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[Spoilers] Red mages vs Crimson Duelists


Valence

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Disclaimer: so I know i'm opening a can of worms here, and please bear with me. I would hate that to turn into a flamewar on how true to the lore it is to play a red mage or not. This is not necessarily the point of that post. I really want to investigate further to see what we can find about that peculiar point.

 

With that said, SE chose deliberately to stay very ambiguous with both words, Crimson Duelist and Red Mage, and followed the story of the last survivor of the Crimson Duelists (who are red mages).

 

So I parsed through the quests and lines and couldn't see any mention made of any group of red mages, since when red magic is mentioned, every time it's about the art of the red mage more than the remaining or current red mages in existence. It's always about the Crimson Duelists and how they were all betrayed by one of their own, Lambart (a servant of the voidsent Lilith). And that X'rhun, the red mage NPC senpai, is the last one of those duelists that opposed the King of Ruin.

 

People often chose to interpret it as the Crimson Duelists being a special group of red mages that chose to rise against the King, but... I didn't find any true mention of that anywhere. It could also be that all the red mages decided to take the mantle of Crimson Duelists too.

 

What I'm looking for is clues that I might have missed that can swing the balance in one way or the other, and if the Duelists aren't all the red mages of Gyr Abania, then do we have clues or hints on what has become of them if so? I mean here, all the ones that wouldn't be duelists in that hypothesis? 

 

Which leads me to think about in what state is the red magic art left exactly? Is X'rhun the last one of them if we consider that the red mages all embraced the duelist rebellion? We know that he fled to Sharlayan and teached Alisaie a bit about it, but again, no mention of any other red mage besides Lambert and all the dead duelists. And then, even if there were survivors, how did they fare against the Garlean invasion? Like the monks (but the monks seem to have at least a handful of survivors, not just Widargelt though)? They seem to share a very similar fate, and it's hard to tell how many are left, if any, besides the NPCs we know of.

 

I know it touches the very basis of the viability of that job in roleplay, but I think that like most jobs, there will no matter what be a certain degree of uniqueness and "hard to find/become", so I don't consider that problem to be that relevant.

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X'rhun explains the connection to Theodoric real early in the questline when you're in the graveyard at Saint Adama Landama.

 

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It's important to note that Red Magic seems to have had it's own unique identity before the Duelists got a hold of it and made it all "For Ala Mhigo!" That very much appears to be a Crimson Duelist thing and not a Red Magic in general thing.

 

There's a part of the questline where you go digging around in/near the Ziggurat and find alchemical formulas, histories of Amdapor and histories of Red Magic. Archeological information on learning it appears to be available to those who look hard enough for it not to mention the Sharlayan connections. Additionally it's also ambiguous if the art actually even requires a soulstone to use. Judging from the quests, you could learn it from tablets or records.

 

My personal headcanon (Read: this means my opinion) is some advanced RDM abilities might require a soulstone but it doesn't appear Arya has one and if Alisaie does it hasn't been showcased. If you wanna Jolt and Verthunder/Aero and Corps-a-Corps your sword around all fancy like then go ham.

 

The fact that it seems so easy to pick up and learn makes me really balk at the "Crimson Duelists are the only Red Mages" stance. It just doesn't make sense. So despite the information being so readily available for the picking in and around Gyr Abania there is absolutely no other group of Ala Mhigans in the region that know it or no researcher in Sharlayan learning it or no archeologist digging stuff up about it right now? Even without the line of dialogue below I'm not inclined to find that logical.

 

There's a line of text after you find Lambert where it says that X'rhun and the Duelists "studied the faded teachings" and either taught themselves the magic or were perhaps taught themselves.

 

53e977f9b2dac5b1cfe21309037033aa.png

 

Did they have a teacher? Did they learn it from written archeological finds? You can really infer it one way or the other from this. My question is: Where's all this generational passdown? We don't really know. We don't get to see it.

 

This is the kind of stuff SE has a habit of leaving painfully ambiguous and ends up getting answered at a lore panel the next year.

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I just found a line of the questline that brought me to think a lot more and can bear a lot of implications on a larger scale, and not only for red magic:

 

xEhBcz3.png

 

Which seems to imply that Ishgardian libraries have records of red magic. Of all the places... Why not. That guy eventually happens to write the Nightkin book stored in the Gubal Library. Which means that when the art was active, it was probably not totally secret and ended up there (could it be the case for other lost forgotten jobs? Interesting in itself).

 

Anyway...

 

Yes in any case, it's pretty obvious that red mages were a thing before the Duelists got their own identity, since the art was already alive a century ago, way before the King of Ruin.

 

I also don't dispute the fact that you can learn most arts and disciplines with enough material from it at your disposal, and a fair amount of time and dedication when you don't have a soulstone. Okay, some jobs require soulstone as safety or for it to work, but otherwise...

 

Thing is though, the ziggurat has been left derelict and trashed by all manner of people, ending with the meat eating quiqirns. But at the same time some texts (probably not the whole extensive art but... who knows?) about red magic seem to have been stored in Ishgard. So many in Sharlayan too? Why would it only end up being in Ishgard? Hard to tell either way.

 

So all in all the last quote/image you showed is actually what I was looking for.

 

It really states that red magic was a thing in the past and vanished or faded off at some point, and X'rhun and Lambard digged it up and made it alive again, under the guise of the Crimson Duelists. That's objective.

 

Now then... Is there other red mages left around? Perhaps, who can say. Is there any Amdapori white magic practitioners somewhere? Maybe. So yeah, SE doesn't really say why RDM disappeared, or what happened.

 

The simple fact though, that X'rhun says that they had to "revive the art of red magic", and while it can be biased or out of him not having all the facts about possible living red mages, and while people can probably learn a thing or two about the art in old records, makes me think that the true red mages might actually be very much located in X'rhun, Lambard (rip), the WoL, and newbie Arya...

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  • 2 years later...

Wasn't there also a mention of a Red Mage being sighted in Doma? Or do I remember that wrong? I though I recall a book mentioning a figure that suspiciously sounds like a red mage. Which leads me to believe that X'rhun suffers from a bad case of 'unreliable narrator' syndrom.

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