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    Skill System Guide by STam

    Version: 1.13 | Updated: 04/19/00 | Search Guide | Bookmark Guide

                           Star Ocean: The Second Story
                          Skill System Guide (US version)
                                   version 1.13
                      written by Sherwin Tam (sct8@cornell.edu)
    Version Changes
    Super Specialties
    Skill Guild Offerings
    This is a guide to the skill system in the Playstation game Star Ocean:
    The Second Story (US version).  It is intended to be a general overview of
    what skills and the associated abilities are, how they interact, and what
    you can accomplish by learning them.  Note that this guide only covers
    the skills, talents, and specialties in the game.  For a more comprehensive
    look at the game, please check the links at the bottom of the guide for
    other people's contribution to the workings of the game.
    1.13 (4/19/00): And more formatting corrections.
    1.12 (1/11/00): Minor formatting corrections.
    1.11 (12/2/99): Silly me, didn't add it to the table of contents.
    1.1 (12/2/99): I got a good suggestion to add the cities where one can get
    certain skills, so it's now been added under Skill Guild Offerings.
    1.03 (8/29/99): More minor corrections.  Change of e-mail address.
    1.02 (7/27/99): Minor addition to Comprehension comments.
    1.01 (7/26/99): Corrected some typos, added extra comment to Sixth Sense.
    1.0 (7/22/99): Revised comments on Piety, Strong Blow, Cancel,
    Body Control, Counterattack, Provocation. Added Float skill. Added talent
    comments.  More miscellaneous tips.  Lots of people to thank.
    0.93 (7/12/99): Submitted to www.gamefaqs.com.  All later versions (not
    that a whole lot of people saw these versions) will be posted there.
    0.92 (7/7/99): Changed more comments.  All I need is that Float skill
    0.91 (6/25/99): Corrected various comments, added notes for stat building.
    0.9 (6/24/99): First version.  All new!  Probably still some stuff to add,
    so suggestions are welcome.
    Skills are learned abilities a character can acquire and improve through
    the accumulation of Skill Points (SP).  Skill points are given as
    characters rise in level or through other occasions.  Each skill is rated
    on a level scale of 0-10, with 0 representing no ability and 10
    representing mastery.  However, none of the skills start off as visible
    except the ones your characters begin with until you start buying skill
    sets at Skill Guilds.  One combat skill is not available at a guild and
    must be found.  Skills are used to build up Specialty levels. Certain
    skills also increase particular character statistics, and, in the case of
    combat skills, may add new abilities for the battlefield.
    The skills are listed in their respective groupings, with the following
    Skill Point Progression (the number of SP needed to raise a skill's level)
    Game Description (taken from game text)
    Statistical Benefits (taken from game text)
    Related Specialties
    Extra Comments (if any)
    --Knowledge 1--
    1 / 2 / 4 / 6 / 9 / 12 / 16 / 20 / 40 / 70
    Description: Knowledge About minerals and gems.
    Benefits: Skill Level x 3 INT increase.
    Related Specialties: Identify, Metalwork, Alchemy
    Comments: A cheap skill, good INT increase for spellcasters.
    Herbal Medicine
    2 / 3 / 5 / 8 / 12 / 17 / 23 / 30 / 38 / 47
    Description: Knowledge about medicinal herbs.
    Benefits: The amount restored by blue and blackberries is increased by
      Skill Level x 3%.
    Related Specialties: Identify, Compounding, Survival
    Comments: Another cheap skill, with good benefits.
    1 / 1 / 2 / 2 / 3 / 3 / 5 / 5 / 10 / 20
    Description: Knowledge about cooking ingredients.
    Benefits: Effects vary according to whether favorite items are eaten or
    Related Specialties: Cooking
    Comments:  Makes a huge difference in the restoration power of each
      character's favorite food item.
    --Knowledge 2--
    Musical Notation
    2 / 4 / 8 / 16 / 32 / 90 / 40 / 50 / 70 / 90
    Description: Knowledge about musical notation.
    Benefits: Skill Level + 1 AGL increase.
    Related Specialties: Musical Talent
    Comments: Musical Notation and Musical Instrument are the only skills that
      contain a (large) "bump" in their SP progression.
    12 / 22 / 32 / 42 / 62 / 80 / 82 / 85 / 90 / 95
    Description: Knowledge about the science of life.
    Benefits: Skill Level squared x 10 HP increase.
    Related Specialties: Compounding
    Comments:  The only skill that raises max HP.
    Tool Knowledge
    1 / 5 / 9 / 13 / 17 / 21 / 25 / 29 / 33 / 37
    Description: Knowledge about different tools and weapons.
    Benefits: Item selling prices increase by Skill Level x 3%.
    Related Specialties: Identify
    Comments: One party member should have a high level for this skill, as the
      highest is taken for selling purposes at shops.
    --Knowledge 3--
    Mental Science
    8 / 14 / 20 / 26 / 32 / 52 / 62 / 82 / 90 / 95
    Description: Knowledge about the mysterious powers of the mind.
    Benefits: Skill Level x 5 MP increase.
    Related Specialties: Compounding
    Comments: The only skill that raises max MP.
    5 / 7 / 9 / 11 / 13 / 33 / 43 / 53 / 63 / 80
    Description: Knowledge about faith and the gods.
    Benefits: Skills increase somewhat.
    Related Specialties: none
    Comments: The benefit is somewhat misleading.  The actual effect of raising
      Piety is a random increase in one of the character's statistics, ranging
      from no increase to 5 or more.  Piety may also increase item creation
    40 / 41 / 42 / 43 / 44 / 45 / 46 / 47 / 48 / 50
    Description: Knowledge about fairies and the origins of life.
    Benefits: Skill Level + 1 INT increase.
    Related Specialties: Alchemy
    --Sensibility 1--
    1 / 2 / 4 / 5 / 7 / 28 / 30 / 31 / 43 / 55
    Description: With courage you won't be nervous even in front of a large of
    Benefits: none listed
    Related Specialties: Pickpocket
    2 / 4 / 7 / 11 / 16 / 22 / 29 / 37 / 46 / 56
    Description: The willpower to endure difficulties and sadness.
    Benefits: Skill Level x 2 CON increase.
    Related Specialties: Practice, Survival
    Comments: The only skill to raise CON.
    Esthetic Sense
    10 / 20 / 30 / 40 / 50 / 60 / 70 / 80 / 90 / 99
    Description: A feeling, the degree of maturity that enables an
      understanding of love and beauty.
    Benefits: none listed
    Related Specialties: Art, Metalwork
    Good Eye
    2 / 4 / 6 / 8 / 10 / 20 / 22 / 24 / 26 / 28
    Description: The ability to choose good cooking ingredients.
    Benefits: HP restoration amount increases.
    Related Specialties: Cooking
    Comments: Allows for greater effect when a character eats a food.
    --Sensibility 2--
    12 / 14 / 16 / 18 / 20 / 22 / 24 / 26 / 28 / 30
    Description: An open mind to forgive the God of Creation for thinking up
      silly things.
    Benefits: A gift from heaven!
    Related Specialties: Oracle
    Comments: The "gift from heaven" in this case results in an increase in Fol
      for each level of the skill.  The exact formula for the amount of money
      is determined by the recursive formula (previous payment) + (Skill Level
      - 1) x 600, with a starting base of 100.  Thus, Playfulness pays 100 Fol
      at level 1, 100+(2-1)x600=700 Fol at level 2, 700+(3-1)x600=1900 at level
      3, and so on until at level 10 Playfulness pays 27100 Fol.
    Danger Sense
    2 / 3 / 5 / 7 / 10 / 13 / 17 / 21 / 26 / 40
    Description: A feeling, high sensitivity to murderous intent.
    Benefits: Skill Level x 3 STM increase.
    Related Specialties: Scout
    Comments: A good skill for all to learn, as STM is important for HP and MP
      recovery after each battle.
    8 / 8 / 8 / 8 / 8 / 8 / 8 / 8 / 8 / 8
    Description: The willpower to continue effort.
    Benefits: Reduces the number of SP required to learn skills.
    Related Specialties: Practice
    Comments: Each level of Perseverance reduces the amount to learn every
      skill by 2, down to a minimum of 1 SP (with the exception of Perseverance
      itself, which always costs 8 SP to learn.  This is probably the most
      powerful skill as well as one of the cheapest, and all characters should
      devote their SP to this skill as soon as it is available.
    Poker Face
    5 / 7 / 9 / 11 / 13 / 33 / 43 / 53 / 63 / 80
    Description: The ability to keep a straight face under any circumstances.
    Benefits: Skill Level x 3 GUTS increase.
    Related Specialties: Pickpocket
    Comments: A more suitable name for this skill might be Stoicism.  The only
      skill to increase GUTS.
    --Sensibility 3--
    15 / 25 / 35 / 45 / 55 / 65 / 75 / 75 / 85 / 85
    Description: A feeling, the ability to balance beautiful form with function.
    Benefits: Skill Level x 6 STR, DEX, AGL, INT increase.
    Related Specialties: Customize
    Comments: The only skill that raises more than one statistic, and has the
      highest rate of increase for DEX, AGL, and INT.
    20 / 30 / 40 / 50 / 60 / 70 / 80 / 90 / 90 / 99
    Description: Supernatural powers that enable reception of messages from
      unknown beings.
    Benefits: A gift from heaven!
    Related Specialties: Oracle
    Comments: The "gift from heaven" this time is a random item that appears in
      your inventory.
    20 / 30 / 40 / 50 / 60 / 70 / 80 / 90 / 90 / 90
    Description: The willpower to achieve one's goals.
    Benefits: Lowers the needed experience to gain levels.
    Related Specialties: Practice
    Comments: Each level reduces the needed experience by about 4%.  A great
      skill to learn, the earlier the better.
    --Technique 1--
    1 / 2 / 4 / 6 / 12 / 20 / 25 / 30 / 35 / 40
    Description: The ability to put fingers to mouth and whistle loudly.
    Benefits: none listed
    Related Specialties: Familiar
    40 / 50 / 50 / 60 / 60 / 70 / 80 / 90 / 90 / 99
    Description: The ability to grasp the true characters of things and make
      them your own.
    Benefits: none listed
    Related Specialties: Reproduction
    5 / 10 / 20 / 30 / 50 / 70 / 90 / 90 / 90 / 90
    Description: The ability to grasp and reproduce the forms of objects.
    Benefits: none listed
    Related Specialties: Art
    Kitchen Knife
    2 / 4 / 8 / 16 / 32 / 40 / 50 / 55 / 65 / 90
    Description: The ability to use a kitchen knife, essential to any
      respectable chef.
    Benefits: Skill Level x 20 STR increase.
    Related Specialties: Cooking
    Comments: Apparently everyone starts martial training with a kitchen knife,
      as this skill is the fastest way to increase your STR and attacking
      power.  Fighters should invest in at least a few levels.
    --Technique 2--
    Mech Knowledge
    6 / 10 / 14 / 18 / 22 / 32 / 42 / 52 / 62 / 80
    Description: Knowledge about machines.
    Benefits: none listed
    Related Specialties: Machinery
    2 / 4 / 7 / 11 / 16 / 22 / 29 / 37 / 46 / 56
    Description: The ability to do jobs that demand manual dexterity.
    Benefits:  Skill Level + 2 AGL increase.
    Related Specialties: Customize, Metalwork
    Animal Training
    20 / 21 / 22 / 23 / 24 / 25 / 26 / 27 / 28 / 30
    Description: The ability to tame and train animals.
    Benefits: none listed
    Related Specialties: Familiar
    3 / 4 / 6 / 8 / 11 / 14 / 20 / 25 / 40 / 60
    Description: The intellectual ability to create literature.
    Benefits: Skill Level + 2 DEX increase.
    Related Specialties: Authoring
    --Technique 3--
    Musical Instrument
    2 / 4 / 8 / 16 / 32 / 90 / 40 / 50 / 70 / 90
    Description: The ability to play a musical instrument.
    Benefits: Skill Level + 1 AGL increase.
    Related Specialties: Musical Talent
    Comments: Musical Notation and Musical Instrument are the only skills that
      contain a (large) "bump" in the SP progression.
    Metal Casting
    3 / 6 / 12 / 24 / 48 / 58 / 68 / 78 / 88 / 98
    Description: The ability to cast metals.
    Benefits: Skill Level x 2 DEX increase.
    Related Specialties: Customize
    Scientific Ability
    6 / 10 / 14 / 18 / 22 / 32 / 42 / 52 / 62 / 80
    Description: The ability to use laboratory equipment such as a still.
    Benefits: Skill Level x 10 STR increase.
    Related Specialties: Metalwork
    Comments:  Another good skill for fighters to learn a few levels.
    Mech Operation
    12 / 22 / 32 / 42 / 62 / 80 / 82 / 85 / 90 / 95
    Description: The ability to operate machines successfully.
    Benefits: none listed
    Related Specialties: Machinery
    --Combat 1--
    Note: combat skills differ from the other skills in that they are solely
    for battlefield purposes and don't contribute to specialties or
    statistics.  Each combat skill has a certain probability for it to work,
    and raising skill levels increases that probability, but none of them are
    guaranteed to work 100% of the time.  Most combat skills, when used
    successfully, will be indicated during as part of a message on the side of
    the screen.  As you may not want to use certain skills at all times, all
    combat skills can be toggled on the skills screen by selecting a skill and
    pressing Square.
    Spirit Force
    20 / 30 / 40 / 50 / 60 / 70 / 80 / 90 / 90 / 99
    Description: Increases defensive powers.
    Below the Belt
    40 / 40 / 50 / 50 / 60 / 60 / 70 / 70 / 80 / 80
    Description: The ability to ignore the enemy's defenses while attacking.
    Strong Blow
    20 / 21 / 22 / 23 / 24 / 25 / 26 / 27 / 28 / 30
    Description: The ability to blow the enemy away.
    Comments: When Strong Blow succeeds, the enemy will be knocked back,
      possibly preventing a follow-up attack or combo.  The enemy may be
      instead knocked in the air for certain Killer Moves.
    10 / 20 / 30 / 40 / 50 / 60 / 70 / 80 / 90 / 99
    Description: The ability to eliminate the gap between normal attacks
      and immediately use a killer move.
    Comments: Hit L1 or R1 to execute the killer move immediately after you hit
      an opponent to catch them while they're still recovering from your first
      attack.  Cannot be used with aerial attacks.
    --Combat 2--
    12 / 14 / 16 / 18 / 20 / 22 / 24 / 26 / 28 / 30
    Description: The ability to flip around the enemy and attack from behind.
    Comments: Use of this specialty is potentially dangerous, as the extra time
      your character takes while running behind the opponent leaves  you
      vulnerable to attack from another opponent.
    5 / 7 / 9 / 11 / 13 / 33 / 43 / 53 / 63 / 80
    Description: Increases one's combat speed.
    Comments: Everyone can use some extra running speed...
    12 / 22 / 32 / 42 / 62 / 80 / 82 / 85 / 90 / 95
    Description: The ability to improve aim.
    Mental Training
    4 / 7 / 14 / 21 / 28 / 35 / 42 / 49 / 56 / 63
    Description: The ability to increase attack power.
    --Combat 3--
    5 / 10 / 15 / 20 / 40 / 50 / 60 / 70 / 85 / 99
    Description: Increases the probability of counterattacking when attacked by
      an enemy.
    Comments: Similar to Cancel.  Attack by pressing X as you're hit and you'll
      counter, but you still take the damage.  Note that this skill can also
      work when you parry, so getting hit doesn't necessarily mean that you'll
      have to take damage to counterattack.  Also note that counterattacking
      will make your character move within normal attack distance to counter,
      which may or may not be a good thing.
    12 / 22 / 32 / 42 / 62 / 80 / 82 / 85 / 90 / 95
    Description: An increase in the ability to parry the enemy's attack.
    Body Control
    10 / 20 / 30 / 40 / 50 / 60 / 70 / 80 / 90 / 99
    Description: Prevents fainting.
    Comments: Besides preventing fainting (on rare occasions), Body Control can
      prevent dizziness ("peeping") and status ailments.  While it doesn't
      happen often enough to ditch those Stone Checks, this skill is quite
      useful for any character.
    40 / 50 / 50 / 60 / 60 / 70 / 80 / 90 / 90 / 99
    Description: Reduces the time it takes to cast Heraldic spells.
    Comments: The only combat skill exclusively for spellcasters.
    20 / 30 / 40 / 50 / 60 / 70 / 80 / 90 / 90 / 99
    Description: The ability to use the SELECT button to taunt an enemy during
    Comments: Can only be done once per battle.  A successful taunt may focus
      the enemies' attention on you and raise your stats a little, depending on
      your skill level.  Each character has up to 4 different taunts.
    --Combat (special)--
    20 / 30 / 40 / 50 / 60 / 70 / 80 / 90 / 90 / 99
    Comments: Only available as a special item from the bonus dungeon.  Float
      only works on normal attacks.  A successful Float will pop the enemy into
      the air, leaving them temporarily defenseless.  The time span of this
      float is quite short, and only fast cancels will be guaranteed damage.
      However, this skill can also be combined with the Strong Blow skill,
      resulting in some truly silly air times for the enemy.
    Talents represent the natural abilities of a character.  To use some
    specialties effectively, a character must know the right talent.  Talents
    are inherited when the character joins the party.  Thus, when a new
    character joins the party, check his or her talents.  If you don't like the
    number or type of talents and have a recent save, you can keep reloading
    and re-recruiting the character until his or her talents suits your tastes.
    Talents can also be discovered.  To discover a hidden talent, have a
    character that doesn't have a wanted talent repeatedly use a specialty that
    requires that talent.  They may eventually discover the wanted talent
    (although it might take a lot of time and money).  The one talent that
    can't be discovered is The Blessing of Manna, which all spellcasters begin
    with and no fighters can discover.  Discovering a talent also has the added
    benefit of giving the character an immediate 100 Skill Points as a reward
    for all that hard practice.
    This list can be used to gauge which specialties each character might want
    to develop (although they aren't necessary to start with, if you have
    enough money, patience, or certain Super Specialties).  The format is as
    Description (taken from game text)
    Related Specialties (* denotes specialties that can be used to discover
      the talent)
    Extra Comments (if any)
    Description: The ability to modify things with one's own creativity.
    Related Specialties: Customize, Metalwork*
    Description: The gifted talent of being able to move one's fingertips
      exactly as one wishes.
    Related Specialties: Metalwork*, Compounding, Pickpocket, Machinery*
    Comments: The most used talent; cannot be learned by using Pickpocket, so
      don't bother wasting chances by trying if you don't have Dexterity.
    Writing Ability
    Description: The talent of being able to put one's thoughts into words.
    Related Specialties: Authoring*
    Description: The ability to grasp musical tones well.
    Related Specialties: Musical Talent*
    Sixth Sense
    Description: The primitive ability to sense things that cannot be
      expressed with words.
    Related Specialties: Danger Sense*
    Comments: Sixth Sense is one of the hardest talents to learn.  I've been
      able to learn it by switching the Scout settings repeatedly, sometimes
      with the help of Orchestra.
    Sense of Taste
    Description: The gift of judging what tastes would please anyone
    Related Specialties: Cooking*
    Sense of Design
    Description: The creative talent for the arts
    Related Specialties: Art*, Machinery*
    Sense of Rhythm
    Description: The ability to grasp musical rhythm.
    Related Specialties: Musical Talent*
    Love of Animals
    Description: Animal Lover.  More than anything.  More than anyone.
    Related Specialties: Familiar*
    The Blessing of Manna
    Description: The innate magical power.
    Related Specialties: Alchemy
    Comments: The only talent that cannot be learned.  Either you start with it
      or you don't.
    Specialties are special abilities acquired by learning 1-3 related skills.
    Their level is determined by averaging the levels of the related skills,
    rounding down.  Thus, it is easier to raise the level of the Scout
    specialty, which has only one related skill, than it is raising the Alchemy
    skill, which has three.  All specialties have an upper level limit of 10.
    Specialties allow the characters to do such activities as cooking food,
    playing music, and other actions that can affect various aspects of the
    game. The level of the specialty determines the chances of success.  Note,
    however, that without the needed talent, the specialty is virtually
    guaranteed to fail.
    The format for this list is as follows:
    Description (taken from game text)
    Accessed from (which menu)
    Needed Skills
    Needed Talents
    Needed Items (needed but not consumed)
    Consumed Items (consumed as specialty is being used)
    Support Items (increases chances for success, sometimes enhances abilities)
    Extra Comments (if any)
    Description: Make items by investing a soul into pictures and statues that
      you make.
    Accessed from: Item Creation menu
    Needed Skills: Esthetic Sense, Sketching
    Needed Talents: Sense of Design
    Needed Items: none
    Consumed Items: Magical Canvas, Magical Clay
    Support Items: Graphics Software
    Comments: An expensive item creation technique.  Using a Magical Canvas
      creates various cards or paintings to be used in battle, or portraits of
      one of the characters in the game.  Using Magical Clay creates various
      dolls, balls, cards, and other items that can be used.  The usefulness of
      this skill depends on whether you prefer using items during battle.  The
      powers of these works of art can range from reviving fallen comrades to
      doubling experience to random items.
    Description: Gives you helpful(?) messages from Tria, the Goddess of
    Accessed from: Specialty menu
    Needed Skills: Piety, Playfulness, Radar
    Needed Talents: none
    Needed Items: none
    Consumed Items: none
    Support Items: none
    Comments: Basically a frill specialty, the Oracle will cycle through
      various messages that range from completely useless to quite useful.  The
      number of messages increases as the level increases, but there is no
      actual need for this specialty at all.
    --Musical Talent--
    Description: Compose and play music.
    Accessed from: Specialty menu
    Needed Skills: Musical Notation, Musical Instrument
    Needed Talents: Pitch, Sense of Rhythm
    Needed Items: instruments (Piano, Harmonica, etc.)
    Consumed Items: Feather Pen, Conductor's Baton
    Support Items: Musical Software
    Comments: A complicated but powerful specialty, Musical Talent is done in
      three stages: first, an instrument must be found or bought.  Only one of
      each type is necessary.  Then, a character uses the specialty to attempt
      to compose a song for that instrument, using up a Feather Pen at each
      attempt.  Each instrument in the game has two songs associated with them,
      all of which have various effects in the game, such as increasing defense
      or calling monsters to fight.  (Note that since there are only two songs,
      once both are composed for an instrument, any extra attempts are a
      waste.)  After a song is composed, a character may use a Conductor's
      Baton to play a song written for a selected instrument.  This song will
      temporarily replace the normal background music, and while it is playing
      the abilities of the song are used (unless the song sounds out of tune,
      in which case you character is missing a required talent).  The
      effectiveness of the song is determined partly by the character's talent
      level.  Also, each character has a preferred instrument that can enhance
      that instrument's effectiveness.
    Description: Modify weapons into your own original type.
    Accessed from: Item Creation menu
    Needed Skills: Functionality, Craft, Metal Casting
    Needed Talents: Originality
    Needed Items: none
    Consumed Items: weapon, ore, metal or gem
    Support Items: Magical Rasp
    Comments: One of the most interesting specialties and the hardest to
      catalog, customize allows you to combine a weapon and an ore/gem into
      something new. You lose both the weapon and the ore/gem, and,
      unfortunately, don't always get a more powerful weapon or even a weapon
      at all (I occasionally get food?!), so save your game before testing
      things on a treasured sword that you might want to keep after all.  The
      number of weapons and available ores, along with the fact that you can
      continue to customize the resulting weapon, allow for multiple
      possibilities, so just keep trying it yourself.  Note, however, that each
      character can only customize their own weapons, so to create weapons for
      each character requires that each has the Customize specialty.  The
      weapon made is determined by the strength of the weapon along with the
      rarity of the ore or gem being used.  In addition, certain weapons
      require a specific weapon and/or ore/gem be used to create them.
    Description: Identify unknown items indicated by a question mark(?) at the
      start of their names.
    Accessed from: Item Creation menu
    Needed Skills: Mineralogy, Herbal Medicine, Tool Knowledge
    Needed Talents: none
    Needed Items: none
    Consumed Items: Spectacles
    Support Items: Element Analyzer
    Comments: One of the first specialties obtainable, the Identify specialty,
      while not being flashy, is a necessary specialty.  There are invariably
      going to be unidentified items either made through item creation or
      found, and these items are unusable until they have been identified.
      Each try at identifying an item uses up a Spectacle, which is fortunately
      quite cheap.
    Description: Make jewelry and equipment out of jewels and precious metals.
    Accessed from: Item Creation menu
    Needed Skills: Mineralogy, Esthetic Sense, Craft
    Needed Talents: Originality, Dexterity
    Needed Items: none
    Consumed items: ore, metal, or gem
    Support Items: Soldering Iron
    Comments: This item creation skill allows you to create your own
      accessories to equip.  There are 7-8 possible items that can be created
      from each ore or gem. However, each character can only create around half
      of these items.  Thus, to ensure that all possible items can be made for
      each ore or gem, multiple people should be proficient in this specialty.
    Description: Maintain a guidebook that gives you the details of your skills
      as they increase.
    Accessed from: Item Creation menu
    Needed Skills: Writing
    Needed Talents: Writing Ability
    Needed Items: none
    Consumed Items: Fountain Pen
    Support Items: Text Software
    Comments: The specialty allows you to create a guidebook on a skill that a
      character has a level of 5 or greater in, using a Fountain Pen in the
      attempt.  Any character that reads this guidebook will automatically gain
      a level in the written skill without having to expend the SP normally
      necessary. However, you can only raise a skill to level 5 using a
      guidebook (thus, the writer cannot use it, for instance).  Early mastery
      of this skill can be useful to beef up skills that normally require a
      large amount of SP to learn.  However, only certain skills (around 20)
      can be authored.  This specialty is especially recommended for Leon; his
      use of books as his weapons allows him to author special books for him to
      bash over opponents' heads.
    Description: Increase your experience points by going through combat with
      lowered abilities.
    Accessed from: Specialty menu
    Needed Skills: Patience, Perseverance, Effort
    Needed Talents: none
    Needed Items: none
    Consumed Items: none
    Support Items: none
    Comments: Turn on this specialty to go through battles weaker in exchange
      for more experience.  I originally thought that only the practicing
      character would get the extra experience, but after repeated testing
      I've found that all the characters in the battle party get the extra
      experience.  Furthermore, the more characters that practice, regardless
      of whether they are in the current battle party, the more experience the
      battle party gets for battles!  I'll have to experiment with this more,
      and I'll be happy for someone to prove me wrong, as it seems like another
      huge bug in the US version of Star Ocean 2. Note, however, that, as the
      description states, practicing characters do have their stats lowered in
      battle (but if they're not in the battle party, it doesn't matter).  This
      seems to reduce a little the intended idea for speeding up your lagging
      characters' leveling, though it does speed up the battle party's
      leveling.  The penalty for practicing makes the specialty more useful for
      beating on weaker enemies rather than taking on new, more dangerous
    Description: Allows the user to increase or decrease the probability of
      enemies appearing to a certain degree.
    Accessed from: Specialty menu
    Needed Skills: Danger Sense
    Needed Talents: Sixth Sense
    Needed Items: none
    Consumed Items: none
    Support Items: none
    Comments: Great for leveling or traveling unhindered between places.  Note,
      however, that only the current leader (first person listed) of the party
      affects scouting, so your party makeup should affect who should learn
      this specialty.  Also note that Sixth Sense may be the hardest talent to
      acquire in the game, so don't bother Scouting if you don't have it.
    Description: Make medicines by mixing two types of herbs.
    Accessed from: Item Creation Menu
    Needed Skills: Herbal Medicine, Biology, Mental Science
    Needed Talents: Dexterity
    Needed Items: none
    Consumed Items: herbs (Rose Hips, Mandrake, etc.)
    Support Items: Antiseptic Gloves
    Comments: This specialty allows for creation of a variety of medicines and
      items through the mixing of two herbs.  Each possible mixture (including
      mixing the same herb with itself) can create up to 4 different items.
      Note, however, that though some are extremely helpful, some have nasty
      side effects, and a few can be hazardous to your health, depending on the
      properties of the herbs being mixed.  In general, however, this specialty
      is quite useful.
    Description: Make drinks and food with cooking ingredients.
    Accessed from: Item Creation menu
    Needed Skills: Recipe, Good Eye, Kitchen Knife
    Needed Talents: Sense of Taste
    Needed Items: none
    Consumed Items: ingredients (Seafood, Grain, etc.)
    Support Items: All-Purpose Knife
    Comments: One of the more interesting skills, this specialty allows you to
      make a dish or drink out of a cooking ingredient.  These items will
      restore HP and/or MP when eaten, and some of them sell for a good price,
      as well, making this a viable way to make some extra Fol if you're a good
      cook.  There are also special ingredients you can find which make more
      exotic (some would say weird) foods.  Also, each character (with the
      exception of Chisato) has a favorite dish that can be made with this
      specialty that, when ingested, restores their HP or MP to their maximum
      levels (think Popeye and spinach).
    Description: Send animals to shop for you when you're deep in a dungeon or
      other such place.
    Accessed from: Specialty menu
    Needed Skills: Whistling, Animal Training
    Needed Talents: Love of Animals
    Needed Items: none
    Consumed Items: Pet Food
    Support Items: none
    Comments: This useful specialty allows you to shop for certain basic items
      at any time, anywhere - as long the carrier bird responds to your call.
      Carry around a lot of Pet Food. Also, this may be the only specialty
      that you may not want to increase to level 10 immediately.  There are 4
      different birds, each able to shop for a different set of items.  As you
      advance in level, the bird changes.  The problem is, you cannot go back
      and choose the previous bird!  Thus, it is advisable to have a few
      members of your party with this specialty at varying levels to get
      different birds in case you like more than one bird's selection of
      purchasable goods.  A higher level in this specialty does increase the
      chances of the bird arriving.
    Description: Transmute iron into valuable materials such as metals and
    Accessed from: Item Creation menu
    Needed Skills: Mineralogy, Fairyology, Scientific Ability
    Needed Talents: Blessing of Manna
    Needed Items: none
    Consumed Items: Iron
    Support Items: Erlenmeyer Flask, Lezard Flask
    Comments: Why pay for that diamond when you can make one?  This lucrative
      specialty can both produce extra Fol or more exotic minerals and gems to
      use in Customize or Metalwork.  Note that because of the talent
      requirements, only spellcasters (Rena, Celine, Leon, Noel) can use this
      specialty.  As the level of specialty increases, the alchemist can
      transmute more exotic materials.  The highest levels of ores and gems are
      only available after Lezard's Flask has been obtained.  This skill
      becomes increasingly more important as the game continues, and is a
      wonderful complement to Customize and Blacksmith to make the game's most
      powerful weapons and armor without having to search for the rare minerals
    Description: Find useful items when in the field.  Consumes 4 MP.
    Accessed from: Item Creation menu
    Needed Skills: Herbal Medicine, Patience
    Needed Talents: none
    Needed Items: none
    Consumed Items: none
    Support Items: Survival Kit
    Comments: This specialty might more aptly be named "Scavenging" due to its
      random nature.  The items you find while expending the 4 MP on this
      specialty range from the useless to the rare, and it's all random.  The
      range of items differs depending on where the skill is used, whether in a
      building, a dungeon, the forest, whatever.  Certainly not a necessary
      skill, but sort of amusing.  You can use it to expend all of your MP
      before resting at inns.
    Description: Skill used in conjunction with special gloves to steal items
      from people.
    Accessed from: special
    Needed Skills: Courage, Poker Face
    Needed Talents: Dexterity
    Needed Items: Bandit's Glove
    Consumed Items: none
    Support Items: Magician's Hand
    Comments: Walk down the path of crime and steal from townspeople, even your
      own party members.  To pickpocket, you must have the Bandit's Glove or
      Magician's Hand equipped.  Walk up to a person and press the Square
      button within speaking range and you'll receive an item if your
      pickpocketing was successful.  Regardless of your success or failure, you
      can only attempt to pickpocket a person once.  There are a couple of
      special notes for pickpocketing.  One, since you only get one shot at
      stealing items, you should never attempt to pickpocket if you don't
      already have Dexterity as a talent.  Two, each time you attempt to
      pickpocket with a character, any other character currently in the party
      will have their Emotional Levels reduced towards the stealing character.
      Thus, it is best to attempt this specialty during Private Actions, when
      the only character in your party is either Claude or Rena.  If you plan
      to pickpocket, then, Claude or Rena should be the main characters to
      learn the skill, unless you don't care about a character's Emotional
      Levels.  It is, however, a useful specialty to learn early due to the
      many opportunities to get powerful items that aren't normally available,
      as well as special items only gotten through pilfering.  It's all for a
      good cause...
    Description: Make an item identical to another.
    Accessed from: Item Creation menu
    Needed Skills: Copying
    Needed Talents: none
    Needed Items: Magical Camera
    Consumed Items: Magical Film
    Support Items: Ririca
    Comments: This specialty allows you to make a duplicate of items in your
      inventory.  To do so, you first need to select the Magical Camera (or the
      Ririca, which is more powerful) to take a picture on a piece of Magical
      Film.  The result will be either a copy of the item or a blurry picture.
      Also note that most rare or items can't be copied using this specialty,
      although most items bought in stores and many of the more useful
      accessories and items can be copied, making this a great money
      saver/maker -- if you succeed.
    Description: Make machines that help with your adventure.
    Accessed from: Item Creation menu
    Needed Skills: Mech Knowledge, Mech Operation
    Needed Talents: Dexterity, Sense of Design
    Needed Items: none
    Consumed Items: Material Kit
    Support Items: none
    Comments: This useful skill allows you to make a variety of items,
      including bombs for use in battle and the support items for many of the
      other specialties.  This specialty is especially important for Precis and
      Opera, who can create their own unique weapons and Killer Moves through
      this specialty.
    Super Specialties (I just refer to them as supers most of the time)
    represent the pooling of different party member's abilities to accomplish
    major tasks.  All supers have two related specialties.  One, which I'll
    call the major specialty, determines the level of the super.  The other,
    minor specialty, puts the name of the super on the list of specialties
    when any character learns it. To learn a super specialty, two characters
    must have reached level 4 in the major specialty, and one character must
    have learned the minor specialty.  The level of the super is then
    determined by the sum of the major specialty levels of all the members of
    the party divided by 3, rounded down.
    For example, the super specialty Orchestra has a major specialty of Music
    and a minor specialty of Art.  Thus, when a character first learns Art,
    the name of the super appears on the specialty list.  If two characters
    were to reach level 4 in Music, the party would acquire Orchestra at level
    2 -- (4+4)/3, round down.  If one of the two raised their Music level to 5,
    or if a third character learned Music at level 1, Orchestra would rise to
    level 3.  Since skills and specialties are easier to raise at lower levels,
    super levels rise faster when more characters learn the major specialty at
    low levels rather than a few characters raising the specialty to high
    levels.  Super specialties have an upper level limit of 10.
    All Super Specialties can be accessed from the Super Specialty Skills menu.
    The format for this list is as follows:
    Description (taken from game text)
    Major Specialty (determines level)
    Minor Specialty (shows on specialties list)
    Needed Items (needed but not consumed)
    Consumed Items (consumed as specialty is being used)
    Support Items (increases chances for success, sometimes enhances abilities)
    Extra Comments (if any)
    --Master Chef--
    Description: Make elegant dishes and drinks with everyone's powers.
    Major Specialty: Cooking
    Minor Specialty: Compounding
    Needed Items: none
    Consumed Items: 2 ingredients (Seafood, Grain, etc.)
    Support Items: All-Purpose Knife
    Comments: Use two normal ingredients to make a special food.  Only one food
      can be made with every combination of ingredients.  These foods are
      special in that they are more powerful in HP/MP recovery and/or sell for
      a much higher price than food made through normal cooking.
    Description: Make beautiful melodies and play them according to the time
      designated by a conductor.
    Major Specialty: Musical Talent
    Minor Specialty: Art
    Needed Items: instruments, songs
    Consumed Items: Conductor's Baton
    Support Items: none
    Comments: One of the most powerful supers and one of the hardest to
      acquire. To use Orchestra, there must be enough distinct instruments for
      party, and each of these instruments must have already had a song
      composed for them.  Using Orchestra also consumes a Conductor's Baton,
      just like Musical Talent.  The benefits, however, are substantial.  While
      the song is playing, item creation and supers almost never fail,
      regardless of talent.  Furthermore, talents have a much greater chance of
      being discovered while using a specialty (with the exceptions of Pitch
      and Sense of Rhythm, since using Musical Talent changes the music).  Once
      learned, however, Orchestra makes Customizing, Alchemy, Blacksmithing,
      and any other item creation much more successful.
    Description: Everyone tries to combine his or her power during combat for
      increased skill points.
    Major Specialty: Practice
    Minor Specialty: Survival
    Needed Items: none
    Consumed Items: none
    Support Items: none
    Comments: When comprehension is in use, characters may gain extra SP when
      they reach a new level, up to around 2% per level of Comprehension.
      Normal SP gains are around the level of the character, i.e. a 40th level
      character can expect to gain around 40 points when they gain a level.
      Note, however, that the chances depend on the level of the super, and a
      failure might mean less SP than normal for a character.  Also note that,
      similar to its associated specialty, Practice, there is a downside to
      Comprehension in the form of reduced combat speed for everyone while
      this super is active, making Comprehension dangerous to use around
      powerful enemies.
    --Come on Bunny--
    Description: Everyone sincerely calls the name of a cute little rabbit to
      have it come to you.
    Major Specialty: Familiar
    Minor Specialty: Scout
    Needed Items: none
    Consumed Items: none
    Support Items: none
    Comments: It may seem like a cute little thing, but in reality the bunny,
      whose name is apparently "Barney," is actually quite large and mean,
      since he is big enough to carry around your entire party without any
      enemy attacking you.  Barney can travel through any terrain except water,
      and is slightly faster than walking.  Best of all, nothing is used up in
      calling him, so you can have a relatively low level in this super and
      just keep calling until the bunny decides to come and take you somewhere.
      If you plan to get this super at all, however, get it early, as the
      latter stages of the game provide you with transportation that makes
      Barney obsolete.
    Description: Use everyone's abilities to write a book that is good enough
      to print.
    Major Specialty: Writing
    Minor Specialty: Machinery
    Needed Items: none
    Consumed Items: Fountain Pen
    Support Items: Text Software
    Comments: An interesting super, this allows each character to write one of
      two possible stories that they want to tell.  These books can be sold for
      some extra Fol.  If sold to a publisher, they will publish the book for
      public reading, and you can pick up some royalties from sales.  The book
      also has the effect of changing the Emotional Levels of any character
      that reads the book towards the author.  This can be good or bad,
      depending on how good the relationship was between the characters before,
      as reading a book resets the character's emotional levels towards the
      author to a set number (8).  Each character can publish two books, one
      for friendship and a rarer one for romantic levels.  An important skill
      to learn early for those that want to make sure they get the character
      endings they want...
    --Identify All!--
    Description: Use everyone's powers to identify and appraise the value of
      items correctly.
    Major Specialty: Identify
    Minor Specialty: Metalwork
    Needed Items: none
    Consumed Items: Spectacles
    Support Items: none
    Comments: This super is really more like bartering.  Using Identify All!,
      you can affect the prices of items at store by Skill Level x 3% that
      lasts until the next time you buy or sell at a store.  This affects ALL
      the prices, so if you decide to discount, you should only by items, and
      vice versa for raising the prices.  Each use of this specialty uses up
      one spectacle.  You can cancel the price adjustment, but you won't be
      refunded the spectacle you used.  A highly useful skill, one that can
      also be used in conjunction with the Familiar specialty to lower the
      prices during remote shopping as well.
    Description: Use everyone's powers to make magnificent armor from ore.
    Major Specialty: Customize
    Minor Specialty: Alchemy
    Needed Items: none
    Consumed Items: ore (Iron, Damascus, etc.)
    Support Items: Magical Rasp
    Comments: The counterpart to customizing weapons, this super creates
      powerful pieces of armor with the used ore.  The supporting item (Magical
      Rasp) is unique in that it changes the Blacksmithing possibilities
      instead of giving you a better chance at succeeding, as different items
      are available from this super once the Rasp is in your inventory.
    --Reverse Side--
    Description: Use everyone's powers to make dangerous items.  Is it ambition
      that fuels crimes?
    Major Specialty: Pickpocket
    Minor Specialty: Copying
    Needed Items: none
    Consumed Items: Vellum Paper
    Support Items: none
    Comments: The most dangerous of the supers, and also potentially the most
      rewarding.  All the items made with this super are "illegal" but most are
      also quite powerful, allowing you to raid stores, stay at inns for free,
      cheat on you experience, and so on.  However, there are a few risks.
      First of all, failure in this super results in creating and owning the
      worst item in the game.  This item, the "Bounced Check," will not only
      continuously drain your money by the second, but COSTS money to get sell
      at a store (and the more you write, the faster your money drains...).
      The second risk is that the use of Reverse Side lowers the Emotional
      Levels for all the members of your party.
    While it's nice to know what all the skills are and how the specialties relate,
    it does no good if you can't get the skills you want.  To help you plan ahead,
    here is the list of the skill sets followed by the cities that offer those sets.
    Sets with an asterisk aren't available until you reach Lacour.
    Knowledge 1 (Mineralogy, Herbal Medicine, Recipe): Cross, Clik, Linga,
      Central City
    Knowledge 2 (Musical Notation, Biology, Tool Knowledge): Herlie, Hilton,
      Linga, Central City
    *Knowledge 3 (Mental Science, Piety, Fairyology): Linga, North City
    Sensibility 1 (Courage, Patience, Esthetic Sense, Good Eye): Cross, Clik,
      Central City
    Sensibility 2 (Playfulness, Danger Sense, Perseverance, Poker Face):
      Herlie, Hilton, North City
    *Sensibility 3 (Functionality, Radar, Effort): Lacour, Armlock
    Technique 1 (Whistling, Copying, Sketching, Kitchen Knife): Cross, Clik,
      Herlie, Central City
    *Technique 2 (Mech Knowledge, Craft, Animal Training, Writing): Hilton,
      North City
    *Technique 3 (Music Instrument, Metal Casting, Scientific Ability, Mech
      Operation): Linga, North City
    Combat 1 (Spirit Force, Below the Belt, Strong Blow, Cancel): Clik, Herlie,
      Lacour, Armlock
    *Combat 2 (Flip, Gale, Feint, Mental Training): Hilton, Lacour, Armlock
    *Combat 3 (Counterattack, Parry, Body Control, Motormouth, Provocation):
      Lacour, Armlock
    One of the side benefits of skills is the pumping of a character's
    statistics and battle power.  Here's a quick primer of what you should do
    to make your character have a little more oomph:
    - Raise your Perseverance level!  Doing so allow you to pay minimal amounts
      of SP in a variety of skills to supplement the use of lots of SP to
      specialize in a few skills.  Raising your Effort (after Perseverance)
      will allow you to advance faster so that you have more SP to spend.  Also
      raise your Danger Sense early; after Perseverance, the first 8 levels
      will be quite cheap, and the extra STM will greatly help battle recovery.
    - Each statistic relates to your abilities in battle:
      STR (strength)     increases ATK (attack)
      CON (constitution) increases AC  (defense)
      DEX (dexterity)    increases HIT (chance to damage enemy)
      AGL (agility)      increases AVD (chance to block attacks)
      INT (intelligence) increases MAG (magical power)
      LUC (luck) affects HIT and AVD, as well as item creation and other
        "lucky" things.
      STM (stamina) determines your chances of recovering HP and MP after
      GUTS will sometimes increase your attack/defense in battle, and might
        give you a chance to survive otherwise lethal attacks.
    - Cater to the abilities of the characters.  Spellcasters don't need lots
      of STR or DEX, and fighters don't need lots of INT.  Everyone, however,
      can use more of the rest of the statistics.  This is, of course, subject
      to how you play.  If, for instance, you decide that you want your
      spellcasters to run out and kick some booty anyway, then go ahead and
      pump them up...
    - Remember that there are two skills, Biology and Mental Science, that can
      raise your max HP and MP, respectively.  These become less important as
      you rise in level and your HP and MP continue to increase (9999 HP and
      999 MP is the maximum you can get in each statistic).
    - Don't forget about combat skills, either.  Combat skills can be quite
      useful, and (with Perseverance) can also be cheap.  Most combat skills
      are geared towards fighters, although the defensive skills can be useful
      for spellcasters.  Cancel is completely useless for spellcasters, as is
      Motormouth for fighters.  Also, Cancel, Counterattack, and perhaps
      Provocation are only useful if you intend to spend a lot of time
      controlling that particular character in battle.  Note, however, that the
      skills Strong Blow and Flip might actually be harmful for characters to
      use, depending on the situation.  A successful Strong Blow may prevent a
      follow-up combination, while characters with longer range attacks may
      spend an inordinate amount of time running behind the opponent and
      getting to the required range when Flip succeeds.  All other combat
      skills, however, don't have any negative aspects (but you can still turn
      them off if you want to inflict less damage or take more damage).
    - Why spend precious SP when you can just use cash?  Take note of which
      skills can be Authored, and make sure someone with high levels in such
      skills also can write books so that future character don't have to spend
      their points learning the same skills.
    (c)1999,2000 Sherwin Tam
    This is my personal handiwork, and I took a lot of effort to write it.
    Please do not use this commercially or alter it in any way.  Also, please
    ask me if you plan to feature it on a web site or something of that nature,
    as I'd rather not come across it one day and go, "Hey, how did that get
    Thanks go to:
    Ian Kelley, whose excellent FAQ on the Japanese version of Star Ocean 2 and
    willingness to answer questions greatly helped my understanding of the
    game.  His web site is at http://www.sas.upenn.edu/~ikelley/SFC.html and
    his FAQ can also be found at www.gamefaqs.com.
    GameFAQs (www.gamefaqs.com), one of the greatest places to find information
    on any game out there.  There are a whole bunch of FAQs on SO2 now, so
    anything you might ask is probably there.
    Tri-Ace (www.tri-ace.co.jp) and Enix (www.enix.co.jp), for making a great
    Elizabeth M. Hollinger and James M. Rantkos, writers of Prima's
    (www.primagames.com) strategy guide for Star Ocean 2.  Their guide's visual
    walkthroughs were immensely helpful in getting me through the game quickly
    while gathering more information.
    All you people on rec.games.video.sony, esp. Laura Parkinson, Sean Chang,
    Tetsuya, Robert Geiger, and the esteemed Ian Kelley for the SO2 discussion.
    All of you who have sent in comments or corrections to my guide.  There are
    too many people to really fit and keep the size down, but if you have sent
    me info, thank you!

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