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Random question to FFXII experts

So I've been continuing my "let's see what my games look like with crisp graphics" explorations. (Fran's clawed feet are my new favorite detail.)

ETA: Oh, owlmoose is right. This should've been posted behind a cut. Hope I didn't spoil one of the early dramatic plot twists for anybody.

SO. Basch. Reks. King Graminas. Nalbina Fortress. WTF happened there? The first time we see it happen, we don't entirely know what's going on. Later in the game, we're given clues that help explain the opening sequence, but not entirely.

I'm still confused by the opening sequence with Basch's brother framing him for the murder of King Graminas (Latin for grass, isn't it?)

This is me trying to sort out who's who, where, when:

--Reks and Captain Basch get separated.
-- Basch and his men enter the throne room and are surrounded byImperials.
-- Basch's men are killed. He's captured and hauled off.
-- Reks enters the room and finds Basch's dead men, plus King Graminas, dead.
--A man in Basch's armor appears and stabs Reks. Reks says, "Captain, why?" thinking it's Basch.
-- Vayne enters, says, "Seize the insurgent!", addresses Mr. Stabbity as "Captain", and takes him to task for killing the king.
-- Mr. Stabbity says, "We'll never surrender to you! We are not cattle to be sold by a traitor-king!" and "We'll never bow to you!" 
 Mr. Stabbity has Gabranth's voice.
So, Mr. Stabbity has got to be Gabranth. But: 

-- Why is he wearing Basch's armor, if he's been living in Archades and serving as a Judge Magister?  Shouldn't he be in Judge's armor?
-- Why does Mr. Stabbity, a loyal citizen of Archades, say "we'll never bow to you!" as if he were an outraged Dalmascan protesting his King's surrender to Archades?

It appears that Vayne and Gabranth expected Basch to be there, and therefore planned in advance to have Gabranth wear his brother's armor and pretend to be Basch.
But why was it so important to frame Basch? I guess so it didn't look like the empire had killed Graminas?

Assuming this was all an elaborate masquerade to pin the blame on Basch, they needed a credible witness to be duped by this charade and report what he saw to the world.
So that's why they spared Reks.
Except...they didn't spare him! Gabranth stabbed him.

How did Reks manage to crawl from Nalbina Fortress back to Rabinastre to tell everybody, "Captain Basch killed the king...and ME!!!!" 

It seems a bit paradoxical. Or at the least, it seems like poor planning to stage an elaborate hoax requiring a star witness, then mortally wound the witness and hope he tells someone before he expires.



( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 27th, 2009 07:58 am (UTC)
This is really spoilery to anyone who hasn't played the game, since it takes a bit before this is revealed; you might want to put it behind a cut.

The game never quite comes out and says this, but I think it works as a plan for two reasons: one, Vossler and his group of soldiers were known to be in the palace, so Reks only had to stay alive long enough to be found, not necessarily long enough to get back to Dalmasca, and two, the white room scene implies that Reks lived for at least a little while after he was stabbed, so the wound wasn't intended to be fatal, or at least not instantly so. It's as someone in the game said (Basch I think): Reks was their "perfect witness".

The speedy armor change has always bothered me a bit. Best I can come up with is thar Gabranth had a copy of Basch's Armor made, and he stayed in hiding until the right moment. I realize that's a bit hand-wavy, though.
Oct. 27th, 2009 09:47 am (UTC)
The speedy armor change is part of what puzzled me. It seems weird for Gabranth to have spare Knight of Dalmasca armor lying about, but there wasn't enough time to dispose of Basch's squad, wrestle his armor off of him and change into it before Reks showed up.

OH! OH OH. Oh. The narrative said that the Knights of Dalmasca had suffered a huge defeat, regrouped, and run to Nalbina to rescue Graminas. So armor stripped from defeated Knights would probably be on hand.

I had forgotten Reks didn't have to struggle all the way back to Dalmasca by way of Mt. Gagazet, the Calm Lands and Rin's Travel Agency before expiring. Reks could get picked up by Vossler and the gang, who were only a short distance away.

That I could believe. And I could believe that Vayne and Gabranth would take such a gamble.

That makes me a little more sanguine about the "white room" scene. I was never sure if that was based on a real memory, or only a dream.

Edited at 2009-10-27 10:24 am (UTC)
Oct. 27th, 2009 08:03 am (UTC)
Basch fon Ronsenburg is a commoner, common born and because of that an especial hero to the Dalmascan people. Dalmasca is characterised by class structures (see: Migello's servitude, Vayne's magnanimous 'call me by name' in response), so for a commonborn foreigner to become a knight...well, Basch is a commoner's hero. Gabranth and Vayne decide to stage "Basch" killing Raminas, because they want "Basch, the commoner's hero" to give the commonfolk a reason to RESIST ARCHADES!!! So "Basch" states his little slogan re: Dalmascans never surrender!!!!

For a commonborn King's Knight to kill a king, disgusted by that king's 'surrender' of his people to Archades, well, I imagine massive insurgencies in Dalmasca's underground where, while people hated "Basch" for killing their king, at the same time they totally agreed with the principal RE Dalmasca should never have surrendered to Archades. This creates massive amounts of civil unrest, which gives Vayne a very good reason to send bulkloads of Archadian troops into Dalmasca, and when the civil unrest only gets worse, he then begrudgingly comes to Dalmasca on his own. (All staged for three reasons: one, to get Vayne somewhere where he can keep his eye on the search for Ashelia's throne; two, to get him his own private army out of the way of the Senate's interferences; three, to further Archadian expansion/keep an eye on Rozarria while Vayne does his killing-the-gods thing.)

After witnessing that critical play that Gabranth and Vayne put on for him, critically injured Reks as a POW of a war that was suddenly no longer a war, would have been coddled by the Archadians, who at this stage are playing Good Cop to Basch's crazy king-killing Bad Cop. Reks would have been even more likely to believe what he'd seen with the Archadians subtly reinforcing Basch as the voice of Dalmascan Terrorism. When Reks gets carefully shipped back to Dalmasca, what does he do? He tells his story to Vaan and the like. Vaan gives us a typical 'young dalmascan's response' - he hates "Basch" for killing his king, but at the same time he totally buys into "Basch's" philosophy of "Dalmascans Never Surrender!!!" Vaan resists the Archadian influence --> imagine if he was 20 or 24, and had been a fighter, he most likely would have been a part of the formal Dalmascan insurgency against Archadian takeover, generating all that chaos that Vayne needed for his own plot to seize power and total authority from the Archadian senate.

...at least, that's what I thought?
Oct. 27th, 2009 08:04 am (UTC)
Whoops, Ashelia's "stone" not throne. Because Venat was getting Vayne/Cid etc to find these stones...?
Oct. 27th, 2009 09:55 am (UTC)
Hmmmm. Your analysis of Vayne and the politics of Ivalice on all sides (and the class system) is masterful.

I'm not sure Reks getting shipped back by the Archadians would work. Some random wounded kid being coddled and carried home by Imperial Soldiers, released, and announcing that Basch had killed the king?

That would look suspiciously like Reks had been forced to testify against his captain.

What do you think of owlmoose's idea that Vossler's band found Reks, left behind for them to find? I had forgotten Vossler still on the loose at that point.
Oct. 27th, 2009 12:06 pm (UTC)
Moreso that he would've been coddled with all other Dalmascan prisoners, sort of like a prisoner of war exchange. The care aspect of those prisoners being there to make the Archadians seem like good guys. The Archadian military seems pretty desperate to appear like good guys - remember the bit where Basch quickens on the Remora and there's that mortifyingly embarrassing conversation between the Archadian Remora captain and his HQ? 'critically injured, sir' 'right-o, lad, withdraw - and well done, sonny jim, well done, thanks for your efforts, all much appreciated...'

owlmoose's idea is also very valid, too. (And also provides fuel for interesting Vossler-Vaan conversations!) I just like to dwell on the strangenesses of the Archadian military - conquestors with a conscience? (There's also Sherral who wants to protect the Rabanastrans, and a few other examples scattered around Rabanastre who really seem to care about the countries they forcefully colonise.)

But me, I'm Australian with an ancestry that basically beats to the rhythm of Empire everywhere I look for self-reference, so I could very possibly do an Imperialist reading of the migration patterns of crabs.
Oct. 28th, 2009 02:57 pm (UTC)
(in from ff_press)

Nowhere is it stated that Basch is common-born (moreover he's not even Dalmascan-born); it's much more likely that he is a noble, seeing as he has a surname! While commoners in Final Fantasy Tactics do have surnames, Final Fantasy XII is very consistent about commoners having a first name, and a first name only.
Oct. 27th, 2009 08:09 am (UTC)
*evil laugh* now i get to spam you~~~~
Oh yes, just in case my explanation didn't really make sense --> Vayne using "Basch" to kill Raminas is actually a plot against the Archadian Senate, who were refusing to give him any power and who had killed his brothers and were cockblocking his father, not against Dalmasca in any way. All of Dalmasca is actually just Vayne's pawn in that particular powerplay to have full rights of command over Archades' forces. Watch all the senate/Imperial scenes with the idea that "the Senate is the Enemy, Vayne is the Protagonist, Cid is the Loyal Sidekick, Ashe and Co are Unwitting Pawns" in mind, and suddenly the whole game makes an awful lot of sense.

(Also makes sense as to why Vayne is very interested in having full Magisterial support on his side, in addition to having a broken Gabranth --> if Gabranth ever admits he faked a Baschness, Vayne could lose everything he'd manouvred for. Lucky for him that Gabranth is so hung up on his personal problems/issues with honour and servitude/shame at having played Basch that Gabby takes so little breaking. But then, Vayne being Vayne, tis very likely he knew that.)

Edited at 2009-10-27 08:12 am (UTC)
Oct. 27th, 2009 05:29 pm (UTC)
The way I saw it, it went like this: Vayne arranges the whole theatrical portion of our evening, hides Gabranth in the shadows somewhere, leaks word of a plan to kill Raminas, and waits for Basch to arrive. Everyone who beats Basch there gets killed by Archadian soldiers. Basch arrives and is knocked out and shoved into some shadows. Then they wait for the next Dalmascan through the door--Reks.

That whole bit is a play for Reks's benefit, because he's the perfect witness: one who doesn't want to believe what he's seeing. Then they rush him to medical treatment in a very well-appointed POW setup, and arrange for him to confirm the story Vayne will be spreading through other sources. Suddenly the face of Dalmascan resistance is the face of regicide. Good luck getting help from another monarchy after that! Plus, the resistance factionalizes around the whole thing, weakening it overall. Dalmasca is demoralized and in no state to mount an effective resistance--except the one led by Ashe, the only other 'face' anyone's liable to follow.

At the same time, Vossler learns that Raminas is dead, manages to get out of Nalbina, and goes hell-for-leather to Ashe, presuming that she's next. He gets to her and they go underground for her protection. That gives Vayne the chance to finagle Ondore into saying that Ashe is dead, which prevents Ashe from going to him and automatically casts doubts on her if and when she resurfaces. That means that if she wants to go to, say, Rozarria, and ask for aid, she needs to get her hands on one of the stones--which Vayne is keeping very close watch on.

Endgame: the Dalmascan resistance/insurgence is cut off from its most likely sources of aid, splintered into factions, and demoralized. That means they don't provide the impetus for Bhujerba and Rozarria to gear up for war for another two years. Vayne has some nice accolades, a spymaster who's too emotionally shattered to try anything on the side, and two years to increase his personal political power, do something about the Senate, build up the military, and finish the research it takes to make the war winnable. And he could have had longer; I read the game as Vayne moving faster than expected, because Vaan unexpectedly showed up, snagged the stone, and started pulling back together the groups Vayne had worked so hard to alienate.
Oct. 28th, 2009 11:36 pm (UTC)
Okay, I think this is the explanation based on canon that works for me best.

I'm still not quite sure about Reks arriving as a POW; I like owlmoose's idea that Reks was found by Vossler and his men, whom we see later on when Vaan delivers the sword courtesy of Old Dalan. That group of guys seems to remember Reks. Reks was a cadet, a nobody, whose word wouldn't be very convincing to most people -- who's this kid insulting the memory of Captain Basch, the hero?
Whereas Vossler's group would have heard it from Reks' lips right there, with the gaping hole in his chest/back, and the horror of what he'd seen in his eyes.

With that small emendation, I agree that Vossler and the gang booked it out of there to spirit Ashe away. In replaying the game I've just hit a scene where they say as much: Vossler got Ashe away, and they hoped to go to Ondore, but then heard his announcement that she'd committed suicide.

There's something else that confuses me there: Ondore says he must've sounded like a loyal puppet of the empire, but in fact, to me, he seemed to be covering for her so that Archades won't look for her.

Edited at 2009-10-28 11:37 pm (UTC)
Oct. 27th, 2009 06:08 pm (UTC)
Reks WAS spared! He was healed/put in a coma enough to be shipped back to Dalmasca, cause Vaan remembers seeing him in a hospital.

So basically he was wounded enough to be weak and then the Empire must've worked it so he was brought back to be a witness.

Or something. Either way, Reks ends up dead later on.

I'm pretty sure that Gabranth had a copy of Basch's armor hanging around, as he also faked the scar ahead of time, too.

But then again I just finished Draklor Laboratories and I could be missing things! I've only played around forty hours of the game! XD
Oct. 28th, 2009 12:34 pm (UTC)
When it comes to Reks, I assume he died of his wounds a bit later than the day Raminas was murdered. When Vaan delivers Dalan's sword to Vossler, one of the resistance members says, "Reks was just the witness they needed." He was pointedly kept alive to be able to say, "Basch killed the king, he's a bad man."

Framing Basch might have to do with trying to dismantle the power behind the royal family. You might have noticed but at this point, Vossler is nowhere to be seen. My theory is that he was already working with the Archadian forces at this point, having already begun fleeing to Dalmasca to save Ashe and leaving Basch to die/be framed/whatever. With Vossler in their pocket, the king dead, and Ashe about to be presumed dead and therefore useless, the only obstacle left was Basch.

(This theory counts on the additional idea that Vossler was playing every single side in an attempt to salvage whatever he felt he could salvage at the time--a desperate gamble, of sorts.)

If Basch, a high ranking soldier and plausible hero to the Dalmascans, is discredited of his former heroism... I imagine the spirit of the Dalmascan people is looking pretty weak about now. Perfect time to plow through them and claim Dalmasca for the sake of Archadian trade routes!
Oct. 28th, 2009 11:44 pm (UTC)
Hmmm, interesting thought on Vossler throwing his lot in with Archades before the king's death.

I'm not sure what Vossler was doing. I still like the idea that he and his band found Reks too late, and then hightailed it back to Dalmasca. He says in Ondore's office that he had just time to get her away before the Archadian armies arrived. He could've been lying -- this is Vossler -- but I don't think so. At that point in the game, right after Basch & Vossler & the pirate scum break Ashe out of her prison on the Leviathan, Vossler drops off Ashe in her uncle's care. They discuss the fact that without the Dusk Shard, she has no way to prove she's who she says she is. Vossler says he's going to go off and look for some other way to help her.

The next time he rejoins them, he is a plant. They go to get the Dawn Shard. They are recaptured (I haven't replayed this part yet -- I think it's Ghis again?) and taken onto another Imperial Ship. There Vossler tries to play both sides, trying to convince Ashe to take the throne as a vassal of the empire.

I don't think he was working for Archades all the way along. I get the impression that he didn't try this "other way" until she was captured following the attack on the fete. And at first, he had just infiltrated the Imperial Army disguised as a soldier. I don't think he turned into a double agent until after leaving Ashe in the care of her uncle and Basch, when Vossler says, "you must guard her for me now."

It's hard to say, though, since of course the game can't tell us what people are hiding!
Oct. 29th, 2009 01:09 am (UTC)
I tend to agree with this. I always got the impression Vossler cared a great deal about Dalmasca *and* Ashe - it's not until she is in a situation that's out of his direct control (before, she had been guarded by him) that he decides to broker a deal with the Empire. He does it for Ashe's benefit, though she doesn't see it that way, of course.

But, been a while since I've replayed, so I can't say I remember completely accurately.
Oct. 29th, 2009 03:29 am (UTC)
While you both could be/probably are right - that did initially occur to me, too - there's really no proof that it happened this way or that way. Like I said, it's just a theory. What got me thinking this way was that Vayne knew in advance that the resistance was going to be attacking on the night of the fete, which suggests two things. a) He threw the fete specifically to draw them out for such a thing, or b) he had an informant who warned him ahead of time. Obviously, both are equally plausible but once I started thinking about option b, the whole Vossler issue opened up questions.

Something else that occurred to me was that Vayne probably staged the whole scene with "Basch" murdering Raminas just because he could. Logically, an identical twin brother of a trusted knight of Dalmasca that is completely loyal to Archades isn't something that comes along every day, so why not make use of it? Use him, murder the king, pave way for his goals. Vayne went the fancy, soap opera-ish route because it would not trace back to him.
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