Skills and Stats: Some Assembly Required (Part Final)   Leave a comment

Welcome to yet another post of Gratuitous JRPG.  Last post, we covered the intricacies of equipment design–laying out the baselines for the varied pieces of equipment our cast would be acquiring and using.  At this point, the only major part of pre-production left before initial character implementation to perform is the development of skillsets.  Not the common pool of template skillsets, but the character-specific non-template skillsets.  This post will be a bit different from the rest, as I actually do not have much to go into on theory that hasn’t been covered already for the most part–and as such, the majority of the post will be dedicated to outlining the character-specific skills, with my rationale for initially designing them this way.

But first, an explanation as to why I covered the generic template spells first.  A good number of people would have designed the unique abilities first, and then left the template abilities for later.  The rationale I had for this was simple: the generic spells would be the baseline–and the general set that every enemy would use.  By setting the baseline as that, and keeping them comparably simple, I could in turn more easily make the character skills stand out more, in a direct contrast with how some half-template games allowed the template skills to overshadow the non-template abilities.  This, in turn, would both make characters more distinct and prevent marginalization of their abilities.

Furthermore, an important point is that while there may be cases of creators who literally fine-tune their games until completion (the most well-known case of this in indie gaming is likely Daisuke Amaya, better known as Pixel, the creator of the very popular Cave Story, who was quoting on saying the game was finished when it was finished), this is not an excuse to postpone a game in pre-production forever with skillset creation and tweaking.  New abilities can be easily enough added after the game is in production, and there is a point where further wait in a pre-production state will hurt a game more than help it–doubly so when it starts causing a degree of fatigue in the creator with a semblance of little to no visible progress.  This can be hard to swallow, especially for perfectionist types who want to get every single thing correct prior to production (I should know, I’m one of them), but it’s advisable if you have a significant amount already set in place to begin production.  Don’t worry, the rest can be added and tuned as need be.

With that out of the way, I’ll be covering abilities by character.  This list, as is usual with my lists, is tentative and subject to change for whatever reason I decide–usually pertaining to balance or fun.  It is also about as complete as I will be attempting to make it for the time being, so do not be surprised if additional abilities show up later on that aren’t on the current list.

Leo

Believe it or not, Leo was one of the hardest ones to devise a skillset for.  Mains without magic in a standard RPG are honestly tricky to work with, especially when you want to emphasize something as action-y as speed-based without a multihit focus.  Leo’s abilities are largely single-hit physical, with most being single-target and a few multitarget cases.  His “shock” skills, however, are a form of pseudomagic, running off of FOC and POW.  Insert your Majinken/Kuuhazan references here, and so on.  Some of these skills are extraordinarily powerful for what they do, but compensate by giving him a unique “Recovering” status that takes him out of action for the next turn–so you have to balance his ability or need to take an action next turn versus getting the extra damage now.  Abilities as follows:

  • Flash Cutter: Offense–Single-target physical damage skill.  Weapon-element, has initiative over most skills.
  • Overextension Break: Offense–Single-target high physical damage skill.  Weapon-element, inflicts Recovering status on user.
  • Battalion Cutter: Offense–Multi-target physical damage skill.  Weapon-element.
  • [Undetermined Offense Skill–inflicts Recovering status on user]
  • [Undetermined Support Skill]
  • Blade Shock: Offense–Single-target magical damage skill.  Metal-element, runs off of POW and FOC against ARM.
  • Burst Shock: Offense–Single-target to multi-target multiphase damage skill.  Metal-element, runs off of POW and FOC against ARM, inflicts Recovering status on user
  • Trinity Shock: Offense–3x Random-target damage skill.  Metal-element, runs off of POW and FOC against ARM, inflicts Recovering status on user.
  • Stun Smash: Exceed/Offense–Single-target physical damage skill.  Weapon-element, has initiative over most skills.  Inflicts Stun status on target.
  • Zeal: Exceed/Support–Self-targeting skill, renders user immune to Recovering status for 3 turns, current included.  Instant-cast.
  • Resolve: Exceed/Support–Self-targeting skill, renders user immune to death from all sources (status and damage) for 3 turns.  Instant-cast.

Friederich

Friederich is an interesting experiment on my part: try to create a character who is largely reliant on basic attacks for damage while leaving him interesting.  Did I succeed?  That question is still up for grabs.  Friederich, in a sense, is a living example of how when you master something, you ultimately become known for doing something basic very well.  This is not to say that he lacks a skillset.  Friederich possesses two alternate attacks that are more notable for their side-effects than their damage, a small addition of Exceed abilities, and a large variety of stances which allow him to change up his abilities as needed.  Combined with being one of the most durable characters in the game, and he hopefully will be seen as potentially useful.

Note: Friederich may only use one stance per turn.

  • Sunder Weapon: Offense–Single-target physical damage skill.  Weapon-element, reduces target PEN in addition to damage.
  • Sunder Armor: Offense–Single-target physical damage skill.  Weapon-element, reduces target ARM in addition to damage.
  • [Undetermined Offense skill?]
  • Guard Command: Support–single-ally targeting support skill.  Puts target into “defending” state.  Has initiative over other skills.
  • Vanguard Stance: Support–self-targeting support skill.  Raises ARM and WIL, reduces EVA and MEV, raises chances of being targeted.  Cancels other stances.  Instant-cast.
  • Steadfast Stance: Support–self-targeting support skill.  Grants regeneration to user and nulls criticals, but greatly reduces FOC and reduces status resistance.  Raises chances of being targeted.  Cancels other stances.  Instant-cast.
  • Frenzied Stance: Support–self-targeting support skill.  Increases swingcount by 1, reduces critical chance to 0 and reduces PEN.  Cancels other stances.  Instant-cast.
  • Tactician’s Stance: Support–self-targeting support skill.  Increases MNT and Counter rate, but lowers POW.  Cancels other stances.  Instant-cast.
  • Berserker’s Stance: Support–self-targeting support skill.  Increases POW and Critical rate, but lowers accuracy, ARM, and WIL.  Cancels other stances.  Instant-cast.
  • Decisive Edge: Exceed/Offense–Single target physical damage skill.  Weapon-element, increased damage.
  • Guard Order: Exceed/Support–Party-target support skill.  Puts entire party into “defending” state.  Has initiative over other skills.
  • Absolute Sunder: Exceed/Offense–Single-target physical damage skill.  Weapon-element, reduces target POW, PEN, ARM, FOC, EVA, and AFR.

Renaud

Renaud has had, to say the least, an interesting development period.  While I originally intended him to be status-oriented, he developed in his own way into something that could be described as an unorthodox utility fighter.  Aside from possessing the best attack for applying weapon status to multiple enemies, he possesses a variety of unusual attacks, including one that’s not dissimilar from SaGa Frontier’s Pain Doubler and an anti-armor attack.  And of course a number of status options.  Can’t be a thief without status options–well, okay, you can, but you’ll be boring beyond belief in most JRPGs’ interpretations of thieves.

  • Absolute Shot: Offense–Single-target physical damage skill.  Weapon-element, ignores AFR, cannot be evaded or countered.
  • Burst Fan: Offense–Multi-target physical damage skill.  Weapon-element, attacks all enemies three times.
  • Insult: Offense–status skill.  Inflicts Enrage on target, increases user’s chances of being targeted
  • Scapegoat: Support?–status skill.  Raises one ally’s chances of being targeted.  Removes target rate boosting on self
  • Repossession: Miscellaneous–acquisition skill.  Steals an item from an enemy.
  • Venom Fang: Offense–Single-target physical damage/status skill.  Wood-element, may inflict Poison.
  • Viral Fang: Offense–Single-target physical damage/status skill.  Wood-element, may inflict Sickened
  • Concussive Shot: Offense–Single-target physical damage/status skill.  Weapon-element, may inflict Sleep.
  • Dust Throw: Offense–Single-target status.  Inflicts Blind on the target.
  • Aggravation Shot: Offense–Single-target physical damage skill.  Weapon-element, damage equals the difference between target’s maximum HP and current HP.  Poor accuracy and ineffective against bosses.
  • Rare Hunter: Exceed/Miscellaneous–acquisition skill.  Steals a rare item from an enemy.
  • Silencer: Exceed/Offense–Single-target physical damage/status skill.  Weapon-element, may instantly kill the target.
  • Overdrive: Exceed/Support–Self-target enhancement skill.  Grants user +4 actions next turn.

Alexis

Alexis is, simply put, a mage, and as such I’ve had to tweak some of his abilities accordingly to go with some ideas I’ve had for him.  Unlike most of the cast, he is going to have a smaller skillset–but compensate for this with ready access to higher-level abilities in Sigil Crests than other characters.  This ability, known as “High Arcana”, is innate to only two characters–Alexis and Azalea.  Outside of that, Alexis is a lot more focused on multitarget abilities than other characters, which gives him some notable utility in spite of his poor durability and mostly straightforward (nevermind hyperfocused) options.

  • Upheaval: Offense–Multi-target magical damage skill.  Earth-element.
  • [Undetermined offensive spell]
  • Crush: Offense–Single-target magical damage skill.  Deals percentile damage to target’s HP.
  • Recovery: Recovery–Multi-target recovery skill.  Heals all allies’ HP.
  • Reinforce: Support–Multi-target support skill.  Improves all allies’ AFR.
  • [Undetermined support spell]
  • Stabilize: Recovery–Multi-target recovery skill.  Cures all allies of physical conditions.
  • Expel: Recovery–Multi-target recovery skill.  Cures all allies of mental conditions.
  • Efficiency: Exceed/Support–Self-target support skill.  Halves cost of all ST-consuming abilities for 3 turns.  Instant-cast.
  • Chaincast: Exceed/Support–Self-target support skill.  Disables non-spellcasting/exceed abilities but grants +1 action/turn for the next three turns.
  • High Arcana: Character is able to use High Arcana spells and High Unleashes from Sigil Crests.

Valeska

Valeska was one of the two easier characters to devise a skillset for.  Her statistical spread can be described as “high-risk, high reward”, sporting the highest PEN of the characters, the second highest POW, and less than optimal defensive parameters.  Her skills accentuate this more, with several lowering her defenses until her next action.  Her focus is singular–killing enemies; and the tougher they are, the better she is at destroying them.  And pity the poor fool who attacks her while she’s using Charge Breaker.

  • Scale Cleaver: Offense–Single-target physical damage skill.  Weapon-element.  Ignores target ARM stat.  Reduces user defenses until next action.
  • Charge Breaker: Support–Self-targeting support skill.  Gives user 100% Critical and Counter rate for the turn.  3-turn cooldown.  Has initiative.
  • Vital Crush: Offense–Single-target physical damage/status skill.  Weapon-element.  Reduces target Critical Resistance.
  • Avoidance: Support–Self-targeting support skill.  Greatly raises user’s Magic Evade for the turn.
  • Finishing Strike: Offense–Single-target physical damage/status skill.  Weapon-element.  Damage raises the closer the enemy is to death.
  • Rage Focus: Support–Self-targeting support skill.  Raises user’s PEN for next attack.
  • Death or Glory: Offense–Single-target physical damage skill.  Weapon-element.  High damage.  Reduces user defenses until next action.
  • Overpenetration: Offense–Sequential-target physical damage skill.  Weapon-element.  Target ARM partially applies.  Followup attack on random target.  Reduces user defenses until next action.
  • Killing Drive: Exceed/Support–Self-targeting support skill.  Greatly raises user’s Critical rate for the next attack.  Instant cast.
  • Coordination: Exceed/Support–Multi-target support skill.  Raises all allies’ Critical rate for the next three turns.
  • Revenger: Exceed/Offense–Single-target physical damage skill.  Weapon-element.  Damage increases proportionally with user HP loss.

Kiri

Kiri was the first character I finished skills for, and probably the one I had the first clear idea of.  She’s a heavy fighter/mage, with a bit of an uncontrollable streak.  This is reflected in her abilities, most of which focus on random or multiple target attacks.  Her accuracy and control are bad, but she more than makes up for it in power.  And if you can set up your party to survive it, she has one of the strongest spells in the game in the form of Megido Cluster.  That is a big if, however.

  • Wild Swing: Offense–Single-target physical damage skill.  Weapon-element.  High variance.
  • Mad Thrash: Offense–4x Random-target physical damage skill.  Weapon-element.
  • Flare Double: Offense–2x Random-target physical damage skill.  Fire-element.  Combines POW and MNT for damage.
  • Detonation Cutter: Offense–Sequential attack skill.  Single-target physical damage followed by Multi-target magic damage.  Physical component is Weapon-element, magic component is Fire-element.
  • Berserker Roar: Offense–Multi-target status skill.  Reduces all enemies’ damage output, may force some enemies to escape.
  • Burn Raze: Offense–Multi-target magical damage skill.  Fire-element.  High base power and poor accuracy.
  • Pandemonium Firecracker: Offense–8x Random-target magical damage skill.  Fire-element.  Bad accuracy.
  • Megido Cluster: Offense–Field-target magical damage skill.  Fire-element.  Cannot be evaded or reflected.  Not subject to MFR.  Targets all except user.
  • Channeling: Exceed/Recovery–Self-targeting recovery skill.  Restores ST.
  • Berserk: Exceed/Support–Self-targeting support skill.  Inflicts Enraged (lasts until dead or dispelled), increases offensive parameters (contiguous with Enraged status)
  • Ascension: Exceed/Support/Recovery–Self-targeting support/recovery skill.  Fully heals user and inflicts transformation status upon user for five turns.  Once fifth turn has ended, transformation ends and ST is reduced to zero.

Caecilia

The other major support-oriented character, Caecilia has a problem with being almost entirely single-target with everything.  She makes up for it with power, however–she has some of the strongest healing spells, and has spells that heal and restore status at the same time.  Adding to this a small selection of support and offensive skills, and she’s a healer that I might enjoy.  The fact that she has the option of using non-staff weapons and not being terrible at it probably does not hurt.

  • Recuperation: Recovery–Single-target recovery skill.  Restores HP and cures physical status from one ally.
  • Catharsis: Recovery–Single-target recovery skill.  Restores HP and cures mental status from one ally.
  • Purge: Recovery–Single-target recovery skill.  Restores all status from one ally.
  • Restoration: Recovery–Sequential recovery skill.  Heavily restores HP to one ally, and lightly restores HP to the rest of the party.
  • Resurrection: Recovery–Single-target recovery skill.  Revives one ally and restores a large amount of HP.
  • Valiant Arms: Support–Single-target support skill.  Raises one ally’s POW and PEN.
  • Alacrity: Support–Single-target support skill.  Raises one ally’s FOC and EVA.
  • Pierce: Offense–Single-target offense skill.  Weapon-element.  Attacks enemy with increased PEN and zero variance.
  • Flurry: Offense–Single-target offense skill.  Weapon-element.  Attacks enemy with increased swingcount.
  • Thrust: Exceed/Offense–Single-target offense skill.  Weapon-element.  Instant-cast.
  • Riposte: Exceed/Support–Self-target support skill.  Greatly increases user Counter rate for three turns.
  • Assault Phalanx: Exceed/Offense–Single-target offense skill.  Weapon-element.  Modifies damage by the difference between user and enemy FOC.  Not subject to evasion, counter rate, or AFR.

Azalea

Azalea is the last character I designed, and perhaps the most difficult to work with.  In particular, I wanted to emphasize how “different” she was from the others through the most distinctive feature of PCs in a JRPG: the skillset.  As such, the best way to describe her is that a lot of her skills are put on backwards, and result in some strange usage situations for her in general.  This may make her less user-friendly, but I find it an entertaining change anyway.  She is nevertheless effective, with her Exceed abilities providing Exceed drain for enemies and a means by which to burn ST for damage–beware this if you’re uncertain about your ability to finish a fight with one character completely out of ST.  For the player wanting something more straightforward, she can also use High Arcana.

  • Fatal Strings: Offense–Multiphase physical offense skill.  Water-element.  Multitarget attack followed by 4x random attack.  Damage is based off of MNT and FOC.
  • Originator’s Regal: Offense–Single-target magical offense skill.  Water-element.  Damage is based off of POW, MNT, PEN, and FOC.
  • Nostalgic Pain: Offense–Single-target magical offense/status skill.  Weapon-element.  Damage is based off of POW and PEN.  May inflict Curse (enemy takes backlash damage) upon the target.
  • Innocent Clockworks: Support–Multi-target support skill.  Improves all allies’ MFR.
  • Scare Swallow: Offense–Single-target magical offense skill.  Wood-element.  Damage is taken against ARM.  [Additional effect pending]
  • Bondage Divider: Offense/Miscellaneous–Single-target magical offense skill.  Weapon-element.  Damage is based off of POW and PEN.  May steal an item.
  • Under The Silence: Offense–Single-target physical offense skill.  Weapon-element.  Damage is taken against WIL.  May inflict Seal.
  • Strange Moon: Offense/Recovery–Single-target physical offense skill.  Wood-element.  Damage is based off of MNT and FOC.  Recovers damage done as healing
  • Inversal Baptism: Exceed/Offense–Single-target physical offense skill.  Weapon-element.  Reduces target’s EX by 25 and blocks EX gain for their turn.  Uses POW, MNT, PEN, and FOC for damage.
  • Desperate Annullus: Exceed/Offense–Multi-target magical offense skill.  No element.  Not subject to magic evasion, reflect rate, or MFR.  Damage based on MP possessed upon casting.  Drains all of user’s MP upon use.
  • High Arcana: Character is able to use High Arcana spells and High Unleashes from Sigil Crests.

Notably, some of these skills were not on the original database, but came into being as I was listing them out.  This is a further reason why one should not spend their entire time in pre-production: sometimes one’s thought processes work better once they have been shifted over to a production mindset.  Nevertheless, as you can tell, designing the skills for these characters was a very in-depth and thorough process.  Now that the majority of basic design has been complete, it’s time to go back to writing out plot–and getting outside opinions involved.  That will come once I am done writing, but I will continue to post weekly regardless.  Until then, this is Epic Alphonse, signing out.

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Posted July 24, 2013 by EpicAlphonse in Uncategorized

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