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BAFF! Basic Action Final Fantasy

david-adhinarya-lojaya-combs

Those who follow my blog know that I love crossovers and conversions- and have in fact already converted concepts such as Pokemon and the Steven Universe characters to the BASH (Basic Action Super Heroes) role-playing system. And given that Final Fantasy is one of the greatest science fantasy franchises ever -which incidentally is currently celebrating its 30th anniversary- the time seems right to try a BASH conversion of it as well.

Of course, given that nearly every FF game, series or movie takes place on a different world, it is impossible to describe all of them here. But we can discuss the themes that keep recurring; you can go from there. You’ll of course need a copy of BASH Ultimate Edition as well.

The Elements

These are forces or substances that provide powers to certain monsters, characters or items. There’s always at least four- Earth, Wind, Water and Fire– and often Ice, Lightning, Holy and Dark. Sometimes Poison is considered an Element as well. In BASH terms these are considered damage types. Powers or attacks that do not use any of these are referred as Non-Elemental.

Affinities

Creatures and objects often have Elemental Affinities, so that they take less (or more) damage from certain Elements. This is usually based on which elements are “opposed” in the setting. See a typical list of opposites below:

Earth vs Wind

Water vs Lightning

Fire vs Ice

Holy vs Dark

Poison has no opposed element, but its damage may still be resisted or increased by certain abilities.

The affinities, and their corresponding BASH traits, are:

Absorb – Absorption Power

Immunity – Immunity Power

Resistance – Resistance Power

Vulnerable – Damaging Weakness* (double damage)

Weakness – Devastating Weakness (triple damage)

* = not the BASH Vulnerability Weakness

The Summons

Known by many different names -Espers, Eidolons etc.- most Final Fantasies include these- creatures of enormous power from a far realm that can be summoned for help in combat. In some versions, they just appear, deliver a magical effect, and vanish- making them no more than a vision that takes place during an otherwise-normal spell. But in some settings, they actually materialize and take part in the battle. To simulate this, use the Summoning Power with the Limitation: Summons Only. All Summons are creatures with 60 Hits and at least one Power that fits their “theme”. For example, Shiva The Ice Goddess always has Diamond Dust, a Special Attack that does ice-based damage. The basic form of this Power gets you a specific Summon; for 1 extra character point you can call three of them, and for 2 extra points you can summon any of them. Note that Summoning often requires Magic Points to use (that is, it has the Energy Cost Limitation.)

Limit Breaks

Most main FF characters can use these: abilities that can exceed their personal limits, usually in dire circumstances. Typically they are attacks, but they can be any Power, even Healing. A Limit Break must be high in Level -at least 4 or higher- and always has the <Situational> Limitation (Usually, Only when Hits are below 25% maximum).

Spells: As in most classic Fantasy, FF spells always have the Limitations <Casting> and <Energy Cost>.

Spell names: traditionally, level 2 spells have the suffix “a”; 3-level spells have the suffix “ga” and 4th level spells have the suffix “ra”. Example: Fire, Fira, Firaga, Firara. 5th Levels spells have unique names.

Status Effects: These effects are caused by certain abilities, spells and items. There are two types: “negative” statuses that hinder the target, and “positive” status that are beneficial. These are some of the most common:

Negative Statuses

Status – BASH equivalent

Berserk – Boost (Brawn, only while berserk) [Usable on Others] Linked to Mind Control <Only to cause the target to attack using only physical attacks>

Blind– Confusion

Charm– Mind Control

Confuse- Confusion [Friend from Foe]

Fear– Daze [repels enemies]

Transform- Shape Shifting [Usable on Others] <Only into a harmless animal such as a frog>

Petrify- Immobilization [Target Only] Linked to Increased Density 1 [Usable on Others]

Poison– Continual Damage (Poison)

Seal– Nullify

Sleep– Daze

Slow– Slow [Lethargic]

Stop– Immobilization [Target Only]

Stun– Daze <one Page only>

Zombie– Shape Shifting [Usable on Others] <Only into a zombie>

Positive Statuses

Status – BASH equivalent

Auto‐Life– Healing [Usable on Others] <Delay (only when target reaches 0 Hits)>

Flight– Flight [Usable on Others]

Haste– Super Speed [Usable on Others]

Invisible– Invisibility [Usable on Others]

Protect– Armor [Usable on Others] <Physical Attacks Only>

Reflect– Deflect [Double-Maker] <Spells only>

Regen– Healing [Usable on Others, Regenerative]

Shell– Resistance (Spells) [Usable on Others]

EquipmentWeapons, Armor, Shields, Accessories and other Items are considered Standard Equipment unless they have magical or technological properties- in that case they are Special Equipment, possibly boosted with Equipment Enhancements (see Awesome Powers #6.) Particularly powerful items might be Powers with the Gadget Limitation.

Leveling Up– If you are planning on running a FF campaign rather than just a few sessions, you should use the Optional Experience Points rules (UE, page 130) to allow the PCs to level up. Preferably, use Method 2 to simulate the games more closely.

Credits: My thanks to the Final Fantasy Wiki and the fan-made Final Fantasy D6 role-playing game for providing inspiration and ideas for this article!

Art by david-adhinarya-lojaya-combs.


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Men & Monsters of the Aegean: my review

 

185501

As the title indicates, Men & Monsters of the Aegean is a bestiary for the Sword of Kos setting in the BASH Fantasy game (a spin-off of Basic Action Super Heroes) . The fact that it describes creatures from Greek mythology makes it a great reference source for other games or even when writing fiction as well.

The book is divided in sections: it begins by describing those semi-human races that could be played as characters, then it handles the rest. In most cases, it does not reprint creatures already featured in the main books unless they are variants.

My favorite feature is the fact that the book makes it clear that most of these creatures are not necessarily malicious or unintelligent, and that violence is not the only answer when dealing with them. In fact every “monster” comes with an ‘Adventure Hook’ that shows how it can be used. Some of the hooks can be even be tied together for a longer adventure.

If I had a nit to pick, it would have to be the art. It ranges from crude drawings to full paintings. While I feel this is hardly important, some people might wonder at the inconsistency.

The final section of the book is a summary of all the new stuff (weapons, powers etc.) introduced, plus tables for random encounters.

Overall, I find M&MOTA to be a very well put-together sourcebook, much more than just a simple bestiary. Recommended for fans of Mythology and Fantasy.


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My problem with Little Charmers

Little-Charmers-Cauldron-Mishap

Little Charmers is a doll line for little girls; here I’ll talk about the cartoon based on it.

The show is about three little girls living in a Magical World, trying to learn magic and inevitably getting in trouble. You can tell its true purpose is to sell the toys- every episode features the Charmers using their tools, flying on their brooms and going to their “charmhouse” right down to the same musical sequences. But this is par for the course for cartoons these days. That’s not what bothers me. It’s the (probably unintentional) message the show carries.

You see, most episodes go like this: a grownup warns the Charmers not to do something; they do it anyway; trouble ensues, and they usually end up going to a grownup to help them fix things and say they are sorry. So far so good.

But in almost all cases, the grownups will say “Oh well, I guess you learned your lesson” and forgive them. They never get punished. Sometimes they get congratulated or thanked! And it’s not like the stuff they do is always harmless; in one episode they ruined magic for the whole town, and in another, they froze it over!

But perhaps most annoying of all, they never learn! You can bet that not only they will be disobeying their elders again by next episode, but that often they commit similar errors too. It’s an insult to the intelligence of even its intended preteen audience to believe they could get away with that.

If I might be sounding too harsh, it’s because we are living in an age of enlightened cartoons that can teach lessons and still be entertaining- My Little Pony and Sofia The First are great examples of this. And other than this, the show is very good- in animation, design, music, and even worldbuilding.

To be fair, not all episodes are like that. Maybe someone took notice and a memo was passed around because some latter episodes improved. In some the problems were not caused by the Charmers, and in a few, they actually managed to solve things on their own! Possibly the best episode was the one where they turned themselves into ogres so they could win a game, only to learn that playing unfairly ruins the fun for everyone.

Overall, Little Charmers is a cute, harmless show. Just make sure you watch it with your kids and that they don’t get the impression they can away with a “sorry” in real life.


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My Fifty Years as a Fan

50

As I post this, I’m now 50 years old. Mine has been mainly an uneventful life; yet I feel very grateful for my existence. I have friends, I have family, I have my health- and I have Fiction. As far as I can remember, Fiction in one form or another has formed part of my life, helping me escape the dullness of my reality. So today I want to take the chance to celebrate it. (Warning: this is going to be long. 😛 )

It all began for me in the 60’s as for most people: with TV cartoons. In particular, there was one about a little turtle (sorry, can’t remember the title) who wanted to fly. After many attempts, it succeeded in the end… because it got KILLED and became an angel! O_O What?? I know, it was a joke, I get that now but boy was I PISSED as a Kid! And I actually did something about it, too: I took a book that (conveniently) had printing only on one side of the pages, and used it to draw my own version of the story in which the turtle fulfills its wish without dying. Yep, that was my first fanfic! Oh, and I was in the story, too- making it a self-insert as well! How appropriate. 😄

Next came comic books. In Spanish, at first. There were two types: translations of American companies such as DC or Gold Key (no Marvels- probably due to some copyright or distribution issues) as well as original ones made in Mexico featuring characters such as Kaliman or Fantomas. Comics in English started being sold here in the late 70’s; I was floored by my discovery of the Marvel Universe (I already knew Spider-Man, The Fantastic Four and The Avengers from the cartoons, but had no idea there were so many more!) From then on I actually would spend my lunch money once a week on comics. 😛 I ended up becoming known as the local “comic book kid” and my collection, by the time I stopped, had soared to about 700. I still have it btw.

In the 70’s I also discovered Anime. Well actually I had seen “cartoons” such as Speed Racer before, I just didn’t realize they were from Japan- much less the potential in them! That changed with the Giant Robot show Mazinger Z in 1972. While barely known in the US, in Hispanic America it became very popular, to the point people still remember it today. It became my favorite anime then and while I have seen better ones since, I still have a lot of appreciation for it.

I met some fellow geeks in high school- wow, I wasn’t the only one?- who introduced me to Dungeons and Dragons and therefore to the concept of role-playing. We didn’t get to play much, but I found the whole idea that you could mathematically describe even magic mind-blowing; I began collecting rpg books for its own sake.

In the 80’s, something unexpected occurred: one of my hobbies led me to a profound revelation. I used to read Fantasy novels- not many, but I was a fan of Piers Anthony, especially his Incarnations of Immortality series. In them, concepts such as Death or Nature were physically embodied by humans as if they were jobs that had to be passed on. The bad guy was The Devil, who was supposed to not be an Incarnation at first. But in the last two novels, it was revealed that not only was the Devil a human too, but so was God, and the Devil had been trying to undo the injustices caused by the current, uncaring Divine Officeholder all along! I was raised Catholic and I got very nervous as I realized where the novels were heading; I even considered dropping them. But after some thinking, I realized that was silly. What kind of faith you have if you allow something made for entertainment challenge it? Even more: I realized that I had never actually thought about religion. Like most people, I just accepted what those who raised me taught me to believe. But people are free willed, and we should decide by ourselves what we believe in.

In 1996, I played my first RPG video game- Super Mario: Legend of the Seven Stars. OK I mostly bought it because it was a Mario game, but I so greatly enjoyed the experience that buying the guide/then the RPG/then playing for hours till I found everything became a habit for years. Too bad they don’t make game guides anymore (online walkthroughs aren’t quite the same.)

The coming of the new millennium… was not a nice time to me. Because of the recession, I lost many of my resources- Blockbuster Video, my local movie theater, local bookstores- all gone. Worst of all were the comics. The things DC and Marvel did to characters I had followed for years left me aghast. DC started it with the “Secret Identity” event where the rape AND murder of Elongated Man’s wife was a major plot point; and Marvel’s lowest point came with the “One More Day” story where Spider-Man makes a deal with Mephisto (aka as Satan) to save his aunt’s life, erasing his marriage from history in exchange! By the time DC decided to revise its history *yet again* with 2005’s “Flashpoint” event, I threw up my hands and gave up on comics altogether. Not on the characters- I still follow Marvel and DC in movies, cartoons etc; just not in the comics. I keep hoping some day things will improve… but from I’ve heard, that’s not the case, yet. Oh sure, there are exceptions, I hear good things about comics like Batgirl or Miss Marvel. But not enough.

Things improved with one thing, tough: the Internet. It put me both in contact with old friends (such as Liz, a lady from the States I had befriended via an animation newsletter in the 80’s) and an the RPGClassics Agora, a website where I posted my first online stories and spent a lot of time chatting with people of similar interests. However problems both personal and with my computer led me to reduce my activities for a while.

Finally, last year, something happened. After being paid to do a video on my computer, I found the experience so enjoyable I started my own Youtube channel. That felt so fulfilling I started this Blog as well- another experience that’s been greatly rewarding. 🙂 And recently, I started my own webcomic- that one has been harder to pull off, but I still enjoy it. (You can see it here, if you want: http://raitokomikku.thecomicseries.com/comics/1/ ) Oh btw, I also made a special video to celebrate some of the events mentioned above. You can find it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1L9a0FV8OoA&feature=youtu.be

So what’s next? Well, who knows? That’s half the fun- taking things in as they come, enjoying what you can, learning from what you can’t. I guess that’s the lesson I learned after 50 years of life, and now share with you all.

Before I finish, I want to send a message to some very special groups of people: To TV Tropes.com, especially to my fellow players in the Justice Avengers Forum Game; and also to the Basic Action Super Heroes RPG Facebook group, where I hang out and post ideas often. Thanks to all of you for your support in recent times. May we have fun together for many years more! 🙂

 


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Magical Girls in Basic Action Super Heroes!

“Magical Girls” have long been a staple in Japanese Animation. However they have also become popular around the world, and have influenced shows such as Star vs The Forces of Evil, Steven Universe and Winx. They are certainly worthy of being included in a BASH campaign, either as a NPC or even the focus of an Anime themed game.

MAGICAL GIRL

magicalgirl by Sonia Leong18 Pts (8 Stats, 10 Powers)

The typical Magical Girl is a teenage girl who has been granted superhuman powers by someone or something to fight a specific evil, usually a group of magical villains and their minion monsters. Often a whole team of Magical Girls fight together.

Brawn 1 Agility 2 Mind 1

Powers:

Special Attack (+3 with Mind Damage) [Close Range] <Casting> 3 pts

Martial Arts 1 (Defensive and Reckless styles) 1 pt

Weapon Technique (+1 to Hit with one weapon) 1 pt

Super Jump 1 (1 pt)

Restore 4 (4 pts)

Variations on a Theme:

-The Cute Witch is not a superhero; rather, she’s a student of magic, possibly in a school of magic or a Fantasy World. Substitute all Powers for X Mastery (Magic) with the Casting Limitation (and possibly a Gadget such as a Magic Wand) and Flight with the Limitation: Gadget (Broom, Easily Taken).

-The Magical Idol is either a Pop Idol who is secretly a Magical Girl, or a Magical Girl who uses her Powers to perform. Add Illusion 2 (Sight & Sound, for her shows.)

-Some Magical Girls are actually Princesses of a  magical realm. She could be a Cute Witch as well.

-The Dark Magical Girl is any of the above types, except she’s a Villain, often the Arch Enemy of the other types.

Recommended Advantages & Disadvantages:

Instant Change is required. Very common are Appeal and Sidekick/Pet (usually a talking animal). Mentor and Grimoire for the Witch. Celebrity for the Idol. Royalty for the Princess. Devoted Henchmen for the Dark Magical Girl.

Typical Disadvantages include Age (Youth), Normal and Rogue’s Gallery. If The Witch or The Princess are foreign to modern Earth, they should have Outsider. The Princess might also have to deal with rivals or usurpers (a Revolting Development) and the Dark Magical Girl might actually be the Alter Ego of an otherwise innocent girl.

Recommended Skills: Athletics/Acrobatics for the Magical Girl. Cute Witches get Occultism. Magical Idols get Perform (Singing and Dance, usually). Magic Princesses usually study Social Sciences/Law or History (of their Kingdoms). Dark Magical Girls get Deception/Any.


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Kyokai no Rin-Ne: Japan’s Ghostbuster

Rin-Ne

This 2015 Anime series is based on a Manga by Rumiko Takahashi, one of Japan’s greatest female artists. Like many of her series, this one features an ostensibly male protagonist, but female characters loom large as well. Humor and The Supernatural, also typical Takahashi story elements, are central to the show.

The story is about a teenage boy named Rinne. His grandfather married a Shinigami (soul collector) so he’s one in part as well. His job is to help spirits stuck on Earth due to their regrets to move on their next life. For that, he needs to buy magical items- and he’s broke. Enter Sakura, a girl who discovers his secret thanks to her ability to see ghosts. She basically gets him to let her come along on his cases in exchange for paying for the items he needs.

Not every ghost needs to be exorcised by force, though; in fact one of the good aspects of the show is how creative they get when helping the ghosts overcome their regrets. Sakura is also helpful in this, as she’s more empathic than Rinne.

Other notable characters include: Tamako, Rinne’s grandmother who looks young and HATES to be called grandma (always punishing the offender with a double-noogie); Rokumon, Rinne’s cat familiar who can change between cat, cat-with-human-face and Giant Flying Cat Head forms; and Tsubasa, a human exorcist who uses more violent methods than Rinne and has an unrequited crush on Sakura.

Curiously, for a Takahashi series there is no (immediate) romance (or romantic conflict) between the protagonists. In fact neither even considered the possibility until other people started messing with their lives. Still my money is that they will end up as a couple anyway.

This show is low on action but high in humor, clever ideas, and touching moments. I recommend it not just to Takahashi fans, but also fans of Anime, Humor, and Ghost Stories.


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God’s Blessing on this Wonderful World

Konosuba

KonoSuba!, known in English as “God’s Blessing on this Wonderful World”, is a Japanese Animated parody of Fantasy Role Playing Video Games -specifically, of the ‘player becomes the hero’ genre. It’s not the first I’ve ever seen, but it is one of the funniest.

The main character is a teenager named Kazuma, who dies trying to save a girl from being hit by a truck- only to be mocked in the afterlife by a goddess named Aqua, since the girl wasn’t in danger at all! She then offers him a choice: either he can go to Heaven (which she claims is boring) or he can go to a Magical World and fight the Demon King for her. He may take with him anything he asks for. But then, much to her shock, he chooses HER! She has no choice but to accept.

It turns out this world runs by “video game rules”; for example, they both start as low-level adventurers and thus don’t even have enough money to pay for an inn! They are forced to form a party, but their two new members aren’t too useful- one, Megumin, is a Mage who only uses a very destructive spell- that leaves her so tired she can’t even walk afterward; the other is Darkness, a tough female warrior that cannot hit even an unmoving target and also happens to be a masochist.

And so begins a series of misadventures that are silly most of the time and unexpectedly serious at others. And I know what you’re thinking: one guy, three girls- this is a Harem Anime! Not quite. Not only there is no romance here, the main characters cannot stand each other at first. Though they do grow more friendly over time. They even specifically deconstruct this genre in one episode in which another Hero trades parties with Kazuma. Predictably, he comes to regret it.

 While not spectacular, I do recommend this series for being funny and well-written. The only warning I must give is that it does contain some naughty humor -there are jokes about stealing panties in some episodes, for example- but nothing major.

You can watch it subtitled on places like Crunchyroll.com