Human Ranches are facilities in Tales of Symphonia considered to be strongholds for the Desians. They are always located in the declining world—currently Sylvarant—and are later revealed to be Exsphere-manufacturing plants. The ranches are maintained by four of the five Desian Grand Cardinals.
There are a total of four Human Ranches in Sylvarant, while Tethe'alla has none. The Iselia Human Ranch is located in Iselia Forest and maintained by the Grand Cardinal Forcystus. The ranch currently has a non-aggression treaty with the nearby village of Iselia. Using mana to operate its machines, the ranch holds a mana reactor that pumps large amounts of mana into the atmosphere. The Palmacosta Human Ranch is located near Thoda Dock, hidden behind a mountain range, and is maintained by the Grand Cardinal Magnius. The ranch consists of various hidden traps and teleportation puzzles. The Asgard Human Ranch is located northeast of the city of Luin and east of the Tower of Mana. It is maintained by the Grand Cardinal Kvar. The ranch is known for its cruelty, as well as its capacity to manufacture Exspheres. The ranch itself consists of a high-level security system that must be deactivated in order to gain access to the control room. The final ranch is the underwater Remote Island Human Ranch, which houses the powerful Mana Cannon and is maintained by the Grand Cardinal Rodyle.
The Human Ranches have four special zones: a labor field where prisoners are tortured and forced to perform hard labor in order to awaken Exspheres, which Desians equip on their skin; an Exsphere-manufacturing plant where Exspheres are removed from host bodies; cells where prisoners are held; and the control room where the Desian Grand Cardinal operates. Each ranch is powered by a mana reactor and contains a self-destruction mechanism.
All the ranches are destroyed apart from the Iselia and Remote Island Human Ranches. The resulting explosion at the Iselia Human Ranch would have destroyed the village of Iselia, and the Remote Island Human Ranch was not destroyed due to the need for the Mana Cannon. Sheena Fujibayashi, with the help of the Renegades, uses the Mana Cannon in order to stop the rampaging Great Kharlan Tree. Nearly all the Grand Cardinal leaders are killed within their own ranch. Pronyma, the leader of the Grand Cardinals, does not operate a Human Ranch and is instead killed by Yggdrasil after she is defeated by the group a second time in the hall of the Great Seed, located within the Tower of Salvation.
- Human Ranches resemble the concentration camps used in Nazi Germany during World War II—both in appearance and functionality.