Adventure Fantasy Game – Random Wizard Questions

These questions are good because Adventure Fantasy Game is mechanically well different from D&D despite being essentially the same game. And almost completely stat-compatible. Grab the free AFG Lite PDF here, full chargen included. Buy it here.

(1). Race (Elf, Dwarf, Halfling) as a class? Yes or no?

Possibly. AFG allows to pick a different class (actually, a Way, which is a bit different as it it represent focused growth in a specific discipline) every time PCs level up. Demihumans have special classes of their own that they can take.

(2). Do demi-humans have souls?

Yes, except elves.

(3). Ascending or descending armor class?

Armour reduces damage. In the lite version, ascending, kinda.

(4). Demi-human level limits?

All PCs stop levelling at level 12, 13 with a trick, but they can get other perks.

(5). Should thief be a class?

There are Practitioners that gives you experience with a specific task.

(6). Do characters get non-weapon skills?

Yes, with the 5MORE system. More commentary.

(7). Are magic-users more powerful than fighters (and, if yes, what level do they take the lead)?

Fighters are bread, Casters are Nutella. They’re different. Fighters kick so much ass in melee it’s unreal. Caster change the laws of physics.

(8). Do you use alignment languages?

No. Languages are national shibboleths though.

(9). XP for gold, or XP for objectives (thieves disarming traps, etc…)?

Levels and perks for accomplishments and looting important treasure troves. There are no equivalent for D&D XPs.

(10). Which is the best edition; ODD, Holmes, Moldvay, Mentzer, Rules Cyclopedia, 1E ADD, 2E ADD, 3E ADD, 4E ADD, Next ?

I roll with S&W Whitebox. Sometimes Moldvay/Mentzer/RC, which are for me equivalent.

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Variations on 5MORE

AFG is a game that welcomes tinkering. I wrote it so that parts can be easily taken out, replaced or defaced without making the rest of the game suffer. And while I’m very happy with the 5MORE mechanic, I have a few totally awesome 100% not rigorously tested home rules that you might want to try. I initially considered presenting only the ones I like best but, well, sometimes my standards are really low. Also, I love tinkering with rules. I really do.

Smooth Expertise

In 5MORE experience points don’t influence the rolls until all 6 EXPERT letters are collected (I kind of realised now this sounds like Bubble Bubble’s EXTEND). The alternative is, when a character with some experience in the task misses by 1, either treat is as a partial success or roll 1d6: if the result is less or equal than the experience, the check is successful.

Reasonable Proficiency

In some situations some experience is enough. Maybe if the character is very familiar with the circumstances of the task (“I hunt a lot of bears, that’s what I do”) or the task is kind of basic (preparing alchemical components). In these situations give the +1 modifier even if the character has 3 (or even less) EXPERT letters.

Focused Mastery

Instead of choosing the MASTER task when the 6th EXPERT task is gained, the character accumulates MASTER letters on a single EXPERT task of choice. Experience rolls for MASTER letters can only be attempted after an unmodified 6 on a 5MORE roll, and the MASTER letter is gained only on a natural 6 on the experience roll itself. The first time that happens, erase EXPERT from your character sheet and write down that big M letter next to the task. Yay you!

Specialised Expert

This replaces MASTER rules, and is worth trying for Engineers as they keep on making a ton of Engineering rolls. After a character becomes EXPERT, more EXPERT letters are accrued on specializations, and specializations bonuses stack. So if the engineer Tikola Nesla is already EXPERT in engineering and were to succeed an engineering experience roll while fixing a steam engine, she would get an EXPERT letter in Engineering – Mechanical. After becoming EXPERT in that, all 5MORE rolls on Engineering – Mechanical are at +2 and Tikola can now gain expertise in, for example, Engineering – Mechanical – Automatonic eventually getting a +3 on that if these giant robots don’t rebel and squish her first. Keep in mind that as more experience is accrued, the expertise coverage becomes narrower and narrower.

A specialisation tree for a steam-fantasy or tech-friendly fantasy setting might look like this:

  • Engineering
    • Mechanical
      • Naval
      • Aeronautic
      • Automatonic (giant robots. Also less than giant robots, but why would you ever?)
    • Structural
      • Civil
      • Military
      • Demolition
    • Aetheric
      • Electrical
      • Arcane (where the best and brightest make magic and technology meet without uncontrolled explosions)
      • Brain-valve Interfaces

Training

Allow character to spend time and money training. Simply grant some EXPERT letters or experience rolls. Maybe grant letters up to EXP, with the rest to be gained through experience rolls. If you feel super-kind and have one of these long-term “more or less domain game” campaigns, allow a free experience roll for each season on whatever characters are busy doing, even without training. And to keep things interesting, never let that last T to be gained through training, let them sweat for it in dangerous situations. 😉

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Chthonic Codex: a couple of illustrations

Chthonic Codex is the temporary project name for an AFG monster handbook. It’s going to be tied to the Western League campaign but due to the nature of the tie it can be easily used elsewhere and for other games.

Here at AFG Central we’re debating whether to double-stat the content for both AFG and generic-OSR (like LotFP material) or make it compatible with S&W.

The art side of it will be daring. Christopher Stanley is a young and talented local artist and will illustrate the great majority of the book, if not all of it. And as all “monster” entries will have an accompanying illustration, we are talking about a lot of art. Enjoy some preliminary studies. 🙂

5MORE System: lightweight task resolution in AFG – Adventure Fantasy Game

Adventure Fantasy Game (it’s out! buy it here!) is built around a task resolution system called 5MORE. 5MORE is based on the Art of Delving by David ‘Sham’ Bowman, used with his permission.  I totally took his baby and mistreated it for more than a year of playtesting and tweaking.

5MORE starts simple and doesn’t ask much.

First, describe what you’re doing. 5MORE shall not completely replace deliberate intention with a roll.

Then, roll a d6: is the result 5 or MORE? Success! Is it 1? Abject and utter failure!

There might be modifiers, of course. Kept low both in amounts and number because beancounting is not that fun.

Is the task hard or easy? Add or subtract 1.

Is the approach particularly valid or ineffective? Add or subtract 1.

Is your character generally good or bad at this kind of things (high or low strenght for example)? Add or subtract 1.

Do you have good tools, or have bad ones? Add or subtract 1.

Trying to hit heavy or light armour? Add or subtract 1. *

You might start to notice a pattern here.

By the way, have you succeeded with a natural 5 or 6? Roll again with no modifier. If you hit 5MORE again, mark the first letter from the word EXPERT next to the task name on your character sheet. If you were climbing, write “Climbing”. If you were sneaking about, write “Sneak”. If it’s ambiguous, the Referee will get your task a name.

And of course when you accumulate all the EXPERT letters for a task you become EXPERT at it, getting +1 on that task rolls. After you’re an expert in 6 tasks, pick one of them, erase the word EXPERT and write MASTER (how convenient, MASTER has six letters too). That means +2 to that task rolls. And you can’t be MASTER in more than a task.

While the handbook presents a list of Tasks and related modifiers, it’s only an optional crutch: using 5MORE characters start with no skills lists and tasks are made up on the fly. 5MORE and Impromptu Skills are the spine that keep Adventure Fantasy Game together.

My favourite example was when Max’s young knight was running, in plate armour, in forest undergrowth, on a mountain side, trying to place as much distance as possible between himself and Wulf’s bandits, and succeeded both rolls. To underline the semiserious nature of the game and the not-exactly-brave behaviour, the task was named “FLEEEE!!!!”.

While I had plans to use my other task-resolution system, 5MORE works much better. It’s dead simple to run and teach, the probabilities do not get all not wonky in extreme scenarios [**], abilities improve with practice and, most importantly, players like it.

[*]:  Yes, it does combat too; 5MAIL is a combat system that uses 5MORE and you can find it in AFG (together with FIGHTMORE, the advanced and otherwise unrelated combat system).

[**]: There are other small rules covering corner cases but they got used very rarely.