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the ladies are in their 50s now. all 6 characters have the upper half of the license board completely done and we're working on the mid to right of the bottom now. equipping 6 gold thingers for double jp and killing alot of monsters that give 1JP is getting us through this quickly. got the first four espers, only 2 marks left before i have to move on.. Carrot and some Golem [grin]. strongest monsters i've found are 6-8 levels above the girls, in the lhusu mines past gate 11. they're tough.

anyways, i was gonna talk about the weapons. so i went around some of the stores and took a look at some of the 2-handed melee weapons, the spears and katanas. compared to the platinum sword and fransisca axe, the strongest spear and katana pale damage-wise. i thought, well maybe they worked ffv's two-handed system in and they do double damage. nope. so what then?! well, when i tried out one of the katanas, she was blocking with it. so it doubles as a sheild. but the poles don't, so what, i get a little distance? come on. there just isn't any good reason to go with any of the two-handed weapons unless i need an element i can't get from a one-handed one. i'll have to wait and see what the highest level katanas and spears can do before i pass a final judgement though.
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This should all be spoiler-free ffxii advice, but no guarantees:

Katanas also have a higher than average combo rate, so you can commonly see 3-4 hit combos with one. Later in the game, Masamune + Genji Gloves = 4-5 hit combos fairly regularly, even when at full health (I have Ashe geared out with this). Katanas and, IIRC, staves do damage based on your magic stat instead of strength, so they can be better for caster characters.

In fact, late game I only have one character (Penelo, and I hardly user her) equipped with a 1-handed sword. The guys all use great swords, Ashe a katana, and Fran a gun.

Also, in (I think) the Lushu Mines, there's a rare monster that spawns (a mimic, so it looks like a treasure chest). You can steal Deathbringers from it, the third strongest 1-handed sword in the game [smile]. The monster can respawn infinitely if you leave & reenter, so for a good while I had my whole party using them, with good results. Kinda cheap, but grabbing one or two will serve you well.

Man, I love that game.

Edit: Also, that Golem fight sucks. It was honestly one of the marks I had the hardest time with, more so than even some of the elite marks (I think I was high 40s or low 50s when I fought it, but I can't really remember).

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