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Old 02-10-2018, 06:39 AM   #11
Chris Rice
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: London Uk, but originally from Scotland
Default Re: The Fourth Attribute...

Quote:
Originally Posted by ecz View Post
the OP asked to name one, and only one, new attribute. I agree that TFT works as it is, and a fourth attribute could unbalance everything, but if I have to decide one, HT is obviusly the better choice.

and you? what you would add instead ?
As I mentioned above, I'd add Hero points (or Luck/Karma points, whatever you want to call them). This keeps the balance between the existing attributes, does away with Attribute bloat and adds an interesting dynamic during play, all in one easy mechanic.
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Old 02-10-2018, 06:41 AM   #12
tbeard1999
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Tyler, Texas
Default Re: The Fourth Attribute...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Rice View Post
Each of the original three Attributes had two main functions:

ST governed both weapon use and ability to take damage (health/con).
DX governed hit chance and many skill checks.
IQ governed difficulty of skills to learn and number known.

The system was fairly balanced between the value of the three attributes. By splitting one (ST) into two parts by creating a Health attribute you devalue both ST and Health and imbalance the system. If you're going to split them, then it makes more sense to split all three, thus preserving the relative balance between the attributes.

Although this might seem more complex you're really just assigning a different name and number to an already existing function. As far as monsters go, it's not necessary under normal circumstances to split them, so they can be described just with the original three attributes.

This is a long winded way of saying I don't want a separate Health attribute, unless the other attributes are also split.
At the risk of mass condemnation, I agree with you. I don’t really think splitting ST is any more useful than splitting DX into agility and manual dexterity for instance. Personally, I think equating those two qualities is at least as much of an abstraction.
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Old 02-10-2018, 06:45 AM   #13
tbeard1999
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Tyler, Texas
Default Re: The Fourth Attribute...

Quote:
Originally Posted by ecz View Post
the OP asked to name one, and only one, new attribute. I agree that TFT works as it is, and a fourth attribute could unbalance everything, but if I have to decide one, HT is obviusly the better choice.

and you? what you would add instead ?
I suppose that “I’d add nothing” is a valid response. Personally, I haven’t added any attributes (other than a Defense rating, which is based on DX and is only used by high DX, lightly armored figures) in 4 decades of playing TFT. Sure, I’ve experimented from time to time, but none really stuck (other than defense).
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Old 02-10-2018, 12:39 PM   #14
JLV
 
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Location: Far northern California
Default Re: The Fourth Attribute...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Rice View Post
Each of the original three Attributes had two main functions:

ST governed both weapon use and ability to take damage (health/con).
DX governed hit chance and many skill checks.
IQ governed difficulty of skills to learn and number known.

The system was fairly balanced between the value of the three attributes. By splitting one (ST) into two parts by creating a Health attribute you devalue both ST and Health and imbalance the system. If you're going to split them, then it makes more sense to split all three, thus preserving the relative balance between the attributes.

Although this might seem more complex you're really just assigning a different name and number to an already existing function. As far as monsters go, it's not necessary under normal circumstances to split them, so they can be described just with the original three attributes.

This is a long winded way of saying I don't want a separate Health attribute, unless the other attributes are also split.
Health is definitely the way to go. In fact, if I were only allowed to make a SINGLE change to TFT, it would be to add the HT attribute. One solves so many major problems by doing so.
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Old 02-10-2018, 12:42 PM   #15
ak_aramis
 
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Location: Alsea, OR
Default Re: The Fourth Attribute...

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Originally Posted by tbeard1999 View Post
OK, so you’ve just been made the Czar of All TFT. You decide to add one - and only one - attribute for the game. What is it?
I'd add health. Fatigue goes off heath, damage off strength.

(Yes, I think it took 30 years for Steve Jackson to get that right.
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Old 02-11-2018, 01:10 AM   #16
David Bofinger
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Sydney, Australia
Default Re: The Fourth Attribute...

Can someone explain to me why HT would be so useful? What are you trying to achieve with it?

It's useful in combat to keep a character up but it's most important attribute is preventing a character's sudden death. That means you're asking the player to trade off what they can get done as a member of the party, against their character's safety. If the GM dislikes killing PCs then the players will be tempted to keep the HT low and dare the GM to kill them. I don't think these are decisions that make for good adventures.

I'm guessing you're trying to make experienced characters harder to kill than inexperienced ones. You could achieve that by saying that characters only die when their ST gets to negative some function of their other attributes.

You could also have talents that make you reluctant to die.

If I were changing TFT attributes I would:
  1. Detach (small movements) dexterity from (large movements) agility: the DX attribute, under whatever name, describes large movements and is good for combat, dodging rockfalls, etc. Meanwhile the small movements, which are basically only used for thievery anyway, aren't worth an attribute and we tell the good thieves from the bad thieves by what talents they have.
  2. Separate perception and willpower, on the one hand, from intelligence and education on the other. Maybe both of these are attributes, I'm not sure.
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Old 02-11-2018, 03:32 AM   #17
ak_aramis
 
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Location: Alsea, OR
Default Re: The Fourth Attribute...

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Bofinger View Post
Can someone explain to me why HT would be so useful? What are you trying to achieve with it?

It's useful in combat to keep a character up but it's most important attribute is preventing a character's sudden death. That means you're asking the player to trade off what they can get done as a member of the party, against their character's safety. If the GM dislikes killing PCs then the players will be tempted to keep the HT low and dare the GM to kill them. I don't think these are decisions that make for good adventures.

I'm guessing you're trying to make experienced characters harder to kill than inexperienced ones. You could achieve that by saying that characters only die when their ST gets to negative some function of their other attributes.

You could also have talents that make you reluctant to die.

If I were changing TFT attributes I would:
  1. Detach (small movements) dexterity from (large movements) agility: the DX attribute, under whatever name, describes large movements and is good for combat, dodging rockfalls, etc. Meanwhile the small movements, which are basically only used for thievery anyway, aren't worth an attribute and we tell the good thieves from the bad thieves by what talents they have.
  2. Separate perception and willpower, on the one hand, from intelligence and education on the other. Maybe both of these are attributes, I'm not sure.
TFT (& GURPS 1–3) both suffer from "Conan the Spell Caster" syndrome.

That is, The best wizards are as strong as the best warriors. And as tough.

The HT as I would propose works thus:

ST and physical hit capacity remain as is - locked together - except possibly for some high-health talents.

Health maps to resistance to disease, fatigue, poison, and ability to power spells.

Better maps to the descriptions in most of the Sword and Sorcery, and to common sense - physical strength isn't tied to physical health and is often counter to endurance.
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Old 02-11-2018, 08:46 AM   #18
tbeard1999
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Tyler, Texas
Default Re: The Fourth Attribute...

So maybe TFT could use a “variable 4th attribute”. This would be dependent upon the campaign type. For instance, campaigns that want wizards to be weak and effete would have a “Mana” attribute to power spells. Campaigns that focus on rogues and thieves would add Manual Dexterity. Campaigns that are fighter intensive would add Health. High Tech campaigns might add Education (or talent points). Epic level games might add Hero Points. Etc.
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Old 02-11-2018, 09:49 AM   #19
tbeard1999
 
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Location: Tyler, Texas
Default Re: The Fourth Attribute...

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Originally Posted by Chris Rice View Post
Yes, but it was some time ago, so the details are somewhat hazy and I'd already altered the base game somewhat to six attributes among other things. Instead of awarding experience points after adventures I gave "Hero points."

These could be used in a variety of ways. For Wizards and Clerics they could be exchanged into Magic points and Faith points respectively to fuel spells. They could also be used (at great cost) to increase attributes. Their main use however, was as an in-game device to modify dice rolls in favour of the characters. These points regenerated between encounters and became a sort of indicator of a character's power; so a level 6 Hero had 6 Hero points and so on.

We all liked the extra dynamic these added to play. In addition Marius the ST12, DX12, leather armoured fighter didn't have to become Marius the ST20, DX20, plate Mail armoured fighter. He could retain the same characteristics but become much more powerful through Hero points.
I've been thinking more about this system. I think that TFT works very well, unmodified, through 38 points or so. But I don't personally have a problem with increasing attributes. So, here's a proposed variant based on your system.

Characters may only add six additional attribute points through accumulating EP. (Wizard spells of IQ 19-20 might need to be reduced to IQ 18. Also, need to figure out what to do with Lizardmen and characters that only earn half EP.)

After adding 6 attribute points, each additional point earned by EP will be converted into 2 talent points or X Karma points (KP). Karma starts out at 0 for all characters. Depending on the power level of the campaign, each attribute point will yield 1-4 Karma points. 2 is probably a reasonable average.

Karma is used up, but will be recovered by X hours of rest/meditation. I think it would be ok to allow characters to take Karma even if they haven't added six points. Anyhow, Karma is used to activate various abilities as you listed. Some ideas:

Add 1 to any attribute for 1 minute
Modify any of your rolls by up to 2 points*
Modify any opponent's rolls by up to 2 points*
Have a flash of inspiration
Remember to have brought something that you forgot
Make opponent fumble - 3/DX roll or he drops his weapon**
Make opponent stumble - 3/DX roll to remain standing**
Make opponent re-roll a damage or to hit roll
Make opponent re-roll any other roll
Re-roll a to hit roll, damage roll or any other roll
Add up to 2 ST to a spell
Add 2 to any attribute for 1 turn (When the bonus ends, your current attribute drops by 2 or to 0, whichever is better).
Quickdraw weapon - (i.e., ready it and use it in same turn)
'Tis but a Scratch - Once per adventure, spend 2 KP and convert one wound into 1 point of damage
I Got Better - heal 2 points of damage (limit this per day)

Etc...

KPs are allocated in reverse initiative order, if it matters.

I'd allow a figure to use (say) 2 KPs at one time. Or, this can also be keyed to the power level of the campaign. It may also be reasonable to limit the total number of KP that can be used in a given encounter. 3 sounds good to me.

*Means you have to declare that you're doing this before you roll. If you do it after you roll, the KP cost is doubled.

**This can only be done successfully to a figure once per combat.
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Old 02-11-2018, 09:50 AM   #20
Chris Goodwin
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Hillsboro, Oregon, USA
Default Re: The Fourth Attribute...

How about a few small rules tweaks to open the fourth attribute space up for something else.

First: the rules already make explicit that ST loss to spellcasting is fatigue, and recovers more quickly, even though a wizard can still die from it. I propose that a wizard's mana score is equal to their IQ.

Second: it makes sense that a fighter trains for two things: strength and fighting. I propose that a fighter's talent points is equal to their ST.

Then tweak the costs of Talents so that fighting and jock skills are less expensive for fighters, and wizard and nerdy stuff is less expensive for wizards.
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