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Gau is a playable character in Final Fantasy VI whose unique ability is Rage, which lets Gau use enemies' attack scripts. He can learn new Rages by leaping on the Veldt. While he is "leaped" on the Veldt, Gau is treated as not being in the party, so the player will be unable to select him when forming a party aboard their airship or in Narshe, and when a new party member joins Gau's level will not factor into the calculations for the new member's initial level. Gau is unique in that when he is re-recruited in the World of Ruin, he is treated as though he leaped and is rejoining, and thus will rejoin at whatever level he was in at the end of the World of Balance.
In the World of Balance, Gau is found on the Veldt, and can appear at the end of a random fight. If given a Dried Meat, he will join the party and progress the story. Afterwards, he is then available throughout points in the story.
In the World of Ruin, Gau is recruited in the Veldt, which is now located on a separate continent. Like any normal Gau rejoining, when fighting in the Veldt with three party members, he may appear in a battle, and if not attacked, will rejoin the party.
Gau's special ability, Rage lets him mimic monsters' attacks, elemental affinities, status resistances, and even inherent status effects, such as Protect, Haste, and even Float. If the monster has an inherent status ailment—like Sap, Blind, or Undead—Gau will mimic those as well.
While in Rage status, Gau becomes uncontrollable and all he will do is perform a physical attack using the monster's weapon of choice, or use a special attack/spell/enemy spell used by the enemy whose Rage he is using. While Gau is using a Rage, he is temporarily "equipped" with a predesignated attack graphic that simulates the weapon or physical attack of the mimicked enemy. This does not affect Gau's attack power, however, and is merely a visual effect. On the Veldt Gau has the ability Leap, which lets him learn new Rage techniques. Gau has no Desperation Attack.
In the SNES release, if Gau is equipped with a Genji Glove, Gau will attack twice with the selected Rage's physical attack or the special attack, depending on what Gau decides to attack with. In all versions of the game, if Gau is equipped with the Master's Scroll, he will not only attack four times, but if the Rage uses the monster's special attack, he will perform that four times as well. This is especially lethal with Rages such as the Stray Cat's Cat Scratch and the Gold Bear's Gouge. Magic spells and enemy spells, such as Blaster or Flare Star, are unaffected by the Master's Scroll.
Gau is able to equip the Merit Award on the SNES version to improve his Rage abilities when equipped with specific weaponry. Such weaponry like the Kazekiri (Wind Slash), Kagenui (Stop), Boomerang (Long Range), and Assassin's Dagger (Death) among many other weapons that have extra effects when attacking. Not only did this work when Gau used the Rage's attack (weapon strike), but also for when he used the Rage's special ability, such as Stray Cat's Cat Scratch and Guard's Critical. The only exception are weapons that deal an automatic critical hit by consuming MP, which doesn't work when using a special attack. Due to the stacked advantages, the later releases of Final Fantasy VI starting with the PS version prohibited Gau from equipping the Merit Award and in turn, Gogo with the GBA version, having lower stats than Gau, but able to use the same combination.
The most popular setup for Gau was to equip him with the Merit Award, the Offering, and a Kazekiri, which randomly casts Wind Slash upon hit, and then use the Stray Cat Rage. The result was Gau attacking four times, randomly using Wind Slash, which would be augmented by the effects of the Stray Cat's "Catscratch" attack. This is known as "Wind God Gau". This combo proved so powerful that in all subsequent releases Gau is prohibited from equipping the Merit Award.
Gau's stats are all around high, with the exception of his defense, but this can be attributed to the variety of attacks and abilities he uses via his Rages. To compensate for his lack of ability to equip a weapon, his natural attack power is higher than any other character.
Gau can equip lightweight vests and hats, universal shields, and a few helmets. Gau cannot equip weapons without using the Merit Award (SNES only), except for the universal Impartisan. Equipping it will make him physically weaker unless he's under the Imp status.
As an "enemy"Edit
Gau can be encountered as an enemy on the Veldt if he has leaped previously and not returned yet and the party has fewer than four members. As long as the battle is not a back attack, side attack, or pincer attack, there is a chance Gau will appear after the monsters are defeated. He can be attacked and even killed during this time, but if the player does not attack him, he will speak up and rejoin the group with the Rages of any monsters present in the battle he leaped and the battle he returned in.