The laguz (ラグズ) are a race from the Tellius Series, people who can shift from human-like forms into animal forms. When untransformed, they still have certain animal-like physical traits, such as tails, wings, ears, and/or colored stripes on their faces. Laguz are known in legend as the "Children of Strength," as they possess a greater deal of physical might compared to the beorc. Laguz are also capable of living for far longer than beorc.
Laguz are one of the two races that descended from the ancient Zunanma, the other being the beorc. Unlike the beorc, laguz are largely chimeric in appearance, mostly appearing as humanoids with animalistic features such as tails and wings. This is due to their ability to shift into a complete animal form. According to the Tellius Recollection, laguz tend to have extended lifespans when compared to the beorc. Most Beast and Bird laguz have lifespans more than two centuries while Dragons can live up to a millennium.
Laguz are able to bear children with other laguz, however, it is unknown what combinations are possible amongst themselves. It is known that at the very least similar tribes are able to mate and bear children who adopt the race of one of their parents such as in the instance of Leanne and Naesala who are said to have bore a Heron girl and a Raven boy in their married epilogue despite being of two separate bird tribes.
It is also possible for a Laguz to mate with a beorc. In this instance, an odd quirk occurs to both the laguz parent and their child. The child is born like a normal human, however they receive a Brand on their body, signifying the union of laguz and beorc. It is unknown what causes this quirk. While the child does not gain the ability to transform, they are granted the laguz's extended lifespans and often special talents that normal beorc lack. For the laguz parent themselves, they instantly lose all abilities to transform into their animal forms.
Laguz consider it dishonorable to fight in their human forms and prefer to fight in their stronger animal forms. After centuries of persecution, some laguz harbor a deep hatred for the beorc.
Laguz opinion of beorc vary with some harboring extreme dislike of them such as Lethe and Reyson who have witnessed or been victim to the atrocities of the beorc. Several laguz do not harbor these such as Ranulf and Mordecai.
Historically and even in modern Tellius times, laguz were kept as slaves by beorc, usually as servants, bodyguards, and even gladiatorial fighters. Even after Begnion pass its Slave Emancipation Act, a secret underground trading network of laguz was still present, with many young laguz being kidnapped and kept as trophies for several Begnion nobles.
Among the known laguz slaves, it would seem Beast and cat laguz slaves are the most populous, though Raven and Hawk slaves were common as well. Heron laguz are particularly prized as slaves due to their beauty and rarity. It would seem the Dragon laguz were rarely, if ever enslaved, presumably due to their power and isolationism.
Many beorc, such as the Begnion soldier, Septimus, believed that laguz enjoy eating the flesh of beorc. It is unknown if any laguz actually do eat Beorc. However, the beast laguz bandits, Pain and Agony, threatened to eat Micaiah, indicating some laguz do eat beorc or at least use the reputation to their advantage.
Laguz are separated into three main classifications: Beast, Bird, and Dragon. The first two are further divided into sub-tribes while the latter is a unified class.
The Beast Tribe (獣牙族 Jugazoku lit. Beast Fang Tribe in the Japanese version), are comprised of mostly feline beasts, but also include the canine Wolves. In their untransformed state, the beasts generally have tails, ears, and sometimes stripes on their face.
- Cat - Swift, highly mobile and agile warriors. They are small and quick. Cat laguz have a life expectancy of 204 years. Notable cats: Lethe, Lyre, and Ranulf.
- Tiger - More offensive and defensive than Cats, but slower. Tiger laguz have a life expectancy of 192 years. Notable tigers: Mordecai, Kyza, and Muarim.
- Lion - Extremely powerful laguz with strong offense and defense. Lions appear to be at the head of Gallia's royalty. Lion laguz have a life expectancy of 180 years. Known lions: Caineghis, Skrimir, and Giffca.
- Wolf - Beasts who are more powerful than cats, but not quite as strong as tigers. They inhabit the Kingdom of Hatari, across the Desert of Death, and have been completely isolated from the other nations of Tellius for countless years. Known wolves: Volug and Nailah.
The Bird Tribe (鳥翼族 Chōyokuzoku lit. Bird Wing Tribe in the Japanese version), as their name suggests, are comprised of birds. Each tribe lives in their own separate kingdoms until the end of Radiant Dawn: the ravens in Kilvas, the hawks in Phoenicis, and the herons in Serenes. Once the war with Ashera ends, the bird tribes form the new Bird Nation in Serenes. Tibarn is named the leader of this new nation. In their untransformed state, they have wings that are capable of flight.
- Hawk - More offensive and defensive than the ravens, but slower. Hawk tribe laguz usually live up to age 207. Notable hawks: Tibarn, Janaff, and Ulki.
- Raven - Very quick, but slightly less powerful and defensive than the hawk laguz. They usually reach age 210. Notable ravens: Naesala, Vika, and Nealuchi.
- Heron - Citizens of the ruined Kingdom of Serenes. They cannot fight, but can utilize special songs known as galdrar. White-winged Herons (also known as Egrets in the Japanese version) are part of the royal family. They live up to 300 years. They have are in tune with the balance between chaos and order, and have a pronounced ability to read the emotions of those around them. Notable herons: Reyson, Rafiel, Lehran, and Leanne.
The Dragon Tribe (竜鱗族 Ryūrinzoku lit. Dragon Scale Tribe in the Japanese version), resides in Goldoa and dislikes interaction with other countries. In their untransformed state, they generally have brand-like marks on their foreheads, as well as pointed ears. These features allow Dragon laguz like Nasir to easily pass for a Beorc. While the Dragon Tribe do not have significant appearance differences in their transformed state, the colors of their scales cause significant changes in their combat abilities amongst themselves.
- Red Dragon - Powerful dragons who breathe fire. They appear to be the most common type of dragon in Tellius. Red Dragon usually live to around age 1002. Gareth is a notable pure Red Dragon. Ena is considered a Red Dragon, however her scales are pink due to inheriting White Dragon blood from her grandfather, Nasir.
- White Dragon - Magic-oriented dragons who breathe light-based flames. White Dragons on average live to be around 1050 years old. Known white dragons: Nasir.
- Black Dragon - The strongest of all dragons. The dragon tribe's leader is always a Black Dragon. Black Dragons live 1020 years on average. Known black dragons: Kurthnaga, Dheginsea, Almedha, and Rajaion.
Laguz Game Mechanics
The exact ways laguz function in battle depends on the game you're playing. Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn both have laguz and implement them in different ways.
Some mechanics are shared by the two games, though. In battle, laguz always have a Transformation Gauge, which (when it fills up) allows a laguz to morph into its animal form. When a laguz is transformed, it slowly drains its transformation gauge until it reaches 0, at which point the laguz reverts to its humanoid form.
Typically, when a laguz is untransformed, it is somewhat vulnerable, and can never initiate attacks. But once the beast/bird/dragon transforms, they gain large attribute bonuses that make them formidable opponents.
Laguz mechanics in Path of Radiance
Laguz in Path of Radiance have a transformation gauge that ranges from 0 to 20. All laguz have a pre-determined starting number, 0-18. This number cannot be changed by any means other than the demi-band glitch. Also, various actions and events will increase or decrease a laguz's Transformation gauge, such as the player phase starting, or participating in combat. The following is a small table detailing these changes.
Untransformed laguz cannot counter enemy attacks, nor can they initiate combat. They are extremely vulnerable in this state, but they do increase their transform gauge by participating in combat whilst untransformed, so it might become necessary for tactical purposes.
Transformed laguz can only attack adjacent foes (with the exception of Naesala, who can select a special attack command that allows him to make a single ranged attack). All laguz have a natural weapon with a pre-determined Might and Accuracy. Examples of these include: Cat: Claw; Raven: Beak; Dragon: Breath.
When a laguz transforms, they gain various stat increases dependent on its class. The table below details all attribute bonuses for all laguz classes.
|Beast tribe (Cat M)||Cat (M)||0||+6||0||+4||+3||+5||+3||+15||+2||0|
|Beast tribe (Cat F)||Cat (F)||0||+6||0||+4||+3||+5||+3||+15||+2||0|
|Beast tribe (Tiger)||Tiger||0||+7||0||+4||+3||+3||+3||+15||+2||0|
|Beast tribe (Lion)||Lion||0||+8||0||+4||+3||+5||+3||+15||+2||0|
|Bird tribe (Hawk)||Hawk||0||+6||0||+5||+3||+4||+2||+10||+2||0|
|Bird tribe (Tibarn)||Hawk (Tibarn)||0||+7||+1||+5||+3||+3||+1||+8||+2||0|
|Bird tribe (Raven)||Raven||0||+5||+1||+4||+4||+3||+4||+9||+2||0|
|Bird tribe (Naesala)||Raven (Naesala)||0||+6||+2||+4||+3||+3||+3||+7||+2||0|
|Bird tribe (Heron M)||Heron (M)||0||0||+5||+3||+4||+1||+5||+6||+3||0|
|Bird tribe (Heron F)||Heron (F)||0||0||+5||+3||+4||+1||+5||+6||+3||0|
|Dragon tribe (Red M)||Red Dragon (M)||0||+10||0||+6||+3||+4||+5||+26||+1||0|
|Dragon tribe (Red F)||Red Dragon (F)||0||+5||0||+4||+4||+4||+5||+12||+1||0|
|Dragon tribe (White)||White Dragon||0||+10||0||+5||+3||+5||+5||+24||+1||0|
Some items can affect a laguz's Transformation gauge as well. The Laguz Stone immediately maxes out a laguz's Transform gauge, and the Demi-band allows the user to remain in a transformed state permanently, at the cost of 1/2 of all the transformation bonuses. Lastly, the Laguz Band item (exclusive to laguz royals) allows laguz to stay in their transformed state constantly with no penalties whatsoever.
Herons in Path of Radiance
There is but a single Heron in Path of Radiance, but Reyson (the Heron) can be extremely helpful if used properly. While he cannot wield any offensive weapon, magic, or healing staff, he has the innate ability to sing to other allies to rejuvenate them, (identical to bards and dancers in this way), allowing them to move and/or attack again that turn. Untransformed, Reyson can sing to one adjacent ally of your choice. When transformed, he is also enabled to sing to all adjacent allies instead, making him 4 times more useful than your typical bard.
Laguz mechanics in Radiant Dawn
Laguz in Radiant Dawn have a transformation gauge that ranges from 0 to 30. All laguz start the gauge on 0. This number can be changed with items like Laguz Stone, etc. Various actions and events will increase or decrease a laguz's Transformation Gauge. Like in Path of Radiance, the player phase starting, or participating in combat will increase or decrease the gauge. But in Radiant Dawn, every laguz tribe has a different speed for how much the gauge increases or decreases. The table below illustrates these changes in the Transformation gauge for the various laguz classes in Radiant Dawn.
|Red Dragon (M)||+26||+58||+1|
|Red Dragon (F)||+12||+33||+1|
Untransformed laguz can counter enemy attacks, but cannot initiate combat. They are extremely vulnerable in this state, since they have poor stats in human form, but they do increase their transform gauge by participating in combat whilst untransformed unless they do some damage to the enemy. Although vulnerable, this can be a viable method of leveling up weaker laguz, as they gain considerably more Experience when untransformed. Another change from Path of Radiance is the Transformation gauge itself; when it maxes out (30/30), instead of the laguz automatically changing into its animal form, a new option comes up in the Command Menu called Transform. While you cannot move after transforming, the game still allows the newly transformed laguz to attack.
Herons in Radiant Dawn
Herons in Radiant Dawn work slightly differently than in Path of Radiance. Not only are there now three Herons (as opposed to the one in PoR), they all have unique game mechanics, and can all use the newly christened "Galdrar" (singular: Galdr). Galdrar are songs the Herons can sing to allies and opponents to give extra movements (as in PoR), increase attributes, fill a laguz's transform gauge, and even heal allies. But the similarities don't end there; all three white birds have high Luck gains, as well as good Magic, Resistance, and (sometimes) Speed.
Now, all three siblings (Leanne, Reyson, and Rafiel are sister, brother, and brother, respectively) sing their Galdr in different ways. Reyson, while untransformed, can only sing to one ally. But once transformed, he can perform his Galdr to all adjacent allies/foes. Leanne (whether transformed or not) can sing to two allies/opponents adjacent to her, in opposite spaces. Example:
|Leanne's Galdrar abilities|
|Ally #1||Leanne||Ally #3|
In this setup, Leanne (in italics) can sing to either the underlined allies (numbers 2 & 4) or the Bolded allies (numbers 1 & 3). Lastly, Rafiel, in both his Heron form and his humanoid form, can sing his Galdrar to ALL adjacent allies. This makes him a formidable addition to any team. Unfortunately, he lacks any flying ability, making his transformed movement less than that of Reyson and Leanne. His movement can be fixed with the Boots or Celerity, either one boosting his movement to 7, similar to a transformed Reyson.
- "Laguz" is a Germanic rune, which can represent water, life energy, imagination, and dreams when used positively, or confusion, despair, perversity, suicide, and madness when used negatively.