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JLV 11-07-2017 10:19 PM

The Fantasy Trip
 
I'm not sure that this is the right place to ask this question, but since there are many thousands of us out here that still regret the long-ago demise of The Fantasy Trip, I thought I'd ask Steve or someone in the know to comment on a piece of information that came my way recently.

It APPEARS, from a website which provides information on Copyrights dating back to 1978, that Steve Jackson, in May of 2015 applied, under the provisions of "17 U.S. Code 203 - Termination of transfers and licenses granted by the author," to terminate his grant of Copyright for 8 titles of The Fantasy Trip (Melee, Advanced Melee, Wizard, Advanced Wizard, Death Test, Death Test 2, In the Labyrinth, and Tollenkar's Lair) to Howard Thompson and Metagaming Concepts. It also APPEARS, from the content displayed on that web site, that this termination of grant was EFFECTIVE as of 17 May 2017!

If I'm reading this right, it means that the copyrights for the entire rules corpus and three of the most important adventures from The Fantasy Trip have reverted to Steve Jackson in their entirety. Is this true? And if so, does it mean that somewhere, somehow, even if ever so faintly, there might conceivably be a slim chance that Steve will REPUBLISH them? OMG!

For whatever it's worth, Steve, if there's any truth at all to this (and assuming I'm not completely misunderstanding what I've read there), I would cheerfully incorporate my soul and give 40% of the stock for you to do this. Dare I hope for a "Designer's Edition" of the rules (like DE Ogre)?

Anaraxes 11-08-2017 07:32 AM

Re: The Fantasy Trip
 
Interesting. I was a fan, and alas no longer have my books as I lent them to a friend. I'd be interested, should SJG choose to do a Kickstarter for some reprints.

(Probably a lot of work. Even if they have the original digital files, just getting those converted to modern formats would be a fair amount of work, and the layout would have to be done all over again. I suppose they could scan an existing copy and make PDFs more easily. But still, it's a lot of expense for we hopeful Kickstarter backers to cover.)

Then there's the question of whether or not to release them in the original form (stapled paper), or make bundle the three books and perhaps adventures into one or two softcover or hardcovers. (And if you did bundle, which artwork do you choose for the cover?)

In the meantime, you can still find copies of the TFT books on Amazon, usually at collector prices ($60, $22, and $34 on a quick check).

JLV 11-08-2017 09:03 AM

Re: The Fantasy Trip
 
There are also PDFs for everything already floating around out there... I don't know, if Kickstarter was the way they would want to go, they'd probably need some way to gauge interest before really committing themselves to the time and effort needed for even that.

Still, if the on-line community for TFT is any indicator, I would think they'd gather quite a few potential "buyer-investors" for something like this. I remember that they frankly didn't think that Ogre would have that much interest in it either and then they pulled one of the biggest Kickstarters ever up until that time...

But, we have no confirmation from Steve (or anyone authorized to speak for Steve) so it's possible that I'm just not reading the website right. Here's the link to the website that states the basic facts (do a keyword search on "Metagaming"), and here's the link to the website about the law itself -- what do you think?

wolf90 11-08-2017 08:21 PM

Re: The Fantasy Trip
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by JLV (Post 2133953)
For whatever it's worth, Steve, if there's any truth at all to this (and assuming I'm not completely misunderstanding what I've read there), I would cheerfully incorporate my soul and give 40% of the stock for you to do this. Dare I hope for a "Designer's Edition" of the rules (like DE Ogre)?

I could not agree more with this sentiment! (The fact that I've already sold my soul to Ogre, notwithstanding!)

D.

(And May 17, 2017 was my 20th wedding anniversary! So although my wife still has majority ownership of my soul, this must be an omen!)

D.

sir_pudding 11-09-2017 01:59 PM

Re: The Fantasy Trip
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by JLV (Post 2133953)
Dare I hope for a "Designer's Edition" of the rules (like DE Ogre)?

Isn't this already GURPS?

GM Joe 11-09-2017 02:08 PM

Re: The Fantasy Trip
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by sir_pudding (Post 2134304)
Isn't this already GURPS?

GURPS 1e, maybe.

Ooh, ooh! A prestige reprint of GURPS 1e is coming! :D

Anthony 11-09-2017 04:15 PM

Re: The Fantasy Trip
 
TFT was published in 1982; 17 U.S. Code 203 allows termination during a 5 year period after 35 years (i.e. 2017) and requires prior notice of 2-10 years, so this sounds entirely plausible, but not indicative of much of anything other than SJ considering exercising his rights worth the (probably minimal) effort required.

Anaraxes 11-09-2017 06:02 PM

Re: The Fantasy Trip
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by sir_pudding (Post 2134304)
Isn't this already GURPS?

GURPS has some pretty substantial differences from TFT. There's clearly some heritage there, but also of completely redesigned and new systems and mechanics. Would you count D&D 3.5 as a Designers' Edition of the original boxed set?

Also, no Prootwaddles...

sir_pudding 11-09-2017 06:04 PM

Re: The Fantasy Trip
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Anaraxes (Post 2134345)
GURPS has some pretty substantial differences from TFT. There's clearly some heritage there, but also of completely redesigned and new systems and mechanics. Would you count D&D 3.5 as a Designers' Edition of the original boxed set?

Also, no Prootwaddles...

ODE has some pretty substantial differences from the Micorgames Ogre.

Kromm 11-09-2017 08:21 PM

Re: The Fantasy Trip
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Anaraxes (Post 2134345)

GURPS has some pretty substantial differences from TFT.

GURPS probably owes more to Hero than to TFT. While TFT was certainly a learning experience for the designer of GURPS, I'd hesitate to say it's a direct ancestor, any more than an Apple IIe is a direct ancestor of an iPhone. I played a lot of TFT . . . and when I started playing GURPS, the only thing that made me think of TFT was the name "Steve Jackson" on the cover.

ak_aramis 11-12-2017 03:50 PM

Re: The Fantasy Trip
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by sir_pudding (Post 2134304)
Isn't this already GURPS?

No. Steve's editorial in Roleplayer notes that GURPS is more a sibling than descendant.

Let's compare:
GURPS 4 prime (ST, DX, IQ, HT), 2 secondary (MA, PD), 3 pseudo-attributes (will, charisma, alertness), one character "type" (character; 2 if using G:B&B); skills (including skills, spells, superpowers), advantages, disadvantages. Two of the primes can be split readily (ST & HT), a third isn't explcitly splittable in anything I've got, but could be (DX). All rolls 3d6, difficulty adjusts target number. Every primary attribute, pseudo-attribute, and skills, advantages, powers, etc bought directly (tho' atts and skills combine to determine the target number)

TFT 3 prime (ST, DX, IQ), 2 secondary (MA, AdjDX), 3 types (Warrior, Wizard, Super); Talents, Spells, superpowers. Task rolls variable difficulty expressing how many dice to roll; combat is USUALLY 3d6, adjusting AdjDex.

Talents cover the GURPS Pseudo-attributes, as well as skills, and some advantages. IQ determines "slots", which were what was spent on talents and spells.

For me, an ideal TFT Deluxe would be:
  • Dragons of Underearth as a basic book, relaid out and prettified.
  • Combined AM, AW, ITL, and Lords of Underearth in the "Core Book".
  • In Tolenkar's Lair and the other GM adventure in a booklet, possibly with a new one.
  • All the microquests in a larger format (5x8 or 6x9, with larger text) either as cardstock covered booklets or bound into a single volume.
  • All 5 countersheets in decent chipboard, but relabeled so as to not be overlapping ID's. Add a 6th with the described but absent sizes. Like Horses.
  • a nicely redone version of the Fantasy Master's Codex, with Illos.
  • All the SpaceGamer articles in a single volume, perhaps bound into the corebook as appendices.

JoelSammallahti 12-04-2017 09:34 AM

Re: The Fantasy Trip
 
Converting & publishing those classic adventures to DFRPG would be a cool move.

Prootwaddle 12-20-2017 04:35 PM

Re: The Fantasy Trip
 
I would love to see a new, complete edition of the Fantasy Trip rules... I run a campaign using them on Roll 20, and the system still works well, but the many different rulebooks make running sessions hard for myself and my players since we frequently need to refer to the rules as we are new to the ruleset.

Steve Jackson 12-26-2017 12:27 PM

Re: The Fantasy Trip
 
Sorry for the slow response - we had the official announcement on the way, and now it's out. See the Daily Illuminator for today, and the forum thread about it!

JLV 12-26-2017 12:41 PM

Re: The Fantasy Trip
 
And it's the best official announcement I've ever heard! Way to go, Steve!

I can only hope that you'll have the time and inclination to republish all eight of the games again. TFT is still one of the best fantasy RPGs out there, and back in the day it was giving D&D a run for it's money for a couple of years there (until Metagaming closed its doors, anyway). While the market is very different nowadays, I still see plenty of room for TFT; it's the only game even today where I can get someone who has never so much as even seen a FRPG before up and running in five minutes. There's a LOT to be said for something like that.

I still prefer to play TFT to GURPS (sorry, Steve, it's just that TFT is almost intuitive, where I have to spend a lot of time in the rulebooks with GURPS), and I still think the Melee/Wizard games as intros to the systems was the smartest move any company ever made, even if it was possibly inadvertent! It's what actually made TFT "intuitive" for most of us back in the day -- we already knew combat and combat magic inside and out, so all the chrome in AM/AW and ITL was just icing on an already well understood cake!

ak_aramis 12-26-2017 08:07 PM

Re: The Fantasy Trip
 
I've always preferred TFT to GURPS, as well.

It's been about a year since I broke out a T&T solo... Only a few weeks since last look at the rules.

JLV 12-27-2017 12:19 AM

Re: The Fantasy Trip
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by ak_aramis (Post 2145637)
I've always preferred TFT to GURPS, as well.

It's been about a year since I broke out a T&T solo... Only a few weeks since last look at the rules.

I've been playing the Dark City Games solos, since I'm unfortunate enough to have a pretty good memory for solos I've already played a lot, but TFT is definitely still actively in use on my shelf! I was looking something up in there just a few days ago!

Also you might want to check out this blog for an interesting look at a variation on a theme...

I hope if any re-writing of the Death Tests does occur, it's along these lines...

David L Pulver 12-27-2017 01:09 AM

Re: The Fantasy Trip
 
That's neat! Steve, I'm glad you were able get your game back at last.

And a good time for, considering the current interest in 80s games.

David L Pulver 12-27-2017 01:15 AM

Re: The Fantasy Trip
 
TFT was the second "roleplaying" game I played (in its Melee/Wizard form) after Basic D&D.

I recall hacking melee and wizard together with some house rules to run dungeon adventures, and when In the Labyrinth came out, running an actual campaign. I especially liked the ability to customize characters with the various Talents.

(Checks ancient binder)

Hey, I've still got my first (pre-In the Labyrinth) TFT dungeon from 1979!

Obscure TFT Trivia

"In the Labyrinth" (1980?) appears to contain one of first published uses of the term "Tank" as a term to describe a melee fighter in a fantasy game. Was it already current in gaming slang at the time?

David L Pulver 12-27-2017 01:29 AM

Re: The Fantasy Trip
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by ak_aramis (Post 2145637)
I've always preferred TFT to GURPS, as well.

It's been about a year since I broke out a T&T solo... Only a few weeks since last look at the rules.

I liked TFT a lot, but I found it broke over time when you tried to do certain things --- many of which GURPS fixed. As a result, I suspect most people added extensive house rules over time...

The most important for me were:

- Fighters who could defend themselves and still attack. I really loved Runequest and later GURPS having a parry rule. My House Rule added post-GURPS: in TFT, a parry is (half adjusted DX) +3. The TFT defending option increases this by +2; a shield adds +1-2 instead of stopping hits.

- Making talents easier to buy. It wasn't really cost effective for a Hero to blow 2-3 points on IQ to get useful talents. My House Rule: Talent cost talent points. Heroes get talent points = (IQ-5) x 2.

- Death: A bit too easy. My House Rule: You die at -10 HP, and bleed out until bandaged at 0 HP. A standard rule from the era.

- Mages and ST: There's something to be said for the elegant rules as written, but allowing mages to buy an "magical energy" talent (every point spent on it gives you 3 points) or some such can avoid Conan the High ST Mage. If doing so, however, suggest capping missile spells at 3d maximum...

My dream option would be to not only have the existing TFT system reprinted, but also an "Updated TFT" rule book that incorporated some rules similar to these, while otherwise retaining its simplicity.

David L Pulver 12-27-2017 01:42 AM

Re: The Fantasy Trip
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Kromm (Post 2134358)
GURPS probably owes more to Hero than to TFT. While TFT was certainly a learning experience for the designer of GURPS, I'd hesitate to say it's a direct ancestor, any more than an Apple IIe is a direct ancestor of an iPhone. I played a lot of TFT . . . and when I started playing GURPS, the only thing that made me think of TFT was the name "Steve Jackson" on the cover.

Hmm, that's very interesting. GURPS felt more to me like an even blend of concepts from TFT and Hero concepts, especially as I started GURPS with Man to Man. In particular, the small set of core attributes, the way you rolled success and damage rolls, and the flow of the combat system (and later, the magic system in Fantasy) all had much more of a TFT than Hero feel to me.

Then again, Hero itself does look a bit like a highly evolved TFT game, so there you go...

David L Pulver 12-27-2017 02:21 AM

Re: The Fantasy Trip
 
Another odd thought...

I expect Steve might want fulfill his original vision of a high-budget boxed TFT set with good production values, cardboard heroes, tactical maps, etc. using Kickstarter...

I don't know whether or not expanding the TFT line with new material (e.g., new adventures, or a science fiction or post-apocalypse setup, or material for Cidri) would be sensible, but it would certainly be interesting...

I wonder if we might see a "GURPS Cidri" world setting - it would fit well with Infinite Worlds and due to its highly open ended nature, could even be a good "background world" for Dungeon Fantasy. And there were elements in Cidri that I always found interesting - in particular, the implied magical academy in Wizard intro fiction, the giant size of the world, and the multiversal background that recalled things like World of the Tiers and Dying Earth. Also, it had a few creatures that every game needs. Prootwaddles!

pyratejohn 12-27-2017 07:49 AM

Re: The Fantasy Trip
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by David L Pulver (Post 2145687)
"In the Labyrinth" (1980?) appears to contain one of first published uses of the term "Tank" as a term to describe a melee fighter in a fantasy game. Was it already current in gaming slang at the time?

That was the first time I remember encountering it. I always chuckle when my video gamer friends would use the term, given its apparent obscure heritage.

JLV 12-27-2017 12:52 PM

Re: The Fantasy Trip
 
I would definitely pop for a Cidri Worldbook, whether it was GURPS or TFT (though, frankly, I'd prefer TFT). And all the things that others have mentioned about Cidri that made it memorable are exactly what I liked too.

On a lot of the house rules, I always went for KISS as much as possible. Thus, instead of using ST to power Spells, I had Wizards use "mana" points until they ran out, when they could THEN use ST to power them. How did they get Mana Points? IQ = number of Mana Points available. Simple. (Plus, it encouraged Wizards to plus up their IQs more.) If they ran out of mana, they could use their internal ST to still cast, but as with any other ST loss, it potentially took days to recover from. Mana recovered at the rate of 1 point every 30 minutes of uninterrupted rest. A similar system was used for people who wanted to play D&D-like "Clerics." Instead of mana, they used "Favor" (from their god(s)) which worked exactly like Mana, except it could only be recovered by praying -- 1 point per 30 minutes of uninterrupted prayer. ST batteries then became Mana pools or blessed items with a favor bonus...at the very least, it added atmosphere to the game!

In short, there are lots of different ways to approach these things. Almost all of my house rules were designed to overcome the attribute inflation problem that confronted everyone if they played a campaign that lasted long enough (and the characters survived that long!).

Dave Crowell 12-27-2017 02:45 PM

Re: The Fantasy Trip
 
Miniatures in a variety of scales are widely available and so would not be a huge selling point for in a new TFT boxed set(s).

Mounted mapboards like ODE would be a definite selling point.

I am evenly split on the question of chipboard "Cardboard Heroes" of flat counters.

A roll-up vinyl gaming mat printed with a mega-hex grid would be a great thing too. I have a couple of regular hex mat gaming mats, but would love one with megahexes.

Carnifex 12-27-2017 05:52 PM

Re: The Fantasy Trip
 
I would not mind seeing Melee and Wizard reprinted in the original Micro Game format, similar to the Ogre Pocket Edition you guys did a few years ago. My copies are looking pretty ragged these days.

David L Pulver 12-27-2017 10:12 PM

Re: The Fantasy Trip
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Dave Crowell (Post 2145803)
I am evenly split on the question of chipboard "Cardboard Heroes" of flat counters.

A roll-up vinyl gaming mat printed with a mega-hex grid would be a great thing too. I have a couple of regular hex mat gaming mats, but would love one with megahexes.

Both of those would be cool.

If we got new painted counters or cardboard heroes, it would be nice to see them reflect the funky 70s style of the originals. Those Wizard and Melee silhouettes had a very interesting fashion style (flaring trousers, etc.)

Also, I really liked the TFT dragon counter designs, with their vaguely insectoid heads and wings, and barbed tails. To the extent that I actually wrote them up as a race for Traveller after my TFT campaign ended...

David L Pulver 12-27-2017 10:15 PM

Re: The Fantasy Trip
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by JLV (Post 2145787)
I would definitely pop for a Cidri Worldbook, whether it was GURPS or TFT (though, frankly, I'd prefer TFT). And all the things that others have mentioned about Cidri that made it memorable are exactly what I liked too.

On a lot of the house rules, I always went for KISS as much as possible. Thus, instead of using ST to power Spells, I had Wizards use "mana" points until they ran out, when they could THEN use ST to power them. How did they get Mana Points? IQ = number of Mana Points available. Simple. (

Yeah, that's viable, and I remember using a version that worked something like it as well.

(Well, if SJ doesn't end up modifying it, I guess that will just keep these boards busy with TFT house rules, which will also be fun...)

JLV 12-27-2017 10:19 PM

Re: The Fantasy Trip
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by David L Pulver (Post 2145891)

(Well, if SJ doesn't end up modifying it, I guess that will just keep these boards busy with TFT house rules, which will also be fun...)

LOL! Yep, and this is just the crowd to do it -- after all, we HAVE been doing it for the past 40 years of "wandering in the desert!" ;-)

Dr. Beckenstein 12-29-2017 05:13 AM

Re: The Fantasy Trip
 
Okay, just to spoil the fun:

Would it be worth the effort to run a game?

Or would it be more of a collector's item, satisfying the nostalgia of a few old geezers?

Dave Crowell 12-29-2017 07:05 AM

Re: The Fantasy Trip
 
I would say, yes, it is definitely worth the effort to run a game. Multiple people are posting that they continue to use their old sets to play games. I have a group who I think would take to Melee and Wizard for arena style games like a duck takes to water.

I don't think it would be just the nostalgia of a few geezers any more than Ogre is.

Chris Rice 12-29-2017 07:54 AM

Re: The Fantasy Trip
 
Everyone I've introduced it to has taken to it quickly and really enjoyed it. I think if it's officially reborn it could become quite popular, especially if we have some shiny new books and support materials. I really want a GMs shield!!!

Shostak 12-29-2017 12:04 PM

Re: The Fantasy Trip
 
TFT is very quick to learn, so getting from zero to playtime would be very short. I know there are others will disagree (maybe even SJ himself), but, from my experience, TFT is a pretty good GURPS Light. I played it for years before GURPS came out, and when I got GURPS (1e) it was a seamless transition.

JLV 12-29-2017 12:51 PM

Re: The Fantasy Trip
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Dr. Beckenstein (Post 2146149)
Okay, just to spoil the fun:

Would it be worth the effort to run a game?

Or would it be more of a collector's item, satisfying the nostalgia of a few old geezers?

I'll defer to Carnifex's answer below.

ak_aramis 12-29-2017 04:47 PM

Re: The Fantasy Trip
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Chris Rice (Post 2146174)
Everyone I've introduced it to has taken to it quickly and really enjoyed it. I think if it's officially reborn it could become quite popular, especially if we have some shiny new books and support materials. I really want a GMs shield!!!

The official one was pretty good.

Carnifex 12-29-2017 04:56 PM

Re: The Fantasy Trip
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Dr. Beckenstein (Post 2146149)
Okay, just to spoil the fun:

Would it be worth the effort to run a game?

Or would it be more of a collector's item, satisfying the nostalgia of a few old geezers?

I think you are asking a valid question. The short answer is yes to both, those two things are not mutually exclusive.

JLV 12-29-2017 08:32 PM

Re: The Fantasy Trip
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by ak_aramis (Post 2146278)
The official one was pretty good.

Yes it was -- though unfortunately I didn't acquire a copy until about five years ago! ;-)

JLV 12-30-2017 12:05 PM

Re: The Fantasy Trip
 
A person named Jsnead over at RPG.net had this suggestion:

"That's awesome. My ideal would be a mildly tweaked and improved rule system (specifically including rules for buying additional talents and spells w/o having to increase INT), maybe a few more talents and spells, a bit more info on Cidri, and that's pretty much it. If the kickstarter did well, a SF version would also be wonderful."

Frankly, I think that describes what I would want in an ideal world as well. Steve has the opportunity to tweak the system now, and it would be a shame to "waste" it, but massive re-writes wouldn't be either necessary or desirable IMHO. And Jsnead cuts right to the heart of what I actually think DOES need tweaked. So count my vote for the above, as well!

Dave Crowell 12-30-2017 02:31 PM

Re: The Fantasy Trip
 
Having used Classic Traveller to run a fantasy campaign once, I don't think it would be difficult to produce a science fiction version of TFT.

The difficulty would come in that lazer ray guns have a tendency to vapourize people they hit!

JLV 12-30-2017 03:08 PM

Re: The Fantasy Trip
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Dave Crowell (Post 2146477)
Having used Classic Traveller to run a fantasy campaign once, I don't think it would be difficult to produce a science fiction version of TFT.

The difficulty would come in that lazer ray guns have a tendency to vapourize people they hit!

Actually, you should wander over to Dark City Games and check out their free download of Time and Space -- their TFT clone's Sci-Fi version -- I've been buying the Sci-Fi programmed adventures as money permits, and enjoying them very much, but the basic rules are free and would get you well on the way...

They also have some old west rules, Untamed West; which, alas, they only have one programmed adventure for, but are very well done too. Mind you, there are differences between their rules and TFT -- fairly significant ones -- but they're easily understood and used.

David L Pulver 12-31-2017 02:53 AM

Re: The Fantasy Trip
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Dave Crowell (Post 2146477)
Having used Classic Traveller to run a fantasy campaign once, I don't think it would be difficult to produce a science fiction version of TFT.

The difficulty would come in that lazer ray guns have a tendency to vapourize people they hit!

If you don't want them too, just write the rules so they don't. For instance, if you say that a blaster pistol shoots twice a round, gets 1d+1 damage, and hits ignore the first 10 points of medieval armor due to its ultra-tech penetration, it's not all-killing but it is quite effective.

The main problem I found in TFT combat was that, barring the silly Unarmed Combat rules, it was "all offense." You couldn't play something like a cinematic swordfight involving light armored or unarmored fighters, because fighters only increased in attack ability (higher DX) but DX never improved your defensive ability. This is not a fault in the rules _as a game_ but it is a problem as a roleplaying game, because it makes certain common characters hard to play.

I've seen various fixes for it - the 'abort to parry' (roll vs. DX but lose your next turn and retreat 1 hex is cute, but can get tedious), the GURPS parry (parry at half DX plus 2-3), the "high levels of Fencing talent impose 4d or 5d attacks" (two powerful in my book), the "extra HPs" etc. but it remains the single biggest issue I have with the system. At the same time, such fixes also risk slowing down the game and interfering with its existing balance, so I've never been quite happy with them, though the GURPS style works the best for me since it fits well with players who also play GURPS. When I ran the anime Fight: Iczir One with variant TFT rules and grafted on super powers and mecha rules, I used that version plus a GURPS-style dodge mechanic.

Mind you, I've still used TFT "as is" for games where the characters are going to play somewhat stereotypical bruisers or where combined arms magic /spellcasting is common. Oddly enough, however, if you do use TFT for a modern or future setting this is less important as the emphasis is more on ranged than gun combat.

ak_aramis 12-31-2017 04:27 AM

Re: The Fantasy Trip
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Dave Crowell (Post 2146477)
Having used Classic Traveller to run a fantasy campaign once, I don't think it would be difficult to produce a science fiction version of TFT.

The difficulty would come in that lazer ray guns have a tendency to vapourize people they hit!

Ty Beard had a high-tech adaptation and traveller crossover.

ISTR Ty hangs out here.

JLV 12-31-2017 11:12 AM

Re: December 26, 2017: The Fantasy Trip Returns Home
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by David L Pulver (Post 2146619)
Why not do something like THE OGRE BOOK that included fiction, variants, and optional rules (past or updated) and scenarios from SJ and a variety of authors?

Or even do one of these every so often as a "TFT Annual" - keeps the system "pure" in the sense of the original game, but provides a venue for variants, options, and Cidri material.

I love the clean design of the original TFT system, but agree that some of SJ's rules that made into GURPS would be a nice fit for TFT.

* A parry/defense mechanism, so the Grey Mouser can survive against Fafhrd. (I like the GURPS-inspired "half adjusted DX/2 + 3").

* Some sort of energy battery rule for mages so they don't have to be high ST. Power stones, storing energy in staves, making magical energy a separate pool equal to ST + IQ/2, whatever...

Both of these are useful for genre emulation; I'd like to see something like this at least as an official option...

Using the Ogre Annual paradigm for TFT is absolutely brilliant! Definitely I would support such a concept. Likewise the Ogre Book concept (though both together would be even better)!

I also agree that the players ought to have the option of some kind of defense (and that the existing Dodge rule is bit off and should probably be better framed). the GURPS Parry rule works well for that purpose. Of note, however, the tactical time scales in GURPS and TFT are very different -- TFT's tactical turns are 5 seconds (which is an eternity in a sword fight, based on my fencing experience, with multiple attacks and parries usually occurring), whereas GURPS' are what? One second? Two? So that may influence how Steve approaches the issue (if he addresses it at all).

ST batteries already exist, but I have always permitted players to store ST in their staves (1x owner's IQ for a Staff, and 3x owner's IQ for a Staff of Power). There was a process they had to go through to put the ST in there (effectively, they had to spend 1 hour meditating for each point they put in, couldn't put in more than IQ/3 per day, had to count the ST as lost for that day, and had to recover -- as fatigue -- before they could do it again; charging up a staff was a time management issue!), but it just seemed logical and gives someone a reason to have a staff besides having a physical weapon they can use. It also meant that ST batteries weren't as eagerly sought as they were without the above rule, but that was okay too.

One other thing I'd like to see added would be healing magic; that always seemed an odd thing to be missing, though perhaps Steve had reasons for it that weren't ever stated (or at least, that I never read anywhere).

Skarg 12-31-2017 01:14 PM

Re: December 26, 2017: The Fantasy Trip Returns Home
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by JLV (Post 2146697)
I also agree that the players ought to have the option of some kind of defense (and that the existing Dodge rule is bit off and should probably be better framed). the GURPS Parry rule works well for that purpose. Of note, however, the tactical time scales in GURPS and TFT are very different -- TFT's tactical turns are 5 seconds (which is an eternity in a sword fight, based on my fencing experience, with multiple attacks and parries usually occurring), whereas GURPS' are what? One second? Two? So that may influence how Steve approaches the issue (if he addresses it at all).

Yes, lacking some ability-based way to not get killed (other than defense with no offense, or taking all your adjacent foes out first, or having lots of armor) makes a big difference in how the game plays, and I think is a weakness of Melee.


Quote:

One other thing I'd like to see added would be healing magic; that always seemed an odd thing to be missing, though perhaps Steve had reasons for it that weren't ever stated (or at least, that I never read anywhere).
I'd want any healing magic to be optional. Having nothing but possibly expensive low-power healing potions was a case of "less is more", for me. It means avoiding injury, and dealing with the consequences of it, is very important. When you add healing magic (unless it is extremely limited), it often has a massive effect on gameplay, making the stakes much more "all or nothing" and to me, much less interesting in comparison to all my experiences without it in TFT. Suddenly everyone needs/wants healing wizards, tactics change, people expect to be able to get cut up and be instantly all healed, etc.

JLV 12-31-2017 02:06 PM

Re: December 26, 2017: The Fantasy Trip Returns Home
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Skarg (Post 2146726)
I'd want any healing magic to be optional. Having nothing but possibly expensive low-power healing potions was a case of "less is more", for me. It means avoiding injury, and dealing with the consequences of it, is very important. When you add healing magic (unless it is extremely limited), it often has a massive effect on gameplay, making the stakes much more "all or nothing" and to me, much less interesting in comparison to all my experiences without it in TFT. Suddenly everyone needs/wants healing wizards, tactics change, people expect to be able to get cut up and be instantly all healed, etc.

There's something in what you say, but the sheer lethality of TFT combat means that either you go through a lot of characters, or you go into the dungeon, clear four or five rooms, return to town to heal up for several weeks, re-enter the dungeon, re-clear the same four or five rooms (which have since been reoccupied), return to town, heal up for several weeks, rinse, repeat...

Though I agree, magical healing ought to be fairly expensive for minimal results -- only healing a couple of points of damage (1D/2 for example, for a similar ST cost for the spell), just so the characters don't become impervious tanks shrugging off the threat of damage. Also that level of cost means the Wizard character has to seriously consider just how much personal "damage" he is willing to take to heal a little bit of damage to another character! (Edited to add: Perhaps at that point the Wizard only does healing in order to "stabilize" a character so the team can get him/her back to town for proper healing.)

Skarg 12-31-2017 03:04 PM

Re: December 26, 2017: The Fantasy Trip Returns Home
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by JLV (Post 2146734)
There's something in what you say, but the sheer lethality of TFT combat means that either you go through a lot of characters, or you go into the dungeon, clear four or five rooms, return to town to heal up for several weeks, re-enter the dungeon, re-clear the same four or five rooms (which have since been reoccupied), return to town, heal up for several weeks, rinse, repeat...

Well, it means it depends on what happens in the combat, which means you need to care and do your best and think of tactics that work (and all the more reason to want a defense mechanic that Melee doesn't have without a house rule), and be ready for unexpected sudden setbacks and disasters and to deal with the developing situation that comes out of that.

One alternative method involves making sure you have enough comrades and/or hirelings and wagon/animals to be able to have some people set up a resting camp that won't get wiped out by a few wolves, and do do more scouting and bringing along semi-disposable assistants and so on. To me, that's really interesting - much moreso than having healing wizards and having injury and healing much less of an issue (or even not really an issue - see GURPS Major Healing, or not an issue at all - see D&D 5e) but the replacement issue you get is there are fewer possible outcomes other than success or death (and if you toss in revival or resurrection, not even that, so the stakes raise to Total Party Kill or else no real effect), which is a very different dynamic more typical of other RPGs, less interesting to me and less like TFT (and skewing the balance of TFT adventures), so why it seems like a good thing to make optional if it's added.


Quote:

Though I agree, magical healing ought to be fairly expensive for minimal results -- only healing a couple of points of damage (1D/2 for example, for a similar ST cost for the spell), just so the characters don't become impervious tanks shrugging off the threat of damage. Also that level of cost means the Wizard character has to seriously consider just how much personal "damage" he is willing to take to heal a little bit of damage to another character! (Edited to add: Perhaps at that point the Wizard only does healing in order to "stabilize" a character so the team can get him/her back to town for proper healing.)
Yes, it becomes important to compare what you're introducing and how it will be used. 1 damage per 2 days of full rest is slower than lying down (will your GM let you do it in a wagon while traveling?) for 1 fatigue per 15 minutes by a factor of about 128 to 192 (depending on how much unbroken sleep you need and what else your wizard might want to do in a day). In other words, there's a massive difference in something very important, especially if you're talking about healing powerful characters. Such an ability starts to make a combat team look incompetent if they aren't using healing magic as much as possible, and means the balance on power more or less requires it, etc. At which point the wizards may get slightly annoyed at how much healing everyone wants them to do, etc. It's a whole other dynamic, and worth thinking about before committing to one level of magic healing for a campaign.

One of the cool things I love about Tollenkar's Lair is that it discusses the eventuality of needing to heal and replace losses for the adversary NPC groups as well. That would be quite different if the party (or adversary NPCs) has fast magical healing.

In GURPS, in the cases I don't just remove the healing spells, I tend to nerf them by adding expensive spell ingredients that get used up, and limiting the amount of healing they can do (e.g. 1 per wound, or an amount per character per time) and/or adding risks of mishap that are scary and get more and more likely the more frequently someone tries healing magic on the same person in a certain time frame.

In any case, I think it's about being conscious of what the healing rate you're creating is, and who has access to it, how much it costs, and what the limits are, so you can get a grasp of how it will affect both play and the expectations and practices of the competent people in the world.

Since I started with TFT and played it for years and got to really like having to deal with all the injuries and having healing potion be a rare, limited, fragile and expensive commodity, I grew to really like and appreciate that.

Chris Rice 12-31-2017 03:23 PM

Re: December 26, 2017: The Fantasy Trip Returns Home
 
Defence: Back in the day I used a simple resolution table to solve this perceived problem. I set the median value at 11, so that two fighters of the same skill would have just over a 50 per cent chance to hit each other. Actually, there was no real need for the table. Start each figure at 11 and adjust as follows based on the values of their adjDX:

Take the difference between the two values and halve it. Add one half to the value of the figure with the higher score and remove the other half from the lower score. If there is an odd number add the spare 1 to the higher value. Example...

DX14 v DX14 (difference 0) =11v11
DX14 v DX13 (difference 1) =12v11
DX14 v DX12 (difference 2) =12v10
DX14 v DX11 (difference 3) =13v10
DX14 v DX10 (difference 4) =13v9 and so on...

I felt this fixed a number of problems with the original rules, including reigning back the power of the polearm charging character with 14 adjDX who almost never missed and did massive damage, without taking away the value of having a higher DX score completely.

For simplicities sake, and where there are multiple combatants, allow the figures to perform actions in the order of their adjDX before applying the resolution adjustment.

Later on I used this idea for other things such as casting spells; IQ of spell v IQ of caster, etc

larsdangly 12-31-2017 08:39 PM

Re: December 26, 2017: The Fantasy Trip Returns Home
 
There is a pretty simple house rule (or set of house rules) that I instituted in my TFT campaigns 20+ years ago, and it addresses both the survivability issue and the issues people have noted when everyone's adjusted DX is above 16. It involves a couple of interlocking parts:

Any 'Attack' action (not charge attacks; normal attacks) can be executed as any number of sub-actions, where each sub-action could be an attack, a parry or a dodge. But, for every sub-action performed after the first, you must add 1 more die to every roll for every sub action performed that turn. E.g., two attacks and a parry would normally mean every roll is made on 5 dice.

A parry is a standard (usually 3d) roll vs. adjDX, directed at one specified attack. If it succeeds, it blocks 3x the damage points that would normally be stopped if the parrying object (weapon or shield) had been used to block like a shield. So, a dagger or buckler parry stops 3; a sword or standard shield parry stops 6, and a great sword or tower shield 9. If a weapon or shield is used to parry it does not provide its normal block score protection on the same turn (and visa versa)

A dodge is a new action that just lets you avoid a single melee or missile attack. It is rolled on 3d, and requires a 1 point talent to do at normal adj.DX and otherwise has a -4 penalty (so it is like a weapon skill in this sense).

The biggest constraint is that no single part of you (sword, buckler, fist, foot, etc.) can perform more than one sub-action, with the exception of 'balanced' weapons (most swords, quarterstaff, one or two others), which can make 2, and dodges, which can be made any number of times. Thus, a very ambitious person might choose to dodge, attack and parry with a sword (which is a balanced weapon) and deliver a stout kick. This person will get two pretty good 'active' defenses that turn, potentially negating two separate attacks, and will deliver two attacks himself. On the other hand, he or she is going to have to roll 6d6 vs. adjDX for every sub-action. With an average roll of 21, the DX score better be high!

This might sound complicated on a first read through, but I've used it for literally thousands of hours of play over many years, and it works awesome as a riff on standard Melee rules. It's the sort of thing that becomes second nature once you understand it and doesn't really slow play.

bookworm562 01-02-2018 07:45 PM

Re: The Fantasy Trip
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by David L Pulver (Post 2146613)
If you don't want them too, just write the rules so they don't. For instance, if you say that a blaster pistol shoots twice a round, gets 1d+1 damage, and hits ignore the first 10 points of medieval armor due to its ultra-tech penetration, it's not all-killing but it is quite effective.

The main problem I found in TFT combat was that, barring the silly Unarmed Combat rules, it was "all offense." You couldn't play something like a cinematic swordfight involving light armored or unarmored fighters, because fighters only increased in attack ability (higher DX) but DX never improved your defensive ability. This is not a fault in the rules _as a game_ but it is a problem as a roleplaying game, because it makes certain common characters hard to play.

I've seen various fixes for it - the 'abort to parry' (roll vs. DX but lose your next turn and retreat 1 hex is cute, but can get tedious), the GURPS parry (parry at half DX plus 2-3), the "high levels of Fencing talent impose 4d or 5d attacks" (two powerful in my book), the "extra HPs" etc. but it remains the single biggest issue I have with the system. At the same time, such fixes also risk slowing down the game and interfering with its existing balance, so I've never been quite happy with them, though the GURPS style works the best for me since it fits well with players who also play GURPS. When I ran the anime Fight: Iczir One with variant TFT rules and grafted on super powers and mecha rules, I used that version plus a GURPS-style dodge mechanic.

Mind you, I've still used TFT "as is" for games where the characters are going to play somewhat stereotypical bruisers or where combined arms magic /spellcasting is common. Oddly enough, however, if you do use TFT for a modern or future setting this is less important as the emphasis is more on ranged than gun combat.

The all offense critique isn't much different than an armor class in D&D, I thought. Someone else rolls a number to determine whether you're hit. I found that it made people much more wary about a fight, and when they decided to fight it was as it should be, ALL in.

JLV 01-02-2018 09:03 PM

Re: The Fantasy Trip
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by bookworm562 (Post 2147202)
The all offense critique isn't much different than an armor class in D&D, I thought. Someone else rolls a number to determine whether you're hit. I found that it made people much more wary about a fight, and when they decided to fight it was as it should be, ALL in.

That's a pretty good point, right there. But I still see a possible use for a "parry" move, personally...

As I've pointed out before, tactical turns in TFT are five seconds long (in GURPS they are one second or so) -- a very long time in a sword fight, in which a certain amount of chopping goes on, not just a single technique. In five seconds in fencing you can literally have five attacks, parries, ripostes, etc., by each contender. Now obviously a broadsword isn't a rapier, but at the same time, someone using a broadsword as a preferred weapon is probably strong enough to use it pretty rapidly. So really, the difference is between acting "primarily on the offense" or "primarily on the defense" by selecting an "attack" move versus a "parry" move. Which is probably a valid player choice, actually.

Nonetheless, Steve spent a LOT of time thinking about this back in the day, and I'm assuming he has his reasons for doing it the way he did, and adding a "defense" may significantly change the flow of the game. At the end of the day, I'll defer to Steve's judgement on this...whatever it may be with the new edition!

Steve Jackson 01-02-2018 09:23 PM

Re: The Fantasy Trip
 
And I will think about it . . . but these were meant as games, rather than sims, and they were meant to be fast.

I have sent a letter of inquiry to Ty Beard's business e-mail (the only one I have, afaik) and we'll see if he is still interested in TFT.

Refplace 01-03-2018 12:10 PM

Re: The Fantasy Trip
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Steve Jackson (Post 2147218)
And I will think about it . . . but these were meant as games, rather than sims, and they were meant to be fast.

And since you already have a great sim game why compete with it?
Fast and simple still has a niche. I think its part of the reason so many card and board games are still popular, even in the age of computers.

Refplace 01-03-2018 12:18 PM

Re: The Fantasy Trip
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by David L Pulver (Post 2145689)

- Mages and ST: There's something to be said for the elegant rules as written, but allowing mages to buy an "magical energy" talent (every point spent on it gives you 3 points) or some such can avoid Conan the High ST Mage. If doing so, however, suggest capping missile spells at 3d maximum...

I actually built that into my setting, called everyone a Spirit so high ST and weakening yourself to cast spells made a certain kind of sense.

bookworm562 01-03-2018 12:18 PM

Re: The Fantasy Trip
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Steve Jackson (Post 2147218)
And I will think about it . . . but these were meant as games, rather than sims, and they were meant to be fast.

I have sent a letter of inquiry to Ty Beard's business e-mail (the only one I have, afaik) and we'll see if he is still interested in TFT.

It turns out to be remarkably realistic though. Most fights with blades are close and finish. Any experienced fighter has to assume 3 or more on one. Basically, it requires 3 to box a victim in for a robbery or worse.

Whatever became of Starleader: Assault! I remember a play test being worked on sometime back. It was just notes at the time and something that disappeared along with Metagaming.

JLV 01-03-2018 12:19 PM

Re: The Fantasy Trip
 
Steve, since we're on the subject of rules issues, one of my main ones has always been "attribute bloat." I've written about it several times over on Mark Tabyanan's fan-site, and pretty much every house rule I've ever made for TFT has been dedicated to overcoming that issue. If the average human female has a ST of 9-11 and the average human male has a ST of 10-12, being able to bump a character up to a ST of 43 seems...excessive. Similarly, if an IQ of greater than 14 is considered "genius," and we know that actual "geniuses" are rare in human history, an IQ of 36 somehow seems extreme. DX, at least, tends to be self-limiting to some extent -- after about 20 it's really sort of pointless to add in extra DX points for the most part.

Nonetheless, in the rules as written, you have to bump up to these extreme levels in order to be able to become that master wizard, or Conanesque warrior. Which goes back directly to the XP system wherein you are only allowed to spend XP for attribute plus-up, and how IQ limits learning in the game.

I've spent a lot of time (a couple of decades!) thinking about this, and have some thoughts I'd like to share with you on the topic.

XP expenditures should not be limited solely to attributes; in addition, using XP as a method of acquiring new skills and spells can be used to basically eliminate all the confusing rules on how new spells, languages and skills are learned and old ones are unlearned.

XP for attribute increase should be high. I'm thinking on the order of 200 XP to increase an attribute point at the "up to 36 total attribute points" level and doubling thereafter at each stage as listed in ITL (i.e., 400 at the "37-40" level, 800 at the "41-45" level, and so on), but even without changing that, the following system still works (attribute points are just more attractive than they otherwise would be, for a while). However, new Skills and Spells could be acquired by spending XP to earn them directly, instead of via attribute increases. This not only forces the players to make "resource management" decisions, but also effectively can simulate the time it takes to learn a new thing.

For Wizard Characters, the cost to gain a new Spell might be 20x the IQ level of the new Spell; while for non-Wizards it could be 60x Spell's IQ level. Spells have a higher cost because they don't have a built-in "difficulty" differential in the form of the number of IQ points they absorb to learn (they are all 1-point items).

Likewise, skills for the non-Wizard could be at 10x IQ level of the skill, while for Wizards it could be 30x the IQ level. Since skills (or "Talents" currently) are given varying "difficulty levels" in the form of the number of IQ points they absorb when you learn them, you could add in a modifier for the difficulty by again multiplying the number of XP by the existing number of IQ points the skill absorbs (that is, a 3-point skill would cost three times as much in XP as a 1-point skill). So, learning PHYSICKER (IQ-11, 2 points) would cost the non-Wizard player 220 XP to learn, and could only be learned by a character with an IQ of 11 or higher.

This would also require decoupling the number of skills/spells a player can have from his total IQ, and would instead enable a much freer construction of character type -- IF you survive long enough to accumulate the required XP. It also forces the player to choose between new skills, and new attribute points in expending XP. Finally, it also puts some effective limits on the number of attribute points a player gains -- at least until he acquires every single skill and spell in existence... Finally, it removes the need for "learning time" rules because the acquisition of XP requires time, and effectively handles that issue for you. Certainly, an FM could still require a player to state what skills/spells/languages/attributes s/he's working on improving, if the FM so chooses, but even that really isn't necessary...it sort of comes out in the wash with this concept. It also removes the need to "forget" things before you can acquire others, which always struck me as an artificiality we were more or less forced into by the "IQ limits the number of Skills/Spells/Languages you can know" rule.

Oh, and starting characters should be limited to four or five skills/spells at the time of character creation, just for simplicity's sake...

Languages would be handled a bit differently. Your starting language is a free "skill" that every character has and which does not count against starting skills. (Literacy in that language might be a different issue, though!) At its simplest, learning new languages would require, say, 150 to 200 XP per language learned. Since there are no "IQ requirements" to learn a language, that would be a straight requirement across the board (and the same for both Wizards and Warriors).

Of note, this is an overly simplistic depiction of languages. Learning "pidgen" is infinitely easier than learning Latin, and learning Latin is much easier than learning Mandarin Chinese. To my mind, there ought to be a "difficulty level" for languages. Not tied to IQ, but just a recognition that some languages are easier to learn than others. It could be handled in the same way as skills currently are -- 1 to 3 points of "difficulty."

Literacy in a language is an issue too, and currently TFT has the LITERACY skill which doesn't really work the way it ought to because it requires IQ points to learn. Technically, just because you are literate in one language, that doesn't mean you are in any other. Sure, for those languages using the same alphabet, it's easy enough to transfer across, but if anyone thinks literacy is easy, try to read a Russian street sign, or an Arabic protest banner.

If I were going to use a different system for languages, I would probably say that learning to speak a language is a 150 point XP spend (based on the revised costs for other things I've listed above). You could complicate things more, if you wanted, by requiring multiple spends to improve fluency in the spoken version, but in that case the individual cost for levels of fluency should be dropped to, say, 50 points per level. You might have 3 levels -- 1, can make oneself understood, 2 fluent but obviously a foreigner, and 3, idiomatic -- which would keep in line with the 1, 2, and 3 point skills already existing in TFT. Some languages (like pidgen, again) might only BE a 1-pointer -- you either know it or you don't and there is no such thing as being idiomatic.

However, learning to write and read the language is an additional XP spend costing some additional number of points based on the written form; if you already know a language using the same kind of alphabet, and you're literate in that alphabet, it's free; while if you have to learn a new alphabet it's 50 to 100 points, and if you have to learn thousands of ideographs, it's a lot more (200? 300?). You could also place languages into "families" which lessen the learning difficulty if you already know one language in the family, but again, that's a complication and is tied to specific game worlds for the most part, and may be way overthinking this whole subject.

Another way to approach this would be to simply assign "difficulty levels" to languages -- e.g., Sorcerer's Tongue is a 3 pointer, while Common is a 1 pointer, and so on, with the cost to learn a language set at, for example, 100 XP times the difficulty level (and trader's pidgen being only 50 points perhaps). Actually, if I were using this system, I wouldn't even have "Common" since it's a purely Tolkienesque "lingua franca" artifice that defeats the purpose of having different languages anyway. Trader's Pidgen would take it's place as a "universal" tongue, but since it's limited pretty much to trade talk, it really isn't much good for tactical combat orders or peace negotiations...which more or less requires players to spend some XP learning the local language.

Steve, I know you're probably sick to death of unsolicited ideas for your baby (TFT), but really, the attribute bloat issue is the one consistent problem that has eventually contributed to the end of every campaign I've ever run -- when you've become a God-like, 200-point character, regularly slay 14-hex dragons without breaking a sweat, and can out-cast a platoon of other Wizards, what's left to pique your interest? Giving the players other things to spend their hard-earned XP on increases their resource management burden and slows the approach of God-hood to the point that even a long-played character still has to worry about that NPC fencing master that he honked off about 20 sessions ago catching up with him!

If I've wasted everyone's time with this, I apologize, but needed to say something on this topic, and where better to say it to than here, with the guy who made the magic happen in the first place? Besides, this gives people the opportunity to shoot my ideas full of holes, which is helpful to me, at least...

JLV 01-03-2018 01:26 PM

Re: The Fantasy Trip
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Refplace (Post 2147320)
I actually built that into my setting, called everyone a Spirit so high ST and weakening yourself to cast spells made a certain kind of sense.

I did something similar to Mr. Pulver's suggestion -- players burned "Mana" initially to power spells, but could then, once their mana was gone, use ST to power them until they went unconscious. How much Mana did they get? Mana = IQ! Simple. ST batteries were no longer ST batteries, but now were Mana pools. For religious types, "Favor" was used instead of Mana -- how much Favor did you get? Favor = IQ! Simple. And religious symbols or items could become "Favor pools." You "re-charged" Favor by praying, and you re-charged Mana by meditating. How long does it take per point? The same time as "resting" takes to restore a point of fatigue! Simple. Those were the mechanics -- roleplaying it was more fun -- the Priest did something against what his deity represents? Oops, he can't restore Favor until he gains forgiveness from his deity! The Wizard can't both rest AND meditate at the same time...and he has to do both to be ready for the next day's business...

Of course, I also used IQ to roll for spell success instead of DX. And I let players store Mana in their staffs (Staff can store the owner's IQ equivalent in Mana, and Staff of Power can store three times the owner's IQ level in Mana).

(I understand the argument for DX as an element of spell casting, to say nothing of the simplicity of using the same attribute for all action determination, however IQ just seems more appropriate for spell success than DX does -- just as rolling against your ST to lift something makes more sense than rolling against DX to do so.)

Prootwaddle 01-03-2018 01:26 PM

Re: The Fantasy Trip
 
I'm personally pretty happy with the TFT rules as is... aside from the mapping system, which I really think needs to be replaced.

As far as I know, few DMs use the existing rules for mapping, since maintaining different sheets of scenery for levels of dungeons, and quickly sketching buildings ect. over the grid is far easier than trying to construct a building out of hexes. There are also a few modular versions of maps for TFT out there that do that, too, which I use extensively in my campaign.

Most players I've run into on the net also rule that, for hexes with more than one terrain type in them, that whatever takes up the majority of a hex constitutes that hexes terrain.

Other than that, as long as the rules are all contained in one book, and easily glossed, I'll be supremely happy. TFT works very well as a quick, easy, and fun system, and I think the more it resists complexity the better. I like it's fast paced combat in particular, since I'm more interested in roleplaying a character.

With games like Pathfinder or DnD, I find the combat tends to get in the way of this. I feel in those systems I spend too much time just waiting around for combat to resolve. And then, the rules surrounding combat are so complex that when my turn finally arrives, I am at a loss on what to do. I much prefer the more realistic, and to the point style TFT has with combat.

Personally, I find the solution to getting a party to gain skills is not to try and force the rules to allow for the creation of jack-of-all trade types through character growth, but rather to simply create new, specialized characters. TFT is one of the few systems I know where players controlling multiple characters is a practical option, since character creation and stating is a fairly simple endeavor.

I also hope some of the solitaire adventures are included in any forthcoming release. A great option for those nights when you suddenly find half your adventuring pals have had to pull out unexpectedly, and you are left a very bored DM.

JLV 01-03-2018 07:30 PM

Re: The Fantasy Trip
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Prootwaddle (Post 2147335)
I'm personally pretty happy with the TFT rules as is... aside from the mapping system, which I really think needs to be replaced.

It's a point of view, certainly. Over the last 30 years, the most common critique I've heard (other than the mapping system, which I agree, needs work) is over the problem of Attribute Bloat.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Prootwaddle (Post 2147335)
As far as I know, few DMs use the existing rules for mapping, since maintaining different sheets of scenery for levels of dungeons, and quickly sketching buildings ect. over the grid is far easier than trying to construct a building out of hexes. There are also a few modular versions of maps for TFT out there that do that, too, which I use extensively in my campaign.

Most players I've run into on the net also rule that, for hexes with more than one terrain type in them, that whatever takes up the majority of a hex constitutes that hexes terrain.

That last is a common standard among wargamers -- but I do agree that the mapping system is...awkward...at best, and could use a good re-look to see if there's a way to make it work better.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Prootwaddle (Post 2147335)
Other than that, as long as the rules are all contained in one book, and easily glossed, I'll be supremely happy. TFT works very well as a quick, easy, and fun system, and I think the more it resists complexity the better. I like it's fast paced combat in particular, since I'm more interested in roleplaying a character.

At the end of the day, I'm going to defer to Steve on all of this anyway; if there is literally something I can't live with in the game, I can either home-rule around it, or play GURPS; but I do think it's worth airing any issues we had with the original now, while the game is still in pre-development "limbo." If Steve chooses to not address those issues for whatever reason, well, as I've said elsewhere, he spent a LOT of time thinking his way through this system back in the day, and probably had his reasons for doing what he did at the time. (I'll admit, I'm hoping for some extensive designer/developer notes on all of this sometime, if for no other reason to help me understand why he did things the way he did...) The bottom line is that I'm going to be pretty happy with whatever Steve chooses to do, regardless of whether or not he listens to all the "good advice" I can give him! ;-) I'm really just ecstatic beyond belief that my favorite FRPG ever has this wonderful opportunity to once again see the light of day!

Quote:

Originally Posted by Prootwaddle (Post 2147335)
With games like Pathfinder or DnD, I find the combat tends to get in the way of this. I feel in those systems I spend too much time just waiting around for combat to resolve. And then, the rules surrounding combat are so complex that when my turn finally arrives, I am at a loss on what to do. I much prefer the more realistic, and to the point style TFT has with combat.

Particularly when D&D jumped the shark with 3.5. But back in the OSR days, D&D's combat system left me cold for other reasons -- mostly having to do with too much DM "interpretation" in the tactics of the situation. TFT put it right there on the map in front of you and not only sped resolution, but also provided tactical insight much better than a DM's description ever could. The best part was that Melee WAS simple -- the old SPI folks tried something similar with Dragonquest, but I found their combat system too picky and detail oriented; it slowed things down too much and led to too many "rules lawyer" debates -- Melee was right in my personal "sweet spot" for combat. It let us get right down to cases and resolve combat reasonably, and then get on with the adventure.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Prootwaddle (Post 2147335)
Personally, I find the solution to getting a party to gain skills is not to try and force the rules to allow for the creation of jack-of-all trade types through character growth, but rather to simply create new, specialized characters. TFT is one of the few systems I know where players controlling multiple characters is a practical option, since character creation and stating is a fairly simple endeavor.

Different strokes for different folks. I agree that TFT is one of the few systems (there may be others; I don't know every system out there) where playing multiple characters at the same time is "do-able," but I think the focus on "character development" sort of misses the point on Attribute Bloat. If you're only playing for a few sessions (say less than 20 or so) in a campaign, you are exactly correct. However, I've played/ran several campaigns over the past 30 years that lasted for over a hundred sessions, and in each case Attribute Bloat became an issue for the players and the FM by the end of the campaign... Not so much because of how the characters developed, but because the underlying, um, "unreality," of having a human character with a ST of 42 (where 10-12 is considered the human male average and Arnold Schwazenegger in his heyday would probably be somewhere around 18 or 19) made it harder and harder for the players to find worthy opposition, and to suspend their own personal disbelief and keep their heads in the campaign. Decoupling skills and spells somewhat from attributes has actually worked for me and my players to solve (or actually, probably better to say; "to minimize") the issue, since I started using the rules I presented above to do that. Which is not to say that "my way" is the best way, or the only way, or even a particularly good way -- simply that I spent some time trying to ensure Occam's Razor was sharp, and that they've actually been playtested to some extent by my groups over the years (certainly not as thoroughly as Steve would probably want, but there you have it).

Quote:

Originally Posted by Prootwaddle (Post 2147335)
I also hope some of the solitaire adventures are included in any forthcoming release. A great option for those nights when you suddenly find half your adventuring pals have had to pull out unexpectedly, and you are left a very bored DM.

I STRONGLY second this opinion! But I would like to add that I hope to see Tollenkar's Lair make a comeback as well -- especially if we can get more information on Ardonirane in the mix!

CJM 01-03-2018 09:43 PM

Re: December 26, 2017: The Fantasy Trip Returns Home
 
Just wanted to say congratulations on getting the rights back. I love TFT, my first and all time favorite RPG. 1982 was the year I was introduced to the gaming world through TFT. Have never found a game I have liked as much, and I have played many over the years. Kinda funny, I was always looking for one that would have the same feel to it as TFT. Some came close but no cigar. Really glad it's coming back.
I would vote to keep things simple. One role to hit, not a big fan of the parry, block, and dodge that are in GURPS. It's fine for GURPS but the real joy of playing TFT was how simple it was and how the combat didn't bog down. I would be all for a defensive score that made it more difficult to hit or be hit. Something along this line of thinking. For every increment of 2 above 10 on a characters AdjDX makes it a -1 to be hit. For example; my AdjDX is 12 so my opponent is at a -1 to hit me. 14=-2, 16=-3, so on and so forth. I don't know if that messes up any other mechanic, just brain storming here.

JLV 01-03-2018 10:13 PM

Re: December 26, 2017: The Fantasy Trip Returns Home
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by CJM (Post 2147436)
Just wanted to say congratulations on getting the rights back. I love TFT, my first and all time favorite RPG. 1982 was the year I was introduced to the gaming world through TFT. Have never found a game I have liked as much, and I have played many over the years. Kinda funny, I was always looking for one that would have the same feel to it as TFT. Some came close but no cigar. Really glad it's coming back.
I would vote to keep things simple. One role to hit, not a big fan of the parry, block, and dodge that are in GURPS. It's fine for GURPS but the real joy of playing TFT was how simple it was and how the combat didn't bog down. I would be all for a defensive score that made it more difficult to hit or be hit. Something along this line of thinking. For every increment of 2 above 10 on a characters AdjDX makes it a -1 to be hit. For example; my AdjDX is 12 so my opponent is at a -1 to hit me. 14=-2, 16=-3, so on and so forth. I don't know if that messes up any other mechanic, just brain storming here.

Actually, that's kind of what I was thinking of if a player opted to "DEFEND" instead of attack -- his defense adds to the attacker's dice roll (maybe +2?) -- so if the attacker has an AdjDX of 12, he now needs to roll a "10" or less to make it. Something simple, but that increases the defender's chance of survival long enough for his friend to move up and attack the enemy too...

Andrew Hackard 01-03-2018 10:32 PM

Re: The Fantasy Trip
 
Howdy, TFT fans! I just moved eight posts from the DI discussion thread over here because they were pretty crunchy and more suited to this forum than that one. I didn't want folks being confused when a new subdiscussion materialized out of nowhere!

pyratejohn 01-04-2018 06:21 AM

Re: December 26, 2017: The Fantasy Trip Returns Home
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by JLV (Post 2147440)
Actually, that's kind of what I was thinking of if a player opted to "DEFEND" instead of attack -- his defense adds to the attacker's dice roll (maybe +2?) -- so if the attacker has an AdjDX of 12, he now needs to roll a "10" or less to make it. Something simple, but that increases the defender's chance of survival long enough for his friend to move up and attack the enemy too...

I have a house rule I call "Spirited Defense." The defender is not allowed to do a shift, and must have done a "Defend" on its previous turn. This increases the attacker's difficulty to from 4d to 5d.

Carnifex 01-04-2018 12:22 PM

Re: The Fantasy Trip
 
I am not convinced adding parry or similar rule would add much to the game. I think it would serve mostly to slow things down. Having said that, I would not mind seeing it as an optional rule in the appendix or perhaps a nice write up in the Pyramid.

JLV 01-04-2018 12:58 PM

Re: The Fantasy Trip
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Carnifex (Post 2147544)
I am not convinced adding parry or similar rule would add much to the game. I think it would serve mostly to slow things down. Having said that, I would not mind seeing it as an optional rule in the appendix or perhaps a nice write up in the Pyramid.

It's entirely possible you are right, but I know a lot of people have added it in over the years (oddly enough, I'm not one of them; but I definitely see the philosophical justification for doing so). I don't think it would "slow things down" (the player simply states "I defend" instead of rolling to attack, and the attacker takes some kind of adjustment to his "to hit" roll); so I can't see quite why you think it would, but I'm always willing to listen to the other side of the debate, so if you could explain it to me, I'd be very appreciative! (NOT being sarcastic here -- I am genuinely interested in your thoughts on this!)

Regardless, this seems "controversial" enough so that maybe a Pyramid write-up would be the way to go...

Carnifex 01-04-2018 01:35 PM

Re: The Fantasy Trip
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by JLV (Post 2147550)
so I can't see quite why you think it would, but I'm always willing to listen to the other side of the debate, so if you could explain it to me, I'd be very appreciative! (NOT being sarcastic here -- I am genuinely interested in your thoughts on this!)
would be the way to go...

I am not really objecting to adding a defense action, I am just not convinced that it would add to the enjoyment of the game. Anything that makes a character harder to hit is by definition going to slow the game down and might add a level of frustration. I believe defense has already been abstracted nicely into Strength (Hit Points) and Armor (Damage Resistance).

My main concern is, I don't want TFT to become GURPS Mini. Update the presentation, fix the things that really need fixing, but otherwise, I'd prefer it be left as close to the original rules as possible.

Yes, I freely admit I am a Grognard.

JLV 01-04-2018 01:47 PM

Re: The Fantasy Trip
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Carnifex (Post 2147557)
I am not really objecting to adding a defense action, I am just not convinced that it would add to the enjoyment of the game. Anything that makes a character harder to hit is by definition going to slow the game down and might add a level of frustration. I believe defense has already been abstracted nicely into Strength (Hit Points) and Armor (Damage Resistance).

My main concern is, I don't want TFT to become GURPS Mini. Update the presentation, fix the things that really need fixing, but otherwise, I'd prefer it be left as close to the original rules as possible.

Okay, thanks. I totally get that. And I could definitely live with it that way (like I said, I've never introduced a "parry" action in my games, but I understand the position of those who want to). Whatever Steve goes with on this one is just fine by me.

And I agree; I want TFT to be TFT. If I want to play GURPS, it's all right there on my shelves! (But I usually play TFT in preference to GURPS as it is right now, which tells you where I'll come down on this issue when the chips are down.)

Quote:

Originally Posted by Carnifex (Post 2147557)
Yes, I freely admit I am a Grognard.

You and me both! Been playing since 1977 in High School!

Carnifex 01-04-2018 02:00 PM

Re: The Fantasy Trip
 
As a side note to this discussion, I was just reading the Two Weapons talent and it allows for a parry action that acts as a shield and absorbs 2 points of damage.

JLV 01-04-2018 02:06 PM

Re: The Fantasy Trip
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Carnifex (Post 2147560)
As a side note to this discussion, I was just reading the Two Weapons talent and it allows for a parry action that acts as a shield and absorbs 2 points of damage.

I think the original impetus for this entire discussion years and years ago is the contention that you don't have to be adept with two weapons in order to parry someone -- that a fundamental element in any sword style of fighting is defending yourself; it's one of the very first things you're taught in fencing class, for example. Therefore, why doesn't EVERYONE get the opportunity to parry?

Again, not saying whether it's a good idea in game terms or not, but simply pointing out the logic of the original argument...

You know, this also raises the question of armor and it's use. According to the folks I know in the SCA, armor use does NOT simply consist of wearing it (with the possible exception of cloth), but also involves some skill in USING it in a fight -- in fact, it changes an individual's fighting style considerably, or so I'm told (I have no personal experience in this area). Which raised the question in my mind if there should also be an ARMOR talent -- which allows the user to make the best use of his armor in a fight; perhaps people without the talent would stop one less hit, or suffer one more point of negative DX adjustment...and CLOTH armor would be unaffected by this talent. Anyone have any information or thoughts on this?

Carnifex 01-04-2018 02:14 PM

Re: The Fantasy Trip
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by JLV (Post 2147564)
I think the original impetus for this entire discussion years and years ago is the contention that you don't have to be adept with two weapons in order to parry someone -- that a fundamental element in any sword style of fighting is defending yourself; it's one of the very first things you're taught in fencing class, for example. Therefore, why doesn't EVERYONE get the opportunity to parry?

Again, not saying whether it's a good idea in game terms or not, but simply pointing out the logic of the original argument...

As I said, I think this has been nicely abstracted in the rules already. Perhaps a good approach is, rather than adding a new rule, expand the rule that is already there.

JLV 01-04-2018 02:22 PM

Re: The Fantasy Trip
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Carnifex (Post 2147565)
As I said, I think this has been nicely abstracted in the rules already. Perhaps a good approach is, rather than adding a new rule, expand the rule that is already there.

Which, I think, was the major counter-argument. It went, as I recall, something along the lines of: "The TWO WEAPONS talent means that you are considerably MORE adept at fighting with your chosen weapon than the "casual" swordsman or axeman is; which is why, when defending yourself with TWO weapons you get a significant bonus to your defense; the normal person's ability to parry is taken into account in the basic combat rules." And in that case, even adding a "parry" capability to the normal weapons talent (SWORD or CLUB/AXE) would be overkill.

Which is primarily the reason I never took the step of adding the rule one way or another -- it put a heavier burden on the player (and remember, I most commonly introduce completely new players to RPGing with TFT), without materially adding anything to the outcome... "Handwavium" is your friend with totally new players...

To my mind, the most valid issue in this whole discussion is what happens when a player decides to go completely on the defensive -- that is, purely protecting himself and not taking the chances inherent in launching any kind of attack? THAT is the only circumstance in which I can see a "DEFEND" option as having any real validity -- and it makes perfect sense in that case. Someone roleplaying a cowardly back-stabbing thief, for example, might clearly choose to opt for that kind of fighting style so that the "heroes" in the party can do the killing for him and at little or no risk to him. Of course, he loses out on a lot of combat experience points, but he probably gets some extra XP for good role-playing...

Steve Jackson 01-04-2018 02:58 PM

Re: The Fantasy Trip
 
I joined the SCA to research MELEE (and had a lot of fun, and stayed in for years). One of the first things that I learned is that most swordfighting does not involve parries; fencing is a spectacular exception. If you are using your weapon to parry, you are not using it to strike.

Now, rattan (which is what SCA weapons are made of) is NOT the same thing as metal. It is known :) I am told by those who have swung real swords at real shields that metal has less "bounce" even when it does not bite into its target. But I came away feeling that if you have a blocking device (cloak, shield, second sword, chair) you should use that to block with, and use your weapon to hit with.

I enjoyed SCA fencing a great deal, and eventually became competent, and it really is a different art.

luguvalium 01-04-2018 03:03 PM

Re: The Fantasy Trip
 
TFT was my first role playing game and my high school group ran a campaign using it for two fun years. We created a science fiction version that had new talents, weapons, and a starship design process. We created a Melee-like microgame based on these new rules and a magazine article to introduce them and presented to Metagaming but they were not interested, I suspect, because Starleader was under development. They did publish the magazine article in Interplay #4 which I still get see mentioned in various forums. In the last two years I've revisited those original rules to update them. I would like to see some way to get these into wider use.

larsdangly 01-04-2018 03:25 PM

Re: The Fantasy Trip
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by JLV (Post 2147322)
Steve, since we're on the subject of rules issues, one of my main ones has always been "attribute bloat."......

There is a pretty simple way I address the use of XP and 'attribute bloat' in my house rules: I introduce an attribute I refer to as Talent Points. When a character is first created TP equals IQ. If IQ is increased by 1, TP also increases by 1 automatically. Talents and spells are purchased by expenditure of TP, at the normally given rate, and the pre-requisite IQ for a given talent or spell is unchanged. Importantly, TP can be purchased alone at a rate equal to half the cost of raising one of the 3 core attributes.

One could quibble about the perfect rate of XP cost progression and ratio of costs for TP vs. other attributes, but I've run the rule I describe for decades, over several thousand hours of play in all, and it is a simple formula that never seemed to bother anyone.

As for the finer details about languages and so forth, I think the most straightforward way to address this is to add new talents. In the published game, there are well over 100 talents already (so another few doesn't really change the scale or complexity of the game), and they are used to cover everything from life skills, natural gifts and all sorts of other things. So, it is doesn't really change what a talent means in the game to declare a 1 TP talent can be purchased to learn an exotic language, etc.

The broader point I would make is that the game should not be changed to improve it as a simulation, or to improve it in response to some theoretical game-design goal; it should only be changed in ways that make it even more fun to play, which can mean 'fixing' places where you encountered a problem, in play at the table, or where you had some desire for your character to do something that seems like it would be fun and should be possible, yet the rules don't support it (examples from the original game could be the new weapons added going from Melee to AM or new spells and enchantment rules going from Wizard to AW). In both cases, the litmus test is not how clever it looks on the page, but rather how successfully it integrates with the rest of the game in play, at the table. The hobby is littered with 'fantasy heart breaker' rules sets that have all kinds of cool concepts baked into them, yet they just aren't fun to play, or they aren't functionally different than much simpler games. The strength of TFT is that it came out of a pair of super well engineered board games, and when it was translated into a roleplaying game it didn't fundamentally change. That should remain the core idea behind any revisions that happen over the next year or three.

JLV 01-04-2018 03:38 PM

Re: The Fantasy Trip
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by larsdangly (Post 2147590)
The broader point I would make is that the game should not be changed to improve it as a simulation, or to improve it in response to some theoretical game-design goal; it should only be changed in ways that make it even more fun to play, which can mean 'fixing' places where you encountered a problem, in play at the table, or where you had some desire for your character to do something that seems like it would be fun and should be possible, yet the rules don't support it (examples from the original game could be the new weapons added going from Melee to AM or new spells and enchantment rules going from Wizard to AW). In both cases, the litmus test is not how clever it looks on the page, but rather how successfully it integrates with the rest of the game in play, at the table. The hobby is littered with 'fantasy heart breaker' rules sets that have all kinds of cool concepts baked into them, yet they just aren't fun to play, or they aren't functionally different than much simpler games. The strength of TFT is that it came out of a pair of super well engineered board games, and when it was translated into a roleplaying game it didn't fundamentally change. That should remain the core idea behind any revisions that happen over the next year or three.

And I've "playtested" my ideas for over a decade (actually, closer to two) too, so there you have it. Everyone's a little different in how they approach things. I'm sure that whatever Steve comes up with (if he even feels it's necessary to address it) will be different from either of our solutions, and that's not a bad thing...

larsdangly 01-04-2018 03:41 PM

Re: The Fantasy Trip
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Steve Jackson (Post 2147582)
I joined the SCA to research MELEE (and had a lot of fun, and stayed in for years). One of the first things that I learned is that most swordfighting does not involve parries; fencing is a spectacular exception. If you are using your weapon to parry, you are not using it to strike.

Now, rattan (which is what SCA weapons are made of) is NOT the same thing as metal. It is known :) I am told by those who have swung real swords at real shields that metal has less "bounce" even when it does not bite into its target. But I came away feeling that if you have a blocking device (cloak, shield, second sword, chair) you should use that to block with, and use your weapon to hit with.

I enjoyed SCA fencing a great deal, and eventually became competent, and it really is a different art.

Good insights here! I would add that the more recent emergence of HEMA has provided another window into how armed martial arts work with other kinds of rules sets and equipment, and that is really worth look at for new insights into what might be found in a set of game rules that are both fun to play and have a certain feel of verisimilitude.

The weapon systems considered by HEMA include some where a 'empty parry' (a displacement of an incoming attack that does not simultaneously attack or threaten the foe) is a mistake, and others where an empty parry is a core part of the system. Longsword, messer and sword+buckler are good examples of the first type, and military saber is a good example of the second type. The ideal response to an incoming attack for this first type of weapon system is an action that negates the attack by displacing or avoiding it, while simultaneously returning an attack of your own (or at least a threat that sets you up for an immediate counter) as part of the same motion. The core techniques for german and italian longsword provide lots of examples of this principle.

In translating this into game design, I would say the important point is that there are three reasons to add some kind of active, skill-based defensive capability into melee combat: (1) two of the ways the game 'breaks' as characters progress in experience is that they can only become harder to kill by getting stronger or wearing more armor, and they can't get better at killing others by raising DX past a certain point. This makes characters evolve in strange and unsatisfying ways as the game advances. (2) everyone is pretty easy to kill, even when they are quite dexterous and have lots of talents. And (3) it violates the feeling of verisimilitude to have no ways to actively defend yourself, even when a less skilled foe attacks you. For all of these reasons, I think the game is better when you toss in a well designed rule for something more or less like a parry.

The rules I described in a post a couple of pages up accomplish this, and in a way that doesn't change play much for low-DX characters but allows high DX combatants to both defend themselves actively and attack on the same turn, with some significant chance of success at both.

Chris Rice 01-04-2018 03:58 PM

Re: The Fantasy Trip
 
Dodge and Defend options already exist in the rules so I'm not sure why the need for new defensive rules such as "parry" etc. Obviously as adj DX rises the value of 4DX rolls in defence become less valuable, but that to my mind is a basic flaw in the rules which is easily fixed via a "versus mechanic" and not by introducing new rules for individual cases.

JLV 01-04-2018 04:08 PM

Re: The Fantasy Trip
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by larsdangly (Post 2147593)
Good insights here! I would add that the more recent emergence of HEMA has provided another window into how armed martial arts work with other kinds of rules sets and equipment, and that is really worth look at for new insights into what might be found in a set of game rules that are both fun to play and have a certain feel of verisimilitude.

The weapon systems considered by HEMA include some where a 'empty parry' (a displacement of an incoming attack that does not simultaneously attack or threaten the foe) is a mistake, and others where an empty parry is a core part of the system. Longsword, messer and sword+buckler are good examples of the first type, and military saber is a good example of the second type. The ideal response to an incoming attack for this first type of weapon system is an action that negates the attack by displacing or avoiding it, while simultaneously returning an attack of your own (or at least a threat that sets you up for an immediate counter) as part of the same motion. The core techniques for german and italian longsword provide lots of examples of this principle.

In translating this into game design, I would say the important point is that there are three reasons to add some kind of active, skill-based defensive capability into melee combat: (1) two of the ways the game 'breaks' as characters progress in experience is that they can only become harder to kill by getting stronger or wearing more armor, and they can't get better at killing others by raising DX past a certain point. This makes characters evolve in strange and unsatisfying ways as the game advances. (2) everyone is pretty easy to kill, even when they are quite dexterous and have lots of talents. And (3) it violates the feeling of verisimilitude to have no ways to actively defend yourself, even when a less skilled foe attacks you. For all of these reasons, I think the game is better when you toss in a well designed rule for something more or less like a parry.

The rules I described in a post a couple of pages up accomplish this, and in a way that doesn't change play much for low-DX characters but allows high DX combatants to both defend themselves actively and attack on the same turn, with some significant chance of success at both.

Most of my personal experience has been with oriental martial arts (other than fencing), and the same situation accrues there. Tai Chi Sword prefers to use the deflect and counter approach, all in one motion, while basic Japanese Katana tends to go with "empty" parries/blocks a (to me, at least) surprising amount of the time. It shouldn't be much of a shock then to realize that Ninjutsu goes with the "deflect and counterattack in one motion" approach for the Ninjato -- precisely to defeat the "standard" Katana user's tendency to make "separate" blocks and counterattacks. (Besides, the generally low manufacturing quality of the Ninjato compared to the average Katana meant that a block was as likely to cause the Ninjato to break as stop the opponent's blade, whereas a slip and attack put a lot less stress on the Ninja's blade...) In fencing terms, both Tai Chi and Ninjutsu rely a lot more on the "stop thrust" than they do the "parry and riposte."

Still, all of this is pretty "tactical" for a five-second Melee turn!

JLV 01-04-2018 04:17 PM

Re: The Fantasy Trip
 
Which reminds me, one talent my original group back in High School/College absolutely insisted on, even before Metagaming went bust, was a "Quick Draw" talent to simulate Iaijutsu. It was originally even called that, but later morphed into "Quick Draw" which could also be used with a trusty six-shooter in the old west...

pyratejohn 01-04-2018 04:53 PM

Re: The Fantasy Trip
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Chris Rice (Post 2147602)
Dodge and Defend options already exist in the rules so I'm not sure why the need for new defensive rules such as "parry" etc. Obviously as adj DX rises the value of 4DX rolls in defence become less valuable, but that to my mind is a basic flaw in the rules which is easily fixed via a "versus mechanic" and not by introducing new rules for individual cases.

Agreed. The beauty of the game is in its simplicity. If I want something more complex, or something that is going to give me ultra-detailed combat, I'll just use GURPS.

Dave Crowell 01-04-2018 05:18 PM

Re: The Fantasy Trip
 
I think that a melee combat game should have some sort of dodge/parry/all-out defense mechanism. I'm not sure that it really needs more than one to be a playable game. From a game play point of view I don't see it being important that opponent A is parrying with his sword, opponent B is hiding behind his shield, and opponent C is dodging out of the way, what is important is that each of them is harder for me to hit and damage.

My primary experience of a game with seperate attack and parry was Stormbringer and combats between well matched, skilled opponents could drag on in an endless dance of Attack-hit, Parry-blocked (or Dodge-miss), lather, rinse, repeat until finally someone landed a critical hit and it was game over for one of the fighters. Realistic, maybe, but it made for boring game play after a while.

I like combat games to be decisive.


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