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Frequently Asked Questions[edit]

I know that Final Fantasy is a very popular franchise, so there may be questions or concerns about how this class came together, and I want to do my best to preemptively answer as many questions as possible. Below are the things I could think of ahead of time that may come up as questions. If you have any further questions, please feel free to leave a signed comment below and I'll do my best to answer it.

Esper and Tier Names[edit]

Some summoned monsters have different names in the American localization compared to the original Japanese version. After some research, I found that the original Japanese names are more consistently used, in more titles across the franchise. Although I grew up with the American localization names, I chose to use the more frequently seen original Japanese names in this class. Below are the summoned monsters that had different names that I had to decide between.

Valigarmanda = Tritoch
Midgardsormr = Terrato
Catoblepas = Shoat
Lakshmi = Starlet
Cait Sith = Stray

As far as the naming convention for the summoned monsters and tiers; I decided I wanted to pay homage to all of the various names that the creatures have been called over the years. I found the terms Esper, Ediolon, Guardian Force, Aeon, Avatar and Astral. I had broken up the summoned monsters into 5 tiers, and they needed a name as a whole, so I decided to use all these names so they would all be represented in the class.

To begin, I named the summoned monsters as a whole Espers for two reasons. Firstly, it was the first term used for these creatures in the Final Fantasy series, originating from Final Fantasy VI. Although the entities were introduced earlier in Final Fantasy III, IV, and V, they were simply referred to as 'summoned monsters'. Secondly, having personally spent more hours playing Final Fantasy IV than any other game in the series, the name Espers holds sentimental value for me.

With the tiers, I wanted Aeon to be the last tier so that I could make the level 20 capstone ability be called "Final Aeon" to reference the story from Final Fantasy X. Guardian Forces felt fitting as an introductory-sounding tier. Ediolon, one of the more commonly used in the franchise, found its place in the 2nd tier, where many popular summoned monsters are. That just left Avatars and Astrals. I went back and forth on this for a while, but what I landed on was that when I think of the word Avatar (other than the movie and cartoon), I think about the Avatar of a deity which is like their right-hand man, so to speak. So, I placed it in the 4th tier, leaving Astral as the 3rd tier.

Tier Organization[edit]

Ranking summoned monsters into tiers is inherently subjective, inviting potential disagreements. To address questions like "Why is this Esper in that tier?" or "How come X Esper is more powerful than Y Esper?" I'll provide explanations for some of my decisions.

I feel like the majority of the first tier and the last tier are pretty self-evident, I dont think there will be very many disputes there. I went with the ones I perceived as the least powerful in the first tier and the most powerful in the last tier.

I also organized the Espers among the tiers to try to ensure a diverse distribution of attacks/styles, trying to avoid a concentration of similar Espers on a single tier while leaving other tiers without that type. Some of the different ways that I organized them were:

  • I wanted Leviathan and Asura to be on the same tier to reflect their story in Final Fantasy IV. But I didnt feel they were on Bahamut's level, so I placed them a tier under Bahamut and also, they provide some name recognition and power for the Avatar tier.
  • The Mist Dragon was available to Rydia at the start of Final Fantasy IV, so I didnt want it to be too high up, but it felt more powerful than tier 1, so I moved it to tier 2.
  • I intentionally grouped Shiva, Ifrit, and Ramuh on the same tier due to their recurring story connections across the franchise. These iconic Espers, are commonly acquired early in the game and are placed in the 2nd tier to reflect their usual availability. Additionally, given their Ice/Fire/Lightning themes, I purposefully positioned Valigarmanda in the tier following them, as it is tri-elemental.
  • I made it so that the player will get a new mount option on every tier except Aeon.

Tier 1: Chocobo
Tier 2: Unicorn
Tier 3: Syldra (aquatic)
Tier 4: Ixion (2 person)

  • I had a total of 6 restorative Espers and 5 tiers. So, I organized them, ensuring each tier had only one restorative or curative Esper, except one tier. It's worth noting that in the lore of Final Fantasy VI, Lakshmi (formerly known as Starlet) is established as a more potent healer than Sraphim, and I adhered to that lore.

Tier 1: Kirin
Tier 2: Unicorn
Tier 3: Sraphim
Tier 4: Lakshmi and Asura (Asura's effects are randomized, hense why I stacked this tier)
Tier 5: Phoenix

I also tried to somewhat separate the thematic Espers between tiers as well.

  • Electrical Attack Espers:

Tier 2: Ramuh
Tier 3: Quezacotl
Tier 4: Ixion

  • Earth Attack Espers:

Tier 2: Brothers
Tier 3: Midgardsormr
Tier 4: Titan

  • Fire Attack Espers:

Tier 1: Bomb
Tier 2: Ifrit
Tier 3: Cerberus

  • Ones with dark themes:

Tier 3: Cerberus
Tier 4: Hades
Tier 5: Diablos

  • Then a loose association between humanoid shaped characters wielding manufactured weapons:

Tier 1: Goblin
Tier 2: Gilgamesh
Tier 3: Yojimbo
Tier 5: Odin / Knights of the Round

Some Espers were placed by the power of their abilities so that it was more balanced in the game.

  • Catoblepas, Carbunkle and Phantom were placed in the Avatar tier because thats when their abilities (aoe save vs death, spell turning and etherealness respectively) would be more balanced. Tonberry was originally tier 1, but I couldnt justify the single target save vs death at level 1, even if the save were easy.

Unused Espers[edit]

Some readers may wonder why a specific summoned monster or their favorite one isn't featured in this class. If you include Spin-Offs like Ivalice, Dimensions, Dissidia, Crystal Chornicles, Record Keeper, etc, there are almost 100 unique summoned creatures in the Final Fantasy franchise, including all of them in one class isn't practical. So I've tried to focus almost exclusively on those seen in the main series. Even with the number I've included, I've already substantially exceeded the typical count found in any one Final Fantasy game. Below is a list of summoned monsters not selected for this class, along with my general rationale for their exclusion.

If there is a particular Esper that you're particularly fond of and want to be able to use it, I'm not opposed to a player working with their DM and coming up with a stat block and overdrive for the Esper and then just slotting it into whatever tier you both agree is balanced. Alternatively, I would also challenge you to wait, and consider using it as your Final Aeon.

  • Raiden, Bahamut Fury, Neo Bahamut, Bahamut Zero: Im sure these ones will be among the most pointed out. I didnt want multiples of any given summon, and I see these as alternate forms of Odin & Bahamut respectively and I wanted to use the originals for nostalgia's sake.
  • Eden, Ark, Doomtrain, Atomos: I did initially look into all of these, but they are so large that it wouldnt be practical to be able to summon them in many locations / situations. With Eden, Ark and Doomtrain in particular, I also didnt want to use anything that would appear as too technological that may clash with a game's setting.
  • Maduin, Zoneseek, Quetzalli (Palidor): These were originally on the list to be used in middle/lower tiers, but the combination of difficulty finding high resolution images of them, and their limited appearances in so few games ultimately led to me cutting them.
  • Moogle, Mini Mog, Boko: The silliness of the animation thematics didnt match with the theme and energy I was going for with the Summoner class. Also, with Boko, there is never any Chocobo in the franchise with those kinds of attack powers and I didnt want to set a president for that with the normal Chocobo summon.
  • Pandemona, Madeen: Found both of these interesting, but both only appeared in 1 game. I was afraid anyone who hasnt played the one game they came from wouldnt be familiar with them. Note that Kujata also falls into this category, but I was able to find an exceptional image for Kujata, and FF7 is one of the most popular in the franchise which ultimately led to me using Kujata.
  • Remora, Moomba: Lack of appearances in more than one game and having such a small role in the game they did appear in, coupled with the lack of high-quality images to use, didnt make it a priority to try and fit them in.
  • Bismarck: This one actual WAS initially included in the list, but during the project's later stages when defining each Esper's mechanics, practical considerations arose. Summoning Bismarck would require large aquatic environments, or the Esper would need to float/fly, potentially stretching the suspension of disbelief. Additionally, due to its sheer size, even a slightly scaled-down version would be too large for many dungeons or situations. Scaling it down further to fit would diminish its impressiveness and grandeur.
  • Crusader: Had originally intended to use him as an Aeon in my original sketch out of the class, but when I reviewed Crusader's attack and remembered it's meant to damage the party as well, I didnt want anything in the class that would be viewed as a detriment to the D&D party and I also didnt want to alter it and have it stray from the source material.
  • Magic Pot: Found a decent enough image, but was unsure how to convert his abilities into something useful in D&D. Also, I already had the Goblin summon from Final Fantasy 4 and didnt want to have 2 so similar.
  • Ragnarok The concept of a sword as an Esper didnt feel very right to me. Also, with only a couple appearances and no amazing images of it, I wasn't very compelled to consider it.
  • Typhon: Classic creature to the series but comes off as more of an antagonist even though he has been summonable a couple times.
  • Angelo: Wasnt technically a normal summon. Was associated with Riona.
  • Final Fantasy 12 summons; Zodiark, Adrammelech, Zalera, Mateus, Zeromus, Exodus, Chaos, Famfrit, Ultima, Belais, Hashmal, Cuchulainn, Shemhazai: I have never played FFXII to know how to convert these, and also, I did watch these summons on You Tube. Not only are these creatures that have never been summons in any other Final Fantasy game (like others on this list), but I found their animations to be more flash and less substance.
  • Final Fantasy 13 summons; Hecatoncheir, Brynhildr, Bahamut, Alexander, Odin, Shiva: While I liked that they did a hybrid selection of classic and new summoned creatures, and the summoning animations were not “more flash and less substance” like the FFXII summons, everything positive about it was completely thrown away by the atrocious and hideous remakes of the classic summons, and the fact that everyone was a Transformer. Also, see the previous technological concern from Eden, Ark & Doomtrain.

Esper by Ability Scores[edit]

In case anyone wonders how I came to my decisions about ability scores for the Espers. I made a list in WordPad of the ability scores in these ranges and then tried to place them where it felt they made the most sense. The ones that may stand out as weird to some people may be Unicorn, Ixion and Bahamut. I ranked these ones differently. I tried to get close to the unicorn stats from the Monster Manual for Unicorn and used Celestial Charger as a gauge for Ixion. I also looked at stats for various dragons in the Monster Manual for Bahamut. Specifically, that's why his strength and constitution are so much higher.

As this process is highly subjective, any specific Esper might very well be moved slightly up or down in any given stat and you could very well be right. Agreements on these decisions may vary, but this is where I landed, and I feel I'm somewhat close. While I will always listen to feedback, I am not looking to debate these for any reason.

Score Esper
4-5 Sylph
6-7 Cactuar, Carbuncle
8-9 Cait Sith, Tonberry, Siren, Seraphim
10-11 Bomb, Cockatrice, Ramuh, Asura, Lakshmi
12-13 Mindflayer, Shiva, Goblin, Valefor
14-15 Kirin, Magus Sisters, Fenrir, Quezacotl
16-17 Gilgamesh, Kujata, Yojimbo, Catoblepas, Knights of the Round
18-19 Valigarmanda, Chocobo, Phoenix, Hades, Brothers
20-21 Ifrit, Syldra, Cerberus, Diablos
22-23 Unicorn, Golem, Mist Dragon
24-25 Alexander, Anima, Ixion
26-27 Leviathan, Odin
28-29 Midgardsormr, Titan
45 Bahamut
Score Esper
6-7 Alexander
8-9 Tonberry, Catoblepas, Golem
10-11 Anima, Kujata, Kirin, Yojimbo, Titan
12-13 Cockatrice, Ramuh, Goblin, Midgardsormr, Bahamut, Knights of the Round, Valigarmanda, Diablos
14-15 Hades, Brothers, Mindflayer, Ifrit, Syldra, Asura, Odin
16-17 Sraphim, Magus Sisters, Gilgamesh, Unicorn, Leviathan
18-19 Ixion, Lakshmi, Cerberus, Mist Dragon, Siren
20-21 Chocobo, Shiva, Phoenix, Fenrir, Cait Sith, Valefor
22-23 Bomb, Quezacotl, Phantom
24-25 Carbuncle
26-27 Cactuar
28-29 Sylph
Score Esper
Phantom, Golem
6-7 Sylph
8-9 Cactuar, Cait Sith, Carbuncle, Ramuh
10-11 Cockatrice, Sraphim, Siren
12-13 Mindflayer, Lakshmi, Valefor, Kirin
14-15 Bomb, Goblin, Fenrir, Magus Sisters
16-17 Shiva, Chocobo, Kujata, Quezacotl, Hades
18-19 Valigarmanda, Gilgamesh, Asura, Mist Dragon, Syldra, Catoblepas
20-21 Knights of the Round, Ixion, Unicorn, Yojimbo
22-23 Brothers, Cerberus, Diablos
24-25 Ifrit, Leviathan, Anima, Tonberry
26-27 Phoenix, Alexander, Titan
28-29 Odin, Midgardsormr
30 Bahamut
Score Esper
4-5 Cockatrice, Chocobo, Bomb, Midgardsormr
6-7 Cactuar, Valefor, Cerberus, Fenrir, Quezacotl
8-9 Catoblepas, Kirin, Kujata, Carbuncle, Golem, Goblin
10-11 Unicorn, Syldra, Brothers, Gilgamesh, Tonberry, Titan
12-13 Phantom, Sylph, Alexander, Ixion, Siren, Knights of the Round, Ifrit
14-15 Shiva, Yojimbo, Cait Sith
16-17 Phoenix, Mist Dragon, Anima, Sraphim
18-19 Leviathan, Valigarmanda, Hades, Mindflayer
20-21 Lakshmi, Bahamut
22-23 Asura, Diablos
24-25 Odin
26-27 The Magus Sisters
28-29 Ramuh
Score Esper
8-9 Gilgamesh, Brothers
10-11 Alexander, Titan, Midgardsormr, Bomb, Golem, Goblin
12-13 Knights of the Round, Valefor, Cait Sith, Fenrir
14-15 Cockatrice, Tonberry, Ifrit, Chocobo, Phantom, Quezacotl, Syldra
16-17 Mindflayer, Phoenix, Mist Dragon, Catoblepas, Yojimbo, Kirin
18-19 Cerberus, Sylph, Shiva, Diablos, The Magus Sisters
20-21 Cactuar, Carbuncle, Kujata, Unicorn, Valigarmanda, Siren
22-23 Sraphim, Ixion, Anima, Hades
24-25 Leviathan, Bahamut, Lakshmi
26-27 Ramuh, Asura
28-29 Odin
Score Esper
6-7 Alexander, Golem, Kujata, Goblin
8-9 Phantom, Midgardsormr, Titan, Brothers
10-11 Cockatrice, Bomb, Tonberry
12-13 Knights of the Round, Cactuar, Valefor, Quezacotl, Fenrir
14-15 Syldra, Sylph, Mist Dragon, Yojimbo, Cerberus, Ramuh
16-17 Mindflayer, Catoblepas, Chocobo, Gilgamesh, Valigarmanda
18-19 Carbuncle, Ifrit, Leviathan
20-21 Ixion, Hades, Kirin, Cait Sith, Anima
22-23 Shiva, Diablos, Unicorn, Odin
24-25 Siren, Phoenix, Bahamut
26-27 Seraphim, Asura
28-29 The Magus Sisters, Lakshmi

Esper Ability Scores by Tier[edit]

Here's a comparison of each Esper against others in their tier, including the total of their ability scores. Some, like Golem and Phantom, may appear slightly lower as they lack Constitution scores. Knights of the Round may also seem comparatively weaker, reflecting the game's emphasis on the volume of individual strikes rather than each Knight being individually extraordinary, such as with Bahamut.

Guardian Forces
Bomb 10 22 14 5 11 11 73
Cactuar 6 26 8 6 20 12 78
Cait Sith 8 21 8 15 13 21 86
Chocobo 19 20 16 4 14 16 89
Cockatrice 10 12 10 4 14 13 63
Goblin 13 12 14 9 11 7 66
Kirin 14 11 17 8 17 21 88
Mindflayer 12 14 12 18 16 16 88
Siren 9 19 11 13 21 24 97
Sylph 5 28 7 12 18 15 86
Brothers 19 14 22 10 11 9 85
Fenrir 15 21 15 7 13 13 84
Gilgamesh 16 16 18 11 9 17 87
Ifrit 20 15 24 13 14 18 104
Kujata 16 10 17 8 20 7 78
Mist Dragon 22 19 19 16 16 15 107
Ramah 11 12 9 29 26 15 102
Shiva 12 20 16 14 19 22 103
Tonberry 8 8 25 11 14 11 76
Unicorn 22 17 21 10 21 23 114
Cerberus 21 19 22 6 18 15 101
Golem 22 9 9 11 6 57
Midgardsormr 28 12 29 5 10 8 92
Quezacotl 15 22 17 7 15 13 89
Sraphim 9 16 10 17 22 26 100
Syldra 20 15 19 10 15 14 93
Valefor 13 21 12 6 12 13 77
Valigarmanda 18 13 18 18 21 17 105
Yojimbo 17 11 21 15 17 15 96
Asura 11 15 18 22 27 27 120
Carbuncle 6 25 9 9 20 18 87
Catoblepas 17 9 19 8 17 16 86
Hades 19 14 17 19 19 20 108
Ixion 25 18 20 13 22 20 118
Lakshmi 11 18 12 20 25 29 115
Leviathan 26 17 24 18 24 19 128
Phantom 4 23 12 15 8 62
Titan 29 13 27 11 10 9 99
Alexander 24 7 27 12 10 6 86
Anima 25 10 25 16 22 21 119
Bahamut 45 12 30 21 25 25 158
Diablos 21 13 23 23 19 22 121
Knights of the Round 17 11 20 13 12 12 83
Magus Sisters 14 16 15 26 23 28 122
Odin 27 15 28 24 29 23 146
Phoenix 19 20 26 16 16 25 122

Most Powerful Espers by Ability Score Totals

Keep in mind while looking at this table, that just because Espers like Unicorn or Shiva are on this list and more powerful Espers like Alexander and Knights of the Round are not, that doesnt mean Shiva or Unicorn are more powerful overall. Unicorn and Shiva only have X hit dice and their overdrives only have a scaling bonus of X4, as where Alexander and Knights of the Round have X hit dice and their overdrives have a scaling bonus of X6. So, ultimately, the tier does far more to decide overall power than the stats do. This is merely meant for comparative purposes.

Bahamut 45 12 30 21 25 25 158
Odin 27 15 28 24 29 23 146
Leviathan 26 17 24 18 24 19 128
Phoenix 19 20 26 16 16 25 122
Magus Sisters 14 16 15 26 23 28 122
Diablos 21 13 23 23 19 22 121
Asura 11 15 18 22 27 27 120
Anima 25 10 25 16 22 21 119
Ixion 25 18 20 13 22 20 118
Lakshmi 11 18 12 20 25 29 115
Unicorn 22 17 21 10 21 23 114
Hades 19 14 17 19 19 20 108
Mist Dragon 22 19 19 16 16 15 107
Valigarmanda 18 13 18 18 21 17 105
Ifrit 20 15 24 13 14 18 104
Shiva 12 20 16 14 19 22 103
Ramah 11 12 9 29 26 15 102
Cerberus 21 19 22 6 18 15 101
Sraphim 9 16 10 17 22 26 100