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In the original game you barely noticed when a character came or went, you just set up another character with the skills/gambits required (maybe grind a little for license points to allow that) and carry on.

Playing through the zodiac age - I set Penelo to White Mage, just to compliment Vaan as the damage dealer at the first time they work together.

Fast forward a couple of scenes and I am stuck without her for a long time - meaning I have to tackle hunts and a few sections of story without a White Mage (and because of my selections for Balthier and Fran - basically no magic).

As this is a different dynamic to the original

1) Which characters go AWOL and for how long?

2) Are any jobs are highly recommended to have during these sequences (so another character should hold them)

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  • For a game that's been out for years (Remake notwithstanding), this information should be commonly available.
    – Frank
    Mar 1 '18 at 12:45
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    i can't answer the second part but i can tell you that when Penelo returns, the only characters to leave your party are Guests. after Penelo leaves in the Giza Plains you'll get Balthier and Fran, then leave for a small bit until you get Basch (plot wise you have no need to leave town or enter battle so it's fine) and they return, then Ashe will join and Penelo will be the last.
    – Memor-X
    Mar 1 '18 at 14:00
  • I thought Ashe ran away again at different points? (its been over a decade since I played through the original) - and reading through an entire guide I would gain this information yes -> but because of the change of dynamic in what losing a character can mean it would be better to have this information listed together.
    – Collett89
    Mar 1 '18 at 14:17
  • @Memor-X that comment probably actually answers my question fully (if I'm wrong about Ashe). Just withstanding that picking a tank job and a utility job among vaan/basch/balthier - as fran has basic white magic regardless of job is probably necessary to beat cluckatrice when the hunt first becomes available. I am operating from a dated memory of the story and thought (much like Yuna does in FFX, Garnet/Dagger in FFIX) at least Ashe went missing later on for a time.
    – Collett89
    Mar 1 '18 at 14:36
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Penelo is the only character that leaves. She joins in Rabanstre at the beginning of the game to help with a quest, leaves when you get back into town and then rejoins shortly after the Luhsu Mines.

If you assigned Penelo as your White Mage, it's recommended to stock up on potions during the Luhsu Mines because that's the only real place where you can die unless you're doing Hunts. Set up gambits to your ranged characters to heal via potions. Some melee characters can also have First Aid so make sure you pick that up too. You can always hold off on the Hunts, as you can't do any expiring Hunts at this stage in the game anyway.

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  • +1 on the hunts bit. There's nothing forcing you to do them, unless you're desperate for some of the loot they reward. Mar 2 '18 at 14:45
  • Yeah - I was trying to do Cluckatrice before going to Bhujerba - it was going to take too much levelling up - so go to Bhujerba for the better spells and items and Cluckatrice suddenly very very easy (rocktoise much easier than I remember too). IMO Chaining skeletons in the mine the easiest place to level up for a long time too.
    – Collett89
    Mar 5 '18 at 8:44
  • Chaining skeletons in the Luhsu mines is the best place to farm EXP for a while. You can easily hit 20-25 if you speed it up.
    – FoxMcCloud
    Mar 5 '18 at 13:35

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