Super Mario RPG
- 1 I. Introduction
- 2 II. Character Creation
- 2.1 Concept
- 2.2 Races
- 2.3 Stats
- 2.4 Racial Features
- 2.5 Hometowns
- 2.6 Perks
- 2.7 Money, Equipment, Items & Traits
- 3 III. Mechanics
Super Mario RPG, also known as Mario World, though not to be confused with the SNES vidya gaem of the same name, is a /tg/-created system for a Super Mario RPG, using simple mechanics based on D6s, low numbers, and a Stat-system based on the Mario game series. It borrows somewhat from the Warhammer Fantasy Roleplaying Game, Dark Heresy and Shadowrun PnP games. The game is currently maintained by Mr. Blue Sky, who also does work on VeloCITY.
Players take on the role of intrepid souls exploring the world, be they wanderers, soldiers, adventurers or anything in between. As mentioned, the game is designed to be stupendously simple, just like the Mario games themselves. The game is also meant to be highly customizable, permitting many more different templates, characters, items and so forth than are shown here. Game Masters (GMs) and players are encouraged to be imaginative and creative.
For those who need references to and information about anything involving the Mario universe (especially if you plan to add it to your game or to elaborate on items currently listed), check the Super Mario Wiki.
II. Character Creation
Like most tabletop pen-and-paper games, each player controls a single character. This is their "player character," or "PC" for short.
This section details everything needed to make a character. You'll need a single d6.
The steps are as follows:
- Design your concept.
- Choose your race.
- Determine your Stats.
- Record your racial features.
- Roll up your Hometown.
- Choose your two Perks.
- Spend your chargen resources towards starting equipment, items and unique character traits, and determine your starting pocket change.
A character is only as unique as her premise. Even in the simplistic and colorful Mushroom World, there are equally colorful characters that truly bring out and highlight how lively the world is. One's character is more than just numbers and items on a page; she is a (usually) living, breathing person with ideals and ambitions. The simplest way to come up with a character is to make a short blurb about who and what she is, such as "Treasure-loving Archaeologist," "Hammer-for-Hire," or "Trickster Wizard" to name a few. This will be the character's foundation to be based and built upon. Nothing's stopping you from writing a full history of a character; do whatever you feel is necessary. This step is strictly optional, but it never hurts.
The Mushroom Universe is full of bizarre and interesting creatures, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. The following is an overview of each playable race. More races are always present and can be created at anyone's discretion, but these are the "core" races.
One of the most common races in the Mushroom World, Koopas (known in some circles as Nokonoko) are humanoid (evolved from quadrupeds, though some still exist) reptiles, turtles in particular; the biggest and baddest of them all is the infamous King Bowser Koopa himself, the aptly-named "Koopa King." Koopas walk all paths of life, and while Koopas make up the vast majority of the Koopa Troop, Bowser's personal army, many others live independently, be it in peaceful hamlets, as brave adventurers, and even as citizens of the Mushroom Kingdom. Arguably their greatest strength is their adaptability, for rarely is a Koopa pigeonholed into any one role. Of course, this doesn't preclude them from becoming extremely specialized; some of the greatest warriors and magic wielders are Koopas, among numerous other occupations.
The other most common race in the world alongside the Koopas, Toads (Kinopio is an alternative designation) are the mushroom-headed humanoids of the Mushroom World, known for their speckled "hats" and overall short stature. While the Mushroom Kingdom boasts unmatched diversity, Toads are the face of the kingdom, though to live and travel abroad are not uncommon occurrences. Opposed to the Koopas and Goombas of the warlike Koopa Troop (not to be confused with other Koopas and Goombas), most Toads are peaceful. However, many are insufferable gossips, and certain individuals have a bit of a reputation for habitual cowardice. While not necessarily as hardy as the Koopas, Toads are an adaptable people, boasting a vast intellect and remarkable agility, despite their stature. Most adventurer Toads become scholars, magic-users or thieves, but that doesn't stop the braver ones from gaining martial prowess.
Boos (also known as Teresa) are marshmallow-like ghosts, the spirits of the dead that remain in the realm of the living for a variety of reasons, willing or otherwise. Often inhabiting abandoned estates and the dark places of the world, Boos tend to be either very shy or very bold. That is to say, many exalt in scaring the wits out of hapless passers-by; however, they've yet to shake their reputation for being notoriously shy. Being semi-incorporeal, they do not boast fine motor control, but they can exert some force on the world. They can also fade in and out of sight -- possibly between the lands of the living and the dead -- and fly. Boos tend towards being magic-users or socialites, due to their difficulty in handling physical objects.
Goombas (alternately known as Kuribo) are tiny sapient mushroom -- or acorn, depending on who you ask -- creatures, essentially mutated mushrooms/acorns with feet. Their size varies mildly, but most come waist-high to a Koopa. Alongside Koopas, Goombas are the most iconic of soldiers in the Koopa Troop, the "gruntiest of grunts," so to speak, while many others live in independence, often as full-fledged citizens of the Mushroom Kingdom. Stature aside, their most striking detail is their lack of arms, although they are known to fine-manipulate objects as if they had limbs (a mystery of the universe). In open defiance of their build and lot in life, Goombas are among the most steadfast and fiercest of all sapients. They are capable of very high jumps, and some varieties have small wings. Some are martially adept, while others become scholars.
One of the grand question marks of the world, Shy Guys (Hei-Ho by another name) are squatty humanoids whose most striking detail, regardless of their garb, build or environment, is an unsettling white -- sometimes decorated -- mask to hide their true identity, hence the name; only a truly select few have ever seen beneath the mask, though they refuse to say what is there. Note that a Shy Guy may choose to emulate the appearance of emotion via subtle swapping of various masks to that which is most appropriate to the occasion. One of the most mysterious and enigmatic races in the world, Shy Guys are thought to originate from the dream world of Sub-Con, though like most things about them, it is not truly known. It doesn't help that their society, however it manifests, is almost exclusively insular. What is known is that apart from being nearly unrepentant tricksters, they are one of the most technologically savvy races, employing all manner of tools they find or make.
Yoshis, either named for an individual or the entire race, are intelligent, bipedal dragons/dinosaurs that come in all colors of the rainbow -- and then some! -- with large snouts and smiles. Hailing from mostly tropical regions, most notably Yoshi Island, their claim to fame is being omnivores of the highest caliber: with long, sticky, prehensile tongues and a seemingly bottomless stomach, Yoshis will eat almost anything and everything. Their digestion is almost instantaneous, and often, they excrete an item they eat as a speckled egg they either use for storage or to throw as explosive projectiles. Depending on what they eat, they can gain abilities ranging from growing wings to breathing fire. Sometimes serving as mounts or protectors, they possess their own, tribal society.
With a fuse on the top and an individual-designed turnkey on their backside, modern Bob-ombs are, put simply, sapient bombs with feet. Like Goombas, they have no immediately discernible arms, yet they can manipulate objects with little issue. Intelligent and living as full citizens of their nation of choice, most are stoic and tough, often moving with military precision, though as the colloquialism implies, many suffer from -- pardon the pun -- a short fuse. As expected of any bomb, a Bob-omb's special ability is to self-detonate in an admirable explosion; while one may think such an act as suicide, modern Bob-ombs have perfected the art of blasting to where it is no longer an issue. Their explosions, outside of functional use, are seen as the highest form of expression for Bob-ombs.
In the Mushroom universe, humans as we know them are actually an overall rarity compared to other races. They are not built much differently from other humans, but compared to Toads, Koopas and their ilk, humans are fewer and further between than others. The only area on record with a significant human population is the unsurprisingly modern Diamond City. That said, the few humans of notable renown are among the greatest and most powerful sapients in the universe. Apart from Pauline, famed pirate Captain Maple Syrup, the eccentric Professor Elvin Gadd, and those who work for WarioWare Inc., there are only seven humans (or human-esque beings) of substantial note in the setting: the mystical Princess Rosalina of the stars, the wily Wario Bros., Wario & Waluigi, the strong Princess Daisy of Sarasaland, the fair Princess Peach of the Mushroom Kingdom, and the superstars among all superstars themselves -- the Super Mario Bros., Mario and Luigi. As those names prove, humans may be few and far between, but they have among the greatest ambition of all sapients and reach for the stars in all things.
Now that you've chosen your race, you can determine your Stats. Stats represent your PC's raw physical and mental skill. There are six Core Stats and two Derivative Stats.
|Heart (H):||This Stat represents your character's willpower, guts, determination and spirit.|
|Power (P):||This Stat represents your character's raw, physical strength.|
|Smarts (S):||This Stat represents your character's intelligence and mental fortitude.|
|Coolness (C):||This Stat represents your character's charisma, looks and and social skills.|
|Toughness (T):||This stat represents your character's resilience, burliness and overall physical presence and health.|
|Speed (Sp):||This Stat represents your character's physical quickness, manual dexterity, and reaction speed.|
|Health Points (HP):||This Stat represents your character's vitality, namely how much damage your character can suffer before becoming KO'd. It is derived from, and is equal to, Heart + Toughness (unless otherwise noted).|
|Flower Points (FP):||This Stat represents your character's extra effort, notably the potential to perform Specials (techniques, spells, etc.). It is derived from, and is equal to, Heart + Coolness (unless otherwise noted).|
An average Koopa or Toad civilian would possess a 3 in all Heart, Power, Smarts, Coolness, Toughness, and Speed.
Over the course of a campaign, stats can be buffed or debuffed, either permanently or temporarily, but aside from HP/FP, they can never be reduced below the minimum of 1.
There are two ways to determine Stats: random rolls, or point buy. The methods to each are displayed below.
For Heart, Power, Smarts, Coolness, Toughness, and Speed, roll 1d6+1 for each in turn (This will result in a number from 2-7).
Bowser's Favor: On a single roll where you rolled a one, you may reroll.
You have 7 points to add to your Stats.
Heart, Power, Smarts, Coolness, Toughness and Speed start at 3, and each have a limit of 7. You may shuffle the existing points around before applying your new points, but you cannot reduce a stat below 1 -- even after racial modifiers -- nor exceed the chargen limit of 7.
Depending on the race chosen, your character naturally receives the following Stat modifiers and Abilities. If playing a non-standard race, discuss potential modifiers and Abilities with your GM, if any. This also applies towards playing as a variant of a given race, such as the Koopa's Paratroopa (begins with a Winged Shell) and Fire Brother (spits fireballs) variants.
Stats: All Koopas come standard with their own, removeable, oft-treasured Koopa Shell (Armor: +1 Toughness, -1 Speed). Shell aside, he also gains one point in Power.
Abilities: Bowserkin - When a Koopa is at low health (1-2 HP), he becomes more resilient and gains one temporary point in both Power and Toughness. This lasts until either his health is restored from this minimum, or he is KO'd.
Stats: A Toad receives an extra point in Smarts, reflecting her well-read, peaceful nature.
Abilities: Scholarly Aptitude - A Toad makes up for her lack of strength with her cleverness and knowledge, be it in whatever pursuit of her choice. Instead of Heart + Coolness, she may therefore choose to calculate her Flower Points as equal to Heart + Smarts.
Stats: A Boo receives an extra point in Coolness; her charisma is otherworldly, not to mention it takes work to make a good scare.
Abilities: Outta Sight - A Boo -- and whoever is holding onto her -- is capable of fading invisible and incorporeal at-will for a number of times per day equal to her Coolness rating. A single use counts as from initiating the fading to the Boo dispelling the invisibility, regardless of length of time.
Stats: A Goomba is tough, stubborn and used to taking a fall, so he gains an extra point in Heart.
Abilities: CHOOSE: Frenzy - A Goomba at low health (1-2 HP) may enter a frenzy and has a 50% chance to make an additional attack. OR Tattle - A well-read Goomba has a habit of being able to tell apart what's what. On a sufficient Smarts (1) check, a Goomba can immediately identify an enemy's species, basic stats and general strategy. Note that being able to Tattle is a perk that any character can pick up.
Shy Guy Features
Stats: A Shy Guy is inventive and clever, but he is also reclusive and unsettling. He gains two points in Smarts, but he loses a point of Coolness.
Abilities: Gadget - A Shy Guy may begin the game with a helpful gadget of their design. Get creative, and discuss with your GM how best to design the item. A Gadget is considered a handy tool that the Shy Guy can employ on a semi-regular basis; with enough justification, it can even count as a weapon or other piece of equipment.
Stats: A Yoshi is innately strong and fleet of foot, regardless of the weight he carries. It doesn't change that he's still a dinosaur. He gains an extra point in both Power and Speed, but he loses a point in Smarts.
Abilities: Swallow - A Yoshi may swallow nearly any object smaller than himself in range of his tongue. He may hold the object in his mouth for [Heart x 2] turns until he is forced to swallow or spit it out. He can then lay an egg, which he can use to either store an item or make a ranged attack. An egg lasts until it is used, and a Yoshi can possess a number of eggs equal to his Coolness rating.
Stats: A proud Bob-omb is stalwart and rarely backs down from a challenge, and people find that inspiring. However, stubby legs on a walking bomb only let her move so quickly. She receives a point in both Heart and Coolness, but loses a point in Speed.
Abilities: Bomb - For breaking down walls or just making an explosive impression, a Bob-omb may self-detonate at-will for a number of times per day equal to her Coolness rating. The force of her explosion is equal to her Power rating. She must recuperate for a turn after exploding.
Stats: A human is generally versatile and excels at whatever he puts his mind to. He receives a free point in one stat of his choice.
Abilities: Starlike Ambition - A human is quick to learn things, and his ambition inspires him to reach for the heavens and become a legend. Unless otherwise noted, a human receives a 1 FP discount on the cost of all specials; this cannot reduce the cost of a special below 1 FP.
Everyone was born somewhere! If you don't want to choose your character's origin yourself, then roll 2d6 to determine where you're from on the chart below.
|1- Wilderness||Plains||Forest||Desert||Mountains||Island||Choose your own!|
|2-Farm||Bean Valley||Flower Fields||Twilight Town||Moleville||Starborn Valley||Choose your own!|
|3-Village||Petalburg||Dry Dry Outpost||Fahr Outpost||Monstro Town||Koopa Village||Choose your own!|
|4-Town||Poshley Heights||Seaside Town||Rogueport||Marrymore||Rose Town||Choose your own!|
|5-City||Toad Town||Nimbus Land||Diamond City||Mushroom City||Shiver City||Choose your own!|
|6-Abroad||Sarasaland||Beanbean Kingdom||Isle Delfino||Dinosaur Land||Dark Land||Choose your own!|
((Idea taken from ChromeStrike))
It's not just a player character's exceptional stats or ambition that separate him from everyday inhabitants of the Mushroom World. More often than not, it's a certain quality or je ne sais quoi that sets him apart from others like him. These are represented as perks: minor qualities or feats that further distinguish a character and make him truly unique. They are bonuses to rolls or stats that occur under very specific conditions, and the best part is that you can make your own! After all, it's one thing to say your character keeps cool under pressure, but it really brings that point home when it's serialized in a perk such as "Cool Heads Prevail: +1 dicepool bonus on a spell check to dispel/counter fire spells."
At character generation, a character chooses two perks with which to distinguish their character. Players are encouraged to create their own perks, including naming them; anyone can help, and the GM has final say in approving, tweaking, or disallowing any particular perks, for the sake of balance or otherwise. A rule of thumb is that the larger or more profound the bonus, the less likely it should be expected to come up regularly in-game. The following are common guidelines or ground rules to follow when creating perks, along with examples. Unless otherwise noted, assume that any bonus listed is to a player's dicepool.
- +1 bonus to a combat check: These require a very specific condition(s) to be met. These should neither add to hit always with a specific type of weapon or spell (e.g. hammers, shells, ice spells, etc.), nor to dodge, defend or resist damage unless under particular circumstances.
- I Like These Odds: +1 to hit when outnumbered 2:1 or more
- Thunderstruck: Ignore debuffs from electric-based damage, such as numbness.
- Clever Girl: +1 to base damage value when sneak-attacking from natural flora
- Take a Breath, Man: +1 to hit when unharassed for a full turn
- "That's HIGH Archmage to you!": +1 to offensive casting and counterspelling checks when directly battling other wizards
- "Mayday, mayday!": +1 to damage resistance against falling damage when shot down from the air
- +1 Stat bonus towards a specialty or skill: These perks generally should have nothing to do with combat; these are the closest thing to skill bonuses than anything else.
- Mr. Atlas: +1 Power when lifting, pushing or carrying something
- Ironshroom: +1 Toughness towards tests of endurance
- Horticulturist: +1 Smarts when identifying flora or fauna
- "I never said THAT.": +1 Coolness when fast-talking/bluffing if there is some truth in the PC's words
- Every Goomba for Himself!: +1 Speed to escape when surprised
- First Impressions: +1 Coolness when meeting someone for the first time, particularly those of equal or greater social standing
- +2 bonus in specific, infrequent scenarios: These perks are miscellaneous in nature, almost wholly trade-based. Be it academic study, networking, handyman work or a job at the circus, these apply to careers, hobbies, or some past history of the character.
- Duct Tape & Elbow Grease: +2 to repair an item if using secondhand materials or improvising
- Quality Control: +2 to appraise an item of its performance and craftsmanship
- Queen of the Opera: +2 to mesmerize an audience and to subsequent social rolls during and following a singing performance
- Karry Koop-dini: +2 bonus when escaping any binds or cuffs
- Royal Attaché: +2 to social rolls when addressing foreign officials and royalty not of the character's native citizenship
- Pull It Together: +2 to hit when dealing nonlethal damage to an ally
Money, Equipment, Items & Traits
Your character is almost complete, but if you've been paying attention, you'll notice your character doesn't actually have anything to her name yet; alas, she possesses naught but the clothes on her back right now. Fortunately, this can be fixed with some free money and a pre-existential shopping spree.
First, add the values of your character's H, P, S and C stats together into a single number. Mark this number down, because this is your character's starting pocket change in Coins (see Currency in Mechanics for more information).
Next, divide this sum by 3, rounding appropriately to the nearest whole number. This new number is your character's available Purchase Points (PP). Purchase Points can represent several things: the overall resources available to your character, be it monetary, genetic or anything in between, as well as the general worth of your character's gear, income and/or training up to this point. They may not necessarily represent a character's overall quality of living, nor does purchasing something with PP mean they actually bought anything off the open market; a wizard's robe could be a hand-me-down passed down from generations of family, for example. It's a rather nebulous currency that only appears in character generation, but suffice to say, these PP are what you will use to equip and place the last touches on your character before setting off into the wild blue yonder. You don't need to spend all your available PP, but it can't hurt.
Every 1 PP is good for one of the following:
- A baseline single weapon (a set of projectile weapons counts as this, e.g. a pile of throwing needles), magic focus or set of armor/magic robe
- A single enchantment/refinement of said weapon/focus/outfit (e.g. a Strong Hammer [+1 P] would cost 2 PP: one for the Hammer, one for +1 Power)
- Two (2) basic consumables, such as a Mushroom, Honey Syrup, Able Juice, etc.
- One (1) additional Perk. This new Perk follows the same rules as those in the Perks section.
- An extra character trait/quirk. This can be rather broad, but it should be considered that a character is changed on an intrinsic, internal level of some form. The following are common examples:
- A Koopa can trade in his standard Koopa Shell for a different kind of shell, such as a Spiked Shell or Winged Shell.
- A Koopa can get another, separate Koopa Shell altogether. It's not unheard of for a Koopa to own multiple shells, after all. Making it a nonstandard shell still costs another point, though.
- A Koopa can spit fire/ice/whatever from his mouth.
- A Goomba can gain wings, becoming a Paragoomba.
- A Boo can change shape into a more humanoid form. The most common references are to another race (most often their original form in life), a humanoid figure similar to Vivian and the Shadow Sirens, or even the human form itself. "Ghostly beauty" can take on a whole new meaning.
- A Boo can become fully corporeal, providing more appreciable mass and motor control.
- A Bob-omb does not possess a wick and/or triggers explosions through alternate means (remote trigger, timer, etc.).
- A Shy Guy can trade his default white mask for another of varying function. The most common replacement is the Snifit Mask, allowing a Shy Guy/Snifit to spit bullets from his mouth. Shy Guy "emoting" masks count as one mask for this purpose.
- A Shy Guy can gain another, separate basic mask, not unlike a Koopa's shells. Similarly, making the separate mask a nonstandard mask also costs another point.
- A character is a considerable measure larger or smaller than the average.
- A character can weave magic without the need of a focus. Note that this might be achievable through in-game means, though it will take considerable effort.
- A character has some manner of mutation or genetic quirk (e.g. a Toad's spots glow in the dark).
The primary mechanic is a dicepool system similar to Shadowrun: when performing any sort of test or check, roll Xd6, where X is the character's most pertinent stat to the task at hand as well as any additional modifiers such as from equipment or power-ups (note that total mods cannot exceed the value of the stat). A die that rolls a 4-6 counts as a "success" or "hit," and the successes are totaled and compared against a threshold or an opposing test. If the threshold is met, the check is successful. The more net hits, i.e. the more hits rolled above the threshold or opposing test, the greater the degree of success. As GM, you can decide if you wish to implement the rule of "exploding dice" (a die that rolls a 6 counts as both a success and a free reroll).
Example: A character finds a strange mushroom growing just outside a power plant, and he wants to know what it is. To identify the mushroom, it would be a Smarts check; if he has 3 Smarts and is carrying a book on flora and fauna, which the GM rules is a +1 modifier for the test, he rolls [3+1]d6 = 4d6. The threshold for the test is (secretly) established at 1. In this case, no successes means the character can't immediately find the mushroom in his book or can't jog his memory enough to remember it at this time. One success means the character properly identifies the mushroom as a Volt Shroom, while two successes would both identify the mushroom and offer more exact information, particularly its function (renders a character or object electrified for a period of time).
Even Mario rarely works alone, so relying on comrades, friends and partners is a fruitful experience. If a character needs help from another with a test, be it forcing a door open, doing extensive research in a library or forcing a character's opinion, a team test may be employed. Denote one character to be the primary actor who will perform the test normally. All other helpers roll the same test except against a flat threshold of 1 success instead of the original test's difficulty. For every helper that passes the assistance test, add one die to the primary actor's dicepool. Combine the total numbers of successes afterwards, not counting the one needed to pass the assistance test; for every three successes rolled, add an extra die to the primary actor's dicepool. Then the primary actor may proceed with the test as normal with the extra bonus dice.
There are no strict classes in Super Mario RPG; all a character has to do is literally pick up an item and go. If a character is carrying a hammer, then he can use special melee techniques; if he promptly drops the hammer and picks up a magic wand, he can cast spells as a wizard. Characters have their own inherent techniques, and some weapons can bequeath a unique technique themselves. Armor is somewhat similar: put on a spiked shell, and you both improve your defense and protect yourself from above. Don a caster's robes, and your inherent magic flows more freely, to say nothing of potential enchantments and functions of the robe itself. In many cases, equipment can be enchanted or refined beyond an item's baseline; the refinement can be represented as reduction or improvement of built-in stats, addition of extra stats, spells or features, and so on. Also, a character's gear can be just as individual as the character himself; players are encouraged to describe their equipment and image, how all the pieces fit together to paint the picture of an elegant Boo belle with a glittering rose brooch pinned to her "hair" or a burly, fierce-looking Koopa with a scratched shell and two wicked hammers or anything else in between. In this game, you are what you wear, and there is little to no penalty for changing roles, although some characters will naturally be more proficient at certain roles than others. Of course, your character may not even need equipment when it comes to combat; fists of fury or a good jump or tackle are all a character needs, and perhaps a character can cast spells without the need of a focus (although it can't hurt to use one). It's up to you what you character needs (or wants).
Here is a basic list of common pieces of equipment that can be expected. It's not at all comprehensive, but it's a good baseline of what you can wear and use. As with all other things in this system, don't be afraid to make your own equipment and play things by ear with how to apply your gear.
- Melee Weapons: For those who like to get up close and very personal with their opposition, melee weapons will, more often than not, use Power when used against an enemy. The almighty hammer is one of the most popular implements to use, in no small part because it's the favored weapon of a certain mustachioed duo, but other popular items include swords, daggers, axes, pikes, and knuckle-dusters.
- Ranged Weapons: If one prefers to hang back at a distance and peg her enemies with projectiles, these tools are just the ticket; in combat, their attached attribute is Speed. Common ranged implements include the bow (complete with arrows), slingshots, javelins, even just hucking a rock off the ground if need be.
- Magic Foci: Most characters in the Mushroom World have an inherent affinity with the latent magic of the world; more often than not, these varied foci can help more easily draw out and emphasize this magical connection, allowing for the casting of spells with either the Smarts or Coolness stat, whichever is most pertinent to the character. The most common focus is a magical wand, but others include staves and books, the latter of which will probably have spells already in them for easy access. In a pinch, even a wand or tome makes for a semi-decent melee weapon.
- Armor & Robes: Beyond common decency dictating that one shouldn't go trotting about in the nude, it makes practical sense for a character to wear at least something when adventuring. From the clothes on their back to flexible leathers to chunky fullplate to magical robes and everything in between, people can quickly tell the sort of person a character is not only by the weapon they wield, but also the protection they wear. Magic robes (or equivalent, such as charms) more than likely will provide some bonus to spellcasting, as a rule of thumb; as a baseline, a basic, no-frills enchanted magic robe offers +1 Smarts/Coolness towards spellcasting, with no other bonus. Another rule of thumb is that depending on what sort of armor he's wearing, expect some amount of tradeoff between Toughness and Speed; for example, a basic set of Maple Leather armor grants +1 Toughness in exchange for -1 Speed, while a full suit of Mushroom Fullplate provides +3 Toughness at the expense of -2 Speed for as long as he wears the armor. Also, not every race can wear the same protection as another; for example, only a Koopa can reliably wear a Koopa Shell, and a Toad's Mushroom Fullplate will just look silly on a Goomba (unless the Goomba gets a suit [or helmet] tailormade for him).
- Badges: That mystical, magical and all-around fantastical Badge is a piece of swag that a character wears on their person that inspires them to greater heights and to do more things (if only because it looks nice and the character in question just has to fit the part). Badges can grant passive bonuses, teach new special abilities, even change a character's clothes in an instant. They can be traded at badge vendors or found around the world; a fair number of people even stake their entire careers on finding -- or stealing! -- Badges, the rarer the better. Any given Badge requires Badge Points (BP) to be equipped (commonly, a badge is rated anything from 0-2 BP). Wearing multiple Badges adds their BP values together into a single value. A character can equip up to her Coolness stat's worth of BP in Badges; she cannot equip over this value's worth. For example, if Madam Kalypso Koop has 5 Coolness, then she can only equip 5 BP's worth of Badges. She can wear three 0BP, one 1BP and two 2BP Badges all at once with no issue, but if she attempts to wear another 1BP Badge, it won't work unless she either improves her Coolness or removes a badge that would put her over her 5BP budget. Here are a few example Badges:
- Spiked Shield (1 BP): Protects your character from damage from spikes.
- Power Charge (1 BP): Teaches the Power Charge command. (Power Charge [1 FP]: Spend the turn supercharging your inner strength, granting a temporary +2 Power bonus towards your next action.)
- Flower Power (2 BP): +3 FP
- Brains & Brawn (5 BP): +1 Power, +1 Smarts
- Magic Flower Make-Up! (0 BP): You're a magical girl! At least, you're dressed like one.
- Berserker's Badge (2 BP): +3 Speed when you're below 25% HP.
Aside from equipment, there are also innumerable items to be stored in satchels and backpacks, waiting for just the right time to use them. For the purposes of this section, "items" refers to consumables and triggered items, similar to potions and scrolls in any other game. Some items can be used multiple times, but unless mentioned as such, assume these items are one-and-done. It's up to you just how clever you can be with your items. The following is just a few examples of items you can find and use in the Mushroom World.
- Mushroom: Restores 5 HP
- Honey Syrup: Restores 5 FP
- KeroKero Cola: Restores full HP across all party members
- 1-Up Mushroom: Upon KO, automatically revives the character with 10 HP
- Able Juice/Refreshing Herb: Cures one character of status ailments
- Dizzy Dial: Renders a single enemy, well, dizzy, stunning them for 1-2 turns
- Sleepy Sheep Bell: Jingling the bell puts all subjects to sleep until disturbed; resist with a Heart (2) test
- Star Storm: 5 damage to all enemies
- VoltShroom Energy Drink: For 2 turns, take two standard actions instead of one
- Chuckle Blend: This special coffee blend from the Beanbean Kingdom permanently improves a character's Speed by 1.
Even in the Mushroom World, money can make the world go 'round. In this case, the currency in question is the ever-present Coin ($). This shiny chip made of solid gold that jingles "da-ding" every time you pick one up can be found everywhere, almost literally. They're hidden throughout the world, monsters carry them, selling the spoils of adventure nets a pretty pile of them, to say nothing of working a 9-to-5 to earn a nice bundle of them. The entire Mushroom economy revolves around Coins, and fortunately, it's a very stable currency, despite all the mounds of money that somehow gets injected into the market any time a new treasure trove is discovered. Concerns about counterfiting have come and gone in the past. Many a soul prides himself on his Coin count, to the point where they'll even war against others for them. Exchange rates with other kingdoms can be humbling -- ask about the Mushroom:Beanbean rates -- but it's no less respected abroad. Indeed, Coins are something of a universal currency nowadays. There are other, unique currencies that may come up over the course of an adventure, like the rare, green-colored Frog Coins, but for the most part, one shouldn't have to worry about those too terribly much.
Different stores can charge different prices for different items, depending on what they have in stock. A good baseline to keep in mind is that basic restorative items run for $5-10, general aggressive items can run $10-20, and basic weapons and armor can run anywhere between $25-50. Enchantment and refinement of items and equipment can start from the base price of the item and quickly skyrocket from there if you're not careful.
There can be no story without conflict, and sagas in the Mushroom World are no exception. Functionally, combat is no different from any other series of checks. The Mario games lend themselves to fast-and-loose, narrative combat, so miniatures and grids shouldn't be required for games, although there is no rule saying they can't be used. A combat round lasts five to six seconds, for the purpose of moderation.
Hearts & Flowers
A character's Health Points (HP) represents her current vitality and endurance. Unless denoted otherwise, HP is equal to the combined values of her Heart and Toughness stats (e.g. if she has 5 Heart points and 5 Toughness points, then she has 10 HP). If she is reduced to 0 HP, then she is knocked out (KO'd): any effects she was sustaining promptly end, and she cannot move or act unless either a partner revives her somehow or the combat ends, at which point, in the case of the latter, she automatically revives with only one HP. The main ways to restore health are with restorative items (Mushrooms, etc.), finding special places in the world (shrines or springs) or just a good night's sleep. It's worth noting that apart from the supernatural spirits and powers of necromancy, death is a relatively uncommon occurrence in the Mushroom World, despite what the rampages of a certain Italian duo would have you believe. Unless the concept of death is pertinent to the situation at hand, then assume that all encounters are to KO.
A character's Flower Points (FP), named for the iconic Fire Flower, represents her energy and knowledge towards using special techniques or spells. Unless denoted otherwise, FP is equal to the combined values of her Heart and Coolness stats (e.g. if she has 5 Heart points and 4 Coolness points, then she has 9 FP). Using a special technique or spell (hereafter known as "specials") costs a certain amount of FP, depending on the complexity and intended effect of the special, regardless of whether or not the special was successful. If the character runs out of FP or does not have enough for a given special's required investment, then she cannot use that special. FP does not auto-regenerate except in special circumstances, and just like HP, the main ways to manually restore FP are with items (Syrups, etc.), special locations in the Mushroom World, and a good night's rest.
Initiative & Actions
To determine initiative, all participants in the combat roll a Speed check and add the hits to their Speed score for their final initiative. In the event of a tie, the higher Speed wins. Everyone goes once in a single turn, unless a power-up or other bonus permits extra actions or entire turns for that character; in that case, everyone takes their turn, then the character with extra actions or turns goes again until all extra actions are used, after which the turn actually ends and the next one begins.
There are two types of actions that a player can take: standard actions and free actions. Move actions are omitted from the game for the sake of simplicity, though a GM may choose to add them for more particular actions like sustaining commands or more specific movement. A standard action is the bulk of significant activities in a combat: attack, defend, use an item, swap equipment, and so on. Every character has only one standard action per turn. Free actions are non-significant actions that take little to no effort, such as talking, activating bonuses from equipment or power-ups, and so forth.
Attacking & Defending
Depending on the weapon of choice of a character, the primary stat rolled to attack will change. A melee fighter will usually use Power, a caster will use Smarts or Coolness, and a ranged combatant will use Speed. Whatever the stat used, the attacker rolls a opposed check with that particular stat against the defender's stat of choice (depending on the defensive action taken) and counts the total hits. Regardless of the defense used by the defender, if the attacker scores more net hits, the attacker wins the engagement. The attacker then does damage equal to his primary stat plus any damage modifiers, subtracted by the opponent's total Toughness; note that if the defender's total Toughness is greater than the total attack value, then the attack -- even if successfully hit -- is absorbed and does no damage.
A defender, when under attack, may choose one of three defensive tactics as a contextual response (four, if you count "doing nothing"): guard, dodge, and counter.
- If he chooses to guard, he will attempt to absorb the brunt of the damage with an active defense; he rolls Toughness as his stat in the opposed test, and if successful (i.e. the defender has equal or more net hits), he reduces the attacker's damage by his Toughness plus his total hits. If he fails, he takes damage as normal. If he chooses to defend as part of his standard action for the turn, then his defense is boosted; his base stat becomes [Toughness x 1.5 (round up)] for the opposed test.
- If he chooses to dodge, he will try and avoid the attack altogether, be it by darting away or ducking and weaving; his stat of choice for the opposed test is Speed, and if successful (i.e. the defender has equal or more net hits), the attack misses entirely and the defender takes no damage. If the attacker wins, then the defender takes damage as normal. If he chooses to take evasive action as part of his standard action for the turn, his reactions are heightened; his base stat becomes [Speed x 1.5 (round up)] for the sake of the opposed test.
- If he chooses to counter, then he will attempt to actively respond to the enemy attack with his own. The defender responds with his own attack check against the attacker (using the most pertinent attack stat). If the defender wins the test, then the attacker's attack is deflected, and the defender hits the attacker directly for his net hits' worth of damage, ignoring Toughness. If the attack is a spell or spell-like ability and the defender is a caster himself, he will instead attempt to counterspell and dispel the offending spell with his own magic; he handles the defense test with his casting stat (Smarts or Coolness) instead of Toughness. If the attacker wins, the defender takes full damage resisted only by his base Toughness value. Not all attacks can be countered.
Engagements & Enemies
Because there's not an overt emphasis on movement or exact positioning of individuals in a combat situation, it can get easy to lose track of which enemies you can affect at any given time with a particular action. Fortunately, the game keeps track of individuals or groups of individuals as engagements. An engagement is a set of individuals in close enough proximity that they constitute a sufficient grouping of individuals for the purposes of targeting, enemy strength, and area-of-effect abilities. For example, the party of PCs in sufficiently close proximity counts as one engagement (the player engagement, for all intents and purposes). The party can be fighting a horde of pirate raiders, but the group of eight pirates may be split up into three engagements (3-3-2 or 4-3-1 or any other mix) that surround the party from all sides. Alternately, there can be an engagement of foot soldiers in front of the party, and directly behind the infantry would be another engagement of just one soldier in a portable Bullet Bill nest. An AoE effect, unless specifically noted to apply to multiple engagements, will work on one engagement of enemies at a time, like a smoke bomb blinding a group of baddies (or even the entire enemy force if the bomb is detonated in the player engagement).
Generally, there are three classes of enemy that players will battle against: grunts, rivals and bosses.
- Grunts are the rank-and-file mooks that most heroes either run past or stomp on with little effort; they are almost universally weaker than any given PC, falling within one or two, maybe three attacks. However, what grunts lack in power, they usually make up for with numbers. Grunts will try to overwhelm the enemy with volume more than quality. Sometimes, bands of grunts can be lead by a rival or two, maybe even a boss. The grunts are most dangerous because they're very good at playing the numbers game.
- There's a special type of enemy formation known as the swarm. This is represented by a tight bundle of mooks that count as one unit, attacking all at once, such as a swarm of Mini-Goombas or a pile of Fuzzies bouncing all over the place. Their stats and attack power are generally equal to the number of enemies in the swarm; when they take damage, the swarm weakens as it loses numbers until there's nothing left.
- Rivals are considered the equal of PCs, generally equal in power and capability. They offer an even fight and can test how well a team works as a unit and their overall chemistry. Rivals can be friendly competitors, cutthroat adversaries or glory-seeking wannabes. Rivals are built almost identically to PCs and usually equal the number of PCs present in a fight, give or take. The rivals are most dangerous because the hardest fight to win is a fair fight.
- Bosses are beings of exceptional might that, on a one-to-one comparison, outstrip a PC's powers almost wholesale. Bosses can be huge, very well-equipped, exceptionally clever or otherwise carry an air of authority and power that makes all others tremble. Parties will be forced to work together to outsmart a boss, exploit its weakness(es) and topple the mighty foe before they are overwhelmed. Unless they have lackeys, bosses generally operate solo but make up for it with elevated stats and powerful specials, along with unique tactics and gimmicks that make the fight all the trickier. The boss is most dangerous because their immense strength can overwhelm even the mightiest of heroes if they're not prepared.
Specials and Abilities
As previously mentioned, a special technique (be it a spell or physical attack) usually costs Flower Points to use. The question is, what exactly can your character do? To put it another way, does your character have a specific list of commands they can use?
Well, yes and no.
Super Mario RPG permits for modular and freeform play, not just in equipment and changing classes, but also in what a character can do in the world. Unlike the video games, there are no hard limits in what a character can do in a pencil-and-paper game; while Mario may not be able to grab his Bob-omb buddy and hurl them at an enemy to explode on contact via fastball special, you can. A lot of the time, this can happen at no cost to anyone. However, for the purposes of checks and balances, some of the fancier moves you can do will require you to spend FP to do it. If you narrate a particular action that sounds like it can fall under a particular technique, your GM may ask you to spend some FP before you attempt the action. Like all things, this falls to GM discretion and moderation and whatever he/she thinks requires using FP. For the most part, you should only expect to be spending FP in combat.
A good way to think of what can cost FP is to start with a basic command tied to your equipment; in this case, we'll focus on the Hammer's Smash -- the basic melee attack. The base command on its own doesn't cost anything -- it's as simple as it gets. However, if you want to add a qualifier to that base command to do something more, that may come at an FP cost. For example, to turn the Smash into the Power Smash -- a Smash with +2 Power -- will add a cost of 1 FP, if only because it's a straightforward, singular improvement to the attack. Another variant you can make is the Piercing Smash -- a Smash that ignores the enemy's Toughness -- also for a cost of 1 FP. By comparison, you can create the Serial Smash, which lets you make successive Smash attacks against a single enemy repeatedly for as long as you keep scoring at least one success at -1 Power per successive swing. It's a potent attack, but that creates a whopping 3 FP cost for the skill; an attack like that is no joke. These "qualifiers" -- prefixes and suffixes to the base command -- are a quick way to judge if an attack you have in mind will cost FP or not. They can also be stacked together, if you choose, for a far more potent attack, but it adds the FP costs together into a cumulative cost.
It must also be within reason that the character performing the special can reasonably understand the idea behind a would-be special and not be able to do it just because the player wants to. You can make up attacks as you go, but it should also stand to reason that certain attacks like the previously-mentioned Piercing Smash come only with experience or tutelage.
Characters themselves can begin the game with and learn specials of their own, unique of any equipment they use. Most of the time, they have a flat FP cost depending on the ability, though the cost only applies in combat; for example, a Boo's Outta Sight racial special costs 2 FP in combat. Characters can learn all different kinds of specials, from ki attacks to enchanting songs to tattling on their enemies and finding out their abilities to just plain hulking up. If sufficiently justified, a character can begin the game with a number of specials of their own, such as an opera singer with varied songs that buff the party or debuff the enemy, with more songs to be learned in the future. It's usually a feat of note when a character learns a unique special.
Also, there can be specials unique only to a particular item or piece of equipment. These specials can't be moved or tampered with (usually) and make a piece of equipment that much more unique. As an example, the fabled Sun-Kissed Claymore, found only in the depths of a temple somewhere in the Dry Dry Desert, has the special power Sun Spit [3 FP], which casts a lance of burning sunlight from the end of the sword at an enemy for 3 unblockable damage; this is in tandem with the sword's latent light-casting glow when unsheathed.
The following is a short list of example status effects that can be inflicted over the course of a game. Most of these are applicable within the scope of combat and usually wear off after the end of a fight. You have the option of having these effects apply in the overworld as well. In combat, when using an attack that applies a status effect, the number of net hits the attacker succeeds with is the number of turns the victim is afflicted with the status effect. Items, unless stated otherwise, have a default duration of 3 turns. Some status effects are more common than others, and some characters -- player and NPC alike -- may be immune to certain status effects. You can create a special attack that inflicts a status effect, similar to creating any other special attack, but status effect powers usually carry a cost of 2-3 FP, depending on the severity of the status effect. Most status effects can be healed with a restorative item like an Able Juice or Refreshing Herb, or any other method of restoring vitality, such as a good night's sleep.
- Blind - The character is blinded and cannot see. Apart from any overworld effects, on any attack test, the range on scoring a success is 5-6 instead of 4-6.
- Burn - The character is on fire and takes 1 damage every turn for its duration.
- Confusion - The character has a 50% chance of targetting a friend with an attack.
- Dodgy - The character's reflexes and reactions are sharper; they may double their Speed further when dodging attacks.
- Electrified - The character is surrounded by an electric aura of power. If the character is struck, the attacker will take 1 damage.
- Fear - The character is quaking in their boots as their Power and Toughness are halved.
- Frozen - Turning into a life-sized popsicle, the character cannot move, attack, or defend.
- Heavy - The character's Speed drops to 1, but their Power increases by 2.
- Huge - Become huge! Power is doubled, but Speed is halved.
- Light - The character's speed increases by 1, but their Power drops to 2.
- Mini - Become tiny! Toughness is halved, but Speed is doubled.
- Mushroom - The character is turned into a mushroom! They regain 1 HP per turn, but cannot move or attack.
- No Skills - The character is unable to utilize any FP-consuming moves, whether from a mental block or some other inhibiting effect.
- Payback - The character reflects half of all damage they take back at the attacker.
- Poison - The character is suffering from debilitating poison, taking 1 damage every turn for the duration.
- S'crow - The chracter is transformed into a scarecrow! They cannot move or attack, and they can only use FP to attack or defend.
- Stat DOWN - Decreases one of your stats by 1.
- Stat UP - Increases one of your stats by 1.
- Stun - The character is unable to act, whether knocked loopy, paralyzed, or similar.
If the players successfully complete an encounter or a story arc or any other significant event, they are rewarded with experience. In Super Mario RPG, experience is represented by Star Points (SP). Like their Paper Mario namesake, Star Points follow the trend of coins in the platformers: collect one hundred (100) points to gain a level. Depending on the difficulty of an encounter and stage of the campaign, Star Points earned will scale based on said difficulty; you can only earn so many SP from Goombas before it's time to move on to stronger foes. A sufficiently balanced encounter should expect to award 3-5 SP per enemy and anywhere in the range of 15-30 SP per boss encounter, usually 20.
With each level, a character's stats will randomly grow in different categories; for every core stat, roll 1d6, gaining a point in that stat on a 5-6. Following the trend of the SNES game, the player also receives one free bonus point that she may spend on any stat of her choice. Optional rule: every fifth level, a character may also gain a new Perk. See the Perks rules above for details.