Final Fantasy is known for many unique creations such as the Chocobo, Moogle, and many others. One of their most well-received and popular creations is their version of the dragon knight, the dragoon. This knight who wears armor that evokes the image of a dragon will typically fight using a lance/spear. They're most well-known for being able to jump to ridiculous heights, rendering them immune to damage, and then landing shortly thereafter upon their enemies, dealing a large amount of damage.
Among the most well-known Dragoon are Kain Highwind from Final Fantasy IV and many of the dragoons who have come later have had some part of them modeled after him. Another recurring aspect of these dragoons is that they're often cloaked in mystery, information on them is hidden from the player. With that said, here are 10 things you didn’t know about Dragoons.
10 Dragoons Are Strongly Tied to Dragons
The names are similar enough that this might be obvious, but there are many more connections beyond their name. Their armor is heavily influenced by dragons, often have spikes and ridges in the image of dragons. Their helmet is either in the shape of a dragons head, or it at least has dragon type wings attached to it.
Dragoons throughout the series often either have a dragon for a pet or as a companion/ride. If they don't ride a dragon into battle then it's at least a dragon-like creature such as a wyvern. They can sometimes breathe fire or some other element. Most interesting of all, their ability to jump to absurd heights comes from Final Fantasy IV where they no longer ride dragons into battle, instead they trained to jump so high so as to honor how their ancestors fought.
9 The First Dragoon Is Ricard Highwind
Hailing from Final Fantasy II, Ricard (or Richard), is the first Dragoon in the Final Fantasy series to be known as such. In the game itself, he is the only surviving Dragoon and when you meet him, and, upon being told that Dragoons were extinct, he denies that they are because he is still here.
Ricard returns to the ancestral home of Dragoons, Deist, only to learn that the rest of the Dragoons, along with their wyverns, were annihilated by the Palamecian army. It's here that they find two survivors, Elina, the wife of one of his Dragoon friends, and Kain, her son. He vows that they will become a family after he's taken care of business. Ricard never returns, as he heroically sacrifices himself, but he does inspire little Kain to become a Dragoon.
8 They Hint At Possible Game Connections
As mentioned before, Ricard inspires a little boy named Kain to become a Dragoon. In Final Fantasy IV, Kain, the most archetypal Dragoon, has been raised by the King of Baron because his parents passed away when he was young. With a little digging, you can learn that his father's name was Ricard.
While it's true that having the same names appear in both Final Fantasy II and IV, and both being Dragoons, though doesn't mean that the two games are connected, it does reveal the possibility. This wouldn't be the first time that two completely different Final Fantasy games were theorized as being part of the same world either. Furthermore, the name Highwind is almost always associated with Dragoons—or at least Dragons of some kind.
7 Their Legacy Continues Throughout The Series
The venerable Dragoon doesn't always make an appearance in any given Final Fantasy game. When it does, it's usually easy to spot, but even in those times when it's not, there is usually some reference to an older dragoon. One of the most common of these comes from Kain and, more specifically, his weapon.
Known as Kain's Lance, his weapon has appeared in Final Fantasy IX, X, XIII, Tactics Advance, Tactics A2, and many more Final Fantasy spin-off games. Some of the main Final Fantasy series games don't even have that and so the creators put in references or pieces of equipment to remedy that. One example of this is Final Fantasy VI where there are the Dragoon Boots and Dragon Horn items which mimic the famed Jump ability.
6 A Dragoon Is Still A Dragoon Even When It's Not
The Dragoon is, of course, named so because of their close ties to Dragons, but sometimes Dragons are simply a random encounter that you fight and nothing more. In cases where this happens, the importance of someone being a Dragoon wouldn't make much sense. But, because of how beloved they are, their abilities are often still there in games where no Dragoon exists.
Final Fantasy VII has Cid Highwind, a character who uses spears. He has the Dragoon's last name, Highwind, and his limit break is full of Jumps and Dragons. Final Fantasy VIII has Ward who uses a Harpoon and jumps as his limit break. Final Fantasy X has Kimahri, and, while you can build him however you want, he is clearly that games Dragoon, as he uses a spear and can jump. Finally, Final Fantasy XIII has Fang, who uses Kain's Lance and has a jump ability called Highwind.
5 Dragoons Can Do More Than Jump
Though they're known best for their ability to jump into the air and come hurtling down to spear their enemies, Dragoons can do more than that. The next most common ability is Lancet (or Lance/Lancer, etc.). This ability of theirs allows them to damage enemies and steal some of their health and or magic points, giving them to their user. This ability first made its appearance in Final Fantasy V.
Lancet allows the Dragoon to keep themselves in the fight and to keep on jumping just in case their Jump happens to cost MP. In Final Fantasy X, Lancet is also the way that Kimahri learns new abilities for his blue mage side.
4 Dragoons Can Save You From Defeat
Something that was made increasingly apparent in Final Fantasy IV was the Dragoon's ability to keep you from a game over. Story-wise, there is a point at which you must use Kain's jump ability to stop Barbariccia from spinning, but there are other examples of this. During the fight against the Demon Wall, if you're not fast enough in defeating it, it will use its instant kill ability to game over you. However, Kain's jump ability can get around that and give you victory even after you other party members are dead.
The ability to jump and essentially become invincible for a short period of time is not unique to Final Fantasy IV. In many of the other games, you can also use this tactic to eke out a victory in a situation that would normally lead to your defeat. Just be careful that you don't land your jump just as the powerful attack is happening.
3 Dragoons Don't Always Befriend Dragons
In Final Fantasy XIV, Dragoons are the main fighting force that deals with Dragons. Rather than befriending Dragons and working with them to overcome their foes, Final Fantasy XIV's Dragoons instead take power from them even as they do battle with them. But in XIV, you must first train as a lancer before you can attain the power of a Dragoon.
Dragoon's in Final Fantasy XIV all war with the Dragons, but there is one who stands above them in both the power they wield and sometimes even in their hatred for Dragons. They are known as the Azure Dragoon, and they wield the eye of a very powerful dragon. The Azure Dragoon must continually fight against this dragon's influence, even as he leads the others into battle.
2 They're Not Always Human
Freya Crescent from Final Fantasy IX is a Burmecian—basically a rat/human hybrid—who has taken upon herself the mantle of Dragon Knight. Final Fantasy IX is known for being the entry that sort of brought the series back to a more fantasy-esque setting. This also means that it re-examined certain naming conventions and the like, which is why Freya is called a Dragon Knight rather than a Dragoon. This benefits her because it allows her to break free from Kain Highwind's shadow.
Instead of the normal plate armor reminiscent of a dragon, Freya wears a long red coat with a matching hat. She does have wings coming from her hat, but her outfit is the way it is because of Burmecia's rainy climate. However, those who designed Freya didn't forget about the Dragoon's more traditional wear. When she trances, her coat is replaced by full plate mail armor that brings to mind the more traditional Dragoon armor.
1 Dragoon's Etymology
The name Dragoon mostly came about because of character limits, as they were supposed to be called Dragon Knights. But the term Dragoon has become so much more over the years and really has become its own thing. However, they do share some interesting similarities with real-life Dragoons.
The original Dragoons were mounted infantry; they would ride into battle and then dismount to fight. They didn't use spears or any kind of polearm, instead relying on more on a firearm called a Dragon. They later ended up becoming heavy cavalry. Final Fantasy originally had Dragoons riding dragons and then fighting with spears and lances. Later on, they lost their dragons and wyverns, and they now fight on foot.