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Re: (TFT) How often should TFT swords Break

At 07:43 PM 4/2/04 -0500, you wrote:
... And I'll
also point out that accounts of weapons breaking in combat could be cases of
"man bites dog" - worth reporting *because* the event is unusual.

> the frequency with which broken
> weapons appear in contemporary illustrations of battle aftermath

Now that's a good piece of evidence for your side of the argument.

My observation is that although infrequent, they did occur enough to
be something that happens sometimes. Not the 1/100,000 or less chance
you seem to think is appropriate.

I consider *deliberate* attempts at breaking weapons to be a whole 'nother
case. IMC I make a distinction between "won't break accidentally" and "immune to even deliberate attempts to break."

They are a different sort of thing, except that in TFT, there are no deliberate weapon-break attacks. So it seems reasonable to me to factor
them into the random chance a weapon breaks in combat.

> I do sympathize with trying to get odds right. One in 7776 is a long way
> from 9 in 10. One in 7776 * 5 seconds = 10.8 _hours_ of non-stop combat.

Or 1-2 weapons in an army of 10,000 breaking after 1 turn of combat.

To be picky, an army of 10,000 is never all fighting someone at the same time - only some are on the front line, and in any given turn, not all on the front line are fighting at all times. Perhaps a more appropriate metric is the number of fallen soldiers per broken weapon. How many attacks before someone is killed in TFT? It entirely depends, of course, but for an example suppose it averages between one and seven, average five. Also, correct the one in 7776 figure to say one in 532 (a sturdy rather than very fine weapon with a 50% chance to break on an 18). That's about one broken weapon per 100 casualties. That sounds reasonable to me. You think it should be more like the whole 10,000 would have to be hacked to death before anything would happen that would break a weapon?

But I'm glad to see that you consider trying to get the odds right to be
important. One reason why the subject is a sore point with me is that I've
encountered so many gamers who *don't* care about getting the odds right.

I'm with you on this, as far as my own tastes go. Of course other players
should play what they find the most fun, but there are definitely cases
of extreme apathy or even disdain for attempts to be realistic at all, as
if realism were necessarily opposed to fun.

Or worse, gamers who considered grossly screwed up odds to be "more realistic" as long as they were screwed up in the More Bad Shit direction.


Then there are those who want to have the rules produce lots & lots of Bad Shit with the expectation that the GM will fudge away 90% or 99% of the bad results. (I suspect that GURPS is guilty of this last - possibly unconsciously, and especially after it's fall to Krommunism.)

That's an interesting (tangential) assertion. One of the things I dislike
most about casual GURPS GM's is that they tend to under-apply the rules,
often leading to really bad ramp-ups in risk. The usual situation is the
statistically-unaware GM who also hasn't read the rules or considered much,
and applies a generic skill roll to an attempt to do something common, and
then decides a high roll, or even just a miss, means something catastrophic.
For example, failed driving rolls leading directly to crashes, or failed
climbing rolls in ordinary circumstances leading directly to someone falling

... I would still say that even a great fighter is going to
>find himself in an unexpected tough spot about as often as they would roll
>an 18. I think TFT's chances of special good and bad events cover that
>adequately, though they aren't very detailed or varied in the possible

Except that the standard TFT rule has that "tough spot" occuring on a 17-18 -
four times as often. Also, "permanently lose an exceptionally good and
valuable weapon" is a much more severe result, IMO, than "permanently lose an
ordinary (or cheap) weapon." A rule along the lines of "A fine-quality weapon gets stuck (12 turns to recover) if it makes the roll to avoid breaking" might work - more severe than an ordinary drop-weapon result, but less so than a break-weapon one.

Yes, ideally I would like more complex possible outcomes for both 17 and 18, influenced by skill and circumstances.

Well I use the even blander "there are no such things as criticals or fumbles
- or even automatic hits and misses" house rule IMC, because I'm going for a
deliberately heroic style of play. I don't consider that unimagnative; rather
it opens up new vistas for the exercise of my and my players' imaginations.
Not having to worry about the "special" 16+ or 5- rolls can be a liberating

Right, our different preferred styles will make it hard for you and I to agree on what the odds of goofy events occurring. I don't think that's a "wrong" approach at all, and could see enjoying it. But I generally enjoy the havoc of more unpredictable combat results. The 1974 film version of The Three Musketeers is an inspiration for me of the sort of heroic yet chaotic action I really enjoy. The characters have impressive skills and pull off some great successes, but the combat is also gritty, kinetic, dangerous, and involves some humorous yet very believable results of mundane and fluke circumstances. They have some very ignominious setbacks which would no doubt have some players screaming.

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