Monday, November 30, 2009

Fighting Fantasy, The introductory Role-playing Game

I finally had time to read through Fighting Fantasy. Some of you may have read my overview of Dungeoneer, Advanced Fighting Fantasy here and here. I bought Fighting Fantasy because I was curious how it compared to the advanced version. Well, I characterized Dungeoneer as simple. If you strip away all the "complicated" portions you have Fighting Fantasy. This thing is seriously simple. It has no provisions for character advancement, no weapons lists, nor does it allow player characters to be magic-users. Seriously simple. A five page overview of the rules can be found here. It distills the first 64 pages of the book pretty effectively. The rest of the book consists of two adventures. The first is a shorter introductory adventure, while the second is longer but similar in style. And the style is old school dungeon. Lots of men and creatures living cheek-to-jowl amongst strange traps with no visible means of support. Kinda cool actually. This simple (there I go using that word again) game would be ideal to introduce new and young players to role-playing but you would probably need to move on to the advanced rules, or another game entirely, pretty quickly. I still wish I had this when I started playing with my kids.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Two Advanced Fighting Fantasy Characters - The Wizard

Here is the second character I created using the rules in Dungeoneer. The first can be found here.

I refered to Titan, the Fighting Fantasy world book, to help fill in the background of both characters.

Argol
Wizard
Age 26

Characteristics
Skill 8
Stamina 18
Luck 11

Skills
Magic 11
Dagger 9
Sleight of Hand 9
Con 9
Dodge 9
Languages 1

Spells
Light 1
Open 1
Stamina 1
Counter Spell 2
Force Bolt 2
Sleep 2

Equipment - Dagger, Staff, Spell Book, 2 gp.

Background
Argol grew up rough in the dangerous city of Blacksand. Abandoned by his parents a local wizard noticed his cleverness and curiosity and took him in. Realizing this could be his escape from poverty, he worked hard and soon became an adept wizard.

Personality
Argol is willful, driven to succeed and curious. He is not always completely honest, a trait that hearkens back to his days in the streets. He does, however, have a loyal streak and a form of honor. When his master was murdered he hunted down and killed each of the thugs responsible. He then fled Blacksand.

Quotes
"What's that? Let me see."
"No, really. That's what happened."

Two Advanced Fighting Fantasy Characters - The Barbarian Warrior

I created two characters using the rules in Dungeoneer. What I did was rolled one set of stats and used them to build two different characters. I did this to shows the flexibility and the limitations of this easy system. I chose two classic archetypes, the barbarian and the wizard. I thought of using the stats to build a third character, a thief type, but didn't. I may still do so in the future.

The stats I rolled are as follows:
Skill 11
Stamina 18
Luck 11

These are good rolls. The maximum you can roll is 12 in Skill and Luck and 24 in Stamina.

Here is the first character:

Thorgard
Barbarian Warrior
Age 18

Characteristics
Skill 11
Stamina 18
Luck 11

Skills
Sword 14
Spear 13
Javelin 12
Climb 13
Awareness 13
Wood Lore 13

Equipment - Sword, 1 gp.

Background
Thorgard son of Thorgang was born into the Redspear clan in the foothills of the Freezeblood Mountains in eastern Allansia. He was son to a woodcarver. The harsh life in the hills hardened Thorgard and he became a skilled hunter and a feared warrior. Always curious about the wider world he left home to find it.

Personality
Thorgard is naive about the ways of the world beyond the hills, particularly of cities. This has caused trouble from time to time. He doesn't seek trouble but will not back away from it if it finds him. He has yet to develop extravagant tastes but rarely passes up the chance to acquire gold. Which he promptly spends.

Quotes
"Ale. Now."
"I'll kill it."
"What does he mean by that?"

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Fighting Fantasy has Arrived

I received my copy of Fighting Fantasy in the mail today. It is the basic version of Dungeoneer: Advanced Fighting Fantasy. It will be interesting to compare them.

I also received my copy of Blacksand, the second AFF book.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Dungeoneer: Part II

The third part of the book is The Rules of the Game
This is obviously the meat of the system. It starts out with a discussion of character creation. As I mentioned in my previous post, heroes have three characteristics: Skill, Stamina, and Luck. They are generated as follows:
Skill d6+6
Stamina 2d6+12
Luck d6+6
Skill determines how good you are at doing things.
Stamina determines how much damage you can take. If it reaches zero you go down. If it reaches -3, lights out.
Luck can be used to try reducing damage or avoiding negative consequences. You spend a luck point for the opportunity to roll.

The system has two major mechanics. In combat you make an opposed roll of 2d6 + weapon skill, higher roll does damage. The other mechanic is a 2d6 under skill or characteristic.

There are no character classes. The player can come up with a concept and then build the character to suit. There are no artificial constraints on these concepts either. If you want a sword-wielding sorcerer, go for it. There will be certain drawbacks to this, which I will explain momentarily, but you can certainly create one.

Advanced Fighting Fantasy is a skill based system. It has few skills, just 20 noncombat skills plus individual weapons skills. This isn’t many when compared to other systems but you can still build a variety of character concepts with them. The skill characteristic determines the amount of points you can put into special skills. If you have an initial skill of 10 you can put 10 points into special skills. The number of points you put into a special skill is added to your initial skill score to determine the final special skill score. So if a character with an initial skill of 10 puts 2 points into Axe, then the Axe special skill score is 12. This leads to the major criticism leveled against the system. A character with a high initial skill score will have more skills at a higher level than those with lower initial scores. These high skill characters have a good chance of dominating the action. I think this is easily remedied. Either give each character the same number of points to spend on skills or have some sort of inverse proportion solution. The higher your initial skill, the less points you have to spend on special skills.

Magic is handled the same way but with a slight twist. You can take magic as a skill, as many points as you can afford. For each skill point you put into magic you select three points worth of spells. Each spell is rated by the number of stamina points it costs to cast. So if you put one point into magic you could, for example, choose three spells that cost one stamina point to cast. Now the catch is this: You reduce your initial skill level by the number of points you put into magic. So, if you start with an initial skill of 11 and put 3 skill points into magic, you reduce your initial skill score to 8. Since your initial skill level is reduced so is any other skill you have selected. The spell list is limited to 38 spells ranging in cost from 1 to 10 stamina points. Magic has its drawbacks though. Like any other skill test a roll of double 6s is an automatic failure which can cause bad things to happen to the caster.

The rest of the rules cover combat in a bit more detail and noncombat skill in more detail, including positive and negative modifiers.

The rules section is followed by another, longer adventure. This is a sequel to the first adventure in the book. It is also fairly railroady also.

The fourth part of the book - Further Adventures – is a short section for the director. It discusses how characters earn experience points, how to create an adventure, how to set up a campaign, and contains a short monster section. Very succinct.

All and all I find this to be an interesting little game. Quite simple. I think it could be quite fun if you take it for what it is. I kind of wish I had this when I introduced my sons to rpgs.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Titan

My copy of Titan, the world book for Fighting Fantasy, arrived today. Direct from the UK. It looks like it is going to be an intersting read.

Gaming Music

Until I recently started reading blogs about gaming, I had never thought of the appropriate music for a gaming session. Back in the old days we would just lock ourselves (figuratively) in a room and play for hours. Then it struck me. Muse would be great to play for the background of a gaming session. "Knights of Cydonia" and "Uprising" are truly epic tracks.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Gamer ADD and Chaos

It turns out my son has an advanced case of gamer add. Seriously. We've played a total of about six sessions of Labyrinth Lord with three different characters in two different worlds. I'm doing everything on the fly and I haven't gm'd in years and years. He is having loads of fun but we haven't developed either of the worlds very much. Well, one of the settings is Arthurian. He read several King Arthur stories and wanted to play Gawain. He rolled up a first level fighter and away we went. Gawain was still a squire and he was ordered to escort his lord's niece back to her home, two days ride away. Well they just happened to camp near an old barrow which, unbeknownst to the characters, had become inhabited by a small roving band of morlocks. They abduct the girl from the camp and adventure ensued.

This brings me to the second portion of the post title. Chaos. The third character he created is a chaotic aligned elf. That is what he wanted. I don't know where he got the idea because I don't think he knows about Drow. I grabbed a free one-page dungeon off the web and away we went. The one-page is Goblin Gully by Dyson Logos. We've done two half-hour sessions and once again, he's loving it. Ok. He's hacking and slashing goblins. He stated that any wounded goblins he would kill. That's what chaotic creatures do, he explained. He understands alignment and such. Great. But later he secretly informed me that once they completed the adventure he was going to back stab his younger brother's character and take all of his treasure! What have I created! =) (Apparently a dedicated role-player. I told him that the gods and the game master would not be pleased. Hopefully I've squelched the idea.)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

"Basic" Fighting Fantasy

Here are the rules to Fighting Fantasy as used in the solo game books. I found these on the website of the new publisher. Only about five pages long. But these are the "basic" version.

Click here.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Dungeoneer: Advanced Fighting Fantasy


This isn’t so much a review as my thoughts and musings about Dungeoneer as I read through it.

So, what is Dungeoneer? It is a 394 page soft cover, trade paperback book that contains the rules for the Advanced Fighting Fantasy role-playing game. As the name indicates it based on the Fighting Fantasy system used in the solo game books. I have no previous experience with the Fighting Fantasy books and only learned of Dungeoneer’s existence through the forums of RPG.net. Advanced Fighting Fantasy is an expansion of the role-playing system used in the game books. Out of curiosity I have ordered a copy of Fighting Fantasy to see how advanced Dungeoneer is in comparison.

Dungeon is divided into four sections.
1. Getting Started
2. The Heroes
3. The Rules of the Game
4. Further Adventures

Getting Started is a very basic introduction to role-playing. Very basic. It discusses what is needed to play the game. It lists items such as six-sided dice, a watch, pencils, paper, and optional miniatures and then discusses each thing. Role-playing itself is discussed in terms of movies. The players are actors playing the characters. The game master is the Director. This is a very interesting approach but one aimed squarely at complete novices.

The second part, The Heroes, discusses the pre-generated character sheets included at the back of the book. It speaks briefly about the three characteristics that each character has: Skill, Stamina and Luck. It then covers and describes the special skills and spells for each character. It does all of this in less than 10 pages and then jumps right into an adventure. There is only cursory mention of game mechanics. This is a learn as you go proposition.

The adventure is called Tower of the Sorcerer. In keeping with the movie theme it is broken up into scenes. The scenes are used to introduce game mechanics, including combat. Combat is presented as a simple opposed dice roll of 2d6 + weapon skill. Highest roll inflicts damage. Damage is variable but instead of rolling dice for damage directly, you roll for the weapon on a damage table. The adventure is a nice introduction with lavish commentary for the first-time Director. It is also very railroady. Self-consciously so. It includes a problem section for each scene that will help the Director “…get the show back on the road.” The other thing I found interesting is that the text kept making comments about what to do if the players do something “stupid” or “dumb”. But it is a nice little adventure with a twist ending that teaches the basics of the game.

I'll post the second part when I finish the book.

Cloverfield

I watched Cloverfield the other night. It's stuck with me. It was a touch disturbing and a bit depressing. I seem to like depressing things though. I really liked the point of view. I mean most giant monster movies seem to be about defeating the monster. This was about regular people just trying to survive. Sounds like a good rpg scenario to me.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Sick Day part II

I've read some of Dungeoneer. If I get a chance I'll write a bit of it up.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Friday, November 6, 2009

Dungeoneer

I received the copy of Dungeoneer that I ordered through Amazon today. Its in fair shape but was really cheap. Old school day. Advanced Fighting Fantasy and Tunnels & Trolls on the same day.

A Slice of Gamer Heaven

I have just returned from a trip to a gamer's heaven. Spurred by a post from JB at B/X Blackrazor I travelled south to Gary's Games and Hobbies in Seattle. It has so much stuff! Games I'd only read about online, both RPGs and boardgames, card games, miniatures, and plastic models. I was amazed. Now to be honest, I have rarely visited a dedicated game shop. I have mostly lived in smaller communities in Washington. So I happily browsed for a long time. There were so many RPGs I wanted to buy, Dragon Warriors, A Thousand Suns, Runequest, Stormbringer, Savage Worlds Fantasy Companion and others. I ended up going old school in my purchase. I bought Tunnels & Trolls 5.5 edition. Just for kicks.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Young Conan for Barbarians of Lemuria

Over on the forums of RPG.net there is a thread about stating up the classic figures of sword and sorcery fiction. It is an old thread but hopefully this helps resurrect it.

Conan
As a young thief in Zamora.

Attributes
Strength 2
Agility 2
Mind 0
Appeal 0

Combat
Brawl 2
Melee 2
Ranged 0
Defense 0

Careers
Barbarian 2
Warrior 1
Hunter 1
Thief 0

Lifeblood 14
Hero Points 6

Armor - Bracers 1
Weapons - Broadsword d6

Languages - Cimmerian, Aesir, Zamoran

Boon
Marked by the Gods
Hard to Kill

Flaw
Distrust of Sorcery

What do you think?

Monday, November 2, 2009

Blogs

I read several blogs regularly. Check them out on the right. I just added a new one called A Paladin in Citadel. It covers RPGs as well as microgames. I loved Starfire and Melee. I mentioned in another post that many of my games were lost or destroyed over the years. Not these two. I have sheparded them along through every move and change in my life.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Two Characters for Barbarians of Lemuria

So, I created two characters for Barbarians of Lemuria. Though I mentioned before that I am not overly thrilled with the setting included in the book, I created the characters by the book. So here goes.

Farnos Farhan
Farnos is the scion of a Satarlan noble family of minor standing. He was raised in luxurious surroundings, never knowing true want. Like many young nobles he serves when needed in his city's army as an officer. Unlike other young nobles he takes this service seriously and has the makings of a competent soldier. Farnos has been trained for combat since youth. He favors the slender rapier used in formal duels amongst the nobles of Satarla. He also enjoys the chase. He hunts frequently in the comparatively tame countryside surrounding the city. His big dream is to lead an expedition into the deep jungle to take truly large game. Farnos is tall, slim and always elegantly turned out.

Attributes
Strength 0
Agility 2
Mind 1
Appeal 1

Combat
Brawl 0
Melee 2
Ranged 1
Defense
Careers
Noble 2
Soldier 1
Hunter 1
Merchant 0

Lifeblood 10
Hero Points 5

Armor - Gauntlets 1
Weapons - Rapier d6, Dagger d3, Bow d6
Languages - Lemurian (literate)
Boon - Etiquette
Bruthal son of Bruthus
Bruthal is a barbarian from the jungle of Qush. In his homeland he was a warrior and hunter. He killed a man from another clan because the man insulted him. As part of the blood price Bruthal was exiled. He has wandered the land at times serving as a caravan guard or a mercenary. However, he chafes under military discipline and only seeks that kind of employment when all else fails. He occasionally fights as a free man in the arena to earn extra money. he is large, well muscled but not overly bright. He excels at fighting with his tribal weapon, the great hunting spear.
Attributes
Strength 3
Agility 2
Mind -1
Appeal 0

Combat
Brawl 1
Melee 3
Ranged 0
Defense 0

Careers
Barbarian 2
Hunter 1
Warrior 1
Gladiator 0

Lifeblood 13
Hero Points 5

Armor - none
Weapons - Great Spear d6+2, Dagger d3
Languages - Lemurian

Boons - Jungle Tracker, Keen Eyesight
Flaw - Distrust of Sorcery
Farnos was walking alone through the city one day when five dandies from a rival house set upon him. Bruthal saw Farnos being unfairly attacked and for some reason unknown even to him, he waded in and helped turn the tide. Afterwards they became fast friends. Farnos is currently putting together the financing for a grand hunting expedition into the Qush. Bruthal will act as his guide.
What do you think?