Final Fantasy brought me into the Hobby


Image from Final Fantasy IV on the PSP. Copyright Square-enix

What brought you into the hobby? For me it was video games, specifically the Final Fantasy II (US Version)® and Dragon Warrior III® games. Those two put me over the top. After defeating them, I had to keep playing. I didn’t just want to replay the games, I had done that many times already. I wanted to make my own adventures as a Dark Knight, a Paladin, and a Dragoon! I wanted more and different stories. I wanted to be Cecil and Kain, fight as the Dragon Warrior, and travel to the moon. The entire Final Fantasy Series kept my RPG flame burning while books like the Black Cauldron Series, Lord of the Rings, and Chronicles of Narnia fanned the flames. When I first made my game, called Fantasy Quest, I built primarily in the Final Fantasy universe because that was were my heart was. As a player, you could choose any number of different Final Fantasy classes from the Dragoon to the Warrior. Most of my classes were fighters or mages and summoners. I had thieves and ninjas, but they didn’t get the play time or focus that the mage and warrior classes did. As with everything, I took concepts from the video games and applied them directly to our game sessions. I was making most of this stuff up in my head as I went along, so I didn’t have anything to share with others. What I did have was character sheets, experience charts, as well as spells and equipment lists.


Image from Final Fantasy IV for the DS. Copyright Square-Enix

My game materials were constantly in flux and evolving with the times. I crafted them first on a PC and then moved to a word-processing typewriter after I broke the PC. Everything was saved on a 1.44MB Floppy Disk: Character Sheets for each class along with experience charts, abilities/spells, and equipment lists for everything. The character sheets were tailored to each class with spots for abilities, health, mana, and gear. They were constantly getting updated as the game evolved to better serve my new ideas and powers. Experience charts were separate for each class, with some classes leveling faster and slower in different areas. The spell list matched the Fir2, Lit3, Cur4 structure of the Final Fantasy series and I won’t be ashamed to admit that I didn’t realize that Fir, Lit, and Cur stood for Fire, Lightning, and Cure as I was a young kid. Speaking of that, some monsters even had names like GrOgre, which I had not realized stood for Grey Ogre at the time. Equipment was based on natural and supernatural materials and from them I would name helmets, armor, boots, gloves, rings, swords, spears, axes, and more–just like the Final Fantasy world. I looked up all sorts of metals and materials in the dictionary for names of equipment; we didn’t have the internet, so encyclopedias and dictionaries were the repositories of knowledge. With the names of those materials in hand, I would make Iron Armor, Gold Gauntlets, Silver Staffs, and Sapphire Swords. I had different lists for each armor, shield, and weapon, with a unique penultimate weapon for each: Gungnir was the ultimate Dragoon weapon and Excalibur was the ultimate Paladin sword.


Image from Final Fantasy. Copyright Square-Enix

The entire Fantasy Quest RPG was a construct of my video game experience, books I read (the Black Cauldron series in particular), and my overactive imagination. I often played the GM, even though I wanted to be a player, but the game was a work in progress, I didn’t have a concrete structure. There was no comprehensive system to share with people. I used what I saw in the video games and applied it in the living room as best as I could. I didn’t think of using dice to randomize numbers and I had a combat system that was based on simple addition and subtraction. I arbitrarily decided if you hit or missed, with most of them being hits, then I would take your weapon damage, randomize it and subtract an armor value. You could have 1000 damage for a Black Sword and randomize the damage to be 1050 or 950. After getting the damage, I would match it against the combined armor values of the target, which might be 800 for example, subtract that from the damage and your end result was the amount of damage the target took. Later on, I learned the joys of rolling dice and that opened my world in many ways, but dice were only for Yahtzee® and adult drinking games at the time.

As you can probably tell, this little home brew system made being anything other than the Game Master, not really an option. Being a GM was better for me, though. I took a lot of enjoyment in crafting a story for my friends. It didn’t have to match perfectly with the Final Fantasy world, I just created monsters to defeat, loot to attain, and new abilities for us as we leveled. That was all that really mattered: we were growing ever stronger and saving the world. We were happy and having fun.

Video games introduced me to the table-top scene and they have influenced me to this day. As they evolved, so also did my game ideas. Unchained Heroes is heavily influenced by Final Fantasy 10, World of Warcraft, and Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn. You can see it in the combat system, the hero classes, the magical items, and leveling structure. They affected me in the here and now, but I will always be influenced by the games of my childhood. Final Fantasy, Dragon Warrior, the Zelda Series, 7th Saga, and so much more gave me a chance to play in wondrous worlds. Now its my turn to make wondrous worlds and share them.

What brought you into the hobby? Was it a person, a video game, a book, movie, or war-gaming? Tell us your story.


Image from Final Fantasy 14: ARR. Copyright Square-Enix.

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