also what else is the worst is
trying to find a balance with ic “strength” and how that’s reflected in how aumeric appears outward and conducts himself in rp
like the fact is i can’t ever make him anywhere as capable ic as he is ooc, because that would be ridiculous! he cannot be a full-fledged summoner, scholar, black mage, and bard with mastery of six crafts and gathering know-how in every field.
and i sometimes barely feel like i can justify him even being a weak summoner! because he’s an actor and a sheltered baby and five years isn’t honestly a lot of time to go from “not allowed to leave the house” to “able to defend self or do competent magic in any circumstances”
it makes me feel guilty that i’ve justified him being a summoner. like, the only way i can balance it is by going “well he never actually fights so he’d be terrible at it against anybody”
and he’s like the ic equivalent of being level capped at 20 or something, or at least he probably should be
he’s not an adventurer, he’s an actor, and it would be a stupid mary sue act for me to make him any stronger or capable than an actor would be, right?
This is one of those things that’s really hard in a game where you can do everything and the story and mechanics kind of hinge on the player character being hypercompetent.
BUT I think one way to look at it is that in Final Fantasy games in general, being mindblowingly powerful and magically competent comes cheap. You pick up someone off the side of the road and they just happen to be [insert rare, powerful class here] because the plot or gameplay demands it. And it can be anybody! It can be a person who has never left their hometown and is super inexperienced. The characters growing statwise to the point where they can one-shot a final boss by bonking them on the snoot with a staff or whatever is part of the game, so it’s not really taken into account beyond macguffin situations where you need to find X to have the power to defeat Y. This is highlighted by the fact that there almost always exist hidden bosses which are much more powerful than the pressing plot threat that must be destroyed at all costs and can actually challenge the hero party if they deviate from the main storyline.
So a sheltered actor who is an inexperienced summoner? That’s enough to get him into the main party in the starting town. At that point the question isn’t how powerful he is in general, but how powerful he is relative to the people you RP with. I don’t know many details about Aumeric and your FC, but from what you’ve posted it stood out to me that his friends seem protective of him. That arises naturally from RP because of the kind of character he is, regardless of whether or not he can do all of the cool stuff. The cool stuff is cheap, a little kid from Assbite, Nowhere could sprout the ability to do it if a questline demanded it and then never be seen again.
In the main story, the player character is super awesome and heroic and competent and all of that good stuff, but none of the NPCs really care if you have six jobs leveled and can haul electrum ore all day. I think it’s even lampshaded a couple of times, with some quest giver being like, “Oh everyone’s blowing smoke up my arse about how you’re the savior of the universe, but I’M not going to be impressed by your fancy armor and all of that until you’ve brought ME seven SLUG NOSES.”
Here is the stuff that’s not cheap in XIV’s universe and can be withheld or spent as necessary to establish the level of a character’s Actual Competence, which is defined by their ability to get what they want and resolve their primary character conflict:
- Willpower. What sets the main PC apart is not so much their superpowers as their willingness to Do The Thing against all odds.
- Resources. A lot of what the main PC does is only possible because they Know People and can call in favors.
- Social skills. The main PC is regarded as charismatic, with the ability to lead other characters and inspire them.
This got really long but I really think it’s impossible for Aumeric to come off as even close to pushing willing suspension of disbelief or heading into Mary Sue territory unless you RP him as especially powerful in comparison to other PCs. Otherwise he’s just at the level necessary to realistically survive being the main character in his own story.
This is actually pretty helpful perspective on the matter. I think I’ve more been thinking of the context of Aumeric as a generalized RP character, rather than a character who exists within the world of a FF game.
It’s- well, when I’m playing in a world inhabited by hundreds of other RPed characters, I feel like I’m contributing to the problem if I throw another character who is at all “powerful” in any capacity into a cauldron of already overpowered characters, and just making it a worse stew of trenchcoat-and-katana badasses and super magic macguffin people by saying someone who has no excuse to be powerful, who isn’t even an “adventurer” by this world’s standards, is at all capable of doing anything beyond acting.
But maybe that’s the point, that in a setting like this, the baseline for even random characters off the street, NPCs and adventurers alike, is “powerful”. I guess if I can feel like Aumeric is on par with a comparable NPC, I won’t feel too guilty about him having abilities beyond pretending to be characters in front of an audience.