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Final Fantasy

Up to date as of February 01, 2010

From Final Fantasy Wiki

Magic is a significant element in the Final Fantasy series, and is important in both the gameplay and the plot of each Final Fantasy title. As a gameplay element, magic is the counterpart of physical attacks, and generally, those who are able to use magic are called mages. In the plot, magic has a major influence in the workings of each game's world, and can be used to either destroy or save the world.

Contents

Gameplay

Magic is one of the two principal forms of attack in the series; the other being physical attacks. Although the specific features of the magic system vary significantly from game to game, many concepts have remained consistent throughout the course of the series.

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Types

Magic spells have different types and effects. In the first title, magic is first split between the distinction of "white magic" - healing and battle support spell, and "black magic" - offensive spells. As the series progressed and new spells are created, different types of spells have been introduced, each of them able to be used by different types of mages. Below are different types of magic that have been introduced:

Type First Appearance Job Description
White Magic Final Fantasy White Mage Generally curative, enhancing or holy magic. Typical White Magic spells are: Cure; Raise and the ultimate white magic spell of Holy
Black Magic Final Fantasy Black Mage Mainly offensive, often harnessing elemental powers of fire, ice, and lightning. Black Magic spells often exist to inflict instant death as well. Typical Black Magic spells include: Fire, Thunder, Blizzard and the ultimate black magic spell of Ultima or Flare depending on the game.
Summon Magic Final Fantasy III Summoner Involves Summoning a powerful, and often supernatural being, to fight for or defend the party, doing everything from setting enemies on fire to blocking for the party.
Time and Space Magic Final Fantasy V Time Mage Alters the reality around a character. Typical Time and Space magic spells are: Slow, Haste, Warp and Gravity.
Blue Magic Final Fantasy V Blue Mage Spells and abilities learned from enemy characters and monsters. Common examples include spells based on a target's level, White Wind, Aqua Rake, and Condemned.
Spellblade Final Fantasy V Mystic Knight Involves casting Black Magic onto a weapon with which the magic is compatible. The spells are usually elemental and offensive magic spells.

Final Fantasy VI

Final Fantasy VI marks a different type of categorization. The three categories are named based upon their effect. They are: Attack, Healing, and Effect. The list of magic spells has each spell a corresponding sphere next to their names. These spheres are colored white (Healing), black (Attack) and grey (Effect) - indicating that there are three types of magic.

Type Description Examples
Healing Denoted by the white sphere seen next to the name of a spell. Most spells are related to healing magic. Curaga, Reraise, Esuna
Attack Denoted by the black sphere seen next to the name of a spell. Most spells are related to offensive and elemental magic. Flare, Meltdown, Flood
Effect Denoted by the gray sphere seen next to the name of a spell. Most spells are related to status effects and enhancements. Rasp, Imp, Valor, Vanish

Final Fantasy VII

Final Fantasy VII also has a separate classification system, based on the five types of Materia.

Materia Type Description Examples
Green Generic magic, offensive, defensive or otherwise. Fire, Cure, Resist
Red Summon Materia, allows access to Summon Magic. Neo Bahamut, Alexander, Odin
Yellow Command Materia, grants the holder new command abilities including Blue Magic, called Enemy Skills. Steal, Throw, Sense
Blue Support Materia, gives new abilities to Materia in a connected slot. Counter, HP Absorb, All.
Purple Independant Materia, grants the holder stat boosts and other bonuses. HP Plus, Long Range, Cover

Final Fantasy VIII

Final Fantasy VIII, while not explicitly detailing magic types, divided different magic spells into the following:

Type Description Examples
Fire Magic Fire elemental spells. Fire, Flare
Ice Magic Includes Water and Ice element spells. Blizzard, Water
Thunder Magic Includes Thunder and Wind element spells. Thunder, Tornado
Life Magic Includes Holy elemental spells as well as recovery and life-related spells. Cure, Life, Zombie
Time Magic Includes time magic, gravity and earth spells. Slow, Demi, Quake, Double
Support Magic Spells that protect or enhance a character with positive status. Shell, Dispel, Aura
Status Magic Spells that inflict negative status. Blind, Bio, Pain, Meltdown
Forbidden Magic Powerful non-elemental spells Meteor, Ultima

Final Fantasy XI

Final Fantasy XI has a diverse and complex magic classification system spread over its 20 job classes. These sub categories are divided into magic sub-types of sort called "skill", spanning the generic types - sometimes in the same category. Example: Paralyze is a White Magic spell, and Poison is a Black Magic spell, yet both are considered Enfeebling Magic spells, affected by Enfeebling Magic skill level.

Spell Type Description Examples Jobs
Dark Magic Self-serving, stat-manipulating, leeching spells. Bio, Absorb-ACC, Drain II, Dread Spikes Black Mage, Dark Knight, Red Mage, Scholar
Elemental Magic Generic offensive damage-dealing spells. Fire, Waterga IV, Flare II Black Mage, Dark Knight, Red Mage, Scholar
Enfeebling Magic Chip away at foe attributes with status ailments. Dia, Slow, Blind, Sleepga II, Gravity, Dispel Black Mage, Dark Knight, Red Mage, Scholar, White Mage
Enhancing Magic Beneficially affect allies with stat buffs. Enthunder, Haste, Regen III, Shellra V, Erase, Ice Spikes Black Mage, Paladin, Red Mage, Scholar, White Mage
Divine Magic Light-based offensive spells to vanquish foes. Banish II, Holy, Flash, Repose Paladin, White Mage
Healing Magic Curative spells that mend wounds. Cure, Curaga IV, Raise III, Esuna Paladin, Red Mage, Scholar, White Mage
Blue Magic Spells garnered from monsters turned against them. 1000 Needles, Healing Breeze, Self-Destruct, Eyes On Me Blue Mage
Summoning Magic Elemental beasts evoked to aid combatants. Ifrit, Fenrir, Carbuncle, Light Elemental Summoner
Ninjutsu Ancient ninja arts, to ail and inhibit foes. Utsusemi: Ni, Suiton: San, Jubaku: Ichi Ninja
Singing, String Inst., Wind Inst. Intricate songs to aid allies and hinder foes. Foe Requiem VI, Maiden's Virelai, Chocobo Mazurka Bard

Ivalice

Further in the series, Magic has been given a new spelling; Magick, in the Ivalice related game series, starting with Final Fantasy XII and followed by subsequent games within the Ivalice Alliance. This also marks the appearance of new magic types:

Type Games Jobs Description
Green Magick Final Fantasy XII, Final Fantasy Tactics A2 Green Mage Spells that cast status effects to buff the party or weaken enemies.
Arcane Magick Final Fantasy XII, Final Fantasy Tactics A2 Red Mage, Arcanist Combination of black and white magic spells that deals with direct damage or negative status effects.

Levels and Naming

Certain type of magic spells have different power levels. As the player progresses through the game, successively more powerful versions of basic spells become available. The level spells have significant differences and various effects. In one example, the second level of a spell may affect more than one target but its effect is comparable to the first level; and in another, the second level may affect one target, but the effect is more powerful than the first level.

The different levels has led the series to develop a distinct naming convention. This identifies second, third, and fourth level magic spells with a specific suffix to the name of the first level spell, with possible minor variations in the root word. The suffixes are -ra for the second level; -ga for the third, and -ja for the fourth. For example, the name of the second level version of Thunder is named Thundara and the third is Thundaga. There are also variants, for example, the second level of Haste is Hastega.

However, due to technical limitations, the English version uses a convention that number these spells in order of which the highest number is the strongest. For example, for Fire, the first level and the weakest would be Fire 1. As the number increases, the spell is stronger, for example, Fire 2 is stronger than Fire 1 and so forth. In other words, Firaga would become Fire 3. Thunder was shortened to Lit or Bolt, and Thundara would be denoted as Lit2 or Bolt2.

In recent titles and remakes, starting with Final Fantasy VIII, the naming convention reverts back to suffix use of the Japanese version. The one exception to this rule is Final Fantasy II, which used a vastly different magic system from other games in the series. Spell names in Final Fantasy II were given in katakana, and rather than appending one of the above suffixes to signify a more powerful version of a spell, a simple numerical modifier was added to the end of the name. Each spell in Final Fantasy II could be raised to level 16. For example, if the spell Thunder were leveled up to level 16, it would be called Thunder 16. Enemy spells, however, used Latin number suffixes, such as 'XVI' for level 16.

In Final Fantasy XI, spells tiers are distinguished from each other by Roman numerals (e.g., Thunder, Thunder II, Cure, Cure II). Fourth level spells (such as Cure IV and Thunder IV) are equivalent to the -ja suffix found in previous Final Fantasy games. Spells that affect multiple targets are distinguished from the single target variants with the -aga suffix (e.g. Firaga). The spell tiers for the multiple target spells are also distinguished from each other by Roman numerals (e.g. Firaga, Firaga II, Firaga III).

The fourth level suffix (-ja) is infrequently used; few games in the series feature magic spells with four power levels, the Cure spell being the only example in more recent titles. Other examples are the Dia and Heal spells. In the few times they are used, elemental spells such as Thundaja are extremely powerful. Notably, the Kingdom Hearts line of games used the Final Fantasy spell level classification system in multiple aspects of the games, and in Kingdom Hearts II labeled the proverbial "fourth level" on its synthesis items with a -gun suffix instead of a -ja suffix (example: Firagun Bangle). This predates the -ja labeling first present in Final Fantasy XII, and the reason for the change is unknown.

Elements

Spells can also be divided into elemental spells and non-elemental spells. Elemental magic is associated with a particular element of nature, such as Fire, Ice, Lightning, Water, Wind, and Earth, with Fire, Ice, and Lightning often serving as the main elements, with Water, Wind, and Earth more often then not serving as secondary elements. The number and names of the elemental spells vary from game to game. Sometimes two other elements, Holy and Dark are added. Non-elemental spells are not associated with an element. Examples include spells that affect the status of the target.

Each magic caster possesses a level of magic power, which affects the damage of a given spell. Characters with higher magic power will deal more damage than the same spell cast by someone with a lower magic power. Certain characters can have affinities to an element: for example, a Fire magic spell from a fire-based character will cause more damage than a wind-based character casting it. Each target possesses magic resistance, which lessens the effect of magic spells. In addition to the magic resistance of the target, certain targets have a different resistance (positive or negative) to certain elementals: they may receive more damage than usual from spells associated with that elemental (usually 200% damage) or less (usually 50%); they may nullify the damage (0%) or absorb it (usually 100% of the damage is converted to health gain). Non-elemental magic damage depends only on magic resistance.

Plot

As mentioned, magic is influential in the workings of the world.

Final Fantasy IV

Summon magic takes a prominent role in the game. The village of Mist is destroyed early in the game and was the home of the Summoners. Cagnazzo, under the disguise of the King of Baron, ordered the village burned because he feared the power of the Summoners. Rydia was the only survivor of the village and her powers became pivotal to the safety of the world, as she was able to use her Eidolons to save the party from Golbez when he almost killed them.

The magic Meteor also takes a critical plot point as a powerful and sealed magic spell that Tellah seeks to avenge his daughter by using it to kill Golbez. At the end of the game, the villain Zemus battles Golbez and Fusoya, and the two cast Double Meteor to dispatch him, only to see him rise again as Zeromus. As well, in the DS release, it is mentioned that the gift of magic was bestowed on humans by Kluya, and they could not access its power before he came.

Final Fantasy VI

1000 years prior to the game's beginning, the Warring Triad descended to the world and began the War of the Magi. During this time, many creatures and humans were transformed into magical demi-gods called Espers, and other humans in turn began using magic extracted from Espers. Eventually, the Warring Triad turned themselves to stone to stop the war, the Espers fled to another dimension, and magic was forgotten. The few surviving humans began to rebuild the world - those that still had magical powers founded the village Thamasa, and over time their powers dwindled, but remained innate and present.

Twenty years before the game begins, Emperor Gestahl finds the Esper world. With a process developed by Cid Del Norte Marquez, he forcibly extracts raw magical power from the Espers he captures. This eventually leads the process known as Magitek, and many powerful machines are infused with magical energy, as well as people including Kefka Palazzo and Celes Chere. With magic fueling their army, the Gestahlian Empire conquers much of the world.

It is at this time the rebel faction known as the Returners comes across a woman named Terra Branford, a former Imperial Soldier who lost her memories. It is eventually discovered that she is the child of the Esper Maduin and a woman named Madeline, making her half-Esper and one of the few humans to naturally know magic. The Esper Ramuh also reveals that Magitek is inefficient - the magic extracted is relatively weak and kills the Espers. However, when an Esper expires they become Magicite, which can teach magic at a higher potency and much more efficiently.

Eventually, Kefka finds and takes control of the Warring Triad, draining their powers to become the God of Magic. Reshaping the world into the World of Ruin, Kefka rules unopposed with his new powers, until the Returners reassemble their ranks and assault his tower. The Triad and Kefka are destroyed, but as Kefka was the God of Magic, magic vanishes from the world. The innate magic of the party fades, the Magicite shards they've collected shattered, and the world reforms to its previous state. However, due to her emotional attachments to the children of Mobliz, Terra is able to become a full human and remain alive without her powers.

Final Fantasy VII

Magic in Final Fantasy VII can be used through the use of Materia, orbs of mystical energy created by condensed Mako from the Lifestream. As the Lifestream is the collective consciousness of all who have died, Materia allows the holder to access the knowledge of the Lifestream and tap into the powers of the Planet, manifesting as Magic or other abilities. Materia can be used by equipping the spheres into slots on weapons or armor, the placement on that equipment piece affecting the Materia - Materia can be linked with other Materia to enhance it, for example. Materia grows stronger over time through AP, and new Materia shards are produced when enough AP is gathered.

Professor Hojo, a scientist for the Shinra Electric Power Company studied Materia extensively, but was unable to grasp its secrets. Being a rational scientist, he objected to the use of the term "Magic" to describe the powers of Materia. No better explanation is given, however. In addition to the powers granted by Materia, a limited number of characters can manifest magic-like powers in their Limit Breaks, although it is neither confirmed nor denied if Limit Breaks are related to magic in any way.

There are also ultimate spells, too powerful for the normal human to use and unusable by the player during the game. One is Meteor, the ultimate Black Magic with the power to destroy the Planet. Meteor summons a gigantic meteor from outer space and sends it hurtling straight down to the Planet's surface over the course of several days. In counter to Meteor's immense power, an ultimate White Magic has the power to stop it, Holy. Both of these great spells only work on special Materia, the Black Materia for Meteor, and the White Materia for Holy.

Sephiroth planned to use Meteor in a plot to become a God. Meteor would create a wound on the Planet so great that the Lifestream would sent out to heal it. From there Sephiroth would take control of the Lifestream and take over the entire Planet. However, Aeris Gainsborough travels to the Forgotten Capital to Summon Holy. Sephiroth kills her, but not before Holy can be Summoned. Using his power Sephiroth holds Holy back so that Meteor can fall without resistance. Cloud Strife and his party travel down into Sephiroth's lair in the Northern Crater and defeat him, releasing Holy and crushing his plot to become a God. Yet Holy was sent out too late, and Meteor manages to break through it and crash into the city of Midgar, destroying the world capital. The Lifestream is sent out to force Meteor back and save the Planet.

Final Fantasy VIII

Magic can be used by everyone through different means--the main ones being Sorceress power (Embodiment), Guardian-Force junctioning (Para-Magic), and innate abilities (Limit Breaks). Sorceress power is attributed to the legend of the Great Hyne, supposedly the creator of the world and the first sorcerer ever to exist. The legend goes that fragments of the Great Hyne's power is given to these sorceresses. This passing of sorceress powers, called the Embodiment, became a tradition where a person with the capacity to embody a sorceress' power is chosen as the candidate. As such, sorceresses are both respected and feared by ordinary human beings.

Dr. Odine, a monster and later GF researcher, cooperated with a sorceress and began studying sorceresses and magic. As a result, he developed what is called Para-Magic, which involved Junctioning a GF. It is unclear where a GF resides within the body, but observations show that those who had relied on GFs suffered memory loss in turn. By Junctioning GFs, people could use magic by Drawing the energy from various sources such as items, draw points and even monsters.

Ultimecia, a powerful sorceress from the future, wishes to change the world by compressing time and taking power from all sorceresses that have existed. Time Compression involves powerful time magic that causes various present states to appear at one time, which in turn causes all sorceresses to exist at one given time. This will give Ultimecia the opportunity to become the most powerful sorceress in existence and an all powerful being able to control all of time and space. Time Compression requires her to possess a sorceress from the past and draw their power. However, the SeeDs from a certain past managed to travel through Time Compression when she began using this powerful magic, ending her reign and restoring the flow of time.


This article uses material from the "Magic (Term)" article on the Final Fantasy wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

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