Regions of Mist-laden winds and magicite-rich soil, precluding the proper operation of skystone. Shifts in weather have been known to make jagd where once there was none, though the reverse has never been recorded by the chroniclers of such things. As airships cannot operate in jagd, no such region is under the control of a major country, making the jagds lawless, perilous places.
The first jagd you visit, and one of my favorites. Jagds first appeared in FFTA, in which they were lawless areas where characters could permanently die due to the lack of judges to maintain order and the game mechanic of law cards. In FFXII, as described above, they’re similarly lawless and not governed by any of the kingdoms of the world on account of skystone not working.
Jagd Yensa stretches to the west of Dalmasca and covers the immense sandsea, where the Urutan-Yensa live.
A desert region in the west of the Jagd Yensa, most of it covered in fine-grain sand that ebbs and flows like water, compared from antiquity to a sea. Abandoned drilling rigs can be found here and there, dotted about the ever-shifting terrain. In the past, the Rozzarian Empire sought to draw rich oils from the ground here, but relentless attacks from the Urutan-Yensa, who consider the Sandsea to be solely theirs, drove them away. Men are now a rare sight inside the desert borders.
Both the Ogir-Yensa and the Nam-Yensa are some of my absolute favorite areas in the game. I think they’re gorgeous pieces of level design and some of the most immersive parts of the game. You really feel like you’re out in the middle of nowhere, out in this place that’s been abandoned by humes and overtaken by the wilderness. It’s empty and desolate but for the monsters and Urutan-Yensa everywhere. I love it.
The biggest thing to warn about in the Ogir-Yensa is the Salamand Entite that shows up in the Primary Tank Complex when it’s sunny. Do not use magic around it. Chances are you’re not leveled up enough yet and you will get your ass handed to you. I don’t think Vossler uses magic in the original game; in IZJS you can set his gambits yourself; just make sure he doesn’t aggro it.
Be sure to steal from and kill the Alraunes whenever you can; their Succulent Fruit drop is worth 363 gil.
In IZJS, you’ll get a Golden Amulet (2x LP) for the first time at the top of the stairs of the large structure on Platform 1-Refinery.
You can enter the Zertinan Caverns for the first time in this area, but we’ll talk about it a little bit later.
The desert in the west of the Jagd Yensa. Fine sand beats in waves against the feet of the rolling dunes of this region which, together with the Ogir-Yensa Sandsea, is called the Great Yensan Sandsea. To the west of the Nam-Yensa lies the gorge known as the Valley of the Dead, so called because it has been the scene of many an ill-starred adventurer's demise.
When you first enter the Sandsea, be sure to go up to the Sandscale Bank (the northern entrance); you can meet a Sandsea Moogle and embark on a brief sidequest to help out the Urutan-Yensa. While it may seem odd to be helping out the very creatures that you’ve been brutally killing throughout the sandsea, this is a quest I actually really like; it adds some nice depth to them that you’d otherwise miss out on.
More importantly, you get some Eksir Berries for it, and they’re super effective against the Garuda, the boss guarding Raithwall’s Tomb. So it’s worth the time.
The Simoon Bluff is your first opportunity to get an Embroidered Tippet (2x EXP) in IZJS; it spawns on the top ring. The Simoon Bluff is also home to one of my absolute favorite places to grind for gil in the game, thanks to the Bagoly enemies. Here’s the deal: they are very easy to chain in this area. About 40-45 of them will spawn in one go if you simply run back and forth (fleeing from the Axebeaks, which will forget about you once you get far enough away from them). The Bagoly drops the Bent Staff, which sells for an incredible 1194 gil. A couple rounds of this, and you’ll soon have yourself the grimoires you need. You do need the Hunter’s Monograph for this in the original game; while the Bagoly is a fiend Bent Staffs will drop if you have that grimoire. (I believe you do need the correct one, the Mage’s Monograph, in IZJS.) Shout out to Neon for telling me about this yeaaaars ago; I’ve used it ever since.
This is also a good place for level grinding if you’re intending to kill the first Demon Wall in the Tomb of Raithwall. More on that in a bit.
A great cavern complex stretching along the length of the inland sea between Ordalia and Kerwon. Its passages twist and turn, winding their way from the Jagd Yensa to Dalmasca, and even Bancour. Labyrinthine and dark, the caverns provide an excellent place for criminals and bandits to hide from the authorities. The reaches near the Great Yensan Sandsea are known for their frequent deadly subterranean sand drifts, and the fierce wyrms that make their home there. Nearer to the Bancour, the smell of brine grows stronger, and many of the cavern mouths open out onto cliffs overlooking the sea.
So, confession time: I never actually come here during the sandsea portion of the game. I mean obviously I know you can, you can see the entrances and everything, but I prefer to do it later when I’m actually planning on taking down Adrammelech. You can get here from the Westersand too, but the world map places Zertinan in Jagd Yensa, so! Here we are. Really though you can get here from like half the map. Zertinan is huge. (You can see all of the Zertinan title screens in the gallery; I had a lot of fun getting them all.)
Which is really neat, I think. I mean, one of my favorite things about FFXII is how the entire map is interconnected and how if you wanted to walk from, say, Mt. Bur-Omisace to Balfonheim you literally could. It would take a long time, but it’s entirely possible.
Anyway, like I said, I typically come here much later. While you can beat Adrammalech with a low level party (usually with a good Quickening chain, but a good set of buffs will do it too), I usually wait until I’ve finished the Stilshrine to come back here and take him on — Regen and Curaga help a lot. You do need to beat Adrammalech in order to explore the cavern without going through each area separately.
Otherwise there’s not a whole lot to talk about; Zertinan is basically a huge optional dungeon that’s there to explore and enjoy. I like it a lot, but I don’t tend to go back there once I finish it.
In IZJS, avoid the Archaeoaevis at all costs. (They appear in the southern part of the Balamka Fault, which is where the map urn is.) For some reason they’re now at ridiculous levels and have HP of up to a million. They will destroy your party in seconds. Hope you didn’t want the Aldebaran Y anytime soon. You can steal Battlewyrm Carapaces from them (to make Bubble Belts) if you’re very lucky, but otherwise stay the hell away.
Tomb of Raithwall
West of the Jagd Yensa, deep in the Valley of the Dead, lies the tomb of Dynast-King Raithwall, a titanic stone structure built during the age of the Galtean Alliance to celebrate his subjugation of the lands bordering the Naldoan Sea. Inside can be found many technologies and architectural marvels beyond the ken of modern man. In addition to Raithwall's crypt, the tomb contains priceless royal treasure, and only those with proof of direct lineage are suffered within. Intruders are met with traps and guardians most terrible. Though the sky pirates know of the treasure's existence, none have succeeded in its theft as yet.
So, right away when you enter there’s an optional boss battle against a Demon Wall. The easiest way to beat it is to use a Quickening chain; I typically level up until I have two on all of my characters and then unleash them from all six characters; that tends to do the trick. In the original game, when you do this you will unlock a secret passageway to a staircase that leads to a treasure chest. This treasure chest has a 70% chance to spawn, and 45% of the time it’ll be gil. If it’s items, it’s either a Holy Mote or the Demonsbane. If you put on the Diamond Armlet, it’s Dark Matter.
At this point of the game, the Demonsbane is ridiculously overpowered. For reference, you can’t actually buy the Demonsbane until you get to Mt. Bur-Omisace. What’s more, the treasure chest respawns, so if you want to put in the time, yes, you can absolutely run back and forth the two screens necessary for it to respawn in order to get three of them.
This does not work in IZJS. The secret passageway will still unlock, but the treasure chest contains a Scathe Mote and does not respawn.
Is it worth it? Yes and no. It will absolutely make the next part of the game easier, sure. It’s a sword that does a lot of damage and if you have the time to spare to get three of them, you’ll wreck everything in sight. But it’s absolutely not necessary, and you should only do it if you want to be overpowered for about the next 10-12 hours of gameplay. The sword will be outclassed by better weapons after that and you can move on. It also can take about an hour to get three of the damn things, so that’s certainly important to keep in mind.
There’s not much else to talk about in the Tomb of Raithwall; the dungeon itself is pretty straightforward. I think it’s quite pretty, personally. There are a few boss fights after you complete the area, but if you beat Belias then you shouldn’t have any trouble with them. In IZJS, the Shades of Black technick spawns in a treasure pot in the same chamber where you fight Belias.