A Risk bar is placed below the HP and MP bar, representing the Risk Points the player has accumulated.

Risk is a balancing element in the battle system. Ashley can make multiple attacks, with Chain and Defensive Abilities, in the same space of time as enemies make single attacks. Therefore, Risk Points, which affect Ashley's concentration adversely, are accrued more quickly from Chain and Defensive Abilities than from regular attacks. Break Arts cost HP, and so do not increase Risk at all.

Maximum Risk reduces the chance to evade attacks to zero, which sounds bad, but it is actually the less grievous effect. Max Risk also reduces defense by one-third; defense is then compared directly with the enemy's Attack, allowing a massive amount of damage to be dealt.

Players will of course differ in their preferred methods of dealing with Risk, but one easy and quite safe strategy is to aim towards not increasing it much beyond the capacity of a single Risk-reducing potion (such as Vera Root). If Ashley begins taking too much damage, he is only one action away from safety.

Vera Root Lowers RISK by 25 255/255, both Stirges, Dreamers' Entrance
Vera Bulb Lowers RISK by 50 32/255, Numerous sources
Vera Tonic Lowers RISK by 150 32/255, Hall of Prayer

Accumulated RISK decreases continually; decreasing less rapidly when Ashley's weapons are drawn, and more when they are sheathed.

The Riskbreak Break Art for Staff also reduces Risk. Compared with potions, it is of some difficulty to acquire. Weapon switching takes time, and the risk reduction can be lost altogether if the attack misses, which is quite likely at very high Risk.

Risk does not increase Ashley's damage directly, but it does increase the chance of him making critical hits. This is more than balanced on the negative side by an increased chance of Ashley receiving critical hits.

Enemy attacks and spells deal more damage on Ashley, the more Risk he has; as do Ashley's, on enemies, and his healing spells increase in efficiency. A further advantage is the higher chances for the player to score critical hits.[1]

  1. Vagrant Story, Square, 2000, Playstation One Vagrant Story In-Game Manual