Tweaks and clarifications to the new AFF rulebook

Advanced Fighting Fantasy discussion
User avatar
bottg
Site Admin
Posts: 1365
Joined: Thu Jul 24, 2003 10:53 pm

Re: Tweaks and clarifications to the new AFF rulebook

Post by bottg » Fri Sep 20, 2019 8:37 am

There are two issues with just making Special Skills 20x for xp:

Firstly it means that you may well have to complete 2-3 adventures before you can buy an advance as SS's are generally the cheapest advance. This slows down the "feel" of progression a faiw amount.

The other is that SKILL itself would then have to be 40x or more to increase because it applies to all special skills. But you would also have to increase MAGIC and STAMINA as well to make them comparable. And Talents, otherwise they are now too cheap. And so what you would effectively be doing is making everything more expensive and thus negating what you are trying to do.

I don't think there is a perfect solution to this but I do know that various groups award less xp, require a traininer or considerable time to increase special skills at higher levels etc

User avatar
SkinnyOrc
Hero
Posts: 685
Joined: Wed Dec 03, 2014 10:53 am
Contact:

Re: Tweaks and clarifications to the new AFF rulebook

Post by SkinnyOrc » Fri Sep 20, 2019 8:52 am

bottg wrote:
Fri Sep 20, 2019 8:37 am
Firstly it means that you may well have to complete 2-3 adventures before you can buy an advance as SS's are generally the cheapest advance. This slows down the "feel" of progression a faiw amount.
With 50 XP you could learn 2 new special skills (20 XP each), improve a special skill to 2 (40 XP), learn 2 1MP Wizardry spells or 1 2MP spell (40XP), or increase MP to 10 (50 XP).

So it's something to consider, but there's a fair few alternatives for that first upgrade. Also saving for advances over multiple adventures is just part of AFF, it's the only way to improve a lot of things already. Or the x20 could only apply to Combat category special skills and the rest stay at x10.
bottg wrote:
Fri Sep 20, 2019 8:37 am
The other is that SKILL itself would then have to be 40x or more to increase because it applies to all special skills.
You're saying that because tests are usually SKILL + special skill that means you can't increase the cost of special skills without also increasing the cost of SKILL? Why would that follow?
Last edited by SkinnyOrc on Fri Sep 20, 2019 10:22 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
bottg
Site Admin
Posts: 1365
Joined: Thu Jul 24, 2003 10:53 pm

Re: Tweaks and clarifications to the new AFF rulebook

Post by bottg » Fri Sep 20, 2019 10:22 am

SkinnyOrc wrote:
Fri Sep 20, 2019 8:52 am
bottg wrote:
Fri Sep 20, 2019 8:37 am
Firstly it means that you may well have to complete 2-3 adventures before you can buy an advance as SS's are generally the cheapest advance. This slows down the "feel" of progression a faiw amount.
With 50 XP you could learn 2 new special skills (20 XP each), improve a special skill to 2 (40 XP), learn 2 1MP Wizardry spells or 1 2MP spell (40XP), or increase MP to 10 (50 XP). So there's still a fair few options. Or the x20 could only apply to Combat category special skills and the rest stay at x10.
bottg wrote:
Fri Sep 20, 2019 8:37 am
The other is that SKILL itself would then have to be 40x or more to increase because it applies to all special skills.
You're saying that because tests are usually SKILL + special skill that means you can't increase the cost of special skills without also increasing the cost of SKILL? Why would that follow?
That first bit is true...

What I mean is that if SKILL is x20 and special skills are x20 you might as well increase SKILL. It will apply to everything rather than one specific field of expertise. So it has to be a fair bit more expensive than special skills.

Slloyd14
Site Admin
Posts: 656
Joined: Tue Feb 22, 2011 3:39 pm
Contact:

Re: Tweaks and clarifications to the new AFF rulebook

Post by Slloyd14 » Fri Sep 20, 2019 10:25 am

bottg wrote:
Fri Sep 20, 2019 10:22 am
SkinnyOrc wrote:
Fri Sep 20, 2019 8:52 am
bottg wrote:
Fri Sep 20, 2019 8:37 am
Firstly it means that you may well have to complete 2-3 adventures before you can buy an advance as SS's are generally the cheapest advance. This slows down the "feel" of progression a faiw amount.
With 50 XP you could learn 2 new special skills (20 XP each), improve a special skill to 2 (40 XP), learn 2 1MP Wizardry spells or 1 2MP spell (40XP), or increase MP to 10 (50 XP). So there's still a fair few options. Or the x20 could only apply to Combat category special skills and the rest stay at x10.
bottg wrote:
Fri Sep 20, 2019 8:37 am
The other is that SKILL itself would then have to be 40x or more to increase because it applies to all special skills.
You're saying that because tests are usually SKILL + special skill that means you can't increase the cost of special skills without also increasing the cost of SKILL? Why would that follow?
That first bit is true...

What I mean is that if SKILL is x20 and special skills are x20 you might as well increase SKILL. It will apply to everything rather than one specific field of expertise. So it has to be a fair bit more expensive than special skills.
But improving a special skill from 1-2 would be 40xp whereas improving skill from 7-8 is 160xp, so that is sti 4 adventures with no improvement to save up for.
http://virtualfantasies.blogspot.com/

A blog about writing gamebooks. My musings on how to write a gamebook and what makes a good gamebook.

User avatar
SkinnyOrc
Hero
Posts: 685
Joined: Wed Dec 03, 2014 10:53 am
Contact:

Re: Tweaks and clarifications to the new AFF rulebook

Post by SkinnyOrc » Fri Sep 20, 2019 10:29 am

bottg wrote:
Fri Sep 20, 2019 10:22 am
What I mean is that if SKILL is x20 and special skills are x20 you might as well increase SKILL. It will apply to everything rather than one specific field of expertise. So it has to be a fair bit more expensive than special skills.
Ah I get you. But the cost isn't just based on the x20, it's also on the new score. So the most expensive special skill upgrade is 120 XP (6 x 20) and the first SKILL upgrade is 160 XP (8 x 20) and goes up from there. So SKILL's still way more expensive.

User avatar
SkinnyOrc
Hero
Posts: 685
Joined: Wed Dec 03, 2014 10:53 am
Contact:

Re: Tweaks and clarifications to the new AFF rulebook

Post by SkinnyOrc » Fri Sep 20, 2019 10:33 am

Slloyd14 wrote:
Fri Sep 20, 2019 10:25 am
But improving a special skill from 1-2 would be 40xp whereas improving skill from 7-8 is 160xp, so that is sti 4 adventures with no improvement to save up for.
Snap :D

Graham, maybe give the idea some time to settle and then see what you think.

Nuvole!
Archmage
Posts: 1144
Joined: Sat Jan 26, 2013 6:06 pm

Re: Tweaks and clarifications to the new AFF rulebook

Post by Nuvole! » Fri Sep 20, 2019 2:48 pm

bottg wrote:
Fri Sep 20, 2019 8:37 am
I don't think there is a perfect solution to this but I do know that various groups award less xp, require a traininer or considerable time to increase special skills at higher levels etc
Requiring a trainer that is at or above the new Special Skill level (plus some time to learn) is a fair way to control the speed of progression, in my experience, as levels (1) and (2) will be very easy, (3) will be so-so and above them the suitable masters will be really very rare to find (and to convince to train somebody else to their level).
I'm the real Nowhere man, sitting in my Nowhere land, making all my Nowhere plans for Nobody.

Eddie
Adventurer
Posts: 102
Joined: Sun Oct 09, 2016 8:46 pm
Location: Northamptonshire UK

Re: Tweaks and clarifications to the new AFF rulebook

Post by Eddie » Fri Sep 20, 2019 3:23 pm

The trainer thing is key for delaying advancement.
the way i see it is 1 point is "yeah i've used a sword and practiced with it" 2 is "i use this for a living, my life literally depends on it" so 3 might be "best in the city or country (depending)" and the higher levels?
much harder.

actually with Skill if someone has Skill 4 it is very cheap to advance compared to other options, arguably not worth it necessarily...but the occasional oddity characters do exist.

my main issue with sudden power boosts are actually priests: Magic 4 and SS priestly magic 2 is very cheap to advance to 5, 6 then 3 respectively and some Blessings are VERY powerful with those boosts.

certainly when compared to a wizard or sorcerer for example

User avatar
SkinnyOrc
Hero
Posts: 685
Joined: Wed Dec 03, 2014 10:53 am
Contact:

Re: Tweaks and clarifications to the new AFF rulebook

Post by SkinnyOrc » Sat Sep 21, 2019 1:36 am

Nuvole! wrote:
Fri Sep 20, 2019 2:48 pm
Requiring a trainer that is at or above the new Special Skill level (plus some time to learn) is a fair way to control the speed of progression, in my experience
I'm all for the trainer thing but it's not in the rulebook for improving special skills, so adding that is also a change to the text. Beyond that, to be effective as a brake on WSS it needs more detail. How easy is it to find a teacher who knows enough and is willing to teach you? How much does it cost? How long does it take? But if all that was added to the rulebook it'll be too much hassle for a lot of GMs, and are you really going to tell players they've got enough XP to go to WSS 3 with sword but don't find a trainer before the next adventure?

Personally I like it without the detail, I'd be happy if there was just a similar one liner about training for improving special skills. For me finding training is a roleplaying thing. I don't see it being that effective at slowing WSS advances, especially at low to mid range WSS. That you can get to WSS 4 after 2 adventures is the problem as much as getting to 6 after 4. So use training as well as making special skill advances x20.

Eddie wrote:
Fri Sep 20, 2019 3:23 pm
actually with Skill if someone has Skill 4 it is very cheap to advance compared to other options, arguably not worth it necessarily...but the occasional oddity characters do exist.
A specialist Wizard might start with SKILL 4. Their first SKILL advance costs 100 XP (5x20), which is still more expensive than going to WSS 3 or 4 with x20, and the same as going to WSS 5!


Just look at the XP to get to each AS and tell me Special Skills at x20 isn't the best option of the three, especially from AS 10 to 13. Numbers of adventures is in brackets and takes into account XP left over from the last advance.

. . . . . . . . . Now . . . . . . . . . SS ½ SKILL . . . . SS x20
AS 10 . . . . . 30XP (1) . . . . . . 30XP (1) . . . . . . 60XP (2)
AS 11 . . . . . 40XP (1) . . . . . . 160XP (3) . . . . . 80XP (1)
AS 12 . . . . . 50XP (1) . . . . . . 40XP (1) . . . . . . 100XP (2)
AS 13 . . . . . 60XP (1) . . . . . . 180XP (4) . . . . . 120XP (3)
AS 14 . . . . . 160XP (3) . . . . . 200XP (4) . . . . . 160XP (3)
AS 15 . . . . . 180XP (4) . . . . . 50XP (1) . . . . . . 180XP (3)
AS 16 . . . . . 200XP (5) . . . . . 220XP (4) . . . . . 200XP (4)
AS 17 . . . . . 220XP (5) . . . . . 240XP (5) . . . . . 220XP (5)
AS 18 . . . . . 240XP (5) . . . . . 60XP (1) . . . . . . 240XP (5)

Done as a chart here.
Last edited by SkinnyOrc on Sun Sep 22, 2019 1:15 am, edited 1 time in total.

HedgeWizard
Knight
Posts: 286
Joined: Wed Dec 06, 2017 3:20 pm

Re: Tweaks and clarifications to the new AFF rulebook

Post by HedgeWizard » Sat Sep 21, 2019 8:37 pm

Personally I think the trainer idea is a great one. It allows groups the ability to tailor the speed of development in a nice easy way because you role play it. Groups can make it easier if they want to go faster or harder if they want people to work at it. It can also be a great side quest or even a quest in itself to find someone.

It also helps solve the issue of people spending weeks in dungeons picking up a mountain of XP and then spending them on direct increases in Forest Lore and Horse Riding.

User avatar
SkinnyOrc
Hero
Posts: 685
Joined: Wed Dec 03, 2014 10:53 am
Contact:

Re: Tweaks and clarifications to the new AFF rulebook

Post by SkinnyOrc » Sun Sep 22, 2019 12:52 am

Sure, but it's not just about what would work in your own game. How would you add it to the rulebook so someone new to the game and maybe new to RPGs includes training in a way that makes a difference to how fast the PCs gain AS?

XP costs are the mechanic that enforces how fast PCs can learn things. With an inexperienced Director they're probably all that gets applied. Training is the roleplaying activity that goes around that, mostly just for fun.

I changed the table in my last post to show XP for each AS advance. It's clearer like that.

HedgeWizard wrote:
Sat Sep 21, 2019 8:37 pm
It also helps solve the issue of people spending weeks in dungeons picking up a mountain of XP and then spending them on direct increases in Forest Lore and Horse Riding.
Yeah, training between adventures explains how they get better at a special skill they haven't been using much during adventures. If it is something they've been using a lot during adventures it'd make sense they need less time training in it to advance.

Nuvole!
Archmage
Posts: 1144
Joined: Sat Jan 26, 2013 6:06 pm

Re: Tweaks and clarifications to the new AFF rulebook

Post by Nuvole! » Sun Sep 22, 2019 3:39 am

SkinnyOrc wrote:
Sat Sep 21, 2019 1:36 am
How easy is it to find a teacher who knows enough and is willing to teach you? How much does it cost? How long does it take? But if all that was added to the rulebook it'll be too much hassle for a lot of GMs, and are you really going to tell players they've got enough XP to go to WSS 3 with sword but don't find a trainer before the next adventure?
At levels 4-5-6 finding a suitable master and convincing her that you are worth being trained to that kind of levels is a quest in itself.
I'm the real Nowhere man, sitting in my Nowhere land, making all my Nowhere plans for Nobody.

User avatar
SkinnyOrc
Hero
Posts: 685
Joined: Wed Dec 03, 2014 10:53 am
Contact:

Re: Tweaks and clarifications to the new AFF rulebook

Post by SkinnyOrc » Sun Sep 22, 2019 5:14 am

Nuvole! wrote:
Sun Sep 22, 2019 3:39 am
At levels 4-5-6 finding a suitable master and convincing her that you are worth being trained to that kind of levels is a quest in itself.
It can be, but for me that's something you do once to achieve the highest mastery. If you have everyone doing this every advance then all your game sessions will be looking for trainers!

For training to be easy to include in the game and make a real difference I'd want to see a system for the chance of a trainer being in a settlement based on its size. It'd tell you what rank they have in the skill, starting at 3 which the rulebook already has is the minimum to train. If there's one suitable (so with at least the rank the PC wants to go to) it'd give you the chance they agree to it, with more experienced people being less likely. It'd also tell what they want to be paid.

Of course Directors can choose to roleplay as much of it as they like. But a system like that's something you can put in the rulebook to provide a framework for it. It's also a lot easier to tell a player they can't increase their WSS right now because the dice said there's no suitable trainer or that they weren't interested. Sometimes they get lucky, sometimes they don't. It's all more complicated than just making special skills x20, but I don't mind that for non-combat mechanics. There's also no reason not to do both.

If training as it's in the rulebook now had rate of AS increase covered, the WSS limited to half SKILL wouldn't have been thought a good idea. Special skills being new score x 20 is just an arguably somewhat better way to do the same as that.

HedgeWizard
Knight
Posts: 286
Joined: Wed Dec 06, 2017 3:20 pm

Re: Tweaks and clarifications to the new AFF rulebook

Post by HedgeWizard » Mon Sep 23, 2019 9:00 pm

SkinnyOrc wrote:
Sun Sep 22, 2019 12:52 am
Sure, but it's not just about what would work in your own game. How would you add it to the rulebook so someone new to the game and maybe new to RPGs includes training in a way that makes a difference to how fast the PCs gain AS?
It’s not the first time that you have training in the rules in a RPG. WFRP 1st ed has it for spells at least if I remember correctly and more recently Adventures in Middle Earth has a Fellowship phase where players can go off to get training/learn skills. Of all the changes we are discussing this should be one of he easiest since players have experienced in their day to day lives that if they want to learn something they need to get someone to show them (certainly if they want to master it).

As a rule you could make it optional of course and hand wave it for the first few levels. You just need to find someone moderately or highly skilled to show you the basics. This can even be in the group with a swordsman teaching a cleric how to stand a chance in a fight (think of Kingdom of Heaven or even Boromir teaching the hobbits in the LOTR film). But for higher levels you need to find someone do guide you, again if they don’t want to role play it then it’s just something which happens between adventures or in some down time. Or they can build it in and force people to search for opportunities.

User avatar
SkinnyOrc
Hero
Posts: 685
Joined: Wed Dec 03, 2014 10:53 am
Contact:

Re: Tweaks and clarifications to the new AFF rulebook

Post by SkinnyOrc » Tue Sep 24, 2019 1:32 am

HedgeWizard wrote:
Mon Sep 23, 2019 9:00 pm
It’s not the first time that you have training in the rules in a RPG. WFRP 1st ed has it for spells at least if I remember correctly and more recently Adventures in Middle Earth has a Fellowship phase where players can go off to get training/learn skills.
I'm completely for the idea, it'd add another interesting element to the game. But if it's just an extra line to the bit about improving special skills like the one already there for learning a new skill then that's not going to achieve much.
HedgeWizard wrote:
Mon Sep 23, 2019 9:00 pm
Of all the changes we are discussing this should be one of he easiest since players have experienced in their day to day lives that if they want to learn something they need to get someone to show them (certainly if they want to master it).
It's about what would need adding to the rulebook. A simple training mechanic like I outlined in my last post is maybe half a page. The limiting special skills to half SKILL rule would be one line. Changing the cost of improving special skills to new score x 20 is one character, changing a 1 in the existing text to a 2!
HedgeWizard wrote:
Mon Sep 23, 2019 9:00 pm
As a rule you could make it optional of course and hand wave it for the first few levels.
If it was as well as WSS limited to half SKILL or SS x20, yep that'd be fine. If it's instead of, the problem is already there at low levels of WSS. Look at the chart and how much of the blue bars for the monsters are to the left of where warriors start at AS 9. Then look at what happens if AS goes up 1 point an adventure 4 times. At 13 how many of the monsters aren't a walkover, given a 3 point difference is decisive?

I think it'd be worth also considering reducing the pool for character generation to 7 points, and what can be added to SKILL to 2. That'd limit starting AS to 8. PCs right now start off a little "high level" compared to the creatures and then rapid increase of WSS goes on top of that. I've always liked that AFF2 PCs don't start off incompetent like in many other RPGs, but pulling it back a point or two would leave more room for easy advances early on.

Post Reply