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JLV 01-20-2018 11:39 AM

Fear and Loathing In TFT
 
To my mind, one of the weaknesses in TFT as written is that there is nothing in the way of a “fear and loathing” mechanism built in. While perhaps it’s not as suitable for a high-fantasy setting as it is for a horror/gothic style of play, there would still be plenty of things that would cause “fear and loathing” in people, even in a high fantasy setting. Besides, how do you make the “evil cult” really evil, if you don’t have some tool to cause the players to feel fear effects and see how that plays out on the game board?

Sure, I know, the GM should be causing the fear through his roleplaying and description — but how many GMs have you ever had that could do that so well that it actually affected the player characters on the battlemat/game board? Even if you make the PLAYERS afraid, there’s nothing happening in game terms that make the FIGURES afraid; they go right on exploring the horrific place and fighting the nauseating creatures without a break in the action…

In more "fear" oriented games, such as Call of Cthulhu, I could freak the players out with my descriptions, and mechanisms existed to cause their characters to break down, or flee in terror, or faint on the spot, or whatever, as well. It would be interesting to see some kind of fear mechanism added to TFT.

larsdangly 01-20-2018 05:57 PM

Re: Fear and Loathing In TFT
 
Something you could build on to this end that is part of TFT canon is the Personality option rules on p.7 of ITL. I'm focusing on material for the core published rules right now, but I have a 'module' in my house rules that uses this as a launching off point and develops it into ways of handling horror, morale, and religious piety.

tbeard1999 01-20-2018 11:23 PM

Re: Fear and Loathing In TFT
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by JLV (Post 2151730)
To my mind, one of the weaknesses in TFT as written is that there is nothing in the way of a “fear and loathing” mechanism built in. While perhaps it’s not as suitable for a high-fantasy setting as it is for a horror/gothic style of play, there would still be plenty of things that would cause “fear and loathing” in people, even in a high fantasy setting. Besides, how do you make the “evil cult” really evil, if you don’t have some tool to cause the players to feel fear effects and see how that plays out on the game board?

Sure, I know, the GM should be causing the fear through his roleplaying and description — but how many GMs have you ever had that could do that so well that it actually affected the player characters on the battlemat/game board? Even if you make the PLAYERS afraid, there’s nothing happening in game terms that make the FIGURES afraid; they go right on exploring the horrific place and fighting the nauseating creatures without a break in the action…

In more "fear" oriented games, such as Call of Cthulhu, I could freak the players out with my descriptions, and mechanisms existed to cause their characters to break down, or flee in terror, or faint on the spot, or whatever, as well. It would be interesting to see some kind of fear mechanism added to TFT.

Since there’s no attribute that really covers courage, maybe a fear mechanic should simply be to roll 3d6 on a fear effects chart. The range might be “you laugh at it” to “you run away in blind terror”. In TFT fashion, low is good for the figure, high is bad. More frightening things might roll 4d or get a positive modifier. Less frightening things might get a negative modifier or roll 1 less dice. There could be a “courage” talent, which would let you roll 1d less.

Chris Rice 01-21-2018 03:02 AM

Re: Fear and Loathing In TFT
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by tbeard1999 (Post 2151834)
Since there’s no attribute that really covers courage, maybe a fear mechanic should simply be to roll 3d6 on a fear effects chart. The range might be “you laugh at it” to “you run away in blind terror”. In TFT fashion, low is good for the figure, high is bad. More frightening things might roll 4d or get a positive modifier. Less frightening things might get a negative modifier or roll 1 less dice. There could be a “courage” talent, which would let you roll 1d less.

I don't think it's a weakness, it's just a feature of many RPG systems. In the past I've introduced additional attributes; Willpower was one of them. If a character wanted to perform an action that had a better than evens chance of failure, and where the penalty was serious, they had to make a Willpower check. Failure meant they couldn't carry out the action. It was also used for reactions to Undead etc.

Now this works fine, but changes the way the game plays as players are frequently unable to do what they'd like to as there were be a lot of missed morale checks. It gives a grittier, more realistic feel, but it's neither better nor worse. Some of the great moments in adventures come when Dildo the Hobbit decides to charge the Dragon single handed and is toast in 2 seconds flat. That sort of thing is largely done away with once you bring in morale effects.

I think this sort of thing is best left totally out of the Melee/TFT reboot and consigned squarely to the realm of House Rules. It's easy to tack on if you want it but once it's in the rules it's harder to take out or ignore.

larsdangly 01-21-2018 09:05 AM

Re: Fear and Loathing In TFT
 
Another thing I've done in my somewhat less heavily house-ruled variant of TFT (i.e., no new stats) is to introduce one talent per major type of behavior ('Brave', 'Pious' etc) and then just explain in the talent description what sort of ability it unlocks. This option keeps you closer to the core rules, but has the disadvantage of moving you down that road toward the level of complexity seen in GURPS

Chris Rice 01-21-2018 10:31 AM

Re: Fear and Loathing In TFT
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by larsdangly (Post 2151868)
Another thing I've done in my somewhat less heavily house-ruled variant of TFT (i.e., no new stats) is to introduce one talent per major type of behavior ('Brave', 'Pious' etc) and then just explain in the talent description what sort of ability it unlocks. This option keeps you closer to the core rules, but has the disadvantage of moving you down that road toward the level of complexity seen in GURPS

That's an excellent way of doing it, if you want personality traits modelled in the game. I suppose since the Talent "Charisma" exists, a precedent has already been set. I wonder if the designer wants to go further down that route though?

JLV 01-21-2018 01:48 PM

Re: Fear and Loathing In TFT
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Chris Rice (Post 2151844)
I don't think it's a weakness, it's just a feature of many RPG systems. In the past I've introduced additional attributes; Willpower was one of them. If a character wanted to perform an action that had a better than evens chance of failure, and where the penalty was serious, they had to make a Willpower check. Failure meant they couldn't carry out the action. It was also used for reactions to Undead etc.

Now this works fine, but changes the way the game plays as players are frequently unable to do what they'd like to as there were be a lot of missed morale checks. It gives a grittier, more realistic feel, but it's neither better nor worse. Some of the great moments in adventures come when Dildo the Hobbit decides to charge the Dragon single handed and is toast in 2 seconds flat. That sort of thing is largely done away with once you bring in morale effects.

I think this sort of thing is best left totally out of the Melee/TFT reboot and consigned squarely to the realm of House Rules. It's easy to tack on if you want it but once it's in the rules it's harder to take out or ignore.

Yeah, I can see that; but I have a strong aversion to adding new attributes. I prefer to handle it with existing ones. One method might be to roll "fear checks" against IQ, with varying number of dice based on the "horrific-ness" of the thing they confront (whether it be a creature, or a situation); and then, combine that with Ty's "fear Table" to find out HOW the failed fear-checker responds to the situation (though, since he failed, he probably wouldn't "laugh at it" unless he went off into hysterical laughter that prevented an action for 1d6 turns!)

I think you may have been "over-applying" morale checks if you used them to prevent heroic acts like you describe. I would only use morale checks when there is clearly a reason for them, and then only at the absolute beginning of an encounters -- the party suddenly finds itself confronting 40 orcs; morale check; party members pass, after that it's a free-for-all until the party is dead or the orcs are dead, fled or captured (of note, I would use morale checks a LOT more liberally on NPCs than I ever would on the party -- after all, the players control the party and can make decisions for themselves on when to run away; the NPCs are individuals controlled by a single mind (mine) and I should be taking steps to "individualize" their behavior much more than I'm forcing the players to conform to some random die roll. I like CR Brandond's Morale system in Heroes and Other Worlds -- it is one of the simpler, more effective, ones I've seen for this purpose.

I still think there should be some sort of agreed-upon, standard procedure for this, regardless of how much anyone chooses to house-rule it later.

Steve Jackson 01-21-2018 02:34 PM

Re: Fear and Loathing In TFT
 
Plain old 3d6 roll could make sense, modified by GM according to any effective roleplaying of the character's history. I'd give Heniochus the Brave a bonus to stand fast, if only because he thinks he can settle everything with his sword.

If an advantage/disadvantage system is introduced, Bravery, Prudence, and Cowardice might all be descrived in terms of morale/fear/horror rolls.

To my mind, this should be used only for the BIG stuff (Cthulhu) or the transitory stuff (who gets initiative when surprised by something unnatural). I would not roll for fear against natural foes.

Chris Rice 01-21-2018 03:01 PM

Re: Fear and Loathing In TFT
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Steve Jackson (Post 2151950)
Plain old 3d6 roll could make sense, modified by GM according to any effective roleplaying of the character's history. I'd give Heniochus the Brave a bonus to stand fast, if only because he thinks he can settle everything with his sword.

If an advantage/disadvantage system is introduced, Bravery, Prudence, and Cowardice might all be descrived in terms of morale/fear/horror rolls.

To my mind, this should be used only for the BIG stuff (Cthulhu) or the transitory stuff (who gets initiative when surprised by something unnatural). I would not roll for fear against natural foes.

That's fine but 3d6 roll against what though? Can't be IQ surely. So what exactly are you rolling against?

larsdangly 01-21-2018 03:10 PM

Re: Fear and Loathing In TFT
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Chris Rice (Post 2151956)
That's fine but 3d6 roll against what though? Can't be IQ surely. So what exactly are you rolling against?

You have two choices, basically: Either treat each such trait or ability as a Talent and roll vs. IQ, or add an additional set of attributes, a'la the Personality score option in ITL. Both are obviously 'workable' in the sense that it is easy to come up with versions that function well in play. So, the choice really has to do with your game design aesthetics.

If you are a minimalist then I'd say add a handful of relevant talents, accept that IQ is just a score that means 'how good I am at non-DX or ST based talents', and treat it as you would Charisma, Sex Appeal, New Followers or Diplomacy or any number of other talents that involve thoughts and emotions. The risk is that you go bananas and write 100 of these sorts of new talents, or make up a new sub system for each, and now you are playing something that looks casually like TFT but is much more bloated.

If you add new attributes it will be more aesthetically pleasing in the sense that things like bravery or piety can develop separately from other IQ based talents, and perhaps that seems more 'right' or true to human character. But of course now your character sheet has a half dozen attributes and lots of old material needs to get revised - it feels more like a significantly new edition or even new game.


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