Basic Rules

The goal of this system is elegance and depth. It is built upon the shoulders of giants, I have no illusions about that, as it uses Star Wars Saga and D&D 4e as its base, but I intend to pare as much away from the system as possible and rebuild it from the ground up using only what it needs. As always with the d20 system, the basic resolution mechanic is:

1d20 + modifiers vs. a difficulty number

Combat vs. Non-Combat

The meat of the mechanics in any Final Fantasy game is the combat system. Non-combat situations tend to be less involved and the province of minigames. Thus, the bulk of the mechanics in Final Fantasy d20 are combat focused.


You will need a copy of the D&D 4e Rules Compendium or the original 4e PHB or a DDI subscription (or just a pretty thorough knowledge of 4e combat) to run fights in this game. For simplicity’s sake, I’m going to speak in generalities when the rules are identical to 4e, and get more specific when calling out exceptions and changes.

The basic flow of combat is the same as in D&D 4e: players and monsters roll initiative, creatures take turns in descending initiative order, on each turn a creature can take a standard action, a move action, or a minor action. A standard action is usually the most dramatic action of your turn, like casting a spell or making an attack. A character can take a move action to move their speed, shift 1 square, stand up from prone or any of the other move actions listed in the Rules Compendium. A minor action is a quick or less interesting action, like opening a door, drawing a weapon, or casting a quickened spell. A standard action may be traded for a move action, and a move action may be traded for a minor action. A creature may take one opportunity action per turn, as well as one immediate action between each of their turns.

Characters have a base initiative equal to their Competence bonus (1/2 their level). Equipment and talents can modify this. Human characters have a base speed of 6, which once again can be modified by equipment and talents.

Each player gets one Action Point at the start of every combat (milestones are not tracked in FF d20), and any action points not used at the end of a combat are lost. An Action Point may be spent to take another standard action (which may of course be traded for a move or minor as usual).

Ranged and Area attacks provoke Opportunity Attacks as per usual, while Melee and Close attacks do not.

A basic attack is a power that all characters can use. Both melee and ranged attacks use the same formula to hit and damage. It is:

1d20 + PAtk + Style Bonus vs. Armor. Hit: Weapon die + PAtk damage.

The style bonus is a bonus characters receive only if they are proficient in the weapon they are wielding. You only receive your style bonus to hit on basic strikes, never on abilities granted by talents.

  • Dual Wielded weapons and double weapons receive a +1 bonus to hit.
  • 1-handed melee weapons with a shield and ranged attacks receive a +2 bonus to hit.
  • 2-handed melee weapons receive a +3 bonus to hit.

A roll of a natural 20 is always a critical hit. A critical hit always does maximum damage, as well as adding an extra effect based on the type of damage being done.

  • Weapon and Earth: the target is pushed 1 square.
  • Fire: the target burns, taking ongoing 5 fire damage (save ends)
  • Ice: the target is slowed (save ends)
  • Lightning: the target grants combat advantage (save ends)
  • Wind: the target is slid 1 square
  • Water and Gravity: the target is knocked prone
  • Poison and Dark: the target takes -2 to all attack rolls as long as they have an effect on them that a save can end.
  • Holy: the target is dazed until the end of its next turn.

A character is bloodied when they have 1/2 of their hit points remaining. Once per encounter, a PC may take a Second Wind as a standard action to recover to their bloodied value if they are bloodied, or their full HP if they are not. At the end of an encounter, PCs recover all their HP and MP. They do not have to worry about Healing Surges.

New Status Effects

This game uses all the standard status effects of D&D 4e and adds two more:


  • The creature cannot speak.
  • The creature cannot use any abilities with an MP cost.


  • The creature must make a death saving throw at the end of its turn, regardless of its HP total. If the creature fails 3 death saves before the end of the encounter, it dies. Failed death saves from being reduced to 0 HP or fewer stack with failed death saves from being doomed.
  • This condition is removed if the creature rolls a 20+ on a death saving throw.


  • Grabbed works exactly as listed in the Rules Compendium, except that the roll to escape a grab is PAtk vs. the grabber’s Fort.


Skill checks are used for any uncertain situation not governed by the combat system. Skill rolls are:

1d20 + base skill bonus + competence bonus vs. the task’s DC

All characters have a competence bonus equal to 1/2 their level. They get to add their competence bonus to a skill roll even if they have no skill bonus at all.

Determine the difficulty of the task:

  • Easy (DC 5): So simple, even the completely unskilled have a pretty good chance of succeeding.
  • Fair (DC 10): Broadly skilled characters may worry a little, and the unskilled will sweat for sure.
  • Challenging (DC 15): The unskilled will probably fail. Even the broadly skilled will have some issues. This is where focused and specialized characters shine.
  • Maddening (DC 20): Specialized characters run into trouble here. Focused characters will fail more often than not, and the broadly skilled will usually fail. The unskilled don’t stand a chance.
  • Insane (DC 25): Even the specialized fail more often than not here, and the focused will usually fail. The broadly skilled need not apply.
  • Impossible (DC 30): You must be both supremely skilled, very experienced, and lucky to even have a shot at this.

Relating Skills

If a player can relate a skill, even a specialized skill to a task, they player may roll half their skill (rounded down). If the player has no related skills, but can see how their Job relates to the task, they may roll at a base skill of +3.

Basic Rules

Final Fantasy d20 PeterLaCara