Part 1: Class Overview
What the hell is this?
Final Fantasy Ultra: Champion Edition is a ROM hack of the original NES release of Final Fantasy, created by Robert August de Meijer. Besides fixing several bugs from the original game, it also attempts to make it more challenging, but in a way that's interesting rather than simply unkind. It also streamlines some of the early fetch quests and adds a substantial amount of new content, including four optional endgame dungeons. While it's not perfect, I think it's a lot of fun! The character choices make party building a much more interesting exercise, as no matter what you choose, you'll have to make sacrifices.
Despite the casual tone of the intro, this is going to be a primarily informative LP. I'm going to do a single run of the game using a party chosen by you, the poor goons subjecting yourselves to my writing. (...Unless no one wants to vote on that, I guess, in which case I'll just pick a mix that I think will be interesting.) I won't be facing the two "super bosses" (I'm not obsessive enough to do that much grinding), but otherwise I'll do my best to show off everything the game has to offer and point out where it differs from the original.
Of course, since I'm asking you to choose my party, you'll probably need to know what your options are. The game has twelve classes available, and anyone can vote for up to four of them to be included in my party. In the case of ties, I'll pick whichever class(es) compliments the rest.
The Viking is the main physical beat-stick. Although he can't use magic, his high physical strength means he doesn't really need to. The Viking is the only class capable of wielding axes, the strongest weapons in the game, and while he's not super durable, his ability to wear mail armor should keep him alive through most fights.
The Rogue is an interesting class. He's similar to the Viking, in that he has good attack power and reasonable defense, but he wields swords, which aren't as strong as the Viking's axes. Like the Viking, he also cannot cast spells. The Rogue compensates for this with utility: he has a very high Luck stat, which improves his ability to run from fights, as well as the party's chance of getting preemptive strikes if he's the leader. He also has good evasion and high magic resistance, making him surprisingly durable. His ability to avoid fights also lets the player get into high-level areas, grab loot, and get back out alive.
The Monk is pretty similar to his vanilla counterpart. He can't use any weapons or armor, replacing them with natural growth in fighting power and durability. Properly buffed, he can actually deal more damage than the Viking, though he's much less tough. The Monk also has the ability to cast all indirect spells in the game (that is, those that apply buffs and debuffs), though like all characters he can only learn three spells per spell level, and he'll always lag behind dedicated spellcasters.
The Ninja, like the Viking, is a damage dealer, though he goes about it very differently. Where the Viking relies entirely on physical damage, the Ninja is more versatile, able to not only wield swords, but also to cast direct black magic spells (those that deal damage). (But like the Monk, casting is his secondary calling, so he can't complete with other casters.) The Ninja is limited to robes, but compensates by having the highest evasion in the game, making him surprisingly durable.
The cleric is one of the best defensive characters in the game. He's a dedicated caster, able to learn all the indirect white magic in the game, as well as one direct white magic spell at each spell level - he learns CURE spells for healing, but lacks whole-party healing. He wields hammers, which are good against skeletons and zombies but otherwise mediocre, and wears both mail armor and shields for armor, making him one of the better tanks. Coupled with his spellcasting, he's excellent for keeping the party alive through tougher fights.
The Warlock is the primary magical damage dealer. A dedicated spellcaster, he can learn all of the damaging black magic spells in the game, as well as a small selection of debuffs (which help keep his lower level spell slots relevant in the mid- and late game). Though physically weak (he wields staves, the weakest weapon type), he can wear mail armor, which gives him more durability than you'd expect from a mage.
The Sage is the ultimate class in terms of magical versatility. Every last spell in the game is open to him, allowing him to fill whatever gaps the rest of the party has in terms of magical ability, or to act as the primary caster in a physical-heavy party. He also has the highest Intelligence in the game, giving his spells more kick. The Sage pays for this versatility, though: he's physically puny, being limited to staves and robes, and his spellcasting progression is somewhat slower than that of other dedicated spellcasters.
If you read the intro, you know what the Fool can do: jack shit. The Fool exists purely for those who want an extra challenge and has absolutely no redeeming qualities. I'm including the class here for completeness, but I won't be using one in this LP since it's just not interesting. You can still vote for the class though, in which case I'll treat it as a wild card and fill the spot with whatever I want.
The Paladin is the game's main tank. Though not impressive offensively (he wields hammers), he's the only class capable of wearing plate armor, and can combine that with a shield for even more defense. He can also cast all the direct white magic spells in the game (albeit with a slow rate of progression), allowing him to heal the party and toss the occasional HOLY spell on undead groups.
The Ranger is the ultimate "jack of all trades" class. His stats are mostly average across the board, and his ability to use swords and mail armor makes him a middling fighter. He can use shields, though, which gives him above-average durability. He can also learn any spell in the game, making him a good backup caster despite his slow advancement in the magical arts. The Ranger is a solid choice for just about any team.
The Wizard is possibly the most interesting class in the game. A dedicated spellcaster, he wears robes for protection, but can hit reasonably hard due to his ability to use swords. His main strength, though, is his spellcasting; the Wizard can learn every indirect black magic spell in the game, as well as single-target direct damage spells. This gives him strong offensive buffs and crippling debuffs in a hack where both of those things are quite powerful.
The Priest is the game's ultimate healer. Though physically weak (limited to staves and robes), he can learn every direct white magic spell in the game, with the MP to cast them plenty. He can also learn a single indirect white magic spell at each spell level, though this mostly gives him condition-removal spells that complement his existing healing abilities. The Priest therefore lacks versatility more than most casters, but given how useful healing is, it's a reasonable trade-off.
Our party has been chosen: