Tweaks and clarifications to the new AFF rulebook

Advanced Fighting Fantasy discussion
Nuvole!
Archmage
Posts: 1163
Joined: Sat Jan 26, 2013 6:06 pm

Re: Tweaks and clarifications to the new AFF rulebook

Post by Nuvole! » Tue Sep 24, 2019 2:24 pm

Monster damage at page 123 mentions small, medium and large weapon/damage, but the Weapon Damage Table, for example at page 164 mentions small, large and very large claws/fang damage.
Maybe just a clarification will be OK.
I'm the real Nowhere man, sitting in my Nowhere land, making all my Nowhere plans for Nobody.

User avatar
SkinnyOrc
Hero
Posts: 686
Joined: Wed Dec 03, 2014 10:53 am
Contact:

Re: Tweaks and clarifications to the new AFF rulebook

Post by SkinnyOrc » Wed Sep 25, 2019 12:03 am

Here's another for consideration that avoids 1 attack in every 36 causing a critical hit on average, regardless of how outmatched the opponents are. Change the start of the Critical Hits section (page 58) to read:

If a combat roll is a double 6, that combatant will automatically win that combat round regardless of combat totals. In addition, if that combatant also has the higher combat total, the blow is a critical hit and will inflict more damage.

As Eddie was pointing out recently, the way it is now means the party tends to accumulate excessive SKILL loss from critical hits if they're fighting weak but numerous opponents.

Ruffnut V2
Posts: 26
Joined: Mon Jul 01, 2019 10:12 am

Re: Tweaks and clarifications to the new AFF rulebook

Post by Ruffnut V2 » Fri Sep 27, 2019 3:33 pm

SkinnyOrc wrote:
Wed Sep 25, 2019 12:03 am
Here's another for consideration that avoids 1 attack in every 36 causing a critical hit on average, regardless of how outmatched the opponents are. Change the start of the Critical Hits section (page 58) to read:

If a combat roll is a double 6, that combatant will automatically win that combat round regardless of combat totals. In addition, if that combatant also has the higher combat total, the blow is a critical hit and will inflict more damage.

As Eddie was pointing out recently, the way it is now means the party tends to accumulate excessive SKILL loss from critical hits if they're fighting weak but numerous opponents.
Yeah seems like an amazing idea!
I forgot the password to my old account and the "Recover Password" feature seems to be broken.

Slloyd14
Site Admin
Posts: 657
Joined: Tue Feb 22, 2011 3:39 pm
Contact:

Re: Tweaks and clarifications to the new AFF rulebook

Post by Slloyd14 » Sat Sep 28, 2019 7:43 am

One way of slowing down advancement is to start the characters off weaker. At the moment, they start off very competent already. How about starting them off right at the beginning of their careers?

Start SKILL 2
Start STAMINA 4
Start LUCK 8
Start MAGIC 0

The players can have 5 points to distribute.

Max SKILL 4
Max STAMINA 10
Max MAGIC 4

They get 2 points in one skill and 1 point in 3 skills in addition to their racial skills.

This is as low as I will go. It gives a maximum combat skill of 6. You could also restrict some skills (like any spellcasting skill apart from minor magic) as people of the heroes' status won't be allowed them.

I did a document on peasant heroes before.

This can be played one of two ways - either similar to Dungeon Crawl Classics where each player has several characters and they play until so many have been killed off that there is only enough for one each and the survivors are stronger or with the players being super strategic and cunning with their characters to take down worse threats. The PDF The Adequate Commoner encourages this style where it gets people to play the DnD Commoner class.

With the above stats, going to a current starting character requires 260xp to get SKILL to 7, 405xp to get stamina to 16 and 140xp to learn 2 more skills to 2 and 3 skills to 1 for a total of 805xp. That could be a whole campaign.
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
Dawndeath
Adventurer
Posts: 141
Joined: Mon Sep 24, 2018 4:34 pm

Re: Tweaks and clarifications to the new AFF rulebook

Post by Dawndeath » Sun Sep 29, 2019 1:45 am

Slloyd14 wrote:
Sat Sep 28, 2019 7:43 am
One way of slowing down advancement is to start the characters off weaker. At the moment, they start off very competent already. How about starting them off right at the beginning of their careers?
Yeah, I really like this idea. Having weaker starting Heroes makes character progression more meaningful and rewarding. It also means that the players have to start thinking strategically a lot sooner because they can't just rely on high stats and skills to get them through encounters. MERP was similar in that respect - level 1 characters in that game were frighteningly weak compared to a lot of threats. My players had to come up with some really inventive ideas to get through the first few adventures; but they did get through, and felt justifiably proud at having survived.

I think it also creates a need for the Director to be more thoughtful and creative in planning adventures - designing quests where the answer isn't always for the party to just wade in guns blazing.


But this brings up another 'tweak' I think might be worth discussing - though not so much a tweak of the rules as something to add consistency to published adventures.

What do people think about the issue of making sure adventures are aimed at the right level for particular parties of Heroes? Like, in the old AD&D modules (I haven't checked out any since 2nd ed. :roll: ) you used to be told that the adventure was aimed at a party of "3-4 characters of levels 8-9", which gave DMs a rough idea of whether it would be suitable for their group, without having to read the entire module first. Obviously we don't have levels to go by as a measure of the general competence of our Heroes, so what do we think would be a suitable measure?

I've seen some adventures being described as "for experienced Heroes" or "for characters with an advance or two", but these descriptors are a little vague. I think the best method I've seen is where an adventure is aimed at Heroes who have spent a certain total number of XP; so that in my game, players now keep both a cumulative and current total of their XP awards.

Is it possible to come up with a consistent method of 'leveling' our adventures?

User avatar
SkinnyOrc
Hero
Posts: 686
Joined: Wed Dec 03, 2014 10:53 am
Contact:

Re: Tweaks and clarifications to the new AFF rulebook

Post by SkinnyOrc » Sun Sep 29, 2019 11:39 am

Slloyd14 wrote:
Sat Sep 28, 2019 7:43 am
One way of slowing down advancement is to start the characters off weaker. At the moment, they start off very competent already. How about starting them off right at the beginning of their careers?
I agree with the PCs starting with a bit lower AS. The question is, what is reasonable to be the beginning of their careers? The way I see it these are people who have chosen to be adventurers, to put themselves into serious danger in return for riches. That means they've had a decent amount of training and have some practical experience. The Director can of course decide a campaign isn't starting with novice adventurers, as you did with you peasant game, but I don't think that should be the default starting point.

Okay so if I assume they start as novice adventurers, what does that mean for starting AS? Orcs are SKILL 6 and goblins are 5, those are standard foes that make useful markers. My opinion is novice adventurers should be at least equal to an orc. It's just not believable to me they'd put themselves in danger if they can't take an orc on one on one. So that means no less than AS 6, and they should maybe have the edge at 7.

Worth pointing out this doesn't have to be just through reducing starting SKILL, you could say starting special skills can't be higher than 1. So if 7 is the right maximum starting AS then that could be the current system with no more than 2 points added to SKILL out of a pool of 7. Then you could start with SKILL 6 plus 1 point of WSS for AS 7.

Dawndeath wrote:
Sun Sep 29, 2019 1:45 am
I think the best method I've seen is where an adventure is aimed at Heroes who have spent a certain total number of XP; so that in my game, players now keep both a cumulative and current total of their XP awards.
Yep agree this would be the best way to do it. It does take a fair bit of play testing with parties of varying strength for the scenario designer to figure this out though.

Numbers have a bigger affect with AFF2 than with a lot of other games, but this at least is fairly easy to adjust an adventure for. If the experience recommendation is for say 6 players, and you have 4, you can decrease numbers in the encounters to two thirds of what it says. Obviously that leads to some "partial" creatures but you just round up some encounters and round down others.

HedgeWizard
Knight
Posts: 291
Joined: Wed Dec 06, 2017 3:20 pm

Re: Tweaks and clarifications to the new AFF rulebook

Post by HedgeWizard » Sun Sep 29, 2019 2:53 pm

This sounds like the ideas which have been suggested in the past for having weaker or pesant adventurers. I like it and agree if you are keeping the starting skill low and a restricted number of points then you also need to reduce skills in the beginning.

You could say that a “traditional” starting adventurer is someone starting from a place like the Academy in Arion or Adventurers guild in Blacksand.

Ynas Midgard
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Aug 29, 2019 4:00 pm

Re: Tweaks and clarifications to the new AFF rulebook

Post by Ynas Midgard » Sun Sep 29, 2019 9:54 pm

Hm, when can we expect such a revised rendition of the game? I'm asking because I'm about halfway through my review of the rulebook, but if there's another version on the way, I might as well wait for it.

Incidentally, to me it hasn't been clear how many Wizardry spells characters start with.

User avatar
SkinnyOrc
Hero
Posts: 686
Joined: Wed Dec 03, 2014 10:53 am
Contact:

Re: Tweaks and clarifications to the new AFF rulebook

Post by SkinnyOrc » Sun Sep 29, 2019 11:20 pm

Ynas Midgard wrote:
Sun Sep 29, 2019 9:54 pm
Incidentally, to me it hasn't been clear how many Wizardry spells characters start with.
Page 33, "Any Hero with MP should also choose their spells from those listed in Chapter 4. A Hero with Magic-Wizardry knows total spell levels equal to double the total of MAGIC and Magic-Wizardry. No spells above level 4 may be chosen at this stage."

For a revised rulebook it'd probably be better if the paragraphs about magic in that Finishing Off section were broken off into their own section. It would make them easier to spot and they don't apply to all characters like the rest of it.

Nuvole!
Archmage
Posts: 1163
Joined: Sat Jan 26, 2013 6:06 pm

Re: Tweaks and clarifications to the new AFF rulebook

Post by Nuvole! » Mon Sep 30, 2019 2:05 am

I experimented with characters starting off weaker (i.e. not as heroes) with various options and for long time (see viewtopic.php?f=13&t=849&p=5051&hilit=i ... nced#p5051) - now I'm going with the initial ruleset for character creations but without adding the 8 point buy rule, just being able sto swap a bit around what they got at the beginning + racial modifier.
Once I will wrap this job up it will become my "Heroes are made" module.
I'm the real Nowhere man, sitting in my Nowhere land, making all my Nowhere plans for Nobody.

User avatar
Dawndeath
Adventurer
Posts: 141
Joined: Mon Sep 24, 2018 4:34 pm

Re: Tweaks and clarifications to the new AFF rulebook

Post by Dawndeath » Mon Sep 30, 2019 2:21 am

SkinnyOrc wrote:
Sun Sep 29, 2019 11:39 am
Okay so if I assume they start as novice adventurers, what does that mean for starting AS? Orcs are SKILL 6 and goblins are 5, those are standard foes that make useful markers. My opinion is novice adventurers should be at least equal to an orc. It's just not believable to me they'd put themselves in danger if they can't take an orc on one on one. So that means no less than AS 6, and they should maybe have the edge at 7.
So maybe in the revised rules a variety of starting strengths for Heroes could be suggested. In levelled games like D&D, it's easy to adjust the strength of your starting character - just start them at a different level. In Rolemaster you could even start at level 0 if you wanted a real challenge. We could achieve the same effect (in a better way, I think) by suggesting starting stats and points, skill points, numbers of talents &c. for various 'levels' of characters. Like, peasant characters (zeroes to heroes) start with these stats and this many points; average characters start with these stats, while experienced veterans have these stats and this many points to play with. It still gives players the freedom to build exactly the characters they want, while allowing the Director to design the level of adventure / campaign he wants.
SkinnyOrc wrote:
Sun Sep 29, 2019 11:39 am
Dawndeath wrote:
Sun Sep 29, 2019 1:45 am
I think the best method I've seen is where an adventure is aimed at Heroes who have spent a certain total number of XP; so that in my game, players now keep both a cumulative and current total of their XP awards.
Yep agree this would be the best way to do it. It does take a fair bit of play testing with parties of varying strength for the scenario designer to figure this out though.
Maybe we could have a thread here for people to share their experiences running / playing in the different published adventures, like darksoul did with WoFTP. If people report back the number of Heroes and XP totals going through an adventure, and how challenging they found it, we could together start to build up an idea of how to 'level' our adventures, which could then be used in future published modules.

User avatar
SkinnyOrc
Hero
Posts: 686
Joined: Wed Dec 03, 2014 10:53 am
Contact:

Re: Tweaks and clarifications to the new AFF rulebook

Post by SkinnyOrc » Mon Sep 30, 2019 4:31 am

You don't want to lose the simplicity of the AFF2 character generation system by trying to make it support starting at any XP you like. What might work is to say the Director can pick one of three starting points; Untrained, Adventurers or Heroes. One of those could be presented as the default the way it is now (I suggest Adventurers, which means they're just starting their career as that), and the other two could be in a section at the end giving other options.

Maybe something like:

Untrained
Points Pool: 4
SKILL: 0 may be added
STAM: Up to 2 added
LUCK: Up to 2 added
Magic: Up to 3 added
Special Skills: 1 point to 3 special skills

Adventurers
Points Pool: 6
SKILL: Up to 2 added
STAM: Up to 3 added
LUCK: Up to 2 added
Magic: Up to 5 added
Special Skills: 1 point to 6 special skills

Heroes
As the current character generation.

That gives maximum starting AS of 5 for Untrained, 7 for Adventurers and 9 for Heroes. We can probably come up with a better name than Untrained but I didn't want to call them Peasants, that's more suitable if they're from the country than from the city.
Nuvole! wrote:
Mon Sep 30, 2019 2:05 am
I experimented with characters starting off weaker (i.e. not as heroes) with various options and for long time
I don't doubt your system is better for generating a character similar to what I have above for Untrained, but it's also important to keep a consistent generation method for each of those three options so it's easy to understand.

If the base stats we add on to were reduced slightly from SKILL 4, STAM 8, LUCK 8, MAGIC 0 it'd be possible to have more variety in Untrained characters and still keep the method consistent. Maybe just reducing base SKILL to 3 would do, but all the points pools and limits would then need a bit of tweaking.

User avatar
Dawndeath
Adventurer
Posts: 141
Joined: Mon Sep 24, 2018 4:34 pm

Re: Tweaks and clarifications to the new AFF rulebook

Post by Dawndeath » Mon Sep 30, 2019 10:15 am

SkinnyOrc wrote:
Mon Sep 30, 2019 4:31 am
You don't want to lose the simplicity of the AFF2 character generation system by trying to make it support starting at any XP you like. What might work is to say the Director can pick one of three starting points; Untrained, Adventurers or Heroes. One of those could be presented as the default the way it is now (I suggest Adventurers, which means they're just starting their career as that), and the other two could be in a section at the end giving other options.
Yep, this is exactly what I was talking about. 😊

Give the numbers for starting characters at three different levels of experience, with one indicated as the default and the other two given as options in an appendix or something.

If individual Directors and their groups want starting characters of other levels of experience, the three levels given in the book should provide enough of an idea for them to extrapolate others for themselves.

HedgeWizard
Knight
Posts: 291
Joined: Wed Dec 06, 2017 3:20 pm

Re: Tweaks and clarifications to the new AFF rulebook

Post by HedgeWizard » Mon Sep 30, 2019 1:40 pm

Dawndeath wrote:
Mon Sep 30, 2019 10:15 am
SkinnyOrc wrote:
Mon Sep 30, 2019 4:31 am
You don't want to lose the simplicity of the AFF2 character generation system by trying to make it support starting at any XP you like. What might work is to say the Director can pick one of three starting points; Untrained, Adventurers or Heroes. One of those could be presented as the default the way it is now (I suggest Adventurers, which means they're just starting their career as that), and the other two could be in a section at the end giving other options.
Yep, this is exactly what I was talking about. 😊

Give the numbers for starting characters at three different levels of experience, with one indicated as the default and the other two given as options in an appendix or something.

If individual Directors and their groups want starting characters of other levels of experience, the three levels given in the book should provide enough of an idea for them to extrapolate others for themselves.
I like this idea, it gives a real range of options for directors and players and gives the option to build some very different stories.

User avatar
SkinnyOrc
Hero
Posts: 686
Joined: Wed Dec 03, 2014 10:53 am
Contact:

Re: Tweaks and clarifications to the new AFF rulebook

Post by SkinnyOrc » Tue Oct 01, 2019 9:56 am

Slloyd14 wrote:
Sat Sep 28, 2019 7:43 am
One way of slowing down advancement is to start the characters off weaker. At the moment, they start off very competent already. How about starting them off right at the beginning of their careers?
If we did have reduced base stats and three types of starting character, then the untrained character option would end up looking a lot like what you have there.

I believe it'd be better for PCs at that experience level to not be able to assign 2 points to any special skills though. It doesn't match them being largely untrained and if they can have WSS 2 then SKILL has to be lower to get the same maximum AS.

Ideally only some untrained PCs would have WSS 1 in any weapons, the ones that came from a background where it makes sense, but if it's a free choice most will. You could houserule that untrained characters can't pick Combat special skills, they roll their background using my Occupations doc and only get a WSS if that gives it to them.

Post Reply