Monday, November 18, 2013

Fighting Fantasy in Arihmere

For many gamers, the Fighting Fantasy series is the distillation of the role-playing experience: not just a first step into the hobby, but the first gaming experience, and the first set of playable rules. The fabled passages under Firetop Mountain remain the first dungeon, the first great adventure.

The rules for FF are elegant and concisely constructed around SKILL, STAMINA and LUCK – brief, memorable, and surprisingly flexible, but they work best for solo questing, where the single character must be as strong and capable as a party of adventurers. A few years after FF, I ran a few sessions of Fighting Fantasy: The Introductory Roleplaying Game, and they worked well for a single player but had evident weaknesses for playing with a larger group.

(I also collected the first Advanced Fighting Fantasy set, and though these rules are a fun introduction to fantasy adventure roleplaying and a useful resources, some of the flaws in the original system remained.)

Over the years, I've tinkered with the FF system and wondered if it would be possible to scale it up to a multiplayer experience without losing the fun and accessibility of the original system. Here are some ideas.

Fighting Fantasy House Rules from the Tinkerage


Skill: A character's Initial SKILL score is 9.
(Skill is so important in FF that a small difference in initial skill provides a huge advantage. A fixed Skill puts characters on an equal footing.)
Optionally, an advanced character with the ability to use magic has a SKILL of 7.

Stamina: A character's Initial STAMINA score is half of 12+2d6.
(Guarding lower Stamina means that characters should consider LUCK and Escape as options in combat more often.)

Luck: A character's Initial LUCK score is 6+1d6.

Using Skill

A test of SKILL (opening doors, detecting traps, overcoming obstacles or avoiding danger) requires a roll of less than or equal to current SKILL on two dice to succeed. The test may be subject to penalties or small bonuses depending on the situation.

In some cases, particularly in dodging sudden danger, LUCK may be used instead of SKILL.


Use the FF combat procedures. Treat wounds from combat as scrapes, scratches, knocks, and bruises, until STAMINA drops below zero and the character is severely wounded. 

Encourage the use of LUCK to enhance or deflect harm, and the Escape rule to flee combat.

Heavy weapons: A weapon that does three points of damage has a -1 penalty to attack strength.

Armour: Tough armour (mail) will turn any normal damage to a 1 point hit on a die roll of 4+ and imposes a -1 penalty on all movement.
Heavy armour (plate) will turn any normal damage to a 1 point hit on a die roll of 3+ and stop all damage on 5+, and imposes a -2 penalty on all movement and perception.

The GM should also allow rest and provisions to restore STAMINA.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Crilmede [Mini-scenario]

There are three old tombs at the back of the little cove at the upper end of the steep-sided mountain lake of Crilmede. The only way in is by boat, or the narrow, crumbling track that starts a mile back along the shore.

Two of the tombs belong to princes of the Ellfolk, but the last one, the deepest and darkest, belongs to one of the old druit arch-priests, a powerful and cruel magician. They say fifty warriors with spear and shield were sacrificed and their bodies tipped into the dark depths of the cove – but sacrifices or not, they still answer the call of the arch-priest.

Problem is, no one remember which tomb is which. What are the chances that foolhardy grave-robbers would pass the wrong door at the end of the lake?