OstinatoArpeggio Info

Special Attacks

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 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, Reciprocity, and 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 Silence.

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 Damage

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 Tattle and Splash (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 Damage

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.

Attack Reach

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 opponent.

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 x0.

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

Numerical Conventions

Attack Notes

Additional effects of attacks in Arpeggio may be indicated using the following notes:

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.

Default Special Attacks | Attack-Granting Badges