Saturday, December 15, 2012

Anima Eidolon ep01 : Final Fantasy

Anima Eidolon
Episode One
"Ogino Festival"
Final Fantasy RPG

So I've started a new campaign for my office mates at Indigo-Entertainment and given how much the gang loves video games, I decided this time to give them a taste of a role-playing game that was inspired by a video game.  The Final Fantasy RPG 3rd edition (which had Samuel Banner as the Lead developer) was available online for free (the joys of fan projects) and while it had many faults, it was a solid enough system that captured the feel of the game and yet allowed the fun of table top gaming.  While I knew I would have to consider creating both a "Limit Break" rule as well as a "Multi-Job-classing" rule for the game to be more fun for my group, such changes would simply be part of the process of tailoring the game for the players.  The fact that I have around seven players, with some loving Final Fantasy Tactics, some loving Final Fantasy 7, some having not played anything other Final Fantasy game except FF-X, I realized the best way to approach the game is to come up with a whole new world of their own to explore.

So, without further ado, allow me to present:
 Drawing inspiration from Studio Ghibli's Nausicaa, games such as Silver Star Story, as well as Final Fantasy itself, I crafted a whole new world with a whole new epic story.  The continent of Ikazamiya was on the verge of destruction under a man named Umbara, who had sought to destroy the world after the Goddess Athena ignored his attempts to win her affection.  Nine heroes from different parts of the world gathered and united their forces to bring down the vile Emperor, but the Emperor however had trapped them in an impasse.  After murdering the city of Shimamoto, Umbara had gathered the Necromantic energies into a vast orb, that upon his death would unleash the dark power all through-out the land.  Unable to act, Umbara triumphantly slew each hero - unaware that the Goddess Athena reached out  to the White Mage among the group.  "I shall allow you all a second chance," and with their permission, the Goddess drew out a portion of each hero's soul and kept it safe.  She then released it back into Ikazamiya, and new lives were born... lives that were to one day once again rise up to defeat the Dark Emperor.

Of course, in classic Final Fantasy style, I open the game session having all present players using versions of their characters that are armed with their Ultimate Weapons, and of levels high enough to use their best or most powerful Abilities.  But as the battle continues (and the players learn the combat system), Umbara begins to twist things to their favor.  And soon, each player experiences their powerful character die.  Athena reaches out and steals a part of their soul, and allows it to be reborn in various places in Ikazamiya.

Year pass.  The heroes all happen to gather at the City of Ogino for the start of its Year-Long Festival.  The characters in the game include:
Muegle Urth, a Moogle Fencer from Heian.
Blink, a Varg Swordmaster from Otoro.
Verden, a blind Ronso Geomancer from Potemkin.
Numumu, a Nu Mou White Mage of Athena.

Beorn Seru, a Viera Chemist from Heian.
Valyria Catali, a Hume Dark Knight.
Ho-Ku, a Taru Taru Summoner.

Moogle Mediator from Haku
Weapon of Choice:  Rifle
Personality:  Gruff and manipulative, Morris is a Moogle who understands the advantage of others thinking he's just a cute and cuddly face.  Always smoking when given the chance, Morris is a con-man at heart with a loyal heart.  Those who happen to gain his respect and trust find themselves allied with a Moogle who can sell ice to an eskimo and has no problems with embracing an advantage he is given.

The characters have a few mixed up initial meetings, with Muegle Urth befriending a cigar-totting Moogle who also tries to hire Beorn Seru to be a bodyguard, Blink and Verden and Numumu having a hilarious encounter with a pickpocket and a girl selling puppets, and eventually the group becoming split into two distinct ways:  Numumu finds himself among other White Mages of Athena and observed by the watchful gaze of the Mother Superior Duna.  While in a small Inn owned by an elderly hume, Blink convinces the woman to hire him as security, while Muegle and Beorn rent a room with the help of the cigar-totting Moogle's money.

Fireworks.  Everyone heads to windows, or steps outside to watch the show.  Lights and fire dance in the sky, while the technologically empowered soldiers of Ogino march the streets.  Everyone enjoys the show.  But Numumu senses something is wrong, and casts SIGHT.  What he sees in the sky bothers him:  Magical outlines of great floating things are in the sky beyond the fireworks.    And true enough, from what seems like the star-lit sky, great columns of light shine down and begin illuminating areas in Ogino.  From where each "spotlight" is trained, burning orbs are launched down, which shatter upon impact to reveal armed soldiers!

"An invasion," Mother Superior Duna tells Numumu, and the two withdraw as soldiers crash through the windows of the temple to attack them.  As Numumu prepares to retreat, the Mother Superior reveals her past as she uses the Sleepy Shuffle to knock out the persuers.

Back at the inn, the heroes fight the soldiers.  The battle goes pretty easy (with some hilarity when Verden insists in trying to attack with his Golem Bell even if his blindness causes all his attacks to sadly miss) with the soldiers being quickly dispatched.  But when a dune buggy careens down the road with four War Wolves attacking its driver, the heroes realize they best come to help.  On the passenger side, a princess seems to struggle to keep her crown on.

The battle takes a dangerous turn when a new type of enemy is launched from above: Silver Stilleto Serpents crash from the sky.   Heavily armored and evasive, their deadliness becomes more apparent when the heroes realize these things can self-destruct for a chance of creating more of themselves!  A battle against two serpents eventually upgrades into a battle against seven of them, and it is only when the "princess" calls upon Valefor to help does the battle turn in the heroes' favor.  Verden uses Geotrance to switch the terrain to register as a forest, and his Leaf Swirl quickly shifts things in their favor.  Beorn uses up practically all of his tonics, however, in the battle.  Blink taps into his inner rage, and unleashes his Limit Break, Braver, at the Serpents a few times.  Meugle poisons the other serpents to grant them an eventual edge.  After clearing the monsters, the heroes get to the buggy to hear the driver ask them to help the woman get to safety.  He mentions of secret tunnels under the city, with the fountains as entry points.  As he faints, the princess asks them to help carry her "Uncle Cid."  When the group realizes Ogino has no princess, the woman identifies herself as Akami, and claims to be the Princess of Dharma.

Beorn takes the wheel as the group drives off, hoping to find a way to the fountains.  But the enemies above track them and Beorn is forced to misdirect them while the others sneak into a basement doorway.  Inside, they encounter a young Tailor who reluctantly gives them information, and sells them some hats.  The group confronts Akami, and when Blink attempts to snatch her crown, it rips off along with her hair, revealing it to simply be a copper wire wig.  Beorns confronts Akmai's claims, stating Dharma has no royalty either, and Akami finally admits she was merely in disguise in hopes of visiting her uncle.  When Blink tries to take the three Summon Materia stones of her crown with him, she reveals her Job Class as she summons Reels that spin, and upon matching, blast the Swordmaster with Holy.  Akami, is a Gambler, it seems.

Mother Superior Duna 
Hume White Mage/Dancer of Ogino
Weapon of Choice:  Staff
Personality:  Strict and focused, her devotion to Athena is undeniable.  However, she remains secretive regarding her past.   She has many connections, however, all over Ikazamiya - and in many of them, surprise tends to be the first reaction upon seeing her again.

The group travels in the alleyways, with stealth proving a success for the most part.  But eventually they are spotted and in the rush to evade, Meugle is separated from the rest.  The group reach a fountain, pull the switch, and descend underground.  Meugle is chased by another silver serpent and tries to escape by ducking into another alleyway.    But that alleyway instead has a gigantic monstrosity chasing after another soldier, who escapes death by slamming his palm against a six foot tall floating diamond:  a Save Point!  When the monster, having lost its prey, sees Meugle as the alternative thing to eat, Meugle leaps to the Save Point as well and vanishes.

Meugle finds himself in a place of light, sensing the many consciousnesses around him.  All are mentally aware in the Save Point it seems, and these are said to be indestructible features of the world.   The catch, however, is that those inside a Save Point cannot leave unless someone touches the gem and calls for their name.  Meugle realizes he may be stuck in here for a long time.

Hume Gambler of Dharma
Weapon of Choice:  Summon Materia
Personality:  Deceptive and quirky, Akami had been posing as a Princess of Dharma when the Heroes first met her in Ogino.  She has three Summon Materia with her (one of which contains Valefor) and clearly is very possessive of them.

Her uncle, Cid, is the General of Ogino.  Her ability to use magic is probably a habit of hers which he frowns upon, given Ogino's technological slant towards things.

The others descend below to find dozens of soldiers training their guns at them.  Forced to surrender, things even get worse when the soldiers mistake them for having attacking "General Cid."  The group considers how to talk their way out of things, but given some of them are from Heian, the very City that is believed to be behind the invasion, things might just be more grim than they prefer.


Limit Breaks
So yeah, I've incorporated Limit Breaks.  A good source of Limit Breaks is what was used for Final Fantasy 7.  I plan to have certain players use certain Limit Breaks.  Currently, I've revealed that Blink, the Swordmaste, will follow Cloud's Limit Break flow.  The system I decided to use is this simple:
1) Track every player character's damage received (prior to being reduced by Arm or  M.Arm)  Once this total reaches the PC's maximum hit points, the character is in Limit Break state.  (Yes, this does mean that unless the character heals some of the damage, he most likely gets KOed instead of Limit Breaks)
2) Once in Limit Break state, the player can activate the simplest Limit Break he has.  Later levels of Limit Breaks are unlocked at higher levels, and through various methods.  For example, some Limit Breaks unlock only after the first Limit Break has been used ten times.  Others might unlock depending on the location.  Or situation.    Or weapon equipped.
3) Limit Breaks can be unleashed rather than a usual action.  Most Limit Breaks are similar to Job abilities meant for higher levels.
4) If a player is KOed, touches a Save Point, Uses a Limit Break, or Levels Up, the Limit Break meter is reset to zero.

Multi-Job Classing Rules
For multi-job options, I plan to allow players to choose a second Job come Level Seven.  Once that happens, players now level up BOTH classes at the same time. However the first Job is clearly seven levels better than the second one.  This, however, also means the Attribute Maximum Caps of the character will change, with the player now having the highest caps for either Job used in the computation.  The new Job, however, will NOT get a new set of skill points to spend.  Only an additional affinity.  So players should spend new Skill Points to help empower their second Job.

Save Points
Save Points are the perfect excuse to deal with players who are not present for a game session.  In a Save Point, a character is indefinitely "safe" and can rejoin the game at a later time.  All need happen is another player to declare he is "loading" the saved player to join the game.

Likewise, characters can take an action to touch a Save Point to recover all lost Hit Points and Magic Points.  Save Points, however, are inert and cannot be used DURING a combat sequence, unless the player successfully Escapes first.

Save Points keep all contained souls in a One Space, meaning, a player can save in one city, and be "loaded" in another city provided another player does the loading.

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