• Boss Goblin - Steal Waistcloth, Drop Brass Helm, Learn Influence
  • Eye Goo - Steal Healing Herb, Drop Vitamin, Learn Snooze
  • Goblin - Steal Bent Sword, Drop Old Popper, Learn Unmotivate
  • Gonghead - Steal Vitamin, Drop Life Shard
  • Mage Goo - Steal Healing Herb, Drop Wisdom Seed, Learn Burn
  • Ripper - Steal Berries, Drop Swallow Eye, Learn Blind
Ryu, Rei, and Teepi are orphans, and they're in desperate need of some food if they're to survive the upcoming winter. Their solution? Mug people, of course. Their normal mugging grounds are the Yraall Road, to the southeast of McNeil, and it's here that you'll start running into combat. Better have a quick discussion about fighting enemies in Breath of Fire III before we go any further.


As you probably discovered while running around as a dragon, Breath of Fire III has a turn-based combat system. At the beginning of each round you give out commands to your characters, and everything on the field takes their turn based on their AGI stat. Rei will usually go first since he's your group's speedster (and is also several levels higher than Teepo and Ryu). Any characters that are fast enough may receive an EX turn, granting them additional chances to do damage before the enemy gets a turn.

You have a few different options when choosing what to do for your characters:
  • Attack: The center option. Your character performs a normal attack with their weapon.
  • Ability: The top option. Your character uses one of their Abilities. Abilities are divided into different types, which you can access by moving to the side on the Abilities submenu. Characters will learn more Abilities by leveling up, from Masters (more on that later), via the Examine option (more below), and via Skill Ink (more below).
  • Defend: The right option. Your character will spend their turn protecting themselves, raising their DEF in the process.
  • Item: The bottom option. Your character uses an item from your Inventory. Typically - but not always - items will be used to heal your characters.
  • Examine: The left option. Your character keeps an eye on one of the enemies. If the enemy uses an attack that can be learned, the move will be added to the Skill submenu of the character's Abilities. Your character must be faster than the enemy they're Examining for this to work.
  • Chg: The top-left option, revealed by holding down the L button. Engages auto-battle, allowing your characters to make their own choices in combat. 
  • Escape: The top-right option, revealed by holding down the R button. The group attempts to escape. If the attempt is successful the battle ends; if not, you'll have to endure a round of enemy attacks before you can try again. Escape never works during boss battles.
Your goal in virtually every battle is simple: Defeat the enemy side by depleting their health before your team runs out of health. You can do this by using attacks and Abilities to defeat enemies. If your team starts to run low on health you can use items - and, once Ryu learns Heal, specific Abilities - to restore the Hit Points (HP) of your party members. Abilities require the use of Ability Points (AP).  Each character's HP and AP is displayed at the bottom of the screen.

If a character runs out of HP after sustaining too many attacks they get knocked out. If the character is not revived via an item or Ability during combat they will be revived with 1 HP once the fight is over. Characters that were knocked out have reduced HP (denoted by a yellow HP score), and they need to rest to return their HP to its normal, full value. The character must rest at an inn to restore their HP to its normal value - using a campsite doesn't quite cut it.

The health of your enemies is displayed on the corners of the screen. When encountering a new enemy type their HP will be displayed as a question mark. Whenever you fight that enemy again in the future the question mark will be replaced by a health bar, giving you a rough idea of how far along you are towards defeating said enemy.

While fighting you'll see enemies using their own Abilities. As noted above, if you use the Examine option your character will laser in on an enemy, and if that enemy uses an Ability that can be learned your characters will gain it as a Skill. Ryu and Teepo are, at least at first, too slow to catch most Skills, but Rei is quite good at collecting Skills, so long as he's the one getting targeted. You can then use Skill Ink while camping to teach Skills to other characters. We'll talk more about camping when it comes up.

In addition to taking steps during combat to ensure success, you can also strengthen your party outside combat by playing with Formations in the menu, under the Tactics heading. Each character in your active party has a number beside them, and this number determines where they appear in your selected Formation. You can change which character is where in a Formation by selecting their portrait on the left side of the menu.

Formations will boost the stats of your characters depending on where they're placed, and which Formation you've chosen. If, for example, you choose the Attack Formation, the character in the 1 slot will receive an attack boost (though they also seem to get attacked by enemies more often). Choose the Defense Formation and everyone will receive a small boost to their defenses. You'll receive three more Formations later in the game, as well. You don't need to mess around with Formations too much, but they can make your life a bit easier based on your play style.

Whenever you win a battle your characters will receive experience (EXP) and zenny. As in most RPGs, EXP raises your characters' levels when they hit a certain threshold. Your party members become more powerful when their levels go up, and in general it's a good thing to increase your level. That said, you shouldn't be too quick to empower your party members, especially if you like to min/max your party. We'll discuss how to make the most of your party in another article, when we discuss the Master system.

There are more things to learn about combat in Breath of Fire III, but those are the basics. There's only one other thing to note about combat, and that's where it happens. Unlike many older RPGs combat in Breath of Fire III takes place on maps as you run around, and enemies will appear in the same places you explore. The enemies need enough room to appear on the map, so if you're traveling through tight spaces you won't get into battles. (Though you'll typically get into a fight immediately after leaving said tight space.)

For the most part your little party can take care of monsters without the use of Abilities. Wander southeast of the entrance and you'll find the crossroads of the Yraall Road, where Rei and Teepo do most of their thieving. Rei will suggest hiding behind a nearby tree. Run up onto the grassy stretch of land to the north of the road and hide behind the cluster of bushes and trees to trigger a cut scene...

... that will see Ryu getting in trouble with the wrong guy: Bunyan, the woodsman you may have met while exploring the Cedar Woods. Whoops. Still, him being out here means he isn't home, so... maybe the group should try out a little home invasion...?

There's a little more to explore of Yraall Road before you leave, and you can pick up 40 zenny to the northeast of where the boys were hiding. You can't exit to the northeast or southwest, though, so this is a dead end. Head back northwest and leave.

The World Map and Camping

Before we move on with the story, there are two more things to discuss, both related to the world map. Both are worth your time.

First are Exclamation Spots. These are small areas that appear occasionally when you explore the world map. If you choose to enter one of these spots your party will be taken to a randomized map that's populated by enemies from the region. You can use these areas to level up your party through combat. Each of these maps also has a single item, placed somewhere randomly on the map. You're not going to hit the jackpot, but these items can nevertheless come in handy.

Next are campsites. So long as you're on a spot on the world map that's not occupied by something else you can choose to camp by hitting the Start button. You can do a few different things while camping, most by interacting with the diary inside the tent:
  • Speak to party members - they have new things to say virtually every time something happens in the plot
  • Save your game
  • Change party members (once you have more than three, which will be a little while)
  • Check your Skill Notes, where you can use Skill Ink to transfer Skills between party members - Note that Skill Ink is somewhat rare, so don't do this too lightly
  • Check your Master List - More on this once Masters are unlocked
For the most part all you'll be using camps for are saving and resting. Note again that camping does not remove HP penalties from characters that were knocked out in combat. You'll need to visit an inn.

That's all for the moment. Shall we head back to Cedar Woods, and look into robbing Bunyan? Yes, yes we shall.