[Beast Hunters] Final Fantasy VII hack

edited September 2007 in Actual Play
Rich Rogers (orklord from Canon Puncture) & I game via Skype every other Tuesday. When we talked about games we could play, we recalled my post about Final Fantasy VII using Beast Hunters. Rich is the Hunter & I'm the Challenger.

Rich never played FF7, but he's seen Advent Children & read up on FF7 on Wikipedia. I played the hell out of FF7 back in 2001 and have watched Advent Children a good half-dozen times. Given that, we set this game a year after Advent Children's events. Rich made a former SOLDIER with a checkered past, Jace Concord. His unit went pretty brutal, as his commander killed the woman he loves, a fellow SOLDIER, in a training exercise. As a result, Jace is a bit socially out-of-touch, which served as the game hook. (I'll leave more about the character to Rich.)

I have given Rich room to make liberties about the setting, since I don't want to be an ass by constraining him into something that he's less familiar with -- that's a fun killer. My rule of thumb is "If it sounds cool and doesn't break the feel of post-Advent Children FF7, it works for me." Example: he wanted a creature-ish pet/animal companion, and we talked about summons in FF7. He was inspired by the shadowy monsters in AC, and described a "ghost wolf" that he has that can appear and disappear at will thanks to some materia he has.

Rich is completely new to Beast Hunters, and my own experience with the game is playing in a pre-negotiated challenge at Go Play NW. So, getting the hang of the rest of the game caused a bit of stumbling for both of us. We did two challenges in the game where I gave, but we were still fairly unsure how to handle role-playing in that formulaic challenge space. I think it's something we'll figure out with some practice, though.

We're still figuring out what hacks we're going to do. We've decided to map BH-beasts to FF-summons. Beast Hunts as-created don't quite fit the right space, because the vibe I get from that is "I'm a warrior looking to prove myself within my culture," and that doesn't quite fit the way our FF7 game is set up. So, instead, I proposed that we call this first adventure a Beast Hunt, but since we're making up this hacks as we go along, Rich isn't sure what he's going to fight at the end. The character isn't exactly questing to kill a beast as per BH -- he's instead tracking leads and getting into fights that's going to lead to him facing down with some sort of creature.

We're also chewing on what to do with Materia -- me more than Rich, since I know more about what Materia is and what it meant in FF7. I definitely want to involve it somehow as something more than just a MacGuffin. The more social & emotional elements of FF -- guilt, love, loneliness, etc. -- are being handled as themes we're hitting on in our playing. Guilt & loneliness are two elements we're really hit hard in our first session.

I'll leave it at that for now. Rich seemed to like how I kicked off the game, but I should leave him room to talk.

Comments

  • Did you find a replacement for the opening and closing ceremony (the arm embrace)?

    As for the Hunts, why not redefine the Beasts as Bosses? Bosses can drop Materia, which will map to the Tattoos, right?
  • Posted By: Mark CauseyDid you find a replacement for the opening and closing ceremony (the arm embrace)?
    Over Skype? No, we haven't. If this was in person, I would totally do a FF battle winning dance as the ceremony. In fact, maybe playing that music would make a good opening/closing. I think I'll try that next time.
    As for the Hunts, why not redefine the Beasts as Bosses? Bosses can drop Materia, which will map to the Tattoos, right?
    That was a thought, but the one issue is that Materia can be stolen in FF7 -- a plot element used more than once -- and the tattoos can't be. But the "Beasts as Bosses" is a much better way of stating what I was trying to, and then presents further options. I think I got hung up on the word "beasts."

    One thought I'm having about a primary effect of Materia be to present more narrative options in a challenge. Like, if Rich's character had Fire Materia, he could both talk about how he's carving up some creature with his giant sword or he can throw around fire. Since the game is about getting advantage points, having more narrative options could increase advantage points. But since that's kinda all based on Challenger fiat, I'm not sure how I feel about that as a reward for the Hunter.
  • Ahh, I see the problem. Then what you get from Bosses is Limit Breaks, not Materia.
  • Posted By: Mark CauseyThen what you get from Bosses is Limit Breaks, not Materia.
    Another element that I've noted in the past post that I want to work in, but also haven't figured out...until now. I like that. Yeah. Thanks!
  • Upgraded weapons could be collected from bosses as well, that progression through a series of distinctive variations on your base weapon was a significant part of the game world for me.
  • I am crying manly geek tears of love.
  • Posted By: stevebarkerukUpgraded weapons could be collected from bosses as well, that progression through a series of distinctive variations on your base weapon was a significant part of the game world for me.
    True, but in Beast Hunters that translates into a deniable resource, and I want to keep the tattoo translation as a "you have this power permanently."

    (Unimportant details from the source material: If I recall right, the big deal with the different weapons were the Materia slots, and I believe you had to actually buy them.)
  • You had to buy some of them but others were found and/or stolen from enemies. The materia slots were important but some weapons had no slots at all and others increased the rate at which materia grew at the cost of having fewer slots. I believe some had a much increased chance to hit balanced against no materia growth at all.

    You're absolutely right about the deniable resource, though, dangit.
  • I'm glad you guys are having some fun!

    I think the question is this: Do you want to play out fictional events and battles like they were in FF7, or emulate the game's mechanics? You can do the first one with BH pretty well, but the second is going to need some major reworking of the game. Either one's an option, I just want to see where we're going so I can give the right kind of input :)
  • Limit Breaks, as mentioned before, serve as permanent or undeniable upgrades in FFVII, but here are some other possibilities:

    1) "Key items" - mostly plot coupons, but this category also includes the Huge Materia, which were portrayed as too big to actually stick in a weapon or armor (I guess you linked to them symbolically or something?).

    2) Armor. Seriously, armor in FFVII is mostly stuff like bracelets and hair clips, and I don't recall it ever being taken away. Kinda weird as an undeniable resource, but maybe it works for you.

    3) Infusions of Jenova cells or Mako energy. Carries a lot of baggage with the power, but it certainly makes you more badass in an undeniable way. An ex-SOLDIER, depending on their rank, would have varying degrees of both.

    4) Being friends with Aeris. Hey, it saves Cloud's ass.

    5) Falling into the Lifestream. Again, it seemed to work out pretty well for Cloud. This might be an interesting angle to translate the troubled ex-SOLDIER thing into a genre-appropriate upgrade at some point. Fall in, muck with your own head, literally face your inner demons, possibly stab them. Emerge more powerful than ever. Note that, even if you leave off the head-trip bit, this is still a whole lot of unprocessed Mako exposure.

    Beyond this, you can get even more abstract. Metaphysical concepts like "love of all life" and "hatred of all life" are pretty potent forces in FFVII, for example. Ditto for "confidence" and "faith in others."
  • Posted By: xenopulseI think the question is this: Do you want to play out fictional events and battles like they were in FF7, or emulate the game's mechanics? You can do the first one with BH pretty well, but the second is going to need some major reworking of the game. Either one's an option, I just want to see where we're going so I can give the right kind of input :)
    We're looking at the first much more than the second -- Rich never played the game, and we're more interested in how Advent Children worked than how wandering around for hours looking for enemies to fight so that you were at your limit break for dealing with the boss works ;)

    Personally, when I'm thinking about things like Limit Breaks, Material, Summons, etc., I'm thinking about how to put that color into the game.
    Posted By: stevebarkerukThe materia slots were important but some weapons had no slots at all and others increased the rate at which materia grew at the cost of having fewer slots. I believe some had a much increased chance to hit balanced against no materia growth at all.
    Ah, right. I recall now. I can say we aren't touching on Materia growth or other sub-game elements like that. It doesn't translate well in this sort of space, and would at minimum require more bolting on than I want to do.
  • edited September 2007
    Posted By: Ryan Macklin The more social & emotional elements of FF -- guilt, love, loneliness, etc. -- are being handled as themes we're hitting on in our playing. Guilt & loneliness are two elements we're really hit hard in our first session.
    I missed this the first time around, but good job on the focus there. I've heard people wonder why Cloud is so unhappy and angsty in Advent Children - "Didn't he already save the world?" To which I respond to the effect of, "No, as far as his goals were concerned, he totally lost." So, yeah, guilt's a pretty key thing to play up - you can be totally badass and have stomped down the evil boss beast, but still have failed in your original purpose.
  • In Advent Children, didn't Kadaj and company stick the materia directly into their arms?

    Summons are technically Materia in FF7, but you could take a page from FF8 instead. In that game, they're "Guardian Forces" that you defeat (usually) to be able to summon. (The defeat-a-summon-to-recruit-it shows up in other FFs as well.)
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