Since the players create their own characters to use in Arpeggio, they should be allowed to make
up their own attacks and abilities, whether these are regular special attacks,
armed special attacks, psychic attacks, or magical spells. They
may use the default psychic attacks (from
Mother/Earthbound) or magic (extrapolated from Fire
Emblem 9 and 10) if they so desire, but they must follow the rules about acquiring weaker
versions of the same attack before stronger ones; however, while the players may design whatever
kinds of attacks they like conceptually, they may not use their freedom to create unfairly
inexpensive and/or overpowered attacks: the Maestro comes up with the actual damage and VP/MP
cost after listening to the idea.
So, if a player makes up an attack that should have the exact same effect as one of the default attacks, then it should have the same VP or MP cost, and if it is slightly different, the cost should be adjusted slightly. Massive differences should equal massive cost differences. In this way, the players can use their attack-creation freedom to bypass the need to learn weaker attacks before stronger ones, but the powerful attacks that they make up will still cost lots of VP or MP, and therefore not be as useful at the beginning of the game, when player characters have less maximum VP and MP.
Exact costs do not follow a very strict pattern, so suave players will likely get away with lower costs than they should have, but I do have a few conventions. If the attack merely does damage, then for any damage over x2, simply make the cost that much (so an attack that deals x2 +2 would cost 2, and x2 +4 would cost 4). If the attack boosts a character's stat, then make the cost equal to either the amount by which the stat increases, or the number of turns the Increase lasts (whichever is higher). Similarly, for other Status Benefits, you can usually just make the cost equal to the number of turns it lasts, except for things like Invincibility—I would suggest a cost of as much as 11 VP or MP per turn of Invincibility. If an attack heals an ally, then just exchange VP or MP into HP unless you can come up with some excuse for it to cost less. One such excuse is that armed attacks (including magic attacks, which require a magical weapon) can cost less than equivalent unarmed attacks due to their becoming disabled if the weapon gets in trouble. You can also base a healing ability on Magic Power or another stat so that it gets more cost-efficient as the stat rises. The cost of a multitarget attack should generally be three times that of an identical single-target attack. (This is because three is the "normal" number of players, but there is no rule against having more than three, in which case the cost is less than using the single-target version on each character one at a time.) Attacks that have a 100% chance of inflicting Status Ailments like Paralysis, Freeze, and Time Freeze should generally cost more than attacks that inflict other Ailments, because those Ailments can be completely debilitating and abusing them can make battles too easy, but I usually give out Ailments like Sleep and Dizzy for less of a cost since they aren't that bad (Sleep is completely paralyzing, but has a 50% chance of being removed by further attacks, except for psychic attacks). Since Confusion is not based on turns, just do 1 VP or MP for a 50% chance of inflicting it and 2 for a 100% chance. Since Leech Seed lasts all battle, it should maybe cost 5 VP or MP for a 100% chance, but a 50% chance could probably cost only like 2. And for Charging, well, in Paper Mario, it costs 1 FP to Charge by 2, so you can do that, and probably add 1 VP or MP per higher Charge number.
There are probably places on the site where I have broken all of these conventions, but remember that enemies (especially Paper Mario enemies) usually don't follow the rules—their numbers are different because they specialize in one or a few kinds of attacks, and despite lower attack costs, you know they're going to lose anyway. So, for example, Hyper Goombas can Charge themselves by 7 for only 1 VP, because that's what they specialize in doing and they can't do anything else with their VP. Anyway, even when I feel like I should give enemy attacks higher costs, I just end up giving the enemy more total VP or MP so that it can use the attack multiple times, so basically don't look too much at enemies for cost ideas, just try to emulate the first two Paper Mario games.
Three Types of Damage
Physical attacks are powered by the user's Attack Power, work against the
target's Defense Power, and are fueled by the user's VP. A
normal suit of armor will protect against physical damage (as well
as magical damage). Physical attacks include the basic attack, which has no VP cost
and deals damage equal to the user's Attack Power. Armed basic attacks use equipped weapons to
modify Attack Power while remaining costless in terms of VP, while special physical attacks use
VP to increase damage or achieve other effects, and armed special attacks do both. Unless
otherwise stated, a physical attack is a melee attack, i.e., it makes contact with the target and
is affected by things like Electrification,
Spikiness. Any attack that is not magical or psychic will be
considered a physical attack, however bizarre or fantastical it may be, making physical the
"default" attack type. While unarmed physical attacks are the most boring type, they cannot be
easily disabled outright, as opposed to armed ones which can be blocked by
Disarm, psychic attacks which can be blocked by
Psych Out, and magic attacks which can be blocked by
Some physical weapons are powered by the user's Magic Power instead of Attack Power. These are essentially dealing magical damage, being affected by Increases and Decreases in Magic Power and by armor that protects better against magic, but these weapons cannot be used to cast magical spells, and are affected by Disarming but not Silence.
A smaller number of physical weapons are powered by Brain Power. These essentially deal psychic damage, working against the target's Brain Power and costing no VP, but like physical attacks will make contact with the target unless otherwise stated. Again, they are affected by Disarm but not Psych Out.
Magical weapons (as in the type designed to cast magic spells, as opposed to the Magic-powered physical weapons described above) can be used to perform an armed basic attack, which works like any other armed basic attack. However, they cannot be used to perform armed special attacks. Even a projectile weapon can be used for an armed melee attack (a.k.a. a pistol whip), though this will almost never be any better than an unarmed basic attack, in contrast to smacking people with magical weapons which may at least add an Elemental effect or some other small bonus.
Damage from things like projectile weapons (such as guns and bows) and outright attacking items (like Turnips and Shooting Stars) is considered to be physical unless otherwise stated. However, when using these, a character does not make direct contact with the target (unless otherwise stated :P ).
Psychic attacks are powered by the user's Brain Power, work against the target's
Brain Power as a defensive value, and are fueled by the user's
VP. All psychic attacks require some VP except for variations of things like
(PK Magnet α doesn't cost any VP since the point is
to drain VP from enemies, but the general principle still holds). They are the only type of
attack that does not work against the target's Defense Power, and normal armor does not protect
against psychic attacks, although armor that does work on them is provided in the
default lists (some armor only protects against
psychic damage). In addition to providing a way around targets with high Defense Power, psychic
attacks are unaffected by a large number of Status Conditions and
Weather Conditions that decrease the accuracy of physical and magical
attacks, conceptually due to the fact that the user aims a psychic attack by sensing the target's
brainwaves instead of using eyesight or other physical senses. As such, psychic attacks never
make physical contact with the target (unless you can think of one that does, like perhaps Zen
Headbutt from Pokémon, in which case make a note of it in the attack's description), avoiding
damage from Electrification, etc., and being able to hit targets that are either
flying or burrowing underground. However, they have special
conditions applying only to them such as the Status Benefit
Nirvana and the Weather Condition
Noise, and all psychic attacks become completely disabled while
under the Psych Out condition.
Because psychic damage acts on the mind, psychic attacks have no effect on inanimate objects, and so the user cannot, for example, use PK Fire to burn down a tree in the field. (Unless it is a sentient tree.) Psychic damage affects robotic characters and other artificial intelligences if they are intelligent enough; the exact line is vague, but the general idea is that anything smart enough to act as an enemy character would probably be smart enough to be affected. Feel free to create a battle against something that is not advanced enough to be affected, though.
In very rare cases, a character may take extra damage from all psychic attacks (this might, for example, occur on a Pokémon character who is weak against Psychic-type Pokémon); if so, this will appear in the "Notes" section of that character's sheet.
Magical attacks are powered by the user's Magic Power, work against the target's
Defense Power, are fueled by the user's MP, and require a
magical weapon of any kind to be equipped by the user in order to be used.
(Also, like psychic attacks, no magical attack is costless, except for variations of non-damaging
moves like Tattle and Splash.) This process is referred to as casting a magical spell, and the
spell's power is completely unrelated to the type of magical weapon used to cast it. Furthermore,
all magical spells are disabled under the Silence
condition, but the user can still perform an armed basic attack with the magical weapon, and to
flip it around, a Disarmed character cannot do the armed basic attack but can still cast magical
spells. Like psychic attacks, magic spells are assumed to be projectile, but it is not impossible
to create one that causes the user to make direct contact with the target. Several
suits of armor provide better protection against magic
attacks than physical attacks, to simulate the Resistance stat of Fire Emblem and other games;
this stat is left out of Arpeggio for simplicity, but the armor seemed a necessary measure when
adding Fire Emblem enemy sheets, in order to make them more like they are in their games.
As with psychic attacks, very rare characters may have a weakness against all magical attacks, noted in the "Notes" section of their character sheets. This will mostly be done to help balance out the three types of damage, of which magic probably gets the shortest end of the stick.
Melee vs. Projectile
A melee attack involves the attacker making direct contact with the
target (or slightly indirect contact through a melee weapon), so think of a
punch, kick, or sword slash. In contrast, a projectile attack involves something—a
thrown weapon, an energy blast, a bullet from a gun, etc.—separating from the
attacker before it hits the target. Against a "normal" target, it makes no difference
whether an attack is melee or projectile, but there are some special cases where it matters, and
making the wrong choice in these cases often involves your attack missing and
becoming a wasted turn, or even you taking damage instead of damaging your
Some characters are capable of flying, and most of the time in Arpeggio, these flying characters will remain constantly airborne during battle. This allows them to dodge some attacks. Attacks that are based on or in the ground, such as earthquakes, will invariably miss flying characters. Such attacks may count as projectile, but any kind of projectile attack that isn't rooted to the ground will always be able to hit a flying target, since it gets sent through the air anyway. In contrast, in order to hit a flying target with a melee attack, the attacker must have a Platform field stat greater than or equal to the target's Platform field stat. This allows the attacker to jump up to the target's height before executing the attack, so an attacker with insufficient jumping skills will be unable to hit flying foes with melee attacks.
Some characters are capable of burrowing underground and remaining there in order to dodge attacks. The majority of normal attacks will be unable to reach underground characters, whether melee or projectile, and will always miss if used. The two main exceptions are earthquake-like attacks (the same attacks that would always miss flying characters) and psychic attacks of any kind, the latter due to the whole concept of psychic attacks being aimed at a target's brainwave pattern rather than their physical body. Psychicness aside, this creates a reason not to leave earthquake-like attacks out of your arsenal just because they can't hit flyers. This idea comes from Bug Fables, an indie game with a battle system based on that of the first two Paper Marios.
Some characters are covered in spikes, made of fire, or otherwise would hurt to touch (some Status Conditions temporarily grant this effect, such as Electrification). Naturally, using a melee attack on such a target will tend to result in the attacker taking damage, and often this damage interrupts the attack that was being performed, causing the attacker's action to be a complete waste of a turn. There are some differences between some of these conditions—for example, Electrification shocks attackers even if they're using a melee weapon, whereas melee weapons allow attackers to get past Spikiness—but the safest bet would be to use a projectile attack, which will never have any problem hitting a character like this.
You may have noticed that among all this, there is never really any advantage to using a melee attack over a projectile. This remains largely true, and as a result projectile special attacks may have a higher VP or MP cost than melee ones. However, beware the Status Condition Reflectivity: it causes projectile attacks to bounce harmlessly off of their targets and hit the person who projected them for full damage. This includes psychic projectiles, so for once that's not an easy loophole.
Whether an attack is melee or projectile, or earthquake-like or not, is generally just determined by the attack's description, which is otherwise just for flavor. Since it is all supposed to be somewhat based on actual logic of what kind of attacks would be able to hit whom, apply your best logical interpretation of the attack description where there is any uncertainty.
Special attacks of all three types will specify a "Target," reading either "Target: One," "Target:
All," or something similar; the two just mentioned are the most common. If the attack is indeed
an attack and not a healing or powering-up ability, then "Target: One" indicates that the attack
may be used on one character of the attacker's choice, including teammates but excluding the
actual attacker; and "Target: All" indicates that the attack will affect the entire enemy
team, although it is possible to instead use it on the attacker's own team, in which
case it might or might not affect the attacker—this is entirely dependent on the description of
the attack and whether or not it would be physically possible for the attack to affect the
attacker. This discussion of attacking one's teammates is mainly relevant to the fact that
Sleeping teammates can be woken up by attacks from their
partners as well as their enemies. But speaking of partners, if there are (non-enemy) NPCs
present in a battle, they may count as Partner characters or Other
characters, and the Partner Team and Other Team are separate from the
player and enemy teams, so a multitarget attack aimed at one of those teams will hit everyone in
it, but not any of the players or enemies.
Healing and buffing abilities, if they read "Target: One," can be used on one character including the user, and multitarget ones will naturally affect the user's entire team, or another team if chosen. If a healing or buffing move can only affect the user of that move, then it will be labeled "Target: Self."
While the distinction between single-target and multitarget attacks is important, there is a more technical distinction between two different kinds of multitarget attacks that comes into play when certain Status Conditions are involved. Some attacks will be labeled "Target: All (Successive);" these "successive" multitarget attacks are contrasted with what I might refer to as "comprehensive" or "fieldwide" multitarget attacks in that the fieldwide kind, which fills the entire enemy side of the battlefield with a damaging substance or energy, will affect characters who are under conditions like Invisibility and Somebody Else's Problem, but "successive" multitarget attacks will not affect such characters, as they merely attack each enemy target individually. Successive multitarget attacks would be like Multibounce from Paper Mario, where Mario bounces off of each enemy's head in succession, and fieldwide multitarget attacks would be more like Bombette's Mega Bomb attack, which blows up the whole screen. Fieldwide multitarget attacks can miss, however: the Status Benefit Dodginess affects them, as do the Weather Conditions Fog, Smog, and Noise, and the Status Problem Dizziness can actually cause them to be used against the user's own team instead of the opposing team. Opponents who have burrowed underground will not be hit by normal fieldwide multitarget attacks, but will by earthquake-like or psychic ones, for reasons explained above.
More rarely, an attack will be labeled something like "Target: Two" or "Target: Three;" these would be attacks more like the namable Yoshi partner's Gulp in Paper Mario 2, which eats one enemy and spits it out at another enemy. Logic would suggest that these would generally fall under the "successive" category in terms of the point above. Other attacks may be labeled "Target: All Teams," which would hit everybody in the entire battle (players, enemies, partners, and others). And multitarget earthquake-like attacks are often labeled "Target: All, Exempt: Flying," which gives you an idea of what they do even if you didn't read this page.
An Element is a property of an attack, though attacks can be (and are by default) non-Elemental.
Normally, Elementality has no effect, but some characters have a weakness, resistance, or
immunity to (a) particular Element(s). An Elemental attack will inflict damage equal to the base
damage of the particular attack plus or minus the Elemental Modifier; the possible
Elemental Modifiers are -2, ±0, +2, and +5. In the
case of an immunity, the character takes no damage from attacks of that Element, so the damage is
When healing moves are made Elemental, the Elemental Modifiers are applied to the amount of HP (or VP or MP) healed, meaning that what is normally a weakness becomes momentarily beneficial and vice versa. So a -2 resistance to the Element in question means that the character will be healed by 2 points less than they should be, but weaknesses add either +2 or +5, with an immunity preventing healing entirely. An immunity even prevents the healing of Status Problems by an Elemental healing move, although other modifiers would not affect this. Similarly, an attack that grants Status Benefits, if made Elemental, will have no effect on a character immune to that Element, though again other modifiers change nothing.
Some Elemental immunities also automatically make the character immune to a specific Status Problem—for example, a character immune to the Ice Element will also be immune to Freezing (but not Time Freezing). Additionally, if a character is stricken by an attack to which they are Elementally immune, then they will not receive any other effects of that attack such as Status Problems, even if the immunity does not block that Status Problem outright—for example, the Pokémon attack Scald is a Water-type attack that can inflict a Burn. In Arpeggio terms, if Scald were used on a character who is immune to Water, then that character would never be Burned by it, but they could be Burned by non-Water-type attacks. This contrasts with an attack that deals zero damage due to the target's defenses: in that case, other effects besides damage are still inflicted.
Some very rare enemies may "absorb" all damage from a particular Element, healing HP (or VP or MP) by the amount that would normally be the damage of the attack (against a target with a ±0 modifier). In this case, the modifier will be listed as either "HP," "VP," or "MP," indicating the stat to be healed; these are typically not allowed on player characters. Absorption would be like an immunity regarding additional effects, preventing the infliction of Status Problems and so on by the absorbed attack; healing moves will heal their normal amount, but if, for example, the move restores HP and the modifier absorbs into VP, then VP will be healed instead of HP, etc. Elemental moves that induce Status Benefits will work normally and Elemental moves that inflict Status Problems will not inflict them and will instead restore 1 point of the appropriate stat regardless of details.
Even more rarely than absorption, an Elemental Modifier of "XX" may be indicated. If such a character is stricken by an attack of the corresponding Element, that character receives Instant Death in addition to all of the attack's normal effects, even if the attack would normally deal no damage (in fact, it even happens with healing moves!). As per usual, if the character is Neutralized, Sageguarded, or Invincible, the Instant Death is ineffective, but otherwise Elemental moves will always kill the character in one hit. Thus XX is kind of the opposite of absorption, also typically not used on player characters.
The eight Elements in Arpeggio are:
Earth Ice Water Wind Fire Thunder Poison Plant
- Earth: These attacks involve dirt, rocks, or other minerals. Associated with the Earth Element are earthquakes, which miss flying characters but can reach characters who have burrowed underground. Earth-type attacks are powered up by the Sandstorm Weather Condition. (On the old site, I used the name "Soil" instead of "Earth," the thinking being that I didn't want to necessarily imply that the game was taking place on the planet Earth, but it would seem that the planet was named after the older use of the word to mean dirt and such, so that was pretty stupid.)
- Ice: These attacks either involve water ice or else other substances at a temperature that would be considered cold to most of the beings in the game's setting. Associated with the Ice Element is the Freeze Status Problem; Ice-type attacks may induce Freezing, and characters who are immune to Ice are immune to Freezing. Ice-type attacks are powered up by the Snow and Hail Weather Conditions. For easy access, use an Ice Flower.
- Water: These attacks involve water, or at least another liquid. They are powered up by the Rain, Underwater, and Superstorm Weather Conditions. Due to being seen as a "pure" or "refreshing" Element, attacks of this type don't usually inflict Status Problems, and may even be healing or curing moves.
- Wind: These attacks involve moving the air around the target. They generally deal extra damage to flying characters (and to ghosts even if they're earthbound), they have a chance of Disarming a character who is using an umbrella-type weapon, and they occasionally may cause Dizziness or Confusion. Wind-type attacks are powered up by the Heavy Wind Weather Condition, but will also take on characteristics of some other Weather Conditions (for example, in a Sandstorm, attacks that are normally Wind-type will deal Earth-type damage).
- Fire: Everyone's favorite Element, these attacks involve combustion, lava, or just extreme heat. Associated with the Fire Element is the Burn Status Problem; Fire attacks will often inflict Burning, and the Burn itself deals Fire-type damage, but characters who are immune to the Fire Element will automatically be immune to Burns. Two Weather Conditions power up Fire-type attacks, Harsh Sunlight and Hotspot. Fire is the most common Element for characters to be Made Of, and of course there's the famous Fire Flower.
- Thunder: These attacks involve electrical currents, and may inflict Paralysis on the target; the Element is also associated with the Status Benefit Electrification, which deals Thunder-type damage. Thunder attacks are powered up by the Thunderstorm Weather Condition, but will also gain accuracy from the Rain, Acid Rain, or Underwater Conditions, and get both boosts from a Supertstorm. Lastly, Thunder-type attacks will be redirected toward anyone who is using an umbrella-type weapon, even a teammate of the character who used the Thunder attack.
- Poison: These attacks involve various substances that happen to be toxic for the majority of beings in the game's setting. They very frequently inflict the Poisoned Status Problem onto targets, and characters who are immune to the Poison Element are immune to the Poisoned Status Problem. The Problem inflicts Poison-type damage, too. Poison-type attacks will occasionally raise the target's blood alcohol level instead, and they are powered up by the Acid Rain Weather Condition.
- Plant: These attacks involve plant life assaulting the target. Associated with the Plant Element is the Status Problem Leech Seed, which deals Plant-type damage; characters who are immune to the Plant Element are immune to Leech Seed, but characters who are Made of Plant are also immune to it, even if they are weak to the Element itself. Characters Made of Plant also get healed under the Harsh Sunlight Weather Condition due to photosynthesis.
- x1 ~ The damage dealt by a basic attack, and therefore the most basic amount of damage. Equivalent to Mario using either Jump or Hammer and missing the action command. Any attack that costs VP or MP will almost always do more than x1 damage, unless it strikes many times per turn or something. E-level weapons may only deal Attackx1 damage (and therefore only be useful for training to D-level) if they are kind of jokey or just lack an actual sharp edge or other characteristic that would actually increase damage. I made the magical tomes deal Magicx1 damage when you whack somebody with them, which is supposed to be equivalent to the lowest-level magical tomes in Fire Emblem, which are merely named after their element and do little damage. Knives are supposed to resemble Mario's Jump Attack more than his Hammer, doing less damage than other weapons but striking twice per turn; the regular Knife deals Attackx1, and some other weapon types follow this pattern as well.
- x2 ~ Equivalent to Mario using the Hammer and nailing the action command in Paper Mario. Most D-level weapons will deal x2 damage, and since player characters are allowed to start with one D level, this allows them to do 2 damage instead of 1 without using any VP or MP. A special attack that deals x2 damage is usually the most basic kind, and will often have other effects to justify having a VP or MP cost. The lowest-level default psychic attacks and magical spells will deal Brainx2 and Magicx2 damage.
- x2 +2 ~ Equivalent to Mario using Power Jump or Power Smash in Paper Mario. This is the next level up from plain old x2, used by most C-level weapons, β-level psychic attacks, and C-level magical spells. Although it's only 2 more damage than before, that damage goes a long way in Paper Mario terms.
- x2 +4 ~ One more step up, equivalent to the Mega Jump and Mega Smash Badges, which were removed from the second Paper Mario game. B-level weapons, γ-level psychic attacks, and B-level magic spells will do around this much damage. At the maximum Attack Power of 3, a weapon with this power allows a character to deal 10 damage with no cost, which is a lot more than Mario could do without piling on Attack-boosting Badges.
- x4 ~ Used by Ω-level PSI attacks and A-level magic spells, and occasionally A-level weapons (though to mix things up, I usually try to come up with more unique ways for A-level weapons to be deadlier than B-level, such as piercing armor). With 3 Attack Power, this will end up as 12 damage; with 4 Magic, it will be 16 damage; and with 5 Brain, it'll do 20 damage. (Of course, assuming your opponent also has 5 Brain, that'll be cut down to 15.) These numbers go way higher than Paper Mario does under normal terms, but that's why these attacks are considered the best. You should really not multiply anything by more than 4 unless you know what you're doing.
- x3 ~ I only use this one when I want the attack/weapon to seem weird. At 3 Attack Power, it comes to 9 damage, which is actually less than the 10 that x2 +4 gives you.
- x0.5 ~ I've used this for a couple of attacks that hit many times per turn, but usually on enemies. Enemies (at least Mario enemies) tend not to follow the same kinds of numerical conventions as the players, so they need stranger damage amounts to make things work out the way I want them to, which is usually the way they did in Paper Mario (or Bug Fables, or Cave Story, or whatever else they're from).
- x2 +6 ~ I did this once or twice. It's just a way to be different from x4 but still be better than x2 +4.
- x2 +1 ~ I used this as the WBAP for a lot of weapons that had other effects, like the "Reaver" weapons. I guess it just seemed like a good number at the time. It probably isn't.
- x4 +2 ~ A not-so-sneaky 42 reference that I use for ultra-powerful Pokémon attacks like Hyper Beam. It's probably a bit much for anything else.
- +1 or +2 or +3 or... ~ Use these for a small boost. Remember that they will be more useful at the beginning of the game, and less useful later as players' stats increase and multiplication starts to give out higher numbers than addition. The better E-level weapons will deal +1 damage. You'll also see random pluses on enemy attacks so that I can get them to do however much damage they did in Paper Mario. If you're not so obsessed with Paper Mario and find the whole x2 +stuff convention confusing, you could have weapon powers and such just be +something instead, which would be easier to calculate.
- +2 and -2 ~ I know I already said +2, but this time it's to note that almost every kind of bonus damage in the game is +2 or -2. Elemental Modifiers can go to +5, which also shows up occasionally elsewhere, and the Weapon Triangle uses +1 and -1, but most of the other kinds of bonus damage, whether from weapons that do extra damage to dragons or unicorns or what have you, to the effects of Weather Conditions, will be +2 or -2. There's not much of a specific reason for this, so use something else if you want to.
- Plain Number ~ Some weapons or attacks just list a number without a multiplication, addition, subtraction, or division sign. This means (I hope it's obvious?) that the attack just does that much damage regardless of the user's stats. Depending on what kind of attack it is, it may still be affected by boosts to the user's stats, or it may not. (Projectile weapons like bows and guns aren't affected because their plain number of damage comes from the ammunition or weapon instead of the user, but a special attack that a player has made up that deals a specific amount of damage would still be boosted by boosts since it's still the boosted character causing the damage. Unless it isn't.) In general, plain number attacks will do more damage than other attacks at the beginning of the game but less damage than other attacks at the end of the game, because other attacks have powered up and plain number ones have not.
- WBAP ~ Stands for "Weapon Base Attack Power." This is the Power indicated on the weapon's sheet. This is how much damage an armed basic attack with the weapon will do, and "WBAP" is also used as a variable in most armed special attacks, to allow those to increase in power as well. As noted above, WBAP tends to be +1 or x1 for E-level, x2 for D-level, x2 +2 for C-level, x2 +4 for B-level, and random things that are stronger than x2 +4 for A-level. But these are just my personal standard conventions, and I have plenty of exceptions to them. Pronounced "wuh-bap!"
- WBAPx0.5 ~ I use this for attacks like Astra. In Fire Emblem, Astra is a Swordmaster technique, and when it activates, the character strikes five times in a row, but each hit is at half its normal power. Anyway, cut WBAP in half if it seems too strong.
- WBAP+2 ~ Or plus whatever. Give it a small boost if you want it to be stronger.
- WBAPx2 ~ I would generally discourage this, and I would almost outright ban multiplying WBAP by anything higher than 2. This is because WBAP itself is often already x2 +something or sometimes even x4, and further multiplication results in way too much damage. Remember, the attraction of Paper Mario is that the numbers are kept small and easy to understand. That said, x2 isn't too hard to figure out, and I allowed it on Jay in Game 2.
- WBAPx3 or WBAPx4 ~ While I really don't like them on players, you'll see these on some of my Fire Emblem enemy sheets. This is because Fire Emblem itself sometimes does this (in Fire Emblem, you can't attack without a weapon, so this is just a regular sort of x3 or x4). I've made these attacks cost a lot of VP, and rightly so; with enemy sheets, I can keep track of exactly how much damage they will do with which weapon, and as the Maestro it is my job to present the proper level of difficulty, not too high nor too low. If a player has a move like this, on the other hand, chances are they will spam it—or at least a Maestro must assume this in case they receive such a player. Once again, just remember that enemies follow different rules than players, but if you must use one of these, then I can't stop you.
- Other ~ Go ahead and do whatever you want, but I haven't provided any precedent. See if it works well, and if it doesn't, then you've learned something about why I use the numbers that I do.
Additional effects of attacks in Arpeggio may be indicated using the following notes:
- [/] ~ This mark is based on the slash representing a "spare" in bowling, and I therefore refer to these attacks as "Spare Attacks," although in written form I usually just use the symbol. Attacks marked with this symbol will deal their damage, boosts and all, while ignoring the target's Defense Power stat (or defensive Brain Power if the attack is psychic). Spare Attacks also ignore the Shield Benefit, but do not ignore the defensive bonus provided by armor. As such, if the target is wearing armor, then the armor's defense still works just like it normally does, being subtracted from the damage dealt, and subtracting the amount of damage that it blocks from its own HP stat. Similarly, the Defend command still subtracts 1 damage from Spare Attacks. Spare Attacks will ignore the Defense Power of a vehicle but will still not affect the driver.
- [X] ~ Again, this symbol is based on the X used to represent a strike in bowling, so these attacks are called Strike Attacks. Strike Attacks bypass all forms of defense except for Invincibility and the above-mentioned Defend command. If the attacked character is wearing armor, then the armor's HP takes damage equal to its Defense value (even if the damage of the attack is lower than this value) despite the wearer taking the full damage of the attack and therefore not being protected by this amount. If the attacked character is inside a vehicle, the vehicle takes the full damage of the attack ignoring its own Defense Power stat, and the driver also takes the full damage of the attack as if they were not encased in a vehicle at all, including any worn armor taking damage.
- [O] ~ Not based on bowling and not affecting defenses but following the same mark pattern, attacks marked with this symbol are referred to as "Homing Attacks" (yes, Sonic the Hedgehog reference) and will, as this name would suggest, always find their target regardless of factors that would otherwise hamper accuracy, such as the attacker being Dizzy or the defender being Invisible or Dodgy (or even flying or underground). The only condition that Homing Attacks do not get around is the Somebody Else's Problem field, which makes it impossible to direct attacks at the character in the first place, rather than having the attack be attempted but miss. Of course, the target being Invincible or such means that even though the attack will hit, it still won't deal any damage. An attack may simultaneously be a Homing Attack and a Spare or Strike attack; the [O] symbol comes after the [/] or [X].
- Drains HP ~ If these attacks hit and deal damage to their target, then the user of the attack is healed by a number of HP equal to the damage dealt. If the attack misses or does no damage because of defenses, then the user is not healed. If the target has less HP remaining than the damage of the attack, then the user is only healed by however much HP the target had remaining. In Paper Mario, it was conventional for draining attacks to ignore defense, so they will often be [/] attacks in Arpeggio, but to even it out I will not usually make them [X] attacks. Against targets who are Made of an Element, harmful Elemental energy is drained instead, turning these attacks against the user and dealing Elemental damage equal to what should have been healed (Elemental Modifiers apply to this damage at half, like they do to damage from Status Problems or Weather Conditions, although in the case of immunities the healing works normally). Draining attacks do not restore any HP for damage dealt to armor, unless the armor in question is something like the Iron Man suit which gets its own full character sheet; since vehicles have their own sheets, they can be drained just like characters.
- Drains half HP ~ Identical to the previous note, except that the amount of HP healed is equal to the damage dealt divided by two. This number is rounded down after division, but as long as the damage done is more than zero, the user will be healed by a minimum of 1 HP. Zero damage means zero healing. If the target has less HP remaining than the user should be healed by, then the user is only healed by however much HP the target has remaining, but the division by two applies to the initial amount of damage, not the target's remaining HP.
- Drains (half) VP/MP ~ Attacks may drain VP or MP instead of HP, but these should usually be targeting their damage at VP or MP instead of HP in the first place (although this is not required; damage can be done to HP and the user can then restore the same number of VP, or any combination, effectively "converting" those points). These can be used even on a target who is currently dead to steal any remaining VP/MP, but they will fail against something like a vehicle that lacks a pool of VP/MP.
- Removes all Status Benefits ~ Yeah, the clue is in the name here. Not even the Fire, Ice, and Raccoon States are safe, being removed entirely regardless of how much of their extra HP was left. The only exception is Neutralization, which is specifically immune to this effect; Invincibility is not immune to this, but it is immune to Neutralization, being the only other Status Condition that can coexist with Neutralization, and when a character has both at once, then the Neutralization protects the Invincibility from being removed by this effect. Where Neutralization itself is a status that lasts a certain number of turns, this effect is a one-and-done deal, so Status Conditions may be reacquired afterward.
- Cures all Status Problems ~ Generally seen on a healing move (or item), it might be the move's only effect, or it might be supplemental to a move that restores HP or something. All Status Problems are removed, although in the case of drunkenness, the character's blood alcohol level is lowered to 0.07 rather than being completely reset to 0.00, and for alcohol poisoning, it is similarly lowered to 0.19, meaning that in the latter case the character is still drunk—therefore, two consecutive doses of this curing effect are necessary to go from having alcohol poisoning to being functionally sober. The Feral state is also a special case where, depending on its portrayal, it might not be curable with these moves. Again, this effect just occurs once at the moment of use, rather than lingering as its own Status Condition.
- Removes all Status Problems and Status Benefits ~ A combination of the prior two effects, it does all the same things with all the same limitations.
- Steals one item ~ This will be a description of the stealing properties of a stealing ability, and so it might be written as "Steals one item or weapon" if I want to make it clear that a weapon can be targeted for theft as well as a regular item, and you'll probably see an accuracy, written like "Steals one item (50% chance)", to indicate the normal chance of successful theft; this chance gets cut in half when targeting the currently equipped weapon or when used against a Defending target, and these stack for a reduction to 25% of the usual chance when both are in play. The currently worn suit of armor can't be stolen no matter the accuracy of a move like this, but one designed to steal it anyway would probably be written like "Steals currently equipped armor". A stealing move may or may not deal damage or have other effects besides just stealing.
- (Projectile) ~ This will be noted on the sheets of melee weapons whose armed basic attacks are actually projectile, allowing the user to avoid contact damage from things like Electrification, Reciprocity, and Spikiness. They still count as melee weapons rather than projectile weapons, and technically speaking a character can choose to perform a melee attack instead of throwing them, which under very unusual circumstances could prove to be the better option. But anyway, it's because of this note that certain types of weapons that you might mentally classify as projectile, like shuriken, are technically classed as melee weapons in terms of Arpeggio's game mechanics.
- (Reave) ~ If this note appears on a weapon sheet, then that weapon will reverse the Weapon Triangle and double its damage bonuses. For example, a Sword, instead of doing +1 against an Axe and -1 against a Lance, will do +2 against a Lance and -2 against an Axe, and incoming attacks used against it will also reverse and double. If you're using my Secondary Weapon Triangle, then this can apply to weapons of those types as well. The standard "Reaver" weapons from Fire Emblem are called the Lancereaver (a Sword), the Swordreaver (an Axe), and the Axereaver (a Lance), so that's where the term comes from. A player could also create a special attack that has the Reave effect even when used with a normal weapon.
- Long Fall ~ This is normally a field penalty, dealing damage when a character jumps off a cliff instead of finding a more creative way down. The damage dealt from hitting the ground after a Long Fall is equal to that character's (Weight + 10) - (Platform + Defense Power). Some attacks will cause the target to fall from a high place, thus dealing this long fall penalty as the attack's damage. These kinds of attacks would be unaffected by boosts to the user's power, though boosts to the target's Defense would still reduce the damage. Flying characters are immune to long falls, while with burrowing characters, depending on the nature of the attack, it will either miss or work normally, and when it works it may remove their underground status.
- (Revive) ~ Keeping in mind that an "attack" can also be a healing ability or the like, when "(Revive)" is attached to a healing attack, or to the effect of a healing item, this means that, in addition to being able to restore HP to a target, the attack or item can also be used to revive a dead target. Any move or item that heals any amount of HP can be used to revive a dead target in the field, but in mid-battle, only those marked with this note can do so. This makes these moves much more valuable than regular healing moves, being able to allow your team to recover from partial defeat and potentially turn the tide back against the enemies. As you might expect, this only works with HP-restoring moves and items, not ones that restore VP or MP, since the character's HP would still be at 0. Non-reviving healing moves or items will not restore any HP if used on a dead character in battle.
- (Auto-Revive) ~ Attached to the healing value of items like Life Shrooms, this note indicates that, in addition to restoring HP and being able to revive a dead character in mid-battle, this item will activate automatically if the person holding it is killed, instantly restoring the indicated amount of HP and bringing the character back to life. This does not use up the character's action for any given turn, and can occur during a different team's Phase (which is likely, as the opposing team's attacks were probably what killed the character, although the item will also activate if the holder is killed by something like Poisoning). As per usual, the item is used up upon activation, disappearing from the holder's inventory, but if it hasn't yet auto-activated, it can be used like a normal item, to either revive a dead teammate or just heal a still-living one (or even the holder). Upon death, a character holding one of these items cannot choose to remain dead, but if they have more than one type of auto-revival item, they may choose which activates (and only one will activate at a time).
Writing It Up
While I do write up attacks in a consistent manner, I don't particularly care if you do. (If you're one of my players, I can just correct it myself, and if you're another Maestro, then it's not my problem.) I'll give you something to go off of, though, since I've just been rambling on about various noteworthy aspects of attacks. Let's start with a simple example:
Power Jump~ Attack: x2 +2, VP: 2, Target: One
"Jumps up and stomps on the target with great force."
The name of the attack should be the first thing you see, and I like to follow up with a "~" or another clear dividing symbol (clearer than a single hyphen, as the name of the attack could be hyphenated). Then I always use "Attack:" to indicate the power/strength of the attack, even when it's not based off of the Attack Power stat (so if that confuses you, use something like "Power:" instead). I separate other fields with commas; in this case we just have two more: VP cost and targeting information. Then I press Enter/Return and, in quotation marks, provide a more informal description of the attack, but I try to keep these short. I leave these quoted descriptions off of default attacks when I copy them onto character sheets, as a way to indicate that they are default attacks rather than ones that the player has made up, and just to save room. Now, let's look at a non-damaging attack:
Sleep Powder~ Ailment: Sleep, VP: 1, Turns: 5, Target: One, Accuracy: 50%
"Shoots spores that induce sleep at the target. It may be ineffective."
I replace the "Attack:" field with an "Ailment:" one indicating the
Status Problem caused by the attack; if the attack does not
cause one of the prewritten Status Problems on that list, though, I would write it up
differently, or else add the new condition to the list. Anyway, it still has a VP cost, but we
also need to specify how many turns the Status Condition will last. This version of Sleep Powder
also misses half the time, so we have an "Accuracy:" field; it appears that I usually include an
accuracy field for Status Problem attacks even if they have 100% accuracy, but I do not do this
for damaging attacks. Some of these decisions are highly questionable, which is why I'm not
asking you to adhere to them.
Plenty of examples of attacks can be found in the default lists (psychic, magic, and weather), as well as on various default enemy sheets, and between them you should get the gist of the whole system, but I'll give you one more example, and I'll try to include as many fields as I can think of so that I can establish their relative order.
Super Awesome Attack of Doom!!~ Attack: WBAP+4 [/] (Reave), Hits: 3, VP: 25,
Target: One to Three, Cooldown: 3, Element: Poison, Weapon: Lance,
Ailment: Poison OR Burn OR Defense -2, Turns: 3, Chance: 50%, Weather: Smog, Turns: 3,
Drains half HP (100% chance) and removes all Status Benefits (50% chance)
"Slices open a dimension of pure poison, dips the lance in, then attacks three times. Smog lingers from the rift."
There are probably other possible fields, but you get the idea. I'm also not sure if 25 VP is a fair cost for this attack; I just made it up now. For whatever reason I always put "Hits" before VP/MP cost, but otherwise that's normally always the second field; "Hits" indicates the number of times that the attack strikes in a single turn, so it's used for multi-strike attacks like Bow's slap. The "Cooldown" field indicates that, after this attack is used, it cannot be used again until the indicated number of turns have passed. Target is last when there are no such special effects; if the attack is Elemental, that comes next; if the attack requires a weapon, that comes after Elementality; if the attack both causes damage and inflicts a Status Problem, I'll do all the damage-relevant fields first, then follow up with the Ailment-relevant ones. Of note here is that if you see a "Chance" field, then the accuracy indicated only applies to the Status Problem being inflicted, but if the field is called "Accuracy", then it applies to the entire attack. And this attack has a chance of inflicting several different Status Problems; written the way it is, it should be interpreted as the 50% accuracy meaning whether or not any Status Problem is inflicted, and if one is, then there is an equal chance of it being any of the ones listed (so in this case, a 1/3 chance for each), but there is no chance of all of them being inflicted at the same time (that's why "OR" is emphasized; to get them all at once, I'd write "AND" in a similar manner). However, because the attack strikes three times in one turn, this Status Problem stuff is recalculated for each of the three hits, which means there is a chance of multiple Problems being inflicted on the same turn. However however, the "Target: One to Three" field indicates that the user of the attack can change targets between hits, so... that. Then even after all that, I've made the attack additionally conjure a Weather Condition, drain half the damage it inflicts to heal the user's HP (this applies to each of the three hits), and remove all Status Benefits from the targeted character(s), but the latter only works half the time. Hopefully, the results of the attack should all be pretty clear from the way it's written up, it's just that I do tend to write the fields in a specific style and order, so, if you wanted it, here it is.