Thursday, February 18, 2016

A quick conversion - XD20 and Sword & Backpack

Not too long ago, the Tinkerage mentioned the ultra-light Sword & Backpack system. The rules of Sword & Backpack are minimal: roll a d20 and decide what's fair. But with a little tinkering, Sword & Backpack could be adapted to XD20, or my still nameless D20 adventure rules.

Here's how it goes. In Sword & Backpack you can play as either a Warrior, Rogue, or Sorcerer. These are types rather than classes, but we can all guess that the Warrior excels in combat, the Rogue in subterfuge and skill, and the Sorcerer in magic. Hence, we can map these to XD20 stats, or Fighting, Skill, and Magic.

Warrior (WAR) = TAC/Fighting
Rogue (ROG) = PSYCH/Skill
Sorcerer (SOR) = WAH/Magic

Assign the three scores (WAR, ROG, SOR), takes the best score as the character's primary role, figure out hits and what-not (possibly a simple three-strikes-and-you're-out system), and you're ready to play. Each character type will be able to do a little of what other types can: a sorcerer can engage in light swordplay, a rogue can read a magic scroll.

Once you have your characters, why not try the scenarios in the Lanternport adventure setting, because, really, nothing can beat delving into a vast, magical library guarded by traps and bookwyrms, and patrolled by eerie undead librarians.

Art by Sam Mameli
Library Revenant - Art by Sam Mameli

Sunday, February 7, 2016

A handful of skills for FF

One of the nice things about basic Fighting Fantasy is that most of what an adventurer would want to do is described in the section on common adventuring situations. There's no need for a comprehensive system of skills (as opposed to SKILL) as these situations describe what most adventurers will actually want to do in the confines of adventure: search, sneak, bribe or persuade monster, snaffle loose objects, break doors and chests.

There a plenty of skill-based systems (like BRP) with extensive lists of skills, but a few common skills could be a good way to add variety to your Fighting Fantasy character without adding much more to the rules.

Adventuring Skills

Stealth: The first thing you want to try is sneaking past that guard.
Tricks & Traps: Finding the location of that hidden latch, tampering with a trap, opening a stubborn lock, detaching a tempting purse.
Persuasion: A bluff, a clever lie, or a call to a higher purpose, even striking a good bargain, all require persuasiveness.
Bind Wounds: Any form of rough healing, or first aid after battle.
Strength: Not simply training and endurance, but knowing the point of leverage, or where to exert pressure when you break open a chest or smash down a door.
Hunting & Tracking: There's always game to pursue and tracks to follow in the wild.
Wayfaring: It's useful to know the hidden paths, the landmarks, the places of safety and concealment.
Learning: Reading is one thing, but this character knows how to decipher an ancient script, the name of that demon, that crucial fragment of old lore. Speak, friend, and enter!

How to use the skills

Skills are not just training, they're habits, strategies, approaches. In a simple FF game, offer characters three skills when they're created. Then, if the conditions are right, the skill confers a +1 or +2 bonus to action. This can be added to SKILL (or WITS, if you use that option), or even a probability roll.