17 maggio 2013

Improving the Basic FF manual

In my opinion, the Basic Manual for the Fighting Fantasy RPG represents the state-of-the-art of simplicity and playability in a Role Playing Game.

I've always shunned the Advanced version, for I deem it unnecessarily complicated, with too many Abilities, too many Magical Spells and too many Character Classes hindering the real strength of the FF game which is its neatness.

After all, if one desires a more complex RPG he'd better look after other titles, were they new ones or OSR.

However, it must be said the rules provided in the Basic Manual are decidedly too meagre to ensue a lasting play. Four or five adventures are generally enough to spoil the game of any involvment, leaving the Players with Characters too similar to each other.

So, here you are a small set of additional, yet simple, rules which represents a slight improvement of the Basic Manual without putting too many irons in the fire.

The Storyteller should choose which ones to embed in his game from the following.

characters' classes
Allow at least one of your players to take the role of the Sorcerer, as detailed in The Riddling Reaver campaign.

restoring stamina
An adventurer restores 2 STAMINA points after a full night of decent sleep, without taking guard duties.

multiple combat malus
When an adventurer or a monster/NPC is facing more than one enemy in combat, have him suffer a malus to his Attack Strength of 1 point for each rival after the first. Thus, an adventurer who is fighting against three enemies will receive a malus of -2 to his Attack Strength regardless of his ATTACKS score.

attacks score by character's class
During the Character creation let the Warrior adventurers start with an ATTACKS score of 2, while Sorcerers will have just 1 ATTACK.

fighting unarmed
An adventurer that enters combat unarmed, suffers a -3 malus on his Attack Strength. Moreover, he deals just 1 point of damage in a won Attack Round.

damage by weapon type
Use the rules for damage-by-weapon and heavy-weapon malus to the Attack Strength provided in the Riddling Reaver.

The adventurers may also wear armours which work in a similar way to weapons, soaking damage dealt during combat. Heavier armours impart some penalisations to the Character's SKILL. The armours’ statistics are.

Armour type123456SKILL
Leather Cuirass0000110
Scale Armour000123-1
Knightly Armour001123-2
ShieldAdds +1 to its wielder's Attack Strength

Let the Players choose four Feats from the following list when they create a new Character. When it comes to Test for Skill, the task given to the adventurer by the Storyteller may involve one of the Feats. For example, the Storyteller may ask an adventurer to Test his Skill (Athletic) in order to check wether he succeeds in climbing a sheer surface, or to Test for Skill (Healer) in order to identify a magical Potion. If the adventurer actually has the required Feat, he can normally Test for Skill by rolling two dice. If the he hasn’t the requested Feat, he must Test his Skill with three dice instead.
Here's the Feats list.

Animal Kin Enables an adventurer to successfully deal with some animals and to be able to guess the intentions of others. This Feat also grants a +1 bonus to the Attack Strength in a mounted fight.

Athletic It enables an adventurer to be agile and swift, to climb and swim effectively and, to some degree, to perform some acrobatics.

Courtier It enables a Character to correctly behave in mundane situations, as courtly ones, and to have a good heraldic and diplomatic knowledge. This Feat also ensures the adventurer he can read and write fluently.

Elusive It enables the adventurer to blend with his surroundings. In the countryside, he can hide undetected among trees and rocks and pass close to an enemy without being seen. In a town or city, it enables him to look and sound like a native of that area, and can help him to find shelter or a safe hiding place.

Fencer This Feat indicates that the Character has been taught to master melee weapons. The Feat grants a +1 bonus on the ATTACKS score and a +1 bonus on Attack Strength in melee fighting. The adventurers without this Feat can’t wield two-handed weapons. The Storyteller may want to prevent Sorcerers from choosing this Feat.

Healer This Feat allows to restore 3 STAMINA points, instead of 2, after a night of good sleep. An adventurer with this Feat may also try to cure 1 STAMINA point lost by a fellow Character (but not by himself) once per scene by Testing for Skill (Healer). This Feat grants a minimum knowledge of herbal medicine and Potions, too.

Heedful This Feat may warn a Character of imminent danger. It may also hint at the true purpose of a stranger or a strange object encountered during the adventures. It is also used for detecting secret passages.

Hunter This Feat ensures that a Charcater will never starve in the wild. He will always be able to hunt for food except in areas of wasteland and desert. It also enables an adventurer to move stealthily when stalking his prey, or moving not to be noticed by enemies.

Lore-Wise This Feat grants a Character a vast knowledge about diverse subjects, such as occultism, history and legends. It also assures the adventurer he can read and write fluently. The Storyteller may want to prevent Warriors from choosing this Feat.

Ranger It enables to make the correct choice of a path in the wild, to discover the location of a person or object in a town, city, building or dungeon and to read the secrets of footprints and tracks.

Robber It enables an adventurer to pick pockets and locks, and to disarm traps. The Feat also grants some degrees of streetwise.

Wrestler The adventurer knows how to lethally fight unarmed. This Feat neutralises the -3 malus to the Attack Strength given to him when he's fighting bare-handed.

You can use the following Character Sheet which hosts the slots for those extra rules. I recommend you to print it in A5 (half an A4) format.

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