Weapons are the primary means of doing damage to foes, and different character classes can equip different weapons. Without a weapon equipped, the character will fight barehanded, doing very little damage (except for the Monk/Master).
Each character will have a base damage and to-hit percentage based on their stats. The weapon equipped adds directly to these two values; thus, the higher the damage and to-hit rating of the weapon the better it is. Higher to-hit ratings not only result in fewer misses but also more multiple hits.
The base damage of the character is half of his strength, rounded down. Although strength does increase with level, the effect of weapon damage is far greater even at high levels. In other words, having a good weapon is at least as important as being high-level, when it comes to causing damage. Base to-hit rating is determined entirely by the class and level of the character, with each character starting at a base rate and increasing by a fixed number per level.
Weapons that are "strong against" a certain type do more damage to that type of monster, including a bonus both to attack and to hit. However due to a bug, in the NES version the weaknesses are never triggered and so this field is irrelevant; this bug was fixed in subsequent versions.
The above formula is ignored, however, in the case of a black belt or master fighting bare-handed. In this case the attack rating is simply double the character level. Barehanded monks/masters also get a bonus to their chance of getting multiple hits or critical hits, proportional to their level. While a low-level black belt will do little damage bare-handed and be forced to use the inferior weapons available to his class, a level 50 master will do more damage than an entire party of other characters could.
In Final Fantasy, the weapon type has no gameplay significance. In the original NES version, the weapon type was indicated by a symbol at the end, and not truly part of the name; however some weapons did not have any symbol attached to them. Each type of weapon does tend to share characteristics such as which classes may equip them, and being familiar with the types will make equipping your characters easier.
The Ninja can equip every weapon in the game (except two), so it would be redundant to mention him in the following analysis.
- Swords: Swords are the most common weapons in the game: more than half of the original 40 weapons belong to this category. Swords originally included the only weapons that could deal extra damage to specific type of enemies; two swords can also cast spells. Warrior/Knights and Red Mages/Wizards can equip almost every sword, and the Thief can use a few.
- Axes: There are only four types of axes, and only one has a special spellcasting ability. Compared to a sword of similar price, an axe will have slightly higher attack bonus, but a lower or much lower hit% bonus, making a comparable sword better. Only the Warrior/Knight can equip them.
- Knives: There's just four knives in the game, and none of of them has any special ability. Daggers are weaker than comparable axes or swords, but they are still a good choice for Black Mages/Wizards in the early part of the game. The Warrior/Knight, the Thief and the Red Mage/Wizard can use daggers, too, but swords are a better choice for them.
- Staves: There's only six of them, and they can be divided in two groups. The three weakest staves can be used by almost any character, while the three most powerful ones, those with special spellcasting abilities, are exclusive to Black and White Mages/Wizards. Apart from the spellcasting abilities, the staves have a quite low attack power.
- Hammers: There are just three of them, and only the last one has a special spellcasting ability. Hammers are poor weapons, inferior to swords, axes, and even knives. They're almost the only weapons available to the White Mage/Wizard, although the Warrior/Knight can equip them, too.
- Nunchaku: The two nunchakus can only be equipped by Monks/Masters (black belts in the NES). They have no special abilities. The Monk/Master will soon find himself dealing more damage using his karate (Japanese for "bare-hands").
A more significant classification for the gameplay can be based on the special effects:
- Plain weapons: 24 weapons that have no special properties. They can be purchased in shops, but apart from the beginning of the game, it's more convenient to just use those found in chests and dungeons.
- Elemental/strength weapons: Nine swords that deal extra damage to specific enemies. They can only be found for free in chests and dungeons. The Warrior/Knight and the Red Mage/Wizard can use all of them, and the Thief can use just three.
- Spellcasting weapons: Seven weapons that can cast spells unlimited times if selected from the menu, even if the character cannot actually equip it. They can only be found in chests and dungeons, in the second half of the game. They are quite class-specific: the three Mages/Wizards can equip two of them each, and the Warrior/Knight can equip some as well.
The only two weapons that the Ninja cannot equip are the "top" elemental sword and the "top" black spellcasting weapon.
There are 40 different weapons in the video game, plus 23 more in the GBA remake and further 5 more in the PSP remake.
- 5 can be purchased in the starting town;
- 6 can be purchased in other towns;
- 8 can be either purchased or found;
- 21 can only be found;
- the 23 GBA ones and 5 PSP ones can only be found.
In the table below, when two names are reported, the first one is from the NES version, the second one from the PSX and GBA remakes.
Weapons that can only be found but not purchased are listed afterwards, as more valuable; their listed price is twice the selling price, because every weapon can be sold for half its purchasing price; anyway, their Price cell is shaded in gray.
- Item: use the weapon from the "Item" menu to cast a spell; alignment (B/W) and level (1-8) of the spell are noted as well; in order to use it as an item, it is not relevant whether the weapon is equipped or not.
- Elements: Fire is strong versus ice and undead enemies; Ice is strong versus fire enemies; Holy is extra-strong versus undead enemies. The Excalibur deals extra damage to any enemy.
Many weapons can only be equipped by specific characters. The table below reports all of them, abbreviated as follows:
- wK: Warrior and Knight
- tN: Thief and Ninja
- mM: Monk and Master
- rR: Red Mage and Red Wizard
- wW: White Mage and White Wizard
- bB: Black Mage and Black Wizard
In the table below, weapons are divided by users (that partially corresponds to the analysis above), then sorted according to game progress.
The Ninja can use (almost) every weapon in the game, while the Thief can use only a small number. Therefore, the weapons that (1) the Thief cannot use and (2) are obtained before the Ninja upgrade, are highlighted in red instead of in green. Indeed, why should the Ninja use a weaker weapon when a stronger one is available?
|Wooden staff / Staff||5||6||0%||-||wK||N||rR||mM||wW||bB||Buy: Cornelia|
|Power staff||24690||12||0%||-||wK||N||rR||mM||wW||bB||Find: Western Keep|
|Swords & axes|
|Rapier (sword)||10||9||5%||-||wK||tN||rR||-||-||-||Buy: Cornelia|
|Scimitar (sword)||200||10||10%||-||wK||tN||rR||-||-||-||Buy: Pravoka|
|Hand/Battle axe||550||16||5%||-||wK||N||-||-||-||-||Buy: Pravoka|
|Silver/Mythril sword||4000||23||15%||-||wK||N||rR||-||-||-||Buy: Elfheim,|
|Short/Broad sword||550||15||10%||-||wK||N||rR||-||-||-||Find: Marsh Cave|
|Falchion (sword)||450||15||10%||-||wK||tN||rR||-||-||-||Find: Western Keep|
|Sabre/Saber (sword)||450||13||5%||-||wK||tN||rR||-||-||-||Find: Cornelia Castle|
|Rune sword/blade||5000||18||15%||Strong vs. mages||wK||tN||rR||-||-||-||Find: Chaos Temple|
|Were sword / Werebane||6000||18||15%||Strong vs. werefiends||wK||N||rR||-||-||-||Find: Chaos Temple|
|Dragon sword / Wyrmkiller||8000||19||15%||Strong vs. dragons||wK||tN||rR||-||-||-||Find: Mt. Duergar|
|Long sword||1500||20||10%||-||wK||N||rR||-||-||-||Buy: Melmond|
|Coral sword||8000||19||15%||Strong vs. sea enemies||wK||tN||rR||-||-||-||Find: Terra Cave|
|Great axe||2000||22||5%||-||wK||N||-||-||-||-||Find: Titan's Cave|
|Silver/Mythril axe||4500||25||10%||-||wK||N||-||-||-||-||Find: Mt. Gulg|
Buy: Crescent Lake
|Giant/Great sword||8000||21||20%||Strong vs. giants||wK||N||rR||-||-||-||Find: Mt. Gulg|
|Ice sword/brand||15000||29||25%||Element: ice||wK||N||rR||-||-||-||Find: Mt. Gulg,|
|Flame sword||10000||26||20%||Element: fire||wK||N||rR||-||-||-||Find: Ice Cavern|
|Light axe||10000||28||15%||Item: casts W3 Diara||wK||N||-||-||-||-||Find: Sunken Shrine|
|Defense sword / Defender||50000||30||35%||Item: casts W1 Blink||K||N||R||-||-||-||Find: Waterfall Cave|
|Sun sword/blade||20000||32||30%||Element: holy||wK||N||rR||-||-||-||Find: Mirage Tower|
|Vorpal sword||30000||24||25%||-||K||N||R||-||-||-||Find: Mirage Tower|
|Bane sword / Venom blade||60000||22||30%||Item: casts B5 Bane||K||N||R||-||-||-||Find: Flying Fortress|
|Katana / Sasuke||60000||33||35%||-||-||N||-||-||-||-||Find: Flying Fortress,|
|Xcalibur / Excalibur||60000||45||35%||Element/strong: ALL||K||-||-||-||-||-||Find: Mt. Duergar|
|Masmune / Masamune||60000||56||50%||-||wK||tN||rR||mM||wW||bB||Find: Chaos Temple|
|Wooden nunchaku / Nunchaku||10||12||0%||-||-||N||-||mM||-||-||Buy: Cornelia|
|Iron staff / Crosier||200||14||0%||-||wK||N||-||mM||-||-||Find: Cornelia Castle|
|Iron nunchaku||200||16||0%||-||-||N||-||mM||-||-||Buy: Elfheim|
|Knives (& Black Wizard's staves)|
|Small knife / Knife||5||5||10%||-||wK||tN||rR||-||-||bB||Buy: Cornelia|
|Large knife / Dagger||175||7||10%||-||wK||tN||rR||-||-||bB||Find: Marsh Cave|
|Silver/Mythril knife||800||10||15%||-||wK||tN||rR||-||-||bB||Find: Marsh Cave,|
Buy: Crescent Lake
|Cat claws (knife)||65000||22||35%||-||K||N||R||-||-||B||Buy: Gaia|
|Mage staff||30000||12||10%||Item: casts B3 Fira||-||N||-||-||-||bB||Find: Sunken Shrine|
|Wizard staff||50000||15||15%||Item: casts B4 Confuse||-||-||-||-||-||B||Find: Waterfall Cave|
|Hammers (& White Wizard's staff)|
|Iron hammer / Hammer||10||9||0%||-||wK||N||-||-||wW||-||Buy: Cornelia,|
|Silver/Mythril hammer||2500||12||5%||-||wK||N||-||-||wW||-||Find: Elfheim|
Buy: Crescent Lake
|Heal/Healing staff||25000||9||0%||Item: casts W3 Heal||-||N||-||-||wW||-||Find: Trials Citadel|
|Thor's hammer||40000||18||15%||Item: casts B3 Thundara||K||N||-||-||W||-||Find: Mirage Tower|
The following table is a checklist that summarizes the location of all weapons. Weapons in brackets cannot be found for free. Weapons in bold have spellcasting abilities.
|Chapter & locations||Red Mage
|White mage's |
|1: start||Rapier||-||Wooden n.||Small kn.||Wooden st.|
Mystic key rooms
|4: Mt. Duergar
Cave of Earth
|5: Crescent Lake
|6: Ice Cave
Citadel of Trials
|Flame sw.||-||-||-||Heal st.|
|8: Waterfall cave
Tower of Mirage
|Excalibur||-||Wizard's st.||Thor's h.|
|9: Temple of Chaos||Masamune||-||-||-||-|
Weapons introduced in the GBA Soul of Chaos
Weapons are divided by type, that roughly correspond to users: swords and axes for Warrior/Knight, Thief/Ninja and Red Mage/Wizard; staves for the White Mage/Wizard; daggers for the Black Mage/Wizard. Note that the Monk/Master can only use one new weapon.
Weapons are sorted first by dungeon, then by attack value. The four "Soul of Chaos" dungeons are, in order:
- Earthgift Shrine
- Hellfire Chasm
- Lifespring Grotto
- Whisperwind Cove
|Swords & axes|
|Kotetsu katana||?||22||20%||-||wK||tN||rR||-||-||-||Win: Cerberus|
|Braveheart sword||?||30||52%||Inflicts "Confuse"||wK||N||-||-||-||-||Win: Barbariccia,|
|Kikuichimonji katana||?||35||25%||Str+5||wK||tN||rR||-||-||-||Win: Rubicante|
|Deathbringer sword||?||33||20%||Item: casts B6 Death;
Str+5, Sta+5, Agi+5, Int+5
|-||-||R||-||-||-||Find: Lifespring Grotto Win Black Knight (Temple of Air)|
|Murasame katana||?||50||10%||Str+5||-||N||-||-||-||-||Win: Omega|
|Ragnarok sword||?||55||40%||Item: casts B8 Flare;
Str+7, Sta+7, Agi+3,
|Viking axe||?||25||10%||Evasion-10 (!)||wK||N||-||-||-||-||Find: Whisperwind Cove|
|Ashura katana||?||25||25%||-||wK||tN||rR||-||-||-||Win: Pharaoh|
|Duel rapier||?||27||30%||Eva+80||wK||tN||rR||-||-||-||Find: Whisperwind Cove|
|Enhancer sword||?||28||25%||Int+7||wK||N||rR||-||-||-||Find: Whisperwind Cove|
|Ogrekiller axe||?||30||0%||Strong vs. giants||wK||N||-||-||-||-||Find: Whisperwind Cove x2|
|Dark claymore||?||40||5%||-||wK||-||-||-||-||-||Find: Whisperwind Cove|
|Rune axe||?||40||20%||Item: casts W5 Curaga;
25MP: critical hit; Int+3
|Gigant axe||?||42||0%||Str+4, Int-4||wK||N||-||-||-||-||Find: Whisperwind Cove|
|Lightbringer sword||?||48||40%||Element: holy;
Str+7, Sta+7, Agi+7,
|-||-||R||-||-||-||Win: Death Gaze|
|Ultima weapon||?||99||100%||Atk = current HP/10||K||N||R||M||W||B||Find: Whisperwind Cove|
|Sage's Staff||?||20||10%||Item: casts W5 Life;
|Rune staff||?||25||25%||Item: casts W5 Healara;
|Daggers (& Black Wizard's staff)|
|Judgment staff||?||25||25%||Item: casts B8 Flare||-||-||-||-||-||B||Win: Atomos|
|Orichalcum dagger||?||28||35%||Drains HP from enemy||wK||tN||rR||-||-||B||Find: Lifespring Grotto|
|Mage masher dagger||?||20||30%||Item: casts W2 Silence;
|wK||tN||rR||-||-||bB||Find: Whisperwind Cove|
|Gladius (dagger)||?||23||30%||Eva+10||wK||tN||rR||-||-||bB||Find: Whisperwind Cove x2|
|Assassin dagger||?||30||40%||Item: casts B8 Kill;
Agi+3, Eva+10, Int+2
|wK||tN||rR||-||-||B||Find: Whisperwind Cove|
Special damage types
Nine swords will do special, usually elemental, damage types which gives them bonuses against certain types of monsters as listed in the weapons table above. In the NES version, these bonuses are never triggered however.
Some weapons, as well as armor, are usable and will cast a particular spell when used in battle. These weapons should be held onto and used when needed; they have unlimited charges and are particularly useful during long dungeons. These weapons can be equipped by specific classes, but their spell can be cast by any character.
- Knight's axe: Light axe casts W3 Diara
- Red Wizard's swords: Defense sword casts W1 Blink, Bane sword casts B5 Bane
- Black staves: Mage's staff casts B3 Fira, Wizard's staff casts B4 Confuse
- White hammers: Healing staff casts W3 Heal, Thor's hammer casts B3 Thundara
Excalibur (Xcalbur) is crafted by a dwarf in Mt. Duergar, after you bring him Adamantine (Adamant) from the Flying Fortress second floor. The sword cannot be sold and is only usable by the Knight character following the class change.
Excalibur is strong against "all" types, meaning in addition to its already large damage and to-hit ratings it gets bonus damage and to-hit against everything, except in the NES version where these bonuses are never triggered.
The masamune is the strongest weapon in the game, and is also usable by all characters. This flexibility makes it quite strong as well as giving rise to the question of which character should equip it; for a detailed discussion of this see recommendations below.
Anyway, here is a summary:
- the Knight should better use the Excalibur sword;
- the Ninja should better use the Katana sword;
- the Master should better use his karate (empty hands);
- the White Wizard should better cast healing spells;
- the Black Wizard should better attack using black spells;
- the Red Wizard is the only character without a better option.
The ultima weapon is only available in certain versions of the game and is somehow linked to the user's HP.
To easily understand which weapons you should target for each character, first read the weapon types list above. For the most part each class should simply pick one type of weapon and upgrade it as the opportunity arises.
The biggest outright decision to make in weapon comparisons is deciding which character should equip the Masamune. Against bosses, the Masamune should be equipped by a character who will have fast cast on him and will use it every round, plain and simple; this means either your strongest or second-strongest melee fighter should have it, usually a knight or a ninja even though these classes already have good weapons available to them. For traveling through dungeons, the weapon may be better off given to a weaker character such as a white or even red/black wizard who cannot use a good weapon but will become a decent melee fighter when given the Masamune. The master is also worth checking out with this weapon, as on low enough level it will be significantly better than fighting bare-handed.
Unlike with armor, plenty of spare room is available to carry weaponry. It is therefore recommended that the spell-casting weapons be held onto and placed into spare slots. Many of these do massed damage and will come in handy against large groups of monsters even late in the game.
The warrior/fighter should focus on swords. Buy a rapier at the start. You may buy stonger swords soon after, but the warrior's strength is enough to make the rapier effective until you find weapons for free; all the best weapons will be found rather than purchased. Upon obtaining the magic key a number of magic swords will be found and they will last until the Fire and Ice swords are found in their respective dungeons. The defender (defense) and sun sword are the next two levels of swords; these weapons may also be equipped by your red wizard and ninja as well as other knights, so a hand-me-down system will serve well for them. Xcalibur (Excalibur) is a major upgrade over either of those and is the best knight-only weapon. The Masamune is the strongest sword, but leave the Xcalibur to him and give the Masamune to a secondary attacking character (if you have two knights, the Masamune can be wielded by one of them).
The thief has only a few good weapons available. Buy a rapier at the start. A better weapon isn't available until the magic key is obtained, when the Coral Sword and Rune Blade can be found; these along with the wyrmblade are the best weapons available before the class change. After the class change nearly all weapons become available; a mythril (silver) sword is not worth buying as soon the fire brand, ice brand, defender (defense), and sun sword will be found in succession; all of these can be equipped by knights and red wizards as well so a hand-me-down system will serve well for them. The ninja-only sasuke (katana) sword is the best ninja weapon available and several will be found late in the game. The Masamune is the strongest sword and may be wielded by a ninja during boss fights; it is a significant upgrade over the katana but may be put to better use by a character with a weaker alternate weapon.
The monk (black belt) has no good usable weapons before or after the class change, and will quickly find themselves fighting best bare-handed. Buy nunchaku (wooden nunchucks) at the start, and upgrade to iron nunchuks at first opportunity. The power staff found in the western keep may also be worth using briefly. Each time the monk increases in level check his bare-handed attacking abilities and switch to bare-handed fighting when it becomes better. Like all characters, the master can equip the Masamune and may be able to make good use of it at low levels, but as his level continues to increase he will soon find himself fighting far better bare-handed.
Here's the list of weapons that he can equip, except for those that can be equipped by everyone:
- Atk=12: Nunchaku
- Atk=14: Iron Nunchaku
- Atk=16: Crosier
Red Mage/Red Wizard
The red mage/wizard can use almost all of the swords, and should follow the same weapon progression as the warrior/knight. Unfortunately as his levels progress this character does not achieve much by way of strength so will be significantly weaker with them. The red wizard cannot use Xcalibur, the best weapons for him are the Defender (Defense sword) and Sun Sword. Therefore, he's the character most suited for the Masamune, although he should spend early combat rounds casting Fast or protective spells.
White Mage/White Wizard
Although the white mage/wizard has nearly as much strength as the red, no good weapons are available to her. Avoid the weaker staves and go for hammers: start with the iron hammer. The mythril hammer may not even be worth the money as the character will be useless in combat even with it. The power staff is a weaker alternative to the silver hammer but again is better to sell than to use. After the class change, Thor's Hammer will be found which is the best weapon thanks to its usable ability. Like all characters, the white wizard can equip the Masamune and this character will get by far the most combat benefit from doing so. Against bosses however, it's generally better to save the white wizard for spellcasting and give the Masamune to a knight or ninja.
Here's the list of weapons that she can equip, except for those that can be equipped by everyone:
- Atk=10: Iron hammer
- Atk=12: Mythril hammer
- Atk=9: Healing staff (casts W3 Heal)
- Atk=18: Thor's hammer (casts B3 Thundara)
Black Mage/Black Wizard
The black mage/wizard has a better selection of weapons available than the white, but has very low strength and is an inferior melee fighter even with the best of weapons. He should rather attack using magic, or even better cast debuff spells instead of direct attacks. Knives are the weapon of choice; avoid the weaker staves. Buy a (small) knife at the start and keep it until you find free weapons. Purchasing a dagger (large knife), a mythril (silver) knife or a catclaw is just a waste of money, because even with them the black wizard is a very poor fighter. The mage staff is a comparable weapon to the mythril knife and provides a good usable benefit. The wizard staff is the best available weapon for the black wizard, and he's the only one who can equip it. Like all characters, the black wizard can equip the Masamune, but as he will still be an inferior fighter that weapon is usually better spent elsewhere.
Here's the list of weapons that he can equip, except for those that can be equipped by everyone:
- Atk=5: Knife
- Atk=7: Dagger
- Atk=10: Mythril knife
- Atk=22: Cat claws
- Atk=12: Mage staff (casts B3 Fira)
- Atk=15: Wizard staff (casts B4 Confuse)