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Old 04-27-2021, 11:38 PM   #1
Join Date: Apr 2021
Default New to The Fantasy Trip. Got questions.

Full disclosure, I am coming from D&D. Yes, I played B/X, AD&D, 2nd, 3rd, 3.5, Pathfinder, and 5e. I have also DM'd in each of those. I am not here to cause problems. I just find Melee fun and am wondering what I should get to use it as a rpg. How well does it work as a rpg? I could not find videos of play example. I enjoy watching play to get an idea how things work and what is possible. With no examples to watch, typing questions on this forum seemed like a good way to get my questions answered.

I have tried Melee and while it is fun it seems characters die often and fast. I imagine the same thing happens in Wizard?

How does the RPG work? If characters die so easily? It would seem to me that one way to have your character survive would be to avoid combat. Does that mean there are reaction charts that get used if you try to talk to someone? What about a beast? You can't talk to a bear, wolf, or snake? It does not appear that running is a good option so what other options are there?

Are there other ways to survive? Are the adventures in dungeons? Wilderness? Castles? Is it similar to DM'ing D&D? Is there a GM guide? Does it have game play examples? For combat, roleplay, and exploration? Or is it different? Where is the Monster Manual?

What I am getting at is I just don't see how characters would survive and advance. If they do advance and survive, what is an appropriate time to "retire" the character?

Thank you for all responses. I look forward to learning about a "new" game.

Last edited by agentJ; 04-27-2021 at 11:43 PM. Reason: Added questions
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Old 04-28-2021, 02:42 AM   #2
Steve Plambeck
Join Date: Jun 2019
Default Re: New to The Fantasy Trip. Got questions.

Originally Posted by agentJ View Post
How does the RPG work?
Welcome to the party! Lots of folk here are happy to answer questions.

Melee is only the (basic) combat rules. The book with the entire roleplaying system is In The Labyrinth, which can be found in the store right here. The rules from both Melee and Wizard are included within In The Labyrinth, although both the smaller sets are great to have for the maps and counters.

Yes, combat can be brutal and mortality may be high. It's the GM (what you know as the DM) who determines just how much combat comes your way.
"I'm not arguing. I'm just explaining why I'm right."

Last edited by Steve Plambeck; 04-28-2021 at 02:51 AM.
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Old 04-28-2021, 06:28 AM   #3
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Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: New England
Default Re: New to The Fantasy Trip. Got questions.

Welcome! TFT works quite well for full-blown RPG playing. As Cobb has mentioned, talents help each character to fill a niche or set of niches similar to D&D's classes, but much less rigidly defined. There is a reaction table that helps determine how animals and NPCs react, and certain talents can influence this die roll.

TFT combat can be deadly, and what makes a battle deadly is often not so much the power level of a Big Bad (though that is an important factor), but the number of combatants on each side, since front, side, and rear facings are a huge factor in combat, and spells generally are small-scale; several low-power opponents can out-flank and overwhelm a small party of PCs. Terrain's influence on combat seems to be more of a factor in TFT, too.

As there is for D&D, there is support for TFT on some virtual tabletop platforms, such as Roll20 and Fantasy Gounds.
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Old 04-28-2021, 08:25 AM   #4
Join Date: Dec 2017
Default Re: New to The Fantasy Trip. Got questions.

All the advice above is good. Another point to keep in mind is that TFT is also 'dangerous' for nearly all monsters. Basically, everyone has some skin in the game, irrespective of size, experience, gear, etc. So, you can almost never reduce your risk level to zero, but you also nearly always have a way to defeat the other side. Of course you want to recognize situations where the odds are for or against you and get out of dodge when it seems bad. But often good decision making during game play is where the scales get tipped.

Also, don't get super attached to your PC's, at least until they are way more competent than the average bear.
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Old 04-28-2021, 08:31 AM   #5
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Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Pacheco, California
Default Re: New to The Fantasy Trip. Got questions.

Should GMs allow eliminated players to bring in brand new PCs that are speciously optimized for the current hazard or should they instead keep around a pool of NPCs that they can assign off as attrition hits?
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Old 04-28-2021, 08:51 AM   #6
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Panama
Default Re: New to The Fantasy Trip. Got questions.

I will also like to add that the focus and feel of The Fantasy Trip (melee and wizard included) is a bit more realistic than your average D&D game..

You can play epic and high fantasy and the base setting is fantasy that can easily get very high but the starting "power level" is very much ordinary people with some talent doing very dangerous stuff, so caution and tactical planning are crucial.

I think originally Melee started as a tactical board game of man to man combat, think gladiator arenas with men and beasts.

As characters survive, taking some time to build up money and skill (sometimes in downtime) adventures may get more epic.

Think kind of D&D Basic, levels 1 to 3, wizards are an attack o away from dying and sometimes even fighters have 6 hit points at first level (with bad luck even at higher level). But in TFT wizards and fighters have a plethora of options (including spells) that no character have even at Expert levels.

The official solo adventures (Death Test and Death test 2) are very good to get the hang and feel of the dangers of the combat system.

Edit: Also, very important, combat and action is very involved, is not just "I stand beside the enemy and hit". The tactical game roots of the system makes combat more detailed with lots of tactical options, that is a big part of the appeal of the game too. Characters have to coordinate and position in ways to maximize their survival chances wile reducing the enemies chances. Combat may be low "power" but not low action or low intensity.

Last edited by Rolando; 04-28-2021 at 08:56 AM.
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Old 04-28-2021, 09:04 AM   #7
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Boston area
Default Re: New to The Fantasy Trip. Got questions.

[Deleted -- bit off topic for a new player]
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Old 04-28-2021, 05:51 AM   #8
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Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Pacheco, California
Default Re: New to The Fantasy Trip. Got questions.

I draw my inspiration for how to structure adventures from Death Test, which has a lot of small encounters that each have a chance to inflict some damage on the heroes.

To resist this attrition the PCs have wizards (who must carefully select where to apply spells as chances for rest are limited) and talents such as:
  • Physicker to heal injuries after each fight
  • Toughness, which acts like your skin is armor
  • Missile Weapons and Weapons expertise to be much more effective in combat
  • And tactics to control the tactical siuation.
But mostly just blow most of your starting cash on healing potions.
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Old 04-28-2021, 06:21 AM   #9
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Boston area
Default Re: New to The Fantasy Trip. Got questions.

Henry and Steve are right, of course. It's all a matter of the GM balancing the system to allow the right amount of progression and the "right amount" is a matter of taste.

Players who rush into combat are likely to pay. If the combat is evenly matched, then there should be good odds to lose the fight. Even if the number of figures are equal but the opponent has lower stats, there's good chance of losing a character. The players should try their damnedest to make the fight unfair, by ambush, knocking the enemy off one at a time, etc.

Just attacking when the enemy doesn't expect it and so is unarmed can give a good initial advantage. It takes time to react and arm and there would be no time to don armor.

It's a cruel GM that produces a really hard battle that can't be avoided. Some fights can't be avoided, of course. I planned an ambush at the characters' home, a little revenge fight. I tried hard to balance it, figuring I'd like it to be a challenge with one or two characters dead but the players prevailing. But the PCs had the advantage of defending and picking where to fight (here, I felt compelled to point out the advantage, since rushing to meet the foe would have been deadly).

In the end, I erred a bit too much on the side of caution and the fight was easily won, with one character badly hurt. It takes a bit of experience, it seems, to make the challenge fit just right.
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Old 04-28-2021, 11:31 AM   #10
Join Date: Oct 2020
Default Re: New to The Fantasy Trip. Got questions.

Hey welcome to the game!
As far as videos go there aren't a lot; Live In The Labyrinth was an official live stream that can be found on youtube, the players and GM seem new to the system and some mistakes are made. HCobb also has a small youtube channel with some TFT play here.

In The Labyrinth has everything you'll need in it, the RP system, GMs guide, detailed game play examples and it has a monster section in it; additionally making your own monsters is pretty easy.
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