November 11, 2013

TFT - Stats as Abilities

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 Strength (ST) stat in The Fantasy Trip (TFT) has an interesting mechanic as the stat gets higher. Usually in most games there are a set number of things that a stat can affect. For example, in most games Strength will increase how much melee damage is done in combat, how much a character can carry and sometimes the percentage chance to bend bars. All of these progress as the stat rises. However, almost never does a character get new abilities as the stat increases.

In TFT, as ST goes up the character can use more difficult weapons (weapons require a certain level of ST before they can be used - often due to the size of the weapon) and gains a larger health pool. These are similar to other systems. However, in TFT a character also gains unique abilities. These include hitting doors with your foot as if it was a blunt weapon and wielding a two-handed weapon with one hand.

This is an interesting concept. TFT can get away with this because it is such a stat driven system, everything is resolved vs. their stats. When a character "levels" up by spending xp, the only thing a character can increase is their stats. In effect, their level is defined by how high their stats are.

It would be interesting to see if a system could be designed wherein everything is completely stat driven. Where a character's talents, advantages, abilities are all defined by their given stat. There would be no skills. This system would have new abilities unlocked as the character's stats go up. Interesting idea.
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