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Re: (TFT) Re: Detail levels
----- Original Message -----
From: "Mark Tapley"
No worries, competing opinions always welcome!
What? This isn't the right room for an arguement?
I'm not gonna get to type things like week-kneed, snotty nosed, maloderious
pervert am I?
All this "Simple Jack" math I spit is buried in the components as much as
I use 1inch hexes on 1/4inch graph paper because I can cut paper "chits"
proportion w/o making everybody do a bunch of math to figure out what the
chit is standing for.
For all practical intents and purposes 1 square on a Melee scale 1.3m from
hex-side to hex-side hex at 1 inch per hex on a standard cut page equals 1
square foot. (It's more like 13" x 13" but if you wanna argur about WHERE
that particular square something went down then we can just blow up the
scale by a factor of 4 (1 hex is 4" across or 16 1/4" squares) and you
body relative measures. Each 1/4" square is about 1 palm across for an
average human or about 3.25 inches across, and offers simple ways to use
tape-measure to not only reckon distance between small scale units on a
table-top, but also can be used to measure/translate motions pantomined by
player for their "Figure" on said table-top to the battle-map?
...but I don't understand the disagreement here.
In my gaming circle, if I hand a prospective new player 4
three-inch binders of rules, with formulas for how many battle-axes
they can manufacture per fortnight using liquid hydrogen delivered by
jet fighters... ( ;-) ) They will go pick up a Playstation and I'll
be left playing solitaire.
hee hee hee...
Several points here though.
Melee & Wizard (and Traveller) had strong solo content.
When the GM can roll up a character and go on the adventure with the players
and still get to play then you've got a pretty robust adventure I'd think.
As far as the vid-crowd goes I don't think it'll be too long until pen and
paper RPG's are married to vid-games.
The i-pad lists for $499 and if history is any guide here you'll get twice
the machine for half the price in a year or two.
Who linked that touch screen RPG thing a few months ago?
I was able to put my plain text TFT rules on my i-pod before I jail-broke
her and slaped the PDF versions on it.
I can also use Google Earth, dice rolling apps, Wikipiedia info and other
refrence sources like Brainiac that have cut my traveling gear down to a
single chest from 3 or 4 boxes before.
The i-pad may make paper maps and counters or figures unnessacary, although
I maintain that the rules should never require something like a computer to
be playable. I just think of the things as a bag of holding for my game
I know what you mean about throwing a phonebook at 'em... I'm like that
myself. I learn much better by doing rather than through study, but the
Battle Ax stuff came straight from the TFT "magazines".
I was pretty careful to get my family into
TFT one step at a time - Melee battles first. Then, "wouldn't it be
cool if we could do fireballs? Hey, look, rules for wizards!" Then an
adventure. But the TFT rules, three thin magazines worth, is about as
much as they could handle.
I will note that your wise approach to game indoctronation has been used by
many of the best published games ever produced.
Squad Leader springs to mind... The very first secenario was.... uhhhh....
let's see.... about 6 pages (small print though).
Vehicles took about 5 pages and everything else generally comes in at about
a page per secenario.
Wanna flame thrower? Write a 1 page secenario.
Play enough of them and you've got a phone book sized set of rules.
To get weird about this point I note that human perception is SO powerful
that it not only pops qwiffs (quantium wave functions) in "reality" but also
in "imagination". The longer players hang around a gameworld the more
detailed it becomes and the ruleset grows larger.
Part of gods trick to handel such ability is to make me think I'm me... a
speck upon a cosmic fleck in a vast and empty universe; kindda makes me
forget that I'm the center of the universe.
< blinks >
What the hell was that?
Annnnnnny way, my DNA dosen't map my cirulatory system at all. It just codes
the fractial pattern needed to tell the cells how to build such a system.
A good starting set of rules is basicly a recipe book for how to cook up a
I too start players with Melee, however not Melee in a void but Melee in the
Colosseum in Rome circa 100 A.D.
For the longest time this seemed to be adding a ton more complexity but over
time I realised that it actually "streamlined" the heck outta things for me.
Take Melee in a void where the players are useing the map and chits without
any refrence to the maps physical posistion on whatever form of "planet"
it's on, much less what's past the edges of the map.
What happens if a player trys to escape?
"That's not part of the game" does NOT apply to role playing games.
When a GM has to resort to pulling guard's outta thin air or other arbitrary
design decissions on the fly the game is in real trouble IMO. Give the
players too much too fast and your pulling your copy of Dieties & Demigods
for your fourth session and it's easy for that to happen as quick as players
get off the map.
The Colosseum in Rome of 100 A.D. actually answers TONS of "I escape"
questions, especally if they actually get away with it.
Of course this is an extream example of what I'm talking about, but in
general I consider anything that comes outta thin air a significant weekness
in a campaign that is open to exploitation from players.
For example, one of the basic requirements to become emperor of Rome was the
wealth of 12000 gold aurei (about 100 kg of gold).
I use a 55lb unit for encumbrance called a B.O.G. or bag of gold equaling
5000 5g coins which is close to the coin weight of a denarius.
After all, much of the sprit of a good dungeon crawl was killing the biggest
baddie and toteing out his treasure hoard to go buy newer, better stuff.
(AD&D gave 1exp pt per gp for aquired treasure but there were caviats)
As 55lbs is basicly 25kg, a player only needs 4 bags of gold to meet the
finacual requirements to rule.
Now if wandering monsters just appear on a die roll and leave treasure based
on a die roll that dosen't have any effect on any other variables in the
gameworld then a player can simplly wander around in the woods until he's
gathered 20,000 coins.
The requirement is a LOT stronger if a figure of 100,000gp is set for the
total number of gold coins in Rome in 100 A.D. or about 1 gold coin per
every 10 people living in Rome. That's 20 bags of gold total for all of Rome
and the potential ruler must control a fifth of it.
Looked at this way I doubt people would just "loose" a lot of gold outta
holes in their pockets and etc. as the stuff is pretty rare but just to make
the math easy lets say that theres 1% of the total gold thats lost to
curculation. Even if the player wandered around in the woods for infinaty
owing to a gameworld that dosen't count ageing the best the Figure could do
was 1/5th of 1 B.O.G. or 1/20th of the total gold needed to become emperor,
probablly just as contrived as wandering monsters outta thin air but a much
more gameable dynamic IMO offering stratigic undertones to money...
So, simplifying and streamlining saved the day for me (as
well as the programmed introduction of more levels of complexity).
On the other hand, having the background calculations to rely
on when *I* make up an adventure is a *great* idea. So when they ask,
"why do we have to walk three days to get to the next town?" if I can
answer, "Well, with a non-agrarian society, hunting is the primary
means of subsistence, and the local biosphere can only generate about
5000 cal/day/km^2 of spare nutrients in human-consumable form, so a
small village of 45 people needs this many square km, but we have to
account for the geological variation due to orogenic folding...."
that would be awesome!
Plate Tectonics the game, coming to a store near you next epoch.
So I guess what I'm saying is that it sounds like we agree -
build into the game system and/or the adventure as much
well-calculated realism as possible, including the subatomic and
radiological effects of thermonuclear wizardry and everything, but I
would say *don't* let the players ever see the machinery. Give them
the simple set of rules, and support them in "doing what they want",
and show them the consequences. Explain as needed and appropriate,
and haul out the calculations later to show them (and educate them)
I think this might help clear things up.
I was making a point about adding realistic detail in a non-technical manner
to falicate immaginative comunication.
By drawing hexes on graph paper I get just over a square foot per 1/4inch
An average human standing at attention has their "Figure" circumscribed by a
box 2 feet by 1 foot or 2 square feet or two squares measuring 1/4 inch by
half an inch.
An average human has an armspan roughly equal to their height.
Setting Joe Average Hero at 6 feet tall gives Joe Average Hero an arm length
of 2 feet or 2 squares.
By cutting counters porportional to the battle map, I have a tool that
answers a bunch of questions that the old chits didn't and does it visually.
How many humans (standing at attention) fit in a hex?
How much space does 100 men in 4 ranks standing shoulder to shoulder and
seperated by 1 arm length take up?
How much space for the unit at 1 arm seperation all around?
Fingertip to fingertip is 2 arm lengths seperation or 4 squares.
A Giant at 12' tall with average human proportions standing at attention is
intresting when looked at this way.
Have I understood your argument correctly, though?
I think so... except for not letting the players "see the machinery".
There's no escaping game mechanics, a movement system is a movement system
The best I can put my finger on the issue that I'm curently dealing with is
to point out with said finger that the standard "movement factor" is married
to that Chain Mail idea of cutting a Figure outta the heard.
I will point out here that I am just a bit faster, stronger, better looking
and in general at least slightly above average in every possable way.
I expect my Figure to represent such in any imaginary game, seeing as we're
talking MY imagination here.
I set Joe Average Hero @ 6 foot tall.
Jay stands 5' 10" at very best (first thing in the morning and streached)
Arms: 22 inches (~7" d or 3 squares d)
Chest: 57 inches
Waist: 34 inches
Thighs: 28.5 inches
Calves: 20 inches
Weight: 235 pounds
Height: 6 feet 2 inches
Arms: 16 inches (~5" d or 2 scale squares d)
Chest: 42 inches
Waist: 32 inches
Thighs: 24 inches
Calves: 16 inches
Weight: 165 pounds
Height: 5 feet 10 inches (2 scale squares shorter than Arnold)
So when drawing out the "lego block" versions of Jay and Conan I have a much
better idea of how much bigger I am in my head as opposed to real life.
This building block approach works really well for things like "does the
elfs magic chain armor fit me?" or "how much farther can I reach with my
katana than the orc with his gladius?".
Then there's this.
Mini-compacts > 85 ft^3
Sub-compact 85 to 100 ft^3
Compact 100 to 110 ft^3
Mid-sized 110 to 120 ft^3
Full sized (Lux) 120+ ft^3
Small Station Wagon > 130 ft^3
Mid-sized Wagon 130 to 160 ft^3
Large Wagon 160+ ft ^3
Small Pickup Truck >4500lbs gov weight
Standard Pickup 4500 to 8500lbs gov weight
Mini-van > 150 ft ^3 cargo w/seats down 3500lbs tow
Van 150 to 250 ft ^3
Cargo Van 250+ ft ^3 (Savana exceeds 300 cubic feet cargo)
Car Wars gave
Subcompact 7 spaces
Compact 10 spaces
Mid-sized 13 spaces
Luxury 19 spaces
Station Wagon 14 (+7) spaces
Pickup 13 (+11) spaces
Van 24 (+6) spaces (30 spaces)
Small, 3 spaces, 500 weight, 5DP, 800 power, 80mph
Medium, 4 spaces, 700 weight, 8DP, 1400 power, 90mph
Large, 5 spaces, 900 weight, 10DP, 2000 power, 100mph
Super, 6 spaces, 1100 weight, 12DP, 2600 power, 100mph
T-cat, 8 spaces, 2000 weight, 15DP, 6700 power, 120mph
The above suggests that 1 space in Car Wars represents about 10 cubic feet
per space or a box just over 2 feet square or a space 2 squares by 2 squares
by 2 squares on square hexes.
This is roughly the size of a 32 inch CRT TV or half a hex high.
Average cars seem to be about 54 inches or 1 hex and 1 square high.
100mph is 172.5 hexes per Melee turn or MA 172.5
At 1 ST = 5.5 pounds moved 1 foot in 1 second, it takes over 525,000 ST to
move a 2 ton Luxury car at 100mph or about 100,000 ST per space for a Large
At around 100 weight per 1DP and around 200 weight per space this seems to
suggest that 1 point of damage in Car Wars represents destruction of a
roughly 2 foot square cube with a weight of about 200 units.
I suspose these things go into Ogres... both are set mid/late 21st century
if I recall.
An Oger is about 30 Melee hexes long... maybe 20 hexes wide or 60 hexes in
They are 15m or 11.5 hexes tall at their tallest, so boxed out is an area of
about 55,000 Car Wars spaces.
(50 years apart actually... 2035 for Car Wars and 2085 for Ogre)
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