November 13, 2013

TFT - Redoing Abilites After Play Starts

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 of the "innovations" for 4E D&D was the capability to swap out spells, feats, skills that a character had for another one of equal level. One of the "problems" with earlier versions of D&D was that a player could "make a mistake" in some of their choices either by choosing an ability that was useless or under-performing for their class. Some people liked the idea (my players certainly do) and some bristle at the notion of altering characters after the fact. However, 4E was not the first to introduce this concept as The Fantasy Trip (TFT) was doing it back in 1980.

TFT has a special section included that describes the various methods by which a character can "forget" a spell or talent. This is done to open up slots for more powerful spells and talents. In TFT a character is limited to how many spells or talents they can have. As the characters adventure they can gain access to more powerful spells. In addition, as they level up they also gain access to new talents which may cost more than the character can afford...unless they ditch some earlier choices.

TFT has very specific ways of "forgetting" abilities and they are tied into the world and in-character choices as opposed to a purely mechanical one as in 4E. They are...
-Wish. Wishes in TFT are not generic "get anything you want" things. Instead a wish provides a list of things a wish will do. Forgetting an ability is one of the choices.
-Wizard's Guild. The Wizard's Guild (TFT makes an assumption that they exist in every TFT world setting) is able to cast a spell that makes the target forget an ability. It is interesting that the system then also goes on to explain that this is not often a good idea since the Wizard's Guild also has access to the target's mind and memories as they cast the spell.
-Dragon. Apparently dragons can also cast a spell that makes a person forget an ability, but without the mind probe of the Wizard's Guild. It then mentions that talking to Dragons presents it's own challenges.
-Do Not Use It. A character can simply choose to not use the ability for an set amount of time and they will then "forget" the ability thus opening up new choices.

What do you think? Should characters be allowed to forget abilities and replace them with new ones?
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