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“Don' get many visitors down here. Come scavengin' fer odds and ends, have you? Oh, the way out? It's just back up those stairs — To smithereens, you say!? Then there's nothin' left but to find some other way out through these tunnels.”
Originally it was a passage used to speedily bring goods into Nalbina Fortress, but fell into disuse with the advent of airships as the preferred form of transportation. Now, the only people who walk down its paths are people escaping from the Nalbina Dungeons. In order to get back to the passage later in the game, the player must complete the Patient in the Desert sidequest on Dalmasca Estersand.
“An underground passage beneath the fortress at Nalbina. Originally a railway to carry goods into the fortress, the passage was closed with the introduction of airships as the primary means of transport. The abandoned railway line is now rife with Mist, and the dwelling place of many fell beasts.”
Barheim Passage has numerous treasure chests, and some Mimics posing as treasures. The treasures the player encounters when going through Barheim Passage the first time with Basch as a guest are nothing special and contain either gil or common recovery items or low level equipment. The treasure at the far end of the Op Sector 37 has a 60% chance to spawn and a 75% chance to contain a Mage Masher.
During the first time through, the best treasure is the Oaken Pole, which has a chance to appear at the far end of The Zeviah Subterrane area, on a little "island" where the player can cross if they "walk off the map". The Oaken Pole treasure has a 85% chance to spawn, with 85% chance to contain an item, of which the Oaken Pole is selected half the time. Because the treasure respawns it is possible to get multiple Oaken Poles early, but as soon as the player exits Barheim Passage they can no longer return until later.
After obtaining the Barheim Key the player can explore areas that were sealed off previously. In the Special Op Sector 5 all treasures contain gil, and the area has the Rare GameIthuno posing as a treasure from which the player can steal the Deathbringer one-handed sword. In East-West Bypass the furthest treasure chest in the dead-end bit can contain a Turtleshell Choker. The same treasure may contain a Bubble Belt when Diamond Armlet is equipped.
In the Zeviah Span, the treasure right on the middle of the bridge can contain Celebrant's Miter, and the one at the south end can contain Cleric's Robes. Mostly the item treasures at the far end of the Barheim Passage are Knots of Rust, but the treasure that normally contains either 500 gil or an Elixir, can hold Zodiac Escutcheon with the Diamond Armlet, although the chance is small.
The player can also obtain the Dragon Mail from a treasure in West Annex, near the area where the path starts to narrow. The treasure in Terminus No.7 Adjunct contains either 20,000 gil or the Kaiser Shield with Diamond Armlet equipped, but is a treasure that will never respawn.
After having been found trespassing in the Royal Palace of Rabanastre, Vaan and his two sky pirate comrades Balthier and Fran are sent to Nalbina Dungeons. Fran, being a viera, senses a way out. Turns out the "way out" is a pit at the deep end of the dungeons, and there they also find Basch fon Ronsenburg, who has been kept in a private cage. The party free Basch and knock his cage down the pit, collapsing the tunnel, and ending up in the Barheim Passage.
With Basch as a guest the party make their way out of the passage fighting mimics and finally the Mimic Queen. At the end of the battle the Mimic Queen explodes sealing the entrance to the passage.
Later, if the party obtains the Barheim Key, the party can come back to explore the passage, through an alternative entrance.
The manga version of Final Fantasy XII expands on the events with Vaan tells Basch Reks was interrogated as a co-conspirator on Raminas's murder, and died from the methods used to force a confession. The four flee down the passage from a Mimic Queen, Basch grabbing the sword of a fallen adventurer to fight.
Vaan distracts the Mimic Queen while Basch cleaves it in two, but they disturb a nest of smaller Mimics. Basch fights them off to protect Vaan, the two speaking of Reks's belief in Basch and the true events of Raminas's death during the battle. With the Mimics dead the group escapes into the Dalmasca Estersand, and Basch heads to Rabanastre, telling Vaan he will accept atonement at his hands after he is finished what he needs to do.
Speak to Burrough to discover that the fuse had blown and needed to be replaced. He happens to have a fuse which he then gives to the party. Replacing the fuse opens the gate, but causes the power level to drop to 70%. After that he explains that as long as the lights are on the Passage is not very dangerous, but if the power level drops below 30%, "fierce beasts start comin' out in the dark".
For the duration of the level, if the power level drops below 50%, Zombies and Skeletons appear. If it drops below 30%, Specters and Skull Defenders appear. There is also a chance that a Battery Mimic will respawn between 31-50%. Periodically, the party will find Battery Mimics to stop them from feeding on power conduits and draining the electricity over time. As long as a Battery Mimic lives in the current area, the power will continue to slowly drop. When a Battery Mimic is killed, some of the power they consumed will be restored. After defeating the Mimic Queen, the Battery Mimics no longer appear.
“You heard of the Barheim Passage? Legend says you can hear the eerie cry of a woman from the depths of that accursed place.”
—Itinerant Hand, Nalbina Fortress
The western mines of the Barheim Passage is the sealing place of the optional Esper Zalera. After Zalera's defeat, passage to the Garamsythe Waterway is opened. To reach this part of the passage the player must complete the Patient In The Desert sidequest at the Dalmasca Estersand.
Burrough is first met when the party crashes down into the passage. Later, they can meet the bangaa in Nalbina, where Burrough recognizes Vaan and talks about escaping Barheim Passage. However, if the player goes back to the Barheim Passage, they can find Burrough there as well, having never left.
When the party are escaping from the dungeon, the Save Crystal is blue. If the party revisits the passage, the Save Crystal is now orange (it has turned to a Gate Crystal).