Materia System

¬General Description
Materia are spherical crystals that are about the size of a tennis ball. In addition to the level of a materia, each materia possesses ranks that range from 1 to 5. Materia are artifacts that are level 5 + the materia rank. Most materia begin at rank 1 and most can increase in rank. Some materia may also have a maximum rank less than 5, possess only higher ranks or skip certain ranks altogether. The depletion rates for materia are a 1 on a d20. Materia are found naturally rarely or can be created artificially in a lengthy, difficult and costly process. While artificial materia can be made with specific attributes, it is cheaper to create materia with random abilities with more powerful materia being proportionally rarer than weaker materia. Natural materia likewise usually have random abilities and are found in scarce materia deposits. Most natural underground materia deposits do not actually grant any abilities to a user and are merely a source of magical energy that can be used to power machinery and other devices. Natural materia can also be rarely found above ground in mako springs. Natural materia are also usually stronger than artificial materia (or at least starts at a higher rank than the first).

Materia Types
Materia come in 5 varieties, distinguishable by the color of the materia as described below.

Green/Magic Materia
Magic materia grants access to a typically overt ability but sometimes more subtle effects that people normally cannot accomplish within normal human limits and capabilities. Examples may include creating bouts of flames or lightning bolts to assail enemies or the ability to confuse or outright control the minds of opponents. Other effects might be to instantly heal or grant some kind of temporary benefit to one’s self or allies. The effects of magic materia usually grow more powerful as the materia rank up or they may grant additional but thematically related abilities.
It is normally only a single action to use a magic materia. Magic materia are always activated with Intellect tasks. In order to affect an unwilling target, an intellect task versus the defender is required. Effort can be applied to decrease the difficulty to effect a target or to increase any damage dealt. Some magic materia have alternate benefits of using effort.
Magic materia also provide Intellect pool and edge increases that are offset by equivalent penalties to the Might pool and edge. Higher rank materia tend to impose larger stat pool/edge benefits and deficits. These adjustments are only applied while the magic materia is readied to be used. If the materia is drawn, used once and then stowed (instead of being kept at the ready), then the stat pool/edge modifications remain until you have taken a ten hour rest.

Red/Summon Materia
Summon materia are probably the strongest form of materia as they allow the user to summon independent creatures that perform actions for the user. Normally only a single creature is summoned but as the materia rank up, more creatures may be summoned or stronger, thematically related creatures may be summoned.
It normally takes 1 action to use a summon materia. It is always an Intellect task to activate the materia. Summon materia allows the use of effort to augment the summoned creature(s) in some way that is specific to each particular materia. Effort may also be applied to increase the duration of the summoning by 1 round per amount of effort spent.
Any creature(s) that is/are summoned appear on the summoner’s turn the turn after the activation of the summon materia. The summoner must choose a location (or locations) within short range for the creature(s) to appear upon summoning the creature. This/these location(s) selection(s) is/are made at the time the summoner chooses to activate the materia (not when the creature(s) would appear). If another creature or other obstacle obstructs the location that a summoned creature is supposed to appear in, they instead appear in the next closest available location in a random direction. The creature(s) must appear on/in terrain that can support it (nonflying creatures cannot appear midair, aerial creatures may appear in midair, aquatic creatures can only appear within a large enough body of water, etc.). When a creature is summoned, it can act normally on the same turn that it is summoned. When multiple creatures are summoned, only one of the creatures may act normally during the same turn that they were summoned while all the others must wait until the summoner’s next turn to act. When multiple creatures are summoned, the summoner can choose which of the creatures gets to act normally in that turn.
Summon materia also provide Intellect pool and edge increases that are offset by equivalent penalties to the Might pool and edge. Higher rank materia tend to impose larger stat pool/edge benefits and deficits. These adjustments are only applied while the magic materia is readied to be used. If the materia is drawn, used once and then stowed (instead of being kept at the ready), then the stat pool/edge modifications remain until you have taken a ten hour rest.

Yellow/Ability Materia
Ability materia grant new abilities to wielders. These abilities are not the overtly powerful effects that green/magic or red/summon materia produce but are more in-line with what humans could normally accomplish albeit perhaps with great talent or training. These abilities are always of the activation type (not enabler type). A lot of ability materia may mimic the abilities of the warrior or explorer types or even the abilities granted by some foci. Other ability materia may grant unique techniques to their users. As an ability materia increases in rank, it may grant access to new but thematically related abilities or it might increase the effectiveness of the ability(ies) already granted.
The activation of an ability materia relies on a stat that is determined by the particular ability granted by the materia. Effort may be applicable as per the specific ability(ies) that are granted.

Purple/Boost Materia
Boost materia grants enabler benefits and is therefore the counterpart of ability materia in that sense. Boost materia may grant bonuses in skills or other specific abilities. Boost materia can also grant lasting increases to stat pools or edges. The effects of boost materia is never applied to abilities that are granted by other materia, only to abilities that a character inherently possesses. As boost materia accrue ranks, the benefits that they provide increase or they may provide benefits to other, thematically related aspects.
Being enabler benefits, it is never an action to activate boost materia. You may only have one copy of a specific boost materia benefitting you at any one time. Unless otherwise noted in a particular boost materia’s description, any higher rank abilities overwrite lower rank ones (they do not stack). Effort is never applied to using a boost materia. If multiple boost materia would add their bonuses to a single action, only the highest bonus applies. The depletion of a boost materia must be checked every day that it is used, even if it is only in use for a few moments at a time. A boost materia can be used, stored, then later retrieved and used again within the same day without incurring another depletion check.

Blue/Meta Materia
Meta materia provide increases to the effectiveness of green/magic, red/summon or yellow/ability or otherwise modifies the outcomes of using those types of materia. Examples include using another materia as though the wielder were trained with that materia, increasing the range of another materia or changing a single target effect to an area effect. Meta materia will provide even further boosts to the abilities of other materia or grant different thematically related boosting options.
Meta materia are never activated on their own but only in combination with another materia. Only one meta materia may be used in conjunction with another materia at a time. Most meta materia add an extra point cost (typically intellect) to any other costs to activate the associated materia, can only be used a limited number of times in a day or both. Some meta materia may offer applications of effort which may be used in addition to any other outlets for effort that are provided by the accompanying materia. The depletion of a meta materia is checked when it is used in combination with another materia.

Using Materia
In order to activate a materia, the user must touch the materia with whatever the user uses as a primary manipulator appendage (hand by humans, mouth by quadrupeds, tentacles assuming said tentacles provide the required dexterity, etc.). This means that stored materia must be retrieved from a container before it can be used. Another viable and common option is to affix materia to armor or weapons so that they are within easy reach.
In order to use a meta materia in conjunction with another materia, both materia must be in a separate manipulating appendage from its partner. Alternatively, a user can touch both the meta materia and the partnered materia in quick succession. Activating a meta materia is always considered a part of the activation action associated with the partnered materia. Both materia must still be within easy reach so attaching the meta materia to armor, weapon or other object is a valid technique.
While a boost materia doesn’t have to be touch in order to reap its benefits, it must be within easy reach like any other type of materia so that the user could touch it if needed. This means that a boost materia in a pocket or backpack does not provide its benefits.
The normal maximum materia slots on a light weapon/armor is 2, medium weapon/armor is 4 while heavy weapon/armor is 6. Other articles of clothing or carried objects can be slotted within reason/GM discretion. Any of these regular slots cost a lvl 3 treasure. With an upcharge of one higher lvl treasure for each materia slot above the normal maximum (to a limit of 6 slots on any single item).
Using materia that is a higher rank than the PC’s tier is dangerous and may backfire. When a PC attempts to use a materia that is too high of a rank, the PC must make a Mit Def roll and an Int Def roll. If either of these are failed, the PC takes dmg equal to the materia rank times 3 to whichever stat corresponds to the failed Def roll and the materia becomes instantly depleted. If both are failed, the PC takes the dmg to both stats. If the materia is depleted this way, then the effect of the materia is negated. If both of the defense tasks succeeds, then the materia takes its normal effect and its depletion is checked normally. If a PC uses a lower rank ability, the defense rolls are not necessary as long as the PC’s tier is equal to or higher than the rank of the ability.

Training with Materia
A character may become trained or specialized in the use of materia. When choosing to become trained or specialized in materia, a character must choose only one specific materia to become trained or specialized in. Only green, red or yellow materia can be selected.
Training with a green or yellow materia means that the difficulty of any action used by the materia is decreased by one (for example, to affect an opponent with a green materia). Training with a red materia means that the difficulty of any tasks performed by the creature(s) summoned are reduced by the corresponding amounts.
Creation, Recharge and Growth of Materia
4 xp must be spent by a character in order to increase the rank of a materia. A character cannot increase the rank of a materia unless their tier is at least equal to the new rank of the materia. Even if a materia skips ranks, it still only costs 4 xp to rank up the materia to whatever its next rank is.
Once depleted, a materia will automatically recharge itself. Each day after being depleted after the first, a character rolls a d6. On a 1 the materia is recharged. This means that once depleted, a materia remains so for at least one day. For every day that has passed without the materia recharging (after the first day), add 1 to the range of a successful recharge roll on the d6 (for example, on the 3rd day of not recharging, a roll of 1 to 3 on the d6 will recharge the materia). By permanently sacrificing a combination of materia whose total ranks at least add up to the depleted recharge a materia’s rank times two will instantly recharge the depleted materia. Alternatively, if a character has access to a dense enough colorless materia, the depleted materia may be pressed against the colorless materia (which is proportionally consumed) to recharge the depleted materia instantly. The sacrificed materia must be the same color as the materia that is to be recharged. Another alternative is to submerge the depleted materia inside a mako stream/well for a length of time (such tasks typically carry their own severe risks).


  • If use of the materia follows the basic rules for carrying around cyphers, the characters can only hold so many without ill effects, I'd say go with it. I'm a big fan of Final Fantasy. I would have to add more mundane treasures to the game and make the finding of materia that much more special and uncommon.
  • That's a good idea. I'm actually running a game with "generic" characters where they only have skills to choose and points to distribute where the materia are the way to gain special abilities. I'm going to add my materia list once it's become a bit more robust.
  • For the record, I ended up scrapping piecing together several different abilities into one materia (ex: 'fire' materia allowed acces to the various Bears a Halo of Fire abilities as it leveled). I just allowed each ability in the books to be its own materia with more straight forward level ups (fire materia deals 1 more point of damage, skill materia gives an extra +1 on the roll, etc.).
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