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Old 02-10-2021, 09:31 AM   #1
Join Date: Feb 2021
Default How to Start Soloing This? Specifically Death Test

So to start with, I am a total newbie to this game. Through a really cool dude, I got a copy of the Deluxe Legacy edition.

I will primarily be wanting to play this solo. How do I get into this? Should I just start creating some characters and messing around with the Melee rules befoe jumping into the Death Test stuff?
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Old 02-10-2021, 10:33 AM   #2
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Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Pacheco, California
Default Re: How to Start Soloing This? Specifically Death Test

If you have the full legacy set then read the Melee rulebook, pick out two random fighter cards, place their counters at opposite ends of the Melee map, roll for initiative and play from there.

Or you can first go through the combat example at page 23 the Melee rulebook, moving the counters as noted.
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Old 02-10-2021, 11:02 AM   #3
Join Date: Jul 2020
Default Re: How to Start Soloing This? Specifically Death Test

Welcome! I hadn't played this game since the early 80's. Stumbled on a Melee game I had in storage about a year ago. Since then I have run hundreds of little battles using various maps and playmats. Some of the things I found to be helpful during this experiment are; 1 The TFT Helper app, it lets you create a character and fight against some pre-loaded foes. Sometime I mimic the battle using the melee map. 2 There is a discord server specifically for this game and it makes for interesting reading. 3 there are a few other solo adventures out there. The Red Crypt is available for download I believe from the store (warehouse 23) at the top of this page and The Vampire Hunter Belladonna is another one I think. Hopefully there will be more solo adventures released/created aimed specifically at newer players to help grow the the games base.

Again, welcome! and have some fun.
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Old 02-10-2021, 11:12 AM   #4
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Kentucky
Default Re: How to Start Soloing This? Specifically Death Test

Doing some practice one-on-one battles using the Melee and then Wizard rules is generally the best way to get familiar with the combat system. I would do that before you try to take on Death Test, since it is a pretty deadly dungeon.

If you're looking for a solo adventure with a bit more story to it, I think you could also jump into one of the other published solo adventures. You still probably want to do one or two practice combats first to get a grip on the rules, but you don't need to be an expert. Unlike Death Test, the other solo adventures have opportunities for your character to heal from resting or using the Physicker talent in between encounters and they're more like what you would think of as traditional RPG adventures. There's not much in the way of story or non-combat interactions in Death Test.

Edit: I didn't realize until reading MattF's comment that there are only two other published solo adventures; I had assumed there were more, but the two are quite fun! There are also other solo adventures out there compatible with TFT you might try (I dont want to link to outside products, but they exist). You also may bemmendations and information about that. But, essentially, using a GM emulator involves you beginning with a few basic plot threads, and using weighted dice rolls and random tables to move the story along from there. It's a very different experience from using a programmed adventure like The Red Keep, but it can also be a lot of fun.

Last edited by crazycaleb; 02-10-2021 at 11:17 AM.
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Old 02-10-2021, 11:56 AM   #5
Join Date: Dec 2017
Default Re: How to Start Soloing This? Specifically Death Test

What sort of solo play do you have in mind? As you can tell from HCobb's answer, we tend to assume you want to try out close combat, so we dive right in suggesting MELEE bouts.

That's the core rules of the game, so you'll want to be familiar with them, however, maybe you want to play the wizard or other magic user? Pretty much the same answer there, read the WIZARD rulebook, pick two random wizard cards and go for it.

Since you have LEGACY EDITION, are you interested in what happens between or after Death Tests? There's a cleverly disguised metaplay system starting under the subtitle 'Jobs' on page 57 of IN THE LABYRINTH. You could further develop your random fighter or wizard from the examples above if you play through a few weeks of 'Risk' dice rolls on the TABLE OF JOBS. Be sure to read some of the sections before and after the jobs block, because Coinage, Taxes, Banks and Wills can be all sorts of fun, too!

When I first began playing the original MELEE and WIZARD, then IN THE LABYRINTH, about half of what I did was solo and the progression above is what I followed. MELEE to WIZARD to DEATH TEST, then the TABLE OF JOBS weekly risk rolls, prepared my fighters and my wizards for the solo adventures that I began collecting, and prepared me for the multiplayer dungeon raids for which my gaming group expected me to be gamemaster.

Last edited by ColinK; 02-10-2021 at 12:04 PM.
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Old 02-10-2021, 04:18 PM   #6
Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: Downstate or Upstate New York. Depends on your definition.
Default Re: How to Start Soloing This? Specifically Death Test

Some old out-of-print Metagaming solo titles were designed for used with the original Melee and Wizard games. Titles such as Grail Quest and Orb Quest are often available on EBay, but often at a premium.
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Old 02-10-2021, 08:56 PM   #7
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Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: New England
Default Re: How to Start Soloing This? Specifically Death Test


After just playing through a few arena combats, you might find it fun to play through the several encounters in the Postcard Contest.

The Infinite Arena is also worth playing with, too.

These alone should keep you busy for a while.

But don't forget the drop tables inside the Legacy Edition and Decks of Destiny boxes. You can use those to randomly generate labyrinths with nasties to slay.
The Labyrinth Cards add another tool to generate and record labyrinths.

As great as TFT is solo, though, it really gets better when playing with others, especially when wizards are involved, since the guesswork it brings to the table creates tension you just can't get when playing alone.
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Old 02-11-2021, 01:49 AM   #8
Steve Plambeck
Join Date: Jun 2019
Default Re: How to Start Soloing This? Specifically Death Test

Welcome to the party Jreilly89!

Nothing quite hones a new player's combat skills as fast as a few goes at Deathtest. After enough of that, then playing against real players may feel easy!

Yes Deathtest is lethal, but no reason to worry. After your party is killed (and your first party will get killed, as well as your second and probably your third, etc.) just erase all the hits and start right over from the beginning with the same characters. Maybe tweaked slightly if you've learned something about one of them you didn't like; change a weapon, swap a point of DX for a point of ST (or vice versa), and jump back in. The goal is just to get a room or two further each time. And the first time you get all the way through it in one go, the satisfaction is immense.

The best thing is you'll absorb all the Melee rules while under no pressure, giving you an edge when you sit down at the table to play with your friends.

Of the old Metagaming solo modules, Grail Quest (Theohippip mentioned that one first) was my favorite. And I'm not just saying that because the author is on the forum :) It really is a great one.
"I'm not arguing. I'm just explaining why I'm right."
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Old 02-11-2021, 05:07 PM   #9
Join Date: Nov 2010
Default Re: How to Start Soloing This? Specifically Death Test

You can find copies of the old Micro Quest games online. Some of the scans are not too bad. Gaming Ballistic has a couple of solitaire modules as well.
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Old 02-11-2021, 06:43 PM   #10
Join Date: Oct 2020
Default Re: How to Start Soloing This? Specifically Death Test


There is a lot of good advice already provided, so I'll just tell you what I did. I played Melee/Wizard in the early 80s and took a 38 year break before finding it again in September. I read Melee and played a few scenarios to familiarize myself with the rules again. First some one-on-one, then multiple combatants, and finally added some obstacles on the map. Then I added on Wizard. Along the way I read ITL and started adding talents and the advanced rules. After I got comfortable with the rules, I started Death Test. Everyone got eliminated three or four times before I finally made it through. Then I decided to add on the rest of ITL and made a character that had to make a living and buy weapons and armor before running off to join Thorsz Guard. I added Death Test II in at this time. I was also lucky enough to get in on Gaming Ballistics More Perilous Journeys after the Kickstarter and have PDFs of the five new games. Dragon Hunt is a programmed game and it is fantastic! I started Dark Lord's Doom this past weekend and it is another gem.

My biggest piece of advice, this game is deadly - embrace it. That is the really fun part of this game, it is not about the easy level and killing everything in sight. It takes some thought, and kind dice. If characters don't make it through, no sweat. Steve Plambeck has some great advice there - make some tweaks, try again, hope for better rolls!

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