Friday, September 28, 2007

FF7 Game Idea

Here's a random string of ideas spawned by this video and then this article. To start: Final Fantasy VII has an interesting setting that's not easily categorized- a sort of modern magipunk, perhaps. Is there the makings of a decent game in there? It seems like there are two ways you could go. There's a small collection of individuals who are outright superpowered- first class SOLDIERS and the like, who can practically fly and take on hundreds of normal individuals. And then you've got collections of people who are a little more "mundane" (Turks, Barrett and Cid) but still have some very thrilling adventures. Most (Maybe all) of the superpowered individuals seen so far in the setting are the result of Shinra's experiments, but I'd rather not do a game that ties players to the main plotline/characters or steals their thunder. So, here's an idea for an overall plot:

The players are a group of young adults, all in a similar age group; say 18-21. The game takes place about 15 years after the events of Final Fantasy VII, so the kids know about the history in theory but don't have much in the way of personal memories. The game will be based in the city/settlement of Edge (The setting for Advent Children), with the players having lived there all their lives, probably as street urchins. There are numerous opportunities here- you've got a sort of frontier urban setting, with the ruins of Midgar literally next door; you could easily have the whole game take place within these boundaries. If you want to say that the city of Edge is having to really fight to survive, then just exploring the ruins to salvage supplies is a valid adventure hook. There can be bandit hideouts and other sinister agents lurking in the shadows. In Dirge of Cerebus, the enemies are "Deepground" soldiers who were trapped in complexes underneath the city and brought out of cyrogenic sleep by the personality of the mad scientist Hojo, preserved on the facility's computer network; the dungeon opportunities don't get more clear-cut than that.

The plot twist, which allows you to move into a more superpowered game if you feel so inclined, is that the players were all exposed to Mako as kids in the same way as members of the SOLDIER program. However, in their case this wasn't due to any deliberate experiment; instead, they were all children living in the slums around the generator that was destroyed by the player in the beginning of Final Fantasy VII. The GM can give the players unexpected reserves of strength, similar to the young Cloud at Nibelheim (2:00 to 2:30). At the same time, you can use elements of Mako Poisoning as a plot device/motiviation- the players are suffering from a strange disease, so how can they cure it? It also serves as a way of providing exposition- as the players explore the ruins of Midgar, they might find themselves experiencing memories that aren't theirs.

A potential employer for the PCs is the World Regenesis Organization, which is a mix of charity organization and private militia. The organization's goal is to help rebuild the planet, and they're based in Edge. The founder, Reeve Tuesti, makes for a good "boss" who gives the kids jobs which involve searching for some lost piece of technology that he recently got a lead on or something. He could also be aware of their condition and be observing them out of a sense of responsibility (Or a concern that they might snap and go on an overpowered rampage).

In terms of system, I'd be inclined to use 2nd Edition M&M for a superpowered game involving and d20 Modern for a more normal one, maybe mixing in some spycraft 2nd Edition. Either way you'd want to make the flavor clear beforehand, getting the players to think about the character first rather than taking these flexible systems in ways that don't fit the setting.

With regards to this game idea, my preference is to start things on a small scale and then escalate from there. Begin as d20 modern characters and only drop hints about their Mako abilities, the sort of details that only get noticed when they look back later. As things step up, add on the benefits of M&M levels. The advantage of this setup is that the players have gotten this boost in power through a route previously unseen in FF7, so the GM can dictate how things work without having to worry too much about previous canon.

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Thursday, September 6, 2007

7th Circle: Potential Iconics #1

Here are 5 potential iconic characters for the 7th Circle game- the equivalent of D&D iconics such as Redgar and Lidda, characters used in examples and anecdotes.

John Hallidae
World: Wild West equivalent of the Urban Arcana campaign setting.
Crunch: LG Elven Ranger/\Tough Hero\Gunslinger\Frontier Marshal
Supplements: d20 Past, Oriental Adventures

Special Bonus: Quick-Draw Attack (Uses the Iaujitsu Focus skill from Oriental Adventures, but with one-handed firearms instead of swords) and Lay Down the Law (Can Smite Chaos in the same manner as the Smite Evil ability of a paladin of his level).
Background/Personality: John's father was a half-elf veteran of the Mexican-American and Civil Wars, who came west with his wife and worked as the sheriff of a fierce frontier town for over a century. John wanted nothing more than a steady job as a ranch hand, but when his father was killed in a shootout with a troll bandit known as Ike Rothide, he felt obligated to take his father's place as lawman. In the eighty years that have followed, he has com
e to understand the reverence his father held for the law. Now that his home has become increasingly civilized, he welcomes the chance to more good elsewhere.
Abilities: John is a crack shot with two pistols (Two-weapon fighting combat style, Gunslinger), but is also experienced when it comes to
nonviolent methods of conflict resolution (Field Marshal, Law Enforcement occupation). He is regarded by many as one of the toughest elves they've ever met (Tough Hero), a quality he usually credits to his human grandmother.

Takano Reeves

World: Modern-day gothic urban arcana.
Crunch: LN Human Warlock/\Dedicated Hero\Arcane Arranger
Supplements: Complete Arcane
Special Bonus: +2 save DC against chaotic outsiders and evil outsiders (Stacks against CE
Background/Personality: Since the age of six, Takano has been a loyal earthly agent of Hell- or at least, one of its factions. Specifically, he served the devils in his world's equivalent of the Blood War- not an endless conflict, but a revolution by Lucifer and his demons that was only a few centuries old and fast coming to a close with the devils on the losing side. While the demons sought only to pursue their own sadistic inclinations,
Takano's faction still sought to follow their assigned role in the grand cosmology, testing and strengthening humanity through trials instead of seeking to do them ill. At any rate, to make a long and complicated story short Takano's masters lost the war. In the warlock's own words, there's nothing left for him back home, only a life of revenge he'd rather not get sucked into.
Abilities: In addition to the formidable eldritch power he channels (Warlock) Mr. Reeves has a knack for dealing with supernatural communites- occult undergrounds and the like (Empathy talent, Arcane Arranger). In addition. he has an uncanny ability to sense troub
le long before it arrives (Intuition talent tree).

Sir John Anton
idus Cadderly
World: Victorian-Era Mild Supernatural
Crunch: Male Kalashtar Cleric/Psion/Elocator/\Fast Hero\Acolyte(Cleric)

Supplements: Eberron Campaign Setting, Expanded Psionics Handbook.
Special Bonus: Slippery Mind, can simultaneousl
y cast spell an manifest power as metamagic feat (+2 spell level)
Background/Personality: A decade ago the man Sir John once was was attempting to conduct a séance together with other members of a gentleman's club dedicated to researching the occult. Rather than contacting the spirits of the deceased, they found themselves being plunged into the dream-world of Kadaath, where a group of benevolent spiritual entities had cried for aid. In the end Anton and his fellows decided to merge with a few of the dream-entities in order to defend them from the approaching Quorian horrors, resulting in beings who were the fusion of man and dream-entity.
Abilities: Anton was a young man with great psychic potential, while the quorian he merged w
ith was a high priest of their kind. As such, even in the material realm the being resulting from their fusion possesses great reserves of both psionic and divine power (cleric and psion). The sight of him striding forwards through empty air with grim purpose is a frightening image indeed, especially when one of these steps can somehow bypass normal space and take him right to your side (Elocator).

Emily Ad
World: Modern Day Paranormal Conspiracy
Crunch: NG Halfling Scout/\Smart Hero\Spec Ops
Supplements: Complete Adventurer, Urban Arcana Web Enhancement
Special Bonus: Reduced price increase for future-era equipment, cover bonus to AC increases by 2
Background/Personality: Emily was a trained government
operative, similar to the FBI agents of our world but with a more militaristic bent. Her career experienced an abrupt shift in direction when she not only witnessed but prevented an alien abduction. An agent that just wanted to do her job now found herself in the center of a mess of cloak-and-dagger politics. Life as an interloper agent has proven a welcome alternative.
Abilities: Though smaller than many of her compatriots, Emily has a knack for quickly navigating hostile terrain while remaining undetected (Scout, Spec Op) and is an expert in the field of demolitions and sabotage (Spec Ops, Smart Hero). In combat she tends to use her old pistol but is quite proficient with a sword as well; in either case she uses sound tactics, keeping behind cover and lashing out when her opponent's guard is down (Scout, Tactics talent tree).

Dawn Kedrickson
World: Dystopian Cyberpunk
Crunch: CG Human Rogue/Reaping Mauler/\Tough Hero\Thrasher
Supplements: Complete Warrior, Complete Scoundrel
Special Bonus: Cybernetic arm gives +2 strength and functions like brass knuckles, as well as being enchantable like any normal weapon.
Background/Personality: Although highly disillusioned and cynical, Dawn has an altruistic streak she can't seem to keep under control; it compels her to stand up for the underdog and, in her opinion, is much more trouble than it's worth. IN her homeworld she was an excellent arena fighter and did a more than a little detective work when money was tight, but neither occupation ever appealed to her as anything more than a way of making ends meet.
Abilities: Dawn is a surprisingly tenacious close-range combatant, able to take a hell of a beating (Tough hero and Thrasher) and give as good as she gets with an arsenal of dirty fighting moves (Improved Feint combined with Sneak Attack, Ambush feats and Knockout Punch). Though she tends to sell herself short, Dawn is also talented in the areas of infiltration, hacking and thievery (Rogue levels, Investigative occupation).

As always, your opinion would be highly appreciated. Which characters do you find interesting?

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