Eye of the Dragoon

Recently, I have come across discussions on the Dragoon job, its origins and the lore surrounding it. While reading these discussions I've noted that the majority of the people seem to have a warped or even completely erroneous concept of what the job is lore-wise. So I've taken it upon myself to compile a list of all the FF games with the job present and note down some major points on the job in each of them.

Definition of Dragoon

I'm sure many of the readers have heard this before - the word 'dragoon' in fact has nothing to do with dragons elsewhere than the FF series, and instead comes from a mounted cavalry from UK equipped with guns. However, this has nothing to do with the FF definition of the word and should not be taken into account. What people insisting that it should be taken into account forget that FFs are not in English originally, and 'dragoon' is not the original name of the job. It is 竜騎士 [ryuukishi], which translates as 'dragon knight'. The word 'dragoon' creeped in as a translation way back when FF4 was brought out of Japan, when the space allotted for a single job's name wasn't long enough to accommodate 'dragon knight' in it. Instead, dragoon was used, and to keep continuity it was always used thereafter. Would you say that English and Japanese games have different lore to them? Unless you say they do, you cannot take the real-life meaning of the word 'dragoon' and say it has something to do with FF dragoons, because the Japanese version has no such connection.

With the word itself out of the way, we move onwards to the traits of a dragoon. Some people think that even with nothing resembling the word 'dragoon' present, every person in an FF game wielding a spear and/or capable of using the ability Jump qualifies as a dragoon. However, this cannot be verified in any way, and in some cases (say, Cid Highwind from FF7) the lore around them directly clashes with classifying them as dragoons (in Cid's case, his being closely tied together with machines and gadgets). The clear conclusion is that the presence of a spear and Jump is not enough to make a dragoon.

More reliable implications are the dragon-shaped armor (present in most games with dragoons) and the title 'dragoon' itself. In fact, the latter is the only indication of a dragoon needed, as any other trait not also tied to some other job title only presents itself when the title dragoon is used also.

Dragoon Appearances

Now that we know clearly how to spot a dragoon, here is a list of the FF games with dragoons present, and what this information is based on. This list is conclusive, any FF not mentioned here does not have dragoons present (at the time of writing).

Final Fantasy II
The Dragoon Ricard Highwind and Deist, city of dragoons
Final Fantasy III
The job Dragoon
Final Fantasy IV + The After Years
The Dragoon Kain Highwind and the Dragon Corps, a military organization
Final Fantasy V
The job Dragoon
Final Fantasy IX
The Dragoon Freya Crescent and the Dragoons of Burmecia
Final Fantasy XI
The job Dragoon and the lore surrounding them
FF12: Revenant Wings
The character Llyud and the job Dragoon
Final Fantasy XIV
The job Dragoon, the Azure Dragoon and the lore surrounding them
Final Fantasy Tactics
The job Dragoon
Final Fantasy Tactics Advance + sequels
The job Dragoon
Final Fantasy Dimensions
The Dragoon Barbara and the job Dragoon
Airborne Brigade
The job Dragoon

Common Traits

Now that we have established how to define a dragoon, we're ready to delve into the secondary defining characteristics of the job - primary being the title dragoon ('dragon knight') we established under the previous header. One such case was already mentioned, it being the dragon-shaped armor present in the job graphics. Note that it isn't always a physical item, and when it is a physical item wearing it is not always restricted to dragoons only, but many (or at least some) other jobs can also use it.

Other previously mentioned secondary characteristics are the ability to wield a spear (always the best weapon for a dragoon, sometimes the only weapon they can wield. Note how other jobs can wield spears as well) and the ability to Jump (most often but not always corresponding to the dragoon job). Yet unmentioned have gone the breath-type attacks dragoons have (most often corresponding to the dragoon job but may be present with an alchemist as well), the ability Lancet that recovers the caster's HP/MP (sometimes present in dragoons but not exclusive to the job) as well as the dragon-killer traits they sometimes have.

This concludes the common game-mechanic type traits.

As for lore surrounding dragoons, this is where people mostly set their misinformation to and defend it fiercely. You can see the chart below for details, but there is no lore bit on dragoons that would have carried to a majority of their appearances due to lore completely missing from most games, so in effect no dragoon lore trait can be said to conclusively be what defines them.

Trait Chart

This chart compares the common traits mentioned in the previous section as well as some lore points. Only the FF titles with dragoons present are listed.

Key
o Present in this game
- Not present in this game
? Unknown/no mention of lore in the game

FF Title Jump Breath Attacks Lancet Dragon Killer Traits Wyvern Companion1 Duty to Kill Dragons Completely/Largely Hereditary
Final Fantasy II - - - - o - o
Final Fantasy III o - - - ? ? ?
Final Fantasy IV o - - - o - o
Final Fantasy V o - o - ? ? ?
Final Fantasy IX o o o o ? ? ?
Final Fantasy XI o o2 - o o o o
Revenant Wings o - o - - - ?
Final Fantasy XIV o - - - - o o
Final Fantasy Tactics o - - - ? ? ?
Tactics Advace o o o o ? ? ?
Final Fantasy Dimensions o o o - o3 - o
Airborne Brigade - - - - - - -

Conclusions

Note that there are 12 distinct appearances of dragoons to date in the series, 7 if you count only the main series with no sequels or spinoffs. Of these 10 (or 6) had Jump, which most consider a defining characteristic of the job (do keep in mind that it is not only Dragoons that get access to it).

  • Breath attacks are more common in spinoffs than main series
  • Lancet is likewise more common in spinoffs, but still rare
  • Dragon killer traits rarely make an appearance
  • Most dragoon lore is inconclusive as no lore is present in the majority of the games with it making an appearance
  • Of the games that do have lore present, most have wyverns as companions to dragoons (4 out of 5) and the job being hereditary to some degree (5/5), while only 2/5 are known to be duty-bound to kill dragons

Category: Article

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