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Old 03-14-2018, 01:02 PM   #1
Jim Kane
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Default The Immovable Foundation-Stone on which TFT Characters are Built

The Immovable Foundation-Stone of TFT

As new approaches to defining a TFT Character are suggested and presented by their respective independent re designers to the forum members for purposes of evaluation and feedback - along with the associated sub-systems which attempt to redesign how Talents and Spells are assigned to a character in order to avoid the Conan-the-Scholar and Merlin-the-Muscleman effect - I feel it may be important to take some time to examine some fundamental mathematical realities which are at the foundation of the TFT design.

The original premise, as stated in Melee, was simple, elegant, and satisfied within it's originally intended scope and purpose.

As originally published in Melee: "... thus each figues begins with a total of 24 points - 13 to ST and 11 to DX, or any other combination adding to 24." - Jackson, Steve. "Character Creation." In The Fantasy Trip: Melee, p5. Austin: Metagaming, 1977.

The Character Creation premise under the Melee definition could be expressed Algebraically as: [(a+b)=(b+a)]=24.

To best illustrate the premise, a coin will be used as an example.

The original premise contained three Defining Key Concepts, being:
1)"... each figure begins with a total of 24 points..." (Example: a Coin),
and,
2)"... or any other combination adding to 24." [(H,T)=24=(T,H)],
and,
3) "... combination ...". noun 1. a joining or merging of different parts or qualities in which the component elements are individually distinct.
{[(H)+(T)]=24=[(T)+(H)]}

If one were to consider only concepts 1 and 2 together, and independent of 3, we might reasonably arrive at the understanding stated as: 24 points is the sum expression of the values belonging to an individual and indivisable character - of which ST and DX are NOT truly independent values and separate unto themselves, nor are they modular-sectional parts of your character - but is simply stated as:

"...a unified two-tiered description of one character."

The Commutative Law of Addition (a+b=b+a) which was stated as part of the original premise of the character definition would seem to demand this be so. After all, the head and the tail of a coin, are NOT independent values unto themselves, but merely the obverse and reverse descriptions of one individual and indivisible single coin.

Or so it might seem.

The "Commutative Coin" rational sounds convincing until we consider Key Concept 3:

Combination: noun. 1. a joining or merging of different parts or qualities in which the component elements are individually distinct." Oxford English Dictionary. 2nd ed. 20 vols. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989.

If one focuses on the first part of the definition as the qualifier, "joining or merging", the Commutative Coin rational would still stand.

However, if we shift our attention to the second part of the definition as the qualifier, we would be focusing on: "individually distinct".

This could reasonably lead one to an understanding that ST and DX are individually distinct elements which are unique modular-sectional parts of a character, which are then described as 24 points in sum as a total; whereas: total, being defined as: (a sum + b sum)=c total.

ST and DX when viewed from this Independent and "Individually-Distinct" perspective - such as when attempting to redesign how Talents and Spells are assigned to a character - are treated as unique residual values, often as a result under the operation of subtraction; and occurring when one of these variables is subtracted from the whole to reveal the other.

The Individually-Distinct Understanding perspective is the inverse of the Commutative Coin Understanding perspective.

The Individually-Distinct Understanding perspective is also the usual understanding employed by independent re-designers when trying to solve for the Conan-the-Scholar and Merlin-the-Muscleman problem.

Problems begin to arise when employing the "Individually-Distinct" perspective - or any of it's various disguised permutations, no matter how heavily camouflaged, or finely separated in form-and-format, they may be - for the very simple reason that the principles of mathematics informs us by declaring that:

"The Commutative Laws of Mathematics DO NOT work for either subtraction nor division."

Some independent re-designers put their talent, time, and effort into developing systems and sub-systems for The Fantasy Trip which are - if one looks deep enough - invariably based around the central-premise of bifurcating (dividing) Talents and Combat Skills into some form of independent sub-attribute system and out from under the original attribute which governed it. This amputation is done so a specific Talent or Combat Skill is no longer directly linked to the governing attribute to which it was assigned in the original premise.

All this is done, in an attempt to stay (stop) increases of the ST or DX attribute on a commutative level, so that the new sub-stat can be defined and grow independently; or, to eliminate having to directly increase the ST or DX attribute in order to accommodate an increase or adoption of a new Talent or Combat Skill. (i.e. Solving for Conan-the-Scholar and Merlin-the-Muscleman).

Taking smaller things out of, and away from, a larger thing is called subtraction, and:

"The Commutative Laws of Mathematics DO NOT work for either subtraction nor division."

This is the first basic problem to this approach in finding a solution to Conan-the-Scholar and Merlin-the-Muscleman; it attempts to subtract from the sum (bifurcate and stay) by design.

Therefore, aside from attempting to by-pass the laws of mathematics,

The Second Basic Problem with these approaches are:

Much like a gambling-system which is built upon a gambling-fallacy, or which attempts to simply dazzle with detail - they are ALL guaranteed to break-down at some point and hit the mathematical-wall - they will invariably exhibit their own unique problems and quirks which will eventually manifest over time and with growth.

Again, this is simply because:

"The Commutative Laws of Mathematics DO NOT work for either subtraction nor division."

The Third Basic Problem with these approaches is that they can be operationally incredibly detailed, and/or highly complex.

This is in direct contrast to:

"the original premise, as stated in Melee, was simple, elegant, and satisfied within it's originally intended scope and purpose."

Therefore, no matter how fantastic a new redesign may be in it's own right, it will not fit the description of the original premise; nor will it fit the mathematical statement at the very heart of TFT; and therefore it can never qualify in terms of consistency and continuity as TFT in form, feel, and flow.

The question then becomes one of:

"If a re-designer cannot subtract nor divide from the original premise [(a+b)=(b+a)]=24, because "The Commutative Laws of Mathematics DO NOT work for either subtraction nor division.", what can be done to enhance the system?

You can add.

You can add, but you cannot subtract; the Principles of Mathematics will arrest your efforts for attempting to break the Commutative Law of Addition.

In 1979, Wizard was published and introduced the concept of IQ to accommodate the addition of spells into the combat arena; and occupied the:

The Third Side of the Commutative Coin.

Some may decry: "There is no third side to a coin!!!"

Some may feel this little treatise I am presenting is proof-positive of what you have always suspected, that this Jim Kane guy is really on the edge.

And that, is precisely where a person can find the third side of a coin;

On it's edge.

The introduction of the IQ attribute added a third value to the definition and sum of a character, and with it, an expansion to the premise was stated as: "Thus, each figure begins with a total of 32 points - for instance, 9 ST, 12 DX, and 11 IQ." - Jackson, Steve. "Creating a Figure." In The Fantasy Trip: Wizard, p3. Austin: Metagaming, 1979.

This newly re-stated Character-creation premise under the Wizard definition could be expressed mathematically as: [(a+b+c)= (c+b+a)]=32, from a Commutative Law of Addition perspective;

or,

Building directly onto of the original Melee premise as: [(a+b)+c=c+(b+a)] from an Associative Law of Addition perspective.

Or,

with accent on "individually distinct" {[(a)+(b)+(c)]=[(c)+(b)+(a)]}

Perhaps an analogue from the basic rules of punctuation would best illustrate the possible implications when translated into written English, as:

1) "What's that in the road ahead?"

versus

2) "What's that in the road, a head?"

As an aside, one has to wonder if it is by design or coincidence that the word: Parenthesis, has the word: Thesis, "put inside" of itself; curious, no?

The whole situation begins to very sound similar to the Commutative Coin Perspective versus the Individually-Distinct Perspective.

How much impact did altering the original premise as stated in Melee with the newly expanded premise as stated in Wizard change what the absolute definition of a TFT character actually is, I cannot say.

I do know however that the math reveals that the premise did change mathematically with the release of Wizard.

Since TFT is not a game of Swords & Sorcery, but is actually a game of mathematical Premises & Probabilities masquerading AS Swords and Sorcery, how much can be added to the existing equation?

For me, I would say the most correct answer would be found somewhere between: "Just enough, and no more than that." - if that helps.

So what is "The Immovable Foundation-Stone on which TFT Characters are built"?

To that question, I would answer:

"The Immovable Foundation-Stone of TFT is the original Melee premise, of course; which is an argument which cannot reconcile itself." he stated arithmetically.

Last edited by Jim Kane; 03-18-2018 at 01:25 PM. Reason: Numerical Typo
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Old 03-14-2018, 01:16 PM   #2
tbeard1999
 
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Default Re: The Immovable Foundation-Stone on which TFT Characters are Built

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Kane View Post
The Immovable Foundation-Stone of TFT

...

"The Commutative Laws of Mathematics DO NOT work for either subtraction nor division."

...

"If a re-designer cannot subtract nor divide from the original premise [(a+b)=(b+a)]=24, because "The Commutative Laws of Mathematics DO NOT work for either subtraction nor division.", what can be done to enhance the system?

You can add.

...
Oh yeah? I counter with The Philosophical Revelations of Sinistar. http://onastick.net/drew/sinistar/

:D

Actually, I found your analysis interesting because I have avoided splitting TFT attributes.

If I understood your analysis correctly, the philosophically correct solution to Conan the Wizard problem is to add an attribute. Interestingly, my proposed solution was to add a separate attribute - Power - which would be used instead of ST to power spells. Poof, no Conan the Wizard. Of course, that would affect Wizard vs Wizard duels, since the Wizards don't lose hit points as they cast spells, but that seems a minor thing.

This adjustment would not reduce the value of ST to non-wizards. For them, ST does everything it always has. For wizards, it obviously reduces the value of ST -- which is exactly what you need to eliminate Conan the Wizard.

As an aside, my concern with allowing 2:1 talent points is more due to my desire to ensure strongly defined character archetypes, like Fighter, Thief, Wizard, etc. Providing more talent points blurs those distinctions in my opinion.
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Old 03-14-2018, 01:27 PM   #3
Jim Kane
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Default Re: The Immovable Foundation-Stone on which TFT Characters are Built

Quote:
Originally Posted by tbeard1999 View Post
Oh yeah? I counter with The Philosophical Revelations of Sinistar. http://onastick.net/drew/sinistar/

:D

Actually, I found your analysis interesting because I have avoided splitting TFT attributes.

If I understood your analysis correctly, the philosophically correct solution to Conan the Wizard problem is to add an attribute. Interestingly, my proposed solution was to add a separate attribute - Power - which would be used instead of ST to power spells. Poof, no Conan the Wizard. Of course, that would affect Wizard vs Wizard duels, since the Wizards don't lose hit points as they cast spells, but that seems a minor thing.

This adjustment would not reduce the value of ST to non-wizards. For them, ST does everything it always has. For wizards, it obviously reduces the value of ST -- which is exactly what you need to eliminate Conan the Wizard.

As an aside, my concern with allowing 2:1 talent points is more due to my desire to ensure strongly defined character archetypes, like Fighter, Thief, Wizard, etc. Providing more talent points blurs those distinctions in my opinion.
No my friend Ty, I think you might want to go over the thing again, and see that adding an attribute as you describe as Power would have to come from a bifurcation of the ST stat as stated in the original Melee premise AND violate the Commutative Laws; and as stated: "The Commutative Laws of Mathematics DO NOT work for either subtraction nor division."

That's not me speaking, that is Arithmetic Law speaking.

The difference is when SJ added IQ it wasn't in any way related to ST or DX, that is why it worked. Your Power stat would have to come from ST, and ST already exists in the original premise' so you would have to bifurcate ST to create Power; if you bifurcate, then you violate the original premise. SJ did not bifurcate anything - it was a clean add.

71. That is not the solution to Conan-the-Scholar. Go back to the OP (1), or flee (142). A little Death Test humor for you LOL!

Last edited by Jim Kane; 03-15-2018 at 11:10 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 03-14-2018, 02:21 PM   #4
Chris Rice
 
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Default Re: The Immovable Foundation-Stone on which TFT Characters are Built

Another solution is to change the means of character development (power increase) from attribute increase to some other means such as hero points or some other method. That has been my approach.
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Old 03-14-2018, 02:25 PM   #5
Jim Kane
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Default Re: The Immovable Foundation-Stone on which TFT Characters are Built

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Rice View Post
Another solution is to change the means of character development (power increase) from attribute increase to some other means such as hero points or some other method. That has been my approach.
That's a good approach for you Chris, but you do realize that you are stating a whole new premise, yes?
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Old 03-14-2018, 02:31 PM   #6
tbeard1999
 
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Default Re: The Immovable Foundation-Stone on which TFT Characters are Built

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Kane View Post
No my friend Ty, I think you might want to go over the thing again, and see that adding an attribute as you describe as Power would have to come from a bifurcation of the ST stat as stated in the original Melee premise AND violate the Commutative Laws; and as stated: "The Commutative Laws of Mathematics DO NOT work for either subtraction nor division."

That's not me speaking, that is Arithmetic Law speaking.

The difference is when SJ added IQ it wasn't in anyway related to ST or DX, that is why it worked. Your Power stat would have to come from ST, and ST already exists in the original premise' so you would have to bifurcate ST to create Power; if you bifurcate, then you violate the original premise. SJ did not bifurcate anything - it was a clean add.

71. That is not the solution to Conan-the-Scholar. Go back to the OP (1), or flee (142). A little Death Test humor for you LOL!
Heh.

<shrug> Well, that's the best way I can come up with to fix the Conan the Wizard problem with as little disruption to the rest of the system as possible.

And I posit that in the TFT world, ST is already effectively bifurcated. Sorta. Heroes use ST for 2 things - determining the size weapon they can use and absorbing damage. Wizards use ST for 3 things - powering spells, absorbing damage and determining the size weapon they can use. Yet ST costs the same for both heroes and wizards. Also, see my note below about how ST has had additional benefits bestowed on it, yet the "cost" has remained the same.

By splitting the power function out, ST now does the same thing for both Wizards and Heroes. And, you're doing the two things that need to be done (in my opinion).

First, you're removing the main incentive for Wizards to raise their ST to high levels. And you're doing this without having to mess with the magic system (other than replace "ST" with "PW").

Second, you're NOT reducing the value of ST to Heroes.

The second point is why I've resisted the common suggestion to add a "Health" attribute. While it makes ST far less useful to Wizards (thereby addressing the Conan the Wizard problem), it also makes ST much less useful to heroes. Which has the unintended effect of making DX even more valuable than ST, comparatively. This is already an issue in TFT; adding a health attribute makes it worse.

Besides, in Melee, ST was presumed to be as valuable as DX - which is why they cost the same. But when Wizard came out, ST received an additional advantage - it could be used to power spells. Then, in ITL, ST was given an additional advantage - at high enough levels, armor restricted you less (and you could use 2 handed weapons with 1 hand). Yet ST "costs" the same as it did in Melee, despite being more useful. So does the Law allow you to increase the uses (and therefore the value) of ST?

The only other low-footprint solution I can think of is to use IQ to power spells. But this would eliminate the "power vs. knowledge" dilemma that wizards currently have (and that I think is a Good Thing).

Oh, and if I added the PW attribute, I'd still only give starting characters 8 additional points (or whatever the applicable current number is).

Last edited by tbeard1999; 03-14-2018 at 02:40 PM.
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Old 03-14-2018, 02:43 PM   #7
Jim Kane
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Default Re: The Immovable Foundation-Stone on which TFT Characters are Built

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Originally Posted by tbeard1999 View Post
ST is already effectively bifurcated. Heroes use ST for 2 things - determining the size weapon they can use and absorbing damage. Wizards use ST for 3 things - powering spells, absorbing damage and determining the size weapon they can use.
Yes we use ST to GOVERN the max weapon, GOVERN HTH Barehand Damage, Fatigue. etc. BUT can you independently alter any of those thing out of relation to the other? If not, they are not "bifurcated", as the others do not "stay" - that's how you can tell what is, and what is not.


Quote:
Originally Posted by tbeard1999 View Post
First, you're removing the main incentive for Wizards to raise their ST to high levels. And you're doing this without having to mess with the magic system (other than replace "ST" with "PW").
Hang on, I only presented the problem, and the arguments, not any solutions - go back and re-read, to check me

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Originally Posted by tbeard1999 View Post
The second point is why I've resisted a "Health" attribute. While it makes ST far less useful to Wizards (thereby addressing the Conan the Wizard problem), it also makes ST much less useful to heroes. Which has the unintended effect of making DX even more valuable than ST, comparatively..
Well, obviously HT had to come from somewhere,.. and it would be silly to use DX, so the default is ST, and if you bifurcate ST to create HT, you violate the original premise by taking something out, and if you take something out, you violate the Commutative Law which states that is does not work for subtraction.. and round and round it goes....

Last edited by Jim Kane; 03-14-2018 at 02:48 PM.
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Old 03-14-2018, 02:47 PM   #8
tbeard1999
 
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Default Re: The Immovable Foundation-Stone on which TFT Characters are Built

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Kane View Post
No my friend Ty, I think you might want to go over the thing again, and see that adding an attribute as you describe as Power would have to come from a bifurcation of the ST stat as stated in the original Melee premise AND violate the Commutative Laws; and as stated: "The Commutative Laws of Mathematics DO NOT work for either subtraction nor division."

That's not me speaking, that is Arithmetic Law speaking.

The difference is when SJ added IQ it wasn't in anyway related to ST or DX, that is why it worked. Your Power stat would have to come from ST, and ST already exists in the original premise' so you would have to bifurcate ST to create Power; if you bifurcate, then you violate the original premise. SJ did not bifurcate anything - it was a clean add.

71. That is not the solution to Conan-the-Scholar. Go back to the OP (1), or flee (142). A little Death Test humor for you LOL!
For these Laws to be applicable, isn't it necessary that ST and DX be equally valuable, as posited in Melee? And that IQ has exactly the same value as ST and DX, as posited in Wizard? (Or, that the costs assigned to each attribute in Melee and Wizard are accurate?)

If so, then the laws are likely inapplicable, for two reasons.

First, a strong argument can be made that for heroes, DX is more useful than ST, up to a certain point. 2 additional points of ST will allow you to take 2 additional points of damage - once. 2 additional points of DX will allow you to take leather armor, which allows you to take 2 additional points of damage in every attack.

Of course, ST does govern the size weapon you can use. But I'd have a hard time agreeing that 2 additional points of damage done offsets the advantage of wearing leather armor.

Second, ST has been given additional advantages in Wizard - powering spells - and ITL (advantages of Great Strength), yet the cost has remained the same. So either ST cost too much in Melee or it costs too little in ITL. In the former case, the original cost was wrong. In the latter case, ST has been increased in actual value, yet cost has not been increased.

Last edited by tbeard1999; 03-14-2018 at 03:32 PM. Reason: changed "affect" to "govern"
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Old 03-14-2018, 03:06 PM   #9
Jim Kane
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Default Re: The Immovable Foundation-Stone on which TFT Characters are Built

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Originally Posted by tbeard1999 View Post
For these Laws to be applicable, isn't it necessary that ST and DX be equally valuable, as posited in Melee? And that IQ has exactly the same value as ST and DX, as posited in Wizard? (Or, that the costs assigned to each attribute in Melee and Wizard are accurate?)
Here's the deal in a nut shell. Melee character creation is based on Algebra; that's why I included the formulaic expressions. But to directly your question of equal-value, can you cite where it says "necessary that ST and DX be equally valuable, as posited in Melee"? I want to get on the same page as you, so I can understand your question.

I do know that the stated premise reads: "or any other combination adding to" so that sounds like variable-value, not equal-value; do you see something else, I am missing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tbeard1999 View Post
If so, then the laws are likely inapplicable. A strong argument can be made that for heroes, DX is more useful than ST, up to a certain point. 2 additional points of ST will allow you to take 2 additional points of damage - once. 2 additional points of DX will allow you to take leather armor, which allows you to take 2 additional points of damage in every attack.
The only Laws I know of govern the manipulation of numbers as a Mathematical Formula. So I am not seeing how you are tying the concept of the Commutative Law of Addition as it applies to the original premise of character creation, and into the specific weapon/damage/armor rules etc; can you clarify?

O
Quote:
Originally Posted by tbeard1999 View Post
f course, ST does affect the size weapon you can use. But I'd have a hard time agreeing that 2 additional points of damage done offsets the advantage of wearing leather armor.
Do you think it might be more accurate to say ST "governs", as opposed to "affects"?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tbeard1999 View Post
In any case, ST has been given additional advantages in Wizard and ITL, yet the cost has remained the same.
I totally get what you mean here Ty, but it is outside of the scope of the treatise I presented. That one my friend, is another 2000 word Treatise in my files which I should put up here so we can get into and examine together

Last edited by Jim Kane; 03-14-2018 at 03:18 PM.
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Old 03-14-2018, 03:25 PM   #10
tbeard1999
 
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Default Re: The Immovable Foundation-Stone on which TFT Characters are Built

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Kane View Post
Here's the deal in a nut shell. Melee is based on Algebra. But to directly your question of equal-value, can you cite where it says "necessary that ST and DX be equally valuable, as posited in Melee"? I want to get on the same page as you, so I can understand your question.
Well, I'm asking, not quoting.

In Melee, the "price" of ST is exactly the same as DX - each point of ST or DX costs one attribute point.

If this is actually true (i.e., a point of ST and a point DX have equivalent utility in Melee and Wizard) then the "cost" assigned to ST and DX is accurate.

And then any reduction of the utility of ST will reduce the utility or value of ST. Which would then make the cost inaccurate.

Quote:
I totally get what you mean hear Ty, but it is outside of the scope of the treatise I presented. That one my friend, is another 2000 word Treatise in my files which I should put up here so we can get into and examine together
I don't think I have the spare brain cells for it. I think that you make a good point - assuming I understand correctly - that if you take something away from ST, you make ST less valuable. This then invalidates a key concept of TFT - that all attributes have equivalent value.

My argument is that the original "price" of ST in Melee/Wizard may not accurately reflect its actual utility/value.

Plus, the ITL additions to ST will increase the utility/value of ST. If ST was accurately priced in Melee/Wizard, this addition will render that pricing invalid.

Finally, I am asserting that splitting Power from ST will have no effect on the value of ST to heroes, which is a Good Thing.

Last edited by tbeard1999; 03-14-2018 at 03:29 PM.
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