November 26, 2013

TFT - Party Leader/Party Spokesman

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.

One thing that has fallen out of favor with more recent games is the concept of the party spokesman, often called the party leader. Basically this is when the group allows one player/character to speak for the party the majority of the time. This would range from fairly mundane to the specific actions of other characters. Of course, players were able to declare the actions of their own characters as they felt, especially during combat, but the default was that the party leader called the actions.

The fairly mundane could include such things as...
"We all head to the tavern."
"We leave town an hour before dawn."
"We attack the goblins."

The specific things could include such things as...
"The thief checks for traps with the fighter pressed up against the wall to the right of the door, while the mage hangs back at least 10'."
"The mage tries talking the guard into letting us into the city without paying the tax."
"The fighter watches the north door, while the thief tries to pry the gem out of the statue's eye. The priest will start bandaging up the mage's wounds."

The Fantasy Trip (TFT) embraces the concept of the party leader. However, they did not make it mandatory. If the group decided to choose a party leader there were actual in game benefits for doing so. If there was a party leader it was assumed talk within the group was kept at a minimum and thus the party received a bonus to moving quietly through a dungeon. Without a party leader, the group was assumed to be talking and the noise could be heard by whatever denizens were nearby in the dungeon.

What do you think about a stringent party leader? Do you think its okay, or that each player should always call the actions of their own characters?
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