Name: Basch fon Rosenburg
Japanese name: バッシュ・フォン・ローゼンバーグ
Height: 5’11” (180 cm)
Seiyuu: Rikiya Koyama
Voice Actor: Keith Ferguson
A loyal knight branded as a traitor
A captain in the Order of the Knights of Dalmasca, Basch achieved renown as a gallant and brave hero credited with countless victories on the battlefield. He is a man of justice who cannot abide inequity. Unlike the other captains chosen from the aristocracy, Basch is of common blood and enjoys the love of the people, until he inexplicably murders the King on the eve of a treaty-signing with Archadia. He is led away in chains. What could drive so loyal a man to slay his oathsworn liege?
We first meet Basch in the opening FMV, in which he fails to protect the newly wedded Prince Rasler from getting shot in the chest. Great going, Basch. Soon after, as Dalmasca is forced to surrender to Archadia’s might, King Raminas goes to Nalbina to sign the treaty that would end the war. However, word gets out of an assassination plot, and Basch leads a small Dalmascan force to try and reach the king in time. The soldiers are all slain save one, Reks, who witnesses Basch killing the king. Shortly afterwards, Basch is sentenced to death for his crime.
Except we’re all of 20 minutes into the game at this point, so of course that’s not the whole story.
Turns out that that guy Reks saw killing the king was actually Basch’s long lost twin brother, who’s now one of Archadia’s prized Judge Magisters, Gabranth. Of course, Basch himself is kept alive, so when Vaan and company stumble upon him two years later he’s ready and willing to join the plot.
Basch tags along with the party in order to reach Rabanastre, at which point he promptly leaves them in order to meet up with the Dalmascan resistance forces. While he has no problem finding them (because apparently he has great connections for a guy who’s been in prison for the past two years and is supposed to be dead), they’re unwilling to take him on given the whole kingslaying thing. Vaan ends up vouching for him, but one thing leads to another and Basch ends up back with the party.
His new goal is to find the a member of the resistance, Amalia, who had been captured along with Vaan and the others in the Garamsythe Waterway. This journey leads him to eventually meet with the Marquis Ondore of Bhujerba, the man who declared Basch to have been tried and executed, and who in turn hands them over to the Archadians. Eventually Basch does meet up with Amalia, who is of course the Princess Ashe, who was also supposed to be dead, but hey, who’s counting.
Basch’s role in the plot kind of peters out at this point; a lot of his importance in the story is to get the others working together long enough to get them to Ashe, who then takes charge and makes the game her own — and, obviously, as a knight of Dalmasca (fallen or not), Basch spends the rest of the game following her. Basch does close out Vossler’s story following the events of the Tomb of Raithwall, but I discuss that more over in Vossler’s section.
Basch’s involvement does pick back up a little bit at the Pharos, where they meet Gabranth, and in the ending, when Basch takes his brother’s place in order to protect Larsa. The ending FMV shows that a year on, he’s kept to that promise.
I really like Basch, although I think that, like Fran, he kind of suffers from having things happen to him and then the plot just sort of moves on. He does get a nice little bit with Vaan and Penelo when they reach Archades, but it’s also only one line, so.
I’ve read in various places (though none in any verifiable source, sadly) that Basch was originally intended to be the protagonist of the game instead of Vaan, but that this was changed in order to appeal to a different demographic. Basch’s importance in the early parts of the game seems to lend some credence to this: most of the early hours are really just about getting to the point where you meet Ashe, and Basch is the one character in the party invested in that goal. Of course it’s wrapped up in happenstance, as these things just kind of happen one after another to Vaan, Balthier, and Fran (and also Penelo, who’s conveniently kidnapped as a way to stay relevant), but Basch is the one who’s actually trying to get to the plot point.
In any case, while I think a game that started out with Basch as the lead instead of Vaan would have been more interesting, it would have been a lot more like Vagrant Story (especially if Basch began in the Nalbina Dungeons) and the fact that it isn’t does help differentiate the two. (I would like to write a comparison of Basch and Ashley, though.)
As a character, Basch fits pretty neatly into the “fallen knight” trope and doesn’t stray that far from it, though I’ve always really liked the direction his character went at the end of the game. It brought things full circle for me at least in the sense that FFXII is a game about the bigger picture, and Basch recognizes that and takes Gabranth’s role to serve the greater good. I do think it’s a shame there’s not more between him and Ashe; she seems to get past his betrayal or at least accept it without much issue.
On an unrelated note, Basch has great hair. Every time Basch shows up his hair is great. Also an amazing sense of fashion. This is the part where I link you to the greatest Basch page on the internet.