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D&D 5e Hack: Final Fantasy Summoners

I found an old story that I started writing about someone that wanted to play a summoner in D&D, inspired by Rydia from Final Fantasy 6. I never finished it because the mechanics of that D&D edition didn’t really allow for a summoner. So I thought it would be fun to take 5th edition and make a summoner, thinking that the Conjuration school for Wizards would make it easier.

I was wrong. Wizards only get 3 of the spells that summon creatures: conjure minor elemental, conjure elemental, and Mordenkainen’s Faithful Hound. Those are 4th and 5th level spells, meaning your wizard has to get to level 7 before they can cast one, once a day. L The other conjuration spells are for divine classes, not arcane. So apparently Rydia was a Druid, not a sorceress. I suppose that does explain the green hair.

So today, for all of you RPG Final Fantasy fans (or people that know Final Fantasy Fans that want to play RPGs), we are going to give some examples of how to hack D&D 5th edition to come up with a summoner type character. Hopefully you find at least one option useful.

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Option 1: Flavor Text

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Making It Fit Your Campaign

There are a lot of tools out there for a GM to bring into a game: pregenerated adventures and characters, NPC name generators for every genre, maps, rules adjustments, monster stat lists, video tutorials, reviews, and even podcasts of sample play through sessions. Finding tools is easy if you know how to search the web.

Today we are going to focus a little more on actually using some of those tools. Specifically, we are offering some tips on how to make other materials fit your game. This is something GMs do all the time, even with their own materials that players bypass. We move an unused dungeon to a new location, change the name of an NPC that was ignored, and reuse maps over and over again.

Adjusting your own materials is easy enough with a bit of practice. But using other people’s materials can be more challenging. Especially when some key differences prevent an easy drop-in.

Know Your Core Game

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Using D&D Monsters In Fate Core

There are a lot of settings that need good monsters: medieval fantasy, modern horror, post-apocalyptic science fiction, space opera, and even super hero to name a few. Monsters are a huge part of our mythology, and as such they can be found in just about every game.

Fate Core does not have its own monster manual because it is a generic system that can be easily applied to any genre we want to play in. So where do we get our ideas for monsters? Well there are plenty in Fate-based games: Dresden Files, Atomic Robo, and so on. But you can also pull them from other sources. My personal favorite place lately has been the D&D monster manual.

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Why D&D?

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How to Prepare Your Very First Tabletop RPG

One of the hardest places to start gaming is at the beginning. Our hobby is very intimidating from the outside, especially to people that really want to get in. There are so many systems, so many rules, and so much riding on that first adventure.

Today we are offering some advice for those of you that have never run a game before as a Game Master (or Dungeon Master or Beloved Master or Storyteller or Referee or whatever else you kids call it these days). We want to offer some practical advice, and a LOT of encouragement, to get you to try something new and include/make some great friends.

Please believe me, as someone who waited 10 years to finally cross the fence, the other side, that it is SO worth it. Tabletop RPGs are even more fun than they seem, and while not every minute of every campaign will be perfect the rewards far outweigh the fears. Hopefully the thoughts below can help you start gaming with your friends.

Why Write This Post?

I was recently looking at old YouTube blogs I had subscribed to, and in one of them the blogger said something that really hit home. She also thought that she and her friends would really enjoy getting into a tabletop rpg, but she had no idea where to begin. How could they get started?

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Introducing: Fate Combat with Dresden Files RPG

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages, allow me to introduce to you, directly from Evil Hat Productions, something you will never see anywhere else. There are no hit points, no multi-sided dice, and no automatic bonuses for flanking. That’s right! We have here for you today the one, the only, Fate Combat rules!

And boy oh boy, are they different!

Introducing someone to Fate Core, or any branch of Fate, is considerably easier than getting them into some other RPGs out there. Especially people that have never played a tabletop RPG before. But times are changing. RPGs are getting more popular <insert happy dance>. And people that are coming to learn Fate are rarely blank slates. These are people that have learned to game with D&D, Pathfinder, Dragon AGE, and World of Darkness.

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Happy dance successfully inserted

The Fate system is a mechanical balance of dice rolls and storytelling. A lot of those mechanics are very different than other game systems. That is great when you are playing the game, but it does make it hard to learn how to play when you expect something similar to the last RPG you learns. So today we are going to look at those comparative differences and hopefully make the switch a little easier.

We are actually using the Dresden Files for today’s example because it is still a very popular Fate system and because it covers a lot of things that Fate Core considers ‘extras’ but are still showing up in printed content. If you want to get into the Dresden Files RPG, it is a great setting for modern fantasy fun!

What Looks the Same

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Adventure April: Jewel Heist (The Legacy Con)

Remember a while back when we ran a one-shot based on the Crime World setting in Volume 2 of Fate Worlds? Well today’s April Adventure is going to be that very adventure we ran. I’ve taken my 2 pages of notes and reworked them into a format that other people (lucky you) can actually understand and use to run your own adventure.

For those of you that have not heard the podcast yet, here is the basic plot and pitch: The Baron of Bloont is auctioning several rare and valuable artifacts at an auction this weekend, most notably the rare Legacy Diamond. You simply must see this gem for yourself, but even the invitations to the auction are expensive. So you and your team have decided to steal the diamond instead. After all, a bad man like the Baron does not deserve such a prize. Get together with your crew, make a plan, and slip past all the security measures the night before the auction to steal the diamond. Oh, and try to get out alive with the prize. That’s important, too.

The group “wins” if they can get the Legacy Diamond from the mansion with at least one crew member free and able to sell the item. Alternatively they can steal enough valuables for a total of 6 wealth levels for a lesser but still somewhat rewarding victory. Also, if they prevent the Baron from proposing to Felicia Parsons, they gain an ally that would be very interested in buying their loot and setting them up with future work.

How Crime World Works

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Adventure April: Avatar: The Last Airbender

Every week this month we are going to put out an adventure for you to enjoy. This weeks adventure is from Avatar: the last Airbender. Enjoy!

I am a HUGE fan of Nickelodeon’s Avatar series, and in the early stages of Fate (before Fate Core) I made my own version of a Fate hack for the series. We’ve mentioned this before, even shared some stunts from the game in our first Sample Stunts blog post. Now that it is April, and the Google Doc is up, we figured why not share an opening adventure.

Just a heads up: this is not a Fate Core game, so the skill names are very different than what you are used to. It does use Fate Points, fudge dice, aspects, and stress so those of you that play Fate Core should still be able to play it easily enough. Converting the system should not take too much work if you are interested.

For the sake of simplicity, this fan hack adventure is set before the events of The Last Airbender and before the fire nation invaded. It is divided into 3 scenes, each with their own skill challenges and tips for the GM.

Scene 1: Festival

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Adventure Design: Test Run, a Spaceship Adventure: pt.2

Last week we talked about Hiring and Flying on this fun little space adventure. This week, we cover where the real fun starts.

Scene 3: COMPLICATIONS

This is when the crew is confronted by their employer’s treachery. The ship has been reported stolen by the CEO, and the party of “thieves” have a bounty on their head. There are flaws in the cloaking device design which have the captured heat of stealth eventually flooding the ship and killing everyone. The ship’s weapons only have a couple of shots each, and the replacement packs are fakes. And there is a tracking device on the ship that lets the CEO find them even if they are cloaked.

Have the party deal with whatever complications they discovered in Scene 2 first, if any, at a reduced difficulty of Fair (2) for temporary fixes. The tracking device can be jammed for a while, the identities on the bounty can be altered, and the heat from the cloaking device can be safely vented after (at most) an hour of invisibility. Power can be diverted to give the laser guns a few more shots.

No Ship Is Perfect

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Bartles and Bards in RPGs

The Bartle Test of Gamer Psychology is a way of organizing MMO players into 4 different categories: Killers, Achievers, Socializers, and Explorers. MMO designers still use this system today because knowing what types of players prefer your game makes it easier to market your game. I recommend the Extra Credits YouTube episode for more details on understanding how this all works.

Now a while back, we did a blog post on our own categorizing: Sticks and Stones, Rubber and Glue. In that post, we classified RPG player characters into 4 different categories: Sticks, Stones, Rubber, and Glue. The purpose of that article was not only to address differences in player characters but also to point out that a good RPG group needs all four of these player types.

Today we are going to take a step back and look at RPG PCs from a GM’s point of view. Like MMO designers with the Bartle Quotient, a GM that knows her players’ styles and preferences can better design adventures and campaigns to let players thrive or target new players for recruiting. But GMs also often have to be bards, doing a little bit of everything through storytelling and performance to make it seem more real.

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Playing a Support Character

Today we are going to talk about playing a Supporting character, and by that I mean a character that is tied to one or more PCs. This is the best friend, the bard that is in love, the champion of faith that is desperate to save a soul, the lunar exalted that is bound to the solar champion, and the librarian that is desperate to feel needed by the hero that saved his life.

Every group needs a supporting character, a glue to hold them together. We previously talked about the role of the Glue of a campaign in a previous post. Dungeon delvers need a healer. A starship crew needs a commander. Raid parties need stat buffs. A group knows it will survive longer and can tackle tougher challenges if at least one person in the group is dedicated to supporting them.

The Story of the Glue

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