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Old 04-17-2018, 11:04 PM   #771
JLV
 
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Default Re: TFT or Dungeon Fantasy. False dichotomy.

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Originally Posted by tbone View Post
The way I'd summarize it (as an outsider/spectator, of course): DFRPG sales weren't all bad but weren't good enough.

Here's hoping Melee/Wizard will fall firmly within "good enough" (to make $$$ and ensure reprinting). With its simpler rules and presentation, maybe it'll hit a sweet spot in the market...
I hear ya, and am hitting the knees every night praying for success! I think TFT is a wonderful game (I know, we all do, or we wouldn't be on here talking about it) with tremendous accessibility, especially for new folks or folks like me that don't have the time or inclination to learn 700 pages of core rules and just want to play...!

Certainly it was good enough to go head-to-head with D&D back in the day and come in second in total sales for two years running (if memory serves). I think the logic of play, and the ease of grasping the rules was the real appeal here; and it was definitely a gateway drug for many, many players from back then. Though, had it not gone tango uniform for 35 years, it might not have had to be a "gateway drug," and instead might STILL be at least #2 in sales... ;-)

Hopefully there are enough of us old heads and enough intrigued newbies out there to pull this off.
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Old 04-19-2018, 10:10 AM   #772
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Default Re: The Fantasy Trip

Personally, I think that TFT's greatest opportunity as a roleplaying game (as opposed to the arena games) is as a truly lightweight system that's capable of delivering a good old school roleplaying experience.

That's why I'd be VERY careful not to complicate the system.

I don't know the reasoning or story behind Dungeon Fantasy, but here would be my concerns:

1. It's a subset of a very complex RPG that also claims to be completely compatible with its parent game. I'm not sure you can maintain complete fidelity with GURPS, yet replicate a classic dungeon crawl experience. GURPS is realistically deadly; dungeon crawls allow for far more combats than a normal GURPS character would be expected to handle.

2. I think there's a marketing issue - the perception that it's a "starter" or "dumbed-down" version of the "real" game. I think - just my opinion - that gamers generally want the "full" version of a game.

3. I wasn't sure what there was about it that would entice buyers. Existing GURPS players probably have all of the material already; are they gonna pay for that same material only re-organized? What is it that would entice non-GURPS players to buy it? What does it offer players that AD&D, Pathfinder or D&D Xth edition don't already offer?

If these concerns are valid, TFT might be able to avoid them. Number 2 is obviously not a problem since TFT is a effectively a New Game. The part of Number 3 dealing with existing players wouldn't be a problem since current TFT players are numerically insignificant. And I think that SJG can articulate a number of things that TFT can do better than the competition - a combat system that's as detailed as 3+ ed D&D, yet far smoother and a very fast character generation system (while yielding fairly detailed characters) in particular.

Number 1 is my main concern - is TFT a good dungeon game? If not, can it be modified so that it is a good dungeon game, while retaining its other advantages?
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Old 04-19-2018, 10:47 AM   #773
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Default Re: The Fantasy Trip

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Number 1 is my main concern - is TFT a good dungeon game? If not, can it be modified so that it is a good dungeon game, while retaining its other advantages?
Yes, it is, but not in the same ways D&D is.

A D&D first level dungeon works just fine, monster for monster, as a TFT dungeon. Higher level adventures (5+) tend to have monsters that don't have direct equivalents.

Several other games don't fare so well. A similar use in WFRP produces a totally deadly campaign game. In Rolemaster, it's often easier than in D&D. (Low level competency is higher in RM than D&D.) In the Arcanum or in Palladium, the similar monsters have dissimilar competency levels...

Tunnels & Trolls has the closest comparability - similarly low & fixed HP, similarly attribute growth driven experience system, and it's a fine dungeon crawler...
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Old 04-19-2018, 11:08 AM   #774
tbeard1999
 
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Default Re: The Fantasy Trip

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Yes, it is, but not in the same ways D&D is.

A D&D first level dungeon works just fine, monster for monster, as a TFT dungeon. Higher level adventures (5+) tend to have monsters that don't have direct equivalents.

Several other games don't fare so well. A similar use in WFRP produces a totally deadly campaign game. In Rolemaster, it's often easier than in D&D. (Low level competency is higher in RM than D&D.) In the Arcanum or in Palladium, the similar monsters have dissimilar competency levels...

Tunnels & Trolls has the closest comparability - similarly low & fixed HP, similarly attribute growth driven experience system, and it's a fine dungeon crawler...
You make a good point. TFT dungeon adventures are viable as long as the GM selects monsters that are appropriate for TFT characters.* Some monsters that might be fairly easy for an experienced D&D group might be very lethal for an experienced TFT group. Giant snapping turtles for instance (ST 36, DX 12, 3+3 dmg, -4 hits). So D&D medium-high level D&D adventures may not map well to TFT.

*Assuming elimination of the "dead at ST 0" rule and the addition of healing spells (or making Physicker/Master Physicker easier to get).
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Old 04-19-2018, 02:05 PM   #775
Dave Crowell
 
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Default Re: The Fantasy Trip

The base Melee and Wizard games also fit a different niche to Dungeon Fantasy and D&D, that of skirmish style game, suitable for arena combat or play in other settings without the commitment of an RPG.

Games such as Ganesha Games' Song of Blade and Heroes series are popular with miniatures gamers for small actions. TFT provides a more detailed but still fast running system eminently suitible for this style of play. Current editions of D&D have too involved a character generation process to make them appealing for one off skirmish games.

Offering a quick, light, but involving skirmish battle system that will handle both hand to hand and magic is an underserved market niche at the moment. Especially at a game scale that takes the actions of single figures tactically interesting, most skirmish games tend to be at the small warband scale.
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Old 04-19-2018, 04:47 PM   #776
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Default Re: The Fantasy Trip

All of that may well be true, but I would hate to see ITL relegated to some kind of "skirmish" or "arena" game, and I think we do a disservice to the community by doing so.

TFT gave AD&D a serious run for it's money back in the day, and given that pretty much every RPG on the market today is enormously complex (even the so-called "retro-clones" are made more complex than the games they were supposed to get you back to), I suspect that TFT's RPG niche (simple, fast, fun, yet capable of delivering a true RPG experience despite those first three descriptors) is the one that's truly underserved at this point...
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Old 04-21-2018, 12:49 PM   #777
Dave Crowell
 
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Default Re: The Fantasy Trip

Don't get me wrong. I think that the the full system with ITL and Advanced Melee and Wizard makes for a great rules light RPG, and I hope it is a success in today's market and gets full support.

I would go so far as to say that a re-editing to bring the whole of TFT into a unified version rather than splitting it across five parts would be a good thing.

Just thinking of Melee and Wizard as standalone games in their own right as the plan is to release them as individual boxed games first.

I want more RPGs that support tactical combat play, but don't overwhelm me with piles of extraneous detail and mechanical widgets.
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Old 06-04-2018, 12:01 AM   #778
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Default The Fantasy Trip - Key Advantages?

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Originally Posted by tbeard1999 View Post
You make a good point. TFT dungeon adventures are viable as long as the GM selects monsters that are appropriate for TFT characters. ...
Hi Ty, everyone.
This thread was talking about TFT dungeon adventures (and seemed to be discussing adapting lower level D&D adventures to this theme).

A couple of points: First the majority of my TFT campaign is NOT happening in dungeons. (Then again, I've added several talents to support non-combat stuff, as the base talent list is heavily combat focused.)

Second, I would like to muse on what sets apart a TFT dungeon from typical D&D dungeons? Does TFT have a unique selling point, which will help it differentiate itself from the rest of the market? (I welcome further thoughts on this as some good ideas here may help TFT survive...)

-- Mass combat. I run games with political savvy PC's and they often have a bunch of minions, followers and allies to help in fights. The enemy have plenty of troops as well. TFT can handle big fights with 20 guys on a side. Other times I've had a party of 5 guys fighting a hymenopteran hive with more than 50 bugs swarming in from all sides.
When running these big combats, I tend to stream line things and eschew fancy rules. I'll sometimes appoint a player as assistant GM to run half the battle. But TFT adventures could have a set piece battle with a lot of troops.

-- Maneuver is important. Most D&D combats I've seen are tactically dull. PC's run up and then hack and hack, rarely moving from their spots. Where as TFT is dynamic - sides and rears are key, pole users want room to charge, areas of terrain can get Shadows, Fires, Slippery Floors, etc.
I think that TFT adventures should support this with tactically interesting puzzles where maneuver is rewarded. As I've said before, counters for terrain (rough ground, brush, thorns, etc.) make it easy to break up a big blank map.
I've played several of George Dew's programmed adventures, and one place where he fell flat was most of his fights were tactically dull.

-- Fights are more dramatic. Healing and resurrection is so easy in D&D that fights are fairly mundane. In a D&D adventure, you might clean out 30 rooms without breaking much of a sweat. In the TFT fights, in my campaign or the other TFT campaigns around here, there tend to be fewer fights but they are much more nerve wracking. Death is close and healing is hard.
I suggest that TFT adventures have fewer rooms, but make those rooms more complex and interesting.
It sounds like Steve Jackson has already decided on adding a very powerful healing spell, but I hope he reconsiders. There are several ways to add healing spells to TFT, but make it tough enough to use, to break the D&D fight / heal cycle.

-- Fewer and Weaker Magic Items: This may just be what is common in the local TFT campaigns, but it seems to me that in D&D campaigns there are a LOT of magic items. But in most TFT campaigns, there are fewer magic items and they are more limited. In particular, the absolutely brilliant idea of the LIMIT / EXPUNGE (L/E) combo meant that not every item used by a bad guy could be looted. My players put L/E on their best magic, (it discourages thefts), and my NPC's use this a lot. Some items are planned to get these eventually, but since L/E is usually put on last, the items which are missing them are half built, and so weaker.
I would encourage builders of adventures to include L/E items for their bad guys (not every item but a good number). I would also encourage a bunch of weaker magic items are added to the magic item list. A haste ring that adds +4 MA rather than doubling it. A Slow Missiles ring rather than reverse missiles. A Haze ring rather than Blur.
If TFT has smaller and weaker magic items, the heroes have to be heroes from their internal fortitude, and less because of their magical inventory.

***
GURPS: Dungeon Fantasy failed in part, (I think), because it didn't identify or market what was cool about it. If a somewhat unsatisfied D&D player saw GURPS: DF in the store, what on the box would make her say, "this sounds better than my D&D game!"?

I think that some careful thought should be made to say 'why is TFT better' and then the game and adventures should be deliberately designed to _emphasize_ those strengths. Those strengths need to be the highlight of the marketing campaign.

What do you guys think? Any unique selling features I've missed?

Warm regards, Rick.

Last edited by Rick_Smith; 06-04-2018 at 12:06 AM.
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Old 06-04-2018, 12:14 AM   #779
David Bofinger
 
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Default Re: The Fantasy Trip

My argument for healing spells is:
  1. Assumption: We want the battles to be exciting.
  2. Assumption: We want the campaign to be continuous, rather than having long pauses for healing.
  3. From 1: The players shouldn't be sure if they're going to win or lose, or should fear losing PCs.
  4. From 3: In a typical battle the players will get lots of wounds.
  5. From 2 and 4: Healing between battles has to be fast and effective.

So the argument you're using against healing is actually one I use in favour of healing. Having healing allows the GM to ramp up the threat until it has a chance of winning the fight or at least killing a PC.

I'm agnostic on healing during battles.
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Old 06-04-2018, 12:51 AM   #780
Rick_Smith
 
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Default D&D does easy healing --> Clone it?

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Originally Posted by David Bofinger View Post
My argument for healing spells is: ...

So the argument you're using against healing is actually one I use in favour of healing. Having healing allows the GM to ramp up the threat until it has a chance of winning the fight or at least killing a PC.

I'm agnostic on healing during battles.
Hi David,
Thanks for the fast reply!

If we make TFT very close to D&D and these other games... why would D&D fans switch over to TFT?

D&D dungeons typically have sprawling complexes with a ridiculous number of rooms. If you are writing an adventure with 50 - 60 rooms, you don't have the time to give any one of those rooms much love.

If you are deep in a dungeon with 50 rooms, you darn well better have a super heal spell handy.

But if a typical TFT dungeon had 10 rooms and those rooms were far more detailed and interesting, then clearing out a couple or three rooms and then falling back to rest up is more viable.

***

I tried to think of what made TFT cooler than D&D. The LACK of easy healing is one of the things that I like about TFT. It gives the game a grittiness, and realism that is missing from most D&D campaigns I've tried. I decided that risky combats were good, but long healing times while not adventuring were bad. Therefore, I thought of a way to add healing to my campaign which fixed the latter, but left the former alone.

If someone says, "the ideal game is D&D, so let's make TFT more like D&D", then that is taking a risk. If you make the game too much like D&D, then you are guaranteeing that the new TFT will fail.

Now you are likely going to say, "just giving TFT very easy healing does not make the new TFT just like D&D." Very true. But trivially easy healing has a BIG impact on the feel of the game. I do not think that this is a small matter.

***

However, it might be best to take the "is super powerful healing a good thing", question to the Healing Spell thread. That seems the place for it.

Warm regards, Rick.

Last edited by Rick_Smith; 06-04-2018 at 01:07 AM.
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