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Old 08-09-2018, 05:10 PM   #1
SwordlordRoy
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
Default Non-combat characters

Considering the game is based heavily on two arena micro games, this may be an odd subject, but it's one I will doubtless have to deal with...

To explain, one of the players in my group has been on a huge kick of making characters who are more or less like him in real life, a small-business owner. Doesn't matter the system (have you ever tried looking through most of the RIFTS catalog to try and find a merchant class? We just did!), he always wants to stand as far back as possible and open up a shop in the nearest town.

Any recommendations on how to handle something like this in TFT?
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Old 08-09-2018, 05:36 PM   #2
Skarg
 
Join Date: May 2015
Default Re: Non-combat characters

I'd suggest a conversation between you and him about what sorts of things he might find fun & interesting to have such a game be about.

Certainly it's quite possible to have non-fighter non-wizard characters and have fun with them.

A shopkeeper who just trades good will want to look at the talents Business Sense, Recognize Value, Assess Value, and probably Literacy. He might want to travel and be in the import/export business and/or acquiring interesting artifacts for scholars or collectors, or components for mechanicians, chemists, alchemists and enchanters, or other interesting goods that require traveling about the world - that can provide endless gaming fun, for players whom it interests, as well as possibly endless other plot hooks for players who want other things to do.

The character might also be a craftsman of various types, and/or perhaps a guild member, or a wizard who makes & sells goods and/or services.
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Old 08-09-2018, 07:11 PM   #3
CardDiceian
 
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Default Re: Non-combat characters

That's quite an odd request to have to work with. As most players would want to be in the thick of the action. Most of the non-combative characters would be NPCs.

Shops (under normal circumstances would generally sell goods at pre-set prices for a known item. So it might be harder for them to play an active role, business wise that will have an effect on the other players)

I'm actually fiddling with an idea in my town for a travelling market, where good will be higher and lower prices, and the actual items bought may be better or worse than expected - ie, a sword sold for a higher price may actually turn out to be a fine weapon once cleaned up (with a +1DX or +1 hit bonus) - on the other hand it may be unbalanced and give - instead - Players may have to haggle with the traders, and not know exactly what the new weapon does until they take it into battle - (This was all going to be through secret dice rolls) - So player takes the new weapon into combat, marked as regular ITL, then modifiers added once used - "as you swing the blade, you notice that it feels incredibly well balanced etc."

Anyway - Perhaps as a trader, this sort of thing could be put into your 'business oriented' players hands?
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Old 08-09-2018, 07:28 PM   #4
Skarg
 
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Default Re: Non-combat characters

It doesn't seem all that odd to me, especially amongst my more experienced role-players. Many wizards already tend to try to avoid direct enemy contact, and I've seen many PCs (even ones who were also fighters) want to get into non-combat and even mostly-non-adventure pursuits, and/or some mix of both.

Really it comes down to finding common subjects that all the players are interested in. Of course, if it doesn't involve fighting or spellcasting, or adventuring much at all, there may not be a whole lot of rule support for it, but if players mainly want roleplaying situations with a realistic framework for combat and magic when/if it's needed, TFT is excellent for that because its rules are designed to give reasonable/logical expected sorts of results, and are easy to learn and use.
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Old 08-09-2018, 07:37 PM   #5
JLV
 
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Default Re: Non-combat characters

I'd say he'd make the perfect foil for the more active characters -- hiring them as bodyguards if he wanted to travel to some other location for business purposes would be only one of many possibilities.

Also, if he likes to use his mind more than muscles or mana, maybe consider throwing a mystery-type scenario at the team -- one where the perps are plenty violent, so the other players can sink their teeth into some nice fights, but where he needs to unravel a few clues to solve the mystery.

Just a couple of thoughts off the top of my head, and I'm sure you can do plenty more with it if you think about it... ;-)
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Old 08-09-2018, 07:39 PM   #6
larsdangly
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Default Re: Non-combat characters

I think that sounds great, and is in the spirit of DCC's 'funnel' (and more generally with the zero to hero ethos of many old school games). I am not sure how far such characters will go in arena combat, but they make great roleplaying game characters. It is just a matter of making sure that both the player and the GM understand what they are undertaking.

This thread reminds me of perhaps the funnest extended arena combat campaign I ran with melee. The rules were that characters could only enter the arena with objects they had either taken off a defeated opponent or won as a prize in a match or tournament (i.e., some matches would give something new to the winner, or simply place it in the arena for the combatants to fight over). That means you start the campaign walking into your first match naked with no weapons. What happens when a 'non combatant' PC finds himself tossed into a situation like that?
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Old 08-10-2018, 03:09 AM   #7
zot
 
Join Date: May 2018
Default Re: Non-combat characters

Quote:
Originally Posted by SwordlordRoy View Post
Considering the game is based heavily on two arena micro games, this may be an odd subject, but it's one I will doubtless have to deal with...

To explain, one of the players in my group has been on a huge kick of making characters who are more or less like him in real life, a small-business owner. Doesn't matter the system (have you ever tried looking through most of the RIFTS catalog to try and find a merchant class? We just did!), he always wants to stand as far back as possible and open up a shop in the nearest town.

Any recommendations on how to handle something like this in TFT?
Yes, I usually like to play non-combat characters. Not always, combat characters are fun too but we spend most of the time at the table outside of combat, so I like to have characters that can do interesting things during that time. I usually focus on "utility characters" who can make things that solve problems.

In my opinion, it's best to have mechanics that make it fun to use talents outside of combat -- i.e. actual task resolution rules instead of "playing let's pretend" and leaving everything subjective and up to the GM. I created several threads on this (hopefully not ad nauseum) and Steve agrees that TFT absolutely needs contest rules. The thread I just linked was all about getting feedback for a document I wrote about contests, how to use them, when to use them, examples, etc.
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Old 08-10-2018, 10:18 AM   #8
The Wyzard
 
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Default Re: Non-combat characters

Hmm. If I were to write contest rules, I'd do it blackjack-style (highest roll that doesn't go over the attribute wins) and let players do something interesting with rolling more or less than 3d6. One option is that rolling more dice just increases your likely result (useful if you have a really high stat!) and another is that the number of dice rolled above what your opponent rolls might change your "margin of success" or have other special effects.
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Old 08-10-2018, 10:24 AM   #9
zot
 
Join Date: May 2018
Default Re: Non-combat characters

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Originally Posted by The Wyzard View Post
Hmm. If I were to write contest rules, I'd do it blackjack-style (highest roll that doesn't go over the attribute wins) and let players do something interesting with rolling more or less than 3d6. One option is that rolling more dice just increases your likely result (useful if you have a really high stat!) and another is that the number of dice rolled above what your opponent rolls might change your "margin of success" or have other special effects.
The rules in the doc also cover multi-stage contests. I think those are more interesting than just single-roll contests. It brings contests closer to combats, where characters can help each other out, try to recover from mishaps, etc.
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Old 08-10-2018, 11:01 AM   #10
Shadekeep
 
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Default Re: Non-combat characters

Quote:
Originally Posted by JLV View Post
Also, if he likes to use his mind more than muscles or mana, maybe consider throwing a mystery-type scenario at the team -- one where the perps are plenty violent, so the other players can sink their teeth into some nice fights, but where he needs to unravel a few clues to solve the mystery.
I was going to suggest something along these lines as well. You could run adventures that are more in the vein of "Call of Cthulhu" or "The Dying Earth" or such, where role-playing and non-combat skills are as important (or more important) than combat.

There's a temptation to reduce everything to a dungeon crawl where combat is king, but if you look at real life then most of the time you are forced to deal with challenges in ways other than violence (at least I hope so). And as JLV and others point out, you can still have all the combat in there as well for the other players, just as a part of a larger framework of your adventure narrative, rather than the be-all-end-all.
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