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Old 03-13-2018, 03:29 PM   #1
tbeard1999
 
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Default TFT Dungeon Crawling

Moved from the priest/theologian thread.

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Originally Posted by JLV View Post
Under the rules as written, dungeon crawls are pretty much a non-event (unless the dungeon has racks of healing potions in various rooms scattered throughout the place), because basically you wind up getting wounded pretty badly in fairly short order and have to disengage and return to town for a few weeks of leisurely healing. ...

I sincerely hope that Steve comes up with some clever way to help "fix" this; healing spells will help, but honestly not as much as in other games, because the caster needs to then rest up for a while to "recharge" his fatigue. So even with them, "dungeon crawling" will become more like "dungeon peristalsis;" with frequent stops and starts, given the overall greater lethality of TFT as compared to say, D&D...
Any game with a quasi-"realistic" combat system will be unable to match D&D for dungeon crawling. My campaigns had a *lot* of healing potions (and I allowed them to heal 1d6 ST). Perhaps not realistic, but what are you gonna do?

I could see a TFT variant that would modify TFT to be better suited for dungeon crawls. The best idea I've had over the years:

Only half of a figure's ST (round down) represents actual ability to withstand damage. The remainder is "luck points" that can be recovered after every fight with a few minutes of rest. However, this recovery ability is limited each day.

Figures with Veteran can recover 2 x ST in luck points each day. Figures with Warrior can recover 1.5 x ST (round up) in luck points each day. I'd reduce the minimum ST for Warrior to (say) 11. Other figures can recover 1 x ST in luck points each day.

Healing potions, spells and physickers will heal body damage first and will take effect after luck points are recovered.

(Optional) Mooks have no luck points, which effectively halves their ST for damage purposes.

Monsters are handled on a case-by-case basis, but generally should not have luck points; their ST is not halved for damage.

Example - Bob the Fighter has ST 13, and the Warrior talent. He can recover a maximum of 20 luck points each day. He takes 10 points of damage in a single combat, reducing his ST to 3. After the combat is over, he recovers 7 points of "luck points" by resting. His ST is now 10.

The party's physicker heals 2 points of remaining damage, restoring his ST to 12. (With this rule, you might letting physickers heal only 1 point of damage and master physickers 2 points of damage.)

I like this system better than simply doubling ST or somesuch, because individual TFT combats won't be slowed down by multiple rounds of hacking. Each individual TFT combat will move as fast as it did before adding this rule. And, the TFT combats will still be somewhat deadlier than D&D combats.

Also, definitely use one of the revised death and damage systems.

This would also make mooks easier to kill with a single blow, which might be a desirable end.

Also, you may want to consider getting rid of double and triple damage for minor monsters. Or not.

A fun rule for certain nasty monsters - they will keep fighting 1d turns after they’ve been “killed”.

Some kind of healing spell is probably a Good Thing for dungeons.

What are some other ideas to make TFT more dungeon friendly?

Last edited by tbeard1999; 03-13-2018 at 03:45 PM.
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Old 03-13-2018, 06:12 PM   #2
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Default Re: TFT Dungeon Crawling

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What are some other ideas to make TFT more dungeon friendly?
I made a huge table-driven solo dungeon generator for TFT, that nowadays would be considered "rogue-like", except that you played a party instead of a single character. There were plenty of healing potions on the treasure tables, and when you needed more you could spend your gold at one of the vending machines scattered about.

It got tedious pretty quickly (no surprise) but as the monster, villain, room and treasure tables got larger, interesting combinations would spring up. Such as a reptile man with a pike ax blocking a 1 hex wide bridge across a functionally bottomless pit, with a pair of archers shooting from the entry hexes at the far end. Do you rush the pike ax and trade arrows with the archers? Who does the Wizard target for his lightning bolt? Maybe he summons a gargoyle (or an illusion of one) to sic on the archers.

There was enough there to find your own drama if you tried, especially if you were attached to your characters, but what it needed were puzzles, sub-plots, and some continuing bad guys who could run away and fight another day. Things a GM can do easily, but are hard with a solo system. Gloomhaven has some really neat innovations along this line.

You can look at a prolonged dungeon crawl as an exercise in economics. You dish out X hits/turn, take Y hits/turn, absorb Z hits/turn with armor. You need to heal on average as many hits/room as you take, or you get worn down until a few bad rolls seal your fate.

So balancing the availability of healing is a big deal. Too much and the adventure becomes too easy. Too little and the adventure quickly becomes frustrating or fatal.
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Old 03-13-2018, 06:25 PM   #3
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Default Re: TFT Dungeon Crawling

Weren't the two Death Tests dungeon crawls without the traps?
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Old 03-13-2018, 06:28 PM   #4
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Default Re: TFT Dungeon Crawling

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What are some other ideas to make TFT more dungeon friendly?
- Revised death rules to allow PCs (only) to survive under ST 0
- Chemical products to heal a few hits ( the healing unguent, 1d6-1 hits healed requiring 1d6 hours to take effect, possible bad collateral effects if more than one is used per day ); cheap as it costs $300;
- Major healing potions, (instant effect, like ordinary potions, but heals 1d6+1 wounds ) costs $ 600;
- First Aid talent (1) IQ 8. 1 hit healed in five minutes making a 3D/DX. If later the hero learns Physicker, this talent costs only 1.
- Healing spell for Clerics. Basic version for "Priests", improved version for Theologian.
- Healing potions are the most common magical treasure you can find on the killed opponents

Even with all the above often the Party must quit the exploration and return home for a medical timeout. After all TFT is a serious game!
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Old 03-13-2018, 07:35 PM   #5
Jim Kane
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Default Re: TFT Dungeon Crawling

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You can look at a prolonged dungeon crawl as an exercise in economics. You dish out X hits/turn, take Y hits/turn, absorb Z hits/turn with armor. You need to heal on average as many hits/room as you take, or you get worn down until a few bad rolls seal your fate.

So balancing the availability of healing is a big deal. Too much and the adventure becomes too easy. Too little and the adventure quickly becomes frustrating or fatal.
Agreed. Perhaps a general working-philosophy in Labyrinth/Adventure-design would be to consider: Balance-of-Play and Resource Management (of both renewable and non-renewable resources) while having players find those Healing Potions (as Easter Eggs) during critical moments - being fun and highly-dramatic - and therefore, HAVE BOTH as a key design-elements of TIMING and PACING.
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Old 03-13-2018, 07:35 PM   #6
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Default Re: TFT Dungeon Crawling

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... a reptile man with a pike ax blocking a 1 hex wide bridge across a functionally bottomless pit, with a pair of archers shooting from the entry hexes at the far end. Do you rush the pike ax and trade arrows with the archers? Who does the Wizard target for his lightning bolt? Maybe he summons a gargoyle (or an illusion of one) to sic on the archers.
Totally stealing this for my next dungeon.

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Gloomhaven has some really neat innovations along this line.
My copy arrives Friday, assuming our latest blizzard doesn't delay shipments again!
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Old 03-13-2018, 07:39 PM   #7
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Default Re: TFT Dungeon Crawling

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Agreed. Perhaps a general working-philosophy in Labyrinth/Adventure-design would be to consider: Balance-of-Play and Resource Management, while having players find those Healing Potions (as Easter Eggs) during critical moments - being fun and highly-dramatic - and HAVE BOTH as a key design-elements of TIMING and PACING.
You know, that's a really good point. In many of the old 1e dungeons -- and some modern OSR dungeons -- trash mobs were used to sap resources. Deliberately. The dungeon forced players to ration their spells and magic items. Health was rarely an issue.

TFT has the opposite problem: ample spells, and Aid spells to assist, but no meaningful healing.

So design a TFT dungeon to sap health like OSRs sap spells? Interesting.
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Old 03-13-2018, 09:48 PM   #8
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Default Re: TFT Dungeon Crawling

I should mention here that when I'm talking about dungeon crawling, I'm talking about BIG dungeons. Anyone, even in TFT, can probably survive a five-room dungeon or even one somewhat bigger, such as pretty much ALL the programmed adventures out there.

But the issues (especially of health) become major when you're looking at something like Barrowmaze or Rappan Athuk. There is no way a TFT party, consistent with the TFT rules (and not house ruled to a faretheewell) could do even half as well as a typical S&W or D&D party does in them. What I'm hoping for is some tweaks to the health situation that allow the possibility of managing that resource more effectively in order to permit an actual mega-dungeon experience. That's what I was getting at in my OP (which, alas, didn't make it over to this thread in its entirety).
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Old 03-13-2018, 10:08 PM   #9
Jim Kane
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Default Re: TFT Dungeon Crawling

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Originally Posted by tomc View Post
... a reptile man with a pike ax blocking a 1 hex wide bridge across a functionally bottomless pit, with a pair of archers shooting from the entry hexes at the far end. Do you rush the pike ax and trade arrows with the archers? Who does the Wizard target for his lightning bolt? Maybe he summons a gargoyle (or an illusion of one) to sic on the archers.
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Totally stealing this for my next dungeon.
This is a great example of excellent-design because it advances the "theatre" from simple: ACTION, and into complex: DRAMA. It is in the setting up situations where the characters not only have to overcome a direct obstacle between them and their goal, but are made to RIDE ON THE HORNS OF A DILEMMA, as sentient-beings in a symbiotic relationship with their situation; and therefore, are forced to make one critical decision of consequence from two choices; either of which - no matter which one they pick - has residual complications and implications!

Excellent, indeed.

Last edited by Jim Kane; 03-13-2018 at 10:16 PM.
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Old 03-13-2018, 10:12 PM   #10
larsdangly
 
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Default Re: TFT Dungeon Crawling

The only change I would accept would be some sort of option that allows relatively skilled/high DX combatants to reduce the chance they are struck, in exchange for some sort of balanced reduction in their offensive output (several ideas for doing this with a parry mechanic have been floated, so i won't repeat them here). TFT can play like TFT with such rules, provided you have your head screwed on straight when you write them. But dramatically changing the fundamental lethality of the game would ruin it.
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