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Old 11-14-2020, 12:34 AM   #11
Skarg
 
Join Date: May 2015
Default Re: TFT Play Style

TFT could be used for something gonzo. And there is at least one person addicted to posting bizarre notions about TFT. But I would say that one of the core features of TFT itself (and one of the things that makes it my favorite) is that things make sense and are not arbitrary and/or gonzo, to a much greater degree than most other RPGs.
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Old 11-14-2020, 07:30 AM   #12
MikMod
 
Join Date: May 2019
Default Re: TFT Play Style

I'm with Tippets and Hellborn. I like TFT coz its fast and lightweight without being limiting, and has a really great tactical combat system.

Plus its great to be able to make up a major NPC, a new spell or a monster on the spot in like 20 seconds if you need to. I think the fluidity of play, the ability of the players to try anything and go anywhere is a major advantage.

And I suspect the reason many people discuss the rules so much is that we want to be confident in going off-piste, which we do, a lot. Not that we are nit-picking, just comparing notes and experiences in how we develop the TFT framework. The differences in opinion often seem to be about how different groups want to develop the game with their own flavour.
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Old 11-14-2020, 10:00 AM   #13
larsdangly
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Default Re: TFT Play Style

A somewhat longer format answer from a long-time (42 yr) player:

First, welcome to the TFT-iverse!

Second, here are some signature traits of the system that influence how it can be played and run:
- It's foundation is a particularly well made hex-and-chit board game. Much has been added on top and the end result is something that can be played as a 'theater of the mind' roleplaying game, but that base pervades most of the materials, and I would argue you are cheating yourself of a great experience if you don't embrace it. To me, it would be like playing chess without the board and pieces - yes, a human mind can do it, but the experience of the game really centers on observing and interacting with the board.
- The game system is very heavily supported by a range of physical components, like play surfaces, cards and dice. If you are just into collecting this sort of stuff there is a lot to collect, but if you make a habit of using them all at the table you will get a lot out of it. I can't count how many times in the last year I've hauled out my Decks of Destiny box, pulled a couple of cards and had a great couple of hours of play.
- The core rules are marked by a GURPS-like breadth of application (nearly any fantasy or pre-modern historical setting or character type is easily presented), but with a simplicity that is more like classic T&T (an experienced player can create any character type you name in under a minute and record all of their stats on a post-it note).
- The tone of the default implied setting feels to me a bit like diskworld meets ca. 1980 T&T solo dungeons. That said, the game doesn't have the same sort of center of gravity you find in D&D when it comes to the character of settings; you would feel at home launching into an ancient rome or renaissance Verona campaign as you would presenting the familiar mix of fantasy tropes.
- Conflicts are balanced and deadly, perhaps more so than any other fantasy game I can think of off hand. This is for the excellent reason that the game is rooted in a competitive board game system, and a board game that was unbalanced or gave one side a 'get out of death free' card would be terrible to play. But when applied to roleplaying, the end result is more like gritty fantasy fiction (think original, not pastiche, Conan tales) than D&D high fantasy.
- Character progression can go in any direction you wish but is bounded when it comes to advancement of core stats; this means you can easily create or grow most any character from history or fantasy fiction, but you won't naturally develop into the equivalent of a 20th level D&D character. You will always remain vulnerable and basically human(oid) despite any abilities you develop.
- The OP's suggestion re. game-breaking gonzo combat monsters is understandable because this forum contains a lot of tongue in cheek but misleading nonsense of that sort. But it is totally untrue; the system is arguably the most balanced fantasy game you will encounter when it comes to small fights. You can imagine a nearly infinite array of character types and many will have modest statistical advantages in some situations, but these all involve trade offs and opportunity costs that make them disadvantageous in other situations. The weirdest 'ringer' character types you will find people discussing in on-line discussions are just white-room thought exercises; none of them would make for game-dominating characters in play, and I've never seen such a thing work consistently at the table in 42 years of regular play.

Last edited by larsdangly; 11-14-2020 at 10:05 AM.
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Old 11-17-2020, 11:16 PM   #14
Anomylous
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
Default Re: TFT Play Style

TFT can certainly be played in meat-grinder fashion, but you don't have to do it that way.

You can also play it in a "silly fun" fashion, but honestly I've run into way more silly situations, proportionate to total game time anyway, in Pathfinder/D&D. To me, TFT just feels more...realistic somehow, which may be why it's less prone to ridiculous shenanigans.

You also don't have to use a bunch of house rules, it works fine as written. But because the system is simple, comprehensible, and well-balanced, it's easy and fun to add new content and otherwise tweak things to suit your taste. Which is why the House Rules subforum is so popular.

And I agree with Helborn; the rules aren't meant to be a straitjacket. Let the players try things, roll some dice to see if it worked, and don't worry too much about the letter of the RAW.
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Old 11-22-2020, 04:29 PM   #15
DeadParrot
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Default Re: TFT Play Style

In many ways TFT compares well to the Original version of D&D, think the 5x7 white or wood box edition. Many folks played the first version D&D and had lots of fun with it. A lot of the discussions in early magazines covered many of the points being made about TFT with exploits or things that simply weren't defined. But those early players and GMs found ways to cope and have fun.

The 3d6 system tends to self limit to some extent. Look at the probability curve and you will see that the percent improvement of changing a stat from 10 to 11 is more then that you get from going from 15 to 16.

Remember that as GM, you don't have to allow that Goblin of mass sha-ken throwing if you find that it is messing up your game. Maybe the local sheriff gets tired of digging sha-ken out of dead townsfolk or walls and convinces the overlord to ban sha-ken and authorize the imprisonment of anyone using such a weapon.
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Old 11-22-2020, 09:14 PM   #16
rlbeaver
 
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Default Re: TFT Play Style

Pardon if this is disjointed, I tend to over think things sometimes when it comes to changing games (I spent weeks looking through the GURPS books way back before I switched to it from AD&D). My current go to game is Savage Worlds for various reasons.

In general, when playing D&D (GM or player), I lose interest after level 8 because I do not like high powered games. TFT sounds like it is a great fit for me. Although some descriptions make it sound like the players are glass gods...

I have been gravitating to rules light games (but not too light, thus savage worlds) the past few years, and again TFT sounds like it is a great fit for me.

I tend to GM campaigns because my players demand it, even my recent attempt at novice to legendary and done in Savage Worlds is being met with resistance to ending 1/2 way through. This is where I have trouble as I kept hearing, TFT is best for one shots.

I'm coming away with the idea that it can be used for campaigns. The PCs sound like they may not be gods, but are likely still made of glass so the parade of characters is an unavoidable feature, there will be no long term characters over the campaign arc unless the players are really good at tactical games.
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Old 11-22-2020, 10:15 PM   #17
phiwum
 
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Default Re: TFT Play Style

Quote:
Originally Posted by rlbeaver View Post
Pardon if this is disjointed, I tend to over think things sometimes when it comes to changing games (I spent weeks looking through the GURPS books way back before I switched to it from AD&D). My current go to game is Savage Worlds for various reasons.

In general, when playing D&D (GM or player), I lose interest after level 8 because I do not like high powered games. TFT sounds like it is a great fit for me. Although some descriptions make it sound like the players are glass gods...

I have been gravitating to rules light games (but not too light, thus savage worlds) the past few years, and again TFT sounds like it is a great fit for me.

I tend to GM campaigns because my players demand it, even my recent attempt at novice to legendary and done in Savage Worlds is being met with resistance to ending 1/2 way through. This is where I have trouble as I kept hearing, TFT is best for one shots.

I'm coming away with the idea that it can be used for campaigns. The PCs sound like they may not be gods, but are likely still made of glass so the parade of characters is an unavoidable feature, there will be no long term characters over the campaign arc unless the players are really good at tactical games.
I have a lot less experience than most here, but maybe I'm a pushover. In a party with four characters (one player playing all four, sadly), no one has died yet. People have been knocked below zero health about three or four times, but physicker and/or potions saved the day.

Mind you, I could have killed the whole party off last session. I try to make the fights fairly balanced, but may have overdone it slightly. They were fighting a nosferatu and his minions (Book of Unlife) and reached a point where two were unconscious, the remainder badly wounded. The party surrendered and rather than just kill them off, the nosferatu took them prisoner to turn them into replacements. I set it up so that the party could escape without too much difficulty (more tension than real risk, allowing that the big nosferatu left them overnight to find more victims).

That just seemed more fun to me. The party escaped and I'll give them some moderate healing and allow them to put filler characters in the party so they can return and finish the job before the nosferatu replaces his twice-dead underlings.

How fragile the characters are depends on how the GM plays. Are healing potions plentiful? (I tend to allow one to two per adventure, but knowing that this was a tough adventure, I've made them more plentiful.) How hard are the encounters? And so on.

It's true that lucky shots can move someone from not dying to dying pretty quickly, even from weaker foes. But the tension doesn't require death to happen every adventure or two if you prefer longer story arcs. As well, the strategy of having multiple characters to fill in when someone needs to heal makes a campaign totally doable.
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Old 11-23-2020, 09:54 AM   #18
larsdangly
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Default Re: TFT Play Style

Probably the biggest determinant of how deadly fights are in TFT is the number of players on the field. A powerful combatant who gets outnumbered is pretty much always in trouble, and visa versa. If your vision of fantasy combat is a lone hero mowing down crowds of chumps then this can be jarring, but of course it is quite realistic.
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Old 11-23-2020, 10:39 AM   #19
phiwum
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Default Re: TFT Play Style

Lars is spot-on here, in my experience. If there's enough characters to do 8 hits (16 for ST 30) in one turn, a single baddie is knocked down and Bob's your uncle. Even a big baddie needs to be careful to avoid engagement with enough characters to suffer that result.
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Old 11-23-2020, 05:50 PM   #20
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Default Re: TFT Play Style

This is all good to hear...feeling much better now about my backing the latest kickstarter at $125. :D
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