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Old 02-06-2018, 02:38 PM   #1
Chris Goodwin
 
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Default TFT and GURPS - where is the line between them?

From a philosophical standpoint, where does TFT end and GURPS begin? I suggested starting a thread to talk about this, so I'm going to do so.

If I have any authority to set ground rules in this thread: speak positively about both games. TFT is a fine game; so is GURPS. We wouldn't all be here if at least one of those weren't true. I'm not trying to knock GURPS or pump TFT at its expense, and I don't want anyone else to either.

I've seen lots of house rules for TFT that make it more like GURPS: separating fatigue from damage. Adding a HT attribute. Spending points on talents (or spells) separately from those provided by IQ.

So... what is TFT that GURPS is not? What is GURPS that TFT is not?
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Old 02-06-2018, 07:31 PM   #2
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Default Re: TFT and GURPS - where is the line between them?

I don't know the answer, other than to say that way back in the 80s I visited my local game store and saw the original GURPS set and the big yellow BRP book. I spent a couple of hours looking them over and decided that GURPS would be a relatively seamless transition for my long-running TFT group.
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Old 02-06-2018, 08:50 PM   #3
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Default Re: TFT and GURPS - where is the line between them?

A major design difference that transcends just the overall complexity is the fact that GURPS lets you trade everything against everything, including both positive and negative departures from the 'default case' human. So, if I am contemplating how high my ST score or battleaxe skill can get, I can consider raising them in exchange for taking on a fear or spiders or innumeracy or something. In TFT your 'trade space' is tightly constrained - ST can only be traded for DX or IQ (and visa versa), within narrow limits when characters are first defined. And the 'trade spaces' associated with talents and gear and so forth have a similar balance in effective outcomes, and narrow ranges of things that can be trade for each other. With the exception of leaving a stat low at character creation, there also aren't any really negative things you can trade for different positive things. This makes it much easier to play 'build a bear' in GURPS to create characters who are exceptionally effective at one thing (usually fighting), whereas if you try that **** in TFT it is pretty hard to change your overall dangerousness in combat or survivability on adventures just by design.
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Old 02-07-2018, 07:36 AM   #4
tbeard1999
 
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Default Re: TFT and GURPS - where is the line between them?

(moved from another thread)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Goodwin View Post
If outrageously high attributes are a problem, give characters things to spend XP on besides attributes.

<snip>

If you're worried about TFT turning into GURPS, then maybe it's time for a thread about what TFT is that GURPS is not and vice versa.
Well said.

In my opinion, here are some key distinctions -

TFT offers a FAR simpler and quicker character generation system. GURPS offers a much slower and infinitely more detailed character generation system.

TFT offers a better compromise (again in my opinion) between slow, detailed combat and fast, abstracted combat. In any case, TFT offers a faster combat system with a bit less detail.

TFT necessarily is more "generic" than GURPS in terms of character definition.

TFT is NOT "GURPS Lite" any more than GURPS is "Advanced TFT". They are very different games that share certain similar mechanics. Indeed, I always felt that GURPS looked a lot more like Champions than TFT.
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Old 02-07-2018, 01:53 PM   #5
sir_pudding
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Default Re: TFT and GURPS - where is the line between them?

I think comparison to the whole tool box thar is GURPS is a mistake. You should compare it to the Dungeon Fantasy Roleplaying Game, since both systems are aimed at the same kind of FRPG experience.

Having never played TFT, or even heard of it before I started playing GURPS, there's no real nostalgia reason for me to play it now. I probably won't be playing it because I suspect it won't be appreciably more focused than DFRPG already is.
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Old 02-07-2018, 03:27 PM   #6
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Default Re: TFT and GURPS - where is the line between them?

TFT and Dungeon Fantasy are really, really different. Beyond the complexity and speed of play, Dungeon Fantasy characters are more like those in the jacked-up modern versions of D&D (4E, or high level 5E characters), whereas TFT is a much deadlier, easy come easy go sort of game, where your characters are more like those in Tunnels and Trolls or low-level basic D&D.
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Old 02-07-2018, 04:28 PM   #7
Chris Goodwin
 
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Default Re: TFT and GURPS - where is the line between them?

Quote:
Originally Posted by larsdangly View Post
A major design difference that transcends just the overall complexity is the fact that GURPS lets you trade everything against everything, including both positive and negative departures from the 'default case' human. So, if I am contemplating how high my ST score or battleaxe skill can get, I can consider raising them in exchange for taking on a fear or spiders or innumeracy or something. In TFT your 'trade space' is tightly constrained - ST can only be traded for DX or IQ (and visa versa), within narrow limits when characters are first defined. And the 'trade spaces' associated with talents and gear and so forth have a similar balance in effective outcomes, and narrow ranges of things that can be trade for each other. With the exception of leaving a stat low at character creation, there also aren't any really negative things you can trade for different positive things. This makes it much easier to play 'build a bear' in GURPS to create characters who are exceptionally effective at one thing (usually fighting), whereas if you try that **** in TFT it is pretty hard to change your overall dangerousness in combat or survivability on adventures just by design.
Good points.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tbeard1999 View Post
In my opinion, here are some key distinctions -

TFT offers a FAR simpler and quicker character generation system. GURPS offers a much slower and infinitely more detailed character generation system.

TFT offers a better compromise (again in my opinion) between slow, detailed combat and fast, abstracted combat. In any case, TFT offers a faster combat system with a bit less detail.

TFT necessarily is more "generic" than GURPS in terms of character definition.

TFT is NOT "GURPS Lite" any more than GURPS is "Advanced TFT". They are very different games that share certain similar mechanics. Indeed, I always felt that GURPS looked a lot more like Champions than TFT.
Good points as well. Except I'd call GURPS and Champions half-sibling children of TFT.

Quote:
Originally Posted by larsdangly View Post
TFT and Dungeon Fantasy are really, really different. Beyond the complexity and speed of play, Dungeon Fantasy characters are more like those in the jacked-up modern versions of D&D (4E, or high level 5E characters), whereas TFT is a much deadlier, easy come easy go sort of game, where your characters are more like those in Tunnels and Trolls or low-level basic D&D.
TFT would be something like the original D&D to GURPS' later (A)D&D editions.

To me, GURPS is what you get if you take TFT with a number of various house rules I've seen over the years (separate HT attribute, magic cast using a separate fatigue value instead of damage, move stat derived from attributes), and use some of the base assumptions that went into Car Wars combat. Essentially, if you change the focus to characters instead of cars, compress the phases out of Car Wars combat turns, and flip it from 2d6 roll high to 3d6 roll low, you've got something that starts looking very much like GURPS combat. Combine that with the house ruled TFT from above, especially with its hex-based combat system, add some Bondo and sand off the rough spots, and you've almost got GURPS.

Assuming the attributes are on the same scale (which I do), one attribute point in TFT is roughly equal to 20 character points in GURPS. TFT's ST is almost exactly the same as GURPS' ST plus HT.

So, I'd say that the "essential TFT" side of the line is: three attributes, slightly abstracted combat time, low-resolution points, low-resolution talents, attribute checks on more or fewer dice depending on difficulty. The "essential GURPS" has more finely detailed and general-purpose points, more finely detailed skills, more finely detailed combat, and is in general more finely detailed.
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Old 02-09-2018, 02:57 PM   #8
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Default Re: TFT and GURPS - where is the line between them?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Goodwin View Post
Good points as well. Except I'd call GURPS and Champions half-sibling children of TFT.
Agreed. You know, it's interesting to consider how Champions handled the 3d6 bell curve and the issue of how quickly the probabilities change (i.e.an 8 has a 26% chance of success on 3d; a 12 has a 74% chance).

As I recall, the success roll was 9 + (attribute/5). (?) This allowed you to have very high attributes without having virtually automatic successes on 3d rolls.

I'm not advocating for such a system (yet), although it does address one of my key issues with TFT. So a ST15 character in such a system would need a 12- on 3d. 74% chance rather than 95% chance. A ST20 character would need a 13-. And so on. Of course, you do lose some distinction between ST levels. But high ST has advantages besides a better 3d roll - damage, weapon use, health. DX could be an issue, since it mainly is used as a 3d roll. IQ includes talents/spells, so it might be okay. (And you could make spellcasting a 3/IQ roll without overpowering IQ).

And of course, you can change the equation. 7 + (attribute/3) for instance, or 8 + (attribute/5), both of which give an average person a 50% chance of success on 3d.

Just musings, really.

Last edited by tbeard1999; 02-09-2018 at 03:00 PM.
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Old 02-09-2018, 03:11 PM   #9
Kromm
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Default Re: TFT and GURPS - where is the line between them?

I played tons of both and never really saw TFT as anything but "the thing that was on SJ's mind before GURPS." Experience-wise, for me, playing TFT felt more like playing Tunnels & Trolls or another fast-and-easy fantasy RPG, while GURPS felt like playing a cousin of what would become known as Hero. You can see some turns of phrase, trait names, etc. in GURPS that originated in TFT, but that sort of bleed-through is inevitable when two works have the same author. In actual play, they never seemed much alike to me.
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Old 02-09-2018, 03:48 PM   #10
Chris Rice
 
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Default Re: TFT and GURPS - where is the line between them?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kromm View Post
I played tons of both and never really saw TFT as anything but "the thing that was on SJ's mind before GURPS." Experience-wise, for me, playing TFT felt more like playing Tunnels & Trolls or another fast-and-easy fantasy RPG, while GURPS felt like playing a cousin of what would become known as Hero. You can see some turns of phrase, trait names, etc. in GURPS that originated in TFT, but that sort of bleed-through is inevitable when two works have the same author. In actual play, they never seemed much alike to me.
Exactly. TFT felt like "second generation" Tunnels and Trolls to me. It took the basic ideas of T&T; no character classes (OK, two), saving throw v attribute resolution, power point magic system and added tactical combat and a simple Talent system. That was all I wanted then, and all I really want now. I don't like GURPS or other rules heavy systems and don't want TFT to move in that direction.
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