperials and Amalia, just let Amalia do the attacking while
you stay back and keep her healed.  You may make a few attacks to at least
weaken them, but don't defeat them with your main party - have Amalia do that.

Although it is possible to boost Balthier and Fran, it's not strongly
recommended as you have to do the entire palace events every time and that's an
easy 10 minutes per attempt, the worst of the worst.  You may make a few
attempts, but it's not really recommended.  You're only losing out on an
average of about 5 HP and 2 MP (if they join with Vaan at level 1), hardly
anything to be concerned over.

Be sure you poach the seeker along the way.  A poached enemy does not yield exp
or LP.  You should have obtained the 4 fire stones while you were working with
Penelo.  If you failed to get them or you accidentally sold them, you'll have
to steal some from the hyenas in Giza Plains when you can return there.

Avoid those 3 chests as usual:  in front of Old Dalan's place, the southeast
corner of the palace, and the area in which you get your equipment back in
Nalbina Dungeons.

Unlike before, you don't have to fully unequip Balthier and Fran upon returning
to Rabanastre as you'll rush right through everything.  Make sure you pick up
immobilize and charge and license them.  This will make a lot of what's to come
much easier.

Boost Basch when he joins while you're at it.  Make a few attempts at it.  He
joins at level 3 at the absolute lowest.  I would suggest, since Basch is the
HP king, going for perfecting his HP.  If you do, repeat the obtaining of Basch
until you see him having 145 HP.  Quit and reload, repeating the process, until
you get it.  Get Balthier and Fran to join again as well.

When it comes to Ba' Gamnan and his crew, you'll defeat them quite easily, even
with a solo level 1 Vaan (thanks to the +1000 HP from those licenses).  Do not
use the fiery arrows though as Ba' Gamnan absorbs fire.  Those burning bows
will seriously help with these guys and the traveler's garb will absorb almost
all of the damage they'll do, some even getting 0s out of you).  Just target
Ba' Gamnan himself - the rest of the crew are not neccessary.  You don't get
any experience but you do get license points (not that you need them now,
thanks to your run with Penelo).

Don't forget to boost Ashe and, if you can handle it, Penelo while you're at
it.  Ashe and Penelo are great for MP so try to focus on that if you want to
perfect a stat.


.============================================.
# 31.8  How to process a level up **310800** #
`============================================`

Once you're supposed to be heading toward the Tomb of Raithwall, after dealing
with the Dreadnaught Leviathon, this is when the main leveling up begins.

.....................................................
31.8.1  The basic process - try, try again **310810**
.....................................................

Unlike what you're used to, in order to boost a character, you have to treat a
level up in a significantly different way than you're used to.  For best
results and optimal control, focus on leveling up only one character at a time.
While gathering experience, keep an eye on how much experience you have left to
get.  When you get down to within 1 enemy of a level up, stop defeating enemies
and get to a save crystal so you can save your game.  If you level up before
you save, quit and reload and redo that level up.  This is why you must keep a
close eye on how much experience you have left to level up.

After saving, defeat that one more enemy and save your game to a second file. 
For example, if you saved to file 5 before the level up, save to file 4 or 6
(being adjacent will speed things up).  After saving, write down the HP and MP
you got on a piece of paper or update a text file in your computer.  This way,
you can keep track of what HP and MP you have so you can see patterns and know
whether or not there's an improvement available.  If you make wise use of a
spreadsheet and keep it updated, you can get a good idea on what you're
expected to get next and if you get it, you're done and don't need to go at it
longer unless you want to attempt to improve on it slightly.

Quit then reload your earlier save (file 5 in my example) and repeat the level
up to rerandomize your HP and MP.  Compare this new value to what you had in
your previous save (the reason for writing the data down).  The process I use
is to first focus on MP thanks to the fractional parts.  If MP improves,
overwrite your newer save.  If MP is worse, just quit and reload without
saving.  If MP matches your current best, then look to the HP value.  If HP
improves, overwrite your newer save and if it doesn't, just quit and reload. 
You'll eventually get to the point where no further improvements are possible. 
Don't stop on your first attempt though - do a few tries to get a sense of the
range available (unless you use a spreadsheet or something and know exactly
what you're after).  How far you go depends on the degree of effort you want to
put in.  The following subsections will explain.

..................................................................
31.8.2  The 5 degrees of effort - choose your sacrifice **310820**
..................................................................

There are 5 degrees of effort, as explained earlier.  The more effort you put
in, the higher your HP and MP will be but the more time you will spend quitting
and reloading until the game's random number generator is in your favor.  All
cases demand that you go after the highest MP available (and also disregard the
uncertainty on the fractional part of MP).  Due to the way HP works, this is
the focus point on sacrifice as missing out on 5 points here is about that of
missing just 1 point on MP by ratio.  Here's a rough guide on how much of a
sacrifice you should make for each degree of effort and how much HP you're
expected to be short by:

Minimal (approximate sacrifice:  153 points, about 216 HP):
Levels 1 to 10 - 1 point (about 8 total lost)
Levels 11 to 30 - 2 points (about 25 total lost)
Levels 31 to 40 - 3 points (about 18 total lost)
Levels 41 to 55 - 4 points (about 34 total lost)
Levels 56 to 80 - 3 points (about 44 total lost)
Levels 81 to 99 - 2 points (about 24 total lost)

Low (approximate sacrifice:  122 points, about 173 HP):
Levels 1 to 15 - 1 point (about 11 total lost)
Levels 16 to 35 - 2 points (about 25 total lost)
Levels 36 to 60 - 3 points (about 44 total lost)
Levels 61 to 85 - 2 points (about 31 total lost)
Levels 86 to 99 - 1 point (about 11 total lost)

Medium (approximate sacrifice:  95 points, about 134 HP):
Levels 1 to 30 - 1 point (about 23 total lost)
Levels 31 to 70 - 2 points (about 50 total lost)
Levels 71 to 99 - 1 point (about 22 total lost)

High (approximate sacrifice:  73 points, about 103 HP):
Levels 1 to 10 - no sacrifice
Levels 11 to 35 - 1 point (about 19 total lost)
Levels 36 to 60 - 2 points (about 31 total lost)
Levels 61 to 90 - 1 point (about 23 total lost)
Levels 91 to 99 - no sacrifice

Extreme (approximate sacrifice:  57 points, about 81 HP):
Levels 1 to 15 - no sacrifice
Levels 15 to 40 - 1 point (about 19 total lost)
Levels 41 to 55 - 2 points (about 19 total lost)
Levels 56 to 80 - 1 point (about 19 total lost)
Levels 81 to 99 - no sacrifice

I based the amount of sacrifice on the kinds of odds you're dealing with.  The
worse the odds are for the perfect, the more of a sacrifice you make.


.=============================================.
# 31.9  Stage 4:  The early levels **310900** #
`=============================================`

Routine:  Ichthon (7)

You start in the Westersand and it's not an ideal place to level up right now. 
Instead, if you have a teleport stone, teleport to South Bank Village (marked
as "Dalmasca Estersand").  If you're level 1, use the wolves, cockatrices, and
cactoids to gain exp with and process level 2.  Use the wolves, cockatrices,
and cactoids until just before level 3.  Your burning bow should easily take
these enemies down in one hit, especially with the winged helm.  Early on, stay
near the save crystal as you'll level up very quickly.

At the end of level 2, use the ichthons to level up to level 3 with.  One more
ichthon will get you to level 4.  Once you get level 4, you'll need 2 ichthons.
If you just leveled up and confirmed that you got the HP and MP you want, get
the second ichthon while you're at it and process level 5.  Use the ichthons to
level up on, going off to save when you've cleared the zone of enemies or
you're right on the verge of a level up.  Always use the ichthons to level up
on (except if you're level 1).

Check your experience needed regularly.  If you have more than 188 to go,
defeat more enemies.  If you have 185 to 188 to go, defeat a wolf or two.  If
you have 184 or less, save your game then process the level up, using the
ichthons.  The exception is level 1 going to level 2.  In that case, if you
have more than 41 to go, defeat more enemies.  If you have 31 to 40 to go,
defeat a wolf or two.  If you have 13 or fewer exp remaining, save your game
and level up on a cactoid or use 2 wolves if needed.

Continue this process until about level 8.  Repeat this process for every
character while you're here.


.========================================.
# 31.10  Stage 5:  Werewolves **311000** #
`========================================`

Routine:  Werewolf (17)

By level 8, it takes several runs to gather enough experience for a level up. 
Something faster is needed and the werewolves are great and surprisingly
consistent for experience (1206, give or take 5).  The werewolves at level 8
are much too powerful to handle, even with your 1300 HP.  There is a fix for
that though - immobilize.  Immobilize the werewolves then attack them if
immoblized, fleeing if immobilize misses (immobilize can miss on one already
affected by immobilize).  It's not exactly necessary that you chain them though
so grab the loot if it's safe to do so but don't focus heavily on getting the
loot - focus on maximizing the HP and MP and keeping an eye on how much exp
remains.

Check your experience needed regularly as usual - if it's over 1211, defeat
another werewolf.  If it's from 1202 to 1211, defeat a giza rabbit.  If it's
1201 or under, save your game and process the level up.

Repeat this process for every character while you're here.  How far you go
depends on the character.  Pick one character you want to use throughout the
rest of the leveling and getting around level that character up to about level
21.  I prefer Vaan myself (for his high strength and speed, great for bows),
but choose whoever you like most.  Pick a second character to level up next.  I
would suggest Ashe as her magick power is very high.  You'll only need to get
Ashe to level 23.  Penelo needs 28.  The other characters have to wait until
their 30s, Balthier being the worst at 38.  The key is having magick power at
47, to guarantee immobilize in the key area.


.=================================================.
# 31.11  Stage 6:  Westersand leveling **311100** #
`=================================================`

Routine:  Dive talon (18)

By level 21, dive talon is manageable, having a high enough success rate to be
worthwhile.  Early on, you'll mainly want to focus on the urstrixes and
sleipnirs, perhaps the alraunes, until you can get to the save crystal from
Giza Plains.  For the most part, you can just rush through the Westersand until
you reach the gate crystal you started near after the previous story events. 
You should easily be able to make it at level 20 with some experience to spare.
Do not get the dive talons until you can save.

When you can, use the dive talon for leveling up with.  If you have 2045 or
more experience to go for the level up, defeat another enemy.  If you have from
1953 to 2044 to go, defeat something other than a dive talon - an alraune or
urstrix works well.  If you have 1952 or less to go, save your game.

Use the very near by dive talon to level up on - immobilize it then attack
accordingly.  If immobilize misses, either quit and reload or quickly cross the
zone boundary and return to try again.  At level 21, with your traveler's garb
set and 5 magick lores, you have a 97% chance of getting immobilize to work. 
It becomes guaranteed at level 25.  Even at level 34, your target, dive talon
will take 4 hits to defeat so it's best that you immobilize it or you'll only
be KOed before you defeat it.


.=================================================.
# 31.12  Stage 7:  Garamsythe Waterway **311200** #
`=================================================`

Routine:  Malboro (19)

The usual malboro overkings and lizards are the next things to deal with, found
in the Garamsythe Waterway.  These are dealt with in the same way as the
standard routine except that you must watch your exp closely.  Your magick
power is also higher thanks to having all 5 magick lores.  Keep the traveler's
garb set equipped and focus on immobilizing these enemies in much the same way.
At level 34, you have about a 90% success rate on immobilizing an enemy, fairly
high.  The guarantee doesn't start until level 45.

Checking the experience is a bit more difficult in this case as the enemies are
closely spaced for how much experience they give.  Regardless, if you have 3088
or more to go, defeat another enemy.  If you have something from 2904 to 3087
to go, defeat a lizard.  If you have 2619 to 2903 to go, you may optionally
defeat a lizard or you can focus on just a malboro for leveling up with.  I
would suggest focusing on the malboro only route as you can simply ignore the
low-lying lizard (immobilize it if you have to).  Continue to level 48.  I'll
cover the reason behind 48 in a bit.

You'll be returning to this area twice more for processing later level ups.


.============================================.
# 31.13  Stage 8:  Defeat 4 marks **311300** #
`============================================`

Routine:  Hunts (14)

Now that you've gained a lot of levels and there's a large span between level
ups, this is now a great time to go after the hermes sandals.  Whether or not
you start with dustia or the hunts, it doesn't matter, but both need to be
done.  For this, I'll focus on the 3 hunts.  You've already brought down the
rogue tomato for sure.  This means thextera, the flowering cactoid, and wraith
are available.  These are very easy to deal with - just follow the standard
routine as nothing has changed other than having to be careful not to level up
during this.  Marks only give license points and not experience.  It's the
other enemies along the way that need to be dealt with.  If you feel you're
getting too close to a level up, save when you can (giving enemies
immobilization as needed) then process the level up.  This, however, shouldn't
happen.


.===================================================.
# 31.14  Stage 9:  Dustia is for arcanae **311400** #
`===================================================`

Routine:  Hermes (16)

Use the gil from the loot drops from the dive talons, alraunes, malboro
overkings, lizards, etc. to buy 60 phoenix downs and the warmage's monograph. 
You don't need to sell anything other than loot drops from enemies as you
should easily have the gil from doing the runs with Penelo first thing.  60
dustias is about 66,000 total experience so make sure you have at least 66,500
total experience left as a safety precaution.  If you don't, return to stage
7's process and process the next level up or just get fewer phoenix downs. 
With 50 phoenix downs, the average amount needed, you only need to have about
55,000 total experience - use 55,500 as a safety precaution.  Level 45 is just
now beyond that point giving you enough opportunity.

As usual, get down to 10% HP remaining and start going after dustia.  You must
get 15 arcanae before your phoenix downs are used up.  Save your game before
starting.  If you fail, from bad luck and not getting 15 arcanae in the 60
phoenix downs you had (50 is the average), quit and reload to try again. 
Unlike before, if you accidentally KO, you won't get game over - just bring in
a reserve and revive.  Put the reserve back when you're done though.  Try again
as needed.  That, however, shouldn't happen at all, especially at level 45 with
1000 bonus HP from those licenses.  At level 45, if you use the mythril sword
and swap out weapons when the last attack connects, you're good to go.

When you get 15 arcanae, stop then go off to save your game.  Process the next
level up using the method in stage 7.


.====================================================.
# 31.15  Stage 10:  The Tomb of Raithwall **311500** #
`====================================================`

Routine:  Dawn shard (25)

At this point, you'll likely want to get into the Mosphoran Highwaste as it's a
very good place to level up.  Before that, you must go through the Tomb of
Raithwall.  If you haven't done the cluckatrice hunt yet, you must do so now
while you still can.  This is your final chance!

Unlike before, you will be soloing this entire area.  Don't worry though, it's
actually quite easy, even the first demon wall is fairly quick to go down,
healing aside (you can skip the first one, but not the second - the second is
much easier anyway and you'll likely spend more time running to it than
defeating it).  At level 46 with the winged helm and scale armor, you'll be
hitting it for 1537 to 1816 damage per hit without focus taking effect (likely
the case).  This means the first demon wall will go down in about 14 hits.  The
second demon wall, the required one, will go down in about 7 hits.  The hit
count assumes no critical hits happen.

Although you'll have a guest present, consider it useful as you'll cut the
experience you get in half making it easier to go through this area without
leveling up.  The boss after leaving the tomb isn't that troublesome - the high
evasion is the main problem.  Still, you can fire a quickening off on the boss,
focusing on using level 1 quickenings as much as you can (avoiding level 3
quickenings).  If all else, bring in one new character and have that character
fire off a quickening chain, leaving your high level one to be able to go at it
more with "mist charge".

Once you're done, process level 50 using stage 7, again.  This will be the last
time you'll need to process something using Garamsythe Waterway.


.==============================================================.
# 31.16  Stage 11:  Prepare for Mosphoran Highwaste **311600** #
`==============================================================`

Routine:  Hunts +99 (26; partial) then Mosphoran (27; partial)

............................................................
31.16.1  Reasons for going to Mosphoran Highwaste **311610**
............................................................

At this point, things are getting significantly different as far as dealing
with the routines go.  Unlike the standard methods, you're not after doing the
hunts right now.  You're only doing the preparations part, covered in section
26.2.  Buy out the magick shop, technick shop, and gambit shop.  Optionally buy
the golden armor for defense, though it's not an absolute must.  Immobilize is
the main thing you really need so you can get by with the scale armor.

You might be wondering why level 48 is the point for finishing stage 7.  There
are 4 reasons for this actually.  First, from defeating dustias for getting the
hermes sandals, you pretty much gain an entire level but not quite in full. 
Second, from going through the Tomb of Raithwall, you have yet another level up
that's very close.  Third, immobilize, with just your 5 magick lores only, is
guaranteed which means the winged helm and scale armor can be equipped. 
Fourth, you'll almost certainly be able to defeat the numerous pythons in 2
hits (rarely 3) as going from level 49 to 50 causes both speed and strength to
go up (for Vaan), drastically boosting damage.  With these enemies being as
powerful as they are with such inferior armor, defeating them in 2 hits is
always nice as, with pseudo running, you'll be able to to defeat them before
they strike.  It's no assurance with the vultures or humbabas though -
immobilize will take care of those, or 3 hits.  A regen and cura gambit will
help too.  The reason for level 48 at that point was the processing of 2 level
ups and the guarantee of immobilize on these enemies at level 50.

You might also be wondering why I even chose Mosphoran Highwaste.  First, this
place is much easier to handle - the enemies are about 1/3 as strong.  Second,
the very high density of enemies makes it faster to process, especially toward
the end, despite being worth only about 60% of the experience.  There's even a
round-about of enemies to further speed things up.

When you're done preparing, get into Mosphoran Highwaste.  The chocobo method
is by far the best as you can also avoid getting experience until you really
need it.  Be sure to get a clear blue sky as you'll be in Mosphoran Highwaste
for a long time.

....................................
31.16.2  The gambit setup **311620**
....................................

Set up your gambits in a way so that, if things do go wrong, you'll at least be
prepared to handle it.  This is what I suggest.  Do note that this is for the
active character you're leveling up.  When you change the character you are
leveling up, you'll set that character's gambits to these:

1.  Ally:  HP < 60% = cura
2.  Self = regen
3.  Foe:  Status = HP Critical = attack
4.  Foe:  HP < 1000 = attack
5.  Foe:  flying = attack
6.  Foe:  nearest = attack
7.  Self = esuna
8.  Self = libra
9.  Ally:  HP < 90% = cura

Because only 1 character is involved, revival has no meaning as, if that
character falls, their gambits would stop working.  Thus, healing is the first
slot.  Use any threshold you feel is reasonable - 50 to 80% is decent though I
would suggest a lower value more than a higher one mainly due to regen and the
after-battle heal.  Regen is used for automatic healing should any hits be
taken.  This is mainly needed for lower levels for your first 2 characters as
it helps keep the focus license taking effect.  The next 2 gambits are for
destroying an enemy that's on the verge of going down.  You may switch these 2
around.  The flying enemies have the annoying kamikaze skill which, when it
hits, causes you to earn absolutely nothing for it.  Removing poison, what rare
times it does appear, is done after the enemies have been dealt with.  Poison
hardly does any damage compared to what the enemies can do.  Lastly, if the
enemy isn't a flier or low on HP, the nearest one to the character gets
attacked.  Obviously, to see the annoying traps, you need libra so gambit that
in.  If a noticeable amount of HP is missing after any fighting is done,
restoring that follows.


.===================================================================.
# 31.17  Stage 12:  The Mosphoran Highwaste Python Craze **311700** #
`===================================================================`

Routine:  null

Because the Mosphoran routine above (section 27) is for getting into and
through Mosphoran Highwaste and not for leveling up, that routine does not
apply for this.  What's needed is an entirely separate process.

..........................................
31.17.1  Setting up the routine **311710**
..........................................

First, buy what you need and can from Luccio.  You'll definitely want a
nishijin belt for sure at this point.  Head to the northwestern zone exit -
it's the only way to get to the key area for now.  The first python you run
into here is what I often call the "level up python" or "level up snake"
because I use it to process a level up with.

You'll have a tough zone to get through, filled with vultures (just immobilize
them) and, the worst part, fire elemental.  Should fire elemental's life bar
become visible, immediately get away as, as explained in the standard routines
above, if you use any magicks near an elemental, it'll turn hostile and begin
attacking you and fire elemental will easily do 700 damage.  If it begins
attacking, chances are, it's silence - equip a rose coursage and quickly get
out of that zone or, if you just started, quit and reload.  You could attempt
to defeat it, but it's not easy.  It is doable though, especially early on, but
be careful.

Once you get to the other side of this zone, head to the southern area and
strike the weathered rocks to create a path.  This will allow you to get 2
zones away from the key area very quickly.  Head to the north though - that's
the key area you'll be doing the bulk of your experience gathering in.

....................................
31.17.2  The main routine **311720**
....................................

You will encounter 2 pythons here, the first on the right and the second on the
left.  There are 3 humbabas obviously visible but there's a third python on the
left.  Deal with the python first unless a humbaba is close.  In that case,
stay away from that corner and immobilize the humbabas.  When you reach level
65, you don't really need to immobilize the humbabas as you'll defeat them in 2
hits when focus is taking effect.  If they cast protect on themselves before
they begin to fight, immobilize them then, until level 83.  However, by level
65, regen is quite effective so you could almost just directly attack them
anyway and, if needed, let your healing gambits take effect.

Once the humbabas have been dealt with, continue on.  Avoid the area to the
north - there are no enemies there.  Stick to the southern wall as you'll find
a python on the left in the middle of the alcove in the grassy area.  At
earlier levels, this is as far as you'd want to go - back track and get 2 zones
away to respawn these enemies.  At a higher level, continue on.

Straight ahead, just around the corner, is another python, your fifth one. 
Head to the north at this point.  There are 2 pythons in the grassy areas.  The
one in the western patch rarely appears so I tend to skip that one until my way
back.  Focus, instead, on the one on the east.

At this point, you'll have to use ranged weapons, mainly the burning bow with
the fiery arrows.  This is because of the vultures present.  If one is nearby,
focus on it.  If not, get the python in the grassy area slightly to the north
of the previous one beyond the narrow pathway.  Defeat the vultures while
continuing north without going more west than the westernmost part of the
narrow passage you passed through, only doing so if a vulture is a step or two
away.  This way, you can help ensure you get more pythons to spawn.  If you go
too far west until you've dealt with the pythons on the eastern part, the
western pythons or one or both of those in the east won't appear thanks to the
6 enemy limit.  In the northeast corner, you will find one of the pythons, your
seventh one.  Straight west is another python, near a chest that can contain a
pirate hat (good for 2000 gil, a nice find).  Continue farther west and go into
the alcove near the S-shaped path leading down.  There are 2 pythons and a
useless chest here.

At this point, back track (almost a straight line even) to the end of the zone.
If you ignored the western python just past the narrow passage or it just
didn't appear, get it now - a quick, sharp, right turn is good enough.  Once
the 12th python has been dealt with, continue on your way to leave this zone
and get 2 zones away.  You may get a few respawns along the way back, usually
the case at a lower level when you need a lot of hits.  Repeat the process
again.

Once you can begin defeating these enemies in 1 hit on a regular basis, you'll
really go fast, getting a total of about 35,813 experience (and 24 license
points) in about 2 1/2 minutes if you're fast.  That's 14,325 experience per
minute, making it slightly faster than the 25-hour method's peak rate. 
However, I don't have in depth timing data on this routine so I don't know the
exact timing.  I was approaching 2 5/8 minutes on average and that was without
the fiery arrows (as I wasn't aware you could get them or how at the time).

..............................................
31.17.3  When processing a level up **311730**
..............................................

When you're ready to save, continue to the south and you'll find 2 clay golems
standing a little ahead.  The clay golems signal your turn - when you see their
life bar appearing, turn right to enter Babbling Vale.  For processing a level
up, I suggest using the python first thing in the northwestern exit as it's the
closest point and easy enough (see why I call it the "level up python"?).  When
you return to the gathering of experience after processing a level up, take the
eastern exit instead.  You'll find 2 slaven wilders and 2 magic-using clay
golems, both fairly easy.  The only enemy in this area not vulnerable to
immobilize are the clay golems.  Everything else can be immobilized.  Take the
northeastern exit if you wish to avoid the clay golems (best if you're on a low
level until you've completed the next stage).

Keeping an eye on the amount of experience you have left to level up as usual
is very important.  If you have more than 2390 experience left, defeat another
enemy.  If you have from 2029 to 2390 experience left, defeat just a python
then go back to save for processing the level up.  If you have from 1750 to
2028 experience left, defeat a slaven wilder (slip around the clay golems to
get to one) then save.  If you have 1749 or less experience to go, save your
game and process the level up.

......................................
31.17.4  Get some bone mail **311740**
......................................

About the bone mail (cost:  found in chest (5900 base)):
+-------------------+---------------------------------+
| Equipment bonuses | Extra important properties      |
+-------------------+ Weak to holy, 50% dark resist   |
| Attack power    0 +---------------------------------+
| Hit points      0 |          License path           |
| Mist points     0 +-------------------------+-------+
| Defense        34 | License                 |    LP |
| Magick resist   0 | Heavy armor 3           | Start |
| Evade           0 | ^ Light armor 5         |    25 |
| Magick evade    0 | > Light armor 6         |    30 |
| Strength        6 | > Heavy armor 5         |    40 |
| Magick power    0 | Total                   |    95 |
| Vitality        0 |                         |       |
| Speed           0 |                         |       |
+-------------------+-------------------------+-------+

The big plus about the bone mail is that you get a massive defense boost which
will really help for leveling up the second character.  Although it makes you
weak against the holy element, you won't be dealing with any enemies that use
it so that negative side doesn't apply.  The 50% dark resist is a plus though -
it cuts damage from dark-elemental spells in half and the clay golems here use
it (along with a lot of other enemies).  The main reason for getting this,
however, is the defense.  You'll cut the physical damage these enemies do by
about 60%, quite significant.

When you reach something around level 70, consider heading into the Salikawood
farther to the north and going after some bone mail in a chest.  By level 70,
you shouldn't have too much trouble with what's in the Salikawood.  You may go
earlier, but anything less than level 50 is not recommended as you risk
leveling up along the way if you're not careful.

Pumpkin heads are about the only problem you'll have.  If you get hit with
confuse, just remember to equip the weakest weapon you have and wait for the
attack to hit you for 0 damage then reequip what you had.  When you reach the
blue save crystal, head straight then take the east route when the path splits.
Head north at the next split then east at the turn.  You'll find the chest in
question very near the zone boundary leading farther east.

The chest appears 45% of the time, has a 40% chance of containing an item, and
the usual 50% chance of it being what you want.  This means you have an actual
chance of 9%.  If the chest isn't there, contains gil, or is a hi-potion, quit
and reload to try again.  Your other option is going after the wild saurians
just before the entrance to Mosphoran Highwaste, but it's a 1% drop and not
worth it.  The chest method is much faster and easier.

...............................................
31.17.5  Finish your first character **311750**
...............................................

When you return to Mosphoran Highwaste, be sure to get a blue sky as usual and
head to Babbling Vale.  Save your game.  Continue leveling up your first
character as you have been.  These enemies will now be doing significantly less
damage than they were doing making them far easier to handle.


.==========================================================.
# 31.18  Stage 13:  Level up a second character **311800** #
`==========================================================`

Routine:  null

.....................................................
31.18.1  Difficult and slow early leveling **311810**
.....................................................

When your first character reaches level 99, swap that character's equipment for
the second character you want to level up.  I suggest Ashe or Penelo so you
have a strong healer.  Give this character the black cowl and the traveler's
vestment so you can immobilize enemies as needed with a high chance.  Give the
character the hermes sandals too to quickly get immobilize going.  You should
be within one enemy of a level up quite frequently early on, but it will take
quite a while to defeat a single enemy at first.  Do be patient.

When processing a level up, immobilize the usual level up python in the
northwestern exit of Babbling Vale then defeat it.

.....................................
31.18.2  The middle levels **311820**
.....................................

Over time, you won't need to have to immobilize the level up python which will
save some time.  This happens at level 23 for Ashe and 24 for Penelo.  My basis
is guaranteeing 4 hits (evasion aside) and that you have the winged helm and
bone mail equipped.  When you're done processing the level up, reequip the
black cowl and traveler's vestment and use immobilize.

When gathering experience, you'll be defeating the numerous pythons in 3 hits
with Ashe at level 33 and Penelo at level 34.  This is when I suggest that
immobilizing them is no longer needed.  Immobilize everything else though.

At level 42 for Ashe and 43 for Penelo, extend your range to cover the vultures
and the rest of that key zone.  You will be guaranteed to defeat a vulture in 3
hits at that point.

The pythons are guaranteed to be defeated in 2 hits at level 51 with Ashe and
level 52 with Penelo.

....................................
31.18.3  The later levels **311830**
....................................

The last major threshold is level 56 for Ashe and 58 for Penelo.  At this
point, you are guaranteed to defeat everything in the key zone in 3 hits,
evasion aside.  You will no longer have to immobilize anything.

At this point, just advance your way to level 99 as usual.


.==================================================.
# 31.19  Stage 14:  Raise the clan rank **311900** #
`==================================================`

Routine:  Hunts + 99 (26)

....................................................
31.19.1  Hints and tips with 2 characters **311910**
....................................................

Now that you have 2 level 99 characters, you can go after the high end
equipment in the Nabreus Deadlands and the Necrohol of Nabudis without having
to worry about a surprise level up.  If you don't have a firefly at this point,
get one from the slaven wilders (it's a 3% drop), an easy-to-chain enemy using
the path-clearing method to chain.  The firefly will help should there be a
need to have to bring in the unleveled characters.  Also, buy a lot of phoenix
downs, at least 20, preferrably 30, perhaps as many as 60.  At this point,
you'll now get a sample as to what a boosted game is really like, especially
the MP that Ashe and Penelo can have (with 3 mist charges, they can very well
naturally have over 999 MP).

I would still suggest using a berserker, at least for now.  Berserk will really
make enemies go down very quickly.  Have the berserker with the burning bow and
fiery arrows equipped the entire time, unless I state otherwise.  Have your
leader (I suggest Ashe or Penelo (whichever you used) as these are great for
healing) use a burning bow with the onion arrows.  During your run with Penelo
first thing in the process, you should have gotten at least 2 burning bows.  If
you didn't, you'll have to now.  Although you do more damage unarmed,
considerably more, you need significantly less time to defeat the lesser
enemies around, speeding things up.  This is because the berserker doesn't have
to close the distance.

If the leader dies (unlikely for a while), let your berserker finish off any
enemies (or berserk will expire and the berserker will revive as needed), then
bring in one of your unleveled characters to revive as needed - put that
unleveled character back into the reserve as soon as you can (having the
firefly equipped on that unleveled character will prevent accidental level ups
- if a level up does happen, quit and reload).  Alternatively, you can wait for
berserk to expire and then let the berserker do the revival.

.........................................
31.19.2  The Lhusu Mines hunts **311920**
.........................................

Chances are, from having to advance the story without leveling up, you didn't
go after these hunts.  This is now the time to do so.  Use the gate crystal in
Mosphoran Highwaste to teleport to Rabanastre.  Check the hunt board and speak
with Montblanc to get the Nidhogg and Rocktoise hunts.  Teleport to Bhujerba
next.  From there, you'll need to enter the Lhusu Mines.

Since nidhogg is weak against fire, keep the burning bow and fiery arrows.  You
should bring it down in one hit even.  Continue on to find rocktoise.  Because
rocktoise is so slow to move, keep the burning bow with the fiery arrows to
avoid taking damage aside from the annoying return damage effect.  Don't forget
to claim the bounties along the way back.

..................................................
31.19.3  The croakadile gives new hunts **311930**
..................................................

Check the hunt board and accept all 3 hunts available.  Speak with the
tavernmaster then Sherral to get those hunts started, but don't go after them
yet.  Instead, head into Giza Plains, speak with Sadeen, then go after the
croakadile.  As before, the fiery arrows work wonders on it, so it should be
one of the easiest marks.  Remember to get those withered trees along the way. 
Claim the bounty and return to Rabanastre.

...............................................
31.19.4  A yoichi bow for the leader **311940**
...............................................

Check the hunt board to find 3 more hunts.  Accept all 3.  Use the moogling to
head to west gate and speak with Sorbet to get the white mousse hunt started. 
Use the moogling to get to the Sandsea, head north, then enter Lowtown.  Go
after white mousse as before (the fiery arrows will be extremely helpful here -
if needed, keep casting cura to delay waterga while your berserker rips away
(consider waiting for berserk to expire and be recast before taking on white
mousse).  Speak with Balzac in the western end of Lowtown before leaving
Lowtown.  Claim the yoichi bow from Sorbet and equip it on your party leader.

..........................................
31.19.5  The remote wyvern lord **311950**
..........................................

Use the moogling to head to south gate then use the gate crystal to teleport to
the Tomb of Raithwall.  Go after the wyvern lord by heading east from there. 
You must use ranged attacks for this.  When defeated, return to the Tomb of
Raithwall and teleport to Rabanastre.  You should have 10 marks defeated at
this point.

......................................
31.19.6  Clan shop shopping **311960**
......................................

Visit the clan shop and buy several teleport stones (I usually like to keep at
least 20 in stock).  Also, buy the nihopalaoa as it'll make a lot of what's to
come very easy.  If you don't have many remedies (less than 5 for example), buy
some from Luccio in Mosphoran Highwaste.

..................................................
31.19.7  The remaining Westersand hunts **311970**
..................................................

Head into the Westersand either through west gate or gate crystal.  The gate
crystal method is the easiest and is what I'll assume.  Head east then hug the
southern part of that zone.  You'll find ring wyrm present.  First, equip the
nihopalaoa on your leader and hand ring wyrm a remedy to cripple it as far as
possible.  From there, just let your berserker tear it up effortlessly, waiting
for the most part.

Next, go into the Zertinan Caverns and spend 5 minutes in this initial zone. 
Go around defeating the junk enemies, grabbing the chests, and defeating the
respawns that eventually show up.  When you're ready, head into the lit area
where the 2 speartongues were.  Before continuing, cast protect on both the
berserker and healer.  Equip the nihopalaoa on the party leader (best done the
moment you see the "protect" popup).  Make your berserker go unarmed at this
point as well as the fiery arrows cause more trouble than good.  Now head
toward the key area and hand marilith a remedy as soon as you can to severely
cripple it.  Near the end, you may need to constantly cast cura if needed.  If
you're having too much difficulty with marilith, do the gil snapper hunt, buy
and license bubble, then try again.

....................................
31.19.8  The last 2 hunts **311980**
....................................

Return to Rabanastre, speak with Montblanc, and accept the 2 new hunts
available.  As to which one you do first, it doesn't matter.  I will assume the
gil snapper is first.  Before starting that, however, claim the bounties from
the wyvern lord and marilith hunts.  The ring wyrm bounty can wait until you do
the orthros hunt.

Continue with getting the 6 withered trees in Giza Plains and speak with Nanau
in Giza Plains' southern save crystal.  Cross the bridge of trees to the
southeast and go after the gil snapper.  As usual, equip the nihopalaoa and
hand the gil snapper a remedy to cripple it.  From there, just attack normally
and let your berserker rip away unarmed.

Return to Rabanastre and enter Lowtown.  Claim the bounty from Balzac's ring
wyrm and speak with contrite thief near Garamsythe Waterway's entrance. 
Remember that, just before entering the zone with the mark, set your party to
Fran, Ashe, and Penelo.  It must be all 3 characters with no variation.  When
Orthros appears, quickly swap out the female-only party with your original,
equip the nihopalaoa on the leader, burning bow with the fiery arrows on your
berserker, and go at it as usual.  If orthros decides to use mythril bubbles
right away, your remedy will seriously delay mythril bubbles, if you're quick
to fire it off.

When defeated, claim the bounty on your way back.  Return to the clan shop and
buy bubble and faith, licensing them, and adjusting your gambits accordingly.


.===================================================================.
# 31.20  Stage 15:  Obtain Nabradia's high end equipment **312000** #
`===================================================================`

Routine:  Nabradia (28), Necrohol (29)

Teleport to Mosphoran Highwaste and cross the Salikawood and enter the Nabreus
Deadlands.  With only 2 characters, the Nabreus Deadlands is a bit difficult,
but it's not that troublesome.  Unlike the standard routine where you just go
after every piece of equipment, things are different here.  You don't want to
be going after everything just yet.

..................................
31.20.1  Raising max HP **312010**
..................................

For now, focus on going after raising defense and raising the max HP.  The
minerva bustier is a good first choice.  Going unarmed provides more attack
power than the defender.  You should consider giving the leader the hermes
sandals and giving the berserker the battle harness just to boost damage even
more.  With the leader having the hermes sandals, a "foe:  undead = cura"
gambit can kick off right away, causing mythril bubbles to have to wait.  Get 2
minerva bustiers, one for each character (equip the first one on the party
leader then the second on the berserker).

Next, go after the crown of laurels.  Immobilize crusader as usual then just
let your berserker pound away and cura work its magicks.  Get 2 crowns of
laurels.

.......................................
31.20.2  Go for the defender **312020**
.......................................

Going after the defender next is a good choice before setting off for the
Necrohol of Nabudis.  The evasion bonus it provides will make dealing with the
numerous baknamies much easier.  Just cast raise on the leynirs to defeat them.
Get 2 defenders, one for each character.  The order you equip them on doesn't
matter.  You may prefer to get just one defender and stick to the yoichi bow or
burning bow with the fiery arrows for your leader, making heavy use of
immobilize.

.................................................
31.20.3  The power of the zodiac spear **312030**
.................................................

The first thing you want to do in the Necrohol of Nabudis is get the zodiac
spear.  The sooner you can get it, the easier things will be.  As usual, put it
on your berserker for constant 9999 damage.

................................................
31.20.4  Maximillians are for defense **312040**
................................................

Next is the maximillian.  The defense of 58 will render the enemies in
Mosphoran Highwaste pretty much completely harmless.  You only need to get one
maximillian for now.  Feel free to get more if you want.

...........................................
31.20.5  Get the golden skullcap **312050**
...........................................

Once done, go after the golden skullcap.  The magick resist of 58 (59 with the
maximillian) will render everything in Mosphoran Highwaste harmless, except
fire elemental.  For immunity to that, aside from the status effects, equip the
dawn shard.  You only need to get 1 golden skull cap for now.

......................................................
31.20.6  The remaining equipment - optional **312060**
......................................................

If you really wanted to, you could go after the grand armor, but it's not easy
with just 2 characters.  It is still doable though, just a lot more challenging
as your leader pretty much has to do all the work of keeping status effects in
check, though only bubble and berserk are really needed.  Libra will help
though but libra lasts a very long time.  You could have your berserker have a
"self = berserk" gambit above any attacking to help.  The use in the grand
armor is only with the use of the zodiac spear, nothing more.

The rest of the equipment available in this region is not necessary.  You can
get it later.


.=============================================================.
# 31.21  Stage 16:  Level up the last 4 characters **312100** #
`=============================================================`

Routine:  null

................................
31.21.1  Gambit setup **312110**
................................

With the golden skullcap and maximillian, Mosphoran Highwaste couldn't be any
easier.  By this point, you don't need as much for gambits.  In fact, you could
even utilize adrenaline to really push out speed as, with these enemies doing 0
damage pretty much all the time, there's no need for much:

Without adrenaline:
1.  Ally:  HP < 50% = cura
2.  Foe:  flying = attack
3.  Foe:  HP < 1000 = attack
4.  Foe:  status = HP critical = attack
5.  Foe:  nearest = attack
6.  Self = esuna
7.  Self = libra

With adrenaline:
1.  Ally:  HP < 10% = potion
2.  Foe:  flying = attack
3.  Self = esuna
4.  Foe:  HP < 1000 = attack
5.  Foe:  status = HP critical = attack
6.  Foe:  nearest = attack
7.  Self = libra

Without going with adrenaline, an unlikely-to-be-used healing gambit is first,
from things like kamikaze.  The usual prioritization to flying enemies is next,
to reduce the problems with kamikaze, followed by getting enemies on the verge
of being defeated.  Should poison strike, that can be restored after battle. 
Manually heal after battle to get focus to take effect again - don't gambit it
in or it'll only be annoying when processing a level up.

If you plan on going with the adrenaline route, you don't want a magick healing
gambit.  You want something weaker and potions serve well for that.  HP
critical is 20% so you must use the 10% option.  If you have at least 1500 HP,
a potion won't take you out of HP critical status.

With enemies doing 0 damage so regularly, it's almost perfectly safe to make
the most of the adrenaline license.  That, however, is only best advised in the
main area you gather experience in.  When running through the main area, you
can use the winged helm as every enemy here, except fire elemental and the clay
golems, are purely physical - the winged helm will only increase damage.  Due
to taking zero damage, immobilize is no longer necessary for anything - just
attack and be done with it.  Of course, if all else, if the character you're
leveling up dies, just bring in one of your level 99 characters to revive. 
Once the character is revived, put the level 99 character back as soon as you
can.

.............................................
31.21.2  The first 50 or so levels **312120**
.............................................

Early on, you'll want the golden skullcap as you can use the clay golems for
gathering what little experience you need.  After a bit, focus on the first
part of the main area.  This area may be packed full of enemies, but when
you're aren't taking damage and the enemies are, you could easily face a whole
horde of 100 of them and still not have any trouble taking them down without a
single scratch.  Just keep an eye on how much experience you have left to go
for the next level up and process it using the usual level up python.

How far you go with this depends on your character.  Go to the next part when
the character you are guaranteed a minimum of 2 hits on the vultures.  Why this
point?  It's because the vultures have "kamikaze".  If that gets used, you get
absolutely no credit for it and you take big damage as it's defense-ignoring. 
The point of guarantee depends on the character.  I will assume you have the
winged helm, maximillian, burning bow with fiery arrows, and the hermes sandals
and you are using the focus license.  Vaan, Balthier, and Basch have level 44. 
Fran and Ashe have level 47 and Penelo has level 48.  If you use adrenaline,
those thresholds are much lower, so much so that you wouldn't even be able to
an entire round without having to process a level up.  Vaan, Balthier, and
Basch only need level 23.  Fran and Ashe have 25 and Penelo has 26.  Because
you only need around 15,000 experience for a level up at those low levels, and
a full round gives 36,000, you might as well set the threshold so that you
defeat them in one hit instead.  That threshold is nearly 30 levels higher for
every character - 53 for Vaan, Balthier, and Basch, 56 for Fran and Ashe, and
57 for Penelo.  Around there, you need a bit over 100,000 experience to level
up, essentially 3 full rounds.  That's more worthwhile.

.............................................
31.21.3  The last remaining levels **312130**
.............................................

Once you pass the threshold, open up the entire zone for leveling up.  If a
vulture decides to go kamikaze during this, you have 2 choices.  You can either
attempt to finish it off, best if you know you are 1 hit away from defeating it
(evasion aside), or berserk it.  Berserk on an enemy, knowing how effective it
is on your ally, will actually have no effect.  This is because attack power is
not increased (as opposed to what the game hints at in the description -
"heightened attack power").  The base damage is increased instead.  Now do the
(very simple) math:  what's 0*1.5?  Yep, even with berserk, you'll still only
ever take 0 damage thanks to that maximillian.  If berserk did increase attack
power, you would be taking damage then.

As usual, just keep an eye on how much experience is needed to level up.  When
you're done with one character, move on to the next, following the same methods
as before.

When you hit level 99, feel free to go after more maximillians, crowns of
laurels, the black masks, and the many other pieces of equipment you could get.
This also includes the grand armor which is only good for the early levels with
the zodiac spear.


.========================================================.
# 31.22  The list of perfect HP and MP values **312200** #
`========================================================`

If you still insist on going after true perfection for whatever reason, here's
a table that list every character's perfect HP and MP values for every level
up.  I've also listed the probability of getting the best possible boost. 
Remember that, if the MP's fractional part ends on a value greater than the
aptitude, you won't know which of the 2 (or even 3) possibilities you got.  As
an example, to explain that, consider level 27 for Vaan.  His perfect MP at
that point is 115.56.  Reference the .56 part.  Vaan's MP aptitude is 0.54. 
Since 56 (the part after the decimal - treat a .9 as .90) is greater than 0.54,
you are going to have problems with level 27 as there's a chance you'll have to
back track.  As another example, consider Basch's level 71.  This has .92 at
the end and 92 is more than double his 44 so that level up has 3 possibilities,
really making it a nightmare.  Now consider Ashe's level 52.  This ends in a
.26 and 26 is less than 57.  This means you won't have any trouble with that
level up at all and it will be worth boosting Ashe's HP while going after it.

+----+--------------------+--------------------+--------------------+---------+
| LV | HP     Vaan     MP | HP   Balthier   MP | HP     Fran     MP |    Odds |
| *0 |   68.08      24.3  |   69.12      17.76 |   56.58      22    |  1 in X |
+----+--------------------+--------------------+--------------------+---------+
|  1 |   84.36      27    |   84.96  **  20.16 |   71.76  **  24.75 |   6     |
|  2 |  103.6       29.7  |  103.68      22.56 |   89.7       27.5  |  33     |
|  3 |  124.32      32.4  |  123.84      24.96 |  109.02      30.25 |  18     |
|  4 |  146.52      35.1  |  145.44      27.36 |  129.72      33    |  13     |
|  5 |  170.2       37.8  |  168.48      29.76 |  151.8       35.75 |  10 1/2 |
|  6 |  195.36      40.5  |  192.96      32.16 |  175.26      38.5  |   9     |
|  7 |  223.48      43.2  |  220.32      34.56 |  201.48      41.25 |  48     |
|  8 |  253.08      45.9  |  249.12      36.96 |  229.08      44    |  25 1/2 |
|  9 |  284.16      48.6  |  279.36      39.36 |  258.06      46.75 |  18     |
| 10 |  316.72      51.3  |  311.04      41.76 |  288.42      49.5  |  14 1/4 |
+----+--------------------+--------------------+--------------------+---------+
| 11 |  350.76      55.08 |  344.16      45.12 |  320.16      53.35 |  16     |
| 12 |  387.76      58.86 |  380.16      48.48 |  354.66      57.2  |  84     |
| 13 |  426.24      62.64 |  417.6       51.84 |  390.54      61.05 |  44     |
| 14 |  466.2       66.42 |  456.48      55.2  |  427.8       64.9  |  30 2/3 |
| 15 |  507.64      70.2  |  496.8       58.56 |  466.44      68.75 |  24     |
| 16 |  550.56      73.98 |  538.56      61.92 |  506.46      72.6  |  20     |
| 17 |  596.44      77.76 |  583.2       65.28 |  549.24      76.45 | 104     |
| 18 |  643.8       81.54 |  629.28      68.64 |  593.4       80.3  |  54     |
| 19 |  692.64      85.32 |  676.8       72    |  638.94      84.15 |  37 1/3 |
| 20 |  742.96      89.1  |  725.76      75.36 |  685.86      88    |  29     |
+----+--------------------+--------------------+--------------------+---------+
| 21 |  794.76      92.88 |  776.16      78.72 |  734.16      91.85 |  24     |
| 22 |  849.52      96.66 |  829.44      82.08 |  785.22      95.7  | 124     |
| 23 |  905.76     100.44 |  884.16      85.44 |  837.66      99.55 |  64     |
| 24 |  963.48     104.22 |  940.32      88.8  |  891.48     103.4  |  44     |
| 25 | 1022.68     108    |  997.92      92.16 |  946.68     107.25 |  34     |
| 26 | 1080.4      111.78 | 1054.08      95.52 | 1000.5      111.1  |  44     |
| 27 | 1136.64     115.56 | 1108.8       98.88 | 1052.94     114.95 |  64     |
| 28 | 1191.4      119.34 | 1162.08     102.24 | 1104        118.8  | 124     |
| 29 | 1243.2      123.12 | 1212.48     105.6  | 1152.3      122.65 |  24     |
| 30 | 1293.52     127.98 | 1261.44     109.92 | 1199.22     127.6  |  36 1/4 |
+----+--------------------+--------------------+--------------------+---------+
| 31 | 1342.36     132.84 | 1308.96     114.24 | 1244.76     132.55 |  46 2/3 |
| 32 | 1389.72     137.7  | 1355.04     118.56 | 1288.92     137.5  |  67 1/2 |
| 33 | 1435.6      142.56 | 1399.68     122.88 | 1331.7      142.45 | 130     |
| 34 | 1478.52     147.42 | 1441.44     127.2  | 1371.72     147.4  |  25     |
| 35 | 1525.88     152.28 | 1487.52     131.52 | 1415.88     152.35 |  67 1/2 |
| 36 | 1576.2      157.14 | 1536.48     135.84 | 1462.8      157.3  |  36 1/4 |
| 37 | 1630.96     162    | 1589.76     140.16 | 1513.86     162.25 | 155     |
| 38 | 1688.68     166.86 | 1645.92     144.48 | 1567.68     167.2  |  55     |
| 39 | 1749.36     171.72 | 1704.96     148.8  | 1624.26     172.15 |  35     |
| 40 | 1814.48     176.58 | 1768.32     153.12 | 1684.98     177.1  |  92 1/2 |
+----+--------------------+--------------------+--------------------+---------+
| 41 | 1882.56     181.44 | 1834.56     157.44 | 1748.46     182.05 |  48 3/4 |
| 42 | 1955.08     186.3  | 1905.12     161.76 | 1816.08     187    | 205     |
| 43 | 2030.56     191.16 | 1978.56     166.08 | 1886.46     191.95 |  71 2/3 |
| 44 | 2109        194.94 | 2054.88     169.44 | 1959.6      195.8  |  36     |
| 45 | 2191.88     198.72 | 2135.52     172.8  | 2036.88     199.65 |  94     |
| 46 | 2277.72     202.5  | 2219.04     176.16 | 2116.92     203.5  |  49     |
| 47 | 2368        206.28 | 2306.88     179.52 | 2201.1      207.35 | 204     |
| 48 | 2461.24     210.06 | 2397.6      182.88 | 2288.04     211.2  |  70 2/3 |
| 49 | 2557.44     213.84 | 2491.2      186.24 | 2377.74     215.05 |  44     |
| 50 | 2650.68     217.62 | 2581.92     189.6  | 2464.68     218.9  |  70 2/3 |
+----+--------------------+--------------------+--------------------+---------+
| 51 | 2740.96     221.4  | 2669.76     192.96 | 2548.86     222.75 | 204     |
| 52 | 2826.8      225.18 | 2753.28     196.32 | 2628.9      226.6  |  49     |
| 53 | 2909.68     228.96 | 2833.92     199.68 | 2706.18     230.45 |  94     |
| 54 | 2988.12     232.74 | 2910.24     203.04 | 2779.32     234.3  |  36     |
| 55 | 3063.6      236.52 | 2983.68     206.4  | 2849.7      238.15 |  57 1/3 |
| 56 | 3136.12     240.3  | 3054.24     209.76 | 2917.32     242    | 164     |
| 57 | 3204.2      244.08 | 3120.48     213.12 | 2980.8      245.85 |  39     |
| 58 | 3269.32     247.86 | 3183.84     216.48 | 3041.52     249.7  |  74     |
| 59 | 3330        251.64 | 3242.88     219.84 | 3098.1      253.55 |  28     |
| 60 | 3387.72     255.42 | 3299.04     223.2  | 3151.92     257.4  |  44     |
+----+--------------------+--------------------+--------------------+---------+
| 61 | 3442.48     258.12 | 3352.32     225.6  | 3202.98     260.15 |  93     |
| 62 | 3492.8      260.82 | 3401.28     228    | 3249.9      262.9  |  21 3/4 |
| 63 | 3540.16     263.52 | 3447.36     230.4  | 3294.06     265.65 |  40 1/2 |
| 64 | 3583.08     266.22 | 3489.12     232.8  | 3334.08     268.4  |  15     |
| 65 | 3623.04     268.92 | 3528        235.2  | 3371.34     271.15 |  23     |
| 66 | 3660.04     271.62 | 3564        237.6  | 3405.84     273.9  |  63     |
| 67 | 3692.6      274.32 | 3595.68     240    | 3436.2      276.65 |  14 1/4 |
| 68 | 3726.64     277.02 | 3628.8      242.4  | 3467.94     279.4  |  12     |
| 69 | 3763.64     279.72 | 3664.8      244.8  | 3502.44     282.15 |  63     |
| 70 | 3802.12     282.42 | 3702.24     247.2  | 3538.32     284.9  |  33     |
+----+--------------------+--------------------+--------------------+---------+
| 71 | 3842.08     285.12 | 3741.12     249.6  | 3575.58     287.65 |  23     |
| 72 | 3883.52     287.82 | 3781.44     252    | 3614.22     290.4  |  18     |
| 73 | 3926.44     290.52 | 3823.2      254.4  | 3654.24     293.15 |  15     |
| 74 | 3972.32     293.22 | 3867.84     256.8  | 3697.02     295.9  |  78     |
| 75 | 4019.68     295.92 | 3913.92     259.2  | 3741.18     298.65 |  40 1/2 |
| 76 | 4068.52     298.62 | 3961.44     261.6  | 3786.72     301.4  |  28     |
| 77 | 4118.84     301.32 | 4010.4      264    | 3833.64     304.15 |  21 3/4 |
| 78 | 4170.64     304.02 | 4060.8      266.4  | 3881.94     306.9  |  18     |
| 79 | 4225.4      306.72 | 4114.08     268.8  | 3933        309.65 |  93     |
| 80 | 4281.64     309.42 | 4168.8      271.2  | 3985.44     312.4  |  48     |
+----+--------------------+--------------------+--------------------+---------+
| 81 | 4339.36     311.04 | 4224.96     272.64 | 4039.26     314.05 |  22     |
| 82 | 4398.56     312.66 | 4282.56     274.08 | 4094.46     315.7  |  17     |
| 83 | 4459.24     314.28 | 4341.6      275.52 | 4151.04     317.35 |  14     |
| 84 | 4522.88     315.9  | 4403.52     276.96 | 4210.38     319    |  72     |
| 85 | 4588        317.52 | 4466.88     278.4  | 4271.1      320.65 |  37     |
| 86 | 4654.6      319.14 | 4531.68     279.84 | 4333.2      322.3  |  25 1/3 |
| 87 | 4722.68     320.76 | 4597.92     281.28 | 4396.68     323.95 |  19 1/2 |
| 88 | 4792.24     322.38 | 4665.6      282.72 | 4461.54     325.6  |  16     |
| 89 | 4864.76     324    | 4736.16     284.16 | 4529.16     327.25 |  82     |
| 90 | 4938.76     325.62 | 4808.16     285.6  | 4598.16     328.9  |  42     |
+----+--------------------+--------------------+--------------------+---------+
| 91 | 5014.24     326.16 | 4881.6      286.08 | 4668.54     329.45 |  14 1/3 |
| 92 | 5091.2      326.7  | 4956.48     286.56 | 4740.3      330    |  11     |
| 93 | 5169.64     327.24 | 5032.8      287.04 | 4813.44     330.55 |   9     |
| 94 | 5251.04     327.78 | 5112        287.52 | 4889.34     331.1  |  46     |
| 95 | 5333.92     328.32 | 5192.64     288    | 4966.62     331.65 |  23 1/2 |
| 96 | 5418.28     328.86 | 5274.72     288.48 | 5045.28     332.2  |  16     |
| 97 | 5504.12     329.4  | 5358.24     288.96 | 5125.32     332.75 |  12 1/4 |
| 98 | 5591.44     329.94 | 5443.2      289.44 | 5206.74     333.3  |  10     |
| 99 | 5681.72     330.48 | 5531.04     289.92 | 5290.92     333.85 |  51     |
+----+--------------------+--------------------+--------------------+---------+

+----+--------------------+--------------------+--------------------+---------+
| LV | HP   Basch***   MP | HP     Ashe^    MP | HP   Penelo^^   MP |    Odds |
| *0 |   88.5       15.4  |   54.8       26.22 |   51.87      34.65 |  1 in X |
+----+--------------------+--------------------+--------------------+---------+
|  1 |  105     **  17.6  |   69.87  **  29.07 |   66.5   **  37.4  |   6     |
|  2 |  124.5   **  19.8  |   87.68  **  31.92 |   83.79  **  40.15 |  33     |
|  3 |  145.5       22    |  106.86      34.77 |  102.41      42.9  |  18     |
|  4 |  168         24.2  |  127.41      37.62 |  122.36      45.65 |  13     |
|  5 |  192         26.4  |  149.33      40.47 |  143.64      48.4  |  10 1/2 |
|  6 |  217.5       28.6  |  172.62      43.32 |  166.25      51.15 |   9     |
|  7 |  246         30.8  |  198.65      46.17 |  191.52      53.9  |  48     |
|  8 |  276         33    |  226.05      49.02 |  218.12      56.65 |  25 1/2 |
|  9 |  307.5       35.2  |  254.82      51.87 |  246.05      59.4  |  18     |
| 10 |  340.5       37.4  |  284.96      54.72 |  275.31      62.15 |  14 1/4 |
+----+--------------------+--------------------+--------------------+---------+
| 11 |  375         40.48 |  316.47      58.71 |  305.9       66    |  16     |
| 12 |  412.5       43.56 |  350.72      62.7  |  339.15      69.85 |  84     |
| 13 |  451.5       46.64 |  386.34      66.69 |  373.73      73.7  |  44     |
| 14 |  492         49.72 |  423.33      70.68 |  409.64      77.55 |  30 2/3 |
| 15 |  534         52.8  |  461.69      74.67 |  446.88      81.4  |  24     |
| 16 |  577.5       55.88 |  501.42      78.66 |  485.45      85.25 |  20     |
| 17 |  624         58.96 |  543.89      82.65 |  526.68      89.1  | 104     |
| 18 |  672         62.04 |  587.73      86.64 |  569.24      92.95 |  54     |
| 19 |  721.5       65.12 |  632.94      90.63 |  613.13      96.8  |  37 1/3 |
| 20 |  772.5       68.2  |  679.52      94.62 |  658.35     100.65 |  29     |
+----+--------------------+--------------------+--------------------+---------+
| 21 |  825         71.28 |  727.47      98.61 |  704.9      104.5  |  24     |
| 22 |  880.5       74.36 |  778.16     102.6  |  754.11     108.35 | 124     |
| 23 |  937.5       77.44 |  830.22     106.59 |  804.65     112.2  |  64     |
| 24 |  996         80.52 |  883.65     110.58 |  856.52     116.05 |  44     |
| 25 | 1056         83.6  |  938.45     114.57 |  909.72     119.9  |  34     |
| 26 | 1114.5       86.68 |  991.88     118.56 |  961.59     123.75 |  44     |
| 27 | 1171.5       89.76 | 1043.94     122.55 | 1012.13     127.6  |  64     |
| 28 | 1227         92.84 | 1094.63     126.54 | 1061.34     131.45 | 124     |
| 29 | 1279.5       95.92 | 1142.58     130.53 | 1107.89     135.3  |  24     |
| 30 | 1330.5       99.88 | 1189.16     135.66 | 1153.11     140.25 |  36 1/4 |
+----+--------------------+--------------------+--------------------+---------+
| 31 | 1380        103.84 | 1234.37     140.79 | 1197        145.2  |  46 2/3 |
| 32 | 1428        107.8  | 1278.21     145.92 | 1239.56     150.15 |  67 1/2 |
| 33 | 1474.5      111.76 | 1320.68     151.05 | 1280.79     155.1  | 130     |
| 34 | 1518        115.72 | 1360.41     156.18 | 1319.36     160.05 |  25     |
| 35 | 1566        119.68 | 1404.25     161.31 | 1361.92     165    |  67 1/2 |
| 36 | 1617        123.64 | 1450.83     166.44 | 1407.14     169.95 |  36 1/4 |
| 37 | 1672.5      127.6  | 1501.52     171.57 | 1456.35     174.9  | 155     |
| 38 | 1731        131.56 | 1554.95     176.7  | 1508.22     179.85 |  55     |
| 39 | 1792.5      135.52 | 1611.12     181.83 | 1562.75     184.8  |  35     |
| 40 | 1858.5      139.48 | 1671.4      186.96 | 1621.27     189.75 |  92 1/2 |
+----+--------------------+--------------------+--------------------+---------+
| 41 | 1927.5      143.44 | 1734.42     192.09 | 1682.45     194.7  |  48 3/4 |
| 42 | 2001        147.4  | 1801.55     197.22 | 1747.62     199.65 | 205     |
| 43 | 2077.5      151.36 | 1871.42     202.35 | 1815.45     204.6  |  71 2/3 |
| 44 | 2157        154.44 | 1944.03     206.34 | 1885.94     208.45 |  36     |
| 45 | 2241        157.52 | 2020.75     210.33 | 1960.42     212.3  |  94     |
| 46 | 2328        160.6  | 2100.21     214.32 | 2037.56     216.15 |  49     |
| 47 | 2419.5      163.68 | 2183.78     218.31 | 2118.69     220    | 204     |
| 48 | 2514        166.76 | 2270.09     222.3  | 2202.48     223.85 |  70 2/3 |
| 49 | 2611.5      169.84 | 2359.14     226.29 | 2288.93     227.7  |  44     |
| 50 | 2706        172.92 | 2445.45     230.28 | 2372.72     231.55 |  70 2/3 |
+----+--------------------+--------------------+--------------------+---------+
| 51 | 2797.5      176    | 2529.02     234.27 | 2453.85     235.4  | 204     |
| 52 | 2884.5      179.08 | 2608.48     238.26 | 2530.99     239.25 |  49     |
| 53 | 2968.5      182.16 | 2685.2      242.25 | 2605.47     243.1  |  94     |
| 54 | 3048        185.24 | 2757.81     246.24 | 2675.96     246.95 |  36     |
| 55 | 3124.5      188.32 | 2827.68     250.23 | 2743.79     250.8  |  57 1/3 |
| 56 | 3198        191.4  | 2894.81     254.22 | 2808.96     254.65 | 164     |
| 57 | 3267        194.48 | 2957.83     258.21 | 2870.14     258.5  |  39     |
| 58 | 3333        197.56 | 3018.11     262.2  | 2928.66     262.35 |  74     |
| 59 | 3394.5      200.64 | 3074.28     266.19 | 2983.19     266.2  |  28     |
| 60 | 3453        203.72 | 3127.71     270.18 | 3035.06     270.05 |  44     |
+----+--------------------+--------------------+--------------------+---------+
| 61 | 3508.5      205.92 | 3178.4      273.03 | 3084.27     272.8  |  93     |
| 62 | 3559.5      208.12 | 3224.98     275.88 | 3129.49     275.55 |  21 3/4 |
| 63 | 3607.5      210.32 | 3268.82     278.73 | 3172.05     278.3  |  40 1/2 |
| 64 | 3651        212.52 | 3308.55     281.58 | 3210.62     281.05 |  15     |
| 65 | 3691.5      214.72 | 3345.54     284.43 | 3246.53     283.8  |  23     |
| 66 | 3729        216.92 | 3379.79     287.28 | 3279.78     286.55 |  63     |
| 67 | 3762        219.12 | 3409.93     290.13 | 3309.04     289.3  |  14 1/4 |
| 68 | 3796.5      221.32 | 3441.44     292.98 | 3339.63     292.05 |  12     |
| 69 | 3834        223.52 | 3475.69     295.83 | 3372.88     294.8  |  63     |
| 70 | 3873        225.72 | 3511.31     298.68 | 3407.46     297.55 |  33     |
+----+--------------------+--------------------+--------------------+---------+
| 71 | 3913.5      227.92 | 3548.3      301.53 | 3443.37     300.3  |  23     |
| 72 | 3955.5      230.12 | 3586.66     304.38 | 3480.61     303.05 |  18     |
| 73 | 3999        232.32 | 3626.39     307.23 | 3519.18     305.8  |  15     |
| 74 | 4045.5      234.52 | 3668.86     310.08 | 3560.41     308.55 |  78     |
| 75 | 4093.5      236.72 | 3712.7      312.93 | 3602.97     311.3  |  40 1/2 |
| 76 | 4143        238.92 | 3757.91     315.78 | 3646.86     314.05 |  28     |
| 77 | 4194        241.12 | 3804.49     318.63 | 3692.08     316.8  |  21 3/4 |
| 78 | 4246.5      243.32 | 3852.44     321.48 | 3738.63     319.55 |  18     |
| 79 | 4302        245.52 | 3903.13     324.33 | 3787.84     322.3  |  93     |
| 80 | 4359        247.72 | 3955.19     327.18 | 3838.38     325.05 |  48     |
+----+--------------------+--------------------+--------------------+---------+
| 81 | 4417.5      249.04 | 4008.62     328.89 | 3890.25     326.7  |  22     |
| 82 | 4477.5      250.36 | 4063.42     330.6  | 3943.45     328.35 |  17     |
| 83 | 4539        251.68 | 4119.59     332.31 | 3997.98     330    |  14     |
| 84 | 4603.5      253    | 4178.5      334.02 | 4055.17     331.65 |  72     |
| 85 | 4669.5      254.32 | 4238.78     335.73 | 4113.69     333.3  |  37     |
| 86 | 4737        255.64 | 4300.43     337.44 | 4173.54     334.95 |  25 1/3 |
| 87 | 4806        256.96 | 4363.45     339.15 | 4234.72     336.6  |  19 1/2 |
| 88 | 4876.5      258.28 | 4427.84     340.86 | 4297.23     338.25 |  16     |
| 89 | 4950        259.6  | 4494.97     342.57 | 4362.4      339.9  |  82     |
| 90 | 5025        260.92 | 4563.47     344.28 | 4428.9      341.55 |  42     |
+----+--------------------+--------------------+--------------------+---------+
| 91 | 5101.5      261.36 | 4633.34     344.85 | 4496.73     342.1  |  14 1/3 |
| 92 | 5179.5      261.8  | 4704.58     345.42 | 4565.89     342.65 |  11     |
| 93 | 5259        262.24 | 4777.19     345.99 | 4636.38     343.2  |   9     |
| 94 | 5341.5      262.68 | 4852.54     346.56 | 4709.53     343.75 |  46     |
| 95 | 5425.5      263.12 | 4929.26     347.13 | 4784.01     344.3  |  23 1/2 |
| 96 | 5511        263.56 | 5007.35     347.7  | 4859.82     344.85 |  16     |
| 97 | 5598        264    | 5086.81     348.27 | 4936.96     345.4  |  12 1/4 |
| 98 | 5686.5      264.44 | 5167.64     348.84 | 5015.43     345.95 |  10     |
| 99 | 5778        264.88 | 5251.21     349.41 | 5096.56     346.5  |  51     |
+----+--------------------+--------------------+--------------------+---------+

Table footnotes:
*  Level 0 is being used as the base so you can see how the development goes.
**  This level is impossible for this character due to the fact they join at a
higher level or the 2 highest's averages are used.
***  Basch can have the absolute highest possible HP a character can have -
16,806.  To get that, perfect his HP then equip the dueling mask, mirage vest,
and orrachea armlet to get his base HP to 8403.  Cast bubble on him to make
this the 16,806.  With 1 HP left, having Basch going around casting balance
will regularly inflict 16,805 damage.
^  Ashe can have the absolute highest possible MP a character can have - 1272. 
To get that, perfect her MP then equip the rod of faith, sorcerer's hat,
sorcerer's habit, and get all 3 mist charges in some way (license all 3
quickenings or license an esper that requires 3 mist charges - the former is
the easiest and soonest).
^^  Penelo almost ties Ashe for MP and she, like Ashe, can naturally have over
1000 MP (that is, without any MP-boosting equipment being equipped).  The
display may only show 999, but should you grab a loot drop from a big chain
that restores MP, you could very well see a 103 (104 with Ashe) pop out.




                    _____          ___           ___
                   |  ___|        / _ \         / _ \
                   | |__         | |_| |       | | | |
                   |  __|        |  _  |       | | | |
                   | |      _    | | | |  _    | |_| |_   _
                   |_|     |_|   |_| |_| |_|    \______| |_|

                #########################
        #############               #############
   ########                                   ########
#####   32  Frequently Asked Questions **320000**   #####
   ########                                   ########
        #############               #############
                #########################


.==============================================.
# 32.1  The basics of powerleveling **320100** #
`==============================================`

Q.  What is powerleveling?
A.  Powerleveling is becoming far more powerful than the story would normally
have you.  There are 3 forms of this.  The first, and most obvious, is through
purposefully engaging combat with enemies repeatedly (for hours, days, or even
weeks) and defeating them to gain experience and level up before advancing the
story any more.  This is often called grinding or level grinding.  Wandering
around towns and villages for the sole purpose of fighting enemies is the most
common form of powerleveling.  Normally, by the time you're doing Barheim
Passage, you should be about level 6, not 20 (or 99) doing maybe around 50 to
80 damage.  You would normally be about level 17 doing around 150 damage by the
time you go through the Tomb of Raithwall.  You're not supposed to be 99 doing
6000+ damage.

Powerleveling can also be the obtaining of equipment that you normally wouldn't
be able to get until much later in the game.  Defeating enemies you normally
couldn't defeat in the story (from grinding) or visiting a town you normally
shouldn't be at (either through grinding or taking a risk, fleeing from every
battle) is a common way to do this.  Normally, you wouldn't be able to get the
burning bow until you visit the Phon Coast, about 55% of the way through the
game, not a tiny 4%.  Equipment like the maximillian, golden skullcap, crown of
laurels, etc. normally isn't available until the Pharos or Giruvegan, not
before you first see the Ozmone Plain.

In addition, powerleveling can be accumulating ability points, skill points,
or, in FF12's case, license points, just to get ahead with ability learning. 
Even before you defeat the rogue tomato, you can very well clear out the entire
license board in meaningful time by repeatedly attacking every single wolf and
cactite in the initial area (though obtaining 13,330 LP is another matter
(espers don't count)).

Q.  Why would one want to powerlevel?  It takes out the challenge!
A.  Everyone has their own reasons.  There are several common reasons.  One is
for the huge damage popups that come with powerleveling.  A second comes from
the thrill of destroying otherwise difficult bosses like they were absolute
wimps.  Some prefer to powerlevel just for the fun of it.  A fourth reason is
for replay value - if you've played a game normally before, why not try an
overpowered game?  The fifth reason (and my reason) is that some don't care for
the story but love the game play.

Q.  Is powerleveling cheating?
A.  Technically, no.  You're spending the time and effort through normal game
play and using what's available in the game to obtain the power.  This includes
the quitting and reloading of saves to turn random number generators in your
favor.  Pressing a button combination (e.g. square, up, right, R2, L1, L2, L2,
down, triangle, R1, circle, then circle when on the title screen (I just made
this up), something hidden like that) to instantly get level 99 with every item
in the game or using a Gameshark, Action Replay, Code Breaker, etc. is cheating
though.

Q.  What is the difference between powerleveling and extreme powerleveling?
A.  Extreme powerleveling is a term I made up, but it's taking powerleveling
far beyond what most would do.  Instead of being just 10 or 15 levels above
what you'd normally be, being 30, 40, 60, or even more above what you're
supposed to be is taking powerleveling to an extreme.  Instead of spending a
few extra hours at powerleveling, it's spending at least 24 extra hours
focusing on it or being at least 5 times more powerful than what you're
supposed to be (in my guide, you're doing over 100 times what you're supposed
to be doing for the longer methods, over 50 times for the shorter ones).


.==============================================.
# 32.2  About this guide in general **320200** #
`==============================================`

Q.  Why did you decide to write a guide?
A.  I'm an extreme powerleveler.  I play RPGs not for their stories (stories
very rarely ever interest me), but for the powerleveling.  I get far more
enjoyment out of an RPG the more extreme I can powerlevel in it.  From my
history, explained in the next question, I learned a lot and decided to make a
video series to explain how to get level 99 fast and early, using what I knew
back then.  Over time, those videos were getting out of date and they
absolutely did not cover the 70-hour method at all, the very first thing I
used.  I decided to write a GameFAQs guide as a way to get a much more up to
date routine that also covered the 70-hour method.  It was split into 8 stages
- the intro and rogue tomato, getting the rod, gathering LP with ichthon,
getting the burning bow, getting the traveler's garb set, chaining the
werewolves, using dive talon, then lastly, exclusive to the 40-hour method,
Garamsythe Waterway.  That's what started the guide itself.

Now, after a few years have passed, I've since, through fan suggestions and my
own understanding of the game, began realizing that the guide I had was
starting to get out of date.  Considering the fact dustia was hardly covered at
all, and the videos I had available were horribly out of date and extremely
inefficient for what I knew then.  With new comments coming up on those
horribly out of date videos, and misfortunes in my move to Fargo causing an
opening of availability for recording of several months, I saw an opportunity
to not only record an in-depth walkthrough of the entire process, covering
everything from the original 70- and 40-hour methods to dustia which splits
those into the 65- and 35-hour methods, and even a whole new method as I began
studying how the game mechanics work in finer detail.  That new method is the
25-hour method, a risky but blazing fast method that makes most any other
method in the game look slow (tool-assisted speed runs with no load times could
make the 25-hour method more around 18 hours).  With the new methods,
techniques, and adjustments, I spent 3 months recording, editing, and uploading
a detailed walkthrough of every single method and also the afterward section
where the high-end equipment in the Nabreus Deadlands and Necrohol of Nabudis
can be obtained.  With this, I also decided to update the GameFAQs guide to
include everything.

Q.  How did you figure out these methods?
A.  Right on my very first play of FF12, I was already going heavy on
powerleveling, reaching level 8 or so before even defeating the rogue tomato. 
And then came all the other stuff with the 70-hour method, except I didn't know
about the rod.  I often used Giza Plains to level up.  Once I finally found the
rod, at around level 15 to 20, but I focused on what I was dealing with, even
attempting nekhbet without success.  Once I found the Westersand to be
meaningful, I used that place for a while, but I never knew about the burning
bow.  I was attempting the werewolves around level 30, but the rod just wasn't
too decent and I was really struggling.  Over time, however, the werewolves
became manageable and I continued to about level 50ish when I got bored and
advanced the story.

I had Basch, Balthier, and Fran join.  From there, I was able to use immobilize
and the dark spell to defeat dive talons as a way to get the burning bow (I saw
it being available in my Brady Games guide).  I never knew about the "start,
square, up, X" combo to reload and the usual "L1+L2+R1+R2+Select+Start" combo I
was familiar with wasn't working so I pressed the reset button on the console,
the only way I knew how to reload a game.  With the burning bow, Garamsythe
Waterway was found to be an awesome place to level up, giving birth to the
40-hour method's final stage.  I got Vaan to level 99 but was starting to get
bored so I didn't focus too much on Balthier, Fran, and Basch.

I advanced the story to the point where I was supposed to be heading to Jahara.
Through more exploration, I found Mosphoran Highwaste.  The zone focused on in
section 31 for the final leveling was found to be the best place for leveling
up and it was quite easy too.  I got every single character (Ashe joined at
level 86 and Penelo at 93) to level 99.  With that, I finally advanced the
story.  I never got the zodiac spear during this because I wasn't aware of the
chests you had to avoid.  I needed 10 hours to defeat Yiazmat for the first
time (today, 3 3/4 hours is my fastest time and I know that can improve quite a
bit).

Over time, I learned of new tricks and methods, studied the game's mechanics,
and got suggestions and details from video comments and E-mails that would
improve upon my methods.  As of today, I don't know if there's any possible way
to go any faster than what I have now while also remaining as early as possible
too.

Q.  What happened to the previous stage-based format you had?
A.  Because 5 methods are covered at once, each depending on varying factors, I
had to change the format.  I kept having to mention "if you're using the %d,
%d, or %d-hour method, skip this part; otherwise, continue on" and that was
showing up very frequently.  Some parts had to be done at different times. 
Take the case of the winged helm for example.  With Vaan alone, had you done it
after getting the traveler's garb set, you would have a very difficult time in
the 70-hour method.  However, even at the same level, with Vaan, Balthier, and
Fran teaming up, it's much easier to get the winged helm in the shorter
methods.  You lose Balthier and Fran when you do the hunts and go after the
arcanae for the hermes sandals so you have to get the winged helm before that
while you still can.  Due to the ordering being different and varied depending
on your method, I decided to go with a routine-based approach, having one
section for each routine, then listing which routines you use in each given
method with any modifications as needed, explaining the routine only briefly in
the methods part.

Q.  Why is the "afterward" section after the methods?
A.  All methods use pretty much the same content in the afterward section, with
a few small exceptions at the beginning, another in the middle, and the entire
"Balth Fran" routine at the end.  The shorter methods will leave out Balthier
and Fran for doing this, but you'll still have a full party of level 99
characters.

Q.  Why is the "optimize" section after everything instead of being part of the
methods themselves?
A.  The optimize section is separate because it involves an entirely different
routine, some of which exclusive to it.  It's mainly in the fact you can't
level up (or keep that to a bare minimum) until all 6 characters join.  While
the optimization method, the 6th method, does use a lot of what's present in
the standard routines, there's often plenty of modifications.

Q.  You've had an urstrix watch a battle with gnoma entite?  Really!?
A.  Indeed I have and not once but twice, back to back even.  This very old
video of mine shows it.  It's quite funny in a way - they just stand and
"watch" what's going on, casting protect as needed, recasting it when it
expires.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T5PikoQyfXY

Q.  Does this guide apply to the IZJS version of this game?
A.  I have no idea.  Since the International Zodiac Job System version hasn't
been released in the US, I cannot legally play it and thus I cannot test it. 
The only thing I can say is to try it yourself.  If it's any similar to the US
version, then my guide should work for it, to some extent at least.  Again, I
can't confirm or deny anything.

Q.  How do you get the timing of the methods exact to the frame?
A.  This is done through recording a video.  I mark a starting point, always
the first frame in which the scene begins to fade to black from crossing into
the key zone with the activity.  Let's say it started on frame 29,418.  I skip
ahead as I view the route being followed, and I continue until I find the case
where I cross that same boundary and the first frame of the fade to black is
used.  Let's say that frame is 32,072.  I skip ahead and get to that same point
and note the next point where the fade starts.  Let's say that frame is 34,903.

The first round of this is has a duration of 32,072-29,418 or 2654 frames.  The
second round has a duration of 34,903-32,072 or 2831 frames.  I don't expect it
to be the same every round, fluctuations happen, thanks to the randomness in
the game.  To convert frames into seconds, I simply divide by 30,000 then
multiply by 1001, after the NTSC standard (since that's what I use).  This
gives a duration of 88.555 seconds (a bit under 1 1/2 minutes) for the first
round and 94.461 seconds (a bit over 1 1/2 minutes) for the second round.  This
would be typical during the end of the final stage of the 40- or 35-hour method
and would fit my data quite well.  This is how I got the timing data exact to
the frame and as precise as I have it.  For best results, I accumulate a lot of
data points, often over 2 hours (usually over 100 data points).

Q.  What's with the slanted bars for the 25-hour method's big text?
A.  The 25-hour method is the fastest of all the methods.  The slanted bars are
a symbol of speed, of which the 25-hour method is focused on.


.========================================.
# 32.3  About the video guide **320300** #
`========================================`

Q.  How did you record your videos?
A.  I used a TV tuner to record the videos.

Q.  How did you get the narration included?  How do you process your videos?
A.  I record the narration as I play.  The process involves starting the
recording from my microphone in an audio recording program, starting the
recording with my TV tuner's software, using some method to synchronize the
audio (usually a sudden and loud sound effect like the selecting of an option
(choosing "no" for quitting) or the glass breaking sound effect when a mist
charge is broken (incomplete) from casting a spell with full MP.  The former is
the easiest method.  There's a third method though, one that works regardless -
make a sudden and sharp sound with your voice at the very moment an intended
sound effect or visual effect is to occur.  From there, I work on the main
recording itself, narrating as needed.  When done with what I needed, I do
another synchronization at the end to make sure the tracks are aligned (due to
annoying bugs on my TV tuner's driver).  I stop the video recording then the
audio recording, saving the audio.  If I feel as if I had too many mistakes or
I mess up too frequently in my narration, I'd redo what I attempted to record,
doing another take.  A second take isn't always a worthy option though.

When I come to editing the video, when I feel satisfied enough with it, I
extract the audio from the original recording, open it, convert it to mono, add
my narration track in, set it to the left channel, amplify it by 6 dB so it's
easier to hear my voice, then use my synchronization to align the 2 tracks.  I
save the output and preview it in the video, deleting the lead-in frames and
until 1 second before the point where I need to cover where I need (there are
rare exceptions).  I preview the video to see if it's good or not.  If it's
bad, I do another take, repeating the process from the beginning (sparing save
files helps with that).  If there's a sudden misalignment present, typical at
the 20-minute mark due to, well, my TV tuner's buggy drivers, I fix it.  If
there's no misalignment or everything is fixed and everything is good to go, I
render the output video with a lossless codec.  When a routine is done, I
stitch the segments together and perform an archival rendering, a high quality
lossy rendering.

Once the entire series was done, I compressed the audio instead of leaving it
uncompressed (needed so I can stitch segments together) and copied the video
stream to finish my archival versions.  Then I used a lower quality setting for
both the video and audio for use for uploading to YouTube and that is how what
you see came to be the way it is.

Q.  Why do some of the scenes, when I pause the video, look blurred with parts
duplicated when the scene moves and others are sharp with no duplication?
A.  It's my TV tuner's deinterlacing that I have absolutely no control over. 
FF12 runs at 30 fps instead of 29.97 fps.  Should there be a misalignment of
about 1/60 of a second, the frequency at which NTSC video updates (updating a
half of a frame, every other line), blurring will happen as the first part has
the first frame and the second part has the second frame.  These get blended
together causing the blurring and the duplication.

Q.  What's this about the game clock being off?
A.  I'm unsure if it's something in my PS2's clock that's off or a bug in the
game, but I frequently notice missing time.  For example, I save with the time
at exactly 5 PM and spend exactly 5 hours leveling up (such as going from level
88 to 91 via the 65-hour method), then I save.  It's now 10 PM and when I
compare the 2 saves I see that only 4 hours and 44 minutes have passed - 16
minutes have mysteriously disappeared!  When I was using the dustia method
which takes about 46 minutes per round of 99 phoenix downs, I found that only
40 minutes on the game clock passed since the last save.  Somehow, there's
missing time.

Q.  Where's the videos for the optimization method?
A.  I didn't record any as this easily takes an entire month to do.  I was
starting to get bored of FF12 about 2/3 of the way through the afterward
section and I knew I couldn't go at it for another month (plus extra time for
uploading).  By the time this guide was finally updated in full, I was going at
FF12 for over 4 1/3 months straight, hardly playing any other games.  No wonder
why I was bored of it!  I do have slight intentions on making such a guide
though, but not any time soon.  Thus, I posted the details in my GameFAQs guide
as that takes but maybe 25 total hours.


.=====================================.
# 32.4  About the routines **320400** #
`=====================================`

Q.  Why do you go after the rod when starting with dustia?
A.  Since you can't buy phoenix downs from Migelo's Sundries, you have to go
somewhere else.  The nearest place, Lohen in the Westersand, is much too
dangerous at level 4 or 5.  The next nearest place is Nalbina Town in the
Estersand.  This area also happens to be very near where the rod is although it
is before the rod.  With the amount of gil you're likely to have at this point,
you may only be able to get about 8-10 phoenix downs and with only a 40% drop
rate on books that offer a 2:1 return, you're generally losing more than you
gain and you don't really get ahead without making heavy use of quitting and
reloading and/or making several trips (which only costs time).  With more
effort to get more gil more quickly, getting enough phoenix downs, multiple
items can be dropped from a single dustia which allows you to get ahead more
quickly.  By spending the time going after the rod, you can get enough gil to
buy a fair amount of phoenix downs to get a fast start.  By repeatedly
obtaining the rod, each one being 750 gil, you can get 3 phoenix downs' worth
of gil and it only contributes about a minute on the game clock if you ignore
the junk enemies along the way.  In addition, the rod is a great way to quickly
get down to 10% HP remaining.

Q.  I've spent 10+ hours getting that burning bow but I'm just not getting it! 
Are there any alternatives?
A.  Unfortunately, there isn't any dependable way if you're doing the 70- and
65-hour methods.  The best available alternative is to use the
chain-status-death glitch but this is quite risky and costs a lot on the game
clock.  You can continue dustia all the way to level 99, but it'll take well
over 100 hours to do so, approaching 120 hours.  There's the option of stealing
a gladius from the lindbur wolf in the Westersand in that dead end area north
of the cave, but it's very risky and not worth getting without leveling up a
lot.

For the shorter methods, you cannot go without the burning bow so you must get
it.  Although it costs plenty of time, you can go after it with the long bow
you get from the "arrows alight" and immobilize for the 40- and 35-hour
methods, directly chaining it.  You could also use the chain-status-death
glitch and get it that way, but that method is quite risky.

For the 25-hour method, due to the focus on the game clock, the quickening
method is the only option - just keep trying.  Do something on the side while
you're waiting such as speaking on an instant messaging program, doing your
homework, clean your room, do sudoku puzzles or a word search.  Do something
while you wait for the game to load.  That's what I did and it really helps
(and remember that I had to get the bow twice, once for the no-dustia methods
and again for the with-dustia methods).

Q.  Does going after the winged helm really save any time at all?
A.  Not much but it does.  It's more pronounced in the 25-hour method as, when
you can guarantee 2 hits for defeating the malboro overkings, the routine
suddenly gets far faster.  And then there's the greater chance of defeating
them in one hit near the end which means less waiting and more running, further
speeding things up.  For the 70- and 65-hour methods, it cuts thresholds back a
few levels.  Consider level 81 for the 65-hour method.  You're now defeating
everything in one hit, thanks to adrenaline.  Without the winged helm, that
threshold has to be pushed back to a later level, level 85.  Basically, during
those 6 extra hours, you're taking about 7% longer per run and 7% longer over 6
hours means an extra 25 minutes.  Just getting a 40 chain takes almost about
that long, and that's just one area you're benefiting from.  When you
transition into the final stage, it's not level 45 that's the basis with the
winged helm, it's all the way to level 49.  The final stage starts about 20%
faster and for about an hour to gain those extra 4 levels, that doesn't seem
like much, barely 12 minutes, but it adds up over time.  Oh, and don't forget
about the fact you're gaining experience quite fast while going after the
winged helm so instead of losing maybe an hour getting it, it's more like 5 to
10 minutes, if that.  Overall, getting the winged helm saves over an hour from
the 65-hour method, quite considerable.  For the faster methods, it's not as
much, but it's still around 30 minutes being saved, quite considerable.

Q.  Wouldn't the gladius be better on the werewolves than the burning bow?
A.  It's fairly close but no.  For this, you need to consider the advantages
and disadvantages of each.  The gladius is wind elemental and the werewolves
are weak against wind.  Being a dagger, the gladius charges up slightly faster
though this benefit is slight due to the fact the attack animation is just as
long.  The gladius is a short range weapon which means you have to be right
next to the enemy in order to even damage it and that can mean getting both
werewolves on you at the same time.  The attack power is also lower which means
less damage potential.  The burning bow has a higher power which means less
damage is being absorbed.  The burning bow is ranged which allows you to keep
your distance constantly, making only one werewolf go after you instead of both
(delaying the other one).  In addition, the fact the burning bow is ranged
allows for effective pseudo running - if done right, you can get 2 shots off
for every 1 the werewolves make, effectively doubling damage.  This isn't
always possible though.  The bow does take longer to charge up an attack but
pseudo running can help offset that downside.  Given this, the burning bow wins
though isn't by much.  It's the safety part that mainly makes the burning bow
win.

Q.  If Vaan gets to level 98, everyone will start at level 99 so why go to 98
when 99 can get a full party of level 99 characters?
A.  You may stop at level 98 if you want.  My guide is focused on level 99. 
This can be useful for the 70- and 65-hour methods where it takes 2 1/4 or 2
hours just to get that final level up.  It's not as useful for the 40- or
35-hour methods and even less useful for the 25-hour method as that method has
you're getting 13,700 experience per minute at that point, so fast it only
takes an extra 37 or so minutes (35 minutes if you include the hidden frog
along the way, directly attacking it).

Q.  How can an enemy worth 264 exp be worth getting when there's something
worth 2000 exp farther along?  How do you know if the extra hidden lizard is
worth it?
A.  Statistics and averages.  You'd actually be surprised how a weaker enemy
can actually help speed up the process.  To understand why getting the
urstrixes and the sleipnir are worth it but not the wolves, you have to
understand the statistics involved.  The math is fairly easy - a multiply and a
divide.  You only need to know 3 things - the base average rate of the routine
without the intended adjustment, how much extra you get for the adjustment, and
how long it takes to get it.

First, there's the base rate.  I've done the math for you for that part.  This
routine peaks at 3700 exp per minute for the 70-hour method and 3930 exp per
minute for the 65-hour method and that includes the extra enemies.  The 25-hour
method peaks at 13,700 exp per minute, but it's generally slightly slower
(slower as you don't one-hit defeat the malboro overkings as often) so I'll
call it 13,000 exp per minute as that's roughly how long you spend at it.

Next, the amount is 17 exp per wolf, 264 per urstrix, and 277 per sleipnir. 
The hidden lizard is about 2572.  This is based on the average exp you get.

Last, how much longer does the routine take if I added in the extra?  For the 2
wolves, this is about 3 seconds.  It seems longer, but remember that you are
running toward your destination while charging attack, only stopping to
complete the attack.  For the urstrixes on the left, it's about 4 to 8 seconds,
depending mainly on their use of protect and raw distance.  For the other 2
urstrixes, it's about 3 to 5 seconds, depending on how far they are spread out.
Note that raw distance is a factor.  By getting sighted, you draw the urstrixes
over to you which cuts the distance down and thus the reason for it being
faster.  The sleipnir only takes about 1.5 to 2 extra seconds to get.  The
extra lizard takes about 15 extra seconds to get it if you're being careful,
potentially only 4 seconds with direct attacking.

With those 3 details known, all you have to do is plug it into this formula:

AdjustmentRate = ExtraExp*60/TimeSeconds;

If the adjustment rate is greater than the base rate, going after the extras is
worth it.  If it's less, ignore it.  If it's roughly the same, then getting it
is up to you.  I would suggest getting it as it's fewer cycles you'll need.

Let's apply that process to first 2 wolves you encounter.  Are they really
worth going after?  They give 17 exp and take about 3 seconds to get them both
or 34 exp in 3 seconds.  This converts to 680 exp per minute.  680 is clearly
far less than even the 3650.  Because of that, it's best to ignore them.  Try
it on the 2 urstrixes to the left.  Assuming an average of 6 seconds for them,
that's 5280 exp per minute.  That's clearly above the average so that means
they're well worth it.  The next 2 urstrixes take 4 seconds which means 7920,
way above.  The sleipnir's 2 seconds means 8310, again, way above.  This is why
I tell you to go after those extra enemies - it increases the final rate.  It
also helps ensure the dive talons appear, as per the 6-enemy limit.

For the extra lizard, that's 10,288, less than the average, so it's not worth
it if you take 15 seconds from being careful.  If you risk it, with direct
attacking, that means you'll pass well over 30,000, well above the rate, making
that extra lizard well worth it (which can push the method to peak at about
14,700 exp per minute, perhaps even 15,500 during level 98 when you can defeat
it in one hit with a modest chance).

To find out how long you can take at the extra for break even, use this formula
(essentially solved for TimeSeconds):

TimeSeconds = ExtraExp*60/BaseRate;

This means you have about 1/4 second to get a single wolf (not possible due to
having to stop to attack), 4 seconds per urstrix (easy enough to get), 4 1/4
seconds per sleipnir, and 11 3/4 seconds for the extra lizard for break even.


.==============================.
# 32.5  General FAQ **320500** #
`==============================`

Q.  Do you have any suggestions for how to deal with Yiazmat?
A.  There's plenty of options.  Here's an easy strategy, one you might find a
bit weird.  First, you'll need 2 ribbons.  There's a chest in the Cerobi Steppe
just north of a save crystal that contains a ribbon with a 1.5% chance if you
have the diamond armlet equipped.  Spam quitting and reloading until you get
it.  It'll take a while, but just cast death on the junk enemies along the way
(it's best to ignore them).

You'll also need 2 bubble belts, buyable from the clan shop with a high enough
clan rank, and 2 mirage vests, buyable from Lowtown.  You'll want a suit of
grand armor (see section 29.5 above for how to easily get it) and a magepower
shishak for your damage dealer (to maximize magick power and strength for the
masamune user).

To really help, you'll want a lot of hi-ethers and elixirs.  You'll need the
diamond armlet equipped on someone in the active party to get these items.  For
a general hi-ether and elixir mix, go run around the Salikawood.  For
hi-ethers, go around the Westersand to find them in many of the chests there
with the diamond armlet equipped.  Go around the 4 zones on the eastern side to
continuously get chests.  For elixirs, go with either the Nam-Yensa Sandsea
(since it's packed with chests that contain them) or the Ridorana Cataract.  I
find the Ridorana Cataract the best way to get elixirs as you have a 6.5%
chance of getting one per chest and there are 4 quick-to-reach chests.  For
this, head into the area north of the gate crystal, go straight north until you
can't go north any more.  Back track then go west at the split for the second. 
Repeat for the southern zone only go as much south as you can.  If you don't
get an elixir in this, quit and reload.  If you do get at least one, return to
the gate crystal, quit, reload, and go at it some more.  You have a 23.57%
chance of getting an elixir per run and each run should only take about 1 1/2
to 2 minutes once you master the routine.

The next part is something you'll find very strange.  I strongly suggest
getting the excalibur.  Yes, I know, Yiazmat absorbs holy, but that's not what
it's for.  It's for, interestingly enough, healing.  How?  By equipping 2 white
masks, one on each of the decoyed characters, constantly attacking them with
the excalibur will heal them, and a lot.  Forget curaga and curaja (outside an
emergency), use the excalibur.  If it combos, you'll heal much more quickly. 
If you don't want to get the excalibur, there are other options.  The yagyu
darkblade (combined with black masks) is the next best option as it will allow
for both big damage on Yiazmat and also healing.  While the yagyu dark blade
isn't as powerful or as effective for healing, it's an option.  It combos quite
well too which helps.  Getting the yagyu darkblade is another subject though. 
There's the holy lance (use white masks) and the fomalhaut with dark shot ammo
(use black masks) that can serve as alternatives.  They are less effective but
do have use.  At least with the fomalhaut method, you can equip grand armor
instead of mirage vests to reduce damage from Yiazmat without reducing the
healing potential.  Funny how getting shot heals you....  You will need 2
weapons of a given element.  Going with holy?  Get the excalibur and a holy
lance or 2 holy lances.  Going with dark?  Get a yagyu darkblade (or the best
ninja sword you can get) and a fomalhaut with dark shot (you get the dark shot
from the piscodaemon hunt).

Before starting Yiazmat, set your equipment for the 2 damage absorbers and
healers.  Equip the black masks or white masks, whichever healing routine
you're using, a weapon of the element that that armor absorbs, and the mirage
vests (grand armors or maximillians if using the fomalhaut method).  Have both
characters wearing a ribbon.  Have a revival gambit in the first slot (phoenix
downs are faster, but arise can mean fully healing) on both characters.  The
second slot depends.  The character who can heal the most through attacking
should have healing in the second slot.  The other one should have bubble in
the second slot.  Switch these around for the third slot.  Decoy should be the
4th slot.  Bravery should be 5th to enhance healing, and haste should be 6th to
speed up everything.  If you're using dark-elemental attacks, put attacking the
enemy next.  If using holy-elemental attacks, either cast flare (do so manually
and only with the weakest healing character) to delay Yiazmat's nonphysical
attacks (anything but the regular attack and rake) for a while, several
seconds.

The other character will only ever attack and cast berserk when it expires. 
This character will be HP critical at all times, with as little remaining HP as
you can get.  The lower, the more likely bigger combos are to happen.  To set
up for this, cast bubble on that character, use charge or infuse to get rid of
MP, attack once with a moderately weak weapon (attack power no more than 60 and
no less than 40 recommended), change equipment to the masamune to stop a
would-be combo, use infuse, cast berserk, and off you go.

Lastly, change your party to the other 3 characters and cast decoy, protect,
and bubble on them quickly and put them in reserve again, bringing back your
original party.  This way, if both of your decoyed characters are out of
commision, you'll at least be able to bring in someone who is decoyed and
continue on - put that extra one back as soon as you can.

Before starting the HP critical part, go around and set off all the traps in
the area.  They'll only cause problems later.  When about to set one off, get
cura or curaja ready.  When done setting off the traps, separate your berserker
from the rest so that they are as far apart as possible, leaving your berserker
alone.  While the leader goes around setting off the traps, have the weakest
healer repeatedly use "expose" on Yiazmat to significantly lower its defense. 
The first use drops defense to 32.  The next drops it to 28 then 25, 22 then
19.  The next uses drop it by 2s until 2 then 1s until 0.  Expose reduces
defense by 10% per use and fractions are dropped which allows the 32 to to jump
to 28 or a 4 to decrease to a 3.  In all, it takes 19 uses of expose to reduce
Yiazmat's defense to 0.

As long as you keep decoy active on your other 2 characters, constantly heal
with attacking each other, keep the berserker's life bar visible at all times,
and keep far enough away so that the others don't go off and target the
berserker, the berserker will just rip away doing big damage and huge combos. 
What about cyclone?  By keeping on as opposite of sides from Yiazmat as you
can, cyclone won't hit your berserker.  Just ready cura or a lot of attacking. 
With ribbons, you won't get hit with sap.  The ribbons will also prevent stop
(which removes decoy) and petrify so you only need to focus on attacking each
other to heal, keeping status effects and especially decoy active.  Manually
cast decoy even when its currently active to refresh the timer.  Do so every 30
or so seconds on one character to be sure at least one character has decoy
active.  Optionally do so with both characters.  Never decoy the berserker.

Any time you're getting low on MP, either cast syphon on the berserker (best
only if cyclone was recently used), use the charge-syphon trick to fully
restore MP, or use a hi-ether.  Elixirs and megalixirs also work.  When using
syphon on the berserker, have the leader do it so you can quickly get back out
of the range of the gambits.  If the gambits are insisting on attacking that
character, simply manually input a command that targets something other than
the berserker, such as decoy.  For the other character to do it, just change
leaders and repeat.  Avoid letting MP drop below 200 - syphon the berserker who
will only constantly recover MP when you can.

For death strike, revive as quickly as you can and keep close to Yiazmat to
reduce the chances of death strike taking effect.  Once revived, immediately
add decoy then bubble then the rest of the status effects, letting attacking do
the healing as usual.

When reflectga gets used during the last 5 bars, just use dispelga and, about a
half second into the charging of dispelga, have the other character cast bubble
on the initial target.  Just let your gambits do the rest.  You might need to
combine curaga/curaja/cura with attacking to keep healed during this as Yiazmat
combos very frequently.  Reverse can help, but it's best to reduce vitality to
the minimum you can before attempting that.

There are 3 alternative methods available too for the last 5 bars.  In all 3 of
them, turn off all gambits, except as noted by the method.  Run off around the
corner out of sight of Yiazmat and leave your berserker alone.  Don't let the
others do anything.  Assume manual control on everything at this point.  Do
equip bubble belts and raise maximum MP as high as you can get it on the 2
supporters.  Don't change anything on the berserker - keep the grand armor,
magepower shishak, masamune, and genji gloves.  Now, let your berserker die. 
When the final blow to the berserker is about to be dealt, begin charging arise
and use manual control maintain control to keep behind the wall.  Once the
berserker revives, what you do depends on your method.

The first method is the flare method and requires good timing or control. 
Early on, Yiazmat will cast a lot of status effects on itself.  Turn on your
gambits but disable everything except your attack gambits and use manual
control for everything else.  Equip your strongest weapons.  Once the berserker
revives, immediately cast decoy then shell on him while still behind the wall. 
Next, have your supporters get flare charging up but time it so that you get in
attack range of flare a bit after the spell's effects start from Yiazmat.  Make
your damage dealer the leader and have him always closer.  Keep out of physical
range of Yiazmat but in range of death strike so that Yiazmat is forced to use
it in which flare will severely delay.  Once you see Yiazmat using death
strike, begin attacking Yiazmat.  Switch your party leader to the one that
discharges flare last.  When it discharges, run around the corner again while
letting the other 2 attack.  After flare's effects are over with, death strike
will finally take effect.  Wait for the other 2 characters to die while they
just constantly attack.  When one dies, have the one behind the wall cast arise
but stay behind the wall at all times.  When the other dies, have the leader
cast arise again.  Repeat the decoy, shell, and flare method.  If, however,
Yiazmat casts reflect on itself, you must use dispel instead - have your damage
dealer use dispel instead of those behind the wall.  Have the others cast haste
and shell on the damage dealer to at least delay death strike some  Repeat the
use of dispel until it works.  If cyclone is used, have the one behind the wall
use esuna to get rid of sap on only that character, then use curaga twice to
fully heal.  Over time, Yiazmat won't be casting status effects any more.  To
get around that, have one of the supporters cast haste before flare.  Haste
will at least delay flare for some time which then delays death strike.  Keep
repeating until Yiazmat is defeated.

The second method is the quick berserk and revive method and is perhaps the
easiest and fastest method to use.  For this, have both supporters behind the
wall at all times with all of their gambits disabled and only use manual
control for everything.  Have the leader revive with arise, charging it just
before Yiazmat deals the final blow.  When the berserker is revived, wait until
the leader who revived is available again then have the nonleader cast berserk.
At the same time, have the berserker manually input to attack Yiazmat.  Have
the leader cast shell.  By the time berserk takes effect, the berserker should
be in range and will continue running toward Yiazmat with death strike being
used first thing.  If not, use the leader to push the berserker in range but do
so quickly.  Now wait for death strike to either hit or miss.  Regardless, let
your berserker die and repeat the same process.  If death strike misses,
consider using that time to use a hi-ether, heal the supporters, or something
to help the supporters.  One option, though risky, is to syphon the berserker
when MP is low.  You could replace shell with syphon as an alternative although
it will mean death strike is guaranteed to work.  The status effects Yiazmat
has doesn't really matter in this method.  Just go for maximum damage and not
HP.  If cyclone is used though, have one character cast esunaga to get rid of
sap and the other should cast curaja to heal.  Try to keep the supporters
behind the wall fully healed.

The third method is the attack-and-attack-to-heal method and is nearly a clone
of the second method.  This method requires the use of a ninja blade,
preferably yagyu dark blade.  Equip a mirage vest and a black mask on the
damage dealer.  Set the damage dealer's gambits to attack himself if under 30%
HP (you might prefer 50%) remaining.  The use of 30% is so that, if a combo
does strike, and it's quite common, you'll rapidly heal yourself.  Once healed,
you'll go back to attacking Yiazmat again.  The supporters only need to cast
shell and bravery on the damage dealer, doing the usual manual revival.  You
could cast bubble on the damage dealer with the leader (have the other
character just cast haste to leave him/her behind) and quickly return.  If
needed, have your damage dealer cast dispel on Yiazmat.  Any time the berserker
dies, just repeat the revival process.  While the others behind the wall wait,
toss around hi-ethers and elixirs as needed (elixirs only when very low on MP -
equip MP-boosting.

With as short of a time as you're out of sight of Yiazmat, Yiazmat won't heal. 
Limit the supporters to 3 actions - a revive and 2 others (shell being an
obvious one though that can be replaced with syphon if needed).  There are a
few things I haven't tested though.  The first is how effective the
attack-to-heal trick is.  The second is casting reflectga to hit everyone then
cast scathe on all with both characters without the opal ring.  Does scathe get
reflected?  If so, does it cause 3 back-to-back cases of it one after another
per character (meaning 6 cases total)?  If that works, you can delay the use of
death strike far, far longer in the first method, perhaps even canceling it
from it taking too long to execute (that's 30 seconds).

Q.  Do you have any suggestions for how to defeat Omega Mark XII?
A.  Reverse, decoy, and manual control are the key.  Turn off your leader's
gambits.  When you see the boss, fully heal, refresh decoy on the damage
dealer, then refresh faith on the leader.  Cast reverse on the leader and dart
ahead.  Let your damage dealer get ahead so that the damage dealer is the
target.  Cast reverse on the damage dealer.  Cast decoy next.  Have the other
character cast faith on the one that casts with the gambits disabled who should
stay in the back.  After decoy is cast, wait about 3 to 4 seconds (you'll learn
the timing), and cast reverse again.  If you master the timing, reverse will
only be down for about 1 second.  Whatever you do, do not let esuna gambits
carry through.  The basic pattern is very simple:  reverse, decoy, wait 2 to 4
seconds, reverse, wait 4 to 6 seconds, reverse, decoy, wait 2 to 4 seconds, and
so on.  If the main caster's MP is getting low, have the non-damage-dealer toss
a hi-ether over.  For best results, raise magick power to 99 for the one that
stays in the back.  Do not let this character who casts reverse and decoy
attack.  You'll lose the benefit of serenity.  Master this and Omega Mark XII
is very easy, even with 10 times the HP.

Q.  Do you have any suggestions for how to defeat Hell Wyrm?
A.  You can use a similar approach to Yiazmat though the heavy use of invert
will actually come in handy.  For the most part, equip a ribbon on both support
characters and decoy them while you let your damage dealer rip away.  White
masks and the excalibur/holy lance will work for healing and attacking alike. 
When Hell Wyrm starts using invert, make heavy use of flare while your damage
dealer rips away.  Time flare so that it goes off immediately after invert
works, having your heaviest damage dealer strike first with flare so he can do
the major damage.  When the second character's flare is almost over, have your
other character cast curaga on the one with the lowest HP.  Although he or she
will have to wait a bit, curaga will go off before Hell Wyrm's firaga,
thundaga, or blizzaga will do the damage.  You just need to time it right for
the most part.  With 2 back to back casts of flare and your berserker doing
crazy high combos so frequently, Hell Wyrm will take almost a half a million
damage (if not more) from flare delaying it so much!

Q.  I have something to ask, found a spelling error, or know of something you
don't that could improve your guide.  How do I contact you?
A.  See the "legal" section directly below for my E-mail.




                     _       _____    ____    ___    _
                    | |     |  ___|  / ___|  / _ \  | |
                    | |     | |__   | |  _  | |_| | | |
                    | |     |  __|  | | | | |  _  | | |
                    | |___  | |___  | |_| | | | | | | |___
                    |_____| |_____|  \___/  |_| |_| |_____|

                ########################################
        #############                              #############
   ########                                                  ########
#####   33  Copyright, credits, and other legal stuff **330000**   #####
   ########                                                  ########
        #############                              #############
                ########################################

Legal stuff - it can be boring, but it's very important.


.====================================.
# 33.1  How to contact me **330100** #
`====================================`

If you have questions, comments, suggestions, or found an error, E-mail me at
"ulillillia (symbol with a small a inside) hotmail spec com".  The E-mail is
"encrypted" to help prevent spambots from picking it up and delivering dozens
of spam messages.  I check my E-mail at least twice a day, often 3 times a day
(even more when working on my own game), so you can often expect a response
within 16 to 20 hours for the most part, provided there's something to comment
on.  The exception is if I'm unable to get online for some reason, though this
is rare.  In order of most common to the least common, this is due to:  I'm on
vacation without access to a computer, my ISP is down for extended time (e.g.
having major technical issues), or I get extremely involved a game and forget
about my daily check (this is the rarest of all cases).  The latter 2 cases can
be combined.


.============================.
# 33.2  Copyright **330200** #
`============================`

This document is copyright (C) 2013 by ulillillia.  It may not be placed on any
Web site outside GameFAQs, neoseeker, and my own at www.ulillillia.us.  This
guide may be printed, but only for home, non-commerial-use.  Commercial use is
commercially printed strategy guides, magazines, printing it and selling it for
profits, and the related.


.==========================.
# 33.3  Credits **330300** #
`==========================`

Credits go to several sources:

*  This document and the method (all routines) were made by ulillillia.
*  Enemy details such as HP and exp amounts, the ingredients list for the
"traveler's garb" bazaar item, details on the equipment, and determining the
license paths were referenced using the Brady Games strategy guide.
*  Someone in a comment on of my YouTube videos told of the possibility of
getting the "traveler's garb" bazaar package before Nalbina Dungeons.
*  Someone via E-mail for mentioning of the arrows alight bazaar package to
seriously speed up the 40-hour methods.
*  Someone via E-mail and/or YouTube for mentioning how to get the hermes
sandals.
*  Valen for providing details on greeden.
*  Maltzsan for the game mechanics guide providing me with the info to fully
optimize my routine and also how HP and MP growth work beyond what I've studied
on my own.
*  Jaysherman1 and Zaglamir on Platform Masters's forums for explaining to me
how to calculate some complex statistics.
*  This unique and interesting game was created by Square Enix.


.==================================.
# 33.4  Version history **330400** #
`==================================`

Version 1 - Initial release
Version 1 is the initial release, detailing the most essential parts of the
process for both methods while also detailing how to get otherwise the best
equipment.

Version 1.1 - Numerous corrections, routine enhancements, a new more artistic
layout
Version 1.1 is based off of version 1.  Several new elements and enhancements
were made.  Of these, the most notable, are the more artistic headers
(especially the ladder-climbing concept for the various stages, and the more
frequent use of charts, of which detail the most efficient path to obtain the
license for a particular item or spell.  Several factual errors and improved
grammatical correctness (excessive use of the word "you") were also made. 
Contact information was readded (I used a template, clearing the FAQ out, not
realizing I removed that - I moved it to the "legal stuff" section, of which
generally doesn't change).

Version 2 - Complete format change, completely rewritten from scratch, 25-hour
method added, and numerous improvements and enhancements
Version 2 is complete rewrite of version 1.1.  The entire guide was completely
rewritten from scratch.  Due to organizational issues, the entire format of the
guide has changed to using a routine-based system, detailing the routines
individually independent of the method used, and explaining what's different,
if anything, with each of the 5 methods.  Dustia is covered in depth and
creates 2 new methods.  An all-new 25-hour method is now available that shows
you speed like never seen before.  A new section covering the near-perfecting
of the HP and MP of every character has been added.  Lastly, numerous
corrections, enhancements, and updates to the routines have been added such as
getting the fiery arrows and hermes sandals.  Lastly, a complete, narrated
video walkthrough of the entire process is available.