Tips and Tricks
There are a number of ways to get money easily. Early in the game, try Cooking with Grain or Seafood. The alcohols sell for several thousand Fol each, and Xi Feng Jiu or Great Tuna can sell for even more. Later on in the game, the best way to make Fol is to use Magic Colors and Copy items. Save up until you can buy a Violin in Ecdart. You can easily do this by beating Rank F in the Tataroy Arena with several characters and selling the instruments you win there. Now just keep copying the Violin; each sells for 100,000 Fol! Another way of getting good Fol is to use the Clarinet 2 battle. Finally, you might want to try using Crafting on a Rainbow Diamond. If you're very lucky and get a Magical Drop, sell it for 500,000 Fol!
By far the best way to get experience in the game is to have one character with both the Sense of Rhythm and Pitch Talents to learn Music. Write the Clarinet 2 song and play it outside of a town. You'll start a fight against a Gabrielle and three Hound-Forms. It can be tough (use long-range techniques and spells, and the 7-Star Twin Slash technique) but when you win you'll get over 60,000 EXP for every character, plus 60,000 Fol, and a chance to win a Extravagant Sword or Extravagant Armor! The only other fight that can give you more than this is fighting a bunch of Fat Fudds in the lowest levels of the Seven Star Ruins, if you let them split themselves.
Isn't it annoying that you can only equip long-range techs in long-range spots and short-range ones in short-range spots? No, you don't! All you need is the Link Combo Skill at least at level 2. Now, de-equip the technique (and any linked techniques) from the desired spot. Press right to reach the second page of techniques. You can now equip any technique, short or long. Equip the one you want, then exit the technique page and re-enter. You just got yourself a short-range technique in a long-range spot, or vice versa! Congrats!
...Confused? An example. Open up Ratix's "Set Moves" option in his Special menu. Let's say he's got Link Combo at level 2. Let's say we want to put Flash Whirl (a long-range tech) in his first short-range slot. De-equip whatever's in the short-range slot. Now hit right. Press A to see a list of techniques on the right. Select Flash Whirl and press A, then press B to exit. Press A again to re-enter the screen, and voila! Flash Whirl in the first short-range slot!
I haven't checked this out with the cart yet, but this definitely works with the emulator! Are you totally sick of having to use Smithing and Customizing on all your precious metals and weapons, only to have it fail all the time, even at level 10 with the right Talents? Worry not, my friend! Cid your buddy has some instant gratification for you! Just follow these easy steps!
This can be useful for selling purposes or for giving more than one fighter the same weapon. Enter the arena with no weapon equipped. Now go into your item screen and equip the weapon you want to copy. Finish your arena battle; it doesn't matter if you win or lose. When you leave, you'll have two of the weapons: one equipped and one still in your item list!
There are many ways to go about getting your skills right.
One way is not to learn any skills at all until you reach Ecdart and buy the Effort skill as part of Sense set 3. Then level up in Effort as much as you can. Doing this will reduce the SP cost for all your other skills.
Another way is to only learn skills to a low level (until they cost, say 5 SP), and all battle skills and your school skill at least to level 2. Then when you get Effort, learn that and then use the rest of them.
Yet another way is to concentrate on battle skills and only let the magic users learn the Ability skills.
Whichever you do: the key for Abilities is specialization. Only one person has to know any given Ability, except Customize (you may also want more than one character to know Familiar at different levels). For anything else, check who has the right Talents and level them up in the right skills. You don't need every character to know every Ability. Instead, concentrate more on their battle skills or skills that raise stats.
Perisie should always learn Music because she starts with the right Talents, and Ratix should always learn Smithing. Milly is good at Alchemy. Ashlay is good at Authoring, Scout, and Familiar. The rest depend on which Talents they got at the start of the game.
The very first Ability you should learn is always Authoring. Using that lets you write levels for a bunch of other Skills and save lots of SP! Identify should also be high on your list (though high levels aren't necessary, since Spectacless are so cheap). Cooking is good for the start of the game, but never incredibly useful. Around the middle of the game you should start someone learning Art, Music, Compounding, and Familiar. Later in the game, you'll find Crafting handy. For the Seven Star Ruins you'll definitely want a high level in Smithing, Customize, and Alchemy (used in tandem), and someone very good at Art so they can copy items! A high level of Music is invaluable for learning Talents or healing HP and MP inside the Ruins.
This tip is especially useful later in the game, as well as in arena battles, where every second counts. Note that when the battle starts, one or more of your characters will yell out battle cries. However, while they do this, they can't move! Enemies have no such restrictions and can smash them while they're doing their bravado. To stop this from happening, open the circle menu immediately when battle starts. Wait till the voice clip starts, then close it and start attacking!
It's a good idea to always have Milly in your party when you get her. This way her levels will be higher than the others (and you'll need them, since she's so weak) and you'll always have the benefit of a good healer.
If a character is running low on MP, you might want to put their AI on to "Defend" or similar to let them wait out battles. Doing this gives them the maximum HP/MP recovery after battles thanks to their stamina.
The Star Guard is an awesome shield (you can win 'em in the arena). Everyone can equip it, and it shoots off stars when you're hit; these can do major damage to enemies all the way until very late into the game!
Don't panic if you brought the wrong-elemental weapon into battle. Just open your item screen and switch weapons by selecting the weapon you want. If you're using the menu patch, sort your items so your weapons are near the top (just after battle items) to avoid the crashing bug.
Don't underestimate the power of bombs like Stink Bomb or Flare Bomb. They can really turn the tide in battles.
Items that recover from death (Resurrect Bottle or Resurrect Mist) also work on living people and restore a lot of HP! You can make them via Compounding.