Character Creation, Skills, and Clarifications (v5.2)
Andrew Morris -

[ Attributes ] [ Talents ] [ Spells ] [ TFT Rule Changes ] [ Optional Rules ]


For both wizards and heroes, ST, DX, and IQ are determined normally. However, a fourth attribute, Luck, has been added. In a hostile world, death is a common occurrence, and often the resolution of conflict is violence. Of course, the ever-present fear of death is part of what makes a campaign exciting. At the same time, a good story can be ruined by an untimely death at the hands of a random encounter. Luck is used to allow a character a second chance. It is not designed to guarantee survival, but it will reduce the likelihood that a well-played character will die as a result of an unfortunate critical hit or unexpectedly over-competent foe.

Any time a character dies and the GM does not feel the death was justified (e.g., the situation was played well -- or at least role-played well), a 4D roll vs. Luck is made. If the roll fails, the character remains dead. If the roll is made, however, the character is merely in an unconscious state (hovering somewhere between 1 ST and 0 ST). Even if the character is alone, it is assumed that whatever killed the character leaves him/her alive, though possibly as a prisoner and likely with fewer possessions. Note also that a successful luck roll reduces the character's Luck by one point.

A character's starting Luck is based on the character's number of starting points, as follows:

Base 32 pts. = 3d6 Base 36 pts. = 2d6+6 Base 40+ pts. = 2d6+8

Once the character has begun adventuring, Luck may be purchased at the rate of one point per 100 exp., but it may never be purchased to a level above 16 (although a good initial roll means that a character's starting luck may be higher than 16).

The effects of Luck are overriding, and should be handled creatively by the GM. For example, a player cannot slay his comrade and then, in an effort to counteract a successful Luck roll, completely severe the head. Instead, fate intervenes, preventing the final blow (perhaps someone else interrupts the action).

Many players want to have an objective rating of their character's appearance. Appearance for player characters ranges from 2 (as unattractive as they come) to 12 (as beautiful as possible). Appearance is determined by choosing the default (usually 7 or 8 -- ask your GM) or by rolling 2d6. It is not permissible to roll first and then choose the default if the roll is unsatisfacttory. Note that rolling does not depict an accurate sample of the population (i.e., there are, arguably, fewer than 1 person out of 36 who can be categorized as an example of the most beautiful people). However, part of the fun of the game is playing out one's fantasy, so the ratio of attractive heroes should be higher than in the general population. GMs wishing for a more realistic representation of the population should consider having the players roll 4d3 for their character's appearance (the minimum is higher but the average appearance will actually be closer to what it should be).

Also note that there are ways to alter appearance. A Glamour spell can make the subject appear more attractive, and shape-changing spells can actually adjust the Appearance score. However, in such cases, assume the maximum result is really an 11+, for nothing can replace natural beauty (i.e., an initial roll of 12). In addition, the GM can rule that certain skills increase one's effective appearance (perhaps adding +1 for Sex Appeal, and +2 if both Sex Appeal and Charisma are used by the character).


Skill Points
To acquire Talents and Spells, a pool of points called Skill Points (SP also called Talent Points) has been added. While IQ still determines the maximum level of talents and spells a character may know, SP determines the number of points a character may "spend" for them. SP is equal to the character's IQ plus the average of ST and DX (round up only during character creation). This also applies to earned experience: every IQ point adds one SP, but it takes two points of ST and/or DX to add one SP. Note that no character may know more spells than (s)he has IQ. Should a character reach that limit, (s)he may only learn new spells by adding points to IQ.

It is recommended for heroes, and usually mandatory for wizards, that they spend approximately 1/4 of their SPs on the following types of skills: Languages, mundane skills (including skills such as seamanship or diving), knowledge skills, and personal skills (e.g., diplomacy, business sense, etc.). Ask your GM to be sure whether it is required to spend some SPs on these skills.

The number in parentheses refers to the page number where the talent is described in ITL. An asterisk means that the talent is described later in this document. Note that only the costs and page numbers are presented here; prerequisites are found with the descriptions.
IQ 7:
Ax/mace - 2 (12)
Bow - 2 (12)
Crossbow - 1 (12)
Knife - 1 (12)
Pole weapons - 2 (12)
Shield - 1 (12)
Sword - 2 (12)
IQ 8:
Blackjack - 1 *
Blowgun - 1 (12)
Bola - 1 (12)
Boomerang - 1 (12)
Cestus - 1 (12)
Guns - 2 (12)
Lasso - 2 (12)
Naginata - 1 (12)
Net and trident - 1 (12)
Nunchuks - 1 (12)
Quarterstaff - 1 (12)
Sha-ken - 1 (12)
Spear thrower - 1 (12)
Whip -1 (12)
IQ 8: continued
Boating - 1 (12)
Farming - 1 (12)
Fast draw - 2 *
Horsemanship - 1 (12)
Languages - 1 (16)
Literacy - 1 (12)
Running - 2 (12)
Seamanship - 1 (12)
Sex appeal - 1 (12)
Swimming - 1 (12)
Thrown weapons - 2 (12)
IQ 9:
Acute hearing - 3 (13)
Alertness - 2 (13)
Animal handler - 2 (13)
Bard - 2 (12)
Charisma - 2 (13)
Climbing - 1 (13)
Detect traps - 2 (12)
Diving - 1 (12)
Driver - 1 (13)
Knowledge skills - 1 *
Missile weapons - 3 (13)
Mundane skills - 1,2,3 (13)
Priest - 2 (12)
Recognize value - 1 (13)
Silent movement - 2 (13)
Warrior - 2 (13)
Veteran - 3 (13)
IQ 10:
Acrobatics - 3 (13)
Armourer - 2 (14)
Business sense - 2 (13)
Diplomacy - 1 (13)
Engineer - 2 (14)
Fencing - 3 (13)
Mimic - 2 (14)
Naturalist - 2 (13)
New followers - 2 (13)
Remove traps - 1 (13)
Sleight of hand 2 *
Specialization - 2 *
Thief - 2 (14)
Tracking - 1 (13)
Unarmed combat I - 2 (14)
IQ 11:
Architect/builder - 2 (14)
Courtly graces - 1 (14)
Detective - 2 *
Detect lies - 2 (14)
Expert horseman - 2 (14)
Gambling - 2 *
Goldsmith - 2 (14)
Mechanician - 2 (14)
Monster followers I - 2 (14)
Physicker - 2 (14)
Shipbuilder - 2 (14)
Tactics 1 (14)
Two weapons - 3 (14)
Vet - 2 (14)
Woodsman - 1 (14)
IQ 12:
Assess value - 1 (15)
Captain - 2 (15)
Cryptography - 3 *
Escape Artist 2 *
Expert naturalist - 3 (15)
Master armourer - 2 (15)
Master thief - 2 (15)
Monster followers II - 2 (15)
Spying - 3 (15)
Unarmed combat II - 2 (15)
Ventriloquist - 2 (15)
IQ 13:
Chemist - 3 (15)
Eidetic memory - 3 *
Master mechanician - 2 (15)
Mathematician - 2 (15)
Scholar - 3 (15)
Strategist - 2 (15)
IQ 14:
Alchemy - 3 (16)
Ambush/assassination - 2 *
Disguise - 2 (15)
Interrogation - 3 *
Master bard - 2 (16)
Master physicker - 2 (15)
Theologian - 2 (16)
Unarmed combat III - 2 (16)
Unarmed combat IV - 2 (16)
Unarmed combat V - 3 (16)
New Talent Descriptions:

Ambush/assassination* Prerequisite: Spy.
When striking from an ambush, or with an equally surprising attack, the attacker receives a +4 DX regardless of the target's facing, and inflicts an additional 2 pts. of damage. The bonus damage applies regardless of armor and most magical protection.

When attacking and surprising an opponent from behind, the attacker will inflict additional damage with a club, blackjack, or sap. A club will do an additional die of damage, while a blackjack or sap will do double damage. However, the latter two weapons will only inflict subduing damage, which heals at the same rate as fatigue.

This is the ability to decipher codes, ciphers, and other secret writing styles. The decoder must be familiar with the writer's original language. Most codes will require a 3 or 4d6 roll vs. IQ, but more complex ciphers may necessitate even more dice.

The character can apply the principles of criminology and observation to note and identify suspicious people, contraband, or other evidence. It is similar to Naturalist, but it applies to people.

Eidetic memory*
On a 3d6 roll vs. IQ, the character can commit any observed information to permanent memory by taking the time to concentrate on the information.

Escape artist*Prerequisite: Sleight of hand.
The character can escape ropes on a 3d6 roll vs. DX. Escaping manacles, chains, and the like requires a 5d6 roll vs. DX + IQ. Use the same roll to determine a character's chance to find ways out of jail cells and prisons, though in that case the actual escape should still be played out.

Fast draw
On a 3d6 roll vs. DX, the character can draw a melee weapon and attack with it on the same round. A failed (but not critically failed) roll means that the character may still attack that round, but at a DX penalty equal to twice the amount by which the character missed the roll. Note that this skill is usable with the Two Weapons skill.

The character knows games of chance, both cheating techniques and odds, quite well. The skill permits a +1 to rolls used to determine the outcome of any game of chance.

With 12 turns of uninterrupted questioning, the character can learn any useful information on a roll of 3d6 vs. IQ. The subject may resist by making his/her own 3d6 roll vs. IQ, but the interrogator may re-roll every 12 turns until (s)he has an answer or is interrupted.

These skills are usually associated with areas or aspects of society, but may apply to any bit of trivia not covered by another skill. By making a 3d6, 4d6, or 5d6 roll vs. IQ (depending on how esoteric the information is), the character will know about specific people, places, or habits. Unlike any other skill, this one may be increased by "levels." For every additional point added to a particular knowledge skill, the character can add two to his/her IQ for the purposes of making a roll against that specific knowledge skill.

Sleight of hand*
On a 3d6 roll vs. DX, the character can palm small objects, pick pockets, etc. This resembles the Thief skill, but is more theatrical, and substitutes palming of items for lockpicking. This skill costs only 1 pt. if the character already knows the Thief skill.

Specialization (previously called Swordsmanship)
Prerequisite: DX 13+, weapon skill.
This skill applies to any melee weapon with which the character is skilled. Use of the skill adds a +1 to the damage done by an attack. The character must be wearing leather, cloth, no armor or have an AdjDX of 13+ to gain the bonus. Note that the weapon type for which this skill is chosen must be specified when learned. It is permissible to learn this skill for more than one weapon, but only once per weapon.

*From The Space Gamer, issue # 65, pp. 22-23.

ITL Talent Clarifications:

Scholar (IQ 13):
This skill grants a +1 to IQ for rolls against all known knowledge skills.

Strategist (IQ 13):
The roll to determine the enemy's plans is reduced by one die, to become a 4d6 roll vs. IQ.

Two weapons (IQ 11):
If the character has the base 13 DX necessary to learn this skill, but an AdjDX of less than 13, the character may still use both weapons normally if attacking with both or parrying with one. However, if the character chooses to parry with both weapons (i.e., to prevent four points of damage), (s)he must roll 3d6 vs. DX to successfully parry with the second weapon. A failed attempt means that only two points of damage are stopped (by the primary weapon).


New Spells:

Heal (S) (IQ: 12):
For every 5 ST spent, this spell heals one point of physical wounds. If combined with the Priest skill (and if deities exist that grant special powers to their worshippers), the spell costs only 3 ST, and heals 1D of wounds. However, for a priest to successfully cast Heal, (s)he must first make a 4D roll vs. IQ (to show favor with his/her deity). A character with the Theologian skill rolls only 3D vs. IQ. The character may pray for 15 minutes to earn a +1 to his/her IQ for the roll, or 30 minutes for a +2. A failed attempt to cast this spell costs 1 ST.

Spells Clarifications:

  1. Astral projection (IQ 15 spell):
    This spell may be cast on willing subjects other than the caster.

  2. Wood Flesh, Stone Flesh, and Iron Flesh
    spells and magic items do not combine with armor of any type. However, the various "Flesh" spells will work with non-magical shields.

  3. When a wizard casts a spell, the ST is subtracted immediately, and affects the wizard like wounds do. Therefore, a 5 ST fireball will give the caster a -2 DX to hit with that spell and an 8 ST spell will also knock down the caster. This applies only to spells cast while in combat.

  4. When casting missile spells of more than four dice of damage, an extra roll is required to complete the spell before the roll the hit. This roll is against DX -2, with an additional point subtracted from DX for each additional die of damage (e.g., 5D attack is -2. 6D is -3, 8D is -5, etc.).

  5. Fatigue for a wizard is treated as a completely separate characteristic from wounds. Therefore, a wizard may use up to his ST in fatigue and still have full ST for purposes of wounds. In addition, a wizard who runs out of fatigue may still cast spells by using two "wound" ST for every one ST point required by the spell. This wounding is real, and heals at the normal rate of 1 pt. every two days. Note that it is possible for a wizard to cast himself or herself to death.

The rather long (and growing) list of assorted additional TFT changes:


  1. A player may roll to miss an enemy as long as the roll to miss does not increase the character's chance of striking that enemy.

  2. A figure is considered engaged only if (s)he is in the front hex of someone who can attack that turn.

  3. A target's facing does affect the chance to hit when using a missile weapon.

  4. Range and facing adjustments for DX do affect when an attack occurs.

  5. Range is determined by counting only the number of hexes between the attacker and the target.

  6. For a pole weapon attack to be considered a charging attack, the following conditions must be met:
    1) the attacker must be running,
    2) the attacking character's last three hexes of movement must be in a straight line, and
    3) the attacker can make no facing changes during or after the final three hexes.
    When setting to receive a charge with a pole weapon, however, the attacker can change facing, but the charging target must still have been running in a straight line for the final three hexes of movement.

  7. When making a sweeping blow, roll for each attack separately.

  8. When berserk characters recover, they take one point of fatigue for each round that they were berserk. If the characters expend more fatigue than they have available, the remainder is taken as wounding damaging. This supercedes the rule in Advanced Melee that berserk characters take two points of wounding damage when they recover.

Special Weapons Rules:

  1. Bolas:
    A target struck in the legs gets a 3d6 roll vs. DX to avoid falling down, and the roll is required only if (s)he chooses to move in some way (e.g., move, attack, dodge, change facing). As long as the bola remains wrapped around the target's legs, the character must roll each round (s)he attempts to move while standing.

  2. Lassoes:
    A target hit on the body with the intent to be pulled to the ground gets a roll vs. DX to remain standing. If the attacker is stronger, the roll is on 5 dice; 4 dice for the same ST; 3 dice if the attacker is weaker; and 2 dice if the attacker is only half as strong as the target. Regardless of the roll to keep his/her footing, the target is still captured by the lasso.


  1. Races that require double the number of experience points to increase in abilities need only 150% of the normal number points rather than the listed 200%.

  2. Gargoyles may fly with an MA of 16. However, each turn spent in the air costs a point of fatigue. If the gargoyle continues to fly once all fatigue has been expended, the gargoyle takes one point of wounding damage per turn spent flying.

Optional Rules:

  1. Character Creation Points:
    Instead of allocating points among the three attributes, and then using the totals to determine Skill Points, this method uses a common pool (called Character Points - CP) from which the player may buy attributes, skills, and spells as desired. This system allows for more realistic and rounded characters who may be highly skilled without having high ratings in their physical attributes.

    In this system, spells still cost one (character) point, skills cost their listed value, and attributes have a character point cost based on the total attribute points possessed by the character.

    Attribute Total Character Point Cost
    Per Attribute Point
    0 - 36 1
    37 - 40 2
    41 - 44 4
    45 - 48 8
    49 - 52 16
    For every four attribute points thereafter,
    double the previous character points required.

    For example, John wants a ST of 14, a DX of 16, and an IQ of 9 (for a total of 39).
    This costs at total of 42 character points (CP) -- one each for the first 36 attribute points, and two each for the next three attribute points. Any remaining CPs John's chaaracter has can now be spent on skills and spells.

    Experience works in a similar manner. Every 125 experience points may be traded in for one CP, which may be used to buy new skills, spells, or attributes . Note that an additional luck point still costs only 100 exp., not 125 exp.

    The following chart provides some comparison CP totals to use when deciding how powerful beginning characters should be.

    Previous SystemCharacter Point System
    32 points54 CP
    34 points57 CP
    36 points60 CP
    38 points66 CP
    40 points70 CP
    42 points80 CP
    44 points90 CP

    Note that IQ still determines what level of skills and spells may be learned. In addition, intelligence-based skills that previously did not require a roll vs. IQ (e.g., diplomacy, charisma, naturalist, etc.) now do.

  2. Defending and Dodging:
    These rules replace the ITL rules for using 4D when attacking a defending or dodging character.

    When a character elects to defend or dodge, his/her DX is subtracted from 8. The result is the penalty assigned to the attacking character's chance to hit (always at least a penalty of -1). Note that this penalty applies only to the chance to hit, not to the attack order.

  3. Parry and Riposte:
    A character with an AdjDX of greater than 11 who is using a melee weapon may elect to combine his/her attack with a parry. To do this, the character reduces his AdjDx for that round (no lower than 11), and subtracts the same amount from his/her opponent's attack roll. Note that while the character's actions are all performed at the reduced DX, the only action of the opponent's that is affected is the attack roll. This option can be taken only against a single opponent in the character's three front hexes who is wielding a melee weapon. However, if facing multiple opponents, the character may parry a different opponent than (s)he attacks.

  4. Thrown Spells:
    All thrown spells that directly affect another character (e.g., trip, freeze, etc.) now get a saving roll vs. the relevant attribute. This replaces any maximum attribute requirements (e.g., it is now possible to put someone with a ST greater than 20 to sleep if the target fails his/her roll vs. ST).

    Trip: 4D vs. DXDrop Weapon: 4D vs. ST
    Sleep: 5D vs. STFreeze: 7D vs. ST
    Command: 7D vs. IQ 

  5. Armor and AdjDx:
    The DX penalty for armor is two lower than listed, meaning it is less restrictive. Note that it is not possible to have armor grant a DX bonus for wearing it. Only the DX penalty is reduced; weight and MA are unchanged.

  6. Sectional Armor and Random Hit Locations:
    1. Note that use of this optional rule tends to make for a bloodier game.

      Armor WeightDX-MA-Total Defense*
      0.1 to 7 kg -1 0 1*
      7.1 to 8 kg -2 -2 2*
      8.1 to 15 kg -3 -4 3*
      15.1 to 20 kg -5 -4 4*
      20.1 to 25 kg -6 -4 5*

      *For comparison/reference only.

      Note that the DX penalty is based on the penalty listed in ITL and AM. Reduce all of these by two if you are also reducing the DX penalty for full suits of armor (i.e., optional rule e above).

    2. Weight of Sectional Armor:
      PenaltyRollLocation 1234 5
      -6 3-5 Head kg
      -4/-6**6-8Arms*/Hands* 4.2 kg
      09-13Torso2. kg
      -414-18Legs* kg

      * Roll randomly to determine which arm, leg, or hand.
      ** The penalty to target an arm that is holding a shield is -6.

      The effects of damage to specific body parts are described in Advanced Melee, p. 20.

    3. Cost of Sectional Armor:

      Helmet611223560 $
      Vambraces*917355585 $
      Cuirass2245 85130250 $
      Chausses*16306595160 $
      * Gloves are included with vambraces, and boots are included with chausses.

    To use the above charts when selecting armor, find the area to be protected on Table f.b and determine the number of points to be subtracted from damage to that area. Each number corresponds to a particular material (i.e., 1 point is equal to cloth, 3-point material is chain mail, 5-point material is plate, etc.). Cross-reference the amount of the protection with the selected area. The result is the weight of that armor type for that area. Using Table f.c, do the same to determine the cost in silver to protect that area. Once this has been done for every location to be protected, total the weight and use Table f.a to determine the resulting penalty to DX and MA.

    To use the charts to determine hit location, use Table f.b. The number in the first column refers to the penalty an attacker applies to his/her AdjDX when specifically targeting that body part. In addition, the GM may use the second column of Table f.b to determine randomly the location of all non-targeted attacks.

    Fine Plate is sold only as an entire suit of armor -- use the listed stats.

  7. Variant Random Hit Locations
    Note that use of this optional rule tends to make for a much bloodier game.

    For added realism, substitute the following table for table f.b above.

    Sectional Armor:
    PenaltyRollLocation12345 Notes
    -103Eyes . kg a
    -84Neck """""""""" b
    -46,7Weapon arm1. kg 
    09-13Torso2. kg  
    -414Thighs2. kg c
    -415-18Legs, Feet"""""""""" 

    "" This body part is covered by the armor of the preceding location
    * The penalty to target the off arm becomes -6 if the arm is holding a shield.

    1. In addition to normal head damage, penetrating damage of more than 1pt. causes the loss of an eye (DX -4, recoverable to DX -1; loss of that side's front hex). Penetrating damage of more than 3 pts. causes loss of both eyes (permanent DX -8, permanent blindness).

    2. In addition to normal head damage, penetrating damage of more than 3 pts. causes loss of vocal cords.
      Penetrating damage of more than 8 pts. instantly kills the character.

    3. In addition to normal leg damage, penetrating damage of more than 5 pts. causes lameness (permanent MA -2).

    Of course, if you really want to get specific, you could even break some of those down further. For example, since the table distinguishes between the weapon arm and the off hand, you could divide the weight in half for characters who want to protect only the weapon arm (in that case, cloth would weigh 0.6 per arm, leather 0.65, a plate vambrace 2.1 kg, etc.).

  8. Disadvantages:
    Check with your GM about whether disadvantages may be selected for your character and, if so, which ones and how. No more than four additional points may be gained through disadvantages, and they do not add to the total number of character points when determining the number of experience points necessary to increase ST, DX, or IQ.