Airship designed and built by YPA, a shipwright's guild of Archades. Officially named the YPA-GB47 Test Combat Fighter, production was halted after the completion of a single test model due to dissatisfaction on the part of the Imperial customer with the costly dual-movable-wing design. Scheduled for scrapping, Balthier liberated the ship at the last moment. Balthier has since modified the Strahl to his tastes with a new engine and numerous other augmentations, making it a very different ship from the one envisaged by its YPA inventors.
Strahl, Sage Knowledge
Strahl is an airship in Final Fantasy XII and Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings. In Final Fantasy XII, the Strahl is the player party's main airship, and is owned by the party members Balthier and Fran. Nono works as its mechanic.
The Strahl is a new prototype ship for the Archadian Empire, but its unique folding-wing design proved too expensive and the ship was going to be scrapped. When Balthier escaped Archades, he stole the Strahl. The airship has since been upgraded so much it no longer resembles its original design.
The Strahl has been Balthier's airship ever since he stole it from the Archadian Empire when he decided to abandon his old way of life and become a sky pirate. Balthier and Fran lend its use to Vaan's party until they head to the Tomb of Raithwall.
Since the tomb is located in a jagd, the airship is unable to fly there. Balthier renders the airship invisible and leaves it hovering over the Dalmasca Westersand with the moogle mechanic Nono looking after it. The Strahl is damaged when the 8th Archadian Fleet explodes nearby, and it's up to Nono and his moogle mechanics to repair it.
Later, Reddas gives the party a new skystone that allows airships to fly over jagd. Balthier teaches Vaan how to fly the Strahl in the event the former has to "do something heroic." After the installation of the new skystone, the Strahl can reach anywhere in Ivalice.
As the Sky Fortress Bahamut is about to engage with the Resistance above Rabanastre, the party flies the Strahl to it to stop Vayne. After defeating Vayne, Balthier and Fran stay behind to restore the Bahamut's power by fixing the ship's glossair rings. Vaan takes control of the Strahl and flies the rest of the party to safety.
Believing Balthier and Fran to have perished in the Bahamut's crash, Vaan and his friend Penelo look after the Strahl until, one day, they enter the hangar and find the ship stolen. The pair finds a note from Balthier declaring that the Strahl is back in the hands of its rightful owner, and he and Fran are on their way to new adventures, having found an entirely unexplored continent.
Balthier and Fran fly the Strahl to the Cache of Glabados where Vaan and Penelo join them on Vaan's new airship. As the floating island begins to crumble Vaan loses his airship, and the party uses the Strahl to return to Rabanastre.
Balthier and Fran go on their separate way and only meet up with Vaan's party much later when Balthier attempts to destroy the second Auralith. In the event's aftermath an earthquake shakes the island and the Strahl is damaged. Balthier and Fran board the Galbana, the airship used by Vaan's party, while Nono is tasked with repairing the Strahl.
Later, Nono relates a message that the Strahl is in danger and the party hurries to the airship to find it guarded by their aegyl friends. The party wipes out the enemy sky pirates and their Yarhi and save the Strahl.
The player cannot move around the inside of the Strahl. Instead, boarding the Strahl in Final Fantasy XII will bring up the map of the world and a list of destinations the party can fast-travel to, similar to Final Fantasy X.
The Strahl becomes available after visiting Balfonheim Port after the events in Giruvegan. The player can board the Strahl at any aerodrome, as well as certain locations on the field. In an aerodrome the player must speak to the woman in the counter marked Private Airships. If the player looks out the window in an aerodrome, they can see the Strahl outside. On the field, there is anchor on the ground where the Strahl can be boarded. These spots are marked on the player's field map and on the world map are denoted by the area having a yellow zigzag.
List of locations where Strahl can be boarded:
- Royal City of Rabanastre (aerodrome)
- Skycity of Bhujerba (aerodrome)
- Nalbina Fortress (aerodrome)
- Imperial City of Archades (aerodrome)
- Balfonheim Port (aerodrome)
- Dalmasca Estersand (Passage Entrance)
- Dalmasca Westersand (The Western Divide)
- Giza Plains (Crystal Glade)
- Ogir-Yensa Sandsea (Yensa Border Tunnel)
- Nam-Yensa Sandsea (The Sandscale Bank)
- Ozmone Plain (Sunlit Path)
- Paramina Rift (Path of the Firstfall)
- Mosphoran Highwaste (Babbling Vale)
- Phon Coast (Kaukula Pass)
- Tchita Uplands (The Chosen Path)
- Cerobi Steppe (Journeys Rest)
- Ridorana Cataract (Footfalls of the Past)
Skycity of Bhujerba appears as an area and Strahl can be seen on the background.
The music that plays when Balthier first shows Vaan the Strahl in Final Fantasy XII is the theme of Phon Coast. Unlike previous Final Fantasy games, Final Fantasy XII doesn't have an airship theme.
Strahl is German for a ray or beam of light (or an arrow in older texts). It is also the first part of the German word for the Jetstream Winds - "Strahlstrom", as befitting for a fast, agile airship.
- When being chased by Archadians, Balthier doesn't use any weapons on the Strahl, even though it was a prototype fighter airship, and as such, should be equipped with something, and has various cannon-like structures on it.