Action Encounters are a method of entering battles. Primarily used for boss battles, action encounters are engaged in when a player uses the action button to trigger a battle, or to trigger script that leads to a battle. Due to the greater amount of forewarning given before the player enters the battle, it leaves time for the player to menu grind. While most action encounters are one-time events, there are a number of exceptions to the rule in the series. Action encounters are used more in the earlier games, particularly the sprite-based games, as the model-based games allow for cutscenes where the characters can move around more.
Action encounters are similar to script encounters in the way they lead up to boss battles or other forms of special battle, the difference is the more forced nature of a script encounter as the player loses control when moving past a certain point, while an action encounter can be entirely ignored until the player is ready since the player can see the boss and choose when to engage with it.
A common form of non-boss action encounters are Monster-in-a-box encounters that serve as a form of trap since the player freely chooses to engage with the Treasure Chest. Monster-in-a-box encounters are a programmer's alternative to placing Fixed Encounters around chests.
In the Chaos Shrine, the player can face Garland by talking to him. In Pravoka, the player can face a battle with nine Pirate enemies by talking to Bikke. In the Western Keep, if the player talks to the King, he will reveal himself to be Astos and a battle will ensue. On floor B3 of the Cavern of Earth, the player can fight the Vampire by talking to him. On floor B5, the player can fight Lich by pressing the action button on the yellow orb.
In Mount Gulg, the player can fight Marilith by pressing the action button on the red orb. In the Sunken Shrine, the player can fight Kraken by pressing the action button on the blue orb. In the Flying Fortress, the player can fight Tiamat by pressing the action button on the green orb. In the Chaos Shrine from the past, the player can fight Chaos after talking to Garland and witnessing a change.
On the player's first entry to Fynn, and later on the Dreadnought, the player can talk to the Palamecian soldiers to result in a battle against Captain enemies, a difficult battle to win at early stages of the game though they have a chance to drop good equipment early in the game.
Several bosses in the game require the player to speak to them in order to initiate battle against them, namely the Sergeant, Adamantoise, Red Soul, Roundworm, Fire Gigas, Ice Gigas, Thunder Gigas, Chimera, Gottos, and Big Horn.
In the Sealed Cave, pressing the action button on doors will result in a battle against Trap Door enemies. In the Lodestone Cavern, the player must press the action button to initiate battle against the Dark Elf, and in the Feymarch, the player must speak to both Asura and Leviathan to initiate battle with them.
In the Lair of the Father, if the player has obtained Leviathan, the player must press the action button to initiate battle with Bahamut. In the Lunar Subterrane, if the player presses the action button on the Murasame, Masamune, Holy Lance, or Ragnarok, the player will be forced to fight a boss.
On the top floor of the Library of the Ancients, three books are present. The book on the right of the player will result in a battle against a number of the Page enemies. Inside the Library of the Ancients, the player must speak to a book to fight and defeat Ifrit. In the Wind Shrine, the player must press the action button to fight the Wing Raptor, and in Castle Exdeath, the player must do the same if they wish to fight Carbuncle. In Castle of Bal in World 3, the player may speak to Odin and fight him if they wish to obtain him.
In Istory Falls, the player can speak to Leviathan and fight him to obtain him, and in a secret area of Walse Castle, the player can speak to Shiva and defeat her to obtain her. In the Great Sea Trench and Island Shrine, pressing the action button on the Tablets will initiate a boss fight. In the Fork Tower, pressing the action button on the spells initiates a boss fight with Minotaur and Omniscient.
At two points in the game, the player must command three parties against enemies moving on the field and enter battle with them when they meet. The objective is to fight their way through the enemies to defeat a boss enemy on the other side of the field, before the moving enemies reach a leader figure on the player's side of the field.
In many places occupied by the Gestahlian Empire, speaking to the Imperial Soldiers or being caught by one of them triggers a battle. This occurs in the Imperial Camp, Doma Castle, Imperial Observation Post, and Vector. In the Imperial Palace, the player can speak to soldiers to fight them during the banquet preparations. In South Figaro during the town's occupation, Cadets and Merchant can be fought by speaking to them. Other Imperial Troops will attack the player unless they are disguised as a Cadet when spoken to.
The Materia Keeper is fought in Mt. Nibel this way. In the Pagoda in Wutai, the player must talk to the guardians on each floor before battling them. The first floor is Gorkii, the second floor is Shake, the third floor is Chekov, the fourth floor is Staniv, and the final floor is Godo.
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In the Deep Sea Research Center, the party can interact with the glowing blue light in the center of the room. Answering the questions correctly leads to a series of up to three consecutive battles, the first two against Ruby Dragons, and the third against the GF Bahamut. In Galbadia Garden, the player can talk to Cerberus to initiate battle with it to obtain, and can talk to Odin in the Centra Ruins to do the same. During a flashback sequence with Laguna, if the player chooses to not fight the Ruby Dragon immediately, the player must press the action button on it to initiate battle.
After the Lunar Cry, talking to a man in Esthar just north of Dr. Odine's Lab initiates a battle with an Elnoyle. Leaving the screen and returning causes the man to reappear, so the player can fight this battle as many times as necessary to farm Moon Stones and Energy Crystals or draw Holy.
In Treno, the player may fight up to four action encounters in the Weapon Shop using a single party member. If they win, they are awarded with an item, but if they lose, they do not get a Game Over; rather, the party member's HP drops to 1. Depending on when they are fought in the game, the encounters are a Griffin, Catoblepas, Behemoth, and an Amdusias.