|Aerouge||200||Weak to Water|
|Buer||230||Weak to Water|
|Gold Element||1,200||Weak to Water|
|Kusariqqu||445||Weak to Water|
|Larva||1,498||Weak to Water|
|Melusine||265||Weak to Ice|
|Qactuar||500||Very powerful at this stage, approach with caution!|
The Thunder Plains is a pretty special area, as it is home to one of the game’s minigames, which can be rather annoying on your first time through the place. As you first enter the area, you will be taught about the lightning strikes. Crossing the Thunder Plains isn’t easy, as there will be random lightning strikes that hit Tidus. It’s important to know that the lightning doesn’t actually damage you at all, but getting hit by it will knock you backwards (and down) a tiny bit. There are various lightning rod towers placed on the Thunder Plains, which will absorb the lightning, so you can seek shelter underneath them.
You can also dodge the lightning if you time pressing the X (Playstation)/A (Xbox)/B (Switch) button, which is usually done whenever you see the screen flash. There are prizes you can get for dodging a certain number of lightning bolts, one of which is a component to Lulu’s Celestial weapon, but the random encounters make it a bit troublesome to do right now. There is an auto-ability you can add to armor that basically removes all random encounters, called No Encounters, but you can’t get it just yet. Also, you will need to dodge 200 lightning bolts without getting hit in order to get the one item mentioned above, which is a bit daunting, but there is a trick to it.
Steal: Rikku’s main ability that she comes with is Steal, which allows you to get items from enemies without defeating them. Enemies have two items for stealing, a common one and a rare one (sometimes they are the same). Stealing is always successful at first, but is halved on each attempt thereafter.
The game will give you back control after the tutorial about the lightning, so go ahead and open the chest just ahead for two Phoenix Downs. A little north of there will be a Save Sphere, which might be a good spot for you to try your hands on getting some Sphere Levels for your characters, especially if you’re having trouble with the enemies here. Northwest of the Save Sphere will be another chest, which contains two Hi-Potions. As you continue north, follow the western wall and you will run into a stone that has a familiar marking on it. These are Qactuar Stones and there’s a number of them throughout the Thunder Plains.
Inspecting them will do nothing but denote it’s a “strange stone,” but there is something else you can do with them. Pressing the Square (Playstation)/X (Xbox)/Y (Switch) button in front of a glowing stone will cause something to happen, although it’s not apparent right away. One thing it will do is cause Qactuars to be tossed into the pool of random encounters, but the number you fight will depend on the number of stones you activate, up to three for a maximum. So, since this is your first Qactuar Stone, you will unlock the ability to find a single Qactuar in a random encounter. These things are very annoying, as their evasion is pretty high, so physical attacks will miss a lot.
Also, their magic defense is pretty much maxed out, so you will do little damage with Lulu. Your best course of action is using something like Valefor, since Sonic Wings cannot be dodged and it should be more than enough to defeat a Qactuar in two or so hits. Note that these elusive little cacti fiends can not only do 1,000 Needles as an attack (it deals 1,000 damage, no matter what), they also have a tendency to run away quite often, and will even do so if their health is under 50%. The only really good thing to come with the Qactuars is that you can steal Chocobo Feathers from them.
Directly north of the first Qactuar Stone will be a chest, which might be hard to see, so keep hugging the left wall until you get a camera change; the chest contains 5,000 Gil. Head east from the chest and you will run into Maechen underneath a lightning rod tower, so speak with him if you wish to learn more history. While hugging the right side, continue north and look for the little alcove on your map. Here, you will find a second Qactuar Stone, as well as a chest containing a Water Ball. If you don’t have something similar equipped on Wakka, do so now, as the Waterstrike on it will help with the fiends in this area.
You’re mostly done with the southern portion of the Thunder Plains, so continue north until you trigger a cutscene. The party will decide to stop at the nearby travel agency, mostly because of Rikku’s request.
Thunder Plains Travel Agency
There’s not too much to do here, as Yuna goes off by herself to rest, which is a bit unlike her according to Lulu. Feel free to save and rest using the Save Sphere, then speak to Rikku to learn why she doesn’t like thunder and lightning. Rin will walk out of the back, so talk with him to have him ask you how your study of the Al Bhed language is going. Tell him it’s “okay” to have Rin hand over Al Bhed Primer Vol. XIV. Check out the wares from the NPC behind the counter, then to continue the story, go into the hallway on the right side. This will eventually lead you back outside, so you can head to the northern part of the Thunder Plains.
Before doing that, the one NPC dropped something on the ground right outside the agency. This happens to be a Yellow Shield, so pick it up and equip it on Tidus for now, as it has Lightningproof on it. That means that Tidus will be immune to all of the Thunder-based spells some of the enemies will throw out here.
Northern Thunder Plains
The northern portion of the Thunder Plains is pretty uneventful, although you will find a good number of Qactuar Stones here, six in total. If you interacted with the two in the southern area, then you only need one more in the northern sector. Doing this now makes it a lot easier in the long run, as it’s related to the Spirit Lance, Kimahri’s Celestial Weapon. You won’t be able to open the chest containing it now, but you can spawn the chest now. So, once you’ve interacted with a third Qactuar Stone in the northern Thunder Plains, head back to the southern section and look for a “broken” lightning rod tower on the right side. Interact with this in the same manner as the Qactuar stones to make a chest appear. Since you don’t have the Celestial Mirror yet, you can’t open it. Don’t worry, though, as the chest will remain there and won’t disappear.
Return to the northern Thunder Plains and in the southeastern corner, there will be a chest with an X-Potion inside. The enemies are largely the same here, but you can encounter a new one, the [Iron Giant]. This thing is beefy, with a lot of HP, as well as armored and strong. It will typically do a physical attack three times before performing a party-wide skill. Don’t forget about Auron’s Power Break here, then if you’re Lulu has high magic, she can use any spell except for Thundara. If you can manage to get an Overkill on them, then you will receive some nice AP for your party.
From the previous chest with the X-Potion, continue north until you happen upon the Save Sphere. A little past that, a scene will occur and you will regain control underneath a large structure. On the backside of this structure is a chest, so head back there and loot it for an Ether. On the right side, there will be another chest that contains 2,000 Gil above the bend in the minimap that’s east of the Ether. That’s all of the goodies here in the Thunder Plains, so you can take the exit to the north and arrive in Macalania Woods.