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(TFT) TFT: Various Stuff

   Hey all.  8^)  I've fallen behind on the various topics due to the
running of my business sapping all of my time-energy lately (it's either
feast or famine when you're self-employed) so I'll tackle them one at a time
. . .

Quick/Fast Draw:
   I whipped up a talent like this just before someone brought up the
subject several digests ago . . .  really!

FAST DRAW (1): This talent allows a figure to ready any
   weapon (except a missile weapon) in effectively zero time
   on a 3-die roll vs. DX.  Failure means he take a full turn
   readying the weapon, or on a 17 or 18 he drops the weapon
   in his hex.

   However, someone here mentioned the idea that a five second turn is quite
a long time to merely draw a weapon and do nothing else that turn.  I may
just decide to make drawing a weapon a "zero-time" action, but I'll have to
think about it some more.

Stan Rydzewski wrote . . .

>Perhaps true, but that wasn't the "balance of power" I was speaking of.
>Real-world considerations are quite a secondary concern to me when it comes
>to games like TFT.  If I'm concerned about simulating anything, it's the
>of fantasy literature, where axes and similar weapons are quite common.
Also, I
>like for the players to have meaningful choices when it comes to weapons,
>because I think it makes the game more interesting.  I dislike the AD&D
>situation where everyone uses a longsword because it's clearly the best HtH

   I mostly agree with this.  Realism is nice, but I quickly reach a point
where the rules are too complicated -- or the rules are changed too much --
for those rules to become unplayable (IMO) or it's just not TFT anymore.
GURPS is a good example -- too many bloody exceptions, and too many separate
types of mechanics to cover all the exceptions (or so it seems).
   BTW, most of my fighter-type AD&D characters favor the /broadsword/ over
the longsword -- it does slightly more damage to small and man-sized
targets, which are the sizes most often encountered.  But Stan's point is
still a good one.
   "The Deed of Paksenarrion" has some great detail on mercenary units and
the weapons that they use.  It seems like the /formation/ used (not the
weilder's ST) determines the sword of choice: Shortswords for close-in
formations, longswords for more open formations and individual use, and a
two-handed sword if you were willing to do without a shield.  This makes a
lot of sense -- the Romans adopted the Spanish shortsword for their tight
box formations.  A longer/larger weapon would risk soldiers hitting their
comrades in battle.  I'll have to incorporate these ideas if I ever get my
own RPG going.

John Paul Bakshoian writes . . .

>The group has had some great suggestions on talents and attributes.  By the
>way, this discussion also occurred Oct/Nov '98.  (Joe, your search engine
>Here are most of what's been proposed so far.  I'm sure there are many
>others.  Those represented here may wish to clarify their systems or
>alter them in liu of what's been presented here.

   TFT is a really nice little RPG, and not much really needs to be changed
about it.  However, if you /were/ thinking of making changes, they would
probably fit into one or more of these categories . . .

1. Clarify the existing rules.
2. Make the game more fun to play.
3. Make the game more realistic.
4. Make the game easier to play.

   Nothing personal, guys, but some of the material I've seen on the list I
wouldn't care to use in either of my TFT campaigns.  Most of these changes
do increase realism, but I feel the complication and/or degree of change to
the game is not worth it.  TFT is a pretty tightly designed game, and -- in
general -- the more you change its basic mechanics the worse it gets.
Continue adding optional rules to TFT and you'll eventually end up with
something like GURPS . . .  or worse!
   I think the best new rules for TFT could best be described as
"plug-ins" -- rules that don't touch the basic design of the game, but ones
that simply attach to it, such as new Talents, Spells, Jobs, other Long-Term
Tasks, Equipment, Monsters, and Magic Items.  Other good plug-ins are rules
that attach to the basic game /mechanics/ to improve them without changing
the underlying rules, such as my AdjIQ Rule.  Plug-ins are individually
optional from player to player -- one player who hates my AdjIQ Rule can
simply ignore it and never increase his adjIQ, while the other players are
still free to use and enjoy it if they wish.
   (Some of the other rules from you guys I've incorporated into my
campaigns, including First Aid, Flintknapping, and Bowyer/Fletcher.
   In my campaign ground rules I /have/ made a few changes to the basic
structure of TFT, but they are all ones that -- in my opinion and proven
with playtesting -- they substantially improve the game in one way or
another.  This is especially true in the few places where the rules needed
clarifying anyway.  Example: I changed the range modifiers for ranged
attacks because (a) the two sections for range mods. in /Advanced Melee/
partially contradict each other, and (b) I wanted more realistic accuracy

Ranged Weapon Attacks
   Ranged weapons now use a logarithmic-scaled table to
determine range penalties (see the table on the combat
side of the /TFT Reference Sheet/).  (Normally range penalties
are on a flat scale, which isn?t very realistic.)  The below rules
replace all TFT rules for ranged modifiers.
   Read the table?s range column in megahexes for missile
weapons and spells.  So a wizard throwing a fireball at a
target 3 MH away would have a -3 DX to hit.
   Treat anything thrown at a hex instead of a figure (such as
molotails, explosive gems, and gas bombs) as a missile
weapon using the paragraph above.  Of course, throwing
these items still uses the Thrown Weapons talent, not Missile
   Read the range column as hexes for thrown weapons and
spells.  For example, a thrown knife at a target 10 hexes away
is at -6 DX to hit.

Range Table
To Hit                Detection
Penalty     Penalty   Distance
0       0         0
1           -1        1
2     -2        2
3     -3        3
4     -4        3
5-6     -5        5
7-8     -6        7
9-11     -7        10
12-16     -8        13
17-23     -9        19
24-32     ?10       27
(of course, this looks better in a mono-spaced font)

   In playtesting I was pleasantly surprised to find that this chart was
/easier/ to use than the current rules in AM, not harder.  My campaign's
archer PC likes it better because bad-guy archers he opposes (who aren't
nearly as skilled as he) suffer a greater range penalty than he does because
of the nature of the 3-die bell curve.  As GM I like it better because it
places more emphasis on melee combat -- the /real/ heroes are those who come
toe-to-toe with the enemy!
   Another good meta-rule for rule changes is that they should increase
character flexibility or power for players who use them.  Rule changes which
restrict character options are usually not very popular with players.  The
general meta-rule I use is, "Make the rule change in the player's and/or
character's favor."
   By the way, I think GURPS is an excellent resource for anyone creating
their own RPG, or modifying any other RPG.  To me, GURPS is more useful as a
meta-system for RPG design than an RPG.  Scale back all that unnecessary
realism and detail and you'd have a pretty good RPG.

>The TFT Roster OF Players list will generate the first meeting of the TFT
>Brian, Joe, or Dave... you up to the drive?

   I'm awfully tempted to attend!  Sounds like a great time.  If I do come
it will be on the train.  Trains are good.  I like trains.  Add train rules
to TFT.  Play TFT on train.  Yeah baby yeah!  8^)

Rick Smith writes . . .

>"I'm so mad I could spit!"

   I enjoy these little campaign updates.  (I really oughta write up my own
as well.)  Keep 'em coming.  8^)

   Well, looks like I'm caught up now, and there are no customers beating
down my door at the moment.  Back to playing Diablo . . .

Dave Seagraves
Seagraves Computers   dseagraves@austin.rr.com   1 (512) 255-2760

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