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Old 01-09-2018, 11:02 PM   #251
ak_aramis
 
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I, also, am in the "No GURPSification" camp. Let T&T be what it always has been...

As for DoU and CoU - it was pretty clearly Howard trying to cut Steve out of the loop... but DoU also was a fully playable TFT-light. Since Steve cannot do DoU per se, a direct reprint is out - but he can definitely take a cue from it and make a "cut down TFT starter" with a $30 or less start point... pogs, rather than standups or minis, and a subset of the full rules, with a decent mini-campaign included, both a tactical and an RP.

It's a strategy that has worked rather well for FFG, Paizo, and for WotC recently, and TSR in the past (BX, BECMI, B/Cyclopedia/WotI); it would have worked well if Mr. Thompson hadn't given up on the gaming industry and/or gone broke about the time Dragons was heading out the door.
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Old 01-09-2018, 11:07 PM   #252
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Because I am a troublemaker, I will point out that TFT had two implicit classes: those with magic talent, who got to buy their spells cheaply, and everyone else.

But I am not going to propose the introduction of a class system. I'm not that heretical. I will admit that that kind of system has its points, pun not intended . . . but just no. D&D has that base covered.
I always considered that more an accident of birth (in GURPS terms, they had the advantage of "Magery"), not a function of a class system (where people CHOSE to be something, and only that thing). But that's probably just semantic nit-pickery on my part...
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Old 01-09-2018, 11:14 PM   #253
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Never heard of it, but I will get it ASAP.
It's a very fun game in it's own right -- and there were extra Prestige Tables published in The General as I recall (it's an Avalon Hill game), which, if you can't find anywhere else, I will try to find a legal download of for you (though it might be hosted on the Web Archive or something). Naturally, it's out of print now, and the copies on Amazon are running near $100 (and more, over on E-bay). Boardgame Geek might have someone selling one for less, though...


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I think that metric literacy might have been higher in the late 1970s than now. My elementary and middle school had extensive indoctrination sessions...er, classes...on the metric system. I personally wouldn’t be offended if the metric system were replaced, but I can live with it staying.
That's probably true; I went through the same thing and we were constantly told how metric was coming, was right around the corner...wait for it...wait for it... But the reason I mentioned that is because Steve Jackson said something along the lines of "I think in feet and inches" not too long ago (check out the interview linked to earlier in the other thread), and, sadly, so do I. I'm not hard-over on it or anything, but it might be worth at least considering...or not, it's all good as far as I'm concerned.

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Old 01-09-2018, 11:18 PM   #254
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I agree with everyone else that GURPS-ifying TFT would be a shame. GURPS is a great game, but is already there for whomever is in the mood to play it.

I would point out, though, that combat in AM is filled with all sorts of grainy details: sweeping blows and aimed shots and fistfulls of shuriken and propped arquebuses and off-handed weapons and on and on. It is a fast-playing game and should stay that way, but it is not exactly simple. If a new edition is being published I'd say there's no reason to look at it all, and tweak whatever you want to create mix of old and new special actions and gear that seems like the most fun.
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Old 01-09-2018, 11:25 PM   #255
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Originally Posted by ak_aramis View Post
I, also, am in the "No GURPSification" camp. Let T&T be what it always has been...

As for DoU and CoU - it was pretty clearly Howard trying to cut Steve out of the loop... but DoU also was a fully playable TFT-light. Since Steve cannot do DoU per se, a direct reprint is out - but he can definitely take a cue from it and make a "cut down TFT starter" with a $30 or less start point... pogs, rather than standups or minis, and a subset of the full rules, with a decent mini-campaign included, both a tactical and an RP.

It's a strategy that has worked rather well for FFG, Paizo, and for WotC recently, and TSR in the past (BX, BECMI, B/Cyclopedia/WotI); it would have worked well if Mr. Thompson hadn't given up on the gaming industry and/or gone broke about the time Dragons was heading out the door.
I DO NOT want to "dis" your idea here. But I have to say, from my personal perspective, putting out a TFT-lite is like serving a hotdog bun and telling the customer; "now imagine there's some meat in there..." Honestly, I loved Lords of Underearth, but considered Dragons, as published, pretty much a rip-off -- I was basically paying again for a worse version of a game I already owned. And I don't think my opinion would have changed had I bought them in reverse order. The extra counters and maps suitable for TFT were nice, though...

TFT is already pretty light, and if he does indeed go with Melee and Wizard separately first, followed by full-up TFT, then you already HAVE your lite version. It's one of the things that made TFT so easy to learn in the first place -- it was modular, and you could tackle physical combat, then magical combat, and then tie it all together with a nice framework. Putting it another way, TFT is already about as "lite" as I want to go...

HOWEVER -- that is only my PERSONAL opinion and is in no way a reflection on the quality or utility of your concept to others! I wouldn't buy a "lite" version, but that's probably just me.

Last edited by JLV; 01-10-2018 at 02:38 AM.
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Old 01-09-2018, 11:53 PM   #256
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Okay, that was completely different from the way I was reading it. I see your point, but I have to think about it for a while before I can constructively comment; mostly because I don't think I ever worried about some sort of EP scale for the individual opponents much. It may even be an issue, though no one ever brought it up in any of my campaigns -- a kill was a kill was a kill for my crew, and any bonus came from looting the body of the victim! ;-)
It wasn't on our radar either at first either. But after some conspicuous examples, and especially after five or six years of playing TFT all the time, when we noticed our higher-level campaigns (40-46 points with a few magic items) started to seem problematic. The 46-pointer wasn't even munchkiny but he was smart and he had armor 9, adjDX 16, and could pull off sweeping blows doing about 3d+3 damage, so he could take out three decent-ish opponents per turn and was rarely in any danger except from exceptional opponents. But it was painfully clear that laying waste to 30-36 point opponents with no special equipment, while nearly not worth rolling the dice, was giving more EP than defeating someone who was a worthy opponent. So we made an EP system that would take that into account, though it means calculating the combat value of everyone and comparing it and maybe doing some pro-rating if you want to be accurate, which many wouldn't want to do, but there could be a simpler version written, and it could be an optional rule.


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I think Dragons of Underearth is a non-event in SJG's world. That seemed to be HT's attempt to "dumb down" TFT into whatever it was that HT apparently originally wanted from Steve in the beginning (at least, based on Mr. Thompson's complaints at the time), and Mr. Jackson doesn't have copyright to it anyway, so I think it's a moot point at best.
I thought so too. I thought the idea for a larger-unit combat system in Lords of Underearth was good, but HT's later design efforts seemed to want to dumb things down (not the direction we wanted) and were not nearly as well designed or edited as SJ's stuff. I tried it and realized it wasn't as good as the wargame systems I was already using for larger combats, and that it had silly things like the narrow tunnel modifier meaning one dwarf champion could not only hold a narrow tunnel against 100 orcs, the 100 orcs would all die... etc.


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One more comment I'd like to throw out for consideration here.

Many years ago, someone published a neat little article on "Magic Backlash in TFT." ...
Yeah, we also added a Magic Item Breakdown system and table which we really liked (versions of which I still use in GURPS), particularly because we had reached a balance crisis where the challenge of fighting lesser foes without magic was vanishing. But it mainly felt needed/wanted later on. I'd have such things as options rather than core rules (also because some people dislike unreliable magic).
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Old 01-10-2018, 02:36 AM   #257
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I thought so too. I thought the idea for a larger-unit combat system in Lords of Underearth was good, but HT's later design efforts seemed to want to dumb things down (not the direction we wanted) and were not nearly as well designed or edited as SJ's stuff. I tried it and realized it wasn't as good as the wargame systems I was already using for larger combats, and that it had silly things like the narrow tunnel modifier meaning one dwarf champion could not only hold a narrow tunnel against 100 orcs, the 100 orcs would all die... etc.
Ha! Yeah, I remember that! Of course, it makes perfect sense if you're writing a fantasy novel a la Tolkien -- one hero is easily worth 100 of those nasty, cowardly, orcs... But it kind of screwed up the game -- plus the method for translating individuals into LoU small-unit terms didn't work that great, as I recall; probably because they didn't really fully develop it. Sorry to bring this up here, but SJG did a pretty good job with GURPS Mass Combat -- maybe they can use some similar structure for small skirmishes -- and even large battles -- in TFT!
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Old 01-10-2018, 03:39 AM   #258
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Jackson View Post
Because I am a troublemaker, I will point out that TFT had two implicit classes: those with magic talent, who got to buy their spells cheaply, and everyone else.

But I am not going to propose the introduction of a class system. I'm not that heretical. I will admit that that kind of system has its points, pun not intended . . . but just no. D&D has that base covered.
Ha! I even did away with that distinction. I saw no reason why Wizard shouldn't just be a talent like everything else. So that's what I did. I had two talents as I recall. The first, "Magic User" was IQ 8 and was designed for Witches, Hedge-Wizards and those without formal Magical Training. Magic Users could use spells up to IQ 13. "Wizard" was IQ 14 and allowed learning and use of all spells up to IQ 20.

I also had two levels of Clerical Magic: A "Devotee" could cast blessings and call on some minor God powers. The higher level, "Priest" allowed the performance of higher level stuff like performing religious services, consecrating shrines, curses, etc.
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Old 01-10-2018, 03:54 AM   #259
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Originally Posted by JLV View Post
I DO NOT want to "dis" your idea here. But I have to say, from my personal perspective, putting out a TFT-lite is like serving a hotdog bun and telling the customer; "now imagine there's some meat in there..." Honestly, I loved Lords of Underearth, but considered Dragons, as published, pretty much a rip-off -- I was basically paying again for a worse version of a game I already owned. And I don't think my opinion would have changed had I bought them in reverse order. The extra counters and maps suitable for TFT were nice, though...

TFT is already pretty light, and if he does indeed go with Melee and Wizard separately first, followed by full-up TFT, then you already HAVE your lite version. It's one of the things that made TFT so easy to learn in the first place -- it was modular, and you could tackle physical combat, then magical combat, and then tie it all together with a nice framework. Putting it another way, TFT is already about as "lite" as I want to go...

HOWEVER -- that is only my PERSONAL opinion and is in no way a reflection on the quality or utility of your concept to others! I wouldn't buy a "lite" version, but that's probably just me.
Note that Dragons was my gateway to a "full TFT"...
I had played melee, but couldn't find wizard, nor ITL. I got AM, AW, and the 1981 FMC because I found Dragons of Underearth, and saw it as an RPG

You're angry that it covered the same material - but for me, it was the gateway to the rest of the game, and the only RPG rules chunk I had access to.
See, I found TFT in fall of 1983, courtesy of a friend, and then went looking. The Book Cache (Anchorage, AK) had Melee, Dragons, and several solos; later they got wizard. But none of the "full sized books" - for those, I had to make my way (3 busses) to Spenard Hobby, but first I had to know they existed.

I didn't find ITL until about Spring 1987.
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Old 01-10-2018, 06:43 AM   #260
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Regarding classes and classless systems, Iíd add that I consider TFT to be functionally classless. The Hero vs. Wizards distinction could be replaced by making a Wizard talent that would let wizards buy spells a lot cheaper, but itís a much easier and cleaner solution to have the Wizard and Hero distinction.

This is a good thing in my opinion. I think that mechanics and systems should be selected because they work. I donít mind harmonized systems, but I donít think thereís that much virtue in harmonization in and of itself. Thatís why I donít object to 5 levels of Unarmed Combat, when most other weapon talents have 1 or 2 levels. Yes, itís inconsistent with the treatment of other weapon talents. Yes, it works (in my opinion). And no, I donít care about the inconsistency. (Not trying to reignite the debate on Unarmed Combat; just using it as an example).

That may be one of the qualities of Old School gaming - use whatever it takes to get it done. And yes, needless inconsistency can, at some point, be a bad thing.
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