CoN 25th Anniversary: 1997-2022
Final Fantasy IFinal Fantasy IVFinal Fantasy VFinal Fantasy VIFinal Fantasy VIIFinal Fantasy IXFinal Fantasy TacticsChrono Trigger

Final Fantasy Tactics Newbie Guide

If you're new to Final Fantasy Tactics or to the tactical genre, this game might prove extremely daunting and hard to play. We know, we've been there before. Why, R51 didn't know how to add people to his fighting team his first battle. So have no fear - read the guide and learn what you need to get started.


Brave Story

The first thing to recognize about FFT is that the storyline is confusing and hard to follow at the beginning and makes more sense as you progress through the game. Because people are being betrayed and perpetrating the betrayals, it's often difficult to know where they stand with someone else. That's where one of FFT's menus comes in handy, the Brave Story menu.

Make good use of the Brave Story menu because not only does it give you information about characters and scenes that happened, it allows you to replay most of the scenes that happen throughout the game. So if you accidentally miss what someone says in an important dialogue, you can go to the Brave Story to replay them.

Back to top

Separate Save Files

Many times throughout the game, you'll enter a castle or a dungeon of sorts where there are consecutive battles. When this happens, you'll still be able to mess around with the jobs, abilities, and equipment of your troops, but you won't be able to leave to buy new equipment and items or level up. Consequently, when it gives you an opportunity to save within the dungeon or castle, you might find yourself at a battle that's difficult to defeat. If the only save file you have is inside that area, you could be in a lot of trouble.

That's why it's recommended to save in a separate file whenever the game asks you if you want to save. In general, this means that you're going to have a chance to monkey with your troops, and then enter a battle. So if you save your game in a second file when this happens, keeping your original file saved before you enter the area, you'll always have a file to return to in case you get stuck.

Back to top


Something important to take advantage of with the Squire job is the ability "Accumulate." This is a wonderful ability to use when you're battling solely to level up. Accumulate gives you experience and job points, and you can use it quickly. When you're leveling up, it's a good idea to lower the enemy's speed and then accumulate over and over since you can outrun him so easily.

Back to top


Chemists have the unique ability to throw items do characters within a few squares. However, unless they are equipped with the ability "Throw Item," other jobs will only be able to use Items on characters directly next to them. This is important to remember when you're giving a character the Item secondary skill.

Back to top


One of the Knight's helpful skills while leveling up is Speed Break. Speed Break lowers the enemy's speed for that battle and can lower it all the way down to one. When you're leveling up, kill off all enemies except for one, then lower its speed all the way down. This will allow you the freedom to level up without having to worry about enemy attacks.

Back to top


A great ability of the archer is Concentrate. This ensures that if the enemy is in the square you've targeted with a physical attack, they will be hit with 100% accuracy.

Back to top


One important thing to remember about the Monk class is that their abilities are most powerful when the user is not equipped with any weapons. In the same notion, their regular attack will not be powerful unless they are fighting with their bare hands.

Back to top


The Oracle has the helpful ability to lower the Brave of certain characters with the skill Foxbird. If this is done on your own characters, it may seem like it's temporary, but when Brave is taken down in battle, it lowers it permanently, but at a much less degree. For example, if someone's Brave is lowered by five in battle, it might be lowered by 1 permanently.

Back to top


The Mediator has the ability to lower the Brave and Faith of certain characters with various spells. If this is done on your own characters, it may seem like it's temporary, but when Brave is taken down in battle, it lowers it permanently, but at a much less degree. For example, if someone's Brave is lowered by five in battle, it might be lowered by 1 permanently.

Back to top


The Lancer can jump on enemies but can only do so if their jump ability is high enough. For example, if an enemy is four spaces away, the Lancer would need to have Level Jump 4 or greater. Likewise, if the enemy is four spaces higher than the Lancer, the Lancer would need Vertical Jump 4 or greater. The best thing for the Lancer to do is to save up for Level Jump 8 and Vertical Jump 8 without even bothering with the other abilities.

Back to top


The Geomancer uses skills based on the current tile they're standing on. There are generally many different types of tiles in each battle. If they're standing on, for example, a tile of grass, then the Geomancer would have had to have learned Hell Ivy, which is the corresponding Elemental ability.

Back to top


The thing you need to watch out for when you have a Samurai is to have a bunch of Samurai swords in stock because there's a chance that when you use a Draw Out ability, the sword will break. And in order to use a Draw Out ability in the first place, the Samurai has to learn the ability along with having the sword in stock.

Back to top


When a Bard sings, they charge but don't stop charging. If you let them sing without interrupting, the results will come about much faster than if you stop them and then start again later.

Back to top


When a Dancer dances, they charge but don't stop charging. If you let them dance without interrupting, the results will come about much faster than if you stop them and then start again later.

Back to top

Check Your AT

One of the most crucial aspects to Final Fantasy Tactics is AT, active time. Active Time determines when your characters have their turns in battle, but more importantly, when they are able to use abilities. Many abilities, like items, don't require any charging, but many of them, especially magic spells, require that you charge up before they can be cast.

That's where the ability to check your AT comes in handy. When you're about to cast a spell that requires charging, it will have a number to the right on the menu (like, when you're selecting one Black Magic spell from a list of them). Scroll to the one that you want to cast, then press right. It will show a list of how the battle will progress, turn by turn, and will fit the spell in, so you can see if the target will have a turn or not before it goes off. This is crucial -- if you don't check AT, the target could move next to your character, causing them damage, or even move out of your range completely.

Back to top

Get Creative with Combinations

When you're making characters with secondary abilities, try to use a secondary ability that complements the job. For example, Holy is the most powerful spell that a generic character can obtain, and a Wizard has the highest magic power. The result? A Wizard with White Magic will be able to cast the most powerful available spell with the best effect. Things like this work with many different jobs.

Back to top

Learning Ultima

You may have heard about learning Ultima in FFT, and that is true. Only Ramza can learn Ultima, and he must be a Squire to learn it. It can only be learned in battles with the assassins Celia and Lede, who will cast it on Ramza. Once it's cast on him, there's a good chance he'll learn it, though it's much easier said than done.

Back to top

Zodiac Signs

Zodiac Signs in FFT actually determine the effectiveness and accuracy of some abilities. Some zodiacs have excellent compatibility with others, some have good, some are bad, and some are extremely bad. Although it takes a lot to consider Zodiac Signs in battles for who will attack who, it might be smart to set up your characters accordingly if you want to have the best chance at stealing equipment from enemies in the late game. Your first time through, don't bother with them at all.

Back to top

Faith and Brave

Faith and Brave are used to determine your character's resistance and application of magical and some physical attacks.

Faith determines how much damage will be given and taken from magical attacks. The higher the character's faith, the more damage they'll take from magic and the more damage they'll deal with magic.

Brave determines how much damage will be given from certain physical attacks (Bare Hands, Katanas and Knight Swords), how often your Reaction skill will take action (generally, it works Brave% of the time, so the greater the better), and the chance of getting a rare item while using the Move Find Item ability (this time it works [100 - Brave]% of getting the rare item, so the lower the better).

One thing to remember, though, is that if you take steps to increase your Faith too high (permanently over 94), your character will leave the party forever, and if their Brave is too low (permanently below 6), they will also leave the party forever.

Back to top

Vital Statistics

Each character in FFT has the same set of statistics - HP, MP, Speed, AT, MA, Move, Jump, and Evade. HP represents your health -- when it drops to 0, the character dies. MP represents magic points. Each spell costs a certain amount of MP to cast. Speed represents how often you'll take action. AT represents your physical attack power. MA represents your magical attack power. Move represents how far you can move on the battle grid. Jump represents how high you can jump on the battle grid. Evade represents how often an enemy's attack will be dodged.

Back to top

Stealing and Poaching

Thievery and fur sales may seem like black market activities, but they're perfectly acceptable in the world of Ivalice. Stealing in battle is an excellent way to get weapons and equipment that you wouldn't be able to get otherwise, and the Thief ability "Secret Hunt" allows you to take the enemy with you when you kill it (The person with Secret Hunt equipped must deliver the fatal blow) and deliver it to a Fur Shop, where you can buy great items depending on which enemies have been poached. Keep in mind that when you enter the Fur Shop, you must have Secret Hunt equipped on the character who killed the enemy in order to be able to purchase the items that the fur will net you.

Back to top

Soldier Office

The Soldier Office allows you to create new party members if some of yours have been lost in battle, or if you're starting out at the beginning and want to customize your characters. You can choose from a Male or Female fighter, and you view their statistics before purchasing them. This will allow you to get a character with good Brave or Faith, and a Zodiac Sign that you want.

Back to top


Propositions are available at the bar in each city. They offer an easy chance to get quick JP and Gil, along with the possibility of finding treasure which is usually reminiscent of a previous Final Fantasy game. When you take up a proposition, you must send three characters off to do it, and they can't be special characters, like Agrias or Orlandu, and they can't be guests. Then, when a certain amount of days has passed, return to the city and select "Report Job" and you'll hear a synopsis of what the characters did, then you'll receive your reward.

Back to top

Coward's Prize

Items are hidden on battlefields on specific squares, and only one with Move-Find Item will be able to pick them up. However, the chance of finding a rare item is greater if the character's brave is lower. The percentage of finding the common item is equal to the character's brave, so if their brave is very low, it's more likely that they'll get the rare item.

Back to top

Enemy Levels

In random battles, the enemies will level up along with you, making them a challenge. At the same notion, the gil received after a battle is complete depends on the enemy levels, so it's important that the enemies have higher levels if you want to get more money from each battle.

Back to top

Leveling Up

It doesn't take too much to find a good place to level up...for example, at Mandalia Plains, consider killing off all but one enemy, then surrounding it and attacking it and healing it, alternately. You'll get JP, and the enemy will only be able to attack one of your characters at a time.

At Bariaus Valley, notice that there is a single square of land in the middle of the river. There is a trick here that allows for easy leveling up based on that square. When you enter a battle there, make sure there is an enemy that cannot enter water...for example, any panther-type enemy. Then, kill off every other enemy but that enemy and put one of your characters on that square in the middle of your river. Then, move all of your other characters to the other side of the river, away from the panther. Presto! The panther cannot damage you, and you are free to use Accumulate over and over to gain levels and job levels.

Another spot for a good level up is Lenalia Plateau. Again, you'll need to be fighting an enemy that cannot enter water. When you've accomplished that, move all your characters into the patch of water in the corner where there is enough so that no character borders the land. When you've done this, the enemy cannot hurt you, and you're free to accumulate to gain experience and job points.

Back to top

Climb Higher

Characters can attack if they are three height levels higher than the person they are attacking, but they can't attack if the person is three above them. Therefore, if you have an opportunity to attack someone from three up, take it, because they won't be able to counter. In the same notion, the most you can attack from below someone is two, so beware of attacking the square if they're higher than that. Also, if the enemy is two above you but also has Float, that counts as three spaces and your attack will miss.

Back to top

Cover Your Back

If an enemy attacks you from the back, the chance that the attack will succeed is significantly higher than if they attack you from the front. Even attacking from the side has a better chance than attacking from the front. So always take into consider which direction you Wait in, because if your back is exposed, you'll likely be hit. On the same token, if you have the opportunity to attack an enemy from behind or from the side, take it.

Back to top


When someone dies in battle, a number appears over their head. This number represents the number of turns there are before the character will disappear forever and cannot be revived. If it's one of your characters, revive them quickly or you'll never be able to get them back. When the number expires, there will either be a treasure chest or a crystal in the character's place. If you pick up the crystal, you can either recover your HP and MP completely or inherit some of the abilities that that character knew. If you get the treasure chest, it's usually an item or some equipment that they had on.

Back to top

Working Together

When you're trying to level up a couple people in the same job, consider making your entire party that same job. You'll all level up much quicker, because when one character gains JP in battle, everyone else gains 1/6 that amount in that job. So, if you have five squires in one battle, everyone will gain 10/6 the amount of JP they would (each round) than if you only had one squire.

Back to top

The Power of Healing

When you're fighting undead enemies, like skeletons, consider using Phoenix Downs on them. It will kill them instantly. Any curative items, like Potions, will have the opposite effects of undead enemies.

Back to top

— Edited by Neal and R51
Caves of Narshe: Final Fantasy Tactics
Version 6
©1997–2024 Josh Alvies (Rangers51)

All fanfiction and fanart (including original artwork in forum avatars) is property of the original authors. Some graphics property of Square Enix.