Final Fantasy VII: Materia for D&D 5E

One of the coolest things about Final Fantasy VII is materia and instead of another character statblock today I’m going after that most wonderful of video game RPG subsystems!

For the uninitiated, this is the game’s magic and equipment-kitting system–you get the Fire materia from somewhere and equip it onto a weapon or armor (better the piece → more materia slots), you can cast the Fire spell with it, as you gain experience so does the materia (at a rate determined by the item it is equipped to), and eventually it levels up so you can cast Fire 2 while it’s equipped. It has just the right amount of depth and complexity to be properly engaging for folks without getting cumbersome.

I am not going to reproduce that here because while that level of complexity was amazing for Final Fantasy VII, it is inappropriate for D&D 5E (maybe a great fit for Pathfinder though or even Mutants & Masterminds depending on the way it’s done). What follows is a simplified approach that narrows materia down into equippable magic items that unlock greater potency, gaining flat experience and leveling with an adventurer.

Final Fantasy 7 materia system for dnd 5E

Materia

Wondrous item, rarity varies (attuned)

This magic orb has a hue that reveals how it can be used to assert mastery over supernatural forces and techniques. Depending upon a piece of materia’s type, the benefits it grants change.

In addition, some materia can evolve over time. A piece of materia that has been equipped to one or more characters for both one level advancement and one point of proficiency bonus increases in power (as listed for each materia piece). Each time a piece of materia increases in power, its rarity increases by one step. When using materia to cast a spell, use your highest mental ability score (Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma) as your spellcasting ability.

Dedicated spellcasters (bards, clerics, druids, sorcerers, warlocks, wizards, and any other class with access to 9th level spells) attuned to materia do not require concentration to maintain a spell cast using the attuned materia, but can only cast one such spell at a time.


OGL NOTE: I am a huge proponent of the Open Gaming License and heavily favor spells available on the 5E Systems Reference Document. That said I recommend that GMs swap in non-OGL spells (like ice knife for example) where appropriate.

BALANCE NOTE: Avoiding including too much materia in a standard game because if everyone is rolling around with a bag of three or more, things will get out of hand. For more-Final Fantasy VII / less-D&D 5E feel, do the following.

  • Remove all normal spell access–no dedicated spellcasters, no paladins, no rangers, no spellcasting subclasses.
  • The only available classes are barbarian, fighter, monk (use the 8th level Black Belt build for Aerith), or rogue. If you’re like “whaaat that’s not enough” I assure you that you are incorrect in this instance.
  • Creatures can be attuned to a number of materia equal to double proficiency bonus, and attunement to materia is tracked separately from other magic items.
  • Materia uses recharge on short rests instead of long rests.

GREEN MATERIA (Magic)

  • Barrier (uncommon)
    You are able to cast shield of faith once between long rests.
    In addition, while this materia is equipped your AC increases by +1.
  • Barrier (rare)
    You are able to cast mage armor once between long rests and shield of faith twice between long rests.
    In addition, while this materia is equipped your AC increases by +1.
  • Barrier (very rare)
    You are able to cast shield once between long rests, mage armor twice between long rests, and shield of faith three times between long rests.
    In addition, while this materia is equipped your AC increases by +2.
  • Barrier (legendary)
    You are able to cast wall of force once between long rests, shield twice between long rests, mage armor three times between long rests, and shield of faith four times between long rests.
    In addition, while this materia is equipped your AC increases by +2.
  • Comet (very rare)
    You are able to cast fire storm once between long rests.
  • Comet (legendary)
    You are able to cast fire storm and meteor swarm once each between long rests.
  • Contain (uncommon)
    You are able to cast guiding bolt once between long rests, dealing cold damage instead of radiant damage. On a critical hit, your target makes a Constitution saving throw or is paralyzed for 1d4 rounds.
  • Contain (rare)
    You are able to cast scorching ray once between long rests, dealing magical bludgeoning damage instead of radiant damage. On a critical hit, your target makes a Constitution saving throw or is petrified for 1d6 rounds. In addition, you are able to cast guiding bolt (as above) twice between long rests.
  • Contain (very rare)
    You are able to cast spirit guardians once between long rests, dealing force damage instead of radiant damage. When a creature rolls a natural 1 on its saving throw, it becomes confused (as the spell) for 1 minute or until it succeeds on a new saving throw at the end of its turn.  In addition, you are able to cast scorching ray (as above) twice between long rests, and guiding bolt (as above) three times between long rests.
  • Contain (legendary)
    You are able to cast flame strike once between long rests, spirit guardians (as above) twice between long rests, scorching ray (as above) three times between long rests, and guiding bolt (as above) four times between long rests.
  • Destruct (uncommon)
    You are able to cast counterspell twice between long rests.
  • Destruct (rare)
    You are able to cast dispel magic twice between long rests, and counterspell three times between long rests. When you have to roll a d20 as part of the casting of these spells, you have advantage.
  • Earth (rare)
    You are able to cast earthbind once between long rests.
  • Earth (very rare)
    You are able to cast erupting earth once between long rests. In addition, you are able to cast earthbind twice between long rests.
  • Earth (legendary)
    You are able to cast earthquake once between long rests, erupting earth twice between long rests, and earthbind three times between long rests.
  • Exit (rare)
    You can use a bonus action to cast dimension door once between long rests.
  • Exit (very rare)
    You are able to cast teleport once between long rests and you can use a bonus action to cast dimension door twice between long rests.
  • Fire (uncommon)
    You are able to cast burning hands and hellish rebuke once each between long rests.
  • Fire (rare)
    You are able to cast scorching ray once between long rests, and you are able to cast burning hands and hellish rebuke twice each between long rests.
  • Fire (very rare)
    You are able to cast fireball once between long rests, scorching ray twice between long rests, and you are able to cast burning hands and hellish rebuke three times each between long rests.
  • Fire (legendary)
    You are able to cast incendiary cloud once between long rests, fireball twice between long rests, scorching ray three times between long rests, and you are able to cast burning hands and hellish rebuke four times each between long rests.
  • Fullcure (rare)
    You are able to cast heal once between long rests.
  • Gravity (rare)
    You are able to cast harm once between long rests, but the spell cannot deal more damage than 1/4th the target’s total hit points.
  • Gravity (very rare)
    You are able to cast harm twice between long rests, but the spell cannot deal more damage than 1/2 the target’s total hit points.
  • Gravity (legendary)
    You are able to cast harm three times between long rests, but the spell cannot deal more damage than 3/4th the target’s total hit points.
  • Heal (uncommon)
    You are able to cast lesser restoration once between long rests.
  • Heal (rare)
    You are able to cast greater restoration once between long rests and lesser restoration twice between long rests.
  • Heal (very rare)
    Once between long rests, you can use an action to imbue Condition Immunity to a willing creature you touch. For the next minute, the creature has immunity to all conditions except for incapacitated. In addition, you are able to cast greater restoration twice between long rests and lesser restoration once between long rests.
  • Ice (rare)
    You are able to cast ice storm once between long rests.
  • Ice (very rare)
    You are able to cast cone of cold once between long rests and ice storm twice between long rests.
  • Ice (legendary)
    You are able to cast otiluke’s freezing sphere once between long rests, cone of cold twice between long rests, and ice storm three times between long rests.
  • Lightning (rare)
    You are able to cast lightning bolt once between long rests.
  • Lightning (very rare)
    You are able to cast chain lightning once between long rests and lightning bolt twice between long rests.
  • Lightning (legendary)
    You are able to cast storm of vengeance once between long rests, chain lightning twice between long rests, and lightning bolt three times between long rests.
  • Master Magic (legendary)
    Once between long rests, you are able to cast any spell contained within other materia (this list).
  • Mystify (rare)
    Once between long rests, you are able to cast confusion.
  • Mystify (very rare)
    Once between long rests, you can use an action to make a creature you can see go berserk. The target makes a Wisdom saving throw or goes berserk for 1 minute (this otherwise functions as the Rage and Frenzy features of a 3rd level frenzied berserker barbarian).
  • Poison (uncommon)
    You are able to cast magic missile once between long rests, dealing poison damage instead of force damage.
  • Poison (rare)
    You are able to cast stinking cloud once between long rests and magic missile (as above) twice between long rests.
  • Poison (very rare)
    You are able to cast cloudkill once between long rests, stinking cloud twice between long rests, and magic missile (as above) three times between long rests.
  • Restore (uncommon)
    You are able to cast cure wounds once between long rests.
  • Restore (rare)
    You are able to cast healing word once between long rests, and cure wounds twice between long rests. You cast both of these spells as 3rd level spells.
  • Restore (very rare)
    You are able to cast regeneration once between long rests. In addition, you are able to cast healing word twice between long rests and cure wounds three times between long rests. You cast both of these spells as 5th level spells.
  • Restore (legendary)
    You are able to cast regeneration twice between long rests. In addition, you are able to cast healing word three times between long rests and cure wounds four times between long rests. You cast both of these spells as 7th level spells.
  • Revive (rare)
    You are able to cast resurrection once between long rests.
  • Revive (very rare)
    You are able to cast true resurrection once between long rests and resurrection twice between long rests.
  • Seal (uncommon)
    You are able to cast sleep once between long rests, using your total hit dice (not including Constitution modifier) instead of 5d8.
  • Seal (rare)
    You are able to cast silence once between long rests and sleep (as above) twice between long rests.
  • Shield (rare)
    You are able to cast resilient sphere once between long rests.
  • Time (uncommon)
    You are able to cast haste once between long rests.
  • Time (rare)
    You are able to cast slow once between long rests and haste twice between long rests.
  • Time (very rare)
    You are able to cast hold monster once between long rests, slow twice between long rests, and haste three times between long rests.
  • Transform (uncommon)
    You are able to cast enlarge/reduce once between long rests.
  • Transform (rare)
    You are able to cast polymorph once between long rests, but you can only transform the target into a frog, the target retains its normal hit point total, and the effect lasts for 1 minute. In addition, you can cast enlarge/reduce twice between long rests.
  • Ultima (legendary)
    You are able to cast weird once between long rests, but creatures take force damage instead of psychic damage.

YELLOW MATERIA (Commands)

  • Deathblow (rare)
    You can use an action to make a weapon attack against a creature within your reach (for melee weapons) or short range (for ranged weapons), rolling 1d20 with no modifiers. On an even result you score a critical hit. Once you have used this materia, you can’t use it again until you complete a short or long rest.
  • Double Cut (very rare)
    When you take the Attack action using a weapon attack, you can make one additional attack. Once you have used this materia, you can’t use it again until you complete a short or long rest.
  • Quadruple Cut (legendary)
    When you take the Attack action using a weapon attack, you can make two additional attacks. Once you have used this materia, you can’t use it again until you complete a short or long rest.
  • Enemy Skill is unfortunately too complicated a concept to properly design in this article. Sorry folks! The internet does have plenty of ideas on how to approach this though.
  • Manipulate (very rare)
    Once between short rests, you can use an action to make a creature you can see do as you command. The target makes a Wisdom saving throw with disadvantage, and on a failure you gain control over it until the start of your next turn (otherwise this functions as dominate monster).
  • Master Command (legendary)
    Once between long rests, you are able to use the feature granted by any other command materia (this list).
  • Mime (very rare)
    Once between short rests, you can use your action to perfectly mimic an ally’s action. You might use this to replicate a higher-level fighter’s Attack action, mimic a companion’s use of another materia, or even cast a spell.
  • Morph (rare)
    Once between short rests you can use your action to make a single weapon attack or cast a spell that uses a spell attack. On a successful hit, your attack deals half damage. If this attack kills a creature, the creature’s corpse produces one item of the GM’s choice that has a value no greater than its CR x 100 gold.
  • Sense (rare)
    You can use a bonus action to quickly observe a creature and make an Intelligence (Investigation) check against a DC equal to CR + 5. On a success, the GM reveals up to three of the following pieces of information. If you succeed the check by 5 or more, you choose the categories instead: Armor class, vulnerabilities, damage resistances, damage immunities, condition immunities, whether the target has lair or legendary actions, weakest saving throw, highest ability score, current hit points and hit point total.
  • Slash-All (rare)
    You can use your action to make a melee attack against any number of creatures within your weapon’s reach plus an additional 5 feet, with a separate attack roll for each target.
  • Steal (uncommon)
    You gain proficiency with Sleight of Hand, advantage on Dexterity (Sleight of Hand) checks, and you can use a bonus action to make a Dexterity (Sleight of Hand) check to steal something from another creature.
  • Steal (rare)
    You gain proficiency with Sleight of Hand, advantage on Dexterity (Sleight of Hand) checks, and you can use a bonus action to make a Dexterity (Sleight of Hand) check to try to steal something from another creature. In addition, you can use your action to make a melee weapon attack against a creature and try to steal something from the target of your attack.
  • Throw (common)
    You gain proficiency with improvised throwing weapons of at least Tiny size, using range 20/40 ft. and dealing 1d4 damage (of a type determined by the object) on a successful hit.
  • Throw (uncommon)
    You gain proficiency with improvised throwing weapons of at least Tiny size, using range 20/40 ft. and dealing 1d4 damage (of a type determined by the object) on a successful hit. In addition, you can throw coins, dealing 1d4 damage with copper, 1d6 damage with silver, 1d10 damage with gold, and 1d12 damage with platinum coins. A coin thrown using this feature is destroyed on impact.
  • X-Item (rare)
    You can use your action to take the Use an Object action twice.
  • X-Magic (legendary)
    Once between short rests, you can use your action to cast two materia spells in the same turn.
  • X-Summon (legendary)
    Once between long rests, you can use your action to use two summoning materia in the same turn.

PURPLE MATERIA (Independent)

  • Chocobo Lure (common)
    There is a 50% chance that any random encounters include 1d4 non-aggressive axe beaks that flees after the third round of combat.

 

  • Counter Attack (rare)
    When a creature misses you with a melee weapon attack, you can use your reaction to make an opportunity attack against that creature. Once you have used this feature a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus, you can’t use it again until you complete a long rest.
  • Cover (uncommon)
    When a creature you can see attacks a target other than you that is within 5 feet of you, you can use your reaction to impose yourself between them, taking the damage from the attack (instead of the target).
  • Enemy Away (uncommon)
    There is a 50% chance you completely avoid random encounters.
  • Enemy Lure (common)
    You are 50% more likely to have random encounters.
  • Experience Plus lol nope
  • Gil Plus (rare)
    You find 10% more gold on creatures you have slain. For example, a goblin corpse with 4 gp instead has 5 gp. This materia has no effect on creatures that do not have gold.
  • HP ←→ MP As with Enemy Skill, doing this materia properly would require more space than this article has to give.
  • HP Plus (rare)
    Your total hit points increases by 10.
  • HP Plus (very rare)
    Your total hit points increases by 20.
  • HP Plus (legendary)
    Your total hit points increases by 40.
  • Long Range (rare)
    You ignore half cover and three-quarters cover when making a ranged attack, and you don’t have disadvantage when attacking at long range.
  • Luck Plus (very rare)
    You gain a Luck score equal to your level + 10. See Hypercorps 2099: 5th Edition Playtest (or Hypercorps 2099 5E, or 2099 Wasteland) for more information on the Luck ability score.
  • Magic Plus (rare)
    Once between long rests, you can activate this materia to cast a spell as though you used a spell slot 2 levels higher.
  • Mega All I’m not out here to drive GMs to commit suicide.
  • MP Plus (rare)
    Once between long rests, you can use an action to regain one expended spell slot. If the expended slot is of 5th level or higher, the new slot is 4th level. Alternatively, you can instead regain the use of any expended green materia of the same rarity.
  • MP Plus (very rare)
    Once between long rests, you can use an action to regain one expended spell slot. If the expended slot is of 6th level or higher, the new slot is 5th level. Alternatively, you can instead regain the use of any expended green materia of the same rarity.
  • MP Plus (legendary)
    Once between long rests, you can use an action to regain one expended spell slot. If the expended slot is of 7th level or higher, the new slot is 6th level. Alternatively, you can instead regain the use of any expended green materia of the same rarity.
  • Pre-Emptive (legendary)
    The first time you roll initiative between long rests, you gain a surprise round that NPCs are not able to act in.
  • Speed Plus (common)
    You gain a +2 bonus to initiative checks and your Speed increases by 5 feet.
  • Speed Plus (uncommon)
    You gain a +5 bonus to initiative checks and your Speed increases by 10 feet.
  • Speed Plus (rare)
    You gain a +5 bonus to initiative checks, advantage on initiative checks, and your Speed increases by 15 feet.
  • Speed Plus (very rare)
    You always treat your initiative as if you had rolled a natural 20 and your Speed increases by 20 feet.
  • Underwater (uncommon)
    You are able to breathe both air and water.

RED MATERIA (Summons)

Again if you are not familiar with Final Fantasy you’re really missing out. Rather than take these all on a case by case basis (because I’m pushing 100 materia at this point) I’m going to scale red materia and abstract their design. All red materia use the following general rules:

  1. Can be used once per long rest.
  2. Target enemies in a 20-foot radius area.
  3. Deal damage dice equal to half the materia-wielder’s level (damage type listed under summons).
  4. Creatures can take half damage by succeeding on a saving throw (saving throw type listed under summons).
  • Alexander (very rare)
    Damage Type: d10 radiant — Saving Throw: Charisma
  • Bahamut (very rare)
    Damage Type: d10 untyped — Saving Throw: Dexterity
  • Bahamut ZERO (very rare)
    Damage Type: d10 untyped — Saving Throw: Strength
  • Choco/Mog (uncommon)
    Damage Type: d8 magical bludgeoning — Saving Throw: Dexterity — Added Effect: A creature that rolls a natural 1 on its saving throw becomes paralyzed for 1d4 rounds.
  • Hades (rare)
    Damage Type: d8 necrotic — Saving Throw: Wisdom — Added Effect: A creature that rolls a natural 1 on its saving throw is targeted by a random condition effect (as the eyebite spell).
  • Ifrit (rare)
    Damage Type: d10 fire — Saving Throw: Strength
  • Kjata (very rare)
    Damage Type: d10 cold/fire/lightning — Saving Throw: Dexterity
  • Knights of the Round (legendary)
    Damage Type: d6 magical bludgeoning, d6 magical piercing, d6 magical slashing — Saving Throw: Constitution — Example: An 8th level wielder summons Knights of the Round, dealing 8d6 magical bludgeoning damage, 8d6 magical piercing damage, and 8d6 magical slashing damage. Creatures in the area receive one saving throw to halve 24d6 magical bludgeoning/piercing/slashing damage.
  • Leviathan (rare)
    Damage Type: d12 magical bludgeoning — Saving Throw: Strength
  • Neo Bahamut (very rare)
    Damage Type: d10 untyped — Saving Throw: Constitution
  • Odin (rare)
    Damage Type: d8 untyped — Saving Throw: Strength
  • Phoenix (very rare)
    Damage Type: d6 fire — Saving Throw: Wisdom — Additional Effect: Any dead allies in the area are targeted by the revivify spell.
  • Ramuh (rare)
    Damage Type: d10 lightning — Saving Throw: Dexterity
  • Shiva (rare)
    Damage Type: d10 cold — Saving Throw: Constitution
  • Titan (rare)
    Damage Type: d10 magical bludgeoning — Saving Throw: Strength
  • Typoon (very rare)
    Damage Type: d10 magical bludgeoning/cold/fire/lightning — Saving Throw: Dexterity (flying creatures are immune)

BLUE MATERIA (Support)

Blue materia on its own does nothing, combining with other materia instead to enhance their effects. When you are attuned to blue materia, at the end of every long rest you can choose to attach it to a different materia. A blue materia can only be attached to one other materia at a time.

  • Added Cut (rare)
    When you use the materia this is attached to, as long as that materia targets a creature you also make one weapon attack against that creature.
  • Added Effect would require equipping materia to weapons and armor–well beyond the scope of this exercise.
  • All (rare)
    When you use the materia this is attached to, as long as it normally targets only one creature it instead targets any number of creatures of your choice that are within a 20-foot radius of the original target. Once you have used this materia to cast at more than one creature, you can’t use it again until you complete a long rest.
  • Counter (rare)
    This materia can only be attached to Deathblow, Manipulate, Mime, Sense, Steal, or Throw. When a creature misses you with a melee weapon attack, you can use your reaction to use a yellow materia against that creature. Once you have used this feature a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus, you can’t use it again until you complete a long rest.
  • Elemental As Added Effect.
  • Final Attack (very rare)
    The materia this is attached to activates when you are knocked unconscious or drop to 0 hit points, targeting you (if applicable, such as with Revive materia), an ally (if beneficial), or an enemy of your choice (if damaging).
  • HP Absorb (very rare)
    When you use the materia this is attached to, for every 10 points of damage dealt you regain 1 hit point.
  • Magic Counter (rare)
    This materia can only be attached to green materia. When a creature misses you with a melee weapon attack, you can use your reaction to cast a spell from green materia that target the creature. Once you have used this feature, you can’t use it again until you complete a long rest.
  • MP Absorb As Added Effect and Elemental.
  • MP Turbo (very rare)
    This materia can only be attached to green materia. When you use the materia this is attached to, treat the spell as if you had cast it using a spell level equal to the highest spell level a character of your level can cast.
  • Quadra Magic No, but more for GM sanity than anything else.
  • Sneak Attack (very rare)
    When you first roll initiative after a long rest, the materia this is attached to is used to target a creature or area of your choice before anyone acts in the combat.
  • Steal As Well (rare)
    When you use the materia this is attached to, you make a Dexterity (Sleight of Hand) check against a creature targeted by the materia’s effect.

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