What kind of Final Fantasy game doesn’t have combat? Combat is an integral part of ZODIAC, whether against lowly goblins, armored knights, or evil mages. This chapter delves into the intricacies of monster-bashing.
A Note on Rounding: Although we at ZODIAC have tried to make combat math as simple as possible, the numbers may still be a bit overwhelming at times. Feel free to round off numerical values as much as you like in order to speed up combat- if you don't feel like subtracting 591 minus 358, make it 600 minus 350. We're here to have fun, after all - it doesn't matter if your math isn't 100% accurate!
At the beginning of each round of combat, all combatants recieve a number of Speed Points (SP) equal to their Speed. At the beginning of the FIRST round of combat, each combatant receives an additional 1d8 Speed Points.
Each round of combat is made up of multiple segments called "ticks." During a single tick, combatants take their turns in order of the number of Speed Points remaining. If two combatants have the same amount of SP, the one with the highest Speed stat goes first. If the two have the same Speed, their actions are considered simultaneous. In other words, both actions will take effect, regardless of what the other action actually did- for example, a character can kill a monster and be knocked unconscious by that monster during the same round.
Taking an action requires a character to spend 8 Speed Points, and a character may only take ONE action and one Free Action during his turn. Free Actions require no SP to use. Actions such as speaking or looking around are even faster than Free Actions; you may take as many such actions as you like, though if you spend too long at it the Master may require you to act.
After everyone has taken their turn, one tick has passed. At this time, status effects like Poison and Regen take effect, and any special effects with timed durations count down by one tick. Then, if anyone has enough Speed Points remaining to take another action, a new tick begins. This continues until no one has enough Speed Points to take any actions. Then a new round begins, and each combatant refreshes his Speed Points, adding his Speed to any Speed Points he may have left over from the previous round.
For example, Keef the Thief has 20 Speed. He gets into a fight with an ogre, who has 11 Speed. At the beginning of combat, they each roll 1d8. Keef gets a 3, while the ogre gets a 1- they begin combat with 23 Speed Points and 12 Speed Points, respectively. Keef goes first, since his Speed is higher. He attacks the ogre with his poisonous dagger, using 8 Speed Points. He hits, and the ogre is Poisoned. Then the ogre takes his turn, also burning 8 Speed Points. Keef and the ogre are the only two combatants, so one tick has passed, and the ogre suffers poison damage. Now Keef has 15 Speed Points remaining, but the ogre only has 4. Keef takes another turn, and burns 8 Speed Points to attack again. Since the ogre can't do anything else this round, another tick passes, and the ogre again takes damage from the poison. Keef now only has 7 Speed Points, and the ogre has 4. Neither of them have enough Speed Points for another action, so the round ends. On the next round, Keef gains 20 more Speed Points, bringing him up to 27 - enough for three attacks this round. The ogre only gets 11 more points, for a total of 15 - not quite enough to attack twice this round.
During your turn, you may make an Attack with your equipped weapon, use any special powers available to you such as Techs or Command Skills, use a Potion, or Defend yourself. You may also take a Free Action, if you have one available.
To make a normal attack, roll 1d100 and add your Accuracy to the result. If the total is greater than the target's Evade, you hit. However, no matter how high the target's Evade is or what penalties you have to your attack roll, a natural roll of 90 or higher ALWAYS hits. If you make a successful strike, and the natural number you roll is equal to or greater than your Critical stat, you score a critical hit, doubling the damage dealt. Weapon damage is rolled with the following formula:
|(Weapon Damage Roll * 10) + Total Attack Power**|
Thus, a character with a total Attack Power of 25 and one Strength Die, attacking with a Long Sword (d8 die class), would roll (1d8 * 10) + 25 for his damage roll. The attack would deal from 35-105 points of damage. The total damage dealt is subtracted from the target’s Hit Points.
Magic Dice and MAP typically only come into play when using Techs such as Attack Magic, but the formula is the same. See [[Chapter II | Chapter II: Tech Creation]] for details. When asked to make a magical attack roll, typically when trying to inflict negative Status Conditions on an enemy, simply roll 1d100 and add your Magic Accuracy. If the total is equal to or greater than the target's Resist, the effect is successful. Some situations, mainly elemental Weaknesses and Resistances, call for effects such as “half damage” or “double damage.” In this case, simply apply the appropriate modifier to the total damage dealt.
Example: Diff the Biffer scores a critical hit with his powerful sword Biffcalibur. His total damage is 200. Because he critically hit, his damage is doubled to 400. Later, Merlin the Mage casts his powerful Meltdown spell, dealing 700 points of Fire damage. Unfortunately, the target has Fire Resistance, and the damage is halved to 350.
Occasionally, an adventurer will find himself staring down an opponent without a weapon to defend himself. A character who attacks with no weapon equipped rolls his attack as normal, but the die class is only d4, and his Strength is cut in half for purposes of that attack, which affects both Strength Dice and Attack Power. Needless to say, fighting unarmed is not recommended if it can be avoided.
Techs require MP to use. When you execute a Tech, subtract the MP cost from your current MP. If you do not have enough MP, you can't use that ability. Note that Weapon Techs and Magical Attack Techs will increase your damage dice and attack power.
Clearly, a bow and arrow are much more useful for attacking distant opponents than a broadsword. Weapon range mainly comes into play when fighting flying monsters. As these creatures will rarely come into melee range, characters attacking them with short range weapons suffer a penalty of -60 to their attack roll. Characters with long-range weapons ignore this penalty. Note that ALL Techs, even Weapon Techs made with melee weapons, are considered long-range.
Potions take one round to use, and may be used on any target. They take effect immediately. All Potions are gone after one use.
If you choose to Defend, you can take no action during the round, but all damage dealt to you, regardless of their source, is reduced by half. The exception is damage from the Poison or Venom status effects, which deal their normal damage. This is in addition to elemental weaknesses and resistances, but does NOT affect Absorbencies.
Some actions, such as choosing to end the Cover effect, are considered Free Actions. This means you may make them without sacrificing your turn for the round. However, you can only make one Free Action per turn.
Damage and Dying
When you take damage, you lose HP. When your hit points reach 0, you are incapacitated, and can only be revived through the use of a Phoenix Down, Phoenix Pinion, or Life spell. If you are lucky enough to be under the effects of a Reraise spell, your HP is immediately restored to 10% of its maximum value, and the Reraise effect ends. Note that a character whose Hit Points are depleted is not dead. Characters in ZODIAC typically only die under extreme circumstances - character death should be rare and only occur in dramatic, plot-related situations. Death is permanent, and only the most powerful magic can return a dead character to life - magic that is very likely beyond the reach of mortal beings.
Negative Status Effects
There are many different things that can happen to a character besides taking damage. Negative Status Effects can do anything from inconvenience your character to completely crippling him. Status effects with a duration of "Temporary" wear off after a certain amount of time, indicated in the attack that inflicted them. Effects with a duration of "Permanent" can only be cured by the appropriate Potion or by a Dispel Tech. If your character is knocked unconscious, any "Temporary" negative status effects disappear immediately, but "Permanent" effects remain. All "Temporary" effects vanish when the battle is over.
You go berserk, and can do nothing on your turn but attack the nearest enemy.
Cure: Eye Drops
You are blinded, and suffer a penalty of -30 to your attack rolls.
Cure: Receive Damage
You fight on your enemy's side until the effect wears off. The player retains control of the character, but will battle against his former allies. This is up to the Master to enforce.
Cure: Receive Damage
You are confused and disoriented, causing you to take random actions each round. You may attack your friends, heal your enemies, or perform completely nonsensical actions, such as trying to Manipulate a tree or using a Phoenix Down on yourself. The Master may determine the character’s random actions, or he may allow the player to do so.
All your attacks, both physical and magical, deal minimum damage. In other words, instead of actually rolling your Strength Dice or Magic Dice, treat them as if they had all come up as 1’s.
You have until the end of the next combat round to destroy all enemies, ending the battle. If you fail, your HP will immediately drop to zero.
Cure: Maiden's Kiss
You are transformed into a frog. You cannot use Techs, and all damage you deal - physical AND magical - is divided by ten.
You are shrunk to a very small size. All damage you deal with weapons, including Power Attacks, is divided by ten. In addition, all damage dealt to you is increased by 50%.
When poisoned, you lose 10% of your max HP at the end of each tick. This can reduce your HP to zero.
Cure: Echo Screen
Your special abilities are sealed. You cannot use Techs or Blue Magic, but can still use Command Skills and take other actions.
Cure: Receive Damage
You are magically put to sleep, and can do nothing until the effect ends. Any physical attacks automatically hit, dealing the maximum possible damage, but also waking you up.
Your Speed is reduced by half. This does not affect your current Speed Points.
You are transformed into a stone statue. You are completely immobile and can take no action. However, nothing can harm you while you are petrified - all damage dealt to you is reduced to zero, and you are immune to all negative status effects.
You are frozen in time. Your Speed is reduced to zero, and you can take no actions - not even Free Actions - until the effect wears off. Stop does not affect your current Speed Points.
You are knocked off balance or temporarily held in place. During your next turn ONLY, you lose 8 Speed Points and can take no action.
Cure: Phoenix Down / Phoenix Pinion
When your HP reaches zero, you are completely incapacitated. You can take no actions until revived by a Phoenix Down, Phoenix Pinion, or Revive Tech. Curative Potions and Healing Techs will have no effect. When you are knocked unconscious, your Speed Points immediately drop to zero. This is the only status effect that cannot be cured by a Dispel Tech - only a Revive Tech will work.
You are infected with a very powerful poison that drains 20% of your HP and 10% of your MP at the end of your turn each round. This can reduce your HP and MP to zero.
Your body is infused with negative energy, partially transforming you into a creature of darkness. All curative spells, effects, and potions are reversed, dealing damage instead of healing it.
Positive Status Effects
Luckily, not all status effects are bad. Positive status effects, often granted by white magic, can bestow great advantages on your character- while they last. If your character is knocked unconscious, any positive status effects disappear immediately.
All physical damage dealt to you is halved for the duration of the effect.
Your Speed is increased by 50%. This does not affect your current Speed Points.
All magical damage dealt to you is halved for the duration of the effect.
You regenerate 10% of your maximum HP per tick. Lasts until the end of the battle or until you are knocked unconscious.
If your HP is reduced to 0 while under a Reraise spell, you are immediately revived with 10% of your maximum HP.
ALL magic that would otherwise effect you is instead reflected back at the caster.
OPTIONAL: At the Master’s option, magic that strikes a Wall may instead be bounced towards a random target on the opposite side of combat. This means that casting Cure on a Walled ally will result in healing your enemy!
Many creatures, weapons, and relics have an affinity to a particular element. This means that they draw strength from that element, and often have a weakness to an opposing element. There are eight different elemental types in ZODIAC. They are:
- Earth is the essence of the planet itself. Electricity-using monsters are typically weak against Earth.
- Fire is the essence of heat and flame. Plants, insects, undead, and cold-using monsters are typically weak against Fire.
- Water is the essence of the ocean and of healing. Flame-using creatures are typically weak against Water.
- Wind is the essence of the sky and movement. Flying creatures are typically weak against Wind.
- Ice is the essence of cold and frost. Reptiles and flame-using monsters are typically weak against Ice.
- Lightning is the essence of electricity and energy. Metallic and water-dwelling creatures are typically weak against Lightning.
- Holy is the essence of light and goodness. Undead, demons, and strongly evil creatures are typically weak against Holy.
- Shadow is the essence of darkness and evil. Angels and other strongly good creatures are typically weak against Shadow.
Sometimes, a monster is so strongly aligned with a particular element that it is impervious to harm from that element, or even grows stronger from exposure to it. On the other hand, such a monster is often at the mercy of the opposing element. Certain Relics can also grant elemental affinities to player characters. There are five levels of elemental affinities:
- Weakness means the character takes double damage from attacks of that element.
- Resistance means the character takes half damage from attacks of that element.
- Immunity means the character takes no damage from attacks of that element.
- Lesser Absorbency means the character takes no damage from attacks of that element, and instead regains an amount of HP equal to half the damage rolled.
- Greater Absorbency means the character takes no damage from attacks of that element, and instead regains an amount of HP equal to the damage rolled.
Normally, combat damage in ZODIAC is on a fairly small scale - most of the time, damage is in the three-digit range. However, you can easily achieve a more Final Fantasy-ish feel by simply adding a zero - or multiple zeroes, if you wish - to HP and damage rolls for all players and monsters.
The Damage Cap
Unlike the Final Fantasy series, damage in ZODIAC can normally get as high as the dice will let it. If the Master wishes, he can impose a damage cap- a limit on the maximum amount of damage that can be dealt with a single blow. Any attack that would otherwise deal over 999 damage - after figuring in weaknesses, resistances, etc- instead deals 999 damage.