A Swordian (ソーディアン Soodian?) is a sentient sword imbued with the personality and memories of an Er'ther military figure from the era of the Aeth'er Wars. Six Swordians exist in total, five of which survived in a fully functional capacity until the events of Tales of Destiny.
From a gameplay perspective, Swordians are weapons that primarily grant the ability to use magic (晶術 shoujutsu?). In the world of Tales of Destiny, magic is derived from the power of Lens, and the most potent energies are collected by the Lens Core Crystal embedded within the hilt of each Swordian. All of the Swordians have access to a specific element and motif, providing their wielders, known as Swordian Masters, with spells of those varieties.
Tales of Destiny (PlayStation)
In the original Tales of Destiny, the Swordians could be switched freely among any of the Swordian Masters, enabling any of them to switch to a different elemental set at any time outside of battle. Each of the Swordian Masters join the party with a specific Swordian by default, indicating their preferences, but no penalties are applied for most characters who choose to use other Swordians. However, Stahn Aileron can only use his "sacred skills" if Swordian Dymlos is equipped.
Swordians are superior to normal weapons in practically every aspect, ranging from damage to other additional abilities, since normal weapons prevent the use of spells by that character due to the loss of the Swordian. However, there are points within the game where Swordians are unavailable for one or more characters, so these remaining weapons exist to provide characters with some usefulness during battle. Some enemies may also be resistant to certain types of elemental damage, so normal weapons with alternative or no elemental properties can be used instead. Spears may also be used by some characters, and they provide a distinctly longer reach to damage enemies without compromising distance.
Each Swordian increases in experience as a normal character in the active battle party, gaining statistical bonuses and more spells with each level gained, which are then transferred to the character who is using the Swordian. Swordians can also augment their abilities through special a special equipment slot option for Aura Discs, granting more statistical boosts and spells to the character. This radically favors the use of Swordian Masters over the other playable characters who can never equip a Swordian, because they can never achieve a similar level of stat progression with their own weapons.
Tales of Destiny (PlayStation 2)
The PlayStation 2 remake of Tales of Destiny modifies the system significantly, preventing the Swordian Masters from unequipping or switching Swordians. The progression of spells is now fully integrated into each character's movelist, and the Aura Disc system is replaced with the Swordian Device (ソーディアンデバイス Soodiandebaisu?) system. This is viewed as a separate screen within the equipment menu, represented as a disc of several concentric layers separated into regions of different colors. Passive abilities known as Device Skills are obtained through this system to increase stats or provide chance-based effects that may poison or paralyze the enemy with each hit. These skills are purchased through "Device Points" (DP), which are obtained after clearing various boss battles, with more points granted on higher difficulty ranks.
When a Device Skill is equipped, it takes up a set amount of DP until the skill reaches full mastery after a certain number of battles, which varies based on the skill and Swordian Device rank. Upon obtaining mastery for that skill, its cost drops to half of the original DP required to equip it. Device Skills may be unequipped at any time without penalty, and any DP that is used for that skill is refunded in full to be used for buying other skills. Device Skill progression starts from the innermost ring of concentric circles and extends outwards. To obtain a skill of the next rank, the prerequisite skills of the previous rank must be fully mastered, though it is not required to keep them equipped.
The prerequisites are the skills, associated with the regions of the previous rank, which directly touch the intended skill of the new rank. Similar to the original game, the Swordian Device system allows the Swordian Masters to exceed the stat progression of other playable characters, who must rely on weapons that they find in shops or in chests within dungeons. The difference in power is not as significant, however, and the other characters can hold their own in battle even with reduced stats and no spellcasting abilities.
The Aeth'er Wars
The Swordian technology is the result of research by Aeth'er scientists during their civilization's war with the surface dwellers known as the Er'thers. Their technology was stolen by Er'ther forces after some of the scientists defected, and a research and development lab was constructed within a mountain cave close the area that would become the village of Armeida far into the future, hidden in a deep bunker to keep the facility safe from attack by the Aeth'er superweapon Belcrant.
The research facility was managed by an eccentric female scientist named Harold Berselius, known even centuries later as a mad genius, even if her gender was forgotten and misinterpreted due to her confusingly masculine name. Harold gathered six of the highest ranking members of the Er'ther conflict and copied their personalities to be imprinted into each of the Lens set within six ornately designed swords. The military leaders who took part in this experiment would then use these Swordians to augment their own abilities by channeling arcane energies into magic, and each Swordian became associated with a specific elemental property, in addition to a sentient mind and voice which enabled the Swordians to communicate with anyone of their choice.
Dymlos Timber, Division Commander of the 1st Er'ther Army, handled Swordian Dymlos, acquiring a mastery over Fire. Colonel Atwight Eks of the Medical Corps took possession of Swordian Atwight and focused on Water and Ice, as well as the healing magic that derives from it. Laville Clemente, Chief of Staff of all Er'ther forces, came to wield the Swordian Clemente and its domain over holy Lightning, granting him access to spells of all elements, among the most powerful Light-elemental spells such as Indignation and Big Bang.
Major Pierre de Chaltier, a squadron leader of the 2nd Er'ther Army, became the master of Swordian Chaltier, controlling the powers of Earth and Darkness. Igtenos Minarde, leader of the intelligence unit within the Er'ther army, took command of Swordian Igtenos and his Wind-enhanced capabilities. Finally, Karell Berselius, a strategist within the Er'ther army and brother of Harold, acquired the Swordian Berselius, who shared the domain of Darkness with Chaltier. These six individuals came to be known as the original Swordian Masters.
The Swordian Masters quickly adapted to their new weapons, using their newfound magical abilities to clear away legions of enemies as they made their assault on the aeropolis capital of Dycroft. They eventually confronted Kronos, the leader of the Aeth'er population, seeking to end the war by defeating the man who antagonized their people. Kronos engaged in combat with the Swordian Masters, and he was eventually struck down by Karell. However, Kronos also landed his own fatal blow on both Karell and his Swordian, striking the weapon through its Lens core and shattering it to pieces, while killing Karell in the process.
Members of both sides of the war witnessed Kronos at his last moments, but he used the now inert Swordian as a token to house his injured spirit as his body came to its death, choosing to wait until someone can claim the Swordian so that he may bring about his revenge. Karell was granted full honors as the hero who ended the Aeth'er Wars, while the remaining Swordian Masters continued to live on with their Swordians until their own more peaceful deaths.
Tales of Destiny
The five Swordians were then lost to the ages as records about their whereabouts ceased to exist, though some came into the possession of private collections and were passed down through the generations as family heirlooms, such as Chaltier, who was bound to the Gilchrist family, Atwight to the Katrea family, and Igtenos to the Phandarian Royal House of Kelvin. Clemente was lost to sea, having been interred into the Er'ther base of Radisrol along with the artificial intelligence program that held the personality of Commander Marius Raiker, another supporter of the Er'ther cause during the Aeth'er Wars.
The location of Dymlos was unknown until the start of Tales of Destiny, where he had been collected from a facility following an expedition funded by the Oberon Corporation on the continent of Fitzgald. Dymlos was secretively boarded onto the Draconis as valuable cargo headed for the capital of the kingdom of Seinegald in Darilsheid, the same airship on which Stahn Aileron became stowaway to begin his adventuring life. As for Kronos, whose spirit was now hiding in the empty shell which once housed Berselius, he was eventually discovered in the underwater ruins of Dycroft during an earlier expedition by the Oberon Corporation, personally led by Hugo Gilchrist.