Character A Day, Day Seven
The Fantasy Trip
Magic Mushrooms/Black Light Posters/Lava Lamps Not Required
So, here we are at day seven. Still kind of sticking with the old stuff, though I am using the newly-reprinted edition of TFT (That’s “The Fantasy Trip”, if you couldn’t figure it out), which I picked up at GenCon 2019.
I played Melee and Wizard — two pocket-game antecedents of TFT — a decent amount back in the day, but never got the “Into the Labyrinth” supplement that made them into full-fledged RPGs. Many of the concepts in TFT found their way into GURPS, which is one of my all-time favorite systems. So, much as with James Bond yesterday, this is new for me. I’m generally familiar with the rules from the related systems, but never created a character.
Hero Or Wizard?
The first choice is “Hero” or “Wizard”, which is “Guy that doesn’t use magic” or “Guy that does”.
Let’s go with “Hero”. There’s a selection of possible archetypes, though the system is freeform, based on Attributes and Talents, the latter of which subsumes both skills and what other systems tend to called “Advantages”. Since I used the James Bond game to roll up a brick, it seems only sensible to use TFT to generate a weaselly little sneak, of the Cugel variety, which are always fun to play until the rest of the party kills you.
We’ll pick a name early, something Vancian… Nemerian of the Four Flourishes. It doesn’t mean anything, but it sounds cool. He is human, so he begins with Str 8, Dx 8, IQ 8, and 8 points to divide up amongst the three.
Str in TFT also functions as your hit points and constitution. Leaving it low is risky, but Nemerian figures if he ends up in combat, he’s screwed up somewhere. His goal is to get the rewards of battle while someone else takes the risks.
Dexterity also applies in combat; he might not take or deal much damage, but he’s likely to land a blow.
IQ allows you to buy talents, and caps which talents are available. It will also allow Nemerian to learn a spell or two, despite not being a wizard. You have a number of points to buy talents equal to your IQ if you are a hero, with some talents costing 2 or more; wizards pay double. Likewise, a wizard spends 1 point per spell, while a hero must pay 3.
Carousing (of course!) 1
Knife (just in case) 1
Literacy (useful for so many things) 1
Running (“tactical withdrawal”) 2
Recognize Value 1
Courtly Graces (the rich are better marks than the poor) 1
Detect Lies (Gotta know when you’re the mark!) 2
11 points doesn’t go far. There’s a lot of talents, and I can only pick those requiring an IQ of 11 or less — they go to 14.
My movement allowance (MA) is 12 — 10 for human, +2 for the Running talent, as long as I’m wearing light armor.
I have 1000.00 to equip myself with. Hmm.
Middle-class clothing: 50
Backup Knife: 10
Leather Armor: 100 (stops 2 hits, but -2 DX)
Lots of money left over for various schemes.
Character creation is quick (I expected this to be longer), but there’s a lot of choices. This is pretty impressive for the time, and it’s clear how much GURPS owes to it (and how many things are lacking, like a disadvantage/weakness system to score some extra points). In keeping with the ethos of the era, a starting character will have many things they’d like which they can’t afford, but there’s enough depth and variety in what you can buy to let you make a decent version of your character concept. Nemerian would be fun to play, and as it’s a classless/level-less system, he could evolve in many directions — becoming a decent fighter, picking up some spells, or learning talents like “stealth” and “disguise”.