Thursday, March 1, 2012

[Retro Phaze] New Wizard Weapons

I've been playing Final Fantasy V as of late. Final Fantasy holds a place in my heart from my days as as a young RPGer. While it probably isn't the first console RPG, it did grab my attention due to it having a setup similar to Dungeons & Dragons. It had character classes similar to D&D, monsters that seems to be culled from the Monster Manual, and even followed a Vancian magic system for it's three spellcasting classes. However, it was limited by a linear plot that's pretty unavoidable with computer and console RPGs. Eventually, the Final Fantasy franchise spun off from it's D&D roots to become a system unto itself.

Last year, after The Baron Lieutenant Reginald Hornsby and his band of ragtags vanquished the evil Zedikiah MacKenzie and recovered the Sword of Dracus in the world of Engines & Empires, John Higgins asked a select few of us to play in another game he created called Retro Phaze (formerly called Elegia), a tabletop RPG based on the original Final Fantasy.

A tabletop game based on an NES game based on a tabletop game. John just needs to license it as an MMO and the Möbius strip would be complete.

The game didn't last long as John and I both left South Bend in the quest for employment. But it got me nostalgic for the old Final Fantasy games, which in turn got me thinking of some items from the later games in the series that could be imported into Retro Phaze. I actually have quite a few ideas, but I'm going to start with a few small items.

Final Fantasy III (the original Japanese version, not the renamed version of Final Fantasy VI that was released in the US in 1994) gave black mages (wizards in Retro Phaze) a new weapon, the rod. On the surface, rods appeared to be a form of cudgel that replaced daggers as the black mage's weapon of choice. Some of them possessed elemental qualities that improved the effectiveness of some spells. But the attack animation for the weapon doesn't suggest a melee weapon. The rod is instead is thrust out and the end of it sparkles with energy. The weapon is also effective from the back ranks which suggests that the rod is actually a ranged weapon. In other words, a magic wand.

In Retro Phaze, the basic rod is a close-range missile weapon that is usable only by wizards. They cost 100G for a standard type, but are limited to Close range. A successful hit does 1D damage. Rods don't carry ammunition like a normal missile weapon. Instead they are charged with mystical energy. This energy can be depleted in combat like any other missile weapon. Recharging a rod must be done at a magic shop for 10G.

The main advantage of a rod is its ability to focus spells. Rods empowered with elemental energy can enhance the damage of elemental spells. If a wizard wields an elemental rod as his primary weapon and casts an elemental spell of the same type, the base damage of that spell raises from nD to (n+1)Kn. In addition, elemental rods of +1 or higher are ensorcelled to cast spells. The spell "level" is equivalent to the bonus of the rod (i.e. A fire rod +2 can case Fire2).

Some rods are rumored to be enchanted with powerful magic, even boosting a wizard's INT. These are usually in the hands of powerful sorcerers, and are not given away freely. Wizard PCs that can get their hands on these relics can become forces to be reckoned with.


  1. Hey, Dave! What's up?

    Curiously enough, I started thinking about an issue similar to this at the end of the last Retro Phaze session I ran (the second since the campaign started, about three weeks back). Late in the game, the players encountered some monsters which were mostly invulnerable to their normal weapons (green slimes and a couple of wights) and had to burn off most of their spells and scrolls to survive; and I hit upon the idea of a "magic wand" item that acted as a kind of "scroll storage device" -- Wizard characters in possession of a wand could transfer the magical charge from all of their scrolls into the wand (saving on encumbrance), and later on, enchanted wands would grant a bonus to hit with the scroll magic. But this was prompted by an in-game concern, and not particularly inspired by anything from FF.

    I do like your take on rods, it's very FF3/4. Even when depleted of elemental charge, they could function as a bludgeoning weapon that the Wizard counts as proficient in. Oh, and there's no reason we couldn't also have a "Blast" rod that Monks can use (that would make them quite the "undead silencers", to use a phrase oft heard in our E&E campaigns ;)

    If I ever get around to writing a supplemental rulebook following up on Retro Phaze, we might just have to collaborate to come up with more cool stuff like this. :D

  2. John,

    That sounds like a great idea. Actually I have an adventure idea in my head right now, as well as trying to reverse-engineer another Final Fantasy class into Retro Phaze. I'm busy prepping for GaryCon at the moment, but I will try to send you an email within the next week about what I have in mind.