Deadly Fast Play Rules in Fighting Fantasy
in gamebooks and tabletop RPG play
I don’t have my copy of Advanced Fighting Fantasy Dungeoneer with me, neither do I have my copy of Fighting Fantasy: The introductory role playing game to hand. However, the following rule suggestions are more in the spirit of the latter, since the my ideas are simplistic enough to be applied to many of the FF gamebooks, especially those which use standard combat procedures and stats (Skill, Stamina, Luck).
Deadly fast play combat in Gamebooks and FF “Intro” RPG
I’ve tried this a few times with the gamebooks when I started to find the combat a bit slow – with the 2 Stamina damage, where combat can last up to 15 or so rounds, including stand-offs (yawn).
Normally, in combat the opponent with the highest attack strength (Skill + 2 dice) deals 2 points of damage to the loser’s Stamina. In fast play you treat the difference between the two Attack Strengths as damage. An Attack Strength of 18 vs. an Attack Strength of 12 will deal 6 points of damage.
Luck rolls can double or half the damage, rounding down. One point of damage is always caused by a winning blow.
For me this turned many encounters into life or death situations, whilst also I got the pleasure of destroying a monster with one death blow. SPLAT! Huzzah!
In some of the gamebooks eating provisions to regain 4 Stamina points is allowed. In gaming terms, these are like health packs, first aid, “binding wounds” etc. In those gamebooks, a variable could be used involving perhaps a d6 gain in Stamina) – I think I tried this and it was okay, but in the back of my mind I wondered if I was trying to turn FF into D&D.
Eating Provisions = Regain 1-6 Stamina points.
Alternative weapon damage rules for FF Intro RPG
The Riddling Reaver book introduces variable weapon damage to FF (which appeared in Warlock originally I think, and was later improved upon in Advanced FF/Dungeoneer) The points spread is kept small, with the average damage being 2 Stamina point, which is apt. I find rolling a d6 to finding a number between 1 and 3 or 2 and 4 a little laborious, although looking at the charts recently, fun could be had with making special damage dice, as are often discussed on this forum regarding HeroQuest and Warhammer. [insert link to customised dice threads...] But I digress!
I’d abandon this system for something a little more chaotic and mainstream.
Weapons can have bonuses, a "medium" sword being standard, +1 Large sword, +2 Flaming whip, +3 magic weapon, -1 for small daggers, weaker claws, -2 improvised weapon (chair leg), -3 for hand-to-hand/unarmed/non-martial art
(-3 modifier matches up with the current unarmed -3 Skill modifier which would now be optional as a rule since the player may be being penalised twice)
(If I remember right these sorts of bonuses are in WHFRPG 1st Ed) (?)
DMs may wish to have a greater range of bonuses and negatives for weapons, but with such large variables in damage derived from a difference in Attack Strength I’d recommend keeping the modifiers low. (nothing higher than +3 or +2 for mundane weapons perhaps)
The damage bonus is applied after the Attack Strengths have been compared.
Remember the difference in the Attack Strengths is the actual damage, so the damage bonus is added to that. After this Luck can the tested to double or half the damage.
OLAFF the Warrior
Skill 9 Stamina 14 Luck 10, Large Axe +1 damage
Is fighting an
ORC Skill 6 Stamina 6, Rusty Knife -1 damage
Neither gain bonuses from armour (leather and rags etc)
Attack Strengths are
OLAFF Sk9 + die rolls 4, 3 = 16
ORC Sk6 + die rolls 1, 5 = 12
OLAFF wins the attack round!
Damage to the ORC is (16 minus 12 = 4) +1 for the Large Axe = 5 points, reducing the ORC’s Stamina to 1 – nearly deaded!
OLAFF chooses not to Test his Luck (possible outcomes of 2 damage, if unlucky, or 10, if lucky), because he can afford to waste another round. If he wins the next round the ORC’ll be squished in one blow.
Of course it can go the other way, but fortunately for players, monsters don’t get to Test Luck to double or halve damage.
No matter how the maths turns out, one point of damage must be scored against the losing opponent, this caters for negative modifiers.
Optional "Double 6 Underdog Rule":
In hopeless combat situations where one skill is so high that the Attack Strength would be impossible to beat…
a double 6 always wins an attack round (but if the total is still lower than the opponent’s they only cause 1 point of damage). A further optional rule may be to Test Luck (unlucky equals zero, lucky equals 2 points of damage)
Alternative rule (borrowed from T&T “Spite” Damage): Double 6s cause one point of damage even if the player or monster has lost the attack. (This may need play testing)
Armour rules for FF Intro RPG (alternative rules for AFF)
To counter weapon damage bonuses, armour defence bonuses can be used. Again these will only be applied after the Attack Strengths have been compared and initial damage is reckoned.
1 point of damage minimum will always be taken by the losing player/monster (Perhaps with the option to Test Luck ) This can be explained as trauma or shock damage. The blow connected, even brutes encased in metal can be worn down by repeated blows.
DMs may wish to make heavy robes, leather, padded or light armour the "combat standard" (i.e. 0 modifer, with the possibility that clothes offer a -1 disadvantage to protection – again this would need some thought and testing) – bonuses would include: chest armour +1, full chain +1, a standard shield can be +1 (very large shield +2?), but shields limit the player to one handed/medium weapon use.
Perhaps armour can cumulative. A shield plus chest armour equals +2. I like systems which do this because you get a really solid "feel" for the equipment. Natural restrictions apply depending upon whether or not some armour can be “layered”, and perhaps there’s penalties for restrictive movement. In campaigns with lots of armour, it’s often worth forcing the players to go swimming occasionally … They'll switch back to loincloths in no time!
Going back to that fight...
Let’s say the ORC was wearing magical plate-mail granted him +3 defence.
OLAFF has still won the attack round.
Damage to the ORC equals (16 minus 12 = 4) +1 for the Large Axe = 5 points of damage…
But … the ORC’s armour absorbs 3 points, so 5 -3 = only 2 points of damage.
The ORC had 6 stamina which drops to 4 – still relatively healthy.
Of course, if OLAF does win, he might get to wear the magic armour, but he may have to Test his luck to see if it fits, or perhaps the ORC was sealed in and breaking the armour off his dead body will destroy it’s magical properties.
The DAMAGE taken by Loser
Winner’s Attack Strength
minus Loser’s Attack Strength
plus Winner’s weapon damage bonus
minus Loser’s armour defence bonus
Then apply modifications based on Luck
(Some DMs may want to apply this before armour is deducted)
Okay that’s the rough idea. Looking at it now it looks a bit more complicated then FF should get. But I like the fact that even mundane treasure to have value in play, so a starting player finding a full, but a little rusty, helm can really appreciate a +1 bonus. Shopping becomes more of a thrill too.
Magical or fire attacks can be absorbed by armour, but maybe with a modifier. After all armour is usually designed to withstand piercing and blunt damage, but a good toasting by a dragon is a different thing altogether. Poison and magic may sometimes ignore armour.
Variable protection values
(inspired by Stormbringer rules - very rough working)
Powerful armour may present variable protection like 2-7 points (1d6+1) – which can partially represent the fact that armour often has weaker areas than others. Also this may prevent dull, slow powerful stand offs, where a monster has 8 points of protection. Even full plate has gaps under the arms and so on…
One West End Games system using d6s would cumulate as follows +1, +2, 1d6, 1d6+1, 1d6+2, 2d6, 2d6+1 although I wouldn’t recommend using that scale here as the numbers become too high too quickly, but it illustrates small increments in combination with dice based variables.
Of course this is getting back into “fiddly” territory – which was my protest against AFF’s variable weapon damage rules, so without a lot of development in practice, I recommend just sticking to small bonuses, with limits to combinations of armour worn and numbers of weapons used.
Missile combat? Oops, I hadn’t thought that far ahead …
Any reminders here upon missile combat in FF/AFF?
Ah yes some excellent rules ideas in there!
Prepare for lengthily game mechanic discussions!
Making the difference between the two Attack Strengths the damage certainly speeds up the action and reduces the number of rounds combat lasts, but does of course require more maths. Also it means that monsters are easier to kill, but conversely so are adventurers. In an extremely uneven fight this can mean the weaker combatant not standing much of a chance. This is fine when your heroes are killing Goblins with 1 blow at the dungeon entrance, but may not be looked up on so favourably when a Dragon wipes out a whole party of 4 Adventurers in a single round at the other end of the dungeon. This makes a combat a little too deadly even for my tastes ... (despite it's rather ironic name, Fighting Fantasy encouraged players to avoid combat)
Having double 6 always cause 1 point of damage as you've suggested goes some way to evening this out, but I'd take it a little further.
Double 1 is a Fumble and you automatically lose that round of combat
Double 6 is a Mighty Blow and automatically win that round of combat
in both the Fumble and Mighty Blow situations damage should be worked out on the dice rolls alone without adding either combatant's SKILL to the scores (Weapon and Armour modifiers can be added to damage as per normal though)
Of course if both combatants roll double 1 or double 6 then they will automatically draw neither will take any damage (Stand Off). In the case of 2 Fumbles they have both just swung at thin air and in the case of 2 Mighty Blows their weapons have hit each other, sparks flying off them!
All this mean that not only do the Hero's have a better chance against that dragon in the final fight, but those Goblins become a legitimate threat again.
(Note that Dungeoneer includes rules for Fumbles and Mighty Blows, but a double 6 automatically kills the opponent and a double 1 has much more complicated rules which change the out come of the combat round for the worse for whoever rolled it – the rules I've suggested here work much better with your rules as your rules already have a high chance of killing in 1 blow or at least causing massive amounts of damage)
The further thought occurs that these rules could be extended to incorporate all doubles in combat making fighting even more deadly and unpredictable (in which case you want to call a Double an 'equaliser' or something to that effect)
Personally I'd keep the 'Using LUCK in Combat' rules the same, your rules already cause massive amounts of damage on a good roll. Also this doesn't take into account what happens when the looser uses LUCK to try and avoid damage (LUCK is what gives heroes an edge over monsters and regular people in FF, your way you'd give them more chance of getting killed ). Yes the normal 'LUCK in combat' rules have less effect under your house rules, but having the ability to cause so much damage to either side makes it less necessary to use LUCK in combat (your natural luck with the dice, comes more into play – in a way you've got the luck built-in to the combat now) Also half-ing and double-ing is just more maths, which will slow down play IMHO.
again IMHO you've made one of the recovery-from-bad-things mechanics potentially less effective , lets face it in FF the odds are stacked against the Heroes (especially in Gamebooks by Steve Jackson) and they need as much help as they can get. If you must add a variable into the only rules in the system that give you a chance of recovering your precious STAMINA make it D4+2 so it's still fairly effective even if you roll badly, I'm aware this breaks the FF tradition of D6's only, but you've got to give the poor adventurer's something ...
agreed, the less looking things up the better!
The custom dice idea is interesting and would certainly look impressive on the table, I imagine little pictures of the weapon types in question on each side of the dice
Having said that trying to find the Axe Dice, the 2 Handed Mace Dice, the Improvised Weapon Dice or the Sword Dice all the time among the multitude of dice you end up with scattered across the table in the during a game could slow down play (I supposed you could colour code them), not to mention the number of different dice you'd need to sit down and make (and you'd run out of colours if you plump for the colour coded option)
yes most games use a modifier system something like this at some point, to differentiate the amounts of damage different weapon cause, although in most cases they don't directly effect the dice results but rather the number of dice rolled (HQ and AHQ) or what score is required to cause damage (WFB). WFRP 1 uses D6 + attacker's Strength + Weapon Modifier - defender's Toughness to work out damage. While WFRP 2 uses D10 + a modifier based and weapon type on the attacker's Strength Bonus - defender's Toughness in a similar way. D&D of course uses different dice for different weapons (well it's a little more complicated but I won't get into it here as most people reading this will have played D&D)
for your FF house rules I'll suggest the following modifiers:
Small Weapons (Dagger, Knife, ect):
-1 Damage Modifier
Hand Weapons (Sword, Axe, Mace, Hammer, Club, ect):
+1 Damage Modifier
Double Handed Weapons (2 Handed Sword, 2 Handed Axe, 2 Handed Mace, 2 Handed Hammer, ect): +2 Damage Modifier
Spears and Polearms
+1 Damage Modifier
0 Damage Modifier
0 Damage Modifier
+1 Damage Modifier
+2 Damage Modifier
0 Damage Modifier
and finally: Magic Weapons double their modifiers for the type they are!
(BTW Flaming Whip? Did you make Balrogs a playable race? Lol)
Dungeoneer claims it's Damage Chart already takes armour into account, although looking at it's explanation it assumes all armour offers the same amount of protection. So that kinda ties in well with your "combat standard". Taking your armour off means if you loose a combat round the winner gets to add +2 when rolling on the Damage Chart and conversely having a Shield gives them a -2 penalty when rolling on the Damage Chart
I assume by what you've written your rules directly reduce the amount of damage taken (as opposed to the way weapons increase the amount of damage caused) In which case I suggest the following modifiers
+1 Damage Taken
Heavy robes, Leather or Padded Armour:
Normal Damage Taken
-1 Damage Taken
-2 Damage Taken
Adventurer's can be equipped with 1 of the above types of body armour and may also carry a Shield or Buckler if they have a free hand (you cannot use a Shield at the same time as a Double Handed Weapon or if you are carrying a Sword in one hand and a Lantern in the other for instance)
- 1 Damage Taken (Stacks with body armour)
-2 Damage Taken (Stacks with body armour)
IMHO One of the problems with the FF system is that there are no rules for movement or speed, it's up to the GM inflict penalties on how players move about in the same way as the Gamebooks do. For instance you'll some times get a paragraph like this:
You walk a little further down the passageway until you come to a deep dark pit with a thin rope hanging across it. Looking down into the pit you can just about make out a bubbling green liquid, with the bones of several creatures floating in it and a burning sensation assaults your nostrils. It is a pool of acid. Turn to 154 if you want to try climbing long the rope to the other side, Turn to 22 if you want to try jumping across, Turn to 45 if you want to discard your Heavy Armour before attempting to jump or Turn to 112 if you wish to go back to the Junction”
climbing across the rope is almost certain death as it will probably break, if you try to jump with your amour you'll be asked to make a difficult LUCK test, but if you discard your armour and then jump the book will make the test easier on you. (and if you turn back and try the other way at the junction you'll probably be lead to a dead end or a room inhabited by a 3 Skeletons)
The point is there are no hard rules for how wearing heavy armour will affect your speed or agility in any given situation, so it's quite difficult to apply penalties for such things unless they are written directly into the adventure. For instance a paragraph in a FF roleplay adventure might say something like this:
“The dark grey metal device suspended from the ceiling is a huge magnet! make the adventurer's test for LUCK for each metal item they are carrying, if they are unlucky the item in question is attracted to the magnet and fly up toward the ceiling. If any of the adventurers are the wearing Plate Armour they found in Area 11 they must make a LUCK test for that too and if they are unlucky they will be sucked up by the magnet too!”
the problem being that all you've got go on are the basic 3 statistics SKILL, STAMINA and LUCK to which it's pretty hard to apply direct modifiers to because they are so widely used
Hmm ... actually I've kind drifted off point there, but that would make an awesome trap!
I think what I was trying to say is that in others system you could apply penalties for heavy armour directly to the character's statistics for example:
Full Plate Armour: Grants +2 Defence, but reduces Speed by -1 and Dexterity by -3
Meaning the GM just asks the player to make the required test for the situation and doesn't have to keep track of who is wearing what kind of armour and whether it would effect the test
In the FF Introductory Roleplay Book ranged combat isn't really covered with it's own rules so I assume it works in the same way as close combat but the intended target can't fight back.
AFF of course has a much more complicated system and lots of modifiers for range, size of target what kind of weapon your using.
Looking for examples of how ranged weapons work in the Adventure Books, I didn't find many instances when ranged weapons are used.
Wheelies throwing knifes hit you on a roll of 1-3 on 1D6 and cause 2 Stamina damage
and I can't seem to find any special rules connected to the bow you with a silver arrow in Warlock of Firetop Mountain (but I may need to look harder)
~The ravings of a single mad Goblin is bad enough, but such a power-hungry, malice-filled creature as Mortis can never hope to be understood~
Glad to see I got your noggin working on this. There's nothing like building on old classics. :)
Just to reclarify for anyone reading: The Deadly Fast Play comparitive damage rules are meant for the use with the gamebooks. All the other stuff is for a simplified group role play. Something *between* FF Intro RPG and AFF.
A d4 in an FF thread? GET OUT!
I must admit I was struggling to create a range of 4 +/-1 or 4 +/-2 (3-5 or 2-6) whilst keeping the mechanic memorable and still using a d6. My brain then broke and it just become 1 to 6. A d4 or d3 would solve this nicely but in this thread I'll ban them! I'm even tempted just to say "dice" from now on, because there is only one shape, and it comes in pairs and they shall be stolen from an old board game. It is THE LAW. A polyhedral is a male parrot with a saliva problem... certainly not something which can be bought in a "hobby" shop...
Ahem. Sorry. Not sure what happened there...
Now where's that Lone Wolf 0-9 pencil chart gone ...? ;)
You're spot on with the weapon and armour modifiers.
I'm suddenly thinking about what Balrogs use at home to open tins with... I just like throwing random weapon names to illustrate that the ruleset should be broad enough to take on any invention.
I can't stress this enough, what I like about FF intro RPG/adapting rules from the gamebooks (but slightly less about AFF) is that the GM/DM/director is encoraged to improvise with the rules led by the circumstance of the predicament. So when I talk about armour weighing a hero down, its generally accepted that swinging on ropes might be effected by 1 or 2 points, but its still a SKILL or LUCK check for everyone. Adding Speed is an interesting idea but I'd personally try to add nothing more than a MAGIC or STEALTH stat to the Adventure Sheets. Unless of course you're using miniatures on a grid like in HeroQuest et al, then a base move for race + very basic carrying modifier should definitely be used. But it should a general Tdecision, not one based on exact encumberance (like cn in D&D Expert rules).
I was at home this afternoon found the FF rule books. You're right about missile weapons: lots of variables based on size and distance, but its just a SKILL check in essence. I'm not too worried about long bow distance in dark dungeon rooms, but it's different from chucking a chair leg at someone. I certainly wouldn't bring missile combat as a player option in the gamebooks, and in the same way I wouldn't use what are special item rules in the gamebooks in a table top game. If I remember rightly, laser combat in Starship Traveller was insane!
The comparitive success of the Skill check could be the base damage plus a weapon modifier (+1 for arrows, +3 for a spear)
Criticals and fumbles in all systems seem like a great idea. I really like the idea of lowest and highest values creating exceptional situations. In FF we know that's what luck in combat is for. I think with deadly fast play (comparitive) damage the mighty blow wouldn't be needed because of the potential for ridiculousy high damage already. But certainly in combat "as is" in FF and AFF special effects from doubles is a great idea.
(in T&T matching dice are rerolled and added again, the probabily bell curve gets pretty messed up by that!) Like you say, luck with the dice is comparitive to Luck itself (again this explains why LK in T&T is included in the combat adds). In FF Luck seems to be the standard "saving throw" which makes sense if your background is in playing D&D and other early games. We're now much more familiar which games which match a circumstantial challenge in a specific skill. Fate points in games are about cashing in experience and luck. However Luck in FF is an almost spiritual thing which is used in all circumstances. In PC games and RPGs I'm always amazed at how important Personality or Charisma is (and sub skills), but in FF bluffing your way into the castle requires a good story and a Testing of Luck. Unlucky characters are totally screwed, but hey Bumblefist the Dwarf always needed the help of his friends ...
The question is ... should Luck ratings be a major factor in combat - or a one off do or die feature? Maybe it encorages more role play and creative thought?
Relating to that tangent ...
AFF's skills are similar to T&T's talents, and several other open systems which branch minor skills from basic stats (sometimes the skills can be invented by the GM or player to suit the character). Again, I'd try to avoid adding too much to Sk, St and Lk. (maybe I'd sneak in Magic for spell capacity and spell resistance) There's a simplified Sorcery magic for role playing article in Warlock if I remember right. Perhaps its worth a scan.
Okay, running out of steam and focus.
Hmm. I'm not sure what we're doing here. If I was about to run a fantasy game of any kind, I doubt I would be able to convince them to play FF as a system. Even a modern system like Warrior Rogue & Mage would be frowned upon when there's still D&D or WHQ to hand (that's my house, that is). Is the 12 year old in me still trying to rewrite rule history?
There's some really great ideas and comments there, Mortis, thanks. Maybe we'll summarise and boil it down and present it all as a seperate thread or pdf.
Incidentally, AFF rpg seems to run really well as in-thread games on the forums, I think its because the mechanics are so simple. Perhaps we should think about RPing on LatD?
In reply to this post by Billiam Babble
Sorry, the D6's fought long and hard to keep them out of this thread, but it looks like a polyhedral got though their lines !!
I think the trouble is, that while having an all D6 system makes a game system more 'accessible' (ie you don't need to track down a place that sells the “funny dice”) it can make a system more difficult to write rules for from a design point of view and in some cases over complicate matters. I've seen a few games where you get bogged down rolling a D6 and looking up what the result means charts because a D6 just doesn't give the kind of variables required. Having said that the 2D6 and 3D6 bell-curves are 2 of the most useful and widely used game mechanics. In some cases you just need a different kind of dice to get the results!
Yea it seems that up until AFF Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone hadn't given much thought to ranged combat either. Rarely are ranged weapons used in the books although they certainly exist, illustrations often show people and monsters carrying bows and Deathtrap Dungeon features a trap based around cross bows mounted on the walls. In the spirit of FF I maybe wouldn't let PCs start out with bows, but I wouldn't rule out ranged weapon for them entirely, sooner or later they're going to come across or try to improvise ranged weapons. After all bows, arrows, crossbows and archery are a staple of the fantasy genre, after all where would Legolas, Robin Hood and others be without their bows?
For ranged combat under your rules I'd suggest rolling combat as per-normal but only applying the damage if the combatant with the ranged weapon wins the round (anything else would mean they missed). In situations where both combatants have ranged weapons (eg an adventure and goblin on either side of a chasm both armed with bows taking shots at each other) combatants would have to take it in turns to shoot and defend.
The GM could also make adventurers take LUCK tests for particularly difficult shots
My reasoning behind adding the Mighty Blow and Fumbles rules to the Deadly Fast Play rules is that it redresses a huge balance issue in combat.
It's always been my philosophy that in a good combat system the lowliest Goblin should be able to hurt the mightiest Dragon if he's lucky enough. This way it's still worth going into combat with a monster that massively out classes you and but also it's still dangerous to enter combat with a creature you can potentially kill in one blow.
Ok lets see if I can come up with a example, I'll try and keep it simples
“Perilous the Adventurer”
... is fighting a ...
the highest the adventurer can roll is 22 (12+10) and the lowest he can roll is 12 (2+10)
like wise the highest the Dragon can roll is 30 (12+18) and the lowest is 20 (2+18)
under the Deadly Fast Play rules as they stand
even if the Dragon Rolls 2 on the dice, the adventurer still has to roll at least 11 to cause any damage and even then the maximum damage he can cause is 2! (an adventurer with SKILL 8 or lower would have no chance at all of damaging the Dragon) the dragon will nearly always win and can cause between 1 (23-22) and 18 (30-12) each round the average damage (going by the bell curve) being 8 (25-17) per-round. (To keep it simple I'm ignoring the effect of the 'LUCK in combat' rules here)
You can see the problem
Now lets see what happens when we add my suggested Mighty Blow and Fumbles rules
if the Adventurer rolls Double 6 or the Dragon rolls Double 1 the lucky Adventurer can cause between 1 and 10 damage!
Like wise if the Adventurer rolls Double 1 and the Dragon rolls Double 6 the adventurer will take between 1 and 10 damage. (this may need some play testing but it might be worth ruling that Mighty Blow only counts against an opponents with a higher SKILL than you)
To put it simply the Mighty Blow and Fumbles rules introduces a factor of risk for even the most powerful combatants. Any fight could get you hurt no matter how much you out class your opponent and you still have a chance to win no matter how much your opponent out classes you.
Please note: Math is not my strong point at all, anyone who's spotted a mistake is welcomed to correct me
Have looked over the mechanics a little closer I've changed my mind about LUCK in combat doubling or halving damage under your rules. So I suggest the following sequence:
1 LUCK tests can be used to effect the out come of combat rounds and should be taken after Weapon and Armour Modifiers have been applied.
2 A successful LUCK test after winning a round of combat doubles the Damage Caused, an unsuccessful LUCK test halves the Damage caused
3 A successful LUCK test after loosing a round of combat halves the Damage Taken, an unsuccessful LUCK test doubles the Damage caused
4 As per usual 1 point is deducted from the adventurers LUCK after each test is taken, this should stop any over use of LUCK in combat
You'd be surprised, I'm sure anyone who enjoyed playing the game books would be interested in play an FF based RPG (although they might suggest Myriador's Fighting Fantasy D20 variant). I didn't think anyone would be interested in playing HeroQuest on a regular basis but after running a game on my 3D dungeon setup for a bit of laugh one afternoon, a bunch of my RPGing and Wargaming friends were hooked, and thus were laid the foundations upon which we built the MortiS Quest rules and now run an on going campaign! Not to mention that a lot of people on the forum are asking me to publish the rules, I never expected it to go this far – we've got a table top skirmish system based on it now and Mark RG will be taking a version of it out to the Czech republic, which with the help of his girlfriend and friends there, is likely to spawn a Czech language version of the rules – it's really gotten out of hand!
Argh! No, sorry I don't like forum based “role play”, IMHO it's mass-written lazy fan-fiction and has no place on tLatD, which is about real games played around a table (discussions on RPG related computer games and Gamebooks not withstanding, I see them as an off shoot of the Tabletop Wargames and RPG genre and thus still relevant to the forum. Hence the FF and LW section we're posting in now)
also once a “game” of that sort of thing has got going it becomes very clique-ish and difficult for people to join, we want to encouraged people to read and join the forum. Admin/staffing/refereeing is an issue too I don't think anyone here has the time to dedicate to running something like that.
Again I'm sorry - I don't like having to turn down peoples ideas and I don't mean to be harsh
However should you wish to do something like publishing an FF inspired solo-adventure here that would be very much welcomed
~The ravings of a single mad Goblin is bad enough, but such a power-hungry, malice-filled creature as Mortis can never hope to be understood~
This post was updated on .
Where do you get these pictures from?
Yup your fumbles and criticals system makes total sense. But now I'm rooting for the dragon! Squish that adventurer good!
I was trying the simple version of the fast play rules last night in Citadel of Chaos - where, incidentally, there's a shocking lack of straight forward fights - and in fact there were times when the combat actually slowed. Lots of 1 damages, from very close Attack Strengths which hadn't occurred to me. Like you, I've been more worried about massive damage quotas.
Comparing attack strengths, but only the target takes damage is a very elegant solution. (Much like defender against a second opponent). FF can be quite limited in it's use of opposition based maths. It certainly remains true to the system and is easy to remember.
*Massive tangent coming up*
EDIT: Honestly skip this, it really is just pseudo philosophical meta gaming navel gazing.
Missile or Range combat reveals an interesting conundrum in role playing mechanics. With hand-to-hand fights - Monster vs. Hero, weapon vs. armour, Attack skill vs. Defence Skill (parry). It's very easy to see opposing advantages and difficulties. Whereas range combat relates to personal skill vs. environmental aspects. I know this is obvious stuff, but if we think about how we set the scene in role-playing games, or in game books, a scene (a room, furniture) doesn't require any stats but as soon as two opponents are in proximity the dice mechanics simulate physical competition in a way that can't created by speech or text alone (well durr Will, that's why we use dice, because we're not LARPers or psychos ...). Many sports place emphasis on players vs. players. Psychologically we relate to games which make players oppose each other. Even in cricket the batsman is actively participating with the path of the ball as decided by the bowler. A DM controlling the monster vs. the player controlling the hero is extremely accessible to a new comer to the game. Apart from the dubious "Dodge" ability in some games, and dexterity modifiers, shooting is mainly about the attacker's skill to hit the target, vs size, distance, light.
It just seems "wrong" somehow that the targeted hero doesn't get to effect the outcome much.
I remember countless arguments about dodging bullets and realism. We have expectations in films based on epic physical one-to-one struggles, which is why that scene where Indy shoots the scimitar man is so funny. In Arthurian romance much of the emphasis is on swords, but the boring historians tell us that extremely long spears, pole-arms, bows, machinery, stakes, cover, weather, virul infections and overwhelming numbers, plus strategy based on marching around in blocks, win battles. Swords were for nobles and the coup-de-grace (big generalisation, I know but I'm talking about the whole attraction to medieval fantasy here). We know the "Melee" is a controlled contest like gladiatorial combat where spectators want to see the fight to be up-close and personal (rugby and boxing with pole-axes mwhahah). Now ... Role-players allow themselves to tune into the solo-protagonist-ego, where they are assured that their characters has skills and strengths which effect the campaign environment. Player-PC thinks... *surely* his pseudo-narrative role in the plot arc would mean that he won't be despatched by the first long ranged weapon he encounters ....
In contrast to this I'm rather fond of how the apt WH40K's tagline "it's big universe, and you will not be missed" is so appropriate for the disposable individuals in massive armies. :D
The combination of myself playing FF gamebooks at a young age and having a false notion of knights (as opposed to proper awareness historical battles) mean that I have still difficulty coping with cannons in games (which feeds my "gunnes" and blunderbuss anxiety...). Balistics!? Forward observation? Let me just run in and belt the fool! Naturally in my mind magic was a very short ranged and slow affair (remember how slow most magic special effects were in the 70s/80s).
Even the long bow in a dungeon seems to be fudge in the rules- the explanation for its ranges being limited is due to light conditions and low ceilings in dungeons or something, because we all know with the right kind of cornish bred yeoman the ISS can be brought down if you stand on the right hill in Kent...
Also, my introduction to role-playing was through talking-play and books, and figures came later (very different to today's D&D where counters and grids are included). Representing distances didn't really occur in my earliest games. The maps weren't even on graph paper (like the maps in FF Intro RPG) Darts from traps didn't seem like ranged attacks, they were immediate, perhaps the character was stepping on the trigger/plate/opening the chest. Somehow describing sniping scenes or long range fights seemed difficult and unfitting. Perhaps it's like snakes and ladders - piece A lands on the same square as piece B - some sort of exchange or battle occurs with the loser being sent back to the start. The event happens in the same square (god knows what the teleporting back to the beginning is all about - or am I thinking of Ludo)
Okay, I'm babbling.
The good news is that we know that pretty much everything in games can be simulated with dice rolls and /or opposing difficulty ratings which are negotiated with the referee who is consulting a tome of tables, or his following some interpretative ethos based on a story telling genre. Of course in Fighting Fantasy only several specific situations are actually represented by the main rules, which is why it still appeals to me because it grants the authority to the GM to wing in.
Okay, that's enough for now. I really shouldn't start typing in the middle of the night, I come over all "stoner"-like.
(also I promise I will edit that other post for typos... at least this one was typed on a real keyboard!)
Now, we were talking about FF, right? ;D
Fair enough re. role-playing threads.
I've got some thoughts about FF solos (mixed in with some OGL clone and T&T ideas) - including some possible copyright work-around, but more on that another time. Perhaps some mini adventures will be a great idea to keep the old intellect working!
The 'fighting dice' picture I think I found on a blog I was reading a while back, but I believe it was originally from an old rule book for a game that's name eludes me at the moment. It seemed appropriate for the discussion.
As for the Balrog Can-opener; that's a bit of Photoshop I did after your last post put the image of a flaming can-opener into my head. The original image was of a vintage can-opener made by a food company called 'Bully Beef', I assume it opened cans of corn-beef or something.
I guess this is bound to happen in some fights, especially with 2 very evenly match opponents and the bell-curve effect of 2D6 (Using a D12 would lessen the likely hood of this happening, but as mentioned before that wouldn't be in-keep with FF). It's realistic that there will be some fights where both combatants are finding it difficult to land an effective blow and all they can do is slug it out until one of them get tired and makes a mistake. It can be frustrating but I don't see it as a problem. And if a player get bored of an even fight they can always try their LUCK to change the out come of a round.
yes I find often the simplest solution is the best
Ranged combat is handled in a similar way in a lot of other rule systems that have a 'simultaneous fighting' mechanic for close combat. For instance in Warhammer and it's off-shoots; at range the Attackers BS is looked up on a single line chart which tells you how high you need to roll to hit and any modifiers are added, where as in Close Combat Attackers WS is cross-referenced with Defenders WS on a grid which tells you what you need to roll to hit.
In such a way I think of ranged combat as being like 'half a combat' - one combatant is attacking while the other defends, but there is no 'fighting back' because of the distance.
I feel I should point out that doesn't mean that if 2 combatants have ranged weapons they would both fight at Range at the same as if they were in Close Combat, the normal ranged rules should apply as (unlike with close combat weapons) you can't use one ranged weapon to block (or other wise) another ranged weapon.
Is ranged combat “un-heroic”?
I'd argue not, Bows, Arrows and Lightning-Bolt Spells are every bit as part of heroic legend as Swords and Shields. Bard (in The Hobbit) is no less a hero than Sir George for killing a dragon with an Arrow as opposed to a Sword. Many heroes are famed for being a good shot with a ranged weapon – William Tell and Robin Hood spring to mind immediately from our own world, but there are many more besides.
As for giving PC ranged weapons, I don't see why not. IMHO it won't (as I think you fear) unbalance the game – the classic dungeoneering line-up normally contains at least 1 character with a ranged weapon (see Dungeon Tactics 101). In simple FF terms it balances out too, yea a PC may be able to kill off a Goblin from 30ft with a Crossbow just as easily as in close combat with a Sword, but once they start facing something a bit larger like a Pit Fiend they aren't going to be able to get enough shots in to kill it before it's right on top of them ... and then they've got to fumble around putting their Bow away and drawing their Sword. Or with a hoard of approaching Rat-Men, a Bow will take out the first 2 or 3 yea, but the rest will meet the PCs in close combat eventually and still have a good chance of over whelming them.
On a related tangent, here's my rulings on dodging ranged weapons in RPGs
Incoming!: First of all, to dodge any projectile the PC needs to be aware it coming, which mean they need to be able to hear and or see it and know where it's coming from and be aware of what it is. If you don't know some thing's coming you can't dodge it! After that it's down to reaction times.
Distance: The further the projectile has to travel the more reaction time the PC has and thus has a higher chance of dodging. Likewise at extreme close range and point blank it is impossible to dodge a projectile
Bows and Crossbows: Arrows and Crossbow Bolts are relativity slow projectiles, so as long as it's over a fair range and you know it coming there's a good chance you could dodge them, still it should be by no means easy
Black Powder Weapons: Muskets, Flintlock Pistols and Cannons should be fairly hard to dodge, however early fire-arms are unreliable so it's likely they could miss their target or misfire anyway. A blunderbuss incidentally, should be impossible to dodge
Modern Fire Arms: Bullets travel something around about the speed of sound (feel free to correct me here “gun enthusiasts”) so as long you know the gunfire is coming you should have a (very) small chance of ducking out of the way behind something. I'm not talking about bullet-dodging as seen in The Matrix films (and every shitty film that ripped it off since), but about diving for cover and keeping your head down when you hear the shots
Lasers and Ray-guns energy weapons should be impossible to dodge, a laser beam travels at the speed of light, firing is almost simultaneous with hitting the target at any range (person to person – spaceship to spaceship would be a different matter). Other energy weapons can be assumed to behave in similar ways
Catapults and other Stone Throwers these sort of weapons are normally levelled at unmoving targets or huge blocks of troops, as an individual however they would be fairly easy to dodge and would smaller stones throw from a sling or by hand. I'd rule the same for other thrown objects, but throwing knifes and shurikens should probably be dealt with in the same way as Arrows and Crossbow Bolts depending on the attackers skill with such weapons
Spells unless otherwise stated in the spell's description, it should be impossible to dodge a spell effect (resisting a spell effect is another matter)
~The ravings of a single mad Goblin is bad enough, but such a power-hungry, malice-filled creature as Mortis can never hope to be understood~
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