1.) What is your game about?
NJB: A pen&paper made of the complete final fantasy universe.
Jeff: Our game is about emulating the Final Fantasy experience. It should be able to accurately simulate any games made up to this point, and be versatile enough to require only moderate houserules to match new games in the future. Likewise, any films or comics should be readily emulated. Finally, the game should also be capable of generating wholly new stories which still feel and play like a real final fantasy game.
2.) What do the characters do?
NJB: Adventuring for the most part. As most final fantasy storylines involve the heroes saving the world (more or less damn you Kafka), it will impliment suggestions on different end of the world scenarios for the DM ontop the other stuff you would expect from a pen&paper game.
Jeff: In short, they change the world. Final fantasy protagonists are the movers and shakers of the world. Nearly every major event which happens in the game, happens because they were on screen. Typically, they save the world, but this isn't always the case. (In FFVI, Kafka destroyed the world- the heroes technically failed! This makes Kafka the single baddest badass in Final Fantasy history- though he also technically lost in the end.)
3.) What do the players (including the GM if there is one) do?
NJB: Fight monsters, explore dungeons, fight wars, fight gods, go on quests to get new summons, help old ladys carry heavy stuff. There is no limits, the only limits are the DMs imagination.
Jeff: Obviously, the players take the role of their characters, but beyond that, I don't know! I don't even know if a GM function should exist.
4.) How does your setting (or lack thereof) reinforce what your game is about?
NJB: The setting is based on a world made up of all of the Final Fantasy worlds put together into one.
Jeff: The setting should not be tied to the system, but I'd like to include converted material from all of the games, allowing players to run those settings, as well as a final unified setting which turns all of that content into a single setting. Because it would be all direct conversions of the source material, it would at least be thematic... Though I don't believe setting should be the defining factor of what a game is "about"; it's just window trimming. What matters, really, is how content and setting are treated by the game, how they're handled, represented, and interacted with.
5.) How does the Character Creation of your game reinforce what your game is about?
NJB: It will be simple and easy to uinderstand, with not to many complicated equations. I think I will Implimint just the -5to+5 system and ignore the stupid 1to20 system though.
Jeff: I'd like something really character-driven, where just coming up with ideas for the character is enough to put together a functional, balanced, and meaningful character sheet. Maybe something like interlock, but more abstract and selective? For example, you could sit down and think up ideas for a character using a general template to ensure a wholistic description, then go through a list of features, checking off the ones which describe your character best. Once you're done, you'll have essentially assembled hundreds of tiny, modular, partial templates into a single, functional character. Kind of like a lifepaths system, but covering the whole of chargen, and revolving entirely around the brainstorming phase. Something with very little math or technical mechanical rules. Something that can be used to slap together a dozen rich and involving characters in a matter of moments by a bunch of non-gamers in a convention hotel room. Something fast and exciting, which lets players dive straight into the group's creativity, and drives everyone directly into immediate gameplay. It should be very "pickup and go" like a videogame.
6.) What types of behaviors/styles of play does your game reward (and punish if necessary)?
NJB: Good actions recieve posititive points to the alignment, and evil actions cause negative points to the alinment. -25 to +25 is neutral, - 26 to -100 is evil, and +26 to +100 is good.
Also if the DM feels that you did multiple good deeds to lead up to a great evil deed they can reward x4 evil points to alignment (ex. Do enough good deeds to cause a civilization to make you a king, and then become a tyrant). The same applies for multiple evil deeds leading up to a great good deed. This way you can include motives to influence the characters alignments.
Jeff: I think the game should most strongly reward people who do things from a narrative perspective, rather than a gamist or simulationist one. Though the videogames are VERY gamist, the gaming element happens kind of "between the scenes", as the player navigates the characters through the details until they get to the next major step in the plot line; gameplay and gamism has no impact on narrative! Nobody used a phoenix down on Aeris after she was stabbed by Sephiroth, because phoenix downs aren't part of the narrative, they're a game piece. There is a very clear wall between the two, allowing them their own dedicated space and time, and they do not interact with each other. The only major plot point which can be determined via the gameplay is whether the protagonists die before they inevitably save the world. Therefore, gamism takes a considerable back-seat to narrative, with story and characterization dictating just about every other element of the game. These are stories come to life with sections you can "play" through. They are interactive cinema and literature combined. By making an RPG, we are basically making the players into living interactive literature, interacting with each other. Honestly, if done right, the game could theoretically hold profound implications on the nature of games, literature, art, and performance.
7.) How are behaviors and styles of play rewarded or punished in your game?
NJB: Basically same as previous answer.
Jeff: I have NO idea. I guess I'd rather avoid a strict behavioral reward/punishment system. My objective here isn't to condition the players; who do you think I am, Dr.Donald Ewen Cameron?? Really, I'd prefer to make a game system where a certain mode of play, however broad, is the only meaningful way to play, with xploiters and twinks finding themselves relegated to combat duty, playing no meaningful role in the story, while attention whores and glory hogs find their behavior to eventually conflict with the true nature of their character, not only exposing them, but also mechanically shutting off the spotlight when it happens.
8.) How are the responsibilities of narration and credibility divided in your game?
NJB: Mostly that will be done by the DM.
Jeff: Preferably, I would like a game which could be entirely player-driven, without a GM, while still maintaining impartiality of the extra-character elements. (How can players dictate genuinely effective tactics in their enemies, when their goal is to defeat them?) If done right, five kids can make characters and all play together in one sitting, with little to no setup, and no division of the participants into function roles. A two-player game should not only be possible, but fun. How to do that in an unbiased, orderly, and constructive way? I have no idea. One strategy is to go all MET blood opera style, forcing players to take on general roles which group some, and divide others. This would create competing protagonist views which perceive each other as antagonists. Though highly efficient in generating highly character-oriented gameplay in intimate and informal settings involving strangers on short notice, it does little to support the linear, black vs. white style of Final Fantasy. Another option would be to intentionally allow a certain portion of the participants to actually play as antagonists. Another technique may be to give players narrative or story points, letting them collaboratively create setting and narrative in a competitive manner, like Dawn of Worlds, but with more of a literary objective, rather than a material one. With such a system in place, even with a GM, the party would be able to fight and regulate power abuses, and rerail the railroad, without abruptly ending the game.
9.) What does your game do to command the players' attention, engagement, and participation? (i.e. What does the game do to make them care?)
NJB: Quests, battles, challenges, unique game mechanics.
Jeff: Well, just by making character the single most important, central element and theme of all gameplay, we're already engaging the players interest, but there should be something about the characters which holds the players in the game. Again, I'm tempted to go a little MET here by building character connections into the chargen system intrinsically. Thus, by having a vested interest in their own character, they are motivated to have a vested interest in each others characters. Another thing which can be done, is to build elements of the setting into the characters, while simultaneously letting the players build some of their character into the setting. A prime example of building the setting into the characters is a lifepaths system, while prime examples of players building their characters into the setting are strongholds and contacts. By doing this, the character becomes intrinsically intertwined as part of the setting, and the setting becomes a fundamental element of the character. Thus, by having a vested interest in their character, they must also have a vested interest in the setting.
10.) What are the resolution mechanics of your game like?
NJB: Not sure if I understand the question.
Jeff: I want to use d10s for everything because they look like little diamonds. Very thematic. And 10s are super easy math. I'd prefer to use all addition, because it is the fastest form of math. On the other hand, barrel dice more closely resemble FF style crystals, but basically nobody has those. I'd like characters to roll more and more dice as they become more powerful, giving that "feeling of power" in your hand as you shake the dice. Because narrative is the primary focus, there needs to be ways to inject narrative into resolution, possibly even using narrative rules AS resolution in some cases. Could be done via destiny points and arguments. That way, you can do things like permanently kill off a character in a setting which uses frequent resurrection effects. Another technique would be to use resource points primarily, with dice only playing a minor role in emulating factors of chance and chaos.
11.) How do the resolution mechanics reinforce what your game is about?
NJB: Not sure I understand the question.
Jeff: I don't know. I don't like any of my ideas, because none of them do this, and I desperately want a mechanic which just "feels" Final Fantasy, you know?
12.) Do characters in your game advance? If so, how?
NJB: JP will be used to level up jobs and skills, 100jp to level up a job, 50jp to level up a skill.
The first level of each job or skill must be first purchased at a job trainer who offers the said skill/job for the same prices as previously mention, all other levels afterward can be purchased without a job trainer. They character can get every job possible as well as advance to a maximum of level 20 in each job.
Another exception to the normal rules is at character creation you get a set amount of jp to buy skills and the job, the normal costs apply but a job trainer is not needed.
Acquiring JP: You will begin with a set amount at character creation, further JP will be acquired by these means:
(Magic, Ki, Chi, Lifestream, life energy.) The basis of all life it exists in everything magic involves using your life energy to manipulate the energys around you, or to create unique effects within other living things (poisoning, weakining, healing). Nearly everything your character does takes mana. From walking, running, period of time with out rest, attacking, using magic, dodging, blocking, riding horses, sitting in a mobile vehicle or cart, reading, learning, using skills and abilities. Their are also multiple methods to recover mana, ingestible items, and resting recover some energy. While sleeping 4 hours recovers 50%/ maximum mana, and 8 hours recover 100% maximum mana. Also for every mana point you spend for an action, gives you one fatigue point. If your fatigue becomes equal or more than twice your mana points your character passes out from exsotian. 4 hours rest recovers fatigue of an equal amount to a maximum of your maximum, while 8 hours will recover up to double your mana in fatigue points.
Jeff: Yes. The FF games have all featured a level system, where characters collect combat XP and increase in level. Often this is combined with a class/job system. The class system is more like classic RPGs; once selected, it doesn't change, though the class may be intrinsically bound to who the character is. The job system, on the other hand, allows characters to change profession, collecting a patchwork of cross-class skills in the process. Typically, this features a job tree. Another recurring system is a flexible skill/magic "learning" system. The first of these was a weapons proficiency system in the early games, then the sphere grid in FFX, and lately a licensing system has been introduced, where characters select licenses as they increase in level, deciding what equipment and skills they can use. Commonly in the classic and latest games, both equipment and skills had to be purchased, despite skills and magic not being objects. However, in many of the more cinematic games (VI-IX) it was apparent that certain elements of a character were fundamental to their being, such as Bibi being a mage, or Squall's gunblade. Additionally, characters should be intrinsically programmed, by chargen, to change, to grow, to become more than what they are, to become dynamic characters. Thus, a second form of advancement can be introduced, by including character-dependent story arcs into gameplay; the story arcs themselves forcing characters to change. In this case, character development is both crunch AND fluff.
13.) How does the character advancement (or lack thereof) reinforce what your game is about?
NJB: Basically you begin as an average individual and can advance to god level abilities, giving a truly final fantasy feel to the game like never before.
Jeff: It's ALL about the characters, and how they can shape the world- and how it can shape them.
14.) What sort of product or effect do you want your game to produce in or for the players?
NJB: When someone plays a fantasy style game they want to generally create a character based on themselves that can achieve things that they nevber could. I want to give them the freedom to do so.
Jeff: Probably a sense of nostalgia; I want them to get that "Final Fantasy Feeling" which connects all the media together, despite all its inconsistency. I'd also like a strong sense of wonder and excitement, as with any fantastic game. Finally, I'd really like to strongly engage player creativity- the fandom is a very active and involved one, with fanartists, fanficers, amateur game designers, remixers, animators, costumers, and cosplayers making up huge groups within it, making their fandom a hobby. I'd like for those players to still feel engaged and actively involved in the game, but without making any sort of artistic or creative skill necessary for play.
15.) What areas of your game receive extra attention and color? Why?
NJB: The world creation, races available to each area of the world. As well as the job system. Mostly because with what I want to do with the system is to give the characters the freedom to have one character with every job possible, and with the abilitie to get maximum levels in every job as well. Of course this makes some over powered characters, I will also have to make the enemies work on a similar system, just to balance it out. The reason the world would take more time is because the world will include every land mass previous seen in all of the final fantasy games.
Jeff: Chargen and premade content. The chargen system needs to be good enough to really make iconic characters eexplode to life. After all, this is THEIR story! The premade content needs to be done really well, both to prove the versatility of the system, and to prove that we did our homework- that we KNOW what we're doing here. If players actually go and play in the setting of one of the games (I doubt they will) I want them to feel right at home, as if they literally just stumbled into Shinera HQ, or into a game of Blitzball, or into Kafka's throne room.
16.) Which part of your game are you most excited about or interested in? Why?
NJB: Mostly the characters, I would be fun to set up the mechanics for the character creation, it would also be fun to set up the monsters as well, the down side is it will be tedious.
Jeff: The potential for infinite games and stories in Final Fantasy. Not having to wait five years for the next release, just to discover SQUENIX is focusing on an element you dislike. Not being restricted to the railroad they make for you. Playing a creative hand in the creation of a final fantasy game. Exploring alternative stories for old games, or exploring their pasts or futures beyond the games. Being able to take Final Fantasy in whatever direction we want. Not having to worry about the series "jumping the shark" or abruptly ending production because a company closed its doors or decided to go with something "more marketable". Not having to worry about copyright holders turning our favorite characters into caricatures of themselves for merchandising, because, in some way, we'll still have control over "our Cloud", and "our Sephiroth", or "our Vahn".
17.) Where does your game take the players that other games can’t, don’t, or won’t?
NJB: The game will include all the capabilities you would expect from a reguler final fantasy game, multiplied by about 100 times over.
Jeff: It will be built, fundamentally, as much as possible, to give players the "real deal" Final Fantasy experience. Sure, you can replicate any of the settings in any other system, but d20 will always feel a bit more like D&D than FF, and the same goes for any system. This system should do away with that disconnect, and get at the truth of what makes a Final Fantasy game, "Final Fantasy".
18.) What are your publishing goals for your game?
NJB: It would be nice to publish this game, but first we will have to create a beta version, test the game 1000 times over and fix stuff. So finishing the overall game would probably take years, not to mention we would have to purchase the copyrights from square enix just to be able to publish it. Im not going to look into that stuff till the game is fully created and ready to be published. Right now I will only focus on making the game.
Jeff: Free, online, pirate copyrighting. PDF format.
19.) Who is your target audience?
NJB: Young teenagers to adults.
Jeff: Final Fantasy fans!