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(TFT) The key elements of TFT for Rick and odd thoughts.
I take issue with anyone who says that TFT was simply slash and hack. My
campaign and everyone's TFT campaign that I played in had lots of negotiation
and politics. Perhaps TFT didn't have a special stat and several talents for doing
negotiations, but that didn't stop us.
My issue with GURPS was not the complexity; my friends and I could and did
learn those rules. It was the time it took to resolve combat.
In our TFT campaigns, the usual dynamic was...
Talk, talk, talk, talk, threaten, talk, talk, EXPLOSIVE FIGHT, talk, talk, talk, etc.
However, in GURPS, combats took a lot longer. In TFT I hit! I roll damage.
Guy is down! It was fast.
In GURPS, I would hit! He would roll his defence. He would hit, I would roll my
defence. Repeat 3 times and then he goes down. The result was the same (he
goes down), but the mechanics just took 3 times longer to play out. I realized that
GURPS was arguably more realistic, but for us the big fun for us, was the talk the
negotiation - the story. If we had loved the details of combat. If shivers went up
our spines when someone parried, I am sure we would have been happier with
GURPS. But we were not. The long drawn out combats just slowed down the
development of the story.
Their were some things we didn't like about TFT, but my superscript rules pretty
much took care of them. The talents were very combat oriented, but we made
extra talents, so again house rules fixed that.
So these are the Key elements of TFT that I would like to see in any reboot.
-- Fast combat. Combat should be 'gamey' rather than a 'simulation'. For this
reason I was never bothered by backing up to do another charge against a
person knocked down with my pole weapon. They could (& would) do the same
to me, so it balanced out in the long run.
-- Few useful spells, which you can take in any order, rather than GURPS long
chains of dull spells before you get to the good ones.
-- Simple to learn, and master rules.
-- Mechanics that were separate from the background universe. (This was my
main peeve with Earth Dawn.) My friends and I always wanted to make our
-- Good balance between fighters and wizards. (The major failing of D&D at
high levels is how fighters became an appendix to the magic users. This may
have been fixed in later editions of D&D for all I know.. I have not played them.)
Now all the above said, there are plenty of modern 'light' RPG's which have
these attributes. Many of them specifically say that they were inspired by TFT.
I am growing fond of the Cortex system and I use it to play in the Firefly 'verse.
The problem of rebooting TFT, by 'changing the wording' is that people all
disagree on the little things that they want to tweak. I rather like the experience
system of Dark Cities Games, "Legends of".. series, but in may ways he made
the whole game too simple for my tastes.
Anyway, I think the TFT ship has sailed. If you want light weight RPG's, there
are a bunch out there waiting to be explored. If you want something TFT like,
there is the "Legends of" game. Also a friend of mine wrote to Howard Thompson
and said, "I am interested in buying the TFT rights from you, but before we talk, I
want to be sure that you actually HAVE title to them, free and clear." HT never
replied... which makes me think that HT may NOT have full rights. (Which would
explain why he is demanding cash up front.)
I would not be surprised if some bank owns the TFT rights and after the mergers
and buyouts have long forgotten that they do. Which would make republishing the
games even safer. HT is unlikely to make a stink if he knows he does not have
Warm regards, Rick.
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