The Judgement Ring is a powerful device in the Shadow Hearts series used when executing a command. Though it rarely appears out-of-battle, it is described by Roger Bacon as a powerful symbol which determines one's actions. In battle, it appears as a slanted circle when being used with colored areas on it. These areas are as follows:
Hit Area (yellow)Edit
Hit Areas are colored zones within the Judgement Ring that appear when an attack is chosen. Each Hit Area equals one attack from the character, and meetings with the Ring Soul can give you more of these. Not every character can equip an equal number of attacks, usually being three attacks maximum for magic-users and five for fighters, four for those who are neither (this is only in SH: Covenant and SH: From the New World. In the original Shadow Hearts, every character had three hit areas.) In sections of the game where you must do a ring trial in order to execute an action out-of-battle, sometimes the hit areas will be a dark red color.
Strike Area (red)Edit
A Strike Area is a narrow red zone at the end of a yellow attack area. Pressing the "X" button as the cursor passes a Strike Area will increase the amount of damage an attack inflicts (specifically a +20% damage increase). However, there is a greater risk of missing the area. (NOTE: critical hits grant a +50% increase to damage, though if you hit a strike area and that attack is a critical, it grants a +70% damage increase.)
Step Area (green)Edit
A Step Area is a green zone in the Judgement Ring that appears when you use a Special Ability. If you don't hit the Step Area, your Special Ability command will not be executed. Usually, the more powerful the ability, the more Step Areas there are.
Modulate Area (blue)Edit
A Modulate Area is a blue zone in the Judgment Ring that appears when you use a Special Ability. If affects the power of the Special Ability. The farther into the blue zone, the more powerful the Special Ability. Modulate Areas also have Strike Areas at the end of them, which either grants the damage bonus described in the Strike Area section or grants a 20% increase in effectiveness of the Special Ability used.
Your standard Judgement Ring. If a physical attack is used, all Hit/Strike Areas hit successfully will be executed, and if one is missed, all (if any) attacks before that will be executed. If a special attack is used, the special attack will be executed if all Step and Modulate areas are hit.
A good ring for beginners. It differs from the Normal Ring in that there are no Strike Areas, and if a Hit Area is missed the needle will continue to spin. As a consequence, the attack is weakened.
A good ring for pros. It differs from the Normal Ring in that the Hit/Strike areas are narrower, and if any area is missed, the needle will stop and no attacks will be executed. As a consequence, the attack is strengthened.
The riskiest type of Judgement Ring. There is only one Hit/Modulate Area, however if you hit it it will be as if ALL the areas will be hit, and hitting the strike will be as if ALL the strike areas have been hit. If missed, no attack will be executed at all.
The game will hit the ring for you, and you will have to do nothing. You have no control over the ring, however, and the game can hit the ring wherever it chooses.
While the Ring functions the same throughout the series, the design varies between the games, changing from a more Masonic design in Shadow Hearts, to having more mysticism in Covenant, to the more Tribal influence in From the New World.
The outer ring reads "SATOR AREPO TENET OPERA ROTAS", which translates as "The farmer Arepo works the wheel (a plough)". This seemingly nonsensical statment is actually a Latin palindrome, being read the same when reversed.
When written in a square, it becomes known as a Sator Square, and is able to be read in many ways:
S A T O R
A R E P O
T E N E T
O P E R A
R O T A S
It is actually a four-way palindrome, and as such, was once viewed as having "magic" properties, such as being able to extinguish flames, or fend off fatigue.
The next ring is a list of star signs and their symbols, all of which make a later appearance in SH:FtNW as stellar charts:
"♈ Aries, ♉ Taurus, ♊ Gemini, ♋ Cancer, ♌ Leo, ♍ Virgo, ♎ Libra, ♏ Scorpio, ♐ Sagittarius, ♑ Capricorn, ♒ Aquarius, and ♓ Pisces."
In four semi-circles in the next ring are the names of various angels and planets: (from the top circle working round clockwise)
Zachariel - Angel of the Sun and healing who leads souls to their judgment.
Samuel - A Hebrew prophet and seer.
Michael - The Archangel, leader of the armies of God.
Anael - Angel of Venus.
Raphael - Angel who will blow the trumpet that signals the day of Judgment.
Gabriel - Angelic messenger.
VENVS - Venus.
MERCURIVS - Mercury.
LVNA - The Moon.
IVPITER - Jupiter.
MARS - Mars.
SOL - The Sun.
Between each semi-circle are lines formed by two interlocking squares forming a octagonal star, with Latin snippets on each, reading;
"Omne ab Propheta" (Everything from the Prophet), what appears to read "Apotheosis" (to deify), "Expiatio" (Atonement/purification), "Omne ab Propheta" again, "Aeternum" (Eternity), "Totum in Evangelium)" (All the good news), and "Trinitas" (Trinity).
On the outer triangle are the words "Ignis" (Fire), "Aer" (Air) and "Aqua" (Water). The labels on the inner triangle read, "Vegetalia" (Vegetables) ,"Animalia" (Animals), "Mineralia" (Minerals), "Terra" (Earth), "Wica" (Wicca) and finally "Ada" (Hebrew for "Nobility")
According to Roger Bacon, the triangle of eyes represent determination, action, and outcome. The Judgement Ring is what allows us to do the things we normally do and determine if we pull them off correctly.
Covered in Latin script, the entire ring is heavy in esoteric symbolism.
In the dead-centre of the image lies a heart (lat. COR) which is nestled in a mistletoe tree (lat. VISCUM). Three circles are positioned at the distant points of the tree in a triangular fashion.
They are labeled Luna (Moon), Sol (Sun), and Terra (Earth). Around them in a italicized font are the words Halchÿmia, Medica, Cabala, Theologica, Magia and Aſtrologica. The same words as in the Shadow Hearts design.
The other names and symbols are the astrological signs and (Latinised) names of the Planets in the Solar system. Interestingly, it lists Uranus, Neptune and the recently demoted, "Dwarf-Planet", Pluto, despite the fact that they were only discovered in the last 300 years and all the others are "Renaissance planets".
The words written around the planets read:
"Immensa Caeli Machina."
("In the immense heavenly machine.")
"Numquam Rotando Deficit,"
("At no time falling short of their spin,")
"Planeta Quisque Proprium Eundo Motum Conficit",
("Each Planet moves and goes of its own accord,")
On the left-most spoke, the word "Diabolos" (Devil) is inscribed, and ,to counterbalance that, on the right-most spoke, the word "Angelis" is written.
The inscription on the Ring "HINC OMNE QUOD COELO SUBEST ORTUM EXITUM QUE POSTULAT", roughly translated as: "Hence, the rise of and outcome of the demands of all that is under heaven".
Both this, and the words around the planets are extracts from a poem by German Missionary, Johann Adam Schall von Bell, adressing both God and the Chinese Emperor of the time.
The full poem reads:
Immensa caeli machina numquam rotando deficit, planeta quisque proprium eundo motum conficit.
Hinc omne quod coelo subest ortum exitumque postulat; ars cuncta deinde machinis observat atque supputat.
Europa nobis hospitem submisit isthuc inclytum, sunt astra et horum calculus statim reducta in integrum.
Ut muneris sic Numinis oblitus haud unquam sui, dum debitum signis sacris temploque cultum praeparat.
Dum sedulus servit DEO et munus exaequat suum, Chinensibus et Tartaris tum forma vivit actuum.
"In the immense heavenly machine, at no time falling short of their spin, each planet moves and goes of its own accord."
"Hence, the rise of and outcome of the demands of all that is under heaven; Thereafter, all skills and schemes has he seen and reckoned."
"Europe your guest, he submits to your gloriousness , the stars and hours counted at once and completely reduced."
"Thus a spectacle of divine power never forgetting himself, his holy sign an obligation, his temple and worship prepared."
"As he diligently serves GOD, and with equal obligation, the Chinese and Tartars, in this land where he resides."
From the New WorldEdit
Much more tribal in design, the centre image is that of a totem pole, comprised of an eagle (representing air), a bear (earth) and flanked by two fish (water). Overhead, the rays of the sun (fire) can be seen. Each represents a fusion that can be acquired by Shania ingame.
The four orbs placed diagonally around the middle ring read;
"Ignis (I)" - "Fire", and a numeral for one.
"Aqua (II)" - "Water", and a numeral for two.
"Terra (III)" - "Earth", and a numeral for three.
"Ventus (IV)" - "Wind", and a numeral for four.
With each orb bisected with a tribal picotgram of a human, each representing one of the above elements; one with a spear and flaming torch, another with a fish-tail for legs and crowned with a water-vessel, another with headed with bull horns, and the final figure with wing-like strands from their arms.
The writing in the top-most orb, making up the image of the sun reads, "Dum Aurora Fulget" (While the Dawn shines), bisected by, "Adolescentes Flores Collgc" (Youth Collgc [sic] Flowers), a mangled transcription of the Latin phrase;
"Dum Aurora fulget, [moniti] adolescentes, flores colligite"
("Whilst the Dawn shines, the youths are [advised] to gather flowers")
A maxim, originally in Greek, and of uncertain attribution; it means to take advantage of a situation while one has the opportunity to do so, with the sense that it is liable to change.
The lower-most orb reads "Grātiās Tibi Agō", simply "I Thank You", in Latin.
The outermost ring bears the same inscription as Covenant's, though in a heavy runic style:
"HINC OMNE QUOD COELO SUBEST ORTUM EXITUM QUE POSTULAT".
("Hence, the rise of and outcome of the demands of all that is under heaven")