Thanks to Shihali for the inspiration!
FF6: Why are Tinctures and Ethers for sale? What does the magicless general public use them for? (This isn’t my observation but I forgot who noticed this.)
Tinctures and ethers for sale to the general public for the same reason potions do, people need healing. One reply by cowise states:
A tincture and an ether are both actual things, so it’s likely that their MP restoration is just a side effect and not their intended purpose.
And this is true. According to Google’s dictionary, an Ether is:
a pleasant-smelling, colorless, volatile liquid that is highly flammable. It is used as an anesthetic and as a solvent or intermediate in industrial processes.
While a tincture is:
typically an alcoholic extract of plant or animal material or solution of such, or of a low volatility substance (such as iodine and mercurochrome).
Ethers have appeared in all of the Final Fantasys, while tinctures were only used for Final Fantasy VI. Yet both only heal MP, and not anything else such as HP or status ailments. This only begs the question: who from the magicless general public uses them?
And this is an interesting question. Why are weapons, armors, and accessories open to general public? One can only guess how many other warriors exist in Final Fantasy VI (besides Siegfried and our heroes). But most people haven’t seen magic in Final Fantasy VI’s world.
The Thamascans even hide their use of magic from the world. Terra’s magic use surprises Locke and Edgar:
Locke: Edgar, what’s the matter? You look positively spooked!
Edgar: Ddddddddid you just see what I saw…?
Locke: Yeah… this kid seems loaded for bear…
Edgar: She’s amazing! That was magic! MAGIC!
Locke: M M M M M M MAGIC!? She used magic?
Edgar Locke: Pswswswsw! Pswswswsw!!
Edgar: Terra… where on earth did you learn that?
Terra: … Sorry… I… um…
Locke: Look, I didn’t mean to make such a big deal of this…
Edgar:Me either… It’s just that I’ve never actually SEEN magic before!
Where did you…?
Locke: Edgar, Terra can use magic, and we can’t. That’s the only difference between us. The fact is… we could use her help!
Terra: Thank you, Locke!
Terra: Thank you, Edgar!
Terra: Stop swooning, you two!
So then what are tinctures and ethers for? Maybe they do have other benefits that aren’t relevant to gameplay. Maybe they’re from an earlier time when people could use magic? Now they remain novelty items (which explain their price). Generals of the Empire can use magic, so maybe those products are for their sake. Otherwise, it’s unknown.
Who knows. What do you think?