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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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My Hero Academia: Superheroes from Japan!

my-hero-academia

Japanese Animated series starring superheroes are a rarity (American-style ones, anyway) and good ones, even more so; I think the last one I enjoyed was Tiger and Bunny. But My Hero Academia has impressed me so far. What I like about it is that it *gets* what heroes are about, in a way even many American comics, shows and movies don’t.

The story takes place on an Earth where, a few decades ago, humans with superpowers (called “Quirks”) started being born. By now, 80% of the population has powers! But not all quirks are equal; while some people do become superheroes (or villains) most just carry on with their lives.

The main character, Izuku Midoriya, never manifested a quirk. This ruined his dream of being a hero like his idol, the World’s Greatest Hero, Sup- err, I mean, All Might! However, he still insisted in applying to the Hero Academia, even tough he was ridiculed by it. But one day, he found himself trying to save a classmate from a villain -never mind that it was the same kid who had bullied him all his life; he just had to do something! His courage inspired All-Might (who secretly cannot use his powers for long anymore due to an injury) to recover and save the boy. Impressed, the hero revealed to Izuku that his quirk was actually passed on to him, and in turn he had chosen Izuku to be his successor!!

Now equipped with a copy of All Might’s power (tough one that hurts him since he’s only started to learn to control it) Izuku has entered the Hero Academia, and although it will take at least three years of training, he will one day be the Greatest Hero of All!

Other characters include:

Katsuki: Izuku’s rival, who has bullied him since they were kids and hates him more than ever now that he has mysteriously gained a quirk. However it seems that he is slowly heading for some redemption. Has the power to create explosions.

Ochako: A nice girl with anti-gravity powers who befriends Izuku at the Academy. May be his love interest.

Tenya: A super-speedster who was suspicious of Izuku at first, but then realizes he’s a true hero. A by-the-rules-all-the-time type.

Eraserhead: the homeroom teacher. Has the ability to cancel other people’s quirks with his stare AND uses “living cloth” strips to entangle people. Sounds like a cynical ass but deep down he may mean well.

There’s many more, but these are the main ones in the early episodes (I’m only up to #9 or so) so I’ll leave it there, besides I want to leave it to the reader to check the show and discover them on his or her own. (You can watch it in places such as Crunchyroll.) There’s also the manga it is based on, of course.

Recommended for: Fans of American Superheroes, Anime, True Heroism, and Good Characterization.


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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


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Castle Town Dandelion

Dandelion

Just when you think you have seen everything, you find something new. Or at least, a combination of pre-existing genres in a way that feels novel. This is the case with the Japanese Manga (and Anime) Castle Town Dandelion.

The genres being combined here are: Family Sitcom; Superheroes; Soap Opera; and Reality Show. Yup, and somehow, it all works!

To be specific, the series is about the royal family of a (modern day) country. Except each of them has a different super-power for some reason (apparently it runs in the royal bloodline.) Then the King decides that they should live in the suburbs, because he wants his kids to grow up as normally as possible. And then he decides that the next king should be decided by public vote, resulting in his children -some of whom are preteens!– running for office against each other!

It sounds convoluted, but it’s not. Dandelion is mainly about its cast and their relationships with each other and their friends. Toss in some (rather inventive) superpowers and a *lot* of zany events and you have (multiple) fun stories each episode.

The name of the family is Sakurada, and its members are:

* King Soichiro: The father of nine (!) children. He was forced to become king at an early age due to his parents’ deaths; that might be why he has made such odd choices for his family. His power is the ability to see people’s “auras”, allowing him to know what they feel.

* Queen Satsuki: His wife and mother to the kids. She comes from a normal family.

* Aoi: The oldest child. Her power is supposed to be the ability to learn anything instantly. It’s not but I’m not giving away the truth- she has quite an interesting motive and reaction to it.

* Shu: Second oldest child. Can teleport at will. Wanted to be a soccer player, but a childhood accident affected his legs too much.

* Kanade: Shu’s twin sister, younger by a few minutes. She and Shu have a rivalry going on. Her power is the ability to create any object, but this costs her money (?) Presumably, she’s teleporting materials from somewhere and must pay for them.

* Akane: The focus of many of the stories, Akane is the fourth child with the power to control gravity. Unfortunately she also suffers from crippling shyness, which of course means she gets embarrassed the most.

* Haruka: Fifth child, a boy with the ability to calculate probabilities instantly. He’s also Misaki’s older twin.

* Misaki: Sixth child, with the power to create seven clones of herself- each with a different skill and personality based on one of the “seven sins”.

* Hikari: Seventh child, a girl with the power to make living things older or younger (for 24 hours.)

* Teru: Eight child, a boy who can gain temporary super-strength. Acts like a Shonen anime hero.

* Shiori: the youngest child, her power allows her to speak with animals- and even objects!

The stories are usually pretty simple; they either set up a joke or explore a certain character. The only thing that bothers me, and keeps me from otherwise recommending this for the whole family, is that some jokes are a little risque. Mostly these are the “Oh no we can see Akane’s panties!” jokes; but there’s also a joke where it sounds as if Misaki has a crush *on Haruka*. This is probably a parody of a certain type of Japanese adult fiction, but the joke might fly over Western audiences.

Unlike the Manga, the Anime has already produced a final episode so we see which sibling wins (not going to spoil it here.)

Overall Dandelion is just a slice-of-life comedy that focuses on a family; it just happens to have superpowers, royalty and politics messing things up. I recommend it for fans of comedy, anime, manga, and superheroes. Not recommended if panty or incest jokes bother you.


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Oh yeah, I write Fanfiction, too! ;)

Psion.pdf_page_1

In fact, I have in effect been doing it all my life (more on that in a future blogpost) though it wasn’t until last year that I started posting it on the Internet. And to my surprise, people seem to have liked it! Well at least the ones featuring currently-popular characters, such as Steven Universe. Still, it feels good.

So I though today I would talk about my fics- specifically, about the one that is 100% original (though it does pay homage to certain character stereotypes): An American Superhero in Japan!

As you can tell from the title, this is the story of an American hero and his adventures in Japan- specifically, a Japan that resembles the one from Manga and Anime more than the real one does. It’s my way of repaying both American Comics and Japanese Animation for all the entertainment they have brought to my life over the years.

The basic premise deals with Psion, a teenage hero with telekinetik powers from New York city. Despite being active for two years, the local populace barely knows of or appreciates him, and he finds it frustrating. He decides to go on vacation to Japan to get away from things, only to find there’s someone gathering the local supervillains into a dangerous organization. The Japanese military then asks *him* to help them organize the local heroes as well, as they believe American heroes are more given to team up than the more independent-minded Japanese ones. Seeing a chance to finally gain some recognition, he accepts.

So far, only the first story is complete, but I’m working on the next one. If you’re a fan of fanfiction, superheroes, or Anime/Manga, give it a try! You can find it here: http://www.quotev.com/ElSijo

And check out my other stories, while you’re at it. 😉

 


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Bakuman: An Anime about making Manga?

Bakuman

(For those unfamiliar with the terms: Anime are Japanese animated cartoons, and Manga are Japanese comic books.)

To be more correct, Bakuman started as a Manga about making Manga. More curiously, it was created by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata, the same duo responsible for Death Note, a very dark Manga about people using a magical book to kill others. Who’d though they’d create such a sweet, yet realistic series- not to mention one that makes the subject matter so interesting? Talented creators indeed!

I haven’t seen the Bakuman Manga; and I only recently started watching the Anime based on it. Yet it has become one of my favorites, despite not having any fantastic or action elements in it. That’s very unusual from me, believe it! Rather, it’s the story and the characters that have me hooked.

The story is about two teenagers, Moritaka and Takagi, who join forces to make a Manga (turns out this is unusual, most Manga are written and drawn by the same person; of course, 14-year-old Mangakas (Manga creators) are even rarer!) This is complicated by Moritaka and his girlfriend being so obsessed over romantic ideals that they swear not to marry -or even speak!- until they achieve their dreams! (She wants to be an Anime voice actress, and they agree she’ll voice a character on the show they are *sure* will be made about his Manga.) This of course proves harder than they expected, especially when the reality of how many years they will be apart from each other if they follow that plan begins to sink in. If the show has a fantastic element, it’s that; How many people would make such a vow, much less expect not to change their minds along the way? And yet, the characters are so likeable, you tend to forgive it.

Further complicating matters is their Professional Rival, Eiji. Now THIS is a quirky character. A 15-year-old Manga Genius, so talented he has the backing of the magazine Moritaka and Takagi want to work at. But the only thing he thinks about *is* Manga. He might be autistic. And yet, in a twist I didn’t see coming, he actually befriends our heroes rather than becoming a bitter enemy. They are still competitors though.

Also, Takagi has his own girlfriend, the somewhat overly-aggressive Miyoshi. She unwittingly comes between the friends by drawing Takagi’s attention away from his work.

I’m far from done watching the series. There’s about 50 subtitled episodes on Hulu and I have only seen the first dozen or so. But I intend to watch them all. I can already assure you, this is one great show and I recommend it for people curious about the process of making Manga, as well as those who like Romantic Dramas (with a touch of Comedy added.)