Final Fantasy Wiki

Black Orb.

Very rarely, when a certain creature is slain, the lost life force coalesces into a tiny black orb. Some magickal devices are said to draw on this energy.

Official Strategy Guide

Black Orbs (黒の珠, Kuro no Tama?, lit. Black Pearl) are loot in Final Fantasy XII required to open the Altar of Night in the First Ascent of the Pharos and required to proceed through Subterra.

Every third enemy slain in the original PlayStation 2 version, or every enemy in the Zodiac versions, starting with the first enemy in a zone, will drop a Black Orb that must be interacted with to pick up before it flies away after several seconds. In the First Ascent, the player must place an orb on three different pedestals located on each side of the central waterfall for the seal on the locked door to fade. Once the player completes the events at the Pharos, the creatures in the First Ascent will stop dropping Black Orbs. Any additional orbs collected prior can still be used later in Subterra, where the enemies are at a much higher level.

In Subterra, Black Orbs that fly off will combine into a Massive Black Orb at a random spawn point within the same floor containing all the ignored Black Orbs, their number multiplied by three. It is possible to collect very large numbers of orbs in this way, but because Black Orbs are loot, the player can never carry more than 99 at one time. The Black Orbs are used to light Pedestals of Night and the number of orbs required is always a multiple of three.

To quickly light a pedestal without wasting any orbs, the player can add orbs one at a time until a faint light remains above the pedestal to signify one third of the required amount of orbs has been placed. The player can add the last two thirds quickly by taking note of how many orbs have been placed up to that point, and adding twice that many more.

The amount of Black Orbs required on each Pedestal of Night:

Floor Southwest Southeast Northwest Northeast
B1F 6 3 9 18
B2F 18 15 9 15
B3F 12 27 21 15