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Re: (TFT) New TFT Attribute -- Size
Ty, I like your thinking, and would prefer either system to TFT basic ST,
for the reasons you mention (and a couple more similar ones).
They're both good suggestions, which players could choose whether the
prefer detail or GM discretion.
Number 1 might want to rename Size/SZ to a slightly different word (Bulk?
Muscle?)... or not. I think it's still lumping a couple of real-life things
into one (see my final comments below).
Maybe 2 could have some more examples and/or guidelines for GM's to apply
their discretion to.
I was surprised by one of your examples:
- Seems clearly backwards to me. I'd say in your system (#1) they would
have quite low SZ and high HT.
Hobbits have a SZ of 10 to account for their surprising toughness.
In general, I think it's helpful, even if one plans to simplify massively,
to first think about the detailed case. Seems to me real figures have about
five properties that TFT lumps into (or that contribute to) ST:
size - A figure's physical size directly multiplies some abilities, as
physicists have shown. The stride length of tall figures is greater than
short ones, which generally helps them cover more distance per time. Longer
arms give more reach and a longer lever for swinging. Think of children
versus adults. A very healthy child can be easily outrun and overpowered by
an adult in poor health, and can be more seriously injured by less physical
trauma. Size is also the property that is most clearly lacking from TFT, as
is clear from the comparative ST of large creatures and their effects.
muscle - Or perhaps power, or strength. The amount of force that can be
exerted, when rested. Only so much of bulk is muscle, and some muscles are
stronger that others. Muscles are also grown and trained to certain types
of tasks and movements.
endurance - The ability to resist physical fatigue, from conditioning.
Cardiovascular health, perhaps. We've all no doubt seen people who are
large and quite strong, but who don't have nearly as much staying power as
those who are in better shape through habitual exercise. There are also
people without much size and/or strength, who have huge amounts of
endurance. Size also interacts with endurance in that larger (actually,
heavier) figures require more energy to perform the same tasks.
health - The ability to resist health problems such as disease, poison, bad
weather, and other abuse that makes people feel bad. Constitutional health,
perhaps. It's not the same as endurance, but they do seem to be related.
Size and muscle seem to have very little to do with this kind of health.
damage resistance - or grit. This is partly a product of all of the above.
Any injury is relatively smaller to a larger target. Muscle adds bulk and
resilience. Endurance helps overcome shock as well as fatigue. Health can
reduce the degree of shock and the likelihood or severity of systemic
failure. However some individuals or species, independent of the above,
seem to resist injury independently of the above factors. Some people get
injured when shoved, while others don't even flinch when punched, without
obvious differences in the above categories.
I think these values have a number of interrelations, but that they all
also deviate from those interrelations so that, if one wants to accurately
represent all species and individuals, they would all want to be adjustable.
Now, even to me, five attributes for TFT's single ST score seems a bit
much, except perhaps for a computer which filters the details so players
don't have to bother. However I think it is helpful to start with a
detailed model, and simplify down.
I think TFT's lumping is actually a good thing for most purposes. However
some players start to see the places where it stops making sense, and some
want more detail.
Ty's systems offer two levels of more detail for those who might want it.
His #1 system has SZ representing size and muscle, HT representing health
and endurance, and ST as a product of those two, representing damage
resistance and muscle.
I think GURPS, by the way, does a good job of this too, but is of course
more detailed, and as Ty mentioned, has moved towards more detail. The main
weakness I think is the terminology and notation used, rather than the
mechanics. It has possibly two ST values (strength and fatigue), possibly
two HT values (health and damage resistance), Toughness, and potentially
other advantages and disadvantages to modify values. Aside from the
terminology, I think it's a weakness that there is an assumed linkage
between strength and fatigue, and between health and damage resistance,
which I think are often not particularly related. A particular example is a
healthy child or woman - they tend to have low strength but high capacity
for fatigue, and high health but low capacity for taking damage. Both GURPS
and TFT's ST-lumping assumptions make the most sense when applied to
typical muscley adult male humans... ;-)
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