November 22, 2013

TFT - Cultural Law

The Fantasy Trip was a role-playing game that came out in 1980 with the release of In The Labyrinth, the core rule set. It also included Melee (tactical combat) and Wizard (spellcasting), as well as the Advanced versions of them. The game was written by Steve Jackson who later used the system as a base for GURPS. This series of articles is a look at the rules of The Fantasy Trip as seen through modern eyes.

The Fantasy Trip (TFT) goes into a nice discussion on laws and culture. It gives some examples of unique cultural laws that are unusual, such as not singing sad songs after a certain hour or requiring a physical action as a person passes a holy place. It then goes into what happens if a character breaks the law of an area with various rules for trials and jail time. However, its the concept of unique cultural laws that intrigues me.

I like the idea of unique cultural laws. They can enhance an area, making it feel different. All too often many fantasy worlds can quickly become generic and too similar. Adding in cultural laws brings out the uniqueness of the area and people. Think about the real world. We have unique customs and laws throughout the world and even within a given nation. It makes sense a fantasy world would as well.

One thing of note is that in TFT it is possible to quickly research what the unique local laws are in a new area when the character get there. This means that if the characters are smart and take preventative steps they can avoid be blindsided by some unique and unexpected new law. I am not a fan of blindsiding characters with new rules unless they have a chance to proactively deal with them. Otherwise it's just a DM being a jerk by springing something new on them that they never had a chance against.

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