The following are a set of general guidelines to give your Savage Worlds game a more Final Fantasy-ish feel. Feel free to post a comment if you have any suggestions!
Finding the right moodEdit
Make sure you take a good look at the Game Master's section in the Core Rulebook before talking to your players about the game. Besides those basic preparations, take a moment to ask each of your players what FF games they have actually played, which was their favorite, and what kind of character they'd like to play. If the players never played any of the games, lend them one of yours or your copy of FFVII Advent Children. Or if (however unlikely) they didn't really like the ones they tried, make sure to ask why so you know what to avoid in your game or if simply this game is not for them. The game's attitude can be as sterile as Final Fantasy IV, as girly as X-2 or as gritty as VII. It can be about knights in shining armor fighting evil wizards, a band of thieves/actors rescuing a princess, environmentalist terrorists fighting corporations, sky pirates looking for treasure, or a group of youths trained from childhood to hunt all-powerful witches. I'm positive you'll find something for all of your players. Just remember it's still a Savage Worlds game you're running, and there should be a certain degree of badassery involved.
Your own worldEdit
Remember all Final Fantasy games are separate entries. I strongly believe you should start from scratch to keep your players guessing, but if you want to do a spinoff or even reenact an existing installment, go ahead, and tell me how it went!Just make sure you keep a good balance between direct conversions and original material, because, let's be realistic, half of the "strategy" of FF games is remembering what weaknesses a certain monster had in previous iterations.
If you're reading this, it is probable that you and at least one of your players are FF fans. In that case, recognizing places, monsters or characters should be a gratifying experience; never say, "A Tonberry appears!", instead, give them a nice description of the creature. Otherwise, the non-fans will feel left out, the fans will get instant instructions as of how to defeat it, and the overall mood of the game will be ruined. Don't be afraid of a little metagaming here and there, just as long as the players don't "break character" whenever they know the answer to a puzzle.
The core rulebook has some very useful guidelines as of how to run your campaign, story-wise. To make the flow of the game more FF-like, I suggest you mimic the flow of things in FFXII; there is the story, and then there are all kinds of "missions" you can pick at local pubs and from NPCs. Just make sure your players know when they can afford the luxury of running errands for cash. Sometimes these side-quests turn out to be part of the plot and necessary to advance. This gives the players a sense of exploration and freedom.Draw a "world map" and slowly give your players access to different areas. First they'll have to walk (or find chocobos), then they get a land vehicle, then a limited airship... Older games literally let players roam the entire planet (and then the moon, and the underworld and even alternate "planes" AKA world of illusion) while newer establishments focus on a single continent or even a kingdom. It's entirely up to you what the scope of your "world" will be, but I believe the "continent" approach makes it a lot simpler on the GM's side and provides a bit more depth.
The planetary line of thought calls for more improvised battles, as the GM can't draw a battle map for the entire world. This is good for players who like narrative battles without actual maps or miniatures.
The continental approach allows the GM to make battle maps for all places of interest and a few quasi-randomized "fields" in between for those long walks. These maps can be stored and re-used on the way back.
Make sure players always get an opportunity to explore places. Give clues as of where treasure may be hidden, have NPCs approach and greet players and strike up conversations, let them eavesdrop, or better yet, lure them into entering random houses without even knocking!
Time your battlesEdit
Final fantasy is a combat-heavy series. In older iterations, they would use random encounters to make an otherwise short journey feel epic. In newer versions your path is simply littered by wild beasts and roaming bandits that you could dodge (in the end you know you will need that experience).I suggest whenever your characters are on a journey on foot, occasionally make notice checks to detect predators, and give them the option to try a stealth check to either sneak away or try to ambush the enemy. Plan a couple generic "wilderness" choke points for when they're not seeing enough action.
Make sure the climax of every game session involves a particularly interesting battle. Not always a straightforward "boss" battle, but maybe a battle on a bridge, on a collapsing dungeon, against a giant creature whose appendages you have to defeat in a certain order or a group of monsters that are vulnerable to only one type of attack. After that climactic battle, throw in some narration, hand out experience and wrap it up.
Do not be afraid to put your players in a fight that's too difficult. They should always be encouraged find creative ways to resolve conflicts and to be aware of the effects of their actions on their surroundings as well as their enemies. When all else fails, it's an honored Final Fantasy tradition to turn around and run like the wind.
Never take yourselves too seriouslyEdit
On a final note, remember humor is a big part of any Final Fantasy game. There will always be a silly NPC, a quirky villain, a stuttering moogle, an overacting ally, and on occasion, even the toughest EX-SOLDIERs need to dabble in cross-dressing. Reward your players when they make the session more enjoyable at their own character's expense. There will always be time to be a badass.