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The Scirevicis Academy is an organization which trains wizards in the different schools of magic, operating out of Archoeia, the capital of Marais. They operate with the permission of and are mostly controlled by the Kresthitan Empire, to keep the peace in Marais rather than the Kresthitan army leaving their own troops behind.
Coronos is a student of Scirevicis, in his third year of training in Hemomancy, which allows the user to manipulate the blood of themselves and others. The game begins on the 37th day of the year: the start of the Month of Flowers, the second month of the year in the Kresthitan Calender.
If a party member is killed during battle, they remain dead permanently (with exceptions for a few very expensive/difficult methods of revival). The exception is Coronos; if he is killed, the game returns to the latest save (which is usually the beginning of the current contract unless the player has saved the game themselves).
The battle system is based on a combination of the battle systems from Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy X. The Act List from Final Fantasy X reappears, determining the order in which characters are allowed to perform actions. Rather than simply passing through the Act List one by one, with each character performing, instead once a character is reached on the Act List the next character is immediately given a small timer before they can act (this feature can optionally be disabled if the player finds the game too difficult with it enabled). Whenever a character is not in the process of using an ability or being targeted by an ability, they can move freely. The player can control the movement of any party member, with the ones they are not currently controlling being controlled by the AI.
The main unique feature of Blood Trance's battle system is the separate Health and Concentration bars. Health acts like Health from a standard RPG, where it is reduced with damage and when it is empty the character dies. Concentration acts similarly, but when it is depleted by receiving damage the character is no longer capable of using most of their abilities until their Concentration level is increased by some means (usually item or another party member's spell), and they become susceptible to Finisher Moves (see below). Different abilities affect Health and Concentration in different ways, and many abilities character's can use require their own Concentration to be decreased.
Every spell has a different damage type (or multiple, for some spells). Rather than having defenses based on elements (as most classes use only one element, which would make them significantly underpowered against enemies strong against that element), character's defenses are based on these different damage types. The damage types are:
When a character's Concentration level is empty, their enemies unlock the ability to use a Finisher Move on them. Finisher Moves deal a significant amount of damage directly to the character's Health, usually an instant kill. Finisher Moves can be performed by player-controlled characters, AI-controlled allies, and enemies.
Also available are Combo Finisher Moves, where two characters can work together to perform a much stronger Finisher Move. These are usually only used on bosses, as a normal Finisher Move is usually enough to kill a weaker enemy.
Rather than using experience as in many other RPGs, character progression in Blood Trance occurs via studying spells through the completion of related objectives. While at the Academy, you can select which spell you want each character to start studying, based on their class. Each spell a variety of objectives, such as using other spells, defeating a number of enemies, and performing a certain amount of contracts. Completing any of these objectives increases the Study bar. The Study bar also increases a smaller amount each day that passes without the character performing a contract (implying they were studying while they were at the Academy). Once the Study bar is filled, the spell is learned and the character can begin to study a new spell. Every time a new spell is learned, the character's Concentration also increases.
Rather than spells, characters can also study various other upgrades such as Health, Concentration and Speed.
Each pair of characters in the game has a relationship value shared between them. As this value increases, new dialogue and story options are unlocked and the strength of Combo Finisher Moves between those characters increase.
Relationship values are written as percentages which can go from -100% to 100%, with the default starting value for unacquainted characters being 0%. Relationship values can be increased through a variety of actions such as dialogue choices, or defeating enemies and finishing missions while the characters are in a party together. They can also be decreased in certain circumstances.
When the relationship value reaches certain points, certain different effects may occur.
- -80%: At this point or lower the characters may refuse to go on contracts with characters who have a relationship value of above 60% and higher than their own with the other character.
- -60%: At this point or lower, the characters may refuse to go on contracts together.
Contracts in Blood Trance serve as quests might in other RPGs. Contracts can be received from the various message boards throughout the Academy. Upon accepting a contract, you must visit the location via any of the available methods in the Academy or Archoeia, such as carriage or boat services.
You can only travel to and return from one location a day; therefore it is recommended to find as many contracts which can be completed in that particular location before traveling there. Completing contracts within the Academy or Archoeia does not take any time.
- Blood Trance's original name was Remedy.
- Many spell names and flavour texts are references to other games and anime series.