Inspired heavily by Brave Story, comes a new roleplay set in an original world/setting with original races (and humens cuz humens r da butts) populating a deep and twisting narrative that takes place during a large-scale war taking place between two major countries in the world.
[ STORY / SETTING ]
The people of South Nex have recently been besieged by an army from overseas that no one has seen or heard of before this event. They call themselves The Revenant, and are a species unlike anything any Nexellian has ever witnessed in their many years.
You would take on the role of a simple laborer from South Nex who is in the process of undergoing their mandatory 2-year military training in the northern mountain district of Ardur when this war breaks out. Shortly after the war begins, you and your squad (the rest of the RPers) will be conscripted and shipped off to the front lines. You will find odd, almost alien, landscapes in the distant land of Revel, where the Revenant originate. They are at a similar tech level to South Nex, with a primary difference - South Nex focuses mainly on self-improvement and generating better quality of life for its citizens at large and making peace with surrounding cultures and people. Revel has focused on amassing an army with which they intend to crush the opposition and conquer the other countries in the world. Nestled deep in the Southern Forests, as South Nexellians once called them, they have been largely untouched and unseen by the outside world.
So that's the plot, basically. Your squad would be largely left to its own devices once landing on Revel. The eventual goal is to discover The Revenant's headquarters and take it over. How you get there and how you manage to overtake the soldiers you fight along the way, however, is entirely in your hands.
Now for Character Creation.
[ RACES ]
[ Humans ]
Humans are highly-evolved primates with elite intellectual prowess. They are inclined toward the mechanical arts, such as tinkering with machines and creating new technologies (primarily using Steam power). They tend to be between five and six feet tall when full-grown, and stand fully erect with a brownish-tan complexion and dark hair. They favor Water and Fire Artistry.
[ Vakran ]
Vakran are hyper-intelligent reptillian creatures with long, lizard-like bodies and stout, paddle-like tails. Their primary means of locomotion involves slithering along the ground on all fours, with their stomachs almost touching the ground. When standing, they have a pronounced hunch in their backs (though they stand as tall as Humans) and prefer to carry heavy, bladed weaponry like axes and greatswords. They are physically stronger than any other species. They favor Earth and Air Artistry.
[ Enovess ]
Enovess are oversized insectoid creatures with hard, carapacian shells and differing bodily structures based upon their role in the hive, ranging in size from three to five feet tall. Their culture sees them often portrayed and construed as very selfless, mindless creatures who focus solely on the good of everyone at their own expense, however they are just as capable of original thought as any other race. They form deep bonds with others relatively easily. Some variants are able to hover with buzzing wings. They are very light on their six legs. They favor Fire and Earth Artistry.
[ Gargoyles ]
Gargoyles are oft-described as being forged of living stone. They are large creatures, with small adults being barely six feet tall. Their skin is tougher than most you would find, and making one bleed is a feat unto itself. Deep gouges into their skin have a habit of leaving scars for years, as it takes a long time for them to slough off old skin layers and fill in such gashes. As such, battle-hardened Gargoyles are littered with scars. They favor Air and Water Artistry.
[ Jaruuk ]
Jaruuk lack a defined corporeal form. They are almost literally made of energy aligned with one of the four primary elements of nature - Fire, Water, Air, or Earth. They are able to exist in a gaseous form, appearing as a colored puff of smoke which floats aimlessly from place to place. Most Jaruuk tend to take on a tangible form when performing basic activities, as it puts less stress on them to do so. Their tangible forms are literally made of what would appear to be a solid form of their element; it's quite surreal to anyone who has never witnessed such a thing. They are incredibly proficient Artists who easily outclass all other races in that regard. They favor the "pure" Elements and shun any Jaruuk who dares dabble in the "hybrid" Elements, as they consider those to be "unclean."
[ Daema ]
Daema are a tall, slender cervine race with chalk-white fur covering their entire bodies. They stand upright with wide hooves covered in shaggy hair keeping them standing. Their hands are not unlike Human hands, and their physiology is almost peculiarly slender. They have tall, twisting antlers branching from their heads (male and female alike), which grow continuously throughout the course of a Daema's life. They also sport three large, pitch-black eyes, the third of which allowing them to literally see the flow of energy in the world. They can sense an Artist's inclinations with simply a glance, and are able to freely manipulate the ambient energies around them in much the same way as an Artist melds the elements. They do not possess any Artistic Potential.
(but teacher, what's all this about Artists and Artistry and Elements!?)
[ ARTISTRY ]
[ ELEMENTS ]
There are four Pure Elements.
Fire, Air, Water, and Earth.
Every single person (sans Daema) is born inclined to one of these four Elements. I put which ones different races favor because those are most common in each race, but ANY race (besides Daema) can be born under any one of these four Elements. It's just uncommon and may cause some peculiar situations with others.
Fire is associated with reds, Water with blues, Air with greens, and Earth with yellows. Eye color *tends to* (does not always) line up with the natural inclination of an Artist.
There are eight Hybrid Elements.
Magma, Lightning, Breath, Mist, Ice, Plant, Wood, and Metal.
Each Pure Element is tied to exactly two Hybrid Elements. Fire with Magma and Lightning, Air with Breath and Mist, Water with Ice and Plant, and Earth with Wood and Metal. Any race is able to - with training and practice - learn to manipulate Hybrid Elements that are associated with their birth inclination. It is also possible (with incredibly intense practice and training) to learn to manipulate another Pure Element outside of one's inclination, though this happens *very rarely* outside of the Jaruuk, to whom such Elemental manipulation comes more naturally.
[ CLASSES / VOCATIONS ]
A Basic Action would be something like Attack, Block, Dodge, Steal, or Mend. Everyone will have access to "Attack" actions based upon what weapon(s) they decide to equip and carry with them. For example, a sword would carry a 1R Attack option while a lance would bring a 2R, line Attack. Any other Basic Actions would all need to be "equipped" in a sense by adding on certain Passive skills (or potentially by equipping certain pieces of gear). Basic Actions use up 1 TP whenever they are used during your turn. Movement can be done once freely per turn, and subsequent moves would each also cost 1 TP. Movement is NOT a Basic Action.
Skills are created by choosing a Basic Action and applying one or more Tags to it to create a Skill. Each Class brings with it four Tags that you are allowed to assign, as you please, to each of your Skills (which can all also utilize any of the Basic Actions you have access to). This will make more sense when you see the Tags and I give you a quick example character. Skills cost TP equivalent to the amount of Tags you put on them. A Skill with 1 Tag costs 1 TP, while one with 2 would cost 2. Simple.
Every character will be allowed to have one Special move. Specials can be used once per battle and will be allowed to carry a rather large number of Tags, including Special Tags. Each Class brings with it a single Special Tag that you may (or you can choose not to) tag onto your character's Special move. These Tags are significantly better than the basic Tags that each Class carries, allowing your Special to be a significantly powerful move that can be INCREDIBLY beneficial to use and adds quite a nice level of depth to the battle system. Specials cost exactly *all* of your TP. All you are allowed to do on a turn before utilizing your Special is Move. You can Move as much as you wish, so long as you still have 1 TP remaining to use your Special. This way, you can be positive that you're in the correct position for your Special to be as beneficial as possible, since it is so limited in usage.
Say the Tags I get are as follows:
+ Status Heal
+ Draw Ire
And say my forced Passive is Hivemind.
My equipment will consist of a Sword, Air Artistry, and Breath Artistry.
These numbers are obviously subject to change, but for the purposes of this, I'm gonna make 1 1-tag skills, 2 2-tag skill, 1 3-tag skill, and my special, a 5-tag skill.
[ Basic Actions ]
Air Attack [3R, Air elemental]
Breath Attack [3R, Fire elemental]
Mend [4R, Heals]
[ Skills ]
1. Healing Breath 
A puff of magicked Breath sees Buggy's allies in an area back in good spirits.
+ AoE (makes the attack strike an additional Area of Effect; stack the Tag for larger ranges)
2. Shield 
Buggy's determination to help her friends mends an ally's wounds and gifts them a protective shell that transfers damage to them to her instead.
+ Guardian (causes damage dealt to the target to transfer to the caster on the next turn)
+ Healthy (improves max health for a while)
3. Restorative Tornado 
Winds whip about Buggy's allies, purging all negative status from them while striking any foes within range.
+ Status Heal (heals all negative status effects on allies [or all targets; your choice] in range)
4. Breath of Fire 
Buggy draws in a deep breath and looses a violent storm of scorching winds to strike friends and foes alike across a wide swath of land ahead of her.
+ Cone (causes the attack to hit a conical area; defaults to 2R)
+ Range (increases the R of the attack by 1)
+ Range (stacked Tags are allowed and merely multiply the tag's effect)
(this attack strikes a Conical area at a range of 4R in one of the four cardinal directions, with a Fire element to it.)
[ Special ]
Breath of the Phoenix
Buggy draws on her Breath Artistry to breathe life into her fallen allies and purge everyone of their negative statuses simultaneously. The effect of this skill leaves her allies more resilient and healthier than normal.
+ Party (makes the Special target your entire party, regardless where they are on the battlefield)
+ Revive (revives the target with 25% of their health)
+ Status Heal
+ Healthy (increases the target's maximum health for x turns)
+ Armor (increases the target's defense for x turns)
[ Passives ]
Hivemind - increase damage when within 2R of 2 or more allies
Cleric - unlocks Mend basic action
Undying - revive with 50% HP after falling; once per battle
Resilient - receive less damage on every attack against you
Note that, were this a real serious character, I might go into more detail in the flavor of each skill and I would give flavor to each of her passives, as well. YOU create the skill names and effects, limited only by the twelve tags you have access to. You can finagle them around in interesting ways to create the skills YOU want to have (like my Tornado skill, for example, that attacks enemies and purges ally status effects in the range, but doesn't heal status of enemies or damage allies) for your character.
Note that you also get to name your Vocation that's created by the three Classes you selected. It's YOUR unique Vocation. As the story progresses, players will unlock the ability to create more Skills, the ability to earn new Tags for their Classes, find and obtain Gear that comes with Tags for your characters to learn (and subsequently use in their skills) and more passive slots, as well. Characters will have stats, as well, and they will be affected by the three classes you choose, your Race, AND the additional stat points that you get to add onto each stat on top of that. Leveling will work similarly to how it did in Brave Story in that sense, where you set your stats and they simply grow according to how big they were to begin with.
Gear will likely have a minimal (if any at all) effect on your stats. Their effects will likely be more extra; armor would modify your speed and damage resistance, accessories could add special effects to you (+1 Move, +1 TP, etc), while Weapons' primary effect would be giving you different basic attacks with different effects. The system is very deep and very complicated on first glance, but it's really simple when you get down to it. And once your character is created, all the complex nonsense is over and from there on out it's all roleplaying.
OKAY THAT'S ALL COOL AND SUCH BUT WHAT ABOUT THE COMBAT!?
Calm down, calm down.
[ COMBAT ]
On your turn, you get one free Movement. You can move about the battlefield (at any time during your turn) up to X spaces (where X is your Movement score). You can move again at the cost of 1 TP as many times as you'd like until your TP runs out, at which point you can take no further actions (barring strange situations based on skills and active status effects) and your turn comes to an end. It'll be run through gdox, like usual, since that is just EASILY the best way to handle these battles. Battle posts will be allowed to be relatively short, though we're gonna have rules in place for the minimum length of posts to maintain a spot in the roleplay. I imagine that creating your own skills will make people more excited to actually go and post using said skills.
In addition to movement, you are able to use Basic Actions, Skills, and Specials (assuming you haven't yet used your Special in this battle yet) to do whatever those actions allow you to do.
Battles end when all enemies have been defeated, naturally, though some fights will be more than just straight up trading blows. You might be required to deal with puzzles mid-battle, or have alternative options to handling situations, such as attempting to negotiate with the people you're fighting to call a cease-fire. Sometimes, these non-combat actions (or even the combat actions in some cases) could result in special awards for characters who perform exemplary feats to initiate the tactics that ended the confrontation. So, yeah. It'll be very rewarding to characters who act intelligently in combat situations (or even outside of combat) and do things I either don't expect or that I think are actually very smart actions to take.
Blarg, this is really long. Feel free to ask questions. I'll answer them even if I already wrote about it here with direct quotes (or new responses) in a reply, because I realize this is a chore to read through.