Onion Knight Challenge FAQ by NightBengal

Version: 1.1 | Updated: 08/04/12 | Printable Version

Final Fantasy III DS
Onion Knight Guide & Challenge

by NightBengal - Night_Bengal - at - yahoo.com


i.  Table of Contents

Just search for each section number (including the period) if you want to jump
there.

Part I: Starting Out and General Tips
01.  Introduction
02.  Getting the Onion Knight
03.  General Tips

Part II: Section-Specific Strategies and Boss Tips
04.  Subterranean Lake
05.  Molten Cave
06.  Hein's Castle
07.  Cave of Tides
08.  Amur / Sewers
09.  Goldor's Manor
10.  Before Saronia
11.  Saronia
12.  From Dalg Continent to the Ancient Ruins
   12a. Dalg Continent and the Cave of the Circle
   12b. Under the Sea and Sunken Cave
   12c. Saronia Catacombs
   12d. Temple of Time
   12e. Ancient Ruins
13.  Cave of Shadows
14.  Side Quest Clean-up
   14a. Saronia Catacombs: Odin
   14b. Lake Dohr: Leviathan
   14c. Bahamut's Lair: Bahamut
   14d. Ultima Weapon and Job Mastery items
   14e. The ??? Dungeon
15.  Doga's Grotto
16.  The Ancients' Maze
17.  The (Optional) Forbidden Land Eureka
18.  The Syrcus Tower
19.  The Dark World

Part III: Reference
20.  Onion Knight Technicals
   20a. Stat Progression
   20b. HP Gains
21.  Onion Equipment Hunt
22.  Credits
23.  Disclaimer


ii.  Version History

ver. --, 10/2008
- Started this guide... and Life proceeded to get in the way (how dare it),
  nearly immediately putting it on indefinite hold.

ver. 1.0, 6/20/2012
-  First public release on GameFAQs.  Entire strategic walkthrough complete.
-  Reference section partially filled out, with more to come.

ver. 1.05, 7/5/2012
- Re-formulated the HP table thanks to my Knights busting the floor on minimum
  per level gained.  Way to go, guys... ;)
- Filled in the Reference section to cover all but the highest levels.  The HP
  ranges are probably as good as I'm going to get them, at this point.
- Added information on melee proficiency, courtesy of Penguin Knight.
- Made various spelling, naming, and formatting fixes.

ver. 1.1, 8/3/2012
- Added section 21, which details my findings while pursuing Onion gear.
- Finished the stat progression and HP charts.
- Updated the Job Level at which Onion Knights gain less job points per action.
- Fixed the 'Zues's Wrath' bit, as this version of the game does spell it
  correctly; the old game translation (and a lot of current sites) had it the
  other way.
- Removed the part about fighting Cloud of Darkness with some of the other
  bosses still alive.  It doesn't work, no matter what your gear and level.

The guide is essentially complete at this point, unless I find something that
needs fixing or get some suggested additions that make it in.


********************************************************************************
*                                                                              *
*                    Part I: Starting Out and General Tips                     *
*                                                                              *
********************************************************************************
01.  Introduction *
*******************

Welcome to my first FAQ!  The Onion Knight is a 'bonus' class in Final Fantasy
III DS that, due to their low stats and slow HP advancement, most people don't
even bother with until late in the game.  I started this little quest when I
noticed that nobody else had published a guide on GameFAQs for taking this class
through the entire game yet, knowing that some folks like a good challenge.

This isn't intended to be a full walkthrough or a comprehensive reference for
items, etc.  Its sole purpose is providing information on getting an Onion
Knight party through the game in one piece.  Both ArkFullofSorrow and Seferaga
have excellent walkthroughs that can be found on GameFAQs.  I highly recommend
having one of those FAQs handy alongside this one.  With that said, this
document may contain spoilers; I'm going to assume this isn't your first time
through the game, in most cases.

Essentially, I will not be changing jobs even once during the game after getting
the Onion Knight.  Not for battling Hein, not for fighting Garuda, not for
stealing cool items.  Everything noted in this document was achieved with the
Onion Knight alone.

There are varying ways you can use this guide, depending on how much of a
challenge you want:

1. Low-level game.
   Just like it sounds: Get through the game with as low a level as
   possible.  I'll say this much: You have your work cut out for you with the
   Onion Knight's low HP totals, but if this is your thing, go for it.  I
   know some people are quite skilled at finding ways to make it through with
   extremely little.

   This of course can be combined with...

2. Low-equipment game
   Use only what you can buy in a shop, or only what you find in a treasure
   chest, or everything except the legendary weapons; however you want to
   work it.  With this approach, you're essentially capping your attack and
   defense power after a certain point until your levels get into the mid-
   nineties.  Likely as challenging as #1 above; may also require more power-
   leveling than most.

3. Get through it, but without over-building
   This is where most folks will land, I'm betting.  There will still be enough
   in this guide to get you through, with notes for those who want to try either
   of the above.

4. Over-leveled, Over-equipped Powerhouse
   For those who want to have some fun after slogging through the game.  Onion
   Knights of course have their own equipment, which will pump your party well
   over most other class combinations.  It's not as overblown as the original
   Fully Equipped Onion Kid, nor is it as easy to obtain (dragons have been
   'upgraded' in this version), but a party of fully-charged Onion Knights is
   still a force to be reckoned with.  To state the obvious, you're removing
   most of the 'challenge' from this challenge, once you go this route.

Adding to all the above, I'll note the places where there are missable items
or encounters, for those who want a perfect file or full bestiary, as well.

Finally, a quick note on terminology: When I refer to 'tier-two' or
'tier-three' magic, I'm talking about elemental spells ending in -ara and -aga,
respectively.  Anything else I'll call by name, like Flare, Arise, etc.


********************************************************************************
02.  Getting the Onion Knight *
*******************************

Getting the Onion Knight is a pretty simple, if time-consuming, process.
Shortly after you beat the Djinn in the first area of the game, you'll have
access to Mognet.  Find a friend or three using GameFAQs' forums and send seven
messages to them; remember that received messages do not count.  Meanwhile,
start sending messages to Topapa; you don't need to send to anyone else,
contrary to other information on the 'Net (though you might as well, really).
His third message will say that the children of Ur are taking on your
adventuresome spirit and wandering farther from town.  The fourth will say they
haven't come back and can't be found.  You guessed it: It's rescue time.

[Quick side note: Don't like waiting a full hour to send another message out?
Enter the DS/3DS system settings and set the clock backward a day before you
start, then add an hour after sending each message.]

After talking with Topapa, you'll find the children in the area of the Altar
Cave just before the hole Luneth fell through to start the game.  They'll be
cornered by three Bombs.  (How did they get from the Fire Temple to here?
Hmm...)  At low levels, a Freelancer can still be one-hit-killed by these guys,
so plan accordingly; you can either level up to about 10 or buy a bunch of
Mythril gear from Canaan.  I opted for the higher level, though you can
feasibly do this as early as level 8.

Once your HP and / or defense are high enough, get in the back row and use the
Blizzard spell, which is available for purchase in Kazus.  I had good results
using the spell on the entire group first, then picking them off one at a time
once their HP was low enough.  Alternately, you can use Antarctic Winds for a
bigger punch, but you might want to save those for later.  It may take a few
tries, but they'll fall soon enough and the children will give you a shard of
crystal they found.  You've got yourself a new class!

After your party has changed jobs to Onion Knight, I recommend hanging in the
area and building up job levels to at least 10, preferably 15, to keep them
from missing so much in battle and to give you a shot at getting more hits.
Let me be clear: Even at a high skill level, their number of hits is low.  At
level 60 and job level 99, I was still capped at 26 hits; at level 24 and job
level 40, it was 10 or less.  Even walk-around enemies will be a challenge at
first, unless you over-grind at the start (see my note on Melee Proficiency in
the section below, as well).

Use the 4xGuard technique described in many FAQs to build skill levels: Since
each and every action in battle gives a character job points, have everyone
guard for 4 or 5 rounds, then have just enough characters Fight to finish off
the battle, and everyone should gain a job level.  Don't worry too much if
someone appears to fall 'behind' unless it's by more than a couple levels;
then, just have them guard a lot in normal battles so they're guaranteed to
act, or (later) put agility-boosting equipment on them so they act first.

I recommend having all characters guard that aren't needed to kill whatever
they're fighting, i.e. if the only remaining monster is going to die in one or
two hits, have two characters guarding and two fighting.  Note that after job
level 15, their rate of gaining levels will dramatically slow, requiring around
12 actions per level instead of 5.  Onion Knights, go figure, gain job levels
at the slowest rate in the game.

********************************************************************************
03.  General Tips *
*******************

Given a little patience, the game isn't really a problem up to the end of the
Floating Continent.  Here are a few important things I've noted:

*  If you're getting romped early in the game, throw everyone in the back row
   and blast away with spells.  OKs can use every spell level from the start,
   and that will literally save your hide in some battles.  Their low stats
   don't offer much damage even then, but it will still make things easier.
   Magic will often do more damage than attacking until you leave the Floating
   Continent.

   I typically have two Knights with White magic and the other two with Black,
   plus certain spells on all four, such as the Cures, Raise, and scenario-
   appropriate elemental magic.  If one Knight starts running low on magic,
   just swap spells with another and keep going -- it saves time and
   frustration, rather than trekking back to the Inn.

*  Since the OKs can equip anything in the game except certain job-specific
   items, never sell anything until you're sure it isn't needed.  This
   includes oddball weapons that you might never normally use, like bells and
   books.  The Diamond Bell, for example, packs a 42 attack power and the
   Scholar's Books (Book of Fire, etc.) have 32, which is better than most
   other weapons when you first get them.

*  Related to the above points, this party is going to be expensive.  Each
   character should have the best equipment available and as much magic as
   possible, unless you're running a low-equipment game.  Given the amount of
   power-leveling you may do, this is more annoying than anything else, but it's
   worth noting.

*  Your stats start at a whopping 5 points each and go up every eight to ten
   levels.  Be very aware of stat boosts given by equipment.  Here's a partial
   breakdown:

   - Scholar's Books add two to both Intelligence and Mind, making them a huge
     asset for spell-casting; the later Tomes and Rods add +3 each.
   - The Sonic Knuckles boost agility, and the thief and monk equipment from
     Amur boost both agility and vitality.
   - All Daggers after the Mythril Dagger also boost Agility; some
     significantly, like +8 from the Lust Dagger.
   - Hammers boost Vitality (but their weight and accuracy is abysmal).
   - Most all Bracers and Gloves provide various boosts.

   None of this is going to help your HP, as the game does not take stat
   boosts into account at level-up (see Part III below).  You'll also never
   get 9999 HP; at level 99, it will top out between 6,300 and 7,000.

*  Your number of hits per attack is based on Agility, Job level, equipment
   weight, and a hidden Melee Proficiency stat, according to the Japanese
   Complete Guide [Thanks to Penguin Knight for this info -- and a whole lot
   more].  It builds much like Job Level, so if you're not satisfied with your
   number of hits, simply don't swap weapons around as much: Keep your Books,
   Spears, etc. concentrated on one or two Knights, with everyone else using
   Swords most of the time.

   This stat also impacts damage, if you're curious.  Check the Reference
   section for a link to more info on this and other stats.

*  One of the biggest problems early in the game is the number of creatures
   that can petrify on attack, particularly since OKs nearly always act last
   in battle.  Enemies to watch include every bird on Dragon's Peak, the Petits
   n Nepto Temple (ask how I know, when no other FAQ mentions it), and Manticore
   and Stalactite in the Subterranean Lake.  Stock up on Golden Needles, and
   don't be afraid to run away or jet to town if things get hairy.  It's hard
   enough to keep these guys alive without some freak turning them into a
   statue.

*  Take great care not to run out of Phoenix Downs before you get the Raise
   spell.  You cannot buy these items anywhere in the game, and there are only
   a certain number to be found.  Since you won't be stealing anything and
   item drops are rare, preserving Phoenix Downs is a must.  If you're getting
   stomped, backtrack and power-level until you can continue without dying so
   much.

*  On a more positive note, I've found that enemy drops tend to be more slanted
   toward rare items.  Before leaving the Floating Continent, I'd gotten my
   hands on two Arctic Winds, one Heavenly Wrath, and about five Bacchus'
   Ciders.  I won't count on you having these items at any point, but this is a
   nice boost for the party to have.


********************************************************************************
*                                                                              *
*              Part II: Section-Specific Strategies and Boss Tips              *
*                                                                              *
********************************************************************************

Once your party's levels and job levels are high enough to avoid getting killed
in normal battle, the only real challenge in the early parts of the game is
Dragon Peak, where everything takes two or three attacks to kill and most
creatures can turn the party to stone.  The parts of the game where the party
must be Mini'd were actually easier, since everyone can cast all Black magic
spells.  I'll pick up in detail with the areas after the Tower of Owen, when
you have access to the entire Floating Continent.

Each section will contain any strategies I've found useful, along with my
ending level, job level, and number of hits, either at the end of the area or
just before the boss fight.

********************************************************************************
04.  Subterranean Lake *
************************

While you got a reprieve in the Tower of Owen, this place again has multiple
enemies that can petrify in various ways.  Since most enemies still don't die
with one attack (and they won't, for a while), this can turn the tide quickly
against your party.

Bombs are also still a problem: Any physical damage will give them a very high
chance of using Self Destruct for 250-300 damage on one character the next
round, most likely killing them.  They don't seem to Destruct as often when
magic is used, so pound away with Blizzard, or Blizzara, if you're desperate.
Ruinous Waves can use Bad Breath, which you likely won't see in a normal game
because they'll be dead too quickly; not so with this team, go fig.  These,
Mermen, and Sea Devils are only found on the lowest level.

Visiting Gyshal for some Keys and raiding Argus before coming here will give you
Scholar robes and books, which raise Intelligence and Mind.  Remember to utilize
stat boosts like this, when you can.  Two points of Intelligence improves tier-
two spell damage by 50 points or more.

Spread the books around, or concentrate them on one person to create a 'mage'.
Put Spark Daggers on two other players to boost their agility and number of
hits.  Ice Helms are a good idea, and don't equip the Salamand Sword due to its
fire element.


++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+ Boss: Gutsco                               +
+ My Ending Level: 17                        +
+ Job level: 23-24                           +
+ Num Hits: 6                                +
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

See other FAQs for exact boss stats.

Gutsco attacks twice per round like all bosses, which can get old fast but
isn't a problem with adequate curing.  His own Cure spells are more of an
annoyance than a hindrance.  The only real trouble is his occasional Mini cast:
In the front row, he can one-hit-KO a Mini'd knight.  I had everyone in the
back row and tossed Blizzara at him, healing when appropriate.  Don't fall
below 100 HP and you'll be fine.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

********************************************************************************
05.  Molten Cave *
******************

The is honestly more of the same, right up to the boss.  The lava does 10
damage per 'flash' and is time-based, annoying since it hits both before and
immediately after battles.  Keep moving, collecting all treasures.  This area
is a halfway decent point to level up, too, though continue to watch for
petrification attacks and the Balloon's Self Destruct.  Buy Diamond Bells from
the dwarves if attack damage is a problem; they're actually respectable, at
this point.  Books do decent damage as well, apart from the obvious Book of
Fire.  The Freezing Blade is good as well, though Books have the same attack
power.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+ Boss: Salamander                           +
+ My Ending Level: 19                        +
+ Job level: 27-28                           +
+ Num Hits: 6                                +
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

I thought this fight was going to be a lot harder than it was; I must have been
seriously under-leveled with my original party.  He doesn't use Flame Breath
until he's low on health, and in the back row with the best equipment, his
attacks only do 35-45 each.  Even Flame Breath only hits for ~175 across all
players.  A Cura with two Books and a Scholar Robe equipped will heal more than
this.

Spread out the rest of the stat-boosters and have everyone use Blizzara from the
back row again.  He only got off one Flame Breath on me before he died.  (No
boss in the game -- not even the final boss's three parts -- can use two spells
in the same round, so don't worry about it.)
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Going back to the Dwarves' Cave after this fight will yield more scholar
equipment, which will at least even out the attack and defense stats among your
characters.

********************************************************************************
06.  Hein's Castle *
********************

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>
Bestiary Note: There are very few places in the game to which you cannot return
once they're completed.  Hein's Castle is one of them.  Be sure to encounter
all five monsters before you leave, including the uncommon Dullahan.
<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>

I filled out monsters in my Bestiary before heading into this place, which
helped significantly in the experience department, not to mention providing
extra gold for items.  I'd recommend buying several Potions and stocking up on
Antidotes, as Pharohs can cast Poison.  Trekking back to the healing pot at the
start of the castle isn't practical, especially since you have to blow a Mini
spell to do it.  Enemies, especially Demons and Dullahan, can hit pretty hard,
but they should all go down in one round of fighting if you've been keeping
up on your weaponry.

All that said, this is still a decent spot to level up, should you need it;
just take care not to get wiped out, since you can't leave to save.


++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+ Boss: Hein                                 +
+ My Ending Level: 22                        +
+ Job level: 35                              +
+ Num Hits: 8-10 (from Spark Dagger)         +
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Hein is more annoying than difficult.  Physical attacks are about worthless, so
put everyone in the back row (yes, again).  Also remember that books boost
magic power, so equip them before the battle; tier-two spells will do almost
400 damage with two books equipped.

At the start of the battle, he won't have a particular weakness, so unload with
tier-two magic and pick the most effective result.  About every other round
after that, he'll start using Barrier Shift.  If you're concerned about MP, use
tier-one spells on this round to find his new weak point, then blast away with
tier-two spells to exploit it.  Everyone should have Cura by now, so keep your
HP above 250 in case he casts elemental magic back at you.  Otherwise, he'll
just use annoying spells like Blind, Confuse, and Sleep.  On turns he uses
Barrier Shift, he'll cast no magic at all, so use this to your advantage.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

********************************************************************************
07. Cave of Tides *
*******************

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>
Missable Items Note: Be certain to get the Blood Sword and Zeus's Wrath from
the wrecked ship; easy to get, but they will disappear after the next area.
<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>

All the monsters can hit as hard as the Demons in Hein's Castle, which means
your 440+ HP aren't going very far, especially when you first arrive.  The
Blood Sword is an awesome weapon, but it just doesn't make up for your lack of
defense at this point.  I kept everyone in the back row and spat out Thunder or
Thundara with all four Knights until I was out of magic.  Grab Blizzaga and get
out, heal at the water shrine, save, and head back, either for more training or
to take a stab at the boss.


++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+ Boss: Kraken                               +
+ My Ending Level: 23                        +
+ Job level: 37-38                           +
+ Num Hits: 8-10                             +
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

He's not the complete pushover he was in the NES version, but I'll be honest: I
was probably lucky here.  Kraken can smack you around pretty well, hitting
slightly harder than the other enemies and of course having two attacks.  Other
than that, he casts Blind and occasionally Blizzara, on one or multiple people.
As one of your best defense items at this point is an Ice Helm, the results
aren't pretty; remove it before the battle starts.  Even so, a single-target
Blizzara may kill whoever it hits.

I had one person healing each round, two casting Thundara for about 375, and
one casting Blizzaga for about 600.  I'd also managed to snare a Heavenly Wrath
(enemy drops are amazing with OKs, if nothing else), which landed for about
1,200.  On top of all that, Kraken never used Blizzara once during the battle.
Your level may need to be one or two higher to soak a few spells, if need be.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

********************************************************************************
08.  Amur / Sewers *
********************

Really, if you can handle the Cave of Tides, you can handle the Sewers.  The
only reason I bring this place up is because it finally gives you a badly-
needed equipment update.  All of the Thief and Monk gear gives an agility bonus,
which means you can actually (*gasp*) hit first in battle on occasion.  Pick up
the free Black Garb (+2 Agi and Vit), Black Cowl (+2 Agi), and Thief Gloves
(+3 Agi) at the top of Amur after you open the sewer gate and get Black Belt Gi
(+3 Agi and Vit) and Chakra Bands (+2 Vit) for everyone else.  Top it off with
more Thief Gloves and you're actually in pretty good shape.  The Power Bracers
(+2 Str and Vit, +2 def over Thief Gloves) will serve you well, too.

The sewers themselves have a good selection of weaponry.  With everyone in
decent armor and back in the front row, the Blood Sword can finally wreak some
havoc, as well.  I wouldn't bother with any weapons bought in town.  The
Madhura Harp would be great, but you can't Sing, so there's no point.  The
Battle Axe is powerful, but both axes and hammers suffer in the accuracy
department, and 7,400 is a lot of gil to drop for a marginal attack increase,
when you factor in the lower hits.

My only other comment is that Twin Ligers are very common encounters and seem to
have a high crit-rate; they can still do up to half your HP in damage, so be
sure to keep your health levels up.

My Ending Level: 24
Job Level: 39-40
Num Hits: 10-12 (from Agility boosts)

********************************************************************************
09.  Goldor's Manor *
*********************

Ahh, the overworld enemies are actually a challenge again.  Your main concern
in getting to the manor is Vulcan, who can breathe for up to 300 damage, and
Magicians, who cast potent tier-two elemental magic at you.  If it gets too
annoying, you can always grab a chocobo from near the water temple to the
northeast of Amur -- use the streams to get there and you shouldn't be attacked
more than once along the way, if that.

In comparison, Goldor's manor itself is extremely simple.  Everything,
including Goldor himself, can just be pounded to death with proper healing.
Goldor casts annoyance spells and hits decently hard, but not much harder than
anything else in the manor.  Your only concern is if he decides to focus on one
character.

Aside from all that, the Manor is a decent place to level up, if you need it.

My Ending Level: 27
Job Level: 43-44
Num Hits: 14

********************************************************************************
10.  Before Saronia *
*********************

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>
Bestiary Note: After you beat Goldor and rescue your ship, remember NOT to fly
over Saronia just yet until you've encountered a Sea Dragon!  You will
permanently lose access to sail the ocean once the Enterprise is destroyed.  Be
sure to return to the Floating Continent if you're missing any sea creatures
there, as well.
<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>

So... remember all those Black Belt Gis you just bought for the stat bump?  Put
them away and buy some Gaia Vests (+3 Vit) or Bard Vests (+2 Agi, Mind) from
Duster -- I told you this party was going to be expensive.  While there's still
a chance you'll be faster than the next boss, you need the magic defense more
than the speed, lest you're forced to power-level much more than necessary.  If
you want to blow ALL your money, pick up four Rune Bracers (+2 Int, +2 Mind).
Feathered Hats (+2 Agi) are decent, but I didn't see the benefit of dropping 50
magic damage just to take 50 more physical damage.  The Rune Bracers aren't a
bad idea for those that will be on healing duty in the coming boss battle.

The breakdown is as follows, PD for physical defense and MD for magic defense,
compared to the Black Belt Gi, the Chakra Band, and the Thief Gloves.  If
you're using the free Black Garb, it has three less PD than the Gi with the
same MD.  It's really your choice which combination to use:

Bard Vest: -1 PD, +10 MD
Gaia Vest: +3 PD, +7 MD
Feathered Hat: -7 PD, +5 MD
Rune Bracers: -0 PD, +5 MD

I wound up with four Gaia Vests and four Rune Bracers.

********************************************************************************
11.  Saronia *
**************

It really is sad to have to destroy two airships in such a short time... but do
it you must.  In the outer kingdom and tower, Catoblepas are a real pain due to
high attack pwer and the ability to petrify on attack.  Hellagroo Mages and
Sorcerors are horrid with their tier-two magic attacks.  I'd actually recommend
power-leveling in Goldor's Manor due to the lack of spellcasters / fire-
breathers.  Unless you encounter a lot of Sand Worms (and you probably won't),
the experience total is about the same, too.

Pick up the Prince from Southwest Saronia, nab the free Wind Spear from the old
man there and the Dragon Mail if you want, and head for the tower.  Hack your
way up to the top and grab the equipment for the experience bump and sell
value, mostly.  Surprisingly enough, Dragon equipment murders your magic
defense, which won't do you well at all in the battle ahead.  Buy a few more
Wind Spears (four total should be enough) and use them during any power-
leveling to increase your melee proficiency with them.  When you're strong
enough, put on the Gaia Vests if you haven't already, and head to the castle to
do battle.


++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+ Boss: Garuda                               +
+ My Ending Level: 31                        +
+ Job level: 49                              +
+ Num Hits: 12 (from loss of boosts)         +
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

This battle was quite as much the pain in the rear that I thought it would be.
He'll most likely use his Lightning attack every round, and if you're still
wearing Black Belt Gi, you'll fork over 650 HP per person -- your max HP when
you entered the kingdom, in all likelihood.  Gaia Vests lower the damage to
around 550; adding the Rune Bracers will drop that to 500.

So, each round, you'll have to survive a blast of Lightning and Garuda pounding
on one character.  If you're lucky, he'll just attack twice.  That's max
700-750 HP damage total with my equipment -- and at my level above, he could
STILL kill a character in one round.  Hack away with two players every round.
Have the other two in the back row and on constant healing duty to cover the
Lightning attacks.  Damage from Wind Spears is much higher than damage from any
other non-wind weapon, so put them in both slots.  If you want extra defense,
equip double shields on the two healers, but I prefer putting books on them for
the magic bump.

If you run out of magic, swap the Wind Spears to the other two characters and
keep going.  If a character falls too early, you're probably better off
resetting and trying again.  It'll be painful, but you'll pull through.

... and just in case this is your first time through the game: Garuda is the
first of about six bosses that have a regular attack and a powerful magic
attack.  The next five, including three Summon monsters that you can't use but
might as well fight for the challenge and experience, will attack normally until
they're half dead, then use their power-magic nearly every round until the
battle ends.  On a normal party, these spells do 800 to 1500 HP damage to all
party members.  By my calculation, the first time you have even a prayer of
hitting 1500 HP is level 45.  You're going to be power-leveling from here on
out... a lot.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

After the battle, the shops will be unsealed.  The Rods may be tempting for
their free spell-cast, but your party should be able to liberally cast all
tier-two spells already.  The Tomes you find in the Castle will give you the
Rods' stat bump for free.

Stock up on magic before leaving Saronia.  I'd recommend the Raise spell for at
least two people, so you don't have to rely on a limited quantity of Phoenix
Downs.  Curaga should go on everyone.  I picked two of each tier-three
elemental spell, but it's your choice if you want them; they won't have a ton
of use.  Protect is a must, and Haste is always nice, though it will have
limited effect until the Knights' stats increase a bit.

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>
Side Quest Note: If you'll be doing the Ultima Weapon, Job Mastery, or ???
Dungeon side quests, now is the time you can start sending messages to the 4
Old Men and Prince Alus.  Be advised that the Weapon and Mastery quests cannot
be completed until you unlock Eureka, though.
<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>

********************************************************************************
12.  From Dalg Continent to the Ancient Ruins *
***********************************************

There are no bosses again until you reach the Cave of Shadows, so I'm just
going to hit the high points of the areas between here and there.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
12a. Dalg Continent and the Cave of the Circle
My Ending Level / Job Level: 34 / 52-53

This shouldn't be a big deal if you keep the Wind Spears on everyone.  Harpys
can hit for quite a bit and attack twice, not to mention I always encountered
them in pairs.  If two Harpys gang up on a single character, they're dead.
Chimeras can petrify on attack but otherwise are nowhere near the pain they
are in other Final Fantasy games (Chimera Mages, on the other hand...).

Inside the Cave, Mage Flyers are your only concern as they cast tier-two magic
-- but only if Doga doesn't burn them to a crisp first.  I was quite sad to see
him leave!  I re-equipped the thief gear for the agility boost and dropped
Books / Tomes on everyone for the magic bump while in the Cave.  Remember to
encounter all the enemies here to fill out the Bestiary, if you're so inclined.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
12b. UNDER THE SEA and SUNKEN CAVE
My Ending Level / Job Level: 36 / 55-56

The Sunken Cave is a treasure trove of experience and fancy armaments.  Put the
Cognitome on one of your healers and never remove it.  ... okay, within reason,
but still, +5 to Int and Mind is the best you'll get for a good, long while.
Diamond Bracers give +3 Int / Mind, too, if you don't mind losing the Thief
Gloves' speed; you can make up for it with the Air Knife, which gives +6 to
Agility.  If you can't take the enemies in here yet (Sea Witches in particular
can quickly drop your HP with magic), fight under the sea until you can, then
level up here to your heart's content.  This will be the easiest place to do so
for a while now.

The trapped treasure chests can be handled as long as you keep a cool head.
Each creature can hit for 600-700 damage, and Peryton and the Zombie Dragon can
attack twice.  Peryton to me seems the most dangerous, but wind weapons will
take care of it rather nicely, like that Air Knife you just found (5,000
damage, anyone?).  If you're concerned, cast Cura or Curaga every round;
especially with the Cognitome, Curaga should near-fully heal everyone.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
12c. CATACOMBS
My Ending Level / Job Level: 39 / 56-58

Go through here to collect the items and rack up experience.  Use what you
like; there's really no strategic advantage at this point.  Ouroboros lurk in
the chests in the hidden room to Odin's right; be aware they petrify on
attack.  Do NOT fight Odin yet; his Zantetsuken attack will cut you clean in
half.

I was a fool and went partway through the Temple of Time before coming in here,
hence the higher level.  Honest, I just wasn't thinking.  Note that I did not
say anything about being sorry; there was still plenty of hurt to go around the
second time through the Temple.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
12d. TEMPLE OF TIME
My Ending Level / Job Level: 39 / 58-59

The ease of the previous two areas is deceiving, compared to the Temple of Time.
You'll be fighting Dragons and Behemoths in the final floors, each of which can
lay massive hurt on your little low-HP party.  I'd recommend back row for both
of them, once you reach the room with the large staircase coming down from the
waterfalls, i.e. right before the Lute room.  Also, most enemies are weak to
wind or lightning, so plan accordingly.

Throughout the entire Temple, Chimera Mages will be your biggest headache.
They use Garuda's Lightning attack with alarming effectiveness, and they seem
to prefer that over their physical attack.  Fighting them with any other
enemies will give you a workout.  Run into three of them and you're in
trouble.  It is a real possibility that these guys can kill you as you leave if
you don't Teleport out right away.  If you aren't confident, I'd recommend just
running away from three of them and raising / healing afterward.  You should
have plenty of magic to make it through, even with healing after every battle.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
12e. ANCIENT RUINS
My Ending Level / Job Level: 42 / 60-62

I was fortunate and was not attacked more than twice, by Eaters both times.
Have someone healing every round; all the dividing enemies can hit for 600+
damage.  The chests here can be taken for sell value or left behind.  Grab an
extra Defender and / or Blood Lance from the shops to beef up your weaponry,
too.  The Defender can be used in battle for the Protect spell (you don't need
four of them; as long as it's in your bag, all four Knights can use it the same
turn).  You may eventually want a Blood Lance on everyone; it will serve you
well, right up until the final boss.

White and Black Robes are nice, too, but you may not want to take the defense
hit unless you absolutely need to; the next few bosses are a good chance.  It's
hard to argue with that 45 magic defense now that you have the Protect spell,
though.  That's the highest MD you'll see, even higher than Onion Armor.

If you need levels before coming in here, head back to the Sunken Cave.  The
Temple of Time would offer more experience, but it's just too easy to get wiped
out by Chimera Mages.

********************************************************************************
13.  Cave of Shadows *
**********************

Before coming here, be sure to take the Invincible to Falgabard and collect the
free equipment -- you'll get three dark swords and be able to purchase more.
Put one in every weapon slot -- enemies will still divide if hit by even one
non-dark weapon, and the dark blades do a lot more damage anyway.  Remember that
katanas are yet another new weapon class, so you'll have to build proficiency
from scratch.  The Demon gear isn't as strong as the Diamond Mail you already
have, so I would leave or sell it.

Grabbing Curaja from the Invincible or from Doga's village wouldn't be a bad
idea, as your HP may be getting out of Curaga's range.  I wound up buying White
Robes for everyone to boost their cure powers and magic defense in the coming
boss battle, so I was seriously running short of cash by this time, even after
selling all the unnecessary junk.

If you're being pummeled in the Cave (and chances are, you will be), get some
treasure and leave, save, and return, remembering to switch equipment before
you try the boss.  My personal pick for weaponry vs. the boss was a Kotetsu or
Kiku in one hand, then a Blood Lance on two characters and a Defender on the
other two.  White Robes will help soak the boss's Quake spell.  Your new Genji
Glove has more defense and as much MD as a Rune Bracer, as well.


++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+ Boss: Hecatoncheir                         +
+ My Ending Level: 47                        +
+ Job level: 66                              +
+ Num Hits: 14-16                            +
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

This could have been worse, to be honest.  The best thing you can do in
preparation for this boss is to get through the cave with as much magic left as
possible, as Hecatoncheir will start using Quake every round after you've
ticked him off enough.  Once you've done about 16,000 damage, just have two
characters use Cura or above every round, with the other two -- ones with Blood
Lances, just for fun -- keeping up the attack.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

********************************************************************************
14.  Side Quest Clean-Up *
**************************

There are a lot of optional things to do between here and the Ancient's Maze,
so, since you're likely going to be power-leveling anyway, why not give them a
shot?  The fights with Summoning monsters will be purely a test of skill and to
prep you for the bosses ahead; Onion Knights, while they can 'equip' summoning
magic, can't actually use any of it in battle.

If you do happen to grab the treasure from Doga's Grotto first, you'll come
away with the Lust Dagger, which adds a hefty +8 to your agility -- a
game-changer, at a time when you still only have 10.  This is a compelling
reason to chance the tough enemies, even if you don't fight the bosses.  Also,
the Ultima Weapon sub-quest, while it can be started now, can't be completed
until after the Grotto anyway, because you're required to open Eureka.

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>
Low-Item Game Note: By all means, grab what treasures you want from these
side-quests and skip the rest -- just scroll down to the section on Doga's
Grotto.  All you'll need is a reasonable experience level before we push onward.
<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
14a. Saronia Catacombs: Odin

My Ending Level: 48
Job level: 69-70
Num Hits: 15-17 (due to differing equipment weights / agility boosts)

We have a few more HP now, so why not see just how sharp that sword of Odin's
is?  Unlike the other two summons, this journey and battle will be purely for
fun, unless you have your eyes on the Gungnir spear.

In my game, however, the Onion Knights' penchant for rare item drops didn't
carry through, and after thirty battles of Odin giving me jack-squat, I moved
on.  Afterward, I learned that Odin's chances for *anything* to drop are only
0.7%... seven in one thousand.  You can get the Gungnir spear for the prestige,
but in the end, it really is only for one or two major battles.

In either case, the fight with Odin will go much the same as with Hecatoncheir,
except Zantetsuken still did about 1300 damage to my party -- enough to wipe me
out in two rounds.  Normal attacks dealt 450-500, with Protect about 360.
Swapping out my armor for White Robes dropped Zantetsuken to less than 900 but
raised Protected attack back to 450-500.  The Lust Dagger wasn't enough for one
of my Knights to go first, but it still helped with spell planning.  In some
battles, he didn't use Zantetsuken at all; in others, it came out less than
halfway through the battle.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
14b. Lake Dohr: Leviathan

My Ending Level: 50
Job level: 74-75
Num Hits: 15-20 (with Dark Claws, which have a lower hit rate despite being
stronger)

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>
Bestiary Note: Take care to encounter Plancti, Remora, and Sea Lion here, as
well as Ouroboros, if you didn't fight them before.  Lake Dohr will be
inaccessible once you leave after beating Leviathan.
<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>

The enemies here aren't really that tough, except for the amount of damage
they'll do; typical theme, for this party.  Ouroboros will appear in groups of
three, which can be a problem if their stone attack lands too often.  Make your
way down to the fourth floor and around to the big whirlpool in the center.

Leviathan, the typical giant sea-serpent, is essentially a pumped-up Odin with
the added bonus of petrify on attack, Blizzaga on a whim, and self-boosts like
Haste and Protect.  His Tsunami attack can do north of 1700 damage and will
come out halfway through the battle; when he's ready to cast it, his speed will
slow significantly and most of your party will be able to act first, so all
your healing spells should fire off, even if his follow-up attack may still
kill someone.

The balance between physical and magic defense will be trickier this time.  The
Protect Ring can buff one character's MD, so put it on someone you don't want
dead.  The Lust Dagger is still a huge benefit to pull off Raise or Golden
Needle before Curaga / Curaja can land.  Leviathan trampled me twice before I
took him down; you may need a couple more levels, if he's not feeling so
generous.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
14c. Bahamut's Lair: Bahamut
My Ending Level: 51
Job level: 77-78
Num Hits: 15-20

Greater Boros can stone just like their smaller cousins; otherwise, enemies
aren't a challenge.  Patience will kill most of them, and you'll off the
Grenades before they can explode.

If you bothered getting Gungnir from Odin, it will help you a lot; otherwise,
the best you've got is the Dragon Lance (at 40K gil each from the Invincible)
or the Blood Lance (28K from the Ancient Ruins), which I honestly prefer; it's
cheaper and gives your Knights health, which is always good.  That is, unless
you've gone through the Ancients' Maze for the Holy Lance already... but in that
case, you also have a pile of Crystal gear, some pretty sweet Claws, another
Protect Ring, and perhaps even the Ultima Weapon, if you went so far as to open
Eureka.  Depending on how hard you're getting your tail kicked, this might
actually be advisable.

*hem* Where was I?  Yes, this fight... "Uneventful" would be a good descrip-
tion.  With Blood Lances on all four Knights and the Lust Dagger or Dark Swords
in the other slots, each attack was doing 3000-4000 each.  Bahamut hits about
as hard as Leviathan, and Megaflare hits for about as much as Tsunami; true
to the prior battle, he slowed down dramatically to use it, but I offed him
before he could.  Without the Lances, you'll be doing 2400-3200 each hit and
Megaflare will almost certainly land once.

I was kind of disappointed, to be honest... but then, in my normal game, a
Dragoon with Trident and Gungnir (stolen, muuuch easier than hoping for it to
drop) killed him with one jump.  Such it is.

Also, do remember you have to walk *out* of this cave when you're done, so save
and plan accordingly.  Teleport won't do the trick, once you've stepped onto
the summit.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
14d. Ultima Weapon and Job Mastery items

This is by no means necessary at this point and will take you well out of your
way, but if you want it just for the sake of having it this early, it's
available for the taking.  I'd eventually advise doing so, unless you want the
extra challenge.  Here are the abbreviated steps (and if someone isn't sending
you a letter, send to some other in-game person until they do):

* Send Mognet letters to Sara and Takka until Sara tells you her pendant
  broke.  Pay her a visit and collect it.
* Pop over to Kazus and talk to Takka, then send him letters until he mentions
  the Legendary Smith and Orichalcum.
* Find the Smith in Northwest Saronia and have her repair the pendant (you're
  not required to give it back to Sara, as Seferaga's FAQ rightly points out).
* Send letters to Cid until he mentions some creep terrorizing his basement.
* Head back to Cid's house on the floating continent, defeat Aeon (a Gustco
  clone), and find the orichalcum.
* AFTER you complete Doga's Grotto, beat Titan (see 16. below), and open
  Eureka, you can find the Blacksmith in Falgabard.  She'll give you the Ultima
  Weapon and start traveling to various places around the world.
* If you find her again with a job level of 99, she'll pass over the Onion
  Blade (see "The ??? Dungeon" below for its stats); it has less attack power
  than the Onion Sword, but it gives +2 more to each stat.  I recommend going
  between the well in Ur and the Healing Copse north of Tozus until she shows
  up either place.

If you're attempting a low-level game, I would strongly recommend getting both
weapons, because you won't be getting the other Onion equipment.  If instead
you're going for a basic-equipment game, forget these weapons, but add five or
so to your expected level in each remaining area.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
14e. The ??? Dungeon

So, the Ultima Weapon isn't good enough?  You want all that Onion gear RIGHT
NOW?  Then brace yourself, chum, because this is going to be one heck of a
ride.  Again, if you're not getting the right letters from someone, send to
someone else until you do.

* Send Mognet letters back and forth to the 4 Old Men and Prince Alus until
  Alus mentions the Saronian legend about a star falling into the sea.
* Hop on the Nautilus and fly to the Floating Continent, then fly east until
  you see a dark spot in the water.  Dive and enter.
* Equip your best gear and hold on tight, because this dungeon is filled
  entirely with dragons!  All of them have a chance to drop a piece of Onion
  gear on defeat.

Let's be honest, here: Entering this dungeon with a bunch of dedicated Onion
Knights that aren't well above our current levels or have already trampled
through Eureka is going to get you slaughtered.  Each of these dragons has over
80,000 HP and can both mute and confuse on attack.  They're much tougher than in
the original FF3.  You probably won't have enough HP to withstand this until
level 60+.  If you want to take a stab at it from this point forward, though,
then here it is.

Your rewards, by the way, are as follows, roughly in order of rarity:

Onion Shield
30 Def / 30 MDef
All Stats +2, blocks all ailments
Dropped by: All colors

Onion Armor
40 Def / 40 MDef
+5 Mind / Int, blocks all ailments
Dropped by: Red only

Onion Gauntlet
50 Def (!) / 25 MDef
All Stats +3, resists all elements, blocks all ailments
Dropped by: Green only

Onion Helm
40 Def / 40 MDef
+5 Mind / Int, blocks all ailments
Dropped by: Yellow only

Onion Sword
156 Attack
All Stats +5
Dropped by: All colors

... and for comparison:
Onion Blade
150 Attack
All Stats +7, causes Poison / Dark / Confuse and perhaps Death (never seen it)
Job Mastery Item from Legendary Smith

See section 21 if you want the stats on when I finally took my team through
this area of the game.

Finally, about that Iron Giant guy... He's pretty tough even for a normal
party, agreed?  So, you won't be trying that fight until your level is at least
in the 90s, right?  Good.  Now, back to our regularly scheduled program...

********************************************************************************
15.  Doga's Grotto *
********************

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>
Bestiary Note: Take care to encounter Ogre, Nemesis, Humbaba, and Cyclops here
before beating the bosses.  You should have already gotten Peryton from the
Sunken Cave.
<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>

The enemies in this area aren't really a problem; they do a little more damage
than those you've seen in Lake Dohr and Bahamut's lair, but not much.  Your
main concern is Humbaba, whose petrify on attack is successful an annoyingly
high percentage of the time; if you're desperate, try equipping the Reflect
Mail, which protects against petrification.  Keep your health up, Teleport out
if you must, and be certain to grab all the treasures, if you haven't already
-- they're all inaccessible once the bosses are dead and you leave.


++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+ Boss: Doga and Unei                        +
+ My Ending Level: 52                        +
+ Job level: 77-78                           +
+ Num Hits: 15-21                            +
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

These two battles will require a bit of strategy, but with proper planning and
a little luck, you'll pull through without losing anyone.  Doga comes on hard
with attacks as strong as Bahamut (from a mage, of all things -- what's up
with that?), the occasional Drain spell just to be pesky, and tier-three
spells that deliver quite the punch if single-targeted.  After taking some
damage, he'll also pull out Flare, which is complete overkill for any of your
team.

My best strategy was to get Protect on everyone as soon as possible, then add
Reflect when they were near max HP.  Note, Reflect vanishes after a few turns
and is dispelled upon reflecting enemy magic.  If you're very lucky, he'll
wind up killing himself off.

Unei is more of a constant drain than Doga.  She can Haste hereslf (more
annoying than effective) and will pound you with Aeroga and Tornado; if she
has a power-magic, it hasn't come out during any of my times fighting her.
Don't bother with Reflect; just keep your health up and you'll do fine.  This
boss series would likely be tougher -- and more annoying -- if Unei got the
first crack and Doga followed next.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

After the battle, you'll be fully healed, so get anything you've missed and
don't let the door hit you on the way out.  It's time to head for the Tower.

********************************************************************************
16.  The Ancients' Maze *
*************************

This place gives your Knights a badly-needed equipment upgrade.  From here on
out, the biggest challenge won't be their fighting power as much as their low
HP, so every extra bit of gear is going to help.  Disperse the Crystal gear
and Protect Ring throughout the party for maximum effect.  Also, drop the
Blood Lance for the Trident and Holy Lance (which is HEAVY, so your hits will
suffer), or whatever you can manage; you'll be encountering Bone Dragon here,
and you'll take damage if the Blood Lance hits.

Thanatos casts Breakga, which is hit-and-miss, and the Greater Demons can
summon Iron Claws as well as taking a lot of damage to kill; otherwise, the
enemies aren't a huge challenge.  In the final room before the Tower, however,
you have a chance to fight King Behemoth.  It acts twice, hits hard, and casts
Meteor on low health, which you likely can't soak yet, but if you're filling
the Bestiary, be aware he's there.

Keep your HP up and watch your spell count.  You can take on the boss right
away, as he's in the first room; or, grab the gear and Teleport out -- without
leaving, or you'll be walking all the way back -- to fight him after you've
upgraded.


++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+ Boss: Titan                                +
+ My Ending Level: 52                        +
+ Job level: 79                              +
+ Num Hits: 15-21 (low due to Holy Lance)    +
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>
Note: In the original game, you could actually skip this battle and walk right
into the Tower to finish the game.  No such luck this time: Eureka checks to
see if you have all four crystals' power before letting you enter.  The door
in the Syrcus Tower may check as well; I didn't verify that.
<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>

Welcome to the final boss fight before you enter the Tower!  With this, you'll
free the powers of the Earth crystal -- which you won't use, but hey, it's all
good.

With my original party, this battle was challenging; his physical attacks
ripped through the scraps of armor the mages wore and his Quake spell was
devastating to the fighters.  Plus, even with three fighters, the battle took
longer -- and Quake landed more than a couple times before it ended.

This time, with a well-armed Onion Knight crew, it was significantly easier;
notice I hadn't leveled up from the fight with Doga.  Quake is your only real
concern, as it's much stronger than Hecatoncheir's.  Especially if you go
through the Maze first, though, he'll likely fall before pulling the spell out.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

********************************************************************************
17.  The (Optional) Forbidden Land, Eureka *
********************************************

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>
Low-Equipment-Game Note: You may be skipping Eureka altogether.  I at least
recommend getting Arise, and you'll need to go in at least once if you're
filling the Bestiary.
<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>

From this point forward, you really have three choices.

1) Head on into the Forbidden Land Eureka, defeating the bosses therein and
   obtaining some of the strongest weaponry in the game, plus as much Level 8
   magic and Crystal gear as you can afford (though don't go bananas on it --
   you'll pick up another set for free).  This is the 'standard' scenario and
   the one the game obviously expects you to do.

2) Enter the Syrcus tower and get as far as you can, then hit Eureka second.
   This is a strategy from the Famicom game of old, the rationale being that
   you'll gain several experience levels, copious amounts of gold, and maybe
   even max out your job levels before entering Eureka.  Once in the Forbidden
   Land, the bosses will fall like dominoes and you'll have enough money to buy
   everything you need the first time around.  Be warned, of course, that the
   Syrcus Tower is a good place to get killed off.

3) Go through the Ancients' Maze, open Eureka to release the Legendary Smith if
   you want, but then turn around and head for the ??? Dungeon and fight
   Dragons for Onion Gear.  This is the hardest of the three and will see you
   over-leveling quite a bit to withstand repeated dragon battles.  You may
   want to go through Eureka anyway, just for the gear power-up to tackle these
   fights.  On the other hand, if you can handle this place, the endgame
   sequence won't seem nearly as daunting a task.

For the purposes of this guide, I'm going to assume you picked choice 1)
above, though the other two are very viable options, depending on how
challenging you want the endgame to be.

The other walkthroughs provide a good map-out of the treasures within Eureka,
so I'll list my findings on each boss below.  You'll get a full recharge at
the end of each battle; even so, I was frequently using Teleport and saving in
case disaster struck.  If you want, you can march your way to the top of Eureka
and buy Arise and Crystal equipment before facing any of these, though I
personally held off until before Scylla.

... and one more little note: Before you equip the Fuma Garb you find here, read
my notes on it in the Syrcus Tower section, below.  Its MD figure is quite
deceiving.


++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+ Boss: Ninja                                +
+ My Level: 53                               +
+ Job level: 80                              +
+ Num Hits: 16-22                            +
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Not really a 'boss', but he's tough, so here he is.  He hits for around
800-1000 and can cause poison and blindness, which is something we haven't
seen for a while.  He has 24,000 HP, but if you can withstand his attacks,
you'll be fine.  It took me about three rounds to take him down.

For my party, I went back outside to save; it was a quick jaunt to get back
in.  At this point forward, I also put the Blood Lances back on to conserve
magic.

---------------
Reward: Ribbon (23 Def/ 20 MD, resist all status changes)

The Ribbon should go on immediately after the battle, needless to say, for its
magic defense and status protection.


++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+ Boss: Amon                                 +
+ My Level: 53                               +
+ Job level: 81                              +
+ Num Hits: 17-22                            +
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

This battle will be long, but not terribly difficult, unless he decides to
bully one person with tier-three magic.  Be sure your magic defense is
distributed evenly over your party, or at the least that nobody is suffering.
Heal every round, ranging from Cura to Curaja depending on what Amon does to
you.  His high defense means your attacks will be doing 800-1100 damage, and
when he starts Barrier Shift every round, that could drop to 500-750.

He has 33,500 HP, so yeah, you're going to be at this a while.  Note that it's
possible to approach this battle the same way we did Hein, but it will
probably take just as long.  Even with the automatic recharge afterward, I was
out and saved again so I wouldn't get offed and then spend another 15 minutes
fighting him.

---------------
Reward: Moonring Blade (110 Att, works from back row)

I didn't use the Moonring Blade at first, but I eventually swapped the Holy
Lance for it; the extra hits offset the drop in attack power.  What you do
with it is up to you.  I wouldn't put someone in the back row for it, though.


++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+ Boss: Kuonichi                             +
+ My Level: 53                               +
+ Job level: 82                              +
+ Num Hits: 17-22                            +
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

She has three attacks, can Haste herself, and likes to chuck Aeroga, either
single-targeted or across the group.  Odds are good you'll have to spend time
Raising your characters to keep up with her.  Watch your HP, as always; she's
kind of a pain, but the battle is shorter than the other bosses in this area.

---------------
Reward: Masamune (132 Att, +10 Agility)

The Masamune, go figure, will provide a huge boost to your chances of going
first in battle.  Give it to anyone who's behind in their job leveling.


++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+ Boss: General                              +
+ My Level: 54                               +
+ Job level: 83                              +
+ Num Hits: 18-24                            +
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

General has more HP than Amon and a decent, but not impressive, physical
attack that is easily mitigated with Protect.  His Death spell tends to miss,
but his Bio spell can be trouble if it's single-targeted.  He also tends to
land critical strikes for around 1,200 HP and can cast Drain for up to 1,500.
Aside from this, Kuonichi was arguably more difficult to defeat.

---------------
Reward: Excalibur (137 Att, +5 all stats)

It's *Excalibur*.  What's not to like about that? ;)

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+ Boss: Guardian                             +
+ My Level: 54                               +
+ Job level: 84                              +
+ Num Hits: 18-24                            +
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

I had much the same reaction to this gentleman as every other time I've fought
him: "Wait, this is a boss battle?"

The most dangerous thing he does is occasionally confuse on attack, which a
quick Esuna will fix -- if he doesn't knock them out of it the next round,
that is.  He supposedly has Quake as well, though I've never seen it come
out.  I wouldn't mind at all if Guardian and Scylla were a bit more balanced,
but such it is; I'll take an easy battle for a great weapon.

---------------
Reward: Ragnarok (140 Att, +5 all stats)

While having a slightly different class set for a normal party, Ragnarok for
an Onion Knight is essentially the same as Excalibur, plus a tiny bit more.


++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+ Boss: Scylla                               +
+ My Level: 54                               +
+ Job level: 85                              +
+ Num Hits: 18-24                            +
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

She casts both Flare and Holy, both of which will more than kill anyone with
less than 60 MD.  Add a generous helping of tier-three spells and this battle
could be lots of fun... or it could be a breeze.  For my first time through
with this team, she used both Level 8 spells; on my second try, she used
neither.

With this much magic among her attacks, using Reflect and Protect alongside
Arise is a good strategy.  I never had a round where she just attacked twice,
and the Blood Lance will pull through yet again for keeping your health up.
If you're concerned, build a few more levels for a bigger health pad and try
again.

---------------
Reward: Elder Staff (85 Att, +6 Spirit, Cura in battle)

If you have a dedicated healer, slap it on 'em.  Otherwise, pocket it and move
on.  Contrary to the original game, you won't be finding another one in the
Syrcus Tower.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

At the top, of course, are the shops... from which you likely won't be buying
much.  The only Level 8 spell I recommend is Arise, to avoid burning two turns
bringing someone back to life and then healing them.  You can buy the other
spells if you want; none of them will be incredibly special in the last parts
of the game.

Your party can't use summoning magic, and they can't throw shurikens, leaving
only the Crystal equipment to boost your defense and MD.  Keep the Protect
Rings and Ribbon around, though; their MD is higher, which will come in
handy.  Optimally, you'll want enough Crystal gear to boost everyone's
physical defense for normal encounters, then swap for MD equipment before any
magic-using bosses, same as we've been doing all game.  Remember there's an
extra set of Crystal gear for free in the Syrcus Tower, though.

In and among the shops, there are also Revive and HP/MP springs.  If you get
beaten up in the Syrcus Tower and don't feel like trekking back to the
Invincible, you can always head back up here to refill and then Teleport out
to save; not a huge time savings, but it's an option.

********************************************************************************
18.  The Syrcus Tower / Crystal Tower *
***************************************

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>
Note: Unless you're playing a low-level game, I recommend being at least level
60 (or 2400+ HP) before taking your final stroll up the Syrcus tower; 65, if
you want a better chance of survival.  The best places to power-level, as
noted in other FAQs, are the Tower itself (small chance of dying), the ???
Dungeon (much higher odds of death), or Bahamut's Lair (safer, and higher XP
per battle).
<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>

My, what a fancy structure to have in the middle of nowhere... *hem* Yes, the
Syrcus Tower, or the Crystal Tower, whichever you prefer.  Each of the enemies
around here has its own special way of trying to dispatch your party.  Though
statistically inferior now, I kept the Blood Lance on a couple folks to ease
up on the Cure magic, and at the same time favored MD from the Ribbon or
Protect Rings, as most of the enemies use magic in one way or another.

A word about that Fuma Garb, though.  You've probably picked a couple of them
up: One is in Eureka and the other on the first floor of the Tower.  It has
higher defense than Diamond Mail, so it's a decent replacement.  Besides, the
MD is higher than Crystal Mail and should help cut down on the spell damage
you'll be taking in here... right?

Not so fast.

I noticed that a couple of my Knights were taking heavy magic damage,
especially from Kum Kums.  Upon testing this, it turns out that wearing the
Fuma Garb actually INCREASES the magic damage you'll take.  2,400 damage from
a single-targeted Blizzaga versus a comparable 1,700 with Genji Armor -- which
has 8 less MD?  How crazy is that?  It explains why Monks and Black Belts
always get incinerated by magic, too.  I guess it's supposed to 'make up' for
their super-high HP.  Geez...

So, in short: Protect Ring on each of two Knights, Ribbon on the third, and
the last will have to find solace with some Genji gear until you reach the
Dark World; Crystal stuff won't cut it, by itself.  As the only other source
of Protect Rings is King Behemoth, that's all you've got, for now.  Avoid the
Fuma Garb if you want to keep your good health, especially around Kum Kums and
the remaining bosses.

Getting back on track, here's a run-down of the enemies you'll meet:

* Azer is a grown-up Djinn who does essentially the same thing, only stronger:
  Attack twice per turn and spout Flame every now and again.  He has a lot of
  HP, though, and he'll likely be your biggest issue if you go treasure-
  hunting before you hit Eureka.

* Gomory is a Medusa clone, also with two actions.  High HP, but it mostly
  just attacks and uses Drain, which, depending on your MD, might not hit for
  much more.  If she has a petrify-on-attack at all, it has a pretty poor hit
  rate.

* Kum Kum can be trouble, with a host of spells like Death, Breakga, and
  tier-three magic.  The Blood Lance, however, seems to do an incredible
  amount of damage to these guys; a group of two will fall in a single round,
  as long as they don't off anyone -- unlikely, but it can happen, if someone
  is MD-challenged.

* Shinobi are a pain, with a strong attack, poison and dark status, and a
  nasty tendency to land critical hits.  They're also fast, meaning you'll
  never go first.  Watch your health and you'll be fine, so long as they don't
  pick on one person.

* Platinal is a Goldor clone (sensing a pattern, here?) that gets two hits and
  can cast Breakga with moderate success.  Nothing to worry about here.

* Glasya Labolas is a Guardian clone that has two attacks and can hit pretty
  hard.  It also has the Confusion hit of its boss brethern.

* Dark General is a watered-down General with no particluar nasty abilities of
  which I'm aware.  If you're curious, these gentlemen have just a tad more
  attack power than a yellow dragon.

* Thor is a pumped-up Haokah; plan accordingly.  Lightning isn't any different
  than it has been for most of the game.

* Yellow, Green, and Red Dragons all act twice and have a strong physical
  attack, plus weakish tier-three elemental spells.  The real problem is their
  HP: You'll be at each fight for several rounds, guaranteed.  They can also
  confuse and silence on attack.  If one attacks before you have enough Ribbons
  or Onion gear, put the Genji shield on someone to prevent the confusion, at
  least.  If you can handle a Green Dragon without too much trouble, you have
  a good shot of carrying the final boss line-up.

At level 60 / 61, I was able to handle everything except a single-targeted
tier-three from a Kum Kum (before I dropped the Fuma Garb like yesterday's
news... *hem*).  Then a Green Dragon halted my little party after a long,
back-and-forth fight, hence my higher level recommendation above -- again,
unless you don't mind re-trying a bit.

As usual, don't peek into the room at the top of the Tower until you're good
and ready.  Go through the major scene-age, walk forward, and draw those
swords... or spears, or what have you.  ... You know what I mean.  Let's knock
this guy around!


++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+ Boss: Xande                                +
+ My Ending Level: 65                        +
+ Job level: 99                              +
+ Num Hits: 24-28                            +
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>
Low-Equipment-Game Note: For the levels I list here and below, I'm including
the use of Ultima Weapon and the Onion Sword.  You may need a few extra levels
-- and a lot more time to finish each battle -- if you elected not to collect
these two items.
<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>

Mah, what a wimp... If you're able to take down the enemies around here with
little difficulty, Xande will crumple before your awesome Onion might.  Much
more impressive in the original game -- and that's really saying something.

Anyway, he can still cast Meteor and tier-three magic, so be on your guard.
Also note that from here on out, most bosses and even some walk-around enemies
will use Protect and Haste on a regular basis.  My higher level here is due to
continually running into Green Dragons, and I got sick of dying, so I built up
the party's HP.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

After that, you get your first crack at Cloud of Darkness!  No, seriously, you
can actually damage at least the left tentacle.  It still won't do any good,
mind, but it's mildly heartening before she pulls out FlareWa... ... what?
"Particle Beam"?  What kind of cheap Star Trek wannabe name is ... ...gaah!

All pointless ranting aside, let her flatten you, sit through the mysterious
revival, and head on into the Dark World when you can move again.

********************************************************************************
19.  The Dark World *
*********************

You can handle the remaining bosses in whatever order suits you best.  Echidna
is probably the most likely to off you, thanks to Death and Tornado.  Ahriman
has been watered down and isn't nearly the jerk he used to be.  The other two
can be handled with Protect and decent healing.  You'll be fully recharged
after every battle.

Also in each area are Ribbon chests guarded by Xande clones.  Walk on him the
same way you did the first time and equip the Ribbons for the final fight.
You'll only need three of them, but if you're going for 100% chests opened,
you'll have to get all four.  Save for those, I didn't change equipment at all
in here until the final fight; Blood Lances were still on everyone for the free
healing.  Also, I had no Onion equipment other than the job mastery sword.

Finally, there are seven new enemies in here, including three in the final
area before you fight Cloud of Darkness.  Most of them are boss clones,
including clones of Echidna, Cerberus, and THD.  Kage and Shadow Master are
old news; Garm can attack three times but shouldn't be a problem.  Yormungand
hits harder than most bosses, strikes twice, and can cast Quake.  Twin Dragon
has nearly as strong an attack but no spells.  Q.Scylla was the only one that
posed a serious threat for me, with strong single-target tier-three magic and
a highly-successful petrify on attack.  I only fought one Hydra, and the Onion
Blade paralyzed it (I'm guessing), so it never got to do anything.

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>
Bestiary Note: It's up to you whether to 'collect' the new monsters the first
time through or not; you can save after the ending and come back for the rest.
<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+ Boss: Two-Headed Dragon                    +
+ My Ending Level: 65                        +
+ Job level: 99                              +
+ Num Hits: 24-28                            +
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Let's see.  Massive dragon with two actions and a hugely powerful strike,
Silence on attack, but no spells.

Enh, I says... throw 'em all in the back row.  It worked at the start of the
game, and y'know what?  It still works plenty well now.

Swap out the Protect Rings for Crystal gear if you want.  Slap Protect on
everyone and stay above about 1,200 HP and you should be fine -- 1,800 if
you're not using Blood Lances.  In this manner, THD isn't that much different
from a Red Dragon... and in fact, if you can soak the status ailments from the
latter, they can be fought using the same strategy.


++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+ Boss: Ahriman                              +
+ My Ending Level: 66                        +
+ Job level: 99                              +
+ Num Hits: 24-30                            +
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Ahhh, this gentleman used to be so much more trouble.  He still uses Quake and
can petrify on attack, but his other spells are small time and if he can still
cast Meteor, it didn't come out.  He does cast up to Curaja if he's low on
health, but with the weaponry you [probably] have by now, that will only save
him one attack, if that.

The Blood Lance will come through majorly in this fight.  Use Protect if you
want, to minimize his attacks.  Your only trouble is if you don't have enough
Ribbons and he accidentally stones someone -- but that's a quick fix, and it's
a low chance, at that.


++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+ Boss: Cerberus                             +
+ My Ending Level: 66                        +
+ Job level: 99                              +
+ Num Hits: 24-30                            +
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Okay, now we get a little more serious.  This walking radiation experiment
gets three attacks like Garm and can hit pretty hard, at that.  The back row
trick may work again, but Cerberus can also cast potent tier-three magic,
dishing out over 2,000 to a single target (and even with all my Knights'
equipment the same, this seemed to vary significantly by person... curious).

If you're in the front row, use Protect at the start and Curaja every round,
including the first.  If you're in the back, just try to keep on top of
things; you may still be curing across the board just in case his attacks land
wrong.  You might also split the party, with the heavy fighters in front and
Protected, and whoever's healing in back.  This works decently against CoD, as
well; you can read about it below.


++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+ Boss: Echidna                              +
+ My Ending Level: 66                        +
+ Job level: 99                              +
+ Num Hits: 24-30                            +
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

... and I thought Cerberus soaked a few too many rads... *hem* Right, different
discussion.

So, the fight with Echidna is pretty much a game of chance.  Nearly every
round, she whipped up either Death or Tornado -- all of which missed, for me,
but you may not be so lucky.  She purportedly has other spells, but they
didn't show either time I fought her.  Her physical attack is easily mitigated
with Protect, and her Drain cast was laughable at 500 points.  If you want to
be safe, use Curaga every round; you're not likely to need it, unless she
pulls out Quake.

I could chock it up to good fortune again, but Echidna didn't live up, far as
I'm concerned.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Nail all four flunkies before you enter the too-large center area so CoD is
nice and tender -- you know, relatively.  The weakness of the other Dark World
bosses may make CoD's strength a surprise, for those who haven't fought her
before.  I wouldn't advise putting everyone in the back row unless you must.
Having your heavy hitters up front and the others in back for healing is a good
plan, though.

It's a good idea to move equipment around and give the front-liners even more
attack power; the Break Blade and Masamune are good candidates (I wouldn't
recommend the Holy Lance due to its weight).  If you do this, drop one or even
two shields on the back row guys to keep them alive longer.  The Aegis Shield
will even boost their Mind stat by 4, to help with healing.  If you give
Excalibur and Ragnarok to the attackers, I might recommend the Protect Rings
come back out to help offset the stat losses on the healers.

Got a better strategy for this team?  E-mail me and I might put it in here.
However you work it, head into that center circle when you're ready.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+ Boss: Cloud of Darkness                    +
+ My Ending Level: 67                        +
+ Job level: 99                              +
+ Num Hits: 24-30                            +
+ Max HP at battle start: ~2,950             +
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The most important part of this battle is not winding up in a 'healing
death-spiral', where she's dealing more damage than you're recovering, you
can't attack because you're busy Raising and Curing, etc.  Put Protect on
everyone straight-away.  Curaga / aja across the board every round, including
the first, with two people if need be.  Drink Elixirs if you're running out of
magic; you won't be using them for anything else.

The right-hand tentacle will assail you with Bad Breath, which the Ribbons
should block, along with casting Protect and Haste on itself and the main body,
which can be troublesome for this team.  It can only be harmed with magic, so
you'll likely just have to ignore it.  The left-hand one I strongly advise
taking out unless you've over-leveled; its Lightning attack plus the main's
strong physical will quickly start knocking players out.  They're also hardy
little jerks, taking over 60,000 damage to kill.

So, the first round you'll soak a Lightning blast and two heavy 1,000+ attacks
-- 750+ Protected, 250-350 back row Protected with a shield.  Curaja across
the party while you're putting Protect up or you'll likely be starting with
someone dead in round 2.  Take out the left-hand (lower target) tentacle
first; don't spread your attacks.  The main body will pull out Particle Beam
after 1/3 to 1/2 its HP is gone, for 1500-2200 damage each.  If both that and
Lightning hit together, you're toast.  You may need to use two healing spells
in the same round -- keeping ahead on the healing is your most important task.
The only 'problem' is that Particle Beam usually goes last, even with your low
stats.  Your fastest character may be doing the healing next round, attacker
or otherwise.

When it's all over, there's no dramatic pause, she doesn't crumble to dust; she
just flashes away, like any other boss.  No matter -- we're finally done!

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

My final stats, for those who are curious:

Clear time: 39:28:46 -- You'll beat this, unless you multitask more than me
Chests opened: 97% (oops)
Enemies defeated: 2,089
Battles fled: 7
Max Damage: 23,425
Max Hits: 32

Total Experience: 9,362,223
Remaining Gil: 1,455,916

My level on the end boss is purely from the Tower and World of Darkness
enemies.  I did no power-leveling from 65 onward, and nobody fell the time I
finally beat CoD.  You can probably do it a few levels lower, with a bit more
planning.

Either way, congratulate yourself: You've just completed the Onion Knight
challenge!  Your next task is to come back with Onion equipment... and see how
many of the other bosses you can leave alive while still emerging victorious.
;) Good luck!

EDIT: Nope, my sources were apparently wrong.  Even at level 99 and with all the
Onion Equipment on everyone, Particle Beam still did 9999 to the entire party
during the first round of battle with even one Dark Warrior missing.  It did
make the fight with the Iron Giant much more fun, though; that in itself was
almost worth all the time invested.  (You know, that and actually finishing the
next section of this FAQ... )


********************************************************************************
*                                                                              *
*                             Part III: Reference                              *
*                                                                              *
********************************************************************************
20.  Onion Knight Technicals *
******************************
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
20a. Stat Progression

I figured I might as well take the time to determine exactly when the Onion
Knight's stats increase, rather than the standard Level 10, Level 20, etc.
chart found in most FAQs, so, here you go.  "Avg HP" is approximate; see the
next section for more information.

/------------------------\
| Level | Stats | Avg HP |
|------------------------|
|  (10) |   6   |   156  |    * Initial HP is from the Freelancer job
|   15  |   7   |   250  |
|   25  |   8   |   540  |
|   35  |   9   |   930  |
|   43  |  10   |  1330  |
|   52  |  11   |  1865  |
|   61  |  12   |  2500  |
|   71  |  13   |  3300  |
|   80  |  14   |  4125  |
|   89  |  15   |  5040  |
|  93+  | +12 ea|  5500+ |
|   99  |  99   |  6700  |
\------------------------/

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
20b. HP Gains

The only statistic you can permanently influence in this game is Max HP, so
that's what this section will focus on.  Courtesy of Seferaga's FAQ, HP gains
are calculated as the sum of a character's prior level number and prior
Vitality, plus a random (0-~.5) bonus multiplied by prior Vitality.

For the Onion Knight job, this is a real problem.  It means razor-thin bonus
HP and even more mediocre base HP gains than you might expect.  See the stat
progression table above if you need any proof of that.

By my calculation, then, I've come up with the following chart, including the
first ten levels from being a Freelancer.  The Max HP may be a little off, but
I've found my party's HP to land well within these ranges.

/------------------------------\
|Lvl | Min HP | Max HP | My HP |
|------------------------------|
| 10 |   138  |   171  |  ~158 |   * Initial HP is from the Freelancer job
| 20 |   348  |   416  |  ~380 |
| 30 |   668  |   776  |  ~710 |
| 40 |  1098  |  1251  | ~1150 |
| 50 |  1640  |  1843  | ~1720 |   * A Monk will have 2300-2700 HP at this point
| 60 |  2293  |  2554  | ~2400 |
| 70 |  3057  |  3378  | ~3185 |
| 80 |  3931  |  4321  | ~4085 |
| 90 |  4917  |  5378  | ~5100 |
| 99 |  6348  |  7057  | ~6700 |
\------------------------------/

You can also see that, though the bonus is small, it adds up over time.  I
didn't bother level-tweaking with my party until the mid-nineties, so the fact
that they're in the middle of the range each time suggests the chart is at least
somewhat accurate.  Also, the game gave me a double-shot of HP at level 99, so
I've written that scenario into the charts; must be a reward for slugging it out
that long, or it's tacking on a theoretical Level 100.  Either way, I'm not
complaining.

Side note: Also in Seferaga's FAQ, there is a table showing the minimum HP you
need in order to get 9999 HP, by switching to the Black Belt class right before
you level up.  Notice that the Onion Knight, even with its pathetic progression,
still has that minimum HP in its range at level 60, meaning you can technically
still reach 9999 HP by using Seferaga's method.  It doesn't fit with the spirit
of the Onion Knight challenge, but I'm putting it out there for those who like
to play around a bit.

********************************************************************************
21.  Onion Equipment Hunt *
***************************

This is nothing official, but I at least wanted to give my account of how the
ongoing quest for Onion equipment went.  For a normal party, there's about a
13% chance of getting anything other than an Elixir, so here's what I've noted
from these fights and gotten for drops.  All of this was done in the ???
Dungeon, where dragons are far more plentiful than in the Crystal Tower.

As noted in other FAQs, Red Dragons are certainly the most plentiful.  Always
put on Protect when fighting them unless you have four Gauntlets and lots of HP;
anyone without Gauntlets can still be clocked for over 2,000 damage.  Start from
the back row and move to the front once Protect is in place.  Protect from the
front row is sufficient for Greens but unnecessary for Yellows.  Once you get
a few pieces of equipment, fighting these two will be a non-event.

Regarding the gear, Gauntlets from the Greens provide the biggest punch by far;
they have 50 defense and resist all elements.  Onion Armor by itself doesn't do
much, in all irony.  Its physical defense is only five points over Crystal Mail,
though its MD rocks far more.  The Helm has a significantly higher physical
defense over the Ribbon, but without elemental resistances, its magic defense
is about the same.

Last but not least, take the Swords as you get them, but don't stress about it.
Their main purpose is to shorten the battles from 8 to 10 rounds down to 3 or 4
(yes, you're going to be at this a while).  Until then, Ultima Weapon and the
Eureka weapons will do the job just fine.

My drop stats are as follows:

Yellow Dragon
Number Fought: 47 (12.2%)
Drops:
42 - Elixir
5 - Onion Shield
1 - Onion Helm
0 - Onion Sword
Equipment Drop Rate: 12.8%

Green Dragon
Number Fought: 84 (21.8%)
Drops:
68 - Elixir
7 - Onion Shield
4 - Onion Gauntlets
1 - Onion Sword
Equipment Drop Rate: 14.3%

Red Dragon
Number Fought: 255 (66.0%)
Drops:
201 - Elixir
22 - Onion Shield
10 - Onion Armor
7 - Onion Sword
Equipment Drop Rate: 15.3%

Overall Drop Rate: 14.8%
Total Fights: 386
Total Shields: 34 / 8.8%
Total Non-Shield Armor: 15 / 3.9%
Total Swords: 8 / 2.1%

I make no promises on how your own hunt may fare, and it may have evened out
with a few more Yellow and Green encounters, but the drops landed pretty well,
as far as I'm concerned.  I entered the ??? Dungeon at level 75 and kept track
until I'd fought 255 Reds, when the game stops counting.  Up to that point, the
drops were pretty favorable all around, and everything you see above is based
purely on the game's built-in random generator.  Once my level was in the
mid-nineties and I still only had one Helm, though, you can bet I started gaming
the drops to finish it out.

"Gaming the drops," you ask?  Allow me to explain.

You may have noticed throughout the game that reloading from a save file will
often get you the same encounters with the same enemies, even dealing the same
damage to the same players.  It's likely obvious where I'm going with this: You
can 'trick' the game's random checks, to a point.  It doesn't always work, and
it can be just as frustrating, but when you're going for those last few pieces
of equipment, it may still be worth a try.

For me, loading from a fresh power-on usually got me attacked by a Yellow
Dragon.  In my first time trying this trick, fighting with everyone full-bore
gave me the standard Elixir.  Having everyone guard for the first round gave
me an Onion Sword every time.  Guarding plus select Curing churned out an Onion
Shield.  There were still far more Elixirs than anything else, and I didn't wind
up with  a Helm, but it still proved the concept.

The point is to change how the battle goes a little bit every time: Have one or
more players sit out, attack with weapons that cause status changes (even if
they won't work), Cure single members or across the party, cast Flare instead
of fighting, etc. etc.  Even doing something simple like swapping magic between
players will change the result.  If the game adamantly refuses to drop what you
want, finish off that battle and save, then reload and try the next fight
(without restoring HP/MP, or you could get the same exact fight again).

You may get lucky using this method, or it may take just as much time.  Either
way, sometimes it feels better to be a little more in control.  The obvious
downside is that you'll net dramatically less XP for the time invested.

This works in the ??? Dungeon with ease, but I wouldn't try it in the Crystal
Tower because too much can happen between your save point and the first dragon
fight.  Also, if you're curious, the Onion Sword I grabbed from that Yellow
isn't included in my stat count above.  (Hey, I was getting *something* for
fighting him that many times.)

As a final note, this trick can work the other way around, too: If you keep
getting the same junk in the same fights every time you play, suspend the
system rather than turning it off and reloading each time.  I didn't get my
first random Onion Helm until I'd fought about 25-30 battles in a row.

********************************************************************************
22.  Credits *
**************

A short section so far, but I at least wanted to give a big THANKS to Seferaga
and ArkFullofSorrow in particular, for writing such massive and informative
walkthroughs on this game.  That information has helped a ton as I've put this
guide together.

Seferaga's Walkthrough:
http://www.gamefaqs.com/ds/924897-final-fantasy-iii/faqs/50148

ArkFullofSorrow's Walkthrough:
http://www.gamefaqs.com/ds/924897-final-fantasy-iii/faqs/45259


Also, huge thanks Penguin Knight for allowing me to use the Melee Proficiency
data from his co-authored FAQ.  Check it out below -- it has a lot of good
information on hit, damage, and healing formulas:

http://www.gamefaqs.com/ds/924897-final-fantasy-iii/faqs/46045

********************************************************************************
23.  Disclaimer *
*****************

Copyright 2008-20012 to NightBengal -- Night_Bengal - at - yahoo.com.  As of
June 2012, this guide has only been posted to GameFAQs.  I'm pretty flexible on
its use, apart from the standard two conditions:

1. If you use it as a part of another document, give me credit and link back to
   this gude on GameFAQs.  Just send me an e-mail if you do this, so I know
   about it.  If you use any of the information I've specifically identified as
   coming from someone else, please look up their guide and follow their usage
   information.  I'll always include a link back to others' documents.

2. Don't cross-post it to other sites or duplicate it for non-private use
   without getting my permission first.  This includes putting it in
   collections with other documents, on other websites, etc.

Thanks, and happy gaming!