This is a system specification for Retro Pastiche, an RPG idea of mine. As the name implies, it is a pastiche of old-school RPGs and thus has a lot of stupid traditionalist mechanics; however, it does enough differently to warrant an in-depth discussion. The system is a work in progress.



The game is serious, but its plot is a melange of tired cliches and so isn't worth discussing here. The only setting element worthy of discussion is the concept of elementalists. In the game world, an elementalist is a person who can influence the ambient elemental balance in an area. Elementalists are skilled at elemental manipulation and at working together. This should provide context for some of the more peculiar system elements.

The game has certain subsystems that bear detailed discussion, but most of it is fairly straightforward. To give brief rundown of the main features:


Party and Characters

Four characters can be in the party at once, although there are some places where the player switches between two active parties. Party order is irrelevant. Controllable characters must have names four characters long or less.

There are four main characters: KYLE, EZRA, RUTH, and FINN. Although other characters will join the party, only these four are around consistently, and only they can have their abilities adjusted.

KYLEWaterBest overall; well-rounded with high HP. "Hero."Healing and support
EZRAEarthStrong with best survivability, but very slow with poor MP. "Tank."Offense and protection
RUTHFireBest offense and MP, but extremely fragile. "Glass cannon."Offense and support
FINNAirVery fast with high MP, but poor offense and defense. "Support."Support and control

Playable characters have no actual "element" stat; the elements mentioned above are just reflected in the skills available to each character. As you can probably tell, Kyle is the "main character," the imbal solo class. This is somewhat counterbalanced by the fact that he is by far the best healer, so he has to spend a lot of time keeping everyone else from dying. Aside from the fact that the hero is the healer it's a very generic party setup.


Retro Pastiche has only 6 numerical stats; these are the things that get better as your level increases.

HP are fully restored after every encounter, even if the character was KOd. MP are very difficult to restore outside of a town, however.

The (tentative) level-one stats for each PC are as follows:


Levelling is random, but for the most part, these proportions should remain similar throughout the game unless the player interferes with stat growth.


Everyone in the party gets the same amount of XP from a battle, whether or not they were KOd when the battle ended. Everyone levels at the same rate, though I haven't decided what that rate is yet since it will obviously need fine-tuning. The current plan is to cap level at 50. There is no extra work required to extend this, though, so if a higher cap works better it's trivial to implement.

I hate randomized levelling, but this game has it because it's SO FUCKING RETRO. Here's how it works: levelling is divided into a fixed part and a random part. MP growth is fixed, but let me ignore that for a minute. The non-MP stats grow like this:

An example will make the random case easier to understand. Ezra's three sets of bonuses are (POW, DEF, MOR, RFL), (POW, DEF), and (HP, DEF). One bonus is randomly chosen from each set when he levels. As the tank, he has a 25% chance of getting a DEF bonus in the first set, a 50% chance of a DEF bonus in the second set, and a 50% chance of a DEF bonus in the third set. Then he gets +1 DEF every level automatically, so his average DEF growth will be 2.25 points per level. Comparatively, his RFL growth is really bad, since only one bonus set contains RFL and it comes up as something else most of the time.

The four main characters have the following growth schema. Remember that a random HP bonus is +3 rather than +1, and that everybody gets +1 POW/DEF/MOR/RFL per level on top of the random bonuses.

Fixed HP+Bonus Set 1Bonus Set 2Bonus Set 3

Non-MP growth works the same every level (meaning that levels have a more dramatic effect early on). Thus, the average growth per level can be calculated from the above information:


Unfortunately, MP require a different method. They're too important to leave to chance, and they grow much more slowly than the other stats, so +1 per level is far too much. For comparison, level 50 MP should be double level 1 MP, while the other stats should be about six times higher at level 50 than at level 1. Basically, the way it works is this: if you imagine MP as a decimal value truncated to the integer portion, then everyone gains B/49 MP per level, where B is there level one MP value. Of course, as far as the rest of the game is concerned, MP is an integer, so the net effect is that it increments every few levels.

Notes on Stat Growth and Range

For PCs, HP goes from 1 to 999, MP goes from 1 to 99, and the other stats go from 1 to 200 or so (maybe 255). All stats grow at a linear rate, with every levels giving you something in the vicinity of your base stats (except MP, which is slower). However, most of the game's formulas are based on the ratios between stats, so because the growth is linear, the actual benefit-per-level falls off gradually as level increases.


Characters have three types of equipment slots, which can only be adjusted outside combat.

More information can be found in the separate item document.

Combat Structure

Describing the particulars of combat will take up most of the rest of this spec, but I can explain the basic structure of it now. Battles are oldschool turn-based, with no positioning or ordering. You've got up to four guys, and the enemy has...possibly a bit more than that.

Declaration precedes resolution; that is, you choose everyone's actions at the start of the turn, and then everything happens in descending order of Reflexes. This means you have to be a bit careful about the order things will resolve in. Unlike most games to use this method, though, Retro Pastiche does not randomize the initiative roster at all. You go Reflexes, top to bottom, and there's virtually nothing that changes the initiative order during battle, so once you've seen one round you know what the resolution order will be for the rest of the fight. Ties are broken in an arbitrary but deterministic way, as yet undecided.

Most abilities default to another logical target if their initial target is invalid. The new target is random, but from the same party (PCs or enemies). I might put a smidge of AI here, like having healing default to the person who needs it most, but that'd be about the extent of it.

So, okay, you're declaring actions before turn start. Your guys are lined up in some arbitrary order; actions are entered in that order. Each PC has up to six skills; generally the action will involve choosing one of these, though there's also a "Defend" action that everyone has regardless of their skills. You can also override everyone's actions to try to run, in which case you either get away or all PCs lose the turn.

Under some circumstances, a character can be defeated before they execute their action, then revived again before their turn in the initiative roster has come up. Well, it's a good try, but no such luck: if you're taken out before acting, your action for the turn is lost, even if you're revived immediately.

Defeated enemies are still "there," even though they aren't visible. This means that other enemies can revive them. Some enemies also have the ability to summon new enemies, though, and depending on the circumstances these can "overwrite" dead enemies. You get extra XP and loot for beating hordes of summoned enemies, but not for repeatedly beating the same guy who keeps getting revived.

Interfering with Combat Order

Although changes to the initiative order during battle are very rare, they do happen, and many skills also happen outside the normal ordering.


There are several tiers of action ordering based on skill properties -- an Act First skill always goes before a regular skill, regardless of initiative, because it's a higher tier, but tiebreaking between Act First skills follows the usual initiative order. In order from first to last action, the action tiers are:

Act When Declared > Act Firster > Act First > [regular] > Act Last > Act Laster

Act When Declared skills happen the moment the declaration phase ends. They generally resolve silently and represent "whole-turn" passive effects. The player doesn't see this designator because it should be clear from the description how the skill works. Act Firster and Act First are pretty similar except that Act Firster skills are all support/defense, while any skill can be promoted to Act First. These two both show up as "Act First" to the player. Act Last and Act Laster are the same as First/Firster, except really slow instead of really fast. They don't see much use; Act Laster is pretty much just for gimmick fights where the context shifts at the end of each round.


A couple of abilities are combo actions, which means that they're used to alter the action taken by their target. These abilities sit outside the normal action order and trigger whenever the person they target acts. If the targeted individual doesn't act, or uses an incompatible action, the combo ability never goes off. Obviously, they can also fail if the person using the combo ability is killed or disabled before their target acts.


If anyone's Reflexes change, the game re-evaluates the initiative order from scratch. Typically Reflexes changes are Act When Declared and apply only to the person using them, so it doesn't matter whether the turn in which they change uses the new or old ordering. This wouldn't be a problem at all, except for...


There is this one skill called Switch that switches the user's and target's places in the initiative roster for the remainder of the battle. You can use this over and over again, in fact, until the ordering bears no resemblance to its original state. But here's the kicker: Switch does not change Reflexes. I don't really care how this interacts with things that do change Reflexes, so I can see two different and equally annoying ways of implementing it:

I'm leaning toward #2, but I haven't made up my mind yet.


All my games have shitloads of formulas because that's how I roll, but there are a couple that are of special importance. Coincidentally the most commonly-used formulas are also the most ludicrously complicated.

All skills have a Potency and an Accuracy that represent percent values (i.e., 100 means 100%). Potency directly scales damage and other effects, while Accuracy is the base (equal-stat) hit rate. These values are used in many formulas. In the descriptions below, * and / denote multiplication and division respectively, and ^ denotes exponentiation.


Here AP refers to the attacker's Power, DD refers to the defender's defense, and Pot to the Potency of the attack being used.

Base Skill Damage = (AP^2 / DD) * (Pot / 100)

This is doubled if the attack is a critical hit, after which a whole host of situational multipliers are applied. At some point I'll wrangle up all the modifiers and compile them into one omnisituational equation, but it'd be impossible to understand, so for the time being you're better off just looking over the rest of the document.

Anyhow, once you get the final damage it's usually randomized a bit due to the iron grip of tradition. I'm thinking the randomization will go between -10% and 10% and will be loosely bell-curved, but I haven't figured out exactly how yet. I might just generate two random floats from 0 to 10, add them together, and then make the actual damage (90 + float1 + float2)%.

Damage caps at 9999. This is outrageously high given the stat scale, so it should rarely come up.


Okay, this one's a lot more complicated. The game uses the same success formula for attacks (which pit the attacker's Reflexes against the defender's Reflexes) and for impairments and other debuffs (which pit the attacker's Power against the defender's Morale). Whatever the situation, these stats only come into play through their ratio.

Divide the attacker's hit stat by the defender's evasion stat and call the result R. Let Acc be the accuracy of the skill being used, and let Crit be the critical hit rate, which caps at 100 but is almost always 0 or 10. If the ratio is 1 then the success rate will just be the Accuracy, but this is almost never true, so we need to find the adjusted success rate.

Adjusted Success Rate = [ Acc + 100 - 100/(1 + R^4 * Acc / [100-Acc]) ] / 2
This formula yields a value between 0 and 100. As the defender's stat goes to infinity it converges toward Acc/2 (i.e. halved chance of success), and as the attacker's stat goes to infinity it converges toward (100 - Acc)/2 (i.e. halved chance of failure). The power 4 that's in there determines the rate of convergence -- I might need to tweak that; we'll see how it plays.

Anyhow, that's your adjusted success rate. Once again there's a whole pile of modifiers that go on top of that, and you apply all those to get some final success rate. Then from that you calculate the critical chance:

Chance of Critical = Final Success Rate * Crit / 100      (if Crit is higher than 100, treat it as 100.)
So in other words, if your crit value is 10, then 10% of your successful attacks will be critical hits. If it's 100, you either crit or miss, every time.

Then you just roll up a number from 1 to 100, as you'd expect. If it's equal to or less than the success rate the skill succeeds; if it's equal to or less than the critical chance, it not only succeeds but is a critical hit.


Obviously, a lot of skills work 100% of the time, and with those you can bypass most of the nonsense from the previous section. However, the game draws a distinction between skills that always achieve basic success (Accuracy X) and skills that always succeed, but might be a critical hit (Accuracy 100). In the former case you can skip success checking entirely, but in the latter case you assume a final success rate of 100 and then move on to the critical hit check.


Healing is pretty simple compared to everything else, because it's based entirely on the healer's Morale. Letting M be the healer's Morale and Pot be the Potency of the healing skill, the formula is:

Base HP Healed = M * (Pot / 100)

Healing uses the same randomization method as damage...whatever that happens to be. Like damage, healing caps at 9999.


lol dunno


lol dunno


Retro Pastiche has six elements, arranged into three opposing pairs. I'm sure you will be shocked to hear that they are Fire/Water, Earth/Air, and Light/Dark. Enemies each have two distinct elemental types (which may be opposed), but PCs are non-elemental. Don't fall asleep on me here, this is where it starts to get weird.

In battle there are six elemental affinities, one of each type. These range from -10 to 10. The affinities all have default values for the area; typically an area will have +1/-1 in an opposing pair and 0 for all the others, but this varies from place to place. A positive affinity is always beneficial to the player, and a negative affinity is always detrimental. The affinity ratings are a part of the battle HUD at all times, because they're very important.

Using Affinities to Increase Power

Every skill has an associated element, and for enemies, the type of damage the skill does is based on the skill's element, as you would expect. However, this is not how it works for PCs. In the hands of a PC, a fire-elemental skill does not necessarily inflict fire damage. The "fieriness" of the PC's damage is determined by the elemental affinity.

      wait, what?

Let's not worry about enemy skills for now. A PC who attacks an enemy wants to target its weaknesses (the elements opposed to its type) while avoiding its strengths. At any given time, an enemy's total Weakness rating is equal to the sum of both the affinities that oppose its types. For example, if an enemy is Water/Air, its Weakness is the sum of the current Fire and Earth affinities. If an enemy is Light/Dark, its Weakness is the sum of the current Light and Dark affinities. Note that the affinities that match the enemy's type don't generally come into the calculation.

The higher an enemy's Weakness is, the more damage it takes from all sources, regardless of their associated elements. At Weakness 0, the enemy takes exactly the base damage of the skill. At negative Weakness it takes less, and at positive Weakness it takes more. Try to forget about the "super effective" paradigm and instead think of it as the elemental aura crippling monsters opposed to it. What this means is that, for PCs, the element of a skill does not directly influence that skill's damage. So what's it for?

The elemental affinities start at the regional defaults and are flushed back to those defaults at the end of every turn. As I mentioned earlier, this is one of those systems where you enter everyone's actions at the beginning of the turn, and then everything resolves in order of initiative. When you choose a skill for a PC to use, the affinity of that skill's element gets +1 for the rest of the turn, and the opposing affinity gets -1 for the rest of the turn. These changes are "locked in" as soon as you declare the actions, and last for the turn whether or not the skills actually resolve. This is the only way the affinities change, crazy special cases notwithstanding: enemies' skills have no effect on them.

Several consequences follow from this:

Using Affinities to Improve Resistance

PCs are non-elemental, but obviously they have some kind of "elemental weaknesses," or else there'd be no point in enemy skills having elements, since they don't change affinities. In fact, PCs' weaknesses/resistances are the mirror image of enemies', except not limited to a particular type pair.

Suppose now an enemy is attacking a PC. Enemy types don't change, so their Weakness is the same against everything. For a PC, though, the Weakness depends on the element of the enemy's skill, so it's recalculated each time. Specifically, a PC's Weakness against a given skill is equal to zero minus the affinity of the skill's element. In other words, if you're getting hit with a Fire skill, you take the Fire affinity and negate it in order to determine your Weakness. As before, negative Weakness reduces damage, so using a bunch of Fire skills not only makes your damage very fiery for the turn, it also makes you virtually immune to enemies' Fire attacks.

Again, there are a few immediate consequences:

Let's See Some Numbers!

I mentioned above that Weakness influences damage. Specifically, you multiply the base damage by (1 - Weakness/5). A Weakness of -5 completely negates all damage; making it lower has no additional effect.

What this means is that if you have a default Earth, say, of 0, then increasing it by 1 increases the damage you deal to Air enemies by 20% while reducing the damage you take from Earth skills by 20%. This doesn't sound that great, but there's a hidden design factor here: most enemies in a region are of the type that defaults to +1 in that region. For instance, you're going to be fighting the most Earth enemies in +1 Earth/-1 Air areas, and under those circumstances you're getting a 25% improvement, which is better. Of course, you still can't get large bonuses unless you have multiple PCs work together.

I didn't mention it before, but Weakness also influences the success rate of impairments and other debuffs. First get the adjusted success rate based on the characters' stats and other modifiers. This is then multiplied by (1 + Weakness/10). If this raises the hit rate above 100 then success is guaranteed.

Elemental affinities have no effect on positive effects, or on debuffs that always work. When enemies use such skills, their elements are "just for show."

Stop Hitting Me

What happens if an ally uses a harmful skill on another ally, or an enemy on another enemy? If an enemy attacks an enemy, just use the victim's normal Weakness as if it were a PC attacking. If a PC attacks another PC, calculate the victim's Weakness based on the element of the attacker's skill, as though it were an enemy attacking.

The "Defend" Action

All skills have an element, but there is one action that isn't exactly a skill. It's the only action available to all PCs, and also the only one in the game that has no affect on the affinities. This is the "Defend" action. Normally in these games, Defend halves all damage to the user for the turn. In Retro Pastiche, it only cuts damage by 25%, however, so long as at least one PC defends, all affinities are +1 for the turn.

Enemies are incapable of defending. If I want any of them to protect themselves or manipulate affinities I'll give them suitable skills.

Elemental Themes

Normally you'd put this part at the beginning, but I needed to get the mechanical stuff out of the way first. Each element has a broad range of skills, but there are strong motifs and biases to each. The main focus is on the four "traditional" elements. There are virtually no PC-accessible Light or Dark skills, so it's pretty hard to do anything with their affinities until late in the game.

Too generic for you? I probably shouldn't mention the part about the six elemental worlds with the magic crystals, then.


What Attributes Are

Aside from its element, every skill has an attribute that provides a passive bonus during the turn the skill is used. When a PC uses a skill, the attribute bonus applies to all PCs that turn, but when an enemy uses a skill the bonus applies only to the enemy. Retro Pastiche has virtually no buffs, so attributes are important to directing the flow of combat.

Attribute bonuses are a little like affinity adjustments in that they kick in as soon as the action is declared and apply for the whole turn. Unlike the affinity adjustments, though, a skill's passive bonus is cancelled if the person using the skill is defeated. Being KOd basically undoes your skill declaration for the rest of the turn, even if you're revived.

The Attributes and Their Effects

There are six attributes, although some are pretty uncommon. In all cases their effects stack; this is irrelevant for enemies (who don't share their bonuses), but it's important for PCs since, as with elements, you can get a big effect by having everyone do the same thing. In the dezcriptions that follow, take N to be the number of copies of the bonus that apply.

OFFENSE:All damage inflicted is multiplied by 1.1^N, and base Accuracy of impairments/debuffs is multiplied by 1.1^N
DEFENSE:All damage taken is multiplied by (10-N)/10.
RECOVERY:The effectiveness of HP-healing skills is multiplied by 1.2^N, and Regen is increased by N.
AGILITY:Critical hit rates are multiplied by 1.5^N, and all negative abilities with a chance to fail (including attacks with Acc < 100) have their base Accuracy multiplied by (1-N)/10.
UNIVERSAL:All of the above. The Universal bonus combines the effects of Offense, Defense, Recovery, and Agility, and stacks with all of those. Only one skill has this attribute, though, so don't get too excited.
SACRIFICE:Unlike with the other attributes, the Sacrifice "bonus" is actually bad. All healing and damage dealt is multiplied by (5-N)/5, and all damage taken is multiplied by 1.2^N.

When I talk about "Accuracy" I'm referring to a trait that skills possess, rather than the success rate. Accuracy determines the success rate for characters of equal ability, and is then modified based on the difference in stats.


For information on specific skills, consult the skill listing.

The Basics

Skills are the meat of the game. Aside from Defending and trying to run, everything you do in battle is using a skill. Most games give you a broad selection of skills, but the bulk of these are either redundant or almost never used. None of that here. In Retro Pastiche, PCs begin with two skills, and can learn up to six. That's it. If you're going to give the same person two skills that do similar things -- two attacks, or two heals, say -- it's a major sacrifice, because you're giving up on some totally different type of functionality.

There are mitigating factors. Each skill has an element and an attribute, and as you've no doubt realized from the preceding sections, the interplay between the skills different characters use is important. All skills have more than one method of usage, and there are a couple of outright cheats, where one skill allows a choice of further "sub-skills." For the most part, though, what you see is what you get. It's not a terribly complex system.

Skill names are six characters or fewer, and are prefixed by one of the attribute icons shown earlier. The icon's colour indicates the element of the skill.

Regular Versus Super

Every skill has two modes, regular mode and supermove. These will be triggered by selecting the skill with different buttons, I think. Obviously, supermove mode is stronger. However, using a skill in regular mode is free, while using it as a supermove costs 1 MP (deducted only when the skill resolves). One character has an "item use" skill that consumes items, but otherwise the MP cost for supermoves is the only cost for using any skill.

Enemies can use their skills in both modes as well, though depending on their logic some may choose to use only a single mode. When necessary, supermoves will be prefixed by a star to differentiate them from their regular forms.

The Seal impairment removes the ability to use supermoves. If you try to use a supermove but can't (either because you're Sealed or because you have no MP), the skill flops -- the passive attribute bonus remains, but you don't even get the regular version or the effect.

Obviously the supermove version of a skill is usually an enhanced form of the regular version, but the particulars are different for every skill. I haven't settled on the implementation yet, but I suspect it's probably easier to implement the two modes as completely separate skills internally, and then make a logical link between them.

Properties of Skills

Every skill has a Potency and an Accuracy, which are visible to players if they care to look. Accuracy determines how likely the skill is to work, and Potency determines how well it works if it succeeds. Typically both are nonnegative integers, but for some skills one or either is X. A Potency of X indicates that the skill has a fixed effect, while an Accuracy of X indicates that the skill never fails. Some attacks have an Accuracy of 100, which also means they never fail because of how the math works; the difference between 100 and X is that an Acc-100 attack might score a critical hit.

Skills are either regular skills or high skills. The distinction only matters for PCs. In short, a PC can only learn one high skill, and it is always the last skill learned, whereas otherwise skills can be learned in any order (no prerequisites).

Every skill has an Element and an Attribute.

Once a PC learns a skill, they open up an equipment slot associated with that skill, except high skills which have none. Equipment called mods can be equipped in these slots -- depending on the skill different mods are possible. Most mods change the skill's element or attribute or increase its Potency or Accuracy. Technically mods are associated with the learned instance of the skill, but skills in their platonic ideal form do contain information on which mods they're compatible with.

Guest PCs have a fixed skillset, but the four main characters can learn new skills. Each skill contains information about which of the main characters can learn it. In the implementation this information will probably be associated with the characters, not the skills, but it's easier to think of it this way.

Group Actions

A handful of skills are designated as group actions requiring a specific number of people. These skills only work if that many people use them at the same time. The action resolves on the initiative of the slowest participant, with the others effectively comboing with that participant. Every person involved in a group action has to have the skill, and if it's a supermove they all have to use it in supermove mode. If something reduces the number of participants (say, one of them is KOd), nothing happens.

When a group action require's the caster's POW, DEF, MOR, or RFL, it takes the average over all participants. If the skill has an attribute whose bonus changes its effectiveness (e.g. Offense or Sacrifice on an attack), each copy of the bonus counts for PCs, but for enemies a single copy of the bonus is applied to the whole group action. Group actions are mostly an enemy thing, though -- there will be one or two that PCs can use, but they're a rare novelty since they waste skill space.

In principle it's possible for more people to participate in a Group Action than is required. In every case I've considered there are exactly the right number of people with the skill, so I don't expect this to come up. If it does, though, nothing special happens: the extra people have their stats included in the average, PCs get the extra attribute bonus, and there's a bit of a "buffer" to protect against participants being taken down. In this case the skill resolves as soon as the necessary number of people have had their regular initiative, but everyone who declared it participates.

Learning New Skills

I've mentioned that the main characters can learn new skills, but not how. It's a combination of plot-based events and "skill stores." Most towns will have a Trainer, where you can pay to learn a new skill (any of the regular skills available to that character). The cost increases geometrically each time a given character uses the trainer (I'm thinking it goes up by a factor of 2 to 5; it'll depend a bit on the money curve). Note that this cost is determined on a per-character basis.

So you begin with a couple free skills and then you can go to the Trainer to learn more. But wait! The number of skill slots you have available is plot-dependent. You start out with only 2, and then slots 3 through 5 open up at specific points in the game. The sixth slot is the last to open and it comes with a high skill; no trainer is required there.

So obviously, when you get a new slot you go to the Trainer to buy a skill for it. But you can also buy new skills when you have no slots available. In this case, the new skill permanently overwrites a skill of your choice. This gives you a little room to make up for bad decisions, but only a little, because it makes all the later skills that character learns much more expensive. I'm thinking that the learning costs will cap at some point, but if you dick around early on you could easily have one character lagging behind until the end of the game.

Here are the rules of skill learning:

Note how this works with late arrivals: by the time Finn joins (for example), everybody else probably has four skills, but he begins with only two skills and two empty slots. However, bringing him up to speed is easy because his Trainer cost begins at its minimum.


Retro Pastiche has a lot of "status effects," but most of them are added by only a single thing, and in many cases they're only added on a semipermanent basis when you equip certain accessories, in which case the effect is just a way of simplifying the accessory specification. By and large, these effects are invisible to players.


The five impairments constitute the traditional "bad status" debuffs you see in every RPG. Unlike other status effects, these are added by lots different of skills, and are visible to the player whether they are on a PC or an enemy.

Impairments are really bad. All five of them have unlimited duration and they don't go away after battle or even when the victim is defeated. The only ways to remove impairments are to use an MP-expending skill, to blow a moderately expensive item, or to stay at an inn. On the upside, almost no enemies are immune to more than a couple, bosses included.

POISON:The victim begins battles with 75% of their max HP (rather than the full amount, as usual). At the end of every round, (before or after Regen?) they lose 25% of their current HP. This cannot reduce them to below 1 HP, and it is unaltered by any effects (Defense stat, attribute bonuses, etc) that modify damage.
WOUND:The victim regains half as many HP as usual from healing and Regeneration.
CURSE:The victim takes 1.33x as much damage from all sources, and attacks against them have 1.5x the usual crit rate (if any).
BLIND:The victim's hit and evasion are drastically reduced, and they cannot land critical hits. Explicitly: the victim's final hit rates (after all other computations) are halved for all skills with a chance to miss (those that use Reflexes to determine success and have Accuracy less than 100). The miss chance of similar moves used against them (that is, 1 minus the final hit rate) is likewise halved.
SEAL:The victim cannot use supermoves.

Effects that cure or alter impairments only deal with the above five effects. Other status effects are ad hoc and hidden from the player.


Regen is a stat that determines how many HP a character regenerates per turn. I didn't include it in the initial description of the game's stats because PCs tend to have 0 Regen and it never increases. Thus, the main way PCs get regeneration under normal circumstances is through the Recovery attribute bonus. It's not uncommon for enemies to have a Regen rating, though, and some equipment can confer it.

Regen is a nonnegative integer that can be arbitrarily large. Things that increase Regen typically stack with one another and with the base rating. It doesn't really change very much in combat, but there are a few ways to mess with it on the fly.

At the end of every turn, each character regains (Regen*Morale)/4 HP. The amount of HP regained is affected by impairments and other status effects, but not by passive attribute bonuses like Recovery and Sacrifice. The Recovery bonus does indirectly raise the HP regained because it raises your Regen rating, however.

Other Personal Status Effects

The rest of the status effects are a grab bag of miscellaneous widgets. Most of them are only applied by a single thing, and often the thing in question is actually an accessory, so the "status effect" is really a side-effect of the accessory. None of the following effects are directly visible to the player, though some of them might have graphical indicators.

Frankly, you can probably skip this and the next section. All of these effects are added by equipment or abilities, and their effects are indicated in the descriptions of the things that add them.

AGITATED:The damage the target suffers and inflicts are both multiplied by 1.5. Wears off after 6 rounds (including the current), when the target is KOd, or when the battle ends. Overwrites Sedated status.
SEDATED:The damage the target suffers and inflicts are both multiplied by 0.67. Wears off after 6 rounds (including the current), when the target is KOd, or when the battle ends. Overwrites Agitated status.
SKILLED:Equipment-based. Use Power instead of Morale to calculate the effectiveness of healing and regeneration.
FORTITUDE:Equipment-based. Use Defense instead of Morale to resist debuffs.
CONFIDENCE:Equipment-based. Use Morale instead of Reflexes to evade attacks.
FINESSE:Equipment-based. Use Reflexes instead of Power to calculate the success rate of your debuffs.
TRANSFORMED:Transformed is associated with one of Power, Defense, Morale, and Reflexes. 1/4 of the points are shifted to the chosen stat from each of the three others, not counting equipment modifiers. Wears off when the battle ends. Overrides Supertransformed and Equilibrium.
SUPERTRANSFORMED:Identical to Transformed, but shifts 1/3 of the other stats, rather than 1/4. Overrides Transformed and Equlibrium.
EQUILIBRIUM:Power, Defense, Morale, and Reflexes are all replaced with the average of the four, counting equipment modifiers. Normally this lasts for five turns including the current turn, but the supermove version lasts until the battle ends. Ineffective on characters with Transformed/Supertransformed.
OPPORTUNIST:Equipment-based. Enemies drop 1.25x as much money when defeated. Multiple copies do not stack.
DEPOISON:Permanent. After each battle, Poison is cured.
REPAIR:Permanent. After each battle, impairments are cured and MP are fully restored.
CAUTION:Equipment-based. Reduced chance of being ambushed and increased chance of ambushing enemies (haven't decided the formula for this yet). Stack with Blitzkrieg. but not with itself.
BLITZKRIEG:Permanent. Increased chance of ambushing enemies. During turns that you ambush enemies, you all get +3 Offense attribute bonuses. Stacks with Caution, but not with itself..
SENSOR:Equipment-based. The player can see enemy HP/MP values.
LIFESIGHT:Permanent. The player can see enemy HP/MP values as long as the character with Lifesight is not KOd.
COVER:Permanent. During turns where it was ambushed or failed to run away, the party benefits from the effects of two Defense and one Agility attribute bonuses, as long as the character with Cover is not KOd.
TELEPORT:Permanent. If it's possible to escape at all, the escape chance is 100%, as long as the character with Teleport is not KOd.
GUARDED:Guarded is associated with another character. So long as they're not KOd, that character takes all hits on behalf of the person with the Guarded status. Harmful skills are retargeted (in part, if they're multitarget) to hit the person doing the guarding. This may result in them being hit multiple times: for instance, if the skill hits everybody then they get hit once for themselves and once for the Guarded person.

If a person is already Guarded and they become Guarded again, the new defender overwrites the old one. Damage taken by guarding an ally can't then be intercepted by another guarding ally. Guarded wears off at the end of the turn or when the Guarded character (not the defender) is KOd.

CALM:Target is immune to impairments and instant death, and ignores the effects of impairments they currently have. Wears off at end of turn.
SUPERRAGE:If the character is KOd, they automatically use the Rage skill, which executes after the thing that KOd the character resolves, provided that the original attack didn't trigger a game over. Wears off after triggering, at the end of the turn, or when the character next acts.
STAMINA:Equipment-based. The character's first supermove use of each fight has no MP cost. (The game will need to track this information separately so you can't cheat by changing equipment during battle.)
MIRAGE:The next damage-dealing skill that targets this character automatically misses against them, even if it couldn't normally miss. Any side effects it might have fail as well. Wears off after being triggered, at the end of battle, or when the character is KOd. Multiple uses do not stack.
NEUTRAL:Equipment-based. The character always has Weakness 0, regardless of what the affinities are.
INSURANCE:If the target is KOd, they are immediately revived with full HP. Then Insurance status is removed and the target's accessory (if any) is destroyed. Otherwise the status is permanent.
Obviously, PCs get Insurance only through one-shot revival accessories.
MUSTERED:Target's next action inflicts triple damage, assuming it inflicts damage at all. This will persist indefinitely if the target is prevented from acting, but it's wasted if they use a non-damaging skill. Wears off after action, at the end of battle, or when the character is KOd.
SUNDERED:Target's Earth-elemental resistance is reduced. Specifically:
  • On enemies without Earth type, Earth affinity is added when calculating their Weakness, so long as the Earth affinity is positive.
  • On enemies with Earth type, Air affinity is omitted when calculating their Weakness, so long as the Air affinity is negative.
  • On player characters, Earth affinity is omitted when calculating their Weakness, so long as the Earth affinity is positive.
Sundered wears off at the end of battle.
ABSENT:The character does not appear and cannot act or be targeted by any actions. Actions used on them generally default to someone else as if they were gone. Effects like Lifesight that require that the character be alive still function, and effects with a limited duration continue to tick down. However, Poison and Regen do not apply. Wears off at the end of the turn, after Poison and Regen trigger.
TAPPED:A Tapped character is spent after using some big skill. Either it can't be used again right away or some condition has to be satisfied for its use. Typically a character will only have one skill that adds Tapped, and it won't work when they're Tapped. Wears off at the end of battle.

This is just what I've come up with so far; the list will no doubt be expanded over time to accomodate more weird one-shot effects.

Global Combat Effects

A few of the above effects have global consequences, but they're tied to the user. There are a handful of truly global/environmental effects as well, however. Effects involving elemental manipulation sometimes have two versions, one that allies use and one that enemies use. These will actually be separate effects, but they're listed together for clarity.

FOCUS:This turn's elemental affinities are preserved for the next turn. Wears off at the end of the turn.
SUPERFOCUS:Ally version: As per Focus (which it overrides), but only affinities better than the default are preserved.
Enemy version: As per Focus (which it overrides), but only affinities worse than the default are preserved.
If both versions are active simultaneously, all affinities are preserved, the same as with Focus. Wears off at end of turn.
DAMPEN:All damage dealt to everyone is cut by 50%. Stacks with other damage reduction, but not with SuperDampen or with itself.
SUPERDAMPEN:All damage dealt to everyone is cut by 75%. Stacks with other damage reduction, but not with regular Dampen or with itself.
LIMBO:All elemental affinity defaults are 0. Attribute bonuses from skills have no effect for anyone, not even Sacrifice or Universal. However, bonuses from other effects like ambushes or the Cover skill still apply. Limbo wears off at the end of battle or when Return (which replaces while it is in effect) is used.
LOCK:Lock cancels all effects that alter elemental affinities (not counting the Defend bonus or natural affinity modifications from using skills, which aren't exactly "effects"). This includes (for instance) Focus and Superfocus, Storm and Atomic's affinity adjustment, and super-mode Assist and Surge's "increase all affinties by 1" effect. Lock wears off at the end of the turn, and doesn't interfere with any zany end-of-turn affinity changes built into the fight.