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Absorbs magic and turns it into MP. Runic remains active until a spell is absorbed or another battle command is given.

Advanced Battle Tactics, Adventuring School

Runic is Celes's special command in Final Fantasy VI. It absorbs a magic spell with her sword, and heals Celes's MP for the cost of the original spell. Once used, Runic will absorb the next spell, whether used by enemies or allies, ready to absorb until another spell is cast or Celes is given another command. The ability makes Celes a defensive character, allowing her to protect the party from magic damage.

The creation materials state that Runic's power comes from the esper magic channeled through Celes's sword.[citation needed]

Runic can also be equipped by Gogo with a compatible weapon.

Mechanics[]

Runic animation.

When Runic is used, the next spell cast by an enemy or ally will be absorbed. If the spell is of an element Celes is weak to, the MP recovery doubles. If Celes resists that element, the MP recovery is halved. If Celes is immune to that element, she does not recover MP. If she absorbs the element, she loses MP. If Celes is given another command, Runic must be re-applied.

Runic does not absorb spells auto-cast from weapons, such as how Ragnarok sometimes casts Flare. If Celes absorbs a party member's spell, the base cost will be absorbed, regardless of whether the caster has a Celestriad or Gold Hairpin equipped.

Runic was meant to only be available when a weapon compatible with the ability is equipped, but there is a swordless Runic bug. Besides the swords, there are other weapons than those Celes or Gogo can natively equip that enable Runic: all swords, daggers, spears, katanas, and the Magus Rod.

The Runic status is not named in-game except as a battle command; this is the status granted by using the Runic command. Celes and Gogo are the only characters who can gain this status.[note 1] Once the status is granted, it will absorb the first spell no matter who cast it as long as it is not a spell that ignores Runic. The spell will be absorbed by the user instead of doing what it was supposed to do, and replenishes the Runic user's MP by its MP cost. Runic is not permanent. Once a spell has been absorbed, the player will have to choose the Runic command again to reapply the status. Once the user enters another command, the Runic status is lost. However, a KO'd user will not remove the Runic status; if the user does Runic, gets KO'd, is then revived, and then a spell is cast, they will still absorb it.

Vulnerable enemy abilities:
Vulnerable abilities:
Vulnerable equipment:

Use[]

Runic must be used strategically due to its ability to absorb spells from allies and enemies alike. As such, it could accidentally absorb a spell intended harm the enemy or heal the party, not only wasting the spell, but leaving the party vulnerable to an attack from the enemy that Runic intended to absorb. If intending to use Runic to absorb an attack, Celes must not act until she absorbs it, after which she can likely get in at least one non-Runic attack before needing to use Runic again to absorb another attack.

Provided Runic is used strategically and properly, it can be a practical defensive ability. Runic allows Celes to protect the party from a variety of magic attacks, and against many enemies and bosses—such as Tunnel Armor, Deathgaze, and the eight legendary dragons—it can provide invaluable relief from dangerous attacks. Early in the game, Runic also improves Celes as a spellcaster by healing her MP, allowing her to not only absorb enemy attacks, but use the MP she gains to cast curative spells to heal the party thereafter.

Runic gears Celes toward a defensive role. This contrasts her from Terra and Relm, both of who have access to female-exclusive equipment improving their role as mages, and themselves having offensive roles (Terra has the same weapon selection as Celes but uses Trance; Relm's equipment selection is smaller, but her Magic stat is higher, and her Sketch ability is an attack). This means that, in multi-party formations, Celes is best geared to serve a defensive role, preferably paired with characters who themselves do not rely on offensive spells. Locke and Edgar can serve offensive physical damage roles well due to their weapon selection (and Edgar's Tools command), while Sabin can deal magic damage without casting spells (using his Blitz command).

Later in the game, Runic's benefits somewhat diminish. The MP healed by Runic becomes negligible when Celes has a higher MP pool earned from leveling up (especially with magicite) and access to relics that cut MP costs (such as Gold Hairpin and Celestriad). Meanwhile, armor obtained by the party later provides greater elemental resistance and cuts magic damage anyway, meaning Runic becomes less necessary and more of a niche ability. The player can therefore choose to gear Celes toward offensive spellcasting (for instance using the relics Celestriad and Soul of Thamasa, if not given to Terra) or offensive physical damage (such as using Genji Glove and Master's Scroll with weapons such as Ultima Weapon or Lightbringer, if not given to Terra, Locke, or Edgar), though other relics can still allow her to fill a defensive role and provide occasional healing and damage (such as with Knight's Code and Black Belt).

Although Celes can choose to equip armor that is weak to elements used by an enemy to heal her MP more, the trade-off is generally not worth it. This is both because Celes would become more vulnerable to damage when Runic is not up, and because the MP healed by absorbing the spell is the least important component of the ability compared to avoiding damage from the spell. As such, it is better to prioritize Celes' overall protection over the MP healed.

Etymology[]

Runes are the letters in a set of related alphabets known as runic alphabets, which were used to write various Germanic languages before the adoption of the Latin alphabet and for specialized purposes thereafter. Historic anthropology regarding the Germanic and Norse peoples that used runes also note that the language was also highly used in magical practices related to these cultures, whether it be in divination, enchantment, and incantation.

Notes[]

  1. The enemy Bit and the Gold Dragon from the Dragon's Den have a permanent Runic status on them.


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