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Old 12-31-2017, 02:53 AM   #41
David L Pulver
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Default Re: The Fantasy Trip

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Originally Posted by Dave Crowell View Post
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.
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Last edited by David L Pulver; 12-31-2017 at 02:57 AM.
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Old 12-31-2017, 04:27 AM   #42
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Default Re: The Fantasy Trip

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Originally Posted by Dave Crowell View Post
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.
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Old 12-31-2017, 11:12 AM   #43
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Default Re: December 26, 2017: The Fantasy Trip Returns Home

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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).
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Old 12-31-2017, 01:14 PM   #44
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Default Re: December 26, 2017: The Fantasy Trip Returns Home

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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.


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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.
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Old 12-31-2017, 02:06 PM   #45
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Default Re: December 26, 2017: The Fantasy Trip Returns Home

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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.)
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Old 12-31-2017, 03:04 PM   #46
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Default Re: December 26, 2017: The Fantasy Trip Returns Home

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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.


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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.
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Old 12-31-2017, 03:23 PM   #47
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Default 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
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Old 12-31-2017, 08:39 PM   #48
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Default 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.

Last edited by larsdangly; 12-31-2017 at 08:42 PM.
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Old 01-02-2018, 07:45 PM   #49
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Default Re: The Fantasy Trip

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Originally Posted by David L Pulver View Post
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.
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Old 01-02-2018, 09:03 PM   #50
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Default Re: The Fantasy Trip

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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!
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