Welcome to my report for a variant game of Final Fantasy V. Before you continue here, it would be a great idea to read through Sullla's site which has way more and better FF5 variant content than this one.
I got inspired to do this by Kylearan's post in our Final Fantasy thread, just as I was thinking of another FF5 variant to play. Kylearan loved the oldschool nature of Final Fantasy 1, even playing it for the first time in 2010. Final Fantasy 5 is somewhere between oldschool and a modern (Playstation era and forward) JRPG. It has characters with names and history, though that backstory is minimal and the characters are blank slates for development. It has side-quests and optional bosses, though not a whole lot, nothing like breeding a gold chocobo. It has bits of emo dialogue - Krile pining for her grandfather - but nowhere near as whiny as Squall and Zidane.
So I started thinking, how can we make FF5 more oldschool? Relatedly, how can we address the complaint that there isn't enough to do in FF1? FF1 parties get to accumulate a decent amount of power, especially Black Belts... and then you hardly get to enjoy it when the bosses max out at 1000 or 2000 HP and drop in one or two hits.
Got it: Let's play FF5 as if the party is from Final Fantasy 1.
RULES FOR CHARACTERS:
Each character must pick one of the job classes from Final Fantasy 1 (Knight, Thief, Monk, White Mage, Black Mage, Red Mage) and remain as that class permanently. A Thief may permanently become a Ninja once the Bahamut quest is completed. The following abilities of these jobs cannot be used, as they do not exist in FF1.
Knight: !Guard, Double Grip (Cover is unavoidably innate)
Thief: !Steal, !Capture/Mug, Caution/Vigilance (unavoidably innate for a Thief but may not be used for a Ninja.)
Monk: !Kick, !BuildUp/Focus, !Mantra, HP +10%, HP +20%, HP +30%
White Mage: MP +10%
Black Mage: MP +30%
Ninja: !Image, !Throw, 2-Handed (it's innate but a Ninja may not wield two weapons.)
!Flee and !Smoke may be used by a Thief/Ninja, as the FF1 character is supposed to be good at running.
!X-Magic/Dualcast may be used in a limited fashion. A Red Mage may use it to cast Fire/Ice/Bolt/Cure 2 twice in a row. This simulates the ability of a Red Mage to cast Fire/Ice/Bolt/Cure 3 in FF1.
If there is no Thief in the party, another character may become one just long enough to learn Find Passages and equip it. Same convenience exception as the Brawlers did.
Allowed spells: Cure 1/2/3, Antidote, Silence/Mute, Protect/Armor (simulates FOG), Life 1/2, Shell (simulates WALL), Heal/Esuna (simulates PURE, AMUT, LAMP, SOFT), Holy (FADE), Dispel (XFER).
Prohibited spells: Scan/Libra, Size/Mini, Image/Blink, Wall/Reflect, Berserk.
Special case: Charm/Confuse is allowed if there is a Black or Red mage in the party, since CONF was a black magic spell in FF1.
Heal/Esuna may cure Stone status outside battle only. Life and Life 2 (Raise/Arise) may be used outside battle only.
BLACK MAGIC:Allowed: Fire/Ice/Bolt 1/2/3, Sleep, Break (BANE), Flare (NUKE), Doom/Death (RUB)
A Red or White Mage may switch to a Time Mage outside of battle just to cast Exit/Teleport. The EXIT spell existed in FF1 as a key part of resource management and for player convenience. The mages may not enter battle as a Time Mage.
(Slow and Haste existed as spells in FF1 but with different function, significant enough that I don't feel they should be on the table here. Also I'd like to play FF5 without relying on those uber-spells yet again.)
In general, the party may only use items that could have existed in FF1. This rules section gets a bit complicated but I'm trying to stick to the spirit of FF1 as best as possible.
No Weapons that invoke a job command or spell effect not on the permitted list of abilities or White and Black magic spells.
Elemental immunity or absorption is prohibited because FF1 did not have that.
Status immunities are okay.
Elemental resistance is okay.
Weapon elemental attack properties are okay: FF1 was supposed to have them but the code was broken.
Weapon elemental magic up is not okay: FF1 did not have any weapons to boost spell damage.
Stat boosts are okay; FF1 didn't have them, but it's a fully oldschool concept, and prohibiting stat bonuses is too restrictive on too many FF5 items.
This is a partial list of prohibited items, including all that grant elemental immunity or absorb:
Ancient Sword (Old is a Time Magic spell)
Dancing Dirk (Dance command)
Thief Knife (Mug/Capture command)
Fire/Ice/Thunder Rod (Elemental up)
Wonder Rod (it can't be prevented from using prohibited spells)
Mirage Vest (Image status is a forbidden White spell)
Running Shoes (Haste status is a Time spell)
Wall/Reflect Ring (Wall/Reflect is a forbidden White spell)
Cursed Ring (Condemn status is a Blue magic spell)
Protect Ring (Regen status is a Time spell)
Magic Lamp (all summon magic is forbidden)
Flame Shield (absorb fire)
Ice Shield (absorb ice)
Angel Suit (immune poison)
Bone Mail (absorb poison)
Flame Ring (absorb fire)
Coral Ring (absorb water)
(Masamune with its initiative and haste effects is moot, as none of the allowed classes can equip it.)
The Healing Staff is okay even though the exact spell effect is slightly different. Ribbon would be okay but is moot because none of the allowed classes can equip it. Angel Ring is okay, it doesn't do anything prohibited. Kaiser Knuckles are specifically okay to simulate the FF1 Black Belt's massive increase in damage with level.
The Elf Cape, Guardian Dagger, and Aegis Shield are okay. Their effects are not part of a forbidden spell or ability command. The effects of each could have existed in FF1 by modifying the Evade% or Magic Defense% stats. (That's a bit of a stretch on the last one, but the Aegis Shield must be usable, it is iconic to FF1 and the whole series.)
Hi-Potions may be used outside of battle only. Regular potions become useless in-battle by the end of both FF1 and FF5 so this rule replicates that. But regular potions aren't enough to refill FF5's greater HP totals outside of battle, so we allow Hi-Potions for that.
Ethers and Elixirs may not be used ever. FF1 made you conserve your magic power!
Phoenix Down may not be used. Gold Needle to repair Stone status may be used only outside of battle, as per SOFT potions in FF1. Other items for status repair (Antidote, Maiden's Kiss, Mallet, Holy Water) may be used anytime.
Tents and Cottages may be used without restriction. They do have the property of raising dead party members within dungeons which FF1 didn't have. But FF5's dungeons are longer and the party is meant to be restored to full power at these locations.
Items may not be used on monsters.
Switching weapon items in battle is okay. FF1 didn't have that, but you can get stuck in an unwinnable situation in FF5 without that capability, such as Air Knives against the wind crystal in the forest in world two. And we should be able to switch between the Healing Staff and another option.
The party must have the top two warriors in the front row and bottom two warriors in the back row, to simulate the way enemies target the party in FF1. Warriors may not use the Row command in battle, except to return to their original position after a back attack or a spell changes their row.
Grinding battles for levels and money is okay.
The lead warrior may only use four letters for his name.