Wednesday, 22 September 2010

The Power And The Glory - Part 3


Despite originally stating that the Fighting Fantasy system had too many dice rolls in it, I've come around to thinking that it's a perfect fit for TPATG.

It's nice and simple and playing a couple of FF gamebooks recently has pointed out two little psychological quirks (for want of a better word) that are interesting and may work well in this context.

The first is that because of the bell-curve results of 2d6, differences between SKILL in two combatants turn out to be much more important ingame than may first appear. For example a SKILL 10 versus a SKILL 11 looks evenly matched, but because 2d6 are added to it (average score = 7), on average rolls the SKILL 11 chap will win every time = 18 against 17. It isn't half psychologically imposing (maybe morale sapping would be a better word) to look at an opponent who is only 1 SKILL better than you but keep seeing him outscore you time and time again and for you to only beat him on fluke rolls.


Secondly, in combat average blows (ignoring Test Your Luck and creature/weapon-specific grit) do 2 STAMINA points. Mechanically you could halve STAMINA scores and do 1 STAMINA point per round won which will bring you to the same place in the same time, but somehow that 2 STAMINA damage system imposes more upon the loser. A STAMINA score like 20 looks nice and big and comforting but take 4 hits and suddenly you are looking at 12 which bizarrely looks and feels much worse than going down from 10 to 6 in single STAMINA point steps. It's a curious quirk.

For TPATG purposes I've renamed SKILL and STAMINA to DRIVE and DOOM since STAMINA's usage is changed from the original FF system. I was toying with the idea of DRIVE and DESTINE but destine is quite an archaic word and probably wouldn't widely be understood.

LUCK was mentioned in earlier blog comments, I won't be using it because it overlaps with STAMINA and is effectively the same measurement but in an entirely different mechanic that wouldn't sit correctly in the game.

Gonks

Because the role of Gamesmaster changes rapidly in the game (I'm calling this role the Narrator) I thought it might be an idea to have a physical artifact that is handed around to indicate which player is currently in "the hot seat". This comes from a Legends of the Five Rings wargame I was once invited to whereby the players handed around a Not-Lego Samurai which was placed on the table-edges to show which side currently had initiative.
The Gonk can be anything, but ideally it should be "cultural" - themed to the game and the era. Perhaps a suitable model racing car, a spark plug, a driving glove, a slotcar speed controller, a miniature crash helmet etc.
I present this as a challenge to a gaming group's ingenuity and resources to go out and acquire themselves something suitable.

Backstory

A driver is have a brief, perhaps only one sentence, backstory explaining how and why he is a racing driver. A simple phrase such as "spoilt playboy" or "working class mechanic made good" is fine. Also he will need a sentence describing what he expects to be doing after his racing career is over. None of this matters very much mechanically, but it creates a context for the driver character and a bit of pathos for those that don't make it.

Chargen

With three dice rolls required, the player rolls all three and allocates at will - one to DRIVE and two to DOOM. This is much better than the standard FF system whereby the initial single d6 roll for SKILL often dooms an adventurer to failure as soon as it is rolled.




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