Eidolons are the summoned monsters in Final Fantasy IX whom the members of the summoner tribe of Madain Sari may call forth. As the civilization's sole survivors, Princess Garnet and Eiko Carol can summon eidolons, though Queen Brahne and Kuja can attain the power through artificial methods. According to the Final Fantasy IX Ultimania, eidolons are born from Gaia's Crystal, converted from the accumulation of memories within, to serve as powerful guardians for the Crystal.
There are at least fourteen eidolons in the game. Alexander cannot be controlled by the player, and is summoned only once during a cutscene, and Titan is not summoned directly, but appears as part of one of Fenrir's attacks. In addition the optional superboss Ozma may be an ancient eidolon that has lost its form, as it is found in an "eidolon cave". Of the remaining twelve, eight can be summoned by Dagger and the other four by Eiko. The eidolons are summoned to battle via the Summon command for exchange of MP.
Eidolons are powerful creatures born of the collective memories accumulated inside the planet's Crystal. The flow of souls in Final Fantasy IX is similar to the idea of Lifestream in Final Fantasy VII, and when the souls of the deceased return to the Crystal in the planet's core, they bring with them the memories and experiences of the life that was lived allowing the Crystal to grow and the planet will develop.
Eidolons are born out of the legends and mythologies numerous peoples have told since the beginning of time. The conjoined memories of said legends enter the Crystal as part of the peoples' heritage, and manifest into magical creatures, whom the Crystal creates as its protectors. An eidolon's appearance depends on the time period it appears in: the old legends on the eidolon Shiva tell of it as a tiny pixie, whereas the Shiva summoned in the game is a grown woman.
The phenomenon can also be seen in the case of Ozma; found in an "eidolon cave," it can be speculated Ozma could be an ancient eidolon that has no proper form and manifests as a swirling ball of pure energy. Since mythology is what gives form to eidolons, it may be that the legends of Ozma have been forgotten, and thus Ozma has lost its form.
The eidolons' nature as the Crystal's protectors is backed up by Terra's lack of eidolons, due to its weak Crystal.
Eidolons that summoners fail to harness are locked away, as seen in the case of Leviathan.
Eidolon and its Summoner
Eiko explains the summoner can communicate with his or her eidolon through the summoner's horn when she breaks the spell that protects the Iifa Tree from intruders. During the scene Garnet thinks she can't hear anything, despite Eiko claiming she can hear the eidolon asking her to hurry it up. It might mean that Garnet, having lost her summoner's horn, cannot communicate with eidolons the way Eiko can.
It is also possible the summoner tribe isn't the only people who can call forth eidolons. Though little is known of the Mole People who used to inhabit Mount Gulug, the circumstances around their sealed village and their disappearance, as well as their village remains containing an extraction circle, point toward the Mole People having been able to summon eidolons. This is backed by a an excerpt found on the Eidolon Wall in Madain Sari.
This information is yet to be confirmed, but there was an eyewitness account of a previously-undiscovered eidolon. It was witnessed in Esto Gaza. If there is an eidolon that can exist outside of our legends, our theory would no longer hold true. But maybe there are other tribes that have legends of their own.
- —Eidolon Wall in Madain Sari
During the time of the game Mount Gulug has been sealed off, but Kuja wants to break the seal as he is looking for an eidolon greater than Alexander. He has already exhausted Mist and Outer Continents, and next sets his eyes on Mount Gulug. Inside they find the remains of the Mole People's civilization and an extraction circle used to extract eidolons from a summoner. It is possible the Mole People faced the same fate as the summoner tribe in Madain Sari: destroyed by Garland in fears of the eidolons' power meddling with his plans.
The eidolon extraction is a process in which the eidolons are forcefully extracted from a subject, apparently into gemstones. Even a person who wasn't originally a summoner can summon the extracted eidolons by the use of the gem. Zorn and Thorn attempt the extracting ceremony twice: first from Garnet, so that Queen Brahne can make use of her daughter's eidolons to take over the nations of Cleyra and Lindblum, and later they attempt to steal Eiko's eidolons for Kuja.
Garnet is captured and imprisoned by Zorn and Thorn when she returns to Alexandria to reason with her mother about her recent attack on Burmecia. After Garnet loses her eidolons she must reclaim them to use them in battle. The first eidolon she acquires is Ramuh, whom she encounters at Pinnacle Rocks.
Later, Kuja intends to extract Eiko's eidolons at Mount Gulug, despite Eiko being considered too young to survive the extraction process, as Kuja says he needs an eidolon more powerful than Alexander. They fail to extract Eiko's eidolons and Zorn and Thorn state the ceremony can only work when the subject is sixteen years or older without the summoner dying. The extraction is halted by Mog who attacks the twins going into a Trance, and tells Eiko to summon Terra Homing. Mog is the eidolon Madeen who became Mog to protect Eiko.
- Main article: Alexander (Summon)#Final Fantasy IX
O holy guardian... hear our prayers... Deliver us out of darkness into light...
- —Garnet and Eiko
Alexander is the most powerful eidolon seen in the game, but it cannot be summoned in battle and only appears in the storyline. It appears as Alexandria's guardian and 500 years prior to the game its crystal was divided in four fragments to make sure it would never be summoned again, due to being deemed too dangerous. One fragment was given to each of the kingdoms on Mist Continent, and the summoner tribe kept the last piece as they moved away to Madain Sari.
Queen Brahne hunts for the crystal fragments and the pieces come together atop Alexandria Castle during the time Kuja attacks the city with Bahamut. Eiko and Garnet join their powers and summon Alexander, which destroys Bahamut, but is in turn destroyed by Garland's airship, the Invincible.
- Main article: Ozma
The superboss Ozma is found within an "eidolon cave", and thus it can be speculated that Ozma, much like Leviathan, was an eidolon whose power the summoners couldn't harness, and it was locked away. Over the many years the legends that gave birth to Ozma would have vanished, and the people who used to tell them would be extinct, with the result that Ozma loses whatever form it may once have had, and only appears to the party as a swirling mass of energy.
List of Summonable Eidolons
- See also: Summon (Final Fantasy IX)
The first time a summon is called the full animation plays. After that, there is a 33% or 10% chance to get the full animation again based on the following.
- If MP < (Summon MP Cost * 2), the chance of full animation is:
- Rnd MOD 256 >= 170, use full animation
- Otherwise, the chance of full animation is:
- Rnd MOD 256 >= 230, use full animation
If the support ability Boost is equipped there is a 100% chance of getting the full animation. MP in these calculations refers to the MP before the cost is subtracted. The value used for Summon MP Cost is unaffected by Half MP.
The attacks and spell power for Dagger's summons are straight-forward: they are based on item stock and length of animation, the short version being weaker than the full length animation (FLA). When Dagger summons an eidolon during her Trance there is a random chance the summon will reappear during the battle for zero MP cost, but the animation will always be the short version, and item stock "bonuses" will be disregarded. The summon will reappear in intervals to repeatedly damage the enemy until a new eidolon is summoned or until Dagger exits Trance. If Dagger dies or is ejected from battle (like with the attack Snort), the attack will stop as well.
The formula used to determine the amount of damage an eidolon does during its full animation is as follows:
If the eidolon is summoned and does its half animation, the formula changes to as follows:
At the start of the game, the MP cost for all summons is multiplied by 4. For example, Shiva will cost 96 MP instead of the later 24. This applies for all her Eidolons, even the ones Dagger does not have available at first (Ramuh, Leviathan, Ark). The reason for this may be because Dagger is scared of her power, and thus unwilling to use it. A player can grind intensively to reach enough MP to summon her Eidolons, however - although the last opportunity to do so is Gargan Roo.
- Spell power (FLA) equals 36+# of Opals in stock
- Spell power (TM) equals 34
- Spell power (FLA) equals 42+# of Topaz in stock
- Spell power (TM) equals 37
Ramuh can be learned from a Peridot. Its attack, Judgment Bolt, deals lightning-elemental damage to opponents. It originally costs 88 MP to summon, but later cost 22 MP. This can only be seen via a cheating device before Garnet loses all her eidolons.
- Spell power (FLA) equals 32+# of Peridot in stock
- Spell power (TM) equals 31
Atomos can be learned from an Amethyst. Its attack, G-Force 199, damages an enemy equal to a certain percentage of their Max HP (total damage is capped at 9,999). It originally costs 128 MP to summon, but later costs 32 MP.
Atomos causes damage equal to a percentage based on its Attack power and will not work on bosses.
- Full Animation:
- Damage = [((30 + Amethyst) * Target Max HP) / 100]
- Half Animation:
- Damage = [[(((30 + Amethyst) * Target Max HP) / 100] * 2) / 3]
Odin can be learned from a Dark Matter. Its attack, Zantetsuken, deals Instant Death that either kills an enemy or misses. If Dagger equips the Odin's Sword ability, Odin will deal non-elemental damage to all surviving enemies as well. When randomly summoned in Trance he does non-elemental damage, whether or not Odin's Sword is equipped. It originally costs 112 MP to summon, but later cost 28 MP.
- The chance of Odin causing Death is equal to:
- [Ore / 2] + Lvl + [Mag / 4] - Target Lvl
If the support ability Odin's Sword is equipped, Odin will now do non-elemental damage if he fails to kill. The strength of this ability is 145 - Ore.
Leviathan can be learned from an Aquamarine. Its attack, Tsunami, deals water-elemental damage to opponents. It originally costs 168 MP to summon, but later cost 42 MP. This can only be seen via a cheating device before Garnet loses all her eidolons.
- Spell power (FLA) equals 59+# of Aquamarine in stock
- Spell power (TM) equals 63
- Spell power (FLA) equals 88+# of Garnet in stock
- Spell power (TM) equals 77
Ark can be learned from a Pumice. Its attack, Eternal Darkness, deals shadow-elemental damage to opponents. It originally costs 320 MP to summon, but later cost 80 MP. This can only be seen via a cheating device before Garnet loses all her eidolons.
- Spell power (FLA) equals 106+# of Lapis Lazuli in stock
- Spell power (TM) equals 87
Eiko's summons, while fewer in number than Dagger's, are a little more complex, as the attacks/effects of her summons change according to different variables, such as the equipped add-on.
Fenrir can be learned from a Sapphire. Its attack is add-on dependent. Its base attack is Terrestrial Rage and does earth-elemental damage by summoning Titan. If Eiko equips the Maiden Prayer, Fenrir attacks with Millennial Decay, dealing wind-elemental damage. It costs 30 MP to summon.
- Spell power for Terrestrial Rage equals 42+# of Sapphires in stock
- Spell power for Millennial Decay equals 44+# of Sapphires in stock
Phoenix can be learned from a Phoenix Pinion. Its attack, Rebirth Flame, is animation length and chance dependent, and deals light to moderate Fire damage to enemies while reviving KO'd allies. If entire party is KO'd, there's a slight chance of auto-summoning that revives the party, but does no damage to enemies. It costs 32 MP to summon, apart from when it is automatically summoned to prevent Game Over, when it costs no MP at all. Phoenix revives the party with double the HP if the Concentrate ability is equipped.
Phoenix revives KO'd party members and restores their HP equal to:
- [((Target Spr + 30) * Target Max HP) / 100]
- HP restored is doubled if Concentrate is equipped.
If Eiko is in the party there is a chance Phoenix will automatically revive the party if they are all KO'd. The chance of this happening is equal to:
- [(# of Phoenix Pinions / 256) * 100]
This automatic Rebirth Flame has a different animation than normal. It deals no damage to the enemy and uses no MP.
Carbuncle can be learned from a Ruby. Its attack is add-on and animation length dependent. Unlike other summons, it does no damage to the enemy, it only casts helpful status effects on the party. The difference between short animation (SA) and full length animation (FLA) is that if the FLA is played, Protect will be cast in addition to the normal status effect. It costs 24 MP to summon.
- Normal summon "attack" is called Ruby Light and casts Reflect on the party.
- If Eiko equips Diamond, "attack" is called Diamond Light and casts Vanish on the party.
- If Eiko equips Emerald, "attack" is called Emerald Light and casts Haste on the party.
- If Eiko equips Moonstone, "attack" is called Pearl Light and casts Shell on the party.
- Spell power equals 71+Eiko's level
The use of eidolons in Final Fantasy IX relates to an older Final Fantasy tradition in vein of the theme of the game, with the use of summoning being linked to a character class.
Leviathan is mentioned in an old memo written by Hironobu Sakaguchi for the development of Final Fantasy IX. Upon their first meeting, Princess Garnet would have rushed past Zidane and "a thief" (Marcus in the final game) and while the thief would have focused on Garnet's chest being slightly revealed in her formal dress, Zidane would take notice of the pendant she was wearing: "No, no, she was wearing the pendant of the summons permitted by only royalty. Deep blue stone... 'The Legend of Leviathan', was it Princess Garnet?" This could refer to Garnet's royal pendant being the summoning jewel for Leviathan in the early story drafts. In the final game, Garnet is unaware the pendant is a fragment of Alexander's summoning jewel, although wearing the pendant is still a sign of royalty.
The eidolons Alexander and Ark from Final Fantasy IX appear in Final Fantasy Legends: Toki no Suishō as summons.
Some of the eidolons appear in Final Fantasy Airborne Brigade.
Some of the eidolons from Final Fantasy IX appear in Pictlogica Final Fantasy.
Ark appears in Final Fantasy Record Keeper as an enemy.
The eidolons appear in Final Fantasy Trading Card Game with their artworks. Their elements correspond with those from the original game. Odin and Carbuncle are non-elemental in the game but Lightning and Earth-elemental in the trading card game.
Leviathan and Odin appear on Triple Triad cards.
Eidolon is a Greek word for "unsubstantial image", "reflection" or "phantom", additionally meaning "ideal", from which the Latin word Idolum comes. Idol is "a representation or symbol of an object of worship".
The word "idol" being related to "Eidolon" may have relevance in Final Fantasy IX, as Eidolons are summoned by the summoners of Madain Sari. Mada'in Saleh is an ancient city located in the north of Saudi Arabia said to have been cursed and destroyed by a cataclysmic earthquake as a punishment by Allah for the Thamudis' idol worship.