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The Ballad of Sparkle Motion
Part the First

Welcome, one and all, to what is sure to be a totally adequate time for everyone involved. I am the GM, in the loosest sense, and I wish to impart to you the tale of a brand new gaming group that I host. That group's name... is Sparkle Motion.

Sparkle Motion is comprised of 6 members, two of which are interchangeable, and a possible 7th; Lowkey the Aegyl Dragoon & Rian Libra the Nu Mou Eldtritch Raider(we'll swap roles as GM[Rian] & Player[Lowkey] when he feels comfortable and story allows), Cid(ha!) the Al Bhed Mako Weapon Specialist, So the Moogle White Mage, Draco the Bangaa Arcane Bomber, Elyot the Gria Sword Saint and (maybe) a Shinobi with some Naruto bloodline traits spliced in. Being that we are all new to our roles, they as players and I as a GM, there is a lot of learnin' and stopgaps along the way. But hey, man, that's just, like, part of the journey.

OK! So, a month or two before we began playing our alpha game I had the entire group participate in a beta of sorts, in the way of one of those D&D Beginner Boxes. It was... a positive experience all around. It was good for me to host a scenario with the encounters already laid out and it was good for them to experience what it was like to be players. To reiterate, we are all completely new to our roles. I had played miscellaneous tabletop games for about a year before this group and the rest of the party had never played a tabletop game before. By playing the Beginner Box first it allowed us to get used to our roles as GM and players, learn the flow of combat, understand advantages & disadvantages and, perhaps most importantly, make mistakes that wouldn't have any truly lasting effects.

After the Beginner Box had been completed, the players were chomping at the bit to make their characters. It was here that I encountered my first minor difficulty; allowance of races and classes. This actually occurred before we'd played anything at all, but they simply chose races and classes that I hadn't intended for use, explaining to me while they took their smoke breaks how excited they were to make their sword saints and aegyl characters. Of course there's nothing wrong with them thinking ahead, but this turn of events made me realize two things; that I hadn't taken the time to build my world or put any real forethought into what they could or could not pick and also that I hadn't established myself as the person in charge (which is not a role that I've ever thought myself to be in).


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Hum, are you asking for advice or just happen to be telling your story?

Either way glad you are enjoying it. Really these classes are easily some of the coolest. They did amazing work on them.
That's pretty awesome and a daunting task to learn a new system from being new players to the whole tabletop scene. I applaud your effort and dedication. I am also pleased that you guys appreciate what I loved to make.
(01-17-2016, 05:04 PM)Zwordsman Wrote: Hum, are you asking for advice or just happen to be telling your story?

Either way glad you are enjoying it. Really these classes are easily some of the coolest. They did amazing work on them.

Can it be both? I hope that readers can enjoy the adventures of brand new players, and if anybody has constructive criticism for me as the GM or to implement for the players then I think we'll be all the better for it. At least until someone tells me I'd be better off sodomizing myself with an all-too-vocal parrot, at which point I may need to respectfully ignore them. Maybe.
(01-18-2016, 10:10 AM)Viladin Wrote: That's pretty awesome and a daunting task to learn a new system from being new players to the whole tabletop scene. I applaud your effort and dedication. I am also pleased that you guys appreciate what I loved to make.

Oh wow, I never expected to get the attention of... THE CREATOR. Neat. Not trying to suck up, but FFd20 was a major factor for me wanting to get into tabletop games in the first place.

Little backstory: Never played tabletop games of any kind when I was younger (raised in the early 90's by very Christian parents), so I was strictly a console kid playing any games they'd allow me to play. I didn't know about tabletop games until about the latter end of high school and even then I didn't understand the point.

At some point around '08 I was derpin' around the innertubes when, lo and behold, Stumble took me to a random page of FFd20. With a slightly better understanding of tabletop games just from life experience, and more board & tabletop games becoming mainstream, it was easy to see the appeal of FFd20 as a new kind of gaming experience. Over the span of a few years I'd try different things to get into tabletop gaming; Beginner Boxes, reading player guides for random editions of D&D, etc.

It wasn't until the very end of 2013 that I was finally in a place with other people who played. I didn't know how long I was gonna be living there, so I played any and every game my group invited me to and it allowed me some great insight into game playing in general. While I still don't think I'm the best choice for GM, I do feel like I'm the only candidate by virtue of most time played.

tl;dr Didn't play tabletop games when I was younger but now I totally do.

So thank you Viladin, you crazy Kefka butternut squash. Big Grin

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Part the Second

It's that time again! Tales from everyone's favorite FFd20 gaming group, Sparkle Motion! ... what's that? ... no one asked or cared? ... the posts are an assault on decency and good taste? Welp, I've already started, so if you want off the ride you better be prepared to tuck'n roll.

AWRIGHT! Last post we got a cursory glance at our heroes before I got rum-drunk and watched several hours of Toonami bump compilations (ah, memories), so I thought this time I'd talk about the world a li'l bit. It's completely of my own design and, while unfinished, I am very proud of it. The world is Mondiale di il Gemma (Italian is cool), or Gemma for short. This translates roughly to Gem World. Why Italian, I pretend to hear you asking? It's a trick I picked up when I got tired of naming conventions while making characters in vidya games. Basically you just go into a language conversion search engine, type in an aspect of the character you hope to portray (thief, mage, tapeworm), and see what language strikes your fancy. I made a Khajiit thief back in Skyrim with the name Straziare (to torture, Italian, straht-zee-ahr-ay) and if you don't think that's cool as shit then I dunno what to do for ya. Also, the Final Fantasy games have a tendency of making up words or languages that just sound bonkers but acting like they're totally legit (lookin' at you, FF13), so I figure I can get away with some Italian appropriation.

Before I get into Gemma and its workings, I'd like to explain how I worked up to its creation. In an uncharacteristically proactive move on my part, mostly due to feeling the pressure of expectation, I decided I needed to study. The sad fact is... I've never beaten a Final Fantasy game. Not a one. Viladin will be so disappointed in me! I've played a vast majority of the series and am fairly excited for FF15, but none of them ever appealed to me enough to play them all the way through to completion. To be fair, that's a tall order for almost any vidya gheme. Don't get me wrong. I lurv vidya ghemes, but once I've acclimated to a battle system or there's a lull in the plot or even if I just get distracted with life and drop it for a week or two, I probably won't pick it back up for a few years.

So, that being said, I decided that I needed to understand what made a Final Fantasy game. Over Thanksgiving, between the delicious food, awkward family conversations and my Gramma's overly loud chewing, I set out to read up on all of the main line FF games (the only exceptions being 6 & 12, as I'd very much like to play them). Reading through the plots, I came up with a list of about a dozen or so different plot devices and recurring themes that I felt really stuck to what FF was about. In this way I think my limited knowledge may have been a good thing; the knowing of main plot points and having ideas in my head of how they played out, but then reading the story and understanding the context and impact an event had throughout the rest of the game.

One of the main recurring factors in an FF game, as many fans can attest to, are crystals. They're freakin' everywhere in the FF continuity and are usually powerful, tied to the land/planet, or are affiliated with a demi-godlike creature. With this information, and my predilection towards the simplicity of more old school FF's, I made a planet held together and continuously altered by the state of its most powerful crystals. The planet itself is comprised of 4 (mostly equal) hemispheres on a round planet with standard gravity and day/night cycles. Each hemisphere is ruled and shaped by an elemental crystal, the planets structure being held together by one giant neutral crystal(wip) and that overruling crystal's energy flowing throughout the interior of the planet in the form of a lifestream. The four "surface" crystals (for lack of a better word) represent the standard elements of air, water, fire and earth, with the hemispheres being shaped according to their dominant crystal as well as their opposite.

Campo Emisfero (Field Hemisphere), Il Paese Masso (The Boulder Country), Earth: This continent is lush, green and well tended. The bountiful nature of the land is in direct opposition to the Air Hemisphere which is, for the most part, a barren desert. The people of the Earth Hemisphere are simple, choosing to till the bountiful land and be content with the comfort their land affords them. As such, they're not particularly mechanically adept and don't have patience for over sized machines that are just going to belch smog and break down. They have an amicable trade agreement to provide food to the Fire Hemisphere in exchange for crystals, both for cosmetic and energy purposes.

Fuoco Emisfero (Fire Hemisphere), Fire: The continent dominated by the fire crystal is a rough place to live. Its surface layer is twisted and charred lava rock with the occasional river of liquid hot magma running through it. Underneath, however, are thousands of caves and tunnels full of crystals just waiting to be mined. The people populating this continent are industrious, having long ago made peace with the harsh surface terrain by spending most of their time underground. The combination of their mining lifestyle and the abundance of crystals as a power source spurred the people to be on the cutting edge of technology, as much for safety as well as pride in their engineering skills.

Emisfero Nebbioso (Misty Hemisphere), Water: Almost exclusively water, this hemisphere is populated by the most reclusive people of Gemma. With the lack of land masses on which to establish settlements, the people decided (in a hard-headed display of ingenuity) to conquer the sea from within. Taking a page from Andrew Ryan, they cut themselves off from the rest of the world and created self-contained cities under the waves. They're completely self-sufficient, utilizing the oceans bounty of ambient flora and fauna to survive. The people of the water hemisphere tend not to take too kindly to outsiders for a number of reasons; a sense of superiority from their chosen living situation, lack of contact due to their reclusive nature, a hatred of pollution and those who cause it (putting them at odds with anyone from the Fire Hemisphere), an envious frustration towards farmers of the Earth Hemisphere who's ancestors claimed the land but didn't have to work to make it habitable, etc.

Vento Emisfero (Wind Hemisphere), Cielo Emisfero (Sky Hemisphere), Posto Della sabbia (Place of Sand [Did You Know? If you type it in all lowercase then it translates to 'instead of sand'. I find this funny as I imagine the people there would prefer any other living condition instead of sand]), Wind: Probably the most fleshed out of all the hemispheres by virtue of being the starting location, the Wind Hemisphere is a wasteland of sand prone to whirlwinds and sandstorms. As such, the actual surface is mostly uninhabited aside from pockets of settlements sprouting up from popular trade routes and the land being stable enough to allow for solid buildings. The farther into the continent one goes, the less stable the sandylands, the more violent the wind storms (due to proximity to the wind crystal) and the less likely flora is going to be able to survive. However, there are settlements of people in the sky living in floating cities kept aloft by the intense wind. While I did borrow a bit from Bioshock Infinite in the way of possibly interconnected floating cities, that's about where the similarities end. I thought of these people as welcoming, carefree and just generally warm due to the freedom their lifestyle allows. These cities were probably founded by air pirates (because what is an FF game without airships?) in an attempt to create a place outside of standardized government rule. Over time it went from a hideaway to being populated by ex-pirates and their families, eventually becoming a fully recognized settlement over the course of many years. Despite being pirates or descendants, they're not greedy. In actuality, they understand that trinkets and gil are meaningless once a life is over, and instead think of physical objects as a shared commodity with which to make the harsh desert environment more bearable for everybody.

La Giuntura stesso (The Same Joint) & La Giuntura i due (The Two Joint), the two midpoints on the planet where all four of the hemispheres meet: I realized immediately that by making the planet four equal hemispheres that there'd be two points at which they converge. My thinking is that these are massive cityscapes with a booming economy and a mishmash of cultural identity; think all the big cities of the world just rolled together. I figured I'd give the vibe of Las Vegas to one and a New Orleans in the midst of a perpetual mardi gras to the other. I wanted Gemma to have a few more big cities, and what better place geographically than at the point where all the different cultures are closest to one another, allowing for trade and a flow of information.

While all the hemispheres have a dominant element that the topography and weather are based on, all the hemispheres do have traces of the other elements. The Water Hemisphere will have small islands, the Air and Fire Hemispheres will have pockets of water or oases (plural of oasis) and the Earth Hemisphere will have the occasional volcanic activity. I attribute this to the dominate crystal at the core of Gemma and it's lifestream. The lifestream itself is not tangible like actual water. I don't think I'm going too far by saying in FF7 and its affiliates that the lifestream is kind of a mix between liquid and plasma; able to be touched but not so dense that it can't pass through solid objects. This lifestream binds the planet, flows through it and keeps it cohesive. It acts as a relay of information through the dominant crystal, the elemental crystals and any other hot spots that the lifestream may currently be flowing into. The lifestream is constantly moving and flowing underneath the surface of the planet, filtering up into ley lines and focus sites that promote change in the local flora & fauna or as an energy source that people can tap into. For the most part the people of Gemma (Gemmans? Gemmians? Gemmites? no, that makes them sound like tiny bugs) are unaware of the lifestream or at least unsure of its nature.

In addition to interspersed pockets of alternative elements in the hemispheres, their borders are also areas of constant change and turmoil. The shared border of Earth & Fire is as beautiful as it is dangerous; the merging of the respective energies causing unpredictable volcanic activity while the ultra-rich soil causes plant life to be greatly exaggerated, resulting in a dense tropical forest. I'm less sure of the border of Earth & Water, unable to decide which would be more interesting between miles-high cliffs that loom over the ocean or a secretive swamp that people who decide to venture into rarely make it out of (or both). Water & Wind are like a resort destination, the water and sand blending together to make a picturesque vacation spot. Wind & Fire (my personal favorite and the first idea I had for the borders) is a jagged glass-scape, the heat melting the sand into undulating sheets of glass miles long. Once this happens, air trapped underneath the glass creates a buildup of energy that escapes only when fire meets the air, resulting in an explosion of glass shards and a righteous fire-cyclone. FUCKING. METAL.

So that's the long and short of it... ok the long of it. Sorry. When I started writing this, I wasn't expecting to have it be this long. It actually took me the better part of two days to write it in here. I do hope it was informative for anyone who took their time to read it. I encourage everybody to use this as a setting if you're in need of one or even if you just need a planet as a stop-gap when your group is lost in space or hopping planes. Maybe next time we'll actually get to the adventure. Maybe.

tl;dr Made a planet called Gemma. It has four hemispheres whose topography and weather are influenced by an elemental crystal of Air, Fire, Earth or Water. There's a lifestream in the planet that flows into and out of a massive crystal in the core of the planet.

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Part the Third or The One In Which Things Actually Happen

BOY-HOWDY am i excited. So by now everyone should know about the players and the world of Gemma, now we get into their first foray into adventure. I placed the group in the FF canon town of Rabanastre which resides in the (also canon) continent/world of Ivalice. This was done intentionally, kind of as an homage to both that particular setting and FF in general. Ive always lurved the FF Tactics games as well as FF12, so i wanted to add sumthin a lil familiar. Rabanastre is the starter town for FF12, so my thinkin was that its big enough to contain all the essentials of a town while not being too big so that the players dont feel lost. Ivalice itself is really more an appropriation of the name, which i applied to a wide circular section of Gemma that surrounds La Giunturra Stesso and contains all of the hemispheres, thus opening the door for many travelers from vastly different backgrounds.

In the intro to the game, before any playing took place, i explained that each individual PC belongs to the Clan/Guild Centurio, which is presided over by a moogle named Montblanc (Centurio being the default clan name in FF Tactics Advance and Montblanc being a staple character in FFTA & FF12). I did this for a few reasons, the main reason being that i didnt want to begin the game with "You enter a tavern, you see people you need to know, there is a fight and you all become friends thru the joy of punchies". Its basically a cliche at this point and, while taverns certainly have their place in fantasy worlds, it just didnt come across as organic to me. While i was hesitant to outright command that the PCs are a part of an organization that they as players dont know and had no choice in, I felt it was a gamble worth taking. I felt that being a part of a larger organization both helps and restricts them; they have someone who is clearly in charge but also someone who has their back if an encounter went south but the PCs intentions were good. Also, while i do not hold them to 'realistic' cycles of food and sleep the PCs do require income, and having them be conscripted by the clan allows them to grow from lv1 intern nobodies (heh) to to higher leveled subcontractors with their own interpretation of how best to complete a task within certain guidelines. Not to mention that i wanted the clan to be a place of familiarity, where the PCs may have seen one another walking about during their routines, thus allowing for a level of friendliness without them completely knowing or not knowing one another.

SO, they work for Clan Centurio, basically as interns. I establish that they do miscellaneous tasks here and there, but ultimately theyre lil more than errand boys at this point. They get a summons from Montblanc and formally meet one another for the first time outside of his office doors. Theyre waiting for a bit, knocking and getting impatient, before they finally hear a faint "" inside the door. They break in to the darkened office, bookshelves with vast tomes lining the walls. Lowkey the Dragoon equips his lance and the party calls out to whomever they heard. Another " me!..." can be heard at the far end of the room. The party rushes over to find!... a pile of books with a moogles pompom sticking out of it. The party frees him and helps restack the books while Montblanc thanks them and lights all the candles with a snap of his fingers. For Montblancs character, i take my voice into an octave that i didnt think was possible to the point where i sound like ive been suckin helium, and i throw in a few kupos for good measure. He explains he called them because he needs people for a job relating to the clans supplies, and to go and speak with Horace the Seeq in the Centurio Requisitions Department for the details. The party departs to the lower levels of the clan building in search of Horace.

They enter the long, cavernous hall with a wall at the far end. In the center of the wall is a large door, inside the door a window at about chest height for medium creatures and rowed with theft-prevention bars. The party reaches the window and looks inside only to find the wide hunched back of a seeq, doubled over onto the low counter behind the window. Horace is asleep. They call out to him and he awakens with a start. Horace is a jovial guy with a big belly covered in various scars, indicating a past beyond being a desk jockey. The party says theyre there to assist him with his requisition issue and are ready to get started. Horace is excited that the issue is on its way to being solved and starts hurriedly grabbing various items from here and there around the shop, all while explaining the nature of the task: The clan is hard-up for supplies, the usually shipment being several weeks late. Horace arms are grabbing at things unseen as he continues to explain. The thought is that the supplies are closer to town than farther, based on timetables and communication with other buyers and sellers, which makes it all the more strange that it hasnt arrived. Various power tools can be heard behind the counter. The partys job is to find out what happened to it and, more importantly, get the supplies to town. Horace looks up at party, beaming with joy. "It's done!" he exclaims excitedly, just before lifting a MASSIVE scooby doo-esque hoagie and proceeding to eat the whole thing in much fewer bites than one would think possible to eat a sandwich of that size. The party stares in annoyance and disbelief as Horace reclines back and lets out a contented sigh. The party shakes it off and gets the location info for the task, then proceed to head out. On the way out of the hall, i had them roll a quick perception check to get em used to the idea. A few of them made it and, on looking back at the massive wall-containing-a-door-containing-a-window, they see hinges on one edge of the wall, implying that its not a wall at all and Horace deals in much more than the standard sword and potion.

The party sets out into the desert, not taking chocobos because they dont have that much gil and its not far enough to warrant every ones favorite FF birb. They travel the road that the shipment typically uses and find a bridge-out over a rocky and somewhat deep ravine. I have em roll a few perception checks based on what theyre lookin at, and one of the PCs finds an old sign in the dirt. Its words that trace the edges of the sign are written in a language that none of them can understand, or maybe its just too weathered for anyone to make it out. One thing about the sign is clear; in the center is a figure in a shape not unlike a swastika, with two circles above one oblong circle to indicate what could be a face, with various straight lines all over its body. A few of them get it immediately, but i remind them not to meta. Once the various members have completed their perception checks of the bridge, they deduce that based on the wood and the nature of the destruction, fallen rocks are the culprit. This is strange, as while there are certainly plenty of rocks available, theres no verticality in the area to allow for a rock slide to happen. Furthermore, there are localized scorch marks on some of the bridge beams, indicating some kind of lightning-based magic. The party is puzzled and im so fucking happy. Across the way, the party can see a stopped wagon laden with a massive amount of supplies. The PCs with wings can make it, but the others need some alternate means of getting past the gully of rocks. The party ties a rope to a bridge-post and, in a stunning display of cinematic storytelling, Lowkey the Aegyl jumps with the other end of the rope and glides across the gully to the awe of the group. He ties the rope off and, with some basic checks, the group gets across safely.

The party meets up with the driver of cart, who explains that with the bridge out he'd have to take an alternate path that takes a lil bit longer. Problem is, this path that is usually just an out-of-the-way stretch of road that became more or less obsolete with the bridge being present, is now infested with a variety of wildlife that make passing thru without incident nigh impossible. Clear the mobs, the cart can continue.

So the party hits their first battle scenario, and for many gamers this is what its all about. I place their figures in the corner of a flat-ish desert clearing, with a small dried creek bed bisecting the middle and a few rocky outcroppings around, to add a lil variety. The mobs present are a few of the first level flan(s?) that seem to be fighting some vampire bats in various places around the area. In addition to that, before anyone is permitted to move, I wanna give the PCs a little show. In the far corner of the map, opposite the party, is a medium chicken-like creature that seems agitated. Its pawing the ground with its chickeny legs and strutting around as something small and green darts around an erratic fashion. I give the PCs a chance to roll 2 perception checks, one medium and one a lil harder for the smaller size at a distance. A few of them recognize the cockatrice, a monster with a CR3 by itself, and only 1 or two of the PCs got the smaller creature, a cactuar. The party is officially afraid and i love it. They begin discussing other options to fighting, all while keeping their eyes on the cockatrice/cactuar brawl thats about to go down. The cockatrice looks like its about to go in, when out of nowhere the cactuar unleashes 'thousand needles', a spray of barbs that just rip thru the larger beast. The PCs are in a terrified state of awe. The cactuar bounces back and forth for a moment, staring at its handiwork, then runs off into the horizon, leaving only a dust trail and an ass-ton of needles behind. The party is cool to fight now.

I had a few reasons for wanting to show the party this random clip from FF National Geographic. Firstly, i wanted to remind them that they are not the most powerful stalwart heroes of the land. As id mentioned in the first post, we ran a D&D beginner box before the FFd20 game which lasted 10 or so play sessions and ended with the party being VASTLY overleveled (a clear oversight of mine that i did not intend to have happen again). Second, i wanted the players to understand that some things are going to be beyond their abilities, but in such a case there would be warning. Im not the kind of person that would throw them to the wolves and laugh while they bleed out one by one, and i want them to know that. Lastly, i wanted them to see something COOL. And cool it was. Oh, and there was a story element to it, but thatll come into context in a later post.

And so the fight begins in earnest. The party members move around, bit by bit, feeling out the situation. The flans are fighting the bats. The PCs start engaging, with Draco the Arcane Bomber throwing a few cantrips of fire and earth orbs, Cid the MWS shooting some bolts thru a flan, and Lowkey the Dragoon leaping majestically with his jump ability before crushing a bat into non-existence. Draco goes on to throw one of his arcance bombs at a flan, the element hed chosen as his permanent attribute being lightning. We take far too long looking up throwing rules (again, my fault. I knew hed be throwing bombs so i shouldve had at least a cursory idea of how that goes). The bomb detonates spectacularly, the area briefly bathed in the light of arcing electricity as the sharp smell of ozone lingers. Oh, also Elyot the Sword Saint missed a buncha times and So the W.Mage fluttered around. Ahh, good times with tabletop games. Of course, good times never last. Most of the creatures had been eliminated, either by the party or by one another, and all that was really left was a bat and a flan. Easy.

So the party starts takin shots at this bat, cuz its closer, and just whiffing all of them. The few that do connect a the lowest damage outcome. It gets to the point that we start pretending the bat is like neo and its just matrix-dodging everything. We even start to love it a lil bit, with Elyots player saying that he almost didnt want it to die just because it persevered so long. If the turns had looped back to Elyot, i wouldve made the bat his pet (cuz hed wanted a pet anyways) and i thought itd be funny to kinda commemorate their first battle with a spazzy group mascot. Alas, it was not meant to be, and the bat got its face-body caved in by So's light orb. All that remained was a flan, which had been engaged by Lowkey and/or Elyot during this time. And thats when it happened, the thing that i as the GM never expected... a tank went down, and then ANOTHER TANK WENT DOWN. Shite. Allow me to explain; one of our house rules is that no one rolls for crit confirmation. I figure nat 20's are rare enough that i shouldnt take it away from the players when they finally do get them, and because i have the monsters do it too, it adds a lil spice to the game. Whelp, that motherfuckin flan rolled a nat 20, and took out Lowkey the Dragoon. Now we gotta look up rules for PCs goin down, as well as death and recovery (hopefully not in that order). This takes a lil too long (as these things do) and i get variety of different rules from which i cant tell what is accurate. We make a decision, i make a note to read up on this further, we press on. Combat, and the party tries to rez Lowkey. Nat 20, Elyot goes down. FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK.

I pause, unsure of how to proceed. I hadnt counted on this. The party is now comprised entirely of squishies. I do the only thing i can think of at the time, and im not proud of it; i employ deus ex machina. The old cart driver shouts from the edge of the map, "How ya'll holdin' up?!". The party replies as youd expect and he runs out with something in his hands. He gives Draco, who is both the closest to the entrance and the furthest away from the flan, 5 vials of a red substance. "Them are cure potions, just drink 'em to heal up! Ya'll. Owe. Me." and then he promptly flees the scene. I explain the exact nature of the cure potions and what the appropriate actions are for using them, then give the players time to deliberate on the best course of action. Eventually they figure out a formula and the game continues. The battle concludes, not with a bang, but a whimper. The party won. They can go home. Before they do, however, they inspect some of the monster corpses and come back with a few cactuar needles for Cid and the tail of the cockatrice.

The cart makes it back safely to the town, and the party checks in with Horace. Hes pleased, and offers the party a permanent 15% discount on all merch sold by the guild, on top of their gil reward for the completed task. The party then goes to Montblanc to let him know that the job is down. He informs them that this whole scenario, tho necessary, was an experiment to see how the PCs could work with one another to form an effective team. He says that they should expect to see one another much more often from then on.


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(01-30-2016, 10:05 PM)lostnobody87 Wrote: The sad fact is... I've never beaten a Final Fantasy game. Not a one. Viladin will be so disappointed in me!

Senpai doesn't notice you anymore.
(02-23-2016, 02:38 PM)Viladin Wrote:
(01-30-2016, 10:05 PM)lostnobody87 Wrote: The sad fact is... I've never beaten a Final Fantasy game. Not a one. Viladin will be so disappointed in me!

Senpai doesn't notice you anymore.

Part the Fourth or Everybody's Workin' for the Weekend

HOLY NUBS! It's been awhile. At this rate I'll be updating at the same rate as Viladin (zing!). I kid, I kid. These posts are little more than me vomiting out words when I have a free moment between work, school and crying over the land before time on vhs. What Viladin, and by extension all the fine folks who contribute to FFd20, do is far more nuanced and time-intensive. Im stoked every time i see a new update, and my group is very interested to see how the Sword Saint gets updated, as it directly applies to one of our characters. And can we take a moment to talk about the new Turk class? I always knew that shinra or a shinra-like entity would exist in the game im hostin, and you cant have shinra without turks takin care of the dirty work, so im very excited (and relieved) to have a source to pull from.

So, when we last left our ragtag group of heroes they had just staggered back to town after what couldve been a serious whuppin. It was a very eye-opening experience for everyone involved. I had warned them that this game wasnt going to be a walk in the park like the beginner box before it (told em to think less dynasty warriors, more dark souls). But to have the two tanks go down in the very first combat encounter was an unintended side-effect of house rules and die rolls. Well, you live and you learn, and that experience taught me as a GM to pay closer attention to creatures beyond the standard CR when prepping. So theres that.

Now that the boys are back in town, I figured Id give the players a lil down-time. As I mentioned before, I dont ask the players to micromanage or relay information of their food, drink or sleep cycles until theyre in a survival situation. While it certainly has the potential to heighten the role playing experience, Ive found as a player that such things are tedious and distracting, stopping the flow of information between GM and players to let everyone know your char has eaten lunch that day. That being said, I still wanted the players to think about the day-to-day minutia that their chars go thru when theyre not adventuring, so I had them each select a profession and craft of their choice (if they didnt have one already). I figured itd keep the players grounded, reminding them that theres a world beyond monster killin and allowing them to step into their chars a lil bit, as well as supplementing their individual income without breaking the bank.

Following is the chars, their professions & crafts:
Lowkey the Dagroon, Farming & Cooking
Elyot the Sward Saint, Blacksmithing & Weaponsmithing (i think?)
Cid the Mako Weapon Specialist, Engineering & ... more Engineering (im bad at this)
So the W. Mage, Healing & Alchemy
Draco the Arcane Bomber, Fishing & Cooking
Bonus! Rian Libra the Eldritch Raider, Librarian (GET IT? IM GENIUS) & Traps

On the technical side of things, I first had the players roll a d20, add their profession skill to whatever they rolled and then i just multiplied by 10 or something to get the total gil of what they worked that day. It IMMEDIATELY became apparent that this was a half-assed (not to mention unbalanced) way of doin profession checks and was not going to work. I needed to think of something new for profession and crafting whenever we played next, so thatll get covered in the next post. As far as story goes: Lowkey went to work on the farm, Draco caught a big-ass fish, Elyot worked with his NPC father as a blacksmith, So made chump-change as an ER nurse (a big reason I saw the need to alter the checks), and Cid... chose not to work.

Instead, he opted to create a reloading modification for his crossbow, an idea I helped him form while the first encounter was under way. As I understand it, loading or reloading is a move action (im new and dont have a head for rememberin copious rules, plz correct if wrong). Between Cid whiffing throughout the entirety of the groups first battle and his frustration at not bein able to move and shoot in the same turn, as well as trying to get him and the other players into their chars a lil bit, I told him durin the encounter that his char starts to look at his weapon mechanically, the way an engineer would. A tool or machine aint workin the way an engineer thinks it should, theyll take it apart until it does what they want it to do. Between game sessions I came up with a few ideas, and on game night I gave him an option of two devices that he could attempt to make: The first would allow reloading as a standard action with no chance to fail the reload w/ a ten-bolt clip, thus allowing a lil more versatility in combat. The second (and the one I figured hed go for) would allow reloading as a swift action but with an 80% success rate w/ a ten-bolt clip, meaning every time he reloaded hed roll percentile. If he failed, the weapon would jam until the next turn, at which point he could attempt the reload again. I gave him a series of checks over the course of the in-game week, each check adding a lil bit more difficulty, until he succeeded. And succeed he did! With not one but two nat 20's. On the first one I made the creation process shorter by a day, but the second I figured Id offer sumthin more substantial, so I allowed that first clip a +1 to hit in the next encounter. Overall, the group felt that it was a good way to spend a week and they enjoyed the chance to earn some extra money, setting the precedent for work-weeks in between quests. Oh, and the party took the time to repay the Old Wagon Driver for the cure potions (threw it in for continuity).

With the week done, Montblanc summons the PCs to his office. The party arrives and Montblanc informs em of a job of a different sort; a requisition comin from another member of Clan Centurio. The request is to find a old-looking statue of questionable origin in a cave just on the outskirts of an abandoned town, secure it and bring it back to the guild for inspection. Naturally, the party is curious as to why their fellow guildy cant accomplish such a task. Montblanc can only respond that their guildmate insists theres other time-sensitive things that need to be taken care of, and so a request is made for someone reliable to see a job thru to the end. The party is more or less satisfied with this explanation and theyre prepared to set out, but Montblanc stops briefly stops them. He says that, considering theyre a team now, they need a team name. Being that theyre all of different races, some wielding magic and others with blade and lance and shining armor, they need a name that evokes majesty and wonder... SPARKLE MOTION. (Honestly it was just sumthin I thought of between sessions to mess with em. Donnie Darko is one of my favorite movies and they all took it like champs, so the name stuck)

So the party sets out, a lil more sure of themselves now that theyve been thru combat and have a better understanding of how pathfinder works and their individual roles. I give the players a chance to make some small talk on the way to their location, mostly just to see what they do in character. A short discussion of workin as a team plays out; not much, but its always difficult to get into character when youre startin out and you gotta give em props for tryin. The party reaches the town, deserted and half-buried in sand, before movin on to the cave. Theyre immediately cautious, and Lowkey voices his concern that he wont be able to use his dragoons leap in an enclosed environment. Elyot takes out his hooded lantern and shines it into the mouth of the cave (theres a phallic joke in here somewhere, I just know it!), but in doing so he awakens a handful of bats who proceed to swarm out. The party makes short work of the bats, eager to vilify themselves after the first combat encounter.

They proceed into the cave, fanning out a bit and checking some side tunnels, when the PCs notice something not unlike the low ember of a dying campfire light up in the back of the cave... and then another... followed by like six more HOLY HELL ASS BALLS. They woke up some fire beetles. Not incredibly threatening, but after last game theyre not takin any chances. Cid works on getting line-of-sight on the beetles while the rest of the group defensively backs up in order to close ranks. It's here that I notice another potential issue, one that some people may disagree with my methods of handling, but I guess we'll see. With so many beetles in an enclosed environment, it becomes very obvious that a well-placed lightning grenade from Draco could damage or kill most of them in a single go. I knew it was a possibility, but faced with the sudden reality that they could take out the majority of these mobs with little to no effort didnt sit well with me. I asked for a short break so that I could research and they obliged. After looking up explosives and AOE magic for about 10 minutes, I... got flustered and made an arbitrary dc. Basically, when he throws his bombs he rolls a dc10, doesnt make the dc then the bomb is a dud. I knew I didnt like this setup as soon as I had the player do it, but the party took it in stride and I made a mental and literal note to fix this before next game (explanation in the next post).

* As a quick aside, Id like to just restate that we're all very new at this, especially me. When I originally had proposed the idea of hosting the game to my friends, Id had no idea that so many of them would be interested. Additionally, the mage classes are some of the most intricate and rules-intensive classes in many tabletop RPGs, and the arcane bomber combines them with the also very complicated chemist. What Im sayin is, Im not tryin to handicap Draco (or anybody for that matter), Im not tryin to be a dick by nerfin him, and Im certainly not tryin to break the game. But sometimes, when a game is goin on, stoppin for long amounts of time is a real mood-killer. Some of these rules I make up on the fly and some of em I ponder for a week or two between games. Some of em will work out and some of em really, REALLY wont. Ultimately, if my players are havin fun and I feel like Im doin right by em, then I figure a bent rule isnt gonna hurt. IGNORE ME! *

Draco throws the bomb, its a dud, we rp it out a lil bit and the party goes on to murderin the beetles. Cid gets a sweet crit on one and the bolt passes thru its body and pins it to the ground, and Elyot destroyed one with the power of darkness, so that was cool. The ground is splashed with quickly dimming neon-orange blood and the group is feelin good. I believe at this point we had a hiatus that lasted several weeks, but when we came back to the game the group was rarin to find the macguffin and be on their way. Elyot moves to an offshoot tunnel as the rest of the group is checkin out where the beetles came from. As Elyot is shining his light around, his beam glides over what appears to be a large amount of junk at the far end of a wall. Wagon wheels, chairs, doll, moldy or rotten food, all bound together in a pile with a kind of stringy, nearly translucent substance. He traces the lanters beam up the wall of garbage when he sees something move on the cave ceiling. It blinks its miscellaneous eyes at the introduction of the light cast on it, and methodically lowers one set of legs to the ground, finds its balance, then proceeds to lower the other set.

Elyot is calling for the group. Lowkey admonishes him for not waiting before exploring further, but it doesnt matter now. Elyot sets the lantern down so that it shines into the cave where the thing is as the rest of the party moves into position to see it. The creature looks like a mix between a crab and an insect, but giant and with a purple carapace. Its a cave fisher, but they dunno that. Elyot had taken a moment to relearn his encroaching darkness ability, but the CF is able to make the saving throw for half damage and now Elyot is a target. The CF shoots out its filament that acts like a tow-line and entangles Elyot. As the party moves in to help their teammate, theyre greeted by two giant centipedes that scurry along the ceiling and floor with little clicky tika-tika-tika-tika sounds. Draco chucks a bomb and does significant damage to the CF and a centipede, while the rest of the party engages closer or tries to free Elyot before the CF can reel him in. Elyot gets free and is ready to rip some shit up as Lowkey keeps the CF at bay. Draco hurls another bomb and the CF is on its last legs, but its a crit from Cid that finishes the creature off. (I always let the players explain how they kill things, and with a crit it gives em the chance to be a lil more over-the-top.) Cids bolt strikes the CFs underbelly, but the combination of precision and cavitation caused by the speed and rotation of the bolt rips the creature open, causing the steaming innards to spill out (perfectly cooked by Dracos grenade).

All thats left is a centipede, and Elyot is still frustrated about gettin strung up. The party helps facilitate his kill a lil bit, but a good roll splits the centipede almost all the way down the middle. It twitches in death and I play some victory fanfare music. Cid tries some of the CF meat and it is DELICIOUS, like fresh-cooked lobster. The only way it could be better is if they had some melted butter. Elyot searches the trash pile and locates an old, football-sized statue of an unrecognizable creature. (Heres the part Ive been waiting for). Elyot approaches Lowkey to let him know he thinks he found the object in question. I slide Lowkey a folded note saying simply, "That annoys you." Lowkey gets sassy, at which point I slide Elyot a note sayin the same thing. Elyot leaves Lowkey (who at that point stops feeling frustrated) approaches Cid and Draco, asking if anyone recognizes what the statue might represent. I hand them the same note. Now its just sass flyin left and right and I LOVE IT. Whenever someone goes more than 5 or 10 feet away from Elyot (carrying the statue) they immediately feel fine and cant remember why they were mad. Of course, they all have to walk home, and theres no reason why they wouldnt head back to the city without one another, so their entire walk back is just snide comments whizzin back and forth that the group later assured me was all in good fun (they were quite convincing).

Back in town they nearly break down Montblancs door before barging inside. "HERE WE BROUGHT THA THING" is pretty much all theyre able to get out at this point. Montblanc seems less affected than they, but that could be chalked up to his years as a clan leader and dealing with the pressures that come with the job. Still, he seems slightly agitated at the nature of the presentation. Montblanc calls out and a Nu Mou clad in dark leather armor lowers from the ceiling. The party is startled, and annoyed, by this new development. "So yeh fewnd et, didjeh? Hahnd'et ouvehr". The party is wary, but Montblanc informs them that she is Rian Libra, a clan member and the person who requested the job. They reluctantly hand her the statue and she looks it over, turning it up and around in her hands. "Aye, yeh've dewn waill..." at which point she tosses it to the ground, shattering it into pieces on the floor. The PCs are very annoyed by this, one or more echoing the sentiment that if she wanted it destroyed then they couldve done that and saved the hassle. Montblanc simply watches.

"Dohnt'che knohw ehnethen? Brehkin et dewnt dew a'thin!" Rian wanders over to a particular piece that had rolled across the floor, a long gem just small enough to fit inside a closed fist. She picks it up and examines the stone. Its gotta muddy purple coloring that undulates slowly inside the gem with the consistency of dyed milk, and it lets off a kind of reverse-glow. Those clan members in the room who can see a lit candle in the same field of vision as the crystal see the light appear to dim when in a visual proximity to it. Rian takes out a small vial of a bright, clear liquid, unstoppers it and pours it over the crystal. As soon as the liquid touches the gem, the areas where the liquid runs seem to wipe away the darkness inside. She rolls the stone around, making sure the liquid coats the entirety its surface area. All anger had by the the people in the room disappears. "Whehn'a jehm ehs taented, yehve goht teh puerehfy et." she explains. "Butchu dehd wail, here'hs yuor pehy." as she hands the PCs each a coin purse. She grins at the party and says "Ahll beh seeyen yue lehter." as a marble-sized black bead rolls out of her hand, bursting into smoke with a POP-hissss as soon as it makes contact with the floor. Montblanc looks on in exasperation as the smoke slowly clears, revealing a partially open door. "Ive asked her not to do that..."


tl;dr - Sparkle Motion worked for a week, fought a cave crab and met the coolest thief this side of the Fire Hemisphere.

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(04-17-2016, 12:48 AM)lostnobody87 Wrote: HOLY NUBS! It's been awhile. At this rate I'll be updating at the same rate as Viladin (zing!).

I like following the story~
thanks for the update..

I like readinga bout other FF RPs. Plus it the closest I'll get to one for a while it seems haha.
(04-17-2016, 08:32 PM)Zwordsman Wrote: I like following the story~
thanks for the update..

I like readinga bout other FF RPs. Plus it the closest I'll get to one for a while it seems haha.

I'm glad you like keeping up with our story, but I'm sorry you haven't been able to get into one of your own. Maybe ask around at your local video game store, or make one of those pull-tab flyers and ask if you can post 'em up around the book stores or coffee shops? I've thought about playing/hosting online, but it's a struggle for me to have the time for the game currently in progress, let alone start up a new one if no one can GM.

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nah no worries.
Sadly in the town i live in, very small, there is only one RP group.. and they are not good people. Plus I'm probably going to move at some point anyway..
I'll find one sometime. Until then I shall live off the scrapes of story!

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