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PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, '17, 7:27 pm 
So, Final Fantasy has had a few fan-made tabletop pen and paper RPGs, whether they have been directly linked to FF (Returners, FFd6), or have been inspired in a sort of wink, wink, nudge, nudge sort of way (Super Console). However, I recently became aware of this game because of conversations on another site that I frequent along the lines of. "Yeah, this is the one to take a look at." So I am. Because Final Fantasy and tabletop games. Together.

So, Zodiac is a 91-page tabletop game that's zero frills, completely free, single-column layout which uses some of the most defaultest tables Word can create. However, it also gets right into the thing with some brief acknowledgements, we head straight on into Character Creation. And they list the steps as follows, and here they are, along with my own personal interpretation.

Step One: Character Concept

You may have had a concept for your very own FF OC burning a hole in your pocket for quite a while- Well, NOW IS THEIR TIME TO SHINE. But having some forethought as to what you'd like to play and what you'd like them to do make everything else easier, as it only follows.

Step 2: Stats

Like many RPGs, there's a bit of freebuilding involved, and all characters have five basic stats.

Strength, or just STR: This is your punching stuff stats. It affects how much damage you do with normal weapon attacks and special abilities that do physical damage.

Magic, or just MAG: This is your spell stat. This affects how much damage magic-based abilities do, and also affects how many special abilities a character can have.

Vitality, or just VIT: This is your tough stat. It has a strong influence on how many HP your character has, as well as their ability to resist status effects.

Spirit, or just SPI: Like VIT, but for MP.

Agility, or just AGI: Affects evade, battle speed, Critical chance, and accuracy of normal attacks.

So, they all start at a minimum of 3, you get a bunch of points to add to that, and just generally do whatever. Try to have a goal, at least.

Step 3: Armor use.

How do you protect yourself, and how much? The game offers three options, which actually line up pretty well with games like Final Fantasy Tactics.

Defense: Well, look at Mr. Tough guy over here. This Armor gives a big boost to HP, and not much else besides, but sometimes HP are all you need.

Enhanced: For the guy who prefers aforementioned Mr. Tough Guy to watch his back. Enhanced armor doesn't do too much for HP, but does boost that precious, precious MP which can make all the difference between having another Flare ready when you need it.

Balanced: Smack in the middle of these two.

Everyone has access to Guards, which are the things you wear to make you harder to hit- Gauntlets, magic rings, shields, all the stuff that you put in that slot that do the same job.

Step 4: Weapon Use.

Is your weapon your primary damage delivery mechanism, or something that's just more generally used to boost your spell power? Make that decision here.

Step 5: Derived Stats.

This is where you figure out how much HP, MP, Attack Power, Magic Power, Accuracy, Magic Accuracy, Evade, Status resist, and Speed you have. Don't worry, the math is pretty easy.

Step 6: Class Powers

This is actually a bit of misnomer for reasons I'll explain later, but this is where you decide what your MP is for and how you use it. First off, this is where you pick whether your character uses Techs, which are magic and abilities built by the player, or Blue Magic, which are spells and abilities learned from monsters in various ways. This si where you build them, too.

Step 7: Secondary Skills

This is where you fill in the space in your action menu that isn't occupied by "Fight" "Magic", or "Item". It's divided into two categories: Command Skills, which are abilities that take up an action but don't cost any MP, like, say, Jump, and support skills, which are passives that either straight-up buff your stats or allow characters other strong quirks.

Step 8: Starting Equipment

This is where you pick your Starting Equipment, based on what choices you made in step 3 and 4. Oh, and this is also where you design the entire equipment progression of your character. That's right, character's gear progression is player-facing in this game. The player creates everything they use from when they get woke up in the morning by their mom to when they fight Zeromus or Xagor or the Seven Heroes- wait those last two aren't FF bosses rewind-

But yeah, the players are in the driver's seat on this thing this time.

Step 9: Final touches.

These are the cosmetic things, like character backstory, appearance, class, race- little things like that.

Character advancement

What you get when you level. Quite a bit, really. The level range is from 1-99, but most campaigns seem to be expected to end around Lv. 60-70. Leveling is faster than most games, in keeping with the source material.

So, some of you who do tabletop a lot may notice a couple of omissions.

The first is Class or Job selection. Pretty much any other FF-derived game has some kind of class mechanic involved, but not here, and I will tell you why I prefer it that way. Final Fantasy is not really a stagnant series, and is constantly tinkering with and adding types of characters and fiddling with the way characters go about things. Doing your character your own way is more in keeping with the series than having any kind of preset list.

The second is non-combat skills. I don't mind this omission either because the Final Fantasy games aren't known for being bristling with out-of-combat challenges (unless you're an avid Triple Triad Player). Anything that's not combat is either explorey time or talky time, save for the very occasional mini-game.

But anyway, next time: Techs and Abilities, or, Explosions: A How-To Guide.

Last edited by R-90-2 on Fri Jul 14, '17, 7:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, '17, 8:17 pm 
I think I remember this from years ago.

Incidentally, my absolute favorite conversion of Final Fantasy to pen and paper is the conversion for Star Wars Saga Edition which does a pretty nice job of converting Final Fantasy XII (for the most part.) I might be biased because Final Fantasy XII is my second-favorite Final Fantasy game. =p

PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, '17, 8:35 pm 
Snorb wrote:
Incidentally, my absolute favorite conversion of Final Fantasy to pen and paper is the conversion for Star Wars Saga Edition which does a pretty nice job of converting Final Fantasy XII (for the most part.) I might be biased because Final Fantasy XII is my second-favorite Final Fantasy game. =p

Cue my complete lack of surprise that FF12 would slot very easily into Star Wars's idiom.

PostPosted: Sat Jul 15, '17, 11:18 pm 
Chapter 2 and 3: All about MP

The game splits the creation and use of character abilities into two chapters, depending on whether you chose to create your own techs or rely on Blue Magic. However, since they are all about how you decide to use your MP, there's no reason for me not to lump them together- Besides, Chapter 3 is actually pretty short, so no reason to give it its own space.

So, for those who want to build their own techs, there are certain restrictions in play as to how much you can know and what you can build due to two factors- Tech levels and tech points. Tech points are drwan from the character gaining levels and increasing their MAG stat, and they also get a bunch of them from character creation. The cost of Techs is dependent on their Tech Level, which is their general power level, and some types of techs can only be built at certain levels or above. There is an upper limit on how many total tech levels a character can have, which is governed by the MAG stat as well.

So, those who are building techs have to choose the level of the tech, a primary effect (what it does) and may choose up to two secondary effects (how it does it). Techs may be upgraded to higher levels as the character gains the tech points to do so. To reduce the tech point burden on certain types of characters Black Mage, techs can be cloned, which means a tech that's exactly the same as another one except for doing a different kind of damage costs half as much to make, meaning, say, Fire1, Lit1, and Ice1 would cost a total of 16 tech points instead of 24 (8+4+4 vs. 8+8+8). Characters may start with up to three lv. 1 techs.

A tech's MP cost is based on its tech level, the power level of Weak, Medium, or Strong

So, here are the primaries.

Attack Magic

Your Fires, Bolts, and Flares. Spells that do magic damage to monsters. The Tech level affects how many damage dice are rolled and what multiplier, if any, is tacked on to your magic power, while the power grade can modify the size of the damage dice up or down.

Break Arts

Reduce an enemy stat. Always medium power, tech level affects how much the stat gets cut by.

Demi Attack

Deals damage equal to a percentage of the target's current HP. Always medium power, tech level affects percentage.

Fatal Blow

You know, Desoul. Or Vol, if you prefer. Always strong power. Make a magic attack at reduced accuracy, with the chances improving based on tech level. Success kills the target.


Cure spells. Restores a base amount of HP determined by tech and power level + your MAG stat, also modified by tech level.


Fallen One. Always Medium power. Works like Fatal Blow, except it reduces the target to 1 HP on a success.

Power Attack

Like Attack Spell, but for physical characters. Think Steiner's Sword Arts.

Quadra Slam

X-Fight. Four normal attacks at half damage. Always tech level 3, the power level depends on the damage die type the character rolls for normal attacks- that little detail will be covered in the equipment chapter.


Always Strong Power. Deals damage based on the difference between the character's max HP and current HP. Tech level determines how much of the difference is applied as damage.


Raise, Life1/2, whatever you want to call it. Always Strong Power, tech level determines how much HP a revived party member gets back.

Stat Booster

Opposite of Break arts. Buffs stats instead.

Status Effect

Always Medium Power. Can impose one of many harmful or beneficial status effects, and all of the old Final Fantasy standbys are there. Certain effects require a minimum tech level to attempt, and the hurty ones require a magic attack roll at an accuracy penalty partially determined by tech level.


These adjust how much MP the tech costs, either up or down, by imposing either benefits or drawbacks to how the techs work in general. These add or subtract to the Tech's effective level for MP cost purposes only, so a level 3 tech with benefits doesn't cost more tech points to build than a regular level 3 tech, it just costs more MP to use.


Makes things that need to make a roll to work more likely to work.

Area of Effect

The tech can target all enemies and/or all allies. Lower level techs can only hit all targets for half effect, but tech levels 3 and up get full effect on all targets.


Sometimes the spell just literally blows up in your face.


The tech is more effective than a tech of its level normally is. The amount of extra oomph it has determines the MP adjustment.


The tech does extra damage to a certain creature type as a bonus, or the tech only affects a certain creature type as a penalty.

Drain attack

A part of the damage the tech does is given back to the user as HP, with the MP adjustment depending on what percentage of Damage is converted to healing.


This spell has one or more elemental properties! Choosing one element is value neutral, but having multiple elements, or having a selectable element on cast makes the MP jump up.


Techs that don't normally require attack rolls can be made to do so for an MP discount.

Limited Uses

Six shots or only five? Regardless of MP costs, a tech can only be used a certain amount of times in one battle.

Lesser Status attack

This allows a tech a small chance of inflicting a status effect along with its primary effect. The roll is penalized much more than dedicated status spells.

MP Attack

This deals damage to MP instead of HP, and you pay for it.

Random target

Death roulette, anyone? The MP adjustment downwards depends on whether targets a random enemy, or makes everyone fair game.


Selfishly targets only the user. Gryz could learn to share his attack buffs, you know.

Steal as well

Gives a chance to grab an enemy's steal item, with an additional, penalized attack roll. Lower chance of steal than the actual steal command.

There are also a bunch of techs the game includes that don't fit in the above building tree, like bad status removal, MP drain, Scan, Elemental resist/immunity, and so on.

So, we have all of these techs, but there's also the sticky part of how to pay for their use. Now, everyone has MP, certainly, but sometimes you want a little more variety in how you pay for power. Thankfully, the game offers two options for the cost of your abilities, both of which have been backed up at some point or another in the Final Fantasy series. I mean, they're tinkering with mechanics all the time- it took them until IX to settle on MP as the primary casting resource.

The first is Charging. This instead trades MP for time, meaning that using the power makes your action take longer than it otherwise would- think Yang's Focus punch from non-US versions of Final Fantasy IV.

The second is Sacrifice, where you instead cast from HP instead of MP. This has its own risks, which are obvious.

Now, if you chose to do Blue Magic, you don't have access to the Tech Design system, but you can at least choose how you get your magic from monsters. They are: Take the hit (The almost every FF game option), Devour (The FF IX option) and study, where you use an action to try to learn the monster skill from study, with a chance of failure. The risk here, of course, is that while there are no restrictions on how many techs you can have, you are at the total mercy of the GM for getting most of special combat abilities.

The game does at least have most of the classic FF Blue Magics pre-built, and a starting Blue Mage can just take one at the start. But just one.

(I would also like to note that due to the build-your-own nature of techs and the fact that buffs are pretty strong, the creators of this game have also accidentally created a Treasure of the Rudras RPG, which isn't the worst thing they could've done.)

So, next time: Secondary Skills! Or: The only Jumping you'll ever do in an FF game.

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