Limit Breaks are special abilities, which require no MP to use and are only accessible after a character sustains a substantial amount of damage. There are two different methods of achieving Limit Breaks (it is suggested that the GM choose one method and use only that one).
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Limit Breaks are accessed through the build up of a special Limit Meter that increases when damage is taken. When the Limit Meter is completely filled, the Limit Break will be available whenever the character is next able to perform an action. Limit Breaks do not need to be used immediately, and even if the battle ends, the character will still be able to access his Limit Break whenever he starts battle again; however, as long as the Limit Break is accessible, a character cannot use Techs or his normal attack.
The Limit Meter has a maximum value equal to twice a character's maximum HP. Once a character's Limit Meter reaches its Break Level (in other words, when it is full), the meter does not fill up anymore.
When a character is hit by a weak-damaging attack (one that takes away less than 25% of the character's max HP), the Limit Meter increases at a one-to-one ratio with the loss of HP. For stronger attacks (25-50% of the character's max HP), the Limit Meter increases at double the rate of the loss of HP. For extreme attacks (those that take 50% or more of a character's max HP), the Limit Meter increases at three times the rate of damage1. (Therefore, if a character looses more than two-thirds of his max HP in a single blow, he will immediately access a Limit Break.) Also note that damage inflicted by an allied character (even if confused) does not increase a character's Limit Meter. When a Limit Break is used, or if the character dies, the Limit Meter resets to zero.
This method is more like that of Final Fantasy VIII and Final Fantasy VI (yes, there were limit breaks in VI, but they were unbelievably rare). Limit Breaks are randomly accessed while making your attack's accuracy roll (much the same way as critical hits), or when using a Tech. If triggered, the character will immediately use his Limit Break instead of his chosen action. Note that this negates the MP cost of using a Tech.
The likelihood of accessing a Limit Break increases as the character's HP decreases. Until the character has less than 50% HP, there is no chance of a Limit Break. From 25-50% HP, the character must roll between a 1 and 5 on his accuracy. Between 10 and 25% HP, he must roll a 10 or less. Under 10% HP, any value 20 or less will cause a Limit Break. If the character is using a Tech, make a separate roll on a percentile dice to determine if the Limit Break is triggered. Weapons, Armor, Relics, or other items do not affect a character's chance of accessing a Limit Break.
This method emulates the limits in Final Fantasy IX, there called Trance. Trance is a set of 10 special techs, four of 3rd-level, three of 4th-level, two of 5th-level, and one of 6th-level. These are the base levels, calculated before adding Secondary MP adjustments. The character receives their level 3 techs at 1st-level, level 4 techs at 20th-level, level 5 techs at 30th level, and their level 6 tech at 40th-level. Alternatively, the GM may make the character undergo a special quest for their final tech.
A character stays in Trance until they are unable to cast their Trance techs any longer, as determined by a new stat; "Limit Points." LP functions in the same way as MP for a character, but is only used for Trance techs. A character's LP are equal to 10 + Vit + Spr. If a character does not have enough LP to cast any more of their Trance techs, they exit Trance and return to their normal tech set. The next time they enter Trance, even in the same battle, their LP returns to max. To enter Trance, a character must take damage, following the standard formula.
If the character wishes, they may "force" a trance. This is done by making a percentage roll under the character's current Limit Meter percentage (56/270 for example, would be 20%). When the character forces their Trance, they may only use ONE tech from it. Their Limit Meter depletes to 0 after that tech is finished.
A Limit Break may have almost any effect normally found in ZODIAC. It may heal, revive, cause physical damage, magical damage, status effects, etc. It is created as though it were a normal Tech with a level equal to two greater than the highest level tech in the character's possession (with a maximum level of 8)2. Limit Breaks may not involve the following secondary effects: Charge Power, Limited Uses, or Sacrifice.
Limit Break Formula
A character's Limit Meter tops off at (Unless using the Break Levels option) their Max HP x 2.
This limit meter is fed by damage they receive. If they receive less than 25% of their Max HP, the bar is filled on a one-to-one ratio with the damage. Damage in the ranges of 25% to 50% of their Max HP fills it by double the damage received, anything above 50% increases the Limit Meter by 3 times the damage taken.
A character's Limit Meter NEVER fills if they receive damage from an ally. If a character is KO'd, their Limit Meter resets to 0.
The following options may be applied if the GM desires a different flavor for their Limit Breaks. Method Two can only have Option 5 applied to it.
Break Levels (Option 1) - Final Fantasy VII
In this method, a character's Limit Meter does not always max out at the same level. Instead, the Break Level (the point on the Limit Meter where the character's Limit Breaks are accessed) varies with the level of the Limit Break. In essence, the stronger the Limit Break, the more damage the character must sustain to access it.
Limits are broken down into 4 groups. The first group (referred to as "Limit Level" 1) will contain the equivalent of a level 2 Tech, and a level 3 Tech. Limit Level 2 will have a 4 and 5 Tech; Limit Level 3 a 6 and 7 Tech; and Limit Level 4 an 8 Tech. The character must decide what Limit Level he is trying to achieve before battle begins, and he may only use the attacks on that level.
The Break Level for each Tech is proportional to the Limit Level of the attack. Limit Level 1 is equal to 100% of the character's max HP. Level 2 is equal to 150%; 3 is equal to 200%; and 4 is equal to 250%. Remember that the build up of the Limit Meter is the same as in Method One.
Gaining Limits (Option 2) - Final Fantasy VII
In this method, Limit Breaks are not gained based on what Techs a character possess; rather, they are gained based on the number of times the character uses his Limit Breaks and the number of battles he wins. To gain the next attack on the same Limit Level, the character must have used the previous attack at least 6 times. To gain the next Limit Level, the character must destroy 20 enemies. This means that he must have the last attack against the enemy.3
Ultimate Limit (Option 3) - Final Fantasy VII
At the GM's discretion, the characters might not gain their final Limit Breaks when they achieve a certain Limit Level. Instead, the characters must find a specific item (usually in a side quest) that gives them that Limit Break. However, should the character find his item early, he may not learn it until he would be able to acquire the limit normally.
Alternate Limit Modes (Option 4) - Final Fantasy X
Instead of taking damage to activate their limit break, a character may instead choose one (and only one) of the following options.
- Stoic: Stoic follows the standard formula (See above)
- Warrior: The Warrior option fills the Limit Meter based on damage the character deals to an opponent. Warrior follows 1/4 standard formula, but the roles of Player and Monster are reversed. A Warrior can not fill their meter by attacking an ally.
- Healer: Healers fill their Limit Meter based on how much health they return to their allies. This follows the 1/2 standard formula (Using your Max HP for the calculation). If a healed character is brought up to their Max HP, the Healer only counts how much was actually healed instead of what their healing performs. This is the only option that can be used outside of battle.
- Comrade: The Comrade option functions similar to Stoic, but the character receives 1/3 standard formula for damage their ALLIES take. Their Limit Meter doesn't fill up for any damage they receive.
- Slayer: The Slayer option fills the Limit Meter when the character performs the finishing blow on an enemy. For normal monsters this is equal to 1/5 of their Limit Meter. Boss monsters fill the meter by 1/2.
- Victor: The Victor option fills the Limit Meter based on if the character survives a battle. At the end of battle the character's Limit Meter fills up by 1/5.
- Tactician: The Tactician option fills the Limit Meter depending on Status Effects the character has inflicted upon their enemies. Only Negative Status effects count, and the attack must succeed for it to count. If the status hits multiple enemies, the character gets double what they normally would.
- Level 1 = 1/20 Limit Meter.
- Level 2 = 1/10 Limit Meter.
- Level 3 = 1/5 Limit Meter.
- Level 4 = 1/3 Limit Meter.
- Hero: The Hero option is similar to the Slayer, but instead of any opponent they defeat, it has to be an opponent with more HP then the character. The character follows the standard limit formula, but instead of damage, they substitute the difference between their Max HP and the enemies. The character MUST be the one to land the killing blow to fill their Limit Bar.
- Ally: The Ally option fills the Limit Meter on the character's turn by 1/20.
- Daredevil: This functions similar to Ally, but the character must be in critical health (less than 10% HP) and they receive 1/5 their Limit Meter.
- Loner: The Loner's Limit Meter fills to maximum if all their allies are incapacitated in some fashion (KO'd, Petrified, or not in the battle).
- Dancer: The Dancer option fills the Limit Meter based on how much damage the character has AVOIDED. The character must be targeted by an attack that has a chance of missing and deals damage. They receive double the standard formula for damage they would have received had they been hit.
- Rook: The Rook option fills the Limit Bar not by how much damage the character receives, but how much damage they nullify. Defending for a turn, being subject to a Resistance, Immunity, or Absorbency, or being under the effects of Barrier or MBarrier all count for this tech, but Break Arts on their opponent do not. The character receives double the standard formula, using the damage they didn't take to calculate how fast their Limit Meter fills.
- Victim: The Victim option is the polar opposite of Tactician. Instead of having their Limit Meter fill based on status effects they hit opponents with, it fills based on what status effect hits them. This follows double the Tactician formula. Victim's Limit Meters don't fill if they are hit by an ally.
- Sufferer: The Sufferer functions like Victim, but the Limit Meter fills by Tactician formula for every turn the character gets while under the effects of a status.
- Avenger: The Avenger's Limit Meter fills whenever one of their allies is KO'd. They receive 1/5 their Limit Meter when an ally falls unconscious and 1/3 if they land the killing blow on the opponent that dropped their ally.
Hastened Limit Breaks (Option 5) - Final Fantasy VIII / IX
This adds two optional tech creation rules designed specifically for Limit Breaks. They may be cast at any time EXCEPT when the character has already activated Limit Break.
The target of this tech has instant access to their Limit Break on their next turn. If used with Trance, this functions as if the player had forced the Trance, without having to make a roll.
Effect: Status Effect
High Tide increases the rate at which a character's Limit Meter fills by double. It is a positive status effect, and lasts 1d4+1 ticks. If a character gains enough to fill their Limit completely, High Tide is automatically dispelled.