Steve Jackson Games - Site Navigation
Home General Info Follow Us Search Illuminator Store Forums What's New Other Games Ogre GURPS Munchkin Our Games: Home

Go Back   Steve Jackson Games Forums > Roleplaying > The Fantasy Trip

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 02-10-2018, 04:11 PM   #21
Skarg
 
Join Date: May 2015
Default Re: TFT and GURPS - where is the line between them?

I have always related to GURPS as a more advanced and detailed version of TFT that also now has tons of toolkit rules and content available for it.

TFT is also a much faster-to-learn and clearly ready-to-play system, where GURPS (especially 4e) daunts many players and can seem like a massive task to choose/design a setting and even make characters because of the huge number of options. I can run either system for a non-gamer right away as the GM, but a person can more or less learn Melee in under an hour.

I also relate to GURPS as solving many issues that eventually had TFT (after 6 or so years of heavy play) become unsatisfying to us (see below for details).

However since then, I've also seen that house rules can also make TFT work well enough for me, and occasionally I've still played TFT (even without house rules) for fun/nostalgia/curiosity.

I think the main difference is in the complexity of the character sheets (especially the potential length of the skill list) and character generation process.



Background story, if interested:

It also was our answer to having burned out playing TFT. We played TFT from 1980 to 1986, but about 1985, particularly with the first character still going from 1980 (a 46-point fighter), most of the combat seemed extremely predictable and not challenging unless excessive opponents were involved. Fine chainmail, fine greatsword, Veteran, Fencing, self-powered Stone Flesh ring. Does sweeping blows for fun, stops 10 hits per attack (if anyone ever survives long enough to attack) and has friends. Sure he could die to one powerful lightning bolt or a thrown spell or poison or something, but the interest in combat was not really there. Even for less-powerful characters, we'd done so many TFT combats that the action felt really predictable.

So we started house-ruling and then largely stopped playing and were designing new systems to make combat more interesting and unpredictable and to work more like we thought it should (defensive moves, more interesting representations of high skill level, differences between how different hand weapons and armor types work, more options for actions, more maneuvering)...

And then GURPS Man To Man appeared, and it did about 95% of what our redesign was trying to do, but elegantly, well-written, and playtested.
Skarg is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2018, 06:44 PM   #22
Jim Kane
Banned
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
Default Re: TFT and GURPS - where is the line between them?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skarg View Post
... And then GURPS Man To Man appeared...
Skarg - I am glad you had a better reaction to Man-to-Man, than I did.

For myself, I have never had my gaming-hopes lifted so high, and then so quickly dashed in all my years of gaming. Granted, SJ had stated: "MtM is not TFT all over again."

No it is not, MtM is a totally different animal.

For me, Man-to-Man signaled the first resounding peal of the death knell for:

1) The singularly most appealing thing to me about TFT over ALL OTHER FRPG systems,

and,

2) Eliminated the only core-rule in the TFT-system which INDIRECTLY simulated the psychological FEEL of the danger/relief of physical confrontation with another being.

On the first-point:

When I read the words: "Yes, you need amour"; I basically lost 99% interest in the MtM design right then and there. - See MtM p. 15, sidebar

Why?

Mechanically, MtM, with the weapon damage bonuses added-in for cutting and impaling, reflected the true effect of weapon damage REALISTICALLY, but that also instantly killed-off the FUN and COLOR of sustaining multiple hits in a Melee and surviving as an unarmored, bare-chested wild-man who swings a Frazetta-style weapon while surrounded by Ogres with sharply gnarled clubs and bone axes.

In MtM, my TFT-style characters would die by the second blow, or the first good one - more often than not.

So why was this change in the scale of weapon damage and "forced into armor" dynamic so devastating to my TFT game-world, so-much-so that MtM was wholly unrelatable in game-world terms?

Simply because MY take on Cidri, was - strike, correct - IS, and always has been, an extremely dark, mysterious, oppressively brutal, unforgiving, and sinister world. A savage world, populated with sweaty, bare-chested and aggressive (i.e. barely armored) Low-Fantasy Barbaric-types with large, exotic, and deadly weapons; battling bizarre and esoteric wizards and monster-sized natural predator-beasts - classic Robert E. Howard "Swords & Sorcery" set and setting - and certainly not the world of Prince Valiant, nor Gandalf and the trapping of Tolkienesque High-Fantasy - nor the world where:

"Yes, you need amour." is a defacto-mantra for survival in that game-world.

The characters of MY Cidri, both PC and NPC - being totally and wonderfully Non-PC in every way - ONLY survive and flourish on: cunning, savagery, brutality, force of will, while dominating their environment and each other - or die.

Remember THE PROMISE printed on page 3 of IN THE LABYRINTH: "Each player creates a character - whatever type he wishes.";

TFT fulfilled that promise beautifully in game-world terms.

However, MtM's "Yes, you need armor.", and the Cutting/Impaling Damage Bonuses, instantly revoked TFT's above promise upon publication. Sure, you COULD go without armor, after all, it's not a RULE, but I hope you enjoy playing a character who will die really fast.

Therefore - and sadly for me - as you can see, the idea of Mad-Maxian Iron-Age Fantasy Characters, being forced to wear layers of amour and a pot-helm, just to avoid dying from a pin-prick from a clumsy Halfling-tailor while mending a torn loin-cloth, did not work at all for me - at all.

Again, SJ did warn us: "MtM is not TFT."

On the 2nd Point:

The other Klaxon-of-Doom resounded with the reading of the words about ["eliminating the concept of figures being 'Engaged', as there is no invisible magical force-field which glues you to another character while in combat"] - or something along those lines; I paraphrase.

While in point-of-fact there is no magical force-field that binds you to another while in combat, true enough; however, there is a psychological mind-set that occurs at three distinct stages of real combat: 1) At the moment you have to decide to actually engage a combatant within striking range - it can often feel like putting a bet down in a Casino, no matter how (over/under)confident your are; 2) The unspoken psychological/emotional communication-cross-chatter that occurs - it's a "sensed" thing between you and the enemy combatants you are embroiled with, even at-range; and 3) the feeling of the "release" from the psychological/emotional embroilment when the combat has finally been resolved.

To me, as a secondary by-product, the "invisible force-field of Engagement", indirectly simulated the FEEL of the head-trip of being in a direct confrontation; either as the engaging aggressor, or as the target-of-opportunity - who suddenly finds themselves "glued" into a combat situation.

I suppose it has something to do with the oft-weighty decision to commit to an engagement, evaluation of the opposition for strength and weaknesses, before making the decision to execute and thereby becoming committed to to the mission, etc.; and that's what the TFT rule of willfully entering that "invisible force-field of engagement" made come alive in play.

I think it is one of the best parts of the combat rules-set, even if it was not designed with that feature in mind.

I also get that a LOT of people feel the "engaged" rule is limiting and unrealistic from a purely mechanical point-of-view.

Well, from a purely mechanical point-of-view, the rules must somehow consistently bar players from doing the two things they want to do most, and that is: a) Attack and then Move out of range of retaliation, or, b) Attack while on-the-move, and hence, out of range of retaliation.

You really can't have that in a two-tier, sequentially-based, Movement/Action mechanical system, and also avoid having those who move first consistently overrun those who move second.

In sum: There is a beautiful "Chess-Like" feeling that is almost unique to the TFT combat-system, with it's "Option Menu/Scripted Action/Outcome, where no two attacks happens simultaneously" frame-work.
Add to this the limited list of movement/action options, and to me, in someways TFT characters of different types and weaponry, behave very much like the wonderful difference between various Chessmen.

Like Chess, it is simple and elegant.

I would hate to see any of that beautiful uniqueness, flavor, and FEEL lost;
as it was in MtM.

So, to directly answer the OP's Question: For me and my game-world, it is not a line that separates MtM from TFT; but a gulf.

Last edited by Jim Kane; 03-05-2018 at 05:46 AM.
Jim Kane is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2018, 08:58 PM   #23
JLV
 
JLV's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Far northern California
Default Re: TFT and GURPS - where is the line between them?

Umm...I think TFT works pretty well for the high-fantasy part too. And while I certainly do appreciate (and agree with) your passion for swords and sorcery, to me the "appeal" in TFT was that it actually handled just about every single genre we ever tried with it with very little difficulty.

Sure, it's not as detailed as GURPS, but that was okay, and whether we were doing Conan-esque things or Gandalfy things, pirates on the high seas, three musketeers things, or even space combat with weapons that go "pew, pew, pew" (somehow) in the depths of vacuum, it all worked pretty darn well.

Now THAT'S a system! At the end of the day, the real appeal for me was the simplicity and portability of the system itself; which allowed the imagination to take over. Which is why I still prefer it, with or without modifications, to GURPS or D&D or Pathfinder, of any of those retro-clone thingies that get all the web time these days...
JLV is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2018, 08:47 AM   #24
Kirk
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Default Re: TFT and GURPS - where is the line between them?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Kane View Post
Skarg - I am glad you had a better reaction to Man-to-Man, than I did.

For myself, I have never had my gaming-hopes lifted so high, and then so quickly dashed in all my years of gaming. Granted, SJ had stated: "MtM is not TFT all over again."

No it is not, MtM is a totally different animal.

For me, Man-to-Man signaled the first resounding peal of the death knell for:

1) The singularly most appealing thing to me about TFT over ALL OTHER FRPG systems,

and,

2) Eliminated the only core-rule in the TFT-system which INDIRECTLY simulated the psychological FEEL of the danger/relief of physical confrontation with another being.

On the first-point:

When I read the words: "Yes, you need amour"; I basically lost 99% interest in the MtM design right then and there. - See MtM p. 15, sidebar

Why?

Mechanically, MtM, with the weapon damage bonuses added-in for cutting and impaling, reflected the true effect of weapon damage REALISTICALLY, but that also instantly killed-off the FUN and COLOR of sustaining multiple hits in a Melee and surviving as an unarmored, bare-chested wild-man who swings a Frazetta-style weapon while surrounded by Ogres with sharply gnarled clubs and bone axes.

In MtM, my TFT-style characters would die by the second blow, or the first good one - more often than not.

So why was this change in the scale of weapon damage and "forced into armor" dynamic so devastating to my TFT game-world, so-much-so that MtM was wholly unrelatable in game-world terms?

Simply because MY take on Cidri, was - strike, correct - IS, and always has been, an extremely dark, mysterious, oppressively brutal, unforgiving, and sinister world. A savage world, populated with sweaty, bare-chested and aggressive (i.e. barely armored) Low-Fantasy Barbaric-types with large, exotic, and deadly weapons; battling bizarre and esoteric wizards and monster-sized natural predator-beasts - classic Robert E. Howard "Swords & Sorcery" set and setting - and certainly not the world of Prince Valiant, nor Gandalf and the trapping of Tolkienesque High-Fantasy - nor the world where:

"Yes, you need amour." is a defacto-mantra for survival in that game-world.

The characters of MY Cidri, both PC and NPC - being totally and wonderfully Non-PC in every way - ONLY survive and flourish on: cunning, savagery, brutality, force of will, while dominating their environment and each other - or die.

Remember THE PROMISE printed on page 3 of IN THE LABYRINTH: "Each player creates a character - whatever type he wishes.";

TFT fulfilled that promise beautifully in game-world terms.

However, MtM's "Yes, you need armor.", and the Cutting/Impaling Damage Bonuses, instantly revoked TFT's above promise upon publication. Sure, you COULD go without armor, after all, it's not a RULE, but I hope you enjoy playing a character who will die really fast.

Therefore - and sadly for me - as you can see, the idea of Mad-Maxian Iron-Age Fantasy Characters, being forced to wear layers of amour and a pot-helm, just to avoid dying from a pin-prick from a clumsy Halfling-tailor while mending a torn loin-cloth, did not work at all for me - at all.

Again, SJ did warn us: "MtM is not TFT."

On the 2nd Point:

The other Klaxon-of-Doom resounded with the reading of the words about ["eliminating the concept of figures being 'Engaged', as there is no invisible magical force-field which glues you to another character while in combat"] - or something along those lines; I paraphrase.

While in point-of-fact there is no magical force-field that binds you to another while in combat, true enough; however, there is a psychological mind-set that occurs at three distinct stages of real combat: 1) At the moment you have to decide to actually engage a combatant within striking range - it can often feel like putting a bet down in a Casino, no matter how (over/under)confident your are; 2) The unspoken psychological/emotional communication-cross-chatter that occurs - it's a "sensed" thing between you and the enemy combatants you are embroiled with, even at-range; and 3) the feeling of the "release" from the psychological/emotional embroilment when the combat has finally been resolved.

To me, as a secondary by-product, the "invisible force-field of Engagement", indirectly simulated the FEEL of the head-trip of being in a direct confrontation; either as the engaging aggressor, or as the target-of-opportunity - who suddenly finds themselves "glued" into a combat situation.

I suppose it has something to do with the oft-weighty decision to commit to an engagement, evaluation of the opposition for strength and weaknesses, before making the decision to execute and thereby becoming committed to to the mission, etc.; and that's what the TFT rule of willfully entering that "invisible force-field of engagement" made come alive in play.

I think it is one of the best parts of the combat rules-set, even if it was not designed with that feature in mind.

I also get that a LOT of people feel the "engaged" rule is limiting and unrealistic from a purely mechanical point-of-view.

Well, from a purely mechanical point-of-view, the rules must somehow consistently bar players from doing the two things they want to do most, and that is: a) Attack and then Move out of range of retaliation, or, b) Attack while on-the-move, and hence, out of range of retaliation.

You really can't have that in a two-tier, sequentially-based, Movement/Action mechanical system, and also avoid having those who move first consistently overrun those who move second.

In sum: There is a beautiful "Chess-Like" feeling that is almost unique to the TFT combat-system, with it's "Option Menu/Scripted Action/Outcome, where no two attacks happens simultaneously" frame-work.
Add to this the limited list of movement/action options, and to me, in someways TFT characters of different types and weaponry, behave very much like the wonderful difference between various Chessmen.

Like Chess, it is simple and elegant.

I would hate to see any of that beautiful uniqueness, flavor, and FEEL lost;
as it was in MtM.

So, to directly answer the OP's Question: For me and my game-world, it is not a line that separates MtM from TFT; but a gulf.
I agree, this is well-said. We tried MtM, we tried GURPS, we tried liking it, it killed our game group for many years. The points made here are spot on, TFT's engagement rules are must when designing a system that has a UGO IGO mechanic.

And in reference to the emphasis on armor to survive and difficulty simulating characters that are skilled enough to avoid getting hit while besting their foes, think about a classic party such as the Fellowship. The only serious armor in the group was had by Gimli, the stand and deliver character (besides Frodo and his exceptional mithril mail). As best I can determine, Aragorn, Boromir (he did have a shield), Gandalf, and Legolas travelled lightly.

Gandalf dies, Boromir dies, true, but a party like this has a chance in TFT, not so much in MtM or GURPS. The chess-like feel mentioned is important, and changing the combat system will change that feel, and what I enjoy about TFT.
Kirk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2018, 09:59 AM   #25
tbeard1999
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Tyler, Texas
Default Re: TFT and GURPS - where is the line between them?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Kane View Post
Skarg - I am glad you had a better reaction to Man-to-Man, than I did.

For myself, I have never had my gaming-hopes lifted so high, and then so quickly dashed in all my years of gaming. Granted, SJ had stated: "MtM is not TFT all over again."

...

So, to directly answer the OP's Question: For me and my game-world, it is not a line that separates MtM from TFT; but a gulf.
Yeah, I had a similar reaction to GURPS. While I admire the effort that has gone into it - to say nothing of the staggering number of supplements (most of which are very good and useful for any RPG) - it just wasn't the game I wanted to play. I did run it a couple of times, but soon abandoned it each time.

I don't really think there's that much overlap between the two games except the use of a 3d6 roll under mechanic.

Of course, GURPS solves many of the same problems as TFT, and since it does use the 3d6 resolution mechanic, some of those solutions may work for TFT. Nomenclature is often similar as well. But TFT ain't GURPS-lite and GURPS ain't TFT-heavy.

That said, if a GURPS rule will improve TFT (at least the TFT that I want to play), I'm all for stealing it. The best RPGs steal heavily from other games. GURPS itself was extremely similar to Champions; I'd submit that it's at least as similar to the Hero system as it is to TFT.

As far as comparing the two games - well, "realism" in RPGs is a pretty subjective thing in my opinion. If you like the GURPS combat system, then play GURPS with my blessings. I like TFT and will stay with that. But I don't see much benefit in comparing either game's "realism". You might as well argue about music.
tbeard1999 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2018, 03:24 PM   #26
Skarg
 
Join Date: May 2015
Default Re: TFT and GURPS - where is the line between them?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kirk View Post
... in reference to the emphasis on armor to survive and difficulty simulating characters that are skilled enough to avoid getting hit while besting their foes, think about a classic party such as the Fellowship. The only serious armor in the group was had by Gimli, the stand and deliver character (besides Frodo and his exceptional mithril mail). As best I can determine, Aragorn, Boromir (he did have a shield), Gandalf, and Legolas travelled lightly.

Gandalf dies, Boromir dies, true, but a party like this has a chance in TFT, not so much in MtM or GURPS.
They do if the players and PCs are skilled and fortunate enough, especially if you grant them cloth or leather armor (and/or use 4e or a house rule that doesn't add PD to defense rolls, but adds to everyone's defense a bit to compensate). (Also cloth or leather doesn't penalize the wearer except for some encumbrance, so unlike TFT it doesn't interfere with low-level characters to use it.) I've played decades of GURPS medieval fantasy adventures and combats, and characters in light armor or even no armor can be quite viable in combat if they fight well enough.
Skarg is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2018, 03:36 PM   #27
Anthony
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Berkeley, CA
Default Re: TFT and GURPS - where is the line between them?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kirk View Post
Gandalf dies, Boromir dies, true, but a party like this has a chance in TFT, not so much in MtM or GURPS.
Unarmored can work in GURPS, it's just suboptimal. In any case, LotR actually has a quite small number of battles where armor would matter (a fight against an orc in Moria; unlikely that armor would much matter against a Balrog; multiple orcs when Boromir is killed; Helm's Deep; Sam vs Shelob; Minas Tirith -- but Merry and Pippin were given armor there).
__________________
My GURPS site and Blog.
Anthony is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2018, 06:17 PM   #28
Kirk
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Default Re: TFT and GURPS - where is the line between them?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony View Post
Unarmored can work in GURPS, it's just suboptimal. In any case, LotR actually has a quite small number of battles where armor would matter (a fight against an orc in Moria; unlikely that armor would much matter against a Balrog; multiple orcs when Boromir is killed; Helm's Deep; Sam vs Shelob; Minas Tirith -- but Merry and Pippin were given armor there).
Right, that's the point, suboptimal. Whereas in TFT the system provides for a better balance for a non-armored character, using various game tactics and the ST, DX, and IQ relationship, i.e. less armor isn't necessarily suboptimal. It makes a character like Aragorn more viable because he probably strikes first and hard, can disarm or cripple or shock, disengage to avoid being hit, rely on companions to cover his weaknesses, etc. etc.

And of course, when going into a pitched battle, as a knight or equivalent, armor probably makes sense, surely Aragorn used it. But most of our adventures are more of the stealth variety, where nimbleness, awareness, etc.are the watchword, not battlelines or castle sieges.

And the lack of a sticky half-ZOC for characters in GURPS and the one-at-a-time sequence always felt disjointed and un-fun. Not just me, but everyone I knew who tried it, it was a no-go.

It's not a matter of "realism", but enjoyment and playability. The point is that GURPS and other systems exist and have their fans, and I would hope that after so many years waiting for TFT it can retain its original appeal and dimension, however defined.
Kirk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2018, 10:47 PM   #29
tbone
 
tbone's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Default Re: TFT and GURPS - where is the line between them?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Kane View Post
However, MtM's "Yes, you need armor.", and the Cutting/Impaling Damage Bonuses, instantly revoked TFT's above promise upon publication. Sure, you COULD go without armor, after all, it's not a RULE, but I hope you enjoy playing a character who will die really fast.
I'm trying to understand the problem here, but failing so far... probably because I'm not fully recalling how things work in TFT.

Off the top of my head, it seems to me that if you're on the receiving end of a hit in TFT, and you're not wearing armor... well, that's it. You're hit for damage. Maybe a lot.

Whereas, in MtM/GURPS: If you're on the receiving end of a hit... you still have a chance to Parry, Block, or Dodge. And if you Dodge (a very common thing to do, and generally a "free" action), you increase your chance of avoiding the hit by wearing no armor (i.e., by being unencumbered).

In other words, it seems to me that MtM/GURPS is more forgiving of the unarmored character (even explicitly supporting swashbuckler-type characters whose survival is entirely based on speed, not armor). Whereas in TFT... If not armor, what else have you go to keep you alive? (The optional defending/dodging rule?)

Again, I suspect I'm simply failing to see something supporting your idea that TFT better supports the unarmored fighter. Is that the case?
__________________
T. Bone
GURPS stuff and more at the Games Diner:
http://www.gamesdiner.com
Twitter: @Gamesdiner
(Latest goods on the site: Dungeon Fantasy RPG Character: Leonidas of Nemea, Cat-Folk Barbarian. Lion-folk, actually. Just don't make cat jokes. Or make fun of his hair.)
tbone is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-06-2018, 12:24 AM   #30
Anthony
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Berkeley, CA
Default Re: TFT and GURPS - where is the line between them?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tbone View Post
Again, I suspect I'm simply failing to see something supporting your idea that TFT better supports the unarmored fighter. Is that the case?
TFT has DX penalties for wearing armor, GURPS does not. Thus, the unarmored fighter has a net offensive benefit in TFT.

The opposite side of that, however, is that superior skill matters less in TFT than in GURPS. In TFT, DX 14 vs DX 10 on average means hit probability 91% vs 50% -- an 82% benefit. In GURPS, Skill 14/Parry 10 vs Skill 10/Parry 8 means hit probability 68% vs 26% -- a 161% benefit.
__________________
My GURPS site and Blog.
Anthony is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Fnords are Off
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 01:22 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.