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Character stats[edit]

See also: Classes
STR Strength measures a character's physical power. Higher strength ratings allow a hero to do more with each hit. Attackers rely primarily on their strength attributes. Masters have the most strength while Black Wizards have the least. Weapons can be equipped to supplement natural strength (see ATK), or a character can fight barehanded.
ATK Called "Damage" in the NES version.
Attack is a character's strength modified by whatever weapon they have equipped. Specifically, ATK = ½STR + Weapon Attack modifier, except for Monks and Masters who have an additional modifier if they are fighting barehanded, which increases as their level goes up. Eventually Monks/Masters will reach the point where they can do more damage without a weapon than with one.
AGL Agility is the level of physical dexterity that character has. High agility pushes a character higher up in the attacking order and makes it easier for them to successfully escape a fight. Ninjas have the highest agility by far. Agility is affected by armor; heavy mail will lower agility considerably, while lighter armlets will not make a noticeable difference.
ACC Called "Hit%" in the NES version.
Accuracy determines how often an attack will successfully hit as well as the maximum number of hits per round that a character can get in. Whether or not a single blow connects is determined independently of others, so a character with a maximum of six hits might miss twice but still get in four blows. The chance of a hit connecting is determined by attacker's accuracy - target's evasion. Weapons affect accuracy, with some weapons improving it and others decreasing it. Generally heavy weapons such as Axes and Hammers will lower accuracy while lighter weapons such as Knives will raise it.
INT Intelligence determines the power of spells (both White and Black). All mages and wizards have high intelligence, with the Black Mages and Wizards possessing exceptionally great quantities of Intelligence. Note that spells cast by using weapons and armor are affected by the user's intelligence in the same way that a cast spell is affected.
DEF Called "Absorb" in the NES version.
Defense reduces the amount of damage taken from non-magical attacks. All classes have a base defense of zero, so the stat is determined solely by what body armor, shields, headgear, and gloves are equipped.
END Called "Vitality" in the NES version.
Endurance also reduces the amount of damage taken from attacks. Endurance is similar to defense except that it is an inherent trait that goes up with each level and is not affected by equipment. It is necessary for the characters in the lead to have high endurance since they will be hit the most often. Warriors and Knights have the highest endurance while Black Mages and Wizards have the lowest endurance and will generally take two to three times as much damage from the same attack as other classes.
EVA Called "Evade %" in the NES version.
Evade reduces the chance of an enemy physical attack (magic cannot be dodged) successfully hitting the character. The actual probability of a hit connecting is determined by attacker's accuracy - target's evasion. All armor reduces evasion, with heavier equipment further reducing it. Note that the probability of a shield blocking an attack is completely independent of a character's evasion.
LCK Luck is a miscellaneous attribute that works with other stats. One of the most important functions of luck is that it works with agility to determine if a character can successfully flee a battle. The Ninja has exceptionally high luck that will allow it to run from most fights. Often, a Thief is included in a party simply for his ability to escape.


  • Formation is the order in which characters line up, and the chances of a character being targeted is determined by their position. The lead character will be targeted the most often, so it should be a character with high defense and endurance, such as a Warrior/Knight. Weaker classes, such as Black Mages/Wizards should be put in the rear. Note that moving a character further back does not reduce the amount of damage taken or increase evasion, it only reduces the chance that an enemy will target them.


NES combat screen
PlayStation combat screen

In combat, you are presented with your party on the right side and your enemies on the left. Before each round of combat, the Light Warriors step forth one by one and awaits your orders. After the warriors receive their orders, they carry them out while the enemy counter attacks. Combat continues until all of your enemies, or all of your party has been defeated, or until one of your party members successfully flees from battle. If either side is completely incapacitated by status ailments, the other side gets free rounds of attacks until at least one member recovers. If all of your party members are defeated, the game is over.

  • Attack: This is pretty obvious. Characters attack enemies with the weapon they have equipped. Characters without weapons will attack with their bare hands.
  • Magic: Characters can use spells that have been purchased from a magic shop. Select a spell and a target (if applicable) for the spell.
  • Items: Uses items in battle. Some items can't be used unless you have the Battle Support option enabled in the System Menu. Spells that can be cast from equipment can be cast by using the equipment like a normal item. At the top of the item menu, press up to select an equipped item.
  • Equip: Allows characters to change their equipment in battle. Multiple pieces can be switched in one round and changing equipment does not forfeit the character's turn.
  • Flee: The character that chooses this command will attempt to run away. If he succeeds, the whole party will escape. If he fails they cannot attack during that round.

Tactical observations about fleeing[edit]

The Flee command is generally useful as a fix when you make some tactical mistake.

For instance, you will need to flee if you forgot to save and you meet enemies that are too strong for your party. In that case, there is also a low chance of successfully escape battle. It's better to reload a saved game, then grind a few levels before taking the same chance.

Another example of possible tactical mistake is to flee fights in a dungeon to get faster to the boss. As a likely consequence, the enemies in the subsequent area will be too strong and numerous for your team, and the time you saved escaping weak enemies will be spent grinding against stronger and more dangerous enemies, with further chances to get beaten.

The choice of whether to run from battles or "fight to the end and reload" depends on your play style, but is inefficient and risky compared to grinding sufficiently and being prepared for the challenges in each zone. The difficulty, then, is knowing how much to grind in order to overcome the strength disparity between your party and the upcoming monsters. It is easy to not grind enough, and be too weak to fight your way through a dungeon, and it is just as easy to grind too much, and have wasted your time on that section. Comparing speed runs is a good way to accurately narrow down these margins of necessary time spent compared to your party's strength.

Status ailments[edit]

  • Effect: Affected character falls asleep and can no longer act.
  • Causes: Sleep, Sleepara, physical attacks from mummies
  • Recovery: Chance of recovery during each turn in battle or the end of the battle. Additionally, in DoS and AE, using a Remedy will awaken a sleeping character.
  • Note: Not a concern. Few enemies cause sleep, either through magic or a special attack.
  • Effect: Affected character's Accuracy is reduced.
  • Causes: Dark, physical attacks from Shadows
  • Recovery: The spell Blindna or the end of the battle. Additionally, in DoS and AE, using the Eye Drop or a Remedy cure darkness.
  • Note: Meaningless. Not rare, but not really common. If even a character is affected, chances are you won't notice a difference in how much damage they can do. Since attacks involve multiple hits instead of a single blow, even with reduced accuracy characters will most likely get several hits in.
  • Effect: Affected character can no longer use magic.
  • Causes: Silence
  • Recovery: The spell Vox or the end of the battle. Additionally, in DoS and AE, using an Echo Grass or a Remedy will cure mute.
  • Note: Not a concern. About as uncommon as darkness, though it does have a noticeable affect since all magic is locked out. Unless you are using all magic users, a low level run through, or are severely injured, chances are even if all characters are muted it won't matter since your fighters will end the battle soon anyway.
  • Effect: Affected character can no longer act.
  • Causes: Hold, Stun, physical attacks from various enemies including most undead, special attacks such as Gaze and Mindblast.
  • Recovery: Chance of recovery during each turn in battle, or the end of the battle. Additionally, in DoS and AE, using a Remedy will restore a paralyzed character.
  • Note: More of an annoyance than a threat. Similar to, but much more common than, sleep. You will encounter a lot of enemies that can paralyze though most are weak enough that you'll recover before you get killed. The biggest threat are Mindflayers which can paralyze the entire party at once.
  • Effect: Gradually reduces the affected character's HP until cured.
  • Causes: Physical attacks from countless enemies including most spiders, snakes, centipedes, flans, ochus, golems, scorpions, nagas, were-creatures, and Wyverns.
  • Recovery: The spell Poisona or an Antidote.
  • Note: The most annoying aliment in the game. The most common aliment as well, especially in and around the Marsh Cave. While the damaged caused per round isn't huge, you do have to cure this immediately after a battle since you will take damage every step. Always carry as many antidotes as you can.
  • Effect: Character is turned to stone and cannot act until cured.
  • Causes: Break, physical attacks from cockatrices, special attacks from Medusa types.
  • Recovery: The spell Stona or a Gold Needle.
  • Note: A huge threat. Not only is a petrified character unable to act, but they are as good as dead. If the battle ends before they are fixed they will not gain experience, if all characters are petrified the game is over, and petrified characters cannot have their HP restored at an inn or by Cure spells. Add to that the fact that most enemies that can cause petrification tend to attack in large groups, and this will be more of a concern than being killed.
  • Effect: Character is dead and cannot act until cured.
  • Causes: Losing all of your HP, instant-death Black magic, and some physical attacks (such as from Mindflayers)
  • Recovery: The spells Life and Full-life or revival at a Sanctuary. Additionally, in DoS and AE, using a Phoenix Down will revive a character.
  • Note: Learn Life as soon as possible and keep your HP up at all times. Otherwise the only way to revive them is to go back to town and pay a healer.


Once you defeat Bikke the pirate in Pravoka, he will surrender his ship to you. The ship can only sail in deep water, so it cannot enter rivers. You can only get on or get off of the ship at docks or river mouths (once you have the canoe). You will be attacked by various ocean enemies such as Sharks and Sahagins while sailing. There are only docks on the southern continent.
Once the Lich is defeated one of the sages at Crescent Lake will give you a canoe. The canoe can only travel on rivers or lakes. You can switch directly from the ship to the canoe onto a river by docking the ship at the river's mouth. While on a river you will be attacked by some of the strongest enemies in the game such as crocodiles, piranhas, ochus and hydras.
To get the airship you have to take the Levistone from the Ice Cavern to the Lykion Desert. The airship can fly anywhere but it can only land on open plains. The airship is the only way to get to the northern continents, but since the airship cannot land in forests or deserts you will still be limited to where you can land. You will not encounter any enemies while flying.