[Grande Finale] Home Page

November 10, 2008 at 4:35 pm (Final Fantasy, Grande Finale, Sword & Sorcery, Tenra Bansho Zero)

I don’t have the funds to run a real website, but I have managed to cobble together a wiki.

Please come by if you want; the rules are posted there if nothing else.

Grande Finale


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[Grande Finale] It just wasn’t in the cards.

November 10, 2008 at 2:28 pm (Final Fantasy, Grande Finale, Sword & Sorcery, Tenra Bansho Zero)

So, I’ve ditched a card based resolution entirely. I’m kinda sad, because I was really certain that I wanted cards to be a part of it all.

So, here’s the new version. Let me know if you have any ideas/questions.

Grande Finale Alpha 2

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[Grande Finale] Active Battle System

November 4, 2008 at 11:16 am (Final Fantasy, Grande Finale, Sword & Sorcery)

So, I have two main mechanics in the game for resolution: Active Battle System and Minigame. ABS is not solely for combats, but is for any intense scene. Minigame is for light scenes. They both should really be able to resolve situations and should be used when thematically appropriate.

I’m currently working on ABS. Here is the basic concept, so you don’t have to research:

Let’s say you and I are in a classic battle scene. We get the deck of cards in front of us. I’m red and you’re black and I go first.

I describe what is going on. I have about a sentence worth of action to narrate. I then draw a card.

If it is red, I get to continue on. If it is black, you get to start describing things. Whomever has narration has the temporary advantage in the scene and describes accordingly. Hopefully this rapid back and forth will be fun, representing the swords clashing and spells flying in a crazy cool fashion.

When we’ve drawn five cards, we see who had the most cards that matched our color. The “winner” dishes out some damage to the “loser”, in the form of a reduced Aspect and a trauma Aspect added at the same value. Aspects are used differently in Minigame, where their value actually affects cards drawn. In this situation, they’re basically hit points. There are three core Characteristics, that, if depleted, will knock a character out. These core Characteristics become available to attack when they have no Aspects to defend them (Aspects are tied to the core Characteristics).

So, I want the players to be able to say, “This conflict matters to me” in a way much more powerful than fighting over it. But, at its core, the ABS mechanic doesn’t allow for it. Even if I have some rules about holding cards up your sleeve, you can win the battle but not he war. I want a player to be able to make a sacrifice that makes a major statement and could, when used properly, win the battle and the war.

I’m thinking that a player could be able to “sacrifice” an Aspect to attack with more power than normal – maybe when they’ve won a five card volley they could sacrifice their attacking Aspect to use its full power, hopefully breaking through the defending Aspect on the other character. This would deplete this arena for them for the battle, and force them to change it after the scene in some way. Kind of like buying off a Key in TSOY.

Any thoughts?

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[Grande Finale] Alpha Document

November 3, 2008 at 3:18 pm (Final Fantasy, Grande Finale, Sword & Sorcery)

Here is the alpha document for the Final Fantasy style tabletop game I’m developing.

Send me an email or hit me on one of my blogs or post something on Story Games and I’ll respond. I respond quickest in that order.


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[4E D&D] Dragoons

June 17, 2008 at 1:29 pm (4E D&D, Final Fantasy, Sword & Sorcery)

I love Kain (Cain) from Final Fantasy IV and I’m betting I’d love Cain from FFIV: The After. His concept would make a great addition to a 4E game. I’m thinking he’d be a striker, jumping in for massive damage. I’d probably want to bring in some of the dragoon features from FFXI, which mainly revolve around the concept of a wyvern pet, but 4E is currently silent on companions in the game.

So, the essential function of the dragoon is to deliver spear attacks via leaping into the air and plunging the spear into the enemy on the way down. I think this meshes well with the desire to have lots of map movement in 4E, instead of the stay in place and fight combat that used to happen in 3E a lot.

My concept for the character is a heavy armor striker. With a spear or longspear, the dragoon would be able to teleport into the air and drop down on an enemy, using the falling distance to add to her damage. To keep it balanced, I think you’d need these caveats:

  1. The dragoon must move at least two squares first.
  2. The target must be still within the dragoon’s movement range plus the reach of the weapon (as if the dragoon had charged the target).
  3. There must be a valid square somewhere around the target for the dragoon to land in when the attack is over. If that square is difficult terrain, the dragoon should either have to make a check or fall prone.
  4. Leaping from the second square grants combat advantage to the dragoon’s enemies.

Given those caveats, the player could add the squares it would take to get to the target from the second square plus one. This is the amount of extra dice added to the attack if it is successful. The ability would require a recharge like some monster abilities.

I know it’s complicated. What do you all think?

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[Risus] Adding a little more complexity

June 10, 2008 at 1:06 pm (Risus)

My friend, Rich, asked me today about a supers game that his friend could play with his children. I suggested Risus. This wasn’t going to work out of the box, though, because he said:

I recommended it to him, he thinks it may be a little too simple for them.

So, off the cuff, I recommended this:

Risus Plus

So, take your normal character, for instance:

Winter Wolf

Claws of Frozen Steel 4D
Whaddya mean, attitude? 3D
“Gotta protect the weak …” 2D
Ice Queen 1D

and add this template:

Gritty Hero – 8
Pulp Hero – 10
Costume Hero – 12

Gritty Hero – 10
Pulp Hero – 20
Costume Hero – 30

Now, we’ve got Winter Wolf with some hit points and an AC. This means that she can’t be knocked out of the fight until those hit points are gone AND a cliche has been reduced to zero.

So, if Winter Wolf were a pulp hero:

Winter Wolf

Claws of Frozen Steel 4D Defense 14
Whaddya mean, attitude? 3D Defense 13
“Gotta protect the weak …” 2D Defense 12
Ice Queen 1D Defense 11
Health 20 Defense 10

Question 1:

So, how much health do I reduce when I attack? Answer: Subtract the defense from your roll to determine how much health is lost.

Question 2:

So, how do you reduce cliches? Answer: You have to aim for the cliche and hit its defense. Take your base defense and add the cliche’s level to it to determine its defense rating. Each time you hit the cliche and exceed its defense, it lowers by one. Also, unless you declare an attack as being against a cliche, it’s assumed to be hitting health.

Question 3:

So, how do I recover health? Answer: This will vary by who’s playing it, of course, but I think you should get your health back any time you have a scene where you reinforce one of your cliches but don’t actually get into a fight. Like, where you tell the story of how you got your claws, or explain to your comrades why you protect the weak.

Any other questions? Anything I missed? I’m not sure what happens with this and the funky dice option, but there you go.

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[4E FF] Summons and Airship Battles

June 9, 2008 at 2:50 pm (4E D&D, Final Fantasy, Sword & Sorcery)


Here are some basic thoughts on how to integrate Final Fantasy style summons like those seen in FF4/6/7 (one attack/effect) and FF10/12 (fighting for an encounter or so).

So, the things you’re going to want are one time effects (fire attacks, status effects, and healing) and encounter length companions. The first is easy: create at-will, encounter and daily abilities that do those very same things (look to existing class abilities for attacks and healing, look to poisons for status effects as a general guideline). The problem with the latter is the overpowering affects of having a second character making actions. Here is how I’d do it.

Let’s take a summoner, a Tiefling named Kallista and an eidolon, Shiva. I’m not sure if Shiva should be an always thing, like a god, granting specific at-will, encounter, and daily abilities like Channel Divinity does for Clerics and Paladins, or if they should be summon inspecific. But, whatever the summoner has, they have some array of at-will, encounter and daily abilities. An at-will ability included with the class is Summon Eidolon. Ignoring some of the particulars, you’d arrive at an ability that summoned the eidolon within a certain range (is that a burst?) Shiva’s arrival would come with an effect, somewhat comparable to Cloud of Daggers. Then, Shiva could act on Kallista’s next turn or react as normal. Here’s the balancing thing: Summon is a Sustain Standard, meaning that Kallista can still perform move and minor actions, but not be blasting away simultaneously. Here’s the other balancing thing: Shiva’s Encounter and Daily abilities can only be activated by burning Kallista’s Encounter and Daily abilities. Now, Kallista isn’t any more powerful than someone else because she has two Daily abilities or what-have-you. She’s just got different arrays to choose from. Still too powerful? Maybe, maybe. If so, Summons could act like magic weapons – only summonable after a major rest or a milestone. How does that sound?

Airship Battles

So, the party is fighting on an airship’s deck. That doesn’t take any changes at all from 4E. But, what about flying the ship into special maneuvers, firing cannons, tilting to and fro to affect enemies?

Have the character take control of the ship, Leaders like the Warlord work best. Their actions will be tied up with the normal stuff (Sustain Standard again). They can still activate anything that works on a move, minor, or on other’s actions (like AP usage). But, they can sacrifice their Encounter or Daily abilities to activate those of the Airship (sound familiar?). So, isn’t it overpowering to not be the subject of attacks on the battlefield?

Yeah, but you’re now worrying about the airship’s HP versus the flying monsters or enemy airships. Neat, huh? This, of course, would work for any vessel, be it train, ship, moon rocket, etc.


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[4E D&D] Double TPK

June 9, 2008 at 10:53 am (4E D&D, Sword & Sorcery)

So, our group of five players had adventured up to Irontooth’s Waterfall Retreat last time (which was also the first time!) I played 4E D&D.

This time, there were only three players and we played with only three characters of the group. The DM tried his best to scale the big fight down to our size. We hadn’t rested for the day and were severely tapped.

We died horribly, of course.

So, we made some new characters and one of the players grabbed one of the missing characters and ran back to the inn and grabbed the new characters (and a rangery elf) and we went back, the four of us returned, full strength.

Despite the fact that I misread Warlock’s Curse in my favor, we still got trounced. It was going well, but we all went down within a round of each other and nothing could be done.

So, all six of our characters (4 old, 2 new, 1 pretty much written out of the story) were taken to the Keep, where we’ve escaped captivity and may very well face the entire goblin and kobold army soon.

It’s a fantastically fun game, I can’t say that enough. It’s fun enough that a Double TPK doesn’t faze my enthusiasm to play!

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[Mythos Hunters Zero] Character Sheet

May 8, 2008 at 1:20 pm (Mythos Hunter Zero, Tenra Bansho Zero)

With Jonathan Walton‘s kick-awesome help, I was able to cut and past and mess around with his League of Nations sheet and cludge up a new sheet with his fantastic logo. Behold!

Character Sheet (PDF)

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[TSOTA] Agent Breakdown

May 5, 2008 at 1:28 pm (TSOTA, TSOY)

I have this idea about assigning character roles in a TSOY game based on Dark*Matter or X-Files via how you were ‘hired’ – if you were a Witness, an Internal Hire, or a Field Agent (something supernatural unto yourself). Witnesses tend to be naive to the true nature of the organization, Internal Hires are much more jaded, and Field Agents used to be hunted themselves and their loyalties are highly questionable and can change over time. However, there are alternate views of these employees: Witnesses are very new to this world and don’t have too much influence, Internal Hires are taught from the beginning and have lots of influence, and Field Agents have prejudices to deal with, but some connections, too. Finally, if you look at it in terms of supernatural power, you’d have Witnesses in the middle, being exposed but new, Internal Hires as sub-par, suffering from their banal surroundings, and Field Agents with high power.

That is:

Loyalty Influence Supernatural
Witnesses + [ ]
Internal Hires [ ] +
Field Agents [ ] +

See how it’s just like the sides of a Fudge die? Yeah, me too. What to do with this?

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