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Follow the dark path or use the light
Final Fantasy Hub

Kill Chain Guide

by ZariusCorten

FF XII   Chaining Guide

Table of Contents

I. 	About me, contact info.
II. 	About this guide.
III.	What is Chaining?
IV.	How does Chaining work?
V.	Does Chaining do anything special for me?
VI.	What special effects do the chain levels have?
VII.	What do i need to chain?
VIII.	How can I tell what Chain level I'm on?
IX.	Chaining and Loot.
X.	Chaining and Gear drops.
XI.	Chaining and XP.
XII.	Chaining and stealing.
XIII.	Reverse Chain Effect.
XIV.	Good Chaining locations.
XV.	Bad Chaining Locations.
XVI.	MoBs it's pointless to chain.
XVII.	Unconfirmed Rumors.
XVIII.	Total Load Of Crap - confirmed to be false.
XIX.	Exploitation of Reverse Chain and theft.
XX.	Legal mumbo jumbo.
XVIII.	Credit.

I. About me, contact info
	My name is Zarius, and this is, yes, my first guide
ever. I wrote on this topic due to the startling lack of existence,
even years after the game was released. All of the foot work
pertaining to actually chaining, how it works, and the like, is
entirely my baseline. I may make updates and/or alterations
to the data based on what others tell me, and I will give credit
to the *first* person that tells me. If I don't credit you, it's
because someone else told me first. If I don't credit anyone,
it's because, by some random miracle, I found the data first.
Chances are I won't find it, though I certainly WILL test it. If I
find it to be bunk, I'll put the info under the Total Load of Crap
section. If I am unable to confirm or deny your info, it will go
under the Unconfirmed Rumors. And yes, if I get enough
people stating that it is accurate, I will make the appropriate
modifications based on community confirmation. Do not, I
repeat, DO NOT simply email me to tell me that I'm wrong
about something. Tell me what the correct info is, and I will
test it and/or update my guide. If you just email me to whine,
I will put you under my Flamers, Idiots, and Jerks section (not
in as of the first draft, but will be added later if needed).
You can contact me at [email protected] Put
something in the subject line about my guide, whether it's
questions, comments, updates, or grammatical corrections
(yes, I will fix grammatical errors)

II. About this guide
	This FAQ's sole, pure, and only purpose is to
explain kill Chains, what they do, and how they affect various
things, and why you would bother with them. This IS an FAQ,
meaning that I am going to answer F.requently A.sked
Q.uestions, even if most of them are questions that I have
asked and am answering. I am NOT making a full walk
through, I am NOT making an FAQ on auto leveling, I am NOT
making a guide on Marks, though I will reference them later, I
am NOT making a guide on anything else. JUST chains. If you
have an issue with this, go to someone else's guide for your
info. Berserker and Split Infinity both excellent walk throughs
that i have referenced on several occasions on my many play
throughs. For everything else I've ever wanted to know about,
there's already a guide. This one is for Chains.

III. What is Chaining?
	Chaining is the act of killing large numbers of
monsters falling into the same Classification in the Bestiary.
Yes, the in game Bestiary is the one I am referring to, and is
the best and most readily accessible tool for determining if an
enemy will break your chain or not. Examples: Wolves and
Hyenas fall under the Wolf classification, thus chains will
continue. Steelings and Skeletons do not fall under the same
classification, thus chains will break.

IV. How does Chaining work.
	As you kill more and more enemies of the same
Classification, you will note an increase in Chain Level. There
is no set number where the chains will level up, but there is a
way to make a rough estimate as to when. There are a number
of factors in this.
		Enemy level vs. Party's average level. If
you massively out match your enemy (such as farming Wolves
after reaching Phon Coast), your chain will take forever to
build levels up. If your enemy massively out matches you
(going straight into the northern Westersands at the start of
the game. Yes, you can do it. You just can't go through the
Westersands Gate in town) you will get your levels much
faster... provided that you survive the encounter.
		Commonality of enemy. If your enemy
breeds like rabits, such as wolves, chaining them will be
convenient, but will take much longer to build than a chain of
rarer enemies, such as Entites. Yes, you can chain Entites and
elementals. It's just much harder than chaining other mobs.
		RLF. Sometimes, you just get the Devil's
own luck, and you'll get a full level wolf chain in 40. This is shown
in the Random Luck Factor. Sometimes, you just get hit in the
head with a brick, and your chain of Entites goes on for 80 kills
before you even get your first level. This is shown in the Random
Luck Factor. Yes, this is a real pain in the rear. Nothing I can do
about it.
	So that you don't get concerned that there is no way at
all to tell when you'll go up, I'll give you a couple small tips.
		-When you get your first chain level, if it's
under 20, double it... that's ABOUT how much it will take to get to
the next chain level and the one after. This is never 100%
accurate, but it will give you an idea.
		-When you get your first chain level, if it's
over 15 leave it be. that's ABOUT how much it will take to get to
the next chain level and the one after. This is never 100%
		-Yes, there is overlap there. Yes, the over
lap is important. If you get your first Chain level up at 16 kills, you
could get your next one at 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 48, 49, 50... you
could get your last chain level up at 48, 49, 50, 51, 80, 81, 82, 83,
84... ect. You could get your first chain level up at 16, your
second one at 46, and your third one at 51. I have seen this. So,
no, it's not set, but it WILL give you a rough time frame.
		- You will never go over 100 kills in a Chain
before you get the last Chain level up. If this is inaccurate, send
me a picture (Yes, I am good with computers, and various
programs. Yes, I will be able to tell if you photo shopped it.) of
the screen with your Chain level, and the Level up marker. That is
about the only way I will believe it. I've done way too many
chains on way too many enemies to believe it with out good
	Things that will break your chains:
		-Killing an enemy with a different
classification than your chain.
		-Entering a "safe zone". No, this does NOT
mean a zone with a save crystal, this means any town, outpost,
village, city, or the like. Many of them do have save crystals, but
the two are unrelated. No, this does not mean any zone with a
Merchant, though if you see more than one merchant, it probably
is a safe zone. More specifically, a Safe Zone is any map area
that only shows Vahn as your team, no matter how you have it set
		-Healing at  save crystal. No, walking
THROUGH the zone with a save crystal will not reset your chain,
just talking to it (healing or saving). This is proven by farming the
Panthers in the jungle near Osmone Plains. you farm then, go
THROUGH the crystal zone to the entrance of the one past it,
then come back and kill more. You don't heal, you keep your
chain. You heal, it's gone.
		-Poaching. What's that you say, poaching
doesn't give you XP or LP? Such a shame, since the only point
behind Chaining is loot, which Poach DOES give you.
	Things that won't break your chain, though they seem
like they should.
		-Stone. Gives you XP and LP, so it seems at
first glance that it should take out your chain. Wrong. Stone gives
you XP and LP, yes, but not loot, and your chains ONLY cares
about whether or not your attack rolls on the loot table.

V. Does Chaining do anything special for me?
	Yes! Yes, it does little padawan, indeed it does! What
it does is, as you chain more and more enemies together, your
Chain level will increase. First, and most important effect, is that
you will notice a rise in loot drops, both in the frequency of drops
and in the amount of loot in a drop. Why kill four wolves at base
line when a Loot level 4 drop might drop the same 4 Wolf Pelts?
(Actually, the low level wolves don't drop multiple pelts, but the
Hyenas do. This was just an example) Also, as you get larger
chains, you might notice that your health and mana are being
restored faster than normal. This is the case. A high chain level
will cause small heals, small mana restores, and even short term
Protection and Shell effects. Before you bother asking, no. No,
you can not use this as a battle tactic to aid you in finishing off a
boss faster/easier. There are only one or two instances where
this would even be remotely possible, and you'd spend more
time and energy killing the adds than would have been spent just
killing the boss out right. Good thought though, cookie for the
	What, you ask, does this have to do with anything?
Well, remember those lovely Forgotten Grimiores in the Bazaar
Goods? They are a lot easier to get with out crippling yourself
when you know how you farm loot the faster way. I said faster, not
fast. There is no fast way to farm anything in any FF game that
I've ever played. No, the tricks for leveling your self 40 levels
over night do NOT count as "fast farming". That 1) is cheap, 2)
takes all night, even if you ARE a sleep and 3) risks burning out
your console.

VI. What special effects do the chain levels have?
	First and foremost, you will notice a progressive
increase in loot drop frequency. Second, you might, depending
on the enemy you've killed, notice an increase in the amount of
loot the enemy drops.
		-Level 1: This bag looks like a burlap bag a
burglar (bank robber, in some modern movies) might throw over
his shoulder filled with his ill-gotten spoils. This bag is tied off
with a ribbon of red material. Red, just for reference, in the age in
which most Final Fantasy games are set, was a color of royalty
signifying wealth. Such as the wealth, nominal as it may be,
contained in these bags. Loot drops are normal, and have no
extra effects what so ever.
		-Level 2: This bag is not really a bag, it's a
coin. A bluish-blackish coin (looks like really badly tarnished
silver, in my opinion) with an image similar to the level 1 bag
embossed on it. The coin also has a whitish-blue aura around it.
Loot will be increased a bit, and you will get rare (approximately
10% of the time) a small health or mana restoration of about 5%
of your total health or mana to the party leader. Not a lot, but this
is a convenience to you, as it will allow you to continue killing
with out using as much mana.
		-Level 3: This bag is, again, a coin and not
a bag. It looks identical to the coins dropped at loot level 2,
except that the blue areas are now gold instead, and the aura is
greenish-white instead of the original blue. You'll notice even
higher loot frequency, and even start seeing that you're getting
more than one item per drop, depending on your enemies. Again,
about 10% of the time, you will get a health or mana restore, but
this time the whole party benifits. About 5% of each active party
member's health or mana will be restored. Still not a lot, but
hey... saves even more mana. Given the levels I'm usually at
when I start farming a particular MoB, it's usually enough that I
don't have to heal often, and even when I do, my mana goes right
back to full fairly quickly. Great incase you run across a Rare
Spawn while chaining (yes, if I haven't killed it yet, I've been
known to break my chain for a Rare spawn. More than one
reason, explanations later on).
		-Level 4: This 'bag' is actually a huge,
golden coin with a full, life-sized image of the L1 bag, in exact
detail save color which, again, is gold with sunburstesque lines
coming off the bag. The coin also has a huge, golden aura
around it. Loot levels will be impressive compared to level one,
again having the fairly regular loot item giving more than one
copy of an item. Also, you will notice an increased rate of party
heals, almost ensuring that you don't need to bother with a
healing spell. You will also notice a new effect. You will get a
rare (10% of the time, roughly) either a Protection spell effect or a
Shell spell effect. You won't get both in the same loot coin, but
you'll get them so often that you'll probably have both going
most of the time anyways.

VII. What do I need to Chain?
	Not a lot. You just need at least one party member, a
mob that you can kill in large quantities with out dying (that IS the
important part, by the way, no point in trying to chain something
that will just eat you), and a bit of spare time. Really, that's it.
Good weapons, spells, armor, and skills are all superfluous. Just
enemies you can kill and time.

VIII. How can I tell what Chain level i'm on?
	This is probably the easiest thing in the whole game to
figure out, as far as chaining goes. There are two ways to tell
what Chain level you are on. The fastest way is to kill something
in your chain and see what color the text is. If the text is a dark,
foresty green, you're still on Chain level 1. If your text is a
sky-blue, baby-blue color, you're on Chain level 2. If your text is
a sort of orangish-gold, you're at Chain level 3. Red is for stop,
and if you see red text, you're on the last one, Chain level 4.

IX. Chaining and Loot.
	First off, let's explain what I mean when I say "Loot". I
mean any item that goes into the Loot section of your inventory. I
do not mean armor, weapons, ammo, accessories or Items
(potions, motes, ect).
	Second, a little more about loot in general. There is
one very important thing you need to know about loot in general,
and that is that getting a particular loot item does not
automatically exclude other loot items. Wolves, for example, will
frequently drop both Wolf Pelts and Fire Stones, and will
occasionally drop Wolf Pelts, Fire Stones, AND Potions. Skull
Defenders will very rarely drop Bone Fragment, Dark Stone, AND
Iron Helm. Each item a MoB drops is rolled for entirely
independently of the others. Period, no exceptions. 
	Third, let's chat about Grimmiores. They cost a small
fortune, and early in the game are neigh impossible to get with
out breaking your bank or spending three days farming. But they
have two important effects on loot. Effect one is that they ADD an
extra item to the drop list. For the Forgotten Grimmiores, it's a
pebble from weak mobs. The sell for 2 gil a pop, and 198 gil for a
whole stack. The pebble drops do NOT affect the other drops at
all. Effect two is that all loot (yes, loot, not items or gear, just loot)
drops are increased a little, and this increase takes effect prior
to any chain level upgrades. Math: Total drop rate = (base drop
rate + grimmiore change + Accessory change) x Loot Level
	Fourth, let's go into a little more detail about how chain
levels affect your loot drops. Just the loot, we went over the
special effects earlier.
		-Chain level 1: Loot drops. That's really
about all that can be said about Chain level 1.
		-Chain level 2: Loot drops are increased by
aproximately 20% of their base. This also alters any item or
grimmiore based changes to the base drop rate.
		-Chain level 3: Loot drops are increased by
aproximately 35% of their base. This also alters any item or
grimmiore based changes to the base drop rate.
		-Chain level 4: Loot drops are increased by
aproximately 50% of their base. This also alters any item or
grimmiore based changes to the base drop rate. Also, there are
a select few enemies that ONLY drop their rares when you are at
Chain level 4.
		-No, I am not 100% certain of these
numbers, but I am confident in them as an estimate. Feel free to
email me with your observations. These are just the approximate
drop changes I've observed myself while farming. Yes, I did a lot
of farming to make this guide.

X. Chaining and Gear drops.
	When I say 'Gear' I'm referring to any item that is not a
loot item. Potion, Iron helm, bangle, Onion Bolt. All are Gear for
this purpose, because they do something in battle period. Gear
drops are completely, totally unaffected by loot level. A Skull
Defender will drop a helmet 3% of the time at Chain level 1, and 
3% of the time at Chain Level 3.

XI. Chaining and XP or LP.
	When I say XP and LP, I mean experience points and
license points, obviously. These are completely, totally, and
utterly unaffected by chain levels. If you try to tell me otherwise,
I'll put you under the Total Load Of Crap section. The only thing
that changes how much XP or LP certain enemies award is the
Accessories that specifically say they do.

XII. Chaining and Stealing.
	When I say 'Stealing' I am referring to both the Steal
teck command that Vahn and Fran start with, as well as the
Poach teck command. Stealing sort of is, and sort of is not
affected by Chain level. What you get is NOT affected by chain
levels. Stealing and Poaching are preset probabilities, and only
affected by Thief's Cuffs. Chain level does, however, affect the
chance that you will Steal and the chance that Poach will be
successful. Neither is, in my experience, a guarantee, though a
Chain level 4 does help drastically.

XIII. Reverse Chain effect.  -Credit goes to Doyle.-
	Most of you have probably not done enough
chain-breaking on other enemies to notice this, but it is a real
effect, and it does have a major role in how you can go about
farming. Let's say you have that elemental finally on your screen,
and you want that rare drop. Farm something else first, all the
way up to gold coin drops.
	Why, you ask? Simple. The game has a small oddity
in the loot mechanics. When you kill something outside of your
chain, there is an effect called the Reverse Chain. It occurs when
you break a Chain, causing the first monsters drop percentages
to *reverse*... this means that, instead of a 20% drop chance for
that Earth Stone, you now have an 80% drop chance. Instead of
that 5% drop chance for that Sagittarius Gem, you now have a 5%
chance that it WON'T drop. This only applies to the FIRST mob
outside of the chain, but it'd a real phenomena. Also, this is the
only time that I will ever say that this affects non-Loot times. This
affects every single item the mob drops. Yes, that means it's
likely you'll see everything that mob CAN drop on that one shot.

XIV. Good Chaining locations
	This is just a FEW of the chaining locations I've found,
and the suggested enemy or enemies to kill. Feel free to pass
any more on to me, if you want to. Just put in the Area, section
and enemy, and a little bit (a LITTLE BIT, I swear, if you send me
a 3 page field report, I will be forced to edit. A lot.) as to why you
feel the area is a good farm spot, and I'll be happy to post it,
possibly with an opinion of my own on the matter. I will also,
ofcourse, give you full credit and quote you as long as the email
isn't too long.
		Estersand, Westersands, and Giza Plains.
Wolves and Hyenas are so common here that you can easily,
switching back and forth between them, farm up a large chain.
The Wolves do not drop multiple Wolf Pelts, but the Hyenas do
at higher chain levels. The wolves are just to get your chain
started, since the Hyenas are a bit stronger. This sets you up for
the healing drops.
		The Luhsu Mines. In the Shunia Twinspan
section, about 40ish Skeletons will appear as you run around the
bridge itself. Apparently, this was a mafia job, since they are all
in the bridge iteslf. This is a great place to farm up those Bone
Fragments, though they might be a hair over your level your first
time here. Waiting until after you complete Wraithwall's Tomb is
not a bad idea, or even before it while you still have Vassler.
Fourth member never hurts, as long as you aren't trying to Poach
anything. That fourth member seems to always screw up
poaching, because they seem to have a gambit for Enemy
Status: Critical Health > Attack.
		Wraithwall's Tomb. As you're going through
the Tomb, you will find two locations that spawn alot of the same
type of enemy. one spawns skeleton-style enemies, the other
zombie-types. Both are great, both can be reset by stepping into
the other then leaving again without killing anything. Just beware
the statues, and you'll do just fine.

XV. Bad Chaining locations.
	Most areas, the chains seem obviously good or
obviously bad. There are, however, a couple that just aren't
nearly as good as they appear at first glance. That is what I am
going to delve into in this section. Again, these are just a couple
I've found so feel free to send me more and I'll post them. If you
have a good reason as to why one of the Good Chaining
Locations is bad, I'd even post that. Mind you, it does need to be
a good reason.
		Barheim Passage. Zombies, zombies
everywhere, power at 40 and leave it there! Remember your first
time playing this area? You were, like me, probably at like level
5 because everything before it was easy and you just sped
through it. I remember thinking "Oh, come on! Is there no end to
these bloody things?!" while I was in there, and then later, when I
had learned a little about chains, thinking "Hey, I bet if I had
been like level 7 or 8, that would have been a GREAT farming
spot!" I mean, there's a vendor right there, it's not a safe zone so
you don't loose your chain unless you heal/save at the crystal,
and you can just go back in and kill just the zombies after you've
purged everything else. Well, crap. I tested that theory. There
might be a lot of Zombie spawn locations once the lights go out,
but the spawns are not as infinite as they seem when you first
played through. You were just inexperienced and there were,
again, a lot of spawns. Can't you just reset the area and come
back, you ask? Well, naturally you CAN, the only problem is that
if you do that, you've now reset the mobs interspersed in them,
making it too difficult to kill just zombies.
		Yensa Sandsea. Both of them. They have
alot of those little Urutan-Yensa buggers, and they do drop real
loot. You can easily chain them unto infinity if you want to. Thing
is, though, that they ONLY drop Earth Stones, and Earth Magicite
if you are at Chain level 4. So, in esscense, it's like waiving a
lolly infront of a baby and taking it away... you get to imagine the
loot, but you get squat in the end.

XVI. MoBs it's pointless to chain.
	There are alot of reasons a MoB might be pointless to
chain. They may not drop anything. They might drop crap. They
might be have too many things interspersed, makign chaining
totally useless. 
		Humanoids. Any and all humaniods. Yes,
you will occasionally see a hunter in the wilderness areas near
towns. Thing is, Humanoids don't drop Loot. They drop Potions,
High Potions, you can get gil off them, some even drop armor or
weapons. But none drops Loot. For example, in Nalbina Prison,
there are A LOT of gaurds you could easily chain. Thing is, they
only drop potions and high potions. This is NOT useful, in that 1)
neither is actually useful as loot and 2) neither is affected by
Chain Level. Total waste of time.
		Zombies (only in Barheim Passage). Too
many things get mixed in and you get your face beat in at this
level by those mobs. You can, but it's slow and wasteful. Wait for
the skeletons in Lhusu Mines. A little stronger, but way more
plentiful and nothing mixed in.

XVII. Unconfirmed Rumors.
	None yet.

XVIII. Total Load Of Crap.
	None yet.

XIX. Exploitation of Reverse Chain effect and Stealing.
	I've gone over two things in this FAQ. One you thought
was done, one you probably thought was a little odd to even
think of. But there is more on both. The Reverse Chain effect is  
important for farmers who happen to run across Rare monsters. It
happens to all of us. We're just sitting there, slaughtering the
Urutan-Yensa because they happen to be annoying little
buggers, when suddenly, -BAM!-, there's a Pineapple in our face.
Well, almost all the Rare monsters have a rare drop loot. This is
great because you can walk up, beat the crap out of it until it
goes -pwick- (squishing sound, by the way) and it drops the extra
special rare item. As to the topic of Stealing. Do you remember
when I said that your chances of Stealing were affected by
chains, but not your loot table since you only Steal one item?
Well, there's a small exploit to this as well. Your chances of
stealing are boosted blanket-style. It doesn't matter what you're
Stealing from, just that you're using the Steal command and you
have a Chain. You can use it in conjunction with Thief's Cuffs to
farm those rare items much faster.

XX. Legal Mumbo Jumbo.
	The whole of this work was done by me, save for
where credit is given to others. As this work is mine and mine
alone, it has thusly been copy-righted by me. The only site that
has permission to use this FAQ, currently, is If
you wish to use this FAQ, in part or in whole, for any purpose
other than personal usage, email me and ask my permission. If
you aren't a known piece of trash, I'll probably give it as long as
you give me my due credit. If you see this FAQ on any major web
site other than GameFAQs, or if you see what appears to be a
section of my FAQ copied and pasted, but with no credit to me,
please inform me. If you copy and sell my FAQ for profit with out
my permission, be aware that I do expect 80% royalties on every
sale. Thank you.

XXI. Credit.
	To those that have helped me with my FAQ, thank you.
You know who you are already, but so that others know that I'm
not a glory hog, here it is in black and white.
	Doyle. One of my class mates at school. He
mentioned the Reverse Chain effect to me, asking if I'd ever
heard of it. No, I hadn't. I went home, tested it and found it to be a
measurable effect, and have included it. Thanks, Doyle!