Maranda

Maranda Shopping

The Falcon automatically flies to Maranda before giving you control. The shops here sell some of the best available gear, and are well worth checking out. Everything in the Armor Shop is new. The Crystal Shld and Crystal Mail are expensive, but offer the highest Defense of any Armor of their kind that can be purchased with GP. The Crystal Helm is second only to the Oath Veil, a cheaper helmet with better stats which can only be used by female characters. The Tao Robe is the best mage armor available, complete with a +5 bonus to Mag.Pwr, though you don't currently have any characters that can wear it. Finally, there's the Dark Gear, which trades some defensive ability for +6 Speed.

The Weapon Shop isn't as exciting. It is the only place in the World of Ruin to buy Shadow's various skeans, but the new Weapons for sale here are disappointing. The SwordBreaker is a powerful dirk that is supposed to give a substantial bonus to Evade %, an ability that is unfortunately useless due to the Evade % bug. Both Locke and Shadow are likely to have better available dirks by the time they join the party, though. The Falchion is the apex of purchasable Weapons, but the increased Bat.Pwr hardly makes up for the lack of the powerful secondary attributes of the Enhancer. It's not a bad upgrade if you want to dish out raw Fight damage, though. Finally, you can buy Gravity Rods here for the first time.

Gathering Information

The townsfolk of Maranda seem to know a lot about the rest of the world. There are several thieves in town, one of which says his partner used to mumble "to the right of the treasure chest." A thief wandering behind Lola's House, presumably that very partner, mentions that he climbed a Tower filled with Kefka's followers, but only made it to the first Treasure room. One man mentions that the person in Zozo who admits that the town is dangerous is the only one who tells the truth, and suggests he may be able to help. And a woman in the north part of town will show you the current locations of Narshe, the Cave in the Veldt, and Doma Castle.

Several townsfolk imply that Cyan passed through Maranda, and speaking to Lola all but confirms it. She is getting more and more letters, not to mention silk flowers, and they're clearly not coming from Mobliz. She'll ask you to send her reply, and the carrier pigeon will head for Zozo. You can head there now if you want, but there are a number of shorter miscellaneous tasks you might want to take care of first. When you're ready to move on, go to the Mt. Zozo page.

Encounters near Maranda and Jidoor

With the Falcon you don't need to spend time on World Map Encounters, but the deserts in the area (including the one just south of Maranda do contain some interesting Monsters. Most often you'll fight a Hoover, a brutally powerful Monster that will occasionally Sneeze a Character out of battle or deal massive (and likely deadly) damage with Crush. They can also counter attacks with up to two powerful Sand Storms. They're vulnerable to Ice and Water and yield great Exp, GP, and Magic Point rewards, but they're not why you're here.

The less common Encounter in the desert is against a lone Cactrot, a silly-looking cactus creature. It will use Blow Fish every other turn until it gets impatient and uses it 10 times in a row (!). Cactrots are extremely difficult to hit due to their insane MBlock%, and their Defense and Mag.Def are capped out at 255 meaning they will take 1 damage from any attack. Granted, they only have 3 HP, but still. Use an attack that doesn't miss (or a Sniper Sight) and also ignores Defense to take them out easily. Your prise? 10,000 GP and a whopping 10 Magic Points. This desert is the fastest place in the game to learn Spells, assuming you can handle Hoovers as well.

There are a wide variety of Monsters occupying the other terrain types in the Jidoor Area, though you don't necessarily have to fight them. They are much higher level than the monsters you've seen in dungeons to this point. You'll find Crawlers on the wastelands and plains. These worms make powerful attacks and can Poison Characters with Feeler. They are surprisingly hardy with 3,200 HP, but are weak against Ice. When there's one Crawler left, it will use Raid to drain HP from targets, and the Dischord Lore to temporarily halve a Character's level.

You'll sometimes find Geckorexes accompanied by a Reach Frog on the plains. Geckorexes are similar to Crawlers in many ways, with powerful attacks and a vulnerability to Ice and even more HP. They can use Petriglare to, as you would expect from the name, Petrify Characters. Reach Frogs, which also appear in groups of four in the forests, use Jump in the second round of combat for significant damage. Like your own Characters, they can't be attacked while jumping. They sometimes follow up a Jump with the rarely-seen Rippler Lore. They can also inflict Seizure with their Tongue. They have a lot of HP but are vulnerable to Ice like Geckorexes.

The other forest creature in the area is the Mantodea, which appears in pairs. All they do is attack, but those attacks are incredibly powerful and quite capable of defeating unprepared Characters in one hit. They can also use the MP-draining MindReaper, but since they use no MP this will not be effective and actually gives the party a breather from their attacks. They have high HP but relatively low Mag.Def and a vulnerability to Fire.

The last two Monster types always appear together, along with a Mantodea. Sprinters have an MP-draining Drainbeak special, but rarely use MP so it will usually do no damage. They one MP-using Ability they do have is Pearl Wind, which will heal themselves and their allies for an amount equal to their current HP. Since they have 4,500 HP, this can be frustrating when it happens. They are weak against Thunder. Their Spek Tors allies are not, but they only have 250 HP so even with their high Mag.Def, this shouldn't be a big problem. These oddly-named cats have powerful attacks and an even more powerful Scratch special, though neither compares to the Mantodea's attacks. They are supposed to have high Evade %, but because of the Evade % bug they are quite vulnerable to physical attacks.

Return to the Solitary Island

Now that you have the power of flight, you can return to the Solitary Island. There's nothing new going on here, but the Palidor magicite has washed up on the shore. This Esper teaches Haste2 and Slow 2 and its Sonic Dive summon allows you to pull off a variety of interesting shenanigans. It's well worth picking up at the earliest opportunity. If you kept Cid alive, you can visit him while you're here.