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The problem of Elements in Turn-based RPG engines, and how Chrono Trigger almost solved it.


[Reply] #1
09-29-2016 08:17 AM
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As we know, turn-based RPGs, and to some extent even action adventure/action RPGs, suffer from “button bash A” syndrome.

The problem is how to make magical spells playable without making them over-powered. They should not be useful, but casting Luminaire every turn becomes boring, and besides, button bashing A or doing Confuse is more powerful much of the time anyway.

So Chrono Trigger makes some characters have very low magic progression while others have high magic progression.

Fire, Water, Ice, Lightning, and Dark Bomb are all the same function with the only difference being the user’s magic power and of course the element, with Water and Ice actually being redundant as just the “Water” element.

Chrono is a Fighter-Black Mage with focus on Lightning.

Frog is a Paladin with two water spells.

Marle is a white mage with two water spells.

Lucca is a Black Mage with Fire-Only, plus one White Mage spell (Protect).

Magus is a Fighter-Black Mage plus one White Mage spell (Shield)

Ayla is a Monk.

Robo is a Fighter-Seer, lacking only Water magic for offense, and having healing spells.

How they almost solved the “Button Bash A” problem:

1) “Hardened” defenses: on the enemies make them like 10 times tougher vs physical, meaning *somebody* has to stop, think, and use magic some of the time.

2) Multi-tech spells and abilities.

Why it didn’t quite work:

Most of the enemies in CT, just like all other Square RPGs, simply don’t have enough HP, so there is little cause for a high degree of strategic planning in anything other than a perfect low level game.

Level 1 Crono, 4 Marle, 16 Robo can beat Lavos on SNES version.

Level 1 Crono, 1 Marle, 10 Robo can beat Lavos on DS version.

Level 37 Magus (perfect low level) can solo Lavos on both versions.

The next lowest level party to be able to win on both versions is:

Level 26 each of Marle, Lucca, Ayla.

So what doesn’t make sense is the “Level 3 spell” on Chrono, Lucca, Robo, and Magus is highly redundant, and even though it is severely over-powered on a per-casting basis, it’s actually incredibly inefficient over-all.

The level 2 spells:

Lightning 2
Fire 2
Water 2
Ice 2
Dark Mist

These spells are more powerful than the level 1 spells, but due to mechanics are not strictly better. They hit every target on the screen for 25% more damage than the single-target level 1 spell, and they cost 8mp per spell instead of 2mp per spell. So they are quite efficient if there are several enemy targets, but they are not very efficient against a single target. Still, 4 castings of Lightning 2 does as much damage as 5 castings of Lightning 1, so you do have some tempo advantage, and that is really all you need.

Theory error of spells:

High level spells do not need to be “more powerful” than low level spells. They just need to be “different element” to offer the player a work-around to an enemy weakness.

Example, “Water” and “Ice” should have been two different elements.

Then you give Frog “Water” and instead of “Water 2” you give him “Ice”. Why? Well to me it is more professional design to make the player choose what is best to use, rather than just giving the player the “hahaha I nuked everything on the screen” effect; That is what double and triple techs are supposed to be for: Gaining tempo advantage.

By making the level 2 and level 3 spells omni-cast, they partially defeated the purpose of the tempo advantage of some of the dual and triple techs, but not all of them:

Ice Sword/2 is used a lot on the low level game.
Aura Whirl (aura on all 3 allies) is used a lot in the low level game.
Lifeline is used in the perfect low level game, and is irrelevant to damage.

Delta Force and Delta Storm are never used.

Confuse (single tech) is used every turn after you get it and a Gold Stud.

The lowest level party which is NOT the LIfeline party does not even have a triple-tech together, and Antipode Bomb is only actually worth using against enemies which are more vulnerable to Shadow than to cold and fire. Not too bad, but it doesn’t quite work either.

Now, compounding all of this is the fact enemies never adapt in Chrono Trigger, except “enemy Magus” barrier change, and you pretty much have a situation where character A physical attacks every turn, and character B uses their spell every turn, and every fight is identical, especially for fights where there is only one type of enemy in the enemy party.

In general, the most important thing Square does wrong in their games is give enemies too little HP. Often, in order to fix this problem, the HP of the enemies needs to be between 2 and 4 times higher than what actually appears on the enemies, both random encounters and bosses.

In the FF4 DS remake they mostly fixed this for major boss battles and the Lunar Subterrain, but no changes were made in the FF4, FF5, or FF6 remakes for GBA, so that enemies are way too easy to defeat.

[Reply] #2
09-29-2016 08:21 AM
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1) Start with a Chrono Trigger style with multi-techs.

2) All enemies have 2 to 4 times HP relative to damage scale.

3) More enemies strong against physical and single tech elements.

4) This makes aligning double and triple techs more useful and also makes the tactical decision of tempo gain from multi-techs more appealing than button bashing.

5) Slower character stats growth so “Level up and win” is no longer a temptation to players.

6) Unlock abilities faster. Let the player play with the abilities, just don’t “over-power” everything. This is crucial, why work so hard on developing new game-play mechanics if you aren’t going to let the player have them in a reasonable amount of time?

Anyone who’s ever done a perfect low level run of FF4, FF6, or Chrono Trigger knows that the majority of the time is spent “training abilities” for characters even in a low level run. In fact, you actually spend more time training in a low level run than you do in a high level run.

If you watch a speed run of Diablo 2 (normal difficulty), there is almost no training in the entire game, with the exception of Countess runs, which is actually more about getting an over-powered anti-lightning random drop which falls there than anything else.

Edited 09-29-2016 08:32 AM by Wade
[Reply] #3
09-29-2016 08:34 AM
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Let me correct something about the 3 girls party in CT.

They have a triple tech, but it is unlocked by one of them sacrificing their accessory slot to wear a one of the rocks. I never do this, because it actually makes the party weaker, which was my point, because the rock doesn’t have any other abilities. It makes more sense for Ayla to wear an accessory that pumps her physical offense or her defense.

In fact, none of the “rock” items are worth wearing except to see the ability as a “coolness factor” for the same reason, which is they are too one-dimensional.

In the DS remake, the developers added more accessories and armors to the game, but they actually ran into a problem so that the only way to make better accessories was to stack the abilities of two or three existing items onto one item. This is how those rocks should have been.

Like, “Unlocks Dark Eternal and gives 25% counter-attack against physical," and so forth.

Instead they are too one-dimensional.

Doesn’t look like a big deal, but the Wall Ring makes a character 10 times stronger if their magic defense is already 90, and it makes them twice as strong if their magic defense is already 80, or it makes them 50% stronger if their magic defense is already 70, etc. So there is plenty reason to wear a Wall Ring, and very little reason to use Dark Eternal, which barely does more damage than a single tech anyway.

Edited 09-29-2016 08:38 AM by Wade
[Reply] #4
09-29-2016 01:10 PM
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If you’re wondering why I’m interested in this, I’m trying to make a new TCG game and a new pen and paper RPG game rule set. Making abilities that are useful often enough, but also don’t become “spam for the win” is actually pretty tough.

Give you an example, for a “Light Side” character in the old West End PnP Star Wars game, about the best thing a character could do every round is Lightsaber Combat, and there was very little reason to do anything else with a Jedi character. So you end up with Ability Spam.

On the other hand, for a Dark Side character this is not necessarily the case, and playing Dark Side characters was a hell of a lot more fun than playing Light Side, for the most part.

Force Lighting that guy.
Telekinetic kill that one
Levitate that speeder and throw it into something.
Mind control that other guy.

Anyway, with no restrictions on the Dark Side characters, they were actually a lot more flexible in how the character was played, but they have a little too many abilities at times.

More is not bad, but it’s not necessarily better either. On the other hand, too little is bad.

So for making a new game engine it is ideal to create it in such a way that the “magic” system is well balanced with the physical attribute system, but still “worth it” to use it.

[Reply] #5
09-29-2016 01:46 PM
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I think a 5 attribute system works in a D6 system.

Strength = Offensive ability to attack and do physical damage.

Dexterity = Dodge attacks, etc.

Constitution = Avoid damage and total health.

Intelligence = Ability to learn. (Int + Dex)/2 = Dodge magic. (Int + Con + Spirit)/3 = Defend Magic.

Spirit = Determines power level of all magic.

“Spells” are essentially treated as “weapons” which use the Spirit attribute rather than the Strength attribute.

Starting minimum and maximum:

Str: 2d6-5d6
Dex: 2d6-4d6
Con: 2d6-4d6
Int: 1d6-5d6
Spt: 0d6-5d6

Character points are earned for defeating enemies or doing other quest objectives. Character points may be spent on Attribute increases, or on “Feats” and “Meta-magic” abilities.

At character creation you start with a certain number of “feats” based on your attributes. Some examples of “Feats” would be:

Ambidextrous: No penalty for second action when dual wielding weapons.

Elemental Resistance

Elemental Affinity (caster):

Fast Talker : Remove 1 second from casting time of spells, etc.

And so forth.

Life totals:
HP = 30*Con + 10*(Str-2d6).

MP = 15*Spt + 5*(Int-2d6).

Wild Dice:

If you have 1d to 4d+2 in an attribute, the wild die is 6-sided. If you hit a 1 you lose the dice and your largest other dice on the roll. If you hit a 6 you keep the die and re-roll it just once.

If you have 5d to 5d+2 in an attribute you use an d8 for the wild die instead, and you cannot fail the roll. You re-roll and keep on 6 or greater.

If you have 6d or more in an attribute the Wild Die becomes a d10.

At 7d it becomes a d12.

In this way, characters which invest heavily in an attribute get a big reward, so that fighters become very good fighters, while mages become better mages as they invest more.

Basic Weapons:
*Weapon die are also always Wild, except a Dagger, which can’t roll a 6.

Fist: Base Str
Dagger: +1d4 (piercing or slashing)**
Short Sword: +1d6
Long Sword: +1d8
Bastard Sword: +1d10
Two-Handed Sword: +1d12

**The type of damage dealt is determined by the stroke the character uses, as blades can be both piercing and slashing. Technically, in Knife fighting there are 5 major types of attacks:

Stab/Thrust (called Piercing above)
Slash (use the tip of the blade to cut across)
Bludgeon (strike with the edge of the blade)
Slice (cut with the edge of the blade)
Flay (cut through along a surface with edge)

For the purpose of game engines, bladed weapons are usually considered either piercing or slashing, while blunt weapons are normally considered “Bludgeoning”, even though you can technically stab and slash with the tip of an escrima stick, and so forth.

Chain Mail is strong against all of those strikes with a blade except Piercing, as a well designed dagger can pierce mail. In this way, defensive gear can be designed to have “achilles heels," whether different type of physical attack or different types of magical attacks.

Base range weapons.

Ninja Star: Dex to hit. Dex + 1d4 to damage.
Bow: Dex to hit. Str + 1d6 to damage.
Elemental Scroll(Shadow in FF6): Int to hit. (Int + 1d6)/2 to damage as “unfocused”.
Elemental Spell: Spt to hit. Spt + 1d12 to damage single target. (Spt +1d12)/2 to multiple targets.

Casting time:

A round is 6 seconds, and so “Attack” or “Spell” will normally take 6 seconds. So that under normal circumstances 2 attacks can’t be completed in one round. If a character is hasted or in Quick this would be different, and there will be feats such as Fast Talker, Multi-shot/fight, Ambidextrous, and so forth which enable faster attacks or spells.

Wielding 2 weapons will apply a -1d6 penalty to both attacks if you don’t have Ambidextrous.

If you have Ambidextrous it will apply no penalty to the main hand, and only a -2 penalty to the off-hand.

If you have Ambidextrous 2 there is no penalty.

Making additional attacks with a weapon applies a further -1d6 penalty unless you have the multi-strike feat.

If you have multi-strike, the first attack is no penalty, and the second attack is only -2. If you have 2 levels in Multi-strike you get both attacks at no penalty, and so forth.

Level 1 feats costs 25 character points to purchase.

Level 2 feats cost a further 50 character points to purchase.

Your current intelligence roll plus a flat value determines how many character points you earn when you defeat a foe.

Level 1 feats:

“Edge” - Re-roll one failed roll per campaign. May be taken multiple times as a level 1 feat.



“Fast Talker”-Spells take 2 seconds less to cast. (means 3 spells in 2 rounds instead of 1 spell per round).

“Resist Element X: 50%"

“Absorb” - Absorbs the next spell cast by any friend or foe, counts as 1 action per round, takes 6 seconds of time.

Affinity X - Allows casting spells from element X and learning them by spending character points.

Level 2 Feats


Fast Talker - Casting time reduced to 3 seconds.


Resist Element X: 75%

Fast Absorb - 3 seconds to activate, now ally-friendly.

Some feats, such as Absorb(works like Runic,) are activated, and cost 1 character point to use each time you use them.

Defensive bonus while not wearing a shield:

Two-handed or dual wielding you get +1 to dexterity to deflect physical attacks, but -1 to dexterity to deflect magical attacks.

Shields defense bonus/casting penalty:
Small: +1 (req 2dstr). - 1 to cast spells
Medium: +2 (req 3dstr). -2 to cast spells.
Large: +1d6 (req 4dstr). -1d6 to cast to spells.

Some magical equipment will give some feats for free while equipped.

Edited 09-29-2016 04:18 PM by Wade
[Reply] #6
09-29-2016 05:23 PM
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Level 1:
Casting time: 6.
Spirit + 1d20 damage vs (int + Spt + Con)/3 (single target; half net vs multi-target).

Level 2:
Casting time: 9.
Spirit + 2d20 damage vs all enemies

Level 3:
Casting Time: 6.
Is a single target alternate element.
Spirit + 2d20 vs 1 enemy.
i.e. “Flare” and “Holy” from FF series.

This prevents the “one spell blows up the world” scenario, like “Ultima” in FF6.

So “Fire” will not actually have “Flare”. Fire will have Shadow Flare, which does Shadow damage and evades Fire Immunity (most of the time).

There would be multiple element trees and each character learns spells from only that element tree when taken as an Affinity.

Affinity: X also adds a natural 25% resistance to that element on top of any Resistance: X feats taken, so characters have some resistance to their own core element.

So the remake of Marle is like this:

Ice Path:
Aura: Heals by Spirit +1d12. 2mp
Ice 1: Spirit +1d20 (as Ice, not water). 2mp
Cure: Heals by Spirit +2d20. 5mp
Haste: Cut action time by 3s to a min of 2s. 8mp
Ice 2: Spirit +2d20 vs all(as Ice, not water). 8mp
Cure 2: Heals by Spirit +3d20. 10mp
Holy: Spirit +3 d20 vs one target (as Holy). 20mp
Life 1: Revive with 10% life. 15mp

Now this remake replaces Provoke with Holy, and has a game system where the spells are reasonable compared to player-based and NPC-based stats. Holy is not a “doomsday spell” it is an alternate to Ice 2.

I don’t really have “frog” in mind, but some of his abilities are interesting. I will make him another white/water mage, but remove the Sword abilities to make room for more magics.

Water Path
Aura: Heals by Spirit +1d12. 2mp.
Water 1: Spirit +1d20 (as water). 2mp.
Slow: Add 3 to action time. Duration 10 rounds. 8mp.
Heal: Heals entire party by Spirit. 3mp.
Water 2: Spirit +2d20 vs all enemies. 8mp.
Cure 2: Heals by Spirit +3d20. 10mp.
Tornado: Spirit +3d20 vs 1 enemy (wind). 20mp.
Shell: Reduce magic damage by 1/3rd. 8mp.(magus).

Lightning Path (Crono):
Cyclone: Physical on adjacent enemies. 2mp.
Jump Slash: 2xphysical on one enemy. 2mp.
Lightning 1: Spirit +1d20 to one enemy. 2mp.
Wind Slash: Spirit +1d6 in a line as Wind. 2mp.
Lightning 2: Spirit +2d20 all enemies. 8mp.
Whirlwind: Up to 4xphysical on one enemy. 8mp.
Life 2: Restore all life of fallen ally. 20mp.
Luminaire: Spirit + 2d20 all enemies as Holy*. 20mp.

*This is instead of the mass lightning spell.

Fire Path (Lucca):
Flame Toss: Spirit +1d6 in a line. 2mp.
Sleep*: Hit all enemy. Spt vs ((int + spt)/2).5mp.
Fire 1: Hits one enemy Spirit +1d20. 2mp.
Dispel: Remove buffs/debuffs. 5mp.
Protect: Reduce net physical by 1/3rd. 8mp.
Fire 2: Hits all enemies. Spirit +2d20. 8mp.
Osmose: Spirit +1d12 as mp steal vs Int. 2mp.
Flare: Spirit +2d20 Greater of Fire and Wind vs all. 20mp.

*Enemies wake when they take any damage.

Earth Path (all new):
Heal: Heals entire party by Spirit. 3mp.
Quake 1: Spirit + 1d20 to one. 2mp.
Reflect: Bounces some magical spells. 5mp.
Cure 1: Heals by Spirit +2d20. 5mp.
Quake 2: Spirit + 2d20 to all. 8mp.
Drain: Spirit + 1d12 as HP steal vs Int. 10mp.
Stop: Stops time for 18s to target. vs int. 8mp.
Aeroga: Spirit +2d20 as Wind to all. 20mp.

Shadow Path (sacrifice efficiency for raw power):
Fire 2.
Ice 2.
Lightning 2.
Dark Bomb: Spirit + 1d20 to one. 2mp.
Quick: Stop Time for 12s everyone. 20mp.*
Dark Mist: Spirit + 2d20 to all. 8mp.
Black Hole: Spirit vs Int to instant death. 15mp.
Dark Matter: Spirit + 3d20 to all. 25mp.

*Replaces “Shell” on Magus.

Ninja (Edge):

Blaze: Spirit +1d6 vs all as fire. 3mp.
Shadow Bind: 9s Paralyze. Spirit vs Int. 5mp.
Throw: Throws a weapon or scroll. 5mp.
2xdmg to weapon, 1xdmg to scroll.
Blitz: Spirit +1d8vs all Lightning. 4mp.
Flood: Spirit +1d10vs all as water. 5mp.
Image: Create two mirror images. 8mp.
W. Wind: Spirit +1d20 vs all as wind. 8mp.
Freeze: Spirit +2d20 vs all as Ice. 20mp.

I took some liberty in making the spells progressive stronger, but never better than the other classes. Instead he is a less efficient omni-mage, but in theory finds the enemy weakness.

Now, double techs.

Antipode 1(fire1 + Ice1):
Deals (Spt1 +1d20 net) + (spt2 +1d20 net) damage as shadow to all enemies. 2mp per participant.

Why is this ability good?
Say you’re fighting something that is strong or immune against cold and/or fire, but vulnerable to Shadow you deal a lot more damage this way as a double tech.

And so on. After I’ve done the stats conversions, the Game Master can make double techs following these basic rules.

Fact is a few of the doubles and triples in the original CT are almost completely useless, as the way their damage is calculated really never benefits you.except in one or two really weird or rare cases.

Edited 09-30-2016 04:57 AM by Wade
[Reply] #7
09-29-2016 06:38 PM
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So, the deal is a good Game Master can make up the spells he wants in each elemental affinity tree to make the game more balanced, and of course invent his own monster archetypes which use the same basic rules as the player characters.

I just made these lists as an example of what to do (flexibility,) vs what not to do (over-powered).

[Reply] #8
09-29-2016 07:40 PM
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Well, here is a conversion of Cyan to my system.

“Samurai” (FF6)
Dispatch: 2x Physical damage on one enemy. 2mp.
Retort: 4x damage as Shadow when attacked. 8mp.
Aero*: Spirit + 1d20 as Wind one target. 2mp.
Quadra-Slam: 4 hits of Spirit +1d6 as Shadow. 8mp.
Empowerer: Spirit +1d12 as hp and mp steal. 0mp.
Obliviion: Instant Death on all enemies. 20mp.
Quadra-Slice: 4 hits of Spirit + 1d20 as Holy. 20mp.
Eclipse: Hits all at Spirit +1d20 as Shadow and Stops all 18s. 25mp.

I swapped Oblivion and Eclipse because more enemies are immune to instant death than to Stop, therefore Eclipse should be the Ultimate vs parties while Quadra-Slice is the ultimate vs “boss” enemies.

So Eclipse is what you do when Oblivion fails, and Quadra-slice is what you do when all other enemies are either dead, stopped, or immune to both.

Edited 09-29-2016 07:43 PM by Wade
[Reply] #9
09-30-2016 05:19 AM
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I would suggest playing on a game board made from Hex paper.

Have level 1 spells effect a single square.
Level 2 spells effect Radius 0-2.
Level 3 spells (ultimates) effect Radius 0-4, unless it says single target only.

If you want to be like AD&D, you could have area effect spells be a threat to your own party, so you have to use them more carefully.

So I’ve essentially just created the archetypes for an entire game system by converting some FF and Chrono Trigger characters to a mostly D6 and some D8-D20 system of skill and damage.

A good GM can take these plus elemental resistances to design appropriate monster archetypes, or request that I do it.


[Reply] #10
09-30-2016 09:34 AM
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Other Feats and Improving Attributes:

Just like the West End attribute system, going up by a pip in an attribute costs 10 character points per full die you have in the attribute. So going from 3d6 to 3d6+1 costs 30 character points, and going from 3d6+2 to 4d6 costs 30 character points.

Elemental Affinity (25 points) - gives base resistance 25 in the same element, and unlocks the first spell in that elemental progression. Each spell after that requires 15 character points to unlock.

Natural Aptitude (50 points). - Requires 4d in affected attribute. The affected attribute’s Wild Die is a 1d8 instead of 1d6. You can no longer fail the wild die roll on a 1, and you now succeed on 6, 7, or 8 instead of 6 only. This feat may be taken multiple times, but only once per attribute.

Stacking Fast Talker with Haste:

The 6 second spells may be reduced no lower than 2 seconds if you have Fast Talker 1 or 2 and Haste.

The 9 second spells(level 2) may be reduced to 3 seconds if you have Fast Talker 2 and Haste.

Quick is 6 seconds to cast and may be reduced all the way to 2 seconds to cast. However Quick cannot be cast more than once per round.

Samurai abilities are not reduced by Fast Talker and are all 6 second abilities reduced to 3 seconds by Haste.

Multi-strike replaces one 6 second attack with two 6 second attacks. This stacks with Haste, allowing two 3 second attacks.

If a character has both Ambidextrous and Multi-strike, they may make multiple attacks per hand, per round, and this also stacks with Haste.

Easy Dual/Triple Tech Calculations

1) Take the Spirit of the highest caster in the combo.

2) Check the die total modifier for the spell and add it to the Spirit attribute. Roll this amount.

3) Subtract enemy magic defense roll.

4) Double or triple the difference.

5) Apply damage to strongest element according to each tech as relevant.


Req: Ice 2 and Quake 2.
Mp: 8 per caster.
Damage: 2x (((Greatest Spirit) + 3d20) - Defense)*
Type: vs Greatest of Cold, Earth, Wind.
Area: 0-4 hex rings.

*we are doubling the net damage, not the total roll.

Req: Flare and Quake 2
Mp: 20 and 8
Damage 2x (((Greatest Spirit) + 4d20) - Defense)
Type: vs Greatest of Fire, Earth, Wind and Shadow.
Area: 0-4 hex rings.

Delta Force/Storm
Req: Fire 2, Ice 2/Water2, Lightning 2
Mp: 8 per caster.
Damage: 3x (((greatest spirit) + 3d20) - Defense)
Type: Vs greatest of Fire, Ice/Water, Lightning, Shadow.
Area: 0-3 hex rings*.

*One more ring than the level 2 spells alone would hit.

Antipode 1 (redo)
Req: Fire 1, Ice 1
MP: 2 per caster.
Damage: 2x(((greater Spirit) + 2d20) - defense)
Type: Vs greater of Fire, Ice, or Shadow.
Area: 0-1 hex ring (compared to 0 for each spell individually).

Antipode 2
Req: Fire 2, Ice 2
MP: 8 per caster.
Damage 2x(((greater spirit) + 3d20) - defense)
Type: Greater of Fire, Ice, or Shadow.
Area: 0-3 hex rings.

[b]Ice Water[b/]
Req: Ice 1, Water 1
Mp: 2 per caster.
Damage 2x(((greater spirit) + 2d20) - defense)
Type: vs Greater of Ice, Water, Wind
Area: 0-1 hex ring

And so on.

In general a double tech should attack the best result among 3 elements, and a triple tech should attack the best result among 4 elements. The base roll should be 1d20 higher than the strongest single techs involved to make it economically “worth it” to do multi-tech combos.

An except would be Aura Whirl, which simply hits all allies for the same amount of heal as Aura normally would do on one ally.

Notice that “level 2” and “ultimate” level double techs are designed to be better than just casting alone so long as the enemy is more vulnerable to at least one of the elements than any of the others, because they attack the weakest elemental resistance.

I hope this is understandable to others, because it’s not that complicated if you are used to doing pen and paper RPG games.

Again, at game master discretion he can make more multi-techs for the party, and he can make appropriate “normal encounter” enemies and “boss” enemies.

Design a good boss enemy:
A good boss enemy should have like quadruple the HP and MP predicted by its Constitution and Strength, to allow the battle to unfold.

Three component bosses are also a good idea as they provide “weapons” for the players to choose to prioritize their orders of attack.

A good boss enemy uses at least two “unrelated” elements in its magic spells and preferably three elements, and has physical attacks.

An example of a good boss enemy is Queen Zeal (mask form) in Chrono Trigger, which as:

Life Shaver: HP goes to 1.
Skygate: Lightning. (strong single lightning).
A dark beam (weak single target shadow).
Hexagon Mist (medium multi-target water).
Dark Gears?? (Medium multi-target shadow).

[Reply] #11
09-30-2016 10:56 AM
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To be honest, it wouldn’t take much work for me to make enough changes to this system to avoid patent infringements, write it in my own book, and self publish it as something like, “RPG Maker Pro” or whatever.

This “Small numbers” combat system is technically superior to the “large numbers” combat systems used by Square, and it’s easier than what West End did, because I don’t use “Skill Dice," I use a simplified system which avoids certain balance problems produced by “force powers” being skills rather than an attribute in their Star Wars system.

[Reply] #12
10-01-2016 09:34 AM
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I’ll have to edit some posts above when I get time to do so, but I decided that the d20s in the Spell damage need to be replaced with 5d4. The reason for this is the same maximum damage, but more consistency on minimum and average damage rolls. This is because you are investing character points and magic points in casting the spell, so it should be more consistent than what you get from a D20. That’s not a big deal at all, and is still pretty simple.

Further, decided all attributes starting maximum should by 5d6 again, because it’s just simpler than having different values for each. The concern was damage totals should be higher than defense on average, but a GM can just make monster archetypes which are strong enough to work around this. So attribute system:

Starting Character Points are 25 to invest in a Feat or Elemental affinity.

Starting Attributes are 15d6 to distribute as follows:

Strength: 2d6-5d6
Dexterity: 2d6-5d6
Constitution: 2d6-5d6
Intelligence: 2d6-5d6
Spirit: 0d6-5d6

Magic Defense: (Con + Int + Spt)/3
Magic Evade: (Dex + Int + Spt)/3
Save vs Hack: (Int + Spt)/2

Certain “hack” spells, such as Slow and Stop attack specific attributes, and are “unavoidable but defendable”. However, as a general rule all damage dealing spells attack Magic Evade. So you get one chance to “evade” the spell and one change to “Defend” the spell. In posts above I assumed Intelligence, but I think Mage-Heavy characters should be better at saving vs hack attacks, so I think the average of Intelligence and Spirit should be used. This way “Warrior-Heavy” characters will be a little more vulnerable to hacks.

Final Fantasy 4 actually uses something like this, but not exactly, as to my knowledge the Final Fantasy 4 game engine is actually the most advanced game engine in terms of Attributes which Square ever made. However, the equipment system in FF4 is a little less advanced than the FF6 equipment.

What I’ve done is make a system which is a simplified combination of the WEst End system and the “back end” of FF4 game engine. For those who remember the SNES version of FF4, the status sheet shows you the number of “dice” the game rolls in the background and how big the dice are. The number of dice is calculated by your attributes, and the size of the dice is determined by a combination of equipment and attributes. The first time I played through FF4 seriously, I actually reverse-engineered the entire stat system for every character just by studying when dice values changed.

Edited 10-01-2016 10:35 AM by Wade


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