Final Fantasy d6 by Leraika
IntroductionOriginal SA post
Oh right, I was gonna write this.
Final Fantasy d6 Part 1 - Introduction
Final Fantasy is something nerds all over the world love, so there are a lot of Final Fantasy tabletop games out there! Unfortunately, they're nearly uniformly terrible because they try to get as close to the battle system in the video games as possible - which means all sorts of Super Fun things like charge time and constantly recalculating initiative and everything being in weird percentages and stats that are like five or six derivations from the main stats that you actually invest in. They'd probably be playable, I guess, if you were on IRC and had a dedicated bot to do all the calculations for you (and from what I understand, at least one of the games was actually intended to be run that way), but if you wanted to sit at a table and toss some dice around, you'd be in for an utterly wretched time.
Enter Final Fantasy d6.
In the words of its creator:
Although I was inspired by the Returners, I couldn’t help but shake the feeling that it was flawed for laid-back,
around-the-table gaming, and I naïvely began a slow conversion of the rules systems into something that I felt was
more conducive for casual play.
But, as things often do, the more work I put into the system the more complex the rules became, until finally they
took on a life of their own and became a total system modification. In too deep to stop now, I could only forge on
ahead. I attempted to reproduce combat that accurately reflected the feel and style of the Final Fantasy series,
where battles were dramatic, larger-than-life and grand affairs; cinematic opposed to mechanically monotonous, if
you will. I endeavored to churn out a system filled with grand possibilities and heroic action. I struggled with a
world where titanic struggles between good and evil for the fate of the world would be an accurate summary of
the typical adventurer's day, and that's just before breakfast.
Did they succeed?
Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeell, yes and no.
Final Fantasy d6 is fun. Fights are quick paced and easily resolved. Character creation can be wrapped up in ten minutes or less if you know what you're doing. You don't have to worry about being a specific race to minmax your starting scores. Every class gets cool things to do, even the fight guys. If you really want to dig into the system, you can customize everything from your limit breaks to your class loadout (no longer are you bound to being JUST a black mage or a samurai or whatever!). Your party is rewarded for working together to solve problems in as cool a way as possible with narrative currency that does everything from boosting your rolls to letting you cheat death or go out in a blaze of glory.
Final Fantasy d6, however, is not really what you'd call balanced. Some classses are essentially invincible, and others are extremely difficult to use effectively at all without heavy reclassing. Despite the fact that FFd6 claims that a good character will make use of all their stats, Dex is (as is often the case) a god stat that is used for everything from calculating skill caps to determining damage. (For that matter, there's the fact that skill caps actually exist, and that they're handled extremely poorly). Magic classes still get more ways to affect the narrative than other classes. 90% of character choices that don't directly advance a class are trap options or otherwise far inferior to actually picking up stuff from your job. The narrative currency is given out so infrequently that you can't really afford to do cool things with it. And so forth.
It's still better than fuckin' Returners, though.
Next time - Chapter I: Gameplay, or 'what the fuck is a final fantasy, anyway?'.
Gameplay and Character CreationOriginal SA post Final Fantasy d6 Part 2 - Gameplay and Character Creation
The chapter on how to actually play the game opens with a brief explanation of what, exactly, Final Fantasy is. On the one hand, it's actually brief. On the other, it also isn't actually helpful, assuming that whoever found this fangame somehow had no clue what Final Fantasy was. The problem is that it's written in a way that assumes the reader actually is familiar with the Final Fantasy franchise, with vague, in-joke-ish references to yellow avians, eight-foot swords, and androgynous villains. The worst thing about it, though, is that the author had actually written a perfectly good descrption of the Final Fantasy series just a few pages before, when talking about their design goals for FFd6. If you're a writer for a fan game of some media property and you've got to make a 'okay what is this thing I'm making a tabletop game about' section of your rulebook (and you really, really don't), tying it into your design goals is not the worst way you could do it.
Next up is the system basics: the only dice the game uses are 2d6 per person and a 1d4 for percentiles (though, the game assures us, you can use a 2d6 for those too, with rolling a 5 or better being needed for something that's a 75% chance of success, 7+ for 50%, and 9+ for 25%. I'm not super great at math but that doesn't seem... exactly right to me). Every character has a Job, which is Final Fantasy speak for character class. You know, stuff like Black Mages and Dragoons. Jobs all have a pool of talents called Abilities that players can learn as their character advances. At level 1, a character will have their Job's Innate Ability, which you'll always have as long as you're a member of that class, and two other abilities of their choice, from either their Job or from the Shared (universal) Ability list. We then move on to crits and fumbles - two sixes on your 2d6 is a critical hit! In combat, that's an attack that never misses and might trigger a Limit Break; in skill checks, blessedly, it's not an instant win button. The game specifically says that rolling a crit on a skill check isn't an automatic success, which pleases me, the spiteful gremlin who hates all those AND THEN I ROLLED A 20 AND MY GM HAD TO LET ME SUPLEX A TRAIN LOLOLOLOL stories. In any case, double sixes are good!
Of course, by the same token, the ol' snake eyes are bad. In battle, rolling two ones just means your attack misses, no mess no fuss no fumbles, but when dealing with skill checks, a roll of 2 on a 2d6 triggers a Complication, and congrats! Whatever thing you were trying to solve by rolling a skill check just got worse. Not only did you fail to pick the lock, but you triggered an alarm and the guards are coming! Not only did you fail to get the airship back under control, but now the engines are on fire! The game stresses that Final Fantasy characters are competent enough that they shouldn't just fail rolls, but what if you don't roll a Complication but also don't roll a success? Well, I, um
On to character generation! Come up with a character concept ('neurotic Black Mage', 'narcissistic treasure hunter'), pick a name (the game suggests that you make it evocative and unusual), age (most Final Fantasy heroes are just coming into adulthood!) and race. Race is 100% just a descriptor in FFd6 (stats and ability-wise, there's no difference between a Bangaa and a Hyur and a Yeti) unless you choose to invest in being something sufficiently unusual by taking the Unusual Species Shared Ability. Unless you've done so, your character is also Vulnerable (takes 50% more damage) to Shadow damage, presumably because that's the damage type the baddies most often use. While I like that race is largely cosmetic, and thus the game is blessedly free of 'gotta be race x if you wanna be class y', I still wish there was some difference between the various races? When I run FFd6 I usually just let characters pick a non-crafting skill to represent their race/personal interests/training and give them a free +2 in it. I'm also not a huge fan of all characters being weak to a certain element by default.
In any case, once you've picked your race, you then pick your Job, describe your character's appearance, give them a backstory substantial enough to give them some driving goals, and then give them a quote or catchphrase that's indicative of their personality. Surprise, surprise, Squall's "...whatever." is one of the examples. Why bother with the last one? Aside from giving you something to drive your fellow players absolutely nuts with later on, filling in a quote on your sheet gives you a point of Destiny, which is Final Fantasy d6's meta-currency.
Time for attributes! There's four of 'em, and they're loosely linked to Final Fantasy's iconic four crystals:
Power (PWR) is the stat of offense and the Fire Crystal. Both magic and weapons use this stat for damage by default, and special abilities that are purely offensive tend to use PWR as well.
Resolve (RES) is the stat of defense and the Earth Crystal. It's not just physical toughness, but it's also willpower, vitality, and confidence. Mechanically, it's used to calculate your HP score.
Mind (MND) is the support stat and is associated with the Water Crystal. Its main uses are in determining the potency of restorative magic and calculating MP, but certain weapons can also use it to determine their damage.
Dexterity (DEX) is the utility stat, associated with the Wind Crystal. It's used to calculate: your chance of dodging attacks, damage with certain weapons, and your skill cap (along with MND). Dumping DEX is a fantastically bad idea, and it's incredibly easy to build a character that functions almost entirely with DEX.
Starting characters have 25 points worth of stat to distribute between their four attributes. Those points are distributed on a 1:1 basis between the four attributes, with the caveat that you can't have a stat higher than 10 or lower than 1 at character creation, where 3 is the score for an average human. There's a note about how every attribute is important, which would be a good message were it not damnably false, which we'll explore in more depth when I make some sample characters for the thread.
Derived stats! Finesse is equal to (MND+DEX)/4, and not only determines your chance at resisting certain abilities and mental/emotional status effects, but it also determines how many skill points you can invest in any given skill. Sure hope you invested in your Finesse skills unless you really like rolling 2d6+1 for everything!
Force, on the other hand, is equal to (RES+PWR)/4, and, uh, helps you resist physical status effects, mostly.
Hit Points (HP) are equal to (RES+your Job's bonus)*Level. For example, Black Mages have a Job bonus of 14, Monks have a Job bonus of 30. Yes, this means that Monks can dump their vitality score a lot more easily than the squishy wizard can.
Similiarly, Magic Points (MP) are equal to (MND+your Job's bonus)*Level. If your Job doesn't have an MP bonus, you don't have an MP pool, simple as that. Black Mages have an MP bonus of 8, Monks have an MP bonus of 0.
Avoidance (AVD) is calculated by adding a quarter of your DEX score to whatever your Job's base is - Dark Knights have a base AVD of 4, Ninjas have a base AVD of 7. The fact that it takes such a high investment for just a single point of dodge power means that, yes, once again, you'd be foolish to not start with a DEX of at least 8.
Accuracy (ACC) is whatever your Job's flat bonus is (Entertainers have 0, Thieves have 2) plus half your level. I like that accuracy scales and that every character ends up pretty much equally competent at hitting things at high levels.
Armor and Magic Armor (ARM and M.ARM) are just the total score from whatever you've got equipped plus any bonuses an ability might give you. Easy.
After that, you pick your Abilities - I'll go over those on a job-by-job basis - and Skills (which are robust enough to deserve their own post), buy equipment, and you're done!
Next Time: Skills and Destiny
I Know It's My DestinyOriginal SA post Final Fantasy d6 Part 3 - I Know It's My Destiny
goddamn everyone posted:
A whole bunch of character concepts
Oh shit I didn't see this coming, and I'm starting to realize that I should have put out the call after I got through the Jobs and their abilities. Oh well, I'll do a couple of the more general concepts soonish, as a preview, and then save a few that require digging into the system a bit more for closer to the end of the writeup. Thank you all for your enthusiasm! I'm so glad you all are enjoying my look at Final Fantasy d6.
Now, let's move onto skills. Characters have them! Starting characters have a number of skill points equal to whatever's listed in their Job stat block - for most Jobs, that'll be about 20 skill points, while the skill-focused Entertainer and Engineer have 24 and 26, respectively, and every character, regardless of Job, gets two skill points per level as they level up. Characters can have up to their Finesse score +1 points in a given skill, and I've probably harped on how extremely dumb this is plenty enough. (For the people in the back row: you can't say that all of your stats are equally valuable if only half of them contribute to how competent you are outside of battle.) Suggested house rule: Just let people use the higher of their Force OR Finesse to determine skill caps.
Skills are a straight 2d6+skill roll, with a difficulty set by the GM. The default difficulties range from Elementary at 5 ('spot a dragon amongst a crowd of panicking people') to Impossible at 30 ('collapse a fifty-story building by putting your back into it' is the example given, though I guess you could put your train suplexing here, too). There's a note that social skills will never directly affect player characters, which I appreciate, and then an expanded look into Complications, which... Well, just let me quote this directly:
No situation is ever so bad it can’t possibly get worse.
When a hero rolls 2d6 for a skill check and gets a pair of 1s as his result, this creates a Complication. Not only does the character fail the skill check regardless of what their total result would have been, but also finds him or herself dealing with a new, unexpected problem. They might be secondary issues that must be resolved for the group to succeed, or they might completely change the focus of the skill check. Generally, though not always, Complications retain the difficulty of the first check. So if a player jokingly wants to make a Language roll to try and ‘communicate’ with a rusty old lamp to find out what its purpose is, the GM might assign this a difficulty of Impossible (30). If the player goes ahead and does his best on the roll anyway, a Complication might mean the player blurts out some long-forgotten magical word accidently (sic), activates the lamp, and finds himself sucked inside. Now the additional roll to get out of that mess (without just smashing the lamp and hoping for the best) will also be at difficulty 30 – hope the character’s Escape skill is up to snuff! Assuming it won’t be, the party will have to come up with a new plan, and the player of the poor trapped character might be in need of a temporary replacement.
Well, okay then.
Setting aside the obvious issues with this example, let's look at the fact that Complications, as written, generally force a roll for an entirely different skill, with the exact same difficulty as the previous roll. That means that Complications on high-difficulty rolls (which a character is already more likely to fail by sheer virtue of the fact that they're more difficult) are more likely to put the player in a position they can't recover from, simply because most characters won't be able to afford to get their skills up to the point where they can manage high-difficulty rolls on multiple skills. It also leads to situations where the follow-up skill check ends up much higher or lower than it would otherwise be. Off the top of my head and using listed examples of difficulty: Shifty Jack the rogue attempts to give himself the five-finger discount by stealing an apple in a crowded marketplace (Thievery, difficulty 7) and botches the roll, attracting the attention of the town guards. Normally, lying to the guard is a Moderate (Acting, difficulty 9) challenge, but Complications always take the difficulty of the roll that caused them, so lying to the guards after getting them suspicious is easier than it would be otherwise.
Then there are two other examples of Complications that are less dumb (treasure hunter fails to pick lock on prison cell, has to convince guards that he's supposed to be there / car chase goes badly as multiple Complications happen in a row), and then we're on to the skill list itself! The game stresses that the list is not meant to be exhaustive and you can put down whatever you want as long as it makes sense for the character and the game and your GM's cool with it. Hooray! Too bad there's already too many skills as is, and about half of them could safely be combined with another skill. Let's go down the list!
Athletics: Climb, tumble, jump, balance. This is the skill you'd roll whenever you're relying on your flexibility or coordination, like jumping out a window, sliding down a rope, or surfing down a building. It's probably also the skill that governs train suplexing, because there's no 'you are swole' counterpart to Athletics's 'you are flexible and coordinated'.
Acting: Be a lying liar who lies, sharpen up your poker face, or just put on one hell of a performance. It's also the skill you roll when you disguise yourself, even if you're just trying to avoid notice.
Awareness: It's perception. The game tells you to put points in it. Moving on.
Escape: Your 'get out of a bind' skill. Takes care of things like slipping out of manacles, climbing out of the wreckage after you roll a Complication when you're piloting that airship, and, uh, jumping out of windows. It also covers escaping from battles, so I sure hope you can afford to put some points in it!
Healing: Diagnose and treat illness and sickness. Why is this a dedicated skill in a system with no rules for injuries and commonplace healing magic and potions? Well,
Inquiry: The research and information-gathering skill, which is distinct from Lore, which is your knowing stuff skill, and Negotiation, which is your talking to people skill. The only good thing about this skill is that you can max it out and be an Agent of Inquiry in honor of the greatest FFXIV character, I guess.
Language: Read ominous inscriptions on artifacts! Talk to monsters! This skill is a binary pass/fail where if you flub the roll you don't know the language! It's super bad and should probably be rolled into Lore!!!
Lore: The actual knowing stuff skill. It's a blanket for basically any specific lore you'd want to take, like Lore (Monsters) or Lore (History). Healing, Inquiry, and Language should probably all be different specialties of this skill.
Mercantile: The art of the deal, sourcing equipment, and haggling, which is distinct from Negotiation because. It's also the art of identifying magic items, which is distinct from using Lore to know about them because. Honestly, just split this skill up.
Nature: Foraging, survival, taming monsters, riding chocobos. I'm not convinced this needs to be its own skill, since a lot of it could be rolled into (say it with me) Lore, but at least it's more distinct than things like Mercantile.
Negotiation: Talk good to people. Good to have points in. Apparently also covers lying ('A character with this skill can use their powers of persuasion to do anything from bartering for an item to convincing that troublesome Captain of the Guard that, no, they really aren’t an Imperial sympathizer, thank you all the same.'), so there goes half of the reason Acting exists!
Perform: Whoooops there goes the other half. Also covers things like playing instruments and dancing at your SeeD graduation. Entertainers use this to power some of their abilities.
Scavenge: Play Monster Hunter and get crafting components off your enemies. It's so restricted in use (only Bosses or Notorious Monsters can be Scavenged, and can only be attempted once per person per monster) that it's a waste of time most of the time, but crafting is so strong that you'll want to max it out anyway. GOOD SKILL 10/10. You could probably put the parts of Nature that aren't Athletics or Lore in here, honestly, and give it a reason to exist beyond giving you upgrade materials. A Complication on a Scavenge roll might summon rogue environmentalists.
Stealth: It's stealth. Be sneaky. Do sleight of hand. Hide things. Legally distinct from Thievery and Escape, somehow.
Swimming: tidus laugh.mp3
Synthesis: Crafting! Comes in all the flavors you'd expect, from Alchemy to Weapons. Synthesizing items reduces their cost by 50%, which is kind of hilarious in a system where a lot of your power comes from your sweet gear. You can also sell anything you've made for full price, in case you wanna be that guy who spends all his time making potions for 50 gil and harassing your GM into letting you sell them for 100 each. Synthesis is dumb.
Systems: Do or know Tech Things. What if your game doesn't have Tech Things?
Thievery: Thief stuff. Filch things, open locks, forge documents, cheat at Triple Triad. Do you roll Escape or Thievery to pick the lock on your handcuffs? Also overlaps, naturally, with Stealth. The Thief Job has abilities that rely upon Thievery.
Vehicles: Your drive/pilot skill. Why are this and Systems two different skills?
So, to recap: Acting could stand to be split into Perform and Negotiation, Stealth/Thievery/Escape all operate under a shared banner depending on use, Mercantile and Inquiry are just offshoots of Negotiation (and/or Lore), and there are a whole goddamn lot of skills for just Knowing Things even outside of the blanket Knowing Things skill. This system is kind of a mess.
In any case, astute readers will have noticed that the skill check difficulties in Final Fantasy d6 have a theoretical maximum of 30, which is kind of hard to reach on a 2d6+skill roll. So, how are you supposed to meet those tasty train-suplexing DCs?
Let's talk about Destiny. Destiny, like I mentioned before, is Final Fantasy d6's meta-currency. You start the game with one point of Destiny for filling in a quote on your sheet, and you earn more by doing things like defeating bosses, achieving your in-character goals, and doing suitably Cool Things, like, say, holding up a burning building while the rest of your party goes in to save the people trapped inside (which awards Destiny to the everyone). This is a good system! I like games that reward the players for stunting.
What do you use Destiny for? Good question. The most basic use is to Enhance a roll. Each point of Destiny spent is +1d6 to the roll, any roll, there's no limit, and you can add more dice to your roll after you see the result until you get what you want. You can spend three points of Destiny to Change your Job. You keep your old abilities, spellcasting ability (if you had any) and weapon proficiencies, but all class-derived statistics (HP, MP, and so forth) as well as your Innate Ability swap to that of the new class. Automatically activating Limit Breaks, the powerful custom attacks that every character learns, costs the same three Destiny (as well as requiring you to be under 25% health), and if you're wondering why a powerful permanent affect and a powerful effect that lasts for a single turn cost the same amount of Destiny, you may just be starting to realize there are some problems with this system already!
Blaze of Glory and Cheat Death have similar effects: when your character is about to die, you can spend the appropriate amount of Destiny (5 for a Blaze of Glory, all the destiny you have, minimum 7, to Cheat Death) to declare that, in the former case, their death had some massive dramatic impact on the world; they sacrificed themselves to save an NPC's life, they held off the Empire long enough for everyone to get away, they were a playable but not main character in Final Fantasy IV, and so forth. Cheating Death is your standard 'I fell off a cliff/into a vat of aetheric energy/I clearly died but they never found the body' type deal. You're encouraged to just slip the GM a note saying that you're Cheating Death instead of announcing it, which seems like a gigantic waste of time to me, in the 'unless your fellow players are all asleep at the wheel, they'll probably be able to figure out that you're Cheating Death long before the GM sets up your triumphant return' sense. Both of these are also bad in that there are only two non-cinematic ways that a character can die: either the entire party is KOed in a fight against a Boss (in which case, enjoy your TPK) or a single player is KOed against a Boss or Notorious Monster that is capable of using one of their actions to kill a KOed character, which would be kind of a dick move for a GM to pull, I think.
The other two main uses of Destiny don't have a fixed cost: there are certain Abilities that require the expenditure of Destiny points to perform, and Summoning has a variable cost depending on how strong your summon is and how many characters are contributing Destiny.
As a meta-currency, Destiny just does too many things, and none of them are really balanced against each other in a way that feels satisfying. Why would you spend your destiny just to improve your rolls when you could be saving for a Job change or to use one of the abilities your Job gives you? Why does it cost the same amount of Destiny to use a Limit Break, which is generally just Bigger Numbers or More Buffs on an attack, as it does to multiclass? Why would you use the same currency for all of those things? There's not a really easy solution, but one I've seen done before is just to give players a pool of Destiny that refreshes every session they can use for the cool things like Limit Breaks and enhanced skill rolls but not for the practical things like Job abilities or changing Jobs.
Next time: Shared Abilities, or, "Hey like half of these things should be fluff, goddamn."
Shared Abilities and Jobs 101Original SA post
Everything is super stressful forever, which means it's time for...
Final Fantasy d6 Part 4 - Shared Abilities and Jobs 101
Shared Abilities are the Abilities that anyone can pick up, regardless of their Job. Most of them are pretty fluffy, which I like! Fluffy abilities are cool. I'm just less down with fluffy abilities that take up the same limited ability slots as everything else.
Here's a list of the highlights!
Animal Companion: You have some sort of companion critter! When you take this ability, you get 10 points to spend on its special abilities, which range in power (and cost) from the 1 point 'this character is unique (this doesn't do anything but the GM is encouraged to keep this in mind)' to the 6 point '1/battle, your pet does a an attack that scales off your Nature skill or heals you'. There are also options for making mounts, even party-carrying ones, making flying critters, and animal companions that can assist on skill checks or find items. The downside? All of the chances to use an animal companion's abilities are fairy sharply frequency-limited (you want an item-finding dog? It'll only kick in once a character level), the good ones require heavy investiture in a skill on top of the ability investment, and the good ones are pretty pricy. If you really really wanted to, you could take it multiple times for an additional 10 points per pick.
Bottomless Pockets: Don't ask why your character happens to have a tin of armor polish, an antique coin of the realm, and a pair of gardening shears on hand; they just do. 2/session, you can declare that your character has some mundane item on hand, as long as it was small enough for them to theoretically be carrying around. These items don't have any mechanical benefit, but "often" turn Godlike or Impossible checks into something easier. Fluff good! No real mechanical benefit bad!
Defy Gravity We wuxia now. A character that takes Defy Gravity ignores falling and jumping damage entirely and gains a +4 bonus to Supreme or harder Athletics checks. This is probably a decent balance point for shared abilities, honestly, but it still kind of irks me that it's once again dependent on a character already having the ability to invest heavily in Athletics (because it only kicks in at high difficulties).
Destructive Strike: +4 bonus on force checks to destroy objects. Pretty ho hum.
Evasion: 1/session, describe how you're stunting to avoid an attack for a +2 bonus to your or an ally's AVD score. Since you can pull it off whenever, it's essentially 1/session 'nah that didn't hit me'. Useful. If only it wasn't competing for a slot with Job abilities.
Favored Terrain Pick one of the geomancer terrains (plains/forest/town/desert, etc etc), get a +2 bonus to all skill checks, opposed rolls, and attack rolls in this environment. Super narrow. Great if you're running a game in FFXIII, I guess? I've never actually played FFXIII, whoops.
Heirloom: You gain a piece of equipment of a tier slightly better than you'd be able to get otherwise at your character's level. What do you do when you level up past the point where that item is useful?
Limit Breaker: Describe something that'd make your character extremely angry or fearful - examples include someone hitting a child, the presence of a powerful demon, or just someone taking potshots at your airship. Once per session, seeing such an act committed gives the character the ability to use one of their Limit Breaks completely free of Destiny or HP cost. If they don't have Limit Breaks, then they get auto-hasted for a round and get a +4 bonus to their next roll. GMs are encouraged to keep an eye out for scenarios that could be triggered by other party members or bag of rats'd and shoot them down.
Onion Knight: Get a free Job change whenever you defeat a Boss-type enemy! In a system where a lot of power comes from mixing and matching abilities from different Jobs, this is dumb and broke. Literally the only downside is that you can't bank the Job change.
Skillfull Hero: Get more skill points (5) and a higher skill cap (+2) every time you take this ability, and yes, you can take it multiple times. It's very good! I once made a character who literally only took this and my gm hated me.
Special Vehicle: Animal Companion but for the party's airship. You get a lot less bang for your buck too (pick two abilities from a fairly comprehensive list, and that's it, though the GM is encouraged to let you get more upgrade points as the game goes on). I know there's precedent for it, but this feels like it really should be a fluff thing and not a 'someone actually has to pay for this' thing.
Status Resistant: Pick two status types, you're immune to them. Kind of cool, at least, in the fact that it suggests the benefits should extend into fluff territory (a character who's poison immune can't get drunk or drugged, for example).
Twin Soul: You've got a fated tie with another player (who has to pick up Twin Soul as well) or NPC (who gets it free). This gives you a whole grab bag of partner-centered abilities - you can pay to boost your partner's spells and vice versa, both of you do more damage to each other (but can't be forced into attacking each other by means of things like Charm), can reroll dice when making teamwork attacks, and, uh, if one dies, the other dies too, no matter how unlikely it may be (unless one Cheats Death to protect both). So, uh, don't take Twin Soul with the final boss, probably.
Unusual Species: This is what you take when you don't want to be a bog-standard human. Taking it gives you the following benefits:
Firstly, you can just choose to be eiter huge, giving you a bonus to PWR and RES but a penalty to AVD, or tiny, which makes gives you +1 AVD, +2 Stealth, and +1 force/finesse where your character's small size might come in handy. You don't get any of the other benefits of Unusual Species if you take this option.
The other option, and the way most players are probably going to go, is to be something completely unusual. You pick one of the game's various monster types (everything from Aerial to Construct to Fiend to Plant for those excellent people who want to play mandragoras to Undead) and count as that type for the purposes of any in-game effects that might pop up. You also lose the humanoid weakness to Shadow damage and get a +2 bonus to one attribute to represent your character's unusal abilities.
Weapon Training: Get access to two more weapon types or one armor type. Want to be a black mage casting in full plate? You do you.
Those with a copy of the PDF or who remember my last couple of posts will recall that I've left one noteworthy ability off this list: Grand Summoner. So, let's talk about summoning!
To summon a creature you've formed a pact with (you get one level-appropriate pact when you take Grand Summoner, and the GM may choose to grant summons to party members regardless of whether or not they have Grand Summoner as the plot demands), you need to first decide if it's a Party summon or an Individual summon. The latter cost destiny equal to their Rank (Carbuncle costs 1, Bahamut 5) and derive their attributes from the character that summons them; the former cost twice as much (split however you like between the party) and take the highest attributes among party members for each of their attribute scores.
No matter which way it's handled, the player controlling the summon (group pick if it's a Party summon) is removed from the battlefield, protected by the summon's power, and the summon itself appears in their place. It can fight for up to three rounds, and if it should survive until the third round, it uses a signature, often incredibly powerful, ability known as an Astral Flow before being dismissed.
So, that's Shared Abilities. Let's talk Jobs!
Each Job can be broken, roughly, into three parts: Innate skills, Abilities, and Limit Abilities.
Innate skills are things that are associated with the Job and which will (generally) change if you change into another Job. HP/MP bonuses, ACC and AVD, and starting Job points are all innate skills, and for the purposes of this writeup, so are weapon proficiencies and spell progression.
Abilities are cool tricks or techniques you pick up as you progress in your Job. You get to pick one from the Job/shared ability pool every even level, so up to 14 (out of 15). Abilities are permanent; you'll keep them as you change Jobes if you do.
Limit Abilities are (generally) much more powerful than normal abilities, and often have some sort of permanent effect on your character and/or require destiny to pull off. Each character will only get two such abilities, one at 5 and one at 10. Limit abilities are also permanent.
System basics are done! Next time, we'll start doing classes. I could use some feedback in that regard; would people prefer to see thematic classes grouped together or for me to just go down the list?