Category Archives: Advanced Fighting Fantasy

Posts about, related to, or featuring content for Advanced Fighting Fantasy.

Troika! at NTRPGCon 2017

I will be running a game of Troika! at this year’s North Texas RPG Con, on Saturday night (June 3rd) at 6pm.

I’m calling it The Spire of the Moth-Riders and I’m gunning for a Frank Mentzer-esque Ad-Lib adventure with this one. But what does that mean?

It means that, while I have ideas in mind for the adventure, my goal is to take a number of suggestions from the players as they roll up their characters (which is super fast in Troika!) and I’ll weave them into the game as we play. Really, as much as RPGs are already collaborative endeavors, I’m looking to turn this into a groovy prog rock jam session where I (bassist that I am) showed up with a song title and some chord progression ideas and turn the rest of the band loose on it. Well, that’s how it works in my bands, anyway.

So if you’re going to be at NTRPG Con and are itching to give Troika! a try I’ve got you covered. Just remember that game signups open this weekend (Friday night/Saturday morning at midnight), so don’t delay!

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AFF Rogues Gallery 2: Magic Users!

Wherein your humble scribe, upon returning to topics that actually interest him, presents four characters for Advanced Fighting Fantasy 2 – one for each of the available magic systems in the game. These folks were all rolled up randomly (per the optional rules in Chapter 11), and have a bare minimum of equipment.

Tharin Ringmaker / Human / A Craftsman With A Certain Knack
Skill 8 Stamina 9 Luck 11 Magic 4
Talent: Familiar (Udo the Grey Parrot)
Special Skills: Magic – Minor 2, Crafting – Metalwork 2, Swords 1, Strength 1, Law 1, Evaluate 1, World Lore 1, City Lore 1, Religion Lore 1, Dodge 1, Common Speech 4
Magic Points: 8
Cantrips: Burn, Extinguish, Glimmer, Hear, Mend, Noise
4 gp
Short Sword (1/2/2/3/3/3/4), Leather Hauberk (0/1/1/1/1/1/2)

Kentrick / Human / A Wizard From The Sticks
Skill 7 Stamina 6 Luck 8 Magic 5
Talent: Focus (Oaken Staff)
Special Skills: Magic – Minor 2, Magic – Wizardry 2, Magic Lore 2, Staves 1, Thrown 1, Animal Lore 1, Healing 1, Fishing 1, Hunting 1, Awareness 1, Trap Knowledge 1, Bargain 1, World Lore 1, Forest Lore 2, Religion Lore 1, Common Speech 4
Magic Points: 14
Cantrips: Enhance, Entertain, Mend, Mistake, Noise, Push
Spells: Wall, Counterspell, Force Bolt, Sleep, Ward, Open, Light, Illusion
8 gp
Staff (1/2/3/3/3/3/4)

Cylise Witchborn / Human / A Peasant Sorcerer
Skill 8 Stamina 13 Luck 5 Magic 6
Talent: Natural Mage
Special Skills: Magic – Sorcery 2, Polearms 2, Bows 1, Animal Lore 1, Dodge 2, Healing 1, Sneaking 1, Con 1, World Lore 1, City Lore 1, Religion Lore 1, Common Speech 4
3 gp
Spear (2/2/3/3/3/4/5), Leather Hauberk (0/1/1/1/1/1/2), Small Shield (0/0/0/0/+1/+1+2)

Kaenin Farool / Human / A Senior Priest of Telak
Skill 9 Stamina 8 Luck 5 Magic 6
Talent: Holy
Special Skills: Magic – Priestly 2, Clubs 2, Law 1, Leadership 1, Etiquette 1, Religion Lore 2, City Lore 2, Awareness 2, World Lore 1, Common Speech 4
Priestly Abilities: Bravery, Smite vs. Evil Humanoids, Heal, “For The Glory Of Telak!”
11 gp
Mace (2/3/3/3/3/3/4), Breastplate (0/0/0/1/2/3/4)

This group doesn’t really make much of an adventuring party, I’m afraid. But any one of them would be a useful addition to a party that contained some non-magical folks, I believe.

In other news, my copy of Out Of The Pit arrived in the mail today. So with the AFF “monster manual” on hand I’m that much closer to feeling like I might be ready to give the game a run. Still no definitive thoughts on whether or not I’m prepared to brave the wilds of online play. I’ll keep you all posted on that as things continue to develop.

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AFF: Priestly Magic

Advanced Fighting FantasySo I fell asleep whilst* reading the section on Priestly magic in the “new” Advanced Fighting Fantasy last night. I don’t often fall asleep reading things because I’m generally aware enough of my need for sleep that I put the book down and turn out the light. But just pondering the various permutations of deities in several of the various pantheons I’ve dreamt up for fantasy worlds over the decades and how I’d implement them in AFF kept me going long after I should have stopped.

Priests (at least those who spend points on Magic – I suppose it’s entirely reasonable to assume that not all priests can channel the divine power of their god) get access to four “magic” powers: three that are drawn from a common pool and one that is unique to their god. These powers are officially useable once each per day, though it’s possible (by spending Luck) to use a previously used power once more each day (but never thrice). It seems a little harsh to put that much of a limit on things – especially healing – but I also kinda like the capping. It keeps priests from going all miracle happy since they don’t have other “random” limits on their ability to do these things (i.e., no casting rolls and no Magic Point pool to manage). I still think I might tweak the rules a little bit, but that’s a topic for a different time. And I should probably run at least one game with the established rules in place before I go hotrodding the system.

There are a large number of Titan-specific (Titan is the default AFF world, in case you didn’t know) deities described, each with his or her own unique power explained and the three “common” powers associated with him or her delineated. The common powers include things like healing, creation of food & water, protection from (deity-specific enemy X), smite (deity-specific enemy X), and so on. The unique powers are quite varied, with things like “detect lies for X turns” and “cause a terrible disease in a target” and “will never be attacked by (deity-specific totem animal)” and so on. There aren’t any official guidelines for creating unique powers for your own pantheon’s gods, but a little studying of the existing unique powers should make such a task fairly trivial in the end.

I’d love to knock out a couple of gods right now, but alas the book is at home whilst I am at work. Oh, what I wouldn’t give for a PDF of AFF just to be able to refer to when I’m not near the book. But the publishers don’t appear to have made such a thing available. Silly publishers! 🙂

In the meantime, let’s just say that a god of wine seems like an ideal candidate to grant his priests the ability to create food & drink, instill bravery (or perhaps hostility) in individuals, and possibly to cause a debilitating inebriation (or hangover) in foes. It’s tempting to try to shoehorn some kind of healing in there as well, but hey, there’s limits that must be respected here.

*The hazards of reading a book written by a Brit is that it starts to colour your language.

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AFF: Testing Out Monster Creation

Continuing my excursion into Advanced Fighting Fantasy (the “new” one), I thought I’d try putting together a monster for the system. My copy of Out Of The Pit hasn’t arrived just yet, but the excellent online compilation Beyond The Pit has served as a solid resource to begin my expedition.

You might recognize the following baddie as one of my favorites from a different game.

Skill 8 Stamina 8 Wits 7
Attacks 2 claws or 1 weapon
Damage: Claws (1/1/1/2/2/2/3) or by weapon type
Armor: Varies, usually Studded Leather (0/1/1/1/2/3)
Special Skills/Abilities: Regeneration, Paralyzing Touch (see description)
Habitat: Ruins, Subterranean, Wetlands
Number Encountered: 1d6/2
Type: Humanoid, Monster
Reaction: Hostile
Size: Medium

Throlgh are an unholy combination of Ghoul, Troll, and Hobgoblin (which they superficially resemble). They are fearless fighters who hunger for the flesh of sentient beings. Like Ghouls, their touch can paralyze those wounded by their vicious claws. Those damaged by a Throlgh’s claws must make a Luck check or be rendered completely immobile for 1d6 rounds. Like Trolls, these terrible fiends regenerate, healing 1 Stamina per round (except for damage done by fire or acid). Like Hobgoblins, they are canny warriors who receive a +1 to damage rolls when using weapons. Throlgh are often found in the company of regular Hobgoblins, acting as sergeants or overseers of slaves.

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AFF: Thoughts On The Magic Systems

So, Advanced Fighting Fantasy just happens to include four(!) different magic systems. Now, to be honest, two of them – Minor Magic & Wizardry – are essentially the same “system” (roll to cast, burn Magic Points) just with different spells (MM spells are much lower in power). Sorcery is mechanically very similar to MM and Wizardry (roll to cast), but has some flavor differences and, most importantly, is powered by burning actual Stamina (i.e., Hit Point) rather than the substantially less painful expenditure of Magic Points associated with Minor Magic & Wizardry. And then there’s the Priestly approach to magic, which has some mechanical differences (no rolls to cast being the biggest, no MP or Stamina costs being the other) and limits its practitioners to many fewer spells/effect. So these systems aren’t as wildly divergent as, say, BRP’s Magic and Sorcery as presented in the Big Gold Book. But still, the differences are there.

What’s awesome here is that the functional differences between Minor Magic/Wizardry and Sorcery makes for a delightful opportunity to take the game in either a high fantasy or swords & sorcery direction just by which system(s) you choose to use. Minor Magic and Wizardry – either alone or used in conjunction – speak to high fantasy (though MM by itself might be only half high fantasy). Meanwhile, Sorcery, with its high personal cost of burning Stamina to cast, is (no surprise, given its name) perfect for a swords & sorcery feel. If you decide to use all four systems, you’re clearly in over-the-top fantasy land, which can certainly be a fun place to visit. Oh, and I suppose if you went with just Priestly magic, you’d be in a very interesting place as well. I’m not sure what you’d call that place, but it might make for an interesting Ancient World kind of feel, where only the devout were throwing magic around.

So not only is AFF a delightfully simple system to play with, it manages to be highly configurable. Mix & match magic systems to taste and you’re off and running into the fantasy feel you want to explore.

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Advanced Fighting Fantasy Books

Blacksand!So I’ve ordered vintage copies of the old AFF books Blacksand! and Out Of The Pit, and they’re both on their way. Part of me wanted to get the new printing of Out Of The Pit, but it was much more cost effective to snag an old copy, and since the new book is just a straight reprint. I’ve also read that the content from Blacksand! is due to be released by the new license holder eventually, but I didn’t feel like waiting.

Anyway, I keep having ideas of things to do with the system, but I know that it’s way too simple & light for the folks I play with normally to want to sink their teeth into. But, like Barbarians of Lemuria, I think it’s a system that I can use as an inspirational tool even if I have to then take those inspirations and wrangle them into Basic RolePlaying.

All that aside, I’m still entertaining notions of using AFF for some kind of online play or another. It strikes me as ideal for a good one- or two-player (plus GM) game. That is, having only three truly character-defining stats feels good for quick play with a small group, but even I can admit that for larger groups you’d run into folks feeling like their characters were all too much the same. But if you had one fight-y type and one magic-y type getting into trouble side-by-side, I think it would be aces.

Building Out Advanced Fighting Fantasy

Out Of The PitIn other news, I’m already kicking around some ideas for a few new talents for AFF, including:

  • Brawler: This talent reduces the combat score penalty for fighting unarmed against an opponent armed with anything more than a dagger from -4 to -2.
  • Iron Fist: This talent increases the damage table for unarmed attacks to (1/1/1/2/2/3/4)

I’ve also got an idea for implementing a whole bunch of new talents based on the Martial Arts abilities in the old, ill-fated wuxia-meets-D&D game DragonFist to make AFF a solid engine for that kind of fighting. But I’ll save those thoughts for another time.

I think the key thing I’m seeing/feeling here is that AFF is so delightfully light that (like other light games) it’s just begging to have stuff made up for it. Consider these new spells for the Minor Magic system as a great example.

I guess the ultimate point of this post is that, unsurprisingly, I like games that are inspiring and open a hell of a lot more than I like detailed games with detailed rules and answers for everything. Shocking news, I know 🙂

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Advanced Fighting Fantasy Rogues Gallery

Advanced Fighting FantasySo 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
Talent: Strongarm
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
Gold 6
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
Gold 9
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
Talent: Swashbuckler
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
Gold 5
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
Talent: Swashbuckler
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
Gold 8
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.

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