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Vagrant Story, also known as The Phantom Pain, is an action role-playing game developed and published by Square Co., Ltd. for the Sony PlayStation console in 2000.


Vagrant Story.jpg

Vagrant Story is a solo dungeon crawl, featuring a focus on weapon modification and creation where the player hacks and slashes their way through the caverns and catacombs beneath the ruined city of Leá Monde. The main character, riskbreaker Ashley Riot, does combat with the Crimson Blade knights who patrol the streets above Leá Monde, hunting for a mysterious man called Sydney Losstarot. Along his chase he is forced to battle numerous foul beasts, goblins, phantoms, and the undead infesting the corridors below.

Battle system[]

The battle system involves chaining different attacks known as Chain Abilities to achieve combos and deal damage to the enemy. This is done by pressing buttons in timely succession. In this way, combat almost resembles a rhythm game, as not all attacks have the same timing. The player can target different areas of the body, and damage is done according to the part of body attacked and the affinity of the weapon used by Ashley.

The longer Ashley fights, the more his Risk raises, making it harder for him to concentrate. This lowers his accuracy but increases critical hits, but at a certain point it becomes virtually impossible to hit anything. Defense Abilities allow Ashley to reduce or reflect damage or to avoid status ailments. A variety of spells can be used to attack, heal, buff, and debuff. Lastly there are the Break Arts—not unlike Limit Breaks in concept—which are powerful attacks that drain Ashley's hit points.


In addition to fighting, Ashley can run, jump, and push a variety of crates and cubes to get around impassable obstacles, adding a minor puzzle and platforming element to gameplay. The player will run into a variety of block puzzles that require solving to continue the story.

When the player returns to any room containing a completed block puzzle, a time-attack mode called "Evolve or Die" will begin, requiring the player to solve the puzzle and reach the end of the room in the shortest time possible. A ranking will be given to assess the player's performance in solving puzzles.


Vagrant Story has an in depth weapons and armor customization system. The simplest customization can be done in any place at any point, even in battle. Gems can be added or switched out of weapons and shields. In designated "workshop" areas, players can customize and create weapons and armor pieces that have different ranges, strengths, and statistics. Weapons can be broken down into components for storage and put back together in the same or different combination. Most weapons have a hilt, weapon (or blade) component, and a slot for gems. Weapons fall into one of three main damage types: the familiar RPG classes of blunt, piercing, and edged.

Each gem, armor, and weapon piece has additional "affinities". There are six "creature type" affinities and eight "elemental" affinities. Weapons gain the affinities of the enemies they are most commonly used to attack; armor gains the affinities of attacks it receives. What a weapon or piece of armor gains in one area it will lose in another, though typically using a weapon will add more to its overall affinities than the weapon will lose, and item combination is usually favorable to the player. In this way, no single weapon or shield is equally powerful against all foes. Powerful weapons and armor pieces can be combined, merging their affinities (and possibly creating a new type of blade or armor).

The key to defeating most foes is carrying a weapon of the right damage type. Inherent affinities add a considerable bonus, but are not as important as gems that improve affinities, and spells that imbue a weapon with an element are readily available.

New Game Plus[]

The New Game Plus option is made available upon first completing the game. Starting a "New Game+" replays the story using the player's end-game weapons, items, and stats instead of the defaults, and unlocks some new paths to new enemies, chests, and bosses.


Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow. (Skip section)

A bird's eye view illustration of Leá Monde.

Vagrant Story is set within New Valendian Kingdom, a medieval era city-state ruled by an unnamed king with the assistance of the Parliament. A religious organization known as the Priesthood of St. Iocus holds a great deal of political power within Valendia, with several powerful families either acting as their representatives or taking a stand against them. Law is kept in Valendia by the Valendia Knights of the Peace, commonly referred to as the VKP, who are both renowned and feared for their ruthless efficiency. The Priesthood also has a fighting force, a militia known as the Order of the Crimson Blades, under the direct command of its current Cardinal Batistum.

Almost the entire story is set within Leá Monde, a once prosperous city that was ravaged by an earthquake 25 years ago. While within Valendia, it was a highly autonomous location, with deep connections to magic and mystical writing inscribed on its walls. The main magical force remaining in Valendia is the Dark, a powerful malignant force which corrupts any soul it touches and twists them into dangerous abominations which inhabit and reanimate the dead, unable to pass from the living world. The powers of the Dark are connected to the Blood-Sin, a tattoo that enables the wearer to control the Dark and ease the suffering of those tainted by it.


Promotional drawing showing main characters Ashley Riot and Callo Merlose, drawn and signed by Akihiko Yoshida.

The main cast is drawn from multiple organizations within the land of Valendia who have designs upon the power of the Blood-Sin.

  • Ashley Riot: The main protagonist and player character, Ashley is a member of the VKP.
  • Sydney Losstarot: The leader of the Müllenkamp cult and current custodian of the Blood-Sin.
  • Callo Merlose: A VKP agent who accompanies Ashley on orders from their superiors. During her time in Leá Monde, she develops the powers of a Heart-Seer.
  • John Hardin: A member of Müllenkamp and a close confidant of Sydney.
  • Jan Rosencrantz: A former enforcer for the VKP, who seeks to harness the Dark for his own ends.
  • Romeo Guildenstern: The on-site leader of the Order of the Crimson Blades, who seeks to quell the Dark and bring peace and unity of Valendia.
  • Samantha: Guildenstern's lover, and eventually a key part of his plans.
  • Neesa and Tieger: Members of the Order of the Crimson Blades, who act as minor antagonists.
  • Duke Aldous Byron Bardorba: A powerful political figure within Valendia who is tied by the fate of the Blood-Sin.
  • Joshua Corrinne Bardorba: The young son of Duke Bardorba, initially held hostage by Sydney and John.
  • Tia and Marco: A woman and her young child who are primarily portrayed as Ashley's murdered wife and son.



Ashley Riot, the central hero.

Most of the plot takes place in a single 24-hour period, with only the epilogue occurring one week later. The game takes place in the New Valendian Kingdom, recently divided by a recent civil war. Magic and monsters have largely disappeared from the land.

Internal political rivalries between the Priesthood of Saint Iocus represented by its militant arm, the Order of the Crimson Blades under Cardinal Batistum, the Parliament, represented by its own force, the Valendia Knights of the Peace (VKP) are further strained by the appearance of a terrorist cult, the Müllenkamp sect. Led by the enigmatic and mysterious Sydney Losstarot, Müllenkamp is suspected of attempting to assassinate the king that Yuletide past. Müllenkamp is protected and funded by Duke Bardorba, who also secretly controls the strings of Parliament, though his actions all stem from an unknown reason.

When the Müllenkamp cult attacks the Duke's home, they take the Duke's family hostage and make several demands. The Duke himself was not at his home during the attack. In a meeting at 0:24 A.M., VKP Grand Steward LeSait sends in Riskbreaker, Ashley Riot to investigate this bizarre event. Agent Riot meets with a fellow Riskbreaker, the rookie Callo Merlose who has been watching the events in the Duke's Mansion from outside at 1:28 A.M. Upon seeing an assault by the Crimson Blades, one which was not cleared by the VKP, Ashley decides that the attack is a perfect distraction for him to infiltrate the manor.

Moving to the Dark City[]

At 2:32 A.M., the Crimson Blades have yet to find the Müllenkamp leader, Sydney. While they try to put out the flames that threaten the manor, Ashley Riot attempts to sneak past a group of Müllenkamp cultists. However, he is revealed by a falling block of wood, and is forced to kill both of them to move on. After overhearing a conversation between Sydney and his second-in-command, the doubtful John Hardin, Ashley moves to capture the enemy leader. Pointing a bowgun at a lone Sydney, Riot threatens to fire if he does not cooperate.

Instead of following commands, Sydney moves for his sword. Firing straight into Sydney's heart, Ashley believes to have killed his foe. Hardin distracts Ashley by running into the room with a young boy in his arms. While he is looking away, a still-living Sydney knocks Ashley to the ground. Pulling the arrow out of his chest, Sydney taunts Ashley. Summoning a wyvern, the Müllenkamp members escape while the Riot fights the beast. After this creature is slain, Ashley looks out onto a sunrise on Leá Monde, where Sydney has escaped to.

Duke Bardorba hears of the events in his secondary residence in the Graylands at 5:38 A.M. Upon this, he orders his men to burn down his home while pretending to be Blades to hide evidence of Sydney's magical powers. In this act, he is killing his family, to the shock of the Duke's courtiers. Bardorba also sends out a man of his employ dressed in red armor to Leá Monde to defeat all the forces that are gathering there. However, despite the Duke's coldness, he shows warmth to his captured son, Joshua, the boy whom Müllenkamp had captured during their attack.

Ashley and Callo make it to the only remaining entrance of the ruined city of Leá Monde at 11:42 A.M. After an earthquake, all overland routes to the town were blocked off, and the whirlpools make entering by sea also impossible. Now the once-flourishing town is completely abandoned by all except Müllenkamp, who use it as their base. The only way in is the old Wine Cellar. Once again leaving his companion behind, Ashley moves into Leá Monde alone. But as he walks in, Sydney appears behind a defenseless Callo Merlose. Ashley, not knowing his partner is in danger, continues forward on his mission while further earthquakes make the passage unstable.

While moving through the dark dungeon, Ashley follows two Crimson Blades who have fallen behind the rest of their group. They uncover floating platforms and other forms of Magick, all created by the power of Leá Monde. While listening to the conversation between the knights, Ashley discovers that the Blades are not out just to defeat a band of heretics, but also to take the power of Leá Monde for themselves. While waiting behind the Blades, Ashley jumps at a ghost-like vision of a young boy, revealing his position to the knights. He then kills both. Sydney then appears in the guise of the Blades' leader to fool some soldiers into attacking the VKP agent. Ashley kills these as well, which catches Sydney's eyes.

Using more dark powers, Sydney shows Ashley a vision of his late wife and son, Tia and Marco, killed by bandits while they were on a picnic on an idyllic hill. Fascinated by the Riskbreaker's cold efficiency in killing and complete lack of fear, Sydney appears to Riot, asking where his soul has gone. Sydney pries into Ashley's memories, then taunts that Ashley killed his own family. Revealing that he holds Merlose, Sydney commands Ashley to travel deeper into the Dark City, and to awaken a power within him.

Leá Monde Under Siege[]

Storyboards for the game.

After traveling through the Catacombs and fighting a horde of undead people brought back by Leá Monde, Ashley finally reaches sunlight again in the Town Center. Eavesdropping on the Blades' activities, it is clear that they have taken the entire top of the town, and are now simply wiping out what pockets of resistance remain, though all to heavy casualties. The Blades' leader, Romeo Guildenstern gathers a meeting between himself, Father Grissom, and his lover Lady Samantha.

Guildenstern and Samantha both are revealed to not be mere lap-dogs of the Cardinal, but seem to share an ambition to steal immortality from Sydney so that they can live together forever. While Ashley is listening, he is spotted by Father Duane, Grissom's brother. As usual, Ashley kills these foes as well. Across the river, Guildenstern spots Ashley and the two stare at each other in short showdown before turning on their separate ways.

While moving through the Abandoned Mines, Ashley suddenly sees Callo Merlose and the interplay between her captors. Hardin, using some power of telepathy, is able to spot the actions of the Crimson Blades, and sees that they are growing weaker. Yet the battle is clearly lost for Müllenkamp, and he wishes to flee. Sydney, unhappy with his subordinate's panic, uses his power of "compulsion" to control Hardin. Though Hardin remains loyal and follows Sydney's orders to look over the prisoners, he demands that Sydney never use his powers on him again.

Ashley follows Sydney while the cult leader goes to confront Guildenstern and his faithful companion, Samantha who are hunting for the Gran Grimoire, a book of great power. Avoiding a direct battle, Sydney instead questions Samantha into how far she can trust her commander. Using Dark powers of his own, Guildenstern almost cuts Sydney down by teleporting next to him. Without a word, Sydney retreats.

Emerging at the entrance to the Snowfly Forest, Ashley suddenly sees through Samantha's eyes during another Crimson Blades meeting. Samantha talks with Lady Neesa over the heavy losses the Blades have taken during the attack. Samantha shows some worry over the deaths. Guildenstern marches in, and senses the Riskbreaker watching. He slaps Samantha, knocking away Ashley's connection. Back in the forest, Ashley is surprised to find that he has been followed by Jan Rosencrantz, the man sent by the Duke to Leá Monde. Though Rosencrantz claims to be a member of the Riskbreakers sent by Steward LeSait, Ashley does not believe a word of it.

Rosencrantz goes on to tell Riot that he is the person most ignorant of the situation in Leá Monde, claiming that every major power in Valendia knows of and covets the Dark, the evil power that permeates Leá Monde. Ashley responds only by threatening to kill Rosencrantz if he remains in the city after sundown. While Ashley ventures into the forest, Rosencrantz is met by a group of Blades following Riot. Father Grissom leads the force to get revenge for his fallen brother, Duane. Grissom is not happy to see Rosencrantz, thinking him to be a double-dealing traitor. So he ignores Rosencrantz's warning of danger in the forest.

Grissom quickly loses his soldiers in an earthquake, but still continues onward and runs into his foe, Sydney. Ashley wanders into this confrontation just as Grissom begins to attempt to summon a monster. Sydney warns Grissom that he does not have the power, and summoning will kill him. At first it seems Sydney was right, for Grissom falls to the ground, but then he succeeds. Together Grissom and his monster attack a joined force of Sydney and Riot. Grissom falls in defeat, defeated in his own quest for vengeance.

Moving on his temporary ally, Sydney then shows another vision to Ashley of Tia and Marco. This time, however, it is not bandits who kill them, but Ashley himself. Though Ashley believes this to be a deception, Sydney claims that it is Ashley's own memories that are the deception. They are but implants created by the VKP. Sydney wanders off, leaving a devastated Ashley in doubt over the truth.

Moving to the city keep, Ashley spies on Guildenstern and Samantha who are pondering why Leá Monde is covered in ancient writing. Guildenstern then discovers that the entire city is a circle of Magick. Rosencrantz walks in, expanding on the thought by saying that Leá Monde itself is the Gran Grimoire which the Blades seek. Furious at Rosencrantz for withholding information, Guildenstern draws his blade at Rosencrantz. Before blood is spilled, Samantha falls over, once again possessed by Ashley. Samantha, linked to Ashley, reveals his position. Guildenstern then sends Rosencrantz to deal with the meddlesome Riskbreaker.

After a short battle, Ashley seems to have won. Rosencrantz, unfazed by defeat, then moves on to reveal Riot's past. Together they both worked for the VKP, killing people on Parliament's orders. The family of Tia and Marco, which Ashley was not a member of, were just unfortunate civilians who witnessed VKP activities. To keep their actions secret, Ashley murders the family.

However, he is distraught by the action, feeling that he has killed the very people his order was supposed to protect. Rosencrantz is mildly disgusted with his partner's moral quibbles, and so helps the VKP implant false memories to allow Ashley to remain a perfect killing machine. Going on, Rosencrantz explains that he was kicked out of the Riskbreakers for knowing too much about Leá Monde. Now he manipulates all the powers for his own gain. After the speech, Rosencrantz leaves, promising to not yield in the next battle between the former partners.

Guildenstern Takes Leá Monde[]

Meanwhile, Callo Merlose begins to speak with Hardin over what is going on in Leá Monde. Though Hardin himself is quiet, Callo sees a "ghost" version of Hardin who tells her much. The Duke's true intentions are to destroy Leá Monde and seal off its wellspring of power. To avoid this, Mullenkamp must create a successor to its powers. The reason why they kidnapped Joshua may be to avoid the Duke taking rash actions. However, before Merlose can learn more, Hardin stabs himself in the leg, shutting off his mind to her new Heart-Seer powers. Much as Ashley gains new powers, Callo too has gained powers from Leá Monde. Hardin tells Callo and his other captive, the frightened Joshua to move out.

While Ashley descends into the depths of the Undercity, he runs into two Crimson Blade captains, Neesa and Sir Tieger, both furious over the sight of Father Grissom's corpse, which is curiously down in the dungeon. Together they try to defeat the Riskbreaker in a double-attack, but both are forced back into retreat. Ashley follows the two to find that Grissom has been given an "unfinished death" and has returned as a zombie. Grissom struggles with controlling his body while the two Blades look on stunned at the sight. Then voices fill Grissom's head, telling him that his living allies wish him dead. Driven insane by the voices coming from the walls of Leá Monde itself, he runs off. Neesa and Tieger give chase, allowing Ashley to move on into the Limestone Quarry.

At the foot of Leá Monde's center, the remnants of the Crimson Blade force charge at the last Müllenkamp stronghold, the Grand Cathedral. While Guildenstern is distracted, Rosencrantz sneaks away to fulfill his own plans. Inside the Cathedral, Hardin and his two captives wait for Sydney. Merlose then uses her Heart-Seer powers once again to pry into Hardin's secrets. She discovers that Hardin once had a sickly younger brother, but due to the betrayal of the government, the child died. Because of this, Hardin joined Müllenkamp to make the government pay. Hardin is furious to see his mind pried into, but is stopped short by the arrival of Guildenstern.

Injured by an arrow, Hardin is defenseless in front of his enemy. Guildenstern cruelly interrogates Hardin, demanding to know where the key to Leá Monde's power is. Hardin tells nothing, resisting Guildenstern's attacks. Using another trick, Guildenstern hides himself as Sydney and fools Hardin into telling of the Blood-Sin, which Guildenstern remembers as the tattoo on Sydney's back. A sharp realization that it is in fact the key the Blades seek. With no further need for him, Guildenstern stabs Hardin in the chest. Seeing this, Joshua screams in protest as the scene ends.

Inside the Temple of Kiltia, Sydney looks back into his memories, when he was but a child with his father, the Duke Bardorba. His meditation is broken by the appearance of Rosencrantz, who inquires about Ashley's progress. Rosencrantz is not happy to learn that he will not succeed to the legacy of Leá Monde, with Sydney planning to pass the Blood-Sin to Ashley Riot. Sydney does not wish the Darkness to fall into the hands of one who will use its powers for evil, such as Rosencrantz.

To this, Rosencrantz beats Sydney across the floor, thinking that his immunity to the Dark will save him. Ashley wanders in, but is caught by surprise by Rosencrantz, who knocks him to the floor. Yet for all this, Sydney still does not name Rosencrantz anything more than "worm". In anger, Rosencrantz swings his sword and slices off Sydney's arm. In retaliation, Sydney uses his power to confuse Rosencrantz, who claims deception. Rosencrantz's powers, while giving him immunity to the dark, fell short when he placed himself in the heart of Leá Monde.

Rather than passing his powers, Sydney instead brings one of the Temple's statues to life. Its giant blade cleaves Rosencrantz in half, ending the traitor's ambition in a single blow. Sydney escapes while Ashley defeats the animated statue.

Ashley fights through a massive horde of enemies in search of Merlose. Meanwhile, Sydney appears to aid his friend Hardin in the Cathedral. Guildenstern proudly declares that Sydney had been using Hardin and Müllenkamp the entire time to fulfill his own designs. Sydney and Guildenstern do battle with the Dark as their weapon. During the fight, Guildenstern declares that his true aim is revolution. He wants to save Valendia, which he considers sick with corruption born from class struggle, by burning away everything but justice enforced by fear of his power.

Sydney calls Guildenstern's vision "tyranny" and reveals that all his actions were to avoid such an awful fate for the world. Samantha then appears, which gives Sydney time to distract Guildenstern by attacking her. While she is hit, Sydney teleports Hardin, Callo, and Joshua to safety. But just as they escape, Guildenstern thrusts his sword into the back of the Müllenkamp leader. Guildenstern then moves forward to slice the Blood-Sin off Sydney's back.

Upon finally reaching the atrium of the great cathedral, Ashley ascends the stairs to find Sydney on the floor, bleeding from his wounds. The Blood-Sin has been completely cut from his back. After seeing Sydney's true intentions were nothing malevolent, he agrees to defeat Guildenstern before he can use his powers for evil. Before Ashley departs, Sydney tries to say something, to which Ashley simply replies "I know".

At the roof of the Cathedral, Guildenstern then performs the final action needed to become the successor to the Dark in murdering Samantha; requiring a sacrifice to turn on the Blood-Sin, he stabs Samantha in the stomach. Shocked that her lover betrayed her, Samantha learns the truth: Romeo had been using her the entire time. As her body falls off the Cathedral, Ashley moves up to confront Guildenstern in a climactic battle. The ornamental sword of Iocus mounted at the top of the cathedral reappears in Guildenstern's hand as the ascension warps him into a blackened, white-haired humanoid form.

The Vagrant[]

Guildenstern, fully-powered thanks to the Dark flowing through his body, moves to defeat the Riskbreaker to show off his new strength. But Ashley does not fall. Riot defeats Guildenstern's human form, but then the Crimson Blade erupts into a surge of electricity. Ashley then falls into his own mind, seeing a vision of Tia and Marco before him on the day they were killed.

Though Ashley is said to have killed them, Tia and Marco act as his family once again. They tell him to believe that which is in his heart, which is the truth. The scene muddles the truth about Ashley's past to the point that it is up to the player to interpret for themselves which is the real truth. Invigorated with the strength from his family, Ashley goes off to fight Guildenstern's final form, a monstrous angelic creature. Though this last battle is hard-fought, Ashley prevails and slays Guildenstern.

Leá Monde burns.

With Guildenstern's defeat, Leá Monde falls. The city erupts into a massive earthquake that tears it to pieces. All of the demons and fiends that inhabited the evil city are killed by the cataclysmic destruction. Hardin, Merlose, and Joshua escape out the Wine Cellar. Neesa and Tieger try to escape, but are followed by the undead Grissom. While the dungeon collapses around them, Tieger holds back Grissom so that Neesa may escape and tell the world what happened. When both are killed in the collapse, Lady Neesa is the only Crimson Blade to survive the attack on Leá Monde. Ashley, fresh with the Blood-Sin on his back, carries Sydney out of the city. Outside, Hardin succumbs to the injuries given to him by Guildenstern. Despite Joshua's tearful demand to stay alive, Hardin dies.

One week later, in the Duke's secondary residence, Sydney appears to his father in the guise of Ashley. Together they know that they have succeeded in keeping the power of the Dark from falling into the wrong hands. The Duke regretfully apologizes to Sydney for leaving such a burden on him. Then he ends the Dark cultist's life by stabbing him with a dagger. The act kills the Duke as well. They die together, having completed their mission.

Ashley Riot, the final holder of the Blood-Sin, then becomes a wanderer of the world. From then on, he takes the title of "the Vagrant". Vagrant Story ends just as the story of the Vagrant begins, leaving Ashley Riot's later fate open.

Spoilers end here.

Relation to Final Fantasy[]

While initially the game had very little relation to Final Fantasy until the introduction of Final Fantasy XII, Vagrant Story has become linked to the Final Fantasy universe. Its biggest link is that it is set in the world of Ivalice, but there are other connections.

Vagrant Story being set in Ivalice is actually a retcon, as originally nothing suggested for a fact that the game was set in that world. Indeed, the game was not promoted as being connected to Final Fantasy Tactics on its release, and the Vagrant Story Ultimania makes no mention of Ivalice. At the time, Yasumi Matsuno was even stressing that he made Vagrant Story because he wanted to move away (at least temporarily) from the Final Fantasy Tactics universe. He stated that the games are connected only in 2004 in a Final Fantasy XII interview for a French gaming magazine, Joypad.[1] Before that, the allusions to Final Fantasy Tactics in Vagrant Story could simply be seen as a Easter eggs and non-significant references. However, in 2010, Matsuno restated in his Twitter that the world of Vagrant Story is actually independent from Ivalice.[2]

Final Fantasy XII[]

  • The Iocus Rood Sigil/Blood Sin (cross with an X instead of a cross bar) remains related to the summoning of magic and creatures: it is in the background when the player summons, it is signed by Gabranth in his first major appearance, and an identical Blood Sin mark to the infamous tattoo appears on the skull of the shamaness during Zalera's spell "Death Wail".
  • Vagrant Story is set in Valendia. Valendia is one of the continents in Final Fantasy XII and the calendar used in game is known as the Old Valendian Calendar.
  • Leamonde Entites appear in Final Fantasy XII in the Nabreus Deadlands in the continent of Valendia.
  • One of the clan ranks in Final Fantasy XII is Riskbreaker. Ashley Riot is a member of the Riskbreakers.
  • Several of the bestiary entries in Final Fantasy XII have quotes by a Naturalist called Merlose. This is Callo's family name.
  • Kiltia is mentioned as a sect in Vagrant Story. In Final Fantasy XII there is a religion called the Light of Kiltia.
  • Some creatures are named after Accessories found in the game, the list being:
    • Marduk - Nose-ring that is said to have been owned by Marduk, the storm deity. Name allusion for the Mardu Entite.
    • Salamander Ring - Ring imbued with the essence of a salamander fire spirit. Name allusion for the Salamand Entite.
    • Gnome Bracelet - Bracelet imbued with an earth spirit. Name allusion for the Gnoma Entite.
    • Undine Bracelet - Arm bracelet imbued with the essence of an undine water spirit. Name allusion for the Undin Entite.
    • Sylphid Ring - Ring imbued with the essence of a sylph air spirit. Name allusion for the Sylphi Entite.
    • Faufnir's Tear - Necklace bearing a crystal, Faufnir's Tear, wept from the dragon's eye when it died. Name allusion for the fiendish wyrm Fafnir.
  • D'tok of Vagrant Story and the Rare Game Dheed of Final Fantasy XII share the same name in Japanese.
  • Among the landscapes of Ivalice are Traps; red circles of magically charged traps with positive or negative properties hidden until the player uses Libra. There are also Traps in Vagrant Story; square panels that are hidden until Ashley triggers them, uses the Eureka spell or the Eye of Argon Item.
  • The ability Bonecrusher is similar to the Break Arts mechanic, in which one can sacrifice HP for a powerful attack.
  • The Necrohol of Nabudis had also suffered a catastrophe similar to Leá Monde, in which the entire population was wiped out through magical means, and had become a dangerous ruin of its former glory, filled with the restless souls killed in the destruction.
  • Snowflies are mentioned in the Nightmare's bestiary entry and as a mongraph drop.

Final Fantasy XIV[]

  • A quest in the Return to Ivalice line revolves, in part, around a common bottle of wine that has been passed off as a rare Dalmascan Lea Monde red wine named Valens.
  • A playwright named the Wandering Dramaturge mentions that Zodiac Braves have appeared in stories from various eras, among them being a star seer named Müllenkamp and an assassin named Ashley.
  • The second Encyclopedia Eorzea volume reveals that, in occupying Dalmasca, the Garlean Empire divided the kingdom in two, and for the second province, Dalmasca Inferior, made its capital Lea Monde.
  • Valnain is a city in Dalmasca seen in cutscenes during the Resistance Weapon storyline.

Final Fantasy Tactics[]

  • A short passage is quoted from A.J. Durai. Arazlam Durai was the narrator of Final Fantasy Tactics.
  • In a dialogue with Samantha, Sydney mentions how the Priesthood of Iocus worships a 'dead' god who is really a demon. Since the name of the Church associated with the Priesthood is never given, this may be an allusion to Saint Ajora Glabados.
  • Valmafra Lenande's unused battle data, reveals her job class as a Witch of the Coven, its description stating the job makes a pact with the Dark to utilize its powers.
  • Some items and gemstones are named after characters in Final Fantasy Tactics, and helps conclude that Vagrant Story takes place after Final Fantasy Tactics. The complete list being:
    • Agrias Balm: Balm used by the great knight Agrias as told in the Zodiac Brave Story. Associated with Agrias Oaks. In Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions, Agrias is given lip balm as a gift. The Zodiac Brave Story is also a recurring theme in Final Fantasy Tactics.
    • Haeralis: Star sapphire with the power of Haeralis the Brave. Slightly increases power against humans. Associated with Delita Heiral.
    • Altema - Garnet containing Altema the Fallen's spirit. Increases power against evil enemies. Associated the Lucavi Ultima. Ultima is also featured as a "Fallen" angel in Final Fantasy XII.
    • Orlandu - Actinolite containing a fragment of Orlandu's skeleton. Increases power against humans. Associated with T.G. Cidolfus Orlandeau.
    • Balvus - Chiastrite containing the ashes of Balvus. Increases power against undead. Associated with Ramza Beoulve.
    • Beowulf - Armandine holding Beowulf the Great's hair. Increases power against phantoms. Could be associated with Beowulf Cadmus.
    • Berial Blackpearl - Blackpearl with Berial's soul bound inside. Increases Dark affinity. Possibly associated with Belias (Belial being an alternative rendering of the original Hebrew). In Final Fantasy XII, Belias was revealed to be a scion of Darkness.

Final Fantasy Tactics Advance[]

  • The Gran Grimoire plays a major role in the Vagrant Story plot. The term would later be used for other magical books in the Ivalice series, but a set of Gran Grimoires would become a recurring plot item in the Final Fantasy Tactics Advance series.
  • One of the clan ranks in Final Fantasy Tactics Advance is Riskbreaker. Ashley Riot is a member of the Riskbreakers.
  • The weapon Zankplus bears the design for the Holy Win Greatsword.
  • The Templar Job Class and their approach in battle is likely a reference to the VKP's ranks of the same name, first mentioned in the Vagrant Story Ultimania as a unit specializing in the suppression of heretics and cults.

Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift[]

  • Weapons have classifications, like Edged, Piercing, and Blunt.
  • The Geomancer ability, Mist Storm, causes Darkness based elemental damage. The Mist, also being a source of magic, makes it a reference to the Dark.
  • Traps make a reappearance in A2. They can also be set by the Ranger class.
  • In one of its side stories has Montblanc requesting Hurdy a bottle of Prudence. Prudence is one of the wines found in Leá Monde in Vagrant Story.

Other general connections[]

There are certainly a few other arguable lesser connections to various Final Fantasy games:

  • The function of the Cure spell is similar to Final Fantasy cures in that it will recover HP for living characters but cause damage to undead type creatures.
  • Spirit Surge is also an ability name, which did not appear again until Final Fantasy XI. It is a weak connection, but Yasumi Matsuno was a part of the PlayOnline development which ultimately supported the title.
  • Many enemies share the same name as enemies in Final Fantasy and other RPGs. This include Lich, Golem, Ghost, Orc, and Dullahan.
  • The Dragoon Job is mentioned in the description of the Sigguld gemstone, which belonged to "Sigguld the Dragoon".


  • It is unclear whether the phrase The Phantom Pain shown in the ending staff roll is meant to be the subtitle of the game (Vagrant Story: The Phantom Pain) or the title of a hypothetical series encompassing the game (The Phantom Pain: Vagrant Story).
  • The game was originally meant to feature a two-player option. Fans generally assume that Callo would have been the second playable character. Furthermore, Matsuno has stated that there were supposed to be several AI-controlled characters in the game. How the two-player option would have related to these AI characters is unknown.
  • Due to capacity and development time constraints, more than 50 percent of the game's story had to be cut from the final version, and the graphics' polygon count also had to be reduced.
  • Matsuno was reportedly inspired by "everything from Shakespeare to Jet Li" for the plot of the game.
  • Matsuno described Vagrant Story as a game "geared toward hard core gamers" and said the difference between mainstream games and it is similar to the differences between seafood and meat dishes, French cuisine and Japanese cuisine, soccer and baseball, rock and jazz, and Titanic and The Blair Witch Project.
  • A official comic book of the game was released in 2000.[1] It featured an exclusive interview of Yasumi Matsuno.[2]
  • A parody sequel titled Vagrant Story II was revealed by the now defunct gaming site Gameforms as part of an April Fool's Day prank. Gameforms stated it was in development by Nintendo for the Nintendo GameCube, with Yoshitaka Amano as the character designer. Ashley was stated to make a reappearance.[3]
  • Vagrant Story was the third video game to receive a perfect 40 out of 40 score in the Japanese gaming publication, Famitsu.
  • In his Twitter, Matsuno has said that he's always been interested in creating a Vagrant Story sequel, but knows he's never likely to have the opportunity. He also said that if he did create a sequel, it would NOT bear the "Vagrant Story" name.
  • In May 2020, Matsuno shared a draft prologue created for a Vagrant Story sequel pitch on Twitter, which featured a Heart-Seer named Marco Merlose, alias Jack, being hired by an older Joshua Corrinne Bardorba to track down a person of interest. The proposal was likely reworked to serve as the basis for Matsuno's 2012 Nintendo 3DS title Crimson Shroud, included in the Guild01 game anthology. [4]

Packaging artwork[]


External links[]