Player Basics

Overview

As a Final Fantasy Zero player, you control one of the main characters in an ongoing, unpredictable story. With complete freedom to choose how that character acts, reacts, and behaves, what he or she says and does, you help shape that story on the fly, working with other players and the GM to bring your character what they want, to overcome your character's failings and, hopefully, to have a happy ending for your character.

This document goes over some of the basic guidelines for any FFZ player. These are sort of "meta-rules" that help the game play smoothly, rules of conduct, ettiquite, and tricks that help you bring out the most in your character and in the ongoing story.

First: Come to each session; come ready to play

If you're not there, physically or mentally (or digitally, in the case of online games), you can't play. Occasional missed sessions happen, and are generally no big deal, but if you miss many of them, you'll start to lose synch in the ongoing story. Generally, you'll be setting aside one afternoon or evening a week, for three weeks out of the month.

Second: Engage

Your character will be presented with many options over the course of their story, and while you can choose for your character to do anything you want, there is some practical limitation on that. Namely, your character should do things. Take an option, pick a path, and move forward. Even if your character is a coward or a heartless mercenary or a villain-in-the-making themselves, you should be looking for excuses to keep your character wrapped up in the events that are going on. The GM will be making this effort, too. When your character's desire is out there, go for it. When your character's fear is coming, run from it (or face it!). If your character wants nothing more than to live a boring life as a farmer or a merchant or a wandering sage, that's OK, but he or she probably shouldn't be able to achieve that goal just yet. Let your character have interests, and follow them, even into dangerous situations. Take an interest in the events that are going on arround your character, even if just in passing, and take initiative — your character, whatever else they may be, is the protagonist in a story, and they must meet and overcome challenges, and resolve conflicts.

Third: Roll with the Punches

Bad things will happen to your character. Some of those things maybe he or she could have prevented. Some of those things will be out of their control. It won't be all bad, but it certainly won't be all good. While your character can roil and rage and fume at their failures (and should!), you as a player should not. If you are personally very annoyed or irate at what has happened to your character, you should perhaps discuss it with your GM, but this should be an extreme case. Generally, when bad things happen to your character, think about them in-character: react, engage, and confront it in whatever way makes sense for your character. Any irriation you feel should fuel your role-playing, rather than being taken out by getting huffy out of character. Generally, the GM has a good reason for this.

Fourth: Change Over Time (Or Not)

You are not just playing an archetype, here: you are playing a protagonist. Over the course of the campaign, it is natural that your character changes and develops with the events that happen to them. Your character will face big Life Choices, and they may need to adjust some of their ideas and habits in order to confront the challenges that lay before them. Sometimes, you may not change, and that's fine. Other times, you will, and that's fine, too. It's important that you don't concieve of your character as necessarily static, however. At the beginning of the campaign, you may be playing a hardened mercenary, by the end you might be a big crybaby who gets over-emotional about the pom-poms on a moogle. That's OK. That transformation, in fact, would be pretty interesting to see. It would also be interesting to see how a hardened mercenary puts up with truly tragic events by being dead inside, killing all emotion for the sake of avoiding pain, even when she knows she should cry. What's not as interesting is seeing the hardened mercenary simply being a righteous badass from the first goblin to the final one-winged angel. You will have depth, and depth generally means flaws, messy parts, and Archetype-ruining moments of near-failure and skin-of-the-teeth victory at great cost. Your character will be challenged as a character, not just as a warrior, so be prepared to win some, loose some, and make some dramatic character choices.

Fifth: Don't Take It Personally

This mantra should be on your mind whenever you're getting angry or upset at the game itself (as opposed to the kind of sympathetic emotion you feel when your character is struggling): "It's only a game. It's only a game. It's only a game." Relax, take a deep breath, and keep it in context. You're basically playing a sophisticated game of make-believe, and it's probably not worth agitating your valves over.

Sixth: Don't Be A Jerk

As something of a corollary to the point above: it's probably also not worth agitating someone else's valves over. Don't hog all the attention, don't condescend to others, don't assume you know how other people think, and don't get high-and-mighty about it. You're playing a game with peers and potential (if not current) friends. You're all there to have a good time. The old philosophy of "sporting conduct" applies to FFZ, too. It's only a game.

Seventh: You are Not Your Character

It's important to remember that just because you can do something, say something, or achieve something doesn't mean your character will be able to. Just as you can't really cast a fire spell or swing the Buster Sword, your character doesn't know the things you know, and certainly doesn't present or share them like you do. You could be exceptionally eloquent, intelligent, and fabulously good-looking, but your character might not be any of those things (similarly, your character mighit be those things, and you might not be those things). Ultimately, this means "play by the rules." Don't try to accomplish something with your knowledge — try to show in the game how your character figures that out. This is sometimes called "metagaming" and applies to many rules elements that aren't also world elements, too. Your character's don't know what an HP is, and they won't necessarily know what a malrboro is, or what it can do, either. While some is unavoidable, you should try to make sure your character's decisions are based in what they know — not what you know.

Eighth: Talk It Out

If you've got a problem, let it be known, specifically to the GM. If the above advice about being a good sport just isn't enough to gloss over an issue you have — or if the issue is one of annoyance and it keeps coming up — don't be afriad to talk to the GM (or whoever else is causing it) about it. Broach the issue diplomatically, with the above advice in mind, without getting emotional or confrontational. Chances are good, given the incredibly low stakes involved, that your qualm can be addressed in some way.

Ninth: Be Agreeable

As a player, you should generally take a positive outlook on the events in the game — agree to plans, try to help others, and don't shoot down ideas. Try to find away to go with the crowd, even if your character is resenting that fact. Don't be afraid to speak your own ideas, or to raise real concerns, but don't hold up the game by being the lone hold-out, either. Have some flexibility, and try to support things with some merit, rather than knocking them down because of some detail.

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