HELP! Some Questions From A Newcomer To BFRPG

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oninbo
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HELP! Some Questions From A Newcomer To BFRPG

Post Wed May 13, 2015 3:31 pm

Hello,
I am completely new to Role playing games. I have always been fascinated by the idea of rpgs but never actually played with anyone because of failing to find anyone willing to give it a proper go. The farthest I ever got was running a couple of half arsed sessions of the very simple "fighting fantasy:the introductory rpg" which was a system based on the fighting fantasy game-books by Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson. Getting anyone to properly play without losing patience was near impossible they couldn't be bothered really and we were just kids.

I'm planning on trying out BFRPG with some of my friends because it is a system I have been able to convince them is learn able without too much time investment on their part. I will be the DM and basically teach them to play as we go (hopefully). We're all in our early thirties now and they are actually interested in giving it a proper go. so i'm hopeful!

I have everything I need and am trying to teach the game to myself as the first step. If anyone would be so kind as to answer my noob questions i would be really, really grateful!

QUESTION: about magic users:
I have rolled up a character who is an elven magic user, i think i must be missing something because:
he has +1CON and I rolled a 1 on the d4 for his hitpoints. So the character has 2HP. My problem is I dont see how that is going to be playable at the beginning at all. He cant wear armour so he has no armour class,the goblins in the the first adventure in the AA1 anthology "gold in the hills" do 1d4 damage. Surely the magic user wont be able to fight melee because he will be killed so easily, and he can only cast 1 spell a DAY (!?). even if he used dagger as a ranged weapon he needs a whopping 2500 xp to gain level2 and any sort of "non-instant death in 1 hit" HP value. looking at the kind of xp gains available from entry level quests which are further divided up between the party at the end anyway, it seems like it would be a crazy amount of adventures etc you would have to scrape through with your life intact before you even get a chance to advance. and if my prospective players get killed before they get a chance to get their teeth in, i'm afraid they will just give up.

I would be grateful for any clarification of what i'm missing, please forgive any daft questions as its all new to me.
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Solomoriah
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Re: HELP! Some Questions From A Newcomer To BFRPG

Post Wed May 13, 2015 4:03 pm

Basic Fantasy RPG is an "old school" game system; that implies a great many things, but one of them is a high rate of dying among first level characters.

The magic-user you are discussing would not be much good in melee... but he (or she) should not BE in melee, if it's at all possible to avoid it. Magic-users, even at the highest levels, stay in the middle of the adventuring party (not in front where they face oncoming enemies, nor in back where baddies sneaking up on you might kill them). A typical party should have at least four characters, and six to eight is a much better number; allow your player characters to have hirelings or retainers if you don't have enough players to go around.

Regarding the "one spell" issue... remember, magic-users can have some pretty impressive spells. A typical first level encounter with goblins can be ended with a single Sleep spell in many cases, and Magic Missile always hits (and has about a 50/50 chance of outright killing a 1 hit die monster). In practice, a typical first level adventuring party is good for about one encounter per day (unless they are really lucky), so that one spell is actually about all the magic-user needs. For more statistics on the subject, read my blog post here: http://basicfantasy.org/blog/?p=151

You might find that your players get along better if you start their characters with 5000 XP each. That would make them around 3rd level, unless combo-classed, and so a bit tougher and more likely to survive.
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SmootRK
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Re: HELP! Some Questions From A Newcomer To BFRPG

Post Wed May 13, 2015 4:18 pm

[edit - Solo beat me to it. Sound advice there from the master!]
First level is tough... all around. Especially, when one is trying to learn the game outright, Game Master and the Players.

Number one, expect deaths. In fact, this occurs even with experienced players/GMs. Counsel the players that death is common, even likely to occur to one or more characters even in the first combat encounter. It is in the nature of the games of this era.
Have extra characters rolled up and ready to insert when the eventuality occurs. Plan some sort of rationale entrance scenario for these 'extras'.

Now specifically for MU characters. These guys are supposed to be smart. They don't wade into combat because they understand their abilities and limits. They let the appropriate roles do the appropriate functions they are best at, and do their best to keep out of the line of fine.
Again, they are smart. They hire men-at-arms, keep dogs to alert them and even protect them, familiars to keep watch while they sleep/meditate/memorize spells. They plan accordingly for their own protection and well being.
Another note on their 'smarts' - success is not always a well placed spell. Sometimes it is using their wits to outsmart a foe, circumvent an obstacle, or solve a puzzle... these are their focus, and where they are supposed to shine.

Now, if you absolutely need to circumvent this, there are techniques. These often fall under house-rules and you will likely get a few suggestions here.
1 - Cantrips/Minor Magics - either using the Supplement or by just assuming the MU can produce very minor magical effects such as lighting a fire, puffs of smoke, levitating a small object a few inches above their hand... etc.
2 - Bonus spells based on INT score. A very common houserule.

non-MU specific stuff
3 - consider starting everyone at 2501 (2nd level MU). This will give everyone a big boost in their overall survive rate.

ok, cutting short, others will give additional advice. My final word would be to keep it by the book at first... everybody will learn a lot so much faster by actually dealing with the woes of low levels. You will all be better for it.
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chiisu81
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Re: HELP! Some Questions From A Newcomer To BFRPG

Post Wed May 13, 2015 4:54 pm

Old-school games did not encourage combat unless it was basically a last resort. Players frequently snuck around monsters in ingenious ways in order to grab the treasure. For BFRPG use the optional 1 GP = 1 XP rule on page 153; this rule was used in the classic games and was the primary way they gained levels, NOT by killing things (which has been so highly encouraged by later editions).
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Dimirag
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Re: HELP! Some Questions From A Newcomer To BFRPG

Post Wed May 13, 2015 7:24 pm

Also remember that there is no need for the character to be in direct combat to be of use, and that he will get the XP for been part of the group regardless of what action did he take on the confrontation.
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Blazeguard
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Re: HELP! Some Questions From A Newcomer To BFRPG

Post Wed May 13, 2015 7:31 pm

Here's a couple more possible house rules to consider:

- Allow characters to start with max HP

- Give each character the full XP for monsters killed/defeated instead of dividing it between them (ie. if a party of 4 killed 4 goblins, each character would get 40 XP instead of 10 XP) but XP for gold is still divided between the party.

Speaking from personal experience, try to keep the supplements/house rules to a minimum when you're starting out as things can get complicated very quickly, especially when you're new to the game.

Good luck!!
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Longman
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Re: HELP! Some Questions From A Newcomer To BFRPG

Post Wed May 13, 2015 8:09 pm

The question about XP was addressed recently. Read this:

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=1649

I think the XP totals for monsters in old school rules are deliberately low, to discourage games where people end up killing stuff just for the XP, thinking "only ten more goblins until I'm third level!" That gets boring, fast.

So, the amount of XP you get for monsters is really only supposed to be a fraction of what you actually get in an adventure.

The thing is, there's no way for a core rule book to specify exactly how much XP should be given for things like exploration, magic items, treasure, or achieving objectives. Because it all depends on your campaign, so it's really up to you.

From what I have noticed, players will start to get a bit tetchy and frustrated if there's no sign of leveling up after 3 or 4 sessions - and my sessions are normally about 4-5 hours.

Smoot's advice in the other thread - work on about 500 exp for a 'session' for 1st level - seems to fit with that. You might decide you want it faster.

As for magic users - what you are describing is actually part of the fun, even though it seems like a problem right now. By the time your 'wimpy' wizard hits 3rd level they can be a real handful - and if they make it to 5th level, they can be freakin' terrifying.

Have fun.
oninbo
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Re: HELP! Some Questions From A Newcomer To BFRPG

Post Thu May 14, 2015 7:33 am

Thanks everyone for the help. Pretty useful advice, i appreciate it!

Unfortunately i'm only going to have 3 players max when we do play, and we will only have a few days to play. I'm hoping to have a few extended sessions over that period and get the guys interested. Learn the ropes of how the system actually plays out, together.

As suggested ill have to let them use retainers or perhaps design a simple campaign myself tailored to having only a few players.

If all goes well one of the players doesn't live very far from me so it may be possible to get together with him and his brothers on a regular basis to attempt longer campaigns.

I'm sort of getting my head round the system now, I imagine actually getting down to business and playing for the first time will make more of it gel. If i need any more help ill post more questions here when they come up.

Thanks again.
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Re: HELP! Some Questions From A Newcomer To BFRPG

Post Thu May 14, 2015 7:41 am

With a small group, you might want to suggest that one of the players go for an Elven Fighter/Magic-User or Magic-User/Thief.
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Delver
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Re: HELP! Some Questions From A Newcomer To BFRPG

Post Thu May 14, 2015 9:55 am

I will second the comment made earlier about starting out with a little higher level characters, especially if the gaming will be infrequent.

For my games with teenage delinquents I've just used 3rd Level Pregenerated characters and let them pick one. One of the reasons is that I never know from month to month if any of the kids will be the same group or not, but also, they tend to be fairly aggressive as beginners to the game. Many people have the idea that RPGs are like video games and that they can just pound on enemies and if they get a little low there's a healing potion just around the corner. If that's the kind of game you want to play, you'll have start out with some characters who are a little tougher than average, otherwise - as you've already observed, a good strike from an enemy can one-shot kill a Level 1 or 2 character.

Old-school play is much different. It involves lots of planning, recon, observation, investigation, trickery. sneaking and that sort of thing. A party of 1st Level Barbarians charging into a dungeon would be fun, but probably wouldn't last too long before someone was rolling up another char. ;-)

In the Downloads section of this site there's a section called the Showcase. There you'll find a supplement containing some 3rd Level Pregens that you can simply use as a base for your game. Either yourself or your players could easily "re-skin" them by tweaking names and equipment a little. It would save time and give them a chance to try out the game a little with characters who will be a little more durable.

http://basicfantasy.org/showcase.cgi <--- 3rd Level Pregens
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