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Old 10-10-2019, 03:53 AM   #1
JimmyPlenty
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Default How important are our "tweaks"

Like most of you, I dig through the rules and come up with questions, theories, rule ideas and such.

But truly, for all the effort, how many players would even notice our changes if we just left things as is? I know my players wouldn't generally notice a dang thing unless I pointed it out.
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Old 10-10-2019, 04:06 AM   #2
Chris Rice
 
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Default Re: How important are our "tweaks"

Quote:
Originally Posted by JimmyPlenty View Post
Like most of you, I dig through the rules and come up with questions, theories, rule ideas and such.

But truly, for all the effort, how many players would even notice our changes if we just left things as is? I know my players wouldn't generally notice a dang thing unless I pointed it out.
Tweaks and houserules are generally not for the benefit of the players, who as you say, would likely never notice or care. They're for the GM. The changes I make are to allow the game to run more as I'd like it to or sometimes to please me aesthetically. So to that end they're justifiable: it's the GMs game at the end of the day.
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Old 10-10-2019, 09:30 AM   #3
larsdangly
 
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Default Re: How important are our "tweaks"

Like most experienced GM's, I'm a committed rules-tweaker. I think it has always been an essential part of the hobby that groups put the final coat of paint on the rules they use at their table. But, the combat rules in TFT are something of a special case because their emphasis on balance and formal rules governing movement and actions means it is easy to introduce rules that make the whole thing crack. We should all marvel at the fact that there really isn't an obviously best combat 'build' in TFT, despite the great diversity of character types one can create. And it is noticeable that people who advocate for such tricked-out builds tend to emphasize new, somewhat obscure elements of the rules (i.e., the stuff that I suspect didn't get extensively play tested). So, when you add house rules to this system you need to be unusually sensitive to how they influence the 'value propositions' of various kinds of equipment, talents and strategies.

When the LE pdf's first dropped, I decided to play strictly RAW for a year or so, despite the fact that I have 40 years of house rule material piled up in my TFT gaming collection. It was the right move, as it helped me re-learn some things (push backs, trampling, etc.), assimilate new things (weapon mastery, new spells), and just generally get centered with how the core of the game works. When I started re-doing some of my old material for the LE, I focused on things that are simple additions rather than mechanical changes (e.g., my 20 page equipment guide that I posted a link to a couple of weeks ago). Other things I'm reformatting include spells and critters. I think of all of this as pretty harmless additions rather than rules tweaks.

The closest thing to a tweak that I'm experimenting with in play is my development of several tiny extra sub-systems based on the Personality characteristic optional rules (LEITL p. 14). I have one for Bravery (basically morale rules), one for Piety (which I use to impose some sort of structure on religious magical characters) and one for Status (which I use to modify social interactions and impose more structure on the job rules). None of these change basic decision making or die rolls in combat. I do have a set of combat rule additions to make dueling sort of encounters more nuanced, but I haven't brought the LE version of them to the table yet.
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Old 10-10-2019, 12:52 PM   #4
Skarg
 
Join Date: May 2015
Default Re: How important are our "tweaks"

Players new to the game mostly don't even know the full rules details anyway.

In my experience, we didn't feel the need to tweak much of anything in the original version of the rules for quite a while.

But because the rules are based on making sense and being sort of like how things "would" really work, and we liked that kind of game, when some rule really didn't seem to make sense to us, we'd notice and change it. We didn't need to do that much for the first few years we were playing TFT.

But at about 4 or 5 years in, we started to notice and be irked by things more and more, and wanted to modify things more and more, until we were redesigning more than playing, because we were too annoyed by things we wanted to change.

Now, having played GURPS for decades, while I can enjoy playing RAW for a bit, I am irked by some things, especially the new changes that I don't agree with and that I feel no nostalgia for since they're new. And I enjoy tweaking and prefer playing with rules tweaked the way I like. Also I'm trying to see if I can tweak TFT enough that I'd actually want to play it more than GURPS.
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Old 10-10-2019, 01:20 PM   #5
larsdangly
 
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Default Re: How important are our "tweaks"

There are a number of things in GURPS that are much better, and not much more complicated than, TFT combat. It's water under the bridge, but if SJ had decided to port over the way GURPS armor, damage and defenses worked into the LE revision, the end result would have been controversial but ultimately a stronger game. That said, the cost of going 'full GURPS' is too big for me. I've played tons of GURPS over many years and recognize what a great system it is, but it also brings with it a huge infrastructure of rules and options, and in practice it is hard to prune it back enough that to feel as fun and quick-playing as TFT.
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Old 10-14-2019, 04:34 PM   #6
RobW
 
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Default Re: How important are our "tweaks"

Not important. But worth it anyway I'd say.

It's funny, there have been a few things on this forum where my mind has been changed as a result of the discussion. I can think of four straight off:
1. RAW really do intend that you can't "save" IQ points for future talents
2. Roll-to-miss really would be better if based on a single to-hit roll, which gets more difficult as the number of intervening figures increases.
3. It actually is sensible to me, now, that thrown weapons would receive a facing bonus.
4. Weapon expertise should definitely not be allowed for unusual weapons (eg boomerang, shaken, lasso)

But there hasn't been much effect of these new beliefs. For (1) -- can't save IQ points for later talents -- yes I became convinced this was the SJ intention, but I just don't like it and can't see switching.
For (2) -- a single roll-to-miss roll -- I became convinced this is a cleaner and less gamable approach, but the other players in my group like the drama of the standard roll-to-miss, one roll for each intervening figure. So even though I'm willing to change, they aren't interested.
For (3) -- facing bonus for thrown weapons -- this makes good sense to me now, but I don't believe it is the intention of the rules. That is coupled with the fact that thrown weapons are a remote and dusty corner of the rules AFAIC. In all the years we've played I don't think anyone has thrown a weapon in anger (a few times for fun or to produce drama, but not because it was the sensible tactic). So again the discussions have changed my mind about something, but not produced direct play changes.
For (4) -- expertise with peculiar weapons -- well, this produces obscene results, and I dislike most of the peculiar weapons rules anyway. So here's a case where I needed almost no convincing and we are playing differently.

That said, I really enjoy nitty gritty discussions about rules and rule systems. This kind of discussion is sometimes dismissed as "rules lawyering". For me, a rules lawyer is someone arguing with the GM about the rules in the middle of the game. Disruptive. Bad. Discussing the ins and outs of the rules on a forum is entertainment, man!

Ah, another thing where my mind has changed. I actually now do believe the moderators when they say geek-out rules discussions might put off at least some new players.
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Old 10-20-2019, 09:03 PM   #7
David L Pulver
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Default Re: How important are our "tweaks"

Quote:
Originally Posted by JimmyPlenty View Post
Like most of you, I dig through the rules and come up with questions, theories, rule ideas and such.

But truly, for all the effort, how many players would even notice our changes if we just left things as is? I know my players wouldn't generally notice a dang thing unless I pointed it out.
As Chris says, I think rule tweeking is often more for the GM than the casual player. The GM has to be motivated to "beleive" in the way things work.

That said, when I tweek TFT so that you started with (IQ-6) x 3 "IQ points" worth of talents, halved the MA so characters didn't run off the maps all the time, and added a GURPS-style defense roll at (DX/2) + 3, it did seem to attract at least some comment from the players, though that was in the previous edition, not the present one...
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Old 10-20-2019, 11:53 PM   #8
hcobb
 
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Default Re: How important are our "tweaks"

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Originally Posted by David L Pulver View Post
That said, when I tweek TFT so that you started with (IQ-6) x 3 "IQ points" worth of talents
You'd really give a typical IQ 17 starting character 33 memory points?

Holy Molly! (Cause she's a god now of course, what with Alertness, Woodsman, Wolfsgoblin (i.e. Horseman, except neither horse nor man) and Master Physicker, etc.)
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Old 10-21-2019, 01:32 PM   #9
David L Pulver
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Default Re: How important are our "tweaks"

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Originally Posted by hcobb View Post
You'd really give a typical IQ 17 starting character 33 memory points?

Holy Molly! (Cause she's a god now of course, what with Alertness, Woodsman, Wolfsgoblin (i.e. Horseman, except neither horse nor man) and Master Physicker, etc.)
This was for the original edition which had more Talents that were higher cost and no way to use XP to buy talents individually, and none of the weapon mastery abilities other than fencing, etc. For the current edition, I'd recommend (IQ-6) x2 if using this version. Not that I'd call IQ 17 "typical" as opposed to "super genius" but if you want to play a ST 7, DX 8, IQ 17 goblin sherlock holmes, why not? Actually, a significant advantage for me as GM was the IQ-6 x N approach seemed to produce more realistic IQ 7-8 guys, and gave more encouragement to PCs who bought up IQ in the original system. This system is obviously not appropriate when the XP for Talents is used.
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Last edited by David L Pulver; 10-21-2019 at 01:36 PM.
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Old 10-21-2019, 02:17 PM   #10
hcobb
 
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Default Re: How important are our "tweaks"

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Originally Posted by David L Pulver View Post
but if you want to play a ST 7, DX 8, IQ 17 goblin sherlock holmes, why not?
Golly Miss Molly, who can afford to buy their ST up to seven? Don't you know that doubles the cost of the attributes that actually count for something?

ST 6, DX 12 (remember +3 DX on staffing), and IQ 20 is already 38 attribute points.
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