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Old 06-07-2018, 08:53 PM   #1
Steve Jackson
President and EIC
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Default Interviewing the Fans #1

I want to do a few articles in which I interview you (yes, you!) about your TFT experiences or plans. Here are the ground rules: I post a question. You reply if you feel like it. By replying you are specifically giving me permission (nay, encouragement!) to use all or part of the reply in my article, credited to you.

Suggestions for other things I should ask will also be considered on-topic :)

So, question 1 - What’s your best memory from a TFT game? (If something about the system or background is what made this story possible, so much the better.)
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Old 06-07-2018, 09:00 PM   #2
marctabyanan
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Default Re: Interviewing the Fans #1

My favorite memory is seeing Melee on the shelf at my local hobby store as a freshman in high school. I had no idea what an RPG or fantasy board game was—but I had to have it. It was my gateway drug.
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Old 06-07-2018, 09:32 PM   #3
Kirk
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Default Re: Interviewing the Fans #1

There are so many! But the start of it all was when, nearing the end of my senior year (class of '77), my brother and his friend, and me and my friend went to the local hobby store (Dibble's) in San Antonio and we saw a small gaming booklet (last copy) of 1st edition Melee.

I asked the clerk about the game and he said it had gotten good reviews from those that had bought it. I found the art very intriguing, especially since the fighter had already delivered his blow and was bringing it back for another. The characters were well drawn and balanced. The game was $2.95 and perhaps was just something the four of us could play as a last summer before I entered college.

Since all four of us wanted the copy, we flipped dimes twice and I ended up with the copy. I still have it.

We rushed home to give it a read and try an arena combat. We paired off and, being the clever guy that I was, I decided I would be strong with a powerful weapon and well-armoured, and take advantage of the fact that a 3, 4, or 5 was an automatic hit.

My partner wanted to be quick, first to hit, and to move fast. We had our bases covered.

Here we were:

Me
ST - 15
DX - 9 (4)
MA - 10 (4)
Battleaxe 3
Hvy. Crossbow 3 (every third turn)
Dagger 1-1
Plate/ 5 hits

Partner
ST - 9
DX - 15
MA - 10
Rapier 1
Sm. Bow 1-1
Dagger 1-1
Sm. Shield/ 1 hit

Opponents

ST - 12
DX - 12
MA - 10
Broadsword 2
Lt. Crossbow 2
Dagger 1-1
Sm. Shield/ 1 hit

ST - 11
DX - 13 (10)
MA - 10 (6)
Shortsword 2-1
Longbow 1+2
Dagger 1-1
Chainmail/ 3 hits
Sm. Shield/ 1 hit

Needless to say, the battle quickly degraded as my partner ran out, poked at one of our opponents, then was quickly killed. I was backed into a corner, and swinging for the fences with a DX of 4 was slowly but surely whittled to death.

It was a great lesson in the bell curve and began a multi-decade gaming experience that developed the imagination and utilized an excellent combative and magical system in a workable fantasy world.
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Old 06-07-2018, 09:55 PM   #4
Rick_Smith
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Coquitlam B.C.
Default Re: Interviewing the Fans #1

Hi all,
I had been GM'ing TFT for a few years, and a new fellow, Andrew, joined us from our school gaming club. He had never played a RPG before, but I explained the how to write up a character and gave him the basics of combat. Then his character walked into a bar ordered a drink and started talking with the other players. They was a rumour of an illegal gargoyle harvesting gang, that the party might take a bounty to stop.

A local bully was making trouble, picking on people and throwing his weight around. Then the bully shoved Andrew's face into his drink and said "Get out of MY chair."

Andrew drew his sword and killed the bully on the spot.

There was a silence, everyone had scrambled back from the spot and Andrew found himself alone in a circle with two dozen men staring at him. "He didn't even have his knife out," someone said. "He killed him," someone else said. Several people had their hands on their knife hilts.

Then the bar patrons cheered, saying they had never liked the bastard, and that he "needed killing", and they were slapping Andrew's character on the back, cheering him and buying him drinks.

Andrew said to me, "I WAS THERE! I could SEE that bar. I was wondering if they would linch me!"

Andrew became a fanatic player of RPG's, and bought everything TFT that Metagaming published.

It was the nicest compliment I had ever got as a GM.

Warm regards, Rick
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Old 06-07-2018, 10:29 PM   #5
Jim Kane
 
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Default Re: Interviewing the Fans #1

Hands down, my best TFT memory occured during the time just before I received my copy of In The Labyrinth.

As a gaming group of Melee/Wizard addicts, we had played through the original Death Test so many times, that we could nearly recite some of the paragraphs by number with little effort. This was during a time of limbo between product releases, when I suddenly got the idea to map-out, on graph paper, the entire underground labyrinth of The Throsz, by playing through a group of quixotic Combat Architects, with the intention of accurately mapping out every square-inch of the place, and recording every possible numbered paragraph along the way in the map-key.

Working by myself, late into the quiet of the night, hunched-over at my drafting table, the map began to slowly unfold in detail before my very eyes.

I was totally blown-away, as the once abstract murder-palace took on a surreal level of realness, as though it was an actual physical place which occupied space and time on the material plane - now defined and revealed to *me*, in exquisite detail on the paper in my hands.

I felt as though I had unveiled the mystery of the Rosetta Stone.

The next afternoon, I showed the "Death Test Unmasked" map I had created to my TFT buddies, and to a man, everyone was gobsmacked.

This exercise in reverse-engineering the Death Test labyrinth, also had an additional unforeseen benefit, in that it taught me by example, how I could create other labyrinths on my own, which would balance and scale with the Death Test labyrinth, and, it taught me how to GM an adventure by mimicking the "voice" Steve Jackson used to communicate with the readers through the narrative passages.

The result was our Melee/Wizard gaming took off like a rocket to new creative heights at that exact point... and the rocket has not come down yet.

When the GM rules for In The Labyrinth *finally* came out, we just went even higher; however, it was that specific event - that night, when I was sitting at my drafting table, working late into the wee hours of the morning - which was the inciting incident which catalyzed a life-long obsession with building worlds-of-adventure for The Fantasy Trip; and my love for the programmed-adventure format.

JK
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"A magical healing system, if overly efficient in it's effects, will reduce the frequency and intensity of game-tension and drama, in direct proportion to that overage of efficiency." - JK

Last edited by Jim Kane; 06-07-2018 at 10:33 PM. Reason: Typo
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Old 06-07-2018, 11:23 PM   #6
larsdangly
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Default Re: Interviewing the Fans #1

Fun idea!

TFT has been at the center of my nerd-hobby world since I was 11 years old (almost 40 years ago!), so it is not easy to pick one experience. But, as undisciplined writers say, 'first thought best thought', and a favorite memory jumped to mind.

In 1978 the only games I knew were Melee, 1E AD&D (the serious big-boy game), and En Garde! (which has ignominiously slipped beneath the water line, but deserved better...). My best friend that year introduced me to gaming, and we played one of these daily for months, often during the lunch hour at school. It eventually occurred to us that what we really needed was to figure out how to keep playing during class.

It seemed like Melee was our best move because it only used six sided dice, and every school kid in the 1970's knew that pencils have six sides. So we carefully marked numbers on some old pencils, figured out how to sit across the isle from each other, and one of us slid a melee map and a couple of Daforth markers inside the pages of a book. Cue hours of surreptitious blood-soaked hilarity!
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Old 06-08-2018, 11:11 AM   #7
JLV
 
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Default Re: Interviewing the Fans #1

Hey Lars, you can actually get a copy of En Garde if you want one...

I've been playing TFT for 40 years now, and there are literally hundreds of "favorite" moments from the game, but one that stands out from our early experiences back about the time we acquired and began to use In the Labyrinth is the time our group of four adventurers were setting out from Dranning for Bendwyn en route to stop some brigandage that had been reported near there (this was our first assignment from the Duke of Dran -- more as a test of our abilities than anything, since brigands weren't supposed to be all that challenging to members of the Ducal Guard! We couldn't afford much armor because we opted to buy horses instead, so if memory serves it was pretty much cloth and leather for us... Foolishly, none of us picked a Wizard for a character (it was just some bandits, and besides, we all wanted to be guardsmen, not some namby-pamby scholarly type...)

As we were riding down the road, a giant Lizard emerged from a nearby copse of woods. The GM ruled that the smell of lizard freaked out our horses, which immediately began bucking to throw us and escape from the lizard. Sadly, not one of us had thought to take Riding (we were still trapped in the Melee footsoldiers paradigm when we created these first full-up characters) and three of us were promptly thrown from our horses, while the fourth one was completely turned around. All the while, the lizard was charging at full speed. He hit the first character at about 30 MPH, inflicted some hits (I don't remember how many) and knocked him back about 10 feet from the impact...into character number two who was just standing up. Both of them went down again in a heap. Character #3 (me) immediately attacked the lizard, only to wildly miss my swing, dropping my weapon in the process. The Lizard proceeded to destroy me, inflicting a triple damage attack on me and rolling a six, killing me right there on the spot. Character 4 had just gotten his horse under control (right behind my character) when the GM ruled that all the blood from my spectacular demise spooked the horse again, and off he went into another series of bucks, throwing character #4 this time. Characters 1 and 2 were by now just getting back up, and the lizard attacked them, again rolling lucky (double damage with a five, as I recall) on the already wounded character (#1) and killing him. Character #2 got a hit on the lizard (finally, some payback!) and the lizard chomped him for a few hits, and then turned on character #4 who had just gotten up, charging across my dead body to attack him. Character #3 saw his chance, and charged the rear of the lizard, also crossing my dead body, and failing his DX roll in the process, which caused the GM to rule that he had slipped on the blood around me and fallen again. By this time character #4 was in real trouble having been hit several times and suffering from -DX modifiers due to his weakened state. He tried to disengage and run, and that was it, the lizard hit him while he was disengaging and killed him. Character #2 had, by now, regained his feet for the third time when the lizard turned on him and attacked. Incredibly, another triple damage hit with a five for the hits. Down he went, dead as a door nail.

Total Party Kill, from a freaking lizard, in less than two minutes without ever getting anywhere near actually starting the adventure. We still laugh about that one 37 years later.

We eventually did get some characters into Tollenkar's Lair, thank goodness!
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Old 06-08-2018, 11:33 AM   #8
larsdangly
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Default Re: Interviewing the Fans #1

Quote:
Originally Posted by JLV View Post
Hey Lars, you can actually get a copy of En Garde if you want one...

...
Thanks for the tip (and your story); I still use and covet my original copy of En Garde!; I've drawn on it heavily for the campaign rules in my extensively house-ruled version of TFT, which includes a 'game within a game' for resolving campaign play using 1-week turns in which a person not only resolves their job Risk roll and accrued pay, but also performs campaign scale movement and actions, under constraints not unlike those governing TFT's combat round. Perhaps 1/3 of the actions one can chose from are adapted from En Garde!

p.s., your story is hilarious - the sort of thing that happens in the DCC 'funnel', or classic D+D played with 1st level characters.

Last edited by larsdangly; 06-08-2018 at 11:36 AM.
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Old 06-08-2018, 12:32 PM   #9
Steve Jackson
President and EIC
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Default Re: Interviewing the Fans #1

Thanks for the stories! Tell me more!

Love the Lucky Lizard one.

Should I have made "how did you get into the game" a separate question? We have a good thread on that already!
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Old 06-08-2018, 02:05 PM   #10
JLV
 
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Default Re: Interviewing the Fans #1

Quote:
Originally Posted by larsdangly View Post
Thanks for the tip (and your story); I still use and covet my original copy of En Garde!; I've drawn on it heavily for the campaign rules in my extensively house-ruled version of TFT, which includes a 'game within a game' for resolving campaign play using 1-week turns in which a person not only resolves their job Risk roll and accrued pay, but also performs campaign scale movement and actions, under constraints not unlike those governing TFT's combat round. Perhaps 1/3 of the actions one can chose from are adapted from En Garde!
I WISH I had my original copy! I've been putting off buying a new one for a while, but I really think I'd better do so before I miss my current window of opportunity. Heck, it's my birthday next week -- I think I'll treat myself! ;-) (Oops, looks like it's out of stock -- I'll have to see if anyone has one over on BGG...)

I would love to hear some more about your off-time system. I had one based on Down With the King, but yours sounds very interesting too. Can you share some details? Maybe on another thread?

Last edited by JLV; 06-08-2018 at 03:40 PM.
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