If Dungeons & Dragons ranks among the most widely beloved traditional RPGs around, then the Final Fantasy franchise remains one of the most beloved video game RPGs ever created. In both of their decade-spanning existences, few other franchises have remained as emblematic of the roleplay genre, changing and evolving with each new iteration.
Right now, the newest of each franchise, Dungeons & Dragons 5e and Final Fantasy VII Remake are incredibly popular and a point of discussion among fans. However, this begs the question: why divide these two great things? Keeping these franchises separate when they can be combined seems absurd.
It’s more than possible to build Final Fantasy VII character into a D&D campaign. Builds are flexible, though of course there are core essentials for what each character needs to function. Final Fantasy is, after all, a franchise that drives on customization. Regardless, here are the core essentials of FFVII in D&D.
Let’s start with the iconic protagonist of Final Fantasy VII, Cloud Strife. When rolling for stats, keep strength and constitution high, since Cloud can take hits and deal a lot of damage back. His dump stat will be intelligence.
It’s recommended players go for a variant human for Cloud, boosting up his uneven stats/strength while going for the Mounted Combatant feat (as well as a proficiency in land vehicles, since Strife is gonna be riding a motorcycle). Cloud will be a duel-class Fighter/Sorcerer. Players will need their Charisma and Strength Scores to be 13+ and they will need proficiency in Acrobatics, Athletics and Intimidation, as well as Animal Handling (to ride Chocobos). His background is Soldier, because he’s “an ex-SOLDIER.”
For specifics, players will want Great Weapon Fighting so they can properly wield the Buster Sword — or, in his case, a Greatsword. Cloud’s Martial Archetype will be either a Battle Master or a Psi Knight from Unearthed Arcana. Sorcery levels will come in handy around the fifth Fighter level and it’s essential players add the War Caster feat in order to cast spells while holding a weapon. From there, balance Cloud’s levels out depending on play style. Cloud can be more battle- or magic-heavy, depending on how players apply levels. It’s best they at least get to level two for Sorcerer, however, so they can add Imbuing Touch.
Barret is everyone’s favorite gun-armed revolutionist. One would assume a muscle-bound guy like him is going to be high in strength, but that’s not all. Players building Barret into D&D will want dexterity and constitution to be his biggest stats after strength. Make wisdom Barret’s dump stat, since he’s a pretty reckless dude. Variant human again, this time with the feat Sharpshooter. He will need proficiency in Intimidation and Athletics and his background should be Criminal.
Start with a sharpshooter Fighter who, upon level three, will gain the Martial Archetype Gunslinger. Upgrade Barret’s weapons as the game continues, with flavor text saying the gun is equipped to his stub of a hand, as in the main game. While machine guns aren’t in 5e (though they could be homebrewed by the player and Dungeon Master), players should be fine with either a pepperbox or pistol. A few vital trickshots will be Bullying Shot and Forceful Shot, so players can better manipulate the playing field.
Oddly enough, it might not hurt to give Barret a couple levels of Bard, since he is supposed to be a spirited leader, but this is optional.
Tifa is very clearly going to be a monk. She’s going to have her highest stats as strength and dexterity, with intelligence and constitution for her dump stats. Tifa will be yet another variant human, this time with either the grapple or tavern brawler feat, depending on if players want Tifa to suplex her opponents or beat them up while bartending. She will need proficiency in Athletics and Acrobatics, but also Persuasion, since she’s probably the most socially adept member of AVALANCHE. Her background? Smuggler.
Players who build Tifa will want Monk to be their primary class. If the DM allows Unearthed Arcana, players might want a few levels of Fighter mixed in, so they can can gain the Unarmed Fighting Style, but since this is very early Unearthed Material, it’s not necessary. Regardless, for Monk, players should take the Way of the Open Hand, which will drastically increase damage capabilities. For Tifa to have more magical abilities, players can instead choose Way of the Four Elements.
Aerith is one of the most lovable heroines in Final Fantasy history and, undeniably, one of the easiest to build. She’s essentially a very clear-cut Cleric, drawing power from the Lifestream itself. Make Wisdom and Charisma her highest stats. Because Aerith is one of the last Cetra, make Aerith a High Elf. Her High Elf cantrip should be Mage Hand. She will need proficiency in Arcana, Medicine and Religion and her background should be Sage.
Aerith, being so tied to life and rejuvenation, is a Life Domain Cleric. The spells offered by this domain are essential for anyone playing Aerith. It might be wise to give her the feat Medicine to better help her become a healer. Alternately, if players want Aerith to beat people over the head with chairs, they can select Tavern Brawler.
Optionally, give Aerith a couple levels in Bard in order to really increase her party support abilities even further.
The mightiest of all soldiers, Sephiroth is undeniably one of the hardest Final Fantasy characters to roll for D&D just because he’s so incredibly powerful. For starters, players want his highest stats to be Intelligence and Dexterity, with strength — surprisingly enough — being his dump stat. Being the offspring of JENOVA, make him, like Aerith, a High Elf. Make sure to gain the cantrip Create Bonfire. Background will be Soldier, since, after all, Sephiroth was Shinra’s greatest SOLDIER.
There are two core builds for Sephiroth that work. Either make him a Wizard with a single level of Rogue (for Sneak Attack and Expertise) or an Oathbreaker Paladin. For the arcane tradition, go with Bladesinger, since it will allow the character to wield an absurd, over-sized sword while casting spells. For the weapon, choose the scimitar.
Alternatively, Sephiroth can be a Fallen Aasimar, while being an Oath Breaker Paladin. This allows players a great balance of spells and power, though if they choose Paladin, they should switch their Intelligence and Dexterity stats out with Charisma and Strength, respectfully, to alter exactly how they’d play this fallen SOLDIER. Make sure to gain proficiency in fear, as that’s all Sephiroth spreads.
Here's how to build the characters from Final Fantasy VII Remake for a Dungeons & Dragons campaign, including core stats and variants.