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RE: (TFT) Random thoughts on rpg combat systems.

Hi Stan,
	Thanks for your post.  This is exactly
the sort of feed back I was looking for.  I'll
interleave my comments below.

>Regarding what TFT is and should be, I'd like to say that 
>TFT is many things to many people.  Me, I'm a wargamer at 
>heart.  My players tend that way too.  To me, the 
>storytelling is secondary.  It's not trivial, but it's 
>secondary.  The genius of TFT is that it has tactical 
>richness (compared to most RPG's) but with reasonable 
>speed--which is why I prefer it to GURPS.  GURPS adds a lot 
of complexity, which may or may not mean added 'realism' or 
>interesting game choices, but often doesn't.  (Speaking in 
>general, not at GURPS specifically.)

>> When I was a young whipper snapper of a 
>> GM, I wanted more realism.  I used all of
>> SJ's optional rules.
>See, now, I feel that a lot of TFT's optional rules 
>illustrate my previous statement.  There's no way that 
>'dagger marksmanship' with people throwing daggers 
>through the eye slits of helmets has anything to do with 
>realism.  It does add a choice, but it's a silly one.

	You pounced on a weak point in my argument there.
I agree that the 'eye slits; double damage' was silly,
but it was nice for guys with small weapons to TRY to
avoid all that armor.  I used the rule, but I never
really liked it.

>Any set of rules is going to be written at a certain 
>level of abstraction.  Some people prefer more abstract, 
>some less.  But in any case, when there's a rule that 
>varies wildly from the mindset of the rules as a whole, 
>it's a problem.  I don't use the hit location rules at 
>all in TFT because they so afterthought-ish.  And I 
>*like* hit location rules, and am glad to see them in 
>systems (like Aftermath, or even GURPS) where they are 
>more an organic part of the rules, and the system as a 
>whole is at that level of detail.

	What did you not like about the aimed hit rules?
A DX penalty to strike at special areas, with various
combat results if you succeeded.  I mean, it can be 
frustrating if some NPC keeps making you drop your sword
but it did not seem after thought-ish to me.  I thought
it plugged into the DX penalties / more difficult 
action meta-rule in TFT quite well.

>> Most of the time combat boils down to:
>> 1)	Players fight NPC's.
>> 2)	Players win.
>Well, most action in books boils down to that too...  

	I agree 100% with everything you wrote in the 
above section.

>> Fast is self explanatory.  We all strive (I 
>> assume) to put more story telling in our games...
>Bad assumption. :)  Maybe everyone else wants to put 
>more storytelling in their games, but I strive to put 
>more game in my games.  To me, working things out with 
>the rules is more the point--the story provides a 
>framework for interesting fights, rather than the fights 
>somehow being an impediment to 'getting on with the story'.

	Something I read in Sorcerer made me see a
strength of TFT I had missed before.  He divided
players of rpg's up into gamists, narravists, and
simulationists, and basically said that each rpg
could only make one of those 3 groups happy.

	However, while I started as a gamist / with a
few simulationist leanings, I have been in SO many
battles in TFT that only fights don't do it for me
any more.

	However, while TFT does not have the simulation
rules GURPS does, I think its light weight speed 
would allow it to satisfy the narrative snobs.  ;)
(Like me!)  I think that TFT has a rare magic that
allows two groups to be happy with the system.

	Basically I think that TFT has the gaming fights
to a 'T', and I've been thinking about how to add 
some support for narrativist's.  In my posts on 
long bows, this boiled down to "Let's not add a bunch
of special rules, it is not worth adding the complexity."

>BTW, Rick if you like Sorcerer you may wish to check out 
>the Dying Earth game.  It's much too rules lite for my 
>taste, but I bought it as a fan of all things Jack Vance.  
>It's a good system.

	Thanks for the heads up.  I thought D&D was based
on The Dying Earth books (at least I read that its magic
system was).  I really enjoy Jack Vance as well.  I was 
trying to get a computer game based on "The Dragon Lords" 
made, but no one else saw the fascination.

	I have not seen anything new from Jack Vance in a 
long time.  Has he passed away?

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