One complaint levied against modern fantasy is that it adheres too closely to certain cultural stereotypes. There’s not just a “fighter with honor”, there’s a paladin. There’s not just a supernaturally powered healer, there’s a cleric of a god - or pantheon of gods.
The Final Fantasy franchise has done interesting things with some of these stereotypes, and hewed to others. What if we start with the FF jobs, and remix them to see if we can make something really new?
There’s no canonical list of jobs from Final Fantasy. For purposes of this effort, I’m taking the list from three sources that used the job system extensively: Final Fantasy XIV (with 20 combat jobs), Final Fantasy Tactics, and Final Fantasy V.
The rules are:
- We combine only two jobs, drawing from their theme, trappings, or signature abilities
- If the job is represented in FFXIV, we don’t combine jobs from the same role (e.g. Caster DPS, Tank, Healer)
- The resulting jobs must have a niche to fill and be functional at some level in a real setting
Our job list, in no particular order:
- FFXIV tanks: Paladin, Warrior, Dark Knight, Gunbreaker
- FFXIV healers: White Mage, Scholar, Astrologian, Sage
- FFXIV melee DPS: Monk, Dragoon, Ninja, Samurai, Reaper
- FFXIV ranged DPS: Bard, Machinist, Dancer
- FFXIV caster DPS: Black Mage, Summoner, Red Mage, Blue Mage
- FFV: Thief (considered distinct from Ninja in that game), Time Mage, Mystic Knight, Mime, Beastmaster, Geomancer, Chemist
- FFT: Mystic/Orator, Orator/Mediator, Arithmetician/Calculator
Jobs that don’t appear:
- Any job from FFT or FFV with the same name and/or function as one in FFXIV
- FFV’s Knight is close enough to FFXIV’s Paladin
- FFV’s Ranger is arguably the FFXIV Archer class, which leads into Bard, and as such is omitted
- FFV’s Berserker and FFT’s Squire and Onion Knight are omitted due to their special nature
Wardancer (Warrior/Dancer): a fighter who wields twin hatchets, dashing across the battlefield in a dazzling display of athleticism. They hold the attention of enemies through maneuver talent. The Wardancer discipline emerged in a place where inspiring the spirits of the common folk was just as important as defeating enemies.
Gunlancer (Gunbreaker/Dragoon): a warrior who uses a long, rifle-like gunlance that can fire at range or impale up close. The gunlance includes a rocket, propelling the gunlancer into the air and letting them strike a group, or snipe at distant foes even behind cover. A highly mobile combatant who works best in places with equally mobile enemies, or naturally difficult terrain.
Red Knight (Red Mage/Paladin): a warrior who wields twin implements: a shield to build up white magic for healing and protection, and a runeblade for unleashing powerful elemental attacks. May overlap with the Mystic Knight job, and would be useful in similar circumstances.
Ghost Pelt (Beastmaster/Reaper): a master of the natural world who makes pacts with animal spirits, called avatars, and uses their power to unleash devastating attacks. The claws of the tiger, the eyes of the wolf, and the speed of the rabbit are at the beck and call of such heroes.
Black Knight (Black Mage/Dark Knight): a caster who protects others with powerful elemental manifestations. They surround themselves with auras of fire or thunder and rings of ice for their own safety, and unleash blade-like attacks of elemental force against enemies.
Fate Thief (Astrologian/Thief): a thief who steals the positive destinies from enemies or the negative fates from allies, and swaps them with others. They wield special playing cards and throw them both for damage and as a conduit for their effects. A discipline developed by the greatest thief in a far-off land, who wanted to use their services to do good.
Mirror Mage (Summoner/Mime): a caster who conjures shades of an enemy from variant worlds or parallel timelines, allowing them to match any enemy’s strength with a version of themselves. A complex, demanding magical discipline.
Raver (Bard/Sage): using nouliths, a sophisticated magitek invention, these heroes wield musical magic to heal injuries, motivate allies, and create sonic barriers that block attacks. A martial development of a high-tech civilian tool developed for entertainment and therapy.
Cultivator (Monk/Mystic): by focusing on breath exercises and manipulation of internal magical power, these unarmed fighters understand the use of pressure points and can strike them while in melee. This discipline was developed by those who fought superior opponents without being able to arm themselves.
Beguiler (Scholar/Orator): by summoning faerie creatures, the Beguiler is able to turn enemies into allies, or use enticement, glamours, and fae trickery to keep foes on their toes in battle. Their summons can ward off attacks meant for an ally, while the casters themselves can reinvigorate morale through a quick pep talk or inspiring encouragement.
Mecha-Medica (White Mage/Machinist): combat medics who have an arsenal of gadgets and weapons, including potion-dispensing drones and portable, self-assembling pavises that keep allies safe and healthy while in battle. They wield rifles that fire chemical darts into enemies, poisoning or disorienting them.
Earthghost (Ninja/Geomancer): stealthy warriors who align their internal energies with the ley lines running through the land beneath them. As a result, they can blend in perfectly with any terrain, or unleash that terrain’s unique effects as quasi-magical attacks - violent earthquakes, sudden waves of water, entangling vines, and so on.
Sampler (Blue Mage/Chemist): a scientist who roams the world, collecting samples of strange creatures and powerful monsters. Whether tissue, blood, breath, or other exotic materials, the Sampler learns how to replicate the most useful effects from their samples, then bottle it for later use in battle.
Wind Warrior (Samurai/Calculator): through precise observation of the battlefield, this warrior can unleash powerful chain attacks and gusts of wind from their weapon that strike unsuspecting foes who thought themselves safe at range.