- “Espers come in a variety of forms. My appearance is similar to your own, so I can live here as one of you... without fear of anyone discovering the truth.”
An esper (幻獣, Genjū?, lit. "Phantom Beast") is a magical being in Final Fantasy VI. In a system designed by Hiroyuki Ito, they act as the means through which humans can learn to wield magic, and as the game's summons.
Espers were created as a result of humans coming into contact with magic and the Warring Triad during their war for dominance. The gods realized what they were doing was wrong, and sealed themselves away in the forms of statues. They gave the espers back their free will, and asked them to protect them. A second war began between espers and humans seeking to use their powers, beginning the War of the Magi. At the height of the war the espers created a new realm and escaped there with the Warring Triad's statues.
A handful of espers remained in the world, such as Valigarmanda, who was frozen in ice, and Odin, who was petrified in the Ancient Castle buried deep within the mountains. Ramuh lived in the human world for an unspecified time, using his humanoid appearance to blend into normal society, and he implies other espers do the same. The espers' magicite remains also remained, such as Ragnarok and Phoenix. As the remaining espers concealed their existence, the knowledge of magic faded from conscious mind and became the stuff of legends and myths.
1000 Years LaterEdit
The espers lived in their world safe from human invasion until a woman named Madeline stumbled upon the esper world. She fell in love with an esper named Maduin, much to the other espers' dismay, and gave birth to a baby girl, naming her Terra.
Two years later, an army of humans, led by Emperor Gestahl, came into the esper world. Unlike Madeline, who had come upon the place by accident, Gestahl had spent years searching for the esper world. His troops began capturing espers, causing a panic, and the Elder, who was one of the few able to perform the feat, formed a Sealed Gate around the entrance to the esper world and forced out the soldiers. Maduin was taken when he tried to stop Madeline and Terra from leaving the esper world before the gate closed, as Gestahl captured all three of them, but killed Madeline.
For the next sixteen years the captured espers were being held in the Magitek Research Facility in the Imperial capital of Vector, and were the subject of experiments conducted by Cid Del Norte Marquez, who extracted their magic power and infused the magic into humans using the process of Magitek, creating the Magitek Knights. His first experiment was done on a man named Kefka Palazzo. The experiment was deemed a failure, as Kefka lost his mind. A more refined process was invented and used on Celes Chere, whom Cid raised as his daughter. The refined process no longer harmed the subject's mental faculties, and soldiers and machines began to regularly be infused with magic.
At an unspecified point, the esper Ramuh and three other espers, Siren, Cait Sith and Kirin, escaped the Empire, but the latter three were struck down in the process. Ramuh fled to Zozo, taking refuge atop a tower in the city. The espers Leviathan, Gilgamesh, Gigantuar and Diabolos also escaped, and would wander the world remaining free from detection for a year. Diabolos is eventually killed and his magicite comes to rest in Dragons' Den.
At Narshe, the townspeople unearth the esper Valigarmanda in a newly dug mine shaft. The news attracts the Gestahlian Empire's attention, and they send Terra, under their control via a Slave Crown, to retrieve it with Biggs and Wedge. Biggs and Wedge are killed when the esper responds to Terra's presence, knocking her unconscious. Arvis finds her and contacts Locke to get her out of the city safely. The two are members of the Returners, an Imperial resistance group, and Terra joins their ranks to help them fight the Empire.
When the Returners return to Narshe, they attempt to have Terra awaken Valigarmanda to have a powerful ally to fight the Empire. The contact causes Terra lose control of her powers and transform into an esper. Ramuh, sensing this event, summons Terra to him and puts her to rest while she mentally wrestles with what she is. When the Returners track her down Ramuh explains the Empire's methods for extracting magic are flawed. Total transfer of an esper's power is only possible via magicite, the crystallized remains of an esper when they die. Ramuh entrusts the magicite shards of Siren, Cait Sith, Kirin and himself to the Returners, and tasks them to rescue the imprisoned espers from the Magitek Research Facility.
The Returners raid the facility and rescue the espers, though too late to prevent them from dying and turning into magicite. Kefka and the Empire learn that magicite magic is more potent than Magitek, and with the Empire's magic supply gone, the Returners ally with Narshe to open the gate to the esper world and launch a joint human-esper attack on Vector. Terra opens the gate, but when the espers emerge they lose control of their powers like she did, and go on a rampage at Vector. The Empire is decimated and Gestahl calls a truce, asking the Returners to ally with him to find the espers and explain the truce to them to avoid further bloodshed.
While Terra, Locke and General Leo locate the espers at Crescent Mountain near Thamasa, it is revealed to have been a ruse to draw them out of hiding. Kefka arrives under Gestahl's orders and kills the espers, seizing their magicite, incapacitates the party, and kills Leo. The sealed gate opens and more espers arrive to attack Kefka, but he is immune to their powers and turns them into magicite. Kefka and Gestahl cross the sealed gate and raise the Floating Continent with the power of the Warring Triad. When the party confronts the two, Kefka kills Gestahl and takes the Triad's power as his own. The party flees, and the world is destroyed.
In the newly formed World of Ruin, only a few espers remain alive, though magicite remains of espers are abundant and it is mentioned by NPCs there may be almost no espers left. With the destruction of Kefka and the Warring Triad, espers and magicite vanish from the world.
List of EspersEdit
|Name||Sprite||1st Spell||2nd Spell||3rd Spell||4th Spell||5th Spell|
|Ramuh||Thunder x10||Thundara x2||Poison x5|
|Zozo - Top of the central building after seeing Terra||Stamina +1|
|Kirin||Cure x4||Cura x1||Regen x3||Poisona x4||Libra x5|
|Zozo - Top of the central building after seeing Terra||None|
|Siren||Sleep x10||Silence x8||Slow x7||Fire x6|
|Zozo - Top of the central building after seeing Terra||HP +10%|
|Confuse x7||Imp x5||Float x2|
|Zozo - Top of the central building after seeing Terra||Magic +1|
|Ifrit||Fire x10||Fira x5||Drain x1|
|Magitek Research Facility, after defeating Ifrit and Shiva||Strength +1|
|Shiva||Blizzard x10||Blizzara x5||Rasp x4||Osmose x4||Cure x3|
|Magitek Research Facility, after defeating Ifrit and Shiva||None|
|Unicorn||Cura x4||Esuna x3||Dispel x2||Protect x1||Shell x1|
|Magitek Research Facility, after defeating Number 024||None|
|Maduin||Fira x3||Thundara x3||Blizzara x3|
|Magitek Research Facility, after defeating Number 024||Magic +1|
|Bio x8||Break x5||Death x2|
|Magitek Research Facility, after defeating Number 024||HP +10%|
|Phantom||Berserk x3||Vanish x3||Gravity x5|
|Magitek Research Facility, after defeating Number 024||MP +10%|
|Reflect x5||Haste x3||Shell x2||Protect x2||Warp x2|
|Magitek Research Facility, after defeating Number 024||None|
|Bismarck||Fire x20||Blizzard x20||Thunder x20||Raise x2|
|Magitek Research Facility, after defeating Number 024||Strength +2|
|Golem||Protect x5||Stop x5||Cura x5|
|Auction House in Jidoor, bid 20,000 gil||Stamina +2|
|Rasp x20||Osmose x15||Shell x5|
|Auction House in Jidoor, bid 10,000 gil||Magic +2|
|Raise x5||Cure x20||Cura x8||Regen x10||Esuna x4|
|Tzen, buy from thief behind Relic Shop for 3,000/10 gil||None|
|Haste x20||Slow x20||Hastega x2||Slowga x2||Float x5|
|Solitary Island, on the beach after acquiring the Falcon||None|
|Fenrir||Teleport x10||Banish x5||Stop x3|
|Mobliz, received from Orphan after defeating Humbaba||MP +30%|
|Firaga x1||Blizzaga x1||Thundaga x1|
|Narshe, defeat Valigarmanda||Magic +2|
|Quake x3||Graviga x1||Tornado x1|
|Yeti's Cave, must fight Yeti immediately after receiving||HP +30%|
|Cure x25||Cura x16||Curaga x1||Regen x20||Esuna x20|
|Owzer's Mansion, defeat Chadarnook||Stamina +2|
|Alexander||Holy x2||Shell x10||Protect x10||Dispel x10||Esuna x15|
|Doma Castle, in the throne room after defeating Wrexsoul and escaping Dreamscape||None|
|Phoenix||Raise x10||Arise x2||Reraise x1||Curaga x2||Firaga x3|
|Kohlingen, automatically received after completing Phoenix Cave||None|
|Narshe, in weapons shop (Locke required in party)||None|
|Ancient Castle, touch Odin's remains in throne room||Speed +1|
|Defeat Deathgaze wandering the overworld's sky||HP +50%|
|Crusader||Meltdown x1||Meteor x10|
|Defeat the Eight Dragons, received automatically when the eighth is defeated||MP +50%|
|Ancient Castle, touch Queen's remains while in possession of Odin Magicite||Strength +2|
|Ferry between South Figaro and Nikeah after acquiring the Falcon (Advance-exclusive)||Stamina +2|
|Gilgamesh||Quick x1||Valor x5|
|Dragon's Neck Coliseum, bet Excalipoor from Auction House (Advance-exclusive)||Strength +2|
|Cactuar||Teleport x20||Vanish x10||Hastega x5|
|Desert near Maranda as random encounter after defeating ten Cactuars (Advance-exclusive)||Speed +2|
|Diabolos||Gravity x5||Gravija x3|
|Dragons' Den, after defeating Kaiser Dragon (Advance-exclusive)||HP +100%|
- Main article: List of Final Fantasy VI Spells#Summon
- Main article: Terra Branford
Terra is the daughter of the human Madeline and the esper Maduin, making her a half-human and half-esper. She can use the Trance command to transform into esper form when she discovers the truth about her origins. From then on, she can control her powers, as long as she uses it in short bursts. This enables her to unlock her latent magical potential and increase her physical and magical power drastically. She can revert back into her human form at will. Terra is naturally gifted in magic due to her heritage, able to learn sixteen spells as she levels up without the help of magicite.
It is unknown how many espers exist during the events of Final Fantasy VI, but there are at least dozens if not hundreds. They are represented on the field by assorted sprites representing wolves, dragons and fairies, and are not given proper names. In the battlefield, they use the summon sprites of other espers, so it is likely their field sprites are not reflective of their actual appearance.
The theme song for the Espers is called "Esper World," sometimes referred to as "Another World of Beasts." It plays in the Land of Espers and is also used during somber moments in the game.