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RE: (TFT) Hey its Conan!!!

	>>>>>The current thread on how to make interesting survivable
	characters that don't rely on tons of magic protection have got me
	thinking.  What would it take to make a Conan (in loin cloth armor)
	in TFT?<<<<<

	>>>>>The key phrase there is 'spear carrier'.  PC's should
	still be able to slaughter each other and capable well crafted NPC's
	should still be a threat, but the city gaurds should have a tough
	time against our hero.<<<<<<

I think the real issue here is how closely does one want to model reality?
Realistically, a person in a sword and loincloth has little better than a
snowball's chance in Hades of surviving a real fight. Fact is that a
relatively inexperienced person in good armour is going to beat a really
experienced person without armour more often then not.

Why? Because the main purpose of armour is to allow you to survive your
mistakes! If you're doing everything right, then you will never get hit.
Realistically, however, eventually you're going to zig when you should have
zagged - and then you're in big trouble! So in the example above, the
experienced warrior may land a dozen blows that are blunted by armour while
the less experienced fighter may manage only one - but that one may so
seriously injure the other that the fight is all but over.

Keep in mind that it is quite possible to cut a person in half with a sword
- no joke! The forensic studies from the Battle of Visby prove this quite
graphically. There was one skeleton found with both legs cut off -
apparently from the ***same*** sword stroke! I make reproductions of
medieval arms and armour so believe me when I say these are potent weapons

The above is one reason why the Roman's generally ran rough shod over their
Celtic and Germanic foes. Given that most fought naked (yes, naked, but for
tatooing) against the Legionarre's Lorica Hamatas (maille) or Lorica
Segmentatas (Lammellar) its no wonder they were at such a disadvantage!
Granted that a shield does a lot for you (the barbarians did use weapon and
a largish shield of some sort) but you've still got a problem.

TFT generally leans towards the realistic; not to the extent of GURPS, but
nevertheless is founded in reality. I, personally, am looking to game
something between the droll real world and the extreme of Dungeons and
Dragons, where high level characters become invincible death dealing dice
rolling machines that can annihilate 1000s of "0-level" fighters or their
equivalent. That's not merely unrealistic, its unbelievable. And for fantasy
to be really effective, it really needs to be at least somewhat plausible
(and as a minimum internally consistent).

So my ideal is to have combat grounded in reality, but at the same time
allow for players to build themselves to the point that can do extraordinary
things - but not necessarily godlike or superheroic stuff. In other words, I
want to stretch reality to make the characters stand out, but not turn them
into invincible, all conquering, deities.

One of the problems I've had with high level D&D situations is that the
players can trample many a carefully crafted encounter with ease, and it
becomes very difficult to balance adversaries against them. Further, in a
campaign that holds the making of low level "spear carriers" to be easy prey
for heroes as an ideal, the players can really wreak havoc with impunity.
The infamous D&D scenario where a high level fighter slaughters the low
level castle guards and then stolls up to the 4 hit point King, cuts his
head off, and takes the crown, is an extreme case, but nevertheless one of
the reasons why I don't like D&D - too hard to keep things balanced.

So a Conan type really isn't all that realistic. I don't mind stretching
things a bit, but the idea that a nearly naked man is going to take on a
half dozen knights in full plate and survive (much less win) is just a bit
more then I can swallow. I know too much of the reality of such situations
to suspend disbelief. Keep in mind also that in the original novels even
Conan wore armour on occasion (maille most often, but I recall one story
wherein he wore full plate ...)

Of course, that's just my preference. Others may wish to do different.
Though I fear if you go too far, you'll end up with nothing more than a more
easily played version of D&D. Which of course is an improvement, but still

	>>>>>>Make a variety of talents that work under different 
	circumstances.  For example, I feel shields are too weak compared
	to how useful they are in the real world.  (Blocking a blow 
	completely sounds more realistic...)  By taking Shield 2 talent (IQ
	enemies are -3 DX to attack you thru your shield if you use the 
	talent.  This is a popular talent but of no help to those who love
	use the Dwarven Ax (ST 18, 4d+2 two handed).<<<<<<

I'm not sure about the specific mechanics, but yes, shields should do a lot
more. And the idea that they simply stop a couple of hits does not really
reflect their true use in battle - they can and do entirely block blows, not
just a small portion thereof. The whole concept needs to be rethought -
GURPS has the right idea but clutters the issue up with added die rolls and
complexity. Ideally, the whole to hit roll should be done in one dice throw;
the shield would provide a negative DX adjustment. I'm just not sure of the
exact mechanics. As soon as I figure anything good out, I'll let you know.

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