November 6, 2013

TFT - A World Built For Adventure

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 default world of The Fantasy Trip (TFT) is Cidri. The setting is a huge kitchen sink of adventure. The premise behind the setting is that on a world in the past one family had the ability to travel across dimensions into other worlds. From these worlds they plundered technology, magic and people that made them more powerful. With this power they built the huge world of Cidri, populating it with people, items and creatures of mythology and wonder according to their individual whims. And then they left the world to itself. Cidri is a huge world (far larger than Earth) with all sorts of interesting and unique things on it. Basically, if you want something in your TFT game you can have it. There is a default in-game rationalization for including anything a DM would want to include. Cidri is built for adventure.

And that is what every good world setting is needs to be...

-A setting needs to allow for a wide range of adventure types. If a setting only allows for urban intrigue then you will lose the players who enjoy a good dungeon crawl at times.

-A setting needs to be able to accommodate the things a DM (and players) will want to bring to the setting. If a setting is too restrictive a DM will feel that restraint and this will turn them off. DMs like to be creative and if a a setting doesn't let them have their fun, then it is not a setting they will like.

All that being said, some groups want a setting that is restrictive. Obviously if the group wants hard science-fiction then a DM adding magic, or even psychic abilities, to the rules will go counter to what the group wants. However, that is a choice a group makes in their personal game style choices. It is usually always best if those choices are left to the gaming group and not a default of the game system. Remember, a setting needs to be able to reach a wide audience of varying styles. That is not to say that every game needs to be a complete kitchen sink, but a good setting will allow for some flexibility.

TFT may have gone a bit far in their setting. While it allows for anything to be included within the setting, it may be too much. There is a definite lack of world cohesion. Players may begin to doubt the logic of the world when things change radically from one section of the world to another. Of course, a DM can decide to curtail the options themselves, but with the broad slapdash of setting, the temptation will always be there to throw something oddball at the players.

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