So I dropped some Winter Solstice Holiday money on the new edition of Advanced Fighting Fantasy. You know, the improved & expanded version of the Fighting Fantasy rules that powered the old “choose your own adventure meets d&d” type books from way back in the day, like The Warlock of Firetop Mountain and Deathtrap Dungeon.
I actually think I only ever owned Warlock, and I’m not entirely sure I even finished reading/playing it. I was already pretty deep into RPGs by the time these books started hitting the shelves in the States and I was fortunate enough at the time to have plenty of actual people to game with, so the solitaire aspect of the books wasn’t a draw for me. Still, I’ve heard a heck of a lot of stories over the years of the FF books being someone’s gateway into RPGs, so I have a certain sense of collective nostalgia for ’em.
Anyway, why this caused me to burn the cash on the new core rulebook I simply cannot say. Something about simple systems (that still feel like games and not just storytime) and maybe some online play eventually or something. Or maybe it was just a juvenile urge to do some senseless dungeon crawling? Of course, there’s other, easier ways to get that buzz nowadays…
But enough of that. Let’s look at some characters for AFF. These folks were all rolled up randomly (per the optional rules in Chapter 11), and have a bare minimum of equipment. For this initial attempt I shied away from any magic-using characters quite intentionally. Maybe I’ll do up another batch of characters using the four(!) different(ish) magic systems included in the book’s mere 176 pages. Yeah, I bet I will. Meanwhile, let’s get on with the show…
Langsbert Glassjaw / Human / Peasant Warrior
Skill 9 Stamina 5 Luck 11 Magic 0
Special Skills: Bargain 1, City Lore 1, Climb 1, Common Speech 4, Dodge 2, Fishing 2, Hunting 1, Polearms 2, Religion Lore 1, Ride 1, Sneaking 1, Thrown 2, Traps 1, World Lore 1
Spear (2/2/3/3/3/4/5), Sling (1/1/2/2/2/3/4), Leather Hauberk (0/1/1/1/1/1/2), Small Shield (0/0/0/+1/+1/+1/+2)
Green Droghan / Human / Grizzled Woodsman
Skill 9 Stamina 8 Luck 7 Magic 0
Talent: Crack Shot
Special Skills: Armor 1, Bows 2, Common Speech 4, Forest Lore 2, Healing 1, Hunting 2, Mounted Combat 1, Religion Lore 1, Ride 2, Strength 1, Swords 1, World Lore 1
Short Bow (1/2/2/3/3/3/4), Sword (2/3/3/3/3/4/5), Chainmail Cuirass (0/0/0/1/2/2/3), Small Shield (0/0/0//0/+1/+1/+2)
Weed / Human / Whining Con Artist
Skill 8 Stamina 7 Luck 8 Magic 0
Special Skills: Acrobatics 1, Awareness 2, Brawling 2, City Lore 2, Climb 1, Common Speech 4, Con 2, Dodge 1, Evaluate 1, Locks 2, Religion Lore 1, Secret Signs 1, Sleight of Hand 2, Thrown 1, World Lore 1
Dagger (1/1/2/2/2/2/3), Throwing Dagger (1/1/1/2/2/2/3), Dodge (0/0/0/0/0/1/2)
Joby (Jaliese du Teranquelle) / Human / Noble Runaway
Skill 7 Stamina 8 Luck 12 Magic 0
Special Skills: Bargain 1, City Lore 1, Common Speech 4, Con 1, Disguise 1, Dodge 2, Etiquette 1, Law 1, Religion Lore 1, Swords 2, World Lore 1
Short Sword (1/2/2/3/3/3/4), Dodge (0/0/0/0/1/1/2)
A quick note in case you’re not familiar with the FF/AFF system at all. Those numbers in the parentheses after the weapons and armor are, essentially, a chart on which you roll to determine how much damage is done or stopped by the weapon or armor. You hit? Roll a d6 and find out how much damage you did by looking at the chart. You were hit? Roll a d6 to determine how much damage (if any) your armor stopped. And yes, the charts go to 7, not 6. There are Talents and other ways to wind up adding to your roll (the first character in the list, for example, has “Strongarm” as a talent, which lets him add 1 to his melee weapon damage rolls, while the second character’s “Crackshot” talent does the same for missile weapons).
Oh, and the last two characters who have a Dodge value listed get to make rolls using Dodge as (effectively) armor because of the Swashbuckler talent (adjusted by their skill level in Dodge). This effect goes away if they wear any armor at all. Interesting stuff.
In yet another example of the weird parallelism I seem to share with you, V.P., I recently bought the Warlock of Firetop Mountain for my Kindle. The Kindle version has a built-in dice rolling mechanic that lets you run the combats–including a sort of cheat option that improves your odds (a little). I’ve already fought and defeated said Warlock several times, but have yet to find the right combination of keys to open his locked treasure chest . . .
I think Fighting Fantasy as-is could get a little monotonous in actual campaign play, but the advance rules presented above look intriguing. I’ve always liked the ‘partial dodge’ approach offered in some rule-system: a successful dodge can reduce damage, but not necessarily negate all of it (as it does in BRP), effectively functioning as armor.
Stop it, man! You’re weirding me out! 🙂
I’ve considered picking up the electronic Warlock (the iPhone version) on a couple of occasions, and may yet. So the parallelism is definitely strong.
There’s no doubt that the basic version (from what I remember, anyway) would collapse pretty badly in long-term campaign play. But these advanced rules definitely seem like they have serious legs. And yes, this “partial dodge”/”dodge as armor” thing is definitely neat. I kind of wish it didn’t cost a talent to be able to use (and could, of course, house rule it as such), but then again, I kind of like the fact that it does. I’m weird that way.
In other news, I hope all’s well with you and yours, G-Man. Here’s to a bright and geeky 2012!
Not sure if I’ll be doing the whiskey sours again tommorrow night . . . but something involving the old ETOH is definitely in the picture!
Most definitely! This year it’s likely beer and the occasional scotch on the rocks for me.
I’ll be at a boardgaming party with the wife and various friends, so it should be a delightfully nerdy beginning to the year.
G-man, can you tell me more about the kindle version? Ive just discovered/fallen in love with the tablet… Is it avaliae on any kindle or just the touch variant?
Sounds very cool though…
And a happy new year to both of ye!
I can’t speak to the Kindle version, but looking at the listing for it on the US Amazon site it looks like the non-touch varieties of the Kindle can use it, too. Several of the other Fighting Fantasy books, including City of Thieves and Deathtrap Dungeon are available, too.
They’ve also produced versions of these for the iPod/iPhone/iPad, which are available in the iTunes store (at least in the US). I haven’t sprung for any of them yet, but it’s only a matter of time, I imagine.
Happy New Year to you as well, Gobbo! Here’s to hoping it’s an even better (and definitely more stable) one for all of us!